Take no Umbridge II: The Serious Side
Chapter Revision Version 2.0
During the writing of Take no Umbridge I, often there was discussion of what it would actually mean for Harry to take over teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts in his fifth year, given the events I had already created. This story is the serious side of that story.
In this story, it is my intention to handle the serious implications of the events in Take no Umbridge I and continue on until the end of the year. It shall cover such questions as how it effects Harry's relationships with his classmates and romantic attempts. It will cover how it effects Voldemort's plans as well.
It should be noted, however, that Take no Umbridge II is not a priority story. Right now the muse is much more focused on Honor to Serve and Ritually Yours. However, the muse often likes to spread her wings a bit, which is why you may see bits of this as well as Ranma: a Little Ealier, Defiance, Remember the Maine, and another new Harry Potter story, Remuneration for Services, over the next few weeks.
Revision Author's Note:
This story is currently being revised by adding 1-2 scenes to each of the first five chapters. This will allow the introduction of some missing pieces to the story. Future new chapters will be 2-3 scenes. Revised chapters will have a revision note.
Encounter with Marchbanks
The first morning at Hogwarts his fifth year, Harry Potter found an old lady waiting for him at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. One of the bench sections has been removed and replaced with a rather comfortable looking chair. The old lady seated in it seemed to project an air of importance and regalness. If Harry hadn't been aware of what the Queen and the Queen Mother looked like, he would have immediately assumed she was from that line.
"Mister Potter, please take this seat," the old lady said, pointing to the one across from her, before she picked up a muffin to butter. It appeared to be a blueberry one. "I am Griselda Marchbanks, head of the Wizarding Exam Authority."
Harry took the seat, and found that his plate was immediately filled with bacon, eggs, and sausage. "Thank you, Mrs. Marchbanks."
"Eat boy, you need to put some meat on those bones," Marchbanks ordered. "I will not have it said that my discussion with you left you bereft of substance today. Much of what I say to you today is informative only, anyway."
Harry nodded, digging into his breakfast. It was a bit more than he'd usually put on his plate, especially this early in the year, but Hogwarts food was too good to waste.
"Potter, as the winner of the Triwizard Tournament, indeed, even as just one of the champions, you are entitled to set your own scheduled for your NEWTs. As the winner, you are entitled to chose one NEWT to receive an Outstanding in, with my concurrence as to your performance meeting it. Having spoken to Albus, and your other teachers, I would be willing to issue this Outstanding, on order of preference, for Defense Against the Dark Arts, based on your various encounters with You-Know-Who; Charms, based on the first task; and Transfiguration, based on Professor McGonagall's recommendation.
"As am less than satisfied with the compentence of the ... I shall not dignify one who only got an acceptable OWL and no NEWT in the subject with the title, one teaching Defense this year, I have a personal wish that you chose that subject, if only to keep you out of the pain's classroom."
Harry paused for just a moment, a sausage halfway to his mouth. Hermione had stated that Professor Umbridge's speech meant that the Ministry was interfering with Hogwarts. Madam Marchbanks, though, she was against Umbridge, it seemed. Perhaps it wasn't the whole ministry, but part of it. He'd have to think on that. The articles in the Prophet had apparently been anti-Dumbledore on the Ministry's advice, so it had to be extensive. He chewed the sausage, thinking.
"Madam Marchbanks, does that mean that I wouldn't have to take Defense if I had my NEWT in it?" Harry asked.
"Yes, as you complete your NEWTs, you would also complete your Hogwarts classes in that subject," Marchbanks said. "I am at your service in the matter, should you chose to ask for early testing in any subject."
"How long do I have to decide?" Harry asked.
"Indefinitely, though I would prefer a decision within the next couple weeks on your chosen NEWT," Marchbanks replied, finishing her muffin.
This was not something Harry wished to rush into. Being friends with Hermione Granger had taught him that classes were important, and this would cause him to effectively get out of a class free. Signs were not looking good about this year's Defense class. Then again, given his first four, all of which had been involved in his yearly dose of mortal peril. He was sure that if he had a hand on Mrs. Weasley's clock, he'd drive Ron's mother insane with worry. Still, it couldn't be four out of five, his odds couldn't be that bad. One class, at least, he decided.
"I'll owl you later this week," Harry said firmly.
"I shall await your correspondence, then, Mr. Potter." Madam Marchbanks pushed back her chair and stood with surprising agility. Stepping away, she reversed her transfiguration of the bench section. "I always thought you should have chairs instead of the bench." She shook her head at the standard bench. "Oh, and Mr. Potter, Dolores Umbridge doesn't know why I'm here. Let us surprise her, later."
"Yes ma'am," Harry said. "Thank you for coming to talk to me."
"It was my pleasure, Mr. Potter. Do finish your breakfast. As I said, I do not wish to be an excuse for a growing boy's hunger." With a swirl of her skirts, Madam Marchbanks left the Great Hall.
Harry was down to a single piece of bacon by the time Professor Umbridge arrived. He nibbled on it as he watched the woman in her pink cardigan and matching gray skirt took her seat at the head table. Hermione may have thought Umbridge was at Hogwarts to interfere on behalf of the Ministry, but that was not the focus of his examination.
Quirrell had been nervous, and rarely looked at Harry, and when he did, he immediately looked away. Lockhart had been a pampered fool, who always seemed to be checking how he looked. Lupin had been pensive, and near the full moon had picked at his breakfast. Moody, or Crouch as he really was, always seemed to be staring at Harry.
Umbridge seemed to be a mix of Lockhart's checking of looks, and Quirrell's look and then look away. This did not bode well. Any similarity to any of his former Defense Professors, save Lupin, was worrisome to Harry. Of course each of them had found a different way to threaten Harry's life. Harry found himself a bit fatalistic about them. Somewhere, somehow, this professor would try to ruin Harry's life again, he was sure.
Ginny Weasley was late for breakfast. She'd spent a longer time than usual in the bathroom, trying to avoid her roommates. She wished that her roommates would get their mind off the idea that Harry Potter was some hero wanting to carry them off into the sunset. Probably on a white horse, if not a hippogriff, Ginny judged.
Not that Harry wasn't a hero, known for rescuing damsels in distress. Some would have put Ginny in that category. Ginny would not. Oh it was a nice little dream, one that she'd had no few fantasies about, back before she'd needed rescuing. It was a dream that you didn't want to live though.
There were many reasons for that. First of all, you had to get in trouble for Harry to rescue you. Hermione had been rescued by him first, from a troll. An umpteen feet tall troll who apparently thought that bathrooms were for smashing. Then there had been her own trouble.
Ginny had been stupid. There was no other word for it, though Ginny had tried to find one. She'd had known better than to write in that diary. As her father had told her, she should have never trusted something that she couldn't see where it was coming from. She had poured her soul out to Tom Riddle, the bastard. According to Harry, she'd almost powered Voldemort's rebirth.
That news had made her feel so unclean. It had taken months for her to get rid of that feeling. Her brother Bill had joked that she was planning on using up the whole Nile. Bill and Ron were the only two of her brothers who knew the full story of her first year. Ron because he was there, and wouldn't let her alone. Bill because ... well because he was Bill.
Ginny never could categorize what her eldest brother was to her. He was so different. He was the adventurer, he was the one who knew everything. He was there for her, yet he was also so far away. She trusted him. So when he'd concluded that she'd been possessed by the severed soul of Voldemort, she'd never quite caught the word he called it, it hadn't helped her need to get clean. She'd actually rubbed herself raw.
It wasn't until she'd gotten to ride the hippogriff that she'd stopped feeling dirty. She suspected Charlie's involvement in Hagrid asking her to stop by his hut during her second year. It was Hagrid who finally got through to her that she wasn't the person responsible for the events of her first year. He never actually brought it up, but that afternoon when he'd had Ron and Harry show her how to approach a hippogriff ... that afternoon where she'd gotten to fly over Hogwarts. She had to agree with Harry that it was a most freeing feeling. And that feeling, the wind in her hair, the sensation of her clothes pushed against her body as they soared, it seemed to magically erase much of the tainted feeling.
Not that she didn't have a few relapses. But that was what borrowing the brooms of your brothers was for ... and occasionally Harry's Firebolt, though once her roommates had heard of that, she thought that she'd never escape the innuendo.
If she heard another one of her besotted roommates joke about her ride on Harry's broom again... He was practically another brother now. According to Neville, Harry had even given the big brother threat to him when Neville was her date at the Yule Ball. Ginny strongly suspected that Ron had been the one to encourage Harry to do that.
Her thoughts having carried her all the way from Gryffindor Tower to the threshold of the Great Hall, Ginny looked up to find a free seat next to someone she at least knew, and wasn't one of her annoying roommates. There was only one choice, really. "Good Morning Harry," she said as she sat down across from him. It looked like he had just refilled his plate. "Hungry this morning?"
"It's the first day back, and Hogwarts food is always good," Harry replied. "Roommates annoying you again this year?"
"Yes, for the same reasons as last year," Ginny replied, loading up her own plate with scrambled eggs and toast.
"I thought so," Harry said. "One of them asked me if you were expecting."
"Usual reply?" Ginny said. She and Harry had decided during her second year a particular course of action to the rumors floating around Hogwarts about them. She still cursed the fact that she'd caught the flu which then developed into pneumonia her first day back her second year. She was sure the rumors wouldn't have gotten out of hand if she hadn't been sick.
"Pretended that I had no idea what you might be expecting," Harry said, spearing a sausage. "After all, you're my best friend's 'annoying little sister,' and Ron and I don't talk about you." Then with a smirk he continued. "All of which is of course, true, but not the whole truth, as usual."
"You know, sometime I'm going to have to look up that simulated pregnancy spell," Ginny said. "I think this is like the sixteenth or seventeenth time they have done that one."
"I think the count is much higher than that," Harry said. "You have to be the second most common target of rumors at Hogwarts."
"Nah, I think Dumbledore and you both surpass me, and probably Parkinson does too," Ginny said, as she was handed her schedule. Looking at it briefly, she shuddered. "Potions first."
"Better you than me," Harry replied. "And don't look now, but the gossips are leaving en masse."