|A True Map of the World
Author: Bedelia PM
Remus sabotages Hermione's attempt to make the Wolfsbane Potion more palatable.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Hermione G. & Remus L. - Words: 1,494 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 58 - Follows: 7 - Published: 12-14-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7635929
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A True Map of the World
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Harry Potter. This is an amateur, non-profit work.
A/N: Thanks for reading! This was written for the lovely remuslives's birthday. Happy birthday, Lana! Sorry it's so late.
"There is no one who comes here that does not know this is a true map of the world, with you there in the centre, making home for us all." — Story People
Wednesday is Remus's favourite day.
Standing in front of the mirror in his bedroom, he smooths his hands over his hair. The grey strands seem to be overtaking the light brown these days, particularly around his temples. He turns to one side.
"Not bad," his reflection says. "Not bad." Rubbing its chin, it pauses for a few beats before adding, "Not good, either."
A throaty chuckle announces Sirius's presence. He leans against the door frame, crossing his arms over his chest and giving his old friend a knowing look.
"Give my love to Hermione," he says with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Remus chooses to ignore him. Drawing his wand and spinning on the spot, he concentrates on the place he most wants to be. The jittery nerves he hopes to leave behind don't cooperate; they inspire rampaging butterflies in his stomach that follow him all the way to to the northern edge of the Scottish mainland.
The cold shocks him more than the squeezing sensation of Apparition. It's a penetrating chill that seeps into his bones and makes him shiver in spite of his multiple layers of jumpers. The sun has already dropped below the horizon; the only light guiding him to his destination is the glowing yellow square that marks Hermione's kitchen window.
He knocks three times, as is his habit. A thump and a muttered curse reach his ears from within the cottage before the latch clicks and a smiling Hermione opens the front door.
"Hi," she says, standing on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his scarred cheek. "Come on in. It's not quite ready yet, I'm afraid. I'm running a bit late today."
All of her cats, save Crookshanks, flee when they catch Remus's scent, seeking refuge under tables and on the tops of cupboards. The old half-Kneazle lumbers towards him, ancient hips creaking, and gives him a lazy meow that fades into a yawn. Remus rewards his effort with a good scratch under the chin.
Remus follows Hermione past shelves that teem with hundreds of books and framed photos of Harry and Neville, Ron with his brothers, himself and Sirius — all of her boys, as she calls them. The only artwork that adorns her walls consists of childish scribbles and fingerpaintings, courtesy of goddaughters, godsons, and honorary nieces and nephews.
Ordinarily, Hermione's "boys" and their families pour through her front door in a constant, loud, laughing stream. It is only on Wednesday evenings and on the day before the full moon that they are barred from entering; her work with the Wolfsbane Potion is too delicate and dangerous to risk being interrupted. On these days, her smiles and conversation are all for Remus.
A cauldron sits on the worktop next to her oven, bubbling with a light blue potion. Wrinkling her nose, Hermione gives it a stir to check the consistency.
"Almost finished," she says. Sighing, she leans against a nearby wall and rubs the back of her neck.
She is just over thirty now. Her body has changed with age, grown fuller and softer from years spent sitting behind a desk or curled up on window seats, reading books and learning new things. Remus's hand twitches as he tries to suppress the desire to run his fingers over those curves, to learn her body by touch. He already knows her mind backwards and forwards, and that alone makes him want her with an all-consuming ache.
"Tired?" he asks as her eyelids droop.
"Mm, a bit. I stayed up far too late reading last night. I miss the days when I could sit up until dawn and be fine as long as I had enough coffee."
He chuckles. "You and me both. Between Sirius's snoring and the almost endless supply of library books, I don't think I ever slept more than an hour at a time when I was a student at Hogwarts."
"No, nor me. Well, Sirius's snoring wasn't an issue, obviously. For me, it was Lavender's sleep talking." She grins. "The poor girl almost tempted me into smothering her with a pillow many times during the 'Won-Won' days."
"Ah, I can imagine," he says with a laugh. "What were you reading last night?"
"Err, Psychology of the Wolf by Bertha Blishwick." A light pink colour suffuses her cheeks. "A patient left it in my office last week."
"I don't think I've read that one."
"It's interesting," she murmurs, meandering back to the cauldron. Faint blue smoke billows from the top of the potion, curling through her hair as she leans over the top. "It's ready."
After sitting down on the stool she pulls over for him, Remus drinks a spoonful of the completed potion. This batch is the best yet; it tastes like fresh blueberries. Some selfish corner of his mind makes him grimace, pretending to be disgusted.
"No good?" she asks.
He avoids her questioning stare. "Afraid not."
If he admits that she has met with success, then once they test this version of the potion on the next full moon, Wednesday will cease to be Remus's day. She won't need her test subject around after she has managed to make the Wolfsbane Potion palatable.
"Ah, well," she says, opening her bag of medical supplies. "Back to the drawing board, I suppose."
Just like every other Wednesday, she will check his pulse, his breathing, his blood pressure, and his reflexes. Tampering with formula of the Wolfsbane Potion can be disastrous. Even though Hermione knows enough about the interactions between the ingredients to ensure his safety, she insists on giving him a thorough physical exam after every test batch.
She stands close — so close — as she presses her fingers to the hollow under his jaw and watches the second hand on her watch, positioning herself between his knees. He has to sit on his hands to keep them from grasping her hips.
"Your heartbeat is a bit fast," she says, her eyebrows drawing together. Her gaze remains downcast as she touches a cool palm to his forehead. "How do you feel?"
"Fine," he croaks.
She draws in a deep, shuddering breath. Her hand shakes as it traces a path from his forehead to the nape of his neck.
"Oh, what the hell?" she whispers. "It's about time one of us did this."
Leaning forward, she presses her mouth against his. He responds instantly, not bothering to think it through as he pulls her body closer and darts his tongue past her parted lips. It feels better than he ever imagined. Settling his hands on her hips, he gives himself over to the sensation. It's not until she pulls back with a bright smile that guilt comes crashing down and ruins the moment.
"Hermione," he says, inhaling sharply as she kisses her way up his neck, "I have a confession."
"I lied. The potion tastes fine — nice, even. I'm sorry; it was selfish of me. I just...I didn't want our visits to come to an end."
To his surprise, she laughs. Her breath gusts over his skin, making him shiver. A few rebellious curls escape from her long plait and tickle his jaw as she gives an amused shake of her head.
"Oh, good," she says. "That makes me feel much better."
"Because," she says, pausing to punctuate the word with another kiss, "I've been repeating failed ingredients for weeks now, making sure the potion tasted horrible. Today was the first day I tried a new one in a long while — my guilt got the better of me. I don't want our visits to come to an end, either."
Chuckling, he wraps his arms around her waist. "Well, aren't we quite the pair?"
She grins. "If this version of the potion ends up working on the full moon, we could always tell the others that I have a new project. That way, we could carry on with our visits without interruption."
"Sounds brilliant," he says. "As fond as I am of your friends, I really do enjoy being able to talk to you for more than five minutes at a time without them barging in."
"Me too." Leaning in for the first of many more kisses, she speaks her next words against his lips. "Wednesday is my favourite day."