Disclaimer: Don't own. End of story.

Like Chocolate and Salt

Remus Lupin had rejoined the Hogwarts staff after Voldemort's downfall. (Snape had been more than willing to move back to potions saying that he had had enough of the Dark arts for the rest of his life.) Remus had taken the post four years ago, and he finally seemed to have broken the "curse" on the position.

After the war, Hermione Granger had returned to Hogwarts to officially attend her seventh year. Harry and Ron had not. After getting the highest marks on all twelve N.E.W.T.s that she'd taken, she decided that she wanted to get masteries in potions, charms, transfiguration, arithmancy, and ancient runes.

Headmistress McGonagall, who was still teaching transfiguration lessons as well as attending her other duties, was thrilled to have her favorite student around for another decade or so and had offered Hermione a position as a substitute teacher while she was at the castle obtaining her higher education.
Arrangements had even been made for Hermione to take over the transfiguration classes after her masteries had been completed. She would even get a state-of-the-art research lab.

With her future neatly squared away, Hermione spent the first two years obtaining her charms mastery. After that was complete, she had begun on potions; she was currently half-way done.

As it turned out, a brewer's state of mind affected a potion more than Hermione would have ever suspected. In fact, a potion, she found, couldn't turn out perfectly unless the brewer wanted it to be perfect. Because Hermione and Remus were friends whereas Snape and Lupin were—at best—rivals, Hermione had taken over brewing Remus's wolfsbane potion each month.

"Knock, knock!" Hermione called, pushing open the door to Remus's office.

Remus chuckled and looked up. "Good evening, Hermione!" He pushed aside the stack of papers he was grading as she set the goblet of wolfsbane on his desk. He indicated to her that she should help herself to a candy; he loved chocolate with sea salt and kept it on hand at all times.

Hermione sat down in front of his desk and tucked her feet underneath her. In her time as Remus's colleague she had come to care very deeply about him. "Would you like me to bring you anything?"

Each month Hermione secured Remus in a cage in the Room of Requirements and sat with him all night. Remus appreciated Hermione's presence more than she knew.

Remus shook his head, "Nothing at all," he plugged his nose and gulped down the potion, then stood, "Shall we depart?"

Hermione picked up a large book that she was bringing to keep her company over night, and then she and Remus made their way to the Room of Requirements. When they arrived, the door was already there.

Hermione knocked on the door then opened it. A couple of seventh year Slytherins were snogging on the sofa; Hermione cleared her throat.

The boy looked up, amused, "Yes?"

"Get out!" Hermione pointed to the open door. She sent electric shocks to chase the two into the hallway. "There," she sighed as the room changed.

She carried several thick blankets into the large cage at the center of the room, and also set up a basin of water.

Remus stepped into the cage and allowed Hermione to lock the cage shut. Hermione sank onto the comfortable chaise lounge that appeared right outside the cage, and the fireplace in the corner burst to life.

Remus sat down on the pile of blankets. "Thank you again, Hermione. I know I shouldn't let a non-animagus be so close during my transformations, but it's nice to know I'm not alone."

Hermione smiled, "It's almost time, Remus." She opened her book and reached for the bowl of chocolates that always appeared on these evenings. (She suspected Minerva left her the chocolates each month, since food can't be created.)

Hermione tried to ignore Remus's cries as he transformed, but—as always—she couldn't help but watch. To think that the man she admired and cared for had to experience such excruciating pain every month made Hermione's eyes well with tears.

By dawn, Hermione had finished her book and gotten two restless hours of sleep. She awoke at first light to Remus's howls as he transformed back into his human body.

Remus was vaguely cognizant of the end of his transformation through his exhaustion, and he managed to pull a blanket over his naked body before falling asleep.

Hermione sighed and stretched then unlocked the cage. Taking the basin of water and a soft washcloth that had appeared, Hermione gently washed her love's face, then applied healing salves to his bruises and cuts.

Remus opened one bleary eye, "S'matter, Hermione?"

Hermione smiled and tucked the blanket around him, "Nothing is the matter, love, go to sleep."

The eye opened wider. "Did you just call me love?" He didn't wait for an answer, as he closed his eyes, one arm slid around her and he tugged her down, giving her a sleepy kiss. "Love you too."


Late that evening, there was a knock at Hermione's door. She waved the door open with her wand and called, "I'm in my sitting room, come on back!"

Remus poked his head around the door frame. "Knock, knock!"

Hermione smiled, "Hey, Remus, how are you feeling?"

Shrugging, Remus sank down onto the sofa next to her. "So… I sometimes have these dreams after my transformations that blur reality. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me."

Hermione knew what was coming. She had been thinking about their kiss all day, and though she had come to accept that she loved him, she had suspected that Remus would visit to disclaim his profession of love. She smiled at Remus, "Of course! Ask away!"

"Did we… That is, did I…really kiss you this morning?" He looked unbearably nervous.

Hermione nodded.

Remus beamed, "Good! I was afraid it was a dream and I hadn't really been brave enough to tell you that I love you."

Hermione laughed as tears of joy streamed down her face, "I love you, too, you ridiculous, adorable man!"

Remus grabbed Hermione, one hand cupping her cheek, the other around the back of her neck. He pulled her to him and pressed his lips to hers, growling when her lips parted ever so slightly to fit perfectly with his. His tongue swept against her lips, and he drew away from her to whisper, "You taste like chocolate and salt."

Five years later, Hermione was just beginning her final mastery. However, within a few months she would be embarking on a much greater adventure—that of becoming Mrs. R.J. Lupin.

It was Valentine's Day, and normally Hermione would hate the holiday. Today, however, she was rather excited, because she had the perfect gift for her fiancé.

Remus heard her footsteps before she reached his door. She was still a few feet away when he opened his door. He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her passionately. "Happy Valentine's Day, love," he murmured against her lips as he steered her backwards to the sofa.

Hermione smiled and slipped out of his arms to retrieve his gift from her purse.

Remus handed Hermione her gift, insisting that they open the gifts at the same time. Hermione was thrilled to find a crescent moon shaped pendant.
Remus told her it would change shapes as the moon passed through each phase.

Remus grinned as he opened his gift. "Is this what I think it is?"

"It is if you think it's a custom dark-chocolate sea salt chocolate bar from Honeydukes," Hermione teased.

"Do you want a bite?" Remus asked as he tore off the wrapper.

Hermione shook her head, "I like my sweets snacks sweet and my salty snacks salty, thank you very much."

"Mommy!" Hermione's and Remus's four year old daughter Amber wailed.

"Yes, sweetie?" Hermione called, rushing to the kitchen. She had just returned from the lab, where she was brewing her husband's next dose of wolfsbane.

"My chocolate milk is gross!" Amber wailed.

Hermione scooped the little girl up. She suspected that she knew the problem. "Did daddy make it?"

Amber nodded pitifully. "He must'a did something wrong!"

Hermione vanished the liquid in Amber's sippy cup and quickly made a fresh cup of chocolate milk. "Here you go, sweetie."

Amber took a long gulp then sighed happily before running to find her favorite doll.

Hermione opened the bedroom door quietly, "Remus?"

Her husband smiled innocently at her, "Yes, love?"

"You aren't going to win. Just accept that our daughter takes after me, and stop mixing salt into her chocolate milk."

Remus pouted.

"Maybe," Hermione added with a wink, "you'll have better luck with the baby on the way."

The End! Yay! I haven't published anything in a while, so I hope you all enjoyed it!