Disclaimer: I don't own any Harry Potter characters.
Hermione sighed and brushed away an imaginary piece of dirt on her robes. She ignored the Order meeting going on around her. It was nothing important and, once again, she re-examined Dumbledore's reason for leaving like he did. The Order was practically in shambles without him.
The past year had been difficult for everyone. Hermione had found herself dragged into secrets so severe that only Dumbledore, Snape, and herself knew of them. The Headmaster made it quite clear that things were supposed to remain between them no matter what.
Dumbledore knew he was dying. The man was no fool; he was old, slightly insane perhaps, but no fool. And they do say it's a thin line between genius and insanity.
Lately Severus Snape had been losing power within Voldemort's ranks. They knew it would only be a matter of time before he was found out and labeled a traitor.
So in the end it all worked out. Snape took the Unbreakable vow to protect his godson Draco, and, if possible to take his place in whatever scheme Voldemort managed to think up. By killing the, already dying, Headmaster, he kept his vow and was restored to Voldemort's good graces.
Of course no one could know. It would be dangerous, far too dangerous for Snape. So Dumbledore came up with a plan. Hermione, who was now eighteen, thanks to her late birth and time-turner use in her third year, was now officially a member of the Order. Snape would send information to Hermione who would relay it to the Order, keeping her informant a secret of course.
Really if someone actually looked at things logically the whole plan was simple. Hermione wondered if in fact, Professor McGonagall had noticed something off about Harry's story. After all she had known Dumbledore a long time. When had he ever begged? Never. But apparently the Transfiguration teacher was too far into her mourning to notice the oddities that were presented.
Hermione's hand strayed from her lap and came to rest in one of her robe pockets. She smiled slightly as her fingers came in contact with the old piece of parchment. She was rather giddy over the fact that Harry had forgotten about the note found in the locket. It wouldn't do for the Order to get their hands on it. It wouldn't do at all.
Perhaps she really should have gone to Slytherin; the Sorting Hat had definitely voiced its opinion about that. But at the time she had believed herself to be muggle-born so she had fought against it.
Another of the secrets she was privy to last year was that she was adopted. Of course she had already known that from a good deal of deductive reasoning. It was the identity of her parents that she had to wonder about. So it was a huge shock when Dumbledore revealed her father's identity. Or, maybe it was her father's identity that shocked her the most.
Molly Weasley, laid a comforting hand on her shoulder jerking Hermione out of her thoughts. "The meetings over Dearie." Molly informs her softly. The Weasley matriarch had lost weight due to stress and it was distressful for Hermione to see the woman she viewed as a second mother in so much pain.
"Well," Hermione says standing. "I'll be going then."
"Are you sure you don't want to stay?" Molly asks worriedly. Hermione remembered when Molly had found out about her being an Order member, she had balked at the idea and very nearly raised hell. Apparently somewhere along the years she had become an honorary Weasley, viewed as one of Molly's own brood and treated as such.
Hermione smiled at the older woman. Another secret she held was that the Grangers' were not as dead as everyone believed. In order to protect them Dumbledore had faked their deaths, made her their secret keeper, and shipped them off to God knows where. Well, she knew too, her parents were living happily in Australia, no memory of ever having a daughter or of finding out that magic was real.
"I'll be fine Molly. It won't be the first time I'd be home alone." To be honest Hermione wanted to leave as quickly as possible, she was almost violently trying to avoid Harry and Ron. All of the secrets between them was bound to change the dimensions of their friendship and she didn't think that she could handle any more change right now. Petting Molly's hand appreciably Hermione bids everyone farewell and leaves for her home.
Once there she enters the den and collapses into a large armchair, smiling at Crookshanks, who was lying by the fireplace. She pulls the crumpled note out of her pocket and glances over it, pausing at the signature.
R.A.B. It appeared that her father, a man who had disappeared and was thought to have died sixteen years ago, had finally reappeared and left his calling card.
The game was set, the pawns in place, and Regulus Black had come out to play.