Hi! :D New chapter. Hope you all like it :) The POV skips around a bit, however that's just to set the scene. Won't happen much more ;) In any case, don't expect an update for another week or so. I have uni presentations due -_-
The first time Harry Potter met the Grimm Reaper, he was five years old and trapped in the tiny cupboard under the stairs. Not that he knew what the Reaper was, of course. In fact, Harry simply assumed that the Reaper was his imaginary friend, and named him Thelassala.
Looking back when he was older, Harry was incredibly embarrassed about the made up name, but that was beside the point.
When the Reaper first appeared, she took the form of a kitten. Wispy black fur, as soft as the down from a newly hatched chicken, seemed to crackle and shimmer in the light, almost as if the cat was made of smoke that was continuously blending into the air around it.
Little Harry liked cats. Although not entirely fond of Mrs. Figg's (she owned slightly too many, so they tended to be more feral than friendly), he held a great fondness for all of the feline species. His favourite was a medium-sized tabby cat, which had claimed the corner of Privet Drive as her own, and often visited him when he was working in the front yard.
It was because of his fondness of cats, that the Reaper introduced himself in the form of one. Although young Harry was quite curious as to how the strange creature got into his cupboard, he instantly accepted the strange creature, despite its very unnatural, supernatural-looking fur (which was about as Un-Dursleyish as could be) and bright, glowing, blue eyes.
Over the course of two years, "Thelassala" visited Harry often. And not always in the same form.
Although forced, by his relatives, to get worse marks than Dudley, Harry was actually quite a smart child. When he noticed the wispy, black feathers of a crow with glowing blue eyes, he knew instantly that it was his friend. And when he spotted the massive, wolfish dog with gleaming teeth that followed him through the shadows of the bush in the park as he walked home from school, he knew that this was his friend also, and that "Thelassala" was looking out for him.
But Magic did not exist.
This was something that the Dursleys had drilled into him from the very start. And when he had tried to introduce them to his new friend, his Aunt and Uncle had shouted themselves hoarse and then locked him in his cupboard.
It was then that Harry realised that nobody else could see his friend; therefore his friend did not exist.
But that was ok; Harry had no friends anyway, so an imaginary friend was better than no friends, and this was a friend he could keep all to himself.
Harry never mentioned his imaginary friend again, but that was not the end of their story together.
When Harry was eight years old, Uncle Vernon lost his job.
In truth, Vernon had been abusing the other employees with his atrocious attitude and temper, had been neglecting his paperwork and had been ordering others around without having any authority to. This had him on the warning list for a while. What set it off, however, was when he had sexually abused once of the secretaries. It was not an offense serious enough to have him sent to gaol, but it had been the last straw for the company.
Of course, none of it was Vernon's fault. He had been enchanted by magic, and so had all the other employees, who had been cursed to turn against him. Or that was what he told himself, in any case.
So he took it out on eight-year-old Harry Potter.
Harry would never forget that night, even hundreds of years later.
The looming, quivering bulk of his uncle, towering above him.
The bottle of whiskey, smashed against the kitchen cabinet.
The stink of alcohol, sharp and bitter, on his uncle's heavy breath.
The roar of wild, feral anger as his uncles meaty fists pounded upon his frail body.
So much pain.
'Meet me by the swings, child. We shall run together. We shall fly away. Do not fear; I will take you away from this place.'
A soft, feminine voice whispered hands brushing over his aching body.
The pain dulled slightly.
That night was the last time Harry ever saw the Dursleys. He dragged his aching, bruised and bloody body out the door, mind whirling. He did not even consider taking any supplies, such as food or blankets (not that he owned any, in any case). Barefoot, dressed only in the bloodied rags that had once been his cousins' many-sizes-too-big clothing, his stepped into the icy street, eyes raised to the dark, midnight sky, from which a few small snowflakes fell.
A freezing wind tugged at his hair, chilling him to the bone.
It was time to leave.
He limped towards the park, toes grazing the gravel as he shuffled along, the sharp pains on his feet from glass and rock not even registering in his mind compared to the pain in his chest and arm.
He was scared, but he trusted his friend.
And she did not disappoint him.
A wolf awaited him at the park, her glowing blue eyes solemn. Her whispy black fur bled into the darkness around them, her outline just visible in the light from the street lamp.
"It hurts!" Harry whispered, lurching forwards to wrap his arms around her. The wolf whined in distress.
'I know, child. But you will heal. Now let us leave.' She whispered into his mind. Harry nodded.
The wolf led on into the trees. Harry did not let go of her fur, so soft it was almost air, and found himself the patters it made as it shimmered and smoked, blending with the green fog around them.
Deeper into the trees they walked, and Harry could have sworn that the small bush area in the park should have ended by now.
"Where are we going?" he murmured quietly, still leaning heavily upon her.
'To the wilds. But not of this realm.'
Though he did not understand her words, he trusted her.
And so Harry Potter disappeared through space and time, and would not reappear until he was eleven years old.
"Steady… no, for the fourth time, don't bend your wrist like that! Now aim. No, AIM! Just because you're looking at the target it doesn't mean your spear is pointing in the right direction… yes. That's better. Now try."
The spear did not hit the intended ground turkey, but it came close, missing by a finger-width, causing the bird to cackle wildly and dart into the undergrowth, out of sight.
"Ugh. I missed." The boy said softly, shoulders drooping. Mortis smiled.
"Yes, but only just. It takes a lot of practise, and this spear is heavier than what you're used to… and trust me, when I say, that you're already a better aim than half of the Kiya villagers at Teryuo, who couldn't hit the backside of a mammoth if it were about to sit on them."
Harry laughed softly, picking up the spear from the dirt and stepping around a few tangled vines. The eleven-summer-old boy grinned up at her. He had grown incredibly in the two summers, the top of his head reaching Mortis's chest.
"Can we go down to the river? I feel like fish!" He grinned. Mortis snorted.
"Fine. But I can't guarantee that you'll catch anything. And I'm not catching anything for you."
Three summers. It had been three summers since she had taken the boy away from his relatives.
And it had been difficult. As a human child, Harry was not adept for surviving in the forests of other worlds, and was too young to fend for himself in even the slightest ways. Numerous times, she had turned away for a mere second to find the boy caught between the jaws of a predator, hanging upside down from a tree or being dragged around through the dirt by and elk or forest bison he had attempted to catch.
It was perhaps the most difficult job the Reaper had taken on. But the most worth it. Even if she had to take the form of a humanoid to teach him. It was very time consuming. But she had plenty of time, anyway. Unlike what the mortals generally thought of her, Mortis did not, in fact, go around picking and killing those who had reached their allotted time. No; her job was to keep the balance.
That meant that it was her job to make sure any rogue souls were put to sleep, and any who skipped or cheated death would meet their deserved end. And stopping any potential zombie apocalypses. That was her job too.
She could not bring back the dead, either, though she, herself, seemed to keep coming back to life whenever she died. Harry, on the other hand, was mortal; and therefore was very vulnerable.
Mortis taught him how to survive; however he was still a child. He did not have the strength to fight off long-tooth cats, wolves or serpents. And she worried for him; humans had no place in the wild planets, lost deep within the galaxy; but this was the best place for him. He had potential. And that was something that high, evil beings desired.
Taking a breath, she picked a small path, marked by a thin line of dirt visible amongst the grass and undergrowth, a slight gap in the tangle of vines and branches overhead. Her eyes snapped to the left, locking onto the beady, purple eyes of a nectar-feeding reptile, no bigger than her hand, which was perched amongst some leaves, staring at her.
Huffing slightly, she pushed her way through some overgrown branches, grimacing as a few spindly sticks became snagged in her furs. She held them out of the way for a moment, allowing Harry to pass through.
"Yeah, kid?" She answered, slapping idly at a blood-drinking insect that buzzed around her arm.
"Winter must be coming soon… when will we start heading south?"
"When the first winter winds begin blowing. There's no point moving to early; there's still good hunting around here. Why?"
"Just wandering." He shrugged, tucking a loose strand of hair behind his ear. Mortis eyed it with distaste. Harry' hair, like her own, was long, sitting a human-hand's width below his collar, and tied back in a braid. A few loose stands, however, continued to come loose, forever getting into his eyes. It seemed the messy birds nest won out, not matter how long he grew it.
"You're not pining over that girl from the Teryuo tribe again, are you?" She snorted. On one of the paths travelling south the previous winter, they had stumbled across a rather large tribe of alien humanoids, camped at the base of the foothills. Deciding that Harry could use the interaction with a similar species, they had stayed there for a few days. Despite the difference in skin colour (the Kiya, unlike his fleshy pink, had strange purple skin), he had fit right in. Harry raised an eyebrow, a habit he had obviously picked up from Mortis herself.
"Which one?" He smirked.
Mortis paused, raising an eyebrow in return.
"Well, yeah; but if I get them to like me now, they'll like me even more when I'm old enough to pick a mate, and I'll have a lot more to choose from!"
"Oh, for the love of – ugh… never mind." Mortis snorted, shaking her head.
Stepping around a patch of thorns, her lips curled in annoyance as a branch snagged her hair. Harry, who was short enough to avoid most of the tugging branches, snickered lightly, pausing for a moment, his face turning innocent with a slight pout.
"Mortis?" He murmured softly. Her eyes narrowed.
"My feet hurt… can you carry me?"
"No. Your feet don't actually hurt; you just can't be bothered walking. You wanted to go to the river, so you can walk there yourself!"
Harry face turned mischievous once again.
"Yeah, well; it was worth a shot!"
Harry was rather fond of her different forms, and often tried to persuade her into shifting into something large and dangerous. Mortis preferred to avoid that as much as possible.
Slapping a few more branches out of her way, she lead on, hoping Harry could retain his attention span until they arrived. It is a foolish hope.
"Why haven't you taken a mate?"
"Because I haven't met anyone who'll put up with me for longer than a few minutes, and those that do are either already bonded, the wrong species or not interested."
"What does the species matter? You can become anything you want!"
"No I can't. And I don't want to… it's awkward. I am not a creature born for love. I'm a Reaper. I keep the balance, nothing more."
Silence. Mortis almost sighed in relief, however she knew it was only momentary.
"Will I ever be able to shift?"
"Have you ever met a Bilgesnipe?"
"Twice. One was dead. The other was angry and I never want to cross paths with again."
"How much longer to the river?"
"At least an hour's walk."
"Have you ever met a dragon?"
"Yes. It was blind. And purple… and it had a weird mouth."
"Did it try to eat you?"
"No." Mortis had found, over time, that Harry would not relent with his questioning, whether one gave a detailed answer or not. So it was best to just answer shortly and sharply, until he ran out of things to enquire about.
"How far south do the areks fly?"
"I have no idea."
"Have you ever met a rocea?"
"I'm alive, aren't I?"
"... What about an Elf from Alfheim? They're good at magic. Why can't you take one of them as a mate?"
"Why are we back on this subject again? I'm not interested. You'll understand when you're older."
Harry always hated it when she said that, and Mortis hated saying it; however, no matter how much she thought over it, she could not figure out how to explain the mating call to the boy, and why she did not have it.
As the sound of the river finally reached her ears, Mortis all but pushed the boy out towards the water, shoving her spear into his hands. Harry let out a whoop of excitement, finding an overhanging log to perch on as his eyes scanned the water for fish, feet resting in a bed of green moss.
Glad for the sudden silence, Mortis sighed in relief, resting her back against a tree trunk as her eyes scanned the area, checking for danger. A few small animals darted about through the longer grasses, but there seemed to be no predators around. There was a strange scent, however, that had her frowning.
"Harry! I'm going for a quick scout of the area! Be careful; if any predators find you, call for me, or jump in the river or something."
"I'll be fine."
"Don't go wandering aimlessly!" She warned, before shifting into her familiar form of a large wolf, disappearing into the trees.
Harry held his hand steady, green eyes narrowed in focus. A few medium-sized fish travelled upstream, silver scales shimmering in the icy water. He was actually doing surprisingly well; he already had eight large fish tied to his belt. It was breeding season for the fish, and because of this, they were all swimming hurriedly upstream, allowing for a good hunting opportunity.
Perched on his log, Harry did not notice the other beings nearby until they were less than twenty meters away.
He froze, spear gripped tightly in hand, eyes wide.
Just downriver, standing on the pebbled banks, were a group of six humanoids, refilling their waterskins.
And they were huge; easily taller than Mortis. Even the only female of the group was at least half a head taller than his friend. With the exception of one lanky, black-haired male, all were heavily muscled. They were dressed in metal and leather armour, capes of bright colour draped behind them.
Swallowing heavily, Harry dared not to move. They had not noticed him yet, however all would have perfect view of him, should they turn to the left. Hoping if he stayed perfectly still he would remain invisible, Harry eyed each of them in turn, trying to figure out where they had come from. Not this planet; the only humanoids here were the Kiya. And their purple skin was a dead giveaway.
And these beings were certainly not purple. In fact… they were the same colour as him!
The first, and obviously the leader, was big, blonde and boisterous, with a voice that boomed like thunder. His cape was red, and in his hand, he held a nasty-looking hammer.
The second, the lanky, black-haired male, was dressed in far lighter armour, his cloak emerald green, just a few shades darker than Harry's eyes.
The third, the female, with her dark hair and scowl, looked even scarier than the first.
The final three made Harry even more nervous. They were three men, wrestling amongst themselves. One had a rather massive girth.
"I told you we shouldn't have listened to that old geezer! But when does anyone listen to Loki? And now look! We're so deep in the galaxy I doubt even Heimdall can find us! And, to top it all off, we've lost Father's favourite shield!"
"SHUT UP, LOKI!" The enormous blonde boomed at the lanky green-armoured man.
"Both of you; stop arguing!" The woman barked. "We need to set up camp for the night, before it gets dark! Who knows what strange beasts are out there… Volstagg! Stop eating the rations! Who knows how long we're going to be trapped on this overgrown mess of a planet!"
A scuffle suddenly broke out between between two of the men. Red-cape and Green-cape started yelling as well, trying to pull them apart. Harry took that as his cue to move.
Moving incredibly slowly, he started moving back towards the bank, crouched low. By then, all of the men were throwing punches at each other, the Green-cloak and the woman trying their best to pull them apart.
The lanky man with the green cloak ended up on his back in the river. Fortunately for him, it was not deep, however it was still freezing. He leapt up, cursing, causing the others to back off slightly.
"BROTHER! Are you alright?" The giant, red-cloaked blonde yelped, rushing over.
"I'm fine, Thor!"
Harry had almost reached the trees when the female's eyes locked onto him.
"HEY!" She barked, pulling out her sword.