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Chapter 42 Albus Dumbledore sat back at his desk and stared at Atticus and Megan in turn. “Your version of events is of course persuasive but there is not a shred of evidence to back your supposition.” He spoke slowly. There was also some very damning evidence against Sirius. “I know that, Professor.” Atticus rarely called his father’s uncle by his first name, it would have struck him as disrespectful. “But you have to admit that this makes a great deal more sense than the madness we’re being asked to swallow. No matter what Pettigrew shouted, I think we all know that he would never have been brave enough to chase after Sirius.” Dumbledore removed his spectacles and thought for a moment. What Atticus described was indeed a far more likely turn of events but there was no proof. Even if Atticus testified that he had seen Sirius Black leaving for Peter’s lodgings he would have no knowledge of what went on there. His testimony would be useless and Dumbledore had told him so. Besides, there was a problem beyond whether or not Atticus’s version of events would be believed, there was Peter Pettigrew’s remains and a street full of dead Muggles. Regardless of who had betrayed whom, Sirius would be held accountable for that. “I have been to see Sirius and I am afraid he will not speak to me.” Dumbledore said. The room was silent and Dumbledore cleared his throat. “I will be compelled to give evidence that I knew Sirius was to be the Secret Keeper for the Potters.” He sighed. “No matter what any of us believe, Sirius will be held responsible for the death of all those people. No matter his motivations in killing Pettigrew.” “I can read him,” Megan had been thinking about this carefully. “Train me again Professor, and I’ll be able to read him and testify, they may at least show leniency if they know. Those Muggles must have been an accident Professor.” “Megan, even if I were willing to train you again, I am sorry but even the word of a tactile seer would not help in this case.” He paused. “Plus, it would almost certainly never be in time to save Sirius.” “But I could be trained in time for an appeal!” Megan begged. “Megan, I am so sorry but you were never able to read Sirius Black properly.” Dumbledore’s eyes were kind. Megan began to protest but Dumbledore raised a hand and cut her off. “Training would almost certainly kill the child within you Megan. You must know that.” Megan did realize this but had been willing to take the chance. Any chance was worth it if she could save Sirius and she said as much. “It’s worth the risk, Professor, you know it is.” Megan’s lip trembled but her face was resolute. “Things might be different this time, maybe I will be able to read him. I’ve got to try.” “Megan, you are willing to risk that, but I am not. I am sorry but I will not do that to you, or to Sirius.” Dumbledore said quietly. “Even if you could learn to successfully read him it would be of no use in this matter. A court would never take your word because of the relationship you share.” Ablus knew that Sirius had no idea that Megan was pregnant and she had begged him not to tell the young man. It was her greatest hope and her right to be the person who told him. No, there was no hope for it. Dumbledore, no matter what he believed in his heart must give the evidence he knew to be the truth, not the wild, hopeful theories of two desperate people even if they did appeal to him. Sliverton sat back and ran a hand through his hair, although he appeared calm there was still something he needed to do, had to say. “Professor, I’ve been over every report that the Ministry has and I have to tell you, there are several things that are simply odd about their evidence.” Atticus began. “For one thing, finding that one finger intact makes no sense when his body seems to have been nearly vaporized. There isn’t enough blood for Pettigrew to have, well, to have exploded.” “The curse he used must have been very powerful.” Dumbledore said sadly. “But that’s not all.” Atticus continued. “There’s a huge flaw in the accusation. The prosecution is saying that Black tried to deliver the Potters to his Master, but he could have done that long before this. Sirius was alone with both of them countless times. He could have heavily stunned James because Sirius could have taken him off guard since they trusted him so much. Lily would have been no match for him and all he need have done was heave them into a fireplace and take them elsewhere. Hell, he could have carried Harry directly to him.” Dumbledore looked at his clever grand nephew and smiled slightly, these were all the things he himself had worked out also but it was good to know that Atticus had thought things through so thoroughly. Atticus Sliverton was afraid of next to nothing and the dementors of Azkaban though a chilling thought were not going to dissuade him either. “There’s nothing for it. I need to speak to him myself.” Atticus said. “That is not possible, prisoners awaiting trial are rarely allowed visitors.” Dumbledore said quietly. “They are if they have the permission of both Albus Dumbledore and the Minister of Magic. Give me your permission and I know I’ll be able to get the Minister to agree.” Sliverton’s family estate funded half to the charitable works in the magical world. He had tremendous pull politically. Dumbledore considered for a moment, he had seen Black whereas Atticus had not. There was a chance, albeit slim that Black might confide in him. Accidental killings were treated differently maybe Black could even hope for a long house arrest. “All right Atticus, we must try everything we can.” Dumbledore understood this young man far better than Atticus could have imagined. He never could bear injustice and he would not rest until he had answered these questions. “Then I’m coming with you.” Megan said firmly. “No, you are not.” Atticus said with equal firmness. “Megan, seeing a dementor in your condition could cost you the baby.” Megan opened her mouth to protest but Sliverton cut her off as Dumbledore wrote out the letter to Atticus would need. “Besides Megan, you have to realize, seeing you…”Atticus tried to think of a way to word this. “It can’t possibly help right now.” “Why the devil not?” Megan snapped. “Because he’d be happy to see you Megan and the dementors would have more impact upon him.” Atticus gazed at her levelly. “It would cloud his mind.” “Megan, there is something I need your help with regardless.” Dumbledore said, looking up as he wrote. Megan nodded reluctantly. She wanted this over, she wanted Sirius back with her and then they could raise Harry together, no matter what Dumbledore had said. But she could not deny any help to this man. He had earned her loyalty forever simply by willing to listen. She knew that she and Atticus could not speak of what they suspected to anyone. No matter how driven she felt because there were still Death Eaters at large, many of them driven mad with anger. They could storm Azkaban and kill Sirius. Secrecy was of the utmost importance again in her life. :::::::::::::::::::: Three weeks had passed since Lily and James had been killed, Voldemort defeated. Sophie Burns checked the casserole she was making for dinner and worried a bit more about Remus. He was so withdrawn that sometimes she felt as if she could not even reach him. He had however thrown himself into the work remaining for the Order, searching out and finding the Death Eaters. Every day he was off, pursuing them and Sophie knew that his will to live was very low indeed. He had returned from his first transformation with deep gouges in his arms and chest, he obviously felt very alone despite her best efforts. He also wouldn’t make love to her, but she understood this it was hard to find passion within when your heart felt broken. “Well, old chair, old friend of mine.” Sophie sat on the couch and addressed the shabby armchair in the corner. “What do you want?” The chair was often morose. “I hope you haven’t gotten too used to this place, because if my plan works, I’m sure to be disinherited again.” Sophie unclipped her hair and breathed deeply. “No more than you deserve.” The chair wheezed. “Well, that’s probably true.” Sophie said, but smiled. It would be all right. She did have a plan after all. When Remus walked through the door a half an hour later he seemed distracted as he kissed Sophie’s head. “Good day?” Sophie asked. “Two more sent to Azkaban. Is that a good day?” Remus looked at her and realized he was being unkind. “I’m sorry Sophie, I’m still not myself.” “I know that.” Sophie answered but she was smiling at him gently. “Well something smells wonderful.” Remus tried to find enthusiasm within him. He loved Sophie dearly and if it had not been for her constant love and support, he never would have survived this. He tried to push away the voice inside of him that asked how long she could possibly want to stay with a known werewolf. “Thank you. Shepherd’s Pie actually, quite possibly even fit to eat.” Her brown eyes fixed on Remus light ones. “Besides, we need to eat a quick supper and it’s always fast.” “Are you going out?” Remus asked with frowning with concern. “Oh, we both are.” Sophie said and decided to just push ahead. “We’ve got an engagement tonight with a very nice judge who is meeting us at the Guzzling Goblin.” “I don’t want to go out to the pub…wait a judge?” Remus asked, startled. “Yes, that’s right.” Sophie said brightly. “You see, I can’t seem to convince you that you’ll never be without me, so I had to take matters into my own hands. Ono’s going to stand as witness. It’s fitting you know, after all, he watched us as we fell in love.” “Witness?” Remus was baffled. “Yes, when you get married, you need a witness.” Sophie smiled. “Don’t be foolish Sophie, you can’t possibly marry me. I’ve nothing to offer you and I never will have.” Remus stared at the girl in front of him. “You’ve got a job lined up with the Ministry and they’d never hire the wife of a werewolf. Don’t be silly.” “Well, that’s part of the reason we wouldn’t really be able to tell anyone. Well, hardly anyone.” Sophie had never been less silly in her life. “But we’d know, you’d know.” Remus moved towards her and held her. “Sweetness, it’s a kind gesture, but you aren’t fooling me. You want to give me something to hang onto, but I won’t hang onto to you if it means dragging you down.” “Remus, you’re fooling yourself if you think that I’m doing this as some sort of gesture.” Sophie had tears in her eyes, but she was smiling. “I’ve made up my mind Remus. You’re going to make an honest woman out of me, well, partially honest. If we want to keep this place, we’ll have to lie at my job but don’t kid yourself Remus…I can take care of myself and you know full well I don’t care a thing about money.” “Sophie,” Remus laughed despite himself. It was the first time he had laughed since losing the Potters. “I can’t do this to you, I’m sorry. But it means something that you asked. You are aware that it’s the man who asks the woman, aren’t you?” “Ah, once again you are mistaken. Men may ask but it’s only because the woman has already decided. Takes you blokes a bit to catch up with us sometimes you know.” It certainly was taking Remus a bit to catch up with Sophie on this. When he asked himself if he wanted this, no matter what form it took his mind answered yes, and it was true. “I can’t do this to you.” Remus said again, hesitating. “Oh well, that’s fine. I’m without many scruples you see. I’ve got no compunction about doing this to you.” Sophie said teasingly but Remus knew her too well by now. He could see that her joking was covering up something real and true. She wouldn’t do this lightly. “I don’t envy you though, having to be stuck with me and my crabby chair for…” She was cut off as he kissed her, at first as if he were trying to remember how then with determination and purpose. “Oh good, that’s a ‘yes’ I take it?” Sophie was left slightly breathless. Remus began leading her towards the bedroom and she said, “At least let me take dinner out of the oven!” “No, I don’t think so, if we’re throwing caution and reason to the wind we may as well let the Shepherd’s Pie fend for itself.” He felt happy suddenly and this time he did not need to wonder about the permission of the dead to feel happy once again. It was no disrespect to them it was the only way of celebrating their lives and their sacrifice. It didn’t mean he would forget he could never do that. But he could have something in his life that reminded him why he was alive and still do his work. Ono had of course cooked up a brew for the occasion as Remus Lupin married Sophie Burns in his quiet establishment late that evening. He was beaming with pride at having been asked to do this and the young couple in front of him, although somewhat weary and scarred were so right for one another. They’d even risked it all and sampled his potion but for once they had nothing to fear. Ono had gotten it right after all and so had Sophie and Remus. Much later as his face hovered above hers in the bedroom, his body moving gently with hers he had looked into her eyes and stopped. “Keep going, don’t stop it’s wonderful.” She captured his lips and pulled him back into motion. He’d only stopped because he wondered how it was that this woman managed to continue to save him from everything dark the world contained. After they were still and her head lay on his shoulder he said simply: “Have I ever thanked you for chasing me on that broom?” “Oh, several thousand times I think.” Sophie smiled and kissed him. “But if I haven’t said it before, thank you for finally letting me catch you.”

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