Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Time: Part II

Chapter Twenty: Winds of Chnage Part II

by SoccerDevil22 3 Reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Ginny,Harry,Hermione - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2008/06/18 - Updated: 2008/06/18 - 7039 words

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(December 23, 1993)

It had been eleven days since Harry and Hermione had arrived at the Grangers for the Hogwarts winter break. The days were a quiet affair. The atmosphere of the Granger household was in stark contrast to that of the Weasley’s. Most of the day was spent doing homework or pleasure reading, which suited Harry just fine after a decade’s worth of fighting. He had had enough excitement to last him quite awhile and was just trying to enjoy being a kid while he could. In a little over a year’s time, Voldemort would return to power and the war would begin anew. Until then, Harry was going to live it up; just another normal teenage wizard without a care in the world.

Robert and Jane had only just closed the office for the Holidays, two days prior, so the house was a little livelier. Christmas music played softly throughout the house and the twins kept a hearty fire going twenty-four/seven. At nights before bedtime, they would all gather around the fireplace and either read, listen to the radio, watch a movie, or listen to Harry play his guitar.

Today was an important day, as it was Buckbeak’s trial and the twins were part of the defense.

The trial would begin in roughly an hour and the occupants of the Granger household were enjoying a light breakfast.

“So as I was saying,” continued Harry “all we need to do is beat the French by over two hundred points and we’re heading for the Cup,”

“Yes but that’s easier said then done,” countered Hermione “a key fact you males underestimate is that their team is made up of all women, therefore you think they’ll be pushovers,”

“Oh I know they’ll be far from pushovers,” retorted Harry “I happen to greatly respect the finer gender of the human specimen, and I know it will be a tough match but I think we can beat-”

Harry was interrupted as a tawny owl began to tap it’s beak against the window. Hermione got up and opened the window to retrieve the letter attached while Harry went back to eating his breakfast.

“It’s too early to be the Prophet,” Harry commented, idly while finishing up his orange juice.

“It’s for you,” said Hermione, curiously “from the Ministry,”

Harry stood up and took the out stretched letter and found that it indeed bore the Ministry Seal.

Harry opened it and quickly read its contents. His face lit up immediately.

“It’s from Fudge,” said Harry gleefully “they’ve agreed to Sirius’ terms of surrender. He’s going to have a trial!”

“That’s great!” exclaimed Hermione, “when will it be?”

Harry read on. His face suddenly shifted from excitement to hatred.

“That son of a-” a cough from Jane force Harry to reconsider finishing his train of thought “The trial is today; the same time as Buckbeak’s,”

Hermione sobered and looked at Harry in concern.

‘I’m the key witness in Buckbeak’s defense and if I don’t show up, he’s as good as dead,’ Harry thought. ‘On the other hand, Fudge will only hold a trial for Sirius if I am present,’

Just as Harry was about to make up his mind, he felt a flood of excitement come from Hermione. He looked over at his sister to find her smirking back at him, an expression which looked odd on her.

“How would you like the Marauder’s next prank to be on the Minister of Magic himself,” asked Hermione.

“And how would we pull that off,” asked Harry, curiously.

‘The Ministry has not taken back my Time Turner, yet,’ Hermione thought to him, grinning wickedly.

“Hermione, have I ever told you how much I love you?” he asked, embracing his sister in a bear hug.

-----

“I now call this court to order. The case is that of the Magical Community vs. Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Today’s trial is to determine once and for all whether or not the Hippogriff known as ‘Buckbeak’ is indeed a danger to both the magical and muggle communities and should therefore be executed. The charges are that it viciously attacked two students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry un-provoked; in the processes, injuring one of them. I am Jonathon Hawthorne and I will be presiding over this trial,” said Judge Hawthorne “Madame Zoolla,”

“This case has been brought to trial on behalf of Mr. Malfoy, father of one of the attacked children,” started Madame Zoolla, “The students in question are Draco Malfoy, a third year Slytherin, and Harry Potter, a third year Gryffindor,”

There was a slight murmuring as Harry’s name was read, and most people in the court room turned to look at him. Harry, who had been expecting this, kept a neutral expression.

“Solicitor for the Complainant will be James Whitmore III. Solicitor for the Defense will be Chloe O’Brien. Witnesses for the Complainant are Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle Jr., Pansy Parkinson, and Theodore Nott; all third year Slytherin’s at Hogwarts. Witnesses for the Defense are Rubeus Hagrid; Care of Magical Creatures Professor, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley; third year Gryffindors, Blaise Zabini, and Daphne Greengrass; third year Slytherin’s at Hogwarts,”

“I now call Draco Malfoy as the first witness for the complainant,” said Whitmore. Once Draco had reached the podium, as smug as ever, Whitmore asked “Mr. Malfoy, would you please describe in your own words what occurred on the afternoon of September 28, 1993?”

Malfoy instantly adopted what was obviously a well rehearsed ‘small, frightened little boy’ look.

“Well… it-it wuh-was the first duh-day of Care o-of Magical C-creatures…” and on Malfoy went, playing the pity card to a tee. About how ‘scared’ he was when the ‘crazy beast’ charged at him without provocation.

Malfoy may have been a good actor, but O’Brien was a better lawyer. She made him stress the point that while Buckbeak may have charged at him, the hippogriff had not injured him. The other witnesses more or less said the same as Malfoy, but O’Brien had managed to plant the seeds of doubt as to Buckbeak’s guilt into the minds of the jurors.

Then, it was time for the Defense to take its shot. One by one, they were called up to testify and one by one, they watered the seeds instilled by O’Brien until Harry was called up.

“Mr. Potter, seeing as you were the sole party injured during the incident that day, could you please give us your version of events?”

“Actually, Your Honor,” Harry said, looking towards Hawthorne, “with your permission, I would like to present a pensive memory as my testimony,”

“Objection!” Whitmore shouted almost immediately; standing to his feet, his face slightly paling.

“Overruled,” replied Hawthorne before glancing at Harry with a look of slight curiosity “Proceed,”

O’Brien brought forth the portable pensive they had borrowed from Kingsley and placed it in the middle of the courtroom floor. Harry walked forward and drew his wand. He carefully extracted the memory and placed it in the pensive.

“Projecto,” murmured O’Brien.

Suddenly, the astral forms of the Care of Magical Creatures class appeared above the pensive. Everyone sat and watched:

{“All right you lot,” called Hagrid “gather round. I got sumthin’ real special fer yah today. Just wait right ‘ere for a minute o two while I go get ‘em,”

“I can’t believe they’re letting that oaf teach us,” said Malfoy loudly as soon as Hagrid was out of hearing range “wait until my father hears about this,”

“You over estimate your father’s influence, Malfoy,” said Harry, calmly.

“At least my family has influence,” sneered Malfoy “And they say Hufflepuff is the dumping ground for inferiors. I say it’s Gryffindor. Nothing there but Mudblood’s, blood traitors, half bloods, and Squibs,”

“And you underestimate the influence other’s have,” said Harry, shaking his head “You do realize that you Pureblood Supremacists only make up thirty percent of the magical population on the island, don’t you? But of course you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t strut around the castle like you own it spouting off racist remarks. You’re pathetic,” finished Harry with a snort.

Before Malfoy could respond, there were gasps of surprise from the students around them, drawing their attention to Hagrid’s return, and the creatures he brought with him.

“Hagrid… what are those?” asked Hermione, hesitantly.

“Those, Miss Granger are Hippogriff’s,” explained Hagrid “Who wants to pet ’em?”

As everyone else stepped back, Harry stepped forward.

“Ah, good man ‘Arry,” smiled Hagrid.

At Hagrid’s instructions, Harry slowly moved forward towards Buckbeak. Harry bowed gracefully to the creature and awaited its response.

Buckbeak started to walk towards Harry. Harry remained bowed, but kept his eyes on Buckbeak at all times.

All of a suddenly, Buckbeak charged towards him. Harry knew Buckbeak was only testing to see how he would react, so he stood his ground.

When Buckbeak was only a few feet away, he slowed to a trot. Then he stopped and elegantly bowed to Harry who smiled and gently began to scratch Buckbeak behind the ears. The class cheered and clapped.

“Well done ‘Arry,” beamed Hagrid “I think Beaky might-”

Before Hagrid could finish his sentence, Harry gripped the feathers that stuck out at the junction between Buckbeak’s, neck and shoulder blades. In a smooth and precise motion, Harry swung himself up on to the hippogriff’s back and lightly kicked it in its sides. Buckbeak reared up, then shot forward towards the edge of the clearing. He lifted off of the ground as lightly as a feather caught in the breeze and together they soared off into the sky…}

The memory paused for a moment before it began to speed forward at twice its normal speed.

“The next ten minutes or so is nothing but flying,” explained Harry.

“During this time, did the creature put you in harms way or perform any dangerous maneuvers?” asked Hawthorne.

Harry thought for a moment, then answered with a slight grin, “No more dangerous maneuvers then I’d usually find myself in during a Quidditch match,”

Harry’s response caused a chorus of laughter to ripple through the room. Harry turned back to the projection.

“Ah, here we go,” he said, gesturing to O’Brien to resume the memory at normal speed:

{Harry spotted the clearing where his classmates were scanning the skies, waiting for him to return. He gave Buckbeak a sharp jerk. Buckbeak followed Harry’s urgings and set downward in a steep spiral. The ground was approaching quickly; faster and faster. The wind hollered all around him, whipping at his face and threatening to blow off his glasses, but Harry just pressed himself closer to the creature. The tiny figures below were rapidly growing to the point where Harry could begin to make out his individual classmates.

Just before they hit the ground, Buckbeak leveled out and delivered a powerful downward thrust with his wings which brought them to a near standstill, hovering just barely off the ground.

“And Potter becomes the first person to ever pull off the Wronski Feint on a Hippogriff,” said Dean in a commentators voice, evoking laughs from his fellow classmates.

Harry jumped off of Buckbeak and gave a low bow. The class clapped and cheered him on as he scratched Buckbeak behind the ears, thanking him for the ride. Hagrid walked up to Buckbeak and gave him a few ferrets to snack on for his good behavior.

“How am I doing?” Hagrid asked Harry, quietly.

“Not bad, professor,” smiled Harry.

“Alright now,” called Hagrid “whose next?”

Neville started to step forward, but Draco cut him off.

“Oh please,” he drawled with his trademark ‘superior-than-though’ attitude. “ if Potter can do it, anyone can,”

“Malfoy…” Harry tried to warn, unenthusiastically.

“I bet you aren’t even dangerous at all, are you,” he continued arrogantly “You’re nothing but an overgrown chicken,”

Buckbeak’s eyes hardened instantly at the insult.

Before Draco could get any closer, Buckbeak charged at him. Draco stood stock still as the enraged Hippogriff prepared to strike.

In a sudden flash of light, Harry appeared next to Draco and tackled him to the ground; both narrowly missed being bulldozed by the raging beast. Harry got up as Buckbeak came back for another pass. It reared up on its hind legs to thrash Malfoy, but once again Harry got between them. Harry raised his right arm to brace the attack.

He hollered in pain as the razor sharp claws tore into his flesh leaving behind deep grooves. The force of the attack also caused Harry’s arm to break with a nasty cracking sound, shooting even more pain through his body.

The hardness in Buckbeak’s eyes instantly evaporated as he realized who it had inadvertently attacked. The Hippogriff backed away as Hagrid, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville rushed forward to check on Harry while Parkinson, Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott did the same for Malfoy.

“Wait til my father hears about this,” snarled Malfoy, brushing off any help. “I’ll have that bloody beast executed for what it tried to do,”

“Shut it, Malfoy,” growled Ron.

“What are you going to do, Weasel,” asked Malfoy before he sneered “How’s the arm, Potter? To bad it was too stupid to finish the job,”

“That’s enough outta you, twenty points from Slyther-” Hagrid couldn’t finish because Blaise Zabini cut him off.

“Potter just saved your life and you’re still acting like an arrogant arse towards him and his friends!” exploded Blaise.

“Mind your place, Zabini,” warned Malfoy.

“Or what,” Blaise pushed forward, getting into Malfoy’s face “and don’t bring your damn father into this. Everything with you is ‘daddy this’ or ‘daddy that’!”

“It’s because of people like you that the rest of the school hates us,” Daphne Greengrass, her eyes blazing. “You constantly get into fights with Potter and his friends, but never learn even with all the times they beat the snot out of you,”

“Blaise, Daphne,” said Harry weakly “just let it go. They’re not going to listen and they’re too far gone to change now,”

“Hagrid, we have got to get him to the Hospital Wing,” said Hermione, who was at Harry’s side, gripping his hand like it were a life line.

“Uh… right,” said Hagrid “I’ll take him, class dismissed and a weeks detention fer you, Malfoy, fer disobeying my instructions and getting another student injured,”

“WHAT!” exploded Malfoy, but Hagrid just ignored him as he gently picked Harry up and began to carry him off towards the castle.}

The memory stopped and O’Brien paused to let everyone take in what they had just seen. Harry retrieved the memory out of the Pensive which O’Brien then carried back to their table.

“Your witness,” said O’Brien, and Harry thought he detected a slight smugness in her voice.

“Mr. Potter,” started Whitmore, as he strode towards Harry “that looked like a nasty injury. Could you please tell us how badly you were injured?”

“I had three deep lacerations in my right arm that went straight to the bone. My right forearm was also broken in two places,” said Harry coolly.

“And what difficulties resulted from this injury?”

“Nothing really,” shrugged Harry, “Madam Promfrey healed it and within an hour had almost one hundred percent movement in my arm again,”

“Yes, but as records show,” continued Whitmore, dismissively “you were brought to St. Mungo’s on October 1st, 1993. Why were you there?”

Harry sighed, “Because my forearm was still weakened by the recent injury and when I took a bludger to it during practice, it broke again,”

“And what was the result of this?”

“I was put on a one month injury leave from both the Kestrels and the Gryffindor Quidditch teams,” replied Harry.

“And the Kestrels lost two of the three games they played during that time, where before you had been undefeated, is that correct?”

“Yes, but there is no way to determine if my presence would have changed the outcome,” countered Harry.

Realizing Harry had out maneuvered him, Whitmore tried another tactic.

“Earlier you admitted the creature put you in danger well before it attacked you, is that correct?”

“I never said that,” responded Harry with a frown.

“I believe you said, quote: ‘No more dangerous situations than I would get myself into during Quidditch.’ I’ve seen your matches. Any one of those maneuvers could have easily killed you. The fact that a wild creature did the same-”

“At my prompting,” inserted Harry, but he was ignored as Whitmore continued to speak mostly to the crowd.

“And that it willingly put you in harms way is in direct violation of the Sentiment Creatures Act of 1990 which states: Any magical creature deemed to have near human intelligence may not knowingly put a human in harms way. If any magical creature meets the standard of being a sentiment creature and directly harms a human in any way, it should be immediately executed for the safety of both the Magical and Muggle worlds,”

“You want to talk legality,” asked Harry, calmly “fine. This court is illegally trying to kill an innocent creature just to appease a racist bigot with an inferiority complex,”

“Explain yourself, Mr. Potter, or I’ll have you found in contempt of court,” demanded Hawthorne.

“It was at the urgings of Lucius Malfoy that this case came to trial,” stated Harry. “I told Headmaster Dumbledore that I would not press charges against the school, Professor Hagrid, nor would I seek out retribution against Buckbeak. After that, it should have been, as the muggles say, ‘case closed’,”

“As a school governor, Mr. Malfoy was trying to-”

“School governor or not, it was not Mr. Malfoy’s son who was attacked and the student in question was not pressing charges,” interrupted O’Brien.

“Mr. Malfoy had no authority to seek out retribution, especially since I was not inclined to do so myself. He is not my magical guardian and can not make decisions concerning me on my behalf,” continued Harry.

“He had received permission from your guardians,” smirked Whitmore.

Murmurs went through the courtroom as Whitmore pulled out a sheet of paper from his briefcase.

“I have here a document giving Mr. Malfoy permission to pursue legal action against Hogwarts for the injury of Harry J. Potter, signed by Vernon and Petunia Dursley,”

Harry snorted “First off, unless that parchment was my death warrant, I doubt they would willingly sign anything presented to them by a wizard. Second, the Dursleys are not my magical guardians. They are my muggle guardians, yes, but not my magical guardians and therefore can not sign off on any legal action taken in the Magical World. My magical guardian is Sirius Black. He and only he can force legal action against my wishes,”

“Sirius Black is a convicted murder on the run from the Ministry,” sneered Whitmore “making his guardian status null and void,”

“In that case, guardianship status for Mr. Potter falls on to Remus Lupin,” said O’Brien, looking through her files “in fact, there is a whole list of people who should be given magical guardianship of Mr. Potter before it can go to the Dursleys,”

“In light of this information,” said Hawthorne, reviewing O’Brien’s papers “the case of the Magical Community vs. Buckbeak the Hippogriff is to be thrown out due to inappropriate legal action on behalf of the prosecutor. Buckbeak is cleared of all charges,”

Harry got off the podium and all but sprinted towards the door. Hagrid tried to pull Harry aside to thank him, but Harry brushed him off.

“Sorry Hagrid, but I need to go. Congratulations and take care of Beaky,” Harry said quickly.

Harry bolted from the courtroom and down the corridor to a bathroom where he found Ginny reading a book whilst waiting for him.

She smiled as he entered.

“Congrats on getting Buckbeak cleared,” she said.

“How did you-” started Harry.

“You told me before Sirius’ trial,” smiled Ginny with a giggle.

Harry gave Ginny a quick peck on the lips before stepping into a cubicle.

“See you an hour ago,” he smirked as he shut the door and twisted the Time-Turner.


-----


Ginny was waiting in a bathroom about a corridor away from where the dual trials were taking place. She was a little miffed that she was stuck hanging out in the men’s bathroom, but it was her job.

They hadn’t been able to contact Neville or Luna on such short notice, Ron was participating in Buckbeak’s trial, Hermione was going to be with Harry for moral support during Sirius’ trial, the twins were distracting her mum and Percy, and Harry was already going to be in two places at once.

Ginny was about to pull out a book and start reading, when she heard the latch unlock on one of the stalls and saw Harry step out grinning.

“Buckbeak got cleared!” he announce jovially as he picked Ginny up and swung her around in the air.

Ginny giggled at Harry’s enthusiasm. Harry set Ginny down and began to kiss her thoroughly, but Ginny cut it short.

“Harry, the trial will begin any moment,” she told him, breathlessly. He grinned at her and said good bye as he dashed out of the bathroom.

Harry arrived at courtroom thirteen just as they were about to close the doors. Harry went over and sat down beside Remus and the Grangers.

This trial was closed to the press, with only select members of the Ministry and certain members of the concerned parties. Harry felt a little bad as his eyes fell on the withered and graying figure of Mrs. Pettigrew. It was one thing to learn your son died a hero. To have that image of him be replaced by the cowardly traitor Sirius was about to paint him out as would do nothing less then break her heart.

As Harry’s survey of the room continued, he noticed Fudge smirking at him; Harry just gave him sly grin in return. As he continued to look around, Harry noticed a very familiar beetle on the back of the chair in front of him. Apparently a story like this was worth the risk of being caught in a closed press trial. Harry made sure to keep an eye on her the rest of the trial.

As soon as everyone had settled down, Chief Warlock Dumbledore ordered, “Bring in the prisoner,”

A set of doors just off to the side of where the Wizengamot sat, opened. Harry was amused to see that Sirius was being escorted by no less than two dozen Aurors, all of whom had their wands drawn and aimed at him. For his part, Sirius seemed as amused as Harry.

Sirius was brought to a heavy stone chair, like a throne taken from the Dark Ages. He sat down and reluctantly allowed himself to be shackled. The Aurors then formed a semicircle behind Sirius to prevent any possible escape.

“Very well then, lets get this over with” said Fudge “Sirius Orion Black, you have been brought before this court in accordance with your terms of surrender as presented by your attorney, Samantha O’Brien, and your godson, Harry Potter. Let it be made clear that you are only receiving this trial as a formality. Unless suffice evidence is presented to exonerate you, your life sentence to Azkaban shall be upheld,”

“You are charged with thirteen counts of murder, two counts of accessory to murder, one count of accessory to attempted murder, nine counts of assaulting Ministry officials, and evading arrest,” listed Amelia Bones “How do you plead?”

“Not guilty to the first three charges, guilty on the forth and fifth charges,” said Sirius, calmly “I am also willing to testify under Veritaserum,”

Murmurs went through the audience. A prisoner facing such charges willingly asking for the truth serum made many feel uneasy. Either he had found a way to overcome the affects of Veritaserum or, even more unsettling, the Ministry of Magic had wrongful imprisoned an innocent man in Azkaban for twelve years. Fudge seemed undeterred, however.

“Very well,” Fudge sighed in annoyance, obviously believing Sirius was only trying to delay the inevitable. “Bring in the Potions Master to administer the Veritaserum,”

Two Aurors left out the very side door Sirius had entered moments before. As they waited, there was a buzz in the air as many people contemplated what Sirius was playing at. Harry took this time to chance a glance at Remus.

“You don’t look too well,” Harry said with concern “it’s only four days until the next full moon. You don’t have to be here,”

“I’ve spent the last twelve years cursing Sirius’ name,” grimaced Remus “being here for him when he is cleared of all charges barely begins to make up for that. But at least it’s a start,”

Harry nodded in understanding. He turned back to the floor as the doors opened once more and an elderly man entered the room. Harry could barely suppress a smile as he realized who it was.

Moving slowly across the floor with the assistance of a cane, clutching a small vial in his skeletal-like hand was none other than Nicholas Flamel.

Nicholas gave Sirius a small smile before using an eyedropper to deliver the maximum allowed dosage. Nicholas told the court that it would take a minute or two to fully take effect. The court room sat quietly.

The air was full of electricity; everyone was waiting to hear what Sirius would say. Some were scared, others were confident his testimony would only cement what they already ‘knew’. Still others were completely unaware of what to expect. Harry sat quietly like the rest, giving Sirius supportive looks whenever the man looked his way. Harry knew Sirius had nothing to be afraid of, but he still couldn’t ward off the feeling of anxiety the rose in the pit of his stomach.

Finally, after five long and agonizing minutes had passed, Nicholas looked up at Dumbledore and announced Sirius was now fully under the effects of the truth agent.

“Are you Sirius Orion Black?” questioned Amelia Bones.

“Yes,” replied Sirius, automatically. He seemed to be in a dazed state.

“Did you kill thirteen people on November 1, 1981?”

“No,”

There was a mixture of surprised and intrigued looks among the Wizengamot members.

“Who did?” asked Bones.

“Peter Pettigrew,”

That name invoked so much chaos and shouting that you’d think Sirius had declared Lord Voldemort himself. Many people looked angry, including Mrs. Pettigrew.

“Check him,” ordered Fudge “make sure he isn’t fighting the potion,”

Nicholas waved his wand and after a moment, confirmed Sirius was still drugged.

“Nicholas please, monitor Mr. Black’s condition for the remainder of the trial and alert us if he begins to fight the affects of the potion,” said Dumbledore.

“Mr. Black,” continued Bones “please explain the events that led to your incarceration in Azkaban to the best of your knowledge,”

“That story could start anywhere between 1973 and 1981,” stated Sirius.

“How so?” asked a member of the Wizengamot who appeared to be as old as Dumbledore.

“Well, certain things that allowed these events to occur began to fester back in my third year of Hogwarts,” explained Sirius.

“Please begin with 1981 and back track when necessary,” said Bones.

“Well in that case, it all began when we were informed that Voldemort had moved the Potters up to number one on his target list…”

Sirius spent the next forty-five minutes detailing the events that had covertly taken place between October 15 and November 1st 1981. How they had learned that the Potters were endangered. How they had planned, and then executed said to hide under the Fidelius. Sirius explained that for over a week, he hounded the Potters to use Pettigrew instead of him. Sirius told them of the Potter's final decision to use Pettigrew on October 24, 1981, the unease he experienced when he went to check up on Pettigrew, only to find him missing. The horror Sirius felt when he arrived at the Potter’s home just after midnight on October 31 to find it in flames and Hagrid cradling baby Harry. The rage he felt as he realized what Pettigrew had done and what he had done by proxy. Sirius detailed his short but fierce tracking of the traitor and the end result of the confrontation.

“If I hadn’t been so blinded by rage, I would have either gone with Hagrid to ensure Harry arrived safely and plead my case to Dumbledore, or I would have gathered up a few Aurors to hunt Pettigrew down. I realize now that it was utterly reckless and completely irresponsible of me to go after him alone,” finished Sirius.

“So you claim that Pettigrew blew up the street, killing himself with the muggles?” asked Dumbledore.

“I’m not so sure about that,” said Sirius.

“What do you mean ‘you’re not so sure’?” questioned Fudge, immediately “either Pettigrew killed himself or you have some how found a way to over come the Veritaserum and are the lying to us,”

“He is still fully under the affects,” informed Nicholas “and has yet to try and even fight it,”

“What I mean is, I’m unsure whether or not Pettigrew died in the blast,” explained Sirius “even though I would never have pegged him as a Death Eater prior to October 31st, 1981, it seems rather unlikely to me that he would willingly kill himself instead of being captured,”

“If you do not believe he was killed in the blast, then obviously you know of some way he could have survived and eluded detection as well as capture, am I correct?” asked Dumbledore.

“There is one way he may have been able to escape,” replied Sirius, the whole room seemed to have been placed under the silencing charm as the waited for Sirius to clarify “Peter Pettigrew was an unregistered Animagi.

Silence… then the court room exploded! Angry shouts of disbelief rang throughout the room. The Wizengamot members, who weren’t among the hollering pack of monkeys, were trying to regain control of the intense situation. After about five minutes of seeing nothing get accomplished, Harry wandlessly cast a one way silencing charm around the spectator’s area. The people in this area could still hear the Wizengamot members, but they couldn’t be heard by the former. The latter seemed to realize this and slowly quieted down. After volumes had reached an acceptable level, Harry quietly brought down the charm. He wasn’t at all surprised to see Dumbledore looking right at him. As Harry made eye contact, he also wasn’t surprised to feel a brush of Legilimency against his shields. Harry just raised his eyebrows in reply.

“There is no way Peter Pettigrew could have become an Animagus,” stated Fudge, pompously “He was no where near a skilled enough wizard, not to mention the Ministry would have known if he had succeeded,”

“He did not become an Animagus on his own,” stated Sirius “James Potter and myself helped him,”

“I’m assuming this is when we back track,” asked Bones.

Sirius nodded, “Our quest to become Animagi began back in 1973 when we learned our good friend, Remus Lupin, was a werewolf…”

Harry heard Hermione, Jane, and Robert gasp besides him. Harry gave them reassuring looks before turning back to the trial.

Sirius explained how one day, they had finally realized the significance of the days Remus was disappearing on. How they confronted their friend and began brain storming ways to aid him. It came as a surprise to Harry and Hermione when they learned that the Marauders had gotten the idea to become Animagi from Lily Evans and Alice St. Clair.

“We finally managed it spring of our fourth year,” finished Sirius “Some of the best times of my life were spent running around underneath the full moon,”

“And what animals did you become?” asked Dumbledore, curiously.

“Pettigrew, ironically enough, became a rat, James Potter became a stag, and I became a dog,” Sirius smiled as he said “I’ve been told many times by my godson that I have a striking resemblance to a Grim,”

Dumbledore’s eyes widened as he rounded on Harry “You brought him to Hogwarts! You were hiding him there this entire time?”

“Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘hiding in plain sight’?” asked Harry

“You’ve been harboring a fugitive?” asked Madame Bones, incredulously. “You do realize that is against the law, right?”

“Yes and I’ll pay whatever fine I have to after the trial. There was no way I was going to let him run off on his own with all the Dementors wandering around,” replied Harry, darkly.

“Veritaserum or not,” said Fudge, changing topics “there is no way that a bunch of Hogwarts students managed to become Animagi. The thought that they were able to do so without the Ministry finding out is simply ludicrous,”

“Actually, illegal Animagi are a lot more common then you think,” said Harry “it is a form of magic that relies completely on the wandless abilities of caster and is therefore, undetectable by the Ministry. Including Sirius, there are three illegal Animagi in this room, alone,”

“Three,” shrieked Fudge, the various members of the Wizengamot were also quite surprised.

“Well, like I said there is Sirius, for one,” said Harry, drawing his wand “and with your permission, Chief Warlock, I will reveal the second,”

Fudge sputtered at Dumbledore as he gave Harry the go ahead.

Harry trained his wand on the beetle he’d seen early, which had since flown to a wall near the Wizengamot members, and muttered, “Animagi Revealeo,”

The spell shot out and struck the beetle in mid air as it tried to avoid the spell. The beetle began to fall to the floor, shape-shifting the entire way down. By the time it reached the floor, it had fully transformed back into Rita Skeeter.

“Miss Skeeter,” Harry stated pleasantly “It’s so nice to finally meet you. I always wanted to thank you for those articles you printed about me last year. You know, the ones where you made me out to be the next Lord Voldemort,”

The courtroom was caught between erupting, due to this new startling turn of events, and quaking in fear, due to hearing the name of a wizard who most of the populous believed had died twelve years ago. Harry would later reflect back on the whole situation as being quite humorous. In the midst of the chaos, Tonks and Kingsley had rushed over to detain Skeeter and keep her from escaping.

“Remove her,” order Madame Bones “we’ll deal with her later,”

Skeeter was have dragged from the courtroom in a state of shock at having been discovered.

Harry hoped the trial would proceed without further inquiry on the topic of illegal Animagi. However, that was not to be.

“You said there were three illegal Animagi in this room,” said Dumbledore. It was more of a statement rather than a question. “Who is the third?”

Harry rubbed the back of his neck and ducked his head, slightly embarrassed as he said, “I am,”

Before anyone could reply, Fudge shouted “There is no way a thirteen year old became an Animagi!”

The words had barely left his mouth when Harry jumped up and transformed in mid air. In the shock that followed, Harry circled the courtroom, before finally coming to land and reverting to human form in a crouching position, mere inches away from the Minister’s face.

“Oh yeah, it’s completely and utterly impossible, Minister,” Harry said sarcastically. Harry heard another round of gasps and was slightly surprised to see a barn owl flying towards him. It landed on the table behind Fudge and transformed into the sitting form of Hermione.

“Yep, completely and utterly impossible,” she concurred.

“Yah-you said there wuh-was only tuh-three,” stutter Fudge.

Harry shrugged his shoulders and replied quite unabashedly, “My mistake,”

It took nearly ten minutes to quiet the courtroom after Harry and Hermione’s display. In a show of bravado, a trait strongly emphasized in their father, the twins flew back to their seats.

“Even though we have just witnessed Mr. Potter and Miss Granger prove that there is no set age limit as to how young a person can be to become an Animagus and that a person can become Animagi without alerting the Ministry,” said Dumbledore “perhaps it would be prudent to have Mr. Black demonstrate his own ability to further collaborate his story,”

“I will not have him unbound,” shouted Fudge, his face turning purple.

“He is surrounded by thirty Aurors and the fifty of us,” said Bones, gesturing to the members of the Wizengamot.

“He was facing worse odds at Azkaban and still managed to escape,” pointed out another member.

“This trial is supposed to be an example of justice and due process, yet all I see is a bunch of old stubborn men trying to get their way,” drawled Harry.

“NOW SEE HERE, POTTER!” shouted Fudge.

“No, you see here!” interrupted Harry “Since this trial has begun, you’ve continually rebuked and tried to discredit every statement Sirius has made. ‘He must be fighting the Veritaserum,’ ‘There’s no way Hogwart’s students could become Animagi,’ and of course my a favorite ‘No Mr. Black, you can’t transform because it will only serve to make me appear to be even more of an imbecile then I already am,’”

The courtroom laughed while Fudge fumed in his seat.

“Auror Dawlish, unbind Mr. Black,” ordered Bones.

Fudge sputtered incoherently as Dawlish, reluctantly, did as he was told, then quickly backed away from Sirius like he was a leper of some sort.

Sirius gently rubbed his sore wrist, before looking at the Wizengamot.

“Mr. Black, if you will,” asked Dumbledore.

Sirius nodded and instantly was replaced with a dog. Complete and utter silence followed the transformation. Sirius reverted back and nervously sat back down on the chair where he remained, unbound.

“All those in favor of release for Mister Black,” asked Dumbledore. Two thirds of the hands rose almost instantaneously. Another sixth raised there hands reluctantly. Finally Fudge raised his hand and the hold outs followed suit.

“Very well the motion is passed,” said Dumbledore “Sirius Orion Black, you are hereby freed of all charges. All rights are to immediately be returned to you, including guardianship of Harry J. Potter,” cheers rang up in the courtroom. Harry shook his head in annoyance.

‘As go the herder, so go the sheep,’ he thought with a bit of disgust.

“You’ll be paid five thousand galleons for every year you spent imprisoned as compensation for you wrongful incarceration,” finished Dumbledore.

Harry, Remus, Hermione, Arthur, Jane, and Robert all rushed over to Sirius.

“Mr. Black, Mr. Potter, Miss Granger,” said Bones “you each have twenty-four hours to register your Animagus forms or you’ll each be fined a thousand galleons,”

The three nodded in understanding and made to leave. When the reached the doors to the courtroom, through which the members of Wizengamot and assembled Ministry officials, they were intercepted by Dumbledore.

“Congratulations are in order for you three, not many people can become Animagi and even fewer ever succeed in making the transformation,” said Dumbledore with a smile “I’ll have to tell Minerva, she’ll be proud. Especially of you two,” he gestured to Harry and Hermione.

“Thank you sir,” the twins chorused.

Fudge was walking towards them when Dumbledore eyes started to twinkle.

“Oh and before I forget, Miss Granger, I believe it is time that you return the time turner so generously lent by the Ministry,” said Dumbledore with his hand outstretched.

Hermione grinned at him sheepishly as she handed over the small, fragile instrument.

Fudge stood frozen in mid stride, staring between Hermione, Dumbledore, Harry, and the object now in Dumbledore’s hand.

His gaze finally locked on a snickering Harry who waggled his eyebrows and gave Fudge a mischievous smirk.

“Well Sirius,” smiled Harry “we should probably go get registered and get you a replacement wand,”

“Yea, probably,” replied Sirius.

Harry turned to his sister and the Granger’s.

“Hope you don’t mind if I spend the rest of the break with Sirius?” he asked.

“Of course not, Harry,” smiled Jane “just remember you are always welcome at our home,”

Harry hugged Jane, then Hermione and gave Robert a firm handshake. They said their goodbyes and the two raven haired wizards and Remus turned to leave when they were approached by Kingsley and Tonks.

“Since your acquittal won’t be announced until tonight’s wireless broadcast and tomorrows Prophet, we thought we should come along with you,” explained Kingsley.

“Yeah, and make sure people don’t mess with yah and stuff,” continued Tonks.

“Fine by me,” smiled Sirius “just means I get to spend more time with my dear cousin, Nymphadora,”

“DON’T CALL ME NYMPHADORA!”

Sirius roared out with his patent bark-like laugh as Harry pointed out she never got that angry when Remus called her that. It left both parties blushing bright red.

Harry smiled as he walked towards the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Things were looking up. Ginny was his girlfriend. Sirius was free. Buckbeak was spared and he had already dropped Fudge’s competence level down a few pegs in front of the entire Wizengamot.

These small victories were only slightly overshadowed by the darkness that was only a year and a half away.

‘But if I can’t enjoy these good times while I can,’ Harry thought as he looked at the retreating backs of his sister and the Grangers then to Sirius, Remus, and Tonks ‘then not just Voldemort but evil in general has already won,’
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