Hermione walked through the corridors of St. Mungo's with brisk, purposeful strides. As she moved, she skimmed through the charts in her hands. There were many patients to see today. She would have to skip her lunch break if she wanted to get off work in time for dinner at the Burrow. Or perhaps this was her great excuse to skip the weekly reunion with her friends. She didn't quite feel up to facing Ron today. She was still trying to get over the break up. Maybe it would be best to just take her time with the patients.

"Excuse me, Healer Granger!" a feminine voice called out, stopping Hermione in her tracks, "I've got another one!"

She turned, taking the additional chart from the young blond woman in front of her. Her darker green robes indicated her status as a Junior Healer. "Thank-you, Angela, and you know that you can call me Hermione."

"Of course, Hermione," Angela smiled meekly, "also, that one is fairly urgent, Healer Smethwyck thinks you should see him first."

Hermione nodded, skimming through the chart. As she read, confusion etched itself across her face. She looked up, her brows pulled together. "This chart doesn't have a name on it," she noted.

Angela shifted from foot to foot, "I just admitted him… he refused to give his name. The Aurors had to give him a Calming Draught to get him to even come in with them. Oh, and he's a werewolf."

"I'll go see him now," Hermione mumbled, turning on her heel and continuing to skim the chart as she walked.

Patient suffers from several abrasions and bite marks which he claims to have been self-inflicted during the transformation. Patient additionally suffers from substantial blood loss and an abnormal heart murmur, possibly caused by the lycanthropy. Also seems to be under large amounts of stress, possibly chronic.

The bottom of the chart was signed with Angela's signature. Hermione had to admit that she was intrigued. It had been a long time since she'd had a werewolf come in for treatment. Despite their elevated status in society after the war, they still tended to settle for very isolated lives.

She made her way to the room, taking one more glance over the chart before silently slipping inside. The space was generic, with its white walls and single window. Morning light streamed through the window, falling onto the face of the man lying on the bed.

Hermione froze. She didn't hear herself gasp, but she must have, judging from the way the man's head shot up. His eyes grew wide and his jaw slackened.

She sputtered to find words, searching the face of the man before her. His hair was longer, and he looked like he hadn't shaved in a while, but she recognized that tired face immediately. It's not possible, a voice whispered in her head, he's dead. For a moment, Hermione wondered if he was an impersonator, but she knew that the Aurors always removed any enchantments before taking someone in. Unless he had an identical twin that was also a werewolf, it must have been him.

"Remus?" she whispered, her voice unsteady.

He winced as if hating his name, or perhaps the way she said it. "Hello, Hermione." His voice was hoarse and pained. He looked like he'd gone through a terrible night, but that obviously wasn't the only source of his discomfort.

She watched him for a long time, not speaking, just watching him. The disbelief was written clearly all over her face. Finally, she spoke. "Is this some sort of joke?" She hadn't meant for it to sound so harsh and angry, but it did.

He winced again, looking down at the white hospital sheets pulled over his legs. "No," he murmured hoarsely, "it's not."

Her anger flared. "Remus Lupin, you'd better tell me why you're alive and you'd better tell me right now."

Remus still didn't meet her eyes. He studied the wedding band on his finger as he twisted it around. This simple movement illuminated many things for Hermione, and suddenly she felt very, very sad. "It was because of Tonks, wasn't it?"

He nodded, a pained expression crossing his face. "After the battle- when I saw her body I just-" he broke off, grimacing, "I knew Harry had won, and I knew that everyone else was okay. I just couldn't stay there. Not with Dora gone."

"What about Teddy?" she asked sharply, stepping forward, "Did you just decide to leave your son behind while you ran away? Do you know how hard it must be for Andromeda to take care of him alone? She won't even let Harry or I help, God knows why."

His eyes snapped up harshly, meeting hers, "I didn't leave Teddy behind." He growled. "I've been taking care of him."

"You've been taking care of him?"

"Yes," he lifted his chin, "Teddy visits Andromeda sometimes. He stays with her during the full moons."

Hermione was beginning to understand now. This was why Andromeda always refused to let Harry and Ginny see Teddy. They'd always thought it was some sort of resentment for Harry because he'd let her daughter die. But she was actually hiding the fact that the boy's father was alive. It was… terrible.

Apparently Remus sensed her mounting frustration. "I know, it's a horrible thing for me to do. I just didn't want to be a part of this world any longer. I'd lost so many people to it, and I didn't want Teddy to have to be stuck in the middle of all of this. It's- I'm sorry."

There was real remorse in his eyes. Real, aching remorse. Her anger dissipated, and she suddenly felt bad for being so relentless with him. Tonks' death had hit him hard, and it had come after a long string of deaths. "Remus," she sighed, "we all lost people in the war. I'm so sorry about what it did to your family, but… you just left."

He shifted to sit up in bed, avoiding her eyes. She noted his wince and remembered why she was here. She stepped forward, "Ribs?"

He nodded, grasping his side, "I think that other Healer missed one."

"It's her first week," Hermione replied, her fondness for Angela obvious. The Junior Healer reminded Hermione a lot of herself when she'd just begun working at the hospital. She pulled out her wand and ran a diagnostic spell over Remus' abdomen. The injured rib was shortly located and mended with precision. After she was finished, she glanced at the chart once again. She could feel Remus' eyes on her. "I'm glad you're alive," she murmured, not taking her eyes from the clipboard.

"Me too," he breathed, missing a beat. "So you're a Healer now?"

"That I am," she motioned to the robes she wore with a half smile.

He coughed suddenly, a grimace growing on his face as he did so. "Last night was a rough one," he explained uselessly.

She narrowed her eyes, "have you been taking Wolfsbane?" Remus clenched his jaw, and he didn't even have to answer for her to know. "Remus, that's terribly unsafe. Where are you transforming? Do you put up wards?"

No wonder he's so beaten up, she thought.

"Of course I put up wards." He said it as if he was appalled that she would suggest such a thing. "I send Teddy off and then lock myself up in the basement. There are more than enough wards… and a cage…" he looked away shamefully. Hermione felt a terrible swell of sorrow in her breast. Deciding that she needed to get back to work, she cast another diagnostic spell, this one on his chest. A pulsing red light appeared, confirming what the chart said about his heart murmur. "Is everything okay?" he asked, eyeing Hermione's expression.

"I'm going to order you some potions," she replied. "You have a minor irregularity in your heart, probably caused by the transformations and the stress. Don't worry, we can sort this out as long as you get some rest and the potions you need." She added her own notes to the bottom of the chart and signed it. "I have to go see the rest of my patients, but I'll be back. Stay here." She articulated her final words with a forceful glare. Remus Lupin would not run out on them again.

"Of course," he agreed quietly, wearily.

She turned to him once more before leaving, "I have to tell them what your name is, and we need to report that you're alive. The Aurors will have to come in eventually so we can sort things out." He looked mildly displeased about this. "I'll be able to push it back a few days so you can rest," she added, "and nobody aside from the Aurors have to know."

He frowned, but nodded, "I understand."

Hermione went through the rest of her day in a strange haze. She couldn't get over the fact that he was alive. Many times between her visits to other patients she was tempted to stop by his room to make sure he was still there. Unfortunately, her day was packed. She skipped lunch so that all the patients could be seen, and then after lunch she spoke to Healer Smethwyck about Remus. He agreed that Remus could recover for a few days before they called in the Aurors and Ministry officials to do the paper work.

She stopped back into Remus' room at the end of the day, only to find him fast asleep. With a resigned sigh, she retreated. There was always tomorrow.

She left the hospital late, but still made it to the Burrow in time for dinner.

"Hermione!" Ginny nearly squealed when Hermione entered the Burrow, getting up and waddling over, "I'm so glad you're here, these hormones are killing me." She put a hand on her pregnant belly. "I need a potion for this."

Hermione smiled, shaking her head, "sometimes I wonder if I'm just some free potion dispenser for all your pregnancy needs…"

Ginny laughed and put an arm around her, "yes, but you're also a wonderful future Godmother to my child."

Hermione chuckled, sitting down at the table between Harry and George with a sigh. "I'll get you something after dinner, Gin."

"Long day?" Harry asked, passing her the roast.

She nodded exasperatedly, "you can't even imagine…"

The next day Hermione found herself with only a few morning patients. She made her way to Remus' room during her lunch break, slipping inside and closing the door behind her.

He was sitting up in bed, reading a copy of the Prophet with interest. She wondered if he'd been reading it all these years. He glanced up when she shut the door, a small smile curling at his lips. This was when Hermione noticed that he had shaved his beard and trimmed his hair a little. He looked much more put-together than yesterday.

"How are you feeling?" She approached the bed, picking up his chart and examining it. She was pleased to find that all the proper potions were being administered.

"A little better." His rough voice betrayed his words. "What's the diagnosis?"

She gave him a thoughtful glance, and then spoke, "your heart murmur should be easily healed within a few days, but you'll need to get it checked often from now on, especially after full moons. It seems that you're recovering from the blood loss well. The only thing left is rest, and a break from all this stress."

He exhaled, "I think I can do that."

Hermione sat down in a chair at his bedside. "I've been thinking… do you want me to go get Teddy? I can bring him in… and I can tell Andromeda what's going on. She's probably worried sick, right?"

He swallowed, "I actually had an owl sent to her yesterday. She's agreed to keep Teddy for a few days."

Hermione knew that this was probably better for Remus' sanity. He didn't want to have to deal with any attention drawn to him, and as much as she wanted to see Teddy for herself, she knew the boy would only draw unwanted attention.

"You haven't… told anyone, right?" He appraised her anxiously.

She shook her head, "Of course not. I won't tell anyone unless you're okay with it."

He let out a relieved breath, "Thanks."

"Will you let me tell them?" she asked, leaning forward, "eventually?" Hermione couldn't imagine how terrible it would be to know that Remus was alive and not be able to tell Harry. Dinner at the Burrow the previous night had already been terrible enough because she couldn't tell them.

He fingered his wedding band, twisting it around his finger. "Yes," he said, his mouth set in a grim line, "I wasn't ever supposed to end up here," he gestured vaguely at the hospital walls around him, "but now that I am, I suppose it would make me even more of a coward if I just went back to hiding."

"You're not a coward," she replied instinctively, "you went through something terrible."

A pained expression overcame him, but he swallowed, hiding it away. "Tell me about things nowadays," he gave her a hopeful look, "what's everyone been up to?"

She smiled softly, delving into a description of everyone's lives. She told him about Kingsley's work as the new Minister of Magic; she told him about how Neville had just been hired as Hogwarts' newest Professor (Herbology, of course); she told him about Bill and Fleur's beautiful one-year-old, Victoire; she told him about how Charlie Weasley had moved back from Romania and opened up his own Dragon Reservation in Scotland; and finally, she told him all about Harry, including Ginny's pregnancy, of course.

"I missed Harry's wedding," Remus noted sadly.

"It's okay," she covered his scarred hand with her own. "You won't miss the birth of his son, and I sort of think that's a bit more important than his wedding."

He smiled, and it was the first time she'd seen him smile genuinely. She let out a short laugh, "wait until you see how much of a dad he's become. He'll be perfect for fatherhood, I just know it."

Remus looked at her closely. "What about you? Weren't you and Ron together for a while?"

Her smile fell.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked," he immediately retracted.

"No, it's okay," she gave him a forced smile. "We dated for two and a half years after the war. He ended it a couple months ago." She stared at the white tiled floor, "It's strange; I never thought he'd be the one to break up with me."

"I'm sorry," he repeated.

"It's fine," she composed herself, "I knew for a while that our relationship wasn't going anywhere."

There was an awkward pause for a moment, but luckily, Hermione was saved by a glance at the clock. Her lunch break was over. She made her exit and promised Remus that she'd be back the next day. In return, he promised that he'd get some more sleep and not worry too much.

Over the next four days, Hermione stopped by during all of her lunch breaks to speak to Remus. He was healing slowly, but any improvement was good to see. The only reason he was still in the hospital at this point was to make sure he took his potions and that his heart was holding up. In addition, the Aurors had to be able to come in and speak with him. Hermione made sure that she was there when they came. She could be quite intimidating when she wanted to be, and this helped greatly. The Aurors promised to keep it quiet until Remus went public on his own.

Teddy and Andromeda also visited. Hermione wasn't there when they came, but Remus seemed significantly happier after their visit. She could tell that he loved his son immensely just by the way he spoke about him.

All in all, Hermione enjoyed talking to Remus. If she were honest with herself, she'd been far too reserved and antisocial ever since her break up with Ron. It was nice to really connect with someone again. She thought that perhaps this newfound friendship with Remus was just what she needed. And maybe it was just what he needed as well.

On the sixth day of his stay at the hospital, she entered the room with a plan.

"Hello, Hermione," he brightened up upon seeing her, putting down the copy of the Quibbler that she'd given him.

"Hi," she smiled warmly, sitting in her usual chair at his bedside.

He asked about her day and she told him all about her patients. He liked hearing about the hospital, he told her. It added interesting detail to the seemingly bland building he was staying in.

"Remus," she began, sitting up straighter, "I want you to come to the Burrow for dinner tomorrow night."

He froze, looking at her with wide eyes.

"Don't you think it's time?" she gave him a sympathetic smile, "you can bring Teddy and see Harry and the others."

"They'll be so angry with me," he murmured shamefully.

"I'll be there," she promised, "I'll be right by your side the whole time."

He met her eyes with a strange intensity. She resisted the urge to look away from his gaze. It was a long time until he spoke again. "I suppose it's about time. But perhaps Teddy should meet them all at a later date? He gets overwhelmed quite easily..."

"That sounds fine," She smiled warmly. "They'll be so happy to see you, Remus." She reached for his hand, grasping it in hers. His skin was still warm, and she found that it was oddly comforting. She surprised herself at the thought, but as she watched Remus' gentle smile, it didn't seem odd at all.

By the time the next evening came around, Remus had dissolved into a state of unhealthy worry. Hermione made sure that he was discharged and that he took his final dose of potions. He'd owled Andromeda earlier that day, and she'd kindly dropped off some clothes for him to wear. He seemed incredibly jumpy while he was signing out, and Hermione had to repeatedly reassure him that all would go well.

After they left the St. Mungo's, they made their way through the Muggle streets until they found an alley suitable for Apparition. Hermione turned to face Remus, looking up at him. "Ready?" she extended her arm. He wasn't allowed to Apparate for a couple more days, so she would be taking him to the Burrow.

He took a shaky breath. "You're sure Harry won't try to kill me?"

She smiled, "He'll be happy once he gets over the shock. Let's go, they're expecting me."

Remus reluctantly took her arm. Hermione closed her eyes, focused on the Burrow, and turned on the spot.

They arrived with the Burrow in sight, lights shining through its windows. Several shadows could be seen inside, passing each other and momentarily obstructing the light. Remus was rooted in place, staring at the building with a tight expression.

"Okay?" she asked, still holding onto him.

He missed a beat before nodding. "Let's go."

Hermione pulled them towards the house, the only sound being their soft footsteps through the grass. At the door, she stopped, knocking before stepping back. Remus shifted nervously beside her.

The door opened within a minute, the friendly face of Mrs. Weasley answering. "Hermione!" She cheered, "Come in, dear, and—"

The woman was frozen in place, her expression one of shock and awe. Remus' lips were drawn tight. "Oh my goodness," Mrs. Weasley finally whispered, her eyes roving over Remus.

"Molly?" Mr. Weasley's voice drifted outside, "what's going on?" His footsteps approached the doorway. When he appeared behind his wife a similar expression took over his own face.

"Remus?" he finally spoke.

"Uh, hello Arthur, Molly," Remus greeted, adjusting his collar nervously.

Suddenly Mr. Weasley was taking out his wand, stepping in front of Mrs. Weasley. "Hermione," he addressed the girl still holding onto Remus' hand, "where did you find this man?"

"It's really him!" she voiced anxiously, "we never found the body, remember?" Within the house, there was a shuffle of noise as a result of the raised voices. "Ask him anything."

Mr. Weasley furrowed his brow, glancing between Hermione and Remus. After a long moment, he spoke. "The first time I met you."

Before Remus had a chance to respond, Ron approached the door, coming to see what the commotion was about. "Dad? What's going—" he paused, his jaw dropping at the sight of Remus. "Bloody hell, Hermione" he whispered finally, looking at her as if this was some great show for attention. Her temper flared, but she remained quite. After another second Harry and a very pregnant Ginny appeared behind Ron. Harry's expression was one of absolute shock and befuddlement. Ginny just looked mildly surprised.

Mr. Weasley held up a hand to silence Ron. "Give us a moment, Ronald," he said sharply. Ron shut his mouth. "Your answer?" the older man trained his eyes on Remus once again.

Hermione turned to look at Remus. He shifted his jaw, and she could almost detect a slight blush on his cheeks. "It was after the full moon. I slept through half of the Order meeting and came in late." A wry smile grew on his face. "It was your first meeting. I sat next to you and you didn't stop asking me about my mechanical pen the whole evening."

For a moment, Mr. Weasley didn't give away any hint of an expression. Despite knowing the fact that she had nothing to worry about, Hermione found herself nervously biting the inside of her cheek.

Finally, a great smile broke across Mr. Weasley's face. "Remus!" he exclaimed, pulling the man into a hug. "What was that thing called again?" he asked, pulling away.

"A ballpoint pen," Remus replied, grinning.

"Ah, yes," Mr. Weasley nodded, "The first one I'd ever seen, you know."

Suddenly Mrs. Weasley was rushing forward to draw Remus into another hug. "Oh, I can't believe it, Remus!"

Hermione chuckled when he coughed a little at the strength of the woman's hug. However, her laugh appeared to draw the attention of Mrs. Weasley next. "Hermione!" she exclaimed happily, "You did this, didn't you?"

"Oh, um, not really," she tried to explain, allowing herself to be wrapped up in a hug.

"It was all Hermione's doing," Remus murmured, smiling at her. She looked at him over Mrs. Weasley's shoulder, feeling a strange flutter in her stomach at the fond look he was giving her.

Once Mr. and Mrs. Weasley got past their shock, Hermione and Remus once again noticed the others standing just behind them. George, Bill, Fleur, and Percy had all joined Harry, Ron, and Ginny now. Everyone wore mixed expressions of shock and confusion, but Harry's was the most unnerving. "Can someone please explain what's going on?" he asked tensely.

"Of course, Harry," Remus replied without a moment's hesitation.

"Why don't we go sit down and then you two can explain this?" Mrs. Weasley suggested, motioning towards the table.

"That sounds like a good idea," Remus smiled politely. He and Hermione followed Mrs. Weasley and the others towards the table, where she summoned another chair for Remus. Hermione secured the seat beside him. Victoire was placed on his other side, her wide one-year-old eyes staring at the strange man in wonder.

The explanation took a long time, but by the time it was over, Hermione was actually very pleased with the way it turned out. She figured Remus was pleased as well, judging by the extent to which he had relaxed, the tension easing from his body gradually over the course of the conversation.

Harry understood what Remus had gone through. Hermione knew that he was at least a little angry about everything – and frankly, he had a right to be angry after everything with Teddy – but with the gentle intrusions from a more understanding Ginny, he acted very well.

Dinner passed very quickly after this conversation was over. Remus smiled almost the whole way through, and Hermione knew that it hadn't made a mistake to bring him along so soon. He even promised to bring Teddy to dinner the next week, not reluctant about it at all.

It was late in the evening when Remus finally showed his exhaustion. He yawned, and Hermione saw it out of the corner of her eye. She gave him a sidelong glance. "Do you want to go? I'll Apparate you home."

He shook his head. "I don't want to end your night early."

"Nonsense," she sat up, "I'm exhausted too, frankly."

Hermione explained to the others how tired she was after a long week and the fact that she would be making sure that Remus made it home safely. Hugs were exchanged, and Hermione was surprised by how grateful everyone seemed to be that she had brought Remus back. In reality, Remus' decision to come back hadn't really been because of her at all, but when she expressed this to Remus he told her otherwise.

"You're the reason I'm back here, Hermione," he assured, a content smile on his face, "don't underestimate yourself." They were walking side by side away from the Burrow, making their way towards the end of the anti-Apparition wards.

She ignored the blush rising on her cheeks. "Nevertheless, I'm glad you've decided to returned to us."

"Me too," he murmured softly, "thank-you for everything."

She picked her head up, meeting his eyes. They both stopped walking, feeling the familiar tinge of magic as they exited the wards. Remus turned to face her fully, and she wanted to ask him exactly what he was thanking her for, but she couldn't find the words to articulate it.

He slowly lifted his arm, extending it so that he could grasp her hand. She watched as he gently lifted her hand, examining it closely. He skimmed his fingers over the back of her hand; drawing feather-light circles around the incline of her knuckles. His skin had a slightly tanned hue and a few haphazard scars. Her skin was more pale and unmarked, creating quite the contrast to his.

The silence was beginning to worry Hermione. She needed to hear his voice again. "Remus…" she began, searching his face.

The movement of his fingers on her hand stopped, and she sharply felt the absence of this intimate contact. He picked his eyes up from her hand and looked at her. She felt herself stepping forward, and she didn't know where she was going with this, but she was doing it.

Suddenly, he was moving forward as well, one hand came up to cup her cheek, the other grasping the crook of her elbow. His lips met hers tentatively, and the tenderness with which he kissed her was so much more than any kiss she'd ever experienced. Hermione allowed him to pull her closer, pressing her lips to his with all the strange and fluttering emotions that she felt.

It hadn't even been five seconds before he pulled away.

"I'm sorry, Hermione. I shouldn't have," he began, dropping his hands and taking a step away "I know that you've just ended it with Ron and I'm in to position to take advantage of your kindness—"

"No!" her voice came out more hasty and out of breath than she'd anticipated. "Don't apologize." Before he could do anything else, she took an equalizing step closer. Her gaze moved between his lips and his eyes. "Ron and I have been through for months, and you're not 'taking advantage' of anything."

He exhaled, looking completely unsure of what to do. At least he didn't step away from her. Hermione took this as a good sign.

"Come home with me," she suggested, the words leaving her mouth before she could stop them. They were close enough that she would only have to take another half-step forward for their lips to meet.

He contemplated her words for a long pause, and she could almost see the gears turning in his head. Hoping to stop him from overanalyzing everything, Hermione reached out for his hand, picking it up in the same manner that he had done only a moment ago. She traced her fingers along the most prominent scar, one that extended down part of his forearm, across his wrist, and onto his hand. She could hear his uneven breathing, and she could feel his eyes on her.

It wasn't long before Hermione looked up again, meeting his eyes and offering a bashful half-smile. To her surprise, he leaned forward and caught her lips in another kiss before she could register much of anything else. This kiss held more passion and need than the previous. His decision had been made.

He nodded, lips still ghosting over hers. "Okay."

Author's Note: Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed! Reviews are very appreciated.