What He Found
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from True Blood or Harry Potter.
General Warnings: AU - mostly in HP-verse; fem!Harry (AKA Holly); Dimension traveling Harry; MoD!Harry;
Summary: He'd given a lot of thought to what he might find after death; somehow, he hadn't been expecting to find her.
Author's Notes: My introduction to True Blood fanfiction was one that literally started with me going "What the hell, why not?" and then clicking on a story; and then Godric ended up being such a fascinating character that there was no turning back. I have a weakness for fem!Harry stories, thus Holly Potter.
The idea of death had never been a foreign one to him.
He had been born and raised and had died in a time when something that was seen as a passing annoyance in modern eras could be fatal, had been fatal. He had been roughly four summers old when his aunt had died from a simple cold, and death was a frightening concept even then. He was barely eight when his tribe had been conquered by the Romans; the men slaughtered, the women and children taken and sold into slavery.
By the time he was sixteen, he had been wishing for death, had been praying and mentally begging for it. Anything that would get him away from the sadistic desires of his master, even something as frightening as death, was welcome.
But, there, even death had failed him. He had died and then he woke. And his torment continued for years, for decades, and under his Master's tutelage, he had learned new ways to kill and did, and he had used his Master's tender mercies as fuel for the rage that burned within him until he had finally been able to take his revenge on his master and maker. And he had enjoyed it. He had enjoyed it more than he had enjoyed draining a servant girl for the first time.
When he had killed his maker, he had felt powerful for the first time in his life. He had felt powerful and free and in control and euphoric and that kind of euphoria, that feeling of being in control of someone else's life, of having power over whether someone lived or died was addicting.
But killing his maker had also had consequences. The bond between maker and child was, truly, a work of divinity. It was sacred and he should never have been able to overcome the bond to kill his maker, but he had, and that frightened the vampire council. They sent their enforcers after him, but he had escaped. He had been a slave since he was little more than a boy, and he had endured and survived his maker's treatment for decades. He was, above all, a survivor, a clever one.
He had dedicated the next five hundred years to running and killing. And he was good at it, terrifyingly good, until many were too frightened to speak his name. Instead, they renamed him, called him Death. 'The Boy, Death.' Even then, the words were whispered, lest saying them summon him.
And so he survived.
It wasn't easy. Though they never stood a chance at catching him, the council's enforcers had still made his life difficult and he existed on the fringes of society at the best of times until he could barely even be considered civilized in the loosest sense of the word.
But, he remembered thinking to himself then, Death was not meant to be civilized. Though it had moments where it was silent and clean, above all, Death was wild and violent and it took without asking permission. And so that was how he became. Wild and violent and taking without asking and leaving only the dead in his wake.
Back then, his thoughts on death had been little more than idle curiosity as to what happened to all of the humans and vampires he had sent to their true death.
What greeted them in the afterlife after he had ushered them to it? Did they even experience an afterlife? If they did, were they aware of it? Or did they and their consciousness just cease to exist after he had taken their life? What happened when one died and did not come back as a vampire?
They were little more than idle thoughts to amuse him in the short periods where he lacked other entertainment.
From the time he had murdered his Maker and fled from other vampires, he had reveled in the freedom he had not experienced since he was but a small boy. Each night, he had dedicated himself to taking pleasure in all the things he could now do: he followed armies because they were easy meals and he participated in night time battles just because he could; he took pleasure in flesh and blood because he could.
He had reveled in the sheer life he had found that was his to have after death.
But… Something had been missing in the years since he'd become a fugitive from the vampire council, in the decades since he had become Death. He'd grown strong, too strong for the weaklings the council continuously sent after him, and he feared that without that challenge to engage in, he would grow bored.
So he sought out a new challenge, one he had never before done.
He would become a maker.
Of course, he was picky.
He'd spent years searching for the right warrior to turn – and it would be a warrior. He didn't think he had the tolerance or the patience to turn someone who was not a fighter. He didn't think he could even begin to understand their mindset because fighting and surviving was all he knew.
And then he found Eric.
And all the years following Eric's turning had certainly been a challenge. Even now, a millennia after he had changed Eric, Godric still had moments where he thought his childe challenging.
When he had made Eric, the fire that burned within him had been tempered.
Teaching Eric all he knew, passing on his knowledge and ideals, ensuring he had a legacy in the world like he had been unable to do as a human, had calmed something in him, and as the years passed, he'd found himself much calmer, much more apathetic.
He and Eric had parted, his Viking son wishing to go his own way and hunt for the murderer of his human family and Godric had turned his attention to the New World, looking for another challenge to hold his interest. They had reunited for a short time in Germany, during the Second World War, Eric having called him in to help with the lead on the werewolves he found there, but they had parted just as quickly.
And Godric found he was tiring. Of war. Of death. Of everything.
If the humans felt jaded and shaken after two world wars, they could not even begin to compare to him.
It wasn't until the most recent five or so decades of his life that he had begun to consider death personally, in a manner other than causing it for others.
It had happened slowly, his thoughts. Creeping up on him until one day, he awoke from his daily death and wondered why he was bothering waking up at all when it would be so much easier, so much more peaceful, if he were to just stay dead.
And he began to hope for it, hope that something would go wrong as he slept and he wouldn't wake up. He began hoping for it with such desperation that he actually started planning against it.
He took every safeguard he could to protect himself during his rest, invested in ever newer and ever more secure precautions until it was nigh impossible for someone to reach him as he slept, not unless they could teleport directly into his room, onto his bed.
In all honesty, his growing lack of interest – he didn't want to call it depression; somehow, he felt that if he were to actually name it, it would become somehow worse – frightened him in a manner few things since his Maker had.
The years marched on, and he grew ever wearier.
"Do you believe in God?"
"If you're right, how will He punish me?"
"God doesn't punish. God forgives."
"I don't deserve it. But I hope for it."
Yes, he had thought often of Death and what he could expect after it.
He had expected an eternal darkness where he knew nothing beyond that there was nothing.
He had expected to not be aware of anything at all.
He had expected Hell. He had expected fire and pain and reliving his sins and the pain and humiliation he had felt at his Maker's hands for the rest of eternity.
At the very least, he had expected Purgatory.
Somehow, in all of his thoughts, all of his calculations, all of his considerations and expectations, THIS had never once occurred to him.
It was a large hall; truly, a wide-open space, bright and clean, with a clear, domed glass ceiling roof that glittered with sunlight high above him. Chairs were set in little rows and there were bits of railing here and there and yet he was the only the only being there.*
In the distance, he spotted tracks and he blinked in surprise.
It was a train station, emptier and cleaner than he could recall ever seeing one, especially one so busy as King's Cross could be.
He wandered through the station, exploring all the nooks and crannies that would appear and disappear as soon as he noticed them.
He didn't know how long it'd been since he had first appeared here. Time was immaterial. Years could have passed, or mere seconds, and he wouldn't be the wiser. Especially since not a single clock in the station worked correctly.
Rather than move as if it were keeping track of the time, the clocks all seemed to be counting down. When he had first noticed the quirk, the hour hand had been on the four. He glanced at the nearest clock and stilled in surprise as it now pointed towards the nine when he would swear that just seconds before, it had been on the eight.
He shook his head and went back to exploring. He still had yet to find a way out of the station and he was curious as to what lie beyond the chairs and tracks and glass dome.
He was sitting in one of the seats, staring up at the glass dome as it glittered in the sunlight and wondering if he was going to go crazy from the silence, the emptiness of this place, when the silence was shattered harshly enough to actually make him jump in his seat.
There was a mighty toll that echoed throughout the station when the clock struck twelve, the echoes bleeding into each new toll until it was like one long noise as the clock chimed the hour. Then, so quickly on the last toll, came the shrill sound of a whistle, the chugging of a train, the squeal of brakes.
A bright red steam engine came to a stop in the middle of King's Cross, with the words HOGWARTS EXPRESS emblazoned on it in gold. He drifted closer, the hiss of escaping steam a welcome sound over the previous silence, studying the train with muted curiosity.
Why was it here? Was this train how he had arrived in this place, or was it how he would leave? If the first, did that mean that others were joining him here?
Just as he began to think that the train was empty, that he would be getting on it, a door popped open and a woman dropped gracefully from the train car onto the platform. So involved with adjusting the bag on her shoulder, straightening her clothes and patting down her hair, she didn't notice him.
"Are you Death?" he called out, his question echoing across the empty space, and the irony of him asking the same question that Eric had once asked him struck him as funny, but he couldn't bring himself to even smile because suddenly he missed his childe.
She started, apparently not having expected anyone else to be here with her, before she loped over to him with easy grace, a bemused expression on her face.
She was pretty, classically so. Her black, ear-length hair was a mess of curls and waves, some of them even spiking up like little horns; her skin was pale, not the deathly pallor of vampires, but that of one who was naturally fair-skinned; and while her lips had smiles tucked in the corners, it was her eyes that drew the most attention. Almond shaped and tucked behind a pair of rectangular, rimless glasses, even the lightning shaped scar off-center of her forehead seemed to point towards the bright, emerald green gaze that seemed to glow with a life all its own.
She was dressed simply: distressed jeans that had a hole at the left knee, a pair of black combat boots, a white V-neck t-shirt with a plaid flannel over it, and then an olive green military-esque jacket over that. She carried a bag that was more a satchel than purse, and other than the necklace that seemed to have bottle cap charms (of all things), she was free of accessories.
Despite her overall harmlessly youthful appearance and the friendly smile that was tugging at her lips, there was something about the girl that screamed of age and danger.
"Not quite," she smiled with laughter in her voice as she came to a stop just a few feet away from him. "I'm just sort of passing through. What are you doing here?"
He hesitated, glancing around the station again before he tilted his head at the girl. "Where is here, exactly?"
"Where isn't the right question," she replied.
"Then… What is this place?"
"You can call it… A gateway."
"A gateway," he repeated.
"Yes, like a door. Only, well, much more ornate and complicated than a simple door," she nodded.
He frowned and shook his head in frustration at her obtuse answers.
"A gateway to what, a doorway to where?" he asked.
She shrugged and answered simply: "On."
"When you're ready, you can get on the Express and it'll take you on."
"But… You came here on it."
The air around her grew sad, though her smile never faded. "I did," she agreed, but said no more.
He let the subject drop for now, content simply to have company once more, and together they set off to wander the station to explore all the places he had been unable to find until she was at his side.
"My name is Holly, by the way," she introduced as they stood in the sunlight after she had found a door that led to the outside. She was standing a few feet behind him, further up the hill they'd ventured to in order to feel closer to the sky, watching him curiously.
It was the first words she'd spoken since their first encounter, however long ago that was.
"Godric," he said absently, face lifted to sky and attention held by the clouds that drifted overhead, by the feel of the sun on his skin without the fear of burning.
"Nice to meet you, Godric," she replied and he could feel her amusement, but didn't know the cause of it.
He turned to face her, lowering his eyes from the sky to her face. She had shed her jacket and had tied her plaid shirt around her hips, revealing arms that were sprinkled with scars. He blinked, taken aback by the open, friendly smile she wore now, as if he had passed a test he didn't even know he was taking, the genuine joy she felt showing in the way her emerald eyes had brightened.
And he couldn't look away, could only stare at the life he could see in her eyes.
Suddenly, he wasn't so sure that the warmth he felt and had been basking in came solely from the sun.
"You as well."
He led the way, and Holly followed easily behind, not questioning the way he seemed to be searching for something. At times, he would pause and look around before shaking his head and continuing on; this time, when he came to a stop, he looked around and nodded, before falling back into the grass.
They had lapsed back into an easy silence as they'd wandered all over the grassy slopes, but it didn't last long in the face of Godric's emotional peace and physical comfort. He felt more relaxed and at peace than he had in centuries.
It had started with a simple comment from him: "I used to do this often when I was a boy."
And the metaphorical flood gates opened.
They spoke of anything, of everything.
He told her of his life: from his childhood among the tribe, playing in the waters off the coast and hunting with his tribemates, and even his planned courting of a girl with hair the color of wheat and eyes the color of the sea; to the decimation of his tribe by the Romans and his life as a slave and the tortures he'd found at his Master's – and then Maker's – hands.
He told her things he hadn't even known he'd remembered, things he had thought long forgotten; he told her all of his doubts and hesitations and all of his secrets; he told her of things he didn't know he had wanted to share until they had spilled from his lips for her to hear.
And she listened; from the very beginning of his story to the end, where he met his death on a rooftop in Dallas, and all the long years in between.
Then she held him while he mourned – for what, he didn't know, but he grieved bitterly, on his knees at her feet and clinging to her like a child.
He arose refreshed, renewed, feeling as if he were no longer burdened by the years he had seen.
When he asked, she told him of her life, of her world.
She told him of the treatment she'd endured at her relatives' hands after the death of her parents; of the loneliness, anger, depression, the need to be loved she had felt as a child, of ten years of suffering that had left her too-skinny, too-short, too-jaded to not even be a teen yet.
Then, eyes brightened with the same wonder and awe they'd held when she'd first learned of it, she told him of magic.
She told him of the good things, of all of her firsts: her first friends, the first time she flew a broom, the first time she'd felt what it was to be full, her first crush, the first time she'd met her godfather.
She told him of the bad things, of all of her lasts: the last time she could touch someone without a split second of fear that she'd hurt them after she, eleven years old and in self-defense, killed a man; the last time she'd felt normal even among magicals; when she'd bid peace a last goodbye after the man who killed her parents returned; of the last smile her godfather ever gave her.
She told him of how she had led school children to victory in a civil war that had started years before she'd even been born, of how she'd become the youngest Head Auror ever, how she had revolutionized Magical Law Enforcement, and then gone on to take up the mantle of Minister and led her society into a golden age that lasted for decades.
She told him of how she'd married one of her best friends, had a family with him – a large one; she'd always wanted several children, and between her and her husband, they'd had several titles to dole out – and had raised her children to the absolute best of her abilities, teaching them all she knew, watching them grow, and just loving them and her life until, at the grand age of 173, she'd passed in her sleep just months after her husband, greeting Death like an old friend.
She told him of how she had united three artifacts that were thought to be little more than myth when she was but a teenager, and how Death had found her after she'd passed and told her that she would never really die, only pass through to new worlds, new adventures.
So, she'd given her husband on last kiss, changed into a pair of her favored clothes, and hopped on the train that brought her here.
"I'll be returning to life soon. I'm just lingering until Death has everything prepared for me."
She told him that King's Cross was just a pit stop for her.
She was right.
All too soon, after they had wandered back inside the station, something in the air changed.
Holly cut herself off in mid-word, and stood from she had sat, leaning against his arm.
"Time for me to head off," she announced needlessly, shrugging her jacket on and adjusting her satchel. He wondered if he could pretend to not hear her words, if she would stay if he ignored her words.
It was strange, how attached he was to her in such a short amount of time, or was it a long time? Perhaps his attachment stemmed from how easy it was to talk to her, and it was true; she had become his confidant so quickly. He had never bared his soul so completely to anyone when he was alive, though Eric had come the closest to knowing it all.
There was just something comforting about having someone who knew his every flaw, knew every terrible thing he had done, and still accepted him. There was no longer a need for him to hide away parts of himself as he had while alive because Holly already knew everything. It was so freeing.
And he didn't want her to go now.
"I am glad to have met you, Godric," she said, a hand reaching out and he lifted his to meet the gesture half-way.
But she faded before his eyes: the last thing he saw of her was the bright, warm smile he'd grown so used to, so fond of, in such a short amount of time.
And suddenly, all he wanted was to follow her back to life; he wanted it with such desperation that he actually jerked forward, hand still outstretched, as if he could catch her even now, but he grabbed only empty air.
His hand dropped back to his side.
And for the first time since he'd made the decision to die, he regretted his choice.
He had tried to go outside, but it was as if he couldn't find the way out without her there. He was forced to pace inside the station, and while the space had seemed so open and so grand before, now it felt like a cage, ever-shrinking and dim and too silent without her breathing, without her heartbeat.
He was growing angrier with every turn; more frustrated with every lap.
Was he doomed to stay in this place forever, remembering what it was like to finally have someone who knew all of his secrets and still accepted him? Was he fated to have had a friend and never see her again?
Was he damned to be the one left behind?
He turned with a snarl and froze, mere inches away from a black fabric that floated in an unfelt breeze. He eased back, senses screaming danger, and looked at the dark figure standing before him, hooded and cloaked.
"You are Death," he stated with certainty.
The figure nodded.
"Have you come to take me on?" he asked, feeling a momentary panic at the thought of it.
"A choice," It answered, and Its voice was that of many, from the grizzled voice of an elderly man to the high-pitched childish lilt of a girl at play.
"To go on and be truly dead…."
"Or go back. Go to her."
If he had a working heart, it would've stopped.
"You would return me to life? Why?" Godric questioned suspiciously, not wanting to take the deal without knowing the reasons behind it.
The air around them grew colder and Godric mentally kicked himself for daring to question Death. But he had to know, and Death answered.
Returning to life was not unlike all the times he'd woken nightly; only it was much more abrupt, and more painful, and rather than waking in his bed or coffin, he was on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
He could feel Eric not too far away, and moving closer.
But where was Holly?
Eric was watching him.
It had been three weeks since he'd been returned to life and his childe hadn't wanted to let him out of his sight, and Godric had been unable to hurt his childe by disappearing, so he had settled in to stay in Shreveport and look for Holly through other means. But he didn't even know where to start.
She had said that Death was preparing for her arrival here and that was why she lingered in the station; but, what did that mean? Did she have a legitimate identity? He hadn't even bothered to ask her last name when he'd had the chance because he hadn't thought he would ever need to know it.
Had something gone wrong when she had returned to life? How much time had passed since she had returned? How long had it been here in the real world between her return and his?
Godric reclined more in his seat, annoyance flickering across his face as the patrons of Fangtasia clamored for his attention.
When Eric had suggested helping him out at his club, Godric had accepted in hopes that it would help ease some of Eric's fears that he was going to disappear again. It had worked, somewhat, but now Godric had to deal with hours of sitting in a throne beside his childe, playing into the fantasy of Fangtasia, and the overwhelming amount of scents and emotions being thrown around were made even more annoying by the way they dulled his memory of Holly's scent.
"Father," Eric murmured from beside him, the Old Norse cutting back the amount of people who could eavesdrop and understand their conversation. "You are anxious."
"Restless," he corrected gently. "I have lost something important, something I found on the other side," he explained upon feeling Eric's own anxiety and worry through their bond.
"What did you find?"
Whether it was sheer coincidence or divine intervention, he didn't know, nor did he care; but, at that exact moment, in the small space of silence between songs, with the crowd quieter than usual, he heard a familiar accent: British, but with a hint of Scottish brogue.
The air kicked on and with the rush of cold air came a familiar scent.
He inhaled deeply, and in between people, he could just see to the bar and there she was.
Leaning back against the bar, wearing a denim jacket over a black dress that went to her knees, Holly smiled cheekily and lifted her glass to him. She still had the same messy black hair, the same fair skin, and the same emerald eyes that glowed with a life of their own.
"Her," he answered before he was gone from the seat, across the room, and already sitting down before Eric could even begin to formulate a response.
"You are real," he breathed. "You are here." The emotion in his voice made her smile almost shyly, though when she spoke, her voice was strong.
"And so are you," she pointed out, sipping at the whiskey in her glass.
"You do not seem very surprised by this," he probed.
She shook her head with a smile. "I had a feeling you would be coming back."
"Where were you? Did I miss you somehow?" he asked almost anxiously. Could he have really overlooked her?
Here, Holly's smile turned sheepish and embarrassment tinged her face.
"I didn't actually know where you'd return, you know," she pointed out. "I've been looking in Dallas for over a month now, but when I had no luck, I remembered you telling me about the club your childe owned and I figured you'd come here eventually. And, well, the house was in need of more repairs than I thought, so that also took up a bit of my time."
"You bought a house? Where?"
He felt like a small boy with a crush as he waited for her answer; he couldn't leave Eric right now, but the urge to go where Holly did was strong enough to be a longing.
"Not that far from here, actually."
Again, the embarrassment welled up, and Holly's cheeks flushed.
"I, um, actually, I thought you might want to stay with me? It's just… I rather missed your company these months I've been back, and I made the house light-tight, and, of course, you'd want to check it yourself if you do decide to move in, and you don't have to, I just mean – What?"
He was smiling at her, he knew it; one of those fond smiles he'd often directed at Eric, and he tried to wipe it from his face before she noticed, but given the way she suddenly cut herself off and directed a suspicious look at him, he didn't think it worked.
"I am not sure what I was expecting to find when I died, but you weren't it. But… I am very glad to have met you, Holly," he said instead.
She smiled, bright and warm enough to rival the sun.
** This description was pieced together from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry is in King's Cross meeting with Dumbledore.
So, this could technically stand alone as a one-shot, and I meant for it too; however, I'm more than likely going to end up writing more for it at some point.
Also, whenever I imagine Eric or Godric sitting on a throne in Fangtasia, I always picture BIGBANG at the end of the "FANTASTIC BABY" MV...