1. I know I said I wouldn't share anything new until it was complete or some of my other WIPs were finished. But I lied.
2. This story is Hermione/Remus. If you don't like them paired, leave now.
3. Anything you recognise belongs to JK Rowling. Anything you don't is made up by yours truly.
4. This story will be updated sporadically.
5. May contain violence, scenes of a sexual nature, adult themes, excessive fluff and angst.
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"Stupefy!" Hermione Granger shouted, firing at one of the many Death Eaters surrounding her and her friends inside the Death Chamber at the Department of Mysteries.
She narrowly dodged the hex flung back at her in return, bumping into Remus as he and the other Order members joined the circle the six of them had made, trying desperately to keep from dying as the Death Eaters closed in. Remus didn't even look as he steadied her with one hand while he flung a nasty curse at one of the Death Eaters with the wand in the other.
"Nice one, Prongs!" Sirius Black shouted when Harry shot a hex at one of the Death Eaters, the only one in the situation seeming to find amusement instead of worry and fear.
Hermione spied the way Harry paused, mid-duel, to look up at his Godfather, a little smile pulling at the corners of his mouth over the idea of being good enough to be mistaken for James.
It would be his undoing.
"NO!" Hermione screamed as Harry was hit with a Slicing curse, his shirt ripping open and his skin split wide, blood pouring from his chest and a gash across his throat even as he was thrown across the room.
She was already moving to keep him from falling through the Whispering Veil and she fell with him, catching her arms around his waist and falling heavily to the ground, twinging her elbow in the process, before Harry could tumble prematurely into the afterlife. Dimly she was aware of the roar of fury that escaped Sirius before he stepped up his hexes from incapacitating to deadly. She was tangled around Harry on the floor but she saw the first Death Eater go down, falling to the floor, stone dead at Sirius's hand.
Her mind was racing, Harry's blood quickly spreading over his clothing, Hermione, and the cold, stone floor of the Death Chamber.
She had to save him. She had to help him.
The whispering beyond the Veil grew louder at the spilled blood and suddenly an ancient ritual she'd read about at the end of fourth year rushed to the forefront of her mind. Hermione's eyes flew wide. She could do it! It had been a ritual designed to return those who'd died of unnatural causes to life. It was a terribly tricky ritual because one had to find the Whispering Veil, and the caster must be muggleborn, and the blood of the summoned must be spilled.
At the time she had thought that to be impossible, dead people's blood wasn't just kept lying around in the event that they were murdered or taken in an accident. Worse, she'd remembered reading that a member of their bloodline must still be living, but must be within his darkest hour.
As she glanced down at Harry, his eyes closed, his glasses shattered, his blood staining the floor, it all suddenly clicked into place. She didn't need the blood of the dead in the literal sense, but in the sense of someone of that bloodline. Harry was the last of his bloodline.
Scrambling to her knees, Hermione dipped her fingers in Harry's blood as it spread, pooling under him. She began to trace the runes she recalled the ritual requiring; one hand drawing, the other casting the complex spells to revive the dead and restore them to life as they should've been had they not met an untimely end.
She felt a surge of power rush through her as she cast, the sounds of the battle around them falling away. Remus, Sirius, Ron and Ginny were frantically protecting the pair of them, apparently believing that she was trying to heal Harry. Neville and Luna had been pulled into the protective circle too, Tonks and Luna paired up and fighting off Death Eaters while Arthur Weasley and Auror Moody teamed up with Neville, also flinging curses and hexes at their enemies, protecting Harry and Hermione at the heart of the circle right in front of the Veil. She didn't correct their assumptions that she was healing Harry, not when she needed him almost dead for a few minutes more to complete the ritual. Hermione drew the runes and cast the spells, tracing them all out in Harry's blood, giving them power.
The ritual called for something more, however, a joining of caster to the family whose bloodline she was resurrecting. Harry made a sound of pained protest when Hermione bent over him, hauling him up slightly by the back of his head, and slamming her lips down upon his. The blood upon his mouth that he'd been choking on granted the ritual more power, more magic, and more potency as he kissed back, bewildered and in pain but apparently thinking it important or simply acting on instinct, before Hermione pulled back again.
Slicing open her own palm - the blood of the sacrifice also required to activate the spell – Hermione felt the power and something else building up inside her before she opened her mouth and screamed.
The whole chamber fell silent as the duelling stopped, stilling in their shock, held captive by the wave of power that burst free of Hermione's body, the power of the spell slamming into every single one of them. The Veil, which had been white and fluttering one way through the arch, suddenly emitted a strong gust of wind, the veil blowing back this way, toward the world of the living. It emitted a glowing purple light that engulfed her as its fluttering tendrils brushed Hermione's skin. Dimly she was aware of the howling sound that emitted from within her, like the terrible shriek of a Banshee foretelling death, only in reverse, undoing Death's work and reclaiming the taken for the land of the living. Her head thrown back, beams of purple light exploding from within her, Hermione knew that this might be the end for her.
She'd read that the muggleborn doing the casting of this ritual rarely survived the resurrection, Death demanding a price be paid for the ones she called back from his embrace. If she could revive Harry's parents, if she could just bring him that small measure of comfort, Hermione knew she would go willingly.
Shapes appeared within the Veil – more of them than Hermione expected. The ritual was supposed to summon direct blood relatives of the dying – Harry's direct, magical blood relatives. It should only have summoned those of direct lineage who had died before their time due to accident, murder, or illness. So when four shapes appeared instead of two, Hermione suspected that the price she would pay, would be great.
"Hermione, what have you done?!"
Hermione looked down at Harry, who was gripping her hand, trying to understand what was going on and why his best friend glowed purple, shrieking and howling with the agony as parts of her very essence – her life-force – were given over to those returning from the Beyond. She'd read about this part. This wasn't soul magic, the likes of which were considered the darkest, foulest Black arts known to wizard-kind. No, Soul magic called for black magic and selfishness, a desire to live forever.
This wasn't Soul magic. Hermione was not making horcruxes out of the departed, nor was she simply raising the bodies of the dead to become Inferi. This was Life magic – the purest of sacrifices. It had to be performed by a muggleborn witch. It had to be performed by a virgin. It had to be performed willingly, for the witch must give of her own life-force in order to spark the souls of the dead back to life, returning them to bodies and souls and this plane of existence.
When a raven-haired wizard who looked like he'd stuck a fork in a live power socket stepped through the Veil, Harry had his answer. James Potter's hair was all in a mess and his hazel eyes gleamed behind spectacles that were almost identical to Harry's own shattered glasses. Holding his hand, stepping through the Veil just a pace behind her husband was a fire-haired witch with eyes that glittered like emeralds.
Lily Potter was more beautiful than any witch Hermione had ever seen.
"Prongs?" Sirius Black's voice asked hoarsely, staring at his friend.
James didn't look at his friend. He dropped immediately to the aid of his son, taking up Harry's wand and working charms over him, healing him. Lily dropped too, having no wand but holding James's hand upon Harry's wand, channelling both their magics through the single tool. Before her eyes, Harry's gaping, bloody wound healed.
"Mum?" Harry was saying, staring at his parents. "Dad?"
Behind them, two more figures stepped out of the Veil. Hermione realised at once that they must be Harry's paternal grandparents. She recalled reading that they'd both died of Dragon Pox before James had finished school. As she looked at the two, the magic still pouring from within her, the man could be none but Harry's grandfather.
Charlus Potter's hair might be threaded with grey amongst the black, but just like his son's and his grandson's, it didn't lie flat, instead sticking up all over the place. Holding his hand was a woman whose beauty made Hermione revoke the aforementioned thought of Lily Potter being the most beautiful witch she'd ever seen. With long wavy hair of the deepest black – so raven in colour it almost gleamed blue – and narrowed grey eyes, Dorea Potter was a woman who commanded attention and respect just by existing.
Hermione didn't even think about it as she held out her wand to the woman, surrendering the weapon to the witch, who smiled indulgently and accepted it before beginning to cast with devastating effect. The Death Eaters, who until that moment had been as stunned and as scared and confused as the Order, suddenly began to drop like flies. Bright green jets of light flew from the end of Hermione's wand, gripped tightly in Dorea Potter nee Black's hand.
The Lestrange brothers both went down before anyone realised what was happening.
Hermione looked on, the purple light beginning to ebb from her flesh, weakening her. The tendrils of the Veil reached for her and Hermione suddenly recalled the footnote she'd read on the ritual. That if the muggleborn was able to tether herself to something or someone powerful enough and strong enough within the world of the living, she would not succumb to death. The note had said that the simple tethering of a witch to a wizard would not be enough and might cost that wizard his life, too. It had argued that should one be in good grace with a half-breed, whose bloodline or affliction might afford him or her an unnaturally long life and an imperviousness to most magics, the caster might survive.
"Hermione, what did you do?" Remus Lupin's voice was suddenly in her ear, his arms closing around her, trying to pull her back from the Veil, catching her when the magic left her and she began to slump forward, toward the hungrily whispering Veil.
A tether. She needed a tether. Remus would never willingly tether anyone to himself, no matter that his werewolf status meant he was meant to be tethered to members of his pack. No, he wouldn't risk linking anyone to himself, seeing it as selfish, denying that part of his existence. But the exchange could go both ways.
Shifting in his hold, Hermione weakly lifted his arm from around her stomach, stooping to bring his wrist to her mouth. Remus gave a soft shout of surprise when Hermione bit down upon his flesh, breaking the skin and drawing blood. She sucked a mouthful of it into her herself, pushing her magic into him and drawing his into herself, bonding with him and linking the two of them. She didn't care that it might give her certain lycanthropic traits, not when it would give her strength, too. She wouldn't ever become a werewolf like him unless he savaged her in wolf form under a full moon, but she could draw a little of his wolf into herself, morphing her internal magic and her core to make room for a little wolf of her own that would grant her strength and cost her all the same side-effects of full-blown lycanthropy, minus the transformation. Hermione didn't mind. Not if it might mean she could live. Remus might be angry with her later, but she would deal with that when she wasn't inches from Death's hungry embrace
"What are you doing?" he hissed, jerking his arm free of her mouth and spinning her, still dragging her back from the Veil. The wind roared louder, the powers Beyond the Veil howling in fury that she might escape, that she might remain tethered to this world and not surrender to the next.
Hermione didn't even think about it when she lifted her hand and tangled it into Remus's hair, sealing the bond – the tether – as she pulled his face down far enough to kiss him, his blood upon her lips. He made a sound of shocked protest at the idea of kissing a minor, taking no part in the kiss as he held his hands up in surrender, taking them off of her to avoid having anyone think he was forcing himself upon her. He was panicking, Hermione knew, when she felt the rush of lycanthropic magic wash through her, tangling around her, tethering her to this world and to him for the rest of her natural life.
Remus's lips were soft against hers, she noted, soft and slightly chapped. He tasted like chocolate when she licked his lower lip, sweeping her tongue into his mouth and feeling the bond-magic surge. She could feel his power as a werewolf rushing into her, protecting her, claiming her, tethering her to him as the ritual was complete.
When the rush stopped, Hermine slumped in his arms, her body weak and limp, her magic all but spent. She'd depleted herself, she knew. Everyone was shouting in shock, Dorea Potter hexing more and more Death Eaters with Hermione's wand. Hermione laid weakly in Remus's arms, drifting toward delirium when he stared down into her face, his eyes wide with horror when he realised what she'd done. He sat awkwardly upon the stone before the Veil, his arms loosely cradling her. He looked from Hermione toward the four additional members of the Potter family and back again, his brow furrowed. She could tell he didn't understand how she'd called them back from the Veil, or what that had to do with her biting him and snogging him. She could tell he wanted to know if this was even real.
"They'll live," Hermione breathed to him. "I'm sorry for surprising you. I know you'll be angry, later, when you understand the full extent of what I've done. But they'll live. They'll all live, Remus. Harry has his family back. You and Sirius have them back, too."
The last remaining Death Eaters all Disapparated with a sharp crack when they realised what had happened, fleeing in fear over what she'd done and likely planning to report to Voldemort that a mudblood like her had just revived two generations of dead Potters, bringing them back to life and robbing him of the deaths he'd cast upon James and Lily Potter. She wondered if, even now, his soul screamed with their return. She'd read somewhere that those who were revived in this manner were, in part, paid for with the pain of those who'd murdered them. Dorea and Charlus might've died of illness, but James and Lily had been murdered and Voldemort's soul would scream as the rips he'd created with their deaths suddenly sprung back together, purging him of their tears and causing him no small amount of pain to do so. Hermione knew, dimly, that she'd just painted a large target on her back and she knew that if she wanted to avoid ever having to perform magic like this again, she was going to have to amend her virginal status as soon as possible.
"How did you…?" Remus stared at her, seeming shocked, horrified, and awed all at once. He looked in the direction of the runes she had painted in Harry's blood at the front of the Veil before looking up at James, Lily, Charlus and Dorea. "Hermione…. Blood magic?"
Hermione nodded weakly. "Go to them, Remus. They are your family as much as Harry's. You can put me down. I'll live, now, because of you."
Remus stood, cradling her like a small child in his powerful arms and Hermione's head swam with dizziness.
"Prongs?" Sirius asked again, his voice alight with hope, but wary. He didn't seem to quite believe his eyes.
"Come on, Padfoot," James Potter grinned at him. "Don't give me that look. Just get over here."
Hermione watched from Remus's arms as Sirius Black gave a shout and threw himself at James Potter. Harry was on his feet, his mother's arms tight around him. He was crying, she knew; sobbing into her shoulder as Lily Potter clutched her son close. Dorea was binding the Death Eaters who'd been incapacitated but not killed, while Charlus smoothed a hand over Harry's hair affectionately before clapping James on the shoulder.
"Give her to me, son," he said, his voice low and deep, but pleasant and alight with affection.
Hermione realised he was speaking to Remus, whose arms were too full to hug any of the Potter's. She reached for Harry's grandfather willingly when the man moved to lift her from Remus's arms.
"You can set me down, Mr Potter," Hermione whispered to the man weakly. "I can stand. Be with your family. They've missed you. They need you."
Charlus Potter pressed a kiss to the middle of her forehead, startling her, before standing her on her feet but keeping a steadying hand upon her shoulder. When she didn't sway, he let her go and suddenly found himself with an armful of werewolf, Remus having thrown himself at the man in a tight hug. His chuckle was infectious, Hermione noted, watching Remus hug the man before rushing James and Sirius, slinging his long arms around his two best friends.
"Moony? That you, old boy?" James laughed, untangling an arm from around an openly crying Sirius to hug the werewolf. "Missed you, mate."
Hermione felt someone move over to stand beside her and she looked to her left to meet the grey eyes of Dorea Potter.
"Hermione Granger," the witch said softly, her eyes full of affection and appreciation. "You have done a very brave and very selfless thing, my dear. Thank you."
"I only wish it could've been done sooner," Hermione whispered, accepting her wand once more when the woman handed it over. "You… You know who I am?"
"Being beyond the Veil didn't prevent us all from looking over into this plane, my dear. We know everything you've all been up to. You have been a true to friend to my grandson all his life. And now you've tethered yourself to my family by bringing us back, and also to Remus, to my third son, through that little binding ceremony you performed. Tethering yourself to this realm rather than moving to the next, yes? A wise decision to have done so with Remus; his lycanthropy will surely prevent the Powers That Be from calling you to the Beyond now."
She nodded toward Remus where he, Sirius and James were still hugging. Hermione smiled slowly.
"I didn't want to die just yet when it could be avoided," Hermione whispered. "I think Harry might've been a bit put out with me for returning his family to him but not sticking around to meet them."
Dorea laughed softly. "Indeed, he would've."
"I don't imagine Remus will be quite as thrilled with me when he realises the full extent of what the tether does, both to him and to me, but there was no other way. But don't let me keep you, Mrs Potter," Hermione told her tiredly, managing only to stay on her feet because the exchange of magical energy with Remus and the injection and formation of a little wolf inside herself, all her own, was giving her some small amount of strength. Without them, she would surely have slipped in a coma or into death, by now. "Be with your family. Meet Harry."
The elder woman smiled at her, reaching to cup Hermione's cheek tenderly for a moment, her grey eyes kind and full of love that Hermione didn't feel she'd earned, before releasing her. Hermione looked on, light-headed, as Sirius and Remus released James and converged on Lily, wrapping the simultaneously laughing and crying witch into their combined embrace while Harry flew into James's arms, his arms around his father's middle, his face buried in James's chest as he hugged him tight enough to make James wince ever so slightly.
Charlus and Dorea hugged each other, smiling fondly at their family. Hermione didn't doubt for a moment that Sirius and Remus were as much their sons and as loved as James was, adopted or not. The rest of the Order were in shock and Hermione squeaked when Neville came up to her, his nose still bleeding, before he pulled her into a tight hug. Hermione hugged him back, uncaring about the blood on his person and leaning on him heavily. She'd have offered to heal his nose for him, but she wasn't sure she could spare the magic that the healing spell would cost her, simple as it might be.
"I don't know what you did or how you did it," he said, his voice thick with the blood-nose. "But no one will ever forget this, Hermione. Are they real? Are they… alive?"
"They're alive, Neville," Hermione nodded gently, leaning on him as Ron and Ginny converged upon her too while Luna continued to watch the arch as though hoping her mother might step through it. Hermione wished she could bring the witch back for her friend, but she was too drained and Luna wasn't in her darkest hour.
"How did you… Hermione… what did you do?" Ron whispered, taking her from Neville's arms and crushing her to himself as though he knew how very close she'd come to dying tonight.
"I brought them back," she murmured. "Blood magic."
Right at that moment, Arthur Weasley converged upon his children, pulling Ginny and Ron into tight hugs of relief that they were alive and mostly unharmed. Neville took her hand once more, and Luna moved over to hold the other hand.
"How much trouble do you suppose we'll be in?" Luna asked softly after a little while of watching the Potter's reunion while the Order began ensuring the captured Death Eaters wouldn't get away.
"Loads," Neville laughed. "But I think this might just deflect some of the fury when they all gape in open-mouthed shock."
"Come on, you lot," Moody's growling voice came from behind them a little while later. "We've got to get out of here before the Aurors arrive."
"Is Dumbledore here?" Hermione asked softly, her strength flagging as she swayed where she stood, growing dizzier by the second. She feared she might lose consciousness before she could explain the ritual and what she had done, before she could assure everyone that there was no harm and that this wasn't black magic, but the purest form of Light Magic, bright and gleaming and beautiful, no matter the call for blood sacrifice and her own life essence to achieve this outcome.
"He is, and he'll be wanting to speak with you, Granger," Moody warned her. "Don't know what you did, girl, but if I was still head of the Auror department, I'd have you arrested."
"What for?" Neville asked. "She did something amazing."
"Blood magic is highly illegal. Raising the dead, even more so. Don't know how you did it, witch, but you'll be in for a lot of questions before this night is through."
Hermione supposed that was true, but before she could offer a word in her own defence, Sirius Black appeared, shoving Moody aside and throwing himself at Hermione. He was still crying, though he now wore a grin so wide Hermione feared it would break his face. He drew her into a hug so tight that her ribs ached and Hermione winced when he tangled in his fingers into her hair, pressing an adoring kiss to the middle of her forehead before hugging her all over again.
"Thank you," Sirius muttered into her neck. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'll never forget this, Hermione."
Before she could properly hug him back, Harry appeared, jostling his godfather aside. Sirius released her easily enough, bounding back over to James and hugging the man again, apparently overcome with joy. Harry held onto Hermione's shoulders loosely, peering into her face with a look of awe, happiness, gratitude, and the vaguest hint of worry.
"How?" he whispered breathlessly. If he minded that he was covered in blood, or that she'd kissed him, or that she'd performed an ancient ritual when she could have been saving his life, he didn't say so.
Hermione smiled weakly into her best friend's familiar face, noting that beyond him, James really did look almost identical, but for relative age.
"It doesn't even matter how," Harry decided before she could even begin to explain the magic, where she'd read about it, or how it was by mere chance of circumstance and fate that she'd been able to pull it off at all. "It doesn't matter, just… just tell me, Hermione… will they live? Can they leave this chamber? It's not just some temporary thing that lets me hug them only to have them return to being dead again in a few hours, right?"
"They are now as they ought to have been, Harry." Hermione whispered, her knees shaking as she weakened further, the dizziness threatening all the more as Luna and Neville were apparated away by Tonks and Kingsley. Beyond Harry, Arthur took Ginny and Ron with him, whether to the Burrow, Headquarters, or back to Hogwarts, she didn't know. "They will live out their lives as though they'd never died. They'll live, Harry. They can take you home and you can all move into some big house where you can be a real family. You'll never have to go back to the Dursley's. You'll never have to wonder if you and your Dad have anything in common, or what your Mum's treacle tart might taste like, or what it feels like to be tucked into bed and kissed goodnight by people who love you. They're back from the dead. They can still die again, same as anyone, but as long as they don't go facing off against You-Know-Who, or... I don't know, falling down some steps and breaking their necks, then they will live. Your grandparents originally died of Dragon Pox, but there are vaccines now that they could get to ensure it doesn't claim them again. You've got your family back, Harry."
Tears leaked from behind Harry's shattered and broken spectacles. His smile was wobbly, his chin trembling. He pulled her to him and hugged her so tightly that she couldn't breathe. Hermione went into his embrace willingly, breathing him in and not even noticing the blood all over him.
"Thank you, Hermione," he sobbed. "I don't know how you did it, but Merlin's beard, a thousand times, thank you! I... I don't even have... I love you, Hermione. No one could ever do anything for me that will be better than this. Gods, you're brilliant and I love you!"
He held her up when her knees buckled, pulling back just a little to stare into her face as tears leaked from her eyes too, cuddling into him and needing strength, lest she drift into unconsciousness.
"Oh, you're... are you hurt?" Harry frowned, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. "You're trembling, Hermione. And you're cold to the touch. Are you alright?"
Hermione shook her head, her eyes closed.
"Hand her over, Harry," Remus's voice was quite. "That magic nearly took her life, son. She's weak and she needs rest and time to heal. Her magical core is greatly depleted. We need to get you all out of here."
Harry released her, surrendering her to Remus's arms. Hermione's head spun again when Remus stooped, scooping her into his arms bridal style and nudging Harry back toward his parents. James opened his arms for Harry and Sirius took hold of James, Lily and Harry, intent on apparating them back to Headquarters, Hermione suspected. Moody took Dorea and Charlus, since none of them currently had wands and therefore couldn't apparate.
"Remus?" Hermione murmured gripping tightly to his arm and burrowing her face into his chest. "I know that you'll be angry with me shortly, when you realise what I've done… but… please don't hate me."
Remus seemed shocked, Disapparating them to the street outside Number Twelve before staring into her eyes for a moment.
"Hermione, you've returned to me four of the people I love when I'd believed them dead and gone from me forever," Remus said softly. "I could never hate you when you've done something so monumental and selfless. I don't understand why you bit me or why you… kissed me, but I'm sure you'll explain in good time."
Hermione nodded, dizzier than ever, feeling the blackness rushing up to engulf her. She snuggled into his chest even further as he carried her up the front steps and into the house, losing consciousness just as they crossed the threshold.