Disclaimer: I own only the plot - the characters and the wonderful world they live in belong to JK Rowling!
Harry exited the lift at level nine in the Ministry of Magic and headed down the long corridor. When he neared the end, he swung a left and headed down the old stone stairs towards level ten. As he came to the last step, the dull roar that he heard at the doors to the lift escalated to what seemed like chaos. Taking a deep breath, he turned the corner to see a huge throng of people. Reporters and photographers took up much of the space before him. They took notice of him almost instantly and surged forward – questions filled the air and flash bulbs flared before him.
Putting his head down, he shoved his way through shouting out ‘no comment’ as he cleared a path to the front. Nearing the large wooden doors that indicated he was at courtroom ten, he noticed a familiar face.
“Remus!” He called out to get his attention. “Glad to see you’re here already.” He gestured back to the crowd that was now behind him. “How long have they been here?”
“They were here when I arrived.” Lupin commented as he knocked on the door to get the two of them access. A short wizard pulled it open and ushered them inside. “This trial is high profile Harry – I think we can expect them to be out there for the duration. Mad-Eye received a note today informing him that Malfoy is planning on countering our allegations with his own. He claims that you used undue force when arresting him.”
Harry felt the bile rise in the pit of his stomach. Not sure he had heard him right, he shook his head. “Pardon? He’s doing what?”
“He’s accusing you of being excessively violent when you took him into custody. Now Harry – we both know that he’s just trying to find a chink in our case. And we know that it’s not going to work.” Remus replied. “Mad-Eye is talking to the Chief Warlock to see if we can get it thrown out of the trial. So we mustn’t worry right now.” He checked his watch and took hold of Harry’s elbow. “Let’s get up to our seats – “
He was cut off by a loud shout coming from the door. Both Harry and Lupin turned to find Mad-Eye Moody attempting to shut the large wooden door on someone’s foot. “NO! The trial is closed to reporters unless you are on the approved list. And you sir are not! Now get out of the door!”
Harry rushed over to where his colleague stood to find that he was trying to close the door on one Dennis Creevey. “Wait! Mad-Eye – he’s allowed in.” He said, placing his grip above Moody’s and pulling open the door. “I added him to the list last night – just returning a favour. I promised him an exclusive on the opening days of the trial after he and Colin came over to do the story on James.”
Dennis slipped in through the crack in the door and straightened his robes as Moody eyed him wearily. “Thanks Harry – I really do appreciate this.”
“It’s not a problem Dennis.” He responded as he pointed to a set of chairs that were sectioned off by a blue rope in the top half of the seat in the chamber. “The press have to sit up there – the Chief Warlock insists that you lot be as far away as possible so you don’t distract from the proceedings.”
Dennis nodded and quickly headed off to find the best seat in the area Harry had pointed out. After he left, Harry noticed that both Moody and Lupin were looking at him curiously.
“I know, I’m being friendly to the press. Ginny has me 80% convinced that keeping on the good side of the Creeveys will be beneficial for our privacy in the long run. Apparently they have quite a large influence and reputation with their colleagues.”
“I think it’s a good Harry.” Lupin commented as he started up to where they would be sitting. “Come now, I think we should review the case notes before the circus starts.”
Being in the row of benches in courtroom 10 was a new experience for Harry. This was only his second time in the room the first time had him sitting in the middle of the room when he had been charged with using under-age magic in front of his Dudley at the start of his fifth year. As he peered down at the chained chair from their spot in the second row, he felt a wave of anxiety wash over him and the feelings he felt when he was fifteen hit him in the chest. Taking a deep breath he reminded himself that he was not being prosecuted this time around. This time he was there to make sure justice was served and the guilty party was made accountable for their crimes.
“All right then Harry?” Lupin asked, breaking into his thoughts.
“What?” Harry blinked and looked around the room as his mind cleared of the memories. “Oh – yes, just old ghosts haunting me.” He answered, settling back into his seat and shuffling papers around.
“The invitation to the wedding arrived yesterday.” Lupin commented, attempting to make small talk as they waited for the others to arrive. “Nymphadora is going to be out of St. Mungo’s in time to attend with me. Which will be nice. Are you all ready?”
Harry smiled slightly and shrugged. “Ginny and her mum are ready. I was reminded this morning that I still need to get new dress robes, a hair cut and oh yes – find the right words to tell Ginny that I love her and she’s it for me. The first two are easy enough but I have no idea what words will be right.”
Lupin chuckled and gave Harry a comforting pat on the shoulder. “Harry. It’s when you say things like this that I am reminded that you are James Potter’s son. He had the same problem when he married your dear mother. Anyone could see he was head over heels in love with her but when he tried to put it into words – he was stumped. And I’m sure you know by now that your father loved to talk as much as most people like to breathe.”
Harry felt the jittery feeling in his stomach settle. He enjoyed it when Lupin reminisced about his parents. The little tidbits he gave out made James and Lily more alive for him. “So what did he do?” He asked, hoping that he could follow his father’s example.
“Well when James still hadn’t written his vows, the four of us, Padfoot, Prongs, myself and Wormtail went out and got sodding plastered on firewhiskey. Lily went wild the next day. We had performed the standard sobering charms but she could still tell.” He laughed at the memory and looked Harry in the eye. “As I expect Ginny would as well. And it didn’t help James at all. In the end he spoke from the heart and when he was finished Lily was no longer mad at him. That’s the best advice I can give – no matter what words you choose they will be right for Ginny.”
“That’s what everyone tells me, but I’m not so sure they are right.” Harry said, feeling slightly better knowing that his father wasn’t brilliant at vows either. He was about to ask Lupin if his mother had been as nervous as his father when the giant doors opened and the selected members of the press, the remaining members of the Wizengamot and the group of the public started to fill the large chamber.
“Here we go.” Grumbled Moody as noise filled the room.
The noise was reaching a crescendo when the Chief Warlock stood and called for silence. When the crowd finally quieted down, he continued.
“Today we begin the trial of Draco Malfoy. Auror officials will begin the proceedings by presenting their case. Following that Mr. Malfoy’s defense will have their chance to counter the accusations. Will the Ministry officials please bring in the accused?”
At the end of his words, two wizards dressed in official ministry robes rose from their seats and pulled open a door at the front of the room. There was an audible gasp throughout the crowd as Malfoy was led in. If it was possible he looked to be in worse shape then when Harry had handed him over to the guards at Azkaban. His hair was still long and tangled and if possible even dirtier than before. The rumour was that Malfoy had staged a hunger strike after being locked in prison and it was blatantly obvious by the way his tattered robes hung on his thin frame.
As he was ushered past Lupin, Harry and Moody he swung his head up towards them and locked eyes with Harry. In the depths of the cold grey stare, Harry could see the hate he had for him. A shudder passed over Harry’s spine as they officers pushed their prisoner along and the connection was broken.
Harry watched as the guards settled Malfoy into the chained chair at the centre of the room. He sat limply and provided the guards with no assistance as they began to set the restraints around him. As the guard on Malfoy’s right lifted his arm, Harry caught a sudden movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head in time to see a hooded figure throw a wand through the air towards the prisoner.
Malfoy’s arm shot up to catch the wand, knocking the guard to the floor in the process. Swinging towards Harry, he leveled the wand at him.
“This is it Potter! I am going to get my revenge for me and the disgrace you placed on my family!” He shouted, his voice laced with madness.
Malfoy’s lips began to move as Harry’s wand hand shot out to cast a protection spell. Neither wizard had a chance to finish their casts as stunning spells flew through the air towards the mad prisoner. Harry watched as Malfoy was hit numerous times by the guards stationed about the chamber and crumpled to the floor. Before he could move from where he stood he felt a spell graze his arm; tearing his robe and singeing his skin. As he turned to survey the damage he was hit with a stunning spell from behind. As it his shoulder, he fell forward and hit his head on the ledge in front of him, causing the world to go dark.
Ginny ran down the long corridor of the fourth floor at St. Mungo’s with a scrap of parchment clutched tightly in her hand. She had been giving Tonks a final examination before signing the release papers allowing her to go home when a bright red parchment flew into the room and started to flutter around her head; jabbing at her ear. Initially she thought it had to be one of her patients from the children’s ward and opened it. Her eyes immediately zeroed in on Harry, spell damage and fourth floor. With little explanation to Tonks she rushed from the room to find him. Rounding the corner of the corridor, she skidded to a stop at the Healer’s station.
“Harry Potter – where is he?” She asked, gasping for air.
“Healer Weasley! Mr. Potter is in the room at the end of the hall but – “ The medi-witch who was answering her never got to finish as Ginny took off again towards the end of the hall and Harry.
When she arrived at the end of the hall, she stopped and placed a hand on the door to calm her jittery stomach. It’s okay Ginny, you can deal with whatever has happened. Just be strong. As she finished telling herself this an image of Neville visiting his parents flashed in her mind and she wasn’t entirely sure if she could deal with taking James and the new baby to St. Mungo’s to visit their father. Tears welled up in her eyes and she brushed them away quickly. Taking a deep breath she pushed the door open and entered the room.
Harry was the only occupant of the dimly lit room and he lay in the bed, his eyes closed over. The blanket was tucked around him and she immediately focused on the bright white bandage that was wrapped around his arm. Quietly, she moved to his side and let her eyes do a quick scan to see if he wore any other bandages but found no others. His glasses lay on the bedside table; a large crack marring the left lens. When she looked at his face she took note of the large purple bruise on his left cheekbone.
Knowing that spell damage wasn’t always visible by just looking at a person – Ginny looked about the room for his chart. As she moved away from his side to check at the front of his bed she heard a low moan rumble from deep in his chest. Rushing back to his side she grabbed his hand.
“Harry?” She asked, using her free hand to rub his cheek softly. “Can you hear me?”
He groaned again and turned his cheek into her palm, the beard stubble scratching at her hand. “Ginny?” He whispered as he opened his eyes slightly and squinting up at her. “Why’s everything fuzzy?” He asked, blinking at her.
Ginny sniffed back tears and reached over to retrieve his glasses from the table. She knew then he would be okay. “Because you don’t have your glasses on.” She fixed them before sliding them onto his nose.
Harry tried to rise up on his elbows so he could get more familiar with his surroundings and winced in pain as he did so. Ginny gently pushed him back onto the pillow and performed a quick pain relief spell on him. “What happened? Where am I?”
“I can’t answer the first question, but as for the second, you’re in the Spell Damage ward at St. Mungo’s and scaring me half to death.” She answered, placing her wand into her robe pocket. There was a creaking at the door and both of them watched as Healer O’Malley entered with Lupin following behind. “Healer O’Malley! Have you been assigned to Harry’s case?” She asked, staying at his bed while the two new arrivals approached.
“I had hoped to arrive here before you Healer Weasley. It seems Mr. Potter that you were hit by a rogue spell during the opening trial of Draco Malfoy. Quite lucky too, no damage from the spell itself, but you do have a nasty cut on your arm from the one that grazed you and a concussion from the fall you took.” He explained, picking up Harry’s chart from the front of the bed. “Normally I would strongly advise you to stay here tonight for observation but as Healer Weasley is more than capable to keep an eye on you, I will be releasing you at the end of her shift.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “Which should be in an hour should it not?”
“Yes sir – I just need to finish my examination of Miss Tonks. I’m releasing her today.” She responded, looking at Harry and then Lupin with a smile on her face. “I hope she is packing her bags.”
“Excellent – now Ginny if he shows any adverse symptoms – take him in and I’ll leave the paperwork to you. I must go see to another patient that was just taken in. Seems he had a run in with a fanged doorknob – in the most embarrassing of areas.” O’Malley smiled and set Harry’s chart down before hurrying out the door.
She waited until she heard her supervisor’s voice trail off. “You fell? You daft git! You had me terrified!” She shouted, her brimming to the edges of her eyes before she grabbed him in a hug. “Never – ever – ever – do that again.”
Harry looked helplessly over her shoulder at Lupin who was biting back a smile. Both men knew he had faced much worse than a concussion during his time in the war but both knew that he would try his best to never tell Ginny those tales.
Patting her back soothingly, he kissed her cheek gently. “I’m sorry Love – I promise to duck under the table if the spells fly.” He said, smiling when she wiped her wet eyes on his shoulder.
“You better – when I came to the room all I could think was that I would have to be like Neville’s poor Gran and bring James and the baby here each week to visit you. And you’d give him sweet wrappers….” She trailed off and began crying once more.
“It’s ok Love – I promise.” Harry said patiently.
“You do? Right under the table?” She asked sniffing and looking at him with serious eyes.
“Right under. I won’t think about it twice.” He said, smiling before he kissed her lightly on the lips. When he heard the quiet cough of Lupin reminding them he was still in the room, he sighed. “Now as much as I love having you in a bed with me, Remus is in the room. I think we should find out what has happened since I took a blow to the side of the head. Don’t you?” Harry chuckled when she smiled at his comment and left his arms to sit on the edge of the bed. “So Remus – what exactly happened? I saw Malfoy fall to the ground when he was hit by the stunners and then I hit my head. Fill me in.”
Lupin moved over to where the spare chair sat in the room and pulled it closer to the bed. “Well Harry – it was chaos – which is why it took us so long to get you over here. Spells were flying every which way. Malfoy had planted a follower in the court – she’s the one that threw the wand. The guards detained her quickly and she’s being held for questioning. Malfoy, however didn’t fare so well. The effects of the stunning spells were too much for his weakened state; he died in the courtroom. He’s gone Harry.”
Harry could feel Ginny’s hand squeezing his as Lupin’s words sunk in. He suddenly felt a weight lift from his shoulders. “He’s gone?”
“Yes, we took the body here to confirm his death. The Healer signed the death certificate just before I headed up here to find you.” Lupin watched Harry’s face closely for a reaction, though his former student didn’t smile or show much feeling, he knew he felt a sense of relief. After chasing an enemy for as long as Harry did – a relief of it being over had to be felt.
“Does this mean that the trial is over?” Ginny asked.
“It will be on hold for a little while. There’ll have to an investigation to determine how everything happened.” Lupin said, rising from his chair. “Now isn’t the time to discuss it. I will let the two of you get ready to go home and I must go see if Nymphadora is ready for her Mr. Lupin to take her home.” He smiled and blushed slightly. “It will be nice to have her back at the house – even if she still isn’t the same girl yet.” He moved to give Ginny a quick kiss on the cheek. “Harry – I will send you an owl to let you know what is going to happen next. For now – concentrate on the wedding. Let it be a happy time.”
As he neared the door – Harry found his voice again. “Remus? Who was the person that supplied the wand?” He asked.
Lupin turned and looked at the two of them. “It was Ariadne Calileigh. She was apparently visiting Malfoy in prison. He somehow put her under the Imperius Curse. Alastor is going to question her and try to find out the exact story behind it all.”
A/N: Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I apologize for the delay in getting it out to the world - but my muses decided to go on holiday!
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