A Little Inspiration...
All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.A/N:
Once again, thanks so much to everyone reading and reviewing :)
Chapter 27: A Little Inspiration Goes a Long Way
Buffy leant back in her chair, her boots propped up on her desk, just letting her chair balance on the two back legs while she read the dusty tome in her hands.
It was a huge book, one that she had found back in Sirius' library weeks ago, and despite its size it was very handy to keep around. Inside was details on many spells that she had missed out on learning back as a child, not to mention lots of useful spells and tips that she had been able to pass on to her students. She had actually found it quite interesting, and hadn't been able to put the book down since she had first started reading it.
She'd been getting some strange looks from the students and teachers who knew her as the type to avoid anything involving books, but she found that she didn't really care anymore. Back in Sunnydale studying had been hard and boring, it was an effort just to open the book in the first place. But now, learning spells, it was fun and interesting, and she knew she needed this knowledge.
A soft knock on her door broke her concentration and her eyes switched to the now opening door, where a bushy brown head was peeking through.
“Hermione? Everything all right?”
The girl ducked into the room, walking up towards the desk and sitting down at the nearest chair. It was lunch time so the class was empty save for the two of them.
“I wanted to talk to you about something...” She started, her eyes widening as she spotted how easily Buffy was balancing on just the back of her chair. “You shouldn't do that, you know? You'll fall off or break the chair. It happens all the time in class.”
Buffy looked surprised for a moment, then looked down to her chair, realising what the younger witch was talking about. “Oh, nah it's fine.” She waved it away, but seeing that Hermione was almost glaring at her she sighed and moved her feet back to the ground, planting her chair firmly on the floor. “There, better? Geez and here I thought I was the one supposed to do the bossing around, not the other way.”
Hermione smiled at that, “I swear you act more like the students than a teacher sometimes.”
“So what did you want to talk about?” Buffy asked with a smile.
“Harry.” At her one word answer all sense of joking left the room, Buffy was instantly alert and listening as if her life depended on it. “He didn't want me to tell anyone, but I knew I had to. It's just that his detention with Ms. Umbridge, it wasn't what we all expected.”
“What happened?” Buffy asked, suddenly dreading the worst. She had already seen Harry loitering about in the corridors with his friends earlier that day, so she knew he was fine. But that didn't stop the questions from whizzing around her head. Could Umbridge secretly be a spy for Voldemort? Did she attack Harry? Was the Ministry trying to shut him up?
“She made him write lines, but with a special quill of hers. It carved that same line into the back of his hand. Buffy, she really hurt him, and I don't think it's just Harry. I think any student who has a detention with her gets the same treatment!”
“She what?” Hermione stepped back slightly after seeing the look of anger of her teacher's face. “Does Dumbledore know?”
“No, I came to you first...”
“Right.” Buffy stood from her seat, “Thanks for letting me know, Hermione. Leave this to me.”
Hermione nodded, leaving the room quietly, with Buffy following a few moments after, although she was heading in an entirely different path.
She stormed through the school, ignoring the various students who jumped out of her way before she could run them down, until she arrived at the wooden door that belonged to one Ms. Delores Umbridge.
She entered without knocking, just forced her way through the door and into the pink office, instantly hearing the mewing cats that lined the walls. Delores was seated at her desk, her hands folded together as she looked on in satisfaction. A student, a fourth year girl who Buffy knew from her own classes, was sitting on a separate desk writing away, a look of pain on her face and a trail of blood over the back of her hand.
Instantly Delores was on her feet, and the young girl was looking at Buffy as if she was her saviour.
“What do you think you're doing?” Delores cried, stepping around her desk so that she could face Buffy. “You can't just come barging into my office without an invitation!”
“No? Well maybe you should get better security since that's exactly what I've just done.”
“You can't do-”
Buffy ignored her and turned to the girl, the name Danielle coming to her mind. “Danielle, go up to the Infirmary, make sure you get that looked at.” The student nodded, and ran from the room without looking back.
Buffy turned her gaze back to Delores. “You're secret's out, Delores. As soon as Dumbledore hears about this you'll have my boot kicking you out of Hogwarts, and maybe even the Ministry too.”
A smile appeared on her face then, which confused Buffy slightly. She was happy that she had been found out?
“And what makes you think that the Minister doesn't already know what I am doing here?”
“He wouldn't...” Buffy said quietly. Even though she she hated the man, even though she wouldn't ever trust him as far as she could throw him, she had to believe that all the wacky things he done were for the good of his own people, that he actually believed he was making the right decisions for them. If what Delores was suggesting was true, then her opinion of the man had seriously just dropped off the chart.
“The Minister sent me here to help raise the falling standards of this school, Miss Summers, and now I see that things at Hogwarts are far worse than I believed them to be! The Minister will hear of this and things will change at this school. I will make it so!” Delores stood tall and fierce, and Buffy knew that there would be no changing her mind now.
She glared at the woman, feeling her inner fire begin to dull. She desperately wanted to punch that smirk off Delores' face, but she knew there was no point, it would give her some satisfaction but it would only last for as long as her job did. “Whatever. Just don't expect all of us to bow down to you... because I'm telling you now, it's so not gonna happen.”
Buffy retreated from the room then, intent on using what little time she had left of her lunch break to try and figure some of this out.
They were not at all surprised when she randomly appeared in the fireplace surrounded by bright green flames. However, they were surprised to see her looking annoyed and agitated.
“Buffy, what's up?” Tonks was the first to welcome her back home, pulling her in for a tight hug.
When the girl had pulled back she took in the concerned looks on Remus and Sirius' faces. The pair of them were sitting on the couch, Remus with a book in his hands and Sirius with a plate of food.
“I need to find out a bit of intel about someone.” She said as she stepped further into the room. The three of them gave her a blank look and she sighed as she took a seat opposite the two guys. “You know, info? Information?”
“Oh, right. How can we help?”
“I need to know everything you can find out on Delores Umbridge. She works for the Minister but he's sent her to Hogwarts to sort out our 'failing standards'. She's a right pain in my-”
“Okay, okay, we get it.” Sirius said, interrupting her mid rant.
“Wait, Delores Umbridge... You mean the under secretary?” Tonks asked, looking to Buffy for confirmation.
“I don't know,” The slayer answered slowly, “I just know she works for the Minister.”
Tonks looked thoughtful for a moment before she suddenly made a loud squeaking sound and dashed out the room. The others all looked at each other in confusion, before Tonks rushed back in holding a copy of the Daily Prophet.
“Here, read this.” She flipped through the pages before handing it to Buffy, then took a seat on the couch, squeezed up beside Remus.
Buffy sent them a puzzled glance before she turned back to the paper and read out loud.“Recent accounts from concerned parents have put the Minister into action against Hogwarts.
The school, which has been run by Albus Dumbledore for many years now, has slowly been falling into a state of disrepair, with students who are failing their examinations and teachers who disregard the proper teaching methods given to them. Just a week ago, The Minister selected a single individual, Ms. Delores Umbridge, his own under secretary, to step up as role of Hogwarts' High Inquisitor.
Ms. Umbridge has assessed the school in detail and will continue to help the school through its toughest times. The Minister has since confirmed that if the need is dire enough, he will grant Ms. Umbridge the authority to make any changes in the school that she feels are necessary, even if it should mean the end of Dumbledore's reign. At least in the Ministry's hands, we can be assured that Hogwarts will once again be a school worth attending.”
There was silence in the room for a few minutes as Buffy took in what she had just read. “I really need to make a subscription to this thing... So either Delores wants to take over Hogwarts, or she's being made to by the Ministry.”
“Buffy, if that's true...”
She looked up at the concerned eyes of her brother. “Yes, I know. She's already threatened to fire me if she ever gets the chance. I just have to make sure she doesn't.”
“I don't think you'll have much say in the matter.” Sirius said quietly, looking down at the ground. “From what it sounds like, the Minister's willing to go as far as to lie about all of this just to get people to think that he is right and Dumbledore is wrong. If he orders it, this Umbridge woman will automatically take over. Plus there's the other news we've heard about...”
“What other news?” She asked, looking from the three of them.
“The Minister doesn't want students to be taught anything that they can use against him.” Remus told her, looking to Tonks for confirmation. She nodded along, obviously it was through her efforts that they had learnt this information.
Buffy stifled the laugh that was trying to get out of her, “Wait, you're telling me that the great Minister Fudge is afraid of a bunch of students?”
Tonks nodded, sitting forward in her chair. “Think about it, Buff. If Dumbledore had a group of students to fight with him...”
“Then this isn't about the students at all, he's afraid of Dumbledore.”
“He thinks Dumbledore is after his job, building an army by teaching his students how to fight so that they can overthrow him.” Remus added. “Which is why-”
Buffy jumped up and spoke before he could finish his sentence. “Why they've taken all the spells out of DADA class! That's ridiculous! How can he put all those students' lives in danger just because he is afraid he might loose his job? Agh, I really hate that man.”
“He's stopping you from teaching?” Sirius asked, surprised.
She nodded, “Teaching them spells, yes. It's all about theory work now, or at least that's what they want. I haven't exactly been playing by their rules, hence the threatening to fire me thing.”
“You should play by their rules, just for now. We need you at Hogwarts, Buffy.” Tonks replied with a sigh.
“No buts. If it means you keeping your job, then you're doing what they tell you.”
She grumbled as she looked at her friends and family. They were right, of course. She needed to be at Hogwarts to look out for Harry. Of course Dumbledore and Severus would be there too, but Dumbledore's job looked to be on just as shaky ground as hers and even though she loved Severus in his own way, she just couldn't imagine him looking out for Harry in the way she did.
“All right, I don't like it, but I guess I'll teach the kids what the Ministry wants them to learn in class...”
And then an idea came to her. Just because she was playing by their rules during DADA lessons, didn't mean she couldn't teach the students outside of DADA lessons. It would be risky, but it would be worth it.
“What are you thinking?” Sirius asked her with a knowing look on his face, “I've seen that look before, you're planning something. Something that usually ends with one of us running for our lives...”
She couldn't help the giggle that fell from her, “Oh don't worry, it won't be you running this time.”
“You would think that would comfort me... But it doesn't.”
Tonks nodded her agreement, “Don't get yourself in even more trouble, Buffy.”
She nodded, “Hey, you know me. Trouble follows me around no matter what I do.” With that she got up and went back to the fireplace. “Thanks for the inspiration, I've gotta get going. See you all soon.” She waved and within a second she had vanished in the flames.
Remus watched her go with a sigh, “One day that girl is going to find herself in so much trouble she can't get back out.”
“Don't worry, Moony. We'll be there to drag her back out again.”