Harry and the rest of the BA were concerned. Certainly Dumbledore was gone, Harry controlled most of the Wizengamot, Voldemort's henchmen were falling left and right - Darth Teddy excluded, much to Harry's misfortune - and they were on a motherfucking boat. But still, as they processed into the Great Hall for lunch, crouched slightly at the knees and snapping their fingers in time with their marching, it occurred to Harry that something just wasn't right. Something big and obnoxious had its mind set on thwarting Pottermore House's aim of school domination and general grabassery.
"Sonorus. Hem, Hem," Madame Umbridge said, standing in the Headmistress's place at the head table.
"That's right, bitches. I'm ba-ack."
"No you're not!" Harry replied, standing and shouting, full to the brim with self-righteous anger. He caught himself a moment later, apologized softly, and sat back down.
"Which reminds me, children," the newly-installed Headmistress continued in her trademark saccharine cadence, "we seem to have a bit of a discipline problem. I assure you that this will be handled forthwith. All four houses -"
"Five houses!" Harry shouted in response, standing earnest and forthright as ever. And again he caught himself and sat back down.
"Right," he said. "Don't know what that's all about. I just have the urge to stand up for truth and justice anytime she opens her foul mouth."
"Hem hem. All four houses -" Umbridge continued, "will come to understand that this is an institution of learning, and as such, mischief, mayhem, antics and the like can simply not be tolerated. Mr. Malfoy will once again - where is Mr. Malfoy?"
"He was eaten over the summer, Headmistress," Luna said. "We were practicing our Animagus forms, and Michael Corner the hawk ate Draco Malfoy the ferret. It was completely accidental, I promise."
Umbridge shook her head. "Are you on drugs, Miss Lovegood?" she asked.
"Well, of course," Luna replied. "But that doesn't change the fact that Draco's been eaten."
Umbridge pondered this for a moment, and then shook her head. "No matter. I will find another fine Slytherin to head my Never Overlook Foul, Unholy Nookie patrol. Miss Granger, Miss Weasley? I have my eye on you."
"That's just because you like to watch, you sick freak!" It was Harry, again, standing on the Pottermore bench this time. Neville pulled him down to allow him to retain some of his dignity.
"And with my first act as Headmistress, I hereby declare that House Pottermore is disbanded and forbidden!" As she said this, she waved her wand in the direction of Pottermore House, and nothing happened.
"Um, Delores?" Remus said, as quietly as he could manage. "You really can't do that. The Sorting Hat has already sent some first years there, so -"
"Silence, fool!" Umbridge shouted, malevolently. "I am Headmistress of Hogwarts. The Hat and the Castle will eventually bow to my every whim. I will see to that. Now, children," she continued, switching to her maddeningly sweet tone, "please enjoy your lunch."
There was an uproarious uproar at the Pottermore table after Umbridge had finished her speech. There were several "Oh, we're fucked now" and "Got us by the short hairs, she does" heard. Harry let this go for a moment or two before the din began to give him a headache.
"Everybody just chill the fuck out. I got this," he said, and everybody did.
"Now then. Since June, we've taken down Dumbledore, the Wizengamot and most of the Death Eaters. Do you really think we're going to have trouble with some mid-level bureaucrat who probably got her job by...? Ew. Just ew. No, no, no I am not going to think about that. OK, everyone go to class now. Right now. Go! Oh God. My brain..."
6th year Pottermore students had Potions right after lunch that day, and Professor Snape was in a particularly good mood. Even though Umbridge was a loathsome bint with the scruples of a warthog and only half the beauty, her presence would make Potter's time at school a living hell. Being in such a good mood, he decided not to remove Felix Felices from the sixth year curriculum. And, like clockwork, when he asked the class what the potion was and what its base component was, the first hand that went up belonged to one Hermione Granger.
"Miss Granger," Severus said, grimacing at each syllable as if it were a particularly awful Every Flavor Bean, "why is it that although for five years I have never called on you first to answer a question, you insist on flinging your hand into the air nearly as soon as a question has left my mouth?"
"It's for the other students' benefit, Professor," the sixth-year former Gryffindor replied.
"Oh, this should be rich," Severus said, with a sneer. "Please, do explain."
"They on my tracks," Hermione answered calmly, watching the professor's sneer turn from contemptuous to loathing, "waitin' on the next train of thought. Visualizin' how the crown might be; got the whole Hogwarts game tryna sound like me."
"Two hundred fifty THOUSAND points from - Pottermore!"
Hannah, who was sitting in front of Hermione, turned around to give her a respectful nod of the head. Neville, who was sitting right next to her, bumped fists with his housemate, and then reached under the table to slap hands with Ginny.
"CONSIDER THAT A WARNING," a voice called from above. "NEXT TIME SHE'LL DO AN ENTIRE VERSE."
The classroom gasped, while Severus simply looked a little more perturbed than usual.
"Potter?" he asked, not bothering to find out who was the force behind the ruckus. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Oh, that?" Harry answered. "That's just the fourth wall. There's a bit of a crack, is all. Don't mind it - I don't think it'll bother us again. Hold up a sec though, teach. Lemme just fix this for good."
Harry stood up and pointed his wand to the ceiling.
"Shutthehellupius Authori!" he called, and the authors would be heard from no more.
The party in the Pottermore Yacht's main cabin was a bit more subdued than usual that night. DJ Loopy Lupin was spinning nothing but Smiths and Joy Division tracks, while the assembled students drank themselves legless on firewhiskey and self-doubt. Tonks was visiting her parents, so it was nothing but students in the VIP section of the cabin: just the Trio, Neville and his girls, and Dean, who was busy making out with Ron in the corner.
"I really don't like this, Harry," Hermione said. "Maybe we should just leave. I have a very, very bad feeling about this. That woman is dangerous, and I think she has even fewer qualms about causing you pain than Dumbledore did."
"Don't stress, Hermione. Really, I'm on it. Where's Ginny, by the way?"
Hermione chuckled a bit before answering. "Oh, she's... Well, she's a bit tied up at present. Quite a bit, actually. That Japanese Shibari bondage is frightfully ornate and difficult, but once you have the hang of it, my goodness. Ginny does look delicious with all of those knots suspended from the ceiling. Mmm. But - but don't get me off track, Harry. Focus. We're in real danger here."
"Oh, come on, Hermione. It's Umbridge. Didn't we get her canned last year, even before that block on my magic was removed? What's the worst that can happen?"
The music stopped suddenly, and every head in the cabin turned to look at Harry.
"What?" he asked.
"Seriously?" Hermione challenged him. "You seriously just said 'What's the worst that can happen?' Besides the atrocious grammar, that is the single worst thing anyone can ask ever about anything. Have you never watched a movie in your entire life, Harry Potter? Have you? Honestly. 'What's the worst that could happen,' indeed."
What mood there was had been pretty much killed by Harry's ill-timed bravado, and most of the house staggered back to their berthings. Neville clasped Harry in a one-arm hug, telling him "I got your back, G. Don't you forget it." Hermione kissed his cheek fondly and told him pretty much the same. Harry sat for a few moments in silence, looking at the cabin that Tilly and Clyde would have clean by morning. Was Hermione right? Did they have cause to fear Umbridge? Harry took a walk through the cabin quietly, grabbed a bottle of firewhiskey for his cabin, and decided to call it a night.
"Um, fellas?" he called to Ron and Dean, who had been blissfully oblivious to the goings-on. "I'm hitting the hay. You might want to find a room."
The next morning, Harry woke with a terrible hangover. "Milly?" he called. There was no answer. "Tilly? Vanilli? Clyde? Someone? I'm in a lot of pain here; could really use a hangover potion!"
Still there was no answer. He threw the covers off and opened the curtain to his bed only to find that he was no longer on the boat. He was in the sixth-year Gryffindor dormitory. Furthermore, the Pottermore crest on his cloak had been changed back to Gryffindor. He reached for his glasses on the nightstand and took a look around. There was Ron and Dean, in two separate beds. There was Neville, alone. Seamus also. This wasn't good. His glasses slipped down his nose, and it was there that he discovered the greatest and most foul of the indignities that had been forced upon him. His myopia had returned.
Harry sank to his knees, looked up, balled his fists and shook them at the heavens.
"No!" he cried. "Noooooo!"