Rebirth: A Second Chance.
Chapter One: Paradise…
Hello my friends! After much thought, I finally decided on an angle I wanted to take with this story. I'm not sure how good it will be, but if it turns out terrible, I can always take it down and brush it under the carpet.
By popular demand, I have finished 'We Will Be Together Again' but have started this sequel. Many of you thought the original was a good stand alone story, but wanted to see more. So I will try and give you more. As I say, it may end up being rubbish, but if it is, then 'oh well'.
Anyway, without further ado, I give you the first chapter of 'Rebirth: A Second Chance.'
The waves lapped softly on the beach, the white surf advancing across the sand, before retreating almost as quickly. The sun shone proudly over the landscape, lighting everything in a warming and relaxing glow.
Sitting on the cusp of land, bordering the change between grass and sand, a couple sat side by side, their hands entwined, their bodies leaning together. Time seemed to mean nothing in this remarkable place.
They had long since been reunited; finally exchanging their feelings for the other, face to face. But there comes a point when there is little left to say. Having spent the accumulated words of seven years of hidden feelings, they contented themselves basking in the warmth of the ever glowing sun, and their partner's presence.
After all, as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
While they sat, enjoying the other's company, their minds began to wander to their current situation. They had been waiting here, in this place for what seemed like an eternity. Now, while neither were complaining at being held together in a completely uninhabited environment, uninhabited by sentient beings at least, it did raise a few questions.
Why were they there? Were they in fact waiting? If so, what for? Waiting for rescue? Waiting for someone? Waiting for something?
Waiting for God?
A humorous, if ironic statement, considering where, in fact, they were.
And so their wanderings continued. After all, the possible avenues for thought were endless when you are stuck in an environ with nothing to do except sit. Of course, there were things they could do...
Listen to the euphonic sounds of nature…explore the paradise around them…go swimming in the ocean…climb a tree…relax in the sun…
But despite having the run of this entire stretch of land, there was only a restricted amount of activities that could be done. All they had with them in this place was their clothes. Without equipment, even their wands, what they could do was limited in scope.
They had even partaken in more…adult activities, given the strength of their new found feelings and their separation for a time. But, even such pleasurable activities must be spaced out, for obvious reasons.
So, having exhausted nearly all possible undertakings, the couple sat on the grass.
The woman, with an almighty yawn, stretched her arms and arched her back before resuming the embrace of her partner. With a contented sigh, she pulled him closer and shut her eyes, listening to his heartbeat.
An altogether unremarkable sound, but to her, it was like music. She could, and had, spent hours sitting next to her companion, just following the rhythm of his heart.
As she did so, she felt the soft caress of a calloused hand running through her hair. It made her shiver in happiness, as every touch triggered a spark of pleasure, which reverberated down her spine, echoing in the depth of her being.
She could not remember feeling so content, so happy, so relaxed in her entire life…such was the rewards of the afterlife…the next great adventure.
But little did they know that their adventure had only just begun.
The monotony of the sounds of nature was interrupted by something which they had not yet experienced in this place.
A cold, harsh breeze.
It was gone as quick as it came, but its legacy remained. The couple shivered and pulled themselves closer together. They tried to reclaim the feelings they had before, but were unable to for one simple reason.
There was something new.
The man and woman opened their eyes and looked at each other. Emerald green, stared into auburn brown, an entire conversation passing between them through that single gaze. The other could sense something new in their environ, something which gave them the chills. In tandem, the couple stood up and turned in land away from the sea.
They saw him.
A man stood about fifty metres away, across the meadow of grass and flowers. He had a handsome face and looked as though he were in his late twenties. His hair was raven black, with a matching goatee and his eyes were dark grey. He wore a set of crisp black wizarding business robes with a dark purple shirt and black shoes. While he looked over all fairly friendly, he had a dark aura which emanated cold.
He watched them, unmoving, hands behind his back.
They stared at him for a moment, before sharing a glance. Holding her hand tightly, he led her forward to meet the man. Seeing them move, he matched their pace to meet somewhere in the middle. After a minute or two, they both stopped. He scrutinised their faces for a moment before smiling at them.
"Greetings Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Granger." He said stoically. Harry blinked before slowly extending his hand.
"Hello. I'm afraid you've caught us at a disadvantage, Mr…" He prompted.
"I have no need of honorifics, or even that of a name. However, for the sake of simplicity, you may call me the name the mortal world has seen fit to bestow me: Death." As he said the final word, the two had to repress a shudder.
"Yes, well…hello Death." Hermione said, holding out her own hand, which he took.
"I assume you are wondering why I am here." They nodded hesitantly, both extremely anxious at the man's presence. Seeing their worry, he laughed in amusement. "You needn't be so worried. I came here to speak with you and offer a choice." They blinked at him.
"A choice? What choice could there be?" Harry asked.
"You may choose to relive your life again, or not." He replied. Hermione's eyes lit up and she smiled widely.
"Does that mean we can go back?" She whispered.
"No, it does not." He said simply. They blinked at him in confusion.
"But…you just said…" Harry began.
"…I know what I said…" Death interrupted "…but you cannot go back to your world, for the world you came from no longer exists." He finished.
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, her curiosity overcoming her anxiety. He regarded her for a moment, before speaking.
"In your universe, time, as you know it, travels only in one direction. There are some magicals who can travel back, against the current, but they must live through that time again, unable to re-join their period until they re-live the lost time." They nodded. "But other than that, time marches on, unstoppable." He stared at them.
"However, while time is linear, it reaches a point where it ends; the end of the timeline, as it were. This is not the end. Once time has ceased, the universe resets itself and it repeats the same timeline." They gaped in shock.
"So time is cyclical?" He nodded. "Do the same events happen each time the universe restarts?" She asked. He shrugged.
"Not necessarily. After all, some events in the universe are subject to free will. For example, a person who is weighing the pros and cons of an important decision may choose one path, in one universe, but choose another when it repeats." Harry nodded slightly.
"So…divination and prophecies…" He began.
"…are the dispersal of knowledge from the previous timeline." He said. "That is why not all prophecies come true. They are always the subject of free will."
"What happens to the people who die before the cycle's end?" Harry asked curiously.
"Their souls return to this realm, where they wait until the cycle repeats and they are reborn once more." He said. "The knowledge of their past life is stripped from them so they relive it as they did the countless other times." Harry nodded, but Hermione, who was thinking about an earlier point, frowned thoughtfully.
"But if time is cyclical, then when did the cycle begin?" Death shrugged once more.
"We do not know. We, that is the immortal beings that govern the timeline, simply came to be at some point. As time is irrelevant here, we cannot say how long." She nodded.
"What do your…people do exactly?" Harry asked.
"As I mentioned, we govern the timeline. We are the only beings not subject to the repetition of the universe. This realm continues to exist cycle, after cycle. We oversee events in the cosmos and make sure that nothing brings an abrupt end to the cycle." He answered.
"How do you do that? Do you intervene directly?" Hermione asked.
"No, we do not. Our people are unable to intervene with your realm directly. However, we are able to appoint proxies, using a mortal to counter the chaos which could, ultimately, disrupt the timeline." Harry's eyes widened.
"So Hermione and I…" He began.
"…were proxies picked by our race to combat the chaos, known as Voldemort." Death finished. "In each incarnation of this universe, the prophecy regarding you and Riddle never existed. The arrogant fool was never enough of a threat to warrant it. However, in the latest timeline, Riddle decided to create horcruxes." Death spat. Clearly, he did not enjoy being cheated by mortals.
"After seeing the chaos he was causing and the damage it was doing to the timeline, we created the prophecy and chose you two as our proxies: Harry was to defeat Riddle, while Hermione was to fight alongside him." They both nodded.
"So what happens to us now? Will we wait for the cycle to repeat?" Hermione asked. Death looked at her and shrugged.
"It is up to you. As I said before, I have come with a choice." He began. "When we assign a proxy to bring order to chaos, we give them a choice afterwards, if they are successful. When they die, they are brought here to wait until the cycle ends and their time frame approaches once more. You two are to be given that chance, should you accept." Hermione frowned.
"What do you mean by a 'chance'? Surely we would do that anyway?" She asked.
"Yes, you would. However, this time, you will be sent back to a point in your timeline from where you can relive your life, with all of your memories intact." He said. "However, since we are giving you all of your memories, we will not send you back to the beginnings of your life." Harry frowned.
"Why is that?" He asked.
"The longer back you are sent, the more changes your past knowledge will bring. Even the slightest change could have massive consequences in the grand scheme of things." She nodded thoughtfully.
"Like ripples in a pond." Death nodded. "So when will you send us?" She asked
"Should you choose to accept, you will be inserted into your lives on the Hogwarts Express on its way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in your third year." Harry ran his hand through his hair.
"Why did you choose that time, other than the reason you just gave." He added.
"The creatures you call Dementors which were searching for Sirius Orion Black present me with the perfect opportunity to place you into the timeline. Furthermore, the beginning of your third year is a point in time where you can make the most changes." They both nodded.
"So if we're here and we aren't living our lives from the beginning, then who is?" Hermione asked out of curiosity.
"Copies of your souls, which will live your lives the exact way you chose to in your most recent attempt at life. When the time is right, they will be extracted and assimilated into the timeline, in another form, while you take their place." With a final nod, Harry and Hermione turned to each other.
"What do you think Harry?" He shrugged slightly, but smiled.
"Well, I suppose at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. I mean, this cycle will continue after we live this life again, but I would like the chance to try with the knowledge of what will come. I want to have the life with you I wanted." She smiled radiantly before kissing him softly.
"So do I Harry. So we do it?" He nodded. With that, they turned back to Death.
"We've made our decision." Harry said. He nodded before pulling two rather dull, grey stones from his pocket and holding one in each palm.
"Very well. All you need to do is touch these stones. Your soul essences will be absorbed into them, letting you cross the veil, where we will replace you into your bodies." They nodded in acceptance. Harry turned to Hermione, hugged her tightly, before kissing her passionately, despite having Death as an audience.
"I love you Hermione." He said once they'd broken apart. "I'll see you on the other side, alright?" She smiled and kissed him gently.
"Alright. I love you too." She squeezed his hand and he smiled. Just as they went to touch the stones, Death spoke once more.
"Before you leave, I must say one thing; should you fail in this universe, then you will be pulled back here and your memories removed. This is your only chance." They nodded determinately.
With one last kiss, the couple tapping their stones. They began to feel a sucking sensation from the stones, and the world began to swirl. As the paradise around them faded, their minds were overcome with intense dizziness.
"Good luck." Death said quietly.
With that, everything went black.
There we go. Chapter One. Now, I really want you to tell me if it isn't any good. I want to do justice to the original story I wrote, but if this is bad, just tell me and I'll forget about writing it.
There should be a chapter two by this point as well, so please, read on and review! I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
This is the Quill, signing off!