Author's note – Currently working on this but I've been distracted by a lot of things recently, being ill was the most recent. I have a few more chapters done so I'm sure I'll be getting more inspiration soon. Also this chapter has not been beta'd.
Shout outs –
Twilight Veela – I think so too. I'm hoping to keep the tone with Dahlia's POV.
Thank you for following – bratstopmom84, reverie-scriptor!
As always please enjoy, read, and review!
The next morning was gloomy, the seasons were changing, which lifted the teaching assistant's spirit colder weather always made her happy. She dressed quickly in the laughable oversized robes heading down to the Great Hall for breakfast to await that morning's headlines of the Prophet. She kept her head up heading down even with all the sideways glances she received from the students in the common room, hallways, Great Hall, and classroom. It was certainly split down the middle of who believed who. It cut to the core for the teaching assistant, she was supposed to be someone that the students trusted. Most did, but the few, minus the Slytherin troublemakers, that were so adamant that everything was fine and agreeing with Fudge hurt more than she anticipated.
The worst part of it all was that she wanted Fudge to be right. That Voldemort hadn't returned, that this was all some big hoax or bid for the Minister's job. A sigh broke from her lips, they'd see eventually. She hoped that this insanity would pass sooner rather than later. A united front against the Dark Lord, she swallowed hard at her next thought, against her father, would be for the good of everyone. She stopped in her tracks and cracked a smile, even Umbridge. Vile woman. Dahlia walked into the Hall where most of the students were having breakfast. She waved to Ron and Hermione. Ron didn't see her as he was too occupied with the food quickly disappearing into his mouth. No Harry. Damn, she hoped that after their talk he would reach out to his friends once more.
Luna skipping into the Hall barefoot caught her attention as Dahlia took a seat next to Cho. Luna joined her fellow Ravenclaws sitting on the other side of Cho. The forever dreamy smile of Miss Lovegood was on her face.
It made Dahlia smile, "Good morning Luna," she looked at the barefoot teenager, "Nargles?"
Luna nodded, "Need to reinforce the charms," she said taking a bit of toast.
"How are you Cho," Dahlia asked the Irish girl.
"Oh," she replied quietly, "I'm okay."
The lilac haired witch put a comforting arm around her, "I'm always around if you need to talk," Cho nodded. Dahlia looked up to see Harry taking a seat with Ron and Hermione.
"He just needed a push Miss Dumbledore," Luna said distracted.
"Thank you Luna, 10 points to Ravenclaw."
There was a commotion outside, the sickly sweet and upset tone of Dolores wafted through the Great Hall causing all the students to come out to see what was happening. Dahlia bolted to the archway fearing the worst and she found it. Umbridge and McGonagall were talking about the detention for Harry.
"Pardon me, Professor, but what exactly are you insinuating," the DADA professor asked walking up the stairs meeting the taller woman.
"I am merely requesting that when it comes to my students, you conform to the prescribed disciplinary practices," Minerva stated, her lilt was on edge.
"So silly of me," this phrase made Dahlia's teeth sit on edge, "but it sounds as if you're questioning my authority in my own classroom," she paused taking a step up to become 'taller' than McGonagall, "Minerva."
"Damn it," Dahlia breathed out, "I'm gonna catch hell for this."
"Not at all," Minerva stepped up, "Dolores," she said the name with such contempt, "merely your medieval methods."
"I am sorry dear but to question my practices is to question the Ministry and by extension the Minister himself. I am a tolerant woman," Dahlia scoffed loudly making Umbridge turn and those bright blue eyes glared into the teaching assistant. Dumbledore's niece would indeed pay for this, "but the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty."
Minerva unconsciously stepped down, "Disloyalty," her voice was pointed but it quivered.
"Things at Hogwarts are far worse than I feared," she kept her icy glare on Dahlia, "Cornelius will want to take immediate action. Dahlia," she said shortly, "come."
Dahlia hardened her eyes moving out of the throng of students. She was grasped by Minerva who gave her a kind nod encouraging her before the professor let go of the teaching assistant. The lilac haired witch trudged up the stairs after the diminutive professor.
After they were away from prying eyes Dolores rounded on the assistant, "You will pay for your insolence dear," the saccharin sweetness coming from her mouth made Dahlia ill. "I am sending an owl to the Minister, whatever he decides you will help me implicitly. I will know where you are at all times and you will submit to routine inquiries as well. You are dismissed Dahlia." Umbridge turned on her heels, "Enjoy your last day of freedom dear."
Dahlia felt the heat of her anger rise up but the tears that fell from her eyes quieted it. She rushed to her Uncle's office bursting in without knocking interrupting Albus and Snape. "Uncle we need to…" she caught herself looking at Severus.
"We'll speak later Severus," Albus said dismissing the professor.
Snape eyed the teaching assistant carefully, studying her. He had just seen her that morning in good spirits. What could possibly have happened in such a short amount of time? His eyes glittered putting a hand on her shoulder, "If you should need any further counsel Miss Dumbledore."
"I will speak with you later Severus," she tried to smile but it faltered. Snape nodded and left.
"Dahlia," Albus motioned to the rose colored sofa, "sit tell me what happened."
Dahlia took a seat next to her uncle, between sobbing and fuming, such a conflicting and frustrating emotional state, "I know that it's against the by-laws to transfigure a student for punishment but it says nothing about a professor."
"What happened," he said with a slight smile on his face.
The Headmaster's niece took a breath, "Umbridge wanted me to witness Harry's detention, so I figured it would be awful but I never imagined," her speech got quicker, "she has this quill and I'm not sure how it's done, ingenious little toad, but it scars the writer by using their blood at the ink. She used this diabolical thing with Harry. I told McGonagall and she confronted Dolores about it this morning. Now Umbridge is sending an owl to the Minister about inquiries and telling me that she will need to know where I am at all times and that I will have to submit to inquiries as well. All of it is horrible Uncle Albus and worst of all I can't do anything about it," she sat back catching her breath. Fawkes jumped down from his perch and onto Dahlia's lap nudging her hand. The Headmaster's niece absentmindedly stroked his silky feathers.
Albus stood taking in his niece's words. It was inconceivable for Umbridge to know where Dahlia was all the time. That would not be tolerated. Cornelius would undoubtedly agree to the inquiries there was no stopping that. Dahlia would have be a part of them, it would be part of her duties to Umbridge. He thought carefully about placing her with Snape. She would have a better handle on her emotions if she was with Severus. The Headmaster started to pace when an owl delivered a letter and a preview of the upcoming evening edition of the Prophet.
Albus handed the paper to Dahlia making Fawkes return to his perch. She fumed at the article, it read:
"Having already revolutionized the teaching of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Dolores Umbridge will, as High Inquisitor, have powers to address the seriously falling standards at Hogwarts School."
"Bloody High Inquisitor," she grumbled setting the bit of newsprint on fire. "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition," she imitated the Python boys.
Albus was too engulfed in the letter he received from the Minister to hear her. He paced the well-worn rug beneath him reading it before handing it to his niece. "I am sorry Dahlia, my hands are tied. However she will not need to know where you are at all times, a ludicrous request."
Dahlia took the letter and her heart sunk. She was not to be moved from Umbridge's guidance and would be helping with the inquisitorial duties. The Ravenclaw looked at her uncle and the despondency plastered on her pretty features was enough to break his heart.
"Go, I will cover for you."
She set the letter down very much wanting to set it on fire along with the Minister and Umbridge, "As much as seeing Sirius will comfort me that's not what I came here for. I came to speak with you but I feel that you are just as unavailable to me as you are to Harry these days. I've barely seen you and well…"
Albus embraced his niece, "I understand Dahlia but this is for your protection."
"Bollocks to my protection Uncle," she said pushing away from him. "I am not a child any longer!" Her voice was firm and strong, "Last year cemented that if anything. I fought with my father alongside Harry. I don't understand what isolation will do for protection. It will only break us down further." She stopped taking a breath, "Uncle I implore you," she looked at him her light blue eyes swimming, "do not abandon us."
Dumbledore wrapped Dahlia in his arms again, "I would never abandon you Dahlia or Harry," his voice was sad. He wasn't sure if he should tell her about the connection Harry had to the Dark Lord.
"Uncle," Dahlia asked him feeling his arms tighten around her.
The Headmaster let out a sigh, "I have been keeping something from you," he moved to put her shoulders under one arm and escorted her to the rose colored sofa.
Author's note – Thank you all once again! I would love to hear from all of you!