Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and places are the property of J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. and any other entity who has legal claim to the Harry Potter universe. No insult or injury is intended in the writing and publishing of this fanfiction, nor is any money being made.

Author's Note: Moon Phase is a series of installments written in response to the Challenge topics presented on the Live Journal community 30minutefics. The first installment begins with Challenge #26, and then jumps to Challenge #45 where it will continue in sequential order. Each installment (chapter) will be updated as the owners of 30minutefics present the new challenge every Sunday.

Third Installment

Challenge #46: Lust

Title: Curiosity kills the cat

Rating: PG

Pairing: Remus/Hermione

Completed: 35 minutes with some editing

Installment summary – Hermione sticks her hand where she shouldn't.

Mum would be horrified if she witnessed my behaviour when the owl delivered Remus' note. Another meeting. A midnight ride. It was intriguing, I'll admit, and I suppose I never really considered him as mysterious. So how could I say no?

After realizing what the midnight ride entailed, I regretted it. But just for a moment. I'm not exactly fond of brooms or heights but there he stood, ever so polite, dressed for the cold in heavy robes. I know he caught the look on my face at first sight of that broom because his face stiffened and he tried to push the thing behind his back.

"It's just a thought, Hermione. We can do something else, if you'd prefer."

The tone of his voice was still friendly, but I could hear the disappointment, and I was so looking forward to seeing him. He was worth a scary broom ride. I just intended to keep my eyes shut the entire time we were up in the air.

It really wasn't so bad. Actually, it was quite wonderful. I chose to ride behind him and am certain I broke a rib or two because I held onto him so tightly. Thank Merlin, he kept it sedate. Sorry to say but while his idea of showing me the city lights at night from an aerial view was a good one, I didn't pay much attention. When I wasn't smothering the urge to screech, I spent the time wondering what he felt like beneath the layers of robes and street clothing.

I could feel muscles tense and shift beneath my arms and hands. Remus Lupin was lean, maybe a little too thin, but I rather like that. And he still carries that amazing scent. I'll admit that burying my face in his back had less to do with trying to block out the frightening sight of being far too high in the air and more to do with just breathing him in and not being obvious about it.

When we landed, I nearly fell off the broom, but he saved me from a spill, laughing as I stumbled against him and nearly pitched us both into the dirt. He's lovely when he laughs. That worn look disappears and he shrugs off the weight of life. I laughed with him, but it was forced. If I didn't laugh, I would have just stood there ogling him, looking like a complete silly cow.

I accepted his invitation to return to his home for tea but refused to mount the broom again. Apparation is a fine thing, indeed. My impression of Remus' house was that it was like him. Warm, inviting, a little shabby around the edges, but promising something intimate and loving. It held secrets, but not threatening ones. Only ones that made you think of opening presents at Christmas or birthdays, certain that what you'll find inside will make you smile and bring you joy.

He helped me with my robes, always the gentleman. And I would swear it wasn't my imagination that he leaned closer and touched my hair. Oh, what kingdom would I not have sold to have the courage to turn around and kiss him. A fat lot of good all that cleverness did me then. A touch of charm or a provocative smile might have served me better. Oh well, what God giveth, God taketh away. At least, I think that's the verse.

I'm sure my blush turned me redder than the stripes of a Gryffindor tie, but if he noticed, Remus was too polite to say anything and only offered me a seat wherever I chose. I chose the couch and prayed he wouldn't take the chair. When he went to the kitchen to brew the tea, I stared around me, taking in the room with its haphazard comfort. Something caught my eye in an unobtrusive corner of the room and I rose to take a look. It was a pensieve and swirled with the silvery waters of memories.

Curiosity is said to kill cats. And ruin the hopes of foolish women. One would think that as I grew older, I would learn. Knowledge doesn't always equate to wisdom. I can't really say why my common sense chose to desert me at that moment, but I had the unaccountable urge to know what rested in that pensieve. Thoughts of me, maybe? It was silly and stupid and I could scream with the idiocy of my actions.

The memories within the bowl had nothing to do with me at all. They were horrible, inhuman, primal and savage. Sometimes they were just flashes of thought, of pain and a twisting body that struggled to retain a mind of logic and reason. A man transformed into a beast. Not just an animal, but a thing of violence and deadly force. The eyes of the creature were distant, lit with something brutal and I could feel every urge in the rippling fur of its body as it snarled and howled.

KILL!

I think my nose began to bleed then.

KILL!

And I gasped and wanted to run as I could feel its desperate craving for blood and the need to chase down prey and rend it apart.

KILL!

I didn't hear myself cry out, but someone else did and I was abruptly jerked back into reality by the feel of a hand on my shoulder. I was crying and bleeding and cried even harder at the look on Remus' face.

Utter defeat. Complete disappointment. Disgust.

Brilliant, Hermione. Bloody brilliant. What will you do for an encore?

Completed 35 minutes – small amount of editing.