Chapter 17 : Scaring Him Straight
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Disclaimer: Once again, I do not own Harry Potter. I am not JK Rowling. If I was, I'd be wearing a paper bag and seeing a therapist.
Author's Note: This will continue on from the last chapter, and you will be seeing examples of Umbridge's class. You should have noticed that Harry doesn't respond to her baiting. That is because as a vampire, he's more strong-willed. He can feel her hatred of him when he brings his shields down, but not when they're up. Instead he relies on his other senses. And remember during his Fourth Year, when he got that vision? More of those will come, and it will change the plot. It is now drastically different from book 5.
Chapter 17 Scaring Him Straight
Harry Potter had just woken up and was putting his shoes on. It was once again Monday and he was a little late for breakfast. Though of course, Dumbledore will think I already had another student, he thought, a little angrily. He was good at reining in his emotions, no matter what Umbridge declared behind his back to the contrary. He tied the laces and stood up, but they immediately untied and Harry scowled. Dumbledore's up to his old tricks, he thought as he removed the hex. When he arrived in the Great Hall, he saw Colin and Dennis Creevey looking smug, and he noticed that only Dumbledore had the guts to sit next to Snape. When he approached, the Creevey brothers gave him a standing ovation, quickly followed by the rest of Gryffindor, most of Ravenclaw, half of Hufflepuff, and a majority of Slytherin. Harry patted the air in front of him and said in a carrying voice, “Thank you, thank you. I'm glad to serve the school by revealing this shocking information.” Snape sneered, looking more vampire-like than usual. Harry seemed to have eyes in the back of his head, as he shot over his shoulder, “Careful, my dear Professor. You don't want Van Helsing or Weisen to come back, do you?” The Gryffindor table roared with laughter.
“Fifty points from Gryffindor for your attitude problem, Potter,” Dumbledore called out.
“Belay that order,” Cornelius Fudge called out with a grin. “I've always wanted to say that,” he muttered. “I've just received a report from a trusted informant that you are employing a vampire to teach at this school and are putting him within easy range of countless students. Currently, the Board of Governors is so full of owls from angry parents that the Governors are being forced to meet elsewhere. We just can't open the door. Consider this fair warning, Dumbledore. Within a week you will be brought up on criminal charges.” Dumbledore looked shocked, then he glanced at Snape and they both sneered.
“Thank you for the warning,” Dumbledore replied easily, and then he and Snape flinched at the same time. Snape looked appraisingly at Dumbledore, a muscle twitching in his cheek. It was the closest he'd ever come to smiling when there was no one screaming in unbearable pain. Dumbledore made his excuses and left the school unseen by everyone except Harry. Harry knew that Voldemort wouldn't know about Dumbledore's presence unless Dumbledore chose to reveal himself, and in that case Dumbledore would become a loyal Death Eater.
“What're you looking at, Harry?” Hermione asked softly.
“Dumbledore. He just left for his meeting,” Harry replied.
“Do you ever think we were too harsh on him?” she asked after another moment.
“You know very well the Muggles do something like this to teens who join gangs and the like. They scare them straight. We're doing this to show Dumbledore what Voldemort's like, in the hopes that he'll learn I'm nothing like Voldemort,” Harry said. Hermione nodded and sat down to do her homework.
“We have Defense Against the Dark Arts tomorrow. Are you worried about Umbridge trying to provoke you?” she suddenly asked. Harry turned from the window to smile at her.
“No, I'm not worried. She can't do anything to me,” he replied.
The next day, Harry sauntered into Defense class in such a way that Umbridge would be sure to take notice. She glared at him and he waved jauntily back, and the entire class grinned. “Mr. Potter, you will not walk that way ever again,” Umbridge declared in her sickly sweet voice. Harry stopped and clicked his heels together smartly. He raised his right arm and said, “Jawohl, mein Führer!” Then he sat down to thunderous applause from the Gryffindors. The Slytherins were quiet but looked like they wanted to applaud. Umbridge turned beet-red and started spluttering in rage, obviously knowing Harry was mocking her.
“De-” she started to say, but then Harry was yanked up by the collar of his robes and dragged away as Dumbledore announced, “I will be punishing Potter for his transgression.” Umbridge looked slightly mollified as Harry pulled out of Dumbledore's surprisingly strong grip. “If you wish to speak with me, all you have to do is ask me. There is no need to attempt to strangle me.”
“You can't be strangled, so shut up!” Dumbledore snarled. He was apoplectic with rage, and he grabbed Harry by the upper arm and dragged him to his office. He snapped out the password and threw Harry into a seat in front of his desk. “I have every reason to expel you for what you did to me, but I don't want you becoming Voldemort's apprentice just yet.”
“You don't want me becoming Voldemort's apprentice, yet you're the one with His Mark,” Harry said with a sneer that covered up the pain he was feeling.
“You gave me the Mark!” Dumbledore shouted, startling the portraits. Harry just sat back lazily and crossed his legs. “I suspected that was what you'd get. I actually have the power to give someone a part of what they're most like. You're acting most like a Death Eater, so that's why you were branded with the Dark Mark. If I chose, I could use my power and give Snape fangs, because he is most like a vampire, but I won't.”
“How can you do that?” Dumbledore asked.
“I'm not ready to tell you that yet,” Harry said as he unfolded from the chair and almost glided from the room, leaving Dumbledore wiping the sweat from his brow. He didn't return to Defense class because it was almost over. When it ended, Hermione ran up to him, panting. “Harry! What happened? What did he do?” Harry shushed her with a finger placed over her lips.
“He did nothing but ask me about his Mark,” he replied.
“I've been wondering about that, too. I tried looking again in a book, but I couldn't find anything about vampires having that kind of power,” she whispered.
“It's connected to another of my powers,” Harry said, looking over her shoulder at Ron. Ron joined them and took Hermione's hand. Harry saw that and backed away, hiding his pain. Hermione looked curiously at Ron, who shrugged. “We'd better get to Charms,” Harry said.
The weeks passed slowly, and Harry was relieved to see that there was no change in Ron and Hermione's relationship. They were bickering just as much as they usually did, and on many occasions Hermione had called Ron insensitive or a wart, among many other names. He actually flinched sympathetically when Hermione called Ron a moronic dolt. One day while Hermione was working on homework, Harry stepped up behind her. As he was massaging her neck, he said, “I thought about that idea you had. It's a good idea, and I've decided to try it out. Gather a few students who want to learn from me, and we can meet in the Hog's Head Pub.” She turned to him, a brilliant smile on her face. “Oh Harry, thank you! I'm so glad you decided to do it!”
That Hogsmeade weekend Harry waited at the Hog's Head with Hermione and Ron as other kids started trickling in a few at a time. It was dark in the pub, and the tables were filthy, but at least they'd be able to hear each other, and Harry would be able to see if they were being watched. Finally, as everyone arrived, Harry started speaking. “Welcome everyone; I know you all know me.” Everyone grinned. “But we're not here about that. We're here because I'm offering to teach real Defense Against the Dark Arts, not the crap Umbridge is 'teaching'.” At that moment, another student joined them. He didn't lower his hood, but Harry knew him.
“Yes, Malfoy?” he asked, with one eyebrow raised.
“Umbridge is coming this way. You've got to get out of here,” the newcomer said quickly and quietly. Everyone stood up and prepared to leave in a hurry, but Harry raised his hand and employed a certain one of his powers to get their attention. “If we run out of here as though the place was on fire, we'd be caught for sure. I propose we stay here like any group of friends enjoying a few butterbeers.”
“She has a spy here that informed her,” Draco said.
“Yeah, and I know who he is,” Harry said confidently. Draco raised his eyebrow and inquired, “Who?” Harry gestured to the bartender and said, “Him. Aberforth Dumbledore is his name. He's very close with his brother, and has spied for him before.”
Everyone just started chatting, and Harry silently cast a Memory Charm on Aberforth so that he couldn't report that they had been warned. Draco left and told Umbridge that he'd found Harry and his friends in the Hog's Head. The little bell over the door tinkled as Umbridge walked in, followed by her posse. “What is going on here, Mr. Potter?” she asked in her sickly sweet voice.
“I'm just out with my friends,” Harry replied casually.
“You don't normally socialize with many of these students,” Umbridge pointed out, smirking.
Harry ruffled his hair the same way his father used to. “What can I say? I'm popular.” At that moment, Aberforth walked over, still carrying the filthy rag he'd been using to wipe everything down. “Madame Umbridge,” he said, “a few minutes ago someone he knew came in a spoke to them, and then left. I saw Potter get mad.” Umbridge nodded and said with an indulgent, “That was young Mr. Malfoy. He probably taunted Potter; he likes doing that.” Aberforth nodded with an equally indulgent smile, and then walked back to the bar.
Harry nudged Hermione and whispered, “Cover me. I'm going to try something.” Then, trusting Hermione to keep Umbridge's attention, he sat back and focused on Aberforth, then uncapped his Empathy. The readings he got seemed to have festered. They were old, but hadn't been released. He was jealous of his brother, because Albus was much more powerful than he could ever be. He was also certain he was working against his brother by doing some freelance spying on the side, with his contact being... Snape. At that moment, a hooded figure walked in, looked around, and then left at a signal from Aberforth. Harry got up and went to the bar.
“You're making a mistake,” he whispered. “Your brother is working with Umbridge, and I know you want to do something to hurt him. You're helping him, and Voldemort's cause.”
“You're lying,” Aberforth declared.
“I do not lie,” Harry snarled, letting his fangs dip down a tiny bit. “I may withhold information at times, but I do not lie outright.”
“Why should I trust you?” Aberforth said suspiciously as he wiped another glass with the filthy rag.
“Because I know your secrets,” Harry said, and waved his hand over the rag and cleaned it. “And I know where your brother went after he saw you yesterday.”
“Where did he go in such a hurry?” Aberforth asked, now interested.
“To see Voldemort,” Harry replied simply. “So did Snape.”
“Wait, both of them are with You-Know-Who?” Aberforth asked, confused.
“Dear old Albus bit off more than he could chew, but Snape's been with Voldemort since approximately 1976,” Harry confirmed.
“And you know this, how?” Aberforth asked, once again suspicious.
“Because I have eyes, and I have evidence against Snape,” Harry said.
“I know my brother doesn't trust half-breeds, like you seem to be, no matter how much he says otherwise. That means, you're okay in my book,” Aberforth declared, then shook Harry's hand. Harry grinned then went back to his table.
“You were saying?” he said pointedly to Umbridge, who glanced at Aberforth who was serenely wiping the glass with a now-clean rag, and then she paled. She gathered her loyal minions, and they all left. Harry sat back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head. “Now where were we?”
“You were offering to teach us real Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Cho Chang offered with a pretty smile. Harry nodded and thanked her.
“Yes, as I was saying, I'm offering to teach you all the real things, not the crap Umbridge's been 'teaching' us. If you all want to learn, then simply sign this sheet of parchment and I'll handle the rest,” Harry said.
“What exactly are you going to teach us, First Year jinxes?” Michael Corner asked scornfully. Ron scoffed, and then pointed at Harry's chest. “See that there, dimwit? That means he's in Fifth Year or above.” Cho nodded and jumped in. “Yes, I was already here when he was sorted. He's definitely in Fifth Year, though he could probably beat half the Seventh Years.” She thought she was praising Harry better than anyone could, but Hermione had something to say.
“Oh, yes, he could probably beat half of the Seventh Years in his sleep. But that's in his sleep; awake, he could beat Dumbledore without breaking a sweat,” Hermione announced proudly. Harry nudged her in the arm and whispered in her ear, “Yeah, because I don't sweat. I haven't broken a sweat in a while.” She giggled reflexively when his breath tickled her ear lobe. Ginny Weasley sneered at Hermione, while Ron looked suspiciously between the two.
The group of friends left after everyone signed the parchment. They walked back to Hogwarts, but on the way, Ron asked to speak to Hermione alone. She agreed, and they walked off together. Ginny moved in immediately, and tried to snuggle up against Harry's arm. “Ginny, no. I already told you, I don't feel that way.” He tried to gently push her away, but Fred and George ganged up on him. “Now, Harry, don't you go mistreating our little sister. Our mum already told us that you told her that like Ginny, but don't know how to proceed. Don't lie to her.”
“What are you talking about? I never told your mum anything like that. I don't like Ginny,” Harry said. He heard Ginny sniffle behind him, and guessed that she used that method to get what she wanted. It always worked for Dudley. Fred and George started advancing on him threateningly. Harry again denied liking Ginny, who pretended to cry. Everyone else saw the pretty little Fourth Year girl crying and surrounded Harry while Fred and George pounded on him. “I said your mum lied to you!” Harry shouted.
“Don't call our mum a liar, Potter!” Fred shouted as he punched Harry again, then George exclaimed in glee and Harry ducked, just barely dodging the older boy's foot. George was on his broomstick, trying to gain an advantage in speed and maneuverability. Harry held back his enhanced powers, and didn't try to fight. If a teacher came, he was damned if he was going to get punished for beating up the Twins. Finally, several teachers came. Umbridge appeared, followed by her posse, the Minister of Magic, and Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout. The crowd was broken up and the teachers saw Harry laying on the ground with the twins standing over him. George still had the broomstick he had summoned from the school. Harry wasn't moving, and Ginny was thanking her dear brothers for defending her.
“What the hell happened here?” Fudge demanded, hurrying forward to check Harry for a pulse. He found none. “He has no pulse,” he informed them quietly. McGonagall ran forward and started trying to revive Harry. While she was doing that, she surreptitiously cast a spell that make Fudge think Harry had a pulse.
“Wait, he's got one now. He's going to make it,” he announced, louder this time. McGonagall sighed inwardly and thought that was close. They took Harry back up to the castle, where Umbridge descended on Fred and George. She had been itching for a chance to discredit the Weasley family over something, and this was as good a chance as she was ever going to get. The Weasley twins, who were of-age, had beaten up, and nearly killed, the Heir of a pureblood fortune. She didn't care that technically Harry was half-blood; he was still the only son of a pureblood line. The twins were banned from Quidditch because they had used a broom to help them beat Harry up.
Then Molly and Arthur, who had been called, ran up to them. Molly comforted Ginny, her precious daughter, about Harry rejecting her again, and said, too loud, “Don't worry dear, mummy will fix it.” Umbridge looked at Molly askance and raised her eyebrow, but she didn't say anything. Instead she glanced at Arthur who was looking sternly at his sons.
“Boys, I thought we taught you never to do this sort of thing,” he said. The twins protested.
“But Dad, Harry was insulting Mum and Ginny! He called Mum a liar and lied to Ginny! He told her he didn't like her when he's already told Mum that he did!” they shouted, each one trying to outdo the other. Arthur looked at his wife, and then started thinking for himself. He remembered Harry smiling at Hermione in a special way, then thought of the many times Molly had spoiled their youngest child and only daughter.
“What you did was still very wrong, boys. Harry nearly died, and you both are of-age. Also, from what I've heard, he never fought back. He was unarmed and defenseless. If he had died, you would both have gone to Azkaban,” Arthur said firmly. The twins paled considerably. At that moment, Ron and Hermione walked in the door. They were both smiling, but Hermione's rather forced smile quickly faded when she saw everyone.
“Has there been another attack?” she asked fearfully. She turned at the sound of footsteps, and saw Fudge standing there. “I've just come from the Infirmary,” he announced. “He's going to be fine, though Madame Pomfrey said it was a close call. Dumbledore has been informed, and he will decide punishment for Mr.'s Weasley.”
“I have already banned both boys from playing Quidditch, Minister, because they were using a broom to help them attack Mr. Potter,” Umbridge declared. Fudge nodded, and said, “I'm sure the Board of Governors will confirm that punishment, even if Dumbledore doesn't. Now, why do I get the feeling the Board of Governors was going to do something else?”
“I don't have the slightest idea, Minister,” Umbridge said.
“Fred and George attacked Harry!” Hermione shrieked, when it had finally sunk in. Then Ginny said, “Mum, Hermione's been trying to take Harry from me, and she's been leading Ron on.” Ron shook his head and smiled triumphantly, “You're wrong there, little sis. Hermione just agreed to be my girlfriend.” Molly smiled indulgently at her youngest son, while Arthur got the feeling that this was very bad news.
* * * *
EDITOR’S NOTE: Harry’s weird “other power” is the author’s idea and not mine.
And just so you all know, ja is German for “yes” and in this case has the emphatic wohl after it, meaning [yes, sir] when used in a military context. Mein means “my” and Führer is, as you all probably know, the term that Hitler used for himself and means “leader”.
Thanks for reading and please review.
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