The High Inquisitor
All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.A/N:
Hope you've all had a great Christmas, it went by way to quickly for me but the break was nice, even if it was only for a few days. So, back to the story :D
Chapter 24: The High Inquisitor
Buffy smiled as she watched everyone rushing around her in a blind panic. Their last morning at Grimmauld Place had finally arrived and the house was in a state of chaos as everyone tried to get ready at the same time. Or rather as Molly tried to get everyone ready...
The twins were annoying their mother, continually joking around no matter how many times she told them to stop. Ginny and Tonks were giggling together, still in their pyjamas and Harry and Ron were far more interested in their game of wizard chess than anything they were being told. In fact the only person who was dressed and ready, with all their bags packed was Hermione, and she was using up the last of her time by reading a potions book that some seventh year students would have trouble understanding.
Buffy stood back as one of the twins sped past her, running out of the way from their now irate mother.
“Stop messing around and start getting ready! You're not even dressed yet and we have to leave in thirty minutes!”
Fred or George, whoever it was, turned to Molly with a mock insulted look. “Thirty minutes? It doesn't take me that long to get ready, woman.”
“Well hurry up and go then!” She cried out, groaning when he apparated away. “Argh, these boys really do drive me round the bend sometimes.” She said, more to herself than to Buffy who was smirking into her morning cup of coffee.
“Why do you bother? They're only doing it to wind you up.”
Flashing her an irritated look Molly rushed out from the kitchen and into the living room, no doubt to yell at the others for not getting ready.
Moments later Tonks walked into the kitchen, tripping over a broom that had been leaning against the wall. “Opps, I hope that wasn't one of ours...” She quickly righted the broom, noticing that she had snapped part of the handle off.
“Don't worry, it's only Remus' one.” Buffy replied with a shrug.
Tonks grinned at her, “Aw you are so mean to your brother.”
“Eh, that's what little sisters are for. So what are you going to do with yourself now that I'm going away?”
Tonks pulled out a chair and sat sideways on it so that she could still see Buffy. She had spent a good few weeks living at the house with the Lupin siblings and Sirius and she had become good friends with them all. “I guess I'll be spending a lot more time at work now that I'm loosing my partner in crime. It will be strange without you here, but I'll still have Sirius and Remus to keep me company I guess.”
“Sure, but they're nowhere near as fun as I am!” Buffy laughed as she finally finished her coffee and set down the mug.
Tonks laughed with her for a moment before she let out a loud sigh, “You'll still be visiting though, right?”
“Of course I will.”
Tonks nodded her approval just as Harry and Ron stepped into the kitchen, their heads hung low and defeated looks on their faces. “Ah, mother hen got to you then?”
“Yeah, and I was winning our game as well.” Harry grumbled, stopping to snatch up some breakfast which was already laid out on the table before the pair of them slowly made their way upstairs.
Thirty minutes later saw the group of them huddled round by the fireplace, bags in hand as Sirius passed around the pot of floo powder.
They had already agreed to split up, fearing that being in such a large group would draw unwanted attention, so the Weasley family stepped up first.
“We're going to The Leaky Cauldron first, remember?” Molly was telling them as one by one they used the floo network to transport themselves to the small pub outside Diagon Alley. From there they would be able to get to the train station.
Once they had all vanished in the fireplace, the rest of the group turned to face each other. They were apparating over to the station directly to avoid Harry being out in the open for too long.
Since neither Harry, Hermione or Buffy could apparate on their own they chose to go in teams of two. Tonks taking Hermione, Remus with Buffy and Sirius with Harry.
Seconds later the six of them had touched down in a small empty room in the middle of Kings Cross station. Tonks checked that the way was clear before they stepped outside and onto the platform. Acting as normal as possible, they walked through the crowds of people carrying their enchanted bags until they came to the blank wall in-between platforms nine and ten.
After making sure there were no muggles around to watch, they stepped through the brick wall and onto platform nine and three quarters where the Hogwarts Express was already waiting for them.
The entire platform was full with people, adults and students alike. Mothers and fathers were hugging their children, waving goodbye through the windows of the carriages and juggling suitcases filled with school supplies.
“Come on, there's not much time now!”
It didn't take them long until they could hear the clear voice of Mrs. Weasley as she spoke to her own children and they grinned together as they followed the sound of her voice.
Stepping past a family who were in the middle of saying goodbye the group of six spotted the Weasley clan all huddled together near one of the train entrances.
“It's almost time, you'd better get on.” Molly said as she hugged Ginny and patted Ron on the shoulder.
The twins waved goodbye before disappearing on the train, no doubt to find an empty carriage for them as they usually all travelled together. Ginny and Hermione left next, the pair of them chatting about the subjects they would be taking this year.
Harry spent a few minutes saying goodbye to Sirius, Remus and Tonks before he and Ron joined them too.
“I guess I'd better get going already. I'll see you all soon.” Buffy said as she hugged Tonks and waved to her brother and Sirius. With a smile she stepped onto the train and peered out the nearest window, listening to the doors closing and the engine starting up.
Slowly the train began to pull away, and she stood and waved through the window until she could no longer see her family standing there.
It was time for another year to begin...
As soon as the train pulled up at Hogsmeade station the excited students clambered out from the train and onto the platform where they were met by Professor McGonagall. The new students would be travelling to Hogwarts by the boats as they always did, while the rest of the students would get pulled along in the threstral-drawn carriages until they reached the castle.
Buffy quickly found Harry and the others and told them she would see them later as she ran up to the castle. It felt good to be able to stretch out her legs and it would be far quicker to run than to be pulled along by the threstrals.
As soon as she arrived in the castle she made her way to her room to change into a pair of jeans, black boots and a dark shirt before she made her way down to the main hall where the evening feast would take place. The students were still on their way so the hall was empty save for a few teachers that had arrived early or the select few that lived at the school over the holidays.
She stopped to say hello to some of her fellow teachers before she spotted the dark figure of Severus Snape sitting up at the teachers table.
“Hey, Sev. How are you?” She asked with a smile as she pulled out a chair and sat down next to him.
He nodded in reply and she grinned, way too used to his unsocial behaviour to let it faze her. “Hey do you think this year we might have a nice, normal time at Hogwarts?”
“Unlikely, what with everything that's been going on recently.”
“...Ah, well that's... comforting.” She let her gaze slide out over the room. The students were only just starting to enter now and all the teachers were making their way to the table at the front... and then she done a double take. “Did Albus mention to you about a new teacher?”
Suddenly seeing what had caught her attention, Severus shook his head. “No, he hasn't said anything...”
“Wow, she's a bit... bright.” She scrunched up her face as she took in the sight before her. An unfamiliar woman was walking through the hall, a bright smile on her face as she held her head up high. She was dressed in a pink skirt-suit with matching pink hat and shoes, even her tights were slightly tinted pink. She was a complete fashion disaster!
Severus' silence was enough to say what he thought of the woman as she made her way over to them and smiled politely.
“Hello there! I'm Delores Umbridge, I'm visiting Hogwarts on official Ministry business. It's very nice to meet you both.” She held out her gloved hand in order to greet them. From her position on the other side of the table, Buffy had to stand to reach her, and instantly she noticed how the woman's eyes scanned her body, as if she was evaluating her choice of clothing.
“Hi, I'm Buffy, the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher.”
Instantly Delores pulled back her hand and looked at Buffy as if she was merely a stain on the bottom of her shoe. “Oh is that so? It seems the standards at Hogwarts have fallen dramatically.” Ignoring the shocked look on Buffy's face she turned to Severus and smiled politely. “And who might you be?”
“Severus Snape. Potions teacher.” He snapped, completely unimpressed by the woman standing in front of them.
“Ah, it's very nice to meet you, Severus. Well I shall see you again soon, no doubt!” She sent him a small wave before she stepped away, her heels clicking on the floor as she did.
Buffy watched her go, glaring at the woman's back the entire time. “What a bitch! What the hell was that supposed to mean anyway?!"
Severus merely gave her a blank look as if the answer was perfectly clear. "You don't exactly look like a typical DADA teacher."
"What difference should that make? I mean what kid wants to be taught by a stuffy old guy in a tweed suit who doesn't get any of my cultural references and puns? How dare she judge me-”
“And you were thinking completely innocent thoughts about her when you first saw her?” Severus said, giving her a knowing look that made her pout.
Delores took a seat at the end of the teachers table much to Buffy's disgust and finally the last of the students filed into the room, seating themselves at the tables assigned to each house.
Dumbledore then entered himself with Minerva and all the first years following behind ready for the sorting ceremony.
Barely fifteen minutes later once all the newcomers were sitting at their respective house tables, Dumbledore took to the stage.
“Welcome, welcome all of you, to another year at Hogwarts. I will begin with the normal notices just to remind you all. The first years ought to know that the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all students, and some of our older students ought to know by now too."
Buffy felt her gaze instantly drawn over to Harry and his friends at the Gryffindor table. In fact it seemed as if most of the teachers were looking to their direction with grins or scowls on their faces.
"Mr Filch, our caretaker has asked me to remind you all that magic is not permitted in the corridors and there is a long list of items that are banned from use at Hogwarts, but I won't bore you all by reading them out.” The headmaster grinned down at the students before turning towards the teachers table.
“I would also like to welcome Ms. Delores Umbridge to Hogwarts. She is visiting on Ministry business to assess the school. As such, I expect you all to treat Ms. Umbridge as you would any member of staff. Also Professor-”
Delores had all eyes turning her way as she stood and cleared her throat. “Thank you, headmaster, for those kind words of welcome.” She stepped forward and Dumbledore let her move up to his side on the stage.
“And how lovely it is to see all your bright, happy faces smiling up at me. I'm sure we're all going to be very good friends. The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance. Although each headmaster has brought something new to this historic school, progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged. Let us preserve what must be preserved, perfect what can be perfected and prune practices that ought to be prohibited.”
With a small laugh she stepped back and sat back down, letting the headmaster take up the stage once more.
Buffy couldn't help but glare at the woman as Dumbledore continued talking, addressing the students in front of him. Buffy had never particularly held the Ministry in high regard, but they definitely wanted something from Hogwarts if they were willing to send one of their own to watch over the school.
There was no mistaking it, the Ministry was up to something. And nothing good ever came from that.