A/N: I know, I know. It's been awhile since I updated. I've been on a reading spree again and I'm not sorry lol. Rediscovering some of my old, timeless favorites. :) We've hit double digits at last!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Chapter Ten..."These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life."―Alice Sebold,The Lovely Bones
King's Cross was smoky and still. Everything in sight was covered in a thick white fog. Dreamlike and opaque. The realization of where I had ended up sent a thrill of fearful confusion through my being. King's Cross? Bleeding King's Cross?! I had just been in America! Tessa...I had saved Tessa and Yacob.
I had saved them. So why was I here? Something else...Something else had happened. It crept up behind the lids of my unconscious mind, scratching to be let in. A sharp pain. There had been pain. Alistair. He had stabbed me! With my own bonding gift! My own scythe! What a prick! Had no one any decency anymore? Manky demons.
So was this death? Shouldn't I have a Reaper? Surely the Master of Death should have a Reaper, right? What if I didn't? What if this was all it was and I was stuck here in this bloody train station forever? What a cruel afterlife. To be trapped in the place that I would never see for myself. The portal to Hogwarts, that joyous place that would never be my own. I wasn't magical enough for them. But on the other hand it made a sick sort of sense. King's Cross was an inbetween. It separated the Muggle and Magical worlds, kept them segregated while seeing off every magical generation to their glittering future. It was a portal in itself, really. As a human Master of Death, I was a bit of an inbetween thing myself. I was forever walking a precipice between Death and humanity. Perhaps being able to die was the most human thing in the world, though.
"It's an odd place you ended up, Harry." The sweet voice came from behind me and I spun around to meet the familiar face, the surprise flickering over my face like a light bulb.
The last time I had seen this girl, she had been laying in the arms of my mother, her blank eyes staring up at the sky in repose. Ginevra Weasley.
"So it's you then? You're my Reaper?" But how could that be? Was one of our Reapers just borrowing her face? Because Ginny Weasley sure as hell was not one of ours.
Human souls didn't just become Reapers. They went to their final rewards when they died. Reapers were created by Death and I from the powers we shared. This was...most unusual. She gave me a soft, adoring smile but shook her head in amusement.
"I'm afraid not. I just wanted to see you. To help you make the transition, make things easier. I wanted to comfort you like you did for me." She laughed at the confused tilt of the head that was her only response, "You're changing, Harry. You're not dead. Well, I guess technically you are, but it's not permanent. Think of it more like taking a deep cat nap. You're body and soul are changing to accommodate your new state of being."
"Oh." The word fell from my lips blankly though it was clear to her that I still had no idea hat she was going on about. My new state of being? Was this reincarnation or something? Bleeding Harry Potter couldn't even die correctly. Wonderful.
Ginevra just gave me that same kind smile from before. It reminded me of the way that Tessa looked at those she was going to Reap. Reassuring and sweet. Heartfelt. My stomach clenched in agony all of the sudden, grief cascading over me like a cold shower. Would I ever see her again? If I was reincarnated into something else, if I was changing into a "new state" or whatever, I wouldn't be the same Harry she had known. Would she recognize my soul? Would I even remember her when this was over? The thought of never seeing her again, that sweet woman who had raised me, tore at my insides like losing my mother never could have. Never see Tessa again...To never see Death again?
What was life, what was death, without them? Without him? I didn't want that. I would rather die again than have to live without them. Would I even know that they weren't in my life when I woke back up? Would I even be aware of their absence? Yes, I told myself, I would be aware that something was missing, something important no matter what.
"You helped me when I died, Harry. You were kind to me when I was broken. You held me and comforted me when I had to watch my mother grieve over my body. Your mother too." Her words gave my frantic, morbid thoughts pause. I hadn't thought about Lily Potter in many years now. I had put her away with the broken fragments of my past, just a relic of a time that I would rather forget. I held no animosity for the Potters any longer. I hadn't in a long time, but they were nothing more than ghosts to me now and the dead had no business in the lives of the living. I had put them away like a person puts away a child's old toys once they outgrow them. To be taken out only for the memory and nostalgia's sake and never too often "They never had that baby, you know. There never was another after you. After you disappeared and were declared dead, they realized at last what it was that they had lost and never could bring themselves to replace you. They still keep your room as it was. The dollhouse you loved is still there. James frequently passes his time in front of it, keeping it up and caring for it."
I didn't need subtitles to explain what she was saying between the lines. It was as if he thought that by caring and loving for my cherished dollhouse, he was caring and loving for the son he had let down. Me. It was almost a shame really. That they had withheld their love for all of this time. I wondered if I was reincarnated, if somehow, I could ask to be reincarnated into a child for them. No one should withhold their love. Love unshared withers and ferments and rots and so corrupts the lover in turn. No matter what had happened in my youth, that wasn't a fate I wanted for them.
The scenery around us began to shift and change tiny but by tiny bit. At first it was barely even noticeable. The fog thickening just so, the stones darkening little by little, and the shadows swelling like the tide. It was a dramatic alteration by the time I noticed, Ginevra successfully distracting me from our surroundings. Maybe this is what she meant by helping me? By acting as a distraction so that I wouldn't fear the coming darkness?
"What is this...?" The frightened gasp left my lips as a trembling thing, fluttering and uncertain in the wind. Her smile did not shift an inch.
"This is Destiny." The blackness was creeping forward hungrily as if to devour me whole. The shade was all around and quickly, I realized that there was nowhere to run anymore. Destiny was as inescapable a thing as Time, "It's time, Harry. If we meet again, it will be on the other side."
I was swallowed by the darkness, the breath of cold death on the back of my neck.
"Your first kiss is destiny knocking."―Alice Sebold,The Lovely Bones
The Reapers were all lined up outside of our home as I carried our Master's body inside. Every single one had turned out for the momentous occasion. He was limp in my arms, blood soaking my sleeves through from where it had pooled beneath him as he died. The Scythe had yet to be removed and wouldn't be until the right moment. It was perhaps a silly, sentimental thing but somehow, I knew that it would please him to see all of our ilk here later. There was no telling how long the process would take, though. It was best to just get him laid out and wait.
This would be his Wake.
The loss of our connection hurt me in ways that I couldn't even begin to explore. A cut so deep that, as I laid him out for viewing in our bed, my hands trembled. I sat in the raised armchair at his side as each Reaper came by one by one to lay a hand on his chest. To give him a little piece of each of them in order to swear fealty to their Master's Master. With each touch against Harry's chest, there was a faint, white glow that issued from the connection. Almost like a shadow of the illumination that issued from a soul. Each one seemed to be cautious of the Scythe, grimacing as they reached to touch him without jostling the foreign object. Tessa was the last Reaper to come and she lingered in the doorway, tears still swimming in her dark orbs. Harry's blood was still covering her, a few errant drops drying on the side of her face. She stepped out silently at last and I returned to observing my still, cold lover.
Exactly six hours after Harry had first fallen, I felt our connection snap back into place with a force that rocked me backwards in my silent vigil. The bond slammed back into my mind so violently that if I had been on my feet, I would surely have found myself on the floor in no time. A moment later, beloved eyes jerked open but their usual emerald sheen was absent. In it's place was the soul-gripping, endless darkness of my own power. A pale hand rose, shaking, to grip the handle of the blade embedded in his abdomen. It was pulled free with a sick sucking sound that dragged a wince out of even me. Before our eyes, the wound sealed itself and the transition, the change, was completed. Harry's humanity had been put away and in its place my own existence had filtered in to fill the space left behind. We would no longer be parted ever again. Harry was just as much a part of me as I was a part of him. We were one in two, a single being separated once but no longer. Black eyes looked over at me, a spark of recognition igniting within them as he recognized a piece of himself, as he recognized me as his eternal lover.
"Master." I pressed the thought into his mind, sending it flowing between the two of us like an unobstructed stream of crystal clear water.
"Death." His voice across the bond was feeble and weak, unused to using such a means of communication so easily after his resurrection. The loss of our bond no longer tore up my insides, the grief was no longer my companion. Harry had returned to me for the last time. He was never leaving my sight again. He reached out to me for reassurance like a newborn foal seeking out its mother, uncertain and frightened in his brand new, altered state. Our hands met and, as one, we shivered at the intensity. It would be some time before he was ready to go out Reaping again. He would need to acclimate to the new sensations and powers rushing through him but we would handle it together. We were together again and that was all that mattered. That and stopping two moronic hunters from destroying the earth, Heaven and Hell all in one fell swoop. Bloody Winchesters.