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Embracing the Madness by wolfgirl17
Chapter 17 : Don't Want This Night to End
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12

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Chapter 17: Don’t Want this Night to End.

 “What do you lot think you’re doing?” Dorea Potter’s voice demanded as she discovered, Hermione, Lily, Sirius, James, Remus and Peter duelling in the library.


 “Um…” James began.


 “Never mind explanations! I need you all dressed and ready. People will be arriving in a less than an hour!”


 Hermione raised her eyebrows in shock. The day had slipped away from them. All day they had been setting out decorations and helping with preparation for the New Year’s Ball tonight, and they’d finally found some free time to work on their duelling. When they’d started they’d still had three hours before they needed to get ready.


 “Oh Merlin!” Lily moaned in horror “Hermione our hair is going to take that long! Come on!” She cried as she took hold of Hermione’s hand and began dragging her towards their rooms.


 “It’s a good thing we don’t need to shower first” Hermione said as they ran.


 “I don’t want James to see me before I’m totally ready. Can I get dressed in your room?”


 “Yes, get your dress and make up and things and I’ll meet you there” Hermione told her, rushing past Lily’s room to her own.


 She still hadn’t decided which dress she wanted to wear. On the one hand the one Dumbledore had given her was elegant and pretty, but on the other she really wanted to wear the blue one she had bought in Hogsmede.


 “Which one are you going to wear?” Lily asked as she rushed in and slammed the bedroom door behind her.


 “I don’t know. Which one do you think I should wear?” Hermione asked even as she sat at the stool in front of her dressing table mirror and dusted concealer over her face.


 “They’re both amazing, but I really think you should wear the blue” Lily said, dragging another chair over in front of the mirror so they could share it.


 “Ok” Hermione said, moving on to her eye make-up now that she had decided on the colour of her dress.


 “Oh I can’t wait to see James’s face when we come out dressed up all pretty and girly. I’m still kind of reeling from them saying we weren’t girly the other day” Lily said as she applied her own make up before starting on her long red hair.


 “I wasn’t really surprised. After all, until our girl’s day, we both had a habit of aiming for comfort rather than being pretty” Hermione said, finishing her make-up and setting to work on her hair, taking to it with her wand.


 “I’m so nervous about tonight.” Lily admitted, holding out her wand hand to show Hermione how much it was shaking.


 “Me too. I mean, I’ve been to a ball once before, but I don’t think this will be the same. They’re going to be so many people we won’t know at this one and we’ll have to meet them all. And the ballroom. Merlin, those stairs just look like a death trap.”


 “At least you have a little bit of experience though, I’ve never been to anything fancier than a wedding.” Lily said.


 “It won’t be so bad. And besides, even if you were to fall down the stair and end up breaking your nose, you know James would be the most doting boyfriend in the world.”


 “How are things going with you and Sirius anyway?” Lily asked Hermione with a grin.
“I think I’m in over my head at trying to turn all the tricks he’s been using on girls for years, back on him. I just start to think I’m getting somewhere when I do something fun and flirty like today wearing this silly skirt, and he just smiles like he approves but doesn’t seem any closer to falling for me.”


 “Hermione on Christmas morning he looked at you as he said that he could think of something he loved more than his hair and his motorbike. I think his heart is already wrapped around your little finger and you just aren’t picking up on it because you’re reading too much into everything he says and does.” Lily said.


 “It’s all just lines. He’s probably said that sort of thing to every girl he’s ever dragged into a broom cupboard or seduced into an empty classroom.” Hermione countered.
When they were finally finished with their hair and make-up, Hermione and Lily both donned their dresses.


 “Oh Hermione you look amazing” Lily breathed as she stared at Hermione in her fancy new dress.


 “You look amazing too Lily” Hermione said, looking at her red headed friend in the golden dress she wore. It was full length and slim fitting, cinched at the waist with a scoop neckline.


 “Thanks.” Lily smiled. “Come on, we better get down there”




 Sirius Black caught his breath as he stood in the ballroom with James, Remus, and Peter. They had already broken into Charlus’s liquor cabinet and spiked tonight’s punch, and were trying to avoid being drawn into conversation with the numerous guests that had already arrived but were all over by the food tables with Mum and Dad.


 The band played soft classical in the background and he and the other Marauders had been planning what prank they would play on the number of Slytherins obligated to attend tonight’s ball. But now something caught his attention. And that something wasn’t just catching his attention. The music of the band flowed from a classical song into the enchanting sound you would expect to hear upon seeing a fairy tale princess.


 Sirius felt as though he really had just spotted two of them too.


 At the top of the jasmine-vine-covered-hand-railed staircase that led down to the ballroom, illuminated by the soft glow of thousands and thousands of tea-light candles stood Hermione and Lily. Sirius couldn’t take his eyes off Hermione. She wore a blue ball gown but it was like no gown Sirius had ever seen before. The silk hugged her curves to her hips before it flared out into a full skirt. Her hair was pulled into an elegant bun on top of her head. Nestled against it was a small sparkling tiara that matched the glittering jewels crusted around her cleavage and some loose wisps of hair fell about her face to soften the look.


 “Prongs….” Sirius breathed, knowing his best friend and blood brother was standing right next to him staring up at the two girls on the steps in utter awe “I think I’m in trouble mate. I’m in love.”


 “So am I buddy” James breathed back.


 “They look beautiful” Remus said from the other side of James.


 “They were already beautiful. Now they look like girls” Peter argued softly.


 “I think I like it when they look like beautiful girls” James murmured.


 Sirius blinked rapidly when the bright flash of a camera temporarily blinded him. Dorea Potter stood grinning at the four of them while they stood with their mouths open in awe of Lily Evans and Hermione Peverell. Then Dorea spun and snapped a picture of the girls as they began to descend the stairs.


 Sirius still hadn’t managed to take his eyes off Hermione by the time she and Lily reached the boys.


 Hermione felt herself smirk at the way Sirius’s eyes followed her, desire glittering within them as he stared at her.


 “You look amazing” Sirius breathed when Hermione stopped in front of him. Remus handed Hermione and Lily a drink each, smiling at both of them.


 Remus looked very handsome in his black and white dress robes. His sandy hair was styled neatly but still fell in his golden brown eyes.


 “You look lovely Hermione” He told her as he handed her a drink of pale blue punch.


 Hermione smiled at him over the rim of it as she took a sip. She raised her eyebrows in surprised at the slight burn to it that told her the boys had successfully managed to spike the punch.


 “Maybe you lot didn’t notice because you all have bad habits concerning alcohol, but you’re ratio of punch to alcohol is off. Mrs Potter will taste it straight away. You need to add a little more punch to it.” Hermione told them, grinning when Sirius just kept staring at her hungrily.


 “I’ll get some more” Remus volunteered “Come on Pete, we need more punch or this lot will all be passed out before midnight” Remus said, grabbing Peter and dragging him away, leaving Hermione, Sirius, James and Lily alone together.


 “Lily you look… breathtaking” James told her, taking her hand and kissing the back of it as he smiled at her.


 “Thank you. You look pretty handsome yourself Potter” Lily blushed even as she smiled happily at her boyfriend.


 Hermione watched Sirius. He looked incredible in his dress robes and Hermione blushed a little when she realised that the tie he wore matched the colour of her blue dress. His long hair hung about his shoulders but it was shiny and clean and gleaming. He looked to have styled it slightly for the occasion, and his eyes twinkled as Hermione peered up at him from beneath her thick fringe.


 “You scrub up alright, I see” Hermione told him.


 “You are the most incredible woman I’ve ever met” Sirius told her, making Hermione blush even more.


 “You’re just saying that” Hermione murmured, looking away, suddenly feeling shy about the low dipping cut of her dress where it revealed the creamy skin of her modest cleavage.


 “No he’s not. He stopped breathing when he saw you” James told her.


 “Oh girls you both look just wonderful. Every bit the type of beautiful young women my mother told me I needed to be. These two weren’t the only ones you stopped in their tracks when you made your entrance” Dorea Potter beamed happily. She looked elegant and beautiful tonight and Hermione suddenly realised that even though she and Lily had gotten all dressed up, they could really learn a lot from Mrs Potter about being poised and elegant and regal and utterly beautiful.


 “Thank you Mrs Potter” Hermione smiled.


 “Oh darling don’t thank me, you two did all the work. Now, would you both like to come with me? There are several people who would like to meet you as you’re both new to our annual ball.”




 Hermione didn’t remember all the names of all the people she had met tonight, nor how many men she had danced with. She and Lily had been whisked up into the elegant world of magical society, surrounded by highly respected witches and wizards. She had met the current Minister for Magic, whom Hermione had been asked to dance with and had discussed his opinion of house elves with. She had met many other esteemed witches and wizards who worked for the ministry of magic as well as several pureblood families. Many of whom Hermione had also been obligated to dance with. Luckily she had managed to avoid dancing with Lucius Malfoy, but only because his father had asked her to dance instead.


 She’d finally managed to escape them all and found herself a goblet which she had quickly filled with punch and downed when no one was looking before refilling it and carrying it over to a deserted seat. Hermione smiled as she still tasted the faint hint of alcohol in her drink, thinking that after an evening like this it was nice to take the edge off her stress. Because meeting so many important people and being so polite and ensuring she didn’t say or do anything embarrassing was proving far more stressful that it should have been. Especially trading pleasantries with narrow minded, awful people like the Malfoy’s.


 Hermione closed her eyes for a moment, savouring the flavour of her punch and she tried not to groan or give away her weariness when she heard someone clear their throat from in front of her. Slowly she opened her eyes, pasting a polite smile onto her face, until she saw who was standing in front of her. Then Hermione’s face broke into a real smile.


 “Hello my dear” Albus Dumbledore said softly, his eyes twinkling knowingly “You look absolutely stunning.”


 “Oh it’s so good to see you” Hermione said happily, getting to her feet and not even thinking about it as she pulled her Professor into a hug.


 Dumbledore chuckled “I understand you’ve had a very busy evening?” he said as he hugged her back.


 “You could say that. I’ve done a lot of hand shaking and dancing with strangers anyway.” Hermione laughed “How was your Christmas? Thank you so much for the gifts you got me. I feel like I should’ve found something extra for you.”


 “Oh my dear, I don’t know how you knew, but there is no greater gift I ever hope to receive than socks. I’m also very fond of the hat you bought me. But it is the socks I liked most.” He said, eyes twinkling behind his half moon spectacles.


 “Oh, I once heard you dismaying over another Christmas passing without being given a single pair of socks. I simply couldn’t let that happen this year.” Hermione laughed remembering how she had thought it funny when Harry had told her about it.


 “One can never have too many socks my dear. In fact I almost bought you a pair, but then I thought that I might get to know more about you first, so that I can buy you a really smashing pair” Dumbledore said cheerily “Would you care to dance with an old man my dear?”


 “I would be honoured” Hermione replied, taking Dumbledore’s hand and letting him lead her onto the dance floor.


 “I trust you’ve been enjoying your Christmas break here at the Potter’s then my dear?”


 “Oh it’s been wonderful. Whenever we have a spare moment we’ve all been working on our magic. And the library, have you ever been in the library here? It’s splendid. I’ve found so many books full of information, it’s been difficult to sleep because I’m just incapable of putting each book down.”


 “You truly are a girl after my own heart my dear. One day I must let you browse my personal library” Dumbledore smiled.


 “I’ve been studying up on the magic surrounding Animagi too” Hermione told him happily.


 “Is it going well? I hope you haven’t tried to transform yourself without supervision.”


 “No, no I’ve just been reading that wonderful book you gave me for Christmas. But I think that I’d like to try transforming with you when school goes back. Do you think you could fit me in somewhere? I’m not ready to try it on my own, in case I get stuck halfway between forms or something.”


 “I think that’s a splendid idea. We’ll set up an evening and have supper and work on it together.”


 Hermione beamed at the man who had once been just her headmaster but now felt more like the Grandfather she’d lost.


 “Thank you for the dance my dear. You are truly a divine dancer” Dumbledore said as he led her off the dance floor towards her friends. He pressed a kiss to the back of her hand.


 “Thank you. You did most of the work though. Following is easy, it’s the leading that is difficult” Hermione smiled happily.


 “If I don’t see you before midnight, I wish you a very happy new year my dear.”


 Hermione smiled as she watched him leave and strike up conversation with Mrs Potter before drawing her into a dance.


 “How is it” a voice hissed into her ear “That such a little bitch can look so delectable?”


 Hermione spun around to find a particularly debonair looking Lucius Malfoy leering at her. She could see that same wicked sneer curling his lip that she had known so well from Draco Malfoy, but as he smirked evilly at her, Hermione could also see heat in his gaze as his eyes fell on her cleavage. Hermione shuddered with revulsion.


 “What do you want Malfoy?” Hermione hissed at the seventh year.


 “Dance with me” he commanded, even as he stepped into her, grabbing her hand and sliding his other hand around to rest his hand on her lower back. Hermione gritted her teeth as he tugged her against him and began waltzing her back onto the dance floor in time to the fast paced melody the band currently played.


 “What are you doing Malfoy?” Hermione demanded, taking hold of his shoulder to keep from stumbling as he whirled them around with practised ease.


 “It’s called dancing. Maybe you’ve heard of it?” He said his eyes still on her cleavage which had bulged higher because of how close he clutched her against him.


 Hermione felt like punching him for leering so obviously. And like she needed to take a very long hot shower.


 “Why are you dancing with me? We both know you’ve been working with Snape, trying to do me in since Hogsmede.”


 “Maybe so, but seeing you in that dress makes me think that instead of doing you in, I might just do you,” He smirked evilly.


 “I dare you to try Malfoy” Hermione hissed, narrowing her eyes at him for the threat that lingered in his gaze.


 “Not in front of all these people Peverell. Got to get you somewhere private for that. You’re in polite society now” He sneered.


 “What is wrong with you? Are you drunk?” Hermione demanded as she realised that this was definitely not normal behaviour for someone like Lucius Malfoy. He might be a coward and want her dead, but his parents had drilled into him his entire life that while everyone around him might be inferior, they’re opinion still mattered.


 “You had me fooled based on Severus’s comment about you when you are at school, where you run around looking like a nerd with your hair tied up and your oversized jumpers” Malfoy murmured, still whirling them in spite of the nasty gleam in his eyes as his eyes feasted on her cleavage.


 “Let go of me Malfoy” Hermione snarled at him, growing tired of being polite.


 “Not until I’m done with you” he sneered creepily and Hermione could see it in his face that he didn’t just mean dancing with her.


 “You’re done with me now. I recommend that you let go of me this instant or we’ll find out how Mr Malfoy likes it when his son makes a spectacle of himself in front of so many people. Especially since you’re drunk and he happens to think I’m a sweet and charming young lady.”


 “What are you going to do about it Peverell?” Malfoy leered.


 “Let me go or you’ll find out.”


 Lucius Malfoy glared at her, finally taking his eyes off her boobs to glare his hatred into her eyes.


 Hermione raised her eyebrows when she saw someone tap on Lucius Malfoy’s shoulder.


 “If you don’t mind, I’ll be cutting in now Son.” A cheery voice said. Hermione looked over at the incredibly handsome man cutting in on the dance and even though she had no idea who he was she couldn’t help feeling grateful to him.


 “You’re lucky we’re somewhere public Peverell. Watch yourself in deserted corridors and alleyways” He hissed down at her threateningly before he walked away from her, almost stumbling. Hermione turned to the man who had saved her.


 “Do you mind if I cut in young lady?” he asked her.


 He looked to be in his fifties though his hair was still a full, rich shade of black. He had a strong jaw though it was hidden by a neatly trimmed black beard.


 “Not at all. In fact I’m glad you cut in. I think he’s had a little too much of the punch.”


 “Yes from what I heard it seems he has less than honourable intentions towards you”


 The man smiled at her and Hermione found herself staring into his sparkling grey eyes. There was something incredibly familiar about those eyes.


 “Shall we?” he asked, offering her his hand.


 Hermione smiled and took it, placing the other one on his shoulder while his found her waist.


 “And what might your name be? I’ve never seen you before.”


 “Oh, my apologies. My name is Hermione Peverell.”


 “Peverell hmm? I thought that the Peverell name died out.”


 “It did in the male line. I’m from a particularly long line of promiscuous witches who had a habit of giving birth to only daughters, out of wed-lock.” Hermione said, reciting the story she had perfected for this evening because so many people had asked her about it.


 “Now that you mention it there was a Peverell witch hundreds of years ago who never married. I didn’t know she had a daughter. But then if the child was conceived and born out of wedlock it wouldn’t be recorded.” The man mused as he danced with her.


 “I beg your pardon, sir, but I’m afraid I’ve no idea what your name is either,” Hermione said, blushing slightly.


 “Oh excuse me. I’m Orion Black.” He said with a wicked little smirk that Hermione would recognise anywhere.


 “You’re Sirius’s father” Hermione gasped.


 “In a manner of speaking. He doesn’t visit us much” Orion told her “Do you know Sirius well then?”


 “Yes. We’re friends from school” Hermione smiled.


 “A Gryffindor then I take it?” He said, sneering only slightly “But then, given that he’s in that house I’m not really surprised.”


 Hermione stayed silent. Not really knowing what to say confronted with Sirius’s father.


 “Would you care to meet my wife Hermione Peverell? She would be most interested to learn that the Peverell name still exists.”


 “Erm… ok.” Hermione said, not wanting to be rude but not really liking the idea of meeting Walburga Black. Their last meeting had been less than pleasant.


 “Right this way then child” Orion said charmingly, fixing her a handsome smile as he tucked her hand through the crook of his arm and led her off the dance floor.


 Hermione glanced around hoping she would catch sight of Sirius somewhere who might be able to save her from meeting his awful mother.


 “Walburga my lovely wife, you simply must meet your son’s latest conquest” Orion announced as he approached a woman with long black hair wearing a black dress that looked like something from the Victorian era.


 Hermione gasped when Walburga Black turned around and eyed her coldly. She was tall and though she had begun to wrinkle with age, she wasn’t yet the haggard awful old woman from the portrait Hermione knew.


 “My Regulus?” She asked, her voice high and cold like ice.


 “The other son, love” Orion told her drily.


 “That traitor is no son of mine” She said coldly, pursing her lips as she looked Hermione up and down in disgust.


 Hermione held her breath until someone skidded to a stop next to her. Sirius had come to her rescue after all.


 “Walburga, this young lady is Hermione Peverell” Orion told his wife when it became clear that she wasn’t going to say anything else.


 “Peverell? No that name died out long ago” Walburga’s eyes sparkled with sudden curiosity.


 “Well obviously it didn’t, since here I stand carrying it around” Hermione said, feeling less than pleased with the way Sirius’s mother looked at her as though she was something nasty the woman had stepped in.


 “Do explain then how you come to carry it when every pureblood genealogy text in existence claims that the Peverell name died out hundreds of years ago.”


 “If you had read your text carefully you would know that there was a woman born with the Peverell name who never married. She is my ancestress, as she gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock. Since then the name has been passed down through a very long line of women who gave birth to only daughters. None of them ever married”


 Hermione told the woman. Her dislike growing by the second as Walburga turned her cold, judgemental eyes on her son.


 “You! How dare you approach me in a public place? You have no right to breathe my air” She snapped at Sirius. Hermione saw red.


 “Ah but I do mother. Thanks to you” Sirius told her snarkily.


 “I gave you life boy. Don’t think for a second that I won’t take it away” She said, looking suddenly furious. “Now why have you bought this daughter of whores to meet me? I have no desire to know about the latest whore you have conned into bed with you”


 Walburga sneered as she looked Hermione up and down again “Hermione… sounds more like Whore Moaning.”


 “Apologise right now you worthless old hag!” Sirius roared angrily.


 “Actually Walburga, it was your husband who thought you might be interested in meeting a whore’s daughter. From what I understand he has a particular fondness for whore’s” Hermione said sweetly, feeling bad for dragging Orion into this since he had seemed charming when they danced.


 He didn’t look offended or even angry. He looked completely bored with his wife’s dramatics.


 Hermione flinched a little as Walburga Black whipped her arm back clearly intending to slap Hermione for her words but Hermione caught the old hag’s hand.


 “You would do well to remember that you are nothing but a worthless old hag who will one die ugly and alone with no one but Kreacher to mourn your passing” Hermione told her angrily. She flung the old woman’s hand away from herself and glanced at Sirius.


 “Come on Sirius, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want this pathetic excuse for a human being, let alone a witch, having any part in our child’s life” Hermione said mischievously, rubbing her hand over her stomach with a doting expression on her face.


 “If you had any form of manners or human decency, I was ready to let you have a part in your grandchild’s life, but now I see that Sirius was right. You will only taint our child with your filth” Hermione hissed into the old woman’s angry, shocked face; verbally bitch slapping her though she was dying to actually slap the old hag for what she had said to Sirius.


 Taking Sirius’s hand Hermione dragged him away from his outraged parents and out onto the dance floor.


 “Did that really just happen or am I dreaming that you just told my mother she’s a worthless old hag and a substandard human being before telling her she had no right to visit a nonexistent grandchild?” Sirius asked incredulously as Hermione took his hands and put them on her waist before resting hers on his shoulders.


 “You’re not dreaming Sirius. I can’t believe she told you that you had no right to breathe the same air as her.”


 “It’s not all that uncommon. She’s all but disowned me” Sirius said. “Did you really just tell my mother that my father likes whores and that she was a pathetic excuse for a witch?”


 “I did. And I told them I was pregnant with your child and they couldn’t see the baby” Hermione said, frowning worriedly.


 “Oh sweet Merlin woman, marry me?” Sirius said and he began to laugh.


 “But Sirius, if I marry you our daughter won’t be able to pass on the illustrious Peverell name and I won’t follow in the footsteps of my wayward, promiscuous ancestresses”


 Hermione pretended to fret at him as she laughed right along with him.


 “That forked tongue will get you into trouble one day ‘Mione” Sirius told her even as he laughed “And I think half more than half the guests heard you tell my mother that she wasn’t allowed to be in our child’s life. It’s going to get around the entire wizarding community, including Hogwarts, that you’re pregnant, you know that right?”


 “Yeah I know. But I’m not, so what does it matter? Let them speculate for the next few months” Hermione said breezily.


 “You don’t care that people will pick on you for being knocked up?”


 “Sirius I’m not knocked up. I’ve never even had sex. They can say what they want. It’s your reputation you should be worried about. Girls from all over Britain will go begging and sobbing thinking you’ve hung up your boots and that you’ve knocked me up.”


 Sirius shrugged. “Let them. I have hung up my boots” He told her softly.


 “What did Malfoy want? Lily and Remus told me that he grabbed you and was being rough.” Sirius asked her when Hermione just gazed at him.


 “Oh, he seems to have decided that rather than trying to kill me for that duel in Hogsmede, it will be more fun to try and shag me in an empty corridor or something. Your dad actually saved me from having to hex Malfoy’s face off. He threatened to rape me if he caught me alone somewhere” Hermione recalled suddenly “Now I feel bad for saying your Dad likes whores.”


 “Malfoy said WHAT!” Sirius growled angrily.


 “He won’t touch me Sirius. The last time he tried I left him bound and gagged in the snow. A deserted corridor seems a nice place for such another round of duelling with me.” Hermione said.


 “The bastard actually threatened to rape you?” Sirius asked darkly.


 “Don’t worry about it Sirius. I think I can handle one drunken idiot” Hermione sighed as she stepped towards him and laid her cheek against his chest. She was enjoying dancing with him


 “I’ll kill him if he ever touches you again” Sirius threatened softly.


 “No you won’t. That will land you in Azkaban. The one place I’m trying to keep you as far from as possible” Hermione said sharply, lifting her face to look at him warily.
Sirius gaped at her in shock before he leaned towards her and pressed his lips against her ear.


 “What?”Sirius murmured “Did you just say you’re trying to keep me out of Azkaban?”


 Hermione froze, realising she had said too much again. Maybe the punch was going to her head.


 “When you said that the first time you really met me you thought I was a murderer, you meant it literally didn’t you?” Sirius murmured into her ear again.


 “I told you I’m not answering questions about that Sirius” Hermione muttered back “I think I need another drink” She said, suddenly feeling thirsty and stressed from having been threatened by Malfoy, danced with Sirius’s father, had a fight with Sirius’s mother and now said too much about what she knew of the future she’d come from.


 “I’ll come with you” Sirius said leading her off the dance floor towards the table where several large fountains of punch and goblets stood.


 Hermione sighed and looked around wondering where the rest of their friends had gotten too. Lily was dancing with Charlus Potter and they looked to be enjoying themselves because Lily kept laughing while Charlus’s eyes gleamed cheekily.


 She spotted Remus dancing with the pretty girl from Hogwarts who had curly strawberry blonde hair. They looked to be getting rather close since the girl had her cheek against Remus’s chest and he cuddled her against him.


 James was dancing with his mother, looking very dashing as he dipped her impossibly low before swinging her back up and spinning off into a fast waltz.


 Hermione even spotted Peter dancing with a dark haired girl in a green dress that she didn’t recognise and smiled to see him having a good time and not excluding himself just because all of his friends were busy.


 Slowly Hermione weaved through people over to the punch table, where she filled her goblet. She was kind of hungry too so Hermione grabbed a pate and some food, watching Sirius copy her in silence.


 “This way” Sirius nodded his head towards one of the doors and Hermione followed him as he led her out of the ball room and through several other rooms before stopping in what looked to be a sun room.


 When he’d set down his goblet and his plate of food Sirius flicked his waned to light to lamps.


 “Are you ok ‘Mione?” Sirius asked her softly as he watched Hermione sit down and stare at her plate of food.


 “Sure” Hermione muttered. “What have you been up to all night anyway?”


 “Oh you know, getting drunk with the Marauders, dancing with mum, chatting to Dad and his colleagues, avoiding my real parents, trying to get the prettiest girl here tonight to dance with me.”


 “How’d that go for you?” Hermione asked “Any luck”


 “Oh I eventually got her to dance with me, after she met my parents and told them she was having my love child out of wedlock and then told me that the first time she met me she thought I was a murderer who’d been to Azkaban Prison.” Sirius said.


 “Don’t start” Hermione moaned tiredly.


 “Who was I accused of killing?” Sirius asked softly.


 Hermione rolled her eyes. “What time is it?”


 “Almost midnight actually.”


 “No wonder I’m hungry.”


 “You’ve been busy tonight too. Me and James tried to save you a few times, but Mum kept shooing us away” Sirius said, seeming to let the subject drop.


 “It wasn’t so bad. For the most part I just had to smile and play nice” Hermione said, letting the small talk break down her bad mood. After all, it wasn’t Sirius’s fault.


 “You look kind of handsome in your fancy robe, you know?” Hermione told him, sipping from her goblet and watching him from beneath her fringe. Sirius smirked at her, his eyes twinkling with mischief when he realised that her mood had shifted.


 “You think so huh?” he said.


 “Well I suppose. Though I’m sure you’d look prettier if you’d let me do your hair.” Hermione teased.


 “Yeah right” Sirius rolled his eyes “You looked pretty good yourself.”


 “I’m glad you noticed. I had been beginning to worry that you might be going blind not to see it.”


 Hermione watched heat flare in Sirius’s eyes and smiled softly. This was becoming familiar territory with him. They teased each other and played coy and played hard to get and it made Hermione feel better.


 “Dance with me ‘Mione?” Sirius asked her softly, his eyes suddenly showing nervousness.


 “If I must” She teased him softly, letting him take her hand and pull her to her feet.


 They left their plates on the table, knowing the house elves would clean it up. Hermione didn’t like it, but she didn’t push the subject since it often earned her dislike from the elves and wizards alike.


 “You want to dance in here or out in the ballroom again?” Sirius asked her softly.


 Hermione smiled. The pathetic part of her that was completely smitten with him really wanted to stay in here, just the two of them and Hermione tried not to roll her eyes at herself. She failed though, and wasn’t expecting the sudden lightheaded feeling that overtook her as she did so.


 “Where would you like to dance with me Sirius?” Hermione murmured to him, suddenly feeling bold and cheeky.


 “Everywhere” He replied, grinning at her “In fact, from now on whenever either of us wants to go somewhere we have to dance together the whole way.”


 Hermione giggled “Dance with me in here. If you try to dance me all the way out to the ballroom we’ll run into everyone and both be dizzy by the time we get there.”


 “I was hoping you’d say that” Sirius murmured softly as he stepped towards her and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her gently against him. Hermione sighed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled up at him.


 “Are you any good at dancing Sirius Black?” Hermione asked him as they began to sway and shuffle to the sounds of the jazz music playing in the ballroom. “Mostly we swayed and talked out there.”


 “I can do it without falling over” He told her with a small smile.


 There was seductive quality to the music and Hermione found herself swaying easily to the tune as Sirius gently waltzed her around in the sun room. It wasn’t as pretty as the ballroom which had been decorated with a spring theme to remind everyone of the good times to come in the New Year and the good in the old. Hermione found herself staring up at Sirius. The firelight glimmered in his eyes and against his shiny black hair and Hermione felt bewitched by the mesmerizing patterns the flames made in his eyes.


 “Have I told you tonight that you look beautiful?” Sirius asked her softly as they song changed and they kept on dancing, adjusting their swaying so that it was in time to the new melody.


 “I don’t think that you have. Though I did see a little drooling earlier” Hermione smirked.


 “You have no idea how beautiful you are when you smile at me like that” Sirius murmured, his eyes fixed on her face.


 “Still trying to sweet talk your way into bed with me?” Hermione chuckled.


 Sirius held her gaze “No Hermione. I’m trying to tell you that everything about you is wonderful and amazing. That you’re so beautiful you take my breath away and that I’ve never been happier in all my life than since the day you landed on the Quidditch pitch.”


 Hermione felt herself blush crimson at his serious tone and the feeling glimmering in his eyes. She didn’t know what to say to that, but Hermione smiled up at him before stepping closer and resting her cheek against his warm chest. She could hear his heart hammering wildly in his chest and Hermione closed her eyes as she felt herself begin to sway to the beat of his heart rather than the melody of the jazz music in the ballroom.


 “I like dancing with you Snuffles” Hermione whispered softly as she breathed in the warm scent of him.


 “Then don’t ever stop ‘Mione” Sirius whispered back to her, his arms wrapping around her more fully in a hug rather than a dancing pose.


 Hermione didn’t know how long they danced like that but from somewhere in the house a Grandfather clock that had been charmed to chime extra loud tonight struck midnight. Hermione pulled her face back from Sirius’s warm chest as the clock began to chime and Sirius smiled down at her heatedly as they both counted the chimes until it reached twelve


 “Happy New Year Sirius!” Hermione said happily as everyone in the ballroom began to shout. But Sirius Black didn’t say a word. Instead he cupped Hermione’s face in his hands and bent down to kiss her.


 Hermione’s eyes slid closed as Sirius kissed her. This time neither of them pulled away after just seconds and when Sirius’s tongue flicked against her lips begging for entrance, Hermione obliged him. As his tongue swept against hers and his lips moved tenderly with hers, Hermione realised that until now she hadn’t really kissed Sirius Black. His tongue massaged hers and Hermione felt her heart flutter wildly as her stomach somersaulted into it’s acrobatics routine and the scent and taste of Sirius that Hermione had come to love so much permeated her senses.


 Her hands slid into his hair, tangling into the silky locks as Hermione felt her knees turn to jelly. Kissing Sirius was as close to heaven as Hermione had ever been and the clock had stopped chiming and striking and all the world had fallen silent by the time Sirius gently pulled away from her lips and her eyelids fluttered open.


 Hermione found Sirius watching her with a tender expression on his face as he lent his forehead against hers.


 “Now it’s a happy new year” Sirius whispered to her.


 Hermione and Sirius both jumped when someone cleared their throat. Searching for the sound, they both spotted Orion Black watching them with a small smile on his face.


 “Son, do you mind if I interrupt?” he asked.


 Hermione blushed, wondering how long he had been there, as well as realising the even though she and Sirius had both turned towards him, Sirius still had his forehead pressed tenderly against hers.


 “You already have” Sirius replied “What do you want father?”


 “You know that already, I think son. You know your mother and I won’t allow you to father a child out of wedlock” Orion said softly. He didn’t raise his voice or make demands. He simply stated facts. Sirius smirked at Hermione for a minute.


 “Well, I asked her to marry me but she turned me down. Wants to pass on the Peverell name and follow her ancestor’s footsteps of staying unmarried when she gives birth to our daughter” Sirius said with a completely straight face.


 Hermione couldn’t hold in her giggle at the serious and grave expression on Orion’s face.


 “Oh Sirius don’t be mean” Hermione admonished him softly before stepping towards Mr Black.


 “I’m not really pregnant Mr Black. And I’m sorry for saying you had a penchant for whores. I don’t like your wife.”


 Orion Black stared at her in shock for a full minute.


 “Merlin you’re a good actress. You had me believing I was going to be a grandfather” He chuckled.


 “Yes well, that was the idea. But don’t worry, everyone in the wizarding world will know by morning that Orion and Walbugra Black’s defiant son is going to be a father”


 Hermione said “And they won’t believe you when you tell them the truth.”


 “Are you really not pregnant? You seem moody enough that you could be.”


 “She’s not pregnant; you just witnessed our first kiss. And that old hag deserves the bad publicity” Sirius interrupted before Hermione could get mad about being called moody.


 “You know you broke her heart Son” Orion said “But I understand. I’ve tried to get her to come around to accepting you, but you know how she is.”


 Hermione raised her eyebrows, she’d never heard much about Sirius’s father in her old life though she seemed to recall hearing Sirius once say that his father hadn’t been as obsessed with image and pureblood mania as his mother had been.


 “I’m really not pregnant” Hermione said softly.


 Orion Black nodded, giving them both a small smile before he started to turn away.


 “Dad…?” Sirius called softly “Let her stew for a while before you tell her?”


 Orion turned back towards the two of them and this time mischief gleamed in his eyes.


 “I think I can manage that” He said suddenly cheery again “Sirius… it’s good to see you son.” Hermione realised suddenly that while he might not be father of the year,


 Orion Black loved his son.


 Sirius looked uncomfortable to hear him say that. “You too Dad. I suppose I’ll see you in the summer….” Sirius said softly.


 Orion smiled charmingly and took a few tentative steps towards his son, slowly extending his hand and looking nervous. Sirius looked like he wasn’t going to shake his father’s hand for a moment and Hermione stamped on his foot before nodding towards his father. Hermione almost giggled at how nervous and awkward they both were as they briefly shook hands.


 “You know… if she had been pregnant, I would’ve been happy for you, son” Mr Black murmured, “I like this one.”


 Sirius smiled as they both looked over at Hermione.


 “I like her too” Sirius said, winking at Hermione. Hermione blushed. “Especially when she does that.”


 “It was nice to meet you Hermione Peverell. I hope we meet again” Orion said


 “It was nice to meet you too” Hermione said.


 “I’ll send some things for you back to school with your brother Sirius” Orion said to Sirius.


 “Ok. I’ll see you in the summer Dad” Sirius said.


 Mr Black nodded once, watching his son with what looked to Hermione like a wistful expression before he turned and strode out of the sun room back towards the ballroom.


 When he’d gone Sirius strode back over and sat down next to Hermione where she had dropped onto one of the couches. He glanced sideways at her when they both stayed silent.


 “Well that was awkward….” He muttered.


 Hermione giggled “It was kind of funny. Though I can’t believe you weren’t going to shake his hand.”


 Sirius didn’t say anything.


 “He loves you Sirius. You know that right? He might not know how to show it very well, and he might sometimes be cruel to you, but I can tell that he loves you.”


 Sirius clenched his jaw “He does now that he’s grown tired of my mother’s tirades, but when I went to school he hated me as much as she did….. Can we talk about something else?”


 Hermione smiled at him gently before shuffling towards him on the couch until she was pressed up against his side. It suddenly occurred to her that his constant need to be in her personal space was actually something that made him feel better. When she was pressed against his side Hermione wrapped his arm around her shoulder and snuggled her face against his chest. Almost immediately she felt him relax.


 Hermione hid her smile as she wrapped her arm across his stomach and buried her face where he couldn’t see her expression.


 “That was some kiss you gave me Sirius Black.”

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