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Fudge Won't Budge
As Ginny was sucked into the sudden vision, Harry caught his girlfriend around her waist and supported her limp body. Everyone waited patiently while she rested against the older boy, an anxious silence filling the room. They always knew how important Ginny's visions were depending on how they affected her. They ranged from simple feelings of uneasiness all the way to unconsciousness. The greater the effect, the more they affected the natural order of things, and the further in the future the events they depicted were. Judging by the way this vision had hit the young redhead, Harry surmised that it was several weeks, if not months in the future, and was rather serious.
After ten minutes or so, Ginny began to stir, a slim hand rising to rest against her forehead, a slight frown marring her brow. Her boyfriend pulled her tighter in to his chest, and placed one of his hands over hers, muttering a quick elven healing spell to take away her obvious headache. Once she had been given time to recover, Dumbledore asked her the obvious question.
What happened, Miss Weasley? What did you see?
Ginny sat in silence for a few minutes, gathering her thoughts and going over the vision piece by piece in her mind. Eventually, she cleared her throat and looked the headmaster in the eyes.
It was about you, Sir. At least, I think it was. It was rather vague. I saw Hogwarts; it appeared to be spring time, maybe March or April. The students were there, same as always, but when I think about it many of the Slytherins and some members of other Houses looked I don't know more smug than normal, I suppose.
In what way? Hermione asked.
I'm not sure. It was just the impression I got, as if something had happened that they were extremely pleased about. The teacher's table looked almost the same, except you were there, Heather, and Professor McGonagall was sitting in your seat, Headmaster, she said, her frown deepening. The others started to look at each other in concern, worried by the fact that Dumbledore appeared to be missing. After all, the only way Minerva would be sitting in the Headmaster's seat would be if she had become the new headmistress.
Ginny, did you see anything else? her brother asked her.
I yes. The scene shifted, showing Domus Corvus Corax, and an Order meeting. Again, you weren't there, Professor. Harry was sitting in your seat, talking to the Order. I think he was acting as leader.
Was there anything else? Heather asked.
Not that I remember. It was strange, though. I don't think it was showing the importance of the events I was seeing, but that which I wasn't seeing. The scenes looked pretty normal except for Professor Dumbledore's absence.
Everyone sat in silence as they digested this news. The Order members were assessing what this meant, and drawing conclusions and contemplating worst case scenarios. Heather was trying to quietly explain to Evelyn what was going on, as she didn't really understand many things about the wizarding world. Draco was finding the whole situation uncomfortable. The vision didn't really affect him, as he wasn't a Light supporter or an Order member, but thoughts of how his father could have been involved in the disappearance of the headmaster unnerved him. He eventually decided not to worry about it and moved over to Heather and Evie to hear what the elder was saying. Eventually, Dumbledore began to speak.
Well, I believe there are a few theories. If I am not present at an Order meeting, nor at the Head Table, then I have either been killed, captured, or hospitalised. While none of these options sound pleasant, I sincerely hope that we are looking at the latter. There is nothing we can do about it, as Virginia's visions are known to be accurate, however I will endeavour to prepare well in advance so that my absence will not cause too many problems.
The others nodded in agreement, and the headmaster said his goodbyes before apparating away. The rest of the visit passed without incident, Draco taking the time to catch up with Evelyn, and Heather getting to know her nephew, great nephew and their friends better. At the end of the day, the group headed back to Hogwarts, thinking about Heather's impending arrival.
After Boxing Day, the rest of the year sped past quickly. Before he knew it, Harry was standing at Hogsmeade station on the 14th January waiting for the Hogwarts Express to arrive. A grin spread across his face when he saw the red engine appear in the distance, and he was almost bouncing with excitement as the train pulled up to the platform. As soon as he spotted Heather's long, red hair, he ran over to her and pulled her into a hug, which she enthusiastically returned.
It's great to see you, he said as he waved his hand and levitated her luggage.
It's great to see you, too. I'm still a bit nervous about this whole thing though, she said, a worried look on her face.
Don't worry. I know for a fact that Dumbledore spoke to the Ministry. I was there when he left for his meeting with Fudge. Our illustrious Minister apparently threw a tantrum when he had to declare you innocent, Harry said, a cheeky grin on his face.
How did Dumbledore prove it? the redhead asked as the pair walked through the Hogwarts gates, I mean, I wasn't even brought in for questioning. I just received a scroll in the post declaring me pardoned by the Ministry.
I had to give evidence under veritaserum, Harry stated, I had to tell them how I rescued you, as well as that I lifted the Imperius on you. They weren't convinced, which was when Dumbledore started pulling strings. Between us we managed to convince them to pardon you.
Thank you, the new professor said, tears in her eyes as she pulled her nephew into a hug, I own you so much, Harry. Not just for this but for saving me twenty years ago as well.
Harry eagerly returned the embrace before gently pulling away as they continued their walk up to the school. On the way, they chatted about inconsequential things before Harry asked his aunt a valid question.
Aunt Heather, are you going to be able to cope with the Slytherin students?
What do you mean, Harry?
Well, surely you remember the rivalry from your own school days, and the prejudices many of the purebloods hold. The Slytherins especially might give you a hard time, not only for being a Muggleborn, but also for being a former Death Eater. A forced Death Eater who escaped. Those in the higher years especially who are from Voldemort supporting families may try to give you a hard time.
Heather thought this over for a few minutes before letting out a resigned sigh.
You're right. I'll talk to Dumbledore when I see him, and ask if I can have all of the Slytherin year groups paired with the Gryffindors. I know the two Houses will fight like cats and dogs, but most Gryffindors are Light supporters, or at least neutral, and should help to keep the Slytherins under control. After all, I'm the sister of Lily Potter, and the aunt of their Housemate and saviour.
At dinner that night, whispers immediately broke out amongst the students concerning the new teacher sitting at the head table. It soon got around the House tables that Dumbledore had found a replacement DADA teacher, now that Umbridge had left. As soon as the students came back after the holidays, the story had been all over the school about how she had run screaming from the Great Hall after serenading the headmaster and Minister for Magic. A great number of the youngsters had lamented the fact that they had missed the spectacle. Whispers were once more filling the Hall at the presence of the middle aged red haired woman, dressed in elegant lavender coloured robes. Once everyone was there, Dumbledore stood up to make an announcement.
Welcome back to Hogwarts, everyone. I hope you all had enjoyable Christmases. As you will be able to see, Professor Umbridge is no longer with us. As this left us without a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, I saw fit to appoint a former Obliviator and Order of the Phoenix member to take her place. Please give a warm welcome to Professor Heather Evans!
Most of the Hall sat in shocked silence, while the teachers, Order members, time travellers and Draco all applauded the shy woman. Heather nodded her head slightly to the students before concentrating on picking at the food that had appeared in front of her. After a few minutes, once the students had realised that this wasn't a joke, frantic whispers spread through the Great Hall. The Slytherins were sending Draco vicious glares and muttering to each other about the Dark Lord's dead concubine teaching them Defence Against the Dark Arts. The Hufflepuffs were asking each other how the woman could be alive, but generally accepted the new addition to the school and went back to discussing their holidays. The Ravenclaws began theorising on how she was alive, how she escaped, and where she had been for the last twenty years. The Gryffindor reaction was much the same as the Slytherins. They were questioning her presence, and bothering Harry with questions about her status as a Death Eater, and her being his aunt. Eventually, the Boy-Who-Lived grew weary of their constant curiosity and stood up, catching everyone's attention. With a thought, he cast a sonorus charm on himself and addressed the student body.
Alright, listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. Professor Evans, as you may have guessed, is my aunt. As such, she is under my protection. You will not insult her, hassle her in any way, or attack her. If you do, you will answer to me, and you know what happens to people who challenge me, he said, sending a pointed look to Draco Malfoy, everyone catching his drift, She is not, nor has she ever been, a loyal Death Eater. She has also never been dead, so don't come up with wild ideas about people performing necromancy. Basically, leave her alone.
His piece said, Harry strode out of the Great Hall, leaving fervent whispers behind him.
The following day saw Harry, Hermione, Glenadade, Ron and Ginny sitting in the front row of the DADA classroom. As they had had a free period the hour before, they had decided to turn up early to class and give Heather some reassurances. It was her first class, after all, and they wanted to make her feel in control. They knew some of the students were sure to give her a hard time, so they were glad to be there for her first lesson to give her some self confidence. When she finally walked through the door, ten minutes before class started, she was rather surprised to see them all sitting there.
What are you five doing here? Class doesn't start for another ten minutes.
We know, Ginny said, We had a free period and thought we could talk before the other students arrived.
Heather flopped down in the seat behind her desk and let her head fall into her hands. After a few deep breaths, she looked up at the students and gave them a watery smile.
They're going to hate me, I know they are.
Don't say that! Glen exclaimed, You may be a wonderful teacher! You need to give yourself a chance.
He's right, Hermione agreed, Just make sure you're fair to all of the Houses
Unlike Snape, Ron muttered.
and be sure to act pleasantly, but firmly. Students appreciate teachers being nice to them, but it shouldn't be to the point where discipline breaks down. If you respect your students, they will respect you, Hermione finished, wisely. Heather nodded, taking in what the bushy haired girl said.
Alright, firm but friendly, I can do that.
At that moment, the rest of the class started to file in. Fred and George quickly chose seats at the back of the room, surely planning to play a prank on the new teacher. Harry, though, took note of this and kept alert so that he could disable anything they tried before it took effect. Most of the entering Slytherins seated themselves near the back of the room as well, keeping a good distance between themselves and the professor. Once everyone was settled, Heather took another deep breath, glanced briefly at Harry, who was sending her an encouraging smile, and began her speech.
Welcome, class, to Defence Against the Dark Arts. As you will all know, I am Professor Evans, and from now until your graduation we will be studying the art of duelling. It is my understanding that your previous professor merely covered magical and defencive theory, is that correct?
Most of the Gryffindors nodded their heads, but the Slytherins simply started muttering amongst themselves. Heather gave them an annoyed look, but didn't say anything to them. Instead, she continued what she had been saying.
Yes, I see, well with me we will be putting all of that theory into practice. After all, in the event you run into an enemy, you need to know how to perform the spells, not simply identify them. Yes, Mr.
Bulstrode. Marcus Bulstrode, the boy drawled, lowering his hand, I just wondered what enemies we could possibly run into.
Harry glanced behind himself at the boy. He looked even more pug faced than his sister. He also had a cocky smirk on his face, as if waiting for Heather to make a fool of herself. The Boy-Who-Lived turned back to his aunt and nodded his head slightly, telling her to answer honestly.
Well, Mr. Bulstrode, I suppose that depends on whose side you are on in the upcoming war, she said, a look of defiance in her eyes.
And what war would that be? he asked, his fellow Slytherins tittering at the question.
The war with Voldemort, or course. I'm sure you've heard of him. Tall fellow. Red eyes. You can't miss him.
Most of the Gryffindors laughed at this, but the Slytherins looked murderous. Harry smirked to himself. Heather 1 - Slytherins 0.
The next few weeks passed like a dream. There were fewer attacks on Muggles, the wizarding world was left completely unscathed, and Voldemort still hadn't shown himself personally. Life at Hogwarts continued, and Heather settled in to her new life. At first she had had some small problems, such as howlers from members of the public, and various newspaper articles written about her in the Prophet, but nothing she, and Harry, couldn't handle.
The lack of Death Eater activity, though, lulled the wizarding world into a false sense of security. The Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly, and even occasionally the Quibbler were writing about Dumbledore being wrong about the Dark Lord's return. After all, no-one except Harry had actually seen his return, and the Ministry was still claiming that the threat simply came from a small group of organised former Death Eaters who `wouldn't elude capture for long'.
By the middle of March, the situation in the wizarding world was becoming more and more confused. While the absence of Umbridge left Dumbledore once more fully in control of Hogwarts, the headmaster was gaining bad press orchestrated by the Minister for Magic. The man simply refused to believe all of the evidence supporting Voldemort's return. Dumbledore and Harry were branded as cowards and lunatics who saw things that weren't there and simply cried `wolf' to gain attention and popularity. Unfortunately, much of the wizarding population believed it. They saw the pair as warmongers, looking for someone to blame for the outbreaks of violence. The reformed Order of the Phoenix, whose presence at the battles had been noticed, was condemned as a rebel group and ordered to disband or face prosecution. Fortunately, Domus Corvus Corax was impenetrable, meaning the meetings could continue without risk of discovery, and there was also no way to prove people were members due to the secrecy spell.
The climax of the situation came on 1st April. Ginny was talking quietly to her boyfriend at dinner when a sudden shiver ran down her back. Startled, she trailed off half way through a sentence, looking around the Great Hall for something amiss. At Harry's questioning look, she gestured for him to open a mental connection.
~What is it, Gin?~ he asked, concerned.
~I'm not too sure. Something's off. I have a feeling something really disastrous is about to happen~
~Not really. Be on your guard~
~I will do. Let me fill in the others~
The rest of the group had fallen quiet, and were watching the silent exchange with interest. Harry quickly relayed the information to them, as well as to the headmaster. When he looked up at the elderly wizard, he saw understanding twinged with sadness reflected there. Harry was concerned by this, as Dumbledore rarely let his worry show. His concern was justified, though, as moments later the doors to the Great Hall were flung open, silencing all of the students instantly. There, framed by the doorway, stood Cornelius Fudge, flanked on either side by no less than five aurors. With a noise of self importance, the portly man puffed out his chest and strode forwards, heading straight for the head table. He stopped right in front of Dumbledore, pulling a scroll from his pocket and handing it to the older man. With a smirk, he spoke the damning words.
I, Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hereby order Albus Dumbledore's immediate and compulsory admittance into St Mungo's ward for the mentally ill.