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of demons and mortals

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Harry stares at the knitted doll lying innocently in front of his apartment door. It’s an ugly thing, made from brown wool thread and with weird red button eyes. It reminds him of those weird voodoo dolls that his childhood neighbor, crazy grandma Figg, used to hang from her windows. Those were a bit prettier though.

“How did it even get here?” Harry frowns down at the doll and scratches his head. Oh well, nothing about it. “Well, maybe Hedwig will like it as a chew toy.” He decides in the end. He’ll give it to the cat after a wash, better to be safe.

The doll, however, chooses that moment to jump onto its legs (one undamaged and one barely hanging on) and points one of its fat arms at Harry. “Don’t you dare, you filthy mortal! I am no damned cat toy!”

Harry just continues to stare down at it. “Weird.”

“I am the most powerful demon in this universe, you stupid mortal. I can kill you just by thought alone.” The doll proclaims after it has been washed. There are still weird stains in the wool threads that refuse to come out.

“Sure, sure.” Harry doesn’t even bother listening anymore. Instead he slowly sews the fallen leg back to the rest of the doll’s body with a simple black thread. Should work well enough, even though the color doesn’t suit at all. “Powerful demon, very frightening. I’m so scared.”

The doll raises its head and the button eyes stare creepily at Harry. “You do not fear me.” The doll sounds kind of… let down and disappointed.

Harry raises one eyebrow and finishes with the sewing job. Looked pretty good, he was a little proud of himself. “Bit hard to be afraid of a weird looking doll, mate. Demon or no demon. And I’ve seen weirder things.”

His dad’s side of the family was an old bloodline of nature mages. Growing up Harry had both seen and taken part of some weird shit indeed. Talking dolls got nothing on the time when James had dressed Harry in nothing but a smelly goat skin and made the boy frolic through the meadows for hours. Lily had not been amused and Harry got consolation ice-cream for weeks.

The doll sighs and lies back down on Harry’s thigh. “This truly is a punishment most horrible.” What a drama queen.

Harry’s cat, Hedwig, stares at the moving doll with wide and very attentive eyes. The doll moves away from the edge of the kitchen counter. Harry laughs as he drinks his hot cocoa.

“So, what’s your name anyway, doll demon?” It’s been a couple of days now and the doll has mellowed out on its I am better than you attitude and overall asshole personality. “Can’t keep calling you creepy doll forever.”

The doll climbs to sit on the edge of a pot that holds a purple strawberry plant. “The name I chose for myself is all powerful and strikes fear into everyone who hears it. I am Voldemort, a Demon King!” The doll then looks up and peers at the strawberries for a short moment. “Why do you have a netherplant in your pathetic living space?”

“Dad gave them to me as a housewarming gift. They’re pretty neat, glow in the dark and stuff.” Harry finishes his cocoa and bends down to scratch Hedwig behind her fluffy ears. Norwegian cats were so soft and warm, and he loved them to death.

The doll, Voldemort, keeps staring at the fancy strawberries. “And you’re not dead yet?” There is something like amazement in its… his? voice. “Weird.”

“You’re a talking cat toy, you don’t have any place to judge.” Harry shoots back and leaves for work. He’ll have to call home later and ask James if he knows about a demon with a stupid name like Voldemort.

“Oh, honey! This is a surprise; you usually don’t call us at all.” Lily laughs into her mobile. Harry can hear Ed Sheeran playing in the background. “Did your apartment get flooded this time?”

Harry scowls at the flickering display of his work computer. “You wound me, mom. I don’t call you only when something bad happens. I actually needed dad this time.”

“James? Ooooh, this is a magical kind of problem? I hope it’s not another drunk fairy he sent your way, remember the last time? It was horrible, glitter everywhere. Took ages to clean.” Lily bangs on something as she moves around the house, all the time chattering about all the bad things that Harry’s dad has ever done.

They were adorable, his parents.

There is suddenly some kind of a weird chanting in old English in the background before it cuts off and James takes over for Lily. “Harry, hey kiddo! Lily told me you need me because of some stoned gnomes or something? It wasn’t me this time!”

“What? I don’t have any gnomes.” Harry blinks at the gibberish that is another order placement form in his inbox. “No, no. I found a talking doll that thinks it’s a demon or something. Do you know something about those? Supposedly it’s called Voldemort.”

“Voldemort? That’s a shit name.” James snickers for a moment, jokes about moldy shorts and how bad that would be for the digestion system. “I don’t deal with demons, but Remus does. I’ll ask him when we meet for poker later today.”

“Thanks dad.” Harry hangs up and goes back to trying to decipher what in the seven hells is ‘bombastic scent candles for magic gays’ supposed to be.

Turns out Remus does know about Voldemort. Dude is actually called Tom Riddle, a demon Prince that went a bit mad (mad even for a demon) somewhere along the way. While he was one of the top shots of Hell or something, he had wanted more power all of a sudden.

After that James isn’t sure what Remus told him since there was elf moonshine involved, but Riddle suddenly disappeared and no one has heard of him since. None of the other demon Princes (and a Princess) didn’t seem to really care about it either.

“Huh.” Harry looks over to where one of the very powerful Princes of Hell is being chased by his cat. Not a picture of dignity, might and whatever else demons are supposed to represent.

Tom waves his shoddy doll hands very angrily at Hedwig, screaming about cat slime in his stuffing.

Harry wakes up to Tom drawing weird pentagrams on his stomach. There is an awkward silence as the two have their own sort of a standoff in the middle of the night. It might be dramatic if only one of them didn’t fall over because the marker is too heavy.

“So, whatcha doing?” Harry sits up and blearily squints at the black marker lines drawn along his ribs. He’s vaguely sure that this one is used for soul based rituals.

Tom stays lying on the blankets, looking very defeated and given up. Dramatic. “I need a body. You have one you obviously don’t need. It all works out.” The doll finally replies, but doesn’t get up.

“You know, I could donate you to a kindergarten.” Harry gets up to go and wash off the pentagram. It’s two in the morning, why does he need to deal with these things at two in the stupid morning? “But here I am, being a good guy, even making sure my cat doesn’t eat you.”

Tom says nothing for a while. “Please give me your body?” He finally grunts out, as if it physically pains the demon to say those words.

Harry, in the mean time, soaps up his hands and scrubs at the black lines. ”You know, Tom, for some fancy demon Prince you sure suck at this. Go read some fanfiction. Teenagers know how to do this stuff way better.”

The doll tries to smother itself in Harry’s blankets when the man comes back out from the bathroom.

One evening Harry comes home to Tom standing between two lit candles, holding matchstick. There is a metal plate under the doll and what looks like a suicide note placed on the couch. It would be very dramatic (as per usual with the demon) if not for Hedwig lying under the coffee table with her stomach up and legs splayed open. Very graceful, them cats.

Harry sets his bag on the floor and sits on the couch. “You know, there is no need to do a ritual burning because of… Well, I’m not really sure what you did. Magical demon accident?” What does one say to a suicidal demon-turned-doll anyway?

“I have been disgraced. That stupid old woman stuffed me into this thing and now I must live the life of some, some toy when I could have ruled Hell. Me, a mighty Prince!” Tom slashes the air before him with the matchstick. “And now I cannot even perform one stupid first grade ritual to possess a stupid mortal body. I have become a laughing stock.”

This was just really, really sad. Harry gently takes the matchstick from Tom’s hand and then gathers the doll in his hands. “There, there. I’m sure you’re a fantastic and very powerful demon when you’re not crazy.” He gently pats the doll’s back.

“I was. Now I’m nothing.” Tom admits and slumps against Harry’s shoulder. If the doll could, it would be crying right now, Harry’s sure of it.

With a sigh the man stands up and walks over to his bag. “Luckily for you, I know a dude.”

“Potter, it’s eleven in the evening, why are you in my damn house?” Flint looks entirely not amused, as well as very much done with life and Harry’s shit. Poor guy has black rings under his eyes and he’s far too pale to be human. “And why the in the shitting fuck do you have a voodoo doll on your shoulder?”

Cedric peers over Flint’s shoulder and grins at Harry. Dude’s pretty cheerful for someone whose soul has been kicked out of their body and now needs to haunt someone like Flint (a soul mage - very serious shindig) and annoy him into helping with getting said body back. So far it’s been going on for three months and Flint isn’t budging.

Harry grins back. “So you see, this doll has some demon Prince guy in it. Poor thing tried to set himself on sacrificial fire with my scented candles, seems a bit mean to leave him like this.” He elbows past Flint and into the guy’s small apartment. It’s pretty cozy, all things considered.

“I don’t do demons, you dipshit, I do souls. Your dad’s other boyfriend is the demon guy, you know that.” Flint slams the door shut and then walks the few steps to the sofa, only to fall face down onto it. Another drama queen.

Kinky. But nah, I think this is a soul thing. Cause his body’s supposedly still kicking somewhere in Hell. Don’t know.” Harry winks at Cedric when the soul slaps Flint on the butt. Good dude Cedric, he was Harry’s first in many things. Very gentle. “And Tom said he was just transferred from one container to the other.”

Flint groans into his pillows. Then he mutters something that might mean please just kill me now. “Fine. I’ll take a look at your stupid doll. Now go and do some of your pagan magic on this pretty boy so he can get corporal for a few hours and stop the sexual harassment.”

Flint stares into Tom’s red button eyes. Neither blinks, even if one physically cannot. Harry munches lazily on a banana he stole from Flint’s kitchen - using his magic to grant a corporal form to souls and/or ghosts usually took a lot of energy.

“You’re the crazy seventh prince? You fucked up big time.” Flint falls on one side and starts to giggle. Now that is a sight most disturbing. Harry didn’t even know that Flint knows how to giggle.

Tom stares down at Flint with a stony and mocking kind of aura around him. “You slept with my sister for your gift.” He says and the little stitch mouth curls into an ominous smirk. Creepy. “Fleur is never the one taking it.”

That statement cuts off the crazy giggles instantly. Flint pales a few shades whiter. Interesting.

“So, what’s the deal with my demon doll?” Harry asks after a few moments, efficiently breaking the contest of rigid staring at one other between his old babysitter and his possessed doll. “Can you fix him?”

Flint rolls over to face Harry this time and doesn’t look very happy at all. “His soul is intact and pretty okay. Used to have some sort of corrosion to it, I think, but it’s mostly gone now. Must have been why we went batshit crazy. You might be able to stick him back to his original body if you find whoever did the switch.”

“Why is there a need for that? Can’t you just switch me now?” Tom crosses his arms and sneers down at the soul mage on the floor. Harry finds the sight very amusing.

Flint just rolls his eyes and sneers back. “If I try the wrong reverse ritual I might turn you into a fucking turnip or some shit. Soul magic is hard and complicated, not that wishy washy bullshit that you all seem to think it is.”

So now they had to find whoever did this. Nice, as if Harry didn’t have better things to do with his free time.

….

Harry squints at the screen of his laptop. He has the site OldWitchesForHire.com opened up (the supernatural world was getting more and more loose with that secrecy thing) and is scrolling through the many, many old ladies offering help in all sorts of life problems.

“You know, if you could tell me something about the old lady that did you in, it would be so much easier. And with less creepy old ladies winking at me from these sites.” Harry clicks away from one that specializes in prostate cancer curses. Damn!

Tom sits leaning against the pen holder, one leg crossed over the other, hands placed atop of his knee. It’s probably meant to be sophisticated, elegant and a bit sexy, but this is still a crappy voodoo doll body. “It is… embarrassing to admit.” The doll looks away.

Harry props his head up on one hand. His cheek is smooshed against his palm. “I will find out anyway. So suck it up, you royal fuck up.” Half of it comes out muffled.

Fine.” Tom sounds very annoyed. Good, now Harry isn’t the only one. “It was the pink witch. She was the one that messed with my sanity, so I wanted to destroy her for it. Blasted old frog had planned to do this for a long time.”

A moment of very deep silence passes. “Shitting unicorn fuck, you messed with Umbridge? Dude, not even old Dumbles was crazy enough to fuck with that one. Sweet gnome niblets.”

James has another potted plant of some weird plant in his hands when he comes over. This time the fruits are neon pink and look like little butts. They are kind of adorable, despite looking like butts.

Unlike his dad, who specializes in plant and earth magic, as well as potions, Harry went into magic dealing with fire and air. It was all very specific and very different ways of paganism. Super exciting.

“Here, some anti-possession moonblooms.” James places the potted plant on the coffee table, right where Tom tried to commit a sacrificial suicide. “Your mom sends some food as well; she thinks you survive on instant ramen and good luck.”

Harry would like to protest to that (he was a damn fine cook, thank you), but he also knows it’s useless. “Thanks, dad. How’s Sirius, I heard from Flint he got done in with some succubus orgy?” Or, in other words, Flint used every opportunity to laugh about the fuck ups of others.

“Eh, the old dog will live. He’s half himself, so it wasn’t that bad.” James picks up Hedwig and smooshes his face in the cat’s warm and fuzzy belly. “I adore this cat. Bless this cat. Anyway, how’s your pet demon doll doing? Find anything?”

Tom glares daggers at James for that pet comment, although it’s hard to tell with the button eyes. “I am no one’s pet, mortal.” The doll then attempts to do a hair flip and wobbles away to a different room.

“Eh, I found out Tom tried to fuck with Umbridge after she had fucked with him first. So now I’ve no idea what to do. Don’t think he’ll want to stay like that forever, or until she dies.” Harry watches his cat trying to wiggle away from James. Soon there will be a bloodbath in his clean living room and James will pout.

“Umbridge? Now that’s even dumber than that Voldetort thing.” James whines when Hedwig’s claws dig painfully into his fingers. “But if you need to undo her curse, can’t you just go and check her blog? She writes everything she’s done and how she’s done it there. Likes to brag a lot.”

Harry stares dumbly at his father. “She knows what a computer is?” Then, after a moment, “How do you even know that she has a blog?”

“Well damn, she really does have a blog. And it’s just as ugly as she is.” Harry grimaces at the bright pink monstrosity and the dancing cats. “She offers love advice?”

James eats one of the purple strawberries. “Mhm, she seems to think that the thing she has with Fudge is very romantic. Never mind the fact that Fudge is a transformed frog.” He then points to a link called achievements. “Check that one.”

Harry does. There are pictures. Very, very not okay pictures. Even Tom looks mildly sick.

“Oh, there it is. Humiliating a Demon Prince, as revenge against his father, who refused to invite me to his party. She sure holds grudges and sucks at titles.” Harry clicks on the blog entry anyway and starts to skim the long description of whatever Umbridge had done.

James is laughing at Harry’s side so hard he falls out of his chair. “Oh my god, this is because even fucking Lucifer didn’t want her? What the fuck even, holy unicorn shit.” He hits his head against the desk corner and dies a little.

Tom looks very stiff and very enraged. “I will burn her. And then I will burn my father.” He announces, even if it does not sound very foreboding coming from a doll’s body. Harry feels for him.

There are more pictures; some of them have a very naked body of a demon Tom. “Whoa. Tom you had abs. I’d tap that.” Harry whistles in appreciation. Tom stares at him in a shocked sort of silence. “What? I know when to appreciate a good looking dude.”

“No sex or contracts with demons without previously established safe space and rules, have I taught you nothing with Sirius’ mistakes Harry?” James swats his son on the back of his head.

Flint groans when he opens his apartment doors and sees Harry. Cedric blows a kiss. Harry really does like Cedric more than he likes Flint, but it was also wrong to judge others on who they chose to date (although, strictly speaking, Cedric was haunting Flint and yadda yadda).

“What now?” Flint looks less dead inside and more like a human being this time around. “I already told you, I need the ritual.” He sits in a beanbag that looks new and glares grumpily at Cedric’s spirit.

Harry plops Tom down onto the coffee table, atop of the pile of old Playboy magazines piled on it. The doll shudders as it eyes the things. “I found the ritual, got it printed out for you and everything. Umbridge wrote about it on her blog.”

Flint raises one bushy eyebrow just as Harry slams the cheap printer paper down before him. The soul mage leans closer to read what is on it and then looks up again and at Tom. There is something close to awe in his gaze. “You tried to fuck around with the pink monstrosity?”

“She started it.” Tom makes a small hmph sound, as if that was reason enough.

Flint blinks very slowly and looks up at his ceiling “Why am I the only sane one in our community?” Though, he does get up and starts looking for things he needs in order to reverse the ritual. Good guy, Flint, always can count on him.

“How rude. I’m pretty sane.” Harry pouts at the soul mage, all fake hurt and big puppy eyes. This look always got him out of trouble when he was a kid. It was sure to work now as well.

“You’re the most fucked in the head out of all of us. Who else would play poker with fucking wind sprites and then get high on their ambrosia?” Flint dumps a couple of bottles of frog intestines and what looks like a cow’s hoof on the sofa. “And we won’t even talk about your hooker elf roommate.”

The doll falls over, lifeless. Harry pokes it with a pen, just to be on the safe side. Flint gets up to open the windows in order to get rid of the smoke and the smell of burning bones. Cedric is nowhere to be seen; though Flint had said something about making sure the soul can’t get in the room during the ritual do-over and fuck things up.

“So, that’s it? No fancy sparks and winds?” Harry picks up the now Tom-less doll and shakes it. Nothing happens.

Flint finishes coughing out a lung by the window before he replies. “Stop reading normy romance novels about the supernatural, you know they all think it’s all very dramatic when it’s actually just smelly smoke and some runes.”

“One can hope.” Harry is grave as he announces this. With a grunt he stands up and stretches out, the doll still held in one hand. Time to go home then. “Well, whatever. Thanks for the help, Flint. You’re awesome.”

“Now I don’t owe you shit anymore, got it? Next time you’re paying me with your brownies.” Flint ruffles Harry’s hair and grins. The guy’s sweet-tooth sure was something alright.

Harry swats the hand away, though he’s laughing quietly. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll have some for you the next time I come by.”

Harry has, like, a month of peace and the usual magical fuckery of his magical item shop (Magical Items for Everyday Use and Then Some, amazing name) before Tom saunters back into his life. Only this time the demon is less like a slightly off-kilter doll with issues and more like the sexy naked guy from Umbridge’s blog.

Harry likes the sexy naked guy version so much more. It also turns out Tom actually has very pretty eyes, damn.

“Back again, huh? Missed me that much? Or came to even the dept you owe me?” Harry drinks his hot cocoa and eats some questionable green berries that James had sent him last week. Supposedly they help with hereditary heart diseases. “I don’t do contracts unless we put down rules and loopholes.”

Tom blinks very slowly, like a reptile, and then smiles very, very charmingly. It’s unfair. “No, no. None of that. I simply… missed you, I suppose. And that hell beast you call a cat.” The demon smoothes down the front of his silk vest very carefully.

“Huh.” Harry’s not sure what that’s supposed to mean, exactly. “Well, I have an extra room that no one uses? Used to be my roommate’s, but he got, uh, transferred back to the elf kingdom.” And by transferred Harry means that elf police came and announced that Draco had shagged someone he really shouldn’t have shagged and now had to take the responsibility for it, so they simply bound the guy and went poof.

Tom smiles and it looks a bit dangerous when Harry can spot sharp fangs instead of normal teeth. The demon, however, takes Harry’s right palm in his and kisses the top of the mage’s knuckles. “It would be my pleasure.”

“You’re gonna have to pay rent this time though.”