Harry Potter and related characters, settings and basic concepts are the property of JK Rowling. I'm just happy to play in the sand box.
This is my own version of Reptilia28's challenge.
Challenge issued by "Reptilia28" - Originally on Portkey(dot)org verbatim:
A funny little challenge I just came up with. It's a comical twist on the time-travel category.
*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 soulmate ("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 soulmate 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.
*Harry had to have died at least three times before this one.
*The memory keeping contract must be included.
*Death must refer to Hermione as "some Granger girl" when Harry's soulmate turns up in his rant.
*Obviously, must be H/Hr.
*Dumbledore's manipulations can be a factor in Harry's premature demises.
Harry Potter found himself in front of a man seated at a desk. He was very confused.
He remembered that he had been fighting Voldemort in the Great Hall. He had fired an Expelliarum to Voldemort's Avada Kadavra and instead of bouncing back like he thought it would, the spell had hit him.
Now he was in some nameless office with a man who didn't look too happy sitting in front of him.
"Harry James Potter, we meet again."
Harry looked that man and wondered what he meant.
"Why are you in my office? AGAIN?"
"I don't understand, sir." Harry didn't know if this man was a muggle or not, so he tried to censor what he said. "I was in a firefight with … a terrorist … and he hit me with his … weapon … and the next thing I knew I was here. Where is here, anyway?" The man looked at him like he was a squashed flobberworm: disgusting and annoying all at once.
"Oh, you mean that fight in the Great Hall with Voldemort? When he hit you with the killing curse?" Harry looked relieved that he wouldn't have to hide his magic. "Oh, yes, I know all about the magical world. I know all about your constant struggles against evil. I know ALL ABOUT your idiotic heroics that lead you to GETTING KILLED! I KNOW ALL ABOUT IT! Why can't you just DO WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO AND LET ME DO MY JOB RIGHT? WHY?!?"
Harry was flummoxed. The man behind the desk's face started looking like Vernon Dursley's after witnessing something from the magical world.
"I don't know why I'm yelling at you. You don't remember all the other times. But I DO! And let me tell you, I've had it up to HERE!" the man yelled, putting his hand flat in front of his neck. "What gave you the bright idea to use a DISARMING CURSE against a KILLING CURSE? You know. It's quite simple. You're supposed to kill the bad guy, marry your soul mate … some Granger girl … and live to nice ripe age of 179. But, NO! Once again, you go and do something STUPID and end up in my office. AGAIN!"
Harry could now say he was more confused than ever. There was one part of the man's rant which did push through the rest. "Um, I don't understand. What about Ginny? Beside's, Hermione's with Ron. I couldn't interfere …"
The man just looked at him again.
"You might be the most powerful wizard since Merlin, but YOU, young sir, are a COMPLETE IDIOT!"
Harry didn't know about the powerful part but hadn't he figured out the horcruxes? Well, to be sure, there was some luck involved. And Hermione … well … anyway …
"I will explain. AGAIN! I am Larry. Your Grim Reaper. I am in charge of making sure you complete the destiny that has been given to you and then move onto your proper reward. And let me tell you, since I know you won't remember the earlier times I'll remind you, this isn't the first time you've been in my office. First it was the time you splinched yourself when you apparated onto the school roof. Then you got your head bashed in in a wizard's chess match – that one wasn't pretty. I still can't believe you didn't show up after the basilisk bit you in second year; a bit of luck there. Then there was the drowning in your fourth year – gillyweed only lasts an hour and waiting for all the other champions with a broken watch? Once again, STUPID! The dementors before year fifth weren't completely your fault but still. Then there was the trip through the Veil in 5th year running after Sirius Black. And last, but not least, the poisoned mead after your friend, one Ronald Weasley, was dosed with love potions and that idiot potions teacher passed around the libations.
"And that's another thing. I know the dim-wit was your first friend and all. But why in the hell would you sit back and wait for him to let him be an idiot for 3 years, so he could have the girl? ESPECIALLY since she was the WRONG GIRL FOR HIM! 'Oh, I only love her like a sister!' Come on, man! Where's the Gryffindor courage?? Oh, and the red-headed girl? Don't even let me start on that fangirl. Don't you think that her obsession with 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' was a tad overboard? Not her fault really … silly interfering overbearing mothers, gotta hate 'em … a dose of a love potion and you human's all get silly …"
Harry spluttered, "WHAT? What do you mean love potion? When did this happen?"
Larry looked at Harry. "I'm sorry, but Molly Prewett Weasley isn't one to sit back and 'let things happen' if she has any say in the matter. After all, you weren't attached and her little girl was obsessed with you. What was going to stop her?"
Harry just shook his head. He remembered his feelings that he had suppressed when Ron had seemed interested in Hermione. And Hermione didn't exactly seem disinterested either in 6th year. Of course, come to think of it, Hermione had seemed more depressed than she should have been …
"Look. Since this is black mark number 7 for one client, I have to go to a departmental review. I'm THIS CLOSE to getting fired and it is YOUR FAULT!" Larry yelled, holding his fingers about a quarter inch apart. "As the client/witness, you will stay in the hallway and wait until you are called. We have 10 minutes to get to my hearing. Follow me."
At that, Larry, his Grim Reaper apparently, walked out of the office in a huff and down the hall to a door with a chair next to it. The door read, "Afterlife Inc. Reaper Department of Great Britain. Director's Office,"
He was sat in the chair and Larry passed in the door.
As Harry sat in the hallway, he reviewed his life and his interactions with Ron, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Dumbledore and especially Hermione. And as he sat there, he realized he might have been making a LOT of mistakes.
It was about 30 minutes later when a woman opened the door and called him into the office. The office had a large desk with several chairs facing it. In one of the chairs was Larry looking less annoyed than earlier but still somewhat distracted.
The woman who had called him in sat behind the desk and looked at him.
"Harry Potter, I am Lora and I am the Director for the Grim Reapers of Great Britain. We have just had a review of your Reaper Larry. It seems that you are a difficult client." The woman, a somewhat attractive woman who looked to be in her 30s, looked at him with an admonishing glance. "Not since Winston Churchill getting himself blown up in different bombings 50 years ago have we had a client with as many unauthorized deaths are your have had. What do you have to say for yourself?"
"Well, I've been doing my best," Harry replied petulantly. "It's not like I haven't had a Dark Lord after me for the last 16 years."
"Really, Mr. Potter, there is no reason to get snarky. I have been reviewing your files. Now, your Reaper Larry has primary responsibility to get you through to your destiny, but do you really have to make it so hard for him? You know, you could have avoided all the deaths and near misses if you had just used your brains a bit more often. Besides the recorded deaths, there was the incident with a house elf and a car; the incident with one Marge Dursley could have been avoided altogether; the World Cup gave you a chance to catch one Barty Crouch Jr. early; the firefight through the skies of London before your camping trip from hell …"
"But, I didn't have much of a choice. I have to live with the Dursleys and underage magic ...."
"Oh, don't even get me started. Why have you been letting people run your life? You could have been living in one of your own houses. It's not like your family doesn't have enough of them. Those useless blood wards be damned. Anyway, whatever. In reviewing your file, we have decided for an unusual, in not unheard of, course of action. We will be sending you back to an earlier part of your life. Although this in and of itself isn't unusual, we will also be sending you back with your memory intact. Let's try to avoid another unauthorized death, shall we?"
Harry was surprised. "What about paradoxes? Hermione explained in third year …"
"This is not a time-turner. You will be placed back to an earlier time where changes might bring about a more … desired result. You will be taken by Larry to the Destiny Repair Department. And heed them well; another unauthorized death and Larry will be fired, you will be dead and the board of directors will be very unhappy with both me AND you. Good day!"
Larry grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the office before Lora could be more annoyed than she already was. She hadn't seemed this annoyed since William Wallace made a nuisance of himself in the department. THAT had been a trying century.
Larry started talking to Harry. "Look, Destiny Repair will fix you up in a jiffy. I have a friend over there named Bob. He's good. A right scheming bastard at times, but you have to be to work in that department. He'll get you sorted. And, do me a favor, will you? Try and get it right. Cause if I get fired, it's bargekeeper on the River Styx for me and that is a HORRIBLE job."
Three hours after meeting Bob, he knew that no one that had been sorted into Slytherin had been a more devious bastard. He made Lucius Malfoy look downright artless in the area of cunning.
At the end, Larry, who had been with him in the interview the whole time, said, "One more step. In order to preserve the time line and prevent abuse of this department, you have to sign a contract to keep this to yourself. You can tell your soulmate, but that's about it. Sign here at the bottom, and off you go."
Harry took the pen (why do they still use quills in the wizarding world, he wondered) and signed his name to the bottom.
"Ok, let's get you off to Back-Departure. Remember, try to avoid getting killed."
As Larry took him off to another office and pushed him inside, he heard, "See you soon!" and wondered what Larry meant as the room blurred and he found himself in a familiar and unpleasant environment.
A/N: I deliberately left the planning interview out. You'll learn what the plans are through what happens and flashbacks. I thought doing it this way left more suspense, and hey, it's a lot of fun teasing folks. Is Dumbledore good or evil? How manipulative is he? Are the Weasley's going down or not? Where will Harry land? Tune in next week for the next installment ….
A/N 2: I repaired some typos. Fixed some incorrect words. Hope I got everything.