the present
Chapter Nineteen: That Time of the Month

“I’ll just avoid her,” he mumbled, pacing across the kitchen. “That’s all there is to it. I’ll avoid her for another week, Draco will be back and he can attend to…”

“Sorry, didn’t quite catch that.” Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she entered the kitchen. “Did I hear mention of Draco?”

Sirius scowled. “Eavesdropping now, are you?”

Hermione glanced around the vacant kitchen, her eyebrows rising in mock laughter. “To a conversation you are having with yourself?” she questioned. “Really, you’d think returning from the dead would have required your brain cells to come with you.”


“Ass,” she retorted lightly, pushing past him and filling her mug with what remained of his coffee. “Juliette is waiting for you upstairs. Something about an adventure,” the slight rise in her voice indicated it was a question but Sirius merely nodded.

“Thanks.” He tucked his hands in his pockets as he walked past her, just missing Tonks as she bustled into the kitchen with a tray of home baked cookies.

“You know,” Hermione called, leaning against the counter as she sipped her coffee, “you really have been an unbearable person to live with these past few days. PMS?”

Tonks stopped in mid-stride, nearly dropping her platter. She glanced from one to the other, her head cocked at an odd angle in amusement.

“Just stay on your side of the house and we’ll get along fine, my dear,” he murmured with a mock bow then slinked out of the kitchen before she could retort.

Hermione chuckled, and then turned her attention to Tonks. “Morning, bringing us more Christmas goodies?”

“Fleur dropped them off. Do you know she makes them without magic?” Tonks shook her head and poured herself a cup of coffee before sitting down at the table. “Can you imagine? Just what would you put in a cookie anyway?”

“Flour, sugar, eggs…” Hermione recited, trying to recall Christmases from her childhood when she would help her mother mix up holiday treats. Pulling the wrapping off the tray, she glanced over the collection of tiny cookies, biscuits and pastries. Fleur had apparently become quiet the homemaker…each delicacy was decorated carefully with bright red and green colored frosting or sprinkles. A few had been shaped into snowmen and a dozen or so others had been cut into wizarding hats.

“Raw ones?” Tonks let out a shudder. “Disgusting. So,” she dropped her voice, “tell me what that was all about.”

“No idea,” she shrugged. “He has been in the foulest mood lately. Pacing the floor, locking himself away either with Juliette or by himself. He won’t stay more than two seconds in my presence before finding an excuse to run off.”

Tonks chewed on one of the cookies in deep thought. “You don’t think it has something to do with…well, the way he came back?”

Hermione’s mind flew to their time alone together weeks ago in Hogsmeade. Although he had avoided her since, except his entreaties to comforting her nightmares, she couldn’t seem to forget their drunken encounter. She had stayed away from him as well, afraid he might mistake any movement on her part as using him as a quick replacement for Draco. But, it seemed the last few days, Sirius was the only thing she could think about. It was as if the more he avoided her, the more she wanted to have him. Her face reddened and she dropped her head down to keep Tonks from noticing.

“Hermione?” Tonks prodded, a quizzical look on her face as she lifted her head from the box of goodies.

“No, I assure you,” she answered smiling, “he’s at full capacity.”

Tonks tilted her head in curiosity but chose to delve no further. “Perhaps we should ask Remus-”

“Ask me what?” Remus stepped into the room, his long overcoat showering them both with freshly fallen snow. He grabbed the cookie Hermione held in her hand, taking a bite before handing it back. “Did Sirius and Juliette leave without me?”

“Where exactly are you taking my daughter, Remus?”

“Would I get her in trouble?” he asked innocently, avoiding her gaze and taking a seat near Tonks.

“With Sirius leading the way?” she scoffed. “I have no doubt.”

Remus slipped Tonks’ mug from her hands, taking a sip before beginning to riffle through the contents of Fleur’s package. He chose a handful of the smaller wizard hats, downing them all in one swallow. “So what are we asking me about anyway?”

“Sirius is acting a bit odd,” Tonks supplied. “Have you noticed anything?”

“Nothing more odd than normal for him.” Remus glanced to Hermione. “Is everything okay?”

Hermione didn’t answer under his friendly gaze. Although she couldn’t explain it, she felt Remus was going to give her an explanation about Sirius’ behavior that she didn’t really want to hear.

“He is avoiding Hermione.”

“Just Hermione?” Remus questioned, his eyes thoughtful. He gazed again at Hermione but she pushed away from the table, moving to the counter to fix him a cup of coffee. “Want me to speak with him?”

“No, no.” She shook her head as she handed him a cup of steaming liquid. “Really, it’s nothing to worry over. It’s just odd.”

But Tonks wasn‘t about to let it go so easily and she made a confusing sound with her cheeks. “When I got here, they were bickering like you and I before the full moon hits.”

Remus sudden movement caused both of the women to jump. He pushed away from the table, the chair scraping loudly across the wood floor. “I should go,” he mumbled, his face turn a deep shade of red.

“I didn’t mean it like--” Tonks hurried.

“No, no,” he kissed her cheek quickly. “It’s not as if my transitions aren’t well known in this household. I just have to go.”

“Wait,” Tonks tugged on his arm, her eyes narrowing. “You know something, don’t you?”

“No, I--”

“Remus Lupin, if you don’t tell us…”

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh at the stern commanding voice Tonks thrust at him, poor Remus’ head hanging lower to hide the red flush on his cheeks.

“Remus,” she commanded again, louder this time, to cover Hermione’s laughter.

“It’s just, well,” he paused, causing Hermione to cover her mouth to suppress her giggles. She had never seen him more uncomfortable in his life. He had stuffed his hands in his pockets, his elbows jerking uncomfortable under their curious looks.

“Animagi, they-” he stammered then looked meaningful at Tonks. “Their senses are well developed. They sense or smell or…” he trailed off, glancing to both of them as if for help. “They know when its time for certain things to occur.”

He locked eyes with Tonks for a moment, willing her to understand. Finally, a wide grin spread across her face and he nodded. “I have to go,” he mumbled, shuffling out the door as Tonks’ laughter began to fill the room.

“What in the world got into him?” Hermione dropped onto the chair opposite Tonks. “You’d think we asked him to strip down to his skivvies or something.”

“Hermione,” Tonks tried to calm her laughter, “Remus is a bit shy around women.”

“No, really?” She frowned. “I never would’ve guessed.”

“What he was trying to say was that it is near your time of the month,” Tonks explained. “Sirius apparently has already picked up on that.”

“Oh,” she responded quietly. Then again, more amused, “Ohhh.”

Hermione leaned into Tonks with a conspiratorial whisper, a grin playing across her lips. “This could be fun.”

“Hermione!” Tonks admonished her voice serious. “Torturing a man is never a good thing…they will always get you back.”

“Of course,” she nodded, her mind reeling. She had no intention of telling Tonks…that was exactly what she was hoping for.

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