Disclaimer; I do not own Harry Potter.
In response to Potters Place 3 October challenge, Harry becomes a necromancer.
Harry floated in the inky black void cursing his luck.
In the spring of his sixth year at Hogwarts, Voldemort had attacked the castle directly and marched all the way into the great hall itself before anyone could stop him. He bargained with the children and laughed as the school was so quick to turn on him and deliver Harry Potter into his clutches. The resulting duel was very dramatic, Harry did not have even a fraction of Voldemort's skill or repertoire but he had determination and luck in spades. Harry got his big chance when Riddle held him under the cruciatus curse and gloated to the rest of the school. Someone had more cajones than common sense and came to Harry's aid in the form of a thrown rock. Whoever it was caught a killing curse for his interference but it was enough. That moment of distraction was all Harry needed and he brought his wand up for a reductor curse that hit the Dark Lord in the chest, sending him flying.
Eventually Harry managed to kill the Dark Lord with a lucky shot. He reflected a killing curse of a serving tray he snatched from the tables. Voldemort dove to get out of the way but it still nicked him in the leg. That one slight brush was all it took for the killing curse to live up to its name. Harry was swept up onto the shoulders of his class mates and they tossed him into the air, cheering the Dark Lord's demise. Unfortunately, they were less skilled at catching a falling body. Like when a fat man at a concert tries to crowd surf, the sea of people parted and Harry fell to the stone floor and snapped his neck, which brings us back to why Harry was floating in the void.
"So this is what it's like to be dead." Harry mused to himself. "I'm not burning in fiery torment so I must not be in Hell; that only leaves Heaven. This place is kind of full of nothing to be paradise. I wish I had something to drink."
The next instant, a hollowed out pineapple filled with a fruit juice and rum concoction, complete with a small paper umbrella and bendy straw, appeared floating next to him.
"Oooo! That's nifty… Hmm… I wish I was sitting on a nice beach somewhere." Harry tried experimentally.
The blackness rolled back and Harry found himself sitting on a beautiful white sand beach. The wind ruffled his hair as he looked around at the palm trees and sea that stretched out into eternity. The sun was warm, the water refreshing, the lounge chair just soft enough. It was almost perfect.
"Now I just need someone to talk to. I wish my dead family and friends were here." Harry thought confidently.
With a slight poof sound, Cedric, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Bill Weasley, a third year Hufflepuff, and Lily and James Potter appeared on the beach. With the exception of Sirius and the Potters the rest looked very startled to be suddenly somewhere else.
"Remus, Tonks, Bill! When did you guys die?" Harry asked.
"Oh no! Voldemort won didn't he? Why did we have to die in vain?" Remus finally caught on to what was happening. The other two looked horrified at the implications.
"Oh, I guess that means you died trying to stop him from getting to me right?" Seeing their nods Harry thought a few more drinks into existence and gave them all some good news. "It wasn't a waste. I beat him, he's dead!"
"Then why are you here?" Bill asked.
"Stupid celebratory cheer," Harry grumbled. "The other students lifted me up and tossed me in the air cheering my victory. The only problem was that they forgot to catch me again and I cracked my head something awful on the floor." He got a wince in sympathy.
"Excuse me Mr. Potter, sir, does this mean I'm dead too?" The hufflepuff asked.
James and Harry both turned, but since it was obviously meant for Harry he answered. "I guess so. You were the kid with the rock right? Thanks, that rock saved my life. I don't guess life debts mean anything when we're both dead, but I really owe you one."
After a round of hugs everyone and murmurs of pride from his parents and Sirius, Harry thought up a few more chairs and a barbecue pit complete with roasting chickens before he turned to ask his guests, "So, how does everyone like my heaven? What am I missing?"
The new comers gave him thumbs up or other gestures of approval but those who had been dead for a while shared a look. Lily looked back to her son and spoke for them all. "Harry this isn't…"
"Who's been messing up my Limbo?" A deep voice called, sounding rather annoyed.
"Who's there? This is a private party and I don't think I invited you." Harry looked around for the intruder.
The fabric of reality gave a ripple before being split vertically by a curved blade. The cut opened like a curtain and a tall skeletal figure in black robes wielding a scythe stepped out of thin air into their midst. The Grim Reaper had arrived. "This is my realm. I am the only one who is supposed to have dominance here. Everybody line up so we can get you all off to the afterlife and I can return everything back the way it was. Just because I was busy in China at the moment does not give you permission to just settle in."
Reluctantly everyone but Harry lined up and looked resigned to their fates. Harry however thought back to one of the books he had read one summer at the Dursley home. "Wait, aren't I allowed to challenge you to a game if I want to go back? I got a pretty crappy death back there. Harry Potter will not go down in history as being killed by a mere six foot fall!"
"Very well," The Grim Reaper nodded slowly. "What shall it be? Chess, riddles, billiards, mahjong, or are you going to be one of those troublesome children who asks me to play twister? I'll warn you that I am very limber without all that flesh and skin in my way."
"No, we'll settle this with a game of P-N-K, Pirate Ninja Knight." Harry said with a gleam in his eye.
"Hmm… That is a fairly new game; very well explain the rules to the crowd." The Reaper said as if he were expecting it.
"It's just like Rock Paper Scissors except with magic. On the count of three we turn into the person of our choice and see who wins." Harry explained. "Pirates kill Ninjas, Ninjas kill Knights, and Knights kill Pirates. If it's a draw we go again."
"Harry, you're really going to risk your afterlife on a game of rock paper scissors?" Sirius whispered in his ear.
"What do I have to lose? If I win I go back, if I lose I stay with you and my parents." Harry shrugged.
"I accept your challenge. On the count of three then." The Reaper fell into a crouch.
"One... Two… Three!" They called together.
The Grim Reaper, being a creature of stealth, darkness, and death, predictably chose to become a ninja. His black robes shrank against him into a skin tight spandex suit and the hood became a mask. His scythe shrank down until it was barely two feet tall and became a sickle like Kama. "Ninja!"
Harry on the other hand was suddenly dressed in baggy red and white striped pants and a white shirt that was open to the waist. A gold hoop appeared in his ear. In his left hand he wielded a curved cutlass while his right hand held a flintlock pistol. Harry promptly shot the Reaper in the chest before calling out, "Pirate, I win!
Everyone stared at him in open mouthed shock..
"You impudent child!" The Reaper yelled as he returned to normal. "I demand a rematch!"
"What have I got left to win?" Harry taunted, silently hoping he would offer what he thought he was about to offer.
"Double or nothing! You can take someone else back with you if you win. If I win, you stay." Yep, that's what he was hoping for.
"Ok, I'll play for Kevin." Harry said, pointing to the young Hufflepuff. "Not that I don't love the rest of you, but he died saving my life. If I am going to live I guess I have to start paying the life debts first. Besides, I doubt he can become anything but a ninja. All that sneaking around, taking old ladies in the middle of the night… It's practically in the job description."
The Reaper was getting annoyed with the foolish mortal. How dare he taunt the personification of Death? "One… Two… Three!"
There was a blast of smoke surrounding the two champions. A large knight in black armor came charging out of the smoke waving an impossibly long sword. "Where is that little Pirate? I'll show him who can turn into what!"
Without a sound a sharp pointy sword suddenly sprouted from his breast and a voice whispered in his ear. "The ninja was right behind you."
The Grim Reaper grabbed the sword and broke it off where it left his chest, causing it to dissolve into smoke. "Double or Nothing!"
"Ok, I'll take my parent's back please. The rest of you shouldn't worry too much, I can do this all day and we'll be home in time for supper." Harry said as he approached his parents with a swagger in his steps.
"One… Two… Three!" Another puff of smoke drifted away on the sea breeze. The Reaper clearly expected him to become a knight to kill a pirate, but Harry had been playing this game with hand signals for years, the addition of magic to literally become the person was no handicap. Two ninjas circled for a few moments and clashed swords once before retreating. "One… Two… Three!" A pale pasty looking pirate stood alone on the beach. Everyone looked around for Harry but he was no where in sight. Suddenly they heard the sound of hoof beats and the Reaper frowned. With a sudden crash Harry burst from the trees on the back of a large white horse. The knight charged down the defenseless pirate and swung his sword to lop off his head. Harry jumped off the horse and watched it dissolve as the Grim Reaper picked up his head.
"So that's the way you want to play? Fine, one last time for the whole group." He said with pure death in his eyes.
"Umm… Actually if it's not too much trouble, I kind of like it were I was." Cedric said. "You don't have to go to the trouble of bringing me back."
"Harry, stop! Just quit while you're ahead. We may not have wanted to die, but it had to happen sometime." Remus pleaded with him. "Take your parents and Kevin home. We'll be alright."
"You should listen to your friends, boy." Death snarled. "You won't beat me again."
"I'm up for it if you are." Harry said with a smirk.
"One… Two… Three!" They faced off again before everyone vanished from the beach in a puff of smoke.
Time passed suddenly and the sun set with no sign of the combatants. Then in the middle of the artificially hastened night, twenty figures stealthily crept out of the trees. The Grim Reaper and his bogus ninjas searched the beach for any sign of their foes. For a moment the Grim Reaper though he heard his prey. A rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. "Oh what now? First the boy tries to run away with his little friends and now it's going to rain?"
A few hundred yards away Harry put down his telescope. In his moment of decision he had wished for a copy of the HMS Victory and brought his friends with him for the ride. They had sailed into position and had their cannons aimed at the beach. "Ready men?" He called down to his own conjured troops. "400 yards west south west. OPEN FIRE!"
All fifty two guns along the starboard side began to thunder. Grape shot, chain shot, and explosive balls began to rain down on the beach and assembled ninja clan, tearing them to shreds. As soon as the last cannon had delivered its deadly goods Harry wished himself and his friends back to the beach.
"Aw man, they hit my chair."
"Shut up Padfoot, I'll make you a new one." Harry did so.
Sirius sat down and wiggled for a few moments. "It's just not the same." He lamented.
Harry search around for a few minutes before finding the Grim Reaper's head and legs to reattach to his crippled body.
"You're cheating." The Reaper hissed at him.
"You've got one last chance to prove it." Harry looked smug but didn't deny the charge.
"You've got your friends and you get to go back. What more could you want?"
"If you win, I and all my friends here stay dead. If I win, I get your power, and this little patch of Limbo."
"Those odds are not quite right. If I win your friends stay dead and I get your soul." The grim reaper suggested with a feral grin.
Harry's parents gasped at the dramatically upped stakes, but he just nodded with a cocky smirk. "I accept. Let's cut out the theatrics this time though. Quick, clean, and just the two of us."
"Oh, I was so looking forward to tearing you apart, but oh well; I'll have millennia to torture your soul very soon."
"One… Two… Three!" Nothing happened. Harry and the Grim Reaper stared into each other's eyes and focused their magic.
"Aren't they supposed to turn into something?" Sirius nudged Remus. "I thought I finally had this game figured out."
After a few minutes of stare-down both Harry and the Grim Reaper were suddenly surrounded in glowing nimbuses of power. Harry's green aura crackled with lightning that struck out at the Reaper's black one and vice versa.
"I knew you were cheating." The Reaper said with a smile.
"And you've finally begun to cheat back, good I was starting to get bored." Harry replied. "Hey Kevin, you're a muggleborn right? What's your favorite type of music?"
Kevin mysteriously found a stone near his foot and did what he was beginning to do best. "I like Rock!"
Harry ducked as the rock whipped past his head and caught the Grim Reaper unawares. With his opponent distracted, Harry devastated the Reaper in their battle of wills. With a pop, Harry became a knight to the Reaper's Pirate. "Well, there goes the rock, and it's time for us to roll! Now if you'll just live up to your end of the bargain."
The Reaper cursed for a bit under his breath. "Stinkin' cheater. Alright I'll honor the deal." He let out a laugh that was positively evil as he transferred the power over life and death to Harry and gave him the ability to walk between the realms of the living and dead. "This was how I got stuck with the job. Just like you I didn't know when to quit and I asked to become the Reaper. I've been shuffling mortals around for millennia, stupid binding magical contracts. At least now I can retire. By the way, as the Reaper you have to play by the rules. You won't be able to enter the mortal realm except to reap the souls of the dieing."
"I never asked to become the Reaper, I only asked for your power. If you want, I know a gullible little brat we can con into that."
"Is he as arrogant as you?" The Reaper asked skeptically.
"A hundred times more, but not even close in power. Just cheat to make him win, he'll gloat for a while but he'll shut up eventually." Harry said evilly.
"Send him on up, I'll make sure he knows this area is off limits."
"Will do. Feel free to drop in from time to time, if you're feeling up for a rematch." They shook hands, their ire redirected on a new target. "Alright everybody, I don't know when we'll wake up back home, but try to wait for a dramatic moment if you can."
Harry cracked an eyelid open, trying to gauge where he was. Everything was dark so he carefully moved his arms. He soon found out he was apparently already in a coffin, but he could hear things happening so they must not have buried him yet. He was about to sit up, figuring it must be his funeral but he heard Cornelius Fudge be introduced and he figured the old fool was bound to say something stupid he could suddenly refute and didn't want waste the only shot he would get.
Surprisingly Fudge kept his remarks tasteful and avoided mentioning how he died entirely. There was no attempt to steal the glory or use the funeral for political gain. "…And so it gives me great pleasure to give the Order of Merlin First Class to all of our valiant warriors who died to bring us freedom and peace."
"Really?" Harry threw his coffin open and sat up. "Hey Kevin, Remus, wake up! They're giving us a medal."
"Whoo-hoo!" and "Cool!" came from the coffins on either side of him.
"Does it come with a cash prize?" Bill's voice asked.
"Nope, the ministry's too cheap for that." Tonks called out. "Now shut up so I can go back to sleep."
The crowd was getting hysterical at this point. Harry got up and helped his friends out of their coffins. With a stabbing motion he jammed his hand into the air and dragged it down to let his parents and Sirius back into the real world, which really shocked the audience and their families began to rush the stage.
The party that night at the Three Broomsticks was loud beyond all reasonable expectations. Not only was everyone celebrating the downfall of Voldemort but also the return of eight heroes. Thankfully Harry was protected from the crowd's attention by Gryffindors past and present. He stood, made a few toasts, gave a short speech about the future and peace, and generally waved to the crowd but was mostly surrounded by friends. Kevin surprisingly became almost as big a celebrity as Harry used to be for his throwing a rock at Voldemort and his survival of the killing curse. He enjoyed the attention and Harry was asked to pose for many pictures with him either for the press or just with thankful fans.
"Hey Harry," Bill asked once the party began to die down in the early morning. "How did you cheat Death?"
"I've been cheating Death since I was a year old, but back on the beach was something different. He said it himself; I was in control of that part of Limbo. I shouldn't have been, but I was. So when we were playing for our lives, I just fixed the surrounding world so he couldn't become anything but what I wanted him to. He figured it out at the end when he tried to do the same to me and we fought for control of Limbo. Luckily Kevin over there can take a hint." Harry explained. Someone trying to slink out the door caught Harry's eye. "Hold on a few seconds guys. I've got something to do."
Harry rushed out the pub as quickly as he could and caught up with the figure as it was approaching the gates of the school. "Draco, old friend… I've got a deal for you."
"Potter! Why couldn't you just stay dead? What deal could you possibly have for me that would make me want to not kill you?" Draco's look was venomous, but compared to Voldemort and the Grim Reaper he had nothing.
"Power Malfoy, ultimate power," Harry drawled. "I just killed off your half blood master, you are hardly a challenge anymore. Fortunately for you, I need a rival or nemesis to keep me entertained. If you are going to keep things interesting you need a little boost."
"And just what do you want in exchange for this ultimate power? No matter what you say it can't be free."
"It isn't. My deal is very simple Malfoy. When you pass into the afterlife, I inherit the Malfoy fortune if I am still alive. You will never be able to die of old age, have power over life and death, be able to move anywhere in the world in seconds, not to mention a power boost."
"I'll take your stupid deal. If I am immortal, you can't collect. I'll crush you like a bug Potter."
"Excellent," Harry smirked as he conjured a contract and quill. "Sign the bottom and add a drop of your blood, then I will show you what to do."
Draco cackled as he signed the contract. Soon he would just resurrect his father and the Dark Lord and take over the world. He would be the new Dark Lord and everyone would bow before his might…
Once Harry had the contract in his hands, he made that same stabbing motion again to tear the fabric between the realms. He ushered his greatest annoyance into the afterlife completing the contract and trapping Malfoy with the worst job in existence. "That is not dead which can eternal lie. Yet with strange aeons even Death may die."