A/N: This is an idea that has been drifting around in my head for a while. I have some ideas of where this is going, but I don't tend to plot things out very far I'd love to hear any complaints or suggestions.
This fic ignores HBP entirely!
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, but I promise to Obliviate them and put them back when I'm done.
Remus Lupin sat in the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place and considered the nature of the beast.
Most of the close-minded fear-mongering people who hated werewolves regardless of position or circumstance (such as those who had lost him his DADA job at Hogwarts a few years ago) were closer to the truth than he'd care to admit. A werewolf was always a werewolf. Remus was just as much a werewolf now when he was half-asleep and drinking coffee as he was under an unmedicated moon.
The sad thing was that he couldn't really remember not being this way. Turned as a child he had simply gone on with his life as best he could, and with a private need for self-control that would rival even Snape. Remus sighed and took another sip of his coffee. It's quite possible that he would never forgive Sirius for what he had done, or rather had tried to do. He snorted inelegantly: at one point in time he thought there could be nothing he would ever agree on with Severus Snape.
But puberty's a bitch, and that's even without a direct line inside to something that skipped a million years of evolution and had hotwired needs into the base of his spine. But he had come through relatively unscarred, and most people who knew him personally or professionally would profess him to be a gentle man. This is of course not counting the aforementioned dour potions master who would instead describe Lupin as being an 'insufferable waste of space'. Yet Lupin really was gentle – in the way of overweight people who hunch their shoulders in an effort to take up less space. Remus worked at it. He was always aware of the beast stirring within and so had to be on his guard.
It wasn't all bad. He was aware of the beast because the beast was aware, and he had no problems with hyper-sensitive senses for an extra edge when they needed it. They were in a war after all. And even if they weren't, who was anyone else to know that to a werewolf a stroll through a simple garden was perhaps one of the headiest experiences Remus could imagine? Of course, this wasn't a moonlit stroll through a garden – he wasn't entirely stupid. But the human-shaped version of a werewolf had its own pleasures. Pleasures he held close to his chest in case anyone should ever know and finger him for enjoying anything about who he was.
His abilities weren't constant – they tended to be stronger both sides of a full moon. Right now he was suffering the werewolf equivalent to PMS: his smell and hearing were almost as good as they would be changed, and impulse control was seriously lacking. Not to mention the serious introspection that was always triggered at such times he thought with a sigh. Pushing down his animal instincts was always harder at such a time although he did it automatically as a matter of course. Like Hermione Granger who had to work twice as hard to be accepted an equal to a pureblood, Remus Lupin worked to be more normal than normal.
Speak of the devil thought Remus as Hermione entered the kitchen and near-stumbled the time-honoured path straight to the kettle. She stretched to grab the sugar from a high shelf. The back of her pyjama top rode up, revealing a strip of smooth light skin and the hint of a spine.
Or more like, speak of an angel the beast within added in admiration. Well, his mind supplied the words and the animal provided the jolt in his lower stomach.
He tore his eyes off her back and into his coffee with a vengeance. Down boy.
Of course, he could look wherever he wanted or close his eyes altogether, but he couldn't stop the insidious scents of the woman across the room from infiltrating through his sensitive nostrils. His face twitched as he began to automatically dissect the layers. Vanilla: inexpensive perfume. Hard to tell with the preservative, but from a bottle that had been open for at least four months. Jasmine: wait, not Jasmine but some Muggle chemical alternative. Real coconut oil with it though… he could only assume some kind of body wash or shampoo. And then there, there it was. Sweat and skin and hair and breath… the real scent of Hermione Granger underneath the perfume and coffee she was now drinking, underneath the potion ingredients that she had been preparing yesterday (Alfodel and Clover his mind helpfully supplied), underneath the cotton of the clothes (purple dye from molluscs) she was wearing—
—Merlin's Beard, get yourself under control. Do not think of anything under Miss Granger's clothes.
Lupin fought to get his breathing steady as Snape stalked into the kitchen. He and Hermione had been working on various potions for the order for half the summer, but he ignored her in his sweep to get to the most important goal. Coffee. Remus' eyes flicked up at this. Distracted though he may be, it was unusual for Hermione not to politely greet anyone. He narrowed his eyes in thought as he observed her slumped form at the opposite end of the table. Coffee mug gripped tightly between both hands, face slightly flushed. There was something there too, in her scent. He breathed in slowly and carefully, now focused on breaking down what he had only been doing half-consciously before.
Dismissing the cover scents he had already identified, he dove for the base. She smelt older than her 17 years. Woman, the beast reminded him with another prod to the stomach. Although the werewolf within would identify any female between the ages of 14 and 100 as 'woman', this felt like something more. Although as far as articulation went his hindbrain could go no further than… REALLY woman.
"Hermione," he said as she began to shift uncomfortably in her chair. "Are you alright?" Her answer was cut off by sharp taps at the window by a messenger owl. Severus grunted and reached out a hand from where he was leaning against the bench to flip the catch and let it in. And it was then with the fresh gust of warm air from a London summer that blew Hermione's hair and scent directly towards him that gave him the realisation of what was wrong with her.
The girl – woman his stomach and lower growled back at him – was putting out enough pheromones to power Gryffindor tower's female dormitory. Alone. No wonder the beast within had been yammering at him from the moment she had entered the room. He had put it down to his usual dose of pre-lunar tension but it was obvious that the problem wasn't with him. And he hadn't been the only one to notice it. Woven in with Hermione's overwhelming presence in the room he could now sense something far more masculine.
Snape's eyes were focused on Hermione over the scrap of parchment delivered by the owl. Although he doesn't know why thought Remus with an internal howl. With the nose of a Potions master it was unsurprising Hermione's scent had captured his attention. He probably just thought there was something different about her today. And there was. He could feel his spine stiffening as he scented another man's arousal for a woman he had noticed first… He plonked his cup down with a groan. This was bad.
Hermione had shifted her attention from the table to him at the sound of his groan, while Severus had seemingly jumped from his scrutiny of her to the parchment in front of him, rearranging his robes as he did so. But Remus' awareness of Snape was nothing more than a bare periphery. Hermione's eyes were so dilated they were almost black, and they drew him in with a vengeance.
His eyes are so intense thought Hermione as she stared down the table at her former professor. No! She tore her eyes and thoughts away from him with an internal wrench. Do you want to take medication forever? You beat this and you beat it now! Unlike the increasingly suspicious man at the table and the fidgety professor at her back, Hermione knew exactly what had changed about her. Absolutely nothing. Which is to say, she was still the same person she was last year and the year before. She was not however, the same person she had been in her second year of schooling. The year she had taken a botched polyjuice potion and stained her life without even knowing it. The visible effects of the potion only lasted an hour a dose, although it could still be detected in a person's system for about a month afterwards. In her case though, her feline-botched potion had much longer-lasting consequences. As Madam Pomfrey had sat down to explain to her afterwards, she would evermore be part cat. This didn't seem to be too bad with first consideration: even before she knew she was a witch Hermione always had been a 'cat person'. Better reflexes, better night vision… how could that be bad? This misconception became blindingly obvious as Madam Pomfrey had carefully explained the condition and treatment.
As Hermione had been two days away from her first period when she had taken the faulty potion, the part of her the polyjuice had targeted was her reproductive system. This meant that instead of better reflexes instead she got a higher likelihood of multiple births. It meant that instead of night vision she instead got hormone surges whenever her body's cycle demanded that she go 'on heat'. Of course, Madam Pomfrey had said that they would tackle the issue of pregnancy when they got there and arranged a regular hormonal suppressing potion before sealing away her affliction in the filing shelves she used for student medical records.
She had taken her potion regularly for the past four years, but as with many dangerous things over time she had grown to think of it as less of a necessity and more of an annoyance. She often thought that one of the reasons that she was never attracted to any of the boys at school was the potion playing around with her system. Although it had made puberty a lot easier than it might otherwise have been. She had never been given to the hysteric fits of crying Lavender had, or the tempter tantrums that Ginny (a true Weasley) had thrown. She had maintained a mainly cool head and looked upon her dorm-mates with a measure of disdain.
But with typical Gryffindor stubbornness she had decided this was the summer to see if she could face down her affliction – without the aid of a nasty-flavoured brew that she had always explained away to her friends as being a 'vitamin supplement'. She had stopped her doses a month ago as a personal experiment to see whether the outcomes were as bad as Madam Pomfrey had predicted. And until a few nights ago she had been feeling entirely confident: she had been keeping a notebook of her symptoms, but it had been nothing she couldn't handle. There had been some moodiness, but with staying in a secret house with a secret order in the middle of a war it was hardly noticeable. Especially with the background atmosphere of secrecy and Harry's ever-present irritability.
Then the feelings had started.
It began with a need for touch. She didn't notice it at first: Hermione always had been a very tactile person and thought nothing of giving or receiving hugs. But when Ron starts complaining that she wouldn't leave him alone… well if it's not one of the seven signs of the apocalypse it was still definitely time to make an entry in her notebook.
Even after identifying the behaviour it was still near impossible to stop it. She had gotten thrown out of the makeshift laboratory by Professor Snape yesterday for "not having the sense she was born with… if she was born with any." She couldn't help it; it was near-impossible not to keep crowding close to him while they were working. Blissfully she could say that the previous night had not been plagued with the same dreams that had begun cropping up since she had stopped her medication. No, instead she had instead barely slept at all. The sheets had felt too hot and clingy, and she was full of some unknown energy that even two hundred sit-ups couldn't banish. Even the fact she had considered sit-ups was worrying: She was after all Hermione Granger, Queen-Of-The-Unathletic.
Even with these worrying developments she was still intent on seeing this through to its natural end. If she could control it now it meant she would be free from dependence forever. It was a kind of 'cold turkey' approach, but she was sure that she could manage it. Or at least, she had been sure she could manage it. But now with Lupin's heavy gaze still on her and Professor Snape's commanding presence behind her she felt itchy underneath her skin. At the very least there were only four males in the house: the two men in the room with her and Harry and Ron. All of which she could mostly ignore except for Snape… but he wouldn't be too hard to irritate into firing her from her potion-assisting duties. Besides, two platonic friends and two professors (she still had a difficult time not calling Remus sir) shouldn't be that hard to avoid projecting her desires onto. She could ride out the summer in her room or in the library working through this on her own.
She was broken from her reverie when Lupin broke the not-entirely-comfortable silence in the room. "What does the letter say Severus?"
There was a deep rumble from behind her. "The rest of the Weasley's are coming today. Everyone except Percy for obvious reasons."
Everyone but Percy? "You mean Bill and Charlie and the twins are coming?" she squeaked in alarm.
"Last time I checked Miss Granger, they were part of the Weasley family. You would do well to listen when other people talk." With that snide comment he brushed past to exit the room, eliciting a gasp from Hermione when his cloak touched her back.
This was going to be a lot harder than she thought.