Disclaimer: It would be pretty lame for me to actually own Harry Potter and the characters therein with the option of making billions of dollars for writing about them and yet all I choose to do is post it on Fanfiction for free…so no, I don't own Harry Potter or any other J.K. Rowling characters.
A/n: Here is a weak, but hopefully still good attempt at a slightly angsty Halloween fic, hope you all enjoy!
Love, Peace, and Graveyards
"Did you ever worry about him as much as I do?" Hermione asked softly, her voice muffled by her stocking clad knees which were pulled up to her chest as she stared down at the headstone that marked the graves, "I sometimes wonder if it was really such a good idea to bring him back from behind the veil. He doesn't remember what it was like there and I don't know, so how can I be sure that I didn't pull him back from being with you; from being happy?"
Hermione looked up at the far side of the cemetery when she heard laughter and couldn't refrain from smiling as she watched a group of dressed up children walked by with a happy couple, bags of candy clutched tightly in their happy little hands.
She had been just as eager as they were to celebrate the favorite wizarding holiday of Halloween this morning. But then reality had sunk in. She had woken that morning happy and eager for the evening's activities, she'd gone downstairs to make a nice breakfast for herself and her only other flat mate Sirius Black. Harry and Ron had both recently married and moved out; leaving her alone in the gigantic house that was Grimmauld Place with the last surviving Marauder.
It hadn't taken her long to realize why Sirius hadn't come down the stairs with a weak smile and a hug once he smelled the food she was making, as was their unofficial tradition each morning since his return. The realization of just what this day meant to Sirius had immediately placed a damper on the day's activities. No longer did she look forward to all the eager children seeking candy or reasons to prank; nor was she excited to go and join the rest of the Weasley/Potter clan at the annual Halloween party that was hosted by Molly.
All day long visitors dropped in, but none of them stayed very long. The atmosphere in the old, yet newly remodeled house seemed to have returned to that of the soul sucking black hole it had once been back during the Dark Period when Voldemort had begun his rise to power. Harry had even dropped by looking happy and content with his life, only to leave with a much darker mood than he should have had once Hermione told him that Sirius hadn't left his room all day.
It had become a common occurrence for Sirius to be dark and moody over the past two years since his return. Naturally some days were better than others, but it seemed that every time Sirius took a second to return to his old happy self, he would immediately remind himself of the deaths of his friends, making it nearly impossible to want to be around him at times.
For some inexplicable reason Hermione had hoped today would be better than the others, instead it was worse. Hermione had let him have his space for most of the day until she felt she would go crazy if she didn't at least offer to do something for the man she had come to fall in love with.
That's right, Hermione Jean Granger, bookworm extraordinaire, brains of the golden trio and current unspeakable, was in love with Sirius Orion Black, ex-escaped convict, her best friend's godfather and the last surviving Marauder, and everyone knew it but him. Hermione would bet that several of her friends had known about her feelings for the man long before she had known about them herself. As far as she was concerned at the time, Sirius was an attractive man that she adored arguing with, but one day that was all ripped from her; leading to an all encompassing sense of loss that hinted at stronger feelings than Hermione would admit she felt.
At first she had brushed it off, thinking she would eventually get over it, but throughout the following two years in school and the year spent on the run, the feelings of loss wouldn't go away. So she had made it her mission to bring him back. Her sole purpose in returning to Hogwarts for her seventh year, the only one of her age group to do so, was so that she could gain access to the library there and the texts that spoke of the veil that resided in the Department of Mysteries.
Once she had graduated from Hogwarts several universities and departments at the Ministry of Magic requested that she come and work for them, but the one job request she did not get was the one she had wanted the most, a position in the Department of Mysteries.
To this day Hermione wasn't sure what exactly it was that finally got her the position she wanted with the DOM, whether it was her intelligence; her fame as a member of the golden trio, the DA, and the Order; or the fact that she had waltzed right into the department and started spouting things about the department of mysteries that she should not have known and had requested an application for a job in exchange for her silence; whatever it was, it got her the job.
She spent the next two years searching for answers to how the veil worked and what would be required to bring someone back who had fallen through it. Ultimately the answer had resided in her own home, the newly remodeled Grimmauld Place (a project Harry, Ron and she had taken up in order to make the place a presentable and less black-hole-like place to live in). She had found the answers she had been seeking all along hiding in the furthest bookshelf from the door, covered in cobwebs and looking as if it had seen better days.
Unfortunately, the joy that came upon Sirius' return was short lived. Hermione, being the first person Sirius had seen, had been the one who was forced to tell him about Remus and Tonks' passing; resulting in the cataclysmic emotional shadow of a person Sirius was now forcing himself to be. If it hadn't been for the love Hermione knew she held for him, she would have given up on the brooding man long ago.
Around five o'clock, nearly three hours ago now, Hermione had climbed the steep sets of stairs to Sirius bedroom dressed in her costume of a glorified muggle equivalent of a vampire for the evening party at the Burrow. She had spent the better part of two weeks trying to find the perfect eye catching costume in hopes of somehow being able to catch Sirius' attention. Just yesterday had she come across the exact costume she hadn't known she had been looking for all along. The glorified muggle equivalent of a female vampire costume had been found in the absolute last store Hermione had reluctantly forced herself to go into.
The moment the dark red velvet strapless dress had caught her eye Hermione had fallen in love with the sexy gothic outfit and had bought it on the spot. The dress fit like a dream, clinging to every curve and stopping several inches above her knees. A short sleeve black leather trench coat like cape with a collar stereotypically associated with Dracula's cape that didn't wrap entirely around her form, connected only by a thick metal belt buckle at her waist, stretched further down her legs, stopping a few inches beneath her knees.
She had debated about whether or not to buy the spider web fishnet stockings that were sold with the outfit; but ultimately she had decided that the costume was more eye-catching with the stockings than without, and eye catching was definitely what she was after.
She had on a dark red velvet strapless dress that stopped several inches before her knees. A black leather cape was held on by the short sleeves she wore over her strapless dress and a black belt that wrapped around her waist. Her legs were covered by fishnet stockings and her black shiny boots were tall enough they reached almost to her knees. Black stiletto boots stretched up her legs to mid-calf where they stopped centemeters away from the edge of the cape.
Admittedly vanity played a large part in her search for accessories to go along with this sexy gothic costume, she was willing to do just about anything apart from going naked to get Sirius attention. Because of this, she had searched frantically for the perfect pieces of jewelry, ultimately ending with a choker that was made of black and red beads that stretched around her neck with an open-winged bat that rested in the hollow of her neck. Her earrings were much the same but with the bat hanging from a small string of black and red gems.
Her makeup had been done much more elaborately than she normally did, with her eyes wearing a blend of dark red and black eye shadow. Her lips were also painted with the corners being black and lightening into a dark red in the middle that had been charmed to stay that way.
On her journey to catch Sirius' notice, Hermione had thought finding the costume and the little things to go along with it would be the most difficult part. Needless to say, she was soon proved wrong when her hair turned out to be the most uncompromising part of the outfit. It had fought her at every turn, but in the end she had won, leaving her with long beautiful graceful brunette curls that hung low down her back with a streak of red on the right side of her hair.
The final touch to her costume hadn't been as difficult, but without it she would have just looked like a muggle witch or something. Using her wand she had elongated her canines to the point where they were clearly seen and notably like a muggle vampire's own fangs.
Upon reaching the door that had Sirius' name written on a gold plate nailed to the door Hermione had paused outside his door for a long moment, deciding what her next best course of action would be before ultimately deciding to simply try knocking first.
When her knock went unanswered three times Hermione finally gave up on that strategy and decided to just walk in, she did live here too after all. She had expected to find ward after ward piled onto the door, but to her surprise it was as easy as turning the knob and opening the door to a dimly lit room.
Hermione had to refrain from gasping when she caught sight of Sirius' form slouched in an armchair facing the wall of pictures that she had placed on one of his spacious walls when she had been put in charge of redecorating his room. The scarlet wall was covered in pictures of the Marauders, various Order members who were close with Sirius, a couple of DA members, and Harry, Ron, and herself.
Sirius definitely looked as if he had seen better days, he had dark circles under his eyes, scraggly whiskers, and his shaggy chin length hair was lanky and tangled. His clothes were rumpled and looked as if they had been worn for a couple of days and he looked as if he hadn't slept in weeks.
"Sirius?" Hermione had murmured as she neared him cautiously, "Are you alright?" immediately she felt dumb for having asked the question. She better than anyone knew how Sirius had felt when she had delivered the news of Remus' passing, now to see him looking much the same way he did back then, nearly two years ago…of course he wasn't alright!
Sirius numbly turned his head to look at her with blank eyes, saying nothing. Slowly his eyes skimmed from the bottom of her boots to the top of her head, "Where are you going?" his voice rasped, sounding as if it hadn't been used for a while.
Hermione forced a weak smile to her face, "Molly is throwing a costume party tonight, were you going to come?" she asked, though she was pretty sure he had no intention of leaving his chair.
Sirius' eyes softened a little as he dropped his gaze down to his rumpled clothes and back up at her, "I'm not really dressed for a party," he stated, "what are you supposed to be anyway?" he asked emotionlessly.
"A vampire," Hermione replied, not certain whether or not to take offence at his emotionless voice as he asked the question, "And we could dress you up fairly quickly, the party will last until who knows how early tomorrow morning, so it's not like we can be late. You really should come and get out of the house for a while Sirius."
Sirius gave a humorless laugh, "Is a man not allowed to wallow in his grief anymore?" he snapped with a glare before returning to look at the pictures.
Even now Hermione still wasn't sure what made her do it, but in the next three seconds something in her snapped, "They're dead Sirius," she hissed back, "James, Lily, Remus, Tonks, they're all dead! Staring at their pictures won't bring them back!"
Sirius suddenly turned toward her and jerked out of his seat, more fire and anger in his gray eyes then she had ever seen before. Hermione nearly took a step back in momentary fear, before remembering herself and straitening her posture to be strong and unwavering she opened her mouth and went to go on but Sirius cut her off.
"Don't you dare talk about them like that! You have no right, you didn't know them! What would you know about how I'm feeling anyway? It's not exactly something you can simply read about in some stupid book and understand!" Sirius shouted at her, stepping closer until he was toe to toe with her, towering over her small frame; yet she still didn't back down.
"I lost people too Sirius! So did Harry and the Weasleys! I lost Fred and my parents! And Tonks and Remus were my friends too you know! I know how you are feeling, but not everyone locks themselves up to have their own privet pity party! You don't see Harry doing anything like this do you? I would think out of anyone he would have the most right to feel upset over everything that has happened over the course of that stupid war! Yet he's the one who is out living life, he's the one who has a job and a family he actively participates in, and he's the one who is still taking care of his godson who lost his parents, despite the fact that Harry has absolutely no idea how to do that because his own godfather won't get over himself!" Hermione was rambling angrily, but she didn't care. She had gone through a lot of trouble for tonight and he was ruining it.
Hermione paused in her rant to take a breath, "You haven't even met Teddy yet. You've been back for two years Sirius, two years and you still haven't met Harry's godson, your best friends little boy. You barely leave the house, you don't even attempt to take pleasure in the freedom we all worked so hard for you to be able to enjoy," Hermione paused and made sure she was looking Sirius dead in the eye, "I don't even know why I brought you back to begin with sometimes. I gave you a chance at finally being able to live your life, and you won't take it."
Taking a deep breath Hermione closed her eyes briefly and turned on her heel to head towards the door. She knew if she stayed any longer she would definitely end up saying something she would regret. When her hand reached the doorknob Sirius voice asked brokenly, "Why did you bring me back?"
Slowly Hermione turned to face the tortured looking man, "I brought you back because I thought that you deserved a second chance; because there were people here who still needed you. Harry needed someone to help him remember his parents, to tell him funny stories and to look up to no matter what. Teddy deserves the same, neither of them knew their parents as well as you did, but instead of telling them about those days, you sit in here and wallow. I brought you back because you weren't really dead, and you didn't deserve to have such a horrible life up until the moment you fell behind the veil only to suffer in endless nothingness for the rest of eternity until someone could come and rescue you."
Hermione could see his eyes searching her face, as if trying to find that one last reason she had brought him back that she swore he would never know about; she closed her eyes. She was in love with him, but could she ever tell him so? Would it make a difference to him or would it just make him hate her? Taking a deep breath she thought 'What the heck? He might as well know everything; even if it makes him hate me at least it would make him feel something again.'
"I brought you back," she started, her eyes still closed, "Because I couldn't face a world without you in it. I love you too much to try, and I couldn't rest until I knew you were either dead or until I somehow managed to bring you back from whatever prison you were stuck in. That's why I brought you back Sirius," she murmured softly suddenly opening her eyes again, "Because there are people here who still love and need you; because I need you."
The two stood in silence staring at one another for a long time, Sirius trying to comprehend the words she had just spoken, and Hermione waiting for the inevitable blow up. Instead there was nothing, no change in emotion, no flicker in his eyes, just a blank look. She officially didn't know which was worse, the blowup she had been expecting or this dumb silence.
Taking a shuddering breath Hermione tried to keep the tears from shedding, "I'll see you around Sirius," she whispered before she apparated out of the house seconds before she could hear Sirius calling her name and begging her not to leave.
She had apparated herself to the outskirts of the Weasley's property, but upon seeing all the bright happy lights and the laughing crowds of people she would normally revel in, she couldn't think of anything she'd like to do less than go and join the party. After a moment's thought she turned and apparated herself to the one place she could remember feeling completely peaceful, Godric's Hollow cemetery.
Hermione had been completely unsurprised to find the graveyard deserted. Silently she walked over to the graves of the very people Sirius had been lamenting for the past two years. It had taken much string pulling on the golden trio's part, but eventually they had managed to have the graves of Remus, Tonks, and (much to the rest of the world's dismay) Severus Snape placed near James and Lily Potter's own graves, with headstones that were elaborate enough to warrant attention. In fact, any person who died during the war who was fighting for the light was given a headstone similar to theirs by the Ministry, after much coercing on the Order's part.
She stared down at the graves, feeling mixed emotions about whether or not she had any right to be here, James and Lily were, after all, not her parents or even her friends. Severus had tolerated her at best; but Remus and Tonks were her friends, they were the ones she had turned to when things got rough and people her own age wouldn't understand.
Slowly the tears started to fall, and even if she had wanted to she wouldn't have been able to focus hard enough to leave the graves, so she slid silently down to the ground, pulling her knees to her chest and letting herself cry her heart out.
So here she is, nearly an hour later, softly talking to the graves of her best friend's family, explaining the worries of her heart. All dressed up and nowhere to go.
"I know you probably think it's a little odd of me to be here talking to your graves, but I can't think of anywhere else to go. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised Sirius doesn't come here himself. Maybe he would be happier if he did," she said softly, "I just want him to be happy."
Just then Hermione heard a twig snapping behind her, without second thought Hermione was on her feet and shifting into her wolf animagus form, growling at the intruder with her fangs bared and brown hackles raised; feeling much more powerful and capable of defending herself in her wolf form than as a human at the moment. Then she caught sight of just who it was that had tried to sneak up on her.
Hermione didn't stop her growling even after recognizing the man, but allowed her anger to take over, taking a perverse pleasure in the astonished and slightly worried look on Sirius face. As she watched him sweat for a while, she slowly began to realize the significance of what was going on. First, Sirius was out of the house for the first time in a long while and second, it looked as if he had cleaned himself up…a lot. His hair was clean and neatly combed and he had changed out of his rumpled clothes into a pair of black slacks, shiny shoes, a white long sleeved button up shirt with a black waist coat that had random swirls on it in a dark red.
Slowly her confusion took over her anger at the man standing in front of her and her growling stopped. She studied him a moment more before slowly shifting back into her human form. Hermione had forgotten how amazing Sirius could look when he actually wanted to, and she was slightly irritated to realize that her heart was still pounding, not in fear and anger, but in a sort of hopeful excitement.
"Hermione?" Sirius finally broke the silence, his voice filled with incredulousness, Hermione simply raised her eyebrow in response, it may have been dark, but being a canine animagus herself she knew that he could see her well enough to catch the small movement, "When did you learn how to…?" Sirius trailed off, not quite certain he had seen what he thought; maybe he had been cooped up in the house to long.
"…How to become an animagus?" Hermione finished for him, her voice colder than usual, " If you had bothered listening to anything I ever said after I told you about Remus' death you would already know the answer, I gave it to you nearly a year ago," she snapped, "What are you doing here?"
Sirius snorted in derision, "I could ask you the same thing, they were my friends last time I checked," he responded, his eyes dimming.
Hermione didn't lessen her stance, "Remus and Tonks were my friends too Sirius," she stated, " And I mean why are you here now?"
"I…"Sirius hesitated, dropping his eyes from her face to look at the ground, "You were right, as usual. I have been so wrapped up in me and everything that has gone wrong in my life that I…I let the people I care about who are still alive fall into the cracks," Sirius moved to stare down at the graves of his friends, "I just keep wondering what I couldn't have done to change their fate, it's sad to think that one word from me could have changed or determined the fate of my friends, sometimes it almost kills me to think about the things I could have done differently."
Hermione didn't know whether to roll her eyes or cry some more, Sirius was obviously torn up inside, but at the same time, it had been years, she had let him wallow for too long, "You know what I think is sad?" Hermione finally replied softly, moving to stand so she was facing him as she stood at his side, "What's sad, is that no matter how many times you play the what if game, reality never changes; what's sad is that while you still continue to grieve for your friends years after they have died, I've watched so many families, not the least of which being the Weasleys, deal with the deaths of their loved ones. What's sad is that even George who lost his twin has somehow managed to find something to be happy about again," Hermione's voice grew firmer as she spoke.
"What's sad is that I've had to watch Harry loose his godfather not once, not twice, but three times because you continually think of you, your problems, and your feelings. He lost you when you decided to chase down and try and kill Pettigrew, he lost you a second time when you refused to stay at Grimmauld place where you would be safe and ended up falling through the veil, and he lost you a third time when I brought you back from that veil only to have you refuse to willingly leave that stupid house."
Hermione took a deep breath, noting that Sirius' shoulders seemed to be drooping, but she wasn't done yet, "What's sad is that Andy Tonks continues to think that she is the last of the Black line besides Draco still alive who isn't insane. She can't prove to herself otherwise because she refuses to come to the house to see for herself if you are really alive as a result of some oath she made once upon a time never to go back there; and all the while you refuse to leave the one place she won't go. What's sad, is that Teddy only gets to learn things about his father that Harry can tell him, and Harry only knows so much. You are the only surviving piece of their little family, you are both Teddy's cousin and uncle in a way, but you won't even try to see him.
"And the worst of all of these is," Hermione continued softly, "is that despite the fact that I didn't know James and Lily, I did know Remus and Tonks, and if James and Lily were as good of friends as Remus and Tonks were, I know for a fact that not one of them would want you to be wasting your second chance at life away wishing for things that cannot and will not ever happen."
Sirius now looked as if the weight of the world had been put on his shoulders, and Hermione didn't like the sight, but she needed him to understand that his actions weren't just affecting him, but everyone else as well, "Harry needs you; he needs that father figure he has only slightly found in Mr. Weasley. Teddy needs you to tell him stories and let him do things even Harry won't let him do. And…" Hermione hesitated, "I need you, even if you just go back to being that Sirius that I would spend several late nights talking and arguing with."
Hermione slowly moved to place a hand on his arm, "Please don't shut us out anymore Sirius," she whispered, rubbing her thumb in soothing circles, "We can only help you if you let us."
Sirius didn't move for a long time, and for a while Hermione thought maybe he was angry at her, but then he turned and pulled her into a tight hug, "The thing that is making me feel the worst," he murmured, "Is that I have long accepted the deaths of all of my friends. The what if's come as a result of knowing that Harry and Teddy and others," Sirius paused and hugged her tighter, "even you," he whispered in her hair, "need me. They need me to be someone they can rely on, who can tell them stories and be their friend, be everything James and Remus can't be, everything you just said, and that terrifies me. I don't know how to be the person they need; who you need," the last part was murmured earnestly.
Hermione froze, her heart beginning to pound painfully in her chest, but she didn't dare move or say anything. Turns out she didn't have to as seconds later Sirius pulled back and looked down at her with his dark grey eyes gazing intently at her, "Did you mean it when you said you loved me?" he asked her softly, moving to brush a small curl out of her face.
Numbly Hermione nodded, but she couldn't make herself say anything out loud. Sirius sighed heavily, but his eyes lightened, "You shouldn't do that, people who do that tend to end up dead," he spoke softly, not moving away from her, "But Merlin knows I'm too selfish to ask you to stop."
Hermione was certain her heart was about to give out, shakily she managed to force out a quiet, "Why?"
Sirius eyes were flicking kindly over her face, "Because throughout the last two years of my being back, and multiple times long before that, you were the one person who didn't leave me to my brooding. You made me food, you tried to talk to me and you didn't let me go too far down the dark road of my thoughts. I guess you could say you were my light at the end of the tunnel. Somewhere along the past two years I fell for you. I've never actually loved anyone the way I love you, and I was terrified that if I even hinted that I might feel that way, you would turn tail and run in the opposite direction."
Hermione couldn't help the small smile she gave him, "I'm not sure whether to be complimented or offended by that comment," she said lightly.
Sirius gave a weak attempt at a smile back, "I was intending for a compliment, but it did sound rather judging didn't it? It's just that I'm so much older than you are; I mean, you're what, nineteen? And I-," Hermione cut him off with a small laugh.
"First of all, I'm twenty-four Sirius," she told him with a twinkle in her eye, "And the veil reversed your body age to make you look only twenty-six or twenty-seven, which to the rest of the world who doesn't know the real you, makes us only two years apart. Second, all of our friends and family would be so absolutely overjoyed to see you and me finally getting together and being happy that they would completely ignore the real twenty or so years age difference. Third, even if you looked your age, you have never acted like it, and I have always been more mature then the men my own age, so I think it would be fair to say that our minds are about the same age anyway. And fourth—"
"How long does this list go on for?" Sirius joked, his eyes brighter than they day she had brought him back, and his shoulders straitening as if her words were shoving the world away from his shoulders back to where it belonged…somewhere else.
Hermione smiled, "I have over ninety-three arguable reasons why we should be together; now stop interrupting and let me con—"
"Just how long have you been thinking about this, love?" Sirius asked softer than he had before, honestly curious.
Hermione shrugged and looked up at him nervously, "Do you want the before the veil timeline, during, or after?" she replied before dropping her gaze from his face to stare intently at her fingers which were playing with the buttons on his waistcoat.
Sirius couldn't stop the wide smile that spread across his face for the first time since his return, "How long before the veil are we talking?" he inquired, his eyes twinkling. Hermione mumbled something that she knew Sirius would never hear, making him give a small chuckle, "What was that love?" he asked teasingly.
"Are we talking love or crushes?" Hermione said only slightly louder.
"You had a crush on me?"Sirius asked incredulously, with a small bark of laughter, "I thought Remus would have been the one you set those beautiful eyes of yours on," he told her.
Hermione felt a blush spread up her neck, this was not what she had planned for this evening, "It was Remus during my third year, but then during our fourth year you were always so worried and supportive of Harry that I guess I started to like you a lot more. Then during that summer before my fifth year we would have all of those talks and arguments, you remember?"
Sirius felt a lump move into his throat and tried to clear it away, "I remember, it was one of the only times anyone treated me as something other than a prisoner. Remus and Harry were the only two who spoke as openly to me as you did. It meant a lot to me."
Hermione gave him a small nervous smile, "Well it meant a lot to me too, you and Remus were the only two who talked to me like I knew anything, everyone else just expected me to know only as much as Harry and Ron and to act just like Harry and Ron, despite the multiple occasions I have had to prove that I am, in fact, the only reason that Ron and Harry are still alive. But anyway, those talks with you were about when I started to fall in love with you, but I didn't know it until that night at the Ministry after you were gone."
Hermione went on to briefly describe to him the way he had affected the reasons she had gone back to school and the job she had decided to have, ultimately resulting in his return, "But then things ended up all wrong, you were unhappy and Harry was sad that you were unhappy, and I couldn't do anything to change the way you were feeling. Remus was always the one person I knew I could turn to for an objective opinion about things in my life, so when he was buried here I started to come here. Even back when Riddle was on the rise and Harry and I were hiding, when we came here, everything bad just seemed to disappear for a minute. It still feels like that here."
Sirius nodded and pulled Hermione closer to him, causing her to move close enough that she could rest her head on his chest, right over his heart, "It's an ancient spell," he started to explain for lack of knowing what else to say, "It was originally intended to give the dead a sense of peace and rest in the afterlife and it was just a bonus that it happened to work for those visiting the cemeteries as well. There are very few wizarding cemeteries that still have the charm performed on them anymore, but Godric's Hollow, being as old as it is, is one of them."
Hermione nestled her head into his chest more firmly, beginning to feel the chill that told her that her previously placed warming charm was beginning to wear off, "Have you come here since you came back?" she asked him softly, glad when his arms came up to encircle her in their warmth more fully.
Sirius shook his head, "I couldn't," he told her quietly, "I was actually on my way to that party you told me about to go and find you, when something pulled me here first. I haven't been here since James told me that he wanted to be buried next to his family here. At the time we both thought he was just being overly sentimental, but now…"
Hermione pulled back a little to look up at Sirius' face and couldn't stop herself from reaching a hand up to smooth across his jaw and into his hair softly, "I'm sorry," she murmured, "For everything, for the loss of your friends, for the things I said to you earlier, and for growling at you just a while ago."
Sirius looked down at her, "To be honest, you are the one person still alive besides Harry who could say or do anything even remotely like that who I would forgive in a heartbeat. You always know exactly what I need to hear, and you're not afraid to say it. I think you're right also," he told her, "James would probably beat me within an inch of my life if he found me living like this, and Remus would give me some long lecture about how he expected more from me, and blah blah blah…" Sirius trailed off and his eyes seemed as if he were lost in the past. Finally he spoke again, "Did you know that our first year at Hogwarts we all made an oath that no matter what we would always do our best to make those around us smile? I'd forgotten about it, but being here, talking to you," Sirius shook his head, "It just makes me remember the important things."
Hermione smiled softly up at him, she didn't know what else to say except "I love you," she told him firmly, "In case I didn't make that clear, I do love you Sirius."
Sirius smiled back at her, "I know, and I love you too, but if you really want to give this a shot, you have to know that my playboy days are over. If we're doing this, it's not going to be half heartedly, I intend to keep you Hermione Granger," he murmured, his face nearing hers.
Normally Hermione would have taken offence at the thought that he could 'keep' her, as if she were some sort of possession, but the way he said it, so softly and with so much love in his voice, Hermione couldn't help but remain silent, watching Sirius closely as his eyes dropped to her lips and back to her eyes. He seemed to be asking for some sort of permission to kiss her, but her brain was so hazy she couldn't fathom why.
Finally her patience snapped, and without a second thought Hermione propelled herself onto her tiptoes and pressed her lips softly against his. Sirius stood frozen for a minute, slightly startled and disbelieving that she had been the first to initiate the kiss and that she actually wanted to kiss him; but just as he felt her begin to pull away he barely suppressed a moan as his hand came up to bury itself in her long curly hair as he pulled her lips back to meet his once more.
There were no fireworks, per say; but a pleasant humming that filled her body and lifted her soul seemed to buzz through them both, leaving them both breathless, but unwilling to separate for more than a few milliseconds for breath. The world around them ceased to exist, everything was honed in on Sirius and the amazing things he was making her feel as he kissed her with more skill than she had ever considered he had. At least now she knew why he was such a lady's man back in school.
They kissed for who knows how long before Sirius finally managed to make himself part his lips from hers, moving to kiss from her jaw down her neck and back to her ear, pleased with the shuddering breaths Hermione was forcing herself to breath. Slowly he returned his lips to hers, kissing her as sweetly as he knew how, hoping to convey every emotion he had to her, wanting more than anything for her to understand him and how he felt, both about her and about the things that had happened in his past.
Eventually he became aware of the feeling of wetness that was covering Hermione's cheeks as he kissed her and he raised his hands to tenderly brush the tears away as he slowly pulled back, "What's wrong Angel?" he asked her softly, his eyes searching hers for answers to some unknown question.
Hermione shook her head and raised her hands to cover Sirius' large warm ones cradling her face, "You've had to deal with so much," she eventually told him, "I don't know how you did it all."
Sirius gave a weak but real smile, "I had you there to help me through most of it," he replied, "But I don't think I'm the only one that has had it rough," he sighed, "Even though I may act like it, I am aware enough to realize that there are others who are suffering still," Sirius searched her face gently, "What did you mean earlier when you said you'd lost your parents?"
Hermione felt her eyes widen before they began to fill with more tears but forced them down, "I had to send my parents to Australia to hide, and the only way they would go was if I erased their memories of me. But when I went to find them after the war, they weren't where I had left them, so I guess you could say they were lost. But then I found them; they were buried in a muggle cemetery in Newcastle. It was so silly," she said with a depreciating shake of her head, "I had warded them so heavily against magical means of death that I completely forgot about the muggle ones. They were killed in a car accident, a head on collision with a drunk."
Sirius' eyes widened, "I'm so sorry Angel; that must have been horrible," he murmured before dipping to kiss her quickly, "Why didn't you tell me before?"
Sadly, Hermione gazed up at him, "You had your own problems, I couldn't go and lay all of mine on you as well," she commented with a shrug, "Besides, it happened before you came back, before I even started trying to bring you back in fact."
"Well from now on, no more secrets okay?" Sirius stated firmly, surprised when almost immediately Hermione dropped her gaze from his, "What is it Hermione?" he asked.
Hermione winced as his hands slid down her arms to lace with her fingers, she had the feeling he wasn't about to like the story she knew she had to tell him. Slowly she looked back up at the man she had been dreaming about for the last five or so years, "You're not going to like it, but let's just say that I probably hate your cousin Bellatrix more than you do, and leave it at that," she tried.
Sirius felt his heart freeze and drop into his stomach as he prayed hopelessly to whatever deity there was that his cousin had never laid a finger on the woman he loved, "No, we're not going to leave it at that Hermione, what happened?" he demanded to know.
Absently Hermione untangled her right hand from his and lifted it to rub across the scar that resided under several concealment charms on her forearm. Sirius fallowed this movement with his eyes, watching the way her eyes glazed over as they jumped into a past he hadn't been a part of.
"Hermione?" he tried again, "What is it love?" When Hermione didn't answer Sirius silently pulled out his wand and pointed it at Hermione's arm where she was rubbing it, not actually intending to find anything, but not completely surprised when he did.
Hermione frowned as she felt the magic on her arm relax and then disappear, bringing her back to the present. She looked down at her arm and frowned when she noticed that the scar was now visible and that Sirius was tugging her arm up so that he could see it better, "Sirius," she started, but was interrupted by his loud gasp when he caught sight of the word 'Mudblood' that had been carved into her arm nearly five years ago.
"How did this happen?" Sirius demanded to know, "When did you let her get close enough to do this to you?"
Hermione sighed, "Sirius, calm down," she tried, but it didn't work, she tried several more times to get him to stop yelling before she gave up with the talking route and ended up pressing her lips tightly against his, effectively muffling his words. After she felt she had kissed him thoroughly enough she gently pulled away, "Now will you listen to me?" she asked gently smoothing some hair away from his face as she mentally laughed at the dazed look on his face.
"When I told you about what you had missed during the war, I only managed to tell you a little about the Final Battle and the various deaths that resulted from that; I saw right away that your mind had shut down and couldn't handle anymore at the time. There is a very long, very terrible story that proceeds that day, but we don't have time for me to tell it all to you right now. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow I can explain to you everything that happened, but for now, I'll tell you about this scar because I know it will bother you all night if I don't."
Hermione took a deep breath and began to tell the short version of what happened to her, "Harry, Ron, and I were all caught by snatchers, which was a group of people hired to hunt down muggleborns and half bloods that hadn't been registered with the ministry. They took us to Malfoy Manor because they suspected who we were. Once there, Bellatrix got angry at us for reasons that will be explained later, and decided the easiest way to torture all of us was to torture me. So she did, she carved this into my arm, and cut me up in other places. But when I refused to tell her what she wanted to know, she let Greyback have a go at me."
Hermione closed her eyes trying to block the images, "Long story short, the two switched off until Harry, Ron, and Dobby managed to come and rescue me. While they weren't looking I managed to conceal the wound from them," Hermione looked up at Sirius' tense face, "You're the first person besides me and Remus to see it."
Sirius furrowed his eyebrows, "Remus?" he asked, his anger at his cousin momentarily forgotten, "Why did he get to see it?"
Hermione looked as if she hadn't intended for Remus to see the wound but it had happened anyway, "He came to the hideout Dobby took the three of us to a little after we got there. That night I was out on the back porch trying to stop the bleeding and in order to do so I had to take off the concealment charms. Remus heard me with those sometimes annoying werewolf senses of his and came out to see what was going on. He saw the wound and for the first time I saw him get mad enough that his eyes turned a golden amber. After he had calmed himself down he apologized and set about helping me heal the wound."
Something was bothering Sirius about this moment, Hermione could tell, "What's wrong?" she asked him searching his face for any sign of an answer.
"Were you in love with him?" Sirius asked, looking slightly dejected.
Hermione couldn't help it, she laughed, "Merlin no, Remus was like a…brother or an uncle to me, he was the first person I ever told about being in love with you, despite the fact that at the time we all thought you were dead. Before you ask, no, he didn't even remotely look at me like anything other than a sister or a daughter of some sort, he was absolutely in love with Tonks; it was intense to watch him watch her sometimes."
Sirius looked relieved, "So you weren't in love with my best friend?" he clarified.
Hermione nodded, "That is correct, now I think you should apologize to Remus for doubting his loyalty to your cousin," she stated with a small smile.
Sirius' eyes never left hers as he spoke, "I'm sorry Moony for ever doubting your loyalty to Nymph," he stated, "And thank you so much for being there for my Angel when I couldn't be, I owe you a giant bar of Honeyduke's chocolate whenever I get to join you and Prongs."
"Which hopefully won't be for a very long time," Hermione added, "Sorry Moony, but I just got him back, I'm not letting him go."
"Good," Sirius responded with a soft smile, pulling her closer, "Now what do you say we surprise a few friends of ours and make an appearance at that party you were telling me about?"
Hermione smiled back and pressed a quick kiss to Sirius' lips, "I say that that sounds like an extraordinary idea."
A/N: So the ending felt a little rushed to me, but in the end I decided I didn't know how to change it without going on for another couple thousand words. Maybe if you lot are kind and review I can give you an epilogue of some sort (maybe a meeting between Sirius and Teddy? Anyone interested?) Let me know what you'd like and please please please review!
Until next time!
A/N 2: So I went back and read this story and found so many errors I was soooo embarrassed…so thank you to all of you who reviewed anyway! I have written a second chapter that should be up fairly soon!