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Embracing the Madness by wolfgirl17
Chapter 6 : Running Wild
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3


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In the all commotion of Gryffindor winning the Quidditch match, Hermione almost didn’t notice that Remus had disappeared. She wasn’t surprised. Especially when she realised that he must have disappeared when they were still in the dressing sheds, escaping to the loneliness and safety of the Shrieking Shack while his housemates and his best friends celebrated their victory.

 James and Sirius had provided butterbeer and a variety of tasty snack foods for the celebration as the party raged in the Gryffindor common room. Eventually they had been forced to migrate here from the sheds because the cold was making it impossible to enjoy anything. Now Hermione sat in the armchair by the fire in the common room sipping at a butterbeer and watching the clock. The game had finished around two o’clock this afternoon, and it was now almost eight and the moon was probably high. But James and Sirius especially seemed to be having trouble getting away from the party.

 

 Peter was flitting around James and Sirius indulging his pathetic hero worship, but she had noticed that he too kept glancing at the clock and back to his friends, no doubt wondering when they would leave to help their friend. Hermione wondered that too.

 

 The trouble seemed to be stemming from the fact that the majority of the team members also crowded around James and Sirius.

 

 Glancing around the common room and wondering how she could help her friends escape the crowd Hermione’s gaze landed on one person in particular that did not look to be enjoying the party. In fact as Hermione watched her from across the room, it was painfully obvious that Lily Evans looked utterly miserable. The other girls in sixth year had either gone to bed or were away from the common room or crowded around James and Sirius.

 

 But Lily was sitting on a table against the far wall. She had one leg stretched out straight in front of her and the other bent at the knee. Her elbow hooked over the top of her bent knee and a butterbeer hung loosely in her hand, the other hand rested on her thigh of her straight leg and she stared morosely at her lap. Her long red hair was pulled into a messy bun high up at the back of her head and she wore no make-up on her face. She wore an oversized t-shirt advertising the name of the muggle band ABBA and a pair of dark blue cotton flared pants.

 

 Watching her, Hermione couldn’t help but feel bad for her. Because as Hermione watched, Lily lifted her head and looked over at James. She seemed to be fighting the urge to curl her lip in disgust as James played with the snitch he had stolen, showing off his impressively quick reflexes as he let it go and caught it again. More than that, Lily Evans looked like maybe she wanted to get up and go over to the group of people crowded around James Potter and Sirius Black and Hermione could see from the way her forehead crinkled as she looked back down at her lap that that fact bothered Lily. Hermione smiled knowingly.

 

 No doubt the news that James had asked Jenny Flaversham to be his date to Hogsmede next weekend had gotten back to Lily by now. And Hermione could just imagine how that titbit of information was toying with Lily’s head. After all she knew from personal experience how upsetting it was when the boy you secretly fancied went off with some other girl, Ron and Lavender had taught her all about that kind of heartache.

 

 Slowly, Hermione got to her feet. She felt a little hesitant to go over and talk to Lily, who had been polite but not exactly friendly with her this last week. Glancing towards the boys again and seeing that James was being flirted with by an adorable looking girl who couldn’t be higher than fourth year, Hermione decided that maybe Lily might be in need of a friend.

 

 “Do you mind if I join you?” Hermione said softly when she stood in front of the table where Lily was seated. Lily looked up sharply. She wore a scowl on her pretty face and Hermione noticed that one of Lily’s hands was clenched into a white knuckled fist. When she saw Hermione standing in front of her Lily’s scowl faded slightly.

 

 “Go ahead” She grunted grumpily.

 

 Hermione wondered if this was how she had seemed to Harry these last few weeks that Ron and Lavender had become an item in her own time.
Smiling slightly, Hermione climbed onto the table and sat next to Lily, stretching her legs out in front of her and crossing them at the ankles.

 

 “Pleased about the match?” Lily asked her. It was obvious that the red headed girl was in a bad mood but felt like she ought to be polite to the new girl.

 

 “It wasn’t bad, other than the atrocious weather. If not for the rain and that awful wind it would have been a beautiful day for it. Did you go down to watch?” Hermione responded pleasantly.

 

 “Only until it started raining. After that I gave up on them. Usually when it rains during Quidditch games Gryffindor loses because Potter just can’t see the snitch when his glassed get blurred by the rain” Lily said, her voice growled a little as she spoke James’s last name.

 

 “Yes the rain was very unpleasant. It stung as it struck and the wind just ripped right through my clothing, even with the leather jacket I borrowed from Sirius. When the rain started it was impossible to see the game, but Remus really wanted to stay for the game before he went to visit is grandmother. He was so tense and stressed that I didn’t have the heart to suggest we go inside out of the weather” Hermione said softly, lying smoothly to make sure Lily remained unaware of Remus’s ‘hairy little problem’.

 

 “Yeah, Remus has had a terrible run of luck. So many of his family members seem to get sick, or his cherished pet will suddenly die and he has to go home for it. I feel so bad for him, but I haven’t seen him today.”

 

 “He looked just terrible this morning; the stress seemed to really be getting to him. I hope he’ll be ok. I think he said he’ll be back on Monday” Hermione said.

 

 For several long minutes Hermione and Lily sat in silence and Hermione turned her attention to Sirius and James where they were still surrounded by people. The little fourth year girl was flirting insanely with James and Hermione smirked wondering if the reason behind her sudden interest was just because they won the game or because James -having asked out someone who wasn’t Lily Evans- was suddenly fair game.

 

 

“How old do you think that little brat is?” Lily whispered suddenly, her voice packed with hatred. Hermione fought to hide her smile.

 

 “Which little brat? There are several of them that look like they ought to be in bed by now”

 

 

Lily snorted in response “That little blonde one over there practically throwing herself at Potter. Her and the other one there with the wavy red hair drooling over Black.”

Hermione’s eyes swivelled back to the boys and found that Lily was right. There was a little red head, probably a third year by the looks of her. She was standing so close to Sirius that she might as well have just crawled into his lap and asked him to read her a bed time story.

 

 “Oh Merlin. I certainly hope I was never that pathetic. Those two look to be third and fourth years!” Hermione grumbled.

 

 

“Yes I thought so too. And those little tarts seem to be dripping sugar the way those two are lapping up the attention” Lily spat angrily.

 

 

“From your tone it sounds like this isn’t exactly a regular occurrence?”

 

 

“Not exactly. Girls have always thrown themselves at Black and he just loves it, though they’re usually at least fifth, sixth or seventh years, not trashy little third years. But I’ve never seen girls throw themselves at Potter like that. They all expected the easy let down he gave them, so most didn’t bother. But ever since he asked that fat little Hufflepuff to Hogsmede girls have been throwing themselves at his feet. It’s disgusting!”

 

 

Hermione’s eyes narrowed as the third year girl touched Sirius’s arm.

 

 

“I was a little bit shocked to be honest, from the gossip I’ve heard, the whole castle is shocked that James asked out someone who isn’t you” Hermione prodded very gently.

 

 Lily glanced at Hermione.

 

 “I was a little shocked too, he’s always asked me and whenever I turn him down- because he’s such a big-headed toe-rag- he just goes with his friends.”

 

 “Maybe he got tired of being told no” Hermione suggested “After all, he is a sixteen year old boy. Maybe he had one too many blows to that fragile ego and decided that you were a lost cause.”

 

 

Hermione bit her lip when she saw Lily’s face change. As those words sunk into her mind, Hermione watched the object of James’s affection carefully and almost jumped for joy when she saw Lily’s bottom lip tremble slightly.

 

 

“I know it’s none of my business..... But you look as though that bothers you Lily?” Hermione murmured. Deciding she had done enough prodding for now Hermione clambered back off the desk, leaving Lily with her jumbled thoughts.
Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she watched that bratty little red head flirt wildly with Sirius. And before she was consciously aware of it, Hermione began to push her way through the crowd around James and Sirius, smiling gently at the agitated expression on Peter’s face as he tugged gently on James’s jacket. James ignored him.

 

 

When Hermione was standing directly behind Sirius she narrowed her eyes at the little slurry flirting with him, before she leant in to whisper into his ear

 

 “You do realise that she is twelve, right Black?” Sirius jumped a tiny bit but Hermione could see the way his smile grew on his face as she sidled around closer to his side. Sirius smiled at her wickedly and the little red head began to pout almost straight away. She even went to touch Sirius’s arm again in an attempt to draw his attention back to her. Hermione smirked when Sirius moved his arm out of her reach, completely oblivious to the little bitch, as he reached over and wrapped it around Hermione’s waist, pulling her close to his body until her hip pressed against his.

 

 Hermione couldn’t hide her smirk as Sirius leant over towards her, his warm breath caressing the sensitive shell of her ear as he whispered back to her

 

 “Are you getting jealous ‘Mione?”

 

 

Hermione laughed, loudly!

 

 “You must be joking Sirius? There’s no need to flatter yourself.”
Sirius smirked right back at her.

 

 “Where have you been all afternoon anyway?” he asked her. He was completely ignoring the twelve year old now and Hermione smiled happily in spite of herself.

 

 “Oh you know, mingling. Making some new friends maybe. I found one who I think might come around to being a great friend actually, as soon as she gets over her bad mood. But I can’t blame her. I often get angry when my feelings and emotions try to confuse me as well” Hermione told him happily.

 

 “Oh and who might this new friend be? Sirius asked grinning at Hermione’s pleased smile.

 

 “Oh you know, just a particular girl who is currently very confused about the odd sense of jealousy and loss she’s feeling over someone she had convinced herself she hated.” Hermione said quietly.

 

 “Is that right?” Sirius said smirking and searching the crowd for Evans.

 

 “I didn’t know your hair went a little bit wavy after it rains” Hermione commented, tugging on a section of Sirius’s long black hair, mostly just looking for an excuse to touch him.

 

 

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh when she noticed that many of the girls within the small crowd around the boys dispersed after noticing Sirius’s obvious intimacy with Hermione in the way he kept his arm around her waist to hold her against his side. Smirking to herself, Hermione leaned around Sirius a little to look at James. He was flirting with the adorable little fourth year and Hermione chuckled when she saw Lily staring daggers at the two of them.

 

 “Say James?” Hermione said, catching his attention “How do you suppose Remus is getting on tonight? He looked just dreadful this morning.”

 

 

Sirius’s arm tensed around her and she smiled slightly when James and Sirius both glanced towards the windows and realised that night had fallen. Peter on the other hand, looked at Hermione for several long moments before he seemed to dismiss whatever thought he was entertaining.

 

 

“Shoot!” Sirius muttered under his breath. James was glancing around, clearly looking for a way to get away from the crowd so they could escape the castle under the invisibility cloak and help their wolfish friend.

 

 “I do hope he’s ok. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you, because he had to leave right after the match ended, he asked me to ask if the three of you could post him his text book. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to leave his grandmother to study, but we do have that essay coming up in charms. He said he didn’t have time to get it himself, but that one of you would know where it was and to please post it to him tonight. You should do it now, just in case he needs it. It must be just awful for him.”

 

 

Hermione lied smoothly and Peter, James and Sirius all stared at her for a moment. Clearly wondering how she came up with such a lie when she actually seemed to believe that Remus had gone home to say goodbye to his dying grandmother.

 

 

“You’re right. We should make sure we post it to him. I think I might head to bed after that too. I’m kind of tired from the game” James said, clearly deciding it would be best to take the out she had given them rather than worrying that she might know the truth.

 

 

As the boys got to their feet the crowd of people began declaring they were off to bed too, or that they had study to do and other excuses to let them go to bed. Hermione stepped out of the warmth of Sirius’s arm around her waist and smiled at the three boys.

 

 “You know, I think I might....” Hermione trailed off when Sirius wrapped his hand tightly around her wrist and tugged her towards the boys’ stairs.

 

 

“What are you doing Sirius?” she whispered to him. Most of the people in the common room had already dispersed by now and Hermione watched James and Peter disappear up the boys’ steps while Sirius dragged her along with him.

 

 

“You forgot to say which textbook Remus wanted.” Sirius lied smoothly as he watched the last stragglers leave the common room. As soon as they were gone Sirius tugged her towards him and then turned so that her back pressed against the wall. Hermione’s stomach back flipped as he leant towards her.

 

 “How much do you know?” he whispered urgently.

Hermione frowned at him.

 

 “What do you mean? How much do I know about what?” she feigned ignorance.

 

 “‘Mione don’t play with me. How much do you know about Remus? What really happened today when he lost it?”

 

 Unable to help herself she smirked “What’s the matter Sirius? Are you jealous because one of your best friends kissed me?”

 

 Sirius’s eyes landed on her lips and he stared hungrily for a moment.

 

 “Maybe I am. But that’s not important right now. Did Remus just kiss you or did he tell you anything or do anything to hurt you?”

 

 

Smiling at the concern on Sirius’s face Hermione lifted her hand to lay it tenderly against the side of Sirius’s face and smoothed her thumb over the worry lines.

 

 “Sirius, its all ok. Remus wouldn’t hurt me. And I’m sure that if he did, it wouldn’t be on purpose. He didn’t hurt me today” Biting her lip with indecision Hermione decided to throw caution to the wind. After all she was stuck here now, so she might as well start telling a few of the truths she knew.

Sirius’s eyes searched her face for some clue and Hermione smiled at him gently.

 

 

“Sirius, stop worrying so much. I’m fine. But you need to go. Remus needs his friends” She whispered so softly that no one but the two of them would ever here her.

 

 

Sirius’s eyes widened. “You know the truth don’t you?”

 

 

“I’m not an idiot Sirius. I wasn’t called the smartest witch of my age for nothing. So yes, I do know the truth. But it’s a secret I’ll take to the grave. Now go. The moon is already high.” Hermione told him.

 

 Sirius looked so shocked that he just stared at her with his mouth open. Feeling more courageous than ever Hermione leant forward and pressed a soft kiss to Sirius’s cheek before slipping away from him and running up the stairs to her suite.

 

 

When Hermione reached her room and finally got inside she leant against the door, breathing hard from the excitement and terror of having kissed the cheek of the boy she had a crush on.

 

 When she felt in control of herself again Hermione stood and crossed to the window. The rain still fell now, but the storm had passed. Slowly she opened her window.

 

 There was no sound but the rain for several long minutes, but as she listened harder Hermione felt her heart squeeze as she heard that bone chilling sound.

 

 From somewhere in the night Hermione heard the werewolf howl its anger and loneliness. Hoping that the boys would hurry down to their friend and relieve him from the pain and loneliness inflicted on him Hermione left the window open.

 

 

She smiled when she felt something playing around her ankles and looked down to see her adorable orange kitten rubbing against the legs of her jeans. Scooping him up Hermione carried him to the chair by the fire and sat down with him in her lap. She couldn’t believe she had confessed to knowing that Remus was a werewolf and by proxy to knowing that his friends helped him through each month.

 

 

She’d been thinking all afternoon about how her presence here might affect the future she had known and wondered about the side effects. She really needed to speak to Dumbledore. Kissing Crookshanks on his furry head she set him to one side and got up to write him a letter.

 

 

Dear Professor Dumbledore.
I feel that you and I need to have a discussion about my situation. Would it be possible for us to meet at 12pm tomorrow afternoon? I have several questions that I would like your opinion on. Hoping you are well and my apologies for interrupting your evening. Thank you again, for everything.


Hermione Peverell.

 

 

With the letter written Hermione tapped it with her wand to roll it up and seal it and opened her mouth to call for her favourite house elf before realising that Dobby didn’t work at the castle in this time. Hermione sighed sadly. This meant she would have to go to the owlery to send her letter.

 

 Getting to her feet Hermione dug her black school cloak out of her trunk and wrapped it around herself. No doubt the snow on the stair in the owlery would chill the evening air and she had given Sirius his jacket back.

 

 When she’d fastened the toggles she tucked her wand into her cloak pocket, along with her letter and pulled the hood up over her head.

 

 The common room was deserted as she walked through and the Fat Lady was snoring in her frame when Hermione crept out of the portrait hole. The castle was cold and the wind that blew through many of the corridors chilled Hermione. She was wary as she made her way through the castle. The amount of magic contained within the castle’s walls and the flow of magic from every witch and wizard often drew other magical creatures to it, and while most couldn’t get into the castle, there were some that snuck in undetected and many of them crept out of their hidey holes at night. Not to mention that there would be prefects and teachers patrolling the castle, as well as that stinky old Mrs. Norris.

 

 

The silence of the castle as she walked had Hermione straining to hear even the smallest of sounds as she began to ascend to the stair of the owlery. Hermione lit her wand as she climbed, certain now that she wouldn’t be caught by a teacher, and needing the light to make sure she didn’t slip and fall.
As she reached the platform out in the snow that led back inside, the clouds overhead suddenly cleared, the full moon illuminating the castle grounds and glistening off the lake.

 

 Hermione caught her breath at the beauty.

 

 

Her eyes scanned the darkness when she heard the sound of a werewolf howling. Zeroing in on the sound Hermione’s eyes found an amazing sight. Down by the lake the werewolf loped easily. And beside him ran a huge black dog, and a stag, silver in the moonlight. Hermione knew there would be a rat somewhere too, but she couldn’t make it out in the darkness from this distance. She couldn’t help smiling at her friends and she cringed when the werewolf lifted its head, nose testing the breeze.

 

 

Then those bright yellow eyes swivelled to fix on her at the top of the tower and the werewolf howled before it began to move. And it was running towards the tower of the owlery.
Hermione held her breath as he came close, ignoring the animals around him as he ran and Hermione realised she had just become the prey the werewolf wanted to hunt tonight. Hurrying to the top Hermione coaxed a school owl down and sent it off with her letter to Professor Dumbledore.

 

 

As she slipped and ran down the stairs again Hermione saw the werewolf was even closer now and his eyes searched the tower for an entrance before flicking back to her. Hermione gulped at the feral gleam in his eyes before she tore back off down the stairs.

 

 Some idiot in their planning of the castle had decided that while the owlery was part of the castle it should only be attached via walkways and rooved corridors rather than completely attached. Meaning that when she got to the corridor she would have to run across the short bridge between the owlery and the security of the rest of the castle.
Praying she wouldn’t trip, Hermione flew out the door, running as fast as she could.

 

 And she screamed when she heard the howl of the beast in the tunnel with her. Paws thudded against the stone floor behind her, claws clicking as the beast pursued his prey and Hermione heard the padding and thudding of dog paws and stag hooves. The dog was barking madly and Hermione glanced over her shoulder as she ran to see the stag charge the werewolf, ramming into him from the side and smashing through the wooden panels of the tunnels walls.

 

 

The werewolf was thrown off course but undeterred in his attack, stopping only to swipe his claws at James before leaping back into the tunnel. Hermione looked down to see the huge black dog form of Sirius bounding along beside her. He was growling at her and Hermione pushed herself harder, running even faster than she thought she could. As she reached the castle entrance and skidded through it, pausing to slam it shut she saw Sirius skid around to face the charging werewolf. Seconds before the door slammed closed Hermione saw the werewolf’s leaping form collide teeth first with Sirius’s shoulder and chest.

 

 The snarling and yelping that followed almost had Hermione throwing the door back open but when something slammed heavily against the door, followed by the sound of the fight getting quieter and further away Hermione realised that her friends must have managed to distract Remus and draw him away.

 

 Panting as the adrenaline pumped through her body Hermione took a moment to realise that she had almost died and that the only thing to stand between her and death had been Sirius Black.

 

 

Realising the commotion was probably drawing teachers, Hermione made a run for it, skidding around corners and running through the corridors until she could find the stairs before taking the flights three steps at a time as she ran for it. She was sure to land in massive amounts of trouble if any of her teachers caught her out of bed after hours, on the night of the full moon when they probably all knew about Remus’s condition. She’d be in detention forever.

 

 

When she skidded to a stop in front of the Fat Lady, the portrait eyed her suspiciously.
“You know dear, if you followed the castle rules you wouldn’t be in this mess” She said snidely, clearly disgruntled about being woken up.
Hermione gave her the passwords and clambered inside. Moving quickly she didn’t stop until she was securely in her suite where she proceeded to flop onto her bed in an attempt to calm her racing heart and catch her breath.

 

 

That had been so close.

 

 

If not for Sirius, Hermione would have been werewolf chow and she knew it. He’d saved her life. Because if Remus had caught her she would have been killed and possibly eaten, or she would have been bitten and turned into a werewolf herself. In that moment Hermione realised something.

 

 

She had always thought it cute and sweet that James, Sirius and Pettigrew had become animagi to help their werewolf friend. But now she realised that it was also necessary. To be friends with a werewolf as they were, when he seemed to still be learning control, was no easy feat and Hermione wondered if he had ever turned on them like he had when he kissed her that morning.

 

 

If she was going to continue her friendship with the boys, as she certainly intended, she was going to have to dedicate herself to becoming an animagus too. For her own safety. Though if she did manage it, there was no way she was sharing that information with the boys unless she had to. Peter couldn’t know. Not if he was still going to betray them.

 

 

As that thought rolled through her mind Hermione found herself wondering again what had driven Pettigrew to betray his friends as he had. She had always assumed that he merely betrayed them because when Voldemort found him as the Potter’s secret keeper he had feared for his own life and valued it above that of his friends. And that when Sirius caught up with him, he once again chose the coward’s way because he didn’t want to die.

 

 But Hermione had always wondered if maybe he might have died for them if he had known that they valued him more as a friend. If they had expected more of him. After all from what she had seen even just today, they tolerated him and maybe even liked him, but they didn’t share the same closeness with him that they did with each other.

 

 

Getting to her feet Hermione searched her book shelf in the hopes of finding anything she could possibly find out about the animagus process and how one went about becoming one. Scanning the shelves Hermione picked up a book that explained the differences between Animagus and werewolf. She had read it in her own time, but perhaps there was something in here about becoming an Animagus.

 

 

 


Hermione was curled into her bed and half asleep when she heard it. Glancing around the room she saw that Crookshanks was curled up asleep by the fire. The sound caught her ear again, it sounded like scratching. Glancing towards her door Hermione sat up. The scratching sounded again and Hermione swung her legs out of bed. It was coming from her door. Pulling out her wand Hermione clutched it as she unlocked her door and pulled it open.

 

 And she almost screamed at what she saw.

 

 

Sitting on the top step outside her room, bleeding profusely and looking half dead was a large black dog with a bag in his mouth.

 

 “Oh, My God! Get in here. Quickly.” Hermione commanded.

 

 Sirius the dog lifted his head slowly to look at her and she could see that the movement hurt him; he seemed to take a deep breath and grit his teeth before he stood and limped into her room. Quickly Hermione vanished the trail of blood he had left on the stairs before locking the door tightly. When she turned around she watched the dog lay down in front of her fire on his side, before his shape blurred and he turned back into Sirius Black, the sixteen year old boy.

 

 

Hermione gasped as she looked at him. As it had always done the magic allowed his clothes to change shape with him, but she wasn’t prepared for seeing Sirius like this.
His shirt was torn open and it dripped his blood, hanging off him raggedly. The entire front was torn and what lay beneath had tears forming in Hermione’s eyes.

 

 His chest was torn apart, deep gouges gushed blood from his right arm, the right side of his chest and across his stomach. But it was his left shoulder and the left side of his chest and neck that made her want to cry. Huge chunks of his flesh were missing and flaps of it hung off as raggedly as his shirt did. The skin had been torn into with a vengeance and Hermione could see the teeth marks on him.

 

 “Oh Merlin, Sirius!”

 

 Hermione cried as she fell to her knees next to him. His arms were covered in scratches and several long gashes where the werewolf had gripped him tightly by the arms and proceeded to drag his claws through flesh. Sirius’s eyes were closed as he fought to keep from groaning in pain. He lost the battle and the sound of agony that ripped from him shook Hermione to her core.

 

 “The bag.....’Mione..... Help?” He gasped and begged of her.

 

 

Reaching for the bag, Hermione upended it onto the floor and realised that he must have stopped at the hospital wing on his way to her. It held a bottle of essence of Dittany as well as bandages and gauze and padding and medical tape and murtlap essence and Pepper Up potion.

 

 

“Sirius your shirt is ruined and I need to get it out of the way. I’m going to vanish it ok? Just hold still and bite down on this. I don’t want you to bite your tongue off” Hermione told him as she pushed a roll of bandage into his open mouth. Working quickly Hermione vanished his t-shirt and set to work on his wounds. The blood pouring from them scared her and she knew all too well that he could die from blood loss if she didn’t hurry.

 

 Grabbing the Dittany bottle she unscrewed the lid.

 

 “Ok, Sirius this is going to sting” Hermione warned him even as she dropped the first splash of dittany against his ravaged flesh. Sirius groaned in agony and Hermione winced as she kept dripping the droplets onto his wounds until the skin was pulled taut, red and angry even as it knitted itself back together.

 

 When she had sealed all of the missing chunks and reconnected the flaps of skin hanging off him Hermione put down the dittany bottle.

 

 Reaching for the murtlap essence Hermione warned him that it would sting as it disinfected the scratches and gouges. Sirius didn’t seem to hear her and he bit down hard on the bandage in his mouth.

 

 Working quickly Hermione swiped each gouge and gash and scratch with the murtlap essence. He groaned again. As soon as they were cleaned she pressed thick pads of gauze to the gouges and gashes that were still oozing blood before wrapping the ones on his arms in thick bandages.

 

 

“Sirius, I know it really hurts, but I need you to sit up for me so I can do the rest. Be careful, the dittany only seals the top layers of skin so you won’t bleed out. The rest has to heal naturally. Don’t tear it. I need to wrap you in padding and gauze and bandages.”

 

 

Slowly, grimacing the entire time, Sirius sat up; his eyes clenched shut and his mouth biting down hard on the bandage. His wounds that couldn’t seal with dittany, like the gouges on his abs, began bleeding heavier but Hermione packed gauze and padding against the wound before wrapping bandages around and around and around his waist and his chest and shoulders until almost his entire torso was wrapped up like he was a mummy.

 

 

“I’m so sorry Sirius” She whispered when she was finished.

 

 

Very slowly, Sirius opened his blue eyes to look at her. His gaze told her how much it still hurt. But he opened his mouth and spat out the bandage he had been clenching in his teeth.

 

 “‘Mione....” he whispered softly.

 

 “I’m so sorry. I didn’t want you to get hurt. You shouldn’t have saved me” Hermione said miserably. Her hands were covered in his blood from where she had mopped it up.

 

 

“Mione, promise me..... Promise me you’ll never go outside like that on the full moon..... Ever again. Promise!”

 

 His grey eyes bored into her brown ones and Hermione gulped, nodding her head.

 

 “I’m sorry” She whispered miserably, hanging her head in disgrace.

 

 

Sirius reached out slowly and slid his hand across her cheek; cupping it and tilting her head back up to look at him.

 

 “Thank you” He murmured. “I wasn’t sure you knew everything, whether you knew about the rest of us or just about Moony. But I couldn’t go to the nurse; she’d ask too many questions. The only person I could think of to help me was you. Thank you. You saved my life” Sirius whispered.

 

 Sliding his hand around into her hair Sirius pulled Hermione towards him until he could press his lips against her forehead.

 

 

“You saved my life first” she whispered back “You nearly died saving my life.”
Sirius swayed a little and Hermione glanced at his face noticing he looked dizzy and disoriented. “Come on sweetie, let’s get you up, you need to rest and my floor isn’t comfortable” Hermione said gently.

 

 

Sliding his arm around her shoulders and wrapping hers around his back Hermione stood, with him helping, and got him to his feet.

 

 “Come on Sirius, just over here. Then you can rest.” Hermione told him as he swayed from side to side, leading him towards her bed. As she sat him on the bed Hermione noticed that his jeans were covered in dirt and blood and wet from the rain and the snow.

 

 

“Um Sirius?” Hermione said. He was taking deep breaths and kept shaking his head gently, trying to clear it. “Sirius sweetie, are you wearing any underwear?”

 

 Hermione blushed when the black haired boy smirked at her, his eyes unfocused.
“Maybe you’ll have to find that out for yourself” He slurred at her. His body was trying to shut down so he could heal and he was still a cheeky flirt.

 

 

“You cannot sleep in those jeans so I really hope you are. Otherwise things will be very awkward when you wake up tomorrow” Hermione told him sternly as she reached for the zipper and button that held his jeans on. Once they were undone, Hermione squatted and tugged his shoes off his feet, then his wet socks, before dragging his wet and dirty jeans down his legs.

 

 

When she finally managed to get them off him she was relieved to see that he was wearing boxer briefs. Glancing up at his face Hermione realised he had flopped back on her bed.

 

 

“Oh Sirius, what am I going to do with you?” She asked him, leaning over him as she tried to arrange him so that she could cover him in the blanket and so that she’d be able to sleep in her bed as well. Climbing into bed beside him, Hermione brushed his hair back from his face. His eyes fluttered open at her touch when she pulled the covers up and tucked his head onto her spare pillow.

 

 

He smiled at her, slowly bringing his ravaged left arm up to touch her cheek. When he touched her he sighed softly

 

 “Merlin you’re beautiful Hermione.”
 


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Embracing the Madness: Running Wild

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