By the Light of the Moon
(Week 6 of The Maple Bookshelf's War of the Words)
The characters and situations of this fan fiction belong to JK Rowling and Charlaine Harris and their publishers, as well as Warner Brothers and HBO. No money is made from the publishing of this story.
She was a very long way from home. Nothing here seemed familiar save for the full moon overhead. It was comforting knowing that the moon that shined its light down upon her here in the States was the same moon that gave her light and comfort in her beloved England.
But the moon was the only thing similar between this place and home. For one thing, everyone talked strangely here. Sometimes she could barely understand their accents – a cross between a southern twang and Creole. The people here also used phrases and words that she had never heard before, although she was certain she probably used words and phrases that confused them as well.
The weather was vastly different. The sun seemed to shine all the time here, where it rained constantly at home. It wasn't just the sunshine that was disconcerting, but the heat… the ever-loving, sweat-inducing heat! She had never in all of her 28 years of living known humidity and heat as she had come to know (and hate) here in Louisiana – and it was only May!
The sun just seemed brighter… bigger… perhaps even a deeper shade of yellow here in the Deep South, than it had ever seemed in England.
At least the moon was the same.
It hung full and heavy, bright and beautiful, in a mostly starless sky. Sitting on the little balcony of her hotel room, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. It was hard to believe she would be leaving for home tomorrow. It was even more difficult to believe that she without a doubt fell in love with a werewolf last night.
When she came here, to Louisiana, in the southern portion of the United States, she was in a sorry state, to be certain. She had just quit her job, feeling under-appreciated and under-challenged. She had just moved back home due to unfortunate circumstances surrounding her former living arrangements, which brought her to the main reason she was feeling a bit discombobulated as of late… She had just broken up with her boyfriend of almost ten years, someone she had loved for more than sixteen years, one Ronald Weasley.
They had finally made the commitment to move in together (she rather wanted to get married, he wasn't ready yet) after nine and a half years of dating. Everyone said it was time… everyone! So Hermione gave up her flat and moved into his, waiting for the feeling of domestic bliss to overtake her, yet that feeling never came.
Then the hope for said domestic bliss blew up in her face like a firecracker the day she came home sick one afternoon after visiting Harry, walked into her flat, discovered Ron was home (when he should have been at work) by the fact that his shoes were by the telly and his coat was on the floor. She called out his name.
"Ron? Where are you? I'm feeling rotten. My stomach hurts and I've been throwing up." There was no answer. Holding her arms over her aching stomach, she dragged her feet to their bedroom, opened the door, and stood there in the threshold in unmitigated and complete, utter shock.
Her boyfriend of many years, the man she loved, the man she wanted to marry, was in THEIR bed, but he wasn't alone. He was in THEIR bed with another person. Not only that, but he was in THEIR bed, with ANOTHER person who wasn't Hermione. Most importantly, he was in THEIR bed with ANOTHER person who wasn't Hermione and who looked incredibly like Seamus Finnigan.
She cried out in her shock at seeing the two men in bed together. Ron scampered to his feet, coming to stand in front of Hermione, screeching his apologies, even as Seamus, the flaming little shamrock, hasten to throw a pillow over his nudeness.
As Ron grabbed Hermione's upper arms and huffed out an apology, Hermione did the only rational thing she could have done at that moment. She promptly threw up all over him.
A couple of hours later, sitting on Harry's couch, tissues in hand, tears finally dried, a potion for her sick stomach a distant memory, she asked Ron's sister Ginny, "Did you know your brother was gay?"
To which Ginny replied, "Everyone knew it but you, Hermione. I'm so sorry."
Yes, well, Hermione was so sorry, too.
And because of all of those unfortunate events, she found that she needed to get away for a while. She had wanted to study the affects of the moon on werewolves ever since she first met Remus Lupin, so with Harry's funding, and a grant by Draco Malfoy, she left England and started her research, which led her here.
And now her time here was over and it was time to go home. She wasn't ready to go home. She didn't discover anything useful, she didn't come to any conclusions, and most of all, she thought she might be in love with someone new and she rather wanted to give this person a chance… not that he would share her feelings, especially as they had just met last evening.
She'd come here two months ago to study the affects of the moon on American werewolves. She started her journey in the wilderness of Canada, moved down to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, then to the plain states of the US. After speaking to numerous werewolves in those places, she finally found herself in the southern part of the United States.
And she had learned nothing – at least nothing of consequence. Nothing to help her in her studies of the influence of moon in correlation to the changing of man to wolf.
She had a vested interest in werewolves, due to the fact that when she was younger her favourite all time professor, if truth be known, was the kind and gentle man named Remus Lupin. He was one of the best, most compassionate men she'd ever met, and he was also a werewolf. When she got the chance (and opportunity, thanks to Ron's infidelity) to study werewolves she jumped at the chance. If there was anyway she could help those afflicted with the malady, she was going to do it.
The fact that it got her out of England and away from her two-timing homosexual boyfriend Ron Weasley was an add boon.
The only thing important she'd discovered in her studies so far was that werewolves in the Americas could switch at will – no full moon required. For another thing, they could control their actions when the changed, an interesting fact not shared by their brethren in Europe and Asia. The most interesting fact was that they were born that way. Not only that, but their numbers were so large that they actually had 'packs', with a hierarchy system to rule them.
She deduced that this anomaly was indigenous to the Americas because ancient wolves were thought to come from this region. Hermione was fascinated by these facts and decided to study just what made the American werewolf so distinctly different than the ones she had encountered on her travels in Europe and Western Asia. What made them different from her beloved ex-professor, Remus Lupin?
The painful truth was that after months of investigation and study, she still didn't know why the two 'species' were so vastly different. She also found that at this moment, sitting here on the balcony, bathing in the silver light of the moon, she wasn't sure she cared.
The only thing that was important at the moment was that she had fallen in love with one of these American werewolves and after tomorrow she may never see him again.
When she first arrived in Louisiana, she was instructed to see a man named Alcide Herveaux, the pack master of the largest pack of wolves in the state. Upon first meeting the man yesterday, she was taken aback by his sheer size and charisma. She could see why this man was greatly respected by the other packs she had spoken to previously. Their first meeting was fraught with tension (both sexual and otherwise).
A pack master from another part of the state had called Mr. Herveaux and had asked him to meet with a witch who was studying the differences between werewolves in North America compared to werewolves in England. Mr. Herveaux agreed to meet her.
She waited for him in the lobby of her hotel. Jotting down notes in her notebook, she suddenly felt a strange prickling sensation across her skin. Looking up sharply, she saw a tall man, with wide shoulders, deep set eyes, black hair, a mustache and goatee, and a frown on his face, walking toward her.
She stood. Holding out her hand she said, "It's nice to see you, Mr. Herveaux. My name is Hermione Granger."
He raised one eyebrow while engulfing her hand in his. His hand was so large, his skin so warm. Everything about him made him feel off-kilter.
"Hermione, huh? That's an unusual first name," he said with a slight accent and a grin in his eyes.
"As is Alcide, I would take it," she returned, feeling no malice, only expectation.
He smiled. "It's pronounced Alcee. The 'd' is silent." He finally released her hand and sat down on the sofa where she had been sitting. "Usually people have problems with my last name, but you said it perfectly."
Sitting beside him, she couldn't help but smile. "In my defense, the man who referred me to you actually pronounced your first name wrong to me, but he said your last name perfectly, hence the reason I made the same error with your first name and likewise pronounced your last name correctly."
He crossed his legs at the knees, leaned back and asked, "What can I do for you, Miss Granger?"
She began talking. She talked and talked and talked. Talking incessantly wasn't that unusual for Hermione, however, usually people acted bored by her ramblings or overwhelmed by her one mindedness or overblown intelligence, but not this man. He seemed genuinely interested in what she had to say, and he asked intellectual and thought provoking questions in return.
She told him all about Remus Lupin. He seemed as fascinated by the differences in werewolves of England in comparison to him and his pack as she was.
Then, as the late afternoon turned to early evening, which then turned to night, they found themselves sitting alone on the patio outside the hotel restaurant, two empty wine bottles on the table before them. She found herself telling him all about her life. She told him about her childhood, how she discovered she was 'different', about Hogwarts, about her friendships with Ron and Harry, Harry's quest with Horcruxes and finally about the dark times during the reign of Voldemort.
He seemed enthralled by every single thing she had to say. He laughed enthusiastically when she told him something funny. He commiserated when she told him something sad. He looked worried and guarded when she told him something fraught with fear and terror. Finally, as the clock struck midnight, and the other patrons had mostly abandoned the patio for the bar, and the only light invading the darkness that surrounded them was from the single candle on their table and the silver light of the moon above, she told him about Ron's cheating.
She cried, and she wasn't embarrassed. He reached out and took her hand in his and told her that this Ron fellow must be an idiot. She laughed and agreed with him.
Hermione found him walking her to her room, where he agreed to meet her the next day before she had to leave. He said he wanted to discuss her werewolf theory in more depth. She thanked him; she thanked him for listening to her, for laughing with her, for agreeing to help her, and after arranging a time and place for them to meet the next day, she held out her hand and said, "I find that I had a lovely time this evening, Alcide."
And she had.
He smiled down at her from his great height, and said, "As did I, Hermione, and now I'm going to kiss you."
And he did.
And whether it was the affects of the moon, or the wine, or the man in front of her, she found that she wanted to kiss him, very, very much. Her skin prickled with awareness, her breathing hitched in her throat. He stepped closer, tipped her head back with a single finger under her chin, and lowered his lips to hers.
The first kiss was tentative – sweet – and entirely too short. He apparently thought so, too. Placing one of his hands behind her head, his other on her hip, he crushed her to him, bent his head, and kissed her again.
It was glorious.
His mouth didn't just meet hers. It enveloped hers. It was demanding and sweet at the same time. Running his tongue along the seam of her lips, she opened for him and he rushed right in. While they kissed, her mind wandered, but in a good way, not a distracted way. For instance, she smelled him. He smelled wonderful, like outdoors and Christmas day wrapped into one. A haze of sensual thoughts exploded in her mind. Her hands roamed his body, just as his hands began to do the same to hers. He was holding her so securely that she couldn't move. The wooden door was at her back and a man of solid muscle was at her front.
A flame of desired licked at her soul. She wanted more. She needed more. He drove his tongue and lips over hers in a fierce, unrelenting way. He drew back, stared down at her with dark, questioning eyes. With a raspy voice he said, "Tell me what you want, Hermione Granger. Ask me to stay. Tell me to stay. Or if you'd rather, tell me to leave and I'll leave, but by all that's holy, I hope you tell me to stay."
Reaching behind her, she twisted the doorknob, opened the door, and pulled him inside.
They shared a passionate night of lovemaking that would forever be embedded inside her brain.
They both fell asleep, but after a short interval, she awoke. It was still dark both outside and in the room. Her eyes roamed to the clock beside the bed. It was almost four-thirty in the morning. She looked over at the man beside her and smiled. Up until now, Ron had been her only lover. Brushing back a lock of his heavy black hair that strayed over his forehead, she leaned closer and kissed his cheek gently. Knowing he was sleeping, she still felt the need to say something. So she said, "Thank you." Just a simple note of thanks for so many bloody reasons.
Rolling from the bed, she picked up his discarded tee shirt, brought it to her nose to get a big whiff, and then placed it over her head. Padding toward the balcony, she opened the doors. Feeling entranced, she stepped outside, which was where she now found herself.
The moon was still high in the black sky. It shined a path of shimmering silver across the landscape, throwing patches of shadow and light to the land below. Standing against the balcony's railing she lifted her face to the bright moon and sighed. The moon seemed almost as if it was alive, and in turn, it made her feel alive and happy for the first time in a long time.
She knew she should feel remorse, or at least sadness. She had come here for information, and instead had shared a night of passion with a man whom she would remember for a lifetime, but whom she may never see again. She found that she didn't want to leave him, even though she had just met him. She rather thought she might have fallen in love with him. If he asked her to stay with him, she probably would.
But he would never ask, and in reality, she would never stay.
She heard him behind her. Closing her eyes, she willed him to turn around and leave. If he said even one word to her, she would probably beg him to stay with her forever.
Luckily, he didn't speak right away. He merely stepped behind her, placed his arms around her middle, and placed a kiss on the top of her head. She turned in his arms and said, "I was thinking about how beautiful the moon is. I was thinking that it makes me feel alive, for the first time in a long time. Is that how it feels for you?"
He smiled at her and nodded. Pulling on her hand, he sat in the lone chair on the balcony and ushered her to his lap. Silence surrounded them. She placed her head on his shoulder and her hand upon his heart. His pulse was steady, like a drum, under her hand.
"I told you so much about me earlier, how about you tell me about you now?" She waited, and waited, and finally looked up at him.
He had an intense look in his dark eyes and another frown – like the one he had when she first met him – on his face. "There's only one thing to tell you, Hermione Granger."
"What's that?" she asked quickly.
"When a werewolf makes love to someone by the light of a silver moon, like the one hanging overhead, it means only one thing," he replied.
Her heart skipped a beat, her breathing became more erratic, and she said, "What does it mean?"
"Can't you feel it?" he asked, instead of answering. He took her hand in his, brought it to his face, and then placed a gentle kiss on the center of her palm. Looking up at the full moon he said, "It means he or she's found their one true mate, the one person they're meant to spend the rest of their lives with, and whether or not you believe in the magic of the moon, it's true."
She didn't answer.
He looked intently in her eyes and said, "The moon is full tonight, Hermione. It shines bright and silver down upon us. I made love to you, after I spent one of the best evenings of my life with you. I'm going to marry you someday… someday soon."
He didn't pose it as a question, but rather as a statement of fact. She sort of liked that quality, that extreme self-assurance, which was always so lacking in Ron.
"Then I guess you better claim me before someone else does," she said with a little smile. "That waiter who served us the second bottle of wine was pretty cute."
He growled low in his chest, smiled at her, and hugged her tight. "That's enough of that, witch."
"Whatever you say, wolf, whatever you say."