Yes, yes, once more, we all have to wonder, why? Where does this come from? What uncontrollable, immoral abyss in my mind compels me to come up with this shit? I really don't know. For some reason, I can never just write in the HP fandom, its too grand, or maybe just too used up, but crossovers are so compelling to me in a way I can't comprehend.

"I'm Ryuk." The giant, towering creature introduced himself.

Harry would have been more appalled had he not already encountered giants, centaurs, and thestrals. This creature looked a bit like all of the above.

"Hullo." He held out his hand, for lack of anything else to do. "How do you do?"

Ryuk laughed. It was a choking, morbid sound. His large yellow eyes beadily looked down at Harry, though they didn't seem to be focused on anything at all. His clawed hand felt like ice in Harry's warm, life filled palm. This was a dead creature, then.

"You're an interesting one." His grin split his face in two with a smile full of razors. "I've never met a human quite like you."

"No?" Harry rested his hand back.

"No." Ryuk agreed. "You see, I'm a Shinigami… a death god, you would say in your language. I come from the realm of the dead."

"Like a dementor?" Harry tilted his head curiously.

Ryuk shook his head. "Dementors eat souls. We… collect them." He came close, right to Harry's face, until his dull saffron colored eyes were close enough to see the red in Harry's green. "And we… death gods, have a… culture, I guess you should say."

"Is there a reason you're telling me this?" Harry looked around, a bit nervously. How strange this would look, to everyone else. The battle had just ended. People were grieving. The last thing they needed to see was a giant monster floating around. But the determinedly melancholic hall before him showed no bewildered, appalled faces, and Ryuk continued to blink sightlessly at him.

"Cause you need to know." Ryuk began tactlessly. "You're the king, after all."

Harry choked.

"I'm sorry?"


cage the elephant


Harry just knew those stupid Deathly Hallows were going to be such a pain. It'd be just his luck that trashing one in the forest and hiding the other in Dumbledore's office wouldn't be enough.

The master of death, after all, was him now.

Apparently that title was more than just a frivolous imagination and the joining of the three Hallows.

The master of death, or the Death King, ruled supreme in the dead world. This was a corrupt, lawless world made of dust and crumbling remains, jewels and gambling death gods. And this worthless, desert realm was his domain, where he could do as he pleased. Ryuk said that the only rules Shinigami had to follow were written in their Death Note. Each death god had one, though that wasn't an explicit rule. And Harry, being the king, had no rules at all.

While this greatly pleased him, as he was never much of a law abider anyway, the rest of the deal sounded sort of morbid.

"I think I'll just stay here." Said the Death King, looking a little green at the thought of sitting atop some pyramid of glittering, if not decaying, jewels, crowned in gaudy gold. He'd lead Ryuk to the now deserted Gryffindor common room. Even though Ryuk swore up and down that no one but Harry could see him, Harry preferred not to look like a complete loony talking to himself.

"If that's what you want." The Shinigami said slowly, as if he couldn't possibly understand why Harry would want to stay here.

"It is." He nodded. In his hands was a red death note, adorned with the words written in English. "This is mine?"

"Of course." Ryuk looked as if he'd never heard such a stupid question. "You are the King, my Lord."

"Don't call me that." Harry waved him off. The title hit a little too close to home.

"What should I call you then?"

"Harry. Just Harry." He offered, eyes not leaving the book. Inside it was nothing but a notebook, nothing but sharp lines.

Ryuk eyed him warily, clearly not expecting that answer. "If it's alright with you…" The beast flapped his wings, but Harry could feel no wind.

"When you write a name," Ryuk explained. "Whatever leftover lifespan that person had goes to you."

What an easy way to kill. No jet of green light, no splintered, broken soul. Just a couple of quick quill strokes and a life would leave this world, as if it hadn't had a purpose in the first place.

"To me?" Harry looked up, startled. He snapped the book shut.

"Yep. That's why we don't die." Then he scratched his head. "Well, unless you get too lazy to remember to write in it."

"And that's it?" Harry cut off, voice a little high with disbelief. "That's it? You kill people and then—then what? You keep living, get their extra life span, and continue to gamble around?"

Ryuk shrugged. "Pretty much."

Harry made a face at the very thought. So what was life then? … A useless, inevitable waste that would soon be used to further the machinations of gambling wastrels?

"This is a lot to think on." Said the newly appointed king, sitting himself down in an armchair.

"I'm sure it is." Ryuk agreed, scratching at his shoulder. "Hey, do you got any apples around here? I could sure use one…"

Bewildered, Harry summoned a house elf to fetch him an apple, and true to Ryuk words, the small creature didn't seem to recognize the looming, terrifying presence of the Death God at all. In fact, he only seemed to be enamored with Harry, much to the boy's displeasure.

Even more strange, was Ryuk's apparent fascination with apples.

"You sure do like apples." Harry noted, surprised as Ryuk polished up not one, but two, even before Harry had fully handed him the basket.

"They're like… drugs." Ryuk decided upon. "All Shinigami love them."

"Do they?" Harry picked one out of the summoned basket, holding it to his face idly. Ryuk took another joyous bite out of his, Harry continued to squint into the red ocher skin of the apple as if it held the answer to his problems, and life's greater mysterious, as he attempted not to look in the direction of his own Death Note.

The King took a bite out of his own apple, almost dropping it as his tongue seemed to rock with unexpected flavor. It had to be the most beautiful thing he'd ever tasted.

"It's delicious." He breathed, looking down at it in wonder, and repulsion. They'd never tasted like that before—had becoming the master of death truly changed something physical about him? Changed how he perceived the world?

"I told you." Chuckled the Death God, before he floated back down onto the opposite armchair of Harry, looking serious (for once).

"Now, about this whole Death King thing…"

Harry waved him off before he could even start. "I don't think this is really the proper time for this." He began, still not looking in the direction of his own. "I've got quite a bit of troubles to fix at the moment, I just finished a war, you see, and I don't yet have the time to fully think on… all the strange endeavors you've presented me with."

"Well of course." Said Ryuk, agreeably. "We—my buddies and I—just wanted to make sure you knew abut all this Death stuff, seeing as though you're our leader now and stuff…

Harry blanche at the very thought. "Yes, well, I'll need a bit of time to fully think on the matter, if that's alright with you."

"Of course it is!" Ryuk nodded hastily, grabbing for another apple and devouring it all. "All the time you need, my king."

Ryuk didn't catch the contrary face his 'king' wore at the very thought of being referred to in any such matter as that.

"Well in that case, if you could come back at a later time…"

"Sure, sure." The Death God stood, stretching out his brilliant, tattered wings. "To summon me, or any of your servants, you just write our names in the first page of the book."

"Only the first page?"

"Well any page." Ryuk shrugged amiably, cracking his neck. "You can't kill a shinigami with a death note."

And at that, Harry wondered how, exactly one went about killing a death god—without one of them killing themselves out of laziness. Perhaps what Voldemort really should have done to obtain immortality was find these stupid, forsaken items and become the Death King himself. Luckily, he was never unfortunate enough to have to take the task.

Like Harry.

"Well, alright then. I suppose I'll see you soon, then." Bid Harry, as Ryuk gave a low bow, before disappearing from sight completely, and leaving Harry to stare impassively at the red book in front of him.

The wizard was so entranced at the etched embroidery of gold around the solid red book, he hadn't even heard the footsteps padding up the stairs outside, until the portrait swung open.

"Harry?-! Oh, Harry, there you are. Thank goodness. Why on earth are you holed up here? We were all so worried…"

Harry allowed his best friend to pull him back down to the hall, wondering what she would think about this matter.

But he himself didn't have much time to think about it, as he was plunged head first into the affairs of fixing Hogwarts, and the Wizarding world at large.

In fact, he didn't think again on that red book until five years later.

I love cage (and you should too) and there will be quite a good selection of indie rock to be heard here. Also, don't expect much from this, I found it lying uselessly underneath the floorboards of my hard drive and after a deep excavation, and quite a bit of touching up, these old bones are finally out for everyone to see.

well, anyway, review, review, review, REVIEW or I may just exchange my soul for