It Was Only a Kiss
Author's Note: looks around sheepishly erm sorry for taking awhile to update I wasn't quite sure where I was going with this, but hopefully now thats settled. This chapter is sort of boring I think, but its necessary for a few reasons, so bare with me. Thank you all so much for the reviews they were tremendously helpful in motivating me to continue this. Hopefully it all goes well and if you have any suggestions go ahead and share becuase while I love this story it seems to give me a painful amount of writer's block.
Disclaimer: I Don't own Harry Potter. Surprised? If I did I certainly wouldn't be writing fanfiction, I'd be somewhere warm and tropical right now!
Hermione Granger sat in the teacher's lounge of Hogwarts gazing into the fire with a certain air of disregard to her surroundings. Her fellow professors had noticed her sudden detachment in the past two days and were slightly worried. She normally went out on Tuesday nights with Professor Sinistra, McGonnagal, and Sprout, but tonight she had "other plans", which all three woman found highly unlikely since Hermione was hardly the social type, and she had never missed their outing yet. Even Severus Snape, who still had little fondness toward the outspoken and overly-intelligent Gryffindor, couldn't help but be a little concerned by her sudden change of personality. He went as far to check her for the Imperius, claiming fumes had gotten loose from one of his potions classes, and he was checking everyone, to make sure they hadn't been affected by the potentially dangerous brew.
Most of them felt it was probably due to the rather awful prophetic dream made by Luna Lovegood, or perhaps even the sudden wedding between two of her closest friends. None of them knew the truth though. They couldn't even begin to guess.
Tonight she had a date with Remus Lupin. It still sounded strange to her. She had always admired him as a strong, brave, and caring person, but had never thought of him in a realistic romantic way. It was funny that now that she knew his flaws, and had seen that he was truly human, vulnerable, and imperfect like herself that she could truly find herself attached to him. It was his flaws that made her fall for him; it was their imperfections that drew them together. She imagined he understood so much of how she felt. The burden of being the strong one, the responsible one, it was so much to deal with sometimes. She wasn't nearly as perfect as she let on, and was terribly afraid of failing.
He had seen her darker side, the Hermione she kept hidden away from everyone else. She hadn't meant for him to, but when he did he accepted it. He understood it; he had his own darker side after all. It made her laugh to think back on their last meet up in the garden. If any of the others had seen them, they would've sent them off to St. Mungo's incurably insane ward.
She found herself thinking about him more and more. She was barely able to concentrate when she taught, Ginny had given her a questioning look during class, and she had ran out at the end before she had a chance to confront her, somehow she still didn't want to tell Ginny. If her and Harry were allowed to keep big secrets then she should be allowed to too. Her mind told her this wasn't fair, but she didn't care about what was fair anymore, what had being fair gotten her anyhow, what had being fair gotten any of them? They were losing the war because they played fair, they only used the unforgivable curses in self-defense, and what good did that do? Why were they only allowed to hurt them if they struck first, they would never gain an advantage playing fair.
She shook the thought out of her head. When had she started think like that? She sighed, stress, must be all the stress. The pressure of it all was finally driving her insane, making her think like a Slytherin. "Or perhaps it has opened your eyes, made you finally see the world for what it is." A voice in her mind replied. She rubbed her temples; maybe tonight she'd get something a little stronger than tea.
Remus Lupin was wearing a faded and worn out pair of muggle jeans and a plain white collared shirt. The jeans were his own that he wore when he went around the muggle world, but the shirt he had bought for tonight. He didn't have much money in his vault at Gringotts, but the exchange rate was high now, and he got plenty of muggle money in exchange for one sickle. He had enough for the shirt, a few drinks, and maybe some food. He was excited and nervous for tonight, he hadn't been on a real date in a long time. It was funny to think who it was with, Hermione Granger. An ex-student, a girl half his age, a brilliant and incredibly amazing woman who he had never imagined himself with in a romantic way until two days ago.
Somehow he still had that fear, the fear that had prevented him from letting others get close to him, his condition. Though he should've known that his lycanthropy wasn't an issue with her, after all she had kept it a secret for an entire year not so long ago; not even telling her closest friends. It was that kind of understanding that made her different from the rest. Though it might've just been the fact that she was a muggle born, raised in a world where prejudices toward half-breeds didn't exist. He rubbed his temples, he didn't need to think about this now, it wasn't even an issue yet, sure in, he looked at the calendar, one week and three days it would be, but until then…
Hermione sat at the kitchen table of her home awaiting Remus to pick her up. She had actually gotten all dressed up, well at least for her. She wore a coral colored skirt that flowed to her knees and a white tanktop with a neck that was a diagonal turtleneck and buttoned trendily at the left collar. She charmed her hair into tame manageable waves; her look could be described as romantic. This was one of her first real dates…actually it was her first real date. Sure she had gone to the dances with a date before, but they had never taken her anywhere. This was so exciting, she tapped a foot nervously and glanced continuously out the window, she didn't even notice when her mother entered the room.
"Got a hot date tonight?" she asked jokingly. When her daughter didn't reply but simply kept staring out the window, Mrs. Granger nearly fainted. "You're going on a date and you didn't even tell me! Hermione, spill the details!" her mothers said with giddy excitement.
Hermione thought with mild amusement how funny it would be to tell her mother the whole truth. "He's a wizard." She said evasively.
"And…what's he like?" her mother replied merrily.
"He has soft brown hair, warm amber eyes, and is the kindest, most noble, and compassionate man I know." Hermione said dreamily.
"Sounds like love to me!" her mother, said happily. "My baby is growing up."
Hermione saw a red motorcycle pull up. Her jaw dropped, she never imagined him the type. He looked gorgeous though, his outfit was perfect, his hair was all wind swept, this was so…wonderful. She walked out to meet him by the door, she heard her mother calling "Good Luck"
"Hello Remus." Hermione said with sudden shyness, trust her to not be nervous all day then be overwhelmed with it the moment he arrives.
"Hey Hermione…I hope you don't mind riding behind me, I don't actually have a car." He said with slight embarrassment.
"No this is great, I didn't know you had one of these." She said with admiration.
"It was Sirius'." He stated plainly shrugging. "I like it, but it reminds me too much of him, that's why I don't ride it much."
"Oh I see…well." She thought desperately for a new subject, she couldn't let conversation go downward this quickly. Unfortunately her social skills weren't quite even with her intellectual ones and she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. "I tied the school record for NEWTS."
Remus laughed warmly. "Well you beat me by one then, I was second, ranked beneath Tom Riddle, I believe." He said the name darkly.
She felt like slapping herself. Great now that were talking about Voldemort, lovely, well no one ever called her a brilliant conversationalist. She got on the bike behind him and he zipped off as soon as she had a good grip around his waist. Fortunately the motorcycle made enough noise to drown out awkward conversation.
The drive into London was peaceful. The gentle wind washed around the pair like cool kisses in the warm air. Hermione vaguely realized her hair was undoubtedly ruined but she didn't quite care. The serenity she felt right now, with her arms around his waist, her cheek rested on his back, and it was indescribably perfect. She hardly noticed as he slowed in front of the café still caught in rapture from the ride.
"We're here…"he turned whispering softly into her ear, his breath was like hot steam.
"Yes…we are…" Hermione whispered, their eyes locked. Neither moved for what seemed like the longest time. Then he gently pressed his lips to hers in a tender kiss; she stroked his cheek entranced by his skin. It was like the finest silk in some places, then rough and scarred in others. As her finger traced over a particularly nasty and seemingly newer scar he flinched slightly. "I'm sorry." She said softly. "I didn't mean…"
"No it's quite all right…it's just…" he sighed and laughed slightly. "You know…you know what I am and yet…" he smiled.
"And yet I don't care." She finished smiling slightly. "And trust me Remus Lupin, what you are couldn't matter less to me. What is important to me is who you are."
"You're wise beyond your years Hermione." He said quietly. "I know many respected witches and wizards five times your age that can't grasp that concept. I can hardly grasp it about myself…" he muttered.
She frowned; they were on unpleasant topics again. "Why don't we get some coffee?" she suggested weakly finally.
From the moment they entered the café things improved. In fact things were going incredibly well. They both had a simple coffee. He took his black with cream she took hers with one lump of sugar. They sipped their drinks and talked about their favorite books, a subject that they shared a great deal of common ground in. In the wizarding world both of their favorite books was Hogwarts a History, though Remus said it was a close toss up with Gilderoy Lockhart's Wandering With Werewolves, his very favorite comedy. In Muggle books they found their taste differed. Hermione's favorite was Jane Eyre, Remus argued the entire book was depressing to the point of near intolerability.
"Well what's your favorite then?" she huffed holding her child in her palm her elbow resting lazily on the table.
Remus sipped his coffee then smirked slightly, "My favorite piece of Muggle literature is a drama actually."
"Which one?" she said slightly curious.
"Hamlet." He said plainly. She laughed out loud. "What?" he said with mock offense.
"Nothing…it's just you called mine depressing, but practically everyone dies in Hamlet." She said giggling. He reached over and mussed up her hair. She pouted with her lower lip. He couldn't help but smile. He held her hands gently smiling at her, her smiling back. This was the perfect moment. And like all perfect moments it had to end. Years later Hermione would reflect that that moment had been a turning point in her life. A singular instance of happiness she could call upon in the turbulent times ahead of her to shield her from all of the hurt.
"Remus…Hermione…" An unfamiliar woman with plain brown hair in a ponytail and dark gray eyes said in a low voice.
"Excuse me?" Hermione said some what perplexed.
"Tonks…" Remus whispered. He gazed intently at her. Something was terribly wrong; her eyes were outlined in red and were puffy like she had been crying, her voice sounded hoarse.
"You need to get to Headquarters immediately." She said turning towards the door. Hermione tried to ask her what was wrong but she apparated the moment she was out of sight from Muggles.
"I don't like this…" Hermione said shakily. She had a horrible feeling rising in her chest and her skin felt painfully prickly with fear. Remus kissed her forehead trying to calm her but it only made it worse. She could tell even he was afraid.
"Listen I have to drive until we're out of heavily muggle populated areas then I can turn the invisibility booster on this thing on and I can fly and make it there quickly. You can apparate if you want though. Trust me I'd understand.
"No I can ride with you…besides I need time to calm down before I go in there." She said shakily. He gripped her hand and kissed it.
"Everything will be fine…everything will be fine." He repeated as if trying to reassure himself. They rode in complete silence. When Hermione finally calmed down a little she realized Tonks knew that she was seeing Remus now, she didn't mind though. The sick feeling in her stomach hadn't left and as she saw Remus begin to hover lower and drive towards Grimmauld Place it worsened. By the time he parked and they approached the door the feeling a fear had multiplied by a hundred and she felt her heart racing.
As they entered they immediately noticed something was horribly wrong. Aside from the many somber and tear stained faces there was someone missing from the table. The man who had always kept them together, the founder of the Order, the source of their strength and hope; Albus Dumbledore was gone.