Watchman on the Tower
A/N: Much thanks to my beta!
This story begins approximately two or three years after Harry has graduated from Hogwarts. The war with Voldemort raged on until shortly before this story begins. The Weasleys, remarkably escape the war unscathed, however, their ties with Harry Potter have all but disintegrated, excepting his long romance with Ginny. Harry's godfather, Sirius Black is dead, as well as Lupin, Hagrid, and Dumbledore. After defeating Voldemort, Harry did not stop, he knew of another who would take Voldemort's place and become darker and greater than Voldemort ever was, yet the only person willing to believe him is none other than Ginny Weasley, soon to become Ginny Potter. Harry now stands trial for the unnecessary use of the Unforgivable Curses in his fruitless hunt for this dangerous wizard. The story begins at this point.
Chapter One: Trial
Harry James Potter was being tried for the unnecessary use of the unforgivable curses before a biased judge, a biased jury, and a biased world. Little did the world know what danger they were in, so little did they understand. They could not hear the quiet before the storm, because the noise from the previous storm still raged on in their heads. They viewed their hero, their hunting dog, as a rabid animal that must be put down. His use was over, his purpose gone. They thought that all he had lived for was to bring down the prey, the oppressor, Lord Voldemort.
Harry clenched his fists in anger. He was sitting next to his lawyer, a useless lawyer appointed by the biased and shattered Ministry of Magic to provide him with token defense. Why didn't they understand? If they had not stopped him he could have caught him. He could have killed two birds with one stone, brought both Lord Voldemort and his successor down. Harry had to be satisfied with the death of Voldemort, but he wasn't. Carthade had escaped, and he would return to wreak more havoc.
Harry turned his attention back to the event at hand, his trial. The chief auror for the Ministry was on the witness stand. The prosecutor, Frank Midge, sat down, and his lawyer, Jon Thor, stood up and began to ask Bili Jield, the chief auror, questions.
"Mr. Jield," Thor began, "do you believe that it was in everyone's best interests for You-Know-Who's ringleaders to be rounded up at all costs?"
"Yes, I do. However, I don't feel that it was necessary for Mr. Potter to go to extremes to accomplish that task." Jield answered.
"I see." Thor said, "Do you think it probable that the ringleaders would have caused more harm after escaping the battle scene?"
"Yes," Jield replied, "It is highly probable, yet I believe that they would not have attempted any harm immediately following the battle."
"Yet you believe that these dark wizards needed to be apprehended before they could bring harm to others?"
"Yes, they did need to be caught." Jield agreed.
"So you do justify the actions of Harry Potter in doing so?" Thor continued.
"I do justify his purpose, but not his methods."
Thor asked another question. "What methods would you have suggested that Potter use to give chase and quickly apprehend these ringleaders?"
"I. . . don't know."
"If you would examine the evidence, you will see that Potter used the Imperius Curse to only force his prisoners to divulge necessary information, and used the Killing Curse in the extreme defense of his life. If you had found it necessary to use the Unforgivable Curses, is this the way you would have properly done so?" Thor inquired.
"Yes, I suppose so," Jield admitted reluctantly.
"That is all," Thor said.
The presiding judge nodded. "Auror Jield, you may step down. This trial is hereby in recess until nine o'clock tomorrow morning. We will begin with the prosecution's next witness. Dismissed." He curtly pounded the gavel and everyone began to leave.
Harry was escorted by a guard of the court out an alternate door to where Ginny was waiting for him. She rushed over to him and hugged him fiercely with tears in her eyes. "I wish you could come home with me," she told him tearfully.
"Me too," Harry said softly, "but you know that those on trial for the Unforgivable Curses don't get bail."
"It's a stupid law," Ginny retorted. Unlike the rest of the wizarding world, she fully justified Harry's purposes and methods. She believed in the danger of Carthade and didn't understand why no one would listen to the warning she and Harry continually gave.
Harry smiled weakly. "Not a stupid law, only the people carrying out the law are the stupid ones."
Ginny sighed and nodded in agreement, pulling away from him. "When the trial is over, I want to marry you. We've planned on it for so long. Now that the war is over, there is no danger, I've waited long enough."
"There is danger, there's prison." Harry said, "What if I am convicted and sentenced to life in Azkaban, or even worse, the dementor's kiss? Then what will you do?"
"I'll marry you anyway." Ginny began to sob.
Harry grinned halfheartedly. "Good night Ginny," he said as he was led away to the holding cells beneath the court building. Ginny stood watching even after he had gone from her sight.
~ ~ ~ ~
Ron and Hermione Weasley left the English Court of Wizardry together. After stepping out into the cold night air they apparated to their small flat in Diagon Alley. Hermione went to the kitchen and began to prepare a quick supper for them.
"Ron," she asked, "what if Harry really is innocent? What if this Carthade is real?"
Ron sat down on a kitchen stool next to the counter and picked up the Daily Prophet. "You know what Harry became towards the end of the war, he was obsessed, like a rabid dog, he wanted to eradicate anything that even reminded him of You-Know-Who. Once you cut off the head there is not need to hack at the body."
Hermione sighed sadly. Harry had been one of their best friends throughout all their time at Hogwarts. Their friendship had dwindled after they graduated, when they had thrown themselves all the way into the war. It was about that time that he had become closer to Ginny, he confided everything to her, and she to him. Their romance had continued throughout the war, having its ups and downs, but it continually got stronger.
"Ginny believes Harry though," Hermione countered.
"Harry has misled her," Ron retorted shortly. "She'd believe anything that he told her. To my knowledge she hasn't ever seen anything about this Carthade except what Harry has told her."
"But there is always a chance that maybe he is right," Hermione said worriedly as she stirred the soup. She absently shook some salt into it.
"Look, Hermione, this Carthade guy was probably just in You-Know-Who's inner circle. Remember when they kidnaped Harry? They tortured Harry, Carthade was probably the wizard that did it. So Harry goes mad, he escapes and comes back saying that this Carthade guy is a danger to the whole wizarding world and has to be stopped. Harry just doesn't realize that it is over. We need to move on."
Hermione nodded reluctantly, still unsure. Harry still seemed somewhat sane, considering what he had gone through.
"So how about that job offer?" Ron asked, putting down the newspaper. "You the Transfiguration teacher, and me, a former auror, teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts."
"It appeals to me," Hermione admitted. "Room and board is included with the pay, after all. But shouldn't we wait a little longer before accepting McGonagall's offer?"
"No, we shouldn't wait, the trial will be over by the end of this week at most, it's an open and shut case! Chances are he'll get off, being the great Harry Potter. Anyway, the term doesn't start for nearly a month, we can accept and be ready just in time."
Hermione only nodded silently as she stirred the soup while deep in thought.
~ ~ ~ ~
Arthur Weasley, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, sat at his desk poring over case files of accused Death Eaters. The war was over, but he was still working overtime trying to process all of the accusations. The hard thing was that many had been under the Imperius Curse. It made it extremely hard to convict the accused, but it needed to be done.
The war, and the aftermath had affected his family terribly. Harry Potter had been extremely close to them while at Hogwarts, but after that he had become distant. Arthur's daughter, Ginny, was in love with him. Another complication. Harry was standing trial and whether or not he went to prison she would still love him. If she couldn't have him, she'd die alone as an old maid.
Arthur didn't know what to believe about Harry. Carthade may have been a dark wizard, a Death Eater even at one time, but Arthur seriously doubted that he was a threat now. Voldemort had just been defeated, after all.
Arthur was examining the possible outcomes of the trial. If Harry was convicted he most certainly would end up in Azkaban. He was Harry Potter after all. If he was found innocent he would probably be exiled from England, but awarded damages and other things for his valiant service against Voldemort.
Mr. Weasley was not sure what he wanted to happen. If Harry was exiled, Ginny would go where Harry went. She would follow Harry to the ends of the earth, through health and sickness and through good and bad. She would even follow Harry to his death if necessary.
Mr Weasley sighed. What a mess.
~ ~ ~ ~
Ginny apparated directly into her bedroom in her small Hogsmeade house. She hadn't eaten all day. How could she with Harry on her mind? Ginny was angry with her people, her world. How could they betray their hero? How could they betray her love?
She shrugged off her coat and began to undress for bed. Half the time she was angry with the world, the other half she was depressed beyond belief. Ginny was torn between Harry and her family. Harry was the obvious choice, he was her family now.
They were just too blind to see! Couldn't they see what danger they were in? Putting Harry on trial might shut him up and stop him from giving warning, but it wouldn't stop the danger. From what Harry had told her about Carthade, he was ten times the dark wizard Voldemort was, ten times! His target wasn't to kill mudbloods, it was to dominate everything. Without Harry, the world did not stand a chance of an ice cube in the Sahara. He had not told her that because he was too modest to admit it, but it was obvious.
It was Harry who had killed Voldemort. It took nearly all of Harry's strength and will, no wizard or witch could match how much it took. But Harry kept on going, he pursued Carthade and now they were in a royal mess.
If Harry was exiled, she would go with him. Then if Carthade came back, she wouldn't let him go risk his life for a country that had betrayed him. England didn't deserve it, they didn't deserve him.
Whether or not Harry was found innocent, she wanted to marry him. She had been waiting forever for the war to end so they could marry safely. Now this had come. Ginny climbed into bed, pressed her face into her pillow and began to cry.
~ ~ ~ ~
Fred Weasley sat in court watching the proceedings of Ministry vs. Potter for the unnecessary use of the Unforgivable Curses. He sighed. Harry was a nice fellow, he killed Voldemort for everyone, but he had gone a bit overboard. That was why he was standing trial.
Fred didn't know what he wanted to happen at the court. The verdict would probably come today. Both sides were wrapping up their cases and it was going to the jury. The prosecution was now making its closing remarks and the defense's remarks would follow.
The prosecution was arguing that any use of the Unforgivable Curses is bad, illegal, and cruel, and therefore should be used only in the extreme defense of one's self. They were arguing that Harry's use was totally unnecessary due to the death of Voldemort.
Fred glanced over to where Ginny was sitting. The case had been extremely hard on her. She looked horribly thin, frail, and pale. He suspected that she wasn't eating enough. She was worrying too much about the case.
She had made a valiant attempt to look good, most likely for Harry's sake. But despite all of that he could see how horrible she felt. She was clutching her purse so hard that her knuckles were white and she constantly seemed to be on the verge of crying.
The defense had just finished making their rather short closing remarks. Short and sweet. Fred shook his head and watched Ginny leave so she could meet Harry when they took him out. It was now up to the jury.
~ ~ ~ ~
Ginny watched the jury walk in and sit down. She was taking shallow breaths. Everything depended on this. She felt her fingernails dig into the skin on the palm of her hand. What would she do if they found Harry guilty? What would he do?
"Will the first juror please publish the jury's findings?" the judge asked.
The first juror began to speak, "We the jury find Harry J. Potter innocent of all charges."
Ginny let out a deep sigh of grateful relief. She had not known that she had been holding her breath. What would the judge do now?
"This court finds you innocent of all charges." the judge said, "However, in the best interest of the people this court exiles you from England, but awards you ten thousand galleons for damages and services done. Court dismissed."
Harry was a free man, but he had to leave. According to the law he had a week to wrap up his affairs and be gone. Ginny rushed up to Harry and wrapped her arms around him giving him a kiss. Everyone else was exiting the court room.
"Will you marry me now?" she pleaded.
"Of course." Harry said, hugging her back. "Then we can go anywhere on our honeymoon that you want to go."
Ginny began to cry and kissed Harry again. "Then let's get married right now, right here. One of the judges can do it."
Harry smiled at her and nodded. "Where do you want to go after?"
"With you." Ginny answered as she kissed him again and again.