A Dance Through Thyme [Harry Potter]

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't met. An unknown man sends Hermione back to the Marauder's Era as revenge, however, the consequences are far more disastrous than what even he imagines when Hermione loses her memory of the past. Why did that man do this to her, and what secrets will be spilled? Who is the guilty party?

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12. Chapter 11: Bitte?

Finally, an update! I think this is the longest one yet, and I hope you enjoy it. Can't wait to hear what you all think :)

Chapter 11: Bitte?

Please?

James Potter and Sirius Black strode into the Hogwarts library like they knew exactly where they were going. The truth was that they had absolutely no clue. The library was not a place which they frequented over the course of their day. Occasionally it became a place they visited at night; or more specifically, the restricted section of the library was more familiar to them as they tiptoed around the piles of books under the cover of darkness with only James' thin cloak of invisibility to protect them.

Now, everything looked completely different in daylight. Previously dimly lit, hostile-looking corners and crevices looked oddly cosy and welcoming as the late afternoon light shone through the stained glass of the windows and refracted off the dust particles which seemed to create a film across almost every surface in view.

Quiet as they were, the pair of seventh-years did not go unnoticed, and Madam Pince immediately narrowed her eyebrows together as soon as she clapped her eyes on them. James watched from the corner of his eye as she craned her neck in every direction from where she sat at her desk, observing them as they made their way around the shelves as she made sure they were not befouling what she deemed to be her domain.

"This place gives me the heebie-jeebies during the daytime," whispered Sirius to James as they continued to search amongst the books, travelling up and down the aisles, peering through gaps in shelves. "Remind me to never come back, if I can possibly help it."

James nodded his assent, keeping his eyes peeled.

"Where is he?" James finally said, after they had spent a good ten minutes wandering around looking utterly and completely out of place whilst the other students gave them slightly wary looks.

Finally, the pair found themselves at the far end of the library, and they turned towards the last aisle of books. There, nestled in the deepest and darkest corner, they found Remus curled up with his nose in a book.

"Always in the last place you look," Sirius sighed as he and James approached their fellow Marauder. James would have retorted with some kind of clever quip if he had not been so worried at what he saw.

At the sound of their footsteps Remus looked up from what he was reading, and James and Sirius could not help but be a little shocked at what they saw. Remus was as pale as ever, and this only served to highlight the deep purple rings around his eyes that made it seem as though his eyeballs had sunk into his skull. He also looked as though he would do well to have a few good meals in him. Although he was one of those guys who were naturally slender, James noticed that his school shirt seemed to hang off him a little more than usual.

Stopping a few footsteps short of their friend, James and Sirius stood back in shock as though this were the first time they had seen Remus as clearly as this. There was still a week to go until the full moon. How much worse would Remus look after he had undergone his transformation?

Deciding that an open confrontation would not be the best way to approach the matter, James kneeled down to be at Remus' level.

"Hey, mate. What are you up to today?"

Remus seemed to clutch onto the book even more firmly as though James' words would be able to take it away from him, the knuckles on his hands blanching with the added pressure.

"I was just going to catch up on some studying... you know, because of what's going to be happening next week..." his voice trailed off, already slightly raspy from disuse.

James looked over at Sirius, seemingly at a loss with what might be the best way to respond. Finally, after several moments of silence, Sirius finally responded.

"James and I were thinking of seeing Hermione this afternoon. Did you want to take a break from studying and join us?"

Remus' mouth gaped open for a moment. He shut it, swallowing with some force. He looked out towards on the library windows, apparently unable to look James in the eye.

"I don't think it would be good for me to be up there. I'm not feeling all that well actually, so I think it would be best if I stayed away until I felt better."

James and Sirius had shared a dorm room with Remus since first-year, and they knew practically everything there was to know about one another. They knew when one of them was perhaps feeling a little under the weather. They could hear when someone was having a hard time sleeping, and they could see when someone's appetite was not as it usually would be. Remus had been tossing and turning in bed ever since he had gotten back from the hospital wing, and he had been unintentionally skipping meals in order to 'study'.

Sirius thought that this was due to the Slytherin that had been giving Remus a hard time recently; the last attack had not been the very worst, but it had still been one of the more severe episodes. The Bully, as he was known amongst the Marauders, had a knack for knowing when authority would not be present, and he would swoop during these times, when his victim would be without back up. Neither James nor Sirius knew exactly why Remus was such a target for Conrad Rowle, but they had often guessed that it was because Remus was not pureblood like the other Marauders. They thanked their lucky stars that Rowle did not know about Remus' 'affliction' otherwise they feared the beatings would become much, much worse; and there was very little they could do to prove to staff that Rowle was indeed the cause. The Marauders knew very well that without proof there would be very little in terms of consequences. It was almost a motto that they lived by as it had certainly save their skin more than a few times.

James, on the other hand, knew that whilst Rowle may have been part of the issue, he solely could not have created such a dramatic change in Remus so quickly. James suspected that Remus' sudden decline had something to do with Hermione, and what he had walked in on in the Room of Requirement. Remus' declining to visit Hermione that afternoon only served to strengthen James' thoughts on the matter.

Looking over at the book in Remus' hands, he noticed that it was about modes of travel which witches and wizards could use. This struck him as odd. Nowhere in the seventh-year curriculum did it mention they had to study such a thing. It was one of those things which every student knew by this point because they had actually travelled by each method, thereby making the need to study the theory redundant.

"Remus, I know that you have a burning need to do well in class, but I think that you could really use a break."

Remus opened his mouth to argue, however Sirius cut him off rather quickly.

"Please don't argue with us Remus. To be perfectly honest, you look like you're ill, and I don't think you're going to cope very well next week if you keep going like this. Why don't you just take one afternoon as a break, and visit Hermione with us? Please? I'm sure that she misses you."

After several moments of silence, Remus finally responded.

"I'll think about it," he sighed, before pulling the book back up to cover his face.

Sirius tuned to James and shrugged his shoulders in what James supposed was a 'well, we tried', kind of response. As they made their way out of the library, James turned to look over to Remus corner to see that Remus had stopped reading, as was staring out the stained glass window that was closest to him. He looked morose and gaunt as the fading sunlight outlined the angles of his face. It made James wish with all his heart that he had not caused this funk that Remus was in, and that he would snap out of it as soon as possible. He hated seeing his friends hurting, and he knew that when he would visit Hermione that afternoon, she would be no different.

HPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHP

Hermione had now reached a point where she abandoned all efforts to figure out a way back home. Getting out of bed in the morning would leave her exhausted, and it would often be mid-morning before she felt that she could face the day. Not that there was much to face, in her opinion.

James and Sirius had been around a couple of times to help cheer her up, and despite their reassurance that Remus had recovered well since she had last seen him, Hermione would not feel entirely comfortable until she saw him with her own eyes. The only problem with that was that Remus had stopped visiting.

Thinking that she had made a terrible mistake when she had kissed him, Hermione took the angle that this was all her fault. Well, not entirely. There was a small portion of her loathing which she had reserved for James, because if he had not burst into the room when he did, perhaps she and Remus would have been able to make some sense of the situation before it progressed any further.

That kiss was one of the only things which kept replaying over and over in Hermione's mind. She had dissected the scene so many times in her brain that she almost completely lost what was real from it and what was not. She was sure that she could still feel his slight stubble as her thumb had rubbed against his cheek, but she had eliminated the memory of how it had taken him a moment longer to respond than what she had imagined before it had happened. She could remember exactly the firm pressure of his lips against hers and the contrasting softness of his tongue as it swiped against her bottom lip, only now the memory served to be a source of pain instead of pleasure.

James seemed much less irritated with her, and that was something for which Hermione was grateful. He had said that he was going to be visiting her sometime that afternoon, along with Sirius. Therefore, it was a bit of a shock for Hermione to find Remus on the other side of the door, instead of the others.

Once she got over the initial shock of seeing him there, she had a whole new wave of uncertainly to deal with as she felt Remus' arms snake around her body and pull her into a searing kiss. All the tension in her body seemed to drain into a puddle on the floor, and felt completely revitalised in only the few seconds in which she had been in his arms. However, all too soon her brain caught up with her hormones, and Hermione felt herself pulling away from Remus despite the fact that every emotional fibre within her protesting vehemently.

"I'm sorry!" Remus gasped almost immediately. "I shouldn't have done that. I can't believe that I did, but I haven't seen you in what seems like forever, and I miss you, and I think we need to talk first..."

Remus voice trailed off into silence, looking incredibly awkward as he fixed his gaze towards the floor. He felt as if he didn't deserve to look into Hermione's face after what he had just done. It seemed far too embarrassing.

"Remus, why don't you come in and take a seat. Hmm?"

As they walked over from the door over to the lounge area, Hermione took a few discreet deep breaths as she attempted to regulate her racing heartbeat. Each of them had one side of the sofa to themselves, and both of them sat on the very edge of their seats. Hermione did not know where to look, and so she chose to stare at herself fidgeting her fingers in her lap. Briefly casting her head upwards, she could see Remus in a similar position and her heart went out to him when she could see that he was just as internally tortured as what she was.

"Just for the record," Hermione sent a small smile in Remus' direction, hoping it might calm him slightly, "I've missed seeing you too."

Remus replied with a smile of his own, and Hermione could see his shoulder drop a little as they relaxed. The kiss which Remus had just initiated gave Hermione a pretty good idea about how he felt about her.

"Hermione, I can't help myself. I have to apologise for how I've been acting around you lately. Clearly I've made you upset at me because I came around when I was injured, thereby making me your responsibility, and that was irresponsible of me. I'm also sorry for kissing you, and having James walk in on us. I shouldn't have done that. It was a rash decision, and like all hasty decisions, it ended badly."

"Sorry that you kissed me? Or sorry that James caught us?" Hermione could not help voicing.

"You know that James likes you...a lot."

Hermione momentarily closed her eyes and sighed, knowing that she could no longer ignore the truth.

"I got a bit of a hint of that...okay, I got a lot of a hint about that. He's been around here an awful lot, and helped me beyond what a friend might."

"Do you know about Lily?"

Hermione looked at Remus, a perplexed look entering her facial features.

"Who's Lily?"

"Lily Evans is the girl whose attention James had been vying for ever since our first train ride to Hogwarts, but she seemed to hate him."

"Why are you using past tense when you talk about how she feels about him?" Hermione gently probed, not really understanding where Remus was taking his story. It was here that Remus' smile turned down a little at the corners of his mouth.

"I use past tense because ever since James met you, he's backed off Lily a bit. He's not showing off like he used to, and if the rumours are true, Lily is not as pleased as what she might have originally made out to everyone else. I think that she is, finally, starting to like him back now that his pompous head has deflated a little bit."

"Oh...oh!" cried Hermione as full realisation dawned upon her. "But we think that James likes me now as well."

The pair remained silent as numerous thoughts flickered in and out of Hermione's mind about how to solve the situation. After all, it was not James whom she was interested in.

"Please don't tell him that I told you this,"
Remus hastily implored Hermione. "I would hate for him to think I was interfering, but I think Lily would be good for him, and it would be a dream come true for him as well. If we can make it happen, that is."

"But how could I help make it happen?" asked Hermione, quite unsure of what Remus was asking of her.

"Hermione, I am going to ask you a rather blunt question, but I want you to answer me honestly. How do you feel about me? I think judging by my past actions, you have a pretty good idea about how I feel, but what do you want?"

The question caught Hermione off-guard. Her mind was spinning as the conversation kept switching back and forth between herself and Remus, James and Lily and herself and James.

"You don't have to apologise for how you acted when you came here injured. If I remember correctly, I was the one who initiated that first kiss."

Remus could not help but smile a little wider as Hermione said this, and she noticed his eyes shine a little brighter as she spoke. She shifted her body so that she was sitting much closer to him than what she had originally been. Placing her hand on his arm, she looked him in the eyes for the first time since he had arrived that afternoon.

"As strange as it feels, I really like you too, Remus. As Dumbledore's guest in the castle, it feels like you should be forbidden to me, but I can't help it, and I can't help but wonder how this is all going to help James. I don't want to hurt his feelings by starting something with you."

"Well, I was thinking that we could remove you from the equation," replied Remus, scooting himself closer to Hermione on the sofa. "I think I would like to respond more appropriately to your original questions towards me. I am actually not sorry about anything. I am not sorry that I kissed you, and I am not sorry that James caught us. I know that you're only here for a short time, but I can't stand not knowing what it would be like to be with you. Please, say you'll give us a shot? Please?"

 

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