A/N: This post is for all the loverly readers, erythra-selena, IdleWriterOfCrack, Bluebird1125 and mh21, who have made things happen and inspired me by their clever suggestions ;) While this chapter was going to be much longer, I decided to chop it into two separate parts. Unfortunately I won't be able to devote as much time to fanfic this weekend as I'd thought. So enjoy for now and look forward to next week already being partly written!
The Trouble With Weasley's
"SPIDERS!" Ronald Billius Weasley cried as he ran out of the dining room and into the kitchen. The rest of the assembled Weasley clan laughed and even the stoic Harry Potter cracked a grin at the sight of the spiders leaping from the cabinet and chasing after the youngest son.
It was the bloody shower's fault for ruining her mood that day, she decided. If only he hadn't been so damned persistent and so...well...Sirius!
On the whole, Hermione felt that things had been going very nicely, in spite of the fact she was keeping such a secret. She had spent quite enough time with her magical adopted family in the past and was overjoyed to see them again. But for some reason, she couldn't accept all of Mrs. Weasley's motherly affections. Too much had changed since Cedric Diggory died and Voldemort returned.
Harry might have been everyone's focal point, including hers, but that didn't mean she wasn't equally affected. Certainly, she put up her bravest front. But the day the Weasley's invaded Grimmauld place, Hermione found she wasn't as keen on the noise as she might have been. She grew up as an only child, after all and since her arrival, was used to passing underfoot, unnoticed. Suddenly, she couldn't walk into a room without being accosted by an awkward, lanky and bumbling Ronald. Or forced into a kitchen table seat while Mrs. Weasley forced more baked goods down her throat.
Or dragged up to Ginny's room where she was forced to either talk of Quidditch or the latest feminine products. Ginny was alright in her own way, Hermione supposed. Of all the girls at Hogwarts, Hermione liked her the best. But she was too perceptive and too nosy for her own good. And she had been somewhat miffed when Hermione insisted she keep her room to herself. The Order had begun to protest this, in need of space, except for Sirius and Remus. The elder had merely winked at her before taking her side and flippantly reminding them there were plenty of guest and old family rooms if they would bother to clean them out. And Remus, while he had begun to watch her with covert concern, agreed the Muggleborn Witch needed some time to herself.
The twins were insufferable, continuously popping in and out of existence at random places in the house. Besides her bedroom. That was an off limits zone to all in the house. And because none of them really wanted to be on hers and Sirius's bad side, they let her be. It also helped that the complex wards she had placed, prevented such unwanted intrusions.
The older younger Black had only asked her once why he was defending her privacy. He teasingly asked if she were conducting experiments in the secret lab she had fashioned using his family's dark texts and Kreacher's secret stash of herbal remedies. And if so, could she allow him to test them all first? Hermione did inform him it had to do with certain restricted information pertaining to the "alliance."
Sirius Black was happy to add another thing to his list of reasons to aid her, while baffling his other house guests. The twins caught on to this quickly and soon all three were constantly on the watch for Hermione and her delicate sensibilities. She nearly hexed Fred, when he crossed the line at trying to feed her with her own fork.
Ron might have been a good confidant for the save Harry campaign. But every time he came close to Hermione, something strange and untoward would happen. He would either be assaulted by an unscratchable itch, lose his ability to form coherent sentences or worse, fall asleep during their conversations.
Hermione was too busy with "the plan" to worry over Ron. She didn't acknowledge the fact that not so long ago, she would have given anything for his attention. And she might have mentioned to younger, but older looking Sirius, of what went on during the Yule Ball last term.
Having had her fill of Weasley's, Hermione ducked into the kitchens and breathed a sigh of relief to find it empty. Mrs. Weasley was at it still in the dining room with the others. But no doubt she'd soon find some other endless task for the children to perform.
She headed right for the teapot, and was pleased to find it already steaming. "Lovely," she sighed and rested her fingers on the counter top.
"Precisely my sentiment," came a weary, familiar voice from behind her.
Hermione jumped, hand to her heart and eased the moment she saw him approach. "Oh, Professor Lupin! You startled me."
He smirked at her and she counted the fresh scars the new moon had inflicted on him as he replied, "Remus, if you please. And I tend to have that effect. But I am surprised Miss Granger, to have startled you. From what I've seen, you've become quite adept at sneaking on people as well."
Hermione smiled uneasily, catching his meaning and forced her grin to broaden. "Hermione, if you please, Remus. And nothing could possibly pass your senses, I would imagine." She was baiting him and by the flash of amusement in his eye, he knew it.
He nodded slowly and reached around her to pour them both a cuppa, then said, "Touche, Hermione. Sugar?"
They sipped quietly together. Hermione's mind traveled to Harry, then. She had left him behind with the Weasley's, but he didn't seem to mind. He had gotten over their supposed slight of him this past summer. It had been difficult enough for Hermione, not being able to hear from her best friend. And they had scarcely had a moment to themselves since he had arrived.
It reinforced the mission she and Sirius #2 had devised, reminded her of what they were fighting for. Harry was more than just affected by Cedric's death and his lonely summer, she was beginning to fear. Something about him was just...off. But he did cave in her arms one night before the fire, before Sirius #1 entered.
That had been the best night, when he regaled them all with tales of the Marauders and Lily. Remus had occasionally defended himself or corrected a few exaggerations along the way. And the twins' eyes popped with mutual exclamations of, "Wicked..."
"Hermione?" Remus spoke and the images dissipated like smoke that cleared and revealed his face. That ever present concern was back in place.
She had been avoiding that look every time he caught she and Sirius sharing a secret grin. She was not prepared to give him an answer and had steadfastly avoided him because of this reason. Out of everyone in the house, Remus was the only person she feared knew what she was currently hiding in her bedroom.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Hermione tread carefully. Better to stick as closely to the truth as possible. "I'm worried about Harry."
Remus paused, his eyes assessing her to the point she began to fear he might secretly be a closet Legillimens. "Yes, but..."
"Oi! Moony! Any tea left in there for me?" Sirius Black announced as he entered the kitchen. He took over their conversation, thank Merlin and the room. This was just the sort of person Sirius Black was.
And he glanced briefly at Hermione, long enough for her to sense something else was going on. "Well? Moony you miserable sod, are you gonna leave your best mate high and dry? Or did I interrupt something?" He wagged his eyebrows and his gaze slinked back and forth between them.
Hermione rolled her eyes and set her cup down firmly. "Now that is ridiculous, Sirius. Why would Remus waste his time with, what was it you called me this morning, a prissy little twat?" She added a bit more disgust at the end, just for emphasis.
Sirius raised his brow as thought to hint, 'a bit over the top, love,' but continued to play along. "Only because you called me a ridiculous child! I'll have you know I'm twice your age, Witch."
Don't remind me...
"That should only be more insulting to you, then, shouldn't it? One would think with age, one would learn a bit more restraint," she sweetly replied.
She had forgotten her reason for entering the kitchen in the first place until she eyed the nearby cupboard and sighed.
That's right. Escape from Weasley's and Sweets for Sirius #2...But if he keeps at it like this, he can get his own damned chocolates.
"Padfoot," Remus asked, none too gently, "can I have a word with you?" he glanced pointedly at Hermione and she pretended not to notice.
"Sure, mate," Sirius replied and allowed himself to be led out of the kitchens by the shoulder. He turned his head at the last possible second and subtly winked at her before fashioning a serious look on his face.
Hermione shook her head, "...meddlesome Marauder..." and opened the cupboard door. It was much more extensive than it appeared, she had learned on her second day here, reaching deep into the bowels of the ancient house. Though she wasn't keen on going too far back. Mrs. Weasley had only restocked the first half of the storeroom and no telling what state Kreacher kept the rest of it.
She squinted into the darkness and whispered, "lumos," before peering further. Meanwhile she tried not to analyze her strange conversation with Remus, and Sirius #1's interruption. With so much else on her mind, she had decided it was better not to worry over the little things.
That Black has most definitely become a bad influence on you!
She snatched the package and grinned with delight, only to hear a stirring of voices outside the door. Hermione cursed under her breath and in the same moment, was snatched by the waist with one hand, keeping her wand to her side. Another grabbed her mouth so she could not scream and the door to the cupboard clicked shut.
Mrs. Weasley had been unable to fix this particular door and once shut, could not be opened from inside.
Bugger! Hermione winced and fought her assailant as she was pulled deeper into the stores. The voices outside grew louder, though muffled and a low voice hissed in her ear, "Quiet or you'll give the whole operation away!"
Hermione licked his palm and was satisfied when he removed his hand. "Sirius," she hissed, "what do you think you're doing down here? You know Mad-Eye's liable to come in at any time," she finished with a whisper and grumbled when he refused to loosen his grip. "Could you let me go, please?"
He chuckled against her ear, and the vibration went all the way to that oh-so-dangerous, special place. "Why? Maybe I like holding you? And maybe," he continued, wickedly, "you like it more than you know you should."
"I most certainly do not!" she hissed, though the tremor in her voice betrayed her. She must admit, it was becoming increasingly difficult not to think of the time traveler that way. She was fifteen but she wasn't a child anymore. Thanks to her own dabbling with Time Turners in Third Year, Hermione's body was technically sixteen by all accounts.
The idea of kissing Sirius Black with his fine older gentleman clothes and rough, unshaven face and sexy...
Wait! Stop there, Granger!
The honest to Merlin truth of it was, things were changing between them, both of them, all three of them, she thought with dizzying clarity.
The voices drew closer to the cupboard and oh yes, Mrs. Weasley was opening the cupboard!
Hermione twisted pushed her bum unwittingly against his front in her effort to keep them concealed. And instantly she felt something very solid pressing against the curve of her lower back.
"Are you turned on by this, seriously?" she screeched under her breath. He only chuckled silently and dragged her even tighter against him.
"Your fault, you mad Witch..." Sirius groaned against her ear and she shushed him.
"Quiet! Someone's coming." They waited with baited breath as the handle to the cupboard turned. Light came from the other side and poured into the darkness and halted a meter before their entangled limbs. Mrs. Weasley paused and twisted her head at the sound of a light pop and explosion outside the door.
"Fred George Weasley! NO FIREWORKS IN THIS HOUSE!"
The twins laughed as she slammed the cupboard door and rushed to boxed their ears, from the sound of it. They protested, "Mummy Dearest!"
"Don't you Mummy Dearest me! Get on, you two! Back to scrubbing the landing!"
Hermione sighed and rested her head against Sirius's chest. It was that bloody shower's fault, she decided. That was the source of their current woes. If only she hadn't let him con her into accompanying him. She might have managed a complex locking charm and blamed it on the house ghost. But he reminded her that they both knew the consequences if he was caught, so join him she had.
They stayed up plotting until dawn, when Sirius exclaimed he was tired of smelling like the preserved troll foot in the landing and demanded proper primping rights.
Hermione grudgingly agreed after sharing the room with him for so many days that cleansing charms really did only go so far. So, with a heavy tome in hand and stern expression framed by her frizzy hair, she disallusioned him and together, they sneaked into the bathroom across the way.
She sank her bottom on the toilet seat and pointed at the bath and its curtain without looking. He took his time stripping and even teased, "Fancy a glance, Granger?"
"Shut up, you," Hermione grumbled whilst turning a page. She must have read the same one at least ten times.
Sirius chuckled and threw his shirt onto her lap, "Last chance, love."
"Just get in the shower!" she hissed and waited until she heard the sound of water pouring to peel away the musky smelling garment. She was blushing furiously by this point and kept her eyes firmly on the text. She had told herself it was detrimental for this part of their plan to go without a hitch. But she couldn't seem to read past this one paragraph.
Sirius hummed low and she was surprised to find he had a pleasant singing voice, unlike hers that could make dogs cry, she thought. Steam wafted around them and soon her clothes stuck uncomfortably to her body. She tugged at the collar of her jumper and huffed a sigh when her hair became a massive puff ball around her head.
Sirius chuckled again at her sigh, with a low rumble that made her toes curl quite unladylike. Hermione was mortified.
No! Sirius Bloody Black does not make you feel hot and bothered!
It was just the steam, she decided. And to prove her point, she glanced over at the outline of his finely sculpted frame through the opaque curtain. Her heart stopped and plunged in her chest.
Oh buggar me...
"Maybe you should strip off a few of those layers, love, if the heat's bothering you so badly. After all, you are bathing after me, yeah?"
Hermione was brought back to the present by Sirius's boyish laughter.
"I can't believe those twins! Thank Merlin for them!"
She rolled her eyes and used the moment to twist out of his arms and round to face him. She was blushing even deeper as she recalled the recent shower debacle, and in no mood for his teasing. Snatching his chocolates off the nearby shelf, she shoved them into his arms and said, "There! You've got your sweets, now off to the room with you, number two."
Light came from his wand wordlessly, to reveal his furrowed brow. He let the sweets drop in favor of snatching her by the arm and moving round to block her way. "What the hell did I do?" Though his eyes were still troubled and faintly darkened by lust, enough that she didn't take his hurt look seriously.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she scoffed, "You really have to ask? You're just like number one...would have thought death might knock some sense into you."
Sirius pause and then frowned, "Number one? Wait a sec, you called me number two? Are you seriously giving us sodding numbers now? And why am I number two?" He pouted and let her go with a scowl.
Secretly, Hermione was pleased the mood had shifted again. Gone was that pulse pounding, heavy need, replaced with something more familiar. This Sirius, she could manage.
She narrowed her eyes. "Because, you're from the future, for starters and not from my timeline. And because at the moment, I'm more pleased with his conduct than yours. Mabye you should learn a thing or two from your younger self, old man."
Throwing his age at him was her best defense, though they were beyond the point where that mattered, she admitted to herself.
"Hey! I don't appreciate you throwing him at me all the bloody time, you know," he said, stepping into her space and wagging a finger at her with narrowed gray eyes. "Thanks to you and him and your fuckin' alliance, I keep getting new memories of things that didn't happen the first time. Makes me feel a little unhinged..." he confessed sheepishly as his anger faded.
Hermione grinned faintly and patted his head, "Unless you want to end up back in that Veil, I suggest you get used to it, Black."
His smile was dangerous enough on his younger older looking counterpart, but on this young looking Sirius, the effect on her woman parts was devastating. In a higher voice she announced, "How did you get down here in the first place, if I may ask."
"Kreacher helped me down so I could snatch some more to eat while he was busy with you lot. Interesting bit, now. I found something of Reggie's in Kreacher's things back here. Kind of makes me wonder if he was such a dirty wanker after all." And from his jeans pocket he pulled out a necklace with a large locket attached to it. An S was emblazed on its surface and either it was her imagination, or the locket started to whisper things to them both.
Seeing her expression he nodded, "Yep, that's what I thought. Dark magic, something really bad too and really special or Kreacher wouldn't have guarded it all these years. But the old elf and I have a new understanding. Told him I'd help 'finish Reggie's mission." He laughed and shoved the locket back in his pocket.
"Sirius, I think we'd best keep that somewhere hidden," she said warily. "And if it is a dark artifact, you shouldn't wear it too much.
"You're right," he shivered. "Gives me the heebies anyway...So...what do you say we take advantage of this cupboard?" He wagged his eyebrows suggestively and Hermione snorted and shoved him back.
"You're a disgusting pig, Black."
"And you're a prissy little twat, Granger," he said with a wink.
Hermione was still pulling cobwebs and righting her clothes when the door suddenly opened and Harry Potter met her on the other side.
Hermione's mouth worked silently a moment before she tucked her hair behind her ear and held out a sweet she had pilfered. "Chocolate? I hear it helps," she said sheepishly.
Harry glared and peeked past her a moment before staring at the bar she was offering. "Hermione, what were you doing in there? I've been looking for you for the last hour." His green eyes lingered on her mussed hair and jumper. Again he looked past her, "I thought I heard voices. Were you alone?"
Hermione giggled and said, "Don't be silly, Harry. I just went looking for some treats and the door shut and I was locked in. Then I couldn't find my wand and it was so dark I was just talking to myself..." she trailed off when his eyes widened.
"You don't have a sweet tooth, Hermione."
She froze, smile in place, certain she had been found out.
Before he could say more, the twins popped into existence on either side of Harry and took the chocolate for themselves, calling, "Finders keepers, Potter."
Harry raced after them, "Hey! That's mine!"
Review: Idle Writer of Crack-hope you enjoyed that one bit. You know what I'm talking about ;)