Roll of the Dice
If at First…
Chapter: Roll of the Dice
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or affiliated characters, places, and things. They all belong to J.K. Rowling and affiliated companies. This particular plot is mine, however. And to make it seem more cohesive to the original stories I am using some of the lines from them, but they are not my material. They came for the excellent mind of their owner.
A/N: I hate plot bunnies. My Death Challenge would not leave me alone so here is my take on my own challenge. This means thoughts or dreams, means parselmouth, and thismeans the words of the Grim Reaper.
A/N2: I would like to say thanks to my beta Rasho for their work!
young man sat there in a waiting room. Who he was? Where he was? How did he get here? These were the thoughts floating in his head. It was reminiscent of a doctor's office. What was a doctor? The walls were covered in a wallpaper depicting black roses in front of what looked like two crossed thigh bones, much akin to a pirate's flag minus the skull. Slowly he started to remember small pieces of information. He recognized a few of the sounds floating around the room.
The music that was playing while classical was so sad that the young man wanted to cry. Aside from the music there was the steady sound of someone typing on a keyboard. Looking around he saw a blonde haired woman sitting in front of what looked like a computer pecking away at the keyboard. Her dark brown eyes gave him the goosebumps. Further inspection of the room showed him a man with what looked like a bike handle shoved through his chest, a woman with her neck twisted at an odd angle, and finally a child coughing up water.
These people caused the green eyed young man to look down at his own body. He discovered that his cloths were soaked. As he went to wipe the water off his brow he felt a distinct scar in the shape of a lightning bolt. This caused him to remember his name: Harry Potter. With that came the revelation of how he died. He was diving to get Godric Gryffindor's sword when he started running out of breath; just before he blacked out her remembered someone diving in the water and heading down to the sword.
Just then the typing stopped. "Oh my gods not you again," Harry looked up to the woman in front of the computer. "…Harry James Potter I want you up here right now!"
Harry jumped to his feet as the woman's voice reminded him of Madam Pomfrey, and if this woman was anything like the nurse she was not to be messed with. As he approached he could see those dark brown eyes trying to bore holes in his head. This made him somewhat glad the phrase 'if looks could kill' was only figurative.
"Yes ma'am, what is it?" he asked somewhat timidly.
"YOU DIED AGAIN!" The woman let out a haggard sigh. "Go through that door and down the hall to the right, and it will be the third door on your left."
"Excuse me ma'am, but what will?" He asked a bit stunned at the directions.
"Your Grim Reaper's office that's what, now go!" The woman thin shoved a piece of paper in his hand. "Move it buddy!"
Harry walked through the door, and found that the hallway was seemed endless. The floor was black marble, and the walls seemed to be a white slate. His footsteps echoed in this hall as if there resounding as if put on a loudspeaker. His soaked cloths made him feel really cold, and the slight breeze in this hall did not help the matter. When he got to the door a name was emblazoned across the grey stone. John Jackson. When he knocked Harry could hear a man who sounded like he had seen better days bid him entry. Opening the door Harry was blinded by a flash of light. Once the light cleared he could see a middle aged man with salt and pepper hair sitting behind a desk twiddling his thumbs. He was dressed in a grey sport coat, white shirt, and a pair of black slacks.
"Ah Mr. Potter sit down." The man gestured to a chair in front of the desk. While his voice was not as sickeningly sweet as Umbridge's voice it still gave him the creeps.
Once he sat down Harry extended his hand, but the man did not take it. They sat in silence for a few minutes before the leaned forward and heaved out a sigh. "Is something wrong sir?"
"No Harry nothing is wrong. Unless you count that this is the eighth time that you have died." Harry was about to say something, but was stopped by the man raising his hand. "No young man you would not remember the other seven because we striped the memory of dying from you. As it stands you are on your last Revival Contingency. Now this means if you die again that is it, and before we get into that just out of morbid glee would you like to know how you died?"
Harry could tell that the man was angry about something because he was turning a shade of red he could only attribute to Uncle Vernon. "Not really, but I have a feeling you are going to tell me anyway."
"You're right, I am." He reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a folder that could rival the Bible in thickness. He flipped several segments aside until he was left with what Harry could only pray was a short list of deaths. "You're first Unauthorized Visit was in June of 1992, when Ronald Bilius Weasley sacked you in order to win the chess match so HE could fight Voldemort and save the school. He failed."
This information gobsmacked the Gryffindor Golden Boy, his best mate had used him as a sacrificial lamb. He was sure that if he were still alive he would have knocked Ron on his arse. The monotone voice of his Grim Reaper brought him out of his anger induced contemplation.
"Your Second U.V. was on the twenty-ninth of May 1993 when the Basilisk bit you in half." Harry winced at this. He remembered how painful one tooth was he didn't want to think about that death too much. "During the first Qudditch game of the 1993-94 school year your third U.V. occurred as you fell to you death thanks to the Dementors attacking out of sight of the Headmaster. And to shorten this up you were killed by the use of spells by: Dolores Umbridge, Draco Malfoy, and Severus Snape in 1996 and 1997 respectively."
He continued to talk, but Harry stopped listening at the thought of two nitwits and one clear evil genius killing him with a spell. He could understand Snape killing him with a spell; the two of them hated each other, but Umbridge and Malfoy? It was impossible. Malfoy could not get the drop on Harry enough to kill him, and Umbridge was too preoccupied with trying to prove he killed Cedric and was plotting word domination to plan his murder. The sound of something slamming against the desk snapped Harry out of his mental consultation.
"Were you listening to me?" Jackson screamed.
"No." Harry looked at them man with death in his eyes. "How did those three kill me?"
"I swear offer a man a get out of jail free card and they say 'no thank you'. Fine let me look it up." He once again opened back to the section of the folder he was at a few moments ago. "Let's see, Draco used a shoving charm to knock you out of a window on the seventh floor. Severus' tripping charm caused you to break your neck. Umbridge in a fit of rage cast the cutting curse and severed your head from your body we had to send you back five days to avoid that scenario. Which brings me back to my ignored statement; do you wish to hear that now?" The smile on the man's face scared him.
"Yes Mr. Jackson, I would love to hear it."
"Call me John. We have seen each other a total of EIGHT times now, it feels like we are friends." He once again slammed the folder shut. "Now Harry, since this is your eighth and final revival I am allowed to offer you a final time travel revival. If you decline I am to send you back allow Dumbledore to give his ungodly speech, and allow your soulmate to die her final death at the hand of Draco Malfoy some twenty years from now."
"Why would he want to kill Ginny?" Harry nearly leapt out of his seat.
"Settle down lover boy, he's not going to kill the red-headed harlot." John was waving his hands in a dismissive manner.
This was a sucker punch to Harry. Ginny was not his soulmate? How could that be? He felt like he could not live without her, and she kissed him so tenderly in the Room of Requirement. If she was not his soulmate then John was misreading his notes. He looked back at the man who once again had the folder open. Unlike last time a majority of the file remained on the unread side and the man only had one page in his hand.
"Here it is. Your soulmate's name is Daphne Greengrass born June 1, 1980 to Kyle and Alice Greengrass. I must say Harry m'boy she is a looker."
"The Slytherin 'Ice Queen' is my soulmate? She does not care about the opposite sex. Not…" Harry was cut off by John raising his hand.
"Harry we do not have time for this. And besides your wrong." John reached once more into his desk.
"Why is that?"
"One she does not 'play for the other team' like the boys in Gryffindor assume, and two this page was written by Fates. Harry we have thirty minutes to make this decision, so focus!" The salt-and-pepper haired immortal handed him a sheet of paper. "Since you don't seem to listen you need to read this."
Harry took the single sheet of paper and began to read.
Final Revival Contract
By signing this contract you (insert name) declare that this will be your final revival, and are willing to undertake certain tasks to insure the continuity of the time stream. You also declare your intent to be placed at a moment within your life that is beneficial to all parties involved, and that you will not do anything to disclose the information retained by the signing of this contract to any mortal not permitted to know. (A full list of these individuals will be given upon signing of this contract.)
In addition to the restriction above you are not allowed to do and/or understand the following:
1) Disclose future knowledge to any not listed below.
2) In no way are you to try and cheat the machination of Fate.
3) Death is an absolute and cannot be undone by mortal hands.
4) Your Grim Reaper will periodically check in with you.
a) This will vary in intensity according to a soul's importance to the Great Weave.
5) Too drastic of a change in the Time Stream will result in catastrophic destruction of reality, and therefore you will not be permitted to attempt this.
The contract continued for a few more paragraphs, but that consisted of mostly legal speak that he was certain he would need Hermione's brain to understand. He looked down at the bottom of the page where spaces were given for names, and another segment listed 'Goals to achieve.' Way below even that was text so small he felt he would need a magnifying glass to read it all. As he looked back at his Reaper, Harry could not find any deception or trickery. To Harry it seemed this truly was like a 'get out jail free card'. Well more like an 'avoid a horrid death card'.
What bothered him was why had all this been done in the first place? Wasn't it supposed to be him or Voldemort? So wasn't the Basilisk killing him meeting that requirement? He decided to bring this up with John. "If Voldemort was to be the only one capable of killing me does that not mean the Basilisk death achieved this?"
"No. That beast was freed by a possessed Ginevra Weasley NOT Tom Riddle himself. Trust me when I say this Harry: Fate is very specific about these kinds of things." John then pulled out a quill and ink well. "Now if you agree to this contract Harry, place your full name in the first space on the sheet and initial and then sign were indicated to do so."
"Before I do that I would like to know what will happen if I don't?" Harry didn't want to play the devil's advocate, but he would rather know what 'might' happen if he didn't do this.
"Well for starters Hermione will be killed by Vincent Crabbe; your 'precious' Ginny will die at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange; Tonks, Remus and Teddy will all die at the hands of a werewolf pack; and finally Europe will fall into a magical dark age that will last six thousand years." He went to put the quill up then stopped. "Not to mention your true soulmate will be forced into an abusive and loveless relationship with Draco Malfoy."
Harry needed no more commentary on the matter. He knew Draco was a right bastard, but he didn't figure he would be that bad. He could only see one way to stop these events from happening.
"Give me that damn quill." Harry started to place his name and sign the contract. He didn't know if Daphne was his soulmate or not, but he would be damned before he knowingly let a person be abused. His experience with the Dursley's was horrific, but they paled in comparison to the Malfoys.
Once he was done signing he felt this stinging pain where his scar was located. This lasted for what felt like hours. When it ended he looked at the 'middle aged' reaper. The man was smiling, and holding out a mirror which Harry immediately took. What he saw frightened him a little. His scar was half way gone. Part of it looked like what a sixteen year old scar should look like, but the lower portion still looked relatively new. He looked up at John with a raised eyebrow.
"In due time Harry. Now follow me please." John picked up the piece of paper Harry had just signed and walked out the door.
As they left the office Harry noticed the hallway seemed shorter somehow. "Where are we going?"
"We are going to what you mortals would call the 'Board Room', then to meet two people, and finally to the Return Chamber. Now keep up." John said as he arrived at a solid gold door at the end of the hallway. He touched the handle of the door and Harry was blinded by light.
Once the light cleared Harry's hopes of being back in the land of the living were dashed as he was still behind John this time in a much bigger hall way. He could hear more people talking and looking around confirmed they were not alone. As they proceeded down the hallway it dawned on him who all of these 'people' were. They were the old gods and goddesses of every ancient faith around the world. Sure some people still worshiped them, but it seemed some were slipping on what appeared to be angel costumes and disappearing. Some of the people that stood out to him were Hercules, Odin, Thor, Zeus, and Hera. This caused him to wonder if every religion was right or maybe he was just hallucinating.
They came to another set of gold doors, and unlike last time when they were opened there was no flash of light. This room looked like a board room in a muggle office building with a long oak table, a series of chairs, and a stack of files lay in front of each of the chairs. At the far end of the room sitting at the table were three women. One woman was wearing a modern muggle business outfit. Another was dressed in ancient Egyptian attire with what appeared to be a laptop in front of her. The last woman was wearing a zoot suit, the jacket draped across the back of the chair, was cleaning what appeared to be a broad sword.
John bowed to the women at the other end of table. "Ladies of Magic and Love I bring the applicant Harry James Potter."
The woman in the business suit huffed. "About damn time," John winced. "…take a seat Mr. Potter. Now first let me introduce myself I am Hecate."
The woman in Egyptian clothing stood next. "I am Aset Mr. Potter, but you may know me as Isis."
Finally the woman with the sword stood, and to say the woman was beautiful was an understatement. "You may call me Freyja runt." The smile on the woman's face was captivating.
John began discussing with them what they had talked about, and Harry's ultimate decision regarding the offer the council had provided. The woman in the business suit said they were still waiting on approval by the Creator, and once that arrived they would proceed with the discussion on what he needs to do. The four of them talked about his most recent death, and the woman in the pinstriped suit seemed rather livid about one Ron Weasley.
"I am telling you all right now the next time that idiot of a red-head cause even one scratch on our charge I AM GOING TO KILL HIM!"
Aset just sighed. "Calm down Freyja he is just a boy."
"A boy that has killed Harry TWICE, and that is not to mention how many times he has caused his would be girlfriend heartache!" the Norse goddess of love and battle seemed to be close to foaming at the mouth.
"That may be true, but he is still need alive so long as he does not try and cause the death of our fated charge." Hecate turned and looked at a door on her right side. Just then a young man came in carrying a small folder which he handed to Hecate. She sat there and read it for a few moments before handing it to the blonde woman with homicidal ideas of Ron. Once the folder had been pasted around Hecate cleared her throat. "It seems Harry that we have been given clearance to send you back to one specific moment in your time at Hogwarts. Now when would you like that to be?"
Harry thought that going back to his first year was out of the question due to the fact he would have to deal with the issue with Dobby over the following summer. Second year was again out. More because of that ponce Lockhart. Third year seemed promising, but at that time Hermione would be a bit afraid of both Sirius and Moony. Fourth year was a definite HELL NO, and the same with fifth. Sixth held promise if a little annoyance.
He ran his hands threw his hair. This was not an easy decision to make. If his soulmate was Daphne, then he would have to go back to a time where he could start up a friendship, but not so early that his mental maturity would freak people out. Then there was also Dumbledore. The old man would be like a hawk over Harry if he so much as thought he was going to the 'Dark side' to use a muggle phrase. Finally Harry decided to ask a question.
"What time can I not go back to?" he said a bit nervously.
"Well it should go without saying that you cannot go back to the night your parents were killed." Harry shook his head. "Next it cannot be during your quest for the Horcruxes as that would eliminate your soulmates chances of getting with you. Lastly neither you first or second year as I would personally strangle Lockhart if he so much as touched you." Freyja said as calmly as possible.
Harry bit back a laugh. "Okay then my third year." He winced as he said that. "Is there any chance I can choose what point I go back to?"
"No, we will determine when would be the best time for you to go to. Know this Harry: unlike Dumbledore we will tell you why." Aset's voice was stern and unyielding. "Do you understand?"
"Yes ma'am." At that moment the table shimmered. "What is going on?"
No one else in the room said anything as the table changed into large dais. On the dais was what appeared to be a frozen river, and this caused Harry to shiver remember how he died. The image zoomed in, and he saw Ron emerge from the river not with the sword but his body. Ron then seemed to revive him, and with a wave of the goddesses' hands the image changed to an aerial view of the Hogwarts Express. It then zoomed in to a compartment. He could see himself, Hermione, Ron, and Moony sitting in the compartment. In Ron's hands sat the man who betrayed his parents, and damned Sirius to twelve years in Hell on Earth.
Harry went to touch the image and his hand was summarily swatted by John. He looked over at them and he just shook his head. Two goddesses looked annoyed, and the Nordic goddess looked happy. Looking back at the scene he could see Hermione and himself glowing while Ron seemed to be very animated. Looking back to the goddesses he saw Aset muttering in a low tone causing the people within the compartment to glow. Harry saw Ron lean over and then just as it all started, the 'world' stopped moving. Looking over at John, Harry raised an eyebrow. The Grim Reaper just told him to wait, and he would explain latter.
"As far as his challenges go we will keep them 'simple', but know this mister Potter: this offer will not be extended again." The Norse goddess of battle was giving him a death glare.
"Yes ma'am. I understand."
With that the goddesses signed the document, and ushered him out of the room. As they walked to their next destination John, explained to Harry that what he saw was how the gods affected the mortal world, and they only did that if it was absolutely necessary. He also explained that he was given only three things to do: one was to save Sirius, but he said that part was being set up by the goddesses themselves; two emancipate himself from the Dursleys as soon as possible, preferably before his sixth year at Hogwarts; and three get know Daphne as soon as possible, and finally save as many students as possible. "The only one you are not allowed to save," Harry's heart stopped. "…is Cedric Diggory."
"What why bring that up?"
"Because we know you Harry and you would try and save him unless we told why he has to die. If he lives he and Cho get married. The man Cho should marry without her will go over the deep end. Thousands will die Harry. So let him enter the tournament."
Harry just nodded. The thought of more people dying because of one young man's survival was disheartening. As they walked down the hall the raven haired young man tried to rationalize what was going on, but he really had nothing to compare this to. The magical world was full of wonders and spectacular things, but nothing like what graced this place. Halls that appeared to go on forever, water fountains that dispensed wine, statues of legendary people made of pure crystal, and music that could only be sung by the muses themselves. Three of the statues stood out to him: Robin Hood, Merlin, and King Arthur. Looking back John the man just waved his hand in a 'follow me manner", and he led Harry down another short hall way.
They arrived at a single grey door with the letters 'MP' emblazoned above the door. Harry could hear a commotion going on behind the door. A mix of screaming and the grinding of machines a combination that brought to mind scenes of torture and death. Shaking his head, he followed John into the room. In the middle of the room was what appeared to be a circular telephone box, and instead of containing a telephone it contained a chair. The room also contained what appeared to be a potions laboratory, and what appeared to be a jewelry section. Harry found it odd that they would be selling jewelry in the afterlife, but as they say 'too each his own'.
The people his Grim Reaper was talking to seemed as out of place as the jewelry. There was a young lady with long violet hair and blue eyes. She was a little taller than Harry, but carried a more athletic build. The other male in the room looked more bookish. His brown eyes were shield by thick framed glasses, and his blonde hair was more trimmed than Uncle Vernon's lawn. The young man wore a lab coat, while the woman was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.
Once John was finished talking to them the man went to the jewelry and the woman went to some kind of control panel. Harry watched as the 'telephone box' lit up.
"Well things should be ready in a moment Harry." John had a smile on his face.
"Okay can you explain what the goddesses were doing, and then what these guys are doing?" Harry said with a little fear in his voice.
"Well the goddesses were affecting the mortal world, and changing a few things." John was cut off.
The young woman said in an English accent. "A bit ballsy of you to reach for the world controls I must say."
Harry's mouth fell open. He then asked "What would have happened to me?"
"One of two things: you become a god, or you fall into the world thus creating a paradox and destroy said world." John said this with mirth in his voice, but Harry did not find option two funny.
"Okay Mr. Potter step in to memory tube." The woman gestured towards the cylinder. Once Harry was inside he was instructed to sit down. "Okay Mr. Potter in answer to your second question. This device will 'install' in your mind the changes the goddesses have made to your past. This is going to feel a bit weird."
With the push of one button Harry's world started spinning before his eyes. He could see the conversation taking place in the train, and he could feel the words he wanted to say to Ron on the tip of his tongue. His memories of his previous time through third year were still intact however, and seemed to be fighting with the new memories. The sounds of buttons being pressed somehow end this war of memories, and yet the older memories remained. When the world stopped spinning Harry felt like he wanted to throw up. Someone shoving a glass in his face saying 'drink this.' Upon doing so the world stopped spinning and his stomach settled down. Looking up he saw the woman leaving the chamber and John motioning him to come over to the jewelry counter.
The young man in the lab coat was fussing over a small pin. "I am telling you John this should stop any spell cast by the old man. He IS NOT Merlin okay."
"I am more concerned about him breaking the pin, or in some way removing it." The Grim Reaper huffed.
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked.
"I swear like a child walking into conversation." John shook his head. "Dan here is fixing a pendant for you to wear."
He was cut off by Dan. "It will keep Dumbledore or anyone else for that matter from erasing your memory." He lifted a small pin that consisted of a full moon, a throne, and a sword. "Put this on. Okay Harry I am going to cast Obliviate at you…"
"Don't worry about it, I am only going to use power equivalent to Dumbledore." Dan said smiling.
"Way to make me feel better." Harry huffed.
"If the spell works we put you back in the memory chamber, and restore you memory; Obliviate!"
Harry saw the blue green light heading straight for him. When it hit him Harry felt something crawl across his mind. He stood there blinking at the two men for a second before asking. "Well what were you hoping to erase?"
"Everything," Harry's jaw hit the floor. "…and I am glad I failed."
"So am I." Harry looked over at John. "So what's next?"
"I think Kelly has some other things to tell you before we go." John's grey eyes seemed relieved that the charm worked.
"I just wanted to inform you that your Parseltongue is no longer tied to Snake Face." The violet haired woman said while brushing aside a strand of hair.
"You mean the only reason I could…"
"Yes, I know you hate it, but I am giving it to you to spite the death cheating bastard!" The venom in her voice caused Harry's blood to run cold.
"You're only mad because he kept you from your promotion." Dan said with a smile on his face.
"True, now out!" She pointed to the door.
Once again Harry was out in the endless corridor. John was explaining how he would be returning to the world of the living. It sounded like the proverbial light at the end of a long tunnel. However John said there would be challenges along the way. He would not elaborate on them, but told him that if he was strong willed he would pass them. Finally they arrived at a door. Harry looked at John, but the Grim Reaper just motioned to the door, and said "Don't look back."
Reaching for the door Harry was engulfed in light. When the light died down he found himself standing in a long hallway with mist obscuring his vision. As he walked he could hear people talking. Some were telling him to continue while others were telling him to stop and come back. It took him a while, but he could finally pin the voices down. One of the voices was clearly Ginny, and the other voice he could tell for sure was Hermione. A third voice sounded barely above a whisper, but he could hear it pleading for him to press onward. The Hermione voice prodded him like always, but instead of homework she told him to not look back, and that if he did life would be easier. Ginny seemed to be begging him to return to her, and that together they would defeat Voldemort and live happily ever after. Harry laughed at this.
He had walked about fifty meters when he ran into the old man himself. Dumbledore looked no different than the day they laid him in the ground at Hogwarts. The old man tried to get him to turn around, and go back to fight for his 'greater good', but Harry could also hear the pleading of the unknown individual getting louder and louder. The voice was now clearly female, but Dumbledore kept telling him to ignore the voice. All Harry could do was listen to the one voice he knew would never lie to him: Hermione. Suddenly, Dumbledore grabbed his arm.
"Harry don't do this, the world needs you." He looked over at the old man. "That's it Harry lets go back, and discuss this."
Harry pulled his arm away from the old man. "No professor I don't think so." He continued to walk. "I have listened to you at the detriment of so many lives. Daphne, if that is who my soulmate is, deserves better than Draco, and she definitely deserves someone better than me."
"But Harry, think of all the lives you will save by giving your life?" Dumbledore pleaded as he stood in front of Harry. "Think of Ginny, and the others who will be forever changed by this."
This caused him to stop. At that moment he heard a thousand voices go off as one. None he could identify, but there was this ear splitting scream that brought him to his knees. Harry could feel Dumbledore trying to drag him back, but he struggled out of his grip. He started to crawl across the floor his hands and knees burning as they touched the mist covered floor. He could only guess that he had crawled about another thirty meters before stopping, and he would be damned if he let the old man cause him to turn around. He crawled for what felt like fifty meters before he could get back on his feet.
He was uncertain of which way he was facing, but figured if he turned around that would be it: Voldemort would win, Hermione would die, his soulmate lost, and the world would be doomed. So he marched on. Once the screaming stopped he could hear the Headmaster again, but this time the mysterious voice was clearer. It sounded scratchy like she had been screaming. It felt like he had been walking forever, but as he walked the mist started to part and the woman's voice grew louder and louder. The old codger kept telling him to ignore the other voices and to listen to him, and that he was looking out for the Greater Good of the people. Harry just laughed. His laughter stopped however when he could finally see the door.
He could see Draco Malfoy as well. He was much older, but the blonde hair and cold grey eyes gave him away. The woman on the ground in front of him looked battered and bloody. Her long black hair was a tangled mess; the robes she wore were disheveled and tattered. Harry's mind flashed back to a younger image of the witch, and even though her face carried no emotion then it looked a hell of a lot nicer than this. As he rushed the blonde he could hear the voice of an old man screaming for him to stop, and the voice of an old friend constantly reminding him not to look back. He smiled at the sound of Hermione's voice. 'Always the teacher' he thought. Once he was within an arms length of Draco he grabbed the man and threw him to the ground.
Kneeling in front of a woman he thought was Daphne he spoke softly. "Are you alright?"
"No! The man I love is dead, and there is no way of bringing him back." The woman sobbed harder.
"Don't worry Daphne I won't let this happen to you." She looked up at him with blood shot bluish-green eyes. He helped her stand up, and then moved towards the door.
"They said you were dead… How did you?" She said this as she stepped in front of him.
"A long story, but that can wait. Right now I need to keep moving." He pointed to the door that was less than a meter in front of them. When she acknowledged the unspoken question and answer Harry reached for the door.
Once more he was surrounded by a blinding light. He felt himself falling at an incredible velocity, and once again heard the sounds of the train he so looked forward to for the past six years of his life. Beyond that he could hear conversations; and even though he could not make them out, the fact that they existed made him smile. When the momentum stopped he once again heard his best friend's voice speak his name.
"Harry, are you all right?"