Harry meets Death...and Death isn't happy.
I own any OC's that pop up, as well as the challenge that this story originated from. Everything else belongs to J. K. Rowling.
Chapter 2 - Shouting Matches
In the center of the room that Harry had entered, a woman with red hair and green eyes was sitting at her desk with a phone in her hand. While she seemed engrossed in a conversation, Harry's outburst caught her attention, and she looked at Harry in shock.
"Brad, I've got a client here, I'll call you back," she said quickly before hanging up the phone. Turning back to Harry, her look of shock twisted into one of rage. "YOU!" she screamed, causing Harry to flinch slightly. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" In the face of the woman’s wrath, Harry suddenly felt very small and timid.
"I thought you'd be happy to see me," he replied meekly. Instead of placating the enraged woman, it only served to infuriate her more.
"HAPPY TO SEE YOU?! WHAT IS GOING THROUGH THAT SQUISHY BLOB YOU CALL A BRAIN THAT WOULD MAKE YOU THINK I'D BE HAPPY TO SEE YOU?!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, her bared teeth and wide eyes giving her a demented look. After inhaling deeply several times, the woman dropped into her seat and began sobbing softly into her hands. "I don't freaking believe this," she sniffled. "I'm a good worker; what did I do to deserve this?" Unsure how to calm the distressed woman, Harry quietly sat down in the chair standing in front of the desk.
"Don't cry, Mum," Harry said soothingly. However, her reaction was not what he was expecting.
"Stop calling me that!" she snapped, pounding her fists on the desk in anger. "I am not your mother, damn it, yet you go through this every time you come here!" While she pulled out a box of tissue out from a drawer in her desk and began blowing her nose, Harry looked down at the plastic name plate on the desk. Instead of reading "Lily Potter" or "Lily Evans", it read "Mara J." While the woman was continuing to clear her sinuses, Harry looked around and saw that unlike the previous two rooms, which were bare of any decoration, the walls in this room were covered from ceiling to floor with Star Wars posters, including those advertising movies with dates far into the future. A soft coughing brought Harry back to reality, and he turned to face the now much calmer woman.
"So," Mara said shortly, clasping her hands together in front of her. "Care to explain how you got here this time?" When Harry opened his mouth to question her, she held up a hand to silence him. "Don't bother answering; you don't know what I'm talking about and I already know the answer." Standing up and walking to a filing cabinet in one corner of her office, Mara slid open a drawer and pulled out a file before slamming it closed again.
"Harry James Potter, born July 31, 1980," she read out of the folder. "Latest death logged, dead due to being struck by an Avada Kedavara curse at 2043 hours local time. Sixth premature death logged. Further premature demises will result in permanent demise of individual, as well as the termination of current Death's employment and reassignment of his or her clients," she continued mechanically before slamming the folder on her desk, making Harry jump slightly. "So, what do you have to say for yourself?" she asked as she sat back down, flashing an eerie smile.
"Wait, I died six times?" Harry asked incredulously.
"Oh yes, would you like to hear them?" Mara asked tightly. Without waiting for an answer, she opened the file and began reading aloud to him. "Age Eleven, crushed by a mountain troll. Age thirteen, got your head smashed in from a hundred-meter freefall. Age fourteen, burned to death by a Hungarian Horntail. Fifth year, knocked into the veil at the Department of Mysteries from a stray curse. Sixth year, exsanguinated after being struck with a sectumsempra curse cast by one Severus Snape," she continued, her voice steadily rising as her anger returned. "The only reason why you didn't show up here ten minutes earlier was because this time, I left the Horcrux in your head intact to act as a buffer! Fat load of good that did," she grumbled as she closed the file. For his part, Harry was shocked that he had died so many times, and in so many gruesome ways.
"Wait a minute, if I died all those times, why don't I remember any of it?" Harry questioned Mara.
"Company policy," Mara said, leaning back in her chair. "Whenever someone is sent back, their memories of previous events are erased. Don't really know why, but those are the rules." Mara scoffed lightly as she crossed her arms in front of her. "None of this was supposed to happen," she muttered quietly. "You were supposed to grow up, kill Riddle and go marry your soul mate, some Granger girl I think...." The last part of her rant caught Harry's attention.
"Wait a minute, are you saying that my soul mate is Hermione?" Harry asked. "I thought my soul mate was supposed to be Ginny!" While Harry was still trying to absorb this latest shock, Mara shrugged and smiled knowingly.
"Sorry kid, that was the love potion talking," she said smugly. "Not really sure where she got it, but the point is that girl's nothing but trouble. Same goes for her brother Ronald, so I recommend that you cut off all ties with them as soon as possible," she continued. Her latest comment snapped Harry out of his stupor.
"What? But Ron's my best mate!" Harry exclaimed defensively.
"Best mate, eh?" Mara asked skeptically. "Tell me, would a real best friend turn his back on you when your name came out of the Goblet of Fire in fourth year? Would a real best friend have gone back home to a hot meal and soft bed when the fate of the world was at stake? Would a real best friend constantly be jealous of your fame and wealth, yet never consider just what you went through to get those luxuries?" Harry opened his mouth to answer, but stopped and closed his mouth when he realized that he did not have a good answer for her. "Thought so," she quipped.
"Wait, if every time I died before my time, I was sent back, why wasn't Sirius sent back, or Cedric, or Dumbledore or anyone?" Harry asked Mara.
"Must have been their time," she said casually, shrugging.
"THEIR TIME?!" Harry exploded, standing up and knocking his chair over. "How the hell could it have been their time? Dumbledore I can understand, he was old and probably was near the end of his life anyway, but what about the others? Cedric was only seventeen years old!" he shouted angrily.
"I don’t know!" Mara yelled, standing up and glaring at the teenager before her. "I don't write the rules, I just follow them. Besides, I don't know why you'd care about that old crook, the way he manipulated you all these years," she snarled, sitting back down. When she saw Harry's look of shock and confusion, she chuckled to herself. "Oh, he wasn't evil, far from it, but over the years, he began poking his nose into things that didn't concern him. He did what he thought was best for you, but in reality was only harmful to you. You know, road to Hell and all that jazz. However, he really dropped the ball on a few things, like Sirius' incarceration. How could the head of the Wizengamot not know that a person had been convicted and sentenced without a trial? Even if he thought that Sirius was guilty, he should have at least held a trial in the interests of justice."
After finishing her latest rant, Mara sighed tiredly and ran her fingers through her hair. "I don't even know why I'm telling you all this, since you won't remem--" she continued, but interrupted by her phone ringing. "Hold on one minute," she told Harry while picking up the phone. "Department of Death and Resurrection, this is Mara," she said professionally into the phone. While Harry could not hear what was being said, whoever had called must have said something shocking, judging from Mara's surprised face. "Yes sir, I understand sir, good day sir," she said before hanging up the phone and turning to face Harry again. "Well, it looks like the big man likes you, because he just approved the use of a form that allows you to keep your memories," she said as she pulled a sheet of paper and a pen out of a drawer. "Just sign your name on the dotted line," she said, handing the items over to Harry, who complied with her instructions.
"Here you go," Harry said as he signed the form and handed it back to Mara.
"Thank you," she said, plucking the paper from his hand and placing it inside his folder. "Now remember, you're on your last chance, so don't screw up," she hissed threateningly, reaching over her desk and grabbing the front of his robe. Gulping nervously, Harry kept silent and nodded obediently. "Great," she said sweetly as she released him. "Have fun now," she said as she waved slightly.
Harry's vision was suddenly flooded by blinding light, and then suffocating darkness, and then his world faded back into view. Harry looked around to find himself in the Great Hall. The torches had been doused, and the only source of illumination in the room was the soft blue hue of the flame within the Goblet of Fire. Dumbledore seemed to be giving his closing speech about the Triwizard champions when the goblet flared a crimson red and spat out a scrap of parchment. Snatching the singed note from the air, Dumbledore unfolded it and read the name aloud.
This will be the first of several crossovers in this story.
For those of you who don't get the rather blatant Star Wars reference, Mara Jade is the wife of Luke Skywalker post-Return of the Jedi, and bears a striking similarity to Lily Potter in appearance. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, and I like the sound of the name.
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