Happy April Fools to you all!
Disclaimer: While a relative of Morde, I do not have any claim to Harry Potter or any related trademarks.
Luck Can't Last A Lifetime
It was a misty place, the only color a dark and distant swirl beyond Harry's reach. He had been here before, that much he knew, but nothing in his memory stood out about this place. Harry wondered idly what had happened to Quirrell. Had he come here as well? Was he somewhere in the mists looking for Harry to finish what he had started? It was possible, especially given that the distant spot of color was coming closer. For a brief moment Harry thought of running, but dismissed the idea quickly enough. He wouldn't get anywhere, nothing in this place changed. The shape resolved itself into a figure, closer than Harry had expected, but it wasn't Quirrell.
"Hello again Harry." The hooded spector greeted him like they were old friends. "It's been a few years since I've last seen you here—must have been when Dudley shoved you down those flights of stairs, wasn't it?"
Memory clicked for Harry. "Hello Morde. Or should I just call you Death?"
Morde waved his hand. "Death is my job and you have called me Morde since you were little."
"I didn't know who you were then." Harry retorted.
"Didn't you?" Morde asked, pushing back his hood to reveal a wave of dark brown hair and gleaming black eyes set into a beautifully pale face.
Harry had to admit, if only to himself, that somewhere inside him he had known. It was why he had suppressed the memories. Morde nodded softly when he saw Harry's mental acceptance of things.
"Have you come to claim me this time?" Harry gathered the courage to ask.
"No." Morde ruffled Harry's hair fondly like an older brother would, though there was a possessiveness there that brother's didn't exhibit towards each other. "It will still be some while before you're allowed to come with me." Morde hesitated, "but there is something—"
Harry felt a chill run through him. He had never seen Morde anything other than cool and collected, no matter how busted up he himself had appeared at the Immortal's feet. "What?"
Without answering Morde raised a hand to point through the mist, parting it to reveal two lost figures. They were still insubstantial here, not close to Death as he was, but Morde was still shadowing them.
"Ron! Hermione!" Harry cried out in denial, whirling on Morde. "No! Not them! Why them? Why are you shadowing them?"
Morde shook his head sadly. "It's not my wish to, but by being your friend their paths have come to travel alongside the Shadowed Realm."
"Protect them then." Harry was desperate. "You protect me when I find myself here, extend it to them."
Morde shook his head. "It's not that easy. You're a special case. Your mother paid the price for your protection."
"Then give me a way to pay for theirs." Harry demanded.
Morde wanted to shake his head, tell Harry that it wasn't that simple, but he couldn't stand to see his dear little boy in so much distress that he offered the only solution he could. That's not to say that there weren't other options, but the other ones involved Harry sacrificing himself and Morde wasn't ready to claim Harry from the land of the living quite yet.
"There is one deal I can offer. A life for a life. I will keep them from crossing the boundary, but any time they should have died you will have to provide me with another life to take. My mark will appear on your wrist to let you know when. If after three days the scales have not been balanced then I will have to take them."
Harry's brows furrowed as he thought this over, coming up with a question. "What if I'm unconscious or in no state to pay the debt during the three day period?"
Morde's gaze did not waver. "Then the three days begin when you awake."
Harry held out his hand to Morde. "Deal."
... ... ... ... ...
Five Years Later
Fred and George sat at their usual table at the Hogshead Inn after having closed down their shop for the day, plotting.
"We need something big Gred." George said. "It'll be April Fools Day after all."
Fred sighed. "I know Forge. But what? We can't go to Hogwarts without suspicion and I want to be around to see the fireworks anyhow."
The door swung open admitting a shifty looking group of Hogwarts students, cloaks hiding their faces but not their nervousness of being out after curfew. Fred and George smirked in remembrance—they had been regular late night visitors to the Hogshead themselves during their Hogwarts years.
"I don't care what you think." One of them was saying. "It's unnatural how those three always come out unharmed."
Another nodded, their hood nearly falling away to reveal their face before they snatched it back into place. "It's like Potter made a deal with Death or something. It's more than sheer dumb luck."
The group moved to a back section of the bar, still talking, but Fred and George weren't listening any longer.
"Hogsmeade Day is on the first." Fred's eyes gleamed. "We can approach Harry in the form of Death and tell him that things just aren't working. Freak him out a bit. I bet he wonders about being so lucky sometimes. Might make him think before jumping into things without thinking too."
George hesitated. "Don't you think that might be a bit cruel for a joke?"
Fred frowned. "It's not like we're not going to reveal ourselves. Besides, Harry hasn't really made a deal with death so it's not like he'll take it too seriously."
Reluctantly thinking of all the dangerous situations Ron had gotten into with Harry, George agreed.
Harry walked through a deserted part of Hogsmeade, enjoying the warmth of the sun and exuberant sounds of life in the distance. Ron and Hermione had finally gotten together and were off spending some alone time together, saying they would join him later. Suddenly Harry's senses went on alert, a patch of air a few feet in front of him shimmering. From it emerged a cloaked figure, the shimmer or mist seeming to cling to the person. Harry drew his wand, body tensing though he didn't throw any spells yet. Despite his first instinct, the figure was not a Death Eater.
"Who are you?" He demanded, wand held at a steady point. "What do you want?"
"Harry, Harry." The voice held a humorless chuckle, somehow strangely familiar. "You should know who I am after all we've been through. After all the times we've looked each other in the eyes. But I'm not here for that. This 'luck' bit I've granted you just isn't working; I'm going to have to take one of your friends next time. You have to understand that not all souls are equal—it would take one hundred Death Eaters to equal one of your friends."
Harry's face blanched white as a whisper of sound slipped through his lips. "Morde."
The figure didn't exactly look or sound like Morde, but Harry had only ever seen him in the Misty Place where everything was surreal. It could be him. It had to be him, spreaking of the Deal as he had. Harry couldn't chance it.
"Please, Morde, don't do anything rash." Harry suddenly pleaded. "I know there are rules, but just give me an hour. I'll meet you back here in an hour."
With that Harry closed his eyes, hiding the unusual gleam in them as he focused, and popped away. Fred, who was playing the part of Death, turned with a puzzled look to George who was hiding in the shadows to cast the shimmery illusion spell.
"What do we do now?"
George shrugged. "I guess we wait."
Only the crack of apparition warned Fred and George that Harry was back and George quickly moved back into the shadows. What he saw would haunt him for a long time to come. Harry's eyes were wild and blood was splattered weirdly across his arms, clothes, and onto his face. A bloodied blade in his right hand showed the reason for all the blood, a few drops still dripping from the blade though most of it was starting to dry into brown flakes on the metal.
In shock George lost control of the spell, revealing Fred's equally shocked face as the words 'April Fools' attempted to stutter from his lips. Harry blinked.
"Fred? George?" There was something odd about Harry's voice.
"H-harry. What?" George too found himself at a loss for words.
Harry decided to put the twins out of their misery, vanishing the knife and bloodstains as if they were an illusion.
Fred and George's eyes bugged out before they each gave weak laughs.
"You got us Harry." Fred admitted. "Turned our own prank right around on us."
Harry scowled at them. "I can't believe you used those rumors about me making a deal with Death as a joke though."
Fred shrugged. "It seemed like a good point at the time—even without you making a deal it's unnatural how you three always come out unscathed."
Harry shrugged uncomfortably. "Just lucky I guess."
After a few more uncomfortable moments of conversation the twins went off and left Harry on his own. The moment they were out of sight Harry's shoulders fell and he sighed out the pent up tension that had filled him while talking with Fred and George. Harry had known right before he had apperated away earlier that it hadn't been Morde in front of him, but that was only because the real Morde had appeared behind him and it had been him whom Harry had pleaded with to wait.
"You can come out now, Morde." Harry finally called, feeling the shadowy essence of Death was over and embrace him as Morde came forward. It was oddly comforting.
"If you knew they weren't me," Morde's voice was a soft caress as he reached out with one hand to wipe away a bit of blood that Harry had missed, "why the killing?"
Harry leaned his face into the touched feathering across his cheek, it felt strange being touched here on the Mortal Place by Morde. It was the first time they had met somewhere besides the Shadowed Realm.
"To get your attention."
Morde raised an eyebrow. "Over two hundred dead and you just wanted my attention even after I had already answered your summons?"
Harry shrugged. "Well, it's also two hundred less Death Eaters running loose."
Morde looked hard at Harry, waiting. Harry didn't disappoint him.
"I've made my decision. I accept. The deaths were meant to be a gift."
Morde felt a surge of triumph, leaning forward to kiss Harry and seal the acceptance he had waited so long for, but Harry forestalled him with a raised hand. He still had Voldemort to deal with first. Thankfully Harry had already said his goodbyes to Ron and Hermione, agreeing to their promises to meeting up later even though he had known he wouldn't; Fred and George's 'prank' had only served to strengthen the resolve of his decision to act now.
"There's one thing I must do first. Will you walk with me?"
Morde took Harry's raised hand into his own and kissed the flesh there instead.
... ... ... ... ...
Four Hours Later
Morde moved easily among the dead bodies, seeking the elusive flutter of life that would lead him to where Harry lay. It seemed to take an eternity—something he had but Harry didn't—to find the dark-haired teen.
"Ah, Harry." Morde moaned as he saw what damage had been wrought to the slight form he gathered into his arms. "I'm here my Little Raven."
Harry cracked an eye open. "Did I succeed?"
"Yes." Morde's voice was gentle as his hands smoothed over Harry's body, fixing the damage as only he could in these final moments. "Not even I could find his soul now."
"Good." Harry's eyes closed in exhaustion, he had drained his magical core completely. "Take me home now, please Morde."
"With pleasure…" Morde leaned down and carefully moved his lips over Harry's to twine their tongues together around the taste of blood and immortal death as he gave Harry his first, but far from last, kiss. "…my love."
Posted On: April 1, 2008