Title: Moonlit Introductions
Category: Harry Potter
Genre: Drama/Romance/Humor
Rating: PG-13
Relationship: Hermione/Remus, OC
Word Count: 1,535

Summary: An ill thought out walk through the woods has a newly graduated Hufflepuff girl stumbling upon a werewolf and his family.

Moonlit Introductions

Admittedly, a jaunt through the woods seemed a truly nonsensical decision, but her attempts at apparition had often resulted poorly. Perhaps foolhardy, when she'd first stepped into the forest she had felt certain that she wouldn't run in to too much difficulty. She might have given it a second thought if she ever gave credence to her overactive imagination and her general habit of walking right into the middle of every wrong place, wrong time situation imaginable. Still, she walked forward, telling herself and her imagination to take a backseat; she was nearing home and nothing out of place would happen. What she stumbled upon while gallivanting through truly haunting and gnarled trees, however, said different.

An adorable young boy stood not far from her; what in blazes he was doing out here in the middle of the night, she had no idea. Then again, she had to question her own sanity for the same reasons. The full moon shone broadly in the sky and it wasn't the first time on this chilly night that she found herself shaking for reasons unrelated to the weather. Her eyes darted to and fro, expecting any number of beasts to appear and stalk her like their next meal. Her steps hurried then, trying to escape her own vivid imagination.

"Oi! Little boy…" she called fearfully. "Are- Are you lost? Where are your parents?"

He didn't reply; in fact he quite happily ignored her in favor of sucking on his thumb. He wasn't dressed poorly so she dismissed the idea he might be orphaned; in fact he was wrapped in a warm winter coat buttoned up to his chin and a red mitten fit snug over one hand, his other bared free for him to comfortably enjoy his thumb. She crept closer, instincts screaming that if she had any sense at all she'd have already made it home by now and kept herself very much away from all that lurked in the nearby woods. There weren't many neighbors nearby and not for the first time, she cursed herself for thinking the solitude of her new home was a good thing.

The closest house was a cottage hidden deep in the middle of the forest and she'd never even met the people who lived there. The only reason she knew it was inhabited was because she could see smoke billowing from the chimney and occasionally the laughter of a young boy could be heard. In fact… She peered closer at the little toddler before her; perhaps that's where he'd wandered off from.

"You live near here, don't you?" she asked, not really expecting an answer. He still wasn't paying her any real attention and she couldn't help but think he was all too innocent for the darkness that a full moon brought.

It was as she crossed the crest of the hill that her heart leapt thickly into her throat. Not ten feet from the boy was the giant form of a werewolf. His arms hung near to his bent knees, gnarled hands and claw-like fingers weighing heavy in the air. His spine was arched as if walking upright wasn't how he was meant to be. His long, pointed ears twitched, turning in her direction and the salivating snout that bore all too many teeth snarled at her, sniffing the air and likely getting a good whiff of paralyzing terror.

During her split-second of hysteria, she wondered if the boy had been a trap. But no way would a werewolf have enough sense to use bait, let alone human bait, without eatingit. But as she looked back to the sweet little boy he showed absolutely no fear at all, simply staring at her with a confused mesh of his brows. She had two choices here; run and hope he didn't catch her or grab the boy and run, again hoping he wouldn't catch her. It was cowardly that she even considered leaving him, but fear had smothered any true sense of courage she had. Then again, she was put in Hufflepuff, not Gryffindor when she attended Hogwarts, so perhaps her courage wasn't as deep-seated as she might hope.

She took a giant step back on shaky legs, her arm outstretched to the boy. "Come on… We've only got one chance and you can't muck it up. Take my hand, hurry now…"

Plucking his thumb from his mouth, he turned suddenly and cocked his head at the giant and angry animal, almost as if he was asking… permission?

A hiss, a growl escaped the beast and a shudder ran through her.

"Mummy always says I can't go with strangers… and papa doesn't like me getting too far away from home…"

Her eyes widened. Had he no understanding of what was going on? "I'm sure they'll appreciate it when you're not shredded to bits…" she muttered, rolling her eyes.

His thumb returned to his mouth and though survival instincts yelled to leave him she hurried forward to grab him up in her arms; he'd be quicker if she carried him anyway. But just as she was close enough, the werewolf pounced in between them, his tail swaying side to side viciously as he bent snarling at her, his teeth jagged and ready to tear her to pieces. She whimpered uncontrollably, stumbling backwards. The boy stood there, unaffected entirely.

Arms spread out as if to say 'Peace!' she stepped away from it slowly, pleading silently for him not to kill her. She'd barely graduated Hogwarts and just started a new job… She was hoping to ask George Weasley out next weekend and take her friends out for a round of firewhiskey on her… This was so not how she was meant to die!

There was an eerie whistle suddenly filling the background and everybody stilled. Her very heart seemed to stop in her chest.

Out of the dark woods stepped a figure dressed all in deep red robes, a hood pulled over their head. Suddenly, a pale hand rose and pushed it back, revealing a thick mess of bushy brown hair and a very prominent face in Wizarding history. Great, not only was she going to die a very painful death, she wouldn't even get Hermione Granger's autograph before doing so. But then— Lumos! — a thought struck. This was one of The Golden Trio; one of the saviors of the Wizarding world, perhaps she'd wield her mighty wand and get them out of this mess!

"William Sirius Lupin, just what do you think you're doing? It's hours past your bedtime and you just had your bath!" Hermione exclaimed, exasperated.

Had the entire world gone mad?

There was a bloody werewolf standing in front of her and here she was berating him for not bathing or going to bed on time?

"Oh but mu-uuum…." William whined, chin falling to his chest. "I jus' wanted to see what the fuss was about…"

"Bed. Now!" Seemingly not seeing her at all, Hermione turned away and began marching back into the woods.

Shocked, she looked back at the figures before her, one pouting while the other kept savage eyes on her. Turning swiftly, the werewolf plucked the young boy up into his mouth by his coat, leaving him hanging limply and without protest as he turned and started trotting into the woods. As if carrying his cub, the werewolf left her behind and loped after Hermione.

Shaking her head, she blinked rapidly. What in bloody hell was that?

Not one to stick around and see if he might come back to finish her off, she scurried in the opposite direction towards home. Upon arriving she put up the strongest wards she could manage, put on a pot of tea to calm her frazzled nerves, and then searched her bookshelf for anything pertaining to Hermione Granger post the war. Her finger slid down the index, scoping for information before she nodded to herself and flipped to near the end.

Just four years following the end of the war against Voldemort (formerly known as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named – see Chapter 3), Hermione Granger married fellow Order member, Remus Lupin. Son William Sirius followed a year later and as hints go, a daughter may possibly be arriving in early February of 2008. Hermione Granger-Lupin and husband Remus live in a remote house the likes of any searching charm are unable to locate. Both partners are active in Werewolf Awareness and Rights as Lupin is quite widely known as one of few werewolves who fought on the Light side…

Closing the book with a thick thud, she shook her head. Un. Be. Lievable! She was living right next to a werewolf and his family and she had absolutely no idea. Add on to that the both of them were high-ranking members of secret organization, The Order of thePhoenix, said to be the cause behind Voldemort's defeat and she was absolutely stunned. Having no idea what to do with this information or even how to correctly process it, she muttered, "Bugger tea, I need something stronger," and brought out a bottle of firewhiskey.

Tomorrow, she'd go visit her new neighbors and get this mess cleared up, for now… she'd drink in hysteria. Cheers!