A/N: Aww...last chapter! Okay, there may be the possibility to continue this going through the series...with added Harry. A lot of work but...I think it would turn out amusing. But I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. Would you like me to continue?
Harry was warm. Harry was really warm and his pillow was awesome. And breathing. But really...
"Is there something you need to tell me?"
Harry's eyes shot open and immediately landed on Ash, who was looking at him and smirking with a raised eyebrow.
"Now really," Ash said motioning at him, "do I have to get the shotgun?"
Harry frowned in confusion and lifted himself up.
His pillow grumbled.
With wide eyes Harry looked down to the sight of Zarek's naked chest.
"It's a shame." Ash continued on blithely, "I rather liked Zarek. But if he's defiled my lovely naive uncle..."
"I...what? No! That's not what happened!"
Ash just looked at him. It was about then that Harry realised that with the blankets covering them like they were, it looked, for all intents and purposes, like both he and Zarek were naked.
And with Harry practically sleeping on top of Zarek the situation was not good.
"I'M WEARING PANTS!" Harry yelled, leaping out of bed; the covers tangling around his legs, tripping him and making him crash face first into the floor.
Zarek woke with a yell at the loud noise and sat bolt upright. Ash bit the inside of his cheek.
"See?" Harry said with a groan, gesturing at his lower half, "All covered and not naked."
Zarek looked at Ash, then down at the legs and blanket that were half covering his own before disappearing off the side of the bed and out of sight. He leant over to see a rather flustered looking Harry lying mussily on the floor.
"Ah," Ash agreed, "then I see I have no need to kill Zarek right now."
"Wait." Zarek cut in. "What?"
"My head hurts." Harry said. "I landed on it." Both Ash and Zarek turned to look at Harry again. "I think I may have re-given myself concussion."
"Is 're-given' even a word?" Zarek asked, looking at Ash.
Ash shrugged. "No idea."
"Aren't you like...a billion years old?" Zarek said bewildered, "shouldn't you have a grasp on the English language by now?"
Ash stared at him blankly.
"No, seriously guys," Harry cut in, "concussion."
Ash rolled his eyes and picked up his errant uncle off of the floor and dumped him back onto Zarek, ignoring Harry's puppy-pout as he did so.
"I'm immune to that look," he warned Harry, "Simi uses it all the time."
"But you give Simi everything she wants...and then some."
Ash looked shifty for a moment. "Point. I'm sorry."
"You're forgiven!" Harry chirped, leaning back into Zarek's chest. "Now, what did you come here for?"
"Tonight's Mardi Gras," Ash said, suddenly serious, "I came here to warn you to be extra careful. If anything is going to go down then it's going down tonight. I'm having Valerius guard Sunshine so you don't need to worry about that but Harry; I want you to stay out of trouble."
"Pssh," Harry waved him off, "When have I ever gone looking for trouble?" He asked with a snort.
Ash stared at him, and then turned to Zarek. "Ok, tie him down to the bed and don't let him up – no matter how much he begs."
Zarek and Harry stared at him with wide eyes, blushing faintly. Ash re-ran what he had just said through his head and grimaced. "Not like that!"
Harry and Zarek kept on staring.
"Bunch of perverts, the lot of you." Ash grumbled under his breath as he straightened and brushed the front of his shirt, a faint blush dusting his cheeks.
Harry and Zarek shared a look.
"Oooookaaaay…" Harry said, shifting uncomfortably then stopping when Zarek grunted behind him. "Anyway!"
Ash cleared his throat. "So, yes. Um…I'm going to go now. Lots of things to plan for and all that."
He turned to leave but was stopped by Harry calling out "Wait!"
Harry scrambled up off the bed and stood in front of Ash looking a bit sheepish. "I…can I put a monitoring charm on you? In case something happens?"
Ash grimaced slightly. "Can you promise that it'll work and won't turn me into a chicken?"
Ash raised an eyebrow.
Ash snorted and rolled his eyes.
"Please?" Harry asked. "I…I don't want to lose you too." He added quietly.
Ash sighed, feeling like a jerk at the face that Harry was pulling. "Okay."
"Great!" Harry grinned brightly and placed his hands on Ash's cheeks, cupping his face. Closing his eyes he concentrated hard on his magic, twisting it to what he wanted. It left him in a rush and he opened his eyes cautiously.
Ash was still standing there.
"Was that it?" Ash asked in some surprise.
Harry checked and rechecked the spell but it seemed to be working correctly. He grinned and then pouted. "You didn't have to sound so surprised!"
Ash stepped back and patted himself down. "Huh."
"Well that was touching." Zarek cut in from the bed.
Ash glared at him. Harry just rolled his eyes.
"Right, now that Zarek has ruined that family moment…"
Zarek grinned unrepentantly.
Ash huffed lightly. "I have to go anyway." He hugged Harry tightly, like this was the last chance he was going to be given to do so.
Harry let him, hugging Ash back just as tightly. "Stay safe, Apostolos." Harry whispered fiercely into his shoulder. "If you die my sister is the last thing the world needs to worry about."
Ash leant back, shocked. Taking in the cold resolve in Harry's eyes he could only nod and pray that it never ever came to that.
"Right." Ash said, "Stay safe. And stay out of trouble."
"Got it." Harry grinned and gave him a thumbs up.
"What?" Harry asked, his smile dropping from his face.
"That's exactly what you did when I left you at Talon's. Then I came back to find you missing and the house burned to the ground."
"Ah." Harry winced. "But this time will be different because nothing bad is going to happen."
Ash just stared at him, trying to memorise his face.
"Besides," Harry added, "you can't stay here. You've got stuff to do. And Zarek will be with me at all times. Model of maturity that he is."
Ash nodded and pulled Harry close for one last hug before he disappeared.
Harry stared at the empty spot for a moment before turning to Zarek.
"You wanna go get drunk?"
Zarek shrugged. "Sure."
Harry grinned and bounced over to Zarek, pulling him up off the bed. "Okay, first we should get clean and then dressed. Then I can show you all the best places to drink!"
Zarek smirked, "Do they even serve you?"
"Hey!" Harry pouted, "I have I.D."
Harry smacked him on the arm and hustled him through into the bathroom. "Stop being sarcastic and go wash."
Half an hour later and Harry was dragging a clean Zarek down the stairs. He was about to tug him out the door when Zarek stopped short causing Harry to jerk back into him.
"Ow." Harry winced, rubbing his shoulder, "What was that for?"
Zarek didn't answer him though; too busy concentrating on the rectangle of sunlight that was thrown on the floor by the open door.
Harry looked from him, to the floor and back to him. "I wasn't lying," he said softly.
His voice seemed to bring Zarek out of whatever thoughts he had fallen into. He glanced away from Harry, his jaw clenched. "I used to be trapped by it." He said hoarsely. "In my cabin, in the summer. Months and months of hell on earth. All thanks to a lie that I was made to believe.
"I didn't pray though. Nobody had ever helped me before. I was always the abomination. Didn't think that was going to change when I was shoved away into that goddamned place."
Harry shifted until he was in front of him and reached up until he could gently tip Zarek's head back so that he was looking at him.
"I would help you." He said seriously. "Whenever and for whatever. You are a good man Zarek and you have my loyalty."
Zarek scowled. "How do you know that though?" He asked bitterly.
"Because," Harry grinned at him, "You could have left me to die. Or blamed the fight on me. Or stabbed me when I was annoying. But you didn't!"
Zarek snorted and tightened his grip on the hand of Harry's that he still held. "You were very annoying." He conceded.
"Hey!" Harry laughed and tugged Zarek out of the door and into the first sunlight he'd stepped into for over two thousand years, "I had a concussion. I think a little leeway is due."
Zarek didn't answer, just stood in the sunshine with his eyes closed and his head tipped back, basking in it.
Harry stayed quiet and watched the twitches of emotion play across his face.
After ten minutes Zarek opened his eyes and looked at him. "Now what?" He asked.
Harry grinned. "Now we drink!"
Seven hours later found Harry and Zarek in the twelfth bar of the night. Just like all the others the place was packed, except for the small corner of the bar that Zarek had occupied for himself and Harry.
Harry was lying on the floor, his eyes closed. "Hey Zarek?"
Zarek took another swig of beer. He had long since stopped caring at how bad it tasted.
Harry pried open an eye and peered up at him. "What am I leaning against? And why does it smell weird?"
Zarek sighed and glanced down at him. This was the third time they had had this conversation. "You're not leaning against anything."
Harry stared at him and patted the floor. "I'm pretty sure I am…"
"No." Zarek said patiently, "That's the floor. You're lying down."
"Oh!" Harry said rather dazedly, "I had wondered how you had managed to get the chair to stick to the wall."
Zarek snorted in amusement.
Harry rolled over until he was staring wide-eyed at the ceiling. "So I'm on the floor. It makes more sense to me now!"
There was the relative silence of contemplation that was constantly interrupted by party-goers.
Zarek broke it by asking Harry quietly, "What did you mean by the useless comment you made yesterday?"
Harry still stared at the ceiling but his face was scrunched up into a frown as he tried to remember. "I don't…" realisation struck and his expression turned sad. "Oh."
Zarek shifted in his stool so that he could look down at Harry.
"That was my family. Not my family family. Ash family. My other family. You know?"
"The other side. The evil side. They always said that and I always thought it was true. Even…" He trailed off with a faraway look in his eye. "And then I found my proper family and was included. You know? And I maybe started to…"
"Believe that you were wanted? That you were useful?" Zarek asked softly.
"Yeah." Harry breathed. "And then I was shoved away when…" He snapped his mouth closed and breathed in deeply through his nose. Zarek watched him in understanding, though he was shocked when Harry suddenly plastered on a large grin and said brightly, "You know what? I'm gonna drink! Drink until it aaaaall gets better!"
Zarek snorted again, the sombre mood ruined. "Well it's not going to get better on the floor." He told Harry as he took another mouthful of beer.
Harry pouted up at him. "Shut up! Of course it is! Oh look! A peanut!"
Zarek choked, "DO NOT EAT THAT!"
Harry froze with the snack halfway to his mouth.
Zarek was mentally reviewing how exactly he got into this situation when Harry sat bolt upright, startling him so badly that he spilt his drink in his lap.
"What the hell?" He asked, turning his attention to a wide-eyed Harry as he brushed ineffectually at his crotch.
Harry slowly tilted his head until he was looking Zarek dead in the eye. "My Ash senses are tingling."
Zarek stared at him blankly. "Why do I get the feeling that you're quoting something?"
Harry launched himself upright so quickly that he didn't even have time to tip back over and grabbed hold of Zarek.
"And why do I get the feeling that I'm going to regret this?" Zarek managed to get out before Harry's power crackled around them and they disappeared from the bar.
They arrived in a room that looked to be part of some sort of abandoned warehouse, Harry still clinging to Zarek for support. Which, really, would have been fine except Zarek had been sitting when Harry poofed them there.
He landed on his arse with a thud, dragging Harry down with him.
"Ow! What the hell! We were in the middle of a bar! A crowded bar!" He complained loudly as he stood and pulled Harry up.
Then he noticed that they were being stared at in disbelief by a bunch of people. One of them looking almost exactly like Ash.
His jaw dropped.
Harry blinked as the room tipped about him. "Oh hey!" He said brightly, "Nothing happened! That was so much easier when I'm completely sloshed."
A regal looking man with a goatee raised a hand in acknowledgement and Harry focused on the movement.
Then he noticed everyone else, including the flying demons.
"Whoa…" he breathed. "Who let out the flying monkeys?"
The only woman in the room snorted and Harry grinned at her for a second and then turned back to the two figures surrounded by the demons. The more he concentrated the more sober he was becoming.
"Guess that makes you the wicked witch of the-" The figures came into focus. There were two Ash's. "Holy crap!" Harry exclaimed, pointing at the blond one. "It's the evil twin!"
Then Harry noticed that Blond-Ash was behind Ash, touching him and Ash was panting with tears in his eyes. His eyes narrowed and he felt power crackle around him, causing everyone to take a step away from him.
Blond-Ash sneered. "My name is Styxx. And why do you think I'm the evil one?"
"Blonds' are always evil." Harry glared at him. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Styxx smiled at him evilly. "Something I should have done a long time, little boy." He turned his attention back to Ash, "Do you remember when Estes died, Acheron?"
Ash flinched and Harry felt his magic lash out, hitting the wall and cracking it straight down the middle. "Shut your mouth, Styxx!"
Styxx just laughed, ignoring Harry, "The way my father and I found you? I have never been able to forget it."
"I'm warning you!" Another crack appeared in the wall, this one running half across the floor as well.
"Or what?" Styxx sneered, "Stay out of this boy! This is family business!"
Harry was trembling so badly from rage that he couldn't move. All he could do was lock eyes with Ash as his magic lashed about him.
"Every time I have ever thought of you, it's the image I have." Styxx whispered in Ash's ear. "You're repulsive." Harry saw a tear slip out of the corner of Ash's eye and trail down his cheek. "Disgusting."
"STEP THE HELL AWAY FROM MY NEPHEW!"Harry roared, his body finally listening to him as he ran towards his only family, pushing through the demons that had moved to surround him. Styxx stared at him, stunned.
"We don't have time for this." One of the men muttered and pulled out a dagger.
Then all hell broke loose. The demons bursting free and filling the air with the sound of flapping wings and slashing tails making it impossible to see without covering your eyes for protection.
Talon spear-tackled the man to the floor and started grappling with him for possession of the dagger as the woman who had been behind him shrieked and backed up against the wall.
"Kill him!" The goateed man yelled over the cacophony before Zarek punched him in the jaw causing him to drop to the ground.
Through the pandemonium Harry saw Styxx pull out a dagger and raise it high above his head.
"No!" Harry screamed, his magic lashing out once again and then suddenly he was there, standing looking at a dazed Ash on the other side of the room. He had exactly a second to feel relief before the dagger pierced his heart.
Harry choked, staring at the hilt buried deep in his chest, blood rapidly staining his shirt and filling his lung. He coughed and felt in bubble in his chest even as it sprayed across his lips.
He looked up to see Ash's horrified face.
"Ash?" Harry asked in confusion, blood dribbling out the corner of his mouth.
"What have you done?" Screamed Styxx, pushing Harry away from him, "You've ruined everything!"
Harry's breath left him as Styxx ripped the dagger out of his chest.
"Harry!" Zarek's voice came over from where the woman was pressed against the wall. But Harry only had eyes for Ash, even when he fell to his knees.
He coughed again, a lot more blood dribbling down his chin and throat. "Ash," he croaked, "I don't feel so good."
Then the world exploded.
Harry felt his entire being burst from his physical body in a roll of black smoke, pulsing out of the room, the warehouse, the city in one long shockwave. He could feel it all, everything that he touched. The caressing wind in the trees, the tumulus emotions of the people, the sparking zing of electricity and the power.
Never had he felt such an untapped source!
The entire planet was laid beneath him, his for the taking. All he had to do was stretch…
He was jerked back when he felt a hand cupping his face. Which should be impossible as he was incorporeal.
His view of the world was overlapped by images of the warehouse room; his power was pulsing, causing it to crumble around the occupants whilst trapping them. Talon was clutching the woman in his arms, a soft silver glow had surrounded them and Harry instantly knew that power.
His voice came out double-layered and the glow pulsed in recognition and reply. "Deal with your quarrel."
The glow pulsed again, growing brighter until it was blinding, before it suddenly disappeared, taking Talon, the woman and the other god with it.
Harry turned from the empty space to the goateed man. "Dionysus." The man flinched. "You are not welcome here."
Dionysus didn't have time to even open his mouth before a blast of power sent him out of the room and back to Olympus.
The duel layer of images was giving him a headache but he wasn't quite finished yet. He turned his attention to Styxx who was cowering on the ground, unable to stand before him. "Styxx. You dare try to harm my family?"
Styxx opened his mouth but Harry wasn't finished yet.
"You dare try to take what is mine?"
"Who are you?"
"I am Apolysis. The Redeemer." He crackled in glee at the fear in Styxx's eyes, "And you will be redeemed."
There was another burst of power and Styxx disappeared, Harry dragging him into a hell especially created for him. After all, what was redemption without penance?
Now that the threats were gone, Harry could feel the power calling to him, begging him to take control, to redeem the world, unleash literal hell on them so they could start atonement.
The gentle touch of a hand on his face wouldn't let him draw completely out of his body. He focused his attention back into his physical body; it was becoming a lot harder than it should have been.
Ash was standing in front of him.
"Harry?" He asked softly.
At the sound of his voice Harry's consciousness jerked and the double images started to spin. He hoped they stopped soon, they were giving him motion sickness and he didn't really want to find out if a conscious body of energy could throw up.
Ash didn't move his hand from his cheek. Instead he raised his other hand until he was cupping Harry's face and rested their foreheads together. "Harry, come back to me."
Harry swallowed, the images of outside dissolving slowly, "Ash?" He croaked.
"Yeah, I'm here."
With one final pulse the rest of Harry's power snapped back into him and he collapsed, breathing heavily as Ash caught him and cradled him in his arms as he trembled.
"It's all right Harry; it's going to be fine."
Harry scrabbled at his chest only to find that the dagger was missing and, although his shirt was bloodstained and ruined, there wasn't a mark on him.
Zarek crouched down beside them. "I've got to say, that was very impressive. Scary as shit but impressive."
"Harry, I have to ask," Ash cut in, "What did you do to Styxx?"
"He's alive." Harry sighed, "I think I trapped him in my realm. He will have to make penance before he can be released. And he's got about eleven thousand years of that."
Ash sighed in relief but looked curiously when Harry started to laugh. "What is it?"
Harry grinned at him. "You're evil twin has a girl's name."
Hope people enjoyed this and that you didn't think I just turned Harry into an all powerful Gary Stu character!
I actually got the name Apolysis from Apollo's wiki site. It listed Apollymi as the Greek verb "to destroy" and Apolysis means "redeem". I figure it fitting to have a half brother with a similar name and similar power. After all, it's a tossup between the destruction of the world or having to live through Hell on Earth being the worst thing ever.
I'm in two minds about continuing this series, I mean, it's pretty much just following the storylines…but I do have a tentative plan drawn up.
Tell you what, if people want to read more of Harry screwing up the books then drop me a review telling me so. If I get more than five wanting it then I'll get started on the sequel which is tentatively named Dancing with Chaos.