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Embracing the Madness by wolfgirl17
Chapter 4 : Crookshanks Knows Best
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4

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 “Sirius Black, what do you think you are doing?” Professor McGonagall demanded angrily.

 Hermione glanced across at Sirius to see him swinging on his chair so far back that he was in danger of having it topple over backwards. He was also casually flicking his wand at the rabbit on his desk and transfiguring it from a rabbit to an array of inanimate objects and back again with each lazy wave. He didn’t even look to be paying attention to the animal he kept transfiguring. He looked like he was lost in thought or daydreaming even while he kept flicking his wand and swinging on his chair.


 “Huh?” Sirius asked her, his eyes still not entirely focused despite the thin lipped professor glaring down at him formidably from in front of his desk.


 “Mr. Black what do you think you’re doing to this rabbit? I asked you to transfigure it into a watering can, not a wash basin.” Professor McGonagall hissed at him.


 Hermione almost giggled when Sirius didn’t even lower all four legs of his chair back to the ground.


 “Relax Minnie. I got bored with the watering can” Sirius told her with his most charming smirk as he flicked his wand at the rabbit and turned it into the watering can like he was supposed to.


 Professor McGonagall scowled at him. “Stop swinging on your chair or you’ll be on detention again Mr Black.” She snapped at him before glancing at Hermione sitting next to Sirius. She had successfully transfigured the kitten on her desk into a cane basket and back again several times, but unlike Sirius, Hermione hadn’t switched to transfiguring the poor thing into all kinds of objects. Instead she had taken to teasing it with a ribbon she had found in the pocket of her robes.


 “Miss Peverell, these animals are not merely here for playing with” Professor McGonagall snapped at her, turning her irritation at Sirius on the rest of the class.


 “Sorry professor. It’s just that the poor kitten began to look rather befuddled after the fifth time I successfully transfigured it into a cane basket and back again. I thought I’d give him a break.” Hermione said apologetically.


 “You have also completed the spell successfully?” She demanded, sounding very irritated now.


 “Yes Professor.” Hermione replied, quickly transfiguring the kitten.
Professor McGonagall studied the cane basket in front of her for a moment.


 “Very well, five points to Gryffindor for each of you. Clearly the two of you are far too clever for your own good. Get out of my sight, the homework this evening is to read the fifth chapter of your prescribed textbook. Now go. I won’t have you disturbing the other students. Take Mr. Black with you” Professor McGonagall said sounding irritated but nonetheless impressed by their skill.


 Sirius’s chair legs hit the ground with a loud thud as he leapt to his feet beaming widely. He stood next to their desk with his bag slung over his shoulder smirking at the irritated expression of the other students while he waited for Hermione.


 Hermione almost choked on her tongue when he held the door for her like a true gentleman as they exited the classroom.


 “Gifted at Transfiguration eh Peverell?” Sirius asked her as they wandered off down the hallway together. Hermione glanced sideways to find him smirking at her wickedly.


 His long black hair hung around his shoulders, framing his handsome face nicely and Hermione couldn’t help but smile at him.


 “Not as gifted as you apparently” She told him, though she was referring to the fact that he was a seventeen year old animagus, rather than the fact the he had lazily been transfiguring things in the classroom.


 “Don’t be modest Peverell; even Evans doesn’t get early marks from Minnie with me” He told her, still grinning.


 “What are your plans for the weekend Sirius?” Hermione asked him as they climbed the stairs towards Gryffindor tower. Transfiguration had been their last class for the day, and the early mark was a nice bonus.


 “Not really sure” Sirius said, frowning slightly and rubbing the back of his neck subconsciously. “I’m fairly certain that Remus is going home this afternoon or tomorrow. His grandmother isn’t well. But James and I have the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw tomorrow morning. Will you come and watch us play?” he asked her, glancing sideways.


 Hermione smiled at him. It seemed that after this morning, when she had admonished both James and Sirius they had forgiven her for being bossy, and they hadn’t said anything nasty to Snape all day. Hermione had been trying not to think about the incident this morning in Potions. Mostly because every time she thought about how it felt to have Sirius’s arms wrapped around her waist and him murmuring into her ear, her stomach began an exciting gymnastics routine that made her feel funny all over.


 “Sure. I won’t have anything better to do.” Hermione told him as they entered the Common room. She watched Sirius as he sauntered over to the armchairs and flopped down into the one by the fire. He grinned at Hermione when she sat down opposite him.


 “So about this morning...” Hermione began softly. Merlin he looked good when he smiled at her sweetly like that. “I’m sorry for ordering you and James around” She told him.


 Sirius grinned at her.


 “Don’t worry about it ‘Mione. You were right about some of it. The whole thing started in second year I think. James developed his crush on Evans and at the time Evans and Snivellus were best friends, despite being in different houses. I think it was just pure jealousy the first time we pranked him. James’s idea of course. I thought it would be a one-time thing, but when Evans found out about it she went barmy at James. And what twelve year old doesn’t make the connection that even negative attention is still attention. Every time we pranked Snivellus or jinxed him, Evans would lose her nut at James and me, and James loved the attention. It’s a little pathetic at times how bad he has it for that little red-head” Sirius said.


 “He does seem to have it bad for her” Hermione commented.


 “Yeah, problem is, three years of intense hatred hasn’t exactly inspired Evans to fall for him” Sirius told her.


 “Oh I don’t know. She hasn’t yelled at him all week while I’ve been here.”


 Sirius laughed “Give it time.”


 “Actually...” Hermione began. Sirius glanced at her when he noted her serious tone

 “Well, I mean, maybe I was just being a little paranoid, but I’ve noticed that whenever I chat to James, Lily throws me these odd looks. Like maybe she’s jealous or worried that he has stopped liking her or something.”


 Sirius sat up suddenly, focusing on her completely.


 “You think she secretly fancies him or at least his attention and thinks you’re a threat?” Sirius asked her seriously.


 “I think she might” Hermione told him. She was messing with fate and she knew it. But Merlin, Lily and James were destined to be together. If they needed a little shove to get together she was more than willing to push them.


 “Peverell I think you might just be the best thing that happened to this school since I arrived” Sirius told her, winking at her. “I’ve got to tell James. If Evans might fancy him, he will definitely ask her to Hogsmede next weekend.” Sirius said. He even sounded genuinely excited for his friend and Hermione couldn’t help smiling at him.


 “Speaking of which....” Sirius said, looking her right in the eye. Hermione felt like a fox cornered by the hunting dogs, completely trapped in the grey of his eyes. “Has anyone asked you to go with them next weekend?” Sirius asked her.


 Hermione watched him warily but shook her head.


 Sirius smiled widely at her and Hermione watched his nostrils flare wide as he sniffed the air. She was only sitting a metre or so away from him and Hermione wondered if he could smell her wildflower perfume and rosewater scented skin.


 “You know Peverell” he murmured softly leaning towards Hermione until he was on the edge of his seat and practically in her personal space again “This morning you were talking to Remus about knowing who it was that smelled like the scents you could smell coming off the potion. That it was someone from Hogwarts. Who have you been close enough to that you know what they smell like?” he asked her.


 His voice was almost mesmerizing as he held her gaze and smiled at her so sweetly. Hermione could distantly hear her brain telling her that it wasn’t right for her to develop a crush on Sirius Black. He was her best friend’s godfather. He went to Azkaban. He was a complete dog concerning women, playing with their hearts to get them to do things with him that many of them no doubt regretted. His family was terrifyingly affiliated with Voldemort and his mother was completely insane.


 Yet he was also incredibly handsome, and loyal and funny and charming and sweet. And his face was less than a foot from hers as he peered at her, trying to read her expression. Sweet Merlin help her, she, Hermione Granger/Peverell had a crush on Sirius Black.


 “Wouldn’t you like to know?” She murmured coyly. Oh Merlin she was flirting with him. Sirius’s wicked smirk told her that he knew it too.


 “Yeah I would” He told her, moving even closer to her. Hermione could smell his sweet scent, leather and diesel and mown grass and freshly cut timber. Merlin he smelled good.


 “Why would I tell you Sirius?” She murmured softly.


 “Why wouldn’t you?” he countered, smiling enigmatically.


 “You’ll tell everyone” She whispered softly.


 “I can keep a secret ‘Mione. Better than anyone.” He told her he kept moving closer to her. His face was less than three inches from hers now. Hermione could count the freckles on his nose. He had seven.


 Hermione scoffed at him. “Yeah, I’m sure Tina Feldman thinks so” Hermione murmured. Apparently Tina was the last girl Sirius had charmed out of her robes, and he’d told James and Remus all about it.


 “I only brag to James and Remus and Peter” He countered.


 “I’m not telling you Sirius. I know you. You’ll never stop laughing at me and taking the mickey” Hermione said, smiling at him.


 “Oh come one ‘Mione. I promise I wouldn’t tell a soul.” He said, smiling imploringly. He was really cute when he smiled like that. “And if you don’t tell me then I’m going to tell everyone you’ve got a crush on Snivellus.” Sirius told her, smiling triumphantly.
Hermione narrowed her eyes on him.


 “You wouldn’t dare!” she said darkly.


 “Try me, love” he said wickedly. He knew he’d won. Nasty blackmailer.


 “You are the worst Sirius Black” She growled at him softly.


 “I know love, but people like me this way.”


 “What are you two discussing with such intensity?” Remus’s voice interrupted them. Hermione jumped a foot in the air and leaned back from Sirius. Merlin she had been staring at his lips and everything. Hermione realised something terrible. She had wanted to kiss Sirius just now.


 “’Mione was just about to tell me who she’s been close enough to in Hogwarts that she knows it was their scent she smelled this morning in the dungeons” Sirius told Remus and James. In spite of Hermione having moved back, he was still leaning towards her and still wore that wicked grin, he was still invading her personal space too.


 “Who’ve you got the hots for then Peverell?” James asked her as he plopped down into the vacant seat next to her on the couch and slung an arm around her shoulders. Hermione smiled. James smelled like soap and earth and chocolate.


 And as he slung his arm around her, Hermione watched Lily Evans walk into the Common room. Her eyes narrowed to slits when she saw James’s arm around Hermione. Sirius was still inches away from her face and Remus had taken a seat on the arm of Sirius’s armchair and was also leaning in to catch Hermione’s answer.


 “Lily...”Hermione murmured, her eyes searching the face of the angry looking red head.


 “Whoa up there, Peverell” James said sternly “First of all Evans doesn’t smell like any of the things you mentioned this morning and...” James must have realised Hermione wasn’t listening, because he broke off and followed her gaze to where Lily was stalking slowly towards the stairs, her green eyes angry slits, fixed on James’s arm around Hermione.


 “Evans!” James practically yelped with excitement when he saw her and his arm slid off Hermione’s shoulders as he leapt to his feet while his hand jumped to his messy black hair. Hermione couldn’t help smirking when he ruffled his hair up. Of course smirking wasn’t the best idea because Lily was practically snarling and no doubt thought Hermione was gloating.


 “Hey Evans. You want to come to Hogsmede with me next weekend?” James asked her. Sirius snickered when he saw Hermione roll her eyes at his excitement.


 “Potter, in what universe would I ever agree to go on a date with you?” Lily snapped nastily before flicking her hair and turning up her nose, completely ignoring James.


 “I’m hoping this one” James murmured as he sat back down while Lily stormed off up the steps to the girls’ dormitory.


 “Probably not the best time to ask her mate” Sirius told him. Hermione glanced at James and saw that he looked rather crestfallen. The poor bloke really had it bad for her. “There’s no way she’ll agree when she sees you with your arm around another girl two seconds before you ask her. She’s far too jealous” Sirius said wiggling his eyebrows.


 “What do you mean she’s jealous?” James asked looking bewildered.


 “Oh mate, don’t be thick. As far as Evans is concerned, you’re hers. You’ve fancied the pants off her forever and while she may never admit it, she relies on you continuing to fancy her. If she thinks you are getting over her and falling for someone else she will be jealous” Sirius told James.


 “What are you talking about?” James asked.


 “‘Mione you tell him” Sirius said, giving her an impatient and slightly befuddled expression.


 Hermione sighed. “I hate getting tangled up in other peoples relationships. But I’ve noticed whenever I talk to James or laugh with James, that Lily gives me these odd looks, like she is trying to work out if I’m trying to steal your affections. She’s jealous of me because she thinks you might start to like me more than her” Hermione told the trio of boys


 “So I had an idea Prongs” Sirius said excitedly “If you pretend to stop fancying her, and stop asking her out and focus on someone else for a while, she’ll get jealous and miss the attention you’ve always given her and will eventually fall for you.”


 Hermione stared at Sirius for several minutes. It was the same idea that Hermione had come up with for Ginny when she wanted Harry to like her.


 “But then she’ll think I don’t like her” James said, clearly confused “And I do like her.”


 “Yes but if she doesn’t have to earn your affection, she doesn’t want it. You need to make her work for it and make her think that you’re worth fighting for, and worth liking. The best way to do that is to pretend you’ve forgotten about her and make her jealous. Although, I’m having no part of it. I’m sure she already dislikes me enough as it is” Hermione said.


 “She’s probably right James” Remus said softly.


 “Anyway, while you guys discuss who James can fixate on, I’m going to shower before dinner” Hermione told them, grabbing her bag and getting to her feet. She was almost at the steps when Sirius called out to her.


 “Peverell don’t think for a second that this gets you out of telling us who you’re keen on.”


 Hermione grinned deviously and waved at them before disappearing up the stairs.


 As soon as she got to her suite Hermione sighed wearily. Foolishly she had assumed that being in this time and being friends with the Marauders, rather than in her own and constantly needing to help Harry in his quest to defeat You-Know-Who, that her life would be less complicated. That when she didn’t have to tolerate watching the sickening displays of affection between Ron and his tart, she would be able to enjoy an uncomplicated, easy lifestyle where her biggest problems would be making sure her grades were perfect and that she had friends to talk to.


 Instead, her life was almost as complicated as it had been in her own time. She had developed a crush on one of her friends, sadly the one most likely to obliviously crush her heart. Harry’s future mother was convinced that Hermione was trying to steal James away and subconsciously jealous, limiting her friendship with other girls even further as Lily was popular among the sixth year girls. Hermione also knew spells from her own time that had yet to be discovered and therefore shouldn’t use in public. Her guardian was her Hogwarts Headmaster, masquerading to be her doting godfather. She had to remember constantly that her name was no longer Hermione Granger. She had even spent this week researching the Peverell family so that she could be sure to explain her fake lineage should anyone, namely James, ever ask her.


 Hermione had discovered in her research that James Potter was a direct descendant of Ingnotus Peverell, and therefore her fake extreme distant cousin removed who knew how many times. Luckily James hadn’t thought to ask her if they were related, but she had read over her lineage carefully so she could spout the information back at him if need be.


 Hermione dumped her bag on the floor by her trunk before flopping back onto her bed in exhaustion. Today had tried her. It was mentally draining to argue with one’s self in one’s own mind all day. And all day differing parts of her mind had been arguing with her, about Sirius Black of all things. On the one hand she realised based on the scents of the potion and the strange tingling feeling she got when he touched her that she seemed to have developed a crush on him. Hermione had accepted it that she clearly had to have developed one.


 Her mind had been arguing that she was an idiot for having done so and continued to present all sorts of reasons why it was unacceptable for her to have developed such a schoolgirl type crush on a bad boy. And he was a bad boy. Just this week James and Sirius had both been given detention on two separate occasions. The first time they had managed to transfigure all of the cushions being used in Defence Against the Dark Arts that were flying at the Slytherins into hedgehogs with cushion feet. They had then proceeded to magically hurl these hedgehogs at the Slytherins until one of them had embedded itself into Severus Snape’s forearm.


 The second occasion had been the same day, when the Slytherin students attempted to exact revenge by staring a duel with the Marauders. Hermione had been rather appalled by their behaviour. Even Remus, who was a prefect, had joined in as they hurled jinxes and hexes back and forth. Remus had ended up covered in blue slime. James had been hit by the same Jinx Hermione had once been on the receiving end of years before, causing his front teeth to rapidly enlarge. Sirius had ended up with singed hair, much to his horror and dismay. The Slytherins had the bad end of the deal. Teachers apparently found them all about a half hour later. The boys had hit them with body binding hexes, before inflicting them with a tickling jinx. And they did it in a deserted side corridor.


 Hermione had of course wanted to report them, but she was no longer a prefect at Hogwarts, and she didn’t exactly want to get her only friends in trouble by being a tattle-tale.


 Lying there on her soft bed Hermione felt like just going to sleep. She was so tired from learning her new life, as well as all her homework this week and the mental argument about liking Sirius. She couldn’t help smiling when a strange weight began to pad it’s way over her shoulder and chest before turning in a circle and curling up to rest on her stomach.


 “Hey there pretty boy” Hermione murmured to her orange kitten. Crookshanks began to purr and knead his front paws alternatively against her skin with unsheathed claws. It tickled, but Hermione felt comforted by his presence and the supportive way he got back up and padded over her until he could butt his head against her chin to make sure she was alright. Chuckling, Hermione stroked her adorable kitten thankfully. It felt nice to know she had Crookshanks. He was her only real link to her old life.


 Sighing again Hermione lifted Crookshanks off her chest and sat him on the bed before getting up again. The best thing about her suite was that she had a bathroom attached to it, all to herself. She had never liked having to share a bathroom with the other girls in her dormitory during her own time. And here she had her bathroom all to herself. It was a really nice one too. She had her own toilet, as well as a shower and a bath.


 Quickly undressing, Hermione climbed into the shower and tipped her head back happily as the warm water washed over her, washing away the stress and tension that had built in her muscles during the day. Hermione opened her eyes when she heard a sound from within the bathroom. She never bothered to close the bathroom door because the door to her suite was securely locked and even magic wouldn’t unlock it. Hermione smiled in relief when she saw it was only Crookshanks sitting on the tiles cleaning his face with his paw.


 Washing herself quickly Hermione climbed out and towelled herself dry, wrapping her wet hair in a separate towel. When she went to her trunk Hermione bit her lip for a moment. All week she had been dying to put her jeans on but had refrained because she wanted to fit into this time better. But she couldn’t resist now, not when she was only going to dinner and then spending the night studying. Smiling deviously


 Hermione pulled her jeans on before sighing happily at the familiar feel of the denim against her skin. Next she found a long sleeved woollen sweater to wear and unwound her wet hair from the towel. It was still fairly wet, and brushing it while it was wet was a nightmare of tangles. Instead she patted it into the style she wanted and left in hanging free down her back.


 “Crookshanks darling, do you think that you know your home is here? I think it might be time for you to meet my friends. Come on baby” Hermione said to her kitten


 Crookshanks leapt to his feet and joined Hermione at the door before following her down the stairs to the common room. When Hermione got there she took a second to admire her friends. James and Remus were chatting about something, and Sirius wasn’t there. Instead, a plump boy with sandy hair sat on the edge of his seat listening avidly to the conversation between James and Remus.


 Peter Pettigrew. It had to be. They wouldn’t tolerate anyone else.


 Very slowly Hermione walked towards the boys, wondering where Sirius had gotten to. Crookshanks stayed close to her feet. She didn’t have to wonder for long though, when she stopped again halfway towards them Sirius was right behind her. Hermione almost jumped when his dripping wet hair brushed her neck as he leaned in to whisper in her ear. She almost didn’t hear his words as her stomach began double back-flipping.


 “You know Peverell, now you smell like rosewater and wildflowers.” He told her softly before taking a deep breath in through his nose. Hermione shivered at his closeness.


 “And what was it you smelled this morning in potions?” she asked him softly, blushing slightly at the slight huskiness of her voice.


 “Rosewater and wildflowers and lilac and warm apple pie.” He murmured. Hermione shivered when Sirius’s warm hand touched her hip where her sweater had ridden up slightly, exposing a strip of creamy skin between her top and her jeans. His hair was still dripping wet and the droplets of water were slowly running over her chest and disappearing beneath her shirt from where his hair touched her neck as he spoke directly into her ear.


 “And what about you ‘Mione? What was it that you smelled?” he whispered, making Hermione jump when his soft lips touched her ear. Hermione’s tummy was going crazy with butterflies as they tried to get out. And she could hear her own pulse racing in her ears. She could even smell him as she opened her mouth to answer.


 “Leather and diesel and freshly mown grass and cut timer.” Hermione whispered back, turning her face closer to his where it hovered over her right shouldered.


 “And who do you know that smells like those things Hermione?” he whispered into her ear, his warm breath tickling the sensitive shell. Merlin his deep voice was mesmerizing. “Who have you been close enough to that you know they smell like that?”


 “Who’s always close enough to me because they invade my personal space?” Hermione murmured back, trying to keep her secret. Sirius chuckled darkly before sniffing her hair and stepping back from her. Hermione almost pouted when his warm hand slid away from her exposed skin. She narrowed her eyes on him when he stepped around her and gave her a knowing smile. Hermione followed him as he walked over to the others, noticing the way the denim jeans he wore cupped his butt.

 They were black denim, and he wore a black leather jacket over a white muggle band T-shirt.
His long black hair was still dripping wet, even as he shook it like a dog all over the plump blonde boy. Crookshanks was still hovering at her ankles as she stepped closer and closer to the boys, but when Sirius took a seat Crookshanks trotted forwards and leapt into his lap. Hermione smiled knowingly.


 “What is this?” Sirius asked confused, holding his hands out to the sides in surprise the same way one would at discovering a splatter of mud on their jeans.


 “It looks like a cat” James said.


 “But cats hate me now” Sirius said. He looked completely baffled.
Hermione giggled.


 “What are you laughing at Peverell?” he demanded. He’d moved his hands up as though trying to fend off the kitten even as Crookshanks settled himself on Sirius’s thigh and began to purr.


 “That is a cat. He’s mine. His name is Crookshanks” Hermione told him as she sat next to him and petted the kitten. Sirius smirked at the proximity of her hand to his thigh while she did so.


 “Err... are you sure he’s a real cat?” Remus asked her.


 “Of course he’s a real cat.” Hermione said smiling.


 “But all cats hate Sirius. They tend to avoid the whole group of us actually. Except me” James said. Hermione grinned. Naturally cats would hate Sirius and Remus for being dog and wolf, and Peter even more as a rat. James as a stag wouldn’t bother cats much.


 “Why do you suppose that is?” Hermione said sarcastically, rolling her eyes at Sirius. He looked at her oddly for a moment, clearly wondering if she knew their secret.


 “Yeah cats always hate us” Peter’s squeaky voice piped up.
Almost immediately Crookshanks’ fur stood on end and he arched his back, hissing wildly. Then he attacked. Leaping off Sirius, Crookshanks launched himself at Pettigrew’s face, scratching and yowling angrily.


 “Oh my!” Hermione said, secretly pleased with her kitten. She didn’t move right away either. Just watched for a minute or so as her cat attacked the plump boy.


 “’Mione, are you going to call him off?” James asked her, even as he gasped for breath. Next to her Sirius was barking with laughing, and Remus practically howled as he laughed while Pettigrew struggled weakly against the raging ball of orange anger.


 Merlin, they even laugh like the animals they turn into, Hermione thought as James began a sort of braying laugh.


 “Crookshanks!” Hermione said sternly.
The kitten froze, his claws sunk into the cheeks of Peter as he turned towards his mistress.


 “Leave that boy alone this minute” Hermione told him. She smiled happily when Crookshanks retracted his claws and dropped to the floor before leaping onto Sirius again and curling up on his leg.


 “What in Merlin’s name just happened?” Sirius said, still giving off barks of laughter.


 “I’m terribly sorry about that” Hermione said trying to pretend she meant it “I don’t even know your name, but I apologise for Crookshanks. He is actually particularly foul tempered with almost everything. The man at the shop had to wear dragon hide gloves just to touch his cage. He’s a devil to everyone but me most of the time” Hermione said.


 “Oh yeah, ‘Mione this is Peter Pettigrew. A friend of ours. He’s been in St. Mungo’s this last week. Nasty case of Spattergroit.” Sirius said, waving his hand towards Peter.


 “Oh, well, it’s meet you” Hermione said.
Peter’s face was covered in scratches and he was bleeding from several of them. He also looked like he was trying not to cry.


 “I’m terribly sorry about Crookshanks. He’s not usually that vicious. There must be something about you that he doesn’t like” Hermione told him.


 “I... I’m ok.” Peter squeaked. “I’ve never seen you before. What’s your name?” he asked her


 “Oh I’m Hermione Peverell. I’m a transfer student from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic.” She told him.


 “A transfer student?”


 “Yes. I transferred here because I now live with Albus, my Godfather.”


 “And you said you’re a Peverell?” he squeaked. Crookshanks opened his yellow eyes and hissed at him.


 “I did yes. My mother’s name was Peverell.” She answers.


 “Prongs, aren’t you a Peverell descendant?” Peter squeaked at James.


 “Yeah I think so. Mum’s mother was a Peverell before she married a Black and then Mum married Dad and had me. So yeah I guess I am. Does this mean we’re related?” James asked, turning towards Hermione.


 “Distant Cousins I suspect” Hermione told him. “My mother was a Peverell. And I never met my father. Mother told me he died when I was young, and they had never married.”


 “Well then welcome to the Family ‘Mione!” Sirius said clapping her on the shoulder.
Hermione raised her eyebrows and stared at him confused.


 “Padfoot you’re confusing her. You see Hermione, as well as being friends; Sirius here practically lives at my house. Every time we have holidays he comes and stays with me as soon as he can get away from his family” James explained


 “Yeah, my dear old Mum has never forgiven me for being sorted into Gryffindor and betraying the Ancient and Most Noble house of Black.” Sirius said bitterly “Plus, when we were young and foolish James and I became blood brothers” He added proudly.


 “I see” Hermione murmured. Blood bonds were dangerous because of the link they forged between people.


 “Don’t look so worried ‘Mione, we were eleven years old. We didn’t vow to die at the same time or anything” Sirius told her reassuringly. “It’s ok. Even if you’re James’s distant cousin, you’re not actually related to me” He whispered in her ear.


 “Come on, let’s go to dinner. I’m starved” Remus said. He was smirking slightly as he watched Hermione narrow her eyes on Sirius while he got to his feet.


 “Crookshanks” Hermione murmured as she scooped the kitten up off Sirius’s lap and held him in front of her face. “Dearest, I’m going to dinner now. You be a good boy and don’t go attacking anyone else ok. Explore for a bit and I’ll be back later” She told him softly before she set him on the cushion beside her that Sirius had vacated and took the hand he offered to help her to her feet.


 “Thank you” Hermione told Sirius before walking quickly to catch up with Remus.


 “So Sirius told me your grandmother’s not well?” she said softly. “That you’re going home to see her this weekend?”


 “Err yeah...” Remus said softly. Hermione smiled. It was clear that he felt uncomfortable lying to her but didn’t want to tell her he was actually a teenage werewolf. “Yeah she’s been sick for a while. I’ll be heading home tomorrow morning, until probably Monday” He told her, glancing anywhere but at her face.


 When they reached the Great Hall they all took their seats and filled Hermione in on their plan for James to get Lily’s attention. They had picked a pretty fifth year Hufflepuff girl as their target. According to Sirius, she was very pretty but also a particularly nasty piece of work with a few insidious blights to her name. Apparently she was particularly fond of spreading vicious rumours about her fellow students. Sirius felt that if they were going to lead on some poor girl to make Lily jealous they might as well pick someone who deserved to be on the receiving end of one of their pranks.


 Hermione had to say that this plan at least meant that they weren’t breaking the heart of a decent girl. After much urging on their part, James got up and wandered over to the Hufflepuff table and asked the girl to be his date to Hogwarts the following weekend.


 “So what’s the plan for the weekend?” Peter squeaked to Sirius.


 Sirius and Remus both gave him dark looks before glancing warily at Hermione. She pretended she wasn’t listening.


 “You already know Pete” Remus almost snarled at him.


 Hermione glanced sideways at the snarl in his tone. Remus looked a little pale this evening and Hermione wondered if maybe he felt the effects of the moon being so close to full. He had been a little edgy all day. She didn’t say anything though. Just took another bite of her apple pie desert. Hermione had been thinking though. Perhaps, being as she was stuck in this time and currently best friends with two animagus and a werewolf –Hermione would never count Peter as her friend- perhaps it might be an idea for her to research becoming an animagus herself. She had thought about it in her own time, but had always been so busy with Harry and Ron getting her into trouble that she never had time.


 “Well I think that this weekend I’m going to hole up and study” Hermione told them mildly.


 “Say ‘Mione, I forgot to ask you, was Evans rude to you when you went upstairs? She seemed particularly out of orts after she saw James with his arm around you” Sirius asked her.


 “When would she have been rude to me?” Hermione asked.


 “In your dormitory.”


 “Oh, um... I don’t actually live in the sixth year girls Dormitory” Hermione said.




 “Yes, well, you see. Because I actually live here at Hogwarts, I have my own suite. Sort of like the teachers do. I have my own room with a bed and study area and fire and bathroom attached.”


 “That would be cool.” Sirius said, looking impressed. “So it’s like having your own room at home, only you’re still at school.”


 Hermione nodded at him. Remus and Peter looked particularly impressed.


 “Pity it’s at the top of the girls stairs though. Otherwise it would make an excellent place to hang out while we plan our pranks.” Sirius said. His eyes were twinkling as he grinned at Hermione though, as though he could think of other ways to utilise the privacy of such a room.


 “And have you lot making my room smell bad. I don’t think so” Hermione teased. Remus gave her a gentle shove and Sirius fixed her a doubtful look.


 “Yes I’m sure you’d prefer the scents of the person you fancy filling the room wouldn’t you ‘Mione?” Sirius said wickedly. Hermione narrowed her eyes on him again. Surely her comment upstairs hadn’t tipped him off as to who it was that she liked. After all, James and Remus often invaded her personal space as well as Sirius. Maybe he had only worked out that she liked one of the Marauders.


 Hermione just smiled at him with a wicked little gleam in her eye and didn’t say a word.

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