Harry found himself in a hallway carpeted in garish maroon with a gold filigree pattern woven through it. The torches on the walls burned low, illuminating little of the cold stone that formed the walls. Pictures hung in regular intervals but all with people in them seemed to be sleeping. That was understandable, being that it was about three in the morning.
Glad that he had studied the map the night before, Harry moved down the hallway, careful not to make a noise. He couldn’t see Snape and therefore was going blind, relying on Snape’s rough sketch. He came to an intersection where the hallway in which he was met another going perpendicular. He racked his brains, trying to remember which way it was.
Just as he had decided on right, Snape hissed, “Left,” as if he knew that Harry would forget.
Mentally berating himself, Harry went down the left corridor. He remembered his way from there and they navigated almost easily to Bellatrix’s chambers. Outside the door, Harry paused.
“The safe is in the left wall behind the picture of Grindelwald. I don’t know how it is locked; it may need a combination. I’ll go first,” Snape whispered in a low voice.
Snape tapped the handle with a quick Alohomora and turned the knob. It opened and he stepped inside, careful to let as little light in as possible. Immediately after stepping over the threshold, a wailing siren went off and the door flung open the rest of the way. A gust of wind blew up from in between the floorboards, blowing the cloak off of Severus. It landed in a pile at Harry’s feet. Severus was immobilized by whatever vapor wafted from beneath and stood, one foot farther forward than the other, wand in hand.
Harry was paralyzed with both shock and fear. He saw something move in the darkness of Bellatrix’s room and he could only assume it was her. Breaking from his panic, Harry scooped up the cloak, not wanting to lose it. But now what? The light came on, revealing a wild haired and none too happy Bellatrix. Even disheveled as she was, she held a fierce beauty, one menacing and terrible to behold. A golden key on a chain glinted against her pale neck. The anger that flashed in her eyes at the sight of Snape sent a chill down Harry’s spine.
“Ah, the little traitor boy has come for a spot of revenge, has he?” she taunted, grinning broadly. “Aw, too bad he couldn’t come in and play,” Bella continued in a whiny voice that one would use with a child. “What were you going to do? Kill me in my sleep?” Smiling once more, Bellatrix snapped her fingers and two house elves appeared at her side. “Why don’t we take Snapey here to the dungeons? In the morning, I’ll call the Dark Lord in for a playdate, shall I?”
Bellatrix stepped closer to Snape, trailing a pointed nail across his jaw. Snape was immobile but Harry shivered for him. “In the meantime, we might have a bit of fun, what do you say? Just you and I.” She pouted. “Take him. I’ll be down for a visit soon enough.”
The house elves each grabbed hold of one of Snape’s arms and drug him roughly down the hall. Harry watched them go, not sure whether or not he should follow. Would Snape want him to? No, he’d want him to get the cup, Harry was sure. Bellatrix had a hand on the edge of the door, leaning part of her weight on it and watching them leave with Snape. There was a gleam in her eye that Harry knew didn’t bode well for Snape. He would have to hurry.
Slipping by her, Harry’s shoulder brushed her hair. Bellatrix spun, eyes searching. After a moment she glanced down at the floor where there was still a very light breeze coming through, though the cloud of noxious gas had dissipated. She let out a breath of relief and closed the door.
Now Harry was trapped. He looked around, finding a corner by the window to squeeze himself into where he wouldn’t be bumping anything. Suddenly, Harry realized with a certain horror that Bellatrix had stayed behind because she had to change her clothes.
Heart pounding, Harry twisted so that he was facing the wall. Though a normal sixteen year old, Harry had no desire to watch, what with Bellatrix being the sick and sadistic person that he knew she was. The very thought almost made Harry vomit.After what seemed like forever, he heard the click of her boots as she moved to the door and thought it safe to turn around. As he did so, she stepped out of the room, closing the door firmly behind her.
Harry let out a breath of relief. He faced the empty room. The picture of Grindelwald...who was Grindelwald? Harry looked around. Luckily, there were only two pictures and only one of which was a person. It was a young, handsome man whom Harry assumed was Grindelwald. He made a mental note to ask Snape about him later.
If Snape got out.
Pushing that thought from his mind, Harry grabbed a small throw blanket and tossed it over the sleeping picture, not wanting it to yell out when he took it down. Moving very slowly, very gently, Harry took the picture down from the wall and set it carefully on the ground. Inset in the wall was a golden safe with a slot for a small key.
Harry thought for a minute, then dug around in his pocket for the knife that Sirius had given him for Christmas one year. Sirius, Harry thought and swallowed hard. Trying to keep his focus on the task at hand, Harry slid open the attachment that could supposedly unlock any lock. He jammed it into the key hole and moved it around a bit until he heard a click.
Surprised that it actually worked after Hermione had repaired it from the mishap in the Ministry, Harry pulled open the door to the safe. It was almost too easy. The cup was right there, waiting to be taken. Harry picked it up, wrapped it in his cloak and slid the bundle into his deep robe pocket. Closing the door with a click, Harry gently rehung the picture and folded up the throw the way he had found it.
If only Snape hadn’t been caught, this plan would have gone very smoothly indeed. Harry looked down at his hands. He could see them because he knew that he was there, but it had been that way since he had taken the potion. Harry had no idea when it would wear off or how he would be able to tell. And what should he do now?
Harry could leave Snape. Snape deserved it, didn’t he? He was a Death Eater. But yet, what if he was telling the truth? What if he had been a spy for Dumbledore? Harry’s brain whirled. All he would have to do would be walk out. He had what they had come for, surely he cold figure out what it was and what to do with it. But Harry couldn’t. He couldn’t leave him, if for no other reason than the pull of the revenge charm upon him was too strong. Leaving him would somehow ruin the proper revenge.
Resolved to save Snape, Harry crept from the room. He stepped tentatively down the hallway, but didn’t know where the dungeons were. A muffled cry alerted him as to their location and almost made Harry sick. He walked along farther, quicker.
Footsteps echoed around the corner and Harry pressed himself against the wall. “Fetch me a drink,” Bellatrix’s voice echoed around the corner. “Something strong. I’ll give him a half hour or so to think over my offer.”
“Yes, ma’m,” a house elf squeaked.
The click of her heels got closer and Bellatrix rounded the corner looking rather satisfied. Harry’s stomach burned with anger, wanting nothing more than to curse her as she walked by with her smug head held high. That would be a foolish move, Harry thought. He almost heard that warning in Snape’s voice. Letting her pass, Harry went the way from which she had come.
As Harry rounded the corner, he almost ran straight into a house elf. Much to Harry’s surprise, the elf skidded to a stop and his already large eyes got even wider. He held a short, fat glass of liquor.
“Shh!” Harry said, hoping fervently that this elf was more of a Dobby than a Kreacher.
The elf’s eyes darted around. “Stranger must hurry. Feirny must tell mistress.”
Purposefully, the elf let the glass fall from his hand, shattering against the floor. He looked at it numbly. “Feirny must clean and fetch another drink now.”
Harry smiled in relief. “Thank you, Feirny. You’re a good elf.”
“Hurry,” the elf squeaked as Harry slipped past.
At the end of the hallway was a set of stone stairs descending to a lower floor. Harry could only assume those were the dungeons. Not knowing whether Feirny could see him due to some sort of elf magic or if his potion was wearing off, Harry moved quickly but carefully.
At the bottom of the steps, Harry found himself in front of a row of cells. Bellatrix hadn’t been kidding about a dungeon. Harry quickly spotted Snape, slumped over in the last cell. He hurried that way.
“Snape!” Harry hissed. “Snape!”
Snape looked up, dark eyes a bit hazy. There were several long scratches across his face that made Harry’s stomach turn. Snape studied the air for a minute. “Harry?”
“Yeah,” Harry replied.
“I can see you now.”
“That’s not good. Come on, let’s get out of here,” Harry said. Figuring it had worked once, Harry pulled out the pocketknife from his pocket. Sliding the tool in the latch, there was a click and the bars swung outward. Harry stepped inside, moving to untie Snape’s hands when he remembered his pocketknife had an attachment for that too. Using it, Snape was free in moments.
“We have to go,” Harry said urgently, wondering if Bella would hold to her half hour. Seeing no other alternative, Harry slid a hand behind Snape’s back and helped him stand. He was a little shaky but it would have to do. With one arm draped over Harry’s shoulder, Snape moved towards the cell door. “Wait,” Harry said. He tossed the invisibility cloak over Snape and they moved out into the corridor.
The stairs were the hardest part. They moved rather slowly and Harry was beginning to panic. By the time they had passed the kitchen where Harry had met the house elf, Harry was certain their time was running out. If Bellatrix found the cell empty before they could leave, they were done for.
With Harry’s help, they managed to move a little faster, passing Bellatrix’s chambers just as the click of her heels echoed down the corridor.
“Faster,” Harry hissed.
They sped up as much as possible and reached the servant’s door just as a shriek of anger sounded from the bellows of the house. Harry sealed the door behind them with an Unpenetrable Charm and he and Snape hurried down the tunnel, racing for the outside.
“You okay?” Harry asked, finally free to speak.
“Enough,” Snape replied with effort.
“Sorry,” Harry said, biting his lip. Sorry for almost leaving you, he added mentally.
“Save it, Potter.”
Something in Snape’s tone made Harry grin. He may be battered, but he obviously wasn’t broken. At last, they reached the hole to the open air, the first streaks of light beginning to stream through.
“Almost there,” Harry said encouragingly.
Hoping he was still invisible, Harry led Snape to the low stone wall, no longer paying any heed to the protective spells. It didn’t matter if an alarm went off when they crossed the perimeter as long as they were outside of the apparation barrier and could get away.
Harry stepped over the wall first, turning to help Snape across. The moment his foot touched the grass on the other side, alarms began to wail.
“Hurry,” Harry urged.
As soon as Snape was across, Harry apparated them both away. He apparated them both home.