To Hell and Back
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, he and all the characters of said books belong to J.K. Rowling, and the characters Melosa and Raul Perreira, belong to Vertigo Comics. The starting quotation, and some of the dialogue in the slaughterhouse is from John Constantine Hellblazer: All His Engines.
This is a One-Shot, by the way.
-----------------------------------------------------------The City of Los Angeles. Current Population 3.7 Million. 47 percent Hispanic, at least on paper. The Aztecs never got this far up the coast. But the Spanish empire that smashed them did the same job that water does on a burning chip pan. It spread the religion of Tenochtitlan through the whole of California, along with a million and a half displaced people.
First you absorb what you've conquered, and then you turn into it.
I sighed and continued to stare, well, more like glare, out the window of my 747 as it touched down into Los Angeles, California. I had never really flown before, but decided that I was in no hurry to do it again. I must have used a dozen or so "barf bags" as these Americans call them, throughout the entirety of the flight.
I was suddenly grateful that Uncle Vernon never took me on any vacations.
The trip had been exhausting, despite all the things that had been on my mind, I still had time to be bored. It was, frankly, a new experience for me.
Once again, one I care not to repeat.
I was shaken from my glaring by the annoying Bing of the fasten seat-belt sign, and the muffled voice of the captain wishing us a pleasant stay in Los Angeles.
I grab the small bag that contained my belongings and waited for the people in front of me to start moving. I wished I could just Apparate out of this bloody machine, but not only were there far too many Muggles around, but I probably wasn't in any condition to, after the constant motion sickness I had.
How odd, I mused, that I can do back flips and barrel rolls in the air on my broom, yet I get sick flying on some giant, bloody metal bird.
The line finally started moving, so I trudged out behind some large, sweaty American Muggle (I believe they are called "Mundies" here), and followed the pathway up into the terminal.
Several Hours later, after going through hell at customs because "my passport was out of date" (damn that bastard Mundungus). I finally gave in and simply memory charmed the lady, explaining that my passport was indeed all right, and hurried out before any Aurors could arrive.
The air was hot and muggy, and the sun was blaring down as I stepped out of the airport terminal, and scanned the street for an open taxi. Finding it, I hurried towards him and slid in, shutting the door as I did so.
"Where to, kid?" the man asked, his voice heavy with a Mexican accent.
I twitched at the "kid" part, as I had long ago stopped considering myself a "kid" but pushed away that thought and said in a calm voice, " Prince Western Meat Packing plant please."
I saw the man's eyebrows rise up, and as he started the car he said, "Why you wanna go dere' man? Dat's a slaughterhouse."
I sighed, resisting the urge to roll my eyes or shake my head, and said gruffly, "I'm looking for someone, and he supposedly works there."
"Oh," was his only response.
An hour and fifteen minutes later…
I stepped out of the taxi, after shoving the man a wad of American bills, not bothering to count them. I stared up at the large red brick building; with the words Prince Western Meat Packing Co. Ltd. Above these letters was the picture of a rather happy looking cow.
What a cow could be happy about at a slaughterhouse was beyond me.
I entered calmly, trying not to draw attention to myself. That, I later conceded, was probably pointless. I was a pale, thin, boy, who looked less like my proper age of seventeen, and more like fourteen or fifteen. I had unruly black hair, and bright emerald green eyes, and wore coke bottle classes. I also had a rather strangely shaped scare, half-hidden by my bangs.
Considering just about everyone in the plant was dark skinned, and obviously Hispanic, I was almost certainly out of place, and quite noticeable.
I tried not to let that get to me.
The air was heavy, and the smell of blood and meat was almost overpowering. Every breath was like ingesting a whole lot of bad meat. By the time I reached the office near the back, I was slightly dizzy from the smell.
Just outside the office, I see two people, a man and a young woman, a little older than I, speaking heatedly. The man was white-skinned and balding, and from the way he spoke I knew he was American. The woman had an accent, but it wasn't overpowering like the cabby's was. I walked up to them, deciding they were probably the best source of information, and was just in time to hear the end of their argument.
"-Look Henry, I got fucking midterms coming up!" The girl was shouting, waving a large book in front of the man's face.
" Not on the floor, Melosa! There are rules! There are rules about what you bring in here!" The man snapped.
The woman looked like she was about to say more, but I interrupted.
"Does one of you know, um, a man named Raul Perreira?" I said, watching as both of them jumped and looked at me, not having heard me arrive. The man glanced at me shrewdly, but the woman scoffed and stalked away, saying over her shoulder:
"I should, he got most of this blood on me anyways. Follow me." I immediately took off after her, and followed her back towards the entrance, turning down another corridor, and stopping in front of a large table, where a heavyset man was butchering a large pig. The woman glared at him, before addressing me.
"This is him, you speak Spanish?" She asked. I nodded, and wordlessly applied a translation charm to myself. I spoke,
"Raul Perreira?" The man turned, lifting a large butcher's cleaver from the bloody carcass of the pig, and spoke to me, in a deep, rumbling voice.
"Yes? What do you want, kid?" I once again twitched at the "kid" part, and barely noticed that the woman was still there.
"I need an address, I need to know where I can find…He-Who-Rules-All-That-Begins-When-The-Heart-Stops." The last part was essential. I had to swallow my pride, as I couldn't say this one's name in the presence of one of his most devout disciples. That would be blasphemous.
Perreira stiffened at my query, and narrowed his eyes, lowering the cleaver to his side. He glanced at the woman, Melosa, before looking back at me.
"Are you…a follower?" He asked calmly. I knew that if I said yes, the man would likely try to test me, and I hadn't prepared for any such test, but he would likely refuse if I said I wasn't. So I went for the middle ground.
"Not exactly, but there isn't much I don't believe in anymore" He arched an eyebrow, but I continued. "I need to have an…audience with him."
Perriera once more glanced at Melosa, then back at me, his small, black eyes boring into mine.
"What makes you think you are worthy?" he asked, folding his arms across his chest, though he never broke eye contact.
I reached up and brushed my bangs out of the way, exposing my scar. Perreira's eyes widened, and he gave a slight gasp, muttering something under his breath.
" I think that is what makes me worthy, don't you?" I said coolly. He glanced at me, then set his cleaver on the table and met my eyes.
"I will show you." I smiled inwardly, and didn't hear the faint gasp of surprise from Melosa.
Two hours later, after waiting for Perreira to finish his shift, we got into his car, and drove away from the slaughterhouse. He told me it would take about half an hour to get there, so I was caught up in my thoughts, as I wondered how I had got myself into this situation.
Soon after my sixth year had ended, and Dumbledore had been killed by that bastard Snape. I returned to the Dursley's for the final time as I had promised, and spent most of the time studying up on curses and other defensive spells. Remus, Ron, Hermione and Ginny had been frequent visitors. Despite my having broken it off with Ginny, she didn't waste anytime in getting me alone with her, so we could snog each other senseless. I couldn't complain, and she simply called it practice for the real thing. Ron and Hermione helped me out with my studying, (well mostly Hermione), and Remus (and sometimes Tonks, who had returned to her old cheery self), kept me up-to-date in the Wizarding World. They provided me with any news about attacks, any sightings of Snape or Malfoy, and of what the Order was up to.
This kept me occupied all the way until my birthday on July 31. On that day, I moved out of the Dursley's for good, and though I was glad to be out of there, I could help but think I would miss the place.
I immediately went to the Burrow, and stayed until Bill and Fleur's wedding. During that time, I passed my Apparation test, and continued studying hexes and defensive magic. The day of the wedding came, and the turn out was quite unexpected. Not only were all of the teachers from Hogwarts there, but all of Ron's extended family, which was quite a large amount, and a great deal from Fleur's family as well. I met her mother and father, as well as her grandmother, a full-blooded veela. Surprisingly a number of people from Gringotts were there as well, even a few goblins.
The ceremony was not much different from the Muggle version, only instead of a priest; it was a special representative of the Ministry who conducted it. Afterwards, the reception was lots of fun, and even in the shadow of Dumbledore's death I found that I could have fun.
It was during that reception that I got the idea to come to Los Angeles.
I got the idea from one Horace Slughorn, Potions teacher and the person who told Voldemort all about the Horcruxes.
He sought me out after I had returned to my table, after a rather active dance with Tonks.
"Harry, my boy! How are you?" he asked, though it wasn't with the same enthusiasm as when he had greeted me at school. He was tired looking and very pale, with deep bags under his eyes. He probably hadn't got enough sleep.
"As well as can be expected, Professor." I had responded. He nodded, then grabbed me by the shoulder and steered me towards a rather secluded section of the tent. He then spoke, quietly, enough so that I could just hear him over the noise.
"Harry, I need to make amends, I haven't slept a wink since Albus' death. I have not forgotten that it was I who told Riddle what a Horcrux was, and I feel responsible for Albus, and for creating the monster that now plagues us." He looked away then, before speaking again.
"I can't tell you much, but I think this will be able to help you. In Los Angeles, California, the States that is, there's a man who can help you, maybe. You could probably find out more for yourself, my brain's a tad fogged. Just search for a man named Raul Perreira, he works at a slaughterhouse, Prince Western Meat Packing. Before you go, look up everything you can on the Tenochtitlan religion, and specifically the name…Mictlantecuhtli." He shuddered, as he breathed the name, not unlike when someone muttered Voldemort. He looked at me dead in the eye and said,
"Don't ask me any more than that." I was struck speechless for a second, before I composed myself and nodded.
"Thank you Professor."
After that, I spent the majority of my time looking up anything I could about that name. I discovered what it meant, and why Slughorn feared it so. I researched the religion of Tenochtitlan, and by the end of the month, just before the new term started, I new what I had to do. I didn't want Ron or Hermione to follow, so I left in the middle of the night, with nothing but a small backpack filled with the essentials. I bought a ticket to Los Angeles from Heathrow, and was on my way.
I was broken out of my thoughts as I felt the car stop. Perreira got out, and I followed suit. We were standing in front of a small, rundown cabin, probably one room. It looked older than any of the other buildings I had seen so far. I looked at Perreira and he spoke.
"In there." He said pointing. I new at once he wasn't going to join me, but I hoped that he would wait.
"Thanks," I responded. I took at deep breath and entered, the door creaked as I pushed it open, and I heard the faint scuttling of rats or roaches in the darkness. I stepped inside, shutting the door behind me, and walked into the darkness.
I could see almost nothing in the room, but decided that wasn't important. I slid out my wand, and pointed it at my hand, muttering a word of magic underneath my breath. The tip glowed purple faintly and I dragged the tip across my hand, hissing as the flesh parted, and blood began to flow. I spoke into the darkness as I did this.
"Mictlantecuhtli, God of Bones, and of the Grave Mouth and of All That Begins When the Heart Stops. I come to you as a suppliant. I spill my blood for you, as an offering. Thank you for letting me in your house, for hearing my words." When I finished, all I heard was the faint dripping of my blood onto the floor. I waited.
Had something gone wrong?
"THAT IS BUT A SMALL FAVOR, MORTAL MAN." I stiffened. The voice continued.
"SUFFERER, CHOSEN ONE, WIZARD." The voice rumbled. It was frightening, and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up as it spoke, and I began to shiver. The temperature dropped.
"WITH NO BREATH OR HEARTBEAT DINNING IN MY EARS, WITH THE NOISY TIDES OF BLOOD ALL DRIED, ALL STILLED, I HEAR EVERYTHING!"
Then it appeared.
I had faced a basilisk, numerous giant spiders, Death Eaters, Dementors and Lord Voldemort himself.
But none of that compared to the horror of what I saw now.
It stood over ten feet tall, a massive skeleton, with bones still red with blood. It wore an ornamental headdress, depicting a massive panther, ready to strike. It wore a large gold medallion around its neck, on a leather cord. On both sides of the medallion were spherical glassy balls that at first I thought were just that, glass balls.
I suddenly discovered they were not ornamental balls, but human eyeballs.
I fought the urge to vomit.
"WHAT BRINGS YOU HERE, CHOSEN ONE?" The God of Bones spoke. I shuddered again, but somehow found the courage to speak.
"I ask of you, but one favor. I will give you something you have been desiring for many years in return." I said. The monstrous skeleton roared with laughter, and spoke,
"AND WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT WHAT I WANT? IF WANTED SOMETHING SO BADLY, I COULD TAKE IT EASILY." I lowered my gaze, but spoke confidently.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle," I said. The Bone God leaned in, its mouth inches away from my face, and I could smell the creature's horrible breath, like the rotting flesh of a thousand Inferi.
"VERY WELL, I AM LISTENING, CHOSEN ONE." I nodded, feeling the slightest bit relieved. I then raised my eyes to meet the hollow sockets of the monstrous God of Bones.
" Riddle split his soul into many pieces, sealing them in different objects, Horcruxes. He is immortal while these objects remain intact." I would have continued, but the Bone God spoke before I could.
"AND YOU WISH FOR ME TO FIND THESE OBJECTS? I CANNOT." I winced, but spoke hurriedly, hoping that this last one would work.
"No, great one, I merely ask, if it were in your power, to stitch together souls. Is this possible?" I waited.
"…YES" It said.
I smiled, for the first time in many weeks, I truly smiled.
"AND WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE ME? IF I DO THIS?" I spoke calmly, unable to keep the smile off my face. I knew it was extraordinarily rude to be smiling in the face of a god, but I didn't care.
"The corrupted souls, of all his followers, they are yours for the taking." This was to signify that I gave him form in this world, as long he as he needed it.
"DONE. YOUR MAGIC WILL BE MY ANCHOR." I suddenly felt a pulling sensation, and then a horrible, fiery pain in my chest, and all went black.
Somewhere in England, that same night.
Severus Snape hurriedly walked through the corridors of the Dark Lord's stronghold, Draco Malfoy trailing behind him. The blonde was staring at the floor, looking sick and pale. Ever since he had failed to kill Dumbledore, making Snape do it himself, he had been sickly and never gotten much sleep. He was also jittery and kept looking over his shoulder.
10 minutes under the Cruciatus Curse would do that to a person.
Right now, they were on their way to a meeting.
They entered the main chamber of the Dark Lord, discovering the majority of the Death Eaters to be there already. The Dark Lord himself sat in the middle of the room, upon a large thrown. His snake, Nagini, lay at the foot of the throne, hissing at any Death Eater who got to close.
Voldemort regarded his Death Eaters with satisfaction. With Dumbledore's death, an enormous contingent of the neutrals had joined his side. The numerous vampires and werewolves also helped bolster the ranks.
Harry Potter didn't stand a chance against his army.
He stood, and the hall fell silent. He raised a hand, and immediately his followers bowed to him, causing him to smile grimly and then speak.
"My loyal followers. I have gathered you hear today to express how pleased I am with you. The Muggle-loving fools will soon be crushed, and I will soon have Harry Potter at my feet, licking my boots and begging for mercy. Today we attack Diagon Alley; today we show the Wizarding World that we are truly dominant. We will cleanse the world of impurities, and we will rule. Today is the eve of our victory!" A cheer exploded from the crowd of Death Eaters, as they eagerly waited for their lord and master to signal them to leave.
"MY THOUGHTS, EXACTLY, RIDDLE."
The whole crowd fell silent, and Voldemort whipped his head around, attempting to locate the source of the voice. He drew his wand, and waited.
"Who speaks? Who are you to challenge me?" He snarled. Laughter exploded across the hall, and the voice spoke again.
"THE QUESTION IS, WHO ARE YOU TO CHALLENGE ME? DARK LORD, TORTURER, MURDERER, MONSTER."
"I AM THE GOD OF BONES, THE GRAVE MOUTH, AND ALL THAT BEGINS WHEN THE HEART STOPS, I AM MICTLANTECUHTLI!"
Voldemort froze, and for the first time since he was a child, an icy fear crept into this body, and he trembled. He scowled, and then shouted,
"Show yourself, if you really are who you say you are!"
He appeared in the center of the teeming mass of Death Eaters, and all at once the crowd broke into a panic, trying to move as far away as possible from the monstrous skeleton. Voldemort eyes widened in terror, and he backed away as well.
The Bone God stepped forward, crushing several Death Eaters as he did. He then spoke to the Death Eater army, his voice filling every soul with terror.
"THE CHOSEN ONE IS MY ANCHOR, DARK LORD, AND HE HAS OFFERED ME A PRIZE THAT I CANNOT REFUSE. YOUR SOUL, I HAVE BEEN AFTER FOR MANY YEARS. HE HAS ALSO OFFERED ME THE SOULS OF YOUR FOLLOWERS, AND A CHANCE TO DINE LIKE THE OLD DAYS. PREPARE."
The God of Bones then raised his hand, and pointed a single finger at Voldemort. The man gasped, clutching his chest. The entire room watched as the snake-like man suddenly began to change. Black hair sprouted from his pale skull, and his eyes turned back to their normal blue. His skin became less pale, and he was suddenly…human.
Mictlantecuhtli laughed, and then in two great strides was at the throne. He grabbed Voldemort by the waist, lifted him into the air, and then as the man screamed, tore the sorcerer's head form his neck, and devoured it. He then hurled the body of the Dark Lord into the middle of the room, and when it struck the ground, there was nothing but bones.
The god turned to the stunned Death Eaters, and licked its non-existent lips.
" SUCH A BANQUET I HAVE NOT SEEN THESE FOUR HUNDRED YEARS."
The massacre began.
Avery screamed as the God of Bones ripped him in half, and drank the blood the spilled from both halves.
Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf, fought in vain as the god smashed him into the ground, and then ripped out his spinal cord, spraying blood all over the stone floor.
Bellatrix LeStrange fired every curse she new how at the terrible Bone God. None worked, and the creature turned to her, and swiftly decapitated her, before ripping her body apart, laughing the entire time.
Narcissa Malfoy met her end, not at the hands of the Death God, but when one of Bellatrix's stray curses struck her in the back, liquefying her skin and blowing a sizable hole in her back.
Draco Malfoy was trampled underneath the fleeing Death Eaters.
Severus Snape closed his eyes and waited, not bothering to run, and as the Death God grabbed him by the head, crushed his skull, and consumed the rest of his bodily fluids, he wondered what would be different, if he had forgiven Harry Potter all those years ago.
The rest of the Death Eaters were butchered and consumed by the great God of Bones, until the room and castle was silent, filled with nothing but bones and torrents of blood.
Mictlantecuhtli vanished as if he never was.
"IT IS DONE, CHOSEN ONE. I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR NEXT MEETING".
Harry awoke later in the same position, a ray of sunlight peaking through the cracks in the cabin.
He stood up, and with a final bow and word of thanks, left the cabin.
He got on a plane to England later that day.
The first thing he did when he got back was go to the Burrow. He entered to find the Weasley's cheering as they listened to Remus' report on the Dark Lord's demise. He immediately walked straight up to Ginny, and when she looked at him, and the entire room fell silent, their mouths wide open, he picked her up and gave her the deepest kiss he had ever done. When they broke apart, she stared at him in astonishment, before smiling and looking at him coyly.
"Where have you been, lover boy?" she asked smirking. Harry smiled.
"To Hell and back, love, hell and back."
Wow, that was fun.
This idea came to me along time ago, but I just decided to right it this afternoon.
I got the idea, from, if you haven't guessed, John Constantine Hellblazer: All His Engines. It's a graphic novel.
Mictlantecuhtli is an actual Aztec god, but for those who read the book, then you'll notice I borrowed a heavy amount of dialogue from it.
This is a one shot.
My other story is currently on hiatus, until I find the time and the effort to rewrite it.