A new experiment of mine. Harry Potter is being raised by Death. Yes, the Death. How will this experience change him? Or will he be the one who changes the world and the Death himself? Let's find out!
1981. The human world.
„No... NO! I don't want to die!" He tried to run. The light was growing fast but he was sure he could still make it. But then there was pair of bony fingers grabbing him, pulling him back. A hand was holding him at his collar and his feet were dangling helplessly in the air. He turned around – and looked directly into two empty eye sockets laying deep in a white skull. The face of the carcass was partly hidden by a dark hood. Still the view shocked him so much he was unable to move for a moment. Crudely the hand dropped him to the ground. Completely off his mind he tried crawling away from the gruesome creature but the being raised a long wooden pole and gave him a hard blow. Still he had probably been lucky because the other end of the pole wore a sharp looking blade. The blow pushed him forward – and directly into the light. Then he knew no more.
The Death sighed. It had been a long day. He had accompanied the souls of eight vampires, three inferi, a sphinx and an old goblin into the next life. Well, to be precise he had looked at them grimly and threatened to do all kinds of horrible things to them if they didn't move through the damn tunnel into the stupid light. For most of the dead ones that was enough. The Death didn't know who started the rumor about the skeleton with the scythe. But since he had altered his appearance to be that way people recognized him immediately and were struggling far less against him. It was making his job much easier. Plus he liked the scythe.
There were around 200,000 dead persons among the higher species. Thank hell Death didn't have to worry about every single one of them. Most souls were drawn to the light automatically, whenever they wanted to or not. But there were some that had the annoying tendency to avoid the natural way of things. Vampires, for example. Death hated vampires. Technically they were all long overdue but their souls still lingered on earth. Every time one of them kicked the bucket for good Death had to be there to mark off the name. It was similar with some of the more powerful magical races.
Yes, there was indeed a death list. On it there were all those entities that tried to somehow delay their natural death. If one of these names remained on the list for more then five times the normal life span, Death had to take matters into his own hands. In most cases it was still enough to sent his henchmen. But those had grown more and more ineffective over the last couple of decades. Sometimes he really asked himself what they did the entire day. Sitting together playing cards? Somehow he couldn't picture that. Still it had been an eternity since he last saw one of them.
But Death could worry about that later. He had one last job today. It was a human. That alone was strange enough. Normally humans didn't make any problems. This one wasn't exactly old either, he was only close to seventy. No, this guy was on Death's list because he had dabbed too deep into the Black Arts. A pseudo immortal. The one thing worse then vampires.
Death scoffed. Something like immortality did not exist. He would get them all at last!
It was late at night when Death entered the house. Neither doors nor walls nor magical shields could stop him. He was just passing though material. The living couldn't see him anyway.
Disinterested Death watched two humans arguing in the living room. Shortly after one of them dropped dead. For a few seconds his soul lingered behind, trying in vain to continue cursing the other who had already turned around. Death ignored him. He was not the reason he was here tonight.
„What the – stop right there! You won't get my family!", the man screamed, seemingly frustrated that his murderer didn't pay him any mind. Slowly Death turned towards him. As he saw the bony face the man flinched back.
Death didn't answer. He already saw how the light formed behind the man and began to devour him.
„No", the man whispered desperately when he saw Death climbing the stairs. „Not Lily! Not Harry!"
But the light had already embraced him.
Completely unaffected Death entered the second floor and was just in time to see the green light that cut the soul of the redheaded woman from her body. Death didn't pay her any mind either and stepped closer. His attention was focused on the man in the dark robe and the infant In the cradle in front of him. One of them would die tonight – that was what the prophecy said. Aside from pseudo immortals that was the second kind of humans that demanded Death's presence: People whose deaths were somehow determined my a prophecy. Every now and then, Destiny tried to spoil his efforts with these people. This stupid bitch had succeeded in snatching away a soul or two before and so he had begun to supervise such deaths himself.
The man in the robe laughed and pointed his wand at the infant. Death took another step forward and raised his scythe.
„No!", the redhead screamed desperately. „Not Harry! I'll do everything, but don't take Harry!"
Death had seen many people die through the killing curse. He had seen many mothers sacrifice themselves for their children too. And sometimes when they were forced to watch those precious people die anyway as helpless souls they would do something stupid. For example they threw themselves into the line of the curse a second time, or they tried to attack the murderer like the man downstairs had. Of course that was utterly pointless. Souls were incredibly weak, weaker even then ghosts. They weren't able to make physical contact, let alone touch somebody. They couldn't cast magic anymore and couldn't communicate. Not with the living at least. They could make contact with other dead people just fine.
So now Death was standing there, his scythe raised and ready to push the soul of the next victim into the light before it could find a way to avoid that. And what did that damn witch do? Instead of throwing herself in front of the baby or attacking the murderer as any half-decent dead one would? She had the nerve to jam her fist into his spine. She attacked him, the goddamn personified Death himself! And Death, currently consisting of nothing but light bones, promptly stumbled forward – directly into the line of the killing curse.
Now the interested reader might require a short explanation about how exactly the killing curse worked. It forcefully ripped the soul of the victim from its body. It was not unlike what Death's henchmen did. However the method of the humans was far more primitive and coupled with a magical shock that caused cardiac arrest at the same time. The fact is: Avada Kedavra was powerful soul magic. It didn't have any effect on ghosts or souls. But it would be able to turn lets say a poltergeist who was at least solid enough to throw material at you into a normal ghost. It could even become dangerous to Death's henchmen who possessed a certain amount of half-spiritual material too. When they were hit with this particular curse sometimes it could happen that they began to leak and lost a soul or two. That wasn't overly dramatic since those souls just went into the light. Until now it had only happened once that a dozen wizards ganged up against a henchman and shot him with the Avada all at once. The henchman had exploded and let lose a wave of three thousand souls. Death took care of the troublemakers personally. He had been very annoyed, those creatures were very hard to make! As a punishment he had enslaved all the wizards and turned them into his henchmen themselves.
Whatever. It was only important to know that the Avada Kedavra had a certain effect on half-spiritual creatures and technically speaking Death belonged to this category too.
Of course nobody had ever dared to hit him with a killing curse. The very idea was ridiculous. Apart from the fact that only dead ones could see him and those were unable to cast magic – you couldn't kill the Death. But that was the problem right there: He was the essence of death. Everything that had to do with dying or the passing over of souls was bending to his will. When the green beam of light came dashing towards him it banged against a wall of sheer deathness. That was understandably overstraining it and that the little beam of light backed off horror-stricken and made a bolt of it. Metaphorically speaking, that is. Practically the whole thing manifested itself as the following: The killing curse stopped its track midway and shot back towards its caster.
Eyes wide in alarm the man in the robe didn't even remember to move and the green light hit him straight on. A dire scream could be heard before his body burst into flames. Seconds later nothing but a pile of ash was left of him. Meanwhile the energy backlash the powerful curse had emitted when making contact with Death's essential deathness had teared half the house to tatters.
For a moment it was silent. Then Death turned around very slowly and looked down at the soul of the redheaded woman threateningly who had watched the scene unfold open-mouthed. Only when Death gripped his scythe and made a step towards her she woke from her stupor.
„Uh... Sorry?", she squeaked and smiled tentatively.
Death raised his weapon, ready to let out his frustration about the ruined night on her. But before he got a chance to do so the souls saved herself by hopping into the light.
Grimly Death lowered his scythe again. He knew he couldn't follow her.
Scratching his chin in thought he watched the scene in front of him. Something like that had never happened to him before. The boy was supposed to die tonight. He had already been eager to tell Destiny about this. No one can live while the other survived... She had probably planned a great battle for those two. Such an unspectacular death would have ruined her plans thoroughly.
But the curse had missed and the soul of the guy had fled before it could be enveloped by the light. In fact Death had never seen a soul flee that fast. Not in a long time at least. It was almost as if it was drawn by something out there that helped it along. If that stupid bitch hadn't distracted Death maybe he would have been able to track the soul in time. Well, on the other hand the man would've never lost his soul in the first place if it weren't for the redhead. Great, now Death hat to hunt down the soul by himself and collect it manually. As if he didn't have anything better to do.
Death raised a finger and hummed. Where could the soul be...?
He let his gaze wander and finally it met the small boy. Not even he was dead. Just what was wrong with him today?
But then he paused. The boy... The child... It was looking directly at him. Not at the dead body of his mother or the remains of her murderer. It was looking at him, at Death. He was even looking around, moving to the left and to the right but those green eyes were following him. The small boy was staring at him open-mouthed. And then – then he stuck out his little stubby arms at him and called out: „Dat!"
Death blinked in surprise (or he would have, if he had any eye lids).
„Who?", he asked dully and pointed towards himself with a bony finger. „Me?"
The little guy clapped his hands. „Dat!", he called again and this time there was no doubt that he meant Death.
Death stared at him dumbfounded. To be perfectly honest he was a little bit overextended with the situation. Never before had a living person seen him. Not without him showing himself on his own anyway. It would have to be the magical backlash, he decided. Of course the killing curse couldn't take Death's soul (he wasn't even sure if he had one) but maybe it had been able to disperse his deathness a little bit. That might have given the little guy the ability to see him, at least temporally.
Death scratched his head perplexed. Was that even allowed? And if not, what was he supposed to do with the kid? He stepped closer and crouched in front of the child. He might be a chosen one... and he didn't like those on principle because Destiny always disregarded his rules... But this boy was such a tiny dwarf. And technically it hadn't been his fault.
Death's gaze fell on the fresh scar in the middle of the boy's forehead. Oh no. It was getting worse with each second. Apparently a piece of the old man's soul had attached itself to the boy. My, my, what a chaos!
Oh well. If he was perfectly honest with himself it was probably his own fault. He should have taken care of the redhead first. He was tired and overworked but that wasn't an excuse... Now he had messed up this boy's death.
„Sorry." He felt kind of weird. „This wasn't supposed to be so chaotic. Next time you die everything will go according to plan!"
The infant grinned at him. Death glanced towards his dead mother. Was it normal for the dwarf to be this happy?
Again Death scratched his chin in thought. Really, this whole ordeal wasn't the fault of the little one. The guy in the robe was the one to do something with his own soul in order to avoid the light. He'd probably be able to use the boy as an anchor to flee from now on too. Nah. He couldn't let that happen.
„Hrmpf", he mumbled as the infant reached out for him as if he actually expected to be held. „Alright, I have to admit you're kind of cute. I'll give you a present. A compensation, in a matter of speaking." He raised his bony arm and tapped the boy on the forehead, right where his scar was located. The boy flinched back, stared at him with big eyes – and started crying!
„Hey!", Death bristled at him, „C-Calm down! That couldn't have hurt much – ugh, will you be quit already!"
But the boy didn't stop crying.
„Ungrateful brat! I just gave you a You're-discharged-from-prison-card and what are you doing? Next time you're being hit by the killing curse I'll get the foreign soul piece from your scar and you'll keep yours. That's such a great present, people would die for it. Do you hear me? You – oh, now come down already!"
Not knowing what to do in such a situation Death reached for the two little arms to keep them from fidgeting. For a second or two there was silence, then the bleat started again. Death thought that was unfair. He didn't have any ears, why did he have to listen to the screaming?
Clumsily he lifted the child up, holding it at an arms length at first. This time the silence prolonged for a little longer and the boy looked at him with red puffy eyes and quivering lips before taking a breath to prepare a new scream.
„Oh, just – be quit", Death murmured. He held the child close to him and rocked it slowly. And oh wonder, the effect showed. The boy stopped crying. For a moment he looked up into Death's ever grinning face. Then he lowered his little head again and one hand grabbed Death's black robe while the other stuck a thumb in his mouth. Now he almost looked peaceful again. Ha! Never let it be said again that the Death couldn't handle children.
In this moment loud blustering steps could be heard from the staircase. The door was thrown open and there stood a gigantic exemplar of a human. Death was so startled that he almost dropped the child. For a moment Death and giant looked at each other in surprise. Death because that was the second living human that day who saw him and the giant because... Well, because he couldn't see Death, only the little infant floating in the middle of the air.
„Wha-", the guy began but Death had enough of it today.
„Oh, stuff it!", he exclaimed. His day was shot to hell, he had messed up his mission, suddenly everyone could see him and stared at him, he had a soul to hunt down and he didn't even have the redhead to let out his anger at. He had enough and he wanted to go home and not come back until the next epidemic. So that was exactly what he did.
Death turned on the spot, his robe fluttering around him and just like that he was gone.
Only when he appeared in his office in the otherworld with his desk and chair made out of bones, the carpet of the color of fresh blood and the ebony hat rack in the corner where he could put down his scythe – he realized that he was still holding onto the infant.
Behind him the black hole that was the portal to the world of the living closed, the destroyed building fading from view.
Death looked down at the boy who made a cute little sneeze.
„Well, shit", he said. That had not been part of the plan.