Originally posted 9/11/15, last revised 10/27/16.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, and while I've never met her and am not one of her subjects, I have nothing but respect for the Queen. Information about British law and letters to and from the Queen comes from online research and is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
A/N: This is my first multi-chapter story, and it ballooned into something much bigger than I originally planned. It starts off a little slow (short chapters early on don't help), but picks up around chapter 10 and really starts building a head of steam around chapter 15. I'm updating the chapter headings and cleaning up a few typos for now, but this is otherwise the original story as posted. Once I do a full revision on the entire thing I will post it as a new story making it clear it's the revised version.
For those of you who care about shipping, this story does not have any. There are bits and pieces of teenagers awkwardly expressing their feelings in the early chapters, but despite some reviewers' opinions, things don't go anywhere near relationship status IMHO. If you can't handle that, oh well...
Chapter 1: Tense Subjects
Harry Potter had had a lousy summer so far. It hadn't looked good going in, with Voldemort back and the Ministry falling all over itself in denial, but it had only gotten worse from there. First he had been stuck living with his small-minded relatives, with almost no contact from his friends. Then there had been the dementor incident, and while he hadn't lost his wand or been expelled yet, there was still the possibility of that happening at his hearing. When he'd finally been taken away from his relatives' house two nights ago, he'd found out that Dumbledore was leading an organization aimed at fighting Voldemort and the Ministry's inaction, and he was explicitly being excluded from it. And while it wasn't Privet Drive, he was still stuck inside wherever he was, and was expected to clean the place without magic (though at least he had help here).
The fact that his friends had gone along with Dumbledore's request to keep him in the dark only pissed him off more. Plus, his godfather, Sirius, hadn't done anything to help him either, although Harry now realized that he was having nearly as bad a summer himself. Dumbledore wouldn't let him leave his own house, for his own good. After all, if the Ministry found him he'd be lucky to be sent back to Azkaban before he was kissed.
Harry sighed. Between Dumbledore and the Ministry, he couldn't decide who was causing him more aggravation. "Aargh!" he said through clenched teeth, doing his best not to just scream.
"What's got you so bloody mental?" asked Ron, not realizing he was asking for it. Harry was starting to round on him when Hermione interjected, "Language, Ron!"
Harry stopped, glared at Ron, and then sighed again. "I'm just sick and tired of people trying to control me! It's bad enough that Dumbledore treats me like a child when I'm at school, but he even does it on summer break. And the Ministry seems to only care about doing as little as possible about anything that has to do with Wizards, and only worries about hiding us from the Muggle world. The only people who saw my Patronus were my cousin who knows about magic, and Mrs. Figg, who's apparently a Squib that Dumbledore's been having spy on me my whole life! Aargh!"
Hermione's look softened as she realized that Harry wasn't just venting, but that this ran a lot deeper. She put a hand on his shoulder for support and looked at Ron to try and get him to do the same. Unfortunately, he opened his mouth before she could catch his eye.
"There's not a lot you can do about it mate, not unless someone dies and makes you King," said Ron. Hermione gasped, feeling Harry tense and thinking that he was going to go after Ron. He started to move, then stopped, his face changing from angry to thoughtful. Ron, realizing his mistake, took the opportunity to step away a few feet before he realized Harry wasn't coming after him.
"What?" Ron asked. Harry shot him a brief glare before the pensive look returned to his face. "Sorry..." Ron muttered, and sat down to let Harry think. Hermione looked like she was about to ask him the same thing, but thought better of it after seeing Harry glare at Ron. After a moment she stepped back and sat as well, deciding that patience was her best option.
After a minute or so, Harry looked like he'd reached a conclusion, and looked at his two friends. "Are wizards considered subjects of the Queen?" he asked.
Ron looked confused, but Hermione smiled after a few seconds. "That's brilliant Harry!" she gushed. "I don't know for certain if they are or aren't, but I would think they would have to be, especially the Muggleborn."
"Well, who can we ask to find out the answer?" asked Harry, before Ron interrupted.
"What are you talking about?" asked Ron, still not understanding Harry's question.
Harry looked at Hermione, figuring she would probably jump in on the answer anyway. Seeing his look, she turned to answer Ron.
"In Great Britain, all of the citizens are subjects of the Queen. This means that she is the highest authority over them, although there are limits. But I think what Harry's getting at is that the Queen might be able to overrule the Ministry!" Hermione looked like she was set to continue, but Harry held up a hand.
"Not quite, but you've got the general idea," said Harry. "Right now, I'm mostly thinking about Sirius, and to a lesser extent myself. The Queen has the right to issue a Royal Pardon, which would wipe the slate clean. Sirius could have his life back, at least going forward, and I could tell the Ministry to shove off about using my Patronus to drive off those dementors. I just don't know if it would work."
"I bet Fudge wouldn't care what she said," said Ron, "he thinks he runs the place. Unless she paid him enough, that is!"
"Ron!" chided Hermione, although this time she was smiling. "I wish we were at Hogwarts, I bet there's something in the library about this."
"You would say that," Ron groaned, then laughed at Hermione's look.
"I think we should ask Sirius first, and see what he says," said Harry. "Maybe he'll have a suggestion of where to look or who to ask. I need to have a conversation with him anyway, so I'll go see if I can talk to him now." Harry turned to leave, hoping his friends would realize he wanted to talk to Sirius alone.
Hermione shot Ron a look of "let it go" when he made to stand with Harry, so he just nodded instead. "We'll see if we can find anything in the library here," said Hermione, but Harry just walked away, lost in his own thoughts.
Harry found Sirius upstairs in the master bedroom, feeding Buckbeak. He bowed to the Hippogriff before petting him, then turned to his godfather.
"Can we talk?" he asked. "I need to know some things, and I want your opinion on something."
"Sure, pup, let me just finish feeding Buckbeak and we'll go downstairs and talk," replied Sirius
"If it's alright with you, I'd rather stay up here where it's private. I don't want the others to interrupt, especially Mrs. Weasley."
Sirius nodded. "Okay, what did you want to talk about?"
"How come you never wrote me back? All you did was tell me to not leave the house, and then you never replied when I sent Hedwig." Harry looked forlorn. "I was trapped in that house with my horrible relatives, locked in my room and fed through a dog door, and you never replied!" Harry sobbed.
Sirius was stunned by Harry's outburst, then pulled him into an embrace when he realized Harry was crying. He mentally berated himself for not realizing that Harry's residence was no better than his former accommodations in Azkaban. "I'm sorry, pup, I didn't know," he said, trying to soothe his godson. "But I should have," he said, coming to a decision. "And you're right, I should have done something, no matter what Dumbledore said. We're family now, and that has to take priority." He continued to hug Harry for a few minutes as the boy sobbed and hugged him, eventually releasing him when Harry started to pull himself together.
"Do you mean that?" Harry asked, his eyes shining brightly. "Are we really family?"
"Yes, I mean it. I'll even make it official if you want, assuming you're willing. As the head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, I can adopt anyone into the family I want." Sirius frowned. "Assuming you'd want to be a part of the Black family, given it's history."
"I'll think about it," replied Harry, pulling himself together, "but knowing you want me to be a part of your family is enough for now. I want to ask you more about what the Order is doing, but I think that should wait until I ask you about the other thing I wanted to talk about. As you said, family needs to come first."
Sirius smiled. Harry really was a resilient young man, and he'd clearly moved on from what was bothering him before. "So what did you want to know?"
"Well, it's two things, although they're related. First, do you know if British Wizards are considered subjects of the Queen? And if so, would you consider asking the Queen for a Royal Pardon? I don't know if the Ministry would accept it, but if we're all her subjects they might have to at least consider it."
"Hmm," mused Sirius, "I'm not sure. I would think we are, but I really don't know. I'd have to take a look at the Wizarding Charter to figure it out."
"The Wizarding Charter? What's that?"
"The Wizarding Charter of Great Britain is a document signed by what became the Ministry and whichever King was on the throne at the time, giving Wizarding Britain some form of autonomy from Muggle society in exchange for certain concessions from Wizarding society. I don't know what they all are, just that one of them was that Muggle hunting was officially outlawed. That's why my cousin's attempt to make it legal again failed, as it would have resulted in the Charter being revoked. That's how I found out about it, for that matter. I don't think many wizards even remember it exists these days."
Harry looked thoughtful. "In that case, the Queen might not even know about us wizards either. That could be a real problem."
"I'll tell you what, Harry," said Sirius, "let's ask Arthur if he can get us copies of the Charter and any other relevant documents. Then we can see what we're up against."
"I don't know, Sirius, I really want to keep this quiet, especially from Mrs. Weasley," Harry worried.
"I'll talk to him alone, it won't be a problem. Who else knows about this idea?"
"Just Ron and Hermione, and I've asked them to keep it quiet."
"Okay, we'll keep it to that group for now, especially since Hermione can probably help us with the research. I'll stress the importance of not telling anyone else to Arthur, and hopefully he'll understand. Now head on back to your friends before Molly gets suspicious. After all, I'm probably corrupting you with all sorts of things I shouldn't be telling you," Sirius finished with a grin.
"Thanks, especially about the family part. Let's talk again later, even if it's just nothing important," Harry said, as he turned to leave.
"Count on it, Pup." Sirius grabbed Harry and hugged him one last time before letting him go.
After dinner that night, Sirius pulled Arthur Weasley aside to talk about getting copies of the Charter. Arthur just raised an eyebrow when Sirius pulled him into an unused room and put up a privacy spell.
"Arthur," Sirius began, "I need a favor. Nothing major, but it's something only you can probably do right now, and it needs to be kept between just us for now. Will you help me?"
Arthur looked warily at Sirius. He was still looking haggard and pale, but something in his eyes was gleaming in a way he hadn't seen before. He gave Sirius a long hard look, but the latter man neither broke his gaze nor flinched. He was being serious, whatever this was about, and not trying to pull some sort of mischief. "I won't promise anything until I hear what you're asking for, but I'll at least listen. What are you asking?"
Sirius let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding, then handed a small piece of paper to Arthur. "Can you get me copies of any official documents on that list or related to it?"
Arthur looked at the short but significant list. "The Wizarding Charter? The Wizengamot Charter? What do you need those for?" Arthur's mind was spinning. He knew that he could get those documents for Sirius, but he wasn't sure if he could do it without having too many questions asked. And what on earth did Sirius need them for?
Sirius nodded. "As you may remember, I never got a trial. In fact, I was never officially found guilty of anything. They just decided that I was, and threw me in Azkaban. Harry's hearing made me wonder if there was anything in the rules that let them do that, or if I might be able to find something to force a trial and proclaim my innocence. Not that Fudge would even consider doing that, but he won't be minister forever."
Arthur nodded at the last bit. Fudge was an idiot who was burying his head in the sand, and sooner or later that wouldn't be enough to save his neck. He was still worried though. "You're not going to do anything stupid if you find something, like going public with it, right? I don't even want to think about the damage that would cause to the Order."
Sirius held up both hands, palms out, and shook his head. "Nonononono... Even if I find something, there's no way I'm taking it to the Wizarding world until at least Fudge is out of office, or something else drastic happens. I may be a little crazy after twelve years in Azkaban, but I'm not stupid." The last was said with a brief grin, but the Sirius's face returned to it's previous mien. "In all honesty, I'm not expecting to find anything in there. But it will give me something to do while I'm stuck here, and maybe it will even help me in the long run. I figure that it's worth a shot; after all, I've got nothing to lose."
Arthur considered that, and combined with Sirius's seriousness (he mentally chuckled at the turn of phrase), convinced him that he wasn't about to make any rash decisions even if he found something. "Okay, I can't guarantee it, but I'll try. It might be a day or two before I can get them."
Sirius waved Arthur off. "Sooner is better, but however long it takes, it takes. But, hmm... If you can get them before Harry's hearing, maybe we'll find something in there to help him too. Not that he should need it, from what I've heard, but every little bit helps."
Arthur hadn't thought about helping Harry with this until Sirius mentioned it, but after a moment's consideration decided that it was probably a good idea. "I'll do my best to get them tomorrow, if it can help Harry. I'll also talk to Molly about giving the kids time to look at them with you, rather than just having them clean the house."
"Thanks, Arthur," said Sirius. I really appreciate it.
"You're welcome," said Arthur, "and now I need to turn in if I'm going to get those documents for you tomorrow. Goodnight, Sirius."
Sirius took down the privacy wards as Arthur turned to leave. "Goodnight Arthur."
Once Arthur had gone, Sirius sat down to think. He knew that if Dumbledore got wind of what they were doing, it would probably fail. But if he could keep up the pretense of it being just for the hearing itself, and to look for far future help for himself, maybe they could pull it off. After all, he had nothing to lose. With that thought, he got up and headed for the library to see if he could find anything else that might help.