I really wanted to get this out yesterday or the day before, but unfortunately my work decided that Christmas was the perfect time to give me extra work!
I hope you enjoy this chapter and have (or had) happy holidays.
"Eris... please stop pulling overtime, I'm getting a headache"
Athena walked out of Gringotts with a distracted glaze to her eyes, even as resilient as Athena usually was to surprises and strange happenings, this was a level beyond that. On her right shoulder the shimmering sapphire blue form of Crystalline Storm over the Enduring Mountains observed Diagon Alley with all the regality of a Queen upon her throne.
The entire Alley was shocked into silence by the appearance of a Phoenix, even if most of the shoppers couldn't tell a Star Phoenix from a regular one, the simple majesty of her presence was more then enough for the people to stop and watch in awe.
Athena slowly regained her wits and by the time she reached the entrance to the Ministry of Magic within Diagon Alley she had regained most of her bearings and was capable of rational thought again.
Athena walked through the doors of the Ministry and stepped on the elevator that would take her to the lobby.
The guards recognized her on sight and immediately waved her through the security booth (after a discreet spell was cast on her to ensure that she wasn't someone Polyjuiced to appear as Athena) Athena then strode across the lobby, studiously ignoring the horrific attempt at racist art they called a fountain, towards the internal elevators.
A quick glance at the level map told her that the Department of Record Keeping was on the second level.
After pressing the button and enduring the agonizing elevator music and ride to the second floor, Athena stepped out of the lift and immediately turned to her right and right again, going behind the row of elevators towards the entrance to a very large room.
Athena was almost as awestruck by the sheer scale of the Records Keeping Department as the department workers were by not only her presence but the presence of Crystalline Storm over the Enduring Mountains.
The room was almost the size of a football stadium capable of holding fifty thousand spectators and was almost five stories high. Massive columns containing millions of scrolls and books were tightly packed in the huge space. Ministry Workers on Cleansweep Brooms flew throughout the room placing, updating and gathering information from the records.
Athena quickly shook off her awe and made her way towards the nearby desk.
Melinda Malbrouge, the current Records Administrator for that shift was awed that a High Lady was standing before her, however she didn't let that alter her professionalism at all.
Melinda stood to greet Athena "My Lady" A short curtsy "How may the Department of Records Keeping help you today?"
Athena nodded slightly in response to the curtsy "I would like to access any and all records regarding the Trial and Imprisonment of Sirius Orion Black, with the exception of Newspaper records please" Athena stopped for a moment and then added "I would also like to see all records of contracts for Houses Potter and Black"
Melinda curtseyed "Right away Milady" A quick snap of her wand and a muttered incantation and three paper airplanes shot off towards three specific workers, who upon reading the note and spotting the person requesting the records (Good eyesight being a requirement of the post) They immediately shot off towards certain areas of the Labyrinthine Records room to gather the requested information.
"Milady may I interest you in some tea and biscuits while you wait for the records to be gathered?" Melinda asked with a smile.
Athena smiled back gently "That would be lovely"
Melinda nodded "Then right this way Milady, I'll show you to the waiting room" Melinda then lead Athena to a surprisingly ornate room off the side of the Records room, where another member of the staff, a man dressed as a butler, waited.
Upon seeing the two women enter he immediately pulled a saucer with a tea cup on it out of a side cupboard and placed in on a side table next to a comfortable looking chair facing a fireplace with gentle overhead lighting, obviously meant for a Lord or Lady of the Wizengamot to relax while their records are collected.
The Butler then vanished into a side room for a moment before returning with a small tray with a gently steaming teapot and a wide selection of biscuits upon that he placed upon the side table before bowing to Athena "Milady, if there is anything else you require simply ask and I shall retrieve it for you"
Athena turned to the shadows on her right "Kaede dear, please come out"
Fading in from the shadows Kaede appeared next to Athena, having immediately grasped Athena's intent she whispered in Athena's ear what she would like.
"My daughter here would like some apple juice please" Athena asked the Butler.
Unlike the shell shocked Melinda, the Butler was used to weird occurrences and quickly hurried off to the side room to get the aforementioned juice.
Melinda bowed her head slightly "Milady, I will go and oversee the record collection, I will return when the records you requested are ready" She then walked out of the door back to the Records room.
Athena smiled gently at Kaede as she sat down in her chair while Kaede took the one on the other side of the table, with a quick bow the Butler dropped off the apple juice before vanishing into the side room.
It was a quiet twenty minutes as Athena slowly drank her tea and read from one of the many books she was carrying, the one she chose being a book on magical childcare and the potential dangers for young Magicals.
Crystalline Storm over the Enduring Mountains chose to take a nap on Athena's right shoulder.
Kaede checked over the dozens of Kunai and Shuriken that Athena had transfigured for her to use, looking for any defects or blunt edges.
It was a very quiet and nervous Melinda who walked back into the room.
"My Lady, there's been an... issue" Melinda was nearly shaking at this point.
Athena frowned, she knew that the High Lords and Ladies of the past, especially those of the House of Black, had a bad reputation when it came to the bearers of bad news.
"Melinda" Athena's voice caused said woman's head to shoot up, she hadn't introduced herself, but she had forgotten that her name was on a plaque on her desk.
"Please, tell me what is wrong" Athena's voice was soft and calm, like a stock man speaking to a frightened colt.
Melinda gulped and stammered out "W-well, it l-looks like Mr Bl-Black never re-received a t-trial"
Athena's face went blank "I see, would you mind gathering all records of Sirius' imprisonment, both official records and any newspaper articles, I have to pay the DMLE and the Minister a visit. Would half an hour be enough time for you to gather everything I requested?"
Melinda nodded rapidly thanking all the Gods she knew that she wasn't the target of the High Lady's Wrath "Of course Milady"
Athena nodded "Please get to it then, as I said I have important meetings to get to"
Athena strode out of the Records Department with Kaede following.
One of the Record Keepers looked at Melinda "Merlin's Pants, Melinda you must have the devil's luck"
The rest all nodded before hurrying off to work.
Amelia Bones was a very no-nonsense kind of woman, tough as nails and capable of shouting down near about anything that dared to defy her.
However when Auror Dawlish was blasted through her office door by a Very Angry Lady Potter-Black, she had to admit that she nearly shit herself in fear when she saw the lady walk in.
If the stains on the Aurors pants, both Dawlish and the few she could see through the ruins of her door, was any indication her elite police weren't any better off.
Amelia was then distracted when Athena put her hands down on her desk and the desk almost seemed to rot from her magical aura.
Oh yes, did I forget to mention?
This entire time Athena was cloaked in a dark miasma like aura that added to a pant filling terrorizing aura that surrounded what was probably one of the strongest witches in the world.
"Lady Potter-Black, what can the DMLE do for you today?" Amelia's voice didn't waver once, despite every inch of her body screaming at her to run and hide from the monster in front of her.
Athena's dark visage lightened slightly, finally a member of the DMLE who realized that antagonizing an already pissed off High Lady was a Bad Idea in capital letters and Italics.
"I would like to report a gross Injustice against a member of my House" Athena's voice was tight with emotion, mostly anger.
Amelia nodded softly "Alright, what would this injustice be?"
Athena drew herself up "The illegal imprisonment of one Sirius Orion Black without any trial. I just came from the Records Department and was very surprised to learn that Sirius Black had never received a trial"
Then she let loose a blistering string of curses that nearly blacked the air around them just from being said.
More then one brave Auror fainted upon hearing their boss question the lineage of several people.
Athena was quite amused to hear the leader of the DMLE state that A Certain Headmaster was descendent from horny goats, brainless sheep and wild boar, while an unnamed Minister was the product of a somewhat impossible three-way between a slug, a rat and a half blind drugged out fox.
In the secret recording room in the Department of Mysteries, two Unspeakables glanced at each other before destroying the parchment in front of them which contained a detailed and summarized record of everything Madam Bones had spoken for the last five minutes.
In three different languages no less.
Eventually Amelia calmed down to both use English and words that wouldn't leave permanent mental scarring in the recipients minds.
Then Amelia stood up with a similar blank expression to what Athena was sporting.
You'd almost have to gape at the way the DMLE, including a certain paranoid one eyed Auror split before the enraged Duo like the Red Sea.
When both of the women had left Moody spoke up into the silence "Well, Hard to believe one of them is not even eleven yet" The rest of the DMLE nodded, Moody laughed "Better get ready, we might have to elect a new minister soon if Fudge tries to play the 'I'm the Minister' card"
One of the DMLE shouted out "We can only hope!" and the room burst into laughter, sure the two women were terrifying, but they weren't pointed at the DMLE so the Aurors didn't care.
Cornelius Fudge took one look at the two angry witches who had strode into his office without even the slightest hint of decorum or even stopping to make an appointment, next to him Lucius Malfoy paled five shades, an impressive feat for the already pale man.
They then folded like a house of cards the moment Amelia and Athena demanded that Sirius Black get a fair trial.
Cornelius because powerful as he might be, he didn't dare to stand up to two angry women.
Lucius because he knew what an angry Black Woman could do, regardless of age. Also his hip still ached from the time Amelia beat him five ways to Sunday for hinting that she was an easy lay.
Sirius Orion Black, also known as Padfoot, That Bastard and the White Sheep of the Blacks was prepared for another day of misery and torment in that lovely place known as Azkaban.
He was surprised to see a group of guards walk up to his cell, usually there was only one guard and a couple Dementors.
The Warden of Azkaban was also present and he stepped forwards "Sirius Orion Black, It has come to the attention of the DMLE and the Minister" Here some of the guards snickered and the Warden fought and failed to keep a smile off his face "That you have not received a trial and have thus been illegally imprisoned within these walls. As such you are being transferred back to the Ministry of Magic to stand trial before the Wizengamot, Do you have any questions?" The Warden thought it fair to let Sirius ask some questions, he had a right to be confused.
Sirius could only ask one thing "Is it Christmas?"
A few days later a much cleaner Sirius Orion Black dressed in a black dress robe walked into Courtroom 13 of the Ministry of Magic, the entire Wizengamot was present as well as the head of the DMLE, the Minister of Magic and Dumbledore. Above the trio Athena sat on her seat as High Lady of House Potter-Black and to her left Susan Bones was sitting on the seat for House Bones and to her right Neville Longbottom was sitting on the seat for House Longbottom, while they didn't have a vote due to being underage as this was a major trial involving a member of one the Most Ancient and Most Noble houses they were present not only as a sign of their impending elevation to the rank of High Lord/Lady, but also to act as a counterbalance to Athena so that she had no vote for this trial.
Cornelius Fudge stood up "Order, Order, By my right as Minister of Magic, I Cornelius Fudge do solemnly open this Trial for Sirius Orion Black as of the fifteen minute of the tenth hour of the twenty second day of August in the year Nineteen Ninety One Anno Domini, this is in regards to the actions performed by Mister Black on the date of the Thirty First of October Nineteen Eighty One Anno Domini"
The Minister actually managed to sound important and powerful as he stated the date both today and of when Sirius was sent to Azkaban.
Cornelius then continued with "Mister Black, you were imprisoned, Illegally, for the charge of killing twelve Muggles and one Peter Pettigrew with a Blasting Hex, how do you plead?"
Sirius rose up "Not Guilty"
The crowd murmured, they had expected him to admit his guilt.
Cornelius nodded softly "Then Mister Black, please tell us your story. Please note that we will be using a Pensieve to double check your story"
Sirius nodded his understanding "It was not long after Voldemort's defeat" the whole room hissed at that name "I'd just visited the house in Godric's Hollow where... where James and Lily had retreated to with little Athena" Sirius paused here to frown "If anything that was my first mistake, I'd been so sure that I would be targeted when James and Lily used the Fidelius Charm to go into hiding that I had declined being the Secret Keeper"
"You were not the Secret Keeper?" Fudge jumped on this, as it would have been brought up after the issue of Pettigrew and the twelve Muggles.
Sirius shook his head "No, as I said I thought that I would be too obvious a target. Peter Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper" The entire room burst into excited murmurs. In her seat Athena fought to keep calm, a soft hand on her right arm lead her to look to Neville, in his eyes she saw much of the same anger. He knew what it was like to know who had targeted your parents and the anger that caused.
Athena smiled a thanks to Neville, if she had gone off half baked on this it would probably just lead to the same situation that Sirius was in.
Cornelius checked the wards "You speak the Truth" he intoned the traditional words.
He turned to the scribe "Let the records state that Peter Pettigrew has been stripped of the Order of Merlin, First Class and is now to be considered a traitor and coward" The entire court (including Sirius) roared it's approval.
Cornelius turned to Sirius "Mister Black, please continue"
Sirius nodded "After the defeat I found young Athena in the wreckage, she was a little cold but otherwise unharmed. I also found..." Sirius choked a little here.
Cornelius softly nodded "Don't worry Mister Black, we all know what you are speaking of, you don't need to speak this part"
Sirius nodded gratefully "Thank you, After removing Athena from her crib and calming her down, the Groundskeeper for Hogwarts, Hagrid showed up. He'd been let in on the secret and had helped to provide food and other supplies for James and Lily" Many of the Wizengamot murmured amongst themselves at this revelation.
Sirius sighed "I was really stupid, instead of taking care of my goddaughter, I handed Athena to Hagrid before I chased after Pettigrew" It was quite obvious that the guilt of abandoning his goddaughter was eating him up "I was half delirious when I found him, somewhat raving if I remember correctly. When I confronted him he acted like I was the criminal, pointing at me and accusing me of doing something. Then he cut off his own finger and cast the blasting hex, before transforming into his Animagus form, that of a Rat" Many of the Wizengamot sneered at this, a witch or wizard's Animagus form said a lot about their character, not everything of course, but a lot.
Sirius then bowed his head "I was half mad from grief and partially delirious from seeing my friends murdered, so I just lost it and started laughing madly, that's when the Aurors came, before I could say anything they stunned me and I woke up in Azkaban" There were a lot of murmurs at this, many of the Wizengamot on all three sides (Progressive, Traditionalist and Neutral) were upset at this breach of justice and noble etiquette. All members of a Most Ancient or older house must have trials if charged with a crime, that was the law.
Cornelius rose from his chair "The Defendant has stated his case, his memories will now be replayed within a Pensieve to ensure that the truth has been stated within this court"
The procedure was very quick, a black robed Unspeakable walked forwards and placed his wand against Sirius' temple, after a second he pulled the wand away from Sirius drawing a long silver thread from Sirius' temple.
The Unspeakable then placed the thread within a runic stone bowl that had been wheeled in on a cart while the memory was extracted.
The memory was placed in the bowl and then it projected itself above the Pensieve, the whole court watched as memory matched words.
After seeing that the memory and the story told by Sirius matched Cornelius rose once more, having taken a seat while the memory was playing.
"Members of the Wizengamot, the evidence has been presented, how do you vote? Guilty or Innocent? A Red Lumos shall indicate a vote for Guilt, a Blue Lumos one of innocence and a Green Lumos for an abstain. You may begin" Cornelius finished the traditional question.
Within an instant the court room took on a surreal underwater like feel as hundreds of blue Lumos lights filled the air.
Cornelius nodded "Then it is decided, Sirius Orion Black, you have been found Innocent of the charges of, One count of First Degree Murder, Twelve counts of Muggle Murder, One count of Betrayal and One count of Treason. You will be recompensed for the Nine Years and Ten Months unlawful imprisonment"
Cornelius then half turned towards the three High Seats "Lady Potter-Black this man is now under your jurisdiction, will you accept him back within the hallowed halls of the House of Black"
Athena stood up and stepped forward into the light, Sirius' eyes went wide and you could see some tears rolling down his cheeks, "Minister Fudge, the House of Black formally welcomes Sirius Orion Black back, despite his less then intelligent response, this entire debacle was caused by his love and loyalty to his friends and Goddaughter. Such Loyalty is welcomed within the House of Black"
Athena then smiled at her Godfather, she would have to get to know the man as for now she only had stories of him.
But it felt good to her to have a member of her family back.
Now begins the countdown to Hogwarts and how will the ever childish Sirius Black fit in with Athena's Family, There was a time skip in this chapter and I might do minor flashbacks to what happened behind the scenes, but probably not.
Annabeth, Thalia and Percy are still getting used to everything behind the scenes in this chapter and will make their return next chapter!