?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
07 January 2008 @ 05:32 pm
Transfigurations: Part Three  
 Title: Transfigurations  

Rating: PG

Total Word Count: 11,900

Author Note: a response to a prompt from the [info]omniocular November Challenge 95. The Ministry tries to eliminiate evil by sending all Slytherins to Azkaban for life immediately after sorting. With many thanks to LilyAyl for betaing – any remaining mistakes are all mine.

Summary: Hogwarts reopens in September as usual, but it hasn't yet been fully repaired following the battle in May. The lower levels are flooded, so the Ministry helpfully arranges alternative accommodation for Slytherin students. As the 'temporary' solution starts to become a more permanent one the Slytherins and their new Head of House try fighting back.

Part Three: Punishment and a Prediction

Pansy had never subscribed to the Daily Prophet. At home she had always browsed through the paper when Father and Mother had finished with it. At school the outside world had seemed unimportant and Draco had always let her know if there was anything relevant being reported. (Draco was an avid Daily Prophet reader. She'd often wondered if he'd had a bit of a crush on Rita Skeeter until the Potter article the woman wrote for the Quibbler.)

This morning the entire student body seemed to be fighting over or crowding around copies of the paper. Pansy leaned over and borrowed Trelawney's to see what all the fuss was about.

If the Divinations Professor complained she planned to tell the witch that they didn't all have Inner Eyes to rely on, but, when she peered out from under her lashes, Trelawney seemed resigned to the theft.

Page one was something about Potter, Quidditch and charity, page two was something about the Aurors, page three had an amusing photograph of Orsino Thruston from the Weird Sisters and speculations on where he was hiding his latest tattoo.

Page eight forced her to put down her coffee and give the paper her undivided attention.

Eliminating Evil: Slytherins Sorted

Ministry Praised For Radical Policy

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has always Sorted its students into four Houses: Gryffindor (home of Harry Potter), Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin - home to such characters as Bellatrix Lestrange, the Carrows, Antonin Dolohov and, it's rumoured, Voldemort himself. In an effort to protest the public from another generation of evil the Acting Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot has passed a Ministry proposed motion to send all Slytherin students to Azkaban.

"The dungeons where these students normally live are flooded anyway and they are only imprisoned outside of school hours, so they're still receiving an education. That's far better than the fate of children deemed 'undesirable' last year by the parents of these Slytherin students," explained one Ministry employee.

"Most of their families and friends are in Azkaban anyway," added another (for a full list of imprisoned Death Eaters see page 13).

The rest of the school were eyeing the Slytherin table in a way that did not bode well. The Slytherins, to their credit, were eyeing back, but they didn't look happy about it. The teachers were pretending not to notice, which in Pansy's experience was all they ever had done when faced with trouble caused by the press.

Pansy smoothed out the creases she’d made in the Prophet as she thought for a moment, then stood up. A few people looked at her, but the noise level in the Hall didn't decrease. She swallowed compulsively, then pointed her wand at her throat and whispered sonorous.

"If I can have your attention," she began, and suddenly she had more attention that she'd ever wanted outside of a high class social event consisting of the wizarding world’s most eligible bachelors. She deliberately ignored the rest of the staff table, although she imagined Granger would be frowning enough to give herself lines.

"No doubt you've all discovered the article on page eight of the Prophet." Being blunt was not Pansy's strong point, but she wanted to make things clear. "Yes, the Slytherin students and I are currently living in a subsection of Azkaban. The Ministry has said that this is only until the flooding problem is solved. You shouldn't believe everything you read in the papers, which is a lesson you ought to have learnt by now with all the rubbish that's been printed over the past few years."

She couldn't think of anything else to say, so she cancelled the spell on her voice, sat down and tried not to think of all the letters and Howlers she would shortly be receiving from concerned, angry and terrified parents. And all the parents who were unable to send letters.

"Trouble will be upon us soon, my dear," Trelawney said as she ran a finger around the rim of her empty tea cup.

Pansy could have sworn she heard Granger or McGonagall snort. Maybe both.

~*~

Three days later they were two students short when Pansy did a head count before the morning portkey trip.

She would have sent others to go looking for whoever had overslept, but she didn't want to lose anyone else. One of the first year girls had been throwing up half the night and Pansy didn't have the experience or the supplies to do anything more than hold her hair out of the way. She needed to get the girl to Madam Pomfrey, she needed to accompany the rest of the House to breakfast and she needed to prepare for her first class, so when Harlow said he'd sort it out she nodded.

Harlow's idea of 'sorting it' seemed to be similar to the Daily Prophet's idea of 'sorting the Slytherins'.

When they arrived back at Azkaban in the evening there were two fifth year boys on one of the sofas. Pansy placed her hand on Harlow's forearm to prevent the man from leaving before she figured out what had happened and so she could hex him after she had.

"I was under the impression that you were going to return my missing students to the school," she said.

"He took our wands!" Graham Pritchard folded his arms and glared. "And we haven't had anything to eat."

"When I arrived to escort these students they were using the blasting curse on one of the walls," Harlow said dryly. "I repaired the damage, confiscated their wands and left them confined here, which I deemed to be an appropriate punishment for their transgression."

"He arrived at four o'clock in the bloody afternoon," said the other boy – Malcom.

"When we oversleep at Hogwarts, we miss breakfast, but we don't miss classes," said Graham. "It’s not fair! We've missed loads and it's our owl year and he didn't even give us anything to eat!"

Pansy released Harlow's arm before she gave into the temptation to dig in her nails. Older people tended to bruise easily and she didn’t want him to have any supposed evidence for any stories the man might concoct to harm her reputation and social standing if this incident, or others, made him feel less than friendly towards her.

"It is not your place to punish my students. You will not do it again." She held out her hand. "Their wands please."

"I don't believe wands are required within this setting, Professor."

Pansy stared at him. "Excuse me?"

"As I recall students are forbidden from using magic outside of class at any rate and this is certainly outside of the classroom. They have shown an irresponsible and immature use of magic and have lost the privilege of that use."

"But – but we need them! To study!" Graham looked half outraged and half on the verge of tears.

He looked at them impassively from under thin white eyebrows. "You don't require a wand to study theory, and theory should enable you to pass any exams if you study thoroughly."

"Are you related to Umbridge?" Harlow blinked and Pansy shook her head.  “Never mind. Just give me the wands please. They can remain confiscated until we reach a conclusion on this, but they can be confiscated by me."

"No." Harlow gently squeezed the portkey that he was still holding, creasing the book's cover. "In fact, I intend to speak to Minister Rycroft about the possibility of all wands being confiscated and left at Hogwarts. I'm sure he will agree."

Pansy blinked again. Harlow took advantage of her momentary stupefaction to portkey away; and Graham’s stomach growled.

~*~

To Pansy Parkinson there was no such thing as being too careful.

The next day she missed lunch and flooed from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley to invest in a number of spare wands. They weren’t particularly difficult to get hold of as long as you weren’t looking for quality. Whilst the easiest way to get a reliable spare wand was to duel someone, changing the alliance of their wand to you, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement didn’t seem to mind that some people would rather buy an impersonal spare wand. They might not be capable of performing the most complicated and powerful spells, but they were useful.

Pansy choose seven, consisting of various woods and cores, and hid them around her private living quarters at Azkaban, including in the bathroom, with semi-permanent sticking charms and covered them with disillusionment charms, wards against Summoning and a few choice hexes.

Figuring out a contingency plan for being trapped was more difficult.

None of the fires were connected to the floo, there were no windows through which to send an owl and no House Elves came when she called. (That didn't necessarily mean there weren't any, but it was a sure sign that if there were they certainly weren't bound to obey her. She could try and catch one, but there were stories about wizarding folk who tried that. None of them had pleasant endings.)

She remembered hearing a rumour about Dumbledore's group, the Order, being able to send messages in the form of a corporal Patronus. For a moment she wished she was capable of that, but it probably wouldn't have worked over the long distance required anyway.

The most straightforward thing to do was to make sure there were people on the outside who knew what was going on, but McGonagall hadn't managed to change their address yet and Pansy doubted how much pull she had with the Ministry.

She owled Greg and told him that if he didn't hear from her for more than three days he was to contact as many of their friends and old allies as possible. She didn't think they'd be of any help, but writing the message made her feel better.

Dear Pansy, he wrote back.

I learnt how to make omelettes. I got my first pay cheque on Tuesday, which was good. Draco owled about what was in the papers. My cleaning spells must have got better because I got rid of the spider webs in that tricky ceiling bit in the kitchen.

Hope you can visit again soon, Greg

~*~

The weekend came and Harlow didn't.

Pansy was thankful that food appeared on the tables in the common room twice a day because she wasn't sure that she'd be able to keep control of a herd of hungry teenagers. The first years looked at her like she had all the answers, but the older students looked at her like she was useless and she wasn't sure which was worse.

When Harlow arrived on Monday morning, the entire House was wide awake and waiting for him. The seventh years took charge, no less angry than anyone else but at least better at keeping it under control, and Pansy let them.

"I was unaware that school was compulsory at the weekend," was Harlow's response to their pointed questions.

"What about Quidditch?" Malcom Braddock folded his arms. Pansy couldn't remember who was on the team the last time they played. She had heard rumours that Malcom wanted to try for Chaser last year, but last year no one was very interested in games. "Look, we don't mind practising at lunch if we have to, but matches are normally at the weekends."

"And what about Hogsmeade weekends?" a third year piped up.

Harlow turned to Pansy and raised an eyebrow.

I'm on their side, she told him with her folded arms and McGonagall frown.

"Do you intend to make yourselves late?" he asked.

~*~

Professor Flitwick stopped beside Pansy's chair at lunch to point out that the Slytherin students were being...remarkably destructive in class recently. Weasley muttered something about "should be more defence, less dark arts" and "they're only fairies".

Pansy ate quickly and hurried back to her classroom. There was still a chair hopping around with a furry tail that she needed to catch and untransfigure.

She had it cornered when someone in the doorway said something that made the chair turn blue before falling rigidly to the floor.

"So now I need to reverse colour as well as reverse transfigure. Thank you," she snapped.

"There is no magic in Muggle Studies, Parkinson, so can you tell me why exactly your students are using my class as a duelling period?"

Pansy weaved her wand in the air until the chair was back to normal and returned it to its correct place in the room before turning to her unwelcome visitor.

"Perhaps they're bored."

Granger still hand her wand out and was rolling it between her fingers. "Perhaps if they paid attention they wouldn't be bored."

"Perhaps if they weren't slowly, but surely having every wizarding right taken away from them they wouldn't be so full of impotent anger that they would feel the need to take it out on mindless Hufflepuffs." Pansy deliberately kept her own wand in her hand.

"Ravenclaws."

"Does it matter?"

"Negative attitudes should be left at the classroom door."

Pansy rolled her eyes. "Which I'm sure you did all the time."

"Tell them to behave."

"I think they're justified in their behaviour."

Granger blinked. "I swear, I don't understand you."

"That's obvious." Pansy slid her wand back up her sleeve and folded her arms. "Hermione Granger, the smartest witch in our year, and she 'doesn't understand' something. Merlin, inform the press."

Granger leaned against the doorframe, trying to look relaxed but she was still gripping her wand. "I don't understand a lot of things. I don't understand why you said what you did in May, for example. I don't understand how you can have said that and not meant for Harry to die."

"I pointed out that Potter was there. A statement of fact." Pansy sat down on the nearest desk. "Did it ever occur to you that we could have used Potter to get the Dark Lord away from Hogwarts? Children died in May; underaged kids that couldn't get out in time or refused to leave. If it was Potter the Dark Lord wanted, then Potter could have led him somewhere else. It's called strategy."

Granger sighed. "We had to be at Hogwarts. We didn't want to put the school in danger, but there was something we had to find, something important, and it was at Hogwarts."

"I'm supposed to understand that, but you don't understand me?" Pansy snorted. "I found out later that the only adult who would have understood what I meant had just jumped out of a window because he was as good a headmaster as he was a head of house. That about sums up my seventh year."

Granger's head snapped up. "Professor Snape was a brave man!"

"Dumbledore's man. I know, I read the papers. Still, he was so busy serving two Masters that he didn't have any time left for his students. Brave man, bad teacher." She smirked. "I thought your little friends had been saying the latter for years?"

"Well, yes." Granger bit her lip. "So, you didn't want Harry dead then?"

"No, I did not want Potter dead." Pansy tried not to laugh.

"Right. Okay then."

A bell signalled the end of lunch and Granger left before the students started arriving, wand still out. 

Part Four

 
 
feeling: accomplishedaccomplished