In DADA that day, Umbridge was talking about recognising Dark magic, covering the Ministry classifications. Considering my parents were both Aurors, I knew this stuff like the back of my hand (though my left one had a lot of interesting scars on it that weren’t there last week) and I took the liberty to doodle a Quidditch pitch onto my parchment.
“Miss Selwyn,” Umbridge called. “What are you doing?”
“Being off task, Professor,” I replied sincerely.
Her face darkened as she summoned the parchment to her, and I watched her expression with curiosity as she read the one heading I had scribbled down: Classifications of Dark Magic—Screw this shit.
“What is this?” she demanded.
“It’s a plan of a Quidditch pitch.”
“And what is this?” she continued, jabbing a finger at my heading.
“Ten points from Ravenclaw! I suppose you think you’re too good for the classwork?”
“No, I just find it boring and unneccessary.”
There were a number of appreciative chuckles by this point, which served only to make Umbridge’s face turn even redder as she struggled to keep her temper under control.
“Then I’m sure you could name an example of a Dark magical object and place it in its correct Ministry classification.”
Oh, this is too good to be true. “Let’s see. A Blood Quill, Professor, used as a torture device which makes the victim write on their own hand in their own blood. Barbaric, isn’t it? That’s classified as a Class C, as it is specifically designed to cause physical pain, although the long-term effects are limited to scarring and it does not incapacitate the victim. The use of Class C Dark objects carries a minimum punishment of two years in Azkaban. It would be interesting to note, as well, that the last person to be convicted of the use of Class C Dark magic was, in fact, a Ministry employee and member of the Wizengamot. Nothing further.”
I sat back satisfactorily in my chair, propping my hands behind my head and surveying Umbridge’s face; a flicker of nervousness had certainly crossed her eyes. I was getting a few curious glances from the others in the class, something Umbridge was noticing as well; her eyes narrowed with suspicion.
“Perhaps you and I need to have a little chat,” Umbridge said finally, a broad smile spreading across her face as she turned away from me to address the class once again.
“I don’t think you realise what you are doing,” Umbridge said quietly. It was after the bell had gone, and Umbridge had waited for all the other students to file out of the classroom before shutting me inside with her.
“I realise perfectly well what I’m doing,” I replied calmly.
“Well, you see, I don’t know that you do. I am the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, Miss Selwyn. I am the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge himself.”
“All the more to lose if you get convicted of torturing students and thrown into Azkaban then.”
“Who is going to listen to you?” Umbridge asked, her voice going up an octave as she smiled. “You, a fifteen year old schoolgirl, against me?”
“Oh, I dunno. Maybe anyone who sees this,” I said, waving my hand in front of her face. “Yes, I think most members of the Wizengamot would have a hard time believing I’d carve that into my own hand.”
“Ah, but you’re just a little attention-seeker, aren’t you?” Umbridge continued sweetly. “Just like Harry Potter. Lying to get attention.”
“A few drops of Veritaserum down your throat would sort that one out,” I replied swiftly.
“Are you threatening me, Miss Selwyn?”
“Perceptive of you.”
Umbridge laughed, a high-pitched, giggly laugh that chilled me to the bone. “You can’t threaten me. Nobody would dream of giving a Ministry employee Veritaserum in the courtroom. And don’t expect Dumbledore to come to your rescue either, I fear his time at Hogwarts will be coming to an end soon.”
“I wasn’t referring to Dumbledore,” I replied. “Because, you see, Professor, I’ve already contacted my parents. Aurors, the pair of them, remember? They are, as I’m sure you’re aware, quite accustomed to giving evidence for the prosecution of Dark wizards.”
“Dark wizards? And you think I am in the same category as Dark wizards?”
“Dark magic is Dark magic.”
“The Ministry will not convict me,” Umbridge replied. “Do you want to know why, Athena Selwyn? Because you are as emotionally unstable and unreliable as Harry Potter. I’m sure you’ve read the Prophet? Harry Potter is a liar, and you are one too. I have spoken to your teachers and classmates, as a matter of fact. They all agree that you are secretive, deceitful and exceedingly arrogant. You have a record of emotional instability—”
“Love to know where you got that.”
“According to your records, you cursed your previous Defence Against the Dark Arts professor in a fit of rage during a lesson. A fireball of uncontrolled magic. Does this sound familiar?”
“Said professor was performing Unforgivable Curses in the classroom,” I replied curtly.
“Your records also show an incident in a Muggle school you attended. You became so angry you caused an earthquake in the school, in which your Muggle teacher was seriously injured.”
“I was seven years old,” I said coolly. “No child of that age can control their magic.”
“And yet, at fifteen, you once again produced uncontrolled magic that caused serious injury—to a teacher.”
“A Death Eater,” I corrected. “A Death Eater impersonating Alastor Moody, who openly performed the Imperius Curse on students in his classes, as well as performing all three Unforgivable Curses on spiders.”
“A Death Eater?” she repeated. “Another lie! There are no Death Eaters left. Those who followed a certain Dark wizard many years ago are in Azkaban—”
“Oh, he escaped, did he? I’m sure the Ministry would have heard about that! The Auror Office is still looking for Sirius Black, he is the only Death Eater who has ever escaped Azkaban…”
Funny, coz three of those Aurors know exactly where he is and belong to the Order of the Phoenix which is based in his house.
“Must be in the records somewhere, Barty Crouch Jr, given the Dementor’s Kiss at the end of the last school year. Shortly after the Dark Lord returned after killing Cedric Diggory.”
“Lies!” Umbridge screeched. “Lies, all lies! You see, here is more proof of your dishonesty, Miss Selwyn. Do you want details of your past to be revealed to the entire wizarding world? Do you want the Daily Prophet running stories about how you are dishonest and unstable? Do you want your credibility—no, even worse, your parents’ credibility destroyed? I didn’t think so. You can accuse me of Dark magic, Miss Selwyn, but you will lose.” She smiled again. “Nobody likes an attention seeker, Athena Selwyn. Harry Potter is learning this, and you will learn it too.”
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