Chapter 8 : Hurting Him Once Again
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Sirius stood in front of her with worriment, but yet an ounce of excitement, etched across his face.
“What do you remember?” He asked, hoping for the answer that eluded him for years. Hermione looked into his grey eyes and saw the love that burned for her, the love she knew was there all along but was forced to forget.
“Us. I remember us,” she spoke, her mouth dry. Swallowing, looking for some kind of moisture since it was all dripping from all the other crevices of her body, she closed her eyes to rid the look on Sirius’s face, to try to think clearly. Instead, all she saw were memories of the two of them together. Early evening walks across the Hogwarts lawn with the sun slowly setting and deep hues of reds, oranges, and yellows were across the lower sky; cuddling on the couch in the common room, sitting in complete contempt and solitude during the late hours of the night.
“You really remember us?” Sirius asked, just to make sure his dreams were finally coming true. His low but tender voice popped Hermione’s eyes open.
“We were in love,” she responded, finally finding some form of moisture as she fought back tears, not wanting to cry because she was too scared of what might happen if she gave in to these feelings.
“Madly in love,” he replied, taking a step closer to her.
“Sirius,” she looked into his piercing eyes again, knowing she shouldn’t because of his captivating stare. “I…we…I…,” nothing was coming out because she did not know what to say. For the first time in a long time words avoided her. Her mind was blank. All she knew was that she could not stand in front of Sirius, she could not look at him. Before she knew it her feet were carrying her past Lily, James, Remus, and the others as she ran to her room, leaving a very stunned and bewildered Sirius behind.
Quickly, James ran over to his best friend, grabbed his shoulders and asked, “Did she remember?”
“Yes” Sirius said gloomily, hanging his head down as Remus and the others joined.
“She is probably shocked and confused, that all this time she loved you but didn’t remember,” Remus stated. Lily ran over and slowly rubbed Sirius’s arms, trying to calm him down.
“At least she didn’t slap you, so she still likes you” James quipped.
“I’m going to slap you!” Sirius yelled as he took a step towards his best friend, anger now clearly stretched across his face. “You wouldn’t think this was funny if it was happening to you!”
Before anything could happen, Lily quickly stepped between the two, concerned more for Sirius than her ego-deflated boyfriend.
“Sirius, want me to go see if she is up in the dormitory?” She asked with sympathy.
“Yes, please. I need to know she is going to be okay.”
“Hermione?” Lily asked into the darken room, but she did not need to wait for an answer as all she heard was loud, heartbreaking sobs coming from Hermione’s bed.
“Oh Hermione, it’s going to be okay!” Lily ran over to the bed, lighting the candles on the way, and gently started rubbing Hermione’s back.
Hermione slowly lifted her head off the tear stained pillow, stared at Lily with swollen, puffy, and heavy eyes as she cried, “No it’s not. I loved Sirius all this time and I couldn’t remember!”
“But you remember now!” Lily emphasized. Dying to know the answer, she ventured on to ask, “Do you love Sirius?”
Hermione hesitated. If she admitted her true feelings, then she would be forced to pick a world. At this point, she wasn’t ready to commit to leaving one and joining the other. However, Hermione thought on the other hand that if she confided in Lily then maybe the decision would become easier. Wiping her tear stained face, Hermione took a deep breath and confessed her thoughts. “Yes, I do! Oh Lily, I really do and I feel like such a fool for not knowing. I know I wasn’t allowed to know about our love, but all I can feel is pain right now because I have to make the biggest decision of my life. I don’t want to make this decision Lily, I can’t pick.”
“You have to Hermione. The love Sirius and you shared was an amazing, powerful love, and it made James and I come together. You belong here! You were born and raised in this time period!”
“You don’t know what I went through in the future though! You don’t know what is happening there, what my life is like there!” Hermione immediately thought of Harry and the pain he must be going through, not knowing where she went or what was happening to her. How could she leave Harry, the love of her life in the other world? But on the other hand, how could she leave Sirius, the love of her life in this world?
“No, I don’t. But I know what your REAL life was like!”
“How can I give up a life I know for a life I don’t know?”
“It is a risk you have to take. Hermione, listen to me. My years here at Hogwarts have been the best, and they have been the best because of James, Sirius, Remus, and YOU! You were a part of our group. I know, even if you have to search for it, you can see the great times we had together. And I know for a fact you can vividly see the moments you and Sirius shared. But the moments you can’t see, the memories that have been burned into my mind, are the one without you in them. My life changed the moment you went to the future, because not only did I lose my best friend, but every single day all I saw was a gloomy and deeply depressed Sirius. Underneath Sirius knew you had to do this, that you had to go for your safety, but he missed you so much. Sirius wasn’t the same without you, and that affected all of us. We couldn’t be cheerful because a part of us was missing. This went on for years, and then you finally come back and Sirius is a changed man. You put life into him. I know it’s scary, but Hermione, you have to pick, and I hope beyond hope that you pick us.” Tears were falling freely from Lily’s face by this point. Sitting up, Hermione reached over and pulled Lily into a hug, a hug that radiated thanks because Lily finally gave Hermione motivation to remember everything.
“I don’t remember everything that has happened here, and I can’t make a decision not knowing all the details. Everyone will be waiting even more impatiently for an answer now, so I need to go figure this out. I’ve abandoned my search when Sirius and I started become closer, so I need to finish it Lily.”
“Please don’t be sad Lily. I understand how hard this is for you too, but you need to let me remember everything first so I can really choose. You really helped. You gave this time a good push over the other, so please stop crying.” Lily gave half a chuckle and nodded her head in agreement. Hermione looked into Lily’s eyes and she saw Harry, the other boy she loved. Feeling a tug at her heart, Hermione quickly picked up a few of her things and left for the library, knowing that it would be open for her. Hermione needed to remember, and soon, because loving two people at the same time was painfully excruciating, and while deep down she truly knew which one she loved more, to the rationally minded Hermione, she also needed to know which world would be safer to live in.
Racing through the halls in record time, Hermione slowly opened the door to the library that was unlocked. She somehow knew Dumbledore left it open for her, but what she didn’t know was that he made her job a whole lot easier. Hermione walked towards the closest table, and there stacked neatly in piles were the history books, newspaper clippings, and other materials Hermione needed. Taking a seat, Hermione cautiously took the first book from the pile, a large leather book titled Dark History. Lifting the cover and flipping the first few pages of heavy parchment, Hermione finally entered her time, her world.
She was enthralled. The more she read the more obscure things she remembered. Everything came rushing back to her like water coming out of a faucet. The things she remembered! The things she had forgotten! Inalgo was a fierce wizard and extremely power hungry, and here, in these very books, it stated her family! Her family, the Granger family, were known enemies of Inalgo, and it clearly stated how he was after them. The destruction Inalgo brought. Towns and cities burned. Houses blown up. People blown up! Hermione sped through the books, remembering life before Inalgo, and how happy she really was. But then this dark wizard came into her life and she remembered that moment she heard his name and how goose bumps rose to the top of her skin. She remembered her family fighting against his supporters, people who wanted a new system of laws, and how she had dreaded for their lives. She had never been more scared in her life, knowing her parents were out fighting against these cruel people.
Hermione picked up the newspaper clippings, and her eyes instantly found her surname Granger on the page. It was an obituary for her grandfather. Her grandfather! Oh, how the memories came flooding back to Hermione. Tears flowed from her eyes but she was too occupied to push them away. She could clearly remember…Hermione had gone out for a walk, something she wasn’t allowed to do often because of the danger, but she had gone out nonetheless because she needed to clear her head. As she walked in the front door all she saw was her mother, on the floor, bawling her eyes out. She ran over, her mother grabbed her in a hug and said that her ‘Pop Pop’ had been killed by Inalgo himself. The pain and anger she felt. The desperate need to cling to her mother and to make it all go away. It was then that her mother told her that the family needed to hide, needed to protect themselves. That was the beginning of Hermione’s fight to stay alive. Her family traveled to a new house, a new location every four days until she went off to Hogwarts, where she would be safe. However, her parents were in mortal danger and they couldn’t keep hoping around. It was at this point, just after Christmas, that Hermione left through Dumbledore’s office.
Shutting the book, tears streaming down her face, Hermione forcefully pushed the contents of the table on the floor. Hermione was a complete mess on the outside, with her hair disheveled and her face red with emotion. However, inside, Hermione felt nothing. Numb from the realization of how awful this time period was. She slowly stood up, wobbled on her two feet for a moment, and somehow found the strength to retreat to the common room.
The walk was horrifically slow. With each step she took pain took over. The numbness she felt was gone. Hermione couldn’t comprehend the situation. When she was with Harry, she understood Harry’s situation. Maybe because she was naïve to the fact that she was solely the sidekick, but she had a clear and rational train of thought. However, now that her family and her life were on the line she was like a chicken with its head cut off. One of the memories that stuck clearly in her mind was when she left Sirius to go to the future. Sirius was on his knees, hands covering his face, crying because of her departure. If she stayed her with Sirius, would she live? However, if she went back to the future, would she be happy?
She reached the portrait, said the password “Bubotuber”, step in and saw four figures sitting on the couches. She knew who they were, and immediately they stood up and ran over to the stunned and vacant Hermione who stopped in her tracks.
‘Merlin, are you okay?” Sirius quickly ran over to his love but stops a few steps away when he sees how broken she looks.
Hermione looked at him and a gut wrenching pain overtook her. She longed for him, knew he was the love of her life, but at the same time she didn’t know if she could come back to this world where her family was in such danger. Could she put her family through all of that? But was her love for Harry strong enough to make her happy in the future?
“I…can’t….,” Hermione somehow whispered.
“Hermione?” Remus asked, staring at her intently. Lily was crying softly as James held her.
Her head was spinning a mile a minute. The pain was becoming too much. Hermione needed to decide which was more important, her family or the love of her life, a man, if she lives, she knows she will spend the rest of her life with.
It all became too much. Hermione’s eyes slowly rolled into her head and the last thing she saw was the look of complete apprehension on Sirius’s face. She was hurting him once again, was her last thought, before she passed out.