Title: Maybe he'll get it right this time?
A/N: _This story is a response to an old challenge issued by Reptilia28. Another writer took the challenge and wrote a story that I read. Having become thoroughly enchanted (there is no other word that comes to mind) by this genre of story-telling. I have decided to take the challenge myself to create a hopefully popular or at least not terrible time-travel fic. This story will probably not be updated regularly as I'm at the moment using it as a conduit while I suffer from writer's block on my other fic. I guess that's it for the intro.
This story will follow harry as he goes back into the past to get his life right, grab his girl, and love her till death' do they part.
(Also, please pm me if you see errors, I try to do my best, but I don't have a beta and don't know how to apply for one. I don't even know if I DO apply for a beta. If anyone knows how, please tell me what I do, I feel bad every time I miss a mistake, and having a beta can never hurt.)
DISCLAIMER: Nothing that belongs to Rowling is mine, and I make no claim on anything that belongs to her. Anything that is my own invention I claim by all legality bestowed to me. I also claim anything not nailed to the floor.
Harry was confused. A moment ago he was fighting Voldemort, in the middle of Hogwarts' Great Hall. Now he was sitting on a bench in a reception office, with no clue how he got there. Harry wracked his brain, and remembered the battle.
He and Tom were circling each other, and then they cast their spells. Harry knew that the battle was going to end with one of them dead, but with an entire Great Hall filled with Hogwarts fighters, harry knew that even if Voldemort killed him, the evil wizard wouldn't make it out alive.
"If he killed me…" harry thought. That's what must have happened, he died.
As if waiting for him to reach this thought, the receptionist called out. "Come forward please."
Harry got up and went to stand in front of the desk. When he got there the balding man behind the desk said, "Name?"
The man looked up from his work and stared at harry with utter horror in his eyes.
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?"
Before harry could answer the man started to go into a panic, "Oh no, ohno,ohno,ohno. You are NOT supposed to be here Harry! When Joanne finds out that you're back she's gonna flip!"
At this point Harry was beyond confused so he tried to get an answer. "What's going on? Where am I? I know I'm dead but this doesn't look like the same place I was when I died in the forest. And who is Joanne?"
The balding receptionist gazed at Harry with a deep look of pity, then pushed a button on his desk and said, "Joanne?"
A decidedly mature female voice spoke from a speaker right above the button. "Yes?"
The balding man gulped. "You have a charge here, and he needs to see you right away."
"Ok then, send him in."
The balding man stood and gestured to Harry's left. "Please make your way down the hall Mr. Potter, and please, try not to get offended, she knows as well as any that it's not your fault."
More confused than ever, Harry went down the suggested hallway. He continued until he saw a door on his right. The door said EUROPEAN CHARGES on the front, and seeing as there were no other doors in the hallway, he went through this one.
When he walked through the door he was welcomed by a fluffy room with red all over. Red walls, red cushions that sat on red couches, a clear red desk that had a pretty young woman sitting behind it in a fashionable red dress. This woman looked to be in her late twenties at most, and looking stunning with flowing black hair that went past her shoulders and scary brown eyes. 'She's very pretty. I'll give her that.' Harry thought. 'Almost as pretty as Hermione.' Wait…Hermione! Where did that come from? Harry wondered. He had been with Ginny last year, up until him Hermione and Ron left on their quest for the Horcruxes, and then he had broken it off. Even after they left and he had distanced himself from her, he missed her greatly.
Harry was very deep in thought about this, but his thought process was abruptly halted when he heard the woman behind the desk absolutely scream, "YOU!" Harry looked up in fear and wondered what he had done.
The woman named Joanne had glanced away from her work to see who had walked into her office and had seen the biggest problem of her life standing there thinking about something. 'Oh god, not again! Which deity did I piss off to be stuck with this brat?' finally her thoughts reached her vocal cords. "YOU!" she shouted. Harry looked up at her with a fearful expression. Joanne stood up and shouted. "WHAT IN THE NINE LEVELS OF HELL ARE YOU DOING BACK HERE YOU NO-GOOD, SELF-SACRIFICING DIM-WIT?" In truth she could have gone on but this kid looked terrified, and she knew why from past experience. Harry Potter was freshly dead, had already figured that out, but was still confused on many things. It was part of Joanne's job to explain things to the poor idiot.
Harry was shocked at her outburst. She was acting like she knew him, but he was sure they had never met, especially since he was only just dead. "Um, sorry." Harry began. "But do I know you?"
The woman known as Joanne slumped back down into her chair and placed her hands against her temples, rubbing in circular motions. "Harry, what the hell kid? Do you enjoy this whole dying thing? Is it a fetish or something?"
Harry stared at her in a very confused way. "Do you mean…that I've died before?" Joanne stopped rubbing her temples to bend down and reach into a drawer in her desk. When she straightened up, she held in her hands a thick file that she opened up and began to read from.
"Harry James Potter, age at time of death, 17." At this she glanced up and said. "Congrats, kid, new record for you. Anyway, sex: male. Classification: half-blood wizard. Black hair, green eyes, wears glasses, trademark lightning scar on right-side of forehead. Owns a holly and phoenix feather wand, a deceased owl, and a house." She looked up. "That about right so far?"
Harry nodded before she looked back down at the folder and said the phrase that really caught him off-guard. "Death-count stands at 19."
Harry looked dumb-struck. He had died nineteen times? What the hell! Why didn't he remember?
"Yeah kid, sucks to be you, which in turn sucks to be me." Seeing his continued confused expression, she elaborated. "Listen Harry, I'll try to explain this to you, ok?" Harry nodded so she went ahead. "This room you're in right now is a section of the Premature Mortality Sector."
Joanne slumped forward and hit her head on the desk with a "Thump" 'every damn time, I'm gonna send the bastard who came up with that human acronym to the ninth level of hell for this.' When she straightened up Joanne went on as if nothing had happened, despite a red spot forming on her forehead to match the room. "Yes, Harry. The PMS, and if you say one more word on the subject, I'm going to PMS your ass right out of here!" Harry nodded his head and blushed slightly. "Good, now then as I was saying, this room is the European part of the Premature Mortality Sector. This means that I get the unhealthy pleasure of being your Reaper. Of course, I only have to deal with you if you die before it's your time, WHICH YOU HAVE A BAD HABIT OF DOING! She yelled. Joanne plopped the folder in front of Harry and said, "You have died nineteen times now, which means that you're on your last chance. One more screw-up, you get sent to the after-life, and I get fired!"
At this Harry interrupted. "Why can't I remember any of the other deaths?"
Joanne's expression softened a fraction. "Sector policy, whenever a soul comes here we file the death and send them back to their lives, somewhere before their demise, to fix their life."
At this point she put her hands back on her head and spoke to the desk. "You stupid brat, you've been defying your destiny left and right. You're supposed to kill Voldemort, marry your Soul-mate, that Granger girl, and live to a ripe old age spoiling grand-kids with her. Then we were supposed to come and collect both of you at the same time so you wouldn't have to live without one another." She looked back up at Harry and placed her hands on the desk. "But no, you have to go and get yourself cursed or poisoned or kissed by a dementor four or five times a year don't you?"
Harry was astonished, not by his deaths which apparently were ranged in cause but often in between, but by the revelation that Hermione was his Soul-mate. He played with the thought, and the more he thought about it, the more it sounded right. Harry looked up to see Joanne smiling. "What?"
Joanne grinned wider. "You were just thinking about Hermione Granger being your soul-mate." It was no question, it was a statement. Harry nodded and began to ask her why he felt this way. But Joanne held up her hand. "I know what you're going to say Harry. How can she be my soul-mate? I thought I was in love with Ginny?" Ginny's name was said with disgust. "Well Harry, I've got news for you. Since the beginning of sixth year, young Ginevra has been feeding you love potions to steer your attraction towards her. Before you interrupt." She said, as she knew what he was going to say. They had started this discussion two death's ago. "I want you to know that everything I tell you is absolutely grade-A truth. Back to what I was saying earlier. The Weasley's have been deceiving you. Ronald has been feeding Hermione love potions since the end of fifth year, right after Voldemort was fought off in the department of mysteries, though he's been looking to bed her since third year. Stupid prick, as if Hermione would ever fall for him of her own accord. Anyway, we're getting sidetracked with my hatred. Back on task. The twins are all right. They didn't know about the potions, and if they did know I can assure you that nothing could have stopped them castrating their brother. They may sell love potions, but the ones they sell are very watered down, so as not to cause love per-say, so much as to give the person affected a small tug in the owner's direction. They don't believe in controlling someone through the potions. They just believe in opening the eyes of those who are narrow-minded toward the people who want their affection."
Joanne gave what she said a second to sink in. once she saw understanding on Harry's face, she continued. "Next up is Percy. This arrogant prick is the same bastard who taught Ginevra how to brew the potions she used on you, and make no mistake Harry; he knew what they were for. Bill and Charley are innocent; they got out of the house before their mother got obsessed with money and are hard-working men who know their values. Next I guess we'll go to Arthur Weasley, the so-called Head of the Weasley family. This man is a wimp, a good-natured wimp, but he has been thoroughly whipped by his bitch of a wife. If you could help him grow some balls other than for reproducing, he might make a good ally, or at least keep the bitch out of your hair."
Joanne took a breath. "Finally we get to the bitch of the Weasley family herself, Molly Weasley. This cow never rested until you were within her grasp. When Ron wrote her and told her you were friends, she was ecstatic, and NOT because she thought you would be good friends. That woman always wanted the money that came with the Potter name. And she hates anyone who gets in the way of what she wants. She told Ron to help Ginny with the love potions, because she saw ahead of time that Hermione was getting closer to you. Ron loved the idea. That piece of vermin is a sick weasel. I won't tell you what he had planned for your soul-mate because the last time I made that mistake you blew my room to bits!" (Has it been six death's already? Damn time flies when you die.)
Harry was seething. As Joanne talked he thought back and took in every piece of information that he could glean from his memory. It made sense. What happened to him and Ginny, why Hermione was suddenly started glancing at Ron, and why she was upset about his reaction to her at the Yule Ball.
One thing still confused him. "Ma'am, why don't I feel the love potion's affects right now? Is it because I'm dead?"
Joanne smiled at the question. It was a very intelligent question, which meant that the old man's wards were wearing off. "Harry, please call me Joanne. I had forgotten that you could be so formal. And to answer your question, no. the reason the potion stopped working is the fact that the healers have remotely purged your system clean of all potions, lasting curses, and wards. We do this for every premature death that passes through here."
Harry sat there stunned. "Wards? Curses?"
Joanne smiled wider. "Yes Harry, the wards that the old sack of skin Dumbledore placed upon you to get you killed. And what I meant by curses is in fact the soul fragment in your head. We've removed it. Permanently."
Harry was flabbergasted. "But, what about Dumbledore having me die, you know, to protect my friends?"
Joanne grinned. She said, "You don't have to worry about that anymore Harry, I can't interfere too much, but I can guarantee you this; that should you face off against Voldemort again in that battle, I will personally put up the charm that protected your friends last time. Now, as I was saying before, the Sack-of-Skin that you call a headmaster is an idiot. He's a manipulative old codger who will stop at nothing to bring Voldemort down. My suggestion to you is to keep your head down in front of him, and to act naturally. The wards are gone, thanks to us, and that means that your powers have gotten a nice boost, however, don't flaunt your new talent around and attract attention, it'll get you killed, believe me. Try to learn to control your powers to the greatest degree possible. I suggest asking your Granger girl for help."
Harry scowled. "She has a first name you know."
Joanne smiled. "I know, but think Harry, how frustrated you get when I don't show your girlfriend respect." Harry paused. "See? Soul-mates."
Harry took a second to think about that. She was right; he did get mad when she called Hermione that. Maybe she was right…he would talk to Hermione about the whole thing later, but then he remembered that he wouldn't remember. They were going to send him back Tabula Rasa, with no memories. But then… "Why are you telling me this Joanne?"
She cocked her head sideways, "Hmm?"
Harry put his thoughts into words. "Why tell me all this when you're going to wipe my memory anyway? What's the point?"
Joanne suddenly smacked her palm against her forehead. "DUH! I forgot the best part!" with that she reached back into her desk and pulled out another folder, this one labeled MEMORIES. Joanne tossed it in front of Harry and said, "This is your going home present. It's a contract that you have to sign to keep your memories when I kick your ass back to earth. Normally we don't do this, but since it IS your last chance, and since you're such a nice kid, I'm giving you a break. Just sign at the bottom, and when you wake up in the world of the living you'll retain everything from your past life, including this conversation."
Harry opened the folder and saw a dotted line at the bottom. He picked up a pen off the desk and lowered his hand to the paper but just as he was about to sign he glanced back up at Joanne. "What about Hermione?"
"What about her?"
"What happened to her? Is she alright? I didn't see her here so she can't be dead."
Joanne got an uncomfortable look on her face. "Listen Harry, what happens when we reset time is…um…well the guys over in that department press a button and basically wipe out everything up to a certain point. It's kinda like pressing rewind, but getting a different ending after you do it." When she stopped talking Joanne sat forward and waited for his reaction; she didn't have to wait long.
"WHAT? Do you mean that Hermione's dead?"
Joanne sighed, "No Harry, what happens is that we pause time, rewind the clock, stuff your memories into your body, wherever the hell it is at the time, and press "Play" what happens after that is up to you."
Harry thought about this, then said, "So right now, since you haven't sent me back yet, that means that time is paused right now?"
Harry smiled hopefully. "Then I have a favor to ask."
Joanne raised her eyebrows to that, thinking for a moment before motioning for him to continue.
"Is it possible for you to give Hermione her memories from the future? Like what you're doing with me?"
Joanne's jaw dropped as she took in his request. This had never happened before. She picked up his folder for moment and flipped through it, looking for something. Finally she found what she had been searching for. After reading her findings Joanne glanced up and asked Harry. "Why the hell have your grades been this bad, you stupid little genius?"
Harry blush and mumbled something about "…Dursley's…" Joanne face palmed and cursed that horrible family under her breath. Straightening up she found Harry staring at her expectantly, waiting for his answer. "To answer your question Harry, I need to make a phone call. So if you could just wait a moment?"
Getting a nod from her charge, Joanne phoned the Time Revival Sector, and asked if they could send someone to her office. After pleasantries were exchanged she hung up. As soon as her hand left the receiver a man walked into her office. His blue suit clashed terribly with the room, but Joanne had more important things to talk about than Jerry's fashion. She addressed him and told him of her predicament. "Jerry thanks for coming. This young man sitting in front of me is Harry Potter." Joanne turned to Harry. "Harry, this man is Jerry, and he works in the Time Revival Sector. What he does is pause the timeline, and fish out memories, like your friends, that need to be preserved for whatever reason."
Jerry took her silence after her introduction as a chance to speak. "So what did you need me for Joanne? The timeline is already paused as you know, what more is there to do?"
Joanne grinned at him, and said, "Young Mr. Potter has recovered from the potions he was subject to, and has finally figured out who is important in his life. He asks that you give him the current memories of one Miss Hermione Granger."
Jerry slumped a little at hearing that, and reached into his pocket for something. Harry was surprised when he pulled out a thick roll of British pounds and handed them to Joanne. "Alright, you win, wait here a moment." With that he left the room, leaving a still grinning Joanne and a flabbergasted Harry behind.
When he was gone Harry turned back to face his Reaper. She still had a shit-eating grin plastered on her face, worse than the twins' ever had. He asked, "So what was the bet about?"
Joanne grinned wider. Yes, this brat was a lot smarter than his piss-poor grades led anyone to believe. Unfortunately his grades were all the hints of his intelligence they had for him, since the brat never lived long enough to get a decent reading on his actual intelligence. "The bet was: Should you ever get the chance to go back with your own memories that you would automatically request Ms. Granger's as well. I bet specifically that Ms. Granger's would be the only memories that you asked for, so long story-short, and factoring in how many people were in on the bets, you just made me a small fortune Mr. Potter, thank you."
Harry nodded at this, though he didn't really care. All he cared about was Hermione. While they waited for Jerry to come back with the memories, Harry thought about his new interest in Hermione. Was it just because Joanne said she was his soul-mate? Or had he always felt like this? He decided to voice his concerns to Joanne.
Joanne put her hands together on the table and stared into space for a second, thinking about her answer, before speaking out loud. "What you have to understand Harry, is that just being here is making you think about her, not that it's this place mind you, it's who you're thinking about. Hermione Granger is your soul-mate, that term indicates that she and you are bonded in the most powerful of ways, and that only outside interference could cause what happened between you two. You were both subjected to very powerful love potions, among other things, to drive you toward someone else. This caused problems with your souls, which called out to one another. Remember in sixth year? When Ron was dating that brown girl?"
"Yes her. Hermione was already being subjugated to the full force of the love potions by then, and seeing the weasel having a go at that girl while she was infatuated with him caused her heart to temporarily fight off the potion's effects. Remember the bird incident?"
Harry nodded, remembering that incident all too well, and how mad he was at Ron for doing that to Hermione. Remembering it again made Harry's blood absolutely boil. Seeing this Joanne went on, trying to get him to see what was in plain view. "She fought off the potion, and started to realize that she kind of liked you, but of course that didn't last long, and before you know it, BAM! He broke up with lavender and Hermione lost the fight with the potions, figuring she only started looking at you because you were her last true friend. So after weasel started wooing her again she went back to him again."
Harry took a second to soak this up. That would have meant that Ron knew what he was doing to Hermione! And didn't care! Harry looked into his lap, and barely whispered, "What have I done?"
Joanne thought she knew what was going on in the boys head, and she was spot on. He was devastated that one of his so-called friends would do that to his soul-mate and that he had unknowingly sat off to the side and done nothing. This wasn't really his fault, as at the time he himself was fighting the same type of love potion. Of course, this was Harry Potter, a rather intelligent, but still incredibly stupid boy who took all the blame even when it wasn't his fault, just because it was the Granger girl. His soul-mate.
"Listen to me Potter." At the mention of his surname Harry looked up from his lap to look her in the eye. "What happened was not your fault; did you forget that you were also under the effects of a love potion? If you want to make it up to her, get it right this time around, claim her, before that bastard can even lay a finger on her. Your soul won't rest easy until you do. Trust me when I say that no other relationship will work out. You heard that supposedly there is someone out there for everyone right?"
Harry nodded, allowing her to continue. "Then why do marriages end badly most of the time?"
Harry thought for half a second before answering. "Because they weren't meant to be…"
Then it clicked in Harry's head; why she brought this subject up.
Joanne smiled. "Correct Mr. Potter, extra points for getting the true answer so quickly. Yes, marriages happen all the time, but only a few ever work out. That's because only a few ever find their soul-mates. Sad, but true."
Harry had had a question nagging him since the revelation that Hermione was his soul-mate. "How do you know that Hermione is my soul-mate?"
At this question Joanne squealed like a school girl and reached down to bring a tome from underneath her desk. She flipped a few pages before turning it around for him to read and pointing to a particular entry. It was his name, Harry James Potter. And next to his name was Hermione Jean Granger. He looked up from their names with a questioning look.
Joanne explained. "You haven't ever asked that Harry, I'm surprised. Then again, I've never revealed this much information before, so maybe it's understandable." Pointing to their names she went on. "This book is a record of all the people on earth at the time, along with their soul-mates. It's only purpose is to show us who is bonded to whom."
Harry did nothing but nod at this information. It was overwhelming. His mind was spinning as he thought about everything that was happening. Through all the jumbled thoughts however, one thought stood apart from the rest, and stood out against all of them; the memory of Harry comforting Hermione as she wept in his arms at Ron's actions in sixth year. Then another memory surfaced; in fifth year when Hermione helped him build his case against the ministry. Even when he wasn't around, she was helping him in any way her formidable mind could think of.
Then there was fourth year; when everyone else scoffed at him, and yelled that he was a cheater, Hermione stayed by his side, and comforted him.
Third year, when he had so rudely shouted at her for turning in his broomstick. Harry felt bad then, when he hurt her feelings, and now he felt ten times worse, knowing how much she cared about his wellbeing.
Second year, when she risked herself to get the information they needed and getting petrified in the process. Harry felt terrible that she took such a risk. She shouldn't have had to.
And first year, Harry could still remember the words she spoke to him after letting him out a bone-crushing hug, right before he went to face Quirrell: 'Books! And cleverness! There are more important thing – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!' Harry thought about what she had said, and came to the conclusion that love was going to follow bravery.
And of course there was all the time they spent together in that blasted tent, holding each other and comforting one another. Harry figured that Ron had been slipping them their doses while he was there with them, but after he was gone for a while the effects started to wear off. Then the bastard came back and it started all over again. Now Harry regretted not giving Hermione her wand when she asked for it.
Harry couldn't ignore her anymore, not now that he knew that she cared for him. He wondered where it would go if he – no, when he prevented the potions from being administered to them. He would make sure that Hermione was never subjugated to those things ever again.
As Harry reached this conclusion the man known as Jerry walked back in, and handed Harry a small vial with a blue liquid in it. "Mr. Potter, contained in that vial are all the memories of one Hermione Granger. When you go back you will find this vial in your pocket. Do not worry about overlapping memories or anything like that because of the time travel, since any memories that she already has will simply meld with the ones held in here, everything after that are things that her brain will automatically understand as this hasn't happened yet, so it's future stuff. Alright?"
Harry stood up and shook the man's hand and couldn't stop thanking him. Finally Jerry got his hand back and bid them both good day, and left to go back and relay the antics of Mr. Potter to his co-workers. When he was gone Harry looked down at the vial in his hands for a second, before slipping it into his pocket and asking Joanne the golden.
"Can I tell her about this meeting?"
Joanne leaned back into her chair and contemplated his question for a good five minutes, during which time Harry had sat back down. Finally Joanne stood up, walked around her desk and stood in front of Harry. Reaching toward him she extended one finger and placed it to his temple, before withdrawing it, along with a copy of his memories from his head and swirled them around her finger a couple of times. After she did this she reached into her pocket and withdrew another vial, and placed the memories into the vial. Then she took out a marker and wrote the word second on the side. After handing the vial to Harry she said, "Harry, the deal for you giving her memories of this place and this conversation is that you only give them to her if you've already given her the other memories, and that you explain that this set is from when you were dead. That will prepare her somewhat for the memories, as well as give her a chance to sort out her new memories from this last little fiasco. Are these terms acceptable?"
Harry nodded and pocketed the second vial, knowing that both would turn up in his pocket when he was revived. Harry asked, "Now that we have all the important stuff taken care of, I would like to ask what point in time you're going to send me back to."
Joanne said with a straight face, "Well, I was thinking that right before the second task of your fourth year would be a nice place to start, seeing as how this would put you in a position to avoid the yule ball, as well as one of the three tasks you had to fight through, not to mention getting a chance to rescue your Granger girl from the Black Lake. Does that sound good?"
Harry smiled an innocent smile that only a fool would mistake for anything but mischievous. "Actually, since you mention it, I was thinking right before the first task would be good. This way I'm still on bad terms with Ron, and I can break off my friendship with him easily, and secondly, so that I get the chance to ask Hermione to the ball before Krum does."
Joanne laughed, and said, "Oh Hermione is lucky, you're definitely a keeper, so as a parting gift from this most memorable visit, I'll tell you that he asked Ms. Granger to the ball three days after the ball was announced, that gives you you're time limit for asking her."
As she was saying this she was walking Harry to her door. When she opened it and he stepped through he heard her say, "Good luck, lover boy." And then darkness consumed him.
A/N: this came to me while I was reading. Before anyone asks, no, the character known as Joanne is not a pun off of j. k. Rowling, but a pun off of one of my sister's best friends, who's very interested in my Fan fiction. I decided to include her as a character so that she can feel special. Any loophole you could point out in the plot would be appreciated. If something is slightly or completely off canon, either in this chapter, or future ones, I probably did it on purpose. Please remember that this is by default, AU, so that makes anything that pops into my evil mind canon as far as this story is concerned. After all, here I AM GOD! Hem hem, anyway, please read and review, though if you have something to complain about, such as spelling or grammar, please pm me instead, and tell me exactly which chapter, paragraph, and line it is so I can correct it.
EX: Hey, you misspelled this word in this chapter, on paragraph 2 line 4, it should be spelled this way.
Also, I don't appreciate comment like, YOUR SPELLING SUCKS! Either tell me which part of my spelling sucks and help me correct it, or don't waste my time. Speaking of wasting time, sorry for wasting your time by ranting. Hope to see you next chapter,