Disclaimer: I do not command the powers of Life and Death. I cannot send people through time on a whim. Which is probably just as well, as I'd abuse the power terribly. I do not even own most of the characters appearing in this story, but I'm going to abuse them terribly regardless.
I woke up.
That was kind of a surprise, as I was sure I was a goner. The last thing I remembered, Ginny had lost her battle with gravity at the top of the stairs. Like a fool, I'd been standing at the bottom of the stairs, gazing in wonder at the marvel that was her behind. Mostly I was wondering how that thing was going to fit through the doorway at the top of the stairs.
So, gravity. Ginny's dainty little size 3 foot didn't hit the tread quite right and shattered under the stress. If I'd had any sense I'd have apparated away or tried to levitate her or even just run away like a deer. But, no, I just stood there like a deer in the headlights.
You would think that at 5 feet even and 400 pounds, Ginny would be softer and squishier and would have just flowed over me like jello without doing any real damage. No. I was squashed like a piano had dropped on me. Flatter than a pancake and covered up by a floral mu-mu the size of a drop cloth. I'd be surprised if anyone ever found my body, to be honest. I'd probably been squished into the floorboards like caulk.
So, waking up. All parts seemed to be in place. I could wiggle my fingers and toes. I didn't even hurt at all. No aftertaste of healing potion. Something strange was going on. Strange even by magical standards.
As I blinked my eyes open the first impression was of all white. The second impression was much the same: some kind of lounge or waiting room, all in white. White ceiling and walls. White floor. White furniture. How… stereotypical. The last time I was dead, I got the train station. That was annoyingly symbolic, but at least it was original. (Unless you'd seen The Matrix Revolutions. But I was 17 when I died the first time, which was in 1998, so the movie ripped me off.)
My third impression, looking around the room, was that it wasn't quite all white. There were paintings and gadgets all over. There was a two-pan brass scale, heavily weighted to one side. A pendulum stopped off center. A yin-yang symbol with the black side much larger than the white. Put them in Heaven's Waiting Room and I suspected I was being given a Hint.
Just as I concluded that, in She walks. Egad and gadzooks, what a babe! She put the voom in va-va-voom. Tall and slim but deliciously curved and dressed to impress. Did I say She walked? No. She sashayed, every step, every sway perfectly calculated to make male tongues drag on the ground. She strode like a goddess, compelling mere mortals to cast themselves down at Her feet.
I averted my gaze, unable to bear the glory before me. After I'd drawn a shuddering breath and looked back, er, actually she wasn't really all that special. Yes, she was top-heavy, which is always a good thing, and fairly attractive in a strong-featured way. Mostly it was that she looked and dressed very sharp compared to my wife.
My wife? Wizarding marriage vows, like muggle, state "Til Death do you part". Except that they're magically enforced. There is no divorce amongst magic users. But I'm dead, right? Death hath us parted. No more Ginny! This could be the happiest day of my life.
"You idiot! What did you think you were doing?"
Oh, way to harsh my mellow, Lady!
"Look at all this! Do you see this?" The scale. "Or this?" The pendulum. "This is all your fault! They're all out of whack."
So, what, I'm supposed to be her interior decorator?
"My office has one major job. Just one. Do you know how badly you've screwed it up?"
"Not really. I don't know who you are. All I know is that you've been yelling at me and waving at your artsy fru-fru since you got here. But I'll tell you what, why don't you loosen a button or three before you take your next deep breath and you can keep yelling all day."
"You, you, you mortal!" If looks could kill…
Some things never change, even when you're dead. I never could smooth-talk the ladies back when I was alive, either.
"Sit there, shut up, and keep your eyes above my neck. I'm going to tell you the job you were supposed to do, tell you how you screwed it up, and tell you what you're going to do to fix it."
The view was still nice, even without any more buttons being undone, but she was losing points from the attitude. The yelling for reasons unknown didn't bother me. I'd been married to a spoiled redhead.
"I am Fate. The personification of a cosmic force beyond your comprehension. Destiny wrapped up in this delectable package to give your tiny, mortal mind something to grasp."
Yah, yah, and your shit don't stink.
"I shape lives. I manipulate events to keep the universe on its proper course. I –"
"…Can't seem to get to the point. Look, can we hurry this up? Even with an eternity of being dead ahead of me, you're boring me to death."
Oops, that went a little too far. She glared and I didn't have a mouth any more. That was fair – I was ripping off The Matrix.
"Balance is all important. Think of a spinning top. If it starts to go off balance, it will crash if you don't nudge it back.
"I manipulate events through mortals. When the need arises, one Chosen soul is given the mission to right the balance."
I saw where this was going. I still couldn't talk, so I gave her a resigned slump of my shoulders, pointed at myself, and nodded. It was always about me.
Though I couldn't figure out why she was so angry. What had I done wrong? I'd overcome every adversity and defeated every foe, sometimes by luck and sometimes with help but mostly through that kind of plucky courage that just wouldn't give up when the going got tough.
"No, you idiot! Tom Riddle was the Chosen One. The world has been moving to greater and greater order. Tom was supposed to insert some chaos into the system. Balance, remember?"
Well, there's a boot to the head.
"Not only weren't you the Chosen One, you've been making things worse. Capturing criminals, defeating creatures who wouldn't live under government rules, and don't forget killing my Chosen One! And you wonder why I'm just a little ticked off?"
Running down a bit, Fate sank into the chair at her desk and rested her head in her hands. It looked as if my ineptitude had managed to overwhelm the personification of a cosmic force beyond my comprehension. Sometimes I impress myself.
"I put so much effort into my Chosen One. Insanity in the family, orphaned, terrible childhood, lied to and manipulated by Dumbledore. Oh, he was a thing of beauty. So full of rage he'd have torn down the world out of spite."
She was working up a head of steam again. "And then you came along and messed up everything!
"I went to Tom as a young man and gave him his mission, to break down and disrupt the rampant Order that threatens everything. I even came up with a name for his helpers: The Disorder." I gave her the hairy eyeball. "What? It's a great name! But what I don't understand is how he mis-heard me so badly. Tell me, how do you get Death Eater from Disorder?
"Your role, Mister Non-Chosen, was to die young. I gave you lots of power when you were born. Maybe you noticed? Tom was to kill you, take your power, and become invincible. But of course you couldn't just die like you were supposed to. No, you had to screw it up, just like you screwed up everything else I put you in.
"Being left out in the cold on a November night, beatings, starvation. Didn't you ever look back and think, Gee, it looks like someone was trying to kill me? Didn't you ever think that maybe you were fated to die?
"You fought Voldemort when you were eleven. That wasn't a clue?
"You fought Voldemort again when you were twelve and when you were fourteen and fifteen. It never occurred to you that this wasn't all coincidence, that maybe you had some role to play? And that you weren't playing it?
"Even that group you joined, the Order of the Phoenix. Agh! What was that name, a slap in my face? And you wonder why I'm mad at you?
"It became clear that you weren't going to fulfill your destiny and let Tom kill you and take your power. So I thought I could at least minimize the damage you were causing. Get you killed off, even if it was too late for Tom. Did you ever wonder how it was that you got all the most dangerous mission and always got the worst imbeciles for partners? It wasn't so you could get more medals.
"As a last ditch, I set you up with the worst person in the world for you. That stupid, greedy cow was supposed to kill you right after you got married. But you couldn't even be poisoned properly, could you? No, you had to live through it and go on and find a conspiracy that wasn't even there and clean out the Ministry and the Wizengamot and make them a model for governments the world over to follow. You make me sick, Harry, you really do. Years, decades of planning, and you go and ruin it just for fun.
"Do you hate me, is that it? What did I ever do to deserve this?"
From the sound of it, you tried to set me up as a human sacrifice since before I was born. So, yah, I think I've got pretty good cause to hate you. Not that I could say that, what with not having a mouth. And not that I would say that to her. Don't be fooled by my elevator eyes. I have plenty of self control.
"Now listen carefully. The balance of the world is in peril because of your actions. I am going to send you back to fix your mistakes. Do you have any questions?"
I grunted through my nose and waved at my non-mouth, in case that wasn't a rhetorical question. She put my mouth back on.
"Are you going to send me back in time to where it all went wrong? So I can fix everything?"
"Send you back in time? What, do I look like an old man with an hourglass? Yo, see these? Hourglass figure, not an hourglass. Not a man! And don't even think of calling me old!
"I'm going to return you to your former life. You'll have escaped death by a whisker. You have just one chance to fix things, to break up Order, bring some Chaos, and keep the world turning. I won't be able to send you back again if anything else goes wrong.
"Now get back there and screw things up!"
Back on Earth, returned to the mortal world, restored to my fleshly self, or whatever important-sounding phrase I should use, I hitched up my pants and got to work. I was filled with purpose like never before. I'd been given a mission by Fate Herself.
My first targets were obvious: a handful of drug gangs and corrupt politicians and law enforcement, both magical and Muggle, who let them thrive. I'd get maximum effect for my initial effort, and good publicity, too. I could stomp them hard and fast. They'd never know what hit them.
After that, terrorist organizations. Organized crime. Science institutions which were making ground-breaking discoveries. Anyone with the ability to shake up the system.
Make my life hell, then tell me I had to do her work?
Fate would never know what hit her.