A kaleidoscope of colours danced through the air, creating a quick rhythm in the depths of the forest. A quick rhythm of death. The lights flitted and fizzed, causing mayhem in the process of accomplishing their masters’ bidding. Death clung to the air like a bad odour, a reminder that it can never be beaten.
Bodies were strewn everywhere. The quickly decreasing number of voices crying out added to this quantity. The only smells were those of burnt flesh and the sap leaking from the pines. The cursing, the darting colours, the terror-struck eyes, the sounds; it all eventually ceased. All was silent.
The air was tainted with more than just blood. Bill Weasley had found himself crouching in a small ball, hiding behind a tree from the bloodbath. He cursed at his cowardice, for he had watched far too many of his own die. But it had become too much. After seeing Charlie, the terror on his face as he recognised the unstoppable curse flying towards him. Bill could do nothing to save him. His closest brother was gone, forever.
Bill couldn’t remove Charlie’s face from his mind; it would haunt him eternally. He felt the guilt gnawing at him - if it weren’t for his ridiculous heroics and botched ideas, it would never have happened. Charlie could have been standing next to him, laughing as he recounted the latest story of his newly developed burn.
Bill squeezed his eyes tightly shut, he shouldn’t have insisted that Charlie leave his family and help ‘save the world’. Charlie had been reluctant to leave his son behind; he doted on that child just as much as Molly did her children. But Bill persisted, encouraged Charlie with the new stories he could tell his son of his courageousness. Charlie always valued strength of character; he wanted to be the perfect image for his son to look up to.
Glancing down at his body, Bill realised that he was in no shape to go anywhere. Distracted by his grief, he hadn’t noticed the vast gashes covering his body. Bill didn’t know what to do as he had lost his wand in the battle and was reluctant to search for it amongst the countless bodies.
He leant back onto the tree, the heady scent of the sap engulfing him. Inhaling deeply, Bill reorganised his thoughts – he didn’t have many options and he had to think rationally.
Bill considered the possibilities and since he had never had any experience with healing, these were rather limited. There was no way he could remain where he was, for death could claim him far too swiftly – the forest was filled with more carnivorous beasts than Bill would dare to think of.
He dragged himself to standing and staggered a few feet before remembering what, more significantly who, else could be out there. The reason for the senseless battle, the reason his brother was dead – Voldemort. Bill took a deep breath and glanced around frantically; he hadn’t heard a single sound since everything had turned silent.
Heart pounding faster with each struggled step, Bill reached the edge of a large clearing in the forest. The sight before Bill’s eyes shocked him to the core; he no longer felt weak as adrenaline began pumping through his veins. All thoughts of his pain had vanished.
Standing mere feet away was the most beautiful, yet terrifying, woman that Bill had ever seen in his life. Even the most vicious Veela was nothing compared to this. Her sheer beauty, despite the obvious evil emanating from her body, enchanted Bill. He felt hypnotised by her presence, yet repulsed and petrified at the same time.
Bill was pondered what such a woman was doing in the forest, and how she could have possibly come to be there. Trembling, he found himself taking slow, but deliberate, steps towards her, before she whipped around to face him.
His previously conflicted view of the woman extinguished in the instant Bill saw her eyes. All original traces of beauty were gone. Bill could see, without any hint of deception, that the woman was not human.
Gasping, Bill went to withdraw his steps, however he found himself, for the most part, unable to move. A twisted smile played on the woman’s lips as she began to speak, “How are you, my dear boy?” The sweet, childish manner with which she spoke disoriented Bill and he forgot that he couldn’t move.
He raised his head defiantly, “Who are you? What do you want?”
Appearing to almost smirk, the woman replied, ignoring his second question, “Who do you think I am?”
Bill growled with frustration, this terrifying woman wanted to play games with him? Bill tried once again to move, but it was futile. He stared at the woman with questioning eyes, pleading for her to let him go.
This time a fully-fledged smirk crept onto her face, “Moving is useless which I’m sure you’ve already realised Bill. I have full control over you.”
Bill’s insides were churning; the woman was arrogant. The overblown ego that often came with power never produced a good combination, and this woman clearly had both. And she knew his name. Bill was absolutely bewildered. There was no way she could know his name. The paralysing fear that had begun to grip him grew even further. He was paralysed in more than just the physical sense now.
With his voice increasingly hoarse from the fear, Bill once again questioned, “Who are you? How do you know my name?”
“Ah, my sweet Weasley child, I know everything. I’m sure darling Charlie would know this by now. But dear, I’m beginning to grow bored of these questions, would you like to play a game?” she replied with a wink.
As her words cut through him, Bill struggled against his invisible bonds. His unwilling gaze answered her question simply enough.
“Well perhaps you need a little persuasion,” the woman answered with a high pitched giggle, her eyes narrowing as Bill’s body began to glow red.
Bill was burning, from the inside out. Every fibre of his being was screaming for it to stop, for the fire tearing through him to cease its destruction. His body began to convulse and he thought he was going to die. The fire ripped through every inch of his body, travelling through all of his organs. His throat began to constrict, as the oxygen could no longer reach his lungs.
The excruciating pain subsided an instant later and Bill gasped for air. The paralysis apparently having lifted, he collapsed to the ground, the remnants of the pain still echoing through his body. Bill lay there for what felt like hours, trying to recover from the agony.
Evidently it had been mere minutes, as the woman kicked him in the stomach and demanded that he stand up rather than continue lying around. Bill moaned and hauled himself to his feet, not wanting a repeat of the fiery attack. He internally flinched at the sheer thought of it.
Bill chanced a glance at the woman and gasped as he did so. Her face was morphing. Her hair was retreating back into her skull. She looked like one with the effects of a polyjuice potion wearing off.
Her features became more masculine, all the while a prominent smirk persisting on her, perhaps his, face. The now man spoke with an arrogant undertone, “Perhaps I should introduce myself to you?”
Bill gulped and stayed silent.
The malice glittered in the man’s face, “I am Death.”
Bill was dumbfounded. He was shocked to his very core. How could this be Death? Death was a character found within the stories his mother read to him as a child, there was absolutely no way that he could exist.
Upon glancing up at Death and seeing the dark shadows hovering about him, and the evil becoming ever so blatant, Bill understood at once that the truth had been spoken. The way Death knew his name, knew about Charlie and had the ability to wield and abuse so much power. It seemed so obvious now.
Bill’s fear skyrocketed, and he didn’t think it possible that he could become any more frightened. He had had more than enough for one day. More than enough for his entire life.
What Bill couldn’t comprehend was what Death was doing with him, and why he was even bothering in the first place.
Suddenly, Death spoke again, “Well Bill, it has been nice playing – sorry, meeting – with you, but I must be off. People don’t just die of their own accord, and today is not your day. I do apologise.”
And with that, Death was gone.
Bill was flabbergasted – for the second time in just minutes. He looked around wildly, but there wasn’t a sign of Death. Not even a sign that he had been there. And he had left Bill relatively unscathed, if one could regard what had just happened as that.
He breathed a deep sigh, but couldn’t find it within himself to relax his body. Bill wasn’t sure that Death wouldn’t come back for him. After all, he wasn’t called Death for no reason.
His body in worse condition than when he had left his hiding spot, Bill began to search for a way out of the forest. He picked up a large, sturdy looking stick to support his weight, for he had weakened considerably in his time with Death.
Bill was still grappling with the fact that he had literally just had a brush with Death. It was messing with him and that was the only thought racing around his mind as he wandered through the forest. Death was such a conceited person; so sure of himself and so full of himself. Bill wondered how he was still alive.
Rasping out a dry laugh, Bill realised that of course he wasn’t alive. Nor was he dead. Perhaps he was immortal? He shook his head to clear all thoughts of Death. How was he to avenge his brother’s death if he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened to himself?
With a grim smile, Bill grasped that there was no escaping any form of death now. He had to find Voldemort. He had to put an end to him. He had survived a meeting with Death, how could Voldemort be any worse?
On a reckless high, Bill charged through the forest, determined to find Voldemort. Almost immediately he fell face first into an antcorpe nest. The insects, irritated by the disturbance, began attacking Bill’s face. By the time Bill had managed to scramble away and brush all of the antcorpes off, he found his face covered in enormous welts. He could already see the skin on his nose turning from red to a nasty blue. The sting that he felt resonated through his entire face, causing him to grimace with the intensity of the pain.
Not to be deterred, yet with the high having long passed, he continued to walk for hours upon hours. Night was beginning to fall and Bill was starting to lose all hope that he would even make it out of the forest alive.
He was becoming increasingly delirious from the blood loss, and his wounds had begun to fester. As he stumbled around the forest, having lost his bearings hours ago, he came across what should have been a terrifying sight.
Bill had stumbled right into the path of Death, yet again. And Voldemort. Bill snorted to himself, who else would ever have the luck of meeting such a formidable combination?
Death was taunting Voldemort in a seductive manner – he was female again at that point in time – which Bill found ridiculous. He couldn’t help a giggle escape his throat at the sight of a woman in such close proximity with Voldemort; especially at the way she was holding him.
Realising his mistake, Bill turned to make his exit, but Death had already caught sight of him. She giggled girlishly, and gestured Bill forward. He literally had no choice but to move as he unwillingly felt his legs walking towards her.
Transfixed by Death’s fluttering lashes, Bill reached out to touch them, before promptly being slapped across the face. The sting brought Bill out of his reverie and he only then realised the seriousness of the situation he had landed himself in.
“So I was just letting dear Voldy in on my secret to staying alive. It’s such a shame that he can’t live forever. We could have been such wonderful conspirators together. Ah, but it’s his time now,” Death teased, her eyes bright with excitement.
Apparently disregarding Bill’s presence, aside from the fact that he had been paralysed once again, Death moved closer to Voldemort.
Bill realised that Voldemort was no match for Death; he was extremely weak in comparison. Upon this realisation, he counted himself exceptionally lucky to have escaped Death’s wrath.
Bill was standing so close to the two of them that he could feel the heat radiating from their bodies. He clenched his eyes shut as he saw the power building around Death, who had reverted to his natural appearance.
Bill felt the earth shaking beneath him, followed by a loud bang – he assumed that was Death’s attack on Voldemort. As he felt something crashing into him, Bill was knocked to the ground. Everything turned black.
Bill opened his eyes to feel the pain was gone. That was all his thoughts contained, the joy and relief of absolutely no discomfort.
Pain was crashing down upon him. He had never felt such agony in his life. Not even from what caused his downfall. Not even from that Potter boy.
He simply couldn’t understand how someone could feel so much pain. Death had told him that dying would be relatively painless. How wrong he was.
He squirmed and writhed around, waiting for the pain to evaporate; yet the feeling never came. Never had he wanted to die so much, just to rid himself of the excruciating pain.
He inhaled deeply, only to register the scent of mud and sap. His eyes flicked open, only to see the forest. He wasn’t dead? He glanced down at his body and collapsed with shock.
Bill sat up and looked around only to find his body lying metres away. He groaned, squeezing his eyes closed, and pinched himself, praying that he was dreaming.
He opened his eyes again, but nothing had changed. Was he a ghost? He took a quick glance down at his own being. He gasped as he lifted the snake-like hands to his face. He surely had to be dreaming.
Bill slowly brought his hands closer to his face and gently felt it. The skin was stretched tightly and felt almost scaly, like a snake. His scalp was bald and his nose, well it seemed to be almost non-existent.
His brain was reeling; was he Voldemort? How on earth could he be Voldemort? Disbelief coursed through him – it simply couldn’t be. Was this Death’s doing? Why would Death even switch their bodies in the first place? Bill just couldn’t wrap his mind around it. Never mind the fact that Death himself seemed to have disappeared completely.
With a seemingly out of body experience, or literal experience he reminded himself, Bill walked over to his own body. His body appeared unmoving and Bill wondered if Death’s original plan had actually succeeded; just with the opposite bodies. Still, Bill hoped with desperation that his body was indeed alive, as he didn’t think it would fare too well with the family if he arrived home as Voldemort.
Unsure of if Voldemort was even inside his body; Bill was hesitant to touch it. Shakily he placed two fingers on his body’s neck to check for a pulse. It was beating. Breathing a sigh of relief, Bill failed to notice that his body’s eyes had flown open.
All of a sudden two hands had wrapped themselves around Bill’s neck. Bill gasped for air as he realised that his body must, in fact, belong to Voldemort. He managed to pull away without any further damage being done, as it seemed Voldemort’s body was actually quite strong.
As Bill’s body had been damaged so much, Voldemort was too weak to even reach for Bill once more. Voldemort managed to rasp out, in Bill’s voice, “Why aren’t you helping me? You should have healed me by now.” It seemed that Voldemort would never grow tired of people helping him when he, or his body, were in dire situations.
Bill blurted out, “What am I supposed to do? I don’t have a wand!” He was shocked at hearing Voldemort’s voice emerging from his mouth. It was so bizarre for Bill to actually look like Voldemort, let alone sound like him.
Voldemort scowled at him, “My wand, you blithering idiot.”
Bill internally slapped himself, how could he forget that Voldemort actually had a wand with him. He reached into his robes and grasped the unfamiliar wand.
Bill did his best to heal his body, but it was useless. He simply didn’t know any healing spells and all he accomplished was removing some of the blood.
With Voldemort seemingly having no energy to move, or even speak, Bill was left to figure out the situation himself. What if he was stuck as Voldemort forever? He racked his mind for what to do, but he had absolutely no idea how Death had made them switch bodies so for Bill, it was irreversible.
Sighing, Bill decided the best option was to search for Death. He must have been absolutely mad to want to see Death – not to mention that it would be for the third time in one day.
Voldemort was absolutely useless to Bill, aside from the fact that it was his body. Therefore, he resolved to levitate Voldemort alongside himself. Bill cast a cushioning charm around Voldemort in order to protect the body from any bumps his levitating might cause.
Muttering ‘lumos’, Bill set off into the night for the long, most likely fruitless, search for Death. For hours and hours they wandered through the forest, right into the wee hours of the morning. As the soft light filtered through the pines, Bill felt that he could go no further.
The lack of sleep and the events of the previous night had taken its toll on Bill. He lowered Voldemort to the ground and slumped down beside him. Bill rested his eyes for a moment, but woke to the sun burning his eyelids. He groaned, realising that hours must have passed and stretched his muscles before turning to Voldemort.
Voldemort’s breathing consisted of shallow gasps for air, and the wounds were weeping. Bill grasped his head with the frustration at the fact that his body might die – never mind if Voldemort was in there or not.
Perhaps Death could help? If Death could do anything, maybe he would be willing to heal Bill’s body – as long as their bodies were switched back.
Bill sighed, that would be a most ridiculous request of Death. Death would surely rather kill him.
Without even a second’s beat, Death was striding towards them in his natural form, “Well, well, what do we have here?”
Bill raced over to him and begged, “Please help us, our bodies have been switched. Could you please switch them back?”
“Well, we’ll have to see about that,” Death replied, a smirk playing arrogantly on his face.
Thanks so much for reading! Yes I meant to end it there ;)
I’m not particularly happy with the last third of the story but I suppose it will do :P I know my characterisation of Voldemort isn’t really up to par but I find dialogue (especially his) really difficult for some reason. On the other hand I’m actually quite proud of this story, especially since I managed to hit over 3000 words with it – a large feat for me.
I hope it makes sense and that you liked it :) It would make my day if you reviewed, I always reply :)
PS. This is a kind of spin off on a story I’ve been working on, so if you like it keep an eye out for it in the next few months :)