I don't own Harry Potter.
Many thanks to Magapple for her help. As always, please review.
Chapter 14: A Revolution
Delores Umbridge was led in by three Aurors, with magical shackles fixed upon her wrists.
The courtroom had been opened to the public, and the spectators had flocked to the seats that were situated above those of the Wizengemot. A couple rows of seats at the bottom of the room were reserved for witnesses, and Harry grinned as Ginny waved to him. Neville and Harry were allowed to keep their seats, but could not vote for Umbridge's verdict because of a conflict of interest.
The toad-like witch's hair was in disarray, and her face was paler than normal. Even though Umbridge's stay in Azkaban had obviously had a negative impact on her, Harry couldn't help the feel feeling of loathing that surfaced when he saw her. Indeed, jeers and boos broke out from the witness section, which was almost completely congregated by the members of the original Dumbledore's Army.
Umbridge sat in the same chair that Harry had sat in for his underaged magic trial, but this time the chains that hung loosely around the chair now secured Umbridge, binding her tightly.
"SILENCE!" boomed Chief Warlock Patil. "This is the trial for Delores Jane Umbridge. The charges against the accused are as follow: unauthorized dispatch of two Dementors to Little Winging, Surrey, corporal punishment and abuse of power when at Hogwarts, unauthorized use of a Ministry controlled substance, threatened use of an Unforgivable Curse, and complicity with the Muggleborn Registration Commission. How do you plead?"
Umbridge raised her head. "Not guilty."
"Very well. We shall address the charges one at a time. First is the unauthorized dispatch of two Dementors to Little Winging, Surrey. Do you have anything to say in defense?"
Umbridge's sickly voice rang through the courtroom. "I did no such thing. Potter is an impertinent brat and is making everything up."
Harry rolled his eyes. Kingsley looked like he was trying to keep himself from doing the same.
Chief Warlock Patil continued. "I call forward documents of evidence. Here are documents that were found in the office of Delores Umbridge, as well as several copies of the same documents filed in the warden's office of Azkaban. The documents clearly state that two Dementors of Azkaban were to go to Little Winging and perform the Dementor's Kiss on Harry James Potter." Chief Warlock Patil turned back to Umbridge. "What say you?"
Umbridge was silent.
"The next offense that Delores Jane Umbridge is charged with is corporal punishment and abuse of power when at Hogwarts. Do you have anything to say in defense?"
Umbridge's eyes found Harry in the crowd as she smirked. "I was acting under direct orders of the current Minister for Magic of the time."
"Very well. I call Harry Potter, as witness, to speak."
Harry stood up and swallowed as every eye turned to him. "Thank you, Chief Warlock. When I was in my fifth year at Hogwarts, Professor Umbridge placed me in detention for telling her that Lord Voldemort had returned. When I was in detention, she told me that I was to write lines. She gave me a quill, but no ink. I wrote I must not tell lies, and the words were carved on the back of my hand, as well as onto the parchment with my own blood. Long after the year was over I found out that the quill was called a Blood Quill, and that they were illegal."
There were shocked mutterings and looks of disgust aimed at Umbridge from all around the room. Cameras flashed.
"I have pictures of the scar that the blood quill has caused as evidence," said Chief Warlock Patil. He turned back to Harry. "Did you tell any of the other professors at Hogwarts, Mr. Potter?" By using the title Mr. instead of Lord Harry understood that he was not being addressed as a member of the Wizengemot, but rather as a witness. He grimaced.
"I was under the impression that if I told Professor McGonagall or any other teacher about it, Umbridge would find a way to fire them. In my opinion, telling nobody was, well, the lesser of two evils. I wasn't aware that the use of a Blood Quill could remove Umbridge from the school."
"Thank you, Mr. Potter," said Chief Warlock Patil. "No further questions."
Harry sat down, but it wasn't until Chief Warlock Patil called Lee Jordan to testify that the stares began to abate. Lee's testimony went in the same manner as Harry's. George's was very subdued. Nearly every witness said that they thought the other professors knew about the Blood Quill when asked.
When all witnesses had spoken, Chief Warlock Patil said, "The next offense that the accused is charged of is the unauthorized use of a Ministry controlled substance. Do you have anything to say in defense?"
Again, Umbridge's sickly sweet voice echoed through the courtroom. "The Minister for Magic of the time told me to use any means necessary to gain control over Potter and Dumbledore, meaning I had every right to use Veritaserum!"
"Are you saying that Fudge was going to cover up any, well, activities that might not have been legal?"
"Of course," said Umbridge. It was stated with an air of smug superiority; the witch certainly believed that she would be released innocent of all charges. Harry wondered if Umbridge knew she was sealing her own fate by admitting all of her actions so freely.
"If Fudge were not already dead, we would have to interrogate his as well," sighed Chief Warlock Patil. "It is obvious to me that both of you were covering up erroneous crimes as well as corruption." He looked back at Umbridge. "What did you plan to do with the Veritaserum?"
"I planned to make Potter reveal the location of Sirius Black, a criminal that I knew was in contact with Potter. If it could have been revealed that Potter and Black were working together I could have denounced Harry Potter and decimated his influence once and for all!"
"I think that's enough of that," said Chief Warlock Patil, smoothly cutting off Umbridge's next sentence. "Mr. Potter, do you wish to testify?"
"Yes, thank you," said Harry, standing up again. Harry's testimony went without problems. He recounted how Umbridge had called Harry into her office and insisted on giving him something to drink. There was an outbreak of muffled laughter from the members of the Wizengamot who had presumedly known who Mad-Eye Moody was when Harry told how he had only pretended to drink his tea with the words Constant Vigilance running through his mind. Harry also recounted Umbridge's request to Snape for more Veritaserum so she could interrogate Harry and his friends. After explaining that Snape had had no Veritaserum, Harry told of how Umbridge had been going to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry in order to "loosen his tongue," there was a huge murmur that swept through the court room. Chief Warlock Patil's eyebrows went up.
"Are you saying that Fudge allowed Umbridge to use Unforgiveables?" he asked.
"Actually, no," said Harry. "I asked Professor Umbridge that very question myself and she told me that what Fudge didn't know wouldn't hurt him."
"Thank you, Mr. Potter," said Chief Warlock Patil, and Harry inclined his head as he sat down. Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna, and Hermione all spoke of the same incident when called upon to testify. Luna's was the longest, as she tended to make comparisons to Crumple Horned Snorkacks and other things that nobody had heard of. Hermione's was, to nobody's surprise, the most detailed.
When asked to testify about what Hermione and Harry witnessed when they polyjuiced Ministry employees and sat in the persecution of Muggle borns, the Minister and Chief Warlock both agreed to let the 'Golden Trio' off for illegal impersonation. Harry knew that they had gotten lucky.
In the end, Umbridge was declared to be guilty of all charges, and was to be sent to Azkaban for life. Harry had to refrain himself from cheering, but those in the witness section had no such restraints and celebrated with gusto.
Umbridge looked shocked that she hadn't gotten off.
Harry waved to his friends as they exited the courtroom, and leaned over to talk to Neville. "I assume your gran's the one who taught you about all of this?" he asked, waving his hand around him in general.
Neville grinned. "You mean about all of the customs and what you have to do when you've a seat on the Wizengemot? Of course."
"Think she'd be willing to tutor me?" asked Harry rather desperately.
"Can't think of a reason that she wouldn't," said Neville. "Just send her an owl, and if she can't she'll be sure to give you a few suggestions."
Harry's whole Saturday was taken up with trials, but he wasn't involved in any of them so all he had to do was listen and vote. When the session was finally over, Harry followed Kingsley to his office. Chief Warlock Patil also came, as well as Arthur Weasley.
Kingsley sank into the chair behind his desk and rubbed his face tiredly. "Harry, this is Pravan Patil. Pravan, I'm sure you already know that this is Harry Potter, but I think that introductions are always nice."
"Damn right they are," said Harry as he shook Chief Warlock Patil's hand. "I hate it when people assume they know everything about me just because they read the tabloids. Nice to meet you, Chief Warlock."
"Call me Pravan," said the Chief Warlock. "I believe you know my daughters?"
"Yes, Padma and Parvati from school. And you can call me Harry."
"You did very well up there," said Kingsley. "You were very calm and collected."
"Ron told me to get used to public speaking," said Harry, and the three men laughed.
"Most members have had some legal training when they serve on the Wizengamot," said Kingsley. "Have you considered looking into it at all?"
Harry nodded. "I'm going to contact Augusta Longbottom," he said. "And Neville helped me out today."
"That's that taken care of," said Kingsley. He looked at Arthur briefly before turning back to look at Harry. "I guess there's no way to spring a question like this lightly," he muttered. "We were hoping you would help us write our new constitution," he said bluntly. Harry's mouth fell open.
"When the queen took control of Magical Britain, she told us that we needed a new basis of government and society. Basically, a new constitution. Something written out that she will approve. Once it is approved, she will cede power back to us so we can regain control. We're in the process of putting together a committee that will write the blasted thing and we want you to be on it."
"Why me?" Harry stuttered. "There has to be someone else - someone better..."
"Harry," interrupted Arthur. "Calm down, son. We aren't going to force you to do anything that you don't want to do. But we think that you would be a good candidate because, quite frankly, you're the savior of the Wizarding world." Arthur held up his hand as Harry opened his mouth to argue. "Harry, just listen, then talk.
"You are one of the people who has been wronged in our society, so you know very well about the things that we are trying to fix. You never should have been tried in a full court for underage magic, for one thing. And nobody, much less the government, should have expected a seventeen-year-old boy to kill our biggest enemy and save all of our skins. You also have a good head on your shoulders, and can tell the difference between right and wrong. You're fair. Bill told me of how you dug a grave for that House-Elf Dobby, Harry. Magical beings that aren't human are never honored that way, and we need people who are willing to let a Goblin have his say on whether they have a right to carry wands or not. Please, just think about it, okay?"
Harry was stunned into silence. Kingsley looked oddly satisfied, while Pravan had a fascinated look on his face.
"Can I– can I think about it and get back to you?" asked Harry desperately.
"Of course you can," said Kingsley. "Just let us know by next weekend, okay?" Harry nodded.
"How many people are going to be on this committee thing?"
"We aren't quite sure yet," said Kingsley. "But it will be a broad range of people. Everyone from graduates-t0-be of Hogwarts to people that graduated seventy years ago. Purebloods, halfbloods, Muggleborns. Slytherins and Gryffindors. We have to have every kind of person - we can't afford to go to war over discrimination again."
"I don't know what to think," said Harry.
"Take your time, son," said Arthur, and Harry nodded wearily at him. "Go back to Hogwarts, you look exhausted," said Arthur kindly. "And please, just think about it, okay?"
"One thing– can I tell anyone about being chosen to be part of the committee?" asked Harry.
"Only the people you can trust," answered Kingsley. "We would rather people didn't know the members so they can't be bribed or influenced, but unfortunately I think that will be a futile attempt. Just don't go spreading it around." Harry nodded.
"Can I floo out of here?"
"Anyone can floo out, but nobody can come in," said Kingsley cheerfully. He handed Harry a pinch of floo powder. "See you next week.
Harry nodded, said his goodbyes to Pravan and Arthur, and vanished into the chimney with a flash of green flame.
By the time Harry made it back to Hogwarts the news had gotten out about the Muggle monarchy taking back Magical Britain's governmental power. Harry couldn't tell what the majority of the reactions were, but they ranged from extreme anger to acceptance. Harry himself wasn't quite sure what to think, though he mostly decided that it would be a good thing if a more equal society could be made. He was also glad that something else other than himself was gracing the headlines.
"What was it like in the Chambers hearing about how Wizarding Britain doesn't have power anymore?" Ginny asked.
"Sort of like how it is here," said Harry. "Completely chaotic at first, but there was a range of different reactions. But mostly more negative, I should think, because from what I can tell the more conservative purebloods take up most of seats on the Wizengamot. And with this new constitution that's going to be written, power isn't going to be monopolized by them anymore."
Harry and Ginny were walking alongside the lake after dinner. Nobody else was around.
"It's sure going to change things," agreed Ginny.
Harry quickly check the surroundings to make absolutely sure that nobody was nearby. Even so, he waved his wand casually to make sure that anyone unseen couldn't eavesdrop.
"Kingsley asked me if I would be part of the group writing the constitution," he said.
Ginny's jaw dropped, but a smile quickly replaced her dumbfounded expression. "Oh, Harry! Are you going to accept?"
"Dunno," said Harry. "I thought I'd talk it over with you and Ron and Hermione before I did anything for sure. They want me to tell them soon, though, so I need to make up my mind within the next week."
"What a huge honor to be asked!" exclaimed Ginny. "Just think of the changes you can make, Harry!"
"You think I should do it?" asked Harry. He kicked a rock and watched the ripples in the lake as it sank. "Just seems like another way to get me in the papers."
Ginny's grin vanished, and she looked at Harry worriedly. "You're in a bad mood," she observed. Harry shrugged and she sighed. "Look, I don't know why you're upset, because this seems like a good thing to me. You have a chance to do some real good here." Harry shrugged again. "And I don't think for a second that the only reason that they've asked you to help write this new constitution is to make it look good in the eyes of the public. They wouldn't entrust the foundations of our government and society to just anyone. I'm sure anyone in the group will at least get triple background checked, and more. Besides, you know Kingsley. He's honorable." Harry shrugged a third time. Ginny wrapped her arms around his waist. "You don't really trust anyone, do you?"
"I trust you," said Harry. "And Ron and Hermione. And Neville and Luna. And your mum and dad."
"But not Kingsley?" Ginny pressed.
"I like him well enough," said Harry. "But, you know, he's still the Minister for Magic! The last two just tried to use me for their own gain, and what if Kingsley starts to do the same?"
"You really haven't had many good experiences with honest people, have you," Ginny mused.
"Politicians are well known liars," insisted Harry.
"Dumbledore was a politician," Ginny pointed out. "You trusted him."
"For the most part," Harry grudgingly agreed. "After Sirius died, I stopped thinking that everything he said was completely true."
"But you still respected him," said Ginny.
"Of course I did! But I respect Kingsley too! You can respect people without trusting them, you know," Harry snapped. He huffed irritably, and finally muttered, "Sorry."
"I'm not going to run away just because you're in a bad mood," said Ginny. "But apology accepted". She squeezed his hand comfortingly, and Harry looked at her and smiled gratefully. "I don't think Kingsley counts as a real politician," said Ginny a few minutes later. "The Order thought that he was the best man for the job, and declared him as Minister because nobody had enough power to protest. He was an Auror, Harry, and not even the head of the department. And he's going to make some changes because they are the changes that need to made, not because it will get him public support. Just give him a chance, Harry."
"I'll try," said Harry.
"That's all I'm asking for," said Ginny. "Talk to Ron and Hermione about the constitution thing, too. I'm sure they'll give you good advice." She was silent for a few seconds, and then said," Oh, this is so exciting! I mean, we've already lived history with the downfall of Voldemort, but now we're making actual changes in our government instead of hiding from the Ministry like we had to do when Fudge and his cronies were covering up everything about Voldemort. It would've been pretty bad if we'd gone back to the same government that we had before Voldemort's return." She looked over at Harry and lightly punched him on the arm. "Stop being so gloomy! Lighten up and smile for once!"
Harry laughed. "Hey! I'm smiling!" Ginny hugged him around the waist and tenderly kissed him on the lips.
"I love you, Harry."
"I love you too."
It was just Harry's luck that he showed up knocking on the headmistress's door when she was having a meeting with the four heads of house.
"Is it urgent, Mr. Potter?" asked Professor McGonagall. "I'm in a meeting."
"I can see that," Harry stated dryly. Professor's Flitwick, Sprout, Fensivo, and Slughorn were seated around Professor McGonagall's desk with cups of tea. "Sorry to interrupt you, but it actually works out better with all of you here." He stepped inside of the office and closed the door behind him. Professor McGonagall openly gaped at him and he smiled impishly at her. She sighed in resignation and sat down at her desk.
"I can't believe I'm letting you get away with this," she muttered. "What is it, Mr. Potter?"
Before Harry could answer, a voice that Harry wasn't expecting at all cut in. "Harry, my dear boy!"
Albus Dumbledore beamed at him from behind Professor McGonagall.
"I could have sworn that you were dead," muttered Harry, and the four heads of house had to muffle their startled laughter. "Hello, Professor Dumbledore," said Harry.
"I do believe that it is time for you to call me Albus, my dear boy."
"You're a portrait," stated Harry.
"I am indeed."
"And you want me to call you Albus." The man represented in the painting nodded enthusiastically. "I don't think I was quite in my right mind when I came to see you after I killed Voldemort," muttered Harry. "Who gets advice from a dead person? A reminder, an echo of the dead, that's all you are." His good mood was slipping fast, and Professor McGonagall must have noticed because she said,
"Why don't you go to one of your other portraits, Albus? I think you would do more good there than here."
Surprisingly, Dumbledore did not protest, but rather waved at Harry before he shuffled out of the frame.
Harry exhaled loudly. He waved his wand absentmindedly and sank into the armchair that he had conjured, trying to stave off the bad feelings that he sometimes associated with Dumbledore. "Didn't even think about him being here," he muttered. With effort he sat up straight. "Sorry."
"Not a problem," said Professor McGonagall gently. "It's never nice having memories sprung on you. Now, do you mind telling us why you've interrupted our meeting?"
"Right," said Harry. He sat in silence for a few seconds before he started to grin. "I've been thinking," he announced.
"An occasion to be commemorated indeed," said Professor McGonagall with a hint of humor.
Harry gaped at her, and then he started to laugh. "Who are you and what have you done with Professor McGonagall?" he asked, and the witch in question smiled.
"You were thinking?" she prompted.
"Right, focusing," said Harry. "I've got the idea that Muggle schooling is better than what we've got," he said bluntly. "I'm not saying that we've got bad teachers or anything, but the teachers that we do have have more classes and are biased. And there are more available classes to take, ones that are just for fun."
"Classes like what?" Professor Flitwick asked. "You get more options third year..."
"Biased how?" said Professor Sprout.
"I wouldn't say that third year electives are actually fun," said Harry carefully. "Interesting, yes, but fun? I'm talking about classes like music, art, drama, dance, home skills. You know. There're more. And they have no point system like we do. But if they did, it would be standardized. Honestly, the point system here is sort of a joke. It goes down to what students are liked best. Did you know that Snape took points off for infractions such as breathing too loud and being too happy?" Harry paused and looked at the other professors. They looked slightly shell shocked.
"He took points off for breathing too loudly?" asked Professor McGonagall in a strangled voice.
"You didn't know?" asked Harry in surprise. Professors Sprout, Flitwick, and McGonagall shook their heads mutely.
"Well Dumbledore certainly knew. And if he didn't, he just didn't want to believe it," said Harry. He looked at Professor McGonagall squarely in the eyes. "Did you know that the year Severus Snape started teaching, the average OWL scores for potions dropped about one and a half grade levels, and that the NEWT potions attendance dropped by sixty percent? Not only has Snape affected the test scores, but Defense's gone down too. Since the year that Lord Voldemort was refused the job of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and subsequently cursed the position, OWL and NEWT scores have dropped by a letter grade. That pattern was reversed for two years in a row when Remus Lupin and Barty Crouch Jr. were teaching, but there was a drop in scores all other years. I'm starting to think that Hogwarts is far from being one of the best magical schools in the world if the headmaster was loony and hired biased professors and didn't bother bringing in a curse breaker to lift the curse on the Defense job." Harry paused and took a deep breath, but before he could continue, Professor McGonagall held up her hand for him to stop.
"We agree," she said simply. "It's obvious you've researched this thouroughly, and we are aware of most of these statistics, barring Professor Snape's unreasonable use of the point system. But we agree that Hogwarts needs to change. And I assume you have suggestions?"
Harry had once again been shocked into silence. When he finally shook himself out of his stupor he said, "And here I was thinking that I would be fighting my way uphill to make you believe that Hogwarts needs a makeover." He laughed bewilderedly, and then said, "I have a lot of suggestions, actually, if you would be willing to listen to them."
"We are always willing to listen, Mr. Potter, but understand that we might not act upon your every suggestion."
"Understood," Harry nodded. He took a deep breath before continuing. "First off, I think that you need to either get rid of the point system completely or that it needs to be standardized. All teachers have to give and take away the same amount of points for the reasons."
Both Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick were taking notes. Harry looked over his own notes.
"Schedules should be individually organized, not organized by house. That way students can get to know people from other houses without having to start illegal clubs to do so."
Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout all chuckled, while Professors Fensivo and Slughorn simply observed with fascination.
"There should be smaller tables and more of them in the Great Hall, and house tables of feast days and before Quidditch matches and things like that. The house rivalry thing wouldn't be so tense if there weren't physical separations of groups.
"The beginning level potions class should either have a book or a unit about basic ingredients and how they react differently when different things are added or a different kind of cauldron is used. Hermione had to explain it to me in third year. Also why slicing versus dicing matters. Useful things to know for the OWL."
"Snape never taught it to you?" Slughorn interrupted. "All of these things are in a book that I have the first years get!"
"That's probably because you actually teach," said Harry. "There's a difference between throwing a list of instructions at students and explaining the theory behind something." He shot Slughorn a grin before continuing.
"Umm, I think that all students that grew up in the Wizarding World should be required to take a Muggle Studies class until the OWLs. And that all students that grew up in the Muggle World should take a Wizard Studies class. I didn't learn what an Auror was until fourth year because I wanted to know why Mad-Eye Moody was so paranoid. And the Muggle Studies class should be up to date with modern times, and it should be taught by someone who has lived in the Muggle World. I don't know if that's already a requirement, but I thought I should mention it.
"I also think that you should consider having more classes like I mentioned earlier. Art and dance and things."
"You've put some work into this," squeaked Professor Flitwick.
"Yes," said Harry. He didn't waste time being modest. "I also got input from friends. I asked what they would change about Hogwarts, and quite a few people said something. For a lot of this, I'm just a messenger."
"Why should all students be required to take Muggle Studies?" asked Professor Fensivo, speaking up for the first time.
"Voldemort was under the impression that wizards are better than muggles," explained Harry. "And that's why he had such an avid following. But if the purebloods that joined Voldemort could have leaned more about muggle lifestyle and about how being a wizard doesn't make you worse or better than any particular group, he probably wouldn't have had as much power. And I'm really not in the mood to go through another war."
"I don't think anyone is," Professor McGonagall pointed out, and Harry grinned.
"That's all I have for now," he said.
Professor Sprout looked slightly overwhelmed; it was as if she was suffering from information overload, if there could be such a malady.
"All are good suggestions," said Professor McGonagall.
"Can I ask you a favor?" said Harry.
"Depending on what it is, yes," said Professor McGonagall slowly.
"If you do decide to make these changes, please don't mention me. I get enough press as it is."
Professor McGonagall nodded once. "Alright, Mr. Potter."
"Thanks for your time!" Harry got to his feet and left the office abruptly.
After a moment of stunned silence, Professor McGonagall said, "Do you ever get the feeling that that boy could insist that we walk around naked and that everyone would obey without question?"
There were nods and murmured assents from everyone. "I'm glad it's not just me," murmured Professor Sprout.