Dolores Umbridge liked her comfort. Her room oozed comfort; her personal, overstuffed chair (pink, of course), her favorite fluffy pink cardigan, the deep pink rug, the soft and well-designed seats for her most favored visitors, the temperature controlled to exactly the right warmth to make her feel snug and cosy, these combined to make her office -- even here, in the midst of the Ministry of Magic -- like a perfect little nest for a harmless kitten such as herself, a shield and fortress against a world that was sometimes just too cold.
Dolores Umbridge also liked order. In fact, she admitted to herself, she liked order even better than comfort, though it was a difficult and painful call. Her collection of kitten plates -- darling things -- were arranged just so on the wall, rank upon rank of adorable little kitties arranged by size and color to form a beautiful geometry of heartwarming. Every item on her desk was placed exactly where it belonged, precisely aligned with the edges of the perfectly-polished, symmetrical top. Her daily schedule shimmered on the opposite wall, ticking off the exact minutes to each new item in her always-perfectly-arranged day. At this particular moment, it was her time for tea, a lovely chamomile with just a touch of honey today. Soon it would be time for interrogations. She smiled, a dainty and sweet-looking smile that an onlooker might have thought seemed just a hair... off.
Dolores Umbridge also liked power. She liked to force order, her sense of order and rightness, on everything around her. This was not, however, something she ever admitted to herself. There were always reasons, to her very excellent reasons, for everything she did, whether that was punishing a student, arranging the expulsion of a rival, or sending some nasty Mudblood off to Azkaban. But in the deepest, darkest nights, or the times she was most... transported by a particularly challenging interrogation and extraction of confessions, in those moments she did -- for an instant -- acknowledge there was a certain... frisson of an undefinably wonderful nature at such complete control over another person.
Idly, she glanced into the crystal she kept nearby -- one attuned to a very special object affixed to her door. Formerly the eye of that most disreputable Auror, Moody, the mystical orb allowed her to look in any direction, and see nearly anything that was not shielded by very powerful anti-scrying charms. This was perhaps Dolores' favorite little tool of power; what better power to have over people than for them to know that at any moment you might be watching them, no matter where they were in the Ministry?
At the moment, it was showing the entrance area. People came and went, most of them of little account, all of them people under her watchful, almost omniscient gaze, following the rules, keeping to the schedules... it was most gratifying, and she gave a little sigh of contentment as she took a sip of perfectly- brewed tea.
And then people started running.
Dolores stopped drinking, staring in annoyance at the image before her. Running like that was very inconsiderate, not at all in the regulations.
But running in the other direction were several people, a squad of her best enforcers, and THAT made her beyond annoyed. She was now officially put out, because that meant there was someone disruptive there, someone entering the Ministry who was not properly subservient to the current administration.
Someone who would need education.
She put her cup down, stood up with precise care, made sure her wand was tucked properly into her pink waistband, and strode quickly out; as she stepped onto the marble floor of the Ministry hallway, her heels made a perfect, fast-paced rhythm to accompany her purposeful march.
When she reached the entryway, she was startled to see that most of her enforcers were mussed, bruised, walking with difficulty; Yaxley himself was there, with three others of the Magical Law Enforcement squad. Two of them held an unconscious boy -- perhaps fifteen or sixteen years old -- between them. His features were clearly not English -- Oriental of some kind -- and he had black hair, tied back by a striped bandanna, and was wearing a yellow shirt, some sort of wrist-guards, dark pants, and a backpack with a red umbrella tied to the top.
"What happened here, Yaxley?"
"Blowed if I know, really. This... boy was seen walking down the corridor, staring around at everything as though he'd never seen it before; looked lost. Some of your boys tried to bring him in, as he obviously didn't belong, and he attacked them. Took the first three down, that's when we got the panic, and then your First Squad came into it and he had just about finished them when me and my boys got here."
"He's barely old enough to have graduated Wizarding School; he was that good? What charms or hexes did he use?"
Yaxley stared at the boy with a bemused expression. "Didn't see him use any. He ... just beat the living hell out of them." At her uncomprehending look, he clarified. "With his fists. And feet. Moved like lightning -- dodged most of the spells we could throw at first -- and just punched people until they fell down. He shook his distinguished, white-maned head in amazement. "Would you believe it took nine Stunning Charms to take him down? I just about went for the Avada before he dropped."
Nine Stunning Charms? She studied the boy with renewed interest. Too many stunning charms could kill even a healthy adult -- with "too many" being somewhere around FOUR. She smiled brightly. "Well, then, bring him along to the interrogation rooms. Whatever charms he has protecting him, he'll find them not terribly effective against our... friends."
Even Yaxley's mouth tightened -- as most did -- when she brought up that subject. "Right."
It took all three of Yaxley's men to carry the stranger -- as though he was twice as heavy as he looked. To her astonishment, the boy was stirring and mumbling by the time they had him seated in the chair and the chains locked securely around his arms and legs. But with that done, there was nothing to fear.
Especially since she had her... friends.
Two Dementors materialized from the shadows of the room, moving forward to bracket the chair even as the boy's head came up. "N... nani?" she heard him say, and some other words she didn't understand.
Not merely an invader, but a foreigner! Well, a Language Charm will take care of that. "Do you understand me now?"
"Yes." The voice was uncertain, tired, low. Unsurprising, given that two Dementors were so close, even leaving aside the fact that he was still obviously recovering from the Stunning Charms.
"Good." She gave her nicest smile. "You're in a great deal of trouble, you know that, young man?"
"Trouble?" To her surprise, he managed to raise his head, and the gaze of his dark eyes didn't seem at all as dim, confused, or depressed as it ought to be. "I was just walking along and some guys tried to grab me, so I knocked them down, and then some other guys came at me with some other wierd techniques but I beat them too until they hit me enough times. I was just walking along minding my own business!"
"Your own business, heh-heh. In the Ministry of Magic?"
"Ministry of what?"
"Magic," she said clearly. The boy was obviously thickheaded. "You expect me to believe you just happened to be walking through the entryway of the Ministry by accident?"
"I was lost, okay, it happens to everyone!" He glanced to his sides, seeming to notice the Dementors for the first time. "AAAAA! What the hell are those things?"
"Dementors," she answered smugly.
He showed absolutely no understanding. "Demons?"
"DeMENTORS!" How was it possible for anyone in the Wizarding world to not know what a...
No. It's impossible. "Young man... where did you get your Wizarding training?"
"Wizarding?" Despite the closeness of the Dementors, he laughed uncertainly. "I'm not a wizard. Hardly ever seen one, really."
Her sense of order and rightness was now well and truly offended. A Muggle. A MUGGLE in the MINISTRY? How?
He lifted his arm, felt it brought up short. "What... HEY! Why am I chained up? Let me go!"
This is not to be tolerated. "Be SILENT, Muggle! You have somehow entered where no Muggles are ever allowed to come, and you'll stay in that chair until we have some ... answers."
"Muggle? What does... never mind. You let me out of here right now. "
"You'll stay right where you are, young man." She smiled. "And the Dementors will make sure of it."
One of the towering black figures drifted nearer, reached a pale, rotting hand towards the stranger; he went pale and his eyes showed horror and despair welling up. "Exactly. That's what Dementors do, my young friend. Now, you'll either tell me what I want to know... or they'll do worse." Eventually of course they'd just give him the Kiss and suck out his soul, but she didn't have to tell him that. Might make him reluctant to talk.
"Screw you," the stranger muttered.
He stood up, gritting his teeth, and the shackles -- solid steel shackles -- screeched and tore like thin cardboard. Dolores staggered back, shocked, gesturing for the Dementors to get him!
He flipped away, the two creatures following with their eerie, implacable drifting motion. "You've made a big mistake sending these things after me!"
The Dementors closed in, hands reaching, brushing his clothing. At such close range even the strongest man sagged to inert flesh... but this one just seemed to gather himself up, putting his hands together in front of him. "I feel the weight of ages... the world, dark, lonely, empty... nothing left to live for....sapping every trace of comfort, love, peace from me."
A red-white light suddenly glowed out. "And that's the worst thing they could possibly try against me! Take this, bakemono -- SHISHI HOKODAN!"
The world dissolved in a blast of radiance and thunder as though the sky itself were falling, and she saw the black forms of the Dementors, convulsing, screaming... eroding away... gone.
Gone, even as the light faded, revealing the young man standing there, hands extended before him...
... facing a hole in the wall, a hole that extended up and out through the entire Ministry building, a shaft of golden sunlight slowly materializing through the smoke and dust.
Staring at the impossible, the only thought her mind could hold was a protest against the violation of everything she followed and believed. This cannot happen. It's impossible. Then, worst of all, This is not at ALL in the rules!
Her wand was in her hand, pointing at the boy. But her hand shook. "Who are you?"
"Ryoga," the boy answered, picking up his backpack. "Ryoga Hibiki!"
Yes, that was just about a worst-case scenario.