Mistakes Can Be Forgiven

"Hermione," he titled his head to the short woman passing him in the hallway, trying to move on as quickly as possible, lest he embarrass himself – again.

"Professor, how are you?" Hermione asked, her face a mask of impassive coolness. He had to gulp to keep from blurting that he felt guilty as hell, and instead opted for the deep breaths his lungs seemed to be desperate for.

"Fine," he squeaked, before clearing his throat and repeating, "Fine, and you?" in a deep baritone. He couldn't believe how affected he was by such a simple question, but they both knew it was meant as more than a simple pleasantry. Unable to look the young woman in the eye, he instead took to studying her riot of curls, not realising how detrimental to his cool demeanour this would be.

Nuzzling the side of her neck, he inhaled the faint floral scent of her shampoo deeply. Shifting his fingers through the mass of surprisingly silky tresses he gathered them closer to his face, attempting to bury himself in it.

"A little tired, but otherwise I am ok," she replied lightly and he felt a pang in his chest at her words. Of course she was tired, who wouldn't be after… no, he refused to think about that anymore. It was becoming a bizarre form of self-torture to think of her in that way.

"Oh, um ah… were you heading for the library then?" he asked lamely, noticing for the first time the stack of books in her arms. He tried to focus on their titles but his gaze kept straying to the small freckles on her arms where her robe had ridden up.

His tongue darted out, tracing the dark spots in their natural intricate pattern, making her squirm beneath him. He took the artwork higher and higher until he reached across her shoulders and began to make his way across her sensitive collarbones, her shiver of delight spurring him on.

"Yes," her reply jolted him from his less than pure daydream and had him turning a brilliant shade of red.

"Ok, um, have fun… I guess," he stammered before turning away from her and practically running down the stairs before he embarrassed himself further. He made it to the kitchen and flicked his wand at the kettle on the ancient gas stove, settling down at the worn table and cradling his head in his palms - willing his mind to stop replaying the night before over and over again.

It was the night before the moon was at its fullest, night was harder for him in the three days leading up to his transformation and he usually tried to stay away from others. It wasn't that he was a danger to anyone around him - at least not while still in his human form - but while his blood boiled within his veins and the wolf within him struggled for releas,e he was less in control of his actions and often did things that on a normal day would not even cross his mind. His inner wolf had gotten him in to trouble more than once.

This month was proving to be particularly difficult. Number twelve Grimmauld Place was suddenly not as private a sanctuary as it had once been, in fact the small niche he had found in the third floor study was the most alone time Remus had had since Harry, Ron and Hermione had moved from the Burrow and into the Black household.

The trio's relocation had all come about because Mrs Weasley had discovered a pair of stale socks in Ron's old school trunk that had not been washed in the three years since he had left Hogwarts; in fact it was questionable if they had been washed in the entire seven years he had spent there. The ageing matriarch had ended up informing her youngest son that he could either clean up or get out, and the red-headed man had felt he had no choice but to find his own way in the world, Hermione and Harry had decided to follow, naturally.

Sirius had been - quite understandably - thrilled to have his godson living with him and had been deaf to Remus's protests. The ex-professor had felt that in his condition it was not safe for the war hero's to be residing with them – Sirius had explained that since he was locked up at that time of the month then nobody was in danger.

So Remus had stuck it out and for the first few weeks he had realised that maybe it wasn't so bad. That was until the moon began to fill out and his inner wolf had made his own thoughts on the arrangement known. The wolf was intrigued by the female presence in the house, and for the first time since Hogwarts he had felt the mating instinct take over him.

So there he sat, practically cowering in the barely used study, arguing with the beast within him that Hermione was not a conveniently placed morsel of meat that was there for his pleasure alone. The wolf was not listening, as in that moment said tasty morsel was wafting up the stairs and oddly enough straight for him.

The door creaked open and he held his breath, watching as the young brunette entered the study, head bowed, completely distracted by the book held open in front of her. He cleared his throat and her head came snapping up.

"Oh Professor Lupin, I didn't see you there!" she cried in shock, clutching her book to chest in fright, "I didn't know anyone else used this study, I will just leave you be …"

"No, stay," he practically begged, his inner wolf making him more confident than he usual was around beautiful woman. Now that he had that concentrated scent so close to him he wasn't willing to give it up just yet.

"You don't mind?" she asked, already moving to the opposite armchair, her fingers flicking through the pages until she found where she was up to again.

"No, I would love the company," he replied, shifting in his seat so he could watch her from the corner of his eye.

"That's good, because if I hear one more word about socks from Ronald I swear I am going to scream. He just doesn't know when to stop and he hasn't seemed to figure out this is where I have been running off to yet," she grinned, he honey eyes twinkling in shared merriment.

"Is he always this… tiresome?" he asked, not sure how far he could go without offending her and having her leave altogether.

"Not always, but he can be a bit like a dog with a bone when he thinks he is right," she sighed, not looking up from her page. Remus watched her as the comfortable silence stretched between them, observing how she fiddled with the curl by her ear as she concentrated, a habit it hadn't taken him long to pick up on.

He became mesmerised by the subtle movement - of the winding and unwinding of her finger - he matched his breathing to that caress and without realising what he was doing, he stood to walk around behind her chair. Hermione was so absorbed in the text before her that she didn't notice he had moved until she felt his hands gently moving her away and his fingers brushing lightly along her neck.

"Prof-professor?" she stammered, lifting her head but not turning to look at him. His fingers continued to stoke the skin just behind her ear all the way down to her neck.

"Call me Remus," he breathed, leaning closer until his lips brushed the shell of her ear, causing her to shiver.

"What are you doing?" she whispered, her eyes closing of their own volition, as he nuzzled the side of her neck, inhaling the faint floral scent of her shampoo deeply. Sifting his fingers through the mass of surprisingly silky tresses, he gathered them closer to his face, attempting to bury himself in it.

"You smell so nice," he whispered before, moving back a little again, an internal battle waging between him and his wolf whether he should stop or go on, "I thought you could use a little stress relief," he murmured, watching her bite her full lower lip.

"Are – I, oh, are you sure? Where has all this come from?" she stammered awkwardly, tilting her head to the side as he began to leave hot open mouth kisses along the gentle column.

"I just never noticed what an amazing woman you had become before, but having you here in this house has made me want to be close to you," the wolf whispered, snaking his tongue out to taste the slight saltiness of her skin.

"Remus," she sighed.

"Remus!" his name being practically shouted in his ear jolted him out of his erotic memory. Sirius stood beside him grinning like the cat that got the canary – naturally the two men had no secrets between them.

"Thinking up a way to get her to forgive you?" the ex-convict asked, "Because if I were her I wouldn't mind you begging on your hands and knees for a start," he continued smugly, moving to the recently boiled kettle and making them both a cup of black coffee.

"Maybe she doesn't want to forgive me. It's not like I deserve it," Remus mumbled, staring into his coffee mug as if it held the answer to all his problems.

"Did you try explaining to her that she caught you at the wrong time of the month? That you had no control over your actions?" Sirius asked, sitting opposite his best friend, his teasing grin turning to a frown as he realised that Remus was experiencing more than just guilt.

"And have her sound like nothing more than a common whore? A convenient play thing for my furry friend to have his wicked way with – I don't think so, Sirius,"

"Yes, I suppose it wouldn't sound too good when you put it like that, but you at least told her that this sudden infatuation wasn't out of the blue – that you, as a man, have been besotted and blinded by her beauty since she stepped in the doorway a few weeks ago," he stated, confident that his friend couldn't have screwed things up so badly.

"Well, no… I… no, I didn't," Remus flushed guiltily.

"So you mean to tell me that you shagged the witch senseless against the wall of my fathers study, told her it was a mistake, and then bolted?" Sirius asked in disbelief, Remus's guilty expression said it all.

"Oh, Moony," the Marauder said, sitting back in his chair in a state of shock.

"I know, Padfoot, I know," Remus muttered, still in awe that Hermione had spoken to him at all in the hallway. The two friends sat in silence, each mulling over the situation until Sirius sat bolt upright in his chair, startling Remus, who spilt his semi-cold beverage down the front of his shabby robes.

"I have a plan," the Animagus said, flashing a bright smile before pushing his chair back from the table, making the legs scrape against the rough stone and heading for the kitchen door without a glance back to see if Remus followed.

Afraid of what further damage Sirius could cause, Remus shoved his chair back just as fast and practically ran after his friend who was mounting the stairs two at a time to reach the second floor library.

"Hermione, my love," Sirius greeted her dramatically, sweeping into the library ahead of Remus. The werewolf did not hear the girl's muttered response, but reluctantly entered the overstuffed room anyway, ready to defend himself if Sirius got out of hand.

"I have come to apologise on behalf of my friend," Sirius began, both Hermione and Remus turned to stare at the ex convict wide eyed. Hermione looked shocked that he knew what had taken place. Remus shared an equal expression of disbelief, amazed that Sirius would be so stupid as to bring it up.

"There is nothing to apologise for. However, if he were to apologise I would hope he would be a man enough to do it himself," Hermione said coldly, shutting her book in her lap and staring at the two men.

"I – well you see…" Remus began to stutter again.

"What Moony means to say is that he was a fool of the highest calibre. What I offer is not an apology really, but an explanation of his heinous behaviour," Sirius winked at Remus before settling on the arm of her chair casually, completely oblivious to the tension in the air.

"There is no explanation needed, I understand," Hermione replied, shifting as far away from Sirius and staring Remus in the eye as he at down opposite her.

"Oh but there is my dear, you see long ago …" and Sirius launched into a long detailed description of Remus's entire life, from the time he was bitten to present day where he often lost complete control. Remus was not really listening; instead he took to studying the witch before him, whose attention had been captured by the enigmatic ex-convict.

She showed no physical signs of the abuse he felt she had suffered the night before, well except for the bright red mark that had yet to fade on her neck. He wondered if her breasts and inner thighs were just as slow to recover, and recalling the rough treatment he had put her through he made a mental note to check his potions stores for something that would ease the pain he knew he had the ability to inflict.

He tried not to think of the scent and taste he had been blessed enough to experience the night before as he thought about marking her as his own, because that is what the wolf had been doing, marking Hermione as his.

As Sirius began to detail all seven of their years at Hogwarts together Remus became lost in memories of her soft sighs and pleasured cries. He recalled how responsive she was, how she would shiver when his fingers found the sensitive crease of her elbow, and how she had explored him back just as eagerly. He felt like a dirty old man, having seduced her, hell he hadn't given her any opportunity to protest against his attentions and he knew the wolf could be a very persuasive individual.

"Isn't that right Moony?" Sirius asked, breaking him from his bleak thoughts.

"Hmm? Yeah," Remus agreed, not caring exactly what he was agreeing to, as long as Hermione kept looking at him like she was, as if someone had opened a locked door in her mind and she was seeing him in a different light. Whether this was a good or bad, thing he wasn't quite sure yet.

Remus became absorbed in the memories of thrusting into her warm body as that brilliant honey glaze urged him on. He barely even noticed that Sirius had finished speaking and was currently heading for the door.

"So what you said last night… after… well you know. You didn't mean it?" she asked, getting off her seat and coming to sit beside him on the couch.

"No Hermione, I didn't mean it," he found himself explaining, shocked when he felt her fingers linked with his own, "I was scared and I was angry with myself for dragging you into something that you should never have had to deal with," he whispered.

"So if the same situation had come up and it wasn't this time of the month, what would you have done?" she asked, also studying their joined digits.

Remus took a long time to answer, seriously considering her question, "I suppose I wouldn't have done things much differently, well I wouldn't have been so rough. But if I had found out that you desired me, the way I have you, for the last few weeks then nothing would have stopped me last night," he whispered honestly.

"I didn't want you to go last night," she whispered, "It hurt so much when you told me you regretted it, because I certainly didn't,"

"I didn't mean it," he had no idea why they were whispering but at this stage he didn't care. Hermione wanted him, she wasn't angry with him anymore and she didn't seem to care that had used her the way he had the night before.

"I know that now," she replied, leaning into him, and turning her face up to his. Remus was once again lost in her beautiful eyes and as he freed one hand to wrap his finger in her curls he found himself kissing her for the first time.

The simple contact was almost as satisfying as being with her the night before, and he realised what a fool he had been to almost mess this opportunity up. As she moaned into his mouth and clutched his shirt in her fists he smirked and realised that both man and beast were very pleased with their choice of woman, very pleased indeed.

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