CHAPTER FOUR: Singularity

"Hello, Dobby!" Hermione smiled at the elf who'd replaced her in her former trio. He looked happy and she wished them well. After all, she was doing very well with her Troika, and was especially enjoying the additional benefits that came with working with two very striking men. "Thank you so much for bringing me this wonderful lunch."

"I is pleased to be of service to Miss," Dobby offered brightly.

"How is your training fairing with Ron & Harry?" she asked.

Dobby blushed, from the sharp angles of his cheeks to the tip of his spindly ears.

"Um, Dobby," Hermione interrupted before the elf could respond. His blush spoke volumes and Hermione's stomach was in no condition to explore this further. "I'm expecting my friends shortly." Hermione heard Severus' signature knock on her door and briefly turned her attention away from the tiny elf. "Dobby, you may leave now. Please give my best to your team mates." With a crack, Dobby disappeared and she opened the door.

"Hi, Severus, how was your morning?"

"Delightful as always, dear."

"That dreadful? Well, please come in and join me for some delicious lunch."

Severus grabbed her by the hair and buried his face in her neck, "I plan on eating my way around your every orifice, my dear. As for you, I have something for you to eat, too."

"Don't be so sure of yourself, Severus. My breakfast was interrupted twice this morning and I must eat – real food – before I can enjoy you."

Hermione sat down at her small table, careful not to aggravate her already tender body. Severus acquiesced and sat with her to eat. They heard Remus' knock and their bracelets shone brightly recognizing the link of all three of the Troika. As Severus began to simmer, Hermione quickly approached the door and allowed Remus into her chambers.

"What are you doing here, Lupin?" Severus hissed as he walked toward the intruder.

"I'd like to know the same, Snape."

"While you were both here this morning, you both asked… no, neither of you asked me, you informed me that you would return at lunchtime. So, here you both are and here's lunch."

"You were here this morning?" asked Remus, as he looked at Severus.

"Yes, I finished satisfying Hermione as you obviously left her wanting…"

"How dare you!" Remus interrupted, as he brazenly stood up to Severus, chest to chest. "I'll have you know that she was fully sated when I left her!"

The bright golden glow from their combined bracelets changed to a pulsating muddy brown with the increased animosity and dissention of their Troika.

"Stop it!" Hermione halfheartedly cried from her seated position at the table. She wasn't in the mood to entertain their foolishness and her stomach was making more noise than they were. The truth was she was completely satisfied many times over by both men, and her body was very sore. If neither of them lifted a hand to stimulate her again for the next week it would suit her just fine.

"Severus, you just want to fuck her whereas I want to love her!"

Hermione looked toward Remus and their eyes connected. She gave him a large grin, making sure not to expose her half chewed salmon to him.

"Love her? Oh please, Lupin. Hermione knows better than to fall for your foolish notions of love. She is mine, you know that as well as we do! The troll leg chose me and I was not even partaking in that foolishness! You were just par for the course. Never forget, Remus, that I allowed you to touch her. Remember that the next time you think that she belongs to you."

"Hermione, please, you know that I love you!" Remus exclaimed as he quickly walked toward Hermione.

"Of course, Remus. I love you too. I love both of you and, Severus?" she asked, ensuring to capture his attention. "I belong to both of you as you both belong to me."

"Hermione, you are mine!" corrected Severus from across the room. "I will not allow this fool to believe otherwise!"

"Severus, I tolerate a lot from you, but you are pressing your luck! Hermione loves me and she promised to be with me!"

"Stop it, both of you! This is insane. We are the Troika! We, all three of us, belong together! I belong to you," she said, as she looked toward Severus, "and to you, Remus!"

Both men continued to argue without attempt at conciliation. Hermione was deeply disturbed as the golden glow never returned. Neither man gave an inch toward a truce. They were fighting over her, for her, but they refused to listen to her. It made her ill. Although grown men, they were acting as children, fighting over a cherished toy. She wasn't a possession, as much as the idea initially thrilled her, she was her own person and she would ensure that they recognized that.

"Stop this foolishness!" she bellowed. "I belong to me! I am not a possession to be passed around or to be gifted!" she said as she glared at Severus. "Get out of here, both of you, NOW!"

"I will not leave until you tell Lupin that you belong to me!" Severus shouted at Hermione and approached Remus, attempting to intimidate him with his height advantage

"Hermione promised to be with me, Severus, always, and without you!" Remus yelled back at him.

"I want you both out of my rooms, now!" Hermione cried as loud as her voice would allow. Though they were not pleased, they eventually left. Severus clearly wouldn't leave before Remus, who huffed and slammed the door as he stormed out.

Severus looked at her and before exiting he said, "I will return to you before dinner."

Hermione placed her head in her hands and cried. She was tired and frustrated. She could not… no, she would not allow them to continue this farce! She was her own person and belonged to no one but herself. She loved them and couldn't understand where this immense jealousy came from. They had shared everything in the last six months, and last night, in sharing each other, they forged a connection that should've cemented the Troika, not destroy it.

She loved them and they both loved her. However, they would not share her. They wanted to possess her, each man for himself. She loved Remus. He was kind, gentle and passionate. However, she loved Severus too. He was fierce, strong, and protective. She wanted to be with them both, but they were clear. She would have to choose.

Unable to clear her mind with the weighty choice before her, she walked toward her bedroom, packed a small suitcase and left the safety of Hogwarts. She did not know where she would go, but the one thing she did know was that she had to get away from the two men she loved, if only to remember what they had shared.

"Severus and Remus, please stay behind, I must speak with the both of you without delay," Minerva whispered above the fray, though both men clearly heard her, leaving no room for argument.

The Order meeting dispersed for the night. Both men attended, although reluctantly, as Hermione was nowhere to be found. They had each gone looking for her and when they realized she wasn't in her rooms, they charged into the others room. Grudgingly, they worked together to find her, assuming she was hiding somewhere in the castle. They separated and each walked the enormous castle and its grounds twice over, using their bracelets as a beacon to Hermione. They never found her. The only illumination from their bracelets came when, in crossing the castle, they came upon each other. Both men furious, they continued searching in what would be a futile effort.

"Do you men know where Hermione is?" Minerva inquired.

"She is hiding from us, Headmistress. She is somewhere in the castle," Remus answered honestly.

"We had anticipated that she would be here," Severus interjected.

"Really?" asked Minerva as she observed both men. "Well, since she obviously is not here, how are you men certain that she is in the castle?"

"Well, um, I guess we're not certain of this. But, where would she have gone? It's too dangerous for Order members to be out and about. She knows this, Minerva!" Remus stuttered and appeared wrought with panic and fear.

"Gentlemen, if I may be so generous as to call you that, Hermione approached me earlier today and shared with me that the three of you have had a disagreement, and as a result, she was leaving."

"Leaving!" Remus cried.

"Minerva, where did she go? I must find her," Severus whispered gravely.

"I must find her too! Remus insisted.

"Gentlemen, do grow up. This is more serious than either of you realize," Minerva chastised them and directed them to be seated on the nearby sofa. "As you both know, attacks on our members are increasing and her leaving, at this particular time is dangerous. She is headstrong, just as you both are, and she refused to listen to my pleas to remain at the castle where I could ensure her safety. I urged her to remain here, at Order Headquarters, and to disguise herself when out in public."

"She's here?" asked Remus excitedly.

"Imagine my disappointment when I arrived this evening to find that she was not here. According to Harry, she arrived via Floo, directly from my office I might add, told him she was going on holiday and walked out into the streets of London." McGonagall stood up to stop Severus. "Harry knows nothing more, Severus! I have already questioned him thoroughly. Hermione walked out of the Floo, spoke with Harry for a moment and left. There is nothing more to tell. She is out there and no one knows where."

McGonagall looked at the two men somberly, "How can this have happened to a Troika?" she asked, though didn't wait for a reply. "The Troika is supposed to be the merging of three individuals, creating the strongest bond ever known of in our world. It is rare and precious and you both have thrown it away."

"What do you know of it?" Severus challenged.

"I know what Hermione has shared. She was very upset when she came to me. She shared that you both have placed her in a very difficult position and that she needed time to herself. Of the little I know of the Troika, it is filled with harmony and love… not dissention and ultimatums."

"I think you know more of the Troika than we do," a downtrodden Remus admitted.

"That may be. There is minimal literature explaining the Troika. Most of what is known is more myth than fact and has been passed down through generations. The Troika, from what I recall, is a blending of three longing to be whole. Simple, isn't it?" she asked. "However, its simplicity is the reason for its continued mystery. All we can garner is that it is magical and designed to bring three people together who need each other… who compliment each other. It could be something that only the three people involved can truly understand. For that I would turn to you for an explanation, not the other way around. I would assume that in time the meaning would become clearer to you."

"Minerva, we both love Hermione," Remus offered and noticed Severus' silence, confirming his love for her as well.

"I understand. But do you and Severus love each other?" she asked, noticing the uncomfortable silence that followed. "This is a Troika, gentlemen, not a love triangle. My best advice to you," she offered as she stared between both men, "is to straighten out your shite! Get a handle on this situation, place your considerable egos aside and think of the Troika! And by all means, find Hermione!"

As Minerva walked toward the door to leave the two men alone, Remus asked, "Minerva, we know that we both love Hermione. But, what does the Troika mean for Harry, Ron, and Dobby?"

Minerva looked ill. "Please, Molly faints every time the subject is brought up and as for me, my stomach isn't strong enough to entertain that discussion. Suffice it to say that the Troika remains a great mystery." She walked out leaving the two men nauseous with understanding.

After their sobering discussion with Minerva, both men returned to the castle and went to Severus' chambers to strategize a plan to locate Hermione. Remus didn't question the location for this discussion as they had always ended up there after dinner. It had become a place of comfort for the Troika yet today, it seemed empty without Hermione. Severus poured two glasses of Firewhisky and drank one glass full in a swift movement, then turned toward Remus and handed him the other glass.

"What do we do now?" Remus asked.

"We find her. We scour the globe! We search every library, every bookshop, everywhere until we find her!"

"I agree. And then what?"

"What do you mean?" Severus asked with a deep rumble in his voice seemingly ready to pounce his opposition.

"We find her and then what? We demand that she return to whom? You, me, or to both of us?"

"Remus, I must have her."

"And so must I," Remus agreed. "And what of what Minerva said to us? We are part of the Troika, Severus. We should not be in competition for Hermione as we are both equally valued members in this Troika as she is."

"Please don't tell me that you are declaring your love for me. You give it too freely, Remus."

"I don't know, Severus. One thing is for certain, I don't want to put my heart on the line only to have you trample it. I honestly don't know, I'm confused. The only thing I feel certain of is that when we are all together I feel peaceful and secure. When it is only you and I, as it is now, I do not feel animosity as I had all those months ago. And when you are with the Dark Lord I am fearful for you and relieved upon your safe return.

"No… if I am truthful with myself, when you are with the Dark Lord I am fearful not only for you, but for myself as well. Because I know that our Troika will never be the same without you in it. I value our Troika, what we each bring to this union and Severus, I'm no longer confused. I value you too."

Severus roared with laughter. He dropped his whisky and guffawed as Remus had never seen him do before. It was a rare and glorious site, but unfortunately for Remus, he was laughing at him. "Remus, old man, you are a weak fool, aren't you?"

Remus hurt. He was angry at himself for placing faith in Severus that he could handle Remus' true feelings. He leaned his head back against the sofa and closed his eyes to the onslaught he was sure would continue. He breathed deeply, uncertain as to why Severus didn't continue with his folly until he felt the dip in the sofa next to him. He opened his eyes to see Severus staring at him intently. They remained that way for what seemed an eternity. Severus' calculating stare bore deep into Remus' soul. He didn't want to look away, and give in to Severus' dominance, so he returned his stare matching his intensity. Severus did nothing but stare. Remus was in awe at his ability to be so calculating and with such a powerful and deep intensity as to make him quiver with anticipation. Remus moved closer to Severus, tentatively testing his boundaries, and placed a hand atop his. As Remus still had his face intact, he knew that Severus' non-reaction spoke volumes, so he moved closer and kissed him chastely on the lips.

Remus leaned back to look at Severus to garner his reaction to his bold move. What stared back at him was heat and fire. A moment later, Severus claimed his lips with an equal force that matched his intense personality. Both men held onto each other as they explored this new territory. Severus reached lower and grabbed Remus' crotch. Remus felt himself grow underneath Severus' grip and he groaned in his mouth. Reaching out, Remus reciprocated and searched Severus for evidence of his arousal. Finding it, he massaged him through his pants enjoying the moan escaping Severus as he pushed himself into Remus' hand. Remus made to unbutton Severus' pants to feel him properly when Severus moved away, breaking the kiss and lifting Remus' hand off his body.

"Remus, next time you declare your feelings for me at least have the courage to tell me you love me, and not that you value me." His harsh words were canceled by his continued ministrations. "Once we find Hermione and return her to us, I shall take you as you are so very eager to have me."

"I shall enjoy making love with both you and Hermione," Remus offered, glad that they have come to a level of understanding that they too can form a connection.

"And I you. Now, let's talk about how we are going to find Hermione, who is out there in a very dangerous world, disguised and trying to hide from her men."

Hermione sat in a local café, a table to herself, littered with several tomes, and drinking pumpkin juice. It had been two weeks since she'd left Hogwarts… no… if she were true to herself, it had been two weeks since she escaped making a decision between Severus and Remus. She didn't want to make that decision so she'd left her Troika behind. She had promised Minerva she would remain at Order Headquarters, but they would have easily located her there and forced her to choose. Therefore, she disguised herself as she promised she would, and enjoyed the anonymity it provided.

She brushed away her long raven hair and threaded it between her fingers as she contemplated the decision before her. She ran away from her life and from making a decision, but since then she had been doing nothing but thinking and rethinking about her, Remus, Severus, and the Troika they were supposed to be. Using the symbols she found on the sole of the troll leg, she researched through several books and was finally able to translate the inscription: Blending of three longing to be whole. It was interesting, but provided limited insight into the meaning of the Troika. She looked at the books piled on her table and Vanished them. Some patrons noticed, but no one seemed to mind innocuous magic.

Hermione looked fondly at her bracelet and contemplated both men. Her bracelet hadn't shone in two weeks, proving her successful in avoiding her Troika. Either that or they weren't even looking for her. She loved them both, but, as they demanded a choice, she made one… actually she made two. Repeatedly she chose one over the other, then changed her mind back again. She chose Severus for his strength, loyalty, and his dark and mysterious quality. A slight praise or passionate expressions from him meant more than a plethora of endearments from others. Sitting in the café, thinking of how she loved Severus, she cried, unable to envision a life without him. She had never imagined that she could have fallen for this hard and difficult man. He was complex and she was enraptured by everything about him. She reveled in his attentions. No longer cold or indifferent, he was inviting and cozy.

She wiped away at the tears on her tanned face and scanned the shop, concerned she was drawing too much attention to herself, not than anyone would recognize Hermione Granger disguised as a Spanish woman. There was no one she recognized sitting in the small café, and of those that were, no one seemed to care about her silent tears. She missed Severus immensely. She missed laying on his lap and his gentle play with her hair. She missed his recap of his day teaching 'dunderheads' and the daily relief that flooded him when he opened his door to her after dinner. She loved spending moments with him and Remus in his chambers…. Remus! Hermione recalled the other man she loved. Unable to fathom life without the passionate Remus Lupin, the tears fell steadily down her cheeks. As much as she loved Severus, she loved Remus. He was gentle, tender, kind, and passionate.

She would fight for them, for what they had and for what they could become! She wouldn't allow their childishness to ruin the Troika. She had to be with them both! It was not possible for her to chose when she had fallen in love with the two men. They were a team, a union, the Troika! They were made for each other, and their union was rare and extraordinary!

She wiped the tears from her eyes and saw the immense golden glow of her bracelet. She snapped her head up and scanned the shop for her Troika, but they were not to be seen. In desperation, she examined her bracelet as if to ensure it was glowing and she heard footsteps approaching. She looked up and saw two men, both black – one with short blond hair and the other with long black hair. They stared at each other and the men, as if in unison, lifted their sleeves to expose their equally glowing bracelets. Hermione's heart was racing and she couldn't bring herself to believe that the two men she loved had found her. They didn't look like themselves, but neither did she. Then, as if they understood her concern, one man approached the table and knocked… bop bop ba-bop bop – pause – bop bop. Severus! Hermione's mind felt as if it would explode from the anticipation. The other man approached the table and knocked… bop bop – pause – bop. Remus!

Hermione flew out of her chair, knocking it back, and into the waiting arms of her two lovers. They embraced and held her tight. Enveloped in the warmth of their shimmering golden glow, the Troika was whole again.

The end.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this short fic. It was loads of fun to write. Please leave a review.