Hello Hello!

Now, I'm making this very, very clear! If anyone reads this story and thinks it's familiar, or they've read it before – you probably have, under the name of "Dear Diary" by StAlex. I AM THE SAME PERSON! I PROMISE! My old account – the one under StAlex – is unusable because I can't log onto it. I can't log onto it because the email I used for that account got hacked, and I couldn't remember my password for it... and over time I forgot which email I used too – it's over two years since I've logged on to that account. I've tried to contact the staff but they've ignored me... what else can I do? I assure you, I am the same person that wrote "Dear Diary", and this is a completely new and edited version of it (mainly because I'm 18 now, not 15, and I'm at University studying English and Music).

PROMISE!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story, it was good fun to re-write something I loved when I was 15, and now I can look at it with a better understanding of language. I would also like to point out that this is Pre-DH and AU all the way, baby, because I can't change it for plot purposes. I'm hoping to update around once a week, usually at the weekend and usually on a Sunday. I will try to stick to this as well as I can.

Oh, and admin? This story is written as close to grammatically perfect as I think is possible for me to do. I have read this chapter (and chapters 2-6, for that matter) at least 20 times apiece, so I should hope I've not missed anything. If you pull this story for that reason, I will post this on another site. Yes, I am a little bitter, but as a fairly good English Language and Literature student, I think I have that right to be bitter.

All this said, please let me know what you all think of the re-write; yes, no, butt ugly? Review, dear readers, because it makes me happy!

Much Love

MM

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x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Hermione Granger sighed, glancing around the library before back to the stacks of notes she was making ahead of her NEWT examinations, exams which would not take place for another 7 months – it was November already. She rubbed her eyes, checking her watch for the time – 5 past 10; past her curfew, even as Head Girl. Hermione threw her quill down in frustration, none of the information she desperately needed to remember would come to the surface and she was unsure as to how long she could keep going before her body demanded rest. She stood, the library was deserted, and Madame Pince had left her the spare keys to let herself in and out as she wished. It was generous of the Librarian and had to be approved by the Headmistres, but few ever understood her attraction to the dark and musty rows of books like Irma Pince did. She stepped around her chair and ran her fingers along the spines of the books in the large library, pausing as her finger stopped against a small red book that looked like a diary. She considered looking at it for a moment, before shrugging and deciding rather to find a new Defence Against the Dark Arts book that had been recommended to her by Professor...

Hermione shook her head with a laugh as she found the heavy volume. How many times had he asked them to call him Remus, not Professor Lupin? But still Hermione found it hard, though Ron and Harry had little difficulty with calling him by his given name. Maybe it was because she had too much respect for those who provided education to others – she could never imagine calling Headmistress McGonagall Minerva, for heaven's sake – or that she felt it an intrusion on Tonks, who had just married the ex-Professor. It seemed a little too personal, although Tonks had little problem with them continuously popping in to see him or writing owls asking questions. She often added little bits of comic relief to Remus' letters – a scribble in the middle of the page telling Hermione to tell Harry to write, or telling her to go out and get drunk with him sometime, quite cheekily. Hermione secretly thought it would be good for Harry to leave the castle and do something other than research Horcruxes, but there was no way she would leave the confines of the castle when they were not permitted to unless it was absolutely necessary.

But, Hermione thought quite sadly, maybe it is absolutely necessary to take Harry's mind off his upcoming struggle and battle to defeat Voldemort. She resolved to talk to Ron about it sometime within the next week, and see if there was a way they could safely get Harry out of the castle and have a night together as best friends, just the three of them, and Ron could help her to make him laugh again – Merlin knew, she was not funny in the way Harry needed her to be. If he needed quick-witted humour, the humour of a well-read, mature student, then she would be in her element; but no, he needed something more simple. Bad jokes, silly tales, joke shop gags. Hermione wondered for a moment if she could ask Fred and George for some help; and then laughed out loud at the ridiculous thought. She doubted Canary Creams would work well enough, but they might have another idea; if she could get them to sit down and stay still for more than five minutes over the Christmas holiday, and if they came down to Hogsmead as they had promised Ron they would. She somehow doubted she could get them to be at least a little serious for long enough – or at least, get Fred serious enough. George, on the other hand... he had always seemed a good deal more sensible than his twin. She continued to muse as she checked out her book by herself, wrote it in the Librarian's log, and stole away in the shadows back to the Gryffindor common room, careful not to be seen by anyone.

It was a good few days later that she had the chance to go to the library again – she promised Harry and Ron to go watch them play Quidditch, and then help them with the current project on the search for the Horcruxes. They had destroyed the diary, the ring was gone too, and after going back to Grimmauld place in September one evening (and oh, how Hermione wished they could have told someone, but Harry insisted that he was meant to keep it a secret) they found the necklace in the protection of Kreacher. After a long argument and a lot of persuasion, Harry had exchanged the real locket for the fake one, and taken it back to Hogwarts, where it was now hidden in a charmed, hexed, transfigured and well stashed box, where only Harry, Hermione and Ron knew it existed and only they could get into it. They knew that one was his snake, Nagini, and that two others must exist if his soul was split seven ways, and were likely to be artefacts of the founders, as Dumbledore had suggested to Harry.

It was then, as Hermione stepped into the aisle where all the Defence Against the Dark Arts books were referenced, she saw the red book again. She knew the books so well here – it was a secret love, one that she never quite got around to telling anyone. Though it hadn't been her best subject in her OWL's, she had become more determined in learning about it than ever before, and had quietly taken aside the new Defence teacher Professor Savage. She was a competent teacher, Hermione mused, but she taught the mass-practical classes only what they needed to know to pass the exam, and some of it the class already knew thanks to the DA. Hermione had taken it upon herself to bring the new Professor up to speed on the workings of the DA, and in return she had offered Hermione private classes once a week to work on her weaknesses – including those blasted Boggarts, Hermione thought with a shudder.

She returned to looking at the little red diary. It wasn't calling to her, or any such nonsense, but she was a curious creature by nature; and if it was a book she had not read, she was bound to be interested. Still slightly indecisive, she pulled it out, and her eyebrows rose as she flicked through the empty pages as she walked back to the table where she had set out her extra work for Defence. Only one page had anything write on it, the very first, and it simply said Christmas 1976, Property of an Undisclosed Person Who Would Quite Like to Remain Anonymous, Thank You Very Much. Please Put it Back Where You Found it. Hermione's immediate reaction was to giggle at the title, and was about to put it back, before a thought occurred to her.

She frowned, noting that the diary was very similar to that of Tom Riddle; like that which Harry had rescued Ginny Weasley from in his second year. Hermione shuddered, but didn't put the notebook down. Instead she sat down and debated what she should do with it – She doubted it was another Horcrux, the date put it well out of context, but it could be something with a darker nature than it outwardly appeared. Shaking her head and rolling up her foot long essay, she packed her bag and leisurely strolled back to the Gryffindor common room to sit in front of the fire, but all the chairs were taken. Many people, like her, seemed to think getting a head-start on NEWT's revision was a good way to spend the Christmas holidays, though they were yet weeks away. She spotted Harry and Ron on a sofa with notes scattered around them and both looked to be asleep. She sighed, shaking her head at the boys, and stood in front of them, debating what to do next. On the one hand, she could simply shout and wake them, or she could be a little more inventive. With a grin, She put her bag on the floor, and took out her wand, charming their notes to roll up and start beating them around the head.

"Hermione…" Ron whined, flapping his hands at the parchment, wincing. Harry jumped, and she heard him laugh before the two woke up enough to find their wands and end the charm.

"Thank you; Hermione Granger, ladies and gentlemen! Out to murder us with parchment!" Harry declared dramatically, and Hermione shrugged, as if it were an everyday occurrence. "What was that for?"

"You were asleep. Now you're not." Ron blinked, and then looked at his notes, which were covered in drool. "Ronald Weasley, that is disgusting." Hermione grimaced, edging away from Ron a little.

"You could have just waved one of those singing diaries in our faces." Ron grumbled before stacking up his notes again. "Right, so Erwin the Bald destroyed the castle of Thulk the Strong which started the troll wars…"

"No, Ron, that's wrong, totally confused with the goblin rebellion of 1892…" She sighed and made a copy of her own notes on the troll wars and handed them to Ron, who grinned at her. "Harry, let's have a look at yours then… oh these are good… yes you even remembered about the truffles… no you forgot this though, here … you need to explain about the river crossing, that was important…"

The trio sat around the fire, continuing the notes on History of Magic, and for a while Hermione forgot about the small red diary that resided in her school bag until the next morning, when she emptied her bag to start her Arithmancy notes.

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x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

"Right then, you. I want to know exactly what you do." She sat with her legs crossed on her bed, leafing through the empty pages once again. She picked up a highlighter that would detect invisible ink… instead some glowing blue writing appeared off the page

I won't be read that way, not at all sorry about it either. Kindly go away.

Hermione gaped, and then picked up her quill, writing on the page, forgetting that this was how the fiasco with Tom Riddle's diary began. Ginny had never fully explained to Hermione what had happened with the diary, and how it communicated with her, and Hermione had not wished to pry at all – she understood completely that the younger girl would not wish to relive it.

She didn't quite know what to put, but she knew that there was one place to start, something she needed to make certain of. If the person responded with something to do with "Tom" or otherwise a sharp "I'd rather not say", then she was taking the diary straight to McGonagall.

Who are you?

Remus Lupin was laid on his stomach in his room, contemplating what to write in his diary. He had already described his latest transformation and recent escapades with the Marauders, and was at a loss as to what he should write next. He jumped as flowering ink appeared on the page, and he pushed his hair, which had fallen into his eyes as he rested his head on his arms, watching as the neat, flowing script formed a single question.

Who are you? It said.

Remus knew that this did not make sense. How on earth could his diary talk back to him? When it was given to him as a gift last year from James, he was told that it was enchanted so it could only be read by him, and would appear to be a blank notebook to anyone else. It hadn't done this in the whole year he'd had the diary; he just couldn't fathom a possible reason to explain the strange actions of his book, and so did only what seemed logical. He wrote back.

What?

Remus winced at his response as it came to settle in a spidery scrawl underneath the writing of this other being. Couldn't he have come up with something far more intelligent than "What?".

I said, well, wrote, 'who are you?'. I can read what we have both written, so I would think that you could see it too. Now if you wouldn't mind, could you please answer the question? I am trying to confirm what you are – or if you are a dark witch or wizard.

So, this person thought they were clever, did they? Remus' eyebrows rose, but he remained on his guard, as this other person clearly was. They must be living with this constant threat of You-Know-Who, it was good to remain vigilant.

I assure you, I am no dark wizard. I could ask the same question of you, and I do – but I will grant you my name. John. I attend Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, under Albus Dumbledore. Have you heard of it?

Hermione paused, wondering if this was the person's real name. She had a feeling, as it was such a common name, that it was not – but it was not a strong wizarding name and so probably wasn't Voldemort. He would never have taken a very clearly muggle name. The strange thing was that this John said he was at Hogwarts, but she had never heard of a John in Gryffindor house, so maybe he was in another? She tried to recall the name at a Sorting before she wrote back, using her middle name for safety.

I'm Jean... I have indeed heard of Hogwarts, I'm a student here! I'm in my 7th year. I can't think of ever hearing of a John in my house or any other, and I'm Head Girl!

Remus stopped dead in his tracks. No, this girl could not be at Hogwarts, or be Head Girl – it just wasn't possible. Lily and James were Head Girl and Boy, and he was a prefect, so he would have met her at a meeting!

Gryffindor... but you can't be at Hogwarts and be Head Girl! My friend is Head Girl, and one of my best friends is Head Boy. I don't know who you are, but I don't think you're who you say you are, so I think it might be time to just... stop this, whatever this is.

Hermione frowned. That couldn't be right – Harry was Head Boy, as Dumbledore had wished if they came back to Hogwarts. Unless...

"Oh, how stupid of me!" She looked at the date on the first page, confirming her suspicions. She had found a diary of a past student at Hogwarts! "How very strange! Who would have been in that year?" she mused out loud as she wrote back.

I'm in Gryffindor house, too. I'm nothing evil, I promise you! I'm trying to fight it, actually, with... well, I can't tell you about that. It says in the front of this diary "December 1976"... So I'm assuming it is now that year, or the year after?

Remus frowned. He should know her, and she should not have his diary. How could she have his diary, when it was in his own hands? He couldn't piece the clues together, and was feeling very stupid at that point.

Right, it's 1977… what's that got to do with the price of butterbeer? And why don't I know you? If you are in Gryffindor, I should know you at least by first name – I'm a prefect.

Hermione didn't know what to say, other than the truth. It was crazy to believe! It wasn't possible, was it? Well, it had to be, she reasoned as she chewed the end of her quill with unconcealed excitement.

Oh ... Well, you see... oh, you won't believe me! But it's December 1997. Yes, you read that right; December, 1997. Oh, Merlin!

Remus laughed at her, but couldn't help but wonder how she had got hold of his diary. He prayed the charm hadn't worn off and Jean couldn't read it. Lord, if she knew the real him in the future, it would be interesting if she figured out who he was. It wasn't going to happen, no!

Oh Merlin is right. I can't talk to you; you've got to burn that diary. I might be a part of your future, or someone I know might be. I can't talk to someone twenty years into the future, it could bring about a catastrophic paradox and neither of us can risk that.

And then it clicked. Hermione gaped at the diary, mouth slack and eyes wide. 20 years ago! That would have meant... this had to be... and if he was in their year, which he had to be, of course, and if he was one of James' best friends, and Lily was head girl with him... it had to be one of the Marauders. She considered how to broach the subject, but decided it was best left until the end of the conversation – she had an idea that could work very well if this person was really one of the infamous Marauders. She prayed it wasn't Sirius – or Peter, for that matter. And it would just be odd if it was Remus, because he would develop these new memories, wouldn't he? Well, it might then be better if it were Peter, or Sirius...

I'm not going to burn the diary. I don't know who you are, so I think we're safe for now. Life can't get much more dangerous than it is now.

Why is everything so dangerous?

Hermione thought his question perfectly innocent, and so she decided that telling him Voldemort hadn't been defeated wouldn't make much difference to him.

We're on our way to destroying Voldemort, once and for all. He was thought dead around 17 years ago, but he's come back and he's after my friend... but I can't exactly tell you why he's after my friend, because then it might make things worse for you... Merlin, I can't even tell you his name!

Remus sighed, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he tried to make some sort of sense out of the words on the page. It seemed that no time or place was safe from Voldemort.

How did he manage to come back? How did he die the first time? Is it anything you can tell me?

Hermione looked at the dainty wizarding watch on her wrist; it was getting quite late and she was tired, but considered what she could say that wouldn't change her present, or their future.

I can't say what happened or how he came back – only that it is possibly the darkest magic known to wizarding kind. I really should go – maybe writing to you isn't the best idea, after all. Goodnight, John.

No! Jean, don't go! Please!

Remus glared at the book; there was no reply.

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x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Hermione couldn't concentrate in Transfiguration, or in Potions. Harry was thoroughly absorbed in his work, learning everything he could with unnatural zealousness; for him, anyway. He picked up on her distraction immediately, but couldn't bring himself to ask what was wrong – she was probably just worrying about NEWTs, or an essay she'd not finished yet. As far as he was concerned, it was a relief that she wasn't pestering him about doing things wrong, or asking him if he'd finished yet – he wasn't willing to disturb that peace.

Truthfully, she was fretting over the diary constantly. She couldn't tell Harry or Ron about it... She couldn't tell anyone about it, because she knew that it would be taken away from her to be destroyed. She was intrigued, she wanted to learn exactly who this other person was – if it was one of the people she suspected, Harry would want to know. Especially if it were Sirius – and it seemed like Sirius, to her. The attitude, the wanting to know things and wanting to be a part of things... it all led her to Sirius.

The young Remus Lupin was equally distracted, and found himself periodically flipping through the diary to see if she had written anything to him, the mysterious Jean. She seemed smart, and careful of what she was telling him, making sure she played by the rules as much as she could.

"Oi, Moony, put that damned book down and come and help us set up for the party!" Sirius called from the other side of the common room as he ran in, breathless, and with a sigh Remus closed the larger text that was hiding his diary. "Sometimes, I wonder why we made friends with you." The dark-haired wizard said, throwing a box of streamers at him, whilst climbing up onto a chair and attempting to hang the streamers from the ceiling.

"Because otherwise you'd be failing every lesson, and you know you couldn't resist my animalistic charm." Remus took out his wand and began to charm the ribbons to hang from the ceiling, making Sirius groan as he struggled to do the work by hand.

"Why don't I know that spell?" He whined, flicking his hair out of his face dramatically.

"Why don't you pay attention in Charms?" Remus responded in kind, making his friend huff and fall into a chair in a sulk. "Hey, I'm not going to do all the work you know, I have things to do, so start decorating!"

Sirius looked momentarily stunned before standing and drawing his wand from his pocket. "Right, matey, teach me this charm." He stood with one leg in front of the other, leaning in the most ridiculous stance that made Remus laugh. "Oi! I can do more interesting things with this wand than hang decorations, so..."

He wanted to tell him to do it all by hand just to piss Sirius the hell off, but decided that if he wanted to catch Jean tonight, he needed to get the decorations for the party finished as quickly as humanly possible. If that meant attempting to teach Sirius a spell, then he would have to do it.

"Basically, Paddy, it's just a levitating charm and a sticking charm in quick succession, it's all in the wand movement...Why are we even holding this party?"

"Because, dear Moony.." He pointed out of the window towards the Quidditch pitch, where it was getting very dark. "Gryffindor have just won against Slytherin, and I think that's cause enough for a party, don't you? Now, you finish here, and I'm going to get down to Honeydukes. Wormy's already gone to get butterbeer and more...fiery...substances for the drinking pleasure of Gryffindor house."

The dark-haired wizard winked at his friend and disappeared up the stairs to the boys dormitory. Remus never saw him come back down, but saw the portrait open and close. How on earth did he manage to get conned into these sorts of things? Eyeing the diary a final time – no words from Jean were there – he started to hang up the decorations as quickly as possible, pushing a few tables together. Transfiguring a piece of parchment into a tablecloth, he quickly grabbed a quill and drew out "Gryffindor: Hear us Roar" in a well-practised calligraphic hand. He supposed, after nearly seven years, he was used to impromptu parties. Drawing some Quaffles and Bludgers and Snitches, he charmed them to move around the parchment individually, and enlarged the parchment and hung it expertly over the entrance to the common room. It was standard practice, really, Remus thought with an undisguised grin, and it had been too long since there had been a party in the Gryffindor common room – since they won the Quidditch cup last year, in fact. With James as team captain again this year, there was little doubt over another spectacular win.

Remus sat down once his work was complete. Opening the diary again, still hidden by Hogwarts; A History, he watched for the pretty script that indicated Jean was writing to him.

Hello John... I'm not sure if I should be writing to you, really, but I... well, I'm not even sure why I'm writing at all.
Hello, John, are you there?

Yes! Remus scribbled back, quill scratching on the soft paper of the diary. I'm here, I was just hanging some decorations. We just won against Slytherin, apparently, so it's time for a house party.

Oh, that's good. I'm not much of a fan, really, though my two friends are really passionate about it. By the way, I was doing some reading about past Head Girls and Head boys – I think the ones for your year should be Lily Evans and James Potter – is that right?

Remus was impressed. The girl had gone out of her way to do her research on his year, it seemed, which he found quite sweet and yet amusing. He was also intrigued that she wasn't a Quidditch fan – that was something quite unusual, though he wasn't an avid fan himself.

Dead on the mark, Jean. I'm surprised that a) you did your research and b) you're not a Quidditch fan.

Neither are you, it seems, or you would have been at the match, not hanging the decorations. And, well, some of my more impolite teachers have said previously that I am an insufferable know-it-all. It used to be quite insulting, but it's coming in handy now, I must say. I suppose I'm quite boringly bookish really...

Remus interrupted before she got halfway through her sentence. She was being beyond stupid if she thought that bookish was a bad thing – it insulted him, for one, and insulted her own intelligence

There's nothing wrong with being bookish. I'm bookish, too – though I suppose I've got into my fair share of trouble with the guys. There's four of us, you see... and well, we've developed a bit of a reputation.

At the other side of the conversation, Hermione stopped dead. Bookish, a group of four friends... there was only one person it could be. She shut the book with an audible slam and closed her eyes, trying not to hyperventilate. Remus Lupin. She was talking to the younger, Marauder-version of Remus Lupin.

What on Earth was she going to do now?

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x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Remus Lupin, in the present time, grabbed his head and hissed in pain. Molly Weasley glanced at him, but on her questioning he assured her he was quite well, it was just a headache, and yes, a headache potion would be much appreciated. Something was not right – it wasn't the mind invasion of legillimency, but it was as if memories were being torn to the surface still. Sat in the common room, writing in his diary (one he had lost long ago, sometime during his 7th year), the diary writing back, and helping prepare for a Gryffindor party in the common room...

The diary writing back! Remus sat bolt upright, eyes wide. That had never happened, he was sure of it, but yet he knew with a certainty that it did happen, and the conversation with Sirius had happened, and the witch at the other end of the diary, Jean, had not written back.

Remus tried to get a mental grasp of the information that Jean had offered, trying to find out who she was, but the facts slipped away as if it was part of a dream. All he had was that name, and that she was in Hogwarts, and that was not at all useful, because Remus had to get that diary back, before his younger self got any ideas... like trying to research time travel. He remembered his young, reckless self far too well, and the bookish personality, which could lead to catastrophic consequences for poor Jean and himself.

"Molly, are the Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny coming home for Christmas?" He asked the plump witch as she offered him a small glass of headache potion.

"No, Remus, not this year. I offered, but they said they needed to be at Hogwarts and well, I don't know what they're doing, but Harry seems to think it's very important. Of course, Ginny is staying with him, so..." Molly looked sadly out of the window of the Burrow. "Why did you want to know, dear?"

"Nothing important, Molly, there was just something I needed to check with Hermione." Remus thought that Hermione was the best place for him to start, he was sure that she would know something about the mysterious Jean – and if not, she could help him find her so he could get his diary back. "Well, Molly, what time do the rest of the Order get here?"

"When they get back from escorting Tonks to Hogwarts for a check with Poppy. Four months along already!" Molly gushed. "Have you thought of any names yet?"

At the talk of his baby, Remus pushed all thoughts of the diary and the witch out of his mind, settling into the comfortable topic of fatherhood.

Hermione, however, was still in shock as she looked at the book. She had hoped it was Sirius that she was talking to, because it couldn't affect him in the present; but no, it was Remus. She needed to get his diary to him right away, of course, it was the reasonable thing to do; but Hermione's interest had been piqued, and now she wanted to learn more about the young Remus Lupin.

She wondered if it was affecting him in any way – but she presumed that if it was he hadn't noticed at all, because he would have contacted her to find out about the student so he could get his diary back; or rather, get Hermione to get his diary back, under the pretence that it was of importance to the Order or something similar. It wasn't that Remus was predictable that Hermione had realised this, but rather it was what she herself would have done, and they were quite similar.

"Hey, Hermione! Tonks is here and she's asking to see you before she goes!" Ron bounded into the common room, waving her over quickly. "Don't know why she can't go to St. Mungos, myself. It's not like Madam Pomfrey has nothing better to do."

"Ron." Hermione sighed. "What is Professor Lupin?"

"Insane, for marrying that one..."

"Ronald!" She exclaimed, and Ron looked sheepish. "That was mean. And the Professor is a Werewolf, or had you forgotten that, along with the charms assignment that is due in tomorrow?"

"That's due in tomorrow? Bugger! Hermione, Tonks is in the hospital wing, see you later!" Hermione sighed, waving as Ron ran back the way they had come, and she continued on to the hospital wing alone.

"Tonks, your hair is such a fetching shade of...what colour is that, exactly?" Hermione laughed, greeting the older witch with a hug.

"Wotcher, 'Mione, and don't you start! Trouble, 'ere," She pointed to the growing swell of her stomach. "Thinks it's funny to change my hair to foul colours every time he kicks! Oh, please don't tell Remus, he's not supposed to know that he's a boy..." Tonks babbled, hands covering her mouth and eyes wide.

"It's fine, honestly. What did you want to see me for?"

Tonks' eyes darkened. "I've been following up what you asked me about, about if the Blacks have any items of the Hogwarts founders...and I found this, and I don't like it." Tonks reached under her bed and pulled out a bag, greenish coloured hair falling into her eyes. "That's a really disgusting colour, boy-oh." She told her stomach fondly, making Hermione smile briefly. "I've cast a few charms on it, and Hermione, it's pretty dark. More than pretty... but I just can't destroy it." The witch look bewildered as she passed the small item, wrapped in a black cloth, to Hermione. "It's Hufflepuff's cup, mum found it for me and has me under an oath that I will not tell anyone but you about it."

"Thanks Tonks. I hope you don't mind if you don't get this back, but I can't exactly say why and Dumbledore swore Harry to secrecy, and so consequently I can't say anything either." Hermione slipped the wad into the pocket of her robes.

"Nuff said, Hermione." Tonks raised both her hands. "'Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies', right? I just wish you'd let us help you. Remus is going mad stuck at home."

"Right." Hermione said firmly. "And you don't know how much you've helped by getting me this, really. We're one step closer to our goal now, but please keep looking. And the darker the object seems, the more likely it is to be the one we're after."

"You know, that makes me think of something..." Tonks started to say, looking thoughtfully at Hermione.

"It's safer that as few people as possible know, but if you do think of something, just keep it to yourself, if you can. I'm sure we can trust Remus to know, but no-one else. Harry, and anyone else who knows, is in very serious danger." Hermione was starting to feel a little panicked as she thought about the danger Harry was in, but she was trying to drop dungbomb sized hints for Tonks to pick up on. "Remember: very dark magic and important magical objects linked to Voldemort. Think about the diary of Tom Riddle." Hermione hissed. Tonks understood the message loud and clear.

"You have my word as an Auror, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, and I hope as a friend, that I will keep your secrets close, for all our sakes."

"Thank you, Tonks, you have no idea how much of a relief it is to have one more person on our side now Dumbledore is gone. Harry will go spare if he finds out, but I'm so worried about him..." Hermione sniffed.

Tonks nodded, compassion filling her eyes as she put an arm around Hermione. "Is there anything else I can do? Help you lot have a night off over Christmas? Molly said you weren't coming to the Burrow this year."

"We just can't... you'll understand soon, but I think a night out would do Harry good. Bring Professor..."

"Remus." Tonks corrected her with a grin, hitting the bushy-haired Gryffindor in the arm to prove her point.

"Fine, Remus – that's so wrong, you know – too, because I think Harry would like to see him."

"No problem, Hermione, and he'd like to see you all again. It's been a long time since Bill and Fleur's wedding, and he misses Harry – not that he'll ever admit it, course. Don't tell him I told you that." Tonks said, scrunching her face up to try and change her hair colour from the sickly green. It changed to a very short, punky look in black. "Better?"

"Much." Hermione assured Tonks, who looked very relieved. "So, when do you want to go out?"

"How about the Saturday before Christmas? That'll be the 20th? That's about three weeks away."

"Perfect. Owl me to confirm it the next time Professor..."

"Remus!"

"...Sends a letter." Hermione finished meekly. "That's very hard to do, call him Remus. It's not right!"

Tonks just laughed, patting her on the arm. "You'll get it one day. Now, Miss Head Girl, lead me to McGonagall! I've got a meeting to get to, and you've got work to do."

And someone to write to Hermione's treacherous mind added in silently as she led Tonks to the office of the Headmistress. Maybe she could more comfortably call Professor Lupin by his given name if she knew the boy that was their age a little better, rather than the married, quiet man he had become.

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