Author's Note: I was lying in bed one night and this story just popped into my head. I tried to focus as much as I could on getting the next chapter of my main Sirius/Hermione fic out, but this story just kept creeping up on me. This is my first go at a One-shot and it was bloody murder to write because I kept writing more and more, and I couldn't stop. It was only supposed to be 1,000 – 2,000 words but its double that now!
Anyway, enough of my rambling; I'd really appreciate any feedback I can get and criticism is welcomed. I do warn you however – it is a tragedy and as such, its aim is not to please but to get the waterworks flowing.
.: Black Dreams :.
The dead lay scattered, barely recognizable against the bloodstained backdrop. Hogwarts lay in ruins, its once towering grandeur destroyed, tainted with the blood of innocent children and their guardians, the strangers who fought, risking life and limb to protect them. They'd fought, unwavering in their plight, until the cool touch of death struck them down, the imprint of their last moment, thought, and emotion, etched across their faces. Some had died worse than others. Severed limbs, once tangible with life littered the grounds, pale against the pools of blood surrounding them. Bodies were torn, shredded by unknown claws, their blood seeping into the ground even after death. Eyes were hollow, faces pale, limbs strewn, bodies scattered. It was a graveyard. There were a few survivors; the unlucky ones, left in a world where death ruled and pain dictated the course of their already torn lives. Forever would the imprint of that day rest in their features, haunting their eyes with poisonous words, honeyed by the thought of death. The ache, the tinge of guilt would never leave, would never cease until the day they died. Death would be welcomed, relished in as the sweet promise of release from the hell, the cold prison of emotions and memories, found them. They would wait for that day, a shell of the man or woman they used to be, hollow and untouchable. Their loved ones would greet them, smiles of sad relief on their faces. It was in their death that life would await them.
Slow with purpose, she made her way across the grounds, sidestepping the dead, their glassy eyes taunting her for the life she still had. Their silent accusations ripped at her, draining away the self-control, the mask she'd thrown up. Why did she deserve to live when they didn't? It was simple, she didn't. They were the ones who'd sacrificed their life, the heroes who'd died for the greater good, fighting for a better life for the future generations to come. They were the ones who'd given up everything, body and soul. What had she given up? What had she sacrificed? Hers was nothing in comparison. It was a small sacrifice compared to those who'd given up their lives. She ached in places she never knew existed, let alone hurt. Her body felt like a dead weight, cold with guilt. Why did she survive? Why her? What made her more important then them? Why was she allowed to live? Why was she different? Why was she spared? They'd given up everything, all she'd done was give away her heart.
Tears, salted by guilt, streaked down her face, clearing a path in the muddied grime. She was a mess, but she hardly noticed. She was covered in blood, both her own and others. She was sweaty from battle, her face was clammy, hidden under a sheet of dirt and grime. Her clothes were torn, fleshy wounds seeping, thick and dark. Her body ached from the pain and realization. She had no one. Everyone she'd ever loved was dead. Her mother. Her father. Harry. Ron. Neville. Luna. Hagrid. Ginny. Professor McGonagall. Dumbledore. Fred and George. Charlie. Bill. Molly. Arthur. Remus. Tonks. They were all gone. It was a never ending list that was constantly growing, but there was one loss that hurt more than all the others. It was the one that cut at her heart, shredding without remorse; the one that ripped through her body, making her dizzy with grief. It clouded her eyes, vacated her mind and left her body feeling numb. Sirius; the most unlikely of them all. He'd irritated her with his raucous laugh and arrogant jaunts; infuriated her with roughish winks and wayward grins. He'd driven her mad, taunting her with his teasing smiles. He'd been the most unlikely of them all, but he'd captured her heart.
Sirius Black was as reckless and arrogant as she was studious. They'd clashed on more than one occasion, whether it was about house elf rights or his latest conquest. She'd disapproved of his philandering ways, scorning his irresponsible lack of respect for others while he was off charming some mindless blonde. Her disapproval, no matter how many times she'd denied it, had turned into jealousy, from which her anger stemmed. She'd missed the longing looks when her back was turned, the discontented sighs and the dark expressions whenever a date arrived, ready to pick her up and take her on another unsatisfying evening of awkward silences and mindless small talk. It didn't matter how many dates she went through, or how many men she'd flirted with, one way or another, it all came back to him. They were both too stubborn to say anything, both afraid of rejection. One night, everything changed.
The restaurant, dimmed by the romantic flicker of candlelight was alluring to the senses. The faint smells of the kitchen wafted through, eliciting a hungry growl from her stomach whenever the double doors opened. Small baby red roses decorated the table, arranged neatly in the centre, its perfumed elegance creating the perfect contrast between romantic and casual dining. Smiling lightly, she gratefully accepted the menu, listening as the waiter talked about the specials. Maybe the evening wouldn't be so bad.
"I'll have the steak with the red wine sauce," her date stated abruptly, pulling her from the lazy wanderings of her mind. Daniel Quinn was an extremely aggressive man, when he saw something he wanted he went after it with the persistence of a man possessed. It was his determination that had won him this date, nothing more. Maybe tonight there would be more than mindless chatter. "And Hermione will have – ?" staring expectantly, he waited for her to continue despite the little time she'd had to look over the menu.
"I haven't actually decided yet," she said, deliberately looking at Daniel. She hated being rushed.
"A little more time, perhaps," the waiter said, bowing his head with a knowing smile before scuttling off. Turning her attention back to the menu, she idly scanned its contents, ignoring Daniel's attempted distractions.
"So, Hermione, what got you into the magical creatures department? You never seemed the type to –"
"The type to what?" she cut in, biting back the urge to snap. She hated assumptions, especially when they were about her. Forcing her features to remain calm, she tried to ignore the little voice in the back of her mind screaming 'I told you so!' "I work in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures because I want to, not because I have to," she said as calmly as possible. As an after thought she added, "What are your thoughts on house elf rights?"
"I think they're exactly as they should be," he said indifferently, waving to the waiter with an arrogant swish of his wrist.
Clenching her jaw, she looked at the waiter, glaring until he stopped and took the hint. "Why?" she asked, teeth grinding in restrained anger.
"They like to serve, they're there to serve, so why should it be any different," he shrugged nonchalantly, turning around in his seat with a scowl. "Where the bloody hell did that waiter go?"
"You think they like being treated as though they're less than vermin, that they like being treated as slaves?" she growled, ignoring her date's increasing uneasiness. "You think it's acceptable to treat them as such?!"
"That's not what I said," he stated weakly.
"No, Daniel, but it's what you meant," she snarled, smiling mockingly. "Well I had a lovely evening, do have a nice life," throwing down her napkin, she weaved through the tables of onlookers, ignoring their curious stares. Well, that went well, she thought sourly, I probably made the record books – shortest date on record, a grand total of five minutes!
She hadn't given him the chance to defend himself, to reconsider his words, but then why should she? She'd gotten everything she needed to know and more. He was arrogant, self-centered and completely bigoted, not to mention rude. Why she'd decided to go on a date with him she didn't know. Maybe it was the prospect of an actual evening where the conversation was stimulating rather than barely tolerable. She'd hoped and prayed for one evening – just one – where the conversation wasn't as dull or as tedious as Professor Binns' History of Magic class. Just one evening, one date – was that too much to ask for?
Pushing the restaurant's front door open, ignoring the doorman's helping hand, she made her way down the street, glaring unhappily at the twinkling fairy lights above, twittering about happily. As she turned into the alleyway, glancing over her shoulder to make sure no one else was there, she growled, kicking a nearby trash can. Why do I always do this? Tugging her coat around her, she tried to concentrate. With a half turn, she was gone.
That day had changed the rest of her life. From a disastrous first date, if you could even call it that, things had only gotten worse depending on which way you looked at it.
It was always the same. She was stuck in a rut, unable to break free and oblivious to those around her. It was an endless string of bad dates, some of which weren't as bad as she made them out to be. Some said she was too aggressive, too judgmental. Maybe she was, maybe she was too harsh, too quick to judge. Could anyone blame her? She was tired, tired of waiting, watching as her friends got on with their lives. The war still loomed ahead, ever constant, niggling at the back of their minds, ready to pounce at any given moment. But somehow, some ungraspable way, they all managed to trudge through, find love and live life despite everything. Somehow Harry and Ginny, Ron and Luna, Neville and Hannah, somehow they managed it. Why couldn't she? Why was it that every time she had a chance at happiness, or a chance at a normal relationship no matter how short lived it was, why did she have to sabotage it? Because that's exactly what she did, she sabotaged, unconsciously at times, dooming a relationship before it had even begun. Why did she have to do that?
With a small sigh, she rested her head on the front door, ignoring winter's cold bite. It was bad enough that the date had lasted only five minutes, but now, now she had to endure his snide remarks. She could go to her parents' house and stay the night, no one would notice until morning and even then, they'd just think the date went better than expected. No harm, no foul. They, being Sirius, didn't need to know. She couldn't deal with the smug smirk or teasing smiles – not tonight. Turning around with an agitated sigh, she glanced up at the murky night sky, watching as tiny stars flickered in and out of focus from behind the clouds. No sooner had she taken a step were her worst fears realized.
"Going somewhere, darling?" the arrogant drawl, no matter how many times she'd heard it, or been on the receiving end of it, made her cringe in anger. She knew he did it to taunt her, but sometimes, no matter how hard she tried she couldn't help but take the bait.
"Yes, actually," she snapped, whipping around to glare at him. Leaning casually against the doorframe, he smirked triumphantly. She idly wondered if he did it just to get a reaction out of her – it wouldn't surprise her if he did.
"Enlighten me, will you?" by Merlin, did she want to wipe that arrogant smirk off his face!
With a scowl, she tried to keep her features calm. It was the same every time. A smirk, a sarcastic drawl and he had her teetering on the edge, teeth grinding, fists bawled, ready to dive into a pit of ill-tempered words. He was just so infuriating! He was constantly trying to get a rise out of her, provoking her until her nerves snapped and all she saw was red. She didn't know why he did it. Boredom, perhaps? Or maybe it was his sadistic sense of humor, the one that everyone thought was hilarious except her, mainly because she was the one on the receiving end of it. Prank after prank, remark after remark. No matter what she did, no matter how many times she retaliated, he persisted.
"I don't believe it's any of your business," she snapped, ignoring the marauder's amused smile. Pushing her way past him, she stalked inside, heading toward the kitchen, desperate for something to calm her nerves. As long as she was as far away from him as possible, she would be fine.
"Come now darling, your evening couldn't have been that bad," the subtle taunt, nearly undetectable in its sneaky guise of concern made her pulse race – in anger.
"Oh, and you would know," she snapped haughtily, yanking open the liquor cabinet, hidden deftly away in the corner of the kitchen. Grabbing the nearest bottle, she whipped around, uncorking it in the process. She was acting a little brash but so what – she'd had enough! The bad dates, Sirius – it was all too much.
"No, but I want to," before she could react, the bottle, her momentary salvation from everything, was gone. With a scowl, she tried to snatch it back but found that Sirius being largely taller than her petite 5'3 made it impossible. "Now, now – why be so hasty to drown your sorrows when you can tell me all about it?" he was mocking her! From the arrogant drawl to that irritating smirk – he was pushing her last nerve.
"Why the hell do you want to know?" she retorted kicking off her heels in anger, aiming but narrowly missing Sirius' kneecaps.
"Call it curiosity," he smiled down at her, an action that to any outsider would appear sincere but to her – it was mocking, tormenting but above all, infuriating.
"Yeah, well, you know what they say; curiosity killed the cat," gritting her teeth, she tried to push past him only to find herself blocked.
Sirius stood tall, moving forward with purpose until her back hit the wall. She was trapped. An arm stood either side of her, columns of power and force. He had a glint in his eyes, one that told her nothing good would come from this exchange. Leaning forward, she could feel his breath on her neck, tickling the sensitive skin. Shivering despite herself, she tried to clear her head, hazy with clouded sensations. She didn't know what he was doing to her but she didn't like it – she couldn't.
"Ah, but satisfaction brought him back," he whispered, dangerously close to her ear. She could feel his lips move as the words left his mouth, proving that it wasn't her imagination. Her breath was coming short and fast, her chest rising and falling with a harsh speed. Her heart was beating and her pulse racing. She couldn't think straight, he was clouding her senses and she didn't like it one bit. She was always the clear headed one, the one who could think straight in a dangerous situation, but now he had reduced her to a misty chasm of undefined thoughts. She couldn't think of anything except his smell, an odd mix of tobacco and cinnamon, which was strangely intoxicating.
Swallowing hard, she tried to keep her voice steady. "So some say," her voice wasn't nearly as composed as she would have liked it to be.
"And you?" he asked, voice husky and coarse. She tried to breathe normally but found it impossible. He pulled back, face dangerously close to her own. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked in his eyes; anger, lust and – something she couldn't discern.
"I-I think it's complete bollocks," she tried to look away but found she couldn't. His eyes held her captive, motionless and vulnerable.
"Of course you would," he laughed, eyes dark with amusement.
She could feel the heat and swell of his body emanating in a burning desire, matching her own. His arms sill held her captive, pinned against the wall, helpless and at his mercy. She wasn't complaining though. Contrary to popular belief, but she wasn't as immune to older man's advances as she made out to be. Sirius was forever tormenting her with his sly smirks and wayward grins. He could push her buttons in a way no one else could, uttering not a single syllable in the process. It was in his laugh, smile and eyes. She knew he was pushing her buttons for a reason, it was just safer to act oblivious. There was just too much uncertainty, too much left to the unknown. It was better – safer, for both of them if she acted oblivious, if she pretended not to notice his carefully structured advances. The war was fast approaching, the final battle uncomfortably close yet so far away. There were just too many possibilities. So many things could happen. She was supposed to be a lioness, a Gryffindor, proud and courageous till the end. Truth was, she felt more like a stray kitten, alone and afraid with no way home. If she got too close, too attached and something happened – she couldn't deal with another heartbreak.
"And by that you mean?" she hissed, reigning in what little control she had to push him back. Her body ached at the loss, but her mind held reason. She couldn't get attached. It was as simple as that.
"Only that you're not like most girls," with a casual flick of his wrist, all the doors leading out of the kitchen snapped shut. She had no way out.
Glaring furiously, she stalked over to the nearest door, jangling the knob in a fruitless attempt to escape. He knew her better than she gave him credit for. He knew that she would try to sneak out, to avoid the situation entirely. But most importantly, distance herself as far away from him as possible. Normally she faced things with unrestrained determination, tackling them head on, but with him, she lost all resolve and rationality. He had her clawing at tenterhooks, trying to stay afloat in her own sense of being. Her legs turned jelly and her mind, though still functional, became a little less decisive. He knew what he did to her – he was just waiting for her to admit it, and what better way than this? She had no where to hide, no where to run to. He had her trapped and she had no doubt it would stay that way until she caved.
"Let me out," she gritted her teeth, resisting the urge to tackle the man opposite her and claw away her anger.
"Make me," he grinned, challenging her with every fiber of his being.
She didn't know why she did it, or what had possessed her to do something so rash. All she knew was that the pit of burning desire, coiling in a tight knot at her stomach's core, was too much. She couldn't do it anymore – she just couldn't. In one swift motion, she had him pinned against the table, eyes flashing in unrestrained anger.
"Are you sure about that?" grey met brown. He looked at her, his face a cool mask of indiscernible emotion. He held her gaze, staring back calmly against her hardened glare. She didn't know what angered her more, the fact that he was seemingly unfazed by her sudden aggression, or that the pit of tension in her stomach tightened, burning for the man opposite, craving his touch.
He leaned forward, lips teasingly close to her ear. "Definitely," his voice, dark with unrestrained lust, sent shivers up her spine. She felt her breath catch as his own tickled the crook of her neck.
"Sirius," her voice shook as his hands gently pushed her arms back, fingers ghosting over the bare skin.
"Yes, love," he whispered, lips quirking into a smile against her neck. It was as though he knew her every thought. He could read her like a book, one that he knew off by heart, each line memorized in cherished desire. He knew her, not the girl everyone thought she was, but the woman she knew she was.
"We shouldn't b –"
"Shhh," he gently nipped at her neck, smirking against her the bare skin. Biting back a strangled moan, she tried to shift out of his arms but found that she couldn't. At some point he'd guided her backwards, taking full advantage of her inattentiveness and trapped her against the wall – again. "You were saying," he chuckled, kissing a trail down the column of her neck.
Gulping, she tried to ignore his lips but found it was near impossible. It was do or die – sometimes you just had to leap. "Nothing," she gasped, tilting her neck to the side. "Absolutely nothing,"
She had fought him for so long – too long. Maybe if she'd given in sooner they'd of had more time. She could still see his smile, the way his eyes lit up, sparkling in mischief with each wayward grin. Every tattoo was memorized, laugh line and crevice adored. She knew all of him, his body and soul. He'd become a part of her and after all they had been through, she'd lost him. In the short time they had been together, she had felt complete. His arms had weaved around her body, wrapping her in a cocoon of safety. His voice had fought away demons and his eyes – they'd unlocked her soul. Everything paled in comparison. He had become her life and now he was gone. All she had left were her memories. The fire had destroyed everything – Voldemort had destroyed everything. The only material object she had left, the only keepsake of their relationship was the small locket clasped around her neck; a locket and memories of a dream so wonderful, that it couldn't be real, not when death lingered around every corner.
She was alone in the world, broken beyond repair. Her heart had been shattered and her body stripped bare of feeling. She felt numb. What was life without love? She had lost her love and now life seemed pointless. A life without Sirius, without his smiles and tender caresses – it was unimaginable. He was lost to her, gone as surely as the tears fell down her face. He was gone and try as she might, she didn't know where to go next. Everyone was gone. There was no Molly to wipe away her tears, no Ginny to listen to her woes. There was no Harry, no Ron – everyone was gone. She had no one to lean on, no one to care about the hurt. She was isolated, alone and barren to a life where the ones she loved were dead. Life was almost not worth living – almost. There was still a reason, as new as it was that kept her hand and mind from straying. She would not give in. A muttered word and wand at her temple was the weak way out, the coward's way. She was a Gryffindor, she tackled things head first and this, as much as she wanted it to be different, wasn't. She would trudge through with a single dream to keep her afloat.
She would dream of a little boy with soft black curls and dancing grey eyes, a child untouched by darkness and free of fear. She'd dream of their little boy, smiling happily with a child's freedom, his innocent eyes sparkling with mischief. He would be his father's son, mischievous and carefree. She would dream of him, his smiles, his laugh. She would dream of what he would be like and how he would take after his father. She would dream of her son, their son – the small, innocent child growing in her womb, a child that would grow up not knowing his father. She'd tell him how his father's eyes lit up when he laughed, and how his smile soothed away fears. She would tell him everything, every small detail down to the last tattoo. But despite everything, every tale or memory she told him, the sad fact was that he would never know his father. He'd know of him, but not him. He would never get to feel his father's arms rocking him to sleep at night, nor hear his voice fighting away the monster that lurked under his bed. Sirius wouldn't be there, not when he needed him the most – when she needed him the most.
Reality came crashing down as her legs fell from underneath her, crumpling against the muddy earth below. She didn't know what to do, where to go. All she knew was that no matter what happened from here on in, she was on her own. In six months time she would be a mother – a single mother. Maybe it was that, or maybe it was the Gryffindor inside that kept her pushing forward, trying to break through and move past all the pain and death. Regardless of what it was, it kept her going.
Gritting her teeth, Hermione forced her shaky legs to stand. She wouldn't give up – she couldn't. He had made her promise. She didn't know how or why he'd been so insistent at the time, but Sirius had made her swear that she wouldn't give up no matter what. Only now, looking back at that stolen moment they'd shared, ignorant of the final battle raging around them – only now did she remember his eyes. He knew. It was impossible, or rather improbable, but she knew that somehow, in some ungodly way, he knew what was going to happen. Sirius knew he was going to die, but what's more, he'd accepted it. She didn't know whether to hate him or love him for that. How could he accept it? How could he have even known in the first place? Maybe she was just being irrational, but she couldn't be – not when she knew those eyes. He'd known but he went out fighting anyway. He fell in battle like so many others, brave in the face of death with only courage in his heart. He would forever be the courage in her heart and the pride in her eyes. He was the love in her soul and the happy memories of the life she had once led. All she had left were her memories and her dreams, the dreams that would forever be Black.