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Firewhiskey and Enchanted Trees

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The plan had been simple. In fact, at first there had been no plan at all, it had only been an idea that was thrust upon her by chance. It had all started when she had decided to properly tidy and clean her office at the ministry and in her desk drawer, she had happened upon a broken time turner. Clearly, it must have belonged to a previous employee but given the amount of dust and tarnish on it…probably from a long time ago. The realisation that her work desk was in fact much older than she initially thought had made her feel somewhat guilty about the ink stain on it from the bottle she had spilled on her second week with the department. Still, she had carefully inspected the broken time turner, noting that it looked slightly different to the one she had previously been in possession of, before storing it carefully in a small box and putting it back in the draw.

She should have turned it in. Instead she had thought she had known better, known enough to meddle with time. She should have known better after her third year and the stress and burn out that resulted. How could she had been so stupid?

 

August 2000

 

Hermione glanced around her, nodding to herself when she caught sight of the large familiar calendar on her bedroom wall. The tests had been going well. Better than she could ever have expected. She was ready for the first test of her true destination.

She had spent months researching time turners after she found herself unable to resist the call of the one in her desk. When she had realised that the runes on it indicated that it was a time turner which could go both forwards and backwards, traveling outside of time with some kind of shielding charm, she realised that this time turner was special. She had heard the tales of witches and wizards that went back in time and tried to jump forwards again only to age dramatically on their return. It had even resulted in a few people returning only to turn to dust and leave nothing but a time turner on the ground. But this…this was special and it gave her an idea.

Hermione had spent months making test journeys, spending a few hours and then a day and then a few days in the past, always making sure to magically record her biological age when she did so. Once she had established that it was safe to go back further and then return without having to live through all the years the long way, she would provide Harry and Neville each the opportunity to travel back in time and spend some time with their parents. Neville probably looked different enough from his parents not to be an issue, but she thought Harry could probably do with a glamour charm to alter his appearance, perhaps even just a change of his hair would be enough. People saw what they wanted to see after all, and once the most obvious James Potter qualities of the boy were hidden it was likely no one would give him a second glance.

Harry had lost so much in his life, his parents, Sirius and even Remus. Even though Sirius had come back…it wasn’t exactly the happy reunion that anyone could have hoped for. Neville had become a brilliant man but had no one to really be proud of him after his Gran passed in the battle. She wanted to give them both a couple of memories to cherish. A handful of hours with their parents. If Sirius wasn’t so unstable she would have considered offering him the same, in fact for Sirius all it would take was a deaging potion and knowing where his past self was and she could have granted him a few hours with his friends again.

Unfortunately, Sirius had fallen through the veil only to return inexplicably upon Bellatrix’s death. Stumbling out of the archway in a confused state his first thoughts were of Harry. He arrived at Hogwarts only hours after the battle to find that Harry had died and returned to life and destroyed Voldemort at last…but his best friend, the last marauder, was dead. The first few months, Sirius had been confused but reasonably alright, given everything he had been through and Harry had been the happiest he had ever been. The weight of the world lifted from his shoulders. It was when Harry moved out of Grimmauld place, having married Ginny that he began to spiral. His guilt at missing the battle, wondering if he were there whether Remus could have been saved, if others could have been saved. Not to mention…why was he returned from death when so many others were more deserving. It all ate at him. Now Harry was losing Sirius all over again, this time to firewhiskey and misery.

It was why she was so determined to give Harry something happy, something of his parents that he could hold onto. It was that determination that pushed her towards her first proper attempt at reaching a past where Harry’s parents were still alive.

November 1979

Hermione had researched the past extensively before making the trip, having questioned anyone she could about the time. She made sure not to ask any one person too many questions so as not to alert them to anything unusual. She arrived one cold November lunchtime in Godric’s Hollow. The first two hours she spent there she had spent trying to track down where the Potters and Longbottoms were. From her questions, she had discovered that her best bet was a pub just down the road from the Prewett’s home. It seemed like a large number of order meetings were taking place at the Prewett’s and although she knew the location from her previous research, she couldn’t actually find it in 1979, presumably due to it being secret kept. However, sometimes order members, particularly the younger ones, spent time in the two wizarding pubs nearby. Hermione darkened her hair colour a little and darkened her eyes a little to match, hopefully that would be just about enough to prevent her being easily recognised in the future by any Order members who might come across her. It’s not like they would be likely to remember every feature of a strange witch they met once or twice decades ago.

Still, instead of making herself suspicious by lingering too close to the Prewett’s property, she explored the area a bit more. It was a wizarding village, so that made things a bit easier. She visited the Pub, the ‘broken knight’. It was one of the nicer wizarding pubs that she had been into, the walls and floors were clean, the tables weren’t sticky and had nice place settings on them. Not to mention how cosy and warm it was compared to outside, it reminded her of the Gryffindor common room. The probably explained why so many of the Order members liked it, since a large portion of them were Gryffindors.

The plan had been to sit there, just relaxing with a book and a drink for an hour or so, get locals used to her face then leave. Then the next time, she could do similar and start trying to coincide her visits with the Potters or Longbottoms or both and try to find a way to introduce herself. If she could become known as a casual acquaintance, then it would be easier to come here with Harry and Neville and just casually slide them into the group for a few hours. She didn’t need to be a trusted friend or know them well enough to appear on the Order’s radar, that would be too big a risk. She just needed to be the friendly face that they sometimes spoke to at the pub. Unfortunately, she had not anticipated being hit on.

“So, bored you needed to bring a book love?” A voice asked, a dark-haired man sliding onto the chair opposite her. She could make out his muggle t-shirt and leather jacket in her peripheral vision, it made her wonder if he were muggleborn like herself.

“I like reading.” She replied, not looking up from the book. “Always have, take a book with me everywhere”.

“Nothing wrong with a witch with a brain in her head.” He nodded. “Surely you wouldn’t mind a bit of company though, it’s terribly boring in here tonight and my friends decided to call it an early night.”

“Probably because it’s freezing this evening not to mention rather wet out there.” She replied. Still not allowing her eyes to drift from the page. Perhaps he would get the hint, not that she overly minded a casual chat with someone, she just hoped that he didn’t have any ideas or expectations of it going further. “The weather didn’t look so bad when I got here but it seems to have turned on me.”

“And what does bring you here?” he asked. She felt a flicker of uncertainty, his voice sounded somewhat familiar. Was he an order member? Or a relative of one perhaps? She wasn’t sure she could resist the urge to look, even if it might put her on the Order’s radar.

“Closest wizard of village to the person I was visiting is all. Quite nice here actually. I’ll have to come on a nicer day.” She hoped he was going to get the message from her still not looking at him but apparently not. Out of the corner of her eye she could see him shifting and making himself comfortable. He clearly wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.

“Supposed to be nicer next week. You could come back here then; I could give you a tour.” He offered.

“Do you live here?” She asked, finally giving in to curiosity and looking up at him. Her heart flipped in panic. Sirius Black. It had only taken a second to recognise him in his younger body. His hair was longer than his older self, but his face though slimmer and more pointed held the same neatly groomed facial hair that she was used to…though actually it was less neat of late. His eyes were so similar to the man she knew before he had gone through the veil, except without the crinkled lines when he smiled. This Sirius was a teenager, possibly younger than her even. Bugger, she hadn’t quite meant to meet anyone except the Potters and Longbottoms if she could help it. At least they weren’t going to be around in future to recognise her, though she supposed that there was always a chance she would only come across the Potters while they were with Sirius or Remus. She was glad for the minor glamour charms she had cast now. She had meant it to protect her if she ran into one of the Weasleys that she knew in the future, but it was good with Sirius too; it wasn’t like she was going to become a best friend of anything. Hopefully, Sirius wouldn’t remember her at all, after all, she was just a girl in a bar. If rumour was to be believed, he had met quite a few of those. Then again, she knew more than most how false rumours could be.

“No, but I come here a lot, some friends live here.” He replied easily. “I’m Sirius,”

“Helen.” She replied, giving her mother’s name easily.

“Can I buy you a drink Helen?” He asked. She bit her lip; it was a terrible idea.

“I probably shouldn’t...” she hedged gracing at the clock.

“Come on, a cold day like this, a good drink will warm you up more than that tea.” He insisted, waving his arm for the barmaid’s attention.

Instead Hermione had many drinks with Sirius. He was engaging, charming and by far the most attractive to her; smart. He was quick witted and discussed her books on ancient runes with her at length. Two hours later she glanced at the empty glasses in front of her and then towards the clock again. Right, she told herself. Now I really need to leave. Making her excuses, she stood to leave and didn’t even give him a chance to speak as she exited the pub and made her way out into the rain. The rain was heavy, the water hitting her hard and soaking straight through her clothing, it hit the ground and bounced back up against her legs as if it were hail instead of just rain. She needed to apparate to a safer spot for time travel, thinking of a familiar wooded area near Hogsmeade, she went to spin on the spot only to feel a hand catch her arm. She froze. Sirius.

“I can’t let you leave without at least a proper goodbye.” He called, speaking loud enough to be heard over the rain, “And not without checking you’re safe enough to apparate after all those drinks.”

She knew he could tell that she was far more drunk than he was, but that wasn’t surprising given the difference in body mass and the amount of practice the man had with drinking. It was sort of sweet that he did genuinely seem to be concerned about her leaving impaired. He didn’t seem very drunk at all. She found herself looking up at him.

“I’ll be alright I think, I’m a bit drunk but not enough to affect my magic.” She assured him. “You’re getting drenched out here.” And then he was kissing her, in the freezing rain and up against the pub wall. She didn’t even resist him, not even for a second. The second his mouth hit hers it was like a rush of warmth that filled her from the inside out, warming her chilled skin from the November rain. Well, some of the stories were clearly true, Sirius Black knew how to kiss.

She wasn’t supposed to be one of those witches, she told herself when they parted for air. She needed to leave before she changed something that she shouldn’t.

“Sirius…I’m really not-” she shook her head, trying to think of the best way to refuse him. His mouth dropped to her neck drawing a gasp from her. “Oh bugger it.” She muttered, burying her fingers into his wet hair and lifting his mouth back to hers.

She felt the dizzy sensation of travel, her feet stumbling slightly causing her mouth to leave his. They were outside a door on a street she didn’t immediately recognise. It was even more disorientating that wherever they were now, it was still cold and dark but no longer raining and somehow that made her feel even more cold and wet.

“Don’t worry love, I won’t be offended if you just apparate off on me, but I was thinking privacy and a roof might be better than a wall in the rain.” He told her, his lips moving back to her neck. He licked at the scar there and she shivered. This was a bad plan. “You can always change your mind and apparate away from me from inside.”

It was surreal. This Sirius, the one leading her into his flat, was both very like the one she knew and very different. Physically, he had the same features, but he was younger and slimmer, every inch of him was lean and hard. Personality wise, he was so much more open and engaging, she had seen glimpses of this boy in the man that had been Harry’s godfather before the veil but the man that had come back lacked the brightness that this young Sirius Black had. It made it easier for her to separate the two men across time. Though if she was honest with herself, she had seen a shirtless Sirius Black stumbling hungover to the kitchen of Grimmald place several times and the man was not unappealing. Obviously, she had never entertained that observation as more than the passing thought that it was. Unlike the thoughts filling her head right now, watching the younger Sirius peel his wet t-shirt over his head.

Tattoos. The was where her eyes were drawn first. Not as many as his older counter-part but his torso and arms held more than one inked symbol. His hands were warm as they reached for her jumper and tugged it up from the hem. She helped him remove it, her own t-shirt quickly following.

“Muggle.” He commented, referring to her t-shirt. It occurred to her that wizards wearing muggle attire in the way that Ron and Harry often did, was not really done at this time. Though Sirius himself was clearly rebelling against that.

“Problem?” she asked, eyes going to his, which were distracted by her exposed bra.

“Absolutely not,” He murmured, his head ducking to press open mouthed kisses at the tops of her breasts above her bra. “I love muggle clothes.” It didn’t take them long to remove the remaining wet clothes from their bodies, leaving only damp underwear as he drew her towards the bed.

“I really shouldn’t be doing this.” She said, accepting another kiss before, dropping backwards amongst the covers. She watched as his eyes fell on her stomach and then her arm. She glanced at the scars self-conciously but said nothing. He kissed her again, her insecurities dropping away as he reached around her to unfasten her bra.

“Is that-“ his words cut off as he leant her forward to get a better look at her back. “A tattoo.” He realised.

“Do you see me examining all of yours?” she asked him.

“No but…I’ve not met a witch with a tattoo before.” He said. “Let alone runes like mine.”

“I like ancient runes,” she shrugged. In truth, it had been Harry that had come to her about choosing a couple of runes for himself to get tattoos. He wanted something that would be a reminder of Sirius but also of his own. Hermione had helped him choose and Hermione, Ron and Ginny had all gotten runes tattooed as well. On the back of her shoulder were three runes; raido, uruz and and dagaz. Journey, strength, hope. Sirius didn’t need to know that he had been the inspiration for a bunch of witches and wizards getting tattoos in the future. “Do you want to inspect those all night?”

He pressed a kiss to the tattoo before, pressing her back into the mattress. “Good point.” He agreed. “How rude of me to neglect so many of your other charms.” She laughed aloud as he lowered himself over her, tossing her unfastened bra across the room and pressing his bare chest against hers as he kissed her. Kissing him was like getting drunk, when she was kissing him any doubts about what she was doing evaporated. The way he looked at her, the way he kissed her, it was like she was the most desirable witch he had ever seen. She knew that likely wasn’t true, but the idea of being desirable was alluring. Hermione wasn’t a virgin, but her relationship with Ron had fallen flat rather quickly and left her feeling inadequate in comparison to the witches on his arm these days. But here she was, this was Sirius Black. Young, charming Sirius Black, supposedly able to get any witch he wanted, and right not he wanted her. It was intoxicating. He was intoxicating. It was a terrible idea, but as she murmured a contraceptive spell, she knew she was going to do it anyway.

Chapter Text

August 2000

Hermione clutched her stomach as the room around her came into focus. Once again, she stared at the familiar calendar on the wall that reassured her of the date. Then she stumbled towards the bathroom in search of a hangover cure. She had felt fine when she woke up, tired but not particularly sick. It had been apparating and then time travel that had made her feel sick after the amount of alcohol that she had consumed the night before. She had stayed the entire night in 1979. She cast the tracking charm to check her age and reassured herself that she had only added the hours she had spent in the past and no extra. She also made sure to erase her glamour charms…though by now they had weakened all by themselves and barely took a nudge with her magic to fall away.

“Stupid, Hermione.” She huffed to herself, placing the now empty vial on the bathroom sink. She couldn’t believe she took such a risk. Sleeping with Sirius Black… She wanted to be angry with herself for becoming another story for him to tell, another notch on his bedpost, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. It had been the best sex she had ever had, not that that was exactly saying much. Still, he had asked her if she was sure on several occasions, she had had chances to leave and she didn’t. She did however feel herself flush when she realised that at some point she was going to see the Sirius of the present…and even though he was unlikely to remember or recognise her, she doubted she would be able to erase the images of his younger self doing such deliciously wicked things to her from her mind when she did.

The next day Hermione didn’t trust herself to go back to the past again. She needed to get a grip. Not only could she have risked changing things by going back to Sorius’s flat with him, but she had hardly cast a brilliant disguise...what if he knew?! She shook her head, of course he didn’t know, there’s no way he wouldn’t have made hints before now had he known. Still, she needed to make sure that she didn’t run into Sirius again next time she went back, because despite the fact that it could be a way into the friendship group, at least in a casual way, she didn’t trust herself not to have sex with him again. She needed a time travel detox and time to clarify her plan so that she didn’t make any more mistakes.

September 2000

She knew straight away. On Sunday morning, she had felt nauseated for no reason while brewing her morning tea but it had passed and she had thought no more of it. Monday she was late. Perhaps it was a bit dramatic but instantly she felt her heart hammering in her chest in fear and her stomach feel like a lead weight had dropped into it. The pregnancy detection charm was inconclusive that day and the next but by the third day that her period was late, it glowed blue and she knew she was pregnant. With a boy. Belonging to Sirius black.

“Shit.” She whispered, sinking to the floor as she began to cry. “What on earth am I going to do?” She spent the rest of the day hiding in her flat, most of it she spent running through all the possible scenarios, how on earth could she explain this. Would the time travel have damaged the baby at all? The following morning, she owled Ginny. She needed to tell someone. She needed to brainstorm. Maybe telling someone would help it feel real because right now, nothing felt real at all and that night with Sirius in 1979 felt more like a dream than something that had actually happened.

Late morning saw Hermione sitting across from her friend at a small muggle coffee shop a few streets over from the ministry. Not far enough away to be an inconvenience to either of their day but far enough away that it wouldn’t be filled with ministry workers to interrupt them or overhear them.

“You summoned me?” the red haired witch grinned, taking a seat.

“Ssh, no need to be so loud.” Hermione chided, waving her hands in a keep it down gesture.

“Alright, alright.” Ginny replied, lowering her voice. “What’s the emergency?”

“I need you to keep an open mind and I need you to swear not to tell anyone until I’m ready.” Hermione said.

“I swear, of course. Hermione what in Merlin’s tits has got you so upset?”

“I’m pregnant.” She blurted, not knowing where else to start. “But it is so much more complicated than just that.”

“Is...is he married?” The younger witch asked automatically.

“No, of course not.” She replied, sounding offended.

“Sorry, but you did say it was complicated.” Ginny said, raising her hands in surrender. “Explain complicated.”

“I did something really bad Ginny.” She said quietly. “And I don’t know how to fix it. I...I’m not even sure I can hide it.”

“Well you definitely won’t be able to hide pregnancy.” She retorted, taking a sip of her coffee. “Have you seen Fleur lately?”

“No, I mean...” she lowered her voice even more. “The father, I’m not sure I can hide the father. Wizards have all these magic family trees and magic records and things.”

“Hermione how bad could it be? Was it Malfoy?” She asked. Hermione shook her head. “Come on Hermione, you can explain it to me. I can’t help you if I have no idea what the problem is...beyond the baby part I mean.”

“I was trying to arrange a Christmas present for Harry and Neville.” She began. “They never got to have memories of their parents. So when I found a time-turner in my desk...I went back to the past with the intention of sort of meeting them a couple of times. Then the plan was to take Harry and Neville to the past but obviously not with their real names, to spend a night at the pub with their parents to see what they were like.”

“Thought was in the right place but honestly Hermione, you’re smart, how did you think that would work? Harry would look far too much like his father not to mention he would take one look at his parents and either blurt out the truth or burst into tears.” Ginny frowned. “Oh god, it’s not James Potter’s baby is it? You’ve not somehow become Harry’s mother? Or been impregnated with his sibling?”

“No.” She shook her head firmly. “I never even met the others.”

“So, it was just some random wizard and now you don’t know if he’s alive or dead or old?” Ginny asked. “It could be worse I suppose.”

“It’s worse.” Hermione whispered. “Sirius.” To her credit, Ginny didn’t even need a second to process that thought before putting her hands over her face and shaking her head.

“Hermione-” she sighed.

“I know, I know.”

“You are the smartest witch I know Hermione; how did this happen?! For a start how did you not use a charm?” Ginny hissed angrily.

“We did. The first time for certain we definitely did.” Hermione protested. “But I was drunk and the rest of the night I’m not so sure about. I should’ve taken a sober up. Then again if I’d have been sober, I probably wouldn’t have slept with him. I mean...snogged him probably but slept with him? I’m not really a one night kind of girl.”

“Well the Blacks definitely have plenty of magic family trees and books and records, especially since they’re related to so many other families. That baby will be on them all the second its born, it might already be on some of them now.”

“Then how exactly do I explain to everyone that I am pregnant with Sirius’s baby when he hasn’t slept with me?” she asked, watching as Ginny took another large sip of coffee.

“Well he did sleep with you, but I see your point. And you could get in so much trouble for fiddling with that thing rather than turning it in. Hermione, you always follow the rules and regulations, you write a bunch of them yourself; how could you not just hand it in?” Ginny cringed. She took a deep breath and looked Hermione right in the eye in a way that reminded her of Molly Weasley. “Hermione...you’re going to have to tell him.”

“That’s not funny.” Hermione hissed.

“If you go to him and tell him then maybe he will agree to claim the baby as his without telling anyone it was twenty years ago.” Ginny pointed out. “It’s not like he won’t believe you’re telling the truth because there are spells you can do that show paternity. If he does a paternity charm on you and your stomach glows gold, he’ll know it’s his baby. He can’t get around that whether it was then or now.”

“Have you seen Sirius black lately Ginny? He’s hardly left his room unless it’s for more crates of firewhiskey. He’s not really in a fit state to become a parent.” She protested.

“What choice do you have?” Ginny asked. “Either you come clean to everyone and potentially get in huge trouble for having an illegal time turner. Or you try to hide the baby’s father’s identity and be labelled a scarlet woman, while praying no relative with Black blood notices your child on their family tree and there’s a lot of them. Or you tell just Sirius the truth and see if he’s willing to help you tell the half truth, while avoiding possible criminal charges and job loss. Because if the ministry find out that you had an illegal time turner, that you found inside the ministry building and used it instead of handing it in, they will fire you.”

“I know.” She whispered. “And I still have to find a way to hide it or hand it in, without anyone knowing what I’ve done.”

“I think you should get Harry to hand it in. Get him to say it was found buried in the back of the oldest Potter vault or in the attic at Grimmald place or Potter Manor or something. Let’s not have you associated with it in the ministry’s eyes at all.” She suggested.

“That would involve telling Harry.” Hermione said, dropping her head.

“Sirius first, Harry after.” The younger witch said firmly. “You know you have to.”

“I know.” She nodded.

Three hours later Hermione found herself entering Grimmauld Place.

“Hello?!” she called. “S-Sirius are you here?” She heard a shuffling noise from upstairs and sure enough a few moments later, she heard the creaking of the stairs. She shuffled nervously on her feet, glancing up the stairs and back to the ground repeatedly.

“I’m here.” Came his reply, he sounded half asleep but half asleep was probably better than drunk. She felt her heart hammering in her chest almost painfully, her chest tightening uncomfortably with nerves. “Ah, Hermione, did you need something?” He greeted as he came into view. This was the first time she had seen him since she had been to 1979 and she expected to be flustered or embarrassed, instead she was just terrified and overwhelmed.

“Sirius, I need your help.” She said, blinking back tears as he reached the bottom of the stairs and stood in front of her. “And you’re probably going to be really angry with me.”

“Is Harry alright?” He asked immediately.

“Harry’s fine.” She nodded, swallowing. “I was actually trying to do something nice for him. But I ruined everything and I...” She found her words getting stuck in her throat as she tried not to burst into tears and lose all control of her emotions.

“Let’s get the kettle on and get a seat love.” He told her, placing an arm around her back to guide her further downstairs to the kitchen. She took a seat and waited while he put the kettle on. The kettle boiling was loud in the silence, it was almost unbearable waiting. He sat opposite her and pressed a mug forward towards her. She nodded her thanks, her hands still under the table fiddling with the object in her pocket.

“I’m sure it wasn’t a one off occasion for you and it probably wasn’t that memorable but...I tried to go back in time and meet Lily and James.” She lifted the time turner into the table so that he could see it. “I found it in a desk draw at the ministry. It was broken. I fixed it. I researched it because it had runes engraved on the glass. I was able to go back and forward. I wanted to meet Lily and James and then take Harry to see them. Obviously with a disguise of some sort.”

“What did you do?” He asked, suddenly looking worried. “You didn’t say something you shouldn’t have?”

“I never met them.” She shook her head. She swallowed before continuing. “I met you. By accident. At a pub. Then back at your flat.” Silence fell for a moment, before she saw her meaning register on his face.

“You...” his eyes widened in surprise before a thoughtful expression crossed his face. He seemed to be staring right through her. “You were reading a book.” He looked horrified. “Oh merlin, you’re Harry’s best friend.”

“It wasn’t like I planned it.” She blurted out guiltily.

“You can’t tell him.” Sirius told her, his head shaking emphatically and his eyes pleading. She felt the guilt eat at her even more. “He already looks disappointed with me at the moment, shagging his best friend is bound to make that worse. Merlin Hermione, why didn’t you say no?”

“I was pretty drunk,” she offered defensively. Realising that he might think she would try to blame him for the whole thing and imply that he took advantage, she added, “And that kiss was pretty convincing. It had been a while since I felt like someone wanted me like that.” His eyes flickered to her lips as if he were trying to recall the memory of it.

“We absolutely cannot tell Harry.”

“Sirius it’s so much worse than that. Keeping it from Harry might not be possible.” She whispered, her face heating up as she felt shame fill her. “I’m pregnant.” He didn’t reply. He didn’t speak. He didn’t even move.

After a full four minutes of silence he got up and dug through the cupboards for a glass and started pouring himself some firewhiskey. He held out a second glass to her and she shook her head.

“I’m pregnant. I can’t drink.” She said. “At least, certainly not something as strong as firewhiskey.”

“I knew that. Fuck.” He said, downing the second glass and slamming the glass on the table. “It’s mine?”

“Would I be here explaining this story and embarrassing myself like this if it weren’t?” She asked him with a huff.

“Hey, sex with me isn’t embarrassing, plenty of witches begging for the honour.” He retorted defensively. “and if I remember rightly, you did a fair bit of begging yourself.”

“The sex isn’t the embarrassing part, I’m sure plenty of people have gotten caught up and made impulsive decisions. The embarrassing part is that I am Hermione granger, supposedly the brightest witch of my age. Yet somehow here I am not married and pregnant, from a one night stand, after the illegal use of a time turner. If everyone finds out I will be fired at the least and arrested at the worst.” She told him. She felt tears begin to roll down her cheeks and wiped them away angrily. “I had such good intentions and I had planned it all and researched it all. And then you sat down opposite me, and all my good intentions vanished. So now I’m here begging you, to please not tell anyone that it was twenty years ago and about the time travel.”

“You want everyone to think I got my Godson’s best friend pregnant. The wizarding world’s muggle born darling who is nineteen years younger than me?” he gaped in disbelief.

“I know.” She bit her lip. “I just...if anyone finds out about the time travel and I get sent to Azkaban they might place the baby with you anyway. I can try to hide it, hide who the father is but...the family trees might make that difficult. I can...I can probably hide it in the muggle world. I’m sorry I just...I had to try. I had to ask.” She took a few deep breaths to regain control of her emotions, before getting up.

Sirius’s hand darted forward and pinned hers where it was on the table before she could reach her feet.

“Wait,” he said. “You’ll let me check it’s mine? Just to be sure?”

“If you feel you need to.” She said. She stood up and moved to stand closer to him so that he could cast the charm but he shook his head.

“Don’t need that. Come on.” He gestured his head towards the kitchen door. She followed him slowly up the stairs to the entrance and then up to the first floor where the room with the enchanted tree mural was. She wondered to herself, how this could be quicker than a charm but she supposed it was him that needed convincing, so he was welcome to do it however he wished. As long as it didn’t harm her or the baby of course. She watched silently as he stood before his family tree and his fingers reached out and touched his blackened spot on the tree and then traced a branch below it to a blank cream coloured spot with a scroll that simply said ‘Black’.

“There.” He said necessarily.

“I’m sorry. I never wanted to ruin your reputation. Or mine.” She told him.

“I wonder how long it has been here, if I fathered a child in 1979…but I’m sure this wasn’t here when I last looked.” His fingers still brushed against the blank spot.

“You couldn’t have gotten me pregnant if I never went back in time and until I went back in time I wasn’t certain that I would. Not only that but conception doesn’t happen during the act, so to speak, scientifically it could be hours or even days later that conception actually occurs and I guess it also depends on when these enchanted family trees recognise a pregnancy. Does it happen the moment the baby is conceived? Or is there a delay? Because in either instance, it would have had to have been after I returned to the present.” She explained.

“I’ll protect you and the baby from the waggling tongues of wizarding society.” He told her quietly, ignoring her long winded explanation. “We’ll go to the ministry and get bonded in the morning, once we’re married the baby will be born legitimate and no one will need to know about the time turner issue.”

“Marriage?” She gulped.

“That’s my condition.” He said, turning to look at her with a nod. “The wizarding world doesn’t think much of me. I will let people think this baby happened without the time turner involvement but I’m not having people tear into what little remains of my honour over it. It’ll offer you some protection too.”

She stared at the man before her, in this moment he looked so much like the same Sirius Black that she had known before the department of mysteries, just slightly more rumpled in his clothing. What was most striking about him, was that for the first time since he started to disappear into the bottom of a bottle, he didn’t look haunted and miserable. She wondered if perhaps this mistake could be the thing that gave Harry his Godfather back, even if she had not been able to give him a memory of his parents as she had originally intended.

“Would you want me to move in here?” she asked.

“At first, you can choose whichever room you like. Eventually I suppose it would be better to look at some of the other family properties to see if any of those are less…horrific.” He replied. “Unless you’d rather choose something for us yourself?”

“As long as there’s a bed and room for books then I’m happy just about anywhere.” She answered honestly.

“A room on the same floor as the library then perhaps?” he suggested.

“The library has always been my favourite room here.” She told him.

“Then perhaps we should go and sit in there to discuss arrangements?” he asked, “I’m sure there’s…there’s going to be a lot to discuss.”

“I suppose there is.” She nodded.

Sitting in the library, she felt awkward. The worst was over, the plaster had been torn off and he knew. Now it was just about the details, the details that would involve her tying her life to an emotionally unstable wizard with a drinking problem. She found herself wondering if the sex was really worth it…it had been incredible but was it worth this? Her entire life shifting before her eyes?

“We can have a simple bonding ceremony in the morning, for the sake of appearances, if we do appear in public, we should act at least fond of one another.” He told her.

“That’s fine.” She replied quietly. She was the one who made the mistake, she was happy to let him make some of these decisions…at least unless he said something stupid that she didn’t agree with.

“There will be talk, there will be scandal, but I suppose I don’t go out very often so that won’t be too great a hardship.” He said thoughtfully. “Have you told anyone else?”

“Only Ginny.” She replied.

“We’ll tell Harry as well then.” He nodded. “I’d rather him know that I defiled his friend before I knew she was his friend.”

“You didn’t defile me.” She muttered, feeling slightly offended.

“So, Harry and Ginny will know the truth and no one else.” He said. “You’re right, if this gets out, there’s a chance you could end up in Azkaban and then I will be left raising a baby by myself and that would be an absolute disaster.”

“No one else at all?” she asked.

“No one else unless both of us agree beforehand that they can be trusted with the information.” He nodded.

“Ron?” she asked.

“Given that it’s a wonder he hasn’t created an accidental pregnancy of his own through drink and witches at the moment I hardly think he is the model of discretion.” He snorted. She had to agree that he had a point, Ron was drunk nearly as often as Sirius and a lot more publicly, there was a chance he could blurt out the secret while intoxicated.

“Speaking of drinking…” she said carefully, ignoring the Ron issue for the moment and how completely hypercritical he was.

“If you’re about to say I can’t have anything to drink, we are about to have a fight before we even say our vows.”

“Not none.” She shook her head. “Less. For a start, it’s hardly a good example or healthy environment for a baby if you’re too drunk to even be trusted to hold a baby. Secondly, you also might blab the secret to one of our friends if you’re drunk enough. Lastly, it’s killing you and hurting Harry and you know it.”

“Being alive is killing me.” He pointed out bitterly. There they were, the shadows in his eyes that had been missing earlier, they filled his face as if a dementor was upon him.

“Sirius, if we’re going to do this then I’m going to need you. I’m just asking for you to start to manage how much you drink.” She sighed sadly. “I’m not being the nagging wife that monitors your every drop, I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you consider reasonable.”

“Is that your only condition?” he asked.

“I suppose it is.” She nodded. “I can’t think of anything else right now.”

“Alright, marriage, living here, tell no one how it happened and no getting completely shit faced. Does that about cover it?” he asked.

“I think so.” She nodded. “Do you want to tell Harry or should I?”

“I will, unless you want to be there?”

“No, that’s fine. He can come and talk to me afters if he needs to.” She nodded. “It’s my fault after all.”

“I came and sat with you, I followed you…I brought you back to mine.” He cringed at that last one.

“You didn’t know who I was, I knew who you were. I should’ve left and I didn’t.” she shrugged. Didn’t want to. She thought to herself.

“There will be plenty of time for us to blame ourselves or one another later. It’s not getting us anywhere right now.” He sighed shaking his head. “If you bring your things over in the morning, I’ll help you clear out a room and then we can go to the ministry.”

“Do I need anything?” she asked. “For the ministry?”

“Just your wand, but I supposed we should try to look a bit dressed up for the occasion.” He rubbed his face thoughtfully before tugging at the hair there. “I should probably fix this.”

“Probably.” She nodded. “I should go then.”

“I’ll see you in the morning.” He said.

With a nod she moved to the empty fireplace and made her way home.

Chapter Text

Hermione sighed and stretched her back out, as she glanced around the small flat one last time. Everything seemed to be packed, even the things she didn’t really need to take with her, like kitchenware. She probably didn’t need to have everything done today but it would just be easier to be done with it. As far as the world would know, she was having a baby with Sirius and they were involved and living together. She sighed, telling herself that it wouldn’t be too bad; Grimmald Place was a big house. They would be able to give one another space and Sirius wasn’t a bad man, just a slightly unstable and unreliable one.

Still, he was willing to take responsibility for the baby, with very little time to even process the idea, and maybe he wouldn’t be a terrible father. He had wanted to be there for Harry and he had been pretty good at it before he died…or didn’t die. Anyway, this flat would not be big enough for her and a baby if things didn’t go well living with Sirius. So, either way she would need to move. Anything she didn’t actually need could stay in storage at Grimmald Place until she could sort through it and decide what to do with it.

As for the now empty flat above the bakery just off Diagon Alley…she supposed she should probably sell it, though that would take more time to arrange. Or perhaps she could rent it out instead. Neither of which were things she could deal with today, considering she was going to be getting married in a few hours.

Marriage…

She glanced down at her blue dress. It wasn’t how she had pictured getting married. She had never really been one of those girls who often fantasied about her wedding day, but when she had thought of it, this wasn’t what she had in mind. She had pictured a church or maybe an outdoor wedding with flowers and family, a white dress and a man who loved her. Instead it would be a semi-formal dress, a ministry office and a wizard who was only marrying her because she was pregnant.

She summoned all of the boxes, shrinking them all into the open suitcase on the floor and with a final look, she left the flat and locked the door behind her.

 

Hermione didn’t bother knocking at the door, she had lived here before she had got her flat and no one ever knocked. Sirius was already on the third floor of the house when she arrived.

“I didn’t know which room you would like,” he said. “This one has the bigger wardrobe but the one opposite has an en suite. Or there’s the one at the end next to the large bathroom.”

“The one with the en-suite is fine.” She said, gesturing to the room in question They entered the room, Hermione placing her case on the floor, so that she could join Sirius casting cleaning charms.

She watched the wizard from the corner of her eye as they worked. She could do worse she supposed. She didn’t love him, but when he wasn’t drinking himself into oblivion, he was a good man. Considering the age gap, he was still very attractive for his age. He had trimmed his facial hair back into the groomed style he had favoured before his depression hit and his hair was clean and tidy as were his clothes. He was a good looking man when he didn’t look half conscious and to the people that he cared about he was fiercely loyal and kind. She still had concerns about his mental state and the drinking, but in this big house, she could avoid him if she needed to and he might surprise her anyway and actually try to comply with her request to drink less.

“You can decorate it however you like as you go.” He told her, glancing around the room. “But at least it’s better than it was.”

“Thank you.” She said. “I’ll unpack a few things then.”

Hermione spent most of the morning sorting some of her belongings into new homes. Most things she put away the muggle way. It was something that she just did out of habit more than anything else, it was a comforting and familiar way to do things sometimes. There were a few boxes stacked against the wall near the door that she would need to move to the attic, or a storage room at some point, but all in all the room felt homely enough now.

“It’s nearly lunchtime.” Sirius’s voice called, after a knock on the doorframe to alert her to his presence. “We’d best be off to the ministry.”

“Alright.” She nodded.

“Much better.” He commented. “I should let you do the whole house.” She didn’t reply, instead she waved her wand to remove any dust and wrinkles from her hair and clothing and followed him to the nearest fireplace.

She went through first, calling out her destination and stepping through, she hardly had time to move out of the way before Sirius appeared behind her. They went to the information desk to check in and find the department location.

“I know where this is.” She nodded, knowing her way around quite well since she had been working for the ministry as a researcher for magical objects for a year now. “This way.” Sirius followed along behind her silently as they made their way up to the correct office. Sirius approached the desk to enquire about the forms necessary.

“Paperwork.” He said, waving the parchment in front of him for her to see. “Then we take a seat and wait to be called through for a chat, and then go through to the ceremony rooms.”

She watched as he filled in his details, before handing her the parchment and quill to fill in her own. Within minutes he was handing the paperwork back at the desk and taking a seat beside her.

“Do you know how long we will be waiting?” she asked.

“Not long, the witch at the desk said they aren’t busy on week days.” He said, bouncing his knee casually. “We should probably look a bit more eager and happy for the ministry officials though.”

“You’re right.” She agreed. She turned to glance up at him. “I am grateful Sirius. Thank you for helping me.”

“Mr Black and Miss Granger?” a voice called. They stood up quickly and made their way over to the wizard that had called them. “Through here please, take a seat.” They both did so, looking between one another and the ministry official waiting for him to say something else. “Right, so the paperwork is all in order, neither of you are bound to another and there is no legal reason why you cannot be bound as far as the ministry can see.”

“Well that’s good news then.” Sirius commented, offering her a big smile that she knew was for show.

“So, I just need to check you both for enchantments or potions and then ask you if you are entering into this bonding willingly. Would either of you like to do this without the other present?” he asked.

“No, of course not.” Hermione shook her head. Sirius shook his head and dropped his arm over the back of Hermione’s chair.

“Alright, Mr Black?” the ministry official cast a detection charm. “Mr Black can you confirm to me that you are entering into this binding contract of your own free will?”

“I can.” He nodded.

“Miss Granger,” the wizard repeated the charm. “And Miss Granger can you confirm that you are also entering into this binding contract of your own free will?”

“Yes.” She replied.

“Alright, that’s the official bit done then. If you continue through this door and head down the corridor to your right, there will be a private waiting room with your name on it, someone will come to collect you from there within half an hour and take you to the ceremony.”

Sirius took her hand as they left the room and made their way down the corridor. She supposed that was for the benefit of prying eyes. Once inside the small waiting room with a golden plaque displaying their names on it, he let go of her hand and took a seat. She began to pace.

“You look like you’re about to be sick.” Sirius commented.

“I think it’s only just sinking in that I’m about to marry someone I hardly know.” She said quietly. “They’re going to expect declarations of love and-”

“Whoa whoa whoa,” he cut her off, standing and placing his hands on her arms to hold her still and prevent her pacing. “Firstly, I’m not a complete stranger, we’ll be alright. A bit odd and awkward for a bit perhaps but we will be alright. Secondly, I’m not going to do anything physically that you don’t want to do, not even for an audience. The binding only requires I hold your hands and tradition dictates a kiss, nothing else is required. As for declarations of love... Do you love Harry?”

“Of course, but that’s not the-“

“Hermione, do you care about me? I’m not talking about romantic ever after love but do you care? Because you are important to Harry and you saved my life, you’ve always been pretty important to me even if this wasn’t how.” He told her honestly.

“Yes Sirius, I care about you of course.” She agreed honestly.

“Then right now, that’s all that matters.” He told her, squeezing her arms reassuringly. “We will swear to be family, to care about one another and to protect one another and all that stuff and then we will go back home and just relax in front of the fire for the evening with some food that neither of us needed to cook, maybe from that Chinese place we used for Harry’s birthday?”

“You’re not expecting anything?” She asked, she knew that he would never push her but realistically if they were married it was bound to get complicated.

“Hermione, I’m an old man, a terrible role model and have a less than stellar reputation, not to mention about to marry a rather stunning young witch; if free sex is on offer I’m not turning it down but expect it? Of course not. This is a more complicated situation than that. I would be disappointed if we couldn’t agree to at least consider this becoming a real marriage eventually, make the best of it as it were but little witch you’ve given me something to look forward to. You’ve given me a reason to still be alive.” He reached out and touched her face and she saw how bright his eyes looked; it made her heart clench to see him so emotional and his praise caused her cheeks to flush. “You’re giving me a child that I can watch grow up and actually be there for. Hermione, you’re giving me something good for the first time since I realised Harry was still alive and the war was over.”

A knock on the door alerted them to the fact that someone was out there waiting for them.

“Come on, let’s go make this official and then go home.” He said, tucking her arm through his.

A young witch was stood outside the door when they left the room. “Mr Black and Miss Granger?” she checked.

“Yes.” Hermione replied.

“The magistrar is ready for you now and your witnesses have arrived.” She said.

“Witnesses?” Hermione mouthed up at Sirius in confusion as the witch led them back down the corridor to a large set of double doors at the other end. Sirius said nothing, just offered her a wink as they came closer to the double doors and could see two figures waiting for them. Hermione felt tears stinging in her eyes as she spotted a dark haired head and another with red hair.

“Right, I’ll give you a moment to say your greetings, your witnesses should enter the room first and stand to the left of the magistrar. The two of you should stand inside the circle.” With that the young witch entered the double doors and left them alone.

“Harry.” Hermione gasped, breaking away from Sirius and throwing her arms around him tightly.

“Ginny and Sirius explained.” He told her, pulling back from her and rubbing his neck awkwardly.

“I’m so sorry.” She said.

“I’m not mad, a bit…freaked out but not mad.” He said, glancing at Sirius. She threw her arms around him a second time.

“I thought you’d be so angry with me.” She said. “I thought it would be ages until you came around.”

“Hermione.” He told her quietly, squeezing her back. “You’re having a baby.” She felt her heart clench at the awe in his voice. She knew then that no matter whether Harry was angry with her or not, he loved her enough that he wouldn’t abandon her in his anger. He would be there for her.

“I know.” She whispered back.

“I’m here for you no matter how that happened.” He said honestly.

“I know.” She said again. “I love you for that.”

“We need to get moving before they get annoyed and send officials back out here.” Ginny said, pulling Harry away and ushering him through the door. “Good luck.” Hermione turned to Sirius, reaching up to wrap her arms around him.

“Thank you.” She whispered. He patted her back and then pulled away, taking her arm again to lead them into the room. The room looked nearly as dark as all the other rooms in the ministry, except the floor was a polished white marble but with shimmering golden veins of what looked like pure magic, running through it. As they stepped across the floor it practically vibrated in the same way that the ancient stone floor of the death chamber had.

The ceremony was simple. They stood in a circle facing one another, the magistrar in charge of the ceremony instructed them to join hands. He spoke for a short while about the vows that they were making and then got them to repeat vows to one another. The magic was one of the most powerful spells Hermione had ever felt. It reminded her of Hogwarts, the magic in the circle was old magic. It vibrated and washed through her entire body as ribbons of golden light wound their way around their joined hands. As the light began to fade it felt like a warm breeze filled the whole room, taking her breath with it.

“Congratulations, may your bond and binding vows forever be strong.” The wizard announced. “You may kiss your bride Mr Black.”

He bent down to kiss her and to avoid making it look awkward or unpractised she just tilted her head up towards him and let him close the distance. She closed her eyes and pictured the younger Sirius kissing her outside in the rain. It had been so long ago for him but barely more than a month for her, but it was hope that they were at the very least compatible. Sure enough, when his mouth closed over hers, she could feel that pleasant warmth and tingling of chemistry and magic that she had felt before and then all too quickly he was pulling away. Well…she wasn’t sure whether that made things more straightforward or more complicated.

Chapter Text

It took three days for it to hit the papers. Hermione sighed as she entered the kitchen to find Sirius reading the ‘Daily Prophet’. He had been up early each day, checking the paper for any mention of it and here it was, on the front page.

“Well? How bad is it?” she asked.

“The consensus from the general wizarding public is that it’s all a bit scandalous but not the worst match that they have ever heard of. It probably helped that Rita Skeeter was not the one writing the articles, since I think we both know how much she despises you. However, I suspect we should expect an impending visit from Molly before the day is over.” He told her.

A rattling door above them heralded the arrival of not just one but multiple Weasley’s.

“Good call on the rooms.” Hermione commented, as she heard Mrs Weasley stomping her way up the stairs calling their names. Sirius had suggested that, although they could continue to use their own rooms as normal, it would be beneficial to set up a staged joint room. All they needed was some of their clothes in there and a few trinkets and pictures. Everyone knew Hermione well enough to know that she would make the bed, therefore a made bed did not equal a bed that hadn’t been slept in. They left a set of Hermione’s pyjamas semi-folded on the bottom of the bed and a pair of Sirius’s pyjama bottoms on the floor at the bottom of the bed. A few books on the bedside table on “her” side and a glass of water on “his” side and the room looked like it was easily the shared room of a married couple. They had then charmed their own private rooms to have the door close automatically and not open for anyone but the two of them. They had debated a bit on that point, but Hermione had reasoned that in an emergency, such as labour, she needed to be able to wake him up which might require getting inside his room.

Sirius raised his coffee mug in acknowledgement of her praise. “Here come the fireworks.” He muttered. Hermione resigned herself to the events that were about to unfold and made her way up to the main floor where most of the Weasley family were found waiting in the entrance and sitting rooms.

“Good morning Hermione.” Arthur greeted awkwardly, his eyes drifting to the floor above where a door slammed loudly. He looked at least mildly apologetic about the intrusion. “Sorry to come so early, but we thought perhaps it would be better for everyone to just turn up at once and get it over with.”

“I told them they didn’t need to come at all, for the record.” Ginny said, coming to stand beside Hermione.

“Mione it is lies right?” Ron asked.

“You didn’t tell them?” she asked the younger witch.

“I told them it was true. That was when mum sort of lost it. Ron and the George didn’t believe me.” Ginny shrugged. Fleur stood near the two and shrugged.

“I don’t think it is really anyone’s business who you marry.” The French witch, said indifferently. Hermione thought it was mildly unfair that the witch was currently looking even more luscious and beautiful than usual, with her curved abdomen and glowing skin. Pregnancy clearly agreed with Fleur.

“Thank you.” Hermione acknowledged.

“Hermione!” Molly’s voice came as the witch appeared on the stairs and made her way down to them. “Hermione dear, what in heavens is going on?”

“Would anyone like me to put the kettle on?” she offered, glancing around.

“Hermione, tell me you haven’t been lured into this house by that man!” Molly exclaimed angrily.

“Lured into this house?” she asked. “Molly, I don’t know what you want to hear but if you’re asking if the prophet is true and if I married Sirius then it is and I did.” She stayed as calm as she could, even though she felt her cheeks heat up at being scolded by the older woman. She had never done well with being thought of badly, especially by her elders.

“Hermione Granger! You were such a nice young girl! How could you have let this happen? Marrying a wizard twice your age!” she spluttered. “Not to mention Sirius Black of all people!”

“Of all people?” she asked in horror on the man’s behalf. “I know he’s been going through a lot but he’s still an order member and your friend!” Sirius chose that exact moment to appear from behind her and Molly honed straight in on him.

“And You!” she exclaimed shrilly. “Taking advantage and seducing a girl half your age! It’s despicable!”

“Molly, I doubt it’s a sordid as all that.” Arthur murmured, touching his wife’s arm.

“Hermione is still an adult Mum.” Ginny pointed out. “She’s allowed to get married.”

“But to him?! She’s throwing her life away!” Molly insisted. “Such a bright young witch and she’s throwing it all away to become another notch on your bedpost!”

After that shouting pretty much came from all directions and Hermione lost track of who was saying what as Ginny and Sirius loudly faced off against Molly and Ron. Arthur and George looked to be trying to at least calm the situation and Hermione found herself stood beside Fleur, both of them looking lost.

“Clearly, they have gotten caught up in a whirlwind affair and didn’t want to be parted any longer!” Fleur suddenly shouted, standing primly between the fighting parties. “Surely, it is better that he married her, rather than just seduce her as you suggest? He clearly intends to keep her.”

“Please.” Ron snorted. “He probably did it to get in her knickers, in which case he probably regrets it already.”

Sirius’s wand was pointed at Ron’s throat the second his words were spoken.

“Unless you would like a wizarding duel to occur between us, I suggest you say nothing else and remove yourself from my home.” He growled out.

“I think we should all go, because really it’s not anyone’s business but theirs.” Ginny said. “And shouting is not getting anyone anywhere.”

“You’ll regret this my girl; I have no doubt of that.” Molly said to Hermione, as she left the house through the front door, pushing her youngest son ahead of her. George and Arthur trailed after them.

“Got bored and thought you’d give us some drama did you Granger?” George winked as he passed.

“Black.” Sirius corrected him. Hermione elbowed Sirius in the ribs with a look that clearly said ‘Really?! The fighting has just stopped!’.

“I hope it works out well for you both and that you will be happy, it’s a bit rushed perhaps but…Molly will come around love.” Arthur patted Hermione on the shoulder as he left.

“Be a good husband, she is not the witch to mess with if you do not.” Fleur said as she left, looking pointed towards Hermione.

“I think she likes me.” Sirius grinned.

“Stop talking.” Hermione told him.

“I’ll come back this evening. Without this lot.” Ginny said, hugging Hermione tightly.

“I wanted to tell Ron the truth, I hate lying to him.” Hermione told her.

“That’s not really an excuse for him being cruel.” The red head said softly. “He’ll come around too, you mean too much to him for him not to.” Hermione had wanted to tell Ron the truth, but Sirius didn’t. So, until they both agreed on it, she couldn’t tell. That meant that he exploded right alongside the others and she could do nothing but watch.

The door closed and they were left alone in silence. Hermione made her way back to the kitchen and began making herself a cup of tea.

“You’re angry with me.” Sirius said, leaning against the doorframe with his arms folded.

“You think I shouldn’t be annoyed?” she asked, her hands dropping to her hips.

“Not really,” He shrugged. “The lad deserved it.”

“You didn’t need to turn into a chauvinistic pig, like I’m some-some-”

“It’s not like I locked you in an ivory tower.” He protested, as she approached him. “All I did was stand up for my own wife, who was being insulted in her own home.”

“I didn’t need you to stand up for me, I can speak for myself.” She growled out insistently, waving her wand in his direction as if to enforce her point.

“I know that.” He said simply. “I know you can fight your own corner too, and everyone else’s. But is it really so hard to just let someone else fight yours sometimes?”

“If I needed-“

“This isn’t about you needing it, it’s about the fact that people need to recognise that as your husband, I won’t tolerate people being insulting and rude to you in your own house.” His hands gripped her arms, ignoring her poised wand and drawing her attention to his face. “I need that. I can’t just not care, I can’t just not say something. We are married. We are supposed to appear to care about one another and present a united front. I wasn’t trying to fight your corner for you, I was trying to fight your corner with you. Have you not done exactly the same for me more than once over the years, this very morning even?”

“Oh.” She felt her anger deflate as his words started to make sense to her. Her wand arm dropped and she suddenly felt like she owed the man an apology.

“Do you think that at least where I’m concerned you could maybe try not to jump to the worst and most insulting conclusion and instead, assume that I’m on your side?” he asked.

“I’m on your side too.” She said quietly. Feeling embarrassed by her earlier assumptions and outburst.

“Good, because whatever else happens or doesn’t between us, we need to be on the same side.” He nodded. “People talk, people judge, and they don’t even know you’re pregnant yet. Life can be really shit sometimes but I will always be on your side.”

“Family.” She nodded, she took a step closer and wrapped her arms around him. “Whatever happens, we’re family now. I’ll always be here for you too. Even if it means kicking your arse for being a total idiot sometimes.”

“James would’ve loved you.” Sirius barked out a laugh, squeezing her tightly. “I wish you could have met them. It’s funny though, I can’t quite decide if you and Lily would’ve been best friends or hated one another. Similar personalities can be a bit like that sometimes.”

“I still have a time turner.” She said quietly.

“Oh no, you are never messing about with time again woman.” He assured her. “You clearly can’t be trusted with time of alcohol.”

“Or Blacks.” She deadpanned.

“I suppose my gorgeous genes have to take some of the blame.” He gave her a shameless grin.

She stepped away from him and went back to making her tea and some breakfast. He took a seat back at the table and held out his empty mug with a pout. She rolled her eyes and refilled it with coffee before taking a seat opposite him.

“If I’m going to do the majority of the cooking then you get to do the washing up.” She told him.

“Who said you need to do the majority of the cooking?” he asked.

“If you plan food, it’s takeaway.” She said flatly.

“Fair point. I’ve never really learnt to cook. The elves cooked when I was a child then at Hogwarts, Remus used to do the cooking when we shared a flat and when I was back here…Kreacher or Molly fed me, or Remus.” He explained.

“Well, like I said, I don’t mind doing the cooking but you get to do the washing up. After all, you pretty much just have to use your wand for that and supervise the charms.” She told him.

“Deal.” He nodded.

They sat in silence and Hermione found herself glancing at the newspaper on the table that had caused all of this morning’s drama.

“It’ll pass.” Sirius said, quietly.

“Will it?” She sighed. “I don’t think Molly will ever forgive me. She was really rather set on me marrying Ron, even when Ron and I already decided that we weren’t a good match at all romantically.”

“So why is he so angry?” Sirius asked looking confused.

“Because he knows me, he knows I wouldn’t just up and marry you without there being a reason for it, because if it was that we had been dating and married for love I’d have told him beforehand.” She explained. “So, he knows I’m lying to him about something and leaving him out. Basically, once people realise that I’m pregnant, he’s going to think I slept with you and got pregnant and got married because I was pregnant.”

“Which is pretty much exactly what happened.” He pointed out.

“I suppose.” She sighed. “Can’t I tell him that then? Leave the time travel out of it but tell him I’m pregnant and that’s why? Maybe he’ll be less angry if he still feels he’s being told before everyone else.”

“Alright, give it a week or so for him to calm down a bit from the first blow and then tell him that.” Sirius conceded. “No mention of time travel. If he ever blabs, you’ll end up in huge trouble and this baby could be growing up with a mother behind bars with me as the sole parent. I want to be involved with this baby but not by myself.”

“I didn’t tell you.” She said suddenly remembering the day that she had cast the charm to find out if she was pregnant. “It’s a boy.”

“A boy?” he asked, looking shocked and staring at her stomach. Though there was no outward sign that she was pregnant, and the table hid most of her body anyway.

“You will be having a son.” She smiled nervously. “Is that alright?”

“A half-blood male heir for the purest house of Black.” He murmured. “That sounds fantastic love.”

“Of course, so long as you get to stick two fingers up at your mother.” She snorted. “Oh…that’s a good point. What are we going to do about her when the baby is born?”

“I suppose shouting back and silencing her isn’t going to be the best option when the child knows how to talk…” he said thoughtfully. “I shall have to look into it, there has to be a way. If not, we’ll just move.”

“Weirdly, I quite like this house.” She said, looking around the library. She had been taking up refuge in the library since she moved in, Sirius joined her in the evenings. Sometimes they spoke, other times they didn’t, it was early days after all.

~*~*~

The following week Hermione went back to work, the gossip at work was minimal, with a few whispers and a few people offering her congratulations on her marriage but overall, it was quiet. The fact that her job and her work remained normal, was something that Hermione was extremely grateful for amongst all the recent changes in her life. It made finding a routine easier and made it easier for her to believe her life wouldn’t be completed different after all. The weeks went on with her going to work and living at Grimmald Place and making breakfast and dinner for her and Sirius which he usually ate with her unless he was hungover, in which case he missed breakfast.

“Knock, Knock.” Hermione glanced up and smiled at Harry at her office door. “Lunch?”

“I…suppose I could go for lunch.” She agreed, glancing at the clock. “I wasn’t expecting to see you this week. Neville said it’s been a busy week.”

“It has been, but the case is just about wrapped up now, so we’re all taking the chance to finish early today.” He explained. “Thought I’d check in and see how things are going.”

“As well as can be expected.” She offered him a small smile, getting to her feet and tidying her desk. “Usual place?”

“Why change a good thing?” he laughed. They made their way to the street exit and began their usual walk to the muggle sandwich shop that they went to for lunch at least once a week.

“So, the case finished?” she asked. Harry launched into an explanation of the case, involving robberies from wizarding establishments and a literal cat burglar, the thief being an animagus.

“Gossip is starting to die down.” He commented, as they stood in the queue to pay for their food. “Have things been alright at work?”

“Things have been better at work than anywhere else I think.” She nodded. “I have a favour to ask, if you’re up for it.” They paid and took their seats on a table near the window.

“Is this about handing in something that you shouldn’t have?” he asked.

“Wow, Ginny is such a blabbermouth.” She laughed. “It’s not actually but if you don’t mind swinging by to collect that at some point as well, to make that disappear, then I would be very grateful.”

“Alright, so what’s the other favour?” he asked, taking an impossibly huge bite of his sandwich.

“Ron.” She said. Harry swallowed his bite and stopped eating. She had his full attention. “I want to tell him I’m pregnant, give him at least half of the truth.”

“Well good, but I still don’t know why you don’t tell him the whole story.”

“Because Sirius and I agreed that neither or us tells anyone without both of us agreeing first. Sirius says no.” she sighed. “I fought him on it, but…I don’t exactly blame him for being cautious, even though I’d prefer to tell Ron everything. Besides, he’s the one doing me a favour, so if these are his rules then…” She shrugged.

“Well a half truth is better than nothing.” Harry agreed. “Hermione…are you and Sirius going to be alright?”

“How do you mean?” she frowned.

“You’re acting like he’s doing you this big favour and whilst you made some mistakes, he did get you pregnant. Whether he knew who you were or not doesn’t really matter does it? He got someone pregnant. It’s not just you that made a mistake is my point, and I don’t want to see you get hurt by doing everything his way.” He explained, reaching out and squeezing her hand. Hermione felt a moment of pride and overwhelming gratitude at not only what a good friend he was but how adult he was being about the entire thing.

“We’ll be alright Harry.” She nodded. “It’s strange at the moment because it’s all been a shock and obviously, we were only just about friends, let alone a much more complicated relationship. But we’re trying. We’ll figure it out.”

“You don’t look like you’re fine.” He said.

“Thanks.” She murmured. She sighed, knowing that Harry wouldn’t drop it. “He’s still drinking himself to sleep. He’s a wreck and I’m trying to understand but…”

“We’re all a bit screwed up and we aren’t all drinking ourselves to death.” Harry supplied.

“I suppose. I know that everyone is different, and he’s been through so much more than anyone should have to but Harry, so did you. You’re married and planning your future.” She pointed out.

“Yes, but I have you and Ron and Ginny.” He said quietly, taking her hand again. “Sirius only has me and that’s not the same because he was supposed to be my godfather, he can’t treat me like a friend. Give him some time. You’ll be good for him. You’ve always taken care of Ron and I, once he realises he can trust you and that he still has someone he’ll be okay.”

“Harry, this is going to sound terribly insulting, but when did you become so very grown up?” She smiled, squeezing his hand back. “I’m very proud of you, you know and I’m very glad my son will have such an amazing Uncle, God father too if Sirius is alright with that.” She smiled and let out a warm, carefree laugh at the blush that filled his cheeks as he rubbed that back of his neck in embarrassment, causing his hair to stick up even more wildly in all directions.

Chapter Text

Sirius frowned at the light entering his room. It was bright enough that he knew that he’d missed breakfast. He groaned and stretched out, rubbing his eyes and face to bring the room into focus. Hermione had stopped leaving him hangover potions within days. He knew that was probably deserved. He knew she was unhappy about it. Still, some days he didn’t even realise he was drinking until he was already drunk. It calmed his anger. Most of the time at least. He wasn’t a perfect drunk, sometimes he did misjudge things and lose control a bit. What he loved most was how overactive his mind became when he drank. He could sit and talk to Remus as if he had never left. He could see James as clearly as if they were in the Gryffindor common room during their school years. He wasn’t alone.

The problem was that, firstly he was the Heir to most of the Black vaults at this point, so he had no need to work. Without a job, he had an awful lot of free time spent home alone. Not that he even had the first clue what he would want to do for a job now that he was older. He had considered becoming an auror in his youth but his stay in Azkaban had caused him to skip that chapter of his life and while he was by no means too old…it just didn’t feel like something her wanted to do. He didn’t know what he wanted to do. Though he supposed that he probably should think about getting a job to set a good example for his future son. Then again…Hermione had a job, maybe she wouldn’t want to stay home and care for the baby. Oh Merlin, what if she goes back to work and leaves the baby with me all by myself?! He felt panic rise in him at that thought. Trying to be a father was still a new idea, one he was admittedly quite excited about if he was honest, but being solely responsible for a child all day? That sounded like far too much pressure.

Sirius felt his stomach lurch as he sat up and cringed. He wished he was better at potions himself. He could buy hangover potions and sober up potions but he seemed to always run out faster than he could buy them.

~*~*~

Hermione felt a smile fill her face as she saw the white envelope with gold and silver patterns surrounding her name on the front of it drop to her desk. Her fingers touched the corner hesitantly. She knew what this was. Her chest pounded with excitement as she lifted the envelope and ran her fingers across the lettering.

“You can open that you know.” Irina Connell said, appearing in the doorway to the office. Irina was Hermione’s boss and had been for months. “They didn’t send it to you for you to pet it.”

Hermione couldn’t help but let out a small squeak of excitement as she tugged open the letter to read the contents.

Mrs Hermione Black

I am writing to advise you, that you have stood out from your peers as a valued and talented member of the team. Therefore, it is my great pleasure to offer you the position of Senior Researcher for Enchanted and Cursed Artefacts. Your new office will be made available to you next week. Please find enclosed the proposed contract and details of your new team.

Mr Marshall Selwyn
Head of Enchanted and Cursed Artefacts

She lifted the top sheet of parchment to glance at the pages below it.

“I’m getting my own team?” she asked excitedly.

“You’re getting your own team.” Irina nodded. “You’re easily as good at this as I am, smarter even, if a bit less experienced. You’re going to be incredible.” Hermione stood and hugged the older witch quickly, still clutching the pieces of parchment in her hands.

“I can’t believe it,” she said shaking her head and pulling back to look at the letter again.

“Believe it. Come Monday you’ll be in a bigger office with your very own assistant in a smaller office next door. You’ll have your own team with the qualified members in their own little offices like this one and then your very own trainees in main room.”

“I’m sure I won’t need an assistant.” Hermione waved off.

“Trust me, you’ll need the assistant. When you’re trying to train staff and other people keep interrupting to try to talk to you, you’ll be glad for the assistant taking messages for you.” Irina said sagely. “No, I think we should go for lunch, my treat, to celebrate. I’m going to miss having you on my team so I want to pick your brains while I can.”

“I guess if you want us to go to lunch, you’re technically still my boss,” she grinned.

 

~*~*~

“I’m home!” Hermione called, closing the front door behind her and shaking off her damp coat. It had been a very wet journey home from work.

“She’s here!” Ginny’s voice cheered from the sitting room, down the hallway.

“Ginny?” she asked, slipping off her heels and making her way in the direction of the voices.

“Congratulations!” Ginny greeted her at the doorway with a huge hug.

“Thank you. How did you find out?” she asked. Her eyes shifted to her best friend on one of the sofas. “Harry?”

“I’m the chosen one Hermione.” He spread his arms. “I think I knew before you did.” He got up as she approached and hugged her. “Congratulations, you’ll be running the department before long.”

“I think I’ll be a bit busy for that.” Hermione smiled in response.

“Congratulations.” Sirius told her as Ginny took her seat back beside Harry. Hermione took a seat next to Sirius on the sofa and it became immediately obvious to her that they were the polar opposite to the couple opposite them. They were lucky it was Harry and Ginny, the only two people who knew the truth. She made a conscious effort to shuffle a little closer to Sirius as if somehow it could make the difference less obvious.

“Yeah, you’ll need to work on that.” Ginny laughed out loud. “Here, have some wine.” She poured Hermione a glass of deep scarlet coloured elf wine and slide it across the table towards her.

“Ginny, I-“

“Oh! No, it’s totally safe!” Ginny quickly realised why Hermione looked so hesitant. “This is non-alcoholic. It’s been around forever, didn’t you know? All those pureblood women throwing dinner parties, could you imagine if one of them was pregnant before the official wedding day? So for the weddings and dinner parties it had to look like they were drinking wine along with everyone else. The house elves would just switch hers and no one would be any the wiser.”

“I didn’t know that. Thank you.”

“So, you get a pay rise along with your shiny new job title?” Ginny asked.

“Quite a big one yes.”

“You deserve every penny and more, you’ve deserved that promotion for months.” Harry put in.

“Well we can’t all be the chosen one.” His wife elbowed him in the ribs. “Besides, I have to figure out how everything will work with maternity leave and then afterwards.” Ginny nodded understandingly, the wizarding world didn’t make it easy for mothers to get back into full time work, childcare options were fairly limited before school age.

“That’s why I don’t want one,” she said. “not yet anyway. I’m barely out of Hogwarts after all, I want a few years of professional quidditch before I have to give it up.”

“Now that is a career that is almost impossible for a mother.” Hermione agreed. “I was hoping that I could get some flexibility with my hours and then if Sirius doesn’t mind then maybe he could cover some of the childcare and then we could get a nanny part time so that he also has a break.”

“Ask mum, you know how nuts she goes for children and babies.”

“Uh…I’m not convinced that’ll be a good idea, at least not while she’s so angry with me.” Hermione winced. Sirius patted her knee reassuringly.

“You can blame everything on me to get back into her good books if you like?” he offered.

“Tempting offer.” She laughed. “But no, I’m hoping we can just wait it out and hope she comes around.”

“She will, rash temper that one but she has a big heart. She won’t want to miss being there for you through this.” Sirius said honestly. Her eyes flickered to his face; his grey eyes showed him to be completely serious.

“I hope that’s true.” She said hopefully. They spent the evening catching up and laughing over non-alcoholic drinks and an extremely large portion of chips that Harry and Sirius walked down the street to get. It was the happiest Hermione had been for a while. When Harry and Ginny said their goodbyes, Hermione saw them out and then returned to the sitting room.

“Alright, what did I do now?” Sirius sighed, putting his drink down.

“Nothing, it’s not you.” She assured him. She bit her lip nervously before continuing. “But we need to work on how we act in front of people. They need to believe it or it’s just going to be like pulling teeth every time we see anyone that’s not Harry or Ginny.”

“Pulling teeth?” he frowned.

“Muggle expression I guess.” Her nose wrinkled thoughtfully. “What I mean is that they will be watching our every move and questioning everything. They aren’t happy about this and the only way to ease that is if they think we are happy.”
“I know this wasn’t something either of us planned and I can’t imagine you’re happy about it but are you actually unhappy?” he asked.

“No, not really. At the moment things haven’t really been much different, except that everyone is angry with us.” She admitted. “But they’re all going to think that you knocked me up and we both just got married because of that. It’s going to make them think badly of both of us. We want them to believe that we at least had some form of relationship before the pregnancy and that the unplanned baby just sped things up a bit. So, we need to work on acting more like a romantic couple.”

“You don’t seem like the type for public displays of affection love.” He pointed out, watching her pace the room a little.

“But you do.” She countered. “And we aren’t just dating, we’re married. I’m not saying we should be acting inappropriate, but we need to look like we are completely used to being in one another’s personal space.”

“Personal space doesn’t bother me.” He shrugged. “You said yourself, I’m the type for public affection. The others always did say the reason I’m a dog is because I like being so close to people.” Hermione stopped pacing and flushed, tugging at her hair uncomfortably.

“Alright, but it doesn’t do us any good if you sit next to me and my automatic reaction is to shuffle over and give you more room, does it?” she asked. “I’m not as good at it, except with Harry and to some degree the Weasleys. I’m not going to explode if you touch my arm or hug me but I’m also not going to act like it’s natural to be cuddled up to you on the sofa and that’s what it should look like.”

“Why can’t it be natural to cuddle up on the sofa?” he asked, leaning back into the sofa cushions and patting the spot next to him. “I’m not going to bite, we live together, it’s not weird to sit together on the sofa. Come on.” She moved and sat back next to him as she had earlier but now that Sirius more or less had the go ahead, he didn’t even wait until she was comfortable before tugging her against his side and tucking his arm around her.

“You’re right, you look completely bewildered.” He chuckled. “Relax, twist yourself around a bit and pop your feet up.”

“Alright.” She gave in, shifting her back against his side and tucking her feet up on the sofa. She had to admit that being reclined against him with him holding her there was actually pleasant. Being sat so close to someone helped take the chill from the room and made it feel more cosy.

“See, not inappropriate at all and perfectly natural.” He said, his fingers tugging absently at one of her curls. “All you need now is a book and you look right at home.”

“Actually, there was a chapter in Gladden’s Shifting Perspectives that I was going to finish tonight.” She told him, leaning forward. “I left it-“ She stopped as he summoned the book from the console table windlessly and passed it to her.

 

~*~*~

 

Sirius sat bolt upright. His heart was already racing, and his body was tensed for attack, as he grabbed his wand and looked around the darkened room.

“What the bloody hell was that?” he muttered, climbing from the bed and lighting his wand to glance around for any sign of something wrong.

It came again. A scream that echoed through the house. A scream so pained he felt it reverberate inside him. Then her heard his mother’s portrait begin to complain. Hermione. Ignoring the portrait below, he charged straight up the stairs to the next floor. His burst into her room to find no attacker, instead he only found Hermione whimpering on the bed. He watched in horror as her back arched and set let out another chilling scream.

“What the fuck…” he crossed the room and dropped his wand on the mattress. He reached for her shoulder to wake her, but it only caused her to trash more. “Hermione?” he called, trying to dodge her flailing limbs. His hands reached and caught her face between them. “Hermione, wake up, it’s only me, wake up.”

Her eyes shot open and he quickly leant back to avoid being head butted, as she sat up in the bed panting. She glanced frantically around the room for a moment, before realising where she was. The room was still slightly illuminated from his wand, still emitting light from its place lower down the bed.

“I’m sorry.” She blurted out. “I’m sorry, normally I cast a silencing charm.” He felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach. Silencing charm? Normally?

“You have nightmares like that every night?” he asked, still feeling out of breath himself.

“Not every night.” She shook her head. “But often enough to be prepared. I…must have fallen asleep before I did it. I don’t even remember marking the page on my book.” Her eyes fell on the closed book on the bedside table, he couldn’t tell what book it was in the dark.

“Why the hell don’t you take the potion woman?” he demanded.

“I used to.” She huffed and he immediately felt terrible for suggesting it. He reached out a hand to touch her arm.

“And you can’t take it while you’re pregnant.” He guessed. She nodded. “You can’t sleep like this. That’s properly terrifying and I wasn’t the one having the nightmare. It’s not good for you. Or the baby.”

“It’s not every night.” She replied. “We all have our…issues.”

Sirius sighed and reached down the bed for his wand and moved it to the nightstand. He moved to sit next to her properly on the bed. He felt horrible. Here he had been drinking himself into dreamless nights to escape his problems more often than not and here this witch was, half his age and just as traumatised, hardly an adult herself and putting her baby first. The young witch beside him was facing her problems without any alcohol or potions, being selfless and responsible, and damned if that didn’t make him feel like a complete wanker.

“I’m sorry.” He said quietly.

“You didn’t cause my problems Sirius, not everything is your fault.”

“No, but I haven’t exactly been holding up my end of the bargain, have I?” he sighed, leaning back against the headboard. “I’m sorry Hermione. I’ll do better.”

“It’s not a competition.” She said eventually. She felt conflicted because on the one hand, he was right. He hadn’t reduced his drinking and in the state he was in, he was in no position to be a parent. Still, she didn’t blame him for being in a bad mental place and needing something to cope either.

“No, but somehow you keep winning anyway.” He chuckled darkly. “Even with the age gap, you’re still a better adult than I am.”

“That’s not entirely true.” She replied. “Firstly, a large portion of your adult life was spent either in prison or limbo. Secondly, sometimes you are excellent at being an adult. It’s just sometimes you’re not. I’ve never raised a baby and I know nothing about raising a baby in the magical world, I will need your help. I may not be a fan of pureblooded nonsense but there are some traditions, not related to blood status that would be beneficial for our child experience I’m sure.”

Sirius folded his arms in front of him and they sat in silence for a moment. Hermione yawned.

“You can’t keep having nightmares like that on a regular basis, it’s not healthy.” He said, bringing the conversation back to the reason that both of them were awake at two in the morning. “The lack of sleep alone could be a problem for the baby.”

“And what do you suppose I do about it?” she asked, narrowing her eyes in his direction. “Just magically erase my own memories of the events.” He flinched at the coldness in her voice. It was then that he realised that he had seen her scars. That night, the night he had seen all of her, he had seen those scars and thought that she had been caught up in the war that had been going on at the time. Now he knew different, he knew who she was and where those scars had come from. Harry had mentioned that she was tortured by his cousin. All the pieces finally slotted together in his mind and he found himself reaching out to stroke her arm, the one he knew held one of her most obvious scars.

“No, but do you know if there is anything that helps?” he asked.

“Not really, I’ve never really tried to figure out if anything in particular prevents or triggers them because the dreamless sleep worked fine.” She sighed.

“Alright, well now we’ll work on it.” He nodded, looking determined. He slid down the bed and rolled to his side facing her. “Try and go back to sleep.” He told her, resting a hand on her arm.

“You’re staying here?” She bit her lip uncertainly.

“If you want me to leave I can.” He assured her. “But we might both sleep better for the rest of tonight if you know that you aren’t alone, and if I know you aren’t up here screaming. Besides, it’ll definitely help with the personal space problem won’t it?”

“Alright.” She agreed.

“Come here then.” He said, tugging her towards him and manoeuvring her onto her side as well, so that he could spoon her from behind. He remembered doing this with Remus when his friend had had nightmares back at Hogwarts. Hermione almost instantly relaxed against him. “From now on, let’s both try to do things together, yeah? We’re both a bit fucked up, if you can face yours, I can face mine.”

“Does that mean you’re going to stop drinking?” she whispered.

“Yes, that means I’m going to stop drinking.” He said firmly, tucking his chin into her neck. “It also means you aren’t going to be using silencing charms anymore.” She didn’t say anything for a moment, then he felt her hand brush against his arm.

“Alright.”

Sirius would have liked to say that she had no nightmares with him holding her; proof that he could care for her as a good husband should. However, that was a romantic notion and in reality, her intermittent whimpers throughout the night told him otherwise. When she woke him with her sounds of distress, he held her closer. He wrapped his body around hers protectively, murmuring comforting words in her ear. It was as much comfort as he knew how to give and at least it did seem to work, her whimpers were soothed into silence before they became screams. Both of them managed at least a reasonable amount of sleep.

Chapter Text

Come morning, Hermione found herself enveloped in warm arms. It surprised her that it actually wasn’t uncomfortable being so close to Sirius. She didn’t know the man well, but she supposed that they had spent more time together in the past month. You couldn’t live with someone every day and not grow closer to them. Still, she had not expected to be able to be so physically close to him and not be embarrassed or uncomfortable. She couldn’t turn to get a better look at him, but he seemed to be still asleep.

Admittedly, Sirius had proved to be good at avoiding making her uncomfortable. Well, except when he tried to deliberately wind her up. After spending the last part of their evening on the sofa together, it hadn’t been strange him staying with her last night and if anything...him coming and confronting her about her nightmares had helped their relationship a bit, whatever that relationship actually was. It wasn’t like they were a normal husband and wife but it wasn’t like they were complete strangers, indifferent to one another either.

She remembered the look in his eyes when he had told her that Molly wouldn’t abandon her, that Molly cared about her too much. It was an odd thing for him to say, given the cruel words of the Weasley matriarch to the pair of them but it seemed that Sirius was determined to see the best in the woman. She had watched every silver fleck in his eyes fix on her as he had said the words, and she knew he believed them. That he could still believe the best in someone, that he could still feel some sense of loyalty and friendship after everything, it filled Hermione with hope. If Sirius really tried, he would make an excellent father.

“Thank you.” She murmured sleepily, her hand reaching to touch his arm.

“Go back to sleep.” He replied in a gravely voice, his arms not moving from around her. Given that she had woken him with her screams last night, she couldn’t really begrudge him a little bit of a lie in. So, Hermione closed her eyes and tried to fall back asleep. She didn’t. Not to start with. She was awake now and aware that she was sharing a bed with someone in daylight hours. She had shared a bed with Harry before, but they had established long ago that there wasn’t anything romantic between them. She had shared a bed with Ron before, but that had been while they were in a romantic relationship. She had even shared a bed with Sirius before, but that had been neither romantic or familial, it had been just sexual, and she had snuck out before he had woken up. The problem was that it left her relationship with Sirius undefined and the situation she was currently in was uncertain. She didn’t like not knowing things, not having a plan or an answer. Sirius was family now, but not in the way that Harry was. They had been sexual but not romantic. So, what was he?

“That’s thinking, not sleeping.” His voice interrupted her. She hadn’t realised that it was so obvious that she was now tense. His arm that had been slung over her waist possessively shifted. His fingers traced circles against her skin, soothing her thoughts away and causing her to involuntarily relax once more.

“You’re good at that.” She murmured softly, allowing her eyes to drift shut again.

“Used to spend a lot of time with Moony when he had nightmares.” He replied. “Go to sleep.” This time she did.

~*~*~

The second time Hermione woke that morning, it was to the sound of smashing glass. She leapt from her bed and grabbed her dressing gown. She hurried down the stairs bare foot and headed towards the source of the noise. She froze in the kitchen doorway, her hands braced on either side of the doorframe and took in the mess.

Sirius was pouring fire whiskey down the sink and tossing the empty bottles towards the far wall. He was aiming for the general direction of the bin, but the bottles seemed to be smashing against the wall and showering glass into the bin and onto the floor around it. She flinched as another bottle sailed towards the wall and shattered.

“Sirius?!” She called. “I never said you need to throw it all out.”

“I need to.” He grunted.

She approached him slowly, unsure how best to approach the situation, the man was clearly stone cold sober and that was such a rare occurrence that she wasn’t sure how to handle it. He certainly seemed like a man on a mission.

“I don’t expect you not to drink at all Sirius, I just need you not to kill yourself with it.” She said quietly.

“I can’t, not yet.” He said, lifting another bottle and twisting off the cork before pouring it down the sink. “At the moment I need it so much that if it’s here I can’t trust myself. So, I need to get rid of it, the wine cellar is still safe, but the firewhiskey needs to go until I don’t need it.”

“If you’re sure.” She nodded, lifting another bottle and joining him to pour it down the sink. “You didn’t need to tip it away, I’m sure someone would’ve taken it off your hands.”

“It’s not the same,” He told her, “and if you’re helping you need to smash it.” His arm whipped out and released another bottle in the direction of the bin. She bit her lip and sucked in a breath, before flinging the bottle at the white wall. It gave a satisfying sound as it smashed into pieces that rained down into the bin. She grinned and Sirius grinned back. They both picked up another bottle.

“I don’t think anyone needs this much firewhiskey anyway.” She told him. She laughed as she flung the next bottle and heard it smash. With the two of them working together, it wasn’t long before the bottles on the counter were gone and the room was silent.

“No what can I smash for fun?” Sirius chuckled, glancing around.

“I think perhaps cleaning up the mess is a better plan.” She pointed out, stepping a bit closer but not too close to the smashed glass in various colours littering the floor around the bin, She hissed as she felt a sharp sting and lifted her foot. Sirius spotted the movement and glanced down at her bare feet.

“Ah, not the best activity for bare feet.” He commented, he took two large steps towards her, the glass crunching under his boots. “Allow me.” He placed his hands at her hips and lifted her onto the kitchen table. She hooked her foot up over her other knee to inspect the cut.

“It’s only a tiny cut.” She said, twisting her foot back and forth to check for any glass remaining in her foot.

“Slide back.” He told her. She put her hands behind her and slid backwards along the table until her legs were straight. “Here.” He lifted her foot into his hand and waved his wand over it. One small, sharp sting and the glass fragment left her skin as it knit itself back together.

“Thanks.”

“I suppose I should clean this up then, prevent any further injuries.” He said, turning and vanishing the glass from the floor. “You’ve got to admit love, that was fun.”

“It was.” She laughed. “Definitely not something I expected to do on a Saturday morning.”

“Morning? It’s already afternoon.” He waved towards the clock as proof.

“Sirius! We slept in all morning!” she gaped. Then she sighed in disappointment. “Well now I’ve missed breakfast.”

“I’m sure we can have breakfast for lunch.” He pointed out.

“I don’t know why you’re making suggestions, you can’t even fry bacon without ending up with it black and stuck to the pan.” She rolled her eyes, sliding forward on the table until she could slid her feet back onto the ground and stand. She found herself standing extremely close to Sirius who was now glancing thoughtfully around the kitchen. She reached out and touched his arm. “Thank you, Sirius.”

“What for?” he looked genuinely puzzled.

“As fun as that was, it can’t have been an easy choice. I appreciate it.” She explained.

“Well, you may have had a point. Several points in fact, about the drinking.” He huffed. “I let it get a bit out of control. I want to be there for Harry and…I’m going to be a father. I’d rather be in my right mind enough to actually witness it.”

“You will be,” she smiled. “Now, get yourself out of the kitchen so I can make us some extremely late breakfast. Go and clean something or find a way to make yourself useful elsewhere.”

“Bossy wife.” He muttered, acquiescing to her wishes and leaving the room.

Hermione flushed. For some reason, despite anything else that had been said or done over the past month, the off hand comment about her being a bossy wife struck a nerve. She felt more like a wife now. Not so much in the romantic sense of the word, but in the sense that she and Sirius were on the same side, part of the same home and family. She made her way around the kitchen gathering fixing for breakfast and started to make it. As she waited for the meat to start cooking, she heard a tapping at the window and turned to open it and take the post from the owl. She recognised the owl and her heart clenched.

Sure, enough the white envelope displayed her name in familiar handwriting on the front. Ron’s handwriting. She handed the owl a treat from the nearby jar and moved back to the stove. She turned down the heat slightly so that nothing would burn while she read the letter, before opening the envelope.

Hermione

What can I say? I’m a bit of a prat sometimes. I’m sorry. Can we talk?

Ron

It was short and to the point, but it made her smile anyway. She penned a letter to Ron, telling him that he was welcome to come by and talk to her any time she was home. She handed the note to the owl still sat by the window and fondly gave it another treat before it flew off.

By the time she was frying the eggs to plate up breakfast, she heard voices upstairs. When Sirius and Ron entered the kitchen, her first instinct was worry. They had not been on good terms the last time that they spoke, wands had been drawn. Still, now the two wizards looked perfectly normal, as if they had never fallen out. She was never understand how it was that wizards could simple mumble a few words at one another and all was forgiven, as if the very fact that lowering one’s pride enough to speak first was all it took to be forgiven.

“You have a visitor. Says you were expecting him?” Sirius said.

“I told him he was welcome to come and talk. I wasn’t expecting him immediately though.” She grinned. “Could you smell the sausages and bacon from the shop?”

“No, just from the door.” Ron laughed. Ron had joined the auror training programme and then the auror department after Hogwarts, but had recently given it all up to move into the flat above the twin’s shop where George had been living alone. Ron helped George with the shop now and it suited him.

“Here’s your breakfast.” She told Sirius, handing him a plate. “I didn’t break the yolk this time.”

“You’re perfect, should’ve moved in ages ago.” He told her, taking the plate. “I’ll leave you two to it then.” He offered a small wave as he disappeared.

“Does he realise that if you had moved in ages ago, you’d have been underage?” Ron mused, his eyes lighting up when Hermione dished him up a plate of food and placed it in front of him.

“I suspect for him ages is a few months ago.” She waved off, picking up her own plate and sitting beside Ron at the table.

“I am sorry Mione.” He said, taking a large bite of sausage. “You’d think I’d learn when my temper is going to get me in trouble but I never do. I didn’t mean it. You know that right?”

“I…I hoped you didn’t.” she said carefully. “At least…this time I knew you would be angry and I did expect that you would say something. I was hoping it would take you less time to apologise though.”

“I wasn’t sure you would forgive me.” He admitted nervously.

“As long as you are always genuinely sorry then I was always forgive you.” She said truthfully. “Perhaps that may not be the wisest decision I’ve ever made but…I know you by now, I know you don’t mean most of the things you say in anger. I did make myself promise long ago that I would never forgive you unless you actually apologise though because it still hurts when you say those things.”

“I know and I have been trying not to.” He said around a mouthful of food. “I’d been doing so well too, s’why I didn’t think you’d forgive me this time. But seriously, you married Sirius and didn’t tell us and… Hermione, you married Sirius.”

“I was actually aware of that Ronald.” She rolled her eyes, dipping a piece of her toast into the remaining running yolk of her egg.

“You’ve got to explain this one to me Hermione because I just don’t get it.”

“I was going to tell you, but I didn’t want to tell everyone, and everyone was here. Then you exploded and I wasn’t going to tell you until you apologised and were willing to actually listen to me.” She put down her knife and fork and pushed her plate away, now full. “It’s a secret still, you can’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t.” he agreed.

“Sirius and I weren’t planning to leap into a marriage.” She told him, her stomach knotted at the knowledge that she was still lying to him but she knew that it was necessary. “Something happened that made us…skip a few steps and get married rather quickly.” She waited while her meaning sunk in.

“Hermione you didn’t?” his eyes widened. “You’re not?”

“I’m pregnant.” She nodded. His face paled in shock at the actual words.

“But you always said-“

“Ron, believe me, I know what I said.” She cut him off. “I wasn’t planning on having a baby at my age, of course I wasn’t. I wasn’t planning on getting married so young. I wasn’t even sure I was serious enough about Sirius to want to marry him one day at all but…he took the news well and we did decide that it would be best for us all.”

“I can’t believe you were sleeping with Harry’s godfather and didn’t tell us.” Ron huffed in disbelief.

“Well, maybe getting pregnant was karma for keeping secrets.” She shrugged.

“Maybe.” He laughed. “You’re alright though, about it all?”

“I am now. I’d be better if your mother could also come around.” She said pointedly.

“She’s calmed down a bit, I’ll test the waters and see where she’s at.” He promised. He was sombre for a moment and she wondered what he was thinking. “He did the right thing. People are still pretty old fashioned about that stuff. It’s good that he married you straight away.”

“And you two are good?” she asked.

“Yeah, all sorted.” He nodded. “So, I take it Ginny already knew, that’s why she was fine with it?”

“She was…not fine with it at first but she was supportive of the decisions that needed to be made. I needed to tell someone.” She knew what was coming and continued before he could ask. “Sirius told Harry. He wanted Harry to know before we got married. I think if Harry had really protested, he wouldn’t have married me.”

“So just Ginny and Harry?” he asked.

“Just Ginny and Harry.” She nodded. “You were supposed to be told much earlier, like I said but I wasn’t about to explain my accidental pregnancy in front of a good portion of the Weasley family while yelling in my foyer.

“Yeah.” He nodded. “Sorry.”

“I’ve met your mum.” She waved him off. “At least you apologise.”

“You know some people, like mum, will guess why you got married when they find out about the baby?”

“I know, but it was early enough that not everyone will think that at least.” She sighed. “Most people will think it’s a honeymoon baby.”

“Hermione, you’ve had sex with Sirius.” Ron suddenly cringed.

“Yes Ron,” she said patiently, because it was true, she had and it had been what had started this entire mess in the first place.

“Just not a thought I really want to picture.”

“Then don’t picture it.” She laughed, “It’s none of your business who I have sex with anyway, given the sheer number of people that you’ve had sex with since me.”

“Alright, alright,” he raised his hands in surrender. “These sausages are really good.” He reached over and stole the remaining half eaten one from her plate.

“They are actually, I get them from a little corner shop not far from work.” She nodded, glad the awkward conversation was over and they were back to being friends.

Chapter Text

Life was surprisingly comfortable and less changed than Hermione had imagined it would be. It was late in the evening, probably late enough to nearly be tomorrow. She sat across the sofa, her feet on her husband’s thigh as she scratched notes onto her parchment. She noticed Sirius’s head drooping and prodding her with her foot.

“Sirius, go to bed.” She told him.

“You should be going to bed as well,” he told her, patting her leg. “You are growing a human and you are the one of us that has work in the morning.”

“That sounded disproving.” She said with a smirk.

“Only that you make me feel lazy.” He assured her. “I would not dare to tell you what you may or may not do for your career or with your time.”

“Wise man.” She grinned. “I need to make and appointment to see a healer though.”

“Is there something wrong?” he asked, his eyes flicking to her stomach.

“No, but I am pregnant, usually there are checks and things that are needed.” She told him. “It’s been over a month since we got married, it’s going to come out soon either way…because pretty soon I’m going to get rather big.”

“Well, right now you can’t even tell.” He told her, his hand reaching to brush against her shirt.

“No, even I can’t.” she agreed, lifting her blouse a little to show her bare stomach and shifting her hands along it. “Nothing at all.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” he asked, leaning down across her.

“If you really want to you can, but you don’t really need to for the first appointment. I’ll let you know if there is anything important you might want to come to later though.” She told him, putting down her parchment with a sigh. “Alright, bedtime.”

“How are you feeling tonight?” he asked. He always asked now, ever since that night she had woken him with her nightmares. He would ask how her day was and how she was feeling and usually on days where she was relaxed and happy, she was fine, they would go to their own beds and she wouldn’t have a nightmare. On days where she felt terrible, they would sleep in their staged bedroom and he would hold her and keep the worst of her nightmares away. Some nights she had nightmares anyway and he had to run up the stairs when she woke him.

“I’m alright I think.” She told him. His hand brushed across her stomach, his warm fingers skimming across her bare skin.

“You were one of the few I remember you know.” He said quietly. “I’m not saying I was head over heels or anything but I wasn’t in a great place with the war going on and there was a lot of witches but very few I ever wanted to run into again. I hoped I would see you at the pub again.”

“Well now you know why you didn’t.” she replied.

“Now I know.” He agreed.

“So, when you say again...”

“If you ever touch a time turner again, I will kill you myself.” He told her.

“Bit harsh but I suppose I deserved that.” She agreed. “But Sirius I’m right here and it was only a few months ago for me...”

“It was a very long time ago for me as I’m sure you are aware.” He huffed. She said nothing and he glanced at her to find her still staring at him. “You’re suggesting...”

“I’m suggesting that we know we have chemistry and you said yourself you wouldn’t turn down free sex and maybe we aren’t there yet…but we could be, one day. It doesn’t seem like an impossible idea.” She said, looking a bit flushed and nervous as she spoke.

“Go to bed Hermione.” He told her quietly. “That conversation can wait.”

~*~*~*~

Two days later found Hermione sat in a quiet waiting room at St Mungos. She liked the waiting rooms in the wizarding world more than those in the muggle world. In the muggle world rooms always seemed very plain and cold and sterile, which was of course the point. They needed plain bright, clean walls and floors so that they could be more easily cleaned or any germs. In the wizarding world, germs could be banished with a spell on the room without needing to see the dirt. It meant that the waiting room was a deep golden colour on the walls with dark green carpeting and brown sofas and armchairs. There was a fireplace and a bookcase, as well as several portraits and plants decorating the room. Hermione particularly like the mantle; it was wood that had been stained a darker colour but the carvings of vines and leaves on it had been painted gold.

“Mrs Black?” a voice called. Her head turned towards the voice and smiled. She got to her feet and followed the healer into a smaller room. Again, the even the treatment rooms were cosier than a muggle doctor’s or dentist’s office. The walls were a paler colour, closer to cream and the floor was plain wooden floorboards, but the chairs looked comfier than the muggle alternatives, though the cot was similar.

Once she was seated the mediwitch pulled out a piece of parchment and quill before turning his attention to her.

“Now, Mrs Black, what can I help you with today?” he asked pleasantly.

“I think my husband and I may have gotten a bit carried away during our honeymoon period and not been as strict with the contraceptive charm as we could have been.” She said, trying to sound like an infatuated new bride, aware that the news of her pregnancy would affect how both her and Sirius were seen. Though the muggle in her was angry, wanting to shout that single mothers could be perfectly capable and successful; she knew that in the wizard of world it would not just be her life that she was affecting, it was also Sirius’s and more importantly their son’s life. Their son would grow up with stigma attached to him and she could avoid it with a bit of fabrication then so bit it.

“Oh, I see. And you performed a charm to check yourself?” The healer asked.

“Yes.” She nodded.

“Do you mind if I do so now?” He asked, lifting his wand. She gave consent and with a flick and twist of his wrist a blue pulse emitted from her stomach. “A boy, congratulations.” He paused to write some notes. “I do trust congratulations are in order?”

“Yes, of course, just a bit earlier than we planned.” She smiled nervously.

“So, when did you say you conceived?” He asked, looking down to his notes again. His quill scratching away on the form.

“Most likely around the tenth of September.” Hermione said. “That week at least, it was our honeymoon after all.”

“That’s alright, we never really know an exact date anyway, but it’s good you have a rough idea. It means we can get pretty confident idea about when the baby will arrive. It’ll be a two week window most likely, babies still like to arrive in their own time. Some are early and some late. usually with first pregnancies the baby is a little late, as the mother’s body hasn’t done this before so just needs a bit of extra time to be ready. Although I’ve seen first time mother’s go the other way entirely and have their babies early, we try to avoid it if we can but there are lots of things we can do to help the baby should it be born earlier than planned, so don’t worry.” He explained. “Do you know the first day of your last period?”

Hermione faltered. She had forgotten that her last period had been due but not arrived...she would have to lie and say it arrived. “The second of September, it was just before the wedding.”

“Hm, it was likely towards the end of your honeymoon week that you got pregnant then, it takes about a week to reach the fertile window. Then again, there is no guarantee any time you have unprotected sex during your cycle, that you won’t get pregnant, however unlikely. Be aware of that for future.”

“Of course.” She nodded.

“Alright, have you had any symptoms at all that need addressing?” He asked, lifting his attention from his parchment back to focus on her again. “I’ll run a general diagnostic for your blood pressure and check for any change in your sugar or hydration levels or infections that might indicate a problem but generally it’s good to get a sense of how you are feeling.”

“Fine mostly, sometimes I experience a bit of nausea but not often and besides that I’ve been feeling mostly myself.” She replied.

“Excellent, it seems like you’re off to a lovely start then.” He told her cheerfully. He waved his wand, and she watched the diagnostic charms produce runes and colours in the air. Nodding in satisfaction he cancelled the charm and added a few more notes. “It looks like everything is in order. I have a leaflet here about some basic dos and don’t’s, if you have any questions you can make another appointment or ask them at your next regular appointment. Here is a recommendation for a potion which is to help ensure you get the extra nutrients needed for growing a little wizard. It is also safe for you to brew yourself. There are a few potions ingredients that you should avoid which are listed on that leaflet.”

“Thank you.” She nodded politely.

“Do you have any further questions?”

“No. I don’t think so. Not yet at least.” She told him.

“Alright, well, that’s everything for now then. The next mediwitch you see will be a midwife and you’ll see her about once a month, you’ll see me again at about the half way point. If you go to the desk they can give you an appointment for the midwife.” He told her. “It was a pleasure to meet you Mrs Black, good luck with your pregnancy.” They both stood and Hermione shook his hand before leaving the room and making her way back to the front desk of the department.

“Hermione!” a surprised voice greeted and she approached the desk.

“Luna?” Hermione ask in surprise, she glanced around looking for the witch that had been at the desk earlier, she was in the waiting room talking to another patient. “Do you work here?”

“I do.” She smiled. “What can I help you with?”

“Um…” Hermione bit her lip. “I need an appointment for the midwife?”

“Oh! Of course, I’ll see if Felicity Darling has any spaces, she’s lovely.” To the other witch’s credit, she didn’t hesitate of look shocked at the request. Then again Hermione supposed she was in the fertility and maternity department of St Mungos. “She does, there’s a few slots for in four weeks time. Does a Tuesday morning work for you?”

“That’ll be fine.” Hermione nodded. Luna reached across the desk and handed Hermione an appointment card.

“Congratulations on everything Hermione. You look healthy for it.” The blonde commented. “Isn’t it funny how things work out, even when you meddle. It makes you wonder if it was meant to be that way all along.”

“Um...Luna-“ Hermione felt her stomach churn uncomfortably.

“Miss Lovegood?” A mediwitch called from down the hall.

“Oh, see you later Hermione. Good luck.” Luna said, darting down the corridor towards the voice, leaving Hermione wary and confused. Did Luna know? What other meddling could she have been talking about? She touched her stomach absently, something she had noticed that had become a habit. Deciding that there was nothing that she could do about Luna, even if she did know more than she should, Hermione headed home. This evening would be enough to worry about without thinking too much on Luna Lovegood and her tendency for the cryptic. Tonight there was a gathering at the burrow, and for the first time in weeks, Hermione and Sirius had been invited.

~*~*~*~

“Ready for this?” Sirius asked, three hours later as they stood outside the familiar door of the burrow.

“Not really, but hiding isn’t going to help us any.” She shrugged. “Ready to put on a performance?”

“We’ll be fine love.” He told her slipping his arm around her waist. “Just act like you love me, after all I am a catch.”

“I don’t think I need to, you love yourself enough for the both of us.” She retorted, turning to face him. He wrapped both arms around her and tugged her closer to him.

“You wound me, you cruel temptress.” He told her, his expression one of dramatic sadness and despair. “You lure me in with your beauty, win my heart with you mind and then you break my heart with your denial.”

“Sirius really.” She rolled her eyes. “Do be quiet.”

“Well you certainly sound like you’ve got a wife.” Arthur commented to Sirius, having opened the door in time to catch her words.

“The question is, is yours going to curse us the moment we step through the door.” Sirius asked with a grin.

“Of course not,” Arthur assured him. “She wouldn’t hurt Hermione.”

“Well that doesn’t reassure me at all.” He mumbled.

“Aw, do you need me to be your human shield?” Hermione asked him.

“In.” He pointed at the door with narrowed eyes. She laughed aloud and followed Arthur through the open door.

“Hello everyone.” She greeted nervously. Ginny was the first to greet her, hugging her tightly and with genuine happiness. Ron followed. After that most of the Weasleys and extended family and friends greeted her with their usual warmth. When she reached Molly, she hesitated.

“Well? Come here my girl,” the woman demanded, holding her arms out. Hermione felt both uncertain and relieved as she found herself in the familiar embrace of the Weasley matriarch. “Oh my girl you didn’t think I was still angry with you did you? I was just so worried for you, so worried that you had made a decision which would stop you achieving everything you deserve.”

“I got a promotion.” Hermione squeaked out. It had meant to sound like some sort of defence, some proof that marrying Sirius wouldn’t hold her back, but the feebleness of her voice didn’t really back up the point.

“I heard, congratulations, that is wonderful news.” She smiled, patting her shoulder and leading her to the kitchen.

“Who told you?” Ron frowned. “Thought for sure you’d go barking again.”

“Whatever do you mean? What could be bad about a promotion? Harry was telling me all about how brilliant it is.” Molly looked confused.

“Oh. That.” Ron nodded, flushing, and looking embarrassed. “Just going to see Harry myself.” He said quickly, darting from his mother’s line of sight.

“So, where is that husband of yours?” She asked.

“Hiding from you no doubt.” Hermione laughed. “Arthur told him I was safe, but he made no such promises for Sirius.”

“My bark is worse than my bite.” She waved off.

“I’ve seen the bite.” Hermione raised an eyebrow.

“Well, only on those who deserve it.” She admitted. “I protect what’s mine.”

“You know I do the same.” They heard Sirius’s voice as he entered the kitchen. “You know I’d protect her from anything, even you.” He came a stood a few paces behind her, it was odd that Hermione could practically feel his presence even when he wasn’t specifically within her personal space.

“As if you have to protect my Hermione from me, you draft wizard.” Molly scoffed.

“My Hermione, and not all harm comes from curse and charm, you know that.” He pointed out, folding his arms.

“I...” Molly looked hesitant for the first time that evening and eyed Hermione closely. “You know I never mean to hurt you, I love you my girl, I couldn’t love you more if you were my own.”

“I know, you and Ron are very similar, you just can’t control your tempers. Must be from the Prewett side.” Hermione assured her.

“It is.” Molly and Sirius replied in tandem.

“I am sorry.” Molly told her, “I really do only want your happiness.”

“Don’t I look happy?” Hermione asked, looking mildly offended.

“You do.” Molly replied. Her gaze narrowed for a moment and her eyes flickered to Sirius but centred back on her. Hermione felt the urge to squirm under her scrutiny. “Ah.”

“Ah?” Hermione repeated, looking between Molly and Sirius as if somehow Sirius could clue her in on what she had missed.

“Bugger, too late.” Ginny came into Hermione’s line of sight. “Knew she’d spot it, always does. Like magic.”

“You knew?” With that the older witch whirled on her daughter and removed her penetrating gaze. Hermione let out a breath, one she hadn’t realised that she had been holding and took an unconscious step backwards. Sirius must have taken a step forward because she felt him behind her and felt reassured by his presence. If the shit was about to hit the fan, then he would keep her safe.

“Well, she had to tell someone.” Ginny said.

“And you! I knew you had lured her into your bed, left her with no choice but to marry you!” Molly hissed.

“If you want to protect her as one of your own, you will never say that again.” Sirius said firmly, moving and positioning himself partly in front of her. “There is a whole part of this story that you don’t know and never will, because it’s personal but if you want to protect her from waggling tongues, then you need to stop looking for our crimes.”

“You...you do look happy...” Molly said uncertainly, looking at Hermione again.

“I’m scared, but yes...I’m happy.” Hermione said, glancing instead towards Sirius. Who’d have thought that having a partner in this, in everything, could make her so happy? She had always wanted to be independent, to prove herself, instead it was massively liberating to know that she could stand alone but didn’t have to. She touched Sirius’s arm and he finally tore his gaze from Molly and looked down at her. “I’m happy, are you?” She watched the wariness on his face melt, his eyes shift from cold hard steel to liquid Mercury.

“Of course, I’m happy. You’ve made me happier than I’ve been in so very long.” He told her honestly, wrapping his arm around her and turning his back on the Weasley witches. His full focus was on her now and Hermione could see that he meant his words.

“Alright,” Molly nodded. “Short engagement and honeymoon baby it is.”

“Thank you.” Sirius told her quietly, not releasing his wife. “Hermione thought she was going to do a runner to the muggle world and do it all alone.”

“And leave us all?!” Molly looked horrified.

“Oh she’d have managed alone perfectly fine.” Ginny said. “But could you imagine Harry without her? I’d be chasing her down to save me from his misery. Plus, Sirius would’ve spotted his family tree eventually then what?”

“So, celebrations?” Molly asked.

“I...I suppose yes?” Hermione nodded, not daring to believe that the worst was over.

“Alright, I’ll get the boys to sort a few fireworks, and I’ll get some drinks out. None for you.” She pointed to Hermione.

“Or me, thank you Molly.” Sirius added. The witch blinked in surprise and then squeezed Hermione’s hands between hers.

“You might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.” She commented in disbelief.

Chapter Text

It was dark outside, and though it wasn’t cold enough to see her own breath, Hermione rubbed her arms to dispel the goosebumps making themselves known on her skin. It was still later October, it was still bloody cold. She considered casting a warming charm, but she disliked the buzzing feeling that they left of the skin while in effect. She looked up at the sky towards the marshes, as if she would be able to see George and Ron at the edge of the wards. The brothers were setting up fireworks, much to George’s delight. Everyone else was getting comfortable outside to watch.

“Feel better with it all out there?” Ginny asked her, coming to stand beside her.

“I feel better with your mum on my side.” She nodded. “It’s not like I was going to be able to hide it for long.”

“Sure you don’t want to have one too?” Harry asked his wife, leaning down to kiss her with a grin.

“Not yet, and you know it.” Ginny told him, pushing him away. “I’m going to help mum. Get the blanket down.” She handed him a blanket and headed back to the house.

“It’ll happen Harry, when you’re both ready.” Hermione told her best friend fondly, as she spread her blanket out a small distance from the one he was placing on the ground. She sat on it eagerly, enjoying the warmth of it.

“I know, I just…I’ve…”

“Always wanted a family.” She finished for him. “and you have one. You have a wife, all the in-laws you could want and you have Sirius. And me. We don’t have to be related by blood or marriage to be family Harry.” He sprawled across his blanket and smiled crookedly at her, she couldn’t tell in the low light but she knew he would be blushing.

“I know. You’ve been family since third year.” He told her. She smiled softly and felt tears prick in her eyes. She knew the exact night that he meant. She had placed herself in front of him and declared that for Sirius to kill Harry, he would need to kill her too. Of course, they hadn’t known that Sirius wasn’t a threat then. Later that night he had shielded her body with his when they were about to be attacked be a werewolf…Remus. She had been willing to die for him and he for her, without thought or hesitation. They had been that way ever since.

“Here, Molly gave me another blanket for you.” Sirius said, approaching the spot where she sat on a small blanket on the ground outside the Weasley home. “She’s making hot chocolate as well.”

“That sounds beautiful right now.” She smiled, reaching for the blanket. “I really must ask Molly how she heats her blankets without the vibration that comes from a warming charm.”

“Modified charm weaved into the wool, before its woven into a blanket. Same for cloaks.” He told her, dropping to the ground behind her. “Do it this way.” He shuffled behind her on the blanket, his legs either side of her and stretched the blanket out over their legs. Hermione immediately felt the benefit of having a warming blanket beneath her and over her, forming a cocoon of warmth.

“I should’ve known that.” Hermione murmured. “I knew enchantments could be woven into robes and cloaks. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.”

“Probably because it’s far too simple and obvious for the great Hermione Granger to spend her time thinking about.” He chuckled.

“Black.” She reminded him. His arms came around her and tugged her back against him.

“Black.” He repeated. “How clever am I? Got myself a famous wife.” She laughed aloud, her head dropping back against his chest.

“You’re quite famous yourself.” She grinned. “Last Black heir.”

“Escaped from Azkaban.” Ginny added.

“Back from the dead.” Harry commented.

“Yes, but half the world still thinks I’m a notorious murderer.” He pointed out. “Your lot are famous for much more positive reasons. Harry came back from the dead twice.”

“Harry Potter himself cleared your name. I think that speaks for itself.” She assured him.

“Here you go dears.” Hermione glanced up and took a warm mug from Molly gratefully. “The fireworks are about to start; mind you don’t spill.” She warned as Sirius reached up to take his.

“Thank you.” Hermione smiled.

“Thank you, Molly.” Sirius nodded to the older witch. Molly moved on to the others with her tray of drinks Sirius heard a loud bang as the first firework was set off. He took a sip of his hot chocolate and placed his mug carefully on the ground beside them. “This is easier than I thought.” He murmured to her, his hands stroking at her waist and around to her stomach. The sky filled with red and green sparks before various shapes of fireworks started to appear. He ran his hands absently over her front as he nuzzled at her shoulder.

Hermione couldn’t help but smile, Sirius hadn’t lied when he had told her that his friends had accused him of being a lap dog. He was very tactile, but knowing what she knew about Harry’s upbringing and how tactile he could be once you earned his trust…Sirius being the same way didn’t surprise her. His mother had been awful, the rest of his family had been little better. What sort of upbringing had the poor man had that had him running to live with the Potters? It seemed that now that they had been living together and gotten used to seeing one another as more that Harry’s Godfather and Harry’s best friend, she was now someone he could trust and let in.

“Sirius, are you aware you’re stroking my boob?”

“I want to say no, but I suspect that’s a bit too close to a lie.” He replied, she could hear the amusement in his voice as he drew his hand back down to her waist. “I got lured in, they have their own gravitational pull, and I was helpless to avoid it.”

“They do not have a gravitational pull.” She huffed, smacking at his hands.

“They’re bigger than I remember...at least I think they are, not that they weren’t enticing enough to begin with, what with being all damp and breathless and...” he trailed off when he noticed her stiffen in his arms. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t. Not really. I just...when you said you remembered; I didn’t realise you remembered quite so clearly.” She said quietly, all too aware of the other people around them being occasionally illuminated by the light from fireworks above them.

“I didn’t at first, I mean...when I met you during your time at Hogwarts I didn’t remember it as much more than an intriguing witch that I spent a night with. Back at the time it happened I remembered a lot more obviously but...Azkaban took a lot from me, death took more and I think the drink took more still.” He sighed; but was relieved to feel her relax against him again. “It wasn’t until you moved in that I started to remember more details about that night. After all, I see you every day, it tends to jog the memory.”

“I’m sorry I got you in such a mess.” She told him softly.

“I’m becoming quite fond of this mess.” He chuckled, squeezing her fondly. “And what a memory. I was so much better at it all back then, better person too.”

“I don’t agree with that.” She shook her head. She flushed a little, recalling the memory herself. “Sirius you’re still a good man. You’ll always be a good man.”

“You sound so certain.”

“I am certain, I’d stake my very magic on it.” She twisted to look at him. “You’re a mess sometimes but so am I. And Harry understands, he understood before I did.”

He said nothing in return, but she saw gratitude in his eyes as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. She smiled and turned back to the fireworks as she felt a warmth creep in, not just through her skin from his body heat, but towards her heart with an alarming thud of awareness. Her mouth dropped open slightly in shock...

Hermione’s eyes drifted to Ginny and Harry on a blanket only meters from them. Harry’s head was in his wife’s lap and her fingers were clasped around one of his hands, he wasn’t looking at the fireworks. He was looking at Ginny and though she couldn’t see the look in her best friend’s eyes, she knew that he was looking at her like she was his entire world. Hermione could see easily how truly in love the pair of them were. She glanced down at Sirius’s hands on her stomach...could she have that?

If someone had asked her on her wedding day if she thought that she would truly love her husband, she would have probably said no. Or at least even if she hadn’t said it, she would have thought it. Whilst she knew that she could feel attracted to him, which was exactly how she ended up pregnant and married in the first place, she hadn’t expected more than friendship and convenience. Now? She had seen Sirius on his good days and bad days, and he cared so deeply about Harry and he cared about her. If there were ever a way to her heart, it would be by loving the people she loved. She supposed that maybe that was exactly how Sirius had come to trust her, she had stayed with Harry through everything, she would have done anything for Harry and Harry was the person Sirius loved most. The thought of loving Sirius was no longer impossible. She knew him now, better than most did. It hadn’t been his kiss that had made her heart race, it had been his eyes. It had been his emotions and the fact that she could see and read them. It has been the way he let her see it and the way he took comfort from her. She placed her long empty and now cold mug on the floor and laced her fingers with her husbands across her stomach.

Hermione felt herself make a decision right there and then, even if they weren’t quite there yet. She was going to have a baby and love that baby boy with everything she had, and if her husband would let her, she was going to love him too. Hopefully, she might bring him some peace and happiness after all the darkness that they had been through.

“Oi! Mate, that’s still my sister!” Ron’s voice called. Hermione jumped and looked to her right, realising that the couple beside them had given up all pretence of watching the fireworks and were now sprawled across the blanket looking rather guilty and flushed. Thankfully though, they couldn’t have been doing much more than having a thorough snogging session because both were fully clothed with none of it ruffled or out of place.

“She’s my wife!” Harry countered.

“Oh shut it Ron! Don’t think I didn’t see your bare arse in the back room of the shop the other day with that assistant of yours!” Ginny shouted back. Hermione couldn’t help but laugh the second that she saw Harry’s lips twitch, she felt Sirius shaking behind her and knew he was laughing too.

“Ronald Weasley!” Molly shrieked, sitting forward on her chair to stare at her youngest son.

“Will it get me out of a lecture if I bring her for dinner?” Ron groaned.

“Dinner? Here?” Molly asked, her anger completely deflating in an instant. “You’re going to bring her to meet us?”

“If she agrees.” Ron shrugged. “Who wouldn’t want some of your apple crumble?” Hermione couldn’t help but admire Ron’s strategic manoeuvre; compliment his mother’s cooking and offer to bring the girl to dinner, plenty to distract her from the fact that he was clearly having sex with the girl at work.

“Alright, now the show is over, let’s all go and get warm inside.” Arthur clapped his hands and got to his feet.

“I don’t know, looking at Harry’s face, it’s glowing warm enough that we could just stand next to him like a fireplace.” Ron mused. Harry buried his face into the blanket, his wife patting the back of his head in sympathy, but Hermione could see the amusement on her face.

“I think it’s adorable.” Hermione told Harry, getting to her feet.

“Isn’t he just.” Ginny beamed. “Not that you two aren’t looking pretty adorable given the situation too, but seriously, Harry’s face heats up like a cauldron when he’s embarrassed.”

“Your love and support is noted.” Harry grumbled, sitting up and getting to his feet. “Perhaps, you’d like to live here instead of with me?”

“And live with Mum again? Never!” Ginny snorted.

“Come on, indoors with you before someone accuses me of shagging you on the grass next.” He said, offering her his hand and pulling her to her feet. Ginny waved her wand to gather all the mugs to take indoors.

“Can you bring the blankets?” she asked, glancing at Hermione, since Harry had already made it to the door.

“He doesn’t think of me as a Godfather does he?” Sirius asked once they were stood alone. Hermione waved her wand to gather and fold all of the blankets.

“Yes and no. He sees you as family, but think of it from his point of view.” She shrugged. “He met you when he was already a teenager. He doesn’t see you the same way he would have done if he’d have grown up knowing you. Even Molly and Arthur he met when he was eleven and he sees them differently to you. You were family but… I guess you fall somewhere in between really. You’re a decade younger than Molly and Arthur who he firmly views as older adults but a decade older than Bill for example who is someone who we’ve all been to the pub with for nights out. The important thing is that Harry considers you family…but…”

“But?” he asked.

“Please don’t take offense at this Sirius but, Harry is nearly the same age all of you were when his parents died and you went to Azkaban. You spent a decade behind bars and then several years dead. At this point Harry has nearly the same amount of life experience that you do. He’s been through a lot, but he’s married and has a career. You’re pretty much on equal footing at this point.”

“I am feeling extremely offended actually.” He huffed, crossing his arms across his chest. “But you’re a smart witch so you’re probably right. At least it makes this all a bit less awkward. You don’t see me as an old man just yet then?”

“No, Sirius, your age was never an issue I had about this.”

“Never?” he raised an eyebrow, leaning into her personal space and causing her to drop all the blankets in surprise. “Sorry.” He stepped back.

“Sirius, you don’t need to apologise, just make sure I don’t have an armful of blankets when you surprise me.” She bent to pick them up, but he stopped her and bent down to get them himself.

“I don’t mean to cross any lines, it’s just difficult to know what makes you uncomfortable or not.” He explained.

“Sirius,” she huffed impatiently. She tugged the blankets from his arms and placed them on a bench near the door before returning to him. “You don’t make me uncomfortable; you make me nervous, there’s a difference. We both knowing how this happened, clearly we are compatible, you can touch me without saying sorry.” He stared down at her blazing eyes and didn’t insult her by playing stupid. They had chemistry and he would have been a fool not to notice. He liked that they had chemistry, but he also didn’t want her to have romantic notions based on an event that happened a lifetime ago for him.

“The man you met, I’m not that man now.”

“No, you aren’t, but if it’s the age that’s bothering you, it doesn’t bother me.” She told him. “My first crush was on a professor. My second too actually.” She frowned at the thought.

“Let me guess. One of them was Remus.” He narrowed his eyes.

“That’s really not the point. The point is that your age has never been the issue for me. The drinking and not knowing you very well was far more objectionable for me.” She said honestly, finding her hands reaching for him.

“I’ve hardly been drinking.”

“I know.”

He was close to her, his forehead nearly pressed to hers. She didn’t pull away and neither did he, his hand closed around the back of her neck to support her as she leant up and pressed her lips to his. It was instant this time, that magic and rush of attraction. Their magic knew one another, it made it so much easier to trust him, knowing that her magic trusted him too. His lips moved over hers eagerly as she gripped the front of his jacket. For a moment she reveled in the warmth of his body, the brush of his soft lips and slight tickle of facial hair against her skin. When they parted neither spoke for a moment. Hermione opened her eyes to focus on the wizard in front of her.

“Not to interrupt but…everyone else can see you through the window, just so you know.” Ginny’s voice chimed, standing by the door holding the stack of forgotten blankets. Hermione flushed slightly and laughed, burying her face against Sirius’s chest.

“Well she didn’t get pregnant by herself did she?” Sirius smirked.

“Sirius!” she slapped at his chest in protest but couldn’t stop laughing as she did so.

As the couple came inside, they were greeted with claps and cheers and teasing, but Hermione found herself unable to do anything more than smile. She was surrounded by some of the people that she loved the most in the world, she had a home, a career and now… Now she even had hope that one day, maybe even soon, that she would find love with her husband. Hope too, that he could love her in return.

Chapter Text

27th November

Hermione stretched her back and arms and winced as her neck clicked. She probably shouldn’t have skipped lunch. Her body wasn’t going to thank her for spending all day at her desk without really getting up and taking a proper break to stretch, but there was an influx of dark objects from the property of a deatheater who had died in Azkaban last month, leaving no will. The ministry had a list of relatives and another department was responsible for redistributing the estate but not until the property had been searched for dark objects, of which there appeared to be many. The Goblins and ministry were still in the middle of negotiations regarding the contents of the vaults but for now there was more than enough to be getting on with from the house alone. It had been a busy week and it looked like it wouldn’t let up for another week at least.

“You should’ve clocked off nearly an hour ago Miss…sorry Mrs Black, go home.” A male voice said sternly.

“Oh, Mr Selwyn,” she glanced at the door in surprise. “I was just finishing something; I can’t help myself.”

“I am aware. You have quite the reputation Hermione.” He nodded. “I have no doubts that you will have my job one day, but there is always tomorrow. So please, do go home.”

“Forgive me but, you are still here yourself.” She pointed out, pushing her chair back and getting to her feet. She picked up her notes and secured them in her draw for the night before moving to leave.

“Boss’s prerogative.” He grinned, “But even I am on my way home now. I’ll walk you out.” He lifted her cloak from the hook by the door and held it out for her. She smiled politely and slipped her arms into it, she picked up her bag and began walking with him towards the lifts.

She noticed his gaze as they waited for the lift to arrive. It kept lingering on her front, but he said nothing, and after a moment she realised why. He must be wondering whether or not she was pregnant. At four months pregnant Hermione had started to show a slight outward curve to her stomach, far more noticeable to her when she bathed than when she was clothed, but it was definitely there now and the way the strap of her bag clung to it made it more obvious.

“You can ask.” She laughed, as he gestured for her to step into the lift.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude and stare it’s just…it’s always a dangerous question to ask a woman isn’t it.” He chuckled. “So, I take it you are in the family way?”

“A boy.” She nodded, feeling the familiar lunch of the lift beginning to move.

“I imagine your husband is very pleased, a son and heir, that is most excellent news.” He grinned. “I remember when my wife told me about our first, I think that was the happiest day of my life. I had the love of my life and she was giving me a son.”

“How many do you have?” She asked.

“Two sons.” He told her. “We…we did have a third, Harold. He was an auror, we lost him in the war.”

“I’m sorry.” She said softly.

“You have nothing to be sorry for, if not for you and yours…I dare say we all may have lost more.” He told her firmly. “A muggle born witch and the last heir of one of the purest houses in Britain, I dare say it’ll do the world of good that.”

“People have taken it better than expected. We expected far more scandal.”

“My Eevie was my very own apprentice, back when I was teaching.” He confided. “And my best friend was her father. Now that my dear, was a scandal, mainly because I was her superior.”

“Well when you put it like that.” She laughed, stepping out of the lift on the main floor. “How old was she?”

“She was seventeen when I first laid eyes on her, fresh from school and the most beautiful witch I’d ever laid my eyes on. Vicious and spiteful one too. She was nineteen when we married, I was more than twice her age and most certainly did not have her father’s consent, but she loved me anyway. Loves me still. Age doesn’t matter so much once you have fewer tomorrows than you do yesterday’s.”

“I have noticed that it is different for magic folk.” She nodded. “Muggles only live half as long.”

“This year will be our fiftieth wedding anniversary, and Merlin and Messalina willing I’ll get another fifty perhaps even another hundred.”

“That’s really very sweet.” She told him. By this point they had reached the floo exits.

“Have a nice evening Hermione,” he nodded to her, as each of them stepped into a different exit.

“You too Sir, give my best to your Eevie.” She smiled back.

Hermione found herself smiling the whole way home. She stopped by a small shop on her way to pick up some more bread and a few other essentials. Once safely on the front step of Grimmauld place she shook some of the rain from herself and unlocked the door.

The door creaked as Hermione pushed it open. Like a typical old house it often swelled and got a little stuck in the wet weather. Today was a typical November day, cold and wet and grey. She stepped around the umbrella stand and pushed the door shut behind her. She knew that something was wrong immediately.

The house was silent and dark and it felt so ominous inside that she felt the urge to reach for her wand. She gave in to the impulse and felt herself relax slightly at the familiar warmth of her wand against her palm. She did resist the urge to call out for Sirius though, because if something was wrong she would be alerting any intruder to her presence.

She slid her coat off silently and hung it on the stand, not bothering to shake it out or cast a drying charm on it. She slid her feet out of her boots and carefully put the shopping on the floor so that she would make no noise. Treading quietly down the hallway, she glanced in each of the open doorways cautiously as she went. She shoulders relaxed when she reached the large sitting room and her eyes fell on the familiar figure of her husband. She cast a drying charm on her hair and slid her wand away.

“Sirius?” She called. He didn’t reply. He didn’t move. Not so much of a twitch. It was dark, she couldn’t understand why he would just want to stand in the dark looking out the window, but she knew in her gut it meant something was wrong. “Sirius, is something wrong?” She approached him. He still said nothing. She could see his face reflected back in the glass and though she couldn’t be certain, it looked like his face was wet with tears.

Slowly she reached out her hand, touching his arm and moving into his space.

“The garden looks so quiet at night, compared to the street and all the lights that side.” She said softly, for lack of anything else to say. She shifted herself under his arm and slid hers around his waist. He still said nothing, but his fingers gripped at her shoulder and then he moved and manoeuvred her in front of him, she dropped her arm and allowed him to move her where he wanted. He pulled her back against him and wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her to him as he rested his chin on her shoulder.

“It’s nearly the full moon.” She could smell firewhiskey on his breath but couldn’t bring herself to be angry. She understood now and even if this was a setback…he had tried. She knew he had tried.

“I know.” She whispered, her hands covering his in front of her. “I miss them both, I can’t imagine how it must be for you. I’m sorry.”

“How am I the one that’s left? It should have been Remus, or James. They were so good. Better than me.” He sounded so frustrated, she turned in his arms and slid her arms around his neck to hug him tightly. She found her chest tightening painfully and screwed her eyes shut against tears and she embraced him.

“You’re good Sirius, and I’m glad you’re here, even if none of it is fair.” She told him.

“Neither of my best friends got to see their son’s grow up Hermione.” He huffed angrily, pulling himself away from her. “That is beyond unfair!” That was odd for him, usually he wanted physical contact most of the time, it made her realise that it was his way of punishing himself by not allowing her to comfort him. She sniffed and wiped her eyes, how much this man hated himself sometimes…it broke her heart.

“Then the best thing you can do to honour their memory is to be here and watch your son grow up.” She said, looking up at him, ignoring his anger and stepping determinedly back into his space. “And theirs.” She tugged against his neck slightly until his forehead met hers. “It’s finally over, so honour your friends and be here to watch all of your sons grow up. Teddy and Harry and…ours.”

“It’s not fair.” He choked out again angrily.

“No,” she agreed. “It’s not.”

“I just keep thinking back to James and Lily getting married, we were all so happy and hopeful. The war was only just beginning then, we had no idea…” he sighed, nuzzling his face into her hair and breathing in the smell of her as if she would vanish from his arms at any moment. “Neither James nor I were at Remus’s wedding. He never got to introduce me to his son… Neither of them saw me get married and they won’t meet my son. We were supposed to be together through everything.”

“But Harry was there, and Harry will be there so see our son and so will Teddy. Our son and Remus’s son can practically grow up together, he’s only two.” She told him, grasping his arms, trying to hold him to her, tie him to her as if it would stop him falling apart. “Sirius…”

“Stay with me.” He pleaded, his voice rough, she reached up and wiped the tears from his face. “I need you.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” She told him. “Except to put the cheese in the fridge because I left the shopping in the hall. Let’s go make a cup of tea and grab some snacks and just go curl up in bed. You can tell me more stories about James and Remus.” He followed her to the hall and then down to the kitchen, he watched her as she put the kitchen on and then moved about the room making some sandwiches and putting them onto a tray with a bag of grapes and a packet of biscuits. With the tea made so levitated the tray ahead of her and they headed upstairs to the master bedroom that they sometimes shared. Sirius just followed her looking like a lost boy.

“I’m sorry.” He said, as she turned on the lamps and turned down the bed.

“Don’t apologise for being human Sirius, not to me.” She told him. She tugged her jumper over her head and dropped it onto the ottoman at the end of the bed. “Do you want to see something?”

“A good something?” he asked, and she was relieved to finally see some of the brightness returning to his eyes.

“Just hold on a second.” She said. She turned away from him, picking up her pyjama bottoms and tugging them on under her skirt. She unfastened the skirt and let it drop to the floor. Then she turned back to Sirius and began to undo the buttons of her blouse, starting at the bottom. His eyes fixated on her skin as her stomach peaked through the gap. “You can tell now, my boss could tell earlier when my bag strap made my clothes sort of cling to it.”

Sirius crossed the room to the bed, he sat on it so that he was lower than her. His hands slid the bottom of her blouse apart so that he had a clear view.

“That’s our son in there.” He breathed.

“It is.” She smiled. His hands reached higher, his fingers going to the remaining buttons. Her hand moved to them self consciously.

“Let me.” He whispered, brushing her hands away. She didn’t protest again. She let him undo the remaining buttons and push the blouse from her shoulders to the floor. “Come here.” He tugged her to the bed with him, urging her onto her back so that he could stroke her stomach and inspect it closer. She should have felt more embarrassed, but she didn’t. Sirius wasn’t doing this with sexual thoughts in his mind. His focus was solely on their child in her stomach.

She felt tears prickle her eyes as he reverently placed kisses across her skin and began to whisper against it. She couldn’t hear what he was saying, part of her wished she could, but she didn’t want to interrupt him to ask. This was a happy moment she could offer him.

“Sirius, let’s get ready for bed.” She told him a few minutes later, reaching down to thread her fingers through his hair.

“You are beautiful.” He told her, lifting himself up, closer to her face. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Probably starve or live off of takeaways.” She told him, patting his cheek. “Come on, get ready for bed. We can have our tea and snacks in bed.”

“Only if you don’t get crumbs in the bed.” He said, sitting up and shaking out of his jacket.

“If I do, I know a charm to get rid of them.” She assured him. She got up and picked up her pyjama top, turning away from him to unfasten and remove her bra and pull on the top. Sirius didn’t bother turning away, though he never did. He moved around the room shirtless, gathering their clothing and dropping it on the ottoman at the end of the bed, before unfastening his trousers and tossing them on the pile too.

“Where did my pyjama bottoms go?” he frowned, glancing around the room.

“There.” Hermione pointed to the pair on the floor by the door to the en suite.

“Not those ones, the tartan ones that are really comfy.”

“I washed them, they’re in the wardrobe.” She rolled her eyes. He opened the wardrobe and paused. She knew what he was looking at, a large portion of their clothes had now ended up in the draws and wardrobes of this room.

“Half of my clothes are in here.” He pointed, glancing back at her.

“We spend half our time in here so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have more clothes here.” She explained. She bit her lip nervously. “I sleep better with you.”

“You could have just suggested that we both move in here you know?” he pointed out. “I would have saved me looking for this jacket all week.” He pulled out a deep red velvet jacket for a moment and then put it back.

“Of course, how terrible of me to have kept you from your jacket.” She rolled her eyes. He bent down and pulled his pyjama bottoms from the bottom of the wardrobe and pulled them on before locating a plain white t-shirt and coming back to the bed. This time he went to his side and climbed onto the bed and sat comfortably back against the headboard.

Hermione sat down and passed him his tea and a plate with a sandwich on. “So your boss knows you’re pregnant?” he asked.

“Yes, he looked like he wanted to ask but didn’t. I told him that it was alright for him to ask me.” She nodded, “Although his words were, in the family way. He’s a sweet old wizard really, told me about his wife and children. They lost a son in the war.”

“I think nearly everyone lost someone.” Sirius said gravely. “What’s his name?”

“Marshall Selwyn.” She told him.

“I’ve heard of the Selwyns before…don’t think I’ve met a Marshall though.” He mused.

“You know…I thought earlier,” she paused, thinking back to their conversation downstairs. “I think it’s quite beautiful that Harry looks so much like his father and that Teddy looks so much like Remus. I mean…except for when he’s changing his appearance of course.”

“If it weren’t for Harry’s eyes, I wouldn’t be able to see him as anything but James I don’t think.” He agreed. “I still forget sometimes…he just looks so much like him. A bit more humble though, especially considering he’s a celebrity.”

“Professor Snape always told Harry he was arrogant like his father.”

“Sometimes he is, but no where even close to James. James and I were both rather full of ourselves at Hogwarts. I usually meant it more in jest than James did. Lily had to practically beat it out of him over the years.” He laughed. Sirius waved his wand and stacked everything back on the tray. “It’s quite funny watching Harry with Ginny Weasley. She doesn’t look like Lily much at all really, not even the same colour of red hair, but sometimes when I just catch sight of them out of the corner of my eye I can believe it’s them.”

“Did Lily ever become an animagus?” she asked.

“No, she thought about it but then we were busy working for the order.” He shook his head and slid down the bed, rolling to his side to face her. She shuffled down as well. “Why do you ask?”

“I was wondering if it was just a boys club or if she was allowed to join was all.”

“Oh, to start with it was most definitely a boys club. But once Lily became a permanent part of James’s life and accepted the rest of us came with him as a package deal…we would have let her join us then.” He said. “Getting ideas love? Wanting to become an animagus and run about in the night-time?”

“Well…sort of.” She admitted. “Obviously not while I’m pregnant. But Harry mentioned it once and I thought that actually it would be quite a nice way to remember…if Harry and I became animagi and we all went out on a full moon to remember.”

“That…sounds perfect.”

“The more I thought about it the more right it seemed.” She went on. “It’s just…we are all inter-connected and it started with a group of teenage animagi on the full moon. James Potter made you and Remus family in the same way that Harry and I are family. We are family through choice. The same way that you and James and Remus were. Harry wouldn’t be here without James. You are Harry’s godfather. Remus made Harry, Teddy’s godfather. I married you and…”

“And?” he asked looking at her suspiciously.

“I had an idea when we were downstairs, and you might think it’s stupid and I don’t know if it’s a stupid idea or maybe an insensitive one but…”

“But?”

“Andromeda.” Hermione said carefully, not able to look Sirius in the eye when she said it. “She may have mentioned that she was considering asking Harry and Ginny to take in Teddy and was trying to see if I could test the waters so to speak.”

“Andy doesn’t want Teddy?” Sirius frowned.

“She does want him, of course she does. But she was injured, she struggles to keep up with him now that he is an active toddler. She lost her daughter, of course she wants to be a huge part of her grandson’s life but she’s struggling and worrying about whether it’s the best thing for Teddy.” She explained.

“Hermione what are you suggesting?” he asked sternly, and she knew that he had already guessed exactly what she was going to say.

“I know. It’s crazy. We haven’t even…we’re going to have enough to figure out as it is but…” she shrugged. “We have this big house Sirius, and you are here all day. Teddy is also part Black, you’re still his family. I know it sounds insane but…it just popped into my head and I knew that I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t at least give you the chance to consider it.”

“You think I could raise a toddler?” he looked at her dubiously. She gestured to her stomach.

“Sooner or later you’re not going to get much choice in that.” She huffed. “I’m not saying definitely do it Sirius. I’m just saying that I had the thought and that I couldn’t not tell you and that if you did want to do it, I would be on your side. I’ll be on your side if you don’t. Just take some time, think about it.”

“You have the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met.” He told her fondly. “I’ll think about it. Tomorrow.” His warm hand stroked across her cheek for a moment before he leant forward and pressed a soft kiss against her lips. “How is it you always manage to cheer me up?”

“Magic.” She smirked, lifting her arm and wiggling her fingers for effect. He laughed and drew her into his arms.

“You terrify me.” He said quietly, his mouth ghosting over hers again. She let her eyes close, leaning into him and deepening the kiss to allow herself to taste him. It had been months since that night in 1979 when a young Sirius Black had kissed her like he wanted to set her on fire. It was a feeling she remembered and craved. The difference was that this Sirius was more cautious with her. He groaned, sinking his tongue into her mouth, drawing her chest flush to his, but he wasn’t lost in a rush of heat. He took his time, he seemed to savour every second of it and she couldn’t blame him. The way that their magic woke up and seemed to flow between them was almost addictive. Her hips shifted, bring her into contact with the hardness of him.

“Sirius, please.” She gasped out, between kisses. He drew away from her then.

“Not tonight.” He shook his head, though it looked more like he was trying to clear it than deny her. “I’ve been drinking and I’m a mess.”

“Sirius we are both messes most of the time.” She insisted, somewhat placated when he kissed her again, though not as deeply.

“I know, but…you’re my wife. I want the first night with my wife to be a happy memory, not a night that I’ve spent crying like a teenage girl.”

“Everyone cries Sirius.” She whispered, settling herself against his body comfortably. “You’ve been dealt a crappier hand than most.”

“So have you.” He sighed.

“And I cry, a lot.” She nodded. “I’m having a baby and my mum isn’t here to see it. I cry whenever I think about it. I cry whenever I see Teddy. I cry whenever I see George. It doesn’t bother me that you’re a little bit broken Sirius, I’m a bit broken too.”

“I wanted to be better for you.” He admitted sadly.

“I didn’t expect you to magically fix yourself. It takes time, all I wanted was for you to remain sober enough to try and you are.”

“I’m not sober.”

“I knew that the moment I saw you.” She nodded. “But it’s been a couple of months since you last drank, you slipped. I expected that. I never asked you to stop completely in the first place. You decided that and I support you.”

“Because you didn’t want to marry a drunk?” He snorted.

“Well yes obviously, but also because I do care about you.” She looked up at him and ran her fingers across his beard. “You were important to me but I didn’t expect to care as much as I do. I didn’t expect you to be so…smart, and thoughtful and fun.”

“Going to give me a big head love.” He chuckled, pressing a kiss to her fingers.

“I wasn’t sure how we would make this work.” She said honestly.

“But it does.”

“But it does.” She agreed.

Chapter Text

The room was still dark, the heavy curtains blacking out all but a narrow strip of golden light against the wall. She was warm and comfortable; she could feel the heat of Sirius’s skin against her back and the weight of his arm around her. She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep but it was no good, she was wide awake. She let out a small huff of frustration.

“Morning.” His voice rumbled from behind her.

“Morning.” She sighed back, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“S’ok.” He stretched a little, rubbing his eyes and then dropped his arm back over her, tucking her back against him. She sighed as his hand moved across her stomach, feeling the outward curve of her belly. “How are you feeling?” His fingers ducked under the hem of fabric and caressed her skin, moving to rest at her waist.

“Warm.” Her hips shifted back against him as he continued to explore her skin.

“What are you doing witch?” he asked, nuzzling against her shoulder.

“Mm…nothing. What are you doing?” she returned, with a grin to herself

“You smell good.” He told her.

“I doubt it.” She laughed, she reached for her wand and with a quick charm freshened both of their mouths.

“I meant your hair. It smells good.” He chuckled. “It smells like bananas.”

“My conditioner.”

“I like it.” He told her, his fingers tangling into the curls and lifting them closer for him to sniff at them some more. She found herself twisting her neck to watch his face as he studied her, it was hard to pick out specifics in the dim light, but it was alluring how his eyes remained completely focused her. He ducked his head to run his nose and mouth along her neck. She probably should have found that strange, but somehow it didn’t seem like something out of the ordinary for Sirius to do. He pressed an open-mouthed kiss there and she arched back against him, feeling him hard against her backside. He let out a small groan as she rubbed against him. With no words his hand returned to her hip, gripping it firmly to hold her still. She let out a huff of disappointment.

“Please Sirius.” She whispered, turning more fully and reaching up to draw him into a kiss. He put up no resistance, within moments his hands were helping her turn around to her other side bringing her closer to him. Without having to strain her neck she was able to kiss him more eagerly. Her hands slid across his chest and her hips shifted against him almost wantonly and she had to wonder how much of this was because of her hormones and how much of it was just because of Sirius. Given that she couldn’t blame pregnancy hormones for the first time, she supposed their chemistry was to blame for the most part for the thrill that filled her veins when she touched him. Their magic, strengthened by their marriage bond, was familiar and compatible. It hummed in a reassuring way that made her feel safe when he held her and it lit her insides aflame when he kissed her. When all marriage bonds like this?

“Clothes." he said quietly, his hands grasping at the soft material of her pyjama top and tugging it up. Yes clothes, she knew that. Suddenly she started to laugh and sat on the bed. The idea of getting naked and having sex with Sirius Black was suddenly extremely funny. She was about to have sex with the man that got her pregnant, decades after he had gotten her pregnant. He was older than her, he was her friend’s godfather and yet she wanted him anyway.

"I’m sorry." she laughed, pulling the top over her head.

"Glad I amuse you." he murmured, loosening the ties of his pyjama bottoms and shuffling them down.

"Come on, admit it, this is a little weird." she grinned, she copied him and tugged her own bottoms off. “We’ve both done this before, with each other no less, but we also haven’t. It’s strange.”

"It is somewhat." he admitted with a small smile, feeling reassured by the fact that despite her amusement, she wasn’t hesitant. He sat up and drew her closer to him.

Her eyes lingered on his naked torso for a moment, he was larger than when they had been together before in his teenage years, broader across the chest and shoulders. He was still slim; his torso bore evidence of toned muscles beneath tattooed and scarred skin but held less definition and clear cut lines than he had had in his youth. He smoothed her hair from her face, looking at her pensively.

“You’re sure?” he asked. She grinned wickedly up at him, before yanking him down with her, so that they ended up in a sprawled heap of limbs. "Hermione!" he protested, as she burst into laughter again at his undignified look. She reached up and pressed her hands to his chest and he stopped moving altogether.

"See laughter is definitely good, I feel less weird now." she told him.

"I’m glad." he said, shifting his weight onto his forearms, bringing his body down over her. Hermione felt a familiar warmth in her stomach at the feeling of his weight on top of her, she met his gaze and saw the familiar face of Sirius Black, her husband. The man that she was falling in love with by the day. The awkwardness was gone, she saw him gain confidence that she wasn’t going to change her mind.

"Sirius I-" this time she was cut off, as he leant down and kissed her slowly. He kissed her comfortably and leisurely, taking the time to explore her lips before he coaxed them open and explored further.
She gripped at his chest as his tongue caressed hers, eager to cling to him for more. It was when she heard herself let out a small moan that the kiss began to turn into something more. She reached up her arms to hold him to her, one of his hands skimmed down to her waist then hip and gripped her skin tightly. Suddenly the heat was there again and it was like the moment hadn’t been broken a moment ago.

She gasped as she felt him pressing against her intimately. Her breath caught and her hips bucked involuntarily in an attempt to make further contact.

"Please" she breathed. He covered her lips again and then he was in her. Sliding inside to the hilt without hesitation. They both let out a groan on fulfillment as her slid fully into her. She bucked her hips, his hand stilled them, soothing her movements.

“Relax,” he murmured. “There’s no rush.” He rocked slowly within her. No further words came. Any thoughts she had became lost with his steady movements over her and their breathless pants between heated kisses. He lowered himself, pressing himself flat against her, aware that with her growing stomach it was not something he would be able to do for much longer. He buried his face in her neck, his breath there washing tingles across Hermione’s skin.

“Sirius.” She gasped out, her centre feeling heated and sensitive to his every movement. She felt it spreading and building. He finally felt her inner muscles begin to clench around him and thanked god that he'd been able to hold out this long. He increased his speed and was rewarded for his efforts as Hermione's moans increased in pitch and her body tensed under him. Her inner muscles squeezing him tightly as she reached her peak. It took only a handful more thrust to reach his own climax before he thrust himself as deeply inside as he possibly could and released inside her with a shudder of pleasure ripping through his body.

For a few moments there was only silence and panting. He slowly shifted and lifted himself off of her, wary that he didn’t want to rest his weight on her for long.

“Sorry, I probably shouldn’t have leant on you.” He said gruffly. His hand stroking her stomach softly.

“It’s fine, you weren’t crushing me.” She replied. “If I was worried, I would have said something. I feel like we should get some breakfast and then hide in bed some more.”

“Did that wear you out?” he chuckled.

“No, but I’m beginning to think I’m owed a lot of those marital perks of having a husband.” She grinned. “I mean, we’ve been married months, that’s quite a lot of time to make up for don’t you think?”

“It is indeed.” He smirked and leant over to kiss her again.

“I mean, I’ve heard so many stories and I’m really very curious.” She continued. “You know how much I like to learn new things and be proficient in just about everything.”

“Brightest witch indeed.” He grinned, his eyes bright in the dim room. “I think meeting you all those years ago may have been the best thing to ever happen to me.”

“Flatterer.” She snorted, sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of the bed to the floorboards. “I’m going to go make us breakfast, you can open the curtains and bring the tray from last night downstairs.” She bent over and lifted her pyjamas from the floor, dropping them into the hamper. Instead she found a nightie and dressing gown and slid her feet into a comfortable pair of slippers.

“We don’t have to spend the day in bed when there are so many other rooms in this house.” Sirius pointed out, watching her cover herself. “I’ll make the bed and we can eat in the kitchen and then see about some of those other rooms.”

 

~*~*~*~

The weeks that followed brought Hermione more confidence and happiness than she had felt in a long time. Internally she was chiding herself for letting her self-worth be so affected by a man but she knew it was more complicated than that. She was intelligent and talented. She was good at her job, a job that she loved. She had friends that she loved and that she knew loved her. Not only did they love her, but despite initial concerns, they had stood by her in her marriage to Sirius. Ron had done a complete turn around and had been one of her biggest supporters since his apology. However, part of her had always questioned how successful she would be at a relationship, given her tendency to work long hours and be driven to obsession when involved in a project. She had questioned her appeal to men, given the lack of passion her and Ron had encountered when they had tried dating. Instead, it seemed evident that Sirius found her physically appealing, and while she was aware that their relationship was still new, it was going far better than she could have anticipated.

She looked up from her desk as a light caught her eye. A patronus.

“’Mione, we need you. Harry’s office. Come quick.” Ron’s voice drifted from it. She pushed her chair back and got to her feet immediately.

“Susan, I’m popping to the Auror offices quickly,” she said, popping her head into the open office where her team sat working. “I had an urgent message, so I’m not sure how long I’ll be.” She made her way quickly towards Harry’s office, feeling her blood rush through her veins in a way that it hadn’t in years. A large crash and her best friend’s shouts could be heard from further down the hallway and Hermione hasted her steps. Ron’s voice could be heard shouting right alongside Harry’s.

“Oh…Hermione Granger.” A younger wizard gaped in shock as she reached the department’s security team.

“It’s actually Hermione Black now.” She told him. “But yes, can I just…” She gestured past them to the noise.

“Oh. Of course, sorry.” He said quickly. “As long as you have your identification then of course.” He pointed to the glowing rectangle on the wall, she waved her wand over it and it glowed green to confirm her identity. Well…it confirmed her identity, in so much as it recognised her magical signature from her wand, it likely wasn’t fool proof but that wasn’t an argument she wanted to raise with them today.

She wasn’t quite prepared for dodging a file full of paperwork the minute she stepped into the room. She stopped it mid-air in front of her face, but it had been a close call.

“Good afternoon to you too Harry.” She said grimly, taking in the state of the room.

“Hermione.” Ron sighed.

“What on earth happened to you two? You look like your cauldron’s exploded or something.” She frowned, taking in their tattered and grubby appearance.

“There was an attack.” Ron explained. “We lost Goldstein.”

“An attack?” she gasped. “What kind of attack?”

“The target was the Perks family, muggle parents, muggleborn daughter. They’re alive, worse for wear though.” He told her.

“It’s never over!” Harry yelled.

“Harry mate, it is over. Voldemort can’t come back no matter what these wankers think they’re doing.” Ron said.

“He’s right, there’s no way for Tom Riddle to come back again. He was the one that killed your parents and tried to kill you, it is over. This is just…something else.” She offered. “Who was is?”

“Lestranges.” Harry spat out. She now knew why he was so angry. “Both of them.”

“Are they working with anyone else?” she asked.

“We don’t know, it doesn’t look like it…at least not at the moment.” Ron told her. “There was an attack, Goldstein and Neville were the first on the scene.”

“Neville?” she asked.

“He’s fine. They called for backup pretty much immediately. By the time we arrived it was too late to save Anthony.” He flinched when Harry kicked the desk and then swore.

“Harry James Potter that is quite enough!” Hermione chided. “You are the Head Auror, you cannot be throwing a tantrum like this, it’s certainly not helping you! Now sit down and let me look at your foot.”
The room fell quiet, with the exception of heavy breathing, and after staring at her for a few moments Harry finally dropped into his chair with a huff.

“Ron start trying to clean up some of this mess.” She said, walking around the desk and crouching by Harry’s foot expectantly. “Foot. Unless you’d like to explain to your wife how you most likely broke your toes.” That did the trick. With a reluctant sigh, he bent down and unfastened his boot and removed it, followed by his sock. She watched as he brushed away the lint from his skin with a wince.
With a few waves of her wand she was able to confirm that he had broken two of his toes, along with one of the metatarsals. Not bothering to warn him, she cast the spell to fix it and heard him hiss at the sudden sharp pain of the bones snapping back together. She bound it and then got back to her feet.

“Leave the boot off until home time. Pop some bruise salve on it and take a pain potion, if you’re lucky it’ll be good as new in a couple of hours and no one needs to know that you got bested by a piece of furniture.” She told him.

“Saviour of the wizarding world and head auror breaks foot in fight with own desk.” Ron laughed. “I can see that headline now.” Hermione couldn’t help but join in.

“Alright, Weasley brother’s in love triangle at Weasley’s Wizarding Weezes.” Harry retorted.

“Hey, that’s not fair, neither of us are seeing her now!” Ron protested. Hermione laughed, remembering how George had asked Ron if he thought he should ask out Fiona, only for Ron to turn around and blurt out that he’d been shagging her for weeks. Turns out George had slept with the witch too and now neither of them were.

“And Harry Potter’s best friend seduces Godfather and has baby, has a certain ring to it too.” Harry pointed out.

“Hey, I did no seducing…” she protested.

“Let him do the seducing though didn’t you.” Ron laughed, gesturing to her swollen stomach.

“Yes, yes.” She waved off his jest. “Well, now that everything is back under control in here, can I get back to work?”

“Hermione?” Ron called, touching her arm to stop her as she reached the door. “Be careful. It might be worth setting up stronger protections at Grimmauld, if old deatheaters are out for muggleborns then just…take a few extra precautions, yeah?”

“Of course.” She said, hugging him. “If you or Harry have time to stop by later, we can set one of you up as the secret keeper. It wouldn’t hurt to have a safe house to hide in case things do get worse.” She hugged him fondly and smiled in Harry’s direction.

“We’ll both come by after work.” Harry agreed.

“We should probably set one up at yours too, what with being so famous and all.” Ron pointed out.

“Ron’s right, you could be a target for revenge. Until you know what the motives are it’s better safe than sorry.” She agreed.

“I’ll tell Bill to get theirs set up as well, that way if the Burrow or the flat is compromised there’s a safe house for the family.” Ron continued.

“There’s room with us if it’s needed as well.” Hermione pointed out.

“Back to secret keepers and safe house.” Harry huffed.

“Try to step back from this to think Harry, I know it feels like the world is on your shoulders but this isn’t the same thing, and you have a whole team to help you.” She told him. “I’ll speak to you both later.”

 

~*~*~*~

As it turned out Harry and Ron both arrived at Grimmauld place before she did. She found them in the kitchen with Sirius.

“Well you all look very serious.” She commented, taking in their grim expressions.

“Of course I do love.” Sirius smirked, getting up and greeting her. “Tea?”

“Please.” She nodded, leaning up to kiss him. “I take it they’ve explained their day?”

“Yeah.” Ron grinned. “We were about to redo the fidelius charm and see how long you ended up stood outside unable to find the door.”

“Considered placing bets.” Harry added.

“My name is right alongside Sirius’s on the deed to this house. So unless he, as the head and heir of the Black family, disowned me as his wife; a fidelius wouldn’t prevent me from entering here.” She told them smugly, sliding into a seat beside Harry. “You wouldn’t have been able to do it without me anyway.” She pulled out a vial from her bag and waved it in front of them. “A drop of this needs to be placed in any doors to the property from outside before the spell is cast.”

“And I suspect they were rather hoping that you would cast it.” Sirius pointed out, placing a mug on the table in front of her. He leant against the counter with his arms folded and looked back at the two younger wizards and then to his wife. “It’s an old spell, very old and very difficult to cast. I thought you and I could cast it and have Harry as our secret keeper. Tomorrow, we can do Harry and Ginny’s home and have Ron and their secret keeper.”

“I don’t get to be anyone’s secret keeper?” she pouted.

“Absolutely not. We aren’t putting any more targets on you than necessary.” Sirius shook his head.

“He’s right ‘Mione, if they’re after muggleborns then you’re already a pretty big target.” Ron agreed.

“And you were already a target for being close to me.” Harry added.

“Well you’re a target too.” She protested.

“Which is why I’m having the fidelius put on my house as well.” He agreed. “But you’re different Hermione.” She frowned at that. Harry glanced towards her stomach so that she would understand his point.

“Hermione, love, you are a muggleborn witch. You were deeply involved in the war. You are now married into one of the oldest pureblood families in the country and you are also pregnant.” Sirius told her, leaning across the table and taking her hands in his. “You are a brilliant witch and I’m not going to lock you up in here and hold you hostage, but at least until we know more, could you please just do as we ask and take some extra precautions? I really don’t want you angry with me, but it’s not just your life that you’re risking now.”

“What precautions are we talking about?” she asked, looking between the three wizards.

“Like letting me know where you’re going all the time.” He suggested. “Tell me when you leave for work and tell me when you get to your office. Tell me when you leave your office to come home.”

“That’s doable.” She nodded, feeling relieved that no one had suggested that she should stop working.

“If you want to go somewhere that isn’t a member of the order or work, don’t go alone.” Harry added.

“Think it’s probably smart that we all follow that one mate.” Ron commented. “Let’s face it, this could be nothing. Or it could be really bad. To some, we’re all mudbloods, blood traitors and whatever. We should call an order meeting and just suggest that until we know more, everyone should try to pair up when going anywhere public.”

“He’s right.” Sirius agreed. “Better to take precautions and not need them, rather than lose one of our own because we didn’t. If you’d like to stay for dinner, I’d like to pick your brain about more ideas that might come in handy for the order if this gets worse.” He gestured to Ron and Hermione could see the red head looked surprised.

“Uh…yeah.” He agreed.

“Right, let’s get the fidelius done and then I’ll go home and owl McGonagall.” Harry nodded.