She saw him for the first time when she was five. As she had gotten older, she had forgotten about it, of course. But looking back, she realized he had been with her for her entire life.
Glass shattered and metal crunched as the two cars crashed into each other. The smell of blood permeated the air, although she did not know that was what it was. She could hear screaming and was confused about all the noise.
"Mummy?" she asked, her words struggling to leave her mouth.
"Oh, god, Hermione. Hold on, darling. Help is coming," her mother replied, her voice frantic with worry. The sound of sirens grew closer, but she knew no more.
She would wake in the hospital days later to an almost empty room. Her mother was slumped over in a chair next to her bed, fast asleep and clutching her hand. She briefly wondered where her daddy was when she noticed a boy dressed in green in the corner. Before she could ask him his name, he was gone.
The next time she saw him was in first year after the incident with the Troll.
The bathroom was in ruins, thanks to the Troll's massive club. Huge chunks of the wall were laying on the ground, which was covered in puddles of water. They were truly lucky to be alive. As she was trying to regulate her breathing in an effort to calm down (and listen to the professors at the same time), she noticed him. She was perplexed as to why there was a boy standing in the corner, watching them get dressed down by the professors. Or rather, watching her.
She narrowed her eyes at him and was surprised when he smirked at her, before disappearing into thin air. She gave a start at that, not expecting it.
"Miss Granger! Are you quite all right?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"I… yes. I'm sorry, Professor. Just a bit shaken up, I think."
Professor McGonagall nodded and ordered them all to go see Madam Pomfrey. As she trailed behind Harry and Ron, she chalked up the odd boy as a product of stress. With the rest of the events that year, she would forget all about him once more.
She didn't realize it at the time, as she thought it was a hallucination from the pain, but she also saw him after the events at the Ministry in fifth year.
Her whole body felt like it was on fire. She fought to open her eyes, although part of her wanted to drift back into nothingness where there was no pain.
"Hermione! Thank Godric you're awake! How are you feeling?"
"Yes. Do you need something? Are you in pain? I can go get Madam Pomfrey."
"No, not yet. What happened?"
"Dolohov hit you with some curse. No one quite knows what it was supposed to do, but you're going to be okay."
She took a good look at him then and saw the overwhelming sadness in his eyes.
"Harry. What else happened?"
"Sirius… he… he fell into the Veil," Harry answered, tears beginning to form in his eyes. Even though she knew it would cause her pain, she gestured him to move closer and wrapped him up in a big hug. It was then, as she looked over Harry's shoulder, that she saw him. It was then that she realized the boy wasn't exactly a boy. He was a teenager, probably close in age to her if she had to guess. His hair was black and slightly wild with a curl at the end. His eyes were a light grey and reminded her instantly of Sirius. The most peculiar thing about him was the single tear trailing down his face.
She wouldn't see him again until just after the Final Battle. Or rather, if he was there, she was so busy that she never noticed. But he was certainly there now, and things were slightly different this time. He looked different, more solid than he had before.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"You would not know me as I am now, but my name was once Regulus Black."
She gasped at hearing his name, his resemblance to Sirius all the clearer now.
"But… you're dead!"
"Yes, I am. Maybe you should take a look around."
She did as he said and noticed that they were no longer at the scene of the final battle. Instead they were standing on what appeared to be an island. Waves were crashing against some rocks over to their right, and she could have sworn she caught a glimpse of a mermaid tail.
"Are you trying to imply that I'm dead?"
"Well, I guess that whole Brightest Witch thing had some truth to it after all. Yes, you are dead. I'm an Angel of Death, and I escort dead children to the other side. Or as I like to call it, Neverland, because none of us will ever grow up."
"I am not a child. And I can't be dead! I have so much I wanted to do!"
"You are not fully grown yet, therefore you are still a child. Don't look at me like that; I don't make the rules," he said at seeing the pinched look on her face.
"But… wait. I've been seeing you practically my whole life! Why have you been watching me?"
"Do you remember that car accident you were in when you were five? You were supposed to die then, and I was there to take you. But something happened and you didn't. You've fascinated me ever since, for that and other reasons. In fact, you were the reason I finally called in my favor. You see, I didn't want to be an Angel of Death, especially one for children. It's… horrible, to be constantly crossing children over. It slowly eats away at you, so I made a deal."
"What was the deal?" she asked, although she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to know the answer.
"I would do it, be this Angel of Death, until I found my soulmate. And when she died, I could stop this and stay in Neverland with her."
He looked at her then, his grey eyes piercing through her. The intensity of his gaze frightened her slightly until she realized that she shouldn't be afraid.
"Soulmate. I recognized you right away. Now that you are dead, I can cease being an Angel of Death and stay here. With you."
His last words held a hint of uncertainty, as if he was worried that she might reject him. She looked at him closely, this boy that was so like Sirius, but yet so unlike him at the same time. It was a lot to process, learning that you were not only dead, but in this Neverland with your soulmate. But at this point, what did she have to lose?
"I think I'd like that."
She couldn't help smiling at the large grin that appeared on his face. He held out his hand, and she wound her fingers around his.
After all, what was death but just the next great adventure?
Written for The Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition
Prompt: Peter Pan
AN: There is a theory that Peter Pan was really an angel of death and the reason the children didn't age was because they were all dead. This is what I based my fic on.
Thanks to Jordi and Emily for the look-over!