Fandom: Harry Potter
Character/Pairing: Sirius/Hermione, Ron/Hermione (one-sided)
Challenge/Prompt: A to Z Challenge: G
Word Count: 2,701
Summary: Western AU! Healer Hermione takes care of an outlaw. She didn't expect to fall in love with him.
Hermione walked out of her small house. Her bare feet sunk into the sand as the wind picked up. Her curly brunette hair flew around her, the strands whipping the side of her ace in an angry flurry.
She knew she should be sleeping. She had endured a long day, worked many hours, but she couldn't seem to quiet her busy mind.
She thought a walk along the beach might help her. She walked for a few minutes, but when she got to a huddled mass of trees and bushes, she heard a pain-filled groan.
She looked towards the trees. "H-Hello?" she hesitantly called.
She didn't get an actual answer, but she did hear another groan.
She took her wand out and crept towards the trees. And what she saw made her breath catch in her throat.
She looked at the wild raven hair, the unshaven face, the thinly muscled body, and she knew who laid in front of her, with blood gushing from an ugly wound. An outlaw but not just any outlaw. It was the infamous Sirius Black, one of the worst outlaws in her generation.
"What are you staring at, girl?" he growled, despite the pain visible in his features.
"You're injured," she pointed out. She always had the knack for stating the obvious.
"Boym aren't you a smart one," he drawled. He made to lunge towards her but stopped as pain twisted his features.
She took a step back, here wand held out in front of her. He might be injured, but it didn't mean he was unarmed. "Accio Sirius Black's wand." Two pieces of wood flew towards her, both were parts of a wand, and she realized his wand must have been broken in his duel. Knowing they were useless to him separated, she allowed the pieces to fall to the sand, already forgotten.
She wrestled within herself. The healer side of her wanted to help him. She always helped when she saw someone ill or injured. She liked helping; it was why she became a healer in the first place. On the other hand, the human side of her knew it was a bad idea. If her parents discovered she aided a known outlaw, they would disown her. She would be pronounced guilty for helping a criminal. She would be imprisoned in jail and nothing would help the people see she was innocent because according their laws, despite the fact that she was a good person, she would technically be guilty.
Still, she couldn't leave him here to die slowly, not when she knew she had the resources to help him get better.
She shook her head and slowly walked towards him, feeling a bit frightened of his aggressive face. She was never one to step down, despite fear, though. "Come on. We'll get you to my house."
She pocketed her wand and went to bodily lift him up but stopped when he growled at her.
"Stay away from me," he ordered.
She rolled her eyes. "I'm trying to take you to my house so I can heal you. So stop being ungrateful and come quietly."
She reached for him, and he slapped her hand away. "I'm not going anywhere with you, girl," he snarled, the anger clear in his voice.
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Let me guess. It's your male pride, right? Well, too bad for you. I don't have time to cater to your ego. You're coming with me." She took out her wand and with a grim smile, stated, "Petrificus Totalus." When he was completely still, only his eyeballs moving wildly, she intoned, "Wingardium Leviosa." She easily levitated him all the home.
When she got him to her house, she put him in her bed. She pointed her wand at him and incanted, "Incarcerous" before undoing the full body bind. She wanted to make sure he wouldn't try to attack her with his hands.
She smiled at him even in the face of his heated glare.
"You should be grateful. I'm about to save your life after all."
"You saved my life. I am eternally grateful," Black said in a way that Hermione knew he didn't mean.
"I know it's meant to be sarcastic, but you're welcome."
"You're not like most girls," Black commented as Hermione began her diagnostic spells on him.
Hermione's eyes were trained on the readings her wand produced. "Thank you, I take that as a compliment."
She knew what she needed and left him to go to her potions stores. When she returned, she noticed he was still awake but barely.
"You can go to sleep you know. You being awake won't help your recovery at all."
"I don't need your permission to do what I want, girl."
"Suit yourself," she supplied before tipping potion after potion down his throat. She had to force his mouth open but each potion went where it needed to go. Then she began the spell work and before she was finish, he was asleep.
She knew she needed to keep an eye on him overnight to make sure he didn't take a turn for the worst. She could have done a monitoring spell, but since he was in her bed, she really didn't have anywhere else to go.
She sat in a chair at the foot of the bed and looked at the man – the outlaw – she had decided to risk everything to save. She pointed the wand at the picture frame on the table by the bed. "Accio picture frame," she whispered.
When it flew to her hands, she examined the photograph, swiping at her teary eyes. It was one of her favorites; it was of her and her parents together. Her dad had just come home after his stint in the army and they were all rejoicing about being reunited. Hermione stood in the middle. Her mother was on her left, holding her hand, and her father was on her right, his arm slung over her shoulders and his fingertips brushing her mother's shoulder in a gentle caress.
She knew if they discovered this, discovered she was using her healing techniques to save someone the law didn't recognize as worth saving, they would never speak to her again. Hermione was bringing shame onto the Granger family name, and they would be looked at as filth. The only way her parents would be able to save their own reputations would be to completely turn away from their only child, and they would do so.
She knew the risk she was taking and despite Black's less than sincere gratitude, she couldn't ignore her own code of ethics, even if the legal system would never agree with her.
She fell asleep sitting in the chair but was woken up when she heard a yell. She blearily opened her eyes and winced at the bright sunlight streaming through the window.
She looked at Sirius who was still tied to the bed and stood up. "Can I help you?"
"I have needs that have to be met." He raised his eyebrow.
She was surprised he didn't just say what he had to do, even if it was just to cause her discomfort at his crude language. "Fine. You should be healed enough to get up on your own, so I'll let you tend to yourself. My wand will be ready, though. Be on your best behavior," she warned.
She swished her wand and the ropes fell away from his body. She kept her wand trained on him as he moved to the bathroom slowly, wincing with each step. He went to the bathroom and came back, not even trying to attack her. Maybe he finally accepted that he needed help.
"So, girl, your husband can't be happy about you having a strange man in your marriage bed," he stated, like there was no question about whether she would be married.
"Not married, although a man has made his interest known. Unfortunately, I find him obnoxious and would never consider him a good partner."
He smirked. "Most girls don't say no when they're asked to get married."
"I thought we covered this already. I'm not like most girls," she countered.
He fell quiet, and she realized it was the first real conversation that had, and it hadn't been horrible. She thought all outlaws were a little slow, not educated, but even from the very few sentences Black had spoken, she could tell he was intelligent.
She wondered why he turned to a life of crime. She wanted to ask but didn't know how the question would be received and hated the idea of disrupting the uneasy truce they seemed to have come to.
Black eyed her. "Ask," he encouraged.
She took a deep breath. "Why are you an outlaw? Why do you break the law? Is it simply for fun? Or is there an actual reason?"
Black closed his eyes. "Severus Snape. Ever heard of him?"
"He's your greatest rival, right?"
Black nodded. "When I was eighteen, he killed my little brother. I vowed to get revenge and I've done it."
Hermione was confused at first but realization soon came to her. "Your injuries from last night..." She trailed off.
"Got them in a duel with Snape. I'm alive, and he's not. Regulus can finally rest in peace."
"You can't just stop being an outlaw, though. You'll never be accepted by civilians."
"Knowing my brother's killer is dead makes it all worth it," he muttered before drifting back to sleep.
Hermione thought about his words. What would Sirius do now? 'Wait! Sirius? Since when have I begun thinking of him by his first name? Probably since I heard the heartbreaking story of why he is the way he is now. I can't get attached, though. I have to stay distant. As soon as he's healed, he'll be gone.' She nodded to herself, but she knew she hadn't yet convinced herself that she could remain emotionless in the face of Sirius Black's haunted grey eyes.
Things continued like that for the next couple of days. Sirius and Hermione talked when he was awake but most of the time, he slept as his body healed.
Hermione found herself drawn to him, and she knew she was experiencing a dangerous emotion, an emotion she had never once experienced before. She couldn't stop it, no matter how much she wanted to. Her heart wouldn't allow her to turn it off.
And then the time came that he was healthy enough to leave. In the cover of darkness, she led him outside. His pet hippogriff, that had managed to locate him, was waiting a few feet away from them.
Hermione tired to ignore her breaking heart. "What are you going to do now?" she whispered, eyes averted.
"Not sure, but I know there's one thing I want to do."
She looked up at him. "What's that?"
He took off his hat, bent slightly, and planted a strong kiss on her parted lips. She gasped, shocked, and he took the opportunity to plunge his tongue into her mouth.
She stood still, completely taken by surprised by his abrupt actions.
When he pulled away, he brushed her bangs out of her eyes. "I think I may have fallen in love with you. Be with me."
She swallowed. "Um..." For once, she was at a loss for words. She never expected Sirius to return her affection. "Sirius..."
"Don't tell me you don't want me as much as I want you. I like the fact that you aren't a traditional girl. I like the fact that you fight when I'm wrongg, and I want you at my side."
"I took a big risk in helping you. My parents would never accept us. I could be imprisoned for even considering it –"
"Then run away with me and Buckbeak," Sirius interrupted, "I'll take good care of you, I promise."
Part of Hermione wanted to say 'yes.' She didn't think she could ever feel for another guy what she felt for Sirius, but could she leave everything she knew behind, just to be with him?
"I won't allow it!" an angry voice interrupted their moment.
Hermione looked to their right side and saw Ronald Weasley with his wand drawn. "Go away, Ronald. What I do is none of your business," she stated, hands on her hips.
"You're wrong about that, Hermione. You're mine, and no one will take you away from me."
Sirius narrowed his eyes. "We'll see about that."
Hermione gulped. She knew this wasn't going to end well.
"I challenge you to a duel for Hermione's hand in marriage."
Sirius's eyes cut to her. He knew she didn't like to be thought of as a prize, but she also knew he wouldn't ever back down from a challenge. "I accept."
"Sirius, you don't have a wand," Hermione reminded him.
"I will if you let me borrow yours."
Hermione hated giving her wand to anyone but Sirius winning would be the best outcome for her as he wouldn't force her to marry him if he won. Unlike Ronald. She handed him the wand.
Ronald had a cocky smirk on his face. "Using a borrowed wand? That's going to hurt you."
"With my skills, I don't need my own wand," Sirius retaliated. And before Ronald could move, Sirius shot out a stunning spell.
Ronald quickly shielded and returned the same spell.
Sirius dodged, sending a Reductor Curse the redhead's way.
And Ronald dodged, returning the exact same curse.
Hermione watched with her heart in her throat as the duel went back and forth, and it wasn't long before Hermione realized that Sirius wasn't showing much power, and she knew he had to be stronger than that, especially if he took down Severus Snape by himself. That meant, the wand was hindering him and if the duel lasted much longer, even with Ronald's inferior dueling skills compared to Sirius, the man that had captured her heart would be done for.
And suddenly, green light shot from Ronald's wand. Sirius dodged it but barely. And Hermione knew Ronald was determined to win her hand in marriage, no matter what he had to do to get it.
Sirius tried to return the curse but nothing happened, and Hermione knew her wand had decided to stop working for him.
She watched in quiet horror as Ronald shot curse after curse at Sirius, who dodged it, but she knew he couldn't keep that up forever.
And just then, Sirius tripped, falling to the ground, and was defenseless against incoming attacks.
Ronald smirked victoriously.
Hermione shook her head. It couldn't end like this. She couldn't lose the person she loved so soon after finding him. It just wasn't fair.
And without thinking about it, she raced to the pair, grabbed her wand from Sirius's limp hand and shot a curse she never thought she would use at the redhead. "Avada Kedavra!"
He was too shocked to dodge and fell to the ground, dead.
She stared at the unmoving body and only shifted when Sirius put his strong hands on her shoulders.
"I killed him," she muttered.
Sirius hugged her slightly. "You can't stay now. You know you can't."
Hermione nodded. They would find out that she was the one who killed him, and she would go to jail.
He took her hand and pulled her towards Buckbeak. He lifted her up, and she straddled the hippogriff.
He climbed on behind her, holding her tightly. And with a slight kick, Buckbeak took off for the air.
Hermione closed her eyes as tears fell from them. She was leaving everything behind because of a mistake. Hermione wasn't the type to kill, but she reacted out of instinct when she saw Sirius in danger.
She would be able to stay with Sirius and love him, but at what cost? Her family. Her friends. Her profession. Her home.
She could never return. She was now an outlaw just like Sirius, and there was no turning back. Hermione leaned back against Sirius, resting her head on his chest, the top of it stopping just below his chin. At least she had Sirius.