Hermione rushed through the door of 12 Grimmauld Place, only just taking the time to shut it behind her. She was moving so fast, Sirius' mother barely had time to yell at her as she whizzed by the portrait. There was an Order meeting beginning in five minutes, and she was determined not to be late. She was still fairly new to the Order, and there were a few people who felt she wasn't quite up to par, regardless of what she had done in the past. Walking in late to a meeting would only be more ammunition for her naysayers.
She slowed down her gait before walking into the dining room where the meeting was being held. When she walked through the door, careful to keep her expression calm and collected, she spotted one of her biggest opponents…Nymphadora Tonks. Hermione ignored her and deliberately chose a seat to the right of Harry, as far away from her as possible.
When she had first met Tonks, the older woman had been kind and funny, always having a smile on her face. She was still that way…with everyone except Hermione. She couldn't figure out what she had done to upset Tonks, but it was clear the woman no longer enjoyed her presence. Harry and Ron had even noticed it, which was a testament to how blatant her actions were. They were her best friends, but they weren't exactly Sherlock Holmes material.
She nearly laughed at the thought of the muggle literary detective, but she schooled her features to remain expressionless. Her desire to be considered an adult outweighed anything else at the moment. Tonks was by far the most outspoken about keeping Hermione, Harry, and Ron outside the Order, but she got the feeling it was more personal for her. Tonks had made more than one statement to the effect that Hermione was still a baby, and simply not ready for the 'real' work. She had desperately wanted to hex the Auror, but she knew doing so would only lend credence to Tonks' claims. Instead, she was determined to act as mature as possible, even if she was silently cursing the metamorphmagus in her mind.
Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt waltzed in moments later, and Tonks' face immediately lit up. She let Remus know in a loud voice that she had saved him a seat. Kingsley only smirked before settling on the other side of Hermione. She noticed Remus shot Kingsley a glare as he sat down next to Tonks, who was sporting bright pink, shoulder-length hair at the moment.
"Poor fool," Kingsley muttered to himself with a grin.
"What was that about?" she whispered to the Auror. He was a large man, and she had always been a bit intimidated by him until she had started Auror training. He had been extremely supportive of her, and he was the first one to oppose Tonks when she objected to Hermione's presence. After that, he had quickly become one of Hermione's favorite people.
Kingsley glanced at her before responding amusedly, "Let's just say Remus would gladly trade places with me right now."
Before she could inquire as to exactly what he meant, Dumbledore called the meeting to order. She quickly straightened up and gave her undivided attention to her former professor. It wasn't so long ago that they had attended his funeral, only to find out his death was simply a ruse to draw Death Eaters out into the open. They had had him back for over a year, just after Voldemort was killed by Harry. Unfortunately, not all of Voldemort's followers had been found, hence the need for the Order's continued existence. While the Death Eaters had dwindled in number, there were still high-ranking officials at the Ministry that were under surveillance by the Order.
"Let us start with the good news, shall we?" The old man smiled, his eyes twinkling a little. He went on to report the capture of three former Death Eaters, all of whom were now serving a life sentence in Azkaban. The fourth man found had opted to take his own life in lieu of the prison sentence. While the prisoners had not been Voldemort's top recruits, having been mere low-level lackeys, it was still encouraging to rid the wizarding world of that many more dangerous criminals.
"Now, for the more unpleasant news." Dumbledore paused, glancing down at Remus with what appeared to be a mixture of pity and regret. "As you know, Marcus Lestrange, supposed former Death Eater, still retains his position with the Ministry. He has recently implemented some laws which, I fear, may be a sign of troubled times to come."
All members present were silent, staring at Dumbledore while waiting for him to continue. "It appears he had targeted one of our own – werewolves." At his words, everyone glanced at Remus. Hermione quickly looked back to Dumbledore, realizing Remus was probably embarrassed to be singled out. He wasn't exactly proud of his condition, and he always seemed uncomfortable when it was mentioned.
"As you know, werewolves tend to live longer than most wizards, and they possess very unusual healing qualities. It appears the Ministry is hoping to make use of these advantages."
Before he could continue, Tonks cried, "We can't let them have Remus, Albus. You have to do something! Why aren't we-"
The aging wizard cut her off in the middle of her rant, much to Hermione's relief. "No one is taking Remus away from us, Nymphadora." Hermione smiled inwardly, knowing how much Tonks hated being called by her first name. "They are, however, demanding that all able-bodied werewolves pass on some of their qualities."
Hermione thought Dumbledore looked slightly uncomfortable at that last sentence, but Remus' question shattered the rest of her thoughts. "Do you mean I have to infect others with lycanthropy?" His voice was filled with what sounded like terror, and his face had gone deathly pale. Her heart immediately went out to the werewolf. He had faced numerous opponents in the war, and he had never once shown half the fear that was on his face now.
"No, no, my dear boy. Nothing like that." Albus reassured him. Remus' took a deep breath as he relaxed his shoulders. "The law is actually referring to…breeding." Remus's eyebrows shot up, but he continued before anyone could interrupt. "The Ministry is requiring werewolves to mate with a witch or wizard within the next two months."