Hello everyone! Here's a new story of mine. I had an idea for a kind of multiverse between my stories, similar to The Professional's and Dunuelos's 'Lone Traveler'Stories. This is a one shot explaining the concept, and hopefully soon I'll have my first full story to go along with it. Anyways, enjoy!
Death's Game: The Beginning
The last thing Harry Potter saw was a bright green light streaking towards him. The Dark Lord's killing curse struck him in the gut at the same time his reductor curse hit Riddle in the chest. He was unable to tell if that had been enough to finish the bastard off though as the sound of rushing death approached him and he knew no more.
When Harry next came to he was lying face down on a soft, yet firm milky white substance. Where am I? He felt at his side where he usually kept his wand and found it wasn't there. Where's my wand?! Standing up, he took a look around. There wasn't much to see. A strange white mist surrounded him in every direction. Am I back at that King's Cross place? Remembering what happened the last time he was there, he looked down. Nope, still clothed. So I guess that's not it. He touched his face. But I don't need glasses. Weird. He looked around some more at the seemingly infinite whiteness. If this isn't that King's Cross place then where is it? Is this heaven? But then, if that's the case, where is everybody? Is this somewhere else entirely? Am I in…hell?"
"Hi there, Harry!"
A cheery voice from behind him snapped him out of his woolgathering. He turned around to see a girl he was certain hadn't been there a moment ago.
Harry took a moment to observe her. She was thin, and appeared to be at the age of a first-year Hogwarts student. A muggle-style, sleeveless black, satin sundress clothed her down to her knees. She was barefoot, and all of her nails were painted black. Silky smooth, silver-white hair fell perfectly straight down to her knees. Her bangs parted at the side, obscuring parts of her forehead and similarly colored eyebrows. The girl's flawless, snow white skin reminded him of the porcelain doll he'd seen Dudley get for Christmas once before the impatient boy had gotten bored with it and smashed it against a wall. Her sweet, heart-shaped face was adorned with soft cheeks, a button nose, and rosebud lips which were parted in a wide smile that displayed her pearly white teeth. But it was something he saw in her wide, silver-grey, almond shaped eyes that belied her cute demeanor. Beneath them lurked a deep intelligence, born of age and experience that a girl with her mien had no right having. Those eyes, and the absolutely massive scythe stuck to her back which was at least a full foot taller than she was, looked horribly incongruous with the rest of her appearance.
Harry's eyes narrowed. The girl gave off an aura of power, the kind that said messing with her was a bad idea. It was muted, heavily, but he could tell. And yet, she just clasped her hands behind her and continued to smile, the epitome of innocence. She's dangerous. Very dangerous. Harry decided. But it doesn't feel like she wants to harm me.
"You're right. I don't," the girl said cheerfully. "I'm here to help you."
Harry blinked. "Did you just read my mind?" he accused.
"Nope!" she said, popping the p. "That would be very rude, and like I said I'm here to help you. I'm just good at reading people."
"I... see," said Harry, his brow furrowing. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude, but who are you exactly?"
The girl smiled. "No worries. Allow me to introduce myself!" She curtsied, but didn't break eye contact. "I, am Death. Welcome to the afterlife!"
Harry blinked. "Death? Like, a goddess of death?"
"Not a goddess of death, the goddess of death," she replied, smiling smugly. "Death, The Grim Reaper, Shinigami, they're all me!"
"You're a girl?" Harry asked, before he could stop himself.
Death scowled and put her hands on her hips. "So rude! So what if I am? Did you expect me to be male? Well, I'm so sorry to disappoint you!"
Harry backpedaled, realizing he'd hit a sore point. "No, not at all, I'm not disappointed. I just wasn't expecting it. I mean, none of the stories even hint that you're a girl."
Death looked down at the floor and grumbled, "Not my fault those stupid bards can't even get my stupid gender right."
"At least they got the scythe part right," he offered.
Death's lips twitched. "True."
Harry looked around again at the misty whiteness. "So I'm dead then?"
"Yep!" she said brightly, popping the p again.
"Did I at least take Riddle with me?" he asked, with desperation in his voice.
Death's lips curled in a vengeful smile that looked horribly out of place on her young face. "Yes, you did. And thank you for that, by the way. Bastard was starting to annoy me. I mean, did he actually think he could run away from me forever? As if! I'm Death! No one escapes me! The nerve of that man. He's even worse than those Peverell jerks! Oh, I'll make sure Lucy spends extra time with him in Hell teaching him why he made such a big mistake!"
Harry's eyes gleamed with satisfaction at the thought of Riddle getting his just desserts, but his confusion soon overtook him. "Lucy?"
Death blinked. "Oh right, umm, I guess that's Lucifer to you. Or the Devil. Or Satan." She put a finger on her chin. "He has a lot of names actually."
Harry's eyebrows raised. "You call the Devil, Lucy?"
"Hey he's actually a pretty nice guy once you get to know him!" Death defended her friend. Her cheeks tinted pink. "He's also pretty cute."
Harry shook his head, resolving not to step into that quagmire of questions. He still had one that was safe to ask though. "So, what happens to me now? Am I going to hell too?"
Death tilted her head to the side. "Well if you wanted to, I guess. You're slated for heaven, but I'm sure Lucy wouldn't mind if you wanted to spend some time gloating at Riddle. Plus, I'm sure you'd like to visit your friend Dumbledore."
Harry blanched. "Why is Dumbledore in hell? He's the closest thing the wizarding world has to a saint!"
Death averted his gaze and rubbed her arm. "Yeaaaaah, you ever heard the expression 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions?' That pretty much sums Dumbledore up in a nutshell. He's dropped the ball on quite a bit. Don't worry though, he won't be there long. Mistakes aside, he is a good person. He's just there for, I guess you could call it a 'cleansing of his soul.' And once his soul is clean, he'll be sent up to heaven to be with the others."
"So, is that where you want to go?" asked Death.
Harry shook his head. "Er, maybe later. I'd rather go see Sirius and my parents first. Can I go now?"
Death rubbed her arm. "You could, but I had something I wanted to ask you first."
"What do you need?" he asked. After sixteen years of waiting to meet his parents again, he could stand to wait a little longer.
Death rubbed her arm some more and looked down at the floor, and Harry reflected on how strange it was seeing the literal incarnation of Death acting bashful. "Well you see, I've been around for quite a while now, since the very beginning of the universe itself. My entire existence has been spent dealing with the dead and sending them on to be judged."
"Huh," said Harry, wondering where she was going with this.
Death blushed and waved her arms in front of her. "No, don't get me wrong! I love my job! It's very rewarding and I've seen quite a lot over the eons. It's just-" She shrugged. "I don't have any way to relax when I want a break. It's just nonstop work for me. I brought this up with the G-man, or God as I guess you would call Him, and He suggested I get a hobby. Like what He did when He started that whole Christianity thing."
Harry gaped. God started Christianity as a hobby?!
Death was looking at the ground however, so she didn't notice his reaction. "So I've been searching for the past few hundred years, and I think I've finally found something." She looked up at Harry and bit her lip before continuing. "Your life is one of most fascinating things I've encountered in nearly all my years of existence. The theoretical permutations your story can take are nearly infinite. As such, I'd like to propose to you a, well 'game' I suppose, with you in it."
Harry crossed his arms. "A game?"
Death bobbed her head. "Yep. Basically, the game would be me sending you back to play through your life over and over again with some changes here and there to keep it interesting. What do you say?"
Harry grit his teeth and glowered at the grinning goddess. A game? She wants to turn my life into a goddamn- no wait, God is in on this- into a bloody game?! "No! I don't want to play your stupid game!" he roared, channeling his inner Snape to fix her with his best sneer. "I already went through my life once and that bastard, Riddle, is already dead! Why the bloody hell would I want to go through that torture again instead of moving on to see my parents?!"
Death's eyes went wide and she waved her arms in front of her. "No, no, no, no, no, you don't understand. That's not what I meant at all. I would never keep you from seeing your parents," she said frantically. She rubbed her arm again. "Look, I didn't explain that very well, can I start over? Just, please hear me out. If afterwards you still don't want to play I'll take you to your parents right away, I promise."
Harry took a deep breath and unclenched his fists. "Fine," he gritted out. "Explain."
Death smiled. "OK, so first off, if you agree to play my game you can still spend time with your parents and loved ones. I probably should have led with that, actually. Time is kind of subjective for me in the afterlife since it's my realm and under my jurisdiction. I can make a full year in heaven for you be mere seconds for me. You can leave the game at any time in between rounds to go spend time with your loved ones and come back to play whenever you want.
"You could also just spend time with me here in between rounds doing whatever you want. I've been around for eons and I can teach you a lot. I can even let you be my assistant. Or we could just hang out and have fun. I could show you around the afterlife, introduce you to Lucy, or the G-man. Lucy is really cool and the G-man is really wise, but His son is kind of preachy though." She grinned at him. "So want to play? Even if you say no, the offer will still be there. If you get bored in heaven, you can always change your mind and come back here at any time."
Harry searched around for something to buy him time. All he saw was the unending whiteness again, but that got him thinking. "Where is here exactly?" he asked.
Death blinked. "Oh, right. This place is, well I guess you could call it my throne room."
Harry looked around, unimpressed. "Kind of underwhelming for the throne room of Death, don't you think?" He gestured at the emptiness. "There's nothing even here. Also, shouldn't there be more doom and gloom instead of white?"
Death bristled and put her hands on her hips. "How rude! Just because I'm Death doesn't mean I have to be a brooding emo!" Harry winced. "And besides, the room can be whatever I want it to be. I just keep it like this when I meet new people." With a snap of her fingers a copy of Dumbledore's golden throne appeared along with what looked like newer, sleeker versions of the TV and video game consoles he'd seen Dudley have. She snapped her fingers again and a pool bigger than the Black Lake appeared next to it. Another snap brought in a library bigger than the one in Hogwarts. Followed by a bowling alley. And a Quidditch pitch.
Harry's jaw dropped and Death crossed her arms, smiling smugly. "This is just like the Room of Requirement!" he exclaimed.
Death scoffed. "Please that room wishes it was as cool as my throne room." She snapped her fingers again and fresh, hot pizza appeared in front of them. "The room can't do that now can it?"
Harry rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "OK, you were right. I'm sorry."
Death stuck her tongue out at him. "Of course I'm right! Silly human!" Harry rolled his eyes. For an immortal deity, Death seemed pretty immature. "So do you want to play?" she asked, her eyes shining.
Harry scratched his chin. "Well, you still haven't explained what this game actually is."
Death blushed. "Oh, right. Well, basically the game revolves around me sending your soul back to the mortal realm to play through your life over and over. However, each time the story will be a little bit different. I'll change things here and there so it won't stay the same. The changes could be things to help you, like being as smart as Hermione or being raised by Sirius instead of the Dursleys. Or they could make things harder, like you being actually blind or Voldemort having more than seven horcruxes. What changes, and how many changes there are, will depend on the round and my mood. It could even-"
"Hang on a second," Harry interrupted, clenching his fists. "If you can make all these changes in the 'mortal realm,' why didn't you just deal with Riddle yourself? It certainly sounds like you have the power. Why did so many good people have to die when Riddle could have been obliterated with just a snap of your fingers!"
Death raised an eyebrow at his visible anger. "True, I could have," she conceded slowly. "And I would have loved to. But in the long run it wouldn't have been a good idea. If I just snapped my fingers and fixed every problem on Earth, you humans would never learn to solve problems on your own. For example, if I just snapped and poof, no more Voldemort, wizards would never learn to fight back. They wouldn't know the value of standing up for themselves. And then they would just roll back over whenever the next Dark Lord showed up."
Death saw Harry was still glaring at her and sighed. "Look, God says to think of it like letting a child learn to ride a bike. You know in the beginning the child will fall down a lot and get hurt. You could just take them from place to place yourself, but that wouldn't help them in the long run. While you may not like it, you know the child needs to go through the pain before they can get better. And, at the end of the pain, a whole new world will open up for them to explore. Do you understand, Harry?" Death finished her explanation in a soft, comforting tone.
Harry sighed and took a deep breath. "Yeah, yeah I get it. I'm not happy about it, but I understand now. But why would you want me to do things over and over again? Wouldn't that open up the risk of Riddle escaping you again? Especially if I die one round. Riddle would destroy the world!"
"Well, I wouldn't be sending you back to the real mortal realm!" Death laughed. "Like you said, that would cause a whole host of problems, plus I don't think the G-man would let me. No, think of this like a video game. I'm going to send your soul back into a 'virtual' mortal realm. It'll only be a copy; one I can mess around with as much, and as often, as I want."
Harry nodded. "That makes sense."
"Yep! So anyways, every round will be different and at the end of every round you will be scored in two different ways. I'll explain scoring in a moment. You could also choose, instead of playing through a new round, to replay your original life or any previous round. However, you will earn drastically less points for each replay, with the exception of your first replay of your original life. You with me so far?"
Harry scratched his head. "Mostly. What are points?"
"Before I can explain that I need to explain 'The Shop.' The Shop is a place you'll go to before the start of every round where you can buy things to help you out. For example, keeping all your memories and skills, having an increased magical core, being a metamorphmagus, controlling the elements without the use of spells, etc. There are tons of options you can choose from, and they stack so you can select multiple options per round. However, at the end of every round all your boosts will disappear."
Harry scratched his chin. "So, the only difference between your changes and what I buy in the shop is you can make as many changes as you want as often as you want while I'm limited by the number of points I have?"
"Pretty much!" Death beamed. "Now, the way you can buy these options is by using 'points' that you earn from each round. Remember how I said there are two different types of scoring? The number of points you earn is the first score. This is determined by the achievements you fulfill in life. The harder and more impressive the achievement, the more points you'll get. For example, every time you kill Voldemort you will always get a base of three points. If you manage to capture him instead and he has to stand trial in the Wizengamot, that's a bit more impressive. You'll get more points for that. Make sense?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, I get it. It's just like a video game. But do I have to spend the points I get from one round in the next one?"
"Not at all," Death replied. "You can save up as many points, from as many rounds, as you want. Although, you should know you will be limited in your options in the beginning. You see the second type of score is, well I guess you could call it your 'EXP Gauge' if we're sticking to the video game analogy. You start at 'level 1' and as you play more you'll gain more EXP and increase your level. The higher your level the more things become available to you in the shop. The options will cost less points too. Also, as you level up you'll unlock the chance to play as other people. Like Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, James Potter, Lily Evans, or even Tom Riddle, to name but a few. The possibilities are endless."
Harry let out a low whistle and Death smirked. "I probably wouldn't play as either of my parents- be a bit too weird- but I can definitely see the appeal," Harry admitted.
Death laughed. "Don't knock it 'till you've tried it," she teased.
Harry smiled wryly. "Is there anything I can't do in this game?"
Death put a finger on her chin. "Well, you can't tell anyone about the game or the existence of the afterlife if you go back with your memories, but otherwise, not really." She grinned. "And nobody can take the information from you because it will be locked in your soul."
Harry's brow furrowed. "What do you mean, my soul? You mentioned that earlier, but what exactly is it? Why don't you send my body back instead, and why would it make a difference to store my memories in my soul?"
"Well, you are a soul now," Death explained.
Harry patted himself down. "Feels like a body to me."
"That's just your soul taking the shape it's most comfortable in."
"What do you mean?"
Death tilted her head to the side then wrinkled her nose. "Right, you've been in the afterlife for less than an hour. I can't believe I forgot that," she muttered. Harry's eyebrows raised and he pretended to cough into his hand before grinning at her. Death's cheeks reddened, but she ignored him and snapped her fingers. A diagram appeared depicting a blue fire with lines attached to a bunch of squiggles. A long pointer appeared in Death's hand and she slapped it to the diagram.
"OK, so basically a soul is a person's very essence. It's a meta-" she started to explain, but Harry cut her off.
"You know I can't read that, right?" he said, gesturing to the diagram.
Death pouted. "I know that, the board is just for show. Now quit being rude and stay quiet while I explain." Harry grinned at her nodded. Death smiled back, "Good! Now as I was saying, a soul is a metaphysical substance that contains the essence of what makes you, you. Your personality, your emotions, your thoughts, your memories, everything that makes you who you are. That's why it's so difficult for someone to change parts of their personality, because it's a part of their very soul. The soul is extremely resistant to change, despite it being so adaptable. It's a bit of a contradiction, really. Anyway, your body is just a physical shell that houses your soul on the mortal plane of existence. Living physical matter can't be brought to a higher plane. That's why when your body dies your soul returns to a higher plane without it. I can't send your body back because it isn't here in the first place. Instead, I'll be sending your soul back into your body."
"Wait, you said 'returns.' Does that mean all souls originated from a higher plane? How do they get down to Earth in the first place?"
Death rubbed her arm. "Sorry Harry, that's a bit above your paygrade. I can't tell you; it's the G-man's little secret." She did look honestly contrite, but then she smirked. "If you agree to play my game I'll probably be able to tell you one day. Like I said, you could be my assistant from time to time. That would probably give you the proper security clearance, even if you wouldn't be able to tell anyone else about it."
"Can you tell me what locking knowledge in my soul is though? And why it would help?"
"Sure, I can tell you that. Locking knowledge into a soul is, well to put it in terms you'd understand, think of it like a Fidelius Charm where the house itself is the secret keeper and only those who live in it can know the secret. Anything hidden in the soul is completely safe since no mortal means can break through, or in any way harm, the soul."
"What about a dementor? I thought they destroyed souls?"
"Nah, that's not what those demons do. True, a dementor sucks away a person's soul, but it doesn't destroy it. Doesn't even hurt it. Like I said, souls can't be harmed by mortal means. The soul gets… digested, for lack of a better word." Harry shivered as a mental image of a dementor on the toilet with diarrhea popped into his head. Death smirked then continued. "The dementor feeds off of the energy release caused by the separation of soul and body and houses the soul inside itself for a while before expelling it. The soul is unharmed by the process and after it is expelled from the dementor's body it goes to either heaven or hell, depending on the person."
"Why doesn't the soul just return to its original body instead after being… digested?" Harry shuddered again.
"The soul is unable to move on its own in the mortal plane of existence," Death explained. "Furthermore, it can only exist down there for a few seconds without a shell to house it. Theoretically someone else could put it back, but practically it wouldn't work. He'd have to not only be close enough to the dementor when it expels the soul, which again takes several hours to digest, but he'd also need to have the soul's original body with him and know a spell to move the soul back. He'd also be leaving his own soul wide open to be sucked out by the demon since he wouldn't be able to defend himself while he's casting his spell, and that's if he even manages to hold off the dementor for however long he's tailing it since killing it would just send the soul away from the mortal realm instantly."
Harry furrowed his brow. "Wait, you said souls can't be harmed by any mortal means, right? But then how did Riddle split his soul to make his horcruxes? And how could I destroy them?"
"You never destroyed his soul, you just destroyed the shells. And I meant any external means," Death clarified. "You can certainly harm your own soul, it is you after all, but it is an extraordinarily stupid thing to do. For example, with horcruxes you are literally tearing yourself- the very essence of who you are- apart, and that is something you can never recover from." Death laughed vindictively. "Lucy is teaching Tom that the hard way."
Harry scratched his chin. "Am I allowed to tell people this information about souls? Hermione for one, would find this all incredibly fascinating."
Death lips twitched upwards. "Sure you can, but the mortals won't believe you if you can't prove it and I'm not telling you how to do that." She stuck her tongue out at him then grinned slyly. "Does this mean you'll play my game?"
"Maybe," Harry hedged. "How does a round start?"
Death smirked before launching into her explanation. "Well, first you'll tell me if you want to start a new round or replay an old one. Or if you want to play as someone else, once you unlock that. If you choose a new round, I'll tell you its difficulty level."
"Difficulty level?" Harry piped in. "What's that?"
Death blinked. "I haven't told you yet?" Harry shook his head. "Huh. Well, there are five difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, and 'Bloody Hell!' To give you some context, your original life would be classed as Hard Mode." Harry gulped and Death smirked at him. "In Easy Mode, things will obviously be pretty simple. It's possible that Voldemort might not even be a threat. But on the other side of the coin, 'Bloody Hell!' Mode will be more along the lines of: everyone is against you, nobody can be trusted, just try to survive." Harry gulped again.
"Anyways, after telling you the difficulty, I'll tell you what changes I'm making that round- if I feel like it that is." Death smirked, her eyes sparkling with mischief. "I could tell you everything that'll be different, or I could send you in blind. Or I might only tell you some of the changes and leave out others. How much I tell you each round will depend on my mood."
"That's not very fair," Harry pointed out.
"It'll be more fun if you don't always know what's going on," Death reasoned. "Besides, I'll at least tell you if I am leaving anything out, even if I won't say what it is. That way you'll at least have some amount of information. Anyways, after that we'll head to The Shop where you can buy the options you want for that round. If you choose to do a replay we'll skip the last two steps and head straight there since you'll already know what the round is, obviously. By the way, replays come standard with your memories from the last time. Except for replays of your original life; in those, the option has to be bought in The Shop."
Harry grinned. "That's pretty handy."
Death nodded eagerly then continued. "Each option in the shop will be labeled with a point cost hovering above it. They're mostly self-explanatory. If you don't understand one of them, ask me and I'll tell you. There are three colors: grey, black, and gold. Gold means you can buy it. Grey means you've unlocked it but can't afford it. Black means you've unlocked it, but you can't use it."
"Why wouldn't I be able to use it if I've unlocked it?"
"Well, let's say I'm letting you keep your memories that round, it'd be pretty stupid to have that option available; it'd just be a waste of points. Or let's say I'm making all the Malfoys die in the first war, it'd be pointless to choose the option to befriend Draco at Madam Malkin's since he won't exist that round. Make sense?"
"Yeah. Although if you choose to give Voldemort more horcruxes one round, I hope you'll still let me have the option to remove them all. I know it would be contradictory, but it'd also be pretty awesome."
Death laughed. "For you, maybe. That'd be pretty boring on my end. But who knows? Maybe I will. Anyways, what do you say?"
"I can visit my parents at any time, right? And I can stop playing the game whenever I want to?"
"Well obviously not while you're in the middle of a round, but other than that, yes to both. So, are you in?" She looked at him with wide, pleading eyes.
If I can see my parents and Sirius whenever I want, then there doesn't seem to be any reason for me to say no. I can't even think of a single downside. That… actually worries me. There's got to be at least some negative to this. "What's the catch?" he asked
Death's blinked. "Catch?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, what's the catch? This whole setup honestly sounds too perfect. There's got to be a downside to this game; something you're not telling me. What is it?"
Death wrinkled her nose. "My game is awesome! It has no downside!"
Harry frowned. "That can't be right. There's always a catch. Things like this just don't happen to me without a price. What is it?"
Death pouted. "There really is none, I promise."
"Then why are you doing this for me?"
Death rubbed her arm again. "I told you, I just want to play a game. Your story is fascinating. The G-man said I needed a hobby; this is what I chose."
Harry's eyes widened. She seems to be telling the truth. And if I find out she's lying later, I can just stop playing. This is really too good to pass up. Grinning, Harry gave her his answer. "I'm in."
Death squealed and Harry found himself with a babbling girl hugging the soul out of him. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! This is going to be so much fun! You're going to love this game, trust me! It's going to be awesome!"
"Er, you're welcome?" Harry said, awkwardly patting her on the head. That seemed to do the trick though as she let him go. However, his relief didn't last very long. Her hands reached up to grab his face and before he realized what was happening she was on her tippy toes kissing him on the lips. The kiss didn't last for very long, but it was deep, passionate, caused a flash of white light to appear around them, and left Harry feeling dazed and confused. "Wha-huh?" he said eloquently.
Death stifled a giggle. "Sorry Harry, had to do that in order to anchor your soul to me. This way, after every round you'll end up back here. It also helps me keep better track of you in general and I can contact you from anywhere in the afterlife."
Harry snapped out of his daze and glared at her. "This was the catch, wasn't it?" he accused.
Death tried to look offended, and Harry might have bought it if her eyes hadn't been sparkling with mirth. "Did you not like the kiss?" she asked, pouting. "Sorry, I don't get much practice here. We can try it again, if you like." She smiled saucily at him.
"N-No, th-that's not it," he stammered, averting his eyes.
Death looked herself over. "Is it because I look so young? I can change that, you know." With a snap of her fingers she now looked to be his age, but she was unlike any girl he'd ever seen. Her hair remained the same, but her voluptuous body was sinfully gorgeous and her sundress had morphed into an indecently tight, strapless dress. She leaned into him and whispered in his ear. "Would you like to kiss me now?"
Harry's face would have made a tomato proud as he tried, and failed, to look at anything but her. Seeing his clear discomfort, the goddess snapped her fingers and reverted back to her younger form before she burst out laughing. "Oh, lighten up, Harry!" she admonished.
"Easy for you to say," he grumbled.
"Harry, we're going to be playing this game together for a long time, we might as well be comfortable with each other." She grinned. "Besides, you just literally made out with Death. Do you have any idea how badass that sounds?"
Harry scowled, but he couldn't stay mad for long and gave up his glare as a bad job. "So what's this game of yours called anyways?" he asked, in a question that was one part curious, two parts an attempt to change the conversation.
"I don't know," Death said, putting a finger on her chin. "I haven't really thought about it." She hmmed in thought.
"How about: Death's Game?" he offered, saying the first thing that popped into his head.
The goddess in question brightened. "I like it! Death's Game it is!"
The two grinned at each other before Harry asked his next question. "I know I wasn't playing Death's Game in my original life, but can I still get scored for it? Just as an example."
"Sure! I'll even let you use the points you get in the shop. The EXP doesn't count though."
"That's fine. More than I was expecting, really. I just want to see how I did."
"Alright then." Death snapped her fingers and a scoreboard appeared in front of him. Two separate scores rolled down the screen. The results were…not that great.
"Wow, I sucked according to this," Harry observed.
Death rolled her eyes. "Well next time don't suck," she replied, sticking her tongue out at him. "So, you ready to start?" she asked, nearly vibrating from anticipation.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "Actually Death, could I ask for a favor first?"
Death blinked then smiled. "Sure, what is it?"
"Well, I know I haven't started a round yet, but I did just die. I was hoping I could go see my parents and Sirius first."
Death's cheeks pinked and she rubbed her arm. "Sorry, I completely forgot. Of course you can." Removing the giant scythe strapped to her book with one hand, she slashed to the side and a green portal appeared in the air. She motioned with her other hand and grinned. "Here you go, one express Portal to Heaven, as requested. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and enjoy the ride." Harry's lips twitched. "When you want to get started on the game just call me and I'll come get you."
Harry wiped away the tears that were starting to form in his eyes with his sleeve. "Thank you, Death. I really appreciate it."
"It's not a problem," she said cheerfully. "In you go." Harry smiled and started walking forward, but stopped before going through. "What's wrong?" Death asked.
When Harry turned around he was frowning. "I just realized, I don't know your name."
Death tilted her head to the side. "What do you mean? I told you- I'm Death."
Harry scratched his head. "Well, you said the Devil's name was Lucifer, right? So do you have a name too, or are you just called Death because it's your job?"
Death's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She stared at the floor, playing with her hair. "I-I do have a name," she said eventually.
Harry's brow furrowed. "What is it then?"
Death hesitated. "I've never told anyone my name before," she whispered. "Ever."
Harry paled. "I'm sorry. If it's too personal you don't have to-"
"No!" Death interrupted. She cleared her throat. "I mean, no, I don't mind telling you. It's just that- in all my years of existence, nobody has ever asked me for my name before. G-man knows it because He gave it to me; and Lucy knows it because I told him. No other being in all of existence knows my name. They've never asked." She went back to playing with her hair.
"Oh." Harry looked at her sympathetically. He'd been through a somewhat similar situation thanks to the Dursleys. With them, he was either boy or freak, never Harry. It seemed Death was in an even worse situation though, and for longer too. He resolved then that if she told him her name he would use it as often as he could. A kind, understanding smile spread across his face. "Hi! My name is Harry James Potter," he said clearly. "What's your name?"
Death's lips twitched. She quit playing with her hair and instead wrapped her arms around herself. "My name is Gwen," she said softly.
"Gwen, eh?" Harry's smile grew wider. "That's a wonderful name; it suits you." Death's pale cheeks flushed crimson. Harry held out his hand. "It seems like we'll be together for a while, Gwen. It's nice to meet you."
Death rid herself of her blush and met his eyes. "Thank you, it's nice to meet you too." She shook his hand then tilted her head to the side. "You are a very interesting human, Harry James Potter," she remarked.
Harry grimaced. "So people keep telling me, Gwen, but I'm just Harry."
Death studied him, considering, ignoring the flush of pleasure hearing him call her by her name brought. She smiled softly. "Well, 'Just Harry,' I believe there are people on the other side waiting for you. I'll see you when you get back."
Harry gave her a lopsided grin. "I'll see you around, Gwen." With a mock salute he turned and stepped through the portal. The green substance rippled behind him before fading away. Death stood there bemused, staring at where the portal had been, wondering what she had just gotten herself into, but looking forward to it, all the same. She couldn't wait for the game to begin!
That's a wrap! Hope you all enjoyed that. Let me know what you all think. And if anyone wants to use this concept, please let me know. I would love to hear about it. See you all next time!