Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, I'm not J.K. Rowling, I'm just overly bored.
Author's Note: Just a quick note, don't expect too quick and too often an update to this story. I'm currently working on another but this idea popped into my head and I decided I had better write some of it down or else it'd just keep annoying me. The other story, tentatively titled Harry Potter and the Power of Choice is the one I'm focusing on the most. Don't expect it to be published any time soon though, I'm waiting until I've got it mostly finished up.
Harry Potter and the Eccentricities of Death
Chapter One: A Timely Death
Harry Potter was confused, just moments ago he'd been in the middle of a fight for his life with Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic and now all the sudden he was, well, he didn't quite know where he was.
He had, moments ago, opened his eyes upon feeling no pain and hearing no noise, but he met naught but bright white light and quickly closed his eyes. On the whole, he thought it was a good decision. Especially when he realized that the warm soft something he was holding was his best friend, Hermione Granger.
A very naked Hermione Granger.
Being held next to his own very naked self.
Yes, all in all, closed eyes are a good thing. A very good thing. Seeing that would have just been weird, after all.
Of course, his next question was just how he had gone from fighting Death Eaters to being in a very bright room holding a very naked Hermione while devoid of clothing himself. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, before his mind could conjure up what was sure to be a very terrifying and embarrassing, yet oddly arousing, conclusion, Hermione awoke.
The thought now came to Harry that perhaps he should have let go of Hermione, instead of continuing to hold her close to him. Usually the shy and awkward teen would do just that, so why did he not follow what should have been a natural instinct this time?
Well, she was naked, and she is a girl. Yes, definitely a girl, he could feel her girlishness beneath his left hand, which he noted seemed happy to have become acquainted with his hand.
All too soon though the silence was broken.
"Harry!" Hermione shouted, no doubt panicked and not yet realizing their lack of clothing. "Oh Harry, what happened? Where are we, are you..why are.."
Ah, there it was, she's noticed. Sharp girl, that Hermione.
Harry made a rather dramatic act out of appearing to only just awaken, "Hermione? What happened, where..." but before he could finish, another voice cut him off.
"Aww, young love, it is in my estimation one of the most beautiful things in the universe. You're an adorable couple. Adorable, I say."
"Huh?" was the eloquent response, which a smug Harry rather thought beat Hermione's "Eek!"
The two teens turned towards the source of the voice, valiantly ignoring each others nakedness and the brightness of wherever they were. The source turned out to be a rather tall and lean man with shoulder length jet black hair that framed his pale but handsome face. His robes, like his hair and eyes, were of the blackest black. Harry thought he would look like a rather cheerful fellow if it were not for his eyes, which were black and seemed devoid of all life and emotion.
"Ah, yes, I've not yet introduced myself? I am Death."
"Are you aware that you're naked?"
"Well, I can hardly blame you, it feels nice to prance about in the nude every so often. Liberating, don't you think? Shall I divest of my own robes?"
"No! No, er, I mean, we were just looking for our own clothing. We, uh.." however he didn't finish, as suddenly a pair of black robes appeared before the two teens who quickly put them on with no small amount of blushing.
"Better? Good good, well, welcome to, ah, here," said Death cheerfully. Harry rather thought Death would be more sombre and not so cheery. It was actually more frightening this way.
"Well, of course you are interested in why you are, in fact, here, are you not?" he received two nods, "Well, you died quite spectacularly, congratulation on that by the way, and now I'm here to decide what to do with you."
Harry wondered briefly if he should be proud that he died spectacularly, but decided against it.
"Sir, what happened exactly?" That was why he liked having Hermione around, she asked smart questions.
"Oh, well, you were hit with what I believe you lot call the 'Killing Curse', yes? Unfortunately, or fortunately I suppose, the curses hit after you had been banished quite forcefully into a large shelf of Time-Turners, I believe you are familiar, yeah?" Hermione nodded the affirmative, and he continued his cheery account of their death.
"Well, to make an extremely complex and utterly worthless explanation quite short, the Time-Turners broke and showered you with their rather unique contents, Time Dust. The ambient magic throughout the room, in addition to several other spells flying about in the area, charged the Time Dust just as the Killing Curses were coming in from one Mrs. Bellatrix Lestrange and Mr. Antonin Dolohov. The curse, of course, hit you both but they hit just as your were, ah, phasing out for lack of a better term."
Well, Death seemed rather entertained at least.
"The resulting magical discharge created quite an explosion, killing Mrs. Lestrange and Mr. Dolohov, as well as Messrs Augustus Rookwood and Neville Longbottom," he finished happily.
"N..Neville's dead?" Hermione asked tearfully, Harry was feeling too guilty to speak. Now he'd gotten not only himself, but two of his friends killed.
"Oh yes, most definitely, already sent the lad on."
"Yes, on. The afterlife, the next great adventure, heaven, hell, whatever you want to call it."
"And where are we, Sir?" she asked fearfully.
"Ah, now that is a very good question Ms. Granger. At the moment your are neither here nor there, neither alive nor dead, neither the past nor future, and so on and so forth. I've yet to decide what to do with you, hence why we're all here enjoying this delightful discussion." Harry thought that he was likely the only one enjoying it, but chose not to point that out. He was Death, after all.
"So..." asked Harry, not really knowing what to say but hoping he'd pick up on it.
"Indeed indeed, on to business. First of all, I don't like having people, ah, here. So we need to decide what to do with you, send you back to live out your days or allow you to pass beyond the Veil, so to speak. Normally I'd just send you on, but there are, ah, complications."
"What complications, Sir?"
"Well Ms. Granger, it doesn't really come from you as much as your companion. Primarily the fact that I would quite like it if he would defeat Mr. Tom Riddle, as I absolutely loath those who refuse to die when they ought to. Unfortunately, I can't simply go into the mortal realm and kill him myself, or I would have. Not to mention going into the mortal realm never ends well. Blasted Peverell's, annoying little gits the lot of 'em."
Harry didn't know what he was mumbling about now, but he didn't have a clue what Death expected him to do about Voldemort. It's not like Harry had the power to actually defeat him, he'd only just survived him by luck and chance so far.
"...stick the Elder Wand right up his...ah, well, nevermind, nevermind. As I was saying, Mr. Riddle has used a rather ghastly method of cheating me, and I don't like being cheated. Thus I will need you, Mr. Potter, to do away with him. You recall that you came to the Ministry and retrieved a prophecy, yes? Well, that prophecy names you as the one with the power to defeat the Dark Lord."
Harry and Hermione both stared at Death in shock, though a small part of Harry's mind accepted that he always knew this would be the case.
"Well, I'm not one to put a lot of stock into such things, but still, I think you've got it in you to do it. Besides, better to cover all my bases, yeah? So now the question is, where do I send you when I send you back?" he pondered while Harry's mind reeled and Hermione looked thoughtful.
"Um, Mr. Death, Sir, what do you mean where? Can't you just send us right back to where we were?" she asked, causing the lifeless black eyes of Death to study her for a moment.
"No. No, I don't think that'd be very fun. Not any fun at all. I suppose the real question is not where, but when. We can look at houses after we decide when," he stated before reverting to his pensive state. Harry and Hermione just stared at one another.
"You know," said Death, "The 1960's were a good time. Perhaps I should send you back to then, eh? Or maybe around 1980? Hmm, interesting, interesting. Yes, the 1980 should do, don't want to send you too far back after all, too many complications. Well, now that that's cleared up, where shall I send you, eh?"
Harry and Hermione just looked at him like he was a mad man. It's not often that Hermione can be rendered speechless, but it does happen he supposed.
"Oh, brilliant, brilliant, Godric's Hollow will do lovely. Beautiful little town, you'll love it."
A sudden crazy thought entered Harry's mind.
"Sir! Uh, what about, er, what about my parents?"
"What about them?" asked Death, a frown gracing his usually jovial features.
"Well, if we go back to Godric's Hollow in 1980, I could, uh, save them?" he half asked and half stated in a hopeful tone.
"Well, yes, you could.." admitted Death, his mood suddenly very serious, "but you fail to take into account the hundreds, perhaps thousands, that would die as a result. Your defeat of the Dark Lord, no matter how temporary, put a stop to his madness while he was at the height of his power. If he is allowed to continue, many will die. Are the lives of so many worth the lives of two people, no matter how great a pair they are?"
It was the first time Death had acted anything like what Harry and Hermione would have expected him to, sombre and very serious.
Harry, for his part, looked rather ashamed at having even thought of it, and merely shook his head. This seemed to be enough to brighten Death up, however, as he began asking them what they would need in their new life.
Now that Death had decided to put them in 1980 Godric's Hollow, he rambled on and on about what kind of house they would want and how it should be decorated. Harry and Hermione both seemed to still be trying to wrap their heads around the whole thing, and remained quiet.
"Well, come now kids, I can't very well do everything myself, can I? Hmmm, you know, you are rather young. I should make you older, it would look most peculiar otherwise, what with you two being married couple and all."
"WHAT!" screamed Harry and Hermione at the same time.
"Well, yeah, it would be the most logical way to explain your appearance together, not to mention your living together. Besides, you'll make an adorable couple, as I said before." Death seemed inordinately pleased to be playing match maker. Harry stared at him incredulously, though he vaguely noted that Hermione flushed and looked away, what was that about eh?
In a more serious tone Death continued, "You will both need each other if you are to continue on your path towards defeating the Dark Lord. Alone and friendless, Harry Potter, you are weak. Let me assure you that there is no power in the universe so great and terrible as that of love. It is this that you must harness if you wish to defeat Lord Voldemort, for it is something that he has never once experienced and does not understand."
Harry thought that he, too, didn't quite understand just what Death was going on about. What was he supposed to do, go give Voldemort a hug?
"You will come to understand, Harry Potter. Remember, I am Death, I have seen what power those who love possess, what deeds, both great and terrible, it can drive them to accomplish."
Apparently the mood had become too serious and sombre for Death, as he quickly clapped his hands and asked, "Now, what kind of pet would you like, eh? Might I suggest a nice augurey, hmm? No? A thestral perhaps? No? Lovely creature, really, you should get to know them. Fine, how do you feel about dragons, eh?"
Death seemed to think they needed a pet, or more, a magical familiar. Every house needs one in his view, but unfortunately Crookshanks and Hedwig were ruled out as potential familiars. The dragon idea was shot down, even after Death convinced Harry that he could make it so that he'd have full control of the dragon. Harry had been all for it then, but Hermione wouldn't allow it.
"C'mon Hermione! You heard him, we'd be able to control the dragon and everything, so he wouldn't be dangerous. Seriously, how many people can say they have a pet dragon? Really? It's just, so cool. And think of what Hagrid would say! He'd be so excited!"
Hermione however would not be convinced. Death's idea of a nice basilisk was thrown out quickly by Harry, despite Death's assertions that 'they really are cute little buggers, when they're not trying to kill you'. Harry and Hermione did learn that a basilisk has three eyelids, one to close their eyes completely, another so that they can look about without risk to anyone, and a final one that allows them to only petrify their victims. Of course, if they don't use any of the three then their stare kills, except in the case of their bonded master.
Hermione briefly entertained the idea of a pet Unicorn, but decided against it, as she didn't think such a creature should be a pet. A nundus was thrown out without any debate at all, save for a simple shrug from Death.
After some time, and a rather heated debate over a potential pet griffin, Hermione settled on having a pet kneazle. Death was able to talk her into a full kneazle this time, citing that their suspicious nature would help them detect any potential threats. The kneazle, which Death named Elpis, was grey with black and white speckles.
Harry had thought that would be their only pet until he saw Death starting at him with a thoughtful expression. Quite suddenly he smiled and clapped his hands causing a beautiful phoenix to appear suddenly.
"Ah, here Mr. Potter, a nice lovely phoenix. I think, yes, Persephone should work for her. If ever you have need of me, she may find me."
Harry just stared at the beautiful swan like creature in awe, she was even more beautiful than Fawkes in his opinion. Her beady but wise looking black eyes were surveying Harry, almost as if deciding if he was worthy or not. Her scarlet plumage was practically glowing, and like Fawkes she had long golden tail feathers, though he also noticed her wings were tipped with gold feathers as well.
"Yes, magnificent creature, the phoenix. She will guide you on your path, I think, and more importantly keep the Darkness that attempts to seduce all great wizards at bay. You don't think Fawkes bonded with Albus Dumbledore simply because the old man amused him, do you? The phoenix is a guardian of the Light, and on occasion they bond with a great leader of the Light so that they may shield them from the Darkness. The corruptive forces of the Dark will always try to seduce the great and powerful, Mr. Potter, and one must be doubly vigilant during times of war so that they do not come to be that which they fight."
Death had once more become serious, and Harry just nodded as the bird had apparently found him worthy and settled its self on his shoulder.
"Well now," said Death, now back to his jovial self, "what else do we need? We've got pets, a house, a time, a place, I'll take care of such mundane things as birth certificates and the like, your appearance will be changed to an older and slightly different looking one once you arrive. Hmmm, likewise, when you arrive, you'll have the knowledge in your heads that you would need to obtain some decent N.E.W.T. scores, though you'll actually have to practice for it to be of any use. No fun in just giving it to you, is there? Also, you'll have an account at Gringotts with a nice sum of gold. The key will be in your trunk."
A trunk shimmered into existence between them, Death remarked that it had everything they would need including a note telling them of their 'history'. He also implanted memories of their new selves lives in their heads and put a special block on their memories from their previous lives. While Harry and Hermione could remember everything clearly, nobody else would be able to see those memories, or even that there was a block in place.
Before they knew, Harry and Hermione were waking up in the middle of 'their' new living room. Both of them were still in a state of confusion as to what just happened, as Death moved quickly from topic to topic and usually completely ignored what little input they had.
The first thing either of them noticed was each other. Harry was now tall with slightly wavy dark brown hair, warm chocolate coloured eyes, and handsome aristocratic features. Hermione's Harry was no longer bushy but long and wavy, not to mention jet black. Her eyes had gone from a curious brown to an intelligent sapphire that Harry thought looked rather lovely.
The house it turned out was rather nice, a two storey home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms (not including the connecting bath to the master bedroom), a study with a small collection of books that had Hermione nearly drooling. There was also a den with several comfortable chairs and a fireplace that reminded Harry of the Gryffindor Common Room. This room had a large collection of books, though less specialized and a number of them were fiction novels. The living room was also quite comfortable looking, and there was a nice kitchen as well with a connecting dining room.
In the basement there was also a potions lab, with a store of many ingredients both common and rare. The other half of the basement was a combination Duelling Room/Ritual Chamber that had some very powerful wards erected to keep the magic from harming the walls of the room or escaping in general.
The most curious thing was the pictures that were spread throughout the house. They were wizarding photos and had many occupants who, after a moments thought, Harry and Hermione 'recognized'. One common person was short pixie-like witch with long and curly brown hair that somewhat reminded Harry of Hermione's before, at least in colour. He recognized several features of her appearance in his and wondered what his 'father' had looked like. The memories provided to him told him that he'd never known his father, and that his mother never spoke of him. He also found that she had died when he was only ten, a spell she was crafting had backfired rather badly and killed her.
Hermione's parents were also there represented in photos of a happy couple. The woman with black hair and heart shaped face smiled often and, Harry noticed, had similar sapphire eyes as Hermione. The man had short sandy blond hair and kind, if a little bland, features with soft blue eyes.
Hermione reminded Harry that they before they did anything else, they needed to look at the history Death had provided them. The first thing they found was their marriage certificate, which Harry read with a sort of dawning horror as he realized he did, in fact, know his father only two well. The marriage certificate was for Mr. Harold Salazar Riddle and Ms. Hermione Athena Blackraven.
Quickly looking at their birth certificates, Hermione's stated that she was the pureblood daughter of Alexander Darius Blackraven and Hesperius Lampetia Blackraven nee Bonfoy.
Harry's stated exactly what he had feared, he was the son of Tom Marvolo Riddle and Dahlia Marie Purbaton.
He really really hated Death.