Chapter 1 : trouble on the double
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"If you'd please stop fidgeting, Miss Adams." The syrupy sound of Umbridge's voice dripped into my ear and I shuddered.
Detention with this bat was the worse. Already, the back of my hand was starting to scar and I hadn't even finished half of the number of lines she had ordered me to do.
It is not funny to question authority.
My lips twitched themselves into a frown as the quill scratched against the hard parchment, also carving the words into my skin.
"Do you think I could have a tissue?" I asked, softly.
"Please, do not speak to me in such an offending accent," Umbridge ordered. "Keep at those lines, Miss Adams. One must know and understand the respect needed to be paid to an authority figure."
Of course, she was speaking of my blatantly American accent. Three years at Hogwarts had done nothing to erase the accent that had been taught to me at the age of two.
"I'm sorry if my accent offends you, but seriously, I don’t know how else I'm supposed to talk." I said conversationally, trying not to cringe as the scar ripped open and bled again.
"Do you want another night of detention, Miss Adams?" The woman in pink asked sweetly, her rose colored lips turned up in a sadistic smile, "Or maybe two?"
"No," I said quietly, scratching away.
It is not funny to question authority.
That Potter kid had the right idea. Defy this witch at all costs. What was a little blood spilled in comparison to the tyranny she enforced?
An hour passed, maybe two and I had finished scrawling those lies onto the parchment. Umbridge swept over my desk, her pink-manicured nails swiping away the parchment before it was even dry.
"You're excused, Miss Adams. Hopefully, you have learned your lesson."
I stood up to leave and as I proceeded to exit the room, I thought I heard her mutter under her breath, "Those barbaric Americans. How they butcher the English language!"
With a roll of my eyes, I let the door slam behind me. I rubbed my hand, feeling where the cuts were raw.
"Enjoying detention, there, Lindsey?" I turned to see the Weasley twins staring at me from beneath one of Hogwarts' many arches.
"Always," I retorted. "Headed down towards the kitchens?"
They nodded, "Heading back to the Hufflepuff dormitories?"
We walked in partial silence. They had been my good friends ever since I had been introduced as the strange American transfer student (though, many thought of me as interesting, rather than strange – they'd often ask me to repeat certain words and then chuckled at my 'odd' accent) and it was very often that they dragged me into detention with them.
"She made you write with your blood, huh?" Fred asked, his hands swinging as he walked.
"That witch, she did. Didn't tell me until I had scratched out the first sentence." I gave a grin, "I was tempted to write – I think Umbridge is a big fat toad and have that etched on my skin instead."
He chortled while George looked on in silence.
"What's on your mind?" I inquired. It wasn't very often that they didn't laugh at one of my jokes – clearly, something was bothering the two of them.
"Nothing, really," This time, it was George who spoke. "We're both hungry and felt like disobeying Umbridge – so, we figured, by sneaking out and getting food…we'd be killing two birds with one stone."
"Smart," I laughed. "Takin' a stand! She won't know what hit her."
The twins' faces remained identically stony. I scratched my head and stopped walking, "What's the matter?" I asked again, "Really? Didn't you catch that bit of sarcasm?"
"It was funny, Lindsey, really," Fred assured me.
"We're just not in the right mood to laugh, is all…" George finished with a sigh.
"Why not?" I asked, bewildered, "You guys are always in the mood to laugh!"
They exchanged sorry looks with each other before speaking, "That damn Umbridge woman. We need to get rid of her – she's a pest and really, if she continues to be here, our sense of humor might as well die."
"NO!" I cried out melodramatically, flinging myself at their feet, "Your sense of humor can't die; it just can't!" I fake-cried, sobbing into the bottom of their robes.
Fred patted my head sympathetically, "I know, Lindsey, it's terrible – but, really, we're figuring out a plan."
I lifted up my head and grinned, "A plan? What sort of plan?"
"We've been thinking about it for ages, to be honest."
"Ah, that explains a lot." I nodded my head knowingly, "This explains why I haven't been getting in trouble; well, besides that stupid detention from the Pink Monster."
"Hey!" George said with a false-frown, "We don't get you in trouble, you get yourself into trouble!"
"Pah, Merlin's pants," I replied. "Such pish-posh, but really, what's the plan that you've been thinking of?"
The twins looked at each other again, identical grins appearing on their faces and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Ahhhh, so there’s your smile! I was beginning to think that you two have completely lost it."
They rolled their eyes, "Alright, Lindsey, some maturity here."
"I'm always mature, friends, you know this."
Fred laughed, "Alright, alright."
And that's the night I learned of the portable swamps. They had been under inventions for over four months, and apparently, they were ready to test them. Fred talked excitedly (oh, there's his enthusiasm…idiot) about blocking up the entire Charms corridor while I nodded my agreement.
"Brilliant, right?" George asked, wanting my agreement and approval.
"Brilliant," I replied, the British term rolling off my tongue like candy. "Though, you need to shake things up a bit."
"What do you have in mind, my mischievous friend?"
I shrugged innocently, "There's very few problems that American history doesn't solve."
"What on earth are you doing, Lindsey?" My quidditch teammate and friend, Alice Wortherby asked, "It's bloody midnight and you're poring through one of your textbooks?"
"Oi," I said, shushing her with a wave of my right hand. "Let me thumb through my American History book in peace, will you?"
"You're a right nut, you know?" She asked through a yawn as she put out her wand, "Isn't there a better time to be looking through your blasted history book? Like, you know, the morning?" She padded over and sat on my bed, "What is it that you're looking for, anyways?"
I grinned, "The Revolutionary War – you know, the war in which we beat you."
"Ah, you mean the war that caused America to become independent of England; the war that was aided and helped by the French?" She raised an eyebrow.
"The very war, my dear; it's only too bad that we turned around and backstabbed France during their Revolution."
"If you call being neutral, backstabbing, then yes…" Alice rolled her eyes. She had spent three years listening to my spontaneous rants on American history.
I grinned at her and ruffled her hair, "I've taught you well…young grasshopper."
Her rolling of the eyes stopped when she caught site of my right hand in the light, "Lindsey! What on earth happened to your hand?" She snatched up my hand and examined it carefully.
"Detention," I said with a shrug of my shoulders.
"What in the devil…" Alice looked repulsed, "Swear that you won't get into more trouble, Lindsey. She's going to end up killing a student…I just know it."
I patted my very Hufflepuff friend on the head and grinned, "Don't worry, dear. Hopefully, with this plan, I'll be able to end her tyrannical rule once and for all."
Alice groaned, "Why do I have the feeling that this isn't exactly the best idea?"
"Well, put that thought out of your pretty little head, because this is a right brilliant idea." I patted her on the head and with the tip of my pointer finger, found a single note, "Alright, it's not entirely accurate, but I suppose it'll work."
"Firstly," Alice had stated then, her blue eyes bright with exhaustion. "Please don't employ random British terms, it's rather odd and I swear that I will laugh at you. Secondly, what on earth are you talking about?"
"I suppose this will take another week to plan," I told her. "So, I guess you will need to wait until next week to see what devilish plan I've got bubbling in my cauldron."
"Argh," There was a groan from the bed next to mine and Beatrice Quigley sat up. "We love you, you know, Lindsey, but it'd be nice if you'd let us get some sleep!"
"Alright, alright," I closed my book and Alice climbed back into her own bed. "I'm going to sleep! No need for nagging anymore, Mum," I teased.
"No more, no more!" Alice mock-hissed from her bed, "You're absolutely killing me!"
I laughed softly and put out my wand. My eyes wouldn't close, the Weasley's plans continued to whiz in and out of my mind.
It was odd, to say the least, being the sole American at Hogwarts. At first, it was irritating – some of the accents were so thick that I couldn't understand what they were saying (have you tried speaking to Oliver Wood…) and sometimes, people would only know me as "That American".
And then I would yell at them, "Yes, I have a name – it's Lindsey." Of course, they'd scurry away and give me names like "That brash and loud American."
It'd been common place, really, but a year passed and that became two and it seemed that people had just gotten used to my presence. I was no longer just a random American girl (not to my house, anyway, those lovely Hufflepuffs), but I was an actual person with an actual name. It was lovely.
This, of course, brought me to the thought of Cedric Diggory. My heart stung a little and my eyes welled up with tears. If there was anyone who had made an attempt to be my friend on the first day, it was him. He had given me that champion smile, introduced himself and proceeded to show me around.
True, Alice, Beatrice, Fred and George…they were my friends, but Cedric was my first. He had been the one who had urged me to try out for quidditch (he couldn't believe that Americans preferred quodpot over quidditch). The last time I had seen him, he had hugged every member of Hufflepuff house goodbye and had descended into the maze – he was grinning that champion grin, looking suave and confident and when he emerged…
I hid my face in the pillow. I couldn't bear to think about it.
Hufflepuff house had lost one of its sons, that day, and I don't think we've ever recovered. With renewed energy, I vowed that I would defeat Umbridge in the name of Cedric Diggory – after all, I owed all my current friendships to him.
"Remember the day I first met you?" It was lunch (the day had gone by surprisingly fast, well, except Umbridge's class. I had slept through it and had earned myself another night of detention.) Beatrice was licking the end of her spoon thoughtfully, recalling memories of meeting me.
"Sure?" I said thickly. I was busy devouring a piece of chicken.
"You looked so ridiculous, really." She grinned, "Lugging this trunk full of American history books. I remember watching you lining them all alphabetically on the wall above your bed."
"I like having home close by," I told her. "You laughed at me and then tried to go through one of my books."
"And then you almost hexed me." She rolled her eyes, "You frightened me into becoming your friend!"
"You loved it!" I retorted, patting her arm, "Oh damn, I think I smell the scent of tyranny." We turned to see Umbridge strolling into the Great Hall.
Alice leaned forwards, "I'm pretty sure that's her perfume, Lindsey."
"Eau de Tyranny by Calvin Klein," I commented. "Or you know, the smelly Witch of the North…"
The Pink Monster turned her head and we locked eyes. It was almost as though she had heard my words. I gave her a wave and executed a sarcastic wave.
"You know, I adore the smell of witch in the morning." Beatrice said this sarcastically and set her spoon down on her plate, "She's made me lost my appetite."
"Well, I hate the smell of tyranny." I told them, "A really disgusting odor. I doubt Snape smells as bad."
Alice laughed, "You would know what Snape smells like."
I grinned and shrugged my shoulders, "What can I say? That man belongs in an L'Oreal commercial."
Beatrice and Alice laughed but when the Weasley twins heard it (on their way over from the Gryffindor table), they were confused, "A what?"
"An L'Oreal commercial?" I asked them, "It's a Muggle product…and uh, they're just very Muggle-terms."
"Oh," The Weasley twins, being pureblooded, just shrugged. "We want to talk to you about the plan." They whispered the last part because Umbridge had suspiciously cast her stare in our direction, "Are you free tonight?"
"Nope," Beatrice said. "This idiot got herself detention with Umbridge again."
I shrugged, "Maybe this time, I can get something proper engraved on my skin."
Alice looked scandalized, "Lindsey! This isn't something you should be joking about. It's absolutely uncalled for! You should tell Dumbledore!" She glanced back at the table and at the large, throne-like chair that was oddly empty.
"The plan," I muttered to Fred and George as I stood from the table. "Don't worry about it." I grinned sweetly, "It will unfold perfectly and in time with your own plans."
They looked at each other, looked at me and smiled.
I was in Charms. Nothing little Professor Flitwick said made it past my ears; I stared at the clock in anticipation, watching as the seconds slowly ticked by.
Alice elbowed me. She had been waiting all week for this. Her face was pink and her eyes bright. From across the room, another Hufflepuff seventh year gave me a wink.
Even though Fred and George's plan had been kept a secret, mine had spread around the Hufflepuff common room like a wildfire. The First Years were easy to persuade – they still 'oh my gosh'ed at my American accent and the rest of the house was just sick of Umbridge, her stupid Inquisitorial Squad taking points from Hufflepuff and were eager to take action.
Plus, thanks to Cedric, they all knew me by name and were willing to join my cause. Besides, I had some of the fifth years (the ones who, along with Alice, Beatrice and I, were caught by the Pink Monster and her Idiot Squad during a Dumbledore's Army meeting) who were angry from the unfair punishment of the night before.
I tapped my bandaged hand on the desk, anxious for the plan to be kicked into gear. It was only ironic that the day Fred and George had planned was the day after Umbridge had stormed our DA headquarters and punished us.
Tick, tock; tick, tock; tick, tock. The clock taunted me, its hands slowly moving across its face and then…I heard it.
At first, it seemed like a small pop, followed by a louder one. Flitwick nearly fell off the stool he was standing on; then, a putrid smell floated into our classroom.
"Oh, man," I groaned, clutching my nose. "I knew it was going to smell bad, but not this bad!" I fanned the air around me with my other hand.
Flitwick ran to the door and threw it open. A stray firecracker flew into the classroom, whirling, exploding and spinning while making obnoxiously loud noises.
I grinned, "I can't wait for the witch to attempt to vanish them."
"Oh dear," Beatrice said, looking peaky (her hand had bled badly and as of the moment, it bled through her bandages). "Those Weasleys are in for it."
We followed Flitwick out, our heads sticking out the door as a Hufflepuff first year darted down the hall, screaming at the top of his lungs, "UMBRIDGE IS COMING! UMBRIDGE IS COMING!"
Like Paul Revere running down the streets, warning the townspeople of the British, the first year warned of an even scarier prospect: the Pink Monster.
The boy dashed by, his brown messenger bag flying behind like a cape and gave me a thumbs up with both of his small hands. I grinned, saluted him and laughed.
"You really did teach them, didn't you?" Beatrice questioned, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Oh, I taught them more than that. I told them that the cause was worth a detention. Every time she comes down a hall, one of them will alert the other classes of her presence."
"Charming, really," Alice told me with a frown. "But, what if she carves things into their hands too? Will it be worth it?"
I smiled at her, "I told them not to get caught and to duck out into random classrooms. I doubt any of the proper teachers would admonish them."
We ran out of the classroom, then, following Flitwick as his small feet took him down the corridor. He could go no further, though, when he encountered a giant swamp. The fumes were so putrid that he cast a quick Bubble-Head Charm over his head.
"How are we going to get through the swamp?" Alice squeaked, one hand holding into her nose.
"Easily," I told her. I transfigured a nearby tree (growing out of the swamp – Fred and George really went out of their way to make this realistic…) into a large wooden boat and told them to get in.
"Are you sure this is safe?" Alice slowly made her way into the shaky boat, "I really don't want to fall into this…this…swamp, it smells disgusting!"
"It's safe," I grinned and winked, climbing in after her and standing up at the front. "Come on, Beatrice! We need to make our way through or else we'll miss the finale!"
More fireworks crackled and whizzed. They screamed and whistled, buzzing through the air and flying by our heads in elaborate patterns and colors. Some teachers tried to vanish them, but it caused them to multiply and whizz off around them.
Umbridge's hair was sticking up on end and her face was contorted into one of rage, confusion and annoyance.
"Onwards!" I told them, my wand lit and pointing forwards from the boat as Beatrice slowly moved it along with the long paddle.
I was aware that we looked like the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware and grinned. It was nice, you know, to compare yourself to George Washington – he, wanted to be free from British rule and me…I just wanted to free myself from the injustice of Dolores Umbridge.
We crossed slowly because the swamp was thick and bubbled. Finally, though, we made our way to the end of it and came face to face with Umbridge.
"Away, with you!" I shouted, pointing my wand at one of the firecrackers that managed to fly by. It exploded into an array of colors but then seemingly mated with another firecracker nearby. This resulted in an even larger explosion, one that screamed like a dying woman and chased Umbridge down the hall, "Freedom!" I shouted at the top of my lungs, "Freedom from the tyrant!" And as she departed down the hall, screaming in annoyance, I couldn't help but smile.
We managed to rush down the hall in time to see Fred and George summoning their brooms. They yelled a few choice words to the school and to the Pink Monster. Fred urged on Peeves, the poltergeist and without further adieu, flew out of the window and far, far away from Umbridge or Hogwarts.
After that, the chaos at Hogwarts doubled. I added my own trouble – at breakfast, as Umbridge walked through the tables in the Great Hall, all of Hufflepuff, most of Gryffindor and most of Ravenclaw – we all stood up on our tables and dumped our tea cups on the floor. There was a food fight (initiated by the awesome Peeves, of course) that resulted in a pie being smashed in Umbridge's face.
During a lesson of Divination, all the packets of tea were thrown down into the Charms corridor until you couldn't see the ground (or what was left of it, anyway, since the swamp took up a majority of the space).
I commented dryly to Alice that it was sort of a reinvented version of the Boston tea party.
Of course, Umbridge found out that it was I who had started some of the trouble and when she tracked me down and forced me to write more lines, I was only too happy to.
After all, one must pick their battles, yes? I'd rather have won the war against her than a single battle.
That evening, as I plowed through the lines of: I am not allowed to reenact famous events of the Revolutionary War in the Charms corridor, I smiled to myself.
Yes, it would scar my slightly-healed hands but hey, it's an interesting story to tell my kids someday, right?
I looked up from the parchment and cringed as I flexed my right hand. But, despite the pain shooting through my body, the annoyed and harassed look on Umbridge's face was more than enough reward for me.
I really hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It was a pretty spontaneous piece, so please forgive grammar mistakes. I'd like to point out that Paul Revere did not actually yell out, "The British are coming!" because he was supposed to be secretive about it and such.
It'd be awesome if you could leave a review! You guys are amazing.