Once more with Feeling: I own Didly. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Squat.
Firstly: I'm going back and reworking this story a little, keeping the major salient points and adding details to tighten up the story. straightening ot the logic a little.
Secondly: I've had many reviews on how powerful harry should be after three centuries. The single biggest problem with this, which I think you will recognize if you all think about it, is just how BROKEN the harry potter magic system is. As much as I love JKR's works (I grew up with her stories), there is no rationing system in the harry potter universe, nor is there a way to compare magic power. According to canon, you could fire off Avadra kavadras like it's free for hours. So i'm pegging Harry to the nine tails as an equal, when BOTH are allowed to kick free. Since one stuck in a eight year old, and the other is a three hundred year old mage, harry is still more powerful.
Thirdly: Power is situational. no matter how strong you are, you can still be surprised.
It was a beautiful autumn day. The sky was a clear crystal blue that stretched towards the horizon where it met the cerulean sea.
Harry Potter stood on the edges of the cliff and watched the distant horizon as he listened to the roar of waves crashing upon the rocks far below. He felt the cool ocean breeze ruffle his hair and closed his eyes, temporarily forgetting sorrows of the past and the pressures of the future, simply enjoying the tranquillity of now. It had been too many years since he had an opportunity to relax like this.
Harry drew a deep breath and savoured the cool air, tasting the slight tang of salt in the air. This was a young world, barely a hundred thousand years old. Unlike older worlds such as the one he had been born on, the magic of creation itself still lingered in this world. It was something that Harry could almost taste in the air, an imperceptible sweetness that lingered after every breath. After so many centuries travelling to and through ancient worlds groaning under the weight of their history, being on this one was quite invigorating.
The best part of it was that worlds this young were all protected under the Common House treaties. The harshly enforced treaties forbid all House Sworn from using their powers upon this world unless attacked by another House sworn first. While this essentially stripped from Harry much of what he was used to having at his disposal, it equally protected him from the agents of the other Houses if they came to this world.
"Sir Mage," The voice of his companion was a low rumble that echoed with the lonely rattle of bones in an empty crypt, "While I understand your desire to rest as you have just arrived in this world, I must return to my duties shortly. Perhaps it would be prudent of us to return to the task at hand?"
Harry glanced towards the tall figure of this world's Death God that loomed by his side. It definitely had a certain oriental influence in its manifestation. Instead of the skeletal black robed reaper on some worlds or the complicated society of lesser death gods in others, this Death God was a single figure dressed in robes of white, a mocking imitation of a human face beneath two black horns. Clenched between two rows of sharp teeth was a small dagger-like weapon. The gold and black of its eyes were human enough for Harry to see a certain familiar wariness there.
"My apologies," Harry gave the death god a nod of respect, hiding a smile at the flicker of surprise in those golden eyes. Like this world, this god was still young. It had yet to develop the arrogance displayed by its counterparts on older world. A little respect and this god would happily cooperate with Harry instead of seeing his presence as an insult and play obstructionist. Like some older gods would.
"We'll be working with each other for the foreseeable future, so let us dispense with the pleasantries," Harry told the god with a smile, holding out his right hand "call me Harry."
Harry saw the Death god stare at him and felt a twinge of irritation at its hesitation. As the First Magi of the House of Death, he technically outranked all the death gods except those of major nexus worlds. Predictably, reactions to his presence by Death Gods were either outright hostility or this absurd nervous respect. Rarely could Harry establish an equal relationship.
It was few moments before the god nodded slowly and reached out to grasp Harry's outstretched hand in a firm handshake.
"So what may I call you?" Harry asked politely.
The robed figured stiffened and quickly withdrew its hand. There was moment of silence before it answered, the reluctance evidence in its voice. "Our Lady Azrael has not yet seen fit to grant me a name."
Oops. Harry supposed he should have remembered that. Death gods weren't really named until they've seen at least couple million years of service. Of course this one wouldn't have been named yet. Thinking quickly, Harry tried find a way to recover. "What do your worshippers call you?"
"I am not worshipped."
Harry gave the death god a look of surprise. This is new. As far he knew, death was always worshipped in one form or another. "Then who do they worship?"
"They largest sect belongs to a man that they refer to as the Sage of Six Paths." Harry smiled inwardly as the resentment in the Death god's rumble. Ah yes. Mortals who become legends and then gods. Another popular form of worship.
"So what the mortals call do they call you then?"
"They call me Shinigami, Harry."
"Shinigami." Harry rolled the strange word in in mouth. Obviously a native word that doesn't quite translate into English. It was quite a mouthful. "Then with your permission, I will call you Shin until our lady sees fit you grant you a name."
"That is acceptable."
The introductions over, Harry pulled out the elder wand. A simple wave conjured a large conference table while another flick created a pair of chairs just alongside it. Harry sat down in one and gestured Shin to the other with his hand. When the death god shook its head, Harry just shrugged and conjured a stack of paper and an enchanted dictation pen with an ease borne of practice.
"So, the message you send stated that you have an immortal on this world?" Harry asked, resisting the urge to sigh. Another idiot with dreams of immortality. Apparently, Riddle wasn't the only person afraid of death enough to try something monumentally stupid. No, that condition seemed prevalent across the board. It's a small enough irritant, but unfortunately, one of the duties of being Magi is putting these lunatics down.
"Yes." The masked figure nodded with a growl. "His name is Madara Uchiha. My meeting with him is long overdue. However, he has somehow concealed himself and I can no longer find him."
Harry frowned. This could be a problem. Normally these jobs hunting down immortals was simple. The Death God pointed them out their location, Harry went there and killed them, problem solved. That wasn't to say they didn't try to conceal themselves from death's sight. In fact, over the years Harry had seen some very creative methods, though Harry had yet to see one remotely successful attempt. As the old saying went, you can hide but you can't hide from death.
"You mean you can't sense him at all?" Harry asked with some concern as the sound of the dictation pen scratched away in the background.
Bloody hell. Harry ran his hand through his hair. If I'm going to have to track this, he looked at the name recorded on the paper, Madara Uchiha down by myself, this could get tricky.
"Do you have any other information on him?"
"Precious little. I am afraid that you have arrived a few years later than I anticipated, Harry. His concealment is only a recent development." Harry winced at the reproach in Shin's leaden tones. It was subtle, but definitely there.
"My apologies for not responding earlier to your request earlier. The House of Darkness decided to end their ceasefire with our House by assaulting several of our worlds simultaneously. We were forced to respond."
"I assume it went well?"
Harry grimaced. "It did not. We lost three worlds and were forced to retake them. What we did not expect was both the King and Champion of Darkness on the second world. I barely made it out in one piece and get the message out. It took me, the two second circle Magi and a eight knights to push the two of them off that world. We held them off long enough for our King to reinforce us."
Harry shivered at the memory of that battle. He had been watching from the burning ruins of what had once been city that rivalled London. He remembered the earth trembling and the sky raining fire as the King of Death and the King of Darkness tore into each other with a fury that shook that entire world. Over the years, Harry had seen men and beings of such power that made Voldemort seem like a child with a stick, yet watching two kings of the Great Houses go at each other was the single most terrifying thing Harry had ever witnessed. "I can tell you, there's a reason our Lady choose Ducos as the King of our house. The man makes me feel like an insect."
Harry shook himself from his memories before glancing back at Shin. "Do you have a picture of this Madara then?"
The death god nodded and held his hand out. On his palm stood a semitransparent figure with long hair. Harry studied the small model closely as the pen began to trace a portrait of the figure.
"Aside from the fact that you can't find him, is there anything else that could make my life difficult?" Harry asked the absentmindedly as he studied the figure, already trying to figure out how he was going to track the man down. Hm. I probably should start with any family he still has and take a look into his life. Would-be immortals are oddly obsessive about legacies. It took a few moments before Harry realised that the Death God hadn't replied.
"Well? Anything else?"
The silence was deafening.
Harry narrowed his eyes. "Is there anything else I should know?" He asked again, this time with a great deal more force. He did not like secrets. Harry had learnt from experience with Dumbledore that it was the secrets that people wished to keep from you that had the highest chance of getting you killed.
The face of the death god spasmed before replying hesitantly. "There is another House Sworn on this world."
"What Title? What House?" Harry demanded, feeling a chill run down his spine.
"The House of Destruction."
"Who?" Harry demanded again,
Harry winced. While he had never fought the Beast of Destruction, by all accounts it was a vicious thing that took delight in spreading the namesake of its house. It couldn't be talked to or reasoned with. It wasn't to say it didn't have reason, just that it had a preference for attacking and destroying first and never asking questions. Worst part was the rank of Beast in Destruction was the equivalent of a Champion in Death. Running into it on a protected world was the worst possible scenario: let it attack first and risk death, or attacking first and risk being spotted and killed by everybody else.
"There is a measure of good news. The Beast is fractured. The mortals of this world has sundered its spirit and sealed it within mortal containers."
Harry ran his hand through his hair and glanced out at the sea. At least that was good news, of a sort. While still powerful, a sundered Beast would be in no way equal to the original. Push came to shove, he might be able to get away. Maybe.
"So. A would be immortal that you can't find and the House of Destruction. A walk in the park." Harry muttered sarcastically himself. "What could be easier?" What was supposed to be a simple job has just turned into a bona fide nightmare. Still, he had no choice but to soldiering on. After all, that was what Harry Bloody Potter was good at.
Harry turned back to the death god and sighed, before conjuring more paper.
"You better tell me more about this world and where I should start looking."