I know I said I'd slow down but it seems nearly impossible.

Somebody hit the brakes for me.

"You're gonna lock the doors, right?"


"And go upstairs, right?"


"And you're going to use that charm I showed you on the windows, right?"

Hermione gave another sigh, "Yes, Remus." She shot him a smile, "Look, I'll be fine, I promise. James and Sirius will be there with you, so there should be no problems. And if there are, I'll tell you how freaked out I was about it afterwards, alright?"

"But what if – "

"Look," she grabbed his shoulder and looked up at him, "You're going to make yourself sick if you keep worrying like this. I'm fine, I'll be fine, and you can take that to the bank. Now head on out there and howl at the moon or whatever it is werewolves do when they change."

Remus still looked doubtful, but James gave a laugh and clapped him on the shoulder, "C'mon, Moony, you've all but barricaded her in the basement."

"Can we do that?" he questioned, "That might actually be – "

"No," James and Hermione frowned, Sirius chuckling behind them, by the front door. James turned Remus around and began pushing him towards the door, pushing him out of it and shooting Hermione a grin and a wink. "See you later." And with that, he shut the door and left her alone for probably the first time in that house. She stepped forward and locked it, biting her lower lip as she thought.

"You okay?" Hermione asked, just a few hours after midnight, as Sirius deposited Remus on the couch, leaning her head over the back and tucking her hair behind her ear. Remus was cut up in several areas, but not bad enough to panic. Still, she felt the need to ask.

Remus gave a wince before giving a tired grin, "Yeah, I'm okay. I know it doesn't look like it, but I'm fine." He squinted before looking over to Sirius, "Where's James?"

"Ahh, now Moony," Sirius began, "You got to remember – you weren't in control."

"What'd I do?" he sat up, urgent and alert as Hermione blinked at Sirius.

"Relax," Sirius tried, "You didn't kill him."

"Where is he?" Hermione asked before the front door opened and James walked in, grabbing his shoulder with a wince. His shirt sleeve was red, and he had a few cuts on his face, but his shoulder seemed to take the brunt of it.

"Oh my God," Hermione and Remus chorused as she moved to see the injury better, but realized that she had no way to fix it and took a step back.

"My own fault," James laughed, although it seemed forced as he sat down in the armchair, "I pissed you off. Should've known better."

"Did I - ?" Remus started to ask before he cut him off, already trying to take his shirt off to get at the wound.

"Nah, you didn't bite me," James told him before hissing and promptly dropping his shirt, "Y'know what? It'll be fine. Just let it heal naturally."

Hermione frowned and asked James with her hands on her hips, "How fond are you of that shirt?"

"Not very, why?" he asked as Sirius started up the stairs to get various potions.

She turned to the kitchen and brought a pair of scissors out of the drawer, sitting on the arm of the chair as he looked warily at her. She grabbed his shirt and started cutting, slowing down when she got closer to his shoulder. Remus watched worriedly as Sirius came back and saw what she was doing, giving a smile at her as James bit the inside of his cheek as she began to pull the fabric away from his skin.

"Thanks, Hermione," Sirius said for him, taking her seat as she went to put the scissors in the sink, returning to watch as Sirius hummed and poured the potions on his skin, making him nearly jump out of his seat.

"Sweet Merlin, Padfoot, you ever heard of the word 'gentle'?" he seemed to shout.

"Yeah, but I wouldn't use it to describe me," he grinned before slapping him on the other shoulder, making him wince. "Consider it punishment for being so stupid."

"What'd he do?" Remus asked, Hermione nodding along as she sat down next to him.

"Thought it was smart to turn human for a second to look at something," James muttered dully, "It wasn't."

"What was so important that you had to turn human?" Hermione questioned.

"Something that required the use of hands, and it was shiny," James hummed as she snorted and frowned at him.

"That's the dumbest excuse ever," she said.

"I never said it was sma-art!" he lurched forward, to further escape whatever torture Sirius was gleefully putting him through.

"You made a funny noise, Prongs!" Sirius grinned as Remus rolled his eyes and looked dully at Hermione.

"Ladies and gentlemen, my best friends," he proclaimed, waving his hand out to include James, Sirius, and even Hermione, although he doubt she noticed.

James moved to the ottoman, glaring at his friend, "Ladies and gentlemen, my ex-best friend, Sirius Black!"

"Aww, Prongsie, that hurts," he pouted, still on the arm of the chair.

"Yeah? So did that," he pointed at the potion before turning to Hermione, "You're the only one tonight that hasn't hurt me."

She could only sigh and shake her head at him, slowly gaining a smile.

Sirius plopped further into the cushion of the chair, "Leave it on there for two minutes and you should be fine."

"Mmkay," James said as he moved to the floor and lay down on his stomach, shutting his eyes and placing his chin on his folded arms. Hermione rolled her eyes and looked over to Remus, blinking when she saw that his eyes were closed as his fist propped his head up. She turned over to Sirius, who gave her a tired smile as he rubbed an eye.

"We get tired," he whispered.

"I can see," she smiled as she whispered back, leaning against the armrest of the couch closest to him and shutting her eyes as well.

"First it's lights out, then its lock up, masterpieces serving maximum sentences, it's their own fault for being timeless, there's a price to pay and a consequence." – Regina Spektor, "All the Rowboats"