Heavy lidded eyes barely conceal the green glow of anger, pale skin stretches at the mouth, plump pink lips turned upwards at the edges.
“My friend Tom,” he starts, kicking the prisoner who had begun to struggle to stand back onto the dirty floor, “he says that traitors should be delivered death. He says they don’t deserve to live- that they should be culled like the filthy animals they are.” The air hummed and shimmered with faint silver vibrations, the prisoner didn’t dare to move, held in his shaking, shallow breaths. “Tom’s kinder than I am in this way. Death is a reprieve that comes to all of us. Well, most of us. Traitors don’t deserve death. Death is a mercy. Don’t you agree Montague?” Montague didn’t reply, his body only shook with the cold and the starvation and the fear. Harry raised his wand hand “I must tell the truth,” the scars on the back said. “Oh you do? Perfect. We’ll start now then- are you ready? CRUCIO!”
The summer night air was thick and suffocating. Harry sat up, heart pounding and he fumbled around for his glasses. The dream was fading fast, but he could feel the dust in the air, smell the mildew and rust settling deep into the brickwork. It had been like this for weeks now. Ever since he had settled into Peverell house he dreamed horrible truths and catastrophic events. Murder, torture, love, grief. At first he had thought they were premonitions of the future, unchangeable consequences of things he had already done. But… that wasn’t quite right. They revolve around this Tom. Someone he didn’t think he knew, but in some he killed this person, in some they were friends- lovers even. Maybe they were all just possible futures? Other universes?
Harry slipped the crisp white covers off, and padded softly over to the large ornate windows of his new bedroom. And that was something in itself wasn’t it? His, and only his. To live in, to maintain, to own. A plot of land, untraceable, where he can do anything he wanted. The freedom was tangible and daunting.
There was a dark figure in the garden.
Harry studied him intently, as the cloaked being, possibly man, possibly not, weaved intricate patterns around the rosebushes. He couldn’t be certain but the roses bloomed a little bigger, a little more vibrantly than before. Whenever Harry had asked Death why this was Death simply smiled. He’d say, one day over breakfast, that it was because there was an innate balance to everything. Because what is Death without Life?
The figure turned and waved at Harry. Harry waved back, turning from the window to see if he could get any more sleep. The dreams always seemed to shake him, he felt guilt settle coldly in his stomach after every one, even if he couldn’t even remember exactly what he had done to feel this way. Sleep, it seemed, was unobtainable tonight, and the thought of slipping back into that dank cellar, to hit and torture and maim sat wrongly on his conscience, so he watched the first rays of sun slip over the horizon. Pink and orange streaming over deep blue and ash grey. His stomach rumbled, was it already breakfast time? Harry rubbed his eyes, pulling off the thin summer sheets to grab a day robe. This one was a light blue, green vines with flowers blooming over and over on the hem and cuffs. Magic was still finding ways to surprise him. The dining room of Peverall house was large and opulent, with tall vaulted ceilings and polished wood floors. The windows had stained glass depictions of three brothers, one with a wand, one with a stone, and one with a cloak. This room was far too big to eat dinner alone in, but Ouroboros needed the space these days. He had grown massively over the summer, with all the mice and rabbits in the forests surrounding the building. There’s a popping noise to his left as Harry sits down at the head of the table, one of the Peverall house elves, Haner, has arrived to give him the post, and his blue journal. The post today was bigger than the usual bank statements and report on investments the goblins had made on his behalf. Harry thumbed through the sepia parchment until he came to an odd note sealed with the Hogwarts crest. Having already received his book list for his second year, whatever this was Harry knew it was unofficial.
“The bumbling bee is at it again I see,” Death mused, materialising on the chair to Harry’s right. He seemed to be holding a tall champagne flute of amber liquid, something the young ravenclaw hadn’t seen before, but he didn’t bother questioning it. Death was always odd, nothing he did ever made sense. He’d still yet to explain why at Peverall house he could traverse as he pleased, where Lady Magic couldn’t. Harry hummed a small note of agreement, taking in the emerald letters as he waved a series of spells over the parchment. As subtle as Dumbledore was, and these were subtle charms, the thick magic of Harry’s home, and his own heavy suspicion of the grandfatherly character made them quite useless. He’d really need heavy use of the imperius to get Harry under his control.
I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that your whereabouts are currently unknown. Imagine my shock and upset, when your loving aunt sends me a letter in tears, finding that you had not come home from King’s Cross as you were supposed to. I dearly hope that you are safe, and that your childish exploits of running off end soon. We’re all very worried about your safety, you are a very public figure in the wizarding world, and many people wish to do you harm. Inside this envelope is a portkey, say the words “Magic is Might” and you will be transported to Hogwarts, where I will return you to your doting relatives post haste.
Hoping you return soon,
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore,
Order of Merlin (first class), Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot
Harry laughed at the audacity of this wizard. The ridiculous stories he was trying to spin, the nerve to be involved in things that weren’t his business, his obnoxious use of titles.
“He really is trying his hardest isn’t he? Even Weasley could probably see right through this if he ever met Aunt Petunia.” Death summoned the letter over to give it a quick read through, before snorting in the most undignified way the destroyer of worlds could.
“I’m almost impressed with his delusions of grandeur, but I cannot say any of this is surprising. Have you spoken to Magic today?” Harry shook his head, stroking the soft leather of his journal tenderly.
“I haven’t yet, but I fear something is wrong. She looks almost sickly, is it possible for you entities to become ill?” Death’s pale face became rather serious for a moment.
“Only in the most dire of circumstances.” He said gravely, running a long finger over the rim of his glass. “Entities get energy from the aspects we control. Time, Life and I are the most powerful on that alone, because Time is unending, Life is plentiful and Death is inevitable. But..” He sighed, wondering whether the burdens of the universe were ever fit to fall on the shoulders of someone so young. “Magic is.. Different. She uses the controlled native magic to sustain herself and wixen populations are dwindling. Especially here in Great Britain. With all the recent wars and pureblood ideology, Magic is weaker than ever. It’s why we had to choose a vessel. You.”
“Yes. Someone with great integrity, to bestow our gifts upon. Intelligence, wit, power, morality. We cannot upset the scales, I cannot touch the true mortal plane, none of us can without great consequence.”
“Like Time and the time turners. Destiny and the daughters of Delphi. You and Dementors.” Death nodded slowly, looking towards the door as Ouroboros came slithering in, along with an elf carrying the breakfast tray. Delicious plates of scrambled egg and bacon, sausages and fried tomatoes, and a large pot of tea.
“Speaker! The rats are getting quicker and smarter when trying to escape me, the chase is far more fun- are you going to join me one night?”
“I doubt it Ouro,” Harry replied easily, relishing the ease at which he spoke the serpent’s tongue. “Humans aren’t meant to catch and eat rats like you are. I guess we’re just broken like that.”
“A shame. We serpents are clearly just superior to you silly two leggers. That’s why you wouldn’t be half as successful without someone like me.” Harry nodded eagerly, sipping on his tea and relaxing back into the plush chair. It was darjeeling this morning and it was delightful.
After enough breakfast to hit the spot of a growing boy, Harry returned to the library, an enormous set of rooms with rows upon rows of books in every language. Mathematics in arabic and greek, italian philosophy, parselmagic, mermish, the language of the dead. In fact, Harry was wondering whether the Peveralls had a fascination with the dead or not. Death seemed amused whenever he’d try to research the question, but there was still so many unanswered questions that Harry couldn’t narrow it down. Were they necromancers? Vessels? Alchemists before Flamel, keen to discover the philosopher’s stone and secure immortality? The pale boy runs a hand through his thick burgundy curls, grabbing a quill to write a scathing reply to Dumbledore’s missive. He was not a puppet- or an idiot, and he refused to be treated as such.
It is with regret that I shall not be returning to my relatives this summer, or any other summers in the foreseeable future. I’m sure that they are as happy with this arrangement as I am, as I can sleep in a bed and eat when I wish, without locks on my doors as bars on my windows. As I’m sure you are aware, the Potters had a grand estate, and many other branches on the continent and in the americas. My new magical guardian, Magnus Mortei Potter has been more than willing to step up and look after me, and continue my magical studies in the summer, and any other holidays I wish to return home for. I no longer see my residence at the Dursleys as home, and I hope you understand my wish for privacy in this family matter. After all, according to the Hogwarts charter, Section 9 Subsection 3B on Line 4, ‘The Headmaster of Hogwarts has no responsibility over any magical student that has another suitable magical guardian.’
Hoping you have a wonderful summer,
Heir apparent to most noble and ancient houses of Potter and Black.