The Waiting Game (a one-shot)

This was my first ever fanfiction (and I’m sure you can tell)! It was just an idea that circled around in my head and wouldn’t leave until it was written down. So, to see how far I’ve come as a writer, please give it a look!

Summary: Hermione Granger never knew that being dead would be so hard, especially when she’s going to Heaven… My first post!

waiting-room1

The Waiting Game

The small pinpoint of pure white light was growing. Whether she was moving towards it or it towards her, Hermione wasn’t sure of.

Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, Hermione held her breath as the light exploded around her, bathing her in a bright, angelic radiance. When she braved to open her eyes once again, Hermione frowned in confusion.

This wasn’t where she had been seconds ago. She was now in a room that was frighteningly cold. Instead of a beautiful, pure white light, the room was drenched in a thick, liquid blackness. This darkness was penetrated by a dull yellow light coming from a cheap lamp that seemed to be floating in midair.

When Hermione took a few small, uncertain steps towards the lamp, she noticed an empty steel chair. Beside this chair were two others, but these seats were currently occupied.

Hardly believing her eyes, Hermione ran forward to throw her arms around each her mother and father in turn. Her heart was throbbing with the relief, disbelief and pure joy of seeing her parents that she did not notice their reaction, or lack thereof. They sat stonily on their hard, metal chairs, staring ahead into the suffocating darkness.

“Mum, dad- what? How did we.?” Hermione began, but stopped, finally noticing that she did not have their full attention, or any of it for that matter.

“What is this?” she asked in new fear.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when she received an answer. “Hermione, take your seat and wait,” came the cold, detached voice of her mother.

Hermione glanced at the vacant chair that seemed to be whispering her name, beckoning her to it, and was filled with unfathomable fear.

“No,” she proclaimed stubbornly. “Not until I get some answers.”

Silence pursued this exclamation. Hermione looked at her father. His face was slack and he appeared merely indifferent to what was going on around him. When she turned her head to study her mother, she noted that she had a very similar expression.

Looking at her surroundings, Hermione’s mind raced to come up with the answers to her many questions. Where was she and how did she get there? The last thing she recalled was Harry, Ron and her, firing curse after curse at the sea of Death Eaters. And then there was a blinding flash of green light zooming towards her. She wasn’t sure if it had hit her, but she recalled meeting the scarlet, glowing eyes of its sender. And then he had laughed; that high-pitched laughter that held no warmth, no mirth. Then there was the blackness.

She had to be dreaming, then. She was in Hogwarts infirmary, unconscious and hurt. Harry and Ron were beside her, waiting for her to wake up. Any moment now, she’d wake up; any moment. But even as this thought entered her mind, she dismissed it. This was not a dream; she could still feel her mind racing, feel emotions and the floor that she now knelt on was solid and cold to her touch. This was really happening.

But then why were her parents there? She hadn’t dreamt of her parents since that first terrible month after they- pure horror filled her as something hit her. Since that first terrible month after they had died.

Were they alive now, she wondered as she studied both of their impassive faces. No, that couldn’t be; after all, she was all too aware that not even magic could bring back the dead. Then, that must mean that she.

“Am I dead?” she asked her parents, the two people who had given her life.

Her father spared her a quick glance before turning back to the blackness. “Yes,” he provided without any trace of feeling.

And then Hermione heard it. Those two horrific words uttered at her in a hissing voice. Avada Kedavra. And then that terrible, cynical laughter that ricocheted off the walls and echoed in her head.

Another thought came to her then. “If I’m dead, then this is heaven?” she asked, thinking that if it was, it was way overrated.

“Sort of, but no,” this from her mother.

Hermione snapped her head to her mother, but she wasn’t looking at her. “How so?”

No indication that she had even been heard was given. Hermione opened her mouth to repeat her question, but started when her father began speaking.

“This is the waiting room to get in,” he provided.

Frustration took root as she wondered aloud, “Waiting room? What do we have to wait for?”

“To forget,” the answer came immediately.

Trying to force the knowledge that she was dead and having a painfully formal conversation with her deceased parents, Hermione took deep calming breaths in order to ask, “To forget what?”

Her mother looked down at her with those eyes eerily devoid of all emotion. “To forget life.”

“They show you the life you lived, what you could’ve had and all of the things you took for granted so that you can see it all one last time. When you forget your mortal life, you can begin your afterlife,” her father answered her unvoiced question. He looked away from her and into the void of darkness, indicating that he had finished.

Hermione frowned. It made sense in a twisted way. How could one begin a new life while still having the memories of an old one?

It also explained their lack of a warm welcome for her. That’s why they didn’t make a fuss; they were too busy trying to forget her. Much to Hermione’s chagrin, it seemed to be working very effectively.

With one last yearning glance to her unfeeling parents, Hermione eyed the empty chair. It was with great reluctance that she made her way to her seat. As she stood by it, that same inexplicable fear she had felt before gripped her.

It was calling her, begging her to take her seat. Hesitantly, Hermione let her hand hover just above the chair’s cool metal. With a frown, Hermione jerked her hand back, trying unsuccessfully to stop its shaking.

“No,” she called out in an urgent, pleading voice. “I-I don’t want to forget. My life, it made me who I am, or was. Without my memories, I’ll have nothing; I’ll be nothing.”

Tears were building in her eyes, but Hermione stubbornly refused to let them fall. Her whole body was shaking with emotion and as she gazed sorrowfully at her parents, she realized that she was alone. She was neither dead nor alive at the moment. She was lost in a state of limbo.

On one side, she could stay there, standing by her seat for all eternity; the other, she could sit and be forced to watch all of the things she took for granted, all of the things she could’ve had in her life in some cruel replay of it. Neither was much of a choice; she could forget or just stand their, alone for all eternity. But at least she’d still have her memories.

“You are wrong; there is no choice,” her father’s smooth voice washed over her.

That in itself was a kind of torture. To be able to be with her parents after all of the time that had passed without them, only to have them act cold and heartless towards her. Never in her life did Hermione picture the afterlife could be so cruel, especially if she was going to Heaven.

“It is not cruel, but necessary,” her mother cut threw her thoughts.

Hermione slowly shook her head in denial. “That doesn’t make it right, or any easier.”

She couldn’t be sure, but Hermione thought she caught a small, sad smile of understanding cross her mother’s lips.

“I remember when you were younger, Hermione. You were unusually bright and I always knew that you’d amount to something extraordinary. I always knew there was something more for you, something special. When you got your letter of acceptance for Hogwarts, I knew that was what you were meant for. You were meant to be a witch. Knowing that my daughter was truly special, not just in the way every mother sees their child, but truly unique; it did my heart great joy,” her mother confessed, briefly closing her eyes against the emotion that had sparked there. When she opened them, they were cold and empty once again.

It was the most sentiment Hermione had seen from either of them and it tore at her heart. Who would have thought that being dead would be so hard?

“You are what has kept us here, Hermione,” her father had picked up. “Knowing that you were still alive is what has prevented us from fully forgetting the life we once had, but now you are here. Nothing ties us to our old life anymore. We can forget, but together. Please, take your seat.”

Hermione’s heart swelled with conflicting emotions. She was different from them and her situation was different from theirs. She still had a reason to live, even if they did not. She had friends that she couldn’t abandon. How would Harry and Ron get along without her?

She was dead, though, and no magic could bring her back. She couldn’t do anything for them, not anymore. If she was dead, then why did she still feel so alive? Probably because she still remembered. She could still recall her memories and what she had felt. It was almost as if she were still alive, but just trapped within herself; trapped within her memories.

That was when she realized why she had to forget. Her emotions would tear her apart if she didn’t. Her memories were what were keeping her from peace. She wouldn’t be able to move on into the future. She had to stop dwelling on the past, had to hold her head up high and be brave. And anything had to be better than this ache in her heart as she recalled what it had meant to be alive. In a way, she yearned for that blissful blackness that surrounded her, to be free of all feeling.

It was the hardest thing she had ever had to do, but Hermione sat on the hard, bitter chair. Coldness washed over her as a bolt of electricity shot through her body while that terrible, thick blackness ahead of her that now looked so comforting molded to form images.

Images of her parents and herself when she was younger, laughing and smiling carefree came to her. Then at Hogwarts, that memorable moment when Ron and Harry had befriended her after beating the troll flashed before her. She saw Harry and Ron smiling down at her as they flew across the Quidditch Pitch, practicing for their matches. The three of them, walking to and from classes, eating in the Great Hall and laughing in harmony.

Ron and Harry playing Wizard’s Chess and Ron always winning. Harry and Ron smiling at her and laughing with her, and then it was just Harry. Just Harry smiling at her, his eyes a brilliant, radiant green. Just Harry sitting with her by the fire in that comfortable silence. And just Harry, looking at her as if she were the only girl in the world; as if he loved her as much as she had loved him.

Hermione’s throat tightened painfully as she realized that he had. He had loved her as much as she him, but it was too late.

“Oh Harry,” she choked out in a strangled whisper, the tears she had been stifling finally coming free. She unknowingly reached out to him and right when she was about to reach him the picture flickered to show her that last Yule Ball; that dance she had shared with him.

She could have been with him; they could have been together, she realized sadly as she lowered her hand to her side, gazing sorrowfully at the picture. But she had been blind. They both had been blind.

Silence filled the air, that horrible, understanding silence that would hold fast until it was time. Hermione was not aware of the tears that were streaming in small rivulets down her face. All she could see was Harry, laughing and smiling at her.

Never taking her eyes away from the picture before her, Hermione realized that she would be there for a long time, trying to forget. The blackness moved in, pushing everything out of her sight, everything except Harry.

And then she waited.

Harry Potter Home

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