Disclaimer. As usual I don't own Harry Potter, or any of the characters, things, or animals, that are mentioned in the Harry Potter books, I do how ever own the plot in this little venture into the Potter verse.

A/Note, this short one shot is the first thing I have written since I was taken ill and I must admit it was hard work. The story is loosely based on the challenge by Reptilla about Harry being sent back after dying. Like I said it is only loosely based on the challenge, hope you enjoy.

Merlinsaprentice1.

Return to life…

A rather agitated and yet relieved young looking woman by the name of Esther slammed down a vanilla file with the name H. J. Potter on it, followed by the short comment 'Returned to the realm of the living 7 times', on to the top of her desk and with a slightly exaggerated sigh and a groan she whispered "Well this is his last chance, I do hope the boy can get it right this time. There's no chance the boss will let me send him back again."

As she sat down and began to get comfortable she saw the door to her office begin to open. "Oh well on with the next one," she said as she bent down and opened the bottom draw of her desk and placed the Potter file in the correct place in a folder stamped 'RETURNED TO LIFE'. As she shuffled the files into order again and then closed the draw, she heard her office door close. A soft cough let her know that her next charge was ready even before she had sat up and turned to see who it was.

With one glance at her next assignment her face screwed up in anger "No it can't be… WHAT IN THE BLUE BLAZES ARE 'YOU' DOING HERE?" she yelled at the young person standing on the other side of the desk before letting her forehead drop with a thunk to the polished wood surface of the desk.

"Well actually I'm not exactly sure," replied the slightly scared voice of the young person.

Esther looked up while resting her chin on the desk top, "Why me? What did I ever do to the fates?" sitting up and taking a deep breath she stared at the young person who stood nervously fidgeting on the other side of the desk. Taking a deep breath and then swallowing hard while trying to control her temper Esther looked into the eyes that were only four feet away "3000 years. 3000 happy years I have worked in this office and you are trying to get me fired before you've even finished school.

"I… I'm sorry. Did I… did I do something wrong?" asked the young one rather timidly, "truly I don't even know where I am, or what is happening."

Esther bent back down and retrieved the file she had just seconds before put away, she slammed it down on the desk so that her charge could see it quite plainly, "See that! Harry James Potter. Seven times, sent back to life, seven bloomin times, the last time less than five minutes ago. How the heck am I supposed to keep my job now?" she asked while shaking her head.

There was complete silence for several seconds that seemed to be stretching on and on before Esther had calmed her temper down enough to get back to her work. "Ok Potter so tell me what happened?" she asked in a more normal voice.

"I… I'm sorry you seem to have me mixed up with someone else, I'm not named Potter, m… my name is Granger, Hermione Jane Granger," the young one replied shakily.

"Well you should be a Potter, the boy has had seven lives to get together with you complete his destiny and then live to a ripe old age with you his soul mate and your children that even now wait patiently for you two to get it right. What in the blue blazes is so difficult about you two simply kissing for Pete's sake?" Esther answered herself in a defeated type of voice, "oh no can't do that, instead of kissing each other and completing the darn bond and saving the world, Harry darn Potter keeps rushing into bloody places without thinking, while you waste your time on that red headed pea brained burke you have absolutely no reason to fancy, besides the red plonker belongs to the other side, and now it looks like you have destroyed any chance Potter ever had of beating Riddle and saving the world."

Esther looked up into Hermione Jane Grangers eyes and then just as quick she dropped her head down into her two waiting palms, her elbows resting on the desk top. "There is no way I am 'not' going to get the sack for this one, I'll be fired and sent back to doing crowd control or some thing," she said resigned to the fact that their sending Harry James Potter back was going to prove to be a huge waste of resources. Then as though some one had just dropped a thought in her mind that lit up her sky blue eyes she looked at Hermione intently, "There might be a way out of this for both of us, always supposing you want to go back that is, so you willing to give it a try to save the world and actually fulfil your destiny."

Hermione looked closely at the woman on the opposite side of the table her eyes searching for any sort of deviousness, "So if I'm dead what would I have to do to go back?" she asked her eyes half closed as though not daring to believe what the woman said, and not wanting to hear what came next.

"You remember immediately after the first task of that stupid tournament when you led that thick Weasel into the tent with you. If I was to send you back to just before you entered that stupid tent do you think you could leave that idiot behind and actually get around to kissing your soul mate. Oh and while I think about it find some way to get Harry away from that fool Dumbledore, the old fool has gone so far into the dark side for the mythical 'greater good' that he has been the cause of as many needless deaths as Tom Riddle. When the old idiot finally arrives here he's going to find himself sitting neck deep in flames for the rest of eternity. And for crying out loud keep your man alive because there wont be another chance at this.

I can send you back but I can't let you retain your memories, what I can and will do is add these things to your natural woman's' intuition, I will make it so that you will find these ideas at the forefront of your mind the minute you return. I can make them almost irresistible, note I said almost, so for the world's sake I hope you listen to your inner self."

Esther walked over to the door and opened it enough so she could check the corridor outside. Seeing the way clear, slowly, followed by Hermione she made her way to the time keepers room. Once inside the room she ushered Hermione to a rather large colourful column of light that pulsed with a different colour every second or so. At a small desk Esther set the time co-ordinates they would require she then went and stood next to Hermione.

While they stood waiting for the portal to open at the correct time and place, Esther placed the promised thoughts into Hermione's mind; she also added one that would have Hermione reading a book entitled 'Games and Trials Through the Ages'. There was something in there that both she and Harry could do with knowing.

Hermione watched as a large sky blue circle developed in front of them, slowly it developed into what looked like a bright blue tunnel through the column, 'well this time I wont drown in that blasted tournament' she thought as Esther tapped her on the shoulder to let her know it was time to go and without a glance back Hermione stepped into the tunnel.

For what seemed hours Hermione felt herself spinning as though caught in a whirl wind. The spinning stopped as suddenly as it had started and Hermione found herself approaching the crowd of spectators. She blinked and wondered why the heck she was even thinking of fetching Ron to join her in congratulating Harry on getting passed the dragon, the prat had deserted Harry when he had really needed his friends to help him.

Turning away from the direction she was going she headed straight for the medical tent where Harry had just been taken. As soon as she saw Harry she was overcome by a desperate urge to kiss him for all she was worth. She rushed to him and flung herself at him dragging him into a fierce hug, holding him and having him hold her destroyed all her resistance to the urge to kiss him.

Hermione found her world spinning once again as Harry kissed her back passionately as though he had been waiting years for that first kiss. Harry for his part forgot all about his injuries, Hermione was kissing him, his worries and plans simply vanished, 'Esther you were so Right' he thought as they slowly separated to find themselves glowing with golden auras.

Hand in hand Harry and Hermione walked back to the castle, both of them ignored the crowds of people who tried to offer their congratulations to the boy who lived.

After a pleasant evening spent kissing and cuddling with Harry whilst an extremely jealous Ron Weasley sat in a corner muttering to him self, Hermione went to bed and had a strange dream about a book entitled 'Games and Trials Through the Ages'there was a chapter in there about rules for magical games. Hermione awoke the next morning determined to find out if the book in her dream existed and if it did what was so important about it.

After a quick breakfast Hermione excused herself and made her way to the library. She asked Madam Pince about the book and found the librarian telling her it had been transferred to the restricted sector though she had no idea why as there was absolutely nothing even remotely dark about it. "In fact if I remember correctly, it is one of the few books we have that contains no spells at all."

With a little coaxing Hermione managed to talk the older woman into allowing her to take a look at the book, Madam Pince agreed as long as Hermione remained within her sight while she looked through the book.

It did not take Hermione long to find what she was looking for. Toward the end of the second chapter there was a section that covered magical contracts and Quidditch, in the last paragraph there was something highly interesting.

'…As magical contracts are only legal for paid competitors like your typical professional Quidditch player it is deemed a waste of time trying to make contracts magical for such as the chess players mentioned here because the magic does not work, thankfully the inability to use a magical contract also relates to all competitions and competitors who are playing for prize money and not pay…'

Hermione was silently furious as she made a copy of the page before she gave the book back to the librarian. Dumbledore had lied to Harry to get him to compete in a competition where he could so easily lose his life. The thought that Harry would already be dead if that Horntail had lowered its tail just a little, had it been just six inches lower it would have crushed his chest instead of hitting his shoulder. It was time to get Harry away from this mad house where he was constantly in danger.

Hermione had shown Harry the copy of the book page with the laws about magical contracts, and she had then spent almost two hours getting him to calm down and forget about going to the heads office and shoving Dumbledore's wand where it would never see the light of day again, well not until after an operation by Madam Pomfrey could recover it. It took a little doing but she managed to convince him that their best chance of surviving into adult hood was to escape from Dumbledore's clutches.

Hermione's plan was simple in it's design, unlike any witch or wizard she knew Hermione was able to use her logic. And that was exactly what she was going to do. At five am on the Saturday morning Harry and Hermione snuck out of the school and made their way into the village of Hogsmeade. Hermione knew that the owl postal room was open all night to allow for the coming and going of owls, and for any one who wished to post a letter. She had also seen a floo in the room and she knew it was connected to the network having seen it in use once or twice.

Wizards and witches wanting to get to London via floo would always head for the same destination, the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione's plan called for them to floo straight to the waiting room that was used on platform 9 ¾, from there they could catch the underground directly to Gringotts.

Harry found himself amazed at what was happening. He had been sent back by his angry reaper after dying yet again, back to the time just after he had entered the medical tent after the first task of the tri-wizard tournament. Before he had even decided how he was going to change the future and make sure that he and Hermione his soul mate got together, instead of falling under the influence of Mrs Weasleys potions.

And now he found himself sitting in an office in Gringotts, awaiting one of the Goblin healers to come and free him of several tracking and monitoring charms, and to also perform a ritual that will do two things. First it will remove some dark evil left over from the night his mum and dad were killed, that apparently was lodged just behind his forehead. The second thing it will do is give him full access and control of his magic, which it seems Dumbledore had been keeping suppressed. The first healer had said it might also improve the way his mind works. Harry thought that if he could end up only half as smart as Hermione he would be happy.

Thoughts of the young woman sitting at his side filled his head, none of this had happened the last time, so he was convinced he must have done something to change things without realising it. Hermione turning up with that copy of the laws and then insisting they leave Hogwarts as soon as possible, and even working out exactly how they were going to do it so that they would not be missed until their first lesson on Monday morning, giving them a full weekend to vanish. And that's not even mentioning that amazing snog they had shared in the medical tent were like a miracle happening.

Without having done anything to change things, things had changed, he and Hermione were now a couple, he had escaped from Dumbledore and things were looking good, Harry Potter was as Happy as he ever remembered being.

Hermione was feeling on top of the world, she had found the courage to kiss Harry and discovered he loved her as much as she loved him. She had helped prove to him that Dumbledore had him in the tri-wizard tournament under false beliefs; she had also helped him to escape from Hogwarts. She was sure there was only one thing that could make her feel any happier than she was, and they had plenty of time for babies in their future, a future that for some reason she felt sure was going to be spent together into a ripe old age.

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