Chapter Three: Trial
Training to be future Aurors and being in the Order took up much of Dominique’s time, so much so that she barely remembered what month let alone what day it was. It was not until an owl arrived on the morning of September second that she remembered it was Nadia’s first year at Hogwarts and first day of classes. The letter arrived as Dominique and Sirius were finishing up their breakfast.
“You’re going to like this one.” Sirius said untying the letter from the owl’s leg.
“Why?” Dominique asked reading the paper.
“It’s from your sister.” Dominique practically launched herself out of her chair. “Told you.”
“Oh thank Merlin.” Dominique sighed sitting back down.
“What is it?” Sirius asked sitting next to her.
“Listen to this:
Good news I was not sorted into Slytherin, even after I asked the Hat to place me there so Mum and Dad would not be angry with me. The Hat told me that my talents would be wasted there and placed me in Ravenclaw! I’m sure Mum will still be upset, but hopefully she won’t blow anything up like she did when you wrote to tell them you had been sorted into Gryffindor. I am also happy I am not in Slytherin because of Regulus, not that he isn’t nice to me, but I don’t like him. Gives me an excuse to avoid him. Do I really have to marry him?
My roommates seem really nice. One of them, Addie, is already my friend! I was worried that they would not like me because of our family, but apparently being your younger sister is a good thing, not that I did not think is was already.
Hopefully I will have more to write about after classes. I am so excited that I can write to you whenever I want now, without hiding it! I’ll write again soon I promise!
Lots of love,
“I need to bake some cookies.” Dominique comment out of nowhere.
“Whys that? Not that I don’t love it when you bake.” Sirius wiggled his eyebrows, last time chocolate had been involved, and Dominique rolled her eyes.
“Remember how jealous we were when the others would get baked goods from home? Well I always told myself that when Nadia got into Hogwarts and when my someday children go to Hogwarts, I would send her, and them, baked goods whenever I could starting the first day of classes.”
“I like that plan.” Sirius smiled kissing Dominique.
“Don’t distract me this time.” Dominique warned.
“I make no promises.”
Dominique and Nadia wrote back and forth everyday during September. Nadia told Dominique everything about her day while Dominique gave her sister tips for classes. As October rolled around Nadia’s letters came less frequently as her class became harder. When Nadia apologized Dominique told her not to be sorry, but to focus on her studies and write when she could.
Exciting news came from Dumbledore the week before Halloween. He sent an owl to Dominique inviting her to Hogwarts for Halloween. The letter said that he wanted to discuss helping her get custody of Nadia. Dominique wrote back immediately, she also asked Dumbledore if Sirius could come with her. She explained that since Sirius was such a big part of her life she would like her sister to get to know him.
“Sirius!” Dominique ran into the bedroom. Sirius was still in bed this was the first time in a long time they had gotten to sleep in, it was already noon.
“What?” Sirius asked not sounding very happy about being woken up.
“Dumbledore’s invited me to Hogwarts for Halloween!” Dominique jumped onto the bed.
“That’s wonderful. Now I’m going back to sleep.”
“Sirius this means I can spend time with Nadia and I want you to come.”
“You do?” Sirius rolled over looking at Dominique.
“Really!” Dominique gave Sirius a quick kiss, “I knew there was a reason I love you. Now go back to sleep.”
“No I’m fully awake now. So what’s for breakfast?” Sirius asked sitting up.
“Don’t you mean lunch?”
“No I just woke up therefore it is breakfast.” Dominique just laughed as she left the bedroom.
Halloween morning could not come fast enough for Dominique. When Halloween morning finally arrived Dominique was up bright and early too excited to stay asleep. Finally at round noon Sirius and Dominique Apportioned to Hogsmeade to wait in the Three Broomsticks where Dominique and Nadia had agreed to meet for lunch before they went shopping.
“Ms. Watkins! Mr. Black! So good to see you again!”
“Rosemerta you look lovely as always.” Sirius smiled kissing Rosemerta’s hand as he used to in school, Dominique rolled her eyes.
“To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” Rosemerta asked blushing.
“We are meeting my sister here today.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister.”
“This is her first year.”
“Oh how wonderful. Well there’s an excellent table over that has an excellent view of the door, but not the draft.”
“Thank you Rosemerta.” Sirius gave Rosemerta a small bow before leading Dominique to the table.
“You’re terrible you know, flirting with the barmaid in front of your girlfriend.”
“Terribly. You’re lucky I don’t hex you.” Dominique smirked and Sirius laughed.
“Dominique!” Dominique turned hearing her name to see her sister running towards her.
“Nadia!” Dominique caught her sister up in a hug, “I’m so happy to see you!”
“I missed you sissy.”
“I missed you too. I want you to meet someone.” Dominique stood and turned to face Sirius, “Nadia I would like you to meet Sirius Black. Sirius this is my sister Nadia.”
“It is very nice to meet you Nadia.” Sirius held out his hand.
“You’re much better looking than your brother.” Dominique and Sirius burst out laughing.
“How is my younger brother?”
“Annoying. Seems to think I can’t find my way around the Castle.”
“He was never the brightest of the bunch.” Sirius sighed theatrically and Nadia laughed.
“Ready for some lunch?” Dominique asked.
“Yes.” Both Sirius and Nadia said at the same time causing everyone to laugh.
Dominique could not have been more thrilled. Nadia loved Sirius and Sirius seemed to adore Nadia. He spent the rest of their lunch time telling Nadia about the pranks James and him used to pull on the Slytherins. After lunch they walked around Hogsmeade. At Honeyduke’s Sirius bought the sisters their favorite sweets and Dominique returned the favor by surprising Sirius with a few of his old favorites from Zonko’s. They met several of Nadia’s fellow Ravenclaw’s including her good friend Addie. At dinner time Sirius and Dominique joined Nadia at the Ravenclaw table for dinner, after all three were summoned to the Headmasters office.
“Now before we get any further in our discussion Dominique I feel it is only appropriate that we explain to Nadia what you have come here to discuss.
“Oh course Sir.”
“What’s going on Sis?” Nadia asked confused.
“Professor Dumbledore has agreed to assist me in a very important matter, but only so long as you agree.”
“Agree to what?”
“I would like to petition the Wizengamot to make me your legal guardian.”
“You mean I wouldn’t have to live with Mum and Dad anymore?”
“I can understand if you want to stay with…”
“No I want to come live with you!” Nadia exclaimed before recoiling slightly, “I’m tired of being afraid and I don’t want to marry Regulus.”
“Then that settles it. I will send in the petition first thing Monday morning. Now this will not be an easy process. We will have to go into court several times for questioning and your personal life will be closely looked into. A word of caution someone from the Wizengamot will be sent to see that your home is satisfactory and that you are able to provide the proper living conditions for your sister.” Dumbledore paused for a moment. “That being said it would be unwise for Mr. Black to spend the night at your place until the trial is complete especially on the occasions when your sister is staying with you. The Wizgamont generally frowns upon unmarried couples living together when one is trying to gain custody of a child. Most of them being traditionalist they find that sort of thing improper behavior.”
“We understand Sir.” Dominique said Sirius nodded indicating he understood.
“Professor Dumbledore would I be able to stay with my Sister for the Christmas holiday?”
“I will request that you be allowed to do so in my petition. I see no reason why they would not allow you to do so.”
“If I write a letter for you to send so I can tell them why I wanted to stay with Dominique would that help?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“Then I will write it right away.” Nadia turned to her sister, “I hope you win.”
“Me too.” Dominique smiled at her sister, “Now shouldn’t you be doing homework?”
“Yes, but I want to spend more time with you.”
“There will be plenty of time for that later.” Dominique gave her sister a hug, “I’ll see you soon.”
“Ok.” Nadia turned to Sirius, “Can I give you a hug too Sirius?”
“Sure kiddo.” Dominique smiled as she watched her sister and Sirius hug.
“Goodnight everyone.” Nadia smiled opening the door.
“Goodnight.” Professor Dumbledore, Dominique, and Sirius said together as the door closed.
“Now before we proceed I know Ms. Watkins understand her role, but I want to make sure that you Mr. Black understand yours.”
“I’m sorry I don’t understand Professor.”
“Once the trail begins Dominique’s whole life will be under scrutiny this includes how she lives at home. A member of the Wizengamot will be sent to see how Dominique lives her day to day life with her sister there, and though there is nothing wrong with your relationship the court will frown upon two unmarried young adults living together with a child present. Therefore I strongly suggest that you don’t not stay overnight at Dominique’s place from now until the trial is over.” Sirius nodded to indicate he understood before Dumbledore continued, “Further more when you are around and Nadia is there whether or not you two intend upon marriage in the future you must be willing to show that you plan on being the best father figure you can be to Nadia. Can you do this?”
“Yes Sir I can. I told Dominique I intended to help see her through this.”
“That is excellent to hear Mr. Black. Now if you two will excuse me I have much work to do.” Dumbledore stood, Sirius and Dominique followed suit, “Dominique I will send you copies of everything I submit to the court. You should expect a quick response from your mother and father.”
“I would expect nothing less from them. They will not be pleased.” Professor Dumbledore escorted them down the stairs and led them towards the main entrance. “I am just happy that even if she cannot stay with me during the holidays that she can stay here. I assume that the court will want to ask her questions and I do not want our parents punishing her the minute they are at home.”
“I understand your concern and I will express them to the court just to be safe. The Wizengamot has ways of keeping an eye on the families without them knowing. That way the parents and person in question do not act one way around the interviewer and another when the interviewer is gone.”
“I assume they will do the same with me?”
“Possibly, but you have shown no signs that would suggest you would be an abuser so they may not.”
“I really cannot express how much this means to me Professor.” Dominique said as they exited the castle and walked towards the gates.
“I am more than happy to help.” Dumbledore waved his hand and the gate opened, “Once they Wizengamot has set a date for the first hearing I will contact you. We should meet before hand so we can go over what will happen.”
“Thank you.” Both Dominique and Sirius shook Dumbledore’s hand before walking through the gates towards Hogsmeade.
Dominique did not say a word as they walked to Hogsmeade. Once they had apportioned back to her apartment Dominique quickly busied herself in the kitchen seemly deciding it needed a good cleaning. Sirius sat in the living room for an hour before deciding enough was enough, he was going to get to the bottom of what was bothering Dominique.
“Alright Love what’s the matter.” Sirius asked leaning against the counter.
“Nothing the kitchen was just dirty.” Dominique commented as she directed the pans back into their place with her wand.
“Nice try Love, but you haven’t cooked all day the kitchen was spotless and the dishes don’t take an hour.” Dominique turned her back to him putting a few scattered items in the cupboard. Shaking his head Sirius walked towards Dominique wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close, “Stop worrying everything will be fine.”
“I know.” Dominique looked up at Sirius with a small smile on her face; Sirius kissed her smile, “What would I do without you?”
“Clean the kitchen for hours.” Dominique laughed, she knew he was right.
That Monday morning Dumbledore’s owl arrived with the copies of the documents he was sending to the Wizengamot. How Dumbledore had put everything together over the weekend she had no idea. Besides all her grades from her years at Hogwarts, there were letters from many of her former teachers, Alastor Moody, and even Mrs. Weasley attesting to her character and strong work ethic. What surprised her even more was the letter that Missy had written about how both girls had been treated by their parents, mostly their mother.
“Mother really isn’t going to like this.” Dominique sighed as she headed back to her room to get ready for work.
Dominique was right to assume her mother would be unhappy because the very next morning her parent’s owl brought her a Howler. Knowing that it would be worse not to open it Dominique bit her lip and opened the Howler:
HOW DARE YOU! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE! HOW DARE YOU BRING MORE EMBARESSMENT UPON THIS FAMILY THEN YOU ALREADY HAVE YOU DISPICABLE BLOOD TRATIOR! IF YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT YOU WILL TAKE YOUR SISTER AWAY FROM US YOU ARE SORELY MISTAKEN! I WILL NOT STAND BY AND HAVE MY ONLY DAUGHTER RAISED BY A MUGGLE LOVER! CONSIDER THIS A WARNING, GO THROUGH WITH THIS AND YOU WILL REGREAT YOU EVER DID SO!
The yelling ceased and the Howler shriveled up in flames.
“Typical mother.” Dominique sighed. Two more owls arrived after her parent’s. One was from the Wizengamot wizard that was representing her parents sending her a copy of their papers. The second was from the Wizengamot, the first court date was to be in two weeks.
“Do you think you have a good chance?” Lily asked later that day when she, Alice, and Dominique met for lunch in Diagon Alley. “I know you would make a great parent, but we are talking about pure bloods.”
“I hope I do, Dumbledore thinks I do.” Dominique commented taking a bite of her lunch.
“Well I hope for you sisters sake you do.” Lily said.
“I agree.” Alice added, “How’s Sirius handling this?”
“He is being amazingly supportive. Yesterday he helped me paint Nadia’s room and assemble her bed.”
“That’s really great. I’ll admit I was a little worried that this might scare him away.” Lily said.
“To tell the truth so was I. I never hide the fact that I wanted to get Nadia away from our parents but I also did not expect him to stay around. I am glad he proved me wrong.”
“That boy would never walk away he is so in love with you. According to James all Sirius ever talks about lately is how he can help you.” Lily laughed.
“Well I am glad I have his support and yours too.”
The trial came sooner the Dominique would have liked. Despite all the meetings she had had with Dumbledore Dominique felt completely unprepared. She paced back and forth in front of the small courtroom that they were to be in. Sirius had given up in his attempts to get Dominique to sit down. Instead he just sat quietly hoping Dumbledore would arrive soon. Thankfully Dumbledore did not take too long to arrive and Nadia walked next to him as they came down the corridor.
“Sissy!” Nadia ran to her older sister and Dominique embraced her in a hug. Once Dominique let her go Nadia turned to look at Sirius.
“Come here kiddo.” Sirius gave Nadia a hug as well.
“We should head inside.” Dumbledore suggested. Dominique nodded as Sirius took her hand. Dumbledore held out his hand for Nadia to take as the doors to the courtroom opened.
The courtroom was brighter then Dominique had expected, she had expected some dingy dungeon. The room was circular with ascending benches creating a half moon shape that framed the center of the room where a wooden chair and table sat facing the Wizengamot member in charge of questioning. The Wizengamot member was a elderly witch with a friendly smile. To her right sat the secretary and behind them sat the few members of the Wizengamot who had also been assigned to the case.
“Nadia Watkins you get over here this minute.” A sharp voice drew Dominique’s attention to the left hand side of the room. There sat her mother and father along with Mr. and Mrs. Black. Dominique felt Sirius stiffen beside him. “I said now young lady.”
“That’s enough Mrs. Watkins.” The head witch spoke. “Nadia will come and sit by me.” The witch smiled and motioned for Nadia to sit next to her just behind the secretary. She waited for Nadia to settle herself before continuing, “Now if everyone will settle down we shall begin.”
Everything happened so fast Dominique barely had time to register what was going on. Dominique was put in the hot seat first and questioned by both Dumbledore and the wizard representing her parents. They asked her about her childhood, why she ran away from home, why she thought she would make a good guardian for Nadia. Then as soon as the questions had begun they were over and she was taking her seat next to Sirius once again.
Her mother and father were up next. They were also asked about how they had raised the girls, why they believed Dominique had run away from home, and why she would want custody of her younger sister. Both their answers were that Dominique had always been a trouble maker who refused to follow the rules and that to this day they could not understand why she had left home.
“Now I would like to ask that everyone but the voting members of the Wizengamot, myself, and the transcriber to leave the room. I believe that it would be in the best interest of the child to be questioned without pressure.” Everyone filed out of the courtroom.
Out in the corridor the tension made the air heavy. Both Sirius and Dominique stood as far as possible from their parents. Their parents in turn pretended they were not there. The wait felt like hours but in reality was only about thirty minutes.
“We have heard compelling arguments from both sides today and after talking to Nadia I believe that more observations need to be made on behalf of the Wizengamot. Therefore I will grant Nadia Watkins wish that she be allowed to spend the holiday break with her sister.” It took all Dominique had not to jump up and down, “However you will be observed during this time by a member of the Wizengamot. After the holiday break is over I request that Nadia return to her parent’s home on the weekends for three consecutive weeks for observation. After that is complete we will reconvene.” She stood indicating the ending to the day proceedings.
Nadia ran to her sister with a big smile on her face. “I get to spend Christmas with you!”
“And we are going to have so much fun!”
“Will you wait for me to decorate the tree?”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” She gave Nadia one last hug before turning to Dumbledore, “Thank you Sir.”
“Don’t forget we still have a long way to go.” But he gave her a smile none the less.
“I won’t Sir.” Dominique watched as Dumbledore and Nadia disappeared down the corridor, “Time to go home I have a lot to do before Nadia arrives.”
“Do I have to help with the shopping too?” Sirius asked slightly worried.
“No I promised Lily and Alice they could help with that.”
“Oh good.” Sirius laughed. Dominique laughed giving him a playful slap before the stepped into the fireplaces to go back to Dominique’s apartment.
A/N: Sorry for the long wait and thank you to those of you who were willing to wait. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please don't forget to review, I love hearing from you! I know this chapter will not be up in time, but to those of you who do celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you had a happy one spent with friends and family.
Lovely chapter image by Lady Malfoy @ TDA