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A/N:  This chapter is named for 'Taking Back Control' by Sparta.  Thank you all for reading (and possibly reviewing.)
Mia xx




“Go!”

“But Sirius-“Harry pleaded with his godfather.

“Harry, just take the others and get back up to the school!” he said running back to rejoin the fight. He was about to protest again but Ginny and Ron grabbed him by the arms.

“Come on Harry. We have to make it back to the Shrieking Shack,” Hermione said heatedly.

*****

Ron Weasley had been recruited by Voldemort.

He received his letter on Christmas day and was to give his answer exactly one month later when he met with a correspondent in the forbidden forest. He didn’t go. Nor did he tell anyone. Far too ashamed of being a Death Eater in consideration, Ron kept the information all to himself. With no one to talk to he had, a one point, considered initiation into Voldemort’s circle. He could not risk having his family and friends become targets.

It took him nearly the whole month to come to an intelligent conclusion. The only reason that Voldemort would want a ‘blood traitor’ such as himself in his circle would be to infiltrate the Order and sabotage plans to keep Harry and others safe. He could not join the ranks of Voldemort despite the consequences which would mark his loved ones for trouble.

Ron was confused. Now that he knew his answer to the recruitment notice he didn’t know whether to turn up to the meeting or not. If he arrived and told the correspondent that he did not want to join it was likely they would Avada him on the spot. He tried to talk to Hermione about it, but he just did not know how to put it. So, in the end, he ignored the letter altogether.

This happened to be quite a lapse in judgment, as Dumbledore had later put it.

Two days after the designated meeting, Ginny was gone with only a note on Ron’s bed to explain it. It was at this point finally when he decided to tell Hermione. She begged him to go to Dumbledore but Ron felt this would only delay his sister’s rescue. Hermione sought out Harry’s help thinking he would be able to talk some sense into Ron but this only added fuel to the fire.

Harry had become increasingly reckless. It was his seventh year and he had still been prevented from becoming a full member of the Order. It was mainly Dumbldore’s doing and Harry resented him for it. Although Ron, Harry and Hermione were now legally considered adults, the other adults, especially Dumbledore, felt it was fitting to continually keep secrets from them and leave them out of important plans. It was for this reason that Harry argued they should leave Dumbledore out of their plans. Ron agreed

It was almost beyond the boys to agree to seek help from the old DA members. Hermione managed to contact Dean, Ernie, Padma, Luna, Neville, Parvati and Colin who were only too happy to help in the current circumstance.

The note that Ron had received stated that Ginny was being held at the edge of Hogsmead and that Ron should come alone if he ever wished to see his sister again. The Death Eaters would most certainly not come alone but the DA members agreed to remain hidden unless they were needed.

The group trudged their way to the Whomping Willow, the Shrieking Shack being their only way into Hogsmead without being seen. This was not before Hermione had sent out two identical letters. She sensed trouble and although Harry and Ron would be mad with her she knew she would not regret her decision. One letter went to Dumbledore and the other to Sirius.

Although by the time Sirius received his letter the group would already be in substantial danger she knew he would want to be notified. Having only been reunited with his godson four years ago and almost pulled apart again two years later, Sirius was protective of Harry. He loved Harry more than anything.

By the same token Harry too loved his godfather. Hermione would never forget the look on Harry’s face as he witnessed his Sirius fall backwards through the veil in the ministry of magic. It was so distraught; she had never seen a person look so broken. Arthur Weasley had found her and Ginny and forced them to stay safe in a small alcove behind a statue while the battle continued. From their hiding spot they witnessed everything. As Harry sank to his knees and eyed Bellatrix Lestrange with nothing but pure hatred, Hermione felt bile rise in her throat. 

This could not be the end for Sirius. As Ginny burst into tears, Hermione heard voices. Soft whispers seemed to be coming from the other side of the veil. Ginny heard them too. They drew the girls somehow magnetically and Hermione knew now what Harry and Luna spoke of earlier. It was bewitched somehow. They burst from the alcove and yelled “Finite Incantatem!” in unison at the veil. Their combined effort hit the dais and they watched as the stone archway smashed in to pieces.

Just when Hermione thought all hope was gone, Sirius’s body descended from the endless ceiling. It floated beautifully and she and Ginny noticed he was not moving. He landed ten meters from the girls and unnoticed by everyone else caught up in the heat of the fight. They ran to him not caring for their own safety at the present. He was not breathing and Hermione asked Ginny if she knew CPR. Of course that didn’t exist in the wizarding world so Hermione tried to imitate something she’d seen on TV in the hopes of eventually reuniting Harry and his godfather.

To this day no one, not even Dumbledore, knows how Sirius came back from the veil. After two unpromising months in St Mungo’s he managed to pull through and Harry and he became even closer.

He would definitely want to be informed of the current circumstance which is why she magically duplicated her letter to Dumbledore. Hopefully neither party would be too mad with her, Harry and Ron afterwards.

Ron arrived at the designated meeting spot to see a masked Death Eater clutching. His pace quicken towards the pair. Ginny looked terrified. He argued with the Death Eater until wands were drawn, one eventually held to Ginny’s neck. Ron slowly dropped his wand and suddenly another three Death Eaters apparated. They chuckled to themselves and beckoned Ron to hold out his arm. He shook his head and the Death Eater threw Ginny to the ground. Just as he was about to curse her, Ron stuck out his arm for them to have. They cursed her anyway and she doubled over in pain. Ron begged them to let her go. One of the other three Death Eaters grabbed his arm and began to draw his wand.

Harry and Hermione knew what was to come so they signaled to the rest of the DA who leapt from their hiding places to rescue Ron and Ginny. Harry stunned the Death Eater holding Ron’s arm and helped Ginny from the ground. Another two Death Eaters apparated into the vicinity and hit Colin with an imperius curse. It took both Dean and Parvati to counter it, after a flesh wound and scorched clothing. Hermione continued, like Harry, shooting out stunning curses at the Death Eaters who were seemingly good at dodging them. The scene escalated quickly and very soon the Hogwarts students were very much in a situation against six grown Death Eaters that they could not control. Ernie was ignoring, with difficulty, a very burnt arm while helping Colin combat a particularly vicious Death Eater. 

Attended by Ginny, Luna lay on the ground stunned or as Hermione hoped as she had not seen or heard one killing curse fired. Padma and Parvati were double teaming nicely and actually seemed to be giving their Death Eater a run for his Galleons. Dean, Neville, Harry and Ron now each had their own separate Death Eater and although they seemed to be on fairly even footing, the Death Eaters were not tiring nearly as easily. Hermione spectated, occasionally shooting a helpful curse where it was needed but mainly searching the distance for the help that they would need to leave the scene relatively unscathed. She hoped that Dumbledore had received her letter.

A stray sectumsempra hit her leg and slashed open her lower thigh several times through her jeans. She doubled over and then fell to the ground, unable to support her own weight. She tried to cover the wounds with her hands but there was too much blood pouring out for her to do much good. Hermione crawled back against a tree and tore a length of material from her top to tie around her leg. As she helped herself back off the ground she noticed Dean taking on two Death Eaters as Neville clutched a bleeding wrist. She stunned one of them which took the other by surprise giving Dean the time to stun him. There were now only three remaining Death Eaters and Hermione felt a glimmer of hope emerge for the group. This was until another four Death Eaters apparated to the scene.

The new group of Death Eaters was far more ruthless and fired curses off left, right and centre, not caring whether it hit one of their own or not. She watched as two of them approached Harry. She tried to chase after them but her leg made it difficult to stand, let alone move. Suddenly a stunning curse flew past from behind her to hit on of the Death Eaters after Harry in the back. She turned to see who it was and gave a sigh of relief. It was Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Molly, Bill, Dumbledore and Hagrid. Each one of them looked fierce, oozing naught but pure determination. Without a moment’s hesitation they jumped into the battle working quickly to protect the teenagers. Harry moved towards Hermione and they both watched the scene in awe.

“You alright Hermione?” Harry asked her.

“Yeah I’m fine,” she said shifting her weight.

“How did they know we were here?” he thought out loud. Hermione looked away uncomfortably. She knew he would be frustrated at her for sending the letter. However, if her informing Sirius and Dumbledore ensured everyone’s safety especially Ron and Ginny, she could certainly take anything Harry would come at her with. Suddenly, there was a loud boom and the tree they were standing nearby began to fall. Sirius launched from behind to move them just in time.

“Thank you Hermione,” said Sirius with pure appreciation and honesty as he helped her off the ground. She knew she had done the right thing sending him a letter as well as Dumbledore. Harry dusted himself off and looked at the pair of them perplexed as Ron and Ginny approached.

“What do you mean-“ began Harry.

“I want you to gather your friends and get out of here,” He interrupted commandingly.

“No,” said Harry stubbornly.

“Go!”

“But Sirius-“Harry pleaded with his godfather.

“Harry, just take the others and get back up to the school!” he said running back to rejoin the fight. He was about to protest again but Ginny and Ron held him by the arms.

“Mate, let’s just do what he says,” said Ron without enthusiasm.

“Come on Harry. We have to make it back to the Shrieking Shack,” Hermione said heatedly.

“But-“

“He’s right Harry. We have to go,” Hermione pleaded feeling light headed from blood loss.

“We can’t continue to leave things to the ‘adults’ anymore. We ARE adults now,” he said sternly.

“For God’s sake Harry it’s not about that! Look around you,” she cried with exasperation. His eyes darted around the group. There were scratches, bruises and blood. Padma now lay conscious with Luna and Colin and Parvati dodged curses in order to drag her under cover to where Luna was. Dean was still fighting fiercely a hundred yards away unhelped and unnoticed by the Order members. Hermione, however, hid her leg and Harry did not see it. He finally sighed.

“Let’s go,” he said defeatedly. Although he wanted to fight, Harry would not continue to risk his friends’ safety. Sirius mouthed a thank you to Hermione before heading off the help Seamus. Harry rushed around and alerted the DA to retreat back to the Shrieking Shack. Ron helped Parvati and Colin with Padma and Luna. They managed to levitate them and move them out of range. The Death Eaters were too pre-occupied with the Order members stop the DA. Although two noticed they could not disengage from the battle to chase them without being gravely injured. Hermione lent on her good leg and watched as her class mates cleared the vicinity. Neville make a break for the Shrieking Shack from behind a tree and would nearly have been hit with a reducto if it had not been for Dean pushing him out of the way.

“Come on Hermione. Everyone else has left,” yelled Neville as she sprinted along with Dean.

“I know. I’m coming,” she yelled in reply. She had not made much ground as her leg was preventing her from running. The gashes stung but her adrenaline masked the pain. She could barely walk. As she quickly dragged her useless limb she began to feel faint. She would make it though. She could clearly see her destination and DA members disappearing inside. It was not far. A curse flew past her head and she picked up her pace putting weight on her leg. She nearly fell as her leg crumpled beneath the strain each time. She was still not out of range from the battle. Hermione flipped her head around to look behind her. 

Black spots appeared in her vision and each shape became a black mass. She fought to stay awake as something moved towards her. She tried to turn around and move but she was stuck in molasses. As she tried to lift her foot her head lolled back and her back arched as she fell backwards. She couldn’t see but she could here rushing in her ears as she prepared to hit the ground. But the impact didn’t come. Suspended but limp as a rag doll, the last thing she heard was the pop of apparition.

*****

As Hermione woke groggily she recognised her surroundings. It was afternoon and she was in the hospital wing. She must have slept through class. She bolted up but immediately regretted this noting the sharp pains in her wounded leg and that it was a Sunday.

“Good afternoon Hermione,” said Harry sitting on the end of her bed with Ron.

“Afternoon,” she replied softly. “Who brought me up?” she asked them both.

“Sirius,” Ron replied. “He caught you before you passed out and apparated-“

“You can’t apparate into the Hogwarts grounds,” she interrupted.

“Nothing wrong with you then,” said Harry smiling.

“As I was saying,” Ron rolled his eyes, “He apparated to the Shrieking Shack but he couldn’t leave you there so he carried you up to the hospital wing.”

“Why didn’t he just levitate me?” she asked.

“What do we look like? Sirius’s crisis thought pattern?” posed Ron. She smiled to cover her slight confusion of Sirius’s action.

“Shut up Ron,” she said jovially but holding her head at the same time.

“Hermione. Why didn’t you tell us about you leg?” asked Harry regarding the bandages with his eyes. “We could have helped you,” he said earnestly.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry. I guess I just personally didn’t want to be the one holding you back from fighting. I should have been quicker and not have been injured and too I feel almost a little... well,” she trailed off.

“Hermione you don’t need to be embarrassed by being injured. I thought you were smart,” said Ron.

“Why thank you Ronald,” she said sarcastically.

“He’s right though Hermione. Please don’t make me give you the ‘we don’t think any less of you, you’re just as strong as everyone else’ speech. I hate that speech,” Harry said.

“I’m not making anyone do anything,” she said defensively.

“Hey. I don’t want to start and argument. Anyway, how are you feeling?” asked Harry.

“Well I would like to say nothing hurt but my pride but my leg refuses to comply,” she said smiling. “And I feel light headed still.”

“Well Madam Pomfrey said you lost a lot of blood,” Ron informed her.

“I can tell,” she noted holding her head. “How is everyone else? How are you two?” she inquired.

“Well you probably suffered the worst of it, with you leg and all. Everything else was mostly minor. Ginny has a sprained wrist and Neville supposedly won’t wake up for another three days. He was hit with a curse that produces a sustained sort of narcolepsy but after that he should be fine,” said Harry.

“However, Mum had a fit. She’s really angry at me for not telling anyone about the letter. She said I’d put everyone in danger and if Ginny had died it would have been my fault,” he said glumly.

“She’s just angry Ron. She doesn’t actually mean it,” comforted Hermione.

“Yeah I know,” he assured.

“Well Sirius and Dumbledore are angry at you and I for not talking Ron out of the situation. I explained to them that Ron didn’t actually tell us about the letter when he received it,” Harry hit his mate on the arm at this point to which he retaliated by hitting him back. “Dumbledore was both angry and happy at the other DA members. He said he was angry that they put themselves in danger but happy that they had saved the lives of their friends. Apparently he didn’t think that the three of us could take on twelve Death Eaters,” said Harry shrugging. Hermione frowned slightly. She didn’t think Dumbledore would be angry at her, especially after she sent him the warning letter. She did try to talk Ron out of going off to fight by himself but he wouldn’t listen.

Upon seeing the look on her face, Harry continued. “Of course they were impressed with your integrity. Despite what your friends said you warned the order et cetera et cetera. Now stop frowning,” he said. However, her frown didn’t diminish. She was sure the boys would be angry with her for alerting Dumbledore and Sirius and not trusting them to be able to handle the situation without help.

“Are you angry about the letters?” she asked them both bluntly. In unison they both replied with ‘no’ but Hermione felt there was still some tension regardless. She stared at them both intensely as if to detect the slight hint of resentment. Harry sighed.

“Well I’m not angry at you. I knew you have taken some measure to ensure our safety but I don’t know Hermione. It feels like we can never do anything on our own. I mean we are all seventeen now. Legally we’re adults and the Order still never allows us to do anything let alone take on responsibility. And you sending the letter to Dumbledore. It’s like you agree with all of them, that we need their help in every endeavour. Don’t get me wrong, what you did yesterday saved us from serious problems but I still would like to think that we could have come out on top. I mean we did out number the Death Eaters. We even knocked a few unconscious,” said Harry resolutely. 

“Harry, I agree with you but think about it from the Order’s perspective. It’s that they think we can’t hold our own quite the opposite really. Everyone is always praising you for your ability and you know it. They just aren’t used to the fact we are grown up. I mean for you especially Ron. You have always been the baby boy of your family and for you to enter adulthood takes some adjusting for your parents. They want to protect us. All the Order have experienced their share of awful things and they want to protect the ‘children’ from dealing with the same things. Harry if Sirius ever lost you. Your all he has and Ron your parents would blame themselves forever if you were hurt or died. It’s because they think we aren’t capable. They don’t see us as adults and as an instinctive mechanism they try to protect us,” she explained. Although Hermione was sometimes frustrated by the Order, she did see their internal reasoning.

“Well thats all well and good but just because they can’t come to terms with our age it shouldn’t mean that we get left out and ignored. Even when we do get to help them out with something we always have to go in a big group and it’s not for anything exciting anyway,” said Ron angrily.

“Well think about it Ron. When the older Order members go out to do dangerous things, do they go alone? No they go in a group. That line of reasoning is completely foolish. Think! Have they ever decided to go and fight individually? No because there is strength in numbers. I thought that would have been obvious,” she chastised. Harry and Ron seemed to contemplate her words with care. This was an unusual thing. She hoped this once something she said actually sunk in.

“It will all change when we are out of school. Don’t worry about it,” she soothed. “Now let’s all take our minds off our trouble with some homework,” she suggested. Ron and Harry giggled which was unfortunate because she was serious. She informed them so which brought about a vast change in their expressions.

“Madam Pomfrey said we are not to bring you any homework. I’m quite serious,” said Ron.

“That’s no matter. I’ll just come up to the common room and we can do it there,” she said in reply.

“Well my first problem with that statement is that you are using the pro-noun ‘we’ implying that I will also be completing homework which I assure you is nothing short of a fallacy. Also, you would have to be discharged for you to come up to the common room with us,” Ron pointed out. Hermione rolled her eyes at him and began to scan the room for Madam Pomfrey. She was in her office. Hermione carefully lifted herself out of her bed. Sensing movement like a Hawk, Madam Pomfrey came out of her office and insisted Hermione get back into bed. She then promptly ushered Harry and Ron out of the infirmary for ‘exciting’ Hermione too much.

“Bring me some homework,” she yelled as they were nearly out the door.

“They will do no such thing! You suffered mass blood loss and need your rest,” she said sternly.

“Told you,” said Ron from the doorway. Hermione frowned. Madam Pomfrey promptly shut the door and then aggressively turned onto Hermione.

“Madam Pomfrey, I must protest,” said Hermione fearfully, most unlike her Gryffindor self. “I feel I should be able to do homework if not be discharged,”

“Miss Granger, you will not do homework and you will certainly not be discharged until I see fit,” she said finally moving to fiddle with bottles in a near by cupboard. “As it remains you have sustained substantial blood loss and need to remain here until I have administered the potion and it has taken affect.” She presented Hermione with a small glass of bubbling vermillion liquid and an even smaller glass of an icy cyan coloured draught. “Now drink this blood replenishing potion,” she said handing Hermione the vermillion glass which she skulled with distaste. “Okay to make it take affect more rapidly we’ll speed up the process with this,” she said handing Hermione the second glass which tasted like peppermint surprisingly.

“What was that last one?” asked Hermione.

“A sleeping draught,” said Madam Pomfrey closing the curtains around her bed.

“What!” yelled Hermione.

“The best way to replenish blood is through sleep. Sleep well Miss Granger,” she said closing the final curtain. Hermione wanted to argue but she was already feeling the affects of the potion. Her head fell back to her pillow as she fell into a dreamless slumber.

*****

When Hermione woke for the second time in her bed it was much later in the evening, probably early the next morning in fact. She stretched her arms slightly and snuggled into her pillow. Despite almost doubling her necessary sleep intake during the past two days, she still felt a little fatigued. She assumed this was a side effect of the blood potion. Feeling slightly parched, she rose to pour herself a glass of water from her bed side table. She yelped in fright, noticing for the first time someone sitting in a chair by her bed. They must have been asleep, as they woke with a start.

“What’s wrong? Hermione?” they asked. She immediately recognized the voice.

“Sirius, it’s so late. What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Oh,” he said lowering his defense, “well I came to ask you some questions but you were asleep and so I decided to wait until you woke and I guess I drifted off.”

“Well I’m awake now,” she said gulping down her water.

“It’s too late now. You’ll want to sleep more because you lost-“

“A lot of blood. I know,” she interrupted.

“Well you did,” he said.

“Anyway, presently that’s beside the point. I slept until the afternoon yesterday and then was forced back to sleep with a potion. I’ve had more sleep than a bear in winter so ask away. Unless you want to go to sleep,” she said far more sprightly than she felt.

“No, I don’t need sleep. I mean I’ve been waiting here to talk so no sleep can wait. But if you’re feeling tired then I can wait,” he reasoned.

“Well I’m fine if you’re fine,” she said jovially.

“Well I’m fine but also only if you’re fine,” he said in reply.

“I’m definitely fine,” she said finally.

“Well then I guess we both can talk,” he said resolutely.

“I guess so. What is it you want to talk or ask about?” she posed.

“I … I can’t really remember,” he chuckled. “I think I more wanted to thank you. I know you didn’t have much time before you went yesterday or two days ago. Whatever the bloody time is,” he said.

“It’s half past one,” she informed him.

“Okay so two days ago. Anyway I know you were rushed so It means a lot that you informed me as well as Dumbledore,” he said seriously.

“Well you ARE Harry’s godfather,” she said smiling knowing that he could not see it through their dark surroundings.

She knew it had meant a lot to him that she sent the letter. Harry was really all he had in the world. After he had come back from the veil, several weeks in St Mungo’s had alerted his presence the public. It was at this point that the Order struggled to find evidence to clear Sirius’s name or he would most certainly be sent back to Azkaban. The circumstances appeared grim. Dumbledore managed to keep him out of jail presently but it was by no means permanent. It was now that another miracle occurred. Or a miracle in disguise anyway. After a botched assassination attempt on Cornelius Fudge, Kingsley Shacklebolt obtained photographic evidence of Wormtail. 

Dumbledore argued with the minister here was no other plausible explanation for Pettigrew to still be alive and when Harry went to the media in favour of Dumbledore’s explanation, Sirius’s fate was sealed. All charges against him were dropped. Hermione had never seen Harry so happy. The Order threw a party which was most out of character. Sirius was happy finally to go outside freely after years of cabin fever. With all good, however, comes the bad. Although legally Sirius was cleared of all his charges there was still much public propaganda. He was ostracized. He could not walk down the street without meeting hostility and stares. In the eyes of the public he could never have a clean record. Through everything though, he had Harry. Finally they could be a real family.

“Yeah, I know,” he chuckled, “sometimes it doesn’t feel like it though. Why couldn’t he have told me himself what he was planning to do. He shouldn’t shut me out,”

“He’s not shutting you out,” she explained, “Harry is just feeling a little inferior and ‘in the dark’ so to speak,”

“What do you mean?” he asked inquisitively.

“Well, he’s seventeen. We’re all adults now and he doesn’t feel that it’s being acknowledged by the Order,” she told him.

Again he chuckled, “in some cases it’s hard to miss,” he said hoping she caught on to his implication. Sometimes Hermione was so strong, level-headed and responsible she surpassed him in terms of adult qualities. It was undeniable that she was now a young woman, but others didn’t necessarily appear the way she did. Hermione was very different from those around her. She resonated and exuded maturity far beyond her years. She was talented and very calculating. She always was able to way up the cost of a risk, a skill which can divide adults and teenagers.

She blushed slightly. “Well Harry feels as though the Order doesn’t feel he can handle fighting among other things,” she continued.

“He should know very well that’s not true,” he started defensively, “he’s handled more than half adult wizards-“

“He IS an adult now,” she pointed out and he fell silent.

“I don’t know. I guess it’s hard for me to consider him a fully fledged adult when it seems like he was a little baby in Lily’s arms just yesterday,” he said solemnly.

“That’s was my line of argument. Especially in Ron’s case, he’s the baby boy of the family. It’s hard for people to let go and understand their children are growing up. We don’t need protecting anymore,”

“Everyone needs protecting,” he reasoned.

“Yes but our generation no longer warrants that paternal and maternal protection we grew up with. Harry wants to become a full member of the Order and he still can’t. It’s no longer his age that prevents him so he sees it as an attack and criticism of his skill,”

“It’s not his magical ability that’s stopping him,” said Sirius.

“Then what is it?” she asked. He had no answer for this.

“It’s just he’s-“

“He’s not a baby anymore. You can’t protect him forever. One day he will go and face Voldemort alone and you can’t protect him then.” She let this image sink into his mind before adding, “and I must agree with Harry in some respects. The Order does leave us out of things. I mean you don’t have to take us with you on all your endeavours but don’t we at least have the right to be informed after all we’ve done in service,” she posed with a sharp element to her tone.

“Hang on a minute here Miss Hermione but it has always been my opinion that we tell you what’s going on. Even when you were fifteen I was in favour of keeping you all well informed,” although his words were stern there was a jocular element to his tone.

“Yes, Sirius. We all appreciate you in that respect,” she said thankfully. He sighed.

“I just wish Harry could tell me this himself,” he said sadly.

“In a way it’s his own personal form of pay back, not telling you. By not telling anyone how he feels he keeps you in the dark just as the Order gives him no information,” she suggested.

“That’s an odd way of looking at it but you’re probably right. I just wish things could be different,” he sighed again.

“Well… they aren’t,” she noted for lack of anything thing else to say.

“Thank you for that clever observation Hermione. Your wits never cease to amaze me!” he said in a forced and sarcastic tone. She giggled slightly.

“You know, you could get in a lot of trouble being here. You know well that Madam Pomfrey doesn’t allow after hours visitors,” she explained knowing her words to be futile when talking to one of the Maurauders.

“Yeah, but that’s half the fun,” he said with a devilish charm.

She rolled her eyes, knowing he couldn’t see. “You still haven’t changed. Well I guess you can take the man out of mischief but you can never take the mischief out of the man,” she chanted.

“Too right. I remember all those times I used to sneak in here to visit old Moony. You know after that time of the month,” he said intentionally. She giggled in response.

“I’m sure he was glad you referred to his condition with such feminine implications,” she said imagining Professor Lupin’s reaction.

“Moony. He loved it. He loved any sort of innuendo but of course such things are not made for feminine ears,” he said to her seriously.

“Why, I can’t imagine you boys being that vulgar,” she exclaimed.

“No, but you are that innocent,” he said with a tone of finality. She giggled which caused him to question. “Is that laugh implying the otherwise?” he asked jovially.

“It would depend on what you call innocent. In a way I guess I am still naïve but I’m seventeen. I think this is where our conversation began, is it not? I’m seventeen, I’m legally an adult,” she pointed out.

“I know Hermione. I know. Anyway considering we have made a full circle, I think I should let you sleep again,” he said rising.

“I hope I could help you understand where Harry is coming from,” she said lying back in her bed.

“Yes, you did. Sorry to keep you up. Night,” and with that he ducked out of the curtains surrounding her bed. She prayed he wasn’t caught by Madam Pomfrey. She would put a certain implication on a simple chat she had with her best friend’s godfather.

*****

Hermione lay in her bed happily contemplating the events of the previous evening. She was surprised that Sirius had sought her out and formally thanked her for such a small act. She was flattered that it meant so much to him and she smiled silently to herself noting that it warranted a chat at such an hour.

To say she had always been close with Sirius would be lie. She had never felt a strong connection between the pair of them. She was sure this was relevant to her previous feelings that he was somewhat reckless and immature. He still was. She would never see him as a stable paternal figure as she perceived Professor Lupin perhaps but with respect to past circumstance she couldn’t expect much more. Sirius’s youth had been wasted in service of the war against you-know-who. 

Much like Harry’s parents, he never had the chance to really live. Even after he escaped from Azkaban, he remained cooped up and hidden and never really able to spread his wings so to speak. It was for this reason that Hermione could identify with his, at times, teenage behaviour. Although Harry saw him as close to a father, Hermione would always identify him as more of an ‘older brother’ figure. He was caring and responsible but he still had a wild side that he was not able to explore as a young teenager.

After he returned from the Ministry of Magic alive, Hermione found herself warming to him more so. Not that she was ever cold towards him. When his name was cleared he seemed to have more of a lust for life and she first began to appreciate the gravity of his past years. After school years of being on top of the world, good looks, great friends and plenty of girls (or so she had heard) he went to being a social out cast locked away without trial. He had never had the chance to intrinsically grow amongst society, develop close bond and find someone to grow old with. After his escape, these prospects still appeared grim due to his still tarnished name and the hope he had for his own future was clearly shown on his face daily. Now he was always somewhat more jovial, he had a future that didn’t consist of running from the law. Although he would never be fully accepted back by society he was finally granted a degree of emancipation. His new attitude was contagious and Hermione felt herself enjoying his company.

Harry would be moving in with him soon. He had spent his last summer with the Dursleys and was now free to live with whom he wished. Sirius asked Harry if he would like to go somewhere other than Grimmauld Place, as it was still Head-Quarters to the Order. They could get an apartment or something. Harry wouldn’t hear of it, Grimmauld Place held so many memories, not necessarily all good, and Harry wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. It was always full of people and action, a very exciting place for two men, who had always been rather lonely, to live. Harry was supposed to have moved in over Christmas but due to some hyper activity from the Order circumstances were made slightly more difficult. Also, Harry thought it may be wise to give Sirius some space over the holiday season. No doubt he wanted a little time to himself.

Of course, Ron, Hermione and Harry had visited him for a couple of days which is when Harry took the opportunity to transport his things. They took the opportunity to stay up late and reminisce over the past. Sirius recalled wild stories of the Marauders and the trio attempted to counter each with one of their own. Although trouble seemed to find Harry, Ron and Hermione during their time at Hogwarts, it indeed appeared the Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs were not short of adventures either. It appeared, however, that the Marauders had a few more female conquests much to the distaste of Lily who apparently tried unsuccessfully to keep the boys in line. Sirius noted that this did by no means imply she did not possess a wild streak like the rest of her friends, a streak which James had to coerce out of her of course. Sirius even went proudly into the details of a few of his conquests. 

They three of them laughed as he told them that sometimes when girls want to go late into the room of requirement for coffee it really is just for coffee. He kept his stories fairly chaste for the sake of young minds but Hermione felt that had she not been present he would have delved maybe into slightly more detail. He knew he was quite the ‘playboy’ while at school, and even afterwards, but she understood that even after all these years he still was not the one to kiss and tell especially in front of ‘feminine ears’. She was surprised at how much he did get away with concerning women but she only had to see him flash his mischievous smile to how he managed to do it. He really was quite the charmer.

Hermione decided to take a stroll around the hospital. She had barely been out of bed for two days. She pushed back the sheet and swung her legs over the bed to rest of the floor. As she stood up she felt light headed, no doubt she had low blood pressure from her lack of movement. She took slow steps around the perimeter, her leg was still aching. She knew using magic healed wounds with impeccable speed so she understood that the cuts in her leg must have been deep. It wasn’t as painful as the first day but every time she put pressure on her wounded thigh is stung severely. Her light headedness still hadn’t faded but she was determined. Maybe she needed a glass of water. As the room began to spin she felt as though she may be sick of mouth. She resided herself to the fact that her walking should now cease and began to stumble back over to her bed.

“Whoa,” she heard as strong arms reached out to catch and steady her. It was Sirius. He took her arm and led her back to her bed and was closely followed by Dumbledore.

“I’m feeling a little light headed,” she commented to both he seniors attempting to excuse her clumsiness.
“No doubt,” said Sirius vindicating her.

“Miss Granger I have something rather important to discuss with you,” Dumbledore said seriously while still maintaining the sparkle in his eyes. It was this way she knew it was nothing grave and it comforted her.

“Yes Professor?” she beckoned.

“After the rash events of the last few days, things must be put in perspective. Mr Weasley is presently at the top of the Death Eater’s ‘head hunt list’ so to speak. Voldemort’s followers are none to happy with any other member of the party that arrived to save Miss Weasley. I doubt any of the party knew the full consequences of their actions and I assume that certain misdecisions were made only in the hope of a greater good. I am yet to chastise any member of the rescue for their rashness as I believe knowledge of the possible repercussions for themselves would not have changed their decision to help save Miss Weasley,” Dumbledore noted this last point with a smile, one which was returned by Hermione. She knew all her friends, despite their faults, were all brave and selfless and was warmed by this acknowledgement from the headmaster.

“While I feel all of my students shall be safe inside the Hogwarts walls, I have sent word to each of their families asking permission to set up wards outside their places of residence. Miss Granger this does not apply to you as your parents are already in hiding,” she noted this with a nod, “Now I think it is time for me to make my point known. As I have said, I have confidence that my students are safe within the walls of Hogwarts, however, I would feel substantially more secure if you along with Miss Weasley, Mr Weasley and Mr Potter would hidden and neutral residence for a little while,” Dumbledore explained to her. She opened her mouth to protest but Sirius interrupted having predicted her response.

“Hermione we can have your class work sent to you. It is the Headmasters wish that you remain hidden for a few days until the issues at hand subsides. Harry and Ron are now known targets and because of your and Ginny’s close bonds to them we feel it would be wise if you were removed from Hogwarts as well,” said Sirius seriously.

“Have you told the others?” she asked openly.

“Yes, your friends have been informed,” the Headmaster continued, “and they are willing to comply. Not to burden your mind further, but it is far less likely there will be an attack on the school if the four of you are not present. It’s not to say that you are the only targets for the Death Eaters but I feel Miss Granger that you too can see the safety advantages in this course of action.” Once again she nodded in agreement.

“Mr and Miss Weasley will be heading back to the Burrow. I understand that the Weasley family already has substantial wards and Mrs Weasley asked the elder Weasleys, Bill and Charlie, to remain as added protection until the delicacy of the current situation subsides,” he told her.

“One query Professor,” she said.

“Of course Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said encouragingly.

“As you said before, My parents are in hiding. I can’t go back to them until the end of the year when they come for me at the station,” she explained.

“Mr Black explained to me earlier that of course you are welcome with he and Harry,” Dumbledore informed her.

“Hermione, I didn’t even think the issue would come up,” he said chuckling. “I just assumed you would come to Grimmauld Place.” She sent him a smile which he returned.
“Okay then,” she said in agreement but without enthusiasm. She did not want to jeopardize her studies.

Dumbledore clapped his hands together, “Well then, there are a few other things I would like to say,” he informed her. Hermione mentally shuddered, no doubt he had spoken to the other members of Ginny’s rescue party and it was now her turn to have house points removed.

“I hope you understand what a lapse in judgment Mr Weasley has made. Had he come forth with the letter earlier, yes he would have remained a strong target for the Death Eaters but he may have prevent others from being further entangled in this fight. I understand from Mr Potter and Mr Weasley that you did attempt to coerce them into seeking help and not attempting such a feat themselves and hence I will not chastise you on that point. I could, however, poignantly stress that it was a great disservice to yourself to accompany them into the fight but this would be rather redundant as I know that given the choice once more you would never dessert your friends in a time of need,” he noted his last point with a very warm smile making his disciplining feel much more like a compliment.

“I do hope that you will, along with your peers, comprehend the seriousness of your action. They have all had house points removed. Miss Granger, I will not remove house points from you as an acknowledgment of your integrity. Had you not sent Mr Black and me the letters you did, I’m afraid it would have meant dire consequence for your friends. For this, I will not punish you beyond this conversation. Please, however, remember this incident with delicacy. Should events repeat themselves, as the often do, I hope the decisions that both you and your peer make will be different,” with that Dumbledore bid her good day. Hermione felt slightly elated inside. Although it was standard procedure for Hermione to be reprimanded by the Headmaster after the previous incidents, she could not help but feeling he was really trying to absolve her of any apparent wrong doings rather than deal out punishments. She looked over to Sirius.

“Madam Pomfrey will formally discharge you in an hour or so,” he laughed at this, “and she wasn’t pleased at all when Dumbledore ordered her to.”

“Are we leaving that quickly?” she asked a little hesitant.

“Harry is already packed. Is that a problem for you?” he asked concerned.

“No… I just thought… It’s not a problem. Beside we wont be gone for long,” she assured, herself more than him.

“Yeah. Less than a month Dumbledore said. Anyway you should get packing,” he told her.

“I guess so. I have to get changed out of these pajamas first. I can’t walk up to my dorm like this,” she said hinting for him to leave. He didn’t. She stared him down and eventually he cried ‘oh’ and backed out of her bed area. She closed the curtains and donned her jeans and t-shirt, somewhat wobbly.

He was waiting for her when she tore open the curtains. They strode out of the hospital wing and he again offered his arm to her seeing her difficulty with walking. She muttered the password to the fat lady and they both climbed into the Gryffindor common room.

“Hasn’t changed a bit,” Sirius noticed. She smiled. “I’ll wait down here for you,” he said to her. She let go of his arm and faintly ascended the stairs to her dorm. Everything was empty as classes were currently running. No one in sight. Noticing the trouble she was having navigating the stairs Sirius offered to help her up and to pack. Hermione thought to herself, was it prudent to have Sirius in her dorm? In situations such as these she always asked herself, what would Professor McGonagall do? As she was not present to ask for advice she numbly nodded to him. As he approached the stairs she remembered the charm placed on them.
“Oh I forgot. The stairs are charmed not to allow boys up,” she said.

“I’m well aware,” he said charming himself so he glided up the staircase without actually touching the rendered brick. He threw her a chaste smile.

“I should have guessed. I didn’t realize you were such a regular visitor of the girl’s dorms,” she giggled again holding onto his arm. When they reached the top of the stairs, he immediately strode to her area of the dorm.

“How did you know which bed was mine?” she questioned.

“Well the other areas had a recognizable mess Miss ‘ordered and cleanly’,” she blushed and began charming things to fold in her trunk. As she moved book after book into the limited space Sirius commented that she would have room for clothing. She identified to him that long ago she had discovered her love of books severely limited her packing of anything else important. Hence she had charmed her trunk to be a lot larger than it let on. As Sirius moved to carry it for her, he noted with distaste that it was no less heavy. He resorted to levitating it.

Class had ended and Harry, Ron and Ginny were waiting, along with Harry’s trunk, near the Headmaster’s office for Hermione and Sirius to arrive. It was the first time Hermione had seen Ginny since she was taken by the Death Eaters. It had been a Hogsmead weekend and Ginny had planned to go with a boy so no one was really surprised when she was missing until Ron discovered the note. Hermione hugged her tightly and promised to write. She would miss the fiery red head although they would only be separated shortly. Ron reached down and enveloped her in a firm embrace. She would miss him greatly too. She assured him that she would save all her disagreeing energy until they were back at school and he laughed. 

Harry took the opportunity to hug Ginny while Ron was not paying attention which was a very wise decision considering the unplatonic implications of such an embrace. Hermione giggled when it was the boys’ time to say goodbye. They clapped each other on the back in a very manly one armed hug. Ginny also found this amusing. This case of male affection always resulted in the man who hit the other less hard to be slightly put off as though the ‘hug’ were a display of alpha male strength. Men were funny. She watched Sirius attempt the same movement with Ron again causing the girls to giggle. Ginny gave Sirius a chaste hug before the trio ascended the stairs to the office above. Dumbledore was not present but the door was open and the floo powder left out.

“Alright Harry first, then you Hermione. I’ll follow with your hernia inducing sack of lead… I mean trunk,” Hermione rolled her eyes as Harry took a hand full of powder.

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