Disclaimer: I do not own HP or Bleach, and thank God for that, since I would most likely have butchered both stories by now.
Head Up: TimeTravelAU, MasterofDeath!Harry, epilogue of Deathly Hallows may or may not apply since I haven't really decided yet.
This is the result of half-baked ideas cluttering my head until I grew sick of them and decided to throw them out in a writing streak. Enjoy.
In the grass field, two young children sat in front of each other. One of them, a red-haired boy with a pout on his lips and a cut on his arm, held out his wound to the other, a girl. The girl, blond hair shining in the sun and bent over the protruded arm, was skillfully casting healing charms over his wound with a slight frown that had nothing to do with the difficulty of the task before her.
When the wound was sealed, she sighed and let go of his arm. "There," she said. "I did the best I could. It won't scar at the very least."
The boy took back his healed limb and flexed it experimentally. He then lifted his eyes towards the witch.
"Helga, a scar is a man's pride. It shows bravery, experience-"
Helga cut in swiftly. "-and recklessness. Honestly, Godric, was scaling and jumping off the old tree such a good idea?"
Godric's pout returned at full force. "It was for the sake of the fallen nest. It was the right thing to do."
"Indeed it was, but deciding halfway down that the height was a perfect chance to test a new landing spell was not." argued Helga. "If not for Salazar's own spell, you may have been critically injured!"
At the mention of his rival, Godric scowled and picked at the grass. "The snake boy may have gotten a step ahead of me with that particular spellwork, but I won't let it last for long."
He then winced at an unexpected whack on his head. "Don't call Sal that! We've known each other for so long and you still call him 'snake boy.'" chastised the witch.
"Well, he is," murmured Godric, too low for Helga to hear. But she hit his head once again. He winced and rubbed his skull in pain, shooting her looks of confusion.
"I could read your lips," she explained, her eyes flashing with warning. "And I didn't think that what you said about my friend was something nice, Godric Gryffindor."
Holding his hands up in a sign of peace, Godric tried to calm her down before she became serious and pulled out her wand. Though loyal friend she was to him, Helga was also the snak- Salazar's loyal friend (and why she would ever befriend and stand up for the slimy kid was a mystery to him), and hell hath no fury like a Hufflepuff's revenge.
"Fine, I'll stop calling him that name." He consented, but was already deviously planning a new nickname, something that accented the Parseltongue ability further.
Helga sent a deeply suspicious glare at him, which he countered with the most innocent look he could muster. Not really happy but relatively satisfied, the witch huffed and flicked a lock of blond hair behind her ear. Deciding that it would be best to change subjects before he slipped up and added something less than pleasant again, Godric asked Helga a question.
Adopting a casual and lighthearted voice, the boy prodigy threw out bluntly without any preamble, "Do you want to explore the Hogwarts Castle?"
Helga's reaction was instantaneous. Her eyes widened comically, her skin paled, and overall she looked less like an accomplished witch than a gaping fish who just learned what happens to those who bite hooks.
Despite being so passionate in the defense of her friends, Helga was actually quite fearful of many things. This happened to include the large and crumbling ruin that was the ancient Hogwarts Castle.
The stone building had been around since who know when, and has been collecting dust and spiders for centuries at least. All sorts of creatures from bats to beetles dwelled in the mysterious building, and the halls were always dark and thrillingly horrific. But the most fearsome aspect of the ruins was the recent rumor of a Ghost dwelling inside a circular room in a rotting tower.
Perfect for an adventure.
"No!" she shrieked, leaping away from him as if he, by mentioning the place, was the Ghost himself. "The place is unnatural, Godric, it's haunted! Everybody knows that!"
"Which why it's perfect for an adventure!" Godric also stood up, excitement already gleaming in his eyes. "Imagine it Helga, we can meet the Ghost face to face! Wouldn't it be great fun?"
The young witch furiously shook her head. "You're mad, Godric! Even ignoring the Ghost, there could be all kinds of other things, like vampires, or werewolves, or even a banshee!" argued Helga, eyes growing wider and wider at the mention of potential dangerous beings.
"Helga, there are no vampires in this area, it's only the half moon tonight, and a banshee just adds to the thrill!"
In spite of his arguments, Helga was adamant upon her point. "Even so, you can't possibly go! It's too dangerous!"
Here Godric drew himself up proudly. "I'm a Gryffindor, and Gryffindors never quake in the face of danger! This smells of fine adventure, and I'm going with or without you!"
His statement seemed to have had some strange effect on the blond girl, for she paused, mouth hanging open. Her eyes became distant and unfocused as she slowly shut her mouth and chewed her lip in thought. Godric tilted his head in confusion.
Perhaps she is trying to think of an argument, he thought, and thus braced himself for whatever argument she would undoubtedly throw at him.
Her eyes refocused and Helga stopped chewing her lip. Slowly, deliberately, her eyes locked back onto Godric's and in them he saw iron-hard resolve.
Merlin, he cursed. She must have a really good reason. I must not be swayed.
Godric mentally braced himself so fiercely that his physical stance changed as well, fists clenched tight and knees bent for support. Jaws squared and shoulders hunched, he ran through all the reasons why they should explore, which may seem a bit overkill on his part but it was necessary because Helga was almost as good Rowena when it came down to convincing and he really really wanted to go and meet the Ghost and ask it questi-
"When and where should we meet before we go?"
Godric blinked. He stared. He blinked again.
"What?" he croaked, only half believing his ears.
Helga pulled her hair nervously but her eyes were still determined. "I said, when and where should we meet before we go?"
His mouth gaping open, only fragments of sentences dropped from his mouth. "You, go… we… castle exploring?"
Only then did his brain kick in and in a whoop of joy, he nearly lifted Helga off the ground in his happy hug.
Swinging her around in his arms, Godric grinned from ear to ear. "Thanks Helga, I knew you would come through! Let's meet up by the Hogwarts gate at sunset! This is going to be an adventure clean out of a book!"
"Unless you suffocate your partner first," weakly uttered the girl somewhere in his robes.
The sunset was a spectacular red and gold mess spilling all over the world like fire. Godric stood by the gates, marveling at the beauty of the colors. Someday, when he becomes a wizard as strong as Merlin, he walk -no, glide- with impressive and yet mysterious red and gold robes that billow out as he moves, for then he would be so powerful that the very air moves with the force of his magic. Enemies will be in awe of him, so much that they will respect him more than they hate him, because he would be that great of a wizard.
Godric closed his eyes and savored his boyish fantasy. He would have a matching red and gold crest that will strike fear into enemies' hearts and love in his allies'. His familiar would be none other than a lion of course, courageous and as powerful as his master. People would gather and look in awe at him and declare that Godric Gryffindor was indeed the finest and best wizard in the whole world…
His daydreams were broken by the sound of feet scuffling on gravel. In his mind's eye, Godric saw Helga, nervous but unwaveringly loyal, the best friend one could ever ask for. He opened his eyes, and blinked in confusion.
There was Helga, eyes set but still twisting her hands in her robes. He had expected that. What he did not expect were the two people behind her.
One was a girl with long dark hair and curious grey eyes. Even without looking at the family crest embroidered on her robes, he knew that it was Rowena Ravenclaw, another one of Helga's close friends that he himself was not close with. While Godric never really talked to her, he knew of her position as the 'smartest of her generation.' Which was saying quite a lot, since there was him, Helga, and, most unfortunately, Salazar to consider.
And speaking of the snake, there he was, cunning eyes and all, positively sneering at Godric from behind Helga's shoulder. Of all the kids he knew, Salazar Slytherin was the one he got along with the least. Salazar was always sneering, acting as if Godric was nothing but dirt, and if there was one thing he couldn't stand, it was being underestimated. The only reason he called him by his first name was because Helga tried so hard to get the two of them to like each other.
"Why are you here, Salazar?"growled Godric, glaring at the boy.
Salazar gave an unimpressed look from down his nose. "Use that grey mush you call a brain, Godric. I'm here because Helga invited me, and," he sniffed arrogantly, "it would most displease her most terribly if I wasn't here to save your worthless life."
Godric gritted his teeth together. "Didn't know you cared so much, Salazar," he bit out angrily. "Are you sure you didn't come because you have no other friends than Helga to be with?"
Helga looked torn between rage at both of their behavior and fear for the looming castle before them. Rowena was merely staring at the two with a slight tilt of her head, a detached and yet disturbingly calculating gaze in her stormy eyes.
Salazar's high cheekbones flushed pink and his dark eyes flashed anger. Thrusting an arm to a perpendicular angle to himself, he opened his mouth as if to speak. But what he said was in no English; it was a series of eerie hisses that made Godric's skin crawl. Soon, two green snakes about the length of his arm slid out of a clump of bushes near the gate.
The snakes twined themselves around the boy's ankles. Salazar smirked triumphantly at Godric before reaching down to let them slide up the length of his arm. The reptiles willingly climbed up his arm and wrapped themselves around his shoulders.
"It seems I do indeed have friends, Godric. And they tell me that you smell like something awful." Salazar smugly stroked one of the snake's head.
Godric felt another spark of anger. "Maybe their senses are damaged by the pompous attitude you so thickly excrete."
"At least I have something to be prideful about, whereas I can never even hope to say the same for you."
"Prideful that you can speak to a pair of worms?" he shot back, fingers twitching for his wand.
"Prideful of my intellect and blood, both of which are vastly superior to yours," coolly replied the Parseltongue, though Godric saw his own fingers twitching.
Godric was already planning his first curse. "Your blood is corrupt with dishonor towards mundane beings."
Salazar's eyes were glinting malevolently. "And yours is filthy with the wild and impulsive natures of your ancestors."
"My ancestors were not cowards who hid under spun lies and twisted truths."
"My ancestors were not primates who could not hold an intellectual conversation."
Both boys spun their heads towards the sound of clapping. Her back facing the sunset, Rowena was clapping politely at them, her head still slightly tilted at an angle.
"As interesting as this verbal fight is, it is in all of our best interests to start what we came here for before words turn from insults to spells," she stated calmly. Then her head straightened, and those grey eyes suddenly looked like steel.
Her voice cold, she spoke. "It is degrading to both families that their descendants be involved in such petty quarrels. You two are not infants anymore, despite the levels of immaturity you incessantly display. You are heirs to noble houses, as am Helga and I, and we will all act as future heads of our houses in this adventure that Gryffindor and Helga have invited us to."
The cold imposing image of the witch lasted for several tense seconds, during which both Salazar and Godric struggled not to fidget under her icy glare. Then the spell broke and she returned to a young, curious girl their age.
"There, that's better. Now, Slytherin, if you would be so kind, will you please ask your beautiful friends if they know the way in and through the castle?"
To no one's surprise, Helga roughly shook and yelled at both boys for being so immature and disrespectful to each other. It was doubtful that she could have been any more fearsome even if the Furies were floating behind her. Rowena, slightly smug, watched from a safe distance.
Luckily, the boys were spared any more reproach from the blond the moment they stepped through the rusted iron gates of the castle. Night had fallen, and in the cold light of the half moon, the castle was even more intimidating. From that point on Helga was too busy shaking and jumping at every noise to pay attention to Godric and Salazar. It was a great testament of her loyalty to her friends that she followed them into the dark mouth that was the entrance of the castle.
The snakes were incredible guides. Giving directions through Salazar, the two managed to save them from wandering into large beetle colonies, avoiding collapsed staircases, and plunging into deep holes in where the floor caved in. (There was one instance where the snakes were suddenly unnaturally alert, which cause a small panic amongst the four, but it turned out that they only smelled a juicy mouse that seemed to appeal to their stomachs. Salazar gave them a stern hissing for that one.)
No one needed to ask each other where they were going, because they already knew the rumor by heart. Deep in the castle, there is a tower. In the tower there is a spiral staircase leading to a circular room. In the circular room, there dwells a soul that refuses to leave the Hogwarts castle.
A Ghost was not a rare occurrence, but it was still immensely interesting when one comes around. There is natural curiosity aroused by the presence of the dead. Who was it? How did it die? Why is it still here? And the four, though so vastly different in personality, all are recognized prodigies, and that trait pushes them to discover, even fearful Helga.
They continued on their night adventure in eerie silence. The only light was of the half moon that faded through open windows. Every step quickened another breath, and none dared to look behind them, in fear of something waiting in the shadows that they passed by. The silence closed in on them all, broken only by a few words of Parseltongue, which only made the silence more apparent when the hissing stopped. For all their magical accomplishments and soon-to-be political power, they were still only children.
Suddenly as the sound of breaking china, the snakes shrieked in high pitched hisses and writhed in distress. All four of them jumped and Helga looked ready to faint. Salazar frowned and immediately hissed out a few sentences. The rest waited anxiously, still refusing to look back and yet refusing to take a step forward without an explanation as to why their guides were shrieking as if the devil had come.
Godric stole a glance at Salazar's face, and his heart nearly froze in fear. The boy's face was carefully composed, but in his eyes sparked raw and intense terror. The snakes continued to hiss and writhe as if in actual physical pain.
Finally, Salazar stopped conversing with the snakes. Clearing his throat, the boy began to whisper quietly to them all.
"The snakes will only go this far." He spoke softly, but the sudden burst of English from the previous high pitched hissings was as loud as a cannon blast. "In front of us is the entrance to the tower through the spiral staircase, and at the top the circular room with the Ghost."
Here Salazar wet his lips before continuing. "But… it seems we are dealing with more than a Ghost."
Everyone paled. "What do you mean?" asked Godric, and winced at how loud his voice sounded.
"Normally, snakes don't fear Ghosts. The fact that your friends are so agitated means that this… being is something more than an average Ghost," quietly observed Rowena, looking quite ghostly herself.
Salazar nodded. Then, without warning, the snakes gave a final shriek and flung themselves off the boy and slithered away into the shadows. Four pairs of eyes followed their movements, and unwillingly they realized that they had turned around. They raised their eyes and saw the uncanny darkness in of the castle hall, clinging to the walls and floors like heavy oil.
Unconsciously, they all scooted closer to each other, bodies pressed against warm bodies to reassure themselves that there was another human there. But the small foursome seemed too weak to stand against the unspoken horrors of the castle.
Godric looked at them all, and saw the terror clearly etched on their faces. He took a steadying breath. "What are we doing, standing about like some huddled birds? Are we not going to find that room, Ghost or not?"
The others looked at him and blinked blankly. Then, slowly like a sunrise, their faces grew determined again and the fear was pushed away.
"Come, the stairs are only stairs. Let us go." Feeling less confident than he acted, Godric spun on his heel and marched. Salazar, Helga and Rowena followed closely, for which he was thankful, because he didn't think he could climb alone.
The stairs may have been only stairs, but they were still very creepy stairs. Salazar and Helga took the lead while Rowena and Godric followed behind, for the stairs were only wide enough for two. Salazar went ahead just in case there was another snake, and Helga followed him mostly because it would have struck guilt in the other three's hearts to have forced her to be in the back.
Finally, all four of them were on a smooth stone landing in front of a once ornate but now rotting wooden door. Godric gulped at the sight of cobwebs enshrouding the handle, but reminding himself of bravery, he reached out with small hands and grasped the rusted iron handle.
Before he could push though, Rowena stopped him.
"Wait, Gryffindor," said she, eyes narrowing at the door. "It's locked. Or rather, the keyhole is sealed."
The other three scooted closer to the door. As she said, directly under the handle, there was a small keyhole crammed with what might have been a broken key.
"How did you catch that?" asked Helga in a slightly awed voice.
Rowena gave a brief smile. "With eyes that see and observe."
The dark haired girl pulled out her wand. "Stand back," she warned.
Pointing her wand to the lock, she frowned in concentration and muttered, "Portaberto."
A flash of light later, the keyhole was not only unsealed, but also gone from existence, leaving behind a smoking, splintering mess.
Salazar eyed the newly made hole in slight distaste. "Couldn't you have picked a less, chaotic, spell?"
The witch appeared to have suddenly been turned deaf for all the reaction she gave to his sneer. She placed her hand on the door. "Allow me."
Rowena sent a sharp steel look at them all. "From here, it would be prudent to arm yourselves."
Godric, Helga, and Salazar whipped out their wands. Rowena pushed the door open.
They stepped inside.
The circular room was stone like the rest of the castle, but it was completely swept clean of dust and mold. A makeshift bed of clumsy woodmanship and blanket heaps was pushed to the right of the room, under what was once a handsome set of wide, open windows.
A teenager was sitting on the bed.
His hair was a wild mess of orange locks. He was clothed in strange black robes. His features were strange and unlike any they had ever seen, but still unarguably handsome. His skin was tan and taunt over his muscles. He was studying them with bright brown eyes. He was not silver or transparent.
Despite the fact that four wands were leveled to his face, the teenager didn't appear concerned at all. He just focused his eyes over each of their faces, studying them in an extremely focused manner. Then he flopped back onto the blankets and sighed in what sounded oddly like disappointment.
"Damn," he groaned, one calloused hand passing over his face. "And here I was hoping one of you might have been him."
Once the teen had spoken, it was as if a spell had been shattered and the four released a breath they were not aware they had been holding.
"Where's the Ghost?" demanded Godric, feeling reckless and stepping closer.
The teenager didn't get up, but just looked at the boy from the corner of his eye. "What Ghost?"
"There are rumors of a Ghost living in the circular room of a certain tower," explained Rowena, her head tilted in a curious manner again. "That would be you, would it not?"
After a moment of thought, a wiry half smile formed on the teenager's lips. "Yah, I'm a Ghost. What of it?"
A silence settled in the room as the witch thought of a reply.
Coming to a conclusion, she stated confidently, "I think that you are lying."
He gave her another side-ways look. "Why?"
"A normal deceased would be transparent and silver in color," she explained. "You are neither."
"I'm an exception, and hopefully the only one you'll ever see." Saying that, the teen rolled off his bed and strode towards the girl.
Immediately, Godric threw himself between them, eyes narrowed with warning. "Don't you try anything, Ghost," he all but growled.
Lips twisted in a crooked half smile, the teen lifted his right hand and touched the boy's shoulder. Godric flinched but was surprised to feel no contact. Looking down, he was shocked to find that the hand had slid clean through his flesh. Apparently the teenager wasn't as solid as he looked.
Pulling out his hand, the teen walked back towards his bed and slumped himself onto the shaky wooden frame.
Surprisingly, it wasn't Rowena who asked the next question, but Helga. "Why are you here, Ghost?"
Ghost, for a lack of a better name, scratched his neck and scowled. "Can't really go into details, but I'm looking for someone. I've got a source saying that the person will come here someday."
Godric frowned and gestured to the rotting door behind them. "Who would come here?" he asked, confused.
"Exactly what I thought," said Ghost. "So I was disappointed when it was none of you, since you four were the only ones who came in the last decade or so."
Salazar sneered at Ghost. "You've been here for a decade, and the castle is still in this ruinous state? Lovely house-keeping skills."
Ghost didn't seem to care for Salazar's disrespect and just waved a flippant hand towards the window behind him. Even from their position, all four of them could see the decaying and crumbling structure of the castle below.
"Even if I did clean up, what would this place be used for?" asked Ghost, staring dispassionately outside. "This place can't become anything special."
The four of them blurted out their thoughts at the same time.
Helga looked at Rowena. Rowena looked at Salazar. Salazar looked at Godric. Godric looked at Helga. Ghost looked at all of them.
"I believe a library would help people much more than a center of debate, Slytherinth," commented Rowena. Her voice was pleasant but her eyes were gleaming, daring any to contradict.
"A hospital could do much more good than both," injected Helga.
"What a disgrace to this once magnificent castle for it to become a hovel for the sick and lame. Restored it to its former beauty and this could be a magnificent gathering of intellectuals," argued Salazar, lips pulled disapprovingly at the Helga's idea.
"Rather than having a load of fat arguing men, why not have it full of magical creatures? This place can do with a bit more interest," Godric added, eyes already far away with the prospect of new creatures.
"I will not have Hogwarts castle be some sort of zoo for misfit creatures! This could be a home for knowledge, a place of reference for generations to come!"
"Rather than cramming this building with dirty old tomes, wouldn't being a political capital be so much better!? Can't you imagine the power this place would hold!?"
"Power!? We are talking about the possibility of saving hundreds, no, maybe thousands, from disease and injury, and you speak of power!?"
"I still vote upon stocking this place amok with unicorns and giant squids!"
"No! Use this place as a government hall!"
"Hospital, I say! See sense!"
"I see far more sense, and I still claim library!"
"Will none see the merits of unicorns!?"
Four heads whipped toward the soft voice. Ghost was frowning while sitting with his head propped on one knee, deep in thought.
"A school can have a library; an especially large one it we are putting this castle in consideration." Rowena raised an eyebrow but nodded in agreement.
"And naturally a place for children would need a Hospital Wing in case of injuries," continued Ghost, ignoring Helga's shrug of content.
"By splitting students into Houses, one can create mock-political parties in a sense." Salazar hummed his consent.
Ghost finally looked up at Godric with uncertain eyes. "Well… I guess there could be a class for taking care of magical creatures, though I have a hard time figuring out where to keep a giant squid."
The four exchanged looks.
"A school is a relatively good use of Hogwarts Castle, I suppose. Though, Ghost, you may have to wait until we're older for that ambition to come true," commented Salazar. He took on a slightly frustrated expression. "Prodigies we are, children have little real power."
Ghost gave them a twisted smile that had an odd touch of sorrow.
"Believe me when I say I have an eternity to wait."
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