-Chapter 17-

-Goading a Goat and a Rat on Trial-

"Pardon my interruption Madam," Ted spoke as Sirius was released from the accused chair, "But as my client is now a free and exonerated man, there are two more issues that I'm required to bring before this body on his behalf."

Amelia frowned at having the second trial stalled but nodded, it was something she wanted to get down to fast, "Very well, proceed"

"Thank you, Madam," Ted nodded, "The first being the least of immediate importance as far as my client is concerned, is the demand for financial reparations for his illegal incarceration, and decade-long wait for his trial," he stated as he pulled several rolls of parchment from his briefcase and with a wave of his wand levitated them up to Amelia.

"before my client's incarceration, he was an accomplished auror with several distinctions on his record, as such it would not be a stretch to assume that within the years that he was incarcerated that he would have reached the ranks of senior auror, and it is only fitting that as he was kept from doing his job that he receive the pay that he would have received for the past ten years on top of the ministry standard reparation settlements for his time in Azkaban."

Amelia nodded as she looked over the parchment before passing it along to Dumbledore who after a glance nodded as well, "That would be only fitting as it was because of this court's grievous mistake that allowed this travesty to continue for so long"

Ted nodded, "thank you, Chief Warlock, now as for the second matter, as was previously stated during my client's trial, my client was made the Godfather of Harry James Potter before his incarceration, and as such is immediately filing now for his legal custodial rights"

"Thank you, Mr Tonks," Dumbledore stated, as he peered down at Ted through his half-moon spectacles, "However while I understand the urgency of this matter, young mister potter is quite happy with his current living arrangements at Hogwarts and during the summer months that he is not there. I would also like to point out that it would be irresponsible of this body to place any child, let alone one so beloved as mister Potter, into the care of someone who has just been released from Azkaban. It is a well-known fact how devastating long-term exposure to dementors can be to one's mental facilities. As such I do not believe it would be wise to move young Harry from his current situation until your client has been declared mentally sound and has recovered from his time in Azkaban."

Magnus gritted his teeth in anger to keep himself from screaming out as he heard that old fucker go on, claiming that Harry was happy at the Dursleys, it was the biggest pile of shit he'd ever heard.

Andromeda, seeing how Magnus was restraining himself from speaking caught his eye and nodded to him before she rose from her seat.

"Chief Warlock Dumbledore, surely you are not trying to deny my cousin's rights a second time," Andromeda stated, "given that you held the same position then as you do now, I find it highly inappropriate that you should deny my cousin his rights toward his godson when it was this bodies inaction that caused his illegal incarceration in the first place. In fact, I find it inappropriate that you haven't conceded your position to another on this and related matters given your past involvement in the matter. And since you haven't done so already.." Andromeda continued but was cut off as almost immediately numerous lords began to rise and began yelling in outrage at what Andromeda was about to suggest.

Looking over the yelling Lord Magnus connected their names to the various "Light" houses that were Dumbledore's supporters, it was little wonder that they would come to his defence when Andromeda was about to push for him to step down from his Chief Warlock position.

However it was Amelia who raised her wand this time as a cannon blast silenced all, "That is quite enough." she said as her eyes flicker to each of the lords as they sat down under her steely gaze of disapproval, "it was legitimate matter and concern," she said before turning her gaze to Dumbledore whose lips were drawn in a thin line as if he had just swallowed a rather foul lemon drop.

"Very well," Dumbledore said in a clipped tone, obviously not happy as he begrudgingly moved from his position and began to ascend the stairs to the visitors' level, having no other position on the body to take.

Watching him go Andromeda nods to Amelia in thanks, with things having gone smoother than she had believed they would.

Amelia nods back before caring her throat, "In lieu of Mister Dumbledore stepping down for the remainder of this session, I open the floor to any takers or nominations for the position"

After the announcement, Andromeda smirked, "House Black nominates Lady Marchbanks for the position"

Magnus took note that when the nomination, one of the older ladies on the higher pews turned to look at her, she was quite old, her hair long since greyed, but was pulled back tight into a bun, that combined with her spectacles gave her a very no-nonsense air about her that reminded him a lot of Professor McGonagall.

Amelia nodded at the nomination, "Very well, do we have a second?" she openly asked

"House Longbottom seconds the nomination," Another voice came from across the chamber, as Magnus looked over to see yet another old Lady seated with her purse on her lap whom he could only suspect to be Dowager Lady Agustus Longbottom.

Amelia nodded again before looking up to the first Lady that Magnus had taken notice of, "Lady Marchbanks, what say you?"

The elderly lady was silent for a moment before he noticed the smallest hint of a smile grace her lips before it disappeared as she rose from her seat, "if it is required of me, I shall of course accept"

"So noted," Amelia said as she made a notation on some parchment as Lady Marchbanks began her descent.

"Glad she's playing along," Andromeda muttered softly as she retook her seat.

"You saw it too?" Magnus asked curiously.

"Her brief knowing smile, of course," Andromeda confirmed, "even if I didn't I would suspect her knowing without it, she's one of the oldest witches to still hold their position when many others would have either given up her seat or been forced to do so, you don't get to be her age and be in her position without being able to read between the lines and see what's coming several moves ahead."

Magnus nodded as he watched Lady Marchbanks finally reach her new seat and take her position, and now that he was closer to her he could get a better look at the new Chief Witch, and as he did the first thing that caught his attention was her eyes, sharp and focused couldn't even begin to describe the feeling he got when he saw them, and he knew immediately this was a woman who missed nothing.

As things resumed Ted once more pushed his motion for Sirius to get custody of Harry, Magnus kept a careful eye on the new Chief Witch, easily catching the small glimmer of amusement in her eye, the woman enjoyed politics and she was enjoying what she was seeing.

"Yes Thank you, Mr Tonks," Lady Marchbanks said as Ted finished repeating his motion, "but however much you repeat yourself, I'm afraid it doesn't change the fact that while Mr Dumbledore's concerns may have been of his own doing, it does not change the fact that they are in fact legitimate concerns, and I believe it would be just as inappropriate to place a minor into the care of someone fresh out of Azkaban who has been removed from civilized society for the last decade before it can be ascertained that he is capable of providing for said minor or if he is even of a stable mind to do so."

Seeing the opening Andromeda stood up again, "House Black is willing to guarantee both Madam," she announced, "I am a registered Med-witch and after this trial, I will be taking my cousin under my care to ensure that he is swiftly returned to full health, and in the meantime, both myself and my husband would gladly open our home to the care of young mister Potter until the courts are satisfied that my cousin is fit to do so on his own."

Magnus noticed the glint in Lady Marchbanks' eyes as she nodded to Andromeda's comment but before she could speak Lord Malfoy rose from his seat and clear his throat.

"That is all well and good, but you are not the only one with a claim to do so," Lucius stated, "House Malfoy also opens up its doors to the young Mister Potter, it would only be proper to offer another option to the cousin of my wife."

Sirius went to snap at Lucius for his comment but stopped when Ted gestured to him not to say anything, lucky the matter was passed over then Lady Longbottom rose from her seat as well.

"And I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't do the same," Augusta stated primly, "as my Daughter-in-law is young Harry's Godmother it is my responsibility to offer aid where she cannot," she stated, "however as matters stand, I would be more than accepting to share joint custody of the young heir Potter with house Black and aid in his care until his Godfather is up to the task."

From the visitor's gallery, Dumbledore rose and spoke, "I do not see the point in this matter, young mister potter is perfectly well in his current…" he began only for Magnus to rise from his seat.

"You have no place to speak in these proceedings Mister Dumbledore, you are not a currently seated member of this body nor do you have any claim over my cousin, apart from being the headmaster of the school he and I attend, so be silent or I will request to have you removed from this meeting." Magnus snapped as he glared up at Dumbledore as the aged headmaster looked down on him, giving him his best-disappointed grandfather face which didn't affect Magnus in the slightest and only served to make his glare harden, "You are treading on thin ice, it was your mistake that caused all of this in the first place, test me again and I will petition Madam Bones to investigate your full involvement, perhaps you will be the next one on trial."

That immediately wiped the fake look off the old man's face, "How dare.." Dumbledore began to bluster before he was cut off.

"Heir Black is correct Albus, please be seated and remain silent, or I will have you removed," Lady Marchbanks voiced from her seat as she looked up at him as well, the amusement gone from her eyes as she fixed him with a hard look.

Dumbledore frowned before nodding and sitting back down and Magnus did the same, though with his fists clenching as he felt his anger fighting against his Occlumency shields.

Nodding Lady Marchbanks looked back to those still standing, "Andromeda, do you agree with Lady Longbottom's proposal to share joint custody of heir Potter until your cousin is capable once more of doing so?" she inquired.

Andromeda nodded, "I do, House Black would be more than amenable to such an agreement," she said before nodding to Lady Longbottom as well who nodded back.

"Very well," Lady Marchbanks smirked slightly before looking to Lucius, "Lord Malfoy, it would seem that while your offer is appreciated it is not necessary," she said before banging her gavel, "This body hereby awards joint custody of the minor, Harry Potter to Houses Black and Longbottom until such a time that Sirius Black is judged to be well in both body and mind to care for him as his Godfather."

"Thank you Chief Witch," Ted nodded beside a grinning Sirius.

Magnus thought that Sirius looked like a cat who just got the canary, 'would "a Dog who just got the cat" be more fitting' he mused to himself as he relaxed slightly in his chair, more than pleased that their plan had worked, now at least Harry wouldn't have to go back to the Dursleys in the summer, he bet Harry would be happy when he heard about that.

But there was apparently no time to relax, as while Sirius was shaking Ted's hand to thank him, Amelia gestured to the aurors by the door, "Bring in the next accused," she commanded. The prosecution will now begin the trial of Peter Pettigrew!"

At Amilia's words, the doors of the chamber were opened once again as a whimpering Peter was dragged into the room by a pair of aurors, with two more leading the way to act as buffers. It was a good thing they were there, as the moment Sirius laid eyes upon him he snarled and lunged for him, hands out going for his neck but was held back by the two aurors from reaching him as he snapped and raged at the whimpering fat man.

"Traitor, you conniving little rat, how could you, they trusted you, we trusted you!" Sirius yelled at him, practically frothing at the mouth, and he wasn't the only one as others in the pews began to yell abuse at Peter alongside him.

Andromeda shook her head beside him as Sirius was restrained by the aurors, "I swear he never changes, ever since he was a boy he's always let his emotions control him, he never really did take to learning Occlumency well" she mused.

And for the first time, Magnus made the connection, linking what he knew of Sirius to what he knew of the Black family magics, his actions on the night of the deaths of James and Lily made perfect sense to him now that he saw Sirius's rage first hand. Even if he had been removed from the Black family and his family magic stripped, he was still a Black, and he had seen James and Lily as family, his magic would have been pushing him hard for him to avenge them. He had always wondered just why Sirius would chase after Peter instead of doing his duty as Harry's Godfather and taking him away, that explained all of it.

"Order, order!" Lady Marchbanks called from her seat as she tried to get things back under control, getting no response she drew her wand and shot a cannon blast that made everyone's ears ring, and Magnus could have sworn he saw a slightly amused smirk on her face as she did so.

Sirius was pulled back by the two Aurors who drew their wands on him to keep him back as the room fell silent.

"Sirius, if you wish to remain for the trial, you must be calm and take a seat, otherwise you will be removed from this chamber and detained" Lady Marchbanks warned as she turned her gaze to the newly freed Black.

Sirius for his part was glaring daggers at Peter as if willing the vermin to spontaneously combust, but knowing he couldn't get to him with the two wands trained on him could only growl in frustration before giving a sharp nod and turned to head up the steps at the side of the chamber that lead up to the seating area above, with one of the auror's following him up alongside Ted who went up as well.

Magnus watched him go, 'Note to self, try to get Sirius to try and learn Occlumency again, hopefully, it will help with both his anger problems and his mental recovery from his time with the Dementors' he thought to himself.

With order now restored the aurors continued and dragged Peter up to the accused chair and pushed him into it, and it came as no surprise to Magnus when the chains immediately wrapped around Peter binding him to the body of the chair tightly as he whimpered.

Clenching his fists by his sides Magnus glared down at Peter as he looked around the chamber, fear evident on his face, he didn't know why but when their peter's gaze met his own the rat flinched back, but he could care less about why the traitor was afraid of him when he had never said even a single word to him.

As the trial began Magnus' attention was split between both it and keeping his own anger in check, he could feel his magic swelling within him demanding that he take justice for a member of his house. He could hear the subtle whispers of the heir ring on his finger within his mind, urging him to do so as well, quoting his various rights to do so by the old laws, though he pushed his magic down and forced it deeper inside him as he used what Occlumency he knew to silence the whispers, now was not the time to act, not yet.

He forced his attention back on the trial, realizing things had apparently progressed further than he had thought when he saw Peter dazed under the effects of Viritiserum, his arm was now turned facing up on the arm of the chair and his shirt sleeve from his elbow down had been cut off revealing the dark mark for all to see, and judging by the scowls present on most of those present it was clear that he had spilt everything already as an auror moved to administer the antidote to the truth potion.

As Peter came back to himself he began blubbering once more, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, the dark lord, he has powers greater than any of you could know, what would any of you have done, what would you have done," he blubbered.

"I would have died," Sirius yelled from his seat above in the visitors' area, "I would have died rather than betrayed my friends like you should have like we all would have done for you!" he raged as he leaned over the railing, his knuckles white as he gripped the railing like he was about to jump down and strangle the miserable little rat, it was only the auror who had followed him up and Ted that prevented him from doing so with their hands on his shoulders to keep him from going to far.

Sirius's yelling, however, had opened the floodgates, as others began to yell at Peter in outrage at what he had done, clearly even ten years later the wounds that Voldemort had left were still painful and many still despised him and those who openly supported him.

They were quickly silenced however as another cannon blast sounded from Lady Marchbanks' wand bringing the chamber back in order as Amelia turned to face the aged Witch...

"The prosecution rests its case, and calls for an immediate vote on all charges presented," Amelia stated, her tone sharp.

Lady Marchbanks nodded once, her face set in a stern grimace, all amusement gone from her eyes as she glared down at Peter like he was something foul she'd just smelt, "very well. All those present who find the defendant guilty of all charges presented, please raise and light your wands now," he instructed.

Once more the chamber was full of wands being raised and lit, nearly all present did so, save the aurors and a few staff members who couldn't vote.

"And those who find against," Lady Marchbanks stated, and almost instantly all lit wands were lowered and not a single one was raised.

"The vote is unanimous," Lady Marchbanks said in a clipped tone as she raised her gavel, "the defendant is hereby found guilty of all charges, and shall be remanded into custody until this body has voted on…" She began to say

'This was it, now or never,' Magnus thought to himself before he rose to his feet and spoke cutting Lady Marchbanks off as he subconsciously channelled his magic into his voice, making it boom as he spoke."As Heir of House Black I demand, Right of Satisfaction!"

And almost instantly the entire chamber fell deathly silent at his words.

Andromeda's head snapped around to look at him so fast it was amazing that she didn't get whiplash, her eyes wide as she stared at him in shock, just like so many present were doing, but Magnus clearly wasn't paying their gazes any attention as he was focused solely on the bound shivering rat in the middle of the chamber.

This had been his plan on how to permanently deal with Pettigrew. Magnus knew that the rat had to be dealt with, he remembered reading too many fanfictions where the rat was either thrown in Azkaban or sentenced to death only to escape and go off to find his lord and aid in his return, he couldn't let that happen, this was his plan to well and truly throw Canon out the window.

He wasn't one bit shocked at the silence his demand had garnered him, it was an old law, one his grandfather had mentioned to him during his studies, normally something that Lords called upon as a last resort to deal with those who have crossed them and their houses in a serious manner, and he doubted that it was used often, but he had confirmed with Ted before coming that it was still an option.

It was in its simplest terms, a duel between the lord who issued the challenge and the offending party to the death, one where the only choice for the challenged party was to accept. Because if they didn't it meant the lord had the right to kill them on the spot. This was his answer, to ensure that Peter had no means of escaping later, was to end the rat himself.

"Mister Black!" Dumbledore cried as he finally registered that Magnus was serious, "please be reasonable, mister Pettigrew has already been found guilty, is it not enough that he will.." he began to plead before Magnus silenced him.

"Be Silent!" Magnus's voice boomed with his magic raging inside of him, "this rat, framed a member of my house for crimes he did not commit, he is the reason he sat unjustly imprisoned for a decade, I will have satisfaction, and you will be silent and be grateful that I do not see fit to turn the wrath of my house upon you for the part you played that allowed this injustice against a member of my house to suffer due to your incompetence!"

Dumbledore's eyes widened at the threat and his eyes narrowed as he made to respond, but was once more silenced, this time by the booms of a gavel.

"Mister Dumbledore, you will be silent," Madam Marchbanks demanded as she fixed Dumbledore with a hard look to silence the man, lest he says something he'd later regret.

Dumbledore fumed at being silenced a second time but didn't sit down, instead, he turned and made for the exit of the upper area, evidently having had enough and deemed it not necessary to remain for the rest of the proceedings.

As the doors closed behind Dumbledore's exit, Madam Marchbanks turned her gaze to Magnus, her tone calm and gentle, and if Magnus had to put a feeling behind it, it would be. Concern.

"Heir Black, are you certain this is the route that you wish to proceed with," she inquired, "it is well within your right to do so, but I must caution you.." she went to continue but Magnus raised his hand to speak, halting her next words.

"Madam, I thank you for your concern," Magnus started with a nod of his head, "but this is something I must do." he said as he turned his gaze back on Pettigrew, "this filth has wronged a member of the House of Black and has gotten away with it for far too long, I will make him an example to all who think they can do the same"

Seeing his mind would not be changed Madam Marchbanks nodded, "Very well Young man," she said before looking to Madam Bones, "You may proceed, Madam Bones,"

Madam Bones who had been like many others looking at Magnus in shock since his declaration broke out of her stupor when she was addressed and instantly realized what was to happen and nodded back as she rose, "Auror's clear the room for Duel formation, my Lords and Ladies, please follow the nearest aurors to the Anti chambers while the chamber is arranged, Heir Black, Please go to the far left chamber and wait until you are called, you may bring with you whoever you wish to take time to prepare."

Magnus nodded, "thank you, Madam, I request only members of my House be permitted to join me in my preparation time," he said getting a nod in return before he moved to follow where the Aurors directed him, followed by Andromeda, as Ted and Sirius were shown down from the above seating to follow suit as everyone else began to move and follow the various Aurors as well.

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