Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the books' characters! They belong to J.K Rowling, so don't sue me!!

Summary: When Ron becomes engaged to Fleur Delacour, someone very unexpected shows Hermione that Ron may not be the guy for her after all

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Forbidden?

Chapter Nine: Lunatic

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"I don't care, Seamus, I'm hungry and I know Dobby will have some leftovers kept for Harry, so I'm going to go and-oh, hey, Professor Black," Dean Thomas, halfway through the circular hole, smiled at Sirius as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor approached the portrait of Gryffindor Tower. "You looking for Harry?"

"I just saw Harry, actually," Sirius responded as the portrait closed, well aware of the fact that Dean was studying him with slight concern; no doubt the students had been wondering where he'd disappeared to for the previous two days. "Have you seen Hermione, Dean?"

Dean sighed. "Maybe you can get something out of her, sir," he said, glancing out of the stone window in the tower. "Something's been wrong for quite a while now."

"I've noticed." Sirius exhaled slowly, running a hand through his hair. "Has anyone been able to talk to her?"

"Harry and Ron to some extend, Ginny and Neville a little too," Dean shrugged. "I tried asking her what was wrong but she just shook her head and told me she's fine. Even Lavender and Parvati are getting worried."

"Anyone know where she is?"

Dean hesitated a moment, and then, meeting Sirius' eyes, jerked his head towards the window he had glanced out of. "She left the Tower half an hour ago. She's out there."

"What?" Sirius was startled and followed Dean to the window. Sure enough, near the lake, her silhouette tiny from the height of the tower, was Hermione, shadowed against the night. "What is she doing out there at such a time? It's freezing!"

The young Gryffindor shrugged. "I dunno, Siri-sir," he shrugged. "Maybe Harry and Ron should talk to her, or why don't you go?"

Sirius stared out of the window for a second. "I think I'll do just that." He said, frowning darkly at the teenage girl standing in the cold by the lake. "The lunatic." He muttered an unprintable oath under his breath, one that made Dean stifle a chuckle and reinstate his personal opinion that Sirius was definitely the coolest.

"Thanks, Dean," the man in question said with a brief smile at the boy beside him. "I'll see you in class tomorrow."

Dean grinned. "Glad to hear it."

***

It was definitely getting cold, and for someone who had been less aware of her surroundings than a hibernating snail, Hermione decided the temperature had to be very, very low.

But this numbing cold, this bitter night wind - it was all she had to numb the need and yearning she felt deep inside her. She couldn't go on like this forever, and to escape it, this was as good a place as any to start.

"What the hell do you think you're trying to do?" an angry voice growled behind her.

She whipped around, incredulity and shock bringing animation to her expressionless face. She gaped at Sirius, who was glaring at her.

"You'll die of the cold out here." He said sharply. "What were you thinking, coming out here?"

"Why do you care?" she snapped back, her nerves cracking. "Why are you even here? If I want to come out here and stand by the lake, it's my damned business, not yours!"

"It's damn well my business!" Sirius raged. "As your teacher and your friend. And I do care about you!"

"Well, you sure chose a great way to show it, Professor Black."

Sirius stared at her. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" he demanded.

"You - you say you care about me and that you love and want me, but you won't even give us a chance! You aren't even willing to give me a chance to prove to you that love like ours doesn't have to be cut short by age or circumstance!"

She couldn't help it; tears started streaming down her face.

In a flash, his anger melted away and the next second, he was slipping his arms around her and holding her tightly. Once her tears were dry, he tilted her chin up gently and looked into her eyes. "I love you," he said huskily, "And I'll be willing to take any chance with you. If you still want me, maybe we can - "

His words were cut off by her lips as they brushed his, and before he knew it, he was kissing her with as much need and desire and love as they had before, probably even more this time.

The sealing of their relationship together was broken only by Hermione's hacking sneeze, following by a sniffle and cough.

"Oh no," Sirius could have cried right then and there, only he was much too happy.

"What is it?" she asked, smiling at him through another sneeze.

He lifted her numbed body into his arms and began carrying her back into the warmth of the school. Sighing, he said: "Poppy's going to kill me."

***

Indeed, when Madam Pomfrey set eyes on the man standing behind Hermione at the doorway of her wing, Sirius was for a moment in danger of having his eyeballs set on fire.

"Sirius Black!" she thundered, hustling them both inside at the same time and beginning to remove Hermione's damp robes from her trembling body. "Will you ever grow up?! I spent seven years of my life worrying my gray hairs right off about you and that lunatic James and equally insane Remus, who by all curses is also here right now but has, by rare miracle, spared me any concern this time - but YOU! You, Sirius, must be the most aggravating, reckless - Hermione, dear, take these robes and change out of your wet clothes in the next room - you, Sirius Black, must be burnt at the stake . . ."

Unable to contain her giggles at poor Sirius' apparent speechlessness in the face of Poppy's wrath, Hermione hurried off to change.

When she reemerged, clothes snugly in a pair of black robes, Sirius was gazing sheepishly at the floor, one corner of his mouth twitching with suppressed laughter.

Poppy herself seemed to be regaining her good humor, but as she mercilessly stripped Sirius' outer robes off and messed up his hair, she continued to mutter darkly about Maniacal Wizards, In Particular Young Men who Insisted Upon Creating some kind of Stir that usually Injured Someone in the process.

"It was really my fault, Poppy," Hermione smiled sweetly. "Sirius was only out searching for me."

"He was, was he?" Poppy eyed them both shrewdly. "No doubt he was the reason you were out there gloomily in the first place!"

Hermione hastily leaped into bed and rummaged about with the quilts to hide her flaming red face, while Sirius coughed and pretended to be very interested in the patterns of his own bed. Poppy smiled, her eyes twinkling.

"Yes, well, I'll say goodnight," she gave them both a sharp look. "If I find either of you in here once more this year, and I'm speaking to you in particular, Sirius Black, I'll consign Hermione to the status of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasely and James Potter and REconsign you to that most- hospitalized status, Sirius."

"Yes, Poppy." Sirius said meekly.

Madam Pomfrey exhaled sharply and marched from the room, turning around to smile at them and wish them sweet dreams.

Finally they were alone, and as silence descended over the castle once more, Hermione sat up.

"You heard her," Sirius groaned, "If I get caught getting you into some other scrape, 'Mione, we'll both be - " he couldn't finish, as Hermione crawled into his bed and kissed him. "This isn't fair," he mumbled.

"This isn't forbidden." She corrected.

By the end of the night, they were both sleeping peacefully, truly happy smiles lighting up their faces.

As long as they had each other, nothing was forbidden anymore.

** THE END

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A/N: And so the story comes to an end. It may be a while before you guys read this; I'm sure 99% are reading the "order of the phoenix" right now . . .;). Anyway, writing this was an incredible ride, and I hope you guys enjoyed it too . . . please review, and thanks for reading!

Luv always, ViXeN