Life was an… odd thing. It was ever revolving and shifting. Some would say life was one who flirted with death, but there were others with less cynical views. As it were, life could be a cruel mistress. It snatched hope away and gave way to despair as much as death did. So much so death was a mercy.

One man believed in such things. With everything that had happened to him, how could he not believe death to be a mercy? All the friends he had made… the so-called achievements that were strung in a line before him… all of it, a lie that was orchestrated by an old man with false ideals. He was the one who had begun the young man's cruel hand in life. Sent to an abusive home knowingly and then forced to return for summer each year to keep weak in mind and body.

He had once thought being a wizard would grant him freedom, but it had only brought him turmoil instead. His first friends had even left a bitter taste in his mouth. Paid to be kind to him… paid with the money from his own vault even. It was such a nasty thing and yet he had felt emotionless to it.

So be it. He had been young and foolish, but now? Now he was wiser and he knew better. There were a scant few he could trust. Ones that would, in turn allow him his choices and agree to them. That was all he could ask for and his shoulders shook as the weight slowly slipped away.

A gentle hand fell on his shoulder and he looked back into the soft blue eyes of Luna Lovegood. The girl had stolen his heart, but not in a romantic way. No. She was his sister and he had blessed and been blessed to be at her marriage when Neville had proposed to her. It had been a quiet gathering. Just the wedded couple, himself, a priest, and Draco…

She smiled and he inclined his head, sliding one foot forward. The veil that took his godfather coming ever closer. The last thing he heard as he slipped into the abyss, was Luna warning him to be careful of the Nargles. It was the kindest words to start his most awarding adventure yet.

A dark figure loomed over Harry's body. The black cloak falling in tatters to the floor. It was with a heavy sigh that his long fingers reached to brush the stray strands of hair from the young man's face.

He had wished so much more for the boy. There had been plans and ideas, but they were thrown aside in light of a new idea. It would be painful for Harry, yet rewarding as well. Another chance for the boy whose world placed such a heavy weight on his shoulders. Such a shame that the other deities could not make it in time for his decision.

A deep, rumbling laugh escaped from his companion. "So this is the boy whose fate was mangled." The voice drifted over the grey expanse and his own cloak billowed lightly as he came ever closer to the two.

The first nodded deeply, "Yes, will you care for him in my place?" He asked with narrowed eyes.

"Of course, Death. I respect you and the young one too much to ignore." The other spoke and reached down to lift Harry into his arms. His hold was gentle and their eyes turned kind.

"Thank you, Shinigami." Death muttered and took a step back with his eyes closed.

Shinigami smiled gently and left through a mass of black, taking Harry with him into the unknown. Not even a minute later, the peace was broken by a loud crack in the air. A woman ran to Death in panic with wide and frightened eyes. "Where is he!" Her voice was hoarse as she yelled at him.

Death raised a brow to her, "Where is who?" He asked her in a refined tone.

"Harry Potter! He is mine! The brat was supposed to stay alive, not go and kill himself because of some silly tantrum." She hissed viciously with no regard to the other.

"How dare you," Death stood straighter and his red eyes gleamed from the shadows of his hood in anger. "How dare you lay claim to my Master as if he were your plaything. All you ever did was string him along in your games as the old fool had. Your actions though led him to reclaim all of my gifts though, letting me have an opportunity to free him. Now, you will never get your claws in him again." His voice was dark and a long, black scythe formed in his hand. The red blade glinted and the woman paled before fleeing in fear. She knew when she was bested…

Shinigami stepped into a large living room that boasted all the comforts of a home. The fire crackled lowly in the background and he was careful to place the young man on the soft black couch. Kneeling at his side, he gently shook the young man to coax him from his slumber.

"Young one, you must awaken." His voice was soft and he watched as Harry woke slowly.

The young man took a deep, labored breath before his eyes fluttered open. Confusion filled him and he rubbed his eyes, skewing the glasses on his face. When he finished, his green eyes fell on Shinigami and he became cautious. "Who are you?" Distrust entered Harry's voice and he became wound up, ready to run or to fight.

Shinigami smiled gently in understanding and sat, pulling the hood off to reveal a handsome man underneath. Striking red eyes locked onto green, "I am Shinigami or Death if you would rather call me. The Death of your world summoned me to take you away from there. He wanted you to have a second chance at life without a predetermined fate getting in the way." His voice was gentle and he watched as Harry's eyes widened.

Harry's breath became ragged and his body shook as the shock settled on him. Feelings he had yet to feel began to fill him and his mind could barely keep up. Death moved closer and wrapped an arm around the young male gently to comfort him. Neither said a word and it was Harry that moved first once his breathing calmed and the shaking lessened.

"Why…?" He asked in a broken voice. "Why can't I just die?" His eyes showed everything and Death felt the need to inform his counterpart of the state that the little Master was placed in.

"Harry," He started gentle for the young wizard. "You need to trust me when I say that this world, my world, is far better. You will have the freedom to choose what you wish to be whether it be a military force, a bounty hunter, or a Pirate. No one there will be able to manipulate your choice unless you allow for it." Harry looked doubtful, but Death was sated when the young man gave a slow nod before pushing away from the comforting hold.

"What if I wanted to wield a sword…" He asked slowly, filled with doubt.

"Is that all you wish?" Death asked in return. "That is a very wide and general goal."

Harry nearly pouted and crossed his arms defensively. "What if I wanted to be the best swordsman in this new world? To be the one no one can defeat?" He said to revise his previous statement.

A low rumble escaped Death and he stood, summoning a long sword to his hand. "Then so shall it be." He said with a devious smile. "I will teach you of my world and of the sword. You will become the best."

A spark of determination lit in Harry's eyes as he stood as well, "Alright." He said and braced himself.

Death hummed, "Though magic will become more difficult for you when you arrive and I will return you to eighteen as well." He warned and saw Harry purse his lips in despair. He had been twenty-nine when he 'died' after all.

"I accept those terms." He said and stood taller. This was a new chance for him after all. Why would he deny it?

Harry crossed his arms over his bare chest and narrowed his golden eyes in contemplation. It had been an unfortunate side effect occurring from taking nutrient potions along with the ones to help him find his animagus form. Unfortunate in the fact that they resembled a hawk greatly… which was distinctly not his animagus.

"I want a new name." He declared after a moment and turned to face his father in all but blood.

"Oh? Giving me the right to do that?" Death teased before pulling the man into a tight hug.

Harry fought against it to no avail, "Let me go!" He said and stumbled when he was released.

Death laughed a bit and then looked at Harry in pride, "Alright my little Hawk. I suppose the only fitting name for you in this realm would be Dracule Mihawk. The man with the Hawk-eyes as you will no doubt be known as." He said and watched as irritation crossed Harry's face.

He let out a snort and put a hand on his hip, "Fine… but it's your fault in the first place." He said and then smiled. "Thank you again though… for everything. I owe you my life." Mihawk's voice softened as did his expression.

Death smiled and gave a nod. He was proud of the young man. Mihawk had never given up or missed a single minute of training and learning. He had been studious and determined. The results were clear in the way his muscles grew and how his body finally filled out to show a rather intimidating figure. Though the off white pants were an odd choice as was the open black jacket that went to his knees and exposed his bare chest.

"Why no shirt?" It was the last question death wanted answered before tossing him out to the sharks.

"In my last life I didn't have anything to be proud of and I never trained. Here I want to show that I worked hard for my strength and that I'm not weak." Mihawk said and then a devious smile spread across his lips, "Plus I think I'm allowed to show off a little.

Death let out a hearty laugh and snapped his fingers. A swirling mass of black appeared behind Mihawk, startling him. "Well, you do look rather well. Have a good time, kid." He said and then pushed Mihawk back into the abyss with no hesitation. He had to learn after all and the first part of that was to always expect the unexpected.