I have returned to the HP fold! Well, sort of. This is a crossover, but not much Bleach knowledge is required. For anyone reading who's unfamiliar (though if you're reading while unfamiliar, I'm touched by your faith in me), think of a Hollow as a fallen soul that eats other souls to fill the "hole" left by the loss of its conscience. Arrancar are a type of hollow that have shinigami (death god) powers. And Hueco Mundo is the hollow world.
Anyway, neither HP or Bleach are mine. You can tell because neither are screwed up enough to have me as an author.
Monstruo - freak, monster.
Harry was hungry.
It wasn't a new feeling; there was always a twisting ache in his gut, no matter how much food he forced down his gullet despite the universal sickening taste. He'd eaten this morning, nearly vomiting right after, and clutched at his protesting stomach as Aunt Petunia seized the back of his shirt, twice his size and the one that fit the best of all the ones he had, and dragged him to the vehicle.
Aunt Petunia had decided to take Dudley to the park. Usually in these cases Harry would go to Mrs. Figg's house, but she had been laid up with the flu and refused to take him, so Petunia had no choice but to take him with her and Dudley.
He was hungry, but more than that he was bored.
"Sit here. I don't want to hear a word out of you this evening. Got that?"
Scowling petulantly, Harry nonetheless obeyed. The ground was slightly damp from the prior evening's light shower, but the recreation area was still spilling over with children and their parents. Somehow a dozen kids had been knocked off of the slide, and the resultant bawling and pointing of fingers had drawn not only Petunia but a swarm of adults and other kids.
From his vantage point, the culprit was obvious. She was probably seven or eight; her orange-red hair surrounded her face in a nimbus of frizz, and her mouth was set in a jealous scowl. Her clothing was shabbier than his, if a bit better-fitting, and something grey protruded from her chest. It looked almost like a broken chain.
His stomach growled, and he wrapped an arm around it, staring at the girl like a starved dog at a hank of meat. So hungry…
Harry almost got to his feet and went after the girl, but found himself distracted by a mewl. It was a bedraggled gray kitten, thin with its fur stuck together in clumps; it rubbed up against him weakly, mewling again, and he picked it up.
"Kitty, I hungry," he told it. "You look hungry too."
His stomach growled again, and he looked back up for the girl - but she had gone. His eyes went wide and he bared his teeth, tightening his grip on the kitten until it mewled again in pain.
Harry looked down at the kitten in anger.
"You make her go away," he accused, lifting it to his face. "I hungry and you make-!" He broke off in mid-sentence, blinking at the squalling kitten, and inhaled a few times. Underneath the stench of the fur was another smell, however faint, and it made his stomach growl again.
"I hungry," Harry repeated, frowning. Maybe the kitten would make the hunger go away? With that in mind, he lifted it to his mouth and bit down.
Backed into a corner.
Breathing so hard he nearly choked on air, Harry met the eyes - gold iris, black sclera - of his assailant. The body was bleach white and ponderous, the mask cartoonish… but… am I… scared?
It was a strange feeling, and an unwelcome one.
"It's a small fry," the… creature… remarked, prodding his stomach with a finger that was easily as thick as his neck if not thicker. "A small fry, but it smells… so… good."
Harry swallowed, and red colored his cheeks as he felt a warm liquid running down the inside of his legs and dampening his underwear and trousers. The monster inhaled and then broke into raucous laughter.
"And terrified! Fear, the spice that makes this existence worth it!"
His teeth bared unconsciously as the flush deepened and his fists clenched. Almost in reply, it backed away, and laughed again.
"Why don't you try running away some more, small fry? Nothing gets me more than runts like you running away, stinking with terror." It smiled, or something like it. More like a predatory grin.
I won't. He didn't ran to run again; he had satisfied the monster more than enough. He wanted it dead. More than that, he wanted to kill it, or eat it for kicks (if he could manage… it was easily three times his size).
Could he kill it?
Yes, he could. He would.
The monster's hand crashed down before he could blink, and he was thrown to the side, crashing painfully into the wall. Harry slid down to the ground, landing roughly on his feet, and his body hit the ground a second later.
"What the-!" The monster's tone seemed panicked. Harry wondered why, as he smiled, not scared at all anymore. "Arrancar! Hybrid scum!"
The monster shot forward at full speed… in slow motion.
It twisted around, revealing a strange, perfectly round hole in its chest where its heart should be; for a second Harry hesitated out of surprise. The creature (it was… it was hollow…) capitalized, and with no time to dodge he shut his eyes and waited. If only he could attack…
The only thing that struck him was the scream.
Green - the unearthly glow lit up the area, bright even against his closed eyelids, so he opened them. Luminous greens threads - no, ribbon - hung suspended in the air, waving slightly, and several had wrapped around the hollow. Where it made contact, the monster's body seemed to fracture, disappearing - no, dissolving into the ribbon, until it was completely gone, and Harry felt more satisfied than he'd ever been.
More full. Strange, how empty he felt at the same time.
He patted his stomach to feel only air.
Harry looked down in surprise at the neat round hole in his belly.
Magic. Harry could hardly believe it.
No, not that magic existed. It was woefully obvious despite his aunt and uncle's blustery denials - only magic could make the ribbons dance with nothing but a thought to guide them. No, what shocked Harry was that an entire society lay underneath his nose.
An entire society where seeing ghosts wasn't a rare thing. Where ghosts weren't a rare thing.
His stomach rumbled at the thought, and he rubbed it, staring out the train window at the passing trees, hearing but not comprehending as Ron continued to drone on about Quidditch. The redhead had covered all the positions as they ate through Harry's sweets and was now going into deep, confusing detail about famous games that had been played and didn't seem to realize Harry wasn't paying attention, but he didn't mind.
The sweets had done nothing but leave a sick feeling in his belly, not even dulling the empty ache like normal, healthy food did.
And Harry was hungry.
It seemed like he always was, and the more he ate the more it took to sate himself. Little creatures hardly had any more effect than normal food, and things like that hollow monster were few and far between - ghosts even more so, and they tended to run faster than his stupid body could manage.
Ron paused for a second as though awaiting a response, and Harry panicked for a moment before replying with a vague, "That's interesting." It was enough, because the redhead chuckled sheepishly, scratched the back of his head, and continued on. Something about …hang gliders? How had the other boy managed to go from a wizarding sport to hang gliding?
Harry laughed at a joke Ron made, despite having missed the punch line, trying to take his mind off his raging hunger. Finally, he might have made a friend!
And he didn't want to ruin it by falling to the urge that demanded he get something, eat something to try and fill him just a little. Something like Ron's rat.
Hogwarts was a dream come true. There were several stories in the castle proper, not taking into account the numerous towers that cut into the sky, so tall that when the sun stained the sky red in the mornings and evenings Harry fancied they had made it bleed. Below ground level it was no less impressive, if in a darker, looming fashion, and the grounds were large enough that one could explore for weeks and never step near the same area twice. And the forest - the forest! Teeming with life and vitality, it was the answer to Harry's every prayer, a silent promise that he would never go hungry again.
One of these days. Harry should have known better, did know better, but the delicacies that resided within the castle walls was enough to take his exuberance at the Forest and thoroughly quash it.
Ghosts. There had to have been at least a score of them, not counting that annoying poltergeist that Harry itched not to eat but to tear apart and toss aside like the insulting shade it was. Hogwarts served up its students a feast, and Harry longed to dig right in.
But he was smarter than that. He couldn't just eat all of the Hogwarts ghosts.
Instead, Harry would pick one every few months. He didn't want to run out, after all.
Creeping along the dungeon corridor, he was careful not to be seen. He had shed his body and left it in the common room, taking the stairs at top speed, a speed he had known no automobile to outstrip. Down the tower, down the moving staircases, across the entrance hall, down into the dungeons; he had to hurry, before it kicked in and dragged him back into his body.
Perhaps he should have chosen prey somewhat closer to the tower, like Nick, but he wasn't too worried. From thirty minutes to an hour, it's damnable limit varied. Harry could use the ribbons well now. He felt no fear. For the ghost, at least. The chains and blood droplets may have everyone else intimidated, but Harry saw them as a weakness to exploit.
There! There he was.
Harry crouched down, black hair falling forward over the odd porcelain fragment that adorned his forehead like a tiara, waiting soundlessly as the specter passed. After that, there was a whish of air as he shot from his hiding place like a bullet from a gun, kicking off the opposing wall and landing squarely on the back of the Bloody Baron, sinking his teeth into the surprisingly meaty shoulder.
The Baron yelled out in pained surprise, bucking underneath him, managing to throw him off after a moment, but instead of fleeing, the ghost turned to look at its assailment, lashing out with the chains.
Snarling, Harry summoned the ribbon with a thought and the corridor lit with unholy green light. The chain disintegrated, and before the Baron could turn to escape through a wall, retreating like any sane person would, the ribbons bit into its limbs, binding it in place but nothing further.
Harry pounced again, plunging a clawed hand into the ghost's stomach and tearing across its throat with the other. The Baron gurgled, gasping out something that sounded like his name, but he ignored it, instead lowering his head to the dying ghost and taking the shoulder that it had pulled free. This time the bite was deeper, more secure, and a smile appeared on Harry's bloody face as the spectral bone crunched in his mouth.
All ghosts were a variety of flavors, probably reflective of their personality, though for all Harry knew it could be indicative of their last meal. The Baron wasn't bitter as one would imagine, but in fact quite dry with a dash of lemony sour.
As he ate, he rejoiced in the fullness he felt, if only so temporary. Enjoyed himself, forgetting for now the even more powerful hunger that would later come. For now, he was satisfied.
This was Harry's Welcoming Feast.
The disappearance of the Bloody Baron was met with alarmed unrest once it was finally noted. It was actually fear; nothing known could harm a ghost, after all, and the Baron was known to vanish for a couple of days every now and again.
Harry went around to classes unbothered, feeling better than he ever had, but caught himself staring longingly at the other ghosts that passed in the halls. They were here, they was available, and instinct screamed to eat them before they had the opportunity to escape.
He found himself slipping, and by the end of the week, a second, far less well known ghost vanished after a desperate chase that led to Harry dissolving it with his ribbon as that accused presence wrapped its noose about his neck and dragged him forcibly back to his body.
That presence. He hated it.
And he hated Quirrell too, because the presence was so much stronger around the man. He was tempted to make the man his prey, common sense thrown to the winds, if only to be rid of it, but instinct screamed danger in the face of temptation. Danger, so he gave the man a wide berth.
When Quirrell burst in during the Halloween feast, that sense of danger prevented him from reminding Ron that Hermione didn't know about the troll.
Harry hadn't intended to, but he couldn't help himself.
He never tasted a young ghost before, one with that odd broken chain still present.
The flavor sent him into a frenzy.
During Christmas break, Harry awakened to a suffocating pull. The presence - but he was in his body, and it was pulling him away, down, down the stairs, to the third floor. He didn't understand what was happening as he found himself unlocking the door with a whispered Alohamora, as his walk gradually stepped up to a run, as he faced the huge three headed dog and leaped down into the abyss.
He couldn't concentrate, couldn't recognize the plant, and tore through the constricting vines with the ribbon only after his body collapsed from the pressure the plant exerted.
The pull only grew stronger, more insistent.
Harry wasn't sure how a broom would react to him, so he abandoned the brooms that were leaned neatly against the wall, squinting around and then using the ribbon to capture the key. The next room contained a chessboard, but he walked across without trouble, none of the pieces moving at all as he crossed. The troll was down and the next room's fires were harmless.
But as he stepped out of the black fire, he stalled, his danger sense countering the suffocating pull.
A shattered mirror. A brilliant red stone.
A man with two faces.
"Quirrell?" he gasped, staring openly at the disturbing sight, only to be met with another even more so as the professor's body began to bubble, skin boiling and melting and leaking and swirling and reforming. The stone dropped to the floor with a clatter, glowing with a subtle inner light, as Quirrell moaned, mumbling something over and over again.
The presence nearly took him off his feet as it forced him forward.
The professor's second face regarded him in something like contempt that turned to slight confusion when the red eyes flickered down to the hole in his stomach, and Harry experienced a horrible jolt of recognition.
"Voldemort." The other's name escaped his lips as a whisper that couldn't be heard over Quirrell's moans, which were increasing in volume. Looking at that man, Harry felt his chest beginning to swell with emotion until it felt about to burst, all of it anger. Anger, fury, rage.
He didn't need the presence to make him surge forward.
Though Voldemort was in the midst of some sort of transformation, a wand appeared in his skeletal white hand and in a blur cast a shield. The verdant green of the ribbon impacted, and after a pause, tore through it, but Voldemort had already moved, casting a spell of his own in the same vibrant hue.
The ribbon interwove into a shield of its own, absorbing the spell with ease, and Harry pulled the few that remained to his arms, snapping forward and back. The makeshift whip missed the dark lord by a hair, impacted on the column behind him and ate through the stone.
A stream of fire poured from the wandtip as Voldemort swished it through a long arc, and Harry ducked under it rather than block. The shield unraveled, spreading through the room, and Harry concentrated on keeping the dark lord away from the exit. The spirit ribbon spread through the room whipped at Voldemort, grabbing at his limbs, eating into whatever it made contact with.
The dark lord's spellwork grew more and more destructive as the bout continued, obliterating the columns and weakening the walls, and it wasn't long before stone began to rain down on them from the ceiling.
Harry pressed forward, managing to get Voldemort surrounded, and the bright green ribbon converged, wrapping the dark lord as a mummy, eating away slowly, the screams from both Quirrell and Voldemort making him grin.
The person that killed his parents was dead.
The presence was gone.
And he felt so free.
The only pull was his instincts.
Harry cocked his head, ignoring the collapse of the room around him. Maybe he could go home. There was nothing for him here, after all.
He smiled, as reality split. Home.