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After a few hours of arguing, Hermione and Sirius both sat there in silence, both unable to get any sleep. Hermione was determined not to tell Sirius he was right, although he knew he was and the longer they sat there, the more dejected they both became.




The morning was rather awkward as Sirius and Hermione were barely speaking and he was less than friendly with Peter. Hermione noticed Lily watching them closely all morning and would give Hermione a questioning look every now and then. Whenever Hermione noticed, she would just shake her head slightly, trying to indicate that nothing was wrong.




Peter was more than confused, not knowing what he may have done to earn such hostility from Sirius this morning when everything had been fine the previous night. In all honesty, he felt like Sirius was treating him as Hermione used to and could not understand why.




Early in the afternoon, Hermione thought it would be a good idea to spend a little time with Peter as she had noticed him looking quite dejected as a result of Sirius's attitude towards him. Pulling him aside to ask if he fancied a walk, they put on their cloaks and went out into the back yard.


"Hermione? Did I do something to Sirius? He has barely spoken to me all day," Peter asked, clearly confused.
"No, Peter. We had an argument early this morning. He may just be taking it out on everyone else," she told him, not knowing how to make this situation better.

That was slightly believable since Sirius has been moody and rather short with almost everyone today. They walked on together for a few moments more, while Peter looked as if he were contemplating something rather important. Finally, he stopped and looked at Hermione, his eyes filling with tears.

"I'm scared Hermione," he said suddenly, his voice trembling.
"Of what? Sirius? Peter, it's not that-" she said as Peter cut her off.

"No, not of Sirius... It's. It's Snape. And a few of the others, too. Avery, Mulciber, Wilkes and Rosier. They... They keep approaching me about joining, him. I'm scared Hermione. I don't know what to do. They'll kill me!" he said, absolutely terrified.

Hermione was stunned that he had shared that information with her. It was clear the poor thing was terrified but, more importantly, not anxious to join them. She thought that if he did want to become a Death Eater, he would not have divulged this information to her.

"Oh, Peter... I'm so sorry," she began as she pulled him in for a hug and Peter began to weep. Pulling out of their embrace she took a step back and looked him directly in the eyes. "Peter, listen to me. They are not going to do anything to you. Do you understand? I won't let them. Please never, ever feel pressured into turning your back on all who love you. And we do all love you, Wormy. We won't let anything happen to you," she told him.

Peter pulled himself together slightly and looked at her with a panicked expression.

"You can't tell anyone about this! They can't know. Promise me!" he begged her.

Great... More secrets, Hermione thought. "Ok, Peter, ok. I won't say anything. Just promise me that if they continue to seek you out that you let me know. I can take care of Snivellus," she told him with loathing in her eyes.

"B-but I don't want anything to happen to you, Hermione. I love you too much to see them hurt you. And, trust me, they're not nice people. They fight dirty and horribly," he told her with worry in his eyes.

Hermione was extremely touched to hear Peter tell her he loved her and to see the concern he showed for her safety.  She felt horribly for him but he need not worry, she knew what they were capable of and being the incredible witch she was, she could take care of herself.

"Don't worry about me, Peter. I'm more powerful than I appear, trust me. I can hold my own," she told him sincerely.

He looked her over for a moment digesting what she had just said. If he were being honest with himself, she did seem to give off the impression of immense power. Now that he really came to think of it, he had never really seen a witch or wizard, their age, equal to her. She was absolutely the best in their year, and the school, with non verbal spells. He has seen her do things with a wand, which he could only dream of, accomplished in their classes and she was undeniably brilliant. He began to feel a lot better that he confided in her because now he would not be alone. Beginning to pull himself together, he hugged Hermione again.

"Thank you Hermione. I am so glad I told you," he said.

Patting his back she said to him, "I am too, Peter. You can come to me about anything, ok? I'm here for you."

"I know," he answered simply.

Walking back into the house, Hermione tried to find Sirius, she needed to speak with him. They found the rest of the group lounging around the sitting room and she went straight for him. She sat down next to him and whispered in his ear, "We need to talk. Now. Upstairs."

He looked a little shocked and, still, slightly angry.

"Fine," he retorted.

They both stood up and told everyone they would be right back and went up the stairs to Hermione and Lily's room. She sat down on the bed, he next to her.

"What?" he snapped.

Hermione was about ready to spit fire.

"You need to listen to me and listen to me now, Sirius Black. This is all beyond ridiculous. You need to stop treating myself and Peter like pieces of shit right now. Do you understand me?" she said angrily.

He snorted and turned away from her mumbling something about "Killed my best friends". She was becoming furious.

"Sirius! Stop it! You don't even know if that's what happened! You only assume. I am here to stop whatever future I knew of from happening. It. May. Not. Even. Happen! None of you, right now, are the same people I knew, or knew of. People change. It's as simple as that. James, Remus and Peter, at this moment, are the same people you have always known. Nothing has changed and I am here to make sure nothing does change! You need to cut your shit before you fuck up everything!" she nearly shrieked.

Sirius was stunned. He has never heard her so angry or use that kind of language. Hermione sat there fuming while Sirius mulled over her words. As he thought it over he realized she was right, although he would never tell her, as she usually was. Nothing had happened at this point and he should help her make sure it does not, however he could. He would help make sure their bonds of friendship become stronger than ever, rather than brood and possibly make them fall apart. Right now it didn't matter what happened in his future, her past, if it ultimately doesn't come to pass at all.

"You're right. I'm sorry, I'll behave, ok?" he said rather sheepishly. Something quite uncharacteristic for him.

"Good," she said sharply.

He gave her a devilish smile and said, "So does that mean we can have make up sex now?"

Reluctantly a slight smile spread across her lips, "Not on your life, Black. A. I'm still pissed at you and B. Lily and I need to get ready for the party shortly."

"I bet I could sway your decision," he said wickedly, walking towards her.

He pushed her down, none to gently, and crawled on top of her. Then he began to kiss up her neck, across her cheek and finally landed on her mouth. He grabbed her hair roughly as she dug her fingers into his back the door opened.

"Oops! I'm so sorry!” an embarrassed Lily said, standing horror-struck in the doorway.

Sirius growled slightly in frustration and Hermione wanted nothing more than to disappear. She sat up quickly, red faced and slightly out of breath, she said, "No Lily, it's fine. Sirius was just leaving actually."

Sirius looked at her with a highly offended expression, stood up, gave her a small kiss and began to make his way towards the door.

"Thanks a lot, Evans," he said to Lily as he was leaving.

As soon as he was gone she closed the door. Lily couldn't contain herself and burst into giggles.

"I'm s-sorry!" she laughed

"It's fine," Hermione replied shortly.

"I see everything is alright with you two then?" Lily asked her.

'Yeah, we're alright. I guess," she told her.

"What happened? If you don't mind me asking," looking genuinely concerned while she asked Hermione.

Hermione sighed while trying to think of some lie to tell Lily. Obviously she couldn't tell her the whole reason for their argument.

"No, I don't mind. It was nothing really. You know how he can get. Just him being a stubborn arse. But it's fine, we've talked it out," she told Lily.

"It's a good thing he has you, Hermione. You know, to keep that big head under control", she said smiling at Hermione.

"Ha. Not always. But never mind all that. We need to start getting ready. Would you like to shower first, or may I?" she asked.

"Go for it, 'Mione. I'm going to try on a few dresses I bought first," Lily said.

Hermione gathered her toiletries and prepared to take her shower. All the while trying to push away the anger she was still feeling towards Sirius and the future Death Eaters who were tormenting Peter. Truly she has grown to love Peter Pettigrew as much as Lily, Remus, and James, and there was no way in hell she was going to let anyone harm or change him.
At 8:30 that evening, the girls were dressed and ready for the party. Once again, the girls looked absolutely enchanting. Hermione was wearing a strapless, skin tight, black, full length, silk dress. Her hair was pinned up in loose curls while a few fell down, framing her face. Lily was in an A-Line, sequined, golden dress that seemed to flow like water down to her ankles. Lily wore her hair down and stick straight.


When they walked out into the hallway the boys, once again, were blown away by the elegant beauty of their two favorite girls. The boys were all dressed simply in black dress robes which resembled tuxedos. James was staring at Lily as if he were looking into the sun while Sirius stood casually trying to look nonchalant towards Hermione.

"You look stunning, ladies," Peter said to the girls with a shy smile.
"Yes, once again, you will be the envy of every woman in the room," Lupin told them, looking almost proud.
Hermione and Lily thanked Peter and Lupin and walked over to their men. James took Lily in a passionate embrace for a few moments while Sirius looked Hermione up and down, smirking the whole time.

"Not bad, love. Not bad at all," he told her.
"Yeah, I guess you look pretty alright yourself," she told him just as casually.
He then laughed and pulled her in for a heated kiss. Lupin and Peter, becoming impatient with the excessive PDA in front of them, cleared their throats.

"Shall we make our way down then," Lupin said.

The two couples were pulled out of their private moments and agreed to head off to the party. Hermione looped her arm through Peter's as she held Sirius's hand with her free arm. When they entered the ballroom, it seemed every eye was on the girls. All the girls from their school looked on with jealousy and rage, while all the guys looked on with jealousy and desire. Hermione and Lily were not quite aware, but they were each fancied by the male population as much as James and Sirius were by the female population within Hogwarts.


Looking around, it seemed that a lot of prominent witches and wizards of the day were there. She noticed Barty Crouch Sr. with his family, Cornelius Fudge and his wife, the Malfoys and even the Minister of Magic, Millicent Bagnold, was there. Seeing Barty Crouch Jr. and Lucius Malfoy caused her to see red. It took every bit of strength she had not to kill them herself right then and there.

"Hermione? Are you alright? You're shaking and staring at Malfoy like you are about to blow him up," said Sirius softly so no one could hear.
"What? Oh. I'm sorry... It's just. I hate him, Sirius. If I could, I would kill him right here," she said with quiet rage.

Sirius was truly frightened of her for a moment. He could tell she was more than serious about killing him.

"Yeah, he is a git. But you need to pull it together. As far as everyone is concerned, you don't know who he is. Remember?" he reminded her.

Thinking it over for a moment, he was right. She had to get herself in check.

"You're right. I'm sorry... I'll - I'll keep it together," she told him, taking a deep breath.
It was at that moment she noticed Barty Crouch Jr. looking at her with evident interest in his eyes. She shuddered slightly and went to seek out Dorea and Charlus with the rest of the group. As they reached the Potters, Dorea began to take Hermione and Lily around as if they were show ponies. She introduced them to members of the Weasley, Prewett, Bones, Fawcett, Longbottom, Fudge, Edgecombe and a few other families first. After which they were introduced to the Minister of Magic, who thought Hermione and Lily were just wonderful and charming girls.


Hermione found herself very much liking this Minister, herself. Finally, they were taken to meet the Crouch and Malfoy families. Abraxas Malfoy had the same pointed chin, blonde hair, and air of importance that his son and his grandson would have. Then there was his wife, who looked strikingly similar to Narcissa somehow- the same platinum blond hair and the look on her face as if she had something terrible smelling under her nose. Lucius stood next to him, the spitting image of Draco, it was truly uncanny how similar the two looked. Pretty much disregarding the fact that Lily existed, Lucius held his hand out for Hermione to shake. It took all of her self control to stop trembling with hate and return his hand shake.

"Miss Winters. A pleasure," he said in a silky voice as he took her hand and brought it up to his lips.
Hermione was convulsively swallowing, trying not to vomit from the disgust she was feeling at him kissing her hand.

"Pleasure," she replied shortly.

Lucius was there with Narcissa Black at his side, who extended her hand for Hermione to shake as well.
"Dear me. It does seem our dear cousin found himself quite the charming young woman. Are you pureblood my dear?" she asked her with a sneer.

Dorea looked outraged at the question. She did not buy into the pureblood mania which so many of her kind did.

"My lovely Narcissa. I do not believe that is neither here nor there. She is a witch, more importantly an incredible human being, which is all that matters. As is my darling Lily Evans, who herself, is a remarkably charming and lovely young woman. Not to mention, one hell of a witch," she added with a wink to Lily.

Hermione and Lily both beamed and turned bright red.

"No, Dorea, it's ok. I'm a half-blood, actually. My mother was a witch and my father was a Muggle," Hermione told them, to keep up with her fabricated life here.

The Malfoys and Narcissa considered her briefly while Lucius said, "Could be worse, I suppose," while shooting an ugly look towards Lily.
Lily looked as if she were ready to whip her wand out and hex him right then and there. Hermione gently placed her hand on Lily's arm,

"Well, it was an absolute delight meeting you all. Sadly, we must go and find our dates," Hermione told them as she gently pulled Lily with her.

Dorea gave them an apologetic smile and remained to have a few words with the Malfoys. They walked away to find the boys and Lily looked positively maddened.

"What an arrogant son of a bitch! 'Could be worse, I suppose'. Where the hell does he get off?! He's lucky I didn't turn him into a slug right there!" she snapped.
Of course a few of the families were not very warm towards Lily, but none of them had gone quite as far as Lucius just had.

"I'm sorry Lily. I know, it's completely nonsense. Just forget about it for now. Who the hell is he anyway? Right?" she said, trying to comfort her friend.

"No. You're right. Screw him and that snooty looking Narcissa. I can't believe they are the type of people Sirius is related to!" she was nearly screaming at this point.

Having not noticed the boys walking up behind them, they both jumped as Sirius spoke, "Trust me Lily, I wish I wasn't," he said sadly.

Lily's face fell. She felt horrible that he had just heard her say that in the heat of the moment.

"Oh, Sirius. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean anything by it, it's just that Malfoy was so rude. I honestly thought after he left Hogwarts I wouldn't have had to see him again," Lily said sadly.

Sirius ran his hand through his hair and told Lily that it was fine, that he understood.

Soon the meeting with Malfoy was forgotten and the group took to drinking and dancing together. While on the dance floor, Hermione noticed Snape and his mother standing off to the side, talking to the Malfoys and Barty Crouch Jr. She did not even realize that greasy git was here until now. It was making her slightly uncomfortable that Lucius, Snape and Crouch kept looking over at their group. She couldn't tell for sure, but it seemed as if they were looking at both her and Peter alternatively. It seemed that Peter noticed as well because he kept looking at the three young men and back to Hermione with an anxious expression. Hermione tried to give him an approximation of a reassuring smile, but she was beginning to have an awfully bad feeling.

The rest of the evening Hermione and Peter both tried to act as if nothing was wrong. The group danced, mingled and drank merrily. Finally, it was nearing midnight and Hermione and Sirius took a seat well away from the rest of the guests to catch their breaths and be able to be, somewhat, alone for when it turned midnight.

"Is everything alright, love? You seemed awfully keyed up tonight," Sirius asked her.

"I'm fine. It's nothing, really," she tried to convince him.

Sirius, by now, has become an expert at reading Hermione's face. He was not buying it.

"Hermione come on. Something is obviously bothering you. You can tell me anything. That's why I'm here," he said sweetly.

She thought about it for a moment and decided to tell him some of the truth.

"It's Malfoy, Crouch and Snape. They've been staring at me strangely all evening. It's kind of freaking me out, to be honest," she told him.

Hermione wished that she hadn't told him because Sirius suddenly looked as if he were about to get up for a moment and kill them. He absolutely detested Snape and Malfoy. Crouch he really didn't know much about, but he had noticed the way he had been looking at his girlfriend all evening as well.

"Would you like me to jinx their eyes out of their heads? That way they could never look at you, or anything else, ever again?" he asked in a steady voice.

"No! Of course not! I'm most likely just overreacting, honey. Really. Don't worry about it," she told him quickly.

"Fine. But if you change your mind..."

"You'll be the first to know", she finished for him.

As she sat with Sirius's arm around her shoulders she looked around and noticed that Peter was not anywhere in sight. Not only could she not find Peter, she didn't see Snape, Malfoy or Crouch anymore either.

Shit! I have to find Peter!, she thought to herself.

"Sirius. I have to use the ladies room quickly. I'll be back before midnight, ok?" she said and hopped out of her seat heading for the door leading out of the ballroom.

Sirius started after her, worried. He knew something was clearly wrong. It was definitely more than her just needing a restroom break. Quickly and quietly he followed her, Hermione completely unaware.

When she opened the door she heard voices down the hallway next to the stairs.

"Seems as if you're truly enjoying yourself with that filthy Mudblood, Blood-Traitors and that Half-Breed, Pettigrew. Perhaps you don't want to choose the right side? Perhaps you want to be a disgusting Blood-Traitor like Potter and Black, who you hero worship?" Lucius was saying and she could tell from his tone that he was sneering.

Suddenly, she heard the sound of someone being punched, Peter’s whimper, followed by laughter from the other boys. Hermione's blood was boiling. She was going to put an end to this. Now. She pulled her wand and began to walk down the hall.

"That is enough," she said. Her voice saturated with power and authority.

At first, the three young men looked scared, stunned and then amused. Peter, with his nose bleeding, looked absolutely terrified.

"Hermione, no!" Peter yelled.

Hermione acted as if she hadn’t even heard him.

"You leave him alone. Leave him alone and we'll all walk away and enjoy the rest of our evening. No one any the wiser. Got it?" she told them, glaring between the three of them.

Malfoy, Snape and Crouch looked her over for a moment and then suddenly started laughing.

"What are you going to do if we don't, Winters? There's three of us and only one of you," Snape sneered.

"Yes, Miss Winters. I do not think you are quite aware of who you are dealing with. Why don't you put that wand away and maybe we can talk about you joining our little movement as well," Lucius said to her.

"Over my dead body, Malfoy," she said.

Crouch started walking towards her and Hermione held her wand threateningly, pointing it directly at his face.

"Take one step closer and I'll blast your nose right off of your face, Crouch," she threatened.

"Aww. Come on sweetheart. Don't be like that. What do you say? Why don't you ditch that loser, Black, and I'll show you what a real man can do?" he crooned.

He then pushed one of the loose hairs from her face and behind her ear. Then, without warning, Crouch quickly took a hold of Hermione's wrists, pushed her against the wall and forced her arms over her head. He leaned in as if meaning to kiss her while the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and goosepimples erupted all up her arms. She had truly never been so creeped out and disgusted in her entire life. Suddenly, they all heard footsteps coming quickly towards them.

"Get the hell away from my girlfriend!" Sirius yelled and he cocked his arm back and punched Crouch right in the face.

Hermione stood in complete shock, momentarily distracted.

"Expelliarmus!" Snape cried out while Hermione's wand went flying from her hand.

Peter reacted, more quickly than anyone would image, as he pulled his wand on Snape yelling, "Stupefy!" and Snape fell to the ground with a thud.

Sirius was now wrestling Crouch to the ground they continued fighting him like Muggles, Sirius now punching every inch of Crouch that he could reach. Peter picked up Hermione's wand and threw it back to her. As soon as the wand was in her hand, she noticed Malfoy about to curse her.

"Cruc-" he began.

"Langlock!" she quickly yelled, it was the first spell to come into her mind.

Malfoy sputtered and tried to speak but could not due to his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. Peter ran over to help Sirius with Crouch, completely enraged by the way he had approached Hermione moments before.




While Hermione was distracted watching Sirius, Peter and Crouch fight on the floor, Lucius made an intricate circular patter with his wand; a golden swirl came from its tip and wrapped itself around Hermione before she could raise a shield charm to protect herself. The last thing she remembered was Peter's anguished shriek of, "Hermione! No!" and Sirius yelling, "Hermione! HERMIONE! I'll KILL you Lucius!"




At that moment, all light and sound faded out. Hermione fell to the ground and knew no more.










A/N - Mischief_managed18, I absolutely adore you for doing this for me! Thank you so, so much for editing!! : )

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