Fenrir Greyback closed in on her, his eyes never leaving hers. The hatred so obvious in them was enough to make her cringe, and when he laid a hand on the small of her back and pulled her up to him, she let out a shaky breath. The werewolf laughed, his teeth teasing the skin of her neck mercilessly, his hands no longer on her back and roaming too low on her body for her not to care. She pounded weakly at his chest, but the man never budged, and she whined as his hands squeezed both her butt cheeks and he pulled her firm against him.
"Funny," he whispered, his head buried in her neck, ignoring the shiver of disgust that was rocking through her, "that the Lord would offer you to me like this." A throaty gruff that she assumed was a laugh brushed against the skin of her neck, and again disgust took her over and she pushed at his large shoulders - to no avail. "Merlin knows I've been feeling lonely lately."
Calm down Hermione. The Witch took a deep breath, trying hard to resist the sudden urge to pound against him with everything she had and get him the hell off her. Come on. You're supposed to be the brightest Witch of your age. Act like it!
She groaned as Greyback's hands slid along the back of her thighs, and she had no option but to hang on to his shoulders for dear life then, lest she want to fall back and crack her skull against the floor. At that moment that solution still seemed way more appealing than being groped by the werewolf, but she pushed the thought away, concentrating on remaining rock still as he felt her over her tight jeans. His hands under her thighs were tentative at first, then invasive as he brushed his fingers against her middle. Hermione shifted against him, inching herself up to try and escape his touch, but then he grew bold and cupped her with a hand. She gasped and reached down to pry his fingers off of her, painfully aware of the insistent throb of her centre at his touch, and knowing full well that the bloody werewolf could smell her arousal from a mile away.
The beast looked up to meet her eyes, his own full of lust, his mouth hanging slightly opened and his tongue resting on his bottom teeth. Seeing that look, Hermione's breathing quickened, and, taking a snap decision, drew her head back and slammed it against his forehead. She fell to the floor as both their grips loosened and he shouted, more in anger than pain, holding his head and roaring like a mad man. She turned and ran, fear in her heart as she thought of what the others could possibly have been living after-
No. She couldn't think of it just yet. Her encounter with the werewolf had shaken her badly enough as it was. Her cheeks still burned with the tears that she had shed just hours before, her skin so tense over her cheekbones that she felt as if it would crackle any moment now. She drew in a shaky breath as she rushed through the castle, the building she had learned to consider home throughout the years. But Hogwarts was now more of a prison than a school, and the darkness that it had succumbed to was evident in the way the portraits remained silent around her.
Hermione didn't like to think of where the surviving students were now. Not like she could possibly think of anything besides the searing pain in her heart at the turn that the Battle of Hogwarts had taken. She couldn't remember anything past the moment when Bellatrix Lestrange had thrown a killing curse at her best friend's mother. Couldn't see past the death of those she loved. Had loved. Her legs shook as she continued to run, and suddenly she was falling, her legs tangling over in a pile of limbs as she tumbled down a flight of stairs and finally lay at the bottom of the last step, unwilling to even try to stand. Her resolve failed her, but when she heard Greyback's roar of fury rock through the castle, she pulled herself upwards painfully, making a grab for her wand, surprised that it was still at her belt, that they had not taken it off her. And then she was standing, oblivious to the pain in her left knee and the angle at which it was bent, and by her side stood her best friend, his features a mixture of hatred and grief and pain as he held her up. Hermione gasped and lunged for him, flinging her arms around his neck in disbelief. Little did she notice his own dishevelled state and his arm bent at an angle by his side, the bone of his lower arm protruding from the place where his elbow should have been.
"Ron!" He gasped as she flushed him against her, holding her with his one good arm, and she drew back immediately, one hand on his shoulder as she took in his ruined arm. She pointed her wand instantly, old reflexes still strong, and whispered a spell that she knew would temporarily mend the bone. The redhead's face momentarily tensed before flushing in relief, and he relaxed significantly, though his wand arm remained tense. Then he took in her own state and repeated her spell on her leg, using his borrowed Goblin wand. They lay against each other for only seconds before parting. Their eyes met, and all the sadness in the world flowed between them.
Then a scowl darkened his features, and he took her hand and broke into a run, away from the echo of Greyback's roar. They ran breathlessly. They threw curse after curse over their shoulders at the dark wizard now running after them, and after only minutes they ran into Neville, then Luna, then Seamus and Dean, then Parvati and Cho, and soon the DA were complete. Four of them were missing, but all of them knew that these four would never come back. All of their faces were set into hard lines, their tear streaked faces masks of hatred and revenge.
It was then, surrounded by those who had fought with her for years, that Hermione finally admitted what she hadn't wanted to. They had lost the War. Despite all their good will, the lives they had lost on the way, the pain they had gone through and the things they had done together - Together, she thought bitterly -, they had lost the War.
Harry was dead. The Boy-Who-Lived lived no more, and all their hopes for a better future had hours before faded with his last breath.
The hall rang with the curses of the last two duels. Bellatrix Lestrange against Molly Weasley - and The-Boy-Who-Lived against You-Know-Who. Along the sides, all of them had grown silent, staring breathlessly as the four fought in the centre. Flashes of green and red and white flew across the wide room. Wordless spell after wordless spell, counter curse after counter curse, the clashes and zaps of magic echoed against the walls, filling the silence effortlessly. Hogwarts herself was holding her breath.
Then the horror-like creature in the centre threw one last curse, a green hex that twisted in the air as would a snake. The oxygen in their lungs seemed to hang on to the moment, and a single second dragged on into eternity. The silence drew on as Voldemort's last hissed spell rang in their ears, and finally, the Unforgivable hit it's target, and Harry Potter's eyes came blank, and he fell to the floor without a sound, and Voldemort stared on at the Boy-Who-Lived, and those looking on still held their breaths. Then Bellatrix's shrill-pitched laugh filled all their minds, and she killed Molly Weasley without a backward glance, and finally the spectators began to believe, that their hero had fallen and that everything was done.
Ginny rushed forward with a scream, her wand raised to continue what her mother had begun. Her red curse flew out to meet with Bellatrix's shield, and then the girl flew back into the crowd of students as a third green flash of light was sent her way. She lay motionless in Percy's arms, her wide green eyes stared on without seeing, and a third Weasley fell that night. Ron ran to his brother's side, shouting for dear life at the death of the youngest Weasley, and would have run up to Bellatrix and her sickening satisfied smirk himself, had Remus Lupin not suddenly grabbed his arm and yanked him backwards.
The werewolf's body was rippling in quick cascades of violent shudders, a terrifying snarl painted all over his face. As he held on to a screaming Ron, he seemed to hold onto his own control with that strong grip. In that moment, Hermione stared at him as if she had never seen him, the fury on his face contorting his features into an unrecognisable snarl, and suddenly he hurled Ronald to the ground and strode forward, heading not for Bellatrix but for the man that stood out of his Lord's way, his face more animal than human. The two werewolves faced each other, their wands out and raised, and Bellatrix and Voldemort stood and gazed as creator and created faced each other - finally. The hall was still silent as they spoke, their minds still reeling from the deaths of three of their own in such a short time.
"Greyback," came Lupin's snarl. His teeth remained bared at the other werewolf, and in that moment he looked more like his animal self than he did the Professor who had taught them Defence Against the Dark Arts for a year.
Fenrir Greyback gave a mocking bow, the corners of his lifted in a sickening smile. "Remus," he offered, "how are you? Care to exchange a courtesy or two? No, I supposed you wouldn't," he added, his smile fading when he deflected Lupin's curse. "Crucio!" he shouted instantly, and the man writhed on the floor in pain under Greyback's mocking gaze. "You never did have much manners, Remus, despite your English origins. I suppose the British stereotype does not apply to you." He cut his curse short, striding back a few paces to allow the man to stand.
"Obscuro!" Lupin shouted.
"Deflecto!" Greyback countered, and the other man barely had time to put up a shield as his own spell came flying back in his face.
"Siego!" This time he hit target, and the other werewolf threw his head back as his back arched and his feet left the floor to hover in mid-air. He greeted his teeth as the tense on his spine increased, hissing in pain and willing himself to break the curse. Silently, he managed to raise a trembling hand, and with a swipe of his wand threw a hex at the other man. The Death-Eater fell to the floor as the other's spell withdrew, and cracked his back with a face at the man bleeding from a deep gash on his torso and one knee in front of him. The dark mage raised his wand, and just as the magic began to buzz at it's tip, a shout erupted, causing him to stop.
"No!" Hermione yelled at him, striding forward a few steps and raising her own wand. "Stupefy!" The curse flew and hit a surprised werewolf, and she rushed to her Professor's side, sliding down to her knees beside him just as Bellatrix hissed at her.
"Filthy Mudblood! You don't interfere in a Wizarding duel you ignorant little girl!"
The woman stepped forward, about to throw a curse at the impudent, when Voldemort held out a hand in front of her, an amused look on his face as his werewolf lieutenant straightened from the young Witch's curse. Bellatrix smirked when she saw the look of pure fury on his face. She pulled back and watched as he raised his wand at the young Witch, his teeth pulled back over his face on a terrifying snarl. Then Lupin's head shot up, and he threw himself right in front of Hermione, and the green curse that had been aimed for the Golden girl hit him full in the chest, and Hermione threw her arms around him from behind and hugged him against her, crying out the last of her tears for the man who had saved her life once too often. And that night, Teddy Lupin lost both his parents.
***END OF FLASHBACK***
Hermione's leg was throbbing. Although Ron's magic had healed her, it was only temporary, and she knew all too well that her leg would go back to being broken in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
In front of their group, five Death-Eaters, wands raised, were closing in on them. Three more were behind them, and two on each side. They weren't outnumbered, not yet, but nonetheless they had no chance of winning. None of them, except maybe for Luna, Neville and Hermione herself, were even remotely close to the power that Voldemort's minions possessed. Yet, even though they all knew this, all of their wands were raised. The determination she saw on the faces around her warmed Hermione. She wasn't foolish enough to hope to beat them, or even to hope for a fair fight, but she felt the need to fight for a good cause - their cause.
Then one of the Death-Eaters in front of her disappeared - Fenrir Greyback, she thought - and she looked around frantically to locate him. Parvati screamed behind her, and an arm suddenly slipped around her neck, and sharp teeth bit into her flesh. She screamed, her hands fighting the iron grip around her waist and head, and the venom began pouring into her system as the werewolf bit into her. Hermione Granger's eyes rolled back in her head as her friends around her fought curse after curse, unable to do more than defend themselves against the Death-Eaters that were moving in on them faster than they could handle. The venom burned through her, setting her veins and lungs and heart on fire, and she screamed louder, struggling against the searing pain inside her this time.
Greyback held the young witch against him, a little shocked at the furious resistance that she was putting up when the venom should have put her sacked her strength nearly straight away. The transformation carved it's path right through her, turning her scream into something of a roar, and blood began oozing out of her nose and mouth and eyes as she fought still, and Greyback disapparated, bringing her with him into the room that she had managed to escape from. He lay her down on her back on the floor as she screamed and fought against him, straddling her hips and blocking her wrists either side of her head face. For the first time in his long, long life, Fenrir felt concerned for one of his creations. He had never before transformed a woman, much less a Muggleborn or a Witch or Wizard as powerful as the girl in front of him was. Little had any of them known how much more powerful than her DADA teacher she was, but the very second her blood had started pouring down his throat, the taste of her magic had overwhelmed him. It had been so strong, so violent, that he had momentarily been able to feel the core of her magical ability. And it had nearly knocked him off his feet. She herself had no idea how powerful she was. And as his venom turned her into one of his own, he had known that his decision had been the right one. He also knew, at this point, that it would prove nearly impossible to reign her in once she was a werewolf. She would be stronger than Remus Lupin had been, stronger than himself, perhaps. But for a while, her young werewolf self would be easily malleable. She would begin her werewolf life as one of his pack and no memory of her human past, and he would have to use that to his full ability.
Under him, Hermione Granger's mind was reeling. She knew what was happening to her. She had known the moment the werewolf's teeth had raked her flesh and bit into her neck. But she had to stop it. She couldn't become a werewolf, not like this, not when they had just lost the War, not when so many of her friends were in danger of being killed by Voldemort. She arched her back off the floor even as Greyback's thighs held her down and the venom burned through her painfully, and finally freed a hand from the werewolf's grip. Her fingers flew to her chest, smashing hard on the tiny object nestled on it's chain between her breasts. Her eyes rolled back, and she struggled to turn the disk inside the circular golden orb through her clothes, hardly noticing Greyback's hands over her own as he tried to stop her. She screamed one last time, and suddenly the time turner exploded under her hand. The world began to move, and Hermione Granger lost consciousness.
She couldn't feel anything.
The first thing that hit her when she woke was that she could not feel a thing. It was as if someone had cut all her appendices off and cut all the nerves that led from her senses to her nervous system. She wasn't even sure where she was until she picked up the courage to open her heavy lidded eyes and glanced up.
She was lying on her back, staring at a bunch of cobwebs grouped together on an old planked off ceiling. She drew in a quick, shaky breath, and suddenly the feelings came back - along with the pain. Her back arched off the cold, uneven floor as wave after wave of agony rippled over her, making her hiss through her teeth and moan loudly in an effort not to scream. And then she was screaming, couldn't hold it off any longer than she already had. It seemed as if molten lava was making it's way through her body, down her every vein and up into her brain. Her bones ached, and she let out a long winding yell of pain as, one after the other, she felt her bones crack and stretch into entirely different shapes.
How had she gotten here? She couldn't remember anything. She raked her mind for anything, any piece of information that might have told her how she had gotten here, but her head was a blank. Her hand snapped flat against the wooden floor, and she winced as a sharp stab of pain shot through her arm. Looking down, she saw pieces of glass and another, shinier material embedded in the flesh of her palm. *Gold*, she realized with a start. I have shards of gold in my hand! Another wave of pain raised her back from the floor, and her next scream vibrated and echoed through the entire...through wherever she was.
It was then that she became aware of another presence by her side. She was too weak to try and look beyond her eye range, but then she blinked and noticed two wide, pale blue eyes above her. When she saw those eyes, a strange emotion caused her frantic heart to skip a beat; a mixture of regret and relief. She didn't know where it came from, but at that moment another long wave of pain clawed at her senses. The eyes above her disappeared for a brief second, and then two hands were pushing down at her shoulders, blue orbs closer to her own than they had been before. They were wide, with surprise she thought, and then she heard a soothing voice into her ear, the boy's soft ash blond hair brushing her face.
"Hey, it's fine, I'm here now," the soft voice said, and she closed her eyes to drink it in. She arched against his hands involuntarily, and then she heard other voices above her own screams. She couldn't make out what they were saying or who was talking. Her vision had gone blurry, and it was all she could do not to scream her head off at every new second that made her agony longer. The boy's voice over her had gone from soothing to frantic, and then the gentle but firm weight on her shoulders vanished, only to be replaced by a more brutal one. Two bright blue eyes framed by long, dark, shaggy hair replaced the pale eyed blonde face, and then her eyes rolled into her head and she saw nothing more.
When she opened her eyes again, she was sore all over. Her cheek was burning, and when she reached up to touch it she traced a long winding gash down the side of her face and plunging down her neck and cleavage. Too shocked to do much more than prod, she didn't take in her surroundings for a while, but when she did a string tugged at her brain. She knew the place. She was in a small wooden room, dark wood, old, drafty and weathered. A single blacked out window filtered the rays of the sun, and the closed black door looked just as old as the rest of the room. The fact that she could remember nothing besides the fact that she somehow knew this place, yet could not put a name on it, was disturbing. And then she remembered pale blue eyes over her own, a voice in her ear, - and the pain. The infinite, impossible pain.
She drew in a quick shaky breath.
"Are you okay?"
Startled, she whipped her head to the side, taking in the teenage boy sprawled across a makeshift bed against the wall to her right. She instantly recognised the blond framed blue eyes. The boy's gentle face was covered in scars, across his cheeks, his forehead, one disappearing into the line of his hair after lining the entire left side of his face and tracing his earlobe. His smile was small but natural, soft and inviting. His eyes weren't the kind you'd expect on a boy his age; they were something else altogether, sparkling with age and wisdom, and a tiredness that moved her to her very core. The stirring of emotions that she had first experienced when meeting them did not return, but she felt drawn to him.
She stared into his eyes until she realized that he was waiting for an answer, and she looked away, embarrassed at having been caught staring at him. She cleared her throat to speak, but was taken by a fit of coughing. Instantly the boy was at her side, his hands on her forehead and arm and on one knee beside her exhausted form. He pulled her upright to a sitting position and helped her to lean against the wall behind her, never imposing or brutal but accompanying her movements. He placed a soothing hand on her back then and rubbed circles into her tense muscles, his concerned eyes hovering just above her hunched figure.
She nodded, not trusting her voice. She concentrated on breathing in and out slowly, her chest heaving with every breath. Her mind was whirling with confusion; at where she was, how she'd gotten here, who was the boy beside her and why did he look so familiar, and, most importantly, who was she...
It was then that she realized that the boy's hand on her back was touching bare skin. She froze, staring helplessly down at the rough piece of dark cloth covering her nakedness, and immediately the hand on her back stilled and withdrew. She heard his frown as he spoke.
"I'm sorry. We didn't have anything else to cover you up when you changed back..."
Her head snapped up, whirling at the first thing she noticed in his words.
"We?" She grimaced a little, uncomfortable at the idea that someone else had seen her naked.
"Me and one of the boys," he confirmed, his eyes looking carefully into hers as if confused by something.
She blushed under his gaze. BOYS had seen her naked, she realized. She was turning her head away when something else he had said hit her. She stared at him, unabashed this time.
"Did you say, 'when you changed back?'" Her voice shook a little as she said the words.
The boy took a deep breath, blond bangs covering his right eye, and he sat beside her then, his gaze never leaving hers. He pulled his knees against his chest and rested his head on them. Then he reached out for her, and his fingertips brushed her forehead. Instinctively, she leaned into his gentle touch, and the half smile returned to his face as he watched her. Then his fingers slipped down her face, and she shivered as they slowly traced the scar that started on her right cheek.
"I'm not going to ask you your name," he whispered suddenly, his fingers grazing the base of her neck where the scar disappeared into the dirt-coated blanket, "because I know that you won't remember it. I'm not going to ask you how you came to appear in the middle of the Shrieking Shack out of nowhere with a broken leg either, because I know that you won't be able to give me an answer. And I'm not going to ask you what you remember," he continued softly, and tears began leaking out of her eyes as she watched him," because I know for a fact that your most recent memories are from a few hours ago, and the first thing that you remember is pain, and the first person that you remember, is me." The thumb of his free hand wiped her tears away, and in that moment the young Witch could do little but lose herself in this boy's blue eyes. She opened her mouth, but his hand slid down and he stroked her bottom lip, stopping the words that had been about to cross her lips. "I know this, because we are the same. We're werewolves. And I also know that you were changed by that same werewolf who bit me years ago, because the smell on your bite," and he caressed the wider gash that she had not noticed on the other side of her neck," is the same as the one that was once on mine, and because, even though I know that you have not yet noticed it, our minds are linked. And I know that today was your first transformation, that you had just been bitten. That is why you cannot remember anything of your past."
She looked at him with wide eyes, unable to process completely what he'd just said.
As much as she was afraid to, she couldn't help but admit to herself that she knew this boy was saying the truth. Something about the way he spoke to her, the way his eyes caressed hers as he spoke, and the way his fingertips felt right and natural on her skin, told her that he was saying the truth. That he would NEVER lie to her, no matter what.
He's a werewolf, she thought. We are werewolves.
"Why don't I remember anything?" she asked, the first sensed question she could think of.
"That's what the change does," he said. "You won't remember anything for a few weeks, and then you'll randomly start getting snippets of your past, starting with your name. That's what happened to me..." His voice drifted off and his eyes left hers, wandering into nothingness as his past came back to him. Without thinking, simply acting on her instinct, the Witch lifted a hand and brushed his bangs from his face, and held her fingers on his cheek then, enjoying the warmth of another human being by her side. They smiled at each other, tiny yet confident smiles, acting as if they had known each other forever.
She shifted, and groaned when the skin of her thighs brushed against her sensitive centre.
Whoa, wait, what? Sensitive centre? Where'd that come from?
She gasped, and her hand left the boy's face as she looked down at the makeshift blanket covering her. She gaped at herself, testing her soreness and making a heavy grimace when she felt the stickyness and stiffness between her thighs. She looked up, blushing when she met the boy's concerned gaze and tilted head.
"Hum," she tried, biting her bottom lip and blushing furiously, "did we, did our wolves, hum, you know, like..."
The boy looked confused for a moment, one eyebrow arched almost comically. He looked at her for a few seconds, raking his brain for what she could be talking about, before his eyes focused back on her.
She buried her face on her hands, unable to look at him. She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time at the ridiculous situation.
"I'm sore," she whispered, a little louder than she would have liked.
"Well that's completely normal," the boy mused, a little confused. "After all you are after changing into a creature twice your size and back, if anything it would be abnormal for you-"
She shook her head vigorously, making a strangled sound halfway between a barked laugh and a sob.
"I didn't mean that," she said, her tone veering strangely off pitch.
He waited for her to say something else, but when she didn't he finally noticed the way her legs were twitching uncomfortably. His eyes widened.
"Oh," he managed to say. "Oh."
He didn't move for a good minute, processing the fact that his wolf had laid a female wolf, and that that wolf was sitting in human form right in front of him now. And that she was drop dead gorgeous. He nearly chuckled, but caught himself when he realized that she must have been a virgin, that that was how she knew. He blanched, and jumped up when the full implications hit him. He facepalmed himself then, and was startled when he heard a deep chuckle coming from her. He looked down only to find the girl looking up at him, the side of her face still rested again her knees as she laughed. He smiled down at her, and held out a hand to her, all discomfort forgotten.
"I'm Remus," he said to her with a brilliant smile. "Remus Lupin, at your service ma'am." He bowed exaggeratedly in front of her, lowering his head to brush his lips against the back of her hand.
The Witch blushed and giggled before sitting up straight and announcing, in a boasting manner that reminded Remus of himself, "And I, haven't got a clue who I am!"