-1Remus stood with one hip propped against the kitchen counter and a steaming cup of tea in his hands. It was Saturday night and, try as he might, he couldn't bring himself to become excited. He was supposed to talk to the twins at some point about a new line of products they wanted to develop, but again, he just couldn't find the desire to begin. He had consulted with them on several other productions in the past, lending his Marauder thoughts and intelligence, and receiving compensation for his original ideas, but even the novelty of that had worn off and he was left feeling bereft and empty once more. There were only a few shining moments in his life and they all surrounded one woman--a woman he could love, one he could even make love to, but one he could never have. How utterly depressing his life had become.

A soft knock sounded at the door and, setting down his cup, he walked over to open it, hoping to send away whoever was bothering him this late at night.

"Remus! I thought you would never answer. May I come in?" Hermione asked quietly, her beautiful, haunting eyes pleading with him in ways he could never refuse.

He opened the door further and motioned her in. "Of course. Come on in," he said, a calmness conveyed in his voice that he certainly didn't feel.

She was here: his life, his hope, his dreams. He knew immediately why she had come to him, what she would ask of him, just as he knew that he would willingly give her the full moon on his worst night if given the chance to receive her love in return.

Each time she came over, it started the same way. He would take her cloak and hang it in the closet, small talk would ensue about their lives and what they'd been doing for the last several weeks or months, they'd invariably get closer, all the while saying it wasn't right, that she shouldn't be there, and then they would find themselves in his bedroom. The next morning she would be gone, leaving only guilt and an aching loneliness behind to keep him company. It never failed and he was certain tonight would be no different.

She unclasped her cloak and he slid it slowly from her shoulders before turning to the closet and hanging it among his more threadbare belongings. He watched as she moved to the couch, her slender fingers running along the back of it while she walked around and seated herself.

"So, Remus," she began, "how have you been since I last spoke to you? It's been ages, hasn't it?"

Giving in to the inevitable, he decided to join her on the couch. He would take whatever she would give him and await the consequences later. As he sat down, he appreciated that her legs were drawn under her in an almost childlike way and she had an appearance of fragility that he had come to expect from her. Here, with him, the weight of the world crashed down upon her until she chose to use him as a means of forgetting about it all. He expected it, and he accepted it as well.

"I've been fine, Hermione, and you?" he asked casually.

"Fine. Great," she said, forcing the cheer into her voice.

"That 'great' sounded like it could use a bit of help. Firewhiskey?"

The grin he received was impish and he stood quickly before he decided to skip the small talk and take her straight to forgetting her troubles.

"Even better," she replied.

"Here you go, love."

She narrowed her eyes slightly, reminding him without words that they weren't to that point yet. Her Firewhiskey would remain mostly untouched, but she still needed to work her way to him and it was not a matter he could rush.

"So, what have you been doing? Has Kingsley been treating you well?"

"Well enough, I suppose," she said, this time the smile touched her eyes and he knew the change in subject was appreciated. "Did you hear the latest? The Pure-blooded families are now rallying against the Ministry's attempts to stop their inbreeding. I mean, we knew it was inevitable that they would behave this way, but they seem so petty and childish in their attempts of late that it has become laughable at best."

"I imagine not having Voldemort to threaten them with has caused most families to lose their edge."

"Lose their edge? Remus, it's as though they've resorted to whining and throwing the tantrums of a toddler."

Rolling his eyes playfully while noticing that she was currently sitting closer than before, he continued to listen to her talk about work, her family and friends, and her hopes for the future of the Wizarding World. It was always about the world around them, never about herself. His arm slipped to the back of the couch as he commented where necessary, lending his support to her thoughts and feelings with an automatic response that she had come to rely on while he waited for her to move even closer, eventually into the cradle of his arms. She always avoided the topic of him and for that, he found himself more grateful than she would ever know. He assumed, of course, that, like he did, she found the topic of him to be rather taboo in regards to what was to come, but they never spoke of it.

And then it happened. After hours of discussing things that had no bearing on their current situation, she suddenly became silent. When he looked down at her, cradled in his arms with her head resting on his shoulder, he finally saw it: the raw emotion in her eyes, the heated desire that flushed her body.

"Remus," she said breathily and he found himself drowning in her eyes as his body responded quickly to her change.

"Ah, hell," he sighed, knowing he should resist her but finding himself unable to look away as his lips slowly descended on hers.

She looked up, her small hands coming up to lay on his chest. "This isn't right," she said softly. "I know it isn't right. Still, I find myself unable to stop. You've become an addiction, one that I crave incessantly and am unable to break free from." Her admission stunned him, left him on the edge of a precipice, but he refused to comment for fear of scaring her away.

"We shouldn't," he added half-heartedly, knowing that she wouldn't break the physical contact and that she was his, if only for one night. One night where the dreams became reality and he could fool himself into believing that she loved him too.

Her trembling hands stroked down his chest and stomach, quickly grasping the hem of his shirt and untucking it, only to slide her hands underneath and touch his bare, heated flesh. "Hermione," he moaned, scant seconds before she claimed his lips with her own and moved her body to straddle his waist.

In only moments, their hands were roaming each other's bodies, followed quickly by their mouths. He branded her lips and neck before bending her slowly backwards, leaving a blazing trail of heat and desire along her collarbone. His arms cradled her body and his hands held the back of her shoulders while he undid each button with his teeth, nipping her tender flesh as he went. He bent her back further and her hands flew from his arms to his head, tugging him closer and silently begging for more as his mouth lowered to her stomach and undid the last buttons. Raising his head, he pulled her up and slowly slid her shirt lower on her arms, his fingers leaving a warm shiver of awareness as they ghosted the soft cotton down to her elbows before moving her hands and taking the shirt off completely. She readily complied and he tossed the shirt on the floor before pulling her close to him again.

Her back was so soft against his rough hands that he always worried about hurting her. He had said so at one point, but she had simply laughed her soft laugh and told him that she thought it felt wonderful. He could believe her words now, for as his hands slid around her back, unlatching the clasp of her bra and then cupping her beautiful mounds in his hands, she gasped and moaned, arching her back and pushing further into his touch.

Did her husband know how lucky he was? Yes, he did. Remus pushed the thought out of his mind before the guilt made him do what he should have done from the very beginning, but what his heart refused to allow.

She had held back this time, trying to go slower, but the heat of their passion drove her onward and he soon found his shirt laying with her own and her hands running along his chest and shoulders.

"I need you, Remus. Please, please make it all better. Take it all away."

"I'll give you all I can, Hermione," he whispered against her neck as he pulled her close to him and wrapped his arms around her. "All that I am is yours, it always has been."

Without waiting for a reply, imperfect words he knew he would hate to hear uttered from her perfect mouth, he cupped her arse in his hands and lifted them both from the couch. She clung to him then, and he could almost fool himself into believing that it was him she needed, him who she would always cling to. He walked them down the hallway, kicking open the door to his dark room even as she ran her lips up and down his neck, teasing him with her tongue and dragging a groan out from deep in his throat.

When she nipped his neck with her teeth, he nearly dropped her. "Naughty witch," he admonished playfully as he sat her down on her feet and drew her close to him. Her body melded to his perfectly and he found it astonishing that after all the times they had been together, she still had the ability to render him speechless just by pressing herself against him.

"Very," she replied breathily, her mouth still working on his neck as her hands skimmed up his bare chest and she toyed knowingly with his nipples.

After a moment, he realized that she was answering his own comment, but found the desire to talk was far overshadowed by his desire to put his mouth on her body and never remove it. His arms wound around her back, pulling her even closer as she gasped and let her head fall back. Lowering his mouth to her neck, his hands skimmed down her bare back and cupped her firm arse, holding her against his straining erection as he laved her neck and chest with open-mouth kisses before pushing her back slightly and devouring her nipples once more.

His arm came up to brace her shoulders and he revelled in the knowledge that she was freely giving herself to him, completely trusting him to do with her what he wanted with her body. Gods how he loved her body. If it were a temple, he would willingly convert and worship there daily without fail. But, alas, her body was his only to borrow when she needed him, when she wanted what only he could give her, what only he could take away.

The guilt burrowed into his mind once more and he buried his head against her neck, groaning at the thoughts of who they were betraying. Before he could speak, however, he pushed his thoughts away, allowing his own selfishness to direct his arms and pick her up. He lay her gently on the bed, caressing her soft body as he pulled his arms from around her back and braced himself over top of her.

"Trousers," she muttered, pulling at the snap of his pants and trying to drag them hurriedly down his hips.

Chuckling softly at her, he slowly brushed a stray lock of hair from her face. She was beautiful, of that there was no doubt anywhere in the Wizarding World. Since the war had ended, the demands of her time and appearance had started to wear thin on the witch's demeanour and he knew there were many occasions she found herself snappy and irritable. There were many times they had seen each other at social events--her with her husband and him forced into conversation because of his own connection to the two--and she would look at him, devouring him with her eyes and making him leave before his actions betrayed their secret love affair. And it was true…he loved her like no other. So, why did he continue to torment himself?

"Remus?" she asked, her hands stilling by his naked hips as she stared back into his eyes. His eyes amazed her, or so she had said on numerous occasions; had compared their blue hue to that of the sky when it was almost dark, but not quite. Her eyes were the colour of chocolate and she was the only thing better. "Remus, please. I can't do this if you look at me that way."

His eyes fluttered closed and he took a deep breath, willing himself to forget how he felt emotionally and to concentrate on her body beneath his. She pushed his trousers down further and he quickly helped pull them off. Her own followed shortly when she quickly rolled them over. Laying in bed with her, both naked and with their scars bared to the other, he felt no shame, no more guilt; he only felt complete. When her lips ghosted over his chest and her tongue flicked his nipples, he held her gently by the back of the head, his own falling backwards to the pillows while she worked her way down his stomach.

Loud moans escaped his tight lips when her soft, warm mouth touched the tip of his hard cock, making it jump and twitch in response. When her wet cavern engulfed him completely, his hips jerked forward and he had to restrain himself from pumping quickly into her. She was always so gentle with him, so tender and unlike anyone he had ever met, and four weeks without her touch had him ready and willing in ways he hadn't felt since he was a teenager. On the other hand, he thought, when the need arose for aggression and dominance, she was more than capable of meeting his challenge.

She licked up the length of his shaft before encasing him in her mouth once more and all thoughts flew from his mind quickly as she hummed around him. He didn't linger on the fact that it was he who had first instructed her, first shone her the pleasures of lovemaking, nor did he allow the thought that she now used that knowledge with her own husband, someone he himself cared a great deal for. Instead, he took what she offered and revelled in the feel of her naked body across his as she licked her way up his chest.

When she teasingly lowered herself on him, he ran his hands along her body before allowing them to come to rest on her hips, gently guiding her motions as she languidly rode him.

It was nearly his undoing, the way the fine sheen of sweat made her glow, made the hair around her face stick out wildly as she increased her pace and began chanting his name.

He rode out her orgasm, clinching his jaw tightly as her muscles clamped down around him, all but forcing him to follow her and very nearly not backing down. She collapsed on top of him and he immediately started thrusting his hips, knowing she looked forward to this part almost as much as the rest. She clung tightly to him, leaving marks he would relish for days to come. His thrusting increased until she screamed her second release. His name coming from her lips was something he could never get enough of and he realized then, just as he cursed loudly and his own release spilled inside of her, that he couldn't keep going this way, that something would have to change before he truly lost himself in their betrayal.

They made love several times that night, him never allowing her to go too fast or be too rough as he silently told her goodbye. He could tell by the look in her eyes, the set of her jaw as she assessed his features that she knew what was coming, but neither spoke of it as they drifted off to sleep in each other's arms.

Morning came entirely too early for either of them. As he always had, he awoke to the feel of her slowly extracting her body from his own. Usually, he would feign sleep and allow her to slip out of the house while neither acknowledged what had happened and both pretended it didn't matter. Today, however, was goodbye, and he refused to allow her to leave without telling her the devastating conclusion he had come to. When she slowly began to sit up, he tightened his hold around her waist and drew her closer.

"Remus," she whispered, almost as if she was afraid to wake him up. "I have to go. He'll be home soon and I have to get there first."

"I'm well aware of that, Hermione," he murmured into her hair, afraid his barely-there resolve would crumble if he dared look at her, "but you and I have to talk first."

"No, we don't." There was a slight note of panic in her voice and he refused to open his eyes as he held her to him. "We don't talk in the mornings. Just let me go, Remus. I'll come back and we can talk then."

"No." Now he opened his eyes and slowly sat up, watching as she darted off the bed and began to grab her clothes. He simply pulled on his lounge pants and crossed his arms while he leaned against the bed post and watched her. When his word sank in, she suddenly froze, her entire body going rigid before she finally turned around to face him.

"What do you mean, 'no'?" she asked warily.

Walking over to her, he took her bare shoulders in his rough hands and made her look up at him. "I can't, Hermione," he said softly. "I can't ask you to leave him, knowing you love him as much as I do, but I can't keep waiting weeks, sometimes months, for you to decide to come to me." He let go of her then, walking around the room and running his fingers through his hair in frustration. "I can't sleep, I can't think; hell, half the time I can't even breathe, Hermione. And it's all because I'm sitting here and waiting…waiting for someone who I have no business being with in the first place. So, I can't," he repeated, turning around to face her and taking in her stricken expression. "I can't love you and not have you, but I can't actually have you either."

"What are you saying, Remus?" she asked tentatively.

"I'm saying," he said with exasperation, hating that they had to have this conversation in the first place, but more so that he had to say the words, "that it's over. You and I."

"Over," she whispered, her bottom lip quivering and her eyes filling with tears that he knew she was fighting. "You're right, of course. It-it never should have started and it has to end at s-s-some point. Might as well be now, right?"

He nodded his head in response, feeling his own eyes water slightly as his heart began to crack and fall to a million pieces within his chest. This was the end, he had lost her. His rock, his distraction, his love would be gone in a matter of moments. "I'll always be here for you, Hermione," he whispered brokenly, walking with her down the steps as she gathered her shirt and hastily began buttoning it. "Just not in that way."

She nodded again. "I should never have fallen in love with two men at the same time. It's my fault. He deserves so much better than me, so much more than what I have become."

Her hand was on the doorknob, but he couldn't let her go believing she was unworthy. He crossed the distance in three steps and cupped her face in his roughened hands…hands that begged to run all over her body just one more time.

"You are far from undeserving, Hermione," he said softly, wiping her tears with the pads of her hands and willing his own to stay dry. "If it weren't for him I would take you away from here and worship you like the goddess you are."

Her hand came up to stroke his cheek and she whispered brokenly, tears clogging her throat before streaming down her cheeks rapidly. "I love you, Remus." Then, she gave him a watery smile before slowly turning around and opening the door. His heart finally shattered completely with her words. He had made the right decision, but he suddenly wasn't sure if he could live with it.

He watched her Disapparate and then closed the door behind her, resting his forehead and his hand against the door and allowing the tears to flow freely, knowing and hating that it appeared history was doomed to repeat itself. "Goodbye, Mrs. Black."