Life sucks and then you Die
Chapter 1: When Heroes fall
The world has seen many things. Eternal. Ephemeral. And humans, so young upon its soil, know little beyond their tiny lives, their short dreams, and progression of civilization. When buildings grow and crumble, when technology saves and destroys, when gods emerge and fall swiftly from the sky, the world watches and waits, ever changing, ever knowing.
And death, Harry Potter finds, has witnessed the complete history.
When Tony Stark flew the nuke into the wormhole above New York City, he knew he did not have long to live. For all that the Capsicle complained about sacrifice plays, Tony never thought he'd be the one to participate in one, but, well, he'd never been good at the emotional stuff, and his honor system was so fucked up HE didn't even understand it most of the time. Forcing a nuclear bomb through a one way pass wormhole to his death to save a city of rude, belligerent, coffee addicted people that he could secretly appreciated was strangely right up his alley.
Later, after everything was over and the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark was decidedly not dead he would remember his "last thoughts" as his iron man suit shorted out and the Chitauri fucking mother ship exploded like the fourth of July. Nobody would ever know them save one man, if he was even really a man and not some strange ephemeral being. Tony would tell everyone he was thinking of swharma, of saving the world, of proving Capsicle wrong, of Pepper Potts, of his father. None of that was the truth. As death flittered before his eyes, Tony Stark looked back at his life, no matter how depressingly asinine it was, and was not impressed with what he'd accomplished.
Nobody would know that his last thoughts were regrets.
Just as he did not know at the time that his thoughts weren't really his last after all. When Tony Stark lost consciousness that day he assumed the bright white light that surrounded him was part of the explosion.
Tony Stark might be a genius, but clearly he did not know everything.
When Harry Potter was a teenager fresh out of war with the dark wizard Voldemort, there was a muggle saying: "Life sucks and then you die".
Yeah as it turns out, not so much, at least, not when Harry was the Master of Death. Well, the "life sucking" part was true for a very long while and then Harry got over it, but the dying part was a whole other matter. When Harry turned twenty-seven he looked in the mirror and discovered he hadn't aged a bit. Where his friends' faces sported the beginnings of laugh lines and the air of "adult" Harry never grew from his short stature. When his wife began to complain of aching joints, Harry stayed spry. He filled out, certainly, but all the age that people saw in the Boy-Who-Lived came from luminescent green eyes nestled beneath that once cursed lightning bolt scar.
It was odd, certainly, even against the increasingly odd standards the Wizarding world had for him, but Harry eventually accepted his immortality and so did his family and friends. Mostly, Hermione and Ron looked upon his youthful body with fond exasperation. "Only you Harry," Hermione said, picking up little Rosie before she could snitch Ron's wand from the tall red head's back pocket. Ginny, of course, was another matter as well. His friends only had to live with the idea of an immortal Harry, Ginny had to struggle with the idea that he would out live her, their children, and their children's children. She feared for his sanity, because she knew him. Deep down Harry could never accept his family dying whilst he lived forever. She feared that he would withdraw for his own protection if he couldn't live with her death and countless others. And as she grew older, withered and shrunk before his eyes, Ginny also felt a certain amount of hostility towards his eternal youth, because, after all, part of the dream was growing old with Harry, not accepting another strange facet of the responsibilities of the Boy-who-lived and dying knowing that he would never join her in the afterlife, the next great adventure.
It was the one thing she never told him, even as he held her hand on her death bed. Because, on some level she hated her husband for screwing up her dream even without meaning to, but she loved him even more, so deep and so encompassing, Ginny herself didn't even know the extent of it. She had lived a long life anyway, even for a witch. Only Luna and Hermione survived her from the original gang. Ginny did not think Luna would ever stop kicking, but surely Hermione would leave the world not too long after. Harry had weathered many losses by then and there were scores of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to watch over him, to shield his eternal life from the hostile attitudes of the Wizarding public, because some things lasted longer than others and opinions lingered on like a disease. Maybe he'd be okay, she thought as she smiled at him for the last time. And Harry, her dear Harry smiled back with his boyish face that she so loved and hated, and carded his fingers through her soft silver hair whispering comforts to her as she passed. After all, even if Harry Potter couldn't die, it was he who understood most of all what death was.
"Be well," Harry murmured to his wife of countless decades as her last breath passed through parted lips and death took her away.
For a brief period of time after his wife's death Harry Potter's life returned to the "sucking" phase. He had loved his wife. He still loved her despite how she aged and changed while he stayed the same. But frequent visits from his children and grandchildren bolstered him and he'd become a bit of a researcher in his later years, when his magic grew and some of the eccentricities that followed his old mentor Dumbledore began to emerge within himself. His studies kept him going until he couldn't go anymore and then Luna Lovegood would appear at his front door as if she had some sort of sixth sense for his suffering.
When Hermione finally passed away Harry and Luna moved into Potter manor together, because it was then that the loneliness became too much for the both of them and their age was finally starting to raise eyebrows. Luna walked around the house as if she were as immortal as her long-time friend, as if she herself had found some sort of fountain of youth that allowed her body to age, but kept her spirit as young and whimsical as ever. Harry was forced to place glamours upon himself if he went out, so he chose not to, taking up residence in the higher floors of the manor studying the nature of magic or anything else that gained his interest.
When Luna died, she wasn't taken by old age, though the woman was almost two hundred by that point. She died in an explosion, much like her mother, studying one of her many undiscovered animals and a slightly illegal magical artifact that may or may not have been stolen from the deepest vaults of the Department of Mysteries, guarded by a two headed dragon and countless spell traps crafted by Unspeakables. Harry mourned for all of five minutes, staring at her mangled body and the magical residue of whatever exploded animal remained splattered against the wall, before Luna's ghost materialized beside him and chastised him for the nargles sneaking around his ears.
And as it accustomed to doing, time passed, 665 years, to be precise. Harry Potter had seen many things, been many places, and met many people. Not much surprised him anymore and though he'd withdrawn from close contact in the world, he and Luna still welcomed the occasional descendant of the Potter or Weasley lines into the manor. Rumors flew about the Wizarding World. Harry's death and funeral was never announced to the public. None of Harry Potter's descendants claimed the bulk of the Potter fortune. No Potter ever revealed the new head of the Potter family, so there was much speculation against common sense that he was still living amongst them, an eternal wizard, the Boy-who-lived forever. But his existence was the greatest kept secret in the Wizarding World.
Nobody actually believed he was still alive, not anymore at least, or, not since he hit the age 300. The tale of Harry Potter, the wizard who was born to "cheat death" was a legend, a story told to young children before bed just as Mrs. Weasley read the tale of the three brothers to her young brood many years ago. It was pretty ironic in Harry's opinion that his family had been cheating death centuries before he was born and he'd very literally happened upon the tools the granted him immortality without any desire for them.
As it was, even if wizards were generally more accepting of the unexplainable, no wizard would accept a 600ish year old Harry Potter without the inclusion of the Philosopher's stone, the recipe of which Nicholas Flamel and Albus Dumbledore took to their graves. And so Harry faded into the background, concealing his appearance, covertly running family business from Potter manor through one grandchild and then another as each member of the Potter family became aware of the "Potter secret". Life went on, ebbing and flowing like a river in which Harry stood apart. Honestly, in Harry's opinion, it could be a bit boring sometimes.
Until that day.
After that day, Harry Potter's life changed drastically. It was the day a robot crashed through the ceiling of Potter manor. The stone ceiling. The magically enforced stone ceiling.
When the wards of Potter manor were breached Harry Potter was notified instantaneously, but seeing as how Harry Potter stood in the room that a robot just crashed into, he safely concluded that he'd found the cause of the disruption. And a robot it was, but years of developing his magic plus the soft humming from Luna somewhere in the walls alerted him to the fact the metal man imbedded into the stone of his sixth library of the east wing was flesh and blood underneath the rather attractive pro-Gryffindor paint job.
Plus, death was standing in the corner and death just didn't do corners unless he had a reason.
"So, are you going to explain the situation, or do I have to figure it out myself?" Harry said while carefully attempting to pry some part of the metal from the body resting within it. Death said nothing, which wasn't unusual. If there was anything Harry had learned in his long life was that death enjoyed being silent or deliberately vague. Entities were odd like that.
There was an ominous crunch that resounded in the room when Harry finally managed to pull the suit from the floor and get it to a clear space, well, drag it to a clearer space. Crouching down beside the figure Harry rubbed his chin in thought. "How interesting," he said before running his fingertips against the metal until they reached the flickering blue light in the center of the man's chest. Harry knocked on it a couple times, but whatever the device was, it declined to respond.
"He was hovering between spaces," Death's voice echoed throughout the room. If Harry hadn't become so accustomed to it, he would have jumped. As it was Harry merely turned his head toward where death stood, his hand still hovering over the curious flickering machine.
"Between life and death?" Harry murmured, but Death gave no indication he'd heard the question.
"He is outside of my duties at this moment." 'Ah' Harry thought, Death was here because he needed direction from his master.
"Couldn't you have avoided smashing him through my ceiling? Thousand year old, magically enforced stone is hard to re-enchant you know." Harry went back to inspecting the suit. "The device in his chest would be giving you problems I bet, always cycling between almost dead and springing alive. Does this one frustrate you often then?"
"Hm," Death's grunt spoke volumes.
"And there's a strange vibe coming from it too, hm. Stabilization, but not palladium inside. A whole new element that I've never felt before? And it feels vaguely magical. Maybe chaos magic, no, huh . . .Norse in origin? What? Man, am I glad I did that stint in muggle physics when Luna pestered me to a hundred years ago, not to mention all that extra studying in History of Magic that Hermione said would useful someday. Funny how I never believed her on that one, and she turns out to be bloody right as always even from the grave. No wonder Ron never won a single argument." Harry laid his hand upon the flickering blue device, tapping it a bit with his index finger. "And I'm guessing you want my permission to take this one to the afterlife huh Death?"
Harry received no answer. He never really expected one.
"Well, I'm afraid that's too bad. I sense this one has more to do yet. Let's hope I don't short him out huh." Harry let loose a pulse of magic into the device and for a moment nothing happened. With a sigh Harry sat up, but before he could stand the flickering stopped and the device started to glow a brighter, continuous blue. A groan, a human groan, echoed through the suit and suddenly piece after piece started to break away from the human underneath. Inside was a black haired male, but that was all Harry could really tell underneath the cuts and bruises. Now that the armor was gone, he could see that the device was actually implanted in the man's chest, rather that regulating his life whilst attached to the top.
The man's eyes were open as the strange metal mask fell from his face and they traveled around the room spotting Harry and then the much scarier visage of death lurking in the corner of the room.
"I'm dead aren't I? Why does Hell look like a library?" Harry couldn't help but snort.
"Oh, no sir, you aren't dead. You came awfully close though. Don't mind tall dark and broody over there. He's a little disappointed about it. Did you know you've become a personal annoyance of death itself?" The man grunted and Harry helped him sit up slightly, mindful of the injuries the man had.
"That's . . . not reassuring," he said with a small groan. Focusing a bit more the man put a hand to his forehead and turned towards Harry with a curious expression. "Who are you anyway?"
Harry grinned a bit vacantly, reminiscent of Luna, and twitched his hand towards the corner of the room. Death faded away, but the feeling of his frustration lingered in the room for moments more. "My name is Harry Potter, Mr.?" Harry gestured towards the man.
"Stark. My name is Tony Stark" Tony said a bit surprised. Usually everyone he met literally fell over themselves to greet him. It was unusual when someone not only, refrained from doing that, but also showed absolutely no recognition at all when looking at him. Not that anything about this situation wasn't strange.
"Well, Mr. Stark, are you aware that you just demolished the ceiling of my library?" Harry's tone was light as he gestured towards the gaping hole above them. Tony winced a bit at the damage, but really, it was par the course for his latest super hero job description.
"Ah, well, I can pay for that." Harry merely 'hmmed' and stood, reaching his hand out for Tony to grab before helping the injured man up as well.
"No need. No need. But, can you please tell me why you have a bastardized version of an old mythological Norse battery on your chest?" Tony stopped taking stock of his injuries and the demolished form of his iron man suit to turn around and stare.
"Norse battery? What? This is an arc reactor. You know, the leading source of clean energy in the world? It's kind of a really big deal." Tony was gesturing his arms frantically. "Seriously? Who are you? Have you been living under a rock for the last few years?"
Harry merely smiled at him in amusement before walking towards the pit he'd dragged Tony's body from. "Are those seriously questions to be asking when you've done this to my poor floor? To answer your question, yes, I have in fact been living under rock for the last few years, 1000 year old magically enforced stone that you put a hole in quite recently, to be precise. And apparently nobody cares about how bloody difficult that will be to fix. As for who you are or what that suit is, I admit I am quite confused. I apologize if the structure on your chest is not a Norse battery, but don't be disgruntled. It is a fair bit of magic you've done, though how you've combined it with technology is fascinating at the very least." Harry snapped his fingers in the air and Tony sputtered as the stone and ceiling began to slowly nit itself together. A moment later two small creatures popped into existence and began to clear away the dust and reorganize the books that had fallen in the crash. Harry paused a moment by what looked to be the remains of a large, once ornate, wooden desk. It had been cracked and splintered directly through the center and papers spilled forth from broken drawers. With another snap the desk was also repaired.
Tony watched it all with growing awe and not a small amount of trepidation. "You're actually death aren't you? Death is yanking my chain because I pissed you off aren't you? Why the hell is death British anyway?" Harry froze and turned sharply in Tony's direction with an annoyed expression.
"I beg your pardon sir! I am most certainly not Death. Both he and I find it offensive that you would say so. My name is Harry James Potter and my occupation is Master of Death thank you very much, definitely not ferrying poor helpless souls like you to the afterlife! You should watch your tongue Mr. Stark, before I change my mind and allow Death his petty revenge." Harry huffed slightly and crossed his arms watching the house elves as they set his library to rights before turning back to his impromptu visitor. "I had pegged you for a wizard, but I guess I was mistaken. Muggles always were a bit foolhardy with their technology. I thought I'd seen it all when they made the walking toaster, but obviously, I've been away from civilization a bit longer than I thought."
Tony gazed at the man in confusion. "Huh. Well, it's not like magic is the strangest thing I've seen all week. I thought I was done for when I went through the wormhole" Harry perked up and leaned quickly towards his visitor at the word "but it seems as if I made it back and landed in one piece. Sorry about the ceiling, but you seem to be handling it just fine. If you could tell me where I am, I'll be on my way and I'll try to refrain from destroying anymore of your house in the future." Tony finished.
"Oh. Well, Mr. Stark. I don't think that will be possible. You are quite far from home at the moment." Tony looked at the wizard in trepidation. After all, there were fates worse than Death. Maybe this would turn out to be one of them, but the man just returned to the previous vacant smile (that sort of creeped Tony out too) and stepped closer.
"What do you mean? Where am I?" Harry smiled wider, vaguely like a cat who'd caught a mouse, or a scientist that just had a flash of inspiration. That smile, in Tony's newly minted opinion, was diabolical.
"It's fortunate that I don't have to obliviate you. If you were a muggle in the conventional sense that's certainly what would happen, but Death brought me something interesting this time. I'll have to do something nice for him soon." Harry took a step further just as Tony took a couple steps back.
"Relax, Mr. Stark." Tony stepped back and stumbled into an awfully conveniently placed chair that he was certain had not been there moments before. "Tell me about this wormhole? Were there any unusual factors about the hole itself? Did it have a strange constitution? Did it glow blue or green, maybe a bit of an aqua or a perrywinkle? Did it have a direct connection to something or maybe, was it created from something similar to the Norse battery upon your chest?" Tony leaned back even as Harry leaned forward with his slim fingers clutching the armrests of the chair Tony was seated in.
"Um, Yes?" Tony mumbled a bit despondently, entirely uncomfortable with the situation he found himself in, without his suit, no connection to Jarvis, and a bizarre man leaning over him like a predator toying with its prey. Harry's smile had a dreamy quality to it making his eyes glow a luminescent green set off by his untidy black hair.
"Tell me Mr. Stark. What do you know about alternate dimensions?"
Annnnnnnd another fic that is not my Digimon fic! SORRY! This little bugger just popped into my head one day at work and would NOT go away until I had written it down. It's not just a one shot. I have tentative plans to continue it, but updates will be few and far between as I am fairly busy at the moment and I really do have another story that I would like to finish first.
Nevertheless, feedback is appreciated. Who knows? Reviews might give me the inspiration I need to continue this.
Thanks for reading!
Until Next time.