Thursday, April 2nd, 2017
Daphne Greengrass, silently cursing her luck, left the Hospital Wing just in time for lunch. The night before, Dolores Jane Umbridge, the current Defense Against the Dark Arts professor(loosely) and High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, had been tipped off about an illegal gathering of students, learning combat magic, in a secret room on the seventh floor. Umbridge gathered her Inquisitorial Squad, which Daphne was reluctantly a part of, and set off to catch the students in the act. Upon reaching the blank wall opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, Umbridge had instructed her followers to blast the wall down. Malfoy, eager to please someone who thought the same way as he did, had begun to do so, followed by Parkinson, Goyle, Nott, and a few other lackeys. Daphne chose to stand next to the disgusting woman and shield them from debris, which Umbridge thanked her for and awarded Slytherin 50 points.
Umbridge blew the final hole into the wall, and then the Inquisitorial Squad swarmed in and began subduing the students inside. Fortunately for the students, unfortunately for Umbridge, most of the students had escaped. However, Umbridge had caught several students who were, for lack of a better term, on her shit list. Namely, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Ernie MacMillan, Hannah Abbot, Cho Chang, and Dean Thomas. Then she'd spotted a piece of parchment pinned to a wall with all the names of the members of the so-called Dumbledore's Army. Parchment in hand, Inquisitorial Squad and their rule-breaking captives in tow, Umbridge had marched to the third floor, to the Headmaster's office.
The office was already full of people. Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and two of his guards, one of which was Kingsley Shackelbolt, and the Minister's junior secretary, Percy Weasley.
Daphne had been the last to enter the office with her wand poking Thomas in the back between his shoulders. Umbridge went on the inform everyone of how she'd had known of the meeting in the Hogs Head, lead by Granger, MacMillan, Chang, and the youngest Weasley siblings. Then she spoke of an informant who'd come forward to talk to her about an illegal student organization that would be meeting that night in a secret room on the seventh floor. Then Nott had entered the office with Marietta Edgecomb, the informant, and Cho Chang's best friend. Then she'd produced the parchment that all the members of Dumbledore's Army. Fudge had been delighted and accused the Headmaster of scheming and plotting against him and the Ministry of Magic. Daphne had barely been able to keep herself from snorting as Dumbledore made a fool out of Fudge by agreeing to the accusations.
Then Fudge had attempted to have the Headmaster arrested. There had been screaming, flashing lights, dust and smoke filling the air before everyone was thrown off their feet. Daphne hadn't been prepared for any of it and had fallen, bumping her head hard and falling unconsciousness. She'd woken up this morning to Madame Pomphrey fussing over her as she tended to the lump on her head and reassuring her that she was alright and would be released at lunchtime.
As Daphne arrived at the Entrance Hall, she noticed that a new Educational Decree (number twenty-eight) was displayed. Dolores Jane Umbridge is now Headmistress of Hogwarts. Daphne softly sighed as she entered the Great Hall. Typically there was a buzz in the air as conversation flowed around the hall, with laughter interspersed. But today, it was nearly silent. The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw's tables seemed subdued, with no conversation, laughter, or gossip. Just solemn and saddened faces, with a few expressions of outrage and one or two with tears streaming down their faces. There were no teachers in the hall except for Professor Snape and Umbridge. Daphne hurried over to the Slytherin table and took a seat next to Blaise Zabini and across from Tracey Davis, her best friend, and a pleasant acquaintance, respectively.
"What's going on? Where are the professors?" she asked soft enough that only her companions could hear.
Blaise took a sip of his water then answered," Headmistress Umbridge ordered them to the staff room for a meeting. She's been sitting there since looking as if she's waiting for something." Daphne slightly frowned as she started to pull a dish of mixed vegetables over to herself and placed a healthy portion on her plate. She had just reached for another bowl when the doors of the Great Hall opened. In came a large group of fifth, sixth, and seventh year Gryffindors. They all looked tired and wore out. They sat down at their table and began to eat slowly, ignoring the intense stares of their schoolmates and professors. After several minutes, Umbridge stood and strode down to the fifth year's section of the Gryffindor table.
"Hem, hem," all movement at the Gryffindor table halted as they waited for Umbridge to continue," I do hope you all had an excellent chance to rest last night. In case you didn't see the newest declaration on your way into the hall this morning, 'By order of the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Jane Umbridge has replaced Albus Dumbledore as Head of Hogwarts, per Educational Decree number twenty-eight. Signed by Cornelius O. Fudge, Minister for Magic."
Umbridge paused for a moment to let her statement register then went on, "Now I have observed that you all seem to be a pretty, tight group and have been supporting the lies about a certain Dark Wizard that Dumbledore started. I also know that you, Mr. Weasley and, Ms. Granger are best friends of that attention-seeking Potter. So tell me, where is Albus Dumbledore? Where is Harry Potter?"
Daphne barely kept her disinterested look on her face as she listened to Umbridge. Surely the stupid woman didn't believe that they would give up Dumbledore's location? They most certainly didn't know where Harry Potter was located, only Daphne and two other students knew that. Even if they did, Umbridge couldn't believe they'd honestly tell her. They'd defied her all school year so far. They wouldn't stop now just because she was Headmistress.
But the smug look in Umbridge's eye said that she knew something that no one else did.
Daphne's disbelief turned to uneasiness as she noticed the glassy-eyed look of fifth year Gryffindors. The uneasiness turned to confusion as she watched as Umbridge repeated her first question, and all of the fifth years responded in one voice, "I do not know."
"Where is Harry Potter?" repeated the pink toad.
Daphne watched as all of the fifth years, except one, repeated their previous response. Dean Thomas had slammed his eyes closed and gripped his eating utensils in a death grip as he strained to keep from answering. Realization and horror slammed into Daphne with the force of a speeding Hogwarts Express. The students had responded honestly, and Thomas was straining to keep quiet, because they were being forced to answer, by Veritaserum. Daphne subtly cast a Notice-Me-Not Charm on herself. Then she reached into her robe pocket and pulled out a small communication device as she typed out a short but precise message and sent it off.
Replacing the small silver device in her pocket, she reached out with her telekinesis and touched Dean's
reassuring him that it would be alright to hold on and be strong. He acknowledged her in his mind as on the outside, sweat poured down his brow. The muscles in his neck strained as he continued to resist the influence of the potion. Umbridge noticed his resistance and started asking for Harry Potter's whereabouts over and over. Everyone's eyes focus on the dark-skinned young man, who was trying with all his might to not give in to the potion. All at once, the goblets in the Great Hall flattened into metal disks. As if an invisible weight had squashed them. Students cried out in shock, and Draco Malfoy screamed as his wand hand, and his bottom lip was crushed along with his water goblet, from which he'd been drinking. Blood spewed from his wrist and down his clothes, causing Nott, sitting directly across from the blonde, to vomit into his food. Snape jumped from his seat and raced to Malfoy before spelling the boy unconscious and levitating him out of the Great Hall.
Daphne knew that Dean was under a lot of stress. It was the only reason he'd lose control of his gravity manipulation powers. Finally, Dean seemed to lose the battle against the potion. He was just opening his mouth to answer when Fred Weasley stood and shouted," Oi! Thomas, what color is the sky? Who won the Quidditch World cup three years ago? What's your House mascot?"
Daphne sighed in relief as Dean relaxed and began to answer the questions," Blue, The American Thunderbirds, a lion." Other students seemed to understand what Weasely was up to and started pitching questions at the fifth-year student. Umbridge started screaming, but she couldn't be heard as the Hufflepuff, then Ravenclaw students added their voices to the cacophony.
Realizing she'd lost control of the situation, Umbridge pulled out her wand and cast a spell at Dean Thomas, who collapsed to the ground and bellowed in pain. Silence swept over the crowd of students. Most watched on in fear and horror, but some in glee, as their schoolmate screamed under the Cruciatus Curse. After several seconds the witch canceled her spell and snarled. "Now tell me. Where. Is. Harry. Potter?"
No one besides Daphne and Blaise noticed the Great Hall doors open once again. No one took notice of the young man with green eyes who stood in the doorway, dressed in black boots, a black bodysuit with an emerald green Phoenix symbol on the chest, and a black hooded cape that billowed gently in a draft that no one else could feel. His black hair was tied back in a tail that fell to the middle of his back.
The newcomer raised his fists, surrounded by magic that appeared as emerald green flames, and splayed his fingers open. The magic leaped from his hand, picking up Umbridge and pinning her to the wall behind the empty staff table. Silence reigned as the stranger walked down the Gryffindor table and knelt next to Dean Thomas. Running footsteps sounded like thunder as the staff, lead by Professor McGonagall, raced into the hall and took stock of the scene.
The stranger stood and faced the staff members. "I'd suggest you get the Aurors here as soon as possible and get Dean to the Hospital Wing, Deputy Headmistress," said Harry Potter as he swept the hood back off his head, revealing his identity shocking everyone in the Great Hall.
Harry Potter stood in the Hospital Wing watching as Madam Pomphrey gave Dean a potion to help with the after-effects of the Cruciatus Curse. He hadn't needed an antidote to the truth serum as it had worn off by the time they had arrived at the Hospital Wing. Behind Harry stood Professors McGonagall, Snape, Flitwick, and Sprout. As Dean knocked back the pain potion, Harry turned and faced the Professors, face icy. Before he could say anything, the doors of the Wing opened as Cornelius Fudge entered, followed by four Aurors, Percy Weasley and Madam Bones.
"Professor McGonagall! I demand an explanation for why Headmistress Umbridge is stuck to the wall of the Great Hall! I demand that the perpetrator be handed over to the Aurors for arrest, on the grounds of assaulting a government official!" bellowed the Minister as he invaded the Deputy Headmistress's personal space.
To her credit, McGonagall didn't seem cowed by his show of anger or closeness. If anything, she appeared regal as she looked down her nose at the Minister for Magic.
"That woman is no Headmistress. By her actions, she has violated several laws, including dosing minors with Veritaserum, illegally wiping students' minds, using an illegal blood quill on students, and using the Cruciatus Curse on a student. The latter supported by the fact that the student in question, lies in this bed before you!" replied the Deputy Headmistress as she pointed her finger at Dean.
"Poppycock! Madam Umbridge is an upstanding citizen and would never do such heinous things. It seems that Dumbledore and the Potter child aren't the only ones who tell lies and stories around here."
"I'll have you know Minister," growled Harry, drawing everyone's gaze to himself as he stood beside the bed of his friend, arms crossed and eyes cold as he glared at the Minister, "that I have never lied about anything that happened on the night of June 24th. I am willing to be legally questioned under truth serum as well as provide memories of the events I witnessed both in June and tonight. Not to mention the entire school of students who witnessed your Undersecretary torture Dean after she publicly questioned students illegally dosed with Veritaserum."
"Potter?! Where the hell have you been? We've been searching for you for months, sending you letters summoning you back to this school, and you choose to return now conveniently? I ought to arrest you for wasting time and money of the Ministry of Magic!"
Harry chuckled darkly as he replied, "I'd like to see you try. I heard you recently tried to take Dumbledore in and he laid you out on your arse. Want to make it two for two?".
The Minister's face turned red as he bellowed, "Is that a threat?"
"Oh no, Minister. That's a promise."
"No one is doing anything, except explaining what went on here today!" interrupted Madam Bones. The professors, having not witnessed the scene that played out in the Great Hall, turned to look at Dean. Sitting up in his bed, Dean said, "I can help you with that."
When Dean finished, Madam Bones said, "Would you be willing to testify against Madam Umbridge under Veritaserum? As well as provide a memory to be entered as evidence at trial?" Dean nodded and began to open his mouth to respond, but the Minister interrupted, "Amelia, do we have to take this to trial? Maybe we can issue her a fine and-".
Harry's fury erupted. An aura of fiery emerald flames roared into existence surrounding Harry from head to toe. Harry stalked forward towards the man, ignoring the wands pointed by Shackelbolt and the other guards, green eyes burning as he spoke, "Minister Fudge, our presence in this school is not required. Leave. How dare you attempt to circumvent the law. That woman knowingly broke the law multiple times. Use of an Unforgivable Curse is supposed to land you in Azkaban. Blood Quills are supposed to be used only in approved capacities such as signatures on marriage contacts, in Gringotts Bank and select official documents in the Ministry Of Magic. That you even suggested a fine is reprehensible and is grounds for your removal from office. What do you think the wizarding public would say if they knew that you placed that woman here to torture students? That Educational Decrees you authorized, gave her the power to break the law and use potions, spells, and abuse students? Don't forget that you also removed the Headmaster from this school because you are insecure about your position. And on the first day that you make Umbridge Headmistress, she uses the Cruciaus Curse on a minor! You'll be disgraced and thrown in Azkaban! Save yourself and leave. Now!"
Fudge opened his mouth several times to respond but couldn't find the words. Without a sound, he turned on his heel and left, Percy Weasley and his Auror guard following. After the door closed, the aura surrounding Harry calmed and receded into his body.
Snape, who'd been glaring at the Minister, turned his black gaze to Harry and asked: "Where have you been Mr. Potter?"
Harry tightened his lips for a moment before saying, "I am an emancipated minor, Professor. I see no reason in explaining my whereabouts." Snape's nostrils flared, but before he could retort, Professor Flitwick spoke. "Mr. Potter, you may have been emancipated, and we may not be entitled to answers about where you have been, but you do need to explain why you were not in attendance at Hogwarts on Septemeber first."
"He absolutely must tell us where he has been Filius," barked Mcgonagall, "Albus took him to the headquarters of the Order, and then after his trial, the boy disappears without a trace! Then he doesn't show up to Hogwarts! The Minister was right about one thing Potter. People have spent time and effort into finding you. Efforts that you know could have gone towards gathering forces to fight You-Know-Who!"
Harry frowned. While he wouldn't tell them where he'd been, the Head of Ravenclaw did have a point. He turned his head to look at Dean, who gave him an encouraging nod. "I've taken my O.W.L.s and am on track to sit for my N.E.W.T.s. in a few more weeks. I have no need for and education from Hogwarts." Silence reigned for a moment before questions began flying at him.
"I will be happy to share my results with you but not at this time. We need to be preparing the castle for an attack from Voldemort!" Harry called out over the professors.
Confusion became apparent as they all looked at Harry as if he were twenty-seven knuts short of a galleon.
"Why would the Dark Lord be attacking Hogwarts?" asked Snape.
"Besides the fact that Dumbledore is not here? Let's just say that he will discover soon that he is almost wholly mortal and will not be able to regenerate a body like he did last year. Before Voldemort attacked my family, he had been creating safeguards throughout the years to ensure that he could return to life if he were defeated. Voldemort, using forbidden and unexplored magic, created Horcruxes, splitting his soul multiple times. However, I have some friends who discovered one of his safeguards inside my scar." Harry pointed at his forehead. Before now, no one had noticed that the famous lightning bolt scar had faded.
"After a few months of study, my friends were able to remove it and use it to track down the other Horcruxes. At this time, there are six Horcruxes of the seven he created still, living; I guess you could say. Two of them are here in the castle, three of the others are being brought here by my associates, and Voldemort will bring the last with him."
"So you are luring You-Know-Who to a school full of innocent children?!" screeched McGonagall. Professor Flitwick also looked outraged, and Snape looked as if he were calculating something in his head.
"Professor McGonagall, I am not luring him here. It's just that he will begin checking on his Horcruxes when he realizes what's going on. He'll most likely check on the one here at Hogwarts last, thinking that it's hidden somewhere safe."
"We must evacuate the school then. Potter, we will leave you to find this Horcrux," said Professor McGonagall summoning her Patronus as she, along with Snape and Flitwick, exited the Hospital Wing.
Dean threw back the covers of his bed before swing his legs over the side and standing up, "Alright there, Potter?"
Harry smiled as he shook hands, then hugged his friend. "I'm alright, Thomas. How about you? You just took a Cruciatus after resisting Veritaserum."
"Oh, I'll be fine. Anyway, what's the plan? How do you plan on getting the Horcruxes here?"
"I got some help from the League. They'll be here soon. In the meantime, let's find Saturn Girl and Phantom Lad, and I'll fill all of you in on the plan."