Through popular demand, the girl will be making a reappearance. Eventually. I even received suggestions for her name. So far, we have, Morgan, Rosetta, or Lidia. If there are any more suggestions, please let me know, or just vote between the three I already have.
Minerva shook her head and turned to Sharpaxe. "I will be right back." Then she disappeared up the staircase to her classroom, and the office next to it.
When she left, Sharpaxe cast a few discreet Goblin monitoring and detection wards around the castle, then he stood back by the door and listened to the sound of children enjoying their lunch, with some exclamations over Harry's new dog.
Rita flew fast in her beetle form, it had taken her a while, but she finally found out where and when the trial, via anonymous message, was being held for Harry Potters relatives.
She didn't care what Sharpaxe said, details about Harry Potter were what her adoring public wanted, so details they were going to get. Sharpaxe would just have to get over it.
She'd done some thinking since Sirius Black's trial, she had behaved after that under threat of losing her job, but... she was too popular with the public for them to get rid of. Getting rid of her would lose them sales. Losing sales is the last thing any business owner wanted. They wouldn't get rid of her, at the most she would have to pay a small fine and get a slap on the wrist.
So, here she was, flying towards the Muggle courthouse from where she'd apparated to nearby.
She would know what Harry Potter was hiding, the public deserved to know.
Albus Dumbledore sat back in his seat and thought. He already knew that everybody in that courtroom would be under strict vows of secrecy... well, the people they knew were in there, of course.
That was why he tipped Rita Skeeter off about where it would be and when, the note also had a mild compulsion on it to make sure she actually went, ignoring the warning given to her by Sharpaxe to leave the Potter brat alone. She would witness the trial, make sure it was front page news, and then all he had to do was go and get the full memory of it later. He knew she would be fired for this, but he didn't care. She had served her purpose, many years ago, oh, had she served her purpose. He only allowed her to continue on because he found her somewhat amusing.
He already had somebody hiding outside the courthouse, near the Apparition point, to take care of Sirius Black after the trial. He didn't often use him, but the man was one of the most skilled assassin/bounty hunters in the world, he would do the job, and he would do it right, with nothing being traced back to him. He wasn't worried about them using a Port-key from within the courtroom, that usually wasn't allowed, and he didn't see them making the allowance now. The man knew that if he couldn't get a kill shot, then make sure Black wouldn't be leaving the hospital for a long time, preferably in a coma.
He wished he were at the trial, but apparently they were making it closed to only those who actually had a reason to be there. He would have taken one of the Jury's place, polyjuiced of course, but he didn't even know who was on the Jury. That list was being kept locked away, apparently not even that idiot of a Minister had the authority to see it ahead of time. When he asked who did, he was told the Queen and the court official in charge of notifying the members ahead of time. Unfortunately, the wizarding members weren't informed until the day before, which didn't give him a chance to ask around since he was here at the school.
He glanced at the clock, the trial should be starting soon.
Ron, Hermione, and Neville sat in class, trying to concentrate on the lesson, but their minds kept wandering to Harry. They hoped he would be alright through the trial today. Hermione only paid enough attention to take detailed enough notes so they could give them to Harry afterwards.
Luckily for them, even Professor McGonagall seemed distracted this morning, or she would have called them out on it by now, probably even assigned detentions, since today they were making buttons out of beetles. She didn't tolerate inattention at any time, she tolerated it even less when they were doing practical work.
They all four hoped the trial went alright and wished they could be there for their friend/student.
Sirius sat through Garnock's fussing silently, his mind was already on the trial. Besides, all she was doing was complaining about how he overdid it yesterday. He couldn't exactly dispute her words, either. He was exhausted, despite crashing yesterday when he came back from his time in Diagon Alley. His body wasn't used to being able to be out and about like he used to be able to do.
It was ridiculous, he used to be an Auror, he could fight for hours if need be before he started feeling it, and now he could barely walk around the Alley for an hour after going with his pup to get a puppy. He was grateful that he would be sitting down for the trial, he was even more grateful that Garnock was still allowing him to go, he had been surprised when all she did was glare at him before shaking her head and muttering in Gobbledygook.
He would later find out that she only let him go because she herself was a parent, and she understood the need to be there when her children needed her. And she knew that the young Heir would need Sirius there today.
However, before she released him for the trial, she was putting him through an exam, making sure the runes on his monitoring bracelet were fully charged, and double checking how many potions he'd already taken that day so she knew how many she could safely send with Barchoke for him. She didn't want him to overdose on Pepper-up or Calming Draughts, after all.
She had already given him the lecture on not pushing his body faster than it could handle, she said that, best case scenario of overdoing it, he would be in here longer than initially planned, meaning he could potentially miss out on Christmas with Harry. Which, of course, made him think of the most recent letter from Narcissa, inviting him and Harry to spend Yule with her and her family. While he did want to celebrate Yule again, he hadn't properly celebrated it since Uncle Charlus and Aunt Dorea died, he also didn't know what Harry wanted to do. He wanted Harry to eventually fully embrace his wizarding heritage, which meant celebrating wizarding holidays, but he didn't want to push him too fast.
He would have to talk to him about it. Harry would be used to Muggle holidays, and he didn't know how Harry was used to celebrating them. Or, he thought darkly, if Harry was used to celebrating them at all. He was left with Petunia after all. Who knew how that woman raised him.
He narrowed his eyes in thought, he would just have to call Mipsy and have her find their old two-way mirrors. He couldn't remember where he last saw them. He thought James had his with him at Godric's Hollow, so it should be in the vault, but he couldn't remember where he left his. Because he and Harry needed to sit down and talk. Get to know each other a bit more, and he needed to know how Harry grew up. He knew what it was like to grow up in a bad environment, he needed to know how bad Harry had it so he knew how to handle stuff like discipline, and just being around Harry in general.
He also wanted to know so he would have an idea of how fast he could push Harry when it came to inserting himself as the boys father.
For now though, he needed to just get through this trial. He just hoped he held it together for Harry.
Alastor Moody stood by the door, watching to make sure everyone who came in swore their Oaths of Silence. When Amelia had come to him and asked him to be at the trial for Harry Potters relatives, his first thought was that they couldn't go to prison or be sent to the mines, Harry Potter was safe there, from the Death Eaters and anyone else who wished him harm.
Then his brain caught up to reality.
Harry was going to be staying with Sirius from now on, Sirius was the boys godfather/father after all. And Severus was the boys godfather as well. Between the two of them, Harry would never be seeing the Dursley's again, even if they weren't going on trial and about to be locked away before finishing out the rest of their lives in the goblin mines.
Which reminded him, he still had yet to pay Sirius a visit, he hadn't done it yet because, well... he wasn't quite sure what he was going to say or how Sirius was going to receive him.
It wasn't every day, after all, that your mentor- somebody you looked up to, admired, that taught you everything you knew- abandoned you to Azkaban. Believed everything they said about you and then just left you there. As if you never meant anything, as if he hadn't invited you into his home and shared drinks and a lot of laughs over his kitchen table. As if you hadn't fought by his side for years against your own family. Your cousin, even your beloved baby brother. As if he hadn't told everyone who could hear how proud he was of your accomplishments, when every single smallest compliment from him was hard earned.
He wasn't sure how Sirius was going to receive him, he didn't know if Sirius could ever forgive him for abandoning him. He should have questioned it more, he should have looked up trial transcripts, then he would have known that there was no trial, and he would have given him one, then he wouldn't have spent all these years in there. He didn't, he failed one of the only two boys he ever did right by. Both of them, actually, if he really thought about it. He failed James too, when he did nothing to help his brother-in-all-but-blood, Sirius.
Mentally, he snorted. If anyone could hear his thoughts now... they would probably drag him in for questioning on who he was and what he did with Alastor Moody. After all, the Great Mad-eye Moody didn't have regrets, or fears.
He was shaken out of his thoughts when Sharpaxe arrived with another figure he'd failed when he didn't question Sirius's imprisonment.
Harry entered the courtroom nervously, following Sharpaxe. He knew that everyone here would have taken extensive Oaths of Silence and there were wards all over the place to keep unwanted people out, but still. These were strangers, and they were about to hear all about his home life before being rescued by Sharptooth and Griphook. Well, maybe rescued was a bit strong, he had been in the middle of an escape after all.
He looked around, Hedwig 'washing' his hair (making it look worse and ruining all of Hermione's hard work on it), and was disappointed when he noticed Sirius and Barchoke weren't here yet. He knew that the only reason Sirius would even be allowed in the door was because the man was his guardian. He had made up his mind that until Sirius called himself Harry's father, then Harry wouldn't refer to him as a father. As much as it hurt that Sirius wasn't acknowledging it. He also decided that he should probably get to know the man better before he started calling him any variant of 'father'. That word sounded strange even in his head...
He shook his head to focus back on the trial that was going to start just as soon as everyone was here. It was going to take a while since everyone (except for him, Sirius, and the goblins) was being made to take their Oaths at the door.
He was led to his seat, and as soon as he sat down, Hedwig hopped off his shoulder to sit on his lap. He was only allowed to bring her in with him because she was his familiar, and apparently the representative from the Wizarding Children's Agency said it would be good for him, and it would keep him calmer than a calming draught could. Her words, not his. He could have probably brought his puppy, except... she was a puppy. She was in no way house-broken. Not that cleaning up any messes she made would be hard. He would have Mipsy bring her to Hogwarts tonight, after the trial, and just spend time somewhere with just her and Hedwig. Away from people for a while.
He had been so nervous, that he spent most of last night baking in his kitchen with Neville and Ron sampling most of his creations while Hermione did some homework in the corner. He had tried several new recipes, and even created one, he had been so nervous he couldn't remember any of his usual recipes, so he pulled out a recipe book and then made one up. It actually turned out pretty good. He had written it down after he got the seal of approval from Ron. As nervous as he was, he'd actually enjoyed making that one, he should create new recipes more often. He'd have to get a binder or a notebook though, to keep them in so they didn't get lost. After Hermione noticed the time, she'd hustled all the boys off to bed, not that Harry stayed there long, after a while he crept off to his library to read some more of his family journals.
They were very interesting! Apparently, the Potter Manor that was standing now, wasn't the original manor. The original wasn't even a manor, it was more like a castle. An actual castle, like Buckingham Palace sized castle. Until it burned down (this was apparently before fire-suppression wards were invented. Actually, he thought this event might have been the REASON why fire-suppression wards were invented. Knowing what he'd read so far, it wouldn't surprise him). It wasn't even originally called the Potter Manor. Apparently, the original home was known as the Shire Abbey.
Where it got that name, he didn't know. It was probably in some of the earlier journals. Luckily, they and the House-elves had managed to get everything of value, especially the Library, out before the fire spread too far and it became too dangerous to go in anymore (magical fires were apparently almost impossible to put out). It was after the place burned that the family opened a new vault in Gringotts just for the library. The books currently kept in the manor were just copies of everything (copied using a spell created just for getting around copyright wards, it was in the Grimoire somewhere), the originals were kept in the vault just in case something happened to the manor again. Some of those books, were apparently one of the very, very few copies left in existence. If they got destroyed, there would be no getting another.
When he tried to figure out why the name changed from Shire Abbey to Potter Manor, he couldn't find it in the journals, so he figured that they probably didn't think of it when the place got rebuilt. Either that, or the wizarding public starting calling it 'the Potters new manor' and the name just stuck. Or something like that. Either way, the Lord Potter clearly hadn't thought it important, or was too lazy to bother with it.
He was thinking about changing it back to what it originally was though. Shire Abbey... he liked it. It was much more original than 'Potter Manor.' Honestly, how many pureblood homes were there in the country that were 'Family-name' Manor? It wasn't very original or creative at all. And from what he'd read so far, the Potter Family was very good at creating.
He looked around the courtroom, thinking about his parents, and what they would think of all this. He already knew that he couldn't ask them, they didn't have portraits, not like the rest of the Potter Family did. Sharpaxe told them that it was tradition for the Lord and Lady to get their portrait done after they became Lord and Lady. But... everything had happened so fast; Harry's grandparents dying, James graduating, James claiming the title, getting married, Auror training, having Harry, being an Auror, going into hiding, and then being killed. There hadn't been a chance for them to get a portrait done. Thinking about his parents then had him thinking about the letters that Sharpaxe had given him, that day he visited his personal vault. His hands went to the tooth around his neck, and his fingers rubbed the designs etched into it as he read through the letters again in his head.
Harry sat on his bed in Longbottom Manor, turning the envelopes over in his hands. These were from his parents. They wrote these for him. His attention was taken off the envelopes when Hedwig hooted, pushing exasperation and impatience down the link. Apparently she wanted him to just open and read them already. He quirked a small grin at her before he finally, finally opened them.
He ended up opening his father's first, judging by the name at the bottom.
This is Lily's idea. We know we are being targeted, and we know full well that we probably aren't going to survive this war. We were going to take you and run- head to one of the overseas properties, or take a port-key to one of the Founders properties (the port-keys are kept in the Main Vault, in case you were not yet aware), nobody even knows they exist- don't know why we changed our minds, to be honest. So, Lily had this idea that we would write you a new letter every other month and leave it in your vault at Gringotts, along with the souvenirs and knickknacks we picked up for you during our travels. We are also leaving the photo albums made during those travels in there (one album for every trip). That way, when you grew up, you would have something. Personally, I would rather this whole idea wasn't needed, but... especially since we haven't yet had a chance to get our portrait done.
Harry, I don't know how old you are now, or how long you've been without us. But, whatever has happened in your life, no matter what decisions you've made, know that I am proud of you. I could never be anything else.
At the moment, I'm sitting in the kitchen, listening to Lily and Sirius play with you out in the living room, well, I say play... but mostly they're trying to keep you from running over the cat with that broom Sirius got you... again. I don't know what it is with you and that cat... one moment we'll catch him curled up around you while you sleep, hissing at anyone who approaches- even us- and the next you are trying to run the poor thing over and he wants nothing to do with you. Here, I'll try and find a picture of it and leave it with the letters. I'm sure we've taken one at some point. If not, I'll make sure to take one. I'm sure it'll happen again between now and if we're found.
I can't begin to tell you how maddening it is, being stuck here. Knowing that there's a war going on outside our door, and we can't do anything to help. Don't you dare feel guilty about that by the way, we went into hiding to protect you, we're your parents, that's our job. As long as your safe, I could care less if the Dark Lord Voldemort won, as long as you were safe and happy.
Dumbledore would not be happy if I ever told him that, would he? According to him, you are one of two possible prophecy children, prophesied to defeat Voldemort. He's told us that the other possible child was Neville Longbottom, my godson. But, for some reason... he seems to have decided that it will be you. Despite the fact that he has no say in who this prophecy will be. It even sounds more self-fulfilling than anything, the only way I can see that prophecy being 'activated', is if Voldemort actually does show up here and try to kill you. (Not going to happen if I have any say in it).
Harry, if Dumbledore is still around, you must be careful around him. I don't like the way he was looking at you, the last time he saw you. It was... calculating. Like he was making plans, plans he has no business making about my boy.
There's another thing, Harry. If we are gone, and it was because of that prophecy, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. No matter what anybody else said. We are not being targeted solely because of that prophecy. We were being targeted before we ever learned of that prophecy, we haven't exactly been idle in this war, Harry. We have fought against the Dark Lord's army almost since the day we left Hogwarts. I, personally, have made a bit of a name for myself, during that fight. Which is only natural, I am a Potter, after all. We tend to make names for ourselves on the battlefield, and sometimes off. When you start looking through the Grimoire and family journals, you will understand that a bit more.
You're probably wondering, why we decided on Godric's Hollow in the end, since we obviously didn't head to any of the 'non-existent' properties. Well, it's the home I bought for your mother. She didn't want to raise you in that big manor of mine, she was raised in Cokeworth, to an upper middle-class family, and I think she felt a little overwhelmed when faced with the obvious wealth of my family, and the size of my childhood home. So, I bought her this small cottage (small for me, she says it's still pretty big), where she could be comfortable. And, with the Fidelius, the only way we'll be found, is if Peter squeals on us.
To be honest, Harry... I don't really know why we switched from Sirius to Peter. Yes, Sirius made a good point, that he would be the obvious choice, it would be an extra layer of security, since they would go after Sirius and leave Peter alone. But... my parents have always told me to trust in innocence. That probably doesn't make much sense, does it? Well, to put it bluntly, Harry, you hate Peter. You want nothing to do with him. He comes into the room, and you start pitching such a fit if we're not right there with you. Even when we are with you, you still make a bit of a fuss until he leaves. It has been said, that the eyes of the innocent see more clearly than others. There's clearly something you see in him, and I don't know what it is, but just in case, I am going to leave here tomorrow to head to Gringotts, and change my will. I should be able to convince Lily to come with me. Mipsy can watch you for a bit, she loves taking care of you.
And, if something happens to us and it's Peter's doing, then... in the future, maybe in the next century or two, (it better not be any earlier than that, you hear me young man?) when you're all grown up, and pass quietly in your sleep of old age (it better be old age after living a long and full life and not because you went and did something stupid and reckless), then you can tell me 'I told you so' all you want.
I should go, it's almost time to put you to bed, and after that Lily will be wanting to go to bed too. She hasn't been feeling the best lately. She's been sick the past few mornings... I both hope for and wish it's not what I think it is. This isn't the time for that... not in the middle of this war, not while we're in hiding.
Remember, I'm proud of you and I love you. Always.
Harry didn't even notice the tears in his eyes until he felt Hedwig rubbing her head against his cheeks, trying to wipe the tears away. He gave her a watery smile before a quick search through the envelope revealed the promised picture. Instead of one, he got two. He laughed when he saw baby him racing after a cat on a small toddler broom, and he smiled when he saw that same cat curled around a sleeping baby Harry, eyeing the person behind the camera with suspicion, already pulling his lips back in a hiss. The cat had one of his paws stretched out over Harry's chest, and it looked like he was gently kneading it, without the claws, of course.
He summoned his photo album, that he got from Hagrid, and put the pictures away inside of it, he paused to consider the few pictures he had inside of him, Ron, and Hermione. Maybe he should get a separate album for those pictures... keep this one just for his parents. Then he turned to the other letter, the one from his mother. He hesitated again before he opened it, too. When he carefully pulled the letter out, he checked inside for more pictures, but was disappointed not to find anymore, instead, he found a locket, which he set aside to look at later.
My dearest boy,
I wish I was with you right now, and not communicating in a letter after so many years down the road. I don't want to leave you, but it may be unavoidable... we just have to hope that Peter stays true, if we could change Secret Keepers I would have it done in a heartbeat.
I can only hope the goblins were successful in getting our Wills carried out, so, with any luck, you should have been raised by Sirius and Severus. They will raise you right, well, Sirius will be the one to spoil you, while Severus will make sure you stay grounded in that regard... If our Wills were not able to be carried out, then I will haunt that crazy old man for the rest of eternity. I don't care that it might be too late to come back as a ghost, I will find a way.
Oh, Harry, I love you so much. I know that, no matter what, you will survive.
The protection rituals I found in the Potter library and Grimoire will ensure that. I've found this in the Grimoire, so it is a Family ritual, but I've also found it in other books, which according to James means that it is one of the few rituals created by the Family that the Family has shared with the rest of the world. Probably has to do with world events around the time it was created or shared... I will have to look up the time-frame this was created in. Later though... if I can get over to the Main House, we have to be careful, even going back and forth between our properties, the Floo could be watched. We know that Voldemort has men everywhere. Back to the ritual, unfortunately, the other books this ritual is in, were banned by the Ministry for being 'Dark'.
I don't know why, the only thing about them that could be considered Dark is that they involve willing self-sacrifice or blood, other than that, they are ALL protection-oriented. Whether it be for your own protection, or for the protection of another, like in this case. The Ministry is full of bigots, they never look past the requirements or, in some cases the end result (the Killing Curse), to see what it DOES.
Always remember, baby, the world is not as black and white as Professor Dumbledore and the Ministry would like you to believe. You still need to be careful of those Black areas though.
Harry, you must stay safe. No matter what happens to us, you have to remain safe. I don't want to see you following us until you have lived a full life, and pass peacefully in bed surrounded by all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Although I don't really like the thought of you passing away EVER, never mind when it happens.
I know earlier in this letter, I said that Sirius would be the one to spoil you. Well, while that will be true, I also know that, as much as he has always said he's not parent material, he's more of the fun uncle type, I know he will still raise you with proper discipline even if Severus can't always be there due to... circumstances. He certainly read enough parenting books when he found out Marlene was pregnant... therefore I know that you will grow up right.
But, if you weren't raised by Sirius and Severus, then I want you to always remember, that we love you and are proud of you. Also, I will do what I can to come back and haunt Severus and Sirius if they have just abandoned you, they better have a good reason for not raising you as they should. Although, if that is the case, then it can probably all be blamed on Albus Dumbledore.
Harry, be careful around him. James has been sharing some of his concerns with me lately, and I don't want to believe it, but I'm trusting my husband's judgement, he's been in the wizarding world longer, he's known Professor Dumbledore longer.
Be safe, my dear. Always, be safe.
With lots of love,
By the time he was done reading this, all he could do was curl up on his bed, with his face shoved in his pillow, and cry. He knew that he hadn't survived through anything he did, he knew it was all his mother.
He eventually managed to calm down enough to look at the locket, which was heart-shaped, and in the frames, was a small family picture on one side, with a small picture of just him on the other. After that, he eventually cried himself to sleep, with Hedwig sending a feeling of comfort through their Bond.
If either of the Longbottom's noticed the tear-streaks and puffy eyes the next morning, or how subdued he seemed, neither of them said a word.
Harry was startled out of his thoughts by a sudden hand on his shoulder, when he looked over, he smiled tightly when he realized it was Sirius, he was a little shocked to see that the doors were closed, meaning everyone who was supposed to be here was finally inside.
Not only that, but two people (one dressed in formal robes, the other dressed as a Muggle judge), were standing in front of him, looking concerned.
"Sorry, what?" He asked, embarrassed, "I was just thinking about something."
The one in robes nodded, "I asked if you would be alright, Mr. Potter." He said. Harry scooted closer to Sirius and pulled Hedwig closer, suddenly even more nervous than before, before he nodded. "Alright, well, everyone is here, so we will go and clear up a few last minute details, and then we can get started. Let us know, if you need to stop, we can take a recess." He said, and Harry nodded in understanding. Then he turned to Sirius, "I realize you were just released from Azkaban, if you need to stop for a bit, let us know." Sirius nodded and wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders.
As they turned to go back into a side chamber to discuss, there was a commotion by the door when a ward flared to life, putting the Aurors and officers on duty on alert. Sharpaxe narrowed his eyes, "That's the anti-animagus ward we put up." He called to them. A moment later, a blonde-haired woman with fake nails and jeweled, green glasses appeared, trying to keep her balance after the abrupt change back to human form and grimacing in pain from the fact that it was a force change.
While the wizards in the room gaped (or as close to it as some of them would ever get), Sharpaxe and Barchoke approached her with sharp grins on their faces. Moody also started towards her, "Rita Skeeter. An unregistered Animagus. This certainly explains how some of those classified reports ended up being leaked to the press... Amelia will be happy to know that it's not anybody in her department. She's been trying to find the leak for years... and all this time the press was leaking the stories to themselves..." He muttered to himself as he slapped magic-suppressing cuffs on her and took her wand.
She was still too disoriented from the force change to notice what he was doing until it was too late. She was also trying to work through her disorientation to try and change back so she could make her escape, but with no luck. The anti-animagus wards wouldn't allow it.
"There's one security breach found..." One of the Jury members muttered. He worked in the DMLE as a 'desk Sergeant', or, as he liked to call it, a glorified secretary for all the Aurors. When they delivered reports, unless Madam Bones ordered it to be delivered to her personally, they handed them in to him, and he organized them by order of importance. Which meant he, and the other two 'secretaries', were the ones that handled a lot of that classified information that was constantly getting leaked. As a result, he and his other two co-workers ended up getting interrogated with Veritaserum regarding how that information got out. They went through a lot of interrogations...
Sharpaxe narrowed his eyes at her, before asking that they just leave her in the holding cells under the courthouse to deal with later. And to make double sure she didn't escape.
I had a few complaints on how unoriginal the name 'Potter Manor' was. Well, that was done on purpose. I was trying to incorporate it into some of the Family history I'm setting up. And now you know what the original name was.
Also... if anybody with legal experience, particularly in the courtroom, would like to message me about how a trial is usually handled, that would be great too. I want to get it as close to reality as possible. I realize that Sirius's trial wasn't anywhere close to being realistic, that was because it was impromptu and Veritaserum was involved.