The Last Chance
*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 opened his eyes and had a weird sense of déjà vu. He knew he had been here before, in this exact same position, that is to say with his face buried in the Persian rug.
He sat up, trying to guess what in Merlin's name was happening. Last thing he remembered was...
His eyes widened as he remembered the last thing he had seen before he woke up here, wherever this was.
The green flash of a killing curse, fired at him by Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest.
Suddenly Harry heard a throat being cleared and looked up.
"You can go in now. And best of luck, you'll need it." A pretty blonde woman, Harry had just noticed was in the room, said.
Harry looked at her quizzically and she pointed at the door next to her desk.
"You have to go in." She said. Harry could have sworn that she was looking at him pityingly, as if he was marching to his death.
Harry stood up, dusting himself off, and walked towards the door, deciding to go along with whatever madness this was for the time being.
He opened the door and saw a well decorated office, with a rug much like the room he had been in before. There was a large screen T.V. on a wall, and a huge desk that was littered with papers and other stuff occupying much of the space. A woman with shoulder-length red hair, wearing a business suit was sitting behind the desk, and looked up from her scribbling as he entered.
Only the hours that he had spent dodging bludgers while on a stick of wood several hundred feet in the air while playing Quidditch allowed him to dodge the glass paperweight that was sailing through the air at his head. That would definitely have given him a scar to match the one he already had. As it was, it shattered against the door behind him, peppering him with harmless bits of glass.
"YOU! WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE? YOU ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING, MIND-BOGGLINGLY STUPID, BRAINLESS LUNATIC! WHY? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME? WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU? WHY ME? EXPLAIN YOURSELF!"
Harry turned around fearfully to look at the woman that was screaming at the top of her voice at him while chucking several of the objects on her desk at him, including a rubber duck much to his surprise.
After fifteen minutes of insulting, degrading, criticizing every last thing about one Harry Potter, all the while throwing various things at him (he wondered where she was getting some of the things, like a half eaten Twinkie or a statue of what Hermione had told him was he laughing Buddha, since they weren't on her desk at first) she finally seemed to run out of steam.
The woman slumped in her armchair, and Harry was surprised to see she had tears in her eyes. He awkwardly stood where he was, half buried in a pile of various improvised projectile weapons, while waiting for the woman to gather herself.
She finally looked up at him again, an apologetic expression on her face.
"Sorry about that. I just had a lot of pent up frustration to get rid of." The woman said as she waved a hand, vanishing all the debris of her tantrum from around Harry, whose eyes were nearly popping out of his head.
"Wandless magic?" He asked breathlessly. The woman looked oddly at him before suddenly bursting into giggles, confusing Harry even more.
"Sorry, it's just a little amusing how we go through the same routine every single time I see you." She said after sobering up a little.
"Every time? What are you talking about? I think I would remember it if I had met you before." Harry said.
The woman sighed and rubbed her face, grimacing slightly.
"You better take a seat. This will take a little time." She said as she gestured towards the comfortable stuffed chair in front of her desk.
Harry walked over warily and sat down, careful to look for any signs of an impending outburst.
"Well to begin with, I think you should know you are dead." The woman said bluntly.
Harry just stared at her. Sure, he had walked to the Forbidden Forest with every intention of dying, but she could at least have had a little consideration.
"Alright. I'm dead. So where am I if I'm dead?" Harry asked.
"Well you're certainly taking it better this time." She said.
"Wait what? This time? Wait... You said we have met before, so that means... Oh Merlin I've died before haven't I?" Harry said breathlessly. The woman gave him a wry smile.
"You've actually grown some brains! You guessed it correct. You are dead, have been dead before, quite a few times actually, which is pissing off my superiors. This has gotten me, your personal Grim Reaper, Rebecca, perilously close to being fired. Currently, you are at Death's Door. Any questions?" She asked him sweetly.
"Um, yeah. How many times have I died? How did I get back if I was dead once? What do you mean by Grim Reaper? And finally, Death's Door? Really?" Harry asked.
"Hey! You witches and wizards named your government the Ministry of Magic. Like that required even the slightest bit of imagination!" Rebecca protested.
"I always said that the Ministry is full of fools bar a few like Tonks." Harry pointed out.
"Good point." Rebecca admitted grudgingly. "Anyway, about your other questions."
"Yes?" Harry said hopefully, leaning forward in his chair.
"Well you've died twelve times including this last one." Rebecca said sadly as Harry paled rapidly.
He took a deep breath and calmed himself.
"How?" He asked simply.
"How did you get back to life if you died?" Rebecca asked rhetorically.
"No, I mean-"
"Well you see, it's like this. Once in every few centuries, some extraordinary soul comes along who has a very important destiny to fulfill. One that will affect the course of history in a significant way. You are one such person. Because of your importance, you were sent back to life to complete your task. Also, for this very purpose, you get a Grim Reaper, who is supposed to watch over you as you go through life, for example, yours truly." Rebecca said.
"Uh, okay. Another question." Harry said. "Could you tell me what this 'destiny' is? I mean, I was told about the prophecy by Professor Dumbledore-"
"DON'T! DON'T EVEN TALK ABOUT THAT MEDDLING, MANIPULATIVE OLD FOOL!" Rebecca shouted, making Harry try and disappear into his chair, before closing her eyes and taking deep, calming breaths. Even after that, her eyes were still blazing with anger when she opened them.
"That... That old fool is one of the most important reasons for your several untimely deaths! So please Harry, try not to mention his name too much around me." Rebecca said as she rubbed the bridge of her nose.
Harry nodded fearfully, not wanting to incur her wrath again.
"We'll come back to all that the old fool has done, but first, I believe you asked what your destiny was." Rebecca said, continuing after Harry's hesitant nod. "Well we don't normally tell mortals their destinies ahead of time, but I think an exception can be made for you."
"You see, your first and primary objective was to rid the world of Voldemort, then you would grow up to take on the mantle of Lord Potter, clean up the Ministry, marry your soul mate, some Granger girl I think, have three kids with her, drag the backward Wizarding world into the twenty first century with her help, live to the ripe old age of 142, and then come to see me. Got all that?" Rebecca said.
Harry, meanwhile, was stuck on one little detail.
"What did you mean when you said my soul mate was Hermione? I thought she was supposed to be with Ron." Harry asked curiously.
Rebecca sighed and smacked her face with palm.
"Typical. Absolutely typical. Tell a guy he's going to change the world, and all he cares about is the part where you tell him he gets the girl." She groused, before looking back at him.
"Yes, I meant exactly what I said. Your soul mate is Hermione Granger, not some red-headed, potion-brewing, fame-obsessed fan-girl!" Rebecca said angrily.
"Hey! Don't talk about Ginny like that! I-"
"Love her?" Rebecca said sarcastically, cutting him off. "And it's interesting that you immediately thought of her when I said all that. Think for a second, look inside yourself, and look me in the eye. Then you can try telling me love her."
Harry did exactly that, reviewing all the interactions that he had had with Ginny. Suddenly, a thought popped into his head, and for some reason, it was in Molly Weasley's voice.
'You are just like James and she is just like Lily!'
Just... Like... Lily.
Lily Potter. His mother.
"Oh Merlin. What the hell is wrong with me?" He whispered, trying to fight back the nausea from the images that had popped into his head.
"Figured it out, didn't you? And don't worry, there's absolutely nothing wrong with you." Rebecca said reassuringly.
"How can you say that?" Harry exclaimed. "She's almost a duplicate of my-"
"Love potions." Rebecca said, cutting him off.
"What?" Harry asked dumbly.
"Love potions. You were being dosed with love potions since a little after your godfather's death. Both you and your soulmate. The potions were keyed to Ginevra and Ronald Weasley." Rebecca said gently.
"So that's why Hermione was acting so out of character!" Harry said thoughtfully. And then another, even more horrible thought struck him.
"You said the potions Hermione was given were keyed to Ron. Did he know?" Harry asked quietly. Rebecca nodded.
"Yes. That was one of his tasks assigned by the manipulative old goat and his banshee of a mother. That's also why he left for so long on the hunt, he was running oout of potions to feed you two." Rebecca said.
This revelation caused a different reaction in Harry than the earlier one.
When he learned that Ginny had caught him with potions, all he felt was sorrow, sorrow that the person who he had thought he would spend his life with was actually controlling him into thinking that way. When he learned about Hermione being treated the same way, however, all he felt was a burning rage.
"He's going to pay. Best friend or not, he's not getting away with this. Him and all of those that did this to her. I could forgive them trying something on me, but not Hermione." Harry whispered, his hands shaking with barely restrained fury. He had a protective streak a mile wide when it came to the bushy haired brunette, and the knowledge that someone they both had trusted with their lives had betrayed them so horribly was all that was needed to set him off.
"He will. That's what I am here for. You still have one last chance to change the world Harry, and you can correct all that went wrong." Rebecca said, snapping him out of the thoughts of what he would like to do to certain redheads when he got his hands on them.
"Sorry. It's just…" Harry said, trailing off a bit.
"I understand. You just had your life turned inside out. Learning that people you thought you could trust aren't who you thought they were can be a bit of a shock." Rebecca said kindly. "Take your time. We can continue when you want to."
Harry nodded as he tried to assimilate all that he had been told. He was about to speak again, when they both heard loud voices from outside the room. Both Rebecca and Harry turned to look at the door, curious as to what was happening. If anything, the shouting only got louder.
"OUT. OF. MY. WAY." A female voice screamed, followed by a loud bang. The door was blasted off its hinges, and in walked a very angry brunette.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER!"
Harry cringed involuntarily. This was definitely not a good day for him.
Hermione Granger stalked towards him, eyes blazing with anger.
"Um. Hello Hermione." He said weakly, right before she punched him square on his nose.
Yup, not a good day for Harry Potter.
A/N: Alright, Here's my very own version of Reptilia28's challenge. You've obviously noticed that I've made one major change in the story, and the change is that I am going to send Hermione back with Harry.
The reason for this is simple. I recently read a fic where a war veteran Harry goes back and gets soul bound with Ginny. Hermione takes it upon herself to explain why a man more than hundred years old in a relationship with an eleven year old girl is creepy.
With that one story, the time travel genre was nearly ruined for me, but then I read robst's 'In This World and the Next' and came up with the theory that if both the boy and the girl are temporally displaced, it probably won't be so creepy.
Although here they will only be going back three years, but still. Kinda freaked me out.
Hope you like it, and if you have any suggestions, just let me know.