Summary: After taking up the mantle of Master of Death, Harry discovered, much to his horror, that he now had the ability to see and talk to spirits that has yet to pass on. For normal people, that wouldn't be too bad, but for an elite soldier like Harry, living in a magical London that had, only recently, seen the end of a great war, it was something akin to slow torture. Thus, Harry packed up his bags and traveled to the other side of the world, in hopes for a normal life. Chance led him to choosing Japan and meeting Shinichi Kuro was starting to make him regret it.
A New Chapter
If you were to ask Harry – and not many would in all honesty – the dead International Magical Cooperation Department employee was the last straw.
His name was Jeremy, Jeremy Stevenson and he was only 25 - still full of energy and hope for the future - when he was killed by a Death Eater - whose name he hadn't even known - as he was trying to stop a colleague from bleeding out. He didn't regret his heroism, he had told Harry, his semi-transparent eyes blazing with conviction, his fists tight by his side, even if, deep down, he had known, at that time, that he could have saved himself if he had simply let the guy die and run away. He didn't regret his choices, he had repeated, voice determined, and has even come to accept that he was no longer part of this world. The only thing he did regret was the fight he had with his wife the morning of his departure and not having been able to tell her how much he loved her before leaving.
"Please, please," Jeremy implored, hanging on to Harry's shirt with both hands and nearly on the verge of tears, "Please help me tell my beloved that I am sorry for what I had said, that she was right and that she deserved so much more then what I had given her."
Harry J Potter let out a tired sigh and passed a hand through his unkempt locks. With his wrinkled shirt and panda-eyes, he looked more like a university student during Finals week then a great war hero venerated by millions of witches and wizards around the world.
"I will try," he agreed, as he did every time someone – some spirit, to be more precise - came to him with this sort of request. He will try because he could do nothing less. After all, it was, in a twisted sort of way, his duty as a survivor, to do everything in his power to help those souls who have perished to pass on, to see their last wish fulfilled so they can be freed from the tether that was preventing them from reaching the afterlife.
Harry sighed, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulder.
He passed on the message of course after contacting Jeremy's wife and asking her to meet him in his office. He told her all Jeremy had asked him to say, assured her that her husband had regretted not having been able to talk to her before leaving, but the grief-stricken widow, desperate for a place to vent her anger, hadn't believed a word he had said and had spent the 20 minutes of their meeting calling him an insensitive bastard for trying to manipulate her feelings.
Harry wasn't surprised. Even in a world of magic, the concept of being able to communicate with the other side was still difficult to accept. Most people see death as the final frontier, one that no one can cross and come back. When you have people like Harry, people who told you that they could see spirits, your first reaction would be to call him a liar.
Jeremy's wife was like everyone else.
She thought Harry was a sham, trying to use her for his personal gain.
Harry, selfless as he was, finally had enough. His sense of loyalty and responsibility for his country and community could only do so much. The young wizard knew that, for the sake of his sanity and future wellbeing, he had to leave this place…at least for a while.
As a wise man had once said, life was a bit like a book; there was a beginning and an end, an in between, there are chapters that catapulted you from one event to another.
Today, Harry decided, was the end of one chapter in the Book of Harry Potter.
It was time to start a new one.
For someone of Harry's standing, leaving wasn't as simple as deciding to leave, packing up his bags and disappearing in to the wild. Doing so would only bring chaos, something that could be detrimental to the future stability of a magical community still in the process of rebuilding in the aftermath of a great War.
No, leaving meant days upon days or even weeks upon weeks of careful planning before anything could be carried out. Luckily for Harry, he had an ally in Ron whose brother Percy was only too happy to help Harry out, as repayment for the many things Harry had done for the Weasley family over the years. And with both Ron and Percy around to carry Harry's burden, by the end of July, two weeks after the Stevenson incident – as Harry had started to call it – he was ready to embark on his next big adventure.
Before leaving though, there was an unexpected obstacle that Harry had not foreseen…
Hermione, along with a few other agents, were sent to France to retrieve a few wayward Death Eaters and had only recently returned to London. Upon returning, she immeidietly found out about Harry's imminent departure and was not too happy for it. Thus, the night before Harry's departure, Hermione stormed in to Harry's condo, her hair a mess and her eyes blazing, demanding an answer.
If it was anyone else acting this way, Harry would have kicked them out in the blink of an eye. But since this was Hermione, the girl who had trained with him since young and stood by him no matter what, he decided to make the effort to make her understand.
Sitting next to Hermione on the leather clad sofa, a cup of steaming black tea in hand, Harry took a few moments to gather his thoughts before admitting:
"I'm tired Mione."
He sighed, running a free hand through his hair, making it even messier then before.
"I'm tired of the screaming fans, the overzealous media and the scheming politicians. I'm tired of those who still think that I am merely a tool to be used and then discarded, that they have the right to make me follow their every command. The war is over; I did my part. It's time for me to take some time for myself and be selfish for once."
He paused slightly, his eyes closed tight, almost as if he was trying to shut the outside world out.
"Do you see Hermione?"
He wanted Hermione to understand; for one of his best friend, for the girl he saw as his sister, to understand that this decision hadn't been easy for him to make but was necessary nonetheless.
Britain, no matter what, was his home and would always, in some way, be. Everyone he knew and loved were here but that didn't mean staying was what was best for him.
After a few seconds of deliberation - during which Hermione miraculously chose to stay silent - Harry spoke again, his tone unwavering and determined.
"When we were still in conflict, I couldn't think of myself; I was the leader, the prophesied hero. I couldn't run away even if, most of the time, I was scared shitless. I couldn't run because I had a duty to stay. After all, I was the one who had been trained since practically birth to capture or kill. Can you imagine a toddler being taught how to dissemble and reassemble a riffle? I can because that was my reality back then.
As a child, I couldn't cry, couldn't yell, couldn't do anything a normal child could do. I had to be strong because I was told, since the very beginning, that showing even one ounce of weakness while in action could mean death for me, my comrades or innocent bystanders. I had to stay focused for the sake of everyone I have been tasked to protect."
"Harry…" Hermione's back hunched, all her previous anger dissipated. And at that moment, she no longer looked like a fearless soldier but a confused young woman whose world view was starting to shake. "Harry…I…"
Hermione bit her lips, unsure of what to say in order to comfort him.
It wasn't a nice sound.
"I'm not looking for pity nor am I looking for your concern," he reassured her, still not looking at her, his eyes focused instead on the Potter Crest engraved in the lid of the trunk laid at his feet, "I don't regret my choices and would have done exactly the same if given a second chance. I just want you to understand that I'm tired of this box everyone insists on keeping me in."
He took another deep breath, almost as if he was fortifying himself for his next words.
"The war is over; I no longer want to be your hero."
Hermione didn't react at that - much to Harry's surprised - and maintained her silence. A few minutes passed and just as Harry was starting to wonder if she had left without him knowing – she was one of the only people Harry knew that could do that without breaking a sweat – she spoke.
"You are my best friend Harry."
She put her arms around him, drawing him for an improvised hug, a simple action that sent tendrils of warms through Harry.
Hermione, for reasons much too numerous to list, was not a tactile person. Even with Harry, hugging was something she had only done twice before; the first time he had failed a mission and was berating himself in his room and the first time he had seen a fellow soldier die in front of him and had nightmares replaying that very event. Both times, she had taken time out of her busy schedule to sit with Harry and put her arms around him in a gesture of solidarity and comfort.
"Thank you, Hermione," Harry replied, grateful for her existence. "I won't forget you. I can't forget you."
Hermione shook her head in amusement.
"We've gone through too much for you to forget me."
She let go and stood up.
"When are you leaving?"
"Where are you going?"
Hermione blinked at him.
Harry was a little embarrassed as he replied.
"As someone who has never even been outside of Britain before, choosing a destination for this little getaway involved less planning and careful research and more throwing a dart at a world map and see where it landed. And well…"
"It landed on Japan."
This startled a laugh out of Hermione.
Harry hadn't lied to Hermione when he had told her that his choice of destination was product of chance. Sure, a part of Harry had wanted more planning to go in to this decision, but another part of him – the part that had finally won out in the end - wanted to leave everything up to Fate. Which led, of course, to dart throwing. And when the dart had landed on Japan, Harry found nothing wrong with the choice so simply went with it. Language wasn't a problem when he had magic, so why not go experience a new culture?
Harry, needless to say, didn't know much about Japan. The only things he did know about that country came from his meeting with the then-Japanese Minister of Magic, but now retired, Sora Hiroshi, a few years ago, at a time when Voldemort was at the pinnacle of his powers, his name almost universally known among all wizards and witches, no matter the nationality. Unsurprisingly, that particular meeting had been more focused on military strategies to counter Voldemort's plans to expand outside of Britain then anything else so any information he has obtained wasn't really useful in his current situation.
Luckily for Harry, his relationship with Hiroshi hadn't ended then. For numerous reasons, Harry had made sure to be on friendly terms with all world leaders - magical or otherwise - but Hiroshi, along with the muggle Minister Taro Abe, were still among his closest friends. Thus, Harry hadn't hesitated much when he gave Hiroshi a call.
Mr. Hiroshi grew up in Beika City with his two brothers but moved to Tokyo when he became Minister of Magic. His two brothers still lived in Beika though and the older one, Riku, one of the only two wizards of the family, the third brother being a squib, was Harry's fan and was over the moon when told about Harry's imminent arrival. He convinced Harry to move to Beika and assured him that Beika was as normal as it can be. Harry agreed because Beika was, according to Riku, extremely unpopular with wizarding folk for some reason, so most people living there were muggles.
"Harry, what do you want to do in Japan?" Riku asked after the location has been decided.
"I still haven't decided," Harry admitted, shrugging on reflex. He had wanted to experience life as a normal teenager but wasn't sure where to begin.
"How about signing up for high school?" Riku suggested, "I think experiencing high school life would be interesting as that is something most teenagers need to go through."
It was a good suggestion, Harry decided, but…
"I have never had a formal muggle education before," he admitted, for the last muggle education he had was still back in grade school. He doubted that would help him much in high school. "Will I be able to keep up?"
He didn't think embarrassing himself on a daily basis would be his idea of an enjoyable pastime.
Riku didn't seem to see this as a problem.
"Just use memory potions to remember the basic stuff and you'll be fine," he told him, unconcerned, as his brother cried cheater in the background, making sure to say the word in English. Riku ignored him with practiced ease as he continued, "You'll never be first in the class, but you won't fall behind either."
Harry agreed in the end because experiencing life as a normal student did sound interesting.
Afterwards, Riku helped Harry contact Teitan High and signed him up as a transfer student. Harry didn't ask how Riku had managed to convince the school to accept him when he had no previous educational background - grade school probably didn't count much, but the young man knew it probably involved monetary bribes in some way.
Some things were better left unsaid.
And just like that, Harry James Potter, finally gathered up the courage to leave everything he knew behind and head to a brand new country in order to start a new chapter in his life, a, Harry hoped, much less fantastical and much more normal chapter.
Too bad Fate had other plans in store.