Actions

Work Header

Painted

Chapter Text

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

136KRONOS

Painted

Part One – The Sun

 Prologue – The Waystation

-.-.-.-.-.-

-.-.-.-.-.-

May 1998

The Waystation

Somewhere in Bardo

-.-.-.-.-.-

Life asked Death, “Why do people love me and hate you?”

Death replied, “Because you are a beautiful lie and I’m a painful Truth.”

~ Unknown

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

“But you want me to go back?” Harry asks, his voice neither a whisper nor a scream, but simply there. Flat, devoid of emotions but for the burning curiosity. Dumbledore pauses and looks down at Harry with sparkling blue eyes, as if he has already made his choice and Dumbledore knows his choice. Harry has not, but he cannot bring himself to correct his dead mentor’s assumptions quite yet.

“I think,” Dumbledore says softly, “that if you choose to return, there is a chance that he may be finished for good. I cannot promise it. But I know this, Harry, that you have less to fear from returning here than he does.” Harry glances at the raw-looking pitiful thing again, trembling and chocking in the shadow below the distant chair. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.” The words seem wise, and Harry feels cruel for treating the ugly flayed childlike thing like a plague. His hands twitch. “By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say goodbye for the present.” Harry knows how to tell that Dumbledore is manipulating him by now, and he resists the urge to sigh.

Harry stares at the misty fading area that Dumbledore is staring at, gesturing him forward, then he glances back at the piteous creature. Leaving this place will not be as hard as it had been to walk into the forest, but it is warm, light, and peaceful here, and he knows he will be heading back to pain and the fear of more loss. He stands up, and Dumbledore does the same. They stare at each other for a second, and then Harry walks away from the fading mist to the chair and the behemoth. He picks it up and holds it close to his chest, then gives his disappointed sorrowful mentor a small half-smile.

“I think,” Harry looks down at the monster in his arms, resisting the urge to shudder as he rocks it gently “I think I should stay here.”

“My boy,” Dumbledore frowns, “Are you sure this is wise?”

“Yes.” Harry rocks the flayed baby in his arms, sitting down on one of the white benches to wait for a train. “I am ready to move on. The others can take care of Tom.”

Dumbledore frowns one last time, and then disappears into the haze. Harry leans back and starts humming absently. A white train pulls up and Harry walks over and gets on, his clothes magically disappearing again. The train pulls away and Harry closes his eyes, ready to see his parents once again.

-.-.-.-.-.-

In the Forest

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

-.-.-.-.-.-

“The boy… is he dead?” Voldemort grabs Narcissa Malfoy and shoves her forward to the limp body. “You, examine him. Tell me weather he is dead.”

The woman dutifully kneels down by the still body of the boy-who-lived, checking his eyes, his pulse, and his heartbeat, then stands. “He is dead.” She announces.

The death eaters erupt into happy laughter even as they shoot red and silver sparks up into the air in glee. Victory is theirs. The sounds of mourning are drowned out by the sounds of glee.

The boy who lived is dead.

Voldemort clutches his heart, Nagini writhes in pain, both fall cold to the ground.

Both sides are silent.

The war is over.

Neither side won.

-.-.-.-.-.-

The Afterlife

-.-.-.-.-.-

“Hello master.” Harry blinks. He looks out the train window, pointedly staring at Voldemort crowing triumphantly over his body, the three hallows in his scaled white hands.

“Hello Death.” He says, instinctively knowing who she is. The woman is tall with silky long black hair, bone pale skin, blood red lips, and sharp nails. She is dressed in a skintight dress of black, long flowing spider’s web sleeves, a scythe resting delicately over her slender shoulders. “I am not your master anymore. He is.”

Her fingernails tap softly on the skull in her hand as she giggles, a sound like rattling bones and howling wind. “Silly master.” Death smiles. “The master of death is not determined by the hallows. To become my master, one must be given the choice between life and death, and still choose to come to me. The master does not need to possess any of the hallows, but you have owned all three since you were born, by rights of the Peverell family. You are the last remaining true Peverell, unknowing master of all three hallows, and my decedent. This is what makes you my master. You share my blood, child, my legacy runs through your veins. It helps that you brought me such a powerful soul. I wouldn’t have gotten his soul without your help.”

Harry looks down at the now child sleeping in his arms, this red eyed, black haired, cold pale skinned once creature. “It’s Tom Riddle, is it not?” He asks.

“It is.” Death confirms. Harry nods.

He looks to the world outside, both dark and light fighting, and then to the peaceful world outside the doors of the train.

“Come on master.” Death says. “Let’s go home.”