The Iron Curtain
A Harry Potter/Twilight Crossover Fan-fiction
Disclaimer: View first chapter for all disclaimers and warnings.
Summary: The Wizarding World revered him. The Volturi feared him. Edward simply needed him. Harry certainly wasn't objecting.
The shop was empty—completely and utterly barren of the clutter visible through the outside window. Bella would have been tempted to think that the illusion had been an enormous photo pressed over the front window if she had not seen the same scene through the open doorway—a scene that vanished the second she stepped over the threshold.
Bare wooden floors and stucco-slathered walls met her eyes. Alice and Edward were standing in a corner, looking unbothered by the strange occurrence.
Bella frowned and reluctantly made her way over to them, a bit upset at being left in the dark. It was like this Lord Potter's presence muddled their brains, muddled Edward's ability to think. She didn't think that he had any intentions to hurt them, but there was something strange—something terrifying—about the man, and she didn't like it one bit.
Harry followed her in seconds later, closing the door behind him. The click of the lock sent an eerie chill through her. She was just as afraid, if not more, of this man as the Volturi. At least with the vampires she knew what they would do to her; she had no such luck here.
Harry turned to her and raised an eyebrow at her disgruntled face. "Relax," he said, his voice much gentler than it had been previously. "I'm just going to take you home."
Bella nodded slowly and watched in confusion as he unwrapped a thin chain from his wrist.
Seeing her befuddlement, he smiled and explained, holding the glittering chain up for her to more easily see. "This is something called a portkey. It is used to transport large groups of people nearly instantaneously."
She looked at it doubtfully. It looked like an ordinary piece of jewelry, far too delicate to be of use. And near instant travel? Even she and Alice had to take a plane over here.
"I used my passport to get here," Bella said, "I can't suddenly show up back in the U.S. when they've got proof of me being in Italy."
Harry hummed quietly, tapping a long finger on his chin. "You're correct. But don't worry about that, I'll handle it. Let's get you three home; I'm sure your families are worried."
Bella glanced at Alice and Edward before nodding, deciding that she might as well trust Lord Harry because her two vampire companions seemed off in another world.
He smiled at her apologetically, for what she didn't know, before holding out the chain and gesturing for her to take hold. "Loop it around your wrist and don't let go, no matter what."
Just as she secured herself, Alice and Edward doing so seconds before in blinding speed, Harry muttered a quiet word and she was whisked away in a blur of color and sound.
They landed in a tangled pile of limbs. Harry, who was on the bottom, began to laugh hysterically. Even after all these years, he couldn't seem to land smoothly when traveling via portkey. Bella, who had fortunately landed on top of her three companions, grunted angrily, resisting the urge to kick the annoying Lord in his perfect, cocky face.
"A little warning would have been nice," she grumbled, standing on shaky legs and pulling her mass of tangled hair away from her face.
"That takes all the fun out of it," Harry grinned at her as he stood, somehow free of dirt even after being crushed into the soft, damp earth beneath their feet by the combined weight of two heavy vampires and Bella's own slight body. Harry had to admit, the annoyed look suited her more than the lost puppy expression she'd donned earlier.
She huffed quietly, straightening her clothes while Harry draped a strong arm across her and Edward's shoulders. If she was honest, the travel was a bit of a rush and she was faintly shocked to actually see the stunning Cullen family home when she had, minutes before, been staring at the crowded, narrow streets of Volterra, Italy. She supposed that having already learned that vampires and werewolves truly existed had somewhat desensitized her to displays of the supernatural.
She was a bit glad for the grounding weight of Harry's arm on her shoulder, no matter how annoyed she was with him, as her head had yet to stop spinning from the god-awful sensation of being yanked from one place to another at speeds unknown.
The shift in his demeanor was almost bizarre; he'd been all business—so intense and frightening—in Volterra, and now that dangerous air of his seemed to have subsided. He seemed so much more approachable, so much more human, but Bella could see the predator was lurking just beneath the surface, ready to emerge at a moment's notice. She wondered which front was the true Lord Potter. Regardless, he still looked at her as if she were an amusing child; the memory of his incisive gaze made her both shiver in anxiety and flush in aggravation.
"Edward! Alice!" The startled exclamation came from the house, where the rest of the Cullen family had already gathered. Bella looked over to see that both vampires had already gotten to their feet and the fog that had dulled their countenances seemed to have dispersed—at least on Alice's part. Edward was still, for some reason, watching Harry with wary fascination, completely enthralled with the man. She looked at Harry's serene face suspiciously. She swore that he had a hint of a smirk curling the corners of his mouth.
Alice laughed joyfully at seeing her family again, opening her arms in invitation, not bothering to fix her wild hair. The Cullens rushed down the stairs leading up to their porch and crowded around the four newcomers, bombarding them with questions and getting entirely too close for comfort.
"Are you alright, Bella?" Carlisle asked gently, the voice of reason amidst chaos as was normal. The brunette noted mutely, bemused at how no one seemed to have registered Harry's presence. It was only when Rosalie, whose face was twisted in an angry grimace, went to cuff the back of Edward's head hard enough to shatter stone, that Harry's presence exploded upon their senses.
Harry's face tightened and he yanked Edward closer to him, out of Rosalie's reach, and released the shield veiling his presence. It was amusing how the vampires froze as they registered his previously concealed existence. He winked at Bella, who, being human, wasn't affected by the buffers he was using, and patted her head with his large hand.
The Cullens—excepting Edward and Alice—dropped into defensive stances and hissed warningly at him. Harry rolled his eyes; he'd forgotten how territorial most vampires were, having dealt with the Volturi's pussyfooting around him for longer than he'd care to remember.
He tucked the cute little copper-haired vampire behind his back and tugged Bella closer to him, settling a palm on her narrow shoulder. He suppressed a pleased smile when he felt a cold hand grip the fabric of his cloak much like a child would hold onto a parent's trousers; Edward really was quite adorable. Bella merely scowled at his hand, but he could tell that she was warming up to him and her bad mood was mostly pretence.
"Relax," he said, meeting the gazes of each and every one of the irritated vampires challengingly, daring them to attack him. He was reluctant to use his power to force their obedience, instead looking to Alice with raised eyebrows.
Alice caught on and put a calming arm around the shoulder of a tall, long-haired blond man. Jasper, he reminded himself, having plucked the names of Edward's family out of his thoughts earlier. "It's alright. He got us away from the Volturi—he's the one that returned us home." She glanced at him, her gaze both probing and curiously wondering, before saying, "He's safe."
Harry smiled wryly at her words. He was, in a manner—but he could also be the worst thing to ever happen to the Cullen family should they push him. He knew the way vampires thought, though, and the seer's words were the best thing to say when her family was consumed by the instinct to protect their territory.
It took a few moments, but the four vampires eventually relaxed and their eyes returned to varying shades of amber that told him they exclusively fed on animals.
The head of the coven, Carlisle, stepped forward, not offering a hand but bowing his head in greeting—a customary vampire greeting as letting an enemy close enough to grasp a hand meant they were close enough to rip a throat out.
"Greetings, Carlisle Cullen," Harry said, returning the nod shallowly. It was a deliberate action, a demonstration of his own status in a hierarchy—one far above that of a mere coven leader. He didn't offer his own name.
"I ask your pardon for our hasty actions and wish to thank you for aiding our family members," the blond said, gesturing to both Alice and Edward, and Bella.
Harry smiled thinly. He might be powerful, but he'd never gotten rid of his dislike for pomp and circumstance. However, compared to all the posturing he's needed to do to keep the Volturi in line, this was about as formal as going to the bathroom.
He waved away Carlisle's words, prompting Edward to emerge from behind him with a gentle nudge of Harry's heel against the vampire's shoe. He had no doubt that Carlisle's sharp eyes caught the minute action and quietly waited for the suspicious glances. He only hoped they were as adorable as little Isabella's.
"Carlisle," Edward greeted. Carlisle looked at his son in quiet surprise. The copper-haired teen's expression was more tranquil than he'd ever seen it; he stood as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He noted the way that Edward refrained from touching him or even moving more than arm's length from the stranger's side. He frowned, his eyes moving to Bella, who was also standing a bit taller than he remembered with the man's left hand was resting on her shoulder. How strange.
Just who was this man, and what had he done to his children?
It was Alice who suggested they move inside. "Bella must be tired," she'd said. The human had had little to no sleep in the past twenty-four hours and she looked dead on her feet.
Once mentioned, Bella felt exhaustion hit her like a moving truck. She sagged wearily, Harry's firm hand on her shoulder the only thing keeping her from tipping over. The Cullens looked wary of allowing Harry into the house, but a look at the dark circles under Bella's eyes and Alice's stubborn face had them trudging into the house seconds later.
A thick, tension-filled silence descended upon the group once they were settled into the Cullen's living room.
"As wonderful as this is, I'm sure you have questions for me," Harry sighed, his voice shattering the quiet. He steered Bella towards the long couch, knowing that her developing obstinacy wouldn't allow her to sleep before she had her own turn to interrogate him.
Harry took a seat a second later, leaning back into the cushions and stretching out his long limbs. He didn't bat an eye when Edward settled in on his other side, instead wrapping a negligent arm around the vampire's shoulders. His actions drew the attention of the entire family, their eyes zeroing in on the close proximity between Edward and Harry, and Bella's position slumped against the man's other side.
"What's going on?" Rosalie asked, her gaze promising pain as it flicked between the couch's three occupants.
"Depends on what you mean," Harry blithely retorted. "I had cereal for breakfast today, so I'm probably still digesting that. It looks like you forgot to water your plant in the corner there, and the American rugby—sorry, football—league has a game tonight."
"You know what I mean!" Rosalie snarled, slapping away Emmett's calming hand. "What did you do to my siblings? How did you get away from the Volturi?"
Harry chuckled, not at all frightened of her like any normal human would be. He met her eyes coolly. "In all honesty, I'm under no obligation to answer any of your questions, especially when you're so hostile. I'm doing so as a favor to Titch, Red, and Sparky," he said, gesturing to Bella, Edward, and Alice in succession. And because it's amusing, but no need to tell them that, he thought to himself.
Rosalie took a deep breath to ease her temper and allowed Carlisle to draw Harry's attention away from her. "We'd appreciate it if you would, however, answer her questions." He ignored the stranger's quirked eyebrow. "I didn't catch your name, earlier. You seemed to know mine."
"I didn't give it," Harry said. "And yes, I know your names."
"Stop being difficult," Bella whispered, nudging the man with her elbow none too gently. He didn't even flinch, merely turning to look at her with a small, coldly amused smile curling his lips. It was obvious that he was playing stupid to rile the more impulsive vampires on purpose and her stomach clenched at the thought of what he might do if they actually got angry enough to attack him.
"If you say so," he acquiesced before turning back to the group. "My name is Harry Potter, though most know me by my title, Lord Potter."
Carlisle smiled graciously, "Welcome to my home, Lord Potter." Harry nodded, his eyes flicking to Rosalie's calming features in something that looked like disappointment.
"Perhaps," Esme interrupted, her quiet voice a soothing balm to the gathered immortals, "we should have the whole story before we start asking questions."
Carlisle nodded, before turning to Alice and Bella, his eyes pausing on Edward's half-lidded eyes in the process. "If you would, girls. Tell us what happened."
The retelling went quickly, with only a few disruptions in the form of questions or requests for clarification. Esme, who had started to quietly sob at the thought of Edward attempting the equivalent of suicide for their kind, looked at Harry with gratefulness.
"Why are the Volturi afraid of you?" Jasper asked. He eyed the newcomer warily, trying to figure out just why the Volturi would act so out of character because of this one human.
Harry smirked, reading Jasper's expression. "There are larger things out there than you."
Rosalie snorted. "Like what? Bigfoot? The Loch Ness monster? Gods?"
"Actually," he replied, "you hit the nail on the head with that last one."
"So you're saying gods really exist?" The words were dripping with cynicism, "So what? Christianity is actually true? We're all going to go to Hell, and demons are going to devour our souls?"
Edward flinched at the reference.
Harry snorted. "Gods cannot be defined by mortal rules. They are not so easily labeled. They each hold dominion over one aspect of the Whole." Harry stared at them, his eyes shifting from one face to the next. "Do you really think that there's one form of life? That humans are the be-all end-all of intelligent and moral thought?" Harry chuckled and shook his head. "No, each god has the power to create life. They just go about it in different ways."
He could see the question on their faces and he debated answering it, as to do so would let on that he was more—much more—than what he seemed. However, the question was asked of him and he was reluctant to deny such fine examples of Death's favored creatures. "Who we call Death... that is only one portion of what He can do. Yes, He is the end of what mortals call life—but He too has the ability to Create." Harry sighed and continued, "It's hard to explain when limited by the human language—they simply do not have the words to elucidate the true extent of a god's powers. They are not made to understand the depth—"
Harry shook his head. There was no easy way to clarify his words and he had the feeling he was simply confusing them even more. "The best way to explain it is that every god—and there's more than just those governing over life and death, so many more—has the ability to create Life. They all have the ability to take that Life away, as well. God, Yahweh, Allah, Dyeus, The One—they're all mortal renditions of one god. Humans, animals, those are some of his creations. Death does not hold dominion over humans. He does not take their souls at the ends of their lives, or whatever other silly belief. Humans are the dominion of the god that created them—He is the beginning and the end for them.
"I guess you could say that monotheistic religions have it right, in that single aspect. There's only one God for them. However, the majority of whatever other belief system they've formed over the years is incorrect. What happened in the Bible isn't true, for example. There was no parting of the Red Sea, no Sodom and Gomorrah, and I have it on good authority that Jesus didn't actually exist."
Harry had to suppress the urge to laugh. Their faces were dumbfounded and not a bit doubtful of his words. They probably thought he sounded like a lunatic. Whether they actually believed him or not wasn't his problem, and he ignored them and continued:
"You, however, are no longer governed by the human god. You are governed by what you call Death. He's not the grim reaper, and he doesn't have wings, and he doesn't come on a horse-drawn carriage. He simply is."
The black-haired man pursed his lips and stood, pacing the small space in front of the couch. Their eyes followed his every move, interested despite their reservations. "If I'm honest with you, the human god is... minor, compared to many others. Granted, that doesn't mean he's not obscenely powerful; it just means that the aspect that he's in control of doesn't stretch as widely as, say, Death's. Now Death... Death is big. He's huge, actually. He's probably the only god with that level of power. I mentioned that gods have the ability to take Life away, as well, but only from their own creations. Death, however... he can do it to any god's creation— but just because he can doesn't mean that he will.
"That's not the only part of his aspect, though. Isn't there life in death? There's the human concept of the afterlife, a life beyond death. Granted, I won't tell you whether or not there's actually one—that's for you to eventually find out—and there's nothing truly "beyond death" when taking in Death's status as a major god..." He trailed off, realizing he'd gone off on a tangent. He could go on for hours, shattering each remaining piece of their human preconceptions, but he was getting bored of their stubborn disbelief. "What I'm trying to say is that you're under His umbrella. You're His creations."
They stared at him in shocked silence. "Bullshit," Rosalie finally said. Harry chuckled, turning to face her.
"Why do you say that?" he asked. He already knew her reasoning, but he wanted her to say it.
"We were human," she replied. "So I call bullshit."
Harry smirked, sitting back down on the couch and wrapping a negligent arm around Edward's shoulders. The bronze-haired vampire was staring at him in fascination and Harry could almost feel the churning emotion underneath the forever-teen's skin.
"You're right," Harry said, his index finger drawing lazy circles on Edward's shoulder. The slender vampire relaxed into the touch almost instantly, ensconcing himself further into Harry's half embrace. Such was the nature of his power—they simply couldn't bring themselves to tear away. Not, Harry pondered as he gazed at Edward's stunning face, that he was complaining.
Rosalie looked triumphant and Harry almost squirmed in delight as he prepared to pop her little self-indulgent bubble. "But you're not human anymore, are you?" Rosalie looked ready to protest, so he tried to make the concept as simple as possible. "You're dead. You're frozen in time; your hearts don't beat, you don't breathe, blood doesn't flow through your veins. You don't require sustenance—" he held up a hand to forestall the mention of drinking blood; he'd get to that later, "—you don't bleed. You, my dear, are not human."
She was stubborn, though, and didn't look even remotely accepting of his information. However, it was Carlisle, who had been studiously silent until now as he digested what this man was telling him, who asked the next question. Harry, who knew that the blond vampire had been a Christian preacher's son in his former life, supposed that it was the doctor whom was most affected by his words.
His words were soft and he sounded, if not accepting of the idea that Harry might be right, then at least accepting of Harry's own beliefs. "Can you explain how we are no longer, ah, governed by the human god when we were once one of His creations?"
Harry nodded in respect of the inquiry. It was a good one, and one he'd be happy to answer, if only to get that self-righteous glower off of Rosalie Hale's face. "It's simple, really," he shrugged, though in reality, it wasn't that simple at all. "Death is lazy, so he leeched off of the human god's creations." He nearly snickered at his terminology; that was sure to get their imaginations going.
It was Bella who asked the inevitable question which had, no doubt, been at the forefront of everyone's mind. "How do you know all this? Aren't you human?" Bella asked, her gaze jumping to the invisible—to her, at least—pulse on his neck.
Harry smiled ruefully. He had no intention of revealing all of his secrets but he wouldn't lie and say he wasn't the least bit intrigued by what their reactions would be. "I was, once."
They were all leaning forward slightly, fascinated despite themselves. Only Bella, who remained the only one unaffected by the power he wore about him like a cloak, spoke up. "Then what are you?"
He turned to her, his smile widening though it wasn't the least bit humorous. "Me? Well, I'm just the Master of Death."
* Please note that this discussion of religion is purely fictional and is in no way meant to insult any mentioned or unmentioned devout institutions or their believers. Any abuse of the review system on this subject will be deleted and/or ignored.
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