Harry Potter and the Aspects of Death
Disclaimer, don't own it, wish I did because then I wouldn't have to work so many hours at my day job.
AN1: My grandfather died, and I'm writing this as I travel across the U.S. towards the place of his funeral. I thought it was fitting that I write about Death given that it's first and foremost on my mind at the moment. On that cheery note, enjoy the story. 2012
AN2: I put this story down after the funeral, the death and sorrow were just too much to deal with. Other life difficulties came my way and this chapter fell by the wayside. None of my stories are abandoned, they just don't get written until I feel like it. Shrug* Now I'm back to feeling like writing again and hope to put out a chapter of this, oops and some of my other works that have been getting dusty. I hope you enjoy. Cheers! 5/8/2013
Chapter 12: Death Travels Among The Living
"Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come."
Death was sorely vexed, and by Death, I mean Harry Potter. To be specific, Harry was vexed, irked, irritated and most of all displeased by his interactions with the wizarding folk as he entered the platform of nine and three quarters, crossing the threshold of the magical barrier hidden in the column between platforms nine and ten, and he entered into shear bedlam.
Flashes of light momentarily blinded Harry as he entered the magical platform that housed the Hogwart's Express only to be swarmed by reporters and well-wishers. Shouts of questions where thrown at him willy-nilly as others clamored for his attention while the constant flashes of cameras acted like some sort of strobe light controlled by a deranged house elf on methamphetamine.
"Mr. Potter! How did you survive the house fire at your relatives?!" One blonde curly haired reporter shouted above the din as a quick quills pen followed her along and her photographer took photograph after photograph.
"Potter! Is it true you've been living with Merlin and the four Hogwart Founders in some sort of Time Bubble for the last eleven years?!" Another questioned loudly as they all charged forward to try and talk to Harry.
"Mr. Potter, is the boy-who-lived dating anybody at the moment? Which do you prefer, blondes, brunettes or gingers?" A young witch with a press pass that stated she was with Witches Weekly demanded.
"Mr. Potter, do you believe that Minister Fudge is the high muckety-muck-mucker behind the Rotfang Conspiracy, or is he merely an unwitting pawn?" A wizard in brightly colored robes and a wand behind his ear asked politely, his quiet demeanor coming through due to the fact that he was the only reporter not currently yelling questions but merely asked politely.
The questions would have continued unabated if it wasn't for the fact that one reporter had the nerve to try and grab Harry by the sleeve of Harry's robe. It wasn't the fact that the reporter was infringing on Harry's personal space that stopped the questions, all of the reporters were by this time crushing Harry and jostling right up against him, no, it was the sudden introduction of a long black tentacle like tongue that shot out of the trunk floating loyally behind Harry; a tongue that yanked the reporter's hand off of Harry's sleeve and into the trunk's mouth where it began gnawing on the man's arm much to the reporter's displeasure and screams of pain.
"AHHHH!" The concentrated group of reporters all screamed as one and just as they had been jostling to get close to Harry, now they were all equally pushing and shoving in their attempts to get as far away from Harry's trunk as possible… well, all that is except for two reporters. Unnamed reporter "A" now not only had his hand stuck in the trunk, but other tentacles had come out and wrapped the man up, helping the trunk try and disappear that now kicking feet that were slowly being engulfed in the dark confines of the trunk's interior. The other undaunted reporter was the one in the brightly colored mix-matched robes with the wand behind his ear as he was quite busy making a sketch of the trunk to include in that week's Quibbler portion of new and exciting animals.
Harry sighed disgustedly and shook his head at the sheep of the Wizarding world before looking down at his trunk and giving it a knock with his knuckles hard enough to leave a thump sound.
"Spit that out." Harry commanded of his trunk.
His trunk in turn swiveled its many lacquered and decorative, yet functional, eyes towards Harry with a whine and a pout; only the reporters two shoes kicking wildly out of the side of its maw ruined the image of a thousand "puppy dog" eyes staring up at Harry.
Harry frowned, "Don't give me that look. It's for your own good. You don't know where that man has been, and several of these wizards believe that cleaning charms are sufficient rather than soap and water. Who knows what germs he's carrying."
The trunk pouted, then with an all mighty "PHTEUY!" spat the reporter out of its interior and causing the man to tumble and skip across the train platform until slamming into a stack of trunks that were being loaded onto the train. The trunk then turned its mournful eyes up at Harry and seemed to wilt under Harry's disapproving look.
Harry sighed as he stared down at his trunk and reached down to pat its lid. "There there, we'll find you a nice pet to eat while on the train." Harry added.
The trunk in turn seemed to smile and one of its long tentacle like tongues dangled out of its maw like it was a panting dog before darting upwards the two feet to Harry's face and giving Harry a lick on the cheek.
Harry couldn't help but smile a little as he patted his trunk again and headed for the train.
As Harry walked, the children already on the train pushed their faces and their hands against the glass to watch what the commotion. Realizing that it was The-Boy-Who-Lived, they gossiped and speculated, all of them not really caring that Harry could probably hear every word they were saying. The parents and children on the platform were not a whole lot better either, as many pointed or muttered to each other.
Harry paid them little mind as the masses parted for Harry, his Crow resting on his shoulder and floating trunk dutifully following behind. Harry paid attention to the crowd around him and sighed.
There was a large family of gingers who were rushing to get on the train, and it looked like it was all the mother could do to hold back the youngest female child from rushing towards Harry; though the mother was also giving Harry a bit of a hungry gleaming look.
Down the platform Harry also recognized the Malfoy's, and Harry briefly made eye contact with Mr. Malfoy, enough so that the head of House Malfoy turned a whiter shade of pale than normal and bent down to whisper into what must have been Lucius's son. The pale boy with the bleach blond hair seemed to glare at Harry, but nodded silently to whatever Lucius was telling the boy.
Harry just looked away and seemingly picked a door of the train at random, climbed the steps to the bright red boxcar and entered the hallway.
Giggling girls and awe struck boys parted or glued themselves to the windows as Harry made his way into the middle of boxcar's length and found himself an empty compartment to claim as his own. Settling down with a sigh, crow flew up to silently perch on the rack above the seat, Harry's trunk floated over to settle next to the window where it would eventually be able to watch the countryside pass after the train had left.
Harry settled for looking out the train, discouraged about his situation and wondering if it was even worthwhile to play at living in the mortal world. It felt so dull, so contrived and artificial as people scurried about their little lives thinking that everything they did was so important in the swing of things.
Harry looked out at the population with eyes tainted by a history well beyond his supposed years. In his training and apprenticeship to death, he had seen life after life end, be judged and then pass on in history to the point that even the most important king, queen hero or even tyrant was forgotten to the annals of time. Yet still the mortals around Harry scurried to and fro as if being late for a train would mean the end of the world.
Still, Harry quirked his head as he watched a bushy haired child hug her two parents, no doubt muggles due to their garb. The smiles and love shared between the child and the parents, tears glistening in their eyes as they wished each other goodbye, touched a part of Harry's heart. Maybe it was longing for what he had only briefly had during his short infancy, or maybe it was that indescribable aspect of life that is called love that all humans yearned for. Whatever it was, a small part of Harry wondered if love was what made life worth living. That force that would cause a mother to offer up her own life to a murderer rather than her child's, even though she knows she had no hope of saving either herself or her son. Love, that unknown power that was in some ways antithetical to the powers of death, yet also such an ingrained part; for there is a certain sense of love that exists in offering the pained, the weary, the old and infirmed a final peaceful rest.
Harry's maudlin thoughts were interrupted by the door to his compartment being shoved open and a red headed boy entered while dragging in a beat up old trunk.
"Everything else is full, mind if I join you?" The boy questioned without waiting for a response; hoisting his trunk up onto the shelf above the seat while plopping himself down in a slouch across from Harry.
Harry merely stared at the boy silently with that blank facial expression as if he was reviewing a particularly interesting insect that fluttered past or perhaps even just reading something as bland a newspaper article about the latest market trends.
The red head looked back at Harry, waiting for a response that never came. As the seconds of silence ticked by, the red head began to squirm under Harry's unblinking gaze and silent visage.
"Um, I'm Ron Weasley, what's your name?" The boy, now identified as Ron, asked while his eyes tried to look back at Harry but were unnerved by the constant stare so never stayed focused on Harry's face. Adding to Ron's discomfort was Harry's large Crow, sitting still and gazing down unerringly at Ron as if the boy were carrion on the side of the road ready to be eaten.
"Harry Potter." Death's Master replied without ceasing his look back at the boy that dared to approach him and had the gall to not only lie about all compartments being full, but also try and play games with Death.
"Really!?" Ron stated with a gasp, as if he didn't really know.
Harry's right eyebrow merely rose in reply, as if to infer, "Are you really that dumb, or do you think I don't know you are acting?" However he did not respond verbally.
"Right… um," Ron gulped and looked out the window before trying again to strike up a conversation with the still staring Harry Potter. "So, um, do you, you know, have the scar?"
Harry blinked, and wondered if this was the type of inane question he was going to receive from his counterparts at school. If that was true, then he was definitely not going to enjoy his time at Hogwarts; a time that he was more and more believing would be brief before he said to hell with the wizarding world of Great Britain.
Harry's gaze moved away from the idiotic boy and towards the glass windows separating the compartment from the hallway.
Several girls in the hallway screamed at being caught spying on Harry, before putting their hands to their mouths while giggling and scurrying back down the corridor and out of Harry's sight.
Harry merely shook his head in disgust just as a squeak caught his attention and he turned his head back towards Ron.
An old rat scurried out of Ron's pocket while making sniffling and squeaking sounds, sounds that not only drew Harry's attention, but also Harry's trunk…
Quick as a wink, tentacles launched out of the maw of Harry's trunk and snatched the rat off of Ron's lap.
The rat Squealed.
The rat then suddenly turned into a full grown adult man who screamed in fear, only for Ron to wet himself and jump out of his seat screaming even more as the trunk proceeded to start swallowing the man whole.
This was quickly followed by Ron fainting in a puddle of his own pee, Harry blinked, and the man was gobbled up by the trunk.
The screams stopped as the trunk fully swallowed the man, and the compartment was silent for several moments as Harry took in the impact of what he had just seen. Obviously the rat was a wizard animagus hiding as a pet rat.
Harry looked at his trunk.
The trunk turned its thousand eyes towards Harry, myriad puppy dog eyes pleading with Harry to let the trunk keep its meal.
Finally, after a few more minutes of Harry looking at the trunk, and the trunk silently pleading with Harry, Harry smiled. "Well, I did say you could eat a pet on the train, and that counts I guess. Good trunk, let's see if we can find a compartment that doesn't smell like urine."
The trunk replied with a "Burp" followed by a contented tentacle licking the edge of its lid as if smacking its lips as it hovered off the ground. Harry got up from his seat and left the compartment with his trunk following along as Harry's pet Crow hopped off its perch and glided down to seat itself on the lid of the eerie black trunk.
With that, Harry Potter stepped out into the corridor, leaving behind the unconscious Ron Weasley and any hope of a friendship with the dim witted boy. It was then time to find another compartment, and Harry merely smiled as trunk took an opportunity to swallow a toad that had mistakenly strayed from its owner and out into the hall.
After all, Death didn't really care about one simple life, whether that be of a toad, a man, or a rat.
The train pulled up to Hogwarts station in Hogsmead, and the students piled off the train… only to begin screaming.
There before the students, where carriages pulled by invisible means had once been, were now the stuff of literal Nightmares.
Pitch black horses baring scalely stretched and drawn thin skin, skeletal wings and boney bodies with sharp pointy teeth looked at the students with light absorbing black eyes.
Pure pandemonium struck the entire Hogwarts population as the students in the front of the crowd came to a sudden stop and screamed or bellowed in fright as every student was suddenly able to see the thestrals.
This was all because of one simple thing, they had all seen Death.
Little did the gaping and jeering children of Hogwarts know that when they had stared at Harry Potter, gossiped and pointed fingers, they were opening themselves up to seeing a side of life that they never knew. In that one simple instance, their innocence was lost as they received their first view of death and forever their world view would be tainted.
Harry smiled as he pushed through the crowd, ignoring the bellowing giant of a man who was attempting unsuccessfully to sort out the very frightened first years from the rest of startled crowd of students.
No, Harry only had eyes for the beautiful steads in front of him, who upon feeling Death draw near stamped their hooves and threw their heads back in whinny's of delight while shaking their manes and flicking their tails; a sight that caused the other students to stampede back onto the train and lock themselves in their compartments.
Harry meanwhile walked up to the largest most deadly looking stallion of the thestral herd, a beast that towered over Harry's current small size, and Harry raised his hand up to pet the horse's thigh.
The great stallion of Hogwarts' thestral herd gently lowered its head, then still strapped to its carriage, knelt down on the ground and nuzzled into Harry's chest while sniffling the boy; causing Harry to laugh and smile as the sharp teeth nibbled affectionately at Harry but never even nipped Harry's robe or flesh.
"Blimey, I wonder what has gotten into that lot." A big gruff voice issued from behind Harry as Hagrid moved forward shaking his head but smiling at Harry's interaction with the thestrals.
"And you must be Harry Potter, a spot off your parent you are. Why Lily Potter and James were always kind to me and my little pets, and you're just like them, aren't you Harry." Hagrid said as he came up beside Harry and leaned over to stroke the thestral that was nuzzling Harry. Hagrid always believed he had a good sense about beasties, and especially the misunderstood ones that people thought were deadly. And here was Harry Potter, feeling exactly the same to Hagrid as those misunderstood cuddly creatures.
Harry turned and looked up at the tall man next to him, noting the smile that peaked through the scruffy large beard on the bear sized man.
"We seem to have an understanding of each other." Harry stated with a last pat to the thestral's head before stepping back and looking up at the big man with a smile, "You seem to know me, but I don't think we've met before."
Hagrid smiled down at Harry and held out a large meaty hand, rough and callused, "Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds Keeper at Hogwarts, and let me be the first to welcome you to your new school Harry. I knew your parents, good people they were and don't let anybody tell you otherwise." Hagrid finished while now shaking Harry's hand up and down and would surely have damaged Harry's shoulder if Harry hadn't been made of sterner stuff.
"Pleasure." Harry stated before looking around and then back at the train, the windows now jammed packed with students pressed to every visible compartment as they squished against the glass to watch stunned as Harry, Hagrid and the thestrals interacted calmly.
Hagrid scratched his beard, "Strangest thing." The giant man stated as he shook his head looking back at the students in the train. "Going to have to call McGonagall down to deal with this one, never seen it's like before. You best take this carriage on up to the castle while I get this settled Harry."
Harry merely nodded and entered the carriage along with his trunk and his crow before the carriage started moving to transport Harry up to the castle.
Behind him, Harry left a befuddled Hagrid and a populous of Hogwarts' students forever scarred by his passing.
For one cannot see Death and remain unaffected.
AN: Ok, back again with another chapter even if it is short. This hasn't been beta read, I don't think Harry had met Hagrid previously but please correct me if I'm wrong. Also, I didn't want to get into the sorting and the introduction to the staff as that is going to be a doozy of a chapter, and I still haven't figured out which house to put Harry in if any at all. Hope you enjoyed, and I hope you are still following this story even after all this time without posting. Let me know if you have any ideas on what affect Death walking the Halls of Hogwarts would have. How will the Ghosts react? Binns? Peeves the poltergeist? How about animals, as there are studies about pets knowing when death is drawing near to their owners; especially cats or dogs which makes me think of Ms. Norris… I'm not going to hit at anything else; I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with that may help my Muse kick into high gear. Cheers!