A Secret is Meant to be Kept

When Ron lashes out at Hermione and gets them into a sticky situation, Hermione transports herself back in time. But the Marauders Era was a bit farther than she expected. She must figure out how to reverse the spell, deal with falling in love all over again and fight against some of the most notorious Death Eaters, who are inside the castle's walls. Not as intruders, but as classmates.

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18. Speechless

“Gorgeous, simply gorgeous,” Lily gasped as Hermione twirled in her new beige-gold dress.  The pair had just finished dressing, and Hermione had begun to work on her hair (to no avail).  The fluffy, brown monstrosity refused to be tamed and Hermione simply left it alone, defeated.

“You don’t look so bad yourself, someone to impress?” Hermione joked, setting down her hairbrush and looked at Lily, whose sleek and curly red hair perfectly complemented her emerald gown.

“Severus will be stunned … especially when he sees James by my side,” she said in an uncharacteristically mischievous tone.  

“Glad you’ve got priorities,” Hermione said, laughing it off.

***

The girls made their way to the first floor of the manor to begin greeting the guests.  After drifting around the foyer, Hermione found herself sitting alone at a table, smiling and waving as the occasional guest passed her by until Sirius approached her.

“You look … perfect,” he swallowed.  Hermione giggled at his comment.

“And you look well, yourself.  New dress robes?” she laughed.  After a few moments of silence, Sirius came back to Earth and finally responded.

“I was never good at small talk.  Yes, they’re new.”  He then grabbed Hermione by the hand and led her to the dance floor.  “But, I am somehow still considered good with the ladies,” he shrugged and then began laughing.  

The pair began to sway in place, and after about 15 minutes of dancing through fast and slow songs, Sirius went off to get them two goblets of pumpkin juice.  When he returned with them, they refreshed themselves and began dancing again.  About half an hour had passed when they decided to take another break, this time exiting the dance floor to chat.  Sirius led them to the garden, and as Hermione began to take in the landscape, Sirius handed her his cloak to protect her from the harsh winter breeze.  She admired the beautiful winter flowers and the snowflakes that were falling on them until she realized they were different than how Euphemia had organized them earlier.  They spelled out ‘I love you, Hermione’.  Hermione’s throat became dry, but she smiled from ear to ear.

“I love them,” she muttered, nearly speechless.  She jumped into his arms and planted a long kiss on his lips.

“Oi, you lot!  People trying to walk outside here,” James said, chuckling.  Lily simply managed to stifle a nervous laugh.

The group began to roam the gardens, talking senselessly, until they saw a small family apparate onto the grounds of the manor.

“Late arrival?” James asked, squinting at the three silhouettes that began to near them.

“Can’t tell,” Sirius said, also squinting to try to get a better view.

“None look too pleased to be here, though,” James said, now sensing an overall vibe coming from the group.  Hermione and Lily exchanged a glance before studying the family once more.

“The nerve,” Hermione mumbled, simply aghast.

“‘Mione?” Sirius asked, perplexed.

“What is it, Lils?” James asked, noticing the same expression drawn on both Hermione and Lily’s faces.

“S … Sev,” Lily said softly.

***

“Shove off!” James said as he made his way back to the manor, pulling Lily along behind him.  Severus had decided to follow the group after his parents had made their way inside.

“Lily, listen,” Severus begged.

“Save it,” James answered in response for her.

“Will you let her speak for herself?  She is fully capable, I’m not going to do anything to her,” Sirius said, severely annoyed at the situation.

“Severus, I’ve seen where your priorities really lie, don’t try to fix things …” Lily said in a small voice.

“With you, Lily, they lie with you.  Potter isn’t as glamorous as he looks.  You think he’s so perfect, but I won’t let you -” he began again but was cut off this time by Lily, who was now using a more commanding voice, now separated from James, eye to eye with Severus.

“You won’t let me?  You … you don’t own me, Sev.  I’m very well aware that James Potter is a ridiculously arrogant, obnoxious, self-centered git, but you are absolutely no better,” she shouted, voice cracking with every other word, on the verge of tears now.

The remaining members of the group were standing together, in awe.  James looked as if he was going to be sick, and simply stared at Lily, voice now failing him.  He simply turned on his heel and started towards the manor.

“James, mate!” Sirius yelled after him, before breaking away from Hermione to catch him.

“I knew … that you wanted to make him jealous,” Hermione said, gesturing towards Severus.  “But you could have left James out of that,” she finished, choosing her words carefully.  “Obnoxious … self-centered … what changed you into everything you see in him?”  She then turned to the manor and set off, leaving a crying Lily and a dumbstruck Severus behind her.

As Lily watched her best friend turn away from her, the wind began to whistle, rather reminiscent of the whistling of a sneakoscope.  It was unclear, though, if the whistling indicated Severus or herself.

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