Once everyone returned to Hogwarts, they fell back into their usual routine. The Marauders and Hermione's brains allowed the halls to be filled with pranks. Lily Evans stated her disgust over the group immediately and while Hermione felt bad for her friend, she got rid of the guilt immediately once the redhead started calling her brother names.
"Listen," Hermione started. "I am very fond of you, I would even call you my friend if you would let me, but you don't just get away with insulting Sirius. Especially not when your friend is a git as well!"
Her roommate gaped at her. Why was she so surprised over her defending her own twin, Hermione did not know. Realizing this will probably be the last study session she'll have with the pair, she stood up and looked at the two, "Thank you for studying with me, but perhaps it's best if you proceed without me."
"Not like I'm wanted here anyways," she added, looking at Snape. Without waiting for a response, she left the library.
She entered the Common Room and everyone raised their heads at the sound of Hermione's hair crackling. It sounded so much like her cousin Bellatrix's laugh and she shuddered at the thought, which helped her curls calm down immediately. She made her way to the couch where the boys were seated and laid her head on Sirius' shoulder.
"Are you alright, Hermione?" asked a gentle voice. She looked up to see concerned amber eyes staring back at her. Inhaling sharply, she nodded at Remus. "Lily Evans—" James' head shot up so fast that his glasses fell, "and her friend kept talking about you guys and then she said some stuff about Sirius and I snapped."
Sirius gave her a relieved look. "Good. I don't know why you hung out with Snivellus anyways."
She glared at him. "I told you to stop calling him that! Yes, he's a git to me, but now I don't have a study partner anymore," Hermione screeched..
The twin merely rolled his eyes at her and ruffled her hair. "Luckily, we have another bookworm here to help you."
Remus gave her a nod and smiled. "Yes, even though it seems like you don't even need to study any of this stuff."
Hermione stiffened, she needed to come up with an excuse. Over the past few months, she had been called an excellent student and it was flattering, really. The problem was that she now needed to keep up with the expectations, even as she continued to have the same nightmares. "Err— well, I get distracted sometimes so I need to revise often," she said, giving him a shrug.
He seemed unconvinced, but let the matter go. Thinking back to the time she spent with her friend, or best friend, Hermione pondered on how often he went missing with the same excuse. How was it that his mother got sick once a month and required his presence for only one day every time? She looked over his face as he played chess with Pettigrew. She recalled him looking pale a few days before he left again to see his mother. Perhaps he shared the same illness? She discarded the idea immediately once she thought back to the illnesses she read about previously. None of them mentioned a 30 days pattern.
It couldn't be a normal fever, nor could it be Dragon Pox. Maybe. No. The scars on his face sought her attention and her mind kept chanting '30 days, 30 days, 30 days—'
She gasped, not bothering to notice how loud she was. She shut her eyes as images started to form behind her lids. A full moon, the Whomping Willow, a howling wolf, two teens huddled behind a bush. A loud groan brought her back to reality and blinked rapidly to see Sirius in front of her trying to loosen her grip on his arm. "You're hurting me," he frowned.
Hermione let go immediately, holding back a sob caused by the throbbing pain in her head. "Hermione," she looked back at her twin, "Are you feeling alright?"
"I just have a headache," she breathed out, "Nothing serious." Her brother clearly didn't look convinced as he didn't even try making the infamous Sirius pun. Instead he studied her face, "Are you sure? I could take you to the Hospital Wing."
She shook her head hastily and whispered so that only he would hear, "No! You know why I can't go there." Madame Pomfrey would be able to detect the dark magic still lingering on her body and her family would definitely scoff, and do more, for not keeping everything that goes on at home hidden. She shook her head and felt frustrated at everything happening to her at once. She had even forgotten that a few minutes ago she discovered that her best friend was a werewolf.
She looked back the sandy haired boy and saw him staring right back. With a frown, she wondered why he didn't tell her or any of them, but she realized that it was probably for the best. If, Merlin forbid, her family were to find out their children were sharing classes with a werewolf, they would raise hell. She did not want him to live in fear and she also did not want him to lose the opportunity to stay at Hogwarts like everyone else. Hence, she decided to keep her discovery to herself and help him as much as she could.
Over the next months, Hermione visited the Hospital Wing after every moon and gave Remus a chocolate bar. The first time, he was confused as to why she was there but she gave him a smile and said, "Chocolate helps."
Immediately after, he tried distancing himself, possibly in fear of her outing him. Still, she followed him around and an exasperated Remus realized that she didn't care about him not being a human for one night. Their bond quickly deepened and they depended on each other's knowledge once exams approached. He often joked about not being able to get rid of her and Sirius agreed, which led to him getting hexed by Hermione, every time.
The rest of the boys weren't interested in studies and only studied when Hermione cornered them and made them get to work. She received many thanks from them once they wrote their papers and she fondly waved them off. They were idiots but she had grown quite fond of them. She even tried to tutor Peter.
It ended with the poor boy running away from her and Madam Pince screaming, "No running!"
After she stopped coming to her previous study sessions, she didn't bother talking a lot with Lily as the girl avidly avoided her. Instead. Marlene quickly gained a spot in her heart. She was ferociously loyal and she made her laugh, even when she woke up from confusing images. They started partnering together in class whenever pairs were needed. Sirius didn't mind since he had James. She wondered if she should be concerned over the boy stealing her twin, but she snorted at the idea.
Letting Marlene drag her to an empty compartment, she almost missed the glare Lucius Malfoy sent her. She tried her best to stay away from him, in fear of his father writing back and forth to her parents.
"Herms stop kissing that book and sit down," said Marlene.
She mockingly glared at the blonde and huffed, "I told you not to call me that."
Her friend rolled her eyes, "One more reason as to why I should."
"I hate you."
"No you don't."
"How do you know that?"
"I just do."
"Well," Hermione gave her a pout, "Fine you win. What were you going to say?"
Marlene gave her a confused look. "Wha—Oh! I was going to ask if you wanted to come over this summer?"
Her friend was a Pureblood, so she doubted her mother would have a problem. She hummed in agreement and said, "I'll see once I ask mother. I'll send you a letter."
Receiving a smile, the girls fell into a peaceful silence and just like that, their first year was over.
Once the train came to a stop, she bid her friend goodbye and briskly looked inside other compartments to find her brother. Before she knew it, she slammed against somebody and yelped. "Ow!"
"We really have to stop meeting like this." She opened her eyes to see James smiling at her.
She smiled back and said, "Well it's all thanks to me that you got the chance to befriend the Black twins."
He put his hand over his heart and said, "Oh my Lady! How can I ever repay you?"
She laughed, grabbing her wand and pointing at him. "By returning my twin back!"
The corners of his mouth lifted and he took out his wand too. The door next to them opened, revealing Sirius as he guwaffed. "Ladies and gentlemen, I know I'm loved but there is no need to fight over me."
Hermione immediately put her wand away and pushed her brother towards James. "Never mind, you can have him."
Sirius walked back towards her and gave her a hug. "No can do, little sister. You're stuck with me this summer."
She relished at the idea and sighed against his chest. "Thank Merlin for Sirius Black."