Umbridge meets her match, Hermione helps Harry through his grief, Bella and Remus find something unexpected in the Dark Forest
The toad squatted in the narrow space between the low metal shelf and the dusty tile floor. The animagus had nothing to do but sit and think. She couldn't move; the aurors would detect her.
Her bulbous eyes were drawn to movement as a tiny German cockroach scurried in her periphery. She snapped it up before her human brain could register the fact. If she'd been in her human shape she would have shrugged her shoulders. In this form that little snack could keep her alive for a week.
She settled back and thought some more.
She'd been the right hand of Minister Fudge. He was gone - consigned to obscurity, barely a footnote in history.
She'd climbed the ladder in the Scrimgeour administration so that, when he was overthrown, she was in a position to assume her rightful place in the Pureblood cabinet.
How she relished those times. Feared and respected by all who knew her, she had reached her pinnacle -removing mudblood filth from Wizarding Britain, and who knows what would have happened after that?
Then her world came crashing down. Again.
That Potter Brat and his mudblood tarts, blood traitors and half-blood sycophants toppled the one man who'd had the power to bring peace and prosperity back to their world.
Overcome by frustration she shrieked. Well, her human brain shrieked, but her toad form let out a resounding croak.
"Ere now, whot's this?"
The table that had been hiding the amphibian was suddenly lifted away.
Bright light made her blink involuntarily. She felt rather than saw a large hand grasp her middle and lift, then drop her into a deep pail.
"Me mate Azmo will be right chuffed - e' likes a nice toad now and again."
Dolores Jane Umbridge was beside herself with glee. This squib (she knew that all the custodial staff at St. Mungo's were squibs) was going to be her ride out of captivity. Once away she could apparate to wherever she wanted. She just had to get away from the non-apparation perimeter surrounding the magical hospital.
The janitor muttered to himself as he descended into the basement, and than took another set of steps to asub-basement.
"Bollocks!" she thought to herself, "This one has some kind of apartment under the hospital."
"Here y' go Azmo, I brung ya amate to play with."
Umbridge tumbled arse over tea kettle, landing wetly on a wooden surface.
Thinking she'd had quite enough, thank you Dolores began to puff herself up in preparation for the transformation back to her human form. She sensed a blur of movement to her left; then felt asharp pain in her side. She couldn't regain her human form as the whole left side of her body went suddenly numb.
She struggled with her good right arm and leg to turn herself around and saw the adder that had just bitten her.
An animagus can only perform one bit of magic while in his or her animal shape, and that is to revert back to human form. That little trick takes a great deal of concentration, unwavering focus.
It's very hard to focus when you realize you're about to be eaten by a large venomous snake.
Toads can live for several agonizing minutes in the digestive tract of an adder.
If they're lucky they suffocate before stomach acid begins to digest them. Unfortunately, Dolores Jane Umbridge's luck had long since run out.
The odd couple, vampiress and werewolf knelt naked in the clearing just inside the forbidden forest. Their clothes were neatly folded in the crook of the large oak that spread its branches above them.
Bellatrix's deep purple eyes captured his dark amber ones. He could feel her warmth, her will flowing into his body through their shared gaze.
"Become one with me Remus, let it happen. Breathe, that's it, breathe."
They morphed smoothly, and, most importantly for Remus, painlessly into their full wolf forms.
Her midnight black hair streaked with white, then went completely platinum as she became the white wolf. His sandy hair going grey, the grey of the alpha male.
Today, for some reason, he had aheightened awareness of the vampiress, something was different, she was even more alluring than usual. Bella smirked; she knew that her bitch was ovulating, deep into her heat.
She refused to enthrall him in her human vampire form, but this was simple animal attraction. And she had gone quite long enough without, thank you very much. Bella yipped, turned and scampered deeper into the woods. She was going to make this as much fun as possible, for both of them.
Pansy looked at the legal document in front of her. Clear title to the Manor and grounds of Carraticus Crabbe. Her net worth, having gone up ten fold from what it had been, was enough to release her family's vault to her discretion. She had her birthright at last! She was the scion of a noble family, and vowed that her family would be noble again.
"Mama Pansy! Mama Pansy, look!"
Elizabeth Earlich, a pale ten year old redheaded came puffing into the great room carrying a small stack of newspapers. The headline read:
"Parkinson Builds House of Hope in Hogsmeade."
The story described her budding establishment in glowing terms, citing personal sacrifice and selfless devotion to the children of tragedy.
The article went on to describe the abortive attempt by a minor ministry official to remove the children from her care. It called upon the new administration to support Parkinson House in its humanitarian effort.
The first owls appeared as she was putting the paper down.
Letters of admiration and support began to pour in. And donations, galleons, pledges of food, clothing, furniture, toys - everything she had planned to buy in the coming weeks and months seemed to appear as if by, well, magic.
Two letters contained proposals of marriage and one offered to help her relieve the stress she must surely be under.
Three howlers insisted that she had no business setting herself up as an example for wayward wizarding children.
In her darkest moods she agreed with those who'd sent the howlers, but then Millie reminded her that most parents were no better off than she was in that respect. You didn't need alicense to make sprogs, just a healthy libido.
At the end of the day she looked up at her ten guidelines over the great room's fireplace, then down at the smiling faces of the children she loved more than anything and smiled.
She was happier than she'd ever been in her life, and she'd done it as a single witch in a wizard's world.
Harry Potter leaned back into the embrace of his best friend. They were reclined in the cushions of his 'big comfy couch' in the library of Grimauld Place. She had pulled him into a gentle hug as he sat with the morning paper. She took his shoulders and gently turned him so that he could recline against her. It was their normal morning routine, allowing them to snuggle and read the paper at the same time. Soft brown curls fell across his cheek. He wished he could stay cuddled with her forever, but he knew he was just "borrowing" her to help get past his grief.
"Why do I get the feeling that you had something to do with this?" she asked, nodding at the headline.
"Very little actually," he replied, "this was mostly Rita's doing."
Hermione knew that he had interceded on her behalf with the goblins and the Shacklebolt Administration.
He leaned his head back on her shoulder.
"Did you know that Rita grew up in a ministry orphanage?"
"Um-hum, and she saw something at Parkinson's House that she'd never had growing up."
"Who'd have thought that harpy had such a soft spot in her heart?"
Harry chuckled, "Which one? Pansy or Rita?"
"Both, either, I couldn't have known."
"When we knew Pansy in school all we saw was the pureblood princess - she was a product of her environment. She couldn't imagine any other kind of life."
Hermione hummed in agreement,"now she finds herself surrounded by people who love her and depend on her."
"So what you're saying is that, what Pansy needed was to be needed?"
"When I arrived at her house d'you know what she was doing?"
"She was sorting socks, with five of the little ones. There must have been nineteen or twenty odd pairs of socks spread out on the floor and she was helping the children with the matching. She looked up at me and smiled and asked if I wanted to help.
"She's really rather pretty when she smiles, y'know?"
Hermione shrugged, "I wouldn't know, she's never smiled for me."
"And Millicent, big as she is, is so gentle with all of them."
"She had a tough time at school. Big as a house and a half-blood in Slytherin to boot."
"Well, they've both overcome their upbringing."
"Just like you, Harry."
"Oh yes, given the abuse and neglect you had growing up? The sad truth is that abused children often become abusers themselves - not you."
He put down the paper and snuggled into her gentle embrace. "It's because of you, y'know."
"You have been my anchor, the voice of my conscience, since first year."
"Your nag more likely."
"Sometimes. Sometimes I need alittle nag."
"I'll always be there for you Harry."
"I know, Hermione. And I'll always need you."
"I love you Harry Potter."
"I love you Hermione Potter."
She stiffened; did he mean to say"Potter"?
Bella and Remus woke from their post coital nap to the plaintive cry of a wolf cub. Pack law says there will be no orphan cubs. The alpha male communicated this to his alpha female, who nodded. They loped off together in search of the cub.
They found him in the crook of two tree roots being harassed by three medium sized acromantulae. Two arthropod legs twitched on the ground between the arachnids and the cub.
Remus growled, low and dangerous. Two of the acromantulae spun to face him. The two spiders combined probably equaled the mass of the lycan, but fast as they were they were slow compared to the werewolf.
Of course they had very sharp, potently venomous fangs.
Bellatrix stepped back and morphed into her human vampire form.
Remus sprang onto the nearest spider and sank his teeth into the largest spider's cephalothorax, just behind the great compound eyes. The other acromanula jumped onto the wolf's back and buried it's fangs into his shoulder.
Remus could sense the venom, like molten lead in his blood then felt the weight of the spider lift as Bellatrix tore it off his back to splatter it across the trunk of the great tree. She then picked up a fallen log, three metres long and a good twenty centemetres across at it's thickest point.
The third spider turned from his wolf-cub prey just in time to see Remus charging him, he scuttled back as fast as his six remaining legs could carry him. Bellatrix had been waiting for the arachnid to giver her a clear shot and she took it, throwing the felled limb like an oversized javelin to skewer the spider from mouth to anus.
The werewolf cub, seeing the human approach bristled and snarled. In less than a wink she morphed into the white wolf.
He sniffed the air as he crawled out from the shelter of the tree roots. He continued to crawl, still on his belly, tail low and wagging and turned belly up in front of Bella. She clamped lightly on his throat, showing that she accepted him. The cub repeated his supplication to Remus, who responded likewise.
The three loped into the forest together.
There are no orphan wolf cubs.
Theodore Nott the Third left St. Mugo's, having seen a transfiguration specialist and a magical proctologist to heal from his ordeal at the "Hag's Hump." Nott vowed that he would level that place once he'd formed his new army. He had a list of names, the children of the followers of Voldemort, dispossessed, evicted, scraping a living doing the kind of work their proud families used to hire menials to do.
The Son's of the Serpent, neo-death eaters all, would begin a reign of terror. They would take back magical Britain, then the continent, then who knows?