Content Harry Potter Trixie Belden Star Trek: TNG My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
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Disclaimer: The pen might be mightier than the sword, but no one ever got a sucking chest wound from a ballpoint pen. All this stuff belongs to JK Rowling, by the way.

The trip to Hogwarts to begin Harry's fifth year was far better than it had been last time. He was a prefect, as he should have been the first time, for one thing. The Weasleys arrived — as usual — at the last second and barely made the Express. Everyone had gotten themselves seated, Susan ensconced securely on Ron's lap, while Daphne and Hermione both smiled over the reactions to their new rings that Harry had bought them.

"You bought promise rings for them already?" Susan asked, bouncing in excitement on Ron's lap. The others tried very hard not to laugh at the look on Ron's face at this action — a mixture of enjoyment and a little pain.

"Yes, I did," Harry said. "Susan? You might not want to do that on Ron's lap — I think you're hurting him a little."

Ron was blushing. "I can live with the pain," he said, groaning theatrically.

Hermione's eyes sparkled. "I think he wants you to kiss if and make it better, Susan," she said with an impudent grin.

"When we get to school, Ron," she said. "Not here in public." Her smiled was wicked, and Ron turned a colour rarely found in nature, but that went quite well with his hair.

The trip went well, up to the point that Draco Malfoy put in his yearly appearance. "Well if it isn't -"

"-Potty, the mudblood and the blood traitor," Harry interrupted in a mocking tone. "You keep bragging about your family's fortune, Malfoy. Why don't you spend some of it and get yourself a better writer for your material? Obviously writing it yourself isn't helping any. Since you repeat it every year." He leaned to Daphne and added, "The only thing missing when he does it is the 'Rawrk!' at the end to make his parroting complete."

"How dare you -" Malfoy began, but was once again interrupted by Harry.

"I dare a lot, you bleach blonde little ponce. I said it once to your godfather, and I say it now to you. Non ini me. Non vinces. You figure it out from there."

"Are you threatening me, Potter?" Malfoy asked incredulously.

Harry made a fist and rapped Malfoy's kull three times in succession, as if knocking. "Sounds hollow in there. Explains a lot. You head on out of here and I'll explain it to the smarter ones of the group. Vincent and Gregory should be able to understand what I'm saying."

Malfoy pulled himself together. "Nice try, Potter. I'd watch myself this year, if I were you. Things might not work as well for you as you think." He smirked and left the room.

"Ah, so they hired Umbridge," Harry said once the door was closed. "Well, if she does this time what she did my first go through, then she's going to be in a world of hurt."

"Oh?" Susan asked.

"First time through, she used a Blood Quill for detentions. What I plan on doing this time is setting up a Recording Quill on a notepad of mine, which will be tied to this journal book. Everything written on the pad will copy here. She'll destroy the pad and quill if she sees them, but I hope to have things set up so that enough will copy to cause problems. If not, I can still testify before the Wizengamot about her use of a Blood Quill."

"Just be careful, Harry," Susan said. "She has a reputation around the Ministry as someone you don't cross unless you want to be looking for a new job tomorrow."

"She'll be looking for one when I'm done, if she's like she was first time through. If I have to, I'll declare Blood Feud between the Potters and the Umbridges. She won't like the sanctions that come from that."

"Blood feud?" Susan asked, face white. "Declaring war on her family?"

"I'd end up arguing that I was merely formalising what she had started with the use of a Blood Quill. I will not start it, but I will finish it." He looked quite serious for a moment before shrugging and changing his entire demeanour. "Won't know until we get to school, so I won't worry until then." He turned to Daphne and kissed her deeply, then repeated the performance with Hermione. "Think that's a good idea?"

"If it gets me more kisses like that — I'll agree with anything," Daphne breathed. Harry just wiggled his eyebrows.

They made it to the school without a problem, and headed into the Great Hall to await the Sorting and the Welcoming Feast. As soon as his eyes brushed across the Head Table and saw the toad-like woman sitting there, an evil glint entered his eyes and he whispered to Hermione. "Think we should start a pool on how quickly I can drive her out of the school?"

"Give her a chance, Harry," she whispered back.

"If she gives some speech that you take as declaring war on Hogwarts or education, then we'll know, won't we?"

The sorting finished, people Sorted where Harry seemed to remember them being last time through, and then the Feast began. He was pleased that this time there was no argument between Harry and Hermione, started last time by Ron's insensitivity to Sir Nicholas de Mimsey-Porpington, also known by the less pleasant sobriquet of Nearly-Headless Nick. (Less pleasant to Sir Nicholas, at least.) Ron being forced to decide about Hermione last November had apparently been the start of a process that he had never really started until seventh year the first time through for Harry.

Dumbledore stood and began his yearly speech. "Well, now that we are all digesting another magnificent feast, I beg a few moments of your attention for the usual start-of-term notices," he said. "First-years ought to know that the Forest in the grounds is out-of-bounds to students - and a few of our older students ought to know by now, too." Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged smirks.

"Mr Filch, the caretaker, has asked me, for what he tells me is the four-hundred-and-sixty-second time, to remind you all that magic is not permitted in corridors between classes, nor are a number of other things, all of which can be checked on the extensive list now fastened to Mr Filch's office door."

"We are delighted to introduce two new professors to Hogwarts. First is Professor Zbignew Brzheznov, a Potions Master, who will, of course, take over as Potions professor. The second is Professor Umbridge, our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher," Dumbledore continued. "Tryouts for the house Quidditch teams will take place on the -"

He broke off, looking enquiringly at Professor Umbridge. As she was not much taller standing than sitting, there was a moment when nobody understood why Dumbledore had stopped talking, but then Professor Umbridge cleared her throat, "Hem, hem," and it became clear that she had got to her feet and was intending to make a speech.

Harry snorted to himself and said quietly, "Here we go again!"

Dumbledore only looked taken aback for a moment, then he sat down smartly and looked alertly at Professor Umbridge as though he desired nothing better than to listen to her talk. Other members of staff were not as adept at hiding their surprise. Professor Sprout's eyebrows had disappeared into her flyaway hair and Professor McGonagall's mouth was as thin as Harry had ever seen it. No new teacher had ever interrupted Dumbledore before. Many of the students were smirking; this woman obviously did not know how things were done at Hogwarts.

"Thank you, Headmaster," Professor Umbridge simpered, "for those kind words of welcome."

Her voice was high-pitched, breathy and little-girlish and Harry felt a powerful rush of dislike that was all too familiar in regards to this ... woman. "Well, it is lovely to be back at Hogwarts, I must say!" She smiled, revealing very pointed teeth. "And to see such happy little faces looking up at me! I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all and I'm sure we'll be very good friends!"

Professor Umbridge cleared her throat again with that annoying "Hem, hem" of hers, but when she continued, some of the breathiness had vanished from her voice. She sounded much more businesslike and now her words had a dull rote sound to them.

"The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance. The rare gifts with which you were born may come to nothing if not nurtured and honed by careful instruction. The ancient skills unique to the wizarding community must be passed down the generations lest we lose them tor ever. The treasure trove of magical knowledge amassed by our ancestors must be guarded, replenished and polished by those who have been called to the noble profession of teaching."

Professor Umbridge paused here and made a little bow to her fellow staff members, none of whom bowed back to her. Professor McGonagall's dark eyebrows had contracted so that she looked positively hawklike, and Harry distinctly saw her exchange a significant glance with Professor Sprout as Umbridge gave another little "hem, hem"and went on with her speech. I'd best have a talk with Professor McGonagall as soon as I can, he thought.

"Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school, and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering. A balance, then, between old and new, between permanence and change, between tradition and innovation…"

He leaned over to Hermione. "Operation Destroy Toad Woman will commence as soon as possible," he said. "This is the same damned speech from last time. Dumbledore and I embarrassed Fudge in May, and his revenge is to get Umbridge to take over slowly. Well, it isn't going to happen this time around, I tell you. She'll die first."

Hermione cocked an eyebrow. "Isn't that phrase 'I'll die first'?"

"Well, I don't expect anyone to die, but if I have to choose between the toad woman; a beautiful, sexy and vivacious fellow student; or me — well, I choose the toad woman." Hermione giggled slightly at that, blushing.

"Hmm, looks like the feast has ended while we gabbed. Shall we gather together the first years and inflict them upon the rest of our classmates?"

Hermione stood, "I suppose so. Gryffindor first years!" She raised her hand and snapped her fingers as she repeated herself, and Harry took a moment to enjoy the fact that her robes were just a tad tighter fitting on her this year — especially across the chest. She looked down and whispered, "Stop staring at my breasts and help me!"

He laughed and stood next to her. "Can I help it if I enjoyed the view a little too much?"

"All right!" he said. "Is this all the first year students for Gryffindor?" They nodded as a group, looking a little fearful. "Have no worries, we'll get you safely to the Gryffindor Tower, and we can talk there, if you have questions. Sound good to you guys?"

The first year students lined up behind Harry and Hermione, and they led them to the tower, with Harry acting a little bit like a tour guide along the way. "You'll learn this as time goes goes by," he said, "but I remember that when I was in your place, I was trying to look everywhere at once. I was raised in a Muggle household, after all, and didn't even know that magic existed, so to see the moving stairs and the paintings that can talk back to you was incredible! Don't ever lose that sense of wonder."

They approached the painting of the Fat Lady. "This dear lady is the guardian of the doorway into Gryffindor Tower. I am sorry to say that I have never asked her name before today. She's always been known as the Fat Lady, and that's terribly rude." He bowed to her.

"Hello dear," she said fondly. "You're the first to ask me in over a hundred years, did you know that? My name is Dawn, but I will answer to the Fat Lady. May I have the password, please?"

"Mimbulus Mimbletonia," Hermione said politely.

"Thank you dear," the Fat Lady replied. As they were about to step inside, she caught sight of the ring on Hermione's finger. "Oh! Congratulations! Who's the lucky man?"

Harry grinned. "That would be me, Dawn. I have managed to befuddle her senses enough that she actually considers me husband material, and has agreed to wear my ring until we leave Hogwarts, at which point we will make that a wedding ring."

"You!" Hermione huffed fondly as she lightly swatted Harry's arm. "I am not deluded, Dawn," she said as she swept into the tower. As the door closed, she said as an aside to Harry, "That's going to be all over the castle by tomorrow, you know."

"Good. I want everyone to know that I've snagged the two sexiest girls in Hogwarts," he said with a smile.

"Oy," Ron said. "You did not! Susan's my girlfriend!" He was smiling as he said it.

"I'm going to tell her you said that," Hermione said. "I expect you'll be a little confused after she kisses you senseless."

"Well, I've not got much to begin with, so it's easy to kiss me senseless," he laughed. "So, you've got the firsties here. Now what?"

"You've enough sense to choose Susan. As for you question? Now we let them ask questions," Harry said. "To answer a few of them right off, though — yes, I did see Voldemort in May, as did the other three. No, I am not making it up, no matter what the Daily Prophet might say. And yes, Hermione is wearing my promise ring, as if Daphne Greengrass from Slytherin."

"You're engaged to a Slytherin?" one of the first years asked in surprise.

"Yup, and that's one of the things we'll try to teach you in these seven years at this fine institution of learning. Don't judge by a label. I am madly in love with a woman who happens to have been sorted into a different House than I'm in. If I listened to labels, I'd not have the pleasure of knowing her."

"Biblically," Hermione whispered so that only Harry could hear her.

"But I thought you were ... what about Prefect Granger?" one of the first year girls asked.

"That's one of the many things you'll end up learning about the wizarding world," Hermione said. "Both Daphne and I are wearing promise rings, and we're both with Harry. It's not common, but neither is it illegal."

"There are too many things to try to learn your very first night here," Harry said. "If you remember only three things in the morning, let them be these — the prefects are here for you; you should never lose your sense of wonder at the magic that surrounds you; and the professors are here to help. If members of any House pick on you without reason, contact a prefect or a professor. You can tell the Houses based on the trim of their robes. You're wearing scarlet and gold, so you're Gryffindor. Black and yellow is Hufflepuff; blue and bronze is Ravenclaw; and green and silver is Slytherin."

"Now that Harry's done with his pep talk," Hermione said with a smile, getting a few of the first years to smile in return, "we'll need to get you off to bed. The boys' dormitories are to the left, and the girls' are to the right. The signs will be marked at each floor, and you won't be able to climb higher in the tower than the year you belong in. The boys will be unable to get up the girls' stairs at all. Your trunks are by your beds."

With that, many took it to be a dismissal and headed to their dorms. The common room was left with just a handful of fifth years and above. "You've quite the talent there, Harry," Ron said. "You herded them like a pro."

"Well, given my history, I thought it a good thing to give them some info. I want to see if we can kill the rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin, by the way. I want to leave it on the Quidditch pitch, if we can. Since Snape is gone and not giving detentions for breathing in a Gryffindor manner, we should be able to do it."

The next morning, Harry led a contingent of first years to the Great Hall for breakfast, with Hermione bringing up the rear with a huge smile. He led them in and showed them what was available, and bade them all to sit. Before they could begin eating, he grinned and said loudly, "Daphne, could you come here for a moment please?"

The blonde girl came over with a smile and greeted Harry with a chaste kiss. "Thank you," he said. "You helped make a point I wanted to." He turned to the first years. "This lady is my other fiancée, Daphne Greengrass. As you can see by the trim on her robes, she's in Slytherin House. You can also see that we're rather friendly with each other."

"There will be people in my House that will try to pick fights with you," Daphne said, picking up where Harry was going. "Let us know, and we'll do something about it." She looked to Harry. "Now, may I go back to my breakfast, love?"

"I'm hurt," he said dramatically, putting on a wounded air. "My presence isn't sustenance enough?"

"For my heart, yes," she replied with a smile. "For my stomach, no." She kissed him again and headed back to her table, where Tracy Davis uncovered her food again, having protected it from the others at the Slytherin table.

"We'll be dealing with Malfoy this year, I just know it," Harry murmured to Hermione when the first years had begun eating. "He was inordinately pleased with Umbridge's taking over the Defence position, so he'll be lording it. There will not be an Inquisitorial Squad this year — if there is, I will declare feud between Umbridge and myself."

Angelina came bustling in, and Harry suddenly realised that she was about to tell him about being made Quidditch captain, so he decided to have some fun. "Congratulations, Angelina! I'll be there for the tryouts on Friday."

She blinked at him a few times and then laughed. "Trying to take the wind out of my sails, huh?"

"Sorry, but you had a vague 'Oliver Wood' look to you, so ... although I'd rather look at you than Oliver, to be honest."

"I've got a boyfriend," she said with a wide smile.

"And I've Promised to Hermione and Daphne. Doesn't stop it from being true. I fancy girls, so I looked at you more than Ollie." He finished with an impudent grin.

She laughed again. "He's a keeper, girl. Don't let him get away."

"I don't intend to," Hermione said softly.

"I'm not a Keeper," Harry mock-protested. "I'm a Seeker!" Angelina just shook her head as she walked away chuckling.

Professor McGonagall came by with their schedules, and Ron groaned. "The only way this day could be any worse is if Snape were still teaching. Binns, the new guy, Trelawney and Umbridge. Gah."

History of Magic was its usual boring bit of the wheezy voiced Professor Binns, this time teaching them something about the giant wars. Try as he might, no matter what he tried, he could not keep his attention on the ghost at the front of the room, so he instead began to write up a suggestin that either Remus or Sirius be hired to teach. A living teacher couldn't help but be better than a dead one.

"Ron, couldn't you at least pretend to pay attention in our first class of the year?" Hermione asked as they headed off.

"I tried, Hermione; I really did!" he responded in a voice that was almost a whine. "I'm trying to be a better student, but ... I really don't know how you do it. Something about that voice just puts me to sleep."

"He's right. I knew better, but -"

"But you were taking notes!" she said. He handed her what he'd been writing. "Oh. Sorry." She bit her lower lip. "I don't mean to be a freak," she said softly.

"Too late then!" Pansy Parkinson yelled gleefully as she approached the Potions room in time to hear that. "You've been a freak since you were born!"

Harry spun and 'accidentally' struck her with the back of his hand squarely in the face. He nose was bloody. "Oh, I'm sorry, Pansy! Let me help you with that!" He realised quickly that he had actually managed to break her nose, so he cast a field healing spell to stop the bleeding. This left her with a nose that made her look even more like a pug dog and that couldn't be healed again for at least a month, at which point it would need to be re-broken first.

He turned to Hermione then. "You are not a freak. Vernon Dursley is a freak. Petunia Dursley is a freak. Dudley Dursley is the king of all freaks. You, on the other hand, are a beautiful woman that I am looking forward to marrying someday." He leaned forward and kissed her eyes.

"Nauseating," Malfoy sneered. "Consorting with animals like that mudblood -" He got no further, because he was suddenly plastered against the wall behind Harry.

"I had thought that I might wait until class started to take points," the new professor said in a plummy tone. "Instead, I get to remove ten from Slytherin because Mr Malfoy insists on vocalising his bigotry."

"My father -" Malfoy began, but was cut off once more.

"- is a bigot as well, and a Death Eater who managed to escape prison because he happened to have a large sum of money in Gringott's. No one with intelligence believes that he was under Imperius, and none with intelligence believes the campaign that it appears the Daily Prophet is beginning against both the Headmaster and Mr Potter."

Harry thought for a moment that Draco Malfoy might well be channelling Vernon Dursley, given the colour his face had turned. "Puce isn't a good colour for you, Draco," he said with mock sympathy.

Once everyone had been seated, he began. "As you heard at the Welcoming Feast, I am Zbignew Brzheznov. Despite the name, I am quite British, as I imagine the accent tells you. I was going to make jokes about trying to earn enough money to buy some vowels for my name, but I'm afraid ... ah, a few of you in here are Muggleborn or have connections to the Muggle world. I will not insist that everyone attempt to pronounce my name, so I will answer to Professor Z or Professor B. I will feel flattered if you manage to correctly pronounce either my first or last names." He smiled. "I may also check to see if you accidentally tied your tongue into a knot."

"Professor Brzheznov?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, Miss Granger?" he asked with a smile.

"What will we be learning in this class?" She looked bothered by asking the question.

"Ah, you wish to know if I will actually teach or do as the prior professor did. I do not refer to Alchemist Dumbledore, either."

"Professor Snape was an excellent teacher!" Malfoy exploded.

"Tell me, Mr Malfoy — assuming that they were available as ingredients on the common market, what would be the likely outcome of adding phoenix tears to a potion containing basilisk blood?" Malfoy sat sullenly, unable to answer. Hermione had her hand in the air, but she was the only one. As the teacher turned, Harry winced. "Is something wrong, Mr Potter?"

"Not exactly. I don't know for certain about it, but I doubt that the potion would be very much good after the tears were added."

"That's putting it mildly. Miss Granger, will you explain only what the reaction would be? I wish to see if anyone other than yourself and possibly Mr Potter might know why."

"If you survived the explosion, you'd be in St Mungos for a long time," she replied.

"Excellent way of putting it, Miss Granger. Ten points for your studious nature."

The silence in the room was deafening. Harry whispered softly, "And thus is the difference in teachers proven."

"Indeed, Mr Potter? Is it safe to assume that your prior professor was loath to grant points to your Household?"

"He used to take points for things such as Hermione actually answering the question he had asked. I got detentions for being arrogant and for breathing, but mostly for being related to James Potter. If he gave anyone in Gryffindor points, then it was under duress."

"I see. Well, back to the point we were originally covering. Why would there be an explosion, Mr Potter?"

"I assume because the phoenix is the epitome of Light side creatures and the basilisk is the epitome of Dark creatures. I remember Fawkes and that basilisk going at it back at the end of second year." He shook his head. Looking up, he saw the stunned looks of everyone in the class. "What?"

"Am I to understand that you have seen a battle between a phoenix and a basilisk?" Brzheznov asked excitedly.

"Yes, sir. Fawkes was helping me. He blinded it so that I wouldn't be killed instantly."

"Might I ask ... no, that's personal. Never mind." The professor was gobsmacked, to say the very least.

"I don't mind. I was trying to rescue a student that Lucius Malfoy put in danger -"

"You can't prove that!" Draco yelled.

"Not in a court of law, but we talked. He knows that I know he did it." He shook his head. "Anyway, we went down into the Chamber of Secrets, where we discovered two things. First, Lockheart is a fraud who got all his fame by Obliviating the people who really did the things in his books. Second, firing a spell out of a broken wand is a bad thing. There was a rockfall, leaving me the only one to face Voldemort and his pet basilisk. Fawkes pecked the beggar's eyes out and I ended up getting bitten by a broken fang as I jammed Gryffindor's sword through its brain. Would have died except for Fawkes again, who cried on the puncture wound." He pulled his sleeve up to show the professor the bite wound.

"There is something special about you, Mr Potter. The reaction from the venom and the tears should have been violent, and yet I can see your arm is whole. Is there any proof of this altercation?"

"Unless someone's managed to get down there, the basilisk carcass should still be down there," Harry replied with a shrug. "I'll take you to it if you want."

The new Potions professor looked at Harry for a long moment. "Yes," he finally said a little shakily. "That would be satisfactory."

The rest of the class was not as exciting as that, but Professor Brzheznov proved to the Slytherins that they had been done poorly by with Snape's teaching methods, if such could be called teaching. Harry looked up the Headmaster quickly, asking him to set up a meeting time with the Potions professor, so that they could go down after the basilisk. "Good heavens," breathed Dumbledore. "There was so much going on that I simply forgot that there was a basilisk corpse in the bowels of this school. Are you aware of the amount of wealth you will have from the sale of the parts for various purposes, mostly potions ingredients?"

"I never had a chance to check on that sort of thing. What are we talking about?"

"An ounce of powdered Basilisk skin will bring something on the order of one thousand Galleons. You are looking at many, many pounds of powder. You may well have enough for an armourer to offer money for the skin."

"I don't know how useful it will be. It's been rotting in the Chamber since the end of my second year."

Dumbledore grinned. "There isn't a known disease that can survive basilisk poison. Any germs would touch the skin and die. I expect it to be the same as the day you killed it."

"Good heavens," Harry answered him. "That should be ... wow. That's a lot of money, if the whole thing is useful."

"Even the eyes should be useful, even though destroyed. Powdered basilisk eye is used in the rare potion. The remnants should be good enough for brewers."

"Wow," he said softly. He grinned suddenly. "We're looking at ... ridiculous amounts of Galleons here from the sale, correct? More precisely, if we get someone to sell it properly, it'll bring in a lot?"

"Exactly. Too much at once will drive the value down."

"Then we begin to sell it slowly, and split the money three ways. One third I keep, one third goes to the Weasley family, and one third to you or the school, whichever you prefer."

"The Weasleys might not accept it, you are aware."

"I think I can get them to accept it. Hmm, I don't know the man, but I see no problems with giving Professor Z some of the basilisk to play with. He can sell what he doesn't want to use. If he proves to be one of the good guys, then I can give him a share." At Dumbledore's look, he shrugged. "I'm already wealthy. Giving people a share of the basilisk is worthwhile. It's not like I need the money."

"I haven't the right to feel this way, but you make me proud, Harry."

"That means a lot to me, sir. I just hope that you feel proud of me after I earn a detention with the new Defence teacher." Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "First time through, she used a blood quill for detentions. I would have carried the scar to the end of my days. Being a child, I couldn't bring charges. This time around, I'm legally an adult."

"If you are walking into this situation knowing what may lie ahead, then I cannot fault you. I do not wish this to happen to you, I will admit." They checked the time. "Ah, it appears that you must be going to the very same class." The Headmaster quickly scribbled out a note. "In case you are late to the class."

Harry walked into the Defence classroom slightly behind the other students. "Apologies, Professor," he said, handing her the note. "The Headmaster needed to speak to me."

She nodded and watched as he sat. "Well, good afternoon!" she said, when finally the whole class had sat down.

A few people mumbled "good afternoon" in reply.

"Tut, tut," said Professor Umbridge. "That won't do, now, will it? I should like you, please, to reply 'Good afternoon, Professor Umbridge'. One more time, please. Good afternoon, class!"

"Good afternoon, Professor Umbridge," they chanted back at her.

"There, now," said Professor Umbridge sweetly. "That wasn't too difficult, was it? Wands away and quills out, please."

Many of the class exchanged gloomy looks; the order 'wands away' had never yet been followed by a lesson they had found interesting. Harry shoved his wand back inside his bag and pulled out quill, ink and parchment, smirking as he did. This was happening exactly as it had the first time around. Professor Umbridge opened her handbag, extracted her own wand, which was an unusually short one, and tapped the blackboard sharply with it; words appeared on the board at once:

Defence Against the Dark Arts: A Return to Basic Principles

"Well now, your teaching in this subject has been rather disrupted and fragmented, hasn't it?" stated Professor Umbridge, turning to face the class with her hands clasped neatly in front of her. The constant changing of teachers, many of whom do not seem to have followed any Ministry-approved curriculum, has unfortunately resulted in your being far below the standard we would expect to see in your OWL year.

"You will be pleased to know, however, that these problems are now to be rectified. We will be following a carefully structured, theory-centred, Ministry-approved course of defensive magic this year. Copy down the following, please."

She rapped the blackboard again; the first message vanished and was replaced by the 'Course Aims'.

- Understanding the principles underlying defensive magic.

- Learning to recognise situations in which defensive magic can legally be used.

- Placing the use of defensive magic in a context for practical use.

For a couple of minutes the room was full of the sound of scratching quills on parchment. When everyone had copied down Professor Umbridge's three course aims she asked, "Has everybody got a copy of Defensive Magical Theory by Wilbert Slinkhard?"

There was a dull murmur of assent throughout the class.

"I think we'll try that again," said Professor Umbridge. "When I ask you a question, I should like you to reply, 'Yes, Professor Umbridge', or 'No, Professor Umbridge'. So: has everyone got a copy of Defensive Magical Theory by Wilbert Slinkhard?"

"Yes, Professor Umbridge," rang through the room.

"Good," said Umbridge. "I should like you to turn to page five and read 'Chapter One, Basics for Beginners'. There will be no need to talk."

Harry instead began to write on his parchment, making no effort to open the book. It took her only a moment, but not even Hermione's hand in the air drew her attention away from Harry's voiceless defiance. "Is there a problem, Mr Potter?"

"No, Professor Umbridge," he replied sweetly.

"Then why are you not reading your book?"

"Because I've already read it, and it's a load of meaningless twaddle," he replied in the same tone as he had before.

"I suppose that you know more about defence than the author?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," he replied.

"Such as -" she said in a saccharin voice that demanded that he follow up with proof.

"Such as the fact that the main answer to most of his situations seems to be to wait for the Aurors to show up and solve the problem for you."

"And you have a problem with the Aurors?" she asked.

"No, but if you're taking this class hoping to learn real defence in hopes of someday actually becoming an Auror, which this class is supposed to help toward, following that book will scuttle any chances of being in law enforcement."

"There's a freeze on hiring right now, Mr Potter," he replied, trying to sound as sweet and saccharin as before, but the effect was marred by the fact that she was speaking through her gritted sharp teeth.

"Will there always be a freeze on? Will no one be hired as the old Aurors retire or die off under Voldemort's return?"

"You Know Who has not returned, Mr Potter, and that will be ten points from Gryffindor for lying in class."

"So Cedric Diggory, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum were all lying?"

"Mr Diggory only thinks he saw You Know Who in that situation. As for the other two, the half-breed and the foreigner are simply attempting to foment trouble."

"Which the Ministry will need Aurors to fight if you're right," Harry said with a nasty smile. "But you're wrong. Voldemort is back."

"You lie, Mr Potter. For that you lose another ten points and earn a detention with me tonight."

"What time?" he asked impudently.

"Seven PM, in my office."

"I'll be there," he said brightly.

She glared at him for a long moment before saying, once again through gritted teeth, "Come up here, Mr Potter."

He approached her and watched her scribble the same note he'd remembered from the first time through. "Take this to your head of House and leave this class immediately."

He sketched a salute and left at a quick march, stopping only to pick up his book bag. Once out of the room, he chuckled and carefully Disillusioned his Recording Quill and the parchment linked to his notebook. Casting a handy spell he'd found a few years up the line, he lifted them and floated them through the closing door. He closed his eyes and carefully wafted them into Umbridge's office, where he set them on top of a cabinet that was fairly dusty. He cast the spell to record immediately, and the quill popped up and waited on the parchment. That done, he headed down to Professor McGonagall's office.

Knocking on the door, he smiled at the harried woman and handed her the parchment from Umbridge. "She's likely telling you that I'm a disruptive influence and all that fun stuff," he said with a smile.

She unrolled it and read it. "Disrupting class, insulting her teaching method, generally abusive, and lying." She looked up. "Is this true?"

"Depending on how you look at it? Yes, yes, yes, and no. Disrupting the class by saying that the author knows nothing about defence? Yes. Insulting her teaching method, which is to have us read until we have to take the O.W.L.s, where our deep reading of the subject will permit us to pass the tests? Yes. Generally abusive? A little tricky there, but politely calling the freeze on hiring Aurors stupid could be seen as abusive, so yes. Lying? No. Voldemort is back."

"You need to be careful -" she began to say.

"Pardon me for interrupting, Professor, but you need to know something. You can talk to Professor Dumbledore in greater detail, but I actually entered that class knowing which buttons to push with the Toad Woman. If she does what I expect will be done in my detention tonight, then she will not be teaching the full year, and the Ministry will likely back off on trying to take control of the school."

"All from one detention?" the Deputy Headmistress asked incredulously.

"When she uses a Blood Quill on a student who also happens to be an adult that can level charges against her?" Harry asked with a light smile. "May I have a biscuit?"

"How do you know that she has a Blood Quill?" she asked in horror as she blankly pushed the tin toward him.

"It's part of the reason I need to have you talk to the Headmaster. Use the password 'Vanquish'. He'll understand, because it's not a word I'd use in everyday conversation. It is uniquely connected to the situation." He cast a quick security spell. "In short, this is my second time through my fifth year. The mind is roughly of a thirty-something man, who has come back. Little mind woogieing so that I'm not actually perving, but mentally am fifteen again, but that's a conversation for another time. The Headmaster has seen enough to know that I'm telling the truth." He ate the biscuit quietly while she parsed the information he'd thrust on her.

"I told you that because you were about to tell me to lay low and avoid drawing attention to myself. The Head of Gryffindor was going to tell me to stop being Gryffindor for a year, and yet you would continually draw attention to yourself throughout the year. It struck me as hypocritical the first time around. I spent some time angry at you until I finally grasped that you were dealing with it from the adult/child perspective. But that was some time that I spent angry that I didn't need to." He smiled. "I don't want to spend time angry at my favourite teacher."

She blushed for the first time Harry had ever seen in either time line. "I thank you, Mr Potter. I will be checking up on this with the Headmaster, make no mistake. You speak more adult than I would expect for you at fifteen, which is another thing in your story's favour. If I find that you are lying to me, however -"

"That's why I mentioned that you should tell him the password 'Vanquish'. I'm pretty sure that he'll understand." He dropped the security charms. "He's got better security up there, so it should be safer to talk there."

Dinner was amusing, because people were looking at him with curiosity. They'd heard about the happenings in the Defence class, and were intrigued by the fact that he'd seemed happy about it! Several of the younger Gryffindors and one or two of the older ones were giving him the evil eye, but he ignored them.

"Tonight's detention should be fun," he said. "By the way, I've got the quill recording already, so if you want to go to the journal when I head to detention, you can watch it as it happens. She's too petty not to use everything at her disposal to try to break me, so I expect that she'll zap me with it pretty quick."

"Just be careful," Hermione said, her voice throbbing with emotion.

"I will, love. I will." he hugged her and then kissed her forehead gently. "I must away!" he said melodramatically as he shouldered his bag and headed off to his detention.

He knocked on the door and was once again 'treated' to the sound of Umbridge's sugary "Come in!" He opened the door and sat down at the table she had set up, in front of the parchment that was already there. "Good evening, Mr Potter," she said in a voice that made it quite obvious that she was looking forward to what was to come. Unfortunately for her, so was Harry.

"Now, you are going to be doing some lines for me, Mr Potter. No, not with your quill," she added, as Harry bent down to open his bag. "You're going to be using a rather special one of mine. Here you are." She handed him the long, thin black quill with an unusually sharp point that he remembered so well. "I want you to write, I must not tell lies," she told him softly.

"How many times?" Harry asked, with a creditable imitation of politeness.

"Oh, as long as it takes for the message to sink in," said Umbridge sweetly. "Off you go."

She moved over to her desk, sat down and bent over a stack of parchment that looked like essays for marking. Harry raised the sharp black quill and then pretended to notice something. "Ma'am? You not given me any ink to write with."

"Oh, you won't need ink," said Professor Umbridge, with the merest suggestion of a laugh in her voice.

Harry placed the point of the quill on the paper and wrote: I must not tell lies.

He let out a gasp of pain. Even being prepared for it, the damned thing hurt. The words had appeared on the parchment in what appeared to be shining red ink, as before. At the same time, the words had appeared on the back of Harry's right hand, cut into his skin as though traced there by a scalpel, as they had the first time, and healed again, as they had the first time.

Harry looked round at Umbridge. She was watching him, her wide, toadlike mouth stretched in a smile.


"So I'm writing my detention lines using a Blood Quill?" he asked. "Aren't these things illegal to use anywhere except in a contract? Anywhere but there, aren't they considered a Dark item?"

"Honestly, Mr Potter, even if the Ministry would listen to a child bringing charges against the Minister's second in command, what possible proof do you have of the use of the quill? A slight redness on your hand?" She got up from her desk and walked over to Harry. "Make no mistake about this, Potter. You will cease this attempt to discredit the Ministry by lying about the return of You Know Who. You will remain in detention, doing lines with my Blood Quill until you become tired of it and finally break. And you will break, Mr Potter, even if I have to resort to more painful methods."

"So you're telling me that I can expect to be literally tortured, and that because I'm a student, I can't do a thing about it?"

"Exactly. Until you and the Headmaster cease your efforts to undermine the trust that the people have for their government, you will be made an example of."

He set the Blood Quill down and pulled his wand.

"You will not threaten me!" she squealed.

"Who's threatening you, Professor? I'm just getting rid of this stupid quill! Incendio!" With that, the Blood Quill erupted into flames, and Harry could swear that there was a quiet screaming coming from it as it burned to ashes.

"How dare you destroy my Blood Quill!" she yelled, which sounded like further squealing to Harry. "I'll have you expelled for attempting to attack a teacher!" She took his wand from him and stuck it in her ample cleavage.

"Oh ick!" he said. "Now I'm going to have to clean that thing when I get it back!"

"You won't be getting it back, Mr Potter! The last spell on it was Incendio, and in the case of a student versus a teacher, I think we know who will win."

"Even if the teacher has to lie to get the expulsion to happen?"

"What proof are you going to have, Potter? Your word versus mine. And I'm a teacher and a Ministry employee. They can't touch me."

"I suppose," he said. "Well, shall we begin the trek to the Headmaster's office, where all the evidence can be seen?"

"Yes, Mr Potter. Enjoy your last time in these halls of Hogwarts. You'll be leaving them tonight."

Harry dutifully walked to the Headmaster's office ahead of Professor Umbridge, smiling softly as he moved. The gargoyle looked at Harry for a long moment before it almost seemed to wink and slip aside. He stepped onto the stairway and rode it to the top, coming to the Headmaster's door. Before he could knock, it opened. "Hello Headmaster," he said with a smile, which widened when he saw Ron and Hermione in the room.

"Headmaster, I have a matter of discipline to bring before you. I think it would be best if the other students were not here," Dolores Umbridge said in a sweet voice.

"Ah, but if this is in regards to Mr Potter's detention, then they have evidence to bring before us," replied the Headmaster, his eyes twinkling madly.

"What possible information could they have regarding what happened in my office?" she asked, wary for the very first time, and far too late.

"They have a transcript of what happened. We have been here since shortly into your detention, watching the words scroll across the page of this marvellous journal."

"What journal?" she asked.

Harry grinned. "The one that's tied to the Evidence Quill and Parchment set sitting Disillusioned in your office, which has been there all day. The parchment absorbs the ink from the ever full quill and transmits it to the secure journal. Everything that happened in your office since I left your class today is in that journal."

Dumbledore opened it and started reading. "'So I'm writing my detention lines using a Blood Quill? Aren't these things illegal to use anywhere except in a contract? Anywhere but there, aren't they considered a Dark item?'"

"'Honestly, Mr Potter, even if the Ministry would listen to a child bringing charges against the Minister's second in command, what possible proof do you have of the use of the quill? A slight redness on your hand? Make no mistake about this, Potter. You will cease this attempt to discredit the Ministry by lying about the return of You Know Who. You will remain in detention, doing lines with my Blood Quill until you become tired of it and finally break. And you will break, Mr Potter, even if I have to resort to more painful methods.'"

"'So you're telling me that I can expect to be literally tortured, and that because I'm a student, I can't do a thing about it?'"

"'Exactly. Until you and the Headmaster cease your efforts to undermine the trust that the people have for their government, you will be made an example of.'"

He looked up from it. "Interesting reading, I must say."

"You made another mistake, Madam Umbridge," Harry said, his voice going cold. "You thought you were going against someone who is merely a child. Check the records. I am legally an adult. I can and will bring charges against you for the use of a Blood Quill. I will destroy you and everyone that supports your actions."

"You don't have that kind of power, Potter! You're talking about bringing down the Ministry!"

"So the Minister is fully aware of your actions here?" he asked carefully.

"He supports me fully!" she said.

Harry reached out his hand and wandlessly Summoned his holly and phoenix feather wand. "Yech. It's covered in Umbridge sweat." He wiped it carefully on her pink sweater. "I'd get the Minister here now, because he's going to want to know the can of worms that you've opened up here."

"I agree," Dumbledore said. He walked to the Floo and called for Cornelius Fudge. When the man appeared, he said, "You may wish to get here and bring some Aurors. There appears to be a situation regarding the Ministry approved Defence teacher, and it could get out of hand quickly."

"I'll be right there!" Fudge exclaimed, somehow making four words sound excessively pompous.

True to his words, fifteen minutes later he was being ushered into the Headmaster's office by Minerva McGonagall. "Dolores! What's happened?"

"She appears to have gotten out of control somewhat with her punishments," Dumbledore responded.

"They lie! They've bewitched a journal to print lies about me, and are trying to use it as evidence to discredit me!"

"It's a certified Evidence set," Harry responded simply. "If you can get Madam Bones here to collect the quill and parchment, we can have it tested."

"I'll send one of my Aurors," Fudge said. "Where is it?"

"We'll send someone trustworthy, Minister," Harry said bluntly. "I don't trust Mr Dawlish there not to 'accidentally' destroy the quill and parchment. He's been in your pocket for a while. Perhaps Auror Tonks? No, she's a Black, so that wouldn't be kosher either, given the alliance between the Blacks and the Potters. No, it had best be Madam Bones. She's as incorruptible as they come."

"See here, Potter!" Fudge said. "You can't go insulting the Aurors like that!"

"I'm sorry to paint the entire Corps with the same brush, but the ones that are in your pocket, like Dawlish there, are giving the honest ones a bad name. Just like Umbridge is giving the Ministry a bad name, and you are as well for supporting her."

Dumbledore pulled his head out of the fire. "Amelia will be here shortly," he said. "I took the time while Mr Potter was explaining things to call her. We shall now have to wait for her." He reached down and picked up his small candy dish. "Sherbet lemon, anyone?"

Harry smiled and took one, puckering as the tartness hit him. Dumbledore looked as if Christmas had come early this year. "These are good, but I can only deal with them in moderation."

Amelia Bones strode into the office, obviously annoyed at having been dragged to the school. "What exactly is going on here?" she demanded.

"We have an evidence situation," the Headmaster explained. "Harry planted the quill and parchment part of an Evidence set in Madam Umbridge's office earlier today, prior to a detention of his. This journal contains the happenings in that office, but there is a question of the veracity of the information. Young Harry trusts only you to retrieve the quill and parchment."

"You're incorruptible, from what I know," Harry answered to her questioning look. "I trust you."

She nodded. "Where is the quill and parchment, then?" he told her and she quickly left the room, after grabbing Kingsley Shacklebolt to escort her. A few minutes later she came back in carrying the parchment and quill and set them next to the open journal.

She cast several spells then. "You paid good money for this set, Mr Potter," she said. "This is the type we use for the most important cases in the Ministry. Any attempt to force these to give false information would lead to destruction of the set. As the spell you all saw me cast prove, and the fact that it is writing the information I'm giving as I speak, this set is still working. I certify that whatever is in that journal is accurate."

Harry grinned. "So, Madam Umbridge. Now that the most trusted Ministry official alive has given her seal of approval to the information contained within that journal, do you still wish to contend that the contents are a lie?"

Umbridge sagged into a chair. "No. If Bones certifies that it's accurate, then it's accurate."

Albus spoke up. "So you are officially stating for the record that you illegally used a Blood Quill on Mr Potter, informed him that he was unable to stop you, and threatened far worse to him, inclduing expulsion when he destroyed your quill?"

"Yes," she said softly; quiet enough that the sound of the scratching of the quill could be heard over her words.

"Dolores? How could you?" Fudge asked, horrified. "Do you realise what you've done? You've tarred my administration with your attempts to ... what were you doing?"

"Trying to get Potter to retract the story about You Know Who," she replied. "If I could get him to do that, you'd look even better in the people's eyes. I did it for you!"

"And by doing so, you've doomed his administration, Dolores," Amelia said. "There is no way that we can deal with this without damaging him. He was the one who supported your decisions regarding Hogwarts, and now by massively overstepping your bounds, he looks bad." Harry could see her face saying that she agreed with that assessment — she obviously wanted him out of office.

Cornelius Fudge slumped. "We'll begin the process tomorrow of figuring out who'll take office next. We need to be careful, or else the wrong sort might get in."

"We'll worry about that later, Cornelius. For now, let's get her to the Ministry, where we can begin to process her." Amelia Bones looked to Harry. "May we take that into evidence? I promise that I personally will stay in charge of it until it can be returned to you."

"Yes ma'am, you may." With that, the group breezed from the office, leaving Harry, Hermione and Ron alone with the Headmaster. "Damn, that worked better than I expected!" Harry exclaimed.

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