A/N: Okay, this story is my response to reptilia28's challenge:
Harry is killed at 17 during a fight with Voldemort. He's sent to his Death's office (explained later) and finds out that this isn't the first time that this has happened.
Harry's Death (who can have a human name) is mad at his arrival. Apparently, people dying before their time is a black mark on the various Deaths' records, and Harry is getting perilously close to getting this particular one fired.
When Harry asks what was supposed to have happened, Death goes off on a rant saying how he was supposed to have killed Voldemort, found his soul mate ("Some Granger girl...") and lived to be a centennial age. But since Harry keeps getting into life-threatening situations for one reason or another, he keeps dying before that happens. Harry is surprised about the soul mate part.
Death gives Harry a paper to sign that allows him to retain his memories (the previous times, he wasn't given this option for some reason). Harry is deposited to a previous time of the writer's choosing.
Eventually, Harry gets it right. He kills Voldemort, gets the girl, and lives to a ripe old age of whatever. And Death doesn't get fired.
So anyway, I hope you enjoy this, this is the first chapter (I promise it will get better) and don't forget to review!
Harry Potter's head was throbbing. Everything seemed to be spinning. He tried to remember where he was, but it was all a blur. He opened his eyes but then quickly shut them again to block out the bright light shining in his face. He could feel a rough material under him that felt like some kind of rug. Slowly, he opened his eyes again to find the light was gone and was replaced by a painted gray ceiling.
Harry sat up, ignoring the pain in his back and looked around. It looked like he was in a waiting room, but it was definitely more dreary than any waiting room he'd been in. Not only was the ceiling gray, but the walls, rug, and even the pictures on the wall were a sad shade of gray. The atmosphere of the room was very depressing, Harry could see two people sitting in chairs at the other side of the room. Both looked very bored and unresponsive. Harry figured it would be useless to question as to were he was.
Harry got to his feet and was about to try and find an exit when a stern voice appeared behind him.
Harry whirled around to see a fifty-something woman sitting behind a large desk (which was also gray.) She had dark red hair done up in a perm and hazel-colored eyes behind thick, horn-rimmed glasses. Her skin had some wrinkles but not enough for her to look too old. The name plaque in front of her simply read GINA. "Name please?" she said again a little more firmly this time.
"H-Harry Potter" Harry said nervously. Where was he?
Gina wrote something down on a piece of paper and then picked up the receiver on the phone next to her. She pressed down a few numbers and then began drumming her fingers on the desk while she waited for the person on the other end line to pick up. All the while Harry was trying figure out what was going on, and he was starting to become anxious.
"Hello Max?" Gina said into the receiver "You have another client who just came in…I know you're on your break but you're needed here now…Harry Potter…" at this point she pulled the receiver away from her ear and Harry could hear a male voice shouting on the other end. "Max…M-Max, MAX, CALM DOWN!" She shouted into the receiver so loud it made Harry's ears hurt. "Look Max, I understand how you feel but you need to come down here and deal with this okay? Good, see you in a few minutes." She put the phone down and turned back to Harry.
"Sorry about that, your grim reaper will be with you shortly, in the meantime please take a seat." She said in a business-like tone.
It took a moment for Harry to fully process what the woman has said, and when he had, a horrible fear arose in his stomach, did she say 'grim reaper'? Did that mean he was dead?
"Take a seat please" The woman reiterated, sounding more annoyed with each word.
Harry slowly backed into a chair and put his hand to his head. He tried to remember what had happened to him but everything was a blur. But then, after a moment, it all came back to him, and now he felt sick.
He had been in the great hall for the Halloween feast when Voldemort and his death eaters attacked. He remembered watching as Bellatrix Lestrange killed Neville Longbottom as he attempt to avenge his parents. He saw as one by one, the teachers all fell. Ron and Hermione and had been dueling about five death eaters on their own, Luna Lovegood was throwing spell after spell at the death eater opposing her. Ginny was nowhere to be found. Harry recalled taking out five death eaters before hearing Hermione's voice screaming his name and some strange force slamming into his back, then nothing. The next he knew he was here, had he really been killed in the battle, and if he had, what would become of the wizarding world now that he was gone? Now Voldemort would win for sure.
Harry was driven from his thoughts by the sound of voices coming from down a seemingly endless hallway. Suddenly, two men wheeling a huge cart appeared in the waiting room. Both men looked to be in their early twenties. One was tall and lanky and the other was shorter and slightly chubby. The tall one was laughing at something the chubby one had said. Then the tall one noticed Harry watching them and grinned.
"Hey Harry! Long time no see" He said as if Harry was an old friend of his. Harry of course had never seen the man before and his confusion must have shown because then the tall man's grin faded "Why are you looking at me like that?"
The short one rolled his eyes "It's because he doesn't remember you stupid"
"Oh yeah" The tall one said, "I forgot about that."
"Excuse me" Harry said to them, "Exactly where am I?"
The tall one laughed a little "Your in death's office again, Duh!"
"Death's offi- wait, did you say 'again'?"
"Ted you idiot!" The short one shouted while smacking the tall one in the face. "You're not supposed to tell him that"
"Sorry Bill" Ted said.
Just then, another man appeared out of nowhere just as Bill and Ted had. This man however had a more business-y look to him. He was very tall and thin and wore a suit complete with a checkered tie. He had black hair and a clean shaven face. His eyes were bluish-gray in color and were currently filled with anger. He looked at Harry for a moment without saying anything. Then finally, he broke the silence. "Follow me please" he said and turned around.
Harry got up out of his seat and watched him walk down the endless hallway. He looked back at Bill and Ted who simply gave him looks of pity which made Harry very nervous.
"Are you coming?!?!" The man in the suit called from down the hall.
"Yeah, I'm coming" Harry yelled back and hurried down the hall after him.
They walked for what seemed like miles, the hallway really was endless. Finally, they reached a door with a name plaque on it which read "MAXIMILLION CALDWELL-G.P." The man (whom Harry figured was the Max guy Gina had spoken to over the phone) opened the door to let Harry in.
Harry entered the small office and sat down in the chair in front of the big desk that obviously belonged to Max. Max took a seat in the big chair at the other side of the desk and looked Harry in the eye. "So…" he began "…would you care to tell why you keep doing this?"
Harry didn't answer him. 'Doing what?' he wondered.
"Do you enjoy making my job difficult? Do you hate me?" Max asked, his voice steadily rising. "Or do you just get an adrenaline rush from dying, is that it?"
"What are you talking about?" Harry cried, becoming agitated. This however just served to fuel Max's anger.
"WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? THIS IS THE FIFTH TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED! I KNOW YOU DON'T REMEMBER IT BUT UNFORTUNATELY, I DO! IT WAS BAD ENOUGH WHEN THAT RIDDLE GUY'S SPIRIT JUST HAD TO MOVE THROUGH YOUR BODY AND STOP YOUR HEART WHEN YOU WERE ELEVEN, BUT THEN YOU HAD TO FALL OF THAT BROOM AT THIRTEEN, AND LET'S NOT FORGET THAT WHOLE INCIDENT WITH THE MERMAIDS AND THEN THAT LITTLE DEATH EATER THING ONLY A YEAR LATER! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH TROUBLE I'M IN BECAUSE OF YOU? HUH, DO YOU?"
By time Max had finished his little rant, Harry was thoroughly freaked out. But Max wasn't done.
"THANKS TO YOU I'M THIS CLOSE TO BEING FIRED! EVERYTIME YOU DIE IT'S ANOTHER BLACK MARK ON MY RECORD AND I CAN'T AFFORD TO GET ANOTHER ONE JUST BECAUSE HARRY POTTER HAS TO GET HIMSELF INTO LIFE THREATENING SITUATIONS!"
"YOU THINK I LIKE IT?" Harry shouted getting up on his feet, now it was his turn to do some shouting. "IF I COULD STOP I WOULD BUT IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED I HAVE AN EVIL WIZARD AFTER THAT I'M PROPHECISED TO DESTROY SO I CAN'T HELP GETTING INTO THESE SITUATIONS!"
"Alright, alright now I think that we both need to calm down here" Max said standing up as well. "Look, I'm sorry I yelled but this whole dying before your time thing has just got to stop."
"You're telling me this has happened before? But then why don't I remember it" Harry asked.
"Because it's in the rules. See Harry, there are a lot of grim reapers out there and each is assigned to a certain number of people. Every human magic or muggle is going to die at some point in their lives. It's our job as grim reapers to escort their souls up to the big man who will then decide whether they go up or…well you know, down"
"Wait, the big man, you mean-"
"Yes yes yes him, but in order to avoid religious issues we just refer to him as the big man here okay?"
Harry just nodded slightly.
"Good, anyway every person has a point in time were they must die, but sometimes people die before their times and if they were good people, we send them back."
"So I've been dying before my time?" Harry said figuring it out.
"Yes and that's exactly why I'm in trouble with my boss. You're suppose to live to be around 200 years old, I can't give year the exact time since it violates the rules but anyway like I was saying you were suppose to defeat that Voldemort guy and marry your soulmate, some Granger girl…I don't remember her name, and then you have bunch of kids and grandkids and great-grandkids and then you die, get it?"
Harry didn't answer right away, he had been taken completely by surprise when Max mentioned who his soulmate was suppose to be.
"Hermione, she's my soulmate? I thought that it would be Ginny." He said aloud.
"Ginny? Redhead? Short? Really pretty?" Max asked.
"Yeah" Harry answered.
"Oh, so she's the love potion girl." Max said nodding his head.
"Love potion? Ginny would never do that." Harry said angrily.
"How would you know, you hardly even know her, doesn't it seem a bit odd that you fell for her so quickly?" Max asked.
"Well…I…" Now that Harry thought about, it did seem odd that he had fallen for her just like that, and Ginny had had a crush on him for a long time.
"Exactly, now as I was saying, when a person dies before his time it gets his grim reaper into a lot of trouble, and you have definitely given me more trouble than any other charge I've had."
"Hang on a minute" Harry interrupted once again, "What about Cedric, and Sirius and Dumbledore, why didn't they come back?"
Max sighed heavily at this, "I knew this would come up, you see Harry when a person dies before their time they need to have a body to go back to. For instance, if some guy, I don't know…O.D.'s on heroine we can send him back because his body is still intact, but if someone were to die in a fire, there is no body left to go back to, just ashes. When Mr. Black fell through the veil, it wasn't his time, but he went through body and all, there was nothing left of him, so there was nothing we could do for him. As for Mr. Dumbledore and Mr. Diggory well…it was their time."
"THEIR TIME?!?!?! THAT CAN'T BE!" Harry shouted, enraged.
"I thought we weren't going to yell anymore" Max said.
"Look, Dumbledore I guess I can understand, but you're telling me that Cedric was suppose to die at only SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD!?!?!?! That just isn't fair."
At that point, Max seemed to have forgotten their little 'no yelling' agreement because then he started shouting as well, "WELL YOU KNOW WHAT POTTER, SOMETIME LIFE ISN'T FAIR OKAY. YOU THINK IT'S FAIR THAT WARS ARE ALWAYS BREAKING OUT ON EARTH OR THAT PEOPLE ARE TREATED LIKE CRAP JUST BECAUSE THEIR SKIN IS A DIFFERENT COLOR, OR THAT IN ONE MOMENT YOU CAN HAVE EVERYTHING A MAN WOULD WANT JUST FOR IT TO BE RIPPED AWAY FROM YOU? HUH, DO YOU?"
Harry was surprised by this, especially the last part. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Max was breathing very heavily now. He looked like he was about to answer but instead walked past him, which confused Harry greatly.
"I'll be right back" Max said and opened the door…
…to find Bill and Ted with their ears pressed against the door. They laughed nervously before running away down the fall. "Idiots" Max muttered and left closing the door behind him.
He returned about ten minutes later carrying a heavy stack of papers which he then dropped onto his desk which made a loud thud and caused Harry to jumped.
"Okay" Max said sitting down again. "As I have already explained, after your previous visits here your memories of your deaths were erased. Well my bosses have decided to give you one more chance at life, if you die again whether it be your time or not, you're staying and I'm out of a job so do yourself and me a favor and don't die this time, okay."
"I'll try" Harry said, feeling like laughing for some reason.
"Good, now then, things are going to be a bit different this time around. First of all, you won't be sent back to the moment you died, you get sent back to whenever you want in your life. Be it when you were ten, seven, hell you could go back to the exact moment you were born if you want, although I personally wouldn't recommend that. Second you get to keep all your memories of her previous life and of your latest visit here. Sound good?"
Harry head was spinning now, good, it was better than good, it was great! He could change so many things in his life, he could save Sirius! "Yeah, sounds good." He answered hoarsely.
Max smiled for the first time since Harry had met him. "Excellent, now how far back do you want to go?"
Harry thought for a moment. He probably shouldn't go any further back than to when he was five, and it would probably seem weird for a little kid to be wandering around alone (because he sure as hell wasn't staying with the Dursley's), but he couldn't let Sirius stay in Azkaban for all that time. "Twelve years" he answered finally, "To when I was five."
"Hm..." Max said, that's pretty far, but if that's what you want, then it shall be. Now before you sign this contract here, which will allow you to retain your memories, there are a few things my bosses think you sound know. First, when you get sorted again, listen to the hat because it doesn't lie. Second, watch out for those Weasley people, they aren't as nice they seem, especially the two youngest, but the twins are trustworthy. Finally, it would be a good idea you to go over to some guy named Malfoy's house, it will explain some things. I don't know what any of that means but I guess you will."
Harry nodded slightly, he would have think about that later.
"Okay, now here's a pen" Max said handing Harry a blue pen and pointed to a certain spot on the contract. "Now sign here…and here…here…here…initial here…and here…signature here…and here…NOT THERE…here…here…and one more time on the dotted line."
By now Harry hand hurt like hell so he was glad to find that he was done signing. "So now what happens?" Harry asked.
As soon as the words left his mouth, he felt the ground dissolve under him.
"BON VOYAGE" He could hear Max shouting at him as he began to fall into the darkness.