Harry smiles sadly. "I am the Master of Death, Tom."

He shakes his head. "Yes, but what does that mean?"

It means that there is no part of time and space that is out of her grasp; it means she can bend the fabric of reality itself and wander her way into dimensions other than her own; it means that one day she will die, but it will not be a true death.

I should be writing the actual story. I know. I'm sorry! I've been having an awful, awful writers block this whole semester, mostly because I've been digitally painting concept art and when I paint and draw I can't use the writing portion of my brain, vice versa. Anyway yeah, I was reading Tsume Yuki's fineshine (if you haven't read it already, you should ;) and ended up with inspiration to write an AU in my own AU. Anyway, sorry this is all I can give you guys for now, love you all! You won't have to wait too much longer!



begin again

Harry is not home when he arrives. She is out with that irritating little boy—shopping, or the like. They go off together quite frequently.

Gellert is no great fan of the mangy brat, although to be fair most of his dislike extends from Tom's dislike of him. That and he knows that Tom will always come before him in Harry's eyes. The girl adores the boy for some unfathomable reason and though he knows it's absurd he cannot help the rash of jealousy that swiftly crosses his thoughts. He is not about to be bested by a twelve year old boy. How can he? Tom may be an exceptional student for his age, a genius in the dark arts and clearly on his path to becoming someone extraordinary, but he is still just a boy. And Gellert is the most feared and powerful Dark Lord to ever exist.

This irrational feeling is only intensified by the insecurity he already feels when it comes to Harry. He has never been insecure before; it is bewildering and awful.

But Harry is so vastly different than anyone else he's ever met. It's no surprise that, if there was anything or anyone who could make him doubt himself, it would be Harry. (And not even Albus quite managed that)

He has been pursuing a relationship with her for some time now, and while he believes his advances are welcomed it is impossible to tell if he's made any progress at all. No, that may not be entirely true. He is sitting in her house, for one; that in and of itself is progress. He maintains a regular correspondence with her in which he manages to get absolutely nothing out of her, ever, even if she's written him back two pages. She smiles at him, sometimes, in what he knows is a genuine way; she knows far more about him and his dealings (and a lot of things) than she lets on but still she has yet to kick him out of her life. She has a thousand secrets he hasn't managed to pry out of her… and here he had thought he was the greatest manipulator to ever live. He doubted even a cruciatus from the Elder Wand would make her talk, and the even idea of it made him feel very… odd. There was nothing he relished more than the Dark Arts, but for some reason the thought of using any of that on Harry left a very sour taste in his mouth. Not that the Elder Wand seemed to have any effect on her.

At any rate, she is not here, and neither is the boy.

Their fat and lazy snake is spread out in a heap in the living room; that had definitely taken him by surprise. Parselmouths. Now that was fascinating. The both of them could talk to snakes, yet Harry sincerely swore they were not related. He had his suspicions about Harry taking care of the boy. A young woman with a small child—it was not unreasonable to assume they were mother and child. But Harry was a bit too young and though there was something uncannily alike to the two of them in features they didn't have much in common.

Gellert stands then, checking his pocket watch. It has only been ten minutes. Still, she is not here, and it occurs to him that this is a perfect opportunity to do some casual snooping about. Nothing overtly searching, but a person's dwelling can often unintentionally say a lot about the person in very small ways.

The furniture is… the only word he can think to describe it is clean. It is not the Art Deco style swooping the world with its gaudy patterns and bright eclectic styles and motifs. It is not Art Nouveau either, organic and flowing but equally as decorative. It was as if someone had swept up the timeless Neoclassical style, stripped it of every ounce of color and complex form, and returned it as a minimal structure of only necessity, while still retaining the refined characteristic beauty it was known for. A lot like the girl herself, actually. He'd never seen anything quite like it.

He moved out of the sitting room, wandering deeper into the house. The snake hissed at him warningly, but he ignored it.

There were a few magical photos framed on the wall; a photo of a much younger Harry and a girl with bushy hair; Harry and a clan of other redheads; Harry and Tom—quite a bit of Harry and Tom, he noted, with a twinge of annoyance. There was also what he assumed was a handmade Christmas card framed beside all the photos. He had to begrudgingly admit the charm work required to keep an everlasting depiction of snowfall, and little figures skating about the bottom of the paper was quite intense for a boy of his age.

He passes the walls, moving into a larger space with an open kitchen; behind it sat a round glass table, and behind the table was a floor to ceiling sliding door to what he assumed to be the backyard. On the opposite side of the large space lay the living room, complete with a fireplace (this one for actual fire) and a scowling fat snake. He didn't dare attempt to take his examination upstairs; he did not know how much snakes had in the way of intelligence, but he didn't want to risk the thing relaying his actions back to Harry. Instead he traveled further towards the back, taking note of how clean everything was, even though Harry had expressed her distaste in house elves before.

"Oh, Gellert! Sorry—were you waiting long?" A poof erupts from the fireplace by the door, and Harry is gracefully stepping her way out of the flames, dusting off the skirt of her dress.

"No," he says, casually, moving away from the living room as if he hadn't just been inspecting the coffee table books.

She looks as effortlessly beautiful as always. He made it a priority to ignore the little boy, scowling at him. He tugs on Harry's sleeve, and Harry immediately draws her attention away from him and back to the boy; it is his turn to scowl. They speak quietly for a moment—a look of… something flashes over Harry's eyes, before she smiles slightly. The boy turns around without any acknowledgment of him, opening the front door and darting out, no doubt to play with his friends, or sulk outside for a bit.

Harry straightens up, turning her smile to him. It looks a bit tired and strained.

"He's…" She trails off.

"Running away from me?" Gellert raises a brow.

"I was going to say, 'doing me a favor and buying the groceries'," she gives him a flat look, before her expression falls in a mixture of both exasperation and defeat. "But yes, I'm sure that was a part of it too."

"I wish the two of you would get along," Harry sighs. "Why don't you guys… I don't know. Go outside and resurrect dead things in the yard. Or read books."

Gellert spares her an amused glance. "I'm afraid I don't have much in common with adolescent boys, Harry." He points out, dryly.

"I think you have far more in common then you think you have." Harry says, with burning, endless eyes.

"Well I wouldn't really have the opportunity to test the theory, what with him always running off."

Harry concedes his point with an unhappy expression. She frowns at him. "At least try to be nice, alright?"

He feigns an affronted look. "When have I ever been anything but the perfect gentleman?"

Actually, he was being serious in this. He'd never so much as looked at the boy funny; Tom just inherently didn't like him, and it was obvious why. He was a threat, of course. Up until now Tom had every ounce of Harry's attention and affections, and it was clear he did not intend to share that with anyone.

What was entirely laughable about this whole ordeal was that Gellert was unsure if he even had Harry's affection at all. She enjoyed his company a great deal, and they never had much trouble holding riveting conversation, or sitting in amicable silence. He didn't think he could get any more obvious with his intentions, so either Harry was purposely ignoring them, or obliviously ignoring them—and she was far too sharp for the latter, so it must be the former. It was becoming clear that she was never going to address the issue.

Which meant he might have to push the envelope a little further.

Harry simply shakes her head, moving towards the mirror to wind a hand through her hair—a work of perfection Harry complained had to be wrangled out of it every morning like it was some kind of epic battle out of Greek mythology. Harry could be a Siren, he supposed. She was enticing, mysterious, and dangerous enough to be one.

She eyes herself critically for another moment. "Where are we going, again? Should I wear something else?"

"You look lovely." He replies, but then, Harry could look lovely in a burlap sack. He moves through the kitchen and down the few steps into the sitting room, making for the floo. "Are you ready?"

"Yes—and you didn't answer my question." It was always impossible to get anything past her.

"It can't be a surprise?"

"I don't like surprises." She reminded him, flatly.

"Ah. Well, we're going to Paris, if you must now."

"Paris?" Harry says with surprise. "Why Paris?"

"Why not Paris? The city of fashion and food—what better place could there be?" And love, he does not say, fingering a jewelry box in his pocket. To be fair, he doesn't expect to get very far with it. But maybe one of these days she'll actually take him up on his offer.

Harry smiles. "Well, when you put it like that…" She grabs a handful of floo powder. "Still, Paris… Merlin knows what this trip is going to do to my hair."

"I assure you, it will look perfectly fine." He barks out a laugh. "After you, my dear."