A/N: *clicks tongue happily*

*holds out a new chapter after god knows how long*

*wiggles with excitement, waiting for you to read it*

*begins to fidget*

*tinkers with the keys, itching to spill out a few more chapters this weekend*

*winks, and dives behind the couch to unearth them*


Embracing the Madness

By Kittenshfit17

Chapter 20: Girl's Day Out

When they were outside the Potter's grounds Hermione threw out her wand arm emphatically and both her and Lily fell backwards as the triple Decker purple bus appeared. A young guy jumped down the steps but Hermione asked him for three tickets to London before he could welcome them to the bus.

"James is going to think I panicked about kissing him" Lily said as they sat on beds close to the door, though she glanced warily at Dorea who was composing herself with much more finesse than either of the teenagers.

"No, he won't. I hope. I left them a note saying we were in London for a girl's day, and we're out with his mother. He might, at most, think we wanted to avoid them but he can hardly fault us when we're out with Dorea," Hermione reassured her, smiling first at Lily and then at Mrs Potter, pleased the woman had agreed to accompany them, knowing that they might've caused all kind of strife and could potentially run into trouble that might be too much for two muggleborn girls, no matter the lies she told about her blood status upon this time-line.

"I still can't believe I kissed him," Lily blurted as though she couldn't hold it in any longer, regardless of the mother of the boy she spoke of sitting beside them. "I don't know what I was thinking. I mean, I told you that I had started to fancy him, but when he caught me last night all of a sudden, I realised that I really fancy him, you know? And when he tackled me he was so sweet about making sure that I didn't get hurt that I just reached over and kissed him."

Hermione glanced over at her and smiled in understanding, thrilled that her interference in this time line was bringing James and Lily together sooner than expected, and hopeful that doing so might mean she could make real changes on this timeline that would benefit the friends she's left behind and change the outcome of the war. Merlin, what she wouldn't give to watch dear, sweet Harry grow up with his Mum and Dad loving him and guiding him, and his godfather looking out for him at every opportunity. What would she give to bring Remus that sense of peace and family to be a part of the Potter family as a loveable uncle, knowing as she did that he had no intentions of every seriously dating anyone or reproducing, no matter her efforts to remind him that he wasn't a monster.

"Am I barmy?" Lily asked of her seriously while Dorea looked away, fighting the urge to smile. "I mean, it's James and he's always driven me absolutely spare, but the things that used to annoy me now kind of amuse me and I don't know, maybe I'm just overthinking all of this, but we kissed and I'm freaking out because the sensible part of me is saying it was a mistake and should never be repeated, but there's this other part of me that just wants to get off the bus right this minute, charge back to the Potter's place, and snog him all over again."

Lily was breathing hard when she stopped speaking and she ran a distracted hand through her hair and Hermione couldn't help but smile, glancing at Dorea who was attempting to hide the fact that shed begun to chuckle to herself over poor Lily's agitation.

"I'm bonkers, aren't I?" Lily appealed to Hermione, clearly in a fluster.

"I think it's really cute, to be honest. He's been in love with you forever so it's nice to know that all his devotion isn't going to go to waste," Hermione told her seriously. "And don't look so doubtful, that boy has been running his heart ragged trying to get you to go out with him since he was twelve years old and you know it."

"But you told me he got sick of it and that was why he went on that date with the fat little fifth year," Lily said, and Hermione hid her amusement at the viciousness of Lily's description for the other girl, evidently still burning with jealousy over the date that had ended so badly.

"Well, erm… about that… I may have put him up to it. He was so completely obsessed with you and it just annoyed you all the more that he had the audacity to recover from your rejections so quickly only to ask you out again. I suggested that maybe you would like him more if you thought maybe he wasn't such an insensitive snot. I told him that if he wanted to get your attention, he had to first deprive you of his," Hermione admitted.

"Seriously? Hermione I was convinced he'd moved on from me! At first, I was relieved, but then Britney asked me what it was like to be cast aside by the only guy who'd shown interest in me that wasn't tangled up in the dark arts," Lily pouted.

"I'm sorry. But it worked, after a few days of him not constantly begging for your attention, you realised how much you relied on it, started to miss it and then started to notice some of the good things about him, rather than just the annoying things," Hermione offered. "And you can pout all you like, but if I hadn't suggested the whole thing in the first place you would have spent Christmas alone at Hogwarts because you would have refused to come to James's because you'd still hate him, and we wouldn't be friends like we are and you wouldn't have the fluttery feeling in you tummy because he kissed you last night."

"How do you know my tummy is still fluttering?" Lily asked, shocked.

Hermione smiled knowingly, "Your tummy will never stop fluttering like that again as long as you're around James, Lily. Because kissing is wonderful and every time you think about it you want to do it all over again and then it just builds from there."

"You said your first kiss was in fourth year, right? What was his name? What was he like?"

"Oh, he was nice. Really popular, but he sort of loathed all the attention. He was shy and gruff at first, but once I got to know him a little, he was so sweet."

"How old was he?"

"Erm… he was actually seventeen at the time," Hermione admitted, blushing as the hopped off the bus outside the Leaky Cauldron.

"Oh wow, but then that works for some people. My parents are muggles, but my Dad is five years older than my Mum," Lily said, tucking her hair behind her ears.

The bus lurched to a stop outside the Leaky Cauldron right at that moment, and the three women rose and departed the transport quickly. Hermione led the way through the smoky pub and tapped the right bricks with her wand to enter Diagon Alley.

"Yes, my parents had a difference in their ages of seven years," Hermione said before remembering that in this time her parents were supposed to be dead and hadn't married. "But his name was Viktor. He was from Bulgaria."

"That's how you know about the fluttery feeling?" Lily asked. Hermione nodded as they strolled along Diagon Alley, noting that Dorea seemed content to let the two of them chatter and gossip amongst themselves even though she was escorting and clearly listening in on every word. "And have you kissed anyone else?"

Hermione hesitated before answering

"Erm… yes, actually. Just one other boy. But it didn't really give me that fluttery feeling. I mean it was a nice kiss, but there were no sparks," Hermione could feel herself blushing.

"Ooh look at that blush. Do I know him?" Lily teased "Oh gosh, it wasn't James, was it?"

Hermione laughed. "No, no it wasn't James. He reminds me far too much of one of my friends who was more like a brother to me than anything else. Besides he's only ever had eyes for you."

"Who was it then? Oh, my goodness, Hermione is there something going on between you and Black? You're really close, and he's always been a cad with girls. Was it Black that you kissed?"

"No. No it wasn't Sirius either. Actually, it was Remus. Not long after I got here. You remember when he had to go home to visit his grandmother that was ill? Well, he was so worried and stressed and we were supposed to go to that Quidditch match in the storm, but Remus insisted I needed a warmer jacket, something waterproof. He tried to lend me his, but something about me wearing his jacket sort of set him off and all his worry channelled into a kiss."

"Oh, wow. You've snogged Remus Lupin? Do you have any idea how many girls in school want to do that? Not as many as want to snog Black, but he's awful and actually snogs them and leads them on. Unless Remus sees some sort of relationship happening, he doesn't even say hello to them. But you've snogged him! Isn't it awkward for you guys to be friends though? I mean it sounds like he just grabbed you and kissed you."

"He felt so bad as soon as he realised, but it's not awkward. There were no sparks, though. I didn't get that fluttery feeling in my tummy when he kissed me," Hermione said.

Lily nodded and they both fell silent as they entered Gringotts with Dorea leading the way, her shoulders thrown back and her head held high, reminding Hermione that she was a powerful and well-respected witch when a number of the goblins spotted her and offered low bows of acknowledgment as she passed them. The Blacks were one of the oldest and wealthiest families around, and the Potters were right up there on the scale of riches alongside them. If there was one thing goblins respected, it was money and those who knew how to cultivate it. The goblins had always creeped Hermione out a little, so she didn't like to talk in the bank unless she had to. It seemed Lily felt the same way.

"Erm, could I please exchange thirty Galleons for muggle money please?" Hermione said to the goblin at the front desk while a number of the creatures scurried off to collect Dorea's requested gold when she indicated she wasn't interested in taking the ride down to her vault, herself.

"Money exchange is over there," the goblin said, pointing a taloned finger towards a small goblin sitting as one of the side desk, looking a little bored, evidently not typically getting a lot of customers because muggleborns were on edge and didn't often exchange money so publicly if they could help it in such uncertain times.

"Thank you."

Hermione and Lily scurried over to the exchange goblin and Hermione repeated her question. The exchange earned her three hundred pounds.

"Don't you need to exchange money, too?" Hermione asked as Lily took hold of her arm and started surreptitiously tugging Hermione out of the bank even though Dorea was still waiting patiently for her gold.

"No, my parents never want me to be stuck for money, so I actually have a muggle credit card. Do you know what that is?" Lily asked, slanting Hermione a sideways look to confirm she wasn't entirely lost after what she'd just said.

Hermione nodded her head. In her own time, her parents had insisted that she have one as well. She missed it now.

When Dorea joined them where they lingered right by the doors, waiting for her, Hermione, Lily, and Mrs Potter hurried back down Diagon Alley and through the Leaky Cauldron, spilling out into the street beyond and Hermione noted immediately that though she dressed respectably enough, Dorea was likely to draw a few odd looks amid muggle London, dressed as she was in her long Victorian style dressed with a knitted shawl of the deepest green surrounding her shoulders.

"I suppose we ought to take the tube to the area with the most shops then?" Lily said, evidently at home in the muggle world as she looked around and spotted the nearest entrance to the underground. Hermione nodded and they wandered off down the street. They both had to help Dorea understand how to buy a ticket for the tube in muggle London, and Hermione enjoyed the way the lovely woman huffed with annoyance and proclaimed that the muggle habit of replacing human beings with machines was going to be the death of them all, one day.

When they reached the shopping suburb, Hermione and Lily spent the whole day buying new clothes and trying on several ridiculous outfits, asking each other's for opinions and dragging Dorea into many a shopping outlet and drawing the elder woman into their silliness and shenanigans. Hermione suggested they buy bathing suits because James had mentioned that there was a heated pool at the house, and Dorea confirmed that they had one of the finest pools knowing to wizards, encouraging them wholeheartedly to make use of it during their visit. Hermione also managed to convince Lily that she needed to freshen her look and Lily got long layers cut into her waist length red hair, as well as a sweeping side fringe, which cleared up the problem she had of pulling it all into a slick ponytail every day and looking like a twelve year old when she did so.

Hermione had taken a risk and asked the hairstylist for her opinion on how to make her look a little more sultry and mysterious without doing anything drastic. She had walked away with some warm honey and caramel highlights and a thick full-frontal fringe that leant her face an air of sultriness and sexy mystery when she peered out from beneath it. It felt strange to wear a full fringe again now, since she had grown it out from when she'd been younger, but when she looked at the way the thick bangs changed the shape of her face and made her look mysterious she didn't regret the decision. Dorea had refused to let the muggle stylists touch her hair, claiming she had a standing appointment with Madam Beauchamp every month and that the intense French woman might literally murder her if she dared allow anyone else to mess with her masterpiece.

Hermione had also asked the stylist to show them both some easy yet elegant styles to wear to a formal ball. The woman had been pleased to help and the girls had walked out satisfied and with plans for their hairdos for the New Year's Ball.

Lily had managed to find a ball dress under Dorea's expert guidance. Hermione simply couldn't wait to see James's face when Lily showed up wearing the beautiful dress she had purchased. Lily had insisted that they all get their nails done as well and Hermione and Lily had came away with natural looking acrylics, while Dorea had taken entirely too much pleasure in showing off her gloriously long and well-kept talons, which she allowed the muggle stylists to paint a brilliant shade of green to match her shawl, with a highlight of black and silver, insisting that she couldn't wait to torment her son and her husband with the distinctly Slytherin colours. Hermione had opted for curved; slightly pointed fake nails, painted dark purple with silver highlights while Lily had chosen blunt, square-ended nails of brilliant cobalt. They'd gotten pedicures as well but thankfully didn't get fake toenails though the stylist had offered to do it for half price.

"Lily, do you know anything about how to be flirty and sort of…. seductive?" Hermione had asked her as they exited another clothing shop now heavily burdened with bags of clothes to reinvent themselves. They had managed to get some great bargains on summer clothing, finding some stylish high waisted denim short shorts and some loose-fitting maxi-dresses to lounge about in when summer returned, while stocking up on a few additional jumpers and cardigans. Hermione made sure to grab several spare sets of thick winter tights to keep warm in the frigid Scottish castle.

"Erm… do you mean sort of how to be a tease?" Lily asked her, darting a glance at Dorea given the nature of the topic.

Hermione nodded.

"Not really. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I was sort of thinking that as well as our new looks and clothing, maybe you and me should work on not just looking sexier but feeling it. You know, like we could develop the sort of attitude that won't get us labelled as tarts but will get the attention of people," Hermione said. "Then you could really drive James wild, without having to throw yourself into kissing him again. I feel like mostly we'd just need to work on developing a little more confidence with… Erm… sex and that sort of thing."

"Oh. My. Gosh. But it does sound sort of fun." Lily said, considering it for a moment before she leaned over and whispered, "You're a virgin, right?"

Hermione nodded emphatically.

"Well, since I had my first kiss last night, obviously, so am I. But I do like your idea. We don't want to be slutty or anything, just confident and a little bit sultry. You know, to impress the boys who might someday be our husbands," Lily giggled.

"Oh, you have got it so bad for James!" Hermione teased her, laughing.

Lily shrugged helplessly. "What about you Hermione? Is there anyone at Hogwarts that you're interested in?"

Hermione fought to keep herself from blushing as she remembered pressing her face against Sirius's bare chest that morning. Dorea fixed her a very knowing look that made Hermione wonder if the woman could practice legilimency and Hermione's cheeks turned pink under her scrutiny while Lilly grinned.

"Erm… not really," Hermione lied lamely, not willing to admit that she thought she had it bad for Sirius Black.

"Oh, come on Hermione! There has to be someone. Please tell me it's not Black. I know he flirts with you. But you shouldn't let it affect you; he flirts with everything with breasts, even the teachers," Lily insisted and though she looked like she wanted to interrupt, Dorea kept mum on the subject, obviously not willing to interfere with Hermione's feelings if they weren't yet strong enough for Sirius to defend him herself.

"Give me a little credit, Lily," Hermione said, avoiding eye contact with both of her companions and blushing even harder.

"I mean, I know he's handsome and he has that air of danger and the whole bad boy thing going, trust me I've heard so many of the girls at Hogwarts gush about it. But he's a heart breaker. He sweet talks girls into bed with him and then ditches them when he's done with them. I'd just hate for you to get tangled up with him and then have him break your heart. You're all such good friends, and now that I fancy James it would be awful if there was awkwardness between you and Sirius when we all hung out."

"Trust me, Lily, if anything were ever going to happen between me and Sirius, which I'm not saying it will, but if anything ever did, I would have him wrapped around my little finger. One of my best friends from before I came here broke my heart like that. I fancied him, but I didn't tell him because I didn't want things to get awkward if he didn't fancy me back, and he ended up getting together with another girl. It was awful. We still hadn't made up as friends when I left."

Lily nodded sympathetically.

"You should know though, Hermione, Sirius Black is not the type to forgo a date or even a random snog in a broom cupboard, but since you arrived he hasn't even flirted with other girls, as far as I know. He seems to have set his sights on you. Just promise me that you won't fall for his charm and let him break your heart."

"I promise that I'll never let Sirius Black break my heart," Hermione recited, smiling at the red head and noting the way Dorea furrowed her brow before looking off in the distance and pretending she hadn't been listening. Hermione sort of knew she was lying because Sirius seemed to have somehow wormed his way into her heart already, but there was no way she was going to let him break it, and if he did, no one would ever know about it.

"Good. Well, I'm thinking that there must be books we could read to learn how to be a little more confident. I vote that we have some lunch, head to a bookstore, and then we get out of the city before my arms drop off from carrying all these bags." Lily said cheerfully.

"Oh, I've so missed spending time with another girl," Hermione sighed happily as she and Lily chattered over lunch when Dorea briefly nipped off to use the loo.

"It's nice, isn't it? I've never really had any close girlfriends. Severus and I used to be best friends but then he called a really mean name and started getting mixed up in the dark arts, so we stopped being friends. And by then the other girls in our year didn't really want to be friends. They sort of resented me because of Potter's obsession, too," Lily said sadly. "But now you're here. Is it ok that I sort of think of you as my best friend?"

Lily looked shy and uncertain as she glanced at Hermione.

"I sort of think of you as my best friend, too," Hermione replied, beaming. "I mean, the boys are wonderful, and I've always been friends with boys better than girls, but they've all been friends so long that it's hard to feel like I really belong with them sometimes. I love them all to bits, even though I've only been here such a short time. I feel like I already knew them sometimes, especially Sirius and Remus."

Hermione smiled as she came as close as she could to admitting the truth.

"All four of them truly are characters, though sometimes I wonder about Peter. To outsiders they look like a solid unit, but once I started spending more time with you all, I realised that even though he hangs out with them and whatnot, he doesn't quite fit. James and Sirius are obviously the closest, and they love Remus like a brother, too. Most of the time they seem to with Peter as well, but every now and then it seems more like they tolerate him than actually enjoy his company."

Hermione nodded; she had noticed that too.

"Sometimes I think it's because he's a little shyer than the rest of them. And while it's awfully shallow, it does need to be said that he doesn't quite measure up to the rest of them in regard to looks."

"Yes, I think so too, even Remus with his scar down his face is still handsome. But Peter's just not quite cut from the same cloth," Lily agreed.

"He's alright, though. And I think that at times he thinks that the others don't really value him as a friend so I've been working really hard to make sure he always feels included and like he matters to us when he might doubt it. Like yesterday on the train, he perked up a lot when we all told him that we wanted to see him Christmas Day."

"He really did," Lily agreed, nodding as she thought about it. "And Merlin knows I remember what it was like to feel like the odd one out before I found out I was a witch and made friends with Severus, and had someone to talk to who didn't think I was a freak. It's so important to have friends and to know without a doubt that they love you, you know?"

"It really is," Hermione said. "I want to make sure everyone I count as a friend knows how much they mean to me, and I want to know that I mean that much to them, too. In times like these, it's important to know who your friends are and to keep them as close as you can."

"Wise words, my dear,' Dorea agreed as she joined them. "It's important to implicitly trust everyone you surround yourself, and to delve into to why you feel you can't with someone. You just never know who might turn on you, so you must always be vigilant and practice in your friendships if you want to make it out alive."

Hermione bit her lip, nodding and fighting back the urge she had to blurt out everything she knew so that she might keep this new family she's surrounded herself with for much longer than they might last without her intervention.


By the time Dorea, Lily and Hermione stumbled up the drive at the Potter's, it was dark outside, but they wouldn't be late for dinner just yet.

"Oh, why did we buy so much stuff?" Hermione moaned miserably as she and Lily stared at the staircase as though it were higher than Mount Everest.

"Because we're foolish and didn't think about how tired we would be from shopping all day. We also forgot about the stairs. And I feel so lazy even saying that because of how many staircases we climb to get to Gryffindor Tower, but I feel like I need a rest just from hauling all this stuff up the drive," Lily groaned wearily.

"It would seem that you girls like to go on spending sprees," the voice of Charlus Potter said from down the hall as he wandered into view and helped Dorea with her bags, relieving his wife of the many purchases she'd made so that he might put them away for her like a proper gentleman.

Hermione and Lily glanced that way and laughed as James and Sirius spilled into the hall, proceeding to gape at them for all their baggage.

"Come on, Hermione. We're not going to get any help from these toe-rags," Lily said, sighing before beginning to climb the stairs. Hermione followed her, wanting to have put down all of her bags before Sirius noticed her new hairdo.

"You were gone all day!" James's voice called from the bottom of the stairs. His voice sounded slightly accusing and like he was shocked that the three girls would willingly spend a whole day away from him and Sirius.

Hermione laughed.

"We missed you too, James," she called over her shoulder teasingly.

"Dinner will be ready in five minutes, girls," Charlus called from downstairs as the girls hauled their bags along the hallway to their rooms.

Hermione sighed happily when she dropped all of her bags onto her bed, shaking her weary arms before she paused. It was really too much effort to walk back downstairs this very second. With that in mind, Hermione pushed some of the bags to one side and flopped back onto her bed, her aching feet thanking her for getting off the, at last

A low chuckle caught her ear as she laid there, and Hermione lifted her head to see Sirius leaning casually in her doorway. He wore a black long-sleeved shirt and jeans and Hermione decided it was unfair that no matter what he donned he somehow managed to look regal and enticing. When Hermione saw him she let her head drop back onto the soft mattress.

"Big day, love?" he asked sarcastically.

"You have no idea how woefully out of practice I am at girl's days," Hermione told him wearily. She grinned when he leaned over her, peering into her face and smiling when she met his eyes. It really wasn't fair that he looked so handsome all the time. She sighed when Sirius took her hands and tugged her up off the bed, eagerly pulling her into a hug.

"You know, you might as well wag your tail the way you always get so happy to see people if you're away from them for more than a few minutes," Hermione teased him, leaning against him as he hugged her and wrapping her arms around his waist, enjoying the comfort that he provided. She might have left this morning after teasing him and declared it to be game on between them last night, but for the moment just hugging him felt wonderful. Hermione sighed happily.

"When I was little, I used to have a puppy, and every day when I got home from school he would whine at me and practically fall over himself because he wagged his tail so hard; he was so pleased to see me. You remind me of him sometimes," she told him.

"Does it bother you?" Sirius asked her even as she leaned on him and he rubbed his warm hands against her back.

"No. It's endearing that you're so affectionate with your friends. Though I'm beginning to suspect that you have intimacy issues," she told him as he released her and stepped back.

"What makes you think that?" Sirius asked her, tilting his head to one side just like a puppy even as he smiled at her.

"I suspect that your rakish ways stem from a need for intimacy because of the fractured relationship you have with your family. And you never seem to settle on one girl because the physical contact you get from whatever it is that you do with these girls doesn't actually quench you need for real intimacy," Hermione told him. "It would also explain your complete disregard for personal space boundaries."

"Are you really going to stand there and psycho-analyse me when you've been gone all day and you didn't even tell me and James that you were going?" He crossed his arms over his chest and glared down at her. "When we couldn't find you and Evans we panicked until I found the note on your bed before Dad told us you've taken off with Mum for a day out."

"I wasn't aware that I had to ask your permission," Hermione said, crossing her own arms and glaring up at him from beneath her fringe. "And it's not like we were in danger. We were with Dorea."

"There's a difference between getting permission to do something and letting others know what your plans are. Me and James though something awful had happened until we spoke with Dad."

"Well obviously it didn't. Everything was fine. I appreciate the concern, but you're ruining a perfectly lovely day with your complaints, Sirius," Hermione said.

Sirius clenched his jaw on the angry retort Hermione could see burning his eyes.

"What did you do to your hair?" Sirius asked her, changing the subject before he snapped at her.

"It's called a fringe and some highlights" Hermione answered, peering at him wickedly from beneath the thick hair that hung into her eyes. She could see that while he wasn't going to say it, he thought it was sexy. "And we should probably get back downstairs for dinner, I'm starving."

Sirius kept staring down at her as though he hadn't heard her words about dinner. He smirked a little before he spoke.

"You know, since you got here, I haven't even looked at another girl, so I don't know what you're basing your statements on about supposedly being a rake. But I do not have intimacy issues. And what are you talking about with personal space boundaries?" Sirius asked her as Hermione stepped around him. "I've never heard of those."

Hermione began to laugh at his words. "You don't even realise that you do it, do you?"

"That I do what?" he demanded, trailing after her. Hermione stopped and turned to face him. Sirius kept walking until he was less than three feet from her, directly in front of her, close enough that she could smell the soap and shampoo he'd used in the shower where it clung to his skin and his long dark hair.

"You're doing it right now. Anyone else would have stopped walking two or three steps ago. But not you, Sirius," Hermione said, smiling up at him as he stared at her confusedly. He was so adorable when he frowned like that. Rising up on her toes Hermione pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, forgetting for the moment that she had changed her outlook and her attitude towards Sirius as she intended to win his heart without letting him know that she was trying to steal it.

"Sirius, don't let this go to your head, but sometimes you are completely adorable," Hermione told him softly. Sirius smirked at her.

"You smell amazing today," he responded, flashing that heart-breaker charming smile at her.

"Thank you. I bought some lilac candles today. I like to indulge in my nightly activities by candlelight," Hermione murmured lowering her voice and letting a wicked twinkle enter her eyes.

"I'm more of a lights-out kind of guy, myself," Sirius said, smirking. "In the dark no one can see me sneaking up to pounce."

Hermione peered up at him from beneath her fringe.

"What a pity we have nothing in common, then," she whispered sultrily. "Otherwise I might have suggested we indulge in our nightly proclivities together."

As lust flared in Sirius's eyes Hermione turned and wandered off down the hall, well aware that he was watching her walk away with appreciation in his eyes. She glanced over her shoulder at him before leaning around the door of Lily's room.

"Are you guys coming to dinner?" She asked James and Lily.

They both looked up at her, startled.

"Oh yeah, Dad said it was almost ready," James said. Glancing at Lily, he ruffled his hair again before getting to his feet.

Hermione smirked when she felt Sirius standing almost directly behind her and rather than glancing at him, she shuffled back a step until her back brushed against his chest.

"Well, come on. I'm starving," Hermione said, lingering for just a moment against Sirius before skipping off down the hallway, unable to keep the happy smile from her face.