Chapter 18 : Family Ties - Part 1
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Hermione woke up late on the morning of the first day of the New Year. She and Lily and the Marauders had been up until the wee small hours of the morning as they finished off the last of the punch and all caught up on what had happened with each other last night, including Hermione fighting with Sirius’s mother. All of the Marauders had smirked secretively when she told them that she’d called the evil old bitch less than decent and told her she’d die ugly and alone.
Remus had told them all of his evening spent with the curly haired Hufflepuff girl named Becky Reed who he had kissed at midnight and had asked to be his date to the next Hogsmede weekend at school. Peter had been successful too, the girl with black hair and the green dress that Hermione had seen him dancing with was a fifth year Ravenclaw named Katie Pierce. He had kissed her as the clock struck midnight and asked her to eat lunch with him and the Marauders sometime. Lily and James had of course kissed in the New Year, and Hermione had blushed crimson and hidden behind her goblet of punch when Sirius had gleefully announced that he had kissed Hermione and then told them all about the awkward conversation with his father.
They had all rolled around on the floor laughing at the idea of Hermione refusing Sirius’s marriage proposal as she insisted she wanted to pass on her last name to their love child. James had declared eternal love for Lily at the same time that Peter had fallen asleep with a soft snore face down on the carpet and they’d discussed the first prank the Marauders would play on the entire school for the New Year. The last thing Hermione remembered before everything got a little fuzzy was talking to Sirius after he’d carried her to bed in spite of how many times she’d protested that she could walk to bed just fine.
The problem was she couldn’t remember what they’d been talking about and Hermione really hoped Sirius hadn’t taken advantage of the fact that she was a little tipsy to try and wheedle her secrets about the future she’d known. Because she’s already revealed way too much about that and even though she was working on changing that future, Hermione still didn’t want her friends to know that in the life she had known before this, James, Lily and Sirius had all been dead. That Peter had betrayed them all, that Remus had spent his life alone for the twelve years Sirius had spent in prison.
As she stretched in bed Hermione couldn’t keep her mind from straying back to the kiss Sirius had given her last night. She’d been thinking about it all night, even after she came to bed and she’d dreamed about him. Slowly Hermione rolled out of bed and changed out of her pyjama pants into a cute little black mini skirt she’d bought last week with Lily, pairing it with thick red woollen tights and her fur lined boots.
For now she kept Sirius’s Quidditch jersey on and Hermione made sure to fix her hair and brush her teeth before she applied lip gloss.
It was odd that one of the Marauders hadn’t woken her yet. Normally Sirius was up with the sparrows and he liked to come in and jump on her. Stepping out into the hall Hermione found that everyone’s doors were closed and she couldn’t hear a sound from any of them. They were supposed to catch the train back to Hogwarts tomorrow and Hermione had hoped that today they would all have fun together before they had to get back to studying and classes and not being able to hang out together in the same way they could here.
Tiptoeing across the hall Hermione drummed her fingers on Sirius’s door but she didn’t get an answer. Figuring he was probably still asleep Hermione grinned. She could jump on him and wake him up today for a change. She was kind of nervous about seeing him after that kiss last night, and didn’t want him to think she was reading too much into it or that she was falling for him when she was still trying to steal his heart. As quietly as she could, Hermione turned the door knob, wincing when the door creaked as she pushed it open and slipped inside. Sirius’s room was pitch black because he had his curtains drawn, not only over the windows but also around his bed.
Hermione grinned as she slipped her boots off her feet to make sure she was silent before she tiptoed to the side of his bed and peaked her face through the curtains. And she just about had a heart attack at what she saw.
Lying there staring at her with his eyes wide open and a smirk on his face was a mussy haired Sirius Black. Hermione squeaked in shock at having been caught and Sirius laughed at her.
“Nice try ‘Mione, but you’re going to have to do better than that if you want to sneak up on me.”
“You scared the daylights out of me!” Hermione hissed at him as she pressed her hand against her chest trying to calm her pounding heart.
“What time is it?” Sirius asked her sleepily.
“Only just eight.” Hermione replied, grinning down at him.
“Why are you awake? Everyone else is hung over. No one will be out of bed before lunchtime and then Dad will cook us all an excellent brunch of greasy foods because every year we spike the punch and everyone drinks too much and we all get hung over.”
“Oh, should I tell Lily she can stay in bed until lunch time?” Hermione said.
Sirius chuckled “No need, she slept in James’s room last night. He’ll tell her if she wakes up before then anyway. We fed her too much punch last night I think.”
“Ok. Well then I’m sorry for waking you up. I’ll go occupy myself until lunch.” Hermione apologised.
Sirius just grinned at her and threw open the covers on the same side she stood.
“Get in ‘Mione” he invited, smiling at her sleepily. Hermione bit her lips as she caught sight of his bare chest and all the scars down his arms and across his chest. She hesitated.
“Please ‘Mione.” Sirius pleaded giving her puppy dog eyes.
“You don’t play fair when you look at me like that” Hermione told him as he smiled triumphantly when she pushed her way through the curtains and slipped into his bed next to him.
As soon as she was in Sirius threw the covers back over the two of them and wrapped his arms around her, dragging her closer to him until Hermione’s head was cushioned on his shoulder.
“You’re warm” Hermione murmured, burrowing against his sleep warmed body as she suddenly realised she was cold in just her skirt and tights.
“You smell amazing ‘Mione.” Sirius told her, burying his nose in her hair and taking a deep breath.
“So do you” Hermione replied without thinking. She froze and Sirius chuckled at her before pressing a kiss to the top of her head. Slowly Hermione slid her leg across him, knowing from experience that when she laid on him like this, the only comfortable spot for her leg was across his body.
“Careful ‘Mione” Sirius murmured sleepily “I was dreaming about you before you came in.’”
Hermione froze again for a moment before she let her leg keep sliding across his hips. New to the sensation Hermione shuffled her legs around trying to find somewhere comfortable to rest her thigh and Sirius groaned softly.
“You’re killing me” he murmured when Hermione looked up at his face.
“No sweetie, if I was killing you I’d do this.” Hermione murmured even as she trailed her manicured nails up and down his chest, scraping them over his skin tauntingly. Lifting her head, Hermione pressed light kisses to his chest, watching his face contort as another soft groan escaped him.
Goose pimples raced across Hermione’s skin at the sound and when Sirius’s hand slid into her loose long hair and pulled her up his body Hermione let him.
“Now who’s not fighting fair?” Sirius moaned, clearly enjoying her touch.
“Who said anything about fighting fair Sirius Black?” Hermione whispered as she smiled down into his handsome face.
“You need to stop” he told her, his eyes opening to stare back at her hungrily even as his hand leapt to her thigh “Unless you’ve suddenly decided to let me have my way with you then you need to stop.”
Hermione smirked down at him “What’s the matter Sirius, can’t handle the heat?” she teased.
“Not from you” Sirius admitted “Not when I want you so badly, I feel like a drug addict in need of a hit.”
Hermione just kept smirking at him as her fingernail continued to scrape lightly against his skin.
“Woman you’re driving me crazy” Sirius told her when his hand left her thigh to catch her hand.
Sirius growled when Hermione kept on doing it and this time when his hand seized her thigh, Sirius flipped them so that she was pinned beneath him and her leg was wrapped around his hip. Hermione hissed at the feel him suddenly pressed against her body, which apparently approved of the sounds of Sirius’s pleasure.
He didn’t say anything when he smirked at her and Hermione bit her lip as Sirius nuzzled his face against her neck before pressing hot kisses against her throat. Her nose was filled with the smell of diesel and leather, and his lips burned a searing trail of kisses over her skin that sent spikes of desire singing through her veins.
Hermione heard herself moan softly and felt her body responding his touch as pleasure flooded her system. Sirius slid his hand across hers, intertwining their fingers before he pulled away from her neck. Hermione’s eyes fluttered open to see the wicked smile on his face moments before he took control of her lips.
This kiss wasn’t tender like the one he’d given her last night. This time his kiss told her just how much he wanted her. He took possession of her mouth, his tongue delving to spar with hers in a way that had Hermione’s toes curling with pleasure. Her hand he wasn’t holding slid into his hair and Hermione found her heart racing faster.
By the time Sirius pulled away from her with a groan and rolled off her, Hermione was breathless, tingly and had no shirt on anymore.
“Why did you stop?” She asked him huskily.
“Because if I don’t stop now I won’t until you really are knocked up” Sirius told her, his arm slung over his eyes as he laid next to her on his back.
“Oh…” Hermione murmured, unsure what to say to that as she took stock of the fact that her whole body pulsed with need and she realised that in spite of her bra, she was currently topless and lying in Sirius Black’s bed. And she wanted him to do a whole lot more than take her shirt off.
Had he really just pulled away from her when she was all but begging for him to go a whole lot further than he had? Hermione felt confused. Surely if he was just interested in sleeping with her he would’ve pushed his advantage right now. Surely he would be unhooking her bra and stripping her of her clothing and making her feel a whole lot more like a quivering pile of jelly than she felt like now.
“Why aren’t you hung over ‘Mione?” Sirius asked her, changing the subject before Hermione could ask him why he didn’t try to sleep with her.
“I think I might still be a little bit drunk” Hermione groaned. When they’d sat up chatting they’d done so with a whole lot of punch that was left over from the evening and by the time Peter had fallen asleep on the floor they’d all been well beyond tipsy.
“What makes you think so?” Sirius murmured. He still has his arm slung over his eyes and Hermione found herself admiring him. His long hair hung loose as always and it was wavy this morning because he’d gone to bed with it wet. He had a little bit of stubble beginning to show along his jaw too.
“The fact that it sort of bothers me that you stopped just now” Hermione admitted “That’s why I think I must still be a little bit drunk. Because I’m the one saying no, yet here I am bothered when you do it back” Hermione blushed when she saw Sirius smirk.
“Ooh and I’m getting a head ache.” Hermione groaned as she suddenly took stock of exactly how she felt this morning. “The room is spinning” she complained.
“Come here.” Sirius murmured, holding his free arm out towards her. Hermione shuffled towards him. “Close your eyes and try to go back to sleep and it will all be better when you wake up again.” Sirius told her as Hermione snuggled her face against his scarred chest. His hand stroked her hair gently and Hermione smiled as a warm fuzzy feeling settled over her, dimming her headache and making her feel happy and contented.
Sirius was still stroking her hair gently when Hermione drifted back to sleep.
The next time Hermione opened her eyes the first thing she noticed was the soft sound of Sirius snoring. Her face was pillowed in the hollow of his shoulder and he held her close with both arms. His chest was smooth and warm beneath her cheek and when Hermione lifted her head and peered into his face she smiled. He looked peaceful and contented in sleep.
Sleepily Hermione noticed the shiny pink and red scars on Sirius from having saved her life. They had all sealed shut now, though the tissue beneath the skin was still healing slowly. The ones on his chest were still red and angry, especially the one over his heart. Hermione smiled as she gently trailed her fingertips across the uneven surface. Her face rested on the claw marks that led sideways to the big one on his heart, but Hermione could reach the rest. Slowly, being careful not to wake Sirius, Hermione trailed her fingers over each scar, lining each finger up with the claw marks that stretched almost the length of his arms, as well as with the ones on his stomach and ribs.
She traced the outline of the one over his heart, starting where it began at the curve of his neck and following the horrifying outer edges as they dipped and swelled in the indescribable shape that ran to the base of his ribs and all the way up the other side.
When she had traced the outline, Hermione let her fingertips skim across the surface of the giant scar, revelling at the fact that while it looked so angry and unfriendly, it was still that incredibly soft texture that scars had.
“How long have you been doing that?” Sirius’s voice whispered to her sleepily. He hadn’t opened his eyes but he wore a very small smile.
“A little while” Hermione whispered back, not stilling her hand of its inspection of the scar.
“It feels nice” Sirius murmured when Hermione’s hand shifted to trace the deep claw marks down Sirius’s right arm again. “What time is it?”
“A little past eleven. You can sleep a while longer if you want to.”
Sirius sighed and slowly opened his eyes “No I can’t we need to get James and Lily out of bed. Mum will flip her lid if she finds out Lily slept in his bed and knowing James he’ll still be snoring until someone wakes him.”
“I thought you lot didn’t keep secrets from each other” Hermione said when Sirius cuddled her closer rather than getting up.
“We don’t. Unless we’ve broken a specific rule Mum has set. Then we refrain from telling her unless we have to. And unless James knocked Evans up last night, we really don’t have to tell Mum that they shared a bed, otherwise she’ll probably set some sort of rule that will mean girls can only stay here with us if you and Evans sleep in the other wing of the Manor near Mum and Dad’s room.”
“I’m confused. Last week you calmly discussed with Mr and Mrs Potter the fact that you sleep around at school. She knows you at least have had sex, I’m not sure about James.”
“Prongs hasn’t unless him and Evans got freaky last night, but Mum’s not worried about us having sex. She’s worried about having to explain to Evans’s mother that Evans got knocked up on her watch. Most families take a much stricter outlook than the Potters do.”
“Oh I know” Hermione muttered, thinking of all the times at the Burrow when Molly had been suspicious when Hermione sat around in a room with Harry and Ron for too long.
“I suppose Mum and Dad would be if they had a daughter, which is probably why they’ve started cracking down on it now that you and Evans are in the picture.”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked softly.
“Hmm? Oh, since you have no real family anymore Mum’s doing what she always does, before long she’ll have your room across the hall set up permanently as a bedroom for you and let you decorate it however you like. She’ll start calling you her daughter if you hang around with us long enough” Sirius told her with a smile. “Same goes for Evans since her parents are muggles, though she’s been counting Evans as part of the family for years because she never lost faith that James would convince Evans to fall in love with him.”
“Why did she refer to me and Lily as being the girls who stole her sons hearts?” Hermione whispered, closing her eyes in a vague attempt to keep from blushing.
“Hermione we have no secrets in this family. She knew the day James fell for Evans, and she knows I haven’t dated anyone since you turned me down” Sirius said in an odd voice.
“On Christmas Eve she found me reading in the library and told me some things about you” Hermione whispered softly.
“What kind of things?”
“Oh stuff about how she counted you as her son just as much as James, the same for Remus because of the way your parents are. She thinks you fancy me” Hermione knew she was fishing just a little bit to see if maybe Sirius had started to fall for all the things Hermione had been trying to do to steal his heart without him realising it.
“We should wake Prongs and the others” Sirius told her, changing the subject without another word on the subject of fancying anyone. Hermione moved to pull away from him so they could get up, but before she could, Sirius tightened his arms around her, pulling her closer and pressing a kiss against her forehead.
Hermione’s skin tingled as Sirius released her with a smile before he rolled out of bed, ripped back the curtain and stretched languidly like the giant dog he could turn into.
Hermione gasped when he proceeded to transform right there into a dog and then stretched that way too. When he transformed back again he grinned at Hermione.
“I always stretch better as a dog than I can as a human” He told her before he wandered over to his cupboard, opening the rest of the curtains as he went.
Hermione watched him get dressed in navy track pants and a jumper that Mrs Potter had probably knitted for him. It had a pair of Beaters bat crossed over the chest like cross bones, in brown while the rest of the jumper was soft and red.
“You ever gonna give me that back?” Sirius asked her, grinning as he nodded at the Quidditch jersey Hermione was pulling back over her head, realising that she had fallen asleep topless.
“We discussed this Black and since you got blood all over my shirt and haven’t given it back, I have to have something to sleep in. This is my jersey now.” Hermione teased him.
“You’re lucky you look cute in it woman, that’s my favourite jersey.”
“No no, it was your favourite jersey. But now it’s my favourite jersey so you have to find yourself a new favourite.”
Sirius chuckled “Come on love, we better wake the others.”
When Sirius walked out into the hallway, Hermione trailed after him, enjoying the way she now smelled like Sirius all over. She eyed his back as he sauntered down the hall towards James’s room and suddenly a wonderful idea struck Hermione.
Running silently in her socks Hermione launched herself onto Sirius’s back, wrapping her arms over his shoulders and around his neck and wrapping her legs around his narrow hips, locking her ankles over his stomach. Sirius didn’t even seem notice, just snorted at her when she kissed his cheek before he took hold of James’s doorhandle and flung the door wide open. It banged against the wall and Hermione laughed as she heard both James and Lily groan at the loud noise.
“JAMESY WAKE UP!” Sirius shouted loudly as he leapt into the room and threw the curtain over the windows and then the ones around James’s bed wide. Hermione giggled as she clung to his back.
“What is wrong with you Black?” Lily snarled angrily as she blinked rapidly as the gleam over sunlight on the snow practically blinded her. “Were dropped on your head a lot as a kid or have you taken too many Bludgers to the head that means you have to make loud noises all the time?”
“You are kind of loud.” Hermione told Sirius from her perch on his back.
“Quiet you. Turtle shells don’t talk” Sirius told her.
“I bet they don’t do this either” Hermione giggled before scrubbing her knuckles against the top of his head in a noogie.
“James, he’s your boyfriend, you deal with him.” Lily groaned as she smushed a pillow over her face and flopped back on the bed. While Sirius howled and tried to fight Hermione off.
“My boyfriend!” James cried, “Oh Evans he’s so much more than my boyfriend. Sirius is my soul mate. The love of my life. The only man I could ever love!”
Lily’s fist came flying towards James’s face but in spite of the fact that he wasn’t wearing his glasses he managed to dodge the blow.
“Prongs you told me I was the only man you loved!” Remus shouted from the doorway where he stood, dressed almost identical to Sirius except his jumper had a giant R on the front and was green.
“You!” Sirius cried clutching his heart and falling to his knees. Hermione squeaked and climbed off his back in panic. “Moony you promised me that you would love me forever” Sirius shouted back.
“Don’t worry Remus, Potter told me he’d love me forever too but if you lot all keep shouting forever is going to come to an abrupt halt for all of you” Lily threatened darkly from beneath her pillow.
“Her!” Sirius and Remus cried simultaneously, even as Sirius leapt to his feet.
“Moony we can’t let him get away with this. He declared his eternal love to a girl. Now he’ll have cooties!” Sirius shrieked like a girl.
“You’re right Padfoot, we’ll have to decontaminate him!” Remus grinned wickedly.
“WORMTAIL!!” Sirius, James and Remus all shouted at once.
Hermione laughed when Peter suddenly rushed into the doorway still in his pyjamas and looking half asleep.
“Help Pete!” James shouted but the other two drowned him out.
“Prongs has to be decontaminated. He declared eternal love for a girl!” Sirius and Remus declared before Peter nodded, smiling suddenly before all three boys leapt onto the bed.
Lily screamed before groaning and clutching her head.
“Hermione help!” James yelped as all three of his best friends began punching him beneath the covers. “Help, fight with me because I love a girl!”
Hermione giggled before she leapt into the fray. She clambered over Peter when she tickled him out of the way before she set to work on Sirius, wrapping herself around his back tightly and starting to braid his hair.
“Remus help she’s getting cooties on me!” Sirius cried even as he kept pounding away at James who was shouting at Peter and Lily that he was innocent. Peter just laughed and copied Sirius, pounding on James too while Lily had scrambled out of bed to avoid getting dragged into this.
Hermione laughed when Remus’s strong arms latched around her beneath her shoulders and he dragged her away. Because even as he tugged and pulled at Hermione, Hermione kept her grip on Sirius, squeezing him tightly between her thighs and dragged him off James and onto the floor.
“Lily quick, fight off Pete and you can reinfest James with cooties! Don’t let them decontaminate him or he’ll fall in love with them instead of you!” Hermione shouted.
Lily looked sceptical for a moment before she shrugged and leapt onto Peter’s back with a cry, toppling him sideways until she could plaster herself on top of James, where she proceeded to shower kisses all over his face.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Remus, Sirius and Peter all cried is despair as James wrapped his arms around his girlfriend and kissed her back happily.
“You do love me!!” James cried happily.
“He’s lost to us lads” Remus declared in disgust as Hermione let go of Sirius and Remus stood her on her feet.
Hermione grinned slyly and glanced at him.
“There are still plenty of cooties to go around!” Hermione shouted before she leapt across the room and wrapped her arms around an unsuspecting Peter and pressed a kiss to both of his cheeks, his nose, his forehead and his chin. Before he could fight back Hermione released him and sprang at Remus catching herself against his solid chest before giving him the same treatment as Peter.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” Sirius screamed as each of his friends looked shocked and dumbfounded for a moment and Hermione tried to catch hold of him.
“YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE!” he screeched as he dodged out of her reach. Hermione chuckled.
“Get him Pete. We can’t let him go free!” Hermione cried. Peter giggled and grabbed Sirius from behind, managing to get a hold of his friend in the full nelson headlock.
“How could you let her turn you like this! I trusted you!” Sirius screamed, writhing in Peter’s grip.
Hermione laughed as she sprung at him and wrapped her arms around his waist since Peter had hold of his arms and neck.
“Wait Pete I can save you!” Sirius cried as he began to pound his fist against his friend’s arm. “Five kisses is equal to five punches you’re free! Save Moony quick”
Peter immediately dropped Sirius and rushed towards Remus who was too busy laughing at the theatrics to resist as Peter punched him five times.
“I’m going to get you Sirius Black.” Hermione told him, clinging to his waist as he pushed on her shoulders trying to keep his face out of her reach.
“I braided your hair while you were asleep Padfoot” Hermione told him. Sirius immediately stopped pushing against her as his hands leapt to his hair in horror and Hermione struck with kisses all over his face.
“Arrrrgh! They burn” Sirius screamed until Hermione planted a kiss on his lips. Then Sirius stopped fighting her and wrapped his arms around her instead.
“Save him quick Pete!” Remus shouted as they both sprang forward to save their friend.
Hermione struggled as Peter pulled her off Sirius while Sirius pretended to struggle against Remus until Remus punched him a bunch of times.
“You kids are all destined for the psych ward in St. Mungos.” Charlus Potter told them mildly from the door.
Everyone jumped and spun towards him. James even pushed Lily aside and leapt out of bed.
“We’re not crazy” James declared indignantly. Hermione giggled when she noticed the way all four boys had gone tense and all grinned slyly at each other.
“GET HIM!!!” James shouted before all four of them rushed towards Charlus.
Mr Potter was already spinning and running for the stairs as James shouted.
“Dorea HELP!” Mr Potter cried.
“Mum can’t help you now Dad!” Sirius yelled as they raced after the older man. Hermione rushed after them, half terrified one of them would fall down the stairs and break their neck.
“Oh for crying out loud!” Mrs Potter shouted from the doorway of the dining room.
Hermione gasped as she watched the boys catch Mr Potter in the lounge room.
They all laughed as they all hit the ground and Hermione raised her eyebrows as Charlus wrestled right along with them, pinning one of them only to have the other three fight him off their friend.
“Hermione, Lily, Help!” Charlus shouted even as he laughed when he spotted them watching in fascination.
Hermione didn’t even stop to think about how strange this was. She hadn’t played and wrestled with people the way she did with the Marauders ever before, but as she dove into the wrestling pile of boys Hermione couldn’t keep the smile off her face. Playing with them was fun and made her feel at home and comfortable with them like she’d never felt with anyone before.
Hermione leapt at Remus, tackling him away from Mr Potter and they both rolled away across the carpet as Remus immediately began to tickle her. Hermione tickled him back and they both squirmed until Peter came to Remus’s rescue and tickled Hermione as well.
She managed to wiggle free of them and seized hold of Sirius’s foot and tickled it until he turned to fight her off and Charlus broke free, tackling both James and Sirius to the ground and catching the in headlocks.
“Lily help!” Hermione cried as she laughed when Remus and Peter caught her again. This time Lily jumped in as well even while James and Sirius fought and shouted as they tried to escape Charlus. Lily jumped on Remus’s back and he laughed as he began to leap about, trying to throw her off him.
“We’ve got them now girls!” Charlus cried as Hermione spun around and caught hold of Peter, tickling his mercilessly.
Hermione paused when Peter started to cough and wheeze.
“Are you ok Pete?” She asked, rocking back and letting him go. Everyone else stopped wrestling and fighting as Peter knelt on his hands and knees and coughed even harder.
“Accio Inhaler!” Mrs Potter cried suddenly.
A little insulin puffer like Hermione had grown up watching her mother use came whizzing into the room and Dorea Potter caught it before handing it to Peter.
“Are you alright dear? You know better than to over exert yourself like this. Oh and the cold air in the house won’t be helping…” She fretted as Peter took two deep puffs of the inhaler “Snippet, Dippet!” She called. Two house elves appeared in front of her.
“What does you need Mistress?” they asked her, both vying for a job.
“Could you both please work on getting this house heated better? Peter’s asthma is playing up today.”
“Of course Mistress. Is Mister Peter ok, Mistress?”
“He’ll be just fine, but we need to keep this old house nice and warm.”
They both popped back out of the room with a crack and almost immediately the house began to warm up.
“I’m sorry Peter. I didn’t know you had Asthma. If I did I wouldn’t have tickled you so much.” Hermione apologised as she stared at the blonde boy.
“It’s ok Hermione. It’s not serious asthma. I just have trouble catching my breath when we wrestle like this sometimes” Peter said, blushing at having everyone’s attention focused on him.
“You ok mate?” James asked him. Peter nodded and Remus heaved him to his feet.
“Brunch is ready anyway. Charlus you let go of Sirius this minute before you crush the poor boy” Dorea said, shooing everyone towards the kitchen. Or trying to. It didn’t work very well because James, Remus and Sirius all stopped to help Charlus to his feet
“You know Dorea, I thought we stopped at one child to avoid having them gang up on us like this” Charlus laughed good-naturedly.
“We did my dear husband. But somehow we seem to have ended up with six, just the same” Dorea said, smiling fondly as Charlus wrapped his arms around her shoulders “And I’m so glad that we did. This big old house gets so empty without them all here to fill it with life.”
Hermione thought she saw Mrs Potter’s lip begin to tremble.
“Don’t worry Mum, we’ll be back again before you know it” James assured his mother as he caught sight of her trembling lower lip too “All of us. The very next time we have holidays we’ll all come back and visit you ok?”
“Oh honey do you promise you will?” Dorea said, beaming again and taking her son’s hand.
“We promise Mum” Sirius grinned as he dropped into his seat at the table.
“And the girls too?” Dorea said hopefully as she turned her kind, smiling face on Hermione and Lily.
“I would be delighted to visit again” Hermione spoke up smiling. “To be honest I don’t really want to go back to school tomorrow.”
“Who are you and what have you done with Hermione?” all of her friends demanded. Hermione gasped as she realised she suddenly had five wands trained on her.
“What on earth are you all doing with your wands out? We’re trying to have Brunch!” Dorea grumbled in exasperation.
“The real Hermione would never say she wanted to stay away from school” Sirius told her, eyeing Hermione suspiciously.
“Oh relax all of you. I just meant that it’s been so nice staying here together that I’m going to miss it when we go back to school” Hermione waved them away as she reached forward and picked up a bowl of scrambled eggs and scooped some onto a piece of toast.
“Well Hermione dear, I want you to know that no matter the time you are always welcome here and any time you feel the need, you simply must write to us. About absolutely anything. You’re a part of this family now.” Mrs Potter told her, reaching over and taking Hermione’s hand. “And so are you Lily. Just like my four boys.” She said smiling at each of them.
Sirius caught Hermione’s eye across the table and smiled at her knowingly even as he shoved a forkful of bacon and sausage dripping in brown sauce into his mouth.
“Oh Charlus I love it when our family grows bigger” she said happily, squeezing Hermione’s hand before letting it go.
“I know we still have dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow….” Lily began shyly “But thank you so much for inviting me here for Christmas. It would’ve been awfully lonely at Hogwarts by myself.”
“Oh Lily dear you’re always welcome here. You mustn’t thank us” Mrs Potter smiled at the blushing red head fondly “We’ve always thought of you as part of the family because James has been so smitten with you for so long.”
Hermione giggled when James didn’t even have the decency to blush. Instead he just beamed at Lily and ruffled his incredibly messy hair.
“So what do you all have planned for your last day of Christmas break?” Mr Potter asked them cheerily.
“Riding!” Sirius said suddenly “I haven’t been on my bike all break.”
“I had begun to wonder if you’d forgotten about your bike.” Mr Potter said.
Hermione fiddled with the heart and arrow ring on her finger as Sirius turned his twinkling grey eyes on her.
“You ever ridden a motorcycle ‘Mione?” he asked her, flashing that charming heart breaker smile.
“No… Brooms and a Thestral once, but I’ve never been on a motorcycle.” Hermione admitted “Though when I was a girl I had a bicycle that I loved to ride.”
“I didn’t know you liked to fly Hermione” Remus said.
“Oh I don’t. I can do it if I must, but I always look down and terrify myself” Hermione told him with a smile.
“What’s a Thestral?” Lily asked sounding uncertain and curious.
Hermione blushed suddenly. “Oh, um… Thestrals are what pull the carriages from the station to the castle at Hogwarts.” Hermione explained.
“No they aren’t. Nothing pulls the carriages, they just pull themselves. They’re charmed or something,” Lily argued.
Hermione sighed, remembering the time she had once argued the same thing. As she sat there eating breakfast on the first day of 1977, Hermione couldn’t keep her eyes from straying to stare at Sirius.
In her fifth year she had argued that nothing pulled the carriages. And the reason she could now see the creatures that actually did pull the carriages was because as one must in order to see them, she had watched someone die.
The boy sitting across from her with a slight frown on his face, that Hermione had gone and gotten her heart all tangled up in was the person she had watched fall backward through the Whispering Veil and die, never to be seen again. Hermione bit her lip as she stared at him because it had begun to tremble just the tiniest bit at the very idea that if she didn’t work on altering the future, he would meet the same end. Mr Potter seemed to notice her distraction.
“Lily, a Thestral is a sort of skeletal looking black horse with big leathery black wings. They are carnivorous and as I understand it, a herd of them dwells within the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts. As Hermione rightly states, they pull the carriages.”
“But I’ve never seen anything pull the carriages” James said “Have you Sirius?”
Sirius looked up and found Hermione watching him with a devastated sort of look on her face.
“I’ve seen them” Sirius said grimly “But you haven’t because they are invisible to wizards unless you’ve seen Death.”
“What do you mean?” Lily asked, puzzled now “How do you see death? You say Death as though you mean some sort of being, like a grim reaper.”
“He means, my dear, that you cannot see Thestrals unless you have witnessed someone dying. Have watched as someone takes their last breath” Mrs Potter said gravely.
“To watch that is to know Death is more than a state of being but an actual entity” Hermione murmured sadly “To watch the life seep out of someone and the light leave their bright eyes cold and unseeing… that is to know that while we all pass on to the next path of our journey, it is in Death’s arms that you are taken to that next path.”
Hermione watched Lily rub at her arms as goose pimples sprang up all over her skin. Mrs Potter reached over and took Hermione’s hand gently.
Hermione forced a smile onto her face and dragged her eyes away from Sirius’s as she realised he had been gazing back at her with as much intensity as she had stared at him. Hermione blinked rapidly before she looked at him again.
“But anyway, Sirius if you’re offering to let me ride your motorcycle than I suppose I ought to see what all the fuss is about” Hermione said, forcing conversation back to what they all had planned for the day rather than heavy topics like Thestrals and death.
“Then I’m offering, but you’re not driving, I’ll just double you.” Sirius said, catching on that Hermione was trying to lighten the mood.
“Well you can’t do that all day. What else will you do?” Mr Potter asked.
“We could work on our magic some more, and we really ought to come up with a name for when we do it, otherwise people will look at us funny and ask why we’re at school if not to work on our magic.” Hermione said brightly. “I found a new book in the library yesterday that ought to be fun to learn some new spells from.”
“You still haven’t explained the purpose behind this… mission you’re on?” Mrs Potter said.
The six of them all glanced at each other.
“I suppose you could say that we’re sort of in training….” Hermione said, reluctant to say that they were training so that they would be ready when the war began since it was another heavy topic.
“Mostly we’re just working on our skills and expanding the repertoire of magic that we can perform Mum” James told her “Like, Hermione’s really good at non-verbal magic and is pretty good at wandless magic too, so she’s been helping the rest of us learn to do that. And we’ve been learning new spells and their counter curses.”
“Well I must say I think it’s a ripping good idea. Never can have too many spells stored away, just in case you need one of them” Mr Potter said jovially “We ought to participate too Dorea, we could teach these whipper-snappers a thing or two I’d warrant. And it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on some of the magic I’ve certainly forgotten over the years.”
“Oh now I don’t know that we could teach them all that much darling.” Mrs Potter said “I think we’ll find they can teach us a thing or two. I watched them duelling yesterday in the library for a few minutes and I fear that if you or I were to seriously duel them, we might lose. They are all incredibly gifted too, after all, it’s not everyday you hear of three teenage boys mastering the magic of Animagi before they’ve even taken their O.W.L.s” Mrs Potter’s eyes twinkled with mischief as all four Marauders and
Hermione all froze at her words.
Hermione watched Lily Evans pause with her forkful of eggs halfway to her mouth.
“Um…. Mum we hadn’t gotten around to telling Evans all that stuff yet….” Sirius said.
“What did you just say?” Lily asked Mrs Potter.
“I know you hadn’t all told Lily about that yet Sirius” Mrs Potter said “But you know how I feel about keeping secrets in this family” Her voice was sharp as she said that and for a moment Hermione panicked.
Had she or Sirius hinted something about the truth about her?
“What is the biggest and only enforced rule in this house Sirius?” She asked him, fixing him what could almost be called a glare and Hermione suddenly realised what was going on.
“That we don’t keep secrets from each other” Sirius answered.
“And why is that my only real rule?” Mrs Potter asked.
“Because keeping secrets from the people you love is the quickest way to damage relationships if those secrets land in the wrong hands” James answered his mother sounding puzzled as to why she was recapping the rules all of a sudden. Unable to hold it in any longer because she had worked out exactly why they were suddenly being lectured, Hermione started to laugh causing everyone at the table to stare at her.
“Something funny?” Sirius asked her looking completely confused.
“I think I know what you’re getting at Mrs Potter” Hermione turned to smile at the older woman “And you should know that it’s all utter twaddle. I’m sure that sometime during last night someone gossiped to you that I told Walburga Black she was an old hag who wouldn’t be having any part in her grandchild’s life. Is that what this is all about?” Hermione clarified.
“That would be correct dear,” Mrs Potter said before glaring at Sirius again. “That’s quite the secret to keep from your family Sirius Black and I won’t have you keeping something this important from us.”
“Mrs Potter, it’s not true.” Hermione interrupted “That old harpie told Sirius that he wasn’t to approach her in public, that he had no right to breathe the same air as her and that since she gave him life she could take it away too and said he was no son of hers. She called me the daughter of whores as well.”
Mrs Potter covered her mouth as it fell open in shock but Hermione smiled brightly.
“She also tried to slap me when I told her that the reason she was being introduced to a whore’s daughter was because her husband had a penchant for whores. So then I told her that she is nothing but a worthless old hag who would one day die ugly and alone with only Kreacher to mourn her, and I told her she is a pathetic excuse for a human being, that she has no manners and that she wasn’t allowed near her unborn grandchild because I didn’t want her tainting my daughter with her filth.”
Hermione winked at Sirius when she noticed he was beaming at her.
“But I’m not actually pregnant. I just knew that everyone who heard our argument would rush around gossiping about what I had said and about the fact that someone who places a lot of value on public image had no control over her own children because her first born son had knocked up a girl before finishing school.”
“So you’re not actually going to give birth this summer?” Mr Potter asked, grinning slyly.
“Certainly not” Hermione told him watching the way Mrs Potter deflated in relief.
“Then why on earth did you tell people you were Hermione?” She asked sounding exasperated now.
“Because it makes her look bad.”
“But honey, it makes you look bad too. The whole wizarding community will think you’re pregnant.”
Hermione shrugged. “I’m not, so what does it matter? Besides, no one gets away with talking to me or to anyone I love like that. Especially not some nasty old bitch with a genealogy book shoved too far up her behind to love her son like a mother is supposed to.”
Mrs Potter looked shocked but Hermione grinned when Mr Potter began to applaud. The Marauders joined in and feeling particularly proud of herself, Hermione got to her feet and bowed to them all while they all laughed.
“No wonder you lot took to her so quickly. She’s worse the four of you put together. I’d say she has more courage than all of the occupants of Gryffindor. It’s not just anyone who has the courage to stand up to Walburga Black.” Mr Potter said.
“Oh but she didn’t actually slap you did she?” Mrs Potter fretted.
“As if I would’ve let her” Sirius said. Hermione rolled her eyes at him.
“She tried to. I caught her hand before she could make contact.” Hermione said modestly.
“Well then… Sirius honey I’m sorry for accusing you of keeping secrets.” Mrs Potter said reaching over and patting Sirius’s cheek gently.
“That’s ok Mum” Sirius grinned at her charmingly.
Everyone went back to eating for a moment until Lily suddenly spoke.
“Not to rehash subjects or anything…. But can we go back to the part where Mrs Potter said you lot mastered the magic of Animagi before you even took your O.W.L.s?”
“Oh dear….” Mrs Potter said, she glanced at all four boys, her eyes lingering on Remus who had gone pale. “Well, you might as well tell her boys. She’s dating James now, she would’ve noticed something eventually and none of you are careful enough with your nicknames for each other.”
“Hermione do you have any idea what’s going on?” Lily demanded, clearly growing impatient with the cryptic nature of the conversation.
“Um… I think it best if the boys field this question…” Hermione said, not looking at Lily.
“What on earth is going on?” Lily demanded.
“Should we just show her?” Sirius asked his friends “And explain after.”
“Might be the best way to keep her from running out of the house screaming” Remus said. Hermione glanced up at him and noticed that he looked angry.
“Show me what?” Lily growled.
“Come on lads. Before she has kittens” Sirius said, getting to his feet and stepping away from the table. James and Peter followed suit and Lily glared at them all as they moved to the empty space next to the table so Lily could see them all clearly.
“One” Sirius began.
“Two” Peter said.
“Three” James finished.
And just like that, the three boys disappeared. Hermione watched in fascination as they transformed into their animal forms and next to her Lily gasped in shock.
“Remus what is going on?” She said as she watched Remus get to his feet too and stand with his friends.
“Come here for a minute Lily” Remus asked her. Slowly, with Hermione nudging her towards them Lily made her way around the table to where a stag, a giant black dog and a brown rat stood in the dining room of Potter Manor.
“Hermione did you know about this?” Lily whispered to her as they rounded the table.
“Yes” Hermione said simply before she stepped away from Lily as Sirius’s tail began to wag and he dropped into a play bow. He wiggled in place until Hermione grinned at him. Then he sprang forwards, barking madly as he toppled her over.
Hermione started to laugh as her butt hit the ground because Sirius clambered forwards, knocking her over until she was flat on her back, where he proceeded to flop down on top of her and cover her in dog slobber as he licked every part of her that had skin bare.
“Oh Sirius don’t be mean to the poor girl.” Mrs Potter laughed.
“Paws off, Pooch!” Hermione laughed at him. Sirius didn’t move though. Instead he licked her face again and barked at her.
“That’s Black?” Lily said, sounding astonished. Of course before she could speak again James walked towards her and Hermione watched his stag tongue stick out and lick Lily’s cheek.
“Potter?” She said uncertainly.
Hermione laughed outright when James brayed at her.
“What in Merlin’s name is going on?” Lily said even as she reached out and touch James’s fur covered nose.
“Now for the fun part” Hermione said as she pushed Sirius off of her and got to her feet.
All three boys transformed back and James took Lily’s hand.
“You better sit down while we explain Lily” He said gently.
“You, Black and Peter can turn into animals at will and now you think I ought to sit down?” Lily demanded incredulously.
“Well…. Don’t you want to why we learned to turn into animals at will?” James asked her reasonably.
As they all regained their seats James began “We finally managed Animagi early last year after studying it in secret since second year. We’re unregistered and hope to stay that way so you need to keep this a secret.”
“Can Remus do it too?” Lily asked, glancing at the sandy haired boy.
“No” Sirius said.
“What on earth made you try Animagi for so long without Remus?” Lily asked, confused now.
“You better field this one Moony” James said softly.
“She’s going to scream” Remus said unhappily.
“Remus, we still love you. Lily will too. And if she can’t, then we’ll obliviate her.” Hermione told him with a smile. “Lily, you’re not allowed to freak out. I’ve never tried a memory charm but I’m not above trying it for the first time on you” Hermione added as she looked at Lily.
“I’m not an Animagus Lily.” Remus began after her took a big deep breath “James, Sirius and Peter learned how to become Animagi because of me though.”
Hermione smiled at him encouragingly when he paused and looked particularly wary and unhappy at the idea of admitting the truth.
“They learned how to do it because they really are the best friends anyone could ask for and they wanted to help me” Remus said. Lily still looked completely confused and Remus sighed.
“I’m a werewolf Lily” He said tiredly.
Lily gasped, her hand leaping to her mouth and Hermione watched the horror begin to show in her eyes. Remus clenched his jaw and Sirius crossed his arms angrily when Lily began to look terrified.
“I was bitten when I was five years old and when I was eleven a select few of the teachers who know about my condition set up a way that I would be able to attend Hogwarts in spite of my curse. Every month on the full moon we make excuses that I have a sick relative or an illness or a dying pet or a family wedding or any other form of excuse that will explain why I’m absent once a month. But I don’t go home. I go into the Shrieking Shack to transform. There are no ghosts that haunt it. The screaming and howling and wailing all comes from me. And when I finally told my friends in second year, instead of being terrified of me they immediately set about finding a way that they could save me from attacking myself in the Shrieking Shack every full moon.”
Hermione smiled sadly at the gratitude in Remus’s eyes as he looked at his best friends. Lily still had her hand over her mouth and she was silently shaking her head but even as she did Hermione watched her take several deep breaths. When she took her hand away from her mouth she was frowning and Hermione watched in terror as
Lily opened her mouth, half expecting the red head to scream.
“You’re a werewolf?” She clarified in a voice that sounded a little angry. Remus gave a sharp nod. They all watched in horror as Lily stood up suddenly and Hermione was certain the girl was going to storm out or run away but as they all watched her, Lily Evans stomped around the table to where Remus stood leaning against his chair since he didn’t seem comfortable with sitting as he’d told her.
Lily stopped when she stood in front of him and Hermione watched her glare up at him.
“You’re a jerk” She told him angrily “When I met you on the boat ride to the castle in first year I whispered to you and Severus that some fifth year on the train had told me there were werewolves in the forest that would eat me if I broke the rules at Hogwarts. I was terrified to be anywhere but the common room as soon as the sun started to go down until third year!” Lily yelled. “If I’d known that I was actually friends with a werewolf I would’ve saved myself a lot of terror and a whole lot of rushing out of the library with useless books just so I could get back to the common room before dark. You should have told me!”
Then Lily socked Remus in the arm with a thump before she threw her arms around him and dragged him into a hug.
Hermione was the first one to start laughing as Remus turned back to face the rest of them with Lily still hanging down his front. He looked baffled and slightly hopeful, as though he didn’t believe what was happening.
“Told you she’d love you like we do” Hermione said, smiling at Remus.
When Lily had let go of Remus and everyone had resumed eating brunch, Lily turned to Hermione suddenly.
“Can you turn into an animal too?” She demanded.
“Not yet I can’t” Hermione told her, realising that the fact that she had been keeping her education about becoming an Animagus from everyone but Sirius was a mistake.
She was here to fix the things that happened to cause the future she was from and Mrs Potter was right. Keeping secrets was never a good idea. She couldn’t tell them she was from the future, but she could tell them some things that she’d been keeping to herself.
“I have a secret to share with the family,” Hermione announced, feeling slightly self conscious until Mr and Mrs Potter beamed at her.
“Well do tell Hermione. Otherwise Dorea will try to tickle it out of you for breaking the house rule” Mr Potter said jovially.
“I’ve been working with Albus to learn how to be an Animagus too.”
“Why?” James asked, completely baffled. “Why didn’t you just come to us? You’ve known for more than a month what we are. We can teach you.”
Hermione grinned at him “Yes well, sometimes even I make mistakes” Hermione admitted, sneaking a glance at Sirius who was smirking at her smugly.
“You didn’t tell Dumbledore what we are did you?” Peter squeaked.
“No. I kept that to myself, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows anyway. But anyway, I’ve been reading up on it. Albus sent me a useful new book on it for Christmas, and when we get back to Hogwarts he’s going to supervise while I try transforming for the first time.”
Sirius raised his eyebrows at her.
“Why wait until then when you have three experts sitting right here?”
“Because I don’t know what I’m going to turn into and I don’t want to get stuck between forms.” Hermione said “Did you guys know what you would turn into before you tried it? I think I read somewhere that some people turn into the same thing as their Patronus, but not always. And I know that drastic changes in someone’s life can cause their Patronus to change.”
“You can form a corporeal Patronus?” Peter asked incredulously.
“Yes, but don’t sit there and look at me like that when you’re an Animagus.” Hermione said.
“Show us how?” Sirius asked.
“Right now? We’re still eating.”
“We can move this into the lounge room if you like. Though I’ve had enough anyway” Mrs Potter said. Everyone else declared they were finished too and they all moved into the lounge room clearly deciding that the first thing on the agenda today was working on their magic.
A/N: This Chapter probably feels unfinished and that it because it it. The second part will be uploaded as soon as this one is validated. It was too long as one chapter and the server wouldn't let me upload it even though it did before it was rejected for breaching the ToS. Part 2 follows in the next chapter but know that they are supposed to go together to make one chapter =)
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