Not for the weak-hearted.
Hermione let the sounds of the frying pan wash over her. It had been a tiring day, and she stretched out, sighing in content as several bones popped in her back. She turned down the fire of the stove, and smiled when a whiff of the delicious smell wafted to her nose.
"Lovely." She said.
She stiffened. The hairs on her neck stood on end and her heart began to race. She wrapped her fingers around her wand, tucked into the sleeve of her robe. Was there a point in turning out the lights? She would be found just by the smell of food that the robes she wore had absorbed and were emitting.
"Nox." Anything was better than nothing.
She snorted. He probably saw better in the dark than in the light. She stood stock still, not wanting to alert him to her presence. Her eyes flickered to the blinded windows. She did not need to see the outside world to know that it was dusk, and soon, the full moon would rise.
She felt it. His presence was overwhelming. In a split second, she had whirled around, and her wand was directed at his throat.
"I felt the draft when you opened the front door." Hermione said, demonstrating her knowledge out of pure habit.
"My mistake. It won't happen again."
Hermione tightened her grip on the wand. Fear was pulsing through her veins.
"What are you doing here, Remus? You're supposed to be—"
"Hidden away in the Forbidden Forest to make sure I don't transform. I know."
Remus' eyes had a strange light to them, and Hermione felt something freeze in her heart.
"Why are you so tense, Hermione?"
"Have you taken your potion, Remus?"
He took a step forwards, and Hermione blundered backwards until her back had hit the counter behind her.
"You don't need to be frightened of me." He whispered, reaching out to pluck the wand from her hand.
His voice had become low, sounding almost like a growl. With one hand, he snapped her wand in half, and his eyes began to glow in the dark. His lips were pulled back in a half-smile, half-sneer.
Dear Merlin. Not again… Hermione ducked around him, deftly dodging his swipe at her, before running into the living room, towards the exit. The anti-apparition wards, created so that no one could enter, was now preventing her escape.
Hermione cursed her own stupidity. Why was it that as she grew older, she was finding it harder and harder to learn from her mistakes? Again, she realised that her work as a Healer was distracting her from functioning properly as a soldier.
She shrieked as strong arms caught her around the waist and stopped her escape. Without delay, a fist with almost superhuman strength came seemingly out of nowhere and made contact with the side of her face. She was flung sideways into the wall headfirst.
She heard a sickening thud as her head collided against the wall and she slid onto the floor, the room becoming unfocused.
His towering figure was even more horrifying in the dark as she looked up at him, quailing. His arm pulled back in agonising slow motion to somewhere above his head, ready to come crashing down upon the small curled up woman lying on the floor.
"Remus, don't do this… you…" She choked on the words. "Please, Remus."
She squeezed her eyes shut, preparing for the blows. This was the fourth occurance during the three years they had been together that he was being physically violent with her. It was always during the period of the full moon, and usually because the wolf side of his personality had overpowered the Wolfsbane.
The blow never came. There was a very long period of silence. She opened her eyes. He was still there. Hermione curled up tighter. He reached for her face and caressed her cheek gently.
She flinched at the contact, and his hand withdrew.
"Why don't you love me, Hermione?" He whispered.
Hermione felt the tears fall. "I did, Remus. I loved you so much."
His eyes narrowed at her. "And the use of the past tense?"
"You wouldn't hurt me if you loved me!" Hermione said.
She sprang out of her corner and made another attempt to escape, but he caught her again, slamming her face down onto the floor.
"Don't you understand that we can never be together if we aren't the same kind?" Remus growled, increasing the pressure on her back.
Her ribs complained and she took great gasps of air.
"Remus, please… you're not thinking straight." She squeaked.
"Oh I think I am." He said. "You don't love me. You pity me. I'm a charity case for you. You never loved me."
"Oh God Remus! Listen to yourself!" Hermione wailed. "How can you blame me for being frightened when you turn violent on me when the full moon comes?"
"The wolf is part of me, Hermione!" He roared. "If you cannot accept the wolf, you cannot accept me!"
"You are two separate entities, Remus!" Hermione said, trying to reason with him. "The wolf does not care for what you care for. If you didn't have a wolf side, you wouldn't be doing this to me. It's a parasitic personality that's trying to take away everything you care about!"
Remus fell silent. For a moment, Hermione was sure she had persuaded him. He rolled her onto her back, and she realised her mistake. He had a look of scorn on his face.
"You aren't as clever as I thought you were." He hissed.
"Do you love me, Remus?" Hermione asked, trembling. "If you love me, you'll let me go. I'll see you in the morning, and everything will be f—"
"I will still be the old werewolf and you will be the beautiful young woman who helped conquer Voldemort." Remus laughed. "We don't belong together. Everyone says it. A werewolf can only ever be with another outcast."
"You shouldn't listen to what other people say, Remus." Hermione said. "All that matters is us."
"You mean you." He said.
Hermione was literally numb with fear. The sky was darkening at a frighteningly rapid rate, and Remus looked murderous.
"I still love you Remus." Hermione choked out.
He laughed. "No you don't!"
"You're lying." He snarled. "You've ignored my owls, you haven't come to see me in the last fortnight at all."
"I had exams!" Hermione said. "Surely you can understand that I needed to concentrate!"
"But you could have allowed me to see you at least!" His fingers dug painfully into her shoulders. "You've placed up wards especially to repel me, darling."
Words failed Hermione. His eyes bore into hers.
"You are mine." He hissed.
His hand pressed against her throat while the other ripped her robes. She struggled against him, using whatever she could, but he had pinned her wrists and ankles to the floor with a simple spell and she was defenseless against him.
She slumped, whimpering as his hands scraped their way down her bared torso, bruising her. His movements caused her immense pain. He mauled her mouth violently, biting hard on her lips and drawing blood as she cried against his lips.
His grin spread.
"You like this."
"No. Remus. Don't do this. Don't." She gasped.
He unzipped his trousers. Hermione screamed. Why had she not thought of it earlier? She screamed as he penetrated her. She screamed when she looked into his eyes and saw the wolf gazing back at her. She screamed as his bones creaked and he morphed above her, as he grew and grew beyond even her capability to accommodate him.
He continued to rape her, his part-wolf-part-human brain still smothered by lust. Hermione was staring at the wolf now. The last traces of Remus were long gone. He had surpassed her pain threshold, and she was screaming her throat raw.
Not once did it occur to her that he had silenced the area.
He howled as he finished, causing her whole body to shudder with the force of it. Her screams died out and she could only lie there, sprawled on the floor gazing blankly at the creature as it pulled out of her.
This had never happened before. She had always been able to convince him to take his potion finally, she had always been able to see through the wolf and love Remus for who he really was.
The wolf had been too powerful tonight, but Remus had helped in the process. He had truly wanted to rape her.
Hermione let out a sob. The wolf was circling her now. She was still held by the magic tying her to the floor.
What Remus had done.
"Remus… Remus… If you can still hear me…" Hermione sobbed. "Make it quick. Don't draw it out. If you care at all for me…"
She closed her eyes, forcing her shudders to subside. She had not envisioned things to end like this. She felt her stomach make a heave, and she screamed as something burst inside of her. She felt like she had just urinated.
Perhaps she had.
Remus woke the next day with a pounding headache and the stale coppery taste of blood in his mouth. He licked his lower lip. He must have bitten himself hard.
He wondered what day it was as he surveyed the room. Hermione wasn't in bed. He groaned and stood up. He stumbled to the bathroom and surveyed himself. His heart leapt to his throat and he swallowed. He was covered in blood. Even his hair was matted with it.
"Dear Merlin." He breathed.
He walked shaking out of the bathroom, feeling numb. Something had happened last night. He racked his brains to remember. He could not remember anything after leaving work yesterday afternoon, wishing that he did not have to suffer Snape's taunts when he went to retrieve the Wolfsbane potion.
The desk caught his eye. Normally, Hermione had everything cleared from the desktop and locked in the drawers, but papers and books were spread haphazardly across the desk and even on the floor. He had never known Hermione to leave anything in a messy state. He approached the desk and felt the world stop turning. Clearly written in Hermione's neat cursive across the top of a twenty-foot scroll, heaped on the corner of the desk, was the title.PhD. Thesis: A cure for Lycanthropy
He picked up the parchment with his crimson stained hands and began to read. He read about the reason for the project, all the different experiments she had carried out… he skipped several feet until he reached the conclusion.
It is with great trepidation and excitement that I present to the public these results. The theory is sound and the 90 success rate is a remarkable achievement. I must offer my condolences to the loved-ones of those volunteers who had not survived some of my earlier testings. It is from them that I had finally found the solution, and I hope that those who are current sufferers will be able to salvage whatever future they may have, and grow to become their own person, without curse or parasite. Because, lycanthropy is merely caused by a magical parasite transferred from certain wolf species to humans. It was this breakthrough, that enabled me to produce the final potion.
However, my greatest thanks go to my teachers at Hogwarts, who nurtured me to this stage, my friends, who supported me when I was frustrated and nearly gave up, Professor Severus Snape, who has been apprenticing me and has been the most enlightening of my educators, Mediwizard Jenkins for allowing me to continue my Healing studies alongside my apprenticeship. And finally, the most important of all, I thank Remus Lupin for inspiring me with this project, and inadvertently been my greatest source of encouragement, since I had kept my apprentice status secret from him. I am dedicating this project to him, not just as a victim of lycanthropy, but as the love of my life.
Remus' mouth hung open in shock. Hermione had been prepared to declare her love for him publicly. He looked at the date. It was only two days' old. He dropped the scroll with a clatter and doubled over as though winded. Flashes of the night before boiled to the forefront of his mind.
There was banging at the front door. Remus could not be sure how long it had been sounding. There was a loud crash, and Remus emerged from the bedroom to see the door to the flat busted in. Harry ran in and stopped. Following close behind were Ron and Snape.
The walls were covered in blood. Harry paled and barely gave Remus a glance before following the trail from the entry into the kitchen, and then into the living room. The amount of blood was horrific. Remus picked up a framed picture of Hermione and him. They had been to Disneyland and were laughing with ice-cream all over their faces.
It was cracked and caked with blood.
There was a strangled cry from the living room. "Hermione! No!"
Remus felt bile rise in his throat as he entered the living room. Hermione's corpse was lying on the ground. Her throat had been gashed out and her entrails were scattered across the floor.
"Merlin... Merlin... No." Ron whispered.
"She survived one monster only to be slaughtered at the hands of another." Snape said monotonously, closing his eyes from the scene.
Harry was kneeling by her side, rubbing the back of her hand. Ron was shaking, standing behind his last surviving best friend. Remus wanted to say something – anything. He approached Harry.
"Don't touch me, Lupin." He whispered.
Remus recoiled, and a surge of anger washed forwards. He almost did not notice, again, a particularly large puddle of blood between Hermione's spread legs. His eyes flickered over and his heart stopped.
A tiny creature, only big enough to fit in his palm, was curled inside the pool of blood. It was a miracle that his wolf-self had missed it. It looked like a miniature monster itself. Remus stumbled over and picked it up, cradling it to his chest.
It was dead, obviously. Remus looked over at Hermione's face, which had been marred beyond recognition and he felt hatred come over himself. He had never stopped hating himself in all his life, but that was nothing in comparison with what he was feeling now. It felt like a fire consuming him whole.
"You stupid idiot." Harry said hoarsely. "She loved you."
He stood up.
"She fucking loved you and this is what you pay her back with?" He spat. "Not going to Snape for your potion for fear of being belittled? You let the wolf rip her apart like this."
"Bastard." Ron said.
"Don't speak to me." Harry said. "She lived, breathed and worked for you. She wanted so much to be a family and you went and fucked it up royally."
Snape shook his head. "She wanted it to be a surprise. I wanted her to tell you about the project, but her Gryffindor stupidity clouded her logic. She was going to come to Hogwarts to meet you last night instead of me so that she would administer you the potion she had created that would have cured your lycanthropy. When I returned this morning and the potion was still on my desk, I realised my mistake."
Snape was confessing to making a mistake?
He stared at the tiny dead foetus in his hands. He could have had a family. He could have become normal.
He remembered the look on Hermione's face. "I'll see you in the morning, and everything will be f—"
She wasn't going to say everything was going to be 'fine'. She had wanted to tell him. She wanted to say 'fixed'.
"It's a parasitic personality…" She discovered that his was a disease caused by a parasite, not a curse of the Gods.
"All that matters is us" She wanted a family.
"I had exams! Surely you can understand that I needed to concentrate!" She had given up so much time to him and experiments, she'd forgotten to revise. That's why she didn't return his owls. It's because she didn't even have enough time to write.
"Don't do this." She had pleaded with him, a fresh light of fear in her eyes. He had thought she was scared of being vulnerable. She was only thinking of the baby.
"Do you love me?" She was scared he would reject her if she told him about the baby… or her love?
He looked at her. He would never know.
He had lost everything. He thought that he had lost everything he could have had, but the thing he treasured the most… the thing he felt the most precious was lost to him forever. Hermione's love was gone as was her heartbeat.
She had sacrificed everything for him and he had given her nothing but pain, even at the end.
"Make it quick."
The wolf had refused. He had sliced open her abdomen and taken his time in unravelling her innards as she watched in horror. He had saved death for last, when he ripped her throat out in a fit of rage.
He had thought she did not care for him.
He cried out and crumpled onto his knees.
He sat calmly in his chair. It was a full moon outside. His eye flicked over to the window and he caught sight of the silver orb. He thought of Hermione, of how much pain her spirit would be in.
He closed his eyes as the hood was lifted and the lips descended upon him. He saw Harry shaking somewhere off to his side, probably in rage.
Would his spirit ever find its way to the Underworld? Would he be condemned to some sort of awful punishment as Tartarus had been? The Gods knew he deserved it. Or would he be forever trapped within the confines of the Dementor's body, never to meet Hermione in the spirit world or the next life?
"I loved you."
Had she known that she was going to die?
"I loved you too." Remus said, tears flowing down his cheeks.