The wind could be heard howling from outside and the sound of the rain hitting against the windowpane made Hermione long for her four poster bed. The candle on her writing desk flickered with the breeze coming through the old windows and it made a whistling sound throughout the dank, damp room. However tired she felt, she could not face lying in bed with her mind free to think, to relax. She had to keep trying. She couldn't be still and allow herself to rest. She was exhausted, for Hermione had spent the last year in Australia searching for her parents. After the war the over, Hermione went to get them and to reverse the memory charm she had cast upon them, only to find no trace of them what so ever. Whether or not they had moved on to another place or been kidnapped and murdered by Death Eaters looking for information, she did not know. She couldn't face returning to her family home. Unless her parents were there with her, then it wasn't home. So here she was back in Grimmauld Place. After being in Australia for a year, she wasn't quite yet used to being back in the cold, damp weather. She had spent the last few days there hiding away in her and Ginny's old bedroom writing letters to whom ever she could think of who could help. Every now and again she would stop and simply cry for an hour or so remembering the response she had gotten from a small squat lady working in the Australian Ministry of Magic.
'Sorry love but the chances are that your parents were kidnapped by Death Eaters and murdered. It's been over a year since there's been sight of them. I hate to be blunt but you're wasting your time. Go home and be with your friends'.
She had never felt so lonely in her whole life. Harry and Ron still had another two months until they completed their Auror training. The only other occupant of Grimmauld Place was Remus. But although she felt lonely, she also hated being around people. During the day, old members of the Order would call in and have lunch, but Hermione found their pitying looks overwhelming. So she confined herself mostly to her room, dark and unfriendly as it was. It was almost midnight when the endless hours of crying left her with a headache, puffy eyes and a dry mouth. She stood up, put the guard on front of the fire, wrapped herself in an old woollen shawl and headed downstairs for a drink. Sitting at the kitchen table and sipping at a butter beer, she sat staring at the spot where they had once interrogated Mundungus Fletcher about the locket and wondered was it all worth it? Yes, Lord Voldemort was gone of course and almost all of the Death Eater's had been rounded up and sent to Azkaban, but her parents were missing, presumed dead. She regretted so much having gone with Harry and Ron and not going on the run with her parents.
'For the Greater Good' she said aloud sarcastically and held up to her glass to an invisible person and downed the last of it.
'Hermione?' came a voice from the landing. Remus peeped his head into the kitchen at the entrance and when he saw Hermione, went in and sat beside her at the table.
'I thought you would have been well asleep by this time, are you alright?' he said concernedly noticing her puffy red eyes. She shifted uneasily in her seat.
'Yes, yes perfectly fine' putting on a smile 'just keeping busy, writing a few letters, reading and...' but she stopped. She could feel her eyes starting to water and a lump rose in her throat. She waved her hand, excusing herself.
'I'm so sorry Professor, I'm still a bit upset, I'll be fine' and she rose from her seat to leave but he caught her by the hand, gave her a pleading look, and so she sat again, wiping away some fresh hot tears.
'Hermione my dear girl, of course you're upset! I would be quite surprised if you weren't! You've been avoiding all of us like the plague and hiding away in your old room! Please talk to me, I'd really want to help.'
She looked at him and saw the look of want and concern in his eyes. She suddenly realised how he looked more lined and grey since she had last seen him. He was thinner too. Although he was still quite good looking, she could see how the years of turmoil, stress and transformations had effected him. She pitied him and felt selfish for feeling as though she were the only one suffering. He too had lost his wife, and like Sirius, had been living here alone and probably felt as lonely as she did.
'I really don't want to bother you Professor, all I need is a good's night sleep and I'll be as right as rain in the morning'. He smiled and said firmly:
'I haven't been your teacher in over five years, I think it's high time you started calling me Remus! And secondly, tell me what happened in Australia…'
Several butterbeers, one or two firewhiskeys and many tears later, she had told him everything and finished:
'I didn't know what else I could do, it just felt so hopeless, so I decided to come until I could think of another plan'. It had felt so good to off load all of her emotions and felt as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
'Hermione' said Remus, taking her hand, 'you did everything you could. All you can do now is wait for the Ministry to get back to you. I know it will be hard, but try to keep yourself busy and stay positive. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst'. He squeezed her hand during the last few words and she nodded, forcing a grin. He stood up and Hermione followed suit.
'Thanks Profess...I...mean Remus' she blushed slightly 'for listening. I feel a bit better now.'
'Any time my dear. Now I hope to see you for breakfast in the morning, no more hiding away?' he smiled, pushing in his chair.
'No more hiding, I promise' laughed Hermione. They stepped towards each other and went for a hug. With her head in his chest and his arms wrapped around her, she felt safe, understood. She turned her head upwards and saw him looking down at her. Their eyes met for what seemed like an eternity and then he leaned down and kissed her softly, tenderly on her lips. So many times she had daydreamed of this moment, however, caught off guard, she was surprised and unsure of how to react, she froze. He stopped and looked at her worriedly. Letting go of her and taking a step back, he said
'I'm so sorry Hermione, I shouldn't have, I...'. But Hermione, having recovered, walked back over to him. She put her hands on his chest and could feel how firm he felt. She rested them on his shoulders and on her tip-toes and kissed him passionately. He pulled her close to him with one arm and his other hand through her hair.
'Oh Hermione, I've wanted you for so so long' he said breathlessly, sweeping her hair away from her shoulder and began kissing her neck.
'I've always liked you Remus' she shivered as she covered in goose pimples, 'but I always believed that you thought that I was too young. And then, just as I came of age, you and Tonks got married'. She finished her sentence nervously, looking into his eye for some sort of reaction. She relaxed and little when she saw him smile. 'You're a woman now, Hermione. The most beautiful, intelligent woman I have ever met and I am so glad that you have come to stay here'. He kissed her again and Hermione responded by allowing his hands wander around her petite body. Several minutes later he took her by the hand and led her out of the kitchen and started upstairs. At the junction to their rooms, Hermione started 'Profess...I mean, Remus, I think it might be best If I...' and she pointed to her own room looking a bit awkward and embarrassed. 'Oh, right, yeah of course, sweetheart' he said looking disappointed, but he recovered almost immediately. 'I'll see you in the morning' and he placed a kiss on her forehead. 'Night' she said without looking back and closed her door.
Constructive Critisism only please.