Disclaimer: I own nothing that you recognize. Harry Potter and the Avengers both belong to their respective owners.
A/N: This is just a little idea that occurred to me one day and I may continue it with each member of the Avenger team having an experience or a continuation from where I leave off, who knows, but for now it is completed!
BACKGROUND: Timelines for this story, what you need to know is that I pushed the Harry Potter timeline back exactly 100 years, so Harry was born 1880, the Battle of Hogwarts was 1898, etc. The Avengers timeline is exactly like it is in the movie.
Beta: Lady of the Shards
A Conversation with the Master of Death
Agent Phil Coulson, after trying to finish passing his last message on to Fury, and failing much to his displeasure, welcomed the darkness that had been threatening to take him under for the last couple of minutes.
The next moment, or so it seemed to him, Phil opened his eyes and all he saw was darkness while feeling as if he were floating. He had the sudden urge to rub his eyes to make sure they were opened but he resisted, he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent after all and they all had their standards. Where was he? What happened? Did he die?
"Those are always the same questions that are asked when someone comes here," said a voice from his left. "Along with 'I'm not ready to die yet.'"
If Phil wasn't a fully trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, he would have jumped and squealed, manly of course, like no tomorrow. As it were, he was a fully trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and he hasn't done something like that since he was ten. Instead, he, as calmly as he could, turned towards the voice but it was hopeless. He still couldn't see a thing through the darkness that was pressing into him from all sides.
"Who are you? Any chance of there being any light to see where I am?" asked Phil as calmly as he could but no sooner had he asked about the light when suddenly there was a dim light and Phil could see only immediately around him and the young man that was now in front of him.
"That's a yes to the light," said the young man whose face was covered by a cloak's hood. Since when did people go around wearing cloaks? The young man sounded amused. "This is, as someone once said to me, 'your party' so you can have whatever you want, within reason of course, until you've made your choice."
"What do you mean? I have a choice? I'm not dead yet? And who are you?" asked Phil and never before did he voice so many questions at once.
The young man had the nerve to laugh at him then.
"Patience. All will be explained in time and maybe not even until you've moved on will you fully understand everything," explained the young man and was it just Phil or was there a certain emphasis on the word "on" as if there was another meaning to it?
"As to your first question, this is all essentially happening just to you so you can manipulate certain things, like wish for clothes and I would recommend that as it gets a bit drafty here no matter what scene you chose, within reason," said the young man who was no longer laughing but simply explaining.
Which was lucky because it was then that Phil realized he wasn't wearing any clothes and it was indeed feeling a bit drafty. He immediately wished for clothes and got dressed rather quickly in a simple black suit.
"Nice choice," said the young man and Phil could practically feel the grin. Well, at least it wasn't laughter, never call Phil a pessimist though he wondered if this was Stark's doing somehow. "As to your second question, you always have a choice. In everything you do. For your third question you fired at me, I can't answer that question. Only you truly can know when you are dead. As for your final question, I have many names and titles but the one I'm currently going by right now is Master of Death, especially while I'm here."
'Master of Death while I'm here,' thought Phil. 'What in the world did that mean?'
"What does that mean?" he asked. He figured what better way to get answers than by asking as the young man seemed to be very cooperative in giving out information. No manipulation or torture required so far.
The young man seemed to give him a knowing smile and said enigmatically, "Exactly what I said."
Then he had the nerve to make his eye suddenly twinkle.
Phil never thought he would meet someone who had more knowledge than Fury or someone who would test his patience more than Stark but he was getting there with this young man and he had only been in his company for a few minutes at most though it could be longer, apparently Phil's sense of time was off. It didn't help that Phil was confused beyond belief as well.
"If you are the Master of Death then how can I know when I'm truly dead?" asked Phil as that seemed to be the only question now in his head as it was somewhat contradictory to what the young man said.
For the first time since the young man appeared to him then, he sighed and said, "Death is a complicated but peaceful thing."
Phil sincerely doubted it. He remembered the pain of being stabbed.
"But you don't remember the pain after as I'm sure it all went numb," said the young man.
Phil tried to remember back to what it felt like after he was stabbed and found he couldn't remember any pain.
"Are you trying to influence my decision? I have a decision whether to stay or go on to wherever?" asked Phil. He figured that was what his choices had to be. He could either stay here and become a ghost or go on to wherever you go when you die.
"I do not influence decisions, Agent Coulson," said the young man. "And in case, you were wondering as I can tell you are, you have a three choices here not just two."
"Three," echoed Phil back, uncomprehendingly.
"Three," confirmed the young man nodding his head. Phil doesn't think he could ever call him Master of Death, even in his head.
"Three?" Phil repeated back again. He just didn't know what the third choice was.
The young man sighed and said, "You were right about your first two choices. You can either stay here and become a ghost or you can go on to where you go when you die or for your third choice, you can go back."
"I can go back?" echoed Phil back.
"Are you a dunderhead?" asked the young man and Phil thought he sounded completely serious before he frowned and said, "I sound like my old professor."
"What do you mean, I can go back?" asked Phil, choosing not to comment on the young man's statement but filing it away for later.
"Right at this moment, a medical team is trying their hardest to restart your heart. Now, you can either let them and go back or you can die and either stay here or move on. You have a choice," explained the young man.
"What if I didn't have a medical team working on me? Would I still have the same choices?" asked Phil.
The young man smiled mysteriously and didn't answer him.
After a moment of silence, Phil asked, "How long do I have to decide?"
"As long as you need. Time passes differently here than it does there as I'm sure you know. We're on different planes," explained the young man.
"Do you always make a personal appearance for everyone who comes here?" asked Phil curiously, to take his mind off his choices. He already made up his mind as soon as he heard all of his choices, but it couldn't hurt to get a bit more information on the young man in front of him.
The young man smiled at him, as if he knew what Phil was doing, but said, "Yes. It comes with the title."
"Master of Death?" asked Phil.
"How can one master death?" asked Phil.
Phil frowned and said, "That's not an answer."
"No," replied Phil.
"Tell you what, if you can find me when I'm not here in this plane, maybe I'll tell you more, Phil," said the young man with a slight grin after a moment of silence.
"Including your real name?" asked Phil as he debated his choices.
"Let's not push your luck," said the young man, though Phil could tell he was grinning even more broadly.
"So you reside in the, for lack of a better phrase, real world?" asked Phil.
"I've never heard of you," said Phil.
"Of course not. I've been keeping a low profile. Especially with what seems like everyone coming out with super powers now."
Phil frowned slightly and said, "Don't you want to be a hero?"
"I've had my chance at being a hero a long time ago. It seems like centuries ago now, but in fact, it was only one. Now it's up to someone else," said the young man, who Phil now knew wasn't a young man at all, almost as if he were reminiscing.
"Who's turn is it?" asked Phil, not expecting a straight answer, having not received one so far without jumping through many hoops.
"Why the superheros' turn, of course. I believe you call them the Avengers and they are going to need a handler," said the young man with a small smile.
"I thought you don't influence decisions?" asked Phil.
"I don't," said the young man. "Your mind has been made up since you heard all of your choices. I'm just giving you reminders. Now wake up."
"What?" asked Phil, slightly confused at the sudden change in conversation.
"Come on, Agent, wake up already," said a voice and Phil was suddenly gone from the blackness and he was surrounded by a sudden blinding whiteness and the smell of disinfectant, surrounded by Stark, Captain America, Dr. Banner, Thor and Agents Romanoff and Barton.
Phil blinked his eyes at everyone and everyone looked at him. Phil could see the relief in their eyes as he felt the tube down his throat and he instinctively repressed the need to gag and choke at the sensation.
"Don't ever do that to us again, Agent," said Stark in his usual snarky voice but Phil could hear the relief. He was trained to hear people's weaknesses and use it against them, after all.
"Yes, Son of Coul," agreed Thor with relief as Captain America and Dr. Banner nodded their agreement, their relief obvious. Agents Romanoff and Barton just looked at him with a blank face though Phil could see their relief around their eyes. He would have to work on that with them, glad that he would have the chance due to that young man, who wasn't such a young man, in the darkness, though he had to wonder later on if he was real and not, a delusional thing he dreamt.
"Next time he wants a three week nap, Nicky, just give him a vacation," was the last thing he heard as he drifted off into a peaceful sleep wondering how he missed Boss being in the room with him.