Characters: Remus Lupin, Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Hermione Granger
Genres: Action / Adventure, Angst, Romance.
Timeline: Post Order of the Phoenix
Warnings: None
Summary: After the events of OofP, Lupin is coming to terms with the losses in his life and struggling to continue with his role in the order. RL/HG
Disclaimer: All characters and situations from Harry Potter are properties of J.K Rowling, Scholastic Press, Warner Bros. and others. No copyright infringement is intended.

Stirrings of Trouble

The summer had begun in a macabre and sullen fashion. All those who had been involved in the terrible occurrence at the Ministry of Magic, were to say the least somewhat dazed and still reeling from the events. Hermione and Ron had spent little more than a week at The Burrow when they were informed that they would be spending the rest of the summer at Grimmauld Place. They were excited and apprehensive at the same time. Although it would be exciting to see the rest of the order again, they were apprehensive about seeing Harry after all that had happened. Ron had warmed to Sirius just as much as Hermione had and it was awful to have lost him, they knew they both had their parents to turn to, but not Harry. Not Harry who had lost so much last year. They didn't know how he was going to be but they were going to be there for him, as always, no matter what.

They quickly wrote letters of encouragement to Harry about meeting up at Grimmauld Place. Neither of them could see Harry turning such an offer down...they were worried none-the-less They sent their messages by Owl, knowing Harry would have them relatively quickly. Of course they never mentioned where or when, just in case the owls were intercepted.

When they went to pick Harry up there was an excitement in the Weasley family. Of course every now and then Molly would say Harry's name and go glassy eyed mumbling "That poor, poor boy." She had never warmed to Sirius really but she had never wanted anything to happen to the brash young man. He may have been impatient and raring to go but Molly couldn't help but to look at her own sons, even Percy, and think of what may happen to them. At that she would leave the group and compose herself until ready to converse again, which usually took about five minutes.

They had managed to get some Muggle transportation via the ministry this year. They had been much more accepting of things to do with Harry than they had last year. It was a squeeze but they all managed to fit in, and dropping by Privet drive had been relatively easy. More than it should have been considering there were at least two members of the Order per car. Everybody had wanted in on Tonk's car and was less than eager to get in the car with Mad-Eye Moody. He was wearing that strange bowler hat that made him bizarrely respectable and outcast at the same time.

They found Harry at the end of Privet Drive. His aunt and uncle did not want to draw attention to the fact that Harry was leaving or who may be picking him up. Everyone one was relieved to see him of course and Molly could not control the cuddles she gave Harry when she first saw him. Harry went pink with the attention but didn't withdraw from it; as much as he disliked being coddled he loved it at the same time. Harry looked from car to car hoping to see Professor Lupin, but he wasn't there, so he got into the nearest car.

The next surprise was that they then took a portkey from the cars to Grimmauld place. Hermione started to ask what was happeningbut was shushed by Arthur Weasley who explained with a knowing smile, that their luggage would be coming after them. They all Portkeyed into Grimmauld place and found themselves in the basement. It had never been nice down there but it had been cleaned and thoroughly disinfected, much to everyone's approval.

Hermione had noticed immediately that Harry had put on his brave face. She wanted to reach over and give him a small touch or reassurance but she was frightened that it would be too much for him. She followed as they all piled into the Kitchen, where Molly stood for a moment, looking at Harry before breaking from her reverie and putting the kettle on the stove. It was uncomfortable for a few moments because no one looked at Harry but wanted to all the same time.

It was not lost on Harry who commented quietly, "I think Sirius would have liked the colour in here."

Tonks beamed with pride at this point and informed Harry, "Yeah me and Lupin did in here and Molly did most of the rest of the house."

Molly glowed red and said, "Yes, well I had help too, mostly from Remus and Alastor." She seemed pleased though to be acknowledged for all her hard work. Harry smiled at her and she momentarily couldn't speak, when she found her voice she said, " Tea any one?" Everyone nodded.

Hermione couldn't help noticing that there were a few people missing from the house. She knew that they were most likely on Order business but she still couldn't account for some of the disappearances, for instance where was Kreacher? She was a tiny bit worried about what had happened to him, although she knew that he had been the ultimate traitor. Also there had been two Order meetings in the last three days and yet there had been no Dumbledore, no Snape, no Lupin and no McGonagall either. Hermione, being a smart witch, could see that at least two of those people were crucial to the meetings.

The next morning Hermione took it upon herself to ask Tonks, who was dozing over a cup of coffee, where everyone was, including Kreacher. "Tonks would you mind if I asked you something? I have been wondering what happened to Kreacher? " Tonks winced at the mention of Kreacher and looked as though she were about to speak when a dark figure loomed over them both. Snape stood above them holding his own tea; Hermione couldn't help thinking a giant vampire bat had landed.

Snape sneered and looked down at them, "I would have thought it was obvious what had happened to that loathsome creature, Miss Granger. He will not be revealing the secrets of the Order anymore." Hermione looked shocked but a tiny part of her brain had already accepted that this maybe the case already. A larger part of her brain was horrified too, because that made some one a murderer.

Snape saw the dawning understanding in her eyes and felt a small amount of pity for her, but that was quickly washed aside with anger. "That foul little beast led to the direct death of one of the Order. Its imminent demise was the best it could have hoped for. I for one am glad it is no longer roaming these halls; its betrayal was the worst kind. Though I am sure Sirius would have understood what betrayal is all about."

Hermione's eyes widened at what Professor Snape had just said and apparently so did Tonks because Snape stopped sneering and stomped out of the Kitchen. How could Snape talk about Sirius like that? Hermione shook her head; it was too hard to imagine Snape caring for anyone she supposed, she thought at least Snape might be civil about Sirius now he was dead; apparently not. Tonks seemed to feel the same, as she was shaking her head in disbelief at Snape.

Hermione temporarily forgot that she had wanted to ask about Dumbledore and the others for a day. Snape had thrown her a little and she hadn't wasted any time in telling Harry what he said. Harry took it quiet well, with a small shrug of his shoulders, as though it were no great surprise that Snape had badmouthed Sirius. Hermione was glad that Harry had taken it well, though there seemed to be a small amount of worry around the eyes for a little while.

It was some days later that Hermione noticed that Dumbledore, McGonagall and Lupin still hadn't been to Headquarters. It seemed especially strange as the others, like Tonks kept hinting that they would be through the door any time soon. This didn't keep Hermione from worrying about them, even if the others weren't showing it she knew from the stopped conversations whenever her Harry or Ron were in the room and quiet whispers, that something was amiss. She just hoped that it wasn't anything serious.

Hermione had noted that Snape had been hanging around a lot more than he normally would have. He spent his time in between the Kitchen and the living room skulking and sneering at all those who entered. It bothered her, Ron and Harry so that they were nearly always in the room that he wasn't in. Snape seemed to be grateful of this fact and mostly left them alone. It didn't stop them wondering what on earth Snape was doing there?

It wasn't until they had been there for ten days that they heard Dumbledore and McGonagall in the middle of the night, they had, of course, been chatting into the night and had subsequently heard them downstairs. Hermione had opened her bedroom door and she and Ginny were listening to the row downstairs, Professor McGonagall seemed to be hysterical and was shouting loudly.

Hermione could not resist knowing what was going on and left her bedroom, ignoring Ginny's low warning: "Don't be stupid Hermione, your going to get caught." Ginny remained where she was, although she kept hissing certain things at Hermione's retreating back every now and then, clearly concerned for her friend.

Hermione made her way down the stairs and at some point became aware that she was still wearing her PJ's, she felt underdressed and vulnerable, but she still was too curious to turn back. She realised as she crept down the stairs that she hadn't even thought to bring her wand; now she really did feel vulnerable. She reached the bottom of the stairs and made her way to the kitchen where most of the fuss seemed to be coming from; she opened the door and nearly screamed. There was a horrific scene before her, on the table was Professor Lupin, bleeding heavily from wounds on his chest. Around him were Professors McGonagall, Dumbledore, Snape and Mr Weasley, who were trying to help him. Lupin was pale beyond white and his eyes rolled back into his head.

A/N: I just wanted to add that this chapter has been revised and updated (11/02/05), with the help of my Beta Sophie to whom I give many a thank you for her wonderful help.