Disclaimer: The rights to the Harry Potter series go to J.K. Rowling. All original ideas present in this belong to me.
I set down, the air shimmering around me as I step through time - a door in reality - into the tepid hospital triage room.
St. Mungos is quiet, for once.
I've been here many times in the last few centuries, seen it through all walks of life.
It modernizes, one day - the wizarding world as a whole. They find a way to use electronics, to damper the effects of their magic and truly enter the twenty-first century.
Oh, it takes time for many of the traditionalists to understand. To become used to such a thing. But human progress is progress all the same, the blending of societies a decade afterwards was most likely the most momentous occasion in the species history. No longer would their world be separated based on the life and times of a kind man born two millennia before. A disciple of Fleur's, in fact.
Instead it was separated by the mixing of peoples - the coming out of the closet, so to say. Magical-kind, for no lack of exceptional hiding on their part - bending reality tends to confuse electronics in the same way that it would one's mind - decided to step forward.
Fear was the primary reaction from the populace, but they'd made strides throughout the century. It was by no means easy, but it happened all the same.
I hum, ears perking up. It seems to be the year 2054, judging by the voices of my children. They smile, at least, they try - as they point me down the hall.
I look at the exhausted triage nurse, a cup of coffee nestled between her hands and steam slowly rising off the top.
She doesn't notice me - no one does - as I walk through the corridor, fingers trailing over the walls and my eyes dancing about, taking in the flickering souls of those residing in each and every room.
I've only come for one, tonight.
My feet move forward, one step on the ground floor, the next on the third, appearing through a sliver in the air.
"Hermione. It's good to see you."
She looks up at me from her bed, Ginny asleep in the chair next to her.
Her face has just barely begun to become lined with age, the blessing of magic. To be seventy four and wear the skin of one thirty years younger is something that magicals always seem to take for granted.
"It's time, then?" she asks, voice rough and tired.
"Not quite. I thought you'd like to say goodbye to everyone, and… I'd like to catch up."
She pats the side of the cot, eyes wet with tears. "I thought it was all a lie."
"You. What you are."
"No, it's all truth, every word of it." I glance at Ginny, her ring mirroring the one on Hermione's left hand. "You two married?"
Hermione frowns, the scars on her face tugging angrily. "What? You never checked in? Not once?"
"Not yet," I say. "Not until now."
"Sixty years, Helene."
"No. A few centuries."
She no longer hates me, fears me - I can tell. Her words only hold confusion. Hurt.
"I was broken. We both were, Fleur and I. We were prepared to die that day, I think we were happy to see our end. It took time to come to terms with our power, who we were, what we are." I smile at her. "We are Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End. When this universe crumbles we will live on and create anew. Something different. Something better."
"You're still full of yourself." Hermione laughs, descending into a fit of coughs and causing Ginny to stir at her side. "Dear, an old friend came to visit."
Ginny blinks the sleep from her eyes, barely cognizant of her surroundings. She locks eyes with me, recognition washing over her face. "Helene."
She reaches for her wand, but Hermione grabs her wrist, head shaking. "No. You know why she's here."
"It's time, Gin." She sighs. "It's time."
"Hermione… Helene, you can't- just a little more time, please?"
"I'm sorry," I say, and I mean it. "If it's any consolation, she'll be there, waiting for you. Heaven - if you'd like to call it that - is a lovely place."
"What about- "
"Hell? Terrible, but only a sliver of you will descend. No one stays there forever. All eventually make their way up."
"When will I go?" she chokes, tears running down her face.
"I can't tell you that."
Ginny curses. "But she's so young, only in her seventies. She's not a muggle, Helene, she's not- "
"It's time," I state. "I'm sorry."
Hermione leans over the bed, placing a soft kiss against Ginny's cheek. "I'll wait for you, I promise."
"Ginny. I love you."
She sobs, face as red as her hair. "I love you too."
I extend my hand. "Hermione?"
Quietly sitting up, she reaches forward and takes it. "It's good seeing you again, Helene."
A smile crosses my face as the world shifts. "You too. I'll make sure to visit. Catch up."
"The library," Hermione whispers, eyes brimming with tears as she notices her change in surroundings. "It's been so long."
We stand in Hogwarts, near her favourite table - one she always piled high with books and notepads, a hurried scrawl across the face of each one. The walls are gray, a thin fog having settled over the room.
"It has." I walk forward, leading her to the door. The door. "So, Ginny, huh? Tell me all about it."