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A/N - Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  My editing hero, Mischief_managed18. You are the bestest!!! <3


The morning seemed to arrive mere seconds after Hermione closed her eyes. She was nowhere near rested enough, but she wanted to get her letter to Dumbledore as quickly as possible. Hermione dragged herself out of bed, showered quickly, grabbed her letter and threw on her cloak. It was just after sunrise by the time she was making her way to the common room, a time no one should be awake at, so she would not have to answer any awkward questions. When she came down the stairs, she realized she may have just jinxed herself with that thought. Sitting on her favorite arm chair by the fire was a, wide awake, Sirius. He looked towards the noise and his face was full of surprise as he saw Hermione. Oh for the love of… 

"Good morning, gorgeous. Where are you going so early?" he asked her.

"Good morning.” She tried sounding cheerful. “I had to send a letter actually. I wanted to get it sent out before breakfast." she answered truthfully.

"How do you know where to go?"  He cocked an eyebrow; looking at her a little suspiciously.

"Oh. I- Well… I don't really" she lied. "I thought I would explore and find it myself, which is why I'm leaving so early." There, that sounds believable. I mean, it is the crack of dawn. He’ll totally believe me.

"You don't have to wander aimlessly looking. I'll show you where you need to go, love," he said, looking excited about the prospect of time alone with her.

Of course you will… I really tell him ‘no thank you,’ but I have a feeling he will not take no for an answer. After debating whether she should turn him down, she eventually decided that it would look much better if she agreed. Well. I’m not supposed to know where I’m going, am I? I suppose there is no harm in Sirius accompanying me.

"Thank you, Sirius. I would appreciate that very much," she said, forcing a small smile.

Sirius made a face that made it appear as if Christmas had come early. Oh brother… Hermione rolled her eyes and walked across the common room to climb through the portrait hole. 

When she and Sirius reached the bottom of the stairs, Hermione turned the wrong way on purpose. Sirius grabbed her arm – which sent an electric shock right through her -  and pulled her in the right direction. Why is he affecting me this way? I knew him. Why does it feel so different now? With her heart pounding, they began their walk through the castle before walking out the front doors and over to the Owlery.

They walked together in an uncomfortable silence.  The tension that was forming between them was almost tangible. Hermione couldn’t deal with it any longer.

"So what are you doing up so early, Sirius?" she asked him, realizing he’d asked her and yet didn’t mention why he was up.

"Couldn't sleep. Gave up and decided to sit in the common room, I didn't want to wake the rest of the guys up," he told her with a shrug.

"I'm sorry. Is there something the matter?" she pressed.

She realized after asking him that may have been a little too personal. Come on, Hermione. You’ve only known him for two days at this point. He didn't reply and instead just looked ahead moodily.

"I'm sorry, that was rather forward, wasn't it?" she ask, feeling embarrassed.

"No. No. It's alright, I'm not offended. I just didn't know how to answer..." His eyes burned into hers, as if trying to silently communicate something to her.

Uh oh.
She thought, feeling rather uncomfortable. "It's ok, Sirius. You don't have to talk about it. I'll mind my own business." And I really don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it.

"Hermione?" he asked quietly.

She was beginning to think she should have declined his offer. She didn't like where she thought this was going. Keep it together, Granger. Breathe.

"Yes?" she responded, her voice tiny.

Sirius cleared his throat. "The first Hogsmeade weekend is on the third Saturday of October," he said, but didn't continue.

"Oh. That's... nice?" she knew what he was trying to do, and she wasn't helping him get there. She figured that she would just play dumb. Maybe he'd chicken out and not ask her.

"Do you want be my date for it?" he blurted out.

So much for hoping.
She thought sarcastically.

They had stopped walking and she turned to look him in the eye. "Sirius-" she started.

"Wait, Hermione. Before you turn me down, because I can tell by the tone of your voice you are about to, just hear me out," he pleaded.

"Okay," she said cautiously.

"Look, it doesn't have to be a date, date. It can just be as friends for now. If it turns into more than that, great. But for now, we'll just say 'as friends'. Does that work for you?" he asked, still looking incredibly hopeful.

She thought there really couldn't be much harm in going as friends, even though she knew that was clearly not his intentions.

"Well... I- I guess that would be fine,” she reluctantly agreed. This is stupid. This is very, very stupid. You shouldn’t be encouraging him.

Sirius broke out in a huge smile. "Great! It's a date!" he said cheerfully.

"Sirius Black! You just said it wasn't a date!" she reminded him, angrily.

"That was before I got you to say yes. Now you can't take it back!" he smirked at her.

"You- You... I- I don't even know what to say. You're unbelievable, you are!" she shouted before she started walking away briskly.

"Hey! Hey! Wait! Come on, Hermione. So we're going on a date? What's the big deal? You only live once, right? Might as well enjoy it," he said to her.

Well in your case, Sirius. You may be able to get a chance to live more than once.
She thought. "Fine. Fine! You're right. So we're going on a date. Yay..." she gave in, quite unenthusiastically.

"That's the spirit! I told you I'd get you to say yes to me," he finished smugly.

Sirius was quite lucky he had good reflexes, he just barely missed a smack to the side of his head by millimeters.

An hour later Sirius and Hermione walked into the Great Hall together to much surprise. As for Lily, James, Lupin and Peter they had a sneaky suspicion they may have been together the moment they found them both missing.  Her new friends knew nothing had happened between them, but some of the other girls in school were a different story. 

Hermione, in all of her life, could not remember getting looks like that from anyone due to a boy. She made eye contact with a pretty brunette in Ravenclaw who was shooting daggers at her. Hermione, who thought the whole thing was rather amusing, burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?" James asked as Sirius and Hermione sat at the table with their friends.

"Girls,” she simply replied. She loaded up her plate with eggs and bacon while explaining further. “You should see the looks I'm getting from half of them. All because I walked in with you," she finished by poking Sirius in the ribs, which caused him to jump.

Sirius shrugged. "I told you babe, I'm a hot item. I didn't introduce myself as the famous Sirius Black for nothing," he said, as cocky as can be.

Hermione shared a look with Lily, whose eyebrows were meeting her hairline. The girls laughed so hard they felt as if their stomachs would split.

"Oh har har. So funny girls. Just wait until you start seeing your competition lining up, Hermione. You'll be begging me to turn them down and only have you. You could beg me now if you'd like. I just might consider," he said, putting his arm around her and pulling her close.

"Wow… Just- Just wow. You honestly think I would become jealous? I guess it's true what they say about the pretty ones, they're not too bright," she told him while squirming away from him.

James, Lily, Lupin and Peter laughed so hard, milk ended up coming out of Peter’s nose.

"You'll see, Hermione. I know you're already in love with me.” Hermione stood up, she was beginning to become quite irritated with his persistence and needed to get away. “You just don't know it yourself yet," he shouted after her as she quickly walked away from the table. Besides, I need my books from my room. She justified.  

"Of all the crazy, asinine, ridiculous- ugh! In love with him, indeed. Never in my life- The nerve of- Where does he get off?" Hermione was muttering to herself the whole way to the portrait hole.

"Hey. When you're finished talking to yourself, let me know so I can join in, ok?" Lily said from behind her. Hermione jumped violently, she hadn’t hear her approach at all.

"It seems like a certain someone has gotten under your skin," she said sing-song like.

"Him!? N-No! Not at all. He is the most intolerable, insufferable, big-headed, conceited, annoying-" she rambled until Lily cut her off.

"So why did you agree to go on a date with him then?" Lily asked.

I’ll kill him, myself. I swear on Merlin’s wand, I will. Hermione's mouth opened with a slight pop. "He told you? Already? It's not a date!” she nearly shrieked. “He tricked me. He asked me to go with him as friends and as soon as I told him 'yes', he starting calling it a date! He's insufferable," she shouted.

"Yes, I know. So you've said. You know, Hermione. It seems like you're resisting mighty hard. Why is that?" Lily asked wisely.

"Yeah? Say yes to James yet?" she demanded. She was becoming angrier by the second.

"Hey now. Don't take it out on me! All I'm saying is, for someone who claims to dislike him as much as you do, you certainly let him get to you enough. Is there someone at your old home still?" she asked.

Hermione gave the password and the girls climbed through the portrait hole. She thought of just ignoring Lily as they both walked up to the dormitory, but she changed her mind. I shouldn’t be taking this out on Lily. She’s been nothing but kind to me.

Hermione sighed; her shoulders fell. "No. It's nothing like that. It's just complicated," she admitted.

"You do like him though, don't you?" Lily pressed.

Hermione thought about it for a moment, exhaled loudly and finally admitted, "I might..." Even though you shouldn’t. You’re not meant to be with him, Hermione. You’re not meant to be here, period. This isn’t right, her conscience screamed at her.   

"Then what's the problem?" she asked kindly.

"I don't belong here, Lily! I can't do this!" she exclaimed and ran out of the dormitory, through the common room and out of the portrait hole to the nearest bathroom. She locked herself in a stall and cried all through her first Ancient Ruins class. This was all beginning to feel a whole lot like her real first year at Hogwarts.

Hermione came out after a while, avoided the whole lot of them and attended the rest of her classes. She found seats away from all of them for the rest of the afternoon, ignored their many attempts to gather her attention, did not go to lunch, and returned to her room after her last class intending to skip dinner as well.

Now that she had admitted it, not only to herself, but to Lily as well, she was a complete mess. It was one thing to feel as if she maybe had something for Sirius, but a completely different thing to say it out loud. She could not think of a time that anyone had made her feel anything like this. Not so quickly, at least. Never was she one to believe in love at first sight and she still wasn’t. It wasn’t love, but there was definitely something between them, which frightened her horribly. She placed a charm on her curtains so they would not open and immediately began to cry again. I’m from the future! I knew him as grown man, which he will be when I go back – if he survives. This shouldn’t be happening! I’m only supposed to save these people, not form relationships with them. Certainly not a romantic relationship. Get yourself together, Granger!  

Lily, of course, was completely worried about Hermione. She searched everywhere for her before she found her in bed with the curtains drawn. Not knowing what else to do, she attempted to open them but they would not budge.

"Hermione?" she asked softly. Lily received no reply, save for a sniffle. "Hermione, you know you can talk to me, right? Please- I- what's wrong? What did you mean you don't belong here?" she asked her, her voice gentle.

Hermione took a deep breath and gave in. She opened the curtains from around her bed, "I- I j-just m-mean that... I-I'm not f-f-from here originally. T-That I'm n-new," she hiccupped.

"Oh honey, you mean you feel like you don't belong? That's not true. Listen to me, okay. We all like you very much. You fit in with us instantly. That doesn’t happen often, honestly. You really do belong with us," she leaned over to give Hermione a hug.

Hearing Lily tell her that she belongs with them brought on a whole new round of hysteria, which honestly frightened Lily slightly. Lily didn't know what to do for the poor girl that sat before her, who was clearly having a hard time adjusting to her new school and new life.

"Shhh. Shhh. It'll be alright, Hermione," she tried to sooth Hermione as best she could. "Come on, get up. I'll have the boys bring some food up to the common room and we can all eat here. I know that the guys are worried about you too. Come on honey, up you go," Lily said while physically trying to pull Hermione off the bed.

Hermione stood up, pulled herself together and began to feel rather embarrassed of herself. "I'm s-sorry Lily. I don't know where that all came from," she sniffled. “I’m usually not this hysterical.”

Today was her third day in the year 1977. She had made it through her first two days alright. Today however, it seemed the reality of when and where she was, and who she was with, came crashing down. Today she was not the brightest witch of her age, as she was so often told. She was a scared and overwhelmed eighteen year old kid. She needed this breakdown like she needed air. It helped clear her head and she was beginning to feel a little better already.

"Are you alright now, honey?" Lily asked her.

"Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I'm so sorry about that, again," she answered.

"Please don't apologize. I'm surprised you've held it together as long as you did, considering what you've been through recently. It would be enough to make anyone break down," she told her with a smile.

You have no idea. Hermione thought. "I'm going to wash up and clean my face quickly. I'll meet you downstairs?" she said, returning Lily’s smile.

"Sure. I'll go grab the boys and have them bring up some food!" When Lily reached the door, she looked back and asked, "You're sure you're ok? I feel terrible leaving."  

"No really, I've got it together now. I'm fine. Thank you Lily," she said, smiling at her once again. Lily gave her a fleeting smile in return and headed out the door. 

While Hermione was in the bathroom, she gave herself a little pep-talk. Alright, Hermione. You really need to pull yourself together. For Merlin’s sake, you’ve broken into Gringotts and the Ministry! You were almost killed more times than you can count. You can handle this. She took a deep breath and splashed some water on her face.  

Hermione was back in the common room 20 minutes later to find it full of laughter and food.

"There she is!" Sirius exclaimed. He jumped up and darted across the room. He pulled her in for a bone crushing hug upon reaching her which – as much as it bothered her – made her knees go weak. "Hermione, I'm sorry. I feel like everything was entirely my fault. I'll take it easy with you from now on, I promise," he said and she was surprised by her sincerity.  

Even thought it was partly his fault, she hated him feeling that way. "No Sirius, really. It wasn't you. I guess it was just everything piled up and it all got to me today… finally. You know, moving, switching schools, my family, missing old friends and all of that. It was nothing you said or did," she, somewhat, lied to him.

"I'm sorry. I keep forgetting how hard this must all be for you. Still, I'll calm down a bit. I don't want to make it harder for you," he said while looking directly into her eyes.

His eyes were so beautiful, she felt as if she could lose herself in them forever. They didn't have the hallowed and deadened look in them that she had come to know. He was still young and carefree and untainted from that awful prison. They must have stood there holding one another's gazes for quite some time because one of the boys cleared their throats loudly.

"Sooo… are we going to eat tonight? Or are we saving this all for breakfast?" James asked them, looking rather amused.

"What?" Sirius said, still locked onto her light brown eyes.

"Oi! Padfoot! Food!" James yelled.

The volume of his voice seemed to snap Hermione out of her trance. She jumped and said, "Oh lovely, I'm starving!"  She walked to the couches and armchairs in front of the fire and began filling her plate with food. What in the name of Merlin’s magical pants was that?! Something had happened between them at that moment. She had butterflies in her stomach and her mouth had gone dry. It was then that she realized, while everyone else was eating and joking around, she was really falling for Sirius. Oh no! She thought desperately. 

After dinner was over, the group stayed lounging around the fire. James sat in one of the armchairs while Lily sat on the floor in front of him; resting her head against his knees. Lupin sat in the other armchair, reading a book. Peter was lying on his stomach on the floor, looking through his chocolate frog cards. Sirius and Hermione were on the couch, his arm around her shoulders while she rested her head on his shoulder; feeling very at home there. Around eight that evening he leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Come on a walk with me?"

Her whole body tensed up. She knew, with every bit of her, that it was a terrible idea. Yet there was some part of her that wanted to take that risk and she found herself saying yes anyhow. They both got up and started to walk towards the portrait hole. This is going to end badly. I just know it.

"Where are you two going?" Lily asked.

"To get some air," Hermione said while giving her a look which, she hoped, conveyed everything was alright.

They walked right out of the castle and towards the Black Lake. Just tell him that you’re not interested. Don’t lead him on. You need to tell him that you do not have any feelings for him. She repeated this in her head the whole walk down to the tree that she had spent so many hours before with Harry and Ron.

Together they sat down in the grass, as she waited for Sirius to break the silence. "Hermione, look," he began and swallowed loudly. "Something happened between us back there, you can't deny that. I felt it… and- and I know you did too."

He was right, she could not deny it. But she would.

"I don't know what you mean,” she whispered, staring out across the lake.

"Come off it, Hermione! You know that there is something there between us. You've known it since I first saw you on the platform. We couldn't take our eyes off one another!"

Again, he was right. Again, she could not deny it. But, again, she would.

"Sirius..." she said slowly, unsure of what to say.

Sirius stood up quickly, running both hands through his hair. "No. No, Hermione. I don't know what you're afraid of, but I'll tell you the truth. I've never felt like this about anyone before. I don't know what it is with you!” He began to pace. “I'm not saying this to make you jealous, or to make myself look cool but, I have turned down six girls already, just in the three days we've been back. You can ask James, I've never turned down a date before. Ever.” Stopping his pacing, he turned and stood right in front of where she was sitting. “At first, I had no idea why I was saying no. I thought I was losing it or something, but then tonight up in the common room, that's when I knew. It's you. I can't get you out of my head. Please tell me you feel the same way," he pleaded with her.

For the third time, he was right.

But she couldn't let this go on. If she failed, went back to her own time and he was dead... It would destroy her. Even if she didn't fail and he was alive when she returned. She would be so much younger and he may not want her any longer. This was a no win situation for her. She had to nip this now, before it got any more out of hand. Oh Sirius… I’m so sorry. A single tear rolled down her cheek.

"Hermione, please say something. I'm dying here," he said desperately.

She took a deep breath and said, "Sirius, I don't know what to say. I just... I can't. I just can't".

It tore her apart to say it, but she knew it had to be said.

“Why? Give me one good reason why not, and I'll leave you alone for good, I promise," he challenged angrily.

She didn't know what to tell him. The only legitimately good reasons she had, she couldn't tell him. She could hardly say, Because, I'm from the future, about 20 years in the future in fact. Oh, and by the way, you're dead. So are James and Lily. Peter turned out to be a traitor to all of you, framed you for their deaths, and he is dead as well. I'm here to try to change that from happening. So if I succeed, I will go back to my own time, you will have to wait 20 years for me to grow up, and then I will be quite a bit younger than you. Good enough reasons? She let out a short bitter laugh at the thought.

"I'm glad to see you think this is so funny,” he spat sarcastically.

Hermione’s eyes softened. "No, I don't. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh. It was just because, I can't give you a good reason. I'm sorry," she admitted while doing everything she possibly could to avoid his eyes.

"Then I'm not going to give up," he said stubbornly.

What is wrong with him?! "Well then I hope you enjoy being disappointed!" she yelled as she got up and started to run back to the castle.

She just made it back inside when she heard faintly from far behind her "Hermione! Please! Come back!" She did not stop and she did not turn around. Her feet carried her all the way to the portrait hole, past everyone in the common room and straight up to her room.

"That couldn't have been good," James said to Lily as they watched he fly by.

A few moments later, Sirius came barreling through the portrait hole. He looked around the common room for Hermione, his eyes and hair wild.

"Padfoot? What happened?" James asked him.

Sirius didn't answer, he stormed past everyone and went straight to his dormitory and slammed the door. Neither one of the came out for the rest of the evening.

Hermione changed for bed and put a sealing charm on her curtains again. There was no way she could answer any of her friends’ questions tonight, as she was sure they were wondering what had happened. She could not properly explain without revealing who she really was. Just as she was expecting, she heard Lily enter the room a little while later.

"Hermione?" she whispered. "Hermione? Are you awake?" she asked.

For a moment she thought about answering her. Desperately, she needed someone to talk to, someone who she could really confide in, who could know the whole truth. Unfortunately, she did not have that luxury. She remained silent and heard Lily's footsteps go back down the stairs to the common room. Well this is a right mess you've gotten yourself into! She thought to herself.

Flipping over on her side, she closed her eyes and attempted to sleep. She could not afford to miss another class this early in the year. Eventually, sleep came, along with dreams of a dark hair, grey-eyed man, a shaggy black dog, her and Sirius soaring high in the air on Buckbeak.

Lily would never tell her, but she heard her say Sirius... longingly in her sleep. That was when Lily vowed to figure out why Hermione was so reluctant and to help get her friends get together. She also realized, after watching them, she decided she should probably give Potter a break as well.

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