Part 13? I suck at updating
ENJOY! I think I might pull a double-update; I have so much planned for this story.
A week had passed since the death of Pollux Black, and both Hermione and Regulus were still silent about the subject.
After the emotional episode that Hermione had in the Great Hall the day they received the news, she tried her best to act as if she hadn't almost suffocated to death from her sadness and anger, by completely ignoring any questions about how she was doing, and instead focusing on schoolwork, friends and Theodore Nott.
In fact, she had taken to releasing her frustrations on Theo, finding herself yearning for his rough touch, and bruising kisses as some sort of twisted distraction from the crumbling world around them.
Sirius was concerned for his younger cousin, and for his friends as he realized that the wizarding world was spiraling into a complete shit storm. As he sat amongst his friends in the Great Hall, watching them eat and chat amongst one another he found himself distracted with thoughts of his younger brother and what his future might hold if his mother continued to hold him hostage in that God awful home.
"Padfoot, could you please focus! There is a prank in the works and you haven't even tried to force your opinions on us." James spoke, spitting some of his eggs on Sirius, and he could only grin at his bespectacled friend, wiping his face and throwing a piece of toast at James, hitting him square in the forehead.
"Oi! You fucking wanker, this face takes time, and you're completely trashing it with bread." James whined, and pouted when Lily only rolled her eyes at him as he tried to get her attention by twirling her hair around his fingers and tugging at the strands.
"I swear Potter, I wonder how old you are sometimes. Your body tells me sixteen, but your words just remind me of my younger cousin Christine, she's four by the way." Lily smirked at him, and he only continued to pout at her while Sirius looked between the two.
He knew now that these two were going to get married, whether they had thought about it, or discussed it, he would make sure it happened. This whole entire relationship was a struggle to achieve and he'd be damned if they ever let it slip away once they graduated from Hogwarts.
He was about to speak up about marriage plans when a movement to his right caught his eye, as he watched Hermione being thrown over the shoulder of Theodore Nott as they entered the Great Hall.
"Theo! Put me down you oaf!" she giggled, and he only smirked as she smacked his arse, and Sirius wondered how the hell Dumbledore just sat there and smiled as the scene unfolded before him.
"As you wish." And Theo placed Hermione back on her feet, leaning into her, placing a small kiss on her lips before grabbing her hand and leading her to the Slytherin table, where Hermione gave both Severus and Regulus loud kisses on their cheeks, both boys blushing, Severus turning an alarming shade of crimson.
"Isn't she a bit too young to be kissing boys like that?" Remus muttered, and Sirius only gazed at him with confusion.
"He's distracting her from all that horrible shite that went down last week. She's clearly in some weird denial about being upset." Dorcas spoke, shoving sausage and eggs into her mouth, chewing loudly and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
"I tried to ask her how she was the other day, but she completely walked past me, not even acknowledging the question." Marlene said as she took a sip of her pumpkin juice.
"She's being a right bitch too, hexing Gryffindor's and snogging that boyfriend of hers like a slag." Mary grumbled, and Sirius gave her a warning look.
"What! Will anyone here deny the fact that your cousin is completely off her rocker right now? Because if you do deny it, then you're in denial just as much as she is." Mary pointed out, taking a bite out of toast and avoiding Sirius's eyes.
Sirius was aware of Hermione's rather off actions over the past week, but he didn't interfere knowing that if he spoke up he would be hexed into the next century, undoubtedly.
"She's just…grieving." Lily tried to defend, but even she knew that Hermione was being a right arse to everyone. Including her own group of friends, both Tabitha and Celia have kept their distance from their friend because she spent her time hissing insults at them.
"Well screw her version of grieving. Just stop asking her if she's okay, she clearly is." Mary muttered, pointing at the Slytherin table, and the group turned to see Hermione getting, what could have possibly been, a hickey the size of Hogwarts on her neck from Theo. Regulus was seated next to them, Tabitha by his side, and they both seemed rather green in the face, as if they were ready to gag all over the couple.
"I am officially scarred for life." Sirius groaned, dropping his head down on the table, and Peter chuckled, patting his friend on the back.
"I'm surprised Dumbledore and the other professors are just letting this happen. We're in the middle of lunch for fucksake!" Remus was boiling with rage as he watched Hermione get kissed all over by that fucking giant of a boy.
"Cool it Remus, you seem a bit too bothered, because I recall that Hufflepuff bimbo doing the same shite to you only two weeks ago. Or are we suffering through memory loss as well?" Dorcas piped up, giving Remus one of her infamous smirks.
"Fuck you Meadowes." Remus bit back, his cheeks flushing with embarrassment, and the table just laughed at him, knowing that Dorcas was right, and that Remus was merely a jealous hypocrite.
"Only in your dreams Lupin" Dorcas spoke, with a faux sultry tone, winking at him as she got up and headed out of the Great Hall.
"Class is about to start and if we're late to Transfiguration again, Minnie will have our balls Padfoot, c'mon mate." James spoke hastily, giving Lily a quick kiss on the cheek as he grabbed his bag and Sirius's collar, lifting his friend out of his seat, and they both stumbled out of the Great Hall along with other students.
Hermione was in a haze for the past week, her world seemed to be moving much faster than she was, and she hated being left behind so she lashed out.
Her attempt at denial was working, or at least she assumed it was. People stopped asking her if she was okay, what she hated more than kindness was pity. She was a strong young woman, and she will eventually get over whatever bullshit comes with loss of family members, especially her dear grandfather.
But it wasn't only the death of her grandfather that had her reeling with different emotions; it was the letters that her aunt Walburga was sending her, alongside her cousin Bellatrix. Words filled those letters, words that were pushing her to make a choice, one she didn't want to make.
She did not believe in the same cause as Voldemort, and yet here she stood, in the middle, if she were to join one side, she would be disowned, her family torn apart, her and Regulus torn apart, and if she were to join the other side, that would result in her being the responsible one for the deaths of so many innocent lives.
The idea of being neutral had crossed her mind, she had even discussed it with Regulus and yet they knew that choosing no side was still somewhat choosing the light side. Not fighting for the cause in which their cousin so gleefully preached alongside the madman who, was rumored to have red eyes and a pet snake that ate followers who were incompetent, seemed like the right thing, and yet so wrong with the family name they carried on their backs.
Sirius would never join, Sirius was brave but stupid, and he had so much more to lose now. Regulus and Hermione could make the terrible choice of joining, but still have the ability to protect their loved ones, and their friends.
Her father would never join, but him being a Black, and one that did believe in blood purity would protect him. He would just have to remain silent, but the dark lord had heard about her and Regulus, he knew of their capabilities and he wanted them. He even requested Bella introduce them to him at the end of their fifth year, which was, thankfully, a year from now.
Hermione's skin crawled at the idea of wearing those dark robes and that horrible mask, costumes that hid her from the victims, but she would so clearly see their fear and pleas for her to spare them through those two holes that were considered eyes, indented in that mask. She would stand in front of people and willingly take their lives because they just didn't fit into the Dark lord's agenda.
But she had told herself from the beginning, she will do what is necessary to protect herself, and those she cares about, and this is a sacrifice she would have to make in order to survive.
She'd attempted to distract herself from the world beyond Hogwarts by seating herself against the oak tree near the lake, a book in her hand and a quill in the other as she read and took notes. She basked in the peace and silence of being alone, almost as if she was breathing for the first time. Being constantly surrounded by people who looked at her as if she was ready to shatter was unnerving and demeaning at most. She struggled to contain her magic whenever Regulus gave her a look with those sad and questioning eyes, she didn't need this from him, he was fully aware of that, and yet he continued with the 'are you okay's' and the 'do you need anything's' and she was about ready to shoot a stinging hex at him.
She struggled to fully comprehend what had happened, and why she allowed herself to react so badly. She was known to be cool and composed at all times, she even chastised herself for becoming such a horrible bitch to both her friends and family. Her relationship with Theodore had even become more physical, and lacked the intellectual talks she desired.
Hermione felt like the world was crumbling through her fingers, like she had just built this sandcastle that was so beautiful on the outside, that no one could ever question the interior, and now the heavy waves of the sea crashed against those walls she'd tried so hard to maintain, and broke it down like it was nothing. She was trying to pull herself together now, her hand quivering as she took notes on a Dark Arts tome she had stolen from her father's vast library over the winter holiday.
She felt it necessary to prepare herself with all spells and information required about the Dark Arts, she already excelled greatly in that field, being from the Black family it was in her blood to spit hexes and shoot deadly spells as easily as it was for her to breath, or drink water. But she felt like she was losing, losing a battle against herself, against the Dark Lord, and against her own self-control.
Her eyes shifted to the lake and watched as the water rippled, knowing that the creatures that resided within the lake were probably moving about with their own lives, unlike her. She didn't even hear the movement behind her, and was startled when she found Remus seated next to her.
She hid her surprise quickly however, quickly slipping on that mask of indifference that she had mastered so well over the years.
"Hello" he spoke first, her eyes trained on the tome, and his eyes gazing outward, lingering on the lake.
She wanted to answer him, but her ego would not allow her. She promised herself distance from all those around her, and she'd be damned if Remus Lupin would make her break that promise.
"Still giving everyone the silent treatment then? Well that's just great; I actually came here to talk and wasn't exactly expecting a response. So you could just listen, how about that?" he continued, giving her a short look before returning his gaze to the lake, his hands now resting on either side of him as he leaned back, his long legs outstretched, and folded atop one another.
"So many of your friends are concerned for you. Of course you know that already, what with all the questions they keep asking you. Pity is in fact, the worst form of emotion to ever receive, and I would know, I've been pitied my entire life. Even by my own friends. I do offer my condolences for the loss of your grandfather, which can never be easy. I never had the chance to tell you that, did you know? You were too busy blasting bed sheets and cursing shelves in poor Madame Pomfrey's infirmary. She almost lost a kidney with the way you were destroying the entire place, I'm still surprised you weren't given detention." Remus was rambling but his voice was soft and slow, not quick and nervous. It's as if he was somehow mocking her silence. But he quieted down, and the silence now was tense and it even suffocates her.
"Mione…look at me, please." He finally spoke, his soft eyes looking at her in the most endearing way that her heart skipped a beat, she cursed herself for glancing at him so quickly but she couldn't help it. She had missed his voice, they had rarely spoken since the moment she'd entered Hogwarts. The moments that they did speak to each other were nice though, even when it was a dull conversation. Remus was a constant, regardless of whether she aggravated him or not.
"I…we miss you. I know we aren't as close as we once were when you were thirteen and still willing to speak to me, and us. But I miss your voice, this silence is almost unbearable." He continued with that voice that brought chills to her spine, and made her insides coil in the warmest way. She mentally slapped herself for feeling this way, she was with Theo after all, but then again Remus was so smart, and so kind. She craved his comfort now more than ever but pulled herself together like she always did.
Affection was weakness after all.
"When you're ready to talk, know that I am here for you. In every way possible Hermione, but you should know that by now, right?" and he grabbed her hand, giving it a soft squeeze before standing up, brushing his pants clean of grass, and walking away. Leaving her there to question the warmth and tingles that shot up her entire arm, and the spark of magic that ignited within her at his very touch.
This was Remus after all, why was she reacting this way. It was probably just a moment of emotion that threw her the wrong way, she hadn't spoken to anyone in days, and his comfort was kind and well needed regardless of her lack of response. This was the explanation she offered herself throughout the entire day as butterflies rapidly beat against her ribcage, every time her eyes met those of a certain 7th year Gryffindor.