Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter's characters. Everything belongs to J. K. Rowling.
A/N: '' – Basically means that the character is thinking
"" – Basically means that the character is speaking
There may be spoilers in this fic. You've been warned.
Warning: FULL of MUSH!
Title: Picture Perfect
Ginny walked across the Quidditch pitch toward the castle with a mission on mind. "Where are you hiding dear?"
Similar to her brother's actions, she went to the Great Hall, hoping to catch her friend there. However, she found no one she personally knew in the hall. She glanced to her watch instinctively, not realizing yet the time difference from her world and this.
She took a final glance at each table, careful not to miss anyone at the Slytherin table. For once, she was glad of her average features. No one even bothered to look at her. Well except for one, the careful eye of Sirius Black.
Ginny took a moment to think of a place where Hermione could hide. 'If I was her, I'd either hide or talk with my best mates.' She thought about confronting the Marauders but decided otherwise. "Hmm… I think I know where she is."
She left the Great Hall and headed to the Astronomy Tower. 'It's the only place she likes and it's not because of the class.' She smiled to herself.
She went to the top floor without attracting any form of attention. Reaching her destination, she went inside the classroom which reminded her of her classes with Professor Trelawney. At one of the window she found a very familiar figure looking out deep in thought. "Hermione?" She called out.
The older witch froze at hearing her name. 'I know that voice.'
"Sweetie, it's me Ginny." The younger witch called to her again.
Hermione turned slowly and smiled in recognition. "Ginny!" Both witches ran to each other in a hug. "So you're the cavalry?"
"Oh don't hide your disappointment." Ginny teased.
"It's not that I'm disappointed…" Hermione blushed in embarrassment.
Ginny interrupted. "They thought the Marauders will be more of a gentleman in a presence of a witch."
"I suppose, but what of Lily?" Hermione had doubts with her friends' plan.
"I'm sure you can find a way to persuade her to be nice." Ginny smiled. "Anyway, one glance at Ron's face would agitate your so-called boyfriend." She stressed the last word. "We don't want that now, do we?"
Hermione blushed once more.
"Oh my, you really do like Sirius." Ginny deduced from her friend's response.
"I don't think we should talk about him."
"Come on Hermione, I'm one of your best friends. You can talk to me." The redheaded witch pleaded.
"You're also Ron's sister." Hermione countered.
"And you're best friend to Harry, yet I tell you about my other relationships." Ginny teased. "I'm sure you're dying to share your rendezvous with someone." She winked.
"Maybe we should do this somewhere private?" Hermione knew that the walls have ears.
"RR then?" Ginny offered.
"RR? Are you abbreviating Room of Requirement?" Hermione arched an eyebrow.
"Catchy don't you think?" Ginny smiled.
Hermione rolled her eyes as she started to lead the way. Upon reaching the doorway, she heard the clicking of shoes on cement. "Who goes there?"
Both witches drew their wands. The older witch motioned for the other to watch her back as she moved forward. "Show yourself."
Slowly the intruder emerged. "Hi."
Hermione glared at him before hiding her wand. "I said I need time."
Ginny went to her side. "Bloody hell, he doesn't look a thing like the person we met…"
Hermione glared at her before turning to Sirius. "What are you doing spying on me?"
"I just wanted to see if you're okay." He couldn't look her in the eye.
Hermione sighed. "Sirius, you should go."
He turned to Ginny asking for help.
Ginny arched an eyebrow. "I'm Ginny, Ron's sister." She offered her hand.
Sirius was taken aback. He shook her hand reflexively. "Sirius, friend of…"
"I've heard a lot about you from my bother." Ginny teased; although he didn't realize this. He thought she was staking a claim for her brother.
"Just go." Hermione pleaded with Sirius.
He nodded, slowly turned and walked away. From afar he could hear Ginny's comment, "He's so hot." He smiled, hopeful.
"He's so hot." Ginny fanned herself with her right hand. This earned a glare from her friend. "If you want to snog a dangerous looking man… which I do not."
"I know. You prefer the sweet and boyish charm of Harry." Hermione teased. They began their descent to the main castle towards the RR.
Sirius headed for the dorms and was eager to find at least one of his friends.
"Still not talking with you mate?" Remus was on his bed scanning his notes.
"Yes." Sirius plopped himself on his bed.
"Just give her more time." Remus looked up from his notes.
"I'm not sure if I have enough time."
"Why is that?" Remus put his notes down, curious with his friend's admission.
"I just met Ron's sister." Sirius stared at the ceiling, imagining Hermione's face smiling at him.
"Is that it? Is that all you can give me?" Sirius sat up to look at his friend.
Remus kept his silence.
"Aren't you supposed to be my friend first?" Sirius accused.
"I know you know a lot more about her than you're letting on…"
"It's not my place to say." Remus cut him off.
"Can't you at least put away your 'noble' act and just be a friend."
"Believe me, I am." Remus stood and left the room.
Hermione and Ginny arrived at the RR without being noticed. Hermione found a spot amidst all the lost items inside the room. When she found a comfortable spot, she began to talk with her dear friend. "How long this time?"
"About the same time with Ron. Although, I'm not sure how long it would be here." Ginny glanced at her watch. "My brother said it took days until the rendezvous?"
"Yes, just about a full week." Hermione answered.
There was an awkward silence before Ginny started to converse again. "I never expected Sirius Black to look… um, very pleasing." She tried to hide the blush creeping to her cheeks.
Hermione smiled. "Don't worry, I won't tell Harry. Although, I thought you saw his face on Harry's photograph."
"I have, but the photograph did not do him any justice." Ginny defended herself.
Hermione laughed a little. "If only Harry could hear you now."
"This is girl talk. It stays between the two us." Ginny frowned at her.
"Of course I wouldn't say anything. Besides, I'd imagine Ron has him agitated about his godfather keeping me here."
"It's the other way around. " Ginny shook her head. "Harry was upset with Ron when he went thru the portal before you."
"Really? It's not like we had any choice in it. Sirius held me back."
"Well, that's not how Harry sees it. He blames Ron for leaving you behind."
"I urged him to go ahead."
"I had a feeling you did." Ginny smiled.
"What do you mean?" Hermione frowned at her friend.
"I knew that if you really wanted to leave you would've done everything to do so."
"I did…" Hermione argued.
"But I believe there's a part of you that wanted to stay."
Hermione arched an eyebrow.
"Maybe there's a small part in you that wanted to spend more time with the hot Mr. Black." Ginny teased. "What is going on between you two?"
"I'm afraid that if I tell someone, let alone my present friends, it would become real and I would have to deal with it." She paused. "Can we just not talk about it? That way, I can keep him in my dreams."
Ginny smiled. "I've never seen this part of you Hermione Granger."
The older witch blushed.
"I haven't seen you like this even when you talked about Ron or Viktor."
"Don't worry, I won't tell."
For once, Hermione was glad Ginny was here instead of any of her other friends. "He's really sweet. He's very open in expressing how he feels about me. When he says my name it gives me goosebumps. And when he touches me, my heart starts to flutter. And his kisses, damn those lips, they always make my knees week."
Ginny smiled but let her continue.
"Ron on the other hand, he's really inconsistent. One day he wants me, the next day he just wants to be friends. Sometimes he's childish. All he thinks about is Quidditch and his game of Wizard's Chess. I can never talk with him about us."
"You know I'm always going to be rooting for my brother, but if you feel this way about someone else, I'll support you." Ginny took her friend's hand and gave it a squeeze.
Hermione smiled. "Still, I can't do anything about it. I have to come back."
"Then you should make the most of your remaining time here." Ginny knew she didn't have to explain any further.
James cornered Remus at one of the dungeons. Remus was still brewing a potion when James pulled a stool next to his friend.
"I have been thinking about what happened at the Headmaster's room with Hermione." James started.
"I thought it would've been Padfoot who'd confront me with this." Remus turned his attention to his friend.
"I think he doesn't want to know the consequences of his actions."
"And you do?" Remus allowed his potion to simmer.
"A portal? If one needed a portal to get to her friends…"
"I'm sorry Prongs but it's not my story to tell." Remus stared back at his potion.
James sighed. "And those potion ingredients she bought during Hogsmeade weekend were for time potions. You said so yourself. So it's possible that Hermione belongs to Hogwarts but not this Hogwarts."
"I can't say." Remus said silently.
James ignored his friend's comment and thought aloud. "That would explain how she knew her way around the castle and Hogsmeade. This also explains her strong affiliation to Gryffindor. But then the real question is whether she came to Hogwarts before or after our time."
Remus shook his head. 'Won't be long until he figures out everything.'
"Her clothes are a bit too odd for me. I've never seen such types of clothing before." He rubbed his chin. "She's pretty outspoken compared to other witches as well. She also seems to know about our monthly activities. I remember the way she accused me of choosing you over Padfoot."
"For your own good, please stop analyzing things." Remus begged.
"She's from the future…" James deduced.
"If you want to retain all your memory, I'd suggest you keep that information to yourself." Remus warned.
James stared at him. "How far in the future does she belong? How long did you know about this? Why didn't you tell us?"
"I told you, it's not my secret to tell." Remus answered defensively.
"I have to tell Padfoot." James stood but Remus forced him back on his seat.
"The more people who have knowledge of this, the more risk there is in changing the future."
"I'm positive Dumbledore will not allow that."
"You can't be sure. The simple knowledge of her past may already have an effect in our future."
"Her presence here already had an effect in our future. Things happen for a reason Moony."
"You've already deprived her of her chance to go back to her time. You owe it to her to keep her secret."
James frowned knowing his friend had a point.
Ginny watched as the wall in the Headmaster's room suddenly lit up forming a small circle which slowly started growing larger. In a few seconds, Ron's face appeared. "Sis! Where's Hermione?" He glanced at Ginny's back looking for a trace of their friend.
"What do you mean 'where's Hermione'?" Harry's angry voice echoed through the portal. "Hermione!" He called out.
"She'll be right here in a few… say goodbyes." Ginny tried to push thru the portal.
"No." Harry screamed. "You have to bring her thru the portal first." He insisted.
As if on cue Hermione appeared in front of the portal. "I'm here." She hugged Ginny and whispered a few words. She then handed her a small object.
Ginny hugged her tightly and stepped thru the portal.
Ron helped her cross. He then readied himself to catch Hermione. "Come along 'Moine. It's your turn."
Hermione bit her lower lip. Her eyes started swelling with tears. "Where's Harry?"
"I'm right here. Come on now and cross the portal so I can hug you." Harry remained out of sight.
"Harry, I need to see you. None of the Marauders are here." Hermione started to stutter.
"What are you saying?" Harry went to Ron's side.
Hermione could see anger forming in her friends' face. "I want to say how happy I am, to have been your friend. You both mean a lot to me."
"What on Merlin's beard are you saying?" Ron shouted his frustration.
"She's saying goodbye." Ginny answered. This earned her glares from both her brother and Harry.
"Please don't take it out on Ginny. She's been a very good friend." Hermione begged.
"Hermione, please we need you here." Harry pleaded.
"Try to understand, I have to do this for myself." Hermione had tears flowing from her eyes.
"I never imagined you of all people would choose a man over your responsibilities, your real life…" Harry started to argue.
"And what responsibilities are you talking about? Being your sidekick you mean?" Hermione cut him off.
Ron noticed that the portal started to shrink. "Hermione, come back to us please. We need you. I—"
"You had your chance Ron. Gin, please show them the locket everything's in there." She shouted her instructions to her girl friend.
"Hermione! Grow up and come back here." Harry was screaming now.
"Ms. Granger, your place is here." Hermione heard her head of house.
She slowly backed from the shrinking portal. "I love you all. Take care of yourselves."
The last thing she heard was Harry's words. "I shouldn't have trusted you Weasleys."
Hermione took her place in the Great Hall in between James and Sirius. Lily and Peter sat opposite them. Remus started avoiding her ever since Ginny went home and had decided to sit elsewhere. Lily tried to avoid eye contact, still embarrassed at how she reacted when Ron came to get her back.
Hermione didn't seem to mind, as long as Sirius was right by her side.
Sirius couldn't be any happier. "You don't know how much I really like Ginny." He told Hermione.
"I hope it's not as much as you like me." She replied.
"I like her, I love you. There's a difference." Sirius explained.
"Please stop, we haven't even gotten to desserts yet." James teased. He couldn't help but stare at the brown-haired witch next to him. He wondered whether she really was going to stay. He then scanned the great hall and found Remus on his way out of the room. He excused himself and tried to catch up with his friend. "Oi, wait up!"
Remus turned and was glad that James was alone. He slowed his steps.
"Let's talk?" James half ordered.
Remus nodded as he led them to a deserted hallway.
"I couldn't help but be bothered by the fact that she's still here." James started.
"She doesn't belong here." Remus shared how he felt.
"Although, I've never seen Padfoot this happy." James couldn't bear to think of his friend loosing the witch that he loved.
"It's possible that she's keeping him from meeting the right person for him."
"The right person?" James arched an eyebrow.
"Someone who belongs to his time, our time."
"She would know."
"You mean if Padfoot had a romantic friend in the future?" Remus shook his head in disapproval. "She has to go back, Prongs. Her life belongs outside this world."
Hermione and Sirius excused themselves from the table and started to leave the castle. Hermione led him to the school grounds to have a change in scenery.
"Tell me, is there any way I can thank your friend Ginny?" Sirius had his right arm around her waist.
"Whatever for? I was the one who decided to stay." Hermione placed her head on his left shoulder as they walked slowly.
He placed a soft kiss on top of her head. "I'm just so happy that you're here with me."
"I'm happy too."
They kept walking until they realized that they've reached the Quidditch pitch which was crawling with Ravenclaw players who training.
A few other Quidditch players from different houses came to watch.
"They'll be our next opponent." Sirius explained. "James should be here." He looked around for the familiar face. He found him walking towards them. "There he is." He waved his friend over.
Hermione smiled at him until she noticed the sunglasses that he was wearing.
James approached the couple with a smirk on his face. He went straight to Hermione, grabbed her close and kissed her roughly on the lips. "If you won't come with me, I'll make it hard for you to stay here." He whispered in her ear. He then started to walk away.
Both Hermione and Sirius were dumbfounded. She shook her head to clear her mind. She then turned to Sirius and said, "Let me handle this. Please, just trust me." She followed James out of the pitch.
Sirius didn't have time to react. "Did I just imagine that?"
Hermione followed the new arrival into the castle and into the room of requirement. They didn't talk until they were safely inside the room.
"What are you doing here Harry?" Hermione almost choked when she used her friend's name.
"I've missed you too Hermione." Harry smiled.
"If you think you can change my mind…"
Harry walked towards her and collected her in his arms. He felt her cheeks grow wet. He stepped back just enough to see her eyes swelling with tears. "Hermione."
"Harry…" She smiled. "You look like your father."
"Well that's a shocker." Harry wiped her tears away.
"Ron said, everyone including yourself didn't think it was a good idea for you to be here."
"We had no choice. Your boyfriend wasn't successful, your best girl friend made you stay. I'm hoping your best friend will bring a positive result."
"Ron's not my boyfriend…"
"Is that all you got from what I said?" Harry shook his head. "Didn't you hear how many people have tried to get you home? We are your home?"
Hermione tried to compose herself. "I belong here."
"No. You belong with us." Harry said matter-of-factly.
"You don't understand. Sirius…"
"I think I understand quite clearly. Ginny tried to convince us. Ron definitely wouldn't hear any of it." He ran his right hand thru his hair. "What I don't understand is that you're basis for this decision to stay is solely because of one person. What about me? What about your parents? What about your other friends?"
"Harry, put yourself in my position and then imagine Ginny instead of Sirius. What would you have done?"
"I'd have stayed away from everyone and bid my time until my friends came to get me."
"You're saying you won't get curious to meet these people?"
"I'm saying I won't be basing my decision to stay on someone I just met."
"We've met Sirius a few years back."
"Can you honestly tell me that the man you met in our third year is the same man you met here?"
"Harry, I'm tired of arguing. I'm staying and that's final." Hermione turned around and left the room.
Sirius searched the whole castle until he found James coming out of the Gryffindor common room. He dragged him to a deserted corner.
"What's the matter Padfoot?" James didn't appreciate being manhandled.
"Tell me it was a dare. Tell me it was a sick joke."
"What are you talking about?"
"Give me a good reason why you kissed Hermione!"
James chuckled but stopped when he noticed the irritation growing from Sirius' eyes. "Are you seriously accusing me of kissing her?"
"I was there."
James put his left hand on Sirius's shoulder. "Believe me when I say that I have never and will never betray you. It wasn't me."
Sirius softened his face. "I had a feeling it wasn't you."
"It's probably someone who took polyjuice with my essence."
"Probably." Sirius began to think of suspects.
"There you both are." Remus marched up to them. "Is it true that you kissed his girlfriend?"
Sirius rolled his eyes.
"No, we think it's someone using polyjuice." James answered.
"Someone who looks like you." Remus thought aloud.
"Are you brewing up another conspiracy theory?" Sirius asked.
"Oh, don't mind me." Remus left without another word.
James was a bit curious and decided to follow his friend. "I'll see you later."
"Oi, you're not going to help me figure out who drank your essence?" Sirius called out.
"Maybe later when you have suspects in mind." James shouted back.
Remus raced to the dorms frantic to find an important object. "Accio map." Just as he hid it inside his school robes, James arrived.
"What did you find out that I did not catch?" James immediately asked.
"Let me confirm it first." Remus tried to avoid the confrontation.
James blocked his exit. "Who else can you talk with about this but me?"
"Fine, I'll give you three things: future, Hermione's two best mates, and one of them who looks like you." Remus watched as James tried to figure out his clues.
Hermione ran into Lily as she headed to the Slytherin tower. "Lily."
"Hermione." Lily couldn't bring to face her.
"It's been a while since we had time just for us." Hermione smiled.
Lily returned the smile.
Hermione started to walk away when she felt a tug in her arm.
"It's not that I mind or anything. I just want to confirm a rumor."
'How can I avoid this?' Hermione pursed her lips as she thought of any explanation.
"Out in the Quidditch pitch… people said they um, witnessed you um, doing something with James."
"I don't need explanations. I just want to know if it's true. I'll believe whatever you say." Lily cut her.
"It's not true." Hermione was thankful that she didn't have to explain.
Lily grabbed her hand and squeezed it. "Let's talk later?"
Hermione grinned, "I'd love that."
The following morning, Harry found his way to the Great Hall wearing his mysterious sunglasses to hide his green retinas. The hall was already filled with students from all houses. He was drawn to a rowdy group of Gryffindors enjoying a toss of waffles. He scanned the room, thinking of what possible way to make his presence known.
"There you are James." Remus went to his side and placed an arm around his neck. He then forcefully dragged him out of the hall.
Harry saw a parchment sticking out of Remus' robes that looked like the Marauders Map, only in perfect condition. "Hold on. I have to talk to someone." Harry tried to escape his grip.
"I don't think that's such a good idea Harry."
Harry chuckled. "You caught on fast professor."
Remus smiled. "Let's find a place more private."
"Um, I have to do something."
"I'm on your side. I'll help you get her back to your time." Remus promised.
Harry weighed his options and sighed. "I know a place."
Remus nodded and allowed Harry to lead the way to the room of requirement.
Harry put a lock on the door.
"So you're Harry. Hermione hasn't told me much. I wanted to confirm my theory of whether you are a Potter."
Harry shrugged. 'I am here to make their lives difficult so she can't stay.' He took off his sunglasses and put on his normal eyeglasses. "Does this answer your question?"
For a moment Remus' mouth dropped. All his conspiracy theories have been answered. 'Harry looks a lot like James. It's true then, Hermione came from our immediate future.' "Apparently, you're not just a Potter but an Evans too. That's why Hermione's been pushing them together."
"You have Lily's eyes."
"You said that before. Well, in your future but in my past." Harry explained.
"That settles it; you're both going back to your time. I'll make sure of it." Remus reinforced his earlier promise.
Harry nodded. "I need all the help I can get."
"I can tell your parents."
Harry thought about it before answering. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"Yes Remus, I don't think that's a good idea either." Hermione walked in. "You did it on purpose Harry didn't you?"
"What are you talking about?" Harry played innocent.
"Putting a simple lock on the door."
"You're the only one I know who's aware of this place." Harry argued.
"Now Remus and us too." Sirius along with James walked in after Hermione.
"You brought them here?" Harry turned his back quickly and wore his sunglasses.
Hermione furiously shook her head. "No." She turned to the best friends with her eyes pleading for them to stay away.
"Remus, I thought we were friends. You should tell me these things." Sirius accused. He went to Harry's side, grabbed him and turned him around.
Harry sighed. "I guess it's time to do what I came to do." Harry freed himself from his godfather's grip.
Sirius couldn't help but stare at him. 'He reminds me of someone I can't put my finger on.'
Harry smiled at Hermione who was growing pale. He took off his sunglasses. "Well?"
James walked towards him.
"Bloody hell, it's as if someone took polyjuice." Sirius whispered to James who was already next to him.
"No, those aren't my eyes, and the scar on his forehead… that's definitely not mine." James couldn't take his eyes off him.
Harry on the other hand couldn't bear to look at his father. He kept staring at Hermione.
"Well then, now that we're all acquainted. I'd like some private time with Harry, if you don't mind." Hermione also went to her best friend's side and tried to pull him away.
"Hold on, how far are we related?" James took hold of Harry.
"Not that far." Was all Harry could muster to say.
"Are you saying you're my… son?" James didn't let go of his grip.
Sirius arched an eyebrow. 'Son? How can he be James' son? Unless, they came from the future. Does this mean Hermione could pass as Prong's daughter?' His eyes darted towards her. 'Prongs could've married young.' He found comfort in telling this to himself.
Hermione slowly moved from Harry's side to Sirius'. She nudged him ordering him to follow her to Remus' side. "I was wrong. We should give them time to talk." She didn't take her eyes off the two Potters.
Sirius stared at her. 'Is she crying?'
Remus also saw her reaction, realized what it meant before nodding in agreement. "Let's go."
Harry finally looked at his father. "Yes."
James cleared his throat. "Well then son, welcome to my puberty." He hugged him like he would his best friend.
Harry didn't know whether to smile or cry. He searched for Hermione who was heading to the door. "Hermione." He stepped back from his father and called after her.
She wiped her eyes before turning. "Yes, Harry."
"Stay." Harry begged.
Hermione nodded and went to his side.
"So, you're in 6th year now?" James started questioning him. He nodded for his friends to join them.
"You're the great Seeker Hermione was talking about?" James continued to ask.
"Um, James, I don't think we should talk about the future." Hermione interjected.
"Nonsense. He's my son. I have the right to know things concerning him."
"I think she's right. James, you will be there anyway to experience it with him." Remus agreed with Hermione. He was also testing a theory that came to his mind as he watched both Harry's and Hermione's reactions ever since the Potters were introduced to each other.
Hermione grabbed Harry's hand and squeezed it.
Harry turned to her and raised both eyebrows searching for her approval to continue talking with his father.
Hermione shrugged. "They will probably forget."
Remus caught the exchange between the two best friends.
Sirius finally understood why Hermione was drawn to Prongs. Although, the kiss yesterday did bother him. "Are you two dating?" Sirius blurted out his question.
James glared at him. "Now's not the time for that."
"I'm just wondering…"
"If I say yes, will you leave her alone?" Harry challenged.
Hermione lightly punched Harry's arm. "No we're not dating."
Sirius frowned. "Then why did you kiss her?"
"Honestly? I'm planning to make her life here less than comfortable. That way she'll come back to where she belongs."
"She belongs here." Sirius's voice grew loud.
Hermione scratched her forehead. She whispered to Harry, "I should take both Sirius and Remus out so you can talk with James."
"No, I need you here." Harry pleaded with his eyes. "The same way I need you back home." He added in a whisper.
She nodded and smiled. "Sirius please let them have this moment."
Remus picked up on her loaded request.
Sirius grudgingly nodded. It did bother him that she's on Harry's side and not theirs. 'Am I losing her?'
"So, who's your mum?" James returned to questioning him.
"You should pay more attention to his looks mate." Remus teased.
James stared at his son. "No, I don't see it…"
"I'm sure you'll figure this out soon enough." Hermione teased as well.
Harry smiled at how close Hermione has become with the Marauders.
James looked to Sirius. "Do you notice anything?"
Sirius stared at the 'younger' Potter. "No, I can't see anything familiar aside from those that remind me of you…" He turned his head to the side. "Oh, wait there it is…"
Hermione caught Sirius eyes questioning whether he really saw the detail that reflects his mother's side. "Really?"
"Like Prongs here said, Harry's eyes are definitely not his." Sirius smiled at his best mate.
"Prongs…" Harry whispered to himself.
Hermione heard him and squeezed his hand again.
"Whose eyes are they?" James turned to his friends.
"When he figures it out, would you like to meet your mum too?" Remus asked Harry. He had a feeling this is something Harry would want.
"Yes, you could come as James and not even disclose your true identity." Hermione suggested.
"She's much more observant than our friend here. She'd see through it." Remus thought aloud.
"I know. Maybe we should just invite her here and see how long until she figures it out." Sirius finally relaxed and joined his friend in teasing James.
"You're all getting on my nerves. Harry Potter…"
"Harry James Potter." Hermione corrected him.
"Definitely your idea to put your name in there." Remus deduced.
"Very narcissistic of you mate." Sirius hit him on his back.
James glared at all of them. "You must probably think I have the most childish of friends."
"No, Ron's a tad bit childish as well." Harry tried to join in the conversation.
"Believe me, you can be very childish too, both of you Potters." Hermione gave her honest opinion.
"And you're the mature one." Harry teased.
"Harry James Potter, you will tell me who your mother is." James ordered.
"You're in 6th year too right? I'm sure you know who by now." Harry teased.
"Great, I have a smart aleck kid. Might've not raised you well enough." James teased.
Harry's smile disappeared. He felt Hermione's hand squeeze his again.
James didn't seem to notice Harry's reaction. "If you won't tell me who your mum is, at least tell me if you have other siblings."
"James, let's not get into…" Hermione stared to explain.
"Well, I'm afraid I'm an only child."
"Bullocks! There goes my dream of having children that could fill all Quidditch positions." James was truly disturbed.
Hermione's grasp on Harry's hand tightened.
"Is there any other question you'd like answered?" This was Remus' attempt to change the subject in reaction to the affection Hermione was giving.
"How about a game of Quidditch?" James asked.
"I'd need a disguise." Harry answered enthusiastically.
"I can distort your face for a few minutes." Hermione offered.
"I'll just need a minute or two." Harry arrogantly claimed.
"Without the Bludgeons and Quaffle, I'll beat you in a heartbeat." James accepted the challenge.
"Tomorrow then?" Harry stepped towards his father and offered to shake his hand.
"Agreed." James shook it back.
"Can I now please talk with Harry alone?" Hermione smiled at the three Marauders.
James nodded and motioned for his friends to leave with him.
When they were alone, Hermione hugged him. "How are you holding up?"
Harry tried to put a brave face but a tear fell from his left eye. "He doesn't look like the one that made me."
"Well not yet." She smiled.
"Do we have anything in common?" Harry wiped the tear away.
"Aside from being childish you mean?"
Harry glared at her.
"Well, he's a good Quidditch player. He's very loyal to his friends. He's brave. He'll do anything for his friends. And… He doesn't like Snape. So there."
"Look, we've crossed the line a long time ago. This is your time to ask him questions. Your mum as well. She's the sweetest, most caring, and most understanding person here. You need to talk to her."
"Dumbledore will clean up after?"
"I believe so." Hermione shrugged.
"And what about you?"
"I want to stay here." She answered nonchalantly.
"That's not the answer I was looking for."
Hermione brought Harry food from the Great Hall for his breakfast. She and the three Marauders decided to sneak out of classes for the Potter's match.
Hermione had coerced Sirius to lend Harry his broom. Remus had agreed to be the referee.
The two Potters did laps around the pitch before the game.
Hermione and Sirius sat on the bleachers watching the three wizards flying around.
Lily noticed that a lot of his housemates were missing from their Potions class even before it started. She decided to look for them especially since the missing housemates are James, Sirius and Remus.
She found a clue when she noticed there were people on brooms flying in the Quidditch pitch. "Those people ought to have a good explanation." She met their professor still prior to the start of class and had asked to be excused for the day which he allowed.
She then went to the pitch without a hitch.
"You can do it Harry." Hermione screamed out her support.
"It's never too early to teach your son a lesson." Sirius encouraged his friend.
"What is going on here?" Lily found Sirius and Hermione in the bleachers and decided to give them a piece of her mind. "Shouldn't both of you be in class right now?"
"Hush up Lily. Why don't you just sit with us and watch James beat Hermione's friend." Sirius was caught up with excitement since Remus had just released the snitch.
"Another friend?" Lily looked to Hermione who was engrossed with the match.
"You can meet him when he wins the match." Just as Hermione looked back to the Potters, one of them flew fast enough to overtake the other and took hold of the snitch.
"Who the bloody hell got it?" Sirius asked aloud.
Remus blew the whistle and called both Seekers to him.
Hermione stared hard at the two contenders and shook her head. "Have no clue. Should've painted your broom a wild color to distinguish it from James." Hermione teased.
"You don't mess with the best broom of the year." Sirius felt offended.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Oi Remus! Who won?"
Lily stared at the three wizards on broom. She saw the bloke with the snitch. "It's not James."
Sirius glared at her. "Remus, who is it?"
Remus was laughing when he touched down. "Let's just say someone's ego got a bit bruised."
Harry saw his mum and decided to fly away.
James descended and angrily handed his broom to Sirius. "I might very well be a Chaser if I can't be the best Seeker."
Hermione smiled. "Told you he'd win."
Sirius grinned. "Oi mate, giving up so easily?"
"Where is your friend?" Lily got curious when the other wizard didn't come to them.
"I don't think he's ready to meet you yet." Hermione answered.
James frowned. 'What does she mean by that?' His gaze fell on Lily. He gazed at her familiar green eyes. 'I've seen those from someone else.' That's when he realized who else had the same eyes. Feeling confident he pulled Lily close to him and kissed her passionately.
"I think he finally realized who Harry's mum is." Remus whispered to both Sirius and Hermione.
Hermione looked to the sky and wished Harry could see the affection between his parents but thought otherwise. 'Might not be something you'd want to see your parents doing though.'
Hermione sat with Lily at lunch away from the Marauders. "Do you want to talk now?"
Lily looked at her with a stern look. "We're not talking about that kiss out in the Quidditch pitch are we?"
Hermione smiled. "I was going to start off with that but if you're not up to it then… I guess it can wait."
Lily sighed and packed her things. "Do you want to head to the library? I'm pretty sure it'll be almost empty."
"I have a better idea." Hermione did the same with her things. She also grabbed a couple of muffins.
"Where are you heading?" Lily allowed Hermione to lead the way.
"James and his friends finally met my other dearest friend. I thought you should meet him too." Hermione didn't need to hear her answer. They reached the door to the Room of Requirement. Hermione opened the door and pushed Lily into the room, ignoring the confusion in her eyes.
"Are you talking about Harry? The one who looks like…" Lily scanned the room she was shoved in. "Where are we?"
Hermione smiled at her and nodded to the back of the room.
"I don't understand…" Lily stared into the area she pointed at and saw a wizard with his back turned. "Hello there. Are you Hermione's friend?" She stepped toward the mysterious figure.
"Can you turn so I can have a good look at you?" Lily walked closer. "Hermione said you looked like James."
Harry slowly turned unsure whether it was right for him to meet his mother this way.
"Come on Hermione, that's just James." Lily turned to her friend.
"Look again." Hermione smiled.
Lily looked harder. "Are you a doppelganger?"
"No, I'm Hermione's friend." Harry answered truthfully.
Hermione felt weird to hear the description of their relationship in reverse. She's gotten used to hear people calling her as Harry's friend.
"But you look so much like James." Lily touched his face.
Harry unconsciously leaned in to his mother's hand.
Lily felt a little awkward with his gesture. She took her hand back and stepped away. "You have to be related to him though. Am I right?" She asked no one in particular.
"I am." Harry nodded.
Lily stared at his face. "You have a scar." She wanted to touch it but she held her hand back.
Harry instinctively raised his hand to his scar.
"How long have you had that scar?" Concern was evident in her eyes.
"Since I was a babe." Harry answered in a soft voice. "It rarely hurts anymore." He tried to explain, thinking this would give her comfort.
She nodded. "But that means it still hurts sometimes?"
"I can cope with the pain."
"What happened to your parents? I mean, for you to get that scar at such a young age, your parents should've been with you…" Lily stared at him full of concern.
Hermione watched the exchange between mother and son. 'I have a feeling she knows more than James.'
Harry looked to Hermione for strength. "They were… they were wonderful and loving parents." He managed to stutter.
'Were?' Lily's eyes turned from concern to sadness. "I bet they loved you. I'm sure they'd be proud of you." Lily turned to Hermione. "They say we keep friends that we see ourselves in. If that is true and you're really friends with Hermione, I can honestly say I am very happy and proud of what you both have become. She's a very loyal friend. She's passionate, understanding and has a good sense of what is right."
Harry smiled, his eyes started to water. "That means a lot to me, to us." He turned to Hermione.
Hermione nodded in agreement.
"I know you have a lot of questions you'd want answered…" Lily swallowed hard. "Can you give me time to be ready to answer them?"
"Of course." Harry smiled.
Lily returned the smile. "Is it alright for me to hug you?" She opened her arms for him.
Harry took her invitation and ended up wrapping his arms around her. He was a bit taller than her at this time.
Hermione wiped the tear that fell from her eye.
Hermione, Harry and Lily parted ways. Harry decided to stay in the room of requirement, trying to calm his feelings. He was both content and sad at the same time. He wanted to relish the feelings all the same.
Lily went to her dorm where she tried to process what had just happened.
Hermione on the other hand was on a personal mission. She searched for Sirius who she found outside the castle by the lake, staring at his reflection. "Sirius?"
He turned and smiled. "Hermione."
"You must have a lot of questions for me?" She joined him and stared at both of their reflections.
"I'm afraid to ask them." Sirius stared back at the water.
Hermione grabbed his hand and stared at him. "I have to tell you something."
He turned to her, scared to ask. "What?"
"I want to stay. You know that already." Hermione started.
"But you can't." Sirius finished, feeling his heart break.
"Harry needs me." Hermione could feel her heart break as well.
"Why did you stay?" Sirius couldn't breathe properly.
"I wanted to give Harry a chance to meet his parents. Ginny and I felt it wasn't fair that his friends got to know his parents but he didn't."
'You didn't do it for me?' He kept his question to himself. He bit the inside of his cheeks as he tried to draw back tears. "What do you mean?"
"Ginny told me that the future Remus had no recollections of my being in his past." Hermione took her gaze back to the water. "If that was the case, what's the use of hiding Harry when none of you will remember anyway?"
"So you planned this just to get Harry to meet James and Lily? Why? You're speaking like he hasn't met them in the future? They are his parents."
"He hasn't." Hermione could feel a tear escape from her eye.
"What do you mean?" He turned her face to him.
"They were attacked when Harry was still a baby. James and Lily didn't…" She couldn't bear to say the words. They were her friends too. "Harry survived with a scar as a reminder."
Sirius felt a new pain in his heart. "Who would do such a thing?"
"The most horrible man ever."
"What happened to Harry after the attack? What I'm trying to ask is did I…"
"You're his godfather." Hermione cut him.
"They trusted me with their boy?" He felt proud yet miserable at the same time.
"Yes." She gently caressed his face, hoping they would end the sad story and that she wouldn't have to say what fate has in store for him. "You see there are a lot of people who's after Harry. A lot of people look up to him as well. I just can't leave him on his own, else his parents' sacrifice would be for nothing." 'Yours as well.' She added to herself.
"The horrible man is still alive?"
Hermione nodded. "We're all trying to destroy him before he murders all of us."
Sirius pulled her into an embrace. "If you stay here, you might not see him again, the horrible man I mean."
"As a friend to both James and Lily, I owe it to them to help Harry in his quest."
"I'll help, right?" He asked.
"Yes you will." Hermione started sobbing. 'In your future you will, but not in mine. In my future, you've already risked your life.'
He lifted her chin, stared at her lovingly. "I'll see you in the future."
Hermione nodded. She kissed him softly. 'But you won't remember this.'
Sirius broke the kiss and stepped back. He fumbled into his cloak and found a small black box. He opened it, stared at it for a few seconds. He took out a ring with a serpent encrusted on it. Its eyes were donned with rubies. "I know it doesn't look like something you would wear, although you are in Slytherin. However, I would be honored if you wear it for me."
Hermione was taken aback. "Wha… What is it for?"
"A promise… a promise to wait for each other." Sirius stared at her.
Tears were now streaming down her face. "I can't…"
Sirius took her left hand and placed it on her ring finger. "It's not like I'm proposing marriage. I just want a chance to remember what we had."
Hermione stared as he placed the ring on her finger.
"I love you Hermione Granger. You've made me realize what matters most."
Hermione wiped away her tears. "I love you Sirius Black. You're the first person who taught me how to really love. I'll never forget you."
"But like you said before, I will." Sirius took her in his arms, wanting to hold on to her forever.
Lily paced in her room, troubled with what she just learned from Hermione's friend. Hermione was right; Lily knew a lot more than James. She was more perceptive.
She figured out Hermione came from a different time just by her frequent use of the word "muggle-born", her excessive knowledge for a 6th year, and her simpler techniques in casting spells.
She knew Harry was James' son. She deduced this because they looked a lot like the other and she also saw her eyes on him. This meant she knew he was her son as well. She further realized that would mean she would end up with James. This was reinforced with Hermione's insistent match making. She could also see so much of James and herself in Harry that she knew he could only be their son. I suppose Hermione's weird request for her to give Harry a message also gave her a clue.
Now, she knew she might not live very long. She knew his son longed to be with them. This caused her to release a deep sigh and settled on her bed.
'The scar, it could've come from a powerful curse, especially since it still hurts sometimes. I need to find out what could cause such a scar and pain. I have to help my son.'
With a sense of determination, she headed to the library.
The following day, Harry patiently waited in the Room of Requirement for Hermione to appear with his food. He didn't want others to see him. His mission was done. His parents are already aware of his presence, and could mean that they'd be on his side and help him convince Hermione to come back with him.
It was time for supper and he was growing irritable and agitated. He couldn't even help but think that she might've forgotten about him.
A few minutes later, the door opened. "It's about time…"
"Oi son, you sound irritate." James came inside with Remus and Sirius right behind him.
"Oh, I thought you were Hermione." Harry felt embarrassed.
"Is this the way you treat her?" Sirius arched an eyebrow.
"It's just that I'm hungry and the last piece of food I ate was the muffin from yesterday." Harry tried to explain.
"Hold on, you mean to tell us, she's not here?" Sirius frowned at him.
Harry stared at his godfather. "I thought she was with you?"
"The last time I saw her, she was heading back to the castle and this was yesterday afternoon. I assumed she came to you when I didn't find her in the Great Hall."
Remus and James exchanged worried looks.
"No, I haven't seen her since yesterday." Harry drew his wand. "I have a feeling, I need to see Malfoy."
Remus took out the map and searched for Hermione. "She's at the Slytherin tower."
James caught his son's arm. "Let us handle this."
Harry frowned. "I'm not going to just stand on the sidelines and watch. She's my friend. She's the reason why I'm here."
"Hand him your cloak and let's find her." Sirius ordered, ignoring the jealousy creeping in his mind.
Harry shook his head. "I need to be able to move freely."
"We don't have time to argue." Sirius' voice grew louder.
"Padfoot, we can't just barge into the Slytherin tower." James tried to calm him down.
"Why not?" Sirius headed toward the door.
James and Remus caught up with Sirius who was threatening a very young Slytherin to let him inside the common room.
Remus came to his side and put his hand on Sirius's shoulder. "I'm a prefect, let me in." He told the young Slytherin.
He nodded, whispered the password and stepped aside as he watched the three Gryffindors enter the portrait hole.
Sirius marched in first. Remus went in and grabbed Sirius' shoulder. "Let me." He stared at his friend, commanding him to follow him.
James was right behind, holding onto his wand inside his robe.
"Stand aside, Prefect duties." Remus announced to the students who had their wands drawn in the common room. His eyes locked on a wizard at the corner of the room who was staring hard at them. He stared back at him and heard a voice in his head.
'Top floor, 2nd door.' Remus recognized the voice and promised himself to thank him later.
He led the two Gryffindors to the top floor and right outside the 2nd door. He grabbed the knob and opened the door.
Sirius pushed his friend aside and rushed inside the room. What he saw made him froze in his tracks.
"Black!" Lucius Malfoy shouted in surprise.
Sirius couldn't move. His eyes fell on a motionless witch lying on a bed. Her clothes had been torn from lashes and revealed open wounds. Sirius fell out of breath, his eyes glued at Hermione. His attention was briefly averted by a crash. He turned and found Lucius unconscious on the floor. He moved his gaze and saw Remus' wand still pointed at the blonde wizard. He followed suit and drawn his own wand at the fallen Slytherin.
Remus nodded to James to watch the door. He looked to Sirius who was now gripping his wand tightly. He went to the witch's side. He put his wand inside his robe and gently caressed her forehead.
He examined the wounds of the witch. Her top were tattered, revealing her underwear. He noticed that she had wounds with varying degrees of healing. This suggested that she'd been tortured for a long time. Her lower body also suggests the same story.
He gently caressed her left cheek and whispered in her ear. "'Mione."
He watched as she slightly frowned and slowly opened her eyes. Her gaze fell on him and she attempted to smile.
"Hey there stranger." The young wizard smiled at her.
Tears gushed from her eyes. "Harry."
Sirius turned his gaze to the couple shocked to hear her call him Harry. 'Polyjuice.' He deduced. He then glanced at Hermione but turned his gaze away almost immediately. He wasn't comfortable at seeing her hurt or with little clothing.
"Harry, what took you so long?" Hermione tried to move her hand and touch him but pain surged through her body.
"Can't a man be fashionably late?" He teased. He removed his robe and added, "I'm here now."
She slightly nodded. "Take me home."
"Let me get you out of here first." He wrapped his robe around her. "Hold on to me." He ordered before carrying her out of bed.
Sirius could only watch at the two friends.
James had to get Sirius' attention before they left the room.
James led their group and Sirius stayed at the rear, protecting Harry and Hermione in the middle.
Once they were out of the Slytherin tower, Harry led the group back to the Room of Requirement much to the arguments of his father and godfather.
Harry willed the room for a clean bed. He gently placed a sleeping Hermione Granger on the bed. He turned to his father and started barking orders. "Can you get mu… Lily to bring fresh clothes." He then turned to Sirius. "Can you get me water, towels and wraps so I can clean her wounds?"
Sirius nodded but couldn't remove his eyes from Harry who was now removing his robe from her. He left when he saw her wounds again.
Harry sighed as he once again scanned her wounds. Gently, he started peeling her tattered clothing careful when her clothing stuck to her wound. Just as a he successfully removed what's left of her blouse, he heard people whispering inside the room.
"How bad is it?" Lily asked James as they neared Hermione.
"Is she conscious?" Remus asked the speechless James.
Harry didn't have time to cover Hermione.
"Harry!" Lily shouted when she saw Hermione half naked on bed.
James and Remus turned their backs embarrassed to see her in a compromising position.
"What do you think you're doing?" She pulled Harry away. "All of you guys leave now."
"It's okay. We're family." Harry didn't want to leave Hermione's side.
Just then, Sirius walked in from his errand. "Harry, I've got…" He got a glimpse of Hermione before he turned red and turned around.
"You boys should all leave." Lily pushed Harry away.
"Harry." Hermione managed to whisper her friend's name.
Harry moved quickly from his mother and back to Hermione's side. "I'm here. I won't leave you." He caressed her left cheek with his hand.
She leaned to his hand. "Take me home."
"Let's get you cleaned up first." Harry whispered softly. "We wouldn't want Ron to see you like this. Not after I made a huge speech when he left you here." He then turned to his mother and pleaded with his eyes.
Lily sighed. She motioned for the three Marauders to leave who did as asked without an argument. "Hermione dear, let me clean your wounds for you."
Hermione moaned as Lily placed a wet towel on her arm.
Harry grabbed her right hand and squeezed it gently. "Squeeze my hand if you can't bear the pain."
Hermione squeezed it almost immediately.
"She needs to go see Madam Pomfrey." Lily watched her carefully.
"There's a window for us to go home." Harry turned to his mum. "The portal should be up…" He glanced at his watch before continuing. "… in a couple of hours."
Lily sighed. "I don't think she's strong enough to travel."
"The sooner we get her home, the sooner she'll get proper treatment." Harry argued.
Hermione groaned. "I'll be fine."
Lily conceded. "Let's get you cleaned up first."
Harry stayed by her side as Lily carefully washed Hermione. When he felt Hermione's grip tighten, he would whisper good memories in her ear. "Remember when Ron started vomiting slugs?"
Hermione tried to smile. "It wasn't funny before." Then she'd grimace at the touch of the wet towel on her skin.
"What about when you fell for Lockhart." Harry teased.
"I think Trelawney beats him at being kooky don't you think?" Hermione joined in.
"Did you know that the first time I met you on the train, when you were looking for Trevor, I found you to be someone special? You're Muggle-born yet you knew a lot more spells than Ron and at such a young age. I knew you were going to be great in class. I knew you'd survive."
"If you could survive all those years I've put you and Ron in jeopardy, I'm sure you'll survive this." Harry added.
A tear fell from Hermione's eye. "Please know that I'm not crying from the pain."
Harry kissed her forehead.
"When I first saw you, Harry James Potter, I was a little disappointed. I knew you were a baby when you left the wizarding community but I thought you'd at least know how to hold a wand."
Harry snorted. "Know-it-all witch." He teased.
Hermione smiled once again. "What about you? You showed off during our first flying class."
"Don't forget Defense Against the Dark Arts." Harry reminded smugly.
"I'm a Prefect." Hermione blurted.
"I was a champion in the Triwizard Competition."
"It was rigged." Hermione contested.
Harry sighed. "I wouldn't have survived that year without you." Harry stared at her. He was glad that he could distract her from the pain.
Hermione stared back with a smile.
Lily cleared her throat to get their attention. "Hermione needs to change. Are you still going to stay for that Harry?" Lily stared at Harry sternly.
Harry blushed and stepped away from Hermione. "I'll be right outside the door."
Hermione slightly nodded.
Lily got Hermione to sit up and helped her into clean clothes. "You two are really close."
"We've been through a lot."
"I'm really happy that you have each other."
"Me too." Hermione nodded.
"He needs you Hermione."
"I'll always be there for him." Hermione said truthfully. "We have other wonderful friends outside. Ginny, you've met her, she absolutely adores Harry. Ron treats him like his brother. Ron's parents are wonderful to Harry."
"That's good." Lily took her hand and squeezed it. "But I'll feel better to know that you'll always be by his side."
"You don't have to worry about that." Hermione squeezed back.
Harry closed the door behind him and found three anxious Marauders waiting for him.
"How is she?" James went to his side.
"She's strong. She'll walk out of this soon enough."
"That's good." Remus breathed easier.
Harry caught Sirius' eye. "I'm taking her back."
"I understand." Sirius mumbled under his breath.
Harry continued to stare at his godfather. "I'm taking her back in a couple of hours."
Sirius dropped his gaze. "I see."
"Can we say goodbye?" James asked.
Harry nodded. "She's getting dressed right now. You can go in when she's ready."
"Can I speak with you in private?" Remus caught Harry's attention.
Harry turned to his father and godfather before walking a few feet away with Remus.
"Do you think she's strong enough to cross portals?" Remus asked.
Harry sighed. "A lot of the professors are waiting for us to cross the portal. They'd know what to do." He couldn't bear to think that crossing the portal might affect Hermione for the worse.
"Do you really think it's safe for her to cross?" Remus wasn't convinced.
"I'm sure the professors will know what to do." Harry tried to convince himself as well.
Remus sighed in defeat. "Sirius will be upset for sure."
"More upset than he is now?" Harry asked.
"He's trying to be strong for her."
Harry rolled his eyes. "None of you will remember anyway."
"How about Hermione? Have you thought about what she'd feel after this?"
"She already knows what happens to you and your friends. I'm pretty sure she'll be able to manage." Harry half wished he was saying the truth.
"You're talking about the fact that you're an orphan?"
Before Harry could respond James sneaked up from behind. "What do you mean, Harry's an orphan?"
Harry glanced at his father.
"Harry?" James pried as Remus walked back to his Sirius.
"It's true." Harry forced a smile.
Remus reached Sirius when the door opened and Lily walked thru it. She went to the two friends who were watching her carefully. "She's cleaned up."
Sirius frowned. "How is she?"
Lily slowly shook her head. "I don't know. Her wounds look pretty bad but she keeps telling me she's fine."
"Can I come in?" Sirius looked hopeful.
Lily shrugged. "She'll ask you to leave if she wants to be alone."
Once Sirius was out of earshot she turned to Remus. "I don't think she's fit to enter any portal. She needs a healer's touch."
"Why don't you convince your son? He's the only one she listens to." Remus nodded to the Potters.
"I don't know what to say to him though." Lily's face softened.
"Just follow James' lead." Remus urged her. "You don't know when you'd get another chance to talk to him."
"I know what you mean." She started walking towards her son.
Sirius slowly walked inside the room. He saw Hermione in bed with her eyes closed. He continued his slow pace until he reached her side.
Hermione opened her eyes as she felt his presence. "Sirius?"
"Hey there." Sirius smiled.
"Nice of you to drop by." She returned his smile.
"Sorry I wasn't able to protect you."
Hermione widened her smile. "You can't always protect me."
"I wasn't any help also during the rescue." Sirius lowered his head, embarrassed by his helplessness.
Hermione frowned. "I don't usually need to be rescued."
"I was helpless when you needed help." Sirius stared at her.
"You were there. And I am feeling better." Hermione tried to reassure him.
"Could I at least be the one to nurse you back to health?" Sirius sat next to her on her bed.
Hermione sighed. "I want that."
"But I have to go home. I've been here for so long; I've almost forgotten the things that mattered to me."
"I don't matter to you?" Sirius looked hurt.
"You know that's not what I meant."
"I would stay for you if it was just me."
Sirius placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "I would come with you if I knew it wouldn't change the future."
Hermione could feel her eyes start to swell with tears.
Sirius took her hand and stroked the ring he gave her. "If we're not meant to be together, I'd rather you be with Harry." He told her while looking at the ring.
Hermione was shocked by his statement. "Harry and I are just best friends."
Sirius smiled. "I know, but I also know that he cares for you, he loves you…"
"As a friend, as family, nothing more." Hermione tried to explain.
"I also know he can protect you, rescue you." Sirius continued.
"Sirius, please let's not do this." She pleaded.
"I just want to make sure someone will take care of you."
"Harry's not alone, there's Ron and Ginny."
"I'm not at all comforted with the fact that they're all just young witches and wizards."
"There's Dumbledore too."
Sirius sighed. "I'm not good with saying goodbyes."
"Then just say 'see you later'." Hermione's heart ached knowing this is the last time she'd see him.
Sirius leaned until his lips were a heartbeat away from hers. "I love you Hermione Granger."
"I love you Sirius Black." Hermione smiled sadly as Sirius closed the gap.
Harry hugged both his parents and headed back to Hermione's side. He caught Sirius kissing Hermione. Something tugged at his heart. He wondered whether this was still from his talk with his parents or was it from the couple kissing in front of him.
He cleared his throat to break the awkward silence. He watched as Sirius placed a soft kiss on her forehead. He heard him tell he loved her as well as Hermione's quick response to reciprocate the same feelings. "Hermione?"
Sirius stood from her bed to face his god son.
Hermione smiled weakly at Harry. "Is it time?"
Harry nodded slowly. "James, Lily and Remus are right behind me to say their goodbyes." He went to Hermione's other side.
Lily sat where Sirius previously sat. "Hermione, are you sure you're strong enough to leave?"
Hermione simply smiled. "I've been here far too long." She felt Harry's hand caress her face. "Besides, Harry and Ron must be failing badly on their exams without me to tutor them." She teased.
"In all honesty, the only good thing that came from your being trapped here is that Ron and I got a free pass on exams. We had to figure a way to get you back first; then we can all take our exams at the same time."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
Lily's eye grew hard. It was the first time Hermione saw those threatening eyes. "Harry, you should not be slacking off. Think of your future."
"I probably should be embarrassed or upset that my mum's nagging me, but I can't help but feel good because I've never felt this kind of concern from any of my remaining family member. Weird isn't it?"
Lily gave him a stern and knowing look.
"Listen to your mum." James ordered.
Hermione almost snickered. 'How original.' She thought to herself.
Lily turned her attention back to Hermione. "I think you should stay and recuperate before you leave. Who knows what kind of strain time travelling can be to your body?"
Hermione smiled. "I'll be fine, Harry will help me cross. I'm pretty sure there are professors waiting for our return. I'll be in capable hands." She tried to reassure her.
"Very well. It seems like you won't back down on this." She leaned in and kissed her forehead. "I'll miss you. You've been a wonderful addition to my life, Harry's life and all of us here." She stood, her eyes brimming with tears. She stepped away to give room to James.
James stood next to the bed and smiled at Hermione. "You've been a very strong, confident, loyal, understanding, and brave witch. My son's lucky to have you in his life."
"I'm lucky to have all of you in my life." Hermione glanced quickly to where Sirius stood.
"I would very much appreciate it if you could look after my son. Since you're his friend and you're close to him and especially since we, his parents aren't there anymore."
Hermione nodded. "What's this? The great James Potter's getting emotional. I never thought I'd see this day."
James frowned. "Oh put a sock in it. I was trying to say, and very discreetly I might add, that you should take Harry as your boyfriend. I won't be there to play cupid like you did with Lily and me."
Sirius stared at his feet, he felt uncomfortable hearing his friends words. Harry on the other hand turned bright red with embarrassment.
Hermione fought to keep a straight face. "Your son's interested with another witch. Sirius liked her a lot."
Harry frowned at Hermione.
"Ginny?" Sirius arched an eyebrow.
Hermione merely nodded. "I think the feeling's mutual."
Harry glared at her willing her to stop.
"Isn't she the sister of Ron?" Remus joined the conversation.
"Yes." Sirius answered with bitterness in his tone.
"I see, so either you two end up together or you'd still belong to same family connected via the Weasley line." Remus nodded to Hermione then to Harry.
"Um, I'm not comfortable with talking about my love life." Harry stated before any other questions regarding his personal life comes up.
"It's just… you two are great together." Lily tried to make one last statement. "You know how to take care of her. You know how to make her pain go away." She turned to her son before turning to Hermione. "And you did all this to get Harry to meet us. You understand each other very well. It just seems practical that you two end up together."
"We'll keep that in mind." Harry said to end the topic.
"My turn now." Remus went to where James stood.
Hermione looked at him guiltily. "I'm sorry I gave you a hard time with your friends. It was never my intention." A tear slid down her face. 'I hope this doesn't contribute to James' and Sirius' doubts about Remus' loyalty. I hope this wasn't the reason why they never told Remus of the plan to switch Secret Keepers.'
"Everything's well now. Let's forget about it." Remus reassured her.
"By knowing my secret longest, you've become one of my closest friend and crucial ally. I will never forget what you've done for me."
"You can thank me in the future." Remus teased.
"You're no fun in the future. You're my professor." Hermione teased back.
Remus smiled. He took her hand and placed a soft kiss on the back of her palm. "It was an honor to have been your friend."
"I feel the same." Hermione smiled.
Harry cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. "It's almost time. The portals been set up in Dumbledore's office."
Everyone fell silent. Harry moved to Hermione with the purpose of carrying her.
"Allow me." Sirius caught his eye.
Harry turned his gaze from him to Hermione before nodding.
Sirius lifted Hermione effortlessly from the bed. She wrapped her arms around his neck and they stared at each other with longing evident in their eyes.
"Shall we?" Harry broke the trance.
Sirius swallowed the argument trying to escape his lips. "Lead the way." Hermione leaned to Sirius' toned body. She relished and memorized his presence against her.
Inside the headmaster's office, Harry watched as a portal began to unravel on a wall. "Ron?" He called out.
"Right here mate." Ron's face appeared.
"Hermione's badly hurt. Have Madame Pomfrey ready and waiting for her." Harry instructed.
"What? What happened to her?" Ron's face was full of concern.
"I'll tell you later when we cross."
"Fine. Ginny, you heard him." Ron called for his sister.
Harry turned to Sirius. "I promise to take care of her as best as I can."
"I know." He answered still holding his gaze with Hermione.
Harry took Hermione from Sirius into his arms. He turned to his parents and the two Marauders. "You don't know how much I appreciate this moment. I'll cherish it for as long as I live."
"The same goes for me. How I wish, you could all come with us." Hermione started to weep.
Sirius couldn't help himself; he went to Hermione and kissed her one last time. "If only we belonged to the same time." He turned around as he felt a hand hold him hard on his shoulder. "James."
"Let them go." James smiled at his friend.
Sirius nodded and stepped away from the couple.
"Thank you again Hermione." Remus called out.
"I'm proud of you both. And Harry, remember that I will always love you." Lily smiled at them.
"I love you too, son. Know that whatever you do, I'll always be proud of you." James sighed before he continued. "I want you both to be happy." He grinned at them.
Both Harry and Hermione nodded. "I love you all." Harry added in a whisper.
"It was nice to meet my god son." Sirius tried to smile at Harry.
"It was nice to meet you at a younger age. I somehow understand how you came to be my god father in the future." Harry acknowledged his statement.
"Hermione, I will always love you." Sirius stared at her.
"Liar. You will forget. Dumbledore will make you forget." She corrected herself. "And I love you too."
Before another word was said, Harry turned to the portal which had grown to the size of a normal human being. He turned one last time and saw everyone waving at them. He looked to Hermione who was smiling with pained eyes. He faced the portal once more and crossed it with Hermione in his arms.
Sirius had a fake smile as he watched the love of his life leave him for good.
A few years had passed; Hermione found herself walking around Godric's Hallow. Her feet found their way into the Potter's house. Try hard as she might, she couldn't find the house. Although, she did know she was close.
She turned around and found a couple watching her from afar. The man had his wand drawn and was in front of the woman obviously trying to protect her.
"Introduce yourself." The wizard called from afar.
"Hello, I'm looking for…" Hermione unafraid, started to move to them.
"Stay where you are." The wizard's voice sounded menacing this time around.
Hermione held her hands up in surrender. "I mean you no harm." Boldly, she took another step in the couple's direction.
"I said stay where you are." The wizard took on an aggressive stance.
Hermione sighed. "Okay."
"Who are you?" The wizard lowered her voice.
"I'm a friend."
"What's your name?" The witch found her voice.
"I'm looking for a common friend." Hermione didn't want to put them through another mess.
The wizard stared hard at Hermione. "Which common friend?" He tested her.
Hermione sighed. "Sirius Black."
The wizard lowered his wand. "Who are you?"
"Hermione." She finally introduced herself.
"I don't know any Sirius Black." The raven haired wizard tested her further.
The witch rolled her eyes. "Why are you seeking this Sirius Black?"
"I'm holding something for him. I think it's time to give it back to him." Hermione explained.
"Hand it over and I'll make sure he receives it." The wizard started to walk towards her.
"It's not that I don't trust you guys, but he has to take it from me himself.
"Well he's not here." The wizard said matter-of-factly.
The witch shook her head in disapproval. "How do you know this Sirius Black?"
"From school." Hermione didn't bother to explain how she first met him at Hogwarts in her 3rd year as a full grown wizard and how she met him again in the past when he was merely in his 6th year.
"You came to school together?" The wizard asked.
"We came to the same school for a short time." Hermione tried to leave out the details.
The wizard frowned. "You're lying."
Hermione smiled knowingly. "Just tell Sirius I'll be here tomorrow. I just need a few minutes of his time." She turned and started to walk away.
"Or we could just talk right now."
Hermione's heart skipped a beat. She recognized his voice easily. She turned and called his name as a confirmation. "Sirius."
Sirius changed from his animagus form into the rugged wizard he turned out to be. Apparently, he was hiding behind a tree, looking out for the Potters. He arched an eyebrow as he examined her from head to toe.
"Do you know her?" The other wizard asked.
Sirius shook his head. "Take your wife home Prongs." Sirius had his dueling hand on his wand just in case.
Prongs nodded as he ushered his pregnant wife. "I'll be back."
Hermione examined the man in front of her. Her eyes locked with his and she could feel her heart start to beat fast. "Sirius Black." She repeated his name. She missed saying his name and just by hearing herself say his name once more brought her back to when she was 16. It seemed like a lifetime at the same time it seemed like it recently just happened.
"You lied." Sirius turned his head sideways as he continued to examine her.
"About what?" She wasn't sure if he could hear her heart beat louder.
"About how you met me." He walked around her, trying to figure out who she was, if she really do know him. "Black is a very popular name. I can't help but think how you're a spy, trying to collect information for the Dark Lord.
"You've grown smart. That's good." Hermione smiled. "How I wish Remus was here to mediate."
Sirius stopped in his tracks and frowned. "You know Remus?"
"Remus Lupin? Of course, I told you, well James and Lily, that we went to school together." Hermione let this information slip.
"You meant all of us?" Sirius searched her eyes for any signs of insincerity.
"I don't remember your face." Sirius shook his head. By this time James was back.
"What did I miss?" James interrupted their discussion.
"She said she went to school with us." Sirius mocked.
"Nope, I do not remember your face nor your name." James studied her again.
Hermione shrugged. "I don't have time to reminisce or try to convince you both that I'm someone you can trust or that you knew me from the past. I just need Sirius to do something for me."
The two wizards exchange doubtful glances.
"If you say you're our friend, let me hold your wand before you talk with Sirius." James tested her once more.
Hermione took out her wand and handed it to James. "Since you have my wand, you have to protect me from any attacks or ambush."
Hermione reached for Sirius's hand and pulled him away from James. A simple touch triggered memories when he held her close, when he caressed her face, when he placed soft kisses on her cheeks. She shook away the memories as she focused on her mission.
"Why did you single me out of my friends?" Sirius was confused that a lovely witch whom he swore he haven't laid his eyes on was looking for him.
"You gave me something that you should to take back."
Sirius frowned, more confused.
Hermione raised her hand; on her finger was the ring he gave her on his 6th year.
Sirius's mouth fell open in recognition of the ring. "Where did you get that?"
"You gave it to me on your 6th year in Hogwarts." Hermione touched the snake. She remembered the promise the ring signified. "You told me that this ring represents a promise that we'll wait for each other."
Sirius looked dumbstruck. He knew the ring was undeniably a Black family heirloom that was passed on to him but he lost at some point in Hogwarts. "I said that? If I did? How come I don't remember you?"
"It's complicated. They were protecting my identity so when I left, it seemed like I never existed." She wanted to touch his face, caress his lips and run her hands through his unruly long hair.
Sirius stared at the ring and then to her face, assessing her story.
Hermione decided to continue her story. "For a long time I was willing to wait, even though I know it's impossible. I waited. Believe me I waited even when I shouldn't have. But then I fell in love with another man. And the only thing keeping us from getting close is this ring." She tried to pull it off her finger but it didn't budge. "When I was ready to move on, I tried everything I knew to get the ring off but it wouldn't budge."
"It would only come off if I took it off from you." Sirius explained.
Hermione nodded. "That's why I'm here. I need you to take your ring back."
Her words seem highly improbably to Sirius. He stared hard at her before calling his friend. "Prongs!"
James paced quickly to get to his side. "What is it?"
"Stay with her for a while. I need to prove something for myself." Sirius pleaded with his eyes.
"Sure." James agreed.
"Thanks." Sirius took Hermione's hand into his and noticed how soft her skin was. He placed his fingers around the ring, twisted it to the left before gently pulling it off her finger.
Hermione watched as the ring slid off her finger. Her heart ached as she realized what the action symbolized. Sirius was taking his promise back. She knew it was for the best but her feelings for the man in front of her started to creep into her heart.
"Stay with him." Sirius ordered Hermione as he walked away from the couple. When he was sure he was out of hearing shot, he whispered a simple incantation to the ring. In an instant, a younger version of him appeared. "Bloody hell." He whispered to himself.
"To my future self. I know this may sound strange, but believe me, the girl, the woman who wore this ring is very important to you. You love her with all your being. If you had a chance, you would've gone anywhere just to be with her. But circumstances beyond your control prevented this from happening. Now, you've been given a second chance to be together. Please do try to work it out. You will surely regret letting her go a second time."
The ghostly figure fell silent. He was obviously in pain. It felt weird for Sirius to watch himself in so much pain.
"If you find it hard to believe me, please just kiss her. Your mind may have forgotten her, but I doubt that your heart has let her go. Unless of course you're already with somebody else." He paused, dreading the idea that his older self wasn't able to wait for her. "Kiss her. You owe it to yourself to at least kiss her."
And with those last words, Sirius' younger self disappeared. "Bloody hell." He repeated himself. "She was telling the truth."
Sirius took long strands to get to Hermione.
Hermione smiled eagerly at his arrival. She noticed the change in his demeanor. 'He believes me now.'
Sirius easily closed the gap between him and Hermione. He pulled her to him and captured her lips in a passionate kiss.
James was taken aback by his friend's actions. 'What's going on?'
Hermione couldn't control the tears that were flowing down her cheeks. She matched Sirius' passion and urgency. Her hands found their way into his hair. She allowed her right hand to tangle in his hair as her left had found his neck and began pulling him down to her.
Sirius let out a moan as he felt her tongue enter his mouth. 'Damn cocky witch.' He lifted her up making her lean on him, her legs wrap tightly around him. He released her mouth and started to trace soft kisses on her jaw line down to her neck and then further more to her collar bone. Her moans only made him bolder. Until he heard his friend clear his throat.
"Well now that you seem well acquainted, let me leave you two in peace." James handed Hermione's wand back to her.
Hermione let herself down from Sirius. She sheepishly took back her wand.
James winked at his friend and set off to his wife.
"I'm never going to hear the end of this." Sirius was grinning.
Hermione smiled back.
Sirius was determined to close the space between him and Hermione but she gently pushed him away. Sirius arched an eyebrow in question.
"I am in a committed relationship. I cannot do this anymore." Hermione recalled why she was here in the first place.
"I thought you came back for me?" Sirius moved his hand to caress her face.
Hermione stepped back. "It's too late Sirius. I found someone else." She could feel her heart break by denying her first love.
"We made a promise. I know were young but we knew what we were doing. I may have forgotten my memory of you but I still feel the same. I want to be with you."
Hermione's tears started to flow once more. "We've said our goodbyes before. Let's not make this any harder."
"Why didn't you come earlier, before you fell for somebody else?"
"We've talked about this. We're not meant to be together."
"Obviously I didn't think so. Why else would I give you my ring? If you came earlier, you wouldn't have fallen for another guy. We could be married by now."
Hermione shook her head. "But I didn't. I have to go back to him. He's waiting for me."
"Don't go. You can't just come here, kiss me, and just go. Stay, let me convince you to leave him for me." Sirius argued.
"I can't stay." She started to walk away.
Sirius easily overtook her. He grabbed her hand and placed a small item on her palm. "Take this."
Hermione stared at her hand and saw the ring. She shook her head. "I can't take it. It's yours."
"I gave it to you once. Keep it. It's meant to be with you." Sirius felt hopeful. As long as the ring is with her even if it's not on her finger, as long as it's in her possession it would remind her of him. He'll find her and then he'll make her realize that their meant to be together.
Hermione stared at him full of love. She bit her lower lip to try to stop the tears. She closed her palm and continued to walk away.
"Hermione! At least tell me your full name." He called after her.
She turned to him, "Hermione Granger." She disapparated leaving Sirius staring at the spot she disappeared from. "I promise you Hermione Granger, I will find you again." Sirius whispered in the wind.
Hermione crossed the portal back to her time. In the room Ginny was waiting for her. She held a photograph of Harry's parents at Godric's Hallow on one hand and a white gown on the other.
"You ready to get married? Have you gotten that tacky ring off?" The redhead asked carefully. "I mean, if you're going to wear a new ring…"
"He took if off but he insisted that I keep it."
"I'll keep it for you until you come back from your honeymoon." She put Hermione's wedding dress down.
"Thank you Gin." Hermione hugged the younger witch.
"No problem." She stepped away from her, "Just promise me you'll take care of him."
"I promise." Hermione hugged her once more. "I want you to know how sorry I am. I wished things turned out differently…"
"I'm fine, I'm okay with it. Just love him. That's all I ask." Ginny smiled with tears threatening to flow.
Hermione didn't even bother to draw her tears back.
"It's a good thing we have wonderful make up that can hide swollen eyes." Ginny teased.
Hermione smiled. "I won't let you down."
"I love you Hermione."
"I love your whole family and Harry."
"You should, because they feel the same way." Ginny took Hermione's gown and held it for her. "Let's get you ready. The ceremony's about to start."
Hermione cleared her mind and start to think about the man she's about to marry. 'Good bye Sirius. I'm moving on.'