A/N: This is quite possibly one of the shortest things I've written, though I admit that's not saying much.
This is only mildly influenced by the eponymous Evanescence song, but I give credit where credit is due.
As I mentioned on Twitter, this is unbeta'd. I'm sure I'm going to get a few snide remarks as to its grammatical errors, but just know if you do that, you're not really doing it for my benefit. I couldn't possibly care less because I know the story as a whole is coherent & that's really all that matters to me. So you nit-picky so-and-so's can just stuff it.
Bring Me To Life
Hermione Granger woke up with a start, a cold sweat covering her bare body. She took deep breaths, trying to will her nightmares back into her subconscious. Closing her eyes, she ran a hand over her face, feeling her heart pound against her chest.
The images didn't disappear.
She could feel the pain wracking her body as if it had happened only moments earlier instead of ten years ago. She could feel her limbs wrenching to excruciating angles, skin and muscles turning against her, and all the time the pain – the intense, unceasing pain – that ravaged her body seared over her skin as if every day of her life was a reminder of its existence.
She brought her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them as she placed her face upon her sheet-covered thighs. She breathed. And she breathed. And she breathed.
There was movement next to her and a warm, strong arm encircled her body. She sighed, trying to ease the tension from her body so as not to alarm him. She knew that he wouldn't be fooled by it, but it made her feel better to at least try.
"Did you have the dream again?" he asked, his voice husky with sleep.
She let out a puff of air.
"It's not a dream. It's a memory," she replied, pulling out of his embrace and getting out of bed, ignoring how the chill of the old house whipped around her naked form. "And trust me, a memory is worse."
"Hermione, I know you don't want to talk about it, but…"
"And yet you still insist on asking me," she interrupted, turning to look at him. She tried to make herself look past the dishevelled sandy brown hair, a few soft locks falling into his weathered face and making him look much younger. She tried to make herself look past the warmth and concern in his amber eyes and his patient stare.
She tried. She always tried. And she always failed.
"I can't…you don't know, Remus," she whispered, running a hand over her face before turning to look out the window into the dark night. "You can't even begin to understand."
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to understand," he replied.
She gave a short laugh.
"And here I thought you were just here for the type of sex you can't get from your wife."
She knew it was cruel. She knew it because she never looked at him when she said things like that. She didn't look at him because she knew she would see anguish in his face. The anguish just endeared him more to her. The cruelty she sometimes spat distanced herself from that emotion.
"Hermione…we can stop this any time you want…"
"Can we?" she asked, turning toward him, her chocolate eyes long dead from the circumstances her life had dealt her. "Can we really? Because every time we've tried…"
"We haven't tried," he replied. "I haven't tried and neither have you because we both know neither of us can live without this."
She turned back to the window, trying to come up with a reason why he was wrong. He wasn't, of course. He was right, as usual. She needed him because he brought out in her the last shreds of her humanity.
And he needed her because she…well, she just didn't give a damn about who he was and what he was and he needed that.
"I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this, Remus," she whispered to the darkness, to the pane of glass, to herself. "What we're doing is wrong."
"I know," he replied, and she heard him slide out of bed and pad over to her, wrapping his arms around her waist. "And yet…we can't stop."
"Why?" she asked, turning to look at him. "Why can't we stop? Look at me! Look how damaged I am and you…"
"Me what?" he asked softly, pushing a strand of hair out of her face. "I keep coming back. What do you think that says about me?"
"It says you're a masochist," she mumbled, turning back to the window.
"Well, maybe," he mused into her hair, kissing her head lightly. "But it also says that neither of us are perfect."
"I can't believe that was once my goal. Perfection. Perfect little Hermione Granger."
He held her for a moment. No words had to be minced about how far away that dream was now. A childhood ruined by growing up too quickly in the shadow of war and destruction. A marriage ruined by the previously-unseen consequences that war had waged on her mind and body. An adulthood riddled with tragedy and regrets.
"Nobody expects you to be perfect, 'Mione," he whispered, using the nickname that she had disallowed everyone from using but him. "Nobody expected it then and nobody expects it now."
She closed her eyes and cringed as the images of that one, fateful night crept back into her mind. The crazed madwoman under whose wand she writhed was long-dead – a fact that was not comforting as her curse had already done its worse.
"I can't get her out of my head," Hermione whispered, hot, treacherous tears spilling onto her sallow cheeks.
"That's how she wins, you know," he replied.
She spun around once more.
"She's already won!" she spat, pushing him away. "She terrorized my childhood. She destroyed my marriage. She's infected my whole being with this…this poison that I can't get rid of!"
"Nobody blames you for what happened, Hermione," Remus said softly.
"Ron does! Every moment of our marriage he looked at me as if I was…I was…defective. And I am! I am and it's her fault!"
Remus sighed, looking at the broken woman in front of him. He wanted so much to take away the past ten years; to restore to her the one thing she couldn't have back. He could have killed Bellatrix all over again. He would have killed Ron had Harry not intervened and given the malicious redhead an earful that had almost ruined their friendship.
Not that it mattered. What was said during their divorce had done its damage. Hermione threw herself into her work; Ron into a marriage that yielded the children he wanted.
Remus had watched her downward spiral from there. The late nights in the office; the bags under her eyes from insufficient sleep; the gaunt, sallow look to her that told him and everyone she knew that she wasn't eating. She stopped seeing people socially. She couldn't look anyone in the eye. She exiled herself from everything and what made everything even more difficult was that no one, not even Harry, made much of an effort to pull her back from it.
Except for Remus.
In hindsight, he should have known that the affair was inevitable. He had always cared about her a little more than he probably should have. When he'd finally cornered her, in the darkened offices of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and demanded that she let him take her out to dinner, she had looked up into his eyes for the first time in a long time and acquiesced.
They had gone to dinner. They had talked. She had described her loneliness, her sleepless nights. He had confided his disappointments in his own life, in his marriage. He had walked her home – back to Grimmauld Place, which Harry had given to Hermione because he refused to step foot in it again. She had invited him inside.
It had only taken two sips of firewhisky by the roaring fire in the library for them to kiss in the fiery passion that had been building throughout the night.
The sex had been incredible.
That had been two years earlier. Now, she was slowly growing back into the woman he knew she could be, though still very much the shell of the woman she once was. It was only late at night that he saw the crippling vulnerability that she tried so hard to hide from the world.
But it was still there.
If she had expected a response from him regarding Ron and her misplaced faith in a man who was not nearly worthy of her, she didn't show it as she turned back to the window. Remus moved toward her, putting his hands on her shoulders.
He felt her tense, and that simple gesture made his heart hurt.
"Come back to bed," he whispered.
She sighed and let him lead her back to the bed, crawling beneath the sheets and watching him as he lay next to her. He smiled gently, tracing the side of her face with his finger.
She returned the smile, but it no longer had the sparkle it once had all those years ago.
"Remus," she whispered.
"Why do you put up with me?"
He propped himself up on his elbow, looking at her thoughtfully.
"I suppose it's because I may be in love with you."
She scoffed once more.
"Merlin only knows why."
He shook his head.
"I think it's because, in spite of all that's happened to you, in spite of the bitterness you feel and the anger you have, you were able to come back from the abyss it drove you to."
She looked down at the bed sheets, playing with a non-existent piece of fuzz.
"I don't think I could have done that without you."
"Oh, I don't know about that."
"No," she said, looking up at him with an earnestness he hadn't seen in a very long time. "No, it's because of you. I don't know why you're still around, why you're still patient and kind with me, considering how I treat you. But I'm…I'm glad you are."
He smiled and leaned over to her, brushing his lips over hers.
"I'm glad I am too."
She kissed him deeply then, wrapping her arms around him and pushing him down on his back, her smaller body flushed against his. Running her hands down his lean, lithe torso, she revelled in the lines of scar tissue that criss-crossed his flesh, silvery-white and smooth to the touch. He detested them. So did his wife.
But she found them beautiful.
He groaned against her lips, rolling over and pinning her to the bed under him. He pulled away to look at her, at her deep, soulful, sad eyes, her flushed cheeks and her full, pink lips that he'd kiss for hours if he could.
He gazed down her long neck, at the gentle slope of her shoulders and her beautiful, heaving breasts, her nipples dusky and hard. His eyes swept down her torso, her body all soft curves against his hard muscle. They fit so perfectly.
He kissed down her neck, moulding his hands to her breasts and flicking his fingers across her nipples, getting a breathy moan in response. He lowered his lips to one, taking it into his mouth and suckling gently, one hand gently massaging its twin while his other hand ran down her body to the neatly-trimmed thatch of hair that sat between her parted legs.
"Remus…" she breathed, her head falling back as his fingers teased her clit, running gentle circles around the sensitive nub. She writhed, wanting more.
She always wanted more. And he couldn't help but appease her.
Moving back up to her lips, he kissed her deeply as he guided himself to her hot, wet core. He hissed as she bit his lower lip, growling at her in warning. She bared her teeth to him, not standing down – not ever standing down – to the rough animal that surfaced if they weren't careful.
Obviously, she didn't want to be careful.
He thrust hard into her and she gasped, eyes wide and lips slightly parted. He groaned as he felt her walls clamp around him, adjusting to the sudden intrusion of his not-unimpressive girth. She was tight – perhaps a little more than usual – and he looked down at her in worry, desperately hoping he wasn't hurting her.
She looked into his eyes, and snarled.
That did it. He growled, body bowing as he gripped her thighs and pulled her hips to his, slamming himself into her. She let out a long, loud moan, her hands gripping she sheets beneath her. He thrust hard, his hands digging into her hips as he controlled her body, going as fast or as slow as he wished and watching every emotion – from ecstasy to utter frustration – cross her face with every movement.
"Why do you do this to me?" he breathed as she glared at him when he slowed, a thin sheen of sweat covering her skin.
"Because you love it. And I love it. Now fuck me!" she growled, her voice taking on a husky rasp that never ceased to turn him on.
He thrust hard and fast into her, one hand steadying her hip while the other ran up the centre of her body, caressing her breasts and tweaking her nipples before moving up to cup the back of her neck, pulling her up to him and kissing her deeply as they rocked together.
She bucked her hips against him and he responded by snapping at the flesh on her shoulder, a small pink bite mark marring her ivory flesh. It was a warning, and one that she never ceased to ignore. She gripped his head in her hands, looking into his eyes as they moved harder and faster together, their hair pasted to their skin but never keeping their eyes off each other.
"Remus…" she breathed as her walls started to tighten, her body tensing but her hips still moving with his frantic pace.
"Yes?" he replied, thrusting harder in spite of the strain his own body was going through. She could undo him with a glance, which it made it difficult to keep his cool in the throes of their passionate love-making.
"I think…I think I may be in love with you too," she whispered before crying out, wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face in his shoulder. Her body tightened and her nails dug into his flesh. She was floating and falling all at once, her body wracked with pleasure and just the smallest amount of pain that made the pleasure all the more heightened. She spun wildly, giving herself to the only madness she knew worth surrendering to.
Remus groaned into her hair, closing his eyes as her impossibly-tight body pulled his own orgasm from him, the heat between them crashing over him in waves. He gave himself over to his pleasure, his own hands digging into her flesh as stars burst before his eyes. It was always so intense. He didn't know why, but it felt too perfect to question.
They breathed heavily as the held each other, sweat sliding down their bodies and their muscles slowly starting to give in to the exhaustion that swept over them. Slowly laying her back against the pillows, Remus nearly collapsed on top of her, his head cushioned by her soft, full breasts.
She ran her hands through his hair as he listened to her heart, the beat steadying back to a normal pace.
"I meant it, you know," she said after a few moments.
"I know," he replied with a small smile.
"Does that change things?"
He looked up at her.
"Do you want it to change things?"
She looked at him for a long moment before slowly nodding her head.
"Yes," she breathed.
"What do you want to change?"
"What can you offer me?"
He smiled slightly.
"What do you want?"
She let her head fall back against the pillow again, and looked at the ceiling.
"I don't know if I have enough strength to ask you to leave your wife for me."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know what I would do if you said no."
"And if I didn't?"
"I don't know what I would do if you said yes, either."
He crawled up her body, looking down at her.
"What would you say if I told you I'd left her already?"
"I left her. A few weeks ago, actually."
She stared at him, and he smiled slightly, dropping a kiss on her parted lips.
"Why would you do that?" she asked softly.
"Because I'm in love with you."
"But I thought you said…"
"I said I may be in love with you. I also may have been a bit conservative in that statement."
She continued to stare before hitting him – hard – in the shoulder.
"Ouch! What was that for?"
"Why did it take you a few weeks to tell me?" she demanded in a manner that hearkened back to her bossy, know-it-all days.
He grinned at that thought.
"I was waiting for you."
"Waiting for me to do what?"
"To come back to life."
She looked at him, dumbstruck, before smiling slightly.
"I suppose I have you to thank for that, too," she said.
He smiled, shaking his head.
"No," he replied, kissing her softly before rolling to his side, bringing her with him. "No, I just made sure you knew you had something to come back for."
And for the first time in the ten years of her tragedy-stricken adult life, she laughed with the carefree happiness she once had.
And if Remus had had any doubts before, they were washed away in that moment.
Thanks for reading!
Hope you enjoyed it.