On a Pale Broomstick

Death Has Dominion!

On A Pale Broomstick

Chapter 4

Death has Dominion!

Death's Manor

Purgatory

"May I take your cloak, Sir?", Boris, his manservant asked. Shrugging off his cloak and handing it to Boris, Harry took his collection bag and went into his study to classify his collection of souls and send them onto their destinations. As he retrieved his supplies, Boris brought in a warm butterbeer and a plate of cinnamon-raisin scones.

"Will that be all, Sir?" At Harry's distracted wave, Boris left the room, to do whatever servants do when they are not directly serving their employers. Harry took a long pull on his butterbeer and nibbled on a scone while musing on the way his life had changed. With a bit of a start, he realized that while on the surface his circumstances had changed, down deep, his new 'life' had quite a bit in common with his old. It seemed that every one of his 'peers' had hidden agendas and wanted to use the naive new guy in their plans, all without cluing him in on just what those plans were. He was stumbling along, learning the job by following hints and reading Zane's diaries, and working his butt off, and not really knowing who he could trust. While he liked Boris, he would much prefer someone who was not trying to earn his way into Heaven under someone else's rules.

"What I need is a 'Dobby'..."

"Master Harry Potter sir calls his Dobby?!" The small elf had popped into the study, and looked a mess. He was emaciated, but in front of Harry's eyes, began to fill out and gain weight, his color going from a dried out looking gray to a healthy green. He also gained a bit in stature. Before Harry could comment on these changes, there was another * POP *, and a squeaky, but strangely sepulchral voice rang out.

"Dobby, I is being Bingo, Death of Elves. Bingo has come to collect you soul!" Whipping around, Harry saw the strangest house elf ever. Bingo was dressed in a black hooded pillowcase with with a Death's Head in place of a family crest. He was a tubby little guy, reminding Harry of the Fat Friar, although those ears would never be mistaken for human. Bingo started toward Dobby, but Harry held out his hand, saying "STOP!" and freezing his visitor in place. Bingo stamped his foot, but Harry's command prevented him from moving forward.

"Thanatos, youse not be interfering with Bingo, Death of Elves! Bingo has dominion over elves!" The little guy was getting really worked up.

"Not in this case. I hate to pull rank on you, a colleague, but I do outrank you, and you are in my house, so you need to follow my rules. Now are you so busy that you can't allow me to catch up with an old friend? Dobby did just call me Master, and I think he also owes me an explanation of that, and how he was able to pop into Purgatory. I would also like to get to know you."

At that, Bingo drooped. "No, Mister Thanatos Sir, Bingo is not rushed for time. Bingo has most boring job in Purgatory. Bingo has not had to collect a soul in person for 237 years, 6 months, and 22 days. In the last 1,297 years, when Bingo took over the job, Bingo has only collected 5 souls. Elvses is either being really good, or in rare instances, really bad. It makes Bingo bad and lazy." Bingo then dropped to his knees and began banging his nose into the black marble floor.

"Now stop that! There will be no punishing yourself in my home! Now, I think Dobby is a great elf, how did he end up in balance, and why was he dying to start with? And please sit down."

Bingo dropped onto his butt and crossed his legs. He snapped his fingers and a scroll popped into his hand. Unrolling it, he read it, then began reciting.

"Dobby elf was born into Bad Master's home and began serving from age 3. Even though his master was bad, he served faithfully for 22 years, earning good credits for unearned suffering by unjust punishments. He began earning bad points for going behind Bad Master's back to stop Mister Harry Potter Sir from being harmed. He also gained bad points for harming Mister Harry Potter Sir while trying to get him out of Hoggywarty. Those bad points were offset by good points that he earned by saving Mister Harry Potter Sir from Bad Master. Dobby then gained major bad points by sneaking a bond to Mister Harry Potter Sir, a bond strong enough to follow him into death. He did that just to avoid dying, a shameful thing! However, Dobby served youse faithfully until youse became Thanatos. Dobby was being dying when youse called him, and Dobby popped hisself to youse, which triggered Bingo's call to him."

Harry was confused. "Why was Dobby dying in the first place?"

"Thanatos does not know this? Elveses cannot survive without a master. When an elf is being given clothes, it means that the Master is so disgusted with them that they want the elf to die. When Dobby was wanting to be freed from Bad Master, it was like Dobby being wanting to commit suicide. Dobby then changed his mind about dying and forced bond onto Mister Harry Potter Sir."

"Oh boy. No wonder the Hogwarts elves refused to clean Gryffindor tower, with Hermione and those stupid hats she was making."

Bingo got a horrified expression on his face while making a sign to ward off evil. "You know She-Who-Knits? If Thanatos is friend of the Elf Hater, then Thanatos needs to turn her from her path. She-Who-Knits will be going to the Bad Place for xenocide if she gets her way, killing off all elveses!"

"Hermione would never intentionally harm an elf! She loves elves!"

Dobby spoke up for the first time. "Miss Grangy loves them all right; she loves them to death!" he said bitterly. "Miss Grangy watched Winky die in shame and suffering because she refused to save Winky by bonding with her!" Dobby spat between his feet, then horrified by his actions, began cleaning up the phlegm with his own filthy tea towel.

"Dobby Elf, you is being having the right of it. Bingo did not have to be collecting Winky's soul, but her suffering cried out to me. Bingo watched as Winky begged The Knitter to save her, but The Knitter refused to save her, saying that she would not be a party to slavery. Bingo saw her shed tears when Winky's soul departed to Goodhome, but Bingo has only seen such a stiff neck and hard heart in Death Eaters."

Dobby perked up. "Mister Bingo Death Sir, can youse be telling Dobby about Goodhome? Dobby misses Winky so much, and would like to know that she is in a better place."

"Oh, Dobby Elf, your Winky is in a great place! Bingo often wishes he could finish out his time here and go there," Bingo said wistfully. "Winky's Master is The Holy One Himself, and Winky's new family is all of the peoples in Goodhome, what humans calls Heaven. And the elveses in Goodhome can work as much as they want, theyse is always busy! And the Holy One wipes away every tear from them and rewards them for their unearned suffering. Truly a magnificent place!"

Dobby danced around, rejoicing for his friend, and Harry gave a thought about his friend, and that he should do something drastic to stop her crusade. Her soul was her own business, but causing suffering and mass deaths made it a time for him to intervene.

"Tell me Bingo, you said that you had been on the job for over 1200 years, just how does your office change hands? I really cannot see you killing each other to gain your office."

Bingo looked horrified. "Oh, most assuredly not, Mister Thanatos Sir! If an elf did something like that, he would go to The Bad Place!"

"And what is the bad place? Hell?"

"That is being The Bad Place." Harry could actually hear the capitalization. "When elveses go to The Bad Place, they is not in human hell. They is being made to lie in a hammock on a beach in Hawaii drinking margaritas and other fizzy drinks, but not have any master, not being getting drunk, and not being allowed to do ANY work of any kind! Is being truly horrible! They is also not allowed to speak to anyone, even other elveses."

"As far as how we change office, the only way is for an elf to be in perfect balance. This is being very rare. It is so rare, the only way we can affect where we go is to continue serving others. Bingo does this by keeping the other Incarnations homes and offices clean."

Turning to Dobby, Bingo asked, "Dobby, is youse being ready to go?" At Dobby's rather fatalistic nod, Bingo came over to him and placed a small crown with red and green gems mounted in it onto Dobby's head. One at a time, the stones would light up. There were many gemstones on the crown, an equal number of each color, with a large diamond in the middle. After almost 5 minutes, every stone on the crown was lit, other than the diamond. When it flared with light, Bingo fainted.

-==oo00OO00oo==-

Longbottom Manor

Lancashire, England

Neville Longbottom took the clippings he had just pruned from the fainting daffodils and tossed them into his Never Ending Mulch Barrel. In less than a week, he would be returning for his sixth year at Hogwarts, so he was working feverishly in his greenhouses to get everything ready for the elves to put them in maintenance mode. Normally this would have been completed over a week ago, but this had been a very troubling summer. First, Harry Potter and his relatives being murdered by Death Eaters, on the very day he arrived home from Hogwarts. Then the DMLE investigation showing that Harry had been systematically abused since he was a toddler. Rita Skeeter had a ball with that one, (rightly) pointing out that Dumbledore had personally placed Harry with those monsters, sealing the Potter will that would have shown Sirius Black to be innocent of betraying the Potters. An investigation by DMLE, after the fact, showed that Black's wand did not fire the curse which killed the 12 muggles and supposedly Peter Pettigrew. Lastly, there was this strange interest that Dumbledore had taken in him ever since Harry had died. Just then, he heard a pop, and his Gran's personal elf, Bitsy appeared.

"Yes Bitsy, what is it?"

"Mistress be telling Bitsy to have Master Neville come inside. Headmaster Whiskers be calling on floo for Master."

"Hmm. Wonder what he wants now. Thank you Bitsy, tell Gran I will be right up as soon as I wash up."

"Yes Sir, Master Neville." With that, she popped out.

Five minutes later, having washed his hands and changed out into the fresh robe he kept in the greenhouse, Neville strode into the sitting room. He settled onto the throw cushion kept in front of the fireplace for just this purpose.

"How may I help you, Headmaster?"

The old man put on his best 'grandfather' face and spoke. "Neville, my boy..."

"Pardon me headmaster," Neville said. "Up until this summer, you have referred to me as 'Mr. Longbottom'. Why the sudden familiarity? The only student you have called by their first name since I began Hogwarts is Harry, and we know how that turned out. Now, as I asked, what can I do for you?"

"This is very sensitive, my boy. May I come through?"

Neville stole a glance at his Gran, who shrugged her shoulders. He turned back his fireplace. "I don't believe that would be a good idea at this time, sir. What school related topic do you need to address? And why would it be sensitive?"

"Oh, it is not strictly school related..."

"Then I fail to see why you are taking up my rapidly disappearing holiday time. Surely whatever this is could wait until the school year starts. And frankly, your unwanted familiarity kind of gives me the creeps."

"All right, Mr. Longbottom, I am concerned, especially after the attack on Harry Potter and his family.."

"Relatives, Headmaster."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Harry never referred to them as family, and actually corrected us when we referred to them as such. He despised those people and couldn't wait to get shot of them."

"That is neither here nor there. With you being involved in the Ministry break in, I believe that you are in danger from Voldemort. I lead a group called the Order of the Phoenix, and I would like to bring you to our Headquarters to keep you safe. We have volunteers to stand guard against any threats."

"Oh, and are you extending this invitation to the Weasleys and Luna? You do realize that she and her father were attacked at the Quibbler not 2 weeks ago."

"The Weasleys are generously allowing us to use their home after we lost our previous headquarters at the beginning of summer, but Miss Lovegood assures us that she does not need our assistance."

"I believe that my answer to you is the same. Longbottom Manor has state of the art wards, fully charged. It would take much more than a few Death Eaters to bring them down."

"My boy," the headmaster said, eyes twinkling, "I really must insist. Your grandmother is getting up in years and shouldn't be having to worry about keeping you safe."

"You dare!," Augusta came off the divan. "I am half your age, you old goat! I have kept my grandson safe for the last 15 years, and see no reason why I should suddenly begin trusting his security to the same jumped up popinjay who told my son and daughter in law that it was safe to come out of hiding while the Lestranges were still on the loose!"

"Madam Longbottom, you do realize that, for the greater good of the Wizarding World, I can have the Wizengamot remove Neville from your care until he comes of age."

"I would like to see you try it! If you could not see to the safety of the Boy Who Lived underneath your vaunted 'blood wards',. I do not think that the Wizengamot will trust you with my grandson, the heir of Longbottom. If you plan on challenging me, you had better make sure that you don't try to sneak something through or I will bury you! Now get the hell out of my fireplace!" With that, Augusta sent a stinging hex toward the fireplace, causing Albus to stumble back, breaking the connection.

"What do we do now, Gran?" Neville asked with some trepidation.

"Let me think a minute. Bitsy!" When the small elf popped in, Augusta said, "Go to the Wizengamot offices and stay in the background. If anybody tries to call a special session, come get me immediately! Neville, go get cleaned up and change into your dress robes. We need to go to Gringotts."

-==oo00OO00oo==-

Death's Manor

Purgatory

"Bingo! Wake up, buddy!" Harry tried shaking the Death of Elves, to no avail. He finally pulled his wand and shot an Innervate at him. The chubby little elf stirred, eyes darting around frantically, before zeroing in on Dobby."

"Oh, this be Bingo's happy day! Happy, Happy, Happy!" Bingo scrambled to his feet and ran over to Dobby. "Dobby is being holding still for a minute. Dobby is not to be worrying, this will not hurt a bit." With that, Bingo put his hands on each side of Dobby's head and tapped his temples. Instantly Dobby was garbed in the black hooded pillowcase and Bingo was dressed in a pure white toga. His face lit up at this. "Bingo is being found worthy! Otherwise Bingo would have to dress in flowerdy Hawaiian shirt and speedos! Dobby is new Death of Elveses and Bingo gets to retire!"

A beam of light came shining down from through the ceiling, and a magnificent voice filled the manor. "Bingo, well done, my good and faithful servant! Come enjoy the eternity that your Lord has prepared for you after your long trial. Dobby, bring my servant to me!"

"Yes Sir, Master Lord! Dobby is being doing that right now!" Dobby took Bingo's arm, snapped his fingers and disappeared.

"Oooo-kay. I suppose he will be back when he is done." Harry sat back down at his table and began weighing the souls. There were some close calls, in both directions, but he soon had them sorted, all except for the tattered piece that had come out of his scar. "Hmm.. what to do with you?" Shrugging his shoulders, he put the soul piece in a zip-lock style bag and put it the closet that had the lock box holding Voldemort's diary horcrux. "Meh, I'll get to you later when I get a bit more time. Meanwhile, back to the grind."

Harry hooked his pouch over his shoulder and, taking his cloak from Boris, left the mansion and strode over to Mortis. "Hey buddy, break time is over, back to work."

-==oo00OO00oo==-

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Headmaster's Office

Albus-Too-Damn-Many-Names-Dumbledore cursed as he picked himself up off the floor. Damn that Longbottom woman! How dare she go against the guiding light of the Wizarding world. Fortunately, he knew how to go around her and have one of his minions...er, allies in the Wizengamot introduce a bill to have her regency stripped from her and assigned to him or Arthur and Molly Weasley. This would have the added bonus of opening up the flush Longbottom family accounts to Albus' tender mercies. And Albus needed those galleons! That little shit Potter had somehow gotten to Gringotts and made out a will, leaving the Black and Potter fortunes to those idiot twins of Arthur's. They had promptly disowned themselves from the Weasley family and taken the Black and Potter names for their own. Their new shop, which was supposed to be called 'Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes' was now called 'Marauder's Playhouse'. They had also hired Albus' pet werewolf, who had promptly quit the Order and more importantly, quit giving any intelligence to Albus. Potter's will had left Lupin modestly well off and he no longer trusted Albus since the Death Eater's had been able to get past the wards. It was time to call on Amos Diggory.

-==oo00OO00oo==-

Azkaban Prison

North Sea

Mortis landed on the rocky island of Azkaban. Harry dismounted, grabbed his scythe and strode toward the entrance. A pair of dementors moved to intercept him, but with a thought, Harry disappeared from the dementor's senses, passing between them and not even feeling any of the effects. 'Cool,' Harry thought as he followed his prompts to his next client. Moving up a floor, he came to a cell that held several comatose prisoners being tended by house elves. As Harry walked up to one prisoner, the man began to jerk. Having found his client, Harry reached into the man to retrieve the soul, but found nothing there. Bringing his power to the forefront, Harry summoned an elf over.

"What happened to this man?" The elf was startled, but answered, "Mister Thanatos Sir, these peoples be kissed by the dementors."

"Do the dementors have a leader among them?" Frantically nodding, the elf pointed at a larger than usual dementor, one that seemed to have been drawn to the disturbance. Harry went over to it. "Do you understand me?" In his mind he heard the response as the dementor slowly nodded.

Ϫ 'This One understands thee'Ϫ

"Where is this man's soul"

Ϫ 'The Life Force of the meat sac nourishes This One.'Ϫ

"Well, I hate to disappoint you, but he is one my schedule, so cough him up."

Ϫ 'This one will NOT! The meat sac was given to This One and This One will keep its Life Force!'Ϫ

Harry was beginning to get angry. "Okay... 'This One', you seem to have not gotten the memo. Death has dominion over the souls of men! Now either give up the soul, or I will take it!"

The dementor seemed to chuckle in Harry's head. Ϫ'There is nothing you can do, meat sac. Begone before This One takes thine Life Force also' Ϫ

Gritting his teeth, Harry swung his scythe at the dementor, dragging it through the creature's torso. As the blade came out, a plethora of souls came out with it. As each of the souls left the dementor's body, some dropped down, some quickly rose and disappeared, but seven or eight hung on his blade, as if waiting for him to collect. Around him, two of the bodies seized and died. Three of the souls drifted over drifted over to bodies and sank down into them. All three bodies sat up, screaming. As the elves quickly silenced them, they grabbed them and popped out, presumably to place them back in their cells, Harry noticed the dementor shrinking as each of the souls exited. The dementor gave out a keening wail as it shrank to about two feet tall.

Harry grinned down at the no longer scary dementor. "Told ya, bitch. Death Has Dominion! Now you are are going to answer a few questions for me. And the first one is, 'Where do you come from? And answer truthfully, or I will find out if this scythe can dismember a dementor."

The dementor-ette was shaking with outrage. The voice in Harry's mind was comical. Where before it seemed a low, deadly hiss, it now sounded like a petulant five year old. Ϫ ' Meat sac, you stole This One's Life Forces! This one has been consuming Life Forces for a millennium, since the People left that place the meat sacs call Hell. The People called it home. This One was the most powerful demon on this plane! This One would have began breeding when the Dark Lord called the rest of us! Now This One must start over!"Ϫ

"This looks like one of those cases that calls for a bit of inter-Incarnation cooperation. 'Parry, Satan, can you hear me?" A couple of seconds elapsed, and the Incarnation of Evil himself appeared.

"Hello Harry, is this call business or pleasure? Or a bit of both?"

"Strictly business today," Harry said, pointing at the groveling dementor, now on its knees, prostrating itself before Satan. "What can you tell me about these guys?"

Satan seemed to notice the dementor for the first time. "So this is where you lads have been hiding! Where is your dog, fool? And where are all your co-workers?"

Ϫ Master," the demon squeaked, " A meat sac named Slytherin summoned This One and did not close the portal, so This One's brethren followed. This One, of course, consumed the meat sac's Life Force, something you, Master never allowed us to do before. It was so filling and tasty that my brethren stayed and grew strong. We grew so strong that the meat sacs delivered other meat sacs here for our dining pleasure. Some of the Brethren are still here, but many have joined the Dark Lord. He promised enough Life Forces that The People can breed!" Ϫ

"Oh boy," muttered Parry. "Harry, here is the situation. These mopes were minor demons, in charge of training and handling my cerebuses, or would that be cerebi? Anyway, they disappeared and apparently came here. I never allowed them to eat souls, and as the souls in Hell are corporeal, they really couldn't. They could feed on emotions though. This is their proper size, like any other demon, they need to be managed. I apologize for the fact that I have let them get out of hand. And" he said, turning to the demon, "What is this crapola about The People? Jumped up, much?"

Ϫ "It seemed like a good idea, at the time..." Ϫ

"If I call, they must come to me. Are you ready to harvest a lot of souls?"

"Ready and willing. I really hate these things."

"Hate... I love to hear that. But since you are hating something evil that spreads fear... may be a wash. Meh. Okay, let's try this. Ϫ 'DOG HANDLERS! TO ME NOW!" Ϫ

As the dementors began drifting in, Satan directed them into a cell. " All right you jokers, your little holiday here is over. You are to line up and pass Thanatos for processing, then go stand in that corner!"

When the line of demons began to pass Harry, he would swing his scythe, capturing the souls and bring them out. Some went up, some down, some flew out of the prison, presumably to rejoin their bodies. None hung around for personal collection. After a tiring hour and a half, the demons were all back to their normal small size, looking abashed before their Master.

"All right Harry," Parry said. "That is all of them. From what I gather, they left all their dogs, bar the one that came with the first summoned demon, in Hell. They are going to have a huge job getting all those cerebi back under control and trained. I am not sure where the dog is, but I am sure he will turn up, sooner or later."

"Just one? Then I have a pretty good idea where he is. My friend Hagrid, quote, 'bought him from a Greek chappie' at one of the pubs. He named him Fluffy."

"FLUFFY!?" Parry held out his hand and a scroll appeared. "Rubius Hagrid, age 75, scheduled for unassisted travel to Heaven in 2075. Oh, half giant, no wonder he could handle the dog. Maybe I should take Stupid over there and go get 'Fluffy' back."

"Parry, I can guarantee that you will play hell getting that hound away from Hagrid. He has become pretty attached to it."

"Ah, to Hell with it. I can take the long view and pick him up when Hagrid dies. Maybe it will give some of our clients a foretelling of their futures."

"Sounds good to me." Satan waved his hand and a portal opened in the wall. The minor demons drifted through it, banished from this plane back to Hell. Satan gave a mocking salute. "As you Brits say, Toodle-oo!" and stepped through the portal. It then disappeared.

Harry glanced around him. The only bodies left in the room were dead, the others with restored souls having been transported back to their cells. 'Sure going to be some surprised guards tomorrow when their 'executed' prisoners have come back to life and all the dementors are gone. Sirius, this one is for you."

On another plane of existence, a black grim paused and cocked his head, as if he had heard his name. Giving a doggy shrug, he finished crapping on the seat of Satan's throne, then for good measure, turned back into Sirius Black. With a wave of his wand, he turned the steaming pile invisible, transformed again, then hiked his leg on the throne supports.

-==oo00OO00oo==-

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