Harry Potter, using the 'Harry is summoned to another world' cliche with a slight twist.
From Darkling Morn
Unspeakables. They were the thing under the bed. The monster in the shadows. All the rumours they never denied, feeding on each other until it was whispered that each Unspeakable was equal to a platoon of Aurors. Fools. Some Unspeakables were capable in battle, but most were just researchers. Archivists. No match for a true magical killer. The Dark Lord smiled in a hollow way as he let the last body slide to the floor and walks across to the loaded shelves. Prophecies. Always Prophecies.
"The Power he knows not…" the man breathed, his left hand stretching towards the glass orb almost instinctively. He only had three fingers on that hand now, courtesy of a Cutting Curse almost a year ago. It didn't slow him down. Carefully, he picked up the orb that had shaped his life, and looked at it, almost sadly.
"I wonder if she knew. If he knew. Nothing but hollow words from a broken woman." He whispers softly, before flinging the ball away. He hears it shatter in the distance, but his voice drowns it out.
"Incendio invidus." He said quietly, and black stained flames roared into the Hall of Prophecies. He didn't stay to gloat. He had other business to attend to. But he did allow himself the luxury of a laugh as he walks away from the inferno. The laughter rang throughout the Ministry of Magic, an eerie noise and for a moment he wondered if it would give pause to his pursuers. He doubted it. Self-proclaimed Light Wizards and Witches all, they would give their lives in an instant to bring him down. They know what they do is right. He envied them that sometimes. The Hall of the Veil of Death is just as he remembers it. An empty auditorium, silent but for the rustling of cloth in an eldritch breeze and the constant whispering. Whispering, always. He stood in the centre, letting his robes wave lazily in the wind from…Beyond. Whatever lay there, he knew that he would not have to wait much longer to find out.
"He's in here!" a voice shouted, and the first member of the Order of the Phoenix bursts into the room. Red hair is all he sees before he flicks his wand in a lazy spiral and says the fateful words.
"Sanscaura." he says softly. A gibberish word, but tied to magic. The Order member loses his footing as the stone steps he is leaping down turn to sand underfoot, before swirling up and engulfing him in a tornado of grit that will strip skin from flesh and flense flesh from bone. A horrid way to die, but the Dark Lord does not care. A scream bubbles from the maelstrom, and a shiver of delight runs up his spine. The Dark Lord smiles, his wand moving in an intricate dance as more Order members charge in. Flaying. Slicing. Burning. Five more Order members die horribly before the whole wall around the entryway caves in, and the true threat to him makes itself known. Three figures become visible in the swirling dust and he snarls, smile dropping.
A narrow jet of acid green burst from his wand, but one of the shadowed figures motions and the spray of acid veers off course, splashing over the steps and causing them to slowly melt away. The Dark Lord whisks his wand around himself, conjuring a translucent golden shield. A bubble before him, and his back to the Veil of Death. A brown haired woman, and two men. One blonde, one redhead. Weasley, Longbottom and Granger. War heroes. Defenders of the Light. He hates them more than anything.
"So you caught me." He says, his voice cracked and weary to his ears. He'll not be escaping this one, he knows, but if he's going to die he'll do so with one final twist of the knife, one final sneer and curse and blow. Do not go gentle into that good night, whisper his innermost thoughts. They look so healthy. Not like him. He's gaunt, he knows, his eyes glittering with an unhealthy light and his face scarred. His left hand is missing two fingers, and his right one. The Dark Lord trapped, about to see his reign end.
"It isn't too late. You can still give in, get a trial." Granger tries. The Dark Lord curls his lip.
"A trial and a ticket to Azkaban. Too late, Granger. Too many years and too many deaths!"
He isn't entirely coherent, but he doesn't care. He notices that all three wear wedding rings, and it fires some hatred within.
"Deaths you caused!" shouts Weasley. He hates the Dark Lord, but is too clever to attack now. Too smart. The strategist. A greater threat than the other two, in some ways. The Dark Lord doesn't deny it. It isn't in his nature to lie.
"Perhaps." He says, very softly. The whispers are louder, calling to him. Seductive. Enticing. Not much longer now.
"You're all so righteous. Not without reason. But you think it matters? You think I care? No. Too late. Selfishness, for once." He says, realising that he's starting to slip. It's getting harder and harder to maintain his fragile grip on sanity. The price of Dark Magic.
"Righteousness isn't a part of it. We did what we had to to help people. The law can't be set aside when you feel like it!" Granger growls. The old argument. He's never paid it any heed. Even at the start he didn't, even before the murders and the destruction and the desecration and the attempts at genocide. Too far gone, and he knows it. But some part of him wonders what happened to the girl he used to know. Or perhaps he is the one who has changed.
"You kept pushing. Pushing. Pushing. And it always worked. So when it didn't…equal and opposite. The harder you pushed, the harder I pushed back." He says. He can see that they don't agree. They're probably right, but what does that matter? He's a Dark Lord. The moral high ground is long since lost to him, and he knows that his time is looming near. Best to provoke them. Finish what he came here to do, and Longbottom is the easiest target.
"Neville. Hero. How's your wife?" he asks, his face twisting into a malicious grin. Neville pales slightly with anger, so he keeps speaking.
"Has she recovered yet? I always wondered what that spell would do…tell me, is she still in hospital and thinking insects are eating her bones?"
Neville clenches his jaw, and the Dark Lord is vaguely surprised at the rage that shows there. They've all changed.
"And Hermione. Your parents…did they ever recover from that unfortunate house-fire?"
Granger narrows her eyes, and he knows that it won't be much longer. He looks at Weasley, and there's a wealth of understanding in the eyes of the redhead.
He knows, thinks the Dark Lord, and it sends a rush of affection through him. Weasley glances at his companions, and the Dark Lord gives him a wry grin. Weasley is a better strategist than he is, a better tactician, but some tactics cannot fail. Especially not this one, because rage has won out and Hermione and Neville are raising their wands. Two screamed spells, to break his shield, and he lets the spell drop. Neville's spell clips his left arm, punching through in a spray of blood, but Hermione's aim is true. Ribs crack and break, but the pain is consumed by the icy cold embrace of the Veil of Death.
The Dark Lord lands hard on stony ground, the impact exacerbating the pain of his broken ribs. He suppresses a scream into a grating hiss, rolling over carefully. This is…unexpected.
"When have you ever known anything else happen to you?" asks a voice from behind him. He whirls, but his wand hand is caught in a cool, firm grip. Even if it hadn't been he was unarmed, he realised. The pale woman opposite smirks and pushes him away, leaving him to fall again.
"I'm almost disappointed, you know. You had so much potential, Harry."
He bares his teeth against the pain and the gentle taunting.
"I rather think that's my job, dear. Though I am glad to have my Hallows back."
He realises that his Cloak and Stone are gone. He doesn't care about the wand, but something deep inside him breaks at the amusement Death shows.
"Damn you! Everything…even my death, you'll steal from me!"
His rage is diluted by the stinging in his eyes, and his voice has a broken note to it that he knows Death must notice. She cocks her head, studying him silently as he glares at her through bloodshot eyes, the red tracings of blood vessels making the vivid green more startling than ever.
"How pathetic." She says, her voice cold. He tries to stand but his legs give way and he slumps to his knees, left arm hanging limply, and bows his head. Death tuts at him.
"Where's that defiance, boy? Where is the courage and the rage that fired you?"
He looks up, uncaring of the way tears trace down his face.
"I have nothing left! You took it all from me!"
Death laughs, disquietingly gently.
"Ah, foolish boy…you should not have gathered my Hallows, then. All of them together…this is the price. Never being able to die…"
A cool finger traces the jagged scar that cuts from his hairline, past the corner of his left eye and halfway down his cheek.
"Did it hurt? Waking up with this mark, and her dead body next to you."
"You know it did!" he bellows, rage and hate thickening his voice. Death sighs.
"Of course I do. This is the price of immortality, Harry. Life whether you want it or not. I admit, you have been valiant in your pursuit, but it will not work."
He looks at her, knowing that his image is that of a broken man. She hums to herself.
"But what if I gave you a way to pass on? To gain access to that great…Beyond…that you so crave?"
His voice sharpens with hope and suspicion.
"You could do that? What's the catch?" he says, his mind starting to clear. The way Death smiles sends a chill through him, it is so triumphant. So knowing. Her hand comes down and gently traces his left shoulder, icy tendrils burrowing into his flesh. He bites his lip to contain his pained hiss.
"Well, Harry, it's rather easy. You see…I am Death. I cannot be denied. And yet, many still try. Most fail. But some do not. And two in particular are…succeeding."
He loses the battle to contain his gasp of pain as her fingers tighten, and he feels his bone starting to crack under the power She wields.
"Frankly, I try to be neutral. I do not meddle like Fortune. I do not guide like Destiny. But I will not be denied. No matter that they are in another world, they must fall. And if the chosen hero of that world is incapable, then…I will send another. The Light in that world is so very…naïve. They think they can drag a hero from another world to aid them."
She pauses, and he begins to realise what she means, dimly, through the pain. It is taking most of his will to refrain from screaming, however, so he says nothing. Death continues, softly.
"They cannot, of course. The walls between worlds are too strong to be broken by mere mortals. But I…I am beyond that. I am able to breach those barriers…should I so choose."
He clenches his jaw as the cracking spreads through his body, accompanied by a tingling, freezing feeling, like frozen fire wrapping around his bones. It is excruciating, but he holds his concentration on her, pain not enough to overpower his survival instinct.
"And so I'm offering a bargain. You will go to this world. You will find the means of soul anchorage that these would-be immortals are using, and destroy them. And then, when you die, I will remove this curse from you."
He clenches his hands, and she snickers softly.
"And if you fail…your reward will be an eternity here with me. After all, I do get so…lonely."
The last word is accompanied by a wrench in his bones, and a scream bursts from his mouth.
"Do not fail me, Harry. I'm giving you a gift, and offering one more. Good luck, my dear. Don't make me regret choosing to heed the old saying…'send a thief to catch one'."
A twisting in the world around, and he is flung into a vortex of endless light and dark.
He pitches out onto another cold stone floor, and his bones groan at the force of impact. His mind, briefly regaining full sanity, occupies itself with cursing Death. The bitch could have at least given him a softer landing. At least nothing seemed to be broken, just painful. He cracks open one eye, peering up at his surroundings. He is surrounded by people who look oddly familiar, all looking utterly dumbfounded. At the back of his mind a giggle starts, and he struggles to keep it down. He might need to talk his way out of this, and his ability to be silver tongued happens to be closely linked to his sanity. Sliding back into insanity won't help him now.
"It worked." Seems to be the general whisper, but the first person to address him is an elderly man in gaudy robes. Idly he wonders what to call him. Dumbledore is probably appropriate.
"My boy…can you hear me?"
He slowly sits up, guessing that his face is more or less hidden by the hair that seems to be everywhere. He doesn't remember this. He hasn't worn his hair this long in years, but it doesn't matter.
"I hear you."
"Ah…can I ask your name?"
Something in him giggles again, and he responds automatically.
The voice sounds a little disbelieving, and he starts to giggle.
"Yeah. Justin Thyme."
The giggling turns into laughing, and he keels over. He doesn't know why he finds it so funny, but that isn't really important at this moment. He can feel the incredulous stares on him. Some small, serious part of his mind yells that he's a Dark Lord, and he's being ridiculous. Most of him is too crazed to care. Eventually he stops laughing and carefully stands up.
"Oh, the looks on your faces." He says. He pushes the hair away from his face, and all hell breaks loose.
"It's Potter!" a voice yells, and before he can blink or reach for his wand he's grabbed by the throat. He goes down with a startled yell, but brings his knee up as he hits the ground. His assailant cries out and he automatically goes for the eyes, kicking the larger man off him when he flinches. A roll to his feet, a quick movement to draw his wand but he is disarmed, the force behind the spell launches him into a wall. His ribs scream in protest, and he muzzily wonders if they're broken. He wonders if Death will be more merciful if he dies from a punctured lung shortly after arrival. Probably not. Bitch. He's not much of an unarmed fighter- he's a wizard, after all- but he has a basic knowledge of brawling from his younger days, apparently better than his opponent. A grab at his wand and a punch and he's the only one standing. Glass jaw. Unfortunate for him.
The three screamed spells barely register, and he hastily casts his own.
His shield holds against the first two spells, but the ropes of Incarcerous slip around and wind around his ankle. He snarls, whipping his wand up and pointing it towards his attacker, and everything freezes, because not everyone is pointing a wand at him. It's a Mexican standoff, and he's truly surprised by it. Then again, he supposes that Death wouldn't have made it easy for him anyway. But…
"Harry?" says a man looking very much like Draco Malfoy, and there is far too much hope in the voice for his liking. A Ron Weasley points his wand unwavering at his heart, and is in turn menaced by a Hermione Granger, who has much the same expression of longing and delight that Malfoy is wearing. Harry stares silently, holding his wand to cover as many of them as he can, and is pleasantly surprised to find his thoughts crisp and clear. Apparently Death has fixed the little…issues…he was suffering from overuse of Dark Magic. At least, he is no longer sunken in the mire of madness.
"Well, isn't this interesting." He says. "Four of us, and I'd say only one was expected."
"Shut your mouth, traitor!" snarls Weasley, and Harry is intrigued to note that Malfoy and Granger seem to take offence at it, while the members of the Order of the Phoenix present- at least, those who have regained their wits- seem to agree. Evidently the Harry Potter of this world was not on the side of good.
"Traitor?" he says, only half muffling his laugh. "Well, perhaps. But I've not betrayed you yet, have I?"
I seem to recall that this Voldemort would have a twin sister, but whether she would be good or evil I can't recall since I didn't take any notes. Also I've no idea why the switch to present tense partway through: if I ever took up writing this I would change it to past tense as I normally write. But we've got insane Harry, Chosen One Draco and good-guy Ron and Hermione. Pretty much a mess.