Hello, dear readers. I know, I know, I should be working on SITS or CDaOC. I am, I swear I am. But the muse wouldn't let me write anything else until I got it on paper. I blame ShayaLonnie entirely. I read something on her blog and I just couldn't help myself. Anyway, I hope you'll like this one. It's short, fluffy (haha, you'll get it later), a bit AU and a tiny bit sad, but mostly, it's all about LOVE. And mutual attraction. Rated R.

Love, Callie xx

After War comes Love

Hermione was at a party. A Christmas party. With costumes and dancing and far more alcohol than should be needed, even for this kind of event. The evening of festivities was nearing its end and slow dances were being played one after the other, as if to gently lull the guests into going back to their beds.

On the dancing floor, she could see her friends with their loving partners, and even though most of them looked ridiculous, she could not help the pang of sadness and slight envy she felt as she observed the scene playing out in front of her. Harry, dressed up as Superman, was dancing with a very pregnant Ginny, who looked quite the imposing pumpkin. Ron and Luna, in their rabbit and nargle outfits – because according to Luna, they were extremely compatible species and their offspring was almost certainly the ever eluding nopsnotch, a peaceful magical creature with a tendency to mismatch one's socks – who were falling asleep in each others arms. Fred and George, who had been introduced to the wonders of talking pictures, were dressed up as Luke and Leïa respectively, with Angelina sandwiched between them, in a very fitting Han Solo outfit.

There was a dozen of other couples on the floor and Hermione was watching them from the dark alcove at the back of the room. She thought briefly about going home but she was still a little drunk from the firewhisky shots she had done with Remus and Sirius an hour ago and she didn't want to splinch herself. Also, using the floo was not an option as the Christmas party was also a housewarming party and Sirius' floo wasn't connected to the network yet.

And Sirius had been adamant. She was to stay over tonight and help him open presents in the morning with Remus, Harry and Ginny, who would be coming back in the morning. She knew what he was doing although he would never admit to it. And she appreciated him for not wanting her to be alone at Christmas. She suspected it had as much to do with him being a good friend to the girl who saved him from going back to Azkaban as him never wanting to let anyone he cared about to be alone at Christmas, like him or Remus, or Harry had been for far too many years.

She spotted him under the chandelier dancing with Remus. Judging by the look of them, they were both extremely drunk and not very far from ethylic coma. She should disapprove really. But she found it hard to disapprove of Sirius dressed up as a naughty shepherdess and Remus, who looked very fluffy indeed in his sheep costume.

She had blushed when she had first seen the heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Black in such a tight and short dress, which displayed his manly, hairy legs in such a manner that she had had to force herself to look at him directly in the eyes. But then, Remus had arrived, looking very relaxed – the full moon was two days away and he was a bit high on Calming Drafts – in his sheep costume. He had cotton all over his upper body, which resulted in a big ball of white around his belly, and was wearing white tights. He was also wearing a white woolly hood with black pointy ears. The sight of him was all it took. Hermione had hollered with laughter and Sirius had declared this party a success.

Half an hour later, the guests had all arrived and Ron had inquired: "And what exactly are you dressed up as, 'Mione?"

The young woman in question was still wiping a few tears of laughter from her face because of the laughing juice the twins had put in everyone's drink. She took a deep breath before answering: "Oh, I'm Rapunzel. You know, the princess with impossibly long hair, who lived in a tower because of a witch. I thought it was fitting."

"Because you're a witch who lived in a tower for six years or because of the impossible hair?" Harry had asked, a smirk on his face. She smacked him for good measure, finding it impossible to answer as the juice was still making it difficult for her to form more than two sentences without having her laughing out of her chair.

The rest of the evening went on in the same cheerful manner. Scars of the war had been mended and cicatrized, and it seemed that some of them were starting to fade away. Hermione was having far less nightmares these past few months and her work at the Ministry under Kingsley's administration was starting to bear its fruits. The Department of Regulation of Magical Creatures was no more and in its stead, she had helped to create the Department of Protection and Welfare of Magical Beings and was now its Head of Department. It was hard work, but she loved it, and it allowed her to work with all the magical communities and had created sanctuaries and laboratories in order to create new medications for Magical Beings, as more often than not, the treatments for wizards did not agree with the constitution of many Magical Beings.

It warmed her heart to see that she wasn't the only one thriving after the end of the war. Hogwarts had been reconstructed and had been able to allow students just a few months after the Final Battle. Neville and Luna were teaching there, Neville taking Pomona's place as Herbology professor and Luna was teaching Charms, as Flitwick had unfortunately been killed while trying to delay Voldemort's forces as the fifth years were making sure the first, second and third years were evacuating the school through the secret passage behind the one-eyed witch statue. They had succeeded in their escape but Flitwick had sacrificed himself. His portrait was now hanging in the Hall of Heroes, especially created for those for had given their lives for their school and the rest of the Wizarding Community.

Ginny, now on maternity leave, was still the Captain of the Holyhead Harpies, and was determined to go back, once the baby no longer needed her all day, every day. Molly had frowned at that but Harry was more than ready to be a stay-at-home dad. Seamus and Dean had gone to Romania to join Charlie Weasley to become Dragonologists. Bill and Fleur were expecting their second child – "woo iz more restless zan 'is fazer" – and Percy had left the Ministry, disgusted by politics, and was now trying to create a pre-school for young wizards and witches with his wife Penelope and Molly, which hopefully, distracted the latter from the grief of being a widow. They even planned on calling the school after Arthur Weasley as soon as they got the avail of the Ministry, which shouldn't take too long now that Sirius and Draco had agreed to pay for more than half of it.

As for Harry and Ron, they had both taken their NEWTs, working hard during four months to be able to sit their exams and pass them with flying colours; Hermione (and Molly) could not have been prouder. They were now working as Aurors at the DMLE, which had been ridden of quite a few corrupted figures. They had even insisted of being the ones to arrest Undersecretary Umbridge when they finally found the hidden forgeries – and highly unlawful – arrest orders against Muggleborns and other 'filthy, dangerous half-breeds'. She was now rotting in Azkaban, in Remus' former cell, where he'd been imprisoned for two weeks, just before the Battle of Hogwarts.

Remus was now working with Hermione at the DPWMB, writing new legislations to help his kind and participating in trials for the new Wolfsbane – which, according to Remus, tasted far better than the one he'd been forced to drink this past decade, and that was progress in itself. It was a new potion which helped with the transformations even though it made the drinker slightly more agitated the days before the full moon, hence the need for Calming Drafts. Hermione sincerely hoped the potion would be perfected in the next few months, although she had to admit that the sight of Remus high and completely calm was still more pleasant than the state she'd sometimes seen him during the war, with no Wolfsbane or other form of medication.

Now fully employed and able to have access to medicine, Remus had moved out of Lupin Cottage and moved in Sirius's Georgian building. There were three flats, one for Sirius, one for Remus and one for... well, he wasn't sure what for yet, but he was confident he'd find a use for it. Meanwhile, Sirius and Remus were living together but still had their privacy – on which Remus insisted more than Sirius, even though they still shared a kitchen – and were able to get on with their lives, far away from Grimmauld Place, which was under Fidelius Charm, Harry being the secret keeper, so that both men would never have to look at that place ever again, let alone enter it. Sometimes, Hermione wondered if Mrs. Black was still screaming her lungs out in the empty house, waiting for someone to clean the dust which had no doubt accumulated on her portrait for the last three years. Hermione smirked in her glass. Who was the filthy one now?

Half an hour later, almost all the guests had made their goodbyes, with the exception of Ginny, Harry and herself.

"Are you sure you want to stay here, Hermione? You can come to ours."

Hermione smiled at Harry, before kissing him on the cheek. "No, I promised Sirius I'd stay here tonight. Go take care of your wife, Harry, she doesn't look very comfortable in that chair."

Ginny was sleeping on the kitchen chair, her head in her arms on the kitchen table. Harry chuckled a bit and managed to take his wife in his arms, but not before levitating her, as she was a little too heavy for Harry at this stage of her pregnancy. He said goodbye to Hermione, Remus and his godfather, before heading outside towards the Leaky Cauldron, which was thankfully close from Sirius's building and still open at this late hour because of the Christmas celebrations. He would use the floo there, as Ginny could not Apparate until the baby was born, which should happen in a little less than a month.

Hermione was magically cleaning the dishes when Sirius and Remus came in the kitchen.

"Kitten, please don't do that now. Go to sleep, it's fucking late and need I remind you that you're a guest here? Go to your room young lady and go to sleep."

Sirius had changed into what Hermione guessed were his pyjamas: a worn tee-shirt with the Led Zeppelin logo on it and some loose cotton pants. Remus was trailing after him, still a little out of it, and still in his costume. Hermione stops what she was doing and takes a few steps towards her former professor.

"Remus, are you alright?" She takes his hand and led him to a chair where she helps him sit.

"Oh yeah, that's why I'm here actually. Moony needs a sober-up potion and I took the last one. Can you watch him while I go to fetch one? I'm certain old Tom has some down at the Leaky and I don't want to leave him alone like that for longer than necessary. I guess I should have thought about it sooner but I got a bit carried away with the festivities and Moony's always the one who thinks about these things anyway."

Hermione chuckles a bit. "I'm sure he does. And yes, don't worry, I'll watch him." She sits next to him as Sirius walks out of the kitchen.

"Well, what a sight you make, Professor Lupin. I would never have thought you'd make such a docile sheep."

She divests him of his hood, and before she can think about it, puts a hand in his hair to give it a dignified form. She doesn't expect to hear him moan.

"Remus?"

His eyes are closed but he doesn't seem to be sleeping. He leans into her hand, which is still in his hair.

"I guess your head must hurt quite a bit. You shouldn't drink like that so close to the moon, Remus. I should have said something before, I'm sorry."

".. Not your fault."

She gets up and walks behind his chair and starts massaging his head with both hands. She feels his relax under her ministrations and hears him sigh. Not that she would ever admit it to anyone, but she'd always liked Remus' hair. It always looked so soft and Hermione had often wondered if it felt so as well. It does. He moans again and Hermione starts feeling a little guilty, touching him like that and enjoying it while he is clearly out of it and seeking some kind of pain relief. She stops massaging his hair to fetch him a glass of water, which is far less compromising than continuing to touch him like that. He takes it from her and drinks it almost in one gulp. He looks a bit more like himself afterwards and thanks her for her kindness towards a pitiful werewolf.

"I don't think you're pitiful, Remus. Just very, very drunk." She says with a smile. He takes her hand and kisses it. Hermione blushes and hopes it doesn't show too much, but she knows she's probably not that lucky. He takes her other hand and kisses it too. This time, a newly found heat is pooling in her lower belly. He doesn't let go of her hands.

"I like your costume. It's very fitting, although you're far from a damsel in distress."

She laughs. "Well, it was that or a cat costume and I'm never doing that again." He laughs too and it's the most surprising thing she's heard all day. It's carefree and melodic, a sound very far from Sirius' bark. She wished she could hear it more often.

She doesn't know where the next sentence comes from. "You have a very nice laugh."

"You have very nice lips." He answers almost immediately and that also, she doesn't know where it comes from. Her heart is beating faster now but Hermione tries to hold in the flood of emotions that seems to overwhelm her all at once. She's always liked Remus. He was always kind and courteous to her, even when she knew he was in pain, or depressed. And he was handsome too, even though he was older and worn out by his life as a werewolf. But the last years had been kind to him, and he looked healthier now, less gaunt and more… more attractive. Not that he wasn't before… but now at least he seemed less inclined to hide behind his lycanthropy and was more confident about who he is. Which Hermione is now finding incredibly hard to resist.

But she must. Because he is drunk, and in pain, and wearing a sheep costume with far too much cotton, which looks completely ludicrous on him and has his hand always been on her thigh?

"What?" That's all she can say. More than fifteen years of education, a perfect score at her OWLs and NEWTs and a countless number of books read and all she can say is a four-letter word. Good Godric, where is her prized intellect when one of the most intelligent men she knows seems to be flirting with her?

"You have very nice lips. So's the rest of your body. It's all very… nice." Now, Hermione is certain that the blush has spread to the rest of her body. She takes a deep breath.

"You're drunk, Remus. Sirius is going to be here in a few minutes with your sober-up potion and you'll feel much better. Probably think a little clearer too."

Remus retreats his hand from her thigh and Hermione wants to whine at the loss but thankfully doesn't.

"I'm sorry Hermione, you're right, I didn't… " He's not looking at her anymore and she can see he looks embarrassed and she wonders if this is really all the alcohol's fault or if... if there's something else. She takes her Griffyndor courage with both hands:

"But, if you're still thinking that... that I look nice, say tomorrow, or after the full moon… maybe… I mean… you could tell me a bit more about my… my… general niceness?"

Remus' head snaps towards her as the kitchen door opens and really, why didn't she see it coming?

"Ah Moony, my friend, here's your potion. Sorry for the wait. Old Tom's right chatty when he's had a few. Thank you, Kitten, you're a peach."

He gives the potion to Remus and Hermione knows it's her cue, so she makes her way out of the kitchen and towards Sirius's flat, where she is staying. She enters her room and rids herself of her wig and dress before putting on her nightie and brushing her teeth in the en-suite bathroom. She's about to get into bed when she hears the soft knock on her door.

"Yes?"

The door opens, and it's Remus, who is in his pyjamas. He stays at the door, clenching the doorknob in his hand.

"I... um… would love to discuss your general niceness tomorrow. If that's not a bother or… you know, completely inappropriate."

Hermione bits her lower lip.

"You're not drunk?"

"No."

She takes a step closer.

"You're not high?"

"No."

She takes another step towards him.

"Are you in any kind of pain?"

"No."

Another step.

"You are in fact in complete control of your mental faculties and are genuinely asking me out on a date?"

"Yes."

She closes the distance between them.

"Are you sure?"

"Completely." He sounds breathless.

"Kiss me?"

"Please!"

He takes her in his arms and locks his lips with hers. It's heated, and devastating and wonderful. Hermione never wants him to stop. She puts a leg up his hip, which he takes before doing the same with the other and she knows she's already wet for him, ready to be his, ready to have him in her and never release him from between her legs. Hermione is no blushing virgin and as soon as the door is locked, the silencing charms are up and the contraceptive charm is cast, she divests him of his clothes, takes off her own and lets him pound her into the mattress with a vigour and enthusiasm she's rarely seen in her previous lovers. It's fast and hard, and she screams his name from the top of her lungs when she climaxes. He's not far behind and he bites her shoulder when he comes, which hurts a bit but Hermione is too far gone to care. Remus Lupin has just spilled himself into her and she's never felt more glorious. No questions are asked, no declarations are said. There will be other days for these kind of words. But right now, she's drifting away, and so is he. In the morning, they'll wake up a bit sweaty and a bit sticky but they'll smile at each other before Remus goes down on her and Merlin, it's her best Christmas present ever.

A few hours later, Sirius, Ginny and Harry are in Sirius' living room, opening their presents when Harry asks:

"Shouldn't we check up on them? It's not like Hermione or Remus to sleep so late. Even on Boxing Day."

Sirius chuckles.

"Nah. Remus got to unwrap his present a little bit earlier than usual. I think he is still playing with it."

"And Hermione?"

"Same."

The End.

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