Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Control Issues :: 12 :: Dolores Umbridge

12 • Dolores Umbridge

They had just sat back after several hours of rooting about in Umbridge’s head when a soft voice was heard to say, “Master?”

Harry did not respond immediately; he stretched first and snapped the tendons in his neck before saying, “Yes, Moony, what is it?”

“Why is she here?” Lupin was sitting just inside the bars looking at them curiously.

“She’s going to be tortured and killed, pet. She’s a very nasty woman who despises part-humans like us and would be happier if we were all dead, though that’s not why she’s going to die. Umbridge spent quite a lot of time delighting in my suffering—suffering she induced—not to mention try to use an Unforgivable on me and try to get me Kissed. So, I thought I’d make an exception to my little set of guidelines about who is fair game and who isn’t. She might not have been in on the plan to train me, but she’s definitely signed her own death warrant now that I am willing and able to end lives.”

Lupin glanced off to the side for a few moments. “The full moon is soon. I can sense it.”

Harry arched a brow in mild surprise. “Is that some sort of suggestion, pet?”

“I—” Lupin looked away again. “You won’t—?”

Harry suddenly shook his head. “No, Moony, I’m not going to let your uncontrolled wolf do my job for me. For one thing, you will be getting Wolfsbane, so you’ll retain your mind, and I would never ask you to do something like that. You’re my pet, not my attack dog.”

Lupin looked at him fully, flicking his gaze toward Voldemort briefly, then said, “I . . . could still help.”

Harry exchanged a glance with Voldemort before replying, “Go on. What do you mean?”

“It would scare her to be awake when I transformed?”

Voldemort nearly grinned at the evidence that Harry’s manipulations of the man’s mind was showing so openly. Lupin was actively trying to make himself useful in some way, and make Harry happy.

Harry did smile, almost fondly. “That’s a very interesting idea, pet. I might actually be moved to give you a reward for such good behavior.”

Lupin shifted in place, the metal parts of his harness clinking softly, and he looked almost hopeful.

“Would you like to have an orgasm, Moony, as your reward?” Harry asked intently. Lupin’s mouth dropped open slightly, but he didn’t respond otherwise, prompting Harry to say, “You see, I’ve come to realize that there’s quite a market for certain types of illicit goodies in the wizarding world. And thinking of you, and thinking ahead to the day when you actually earned a reward, I decided to purchase a little something for that purpose. But, I’m not going to trot that out unless you tell me that is something you’d like for your reward—an orgasm.”

Then he added a caveat. “But, you should probably know that I’d want to make certain you enjoyed your reward, so I would be watching. And, of course, to make sure you cleaned up after yourself if necessary. So, you just think about that for a while and we’ll come back to it, all right?” Harry looked away as if in dismissal and said to Voldemort, “I’m hungry, Tom.”

Voldemort decided to play along to a certain extent and rose, pulling Harry into his arms and claiming his mate’s mouth in a prolonged kiss. Very discreet peeking revealed that Lupin was becoming visibly aroused by the display, so he continued to battle with Harry’s tongue and let his hands roam around possessively for several more minutes. When he did pull away it was to then stroke his fingers down the side of Harry’s face and say, “I suggest we move this to someplace more comfortable.”

Harry winked at him, then licked his lips as he turned, and started for the staircase. In point of fact, his mate wasn’t hungry, which didn’t surprise him in the least, though he had every intention of—and did—ravishing Harry’s gorgeous body and making him nearly beg for release.

It was when they were resting in the aftermath, sleepy but not sleeping, that he decided to broach something that had been on his mind for a while. Voldemort did not know how Harry would react to it, though he hoped his mate would understand the reasons intuitively. “Harry?” he murmured.

Harry grunted into his neck; he supposed that answered the question of whether or not his mate had slid off into dreamland without him.

“Harry, I’ve been thinking, and I wanted to offer you something.”

Harry shifted, slowly pulling away and sliding his head back along Voldemort’s upper arm so that he could see properly. “Offer?”

“Yes. I’ve been thinking a lot about things, and us, and how we’ve. . . . So I wanted to offer to release you from that vow.”

His mate’s reaction was to close his eyes for some few minutes, almost making Voldemort wonder if he had decided to ignore him and fall asleep, and then Harry blinked them open and questioned solemnly, “But we’d still take care of each other, right?”

“Of course, Harry. I told you I would fight to keep you, and I’ve told you it causes me pain to even think of you not being with me.”

Harry sort of nodded and replied, “You’re making a symbolic gesture. I already chose to bond with you for life, and you know I could leave you at any time just by killing myself or deliberately shattering my own mind. I appreciate the offer, Tom, but I don’t need it. I would still be loyal to you. It’s still the same choice in my eyes.”

“But would you allow it?”

“If it would make you happy, yes. But at least right now, if something bad were to happen, no one could force me to be disloyal to you. They wouldn’t be able to force me to kill you, assuming I didn’t starve to death in the meantime.”

Voldemort considered that, then nodded. “I concede the point. But we can revisit this later?”

“Yes, we can.”

*

Dolores Umbridge awoke to find herself in rather peculiar circumstances. To all appearances she was in a classroom, one that happened to feature a few extras, the most alarming of which was a rather large cage off to one side containing a naked man crouched on the floor. However, there were only two desks present, one obviously meant for an instructor, and the student desk Dolores herself was seated before.

And perhaps it wasn’t entirely normal for one to be sitting naked in a classroom (unless you had those sorts of fantasies, though Voldemort never had, having generally preferred up until then to reserve his creativity for torture, plotting, scheming, along with any number of other nefarious activities dark lords were known to do, and in any case, a naked Umbridge was putting him off that sort of thing quite handily).

Harry appeared from a door at the back and came in, closing it behind him, then swept over to the large desk and sat down in the accompanying cushioned chair. He looked every inch the professor (if you didn’t count his trademark messy hair), and his demeanor was quite solemn and scholarly. It went almost without saying that Umbridge started in on him the second he was seated.

“Potter,” she said in a voice that could not be described as pleasant, “I wasn’t aware you were so fond of me. Why, I’m quite flattered that I’d be a star in one of your sexual fantasies. I suppose I made quite the impression on you a few years back.”

Harry actually blinked a few times in surprise. Then he chuckled and said, “You’ve got balls, darling.”

“Yes, I do,” she replied, her tone changing to something like demanding, “so I’m sure you’ll be very happy to come over here and release me. Minister Fudge might even change his tune when it comes to you if he knew you had helped me.”

Harry affected to look interested and said, “Do you really think so?”

“Of course. He relies heavily on my counsel.”

“No, I don’t think so,” Harry replied, shaking his head. “I have other things in mind for you, darling, and the minister’s opinion has never mattered all that much to me, just like yours never has.”

“What!?” she screeched. “You will release me this instant, you insolent little boy! Why, when the minister hears of this—”

Harry silenced her with a wave of his wand. “Look, darling, I will let you get this out of your system if that’s what you want, but then we’ll move along to the real fun.” He waved his wand again, then sat back to do things like idly inspect his fingernails and launch pencils at the ceiling while she went off on a tirade to match or exceed one from Mrs Black’s portrait.

She screeched and yelled, she questioned his sanity and intelligence, and she insulted his looks and parentage, all while tossing in random threats about retaliation from the minister and the Ministry in general. And then a moan of pain intruded, causing her to stop mid-screech and whip her head around toward the sound, then gape, which made her almost unbearably unattractive.

Harry gave her an appraising look at that point while she was fixated on watching Moony transform from human to wolf. When Moony eventually staggered to his feet Harry inquired, “Were you done, then?”

Apparently she was too busy staring in fascinated horror and loathing at a Moony who was shaking himself and testing out the stability of his legs. “Right,” Harry said and got to his feet. It took only a few steps for him to be standing at the cage door, which he promptly unlocked and opened. “All right, Moony, out you come.”

Umbridge shrieked and tried to cower back, causing Moony to growl at the assault on his sensitive ears as he padded into the room proper. “Yes, I know, pet, she’s got an awful voice. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of that soon enough. Now, you just wander around as you like, but no leaving the classroom, all right?”

Moony whuffed an agreement and trotted over toward Umbridge as Harry took a seat on the edge of his desk. It was a little known fact (unless one bothered to do the research) that most part-humans, such as veela, incubi, and centaurs, were totally immune to the effects of a werewolf bite, which might explain Harry’s blithely casual attitude given the possibility that Moony might decide to stage a revolt.

Voldemort, of course, had his wand poised in case he needed to subdue the creature, and he wasn’t entirely human himself, so the only person truly in danger was Umbridge herself. The wolf circled her several times, growling softly, seeming to almost enjoy how she started trembling violently in fear, then barked and wagged his tail when she actually pissed herself.

Harry instantly said, “Come away from that, Moony. That stuff might be highly poisonous and possibly qualify as a class C non-tradable substance.”

Umbridge finally found her tongue as the wolf trotted over to Harry obediently and plopped down on his haunches to stare at her. “Th-that’s a we-werewo-wolf,” she stuttered, still trying to somehow miraculously get farther away from them.

“Oh my stars and whiskers, you got one right! Moony is a werewolf. That’s five points to—actually, I have no idea what house you were in, so we’ll just say five points to Hags, okay?”

That got her attention. “How dare you!?” she demanded to know.

Harry tilted his head to the side and glanced down at Moony. “I wonder at times if she’s actually human. She doesn’t look like one to me, pet. Why, even Hagrid looks more human than she does, don’t you think?”

Moony whuffed agreeably and wagged his tail again. Harry then said, “Now, I know how much you’d like to bite her, Moony, but I don’t think that would be such a good idea. You probably wouldn’t be able to get the taste out of your mouth for weeks, to start.”

“Now look, you stupid little—” Umbridge shrieked again when Moony snarled at her.

“She’s not all that bright, is she?” Harry said to his pet. “Why, if you got offended enough, you might do something naughty like tear her flesh off with those lovely claws of yours. Of course, I might have to swat you on the nose with a rolled-up Daily Prophet for doing it, but still. . . .”

Umbridge went white and gulped, which did nothing whatsoever for her complexion.

“Well, let’s move along to the fun bits,” Harry said as he petted Moony’s head. “You, my dear Madam Umbridge, are an affront to humankind, and even more importantly, to me. After all, you tried a number of nasty little tricks, didn’t you. So, I thought I’d whip up this nice little fantasy setting so that you and I could participate in a little role playing game. You’re going to be the erring student while I play the professor.

“Now, you had a lot of fun when you were the one with power, darling, so I’m going to pay you back in kind. I mean really, all the best torturers know quite intimately what it’s like to suffer, so it’s in your best interests to play along if you ever expect to get better at what you do. Though, it’s not like you have a choice or anything. So, we’re going to start with one of the things you despise most in this world, that being part-humans like Moony here.

“We’re going to see how you react to being one yourself.” Harry shook a wand into his hand and twirled it around lazily. “To that end, I’m going to make you a lot more into what you already resemble, which is to say a rather large, ungainly amphibian. I can’t quite decide between a frog or a toad, really.” He flipped the wand into his hand properly and aimed, then cast.

Voldemort watched as her body slowly transformed, amid much vocalization of fear and pain, then stopped before it was complete, leaving her in a halfway sort of state. He could see she would retain the ability to speak, but he got the distinct impression she would no longer be able to manage that sickly sweet voice she so favored using.

And then she croaked, causing Harry to start giggling madly, and her to flush an odd greenish colour. “Oh, that’s priceless,” Harry gasped out. “That’s made my whole year.”

She made a few more odd noises before finally managing to croak out the demand, “Change me back!”

Harry wiped his eyes and replied, “You’ll be like that until you die, darling. It really improves your looks. Now, let’s move along to something you took exceptional delight in to make me suffer. You never liked it when I spoke truth, did you. You tried to shut me up because your precious minister didn’t want to believe that Voldemort was back in all his glory. And you absolutely adored that little blood quill of yours, despite the fact that they’re illegal. I guess the laws don’t apply to people like you?

“Well! As it so happens, the laws don’t apply to me, either.” Harry slipped off the desk and went around to the other side, then pulled open a drawer and retrieved a long, thin black quill. “This one is a teensy bit different from what you used on me, though. Rather than scribing lines into the back of your hand, it’s going to scribe all over your body, so by the time you run out of usable flesh you’ll be a walking signboard.

“I suppose I should point out that your face will be spared. There’s no sense in any of this if you can’t see what you’re doing for the blood streaming down your face or the fact that your eyes have been scratched over. The other difference is that you won’t be receiving the kindness of healing.” He approached her and carefully positioned her fingers around the quill for use, then dropped a sheet of parchment on her desk.

“I’m going to release that arm, darling, but I suggest you don’t get any bright ideas like dropping the quill so you can attempt to free yourself. You see, you also tried to use the cruciatus curse on me, so you can definitely expect some of that if you decide to misbehave. Now, as for what you’re going to write, that’s simple: Voldemort lives. I want to make absolutely certain you’ve got that part through your thick, obstinate skull.”

Harry stepped back and readied his wand, but before he cast to release her arm he said, “Moony, pet, feel free to wander around and stretch your legs.”

Umbridge did not immediately move. She seemed to be more concerned about the fact that a werewolf had just trotted out of her line of vision rather than what Harry might do to her. She got over that dilemma very quickly when Harry hit her with a stinging hex to catch her attention.

“You should be writing, Madam Umbridge. After all, your name loosely translates to pain, so this should be a piece of cake for you. Lines, darling, now.”

She really did not want to, that much was obvious, but the double threat of Moony and Harry’s wavering wand seemed to convince her, so she slowly scratched out her first line on the parchment, biting her lip against the pain it caused her. However, she didn’t manage more than five lines before she tried to revolt, at which point Harry shook his head sadly and nailed her with crucio for ten seconds.

“You’re not done yet, darling. Please continue. Each time you force me to discipline you I’ll increment the time by five seconds.” Harry swished his wand around meaningfully for extra emphasis, and she started another line. That went on for quite some time, with Harry occasionally having to curse her to provide motivation, until she was more or less covered in bloody words and was having a hard time not expressing in some fashion the degree of pain she felt.

“Well!” Harry said cheerfully. “That’s about enough of that, though I do wonder how it felt when the words got around to where you’re sitting in your own urine. Perhaps someday you’ll tell me.” Harry cast a quick spell to bind her arm in place again, then snatched the quill away and flung it on his desk.

“How are we feeling, darling? I bet you feel wonderful having managed to write so many lines in just one sitting. You know, the heady glow of accomplishment? If I had the time I’d have you run that through a few more rounds, just to make certain those words would really sink in. Still, I think you’ve got the point for the moment. Actually, if I had the inclination I’d teach you to enjoy pain, even beg for it. I’m pretty damn certain I could, too.

“That would make for an interesting day at the Ministry, hm? You squatting there, feeling really froggy, and desperately hoping that someone would do you the favor of smacking you around. . . . I bet the Daily Prophet would love that. Actually, I wonder how they’d like it if I let them in on a few secrets, darling, such as how you have a certain fondness for prepubescent boys.”

She croaked an objection, which Harry laughed off. “Or, along those same lines, the fact that you like to pick up underage male prostitutes from muggle London, using the imperius curse so that they’ll actually deign to touch you. And hey, the younger they look, the happier you are. Maybe I should go to London and track down that one boy you’re so fond of, Dolores darling, and see if he would like to give an interview for a bit of coin.

“You know, it’s really mind boggling how many of you at the Ministry have such kinky sex lives. Did you know that Fudge likes to fuck his assistant for lunch? That Weasley boy? And he likes to have Percy suck his cock during meetings so he has something to concentrate on that he actually understands.”

Umbridge moaned for reasons other than just physical pain.

“I’ll have to think about that a bit before I decide what to do. For now, let’s get back to you. I did spend quite a bit of time, darling, doing research to see if it was possible to magically graft the upper half of your body onto that of a horse. I know how much you admire centaurs, after all, and thought you’d be super happy if I could manage it for you. I can look into it some more, though, if you’d like.”

She shook her head violently and croaked out, “No!”

“You’re certain? Really, I should think it would be quite a breakthrough if I succeeded. No? Well, all right.” Harry reached down to scratch behind Moony’s ears given that the wolf had decided to sit next to him, then turned and said, “Tom, I was wondering if you knew precisely how much veritaserum it takes to cause permanent brain damage in a subject? She tried to use a whole vial on me once, you know.”

Voldemort got up and approached his mate, standing to the other side from Moony, and had a sip of wine before saying, “For someone like her? It would probably take several vials. I don’t recommend it, though. You know very well that half the fun and satisfaction in torturing someone is lost when the victim cannot understand or appreciate what’s happening to them.”

Harry tapped a finger to his lips, then nodded. “That is a good point. Oh heck, she’s done pulled a Nymphy. Really, Tom, one look at you lately and people start dropping like flies. Must be that reputation.” Then he paused and squinted closely at Voldemort. “Or maybe it’s that reputation plus you being . . . happy? I suppose people might find that really frightening.

“Anyway, at some point I’m going to have to build up my own reputation on the outside. I can’t let you have all the glory.” Harry made a pouty face at him, then swiftly revived Umbridge. Voldemort followed up with a spell to make sure she could not lose consciousness again. She would have wet herself a second time if she’d been able.

“Okay, so brain damage is out. You’re right, it won’t be any fun at all if she just sits there drooling like an imbecile, though that might make for—” Harry switched gears and skipped around the desk to open another drawer, pulling out a camera a second later with a noise of triumph. “Ha! I thought I had one. This will come in very handy in case I wish to accidentally-on-purpose lose track of some photographs while standing next to someone who reports for the Daily Prophet.”

He swept back around the desk and began snapping photographs dramatically, swooping around to get her from every side, then stopped suddenly and swore. “Blast. I nearly forgot! Frogs don’t have hair, do they?” Harry set the camera on his desk and slid a knife out of his clothing, then transfigured it into a straight razor. That was charmed to fly over to her head and begin shaving off her iron-coloured hair.

Voldemort noted that his mate’s control seemed a bit shaky, resulting in a number of cuts that bled quite freely in the manner that head wounds did. She protested vociferously, which probably contributed.

Harry recalled the razor, though he refused to touch it, and grimaced. “There’s no way I’m sending my knife to take care of that last bit. I might never get it clean again.” That went onto the desk before Harry shot another spell, this time to directly depilate her pubic area. “And that reminds me of something. Were you aware, Dolores darling, that some species of frogs are known to spontaneously change gender? It happens when there aren’t enough males. And, as anyone with half a brain ought to know, there are more females in the world than males.

“You’ve had quite a lot of fun as a girl, so let’s see how you do as a boy, or at least, a hermaphrodite.” Harry moved his wand in a complicated pattern, then held it on her as she started croaking repeatedly in pain and trying to wriggle free of her bindings. A penis was slowly starting to form between her grossly fat thighs, probably an engorgement of sorts of her clitoris.

Voldemort was amused to note that not only was it erect, but that it strongly resembled the description Skeeter had provided of Fudge’s own. Hero worship at its finest. He was also quite impressed that Umbridge had not once resorted to tears through any of her treatment.

Harry ended the spell with a flourish and holstered his wand, then snatched up his camera and began taking more pictures, saying absently, “I really ought to have taken pictures of all my victims, Tom. I could have made a nice scrapbook, don’t you think?”

The camera finally ran out of film, so it was set aside. “All right,” Harry said briskly. “We’re just about done here, and really, there’s only one thing left I had planned. Given that, I am going to let you in on a little secret, darling. When I am done with you, I plan to drop you in an extremely public place looking just as you are now. Hundreds of wizards and witches are going to see exactly what’s become of you. It’s going to be utterly humiliating for you, and I sincerely doubt you’ll ever be able to live it down.”

And she did break at that, tears finally coming to her eyes and sliding down her puffy cheeks.

“You’ll take up the entire front page of the Daily Prophet, and people the world over will remember your name, darling, and tell stories about the scary hermaphrodite frog-human to scare their children into behaving for years to come. But now, for the grand finale of the evening. . . .”

Voldemort took that as his cue and raised one hand to signal. Shadows detached themselves from one of the walls, a sense of cold and despair suddenly breaking free and sweeping over the room. Moony whined and backed up quickly, moving to behind the desk for scant cover. The dementor glided forward, its horrifying effects muted for everyone but the intended victim on Voldemort’s orders, then turned to face Umbridge. She was nearly hysterical with fear, struggling so much that the straps holding her down were cutting into her skin and drawing blood.

“It is time for your final kiss goodnight, Madam Umbridge,” Voldemort said in a sepulchral tone, then signaled again, and watched as the dementor glided up close to her and bent, reaching out to almost tenderly cup her face in its bony hands, then administer the Kiss. The second it was done Voldemort ordered it away, fearing slightly even with the restrictions that it might be causing his mate a damaging amount of distress.

It glided back to its starting position and melted into shadow, and it was like it had never been there. Voldemort immediately turned to his mate. “Harry?”

Harry did look a bit pale, but otherwise appeared to be all right. “It’s fine,” he insisted. “It was my idea, after all, but I really hope you’re prepared to coddle me tonight because I am a bit shaky.”

“Whatever you need, Harry,” he said, then remembered the wolf was lurking nearby when a furry snout poked out around the corner of the desk.

A rippling shudder passed through Harry’s entire body before he inquired, “Tom, does a Kissed person actually retain their memories? I mean, if I follow through on that threat, do we need to at least obliviate this evening’s activities?” He absently reached down to scratch behind Moony’s ears again when the wolf settled in next to his leg.

“I haven’t the foggiest,” Voldemort said honestly. “But just to be safe, I’ll obliviate this last bit from her memory. If it’s no longer there the spell will just fail.”

“So there’s no risk to you involved, right?” Harry asked with a slight edge.

“There’s no risk, Harry,” Voldemort assured him. “And I am no Lockhart.”

Harry laughed and nodded. “All right. Please try?”

Voldemort did so, and felt nothing untoward, so he made the assumption that loss of soul did not affect other aspects of the body such as the brain’s ability to store information. After all, those same bodies continued to autonomously breathe, and blink, and sleep, even if they never made attempts to otherwise survive. If anyone were to check her memories, the only evidence they would gather was from when she was kidnapped, and Voldemort had not seen fit to hide his appearance, so Harry could not easily be blamed for her going missing.

Harry moved to circle her desk and chair, then came to a stop a short distance away, shaking his head. “She is so unbelievably ugly. I really think I must. Either the Ministry atrium again or even Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. But not until tomorrow at the earliest.”

Voldemort nodded and spelled her into stasis, then set about dismantling the illusionary room they were occupying. Very quickly the dungeon was back to its normal self.

At that point Harry looked ever at Moony and said, “You know, you’ve been so helpful to me today, and made me so happy, I think I’ll let you have that toy I mentioned for an entire week. Would you like that, pet?”

Moony trotted up and shoved his nose into Harry’s crotch, licking the leather with that long, wet tongue as his tail wagged back and forth happily; Harry’s knees nearly buckled. His mate just stood there for a short time, his face a study in determination and concentration (not to mention lustful pleasure), and then he staggered back a few steps. “Sit, Moony,” he said almost sharply.

Moony did so immediately, but whined, his demeanor conveying confusion over what he had done wrong.

“Moony, you will not do that to me again, do you understand?”

The wolf lowered his head submissively and whuffed softly.

“You know what I am, pet. I cannot allow you to show your appreciation that way when it comes to me. I’m not going to punish you this time, but I will if it happens again. Understand?”

Moony whuffed again, raising his head cautiously.

“You seem to like the idea of that toy for a week, so I will provide it as your reward. Now, it’s getting on, so back in your cell, pet. I will return once the moon has set and see to things.” Harry followed the wolf and locked him in, then walked to Voldemort stopped, looking a bit done in.

Voldemort responded by gently leading him off upstairs, pausing to slip a hooded cloak onto his mate as he did not look like Lord Thanatos, then led him home and up into the sitting room.

The first thing Harry did was shred his clothing and launch himself at Voldemort, saying breathily, “Oh god, that tongue. It’s fucking huge, Tom. I almost couldn’t resist. Please, please make love to me. Please show me that you still want me.”

Voldemort found himself a bit puzzled over his mate’s reaction even as he pulled him into a searing kiss, then decided that Harry was frightened of what might happen if someone managed to use his weakness against him, that Voldemort might withdraw emotionally in retaliation, or even allow him to starve if he was angry enough at a perceived betrayal.

Whether that was an incubus thing or a Harry thing he did not bother to ponder just then. He decided that words would be completely useless, so he swept his hands up his mate’s back and teased at his scales; Harry melted against him and writhed sensuously, whispering, “Please.”

So Voldemort did, leading his mate into the bedroom and pushing him onto their bed, then stripping off his clothing quickly before joining Harry and resuming his pleasurable assault.

*

The next morning Harry was acting like his normal self, which made Voldemort happy. His mate made a command decision once they were up and dragged him off to the kitchen, where he was treated to a lovely breakfast of ham, scrambled eggs, and toast, not to mention a small dish of chilled melon. And he wasn’t allowed to talk until he finished up as Harry didn’t want to downplay the importance of a good meal by insisting Voldemort divide his attention.

It was afterward that Harry collected the dishes and set them to wash, then leaned back against the counter and asked, “So, what do you think? The atrium again? Diagon Alley?”

Voldemort pondered that, then said, “Diagon Alley is more or less a safe zone, Harry, but this would not constitute an actual threat to public safety. And, given that we have already used Hogwarts and the Ministry, I suppose we could put the fear of God into a whole new set of people.” Then he smiled broadly.

“If you like, you can be waiting there as usual, but this time as a hooded Ron Weasley. During peak hours I activate the portkey, you wait until people start screaming, then cast the Dark Mark into the sky, accidentally letting your hood fall back to expose your face, and flee.”

Harry’s eyes went quite wide. Then he said, “I suppose I should make sure Skeeter feels a pressing urge to do a story today about the common man’s thoughts on this war, huh?”

“I’m sure she could come up with a good excuse without too much trouble. She just needs to be there well before the show begins, my sweet.”

“Okay. Then I’m going to check in with my boys to make sure they’re handling the reviews all right without me, and pop off to Gringotts to drop another stack of gold into the vault. Would you like me to pick some coordinates for us while I’m there?”

“Yes, thank you. I will see if Mrs Black is about to warn her of the upcoming furor she might expect at headquarters. I’ll probably be in my office by the time you return.”

Harry pushed away from the counter with a nod, came over to give him a kiss, then slinked off.

Several hours later Voldemort was watching with Harry’s eyes as Rita Skeeter randomly accosted passersby and began asking them probing questions, shifting position frequently to block their escape until they would finally consent to answer.

A lot of people had just begun streaming out of various eateries when Voldemort made his move, transporting a drooling Umbridge right into the center of the street. She was bleeding sluggishly from her myriad wounds and her grotesque mockery of a penis was happily in view due to her landing on her back. Naturally, the screaming started, and Skeeter did a passable job of reacting surprised before she raced off toward the disturbance, her photographer close on her heels.

At that point Harry stepped into an open spot (and those were appearing rapidly as people clustered around Umbridge) and whirled dramatically, causing his cloak to flare out like that of a pretentious twit in a bad novel, then thrust a wand toward the sky and yelled, “Morsmordre!”

And of course, his hood had unfortunately fallen back during his theatrics, revealing a rather maniacal grin which surely looked distinctly out of place on a Weasley. Half the people on the street were torn between the horror of Umbridge and looking at Harry. Skeeter, however, made sure to nudge her photographer to snap a shot.

Harry pointed and yelled out, “Behold one betrayer! The Dark Lord will rule you all like the sheep you are!” And then he ran, disappearing down into Knockturn Alley, whereupon he promptly found a dark corner and disapparated.

The photographs that ran in the Daily Prophet later on clearly displayed a Dark Mark on Umbridge’s arm.