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Coming Home

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The first sight to meet Hermione's eyes upon their opening was a dark ceiling. She blinked, confusedly, and tried to place where she was. The last thing she remembered was standing in the Great Hall arguing with Sirius, and her vision unexpectedly going black.

Sirius! She thought with a gasp, sitting up quickly in the bed and then groaning as the move made her quite dizzy. Waiting a few moments to let it pass, she surveyed her surroundings, curious as to where she was, and, more importantly, when she was.

Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she felt her feet make contact with the cold floor, her eyes widening as they landed on a familiar looking portrait. It was sitting, empty, above a dresser that held a beautiful snow owl in a cage. Standing slowly, she made her way over to it.

"Hedwig?" she asked tentatively, releasing a shuddery breath when the owl hooted at her, affectionately nibbling at the hand she'd raised to pet it. Closing her eyes against the rush of emotions, Hermione took deep, calming breaths.

I'm back…I'm back….I'm back…

Happiness, sorrow, and nerves ran through her body as she slowly made her way down the stairs.

Happiness, at getting to see her best friends again after the months of separation.

Sorrow, at having to leave all the people she'd come to love behind.

And nerves, for she didn't know how Sirius would react at seeing her again, so many years later, and with a different name.

Taking a deep breath, and summoning all of her Gryffindor courage, Hermione reached out and opened the kitchen door, where, by the sounds of it, everyone had converged.

"HERMIONE!" yelled a voice from her right, reaching her seconds before the owner did. A hush fell in the room as she was embraced by her two best friends, all shedding tears and holding onto one another tightly.

"Harry…Ron…" Hermione said in a tear chocked voice, burying her face in Harry's chest, breathing in the comforting familiar scent that was him. Turning her head, she did the same with Ron, lifting her head up afterwards to look at their faces. "Merlin, I've missed you two." She gave them both a watery smile.

"We've missed you too, Hermione." Harry told her, leaning his forehead against half of hers. Ron leaned his against the other half, all of their eyes closing in contentment at being together, whole, again. Hearing someone clear their throat, they all pulled back, gazes going to the culprit. Seeing Ginny patiently standing with tears in her eyes, Hermione grabbed both her best friends' hands, squeezing them before releasing them, rushing to Ginny and pulling the girl into a hug.

Their hug was interrupted when the twins declared that they wanted to hug their favorite bookworm too, making Hermione laugh when they engulfed both girls in a hug. It continued on this way for a while, each hug varying in length and strength. Hermione had just finished getting her breath back from her hug with Mrs. Weasley when she saw a familiar face, looking older than it did when she saw it just earlier that day.

"Remus!" she exclaimed, rushing forwards and throwing her arms around him, smiling when she felt his wrap around her, holding her tight.

"Hermione." He smiled, pulling back to look at her face. "You haven't aged a day." He teased, making her laugh.

"You still look as handsome as ever." She said in a serious tone, reaching a hand up and cupping his cheek. Lupin smiled sadly at her, reaching up and grabbing the hand on his cheek. Holding it in his own, he bent, staring into her eyes.

"Be gentle with him…he was a mess after you disappeared." He told her, a slight plea evident in his voice. Kissing her forehead, he squeezed her hand, releasing it and stepping aside, allowing her her first view of the man she loved.

Dragging in a shaky breath, she looked him over, delaying making eye contact with him. He still looked good, his build similar to when he was a teenager. He was thicker—but in a good way. His chest was broader, and her fingers itched to run across it to see if he was as muscled as he was when she last saw him. His hair was shaggy, and looking a little unkempt. Her eyes finally made contact with his, the look in his causing her heart to skip a beat.

Hermione wasn't aware of how long they stared at each other before he made a move, stepping towards her. Standing still, she watched as he made his way towards her, oblivious to the others in the room, who were watching the pair curiously.

Her greeting with Lupin had shocked them; her staring contest with Sirius left them confused.

Hermione sucked in a breath when he stopped in front of her, so close but, in her opinion, so far away. She didn't know what to expect, was slightly afraid of the welcome he would give. They had not parted on the best of terms.

"Hermione…" he breathed, reaching a shaky hand up and cupping her cheek, eyes closing when she leaned into it. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He whispered, his voice breaking on the last sorry.

Hermione looked up at him, watching as he fought tears. Lifting her own shaky hand up, she laid it on top of his, smiling at him when he opened his eyes to look at her, hope and guilt shining in his eyes. "I forgive you." She whispered back, eyes closing in happiness when his lips descended on hers.

She felt joy spread throughout her body when he brought his other hand up and cupped her other cheek, the feeling soon followed by another, warmer one when he deepened the kiss. She wrapped her arms around his waist, eliciting a groan from him, spurring him to deepen it further. Sirius' hands had just started to tangle into Hermione's hair when they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat, rather loudly. Jumping apart, they turned to the noise, blushing when they realized that they had an audience. Seeing the confused faces of her friends, Hermione opened her mouth to explain, shutting it when she realized she did not know what to say.

Glancing back at Sirius, wondering how to explain, Hermione saw him shrug in response to her unasked question before snaking an arm around her waist and bringing her back to him, her back to his chest.

Wrapping his other arm around her, Sirius rested his chin on her shoulder, bending slightly to do so, turning his head to the side and burying his nose in her curls. He felt contentment run through him at her familiar smell, breathing a sigh of relief even as he squeezed her closer upon remembering how long it had been since he had smelt it last.

Hermione smiled at the familiar action, leaning back into him. Resting her arm on his she turned her attention back to the others in the room, chewing on her bottom lip as she tried to figure out what to say.

"Hermione?" Harry asked, looking at his best friend and godfather in confusion. "Mind explaining?"

"Well...Harry, when my accident happened, I went back in time. Back to when the Marauders were in school." she explained slowly. Silence followed her statement as everyone stared at her in varying degrees of disbelief.

"You went to school with my parents?" Harry asked quietly.

"For a short while, yes. You and your dad look so alike that it's scary." she admitted, feeling Sirius' chuckle vibrate through her body.

"Why is that funny?" Harry asked edgily.

"Because the first time we met her, we had just found your dad in Diagon Alley and were about five steps away when this girl goes running by screaming 'Harry!' as she tackles him. The look on his face..." Sirius trailed off, chuckling again.

"She had scared him half to death, and confused him at the same time. It turned out to be an interesting look." Lupin said in amusement, laughing along with Sirius.

"I'm glad you two find it so funny," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Do you realize how traumatizing that was?"

"Sorry, love." Sirius said, fighting off his remaining laughter.

"Sorry 'Mi." Lupin said, his voice less tinged with amusement then his best friends.

"It's alright," she said, reaching up a hand up behind her to run it through Sirius' hair. He hummed in contentment, the sound vibrating through her back.

"So you were there the whole time?" Ron asked a look in his eye as he watched her and Sirius, one that she could not understand. He had been so happy to see her just a moment ago…

"Yes. After that meeting with James, I was able to convince the three of them to take me to Dumbledore, who allowed me to stay at Hogwarts for the remaining few weeks before the beginning of term. I've been living there, trying to find a way back home—"

"And falling in love with me, the naughty girl." Sirius cut her off to tease, laughing when she huffed and smacked his head. "What? It's the truth!"

Hermione shook her head, sharing a look with Remus before looking back at her best friends. "I don't know how I came to be home, honestly. One second I was…arguing with Sirius, and then…it just went black. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in your room, back in my present."

"So you really don't know how you made it home?" Harry asked, slowly, trying to make sense of it all.

"I really don't, Harry." She answered truthfully, squeezing the arm that held her, letting him know just how much of the truth that was. Hermione felt Sirius relax behind her; since she started to talk he had tensed up, and she knew him enough to know that he had been scared she came back of her own free will.

Looking around at all of the faces of her loved ones—the confusion, the relief, the anger—she knew that she had a lot of explaining to do. The arm around her tightened, as if he knew that she was worried. A light smile stretched across her lips, a warmth rushing through her—they were going to be alright. As she leaned back into the man behind her, she knew that no matter how this upcoming talk ended, she would always have him; she would always have the love of her life.