Okay, this is the last chapter/epilogue. I just want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has read my story. I hope you've had as much fun reading it as I have writing it. Thanks to everyone who reviewed this story. Your glowing praises have bolstered my ego and given me the encouragement to keep going.
I have a new story idea in mind and I hope to begin it soon. So, perhaps some of you will read that one and show me the same encouragement as you did with this.
Please feel free to read my other stories as well. I think they are quite good and I'd love to know what you think.
So, on to the finale – ENJOY!
(Please review – I want to know what you think of the ending!)
It had been three months since that fateful night. For Hermione it was an experience that would always haunt her memories. At sunrise after spending the night in the cave with Remus she had awoken to only to find herself living a nightmare. She thought had only dreamt of Sirius being horribly wounded, but when she awoke she learned of the true extent of his injuries. She could see pools of his blood marring the floor and it made her physically ill.
Remus was understandably frantic. Hermione practically had to force him back to Grimmauld place to clean and dress his wounds instead of allowing him to simply barrel off to St. Mungos. She hated to admit that she wanted to cleanse herself as well. Spending two full nights laying on a freezing, damp, mud caked floor had affected her both physically and mentally. Combine that with the creepy feeling she wore like a second skin from being in such close proximity with that horrible werewolf and all she could think about was taking a long, very hot shower. She knew it was selfish, but she couldn't face Sirius looking like a disgusting, filthy hag.
Remus had allowed only the most basic of healing and though none of his injuries were life threatening, some were fairly severe. The only way he got Hermione to stop fussing over him was to promise that he would see a mediwitch once at the hospital.
They arrived at St. Mungos an hour after sunrise and were immediately led to a small waiting room where they found Harry sitting quietly with his head in his hands. Upon seeing his dejected countenance, Remus' feet felt rooted to the floor. He found that he simply could not go on to learn that he had lost yet another best friend. Hermione saw his reaction and understood it. She stroked his arm comfortingly before taking a seat near Harry.
"How's he doing?" she asked quietly, steeling herself for the worst.
Harry looked up and her heart sank as she saw the long, wet trails of his tears.
"It's bad," he told her as he swallowed a sob.
She felt her heart skip and a hollow sensation filled her stomach. "Is he alive?" she whispered.
"Just barely. They've been working on him all night, but they can't seem to control his bleeding. All they keep telling me is that they're trying. Oh, God! This is all my fault!"
"No, it's my fault," she said, taking his hands in hers. "If I hadn't been stupid enough to go outside alone without my wand that foul creature never would have got to me, and you guys never would have had to come after me."
"I knew he was going to try and take you," Harry admitted miserably. He went on to explain his big plan and how it had backfired in his face. When he was done he got down on his knees and begged for her forgiveness.
"It seems to me that your plan would have worked if I had remembered my wand," Hermione said lightly, running her fingers through his untidy hair. "And though I wish I had been in on it, I can't blame you for wanting to get that bastard. You know I'm not the kind of person who says things like this easily, but I'm glad you killed that son-of-a-bitch. I just wish you had done it sooner."
"Ow!" Harry flinch and Hermione realized that she had inadvertently clenched her fingers.
"Sorry," she smiled. "Look, you said he was going to try and take me. Whether it had been then or a month from now, it was likely going to happen. I'm just glad you were there when it did happen." She looked up at Remus. "Thank you both for risking your lives for me."
Remus looked around then. "Where are Ron and the other Aurors? Is everyone else okay?"
Harry nodded. "Everyone is fine. Ron was here, but he was exhausted and I told him to go home and get some sleep. There's nothing he could do here anyway other than annoy me."
"Oh my God!" Hermione moaned suddenly, making both men jump. "The party! I ruined everything didn't I?"
Harry chuckled. "Only you would care about something as silly as that at a time like this. Ginny took over the party. I'm sure she made certain that everyone had a good time. I sent her a message when I got here telling her that I was fine and you were safe. I told her Sirius was hurt, but I downplayed it. I didn't have the heart to tell her how bad it actually is." As he said the words he began to tear up again and turned his face away.
Hermione pulled him into a tight hug as he cried. She felt just as weak and helpless as he did. She was also angry. She had been weak and helpless too often lately and it was really pissing her off. She felt a restless energy build up inside her and she felt the urge to do something, anything, to help.
"When was the last time you got an update on his condition?" she asked Harry as he slowly calmed down.
"About an hour ago," he sniffed. "They got tired of me asking I think, and they said they'd come tell me the minute there was any change."
"Well, I haven't asked anyone, so I think I'll go do that," she nodded firmly. However, just as she made to leave a young, sour looking mediwitch walked in.
"Are you all here for Sirius Black?" she asked in a clipped tone. When they nodded in the affirmative she sniffed and continued, "We have managed to stop his bleeding, but his injuries are still very severe. If he survives the day he will most likely recover fully, however, I'm not sure what kind of life that would be. Since he was bitten by a werewolf during the full moon, should he survive, he will surely become one himself."
"What are you saying?" Hermione said sharply, feeling her ire rise, "That because he might be a werewolf he's better off dead?"
The witched shrugged, looking vastly uncomfortable and disgruntled. "Perhaps death is better than losing one's humanity."
"Do I look human to you?" Hermione snarled. "Does he?" she demanded, pointing toward Remus. "Because we're both werewolves and I promise you, if anything, we're still human!"
The mediwitch sneered slightly, but merely shrugged again. "I see. Well, at least he'll have proper company."
"Let me tell you something!" Harry snapped at her. "Werewolves are just like everybody else most of the time. Their condition doesn't define who they are. It doesn't automatically make them bad or evil. Voldemort wasn't a werewolf and he was the epitome of evil. My friends didn't choose to be werewolves but they deal with it as best as they can and I'll tell you this; they are some of the bravest, kindest, most loyal people in the world. Now, I think you should leave. Oh, and stay away from Sirius Black. I don't want someone as horrible and ignorant as you going anywhere near him."
The mediwitch glared at him for a moment before turning and stomping away.
"Can you believe her?" Hermione demanded, outraged. "How can they let someone like that work here? You can believe that I'll be speaking to her supervisor and Kingsley about this!"
"Hermione," Remus said soothingly. "I have been living with that kind of discrimination my whole life. People tend to fear things they don't understand, and werewolves are some of the most misunderstood people on Earth. Hopefully, after the new laws go through, things will begin to change. However, for a while longer, you and I, and those like us will have to show the patience and tolerance that some others can't."
Hermione huffed, but nodded. "I know. It sucks, but I know. Now, I'm going to find someone competent to look at your wounds."
After she had gone Remus turned back to Harry. "I want you to be completely honest with me," he said, and then paused to steady his wavering voice. "I know he was in really bad shape when you arrived here. Based on what you know, what do you think his odds are?"
Harry's eyes fell to the floor. "Not even during the war have I ever seen someone so ravaged. I was really worried I'd lose him before I could even get him here. I don't know. He's strong. He was strong enough to survive twelve years in Azkaban…but he'll need to be even stronger now. I don't want to guess at his odds, but I know this; I want him to live more than anything. We just have to pray that he wants it that badly too. Maybe if there were something in his life worth fighting for…or someone…." He trailed off.
Remus thought of Hermione and he felt a flicker of hope. "I know just what you mean," he smiled softly.
……………………………Three months later………………………………….
Remus came into the library to see Hermione standing quietly by the window.
"How are you doing?" he asked gently as he walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
Hermione smiled lightly and rubbed her head against his chest. "I'm okay. Just thinking about things."
"Are you worried about tonight?
She shrugged. "Not really. I have done this before you know."
"I know," he nodded. "But you're in heat again, and this will be the first time since Sirius…"
"I'm not worried!" she insisted. "You'll be there. I'm sure you'll know what to do."
"If I can control myself," he murmured against her neck as he nipped and kissed her overly sensitive skin.
Hermione moaned appreciatively and turned in his embrace to wrap her arms around his neck. "Are you trying to take advantage of me in my time of weakness?"
Remus laughed. "I remember last time like it was yesterday, and I don't think I could ever describe you as weak. In fact, you were surprisingly overpowering."
Hermione smacked his chest lightly and tilted her head back so he could capture her mouth. Only recently had they re-engaged in such intimate physical contact. It had taken her several weeks to cope with everything that had happened, and though she needed the reassurance of physical contact, she had stopped it before anything of a romantic nature could occur. However, feeling the familiar heat of his kiss made her regret months of lost time.
"Hey, what's this? You're starting without me?"
Hermione and Remus reluctantly pulled apart and turned to face the hall. Sirius stood in the doorway, leaning heavily on his crutch and looking comically forlorn. Upon seeing the overly pathetic look on his face they both bubbled over with laughter. Sirius couldn't hold his falsely miserable expression for long and grinned widely at them.
"We were just talking about tonight," Remus explained innocently.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Sure, it looked like you were just talking."
"How are you feeling?" Hermione asked as she slipped out of Remus' arms to help Sirius into a chair.
He kissed her forehead as she helped him sit down. "Not bad," he smiled. "It hurts less today than it did yesterday."
He unconsciously rubbed his slowly healing leg as he spoke. They all knew that his injury would have been mostly healed by now if he didn't have to change forms once a month. The bones and muscles tearing, bending and re-shaping themselves severely slowed the healing process, and in some ways impeded it, which was why he had to endure weekly healing sessions with a very talented and understanding mediwitch. Hermione had interviewed the woman herself and deemed her adequate enough to treat him.
"You always say that," she grinned. "But, is it true?"
"True enough," he shrugged. "It's actually getting easier going up the stairs. I don't have to take as many breaks."
"That's good," she said as she moved to step away, but he grabbed her around the waist and gently pulled her onto his lap.
"Hey," he whined. "Remus got a kiss…"
Hermione chuckled and rolled her eyes before leaning up to press her mouth firmly against his. Sirius held her as she tried to pull away, and kissed her more forcefully; nipping and licking at her lips until she parted them for him. She could feel his body's reaction to her and her insides went all warm. The heat was making her body quickly burst into flames, and all Sirius was doing was fanning those flames higher.
Without warning a second mouth descended on her neck and she squeaked and once again tried to pull away, but she was held fast between the firm bodies of the two hottest men alive. Almost at the same time Sirius' hand left her hip to burn a scorching trail under her blouse and up her ribs to her bra encased breasts, while Remus' hands slid tortuously up the inside of her thigh to the hem of her short black skirt.
"Oh, what are you two doing?" she asked breathlessly as Sirius finally pulled away to trail kisses up the other side of her throat to her ear.
"Isn't it obvious?" he whispered as he licked the outer shell of her ear. "We're seducing you."
"Both together?" she gasped, incredulously.
"We're seducing you," they repeated in harmony, each grinning at the joke.
Hermione made to scoff at the old movie reference, but they had gone back to their intimate ministrations and the sound came out as a low moan instead. Sirius slipped his fingers beneath her bra and began expertly stoking her nipple to a fine point while Remus drew lazy circles higher and higher up her thigh so that every few seconds his fingers would graze her quickly moistening core.
"Hold on," Sirius said after a moment. "Moony, my good friend, I need a better angle. Help me turn her, will you?"
Remus nodded and lifted Hermione up before setting her back down so that she straddled Sirius on the plush armchair. "Better?" he asked, and Sirius nodded, shifting his legs to open her up further.
With deft skill he popped the all of the buttons of her blouse open in one quick movement and slowly pushed the frothy material down her arms and onto the floor. Once her torso was free, Remus quickly divested her of her bra, leaving her open and bare from the waist up. Hermione made to cover herself, but he lightly pinned her arms at her sides.
Remus could sense that she was nervous, so he placed gentle, soothing kisses along her shoulders and spine. "Just feel for a while, love, and if you decide you don't like what we're doing, we'll stop."
"I like it too much," she gasped, as Sirius caught a pert nipple in his mouth. "And that's the problem. You're both here and that's what makes it so indecent and wrong."
"No, love," Sirius disagreed. "That's what makes it so sexy and exciting."
"I can't take you both at once!" she insisted as Remus slid his hands over her hips to her thighs once again.
"I'm sure we can figure it out," he laughed. "After all, we're all very ingenious and meticulous people."
She moaned deeply as he dipped his thumbs beneath the elastic at her legs and slowly stroked the soft outer flesh of her mound. She wanted to argue, but the sensations they were creating as they worked in tandem somehow seemed to overpower her will.
After a moment of teasing the soft flesh around her core, Remus moved in to caress her moist, swollen center. Hermione couldn't contain herself as she cried out and arched her back to rest her head against his shoulder. Remus took that opportunity to capture her mouth, taking in her cries and heightening her pleasure.
"I want to try something," Sirius said as he finally released her firm, tight nipples. "Hermione, please put your feet on the floor and rest your arms on my thighs."
She nodded and stood up. As soon as his legs were free Sirius unbuttoned his jeans and quickly pushed them down his hips, revealing his impressive erection. Remus also used the opportunity to divest Hermione of her skirt and panties.
"Do you know what I need?" Sirius asked.
She nodded and bent over at the waist to lick his throbbing length making him close his eyes and groan in pleasure. At the same time Remus began massaging her sleek rear-end before dropping to his knees to lap at her dripping heat.
Hermione gasped at the sudden overwhelming pleasure and she almost lost her balance, but Remus held her upright. She had forgotten how good he was at that particular activity and she felt her body go liquid. Nothing else mattered in that moment but the harsh pleasure ripping through her.
After a minute she felt Sirius tug at her hair to guide her attention back to his body. She gave him a pained half-smile before dipping back down to take his sensitive head into the scorching heat of her mouth.
"Oh, God!" he gasped, and he thrust upward trying to get more of himself into that silky haven.
It only took a moment for the Hermione to cave under the pleasure Remus was inflicting upon her and she screamed as her first orgasm ripped through her. As she slowly came down from the high she heard Remus get to his feet and undo his jeans. A second later she felt his thick head rub tauntingly against her. She scooted back, trying to impale herself on his length, but he held her by the hips as he slowly, painstakingly teased and tortured her.
"Please," she moaned and her mouth went slack against Sirius, who took the opportunity to thrust the rest of himself into her, making her gasp and latch on to him again.
Finally Remus relented and with one long thrust, he filled her to the core. It only took a minute for the three of them to find a rhythm that worked for everyone and soon the room was filled with the sounds of tandem moaning and the sweet slap of skin on skin.
Sirius felt his pleasure reaching its pinnacle, and he reluctantly pushed Hermione away. He wanted to be truly inside of her when his release came. He had dreamt of her body since he had been released from hospital several weeks before and he didn't want to settle for her mouth, no matter how sweet and talented it was.
"Come here love," he murmured as he pulled her up onto her hands. "I need to feel your lips on mine."
Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck and eagerly latched onto his delicious mouth. The dual pleasure of both the kiss and the fullness of Remus' thrusts quickly sent her over the edge again and she buried her face into Sirius' neck as she screamed out her second hard release.
The feeling of her tight inner muscles clamping around him was too much for him, and Remus followed her almost immediately; throwing back his head and howling out his pleasure to the ceiling as he filled her with his hot essence. It took a moment for his wits to return, but when he was able, he placed one last kiss on her spine before stepping away from the heaven of her body. He grabbed his wand and cast two quick cleaning spells on her and himself before lifting her back onto his friend's lap. Sirius was ready for her and he smoothly positioned himself so that as she settled on him, he slipped easily into her hot, still shuddering body.
Hermione cried out at this second invasion, but as soon as he began moving within her, she met him thrust for thrust. Her body was totally aflame and she couldn't control the deep tremors that ran through her. She was drowning in pleasure and she held onto Sirius like a lifeline as she rode him.
Remus knelt down to press his body against her back and he and Sirius caught each other's gaze over her shoulder.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
When Sirius nodded he took Hermione's shoulders firmly in his hands and pulled her back so that she rested firmly against his chest. Sirius sat up with her and buried his face into the curve of her left shoulder as Remus did the same on her right.
"One…two…three," they counted down, and then they simultaneously bit down hard on her soft flesh, breaking the skin and tasting her sweet, tangy blood in their tongues.
Hermione cried out at the sudden pain and she tried to squirm away, but almost instantly the pain faded and a pleasure unlike anything she had ever known washed over her as she felt her thoughts divide perfectly between her two men. It felt like her heart had split evenly down the middle and each man had firmly taken hold of a half. It was the most amazing thing she had ever felt.
That irrepressible ecstasy drove her over the edge and she screamed wildly as the third and most powerful orgasm of the night burst within her. Her feral cries were accompanied by Sirius' as he was equally engulfed in the driving, nearly painful rapture.
When the pleasure's grip finally released her she slumped forward onto his chest and struggled to catch her breath and calm her wildly beating heart.
"What was that?" she gasped.
"The marking," Remus told her as he began to gently clean the slowly seeping blood from her body with a moist cloth.
"You marked me?" Hermione squeaked in surprise. "But…why?"
Sirius ran a shaking hand through his hair before meeting her troubled gaze. "We knew that you would always be in danger from other wolves until you were properly claimed, but neither of us could stand the idea of loosing you. So we talked it over and decided that the only solution was for both of us to try and mark you together. We weren't sure if it would work, but for all of our sakes, we had to try. Please, don't hate us."
Hermione looked into his dark pleading eyes and her heart melted for him, then she turned to look at Remus and felt the same strong emotion. Her heart was filled to bursting and she couldn't contain her smile. "Well, it worked. I can't explain what I feel right now, but I can sum it up with 'love'. I love you both; I have for a long time. But, it's different now. I feel like I'd die if you both weren't with me."
Both of the men grinned at her as they took turns planting gentle kisses on her soft lips.
"I love you," Remus whispered.
"More than anything," Sirius added. "And don't worry. Neither of us is going anywhere. We will always be here with you."
"Forever," Remus promised.
Hermione smiled brighter than she had in her entire life. "Forever," she breathed, trying out the word on her tongue. "I like the sound of that."