Hermione didn’t run to her bedroom when she left the library; she knew that was where they would look for her. Instead, she hid herself in what they had all deemed “The Black Storage Room”. Years ago when they had cleaned out the house, they came across quite a few things they were unwilling or unable to destroy or discard. They picked a large room that was supposed to be a second sitting room on the second floor, and stored quite a few “Black Family” heirlooms there. One of the things they had found that could not be destroyed or removed from the house was a great chair made out of a very rare black wood. The chair was harmless, no curses had ever been found, but it was useless for normal décor. It was very large and ornate, with the Black Family crest carved into the wood; so regal it almost looked like a throne chair.

Hermione often hid out in this room and read for hours, curled up in the black chair. She sat there now, tears running down her face. How could I be so stupid? she thought miserably as her mind replayed her attack on Sirius. She thought she had convinced herself to let go of her “affection” for Sirius, but seeing that witch straddling his lap proved that she was not over him in the least. She thought of Sirius’s comment that she should get her own life and cried harder at how unlikely that was when she was hopelessly in love with him. She sat there for a long time, until there were no more tears to shed, having cried herself dry. I’m just going to stay away from him. Maybe I should take up Mrs. Weasley’s offer to move in with them. I could share Ginny’s room again; she always kept the offer open. Maybe there would be enough distance between Sirius and me that I could move on and take his advice. I could get my own life, she thought to herself as she wiped the tears from her face and left the room, determined to escape Sirius Black.


The next morning after breakfast Hermione was about to head up the stairs to send a letter to Ginny about leaving when she remembered Ginny would be here for the big meeting that would take place any minute now. She excused herself from the table to use the bathroom. When she was finished she returned to the basement kitchen, where everyone was already gathered, waiting for Remus to arrive before they started. Hermione spotted Ginny and had started toward her when Sirius caught her eye as he walked over to her.

He had been looking for her since she had slipped out of the room as soon as she had finished breakfast. He wanted to apologise for his behaviour. As he walked toward her, he couldn’t help but notice again that something was different about her. Since Harry’s words to him last night, something had changed deep inside him when he looked at or thought about her. The knowledge of Harry’s opinions of her behaviour (though as untrue as he tried to convince himself that it was) changed her in his eyes. Now he couldn’t help but notice the things he had previously overlooked or ignored about her. Namely how beautiful she was. Stop it, Padfoot! She’s off-limits! he scolded himself as he approached her. Just as he was about to open his mouth to apologise, Remus swept into the room with several Aurors in his wake. Sirius gave his attention to Remus, promising himself he would find time to apologise to Hermione after the meeting.

Remus cleared his throat before he began. “I have some important news to share, so please listen closely. As most of you know, I was assigned a few days ago to follow the tips we had received about the remaining Death Eaters possibly hiding out at a cottage outside of Little Hangleton. I’m very happy to announce that it is confirmed: every last one of them IS there. I watched closely for days, and even if they left for a while, each night they ALL returned. There are thirteen of them in all, the thirteen we have been looking for. With a little planning, it’s possible that we can finally end this tonight. So let’s get a plan together, and tonight, we ambush them and end it for good!”

Everyone pored over the notes Remus had taken during his surveillance. They also watched his memories when he put them in a large Pensieve. Three hours later, a plan was formed. They were going to ambush the cottage at midnight, since it was agreed that the Death Eaters would likely be sleeping at that time. They had agreed on which positions they would take when they attacked, and what the signal would be. The Death Eaters would be outnumbered, but it was still quite dangerous. They all reviewed safety measures and even had an hour’s dueling practice to make sure that everyone’s reflexes were honed. Hermione was going as one of the few Order members who had extensive medical training. She was by no means a Healer, but she had learned several magical medical books by heart, and had helped in a few skirmishes before. Sirius said nothing when she agreed to go, but a twinge of fear came over him. He knew that she was a powerful and talented witch, but the thought of something happening to her scared him. He promised himself he would watch her as closely as possible when he could spare his concentration.


At fifteen minutes to midnight everyone Apparated to a safe spot a short walk from the cottage. They moved to surround the cottage, everyone walking softly as they approached their positions. Hermione held one of her D.A. coins in her hand, waiting for it to heat; that was the signal for attack. She and the few others who were there to help the injured and watch the Aurors’ and Order members’ backs were under Disillusionment charms for their own safety. Against her will, she watched Sirius who was behind a tree to her left. Any moment now the signal for attack would heat their hands, but that was forgotten for a moment as Sirius looked in her direction, trying to make her out in the nearly nonexistent light. He stared straight at her, unknowingly. There was something in his eyes as he looked at her that made her breath hitch.

Suddenly her coin heated in her hand. It had begun. Hermione drew her eyes away from Sirius as the Aurors attacked the cottage, blowing open windows and walls, scampering into the cottage.

Hermione watched in horror as the battle raged; apparently they had tripped some kind of alarm, because it seemed like the Death Eaters were ready for the attack. Hermione Stupefied a Death Eater who had just hit an Auror. She rushed over to find Kingsley lying on the ground, bleeding from his nose. “Kingsley, are you okay? What did he hit you with?”

“I’m fine. He levitated a rock at my head—it’s just a broken nose. You’d think a Death Eater could come up with something worse than that,” he replied as he sat up. Hermione pointed her wand at him, casting a bone-healing spell. When his nose stopped bleeding, she started to retreat as he got up to help wrangle the few Death Eaters who were already dead or captured. Suddenly she heard someone scream her name and the words, “Get down!” She was suddenly knocked to the ground as she turned to see what was happening. Sirius had jumped in front of a curse, knocking her to the ground as he landed on her legs. Hermione raised her wand and Stupefied the Death Eater before pulling her legs from underneath Sirius’s shoulders. She leaned over him, wondering why he was crying when she realized that he was not crying normal tears. Droplets of blood were pooling in his eyes and falling down his pale cheeks. His breathing was laboured, and he was clearly in pain.

He was trying to speak, but it was so faint she could hardly hear him. “Sirius, what spell were you hit with? Speak to me!” she demanded as she lowered her ear to his mouth to hear his response.

“Hermione, are you okay? It just got me, right? You’re not hurt?” he asked urgently but quietly.

“I’m fine, now answer my question! What spell were you hit with?”

She felt a chill run down her spine when he said, “I don’t know. I can’t see. Why can’t I see anything?” She looked back at his eyes; they were moving around frantically, trying to see what was there. But it was obvious that he couldn’t see a thing.

“Sirius, you’ve had some head trauma. I need to get you to St. Mungo’s immediately. The Healers can fix you better than me. Grab my arm—I’ll Apparate us there,” she said with a shaky voice. He lifted his arm in the air, but she had to grab it since he couldn’t see her arm that was held out for him. He didn’t say anything else as fear overtook him when he heard the frightened tone in her voice. “Here we go. Just hold on, Sirius.” As soon as he was holding her arm tightly, she Apparated them to St. Mungo’s.


As soon as Sirius was in the emergency room under the Healer’s care, they kicked Hermione out, kindly promising to inform her when they knew something more. She paced the hall restlessly, jumping when two hands touched her shoulders to get her attention. She turned around to see Harry, and instantly she was in his arms crying. “Hermione, what happened? We were worried sick about you and Sirius; we didn’t know what happened or where you were.”

Sniffling still, she lifted her face to reply. “He was hit by something awful. The Healers are trying to figure out what spell it was. Harry, he was bleeding from his eyes and he can’t see anything!” She started crying again as Remus approached them. Harry sniffed back a few tears of his own as he told Remus what Hermione had said. They all settled down to wait for the Healers.

When the Healers were done with their tests, they called Hermione, Harry, and Remus into the room, stating that Sirius should have some family or friends with him. As soon as they gathered around Sirius, Hermione holding his hand, the Healer told them the diagnosis.

“I’m Healer Stenvensin,” the Healer said as he held out his hand to Remus and Harry. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. After several extensive tests, we determined that Mr. Black was hit with a curse called Obliviatcia-Eage. It’s not a well-known curse but it is very, very powerful. The curse is a different type of the Obliviate curse. Instead of erasing memories, Obliviacia-Eage—Eage is the Latin word for ‘eye’—it damages one’s eyes permanently. I’m sorry to say there is no known cure; Mr. Black will likely be blind for the rest of his life.” He gave them a moment to absorb his words before he continued. “Mr. Black should stay here for a few hours’ observation, and then you may take him home. I would suggest you three figure out who will be his companion. He will need someone with him constantly until he adjusts. Again, I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you.” With that, the Healer left the room to give them privacy.

Hermione gripped Sirius’s hand tighter, even as his fingers went slack from shock. Everyone looked at him, not wanting to believe that behind the bandages that covered his eyes he was blind. For the rest of his life he would not see anything any more.

Remus was the first to speak. “Well, I can put in for a leave at the Ministry,” he said, broaching the subject of who would stay with Sirius.

“You love your job, Remus; I won’t be a burden to you. Besides, I don’t need someone babysitting me. I’ll be fine,” Sirius said stiffly.

“No, Remus, I’ll stay with him,” Hermione said. “You have an important job; you don’t want to risk losing it. And Harry and Ron are about to leave for the Auror Academy. I haven’t signed up for any further schooling yet, since I’m not sure what I want to do. It will be no problem postponing that decision while I’m helping Sirius. It’s an important decision. But Sirius is more important,” she said quietly but resolutely.

“But Hermione, Sirius is my godfather. It should be me. I’ll do it,” Harry replied.

“Harry, I told you I don’t need a babysitter! You signed up for the Academy, and that place is hard to get into, even for you! You’re going. Hermione, thank you for the offer, but I’ll be fine. You need to concentrate on your own future as well,” Sirius said adamantly, but he was interrupted by Hermione.

“Sirius Black! I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do with my life. You are my friend, and out of all of us I’m the best choice to help you adjust. You will accept my help. And stop calling it ‘babysitting’! It’s just what friends and family do for the people they love in situations like these!” Hermione replied. She quickly got to her feet and headed for the door. “I’ll be back; I need to speak to the Healer.”

As soon as the door closed Sirius said, “Remus, I know headquarters like the back of my hand. I can do this by myself. You need to convince her to let it go. I’ll be fine.”

Remus patted Sirius on the shoulder as he replied. “Sirius, I love you like a brother. But you need to face the fact that it will take more than just knowing the layout of the house to adjust to this. Someone needs to be there to help you so you don’t hurt yourself. Hermione is the best person for the job, and you know it.” He patted Sirius’s shoulder again and then said he was going back to headquarters to check on things, and that he would return to help take Sirius home. When he left the room, Sirius turned his head toward the last place he had heard Harry’s voice.

“Harry, I’m not worried about myself adjusting as much as I’m worried about being with Hermione twenty-four-seven. I mean, you know what happened the other day. We’ll tear each other’s heads off! Just the fact that she has feelings for me will make things worse....”

Harry was stunned that this was what his godfather was worried about. “Sirius, tell me, do you like her?” Sirius visibly stiffened at this unexpected question.

“Of course not! How could I? That would be wrong on so many levels, Harry. I mean, the age difference alone is bad enough. It’s just not right! Why are you asking this, anyway?” Sirius replied, flustered at where the conversation had turned.

“Sirius, I love you. You’re my godfather and one of my best friends. If you did like her, it would be weird to say the least, but if you made each other happy, then you’d have my blessing.”

Sirius sat there stunned, trying to form a reply. He had just found out that he would be blind for the rest of his life, and now his godson was giving his blessing for Sirius to date someone half his age. I wonder what everyone else would say if I did like her. Oh SHUT IT, Padfoot. You’re being stupid.... “Harry, I appreciate your blessing but I don’t like Hermione—I can’t. It’s just not right. Besides, the last thing she needs is to be with a man old enough to be her father, who is now blind, not to mention an ex-convict. Just drop it, okay?” he replied stubbornly. Harry was about to open his mouth to object to Sirius’s comments when Sirius spoke again. “Harry, please go see when I can leave this bloody place. I want to go home.”

Harry told him he would be right back and left the room to find Hermione and the Healer. He spotted Hermione sitting on a bench in the hallway, a stack of books in her lap. She was staring at the cover of the top book when he approached her. “Hermione, are you okay? Did the Healer happen to say when we could take Sirius home?” She looked up at him as she wiped away the few tears that were leaking from her eyes.

Clearing her throat she said, “Healer Stenvensin said we can take him home in an hour. I sent an owl to Grimmauld Place so Remus could get the house ready. The Healer had a list of preparations for the house for Sirius’s safety as he gets used to walking around without being able to see where he’s going. The basic cushioning spells and such. He also gave me these books, to help me take care of Sirius.” Every word was spoken quietly.

“Hermione, he’ll be okay, you know. This is Sirius—he’s used to challenges. We’ll all help him. He’ll be okay, I promise,” Harry said as he sat down beside her and put his arm around her.

“Harry, he has to be okay. It’s my fault this happened to him. I wasn’t watching my surroundings when I was helping Kingsley, and Sirius jumped in front of that spell. He’s blind because I was stupid enough to not watch my back! No wonder he doesn’t want me to take care of him—he probably hates me for being so stupid! It’s all my fault!” Hermione had dropped the books to the floor and was holding onto Harry, sobbing.

“Hermione, he doesn’t hate you. And what happened was not your fault or his. He just did what he thought best—what any of us would have done for each other. No one can watch their own back very well in situations like what happened tonight, it’s just not possible. I promise you, Sirius holds nothing against you! It’s just something bad that happened, and we’ll all deal with it, okay?” he said, hoping that he had comforted her some. 

When Hermione stopped crying, they both went back into Sirius’s room to get him ready to go home as soon as Remus owled that Grimmauld was ready for them.


Remus broke the news to the rest of the Order when he arrived at Grimmauld Place. There were many tears and shocked reactions. Now that the last of the Death Eaters had been caught or killed, there was no reason to have an Order headquarters. When Remus received the owl from Hermione, he read it out to the others. They all decided that it would be best if the house were empty when Sirius got home. Everyone knew Sirius wasn’t someone who would want to be fussed over because of what happened. He needed time to adjust, and if the house was empty except for the few who actually lived there, it would be easier for him to get used to being blind.

Everyone helped Remus go through the house to get it ready for Sirius, performing numerous cushioning spells and other precautions. When everything was in order, including the second bed in Sirius’s master bedroom for Hermione so she could be close to him at all times, the Order members left Grimmauld Place, hoping they would never need a headquarters again.

Remus arrived back at the hospital and went straight to Sirius’s room. When he entered, he found Hermione sitting next to Sirius’s bed, reading a book. “Well, the house is ready and everyone’s gone home. So it will just be us four again. I promised them that when you were up to it we’d have everyone over to celebrate. Well—let’s go home,” Remus said, helping Sirius to sit up since he was still weak.

“Remus, you should tell everyone to have the party, maybe over at the Burrow or someplace. I’m not really up for it, though. I don’t want to hold everyone else back from enjoying themselves.”

Remus frowned, wondering how much his best friend would change now that he was blind. “Okay, Sirius, if you’re sure. We can always have a second party later when you’re up to it.” They helped Sirius leave St. Mungo’s. Everyone was quiet as they went to the fireplaces to Floo home.


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