Chapter 14 : Viva La Vida
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I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
-"Viva La Vida"- Coldplay
"So…you dare miss out on your trial yet here you are, impersonating a Ministry official." said Umbridge pompously. "My, my, my, little miss-question- all seems to have caught Harry Potter's knack of disregarding the rules."
"In a way, I'm glad this happened." Umbridge continued. "Now I have even more stuff on you to make sure you have a permanent place in Azkaban."
"About time you caught an actual criminal wouldn't you say Dolores?" said Hermione tauntingly.
She was terrified, but she was not about to give Umbridge the satisfaction to feel her fear. It was more important that Harry made out safely. If she had to sacrifice herself early in the game, so be it. She had accepted her fate years ago.
"You filthy little mudblood!" said Umbridge angrily before she rose up her hand threateningly.
"Do it and I'll hex you Dolores!" said Ron as the pointed his wand steadily at her.
"And you…you're not Cattermole are you?" Umbridge asked smiling menacingly. "That half whit would never have the spine to stand up to me."
"Don't get in trouble for my sake Mr. Cattermole." said Hermione shooting Ron an urgent look that went unnoticed by Umbridge. "I came here alone. I'll face my punishment."
"No, I am done with this!" Ron shouted.
"Well maybe I should send you to Azkaban with your wife Reginald." said Umbridge. "She can't have gotten far."
"No!" Hermione cried. "Trade her for me. They don't deserve this. I'm the big price you wanted, take me."
"Mr. Cattermole, I appreciate what you're trying to do." said Hermione genuinely. "But if I have to take the fall so that innocents will be spared, then I'll take it."
"Always miss noble." Umbridge mocked.
Throughout this whole ordeal Harry was having a hard time keeping composure but Hermione's , nonverbal magic had silenced him and had him rooted to the spot. It was the only time he wished she wasn't such a gifted witch. He hated that he couldn't stop her from sacrificing herself.
"So what will be Cattermole, this mudblood who means nothing to you, or your wife?" Umbridge asked.
Ron looked wretchedly at Hermione, wishing she wasn't urging him to do the unthinkable.
"She's just a child Dolores." He pleaded.
"I know," she said faking sad face. "Too bad I always hated children."
Hermione looked at Ron and the empty space in which she knew Harry stood. She knew this was hard on them but it was the only way she could see out.
"I'll be okay." She mouthed.
"Here Cattermole." said Umbridge handing Ron Hermione's wand. "Here's a stolen wand make sure it is locked up securely."
"If it's not, then I'm going to have to break the deal…understood?"
"Yes." said Ron gravely.
They all knew Umbridge had a feeling he wasn't really Cattermole. She just enjoyed seeing them writhe in anxiety. Her sadistic nature had not been trampled by her run in with the centaurs back in fifth year.
"Come along now Granger I want to have you locked up before lunch."
Umbridge bound Hermione's hands with a spell and led her away back to the lifts and back down to the courts. Harry and Ron had only one more second too look at Hermione's sorrowful face before she disappeared.
As soon as Hermione disappeared, Harry felt his charm break off.
"What do we do?" Ron asked urgently.
"We need to think…where can we go that's safe within the ministry?" Harry asked.
"My dad's office?" Ron suggested. "There's no fireplace in there."
"That'll have to do, do you know the way?" Harry inquired.
"Yeah sure." Ron nodded.
Ron walked briskly down a dizzying set of corridors and to the welcoming vision of Arthur Weasley's door. Ron urgently tapped on the door, shifting his weight impatiently as he waited for an answer.
"Reginald?" Mr. Weasley asked bemusedly as he finally opened the door.
"Can we…can I come inside?" Ron asked.
Without any words, Arthur stepped aside to let Ron in. Harry had just enough time to slide in before Arthur closed the door behind him.
"I heard about the trial with your wife Reginald." said Mr. Weasley gravely. "I'm sorry."
"Thanks but I'm not here to talk about that." said Ron urgently.
"What is it?" Mr. Weasley asked curiously.
"I need your help dad." Ron said pleadingly.
"Dad?" Mr. Weasley repeated flabbergasted.
Harry took his opportunity to slip off the invisibility cloak.
"Harry?" Mr. Weasley whispered in surprise. "What are you doing here? You shouldn't—"
"I know I shouldn't be here." Harry interrupted. "But this is beside the point, we need to escape but Umbridge has Hermione down in the court rooms. She's no longer under the polyjuice potion and she's in danger!"
"Polyjuice potion?" Mr. Weasley asked now looking back to his son. "You mean you're not really Reginald?"
"It's me dad." said Ron.
"Oh thank Merlin you're all right." said Mr. Weasley breathlessly as he hugged him.
"No offence Mr. Weasley but time really is of the essence." said Harry urgently.
"Right." said Mr. Weasley gathering himself. "Okay Harry you need to stay underneath the invisibility cloak at all times. Ron how much time do you have before the potion wears off?"
"I don't know but if Harry and Hermione's have worn off I reckon it's only a matter of time." Ron reasoned.
"All right, we have to act quickly." said Mr. Weasley nervously. "Just follow me, something will come to me."
Down in the courtrooms, Hermione was sitting in the same seat Mary Cattermole had been in only moments before. This time, if possible, it was much worse. There were no witnesses to whatever Umbridge was planning to do to her. Not that it would've helped any more than it had for the other muggle borns. Sheer terror was the driving force for wizards to remain silent about obvious mistreatment and political abuse. In a normal circumstance this wouldn't have happened. The reality was that they weren't in a normal circumstance. They were in the middle of a war and all rules had been thrown to the winds. Hermione was magically bound to her chair, wandless and defenseless. Yet despite her obvious peril, she was anxious not about her own safety but that of Harry and Ron's. She knew they would never leave her in her current situation. She just feared that whatever they were planning was successful, for she knew that whatever they had thought of was bound to be foolish.
"Miss Granger, you are brought here today for three main reasons." said Umbridge clearly. "You have failed to show up for blood status questioning, you have just been caught impersonating a ministry official and you are also a known accomplice to Undesirable number one."
"Out of all the three, I'm only really interested in the last major offence." She added. "If you choose to work with us, we may consider pardoning all your offences all together."
Hermione remained tight lipped. She refused to give Umbridge the satisfaction of having any knowledge about Harry.
"So it's your choice." Umbridge smiled maliciously. "Do you know anything about Potter's activities or whereabouts?"
"No." Hermione answered defiantly.
There was a creak at the door that caused both Umbridge and Hermione to look over its direction.
"Any news of the mudbloods Yaxley?" Umbridge asked.
"No Dolores, they managed to flee." Yaxley said disgruntled.
"Well no matter, we got a nice trade for them anyway." She said gleefully.
"Is that the Granger girl?" Yaxley asked in surprise. "How did you manage that Dolores?"
"Well, the whole legend about her being the brightest witch of her age has been greatly exaggerated." Umbridge taunted. "Isn't that right Granger?"
Hermione flinched angrily as Umbridge patted her head with her stubby hands.
"Yaxley gather my Dementors; let's see if they can get something out of her."
Yaxley bowed gleefully as her retreated, once again leaving Hermione alone with Umbridge.
"You know, I might not even waste my time with you." said Umbridge in her fake polite voice. "I think a trip straight to Azkaban will help sort you out."
"Go ahead, I'll never tell anything to you." Hermione spat.
"We'll just see about that." Umbridge said testily.
Mr. Weasley walked briskly, leading the way
"Dad can you please explain your plan?" Ron whispered hurriedly. "All in good time Ron—"
Mr. Weasley broke off staring off ahead in sadness. At the end of the hallway was Percy Weasley. His estranged son.
"Percy?" Mr. Weasley asked in awe. "What are you doing here? I heard you—"
"I had a sudden change of heart; therefore they let me keep my job." Percy said in his usual arrogant demeanor.
"That's all you care about isn't it you git?" Ron said angrily.
"That's a tad unprofessional wouldn't you say Mr. Cattermole?" Percy said.
"I'm not Cattermole you twit!" Ron spat. "But I wouldn't put it past you not remember the voice of one of your brothers."
"Ron?" Percy asked in confusion. "Last I heard you were stricken with spattergroit."
"I'm surprised you even know." Ron said. "You obviously don't care about the family anymore."
"Ronald, Percy.... this really isn't the time." Mr. Weasley said hurriedly. "Look Percy, things are not like they used to be. In these times we'd really like to have you back."
"Things are not that easy dad…"
Harry was growing increasingly impatient under his invisibility cloak. He had to struggle with the strong desire to yell at them all. However, he restrained himself because Percy loyalty still was unknown and the last thing he wanted was to be discovered before they could reach Hermione.
"Fine Percy, you're an adult and I can't force you to do what you don't want." Mr. Weasley said sadly. "I just hope that when you come to your senses it isn't too late."
"Let's go dad." said Ron bracingly.
Hermione continued to ignore Umbridge's prods. She just desperately hoped to distract her enough to give Harry and Ron time to get to her. She knew it was only a matter of time before Umbridge grew tired and used the Versitaserum on her. Umbridge was sadistic and preferred to make a point by using forceful means. Hermione watched as Umbridge paced back and forth, battling hard with trying not to yell with frustration. Yaxley was behind her, stony faced looking like he was wishing nothing more than to be anywhere than in the courtrooms.
"Well if you won't cooperate the right way, we'll see what Dementors get out of you." said Umbridge.
"Yaxley, bring them in." she commanded.
Yaxley gave Umbridge a glare before he turned around; it was obvious he was not taking a liking to the tone Umbridge had used with him. He opened the door and Hermione could instantaneously feel the cold feeling of dread that was so characteristic of Dementors. The courtroom was cold and she was shivering against her confines.
"Expecto Patronum!" chanted Umbridge.
Out of her wand a silvery wisp transformed into a cat that kept the Dementors at bay.
"Last chance mudblood." said Umbridge grabbing Hermione by the hair. "Tell me what you know about Potter or lose your soul."
"Never." muttered Hermione weakly.
Even with the patronus, the Dementors dread was overpowering and filling the room with despair. All the negative thoughts Hermione had pushed in the back of her mind were clouding her, making her believe stuff she knew wasn't true
"Well you leave me no choice." said Umbridge impatiently.
Without a word, the patronus slid back inside of Umbridge's wand, the invisible force blocking the Dementors from them was gone and they surrounded Hermione.
"Yaxley, make sure Granger here is kissed." Umbridge ordered. "I have grown weary of disobedience."
"No Umbridge." Yaxley responded in his scratchy voice. "I have higher orders."
"What?" Umbridge spat angrily. "You do what I say or I'll have your job."
"You see this?" Yaxley said pulling up the sleeve on his left arm. "I have a higher calling."
"Stupefy!" Yaxley yelled.
Yaxley hit Umbridge with such a force that she was knocked to the opposite wall with a loud thud. Hermione weakly looked at Yaxley in shock. He had made the Dementors retreat once again but he was now walking towards her, with a look that made her shudder.
"I reckon the Dark lord would rather have you intact for questioning." He whispered dangerously.
"Get away from her!" Ron yelled.
Hermione and Yaxley looked back towards the door. Ron had finally changed back into himself, accompanied by Mr. Weasley.
"You lot just keeping making my job better and better don't you?" said Yaxley laugh maniacally.
"Who said you'll be taking any one of us?" Ron asked.
"Drop your wand Yaxley." Mr. Weasley commanded.
Harry took his opportunity to slip by them and back to Hermione. She was bent forward looking down at her feet, tied up tightly. Who knew what horrible things they had done to her?
"Hermione it's me." He said before he cast a spell on the binds. "Are you okay?"
"You shouldn't have come…" Hermione whispered sadly.
"We would never leave you behind." Harry said honestly. "Here's your wand."
"Well, well Weasley…not much of a cowardly weasel after all are you?" Yaxley taunted.
"Impedimenta!" yelled Yaxley blocking Ron's spell. "You have to do better than that Weasley."
"Do you still have the detonators?" Harry asked as he helped Hermione to her feet.
"I think so." Hermione whispered.
Hermione reached into her bag which had thankfully been skillfully hidden. She had enough detonators left to cause enough distraction for them to get away, as well as a little bag of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.
"Okay when I say go, you set them off okay?" Harry instructed.
"I think the Dark Lord will please when I bring him Potter's friends and make him suffer." Yaxley said maliciously.
"The minute you start messing with my friends is cross the line." said Harry removing his cloak.
"Potter?" Yaxley said in shock.
"Now!" Harry yelled.
Hermione through the instant darkness powder with all her might near Yaxley's feet. The room was surrounded by pitch black darkness.
"Go! Run!" They heard Mr. Weasley yell.
Hermione felt Harry's familiar hand as he pulled her along, spells sounding off in their wake. She could only hope Mr. Weasley would escape unscathed. As she tried catching up with Harry, she dug into her bag once again; pulling out detonators desperately hoping there would be enough to get them to the fireplaces safely.
At long last they escaped the darkened room and found themselves safely inside a lift. As they reached the floor of the atrium, their ears were flooded with the loud wails of sirens once again.
"They know!" Hermione cried.
"We gotta make a run for it." said Ron frantically.
"Harry get back under the cloak." Hermione pleaded.
"No, I want them to know I was here. I want them to know I'm willing to fight." said Harry defiantly. "Just keep throwing the detonators."
Once the lift door's opened, the hysteria was too much for anyone to notice that the people they were looking for. They were just edging closer, unnoticed, to the fireplaces when Hermione set off another detonator. More screams of panic filled the air. They were so close to freedom, until they heard a horrible yell of frustration.
"Potter's escaping!" yelled Yaxley. "He's right here you fools!"
The three successfully dodged the spell. Harry grabbed Hermione's hand and she grabbed Ron's. Hermione turned around to see Yaxley advancing dangerously close to them. Looking back in front of her, she was relieved to see that Harry had effectively vanished. They had made it. Then she felt the horrible sensation of something heavy pulling her leg. It was Yaxley. She felt her grip start to slip from Harry's hands. She screamed in terror as he pulled her more rigorously. In the fleeting second that felt like an eternity, Hermione saw the familiar front door of Grimmauld Place and the weight on her leg lightened. Grasping her opportunity she regained a stronger hold on Harry and Ron's hands and Apparated to the first place that came to mind. With a loud pop followed by an unfamiliar yell of pain, she felt the welcoming touch of ground before everything went black.