Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the Discworld series, I would be a far richer man if I did.
Summary: Harry Potter never imagined when he became the Master of Death that this would tangle him up in the age old battle between the Reaper and the Auditors, and that he would be forced to step into the shoes of Azreal, the Death of Universes
Authors note: this was simply an idea that came to me when I was reading a Harry Potter/Avengers cross over where Harry met Death and Death was like a humble servant to him, and I thought, how would the Death of the Disc react to Harry being the Master of Death, this, in turn, led me to think; "hang on, there's already a Master of Death in the Discworld canon" so, naturally, I thought, what if Harry took Azreal's place.
Currently this is just an idea, there is no plot to it at all right now, and I cannot commit myself to it since I want to crack on with my Chronicles of the Green Wizard thing, but this idea floated into my head and forced itself onto the page, so I thought I'd put it up anyway and see what reaction it gets.
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Three years had passed since the battle of Hogwarts and the death of Voldemort. The world had moved on. The nation had healed and was coming to terms with life after war.
Hogwarts, as always, had remained a constant. Unchanging in its fundamentals year after year, though the staff changed every once in a while, and the students change every year, it moved on as it always had, welcoming the new generations into its halls, nurturing their young minds and developing the talents within them that they would need to succeed in the future.
The Ministry, by contrast, had been in a considerably chaotic state and it had required all of Kingsley Shacklebolt's formidable energy and focus to push it through to some semblance of order. Shacklebolt had stood on no ceremony and promoted men and women he felt he could trust to help him restore the government to working order regardless of their background. It was no stretch of the imagination to say that Minister Shacklebolt had become the most popular political leader of the country in over fifty years.
As for our heroes, well, Hermione Granger was the only one who chose to return to Hogwarts to finish her education, which, being her, she passed with flying colours. Shortly thereafter she attained a job in the Minister in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she could expend her energies in one of her great passions, promoting the rights of the magical creatures such as House-Elves.
Ron Weasley chose not to finish his education but instead moved into the shop owned by his brother George and helped run Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Though this, it turned out, was only a temporary time of employment for he soon joined the Auror's department and became a well respected law enforcement officer. He never, truly, gave up his role in Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes however and could often be found in the shop on his days off.
And Harry Potter, the idol of the British Magical World, he too chose not to finish his education. Without hesitation he accepted Minister Shacklebolt's offer of a place in the Auror's Department, where he instantly became the new poster boy and was advancing through the ranks in quick order. During this time he place a great deal of responsibility on his own shoulder in regards to the welfare of his Godson Teddy Lupin, for he was determined that Teddy should not suffer the same fate he did and grow up without knowing his Godfather or anything about his parent. He has also begun to court Ginny Weasley and could not remember a time he had ever been happier.
Harry still lived in 12 Grimmauld Place, and though it did still hold some bad memories for him he was intent on replacing them with as many good memories as he could. In the spirit of this endeavour he had employed a team of cursebreakers to remove the portrait of Mrs Walburga Black from the hall and placed it deep inside one of his Vaults at Gringott's, there to gather dust and be forgotten. He held regular get-togethers with friends and family which served to fill the old house with the sound and sights of revelry. In the last few years, Gimmauld Place had turned from an unwelcoming house into a warm home and soon, ever so slowly, Harry was working up the courage to ask Ginny to move in with him.
This night we find Harry stumbling, as was his want, from the floo into the living room of his home after a long days work. He sighed as he collapsed into his armchair.
"Kreacher!" He called out, and listened with half an ear for the pop as the House-Elf entered the room.
"Master Harry Potter calls?" The old House-Elf said
Harry regarded him with some degree of fondness mixed in with his exhaustion "I've had a busy day at work; run me a bath would you, and could get me a drink while you're at it"
"Yes Master" Kreacher bowed and snapped his fingers, bringing glass chalice and a bottle of Firewhisky into the room
"Thank you Kreacher" Harry said as he accepted the bottle and chalice.
Kreacher looked somewhat abashed and mumbled "Master is too kind to Kreacher" before he popped away.
"Sure, sure" Harry mumbled in reply. House-Elves would never accept politeness from humans, they always thought themselves undeserving of it, and no matter how much Harry himself didn't agree with that idea the House-Elves themselves refused to change. He'd learnt not to argue with it.
He poured himself out a liberal amount of Firewhiskey before setting the bottle down on the table. He drank a mouthful of the strong liquor and settled down in his chair with a moan of contentment. He felt his eyes close as he began to drift off.
"Master?" Kreacher called as softly as he could and shook the wizard's shoulders. "You bath is ready Master"
Harry yawned as he rose from his chair. "Thank you." He said and ignored the abashed mumbling that followed. "How long was I asleep do you know?"
"Half an hour Master" The old Elf answered as he cleared away the Firewhiskey.
"Really?" Harry blinked the sleep out of his eyes. "So I have…what? Two, three hours before I have to pick up Ginny. Alright then. Just enough time to have a bath and relax properly. If I'm not out in twenty minutes give me a shout will you?"
"As Master Harry Potter wishes." Kreacher bowed once more.
"Oh! And can you lay out my best suit. Thanks. I want to look my best for tonight." Harry called as he walked out of the room. "I'm finally going to ask Ginny to move in with me."
"Kreacher will make them ready for you Master." He agreed with an eagerness that would have been more at home in a far younger Elf.
"Thanks again Kreacher. You're a lifesaver. I don't know what I'd do without you." Harry allowed himself a little smile as the sound of Kreacher's protest at such praise followed him.
Stripping the moment he entered the bath room he let out a moan as he settled into the water and allowed himself to be marinated in it. There was nothing quite like a hot bath to wash the aches and pains away. Though, of course, that was the Muggle side of him talking because wizards had obviously solved these problems with potions and salves, but they did not have quite the same enjoyment that soaking your body in a tub did.
He must have been there only ten minutes when Kreacher's voice disturbed him. "Master has a visitor." He said.
This time Harry let out a frustrated moan. "Cant it wait? I've only just got settled!"
"Kreacher does not think so Master. Master's guest was quite insistent." Kreacher, as was the habit of most of his kind, was not happy to have upset his master.
Harry let out a long sigh, closed his eyes and let his head fall back to rest against the side of the bath. "Alright. Show whoever it is into the living room and tell them to give me a few minutes to finish my bath then I'll come see to them." A mutter agreement from the House-Elf followed and Harry shook his head in frustration, then let loose and irritated sigh once more and moved to finish his wash.
Harry dressed in his best clothes, which Kreacher had laid out for him, and walked down the stairs. Still annoyed that his rest had been disturbed he was grumbling as he walked down the stairs. "I sware to god that if that's Robards then I'm going to curse him to hell and back, I don't care if he is my boss. My hours stop at six; he can't just come waltzing for any old rubbish."
In the living room there stood a very tall, robed figure, surveying the room. His back was to Harry, though, for some reason, he seemed to be carrying a scythe. Harry took notice of this but didn't much care about it at that moment. "Look, if you're from Robards you can tell him to go get stuffed! I finished my shift and I've got plans for the evening so I really cant go…" his words died on his tongue.
The figure turned around to face him and what was hidden within those robes was a large white skull, permanently grinning, with deep black holes in its eye-sockets and a glint of a strange multi-hued colour hidden deep within them
The words formed in his head unheard by his ears. Undoubtedly they came from the figure in front of him but they came strait into his mind as if they had been his own thoughts rather than those of his guest. Harry couldn't help but start. "Is this some kind of joke?"
I DON'T BELIEVE SO. I DO NOT HAVE THE BEST GRASP OF THE CONCEPT OF HUMOUR, THOUGH I HAVE TRIED. ALBERT THINKS I DO NOT HAVE THE TIMING RIGHT
"So if it's not a joke then what the hell is it?" Harry advanced upon the figure and sized him up. "Because I'm standing here and what you look like, and I'm sure you'll find it funny, what I'm seeing is the Grim Reaper stand in my living room. And I know that can't be true because there's no way that's even possible!"
WELL, IT MUST BE POSSIBLE, BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING
Harry scoffed and turned away to flop down in his armchair. "So you're Death are you? A big skeleton in a black robe with a scythe, how very cliché! Do you ride a flaming horse as well?"
Death shook his head and answered with a sigh. IT WAS TOO IMPRACTICAL. IT KEPT SETTING MY ROBES ON FIRE, NOT TO MENTION THE AMOUNT OF TIMES ITS STABLE BURNT DOWN. FIRE AND HAY DO NOT MIX WELL
Harry rolled his eyes and reached for his chalice and Firewhiskey, which Kreacher had helpfully anticipated might be required. "How very disappointing! Is it at least a skeleton horse?"
Death turned without movement, an odd trick but somehow he managed it, and lowered himself onto the sofa. I TRIED THAT ONCE BUT IT WAS FAR TOO AWKWORD AND UNCOMFORTABLE, AND IT HAD A TERRIBLE TENDENCY TO FALL TO BITS ON LONG JOURNEYS
"So what kind of horse do you have?" Harry asked as he poured himself another drink
A WHITE HORSE conceded Death with a tilt of his head
After a quick gulp of his liquor Harry answered in a deadpan voice "How boring, a plain ordinary white horse."
To this Death shrugged I WOULD NOT CALL BINKY ORDINARY
"Ha!" The laugh tore itself from Harry's throat unbidden. "Binky?! I never thought Death would have a horse called Binky!"
IT DOES QUITE ALTER THE WHOLE GRIM APPAREL THING I ADMIT, BUT BINKY IS MORE REAL THAN ANY HORSE YOU WILL EVER MEET
A disinterested look crossed Harry's face and he took another swig of his alcohol. "I'm sure. So what are you here for anyway? I doubt you've come to reap my soul."
Death merely turned his head to gaze to Harry's left, towards the door. THAT IS OUT OF MY JURISDICTION I'M AFRAID. I DO NOT HARVEST THIS WORLD
"But you're Death. How can you not have jurisdiction over this world? That's your job!" Harry demanded with a wave of his hand.
The reaper brought his hands up so the fingers steeple before him grinning jaw. THERE ARE MANY DEATHS IN THE MULTIVERSE MR POTTER. EACH INDIVIDUAL WORLD HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE…ANTHOPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION THAT REPRESENTS DEATH. BUT WE ALL ANSWER TO DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE, AZREAL. HE IS OUR MASTER, OR, RATHER, HE WAS
That bit of information caught Harry's attention. "Was? What do you mean 'was'?"
Death seemed almost ashamed to answer as he lowered he head and averted his gaze. AZREAL HAS…THERE IS NO CORRECT WAY TO SAY THIS IN YOUR TONGUE BUT I BELIEVE THE CLOSEST TERM WOULD BE…DIED. YES. THAT SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT. AZREAL HAS DIED
Harry scoffed again. "How can the universal death die? Surely, as death, and the master of all the deaths of the multiverse, he decides these things."
Death conceded this with a small shrug. I BELIEVE YOU ARE CORRECT. NEVERTHELESS HE HAS DIED
"Not that I believe you anyway, but how? How has this Azreal died?" Harry placed his elbow on the arm of the chair rested his chin on his palm.
Death raised his head and turned his inexpressive gaze once more to his host. AS I UNDERSTAND IT, IT IS SOMETHING TO DO WITH YOU, MR POTTER. A LONG TIME AGO AZREAL WAS SUMMONED TO YOUR WORLD AND BOUND TO IT. TO RETURN TO HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE IN REALITY HE WAS FORCED TO LEAVE BEHIND THREE ITEMS FOR THREE BROTHERS, ITEMS WHICH WERE FORGED FROM HIS VERY BEING
Waving his hands to cut off his guest there Harry interjected. "Wait. Are you talking about the Deathly Hallows? A cloak, a wand and a stone?"
IS THAT WHAT THEY ARE CALLED HERE? THEN I MUST BE. A CLOAK OF INVISIBILITY FORGED FROM THE UNSEEN INEVITABLITY OF DEATH THAT HANGS OVER LIFE. A STONE THAT SUMMONS THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD FORGED FROM THE COMPLETE MASTERY DEATH MAINTAINS OVER LIFE. A WEAPON OF EXTROADINARY POWER FORGED FROM THE IMMEASUREABLE POWER AT THE REAPERS COMMAND. THESE COMBINED REPRESENTED ALL THAT THE REAPER WAS
Harry scratched the side of his head. "Ok. I think I understand a bit now. When I became master of the Deathly Hallows I somehow messed up the death of the universe. But what can I do about it? It's not like I can just throw them away."
THAT IS A QUESTION I CANNOT ANSWER. BUT THE UNIVERSE CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT AZREAL. LIFE CANNOT CONTINUE IF DEATH HAS NO MASTER
"So…you're saying I have to take up Azreal's job." Harry gave him a look like he had just grown five extra heads.
Slowly placing his arms down by his side Death sat bolt upright and tilted his head. I DO NOT KNOW IF THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST. YOU ARE HUMAN. THOUGH YOU MAY CONTROL THESE…DEATHLY HALLOWS, AS YOU CALL THEM, YOU ARE STILL MORTAL AND WILL ONE DAY DIE
Harry placed his drink back on the side table, then leant forward and gave Death the best glare he could muster "So what do you want?"
Again, Death tilted his head, and then he sat for a few minutes in silence. Harry could feel the cogs of his theoretical mind spinning. I THINK, THAT, WHAT THE UNIVERSE NEEDS, FOR THE MOMENT AT ANY RATE, IS, IF YOU'LL PARDON THE TERM, A SUBSTITUTE DEATH
This caused the wizard to roll his eyes and sit back with a huff. "And you think I should be it."
IT IS THE LOGICAL CHOICE. YOU HAVE THE POWER OF AZREAL AND THIS SHALL BECOME MORE APPARENT IN DUE COURSE. BUT I WOULD NOT SUGGEST TAKING THE JOB ON A FULL TIME BASIS. I WOULD MERELY SUGGEST YOU HOLD IT UNTIL AZREAL CAN BE RESTORED
Again Harry waved proceedings to a halt. "Wait, wait. You said Azreal was dead. How can he be 'restored' if he's dead?"
DEATH DOES NOT MEAN THE SAME THING TO AN INCOPOREAL BEING OF THE UNIVERSE THAT IT MEANS TO A MORTAL MAN. ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATIONS WILL ALWAYS EXIST IN SOME FORM. THE TRICK IS TO KNOW HOW TO PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER
"Alright, so, you want me to stand in for the Death of Deaths until he brings himself back to life. Does that sound as crazy to you as it sounds to me?" He shot Death and inquiring look but faced with the ultimate poker face he could do little but give up with a sigh "Right. Never mind. So what if I said yes? What would I have to do?"
YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE AZREAL
This was far from revealing and Harry felt justified in spreading his arms out in an imploring gesture. "But what did Azreal do?"
Death turned his gaze to the ceiling and stared at it as if he could see through it and beyond it to the depths of the Universe, and he probably could. AZREAL WAS THE MASTER OF DEATH. AZREAL WAS OUR LORD. AZREAL SET THE RULES. AZREAL MADE US WHAT WE WERE, WHAT WE ARE, AND WHAT WE SHOULD REMAIN. AZREAL WAS DEATH AND LIFE AND EVERYTHING INBETWIXT AND INBETWEEN
Harry regarded him with a critical gaze. "So Azreal was this all important figure in the universe that kept life going and told the Reapers what they were?"
"But Azreal is dead. So what happens with the Reapers?" The wizard asked and brought his hands together.
I DO NOT KNOW. BUT I FEAR THAT NOT ALL DEATHS ARE QUITE AS…HUMAIN AS I.
"So, basically, you need someone to keep the other Deaths in line until your boss gets back." Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes again as he once more fell back into the expanses of his chair.
IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING conceded the reaper with the barest movement of his shoulders.
Harry shook his head and felt his anger swell. "I've got a life to live you know! I can't just up sticks and leave for any old emergency. I was finally getting my life on track. I had a date with Ginny tonight, and a promotion at work all lined up, and now you expect me to just disappear at a moments notice. What about my life?!"
Death was unmoved by the passionate plea. WITHOUT AZREAL THERE WILL NO LIFE
The wizard slammed his fist on the chairs arm. "Alright already! Give it a rest! I didn't say I wouldn't do it, but I'd like some information first. Like, do I have to go anywhere? Or how long I'd have to do it."
YOU WOULD NOT HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE BUT BE EVERYWHERE
"You do know that's totally vague right?" he scoffed.
IT IS WHAT IT IS. DEATH IS EVERYWHERE BUT THE PERSONIFICATION OF DEATH CAN BE ANYWHERE
With a tired sigh Harry responded. "Great. So how long is this thing supposed to last?"
UNTIL AZREAL IS RESTORED spoke Death without a single hint of irony
"And when will that happen?" he attempted again.
WHENEVER THE TIME IS RIGHT answered the reaper in the exact same tone as before.
Harry sent him a glare. "You are so not helping! Fine! Whatever! Lets try this a different way. What does Azreal need to be 'restored'?"
Death once more sat in silence as he contemplated the best way to answer. After what felt like hours he finally answered. AZREAL IS, IN SOME RESPECTS, A GOD, AND GODS EXIST THROUGH THE POWER OF BELIEF. BUT AZREAL DIFFERS IN THAT HE DOES NOT REQUIRE THE BELIEF OF MORTAL BEINGS TO EXIST BUT THE BELIEF OF THE REAPERS. HE HAS LOST THIS AND MUST RECLAIM IT
This was incomprehensible to Harry so he was force, by mere curiosity if nothing else, to say; "But if he was the boss of the Reapers, their master and whatever, how could they not believe in him? They must know he exists."
Harry got the strange sensation that Death sent him an exasperated look, though how he could tell with that frozen face was a mystery. KNOWING IS NOT THE SAME AS BELIEVING
"I don't follow."
Again, in a strangely human move, Death seemed to sigh. I SHALL ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN. A SIMILAR SITUATION WOULD BE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAGICAL AND NON-MAGICAL BEINGS IN THIS WORLD. HERE PEOPLE KNOW MAGIC EXISTS BUT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN IT. THEY DO NOT KNOW ABOUT WIZARDS AND THE SPELLS THEY PERFORM, THEY THINK OF MAGIC AS A PARLOUR TRICK FOR ENTERTAINMENT. THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MAGIC IS REAL
Once more an abortive silence descended, this time as Harry worked out the comparison. "So what you're saying is that the Deaths all over the universe know that Azreal exists but they don't believe that he's really there. So what do they think he is?"
THEY BELIEVE HIM TO BE THE OLDEST REAPER BUT NOT THE LORD OF THE REAPERS. THEY BELIEVE HIM TO HAVE BEEN THE FIRST BUT NOT THE END. THEY BELIEVE HIM…EXCHANGEABLE
"Exchangeable? With what?"
ANYONE OF THEM
Again Harry scoffed. "That's…that's stupid! You can't just replace a god with some guy!"
Death regarded him for a moment. YOU DID. THAT IS THE PROBLEM
Harry sat bolt up-right and felt his face flush with anger. "What?! I'm not a god!"
WHILE YOU HOLD THE POWER OF AZREAL YOU ARE THE PHYSICAL EMBODIMENT OF THE, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, GOD OF DEATHS. YOU HAVE REPLACED AZREAL WHETHER YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT OR NOT. BUT A MORTAL DEATH GOD IS NOT SOMETHING THE UNIVERSE CAN SUSTAIN.
"Oh fine! I don't have a bloody choice in the matter do I?" Harry really saw no point in arguing further, it didn't matter what he wanted, the universe had already conspired against him.
THERE IS NO NEED TO GET UPSET
"Really?! Some stupid skeleton comes from some alien world and tells me I'm the god of death and I have to give up my life to fill in until the old god gets a grip! And you think there's no need to get upset! You've ruined my life!" Harry shouted as he stood from his seat and pointed an accusing finger at Death.
After a moments silence Death spoke. I THOUGHT THE STUPID SKELETON REMARK WAS UNCALLED FOR
Harry gave a dismissive snort. "…maybe. But I'm not sorry for it. If I have to do something like this then I'm damn sure not going to be happy about it."
BEING HAPPY WOULD NOT SUIT THE JOB ANYWAY
"Oh shut up!" the wizard said and at last finished off the Firewhiskey in his chalice with one large gulp. "Let me just tell my friends what's happening then we get this thing over and done with then I can get back to my life."
PERHAPS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND FULLY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE. THE JOB WILL FIND YOU Death rose in one movement and held out his hand, to which his scythe flew and stuck fast. I MERELY WISHED TO OFFER YOU A FEW WORDS OF WARNING. WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DO WITH THEM IS YOUR CHOICE.
Harry sent him a glare again. "So what are you going to do while I'm playing Death god? Going to go back to your world and carry on as if nothing's changed?"
I HAVE MATTERS THAT I MUST ATTEND TO said Death spared him a glance. THESE WILL KEEP ME BUSY FOR A WHILE. I AM SORRY THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED, AND I AM SORRY THAT I CAN BE OF NO GREAT HELP TO YOU. THOUGH I AM SURE YOU WILL DO AN…ADEQUETE JOB.
"Yeah, sure, whatever" Harry replied dismissively.
FAREWELL, MR POTTER. With that Death gave a whistle and a blindingly white horse cantered through the wall then stopped before the reaper. Death swung himself up onto its saddle. COME BINKY he said and as soon as he said it he was gone.
Harry stood in an empty room, with the sound of hoof beat ringing in his ears and sighed. Once more he flopped down into his chair and turned his gaze to the three-quarter full bottle of Firewhiskey, which was become more temping by the minute.
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/\/\End Chapter One/\/\
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