Once the Weasley’s had left it was after breakfast so Harry, Ron and the twins headed down to the chamber to meet with Malfoy. It was the weekend so it wouldn't be noticed that they were missing.
Harry paced the room, his mind whirling. He was feeling a little raw from the heart to heart he had witnessed but he also could acknowledge that it made everyone feel a lot better. So maybe he should confide in his friends? About his summer activities and newfound family? About how he was considering leaving like Trent and Fenrir wanted him to? And don’t get him started on Black! How was he supposed to feel about him? He was innocent of crimes and was technically his father as well as his godfather, and he was going to be Kissed despite being innocent.
"Harry, mate." Ron approached him with his hands in plain view. "Want to tell us what has gotten you so wound up?"
"They're going to have Sirius Black kissed." Harry told him.
"I know, its awful." He agreed. "But you don't know the man."
"He's my father!" Harry shouted before he could stop himself.
"What?!" Everyone stared at him dumbfounded.
"I thought James Potter was your father." Malfoy commented. "Snape is always going on about how you're just like him."
"James Potter is also my father, and before you ask Lily Potter is also my mother." Harry continued on before any of them could interrupt. He focused on Ron. "I didn't tell you and Granger everything that happened this summer."
"I know." Ron gave him an understanding smile. "You explained why."
"I know, but I think I need to tell you now." He paused and looked at the twins who were watching pensively and Malfoy who had somehow become a friend of his. "I think I need to tell all of you."
"Alright, let's sit down then, yeah?" Fred led him to a chair.
"Right." Harry took a deep breath as he sat. "I guess I should start from the beginning just to make sure everyone is on the same page." He glanced at Malfoy who knew the least about the situation. "I live with muggles and-"
"Muggles?!" Malfoy exclaimed, almost leaping from his chair. "Dumbledore made it known that you were with a loving magical family!"
"My family is not magical and they are certainly not loving." Harry said darkly. "Let's just say that I am treated no better than a house elf."
"No." Malfoy shook his head. He was pale and looked shaken by that information.
"Look Malfoy." Ron stood in front of Harry, blocking, protecting him from Malfoy. "If you keep interrupting, Harry is never going to finish telling us everything. I can however confirm that his muggle relatives are monsters and if you want more details and if Harry gives me permission, I'll tell you more about it later."
"Yeah, fine. Ron can tell you." Harry gave his permission. He didn't care if Malfoy knew, he had come a long way since the end of last year. He knew what his relatives did to him was wrong, how they treated him was wrong and now that he had Fenrir and Trent he knew what it was like to be in a good family. So yeah Ron could tell Malfoy about his stupid muggle relatives. He figured that the boy wouldn't spread it around and that they had become good enough friends that he wouldn't use it against him.
"Okay, fine." Malfoy sat back down and crossed his arms. He looked like he was fighting the urge to sulk. Ron returned to his own seat next to Harry and gave him an encouraging look.
"Okay, so like I said my relatives are awful and this summer my Uncle's sister, my Aunt Marge, through marriage." Thank Merlin he wasn't actually related to that cow. "Came to visit. She's a horrible woman and she was bad mouthing my parents. I lost control and accidentally inflated her like a giant balloon."
"Wicked." Fred and George grinned.
"Yeah that was pretty cool, but I thought my uncle was going to murder me." Harry shivered as he remembered the look in his Uncle's beady eyes. "So I ran away. I caught the Knightbus and arrived at the Leaky Cauldron." Harry went on to explain that the Minister of Magic himself met him there and said that he wouldn't get in trouble for the accidental magic and it had all been sorted. That his stay in the Leaky Cauldron was paid for and he had to stay there until school. How when he tried to pay for his breakfast the next day he found out from Tom the barman that all meals and the stay was paid for in full from Harry's account.
"Wait but you just that the Minister told you that it was all paid for." Fred interrupted.
"So how come the money came from your account?" George asked.
"Dumbledore had sent over a bank draft that I had apparently signed." Harry scowled.
"That makes no sense!"
“How did he get your signature?”
"I thought it was weird." Harry continued as if they hadn't asked any questions. "And planned to go to Gringotts to get more information about my accounts but I didn’t want to be hounded every time I went out. After some trial and error I realised that I could change the colour of my hair."
"Wait, you're a metamorphmagus?!" Malfoy explained.
"I don't know what that is." Harry waved the comment away and kept talking so he wouldn't be asked any more questions. He explained that he had gone to Gringotts and after a blood test found that he technically had three parents, Sirius Black had blood adopted him. That Dumbledore was his magical guardian and was in charge of his money, or at least the Potter accounts. That Black was in charge of the Black accounts despite being incarcerated. How Harry had set up a new account under a new name with his new hair/look.
"What name?" George asked.
"I'd rather not say yet, if it's all the same to you." Harry bit his lip nervously. He felt bad about not telling them but-
"This way, if anyone asks about that name we can genuinely say that we don't who that is." Ron explained. He had up to that point be quiet. "It makes sense and its safer for Harry."
"Ah, that makes sense." Fred nodded. "Sorry."
"It's okay." Harry smiled weakly and took a deep breath and continued. He ignored the interruptions best that he could.
"Knockturn Alley, really Potter?"
"A werewolf? Cool!"
"Wait, isn't Fenrir Greyback that evil child eating guy?" Fred asked.
"It's a lie." Harry broke from his story to defend his friend. "He's only ever bitten young children to save them from life threatening injuries or diseases."
"But the Ministry doesn't see it like that." George sighed. "That makes sense."
And on it went.
"Wait, they trapped you in a room that you were paying for?"
"An Undersecretary doesn't have that kind of power!"
"I thought Madame Bones was supposed to be a decent Auror?"
"I never thought I would say this but I love the Goblins."
“They sound like pretty brilliant people, Harry.”
“Your magic was blocked?!”
“Was it Dumbledore? I bet it was Dumbledore.”
“Yes and no.” Harry sighed, pausing his story to reply to Malfoy. “Apparently one of the blocks was placed by my parents because my magic was too active to be safe when I was a baby. And then because they died, it was never removed.”
“Or, Dumbledore made sure it was never removed.” One of the twins muttered but as Harry hadn’t been looking, he wasn’t sure which one said it.
“You said yes and no.” Ron pointed out.
“There was another block but the magical signature was too degraded to read.” Harry sighed. “However, the test also flagged that I had some potions in my system that shouldn’t have been there. Loyalty potions keyed to Albus Dumbledore which started to be administrated to me around the same time that the block was placed…”
“So it’s high likely that Dumbledore was the one behind it.” Malfoy concluded.
“Bugger.” The three Weasleys exclaimed at the same time.
“Anyway, my magic was unblocked, the potions were purged from my system and I practised using magic with my wand that didn’t have a trace on it.-”
“Wait, where did you get a wand that didn’t have a trace?”
“Knockturn, obviously Weasley.”
Harry rolled his eyes and continued. “Its a good thing I did decide to practice too, as I almost blinded myself when I casted lumos .”
“Then why did your other wand explode on the train?”
“I don’t know.” Harry shrugged. “But you guys are basically up to date now. Nothing much else happened. I got some birthday presents under my assumed name and then met up with the Weasleys. Oh and Trent managed to enlist Dodge, E. and Dodge, E. R. to sue Bones, Kingsley and Umbridge.”
“I’m liking Trent more and more.” George grinned.
“And then your wand exploded on the train, Lupin was a pratt, Granger was a pratt, we discovered that Scabbers was actually a fully grown wizard and that your blood father is innocent but the Ministry is still going to get him kissed.” Ron finished the summary of events.
“Yeah and Trent and Fenrir want me to change schools.” Harry sighed and sunk back into his chair. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, do you want to leave Hogwarts?” George asked.
“No, yes, maybe?” Harry huffed, annoyed at his own indecision. “I don’t know!”
“Until you decide, we could shake things up a little.” Malfoy suggested.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you still have your copies of the Daily Prophet declaring your godfather innocent and that they were going to kiss him anyway?”
“Then this is what we’re going to do.” He grinned mischievously.
“Are you sure this is going to work?” Harry asked as he handed the thick letter over to Hedwig.
“If it doesn’t there is always plan B.” Ron shrugged as he gave his own letter to Rory.
“We have a plan B?”
“Well, plan D is you leaving so we have to have a plan B, and C.”
“Never change, Ron.” Harry said fondly as he looked at his best friend.
“Enough yapping, more mailing.” Malfoy snapped as he tied several letters to numerous owls. “The more letters we get sent out the higher chance we have of this working.” He shot a glare over at Harry. “And of course it’s going to work, I thought of it.”
The British’s Disregard for the Law.
An anonymous letter was sent to the International Confederation of Wix (ICW) earlier this morning with the distressing news of a grave injustice. Sirius Black -known internationally as a mass killer in the wake of the British second’s Blood War (BSBW), having blown up a muggle street and killing fellow Wix, Peter Pettigrew- is INNOCENT . And yet he was sent to prison. I hear you ask how this could be? Apparently, the esteemed members of the British Law Enforcement did not see the point in giving the man a trial seeing as ‘everyone knew that he was guilty.’
How did his innocence finally come to light? Peter Pettigrew was not as dead as formally believed. He was found posing as a child’s pet rat due to his animagus form. For the record, all children involved or around the animagus have been examined and none have been harmed. During Pettigrew’s trial it came to light that he was the man that caused the explosion that led to the death of no less than 12 muggles. He had cut off his finger and escaped through the sewers as a rat. The man is slated to be given the Dementor’s Kiss this coming week.
You would think that on the discovery of Sirius Black’s innocence, the ‘Kiss On Sight’ order that had been issued when the man had escaped Azkaban, the British Wixen prison, would have been rescinded. This has not been the case. According to the British Paper, ‘The Daily Prophet’ it is the law that all escapees are to be given the Dementor’s Kiss regardless of the original crime/s that landed said prisoner in Azkaban or in this case, regardless of whether or not said prisoner had committed a crime at all.
Sirius Black, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned has been sentenced to death by his government without a trial.
“The international community is disgusted by this lack of justice.” Babajide Akingbad, a member of ICW declared when asked about what the ICW thought. “The British Ministry has obviously been left alone to govern without consequences for too long. We understand that twelve or so years ago, they were in a civil war, but they have had over ten years of peace to get themselves together. There is no reason why justice cannot be served and served well. Sirius Black was an innocent man, yes he escaped Azkaban but he did so with the understanding that his Godson was in danger. He deserves to have a fair trial. ”
Babajide Akingbad went on to tell us that Albus Dumbledore has been removed from his seat of Supreme Mugwump due to his complacency in this tragic abuse of justice. A new Supreme Mugwump will be voted in later this week.
-Oliver Masucci, Wix International News
Pas de justice au Royaume-Uni
Sirius Black, faussement accusé, faussement emprisonné a été condamné à mort par son gouvernement sans procès...
-Pierre Bonaccord III, Le Cri de la Gargouille
Dødens kys for britisk retfærdighed
Sirius Black, falsk anklaget, falsk fængslet er blevet dømt til døden af sin regering uden en retssag...
-Harfang Munter, Den Nordiske Troldmands Avis
Wo ist die Gerechtigkeit?
Sirius Black, zu Unrecht angeklagt, zu Unrecht inhaftiert, wurde von seiner Regierung ohne Gerichtsverfahren zum Tode verurteilt...
-Bruno Schmidt, Magische Neuigkeiten
“And you were worried that it wouldn’t work.” Malfoy smirked as he threw the pile of newspapers down onto the table in the Chamber of Secrets. It had only been one day since they had sent out the owls with letters containing copies of the Daily Prophet that declared Sirius’ innocence and the one that condemned him to death. Each envelope also included an edited version of the letter that Harry’s solicitor had sent him. They had blanked out names but otherwise kept everything the same. The twins knew the copying charm and they had applied it liberally to the letters. They sent an envelope containing all of that to each major newspaper in Europe, to several in the USA and one to the ICW.
“Now we just have to wait to see what the Ministry does in response.” Ron crossed his arms. “I say that if they don’t react by the end of the week, we send new letters and send copies of these articles.” He gestured to the international newspapers on the table. “To the Quibbler.”
“The Quibbler is rubbish.” Malfoy scoffed.
“Hey! Our neighbour is the editor of that paper.” Fred scowled.
“It doesn’t matter how reputable the paper is,” Ron ended the argument before it could really start. “All that matters is that people do read it.”
“Do it anyway.” Harry decided. “Send copies to the Quibbler today.”
“Alright.” George reached for the papers. “Fred and I will do that today.”
“We’ll drop Luna a note about it first.” Fred added. “She’s the daughter of the editor.”
“She might want to send a letter to her dad and we could add it to ours.” George continued.
“That and she could put in a good word for you with her Father.” Malfoy nodded. “Smart thinking.”
“Oh my,” Fred staggered back with his hand over his heart. “Did Malfoy just-”
“- compliment us?” George finished. “Yes, I think he did!”
“Oh hush you two.” Malfoy rolled his eyes. “Go do your job.”
“Yessir!” They both saluted with lazy grins.
Harry smiled at his friends, they were a bit of an odd group. Three Weasleys, a Potter and a Malfoy. Pucey and Nott were too busy studying to hang out much with them so they weren’t actually in the know. Which kind of sucked, as they seemed like pretty cool people but Harry did understand, their studies came first which was more than fair.
“ Thank you.” Harry told them all earnestly before they left the chamber. “You guys are seriously the best.”
“ I know.” Malfoy smirked.
“ Aw thanks, mate.” Ron beamed at him.
“ We live to serve.” Both twins bowed dramatically.
Stubby Boardman to be Kissed?!
As mentioned in a previous article by Doris Purkiss, Stubby Boardman , lead singer of the popular singing group The Hobgoblins, sometimes goes by the name Sirius Black. Boardman is slated to be Kissed by Dementors despite being innocent of his alleged crimes . We at the Quibbler are outraged by this and we are not alone. The international community of Wix are up in arms about this injustice. See pages 2,3,4 and 5 for copies of the international articles pertaining to Sirius Black aka Stubby Boardman.
-Xenophillius Lovegood, The Quibbler.
Harry and Ron had just sat down for breakfast on Tuesday morning, the day after the Quibbler’s article on Sirius Black when the post owls soared into the hall. Hedwig landed in front of him with a letter. He cooed at her and gently took it from her. She fled the hall before he could treat her with a bit of bacon as suddenly hundreds of owls filled the air and dropped off copies of the Daily Prophet. Its headline stood out in sharp relief:
Harry picked up his copy after paying the owl, put his own letter in his pocket to read later, and with Ron reading over his shoulder, he couldn’t stop the satisfied look from crossing his face. Apparently, he didn’t need to get Trent to stick his lawyers on the Ministry, someone else had beat him to it.
Yes, dear readers you have read the headline correctly. Our Ministry of Magic is being sued! By whom? I hear you ask. The suit is being filed on behalf of Sirius Black himself! With the aid of his cousin, Narcissa Malfoy who is outraged by the false imprisonment of her cousin. The Black family have highlighted that it is unlawful for the Ministry to continue to hunt Mr Black with their primary objective being his execution . Lady Malfoy had this to say: “ My poor cousin has been through more than enough. He was only twenty-one when he was falsely accused and given no trial before being sent to Azkaban, and now the Ministry wishes to see him executed even though he has been proven innocent of his alleged crimes. ”
To which Amelia Bones replied: “ It is indeed horrible what has happened, but the law is the law. All escapees from Azkaban must be given the Kiss .”
This journalist tried to investigate the specifics of this law but was refused entry to the archives. How can we, the public, trust the laws if they are not able to have access to them? Is this even a real law? This journalist will not rest until she finds out the answer!
In the meantime, the Ministry is busy facing the lawsuit from the Black family with the backing of the Malfoy family, which is not surprising seeing as Narcissa Malfoy was a Black before she married Lucius Malfoy...
-Rita Skeeta, The Daily Prophet
“Huh,” Ron leant closer. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Do you think Malfoy wrote home about everything?” Harry asked him.
“Probably not everything. Maybe about how you two are friends, and how you’re upset about Black being hunted.” Ron scratched his cheek sheepishly. “I saw him write it.”
“It’s fine.” He was quick to reassure his friend. Harry truly wasn’t upset about Malfoy writing to parents about this. “This could really help.”
“Yeah.” He smiled relived before pointing out the next article. “Look, it says something about the international response, too.”
As you all know, we are part of the International Confederation of Wix (ICW), an international governing body that keeps the member countries to a certain standing. Albus Dumbledore is our representation and the Supreme Mugwump at least he was until Monday morning when he was asked to step down. Due to the controversy over Sirius Black’s false imprisonment, his escape, and the call for him to be given the Kiss, the international community is up in arms. Mr Dumbledore was asked to step down due to his inaction as the Chief Warlock. The general consensus is that he should have demanded a trial for Mr Black despite ‘everyone knowing that he was guilty’.
People across the globe are demanding to know how this had happened and why the current government body is doing nothing to fix the mess that their predecessors created by ignoring the right for everyone to have a fair trial. The interim Supreme Mugwump Babajide Akingbad had this to say: “ It is clear that we have left the British community without guidance for too long. The ICW will be auditing the past twenty years of trials held or in the case of Mr Black, not held. We desperately hope that Mr Black’s incarceration with a trial is a one off, however we will be diligent in our duty to ensure that all members of the British public can trust their justice system once more.”
Akingbad went on to reassure that their first point of call would be to examine the law that calls for any escapees of Azkaban to be Kissed on sight. This reporter has a feeling that said law will be repealed or at the very least edited with a clause for the wrongly accused in light of the Sirius Black situation.
- R. Almeidus, The Daily Prophet.
“Look at Dumbledore.” Fred hissed from across the table.
“He looks furious.” George added and nodded to the front of the room where the teachers were sat having their own breakfast.
Harry turned and saw that Dumbledore was indeed furious. His knuckles were white where they were clenched around his spoon and the hand that held the paper kept twitching as if he wanted to crumple it up and throw it away.
“Well, he did just lose his position on the ICW.” Ron pointed out. Not giving away that they already knew that he had from the foreign newspapers that Malfoy had specially delivered.
“That reminds me.” Harry picked up a piece of toast. “What exactly is the ICW? I read briefly about them during the summer, but the chapter was more focused on the statute of secrecy.”
“Well, it was formed in response to the growing dangers that we faced from Muggles.” Percy started in full lecture mode. Harry liked that he didn’t ask them about why they were so pleased that Dumbledore had lost his position with the ICW. “Basically, each magical governing body across the globe sent forward a person to represent their country in a council to discuss the global issue of the danger that Muggles posed to us.” He explained. “After the statue was decided on and enforced, they kept the ICW going because it was an effective way of sharing problems with other countries that may be facing similar issues.”
“So why didn’t they help with the War?” Harry asked. He noticed that they had gained a lot of attention from the nearby students that were eavesdropping including Hermione. He hoped that she didn’t decide to but in.
“The history books say that they refused to help.” Percy shrugged. “But I know that our previous Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold was asked to explain the country's action when there were several breaches to the statute of secrecy following the fall of You-Know-Who.”
“I remember reading about that!” Lee Jordan interrupted. “It was in one of my history books. Apparently old Bagnold responded with,” He cleared his throat and the continued in a higher pitched voice. “ ‘I assert our inalienable right to party’,” He grinned. “She’s infamous for it.”
“Indeed.” Percy chuckled before becoming serious again. “So, they must have known that something was going on in Britain.” He shrugged. “But I honestly don’t know.”
“Huh.” Harry was kind of disappointed that Percy didn’t know the answer. “Is there like a public face of the ICW?” He asked. “Like somewhere we could send a letter asking about it?” After all Harry Potter wouldn’t know this, no one outside of the group that regularly hangs out in the Chamber of Secrets could know that they were the ones that sent off the information about Sirius Black.
“Yes, there is.” Percy perked up at the fact that he did have information that he could reliably share with them. “Do you have a spare piece of parchment?”
Harry searched his bag and pulled out his first draft of his potions essay. He had already rewritten it, so this was essentially rubbish and he meant to get rid of it but kept forgetting. “Here,” He passed it over to Percy.
Percy scribbled something onto the back of the old essay before handing it back. “I’ll write it up neater and stick it on our message board in the common room later.”
“Thanks, Percy!” Harry cast a drying charm on the parchment before folding it and put it in the same robe pocket as his letter, so it wouldn’t get confused with his real potions essay despite his essay being held flat inside his potion textbook. He would send the ICW a letter personally later. He wanted to know more about the world he was living in.
“Ugh, we better get moving, we have potions first thing.” Ron sighed dramatically and snatched up one last sausage to munch on.
“He’s been weirdly nice.” Harry commented.
“Yeah, but who knows how long that's going to last.” He pointed out.
“Okay fair.” Harry conceded and stood up. “Best not be late then.”
Ron and Harry took their seats in the potion’s classroom, as far away from Granger as they could. Neville, and Dean, who had drawn the short straw to pair with the potion disaster that was Neville Longbottom, sat on the table next to them. The rest of the Gryffindors, minus Hermione, filled in the seats around them sort of like a guard, keeping Hermione away, making her sit at the back of the classroom, her least favourite place to sit.
“Today,” Snape started speaking as soon as he flounced into the room wordlessly summoning their homework essays from their desk, “We will be attempting to brew the potion known as the Antidote to Common Poisons, also known as ACP for short.” He waved his wand towards the blackboard and a piece of chalk floated up and wrote the potion name on the board. “Can anyone tell me what the potion does?” He drawled sarcastically.
Harry didn’t have to be looking to know that Hermione was probably halfway out of her seat with her hand in the air, desperate to be picked to answer. Harry had actually read about this potion, he was unfortunately a celebrity and so he had spent a lot of time last year behind his bed curtains learning about poisons and their antidotes and so out of spite, he put his hand up. Snape predictably homed in on him.
“Potter.” He called on him.
“It’s both a potion and antidote which is used to counteract ordinary poisons, such as creature bites and stings.” Then he added with a small smirk “Its ingredients include bezoars.” He remembered rather clearly Snape asking about bezoars in his first year.
“It also contains ground unicorn horn and mistletoe berries.” Snape nodded slightly at Harry which was the closest he was probably going to get to approval. Snape may be acting nicer but that clearly didn’t mean that he was going to be giving Harry house points. “It is a simple potion so you will be working individually.” He then smirked. “We will be testing the potions on your table partner.”
Most of the class paled. Harry exchanged a worried look with Ron.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Get started!” Snape barked and everyone hurried to obey.
Harry set up his cauldron and grabbed a mortar and pestle. He went to the cupboard to gather his ingredients before returning to his station and got started. He carefully read through the instructions, the ones listed on the board and in his book. He noticed that there was an inconsistency between the two recipes. He raised his hand.
“Yes Mr Potter?”
“Which recipe do we follow? The one in our textbook or the one on the board?” He nervously asked as the dark eyes of the Potion Master narrowed on him.
“The one on the board, unless you want a subpar potion and a grade to match it.” He drawled before sweeping off to loom over another student.
Harry was rather grateful to his past self for getting new glasses otherwise he wouldn’t be able to read the board like he hadn’t for the first two years at Hogwarts. He had never realised before that the instructions were different to what was in the book. He quickly jotted the recipe down so he would have a chance to investigate the changes later, he wanted to understand why Snape had made those changes. He had after all made a promise to himself that he would do better this year, and that meant in all his classes. With that decided Harry got to work.
Harry left the classroom with a smile on his face. His potion had been the right colour and consistency AND Snape had given him an EE on it!
“Mate, how did you get such a good grade?” Dean asked as they left. Ron was strutting just as proudly next to Harry; he also got an EE on this potion.
“I followed the instructions on the board, and it helped that the Slytherins weren’t trying to sabotage us.” Harry shrugged.
“That you crushed the bezoar to dust.” Ron commented. “I noticed that you were grinding it for longer than most people, so I copied you.” He added sheepishly.
“I wanted it to be a fine powder.”
“Maybe I should fight Ron to be your desk partner?” Dean nudged him with a grin.
"No chance!" Ron snorted and wrapped an arm over Harry's shoulders and messed up his hair with the other.
"Get off." Harry laughed, it felt great to joke around with his friends. He pushed Ron's hand away from his hair. His heart warmed at the action though because he had seen the twins and even Percy do it to Ron before now, he relished in the brotherly act.
"Oi, Gryffindorks." Malfoy called out to them.
"Yeah?" Ron turned to look at him without removing his arm from Harry's shoulders.
"We've got Runes," Malfoy caught up to them. "So, stop with whatever this is." He gestured to Ron and Harry. "And let's go Potter."
"Ah," Whoops he had almost forgotten that Potions wasn't his only class today. "I'll see you guys later." He told Ron and Dean before ducking under Ron's arm and walking faster.
"Later, mate!" Ron waved him off as he sped walked alongside Malfoy.
As he left though he overheard Dean say to Ron: "Since when were we friendly with Malfoy?"
Cornelius Fudge was at a loss. How had things gone so wrong? The Ministry as a whole was being sued by Narcissa Malfoy nee Black for the false imprisonment of her cousin and the refusal to life the ‘Kiss on Sight’ order. And on top of that a few members of the Ministry were personally being sued by the bloody Boy-Who Lived!
“Tell me again why you thought it was prudent to ground a child that was not under your guardianship.” He asked Dolores Umbridge. They were sat in one of the larger meeting rooms and were joined by the Head Auror Amelia Bones, the Auror Kingsley, Barty Crouch Snr., Solicitor Thomas Beven, and their media liaison Clare Hollingworth.
“Dumbledore brought it to my attention that he was going against your request that he was not to wander about.” She simpered. “I was merely disciplining the boy.”
“You are not his guardian.” He groaned and resisted the urge to bury his face in his hands. “If Dumbledore had an issue with the boy’s behaviour then he should have dealt with it personally rather than bringing the Ministry into it. He is as far as I know, the boy’s magical guardian. He could have easily ‘grounded’ him without involving us!”
“As it was requested by his magical guardian, doesn’t that mean that we were in the right and the boy can’t sue us?” Umbridge suggested.
“No.” Beven was the one to answer. “The so called grounding was implemented by the Ministry with no mention in form of writing of permission from Albus Dumbledore. And therefore was illegal.”
“Bugger.” Amelia cursed. “What can we do then?”
Auror Kingsley was silent and just clenched his fists. From the reports, the man had told the boy that he would try and fix it only to return with Amelia to place the ward personally on the boy’s door. Cornelius wasn’t sure if that made him worse than Amelia or better, either way he was being sued too.
“I suggest that you try and settle this out of court. The last thing the Ministry needs is for the media to catch wind of it being sued by the Boy-Who-Lived on top of Lady Malfoy.” Bevan shot Hollingworth a look.
“They won’t hear it from me.” She promised. “So long as it doesn’t go to court.”
“Agreed.” Cornelius sighed. He flipped through his copy of the lawsuit against Umbridge. “Apparently, Dumbledore felt that the need to forge young Harry’s signature on a check and forced him to pay for his lodgings despite the fact that I had told the boy myself that we would be covering it.”
“Well, that is hardly our fault.” Dolores blustered.
“And as soon as the man deigns to arrive, I will have words with him about it.” He rubbed his temples trying to stave off a headache. “However, I am not about to let that man make me a liar. We will be repaying young Harry for the stay at the cauldron and his meals.”
“Hem hem, Minister are-” Dolores started but he cut her off.
“I’m sure.” He said firmly. “At the very least it will move some of the boy’s ire to Dumbledore and away from us.”
“I will agree to pay restitutions for the grief my actions gave Mr Potter.” Auror Kingsley announced to the room. “I will not fight the lawsuit and so it won’t need to go to court.”
“Good.” Cornelius was pleased that at least on of the three had a brain in their head! “Amelia? Dolores?”
“I will do the same.” Amelia sighed and rubbed her forehead. She looked rather drawn and exhausted, it had been a very busy few weeks for her.
“Dolores?” Cornelius prompted the woman in pink when she said silent.
“Very well.” She said primly, her nose in the air. “But I want it noted that I was merely doing what I thought the boy’s magical guardian wanted me to.”
“So noted.” Bevan did in fact make a note of that.
“Now, on to the lawsuit from Lady Malfoy.” Cornelius moved them onto the second reason they were meeting.
“The law is the law.” Dolores simpered. “All escapees from Azkaban prison must be kissed on sight.”
“Maybe so, but the issue that Lady Malfoy has is that her cousin never received a trial and therefore was unlawfully imprisoned for twelve years.” Bevan summerised.
“Which was done by the previous administration.” Cornelius pointed out looking at Barty Crouch. “Weren’t you the one over seeing the trials of suspected Death Eaters.”
“Yes, isn’t it odd that your own son got a trial but Mr Black did not?” Hollingworth’s quill was posed above a clean piece of parchment.
“Dumbledore assured me that he had been the secret keeper of the Potters.” Barty said stiffly. “We were over run and under staffed. It was complete chaos, I merely decided to trust the Chief Warlock, signed the paperwork for his trial and transfer to Azkaban. Then I moved onto the next case.”
“Oh Merlin.” Amelia groaned and rubbed her eyes, her monocle placed carefully on the table in front of her. “Kingsley, if you would?” She gestured towards Barty.
“Yes, Ma’am.” Kingsley climbed to his feet and rounded the table. “BartemiusCrouch senior, you are underarrest for falsifying legal documents and the false imprisonment of one Sirius Orion Black the third. Other charges may be added over the course of the investigation. You do not have to say anything-”
“You have got to be kidding me!” Barty snarled as he hoisted from his chair.
“-but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.” Kingsley continued. “Anything you do say may be given in evidence…” His voice trailed off as the door shut behind them.
“Well, now we know who we can blame.” Cornelius dabbed his sweaty forehead. “I want all of our best lawyers looking at the law because if we do not find a way to parden Sirius Black then all of our jobs will be on the line.”
“Yes, Minister.” Was chorused around the table.
“Give Mr Bevan a copy of your article before it you print it so he can approve it.” He ordered Hollingworth.
“Yes, Minister.” And with that the meeting ended.
None of them noticed the small beetle on the wall that flew off once the meeting ended.
Later after classes had finished for the day and dinner had been eaten, Harry, Ron, the twins and Malfoy could be found in the Chamber of Secrets.
“Have you seen the glares Granger has been sending you?” Malfoy asked as soon as Harry and Ron entered their sitting area.
“No…?” Harry and Ron shook their heads.
“I’ve been avoiding her to be honest.” Harry admitted.
“Well, she looks like she wants to set you on fire and then dance on your ashes.” He was draped across his seat, his shoes kicked off and his feet on the table. Harry bet that he would never be allowed to sit like that at home.
“We should practice our shield charms then.” Harry sighed. “She’s already proven that she is more than happy to curse us.”
“We can-” Fred started.
“Teach you some spells.” George finished.
“Really?” Harry sat up straight.
“Sure,” Fred shrugged. “We’re older and despite how ‘talented’” He made quotation marks over the word ‘talented’. “Granger is-”
“We know more spells than she does.” George continued.
“And will you let me take part in these lessons?” Malfoy asked, sitting up, taking his feet off the coffee table.
“As if we would ever leave our-”
“Favourite snake, defenceless.” They scoffed.
“Let’s get started then!” Harry beamed. He had missed his lessons with Fenrir over the summer now that he was back in school.
They moved back into the main chamber where the dead basilisk lay, so that they wouldn’t damage the cool rooms that they liked to hang out in. Harry bounced on the balls of his feet as he waited impatiently for the twins to start.
“Okay, so first thing first, ickle little students.” Fred started standing before them with his wand held loosely in his hand. “Shielding.”
“The most common shield that you’ll be taught is ‘Protego’.” George explained. “It's not actually taught until sixth year which in our opinion is-”
“Stupid.” Fred rolled his eyes. “Surely a shield charm should be one of the first spells taught?”
Wasn’t that the spell that Fenrir had wanted him to learn? Harry hadn’t actually had a chance to even look it up! He was kind of surprised that the werewolf hadn’t sent him a letter asking about his progress on it.
“Isn’t that spell supposed to be really hard?” Malfoy commented.
“Unfortunately most adults aren’t able to perform it.” George admitted.
“But that's probably because they are too lazy to put the effort into learning it.”
“It can’t hurt to give it a go.” Ron sighed and raised his wand. “What was the incantation again?”
“That’s the spirit!” The twins send in unison.
“It’s pro-TAY-go.” George over exaggerated the pronunciation. “The wand movement is a sharp jab in a downward motion.”
“If successful, a thin, invisible shield will form.” Fred finished explaining. “Like so, Protego!” He jabbed his wand down and a shimmery virtually invisible shield appeared in the air in front of him. “The more power you pour into the spell the more visible it becomes.”
Unable to help himself, Harry fired off a spell towards the shield to test it. “Expelliarmus.” The shield glowed brightly where the spell hit but didn’t break.
“Sneaky sneaky.” Fred snarked and cancelled the spell.
“Now it’s your turn!” George clapped his hands. “For now just focus on getting the spell, we’ll test the shield once you lot are able to produce them reliably.”
Harry was eager to start so he took a few steps away from the others and held out his wand. He took a deep breath and focused. “Protego.” His magic surged and a very weak shield appeared for a moment before shattering.
“Show off!” Ron shouted but he wore a teasing smile so Harry knew that he wasn’t really upset.
“Protego!” Malfoy cast and a similar flickering shield appeared before it vanished. “It's not so hard.”
“Come on, Ron. You can do it.” Harry cheered his friend on as he was the last to try it.
“Protego!” Ron yelled the spell and much to everyone’s amazement the shield that formed was rather visible meaning that he had put a lot of magic into it.
“Well done!” Harry grinned at him. He was glad that Ron had done so well.
“Nice!” The twins swarmed their brother and ruffled his hair almost violently. “Now do it again.” They ordered the three of them in sync.
“Yes sirs!” Harry playfully saluted. He felt buoyant at their success after just one casting all three of them had managed to get a shield even if it was a weak shield! He dodged a stinging hex that George sent his way for his cheek.
“No dodging!” Fred called out. “Shield charms only!” and followed that statement with another hex.
“Ow!” Ron yelped as the hex shattered his shielding charm.
“Don’t worry, Gred knows healing spells.” Fred continued to fire off hexes at the three of them. “He’ll heal you all at the end of the lesson.”
“You are evil-ah!” Malfoy scowled only to wince as a stinging hex hit him.
“Protego!” Harry cast and to his amazement it was strong enough to deflect one hex before breaking.
“Well done, Harry!” George brought the evil Fred’s attention to him.
“But can you do it again?” Fred aimed his wand at him with an unholy gleam in his eye.
Oh merlin, he regretted letting the twins teach them! He winced as his next shield charm broke, letting through the hex.
By the time they had called the lesson to an end, Harry, Ron and Malfoy were groaning in pain from all the stinging hexes that Fred had managed to land.
“Not bad,” Fred commented as George approached Ron to heal him. “You did a lot better than I expected any of you to do.”
“Next time could you use a colour changing charm instead?” Malfoy complained.
“Nah, you’ll learn the charm faster this way.” Fred refused.
“Did you have to put so much power behind the hexes?” Harry rubbed at a partially sore spot on his arm.
“Sorry.” He frowned and approached to look at the welt on Harry’s arm. He winced.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would appreciate that.” Harry sighed in relief as George came over and muttered some spells under his breath. The pain immediately faded. “Think you could also teach us some healing spells?”
“Sure.” George easily agreed as he moved onto Malfoy. “Also Fred, I agree with these three, colour changing charm or weak jinxes from now on.”
“Agreed.” Fred looked really apologetic. “Sorry.”
“It's fine.” Ron patted his brother on the shoulder. “It was your first time teaching, you were bound to make mistakes.”
“But if you hit me with one more stinging hex I will summon a snake for Potter to set on you.”
“I think you can call me Harry,” Harry smiled tiredly at Malfoy. “We have after all just survived torture together.”
“Draco then.” Mal-Draco nodded at him.
“And I’m Ron.” Ron added with a lopsided smile. “Now, can we go to bed? Curfew is probably soon.”
“Good idea.” Harry agreed and groaned as he climbed to his feet. George may have healed him but he still felt sore. “I want a shower.”
“Forget a shower, I want to go to bed.” Ron helped Draco up.
“And that is why you smell, Weas-Ron.” Draco corrected himself.
“I’ll push you back down.” Ron threatened.
“Now, now.” George swooped in and wrapped an arm around Ron, pulling him away from Draco before taking a dramatic sniff. “Phew! You do smell.”
“Ew, you do!” Fred immediately joined in on the fun.
“Oh shove off!” Ron pushed his brother away.
Harry just laughed at his friends and led the way out of the chamber. They followed behind him, still bickering.
It was as Harry was climbing into bed that night that he remembered the letter he had received that morning. He got back out of bed and combed through his robe pockets to get it. He pulled out the letter and the scrap piece of parchment with the ICW’s PO box. He left the address on his side table and crawled back into bed with the letter. He closed the curtains around his bed and lit his wand with a lumos so he could read the letter. Inside the Envelope was two letters:
When I spoke to Dodge, E (whose first name by the way is Elliot) he was esctactic at the chance to ‘stick it’ to the Ministry. At that point his wife, Elizabeth Dodge Nee Roiser (the Dodger, E. R. in the firm’s name) came into the office intent on boasting to her husband that she had gotten a client that wanted to sue the Ministry. After a long and ocastionally loud conversation, they decided to join forces and work together in the suit against the Ministry. Which works for us as it will keep people from wondering who is behind the lawsuit as they will already have a name: Narcissa Malfoy.
It should hopefully be printed in the Daily Prophet in more detail.
I don’t doubt that she will win her case and with it, the Kiss on Sight order will be revoked. I’ll keep you posted but I have a feeling that the Daily Prophet will keep you up to date just as well as I can.
Do you by chance know anything about how the International community became aware of Black’s situation?
Love you pup,
Are you sure that you aren’t in Slytherin? I have a feeling that you and your friends are behind the world’s sudden awareness of what is happening in Britain. If you’re not, which I doubt, take it for the compliment it is.
My mate’s letter to you is probably full of boring legal stuff so I won’t bother with that in mine. Instead, have you had any success with the Protego charm? You’ve been suspiciously quiet with your progress reports on that. If you’ve succeeded at it, then maybe more on to the Patronus charm. With your new wand, you shouldn’t have to worry about your wand exploding on you again. I believe that you can do it.
We miss you so much, all of us do.
Harry grinned and folded the letters carefully. The novelty of getting letters from people who cared about him while he was at Hogwarts still hasn't worn off. He treasured each one. He opened his bed curtains and put the latest letters in his side table draw. He would put them in his trunk for safe keeping in the morning. He went to sleep with a smile on his face.