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It was all just a terrible dream. None of that happened at all, has it? I'm definitely in bed and way, way too stiff. Hmm... I'm alone? Where did Lily or Sirius go?  Wow, Holy Merlin am I sore! I wonder how long I've slept? I better get up so I can eat and get ready for the party.



Hermione began to stir in her bed stretching out her arms and legs. She has truly never felt this stiff and sore after waking in the morning, ever. Moaning slightly, she opened her eyes and fell into a state of panic.

How the hell did I end up in the Hospital Wing?! Maybe I'm still dreaming. Yes, that's it. I must still be dreaming, she thought wildly. She closed her eyes, hoping maybe she’d awake from this dream inside a dream state. No wonder I felt stiff.

"Hermione? Sweetheart? MADAM POMFREY! QUICK!! SHE'S UP AND FREAKING OUT!" Sirius bellowed.

Freaking out? What the hell is he talking about? she thought to herself. She was lying still in her bed. Wasn't she?

Hermione heard loud choking noises and it seemed as if the room was vibrating. What she did not realize was that she was crying, moaning, and rocking back and forth quite uncontrollably in the bed. She had been out for quite some time due to Malfoy's curse and was currently in hysterics.

 

Madam Pomfrey rushed right over, carrying a vial of some liquid she poured into a glass of pumpkin juice. As Sirius helped her hold Hermione down, she forced it down Hermione's throat. Hermione suddenly felt everything calm down, the room was no longer shaking and it became considerably more quiet.

Was that noise... me?? What in Merlin's name is going on? She had still not spoken a word out loud.


"Miss Winters, you're perfectly safe. Everything is fine, dear. Please try to relax," Madam Pomfrey said to her in a soothing voice.

Perfectly safe? Safe from what exactly? she thought.

"Hermione, love. Listen to me. You've - You've been out for quite some time. That curse Malfoy used on you, the Obnubilo* curse, is used to place the victim in a year-long coma. Luckily, he was not able to speak the incantation out loud, so the effects were greatly diminished. But- You've been out for two weeks now. We had you in St. Mungo's for a few days, but Dumbledore insisted on you being brought to the school, to Madam Pomfrey. Dor and Charlus want us to send them an owl as soon as you come around, honey. They're worried sick about you," Sirius explained to her.

Hermione was flabbergasted. The last thing she remembered was Sirius and Peter yelling something and now here she was at Hogwarts. She had completely lost two weeks of her life. For a fleeting moment she worried about nothing besides all of the homework she had missed until Peter crossed her mind.

"Peter...?" she whispered feebly.

"He's fine, love. More than fine actually. He's quite proud of himself- after what Malfoy did to you, Peter broke his nose and stunned him. He asked me to get him as soon as you wake, but I don't want to leave you yet," he said looking quite impressed with Peter.

Wow. Peter did that? For me? she thought, absolutely stunned.

"Malfoy, Snape, and Crouch?" she asked sounding incredibly weak.

The look on Sirius's face was truly frightening at the mention of their names. Now that she got a good look at him, his face looked as if he has not slept in days, which he most likely had not.

"As soon as you hit the floor Peter and I ran to try and help you. Crouch got up and grabbed a hold of Malfoy and Snape and he disapparated with them. He knew that they would be in a world of trouble, so he got them all out of there before anyone could see what they had done. Unfortunately, with our track record against dear old Snape and the three of them gone, everyone just assumed it was a little duel that you, unfortunately, got in the middle of. Abraxas convinced everyone it must have been a harmless accident which was, more than likely, provoked by me and Peter," he finished angrily.

Hermione sat there livid. Of course the Malfoys would be able to worm their way out of it, she thought.


"What happened then, Sirius?" she asked.

"Well, of course, the party ended. Dor and Charlus had Lily send a letter to Dumbledore immediately and we rushed you to St. Mungo's. You were on the Fourth Floor for three days, not showing any sign of getting better, when Dumbledore arrived and insisted, well demanded is more like it, that you be returned to Hogwarts at once. He looked truly terrifying and no one dared question him. You arrived here late on the third of January and have been unconscious ever since. Occasionally you would mumble... things," he said to her.

Even through her state of shock she began to feel worried and self conscious about what she might have said.

"What things, Sirius?" she asked uncomfortably.

He avoided her eyes and began to twist his fingers, trying to avoid answering her.


"Sirius?" she pushed.

Taking a deep breath he figured he may as well answer her, not wanting to upset her in her frail state.

"Well... You said my name a few times, which was nice. I heard you mention Lily some, as well as the others. You mentioned Harry and Ron, almost as often as you mentioned me. Then-Then…Well a few times you would repeat 'Horcurxes. Need Horcruxes'. That's some pretty dark stuff, Hermione. What are you playing at?" he asked her, looking concerned.

Oh Mother of Merlin! Why, out of everything, was that the thing to come out of my mouth? The less he knows about that, the better! she thought in a panic.

"Hermione..." he pressed on.

She remained silent for a few more seconds, trying to determine how much she should tell him. One thing was for certain, she did not want him to think that she wanted to make those horrible things for herself, so she had to tell him at least a little bit of the truth.

 

On the other hand, she didn't want him to know too much- just in case Voldemort ever found about her and Dumbledore hunting the Horcruxes this time around. It was common knowledge that Sirius and Hermione were in love and she didn't want there to be a risk of him taking Sirius as a hostage or as a source of information.

 

"Sirius, would you believe me if I told you I cannot discuss this with you. It's for your safety, I swear. I am not currently planning on making any of them for myself, nor has the thought even crossed my mind… ever. There is an entirely different reason they have been on my mind," she said, her eyes blazing with sincerity.

Sirius was a lot of things: foolish, reckless and hot-headed, but he was not a dumb man. From what Hermione just said to him and him knowing her reason for being in the past, he knew it must have something to do with Voldemort. He also knew that if that were the case, he would not press her on this issue.

"Ok, Hermione. I believe you and we will not speak anymore of it," he answered simply.


Hermione sighed in relief, hardly able to believe he had let it go that easily. Knowing him, he must have put the pieces together but it was only an assumption at this point. Though it wasn’t necessarily good, it was much better than it being a hard fact in his head.

"Thank you, love," she said.


Sirius stood up at the side of her bed and leaned down to give Hermione a very soft, sweet kiss on the lips. Never could he remember a more heart wrenching, stressful and unbearable time as the past two weeks had been for him. At first, he truly believed that he may have lost her forever and that was something he could not handle. One thing he had realized was that no matter how long she may eventually be gone from him, he would never let her go.

The two of them spent around a half hour alone before Sirius went to gather Peter, Lily, James and Remus. The group had been a mental and physical mess these last two weeks as they worried about their friend. Dumbledore had granted them all special permission to be let out of their common room to see her, regardless of the late hour as it was nearing two in the morning. All at once, they all came busting in the room, the first to reach her bed was Peter.

"Hermione! Oh thank Merlin you're alright! You were so foolish to take them on like that. I would have been fine, Hermione! They corner me all the time. Yes, they may hit me and threaten me, but I always walk away alright. You didn't have to do that, you could have been killed!" he said all in a rush.

 

He noticed the confused look on Hermione's face, remembering that she wasn't aware that he had told his friends everything. "Oh, yeah. I told the guys about those slimy tossers trying to recruit me. It will be a cold day in hell for them to ever get near me again," he added with a smile.

Peter then walked over and gave her a huge hug while Hermione sat with silent tears streaming down her face. She had finally accomplished at least one of the goals she’d set out to accomplish in this time. Peter was truly and unconditionally on their side.

"Peter, thank you. I heard what you did to Malfoy and I will be forever grateful. I love you, Wormy," she said, her voice thick with emotion.

"I love you too, 'Mione. And, please, don't thank me. You've saved me far more than have I saved you. I can never repay you for what you have done for me," he whispered to her so that no one else could hear.

At this point Lily all but threw Peter out of the way and jumped on top of Hermione, strangling her with a bear hug.

"Never, ever, ever, ever do anything like that to me again, Hermione Winters!" she scolded her. Lily's eyes full of tears as well.

"Sorry, mum..." Hermione said sarcastically.

Lily stood up and shot her a look that could kill.


"Not funny. I was a physical wreck! Why didn't you come get us to help you? What if you were killed?" she continued, her hands now on her hips.

James rolled his eyes and came to stand next to Lily. He put his arm around her shoulders and said, "Lils, calm down honey. She's ok now and that's all that matters. Wait until she's up and walking around again before you go all mum mode on her," he said with a smile at his girlfriend. "Glad to see you awake love, you gave us all quite a scare," James said to Hermione before bending down and giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Lupin was pale with worry and looked as if he wanted nothing more than to yell at her, as Lily just had, and hug her at the same time. He walked in front of James and Lily to stand next to her bed.


"I have to agree with Lily, but I won't yell at you now. I'll save that for when you're one hundred percent," Lupin said with a wink. "I'm just so happy he wasn't able to speak and it only lasted this long. I don't know what we would have done if anything worse happened to you. I love you, 'Mione. It's so incredible to see you with your eyes open," said Lupin as he bent down to kiss her forehead and give her a hug.

Everyone then let Sirius take his place sitting on the edge of Hermione's bed while he held her hand. Hermione was completely overwhelmed by the love and concern the Marauders and Lily showed for her and she began to cry. Sirius pulled her into his arms and rubbed soothing circles on her back.

"Shh, shh. It's ok love. You're fine. Everything is fine. Nothing or no one will ever hurt you again. I will make damn sure of that," he told her.

Hermione continued to cry and thank everyone for being there for her. Eventually, Lily, Peter, James, and Lupin all went back to the common room to get some sleep. Sirius was given permission by Dumbledore to remain in the Hospital Wing with Hermione until she was cleared to leave.

During the next three days, Sirius only left Hermione's side to shower or get them food. He did not attend his classes either, so their homework was brought up by either Lily or Lupin and they would all work on it together. Finally, on the morning of Saturday the eighteenth, Hermione was cleared to leave. Peter had come up to the Hospital Wing to accompany Hermione and Sirius down to the Great Hall for breakfast. As they were turning a corner Hermione found herself running right into Snape.


"Watch it, Snivellus!" Sirius barked, whipping his wand out in a flash.

Snape's wand was out just as fast as was Peter's. Sirius and Peter both stood with their wand pointed right at Snape's face as he turned to look at Hermione.

"Well, well. Did you enjoy your little... nap, Winters? It's a pity Lucius didn't make you sleep longer,” he sneered.  “A lot longer," Snape added with a snicker.
 
Sirius and Peter were each about to hex him when Hermione spoke up. "Stop it! Right now, stop it!" she shrieked.
 
 "But Hermione!?"  Sirius yelled, looking outraged.


"After what they did?" Peter yelled.
 

"Look. We're in school. You can't go just blasting one another away, you'll be expelled! Put your wands away and leave this greasy git to be on his way. I'm sure he needs to be slithering off somewhere", she said cooly.

 

Snape looked at her with rage filled eyes. For a split second his wand hand twitched as if he were about to jinx her, but Hermione caught the slight movement.

"I wouldn't, Snivellus. You know I could take you alone and there are three of us here right now. Put that wand away and leave," she said, once again with nothing but pure bone-chilling power.

Considering his surroundings and Hermione's words to him, Snape slowly put his wand back in his pocket with a glower towards Sirius and Peter.
 
"Watch yourself, Winters. Your little body guards will not always be around to protect you," he spat at her.
 

"You know full well that I am capable of taking you on my own, if you remember our little incident?" she spat back.



Giving a contemptuous glare at each of them, Snape turned on his heel and flapped away.
 

"Slimy son of a bitch. Who the hell does he think he is threatening you? I'll kill him. Mark my words, I'll kill that bastard!" Sirius said, shaking from head to toe.

"Don't worry about him, Hermione. We won't let them do anything to you ever again," Peter said quite impressively.
 

"Thank you, boys. It is no matter, trust me. I've out dueled him once before, and I can do it again," she told him, forgetting they did not know about that day in front of the Room of Requirement.

Oops!, she thought. Her face turned bright red and she began to stroll merrily down the corridor. "Coming?" she called back cheerfully.



Sirius was looking positively angry.
 

"What do you mean? When?" he snapped.



Hermione sighed and told them about the day he had confronted her. She left out the Room of Requirement and what she was doing, making it sound as if she were just walking back from Dumbledore's office at the time. Sirius was, of course, livid she did not tell him at the time and Peter was impressed by her quick wandwork and bravery.


 

Hermione and the boys arrived in the Great Hall to find the rest of the group beaming wildly at her while the rest of the school was eying her curiously. She glanced up and saw Dumbledore give her a small wink and a smile. In no time at all, she found herself falling back into the routine of just hanging out with her friends and trying to act like a normal student while ignoring the many whispered rumors flying rapidly across the hall.



The rest of the weekend seemed to fly by and before she knew it she was back in her classes. January then quickly faded away and a blustery February had arrived.


Over the last few weeks Hermione and Peter had become about as close as she and Harry had been in her time. There was an obvious bond and connection there that everyone had noticed, including Sirius. One evening in particular, Hermione and Peter were playing a game of exploding snap in the Gryffindor common room and were laughing wildly with one another. Sirius sat brooding while watching them and was beginning to become quite jealous, although deep down he knew he had no reason to be. After their game had finished Hermione thanked Peter for the game and left to take her place next to Sirius on the couch in front of the fire.
 

"Care for a walk?" he asked her
 
 "Sure, love," she answered.

 

They let the others know they would be gone for a bit, put on their cloaks and left through the portrait hole. While walking in an uncomfortable silence for a little, Hermione began wondering what was bothering him.

 

After a few painful minutes, Sirius finally spoke up, "Is there something going on between you and Peter?" he asked bluntly.



Hermione could not help herself, the idea was completely absurd and she began to laugh.
 

"It's not funny, Hermione. The two of you are together constantly nowadays. Is there something going on there that I should know about?" he asked again.
 

There was a sharp pain as she bit down on her tongue to keep from laughing, though she found herself somewhat flattered that he was jealous. Of course he was being silly, but there was something kind of endearing about it.

"Of course not, Sirius. Don't be ridiculous! I love Peter, yes, but like a brother. There are no romantic feelings there at all. For either of us. I love you, you silly jealous man," she said, ending with a poke to the tip of his nose.
 

Sirius knew she was right. He was just being silly because he knew he did not have much time with her here and seeing her spend any of their limited time with another man made him slightly crazy.



"I am being stupid, aren't I?", he asked her.


Hermione smiled kindly at him and said, "Kind of..."

 

Suddenly, he wrapped his arms around her, picked her up, and kissed her passionately. He set her down and looked at her, his eyes blazing.
 

"I love you, Hermione. I love you now and I'll love you forever. There will never be anyone else for me. Understand, never," he told her.


Hermione so badly wanted to believe him, but how could he be so sure? As much as she wanted to completely get her hopes up, she refused to let herself do so. Her only response was,"I love you as well, Sirius." She leaned up to kiss him gently on the lips but he met her halfway, his lips crashing down on hers.

"What do you say we go back up to my dormitory for a while?", he said with a breathtakingly sexy smile.


Understanding his need for her, Hermione had to admit she felt the same way. They had not had a moment to be intimate with one another since they have arrived back to Hogwarts. She knew, however, that the dorms may not be the ideal place, when an idea struck her.

"Actually, Sirius... I know of a much better place. Come on", she said while taking his hand and pulling him with her.



 A few moments later they were standing in front of the tapestry of Barnabus the Barmy forever attempting to teach trolls the ballet. She walked back and forth in front of the wall three times while thinking, I need my bedroom from home, I need my bedroom from home, I need my bedroom from home. Sirius stood watching her as if she lost her mind until a grand door appeared out of the wall.
 

"Whoa! What is this place? And how do we not know about it?" he asked stunned.

Hermione smiled sweetly and said, "This is the Room of Requirement or The Come and Go Room. It appears to fit the seekers needs. All you have to do is walk in front of the wall three times while concentrating on what you need. Like right now, the room will be my bedroom from home, in my time," she told an impressed and awed Sirius.

"W-o-w Hermione. Well done," he stretched out wow into three syllables.
 
Taking his hand she pulled him into the door after making sure no one was around. As they entered Hermione was, again, blown away by the magic of this room. It was uncanny! Her bed was against the wall straight ahead with its purple sheets and blankets. There were even windows behind her bed which looked as if they were showing her front yard and the street in front of her house at night time. The chest of drawers was to the right of her and her dresser and mirror were to the left. There was a closet in the back left corner of the room, which Hermione was surprised to see when she opened it, was filled with clothes from her time.  The walls were a light power blue and her carpet was cream colored. Even the pictures of Harry, Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna were all on her bedside table. Sirius, she noticed, walked right over and picked up a picture of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
 

"Well, that's most definitely a Weasley. No doubt about that. And, is that... That's - That's... Harry?" he asked.


 
Hermione smiled and nodded, her eyes filling with tears. Seeing their faces, even in a picture, made her realize just how much she missed her best friends at home.
 

"My word, Hermione. He - He looks just like James! Except his eyes. Merlin, they're an exact copy of Lily's!" he said, completely overwhelmed.
 
"Yep. That's what everyone had always told him... Even you. And now meeting James and Lily I can see what everyone had always gone on about," she said, watching his face intently.
 

"And this red-headed girl must be another Weasley? Blimey. The Weasleys haven't had a girl in ages. And this boy here, the round faced one? Is he related to the Longbottoms by any chance? He looks just like a girl who used to go here, Alice. She just married Frank Longbottom this past summer," he continued on.

"Yeah, he is. That's their son," she said. Not wanting to get into details of Neville or his poor parents. Hopefully that will change as well, she thought.

 Sirius just could not put the picture with Harry down. He could not believe that anyone's son could look so much like them. It was unbelievable. His original plans for being brought here were soon forgotten and he decided on rather questioning Hermione on her life. He wanted to know everything that had happened at Hogwarts in her time and what his future godson and the rest of her friends were like.

 

Hermione talked for over an hour. She told him everything, leaving out the details of him being in Azkaban and their hunt for Horcurxes. She told him about her friendship with Hagrid and how badly she misses having that in this time, about the many idiosyncrasies of Luna Lovegood, which Sirius got a few laughs out of, about Viktor Krum, which Sirius scowled through, how awful Snape had been to them while he taught here, how and why they found this room during her fifth year and just everything she could think of.

 

One thing Sirius could not deny was that the woman he loved had led quite the exciting life. He was finding himself slightly jealous, having believed that he and his best friends had had the craziest adventures. They were nothing compared to what she had been through. They both realized it was nearing eleven at night and hurried back to their common room so they would not be caught out of bed after hours and land themselves in detention. Luckily, they made their way back undetected and were giving the password, Cupid, to a very irritated Fat Lady. Once inside they gave one another a kiss goodnight and began to walk up the stairs to their dormitories. Before they parted ways Sirius stopped her for a moment.
 

"You are the most amazing woman I have ever know, Hermione Granger. I want to thank you for sharing your home, sort of, and all of your stories with me. I am so glad that I, now, completely and totally know the real you. You're incredible, you are," he told her sweetly.

 

Hermione gave him a huge hug and said, "I'm so relieved that I am able to have you know the real me. You have no idea how comforting it is to have at least one person here who I can truly be myself with. It just helps me keep a firm grasp on who I was. I love you, Sirius. Thank you for loving me and keeping me despite of who I am."
Looking down at her he shook his head.



 

"No. Not despite of who you are. I love you because of who you are, Hermione," he told her.

 

They shared one last kiss goodnight and parted ways for the evening. After she had changed, brushed her teeth and washed up for bed she noticed and envelope and a hand written note, from Lily, laying on her bed.
 



Hermione,


I'm sorry, I was exhausted and just couldn't wait up any longer. Dumbledore asked me to give you this letter.

I don't know what it was about, but by the way he looked, I think it is important.

Hope your walk with Sirius was nice.

Love you, 'Mione!
 Lily


Hermione's heart was pounding ferociously in her chest. She had a feeling she knew exactly what this letter would say. Opening it with shaking hands, she read the words Dumbledore had written on the parchment.


Dear Miss Granger,

I am happy to say that I have, with much difficulty and success, managed to rid the world of all but one of those terrible objects.

If you are still agreeable, I am afraid the time has come to seek out the final one.

Please send your answer by return owl and meet me in my office Saturday next by 7pm.

Yours Sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore

P.S. - Sugar Quills are lovely this time of year.




Her hands were shaking and sweating, her body felt cold and her face felt very warm. She did not realize it would be this soon and was silently breaking down. Obviously she knew she had to do this, there was no other way, and she had known this for months. But now that the time has arrived, she was panicking. How did Harry do all of this all the time? How did he not go mental? she wondered. As quickly and quietly as she could, despite her shaking hands, she retrieved a piece of parchment and a quill and scribbled her answer to Dumbledore.
 

Dear Professor,



I am absolutely still willing to accompany you on this journey.
I shall see you promptly at 7pm Saturday evening.
Until then.

Yours Most Sincerely,


  Hermione Granger

After folding up the parchment, she placed it in an envelope which she addressed to Dumbledore. Silently, she grabbed her cloak and prepared to send the letter. After a moment, she thought it may not be the best idea to wander out into the grounds as it was now after midnight.

After deciding it would be best to wait for morning, she took her cloak off and climbed into bed. She thought longingly of Madam Pomfrey's calming draught, wishing that she had a vial as she drifted off into sleep with images of an unknown cavern and underground lake filled with inferi swimming in her head. It would be an awfully long night.



--------------------------------

A/N - First off I want to say, wow, thank you!! I appreciate all of the reviews I have received more than I could possibly say! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Everything is about to become a little more intense and have quite a bit more action. Again, thank you to everyone who has stuck with the story this far. I hope you all continue to enjoy it and I can't wait to hear more feedback from you. I love you all! <3

 



 

**Also a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thank you, once again, to Mischief_managed18 for reading over and editing!! You're amazing! :D**

*Obnubilo - Latin for "render unconscious".





xoxo U.C.

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