|So Close to Me
Author: TheBookBully PM
Their paths cross again at Hogwarts as Hermione is finishing her 7th year and Remus is back teaching. This time it develops in completely new ways. "Remus, I love you so much. I don't care that you are a werewolf who is eighteen years my senior and I don't care that some people might have a problem with that"Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Hermione G. & Remus L. - Chapters: 24 - Words: 70,375 - Reviews: 297 - Favs: 265 - Follows: 213 - Updated: 01-16-12 - Published: 08-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7251135
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Omg this is it! The last chapter! I really hope I wrapped everything up well, its not really one of my strengths as a writer. Anyway enjoy!"-E
After a year of new experiences and adaptions, where ones entire life is shifted almost beyond recognition, there is nothing stranger than stepping into a place that somehow avoided everything. Sliding through the wall onto the platform, Hermione squinted against the sunlight and pushed her cart forward. The groups of families and friends gathered around the scarlet steam engine, hollering out of windows and saying final farewells seemed too familiar to her, as if she passed through more than just a false wall but through time itself. Had it really been two years since she was here last? Moving towards the train, her low heels sliding on the tile as she pushed her cart forward, she began to notice a few familiar faces; but not many. It didn't feel like returning to school in the past and Hermione almost preferred it that way. After all, she wasn't returning to learn, she was returning to teach.
No one was surprised when McGonagall announced her final year of teaching Transfiguration, juggling that and Headmistress duties was a handful. What did surprise people was the witch's decision to hire twenty-year-old Hermione Granger even if she was qualified. Hermione of course got all Outstandings on her NEWTs, making her the third person to do that in over 100 years, as well as perfect scores on her Transfiguration exams. After that, the job offers clouded her window with owls, positions in the ministry, acceptance to Aurorer training and healer school (even though she didn't actually apply) and countless others. Hermione passed over all the glamorous high position offers and instead took the job as an assistant to Emeric Switch in editing the new edition of A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration. It was neither high stress nor boring, perfect really since Hermione was still a little uncertain on what she wanted to do career wise, and it opened a surprisingly large number of doors. Within a year Hermione found herself working with talented witches and warlocks from all over Britain to discuss books and edit manuscripts. For a while she even considered coming on as Transfiguration Today editor in chief until it fell through. Then, when McGonagall visited their tiny flat at the beginning of the summer, Hermione had no idea the older witch was going to offer her the job. She gladly accepted.
Currently however, she was feeling more nervous than anything. Around her people watched as she pulled her cart to the side and looked down at her watch. Everyone already knew the infamous Hermione Granger was returning to Hogwarts as transfiguration professor but they still whispered and pointed. She ignored them. It had been a year and a half since her relationship with Remus was made public, but the extreme publicity had left a bitter aftertaste.
When the whole affair blew up Hermione was pretty much just waiting for Remus to run, after all this attention and scandal had been exactly what he feared. But not only had he stayed by her side and defended her, he had solved it even if it wasn't a perfect solution. Returning to school that year, he was only a temporary addition to the teaching staff. It wasn't until that eventful full moon over New Years, when Hermione yelled at Slughorn, that McGonagall decided to bring him back full time. Presenting his contract to the school board for approval, Remus had expected it to be challenging. In most cases, they would sign on the dotted line with barely a glance the headmaster's choice, but of course Remus' condition was well known and caused much debate among the Governors as they held off on making a decision. At the time it made him furious that once again his lycanthropy was holding him back, but as he held Hermione's hand in the headmaster's office, trying to save their future, he knew it was actually a blessing. After all, that was the perk of being disliked by most members of the school board; Remus was able to use his teaching contract as leverage.
It wasn't the same as being fired; technically. If people asked him about why he wasn't returning to teach the following year, he could smile and just say his brief return to teaching had been a one-year personal favor to McGonagall. He wasn't thrown out from the castle or degraded in anyway. While that made Hermione happy that they got off so easy, it broke her heart that he had to sacrifice teaching, something he loved so much, just for her.
"Sorry darling" said Remus as he pushed his trolley towards her, a warm smile on his face. "Can't believe I forgot that. Are you ready?"
Naturally, it was then extremely surprising when Remus was asked to return to Hogwarts once again as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Professor Hodges returned unexpectedly to America and once again McGonagall found herself missing a defense professor.
Walking towards the train, the number of people looking their way increased and Hermione felt Remus tense up next to her. Even now, over a year later, the attention they got made him uncomfortable. Remus practically wore a path in their carpet from all the pacing when the letter from McGonagall arrived asking him back, he was completely torn as if he wanted to take the position or not. Hermione had excitedly agreed to teach months before that and while he had been happy for her, part of him was a little jealous that once again he wouldn't be returning in the fall. However, when the option was presented to him, that jealousy turned to fear and the pacing started.
When the news of their relationship was released on the front page of the Daily Profit it was pandemonium, worse than they expected. Even though Hogwarts made a positive statement about their awareness of the situation and the extremities of the case, it seemed that everyone had an opinion, good and bad. Her last few days at Hogwarts were some of the hardest for Hermione since now everyone knew. Sure she had squealing girls cornering her in the corridors, her asking dirty details of the attractive professor, but she had even more people lash out at her. The cruelty towards her and Remus was shocking. Even a visit to Diagon alley three weeks later still had a lot of stares and whispers as they tried to browse Flourish and Blotts together; finally making them cut the visit short. It became a really hard time in their relationship.
That's one of the main reasons they were taking the Hogwarts Express to school. While McGonagall had invited them to return earlier by floo, they knew they had to do this. They needed for not only the students but for the parents and families to see they were a real couple and that she wasn't just some student Remus had picked up. Hermione smiled warmly up at Remus as they passed several families, who had stopped talking, and hoped it was working.
Hermione was partially thankful when everything came out as it put an end to the lying and sneaking. Even though they struggled with acceptance, they were able to act more like a true couple now and Hermione couldn't wait to move in with him. Remus was excited too; until he went back to his London flat and remembered this is where they would be living. The small studio apartment in muggle London was extremely small with chipped tile, loud neighbors, and iffy hot water. It made him sick imagining her in the dump. Besides a few raised eyebrows when he first showed it to her, she didn't say anything.
Then later, when she borrowed home improvement and cleaning spell books from Molly, he barely recognized the place. She painted, magically enlarged, rearranged, transfigured, and charmed the heck out of the flat. Hermione worked hard and turned it into their home. It was perfect really since they spent the first couple months of their relationship hiding out from the public. Most of their friends were happy for them, but it wasn't the majority opinion of the wizarding community.
Hermione's parents were pretty supportive, a little mad perhaps that she had concealed an eight-month relationship from them, but Remus quickly won them over and they had nothing for praise for the less than traditional couple. However, the first dinner at the Weasley's was a bit more of a mixed bag. Of course they all new, some had been in the headmaster's office that day, but not the story of Hermione rejecting Ron.
Apparating to The Burrow, Remus and Hermione were stopped outside the front door by Ginny, a frown on her face as she told them Ron had just told their parents everything and stormed out. While Molly Weasley had always been so kind to both of them, and fairly supportive when they came out, the news that Hermione had turned down Ron, not before kissing and leading him on, had left a sour note in her voice as she welcomed them in. The dinner was pretty awkward. The twins cracked jokes and tried to lighten the mood, which actually worked for a while, until George flirted with Hermione too much and Remus angrily broke his water glass.
"Hey Professor Lupin" said a 7th year Ravenclaw with a smile on his face as they walked towards the train, his eyes quickly shifting to Hermione. "uh and Professor Granger"
"Hello Alex" Replied Remus, a smile on his face as his hands drifted to Hermione's waist protectively.
Walking away Hermione gave Remus a knowing glance as he blushed and looked the other way. In the past year it had become a battle against his jealousy, which had increased substantially when they moved in together. He almost ripped the head off some poor muggle in the grocery store who had the audacity to tell her she was pretty. Hermione finally had to invite Harry and the twins over one evening and make Remus get used to guys looking at her and hitting on her. The guys were all a nervous wreck being in the room with a jealous werewolf, but Remus did pretty well, only breaking furniture, and had gotten much better with time.
Remus pulled out his wand and elevated both of their trunks onto the train as Hermione climbed up the steps of the last car. Moving down the corridor with Remus behind her, she stepped into an empty compartment and sat down with a sigh. Sitting down next to her Remus stretched his legs across the seat in front of them and took her hand in his, smiling down at his mother's ring as it sparkled in the sunlight.
When Remus had proposed to her under the stands that day, he was really quite thankful she turned him down. He considered himself a logical, even-tempered man but Hermione for some reason brought out this rashness in him he couldn't explain and while he loved her so much, an engagement would have added a whole other layer to their difficult situation of last spring.
They had been living together for some time already one night when they went to The Burrow for dinner. Everyone was enjoying one of Molly's amazing meals when Harry and Ginny told them of their engagement and, even though nobody was surprised by the news, the explosion of cheering nearly brought the house down. Later, sitting on the couch talking with Arthur he saw it; a strong look of longing and want flashed in Hermione's eye as Ginny showed her the ring and gushed over wedding details. Remus almost feinted.
He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. That part was easy. The actual marrying part scared him. While his promise to Hermione was holding up, this new idea tested him more and he barely slept the next few nights. She was so much younger than him, she wanted a husband and a family… but was he the best man to give her that?
However, the following week he went to his vault in Gringotts. As the goblin opened the door and Remus walked in, his eye caught the tiny pile of gold in the corner and he quickly turned and left. After walking around Diagon alley for about an hour he tried again, this time making it to the small cupboard built into the stone wall before turning and leaving the bank. By the fourth attempt the Goblins were getting impatient and told him off for wasting their time, even though he tried to insist he wasn't riding the carts all day for fun. When they finally agreed to take him back again, Remus had no choice but to open the cupboard and grab the small, dusty box inside.
The ring, which had been his mother's, was small and delicate and Remus knew it would look lovely on Hermione, even if she did deserve a huge diamond like Ginny's. Over the years when money had been so tight and he went hungry he had always been tempted to sell it. And why shouldn't he? It wasn't like he was ever going to get married; he was a werewolf after all.
However, as Hermione burst into tears at the sight of it and leapt into his arms over dinner, he couldn't be more thankful he hadn't sold it.
They hadn't set a date yet, even though everyone they knew was pestering them about it. Just knowing there was one out there for them was all she wanted for now and he was happy to wait.
"Are you asleep?" Hermione asked as she turned to look at him, smiling at his relaxed face as he leaned his head against the back of his seat. Outside the window, London was rushing by.
"No just resting my eyes"
"Are you certain? You always seem to fall asleep on trains"
Remus snorted and cracked an eye open to look at her grinning face before pulling her closer. Kissing the top of her head he breathed deep, enjoying that wonderful smell that was completely her, the one that drove him crazy that day in class.
Often Remus reflected back on that year together in Hogwarts. They had been just friends going into the school year, her glad to be back learning and him glad to be teaching. When things developed between them, he had been so terrified. Terrified that he might lose her as a friend, terrified that it might actually be something between them. Thankfully she proved him right on the second count, by loving him more than he deserved and giving him someone to care about more than anything. The times he pushed her away he thought he was doing them both a service, truly. How could he ever give her the type of life he wanted to give her? But of course she was determined and stuck by him no matter how stupid he acted or how hard he pushed.
The first couple months living together tested them. Hermione cried over the hate letters that were sent to him after the articles were published. Even though he tried to stop her, she would apparate somewhere to destroy the howlers when they came so he couldn't hear them, sobs wrenching from her chest when she returned to his arms so angry with these people whom they didn't even know. Then when money became tight they fought. Hermione loved her editing job but it didn't pay terribly well and as usual, Remus was struggling to find work. Living off cheap muggle take out as their water was shut off brought out the worst in them. They screamed and fought late into the night over it. When Ron still didn't forgive Hermione months after graduation, Hermione cried and Remus became jealous again. Several times he was tempted to run.
But he held on, he had to.
It was Hermione.
And it finally did get better. The letters finally stopped coming. Hermione branched out with her editing job and Remus got more work with the ministry. Even Ron eventually came around, apologizing for his behavior and making an effort to be her friend again. Tears of anger turned into tears of laughter while staying up late fighting turned into staying up late wrestling in bed. He summoned the courage to ask her to marry him and he had never seen her so happy.
"Are you sure you aren't sleeping"
"No I'm just thinking"
Hermione nodded and leaned into him more as she watched the scenery go past.
"Are you nervous?" She asked hesitantly. "To be back with me, your ex student"
He smiled again and squeezed her hand. While she knew he loved her, Remus could still tell when she was afraid he would leave her again.
"Not at all" he said calmly. "Even if it becomes challenging you are worth it. I want to be with you more than anything"
Hermione smiled and kissed his shoulder. So many times in the past, even though she knew he loved her, he had struggled to say those words. Shifting in her seat she turned to face him as he open his eyes. Smiling, Remus cupped her face in his hands and pulled her closer, a smile tugging on his lips as he stared into her eyes.
"You are just" he whispered "so close to me"
He leaned in and kissed her.
In an empty compartment as students ran up and down the hall to their left and scenery rushed by on their right, they sat together knowing they made the right decision.
oOoOoOoOoOoOoO The End oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo
"Ack omg I seriously can't believe I finished it! Ok brace yourself tons of AN… Its sort of an odd chapter I know, I originally wanted an epilogue, but I was struggling with how to end the Headmaster's office scene so that became part of the "epilogue" of sorts. Also fun fact! The opening and closing paragraphs are taken directly from the first chapter, just reworded a little. The opening paragraphs are almost completely identical from Hermione's POV and the last paragraph is from a moment in the first chapter that was Remus' POV. The ending of this chapter is actually the answer to the question he sort of asks in the first chapter. Also a few people asked about the title for this story and were it came from. I pulled it from the Police Song Don't Stand So Close To Me, which I know a lot of people use that in Remus/Hermione ships. I just chopped it down to So Close To Me, which I think has a more intimate feel. Also I know someone is going to ask, don't expect a sequel I don't do them.
I hope everyone liked this. I approached this pretty much as my attempt at the Remus/Hermione teacher/student affair storyline but as I wrote it, the story actually became much more serious and mature than I expected. I had a blast writing it
THANK YOU TO ALL MY AMAZING REVIEWERS! I LOVE YOU! AS WELL AS JAVALON14 FOR LETTING ME BOUNCE IDEAS OFF SOMEONE!
Again I have a poll up on my profile page on what story I should tackle next, go check it out if you haven't and then keep your eyes open for a new story soonish.
If you liked it leave me a review!" -E