Revision: 1.9, 4/10/2017
Summary: Harry Potter has unfinished business with Dolores Umbridge.
Category: After Book Seven
Length: 10 pages
Mr. Weasley had met them at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place as Harry had requested. Like them, he had been shocked and outraged when he heard Umbridge had beaten the charges of running the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. She claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse; and the Wizengamot had believed her.
But now Mr. Weasley was thinking with his Ministry hat on. He believed this new story they were telling, but he seriously doubted the Wizengamot would.
“But we all heard her. She sent the Dementors after me. It's six against one,” argued Harry.
“Right!” Hermione, Ron and Ginny exclaimed together in agreement.
“Who are the other two?” asked Mr. Weasley.
“Luna and Neville,” replied Harry. He noted some alarm in Mr. Weasley’s expression, so he hastily added, “But we have not discussed our plan with them yet.”
“Well that’s good. I’d keep it that way for the time being,” advised Mr. Weasley.
He continued, “The Ministry will say you are just seeking revenge because of what she did at Hogwarts as High Inquisitor and Headmistress. She was dismissed and publicly humiliated for her failure on that score -- not to mention Fudge’s. It was a long time ago, relatively speaking, given more ‘recent’ events. And don’t forget, she has just been acquitted by the Wizengamot for her actions while He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was in control of the Ministry. However, they still demoted her significantly. It would just look like you’re piling on because you wanted her sacked.”
“She should have been sacked!” exclaimed Hermione.
“Sent to Azkaban, more like,” snarled Ron.
Again, the others voiced their agreement.
Mr. Weasley continued, “I agree. Be assured you’d have Kingsley and many others on your side, but she still has too many pure blood allies on the Wizengamot. We'd be outvoted on this. Let it go. Kingsley will make sure she won't ever be given a position of real power.”
Hermione frowned. “What happens when Kingsley is eventually replaced? It’s not a guarantee. This isn't justice. There has to be something we can do to persuade them.”
Mr. Weasley sighed. “I don't know what you can do. You definitely need more evidence,” he emphasized. “I do know that if you bring charges without sufficient proof, you could divide the Ministry and lose what we have gained against pure blood prejudice, which, I needn’t remind you, has remained very strong for over a thousand years.”
Ginny said reprovingly, “You’re lecturing us now.”
“Sorry. Sorry,” said Mr. Weasley sincerely.
Ron cursed softly. “We can’t let her get away with it.”
“I'll have to inform Kingsley about this. Harry, promise me that you and the others won't do anything rash without talking with me first.”
Before Harry could answer, Hermione exclaimed loudly, “We’ve got to come up with more evidence!” She clearly didn’t want the meeting to be over.
Mr. Weasley was slightly taken aback. “Well, while you’re all considering that, I think I forgot to mention that Umbridge has written a proposal to put the Dementors back as the guards of Azkaban.”
“What?” “No way!” “She’s a monster!” There was an eruption of outrage from everyone, except Hermione. She seemed not to have heard, apparently deep in thought.
Mr. Weasley held up his hands. “Don’t worry. There is no support for that at present. The most popular proposal being discussed is to hunt them all down and banish them to some deserted island -- like that would work. If you can’t kill them, how can you enforce any sanction against them? There are certainly a lot more job openings now for Aurors… to guard Azkaban,” he explained.
Hermione cleared her throat and returned to the real subject. “I think we need to get someone else to testify for us against Umbridge -- someone…‘independent’.”
“Who else is there?” asked Ron.
“Draco Malfoy, of course,” said Hermione with an ‘it’s obvious’ tone in her voice. Another chorus of, “What?” erupted from the others.
“Remember, there were several others with us in Umbridge’s office. Having Draco's testimony will provide the credibility we need. He was on the Inquisitorial Squad,” observed Hermione.
“In addition to being a Death Eater,” said Ron sarcastically.
“Well, not then. That was later,” corrected Harry.
“He's still a foul git,” growled Ron.
Hermione and Ron began to bicker. Ginny shook her head.
Mr. Weasley said, somewhat exasperated, “Please, I don’t have time for this. Where is this leading?”
They all looked at Hermione, but it was Harry who spoke.
“Hermione is right. We need Draco’s help. He owes me… owes us. We saved his life from the Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement, and again later during the Battle of Hogwarts, and most recently with our testimony at his trial for being a Death Eater.”
“He won't meet with us,” argued Ron.
“We won't know until we try,” insisted Hermione.
“I'm against it,” Ron said stubbornly.
“I think I should meet with him alone,” said Harry thoughtfully, as if speaking to himself. He couldn’t forget that Draco had avoided identifying them at Malfoy Manor. That’s why he, Ron, and Hermione had testified on Draco’s behalf at his trial.
Ginny had been quiet the longest. Finally she spoke. “I agree with Harry. But…, I think we need a completely different strategy.”
They all looked at her.
She continued, “Look, Dad’s right. Just testifying against her, even adding Draco, isn’t going to be enough. After everything she did, all the Muggle-Borns she prosecuted, while the Ministry was under Voldemort’s control, the Wizengamot did nothing more than demote her a bit.”
“So what do you suggest?” asked Harry and Mr. Weasley together.
Ginny outlined her plan.
When she was done and they had agreed, she said, “Oh, and one more thing, please don’t tell Mum.”
Mr. Weasley smiled. They all nodded knowingly.
“Draco, how nice to run into you,” she said rather too loudly. Then much more quietly, “Why did you want to see me? You said it was extremely urgent.”
“Won’t you join me?” he said conversationally. Then he hissed quietly, “We don’t need to put on a show. Sit down.”
She continued to stand, whispering, “Why didn’t you come to my office in the Ministry?”
“I don’t trust the new regime,” he said curtly. “There are informants and listening charms everywhere. This is more discrete.” He paused, and then said slowly, “I need to warn you.”
“Warn me?” Her voice had quavered; and she quickly sat down.
“Harry Potter is planning to bring charges against you for attempted murder,” Draco said slowly and deliberately.
Umbridge yelped, “What?” and then more quietly croaked, “Are you serious? On what grounds?”
“For sending the Dementors to Little Winging to suck out his soul the summer before you came to teach at Hogwarts,” answered Draco smoothly.
Umbridge stared but didn't say anything.
He continued, “Don't you remember telling us after we had caught them, Potter and his gang, trying to send messages to Dumbledore using the fireplace in your office?”
Draco stared intently at Umbridge, but she remained silent. “No? Let me remind you. You said, ‘Fudge never knew I ordered Dementors after Potter last summer.’ You said, ‘somebody had to act’ -- to stop Harry from continuing to say the Dark Lord had returned and helping Dumbledore destabilize the Ministry against Fudge. You said, ‘I was the one who actually did something about it.’”
Draco’s gaze at her was penetrating.
Umbridge remained silent but was clenching her fists and her eyes were darting frantically from side to side. Finally she said, “Did I?” her voice trembling.
Draco went on. “We all heard you say you sent the Dementors -- Harry and his gang -- plus myself and the Inquisitorial Squad that caught them for you. Harry is planning to get his old gang members to testify against you. He is planning to call the Inquisitorial Squad as hostile witnesses… except, of course, for Crabbe, who unfortunately died fighting for the Dark Lord at the Battle of Hogwarts.”
Draco smiled and waited.
Umbridge looked pleadingly at Draco. “You aren't going to testify against me are you? You are pure blood like me.”
Draco leaned back in his chair. He sniffed, “You have to understand there is a lot of pressure on everyone to disavow any actions that aided the Dark Lord after he returned, even if indirectly or unintentionally. Remember, they already brought charges against you that resulted in your… demotion.”
“I was under the Imperius Curse and following the Minister’s orders! Thicknesse was Imperiused too,” hissed Umbridge.
“Of course you were,” Draco said sympathetically. “But that’s what I’m trying to tell you. Everyone knows Pius Thickness was under the Imperius Curse, but you were still charged…” “And acquitted,” interrupted Umbridge.
“Yes,” said Draco condescendingly. “But as I was saying, I can’t promise that the Inquisitorial Squad won’t testify against you. Warrington and Bulstrode are not that reliable. Remember, you yourself didn’t hesitate to name Ministry officials that you suspected of supporting the Dark Lord to help your own defense, right? Why wouldn’t they do the same?”
“But it would still be my word against any witness,” insisted Umbridge. “I could say I was just bluffing about sending the Dementors to get Potter to tell me where Dumbledore was. It was just to show Potter how forceful I could be.”
Draco nodded his head sympathetically, but said, “Clearly your intention to use the Cruciatus Curse on Potter wasn’t enough persuasion…” his voice trailed off.
Umbridge blinked. “It was justified under the circumstances!” she said through gritted teeth.
Then he continued, “Of course it was.., but unfortunately, their testimony is not all you’re facing. Potter said he would ask the Ministry for an inquiry to find the Dementors that received and followed your orders. I understand the Dementors want to be reinstated as the guards of Azkaban. They will probably think that cooperating with the investigation will help them achieve their goal. Potter is now the wizarding world’s greatest ‘hero’.” Draco said the last word with obvious derision and concluded, “If he asks for an inquiry, he’s going to get it.”
Umbridge now looked panicked. Draco noticed she hadn’t seen the irony in the Dementor inquiry since she was currently the lone voice in the Ministry supporting their return to Azkaban.
“How did you find this out?” Umbridge suddenly asked.
Draco smirked. “If you can believe it, Potter told me himself. He came to me and asked me to testify against you and get the others on the Inquisitorial Squad to do the same. He had some insane idea that I would do ‘the honorable thing’.”
Umbridge looked surprised. “What did you tell him?”
“I told him I would,” replied Draco matter-of-factly.
“You what?” Umbridge exclaimed with shock and alarm, her eyes bulging.
Draco held up his hand. “Calm down. Calm down. That was only to put him off his guard and buy time. I told him he shouldn’t bring the charges or ask for inquiry until I could contact the Inquisitorial Squad and get back to him.”
Umbridge looked a little hopeful.
Draco squashed that by saying, “Look. He won’t wait long. I want to assure you he is determined to bring you down and nothing is going stop him pursuing his goal. He was as angry as I have ever seen him. I think the pure blood thing and your Muggle-Born Registration Commission is part of his motivation. He just ‘loves’ Mudbloods and Muggles,” Draco cooed sarcastically.
Umbridge looked desperate but determined. “What can I do?”
“You simply can't allow Potter to bring the charges against you, can you?” suggested Draco looking very helpful.
Umbridge was obviously deep in thought. “No… I… can't,” she answered slowly and emphatically.
She paused and then spoke hopefully. “You came to warn me. Will you help me?”
Draco leaned in close. “What do you have in mind?” Draco asked with real interest.
Umbridge leaned in even closer and said very determinedly, “Memory charms…”
She paused momentarily and then said very quickly, “Fatal ‘accidents’ would attract too much attention. We'll have to do them all -- Potter, his gang, and the rest of the Inquisitorial Squad. You arrange to meet with Potter’s side. Tell them you want to discuss the testimony. Invite them to your home. It will be safer and easier there. Offer them drinks containing a sleeping potion. When they are out, perform the memory charm. Make it extra strong even if it might do some damage. We don’t want any ‘undesirable’ memories coming back later.”
She smiled now and seemed to relax. “I'll contact the rest of the Inquisitorial Squad and take care of them myself.”
Draco looked concerned and pulled back. “This is very risky. What's in it for me?”
“I'll get you a job in my office at the ministry,” Umbridge offered.
Draco snorted. “That's not much. I’m not particularly interested in The Ludicrous Patents Office.”
“You should talk,” she sneered. “There aren't many jobs anywhere for ex Death Eaters these days. Your family’s wealth is widely rumored to be gone. I assume your parents spent everything they had trying to keep your father from being sent to Azkaban for life. The bribes didn’t work this time, did they? Your mother’s lucky she only got two years herself. I’m quite surprised you still have your family home.”
Draco sat frozen. The right side of his mouth twitched slightly.
Umbridge took on a very superior tone and continued, “I was never a Death Eater. I never supported He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He set the pure blood movement back a century. You're lucky you aren't in Azkaban like the rest of them. If you had used good sense to identify Potter when you had him dead to rights at Malfoy Manor, we wouldn’t be here today. If Potter hadn't defended you at your trial for saving his life…” her words trailed off.
Her eyes opened very wide, a look of shock and realization on her face.
Draco smiled contemptuously. “So you finally put two and two together...”
He slapped his hands on the table, got up and quickly walked away. Umbridge remained as if frozen to her chair.
Simultaneously, there were swishing noises at adjoining tables as invisibility cloaks were thrown off. There were four menacing wizards with wands pointed at her -- Aurors.
At the same time, Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up from behind the bar and his voice boomed, “Dolores Jane Umbridge, you are under arrest for attempted murder and conspiracy.” To the Aurors he commanded, “Take her away.”
Umbridge could only whimper. The Aurors had already used various spells to silence her, bind her, and take her wand. Then they unceremoniously seized her and Disapparated.
Kingsley turned to Tom the bartender. “I’ll have that drink now, thanks.”
“Right away, Minister,” Tom said with a wink. “That was some operation.”
“Well, thank you for your cooperation, Tom,” said Kingsley.
Kingsley pulled from his ear the end of a long pink thread that trailed off around the bar. He held it out for Tom to look at.
“Damn useful thing,” intoned Kingsley. “It’s called an extendable ear. Arthur Weasley gave it to me. Apparently his twin boys invented them a few years ago. I think we’ll need to make them standard equipment for Ministry agents.”
Draco said in an even tone, “It went exactly as planned.”
Harry said, “Thanks,” in the same even tone.
Draco looked Harry directly in the eyes for several seconds, and then said, “Are we square now? Are we done?”
Harry stared back, and then said, “Yes.”
Harry held out his hand. Draco did not hesitate, but their handshake was very brief.
They both recognized it as a formality, but an important one. It was closure not just for this event, but also for everything that had ever happened.
They turned and went their separate ways.