A/N - Hello everyone. Everything has been slow with all of my writing lately almost to the point of blocking. I don't know if it's because the first two parts of the Lightning series came out so quickly that I'm now dealing with the inevitable reaction or what but writing is very slow right now and chapters are short. This one is mostly to set up to lead directly into the next chapter but who knows when I'll be able to finish that. And so it goes.
I don't own either Harry Potter or Dungeons and Dragons. They belong to their respective creators. The only things that are mine are the story itself and any original characters I might come up with. Please read and review; I always appreciate feedback. Constructive criticism is welcome, however no flames please.
18) UMBRIDGE TAKES UMBRAGE
New forms of magic to be taught at Hogwarts!
Dolores Umbridge threw down her copy of the Daily Prophet in disgust. The paper carried several articles about the presentation at Hogwarts two days ago and to say it was going over big would be an understatement. Everyone at the ministry seemed to be talking about it, many of them sounding quite excited at the prospect of learning older forms of magic that had been thought lost. Umbridge was having none of it.
"You have to put a stop to all of this" she said to Minister Fudge when she saw him in his office late that morning.
"Why would I do that?" asked the minister sounding genuinely puzzled.
"We can't have filthy beasts trying to teach our children" said Umbridge, "who knows what kind of subversive trash they'll try to force down their throats."
"You're overreacting" said the minister, "this program isn't trash. Headmaster Dumbledore briefed me on it a few days ago and I think that it's a wonderful opportunity for us. Britain will learn magic that the rest of the world doesn't know or has long forgotten. We should be proud of that, regardless of who might be teaching us."
"But they're filthy monsters!" said Umbridge. Minister Fudge frowned.
"Never say that again Dolores" he said in a stern voice, "at least not in public. I've already warned you about crossing the dragon royal family. I hope you haven't forgotten that."
"I haven't" Umbridge said through gritted teeth.
"Good" said Fudge, "you may go and I suggest you put all of this out of your mind. There's nothing you can do about it."
Umbridge gave Fudge a stiff nod before marching out of his office. She had no intention of putting any of it out of her mind and firmly resolved that if the minister wouldn't do anything to stop this horrible program happening at Hogwarts then she would. She would gain support in the Wizengamot among the old true purebloods of their world and have all of this "older magic" nonsense banned outright. Everyone knew that wizards were the source of magic in the first place. There couldn't be any magic older than what wizards and witches used. If any of those filthy beasts had magic it was obviously because they stole it from their rightful pureblood masters just like the muggleborns did. There was no way any creature could possibly now magic that wizards and witches didn't know no matter what these so called dragon gods claimed.
Umbridge's attempts to rally the wizengamot members to her cause fell flat right form the start. Almost everybody she talked too agreed with Minister Fudge that Bahamut's and Daranni's lessons were good things. Even many of the dark families were in favor of the lessons. As if that wasn't enough many parents of Hogwarts students had begun making inquiries at Hogwarts about when they could learn some of the older magic themselves alongside their children. The word was that Dumbledore was already talking with the dragon king and queen about opening up the lessons to adults as the demand was clearly there.
However Umbridge wasn't discouraged yet. She intended to make an appeal to the full Wizengamot. She had dirt on a lot of people that she'd gathered over the years and had no compunction about using it. She fully expected to get her way when the meeting happened.
It wasn't very long before the next meeting of the Wizengamot occurred. When it did she stood up and asked the Chief Warlock for permission to speak. This wasn't something she liked doing as the Chief Warlock was Professor Dumbledore but rules were rules. When she was given the floor she launched into her prepared speech.
"Honored members of the Wizengamot" she said trying to sound wise (and failing miserably), "magical Britain faces a threat to its future, one which if we don't act to stop now will irrevocably harm our children."
Before she could continue her speech Amos Diggory raised his wand and interrupted Umbridge.
"Are you referring to the new subjects being offered at Hogwarts?" he asked.
"Yes" answered Umbridge.
"What's wrong with them?" demanded Diggory, "from what I've heard our children have opportunities to learn magic unlike any that we know of today either because it was lost centuries ago or because we never knew it in the first place.
"I agree" came the unexpected voice of Lord Nott as he and Diggory were usually in opposite factions of the Wizengamot, "I see nothing wrong with my son learning these forms of magic."
"Neither do I" said a new voice which proved to be that of Griselda Marchbanks, "in fact I'm thinking of going to Hogwarts myself and taking one of those classes when they're made available to adults." This caused a bit of a stir as Marchbanks was the Governor of the Wizarding Examinations Authority (known informally as the W.E.A.) and had been part of the ministry Department of Education since before Dumbledore himself had taken his NEWTs oh so many decades ago. Someone like her endorsing these classes carried a lot of weight with the members of the Wizengamot.
"But look who's giving these lessons!" fumed Umbridge trying to regain control of things.
"We know" said Lady Longbottom, "the divine king and queen of good dragons. It's hard to do better than that."
"You don't mind learning from filthy, filthy, beasts?!" shrieked Umbridge. That caused a lot of disapproving murmurs in the chamber and Dumbledore pounded his gavel for silence.
"Madame Undersecretary" Dumbledore addressed Umbridge in a stern manner, "have a care how you speak about gods – "
"They're not gods!" interrupted Umbridge with a yell. Dumbledore pounded his gavel again.
"Madame Umbridge if you cannot control yourself you will be removed from this chamber" Dumbledore said, "now as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, Bahamut and Daranni are not to be taken lightly. They have both lived for thousands upon thousands of years and both are more powerful than anyone in this chamber can imagine. I suggest you mind your manners when discussing people like them. Unless anyone has any more to say about this subject I propose that we move on to something else."
Umbridge seethed in anger and humiliation. She had been shot down completely by the Wizengamot and had ended up looking like a fool. Her mood wasn't improved when Minister Fudge called her into his office the next morning.
"Dolores" said Fudge, "I thought I told you to leave Harry Potter and his family alone. Why did you make such a scene at the Wizengamot meeting yesterday?"
The conversation went along much the same lines as it had the first time the two of them had discussed Harry and what he was. This time, however, Fudge was stronger in his stance against his undersecretary and warned her quite firmly that if she continued to try and make trouble for the dragon royal family that her job was at risk. Once again Fudge encouraged her to let the matter drop.
Although Umbridge acted like she accepted what Fudge said when she left the minister's office it was just an act. She had no intention of letting the subject drop. It didn't matter to her that almost everyone in the Wizengamot was against her and even her boss was opposing her. No, she was sure she was right. It was obvious that the members of the Wizengamot were deluded fools who needed to have it proven to them just how wrong they were. If they wouldn't help her root out the filthy dragons from Hogwarts she would do it herself and she knew exactly what to do.
She did nothing for a few days and just went about her normal business making it look like she had accepted Fudge's and the Wizengamot's decision. Secretly, however, she was making plans. She thought that a good way to stop what was happening at Hogwarts was to stop the main instigator of everything. In her mind that was Harry Potter himself so she decided to do a very foolish thing.
At the end of her "planning stage" as she thought of it, she gathered a couple of aurors and went to see Walden Macnair who was the ministry's chief executioner for the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.
"What can I do for you Madame Undersecretary?" Macnair asked Umbridge while he was sharpening his main execution axe.
"I have an assignment for you" she said, "we need to go to Hogwarts to dispose of a dangerous beast."
"Sounds like my kind of job" said Macnair, "what kind of beast is it?"
"One that's threatening the entire school and needs to be put down quickly" said Umbridge. Macnair turned and gave her a sharp look. He wasn't stupid and he knew quite well what had happened at the last Wizengamot meeting.
"Would that creature have a name?" he asked in a shrewd voice, "and would it be Harry Potter by any chance?"
"What does it matter?" replied Umbridge, "all you need to know is that our children are at risk."
Macnair finished sharpening his axe and hung up it on the wall of his office before sitting down at his desk.
"Thank you for the confirmation" he said looking up at Umbridge, "Don't let the door hit you when you leave."
"You dare to say no to me?" demanded Umbridge.
"That's right" said Macnair calmly, "I have better things to do than attacking gods – like living for example."
"THEY'RE NOT GODS!" yelled Umbridge losing her temper, "you will come with me to Hogwarts right now! That's an order." Macnair put his hands on his desk and stood up. Like most adult witches and wizards he was taller than Umbridge.
"You're not my boss" he said looking her dead in the eye, "however I'm sure that your boss would be most interested to know what you're up to right now."
"Don't you threaten me" blustered Umbridge.
"I'm not" said Macnair. The two stared at each other before Umbridge turned away.
"You'll look foolish later" she said before turning to the two aurors, "Corbin, John, let's go. We'll simply arrest Mr. Potter and bring him back here." She made to exit the room but the two aurors didn't follow.
"You didn't tell us you were targeting Harry Potter" said Corbin Yaxley, "you just said we had to deal with a dangerous animal and there was no reason to bother Madame Bones. I'm not going with you either."
"Nor am I" said John Dawlish.
"Fine!" said Umbridge, "if you're all too cowardly to do what's right I'll do it without you. Don't expect any favors from me afterwards!" And with that she stormed out of the room. The three men looked at each other, all of them trying not to laugh.
"This should be interesting" said Macnair, "shall we wager on how many pieces she'll be in when she comes back?"
"I don't take sucker bets Walden" said Dawlish with a small grin.
"Neither do I" said Yaxley, "I'm almost sorry I didn't go. I'd love to see how this plays out."
"Maybe Potter will do us all a favor and eat her" said Macnair with a malicious grin on his face.
"Ooh" said Dawlish, "that's an image I didn't need."
"Nor I" said Yaxley, "she'd probably give him horrible indigestion."
"She'd give a dementor indigestion" quipped Macnair as he reached for a bottle of Fire Whiskey, "anyone care for a drink?"
"You're the only person I know who can drink after saying something like that" said Dawlish.
"It's a gift" said Macnair as he poured shots for all three of them.
(To Be Continued)
A/N - That's all until next time (whenever that is).