Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, any of its affiliated works nor anything else that is recognizable/copyrighted/trademarked. This is a free work and I get no payment but joy from this.
A/N: This is a small deleted scene from the story The God of Death, chapter 35, in which Harry meets the real Death while being kept in a magical sleep after suffering serious injury in a battle.
I wrote this as a scene in chapter 35 of The God of Death, 'The Breaking of Hermione Granger' as the very first scene, but I decided to cut it as it didn't fit the overall tone and style of the story and I wanted a purely Hermione-centered chapter. I decided though that I really liked the scene and made a few edits so that it could stand on its own to be enjoyed. I may make more of these little types of things in the future and the character The Man, AKA Death, may make an appearance in later stories if he is received well enough.
Note: I picture this version of Death as being portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen as he appeared in the Hannibal television show.
God on God: A Tale from The God of Death
"Hello, Mr. Potter. Please, have a seat."
Harry opened his eyes and found himself standing in what could only be described as an office. It was wide and open and took the idea of cleanliness to a whole new level. However, the setting seemed to change from time to time, color tones shifting slowly from warm to cold before his very eyes, and then entire pieces disappeared or appeared in the blink of an eye. One minute he was standing on a deep burgundy carpet atop stained wood flooring and the next he's standing on the whitest floor he had ever seen; it was almost like he was in an infinite space that could molded and shaped as its master saw fit. The one thing that never changed, however, was the man sitting behind the ornate wooden desk.
He was handsome in a non-traditional sort of way and groomed impeccably. His hair was a rich mahogany, his skin pale as if he had not seen the sun in years and his eyes were a dull, lifeless shade of brown that gave Harry the impression that there was no true feeling at all within this man. It was like looking into the eyes of a shark – dead and empty – you just knew that there was no soul behind those eyes. No compassion. No remorse. No love. No hate. It just was. No discernible eyebrows added to the almost inhuman appearance of the man and his mouth was a bit wider than was normal and seemed to be permanently expressionless.
He was dressed in a grey-blue pinstripe suit with matching waistcoat, a royal blue shirt with a steel-grey tie. When the room had become a endless white void, the suit had shifted into various shades of black and deep greys.
He was sat behind his desk, leaned back slightly, one leg crossed over the other in a position that was both relaxed and poised. His right elbow was propped on the arm of the chair and the fingers of that hand were rubbing idly against each other. Had it been a normal person, this would have been the equivalent of twiddling his thumbs. It was a habit brought about by habitual boredom.
All in all, Harry was both not impressed with this man, and yet absolutely enraptured.
The setting shifted again and Harry once again found himself once again in the office-like room, the mantle behind the desk decorated with several horns from various types of animals, most notable being those of a goat and a bull and the man's suit was blue once again; the carpet had become a muted steel color.
"Where am I?" Harry asked. The last thing he remembered was laying bleeding among the leaves in that clearing, Hermione standing over him, begging him to stay awake and not let the darkness take him. He had lost that battle.
"You are here," the man answered simply.
Harry met that lifeless gaze and felt a chill run through him. "And where is here?"
The man's mouth lifted into a smile, but the rest of him did not follow its example, giving Harry the impression that it didn't know how. "Here is everywhere, and nowhere."
If it weren't for the lack of any real expression on his face, Harry would have thought the man was having a laugh; and maybe he was but his body just didn't know how to show it.
"It is a paradox of cosmic proportions," the man agreed, seeing Harry's raised brow. "In this space I exist and yet do not exist, both inside and outside of time, within the universe yet not a part of it, everywhere and nowhere all at once. But I am always here." As he spoke, the room around them vanished and Harry found himself standing in an endless void, the cold empty darkness pressing in on all sides before suddenly filling as the room snapped back into it's previous form.
Harry's head hurt just trying to rationalize that. How could any of that even make sense? Maybe it was like the riddle he had answered his first night at Hogwarts to get into the Ravenclaw Tower. Take it piece by piece.
I exist and yet do not exist...
So it was real, but not living, Harry decided. That was the only thing that made sense with that bit of paradoxical nonsense. He had the odd thought that Luna would have loved meeting this man. They were both odd enough.
...Both inside and outside of time...
So it was something that happened in time and yet was not a slave to it and did not follow the rules of it. How was that even possible. Wait, it was something that happened in time, and combined with the previous line it still existed no matter how time changed or moved.
...within the Universe yet not a part of it...
This one was difficult. As with the last bit, he had to take it into account with the first line again. It was in the Universe, but not physically a part of it. So, it was something that was real and existed and yet was not inherently physical.
...everywhere and nowhere...but always here.
Harry smiled. It all made sense now. "You're Death," he told the man.
The man had been watching Harry with something that might have been amusement, if he had been capable of feeling it. Now, he was back to normal. "Indeed, that is one of the many names I have been given over the years." He stood and walked from around the desk. "I am God, I am the Devil; I am Yahweh, I am Yama. I am Nergal, I am Donn, I am Lucifer. I am Dis Pater, I am Hades, Osiris, Odin. I am all of these and none of these. I am and am not the single greatest force in the Universe. I was there at the beginning and I shall be here at the end. I am Death."
Harry nodded as the man came to a stop in front of him. "You seem to like contradictions," he noted.
The man smiled that unnatural smile again. "Life and Death are full of contradictions, Mr. Potter. Such as you being here, and yet not here." He gestured to a chair in front of the desk. "Please, sit."
Harry relented and took the seat while the man went back behind his desk. "So, I'm dead then." It was a statement rather than a question as he had meant it to be.
"No, Mr. Potter, you are not." He retook his own seat and pulled himself up so that he was sitting properly at the desk.
"How am I here then?"
The man looked up with that smile again. "How indeed, Mr. Potter? If you are not dead then how are you here in my realm?" The smile grew and Harry again felt that chill. "Contradiction. Paradox." He leaned back in his chair again. "The simple answer is that you are not here, Mr. Potter."
Harry frowned. "So I'm dreaming or something?"
The man shrugged. "If that is how you wish to rationalize it, then by all means do so."
"That wasn't really an answer," Harry pointed out.
"And yet it is the one I have given," Death replied.
The two men held silent staring contest for a long moment before Harry finally had to tear his eyes away from the those vacant orbs the man had for eyes.
"So if I'm dreaming, then none of this is real," Harry decided.
The man held that amused non-expression. "Are dreams not real, Mr. Potter? They exist in your mind, and your mind creates your reality, does that not make them real?"
Harry smirked. "They exist and yet do not exist."
The man nodded. "Such is life, and death. To be completely honest with you, Mr. Potter, I am not sure why you are here either. Admittedly you would have ended up here sooner or later, with the latter being the more likely, I think; though given how many you have sent through here I do not believe that it comes as a surprise to me that you are here. You and I have an understanding, a connection. A mutual respect. You give my gift to those who have earned it, whether that be from their crimes or from their good deeds. All men die, both good and evil, I make no distinction. Death is the only true constant in the Universe, as such I am alive in all things."
Harry had a feeling that if it were possible, he would have a headache from all of the contradicting yet paradoxically correct things this man said. "Well, it's good to see that I can be of service. However, if I am not dead, does that mean I can leave?"
The man looked over Harry's shoulder, gazing into the distance. "Yes, I do believe that is the way things shall go. I have watched you closely, Mr. Potter. Since the age of five, you have been on my radar. You did Walburga Black a kindness in ending her life. She passed through my gates the better for it. Her dignity at the end was a saving grace. Since that day you have delivered my gift to near one-hundred souls. I think we shall see a dramatic fall and then rise in those numbers in the near future."
"You sound almost disappointed," Harry observed, smiling.
The man did not smile. "Almost," he agreed. "Suffice it to say that even if you were dead when you came through that door I would not be keeping you here. You have a job to do. The Devil is due a soul, and that soul is long overdue. You will deliver him to me."
Harry nodded, understanding. "Voldemort."
"Tom Marvolo Riddle, Jr. He has created something that defies the very fabric of the Universe and makes a mockery of me and my domain. And he is not the only one, but he is the prime offender." He, for the first time, seemed to show a flicker of emotion in those hollow eyes. Anger. "I want that soul, Mr. Potter. Your Lord Voldemort is marked for Death and you will deliver him unto me. As for the other...time will tell."
Harry didn't like being told what to do. He had been a puppet for far too long, but this was something he was going to do anyway, so he had no problem agreeing. "All right." He stood up and started walking toward a door that had appeared out of nothing.
"You and I, we will meet again, Mr. Potter. After all, nothing lives forever. Not even gods."
A/N: All right. That is that. Let me know what you think.