Sirius Black said he would never trust anyone outside of the Marauders because humans were fundamentally flawed in all capacities.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

Even so, as a general rule, people just sucked. They were useless unless you could use them for something. Of course, the Marauders were automatically excluded from this because, by some miracle, they all managed to worm their way into each other's hearts in a manner that was almost impossible to replicate. Everyone else, though? Awful.

However... Hermione was different. She changed things. Maybe it was because of how she treated his friends. She was endlessly kind to Remus. She often brought him chocolate, almost as if she knew it was his favorite and that it helped perk him up after the full moon. The two of them would also sit and discuss literature that literally no one but them ever, seriously ever, cared about. She was patient with James, who was boisterous and obviously overwhelming to her at times. Sometimes, Sirius would see their heads bent close together, whispering. When he'd ask James about it later, James would grin and tell him that Hermione was a surprisingly endless font of useful knowledge regarding women. He would confess that he knew he was rubbish with Lily and that Hermione had taken pity on him. Sirius had also caught her several times in the common room poring over books with Peter (and practically the whole bloody House, for that matter), helping him study.

It was hard to find much fault with Hermione Granger.

Sirius Black said he would never care about what anyone thought of him, because fuck them, thank you very much.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

When she had shown up with absolutely no warning, she turned everything on its head, which was quite rude, in his opinion. He was very used to being fawned over by girls, but she revealed quickly that she was cut from a very different cloth. What she found interesting was not what most girls found interesting (Books? Really?), and that included him. He never had to try before to make anyone like him, it just seemed to come with the territory. The few people who didn't like him, drops in the ocean that they were, were not worth his time. Hermione was different for some reason, though. There was something about her that made him self-conscious and awkwardly aware of things he said or did that she might frown upon.

And frown, she did. She found him to be exceedingly arrogant, sexist, and in possession of an exceptionally large ego. She was thoroughly unimpressed by the way he used his status as a Marauder, which garnered some measure of popularity, to manipulate people into doing things for him. They were little things, mind, like getting a snack from the kitchens or covering for him during a detention, but it made no difference to her. She thought it was particularly deplorable the way he approached his interactions with girls. It's as if you feel like they owe you a date just because you lowered yourself to look at them, she had said scornfully one evening. It makes me sick. He felt downright chastised, and, much to his shock, he felt extremely guilty and embarrassed that he presented such an image to her.

It was then he realized he cared about what Hermione Granger thought of him.

Sirius Black never believed that he was a bully.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

Sirius tended to believe he was better than everyone else. That made it pretty effortless to hone in on easy targets for particularly nasty pranks, because he would feel little guilt. Some of these pranks turned out fine in the end, with only mild humiliation on the part of the victim. However, sometimes, they were dangerous.

When Sirius tipped Snape off about the Shrieking Shack, he thought it would be hilarious to see Snape receive just desserts by meeting face-to-face with Moony. Hermione, however, did not think it was funny at all. In fact, she made it a point to single him out in the common room when it was the most occupied in order to humiliate him as an almost-punishment. Serves you right, she had said scathingly, the entire common room going quiet to listen. You don't think of anyone but yourself. You don't care who you hurt as long as you get your laughs out of it. You're lonely on the inside, even though you have the Marauders, and some day, you'll end up actually BEING alone. Who'd want to be friends with someone they can never be sure is trustworthy? Pathetic!

Sirius WAS humiliated, and at first, he was infuriated. She had no clue what he was like and who he was, so her accusations and presumptions were baseless. With time, though, he slowly began to admit she may have been right. Snape really could have been hurt that night, and no one deserved what would have happened to him. Sirius started to feel guilty, doubly so since Remus was also angry at him for what he had done.

He realized Hermione was the first girl to ever stand up to him, not counting his horrible mother. No one ever dared talk to Sirius Black the way Hermione had spoken to him that night, and he had to admit he thought that that was pretty admirable. While he didn't necessarily enjoy being humiliated in front of everyone, it did make an impact.

Not long after, he began to notice the way the light would catch her eyes during dusk, turning them from whiskey to amber. He noticed that in the morning she put a thin layer of butter on her toast followed by an equally thin layer of jam, which she would eat while reading the Daily Prophet. He noticed that before morning classes she would put two pins in her unruly curls to keep them away from her face, and by lunch, they would have already broken free without her notice. She always noticed after lunch, though, and instead she would put her hair in a bun on top of her head. He noticed that her hands were prone to chap in the cold, and that the balm she used smelt like peppermint. Most of all, he noticed that, now, when she looked at him, he felt nervous and his heart would speed up. Peculiar.

With a snicker, James told him that what he had were feelings for Hermione Granger. Blinking owlishly, Sirius realized he might be right.

Sirius Black had never once been turned down by a girl he'd asked out. Not once.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

The first time Sirius asked Hermione out, she thought it was a joke, and he could not believe it. Any other girl would have swooned just because he was talking to her, but not Hermione. She thought the whole idea was hilarious, preposterous really. And her outrageous response? "No."! She turned him down flat and Sirius was not prepared to approach a situation like that, because it simply wasn't done.

The second time Sirius asked Hermione out, she had the audacity to get irritated with him. Irritated! The nerve! She acted as though he were a gnat that kept flying around in her face and one that always came back, no matter how hard she tried to shoo it away.

The third time Sirius asked Hermione out, she was well tired of his persistence and yelled at him to leave her be. You are a sexist, misogynistic prick, Sirius Black, she had raved with a look of utter contempt on her face. I would not date you if you were the last man on earth. Needless to say, he was speechless. He began to realize that he was turning into James and that Hermione was his Lily. That thought was very depressing since James still had had no luck.

He also realized he would do just about anything (within reason) to make Hermione Granger like him and, hopefully, date him.

Sirius Black said he never gossiped, and that when he and the Marauders talked about people, they were "stealthy discussions" and that gossip was "women's talk".

That changed with Hermione Granger.

Sirius was determined to find out what made Hermione tick, but he would never figure it out by talking to her. It wasn't that he didn't want to talk to her, but she had about zero percent patience when it came to Sirius' personality. When he really thought about it, he wasn't sure why he actually liked her since she seemed to dislike everything about him. But the heart wants what the heart wants, he had mused with an internal dramatic sigh.

Sirius decided that in order to discover what made Hermione Granger Hermione Granger, he would have to, ugh, gossip. This was not the "to make sure we can pull the ultimate heist, we need secret intel on so-and-so" kind of thing. That didn't count, because that was Marauders' stuff and strictly business. What girls did was gossip, all of that "Oh my God, does he like me? What did he say?!" and "Oh, that bitch said your hair looks like you let a niffler run through it." garbage. It pained Sirius to have to stoop to gossiping and eavesdropping.

He targeted Hermione's closest companions, specifically Alice Barlow, Marlene McKinnon, and Lily, approaching them one day to ask them about her. He realized right away that that was a big mistake. Not only were they unwilling to talk about Hermione, they took advantage of the opportunity of actually speaking to Sirius face-to-face by descending upon him like wrathful harpies to berate him for consistently badgering her. Needless to say, he never tried that one again.

Sirius didn't really want to do it because he felt like it just proved Hermione's point, but he decided his best course of action was to use the Invisibility Cloak to listen in on the girls' conversations. During one particular instance, he hit pay dirt - Lily and Hermione were talking about James and Sirius in what was clearly meant to be a private conversation. I might be more inclined to give Sirius a chance if he wasn't such an ass, Hermione had said. But, I think it might be part of his genetics. Sirius wouldn't deny that he was hurt by that. He wanted Hermione to like him, and wanted her to see someone good and noble and loyal.

Sirius swore he would change Hermione Granger's mind.

Sirius Black said he would never change for anyone or anything.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

After witnessing that conversation between Lily and Hermione, Sirius worked incredibly hard to be a person Hermione would be proud to know. His pranks became less harmful and were done more for humor (seeing Professor McGonagall with pink hair was worth the month's worth of detentions). He became more respectful of the girls who approached him, and he never approached any on his own. He also really tried to deflate his huge head and treat people like they were his equals.

The first time he saw Hermione's shocked reaction to the new him, he did a jig inside his head because he knew his personality shift was something she never thought he was capable of. The longer he spent working towards change, the more impressed she became, though she wouldn't admit it.

Sirius had to confess that, at first, he only tried to change so that Hermione's opinion of him would improve. However, he found that as time went on, it became easier and more rewarding to help others and treat them with respect. He realized that, before, people told him what he wanted to hear so that he would like them. Becoming more approachable made it easier to foster real friendships instead of fake ones, which he (grudgingly) admitted was better than being worshipped.

Still, it did funny things to Sirius' heart (oh, God, FEELINGS) to see Hermione begin to smile at him instead of scowl.

Sirius vowed that he would keep trying to prove himself to Hermione Granger, so he never had to be without her smile again.

Sirius Black never really cared for romance.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

On the day that Hermione (FINALLY) agreed to go out with him, Sirius immediately grabbed his broom and did celebratory flips and twirls, all while whooping and cheering. It wasn't until he touched down that he realized he had absolutely NO idea how to do a relationship.

Sirius never had a girlfriend before. He had plenty of casual flings, but he never made an effort to stick with one girl because, frankly, he just didn't care for the idea. However, with Hermione, the things he felt for her ran far deeper than anything he had ever experienced before, so deep that he entered entirely unexplored territory. He was completely terrified. In fact, he got such a case of cold feet that he very nearly broke things off with Hermione before they had even begun. But, with a firm word from Remus, some eye rolls from James, and several incredulous squeaks from Peter, Sirius finally calmed down and came to his senses. He realized he had something special with Hermione, and while it was scary, it was also exhilarating and exciting.

Regardless, Sirius didn't know how to do the whole romance thing. Do girls even actually like flowers and candy? he had wondered. Sirius had no choice but to ask Lily, despite being bloody well scared of another blow out. In the end, he was extremely grateful that he did, because he was completely off base. He figured he should have known better, since Hermione wasn't like other girls. After taking her to the bookshop, the quill shop, and on a leisurely stroll down Hogsmeade's scenic paths, he knew he did the right thing when Hermione turned and beamed at him. She could weaponize that smile, he had thought as his heart arrested in his chest and his palms started sweating. She's going to kill me some day.

One night a year into their relationship, as he stared at her while she was sleeping on his chest, he knew with certainty that Hermione Granger was one of the best things that had ever happened to him.

Sirius Black, deep down, never believed he needed anyone.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

At the ripe old age of 19, Sirius started getting restless. With the growing discord that was blooming from the approaching war, he began to feel useless and like he wanted to get in on the action. It could have been that the opposing side mostly consisted of those his family aligned with, or that he could sense impending danger like electricity across his skin. It could have been a combination of the two. Either way, his mood was generally poor and Hermione found herself to be taking the brunt of his temper more often than not. After a while, she couldn't bear to continue shouldering his anger as if she were the cause of it and, as a result, she left him. Months later, she joined the newly formed Order. He never found out if the two were related.

Sirius' world tilted on its axis and it felt like he was dying. For two years, Hermione had been the anchor he had tethered himself to, and she had kept him afloat when he felt like he was going to drown. She had been the reason he became the man that he was, so who was he without her? When they were together, he had taken for granted her unwavering presence in his life and with her gone, he realized how much he truly needed her, how much he had always needed her. He cried himself to sleep for a week straight when he came home one day to an envelope taped to the door, containing her key to his flat. It had been so surreal until that point, but holding her key in his hand was a physical reminder that she had no intention of coming back.

It took a literal slap in the face from Lily to wake him up out of his funk. She took no mercy on him, and pointed out how pathetic he'd become in Hermione's absence. You'll never get her back this way, you idiot, she had snapped at him. She's as miserable as you are, she has been for ages, but you haven't been able to take your head out of your arse for even five minutes to see that. Even though he took no pleasure in hearing that Hermione was unhappy, it gave him the kick in the pants he needed to seek her out and to try desperately to get her back. When she flew into his arms, he wasn't sure who cried harder.

He would never take Hermione Granger for granted again.

Sirius Black would never admit to being scared, ever.

That changed with Hermione Granger.

As the war continued to strengthen around them, Hermione and Remus were repetitively called away for missions due to their unique skill sets, and Sirius was sick with worry for his girlfriend and friend. It was a constant source of stress, and at times, he couldn't even stomach eating.

One day, Remus returned from his latest mission. Hermione didn't. When Sirius heard the news, he had thrown up because he knew the outcome couldn't possibly be good. The Order became increasingly more agitated the longer Hermione was gone, and after a month and a half missing, Dumbledore gravely made the decision to pronounce her missing, presumed dead. The news devastated the Marauders and Lily, who could find no comfort in even James' embrace.

Sirius turned into a shell of a man. He never imagined he could feel devastation beyond what he had felt when the Potters had passed away, but this certainly trumped that feeling a hundred times over. He couldn't stop picturing the little girl with brown curls like hers and gray eyes like his. He had the image of the perfect house for them, only a few down from James and Lily in Godric's Hollow, burned into the back of his eyelids. Most of all, as he fingered the plain black box holding a simple band with a simple stone, he couldn't stop imagining what it would have been like being able to say I love you, Mrs. Black before they went to sleep every night and as he woke up next to her every morning.

The day the wards around the Order's headquarters shifted, everyone was understandably puzzled and quite worried. Everyone was accounted for, and no one was scheduled to enter headquarters just then. However, when Hermione limped through the front door and slumped against the door frame, thoroughly ragged and covered in scratches, bruises, and blood, it turned into pandemonium. Sirius felt like the air had been sucked from his lungs as his legs gave way beneath him, and he no longer felt like he was inside his own body. For the first time since she went missing, Sirius sobbed until he was physically unable to cry anymore.

It took several weeks for Hermione to fully recover, and almost an entire year for Sirius to let her out of his sight. While it left her thoroughly rankled after a while, she understood that he was just scared and let the issue lie. The experience was something he never wanted to relive ever again, and it taught him a valuable lesson. Life is short.

Even though they hadn't talked much about the future and she was completely blindsided, Hermione Granger said yes when Sirius proposed.

For his entire life, Sirius Black never believed he would have true purpose or meaning in his life.

That changed with Hermione Black… and Rhea Helene Black, his two girls and the absolute center of his entire universe.

Following the war and Voldemort's defeat, Sirius married Hermione in a small ceremony surrounded by only close friends, Sirius with three best men and Hermione, two matrons and one maid of honor. Despite being barely three years old, little Harry Potter "stood in" and gave Hermione away while she cried and Sirius pretended not to (It was an eyelash! he would later claim). She cried again, with a smile on her face, during the "father"'s dance where she held Harry and gently bounced him to the beat of the song, inadvertently lulling him to sleep on her chest.

A little over a year later, Hermione bounced her own daughter around their house in Godric's Hollow, a few down from James and Lily. She didn't notice and wouldn't know for several years, but Sirius filled up at least an entire album of pictures of just her and Rhea. Every so often, he would secretively look at the pictures and smile to himself, letting the warm feeling in his chest fill his entire body.

Years later, Sirius would look back on his life with his wife and feel content. His daughter would be worried about her Sorting when the time came. Her mother would assure her it didn't matter where she ended up and she would glare at Sirius when he would jokingly whisper behind his hand, 'as long as it's not Slytherin'. Rhea would end up being as intelligent as her mother and a bit of a heartbreaker like her father, much to Sirius' displeasure (Where's my Beater's bat when I need it? he'd think with a glower). In the end, she would settle, shockingly, on Neville Longbottom, who with age became surer of himself. That Sirius could handle.

For their entire lives, every so often with adoration in her eyes, Hermione would murmur to him, 'I love you. Thank you for this life.'

Sirius Black had had a lot of "never"s in his life. It took Hermione Granger – now Black – to change everything, for the better.

And for always.

AN: Thank you for reading! I really appreciate constructive criticism!

- Mrs. Lupin

Please note that I've changed my name from My Patronus Glows in the Dark.