13 Lives @montenyaofthefairies
Harry

Harry coughed as he made his way up the stairs to his apartment. He'd had a persistent chest infection a few weeks back, and while it had seemed to clear itself up the cough had never quite gone away.

He was old, now, ancient in a way he'd never dreamed he'd become in either childhood, and his bones ached and his muscles cried so a bit of chest pain wasn't much of a change.

His apartment was in one of the newest buildings in the United Districts; a high-tech eco-friendly affair that looked out onto what had once been chemical wastelands but were, with the help of the Oceanic Alliance, finally becoming habitable once again.

The United Districts weren't perfect, would never reach the imaginary status that Panem had given itself, but they were doing well enough so far. Perhaps a bit too militaristic, still, but that was to be expected when they were functionally an infant nation-state just barely figuring out how to get its head above water and the rest of the world seemed to be filled with far older and more resource-hungry rivals.

So far, however, the rest of the world seemed to remain leery of a country as desperate and long-suffering as theirs, and enough had chosen the diplomatic route, the trade route, that any attack on the United Districts would cause a quick reaction from those that were beginning to become reliant on the breadbasket that made up most of the Districts' land.

So their international relations remained relatively stable, relatively harmonious.

Internally, too, they had struggles – corruption and power hunger and vast cultural differences – but every leader had to be wary of seeming too Capitolian and that kept a lot of the most egregious possibilities in check.

There was Harry, too, through it all.

At some point – probably some time between the Last Reaping and the Final Rebellion – most of the Districts had become (understandably) convinced that Team 13 was made of prophets, of religious beacons sent down from whichever religion happened to be the most popular in any particular area.

Few of them believed that Harry was one such beacon, interestingly – they thought that the twins took up the spot intended for District Five – but the utter conviction that so many held of the rest of Team 13's otherworldly origins was not going to go away any time soon.

There were shrines now, massive ones that took one's entire field of vision to comprehend and tiny ones in little nooks of everyone's houses, and there were new religions born whole cloth from the Final Rebellion, and there were so many children with the names of just about everyone in the Alliance that those born in the United Districts instead of Panem tended to be known by their first and middle name, to allow some differentiation.

Harry's name was one of the most popular.

He wasn't believed to be one of the divine aides, but he'd still been in all of their company the longest, he still clearly knew things.

He was deemed to be the 'human', then, the counterbalance to the clear divinity of the others.

This was apparently aspirational.

Harry… well, he'd spent one lifetime being lauded as a semi-religious figure. "Going pro", so to speak, had never been his goal.

But then, he'd really never imagined he'd lived that long.

Even after the Final Rebellion had come to its ultimate end, even after the weeks of fighting had terminated with an actual white flag of surrender in every surviving citizen's hand, even then he'd expected to only live a few days longer.

To be killed just as he let his guard down as Ron was.

He'd tried to talk to Death, get a clearer estimate, but the actual deity had left sometime during his first day in District 13 and never come back.

Sometimes, particularly if he was around the newly dead, Harry could swear he could just hear Death's snicker, just see the being out of the corner of his vision-

But the entity never deigned to speak.

It was a horrible thing, knowing he'd brought his friends to this new world only for them to die before they could see the project to completion, see the much happier world he now lived in.

And Death—

Death left him alone.

Made him live with his survivor's guilt, with his two lifetimes' worth of PTSD and his nearly crippling imposter syndrome.

Made him figure out how to respond as everyone on the continent seemed to turn to him for answers, for next steps.

Made him deal with his refusal to do nothing, his need to help however possible.

He'd stepped and mistepped, given inspiring speeches and flubbed simple thank yous. He had – to his eternal shock – survived ten assassination attempts, each more inept than the last, and he'd attended actual parades in his honor (he'd begged them not to, of course, but they hadn't listened.)

He'd considered suicide more times than he cared to admit, but he'd promised this world a better future and he was going to see it through as long as he could.

And now his bones ached, and his muscles cramped, and his joints locked up, and he had a cough.

He made it to his apartment.

He lived alone, officially. There hadn't ever—

He'd not seen much of a point, in loving anyone else.

In having to leave anyone else behind.

Death had already assured him, all those decades ago, that he'd just be reborn somewhere new after this, and the idea of having more people to mourn, more people to miss…

He never quite managed to live completely alone, though. He'd just opened the door a crack when a stray (Crookshanks, he'd named him, a fat orange cat who always stayed out of sight until the door was unlocked) darted into his apartment, made himself comfortable on the kitchen counter by the time Harry locked the door behind him.

Another cat – Mickey – preferred the window, and would always skirt down it around dinner time, stay the night, and leave at the same time as Harry every morning.

He had other strays, too, couldn't help but feed and look after them, but Crookshanks and Mickey were the most frequent visitors to his abode.

He'd just finished dishing out their food – he kept the kibble bags under the sink, and it took him a couple seconds now to stoop and fill the bowls – when both cats sat up and screeched.

"Hello Death." Harry said.

The entity responded in kind.

"Are you here for me then?"

A nod, and then a fantastic image behind Harry's eyeballs – a whole new world to become wrapped up in, a whole new destruction to try to crawl away from.

"Alright." Harry stretched one last time, feeling the pain of age, and tried to remember it—he'd only lasted this long thanks to his friends, and next time— "What?"

Death was snickering again, even going so far as to call Harry an idiot.

"I'm not an – why do you think I'm an idiot?"

A gesture, halfhearted, and then an explanation—

Who said his friends weren't coming with him?

"They're dead." Death agreed, pointed out that they were Death, that his friends, therefore, were perfectly within Death's reach.

"Why, then?" Because Death wasn't known to be kind, and letting him see any of them again – talk to any of them again – that was kind. Death's answer was almost predictable: entertainment.

Millenia of lives, too many sapient beings to name, and yet Death was still bored.

But here, Death explained, was Harry, whose world was powerful enough to allow Death to make a direct connection, and here were Harry's friends, willing to make a connection too even knowing the harm, the danger.

They'd agreed to be reborn, and so they would be reborn.

All of them.

As much as Death wanted.

Harry grimaced, understanding the downside at last (he should have – well, he should have done a lot of things, but there wasn't time for that now.) "I don't think they knew that." He said instead.

Death didn't care; a deal was a deal.

Harry couldn't exactly argue with that, and he figured there'd be a couple lifetimes before he'd have to anyway. He left the sink cupboard open – might as well let the cats gorge themselves in the time it took people to notice him missing – and nodded at Death. "Thank you, then. For… allowing our interests to align."

Death snorted, and then Harry's body collapsed.

The cats, previously frozen in fear, fled. It would take them hours to tentatively peak into the apartment again, and by then any remnants of the two beings' souls would be long gone, only a body crumpled on the kitchen floor a sign of who had once stood there.

The last of the lives was over, but it had been enough. Death, already in another world, ready to change a world's narrative again, smiled.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Prologue 484 0 0 2. District 12: 87 ADD 577 0 0 3. District 11: 88 ADD 572 0 0 4. District 10: 89 ADD 612 0 0 5. District 9: 90 ADD 553 0 0 6. District 8: 91 ADD 1431 0 0 7. District 7: 92 ADD 1035 0 0 8. District 6: 93 ADD 1158 0 0 9. District 5: 94 ADD 1393 0 0 10. District 4: 95 ADD 946 0 0 11. District 3: 96 ADD 1100 0 0 12. District 2: 97 ADD 768 0 0 13. District 1: 98 ADD 634 0 0 14. The Capitol: 99 ADD 1153 0 0 15. District 12: The Reaping 1059 0 0 16. District 11: The Reaping 795 0 0 17. District 10: The Reaping 660 0 0 18. District 9: The Reaping 818 0 0 19. District 8: The Reaping 680 0 0 20. District 7: The Reaping 414 0 0 21. District 6: The Reaping 801 0 0 22. District 5: The Reaping 749 0 0 23. District 4: The Reaping 702 0 0 24. District 3: The Reaping 1039 0 0 25. District 2: The Reaping 646 0 0 26. District 1: The Reaping 1108 0 0 27. The Capitol: The Reaping 2213 0 0 28. District 12: The Train 1270 0 0 29. District 11: The Beauty Team 778 0 0 30. District 10: The Wait 494 0 0 31. District 9: Mounting the Chariots 444 0 0 32. District 8: First Chariots Ride 411 0 0 33. District 7: The Chariots Parade 524 0 0 34. District 6: The President 651 0 0 35. District 5: The President's Speech 713 0 0 36. District 4: The Shuffle to the Rooms 812 0 0 37. District 3: The Apartment 980 0 0 38. District 2: Night Falls 821 0 0 39. District 1: Breakfast 542 0 0 40. The Capitol: Out and About 1451 0 0 41. On the Lam 1073 0 0 42. District 2: Team Meeting 973 0 0 43. District 9: Training Gymnasium Day 1 753 0 0 44. District 5: Training Day 1, Continued 1028 0 0 45. District 10: Team Building 965 0 0 46. The Capitol: Training Day 8 954 0 0 47. District 8: Private Sessions 1441 0 0 48. District 12: Score Reveals 1099 0 0 49. District 11: Interview Prep 1144 0 0 50. District 1: Interviews (Part 1) 660 0 0 51. District 4: Interviews (Part 2) 1837 0 0 52. District 6: Interviews (Part 3) 664 0 0 53. District 7: Interviews (Part 4) 937 0 0 54. District 3: Final Preparations 571 0 0 55. District 9: The Games Begin 1189 0 0 56. Outside Panem 673 0 0 57. The Arena: Day 1 1920 0 0 58. An Outside Perspective 2388 0 0 59. The Arena: Day 2 1030 0 0 60. The Capitol: Day 3 1249 0 0 61. The Arena: Day 4 1145 0 0 62. The Capitol: Day 5 504 0 0 63. The Arena: Day 6 869 0 0 64. District 13: Day ? 614 0 0 65. The Arena: Day 7 502 0 0 66. The Capitol: Day 8 1486 0 0 67. The Arena: Day 9 1486 0 0 68. The Arena: Day 10 889 0 0 69. The Arena: Day 10, Part 2 547 0 0 70. District 12: Day 10 998 0 0 71. District 11: Day 10 867 0 0 72. District 10: Day 10 1045 0 0 73. District 9: Day 9 921 0 0 74. District 8: Day 10 759 0 0 75. District 7: Day 10 671 0 0 76. District 6: Day 10 610 0 0 77. District 5: Day 10 986 0 0 78. District 4: Day 10 508 0 0 79. District 3: Day 10 1146 0 0 80. District 2: Day 10 1260 0 0 81. District 1: Day 10 818 0 0 82. The Reality of the Capitol 1160 0 0 83. The Reality of the Capitol, Part 2 1423 0 0 84. The Reality of District 13 581 0 0 85. They're Out 1092 0 0 86. Draco 1074 0 0 87. Luna 683 0 0 88. Fred 713 0 0 89. Alicia 751 0 0 90. Angelina 510 0 0 91. Katie 145 0 0 92. George 853 0 0 93. Percy 285 0 0 94. Neville 396 0 0 95. Oliver 469 0 0 96. Ginny 488 0 0 97. Hermione 406 0 0 98. Ron 714 0 0 99. Panem 879 0 0 100. Harry 1495 0 0