Harry snapped to attention immediately.
“You’ve found Umbridge?” He asked. Proudfoot nodded.
“We’re going after her now. I want you on this Potter, it’s your case. Weasley, you too.”
“What about Neville?” Ron asked. Neville had yet to leave the Ministry but moment previously had informed Ron and Harry he was going for a short stroll.
“There’s not any time.” Proudfoot said. “Longbottom’s got enough on his plate already. Well are the two of you just going to stand there or are you coming along?” Harry and Ron hurried after her.
“Ron.” Harry hissed. “Where’s your wand?”
“Right.” Ron said, his ears turning bright red. “I’ll be just a moment then.” Ron rushed back to his cubicle and snatched his wand off of the stack of folders on his desk. Proudfoot did not look pleased.
“Honestly.” Harry heard her mutter under her breath. Ron caught up to them and grinned at her apologetically.
“Where to then?” Ron asked cheerfully when he returned. Proudfoot muttered something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like ‘git’.
“Follow me.” She said. Harry and Ron obeyed. Proudfoot led them down several corridors Harry had never even seen before (he was quite sure that he had seen all of level two up until this point). She stopped after what felt like ages, outside of a small wooden door.
“What’s that supposed to be?” Ron asked. “It’s not a door into her house is it?”
Harry swore he saw Proudfoot roll her eyes.
“No, you idiot.” She said. “Would you like a guess, Potter?”
“Right.” Proudfoot waved her wand and the door opened. “I suppose the two of you know how to fly?
Harry and Ron nodded. Proudfoot reached in and tossed each of them a broom before grabbing one of her own. Harry looked at the broom in his hand; it was a Nimbus 2001 a good broom, but nothing, absolutely nothing, like the Firebolt Sirius had bought him when he was thirteen years old. Harry turned to Ron who had a funny expression on his face. Ron had only ever had one new broomstick in his entire life; the Cleansweep Eleven his mother and father bought him the day he was made Gryffindor Prefect in their fifth year. Harry knew, although he hated to admit it, that the look on Ron’s face was stemming from awe of having such a nice broom in his hands; that and the jealousy.
“I thought this was urgent.” Ron said. “Why are we flying?”
“We can’t exactly Floo in can we?” Proudfoot said irritably.
“What about Apperation?” Harry asked as Proudfoot began to lead them down a long corridor and up several flights of stairs.
“I happen to know for a fact Potter, that neither you nor Weasley have gotten your Apperation licenses. Not only is Apperation noisy, but the two of you would be doing it illegally. Had you been paying any attention to your case, you might also have known that Umbridge won’t be going down without a fight.”
“She’ll have casted protective enchantments.” Harry said slowly.
“Merlin’s Beard Potter, Kingsley told me you were smart.” Ron snickered behind his hand. Harry slapped him in the chest.
Proudfoot stopped them; she threw her arm out at her side, catching the two of them hard in the chest. They were in a small room, not much larger than the cupboard under the stairs that Harry had spent a large amount of his childhood living in. Proudfoot took out her hand and tapped several bricks which sang at the slightest touch.
“Do the two of you know how to do a Disillusionment Charm?” Proudfoot was incredibly irritated now and it was obvious to Harry that she thought them more than a tab bit underqualified. She grunted her approval. “Do the charm when the door opens. After, mount your brooms. Here’s where we’re going.” She handed Harry and Ron a folded up piece of parchment. Harry read it then handed it to Ron who stuffed it into the pocket of his robes.
They performed the charms on themselves, Harry felt as if he had cracked an egg atop his own head. The charm oozed down his back leaving a trail of goosebumps down his back and a nearly invisible Harry. Had he not known that Ron and Proudfoot where beside him, he would have assumed he was alone; the three of them blended almost seamlessly into their surroundings.
“On my mark.” Said a voice to Harry’s left. It was odd to hear Proudfoot’s voice when he couldn’t see her body; the sensation was not something he was eager to recreate. “One.” Harry mounted his broom which had also disappeared. “Two.” He prepared to kick himself off of the ground. “Three.”
Harry pressed hard against the ground and kicked upward. He grinned widely. It had been so long since his was on a broom, he loved the way the cool air hit his face and mussed his hair. He couldn’t see Ron, but he knew that Ron had been smiling too. It was twilight when they left in Ministry of Magic and it was nearly dark when Proudfoot spoke to them again.
“Over here!” She shouted. Harry barely heard her over the sound of the wind in his ears. His took a sharp dive to his left. Proudfoot directed him and Ron with the sound of her voice. The three of them landed on a small well-manicured lawn. As soon as his feet hit the ground, Harry grabbed his wand and reversed the charm.
There stood in front of a small house. It looked identical to nearly every other house on the street; if Dolores Umbridge hadn’t reminded him strongly of his Aunt Petunia before, she certainly did now. There was not a single blade of grass out of place on the lush green lawn. Several clumps of bright pink flowers were growing on either side of the walk. The lacey curtains were drawn across the windows and all the lights were off.
“Are we sure she’s even here?” Ron asked. “I expected…something different.”
“I’ve been an Auror since before you learned how to fly Weasley. I know how to track someone down.”
“Remind me not to get on her bad side.” Ron muttered to Harry.
“I think it’s a bit too late for that.”
Proudfoot, thankfully, hadn’t heard the exchange. She was already several feet in front of Harry and Ron and hissed at them to hurry up. The two of them scurried over and stood behind her on the doorstep. Proudfoot whispered under her breath and pointed her wand at the door handle. The lock opened with a small click. Proudfoot used the tip of her foot to push the door open.
“So much for protective enchantments.” Ron muttered. The trio walked into the house. The front hall was small and spotless. Every inch of the walls was covered in pink, and decorative plates with kittens on them.
“Potter, on the left. Weasley, with me on the right.” Ron and Proudfoot turned to their right and began searching for Umbridge. Harry turned to his left. He was greeted by a thick, wooden door. He turned the handle. It was locked. He tapped the lock with his wand. The door opened. Harry stepped inside. Umbridge’s home office wasn’t that much different from her Office at Hogwarts or at the Ministry. It, much like the rest of her home was covered in pink wallpaper, lace dollies and kittens. Had Harry not known Umbridge, he would have assumed that she was a sweet woman; however he did know Umbridge and sweet was the farthest description from her.
In a corner of the room was a filing cabinet, like the one she had in the Ministry. Harry took a chance and opened own of the middle drawers. Rows of violet folders lined the drawers. He grabbed one at random and opened it. To his surprise, he was a picture of Hermione. He shut the folder quickly. If Umbridge was still hunting Muggleborns…if she was still after them… if she was trying to finish what Voldemort had started. Harry opened another drawer. This drawer was also full of folders. Unlike the violet folders supplied by the Ministry, these folders were a dark gray embossed on the front—an emerald skull and snake. Harry opened one of these folders. There was a picture of one of the Lestrange brothers (he wasn’t sure which one) and a location. Harry stared at the folder in his hand and the pile in the drawer. Umbridge knew where every single person they were looking for was.
“Mr. Potter.” Harry dropped the folder in his hand a whirled around. In the doorway stood Dolores Umbridge; squat and toad-like. Harry felt enraged to see the smile on her ugly face.
“D’you know why I’m here?” Harry asked. He wanted to slap himself. It was, after all a bit of a stupid question. Of course she knew why he was here.
“Oh yes.” She said the smug smile still on her face. “But I’m afraid I won’t be leaving with you Mr.Potter.”
“And why is that?” Harry asked. Umbridge giggled in a girlish way. Harry fought the urge to tear her head off.
“I am a Ministry official Mr.Potter. I won’t be going into Azkaban and I certainly won’t be humiliated by a boy who should never have even been allowed to set foot into the Ministry of Magic, much less been able to obtain a job there.”
“Were.” Harry said.
“You were a Ministry official. You’ve been sacked.”
Umbridge smiled smugly. “Either way. I won’t be leaving with you tonight.”
Harry’s right hand clenched. The words Umbridge had forced him to carve into his own flesh in his fifth year stood white on his hand. I must not tell lies. Harry shoved his hand at her.
“You mustn’t tell lies. Professor.” His voice sounded odd; cold and detached. Umbridge drew her wand, but Harry was too fast for her. With a loud bang she flew backward into a bookcase. Several books fell of her and she made a loud screeching noise like a banshee. Harry could hear Ron and Proudfoot running from somewhere in the house. Umbridge shot a red jet of light from er wand that missed his arm by inches.
“Expell—“He couldn’t finish the spell. Umbridge began firing spell all around the room at random. She turned toward Harry with a wild look in her eyes.
“NO!” It was Proudfoot who shouted. She ran at Umbridge and tackled her from behind. Both of them fell to the ground. Umbridge struggled underneath Proudfoot, biting and scratching, trying any way she could to free herself.
“Don’t just stand there!” Proudfoot shrieked. “Help me!” Ron rushed to help Proudfoot stand up at the same time Harry pointed his wand at Umbridge.
“Don’t move.” He said darkly. He nodded at Ron, who snatched Umbridge’s wand off of the floor. Harry muttered something under his breath and thin silver ropes shot out of the tip of his wand and wound themselves around a struggling, shrieking Umbridge. Proudfoot wiped a bit of blood from the corner of her mouth with the sleeve of her robe.
“Not bad for your first time boys.” She said.
“You should see this.” Harry muttered to her, shoving several of the files into her hand. Proudfoot looked at them slack mouthed.
“How?” She asked Harry. He shrugged.
“She’s got all the old Muggleborn files and these ones. “
“We’ll send these to the Ministry.” She decided shoving the folders into a drawer at random. With a wave of her wand the filing cabinet was gone.
“What are we supposed to do with this old toad?” Ron asked nudging Umbridge with his foot. She gave him a contemptuous look, she couldn’t say anything. One of Harry’s ropes had gagged her.
“I’ll take her.” Proudfoot said harshly. “Neither of you can Apperate. Fly back to the Ministry. Potter, sort through those files when you get there. Get Longbottom to do it with you. Weasley, tell Williamson and Minister Shaklebolt what happened. They’ll be pleased to hear. Well, why haven’t you left already?” Harry and Ron clambered out of Umbridge’s house and back onto her lawn where they had dropped their brooms.
“I’ve always wanted to call her a toad.” Ron told Harry gleefully as the pair mounted their brooms. Harry laughed at his best friends as the two of them flew off into the starry sky.
Neville was beside himself when they returned to the Ministry.
“I can’t believe I missed it.” He mopped as Harry and Ron told him the tale of Umbridge’s capture.
“Don’t worry Nev.” Ron said. We brought you a souvenir.” Ron slapped several of the black files on Neville’s desk.
“What is this?” Neville asked gingerly picking up one of the folders.
“This,” Ron smirked. “My dear Neville is your ticket to catching the Lestranges.”
Neville looked at him with awe-struck wonder.
“Catch the Lestrange brothers?” He asked.
“You don’t think we can do it?”
“I—I…I don’t know.”
Harry grabbed one of the files and began to read.