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Chapter 3 : Finding Foes
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“I don’t care if you banged the Giant Squid, just shut up so we can get back to sleep!”
A few weeks later, Remus and Tonks in a Muggle pub in downtown London sharing a quick meal during Tonks’ lunch break. Tonks had excused herself to the little witch’s room only moments before a third Wizarding presence entered the place.
Remus eyed, curiously, the toad-like woman in front of him. “Yes?” he asked slowly, removing his napkin from his mouth and placing it on the table.
“Remus Lupin?” the woman asked in a falsely high and much-too-sweet voice.
“Yes.” Remus answered, again with curiosity. She looked somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t place where he had seen her before. “And you are?”
“Dolores Umbridge, Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic.”
Remus’ eyes instantly narrowed with dislike. “Oh.” He had never actually seen her in person before.
“Do you mind if I sit down?” she asked, and obviously not caring for the answer, she sat down in Tonks’ seat.
“I have some questions for you, regarding a rather… important matter.”
Striving to control his voice, Remus told her, “I will not be answering any questions about Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, or Lord Voldemort.”
Umbridge looked rather taken aback, and shocked. “I suppose I should have expected one of your kind to be comfortable saying You-Know-Who’s name.” She had momentarily forgotten her all too innocent tone. Before Remus could respond to that, she continued.
“That is not what I’m here for-” Something caught her eye, and her sentence stopped short. “Whom are you here with?” she asked, again in that sickly sweet voice.
“I don’t see why that’s any concern of yours,” Remus answered, keeping his voice as civil and dignified as he could.
Umbridge looked around, as if to prove the safety of her surroundings. “Whoever it is couldn’t possibly know of your half-breed status, and it would fall under my duty to alert them to keep you from further endangering the public.”
Remus couldn’t help but find some amusement in that. “Is that supposed to be a threat?”
That was the moment Tonks chose to return from the bathroom.
Umbridge turned around. “Ah, Nymphadora.”
Tonks glared with hard eyes and opened her mouth to retort.
“Out to lunch with a werewolf, I see.”
Tonks’ glare turned even colder.
“Well, I think I know all that I need to,” Umbridge said, making a note on a clipboard she hadn’t been carrying a moment before. “I must return to Hogwarts now.” She had left before another word was uttered.
Standing up, Remus dug into his pocket, pulled out some Muggle money, and threw it down on the table. “Let’s go.”
Tonks nodded, her own minimal confrontation with Dolores Umbridge having been enough to make her blood start boiling.
At Hogwarts, Harry was getting ready for another Defense class with Ron. Hermione was spending almost every spare minute studying for O.W.L.s in the library. Harry and Ron were waiting until closer to the exam to study; they had exhausted their brains just listening to Hermione’s study tips.
“It’s the beginning of the year, O.W.L.s aren’t even until the end, why do we have to worry about them now?” Ron whined to Harry, making sure they were out of earshot of Hermione.
Harry tried to change the subject, not wanting to think about O.W.L.s at all. “So how are you two doing?” he asked, referring to his friends’ status as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Ron sighed. “Good.”
“Something wrong?” Harry asked, noting his friend’s tone.
“No, nothing’s wrong. It’s just…” He looked around the corridor to confirm that Hermione was still at the library. “Her idea of a date is to spend the evening in the library.”
“That’s not too bad,” Harry said, raising an eyebrow.
Ron shook his head. “Studying. Just studying.”
“...Are you kidding?”
“About what?” Hermione, it turned out, had finished earlier than she expected in the library and had just caught up with the boys outside the door of the DADA classroom.
“Nothing,” the two replied simultaneously.
Almost thankfully, the bell rang, and the trio took their seats in the back of the classroom.
Professor Umbridge walked into the room with a certain spring in her step that couldn’t be missed, and she sounded unusually cheerful.
“Good afternoon, class.”
“Good afternoon, Professor Umbridge,” came the monotone reply.
“We will be doing a special assignment today, class.”
The few remaining hopeful lifted their dull, staring eyes to actually look at the teacher.
“Today, we will begin a two thousand word essay, due next class, on how to recognize a werewolf in human form.”
Through the groan of the majority of the class, Harry’s head shot up, as did Ron’s and Hermione’s.
“All the information you will need can be found in your book,” Umbridge continued, as if she hadn’t heard the mass groan of protest.
“Um, Professor?” Hermione asked, her hand in the air.
“Yes, Miss Granger?”
“If you don’t mind me asking, according to you, we’re supposed to be studying magical theory; what does this assignment have to do with that?”
With a cheery laugh, Umbridge answered, “Oh, nothing too much dear, but there are some new laws about to be enacted, and we wouldn’t want any of you to be associating with anyone found guilty of breaking them, now would we?”
Harry opened his mouth, but Hermione kicked him under the table. He already had a few weeks worth of detention built up with Umbridge, and he didn’t need any more.
After lessons were over for the day, Harry, Ron, and Hermione made their way, under the Invisibility Cloak, to Hagrid’s empty cabin. Even though they were worried that Hagrid had yet to return from wherever he was, right now, his cabin was the perfect place to go to avoid being overheard.
“James Potter,” Harry said clearly into the mirror his father had given him. When no one answered, he tried again. “James Potter.”
The mirror’s glass showed only his own reflection.
“Harry, what’s wrong?”
Harry could see the worry beginning to show on his face. “No one’s picking it up… Sirius Black.”
When his godfather also failed to appear in the mirror, Harry found his nerves continuing to grow.
“You don’t think something… happened? Do you, Harry?”
“I don’t know. Padfoot.”
Had something happened?
Harry breathed a sigh of relief. “Finally.”
“Hey, kiddo; what’s up?” his godmother asked.
“No one was answering.?”
Her face asked her question. “What?”
“I tried Dad and Sirius, but, do they not have the other mirror or something?”
“Uh, I’m not sure if they have it on them or not, but your mum’s giving them a, um, lecture about not dying the house-elf purple; so they are out of the communication lines at the moment.”
“What?!” Hermione asked, shocked.
“Oh, don’t worry, we didn’t hurt him. At least… I don’t think we did…” She finished more to herself than Hermione.
“Jasmine,” Harry cut off Hermione, getting back to the reason he was trying to get in contact with Grimmauld Place in the first place. “What’s going on at the Ministry?”
“What do you mean?”
“Umbridge said something about not wanting us to associate with people who’ll break these new laws coming out, and assigned an essay on recognizing werewolves as humans.”
Confusion and thought dominated Jasmine’s features. “New laws?”
“Yeah, what’s going on?”
Realization dawned on her face. “Oh, shit. They must have repealed it,” she said to herself.
She looked back at Harry through the mirror, momentarily having forgotten he was there. “I managed to get some legislation passed not too long ago; did nothing but lengthen the law making process. They must have gotten rid of it; I haven’t heard about any new laws, and there’s no way they would be enacted fast enough to be without my knowing if that legislation was still in place.” After a moment’s thought, she said, “I have to get to the Ministry. I’ll talk to you guys later.”
Again, Harry was left looking at his own reflection.
Mirror tucked safely into her robes, Jasmine headed into the kitchen, or rather, the war zone, where Sirius and James were currently cowering, taking fire in the form of Lily’s wrath.
“Hey, guys, we’ve got a problem.”
“Oh thank Merlin!” Sirius whispered to James in relief.
“No really, I think the Ministry’s been repealing my legislation.”
“Doesn’t it deal with legislation?” James asked.
“Yeah, and they’re enacting new laws as we speak.”
“I’d guess werewolves, but the list is bound to expand before long. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was something to see how easily they can maneuver around my legislation.”
“Well what are gonna do? We can’t have them passing laws we don’t know about until they’ve already been enacted. Too many people are already toeing the line as it is.”
“Doesn’t look like we’ve got much of a choice there, mate.”
“I’m going to Hogwarts,” Jasmine decided.
“Maybe I can minimize Umbridge’s communication with the Ministry.”
“And how are you planning on doing that?”
“But… won’t Fudge be wondering why you’re watching the person he posted?” James asked her.
“So I’ll… confound the Minister first. Shouldn’t be too hard,” Jasmine muttered, giving a slight smile, and slipping out the door.
Lily looked at her husband and his best mate. “Do you think she’s insane, or just reckless?”
“I don’t know, Lils; but either way, I’d be willing to bet Dumbledore’s going to have her head for this.”
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