A/N: Hope you enjoy! Read and review! This idea was in my head for quite some time!
Petunia Dursley liked to think she knew all the gossip around the neighborhood. She would constantly keep the windows open, listening for the latest news. The topic of discussion, yet again, was Harry Potter's brilliant mind. She shut the window in disgust, trying to ignore the ladies chatting in her neighbor's yard.
Harry Potter. The boy who was deposited on her doorstep when he was one years old. They had taken him in, fed him, sent him to school.
The boy was polite. Kind. Compassionate. The type that would smile in your face and stab you the minute your back was turned. The kind of child that knew more than he should. There was no surprise in his face when Petunia had conveniently forgotten to feed him for a week. No hatred, no yelling. He was the most composed child that Petunia had ever seen.
Also the most dangerous one.
At first Petunia thought it had been his freaky powers. The child was a Freak after all. It wouldn't have surprised her if he did do something.
It started innocently enough. Vernon had come home one day angry that he had been called to Dudley's school again for the third time that week. He saw the four year old Harry and attempted to hit him for being slow at setting the table.
Vernon was sent to the hospital for a concussion and had to take a week off work as a result.
Vernon didn't touch the boy after that. Potter merely smiled at her and shook his head when she asked him what happened. His response was as collected as his figure.
"He must have slipped, Aunt Petunia. I didn't see him come in."
She didn't believe it. But the second time, it was Dudley. Vernon had been at work and a six year old Potter was painting the fence. Dudley's friends had come over that day and eaten a big lunch before going out to play. She had just turned her head to grab a dirty plate when she heard Dudley scream. She ran over to see what the matter was.
Dudley was on the ground, a terrified look on his face. The Potter boy was standing in front of him, a pure look of surprise on his face. His friends had backed away, staring at Potter as if he were a ghost.
Harry extended a hand to help Dudley up, but Petunia shrieked and grabbed Dudley, pulling him away from the Freak. The look of surprise was now on Petunia and she caught a glimpse of it just before she slammed the front door and locked it. She didn't see the sneering look that passed his face as the door was locked or the way Potter turned to the other three boys, who were running away.
The three boys went missing after that. No one knew what had happened. Petunia knew Potter had something to do with it and Potter was hauled in for questioning with the authorities the next morning. His response to the interrogation sent chills up her spine.
"I do not know what happened to them. They ran away from me as I was whitewashing the fence."
Petunia had tried to pinpoint exactly what about the statement that bothered her. Perhaps it was the way he said "I do not know" instead of "I don't know". Or maybe it was the way he drawled out "ran away from me". In the end, she decided it was the way he said "whitewashing".
They let him go. Petunia almost begged them to reconsider and take the boy away and lock him up far, far away from humanity. But she kept her mouth shut and lowered her head, sending him terrified glances. He lounged back in the chair, a completely indifferent smile crossing his face and a malicious gleam in his eyes. She drove the six year old Potter home, feeling like she was bringing a corpse into the house as she ushered him in.
He didn't exhibit any of the freaky powers Lily had. He didn't fly through the sky or make roses bloom and unbloom, or change teacups into toads. But that only served to unnerve her more.
In school, the Potter was brilliant. He scored high on all of his exams and had been placed three grades higher than he should have been. But that only made her more uneasy. A normal child would be happy about being praised by his teachers. But not Potter. Potter would simply smile at his instructors; say in his not-grateful-at-all tone:
The boy walked like a king. Spoke like a king. Even his appearance was very king-like. But, if he was a king, then he was the darkest, most malicious king she had ever heard of. The way he looked at them was as if they were of a lower class. Beneath him.
It came as a relief when the boy was taken to the Freaky world. Maybe they'd be able to control him.
McGonagall eyed her star pupil with some level of guardedness. Harry Potter was something of a contradiction.
He would bow to his Professors upon entering, though in McGonagall's opinion, it seemed to be a mocking bow than a respectful one. He would eat at the Great Hall with the other students, but she had never seen a morsel of food pass his pale lips. He would chat with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as if they were good friends, but his tone implied he didn't seem to care all that much about them.
Albus noticed as well. He told all the Professors to keep an eye on Potter, make sure he was doing well in his classes and not getting into any trouble.
Potter did extraordinarily well. And, strangely enough, he did not wander and get into trouble like his father. He was where he was supposed to be, never late, but never early.
It was strange a child that had no magical experience to find his way inside the castle without anyone telling him. It was strange that every movement the boy made was deliberate. Accidents never happened to Potter, nor did Potter make any accidents. There was no fault in his spellwork, no incompleteness. Severus had mentioned he thought the boy was cheating and had given him detention for it, but then had grudgingly reported that the boy cleaned all six hundred cauldrons perfectly without magic in the span of three hours.
His essays were written very thoroughly. There were no missing words and his ideas were fleshed out perfectly. They looked like they belonged in a textbook, not in an eleven year old's essay.
The boy was perfect. Too perfect.
In Quidditch, the Potter flew like a professional. He wouldn't move from one spot until he spotted the snitch. Then he would take off like a rocket. Bludgers that were hit towards him missed him by millimeters, but it didn't faze the child. Even when his broomstick was jinxed, trying to throw him off, the boy showed no fear. He simply held on with one hand and directed the broomstick in the direction he wanted it to go.
There was no hesitation in Potter's eyes. No fear. No anger or hate. Nor any excitement or happiness. His smiles ranged from malicious to polite indifference. Once, McGonagall thought she caught the look of surprise on his face, but it vanished as quickly as a candle being blown out.
Though, McGonagall supposed, that might be a good thing. The boy wasn't curious or cause trouble.
Flitwick rather liked the boy called Harry Potter.
The boy was friendly, polite, calm, and collected. Flitwick saw that he spoke to anyone who spoke to him and wasn't the least bit rude. Even to the scathing remarks of Draco Malfoy and the other Slytherins.
He was delighted when he heard Potter had joined the dueling club. The day after, to his delight and possibly much of the school's, Lockhart had been sent to the Hospital Wing with a minor concussion. According to eyewitnesses, Lockhart had tripped and knocked himself out on the dueling platform.
Potter was a natural Charm performer. He would not perform in front of other students, but Flitwick had asked him to come to his office to show him what he knew. Flitwick was stunned to see that Potter knew spells up to Forth Year and refused to demonstrate anything higher than that.
The boy was a mystery, but a very likable one. Flitwick was intrigued, wanting to learn more about Potter. But he kept his distance, not wanting to favor the clever boy.
There had been only one attack in the school and one case of petrification. Flitwick personally thought it was an accident, even with the writing on the wall. The rest of the school year passed peacefully.
Ginny Weasley seemed to have lost most of her memory of the first two months in school though.
Hagrid had to remind himself that Harry had explained that animals didn't like him at all.
In fact, when Harry first approached Buckbeak, the hippogriff reared in fear and took to the sky very quickly. He refused to come back down until Harry was out of sight and back in the castle. Malfoy had made a scathing comment about Harry being so ugly that even ugly birds didn't want to look at him. Buckbeak had retaliated by slashing Malfoy's arm.
Through the year, Hagrid was constantly looking out for Harry, afraid he would get himself into trouble with Black running around on the loose.
Even bowtruckles seemed terrified of Harry. Hagrid really couldn't figure out why, but he assumed it was because Harry didn't really put any effort into trying to be friends with them.
Truth to be told, Hagrid seemed uneasy around Harry as well. They were friends; that much Hagrid was certain, but there seemed to be something different about Harry. It was further solidified when he heard that Lupin also had an uneasy feeling about Harry.
When Black had entered Gryffindor tower, Hagrid had feared the worst, expecting Harry to be dead or otherwise mutilated. But Black, instead, escaped yet again and that same day, Harry asked Hagrid to take care of his new pet, Grimmy. Hagrid adored the large black dog, feeding it, petting it, and washing it. The dog didn't stay for very long, but Hagrid enjoyed his presence when he was there.
By the end of the year, Black had evaded capture again. Grimmy had vanished. And Buckbeak miraculously escaped execution. Hagrid thanked the Heavens that Harry was alright in the end.
Hagrid was sure that the reason Lupin avoided Harry was because Harry found out that he and Black used to be friends. He squashed the little voice in his head that said it was probably something more. After all, Harry was a perfectly friendly guy.
Binns was actually more observant than the students gave him credit for. The instant Harry Potter walked in the room, he had recoiled from his seat, a chill sinking into his non-existent bones.
Harry Potter was the first name he had remembered in many years and remained the first name he remembered. Something about the child was unsettling. The knowing smile, or the pleasant glint in his eyes. The strange, polite front he put up or maybe the hovering presence that Binns felt every time the boy entered his room.
Still, he gave his lectures in his usual way, refusing to look up at the haunting emerald eyes. He kept his eyes on the book in front of him, lecturing his way through the class.
He noted when Potter wasn't in class though. He almost gave a sigh of relief. The boy being in the Triwizard Tournament was almost a blessing. He almost pitied the other participants.
He heard that the dragon in the First Task recoiled away from the boy. Binns wasn't surprised at that. He purposefully missed the Second and Third task, not really wanting to pursue the unsettling feeling he had every time Harry Potter was nearby.
When Binns saw Potter next, after the Third task, during the ceremony for Cedric Diggory, he was surprised to note the pleased smile on Potter's face. He told himself that he was just dreaming, seeing things. There was no way Potter could be happy someone was dead.
Umbridge, naturally, believed the boy to be an attention seeking brat.
So when she first entered her classroom, she didn't expect to see a pleasantly smiling Harry Potter, who was sitting alert. She gave him a strained smile and started teaching.
Within the first week and a half, she found herself unhinged by the boy.
Harry Potter said nothing about the Dark Lord's return. He didn't rise to her bait, nor did he care much for talking outside of class. He wrote perfect essays, which Umbridge learned quickly to despise grading, as she found it very hard to mark off points. He performed no spells in her class, or practiced defense outside of class.
When she had heard of a Defense Club being formed, naturally, she thought Potter was behind it. Imagine her surprise when instead of Potter, she found Longbottom the one to organize everything.
Umbridge also found it very hard pressed to find reasons to give Potter detentions. The boy was simply the perfect model of a student. Yet, she got her chance when she found Potter ignoring Malfoy.
When he arrived that afternoon at five, Umbridge could hardly contain her glee. But Potter, far from feeling dejected that he was missing Quidditch, seemed almost pleasant, calling her Professor Umbridge in greeting, calmly sitting where she instructed and picking up the quill.
Umbridge glanced up at Potter and was startled to see blood on the parchment, but no cuts on the back of Potter's hand. No blood. Instantly, she stood up and snatched the quill away.
Only to see a rotting, bony hand reach for her neck. Umbridge shrieked and backed away, stumbling over her desk and knocking it a few inches back, her eyes wide. Potter was looking at the hand with some level of affection, reaching towards it.
"Bombarda!" Umbridge shrieked, pointing her stubby wand at the hand.
A silvery cloak was knocked off the figure as a small explosion hit the hand. It fell to the floor, revealing the owner of the hand.
It was a tall dark figure, covered with a black cloak. The figure turned to Umbridge, its sunken silvery white eyes rotting in its very sockets. There was no blood in the strips of flesh on its face, its face an impossible shade of white. The skull was showing through in places, as the flesh had rotted off, gleaming white, as if someone had polished it.
"Diffindo! Incendio!" Umbridge shrieked. The spells hit the figure, but the figure didn't even flatter, reaching for her neck again. Potter was nursing his burned hand, looking non-plussed at the figure. Then he turned to Umbridge.
"I guess I'm done with detention then. Death, please don't do anything until I leave. I'd rather not see it."
Potter stood up, swiping the Invisibility Cloak off the ground. Death's boney hand closed around Umbridge's throat.
Umbridge's scream echoed throughout the castle. Professors ran in, trying to see what the matter was only to find a thoroughly dead Umbridge with a horrified look on her face. There weren't many sorry to see her go.
Dumbledore was a little hesitant to accept that Harry Potter wasn't right. After leaving him with his relatives, something had obviously happened. He had suspected abuse at first, but the signs and symptoms didn't match up.
When he picked him up in his sixth year to persuade Slughorn, Harry had been almost pleasant. His family cowered when they were in the same room as him. The news of Sirius' death didn't faze Harry, nor did the news of Voldemort infiltrating the Ministry of Magic. It smashed in the ensuing battle.
Harry didn't seem surprised. Nor did he seem upset.
Severus called Potter a natural at Occlumency. There was nothing that fazed the boy. The boy was completely fearless. Dumbledore could recall that Lupin reported that the boggart actually shrank away from Harry when it was faced towards him.
And now that Dumbledore looked at him, Harry's face illuminated by the green potion in the stone basin, he was starting to believe it.
The boy was almost playing an elaborate game with them. They were his toys and he was moving them as he pleased. That unsettled Dumbledore. The boy was much too young to know how to play the game of Life and Death. Didn't he know that his life was in danger right now? That he was being targeted by Voldemort? That he was soon to die?
When they arrived back at the Astronomy tower, Dumbledore shot a body-bind at Harry. He didn't want him to interfere. The disarming came as a surprise to him and he remained still as Draco Malfoy and more Death Eaters arrived.
Suddenly, there was a low voice under the invisibility cloak.
There was a tremendous BANG that knocked all the Death Eaters back. Draco was slammed into a wall and his wand, as well as Dumbledore's wand, flew high into the air. Harry stepped forward and caught them. Then he turned to the figure still wrapped by the invisibility cloak.
"Death. If you would," Harry said calmly.
Dumbledore's insides clenched as he saw a hooded figure withdraw from the cloak and sweep towards him. His blue eyes were wide as the figure reached towards him, grabbing him around the throat. Suddenly, everything made sense. The fear animals showed Potter. The lack of fear Potter had with everyone and everything. His acceptance towards Death. His attitude towards other humans and his detachment.
After all, what does the Master of Death have left to fear?
He felt his soul departing as Death pushed him off the Astronomy tower. Dumbledore could still see the emerald green eyes of the Master of Death in his mind as he hit the grounds.
Severus Snape was not a pleasant man to be around.
So why the hell did Potter's spawn make it so difficult to hate him?
Potter had few friends. Even fewer than the Granger girl. At least the Granger girl had Weasley. But no, Potter was detached from his peers. His teachers. His family. Everyone.
That didn't seem to bother Potter though. Why? Snape didn't understand himself. At least Snape had the light of his life. His love. Lily Potter. Potter's spawn had no one. And Potter was perfectly okay with it too. He never complained about his lack of friends or the fact that people avoided him.
As Snape watched the Carrows, he thought of Potter. What in the world was the boy doing?! Where was he to help these poor children? Where was their savor?
Snape knew, logically, Potter would never save anyone in the castle. He was probably miles away, saving his own skin. He wasn't blind. He had seen the papers.
So when Potter showed up in the castle with all of his attitude, looking like he had been to hell and back, Snape was surprised. When Snape raised his wand at him, Potter didn't even flinch, nor did he raise his own wand.
"Hello, Severus Snape."
Snape could feel the air leaving him in a rush. His black eyes went wide and then rolled back into his skull as something large descended upon him, black cloak fluttering. A boney hand, a grinning skull, and flesh that was rotted off…
And those haunting green eyes of Lily Potter.
Voldemort faced his nemesis with distaste.
Potter showed no fear. Not with three hundred wands pointed at him, or with the castle inhabitants behind him. He showed no worry. No love. He was, quite simply, relaxed.
"Voldemort, do you fear dying that much?" Harry Potter said in an even, pleasant tone. Voldemort did not reply so Potter continued. "'Flight from Death'… I do enjoy the fact that you seemed to have forgotten how you cannot run from Death. You cannot escape the cycle of Life and Death. No one can."
"What would you know about Death, Potter?!" Voldemort asked, his eyes narrowed and dark. Harry gave Voldemort a smile. Not a pleasant one by any means. Not an accusing one or one filled with hatred. Not a mocking one. Just a smile.
"I? Know about Death? Of course I know about Death. Death and I have been friends for many, many years now," Potter said softly, his eyes glittering. They were like emeralds. Voldemort's arm twitched.
"What?!" Voldemort demanded.
"Death and I… I am his Master and Death is my Slave. He tends to my every need, caring for me. And for what purpose, you ask? Simply to destroy you, who has evaded his hands too long," Potter said. He reached up and pulled a black cloak out of thin air, a figure materializing in front of Potter. "The purest form of Death that can be found on this world. Death is here to take you, Tom Riddle. Are you prepared?"
And with that, Death struck.
Harry eyed the ruins of Hogwarts with distaste, as well as the bodies of the ones who had died. His eyes flickered to Death and Death merely stared back at him with those sunken eyes. Harry took a deep breath, nodding a little.
Death went to work, removing the souls and existences of those who were to die. Magic could not stop Death, though it could delay it. Death always struck in the end.
I need a vacation. Harry thought as he watched Death caress the faces of the dead. Since he was little, he remembered that Death was his only friend. Death had spoken to him once before, calling him "Master" in a chilly, but affectionate tone. That was the first and last time Death spoke to him. But Harry didn't mind. Death didn't discriminate. Death didn't deny him. Death didn't hate, or love. Death was simply… there.
Death turned to him, standing up, his eyes on Harry's emerald ones.
"Let's go." Harry said softly, nodding to the doors. Death followed obediently.