Change Is Not Always Good
All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.
Chapter 35: Change Is Not Always Good
Buffy smiled to herself as she finished marking the last of the essays that she had been given from her second year students. Finally she was up to date on all her homework and just had to hand it back out to the kids, and that was the easiest part of her job.
Between teaching full time, the secret DA meetings, the odd lessons with Severus and a few catch up sessions with the guys back at Grimmauld Place she had hardly noticed that two and a half months had gone by so quickly.
Teaching was harder than ever now that she was stuck with boring theory work. It drained her of her energy and so often she was forced to shout and yell at the kids for playing around. Instead of using their excitement to enthuse about the subject they were using it the only other way they could, by messing around. And as much as she hated it, she knew they had their reasons. They had not always been like that.
Fortunately the DA had become a kind of escape from it all. All the DA members were willing to work hard and learn and they had all taken as much knowledge from her as they could hold. They had been like literal sponges, soaking up everything that she put down for them.
Nearly all of the members had advanced in their magical abilities, even Neville who had so often been at the bottom of class was now using spells way above his age level.
Even Harry had learnt a thing or two from the meetings, but his main achievement was becoming the teacher, or 'mini-teach' as she liked to call him. Buffy had definitely seen an improvement in his leadership abilities and his confidence had sky-rocketed. She only wished he'd put in as much effort with learning occlumency as he did with the DA.
Unfortunately he'd given up the skill after just a few lessons. He wouldn't tell her why, just that it hadn't worked out but that he would continue practising it on his own. Truthfully Buffy didn't believe a word of it but she didn't want to bug him about it anymore, she'd already had a talk with him about it a few times. She could only hope that he would be smart enough to actually keep practising like he promised.
As for her own occlumency lessons, they had stopped too. Not because she had given up though, but because Severus felt that she had reached a point where he could no longer teach her anything new. She had successfully blocked out his attempts many times now, even doing so when unprepared. All she could do now was to keep practising and hope that when or if the time ever came, she would easily be able to stop anyone from invading her mind.
Apparating lessons had been a lot harder for her to grasp. For starters there was the slight problem of where to practice. Hogwarts would have been the most suitable place considering how both she and Severus lived there for most of the time, but they couldn't very well ask Dumbledore to take down his wards and threaten the safety of everyone inside just so that they could practice.
In the end they had compromised. Whenever Buffy went back home to see her family she would let Severus tag along, and the pair would hole themselves up in the attic while he taught her the skill. It took a long time but she had eventually got the hang of it, easily apparating from one room and appearing in another. Still she had yet to travel anywhere of great distance, but it was still a work in progress. She was happy with where she had come in such a short amount of time.
Buffy checked her watch, the smile falling from her face as she realised that she would be late for another DA meeting. Of course she knew that Harry would be there to start it off for her but she still hated missing out on anything.
Gathering up her things she eagerly threw them into the desk drawers and rushed out from her classroom, heading straight for the room of requirement.
As she rounded the corner that would lead her to the unofficial classroom she was stopped by a series of voices. She could hear people arguing, someone sounded as if they were crying and someone else was laughing harshly... It was a familiar squeak of a laugh.
She turned the corner, coming to an abrupt stop at the sight before her.
Delores Umbridge was standing in front of the room of requirement where a huge chunk of wall was missing. It literally looked as if someone had used a wreaking ball to knock down half the wall.
Delores was grinning as she crossed her arms over her chest, watching as the caretaker, Filch was ordering the students out, making them walk in a single line as if they were prisoners.
Harry was standing in front of the high inquisitor looking angry but she obviously wasn't paying any attention to what he was telling her.
Buffy cleared her throat as she approached, a sinking feeling starting in the pit of her stomach.
“What's going on?” She asked as she stepped up to the woman who was once again dressed in all pink.
Delores turned to her with a grin, “I always knew these students were up to something. I've had my inquisitorial squad following them around and look what I've found.” She said gesturing inside the room where various training weapons were now scattered on the floor.
Harry's small voice was instantly overpowered by the woman. “Educational decree number one hundred and twenty-eight declares that all student organisations must be authorised by myself. I do not remember authorising this.” She said, her head held up high.
“Mr. Filch?” She waited until he had turned to face her and she had the attention of all the students who were groaning. “I want you to take the students back to my office. All of you will be in detention with myself later today.”
Buffy felt at a loss of what to do. Should she stand up and say that she was a part of the group or let them believe it was all the students' ideas? On one hand she didn't want to see any of the students suffering at Delores' hands and if her speaking up could stop that... But on the other, if Delores knew she had been the master behind the entire plan there was no doubt she would be kicked out of Hogwarts, and as she had been reminded so many times before, she was needed there.
Harry seemed to notice her silent conflict and slowly shook his head, narrowing his eyes when she didn't make any form of immediate reply. Eventually, and with a sigh, she nodded once, seeing Harry let out a breath of relief.
“Can you believe this?” Delores was saying now, although Buffy had hardly been paying attention to her words. “Things really do need to improve here at Hogwarts. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”
“You can't stop us from meeting up. The DA will always find a way.” Harry told her in determination, glaring at the woman fiercely.
“DA?” She replied, sending Buffy a look of confusion as if to ask if her fellow staff member had any idea what the boy was talking about.
It took a lot of effort but she managed to shrug back in reply.
“No matter,” Delores answered with a small, happy squeaking noise. “We'll find the culprit one way or another. Filch, take him up to my office.”
As the students were led away Buffy turned to Delores. “What are you going to do?”
“Ask them some questions.” She replied with a smile, “And if they know what's good for them, they will answer correctly.”
Buffy's eyes widened as she watched the woman march away, no doubt to torture the information out of the students. She wasn't about to stand back and let this happen.
Buffy followed behind them at her own pace, leaving just enough of a space between them so that she could follow without being noticed. As soon as Delores had disappeared behind her office door, dragging Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Nevile and Luna with her, Buffy crept up to the door and put her ear to the wood.
A loud thud sounded from inside, followed by Delores' voice. "Tell me! I want to know who organised this group!"
For a moment there was silence, until Buffy heard a sharp intake of breath.
“You can't do that!” Squealed a feminine voice that she recognised to be Hermione, and she sounded scared, something that made Buffy fight the sudden urge to barge right in through the door and stop whatever it was the witch was doing to them.
“Tell me what I want to know then!” Delores demanded again, her voice sounding threatening.
There was no answer for a few moments until there was a girlish squeal once again. “Tell her Harry! Or I will...” And all too suddenly Hermione was blurting out exactly what Delores had wanted to know.
“There was no organiser. We all agreed to start Dumbledore's Army together-”
"Dumbeldore's Army? Then he is the one responsible!"
Harry finally spoke up then, but his words were ignored. "No, it was us. Dumbledore had no idea about it!"
"Nonsense. It is his
army after all."
Buffy mentally cursed, quickly backing away from the door she was leaning against. Delores had just found the 'proof' that she had been searching for and she wasn't going to back down now. She would go and call for the Minister, afraid that Dumbledore really was organising an army under the schools roof.
Feeling angry and more than a little guilty, Buffy raced up to the headmaster's office intending to tell him everything. And hoping that he would be able to settle things before it got any worse.
She gave the password at the statue and bounded up the steps two at a time, stepping into the office without even knocking. The old headmaster was sitting behind his desk, looking amused as if he had been expecting her to barge in at any moment.
“I've had enough, that woman is driving me crazy.” She told him as she pointed to the door behind her.
“I assume you're talking about Ms. Umbridge.” He replied, writing on some parchment that was in front of him, not even bothering to look up at her.
“Yes! She's just marched half the students up to her office to torture them for information on the DA. You have to stop her.”
“The DA?” He asked, finally his eyes turning up to meet hers.
“Yes. Look I should have told you about it before but I thought it best if no one else knew. We couldn't just stand back and do nothing, the kids had to learn something.” She began explaining, feeling a lot like a teenager who was about to be grounded...
“So you taught them some spells? As an extra-curriculum activity?” At her nod he shrugged, “There's nothing wrong with that, but I do wish you had told me about this.”
“Yeah, well I wasn't really thinking much of it at the time. I just wanted to teach them something other than defensive theory, something that they could actually use in real life. We wasn't supposed to get caught.”
“Ah yes, Delores and her decrees.” He sighed, sitting back in his chair and folding his hands on the desk in front of him, looking completely relaxed and at ease. Buffy had to wonder if he hadn't already known about their meetings, if he had been preparing for this all along.
“Isn't there anything you can do?”
“What's done is already done, Buffy.” He replied cryptically, his eyes darting to the door just as it burst open once again.
Delores stormed inside the room, a bunch of official-looking men behind her wearing suits or dark robes. One of them, Buffy noticed, was Kingsley Shacklebolt, and suddenly she felt a whole lot better about the whole situation.
“You may have fooled the world, Dumbledore, but you cannot fool the Ministry. You're students have kindly told us of your so called 'army'...” Delores spat as she stepped in, ignoring Buffy completely and focusing all her attention on the headmaster.
“...Proof of what I've been telling you all right from the beginning. All your fear mongering about You Know Who, we saw your lies for what they were, a smokescreen for your bid to seize control of the Ministry!”
Dumbledore stood from his seat, looking calm and collected. “Naturally.”
Delores turned to her ministry friends, “You two, escort Dumbledore to Azkaban to await trial for conspiracy and sedition.”
Buffy's mouth hung open in silent shock. They would really sent him to prison? Dumbledore didn't seem too happy with the arrangements either, as he stood and walked away from the group.
“I thought we might hit this little snag. You seem to be labouring under the delusion that I will... What's the phrase? Come quietly?” His little speech made Buffy's mouth snap back into place, and from the corner of her eyes she spotted Kingsley wink at her.
“Well I can tell you this, I have no intention of going to Azkaban.”
Delores huffed, “Enough of this. Get him!”
But as soon as the ministry workers stepped forward Dumbeldore's pet phoenix soared above his head and the pair of them had vanished in a flash of bright light.
Delores was fuming as she rushed forward, searching the area where he had vanished from as if she was going to find a trapdoor or hidden passageway. And while Kingsley made some smart comment, Buffy found herself frowning.
Now that Dumbledore had gone who would be left to take over the school?
She felt her spirits drop even lower when her eyes found the pink, fluffy form of Delores once again.
Of course... The Ministry would take over. And of course, Fudge would choose his favourite High Inquisitor for the job.
And just like that Hogwarts had a new headmistress, and Buffy couldn't help but feel like it had all been her fault.