AN: To anonymous and guest reviewers. If you want a response outside of the context of the story please login when reviewing. My policy for this story is to keep Author's notes and by extension review response to a near non-existent level. (it feels like cheating if half my word count is such notes) For such responses you can all turn to the forum now created under my profile.
Loosely based off of the Reptilia28 challenge "Don't fear the reaper"
Warnings (added 12/12/13): Dumbledore Bashing, blatantly anti-Hermione. Weasley bashing confined to harry's former life Weasleys. Second childhood harry, powerful Harry, smart harry. Americans minor bashing. The start reads like a crackfic that turns halfway serious in the next chapter.
Guest reviews will not be answered. Also for complaints about cliches see: adamheineDOTcom/2011/06/tropes-vs-clichesDOThtml
Edited: 11/12/13 (That's a most interesting date number wise. Took out the Goblin greeting nonsense. Added some minor clarifying dialog.)
31/12/13: further edits by my new beta Howie!
Harry opened his eyes to a spartan office, brightly lit with fluorescent panels. He was sitting in front of a metal desk with a false wood finish. Behind the desk sat a severe looking woman with grey eyes and brown hair pulled back into a tight knot.
"Are you trying to make my life difficult?" The lady screamed standing up behind the desk.
"Huh?" His rather intelligent response at the moment. Where was he? He looked around and saw a crossed wand and sickle emblem on the wall.
'Okay? This is odd.' Harry thought to himself.
"Listen, Harry." The lady continued. "This is your seventeenth time in my office. One more death and I mean one more and it's both your head and mine."
"Wait, I'm dead?" He managed to get out. Just noticing the little name plaque set precariously on the edge of the desk a short way from the computer monitor. It read:
Department of Premature Deaths
"Yes idiot, you're dead…. AGAIN! Sorry about that. I'm rather frustrated at the moment. I mean seriously can't you just complete one year without getting killed at least once."
"Honestly! How was it a smart idea to just walk out in front of the bad guy and let yourself get hit with a killing curse?" Gloria shook her head in wonder.
"What about the..." he trailed off pointing towards his forehead.
"What? That soul fragment of a psychotic parasitic leech? Kid that thing hasn't been active since first year. You've been experiencing the bleeding over of a sympathetic link leftover and strengthened by that idiot's blood ritual with your stolen blood. And even if it were there it wouldn't matter, because it's not an anchor, just a leech."
"Now to continue, there was that killing curse by the snatchers on your nice little hunting trip. Drowning in the pond when you went to retrieve the sword. I was pleasantly surprised when you didn't die from getting bitten by Nagini, apparently that basilisk bite was worth something after all. Sixth year you got caught by a killing curse from that Malfoy brat during his escape. Before that was when you followed Mr. Black through the Veil. I've got three separate deaths during fourth year: killing curse by Riddle, drowning in the lake due to your stupid insistence on rescuing all the hostages instead of your own, should have just grabbed that Granger girl or the little minx of a veela and left. That would have thrown a kink into the plans." Harry sat up at hearing that last bit.
"Wait what? Hermione wasn't my hostage Ron was!" Harry exclaimed.
"Shut up I'm on a good rant here kid, and by the way. Do you realize people thought you were a bloody poofter after it turned out the 'thing you'd miss most' was Ronald Weasley?"
"Seriously?" Harry looked at her in disbelief.
"Yes! Now stop interrupting me." Gloria glared. "Lets see, oh yes the DRAGON IN THE FIRST TASK!" Gloria practically screamed pulling at her hair before taking a calming breath and continuing. "You wizards are stupid. Need I mention that as a minor all magical contracts require the approval of your guardian, and should you breach an approved contract the punishment falls on the guardian not you? Contract magic is actually enforced by something Merlin did, and he didn't like the idea that people could force minors into unbreakable contracts before they understood the consequences."
Harry methodically massaged his temples and wondered if dead people get headaches.
"Third year dementors, and let me tell you fishing your soul out of that thing was disgusting. Had to do that twice." Gloria grimaced in revulsion at the distasteful memory.
"Second year, basilisk poison. Took us some doing to convince the bloody bird to cry on your wounds in time."
"But I thought phoenices were creatures of light?" Harry interjected.
"Myth perpetuated by Dumbledore, they're actually creatures of balance." She looked at the file. "Fawkes, if I have the name right, needed a push in the right direction because the first time he didn't get there on time. By the time he realized what he needed to do you'd already expired. Now where was I in my rant? Ah yes."
"First year, a freaking troll bashes brains in makes Potter pudding. Then you manage to fall from that cursed broom during a quidditch game. And at the end of the year Quirrelmort kills you with killing curse during that ridiculous obstacle course." Gloria looked up to the sky after she finished reading the file wondering if people, or more specifically her charges in particular were inherently stupid.
Gloria sighed and shook her head. "I'm not going to hold your deaths before your first year over your head. Those were mostly a combination of those vile Dursleys and the manipulative old fool."
Harry was still recovering somewhat from the earlier revelations. "Earlier deaths?" Harry looked at her in confusion.
"Like I said not going to hold them against you nothing you could really do. Let's think through your first year a bit more logically." Gloria said before taking a calming breath. "Seriously, setting a series of traps that three first years can work their way through? Why leave the key? Why allow the chess game to be played instead of just having the pieces simply attack whoever came through the door. Why leave the correct potion instead of making all the bottles contain draught of living death. Honestly, if it was a competent wizard they wouldn't need a potion in the first place! You have heard of the flame freezing charm? Why not just keep the stone on his person or under a Fidelius in his office. For that matter how do you know the stone that you got from the mirror was the real one?"
Harry gaped at her in disbelief as he tried to recall all the events that lead to his confrontation with Quirrell. "What are you saying? Was the stone a test? Is that it?" Harry interrupted his expression one of stunned bewilderment.
"Yes, that's probably exactly what I'm saying. Oh, and I'm not done ranting! You remember Ginny? You don't love her. That would be a combination of potions talking." Gloria rolled her eyes at the sheer impudence of their plan to ensnare him.
Harry sat up straight and stared at Gloria. "Really? But…" Harry trailed off trying to come to grips at the implication that he was being lead to.
"Your file says you're supposed to hook up with the Granger girl and live at least two hundred years and have more kids than you can keep track of."
"But…I mean…Sure Hermione, I mean she's kinda cute, and Ron…" Harry was cut off as he tried to think of a defence or an explanation.
"Potions." Gloria cut him off. "That monster in your chest during sixth year? Combination jealousy and lust potion. Molly brewed the potions, and Ginny having been brainwashed from an early age to believe you were destined to be her husband would have tried the maximum dose of amortentia but Granger would have noticed the effects immediately. Gods save us from fools who think it romantic to drug their love interests into paying attention to them. As it was the food you'd been getting from the Weasley's care packages during the summer previous were mildly dosed a slightly higher dose in the ones Ginny made special for you. And Ms. Granger was dosed with her own series of potions after fifth year mostly jealousy and lust potions, why else would she go ballistic over a book that contained a better method. Admittedly the file tells me that Ginny hasn't quite been herself since her possession in her first year, so try not to hold any of this against her." Gloria shook her head sadly as she closed the file on her desk.
Harry held up a hand to halt the tirade. "Actually Hermione aside from the crusades she likes to go off on, is definitely more of a sister. Just look at S.P.E.W. in fourth year. Does she try to find out if there is a valid reason for the house-elves to be bound to a family? No! And while I willingly admit the wizarding world is behind the times, she constantly judges on the sole basis of her own upbringing; I still love and care about her, but do I have any romantic feelings towards her right now? I'd have to say, no, I really don't want to deal with her obsessive need to control everything. In fact I refuse. She'd try to control me worse than Dumbledore! That is if I'm to believe everything you've said about him and the Weasleys. And the constant nagging, while I appreciate the reminder to do my homework; does she need to be so demanding!" Harry paused taking a deep breath. Harry thought to seal the deal with magic that he wouldn't end up in that situation again.
Harry looked up and his eyebrow twitched, as he got an idea, sure it was childish and yes if he admitted to himself it made him out to be a bit of a spoiled brat, but what the hell, he figured he was entitled to a few moments of teenage rebellion and stupidity, it wasn't like he'd volunteered to be the target of some stupid prophecy. "I swear on my soul, and magic, that I refuse to pursue a romantic relationship with the bossy know-it-all who worships authority known as Hermione Jean Granger, especially as long as she chooses to worship everything about Dumbledore. End oath!"
With the final word his vision flashed white and he felt a wrenching in his gut as if something was forcibly torn away. He felt a little bad about doing that, but whenever he had brought his feelings and concerns to Hermione she kept pushing him to go to Dumbledore.
Gloria stared at Harry in shock at the gall of what he did. "Do you have any idea what you just did?"
"Yeah I broke an unwilling soul bond. Good luck fixing it. As I understand it my soul itself will now refuse to cooperate." Harry smirked.
"Fine, little shit, your secondary soul match is Lovegood. Have fun with that." Gloria growled in response, muttering under her breath. "Little brat thinks he can just upset the cosmic fruit basket."
Harry laughed. "Key to that is her last name. Love. Good! I'm sure Hermione could have been fun. But I'm just not putting up with her constant condescension. Her belief in her own moral superiority is remarkably similar to that of the pureblood supremacists, and their own belief in the righteousness of their actions." Harry huffed in exasperation.
"You really do hate me don't you. You little shit. You've just made my paperwork pile full for the next few days. Just for that I'm going to send you back to age seven." She typed a few commands into the computer on the desk, then waved her wand at him.
The room shifted and he found himself in front of another desk, this one was piled with paperwork. "Well Harry, welcome back! You've really got her mad this time. Last time I saw Gloria this upset was when George Washington came through here. Lecherous old man pinched her bum. I'm Dave. You're in the Destiny Repair office. Gloria transferred you directly from Premature Death with orders to send you back to seven years old."
Harry cursed vehemently, "And I don't have any say in this?" he asked with a look that could kill.
"Not really kiddo. But I'm willing to give you a few advantages. Anyone who can piss Gloria off this much is someone I want to get to know. As a recurring visitor I'm authorized to let you keep all your memories up to this point." he paused digging through the stacks of papers on his desk. "This is going to be both easier and harder; see you'd started to form something of a soul bond with Ms. Granger due to all the time you spent with her during school. Had you not rejected that bond the current version of her would have been given the option of joining you in the past. Since that bond no longer exists I gain just a small amount of leeway in how I can assist you."
"Ah here it is!" Dave exclaimed finally pulling out a thin stack of papers. "Temporal reversion authorization forms." Dave pulled a fresh form from the stack and attached it to a clipboard. "Classification: check, destiny requirements: check. Age to be reverted to: check. Agreement to abide by the rules for temporal incursions, sign here so I can let you keep your memories Harry." Dave pushed the contract into Harry's hands.
"Now hold still and look into this head grabber here." Dave pointed to a opening in the wall which readers will recognize as being similar to an Ancient Repository from the television show Stargate.
"This will set you up with something akin to occlumency shields that idiot Snape was supposed to teach you fifth year. It's a bit more advanced than that, but it's easier to figure out what I mean afterwards. Oh and it might hurt a bit." Dave said as he pushed Harry the rest of the way to the head grabber.
The neural interface seized Harry's head and worked on turning Harry's mind into an impenetrable fortress as it had been programmed to do by Dave. Harry groaned as the process completed and the head sucker disengaged. "You weren't kidding." Harry complained rubbing his temples. "So what's this advanced version of occlumency supposed to do?"
"Well, nobody but you can get at your prior knowledge meaning you are safe from legilimency. Memory charms won't work on you. You've got nearly eidetic memory which can be both a curse and a blessing. And you should have a better resistance to mind altering potions."
"I also removed what was left of the soul leech for the hell of it." Dave said pointing towards the iconic lightning bolt scar on Harry's forehead.
"So I won't be a parselmouth anymore?" Harry asked feeling his earlier confusion returning.
"Well, actually you get to keep that. Aside from it being a magical gift usually bloodline inherited. You've defeated the line of slytherin in magical combat, well technically your mother did the first time around. But as her heir it goes to you. As a language related magical trait, it's part of you now. Speaking of languages Harry, you should probably spend some time learning as many languages as you can. Never know if it'll be useful later in life." Harry nodded thoughtfully.
"I'm going to let you keep your wand. Unfortunately your going to have to learn how to use it after its been absorbed into your body. It'll let you perform wanded spells seemingly wandless." Dave said as he tossed Harry a magically repaired old holly and phoenix wand across the desk into Harry's hands. Catching his wand Harry only had a moment to examine it before it suddenly sunk into his arm.
Harry looked at where his wand had been sitting briefly as it sank into his arm and looked up at Dave in bewilderment. "But..wasn't that broken? That'll work still? So I don't need to buy it again from Ollivander?"
"Well, you should probably still buy the one at Ollivander's, using an external wand in addition to the absorbed one should give you something of an overkill. And of course it will work. We just did a minor temporal intervention to replace it with a duplicate right before it was broken." Dave smiled smugly. "In fact, yes definitely buy the one from Ollivander when we send you back. No need to reveal all your abilities to anyone and everyone. The research department assures me that there won't be any dangerous side effects to using a normal wand with the absorbed wand."
Harry sat staring at his arm where the wand had disappeared. He'd only just gotten it back and then it was gone again.
"Now for the rules! No telling anyone about this place, or your past life. If you do decide to pursue a relationship with Lovegood, and I can promise it would be very enjoyable relationship for both of you, you can tell her after you've married. The information is under something akin to the Fidelius which will ensure only your soul mates and you can work on it."
"One last thing. In your mother's family vault—one she didn't really know of by the way—is another device similar to the one that upgraded your brain. If you want to really work on your plan to turn Dumbledore and the wizarding world upside-down I suggest you go to the goblins early and gain access to it. You'll need to ask for an inheritance test." Dave clasped his hands giving a knowing smile at that last bit of information. He understood that it would do more than send the Magical World upside-down. Truthfully as far as Dave was concerned the place needed upsetting. It wouldn't be enough in his opinion to simply turn Magical Britain upside down. No It needed to be wrung out and hung out to dry .
"You said soul mates." Harry was starting to get over his shock at the whole thing.
"Eh? Slip of the tongue ignore it." Dave replied shiftily. "Oh would you look at the time. The higher ups want me to remind you they look forward to each fragment of that idiot Riddle's soul you send to the other side. Oh and your dad wanted me to tell you to prank the world. Have fun Harry!" Dave slammed his palm down on a large red button that had been hiding under a stack of papers.
The room shifted again and everything went black.
Omake: (The following are humorous, infantile, puerile, and in some cases downright childish extras not meant to enhance or continue the plot in any way.)
Dumbledore walked into the spectral kings cross station. He was sure he would get here after harry but the boy was nowhere to be seen. He decided to take a seat on a nearby bench and wait for him hopefully he was just running late.
Maybe ten minutes, or perhaps an hour, or maybe it was an eternity later Dumbledore heard what sounded like a small child crying. Looking around worriedly as Harry still hadn't shown. Dumbledore noticed the mutilated childlike body underneath the bench he'd been sitting on.
'Oh dear' he thought, bending down to examine the pitiful thing.
Feeling both repulsed and drawn to the creature he reached a hand down to pick it up. For this to be here that meant He had somehow missed harry. He briefly wondered how much time had passed as he had the sensation that he'd spent longer here than he though he had.
The ragged bundle reached up and seized the old man's extended hand latching onto the foolish wizard in a manner similar to what the old man had condemned Harry to the night he left him on the doorstep of Mrs. Dursley.
Alternative humorous (read: infantile, puerile) ending to that omake:
The ragged bundle reached a scarred hand up and pulled his finger.
Dumbledore broke wind. (Cut the cheese, passed gas... etc. Hey if we can't have fun then what are we doing here?)