Percy ran back into the kitchen to see Remus still curled up, his arms wrapped tightly around his midsection. His eyes were screwed shut and he was biting his lip as though trying to stifle his cries of pain. "Remus," Percy said urgently, fear welling up within him. "We think Fudge found Sirius." Remus whipped his head up, staring at Percy through foggy eyes. "What?!" "We heard one of the nurses asking for Veritaserum. And then they started talking about Fudge. It's too much of a coincidence, I think he's been discovered." Remus swore quietly and tried to stand, but his legs were shaking and he leaned against the wall until he could support himself. "Percy, is there any spell I can do to take the edge off of my pain for a bit?" "Yeah," Percy said, raising his wand and performing the same spell that Sirius had used to help himself function during the Scotland debacle. Remus was able to walk and stand up almost completely straight. "Thanks," Remus said, letting out a sigh. "All right, where's Harry?" "Oh, with Ron," Percy said distractedly. "Come on, let's go get him, he won't be happy at all…" The two of them strode into the hall and Harry was sitting next to Ron's room waiting for them. "Hi," he said, smiling. "Ron said-" "Harry, Fudge has Sirius," Remus interrupted, and Harry visibly paled. "No way," Harry said faintly, his eyes wide. "There's no-" "We should find Cassie, first of all," Percy said. "Sirius was with her." Percy took Harry's wheelchair and they all set off down the hall. A turmoil of emotions were raging in Harry's chest. All of the memories of his godfather came crashing down upon him- his first impression of Sirius being a bloodthirsty murderer, the hope of going to live with him, Grimmauld Place, Christmastime, his out-of-tune singing, seeing him in the Pensieve, in the Gryffindor fireplace, the mountainside cave, feeling the loss and desperation as he was trapped in the Veil, his moments of sheer happiness when he was brought back, and now, and NOW, he was going to be taken from him AGAIN- "Never," he breathed, his face stony and resolute. "What, Harry?" Remus asked, looking fearful and intense. "He's not going to be taken from me again," Harry said in a low voice, looking quite dangerous. Percy glanced at him, his eyebrows raised. They were randomly pushing open doors, and then they opened another one and found- "Oh, dear," Remus said sadly. Cassie was still on the floor. She looked quite a mess: her long hair, usually sleek and shiny, was strewn carelessly about her. Her face was streaked with tears and she was sobbing harder than she had ever sobbed in her life. She looked like a person who knew neither what to do nor cared what happened to them. She did not look up as the door opened. "Cassie?" Remus asked softly. "Cassie?" She finally looked up, her eyes bloodshot and puffy. "R-Remus? He took him, Remus, he's going to die, and I WANT TO DIE TOO!" she howled, practically throwing herself at Remus. Taken by surprise, he collapsed onto the floor and she clung to him, soaking the front of his shirt with her tears. "No one's going to die," Remus said firmly. "Not Sirius, not you." "But Fudge took him, Remus!" Cassie moaned. "There's no hope for him now, even with the Veritaserum he didn't believe it-" "We have to go help him," Percy said immediately. "Where's Dumbledore?" "Checking on the students," Remus answered. "Percy, go tell him what happened and tell him that Cassie and I are heading to the Ministry." "Not without me, you're not!" Harry exclaimed, looking shocked that he had not been included. Remus gave him a sharp look. "You know what Fudge will think if you show up, Harry." "I don't care what the hell Fudge thinks!" Harry shot back at him. "This is my godfather! I need to help him as much as I can!" Remus sighed, looking defeated. "Fine. Let's just go, we're wasting time." He touched Harry's shoulder and they, along with Cassie, Apparated. Percy stared at the spots where they had just been standing moments before, and then sprinted away to find the Headmaster. "He'll make it all right," Percy thought confidently. "He always makes it all right." He ran to the Plague Ward and found nobody there. Confused, he asked around for help, but nobody seemed to know where the Headmaster was. "Oh no," he thought, terrified. "Bring him in." Accompanied by Dementors, Sirius Black was escorted into the courtroom of the Wizengamot. He sat down in the chair facing them and was immediately bound. He stared up at the faces of the High Court and realized, with a start, that Dumbledore was sitting there, looking very grave. "Sirius Black, you have escaped from prison on top of charges from fourteen years ago. What do you say in your defense?" Sirius raised his eyebrows. "Not guilty." There was a small hubbub and Fudge, sitting in the middle of the High Court, raised his hand to silence them. "You heard my story under the Veritaserum, Minister," Sirius continued, and the other wizards looked at Fudge curiously. "There's little more I can offer you that could convince you." The door suddenly banged open and Remus, Cassie and Harry strode in. Harry looked a little green in the face from going to so much effort and taxing his weak state already, but his fiery determination was blazing in his eyes. Sirius felt his spirits lift a little at seeing them there. "Three witnesses for the defense, your Honor," Remus called in a loud voice. The High Court looked amazed. "You would actually defend a convicted murderer?" Madame Bones asked them incredulously. "He's not a murderer," Harry said vehemently. "He's not! I was there when he confessed under Veritaserum," Cassie shouted. Madame Bones stared at her. "State your name and occupation, ma'am." "Cassandra Revina, and I'm a Healer for St. Mungo's." "Tell us your story." "Well," Cassie said, looking around, "I was in charge of Harry when he came in to my Ward. What I didn't know was that he had been accompanied by Sirius, who was looking to protect him. When I found out that Sirius was there, I forced him to drink some Veritaserum and he told me the whole story. And I might add that the story did not include him killing all those Muggles and Pettigrew." The witches and wizards of the Wizengamot were staring at Cassie as though they had never seen anything like her. Dumbledore had a twinkle in his eye. "Look," Sirius said. "I could take Veritaserum again, if you like. I'm willing to do so." "I heard what you had to say," Fudge said, looking confused. "If you'll excuse us," he said, standing up. The Wizengamot filed into an adjacent room and shut the door. Sirius was staring intently at the closed door, as though through his eyes he could will them to bend in his favor. Harry shakily sat down in a chair, Cassie started pacing, and Remus sank to his knees with a moan as his pain redoubled. Harry tried to calm himself, but he could not. All he could think was that in just a few minutes, his godfather might be taken from him again. He would be lost in the world, his last real parent wrenched mercilessly away from him. But maybe… maybe it would not be so. Maybe Sirius would be free. Fudge could not be that heartless, that monstrous. But his reputation means more to him than other people, a nasty little voice muttered in the back of his mind. Shut up, you, he told the nasty voice. You know it's true, the voice murmured evilly. He was brought back to earth by the door opening again, and the Wizengamot filed back in. Harry glanced at Dumbledore and could not read the mix of emotions there, but he felt his heart sink. "Sirius Black," Fudge boomed, "We, the Wizengamot, have listened to your case and have decided that you are guilty as charged. Your punishment will be the Dementor's Kiss." Cassie let out a cry and buried her face in her hands. Remus suddenly looked as though he had aged ten years. Harry merely looked at Dumbledore, disbelief on his face. "That is the High Court's rule," Fudge said, not looking at Sirius. Sirius stared at the Wizengamot, and then beyond them at something they could not see. "I'm going to die," he thought, his eyes wide. *A/N- BAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHH! Cliffhanger!
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