A/N: Chapter last edited on 12/9/19 (M/D/Y)
Harry the Reaper
The Ethereal Council
Previously on Harry the Reaper:
Harry laughed at first, a small smile of his own on his face, but then simply nodded nervously. He didn't really want to be here but something told him he didn't have a choice in the matter. A second later the huge double doors groaned and opened.
It was time to face the music…whatever that meant.
And now the continuation:
The two white double doors opened slowly with a soft creak to reveal a gigantic oval-shaped, white, ceiling-less, cloud themed, multi-leveled and multi-ringed enclosure in a sea of bright whiteness, filled from top to bottom with rows upon rows of solid, yet still fluffy looking, floating clouds for as far as his eyes could see.
If someone had asked Harry at that moment to find a way to describe what he was seeing then he would probably have said it looked like a massive multilayered stadium... similar to the ones he had sometimes seen on television while peaking through a hole from his cupboard. Only this 'stadium', for lack of a better word to describe it, was made out of of clouds instead of bricks and steel and it reached high up, far into the sky. Far higher than would normally have been possible. Except, there was no sky to be seen, only a vast open space of misty white. It was as if you were standing in an enclosure surrounded by fog.
Dignitaries of all shapes and sizes of all elements imaginable sat, rested, swam or in some cases even flew on what seemed like fluffy, yet solid clouds in a sea of whiteness. Some were solid, others were made completely out different elements. Some were made out of fire, others water, some were dark, some bright, some red, others blue, others again were even multicolored, while others were nearly see-through, like ghosts. All in all it was an amazing sight and each individual had a perfect view of the center of the entire stadium and towards the doors where he had just entered.
At the very moment Harry entered the vast majority of these individuals had turned to look at him expectantly. An act which proved to be too much for Harry to handle.
Harry, having already been close to being overwhelmed before entering, suddenly found a whole stadium of people and creatures look at him with interest. An act which made him freeze in terror. At that moment Harry was quite literally shocked senseless and he started to shake and hyperventilate. There was no other way to describe the sudden fear which suddenly gripped him. And who could blame him. He was but a child. Most adults would have felt nerves the size of a whale in such a situation. For a boy who had spent most of his life in a cramped cupboard, it was simply too much and far too soon for him to comprehend.
At that moment, as he felt countless eyes fall on him, studying him. He felt like running. He wanted to be far away. Anywhere but where he currently stood. He was so terrified that, for a second, he wished he was back in the darkness of his cupboard.
Wanting nothing more than to turn around and run, to flee, he was about to do just that, consequences be damned, when the doors he had entered through suddenly vanished to be replaced by nothing but thin air, leaving him standing in the center of the vast enclosure with nowhere left to run. Leaving him at the combined merciless mercy of the crowd.
Gulping, his knees shaking, feeling extremely weak and at the onset of a nervous breakdown, hoping, praying to any deity in existence, that it would all be over soon and to take him away, he closed his eyes. He didn't want to be here. He didn't know what to do. All he wanted at that moment was for someone, anyone to help him.
Then, suddenly, as if sensing his unease, as if by divine intervention - which it probably was - his prayers were answered and Harry suddenly felt all his nerves and worries melt away. One second they were there, then, the next they were gone... or rather muted, replaced with a near indescribable calmness.
Reopening his eyes in surprise, it was only then, at that moment, that he noticed another area in this huge stadium. One which he was sure had not been there moments before but most definitely existed now.
Near the center of the stadium, on a raised dais, multiple glowing beings could clearly be seen.
While the other beings so far had been a sight to behold, these new beings brought the pure bright lights and different glowing colours to even greater heights of pure majestic, dare he say it... godly grandness.
There, sitting in front of him on huge thrones and studying him with critical eyes, filled with age and wisdom, radiating what could only be described as pure and simple majestic godliness, were several beings of such overwhelming power and in some cases beauty, that it made him feel light-headed and downright nauseous.
Even then, none of them were anything compared to two other beings sitting right at the complete center of the dais, on two slightly larger raised thrones, one made out of pure bright light, the other made completely out of dark shadows. One of the two was so bright that Harry could barely make out its shape and he had to shield his eyes from it. It was like the purest white light he had ever seen.
The other, a complete opposite of the first, was surrounded in a pitch black cloud of darkness, darkness so dark that it seemed to suck all light into it and was kept only at bay by the brightness of the one beside it. Immature thunder bolts forming around the darkness, but seemed to be kept from escaping by sheer will power alone, leaving only the beings head visible. From the top of the beings head sprouted two red horns. It was these horns which finally brought Harry out of his stunned stupor and back into reality. Seeing them, Harry paled even further than his dead body usually allowed. Quite a feat considering he was already pure white from being dead and nearly see through to begin with. Instinctively he knew, he just knew who that figure was. How could he not. And if that being was who he thought it was, then... then... the other had to be...
Had he not been dead and already calmed by divine intervention, he would most definitely have fainted.
Seeing that Harry was finally present and... relatively calmed down, a fancily dressed man who looked positively ancient and who was standing on a second raised platform not far away from the main dais stepped forward and proceeded to bang an enormous staff, at least twice his size, on to the ground, three times.
Each time the staff hit the ground the ground shook causing a small miniature crater to appear where the staff had hit, only for each crater to close up just as suddenly as it appeared a second later.
At the same time three small bolts of lightening flew away from the staff at a 70 degree arc into the white sky, each time emitting three very loud claps of thunder. Each blast rocked the stadium and quietened the crowds to a mere whispered hush. Each time Harry had to force himself from covering his ears and stepping back a few steps.
That done the man proceeded to bow to the now obvious gods before proceeding to turn four times, once to each of the four corners of the stadium, where he proceeded to briefly dip his head to the delegation in a slightly less extravagant bow each time, before turning to face Harry where he bowed once more, only this time to him, an act which greatly surprised Harry who had not expected anything like that to happen.
That done the being paused for a second and looking straight at Harry he gestured towards a third and final raised dais. "Please stand before the alter of the gods and wait to be acknowledged," the being said.
Gulping, not knowing what else to do, but realising that he was evidently expected to stand on the third and final dais, in clear view of all of the gods, Harry moved forward, slowly, timidly before he stood on the third and final raised platform, directly facing the dais filled with gods.
That done the being with the staff turned one last time to face the gods once more, where he proceeded to bow one last final time. Only then did he start to speak again.
It was a command which made everybody in the whole stadium, that is all but the gods, stand from their respective clouds, turn towards said gods and briefly bow in respect. Those who were flying, or swimming on their clouds or those who did not have the ability to stand, simply bowed in their respective way.
Harry, not wanting to offend or do anything wrong, quickly followed.
The second command, though this time it sounded more like a request than an actual command, caused everybody who could to sit back down.
Taking a moment to look around for a chair Harry noticed a small cloud which seemed to be waiting for him nearby. Shrugging slightly, and seeing everybody else sit on clouds Harry did the same.
Only then did the man continue to speak.
"Hear ye, hear ye, in compliance to the powers invested in me by the gods, I herewith announce a new sitting of the ethereal supreme council in process. Today's main topic: the destiny of the recently deceased prophecy child known as Harry James Potter. Lesser topics and votes concerning ghost rights, the M.Y.S.T directive and the newly proposed spirit amusement parks, as well as any other minor topics, will follow the main …."
For the next few minutes Harry's just stared. His overtaxed mind was frantically trying to comprehend what it was he was seeing and what was being said. Visions of strange and wondrous things (most where of the not so good kind) of what could happen to him kept interfering with his thoughts. Then the next Harry knew, the gods seemed to be deliberating about what to do with him.
A god which Harry now understood was called Death, who actually was not just called death, but who actually was 'the' Death, as in Death in all ways that mattered, was currently in the process of explaining why 'he' - 'Harry', was supposed to be dead and that yes, there had been no mistake and that it really was his time. A fact which was seemingly contested by another god. Had it not been such an important issue he would have found it interesting, even amusing. However at that moment he was anything but amused. This was after all his life...or rather his death which they were discussing. Or was it? Listening to the godly debate he wasn't so sure.
"That's all fine and good, I can see why you may be against the motion, really I do, but I must insist, dead is dead. There can be no way around it. It is after all the order of things. It has always been this way and it really was his time. So no, I won't make an exception for him when others of far greater importance to the mortal world have not been granted the same request. I, Death, will not, I repeat… I can not with good conscience and without abusing my powers allow the reinsertion of the once mortal named Harry James Potter into his prior, now cold and stiff remains." With those words, the entity known as Death, who had been standing on a cloud, which had zoomed closer to the center of the stadium to the speakers dais to be acknowledged, sat back down on his throne behind him.
Seeing that Death had finished another god stood up.
"The council recognizes Fate, the great decider of destinies," said the being known as 'the chair of wisdom, the speaker of the council' who had opened the council meeting earlier.
Fate waited for her cloud to move to the speakers dais then, the moment she was facing Death on his own cloud, she proceed to speak, her voice elevated so that it could be clearly heard all over the whole enclosure.
"Your most honourable holiness, Lord Death…I would like to remind you that it has never been your task to decide the destiny of mortals. That has always been my task and mine alone. Your task is and has always been to collect those destined to die at the end of their moral lives and to govern those already dead. The faith of mortals not yet dead however remains mine to control and decide. I recognize that it is your divine right to decide the ends of all things mortal at the end of their lives but it is only once I have decreed it to be so. Furthermore, as your godliness may know, I, Fate, have created a prophecy as is my godly right, prophesying the imminent vanquishing of the Dark One named Riddle, by the hands of the one named Harry James Potter. As such, said deceased mortal has my extended protection. As such he can not be allowed to die. By removing him from his mortality before his appointed time, a time named by prophecy, you have damned the world of Mortals to darkness and despair. This can not be allowed to happen and by my godly right I will not accepted it. As such I dem… I request a different solution or at the very least a compromise to our common problem."
"Permission to speak privately with her most honorable godliness," Death asked from his seat, looking towards the 'chair of wisdom', otherwise known as the council speaker.
"The council recognizes and agrees with your request. Lord Death, the great remover of all things, you may stand and join Fate, the decider of destiny and lady of prophesy in the private chamber. The council shall now take a short recess," said the speaker, before hitting the ground three times, each time releasing a loud clap of thunder.
With a flash Death and Fate (clouds and all) disappeared and reappeared in a remote chamber on the far end of the stadium.
"Ok, now that we are relatively safe from prying ears, let's cut the formal crap, shall we?" said Death to Fate, who promptly scowled.
"Agreed," said Fate, all friendliness from her voice removed as her voice became icy cold. So cold that the private chamber started to freeze.
"As I have said, I understand your dilemma, Fate, really I do, but I can not simply reinsert his body, it simply is not possible. Not now, not ever."
"Why not? You are the Lord over death, aren't you… Death?" asked Fate with a smirk.
"Yes, I am, but even so, even though that is the case, even with all of my powers I can't just simply overturn my own rules. What would that look like? Besides, Order, wouldn't allow it anyway, and you know as well as I do how grumpy she gets if things aren't kept strictly by the book. I'd like to avoid that if at all possible, thank you very much. In any case, in case you have forgotten, which I'm sure you have not, if things get rough she can and no doubt will enforce my… or rather 'our'… compliance in that matter. You know how much she hates chaos. Just yesterday I heard her complain about another mess Chaos had caused," said Death, shivering slightly at the mere memory and the resulting tantrum of the occasion.
Fate seemed to visibly deflate in front of his eyes and started to shiver as she too thought about Order and what she would do, when, not if, but when she got angry. It would not be pretty to say the least. That was one feisty goddess if ever she saw one.
"Yes, Death, I know, really I do, but still, even so…something tells me she also won't be happy about a prophecy which can't be fulfilled …it does sort of, you know... disrupt the order of things as well, doesn't it?"
"I know," said Death with a sigh, expecting that answer. However, it was a sigh which slowly turned into a sly smile. "Which is directly why I have implemented a back up plan for such situations."
"Oh!," said Fate, now interested and no longer angry with Death.
"Yes, you see, if someone dies, someone who shall we say, would be better off 'not' dead as the case may be, then I simply convert him or her into one of mine," said Death.
Fate frowned. "I don't think I fully understand what you are...unless...are you suggesting…Oh!…I see…"
"Yes, that's right. Instead of reinserting him back into his body as a mere mortal, which I can tell you here and now with utmost sincerely, Order would no doubt not be impressed with... at all, I will instead convert him and make him into one of my Death Reapers thereby effectively removing him from the life stream yet still allowing him to exist in the mortal world."
"...thus order is restored and she will have no reason to be grumpy about anything," finished Fate, a smile re-appearing on her face, satisfied with Deaths plan.
"Correct ...well, nearly... she can still complain about us taking a different path than what would normally be the norm, but...well...considering the alternative...well, let's forget about that, shall we? No harm done in the long run and that's really all that matters. Now! Shall we share the good news?" asked Death. Fate simply nodded and both disappeared once more with a flash.
Meanwhile, while Death and Fate were busy discussing his future, Harry was patiently waiting on his own cloud on the third raised dais, waiting nervously for the two gods to return. A strange feeling in his gut, told him that he wasn't going to like whatever the two beings of immense power were coming up with. He was sure of it. Harry knew it would decide his destiny for the next unknown amount of years to come and that notion alone made him feel very unhappy and sick inside.
Looking at his judges, for that's what he viewed them as - they were deciding his future after all - he wondered just what and how long his sentence would be. He just hoped it wouldn't be a life sentence in some underworld prison... or was that a death sentence seeing as he was already dead? Hmm, something to think about, he mused. By his luck it was probably something like an eternity sentence instead. He shivered at the thought.
For a few minutes Harry wondered just what a normal life would have been like. Come to think of it, he would never know now, would he? Not with him being dead and all. That much was fairly certain by now.
Life? What life? If he was being honest with himself he had never really had a life to begin with in the first place. Being locked up in a cupboard for most of the day and all of the night was not what any sane person would call a life. A nightmare perhaps, but definitely not a life. Not a proper and good one anyway.
Looking up at the 'private' chamber in the distance, Harry noticed that the two gods; Fate and Death as he had come to know them, seemed to have come to an agreement. Indeed, just seconds later Death and Fate reappeared and Death motioned that he wished to speak. Three claps of thunder from the staff later and the whole stadium was quiet once more.
"Have your godliness's come to an agreement?" asked the speaker otherwise known as the chair.
"Yes, we have," said Death.
"Then announce your divine will and let it be done," said the speaker.
Death nodded and started to speak: "Due to the fact that the recently deceased has died at his rightfully appointed time as was written in the fabled book of the recently deceased, it shall not be possible nor be permitted to return him to his one time mortal body. At least not as the free mortal he once was. It would disrupt the order of things. As such, I can not and will not allow it to happen, now or for ever more."
Immediately every dignitary in the whole stadium started to argue among themselves. Harry simply bowed his head. 'Well, looks like that's that, no return ticket for me. I'm as dead as a door-nail and dead I'll stay,' he thought to himself miserably, yet also a bit relieved. On the bright side at least that would also mean no more Dursleys, he reminded himself. Always look on the bright side of life, he reminded himself...or death in this case.
Suddenly everybody quieted down again. Surprised, Harry watched as many beings, even some gods, started to cower.
"Not good enough!" said a high pitched grumpy voice from the dais of the gods.
"The council recognizes her godliness, the most orderly goddess of Order," said the speaker of the council with a slight squeak, before coughing slightly in an attempt to cover it up.
Death cringed slightly. Order was one of the only gods everybody knew he feared and that had nothing to do with the fact that she had at one point been his wife …well maybe a little…ok, maybe a lot...OK! OK!... definitely A LOT. Not that he would ever admit to it of course. Be that as it may, Order did not sound happy and Death was fairly sure he knew why.
"Surely you don't seriously expect me to just accept this outcome, do you, your most honourable holiness, Lord Death? You know how much I hate disorder and I'll tell you right now... I. Won't. Have. It!" she snapped, stopping at and stressing every word. "Think of something else!" she ordered in a clear no debate, no nonsense commanding voice. A tone of voice which made many beings in the hall gulp, while others simply seemed amused but hid it well. It was fairly obvious that none of them wanted to risk her ire. Harry, realizing that this was one angry goddess he really did not want to anger, shivered. This goddess made his relatives look completely harmless. Here was a woman, god or not, who knew what she wanted and nobody would be able to sway her from it. At least not without a good reason. A very good reason.
"Er…yes…em… of course... I was just about to come to that point. Thank you for raising that issue…" Death began to say.
Suddenly Order began to growl and Death's eyes grew wide. "…I have decided to make him into a Grim Reaper, he said quickly. "If that is ok…with… you?" He continued a second later, meekly. "…Please!" he added quietly a second later, almost begging.
"Hmm…I guess it would work... very well, you may proceed," Order said, sounding slightly appeased though she still had an angry annoyed look on her face which promised future trouble, one filled with tons of paperwork for the one that angered her, if she was not satisfied by whatever Death had planned to appease her. After all, no one, gods included, liked paper work. In fact it was one of the only things every god feared.
Death for his part gave an audible sigh of relief and almost immediately regretted it. He really hated showing weakness, especially to his ex.
"This discussion is not over yet, Death. I'll see you… later...to finalize just how much paper work you will be receiving because of this," Order said before settling herself back down into her seat, then added loudly "IN TRIPLICATE"
Death cringed again and for a second he looked completely subdued. He never could say no to her. Not then...and not now. But he had to this time, even if...NO!...not this time. This time he had to stay strong. Even if it meant a mountain of paperwork. The fabric of time depended on it. He really did not want to know what Time would do if he failed. Sometimes she was even worse than Order. And that was saying something. At least Order couldn't make an hour of paperwork last for a full year...or worse. Time could. No one messed with time. If you did you disappeared and would not be seen again for a long long time. 'But what a woman she is...those lips and that nose. Oh that nose... You just gotta love that cute little nose,' he thought with a slight dopey dreamy smile, a small blush appearing on his face.
Seeing that the situation seemed to be under control again, at least for now, the rest of the stadium started to relax. Quite a few gave Death looks of sympathy, others merely whistled and laughed in amusement, while others again simply sighed in relief. Coughing slightly, seeing that Death wasn't feeling up to continue at that moment, Fate sighed and rose. Signaled her desire to speak and waited for her cloud to zoom back to the speakers dais:
"The council recognizes the goddess Fate," the speaker of the council said, thankful that the previous moment had passed.
"As Death was saying, he has decided to make the former mortal named Harry James Potter into a member of his legion of the undead as an agent class reaper."
"Undead? What do you mean undead?" asked Harry, speaking up for the first time, no longer able to stay silent any longer. His mind was beginning to sprout images of decaying zombies walking around towns, scaring people and changing them into other zombies. Not a pleasant thought to say the least.
He instantly regretted speaking a second later as everybody turned to stare at him.
"Please be quiet and wait for your turn; if you wish to speak rise and wait to be recognized… gods have priority," said the Speaker of the council, effectively cutting Harry off and making Harry shrink back in fear and embarrassment. Instead another god rose to speak.
"The council recognizes the most honourable and holy goddess of Life," said the speaker, introducing a goddess who just happened to be Deaths direct opposite when it came to dealing with souls. While Death dealt with the dead, Life transferred dead souls, those ready for reincarnation into new bodies, created said new bodies, controlled who would be reborn, decided when they would be reborn and also decreed who became what at the start of each new life.
It was she who decided if you came back as an amoeba or as a human...or the equivalent as the case may be. That said, she could not however decide what a alive being would become later in life. That... was Fates choice. All in all, not someone a mortal would want to annoy...if they could avoid it.
It was this 'giver of life' that now began to speak:
"I apologize in advance if it has already been mentioned before, but I don't fully understand a certain point. Why, may I ask, is it so important to send this particular deceased back to Earth? Did I miss something? I know there is a prophecy but couldn't it simply be transferred?" she asked in a melodious voice. "I would be happy to create another body for Harry here if it will help. But only if it really is...well... vital that he returns himself. Why is this boy so important?" asked Life before sitting back down.
Fate sighed. This was her fault. Signalling that she wanted to speak she waited until she was announced, then began to speak once more: "The deceased was physically marked at an early age as the only one able to defeat a mortal Dark Lord. It's because of this and because of the way I worded a prophecy, that it is non transferable. Only Harry can defeat…or as I have prophesied, 'vanquish' the Dark Lord and it has to be by his own hand. That is why he and only he must be sent back, as he and only he can do the deed."
"I see," said Life. "What about the mortal named Neville...doesn't he fit the prophesy as well?" she asked?
"Unfortunately...No! Firstly, he was not marked by the Dark Lord...and before you ask, marking him now would not fulfill the prophecy as, while close, he was not born at the exact moment the seventh month died. Harry literally was born during the last few seconds of the seventh month, while Neville was born a day early. Secondly, Neville was not given the necessary powers needed to complete the task, powers which are vital to vanquish said Dark Lord. Giving them to him now, while indeed possible, would mean adjusting the body of an already exiting person and would mean me interfering in your domain. While I'm sure you probably wouldn't mind we all know a certain orderly someone... would." Said Fate, who took that moment to pause and glance towards Order.
"Which leads me to reason three. We all know that once chosen by prophesy the chosen one can not be transferred... that would also cause a moment of disorder. Now...I don't know about you...but causing two causes of disorder at the same time, while I'm sure it would no doubt please Lord chaos, would be a situation which we should of course avoid if at all possible...if only to avoid a huge mountain of paperwork from Lady Order" Fate explained, ignoring a rather severe nod from Order and a few shivers and frantic nods from a few other gods nearby.
"So no... the task can not be given to the mortal named Neville." Fate said ignoring some of the crowd which had suddenly begun to whisper and in some cases mumble among themselves, or indeed the loud "Order! Order!" which was shouted by the speaker, followed briefly by the few seconds needed to quieten everybody down again.
Her part said, at least for the moment, she sat back down. Signalling that she was finished she let her cloud zoom her away once again.
Harry choose that moment to stand. Seeing that the gods seemed to be otherwise busy at that moment the speaker of the council finally accepted and took the moment to recognize him.
"The council recognizes the newly deceased named Harry James Potter. You may now speak."
Harry swallowed nervously and waited patiently as his cloud suddenly rose up and zoomed towards the speakers dais. This was it. The moment which would decide the rest of his deathly existence.
"First question: What do you mean by undead?" he asked timidly.
Death chose to answer this question and after being acknowledged by the speaker, he did so.
"Undead means: not living, yet still capable of movement. In your case, you will be known as a Grim Reaper, one of my agents in the mortal world. Officially, the undead usually do not have a heart beat or any functioning organs, of any kind for that matter; you, however, are a special case. Officially you will be classified as an 'agent class' undead in service to myself. While in my service you will be known as a reaper, one who has to exist among the living on a daily basis. If a person, let's say a doctor or healer were to examine you, they would find a fully functioning living body, heart beat, functioning lungs, and so on, the whole package. However, to every dead entity like a ghost, or another undead being you will appear as a grim reaper," he started to explain.
Pausing for a second Death continued: "Now, do not mistake yourself with an Inferi...or a zombie as they are also known. They are inferior mindless drones. You, unlike your... not so bright brethren, will have a fully functioning intelligent mind...and more importantly, free will. This is something infiri do not have. Also remember that you will also have certain skills to help you, such as improved speed, advanced healing, improved sight, this includes perfect night vision and other advantages which will be explained to you at a later stage in greater detail during your reaper training. Also, since you are already dead you will also no longer be able to die. This means that magical killing curses such as the infamous Avada Kedavra or the blood boiling curses, while still quite painful, are now otherwise useless against you. You can still be hurt, feel tremendous amounts of pain and be tortured, but you will not be able to die. As such acting foolishly, while up to you, is not advised. Needless to say, getting set on fire is not a nice experience. Either way, I believe you will find these perks quite useful in your future endeavors. Does this satisfy your question?" Death asked.
"It does, thank you," said Harry already accepting his future for what it was going to be. It might even be fun, as long as he stayed away from fire and other harmful situations. "What is this prophecy…I have never heard of one before," he asked next.
Hearing this Fate stood up after replacing Death she spoke:
"The prophecy I spoke of is one I made before your birth. It concerns yourself and an evil wizard, known by his followers and the magical communities of Earth as Voldemort. When you were one, he came to your house after your parents were betrayed by a friend. He systematically murdered your parents and then tried to murder you, but failed. Your mother died trying to protect you after your father fell. However, what Voldemort did not realize was that Lily, your mother, sacrificed herself to give you the ultimate protection. Blood protection with a bit of divine power added by yours truly. Due to the prophesy I was permitted to add a bit of my power to her spell work to make it infallible. Which is the reason why it was able to defeat the otherwise unblockable killing curse, while so many before her had failed. The protection I placed on you was so strong, not to mention divine, that the curse Voldemort cast on you backfired and hit him instead, destroying his body and turning him into a shade of his former self, while leaving you with that scar of your forehead. The same scar which is causing all of our problems today," said Fate.
"What? My aunt and uncle told me it was because of a car accident," said Harry, surprised, tenderly touching his scar at the same time.
"HA! Your relatives are hardly trustworthy people…Harry, I wouldn't trust them with a piece of s…"
"That shall be enough, Fate. There is no need for such words here," said one of the gods from the dais of the gods. It was the bright God who was brighter than all the rest. The one who sat beside the dark, evil looking one.
"Of course…forgive me, your holiness," said Fate, bowing deeply then quickly stepping back.
"Any other questions before we continue," asked the speaker turning back to Harry.
"Yes, one more… obviously my aunt and uncle are not good people..."Harry asked.
"Obviously," multiple beings in the stadium muttered as one, only to be shushed by others nearby.
"...Er...Yes..well...would it be possible to arrange other guardians for me once I return back to earth, or at least change their attitude towards me?" Harry continued to speak, slightly flustered.
"Hmm, good question…will anybody answer this?" the speaker asked, aiming the question towards the floor. Fate rose again to answer, accompanied by Death who also chose that moment to speak but allowed Fate to speak first.
"I'm sorry, Harry, but unfortunately our kind is not allowed to directly interfere with peoples 'free will'...at least those who are still alive. It's the only limitation which we gods have other than when interfering in each others domains. Once in a while we may make a disciple out of a mortal to act in our name, though those are very rare. Even then they always have the last word whether they wish to help or not. You, on the other hand, are dead, so that particular rule does not apply to you anymore. So, I'm afraid it will not be possible to change their behavior. Not that it will make much of a difference for you once you return," she added after a little pause before continuing. "Rest assured that Hell has a very special reserved place for them though, if it makes you feel any better," she added.
"As do a few others," said Death who chose that moment to interrupt, ignoring the glare from Order and the Speaker for not following protocol.
"Indeed!" said a sudden cold voice, a voice which caused everybody to stop speaking. Almost as one, everybody turned to look at the dark evil looking one who sat beside the very bright one.
"I have a very special place, inside a very special volcano, in the deepest level of hell reserved for your relatives, Harry. They will get their just rewards... very soon!" he said with a chuckle, a deep nasty chuckle which caused quite a few beings to cringe. "Maybe even sooner... much sooner than you might expect,' he added before falling silent once more, a smirk on his face.
Many beings in the hall, Harry included, shivered and some even pitied the doomed souls of Harry's relatives.
Harry simply nodded. While not completely happy he was appeased. After all he was now certain that he would at least have some form of justice, not to mention the last laugh, once their time came. "What about placing me in another home? Surely I do not have to be with them to fulfill the prophecy?" asked Harry desperately.
Hearing this Fate and Death laughed before Death chose to speak.
"Oh no need to worry about that. One of the joys...although it's not always seen as such by new reapers, is that the moment you die you are given a new body. So I can pretty much guarantee that your soon to be former relatives will no longer be able to recognize you once you return to Earth. While you will still be you in all ways that counts, former body, blood and magic included, to everybody else you will appear to be a completely different person," he said before pausing.
"Of course, this also means that, while you will remain and can still be recognized magically as a Potter in blood, that is all that will remain from your previous life. To the world and until otherwise proven you are now officially orphaned. In fact, with no family name to call your own you may as well not even exist at all. As such we will be creating an 'incident' which will enable you to enter an orphanage with no issues, if any, once you return.
"Besides, Mr big, bad and powerful over there...," he said pointing towards the evil looking god who had spoken a minute ago,..." does not jest when he says he will be seeing your relatives very soon. Their names have already been added to the upcoming duty roster, so I'm not afraid to say that their time among the living is quickly nearing an end," he said which made Harry's eyes open wide as he understood what was said to him.
Fate suddenly sighed, then motioned that she wanted to speak. After being recognized she did just that.
"Harry, there is something I feel you should know before you go back to the world of the living," she said before pausing and giving him a sad smile. "I think this is the right moment to tell you... and in a way you do deserve to know, if only to avoid unnecessary hardship which may disrupt your duties once your return. I feel I owe you that much for the dreadful life I have given you so far."
Frowning at Fate's worlds, Harry gave the goddess his full attention.
Fate paused, then sighed again. "Harry, I'm sure you have heard the expression Fate's a bitch…right? Yes…well, it's true to a certain aspect. Sometimes I really am just that... a bitch. I have to be to do my job correctly," she said with a wry smile."
Harry raised his eyebrows slightly, Did Fate really just call herself a bitch?
Ignoring Harry's surprised look Fate continued to speak. "Harry, you have to understand some people are just plain evil, that's just the way it is. It's a form of balance. Bad must exist to equalize good...if not then there would be disorder...and order will not suffer disorder with impunity," Fate added, getting a nod from Order.
"Normally we would not be allowed to warn you. However, seeing as you are currently here and not among the living..." She paused briefly before continuing.
"Harry, The Dursleys and the Dark Lord known as Voldemort, or indeed his followers, are not the only ones who you need to be careful of once you go back," she said, a statement which caused Harry to look at her in surprise and a good bit of alarm. It may interest you to know, Harry, that there is another man. A very evil manipulative man who will seek to control you if he finds out who you are...or rather were," she said with a sad smile. "The longer you can keep your identity secret from him the better your life will be and the easier it will be to perform your duties once back on Earth.
Hearing this Harry became very worried. This did not sound good. Not good at all. Silently he continued to listen knowing that what fate said next would be very important for him to know once he returned to the world of the living.
"It goes without saying that you should keep any knowledge of the next phase of existence a secret at all times. Mortals are not meant to know about the afterlife. It does not usually end well if and when they find out. That said, from time to time, mistakes do happen. We, the gods, even with all of our powers, are not allowed to directly interfere in the world of the living, nor are we infallible, no matter how much we wish it to be otherwise. As such we have agents and disciples in place to fix problems, but it doesn't always work as planned, which is were the many ghost stories come from. While we do expect you to keep the secrets of the afterlife and not to abuse your powers, you do have a certain amount of leeway when performing your duties. All we ask is that you do not abuse it."
"It is because of this...and because in a way that I feel that I owe you an apology for the way your life has been up to now, that I will warn you. You will need to be careful, very careful even, when you return to join the living. I'm afraid certain people, like a certain Mr. Dumbledore, who you will sadly meet very soon once you return to the world, would never allow you to live a normal life if he knew that you somehow survived, no matter the body you happen to be inhabiting," she said. A statement which greatly alarmed Harry. As if he did not have enough enemies to worry about already.
"I am very sure he would go to great lengths to make sure that you stay under his control. Even if it meant wiping your mind or mind controlling you directly in the event that that failed. Even once your aunt and uncle are dead, while ultimately it will be up to you, I'd advise you keep who you are to yourself at all times," she added.
"Now, I'm sure there are some people and certain creatures, even certain communities, especially in the magical world where ghosts and knowledge of the afterlife is common, that would happily help you and some cases even be glad to know who you really are... and normally I'd happily agree, but I'm afraid Dumbledore is rather… stubborn and would have you under his... 'spell' faster than you could even say help if he were to find out who you really are. If this happens we will not be able to help you. He is also the reason why all of the attempts by the police and your teachers have failed in the past. The teachers didn't ignore you because they didn't care. They did. No, they really did," Fate said when she noticed Harry's disbelieving look. "It's just they simply didn't see anything happen to you. And even if they did they were quickly made to believe otherwise. Dumbledore, you see is a really evil man. Unfortunately people don't usually believe that. In fact most people are blind to his...darker side. He is a very influential and powerful mortal who..."
"Who I will be roasting over a hot pool of Lava, once I get my hands on him," the evil looking god interrupted with a slight warning glare at Fate, interrupting her before she could continue to speak.
"But why would he do that? I don't even know him" asked Harry horrified by what he was hearing. Already he was firmly putting this Dumbledore firmly into his 'enemy' and 'people to avoid at all costs' list.
Fate continued to speak: "You can try to change people, or ultimately you can fight them. The sad part is that most of the time the bad people will win, right until a 'hero' finds the courage to set aside their morals just long enough to create a brief moment of peace until history repeats itself. And it will repeat itself for none can exist for long without the other. It's a never ending story of balance. All you can do is make the best of an ugly situation, even if it doesn't seem like much. I'm sorry but that's all I can say to you about this at this time," Fate said with an apologetic smile. She had noticed that the 'evil one' had wanted her to stop speaking and while she didn't know why, she knew better than to disobey...him.
Suddenly another god rose to speak. Seeing a new god wish to speak, and eager to restore a bit of order, the speaker happily announced the newcomer.
"The council recognizes his corruptness, the god of chaos," said the speaker of the council, nodding towards the chaotic god of disorder and ignoring the rather disapproving scowl which came from Order at the mere sight of her nemesis.
"Maybe I can help you!" he announced, stroking his long... very very long beard thoughtfully. His beard was hanging out of his cloud like throne where it proceeded to descend for several meters down the dais. It was a truly disorganized sight.
Hearing this, Harry perked up, a little hope in his eyes.
"It's true that we can not interfere directly in a mortals daily life. However, due to my position as the god of chaos, I may yet be able to… lets just say... throw certain people a stick between the spokes? Now! I won't promise anything Harry and there is only so much even I can do in the mortal world, but at the very least you can expect a few people to get into some serious trouble once you're back…and who knows, it might even be advantageous for you. I'll try to help you whenever I can as long as it does not directly interfere with a mortal's freewill and the domain of another god. Maybe you'll even have a laugh."
Harry nodded eagerly, glad to have another ally and wondering what the god meant. Somehow, he was sure he would soon find out. He could really use a laugh after what he had just found out.
Somewhat dejected that he would seemingly not be getting any further information, but looking forward to what Chaos had planned, Harry finally sat back down and allowed his cloud to transport him back to his dais.
For the next few seconds the whole hall was deathly quiet. Nobody said a word.
"OK," said the speaker of the council once it became clear that nobody else seemed to have anything else to say either.
"It seems to me that all current question has been answered to everybody's satisfaction. I herewith ask the floor if there are any other outstanding questions on the Potter case?"
"If anybody is not happy with the current solution please rise now and speak, otherwise for ever more hold your peace!" he said, looking around again.
Harry decided against asking another question at this time. While he still had a lot more questions, for now he would wait. He was sure there would be a time to ask questions later. Besides, he already had a lot to think about. He had already accepted his future fate and truth be told, for the first time since what seemed like forever, he was actually looking forward to it.
The speaker looked once more towards Death .
"Death, if you're willing to proceed with your current plan, please do so now."
Death nodded and stood up.
"I am ready to begin," said Death, giving the speaker, then the dark and very bright one, a quick look, receiving nods from both of them.
"Then show us your will and let it be done," said the speaker, signalling Death to proceed before he stepped away.
Having just received official permission from the main powers that be, Death rose into the air and flashed to the podium in the center of the stadium taking the speaker place at the alter of the gods. After a few seconds he began to speak once more.
"Let it be known that after careful deliberation, we, the gods, both minor and greater of the Ethereal Council, have decided and agreed to let the recently deceased mortal, known as Harry James Potter, son of James and Lillian Potter nee Evans return to earth under certain strict stipulations."
Having said that, Death turned to face Harry. "By the powers of Death bestowed upon me by the creator... as the god of Death, I, Death, the remover of all, Lord of the dead, henceforth decree: the recently deceased former mortal shall be no more and shall herewith and henceforth, until decided otherwise, forfeit this mortality and join the ranks of the undead agents as a Grim Reaper."
The moment those words left Death's mouth Harry began to feel strange. Suddenly Harry saw his body light up in a bright glow and he felt himself slowly changing into a new form. In the meantime Deaths voice rose to a cresendo.
"Heaven allows Harry James Potter to join the forces of the undead but shall not close its gates to him. When time is done and undead life ends, return he may to reclaim that which was lost"
"Hell gives permission for Harry James Potter to join the forces of the undead. Yet enslave in hell because of actions done while on earth we shall not. Removed shall be all just and dutiful sins performed when time ends, to reclaim that which was lost."
"Death gifts Harry James Potter with the gift and curse of ever lasting life...until his job is done. A reaper, a deliverer of death you shall be. Sworn to kill, sworn to murder, sworn to collect souls in my name. By my decree you may return when your time is done and your undead life ends, to return and reclaim that which was lost"
"Now Rise! Rise now, Harry James of Potter...Rise!"
"Arise now... Rise from the abyss and attend your destiny! So mote it be," Death finished.
Harry never even had a chance to blink before he was suddenly stuck by a massive bolt of grey lightening from Deaths hands. A bolt so bright, it surrounded him completely in a cocoon of grey light. The last thing Harry heard before his world turned dark once more was a silent chorusing of the crowds:
"So it was decreed, so it is done.
"So it is decreed, Deaths will be done.
"By the will of the gods', so it was decreed."
" By Deaths hand, it shall be done."