Everything Happens For a Reason
Disclaimer- I don't own any of it…It all belongs to J.K. Rowling!
Chapter 1- The Attack
A blood-curdling scream pierces the night air as the snarling beast lunges towards its prey. The large creature tackles the victim to the ground with little effort and the sickly sweet stench of blood meets its snout as it dips its head towards the prey.
The beast wants to savor this treat, but the victim struggles and cries out in a frantic effort to escape. The beast growls low in its throat before sinking its teeth into the flawless skin of the victim's shoulder.
The victim immediately ceases all struggles and the beast lifts its head slightly, savoring the taste of blood as its tongue licks the fresh wound.
A sudden chill causes the beast to lift its head completely. It looks around at its surroundings and notices the sky beyond the forest canopy is becoming lighter. With the grace of wolf, it swiftly takes off for parts unknown.
Some distance away, a lone wolf is resting in front of a fire in small cottage outside of London. As if startled by some unheard noise, the wolf jumps to its feet and sniffs the air in every direction.
The agitated wolf started pacing the small room that it was apparently locked in, occasionally stopping to sniff the air again. After numerous turns around the room, the wolf finally stopped its pacing and turned toward the only window in the room. The dark night sky was beginning to lighten with the approaching sunrise.
As soon as the sun peaked over the horizon, the wolf fell to the ground and convulsed. In mere minutes, a naked man was visible in the spot where the wolf fell.
The man had a head full of sandy brown hair that was liberally streaked with gray and was rather thin and pale. He proceeded to lie on the ground as if only barely alive for several hours before stretching and standing.
He quickly moved out of the room with the fire and into a bedroom down the hall. He dressed hurriedly and swiftly disapparated.
Several hundred miles away, Remus Lupin appeared at the front door of The Burrow.
"Good morning, Remus!" Arthur Weasley called cheerfully from the window near the front door. "Come on in."
Remus opened the door and entered the house to find the kitchen empty except for Arthur and Molly Weasley. The children must still be asleep, he thought
"What brings you to The Burrow so early this morning, Remus?" Arthur asked as his wife ushered the younger man to a seat at the table. The matron of the house immediately set about conjuring some food for Remus.
Remus smiled his thanks as Molly set the conjured food in front of him before turning to answer Arthur's question. "I was planning on stopping by later in the day, but I had a very eerie feeling before I transformed back into a human very early this morning. I'm not sure what it meant, but I just thought it best to pop over and make sure everything is in order."
Arthur nodded at the younger man while Molly looked worried and started bustling nervously around the kitchen. "Calm down, dear," Arthur said as he chuckled at his wife's behavior before turning back to Remus. "I dare say, everyone is fine here, nothing out of the ordinary."
Remus smiled half-heartedly at his friend, unable to shake the feeling that something was amiss. If only he could name what it was, exactly, that was a bit off.
Molly was still bustling about nervously as she watched the two men make small talk. Now that Remus mentioned it, she could not help but feel that all was not well. Perhaps I ought to go check on the children, she thought as she stopped her frantic pacing.
"Arthur, I am just going to run up and check on the children. Surely it would not hurt to just check, right?"
The two men watched as she hurried up the stairs to check on the children. It was summer break, so the youngest Weasley children were there, as well as their friends, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter.
Moments later, the woman came hurtling down the stairs, her voice cracking as she cried out, "Hermione is gone!"
His breath grew ragged as he sprinted through the forest. He knew something was wrong. He let his instincts lead him as he ran, for once thankful for his animalistic senses.
Remus ran and ran before finally picking up a scent. Though the scent did nothing to lessen his worries…it was the scent of blood.
He let his nose lead him in the right direction. The stench of blood became strong when he rounded a group and he knew he found what he was looking for.
Hermione Granger was unconscious and sprawled on the forest floor, her clothing torn in places, her body marred with cuts and bruises. She was covered in blood, and without even checking, he knew it was hers.
Remus was so shocked at the sight of this beautiful young woman in such a state that he was frozen in place for several minutes. The sound of a twig snapping brought him into action and he bent down to scoop the young woman up in his arms and stood intending to disapparate. A voice stopped him before he could fully stand up.
"You found her, Remus." It was more of a statement than a question, but he nodded as he faced the speaker.
"She must have been attacked by something in the forest last night, Arthur," Remus said sadly. He glanced down at the broken girl in his arms before continuing. "What was she doing out here?"
Arthur Weasley shook his head as he stared at an unconscious Hermione, all traces of the jolly spark that was visible in his eyes earlier was long gone. "I truly do not know. I will ask Ginny is she has any idea why Hermione would have been out here, but we may just have to until she wakes to know the truth."
Remus nodded absently and tightened his hold on the young woman as he thought about what could have possibly happened last night. It was a few moments before he realized that Arthur was speaking again.
"You should get her to St. Mungos before she loses any more blood."
Remus shook his head as he said, "I can't take her to St. Mungos. She was probably attacked by some creature of the forest and they will put her in quarantine until they figure out what it was that did this to her. Merlin only knows what would happen to her after that."
"Where do you plan to take her then, Remus?"
Remus thought about the possible places that he could take Hermione. It needed to be somewhere quiet and private, a place where he could trust the mediwitch or mediwizard to treat her with care and not just as some sick witch. Only one place came to mind.
"I am going to take her to the Hogwarts infirmary. Madame Pomfrey will surely take better care of her than anyone at St. Mungos would."
Arthur nodded. "I will make Albus aware of the situation."
"Thanks, Arthur. I will keep you aware of any changes in her condition," Remus said with finality as he closed his eyes and disapparated.
"Poppy!" Remus shouted as he burst into the hospital wing with Hermione in his arms. When the mediwitch did not appear, he shouted again, louder this time. "POPPY!"
The mediwitch came bustling out of her office as Remus settled Hermione's unconscious form on the nearest bed. "Remus Lupin, what is all this shouting about?"
Remus stood up to answer the mediwitch, but Poppy was able to see the form on the bed when he stood up and she immediately set to work. "My goodness, out of the way, Remus! What happened to her?"
"I don't know. I found her like that in the woods near the Weasley's this morning," Remus answered as he watched the mediwitch check Hermione's wounds.
He stood back as Poppy administered various healing potions and performed numerous healing spells. He watched as the blood was cleaned off her porcelain skin and the minor cuts disappeared.
He stared as Poppy tried to treat the rather deep wound on Hermione's shoulder, but nothing seemed to be working on that particular wound. This worried him since he had no idea what caused that wound.
"She's lost a great deal of blood, Remus," Poppy said sadly. "And I don't know why none of my spells or potions is working on this wound. I will have to bandage it the muggle way."
Remus did not say a word as Poppy bandaged the wound and he watched as the dressing quickly became stained with her blood. This is not good, he thought. What in bloody hell happened out there last night?
Poppy's voice broke through his thoughts as she finished her treatments. "She has a rough time ahead of her. She lost a great deal of blood, so she will need to take several doses of blood-replenishing potion. I don't know what caused that wound, so I can't treat it properly. It will continue to bleed until I can figure out what happened."
"Arthur Weasley is working on finding out what she was doing out in the woods last night. I think only Hermione will be able to tell us exactly what happened," Remus said, his voice laden with sadness and worry. "I am going to stay with her, Poppy, if that is alright with you?"
Poppy flashed him a comforting smile and nodded as she conjured a wall of curtains before bustling off toward her office.
Remus conjured a soft chair and set it close to Hermione's bed. He sat down and gently grasped one of her hands in his own as he watched her.
"Merlin, 'Mione, what happened?" He voiced the question even though he knew that she could not answer at the moment. It just made him feel better to speak to her, even if she was unconscious.
"I knew something was wrong. I felt it early this morning, when I was still a wolf. I don't know how, but I just knew."
He reached out with his free hand and brushed a few unruly curls away from her face. She looked so peaceful lying there, but he knew that she was anything but. He had no doubt that she would be in terrible pain when she woke, if she woke. No one knew what to expect.
"Please be okay. Please. I couldn't bear it if…" His voice broke as he thought about her never waking. "There are so many things you haven't seen, haven't done, so many things that I never had the courage to tell you."
He shook the dismal thoughts away as he went on to tell her sleeping form about his summer and whatever else he could think of to tell her. He never noticed the old man watching from just beyond the curtain as he lost himself in stories of his youth.