As the night drew on, the dormitory got steadily darker and emptier. The full moon shone brightly through the windows, confirming Hermione’s suspicions. Somewhere out on the grounds, a werewolf, a dog, a stag and a rat were prowling. Hermione sighed reminiscently, thinking about the night that she, Harry and Ron had saved Sirius in third year. Her thoughts were interrupted by Lily’s tired voice. “What’re you thinking ‘bout?” she asked, barely stifling a yawn. Hermione gave a little half smile. “Nothing, really. It’s a beautiful night.” She said tiredly. Lily nodded and yawned again. “Is there any particular reason why we’re still up?” she asked, glancing around at the almost empty common room. Hermione glanced down at the watch on her left wrist. 12:02. “Dunno. I guess we could go to bed…” she said softly. She looked out the window again, wondering how long the boys would be gone. Lily frowned at her. “What do you keep looking at?” she asked curiously, following Hermione’s gaze out the window. “There’s nothing there!” “Nothing, nothing…” Hermione said dismissively. Lily sighed and shook her head. “Well, you can have fun gazing at nothing, I’m going to bed.” She said definitively. With that, Lily stood up and, grabbing her books, she headed up the stairs to her common room. Hermione got up too, but instead of following Lily, she went over to stand by the window. Her gaze roved over the grounds, searching for a sign of movement. Her eyes found nothing, so she sat back down on the couch. The fire was nothing more than hot coals by now, and she was soon the only person left in the common room. She glanced at her watch again. 12:59. Hermione sighed, and snuggled back into the cushions. She’d never realized just how comfy that couch was… Several hours lately, three disheveled figures pulled off an invisibility cloak in the middle of Gryffindor Common Room. They laughed and joked together in whispers, adrenaline still pumping through their veins. They headed off to the boy’s staircase, but on the bottom step, one figure paused, looking behind him at one of the couches. “You guys go ahead, I’ll be right up,” whispered Sirius. Peter and James nodded and continued their gleeful walk up the staircase. Sirius walked softly over to a couch in front of the long dead fire where the sleeping form of Hermione lay. He smiled softly at the sight of her. He knelt down next to her head and gently shook her shoulders to wake her. “Hermione…” he whispered. She frowned in her sleep, stretched and then opened her eyes blearily. “Wh-what? Who’s…oh, Sirius!” she said, sitting up when she saw who it was. He grinned at her. “What are you doing out here so late?” he asked her, still grinning. She smiled ruefully back at him. “I could ask you the same thing!” she said pointedly. He rolled his eyes. “Alright. Be that way. DON’T tell me!” he said, pretending to sulk. Hermione laughed. Sirius was surprised how much he loved hearing that. “What time is it?” he asked her. She checked her watch quickly. “4:15…wow, I’ve been asleep down here for ages!” she marveled. “Well, that’s a damn comfortable couch, you know. I myself have fallen asleep there numerous charms in the pretense of doing my potions homework.” Sirius said, and felt a jolt of happiness somewhere in his stomach when Hermione laughed again. “Well…” began Hermione, but she let her sentence trail off when she realized she didn’t have anything to say. She was beginning to feel uncomfortable under Sirius’ dark gaze. Her stomach was knotting most annoyingly. Hermione determinedly looked anywhere but at him. “I should go to bed,” she said finally, overly loudly. Sirius blinked, and stood up. “Of course. I should too. Though, I suppose it wouldn’t be my first all nighter…” he said, looking at Hermione for a reaction. She was still staring deliberately at the fireplace. “Well…’night, Hermione,” he said awkwardly. She finally looked at him. “’Night.” She said quietly, lost in his mysterious eyes. He turned and walked softly up the staircase to his dormitory. Soon after, Hermione followed suit, and as she was getting in to bed she couldn’t quite get certain dark haired boy out of her head. ** Weeks passed like seconds, and very soon Hermione found herself in her second month back in time. It was now February, and with Valentines Day fast approaching, the talk of the girls was dates. It was on a particularly gloomy morning that Hermione found Lily sitting on her bed with a mournful expression on her face, contemplating just that. “Lily! Why the ominous visage?” Hermione said jokingly. Lily just looked up at her despairingly. “I don’t have a date yet to go to Hogsmeade with. It’s awful. I’m going to end up the only girl without one.” She said gloomily. Hermione was startled. “Lily, don’t be silly! I haven’t got a date yet, either, you know!” she said comfortingly. “Yes, but you’ll have no trouble getting one! You have such a way with the boys! You have no trouble talking to them at all. I just go all weird and silent around them.” She said miserably. Hermione stifled a smile. “It’s not that I’m better than you or anything, Lily! I just grew up with boys, so I’m comfortable around them. My two best friends in the world are boys,” she said consolingly. But as she mentioned them, she felt a pang in the region of her heart. Harry and Ron…it had been a month since she’d seen them, but only a minute for them since they’d seen her. She imagined they were yelling at Malfoy by now, blaming it all on him. Hermione hadn’t realized how much she missed them… “Well, be that as it may, I’m still never going to get a date,” she said gloomily. Hermione frowned. “Since when did you care? I mean, I’m not trying to be nasty here, but you’ve always come across as the “I don’t need a guy to be happy” type,” Hermione pointed out. Lily bit her lip. “I know I have. But lately…” she paused, and took a breath. “Well, lately, I’ve sort of been falling for James.” She said quickly. Hermione’s face broke into a grin. “I knew it!” she said happily. Lily smiled reluctantly too, but her face quickly molded back into a depressed frown. “But he doesn’t like me anymore! He’s stopped asking me out constantly! He’s probably found someone else…” she moaned. Hermione had never been good at consoling girls, but she tried her best in Lily’s case. “Look, Lily, just ask him! I don’t think he’s stopped liking you at all!” she said reassuringly. Lily looked up hopefully. “Do you really think so?” she asked. Hermione smiled. “Definitely. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I promised I’d meet Remus and Sirius downstairs; they need help with their Potions.” She said, and left the dormitory quickly. She had been feeling a bit uncomfortable with the miserable girl. Hermione had never been in a situation where she had to console a girl about her guy problems before. Downstairs, she found Sirius and Remus sitting at a table waiting for her. They handed her their essays, ready to be checked over. Then, the two of them proceeded to sit and joke while she slaved over Remus’ Potions essay first. “You know you COULD help me!” she snapped angrily when Remus told her to hurry up. “Oh no, but that would defeat the purpose!” said Remus as he leaned back in his seat, clearly very comfortable. “It’s a full moon tonight, Remus! Isn’t that great? I love full moons, don’t you?” she shot back, keeping her voice casual. Sirius didn’t appear to have noticed the implication, but Remus sat up quickly, looking at Hermione doubtfully. “Here’s your essay back, Remus!” she said sweetly, handing the paper back to him. Leaving Remus looking a bit concerned, she turned to Sirius and his essay. But as she read it over, she looked up at him suspiciously, one eyebrow raised. He looked at her innocently. “Sirius…there isn’t a single mistake here.” She said pointedly. He feigned surprise. “Really? Well, I’ll be damned…”he said, the corners of his mouth twitching. Hermione rolled her eyes and handed his paper back to him. “Honestly Sirius, you don’t need to fake stupidness to join our study group. All you had to do was ask!” she said laughingly. He gave her his trademark cheeky grin. At this moment, James walked in, wearing his Quidditch robes and covered from head to toe in mud. Hermione looked at him incredulously. “Good lord, James! Haven’t you heard of showers?” she asked mockingly. He gave her a derisive look. “It’s great to see you too, Hermione!”
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