Chapter Summary: Death. Other lovers. Lack of a physical form. Nothing gets in the way of a Hermione rant.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowlings.

Warning: Rated R for language and violence.

Hermione- Human Voices

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

- T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Hermione Granger is dead. She shouldn't be able to feel nauseous. "It's all so stupid. All those plans and manipulations and hurting people- all of it was so pointless."

"It's all right, love. They'll all figure it out in their own time." Sirius gently kneads her shoulders and presses his lips to the top of her head.

She feels the tug and turns to face him, more than a little apprehensive.

He gives her a wry grin. "Don't worry- I knew that it would be you who would be going. Remus and I ended the minute you planted that firewhiskey kiss on him."

"I never meant to hurt either of you."

Sirius blows her a kiss as she disappears. "Best thing that ever happened to the both of us."

-###-

Remus is curled in a ball on his bed, his eyes staring blankly at the crumbling wallpaper.

Hermione has no patience for self-pity. "Get up you stupid sod!"

"Hermione?" His voice is a faint crackle, as if he hasn't used it in a long time. Two years, twenty-seven days to be precise.

"What in bloody hell do you think you've been doing? I didn't jump in front of Draco sodding Malfoy's wand so that you could become a vegetative lump!"

Good. She can see anger in his eyes. Anger is much better than emptiness.

"I would rather have died a thousand times over than watched you die once!"

"Well I did die. And you lived. Now do something with it!"

Remus seems to crumble in front of her. Her heart aches at the timidness in his voice. "What is it like... there?"

"A lot like here actually. Just better background music. Oh, and Sirius says 'Hi'."

Remus looks guilty. "That's probably the only reason I haven't offed myself. I have no idea how I'd tell Sirius that I can't be with him anymore. I still love him-"

Hermione feels like shit.

"-But your wolf only likes women. I'm so sorry, Remus. I would never have seduced you if I had known why you had never slept with a woman. I never meant to prevent you from being with Sirius just because your wolf didn't want anyone but me."

Suddenly Remus has grabbed her arm, pulled her so that she is forced to look him in the eyes.

"It was never just my wolf." And then he's pulling her into him, burying his head in the hollow of her shoulder.

Logically, she shouldn't have a physical form for him to hold.

Oh, fuck logic.

He's wrapped so tightly around her that his heart seems to be beating in her empty chest. She's missed this. She's missed him. Even for the dead, three years can be a very long time.

"I've missed you so much."

She wonders if there's a mental echo.

"I feel guilty about Sirius, but you've been all I've been able to think about."

This she can clear up. "Well, that's probably just as well since Sirius has a nice arrangement going with James and Lily."

This doesn't even seem to faze Remus. "What about you?"

She swallows hard. Ghosts shouldn't have aches in their throats. "Only you."

Remus is suddenly eager, excited. "Let me come with you then. There's no need to wait."

For one terrible moment, Hermione seriously considers agreeing. Then, with more strength than she knew she possessed, she gently moves out of his embrace.

"We'll have all the time in the world, love. I want to see you live. I want you to have stories to tell me for the rest of eternity."

He looks like someone has drained all the life from his face.

"It's not all bad, darling. What reminds you of us, of the good things?"

His voice is a mere whisper. "Coffee. Your eyes, when you-"

Okay, ghosts aren't supposed to blush either. "Um well, then just drink lots of coffee. But I want those stories Remus." She switches into the prissy, Head Girl voice that she knows he likes. "I expect a full accounting from you when we meet up again."

He almost laughs at that and there is a faint flicker of life in his eyes. "You always were a bossy little bitch."

"Your bossy little bitch, sweetheart."

"Remus J. Lupin, open your door this minute or I will break it down!"

Hermione can feel the tug starting at the back of her head.

"I've got to go, Remus."

"Not yet. Not yet." He's almost whimpering.

Oh, fuck the afterlife. It can wait another fucking minute.

She grabs the back of his head and gives him a hard, open mouth kiss that would have melted her brain if she still had a body.

"Don't forget- I love you, you stupid sod."

"Love you too."

Red hair flashes in the corner of her eye. One of the remaining Weasleys, Bill maybe, is coming through the door. "You can't live like this, Remus. It's been three years. You need to move on man!"

Just before she disappears, just before Bill fully enters the room, Remus meets her eyes and smiles for the first time since the war.

"I am going to live. But first, I need to get myself a cup of coffee."

-###-

-The End-

Reviewer Responses

minervads: I appreciated your comments and I'm glad that you think that the idea is worth stretching out- I think that it is a bit of a dark take on the Potterverse and I wasn't sure how other people would react. Though I have to say that it's been a real challenge for me to try and come up with a completely different mindset for all of the characters. I've had a lot of fun. And I'm not sure what that says about me....

Raggedy Sam: I really felt badly for Remus too, which is part of the reason that I ended up writing the Hermione viewpoint the way I did. Sadly, I like Remus far too much to make him permanently miserable. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

BlackHorntailJunior: It's amazing what kind of weird stuff you find floating around your imagination. I had no idea until I wrote this how annoyed I'd been getting at reading stories where Draco was always unambiguously reformed, Dumbledore was always benevolent, Harry was always following the purest motives and Hermione had no personality. Despite what it may seem like, I actually like all these characters. But yes, I did have a lot of fun writing a dark and creepy take on them. I'm glad that you enjoyed it!

honeydew: I'm really honored that you think the story is eloquently written- I've agonized over whether or not most of the chapters were even readable after I was finished. I was trying to write each viewpoint in a slightly different literary style and I think that some of them ended up working out better than others. Thank you for taking the time to review.

Updated 12-04-04