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It’s like a fire
Burning inside me,

It’s like a large hole,
Deep inside my soul,

It’s like a river,
Becoming a sea.


CHAPTER 1
Seeing you again


“Remus just arrived!” Harry practically raced into the living room of Grimmauld Place, grinning from ear to ear. Noticing Ginny scowling at him he added, “Am I interrupting something?”

Ron got up joyfully from the couch on which he had been eating along with his sister and Hermione, and stretched his legs. “Nope, just talking about next year, that’s all.”

“When did Lupin arrive?” Ginny enquired, getting up too and turning to Harry as he was already walking into the corridor.

Her voice faded out as she followed Harry and Ron out of the room.

Hermione sighed, now left alone on the couch. She wasn’t particularly thrilled about seeing Remus again. The idea disturbed her slightly, though she wouldn’t have been able to say why.

Shaking her head, she realized there were too many things on her mind lately. They were all─ again─ stuck at Grimmauld Place even if she, Harry and Ron had graduated the year before from Hogwarts. Well, true, it was temporary, because they were all going to apply for a job soon, but that was also paradoxically the problem: at Hogwarts, she had homework and grades and exams to worry about. Now who knew what her future would be made of?

Ginny would go to Hogwarts and enter her seventh year; Ron and Harry were both going to apply for an Auror training─ Voldemort hadn’t disappeared just because they had left Hogwarts; on the contrary, more and more Death Eaters kept joining him, creating chaos everywhere. Who could hope to defeat the one who had already come back from the dead? Too few kept that optimism.

And as for her, she also intended to find a job at the Ministry─ but rather in the Department for the regulation and control of Dangerous Creatures. There they debated the rights of every being who asked for some recognition. She had no desire to fight in battles; there was much she could do for the ones who were oppressed… surely if wizards gave them rights they would join the Ministry, all of them: Goblins, House Elves, Dementors, Trolls, Giants…

Werewolves.

Hermione got up and started walking towards the entrance hall of Grimmauld Place, though with much less enthusiasm than the others. A part of her, surprisingly, dreaded to see Lupin again. She knew it was stupid, but still…

She remembered what a great job he had done as a teacher in her third year, then how Harry had almost considered him as a replacement godfather after Sirius’s death. However, the years had passed. They had all grown up, she had grown up. And they’d been through so much together… numerous fights against Voldemort… constant fear… killings…

And, god, it wasn’t over.

It was exactly what Remus had in mind too when he saw Harry, Ron and Ginny come forward to him. Every time he saw them he thought of one thing only─ when he’d leave, should it be after an hour, a day or a week spent with them, he’d fear never to see them alive again. They were the ones he was fighting for, the ones every Order member fought for. They were young, they had plenty of things to look forward to, they wished to live in a world of peace, and they wanted a job, a family. A normal life.

It wasn’t just a job that he had to watch after them─ it was something he needed to do with every fibre of his body, because if they died, then what use would it all have been?

Remus wondered where Hermione was. Thinking about her made him feel slightly guilty. It was something he couldn’t explain, something that puzzled him, something that he wished he could understand. He simply dreaded to see her. He had no idea why─ at least any idea he wanted to consider. Hermione was just a student he had had in class; a very intelligent and brilliant young woman, a friend of Harry, James’s only son, and one who would soon start a promising career. Full stop.

Except… that full stop wasn’t simple to place there. She wasn’t a student any longer; she was eighteen, she had graduated, she had her whole life awaiting her.

He’d noticed it. That odd uneasiness whenever they saw each other, an odd uneasiness that had slowly, over the weeks, turned into embarrassment. They weren’t avoiding each other, it wasn’t that. No… just… they couldn’t find the right words to speak to each other.

Of course, maybe it was just an impression. After all, he’d been gone most of the time… away on Dumbledore’s missions… he had been away for weeks.

Hermione took the last few steps that led into the entrance hall nervously, as Ron and Ginny gave Remus a bone breaking hug─ not much unlike the one Harry had already given him. That was it. He was like Bill or Charlie, an older brother to them, or an uncle. He returned the embrace, passing a hand through Ron’s messy hair in an affectionate way. He liked being back at Grimmauld place. At first it had been difficult; the place had brought too any memories of Sirius. But after that, it had been like a refuge, a shelter where he knew he’d always find friends, the only family he had.

“Hello, Remus,” Hermione said with a warm smile.

“Hermione,” he replied, awkwardly advancing to greet her. However Arthur and Molly Weasley arrived in that instant and he was saved the trouble of finding something to tell her when Arthur came to shake his hand.

“Snape, Tonks, and Sturgis will be away longer than usual,” Molly found a way to mutter to him while they all walked to the kitchen. “Dumbledore’s assigned them to a new mission,” she gave him a knowing look. He knew it meant they’d talk about it later.

“So, Remus?” Ron asked casually once they were all comfortably seated around mugs of hot tea. “What have you been up to?”

“Yeah,” Ginny continued innocently, leaning closer to him over the table. “How’s business?”

Remus gave them a half amused, half annoyed sort of look. “Honestly…” he chuckled.

Molly glanced reproachfully at Ron and Ginny. “How many times have we told you? Nothing the Order does will be discussed while you’re here.”

Hermione smiled. It had been three years since they had learned about the existence of the Order of the Phoenix, but none of them were allowed in yet. Fred and George had just been accepted, so she assumed they’d have to wait a bit more… but she knew it would be soon; as soon as Harry and Ron would start their Auror training they would enter the Order and become helpful spies from inside the Ministry, just like Tonks was. She didn’t know if it was good news; but she was accustomed to Ron, Harry and Ginny’s incessant questions.

“Erm, kids,” Ron’s father said loudly, “Remus must be tired, and we have things to discuss. Could you leave us for a minute?”

There were some groans and complaints, but Ron, Harry, Ginny and Hermione left the kitchen.

“They could at least tell us what exactly is happening,” Ron grumbled. He gave a kick at empty air the same way one hit a ball out of frustration.

Meanwhile, Molly had closed the kitchen door tightly and checked that it was impermeable to everything─ including Extendable Ears or latest twin inventions.

“So, now that we’re alone, how was business?” Arthur grinned.

Remus took a sip of tea and smiled. It was always pleasant to see Arthur and Molly again─ they were whom he considered his closest friends, and to his eyes they had succeeded in raising a family he would have been proud of─ except for Percy, but that was another story.

“Dumbledore told us what you managed to do, I have to say that’s quite impressive,” Molly offered him some cookies which he gladly took.

“I did what I had to,” he replied humbly. “All I did was follow Crabbe and Goyle. If Kingsley and Moody hadn’t shown up I wouldn’t be back to tell the story.” He grimaced, thinking of how close he had been to receive the Killing Curse when Mad-Eye and Kingsley had shown up, Apparating in front of the two Death Eaters. At least he hadn’t completely lost his time─ capturing two of the most merciless Death Eaters they’d been tracking for years turned out to be a great victory. Maybe Crabbe and Goyle were dumb, but they’d followed Voldemort around for years─ and when they threw the Avada Kedavra curse their wands did as much damage as anyone else’s.

Too bad their sons were about to follow the same lead─ what a waste that was.

“How long until you leave again?” Molly questioned.

Remus shrugged. He needed to rest before anything else. Following Death Eaters for nearly four entire weeks had been exhausting. He had had to hide from their sights, he had had to infiltrate some places, he had had to ignore how much sleep his body needed to concentrate on where Crabbe and Goyle were going, what they were doing, who they met─ and who they killed.

He shook away the memories. “Dumbledore sent me an owl telling me I had some time. Sorry─” he said apologetically, “you’ll have to put up with me for a while.”

Molly pretended to be upset, then she added with a beam, “at least the kids will stop mumbling that they’re bored and always by themselves.”

Remus nodded and then he got up, placing his empty mug on the sink. “Wonderful tea, Molly, as always. Well… I’ll go and settle in again,” he thought of his trunk waiting for him. There were also the kids, as Molly called them, who weren’t kids anymore, but who surely had plenty of things to tell him.

Then he’d teach them a few more tricks, he’d rest, and he’d laugh with them for a while and forget about worries, to live this well-deserved carefree existence just for a few days. Harry, Ron, Ginny would keep bugging him about the Order, that never changed, and Hermione… well…

He shut his eyes. Hermione.

Why did he constantly end up thinking about her?


A/N: I'm working on the next chapters, but in the meantime you can always review! lol I really hope you liked it!

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