The Headmaster's Request
"Are you sure about this, Albus?"
Honestly, I'm not sure… he wanted to say as he, Minerva McGonagall - who had addressed him earlier - Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, and Alastor 'Mad-eye' Moody stood. He refrained from doing so, however, and gazed at the large stone before them covered in intricate designs and a language that only he understood, just barely.
Dumbledore knew. He knew that Voldemort was back. If he hadn't, the Order of the Phoenix wouldn't have been gathered like this. It was at the point that it was impossible to ignore. He also knew that Harry would eventually have to face his destiny, but that did not stop him from worrying, even though he didn't show it. So in hopes that Harry would not be killed along his path, or even have to battle Voldemort, he called upon his last chance.
He mentally thanked his ancestors for being so attached to diverse cultures, otherwise he would never have found out about this.
"Yes, Minerva. This is all we have left… this is our last hope."
Minerva, bless her soul, knew how dangerous this was. After all, he had told her about this first. Giving one more mental prayer, the old wizard raised his right hand. In his grasp was a wooden medallion with a black skull engraved into the surface. He placed the medallion into a indentation on the stone in front of them. The wooden piece immediately clicked into place, and a bluish-white light spread from it through the tribal marks and words across the stone.
They had to take a step back and cover their eyes with their arms as the light suddenly pulsed and the stone cracked and crumbled. Moments later, the stone stopped rattling and the dust settled, revealing something that Dumbledore had only hoped for.
There, where the boulder once stood, was a tall and sturdy cross. Hung onto the cross was a man, pinned to it like Jesus Christ was said to have been. At first, they thought that the man was part of the cross, melded to it like a statue made of ivory and stone.
But then the stone began to melt and peel off of the man in strips. It separated from his body like oil and water. The last piece of stone on his feet shedded, and the man took a deep breath in, and if breathing for the first time in ages, and fell from the cross.
While the man stood and stretched, the members of the Order took their time to study the newly appeared man. He seemed to be in his early twenties, but they of all people knew better than to be fooled by his attractive, youthful appearance. He had long and wild orange hair reaching to his shoulders that only just covered his eyes. His skin held a natural tan, and he stood at six feet tall.
The man was clad in unusual black robes that resembled a samurai. On his waist sat a sheathed sword, its handle black with red, the hilt resembling a swastika. When the man finally looked at them, they found that his eyes were a warm chocolate brown, filled with ages of wisdom that one his 'age' would not hold.
As they continued to stand and stare at each other, the member of the Order began to think that the man could not speak.
"Sore wa nan-nen…?" he murmured absently, rubbing his wrists.
The British shared a few looks. This was gonna take a while…
"Do you speak English?" Minerva inquired slowly. The man raised an eyebrow at them, before a sound akin to a chuckle left his lips.
"Yes, I do speak English, Minerva," he replied fluently, though a slight accent still remained. The witch's eyes widened. How did he know her name?
"Now, I believe there was a reason for which you decided to awaken me, was there not?" he said, directing his gaze to Dumbledore.
The old wizard nodded. "A dark wizard has risen from the dead and is threatening the lives of my students. He will soon wage war. His name is Voldemort."
"Ah… Tom Riddle. Yes, quite a headache that fellow. I assume you want me to deal with him? I hope you realize that I was sealed for a reason. I cannot simply interfere with such major events, especially ones that do not concern me." the man reminded.
"I only request that you protect our students, especially one Harry Potter," Dumbledore replied.
"The child of the prophecy…" the man gained a melancholic expression as he crossed his arms. However, he abruptly washed it off and stared at the old wizard sternly. Albus did not buckle under the strength of his gaze. Instead, he willingly got to his knees. "I beg of you, Grim Reaper, true founder of the magical world, help him in his destiny."
The others gasped at this revelation, and the man scowled fiercely. "Do not call me such, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, and rise. I am not one for formalities. My name is Ichigo, use it well," he demanded.
"W-will you help us, Lord Ichigo?" Remus asked meekly. The old wizard couldn't blame him; he was facing one of the oldest beings in existence.
The man looked like he wanted to sigh in aggravation at the title, but looked towards him instead. "Yes, I will help you. I was going to help you from the beginning, but decided that one has to walk before they can run," Ichigo answered nonchalantly.
"Now then, how are we going to house this guy? After all, a twenty year-old man clad in a student's robe walking around Hogwarts and attending classes would be pretty suspicious," Alastor wondered, looking at Albus.
A light twinkled in the old wizard's eyes and he smiled. "I think I have just the cover for you," he said, addressing Ichigo.
"And this, is Diagon Alley, Mr. Kurosaki," Minerva presented, waving a hand behind her. The man's eyes studied the wizards-filled street with a tint of nostalgia.
"It is unchanged," he murmured with a smile. Minerva turned to look at him with curiosity. "What year is it?" he suddenly asked.
The witch gave him a slightly surprised look. "1994," she answered nonetheless. She saw a proud look spread over his face, and she just couldn't help but ask, "How long has it been since you last stepped here?"
He hummed in thought and brought a hand to rub his chin, which she only now noticed was covered in light stubble. "Well, nearly nine centuries, if I recall clearly. Yes, I remember being sealed only after I knew that wizards and witches had a safe haven to live."
That brought even more questions. "Who sealed you, Mr. Kurosaki? And why?"
At that, Ichigo's eyes were lightened by a flame of fondness and pride. "My little stubborn pupil, though when he sealed me, he wasn't that little anymore. As for why, well," his eyes dulled, "let's just say that sacrifices have to be made in exchange for peace."
Minerva recognized the look of pain and decided not to push things any further. If this man was indeed the founder of the magical world, then he had seen enough to fill hundreds of lifetimes. However, she couldn't help but ask, "Who was your pupil? For a man to be able to seal you, he must have been strong."
Ichigo chuckled. "I guess you could say that. After all, I did teach him everything I knew about magic. His name was Merlin."
The witch paused in their tour... Merlin… the Merlin? The legendary wizard who was said to have been sought by Salazar Slytherin, was instead this man's disciple? Albus was right, this man was a living legend. Minerva was disappointed by the fact that not much was known about this… immortal in the magical world. He was the founder of their world, and they knew nothing about him, other than his name, title, and that he was older than the muggle Bible. Possibly even older than that.
As if reading her thoughts, his expression turned bitter before he gave her a sad smile. "Believe me, I would rather them worship a dead wizard in my place. It is better this way. You will understand soon enough."
The transfiguration professor nodded. She resigned anymore questions and changed the subject for both of their sakes. "Our time here is limited and there are still many more places to visit. Shall we?
Ichigo smiled warmly and followed her.
Their first stop was the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. When the witch first offered to pay for his expenses from Hogwart's account, he refused, saying that he had his own account and could very well pay for his own things.
Upon entering, all goblins shied away from their guests. Minerva thought it was unnerving to say the least. Ichigo gave them all a meaningful glance and they hurriedly returned to their work, occasionally shooting him looks when they thought he wasn't looking.
He waltzed up to the goblin on the pedestal. "I wish to make a withdrawal from vault 5," he said, fishing a golden key from his pocket - a pocket the witch didn't know he had until then - and handed it to the goblin.
The goblin shakily took the key, gave it a quick glance and rang a bell near him. Two new goblins appeared at Ichigo's side. "Follow us, please." One of them said. Ichigo took his key back and nodded. The goblins turned to look at Minerva.
"She's with me, she can come too," Ichigo answered the unasked question.
The goblins nodded and guided them to the man's vault. During the journey, the goblins kept whispering to each other and glancing to their guest. Ichigo, wanting to relieve their stress, attempted a joke, "I am not going to reap any of your souls, now stop being so cautious."
One of them sighed in relief, while the other turned to face Ichigo. "We apologize, my lord. It is just that you were claimed dead nearly a millennia ago. Seeing a legend such as you enter our bank like you were never gone is pretty… shocking."
Ichigo sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Do not worry yourselves over it. Just keep it to yourselves. I'd rather the humans don't find out so soon," he muttered.
The two nodded their heads and continued walking. After a while and a couple dragons, something that left Minerva a bit shaken, they reached a tall, black vault entrance. One of the goblins unlocked the vault and Ichigo and his companion entered it.
Minerva stared in awe at the mountains of gold. While she followed Ichigo deeper into the vault, she also noticed something peculiar in one of the corners. Her eyes widened and she brought a hand to her mouth as she gasped, barely restraining a scream.
Ichigo turned to look at her and at what caught her attention. A body laid leaning against the wall, its skin pale, and its hair orange. "Oh, that. It's not a real body. It's just a shell."
Minerva forced herself to take her eyes off the Ichigo-look-alike. "A shell…?"
"Yes. An artificial body of sorts," he said and he walked towards it, turned so that his back was facing it, and sat, disappearing. The skin of the shell turned tan, and it started moving, its eyes opening to reveal the chocolate brown of her companion's eyes. He stood and stretched, before turning to her again. "See? Now, I need you to keep quiet about this. Not even Dumbledore needs to find out, though I doubt he doesn't know."
Minerva nodded slowly. "But… why would you need an artificial body?"
"I am called Grim Reaper for more than one reason," he replied cryptically. "That, and my other nickname, which I'm sure more people will recognize."
The witch raised an eyebrow but didn't ask any further. She knew better than to push her luck.
"Do you have everything?" He nodded. "Let's go. You still need clothes and a wand. And a pet, if you wish."
A while later, the two were visiting Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Ichigo scrunched his nose at the uncomfortable robes while poor Madame Malkin fussed around, trying to satisfy his requirements. After dozens of outfits, he finally settled on a pair of black trousers, a black blazer with a high collar, a black coat with a red undergarment and four coattails, black combat boots - something she found ridiculous - and black leather gloves.
Madame Malkin scrunched her nose too at his preference of black and the boots, but handed him his clothes with a mutter of 'ridiculous sense of fashion'. Ichigo only shrugged at her opinion.
The two next headed to the Ollivanders Wand Shop. They entered the shop and waited for Garrick Ollivander to appear. And appear he did, as his head popped from behind a shelf, and the moment he looked at Ichigo, his eyes widened in recognition.
An excited smile appeared on his face. "What can I do for you?" he asked, as if begging him to say he needed a wand.
"Of course you do!" Ollivander almost squealed as he motioned with his wand and a measuring tape started measuring every part of his body. Well, almost every part.
"Your wand arm, please," he requested. Ichigo raised his left arm, something that made the Animagus raise her eyebrows. She looked at his waist and saw that his sword rested on his left side. That meant he fought with his right hand. Or at least, that he was right-handed. Though she didn't see why he would carry a sword around if he didn't use it. Maybe he was ambidextrous, but even those folk prefer to use their wands with their right hands.
Each time Ollivander came with a new wand, Ichigo would try to say something, only to be interrupted as the silver-eyed man would vanish behind his shelves again. After a few dozen wands and a very, very destroyed shop, Ichigo sighed in irritation. "Ollivander!" he shouted so as to stop the wandmaker.
Said wandmaker stopped in his tracks and turned to look at his client. Said client rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I already know which one I need. There is a wand in the basement, one you and your predecessors haven't been able to match with a wizard. Ever."
Ollivander's eyes widened before they gained a knowing glint. He nodded and disappeared behind his shelves. Two minutes later, he came back with a black, dusty box. He took out the pure black wand and gave it to his customer. Ichigo suddenly smiled with fondness as the tip crackled with black flames and a wind blew his hair. He looked at the destroyed shop around him and with one swish it instantly repaired itself.
"Thirteen inches, rigid, great for all combative magic and Transfiguration, judging from the ebony. As for the core… I must admit I do not know. In all our family's generations, no one ever found out what core this wand has," Ollivander murmured with awe.
Minerva turned abruptly and stared at Ichigo. "What did you say?"
"This wand's core is Thestral hair. And you couldn't have known, because this wand was not made by one of your ancestors," Ichigo explained to Garrick, who was staring at him with curiosity. "I gave it to Gina Ollivander, your many-greats-grandmother, to keep it safe until my possible return."
"So this wand was yours all along?" the silver-eyed man asked in disbelief. Ichigo nodded. Minerva had the urge to facepalm. Here he was, hinting at his immortality, right after he himself said to keep his identity a secret. Good thing that Ollivander probably wouldn't believe him. He would have to be crazy to do so.
"My father told me stories about you and your legendary wand, and about your 'death'. I knew you were alive. The entire Ollivander family knew this. But I didn't think that was your wand and that you would come and retrieve it personally."
Ichigo chuckled at the expression of disbelief on Minerva's face. Apparently she didn't think that the wandmaker would believe he was immortal. He knew how Ollivanders are. Impracticality was their trademark.
"How much for the wand?" Ichigo stated with a smirk.
"Nothing! It was never ours to begin with. It would be a dishonor to ask you to pay for it. And don't worry, I will not reveal your identity to others, Ebon Phoenix," the wandmaker stated.
Ichigo nodded and thanked him. "I know. I always confided in the Ollivanders."
With that, Minerva and her 'ward' left the shop. The witch glared at her companion. Ichigo smiled in amusement at her expression. She knew there was much she didn't know about him, and that obviously bothered her, but Ichigo knew that she was only pretending to be so bothered.
He was glad friendship didn't change throughout so many centuries.
***Based off of the original Ebon Phoenix by Noxilicious***