Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Bleach or Harry Potter. They belong to Tite Kubo and J.K Rowling, I'm just borrowing them for my amusement!
Warnings: Slash/yaoi (male/male pairing), post DH (no epilogue), MAJOR AU, violence, language, dark themes, Stockholm Syndrome, mental/emotional manipulation, attempted rape, sexual situations, some OOC and other things that I'll list later.
Pairings: Ulquiorra/Harry, one-sided Nnoitora/Harry, might be more later
Awake and Alive
I'm awake, I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life
Right here, right now
I'll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake and I'm alive
There was a rancid stench in the air that mixed with the scent of smoke and it was only when Harry gazed around himself that he realized he smelled burning flesh. As far as the eye could see, there were bodies; men, women, children, it didn't matter. There was no discrimination in death; seemed like Voldemort shared the same idea. But these were innocent people, students he had gone to school with, teachers he had seen every day. Why did they have to die? What had any of them done to deserve such a fate?
Because Voldemort was cruel, he thought, because he knew nothing of compassion or the value of a life. If you opposed him or his views, he saw you as the enemy and set about trying to eliminate you. Harry hated him, hated all that he stood for and what he had done. Now because of him, people were dead and Hogwarts could no longer be his home. Not when so many bodies littered the grounds, staining the lush grass red as their life drained away and they became cold.
If only he had been strong enough, more competent than perhaps he could have saved them or at least prevented so many from dying. Why did they have to suffer for his mistakes, for his lack of knowledge? If only he had known the truth, had been informed early on perhaps he could have made a difference somehow. He could have made different choices, planned things better or been more cautious. They say ignorance is bliss and maybe for most it was, but for someone who was the center piece of a war, it wasn't. Ignorance got people killed, destroyed lives and left the world shattered.
Harry held his head, feeling his scar throb. Voldemort was gone, the last of his spirit had fled from his body yet it still hurt. For a brief moment, Harry wondered if perhaps his scar missed that shard of darkness and if it did, what did that say about him? It was rather morbid to think about, but it was there.
Sighing, he once more gazed out at the carnage watching as fires consumed parts of the forest casting its light over the field. He was positive that this moment, this image would forever be burned into his mind like a brand; a reminder to never forget what he saw and did. He could never forget the lives he had failed to protect, the innocent people that didn't deserve the fate that was handed to them.
"Now what do I do?" he wondered aloud, his voice gravely and sore from lack of water and too much smoke. It grated on his nerves a little to be perfectly honest.
There was a sigh, a whisper of the wind as it brushed him from behind. The glow of the fires seemed to dull as their light was replaced by silvery white, like that of the moon. Frowning as he glanced around him, Harry tried to make sense of sudden change of atmosphere. Feeling movement at his feet, he looked down watching in confusion as white sand brushed at his ankles as it trickled from behind him.
"What the bloody hell?" he murmured. Turning around, Harry's eyes widened as he took in the scenery before him. All around was nothing but white sand with a few pathetic twig looking trees encompassed in a dark sky.
In the distance were grand white buildings that towered over everything else while a crescent moon hung over head. What was strange was that there were no stars in the sky, just that moon and the inky blackness. Glancing over his shoulder, Harry was even further shocked by the fact that he was no longer on the grounds of Hogwarts, his eyes taking in nothing but more sand and trees.
Warily, Harry tightened the grip on his wand as he did another sweep of his surroundings trying to locate anything out of place. But the flapping of wings drew his attention from his search as he focused back toward the towering buildings. Squinting his eyes, Harry could make out a figure as it flew over the largest dome shaped building, circling it a few times before deciding to land.
"What is it?" he thought. Harry wondered if it was some sort of magical creature, but he couldn't tell from the distance. All he knew is that it looked somewhat human although its limbs were rather long and gangly looking; it also had long white horns and huge black wings along with a cord like tail. Its upper body was white, but its limbs were black as well as the top of its head; it almost looked like hair.
Something in him screamed to run, to flee from this creature's sight but Harry felt frozen. His legs wouldn't move, wouldn't heed the call of his instincts. He nearly gasped when the creature seemed to disappear without warning and Harry finally twitched. Swiftly turning around to bolt, he didn't get far before he found himself crashing into something cool and solid. He let out a startled sound as a tail grasped him around his waist and he realized he was standing in front of the creature.
Opening his mouth to call out a spell, Harry coughed as a hand suddenly clasped around his throat, not enough to cut off his breathing but to halt any noise and keep him still. Harry began to struggle hoping to at least somehow slip its hold, but long fingers grasped his chin and his face was forced to tilt back as his vision was suddenly filled with a pair of eyes. They were strange, otherworldly perhaps in their coloring. The eyes themselves were a yellow, almost like a cat's but the whites of the eyes were a deep shade of green instead.
Harry could only stare into those eyes, feeling compelled by them somehow and he didn't know why. It frightened him that he couldn't move, that he was held immobile by the power of this creature. All he could do was breathe as those eyes studied him with only the faintest hint of curiosity. Harry let out a startled sound when those hands released his throat and chin only to curl themselves around his waist as he was pulled closer, almost possessively.
Still he wouldn't move, couldn't find the will to do so. It was almost as if he was under the Imperius Curse, a puppet awaiting orders. Even when those large wings began to cocoon themselves around them, Harry couldn't look away. He was lost in those eyes and he wasn't sure he wanted to be free of them.
Reaching out hesitantly, he whispered, "Who are you?"
The creature gazed at him, nearly leaning into the human's warm hand before it tilted its face closer and with a soft breath replied, "I am war."
Harry jolted awake and blinked rapidly as he glanced around trying to figure out where he was. It was a moment later that his sluggish mind caught up with him as he realized what was going on. He was no longer upon the desolate battle field that had been Hogwarts, but at the Burrow sleeping among the remains of the Weasley family. Rubbing his eyes and yawning, Harry reached for his watch as it sat near his pillow and checked the time. He frowned when he realized it was barely fifteen past seven in the morning.
So much for sleep but he should be too surprised. He had been having trouble getting decent rest for a nearly a week now although he was sure he wasn't the only one. Yet it couldn't be helped, everything was still too fresh in his mind and it would most likely linger in his dreams for quite a while. War wasn't something you could erase. But they struggled on, taking one day at a time. It wasn't easy, yet it was all they could do.
Deciding that he wasn't going to get back to sleep any time soon, Harry climbed out of bed quietly paying no mind to Ron who snored from the other side of the room. He merely went about the motions of changing and slipping on his shoes before heading downstairs. At first he thought that he was the only one awake, but as he drew near the living room he detected the faint creak of rocking. Curious, he poked his head through the doorway spotting the source of the noise.
Andromeda Tonks sat upon a rocking chair near the fire, her features set in deep sorrow and exhaustion. Cradled in her arms was his godson, little Teddy Lupin, who squirmed and quietly fussed in his fitful sleep while his hair changed a variety of colors. To be honest, both of them look fatigued and Harry frowned.
Even though he was sure that Andromeda was more than capable of taking care of Teddy, he was positive that the older witch was most likely suffering from a severe bout of depression. After all, she had just lost her only daughter not a week ago. It seemed like she was barely functioning enough to survive hence why Mrs. Weasley had offered to let her stay at the Burrow for a while. Everyone was more than willing to offer assistance, but they were also dealing with their own problems and losses. It was a very difficult time for all of them.
Adjusting his glasses, Harry walked over to Andromeda making sure to appear in her line of sight. No need to startle her after all. Quietly, he called out, "Mrs. Tonks?"
Blinking her eyes as if she awoke from a dream, Andromeda glanced up taking a moment to focus on Harry. She tilted her head slightly, "Harry, what are you doing here?"
"Woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Thought I'd come down and take a moment to myself," he replied.
"How long have you been up?"
She hummed thoughtfully, "I'm not sure. I couldn't sleep and then Teddy woke up so I came down here to rock him back to sleep."
Harry's brows furrowed with concern. Chances were that Andromeda probably didn't sleep last night which means it would be the second night in a row and the teen wizard knew that it wouldn't be good for her health. Shuffling a little closer, as if handling a skittish animal, Harry stated, "You should probably get some sleep Mrs. Tonks. You haven't in a while and it's not good for you."
"But Teddy needs me."
"I can take care of him," he offered, "You taught me how. And plus Mrs. Weasley will most likely be up soon so he'll be in good hands."
Andromeda seemed hesitant but Harry was patient as he waited. After a minute, the woman nodded and tenderly settled Teddy into his godfather's arms, brushing a stray hair out of his face. Murmuring a quiet thanks, she silently walked out of the room and headed up the stairs. Harry strained to listen, holding his breath until he sighed when he heard the door to Andromeda's room close. He really was concerned about her, but there was little he could do. It was something she would have to deal and come to terms with.
"I can only hope that having Teddy will give her the strength to keep going," he prayed, settling himself in the rocking chair. It still felt a little odd to hold Teddy when he was rather young and small, but Harry was growing used to it the more he did it. Sometimes he just held his godson because it brought him peace and comfort, reminded him of what he fought for.
"I don't know what I'd do without you cub," he admitted softly placing a kiss on his forehead, "You and everyone else are what give me purpose." Teddy sighed faintly as he began to finally relax, earlier restlessness disappearing as his hair faded from a vibrant red to a powdery blue. It pleased Harry because he was sure that Teddy was picking upon on all their restiveness and it was affecting his own sleep as well.
"Looks like no one in this house is really getting much rest huh?" he thought, enjoying the rocking motion of the chair.
For a while the house as still and calm with only the monotonous creaking of the rocking chair filling the void. Nothing stirred as Harry listened to his godson breathe and watched through the window as the sun began to peak over the horizon of trees casting the living room in a warm golden glow. Moments like this allowed Harry to relax, reminded him that he was alive and that somehow, someway he had survived. That despite the guilt, pain and horrors he had witnessed, it had been worth it in the end.
"Even if it was worth it, part of me wishes that I had been able to save more people," Harry thought somberly. Too many good people had died when they didn't have to; men, women, children. Innocent people who were unlucky enough to get caught in the cross fire because Voldemort didn't believe in mercy. He didn't care, everyone was fair game to him if they didn't believe in his ideals. Sometimes thinking about it now made Harry sick. It was enough to briefly wish the bastard was alive again just so Harry could kill him again.
In fact, it was almost annoying how things ended. Death was too quick, too good for someone like Voldemort. The snake had maimed, tortured and broke so many people before his end, it only seemed fair that he should have suffered the same fate. But what was done, was done. Harry couldn't change it no matter how much he wanted to. And even then, torturing Voldemort wouldn't have made anything right. It wouldn't have brought his parents, Sirius, Remus, Tonks or anyone else back.
"I guess all I can do now is take it one day at a time and hope that eventually it'll get better," he thought as he shifted Teddy in his arms. That's all he had to do, just keep moving forward. After all, he had a lot to live for. He had his friends, Teddy and perhaps one day someone to spend his life with. It would just take time. He would live on, continue to exist and carry the memories of those who had sacrificed themselves for their world; he would tell their tales and remind people what they lost in order to achieve what they gained in exchange.
Feeling Teddy nuzzle into his chest, Harry smiled faintly and stroked some hair aside as he continued to rock the infant in his care. His thoughts briefly strayed to Remus and Tonks which caused his heart to clench. Teddy was like him now, they shared the same past. But he would never allow his godson to live the life he did, to endure the hatred and the pain that haunted his childhood.
He would be there for Teddy, love him with everything in his heart. He would guard him until he could stand on his own power. Closing his eyes, Harry pressed his lips to Teddy's forehead and indistinctly whispered, "I promise I'll watch over you cub, you and the rest of our family."
Teddy merely cooed inaudibly as he continued to sleep while Harry watched over him, neither aware of the plans that was setting their new fates into motion. For now, the young savior was oblivious to the threat that loomed as a hungry gaze bore into his flickering image, the hologram in the middle of the long table wavering for a second. But it didn't bother the watcher who merely continued to observe the boy hero.
"So that's him Taicho?" a sly voice questioned.
At the end of the long table sat a figure in white. His face, which was handsome and slightly angular, was cradled by a large hand with long fingers. The man was around mid age with brown hair combed back tidily and brown eyes that appeared benevolent. But those who knew better could see the cunning darkness, the greed and ambition in those eyes.
Standing behind his chair was another male. His features were much sharper, betraying his cunning personality. Some would compare him to a fox with his narrowed eyes and his lips stretched in a wide smile. Both his skin and hair were pale, the flaxen locks nearly silver in coloring. He too was dressed in white much like the man that sat, but it was obvious who was in power.
"Yes, that's him Gin," the first replied.
"Rather young isn't he?" Gin stated.
"This is true, but don't let his appearance fool you."
"Oh I won't. I've seen what he can do," Gin chuckled recalling how not that long ago he had been sent to spy on Harry, "But still, it's a little surprising when you think of how much power is contained within that child."
"Hmmm," the other hummed thoughtfully. Gin did have a point, he wouldn't deny that. After all, Harry was an exceptional wizard for one his age. But that wasn't all that held his attention. There was Harry's other gift, an extraordinary ability that only the teen wizard's closest companions knew of. It was an ability that defied even the will of the gods.
"But it's amusing to see you obsess over little Harry-chan," Gin chuckled.
"Oh? How so?"
Gin smirked, "Well some people might take it the wrong way. After all, he's still a boy and you're a grown man Aizen. I find it hilarious personally."
The man, Aizen, chuckled darkly, "Well he certainly is a sight to behold. But I'm more interested in his powers than his body."
And it was true. Aizen had always held a fascination for the Wizarding World and its occupants. Since first discovering it, the former Shinigami had dedicated much of his time to learning what he could about the compelling humans and their culture. But none had enthralled him more than Harry Potter, a blessed child of fate. And Aizen wanted that power within his ranks, if he could bring Harry to his side then his command would be absolute.
"Well since you seem rather adamant about bringing Harry-chan to Las Noches, what exactly is your plan Aizen?" Gin questioned curiously although he already had a pretty good idea. After all, his master was a genius and a strategist.
"You will know soon enough Gin. But first I must finish with my preparations."
"Aww, no fun," Gin complained pouting a little. Aizen merely chuckled his eyes continuing to linger upon Harry as the young man stood from his chair and moved to greet Molly Weasley, a slumbering Teddy still nestled in his arms. It really wouldn't take much to convince Harry to join him, everything just had to be in place for it to happen.
"Your war isn't over yet Harry Potter," Aizen thought, "In fact, it's only begun."
Alrighty, here's the new version! Yay! I'm sure some of you noticed the same dream sequence from the old story and just to warn you I will be taking snippets from that version to add to this one. My excuse is that I did like some parts and still want to include them. But this story will still be quite different or at least I hope it'll be. We'll see won't we?
Also another thing, not sure when I'll post chapter two although it's almost done. Just need to flesh it out a little more. But it'll probably be a while because while I'm rather motivated now the writing itself is still coming along slow. Plus I have shit I have to deal with in RL and other stories I need to focus on too. So just don't expect swift updates, but you will get them.
You guys know the routine! Review! Thanks!