Chapter 15- With Us or Not?
It had been two weeks since Harry’s miraculous defeat of Sky in their duel, to which he was still shocked at what he had done. The weekend after he had sparred against Syd and that had not gone so well. While he was able to beat Sky, she beat Harry in less time than it took for him to blink. The next thing he knew was that he was laying flat on the ground, the tip of her sword pressed against his neck.
Over the two weeks training continued. Harry now sparred against Syd, losing every time in a matter of moments after beginning. Ginny had improved to where she was now sparring against Sky in place of Harry while on the other side of the field, Jenny, Ron and Hermione continued to improve their skill with the bow and arrow. Now however, Harry, Jenny, Ron, Hermione and Draco were currently in the Room of Requirement working on a lengthy essay that Professor McGonagall had assigned that morning in class. For while training continued, so did classes as the NEWT’s approached.
Every night after classes and before training, they would often traverse to the Room of Requirement where they could study in peace. This evening however, they were interrupted by Ginny running into the room, looking as though she had run all the way there from the first floor. The five occupants of the room stood up and walked over to her, waiting for her to speak.
“What’s up Gin?” Harry asked, moving to stand beside her and place a hand on her shoulder.
“Minister, Umbridge and Percy and here,” she replied, her breathing leveling out. Harry looked at his girlfriend, his eyebrows narrowing at the mention of the toad like women with a love of pink. “They were heading towards Dumbledore’s office with the Rangers. I think they’re trying to get rid of them.”
“What?!” five voices exclaimed before they rushed out of the door and ran towards the nearest staircase. Down the stairs they ran, not stopping even when they reached the second floor. A few moments later they came to a panting stop in front of the gargoyle guarding the headmaster’s office.
“Anybody know the password?” Harry asked, looking among them all before turning back to the gargoyle. “Start naming candies.”
At the last one the gargoyle leapt aside and revealed the spiral staircase. Everyone turned and looked at Jenny who had shouted it. She looked around and shrugged. “Popular brand of candy back home.”
“Come on, let’s go,” Ginny said hurriedly and the six teens turned and ran up the spiral staircase. When they reached the top, the door was still open a creak and they were able to hear what was being said inside the room. Harry knelt down and looked in through the crack. All he could see was Dumbledore standing behind his desk, looking as calm as ever.
“I knew the standards here had fallen two years ago but this, “ came the voice of Dolores Umbridge. Harry’s eyes narrowed at the sound of the woman’s voice.
“Muggles in Hogwarts? It’s ludicrous! And I hear they are teaching students how to use swords now?”
“That’s because we were asked too,” Sky retorted. “Especially after what happened on Valentine’s day.”
“And what do you know of that attack?” Fudge asked.
“I know I was there. Where were you when they all broke out of Azkaban that morning?” Sky asked bitterly.
“How dare you talk to the Minister that way, you little Muggle!” exclaimed Umbridge. “Do you see now, Minister, why they must go?”
Harry stood up and pushed the door wide open. On the right side of the office stood the Rangers, who smiled at the sight of their friends. On the left side of the room stood Fudge and Umbridge with Percy behind them, all three looking shocked at their sudden entrance. Dumbledore stood calmly behind his desk with a slight smile on his face, looking not at all surprised to see them standing there, glaring at the group from the Ministry.
“They’re not going anywhere,” Jenny stated, moving from her position beside Harry to stand next to the Rangers, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Ah, Minister. May I present to you Miss Jennifer Corral-Potter,” Dumbledore introduced from his place behind his desk, blue eyes twinkling at the teens in the room.
“So this is the famous Jennifer. Looks just like her brother,” commented Umbridge as she stepped forward and looked Jenny up and down, a sickly sweet smile forming on her face.
“And you’re the former Defense professor, who was dragged off by centaurs,” Jenny replied bitterly, glaring at the woman as if to tell her she knew exactly what she had done to her brother in the detentions two years prior. Umbridge took another step forward towards Jenny angrily, only to be knocked backwards and to the floor when she was two feet away from the teen by a shimmering blue shield.
Jenny glanced towards Sky and smiled at him in thanks before turning to look down at the fallen Umbridge. Sky smirked as Umbridge glared at him while Fudge helped her up.”How dare you, you filthy Muggle!”
“No one messes with any of my teammates,” Sky replied coolly, removing his badge from his belt and flipping it open in front of them to show his identification as Red Ranger. Fudge looked at it for a few moments before looking confused, turning to look at Dumbledore.
“You are wondering what Rangers are, Minister and Madam Secretary?” Dumbledore asked as Fudge, Umbridge and Percy looked towards him for an explanation.”Rangers are the Muggle equivalent to our top Aurors. They may not be wizards but they have powers of their own.”
“Have powers but are not wizards? Preposterous!” Fudge exclaimed, glancing over the Rangers who rolled their eyes at the man’s stupidity. Z put a hand on her hip as her eyes briefly glowed red.
Umbridge let out a scream as a second Z appeared besides her, raising an eyebrow at the woman before turning to face a shocked Fudge.”You were saying?”
“They can stay,” Fudge replied quietly as the second Z disappeared and the real Z smirked at the Minister, folding her arms over her chest.
“Now that that matter is taken care of, I know have one thing to ask you Cornelius,” Dumbledore began, moving from his position behind his desk to stand in front of Fudge, the twinkle now gone from his eyes.”When the final battle comes, whose side will you be on? The side against Voldemort or the side against us?”
Fudge had visibly flinched at heading the name, but said nothing. He looked to Umbridge, who was glaring at Dumbledore, then at Harry, Jenny, and the Rangers before finally looking back to Dumbledore and nodding.”The Ministry will fight beside you against You-Know-Who.”
“Thank you Cornelius,” replied Dumbledore as Fudge moved to leave the room, followed by Umbridge. The two stopped in the doorway when they realized Percy had not moved and was biting his lip while looking directly at Ron and Ginny.
“Mr. Weasley?” asked Fudge from the doorway. Percy looked towards him and nodded before walking over to the door. As he placed his hand on the handle to pull it closed behind him, he looked back at his brother and sister.
He looked down the staircase at the retreating backs of Fudge and Umbridge. He sighed deeply before walking back into the room and standing before Ron and Ginny. “I’m sorry.”
Ron glared at his older brother while Ginny moved forward and hugged him around the waist, which he returned with a sad smile. She let go and moved to stand beside Ron, who was still glaring. “We’re not the ones you need to apologize too.”
“Mr. Weasley are you coming or not?” Umbridge asked impatiently from the doorway, she and Fudge having come back up when they noticed he was not behind them.
Percy nodded to his brother sadly before moving over to the doorway, looking directly at Fudge. “I quit. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go home.”
Without another word, Percy moved past them and made his way down the spiral staircase. Fudge and Umbridge glanced at each other before also making their way out the door and down the stairs. No one in the office said anything for a few moments.
“I want some toast.”
Everyone in the room looked over at Bridge with a raised eyebrow while Dumbledore smiled and chuckled at the quirky Blue Ranger. He looked around at everyone in confusion. “What? I’m hungry!”