Disclaimer: I have borrowed the title of the Rolling Stone's song Sympathy for the Devil. It seems to fit well for Dolores Umbridge!

Today is my first day back at the Ministry. Perhaps my downfall as Hogwarts High Inquisitor would have gotten more attention if it hadn't been for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named having been sighted inside the Ministry itself, back in bodily form. At least the timing of that is one thing I have gotten lucky about.

Dumbledore and that Potter brat have been proved correct and been vindicated by the public, Fudge looks like an incompetent idiot, and people like me are going to have to be very careful if we want to keep our positions. Recently, the wizarding community has taken to complaining that Ministry reactions to the crisis are "not up to par." I should say not. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I heard about Fudge's reaction after seeing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, in the flesh, inside the hallowed halls of the Ministry. Instead of taking charge and forming an army on the spot, the idiot chided Dumbledore for using an unauthorized Portkey! Typical. I shouldn't complain too much, though; people like me have gotten where we are by keeping Fudge focused on protocol and niceties.

Last summer, after the Triwizard Tournament fiasco, I put it all on the line by ordering Dementors after Harry Potter. I'm not stupid. I could read the signs as well as anyone. It was probable that he was telling the truth about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the Death Eaters. But no one at the Ministry was ready to concede that this was possible. It would cause too many complications, and no one at the Ministry likes to deal with complications. So, I gambled (correctly) that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would wait a bit before declaring himself. I'd use that interval to cement my position here and make myself indispensable. Harry needed to be silenced and I was ready for action. When the attack did not succeed, I was ready with backup tactics: keep Fudge's focus on protocol and Potter's history. Obviously an attack by Dementors was a ruse to cover up underage magic. Harry was taking advantage of the kindness shown to him during the house elf Hover Charm and "blowing up his Aunt" incidents. He was obviously ungrateful, and expected Dumbledore to interfere on his behalf. Fudge responds well to sentences that contain 'obviously.'

After Harry's ridiculous trial, it was easy for me to convince Fudge that Potter and Dumbledore were in need of significant and daily Ministry supervision. I have spent my time at the Ministry making the proper connections and proving myself to be effective and expedient. Ethics are not so important, as long as one can keep up the appearance of respectability. Lucius Malfoy is a prime example. He has spent many years and millions of galleons ingratiating himself with the leaders at the Ministry. He dresses impeccably, attends the proper social functions, gives generously to worthy causes, and seems to toe the line. His toes, however, are the only parts of him near the line. There are few wizards these days quite so dark as Malfoy, and everyone here, except Fudge, has been aware of it. Fudge accepted Lucius as loyal to himself and to the wizarding way of life. Loyalty, or the appearance of it, was the key to Fudge's good graces. I've learned, as have many others, that keeping Fudge's awareness focused on what you would like it to be focused on is delicate, but rewarding work.

So, the DADA post was given to me. I would follow protocol, and would make it possible for the Ministry to have an affect inside Dumbledore's domain. No more half-breeds, Dark Creatures, lunatics; just ministry compliant teaching methods, and students kept in their proper place. In order to prepare for the job, I found the dullest, most theoretical textbooks possible and visited a discreet little shop in Knockturn Alley to order some custom made "Self Inking" quills. Hopefully Potter will sport those scars for the rest of his life.

As soon as I arrived at Hogwarts, I found three potential allies. The first and most obvious, was that sadistic Squib, Argus Filch. I've since heard that he said I was the best thing to happen to Hogwarts. Next was Severus Snape. I don't trust him any more than I trust Lucius Malfoy, but I could quickly tell that my "expediency before ethics" approach would not be distasteful to him, and that he quite possibly hated Potter more than I did. My third ally, Draco Malfoy, is as obviously evil as his father. He was a perfect leader for the Inquisitorial Squad. Draco has an ordinary level of talent, but an extraordinary thirst to be distinguished. No doubt He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will find him an effective Death Eater when he comes of age. So like his father, just not quite as skilled at wearing the mask of respectability.

A woman like me, who lives alone, and is, for all practical purposes, married to her job, doesn't get many chances to experience exquisite physical pleasures. But preparing to cast the Cruciatus Curse on Potter was amazing. I can still remember tightening my grip on my wand, taking a deep breath, and feeling the passion and power needed for that curse coursing through my body. But then that miserable Mudblood Granger interrupted me. Listening to her was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my long career with the Ministry.

Needless to say, I left Hogwarts with my dignity barely intact. It galls me to think of those students smugly thinking that they "got rid of me." No matter. Hogwarts is no longer the place to be, as open war is likely to be declared any day now. I am aware that some of my tactics while at Hogwarts may be called into question. No one, however, will be able to dispute my loyalty to the Ministry. For now, I'll have to be on my best behavior with whoever replaces Fudge. The new Minister will no doubt be aware that some people whom Fudge has put great trust in, Lucius Malfoy for example, have been shown to be less than trustworthy. Since no one but Potter, and a few of his friends, know that I ordered the Dementor attack, I can rest assured that I will most likely be evaluated, at worst, as "a bit overenthusiastic." Potter's pride kept him from squealing about my Quill of Discipline, so I expect that he will not broadcast my involvement in the Dementor affair.

At least the Dementors know where Harry lives during the summer holidays. Now that they're breeding, perhaps they'll pay him a visit. I'd be glad to supply them with Granger's address, too.