by darsynia

Notes: Christmas at Grimmauld, Order of the Phoenix time period. Fic request by's 'IceColdShiva.' Written 4/26/06.

"Don't you think that's a little skimpy to be running around the house in?" Sirius Black's voice held a mixture of amusement and concern as he looked up from the couch in the library.

Hermione blushed—she'd been forced to borrow an outfit from Ginny, due to the fact that all of her clothes were in the wash. She wasn't accustomed to the wizarding way of doing one's laundry, as the house elves at Hogwarts took care of that (she'd tried to help them with hers the previous year, earning herself a stern lecture on meddling from Professor McGonagall, and several horrified looks from the house elves that worked in the laundry), and her unexpected stay at #12 Grimmauld Place for Christmas had caught her clothes supply unawares. Ginny had attempted to explain the way things worked, but Hermione had just shook her head, typically lost when it came to household charms.

The youngest Weasley was taller than her, and a little more slightly built, so the shirt she'd borrowed from Ginny felt a bit more snug than she was comfortable with, and—Sirius was right—the skirt was downright skimpy. This fact being noticed by Harry's godfather—who she was mortified to admit she had a dangerous crush on—caused her to be at the same time a little excited and terribly embarrassed.

"I do not 'run around,' Mr. Black," Hermione said primly, slowing her pace as she moved past the lounging man on her way to the shelves of books.

"My apologies, Miss Granger," Sirius said in a voice that was far from apologetic, and rather mocking. The glass on the small table next to him was filled with an amber liquid, and Hermione could tell by his relaxed position that he'd been drinking. "Still," Sirius continued, eyeing her in a way that just bordered on being speculative, "with all the young men roaming around in this house, you might want to put something else on."

Hermione nearly snorted—Sirius playing the part of concerned parent-figure was a stretch. The fact that his eyes lingered slightly on her bare legs before moving back to the newspaper in his lap made her a little more confident than normal. She decided he needed a little taste of his own medicine.

"You're one to talk," she said dryly, settling herself across from him with one of the dusty tomes from the back of the top shelf. "With all the young women 'roaming' around the house, you might want to change out of those leather pants."

Hermione was quite proud of the shocked expression the man opposite her rewarded her with. Sirius looked as if someone had just cast a Befuddlement Charm on him. She could feel him staring at her, but she simply began to flip through the pages of the book in front of her, trying not to tremble from his scrutiny.

"You don't even know what you're saying." Sirius' voice was gruff, and she knew it was because she'd managed to shock him, and he didn't want her to know it. "You're too innocent to—" She looked up as he spoke, sufficiently angry at his dismissive opinion to let her eyes show a bit of her regard for him. It was enough to stop him from finishing the sentiment, and Hermione felt a little thrill as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"There are plenty of young men for you to look at like that," he finally said, clearing his throat and picking up his Daily Prophet.

"Like what?" Hermione asked, the charged atmosphere in the room causing her to feel incredibly brave. She knew exactly what he'd been referring to, but something made her want to see what his reaction would be.

"Like you want to know what Firewhiskey tastes like," Sirius said roughly, setting his glass down after taking a tight sip.

"I know what Firewhiskey tastes like," she lied. The paper rustled noisily as the black-haired man got to his feet and started for the door. Hermione felt a rush of disappointment—what happened to the daring Marauder she'd heard stories about?

"Running away?" she challenged, not looking up from what she was reading but hearing his footsteps stop at the door.

"You don't know what you're asking for, and I'm not the one to show it to you," Black gritted out, as though the effort of speaking just then had been difficult.

Hermione didn't think her heart had ever beat this fast, but she hated to back away from anything, and she wasn't going to start now. She stood up with the heavy book she'd barely even glanced at, and started to walk to the shelf to put it back.

"What am I asking for?" she questioned. The adjacent shelves obstructed her view of his reaction, and so when she turned around and saw him blocking her exit from the aisle, she nearly gasped.

"You should go flirt with one of the Weasleys—they're safer," Sirius asserted, making his suggestion impossible due to both his position at the end of the shelves, and the sheer temptation he was offering her, unconsciously.

"I've never been overly concerned with safety," she asserted, ignoring his material point.

"You've never faced true danger," he said, taking a predatory step in her direction.

"Are you dangerous, Sirius?" Hermione spoke the question and his name in a soft voice that should have sounded innocent but did not. She leaned against the back wall, the coolness of the wood a balm for the heat his fierce look raised in her. Her body was as taut as a bowstring, and she wasn't sure anymore if she wasn't completely out of her depth.

He hadn't answered her, instead he closed the rest of the distance between them and stood in front of her, looking down with a heated gaze that was tempered slightly with anger.

"You know I am," he said, his voice tense, his brow furrowed. "Is this some attempt to prove your Gryffindor bravery? I'm not tame, Hermione." She shook her head emphatically, wanting to reach out to touch him, and without the nerve to do so. When she spoke, her voice shook slightly.

"If I were trying to prove how brave I was, I'd walk away."

Sirius groaned, resting a hand above her head to lean toward her and look into her eyes intently.

"Do it." His voice both pleaded and commanded her to obey him.

"I can't," she shook her head, marveling at the beauty of his grey eyes.

"Hermione," he said warningly, even as he moved a step closer to her.

"I want to know what Firewhiskey tastes like," she whispered. Sirius shut his eyes, and she could see the knuckles turning white on the fist he held at his side. She knew it was wrong, he knew it was wrong, but Hermione didn't want to let the moment pass, so she reached up to trace his cheekbone with one finger. His reaction was immediate, the clenched hand came up to capture hers and he almost growled as he dipped his head and kissed her roughly.

The kiss was like Sirius himself—volatile, passionate; she tried to keep her balance as his lips caught her mouth on fire and turned her blood into Firewhiskey. All too soon it was over, and Sirius stalked away from her without another word; she knew he was likely quite furious with himself for what he had allowed to happen. She knew she should be regretting what she'd goaded him into doing, but Hermione thought that she would never be able to drink Firewhiskey in the future without remembering what it had been like to taste it on his lips.