A/N: Because I missed Sirius.
She notices it the first time he looks at her. Right after she's called him 'Mr Black'. She doesn't know what she sees in his deadened eyes, but she knows she sees something extraordinary. It isn't until her stay at Grimmauld Place that she pinpoints exactly what it is.
Every time she speaks, moves, or does anything, he looks at her with a sense of mourning, of grief, and it worries her. He often sighs with sadness while staring into space and she wants to know why. No one else has mentioned it, and she wonders if she's imagining it.
It's when he makes her toast with marmite on it that she questions him.
"I didn't know wizards kept marmite in the house."
"A muggleborn told me about it when I was at Hogwarts," he says, spreading raspberry jam on his own toast. He turns around and watches as she bites into her toast, chews it thoroughly before swallowing, then wipes a smear of marmite from the side of her lip.
"How did you know I like it on toast?" Hermione avoids his gaze. She's never been one to cope well with eye contact, especially not when the other person is watching her so intensely.
"You seem like a marmite sort of girl," he answers uselessly, blinking and turning his attention to the Daily Prophet, which is lying on the kitchen table.
She accepts his answer, not because it explains his actions, but because she knows he won't tell her exactly how he knows she likes Marmite on her toast.
"Why do you always look at me like that?" she asks in a small voice.
"Like what?" he asks, leafing through the pages until he reaches the Quidditch section.
"Like I'm ill, but I don't know it."
He freezes, toast halfway to his mouth, eyes still on the league tables. The toast drops fro his hand onto his plate and he turns his head so he can see her.
"Sorry," he says. "I won't do it again."
"That's not what I asked."
"I look at you like that because life is so very cruel. Because there have been times in my life when I have gone from having everything, to having nothing at all."
"What have you got now?" Hermione asks gently.
When sorting through Sirius's possessions, Harry comes across a letter addressed to Hermione. She opens it, and as she does, she feels like someone is walking over her grave.
It's not really a letter, more of a note, and one that she doesn't even understand.
I tried, I really did, I swear I tried.
She doesn't know what he means, but she folds the note and slips it into her pocket. It stays in her trunk until the next time it is cleared.
She doesn't know how ironic it is when it is her wand that casts the spell that finally cleanses the world of Bellatrix Lestrange. She won't appreciate that until much much later. She is breathless and she is in pain, but she can gain a little satisfaction and a little comfort from knowing that Sirius' death has been avenged.
It is her first kill and it won't be her last. Some people already know this, but her best friends will never know this.
Things become a little clearer as she climbs into a bed that won't be hers for another fifteen or so years. The red curtains around the four poster are richer in colour, and the gleaming oak has sustained less knocks and scratches.
She only half listens to Lily jabbering on about how great Hogwarts is and how she'll really enjoy it, and that she's not to worry because everyone's really very nice but she's probably better off steering clear of the Slytherins, and that if Professor Slughorn invites her to a party for the Slug Club she is to use every excuse she can think of to get out of it.
Hermione is in shock because now she realises that she is about to mean something to Sirius Black. She is about to become his friend, properly, not just his Godson's best friend. His Godson doesn't even exist yet. He's not even been thought of.
"Well, goodnight Hermione!" Lily says cheerfully, getting into bed and blowing out her candle. "Sleep well!"
"Yeah," Hermione manages to reply, "and you Lily."
"Oh go on Lils," James says pleadingly. "You only live once."
Hermione blanches and Sirius puts an arm round her. "You all right?" he asks.
"Yeah," she whispers meekly, "just choked a little bit."
"Please, Lils, come on. You'll regret it if you don't. One day you'll be old and saggy," Lily raises an eyebrow, "but still undeniably gorgeous and you'll wonder what would have happened if you'd given that dashing, handsome, charming chap from school a chance."
Lily can't help but laugh and Hermione gives her an encouraging shove towards James.
"Fine!" she says at last. "Fine, if it'll make everybody happy, I'll drop my standards just this once."
"Nice one, Prongs," Sirius calls over the din of James whooping and shouting with glee. "It's only been seven years coming!"
When he kisses her that first time, Hermione forgets for a moment who he is. All she knows is that his lips are on hers and his body is crushing her against the wall and his hand is tangled in her bushy hair. It doesn't matter that eventually she's going to find a way to get home, that she's eventually going to have to break this off and go back to a world where the man who's kissing her no longer resides.
When he kisses her the second time it is late in the common room and everyone has gone to bed. Thank goodness, because neither of them double check that they have no audience before things move further than either of them anticipate. He knows she has no experience and does not boast of his own. He does not ridicule her, and he does not laugh. Instead he kisses her, holds her, whispers his apologies over and over in her ear when he hurts her, and cries out her name when it all becomes too much.
It's when they're laying together afterwards, all sweaty limbs and heavy breath, that she realises that she doesn't need to get back to her own time as desperately as she previously thought she did.
Knowing the future saddens her, and after they've graduated from Hogwarts she starts looking at James, Lily and Sirius in the same way Sirius used to (or will) look at her.
He is persistent in his questioning, and won't take 'I'm fine' as an answer when she is so clearly not fine. She told him the day after graduation where she was really from, and he has kept his word and not told a soul. He has not questioned her about it and has not tried to ferret around for information.
She moves in with him, into a flat bought with the money that Sirius' Great Uncle Alphard left him. He won't accept rent from her and insists she splashes out on herself instead, because after all, she's going to find out how to get home soon, isn't she?
They are involved in many scrapes with the Death Eaters, and it feels strange to be so actively involved with the Order. A couple of years ago she was clinging onto the end of an extendable ear trying to gain the smallest titbits of information during a summer of non-stop cleaning.
She is worried about the feeling of fullness and hope that she gets whenever she has killed a Death Eater but Sirius tells her not to worry, that it's a natural reaction because every death is a small victory for the Order.
A mask slips and she realises she is pointing her wand at Regulus. Brave Regulus who will do them proud in the end. She drops her wand and tells him to run. He gives her one wary look before he turns and scarpers.
Harry doesn't seem like Harry without his scar. Things are getting bleaker and Sirius has stopped her from going to work. She is so desperate to stop him from changing Secret Keeper to Peter that she almost lets it slip late one night, but she can't. Everything would change and knowing her luck it would probably be for the worse.
He asks her if Voldemort will ever be gone for good and he is so lacking in hope that she tells him that yes, he will be gone, that there is one person who will make sure he is gone for good, no matter how much it takes.
Tonight is the first night he asks her to stay, and as he kisses her, she thinks she might do just that.
"Don't look at me like that, Hermione," he says one day. "Not when I know where you're from."
"I don't know what you're talking about," she lies as she drops her eyes to her book. He hands her a plate of marmite on toast and says no more on the matter.
She wonders whether he picked up the grief stricken look from her or whether she got it from him.
She tries to console him after he finds the house in ruins. After he has given the motorbike to Hagrid to take Harry south to Surrey. He is angrier than she has ever seen him and his grief has driven him to desperate thoughts.
He lays there that night and sobs into her shoulder, clutching at her as though she is his oxygen. He is so raw and broken that Hermione cries as well. She cries for Lily, for James, for Harry and for Sirius. She also cries because she knows he hasn't even had the worst of it yet. That by this time next month he'll be in Azkaban without trial, without a chance, and without a proper investigation into what happened. She cries because she knows that when he gets out he'll have a year of living off of rats and a year of being stuck up in his childhood prison before he too is killed.
She cries because from this moment his life is over. All that is to follow is fifteen years of misery and pain.
All that is to follow between them are those looks of stifled grief and marmite on toast.
She's allowed to go to work again. He lays in bed, his face gaunt and tear stained, his body thin and his mood lower than she has ever seen it.
She has just apparated outside the Ministry but she is swept away by the doing of another. She tries to gasp as the air is forced out of her lungs and she is transported through black. In the end she passes out.
When she awakes she is in a dimly lit room, face down on the stone floor. The first spell takes her by surprise. The scream rips through her throat and fills the entire building. She can faintly hear cackles of glee over her pain but after several minutes of torture it becomes unregistered background noise. She can hear the blood pounding in her head, feel her throat becoming more and more ragged by the second and when she is given a moment's relief, she sees that her captor is none other than the woman she will kill in sixteen years time.
The only noise that breaks through her cries is a frantic banging on the wooden door, his voice, raw as her own screaming her name through the thick and ageing oak.
Finally everything makes sense. He's trying, but trying's not really doing much good. She doesn't care too much. There will be nothing left for her after he is put in Azkaban, and she wouldn't want to go back to her own time and finish her life without him.
Her last thought is of him, as she wonders whether this is the final loss that tips him over the edge and sends him spiralling downwards into a hopeless pit of revenge. She thinks that perhaps this is the day where he goes to Azkaban laughing his head off.