Hermione went to the rest of her classes that day and found that Defense Against the Dark Arts was the only one that she had to worry about so far. But now, as her classes were over and Hermione was back in the common room, she had to get back to attending to Sirius. Though, of course, it was easier said than done –especially since she hadn’t a clue as to where to find him. Yet, as she sat curled up on the sofa with a book, waiting and hoping for anyone of the group to come down from the dormitories or walk in from the portrait hole, Hermione’s prayers had finally been answered.
“Some green eyes and red hair, and I’d swear you were Lily.” Remus said as he sat down next to her. More than half the day was gone, and Remus had certainly looked much better than he had that morning. The hideous glasses were gone, and he was finally wearing pants that didn’t show his ankles.
Hermione decided to comment on this politely and say, “I take it that you’re not sick anymore.” He looked down at his clothes and then laughed. Remus shook his head and placed his hands behind it, taking a casual pose.
“No, not anymore… What sort of classes has Head Master Dumbledore put you into?”
“Um…these,” Hermione said as she handed him her schedule that was sticking half up out of her bag. Remus took a quick look at it, eyes widened, and a smile on his face.
“Oh, you’re a smart one then.” He grinned. “All advanced courses. My schedule would’ve looked a lot more like yours if I wasn’t so tied up in James and Sirius’ antics.”
“You don’t seem much like them.”
“And I’m not.” Remus admitted. “But I guess that’s why I fit in so well. I balance those two jokesters out. Well, me and Peter, that is. Have you met Peter?”
Hermione shook her head no, and she didn’t want to meet him. Peter Pettigrew was the reason that Harry didn’t have his parents and the reason why Sirius ended up in Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit. She hated Pettigrew, and if she didn’t have such a good control over her composure, he might have just met his end in 1977 in order to save many people future pain.
“So, other than Lily and the rest of us, have you met other people yet? –Sorry for all of the questions. I’ve got a bit of an inquisitive nature.”
“It’s alright. I don’t mind answering them.” Hermione told him. “And no, I haven’t quite met anyone else. I’m not that much of a fast friend-maker.” Her thoughts shifted over to her Defense Against the Dark Arts class, and she had to shake off a shiver. It was then that she decided to ask, very subtly, “…Why do the Slytherins hate Gryffindors so much?”
“Why would you ask that?”
“Because I met one today, and she said a few things that weren’t that complimentary. Not about me, but just Gryffindors in general. Bellatrix, I think her name was.”
“You shouldn’t talk to her.” Remus said simply. He rubbed his hands together as if trying to get warmth and reiterated, “Stay away from her. She’s not good company to have in the slightest.”
“You make her sound like she’s an evil person or something.”
“She is. Bellatrix is a Black. All Blacks are…well, not all of them-”
Remus’ words were cut short. Hermione looked up to the reason why and saw that James and Lily had walked into the room. Quickly following up the rear was Sirius twirling his wand in his left hand, and very last was Peter –short, stocky, and looked even more disheveled than Remus had that morning.
“Ah, there you are Remus.” James said as he let go of Lily to sit in an armchair. “We’ve been looking all over hell for you. But I see you had a good reason keeping you.” He smirked at Hermione. “How are you Jean? Finding everything alright? I remember when I was a first year and I got lost.”
“I remember that.” Sirius said as he laughed. “I found you, and we both served our fist detention together because our professors thought we’d been ditching.”
“But you were ditching,” Lily reminded.
“Eh, ditching…taking a really long time to find my class... What’s the difference? –Oh, Peter, this is Jean, transfer from Beauxbatons, which I have to admit Jean is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Trading in Beauxbatons for Hogwarts? Where’s the attraction?”
“Men,” Both Hermione and Lily said in unison. The two girls looked at each other and then laughed heartily; making the four boys in the room snicker and shake their heads out of amusement.
“No, but honestly, I just wanted a change for my last year.” Hermione said, and then boldly added, “And besides, the surrounding area of Beauxbatons isn’t quite safe anymore. There’ve been, well, disappearances.”
A small silence swept through them all. The disappearances were Voldemort's doing. Everyone knew that something was going on out there, but no one knew exactly what. And therefore all there was were just rumors and stories. A neighbor of someone would say, “Jeremy’s been acting so odd lately,” or “I haven’t seen Aaron in weeks” and Jeremy and Aaron would never be seen again unless it was under a Death Eater mask when the first raid took place.
“Well, for whatever reason you came, it’s a good thing you met us first.” James said with a smile, and then he grew serious as he added, “There’re a few people here that you should be aware of.”
“She’s already met one of them.” Remus said as he looked at Sirius. “Bellatrix,”
Sirius, who had been preoccupied with his wand, nearly dropped it. He caught it quickly with the tips of his fingers and then looked at Hermione. He took a small swallow and said, “So you met Bellatrix, huh? She’s a right piece of work. I hope to Merlin you saw her in the corridors and not in a class.”
“Actually it was in class,” Hermione told him. “Defense Against the Dark Arts,”
“Of all the bloody classes,” James began laughing. “Poor Jean’s going to end up in the infirmary if she gets paired up in a duel with old Bella.”
“James, don’t say that!” Lily reprimanded. “He doesn’t mean that.” She added to Hermione. “Do you, James?”
“Well, of course I mean it. Sorry, Jean, but I’ve got to be honest. I hope you can duel.”
“I’m pretty good with a wand, I’d say.”
“Should be if you’ve got all advanced classes.” Remus remarked. “Along with Lily I’m sure the two of you could teach us a few things.”
“Humph, I’ve been trying for a year now, and it’s not worth it.” Lily said with a laugh, and soon everyone was joining in. The only person who wasn’t laughing was Sirius who seemed to be thinking. The five of them continued on talking well into the night. When it was time to get some sleep and Hermione was heading upstairs, Sirius called her back down.
“Here,” He said as he handed her a folded piece of parchment. “Read it and memorize everything there.”
“What is it exactly-?”
“Bellatrix is sneaky.” Sirius interrupted and sighed. “If you ever, ever, duel with her, remember that. Good night.”
Hermione watched Sirius leave her and head upstairs to the boys dormitory. Even as an adult, she had never seen Sirius look that nervous and…well…scared. She opened up the bit of parchment that he gave her and looked at it. It was a list. It was a list of names: Bellatrix Black, Regulus Black, Narcissa Black, and Lucius Malfoy. At the end of the list, Sirius had written, “Stay away from them all.” Hermione glanced up at the boys’ dormitories and frowned.
He was worried. He was worried about her. For the most part she wasn’t as scared as he was. Knowing them as adults and now as teenagers didn’t evoke any more or any less fear than she already had. Hermione knew what they’d be like in the years to come, and knowing that they were so young with very little resources almost made her feel safer. What she wanted to know now was what they were doing at this precise moment that had Sirius so concerned for her safety.
Sighing, that was another thought, and another conversation, for another day. Hermione was tired and had class first thing in the morning.
There was a knock on Hermione’s door when she was getting ready to leave for breakfast the next morning. When she opened it, she smiled, seeing that it was Lily who thought that they should walk down to breakfast together. “It’s so good not to be the only girl anymore.” She laughed, and Hermione could relate. Having Harry and Ron for best friends weren’t exactly a good substitute. Sure there was Ginny, but with her being a year younger, it was always a rarity to see her unless it was in the Great Hall, common room, or on the weekends.
“Oh, Peter’s coming along too.”
Hermione suppressed a groan and instead nodded. She really shouldn’t have held such prejudices against Pettigrew. He hadn’t done anything wrong yet, and it wouldn’t be for a few years before he would. But that didn’t stop her from wanting to scowl when she saw the pudgy seventeen-year-old going down the stairs to meet them.
“Hello, Jean.” Peter said with a smile. Hermione bit her tongue and said her good mornings as the three of them headed down to the Great Hall. “They probably won’t show up for breakfast at all.” He said to Lily as they sat down at the Gryffindor table. Hermione took “they” to mean James, Sirius, and Remus, and she watched Lily roll her eyes.
“And what mischief are they getting into this morning?”
“Turning a classroom upside down,” Peter grinned. “Everything right up to the ceiling…”
“They’re going to get into so much trouble for that!” Lily brooded. Hermione stuffed a bit of food into her mouth to control her pending laughter.
“Not that much trouble –there’s a time limit on it. The classroom will be back to normal in a few hours.”
“Oh yeah, like that makes it all better,”
“How come you’re not giving them a hand?” Hermione asked Peter. He shrugged his shoulders and played with the food on his plate.
“Peter is the good one.” Lily smiled. “I thought Remus was one too, but I guess it’s the wolf in him.”
Lily put a hand to her mouth and looked up at Hermione immediately. Peter’s eyes were wide and he was giving her an oh-no-you-blabbed look. She removed her hand and looked sincerely apologetic.
“I shouldn’t have said that. Please don’t tell anyone.”
“I won’t.” Hermione said. “I knew when I saw him anyway. I’ve done a bit of reading on, well, you know, and the signs were there. It’s okay. The secret is safe with me.”
True to what Peter said, James, Sirius, and Remus didn’t show up for breakfast. Lily said that they’d all be starving by the time lunch hit and it would serve them right. “I mean they’re seventeen for Merlin’s sake.” She was saying as the three of them began to part their ways (for they all had separate classes). “And they’re all going to be eighteen before the school year’s out. Oh well, I guess it’s good that they get it out of their systems now.”
Hermione nodded and said that she’d see them later. As she got off a moving staircase, she saw Sirius coming her way with a triumphant smile on his face. He looked so smug and full of himself that just for that moment she could’ve sworn that she was staring at Malfoy. Though, it would have made sense. Malfoy’s mother was Bellatrix’s sister, and Bellatrix was Sirius’ cousin which made Narcissa his cousin as well. They were both related, so why shouldn’t Malfoy inherit some portion of Sirius’ genes?
“Through with your escapades..?” Hermione asked as Sirius came up to her. He nodded and smiled.
“And it’s bloody brilliant too. Going to class?”
“Yes, and well, shouldn’t you be doing the same?”
“I should, but missing one day won’t kill me.” Sirius told her, and then offered to walk her to the other side of the castle. “And what class exactly am I walking you to?”
“Defense Against the Dark Arts,”
“Advanced Defense Against the Dark Arts as Remus so pointed out last night. You’re a bit of a smarty, aren’t you?”
“I’d rather the term perfectionist.” Hermione said with a grin. Sirius grinned too and conceded, repeating the word “perfectionist” under his breath.
“…Did you look at the list I gave you?”
“I did… But I don’t understand it.”
“What’s there to understand?” Sirius asked her. “It had four names on it and a warning. That’s it. What’s confusing about it?”
“What’s confusing is why I need to stay away from them. You can’t tell me to do something without a reason.”
“Just know that they’re not good people, okay? Promise me to keep from them, Jean. And for the love of Merlin, avoid being Bellatrix’s dueling partner as best as you can.”
Hermione didn’t know what to do. Sirius was getting defensive, and if she asked anymore questions she was sure that she’d get nowhere. So, instead of prying further, she said that she’d do what he said, and Sirius was content with that. He continued to walk with her all the way to her class until he spotted Bellatrix from the corner of his eye. Sirius then told her that he’d see her later on that day, and Hermione said alright, pretending not to notice his sudden change in demeanor.
As she watched him take off down the corridor, Hermione just had to figure out what was going on with him. It obviously had to do with Bellatrix, Narcissa, Regulus, and Lucius, but Sirius wasn’t going to tell her. Sighing, she figured that she’d have to ask the devils themselves.
author's note:another chap, yey!! i honestly think james is too cute for words. and im sure some of you would love the sirus ~ draco reference lol. and i know you probably noticed that i changed hermione's middle name after being informed that it was jean instead of jane haha... two "J"-names, i was close! lol
hope that you like the chap. dont forget to leave a review!!