This is a work of fan fiction using characters from the Harry Potter universe, which are trademarked by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership of these characters nor the locations such as Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, etc. that are Rowling's creations. This work also includes Pokémon, which belong to the Pokémon Company, and I again claim no ownership of these characters.
I thank both Rowling and the Pokémon Company for the universes they have created that allows me to do something like this for my own entertainment and, hopefully, the entertainment of the readers.
As it turned out avoiding Umbridge wasn't nearly as difficult as it sounded. With exams on the horizon and revision a must Harry, Ron and Hermione barely saw Delores Umbridge except at meal times, where avoiding the foul woman's gaze was easy.
As such the drama around Hagrid's escape was barely noticeable, other than his obvious lack of presence at the staff table, and the week of exams arrived without a single confrontation.
The Monday exams were due to start arrived in a midst of stress and nerves. Harry did not feel like he was ready, neither did anyone else it seemed, and even Fred and George, sitting their SPAs - Specialist Pokémon Assessments - were quiet at breakfast.
For the APE students, however, the first exam that morning was Pokémon Physiology and, as predicted, it was extremely difficult. Sat in the Great Hall for three hours straight Harry wracked his brain as the paper become more and more challenging the longer he worked, asking questions with such depth of detail that Harry found himself on more than one occasion shaking his head in despair.
After lunch they were faced with another exam, this one for Pokémon Statistics, which was much easier in comparison to Physiology, before they had their first practical examination, this one for Fortune Telling.
Harry had never been great at this particular subject, struggling to make the connections that Professor Trelawney had always found obvious, and his nerves ran wild as he attempted to tell the examiner his future, the man remaining blank faced even as he made notes on Harry's performance.
Needless to say he was glad when that exam was over.
As the week went on the fifth years staggered through their exams, sitting written papers in Potions and Herbology, and then practicals in those two as well, being tested with brewing a Hyper Potion in Potions and planting berries in Herbology. But Harry's favourite exam came on the Wednesday - Pokémon Battling.
In the morning they had sat a written test, one which Harry felt quite comfortable with, while in the afternoon it was the turn of the practical. Out on the front lawn students were paired up with an examiner each and instructed to pick three Pokémon to participate in one on one battles.
Harry legitimately forgot he was being examined as he directed Charizard, Talonflame and Pikachu in battle. He hadn't had the chance to experience a proper battle since the DA had been shut down and his Pokémon, too, seemed to revel in the opportunity to push themselves, leaving the poor baldheaded examiner facing Harry rather flustered as one by one his Pokémon fell.
The last morning of exams found the fifth years back out on the grounds and down by Hagrid's hut. It was the first time Harry, Ron and Hermione had been back there since Hagrid had been forced to flee and it left them all with a bad taste in their mouths.
The exam itself was fairly straightforward. There were a number of Pokémon on display and they were each given challenges. For Harry he had to coax a Shuckle out of its shell, which he managed with the temptation of berry juice, and to calm an angry Tauros. This second task was much harder, and required much more care, but Harry felt like he'd done a good job with it as he cheerfully walked back up the lawn with Ron and Hermione.
"Man, this feels good," Ron groaned as he stretched, closing his eyes and savouring the warmth of the sun on his face. "I know I probably messed most of it up but I'm just so glad it's all over." Hermione looked taken aback.
"What do you mean?" She asked. "We're not finished yet, we've still got History of Pokémon." Ron rolled his eyes.
"Like that matters," he said. "I'm not gonna bother taking it next year, I'll probably just fail it."
"You certainly will with an attitude like that," Hermione snapped.
"I don't get why you think I'll do much better by trying," Ron told her. "You're the only one who's ever done well in Binns's exams. Even Bill only got an acceptable in his History APE and he made Head Boy. He was like a Percy before Percy, except with a sense of humour, of course."
They'd reached the castle doors and walked into the Great Hall for lunch, taking the first seats available at the Gryffindor table.
"Anyway, what did you think of that Grubbly-Plank woman?" Ron asked, changing the subject.
Professor Grubbly-Plank, or Wilhelmina as Professor McGonagall had called her, had been present for the Pokémon Care exam. The older woman had not interfered, leaving the examining to the external examiners, but had kept a sharp eye over everything. It was easy to see how she and McGonagall were friends.
"I think she was alright," Hermione said. "Professor McGonagall hired her so she must be good. I just don't think we've seen enough to really judge."
And hopefully they never would. She was just filling in just now but if she were to continue on in the post of Pokémon Care Professor then that would mean that Hagrid still wouldn't have returned.
"What's going on?"
Harry looked up. Ron, who had posed the question, was looking around the hall with a frown on his face. Harry looked around too and started to get a feeling that something was just… off.
"Everyone seems very preoccupied," Hermione commented, though she looked confused.
That was one way of putting it, Harry supposed. While it was usual for meal times to get more active towards the end of exams, when the student body started to sense their soon to be found freedom, the behaviour of the students suggested something else was happening. They were whispering with one another, their faces alert and excited.
"What's going on?" Ron repeated.
"You haven't heard?" It was Neville who had responded, looking just as excited as the rest of the hall, his face flushed in delight. "It was in the morning's Prophet. They've caught Black." Harry froze.
"What?" He snapped.
Neville looked taken aback. "Sirius Black," he explained, looking confused. "The Death Eater. The Ministry caught him."
"You're kidding," Ron said.
"No," Neville replied as though wondering why anyone would kid about that. "It was in the Daily Prophet."
By now Hermione had gone rummaging in her bag and within moments she had retrieved her own copy of the Daily Prophet which she'd stuffed away without reading that morning, unfolding it to reveal the front page.
"There, you see," Neville said, pointing to the headline. It read, in tall block capitals, 'BLACK CAPTURED', underneath which was a very recent picture of Sirius, sat in a cell.
"They say he hasn't told them anything yet," Neville continued excitedly as Hermione read the article. "But they're hopeful he can lead them straight to the other escaped Death Eaters."
"I doubt it," Ron said with a troubled expression. "Sirius doesn't know where they are."
"Sirius?" Neville questioned. "I don't understand. Harry, what's going on?" But Harry didn't answer.
"We've got to do something," he said swiftly, focusing on Ron and Hermione. "You know what the Ministry will do when he won't be able to tell them anything."
"But, mate, what?" Ron asked. "We're up here and he's locked away in the Ministry, in London. Not to mention I reckon people might notice if we somehow don't turn up for our next exam."
"But we've got to do something, who cares about exams," Harry said roughly. "What will an exam matter if Sirius -"
"Harry, stop," Hermione said firmly and he held his tongue. "There's nothing we can do except leave it to Dumbledore. You know he'll be working on a way to get Sirius out." She paused. "Anyway, lets get out of here. This is not the place to be having this discussion." Harry agreed, only just reminding himself that he was surrounded by hundreds of students, nearly all of whom believed Sirius to be guilty, including a thoroughly confused looking Neville.
They got up from the table, Ron grabbing a few things as they'd barely eaten since sitting down, and headed for the doors to the Great Hall, Neville uncertainly following after them.
They came to a stop in the doorway.
"Ah, Mr Potter." Delores Umbridge stood before them, looking incredibly pleased. "Finished with lunch already?"
"Yes," Harry ground out.
"I believe you mean, 'yes, Professor Umbridge'," Umbridge replied with a sickly sweet smile.
"Yes, Professor Umbridge," Harry intoned through gritted teeth. He did not have the patience to deal with her right now. He tried to walk away.
"I take it you've seen the news, Mr Potter," Professor Umbridge called, pulling him to a stop. "Now that the dangerous Sirius Black has been captured it'll just be a matter of time before he admits to having freed his former friends. When that happens, Mr Potter, your lies will be well and truly put to bed, and the Ministry will stand proud, defenders of the Pokémon world."
Needless to say the History of Pokémon exam was pure torture. Harry could not focus, his already scarce history knowledge hidden beneath the pictures that flowed through his mind of Sirius, locked up in his cell. His mind wandered horribly as time ticked down and he even began picturing Sirius being tried and found guilty, being pushed through the veil, which to his mind resembled some sort of terrifying black hole, hungry and empty.
Once time had run out and they were eventually allowed to leave Harry could not wait any longer.
"We have to do something," he told Hermione and Ron in the Entrance Hall, even as the rest of their year disappeared off towards their respective common rooms. "We can't just sit back and wait while Sirius is in danger. You just know that if the situation was reversed he would be doing everything in his power to help us."
"But what can we do?" Ron asked. "I want to help, mate, but we're just kids. And what if we do something and we get in the way of some Legion rescue mission?"
"Ron's right," Hermione said. "I say we go speak to Professor McGonagall. She's a Legion member. If there is a rescue mission planned then she'll know, for sure."
"And she can tell us how it's going," Ron added. "If the Legion can rescue Sirius without our help then there's no point us trying anything anyway."
Their plan had only one minor flaw.
"It's locked," Harry said, pushing at the door to McGonagall's office.
"I can pick the lock," Ron suggested.
"There's no point," Hermione told him. "If Professor McGonagall was in there she would have answered when we knocked."
"Do you reckon she might be in Dumbledore's office?"
"I suppose, but she hasn't been using it."
"Even though she's headmistress?"
"Excuse me," a cold, sneering voice put an abrupt end to their discussion. "Just what do you think you are doing?" Professor Snape stood before them, his face blank and his eyes cold.
"We're looking for Professor McGonagall," Hermione said quickly, stepping forward. Snape surveyed her coolly.
"The Headmistress is not here," he told her, his voice sharp. "She has travelled down to London to secure the freedom of Professor Hagrid."
"She's gone," Harry gasped. His heart plummeted.
"Yes, Potter, she's gone," Snape said impatiently. "Now if you'd kindly get out of the way I have need of her office." He strode purposefully forward and Harry, Ron and Hermione automatically stepped aside as he produced a key from his pocket and unlocked McGonagall's office door.
"Now if there is nothing else I'd advise you to prepare for dinner," Snape said coldly and he moved to shut the door behind him.
"Wait, Professor Snape," Harry said hurriedly. Snape paused. "Please, sir, we need your help." Snape's expression remained impassive.
"I assume this has to do with the news about Sirius Black," Snape said, his lips turning up in a sneer. Harry nodded.
"Please, sir, we need to know what's happening," he told him desperately. "You're a member of the Legion, you must know if there are plans to get him out. Please, tell me." Snape paused for the longest of moments.
"That," he said eventually, "is none of your concern. Good day, Potter." And the door snapped shut.
Harry, Ron and Hermione did not move.
"So?" Ron asked, turning with apprehension to Harry and Hermione. "What do we do now?" Hermione sighed.
"Come on," she said, gesturing them away from McGonagall's office door. "There's no use hanging around here."
A few seconds later she began to speak once more.
"I think there is a rescue plan," she told them seriously as they wandered along the corridor. "It just makes sense. Dumbledore would never leave Sirius in danger."
"Right, plus I reckon Snape isn't as clued in as he pretends he is," Ron agreed. "It'd be just like him to mess with us. And McGonagall's in London already."
"Probably to give her an alibi," Hermione reasoned. "Everyone knows she's close to Dumbledore but there's no way the blame can be pinned on her when Sirius escapes if she's with Ministry officials at the time. That's how Professor Lupin avoided suspicion two years ago."
But Harry was shaking his head. He came to a stop by a window, the setting sun shining its warm glow on his face.
"I'm going to London," he said, his voice steady. He'd made up his mind. "I'm going down to London and I'll get Sirius out of there. I'll fly down on Charizard. It should be night by the time we get there."
"But Harry," Hermione complained but he continued to shake his head. Raising a hand he pointed down the corridor and Hermione and Ron turned to look.
Absol stood before them, as silent and majestic as ever as the orange glow of the sun tinged his snow white fur and gleamed off his vivid red eyes. One year ago, almost to the day, Absol had shown himself and Cedric Diggory had died. Harry could not let Sirius be next.
"Alright," Ron said, letting out a shaky breath. "Okay, what now? Harry's got Charizard and I suppose I've got Pig. What about you, Hermione?"
"Noctowl won't take my weight," she responded. "Maybe I can borrow from somebody."
"What are you talking about?" Harry wondered aloud. Ron and Hermione turned to him.
"Well, it's obvious, isn't it?" Ron said. "We're going to London to rescue Sirius, right?"
"You didn't seriously expect us to let you go alone, Harry?" Hermione wondered, arching an eyebrow. "After five years I'd have thought you'd have learned."
"Wherever you go, we go," Ron told him.
"But it'll be dangerous," Harry protested. Ron laughed.
"Always has been, mate," he grinned. "That's why we're not letting you go alone."
"We're stronger together, Harry," Hermione said firmly.
"Besides, mum'll kill me if you die and I wasn't there with you."
"Ron!" Hermione hit him. Harry smiled.
"Alright," he said and Ron and Hermione immediately dropped their fight. "We'll all go. And I've got an idea. Follow me."
Absol was long gone as Harry led Ron and Hermione through the corridors, having disappeared while they were talking, and Harry quickly put the mysterious dark type out of his mind as he headed upwards towards the Gryffindor Common Room. They came across many of their housemates coming the other way, heading down for dinner, as they went but they did not stop to chat, heading straight into the common room and up to Harry and Ron's dormitory.
"Harry?" Neville was there, alone and sitting on his bed, but Harry ignored him as he went straight for his trunk. Neville stood up. "What's going on?"
"I've got something in here I need," Harry answered, not completely conscious of the fact that it was Neville that had asked. "I know it's in here somewhere… aha!" He pulled it free triumphantly.
"Harry?" Neville questioned but Harry just slipped the item into his pocket and quickly flipped the lid of his trunk closed before straightening up. "Harry, you've got me worried."
And as Harry, Ron and Hermione hurried out of the dormitory, ignoring Neville's questions, Neville follow after.
"You're about to do something dangerous, aren't you?" Neville accused as he followed them out of the common room and down the corridor. "It's got something to do with Sirius Black, doesn't it. What's going on?"
"You don't need to know, Neville," Ron waved him off. "Back off, alright, this doesn't concern you."
"If it concerns you it concerns me," Neville countered. "If you're going to do something dangerous then at least tell me so I can help."
"What's going on?" Ginny, accompanied by Luna Lovegood, had appeared into view at the end of the corridor and was watching with apprehension as Harry, Ron and Hermione swept past them.
"They're about to do something dangerous," Neville told her.
"Shut up, Neville," Ron growled. But Ginny's attention had been caught.
"Is it about Sirius?" Ginny asked. "It is, isn't it? It's got to be. You're going to try and rescue him."
"Why are you rescuing him?" Neville wondered, confused. They had walked straight past Ginny and Luna but, like Neville, they had merely fallen right into step behind them.
"He's innocent, Neville," Ginny explained. "He was never a Death Eater, he was framed."
"Are we talking about Stubby Boardman?"
"But the LeStranges…"
"They're cousins, him and Bellatrix, but he's really the black sheep of the family."
"So does that mean…"
"Shut up!" Harry roared. Everyone fell silent. Harry himself did not speak for a while, panting heavily both from his outburst and from the brisk march that had led him all the way down to the top of the grand marble staircase. As an afterthought he looked around, glad no one seemed to have heard his outburst, and continued in a lower tone.
"Okay, yes, it's all true," he admitted. "Sirius is innocent. He was framed by Peter Pettigrew. We almost caught him a couple of years ago but he escaped and then helped bring Voldemort back. And yes, we're going down to London to rescue him." Ginny knew all this already. Luna acted as though she did. Neville looked shocked.
"Anyway, don't tell anyone," Harry warned, beginning the descent of the marble staircase. "We won't be able to get Sirius out if the Ministry know we're coming."
"Of course we won't say anything," Ginny told him as if the idea was ludicrous. "We're coming with you." Harry blinked.
"Oh no you're not," Ron told her, recovering first. "You really think we're going to let you come along?"
"Why not?" Ginny retorted.
"Because it's too dangerous," Ron insisted.
"Not too dangerous for you," Ginny fired back.
"That's different. We're used to this," Ron told her exasperatedly. "We've been doing this for years."
"No, Harry's been doing this for years," Ginny challenged. "You and Hermione were in the stands last year just like the rest of us. If you two are going then there's no reason why we shouldn't."
"We can help," Neville promised. "You taught us so much with the DA."
"And you know what they say," Luna added serenely. "Six heads are better than three."
"I don't think that's precisely the saying," Hermione mumbled, looking put out. "And it's besides the point."
"Yeah," Ron agreed.
"So you don't think we can help?"
"Well, I certainly don't," a new voice spoke. "But then I don't have much faith in Gryffindors. They're always such a disappointment." Harry whipped round.
A/N: Thanks for reading. I hope you've enjoyed.
To yoruichi14: I assume you posted a Pokémon Go friend code? I don't play Pokémon Go. Sorry.
To Sparkpikachu: Thanks for the kind words. As to your question I haven't said what Pokémon Umbridge has, you say it yourself that she uses other people to do her dirty work for her. However I do have a Pokémon in mind. She has a Skitty.
Thanks to everyone who answered the question of the day last chapter. We had several great answers for favourite dragon type Pokémon, and Norbert will be happy to see Salamence showing up there. Others mentioned were Dragonite, Altaria, Dragonair, Flygon and Dialga, all fantastic Pokémon. There are so many great dragon type Pokémon and some that haven't been mentioned that I want to give credit to are my own favourite, Garchomp, as well as Haxorus, Noivern, Latias and Latios, and Rayquaza.
For this chapter's question of the day I'm going to take a hint from the reviews.
QOTD: Do you play Pokémon Go?
Personally, I don't. I played it when it first came out and really enjoyed it but then I lost my account and I didn't want to commit to starting all over again and letting it dominate my life so I decided I'd had my fun with it. I know it's come a long way since I stopped playing but I'm satisfied with my enjoyment of it for the time being.
So, do you play Pokémon Go? Are there any specific Pokémon you really want to catch/hatch but haven't been able to so far? Let me know in the reviews.