Chapter 13: Imposter
One day prior:
Within the Gryffindor dorms, the young wizards lay still in the darkness, sleeping the night away. Outside, the wind gently howled lulling the students into a deeper sleep. However, not all slept with the same tranquillity.
Harry twisted and turned in his sleep, the covers twisted around him, his forehead beaded with sweat. Sitting up straight, Harry awoke, breathless with adrenaline. Calming himself so as not to wake the other students, he quietly put on his slippers and walked out of the dorms. Making his way down the halls, he was stopped by Flitch, who looked to be exasperated. It was probably the number of people that caused Flitch to stress more than normal, making him more irritated.
"Whatcha doin out in the corridors this late, hmmm?" Flitch droned, his usual glee for putting students in detention was gone. However, Harry still feared the man who lurked the corridors.
"I was just going to see Dumbledore. He is awake, isn't he?" Harry asked. He was ready to be sent back to bed. Flitch sighed and motioned for Harry to follow him. Harry jumped into step in surprise. Making their way to Dumbledore's office, Flitch glanced around, clearly on edge. Once they made it to the phoenix statue, Harry thanked him and made his way into the office.
"Hello my dear boy!" exclaimed Dumbledore from the balcony from where he stood putting away some old dusty books. Harry took a seat. "What brings you here at this hour?"
"I had a dream or a vision of sorts," said Harry, feeling stupid for bothering Dumbledore about these matters. The headmaster just chuckled and took a seat behind his desk.
"And what was it that you saw in this dream?" asked Dumbledore.
"I saw Voldemort. He was telling me about helping us against the muggles. I told him that the real Voldemort would do no such thing, especially after what I saw after the TriWizard Tournament."
"What did he say to that?"
"Nothing. He just continued to tell me that he would arrive here within the next day or two. Then he was gone. I had dreams about Voldemort but in this one, he seemed more real, like he was talking to me from somewhere else."
Dumbledore sat for a moment, stroking his long beard in thought. "I suggest, Harry, that we take this dream as reality. There is a possibility that he connected with you and we shouldn't ignore it. I will prepare the school for his arrival." Dumbledore stood from his desk. "It wouldn't hurt to be prepared." Harry was close to nodding off to sleep.
"That's all I came to say," said Harry tiredly. Dumbledore smiled.
"Now, you need to go to bed. Flitch will be waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs. He will take you back to your dorm," said Dumbledore. Harry nodded and left the office.
Dumbledore sat back down at his desk. Harry's 'dreams' always have seemed to be right about predictions. If this were right, the school would be in an uproar tomorrow.
Dumbledore called everyone in the hall early before breakfast. The sunlight was glowing orange through the window. He tried to calm the crowd that was clearly too large for the room. Soldiers on one half, and students on the other. Dumbledore raised his hands for silence and Sharp ordered his men to be quiet and listen.
"As of last night, I have received news that He-who-shall-not-be-named is going to visit Hogwarts." Said Dumbledore plainly. The second he finished the single sentence, the students started an uproar. Everyone started talking loudly over each other.
The muggles didn't react, not knowing who Voldemort was. Dumbledore yelled for silence and the students eventually stilled.
"He will be assisting us. However, we will trust that our friends, the muggles, will back us up with their weaponry," said Dumbledore as he looked at Sharp for confirmation. Sharp nodded, still not knowing what they were up against.
Soon, the muggles got filled in on who Voldemort was and they were not at all that fazed. It was just another wizard in their eyes, which was already scary enough. For the rest of the day, the school prepared for the dark lord to visit. Dumbledore gave the soldiers their weapons back with the promise that they will not use them to attack any of the school's residence. They didn't know the exact day he would arrive so it was better for them to prepare now.
Harry was tired of being asked questions that he didn't know the answers to. He helped remove the cots from the hall, placing them in the hallways leading to the middle courtyard. The soldiers would stay there for the time being. It was nearing 6 pm when they had everything in order and a plan laid out.
The doors of the hall flew open suddenly. Flying in quickly and stopping in front of Dumbledore, Hooch hovered on her broom. Dumbledore looked up from the map of Hogwarts, which was marked with flags and circles. The other professors present consisted of McGonagall, Moody, Hagrid, Lupin, and Pomfrey.
"We need help outside, urgently!" she gasped. Dumbledore started to make his way towards the exit with no hesitation. Some of the students and muggles who were in the hall at the time followed the professors.
"What is it Rolanda?' asked Dumbledore as he strode out with everyone in step behind him. Hooch gave him a relieved smile. At this, Dumbledore remembered Snape's Portkey which was due to go off at the time.
She opened the doors to the courtyard. "Let's just say we will need more room." Rushing out of the doors behind Hooch, he was greeted to a crowd of 70 wizards. Some of them were lying on the ground and all of them had metal headbands. Pomfrey shoved past Dumbledore and immediately started to treat them.
"Albus!" A small voice let out a squeal of joy. Flitwick rushed out of the group.
"Flitwick! How wonderful to see you are safe!" said Dumbledore as he let the small dwarf hug his legs. All the new arrivals looked malnourished and pale, including Flitwick who was the spriest of the bunch. The rest of the professors and some of the muggle soldiers with medical training rushed in to help. Flitwick sighed.
"They didn't treat us the best there. But it's all thanks to Snape that we got out," said Flitwick. Dumbledore scanned the crowd for Snape but didn't see the dark-cloaked potions master anywhere. Flitwick noticed the headmaster's worry. "Snape didn't make it out."
"But the portkey was in him. How did you get back?" asked Dumbledore.
Flitwick held up the small portkey chip that had dried blood on it and gave it to Dumbledore. Realization crossed the old man's face and he stared at the portkey for a while. Flitwick shook his head.
"Snape did something that not even I could do." said the dwarf, "I imagine that he is going through worse than any of us ever did." Dumbledore scanned the crowd again in a desperate reattempt to spot Snape, but it was in vain.
There were some aurors from the ministry as well as Flitwick and the three students who didn't make it at the pickup point. There were also wizards who assisted the aurors with the Hogsmeade attack. Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy tried to make their way inside the school but Hagrid stopped them.
"I know you want to see Draco. He is recoverin in the medbay. I would like to warn you of his condition." said Hagrid quietly. The Malfoys nodded, pale and tired. Narcissa's head started to bleed again but she was intent on seeing her son. They let Hagrid lead them towards the medbay, talking gravely as they went. Sharp passed them going outside and looked after them. He stepped onto the steps to join Dumbledore.
"Were those Draco's parents?" asked Sharp. Dumbledore nodded as he pocketed the small, useless portkey.
"It would be good for Draco to be reunited with them," said Dumbledore. "If you would like to help, we will need to move the rest inside towards the medbay." Sharp nodded and began to help the nearest wizard who eyed his muggle uniform.
"We are with Dumbledore. It's ok." Sharp and his men had to reassure the hurt wizards that they were there to help. The wizards were too tired to realize that these were the muggles that they fought in Hogsmeade. Looking at the crowd, Sharp had to look twice at one of the wizards. She wore all pink and stood out like a sore thumb from the rest of the injured. It was as if he knew her from somewhere. The pink wizard stumbled with the rest of the crowd but on her face was no pain, just curiosity. Her headband wasn't fully on her head and she was the least injured of the bunch.
From one of the overlooking towers, Hermione and Ron watched the group and they saw Umbridge hobble in.
"There goes that fake ministry bitch." uttered Hermione. Ron almost fell over.
"Hermione! Why do you say that?" gasped Ron.
"Clearly, you see how she walks. Her face depicts nothing of shock like the rest of them. She must have hidden at the war of Hogsmeade and still got captured, the coward." said Hermione plainly. Ron shrugged as they continued to point out the faces of the newly arrived wizards.
They stayed up in the tower, knowing that they would be no help for the people below. Students would just get in the way. Hermione however never stopped thinking about Umbridge who, from what she knew, was questionable.
After a long night of no sleep, the sun finally started to rise above the far-off hills. Hogwarts was bathed in warm orange light and the many birds around the structures started to stir. Inside the great hall, breakfast was being served. A long lineup of students, wizards, and muggles lined up for the heavenly smelling food. Waffles with bacon along with sides of hashbrowns and eggs were piled on plates.
The muggles were amazed at the amount of food that was piled on the tables in front of them. Since all the cots were moved to the corridors, the hall was back to its normal setup. After the days of sharing the school with the muggles, the students started to befriend some of them. This led to the room being a mix of wizards and muggles happily conversing, feasting on the plentiful breakfast. Everyone was happy.
Right outside the middle courtyard, Sharp leaned against an archway and lighted a cigar. He pondered over the fact that the wizards he and his men fought were staying in the school at this very moment.
They must be full of questions. Thought Sharp, taking a drag. To keep the peace, we will need to explain. He just hoped that Dumbledore would deal with it. Sharp already had control over his men, especially after that incident with Draco.
Staring off into the distance, Shape didn't notice the short presence appear beside him. Almost jumping back, Sharp coughed. The short pink lady smiled at him.
"Nice weather we are having." She stated. Sharp, not wanting to talk, ignored her.
"My name is Dolores." She put her hand right in front of him, waiting for him to take it. He only glanced at it in disgust and took a side step away. The pink witch kept being persistent.
"I see that you and your men have started to trust Dumbledore. How about that?" She asked quietly. Sharp wrinkled his nose.
"We came to an agreement. My men needed help. They wanted a compromise." said Sharp, wanting the witch to go away. He didn't know her intention and he wasn't keen on seeing what it was.
"I would like to let you know that Dumbledore has a past for being manipulative to get what he wants. I'd be careful if I were you." She started to turn to walk away but Sharp scoffed, causing her to stop.
"And telling me this will benefit you?" Sharp couldn't help but smile sarcastically, tapping his cigar to get rid of the ashes. Umbridge stepped towards him quickly, causing him to lean away.
"We are on the same side, Sergeant Sharp. I was sent by Dr. Hansen to spy on this side since none of you have been responding." She whispered harshly into Sharp's ear. However, he smiled, daring not to show the surprise behind his facade.
"But you're a witch."
"Yes, and I intend to help the greater good. The magical world is flawed beyond repair." She shook her large head, "Trust me, I was part of their corrupted government."
Sharp couldn't believe it, but he played along. "What do you propose I do?"
"When your men are ready, you should attack them. I will help, obviously. They would never know what hit them." said Umbridge. "This was ordered by Dr. Hanson if that makes a difference."
Sharp shook his head in disbelief. He was torn between protecting the innocent and following orders. For all he knew, the wizards could be nothing but an evil power wanting to take over the world. After hearing what this wizard named Voldemort could do, his loyalty was challenged.
"I... I need to think about it." Sharp said as he turned to walk away quickly. Something poked into his back and he stopped abruptly. Umbridge dug her wand into his back and placed her other hand on his shoulder.
"A word of this to anyone, and you'll find a few students dead. They would easily take my word over yours. Are we at an understanding? " Umbridge's pleasantly iced voice echoed in Sharp's head.
He nodded and Umbridge let him go, pocketing her pink wand. She watched him walk away stiffly. She grinned, enjoying the man's discomfort.
Watching from behind a pillar, Hermione saw what happened. After watching Sharp, then Umbridge leave the hall shortly after, she could only guess that they were up to no good. She only heard snippets of the conversation, but it was enough to know what was going on.
Umbridge was working for the muggles and trying to convince Sharp to resume the attack, threatening him to do so. She quickly walked to the library to meet up with Ron and Harry to diffuse the Umbridge problem.
Hermione was still uneasy with the muggles being let into the school. She didn't trust them completely no matter how much Sharp convinced them. She opened the doors to her favourite place in Hogwarts and eyed the muggle who was reading a book about divination. He was clearly lost. Going to her spot, she waited for the boys to show.
It was a while since the band stopped torturing Snape. He didn't move from the spot on the floor, curled in around himself.
Why did I give away that portkey? Snape thought, regretting every decision that he made up until that moment. Why was I such a fool into sending the dark lord to them? This only adds more problems.
It was uncertain that Voldemort would take this opportunity of weakness to take over the magical world. However, if the muggles had this kind of tech to deplete magic, there was no way that it would be easy for him to conquer the muggle world as well.
The small metal window opened and Snape heard William clear his throat.
I implore you for your escape plan, yet I see it didn't benefit you in the slightest." Snape could hear the smile in the doctor's voice. "It would pain you to know that it was unnecessary, given that I took this into account."
Snape sat up, his head pounding. "From the way you were questioning me, that didn't seem the case." rasped Snape, realizing his throat was in desperate need of water. William chuckled.
"Thanks to that witch, Umbridge, I avoided certain losses that I thought inevitable at the time," said Willaim. "She is at that wizard school now along with around sixty fully armed soldiers. They were there before she got there. It seems that the mastermind Dumbledore thinks that peace is an option."
Snape frowned. Of course, they would welcome soldiers into the school. Why does he have to be a complete imbecile? There are children there. As Snape was thinking, William continued.
"It was odd of her to request staying with the other wizards but she convinced me that she could easily spy for me. We didn't know if there would be a breakout attempt, but it was bound to happen. I just didn't know it would involve you." said Willaim. "You will see Dumbledore eventually. Though, " he paused, clearly enjoying the anger on Snape's face, "Disposing of him would be the safest option. He is clearly dangerous."
"We haven't done anything! Everything that we have done was in self-defence! You are the one murdering people!" Snape recoiled.
"I wouldn't say that. After all, you yourself gave us a marvellous demonstration of how dangerous your kind is. That dummy could have been anyone. I sent the video surveillance to the UK government to remind them what we are dealing with."
Snape stayed silent. William smiled and continued.
"I wouldn't put you on the same tier as humans. Your kind sees yourselves as superior, do you not? The risk your kind brings is enough evidence. As you see, there is no room for negotiation"
"The majority of wizards are mostly part muggle! You are attacking your own kind as well!"
"I can live with it."
"You aren't doing this for safety at this point. Why are you doing this?"
"I have my own reasons."
William shut the window, clearly done with the conversion. It was then that the light shut off and Snape was left in pitch-black darkness. Relieved, Snape lied down and went into a restless sleep. He couldn't rest on the fact that Hogwarts was in danger. Umbridge, the muggle soldiers, and now Voldemort. It all rested on who they side with.