Author's Note: Last chapter. I decided to post it all for you in celebration of my 22nd birthday!
Epilogue: Day 180/180 +6
It was the beginning of the term for Hogwarts students, and with pride in her voice, and an apology for asking her this favor so soon after Hermione's return, McGonagall had asked Hermione to talk to the seventh years about their N.E. and the effects they had on job placement, since she preferred to have recent graduates there as motivation. Hermione had acquiesced immediately, even though she thought it was a bit odd to be asked, since she wouldn't be able to say much at all about her work as an Unspeakable. Really, she thought the only reason she was speaking at their Career Day was that so many of the other speakers never actually finished.
Her only comforting moment was that her presentation would be followed by Fred Weasley, who would talk to the students about starting a business. He'd brought along props. So she doubted anyone would be interested in her job once a Weasley twin took over.
She was mostly right, although one clever Ravenclaw girl who Hermione had vaguely remembered from her own days at Hogwarts, had caught onto Hermione's hints and had asked her if her boring job at the Ministry happened to be in the Department of Mysteries.
Remus, sitting at the teachers' table in the Great Hall, had merely smiled at her when she turned to him for a way out.
Once the secret had been out, Hermione was flooded with questions, most of which she couldn't answer, until Fred had come to her rescue, riding into the Great Hall gallantly atop a giant pink Pygmy Puff the size of a Hippogriff, that spat out Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes products.
All-in-all, it hadn't been a disaster, and all the presenters were asked to stay for dinner. Ron and Harry, who'd had the most popular presentation about becoming Aurors, hadn't been able to pass up the opportunity for a Hogwarts feast, and were sitting at the far end of the Gryffindor table with Neville and Ginny. Hermione had flashed Remus and Sirius an apologetic smile and joined her school friends.
It was interesting for Hermione to see the students avoid the group like the plague. She'd wondered why, until a particularly scrawny third-year Gryffindor sat down too close to them by mistake, blanched when he realized who they were, and then ran out of the Great Hall nearly in tears.
A Gryffindor prefect (she could tell by the badge), walked over to them bowed apologetically and explained - "I apologize on behalf of Smidgeon. It's a little overwhelming to have war heroes in our presence, and moreso to be sitting at the same table as Professor Longbottom. He was just a bit intimidated and embarrassed by his mistake."
Hermione and Harry exchanged amused glances at the fact that anyone would be nervous to sit around Neville. Even after years of being on the front page of the Prophet, being recognized by everyone everywhere, and having people be nervous around them, it was still a bit surreal sometimes.
Ron, oblivious to everything, waved the prefect off.
"Feels weirder for us to have this much space," Ron said, taking a gulp from his goblet. "Budge over, you lot. We're all just Gryffindors, and we ain't old or anything."
"Ron," Hermione whispered, giggling. "Neville's their professor."
"I don't mind, Hermione," Neville said quietly, and she could see a smile on his face.
The Gryffindors who'd been avoiding them all started to fill in around them, and some even joined in on their conversation. As she looked at Neville's smile, she realized that he probably felt awkward at the looks of admiration he was getting, and it clicked for her that the students' intimidation was probably a barrier to their learning, and Neville was grateful to humanize himself.
"Leaving already, Hermione?" Ginny asked when Hermione stood.
"No," she answered, smiling at her friends. "Going to sit with Remus and Sirius."
"Go on, then," Ron said, giving her an encouraging pat on the back. "Tell them we'll be by to say goodbye before we leave."
"I will," she promised, beaming at her friends before heading over to the Head Table.
Hermione, Ron, Harry, and Ginny, like the old days, had spent the days following her return glued together, as Hermione told them everything. And she meant everything. Well, she wasn't graphic about it, but she didn't hide anything from them. They'd been through too much together, and she owed them the truth.
To their credit, they hadn't batted an eyelash when she told them of her relationship with Remus. Harry had only inquired as to whether it would be continuing in their time. She blushed and nodded, and that was that.
Ron was more stuck on the fact that Snape had flirted with her, and he brought it up constantly, sticking out his tongue in disgust and contorting his face, until Ginny finally had enough and hit him over the head with a turkey leg.
Hermione had given Harry the photo of his parents and Sirius at their wedding, and she caught him staring at it throughout various portions of her tale, smiling. He'd later hung it, and some of the other photos she'd brought back, in his and Ginny's living room in Godric's Hollow, where they had taken up residence following their wedding.
Hermione, between the attention that was showered on her by the Weasleys, and her work obligations, had only had one night with Remus since she'd returned, and she craved for more. She still had so much she wanted to know and so much she didn't know if she wanted to know. At some point, she'd just mentally told herself that she was going to let him tell her whatever he wanted to about his private life in the gap that she wasn't there and not ask for anything more.
Hermione walked down the length of the Head Table, when a silky voice caught her attention.
"Miss Granger," Snape called.
Hermione stopped her trek toward the other end where Sirius and Remus were sitting, and turned to Snape.
"Yes, Professor?" she asked formally, nodding her head at him.
He looked like he'd wanted to say something, and when she searched his black eyes, she saw gratitude in them. Even letting himself show that much emotion was thanks enough, she reckoned, and she smiled warmly at him.
He nodded, and off she went, in an infinitely better mood, to see Remus and Sirius. She walked around the other side of the table and slid into the conveniently placed chair between them. She hugged them both and relayed the message from Ron about them saying goodbye.
"So," she said with a grin. "I have a question for you two."
"Yes, love?" Sirius asked, exchanging an amused smile with Remus.
"Whatever happened to Marlene?" she asked, her voice neutral, in case the answer was bad.
To her surprise, Remus and Sirius both laughed.
"Well, after... you know... Marley was devastated, since she and Lils were best mates, and she blamed me," Sirius said, waving it off as if it wasn't a big deal, even though Hermione knew it was.
"Once the charges were formally dropped," Remus continued, with a sly grin on his face, "she popped back into our lives. She never did rejoin the Order. Felt too awkward after having left the way she did, but she still visits with us from time-to-time. And by 'us,' I mean Sirius."
"Ooooooh," Hermione called, winking obnoxiously at Sirius, who didn't seem to mind the teasing at all.
"And Crimsley?" Hermione asked.
Their expressions became somber. Sirius looked away, and Remus met her eye contact and shook his head.
"Sorry," she said quietly.
"There isn't a need for you to apologize for it," Remus said, taking her hand underneath the table and squeezing it.
"I guess you're right," she said. "I wouldn't mind seeing Marlene though."
"I'll arrange it," Sirius said with a grin. "She's a curse-breaker, so it might be a while since she's back in town. You should ask Bill Weasley about it. She's partnered with him."
"Really?" Hermione asked, smiling. "Small world."
"My turn to ask a question," Sirius said, slyly. "I saw McGonagall slip you a letter when you got back. Have you gotten a chance to read it?"
Hermione smiled, tears springing to her eyes.
"Are you alright, love?" Sirius asked, immediately regretting the question.
"Yes," she replied, and she was comforted when Remus squeezed her hand.
"It was from Dumbledore. He told me how proud he was of me, how brave and strong and intelligent I am, and how it was an honor to watch me, Harry, and Ron grow into such outstanding people, but how proud he was, in particular, of me for being brave enough to risk my own lives to save all of yours.
"He mentioned a bit about my old mentor, who taught me how to actually go about changing time, and it made me think that he knew about timelines a lot more than he'd ever mentioned before. He then explained to me exactly where the change in the timeline occurred.
"In both the former timeline and the current one, I was slated to go back into time, but in the original one, I'd gone after Percy, pulled him out, and he was with me the entire time at Awry. The change occurred when McGonagall sent me the message in the Pensieve, telling me not to go after Percy. By not going after him, he and Frank were able to infiltrate South American Deatheater camps, moving along our cause and causing us to be able to shut down Voldemort's operations overseas, and that trickled down and wound up saving countless lives, including Marlene's, I suppose, Fred's, yours, and several others.
"Because Percy wasn't there, I was also able to get closer to Remus, and that's how we were able to become... 'we,'" she explained.
"There's never been a more brilliant wizard," Sirius said, in awe. "How did he know all of that?"
"I have a feeling Percy and I weren't doing this alone," Hermione said, tears welling up in her eyes. "He and Edward collaborated to help us. He was always there for me, Dumbledore. I should have realized it when I first met him in the past, and he knew my full name, without anyone having told it to him. That Dumbledore, he really was the greatest wizard to have ever lived."
"To Dumbledore," Sirius said loudly, raising his goblet.
"To Dumbledore," Hermione echoed, and when she looked down the table, she saw that the entire Head Table, Snape included, had raised their goblets as well, in salute to the late Headmaster.
Before Hermione knew what was happening, the entire Great Hall had raised their glasses and said the same thing.
After dinner, once everyone had said their goodbyes, Hermione walked hand-in-hand with Remus, curious to see what instructor quarters looked like, since she'd never been in them before. She was surprised to find his quarters, in the tower next to the Gryffindor's, the size of a small house, elegantly decorated, with red and gold accents everywhere to signify his status as head of house.
He'd commented that these were bigger than his old ones and that there were certain privileges associated with being the head of a house. She was just nervous being here, but she was ready to spend the weekend with him - or rather, the night, and then the weekend following the mandatory monthly brunch at the Burrow where Molly had insisted upon every Weasley (and honorary Weasley) attending, following the tragedies of the war.
Hermione and Remus had made love in the old office the night she returned, and it had been gentle, soft, and powerful, and she could tell he had changed a bit, become more patient, become more experienced, and he had better stamina as well.
Now, though, Hermione could see the wolf peeking out behind his eyes, and she was ready to see the possessive, strong side of him again. She was ready to learn all about this Remus from scratch.
"How long did you have to go before someone started brewing Wolfsbane for you again, by the way?" she asked, as they took off their cloaks and placed them on a coatrack near the entrance to his quarters.
"Interesting you ask that," he said, "because I didn't have to. The following month, I was delivered a package with the Wolfsbane Potion in it. And it continued to be delivered to me until I started teaching and Severus started to brew it for me."
"Really?" Hermione asked, a smile coming onto her face.
"You wouldn't happen to know anything of that, would you?" he asked, eyeing her suspiciously. "Because none of us were good enough in Potions to be capable of something like that."
She shrugged, knowing that the smile on her face gave her away. At the Potters' funeral, she'd slipped Snape the ingredient list and instructions to brew Wolfsbane, and he'd been able to piece together what she wanted him to do with it. She'd had something to do with Snape turning, she was proud to say. She knew it had been for Lily, but Hermione had been the one who pushed him to Dumbledore, and in gratitude toward her, he'd done what she hadn't actually asked him to do.
"What am I going to do with you?" he asked softly, pulling her toward him, his lips brushing over hers as if in accident, before he moved down to her shoulder, pushing her robe to the side, and placing kisses on the spot he had marked her so many years ago.
Hermione clutched his back and grinded against him.
"Let Wolfy have his way with me?" she recommended, a smile on her face.
"If you insist," he said in a low growl, and he threw her over his shoulder with a surprising amount of strength, and carried her off to his bedroom, her giggles echoing down the winding staircase.
Author's Note: And there you have it, folks. A nice, happy ending, just like I like my stories with Remus to end. I love him too much to have anything bad happen to him or anyone he cares about. And you guys didn't know it, but Percy's survival was always written in the timeline. As for Sirius, I always liked him and Marlene together.
Edit: There is now officially a sequel called Timelines! Go check it out! :D