Author's Note: The characters and world of Harry Potter all belong to J.K. Rowling...I just play with them to make them do what I want. I am not making any money off of this and intend this for pure entertainment purposes.
Chapter 1: A Sticky Situation
Hermione was never one for admitting defeat. But when it came to binding complex transfiguration spells to the intricacies of volatile dark potions, even she had to admit her own limitations. For the last two years, she worked day and night on the production of a self-automated spell with the ability to produce a perfect Wolfsbane potion.
It seemed like a crazy idea, and wizards all over the world told her to abandon her pursuits and leave the Wolfsbane potion alone. But she was never the type to take no for an answer.
It all started a little over two years ago, right after she finished her schooling at Hogwarts. She graduated the top of her class, and was offered an apprenticeship working for one of London's premiere transfiguration masters, Mistress Lena Drake. Lena heard about Hermione's talents from Minerva at a transfiguration convention the previous year. She knew she had to offer Ms. Granger an apprenticeship, and see if she could form her into a respectable replacement. Mistress Drake was getting along in her years, and needed to find a replacement soon to take over her studies, research and a very profitable business. She had a feeling that she had finally found that person in Ms. Granger.
Hermione accepted the apprenticeship after talking to Minerva. It didn't take long for her to find a real love and passion for the work and to become completely immersed in Mistress Drake's world of transfiguration.
After three weeks of working with Mistress Drake, Hermione was unexpectedly visited by Remus Lupin. Remus was one of the few survivors of the war against Voldemort. He had lost Tonks in the battle and watched her leave this world while he held her in his arms. His pain and grief was still physically visible on him, and he moped around as he tried to figure out what to do with his life. The Weasleys took in Teddy and were raising him as one of their own in an effort to help him during this difficult time. Remus was grateful for their help.
But he came in that day to see Hermione, it was on a Tuesday, only two days before the full moon. He was in need of the Wolfsbane potion. Apparently Severus was unable to put together his usual dose, due to an injury he received during the final battle. He was still recovering from the bite Nagini gave him, and was not strong enough to effectively make potions yet.
Hermione tried to help him by finding a potions master that had a new dose of Wolfsbane potion in their stores. Unfortunately, it is such an intensive and complex potion to make, that few would even try to make it…much less do it enough to have an extra dose.
Hermione did all she could by preparing a place for him to transform in her basement, and keeping him company as they waited for nightfall. They talked for hours the night before the full moon. Remus opened up to her and told her about his days without Tonks. She reciprocated by telling him about her feelings for Ron, and the loss she felt in her life when she lost him.
Although her and Ron never made anything official, they were close and on the verge of becoming an exclusive item. Hermione was sure that she would have married him one day; and she still cried herself to sleep as she dreamed of the life she would never be able to have with him.
The night of the full moon Remus stayed locked in Hermione's basement and howled at the moon through the small window towards the ceiling. Hermione listened all night and feared for him, knowing that he would feel all of the pain and turmoil that comes with his transformation.
The next morning, Hermione went down to her basement to check on Remus and to tend to his wounds. She found him naked on the floor, curled into a ball in the corner. She covered him with a blanket she had brought down with her and levitated him to bring him up to the first floor.
Once there, she directed him to the bathroom and laid him gently in her long and deep soaking tub. She turned on the water and began to run warm water over him and add a few healing potions. As the water got a little higher, Remus began to come around and take notice of his surroundings.
"Hermione, you don't have to do this. I can bath myself." Remus pulled a soft washcloth from her hands and began to rub it slowly over his chest.
"Remus, I want to help. It's the least I can do. Some of the wounds look really deep."
"I'm used to doing this alone. Don't worry about the gashes. Many of them are old wounds that Moony reopens each time I transform." Remus began to reach into the warm water and pour some of it slowly over his head to wash his hair. "I think he is trying to mark me. It makes the wounds look much more serious than they really are"
Hermione moved over the other side of the bathroom and leaned her hip against the counter. "I don't understand. Why would Moony want to hurt you in that way? He is bound in the same body."
"I don't fully understand it myself. It's been happening each time I transform since the final battle. I need to do some research; but I fear that it is an outward sign of Moony's grief for the loss of his mate."
"It never occurred to me that he would mourn the loss of Tonks as well." Hermione looked down and fidgeted with the edge of the counter; suddenly becoming nervous about being in the same room with Remus as he bathed. "Well, umm, I should leave you to it. Are you sure you're okay? Is there anything you need?"
"No, I'm fine. Just direct me to where I can find a clean towel." Remus smiled in her direction as he poured more water over his body.
Hermione went to the linen closet and pulled out a large, white bath towel and placed it on the floor in front of the tub. "Call me when you are done so I can help you to the room."
Thirty minutes later Hermione heard the sound of glass shattering on the hard wood floors of her apartment. She ran towards her bedroom in a panic.
When she arrived, she found Remus on the ground, with the white towel wrapped around his waist. He was trying to pull himself up from the ground. She could see the pain etched on his face, and quickly ran to his side to help him up. She noticed that her snow globe of Paris was shattered all around him, and the water trickled over the wood, while some of it was absorbed by his towel.
"What did I tell you about calling for me when you were done with the bath?" Hermione pulled him up with one arm wrapped around his torso. She guided him to the bed and practically pushed him down on it.
"Ummpff!" Remus closed his eyes in an attempt to internalize his pain. "I thought I was strong enough to make it to the bedroom. I guess those healing potions make you feel better than you really are." He smiled towards Hermione and motioned for her to come sit beside him on the bed. "I'm sorry about your snow globe. I grabbed the dresser as I was falling to the ground, and it became a casualty of my stubbornness."
Hermione smiled back at him and sat on the edge of the bed facing him. "It's okay Remus. I got it when I was vacationing in Paris with my parents over the Chrismas holiday of my third year at Hogwarts." Hermione looked over at the little Eiffel Tower laying on its side in the middle of a small puddle. She flicked her wand in a small motion and vanished the remnants of his fall.
"Now that you're alone in that house of yours, you will have to take better care of yourself. If not for your own health; for Teddy. He needs you around. Who else is going to tell him about his mother, and all of the wonderful memories you have of her?" Hermione eyes began to fill with tears as she remembered all of those that were lost in the final battle. Her heart broke for Remus, and she wanted to somehow mend the pain he felt each day.
"Mione, don't cry. You've been through just as much, if not more than I have. We all have healing to do…it will just take time."
Remus grabbed Hermione's hand and brought it to his lips. He gently kissed her palm and laid her hand over his heart. He pulled her body close to him as he wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged her.
Hermione laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. She felt so comfortable in his arms and she basked in the safety that she found there. Her hand was still between them lying over his heart. She felt the steady rhythm of his heart penetrating her body.
Remus closed his eyes and relaxed in the feeling of her body so close to his. He began to rub his hands slowly in circles on her back. Hermione moved to sit up slightly, and pulled her head up to look at him. It was then that they locked eyes.
Hermione could feel Remus's heart begin to speed up in recognition of the sudden arousal they felt.
It was then that Hermione let out a small gasp at the realization of what was happening between them. Remus pulled her to him and gently kissed her lips.
It didn't take long for Hermione to respond, as she ran her hands down the side of Remus's bare torso and lay down on the bed next to him. Hermione moaned when Remus moved his mouth down to her neck and nipped lightly at her.
"Is this okay?" Remus choked out the question as he continued his exploration down to her collarbone.
"Yes, please." It was then that Hermione realized that she was using him for comfort. She had to bite her lip from moaning Ron's name. She shut her eyes tightly against her warring emotions and gave herself over the feeling of his hands and mouth on her body.
Hermione reached down his stomach and ran her hand along the top of the towel that wrapped snuggly around his waist. Remus groaned at the contact and murmured, "Dora" softly.
He rolled himself on top of Hermione and began to quickly strip her of her clothes. They both knew at that moment that they were not thinking about each other, but about the loved ones they longed to hold again.
They spent that morning learning about each other's body. It was sweet, slow, tender and healing. The first time Remus brought Hermione to orgasm she burst out in tears and clutched his body close to hers. Remus simply held her tightly as tears slowly streaked down his face. He knew they weren't in love, and that they would probably never do this again. But at that moment, he knew they were supposed to be with each other.
Later that day, Remus and Hermione took showers and got dressed to go and make a late lunch. They were both starving.
At first they were both quiet. Stealing glances at each other and looking away so the other wouldn't notice.
Finally, Hermione had enough of the awkward silences and decided to confront the whole day.
"Remus, we can't pretend that this never happened. We need to talk about it."
"I know. I just don't want to hurt you, and I don't want to lose you as a friend."
"Remus, I don't want to lose you as a friend either." Hermione looked down to her lap and played with the hem of her shirt as she thought of what she would say next.
"Hermione, let's just call it what it was…two people in a lot of pain, comforting each other during a hard time. I hope that doesn't sound harsh; and please know that I do love you Hermione. Nothing will ever change that. I just don't have the same feelings for you that I did with Tonks."
Relieved, Hermione looked up and sighed. "I could not have said it better myself. I know it's too soon to start something new…and Tonks is still very much a part of you." She smiled at Remus and reached over to his lap to grasp his hand in hers. "Thank you, Remus. I'll never forget this day with you."
Remus hugged her tightly and stayed there with her for a long time.
That day their friendship changed forever. They became closer and a permanent staple in each other's social calendar. It didn't take long before they were each other's resident back up date when they had a function to attend. Hermione got in the habit of going to dinner at his house every Wednesday night after work. Remus would attempt to make dinner and they would talk and laugh half the night.
Remus took Teddy back from the Weasleys a couple of months later and brought him back to his house. He slowly adjusted to having him back in his life and began to laugh with him and love him again; like he did before the final battle. Hermione always babysat for Teddy when Remus had things he needed to do, and during the full moon.
Their friendship is what sparked the inspiration for Hermione's two years of research and experimenting. Hermione had offered to make the Wolfsbane potion the next month for Remus in order to assure that he had a dose to take when the full moon came around.
As she worked diligently to complete the potion she became frustrated many times over the constant need to stir, boil, wait, remove from the heat, add an ingredient, and cast spells all throughout the entire month. It was a long and tedious potion that required constant attention.
She began to think about all that was involved to make this dark potion, and wondered if she would be able to create a sustaining spell that would see to all of the potion's needs? She thought about simply consulting with a spell maker to develop a spell that would move objects around an unattended lab and stir in the necessary items when needed.
But over time she came up with the idea of adding an element of Transfiguration to the process by including the ability for items in the lab to be transfigured into necessary potion ingredients and other elements for the potion. She thought this would allow the caster to create the Wolfsbane potion with ease and make the potion more readily available to the public. Her goal was to make it so easy to produce, that every potion master would have it on their shelves.
Two years later, and she was still working on the mixture of all these fields of magic to create this one complex and difficult answer.
On this particular day, Hermione was working on some paper work for Mistress Drake in the back office when an owl came swooping in and landed directly on her work.
"Well hello. You certainly know how to make an entrance."
The owl hooted proudly at her and lifted his leg to produce the letter it had for her.
Hermione untied the letter and saw that it was from Master Schoomaker, from Salem. She had written him to ask about something she was stuck on concerning her research. She was hoping that he would be able to direct her down the right path to allow her work to continue moving forward.
Hermione pulled a bit of the crust off her sandwich she was having for lunch and offered it to the owl still perched on her papers. He hooted loudly as he quickly took the offered treat. In a flurry of feathers and flapping wings the owl lifted himself from the desk and flew out the window. He left the papers in a mess as they flew off the desk and around the room in his aftermath.
Hermione picked up her work and found the letter from Master Schoomaker.
Although your research seems interesting and lofty, I feel that you are going into a territory of witchcraft that is best left alone. Over many centuries we have found the best way to create the Wolfsbane potion, and have perfected it to be completely effective. Messing with this science can only get you in trouble and put yourself in great danger.
I suggest you abandon this project and find something more suitable to your talents.
Senior Professor of Potions
Salem University of Wizardry
Hermione sighed as she read yet another rejection from the potion masters of the world. She had been writing several masters over the last few months to help her with a tricky section of the potion that needed tweaking. But all of them avoided her questions and refused to even get involved in the project.
"Ms. Granger, I need your help in the store." Mistress Drake called out to her from the front of the store.
"Yes Mistress Drake, I will be right there."
Hermione threw out the letter she received and marked Master Schoomaker off her list of possible potion masters to contact. She scanned her list quickly and noticed that she had no one left to contact.
She huffed in frustration as she packed up the papers she was working on and made her way through the back store room to find Mistress Drake.
She was stuck in a corner with nowhere to go with her research.
Later that day Hermione changed out of her work robes and put on a muggle pair of jeans and a v-neck pullover. It was Wednesday night and she was headed over to Remus's house to have dinner with him and Teddy.
She flooed over his to house and ended up in the living room alone. She immediately smelled the tell-tale sign of Remus trying to cook again. She smiled to herself, knowing that she would be stomaching yet another inedible stew that was the product of his venture into learning how to cook.
"Hey you, come back here!"
Hermione heard Remus's voice from the kitchen as she saw Teddy running through the swinging door with a stew spoon in his hand. He was giggling in delight at his own cunning as he sang out, "No, No, No…you'll have to catch me."
Teddy ran right past Hermione and looked back to see what it was that he passed.
"Aunt Mione!" He turned and ran to her full force as she bent over to lift him up into a tight hug.
"Teddy! Are you being a bad boy?" Hermione smiled at him as she motioned to the spoon still clutched in his hand.
Teddy leaned into Hermione's face and cupped his hands around her ears as he whispered, "I took the spoon. Now we don't have to eat the dinner Daddy made." He pulled away and smiled at his own clever little plan.
"I heard that." Remus came into the living room dressed in his usual worn out robes and a white kitchen towel draped over his shoulder. "You think one missing spoon will keep me from serving dinner? You have a lot to learn about pulling resources from a mission, son. I see I'll have to teach you to think more like your Mother."
Remus smiled brightly at his two favorite people in the world. "How was your day Hermione?"
"Oh, you know, another long day of paperwork, spell casting, and yet another rejection from a potions master." Hermione put Teddy down on the ground and straightened her pullover as she walked over the couch to sit down. "I'm at the end of my list. I don't know what I'm going to do. I know I'm close to completing this project. But the way it stands now, it will explode in my face. I need help to find out if I can replace the Moonstone with something less volatile, and manage to still get the same result as the original Wolfsbane."
"Why don't you call Severus?" Remus knew that she always shied away from contacting Severus, and never put him on her list. He was never able to understand her full reasoning for staying away from him.
He was the newest Headmaster of Hogwarts and had been an integral part of restoring Hogwarts to its former glory; before the ruination that was left from the battle with Voldemort.
"Remus, why do you always have to bring him up? I just don't want to work with him. I had enough of his torture in school. The last thing I want to do is subject myself to his unusual form of cruelty as an adult."
Remus picked up Teddy and situated him on his lap.
"Hermione, I know you are hesitant to ask for his help. But he is right here, and he's the best potions master for the job. He is still making my Wolfsbane each month. If anything, he would benefit the most from your spell. It would free up a lot of his time."
"I know, I know. Believe me I know all of that. It's just…difficult"
"Well, make it un-difficult." Remus smiled at her like it was the easiest thing in the world.
"You know, Remus, it's not cute when you say things like that."
"Oh, but you love me anyway."
Hermione laughed at his sarcastic look. But, when it came down to it, Hermione was hesitant for more reasons than she was letting on.
During her seventh year at Hogwarts she began to see Professor Snape in a new light. After finding out his true alliances and the extent to which he was willing to sacrifice himself, she found herself thinking about him all the time.
After the final battle she visited him at St. Mungo's a couple of times to see how he was recovering. He was never conscious enough to talk to, and she would just sit there and watch him. On her third visit, she realized that she was falling for him. She desperately tried to convince herself that she was simply playing out a hero fantasy and falling for the romantic lead that saved the day with a sacrifice of his very life to protect the child of the woman he loved. It sounded all so fairy tale-like that she quickly dismissed it and never went back to see him.
But after that day, she found herself dreaming about him and picturing herself in scenarios of working along side him in his lab, with his body pressed close behind her as he inspected her work.
It was silly, and too much like a school girl crush. She was avoiding him for this very reason.
Working with him would be hard to do. When you are working together in a lab, the work becomes part of an intimate relationship. Lines get blurred and formalities get dropped. It would be too hard to keep her fantasies out of it all.
Hermione was brought out of her thoughts as Remus jumped up from his chair and ran to the kitchen.
"Oh no! That doesn't smell good."
Hermione looked up to see steam billowing out of the swinging door to the kitchen as she heard Remus moving pots around.
"I'm hopeless. I managed burn the stew. Tell me Hermione, how does someone actually manage to burn stew?" Remus ran a spoon through the thick goop in his pot one last time and grimaced at the results of his work. "Maybe this is a sign that I need to just give up cooking and learn the art of ordering out."
Hermione smiled at him as he poured the stew-like substance down the drain in his sink.
Teddy came into the kitchen and gasped in surprise. He then looked down to the ground and started to slink away into the corner of the kitchen.
Hermione looked down at the boy and scrunched her face in confusion. "What's wrong Teddy?"
"I can't tell you." He was whispering to the ground as he avoided eye contact with both of them.
Hermione got on her knees in front of Teddy and gently turned his face towards her own.
"Teddy, you can tell Aunt Mione anything. Remember, I will always love you…no matter what happens."
Teddy looked up at his father and then turned towards Hermione to tell her quietly, "I wished for the dinner Daddy made to burn. I think I made it happen. Do you think I'm getting my powers?" He asked her with wide eyes.
Hermione beamed at him. "Maybe you are Teddy. You're a little young; but if you did do it, you did us both a favor." She winked at him with her backed turned towards Remus.
"Everyone is against me and my cooking." He huffed as he turned towards the counter and turned off the stove. "How do you feel about Chinese food?"
"That sounds great!" Hermione lifted Teddy off the ground and situated him on her right hip.
At three years old, Teddy was still a little small for his age, but he was smart and already showing signs of being able to perform simple spells. She knew that he would be a powerful wizard when he got older.
"Can you watch Teddy for a few minutes? I'll go get us some Chinese food in town."
"That sounds like a plan."
Remus grabbed his cloak and headed out the door to apparate to a little place he knew of that had great Chinese food.
Later that evening, Hermione and Remus were sitting in front of the fireplace slumped on the couch next to each other. Teddy had already been put to bed for the evening. The two of them leaned against each other, as Hermione sipped on a glass of red wine.
They always loved this time they had together. They would talk about each other's life and everything that was going on in the world. It was always so soothing. Many times they would laugh so hard that Hermione would end up on the ground crying in laughter. And on a few occasions they woke up Teddy with their antics.
This evening they were unusually quiet. They just relaxed with into the couch as Remus put his arm around Hermione's shoulders and laid her head up against his shoulder.
"So why don't you call Severus."
Hermione took a small sip of her wine and dazed into the glow of the liquid in the glass.
"Why is it so important to you that I call him?"
"Hermione, you are not getting out of this question that easily. You have been avoiding him for three months now, when you know he would be able to help. I don't buy that you simply don't want to deal with his abrupt behavior."
"Abrupt?! The man is down right mean." Hermione turned her face away from Remus and stared at the opposite wall. "Besides, why do you keep pushing me to do this? You know I don't want to."
"Hermione, I know you…there's something there that you aren't telling me. I think you like him…and respect him. And you don't know how to separate those feelings."
Hermione turned her face back into his shoulder and grabbed his hand that rested between their bodies. She looked down and watched her own movements as she slowly rubbed her thumb on top of his hand.
"Remus, it's not fair that you can read me so well. I don't think I like it."
"Hermione just go to him. Who knows, this could be a good thing for you. Severus needs someone like you in his life to make him a bit more social. And he would be a fool not to see all that the two of you have in common."
"Other than Ron, no one has ever wanted me, Remus. What makes you think that Severus would even be interested?"
"I wanted you Hermione, and…and sometimes I still do."
Hermione released herself from his arms and sat forward on the couch so she could put her glass on the table in front of them. She turned around to face him and look in his eyes.
"Remus, you never said anything like that before. Are you telling me that…"
"No, Hermione. I know I messed it up with you a long time ago. And that's okay. I gained a best friend in the midst of it all." Remus ran his fingers through his hair as he thought about how much he should tell her. "There are times I wonder about what would have happened if we had waited. If we had given it a real try.
"There's such familiarity with you. I mean, I love everything there is about you. And sometimes…you end up in my dreams." Remus blushed with his confession and watched intently to see how she would react.
Hermione perked up at his words and inched closer to him.
"Dreams? Tell me about these dreams." Hermione smiled as she goaded him to reveal more.
"That's not fair Hermione. They're private."
"Oh, come on Remus. I know everything there is to know about you. Besides it is me in those dreams. I should know what I'm doing. I have a reputation to uphold."
Remus focused on the fire behind her and thought about the territory they were getting into…but decided to keep going. She was his best friend, and he never wanted to keep anything from her.
"Let's just say that I've played out scenarios of what it would be like to be in a relationship with you." He refocused his attention and looked in her eyes. "You can't tell me you've never wondered what it would be like?"
Hermione shyly smiled as she blushed at her own thoughts.
"Hermione, there are times I can't concentrate when you're around. The time we were together, we were both trying to replace each other with our former lovers. It was…tender, and we both needed to feel that way. But I think about how it would feel to be with you in another way. Have you ever thought about that?"
"Of course I have Remus. I remember one time I had a dream about you in the kitchen. It was so distracting, that I couldn't talk to you in the kitchen for a week." Hermione laughed at her own confession.
"Tell me about it." Remus implored her with his gaze and she had no choice but to succumb to his wishes.
"I remember that I came into the kitchen for our usual Wednesday night dinner. Teddy was with the Weasleys and we were alone. You were cooking over the stove something that smelled foul." Hermione smiled as she remembered the dream. "I walked up behind you and wrapped my arms around your waist. I leaned into your body and said, 'Hello, my love!'
I remember, you turned around in my arms quickly and pushed me forcefully against the opposite counter. I heard a low growl come from deep within you, as you pushed me up onto the counter.
You took me hard. It was fast. It was furious. It was consuming. I just remember yelling out for you to keep going…deeper, harder."
Hermione flushed at her own story and took a deep breath to calm her body down. She looked up to nervously meet Remus's gaze. His eyes were intense and black as he stared directly at her. It unnerved her and she knew they were getting into dangerous territory.
"That probably was not a good idea for me to tell you all of that."
"No. It's okay. I have had a similar dream about you."
Hermione sat silently looking at Remus. She noticed the rise and fall of his chest as his breathing increased slightly.
"I think we need to stop this conversation. This could really cause a lot of confusion in our relationship."
Remus shook himself and regained his control as he smiled at her. "You're right. Besides, you have to go see Severus in the morning."
"I never agreed to go see him."
"Yes, but you will. I know you too well Hermione. He is your answer; and you always seek out the answer."
"We'll see." Hermione stood up and stretched her arms up over her head as she yawned. "I guess I should get going, it's getting pretty late."
Remus stood up next to her and started to guide her to the fireplace. "Do you want me to see you home?"
"No, that's okay. I think I can manage flooing to my own apartment."
"Well, Good night then." Remus pulled her in for a tight hug and kissed her lightly on her lips.
Hermione froze in his arms and kept her eyes closed as she felt a tingle run through her body from being so close to him. She could feel his breath mingle on her lips as he stayed within her arms.
A moment later Hermione removed her arms and stepped back from him.
"Well, umm, I …I'll be going, umm." Hermione bumbled as she fought to keep from looking up and seeing Remus's reaction.
Remus pulled back from her at the same time and turned to face the other wall. He rubbed the back of his neck in a nervous gesture.
"Yes, well…okay, I'll see you later, right?"
"Yes. We have dinner with the Weasleys on Sunday afternoon."
"Right." Remus turned around to face Hermione one more time. He looked up and caught her eyes. "Good night Hermione."
"Good night Remus."
And with that Hermione quickly grabbed a handful of floo powder and went back into her own apartment.
She leaned against the nearest wall in her apartment and closed her eyes as she took a few deep breaths.
"This is only going to complicate things."