A/N: This is a take on Umbridge’s silence in OoTP. While she said nothing, her mind must certainly have been busy. What were her thoughts? Perhaps this is a little peek.
As Dolores Umbridge lay recuperating in the hospital bed, she bemoaned her fate. How could those filthy half-breeds have dared touch her person? Did they not know their place? And why did it have to be that doddering buffoon who rescued her? Well, one would have to admit he was not exactly doddering – after all, he did best the herd of centaurs without a single scratch. But still, it should have been a crack team of Aurors that freed her and put the miscreant centaurs in their place, not her nemesis here at Hogwarts.
Where am I? she wondered. She was unsure of where she was, but wherever it was, she could hear the voices of students across the room talking quietly. I must still be at the school, she thought. She strained to hear their conversation; they seemed to be saying something about Filch. Filch has been the member of the staff whom I could trust the most. It’s rather unfortunate that he’s a Squib. She would have preferred not to have dealt with one so lowly, but he was her only sure ally amongst the staff. One has to make the best of the resources at hand. She conveniently forgot that she hadn’t always recognised him as a Squib.
‘He keeps saying Umbridge was the best thing that ever happened to Hogwarts,’ a feminine voice whispered. That sounds like the Weasley girl. Oh, how she hated Weasleys. And that girl tried to convince me that the hallway outside my office was filled with Garrotting Gas. But that nice boy Warrington caught her when she tried to run away.
Yes, things had been going rather well. She had indeed been bringing the school up to Ministry standards. First, she had got the Defence Against the Dark Arts class under her thumb. She had begun taking control of the school when she became High Inquisitor. That was an immediate success, she thought smugly. She had been able to take copious notes on the ineffectual teaching methods of the other teachers. That had enabled her to get that despicable fraud of a Seer sacked.
A different feminine voice now whispered, ‘Madam Pomfrey says she’s just in shock.’ That would be that dreadful Muggle-born girl. She’s just too bright for her kind; she doesn’t have the right to be so clever. I would have taken care of that lying Potter boy if it weren’t for her meddling.
Not that taking control had been easy. Some of the students had been uncooperative, so she had had to ban student meetings. She was sure they were involved in the plotting against the Ministry. And the teachers were most unyielding. Dumbledore blocked her plan to put someone more amicable into the Divination post – and with a filthy centaur, too. She had had some difficulty getting rid of that other half-breed, Hagrid, only succeeding in putting him on probation at first. The administration had tried to limit her authority over the students, but she had countered that easily with the Decree that gave her final word on all punishments. That had put that witch McGonagall in her place.
‘Sulking, more like,’ the first voice spoke again. That Weasley child again.How she would like to settle that one. Such a disgrace to the wizarding world, that family – they should know better, they’re pure-bloods, after all.
But the teachers hadn’t learnt their place. She’d had to limit their discussions with students to the subject matter of their courses. They acted as if they knew more about these things than the Ministry of Magic. Indeed! Umbridge humphed. And the students were beginning to believe the lies that Potter boy was spreading. What cheek he had to do that interview! Well, she’d taken care of that easily enough – kept the insipid newspaper away from the students. But she had managed to catch them having a banned meeting. I would have loved to have seen that Potter boy, the Granger girl, and those lowly Weasley children gone from the school. But Dumbledore had intervened and ruined her carefully laid trap. What had they done to the Edgecombe girl? The little twit should have told everything, but she couldn’t even nod her head. At least that had been the last gasp of that rabble-rouser – he was the source of all the problems, wasn’t he?
But then things had got even worse. Just when she was sure she was going to be rid of that awful giant spawn, he turned out tougher than expected. Several Aurors had been seriously injured in that fiasco. She’d barely avoided an inquiry when they’d had to silence the meddler, McGonagall. Oh, if only I could have done more than Stun her. And when they had caught the students breaking into her office, she was sure it was the end for Potter and his friends. But that... that... awful … girl outsmarted me and led me right into a trap. I was handled by beasts! Oh, it was just awful, absolutely dreadful. And now here she lay... in a hospital bed. How did things go so terribly wrong just when I thought everything was going to work out? How could I possibly show my face in public now? How could I hold my head up in respect?
‘Yeah, she shows signs of life if you do this,’ a male voice uttered this time. The Weasley scum! His twin brothers had humiliated her in front of the whole school. And along with his sister, Luna, and Neville, he had bested the Inquisitorial Squad. How had he done that? Those were the finest students in the school; they should have had no trouble handling that lunatic, the child of the pudding-for-brains Longbottoms, and the upstart Blood Traitors.
Soft clip-clopping noises interrupted her thoughts. Was that the sound of hooves? Umbridge sat bolt upright, looking wildly around. Realising that there were no centaurs in the wing, she began to burn inside. How dare he! Has he no respect for one such as I? Her anger began to be assuaged as she thought of how she might get even. Perhaps it is time to oust his good-for-nothing father from his meagre post at the Ministry.
‘Anything wrong, Professor?’ called Madam Pomfrey.
‘No... no.... ‘ Umbridge sank back into her pillows and sighed, ‘No, I must have been dreaming.‘
No, there is little chance for self-respect now. Since that poor excuse for a Headmaster rescued me from the half-breeds, it must mean that he is back in charge. I am no longer Headmistress, no longer High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, not even teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts. Well, I wasn’t consulted on this. But I have soiled myself enough associating with the scum in this school. I will just have to slip away quietly. That’s it; leave when no one would notice.
Umbridge had planned carefully. She waited until no one else was in the hospital wing but her, and then gave it a couple of days to make sure they were no longer paying her any mind. It was just before the end of term, when all the students would be thinking only of returning home. She crept silently from the hospital wing, not bothering to return to her office to collect her things. The students and staff were at dinner, so she was sure no one would see.
As she travelled the corridors of the school from the hospital wing, she chuckled gleefully as she planned the fate of the students who had turned on her. I’ll have that no-good Muggle-born brought up on charges. She deliberately led me into a trap where I was assaulted by dangerous – category 4 classification by the Ministry of Magic – beasts. That’s just as if she attacked me herself. I’ll see her rot in Azkaban for that. And Potter, too; he was in on it with her. And the others – hadn’t they defied those in authority over them? And more – surely they had attacked members of her duly-appointed Inquisitorial Squad to make their escape? Certainly the Minister would see that they must be expelled. Oh, the entrance hall is there. I’m almost out.
Right then she was knocked off balance as something impacted the back of her head. Righting herself, she whirled to scold her attacker. ‘What do you think you children...?’ She began spluttering, her mouth full of white powder as a sock full of chalk smacked her in the mouth, ending her sentence.
Peeves had shown up. ‘Umbridge, you bag. You’re just an old hag!’ he sang out. ‘I’ve got another chorus about you in the fores’. You and your greed disappeared in the trees. Your might is all gone; lost with the dawn.’
I wish the Minister had signed the order as I had requested, she thought, then I wouldn’t have to deal with that dratted Peeves.
‘Get away, you foul creature.’ She swatted at him ineffectually with her bag. ‘Don’t you know who I am? I am Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic!’ At least I still have that post. ‘You must obey me.’
‘Am obeying. The Weasel boys, that is.’
She screeched in pain and indignation as a walking stick smacked her bum. Oh now, that was too loud. They must have heard that in the Great Hall. In horror she turned and hobbled toward the entrance.
‘You’re just an old fraud. Pheew! You smell like a cod.’ Peeves continued his song as Dolores Umbridge hurried out of the building and down toward the school entrance. ‘It just isn’t funnish to think how you punish. To draw blood with a pen makes you cackle like a hen... ‘
Students rushed from the Great Hall to see what the commotion was about. They chortled with glee and cheered her departure as she ran as fast as her stubby legs could carry her. Peeves continued to whack her with a walking cane and beat her about the head with the sock full of chalk all the way to the gate marking the entrance to the school grounds. Professors Flitwick and Sprout rose half-heartedly to call the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs back to their table. Professor Snape merely sneered at her predicament. Professor McGonagall started to rise but sank back into her chair after a few feeble remonstrances.
‘It’s too bad Peeves has my walking stick,’ she spoke, loudly enough for all at the staff table to hear.
‘Oh, why is that, Professor?’ Headmaster Dumbledore queried.
‘Why? So I could join the students in cheering her off, of course.’
A/N: I’d like to extend the deepest appreciation to hwhimsey and harry_ginnyphile for their help and consideration in pre-betaing this. Hwhimsey, in particular cautioned me not to lead us to sympathize with the toad as I make her look pathetic. I also have to express undying gratitude to my beta, Sherry, for helping make this as good as it is. Again, any remaining errors or fault must be blamed on me and me alone.