Harry Potter, age 7, was running. This was a sadly common occurrence in his young life, ever since his obese cousin Dudley had invented the game of "Harry Hunting" with a few of his friends. For someone that fat he was surprisingly quick on his feet, although that could be because he had longer legs than his malnourished cousin Harry.
Harry was silently cursing to himself as he could hear his cousin gaining in on him, and there were no adults around.
"Shit, shit, shit!"
He looked around, praying to any god, demon, or other entity for some place to hide, a small hole in a fence to slip through, anything! He fought back tears as no such thing was in sight, and he made a decision that made his small heart jump in fear, as he spotted the haunted house on the hill.
All the grownups hated the old Ericson place, and all the children feared it. Even Dudley and his cronies were too scared to even set a foot on that property, after what happened to the last people who tried. Harry shuddered as he pushed the thought of the two missing teenagers out of his head. The grownups said they'd just run away, but all the kids knew...they KNEW it had been the evil spirits haunting the old Ericson's place.
Harry swallowed the lump building in his throat and pushed himself to run faster. He reached the door and twisted the doorknob frantically, it didn't budge.
"No, no, no!" Harry whimpered.
He heard Dudley and his gang having slowed down, appearing to hesitate to even set foot on the property, but if he didn't get inside, Harry was sure they'd sooner or later get the courage to go get him, even with the sun slowly setting, casting dark, haunting shadows across the dilapidated property and the cold, dark courtyard.
Suddenly the door opened, and Harry tumbled inside, rushing towards the nearest closet he could find and hiding inside it, just in time to hear Dudley and his pals creep up after him. From the sound of it, they were struggling with the door too, and Harry whimpered as he heard Piece kicking the door. He knew the old door couldn't possibly stand against such force. Not when it had opened for Harry as easily as it did.
Harry waited…and waited…the door didn't budge. He could hear them trying the windows now, and he had to choke back a cry of fear as a stone shattered one of them. He could only hope that they didn't manage to tear off the boards from the windows, but he could hear them trying. And cursing. And the shadows grew longer, and the house grew darker...
Suddenly he heard crying, screaming, and yelling from the outside, then the running of feet. He sobbed silently, even more worried now, wondering what could have scared the toughest gang in town. Wondering if whatever it was would get him next. Harry forced himself to be silent, even as he heard the creaking of the floor.
Footsteps resonated on the floorboards.
Each step bringing them closer and closer to Harry. The small child in the over-sized clothes pushed himself back into the furthest corner of the closer, silently sobbing, trying to be so quiet that nobody would notice, hand over his mouth and his eyes bulging from fear. His glasses had been lost somewhere in his attempt to escape Dudley's gang, which made his whole world blurry, and everything even more scary, as he no longer could see properly. Not that it mattered too much in the dark anyway.
With a slow creak, the doors of the closet were opened, and the dying light of day flooded in behind a tall figure that crunched down in front of the closet. Long auburn hair, slightly on the side of red rather than brown, and a pair of eyes that shone in an eerily green colour was looking down at the whimpering child in the corner. If Harry had been able to see his face properly, he would have noticed the man was exquisitely handsome, almost pretty, but not so much that he would be mistake for a girl...even with his hair flowing halfway down his back.
"Hello little one," a cultivated voice spoke softly, making Harry's eyes widen in conflicting emotions.
How could this possibly be what scared off Dudley's gang? It couldn't! The red hair and green eyes tugged at something in Harry's heart, and gave him a sense of safety he could not remember ever having felt. But it felt like someone he had known but forgotten. A vague half-shaped memory of a female voice soothingly humming followed it, but that served only to confuse him more. As it was now, what he felt was safety, and familiarity. How strange he thought to himself, not understanding why he felt what he did. But he kept silent, not trusting his voice. Not knowing what to say.
"Come now, child... It can't be very comfortable in there, can it? Wouldn't you rather want to come and sit on the sofa out here with me? I just want to speak with you, child."
The man smiled and reached out a hand to him. Harry was still terribly scared, but he reached out and took it, not daring to refuse a request from an adult. He had learned to do as he was told or suffer the consequences.
As the man carefully pulled him out of the closet, Harry noticed that the room was lit by a soft glow of many lamps. At least, Harry assumed they were lamps. They were blurry and had that soft, orange glow to them that older lamps often had at least. He let the man lead him over to sit on a couch, while the man himself took a seat in an arm-chair. If he hadn't been in such an upset state of mind, he might have wondered how it came to be that a house that have been abandoned for years, and dilapidated to boot, suddenly had become such a haven of warmth and light, and…was that a fireplace? Where had that even come from? Harry had not noticed a fireplace when he came into the room, but he admitted to himself that he had been scared out of his wits, and the last thing he had payed attention to was what the room looked like.
"Well, then…Harry." the man said, addressing him by a name he had never before heard, that somehow still sounded familiar to his ears. "Would you perhaps want some tea and scones? All this running around must have left you hungry."
Harry stared at his with wide eyes, nodding rapidly.
"Yes please, sir!" Harry spoke eagerly.
It had been days since he'd had a remotely decent meal, and it was even longer since he'd had tea. He gasped as there suddenly appeared to be a tea tray on the table, in what appeared to be gold, rather than the usual silver. Harry rubbed his eyes, wondering if he was seeing things.
The stranger proceeded to pour out tea and moved a plate of scones over to Harry, although for some reason it almost seemed like he was never quite touching anything…not even his own tea. It was as if it vanished, rather than him drinking it. But Harry dismissed it as something caused by his blurry vision and he added some milk and sugar to his own tea and almost moaned in enjoyment over the tea.
He never got any candy, hardly even food. This was luxury. He moved to grab a scone and break it in half, applying clotted cream and jam with an unsteady hand, just like he'd seen his aunt do whenever she had people over for tea. As he took his first bite, Harry decided that nothing, NOTHING could possibly taste better than this! Helped by his constant hunger and his lack of access to anything remotely tasty, this was an incredibly delicious meal.
The man merely looked at him, sipping his own tea as he smiled at him in a reassuringly charming way that made Harry relax. It was now clear that the sun had long since set, and the world had been plunged into darkness. The shadows flickered and moved almost as if they had a life of their own, and the lights flickered like flames licking the wall, and there was a strange smell permeating the air, but only very vaguely...something almost like rotten eggs, drowned in perfumed oils and ashes. But it vanished under the steaming hot tea and the very freshly baked taste of the scones.
All the while Harry wondered why this man was so nice to him. Nobody had ever been nice to him his whole life. Everybody always believed the mean things that aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon said about him. About how he was a delinquent. About how he stole and lied. How he was lazy and rude. Nobody even asked him about it, they just took the words of his aunt and uncle and treated him like dirt. It always made him sad, but a very, very small part of him was angry. Just a little bit. But whenever he voiced his anger, his uncle got mad. Really mad. And his aunt would slap him. Bad things would happen. So, he learned to push that anger down, but it was still simmering, far below the surface, locked away.
"W-why did you call me H-Harry?" Harry said, tasting the name.
"Because it is your name of course. What did you think your name was?" the stranger asked, although Harry got the distinct impression that he already knew, and merely asked to be polite.
"Boy. Freak." Harry paused as he realized those weren't actually name. "Dunno..."
He blushed and lowered his head in shame. Harry hated it when his uncle called him those things. Deep down, he knew it wasn't right. That it was bad. But he always thought that was just how things was. Something that just WAS. You can't change things that just ARE. You just accept them, as a fact. Without thought. But he was beginning to think about it now and that anger was slowly simmering up again, no matter how much he tried to push it down.
When the stranger smiled a sharp, predatory smile, even if it lasted for barely a second, Harry thought to himself that he knew. Somehow, the stranger knew about his Dark Hot Feeling. For some reason he couldn't even explain...he felt as if the man approved. Harry was filled with wonder at the thought.
"Don't you ever get tired of being the underdog? Don't you want to get away from all of that? Don't you ever want to take revenge against everyone who hurt you, to make THEM hurt? It would only be fair, after all they did to you~!"
The man spoke with a darkly seductive voice, flowing like chocolate from his lips, and with such passion it had Harry lean forward and nod rapidly at every word. It made his entire body fill with the desire to hurt them, just like they had hurt him! It would be only fair! The man went on, speaking such enticing finality that Harry could not help but to agree with him. It had his head spinning with possibilities that he had never before even known existed, much less dared to act upon. But now…now that Dark Hot Feeling permeated his small body, making him almost dizzy with righteous rage, and the NEED to hurt someone, something!
"Do you want to hurt someone, Harry? Do you want to make someone suffer? Anyone?"
Harry forgot everything he had ever been taught about right and wrong. How would he even know? Everything he did was wrong, so what then was right? The telly just made things up all the time anyway, he couldn't trust a word those people there said. Although he felt a little hesitant when the man pulled a cat up on the table. It looked like the one that his babysitter had that scratched him whenever he was dropped off there.
"It hurt you Harry. Remember? It has to be punished!" the man told him, and Harry felt himself agreeing.
It was a bad cat. Bad cats had to be punished! He would no longer allow anyone to hurt him, he'd been hurt enough! The man slid a knife towards him, and held the cat down, even as it struggled to get loose.
"Do it, Harry~ Punish it! You'll feel so much better afterwards, I promise," the man told him in that dark, hypnotic voice.
Harry picked up the knife. He hesitated. Something deep inside him told him that if he did this, then something inside him would change forever. That he was about to take a life, even if it was just a cat. But the man edged him on. Coaxing him. Encouraging him. Speaking directly to every feeling that Harry had ever felt. Every desire for revenge. Every need to be the one that held the power for a change. His fear of being bullied, and his anger at being hurt!
Harry raised the knife...
It felt like a lifetime had gone by. He still remembered the exact moment the light went out of the eyes of the cat. The moment it stopped fighting. Those spasms as it chocked out the last bits of life in it. He had a feeling he would never forget this. He felt terrified...but also powerful. To hold someone's life in your hand like that...he almost shuddered in pleasure at the Dark Delight that welled up in him.
He wanted more.
But he also wanted to throw the knife away and never, ever do it again! He hated how the dead cat looked. Like a lump of flesh. Harry stared at it, unable to tear his eyes away. It felt like a limp of meat. Not even that...it was...indescribable. In a way that nobody whom has not seen the light of life leave another living creature by their own hand could ever understand. Terrifyingly beautiful, and wonderfully ugly at the same time!
"Well done, Harry. Well done."
The voice of the other man seemed to come from far away, but Harry slowly pulled himself together and looked at him. There was such a look of pride on his face that Harry felt pride well up inside himself. He had FINALLY done something RIGHT! Nobody, anywhere, ever, had told him he had done something good, something worth doing. And Harry clung to the flicker of pride in his chest like the greatest treasure and beamed up at the older man as he praised him.
He wanted more!
More wonderful feelings!
"Now, Harry... I want you to do something for me..." The man pulled out a picture, a drawing, from his pocket. "I want you to draw this picture for me... but first...first, I will give you a gift. A gift for a job well done," He said and smiled, moving his hand to cover Harry's eyes. "Close your eyes, Harry," the man spoke, and Harry eagerly closed his eyes, his mind spinning with possibilities.
He had never received any kind of real gift in his life either. And now this nice man would give it to him! And not only a gift...no... a REWARD! He had earned this himself! And wasn't that a wondrous emotion to feel? So new and warm and just good!
"Now open them," the man told him, and he did, Harry looked around with wonder and amazement.
"I can see!" He nearly shouted out his excitement!
Not even with his glasses had he seen the world like this before! Everything was so clear. Down to the last detail! Even the blood pooling and the dead cat on the table had him stare in fascination at the dizzying beauty of the world.
"Now then, Harry... Will you draw this picture in the cat's blood on the table for me? If you do everything I say, I promise you that you will experience something that will change your whole life~!"
The man spoke with such passion and joy, making Harry feel like the man would be able to take away his pain and problems and make everything better, so he did. It was a difficult figure, the man called it a 'sigil', but he managed. Drawing each line very carefully he looked up and saw the beautiful, nice man smile at him with a mysterious smile and a slight gleam in his eyes.
"Now repeat after me: 'Ayer avage Aloren Asmodeus aken'. Keep chanting it while focusing on the image."
"Ayer avage Aloren Asmodeus aken. Ayer avage Aloren Asmodeus aken," Harry kept chanting, focusing on the image, like the man told him too.
He focused so much on it that he did not notice the light dimming, and the shark like grin that appeared on the other man's face. Suddenly there was a loud crack. Like lightning had hit something, and suddenly the lights were back on. Harry barely stopped himself from screaming in surprise.
"Good boy, Harry!"
The man laughed a deep, dark, and slightly scary laughter and patted Harry on his shoulder. The first time he had actually touched Harry, he realized. Not even when he held his hand out to help him up had the man actually touched him...he shook his head. The man had been so nice to him, why did it matter that he was a bit eccentric? He looked rich, and he always heard rich people were a bit weird, a bit 'eccentric'. Harry wasn't entirely sure what the word meant, but he had heard it enough to have a good idea.
"Now, Harry... I usually deal with far older boys than you, but you are someone quite interesting to me, yes..."
The man grinned and thought about the power he could feel from the boy, and the delicious dark soul that was trapped inside it... He wanted to taste that, and whomever had originally owned it had now relinquished ownership to its new host. There was enough leeway in the rules to allow that, he thought, and smirked to himself in glee.
"How would you like to make a Pact with me? A deal. One that lets you have all the luxury you have ever wanted. That will grant you power beyond your imagination, and let you get revenge on everyone who has ever wronged you?" the man asked, and Harry felt himself get incredibly exited at the aspect, although a bit suspicious and unsure...it sounded too good to be true. Nothing ever good had ever happened to him, but this man had been so nice to him.
The man noticed he hesitated.
"Would you like to have a Father? Someone to call 'dad'. Someone who'll play catch with you and buy you ice-cream?" as he spoke, Harry's eyes lit up like sparkling stars. It was something he had wanted more than anything in his whole life!
"I can give you that, and more~ If only you make this little deal with me. All I want in return is that you work for me, and, don't worry...dear, Harry..." He stroked the boy's face gently, and Harry revelled in the kind touch, yet another new feeling. "I won't work you nearly as hard as your aunt and uncle. In fact...how would you like to be rid of them for good? I can change them for you, you know...make them never raise their hand in anger. Never yell at you. Never call you 'freak' or 'boy', and to treat you with respect~"
The man enticed Harry and he couldn't stop himself any longer.
"Yes! I do! Please! I...I wanna work for you! I'll do anything!" Harry said, practically jumping out of the chair to hug the older man. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Harry sobbed into the warm embrace of the not-so-strange stranger. The mere thought of the paradise the man described was enough to make him want to work as hard as his little body could take, if he would only keep it. He promised himself he would serve him with everything he got.
Then a thought occurred to him...
"W-would...would you be my new daddy?" the child asked and looked up at the man with puppy-dog eyes.
This seemed to catch the man off-guard for a second, before he laughed and patted Harry's head.
"Sure, kiddo. I can't say I've ever tried that before, but I imagine it would be fun!"
The man laughed again and allowed Harry to hug him, before he smiled sardonically and pulled a fairly simple contract out of his pocket, which listed down everything he had just said, in a very stylized language that Harry struggled to understand. But he trusted that the man was telling the truth, and if he got everything he had ever wanted, in exchange for running a few errands whenever the man needed, why should he worry too much about it?
"Now, Harry... This here is a special contract. You MUST sign it in your own blood. Remember, once you sign this you will work for me, forever. But, in exchange, I will give you everything you have wished for in the deep darkness of night. Also, I'll be your new...'daddy'..." he tasted the word with something between disdain and amusement. " I'll make sure I raise you well, so much so that you'll love your new life."
He smiled deviously down at Harry, before morphing his smile into something far more reassuring and trustworthy. All Harry could see was the honesty and comfort that shone out of those eyes that was so eerily alike to his own... Harry grimaced as he cut the backside of his wrist just deep enough to wrangle out enough blood and used the quill the man had presented to him to sign his name.
The man smiled at him in a way that made Harry feel as if he did the right thing and he felt that strange sensation called pride blossom in his chest once more. He had the strangest notion that the stranger's smile flickered to something slightly more devious, as if he could sense what it was that Harry was feeling, and was laying plans and schemes as for how to best use it. But that was ridiculous, Harry told himself.
Harry smiled up at the man, his new daddy! He grinned widely as it sunk in. Then he remembered he didn't even know his name...
"W-what should I call you?" Harry asked, his voice quaking with uncertainty.
"My name is Asmodeus. But around other people, just call me Sidonay. Or...'daddy'." He forced back a laughter at the notion.
Oh, he had not had this much fun in centuries, maybe even millennia! Asmodeus laughed to himself as Harry beamed up at him.
"Okay, daddy! I'll be the best son ever! I promise! I'll work really, REALLY hard! Promise!" Harry said, nodding in precocious seriousness as he swore to himself that he would never, ever let his new dad down. No matter what!
When Harry woke up the next day, the sun was already high in the sky. For a second, he panicked. This was not his cupboard! Where was he?! Then it all came back to him and he relaxed back into the creaky, old bed and the moth-eaten blanket before once again feeling the tingles of panic reaching with its creeping tendrils towards him.
How did he get up here? He got out of the, quite frankly, somewhat smelly bed and looked around in the dilapidated decrepit room, and noticed he was somehow up on the second floor of the house. He vaguely remembered creeping into a nice, luxurious bed last night, not this...this...shithole! He was suddenly very happy to have gone to bed with his clothes on. While they were dirty, they were nowhere near as dirty as that bed. Or the floor...he could see the dust dancing in the sunlight, making small spirally pattern in the light.
For some reason...the light no longer reassured and comforted him. How strange. Suddenly he felt a need to find the darkest corner in the house and hide in. Then his eyes widened. What if he had dreamed it all?! What if all of the wonderful things that had happened yesterday was just his imagination! Harry nearly sobbed before he choked out a suffocating yell.
"DAD?! A...ASMODEUS?!" He struggled to remember the correct name, but somehow it came to him with surprising ease, as if it was burned into his heart and rested on the tip of his tongue. The door creaked open, and the room suddenly changed.
"Good morning son."
Asmodeus smiled that reassuring, friendly smile, holding a steaming cup of tea out for Harry to take. The room suddenly gleamed with colours, looking as it might have done in its glory days. He could now see that nothing had changed...not really...it was like someone had coloured the room with magic and made it new. Harry marvelled at the miracle and walked over to touch the bed, before accepting the cup from his new daddy. He drank it slowly, but he still felt thirsty and he wrinkled his nose. He was also hungry. VERY hungry. It was like he had never even eaten yesterday... The nice man with the long red hair sighed and patted Harry's shoulder.
"Yes... Illusions are best had in the darkness of the night. The light of day tends to...dispel them," He told him and waved his hand. The cup vanished, and the room looked as run down and old as ever. Harry watched the change with a morbid fascination, before turning to stare at Asmodeus.
"What ARE you?!" he asked.
His voice was quivering in fear as he only now realized that this was something unnatural and horrifying. Then his thoughts went back to the moment he killed the cat. It was haunting him, fascinating him. He wasn't sure if it was a good or a bad thing. The man smiled at him in a way that made him feel ashamed to question him. This man had been so nice to him, and he was scared of some...some...Harry wasn't sure what to call it.
"Have you ever read the bible, Harry? Don't believe in the bullshit and goodie-goodie propaganda of humans!" He sneered at the mere thought of that disgusting book. "I'm a demon Harry, have you heard of us before? Perhaps on the telly? Or in books?"
Harry shook his head. He wasn't allowed to watch the telly, and all his aunt watched was those boring soap operas and drama shows. And the Dursley's never had any books that wasn't schoolbooks or newspaper lying about. His aunt might have some romance novels lying about, but Harry was never allowed to touch those. Asmodeus smiled. A dangerous smile. It was creeping slowly to his face like the velvet darkness of the night, sharp, like the edge of a knife. Harry shuddered.
"There is a lot of misunderstandings going around about demons. Humans fear everything they can't understand, you have noticed that, haven't you? Of course, you have, such a smart boy as you."
Harry smiled at his father's faith in him being smart, it felt nice and he nodded. He had to think hard, but he remembered those weird 'freakish' things that had happened around him, and how angry and scared it seemed to always make those around him.
"Demons..." He thought about it for a second. "We are the advocates of Free Will. We stir things up! Make life fun and exiting!" He grinned down at Harry. He sat on the bed and patted his lap for Harry to sit. "Come on, and I'll tell you a story." Asmodeus smiled, and Harry tentatively sat down in his lap. Telling himself that the man had never, not even once, done anything to hurt him.
"In the beginning, when the world was created, there was only boredom... Humans were slaves to a despotic god, whom set down rules and laws and made the poor humans follow them. 'Don't do this' he said, 'Don't do that'. And the humans, not knowing anything better, and fearful of losing the easy life they lead as pets in this powerful deity's garden, did everything they were told to do. But then one day, a demon...in the form of a serpent...saw how the humans in their forced ignorance were living such a boring and mediocre life. The serpent, being a strong believer in Free Will, sought to help the humans, to grant them the knowledge they needed to make their own choices. Because without knowledge, there can be no Choices..."
It took the man quite some time to tell Harry the story, but he was an incredibly good narrator and speaker, and by the end, Harry was entranced. He now understood just how nice demons were...and how cruel and petty this 'god' figure was.
Why did he think he had some kind of right to dictate everyone else?! He reminded Harry of Vernon, with all his rules, and how he refused to let Harry learn that he even had choices!
Harry fumed in anger as Asmodeus laid out all about the laws some powerful humans had decided was right and wrong. And Harry felt himself agreeing more and more.
Who decided what was good and what was evil anyway? Everyone had their own desires and needs. Who had the right to judge that what one person liked was better than what another person liked?
It wasn't RIGHT!
EVERYONE should be free to do whatever they damned well please! If two people's desires collided, then of COURSE it made sense that whomever wanted it more, and whom fought the hardest for it, should get what they wanted!
Harry smiled up to his new daddy and hugged him, loving him more and more for teaching him all these new and wonderful things, and giving him the most amazing, wonderful gift of all.