Death's Door

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, I would be raising hell in the Carribean right now and would have built my own personal Hogwarts in the backyard of my mansion, wait the castle would be my mansion, in Britian, complete with a Forbidden Forest and all. If you ever hear of such a thing, you'll know who just bought the rights to the franchise.

Summary: Harry knew Death intimately, had known it his whole life almost like a friend. From the death of his unknown parents, to his less-than-stellar relatives, he had never known anything else. All he knew was that maybe it was his fault- his freakishness that caused it. But then something happens, and now it might not be his fault after all. Harry leaves, but what if Death decides to follow?

Chapter One: A Fire for my Family

The soft patter of rain drummed against a window in a steady low tune, constant as the flickering lights illuminating every drop of water in a bewitching array of shifting and reflecting colors. Outside, the night was pitch black, a howling wind accompanying the dark storm clouds that blotted out the moon.

One small finger was pressed firmly against the cool glass, barely reaching halfway up, but sticking as if it was glued there with such pressure that the end of the appendage was nearly white.

As one raindrop began to slide down the pane, the finger followed it, tracing its path down and leaving a streak mark in its wake. Similar streaks covered every inch of the window that could be reached; each ended at the bottom of the pane, or in some cases near the corner and side of the glass as far down as the finger could touch in the small space between the window and chair that was positioned in front of it. Some streaks were nearly faded entirely, while others still held lingering heat in them.

Suddenly a flash of lightning flared in the sky, filling the window in bright, blinding light, and the hand startled away with a small, fearful gasp. Thunderclaps roared not a second later and a child of no older than five tumbled from the chair. Large, calloused hands caught the boy, griping him under the armpits before he hit the ground.

"Are you okay, kid?" The voice was low and gruff, but thick with worry and impatience, not entirely the fault of the young boy's near fall.

Bright green eyes blinked widely out of a pale sunken face, colored with ivory skin flushed from fading fright. A small hand reached to grip the hem of the baggy shirt tightly, before he nodded slowly.

Matthew Pryce sighed heavily, bringing up his small, temporary charge to rest in his lap, away from the tottering chair. When the boy didn't as much as wriggle in annoyance, as most five-year olds would if his daughter was anything to go by, Matthew settled back down, slouching in his chair once more and bringing one hand up wearily to cover his face.

It was four in the morning, two-thirty, when he received the call. Working in the foster care system, he was used to the occasional impromptu call in the middle of the night to hear about the usual runaway that escaped their new foster family, or to grab a kid from an abusive home. It was, he thought, disgustingly common how often the former happened, but he was used to it. Not every kid got a warm, welcoming family and he couldn't take in every stray he was called in to rescue and he definitely couldn't beat the living daylights out of the undeserving 'families' of the forgotten souls.

But each time he felt like quitting, each time it felt like they were fighting an uphill battle, pushing up a boulder only for it to be shoved back down, he would take a look at the hope in the kid on his next case, or pull a picture of his little Cosie out of his wallet, all dimples and curls, and his passion would fire up once more. What he was doing had to be worth it.

But this…this was one of the times that even on the best of days had him drawn to a small shady bar and a glass of liquor on the counter, and this wasn't even the best of days. Matthew considered himself a strong man, but this had him so weary, so completely exhausted emotionally and physically that he doubted whether or not he'd be able to stand the next day, much less look at himself in the mirror.

The call was for a boy named Harry Potter. He lived at Number Four Private Dr. in Surrey, a small suburban home that had been identical to the dozens of other houses surrounding it. Harry was five years old, scrawny with messy raven hair that starkly contrasted his bright green eyes. And now, he might have to add orphan to the list- again.

The boy in question shifted slightly, finally showing some normal signs of discomfort in his baggy borrowed shirt that, despite being surrounded with the smell of medicine, still stank of smoke. His green eyes flitted up to meet Matthew's gaze before sliding away just as quickly, buried curiosity burning behind the polite obedience. Matthew was mildly surprised, if not a little perturbed, that the child hadn't asked any questions at all and, putting the initial shock and confusion aside, hadn't shown any signs of stress from what had just happened only hours ago. It was odd, he had thought, but then again he doubted whether or not Harry even knew what had happened.

"Mr. Pryce?" His head jerked up at the soft call. A nurse stood just down the hall, still standing in the doorway beneath a glowing sign reading 'ER'. Her eyes flicked to a much younger face, "Temporary guardian of Mr. Potter?" Matthew didn't move, instead keeping a wide-eyed gaze fixed on her, a silent question.

The nurse's, Martha he noted, shoulders slumped, a heavy burden dragging them further down as she cast a sorrowful look towards Harry. Matthew swallowed hard. She didn't make it. The words rang out across the hallway, despite them never having made it past her lips, almost as loud as the clacking heels stuttering towards him now.

"I'm sorry," the woman says quietly. "She coded on the table, there was too much smoke inhalation." He ignores her in favor of watching the small boy- orphan- now sliding off of his lap onto the ground. His face is drawn in slightly, confused, but he still doesn't speak.

"There's some paperwork you'll need to sign," Martha continues. He nods and stands, throwing a caustic what at the unfiltered curiosity brimming in the nurse's eyes. They drop, maybe ashamed he hopefully thinks, but she asks anyway, "I- well, if you don't mind me asking, what happened?" A furtive glance at the soot on Harry's face, the boy had drifted once again to the window flashing with lightening, and he knows she already has an idea.

"House fire," he grunts, "Not sure what started it yet. The husband and son were together upstairs, couldn't get out. They got Mrs. Dursley out from the bottom of the stairs." He'd never liked people who pried. It was rude.

Another glance, "And Harry?"

This time, Matthew looks too. Harry is sitting once again on the hospital chair, pressed against the window and watching, enraptured, as the sky lights up, painting shadows in the clouds and illuminating the grounds below. He's certainly disheveled, the baggy shirt they received from the neighbor next door to Number Four had caught the brief scent of smoke and the smell had festered in the fabric since. Soot still stuck to the pale skin resolutely, refusing to come off even when Matthew had scrubbed it down red with a rag. Harry certainly looked like he had been through a fire.

"Was outside when we got there, trying to get in the house actually."

Matthew could practically feel the woman melting next to him in maternal sympathy. "Oh, the poor dear. He was probably trying to get to his parents."

He thought it best not to mention that none of the now deceased family had the name 'Snuffles', "Aunt and Uncle actually."

Silence blanketed the hallway once more. After a moment, the nurse left. After another, Matthew Pryce crouched low towards Harry, drawing him closer with quiet whispers. One more and the child fell into the man willingly, sobbing against his shirt.

In soothing murmurs, Matthew drew the boy up with him, cradling him against his chest and with well practiced ease cards his fingers through the wild raven hair. It was time to leave. He had work to do- yet another kid to throw at yet another family- and a sweet daughter to go home too.

As they left the building, wind and rain from the storm smattering against them, Harry's hand reached over his shoulder and shook in a small wave at someone. Matthew glanced behind him and then, when he found nothing, up at the window he knew the streaks of childish fingers were; nothing. He shrugged it off. Probably just the nurse he thought fleetingly, turning away.

Harry glanced upwards from behind the car window once more, eyeing a window on the third floor curiously. The car jolted to life, rocking him forward slightly as he leant out of his seat. Shyly, Harry waves again.

A tall figure, garbed in a flowing black cloak, stared hauntingly back, illuminated against the light.

A/N: I feel so darn freaking aweful for starting yet another story! ARGH! Stupid muse! yeah, I'm having major writers block with almost every other piece of crappy work that has slipped through my supid head! Can you tell I'm frustrated? This is pretty much the only thing that has been sticking with me lately so I had to run with it. And honestly I wasn't even going to post it until I had like at least five chapters done. I have one...the one you just read...greeaattt, right?

So this is me wondering what would happen if the Avada Kedavra curse did just a teensie bit more than just give Harry a cool looking scar. And this would fit in great with the Deathly Hallows later. I promise I'll try working on my other stories (for they are numerous and forgotten) but its reeeaally difficult when I'm not getting much reviews.

So please review and tell me whether this 'Death' idea has any merit. I have yet to see a story like this, so I'm running with it. Please give me some critisism(see my grammer is horrible!) and let me know if you maybe wanta beta the crap out of this thing.