In the Eye of the Doe

Chapter 1: What I've Become

(Umbridge)

When she awoke, she didn't know where she was. She blinked her eyes a few times as the Hogwarts Hospital Wing came sharply into focus. She tried to sit up, but a stabbing pain in her head forced her to lie back down. Her long brown curly hair, normally neatly back in a bun, was down and had fallen around her, down nearly to her waist. Cornelius will want me to cut that, she thought. Her left wrist was wrapped in gauze that a bit of blood had seeped through. There was a long sweeping cut down her right arm, but where did all this come from? Had she been in a fight? Would she need a new Educational Degree not to attack the High Inquisitor? She'd have Argus post it immediately. Stupid snivelling man that he was. Umbridge sat up a bit straighter in her bed, propping herself up on pillows. There was the Potter boy and his wicked little friends across from her...but why were they here? Had they attacked her and she fought back? Madam Pomfrey rushed by just then and Umbridge called out to her hesitantly.

"Need something?"

"Yes, Madam Pomfrey, I was wondering if you could tell me just what happened to me. I'm afraid I have no recollection," she explained, but Madam Pomfrey merely scoffed and turned away. Now the school year was over, she wanted out as soon as possible. She slipped out of the white linens and into her pink flats at the foot of the bed. She was a bit dizzy, but nothing she couldn't handle. Keeping one hand against the wall to steady herself, Dolores Umbridge made her way down to her third floor office. Everywhere she turned, people were...laughing at her. How dare they!

"Get out why don't you, no one wants you here!" the Indian girl hissed with a smirk.

"Miss Patil! I am High Inquisitor of this school and how dare you disrespect me! It's not too late...the feast has not happened yet. 50 points from Gryffindor!" she spat. Parvati Patil and her sister Padma merely laughed.

"You have no power here anymore. Haven't you heard? Dumbledore is headmaster again and Fudge resigned after he admitted that You-Know-Who is back after all! Harry was telling the truth!" Parvati exclaimed cheerfully and tossed Umbridge a copy of the Daily Prophet. She looked down at the headlines and...the silly girl was right! But Cornelius...would have told her if he was to resign? Wouldn't he have? She flipped anxiously to the article of his resignation-it was only really a short blurb in a sea of stories about Harry Potter being the Chosen One.

"Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge has decided to resign from his post and spend time with his long-time girlfriend...Rita Skeeter!" She cast the paper away and hurried down the Grand Staircase, not caring who saw her. She could barely see...couldn't breathe, and certainly wasn't about to believe it. He'd promised her right when he had his way with her on his desk in the Minister office at the Ministry. She'd felt cheap, but he'd assured her that there was nothing cheap about her-she was beautiful and he loved her. She ran into her office and slammed the door so hard that one of the glass kitten plates fell to the ground and smashed. They really were vile little things, so she didn't particularly care. She grabbed the jar of Floo Powder. She'd go and see him. She had to. That was when her eyes landed on the note.

"Dolly,

I'm sure you've seen this morning's prophet. Rita's pregnant. I'm sorry, it's over.

-C"

Her hands shook as she read it. He'd gotten that slimeball reporter pregnant...while he was telling her he planned to make her his wife. No. She crumpled up the letter and threw it into the fire. She picked up a ginger ceramic kitten off her desk and hurled it at the wall. Then a cat plate. Then a pink vase. The dresses, the bows, the kittens...she'd done all of that for him. She'd been a bartender before she met him for god's sake.

"I don't even like pink! I like red damnit!" she spat to no one in particular and cleared her desk in one fluid swipe and tore the damn bow out of her hair. She knelt down in the broken glass and broke down. She trusted him. He'd said he loved her. He saved her that night...and since then, she lived for him. Now what did she have? She'd given everything up to do what he wanted and sacrificed friendships, respect, honor, and her old self. She didn't even hear him come in until he cleared his throat. She looked up and was suddenly ashamed, for standing above her crumpled, ragged form was Albus Dumbledore. She had treated him like dirt on her scumbag boyfriend's orders, and now he stood before her.

"I would have thought you'd be long gone by now, Dolores," he said sharply. Then, she didn't know what came over her. She grabbed the hem of his robes as tears streamed down her face.

"Please let me stay another year," she pleaded. Without Cornelius's protection...she couldn't trust that no one would give her up. In that case, he would find her. There was only one place she was safe: Hogwarts.

"I thought you did not wish to stay," Dumbledore reminded her skeptically.

"I've had a change of heart. Please. What about "Help will always be available at Hogwarts to those who need it," she protested.

"Very well. You do acknowledge that I am again acting Headmaster? And that your previous practices will not be tolerable," he said gravely and Dolores Umbridge nodded anxiously. "Different arrangements have already been made for the defense against the dark arts post next year, however, our Astronomy teacher, Professor Sinistra, is to be married at the end of the summer and will be taking leave of Hogwarts to start her family. Would you be open to that position?" Dumbledore offered.

"Yes and thank you, headmaster!" she exclaimed and with that, leapt up and shook his hand vigorously. He looked suspicious. "I'd like to turn over a new leaf with the new year," she said, trying her best at a smile. Dumbledore cast her a quizzical look on his way out, but did not question her further.

Later that day...

Dolores Umbridge cast another pebble into the lake from where she sat safely in the shade of a large beech tree. Stupid Fudge. Stupid Skeeter. What terrified her though, was that it would only be a matter of time before Cornelius got himself drunk and spilled the beans about her to his bitch...and if she knew, the world would know, and -he- would know. As if on cue, her left forearm burned and she collapsed against the tree and pulled up the sleeve of her itchy pink cardigan. It was as dark as it had been in years. She stared at the snake emerging from the skull and wondered if she closed her eyes, could she will it away?

"It hurts, doesn't it?" She jumped and pulled her sleeve back down quickly before turning around. Severus Snape stood before her.

"I didn't even hear you approach," she snapped and he sat down on the other side of the tree.

"It would seem that even you have something to hide, Dolores," he growled and looked out over the lake somewhat somberly.

"Don't call me that!" she hissed.

"What?"

"My name isn't Dolores Umbridge!" she exclaimed. He'd find out soon enough. They all would. She must have gotten his attention, because he'd turned towards her and was eying her with an expression of both confusion and disgust simultaneously.

"My name...is Charnette Lestrange. I was a Slytherin two years behind you, do you remember?" she reminded him, not meeting his eyes. It had been so long since she'd even heard that name, let alone connected it to herself.

"Rodolphus's younger sister, I remember," Severus recalled. "If you don't mind my asking, what happened to you? Why are you going around pretending to be that pink monster? That's not the Charnette I remember. The Charnette I knew had a goal of getting a tattoo of a raven holding a black rose on her back. Her favorite color was red...she had two different coloured eyes," he continued and she sighed and slid a brown contact lens out of her right eye, revealing that it was indeed a soft, forest green.

"I suppose it's no use keeping it from you now you know, and I expect you'd have gotten the full story sooner or later and I'd rather you find out from me than from that blasted Rita Skeeter," she muttered. She couldn't help but wonder that when Severus said he remembered her, how much did he remember?

"When I left Hogwarts, I ended up becoming a bartender for a pub in Knockturn Alley. Each night, I had quite a few drinks myself. One night, I came home drunk and nearly splinched myself in the process. Well, Rodolphus and his friends were there and...I blacked out. When I woke up, I had the Dark Mark on my arm and had pledged myself one of his followers. It was fun at first, but then I wanted out. Regulus and I tried to get away, but Tom (though he was You-Know-Who by that time) found Regulus and killed him," she paused then to see if he was even still listening. He was hanging on to every word. " I was sitting in the kitchen of an old friend, Mariya, my year from Ravenclaw. She told me she might know how to remove the Dark Mark. That was the worst night of my life. That was the night Charnette died. He...found me. One minute, Mariya and I were in the kitchen talking and the next, the house was on fire and we were screaming. Suddenly, there was a...great explosion and the pain was agonizing. The next I remember, I was in the arms of Cornelius Fudge and he was telling me I was going to be alright. The house burned down and Mariya, my best friend, was ash. He worked for the Ministry at this point, but he wasn't Minister. He had connections, though. He tended me himself until I healed...but You-Know-Who believed Charnette Lestrange to be dead. Cornelius used his connections to create the identity of Dolores Umbridge and suddenly, I worked at the Ministry in Cornelius's division. I wore pink and bows, loved kittens and adorable things, and was a disciplined, order-keeping, stuffy bitch. I was the opposite of fun, wild, party-girl, rebel Charnette. No one suspected a thing. The problem is, Cornelius is with that Skeeter woman and it's only a matter of time before he lets it slip about me. She'd have a field day with that one, but then he'd know I lived and come after me. I thought Charnette was truly gone, but it seems not," she said bitterly. Severus Snape said nothing for a long time. "Severus?" she tapped his shoulder hesitantly.

"So I presume you're going to try to remain under Dumbledore's protection," he murmured.

"You're looking at Professor Umbridge, now the Hogwarts Astronomy teacher," she explained, for she was going to hide in the protection of Dolores Umbridge for as long as she could.

"I suppose I'll see you in fall then, Dolores," Snape said rather shortly and he got to his feet.

"I hate that name. Makes me sound like a right stuffy old bit," she growled, not necessarily to him. She was thinking aloud, rather.

"Well...I suppose we could call you Dolly, or-"

"No. Not Dolly," Umbridge broke in. Severus didn't need to know about Cornelius. It wasn't relevant.

"How about Doe?" he suggested and she was caught a bit off guard-this was the longest conversation they'd had all year and was he really offering her a pet name? She was reminded then of the Severus she'd once known, all those years ago.

"Sounds good to me...Doe...it's different, I like it," Umbridge replied. It was starting to look like perhaps she might just make her first friend on the Hogwarts teaching staff.

A/N: I started writing this idea three years ago, and I was recently inspired to go back to it. Please please please submit a review! That would absolutely make my day :) I also plan to return to "Sweetest Agony" while I'm on my Harry Potter kick, so if you're into Bellatrix/Voldemort, check it out :)

~platarozaluna