Dunuelos wrote a "Don't Fear the Reaper" story, "Harry Potter and Afterlife Inc." I highly recommend this story. Anyway, when Harry travels back in time, he has a plan—but it's not a plan that he cooked up. Rather, it's a plan created by the "Destiny Repair Department." I halfway borrowed from Dunuelos—there is no "Destiny Repair Department" in my story, but Harry, before he mind-travels, does consult with people who know lots more about his situation than he himself knows.
Harry Meets Thanatos
Gerhardus asked, "Who are the dead experts whom you wish to consult?"
Harry answered, "James Charlus Potter, my father; Lily Marie Potter née Evans, my mother; and the Hogwarts founders: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin."
Ten minutes later, the six requested experts were standing in Gerhardus's tiny office. Harry was surprised to see the man who wore green-and-silver robes, walk through the pearly door instead of entering through the red door.
As soon as Lily Potter was in the same room as Harry, she ran to him and kissed him over and over, whilst she Hermy-hugged him. James Potter did not run to his son, nor did James kiss Harry, but James' hugs were just as tight as Lily's. James pounded Harry's back, which Lily had not done.
As soon as the four founders plus the two parents all were in Gerhardus's office, Gerhardus led everyone else to a room that was dominated by a seven- or eight-foot-diameter round wooden table. Gerhardus conjured quills and handmade paper, then hurried from the room.
As soon as Gerhardus shut the door behind him, Lily turned to Harry with a sad face. "Harry, when James and Sirius and I came out of the Stone, just before you dueled Voldemort, I am so sorry for what we said to you."
James' face also looked sad. "Lils and I sacrificed our lives for you, so that you would live a long life. The last thing we wanted was for you to sacrifice yourself, nobly or otherwise! But the magic of the Stone compelled the three of us to lie to you and say, 'Go ahead and sacrifice your life; we're fine with it.' "
"What Stone are you talking about?" Godric asked.
Harry answered, "Remember the story of the three brothers who outsmarted Death, and Death gave one of the brothers a Resurrection Stone that let him call dead people to him?"
The four founders nodded.
"The Stone is real; Cadmus Peverell originally owned it. However, the children's story doesn't tell you that when you call forth a soul, he or she hurts, like you're hitting him or her with the Cruciatus."
Lily said, "The pain wasn't that bad—more like a full-body sunburn. Painful, yes, but I still could talk. But Harry, I could tell that you were feeling guilty, seeing the three of us in pain."
James nodded. "The pain was bad enough, but I hated making you feel guilty, besides me giving you 'fatherly advice' that I didn't mean."
Salazar said impatiently, "Is this touching parent-and-child moment over? Then please, young man, tell us why you have called the six of us away from Heaven."
Harry said, "We seven are here to figure out how to defeat Voldemort, how to defeat him many years before 1998, and how to stop my life from being a nonstop pile of offal before Voldemort dies."
Harry began, "The first thing I need advice on is, When should I mind-travel back to? The latest suitable time, I think, is just before the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament during my fourth year. Voldemort was resurrected at the end of the Third Task; this happened in June of 1995. The earliest suitable time would be 24th July, 1991, a week before my eleventh birthday. This was the day I received my Hogwarts letter."
"Actually," said Lily, "rather than mind-travel back to the day you got your letter, you should go back to the day before, when you're off everyone's radar."
James said, "Please explain the Muggle term radar, Lils." Harry got the impression that this was a sentence that James had spoken many times since he and Lily had met.
It was a shock to Harry that besides the two Muggle-raised magicals, Lily and Harry, knowing what radar was and how it worked, Rowena Ravenclaw also knew. Rowena made as much explanation to the other three founders as did Lily.
After the radar side-issue was dealt with, Harry asked his mum why he should go back to the day before he got his letter, not the day of the letter.
It was James who answered: "Son, between the minute you arrive and your eleventh birthday on 31st July, there are things you need to do and questions you need to ask. Thanks to ten years' worth of Dumbledore's plots that go back to 1981, you didn't know to do those things the first time, and you didn't know to ask those questions. Merlin, simply claiming the Heir Potter ring when you were eleven, and the Lord Potter ring after the Triwizard Tournament, would have improved your life so much."
Lily nodded. "But you never knew. You never were told. But this time, we're fixing all that!"
Harry asked, "What things was it important to know, that I didn't know?"
James replied, "For one thing, as a Potter, you own several houses in various countries. The ancestral mansion, Potter Manor, was damaged enough during the first Voldemort war that it's uninhabitable; but there is many times enough money in the Potter family vault for you to repair Potter Manor. Also, the Potter family has bonded with four house-elves, the leader of whom is Greyclay. You can call Greyclay anytime, from anywhere, and Dumbledore can't command him."
Lily added, "Dumbledore, acting as Chief Warlock, sealed our wills that were filed at the Wizengamot. The same wills that spelled out who your guardians were supposed to be: Sirius Black, then Alice Longbottom, then Amelia Bones. You were never supposed to have a 'Muggle guardian,' much less Petunia being your Muggle guardian; nor did we intend for Dumbledore to be your magical guardian."
Harry scowled. "Why am I not surprised?"
"As soon as you can do so, after you've travelled to the past, run to Gringotts and get copies of our wills. Send a copy of our wills to Amelia Bones, tell her that Sirius could not be guilty and he was never given a trial. Meanwhile, get the goblins to hold the readings for our wills."
Lily added, "New topic. I want you to summon Greyclay, have him bring you my student trunk, and have Greyclay put my student trunk under a Notice-Me-Not charm so Petunia's family won't bother it. Touch the wooden square at the top; since you're of my blood, the trunk will unlock for you. I want you to read at least two of my seven Hogwarts diaries, before you meet with anyone from Hogwarts. Which segues nicely into..."
Then Lily mentioned Severus Snape, and the arguing began, whilst the four founders quietly listened.
Lily strongly urged Harry to involve Snape in his plans to defeat Voldemort; James was, just as strongly, opposed to Harry and Severus Snape ever laying eyes on each other outside of a Potions class—
At one point, James yelled, "Lils, why are you defending Snivellus? Why are you saying anything nice about him? Have you forgotten him calling you that word, right after you were trying to help him? That ingrate git! And for how Professor Snape treated Harry in his classes, the man should have been publicly Crucio'd. Snivellus was a man who completely hated Harry!"
Lily snapped back, "He didn't hate Harry, he hated you, and Harry, my poor boy, looks just like you—"
"Except Harry has Lily's bright-green eyes," Godric Gryffindor noted.
Lily gave her former House's namesake a quick smile, then she glared at her husband. "You don't know this, but hours after Sev called me a mudblood and I ended our friendship, he was in the corridor outside the Fat Lady's portrait. Sev was weeping, and he begged me to forgive him. Want to know what I told him? 'Go away. Why don't you become a Death Eater now? After all, you've shown the world that you think like they think. Now excuse me, I have homework to do.' Then I turned my back on him and ran back through the portrait hole. Merlin, Harry, I made Sev what he is today!"
Harry was torn. He understood the logic of his mother's arguments, and normally her arguments would be persuasive. "But Merlin, Mum, we're talking about Snape!"
Right after this, Harry announced the date that he would mind-travel to. Then Harry and the other six people in the conference room began to plan the next seven years (if so many years were needed) that would lead to Voldemort's defeat.
Harry, to be honest, was starstruck at talking with the Hogwarts Four. He was amused when he noticed that his parents likewise were awed by the four founders of Hogwarts.
Harry was especially intimidated by Rowena Ravenclaw, who had the black hair and facial beauty of Daphne Greengrass, combined with Hermione's genius mind.
Salazar Slytherin, Harry learnt, did not hate Muggle-borns. No, Slytherin hated Muggle-borns who had helped their Muggle friends and family with witch-hunting.
Harry tried to imagine the Doctors Granger, each dressed in a snow-white dentist uniform, waving torches and pitchforks and yelling Kill the witches! Harry snickered at the thought. He was sure that Salazar Slytherin would find no fault with Hermione Granger if they somehow could meet.
Something else Harry learnt: Rowena had opposed having a Restricted Section at the library, because she had believed (and still believed now) that "Knowledge should be free."
So how did the Hogwarts Library get a Restricted Section? As Helga Hufflepuff explained, "The other three of us believed strongly that there were certain books that younger students should not be allowed to read. But Rowena would not listen to our arguments! So finally we shunned her—we didn't speak to her, and we ignored her whenever she spoke. I don't know about Godric and Salazar, but it killed me to shun my best friend. But after a week of shunning, Rowena agreed to restrict some of our books."
At this point, Helga walked over and hugged a crying Rowena.
At one point during the planning session, Salazar cursed in Parseltongue. Harry was surprised to discover that not only could he himself understand what was said, but so could his mum—who rebuked Salazar. "§Language, sir!§"
The planning session in the conference room was ending; Harry had written seventeen pages' worth of notes and plans.
But before the planning session ended completely, the four founders briefly conferred—then they, jointly, told Harry several amazing (and useful!) bits of information.
This ended the planning session.
After the seven people walked out of the conference room and into Gerhardus's office, Rowena and Helga hugged Harry goodbye. Godric both shook Harry's hand and gave Harry a hug that ended with a backslap. Salazar settled for a handshake. Then the four founders walked away from Harry and through the pearly door.
James hugged Harry, then Lily both hugged and kissed her son. Then both Potter parents hugged Harry again. Lily was crying when James led her away from Harry and towards the pearly door.
Now only Harry and Gerhardus were in Gerhardus's office.
Gerhardus stood up from his chair. He said stiffly, "My boss, Thanatos, wishes to speak to both of us." Gerhardus picked up Harry's folder and led Harry out of Gerhardus's office, along a corridor and to a bone-white-coloured door. Gerhardus knocked.
On the wall next to the door were several hundred words, going from ceiling to floor in tiny writing. The words were in every alphabet that Harry had ever seen, including Oriental writing, Cyrillic writing, and many Roman-alphabet words. Amongst the words that Harry did not know, and the words that Harry could not even read, he spotted the words Θάνατος, Mors, Mort, Muerte and Death.
Gerhardus had knocked on the door. On the other side of the door, a male voice yelled words in a language that Harry did not recognise. Gerhardus opened the door and walked in; Harry followed.
In the gigantic room were many, many filing cabinets, which were being tended by winged angels in white robes. In a corner of the room was a huge, wooden desk, into which were carved dancing skeletons. Behind this desk sat a man.
The man was head-shaved so that he was shiny-bald. He was wearing what clearly was intended as armour, though it was made of brown leather that was held in place by bronze rings.
Behind the man, a cowled black robe hung from a peg in the wall. A large wood-and-steel scythe rested again two walls in that corner of the room. Near where the black robe was hanging, a round, wooden shield, about two and a half feet in diameter, and a stubby bronze sword both had been mounted on the wall. The shield had many gouges, and the edges of the sword had many nicks.
Whereas Gerhardus's desk was messy, the only thing on Thanatos's desk was a pair of skulls, back to back. The skull whose face that Harry could see, had pink, healthy lips and flesh out to its (nonexistent) ears, all covering its lower face.
Thanatos slapped his hand on the top of both skulls at once, then spoke in his language for a bit. The half-face skull that was facing Gerhardus and Harry said, in Thanatos's male voice, "This man is willing to make his seventh try to fulfill his destiny, but he makes conditions. You have given him a warning."
Gerhardus replied, "Yes, I warned Harry James Potter here that if he fails a seventh time, his soul shall be Annihilated." The skull that was facing Thanatos now spoke with Gerhardus's voice, but spoke in Thanatos's native language.
Thanatos yelled, "O Antonia-nib, something-something-something Harry James Potter something." This was magically translated as "Antonia, bring me the revised contract for Harry James Potter."
A brunette-haired female angel walked up to the desk and laid a filled-out contract on the otherwise clean desk, then she walked away. Thanatos waved a hand, and the English words of the contract changed to different text, which ran from top to bottom, left to right, in an alphabet of wedge-shapes, big dots and crazy letters that Harry had never seen before.
Thanatos read both pages of the contract, then waved his hand. The text of the unsigned contract turned back into English that was in the Roman alphabet, and that was read left to right. Thanatos pushed the contract towards Harry.
Thanatos said to Harry, "The key terms of your contract are these: the horcrux that is in your scar in your younger body shall be immediately destroyed. You keep your memories when your mind goes back to the past. You and your soulmate Hermione Granger are immune to all mind-magics, except that you each can be mind-read by the Hogwarts school's enchanted hat. You may tell Hermione Granger, but nobody else, that you are from the future and that you have been dead six times before. Are there any other terms you wish to add to the contract?"
Thanatos said, "Your terms are acceptable. But Gerhardus's threat, of soul-Annihilation if you fail again, also is acceptable. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"
"No, sir, I don't understand at all," Harry said, then waited whilst strange words were spoken in Harry's voice. "I understand what happened to my parents—they lived a good life, then they died, then they went to Heaven. Whereas Albus Dumbledore did wicked things, he died, and he was sent to Hell. Where does Annihilation figure in?"
Thanatos sighed, then replied, "If you were not the subject of a prophecy, it would be as you say." Thanatos looked questioningly at Gerhardus. "You described this man as 'virtuous' in his six lives, did you not?"
Gerhardus replied, "Yes, sir. He has died a virgin every time; but considering that he has dated Ginevra Molly Weasley during his last life, this shows he has amazing self-control. Miss Weasley makes Lucrezia Borgia seem like a nun, especially with Weasley's fondness for potions."
Thanatos stared hard at Harry. "The prophecy gives you a destiny you must fulfill—sorry, but this is one of the rules. If you would fail to achieve your destiny and you were wicked, the rule would be simple: Upon your death, you would be sent to Hell. If you were like everyone else you know, with no destiny to possibly fail at, and you were virtuous, again your Judgement would be simple: Heaven. But if you fail at your destiny, you ruin what Fate has decreed, so why should you be rewarded for this when you die? Even if you are virtuous? Hence, soul-Annihilation if you fail."
Harry muttered, "Married to Hermione for 160-plus years if I succeed, and Annihilation if I fail. No pressure."
Then Thanatos smiled at Harry. "But not all the news is bad. As soon as you arrive in the past, Albus Dumbledore will lose control of the Deathstick to you, and you can summon all three Deathly Hallows to you, anytime you want. As soon as you touch the Gaunt ring that has the Resurrection Stone attached, all curses on the ring will end without harming you, and the horcrux that is attached to the ring shall be destroyed."
Harry grinned. "That's great! The hardest of the seven horcruxes to find and destroy, now becomes the easiest. Thank you!"
Then Harry's grin faded. "May I ask you something that might make you angry? In the story, the brother who was given the Invisibility Cloak was able to hide even from Death."
Harry asked, "So why is it that when I was at Hogwarts, Dumbledore the headmaster always knew when I was in the room?"
Thanatos laughed. "He knew because that son-of-a-tanner cheated. The Cloak itself cannot be spelled—but the Cloak is silver-coloured, is it not? Dumbledore sewed a silver-coloured cotton thread into the Cloak, then put a tracking charm on his impostor thread. If you want to stand one cubit away from Dumbledore and he doesn't know you're there, find and remove the cotton thread in the Cloak."
Harry nodded. "Knowing Dumbledore as I do, this doesn't surprise me. He thinks he's entitled to know everything, whilst telling everyone else nothing."
Then clearly everything that needed to be said, had already been said. Harry signed the contract, then he watched as Gerhardus and Thanatos also signed.
The only thing left to do was for Harry to tell Thanatos what day and time in the past, Harry's mind would be sent to.
After Harry stated his choice, Thanatos said, "As I said a minute ago, I permit you to summon all three Deathly Hallows to you, any time. But on this date that you gave me, Albus Dumbledore owns two of the Hallows, and he quickly will notice if they disappear. So give thought to when you claim the Invisibility Cloak and the Deathstick; it would be unwise to rush."
Seconds later, Thanatos, at Harry's request, placed a Notice-Me-Not charm on Harry's seventeen pages of notes and plans. With this done, Harry shoved the papers into a pocket of his pants.
Then Thanatos pointed at Harry and spoke formally in his native language.
Colours swirled, as Harry's body felt strange.
Then everything turned black—but Harry was still conscious. He now was in someplace dark.
BAM-BAM-BAM. Aunt Petunia yelled, "Wake up, boy, and fix us breakfast!"
One minute ago, Harry had been three months away from his eighteenth birthday. Now the time was early morning, the date was 23rd July 1991, and Harry was eight days short of his eleventh birthday.