Chapter Eighteen

"Sirius Orion Black, do you swear to tell nothing but the truth as you know it?" Dumbledore asked in his commanding voice.

"Of course I do," Sirius replied, sounding a bit flippant, but Violet, and the men with her, could see the steely resolve mingled with annoyance buried beneath it. "After all, it's only my life at stake here. Or rather, my sanity, since the dementors would surely rob me of it were I to be sent back to Azkaban."

Dumbledore looked at him with sadness dimming the usual twinkle in his eye. Thankfully, Mycroft was unaffected by sentiment. "We still need the oath, Mr. Black, for legal reasons."

"Of course. We wouldn't want anything to be less than perfectly legal, now would we?" Sirius snarked back. Remus sighed and let his face fall into his hands. But before anyone could further reprimand him, Sirius continued. "I, Sirius Orion Black, do solemnly swear to tell the truth as I know it."

Remus's head shot up at those words, and Violet was terribly confused as to why he was suddenly grinning. But she put it out of her mind when Dumbledore began his questioning. "Mr. Black, were you a spy for Lord Voldemort during the war?"

"No, I was not."

"Were you a member of the terrorist organization known as the Death Eaters?" Dumbledore continued.

"Absolutely not."

"Even though your family, including your younger brother, your only sibling, were active, vocal supporters of You-Know-Who, and have since been found to be members of said terrorist organization?" Mycroft pushed.

Sherlock tensed, seemingly ready to shoot a hex at his brother, at the very least, but Violet stopped him. "He knows what he's doing," she whispered, a gently restraining hand on Sherlock's wrist. He relaxed, nodded, but she noticed he still sent a glare at his brother.

"By the time I was sixteen, I had run away from home," Sirius began slowly. The way he clutched at the arms of his imprisoning chair made clear to everyone in the room that it was a difficult subject for him. "My birth parents tried to force me to offer myself to Lord Voldemort, rather like a slave. I refused, and subsequently, my mother cursed me to within an inch of my life. With the help of the only sympathetic soul in the household, my house elf, Minka, I managed to get away, get to the Potters', where they greeted me with open arms, always had. Fleamont and Euphemia became my parents, and James- Well, James had been my brother since First Year, along with Remus Lupin and P-Peter Pettigrew. So, no, Mr. Holmes, my birth family's involvement with Voldemort did not sway me to his side. If anything, it pushed me further from him, seeing as I wanted to do anything I could to piss them off."

A quick chuckle passed through the room, lightening the tension his story had brought. But Remus was still clutching the arms of his seat, mirroring his best friend down on the stand.

"So there is nothing that could have swayed you to his side?" Pyrites asked coyly.

"Short of my mother's head on a plate and an end to the war, no," Sirius shot back. "I hate everything he stood for. All this Pureblood inanity is rubbish. Being born to a magical family doesn't make one automatically better at magic. Though it does tend toward insanity caused by inbreeding."

"You and he are never allowed to be left alone with Harry," Violet murmured to Sherlock. Who simply grinned devilishly in response.

"So you never worked with You-Know-Who?" a tiny wizard, unfamiliar to Violet, asked.

"Merciful Merlin, I think we've established that quite enough," Amelia snapped, turning to scowl at the offending wizard. He shrank back from her monocled glare.

"Mr. Black," Dumbledore began again. "Did you ever betray James, Lily, or Harry Potter to Lord Voldemort or any of his followers?"

"No," Sirius spat. "I already said that James was a brother to me, and Lily became the sister I never had. Harry is my godson, for Godric's sake, so why on earth would I ever betray them? I would have rather died myself than give them over to Voldemort!"

He was then asked to recount the events leading up to his arrest, which he did after a few long, calming breaths. The room was silent except for his voice, everyone hanging on each word that fell from his lips. "And then the dirty rat accused me of betraying my family and blew up the street, cut off his own finger before transforming and escaping into the sewer."

"And just exactly how did he transform, Mr. Black?" Mycroft asked.

"He's an Animagus," Sirius explained. "He can change into a rat at will. Rather fitting, if you ask me."

"An Animagus? That's terribly complex magic, and Pettigrew, by all reports, including my own, was barely average in his skills," Madame Marchbanks commented.

"And yet you lot gave him an Order of Merlin," Sherlock muttered.

Sirius smirked. "James and I were both rather good at Transfiguration, so we helped him. The three of us did it together, finally managing to do it in our Fifth Year at Hogwarts."

Fudge gestured at the scribe, Truman, who then scrabbled at the parchment littering his desk. After a long moment, he shook his head at the Minister. "We have no record of you or your friends being Animagi."

"So fine me," Sirius quipped, smirking daringly at the man.

Mycroft spoke before the reddening Minister could. "Will you demonstrate this for us? As a testiment to your claims."

"Release me from this blasted chair and I'd be glad to do so."

Mycroft nodded at the Auror guarding Sirius. But before the man could release the chains, a cry sounded out. "You can't do that!" Pyrites exclaimed. "You can't release a convicted murderer in here!"

"Really, Pyrites, what do you think the man could do without a wand against this entire room full of people with theirs?" Amelia asked incredulously. "If he tried to change while being chained, it would break several bones, and that is not something we could legally or morally endorse."

"And by the way, I've never been convicted. That's what we're here for," Sirius reminded none too subtly.

"Gregson, release him so he can prove what he's talking about," Mycroft ordered longsufferingly.

The Auror did as he was told, and Sirius surged from the chair, massaging his wrists while glaring at the chains that had held him captive. He stretched for a moment, then suddenly, a giant, bear like dog was standing in his place.

"He's a Grim!" came the terrified cry from more than one person.

"Then perhaps you shouldn't piss him off," Amelia snapped. "Thank you, Mr. Black. You can turn back to your human self, now."

Sirius did so, then allowed himself to be escorted back to the dreaded chair. To everyone's surprise, the chains did not wrap themselves around him again, even with the Auror rapping his wand several times upon them.

"Gregson, what is happening?" Fudge demanded hysterically, looking rather like he might try to climb up his chair to get away from Sirius at any moment.

"I don't know, sir. It simply won't do it," the frustrated Gregson replied.

Dumbledore spoke serenely, "It would appear that the chair has determined Mr. Black's innocence. I suggest we as the Wizengamot vote upon it. All those in favor of finding Sirius Orion Black innocent, please raise your wands."

Nearly the entire Wizengamot raised their wands. "And those in favor of finding him guilty," Dumbledore continued. Seven people raised their wands this time, including Sapphira Pyrites, who glared at Violet as she did so. "The Wizengamot has spoken. You are free to go, Sirius."

Remus was up and running to his friend before the Chief Warlock had even finished speaking. Violet and Sherlock followed at a much more sedate pace, letting the two of them embrace joyfully, tears streaming down both faces. "Congratulations, Sirius," she said upon reaching them.

"Thank you, Vi. Thank you so much," he said, sincerity ringing through every syllable. "Could I- Could I hug you this once?"

Laughing, she threw her arms around the man, squeezing tightly. "But just this once, mind you," she teased.

"Why don't we take this reunion next door." Mycroft was suddenly standing next to the little group, ushering them to the door. As they exited, photographers, both professional and ameteur, shoved cameras in their faces, the flashes nearly blinding them all.

"How does it feel to be free, Mr. Black?"

"How much did you pay them?"

"Filthy blood traitor!"

"Death Eater scum!"

"They seem a bit conflicted," Sherlock muttered dryly, all the while keeping an arm securely wrapped around Violet.

"You never could do things by halves, could you, Padfoot?" Remus laughed, once they were all safely inside the little room, one of many for the members of the Wizengamot in between trials and sessions.

Sirius grinned, but didn't answer his friend. Instead, he turned to Violet. "Take me to see Harry, Vi. I have to see him."

She hesitated, unsure of how to respond to him. He saw the delay and scowled fiercely. "He's my godson, too. You have no right to keep him from me!" he growled.

"Sirius, I don't want to keep him from you," Violet replied, though a tiny part of her disagreed vehemently. "I know you love him, and you've missed him. Believe me, I know. But take a moment and think. If he saw you right now, he'd be terrified."

"You look like a walking corpse," Sherlock added. His arm curled around Violet again.

Sirius looked furious, ready to argue. But Remus's words stopped him. "They're not being cruel, mate. You need to take care of yourself before you can see him. You don't want Harry to be afraid of you, do you?"

At those softly spoken words, Sirius deflated. "I just want to see him. He's the only thing that kept me sane."

Violet felt tears pricking her eyes. "I know. And you'll see him soon. But first, you've got to check into St. Mungo's and take care of yourself."

"Years of exposure to dementors are rather damaging to one's psyche," Mycroft said, sounding rather like he was discussing nothing more important than the weather. "I happen to know of a mind healer who would be willing to work with you."

Sirius nodded once. "Alright." It sounded more dejected than any one word had a right to be.

"See, Pads? It'll be good. You'll get yourself taken care of, and then you can see our little Prongslet," Remus assured.

"In fact, you both could join us for Christmas," Sherlock said, surprising everyone in the room. Including himself.

"That's a wonderful idea!" Violet gushed, before he had the chance to change his mind. "We'll be at the Holmes's, and I know for a fact that Cecilia would be delighted to have you join us. And Harry, too."

Sirius lit up at that. "That… that would be nice, thank you."

Plans were arranged, then Remus escorted Sirius to St. Mungo's via a Portkey Mycroft created for them. "Thank you, Mycroft," Violet said quietly once the blue glow died down.

"You're welcome," he replied, his usual sarcasm missing for once. "But are you really ready to share Harry with someone else?"

"Of course not, Mycroft. Don't be daft," Sherlock snapped. "But it's what's best for him."

"And we would do anything for him," Violet added.

"Well, this will be interesting," Mycroft commented, before heading to the door. "I suppose someone will have to arrange for Black to get his wand back, and an arrangement made for the illegal Animagus bit, as well as compensation for his wrongful incarceration. As the rest of them are all idiots, I suppose that someone will have to be me."

Once the door closed behind him, Violet turned to her best friend. "Thank you, Sherlock. I know this wasn't easy, given the end result."

"We will do anything for Harry," he said easily.

"Anything for our boy," she smiled, wrapping her arm around his. "And speaking of our boy, what do you say we go get him?"

The pair Apparated into the Watsons' flat, bringing a surprised smile to Mary's face. "You're back sooner than I expected."

"Thankfully, the idiots in the Wizengamot were less idiotic today than usual," Sherlock sniffed, rather pompously.

Mary and Violet exchanged amused grins. "Yes, for the most part," Violet agreed, thinking of Sapphira Pyrites. "And thankfully, Sherlock held his tongue and didn't antagonize anyone," she added with a grin.

"That should count as a miracle," Mary teased.

Sherlock pouted and turned to the children. "Harry, it's time to go home now. Let's clean up the toys since you helped make the mess."

"Okay, Lock," the little boy said sadly, before yelping suddenly. His feet flew out from under him, and he flew across the room, stopping neatly right next to Rosie.

"What the bloody hell was that?" John asked from his place at the door.

"I didn' mean to!" Harry wailed, instantly in tears. "I didn' mean to, Auntie Vi! I'm sorry! Don' send me away!"

"Oh, my darling boy, it's alright. I'm never sending you away," she cooed, at his side in an instant, with Sherlock on her heels. They both wrapped the sobbing boy in their arms, repeating soothing, nonsensical things over and over.

Rosie, at seeing her favorite person so upset, also burst into tears, to which John and Mary responded just as quickly. It took rather a long while to calm both children down. In the end, both simply cried themselves to sleep.

"I'm sorry I scared him like that," John said quietly, rocking his daughter in his arms.

"It's alright," Sherlock assured, doing the same with Harry. "He simply has some mental scars from his earlier upbringing."

"And it makes me want to punch my sister in the face every time it crops up again," Violet muttered angrily.

"It is very sad," Mary said, "but did any of you notice?" At three nearly identical blank looks of confusion, she grinned and continued. "Harry moved toward Rosie. If he were the one doing it, don't you think he would have moved her to him?"

Understanding dawned slowly on the other three adults. After a long moment of comprehension, John sighed. "And Rosie was supposed to be the normal one in the family."

AN: I know it's been forever since my last update. I'm so sorry! I just have not wanted to write in forever. But today, I made myself do it, and this entire chapter, almost, came flying out in one sitting. And it ended happily, so you lot can't be too mad at me! Thanks for reading, especially for those who followed and favorited. And a huge thanks to those of you who review. Every chapter gets more and more reviews, and they just make me so happy!