Harry's plans come together, with one major glitch.
She-Who-Must-Be-Named and her minions own the Potterverse. I just rewrite it for free.
Dumbledore may have hoped to keep a lid on what he saw as the boiling cauldron of the anti-puree campaign, but the death of Umbridge had frightened Fudge and many of those around him. They quickly spread the fear, as various Purebloods decided to take the stories of their young relatives in Hogwarts a bit more seriously now as well. Sunday, the day after Umbridge’s explosive splitch, saw a notice come around calling for a meeting of the full Wizengamot on the next day. The fact that a secret session was called for would only bring more attention to the meeting. The international press could not attend the actual meeting of course, but they would be waiting at the doors to collect stories and gossip.
They would get a story that shook the British Establishment.
The ‘Elders’ of the Wizengamot were, for the most part, in high voice when they met after a ‘lunch’ which most people would describe as a feast. All were from ‘old’ families – so old that most of the magical families which came into existence during the High Middle Ages, such as the Malfoys and even the Blacks, were still on the waiting lists for consideration for membership. For the most part, only a few of these ‘elders’ had taken part in governing through the Ministry before taking their seats (ten members of the Government had seats by right of office, but active Ministry workers could not be one of the forty life members), although some others had held various Government sinecures when they had been younger. Instead, the Elders ‘managed estates,’ which, for the previous 150+ years had meant allowing various squib relations, managers, and other ‘hangers-on’ to invest their monies in a Muggle world which they increasingly knew little or even nothing about. Only the facts that 1) the Muggle world could not tax most wealth which went into the magical world; 2) wizarding Europe did not tax income, but rather had a sales tax and an excise tax on most things coming into the magical world from the Muggle; and 3) the magical could repair most Muggle-made items, like furniture, when they wore out, rather than buying new, kept these old families in something like real wealth. If they had been taxed at the full British Muggle rates, nearly all would have had to do actual work to keep up appearances after a few generations.
Voldemort had drawn his support, for the most part, not from the from the actual Elders of the Wizengamot, but from their junior branches, the younger Pureblood families, and a few half-bloods who wished to recapture the prestige of their full-blooded relatives. The majority of the Wizengamot had seen Voldemort as a threat to their own power, although a few had sided with him to some degree. Still, for most members, it would have been difficult to know who they had feared most: a dark lord like Voldemort; the Muggle world; or the majority of their magical fellow-citizens.
In any event, some well-planned assassinations, before and after Voldemort’s fall, had brought some of his followers, Marked or not, to the Wizengamot itself and made others (like Lucius Malfoy) likely candidates for seats in the near future. None of them had dared wonder aloud where their allegiance would be should the Dark Lord return. Still, on this afternoon in the British Wizengamot, it was clear to nearly all that the current immediate threat was from their fellow citizens.
Theodore Yaxley was one such person – he had not been a Marked Death Eater, although his younger brother had been, and so was his brother-in-law, Nott. He had acceded to the Wizengamot because five ‘accidental’ or ‘natural’ deaths between the early 1970s and the mid-1980s had cleared his way, and because his younger brother had thought it might be best to stay out of the public view despite having successfully claimed to have been under the Imperious the one time he had been identified at a murder scene.
Now Theodore Yaxley stood to speak after five rather incoherent rants, and the other Elders wondered what he might have to say.
“Elders of the Wizengamot, in some ways, even fundamental ways, we as a group disagree about how to view the world, both the world of magic and the larger world outside. Still, no matter if we admit it aloud, even to ourselves, we do agree that we rightfully control magical Britain, or,” he added, bowing towards the small number of truly liberal members, “at least we all enjoy our positions of power.”
He stood straight. “Nevertheless, let me speak not in the rhetorical manner we all usually undertake in this Chamber and to the Press, even the most plainspoken of us. Let me speak truths. We all, liberal or traditional, despise the Muggle, the mundane, world outside of magic to some degree, even those of you who think the Muggles have some things and ideas we can adapt for our own use. We also look down upon the shopkeeper and clerks, the small farmers and tenants, and of course the half-bloods and Muggle-born who work in the Muggle world yet try to pretend to be fully part of ours. At the same time, like the Muggle world itself, all those other common magic users have sheer numbers over us.”
He ignored the grumbling around him, as these were truths none of the members liked admitting to. “Three hundred years ago, I understand the Muggle world was run much as we still are. Even eighty years ago, this was still largely true outside of North America and a few other such radical places. Now, in many places, even in magical places, the idea that people should be born to a ruling elite, an elite trained to lead and command from birth, has fallen by the wayside. We,” he said, gesturing, “represent a tradition that goes back over a thousand years, with aspects which go back millennia before that. Tradition. Culture. Those things which mean to be magical, beyond mere wand-waving or potion-making. And, it seems, we may be under threat from those who believe that mere sheer numbers mean more.”
He took a deep breath. “Nearly thirty years ago, a voice demanded to be heard, which proclaimed the idea that we in the Wizengamot and the Ministry could not be trusted to protect this culture. Because the idea was accompanied by violence and, it seemed to many, because that voice was using these ideas as much to promote power for the speaker and his followers as much as it was raised to protect our culture, the Elders rejected that speaker.”
There was now complete silence, brought on by shock and even fear of where this speech might be going.
“There,” Yaxley stated, pointing to the dais where Dumbledore, the Minister, and a few other officials sat, “sits the Master Manipulator, who basically said, ‘fear not, reject the speaker for he wishes only to replace you, and who will likely make us lose all.’ Well, maybe he was right, maybe not. We cannot turn back time to that degree and try things another way. I personally do believe that the Old Grey Manipulator was right, but that is only my opinion.” Outrage from all sides was now behind the murmurs building in the chamber.
“‘Violence against the sheep will create revolution! The Dark Lord’s way will not work!’ is what the Old Man up there basically said to us.” The grumbling voices were now getting louder. “The Old Manipulator’s way is now falling apart was well! The Minister, we all know, is a spineless, venal fool, and until now we have wanted a Minister to be just that, so we could buy him whenever necessary!” Only the rules which stated that a speaker could not be stopped, and could only be reprimanded after he was finished, kept the Elders from silencing him.
“I see no way out, my friends! The Dark Lord, that half-blood bastard Tom Riddle, would kill us, even if we helped him to power, for he will not share! We have emasculated the Ministry over the last few years, and there sits the greedy ball-less wonder who has allowed it while pocketing our money! Next to him is the Old Manipulator, who was worthless in the last war, and whose methods are even more old and tired and deceitful than he is!”
Yaxley raised his arms. “Let this speech be my dying declaration!”
That silenced the chamber. A dying statement was a vow, and always truthful. It was also widely believed that it could only be given freely.
Yaxley next identified fifteen men as Marked Death Eaters, including his brother, and a further eighteen, including Fudge, who were easily bribable members of the Ministry or Wizengamot, or both. Yaxley then concluded, “I curse Tom Riddle, the Dark Lord who called himself Voldemort! I curse the Dark Grey Manipulator, Albus Dumbledore! I curse the venal Cornelius Fudge and his allies! And now, I die!”
Yaxley’s left hand went to his mouth, and an instant later, he was dead.
In the Room of Requirement, Harry Potter merely smiled as the connection ended.
Even though the Wizengamot session was supposed to be secret, the fact that Yaxley had made a dying declaration meant that his entire speech had to be reported, and published, as he had said it. Even though The Prophet had buried it in the back pages and only printed enough copies to be sent out to the regular subscribers, the other magical media had picked up the story and reported it in full across the world.
The magical population of Britain was talking, and that meant the Ministry and the leaders of the various Pureblood factions were very very worried.
They were about to become more so.
Still, enough of the Purebloods who had bribed Fudge into office were afraid of change to keep things going as they had been . . . for the moment.
The next Sunday evening, the entire Hogwarts community was just sitting down to the usual Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Nerves had been on edge all week, and the various factions had been growling at each other. Only Harry managed to keep his side in check, while the fears of the pro-Purebloods kept them from stepping over the line.
Two on the dais were especially worried. That morning, a very frightened Severus Snape had reported to the Headmaster that he had somehow been taken control of the evening before. When he had awoken that morning, he was in his secret storage room, where he kept his more dangerous ingredients and potions and which only he could access with a drop of his blood. Worse, he had no memories over the previous eleven hours.
That frightened both men, as Snape was immune to the Imperius, yet somehow he had been controlled, with no sure sign of how it had happened. In addition, there was no obvious signs of Obliviation, and yet Snape, master Occlumens that he was, still could call up no memories. Dumbledore knew that it was likely ‘Shadow,’ using the Elder Wand, who was behind this, but he would hardly admit that to Snape.
Even more frightening, most of Snape’s supply of the Draught of the Living Death was missing – and only a bit of the antidote.
With the dinner starting, the students across the tables calmed down a bit. Generally, the desserts/pudding course at Hogwarts was restrained, but on Sundays the elves always made an effort which nearly rivaled a feast, especially for the final course. When the sweets arrived, the students and staff relaxed even a bit more.
It therefore took a moment before all the people’s attention was attracted to three Slytherins who had suddenly stood up and started to move towards the staff dais.
Harry’s faction looked at him for a clue on how to act, and calmed down, although did not relax, when they saw Harry seemed merely attentive and curious as Parkinson, Nott, and Crabbe moved.
Dumbledore and Snape both made moves, as if they were going to stop the three students, but both suddenly froze, followed by the rest of the staff. Few of the students noticed, however, as they were watching the advancing trio.
The three students stopped off to the side of the chamber, although near the dais, so that all could see them. All three’s arms shot up in the Roman/fascist salute, and they all cried out, “All Hail the Dark!” Pansy continued, “Purity needs the Dark to continue to rule, which is why it is weak! We asked the Dark for help, to crush the fools who oppose us, and the Dark demanded sacrifice!” The salute ended.
“We tried to avoid the sacrifice. So, we approached the agent of the Dark Lord, polyjuiced as Moody, and begged him for help, and he tried to Obliviate us!” Nott claimed. That both terrified and confused Crouch; terrified him since they had blown his cover, and confused him as he was certain they had not approached him.
“We then asked the Dark Manipulator for help, and he sent us away with a lemon drop,” Pansy sneered.
“We asked the Dark Prince, who pretends to be the agent of both the Dark Lord and the Dark Manipulator,” Crabbe announced, stumbling a bit over the last word. “He sneered and told us to carefully harass Scarhead, even though we’ve all seen he’s lost his balls, since he can’t even look Potty in the eyes any more.”
“And so, we come back to the idea of a sacrifice to the Dark!” Pansy proclaimed. The three arms were raised in salute again. “All Hail the Dark and the Dark Lord!”
“All Hail the Dark and the Dark Manipulator!” Nott added.
“All Hail the Dark and the Dark Prince!”Crabbe cried out.
“We who are about to die, give our souls to the Dark!” they cried out. Then all three brought their left hands to their mouths, and then all collapsed, which released the staff from their frozen positions.
Madam Pomfrey was at the students’ sides in a few seconds. “Magically enhanced cyanide,” she told Dumbledore.
Dumbledore could only nod. That was the same thing which Yaxley had taken.
“How could we have been frozen like that?” McGonagall demanded. “The wards should have helped us!
“More importantly, where did Moody, or whoever that is, go?” Flitwick demanded, looking at the crowd of staff by the dead students but unable to see over them.
“He’s still sitting on the dais!” Vector answered, surprised.
Indeed, ‘Moody’ was still frozen. As most of the staff approached him, he was released but easily captured by the staff. In less than six minutes, his real self was revealed as the polyjuice wore off.
“Well,” Madam Hooch was heard to remark, “I don’t know which will be the bigger scandal. His identity, the students’ accusations, or their deaths.”
All three scandals were indeed huge, although Dumbledore and Snape were able to convince the Ministry that they had not had a conversation with the students, or at least did not remember them. The discovery of Barty Crouch Sr. under the Imperius was not the greatest addition to that scandal, however. When Junior had been questioned, he revealed that Voldemort was partly back, and under the care of Peter Pettigrew. That led the aurors to the Riddle Mansion, where Pettigrew was discovered, under the influence of the Draught of the Living Death, along with the decapitated corpse of a huge, magically mutated snake.
These discoveries led to Sirius Black’s acquittal of all charges and to the dismissal of Cornelius Fudge as Minister of Magic and the arrest of Crouch Senior (he would end up only forcibly retired, with no pension rights). Madam Bones was Fudge’s replacement, and she spent the rest of the year both preparing for any upswing in Dark activities and trying to clean out much of the corruption within the Ministry itself. Most of all, the MLE, especially the aurors, were searching unsuccessfully for Voldemort in his homunculus form.
It was only the size of that combined political scandal that prevented the scandal over the death of the three students from driving Dumbledore, and Snape, out of Hogwarts, despite their denials of involvement. One of Minister Bones’ first acts was to send a retired auror named Fraser, whom Harry had never met in his previous life, to take over the job of DADA professor. She was obviously hoping to prevent any recurrences of the violence and suicides of the previous weeks.
Harry was hoping that all these scandals would convince the other two schools to cancel the Tri-Wizard. Unfortunately, it turned out that all the magical contracts had been signed the previous July, and even though none of the participants were now interested in holding the contest, they were all committed.
Harry was disappointed, but he was used to disappointment. One reason he had wanted to expose Crouch/Moody was to make certain his name was not entered into the Tournament, just in case it was not canceled. Now that the faux-Moody was gone, Harry felt safe on that count, as there should be no one who would be taking orders from Voldemort to do so. Voldemort, who was in suspended animation because of the Draught of the Living Death, was safely tucked away in the Chamber of Secrets until the last Horcrux could be destroyed.
All this also meant that Harry had to decide if he would enter someone into the tournament, just to stir up some trouble. Ron was one possibility, as he had been slightly annoying, mostly just because he was much more immature than Harry now was, and Ron was jealous and loudly resentful of Harry’s changes. Malfoy was another possibility, of course. Harry at times toyed with the thought that he might get away with entering Snape or even Dumbledore
Amazingly, the deaths of the three Slytherin students took the edge off of the tensions at Hogwarts. The information which had underlaid the turmoil was not forgotten, and in fact it was popping up in all the schools in Western Europe by late September through late October. The Establishment tried to fight back, but it was ‘tradition vs the facts’, and it seemed as if tradition was losing in Britain, especially since Minister Bones leaned towards reform and had the Ministry busy cleaning itself up, leaving little time for official meddling. There was a growing set of demands from the regional schools in Britain, not the least of which were a demand for equal rights to the recruitment of the Muggle-born and easier and less expensive access to Hogwarts for their post-O.W.L. students. The Hogwarts Board of Governors had raised the price of ‘late admissions’ so high that few could afford them back in the early 1960s, and had kept raising them. At the least, it looked like that might change.
In the face of this, the up-coming Tri-Wizard Tournament was being highlighted. All three of the self-proclaimed ‘premier’ schools would be in the spotlight created by the Tournament. Whoever was chosen champion for their school would not just be carrying the reputation of their school, but of the entire established educational hierarchy in Europe, especially as the traditionalist press, such as The Prophet, was predicting all three champions would ‘of course’ be Pure. Press from outside Europe, which had totally ignored the Tournament in Harry’s other lifetime, were arriving, and setting up a press camp in the fields between Hogsmeade and Hogwarts by mid-October. Anti-tradition activists from all over Europe and then from around the world were also showing up, and ended up creating what they called ‘a village of equality’ on the far side of Hogsmeade. By the time the other two schools staged their dramatic arrivals, there was a media circus unprecedented in the magical world.
Still, it was a fairly relaxed Harry Potter who sat snuggled next to Hermione to watch the Goblet of Fire choose the champions. He was unsurprised that Krum was chosen a champion, but was a bit that Fleur was again as well. He hoped Cedric would again be chosen the Hogwarts champion.
The piece of singed paper few out of the Goblet, and the Headmaster announced, “Harry Potter?”
“WHAT!” Harry screamed, so startled that Hermione had ended up on the floor. “I didn’t enter this stupid contest!” Harry pulled his wand. “I swear on my magic I did not enter this contest or ask to be entered!”
“None the less, you appear to be entered,” Dumbledore replied regretfully. He missed the smirk on Snape’s face, but Harry did not. “Unless a name comes out which meets the requirements, I fear you are. . . .” At that moment, another piece of parchment popped out.
“Ah,” Dumbledore said, relieved. He did not want to face the scandal Harry’s forced entrance would create, not to mention the grief Harry, and the mysterious Shadow, would likely cause. He hoped it would have the name of a Light Pureblood, like Diggory, which had been his plan all along. “The true Hogwarts champion is . . . Draco Malfoy?”