Pairing: Sirius Black / Hermione Granger
Blurb: This is definitely one of the rarer pairs in HP fandom, but after flipping through miscellaneous fanfics a year and a half ago, it was this pair that caught my eye and actually drew me into the terribly addictive world of fan fiction.
Sirius Black is this sort of tragic figure that repeatedly got shafted in the HP-verse, but most of what we really see of him in canon is his dysfunctional nature after having half his life and his loved ones ripped from him. Still, there are details Rowling dropped that make him a pleasure to round out - more than just a brooding, alcoholic, former-womanizer with a Peter Pan complex, he was intelligent and talented enough to pull off some seriously advanced magic at an early age. And he's fiercely loyal, as seen both in his mistake of trusting Pettigrew, but also in his amazingly quick forgiveness of those who turned their backs on him without a second thought, leaving him to rot for twelve years. Still, although he's technically one of the "grown-ups," he did lose 13+ years of adult emotional development. He was really just kind of stuck in limbo, and before he had a chance to pull his life together, it was snatched from him once more. Damn you, Rowling, damn you to hell...
Hermione Granger is a classic 13 going on 30 case, too smart and too mature for most people in her age bracket. Socially awkward and yes - a bossy little know-it-all. However, we also see in canon that she's not so innocent - she pulls off some pretty deviant stuff and is mostly just smart enough to not get caught. She's also not necessarily some prim, sexless prude - she was the first of the trio to get ANY action, and then it was with an international Quidditch star. She was also headstrong and mature enough to know what she wanted and didn't want with regards to Viktor Krum, and wasn't afraid to call it off. Even with Ron, she was the one who took the initiative, and when he returned to them during the Great Campout, again - she was headstrong and independent, and had to be separated from Ron lest her anger with him cause harm. She didn't just go falling into his arms at his return. In short, Granger's got fire and smarts and guts, and occassionally displays a bit of double-standard and questionable ethics. Not such a bad match for Sirius Black, really.
Put these two together, and there's just so much potential. Some writers play off of the caricature of them, writing Hermione as a shivering, sexless virgin type and Sirius as a crude, rude manslut who "shows her the way." It's a valid kink for some, but I'm not personally a fan of it, and often I walk away from those stories feeling like that's why the pairing shouldn't work, but that's just opinion and YMMV/YKINMK. So the stories I'm listing below are those that I think play well off of their personalities and the tension of "this should be wrong, but it feels so right," etc. Most of them are AU, of course, because hello - Veil. However, the Veil is one of several fun (albeit common) plot devices for this pairing. Many authors use it to keep Sirius in a sort of stasis while Hermione grows to a "less squicky" age, although I have no problem with May/December pairings, and these two are a great case for that.
Anyway, enough babbling, here are my recs:
Fic Rec #1: The Thief of Time
Author: Tink Wolfe
Link: The Thief of Time
Rating/Warning(s): M / WIP
Why This Must Be Read: This is probably my topmost rec for this pairing, and while the story hasn't been updated in a long, long time, it's still a good, long read with a lovely depiction of the Marauders era. It's technically a time travel fic, but it kind of isn't. Instead, it's a real AU with Hermione taken back to a childhood where she must grow up as an Evans sister. It's a really rich read, and last I heard the story was actually complete, but the author was having trouble getting a new computer and getting back online.
Fic Rec #2 Concupiscence
Author: Tink Wolfe
Why This Must Be Read: For one, I wanted to rec a "complete" story by the same author, to make up for the WIP-ness. But also, this story just has everything - the Veil retrieval is really creatively done, the fall of Ron/Hermione happens in a non-demonizing way, which is always a perk in my book, and there's the play off of character stereotypes that brings the reader deeper beneath that surface.
Fic Rec #3: The Unforgettable Notch
Link: The Unforgettable Notch
Rating/Warning(s): M / angst
Why This Must Be Read: Apparently this particular author is well-known for her heartbreaking angst. She has another Sirius/Hermione story that I just can't bring myself to read, because I'm a sap who needs happy endings. I happened upon this one once, however, and I loved its pain and bittersweetness. It's a TimeTurner fic, but it's one where the past and future don't get changed. The end result is sad and sweet and kind of painful.
Fic Rec #4: Lost and Found
Author: Rurouni Star
Link: Lost and Found
Rating/Warning(s): T / major character death, AU
Why This Must Be Read: Many Sirius/Hermione stories find some way to send Hermione back in time so that she's a closer age to Sirius. In this one, Hermione is in her mid/late-thirties, when she inadvertently summons Sirius Black from beyond. It's very, very AU as far as the outcome of the war and characters who were lost. The author does a nice job of building an older, emotionally damaged Hermione in light of that. Plus there's a great deal of plot and intrigue that goes on as well. It's just a very different take, very refreshing.
Fic Rec #5: Temporality
Why This Must Be Read: Time-turner fic, but the author really explores the consequences of changing history, and the sadness that comes with losing the most treasured parts of Hermione's past in favor of "saving the world." The Time-Turner is a pretty common trope, so I really love it when someone does something this fresh and intelligent with it. Plus the ending is just lovely.
Fic Rec #6: Broken
Link: Chapter 1, all chapters so far
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 / WIP, non-con, torture, violence (not from Sirius, though)
Why This Must Be Read: I'm usually not one to go for dark!fic and tons of angst, but I like this author, so I figured I'd give it a go. I think she does a great job of capturing Hermione's pain and the overall horror of what she's been through, as well as the long-lingering trauma afterwards. I really look forward to more of this piece.
Fic Rec #7: Art of Love
Link: Art of Love
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 / SWS
Why This Must Be Read: While this isn't a perfectly-written story, it's definitely considered to be one of the "must-reads" for this pairing. It's an easy, indulgent read, loaded with smut and romance, and just kind of makes you go "awww!" I'm pretty sure it's one of the first ones I read that got me into this fandom and pairing.
Fic Rec #8: Then, Now, and Always
Link: Then, Now, and Always
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 / AU
Why This Must Be Read: When you first start reading this story, one of the biggest impressions is how utterly OOC Hermione seems. The author saves this, however, with a good deal of back story, until you eventually start to think, "well, yeah, I can see someone like Hermione going a bit dark and damaged like this..." I personally really dug her version of Hermione, it was a nice change. After all, how many of us grow up into a super-sized version of the personalities we had in high school? Anyway, there's a bunch of sex, but even more there's this crazy adventure plot that sparks up halfway through, and despite any imperfections in the fic, I just have to give kudos for the imagination that was clearly invested in it.
Fic Rec #9: Compliance Issues
Link: First Chapters, and tag link
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 / WIP / AU
Why This Must Be Read: This story is just amazing. It's apparently a sort of marriage-law fic, but that doesn't really come into play until later on. What really strikes me is the involvement of Egyptian gods and mythology here. It's just a brightly colored fic that's well-written and sucks you in. Really unique and creative.
Fic Rec #10: Treasured Hearts
Link: Treasured Hearts
Rating/Warning(s): T / angst
Why This Must Be Read: There's so much I love about this ficlet in so few words. The glimpse of Hermione as a precocious young child, the sentimentality of her collection of "hearts," the crush on Sirius, and the hurt at the end - it's all beautifully bound up in a bit over 2000 words, proving once again that more isn't always better. This one always makes me cry, every time I read it, damn it.
Fic Rec #11: Sirius de Bergerac
Link: Sirius de Bergerac
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, WIP (with only one chapter remaining, tho!). Might need membership to site to view, unfortunately.
Why This Must Be Read: I placed this outside of the required 10, ONLY because right now it's only available for reading on Granger Enchanted, and I think you have to have a membership to view fic there. This is actually one of my favorite Hermione/Sirius stories. There's a great deal of sweetness, and I love love love the back story of Sirius' portrait. I really like gregor's characterizations and dialog through much of this, and if you can read it, I'd recommend it as one of my top five picks, really.
There ya go! I hope I did alright!