Summary: Harry Potter is just an eccentric school boy with some unusual talents. Lord Peverell-Black, on the other hand, is a magically and politically powerful man with the world at his fingertips and a war at his doorstep. [Time travel, no pairings.]
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. This work has not been endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Publishing, Warner Bros., or any of the others holding copyright or license to the Harry Potter books, movies, and products. No connection is implied or should be inferred. Other names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author receives no financial gain from its production or distribution.

Note: Part of this chapter is taken directly from the seventh HP book. I make no claim to this.

Shards of Time: The Master of Death

The Curse

"So we reach into the raging chaos, and we pluck some small glittering thing, and we cling to it. We tell ourselves it has meaning, the world is good, we are not evil, and we will all go home in the end." - Anne Rice

Death was frowning. It wasn't something that he did often, but at the moment he was frowning more fiercely than he had in years.

After a moment he let out sigh and shifted position slightly on his wooden chair while tapping his fingers on the armrest in irritation. Currently Death was sitting on a in the middle of a small, oval-shaped room. Said room was packed with tall bookshelves that held innumerous items, from books more ancient than magic itself to strange devices that looked as though they'd fit better in a science fiction movie.

Death let out a second sigh and ran his old, wrinkled hand through his wispy white hair—or at least what was left of it. As he stared at the wall across from him, his gaze turned into a fierce glare.

'Damn that little brat,' he thought angrily. 'Damn him for saving me. Granted, I'm glad that I was saved, even though I couldn't have actually died—that'd be contradictory—, but still! Now I owe the brat a favor! I never owe people favors!' Death's glare sharpened even further before finally, after a moment of wishing the object of his anger would just burn away, relented. 'But I always do give favors where they are due. And with him gaining the Title on top it...'

Death let out a third and final sigh. It seemed that it was time for him to get to work.

Harry could feel his wand against his chest, but he made no attempt to draw it. He and Voldemort looked at each other, and now Voldemort titled his head a little to the side, considering the boy standing before him, and a singularly mirthless smile curled on the lipless mouth.

"Harry Potter," he said very softly. His voice might have been a part of the spitting fire. "The Boy Who Lived."

None of the Death Eaters moved. They were waiting: Everything was waiting. Hagrid was struggling against his bonds and Bellatrix was panting.

Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was still titled to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes, and wanted it to happen now, quickly, while he could still stand, before he lost control, before he betrayed fear—

He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.

He lay facedown, listening to the silence. He was perfectly alone. Nobody was watching. Nobody else was there. He was not perfectly sure that he was there himself.

A long time later, or maybe no time at all, it came to him that he must exist, must be more than a disembodied thought, because he was lying, definitely lying, on some surface. Therefore he had a sense of touch, and the thing against which he lay existed too.

Almost as soon as he had reached this conclusion, Harry became conscious that he was naked. Convinced as he was of his total solitude, this did not concern him, but it did intrigue him slightly. He wondered whether, as he could feel, he would be able to see. In opening them, he discovered that he had eyes.

He lay in a bright mist, though it was not like mist he had ever experienced before. His surroundings were not hidden by cloudy vapor; rather the cloudy vapor had not yet formed into his surroundings. The floor on which he lay seemed to be white, neither warm nor cold, but simply there, a flat, blank something on which to be.

He sat up. His body appeared to be unscathed. He touched his face. He was not wearing glasses anymore.

Then a noise reached him though the unformed nothingness that surrounded him: the sound of small, soft thumping.

Quickly he stood up, looking around. Or at least, he tried to stand up. Instead he found himself slipping back onto the floor as the white world around him spun. He groaned, holding his suddenly throbbing head. Unbidden, darkness started creeping into the corners of his vision as the previously soft thumping sound started to increase in volume. He desperately attempted to grasp onto his slipping consciousness, but before he knew it the floor was rushing up to meet him and his world was enveloped in darkness once more.

Despite his seemingly unconscious state however, the thumping did not go away. Rather, it seemed to get even clearer, as if it was coming closer and closer. Before he knew it, the oppressive sound felt as though it had surrounded his entire being, beating against his brain, louder even than the rhythmic thumping of his heart.

With a startled, half strangled gasp he shot up, fully awake. The thumping was still there, and indeed was even louder now.

"Up! Get up! Now!"

A/N: Ah, the ever-popular and over-used time travel plot.

Or not.

Seriously, this story will be different in many ways. Mainly in that it will be AU. Highly AU. It'll at least partially follow the canon storyline up until the end of Harry's first year, and then shall diverge completely. Many elements of the canon storyline shall still be in it, of course, but will be out of order and twisted to fit my needs as the story progresses. Also, only a relatively small portion of the story will actually be about what happens to Harry in Hogwarts. The rest will be set outside of the school. You'll see what I mean eventually.

As for how else this story will be different...Well, let's just say I'll be changing some of the characters. Why? Canon Harry is a doormat with some serious self image issues. Granted, he's a victim of circumstance, but he's a doormat nonetheless. The Harry of this story, though diverged from canon, will not be anything like that. As a matter of fact, long before this story is even half over many of the characters featured in this story will be completely different from their canon counterparts. So here's a fair warning: Those of you who are looking for a recount of the HP books turn back now. This story is going to be far different from that.

Oh, and in case it wasn't obvious, this chapter was set in the very end of the seventh HP book. Everything up until then happened exactly as it did in the canon.

The first chapter will be up tomorrow. Please review to let me know what you think!