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Old October 23rd, 2012, 3:01 am
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 14 ~ Trumping Umbridge

Harry arrived at the Ministry by Floo powder. He was still too weak to attempt Apparating alone, but was nervous about what state he would find the Ministry in. As he stepped out of one of the golden fireplaces, he gasped. It was a mess. Although the fireplaces had been repaired, there were heaps of rubble piled all around the Entrance Hall. Ministry wizards were dotted along every few feet or so, vanishing piles of debris or repairing broken walls. The fountain of Magical Beings was being removed, piece by piece and in the centre of the room stood something at least twelve foot tall, draped in an enormous purple cloth.

Harry took a few more hesitant steps forward, looking around, when someone rushed up to him.

"Harry!" exclaimed Mr. Weasley, shaking his hand enthusiastically. "What are you doing here? How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine thanks, Mr. Weasley. Scrimgeour just sent me an owl asking to see me." Mr. Weasley looked puzzled. "So you don't know why I've been summoned either?" asked Harry, starting to feel uncomfortable. What on Earth could the Minister want to talk to Harry about that involved Dumbledore? Mr. Weasley shook his head, frowning.

"I don't suppose Molly was awake when you left, Harry?" Mr. Weasley asked carefully, a smile playing on his lips.

"Er, no, not that I noticed," answered Harry, trying not to laugh, "do you think she's okay?"

"Oh yes! I'm sure she's fine - embarrassed, but fine. Nothing a good hangover cure won't fix! Anyway, would you like me to find Scrimgeour for you, Harry?" But Harry was saved the effort of replying as Scrimgeour was striding towards him, beaming. Tripping over himself to keep up was Cornelius Fudge, the previous Minister for Magic, and waddling along behind Fudge was...

"Umbridge!" Harry muttered incredulously under his breath. "What's she doing here?" he hissed to Mr. Weasley.

"The old bat still works here," Mr. Weasley whispered back, out of the corner of his mouth.

"Harry, my boy! Good to see you, good to see you!" Scrimgeour smiled at him, pumping his hand up and down a little harder than necessary.

"Hello Minister," Harry said carefully, ignoring Fudge and Umbridge completely, though she had the nerve to smile her loathsome, self-satisfied smile at him. Fudge at least had the decency to look abashed by the meeting. "Well Harry, I expect you're wondering why I asked you here?" said Scrimgeour, looking like the cat that had swallowed the canary.

"Yeah, it had crossed my mind," said Harry, looking suitably bored, though he was curious as to why he was here. "Well, I would ask you to my office, but as you can see, this is all that's left for now - not to worry though!" he added hastily, as though Harry really cared that the Ministry had been destroyed in order for him to defeat Lord Voldemort. Harry merely raised his eyebrows coolly at the Minister.

"Er, yes, well." Scrimgeour rushed on, as though afraid Harry might leave if he didn't hurry. "Perhaps some privacy is in order?" and turning to the wizards who were working on clearing up, he said, "lunchtime everyone - one hour - please vacate the Entrance Hall! Thank you!" turning back to Harry and Mr. Weasley, Scrimgeour said "and Arthur, perhaps you might like to take a well earned lunch break now?"

"No - " Harry cut in. "Whatever you have to say to me can be said in front of Mr. Weasley."

A hard look flashed across Scrimgeour's face momentarily and then it was gone. In a more serious tone he said "Very well, very well. Arthur, you may stay. So, Harry, it is time for honesty. We both know that you and I have not seen eye-to-eye on recent events. I think it would be churlish of me to deny that you have been treated very unfairly by this Ministry, both recently under my rule and in the past when Fudge here was in charge." At these words he inclined his head towards Fudge, who went pink. Umbridge continued to look smug, and as though she found Scrimgeour's words faintly ludicrous.

"I know you have suffered terribly losses throughout your young life, your parents, your Godfather and of course, Dumbledore, yet through it all you still were able to defeat Voldemort - ridding us of one of the evilest wizards of the century. There is nothing we can do to make up for the losses you have sustained, nor anything we could give you to show our enormous appreciation, but I am here to offer you an apology on behalf of the Ministry for all that we did wrong and - "

The Minister trailed off, having caught the look on Harry's face. "But what's wrong my boy? I know things haven't been what you'd call harmonious, but we are trying to make amends-"

"Really?" asked Harry, his tone icy. "Then why is that foul cow still standing here?"

Scrimgeour looked confused, glancing around as if expecting to see a cow wandering through the building, but Umbridge looked furious.

"How dare you?" she exclaimed, in a hard voice, "You impudent little - why you should be on your knees thanking the Minister for even seeing you! Do you think he would be apologising unless he was forced to? Look at what you've done to the Ministry building - "

"Dolores!" thundered Scrimgeour, "That is enough!"

"I apologise Minister," simpered Umbridge, reverting instantly back to her false sweet and girlish voice, "I know you wouldn't stand for any Ministry official to be spoken to like this - I-I should have allowed you to deal with it," she peeked up at him, in what she evidently thought was a demure way. "Obviously the Potter boy has yet to learn good manners, no matter how many wizards he has battled." she smiled widely at Scrimgeour.

"Well Harry," said Scrimgeour, looking furious, "I see that you leave me no choice - "
"No choice?" scoffed Harry, completely unafraid of angering the Minister for Magic. "Do you have any idea what that woman," he spat this is Umbridge's direction, "put us through when she was at Hogwarts? She sent Dementors after me, made Slytherin's into an 'Inquisitorial Squad' - who by the way are all Death Eaters now - " Umbridge's eyes widened at this, "shot Stunning spells at Professor McGonagall, forced me to scar my own hand when I told the truth, " here he brandished his scarred hand, "and tried to use the Cruciatus Curse on me!" Harry paused for breath, "Not to mention attempting to sabotage our Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL by being a rubbish teacher! And she's STILL here! So I reckon your Ministry can shove - "

"Harry! If you could hold your tongue!" Harry was cut off mid rant by Scrimgeour. "As I was saying, you leave me no choice..." Umbridge smirked at Harry, having quickly recovered her composure after this shocking outburst. Turning to face Umbridge, Scrimgeour said, "I have no choice but to arrest you Dolores. Not only for attempted use of an Unforgivable curse against a fellow wizard (amongst other things) but for being a completely insufferable, despicable and above all highly irritating human being. Guards!" two Azkaban guards Apparated out of thin air. "Arrest this woman," the Minister ordered in a bored voice.

"Wait! Minister! No - you can't! He is lying! Potter is lying!" screamed Umbridge, her upper arms seized in a tight vice-like grip by the guards.

"Oh do be quiet Dolores. Take her away."

And with that the guards and a struggling Umbridge Disapparated, leaving a stunned Mr. Weasley and a delighted Harry, chuckling to himself, making a mental note to report this back to Ron and the others. Fudge had wisely remained silent during this whole altercation, and avoided Harry's eye in case he too were next. Unfortunately, the Minister rounded on Fudge next.

"And you Fudge - I think you have something to say to Harry?"

Fudge took a moment to gather himself, then looked up at Harry (who was now nearly a foot taller than the former Minister). "Yes - yes I do. Harry," he took off his lime green bowler hat, and twiddled it between his thumbs, "I owe you a huge apology. I should have listened to you - and Dumbledore - and believe me when I say that there is not a day that goes by when I don't curse myself for not doing things differently. And... I want to thank you Harry. You have done more for the entire wizarding world in a few years than I could ever hope to achieve in a lifetime. Thank you." Fudge held his hand out hesitantly to Harry, as if expecting Harry to whip out his wand and curse him on the spot.

Harry looked at him warily for a moment, then shook Fudge's hand with a small smile. "Er, thanks." he said, feeling awkward.

"Excellent!" boomed Scrimgeour. "Now Harry, if you will turn your attention this way," he indicated the giant thing covered in purple cloth that Harry had noticed on his arrival. Harry, Mr. Weasley, Fudge and Scrimgeour moved closer to it. "As you have probably noticed, the statue of Magical Beings has had its day. It has been destroyed twice now - perhaps someone is trying to tell us something, eh? Anyway, without further ado..." he waved his wand and the cloth fell away to reveal -

"Blimey!" said Harry.

"Merlin's beard!" exclaimed Mr. Weasley.

"Oho!" gasped Fudge.

"Isn't it marvellous?" asked Scrimgeour, surveying them majestically. The marvellous thing he was referring to was a twelve foot high statue of Albus Dumbledore, carved out of marble, brandishing a wand. "I thought it a fitting way to remember a truly great wizard," he went on, taking their stunned silence for stunned awe. Tearing his eyes away, Harry stammered, "er, it's - "

"I knew you'd appreciate it. A fitting start to a glorious new age, don't you agree? But that's not all Harry." waving his wand, a scroll and golden medal appeared out of thin air and dropped into the Minister's outstretched hand. "On behalf of all at the Ministry of Magic, and all of Wizard Kind, I would like to present you, Harry James Potter, with the Order of Merlin, First Class, for Special Services to Wizard and Muggle Kind." He waved his wand and the medal attached itself to Harry's shirt. Handing the scroll to Harry, Scrimgeour said, "I hope this goes someway towards bridging the gap between you and the Ministry, Harry."

"Thank you. I er..." Harry wasn't sure what to say next.

"Thank you Minister, I'm sure it will." said Mr. Weasley, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Well, Harry isn't supposed to be out for long periods. You don't mind if I see him home do you? I know Molly will be worried."

"Oh! No, of course not Arthur. Goodbye Harry," said the Minister, shaking Harry's hand. Fudge followed suit, then Mr. Weasley led Harry back to the fireplace, with one last glimpse at Dumbledore's statue. "I hope we see you back soon - you are welcome here at anytime Harry, anytime at all."

"Thank you," Harry said again, in a daze.

"Come on Harry," whispered Mr. Weasley, pushing Harry gently into a fireplace. In a whoosh he had disappeared, followed closely by Mr. Weasley, headed back to The Burrow.
"...and then," Mr. Weasley said loudly, competing with the howls of laughter issuing from Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and the twins (Luna was beaming out the window), "Harry said, "so why is that foul cow still here?" and you should have seen Umbridge's face! Harry," he said turning to look at him, "I thought she was going to curse you right there in front of the Minister!"

"That would have been even better!" cried Ginny, "Harry could have cursed her back, a hundred times worse!"

"Yeah, a nice Bat Bogey Hex would have have made it even better!" said Neville, with a surprisingly evil grin.

"But Harry," said Hermione, composing herself for a moment, "did they really take her to Azkaban?"

"Yeah, they did," said Harry, barely concealing an enormous grin as he savoured the thought of Umbridge being taken away by the Azkaban guards.

"Wicked..." sighed Ron happily, "I would've paid a hundred Galleon's to have seen that!"

"Oh yeah? And where would you get that kind of money Won-Won?" asked Fred, flicking Ron around the ear. Ron was just about to thump his brother in retaliation, when he caught the forbidding look on Mr. Weasley's face. Scowling slightly, he lowered his fist.

It was early evening, and outside the sun was beginning to set, turning the sky a dusky pink. Harry surveyed his laughing friends in the Weasley's cosy kitchen, feeling happy and relaxed. Looking up, he saw Mrs. Weasley standing in the doorway.

"And what's all this racket about?" she demanded, in a thoroughly bad temper. Everyone suddenly sat up straight with the exception of Luna,

"Oh dear, you don't look very well, Mrs. Weasley, was it because you drank so much last night?" Luna asked sympathetically.

Luna was saved the telling-off of a lifetime by Mr. Weasley, who jumped out of his chair, "Ah, Molly dear!" he cried, slightly desperate, hurrying over to his wife, while she puffed up like a bullfrog, clearly in a towering rage and about to let Luna have it, "Here dear, why don't you sit down. You lot," he hissed at the others, "why don't you go into the sitting room, eh?"

Not needing to be told twice, Harry and the others shot out of their seats and hurried into the sitting room, with the exception, once again, of Luna, who got up slowly and gracefully, patted Mrs. Weasley on the shoulder and left at a much slower pace. In the sitting room, Harry and the Weasley siblings were shaking with hushed laughter. Hermione and Neille merely looked scared.

"Blimey, that Luna's a right nut-"

"Luna!" Harry practically yelled her name, trying to both alert the twins to her appearance and stop Luna from hearing what they were about to say.

"Oh! Are we playing a game?" she asked dreamily, "HARRY!" she yelled at the top of her lungs. "Now what do we do?" she asked, gazing around the room, smiling excitedly at everyone.

Ron and Ginny were snorting with giggles now, but Fred and George, said, "Yeah, it's the Yelling Game - now we'll go: GINNY!"

Nearly screaming with laughter now, Ginny joined in enthusiastically: "RON!"

Ron, wiping tears from his eyes yelled: "HERMIONE!" with great gusto, punching his arms into the air.

Hermione looked horrified for a moment, before saying, rather feebly, "Er...Neville!"

Neville, who was now laughing too, took a deep breath, just about to shout when Mr. Weasley popped his head in - "Will you lot shut up!" that was it - everyone in the sitting room, including Luna, fell about laughing, clutching their sides and gasping for air.

"Molly and I are going for a nice walk in the village," said Mr. Weasley, smiling at their high-spirits,"you lot will have to get the dinner ready. We'll see you later." and shaking his head, he left them, in hysterics, rolling around on the floor.
A couple of hours later, Mr. Weasley and a slightly shame-faced Mrs. Weasley arrived back at The Burrow for dinner. Everybody was avoiding making eye-contact with her, for fear of having their head bitten off. Neville had surprised everyone by cooking a feast of chicken and dumpling stew.

"My Gran makes me cook all the time," he said, shrugging his shoulders as he stirred a large saucepan on the hob, waving his wand with the other hand so a large knife began chopping bread on the breadboard. Harry and Ron exchanged surprised looks at this piece of information.

"Wow, Neville - it smells good! I had no idea you could do this sort of magic!" said Hermione, impressed. Neville went pink and had trouble concealing his pleased smile. Ginny bustled about the kitchen getting out cutlery, while Fred and George levitated plates out of the cupboard. "Careful you two," warned Mrs. Weasley.

"Calm down Mum," said Fred as the plates landed perfectly on the table, in between a knife and fork each. "Yeah, it's not like we're doing it under the influence of sherry or anything..." George chimed in, peering sideways at his mother.

"Fred, George..." cautioned Mr. Weasley.

"No dear, it's all right. Look you lot - about last night... Sometimes, when grown-ups go to parties, they like to have a drop or two of something to drink - "

"Come off it Mum!" scoffed Ron, "We're not babies! We don't care! So you were plastered - so what? It was a party!"

"Yeah Mum! It was pretty cool if you ask us," said Fred, grinning wickedly at his mother. Harry nodded at her encouragingly, being very careful not to laugh.

"But that's not what I - I mean I don't want you to - I'm not saying it's right - " stammered Mrs. Weasley, looking flustered.

A giggle escaped Ginny. Mrs. Weasley looked at her sharply.

"Oh! Fine! I was drunk! There!" she shouted, a smile spreading across her face, "I WAS DRUNK! I don't remember the last time I was so happy and I got drunk! All right? Now can we eat please?" Laughing along with everyone else, she got up to help Neville dish out the stew. "Thank you Neville dear, this looks wonderful."

When everyone was settled around the table, Mr. Weasley produced a bottle of Firewhiskey. Pouring a tiny measure each for Luna and Ginny and a larger measure for everyone else (though Mrs. Weasley quite wisely stuck to pumpkin juice) he said, "I would like to propose a toast. I know this isn't quite the gathering we had yesterday, but now that we are just family and close friends," here he beamed at Neville, Luna and Hermione, "I would like us all to raise a glass to us - we made it through the war, pretty much in one piece, Harry even got an Order of Merlin First Class and Umbridge is in jail to boot! So - here's to us!"

Everyone clinked their glasses together and cried "To us!"

***

Later that evening, after Ginny had reluctantly left the kitchen to go and clean out Arnold, her Pygmy Puff's cage, Harry, Hermione and Ron were left alone, washing the dishes. Neville and Luna were playing wizard chess in the sitting room and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had retired for the evening. Fred and George had Apparated back to the small flat above their Diagon Alley shop, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, leaving Harry and the other two plenty of privacy in which to talk.

"So, did you manage to talk to Scrimgeour about Bellatirx?" asked Hermione quietly, as she supervised the washing of the dishes. This chore was now made much easier owing to the fact that they were allowed to use magic to hurry things along. Ron was waving his wand over a tea towel that was drying what Hermione washed. Harry, who was levitating leftovers into the fridge turned to look at them as he replied, "No. There wasn't really a good moment to - and Fudge was there the whole time," he added hastily, trying to prevent Hermione from having a go at him. To his surprise, she nodded at him.

"That's probably a good thing," she said thoughtfully, as the dishes clinked gently together in the soapy water, "I still wouldn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them, Order of Merlin First Class or not."

"So, who are you going to tell?" asked Ron, his eyebrows creased in concentration as his enchanted tea towel dried the plates.

"Well, I was going to go to Lupin, but he's been so busy with all the wedding plans, and I don't want to worry him - or Tonks," he added. "I thought maybe I would talk to Kingsley Shacklebolt, see what he has to say and find out if the Ministry has any leads as to where she might be."

"Well that sounds like the best idea to me," said Hermione, sounds greatly relieved,"but...have you had any thoughts as to what you'll do when you actually find her?"

"Er, no, not really - but I am taking it seriously. Very seriously," he said firmly, as Hermione opened her mouth to nag him once more.

"Well good. The last thing the Wizarding world could handle now is their hero, The Chosen Boy Who Lived being done in!"


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