Love that you guys clued into my treatment of Harry's scar; I thought distinguishing between Ginny and Mandy there was equally as important. As to Fudge well, that will be explained more as things are still unravelling.
Thank you to my Beta — SilverStarwolfe!
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CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-ONE:
Hermione received the letter from Iglika Krum the next afternoon. She was cleaning out her trunk and organizing her bookshelf while her parents were at work when the owl soared in through her open bedroom window. The return address was listed as Bulgaria and she eagerly ripped it open, her fingers trembling.
Mama helped me write this as my English it no good. We want you come for Viktor's funeral. It will be Friday and Saturday. Can you come Wednesday and stay until Saturday? Mama will make room for you and whoever you come with. We know how important Viktor was to you. Desi and I look forward to see you.
Hermione read the letter three more times and wiped a stray tear from her eye before she pulled out her mirror and said: "Sirius." His face appeared twenty seconds later and he smiled kindly at her.
"Hi, Hermione. Everything all right?"
She nodded. "As good as it can be, I suppose. May I speak to Harry, please?"
Sirius smiled at her. "Of course. Remind me to set up your mirrors so that you can speak more directly with each other. I'm sorry about Viktor, Hermione."
"Thank you," she said quietly.
It was only a minute before Harry's face appeared in the mirror.
"Mione, hey, how are you holding up?"
Hermione shrugged in response. "Harry… Iglika wrote to me, Viktor's sister. They want me in Bulgaria on Wednesday and to stay until Saturday for the funeral."
Harry's eyebrow rose, but he nodded. "I'll call you back in a bit. You won't be going alone."
The mirror went blank in her hand and she stared down at her own reflection, wiping a tear from her eye. Harry's assurance made her feel a little better. She added more water to the bowl for the Krums' owl and began her response to Iglika with a soft smile.
Her mirror vibrated twenty minutes later and she smiled when she saw Harry's face.
"Zee's arranging an international portkey for us. Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna will all be coming along as well as Uncle Sirius and Zee. Uncle Siri is looking into renting a house for us to stay in."
Tears rolled down her cheeks before she could stop them. "Thank you, Harry."
"Of course. Uncle Sirius will be by to pick you up on Wednesday afternoon. He says that he will bring you and your parents to the portkey area which will take you directly to the Bulgarian Ministry of Magic. They will have a car waiting for you to bring you to the Krum home. The rest of us will be there later Thursday night to be with you for the funeral."
Hermione smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you."
"Always. If you need anything else, you know how to get a hold of me."
She nodded as she said goodbye, relief coursing through her.
She wouldn't be going alone and she was incredibly grateful for that. She didn't want to be alone when she said her final goodbyes, she thought as the tears began to fall all over again. She curled her hand over the key pendant around her neck and buried her face in her pillow, one arm around Crookshanks, who's head nuzzled her shoulder in an attempt at comfort. She snuggled the cat closer, grateful for the contact, and unable to stop the tears from consuming her all over again.
~ ASC ~
Harry had just closed the mirror and handed it back to his godfather as Zee moved over to him to adjust his tie. Today was the funeral of Cedric Diggory and Harry had been grateful for even the small reprieve of discussing Viktor's funeral rather than to think about it.
He was still at a loss for words at the thought that Bagman had killed both Diggory and Krum. Cedric had escaped the graveyard only to lose his life moments later and Harry knew that he had been killed because he would have told them where Harry was. Viktor had been collateral damage, which somehow made his death worse than Cedric's.
The three of them arrived together and Remus and Tonks met up with them as they made their way onto the Diggory Estate. Harry recognized most of the Hogwarts students up ahead, most of them Hufflepuffs and older students who had known Cedric. Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and Ginny hadn't really known him so they wouldn't be attending this funeral so when he saw Mandy, he felt the little clench in his stomach, happy to see someone he knew. Mandy saw him and hurried over, kissing his cheek.
"You look loads better!" She kissed him softly. "How are you feeling?"
"Loads better," he responded, making her smile. He took his hand in hers as they took a seat in the chairs provided for the ceremony. "I'm glad you're here."
Mandy squeezed his hand gently. "I knew you needed support today." She kissed his cheek again and he smiled gratefully at her.
It was a simple ceremony, but the large turnout only showed how well liked and how well loved Cedric had been. When Mr Diggory stood up to make a speech, he couldn't get through it and another man had to finish it for him as Mr and Mrs Diggory cried in front of their son's casket.
After the ceremony, they invited people back to their home for a late luncheon, but Harry didn't want to stay. Zee and Tonks had already taken off as they both had to be back at the Ministry. Remus had an appointment, but when he made mention of cancelling it, Harry had urged him off. He didn't need everyone watching over him and babying him at the moment. Remus hugged him tightly and told him to call if he needed anything and Harry had only nodded, promising to do so as he watched him go.
Watching all of these people grieve for such a wonderful young man was hard to watch and he didn't want to stay much longer than necessary. He said as much to Sirius who only nodded and told him that they could sneak out.
Mandy hugged him tightly when he whispered to her that he and Sirius were taking off. "Are you going to be all right?"
He smiled at her. "Yeah, of course. We're going to Viktor's funeral at the end of the week. I don't want to impose on the Diggorys any more than necessary."
She nodded and kissed him softly. "When you get back, let me know."
Harry nodded gratefully at her as she hurried off to meet back up with Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones, her two best friends from Hufflepuff, who she had attended the funeral with. Sirius put his arm around Harry to Apparate them home when someone called his name. They both turned in time to see Piper Diggory hurrying towards them.
She smiled kindly at them when she reached them. "Wait a moment, please."
Harry looked at her in surprise before he caught himself. "I'm very sorry, Mrs Diggory. Cedric was a really great bloke and he deserved to be Hogwarts Champion more than anyone. I'm very sorry for your loss."
Mrs Diggory smiled at him. "Thank you. I just wanted to say thank you for coming. I understand that… Professor Dumbledore told Amos and I that you saved his life, Harry. That you saved him from dying and that he made it back to the maze safely. I know that in the end, it didn't matter, but… thank you."
Harry nodded at her. "He made it to the cup first. He was the real winner, but we helped each other in the maze and… he said that we should take it together, a Hogwarts victory either way. I'm sorry, Mrs Diggory."
"Thank you." She squeezed his hand gently, nodding at Sirius before she hurried off and Harry turned to look at his godfather.
"I never really thought about it, but… what happened with the tournament? I know that Dumbledore cancelled it, but… Cedric deserves the win, even in death, he should be awarded as the Triwizard Champion."
Sirius put his arm across Harry's shoulders and Apparated them both home before he spoke. "With Cedric and Viktor both dying, Harry, Fudge declared you Triwizard Champion. He gave Dumbledore your winnings and he gave them to me. With everything that happened, the winner's ceremony was cancelled and voted against."
Harry stared at him as they headed up the drive to Black Cottage. "I don't want the winnings, Uncle Padfoot. I don't deserve them."
Sirius smiled at him. "You do deserve them. No matter what happened at the end of the tournament, Harry, you did earn them. You outflew a dragon. You fought Grindylows and giant squids and Merpeople under the sea. You made it through the obstacles in the maze and when the Triwizard Cup took you to another obstacle — the most deadly of all of them — you duelled Lord Fucking Voldemort, and you came back alive. You are a champion, Harry, and I am so proud of you."
Harry sat on the couch in the living room and loosened his tie. "I don't care, Uncle Padfoot. I don't want it. I didn't want to be in that bloody tournament to begin with and winning it when Cedric and Viktor both lost their lives… I don't need the money. I don't want the money."
Sirius took a seat next to him. "You're right. You don't need the money and if you don't want to keep it, I respect that. What would you like to do with it? Give it to charity? Give it someone else? It's a thousand Galleons."
"Charity maybe," he said hesitantly. "Who were you thinking?"
Sirius scratched his chin. "I was thinking that the darker the world seems to get, the more laughter we need."
Harry grinned at him. "Fred and George."
Sirius smiled. "My thoughts exactly. I helped them get an account at Gringotts a few months back and I know that they are saving like crazy for a joke shop."
"They won't take it," Harry said with a smile.
Sirius grinned. "If I just drop it into their bank account they will. I've already told them that I plan to be a silent partner of sorts in this joke shop venture of theirs. If even half of their inventions had been out when your dad and I were in school, we would have been their biggest customers."
Harry smiled as Sirius draped an arm across his shoulders. "That sounds like a good plan. I think I'd like to be a silent partner too."
"Sounds good to me. Come on; let's get something to eat and then you can pack for Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we have another funeral to attend. Zee's already made arrangements and rented a small house for us so that we can all stay together."
Harry nodded gratefully. "That will be good for Hermione."
"My thoughts exactly. She shouldn't be alone," Sirius said with a smile. "I have a session with the Wizengamot on Thursday morning and into the afternoon. We'll head to Bulgaria afterwards. Go on upstairs, change, and pack. Hermione is going to need her friends over the next few days."
Harry had to agree and he had no plans of leaving her alone while they were there.
~ ASC ~
Remus had snuck out of the funeral after Tonks had left as he had made an appointment at a jewellery store in a small magical village ten minutes from his home. He stepped into the tiny shop and a small elderly woman smiled brightly at him.
"Good day to you, sir," she said, nodding her head in acknowledgement.
"Good day to you," Remus responded with a smile. "Are you Mrs Copper? I have an appointment, my name is Remus Lupin."
The woman nodded, her eyes dimming a bit. "Yes, the werewolf. After I responded to your letter I realized that I recognized your name from the paper."
Remus nodded, his eyes on hers. "Yes, that's me. Are you asking me to leave your shop?"
Mrs Copper hesitated before she shook her head. "No. My grandson goes to Hogwarts and he is always telling me how wonderful of a teacher you are. I think that you are trustworthy."
"Thank you, madam," he said, taking a step towards the counter.
"You're looking to design a ring rather than to choose one?"
Remus nodded. "I think so. Depends on what you have to offer. My woman is… unique… I want to find her a ring that symbolizes her uniqueness."
Mrs Copper smiled. "I like unique. Describe her to me."
Remus smiled, his eyes lighting up a little. "She's vibrant and beautiful. She has these gorgeous grey eyes and her hair is naturally curly brown, but she tends to like to keep it in varying shades of bright pink and it suits her. She wears it in short wild curls parted to the left side and its buzzed on the other and around her neck. Pink and purple are her favourite colours. She's smart and capable. She's an A3 and strong and powerful. She knows what she wants and when she loves you, it's with her whole heart and being. She will do anything for the people that she loves."
"I like her already," she said with a smile. "Pink is a nice choice as well, I think that a rose gold band is a great place to start, don't you?"
Remus nodded, smiling as she pointed to a few different rose gold bands in the display. "Rose gold sounds perfect." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the little cloth bag and placed it on the counter. "When I was young, my parents and I went to India to speak with a wizard there about trying to find a cure for my lycanthropy. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but my mother did find this gemstone. She wore it on a black ribbon around her neck her whole life, claiming that it was a sign that she was meant to be my mother and that everything that happened to me and to us had happened for a reason." He carefully slid the ribbon necklace out from the bag and passed it across the glass counter to Mrs Copper. "I know that it's nothing overly fancy, but… could you make a ring from that stone?"
Mrs Copper's eyes widened as she stared at the gemstone. It was the size of her thumbnail, but it sparkled in the light. "A rainbow moonstone? This is quite fetching, Mr Lupin. Do you know what a moonstone represents?"
Remus shook his head. "No, I have no idea. My mother just kept it because it represented the moon, which influences so much of my life."
Mrs Copper nodded. "A rainbow moonstone is a symbol of the Goddess of the Moon. They say that it represents love energy and that it helps you keep a peaceful mind, helps remove the stress from your life, and is the stone that helps you take a step forward in your future. The fact that you want to put it into an engagement ring says quite a lot about you as well as the woman who you plan to give it to."
He smiled. "She's more than just a goddess to me. I like everything that you just said."
Mrs Copper placed the necklace on the glass and held up a finger. She disappeared in the back for a moment before returning with a white gold ring. "Listen for a moment. See how this band is braided around, with the blue sapphires and diamonds around the edge of the three braids on the top?" When he nodded, she smiled. "Imagine this band in rose gold, but if we were to replace the blue sapphires with pink sapphires, still keeping the small diamonds around it. Then, if you allow me to shape the moonstone into let's say a marquise cut, the shape represents zest and full of life and energy which I think sounds like your woman, we could place it in the centre of the ring, outlined in soft rose gold prongs and a pavé set to hold the moonstone in place, giving it the impression of more stones around the moonstone."
Remus seemed unsure so she smiled.
"Allow me to show you." She took out her wand and carefully began to design the ring in the air. The different colours banded together in the air, forming and sparkling to form the ring that she was creating. As the image hovered above the counter, he swallowed slowly.
Mrs Copper smiled warmly. "Excellent. I will only have to carve a little from the moonstone to give it shape, but if you'd like the carvings back I would be happy to oblige you or if you'd like, I could sprinkle it into the melted rose gold before I form the ring and it will add a lovely unique shine to the band."
"Do that," he said with a smile. "That sounds perfect."
Mrs Copper smiled. "It won't take me long to construct it. How soon do you need it by?"
"How long do you need to make it?"
Mrs Copper smiled warmly. "I can have it ready by tomorrow afternoon."
Remus nodded, smiling brightly. "That's great. So, how much is this going to set me back?"
"It's going to cost you, that's for sure," she said with a smile. "I charge 80 Galleons for the ring design and creation, but since you are supplying the gemstone, it's just the band of diamonds and pink sapphires so… that would be … 565 Galleons." She pulled a quill out from behind her ear, dipping it in the ink from the pot and quickly doing the math. "645 Galleons, 2 Sickles and 25 Knuts."
He smiled. "Thank you."
Mrs Copper smiled. "Come for three tomorrow and the ring will be ready. I think your woman is going to love it."
Remus nodded, feeling good about the ring. "I think she will. Thank you and I will see you tomorrow."
He left the shop with a spring in his step and Apparated to Muggle London to his bank there. He calculated the conversion to be roughly £1,944.18 so he took out £2,000 just to be safe and then made his way to Diagon Alley to convert it to wizarding coin. He still preferred to keep the majority of his money in the Muggle bank just because of his known werewolf status. He felt like it was safer for him, especially if the Ministry did get infiltrated by Voldemort and his supporters. Once his wallet was full, he Apparated to the Tonks house in Shoreditch. He checked his watch, nodding at the time before he knocked on the front door.
Ted answered it, his eyebrow rising. "Hello, Remus." He moved back to allow him to come inside and Remus smiled at him.
"Hi, I was hoping that you would have gotten off work on time today."
Ted nodded and gestured for him to take a seat. "I did. Dromeda was just making tea, would you like a cup?"
"Yes, thank you."
Ted headed into the kitchen and he and Andromeda emerged together a few minutes later, Ted carrying the tea tray.
"Is Harry all right?" Andromeda asked, passing him his tea.
"He's coping. We attended Cedric Diggory's funeral this morning and Sirius and Zee are taking him to Bulgaria on Thursday night with his friends for Viktor Krum's funeral. But other than that, he's doing okay."
"Good," Ted said. "Sirius told us that he was all right, but his injuries that night and… I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that he's back."
Remus nodded, sipping his tea. "I don't think that any of us can."
Andromeda smiled and offered him a chocolate biscuit. "But you didn't come here today to talk about Harry, did you?"
Remus shook his head, smiling warmly at her. "No. I came here to ask for your daughter's hand."
Tears welled up in Andromeda's eyes as she gripped her husband's hand. "Oh, Edward!"
Ted stared at him. "Does she know that you're here?"
"No," he said carefully. "But I love her. She is the part of me that I never realized was missing until she filled it. I know that I don't deserve her. She's incredible and brilliant and strong. For some reason, she wants me, and I am so thankful for that. I bought a ring today and… I want to marry her, but I don't want to do so without your blessing."
Andromeda reached out and squeezed his hand. "Remus, you are the perfect man for her. You are everything that she has always wanted and you make her incredibly happy. I can see how much you love her and if she wants to marry you, I couldn't be happier with her choice."
Remus smiled at her. "Thank you, Andy."
Ted nodded from next to his wife. "She won't like that you came here. She'll say that it's old-fashioned and unnecessary."
Remus shrugged. "Maybe not, but it was the respectful thing to do."
Ted smiled. "I would be honoured to officially welcome you to our family, Remus."
"Thank you, both of you. That means a lot to me."
"When are you going to ask her?" Andromeda asked, her eyes dancing in excitement.
"Soon," he said with a smile. He didn't think that they needed to know that he had technically already proposed to their daughter. "I pick up the ring tomorrow."
Ted squeezed his wife's hand. "Don't wait too long. This one can't keep a secret from our daughter to save her life."
Remus grinned. "I won't."
He left their home ten minutes later feeling lighter than air.
He had some more planning to do.
~ ASC ~
Sirius arrived at the Ministry of Magic on Thursday morning just before eight. He still wasn't entirely sure how he was going to try to convince the Ministry that Voldemort had returned. He had spent an hour talking to Harry, Remus, Zee, and Tonks the night before and they had agreed that bringing the phial with Harry's memory of the night in the graveyard was a good start. The problem with doing so was that it would also immediately weed out those Death Eaters who were in the Ministry of Magic.
In theory, this was great, but it also presented a huge potential danger. The Death Eaters in question could attack, Voldemort could possibly be alerted and come to the Ministry… Sirius really didn't know what would happen. But in the end, they decided that it was still the best course of action and to let the chips fall where they may.
Sirius just had a few people to talk to first to try to help him attempt to catch some of those chips as they fell.
He made his way to the Department of International Magical Cooperation first and knocked on the open office door of Miranda Jameson. She looked up and nodded at him.
"Lord Black, you're early. The Wizengamot Assembly doesn't meet until nine."
"So are you," he noted.
She smiled. "I have a few things to put into order before I head into the session. What can I do for you?"
"May I?" he asked, gesturing for the door to close.
She nodded and he closed the door to her office before he took a seat in the armchair across from her desk.
"I was wondering how much contact you've had with Oblansk and Richelieu since the tournament?"
Jameson's eyebrow rose up. "Quite a bit actually. They are both interested in assisting our Ministry in any way that they can. Oblansk has already had his Auror Department's Intelligence Unit break off to work with our Aurors and Richelieu is sending her own Aurors out to track down any potential Death Eaters who have homes and estates in France; those they can find that is, as we both know they probably have hidden safe houses all over Europe and I imagine that a few of them have hidden them under protection charms. They are both very willing to help and the last thing that they wish to see happen is for You Know Who to gain control like he had before. It wasn't only Britain that was affected by him and Richelieu hinted that he had his hands in many different pies across Europe."
Sirius nodded. "Good, good. That's what I want to hear. I've been checking the paper daily, but there has been nothing about the return of Voldemort."
She winced slightly at the name. "The last thing that we want to do is create a nationwide panic. The Minister is still rather shaken and hasn't spoken to anyone about what happened on Saturday. I was hoping that part of it could be addressed today in the Wizengamot."
"As am I," Sirius told her. "We need to mobilize any way that we can. Right now, he is still getting organized himself. He doesn't know how many of his followers are still truly loyal to him and how many of them simply returned to him out of fear. I gather that Bagman is still missing as is Karkaroff and I imagine that he will be spending some of his time tracking them down. Did Shacklebolt take Dumbledore's advice concerning Azkaban?"
Jameson nodded. "Yes. The Dementors are still on the island, but there are Aurors there taking it in turns: Twelve hour shifts twenty-four-seven to guard the prisoners, but it's not ideal. Britain needs to rethink its entire prison situation as we all know that having the Dementors as guards is not really acceptable nor safe for the prisoners or for us. You Know Who turned them against us last time and I agree that he will do so again this time around."
"Agreed," Sirius said carefully. "I know it's rather last minute, but is it possible to get a few delegates from the ICW on board for today's assembly? I know Dumbledore will be in attendance as Chief Warlock and since he holds his title as Supreme Mugwump it will guarantee that the ICW is kept informed, but any extra members would be greatly appreciated."
Jameson nodded. "Actually, that won't be a problem. Vladimir Radkov is in the ministry today to discuss his son taking his wizarding tests here in Britain as opposed to returning to Durmstrang. It seems that more than a few of the students who stayed at Hogwarts this year for the tournament do not wish to return to their own school with their headmaster fleeing and then abandoning them on top of the death of their champion. Not to mention that Radkov happens to be the Bulgarian representative of the ICW. Katherine Thomas from the International Magical Office of Law can be called in and she can reach out to the lawyers within the ICW to try to get more assistance."
"Dumbledore has arranged for the Ambassador to the Hong Kong Mófǎ bù to attend along with Jericho Jones from the ICW. They were in attendance at the Yule Ball and Dumbledore asked them to attend the assembly meeting today as special guests," Sirius told her.
She smiled. "Well, it looks like you will have a bit of an audience then. That is what you're looking for, isn't it, Lord Black?"
Sirius nodded. "Essentially. I can't decide if Fudge is just blind or in denial, but after today, I want to know where he stands and if he will not step up and do his job, then we need to seriously discuss replacing him as our Minister of Magic."
Jameson looked troubled by this. "I don't want to see him leave the office. He's very charismatic and popular with the people, but I agree with you. We have to do what's right for our country. Did you have someone else in mind?"
"Potentially. I want to see where Fudge stands before I ask for a motion to impeach him. I've invited a few other guests with some assistance from a few friends of mine. We'll see how it goes."
"What proof do you have to bring them around?" Jameson asked. "If Fudge didn't believe Dumbledore at Hogwarts, what makes you think that he's going to listen to you now?"
Sirius held up the phial he pulled from his pocket. "Harry Potter's recollection of Voldemort's return."
"You're really planning on showing Harry Potter's memory?" she asked in shock, her eyes wide.
"If that's what it takes for people to believe, to watch my son being tortured by that maniac, than yes, I will show it. Harry and I spoke about it and he agrees with me. We need to get the world ready to face Voldemort and anything that we can do to push that along needs to be done and it needs to be done immediately."
Jameson nodded. "I look forward to it. I'll see you in there, Lord Black."
Sirius thanked her for her time and made his way to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and into Kingsley's office. Kingsley nodded at him when he saw him coming.
"Sirius, excellent, I received your owl last night. I will of course be in the Wizengamot session today."
Sirius nodded. "I'm glad to hear it and expected nothing less from you. I do need you to bring some Aurors with you to make some arrests."
Kingsley's eyebrow rose. "Who are we arresting?"
Sirius smiled at him. "You'll see. At least five would be wise, ten would be wiser. At least have them stationed outside of the courtroom if not inside."
Kingsley stared at him, his eyes carefully blank. "Consider it done. Sirius, Amelia sent me a memo telling me that removing the Dementors was a wise decision and that she had ignored Fudge's demands to stop it. I chose to listen to my department head over our Minister in that regard."
"That's good to hear," Sirius said honestly, letting out a slow breath. "We need to get Fudge to come around on this. Amelia's a smart woman and having her in our corner is a great start."
He said goodbye to Kingsley and left the DMLE before he made his way back to the atrium to look for Zee and Tonks. They were each bringing some special guests to the Wizengamot session today and he hoped that they had managed to convince them to attend. He had just entered the main atrium when he saw Lucius up ahead. He picked up his pace and grabbed his arm, gesturing for him to follow him to the bathroom.
Lucius closed the bathroom door behind him and raised an eyebrow. "What do you want, Black?"
Sirius hesitated before he spoke. "I'm doing this for Cissa and not for you, I'd like to be perfectly clear on that."
Lucius looked at him suspiciously. "What's going on?"
"In the assembly today, I am hoping to show Harry's memory of the Third Task and what came after it."
Lucius paled. "If you do that… everyone who was there will be immediately implicated as his followers!"
"I'm aware," Sirius said sharply. "That's kind of my point. The less followers he has the better chance we have at defeating him, Lucius. You know that I'm right."
He nodded, his eyes wide but carefully blank. "Why are you telling me this?"
"We both know that you are mentioned by name in this memory. Don't come to the assembly today. Get to a safe house and hide; go to France to stay with your father, I don't fucking care. But if you come to the assembly today, you will be arrested."
Lucius swallowed slowly. "And you're giving me fair warning?"
"For Cissa's sake. If you are sitting in the Wizengamot session at nine, you will be arrested by the end of the assembly meeting. You've been forewarned."
Lucius nodded, his eyes on Sirius. "I need to speak with Narcissa."
Sirius shrugged. "I said my piece; what comes next is up to you."
Sirius left him alone in the bathroom, wondering if he had made the right decision in warning Malfoy. He headed into the atrium to find Zee and Tonks. Tonks was speaking to a dark-haired man in a friendly way and he offered a smile to him when he approached.
"You must be Adrian," he said, extending his hand.
"I am," Adrian said, accepting the hand. "Remus and Tonks insisted that I attend this meeting today. I admit, I have my doubts about it."
Sirius nodded. "And your concerns are noted, but we need to show the support that we've mustered for ourselves as well as to the Ministry as a whole."
Adrian smiled. "This is Echo Simpson, another Alpha leader."
"Nice to meet you," Sirius said, accepting the silver-haired-woman's hand.
Zee smiled behind him. "King Taliesin is here as well, Sirius," she smiled widely at the handsome man approaching them. His hair was golden blonde and he had eyes as green as the hills of Ireland. "Your Majesty," she said, bowing slightly.
"Zahira, thank you for inviting me today." His eyes shot over to Adrian and Echo and he raised a brow. "You invite me here in the presence of wolves?"
"Today is all about magical cooperation, Your Grace," Sirius said. "We will have many different magical beings here with us today and I would hope that we can all work together."
King Taliesin looked unsure of this, but he nodded curtly.
Sirius smiled. "I invite you all to follow me down to the courtroom and I will show you to your seats." He snuck an arm around Zee's waist and he whispered in her ear. "What about Clovenfield?"
"He said that he was coming," she whispered back.
Sirius only nodded and let out a slow sigh. Today was going to be one for the history books, he thought.
~ ASC ~
Lucius used the Floo to get back to Malfoy Manor, startling Draco and Theo, who were lounging on the sofas in the living room.
"I thought that you had the Wizengamot this morning?" Draco asked, his eyebrow raised.
"Where's your mother, Draco?"
"She was talking to the house elves in the kitchen about the upcoming garden party for the Herbology Association," Draco answered.
Lucius stormed out of the living room as Draco and Theo looked at each other in confusion. He made his way into the kitchen and ordered the elves out, grabbing Narcissa's arms and squeezing tightly.
"Sirius gave me warning. He is sharing the memory of the graveyard with the Wizengamot today. If I attend, I will be arrested."
Narcissa's eyes widened. "What? Arrested? Just like that?"
Lucius stared at her. "We both know that I deserve it, Cissa. The question is, what do you think that I should do?"
She looked startled by this. "You're asking me?"
He nodded, swallowing slowly. "If I don't attend, it will look suspicious as I have never missed a session before. If I do attend, I will be arrested before the assembly is even over. If I am arrested, I will be perceived to be loyal to the Dark Lord keeping you and Draco safe. If I hide and stay away from the Ministry, I am showing cowardice, but still loyalty to the Dark Lord and hopefully still keeping you and Draco safe."
Narcissa bit her bottom lip and chewed nervously.
Lucius cupped her face in his hands, kissing her deeply; long, slow, and passionately until she was breathless. He placed his forehead against hers. "I love you, Cissa. Your safety is what's most important here. Yours and Draco's. Tell me what I should do."
She swallowed slowly, her eyes on the clock. She pointed her wand at the door to the kitchen, locking it before she tugged at his clothes. Lucius' breath hitched as she freed him from his pants and he parted her dress, slipping her panties down her creamy white thighs before he slid into her. He rode her achingly slow on the kitchen prepping table, his fingers working in tandem until her eyes widened and she cried out as she came, her head falling back in pleasure. He followed her over, kissing her lips, her neck and her cheeks.
Lucius held her, their bodies still joined and he nodded. "I knew you'd pick that option."
"I never told you what I chose," she said, kissing him as he stood up and zipped up his pants. She pulled her panties back up, her eyes on her husband as he fixed his robes.
Lucius smiled at her. "Yes, you did."
He took her hand in his and kissed her palm. "You and Draco should be safe. If anything happens, go to Sirius or to your sister."
Lucius hesitated, his hand on the door before he turned back to look at her. "Be safe."
He opened the door and found Draco and Theo at the end of the hall. He gestured with his right hand and they both moved towards him. Draco's eyes widened when Lucius pulled him and Theo both into his arms for a tight hug.
Lucius ignored him and kissed both of their cheeks. "No matter what happens, you boys keep your mother safe and each other."
Theo blushed. "Uncle Lucius —"
"She's your mother, too, Theo; maybe not biologically, but she is."
Theo nodded. "Yes, Sir."
"Father, what's going on?"
Lucius checked the watch on his hand before he smiled at his son. "Be safe."
And then he grabbed his walking stick that held his wand and stepped into the fireplace, disappearing into the green flames.
~ ASC ~
By the time nine o'clock struck, Sirius was feeling a little nervous as he took his seat in the assembly. He could see many of the lords and ladies and the Common Wizengamot Members looking uneasily and curiously at the special guests sitting in the visitors area on the left. There was some uneasy chatter going on as well that made him a bit nervous.
The door opened and Sirius hid his surprise at the sight of Lucius walking in. He only nodded in acknowledgement to Sirius and took his seat in the Malfoy chair, staring straight ahead, looking a little paler than usual, but giving nothing away otherwise. It wasn't the move that Sirius had anticipated for him. In fact, he had been counting on him fleeing as quickly as possible.
Dumbledore came in last, looking troubled as he settled himself in the centre chair and then stood up and raised his hands to quiet the room. "My Lords, my Ladies, My Common Wizengamot Members, and guests, I welcome you to another session of the Wizengamot. I am aware that we have a few things on the agenda to discuss, but today, they will all be pushed aside in favour of discussing another more important matter."
Lord Marcus Bulstrode stood up, his eyes flashing. "Some of us have come prepared, Dumbledore, to discuss the new educational reforms and the new proposals in funding! You cannot change the daily agenda on a whim!"
Sirius stood up, his plum robes opening as he did so. "He is Chief Warlock so he actually can, Lord Bulstrode. We have more than a few important topics to discuss today and the most important one being what happened on Saturday at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the Triwizard Tournament."
"My son informed me that Dumbledore told the whole castle that He Who Not Be Named has returned! I won't stand for our Chief Warlock scaring the children in the school with rubbish like that!" Lord Tiberius Ogden declared. "Everyone knows that You Know Who was defeated years ago! A man cannot simply return from the dead!"
People were nodding in agreement, rumblings stirring among the court.
Dumbledore raised his hands again. "Lord Voldemort has returned. He did not return from the dead, but has in fact been in hiding for fourteen years and by denying it, Lord Ogden, we are only giving him the chance to gain more power and to take us by surprise once again."
The room was silent until Fudge stood up, his face turning varying shades of purple.
"Albus, he — is — not — back!"
Sirius stood up. "He is back, Minister, and like Dumbledore just said, if we don't do something about it, he's going to take us by surprise."
"What proof do you have?" CWM Griselda Marchbanks asked, her voice raspy.
"Other than the word of both Dumbledore and myself, who have no reason to lie, I have my son's memory of the night of the Third Task. The night where he was kidnapped by Death Eaters and forced to watch the resurrection of the darkest wizard to ever have lived, where he was tortured and forced to duel him, and where he escaped and returned to Hogwarts to tell us what had happened," Sirius said carefully. "I plan to share it with you all today so that you can see the truth. He — has — returned."
There were mutterings around the room as people began to look uneasily at each other. Lord Bulstrode stood up slowly and started to inch towards the door, but Kingsley moved to block it.
"The Wizengamot is in session, Lord Bulstrode. No one is allowed to leave until the Chief Warlock dismisses the session. The doors have been magically sealed as you very well know."
Lord Bulstrode looked pale, but he sat back down.
Sirius only stared him down.
Lady Augusta Longbottom raised her wand. "I know that Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore would never tell a lie about something as serious as this. But for those of you who are in denial, I vote that we watch the memory."
Everyone was shifting nervously now as the Court Scribe pulled out the Pensieve and Sirius strode to the centre of the courtroom to pour the memory into the bowl. He used his wand to move it around before he said, "Projecto!"
The memory covered the ceiling like a screen and Sirius stood under it, watching it unfold before the court.
The Triwizard Cup gleamed brightly and rose up from the centre of the colourful cube.
Harry grinned at Cedric. "We did it!"
Cedric nodded, grinning back at him. "Let's end this together. On the count of three?"
Harry nodded, limping towards the cup. "On the count of three. One."
"Three," they both exclaimed and their hands closed over the handles of the cup.
The cup sucked them away through the portkey and dropped them in a dark, foggy graveyard.
"Where are we?"
"I don't know. Did you know that the Cup was a portkey?" Cedric asked him, reaching down to help pull Harry to his feet.
Harry shook his head, wincing at the pain. "Ah, bollocks, my ankle isn't going to cooperate."
Cedric nodded, putting an arm around his waist. "Lean on me. We'll figure out where we are."
The memory continued, with Harry saving Cedric from the Killing Curse and Cedric disappearing with the Triwizard Cup. The whole courtroom watched, eyes wide as Harry was dragged to the headstone by Woodrow Selwyn and tied up and the ritual began.
When Bellatrix kissed the scabby child that Voldemort was possessing, a few people gagged and Sirius only offered one glance of sympathy over as a few members of the court vomited on the ground before them.
Bellatrix was grinning widely as she stood up, holding her right arm out proudly to display the perfectly inked Dark Mark.
"It is back," Voldemort said with a smile, tracing it with his finger. "They will all have noticed it by now and now… we shall see and we shall know."
He pressed his long white forefinger to the tattoo on Bellatrix's arm and she moaned in pleasure. The sound made him smile and he cupped her chin, pressing his pasty white thin lips to hers.
"Always a treasure, Bella," he said, pushing her away.
When the Death Eaters appeared, begging for forgiveness, all of them robed and masked, the court settled into a state of uneasiness. Sirius noticed that Kingsley had stood at full attention. Zee, who had already written down all of the names from the memory, passed the sheet of parchment to Kingsley who nodded at her in thanks.
When Voldemort said Lucius' name, he had paled slightly, but he didn't move from his seat as the court gasped. The next were names of those imprisoned followed by the names of both Bulstrode and Macklebee, which had the court gasping a second time. Bulstrode jumped to his feet, wand out, and Lucius stunned him from behind before he dropped his own wand in surrender.
Tonks and Kingsley immediately disarmed Macklebee, handcuffing the three of them and placing them in a protective cage at the edge of the courtroom with the help of two other Aurors that Sirius didn't recognize. They watched as the memory continued: As Voldemort implicated Ludo Bagman as the one to have entered Harry into the tournament, to explain why he had tried to kill Harry, and how he ordered Lestrange to give Harry back his wand.
The torture curse hit Harry and when he screamed, Sirius' fingers tightened on the table before him. Watching the memory again was harder than he had expected as he tried to tune out the memory of his son's screams.
The wands connected and the court gasped. James and Lily Potter emerged from the tip of Voldemort's wand and Sirius heard Augusta Longbottom whisper, "Oh Merlin!"
And then Harry was dropping his wand, transforming into his Animagus as the figures moved in around Voldemort. His wand hit the ground and he rolled, his teeth tearing through the ankle of the Death Eater who attempted to grab his wand as the man howled.
Harry scooped his wand between his bloody teeth, stumbled over his broken ankle and Disapparated with a loud crack just as they heard Voldemort scream.
Harry transformed back into his bloody, mangled, and broken self and landed in front of Sirius in the stands of the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch. The memory ended and Sirius closed the Pensieve, scooping the memory back into the phial.
The courtroom was silent.
Some people had their mouths open agape in shock, others were crying, others enraged.
The Aurors were holding Malfoy, Bulstrode, and Macklebee at wandpoint, magically handcuffed, as Dumbledore stood up.
"As you can clearly see, Lord Voldemort has returned."
Chaos erupted at those words.
Everyone began to talk over each other, eyes on the three men who the Aurors were holding in horror until Dumbledore loudly called for silence.
"As I have stated, Lord Voldemort has returned. It is up to us to help secure the power of the Ministry of Magic, to keep us all safe from harm and to protect what is ours. With the help of Lord Black and a few others, we have started to do this. Minister, if you would permit us to tell you of our plans?"
Fudge was deathly pale and his eyes were wide with shock. He was shaking his head no as if he couldn't quite believe what he had seen before his eyes. "This — is — not — possible," he hissed.
"It is very possible, Minister," Sirius declared. "You denying it is not going to make it go away."
Fudge only started at Sirius and Sirius noticed that he had a little bit of vomit on his chin, which made him smirk a little. The man wasn't completely immune, he thought.
"Please, Lord Black, go on," Fudge said quietly.
Sirius nodded at him. "As you can see from the memory, Voldemort has many followers at his disposal and he plans to get more. He talks of taking the Dementors, of making envoys to the giants, and of breaking his loyal followers out of Azkaban — and that's just a start. Head Auror Shacklebolt has already dispatched Aurors to the prison to guard the prisoners and the Dementors have been dismissed and an attempt at contain them is underway under the orders of Madam Amelia Bones. We have some witches and wizards heading into the mountains to attempt to make friends with the giants, to persuade them to not accept anything from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. If he manages to persuade them to his side, he will have power like he did the first time around, and I remember what it was like then. We were sitting fucking ducks waiting to be slaughtered."
The room seemed to nod in agreement.
Jameson stood up, nodding at Sirius. "As Lord Black has stated, we were sitting ducks the last time and we don't want the same thing to happen this time around. In our conversations for more international magical cooperation, the Bulgarian and French leaders were both in attendance at the Triwizard Tournament on Saturday to support their respective champions in the Third Task. After finding the bodies of both Diggory and Krum, they immediately agreed to assist us in any way needed. Minister Oblansk has promised to assign his elite Auror Intelligence Unit for the sole prospect of helping us track down Death Eaters. President Richelieu has offered her support in the same, including looking into any Death Eater activity within France and within the borders of. The Ambassador to Hong Kong, LiMei Lee, is willing to work on coordinating any assistance needed from the Mófǎ bù, and Jericho Jones and Katherine Thomas will be helping Dumbledore with the International Confederation of Wizards in hopes of gaining more international support and assistance."
Sirius stood up again when Jameson sat down. "He's a powerful wizard and he's not afraid to do the worst to get what he wants. This is why we need more than just the help of our international allies. We need to smarten up and to make allies with our own people. We have some special guests in attendance today to discuss doing just that. Your Majesty, would you like to start us off?"
King Taliesin stood up and made his way to the centre of the room. "Thank you, Lord Black, for your gracious invite to your government today. I am Taliesin, King of the Fae. Agent Zahira Zacarias of your Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, came to visit me after the return of He Who Must Not Be Named and she asked me if we would be willing to help. During your last wizard's war, many of my kind were slaughtered, innocents and some not so innocent, but I do not wish to see my people torn to shreds again. I do not wish to see any more innocent lives lost. We the fae, along with the gnomes and the leprechauns, will support the Ministry of Magic against the dark wizard, but in return — we want full control over our own government and society. We do not want to be listed as 'beings' in your Ministry, but as people, as fae, and as your allies."
The court began to mumble again in disapproval. One of the men stood up and scowled.
"Fae are nothing more than tricksters and dangerous beings! How can you expect us to trust you?"
Dumbledore stared the man down. "CWM Himmler, you are speaking to a king and should show proper respect. King Taliesin came here of his own freewill to offer to ally his kingdom with us, to try to prevent this war from coming — and you would show him disrespect?"
"Thank you, Dumbledore," King Taliesin said quietly. "As I said, we are keen to become allies with your Ministry of Magic, but we want the Ministry to show us a sign of good faith. Allow us to govern ourselves with no more meddling from your Ministry. Allow us to become allies of the witches and wizards of the Ministry."
Fudge stared at him in horror. "To govern yourselves? What makes you capable of it?"
"I am the king of my people, the true ruler and despite your influence and constant disruption, we the fae have ruled ourselves quite well for thousands of years both before and after we were pushed underground by the Muggles."
Fudge merely shook his head. "You're using this as an excuse to take power away from the Ministry!"
Dumbledore stood up. "Cornelius, do you even hear yourself? King Taliesin has offered his support and we are grateful for it."
Lady Amelia Bones raised her wand. "Permission to speak, Chief Warlock?" At Dumbledore's nod, she smiled and bowed her head to King Taliesin. "Your Majesty, what you ask is not something that can be done overnight. But I would like you to know that we will take it into consideration to be voted upon at the end of this session, if that is acceptable to you? For now, I would like to hear from the other special guests before we make any decisions."
King Taliesin nodded. "I accept this, beautiful lady, but only if I may deal with a wise goddess such as yourself not with that scum who you allow to rule you."
Fudge's face turned purple as he jumped to his seat. "How dare you, sir!"
"Order!" Dumbledore exclaimed, urging Fudge to sit down.
Fudge did so grudgingly and shook his head angrily.
The Fairy King moved to take his seat again as Adrian stood up. "My name is Adrian Roberts. I am the Alpha of the werewolf pack in Southwestern England. Yes, I am a registered werewolf in your department, as is my entire pack," he added as people began to look around uncomfortably. "We are looking to live in peace within our own packs and communities and during the last war, You Know Who and his followers killed many of us. I lost a daughter, many of us lost friends. This time around, we're not looking to allow this to happen a second time. As King Taliesin mentioned, we too look to become allies with the Ministry of Magic. We will stand by your side and fight if necessary. Not many of us have magic available to use freely, but those of us born as wolves can shift into wolves whenever we wish, and we would be willing to fight alongside of you. But like King Taliesin mentioned, we also would like some of our own terms met."
Chatter erupted around the room and Umbridge stood, her face flushed in revulsion.
"Filthy half-breeds are not something that we want to make allies with!"
Sirius stood up. "With all do respect, he's a pureblood, Madam Undersecretary, and he is here as a courtesy. Adrian, I am sorry for her vulgar attitude."
Adrian nodded, his eyes on Umbridge as he spoke. "Wolves are treated as dangerous creatures within your society. You have every right to believe that we are as such because we can be dangerous. But we're also witches and wizards, shape-shifters, and wolves who are just looking to live normal lives. We fall in love and sire children and live our lives any way that we can. But we're treated as outcasts. Many of us are not welcome in shops run by witches and wizards. Many of us are forced to find work in the Muggle world just to make ends meet. We do not seek to hunt during the moon and to harm anyone. Like any society, we have our bad seeds, but the majority of us just want to live our lives. We are willing to continue to work with the Werewolf Registry if the Ministry is willing to change the laws pertaining to werewolves."
"Absolutely not!" Umbridge declared viciously. "Those laws are in place for our protection!"
"Sit down, Dolores," Lady Bones exclaimed, her eyes on Adrian. "Which laws are you asking us to change, Mr Roberts?"
Adrian smiled at Echo, who stood up next to him. "My name is Echo Simpson and I am the Alpha leader of the Northwestern England pack. As Adrian has said, we want to better our own communities. Our children have magic and it's not fair that they have been denied a magical education because of their status first as a wolf instead of a witch or wizard. We want our children given the opportunity to attend any magical school that they see fit. Accommodations will be made by the packs to remove them from the school during the moon and keep them away from their classmates when they transform. We want to be able to work jobs and to be a part of the wizarding society the way that we deserve to be. We won't hide who we are, but we also cannot and should not be punished for being who we are."
Fudge stared at them, his eyes shocked as if they were making the most unreasonable demands that he could imagine. "If I agree to any of this, I would be laughed out of office! Wolves allowed to practice magic! It's absurd!"
Sirius stood up, his eyes dark. "Dumbledore allowed one boy to study magic at Hogwarts and he's one of the best wizards that I know. Remus Lupin was very fortunate that Dumbledore knew of his condition and not only helped him hide it so that he could attend Hogwarts, but went out of his way to do so. He shouldn't have had to hide it. It's not a shameful secret and we need to stop thinking like it is. Wolves deserve the ability to use their magic just the same as the rest of us. How many werewolf attacks are there every year? A handful? Look at Grindelwald and look at Voldemort, both of these wizards have a higher kill count than every werewolf put together, but no one is going around saying that wizards should be stripped of their magic!"
"Stripped of their — I said no such thing!" Fudge declared, his face turning purple.
"You may as well be," Sirius demanded. "If you deny people the ability to learn how to use what they have, you might as well strip them of their powers entirely."
"I — would — be — laughed — out — of — office!" Fudge repeated.
Lady Bones glared at him. "As I said to His Grace, King Taliesin, we will take it into consideration. Having werewolf packs as our allies would be very beneficial to us and worth the laughter, no matter the cost."
Sirius was pleased with Bones' tact and he thought that he had made a wise choice in asking her to speak up today. He had sent her an owl the day before discussing his plan of showing the memory and his worry about Fudge's denial. He had said that after her deciding to allow the DMLE to remove the Dementors, he had considered her an ally. She had immediately written him back and informed him that she would be willing to hear out anyone he invited to the Wizengamot to speak. Fudge obviously wasn't going to be listening to them so he was glad that Bones was. He nodded at Clovenfield who stood up next.
"Good day, everyone. I am Sir William Clovenfield, brother-in-law to the lovely Lady Lucretia Dettweiler over there, hello, Lucretia."
Lady Dettweiler nodded back to him in greeting.
"I am one of the leaders of the Vampire Confederacy of Europe. I know, most of you hear the word 'vampire' and want to run for the hills. I am not here to hurt you. Like the Alpha Wolves and the King of the Fae have said, I am here to offer up myself and the Confederacy to you as allies."
Umbridge was turning purple now. The thought of being in the room with so many half-breeds and magical creatures seemed to be taking a toll on her. Her eyes were bulging and she was staring at Clovenfield, who could have passed for a normal man in the street, like he was dirt on her shoe.
"Vampires have been mistreated in our society and I won't deny that a lot of it is because we have brought it upon ourselves. But like the Alpha Wolves have stated, we want to be free to live our own lives. To fall in love and have families and to be the men and women who we were meant to be. We are also interested in education for our children. Like the wolves, vampires who have children with witches and wizards, their children are denied entry into magical schools. For anyone who has bothered to find out, children who have a vampire parent are not in fact vampires. They are not a danger. They are simply witches and wizards who have a few extra senses and powers. They do not have the ability to bite anyone and turn them into a vampire. Why should our children be denied the magical education that they deserve because of unfound fears?"
Adrian was nodding and Clovenfield smiled at him.
"The VCE will gladly ally ourselves with you if a war does breakout. We will promise not to join He Who Not Be Named, but like any society, we cannot guarantee that all will follow in our footsteps. We have our bad seeds just as you do," he said, pointedly looking over to where Malfoy, Bulstrode, and Macklebee were still being held in the magical cage that the Aurors had erected around them against the wall. "But those of us who are willing, those of us who just want to live our lives — we are willing to align ourselves with a Ministry who supports us, with a Ministry that we can trust, and with a Ministry that we know will work hard to stop the Dark Lord from taking over."
A few people applauded, Lady Dettweiler leading the charge, and he smiled charmingly at her before he took his seat.
Zee stood up next and wiped her sweaty palms on the side of her charcoal pencil skirt. "I am Agent Zacarias of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and I brought these allies in today to help us make peace and magical cooperation just as much as to gain an ally for an upcoming war. I would like to share with you today that a friend of mine, Princess Sapphira of the Merpeople in Greece, has also spoken to her council and to the councils of the other Merpeople around the United Kingdom and our European nations. They have all agreed to not join with You Know Who if he approaches them again. In the last war, he slaughtered Merpeople in an attempt to gain their jewels and they are not willing to allow that to happen again. If a war breaks out, we can guarantee them to be neutral which I think that given our previous treatment of the Merpeople as a whole, is a fair tact."
Griselda Marchbanks raised her wand. "Neutrality is more than fair, I agree. Agent Zacarias, you have done well for yourself in gaining friends and allies and, Minister, I think that we need to take what these men and women are saying into consideration. It's almost the twenty-first century and it's time for us to stop letting our fears get in the way of living in a society where magical cooperation is palatable."
Dumbledore smiled warmly at her. "Well said, Griselda. Agent Zacarias, did you have something else to add?"
She smiled. "Yes, thank you, Chief Warlock. I have also been offered the support of the Veela, who suffered sexual and physical abuse from many of the Death Eaters during the previous war. They wish nothing more than to see He Who Must Not Be Named destroyed and our world saved from his tyranny."
A man snorted in the back. "Sexual abuse of a Veela? Are you kidding me?"
"CWM Norton, are you claiming that the Veela are lying?" Amelia Bones asked, her eyes narrowing in disgust.
Norton only stared back. "They're bloody Veela! They are literal sexual beings created to make a man pant with want and need. They cannot be sexually abused when they are whores just giving it away!"
"Order!" Dumbledore exclaimed when people began to both loudly agree and disagree with Norton's outburst.
"It is exactly that mindset, CWM Norton that makes the Veela not want to ally themselves with us," Zee declared angrily. "They are incredibly beautiful women with magical powers that do not require a wand. They are powerful beings in their own right who will attack like Harpies when necessary; but like any other powerful woman, if they are cornered and incapacitated, they are unable to defend themselves. Just because they are beautiful does not mean that they deserve to be treated as nothing more than a pretty face; it does not mean that they deserve to be raped by bloody micro-phallus men who couldn't get it up with a real woman if they tried!"
King Taliesin applauded from behind her. "Well said, Zahira. I am honoured to call you a true friend of the Fae, and I can say with absolute certainty that the Veela feel the same."
Zee smiled at him as Dumbledore called the court to attention once more.
"Our guests have all spoken and offered their council. We would be fools to turn them away because of our fears at something different. Different does not mean bad. As a wise man once said, there would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfections, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement, and the missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves," Dumbledore said as the court went quiet.
Fudge stood up and shook his head. "Different doesn't mean bad, Dumbledore, but it also doesn't mean that we should bow down and let them take what they want from us. We can fight off You Know Who just fine without their help!"
Lady Bones stood up, her eyes glaring at Fudge. "You're a disgrace to your office, Fudge."
The entire courtroom went absolutely silent.
"What did you just say to me, Amelia?" Fudge asked, his voice cold.
"You heard me." She held her wand up high into the air. "I motion to impeach Minister Cornelius Fudge from office immediately."
Chatter erupted around the courtroom and Sirius' eyes met Zee's in surprise as Dumbledore ordered silence.
"Amelia, are you certain that you wish to make this motion?"
Lady Bones stared right at Dumbledore and nodded. "I am certain."
Dumbledore nodded. "Motion to impeach our current Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge from the office he has held for the last five years."
Forty-seven wands immediately stood up high into the air.
Fudge began to splutter in shock. "You cannot mean it! You cannot simply remove me from office with one motion! I have devoted five years of my life to this government!"
Lady Bones stood up. "And they haven't all been bad, Cornelius, but your behaviour today has shamed me, has shamed the government of Wizarding Britain, and has shamed yourself. The Wizengamot has voted."
"Motion passed," Dumbledore said loudly. "Forty-seven to three as our three remaining members are currently being held by the Aurors."
Fudge was pale now as he stood up. "You — you cannot mean it!"
Dumbledore raised his wand. "We need to vote upon a new Minister of Magic. You know how this works, the Wizengamot can impeach anyone not doing their due diligence as Minister, but anyone new that the assembly chooses must then be voted on by the public or a new choice must be made. Any suggestions?"
"Dumbledore!" someone called out.
Dumbledore smiled and waved his hand. "I am flattered, but no. I am not the man for the job. I am very happily running a school."
"Amelia Bones!" Sirius said loudly, raising his wand.
Lady Bones' mouth opened in shock. "Oh! I couldn't."
"Amelia Bones!" Sirius said again.
"Amelia Bones!" Augusta Longbottom declared.
"Amelia Bones!" Lady Dettweiler called out.
Soon the assembly was chanting her name and she looked around at them all, completely flabbergasted.
Dumbledore smiled and raised his wand. "Those in favour of voting in Lady Amelia Bones, current Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to be our new Minister of Magic, please raise your wands."
To Sirius' surprise, the vote was unanimous.
Dumbledore smiled. "Well, it looks like we have a new Minister. Madam Minister, would you like to say a few words?"
Bones looked around in surprise. "Thank you. I did not expect this. I am honoured that you have chosen me to lead you and I only hope that we can make the right decisions together to help not only stop He Who Must Not Be Named, but make the Wizarding and Witching World a place that we all want to live in."
"Here, here!" Sirius exclaimed, earning a smile from her.
Dumbledore tapped his wand and smiled. "After our assembly we will make an announcement of our new choice for Minister and open the polls for everyone to vote yes or to give a suggestion for someone else."
The courtroom erupted in chatter as Kingsley moved to gesture Fudge to take a seat in the visitors area. He was pale and looked completely shocked at the events that had just taken place.
Bones stood up and turned to where Adrian, Echo, Clovenfield, and King Taliesin were sitting. "As the unofficial newly appointed Minister of Magic, I would like to formally apologize on behalf of the Wizarding and Witching World for the mistreatment that you have received within our society. A war is coming and we need to accept as much help as we can. Magical cooperation is just as important as protecting ourselves and we cannot do one without the other no matter how much we like to think that we can. We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more. If our Chief Warlock would lead the vote, I would like to welcome our new allies into the fold and have their leaders sit down with our departments and properly welcome them to our world the way that they should have always been."
Umbridge stared at her in horror. "With all due respect, Madam Minister, we cannot allow these filthy half-breeds, these non-human buffoons into our schools, into our society!"
"Dolores," Bones said sharply. "You may have been an excellent ally at your job to Fudge and maybe that's why he has constantly overlooked your prejudices and your insults, but that is enough! We are at war! It is time that we swallow our pride and admit to our faults. We are not superior to the men and women looking to ally themselves with us. With them stepping forward and offering us a show of peace, I would claim that they are in fact superior to us!"
Umbridge looked sickened, as if her entire world had just collapsed before her eyes. "You cannot mean it!"
Bones gave her a deathly stare. "I do. And if I am voted in as Minister of Magic, you will not be part of my department." She left Umbridge staring at her in shock before she nodded at Dumbledore. "Let us vote."
Dumbledore nodded and raised his wand. "During the war last time, I formed an intelligence operation under the guidance of our former Minister of Magic, Eugenia Jenkins, may she rest in peace. We had discussed it prior to her losing office: Plans of how to infiltrate Lord Voldemort's plans — but when Minchum took office, he didn't want to hear of it. Today is a day that would have made Eugenia proud. With your permission, Madam Minister, I would like to call this vote the Phoenix Initiative."
Bones nodded, her eyes on Dumbledore. "I cede the floor to you, Chief Warlock."
Dumbledore smiled. "With the Phoenix Initiative, I want to prepare the Wizarding World for war. I want them to be ready to defend themselves and their families and to tell them how to get help from the Ministry if they need it. The Phoenix Initiative will also incorporate the different departments who are willing to work with our new allies on opening education up to every magical person and being with human tendencies who are willing and able to study magic. It will help to bring them into our society not as outcasts, but as friends and allies. If we succeed with it, it will be the greatest bill for magical cooperation ever made. To our guests, is there anything else that you would like to see happen within the Phoenix Initiative?"
Clovenfield smiled. "I cannot speak for the others, but I would like to see a department that befriends and takes into consideration the needs and decisions of its neighbouring governments. The VCE has our own council and I know that the Alpha Wolves are only two of the pack leaders. I think that our council leaders should be entitled to a seat within the Wizengamot."
Adrian's mouth opened in surprise before he shut it and Tonks grinned at him.
Dumbledore nodded. "I think that that sounds like a marvellous idea. Full magical cooperation from all British subjects. Are we ready to vote?"
Half of the Wizengamot looked completely shell-shocked and flabbergasted like they couldn't quite believe what had just happened. Others looked livid and disgusted at this turn of events like Umbridge and others were smiling widely as if this was the best news that they had ever received.
Sirius held his breath. He honestly had no idea where this vote was going to go.
Dumbledore raised his wand. "Those in favour of making the Phoenix Initiative a reality, please raise your wands."
Sirius raised his wand into the air immediately along with Augusta Longbottom, Amelia Bones, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Lady Dettweiler, and a few others. Then the wands slowly began to rise and Sirius grinned widely. It was truly a sight to behold, he thought.
Dumbledore smiled and raised his own wand. "It looks like thirty-nine votes to fourteen. Motion passed. I am proud to pass the concept of the Phoenix Initiative into action. We will work together to form the concept into a project that we can make a reality."
There was applause around the room as people were looking at each other in surprise.
Kingsley raised his wand and Dumbledore pointed at him.
"As to these three prisoners, is Azkaban still the desired location until they have a trial?"
Bones nodded, standing up. "Yes, thank you, Head Auror Shacklebolt. Keep them in the lower levels until we can set up a trial for them in the following week. As to the other names mentioned, I want Aurors sent after them as soon as possible. I would also like your assistance in calling a departmental meeting, we need to vote on a new head of the DMLE if I am to be Minister of Magic."
Kingsley nodded, smiling at her as Dumbledore dismissed the assembly. Kingsley ordered his Aurors out to take the prisoners and barked another order about an emergency meeting for the Auror Department as they had a manhunt to take care of.
Sirius moved across the room to where Fudge was still sitting, looking shocked as if he couldn't quite believe what had just happened.
"Fudge, I am sorry that you were voted out. I was hoping for a chance to sway you to our side."
Fudge only nodded, still looking pale. "Watching everyone agree like that… I think you were right." He stood up and nodded at the new Minister of Magic. "Madam Minister, I think that you made the right call here. Dumbledore's idea is a good one and no matter what happens now, you've made the effort to try to prevent You Know Who from gaining more power. You have a clearer head than I did. I hope you will let me offer my services to your government once you are voted in."
Bones looked at him in surprise. "Thank you, Cornelius. I appreciate your support. I was sorry that it had to happen like this."
He nodded. "The public will have their say and I am sure that they will agree with you being the right choice to succeed me."
He clutched his lime green bowler hat, nodded politely at her before he made his way to the door.
Sirius smiled at Bones. "I think once he thinks things over, he may actually be an asset to your department."
"Lord Black, when you sent me that owl to ask me to support you on your stand, this was hardly what I had in mind!"
He grinned at her. "I think that you'll be a great leader, Madam Minister. You know how to keep a firm hand and you know how to listen to the advice of others. The public is going to see that and the majority of them will be impressed with the braveness of their new Minister and those who aren't impressed would have been the first ones to deem Fudge a coward if Voldemort did take over and he did nothing to stop it."
Bones smiled at him. "I think that you're right. We'll be taking things one step at a time here. Now excuse me, Lord Black. I have a new department to form."
Umbridge jumped to her feet when Bones made to leave and she glared at Sirius. "You have ruined everything!"
Sirius snorted. "Have I? You're a petty toad who needs to pull her head out of her arse! A war is coming, Umbitch, and it's about time you figure out whose side your on."
She flinched at his words before she narrowed her eyes, grabbed her files, and stormed out of the courtroom after Fudge.
Dumbledore nodded at Sirius, stepping down to where he was standing. "I think that went surprisingly well."
"Me too. I almost can't believe that Fudge was impeached and that he agreed to help the new Minister."
"Fudge isn't always the wisest, but he knows when he's been beat," Dumbledore said carefully. "But Amelia… she will be a great Minister and I think that no matter how the public votes, her passing of the Phoenix Initiative will make her be remembered as the Minister who tried to save the world."
Sirius smiled at him and nodded. "I agree."
Zee moved over to him and kissed his cheek. "The new Minister asked me to help form the new department and to help choose some Ministry members to be on the board. It's kind of exciting. It's like we're building a whole new world."
Sirius grinned at her. "In a sense we are. But first, we have to fight to keep the one we have."
As he watched her hurry off, he knew that was going to be the hardest step. He checked his watch and sighed. He needed to head home, pack and coordinate with Dobby and Kreacher. They were headed to Bulgaria tonight and he needed to make sure that they all travelled there safely and undetected — especially Harry.
End Author's Note:
Just mixed in partial quotes here from two Americans. Dumbledore's was from Eugene Kennedy and Amelia Bones' was from Bill Clinton.