Total Word Count: 11,900
Author Note: a response to a prompt from the omniocular November Challenge 95. The Ministry tries to eliminate 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 Four: Fireworks and Dungbombs
"I am a genius!"
Myrtle threw her head back and laughed as Pansy blushed indignantly. Her skirt and robes covered everything worth covering, but her knickers were still around her ankles and no one had walked in on her sitting on the toilet since she was five.
The ghost floated backwards out of the toilet cubicle still laughing. Pansy sorted herself out then shoved the cubicle door open.
"Privacy! Learn some!"
Myrtle smirked. "Well, if you don't want to know what your little flooding problem is I can always just -"
"You're an aggravating little voyeur -"
"I wasn't looking at you. I like boys!"
"- and if you don't tell me what you've found out this instant -"
"I was getting to it!"
"- then I will personally see to it that you never spy on anyone ever again!"
Myrtle lifted her hands up defensively. "There's a hole in the wall in a corridor running under the lake. If you fill that it, then your problem is solved."
"Fine. Thank you." Pansy walked over to the sinks to wash her hands.
"So," Myrtle said from behind her, "when you write to Olive Hornby for me, tell her she's fat."
On Friday he apologised, telling them there were 'portkey issues'.
The following week he failed to turn up for two days in a row. When they finally arrived at Hogwarts Pansy paid another visit to the Headmistress, but both of them were tired and stressed. She left having eaten three biscuits and not feeling any better about the situation.
Five House Elves (in the spirit of being helpful), Bill Weasley (in the spirit of being ordered by McGonagall to be helpful) and some gillyweed borrowed from the potions supplies currently kept in the Hospital Wing accompanied her to the dungeons whilst the students were eating tea. Finding the leak was more difficult than the actual repair and if Pansy had thought the dungeons were cold before, it was nothing to how cold they were when flooded.
"We should have asked Hermione what Muggles wear to do this kind of thing," Weasley said through chattering teeth when they surfaced near the top of a staircase and the gillyweed had worn off.
"Muggles swim around in flooded dungeons for fun? I knew they were crazy." Pansy searched for her wand with numb fingers, finally pulling it out of the holster strapped to her arm and performing drying spells on both of them until they stopped shivering.
Weasley grinned. "Step two: dry out the dungeons."
"That's step three. Step two involves alcohol."
"Not in a school," he laughed. "Hot tea maybe."
"Are you joking?" Pansy started up the last of the stairs and Weasley fell into step beside her. "The Headmistress is a Scots woman. Two galleons says she has more than a drop of whiskey in her 'tea' on a Friday evening."
"I might have a bottle of something upstairs."
Pansy looked up at him, debating the ethics of a small glass of alcohol for medicinal purposes. "Are you offering?"
We dried out the dungeons and now we're just waiting for new furniture, carpets etc. They've started confiscating the student's wands before we leave Hogwarts in the evening now, so the sooner we make the old dormitories liveable again, the better. (And no, I'm not going to quit my job, even if Draco thinks I should.)
I had a drink with a Weasley. I blame the fact that it was alcoholic.
Well done on mastering cottage pie!
"Look, we're not leaving anyone out because this is for all of us, but if you want to say something just, um, raise your hand, okay? There's too many of us to talk all at once."
Everyone in Slytherin House was in the common room. The ones lounging on the floor were mostly younger students, a few seventh years were standing around looking important and Graham was perched on a table. As Pansy watched two second years pulled themselves up to join him and sat there swinging their legs.
"Alright, so it's been three days and we're all agreed that the Ministry guy isn't coming." Julia Harper, a seventh year with long hair tied back in a messy ponytail and bitten nails, seemed to be chairing the plotting session. She had a cousin with the same surname in the same House and year who had been arrested over Christmas.
A girl in the sixth year raised her hand. "Is it worth waiting to see if anyone else is coming to get us out of here? Someone who isn't from the Ministry?"
"The only other people who know we are here and could possibly do anything about it are the professors," the boy sitting next to her on the sofa said, "and I don't think they can, or will, do anything about it, because otherwise wouldn't they have done something already?"
Julia pursed her lips and he raised his hand belatedly with a muttered apology.
"If someone's coming we can still come up with a plan while we're waiting," Malcom said with his hand in the air.
"Fair enough." Julia smiled. "In the interests of democracy, raise your hand if you feel coming up with a plan of action is something you want to do, regardless of whether or not you think someone is coming."
The spell that Pansy was using to make part of her door act like a one-way window wavered and she renewed it with the spare wand she'd recovered from its hiding place in the toilet cistern. Her wand and the wands of the students had all been confiscated by three Ministry officials and a bored Auror every time they left Hogwarts for the past month.
She was curious enough to see what plan her students could come up with without a wand between them to suffer kneeling on the stone floor a bit longer.
"Unanimous," one of the seventh year boys, Zaine, drawled. "What a surprise in a House famed for its cunning plots."
A few people snickered.
"And, to further state the obvious, we're all agreed that this plot is to get out?" said Malcom.
"And preferably not get put back in," Graham muttered.
"I think we ought to pool our resources," said Zaine.
Julia nodded. "Maeve, you've got neat handwriting." A blond-haired girl looked up. "Everyone queue up and let Maeve know what you've got that might be useful and she can make a list."
Maeve pulled her chair closer to one of the tables and someone passed her a quill, ink and parchment. About fifteen minutes later she read out: "a box of Dr. Filibuster's Fabulous Wet-Start No-Heat Fireworks, three Basic Blaze Boxes (the basic selection of Weasleys' Wild-Fire Whiz-Bangs), a small pile of Extendable Ears and fake wands, a bag of dungbombs and one flask of Babbling Beverage."
The quiet was broken by one of the sixth years saying, "not very conductive to an escape."
"There's only ever been three escapes from Azkaban," Malcom pointed out.
The second years sat on the table looked worried. Graham slung an arm around the shoulders of the nearest one. "Well, there's going to be at least one more."
When the common room had filled with noise and then gone silent without anyone asking her to join them, Pansy had known that her help wasn't wanted. Perhaps it was because they weren't used to relying on their Head of House, perhaps they didn't want a teacher interfering, or perhaps they just didn't trust her.
She thought about the six wands still hidden around her private living area. She thought about
"I wonder if the food's left by House Elves," said Maeve quietly. "Do you think we could catch one?"
"Well, I wonder," Pansy said loudly as she swung open her door, "exactly what you were thinking when you started plotting without first checking for listening charms."
It was quiet for a moment before Zaine said, "We don't have wands, remember?"
"You don't have wands," Pansy said, grinning slyly. "I have seven. Would you like to add those to your list?"
Most of the lower years smiled up at her. Malcom, Zaine, Julia and a lot of the older students smirked.
Graham laughed and raised his hand. "I'll have one!"
"But you can't use it to catch a House Elf, even if there are any," she said, perching on the armrest of the sofa Julia was standing by. "They aren't bound to any of us, so they're quite capable of evading capture by harmful means."
"If someone else comes, could we catch them do you think?" Maeve chewed on the end of her quill thoughtfully.
"What we have to do is plan for every eventuality," Pansy told her. "Yes, I think it's likely that someone will come to check on us sooner or later and I think
She moved her wand in the appropriate pattern to set an alarm on the common area as an example.
A Houseful of eyes watched.
Fireworks zipped through the three doors leading into the common room. One, carefully aimed, hit the portkey out of
The seven people with wands, including Pansy, leaned out from behind sofas, armchairs and a table turned onto its side to cast hexes, jinxes and curses. Julia cast a rather good Jelly-Legs at Harlow at the same time as Malcom let a knee-reversing hex fly and the Ministry representative crashed to the ground, his robes hitching up to reveal knobbly ankles.
The man who had been standing next to him dropped to the floor and rolled for cover almost instantly. Three of the other students with wands began firing spells at him, almost competing to see who could hit the Auror first.
The other three intruders had scattered.
A head of bushy-hair poked up over the back of an armchair to cast petrificus totalus three times in quick succession and a frozen Zaine toppled out from behind the door leading to the girl's dormitories. A firework caught the ends of Granger's hair alight and she ducked back down cursing.
Pansy knew then that the people they were fighting weren't here to put them in Azkaban permanently and were probably here to rescue them. The Hermione Granger that campaigned against Umbridge and bad Ministry politics in fifth year wouldn't have dragged herself all the way to Azkaban in support of poor policies now.
Later Pansy would thank Granger for coming to the rescue. Later she would be apologetic for the welcome the 'rescuers' received. Later she would be the very picture of politeness, but for now she lobbed a dungbomb at Felix Harlow and joined her fellow Slytherins as they revelled in a plot successfully executed.
Pansy stared at the small book lying near
Most of the spells cast on people had been reversed, but Julia was going around making sure that there weren’t any minor ones still in effect that had been missed. Pansy nodded at her and made her way to the biggest cluster of chairs and sofas where most of the students with wands had sheltered during the skirmish.
Zaine flopped down onto a sofa next to Malcom, Graham and a second year boy, all of them looking rather pleased with themselves. The witch with the eyepatch was sat on another sofa at a right angle to the one occupied by the boys with a bemused look on her face, which was probably normal for someone who had recently been knocked out by a Weasley firework. Now that Pansy had the time to look she noted that the woman also wore Auror robes.
Granger was sitting next to her looking tired and still a little angry with her hair in more of a mess than Pansy had ever seen it.
“Gawain Robards, Head of the Auror Office.” The man in Auror robes with ‘Robards’ stitched on them, strode over to Pansy and offered her his hand. She glanced over at the robes of the unknown witch on the sofa to identify her as ‘Callaghan’ before shaking Robards’ hand.
“Pansy Parkinson, Head of Slytherin House and Transfigurations Professor at Hogwarts.”
“We know.” The other man who had arrived with Granger, Harlow and the two Aurors joined them and offered his own hand. “
“Twenty years younger and no where near as senile,” said Granger. “It’s suspected that the Acting Chief has been signing a few things without reading them thoroughly.”
It seemed to Pansy that the Ministry were going to try and back track on the policy of packing Slytherin House off to Azkaban as neatly as they had changed tack regarding with other policies over the years, up to and including their adamant statements that no, You-Know-Who could not possibly be back, with assigning a woman as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot as a progressive move as a diversion maybe.
Old Ministry, brief scourgify.
“Will there be a public apology?” Pansy asked
“Well, possibly we could -”
“Yes,” said Granger, “and published in the Daily Prophet.”
“I would also like my students relocated from Azkaban immediately,” Pansy added.
Robards folded his arms across his rather broad chest. “Your colleague, Professor Granger, has already provided the Ministry with details of how this is going to work. We weren’t expecting to be assaulted when delivering the news, but since no dangerous spells were used I see no reason why we should deviate from her little plan.” He looked at least a little amused, and as the adult looking the least worst for wear and the only member of the ‘invading party’ that hadn’t caught on fire at some point he probably had a right to be.
Instead she turned to Granger and smiled, her white teeth a stark contrast to the sooty streaks on her face from the use of fireworks in close quarters. “You went on a do-good-ing rampage in the Ministry then?”
“I wouldn’t call it that,” Granger said wearily.
“You ought to listen to my colleague,” Pansy said looking at Robards and Ogden. “Rumour has it that even Rita Skeeter listens to her. Sometimes.” She blinked, then smirked as she realised Granger had chorused the last word along with her, albeit under her breath.
Julia wandered over to complete her check on the students with Zaine and the other boys on the nearby sofa before indicating Callaghan and asking Pansy if the witch was alright.
Callaghan rubbed at her eyepatch then sat up straighter. “I’m a bit dizzy, but fine ‘part from that. Thanks for askin’ though.”
“Are we finished then?” Graham got up followed by the second year boy that seemed to have attached himself to the fifth year. “’Cause I’m starving.”
The Ministry hastened the repair and refurbishment of Hogwarts lower levels so in the end the Slytherin students only spent little over a week living in The Three Broomsticks and in spare bedrooms of accommodating Hogsmeade residents.
Pansy was on edge the whole time hoping that her students had taken out their aggression enough during the brief battle at Azkaban to be models of perfect of behaviour. She celebrated their return to Hogwarts by sharing a drink with Bill and Granger in her shiny new office that was attached to her shiny new living quarters that were far better decorated than Snape's had ever been.
"Looking forward to the Yule Ball?" Granger asked politely.
Pansy wasn’t sure if she was here as a testament to the kind-of alliance growing between the two youngest members of the teaching staff or to back-up her fellow Gryffindor during his sojourn into Slytherin territory, but the image of Granger drinking alcohol was curious enough that Pansy had decided to ignore the whole issue in favour of seeing how inebriated House Gryffindor’s Golden Girl might get.
"Circe, no," Pansy said. "I have nothing to wear."
Bill leaned back against a bookcase that was empty except for a rather worn copy of 'Guide to Advanced Transfiguration' and a small book with a creased cover. "Do you think if we slip enough whiskey into Minerva's tea she'll do a jig?"
"She does love to dance," Granger pointed out. “Why else do you think we’re having a Yule Ball this year?” She sipped at her Firewhisky and smiled. "You should ask her."
"To do a jig?"
"Only if we can take photographs of him looking mortified to blackmail him with later," said Pansy.
"Hey!" he protested. "I'm a good dancer I'll have you know."
Pansy laughed and topped up his glass
"Erm, is there going to be a later?" Granger said sounding at least a little uncomfortable. "After this school year ends? I mean, how long are you both planning to teach here for?"
Bill shrugged. "I like it here. Besides, wizards aren't very welcome with the Gingotts Goblins at the moment with the damage you three caused." He grinned as Granger blushed a little. "They'll be quite happy with me working for them if I'll go back to
"Bill! That's brilliant!" Granger squealed, throwing her arms around him.
"Congratulations." Pansy rescued Granger's glass. "More Weasleys. Remind me to quit before they reach Hogwarts."
"You're going to stay then?" Granger asked, untangling a few strands of her hair from where they’d gotten stuck on Bill’s earring.
"Well, I'm not going to jump out of a window just yet." Pansy smiled. "But you're leaving, aren't you?"
"There's no need to look so happy about it."
"Happy? With you entering the political arena? At the thought of you rampaging through the Ministry and demanding justice for the underlings on a daily basis? Perish the thought."
"It wasn't 'rampaging'," said Granger. "It was more...persuading with force."
Bill snorted and held his glass out to Pansy. "Top up please, and I'll drink to that." Pansy shared out the last of the whiskey and he raised his glass. "To persuading with force!"
"To improving things for future generations, including the soon-to-be youngest Weasley." Granger clinked her glass against Bill's and they both looked at Pansy.
Professor Pansy Parkinson lifted her glass to join theirs. "To Transfigurations! Changing the world one spell at a time." She swallowed a mouthful of whiskey and pulled a face. "That sounded soppy. I think I'm drunk."
Saturday was a Hogsmeade weekend. Every Slytherin in third year and above with permission slip descended on the wizarding village. Most of the students of the same age in the other Houses joined them, along with Flitwick, Vector and Bill who were the designated chaperones. The Slytherins not in Hogsmeade took over the quidditch pitch and a few daring Ravenclaws followed to set up an impromptu game against them.
Pansy visited Greg.
They ate ham and mushroom omelettes with fresh salad and drank a rather nice white wine. She spilt a little on her dress, laughing when he told her some of the jokes he'd heard at work.
Afterwards, they drank black coffee.
Greg leaned back in his chair to pick up a quill off the sideboard and started sharpening it.
"What are you doing?" Pansy asked lazily.
"Writing to Draco. I'm going to tell him you're not in Azkaban anymore."
"He probably already knows." She stretched out her legs with a sigh. "Actually, you should tell him that it's mostly down to Granger that I'm not in Azkaban anymore. And that she snorts. And I was speaking to McGonagall the other day and -"
She stopped, put her coffee down and pushed it to one side before reaching for the quill. "On second thoughts, I'll tell him myself."