A/N: So this chapter is a bit shorter than I usually make it, but I've been having a hard time finding motivation to write. I think it's because it's taking me a long time to figure out how to fit everything in where I want it. I know what I want to happen in the story, it's just not lining up the way I would like it too.
Classes seemed to last forever that week and by the time Friday had rolled around it had seemed like everyone had checked out. The school seemed to be feeling the cold weather blues- everyone that was but Sirius. Nothing could discourage Sirius from annoying every last ounce of patience out of Lily. He continued to high-five her every time she raised her hand during a lesson. Lily had worked hard at not letting this occur. When Sirius was sitting close to her during a lesson she simply wouldn't raise her hand at all.
During Herbology that afternoon, Hermione was working at the same station as Sirius, James, and Marlene. Sirius had just high fived Lily for the second time that class. When Professor Sprout let them go to work on their Fanged Geranium Hermione turned to Sirius to question him.
"Sirius, when are you going to leave Lily alone?"
"What? It's funny," Sirius insisted.
"I don't think Lily thinks so," Hermione replied.
"Well then she should have just high-fived me when I asked," he said.
"You can't just punish someone for not doing what you want them to do," Hermione said. When Sirius didn't answer, Hermione gave a wide eyed look to James, and then nodded her head discreetly in Sirius's direction. James noticed the action, but immediately looked down at his dragon-hide cover hands were doing.
Sighing, Hermione just shook her head to herself, hoping that this would resolve itself soon.
However, Sirius was feeling particularly… mischievous that day. This was especially complicated during their potions class later that day.
Sirius sat two tables behind Lily and Marlene, the same row as Hermione and Snape, and he would still jump up and run over to her. Lily looked like she was running out of patience and would snap at any moment. Because she was sitting so far in front of him, it was hard for her to see where he was. Thankfully James wasn't laughing with Sirius about it, but he wasn't exactly telling him to shove off, either. However, during this class it wasn't Lily that Hermione was worried about. It was Snape.
Every time Sirius leapt up from his seat, Snape would flinch. Hermione guessed it was an instinct to protect Lily, but then he would remember that they were no longer on speaking terms.
Hermione wondered what was running through Snape's head during these moments. It was obvious that he cared greatly for Lily. Maybe even more so now that he had experienced life without her. Isn't that always how it goes? You never realize how important someone or something is to you until you've had to experience something without it. Hermione didn't want to butt in where she didn't belong, but it was sad to watch him during these times.
"Everything all right?" Hermione asked when Slughorn dismissed them from the lecture and everyone got started on their potions.
"Fine," he said curtly. He had turned away from her to start lighting a flame under their cauldron.
"Really? Because you know you're face says otherwise," Hermione told him.
"Just because you're a know-it-all in everything else doesn't mean that you know everything about me," he spat. Hermione waited a moment before she said anything. She didn't want him to know how badly what he said had hurt her. That was the same thing that he had called her when he was her professor and the memory of that wasn't pleasant. At the time it had bothered her, but now that she had started become friends with him it stung even worse.
"I'm going to ignore that, because I can tell that you're upset. I'm going to give you a moment to choose something else to say, and we can forget what just happened." Hermione told him.
"Don't do me any favors," Snape said sarcastically with a roll of his eyes.
"Really? Alright, I was trying to be nice because I know what happened last year. I was going to be supportive and help you through it, but now I'm annoyed- so here it is." Her voice had risen slightly and a few people around them were now looking on at their argument. "You said something stupid last year and it ruined your friendship with Lily. You're feeling guilty and you've tried to apologize but she won't accept it. You're angry about the situation you are now in and you're taking it out on me. However, you have just said more stupid things. Thus, the cycle repeats itself." Hermione told him straight. "Why don't we just skip all the song and dance and you just let me try to help you."
Snape whirled around to look at her. "I don't need help from a…"
"Excuse me? A what- a mudblood?" Hermione snapped- her hand instantly moving to cover her scar. "Isn't that what you said the last time you lost a friend? Clearly you don't learn from your mistakes."
Snape actually had the decency to look ashamed. However, he didn't try to defend himself or retract anything he had said to her.
Hermione picked up her bag off the floor and quickly stuffed everything back inside. "Professor, I don't feel very well. I think I need to go to the hospital wing," she lied.
"Of course, my dear, are you alright to walk there on your own?" Slughorn asked.
"I'm fine," Hermione answered as she stood up. She looked at the Gryffindor side of the room, and then immediately regretted it. Sirius was standing up, looking murderous. James and Remus both had hands on his shoulders, keeping his stationed where he was. Hermione gave a little shake of her head as she walked by.
How dare he talk to her like that? She was only trying to help. They were friends- well they were on their way to being friends. It was completely unnecessary for that reaction. Was something else going on with him that she didn't know about?
Hermione sighed. Maybe she shouldn't have yelled at him like she did. Thinking back- now was probably the time where Snape was getting a lot of pressure on him from members of his house to join Voldemort and his followers. She would give him some space, and then try to talk to him.
She climbed up to the main part of the castle and looked at the time. Dinner was in about an hour, so she walked up to the library to get some work done before meeting everyone back in the Great Hall.
This was exactly what she needed- time alone. She loved her friends, but there were some things that she needed to figure out. She sat down in a corner of the library and pulled out some parchment. First, she listed all of the Horcruxes and the places where they could possibly be.
Ravenclaw's Diadem-The Room of Requirement
Hufflepuff's cup- Lestrange Vault?
Slytherin's Locket- In the cave
Riddles Diary- with the Malfoys? Somewhere in Malfoy Mannor?
Gaunt Ring- Gaunt shack in Little Hangleton
Not made yet
Alright, Hermione said to herself. She had the Diadem, and if her list was correct, she only needed to find four more. However, they are the hardest ones to reach. She would need to find out where the diary and the cup definitely were. Voldemort could have had them hidden in other places, and then moved given them to the Malfoys and Lestrange's when they had proven their loyalty. The locket was another hard one. Hermione didn't go with Dumbledore to retrieve it, so that one seemed like another impossible task. The ring was the most achievable one. It wouldn't be too hard to figure out which shake was the one that the Gaunts had inhabited.
Sighing at her list, she pushed that piece of parchment out of the way and pulled out another one. This was going to be a list of things that she wanted to try to prevent.
Deaths- Lily and James Potter, Regulus Black, McKinnon family, Benjy Fenwick, Dorcas Meadows, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, Caradoc Dearborn, Bones family
Severus Snape joining the Death Eaters
Peter Pettigrew joining the Death Eaters
Frank and Alice's torture
This list probably wasn't complete, but it was a start. She also needed to set up a meeting with Dumbledore. She had been thinking about this for a while and couldn't come up with any other way around it. When she graduated she wanted to join the Order. That was a given, but she had information that might be helpful to the group before then. She was also starting to think that she might need some help when it came to collecting the rest of the Horcruxes.
By the time she had finished making her lists, the class period was over. Hermione packed up her stuff, putting her lists of parchment in her beaded bag, and walked down to the Great Hall. When she reached the Gryffindor table, she saw Marlene, Dorcas, and Mary were the only ones of their group of friends who were sitting there.
"Where's everyone else?" Hermione asked when she sat down.
The girls all looked around at each other, before looking uncomfortably at Hermione. Understanding that look, Hermione's voice hardened.
"Where. Are. They." She said.
"Well- Erm… Lily is having a visit with McGonagall," Marlene said with mock casualness.
"Why?" Hermione prodded.
"Because they're friends?" Mary lied. With a look from Hermione, Mary sighed and gave in. "The Marauders got into a fight with Snape and she tried to break it up," she admitted.
"What?" Hermione exclaimed.
"Sirius was mad that Snape said those things to you… and I think Snape was kind of annoyed with Sirius over the Lily thing," Dorcas explained. "So Sirius said some things when they were in the classroom, but didn't do anything because Slughorn was right there. Snape attacked him when they got into the corridor."
"Snape started it?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah, Snape attacked him when they got into the corridor and before you know it there were spells flying through the air and Lily was trying to stop it all," Marlene told her.
Hermione put her head down on the table groaned. "Is it just me, or are you girls so tired of all the macho man attitudes and the testosterone filled fighting?" A chorus of 'yes' followed her question.
About half way through dinner Lily returned to the Great Hall and sat down with the girls, looking extremely put off.
"What happened?" Hermione asked.
"Snape and Sirius got into a fight. I had to talk to Professor Slughorn so I didn't arrive until the end. I took points and sent Sirius up to the hospital wing," Lily explained.
"Is he alright?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah, he will be. He's got some cuts and it looked like a broken rib. I swear those boys will never stop," Lily said. "I told McGonagall what happened and they will both get detention."
"What about James, Remus, and Peter?" Marlene questioned.
"They're fine. It looked like Sirius wanted to handle this on his own," Lily explained.
Hermione got up. "I'm going to check on him and make sure he's okay. Then I'm going to kill him," she threatened.
When Hermione got into the hospital wing she saw Sirius sitting on one of the beds, surrounded by his friends and looking sour. He had a black eye and a couple of cuts on his face and arms, and one of his hands was holding a spot on his torso, probably where his rib was broken.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
All she got in response was a grunt. The rest of the boys looked unhurt.
"Why did you do that?" she said to Sirius.
"He deserved it. I heard what he was saying to you," he grunted.
"So then you also heard me standing up for myself and not letting him get away with it?" She questioned.
"He needs to learn that he can't talk like that," James interrupted.
"Yeah, and I told him that. I told him that- because it was between him and myself. And he wouldn't have been so annoyed if you-," she rounded on Sirius. "-hadn't been doing your stupid high-five thing," Hermione argued.
Sirius gasped. "It's not stupid!"
"You need to think your actions through before you keep doing this crap or you're going to end up losing people you care about, or doing something that can't be fixed with a simple apology," Hermione warned.
"But it's Snape. He's a dark arts loving fuck and he needs to be taught a lesson," Sirius spat.
"You don't think about other people. You got mad and you found a way to fix it. But did you ever think about how it affects your friends? Remus is a prefect! How does that make him look when his mates are starting fights all the time? And James, he's trying really hard this year to behave for Lily and that doesn't help him. And Peter probably doesn't want to get into fights either," Hermione argued.
"I didn't ask them to help. Actually, I told them not to," Sirius mocked.
"That's not the point. You think you're thinking about others when you do this, but you're just being selfish. And what would have happened if you had really got hurt? Would you care how worried and upset all of us would be?" She countered.
"You know, Hermione- you don't know him like we do. He's been awful for the last six years, and he needs to be put in his place," James insisted.
"That's not the point! It doesn't matter how much they deserve it. If you attack them, you're just stooping to their level- and you're better than that. And you took on Snape by yourself? I know I'm new here, but I've heard how good he is at dueling and you're lucky you're not hurt worse," Hermione told him.
Sirius's eyes darkened and his lips tightened. "Shut up. I can handle him," he insisted. "Plus, the coward attacked me when I couldn't see him. That's the kind of man he is," Sirius insisted.
"And what does this situation say about you?" Hermione asked.
Sirius gave her a cold glare. "Poppy should be coming back any time. I think you should leave," he told her.
Hermione threw her hands up in the air and started muttering to herself. "So stupid… I can't believe… What was he thinking…" as she picked up her stuff and stormed out of the second room of the day.
Absolutely fuming, Hermione left the room and went up to Gryffindor tower. She walked right in and went up to the girl's dormitory, already making up her mind to stay there for the rest of the night and have a Marauder free evening.
The next two days, Hermione tried to stay away from Sirius. He was sulky, and even the other Marauders were staying clear of him. Remus spent the first day either napping up in his dormitory, or relaxing on the couches in the common room and the next day in the hospital wing. The next evening was the full moon, and he needed all of his strength.
By dinner time on the full moon, it seemed like Sirius started to come around. Hermione wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that they were going to be roaming around the grounds tonight. The group went down to the Great Hall together. Dinner went great, and Hermione was very aware of their surroundings while they were in there. She didn't see Snape in there at the same time they were, and they were in luck because as far as she could tell, they would make it in and without any kind of confrontation.
They reached the corridor outside of the Great Hall, and for a moment they were distracted- Peeves was causing chaos, as usual. This time he was throwing dungbombs at first years. The group of sixth year Gryffindors made their way quickly away from the smell, and when she looked back she saw Sirius running to catch up with them.
Giving him a questioning look she asked, "Where were you?"
He just walked right by her without saying anything.
Hermione got a feeling down her spine, a bad feeling. She couldn't shake it, but she knew something bad was going to happen. She stared at the retreating back of Sirius Black, trying to put into words what she was feeling. She then shook her head, and followed her friends up to the common room.
James, Sirius, and Peter retreated to a small corner of the room, and the girls went to another. Hermione guess that it had something to do with the full moon that night, and they probably wanted to talk about all of the mischief they were going to get into. But she kept a close eye on them. Sirius had a dramatic change in attitude, and he was sitting on the couch with his feet resting on a coffee table and a smirk on his face.
They were all talking, and Hermione looked around to see if there was a spot that she could easily move to where she could listen to their conversation, because something just didn't feel right.
Then something clicked! She remembered that she had brought a pair of Fred and Georges Extendable Ears with her. Hermione slipped away from the girls and crouched down behind an arm chair. She dug into her beaded bag and summoned the ears from the depth. Slowly, she snaked one end closer to the group, careful not to make a sound or be seen. When she had it in place, she listened closely.
"- thinking we could try that clearing we found last time," James said.
"Sounds good!" Peter said.
"Sure mate- anything," Sirius said. His voice sounded like he had a secret kept behind it.
"Alright Padfoot, what's up? You have been mopey for the last two days, and now you can't stop grinning smirking. Who did you prank?" James asked.
"Snivellus," Sirius said with a note of glee.
"Brilliant! What did you do? Put itching powder in his underwear again? Wait, how could you prank him and not include me?" James replied.
"Sorry mate, but it was last minute. Just did it when we were coming out of dinner," Sirius told them.
"Well, don't keep us waiting!" Peter exclaimed. "What did you do?"
"Oh, let's just say I don't think he will be bothering us anymore after he takes a walk down by the Whomping Willow tonight," Sirius said proudly.
"What- tonight? It's the full moon," James said sounding panicked.
"Yeah, that's the point," Sirius stated.
Hermione's heart is racing at this point. How could she have forgotten about the trick that Sirius played on Snape- she knew he was royally pissed off about coming off bad in their fight, but she completely forgot about this.
"But he'll see Moony!" Peter exclaimed.
"Serves him right- he needs a good scare," Sirius spat.
"Yeah, but Remus doesn't deserve that," James defended. "He could kill him- or even worse he could turn him into a werewolf," he continued- his voice was on the edge of panic. James stood up quickly and started pacing back and forth. "Okay, I'll got get Snape. Peter, you need to go and get Pomfrey and Sirius, you need to go get McGonagall," James directed.
"I'm not doing anything," Sirius said stubbornly.
"Oh yes you are. How do you think Remus would feel when he finds out that not only did you told a Slytherin his secret, but it lead to someone getting hurt or killed," James accused.
Hermione didn't hear anything after that, except for the sounds of two pairs of shoes moving away from her and towards the portrait hole.
Hermione knew what happened- she knew that Snape would find out Remus's secret, and would forever hate and hold a grudge against everyone who belonged to the Marauders. She knew that James and Sirius wouldn't talk for a long time, and it was a dark period for the whole group.
She stood up and put the Extendable Ears back into the bag quickly, and then moved around to look back where three quarters of the Marauders had been sitting. The only one left was Sirius, whose face was ashy white and an expression of fear etched on his beautiful features.
"Is everything alright?" she asked. He looked at her slowly, and then shook his head. "What's wrong?"
"I did a bad thing," was all he said.
Sighing, Hermione sat down beside him and took his hand. She didn't say anything, but just held it. After a moment she felt him squeeze her hand, and he stood up.
"I need to find McGonagall," was all he said before he walked out the portrait.