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This fic joins Light's Hope, Death's Hunters, Daddy Dearest and Kiss Me Like This as challenges that I have decided to partake myself.

I don't own Harry Potter, just an OC's.

Chapter 1 – Waiting Room

“NEXT!” a voice bellowed in Harry’ ears.

Harry groaned and opened his eyes to find himself in a strange environment. It seemed like he was in the waiting room of a hospital, but the walls were completely bare of decoration, and a single row of chairs stretched on in either direction as far as the eye could see.

“NEXT!” the disembodied voice shouted again. A couple of seconds after the word was spoken, the room seemed to slide to the left several feet. Harry closed his eyes and tried to remember what had happened, tuning out the periodical screaming and the feeling of inertia as the room shifted. Okay, he had been hit by a Killing Curse, and ended up at King’s Cross, with Dumbledore waiting for him. He spoke to Dumbledore, and found out that his scar was an accidental Horcrux, and had taken the brunt of the curse for him, so he could return to the living. Harry returned to life, and fought off the Death Eaters for several minutes before he felt something hit him in the back, and his world went dark. When he woke up, he found himself here.

“Oh crap, the bastard killed me again,” Harry groaned, cradling his head in his hands.

“Bad day?” a voice next to him asked. Harry looked up to see an old, pale man dressed in a hospital gown.

“You could say that,” Harry sighed, slumping in his seat. “It’s not every day when someone gets killed twice in under ten minutes,” he added glumly. Beside him, the old man chuckled lightly.

“No, I suppose it’s not,” he agreed. For a moment, they sat in silence, watching the blank wall slide slightly every few seconds. “This place wasn’t what I expected it to be,” he said conversationally.

“What did you expect it to be?” Harry asked curiously. He figured he might as well make conversation with the man since it looked like they would be there for a while.

“I’m not sure, really,” the old man said, shrugging. “I just thought it wouldn’t be so...boring,” he said, hesitating as he tried to find the right word to describe the seemingly endless room.

“Last time, I was at the train station that led to my school,” Harry said conversationally. “I’m starting to wonder if I had stepped onto the train, if I just would have gotten here a few minutes early. If Dumbledore had told me that this was my fate, I wouldn’t have been so eager to die,” he continued, grumbling bitterly.

“Why were you so eager to die?” the old man asked. “If you don’t mind my asking,” he added quickly.

“A madman killed my parents when I was a baby,” Harry said sadly, “and he’s spent the past six or seven years trying to kill me too. Looks like he finally succeeded. Now that I’m dead, though, I’m not sure how to take it.” Harry sighed and turned to his neighbor. “What about you? How’d you die...if you don’t mind my asking.” The old man shook his head and straightened up in his seat.

“Liver cancer,” he said simply. “Guess I drank a bit too much in my youth, and it finally caught up with me.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said sadly, looking down at his feet.

“Don’t be; I’m not,” the old man said, shaking his head. “Near the end, things got really painful, so when the time came, I was actually relieved. I clung to life long enough to say goodbye to all my grandchildren, make peace with my Lord, and let go, and I never regretted it,” he mused with a small smile on his face. “By the way, I’m John,” he added, extending his hand to Harry.

“Harry,” he greeted, shaking John’s hand.

For what seemed like an eternity, they talked about each other’s lives. Harry spoke of his life at the Dursleys, and John spoke of his life growing up on a farm, and how he fought for England during World War II. He spoke of how he met the woman who would be his wife at a diner right before he left for war, and how he had proposed to her as soon as he returned. Soon, they no longer noticed the monotonous scream of “NEXT!” or the shifting of seats. However, eventually, John looked to his right side to see that there was only a blank wall. He looked forward to see a plain door in front of him.

“Well, this looks like my stop,” John said sadly as he stood up from his seat. “It’s been nice talking with you, Harry, and I hope I see you on the other side.” Tipping an imaginary hat, the old man walked to the door and opened it, stepping into the next room with his head held high. Harry watched sadly as his new friend disappeared, and barely noticed as the seat that John once occupied slid into the wall.

“NEXT!” the voice shouted several seconds later. Harry sighed as he stood up and walked into the next room, which he found was as bland as the first. The walls were completely bare of any paintings or ornaments, save a door similar to the one he just walked through on one of them. In fact, the only thing that kept the room from being completely bare was a wooden desk with a black computer sitting on top of it. Sitting at the desk was a man that seemed slightly older than Harry, with long, dark, unkempt hair and a scruffy beard. The man had his head propped up with one hand while clicking at something on his computer with the other hand. The man briefly shifted his gaze to Harry before straightening slightly.

“Please state your full name an—” he began, speaking in an American accent, but stopped as he took a double take at Harry. Then the man’s face adopted a resigned, almost bored expression. “Oh, it’s you again,” he said dully as he began to type on his computer. “You’re starting to become a permanent fixture here,” he muttered darkly as he continued typing rapidly. Several seconds later, a dull whirring emanated from within the desk, a plastic card stuck out from a slot on the desk, which the clerk plucked and handed to Harry. “Open the door with this,” the man explained, pointing to the door, which Harry noticed had an electronic slot above the doorknob. “Good luck man, you’re going to need it,” he said, saluting Harry.

Harry, unsure of how to respond, simply saluted feebly back at the clerk and slid the card into the slot in the door. When the light turned green, Harry turned the knob and opened the door, entering the new room. When he walked in and saw who was waiting for him, his jaw nearly dropped in shock.

“Mum?” he gasped.

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