A/N: Mostly PG, only the sixth chapter has a bit of sexual activity going on. This was some political utopia I've tried to create here and a very different approach to and usual HP-fic. And for my standards it's a very short fic :-)
1. It's over!
Minerva McGonagall sat next to a wide bed at the Burrow, watching the unconscious man laying there. He had been moved from the hospital wing at Hogwarts to the Burrow three days after what would be entered into the wizarding history books as the "Great Battle of Hogwarts" on the wish of Harry Potter, who could have asked for anything and received it for the simple fact that he was the great hero of that battle.
The man had been unconscious from an extended exposure to one of the wizarding society's Unforgivable Curses, the Cruciatus curse. He was barely alive, but he survived his Portkey transport to the one place that had been something like a home for Harry Potter during his school years, the Weasley's home. With him and the youngest two Weasley children came Harry's remaining entourage. Next to the patient it consisted of his former Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Remus J. Lupin, his best friend Hermione Granger and the head of his house at Hogwarts, Professor Minerva McGonagall. These four persons were the only ones who could sit next to Sirius Black without agitating the man.
Sirius had been placed in Percy Weasley's room. Remus had enlarged and altered the bed for his mate, so that Sirius had the most comfort possible. For ten days now they had been sitting and watching over the patient, letting no one near him. Remus took the night shifts, sharing the bed with Sirius. He was constantly changing from hope to fear, to lose his lover one more time. Looking back on his partner's life and the luck they had he expected Sirius to wake up at best in a state of mind like Frank and Alice Longbottom. In the worst case he feared Sirius to die. It would be the third time he lost the love of his life and while he didn't want to think of this, the thought nevertheless crossed his mind on a regular basis.
The Great Battle had ruined the last end of term feast for Harry Potter's year at Hogwarts. They had not really been surprised, as the assault had been expected. Aurors and members of the Order of the Phoenix in great numbers had been placed around Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore had led the fight of the Light Side. It had been terrifying and they suffered from great losses.
A small group of Order members, including Harry, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny, Fred and George Weasley had reached the heart of the Forbidden Forest, where they were met by the core of the Death Eaters. They had duelled everyone who came into their way and had already stunned several of the Death Eaters, when suddenly Harry and Remus heard screams that sounded like Sirius Black had a problem. It took them several more duels and about twenty minutes to reach the scene and then they noticed that Voldemort was calmly pointing his wand at Sirius torturing him with the Cruciatus curse. Sirius was already silent by the time they finally arrived on the spot.
Seeing this had brought Harry to 'explode', at least that was how the others would later describe what they had seen. The powers still hidden inside of the lanky, almost eighteen year old broke forth in this very moment, triggered by an incredible fear of losing his godfather again and rage at seeing Voldemort torturing Sirius. He ran close, kicked Voldemort's wand right out of the way and trampled his enemy into the soft forest ground, before lifting his own wand and casting the deadly Avada Kedavra curse.
It was an incredible blow! The green light shot out of Harry's wand and killed not only Lord Voldemort, but incapacitated all of the Death Eaters in the close vicinity. No one was more astonished than Harry Potter himself at what he had done. Since the Prophecy he had always known it would be between him and Voldemort. He had been granted a special permission by the Ministry to use the killing curse on Lord Voldemort. He was glad for all the witnesses, because the curse would now be stuck to his wand forever.
All that had been the work of maybe twenty seconds.
Breathing heavily he looked down on his dead opponent. On the ground lay a thin body, clad in blackest, now soiled robes, formerly gleaming red eyes wide open in shock. Harry picked up Voldemort's wand and broke it in two halves, before dropping it on the dead body. Then he turned around. Remus had taken care of Sirius, who was now unconscious. He had tears in his eyes.
"Remus! Is he…?" Harry didn't dare asking the question.
Remus shook his head, holding his mate tightly, then he said: "No, but I think he's close!"
Within minutes the clearing was swarmed with Aurors and Order members. Dumbledore arrived and Hermione quickly informed him of what had happened. The newly arrived people informed the small group that everywhere the Death Eaters had collapsed and that they only had to bind them with ropes. Harry turned around and asked sharply:
"Is Peter Pettigrew among them?"
"No. Not that I saw him," Tonks replied.
"Look around here. He must be around!"
The unconscious Death Eaters were looked over and bound with solid ropes. Pettigrew was found very soon and Remus called out to Hermione who had found him:
"Hermione, please use the Hold Animagus spell on Pettigrew or he will yet again be able to get away should he regain consciousness!"
She didn't need to be told twice.
Everyone had floated unconscious people back to Hogwarts after that. Sirius was placed in one of the small rooms off the main hospital wing. But he moaned and writhed every time someone who wasn't Remus, Harry, Hermione or, astonishingly, Professor McGonagall was sitting with him. Finally he was brought to the Burrow, since he was technically still a fugitive murderer, so they couldn't just bring him to St. Mungo's. Dumbledore, who had been injured quite badly himself, had contacted one of the healers at St. Mungo's, who was an Order member and asked him to check on Sirius every day. All they could do was wait.
All that had happened ten days ago. In the meantime all the Death Eaters had woke up and none of them had been harmed badly. The healers looking after them had assumed that the blow of Harry's curse had been strong enough to hit them through the connection with the Dark Mark. No one else around had been hit, only Death Eaters and Professor Severus Snape.
Of course the Order held on to Pettigrew and called for the Minister, who was not ready to believe that this Death Eater was indeed Peter Pettigrew. Only a whole series of questionings under Veritaserum later he reluctantly let go of his long time belief that Sirius Black was a Death Eater and had killed ruthlessly.
There were now several Aurors who were willing to testify about the day Sirius Black had been arrested and Amelia Bones, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was ready to question them as well. None of them could really say what had happened, since none of them were at the site when the event had taken place. The statements given by roughly a dozen Muggles who were in the street were dug out to verify. Amelia Bones found out that the majority of them had actually seen the wand in Pettigrew's hand and that the explosion had been caused from where he stood, not from where Sirius Black was positioned about five metres away.
Finally there were about twenty Order members who testified as character witnesses, telling of Sirius' involvement with the Order during the three years of the war and how he had worked hard to bring down Death Eaters around Voldemort.
With the Muggle statements Sirius' old wand had been found. Ollivander was called in and asked to find a brother wand if there was any. Ollivander brought fourth the names of three people whose wands shared Sirius' wand core of a dragon heartstring from the same dragon. One of them was ready to cast a spell against Sirius' wand and forced it to regurgitate all spells that had ever been cast with it. With wide eyes the observers watched as spell after spell came out, all of them defensive or everyday magic, none of them an Unforgivable and none of them a spell that could have caused an explosion, let alone kill thirteen people on the spot.
Bones and the Wizengamot immediately pardoned Sirius Black, much to the dismay of Cornelius Fudge.
Fudge had not been a help these past two years, even though he had acknowledged Voldemort's return. In fact it seemed as if Fudge held back information and interfered with many missions, which then went wrong. He obstructed the Aurors' movements, so that most of the work against Voldemort's forces had been done by the Order of the Phoenix.
Sirius knew nothing of the procedures on his behalf. His loved ones feared it could be too late for him. Remus sat with his lover through every night and even stayed with him on the days. Minerva, Harry and Hermione could only release him for a few hours here and there. Thirteen endless days had passed and the headline of yesterday's paper had been of Sirius' pardon, but he still lay there, unmoving, barely breathing. Remus came to take over the night shift again. Minerva left him. While they talked in low voices they heard Sirius gasp for air and finally turning to his side. Remus jumped and hurried to his lover's side to find out what had happened, but then he smiled.
"He's sleeping, Minerva! Sirius is sleeping! Would you tell the good news to everyone?"
"Oh, Remus, of course! That is such a relief. The worst must be over then!"
Remus nodded. Looking down on his sleeping mate he said:
"I'm sure he'll wake up. All that remains now is the state of his brain, Minerva. He could be as bad as Frank and Alice."
"That would be too hard, Remus! Keep up hope! He'll come through, he's so strong!"
Remus sat down on the bed, caressing lightly over Sirius' long black hair. He tried so hard to keep up hope. He didn't want to believe that he'd lose Sirius for good. But it was so difficult.
The next morning Remus left the room when Minerva returned to go and rest in the next room. Sirius had been restless during the night, but still asleep. He moved around on the bed now. Two hours later his eyes fluttered open. Minerva didn't see it, as his face was buried in a pillow. He moaned a bit and looked around.
Not recognising the room he was in he jumped up and startled Minerva. She hurried to his side and soothed him:
"Sirius? Everything is okay, my boy…"
He turned around and looked at her. Then he shook his head a little and managed to croak:
"Yes, Sirius, I've helped keeping watch over you. You've been unconscious for a couple of days. Can you talk?"
"I… think… so…"
"Good. – How do you feel?"
"Pain…" he whispered.
"We expected that. You've been under Cruciatus for about fifteen to twenty minutes, you might have been dead for all it's worth! Now you need to take a sip of this potion, dear, it will help against the pain!"
Minerva helped Sirius turn around and lifted him up enough to hold a goblet against his lips. He swallowed a cool tasting potion and almost immediately relaxed. Taking a deep breath he sank back on the bed. She looked at him and said:
"Does it help?"
"Good. The healer said you need to take it again as soon as the pain is back and as long as the pain returns. He thinks it will take several days until the aftershocks of the curse are dying down and that there is really no need for you to feel all this pain."
Sirius nodded again, closed his eyes and only whispered:
"He's just next door, Sirius, I'll call him right now. He's resting for a bit. He's hardly left your side!"
Minerva stood up and quietly left the room, closing and locking the door behind her, then she went to wake Remus, who was up in two seconds. He rushed over to Sirius and embraced him.
"Oh, my love! I can't believe it, I'm so thankful, love! I was so scared!" he sobbed in a low voice.
"It's alright, Moony, I'll get better, won't I?"
"Yes, love, you will! You're responding, you seem to be okay in your head. That was all we still had to fear, that you'd wake up and be like Frank and Alice. And I have a surprise for you!"
"How is everyone, Remus? And where are we?"
"We're at the Burrow. We've suffered some losses among the Order members and the Aurors and two students in Harry's year were killed, too, as well as three younger students, but everyone else is just fine. I'm sorry we got there so late, Siri! Hearing your screams and not being able to do something against them was the worst thing that ever happened to me."
Remus quickly told Sirius what had happened. A smile spread over Sirius' tired face and he whispered:
"He's unbelievable, Remus, isn't he?"
"Yes, love, he really kicked some butts, to use a blunt expression. And then he calmly snapped Voldemort's wand in two!"
"And all Death Eaters collapsed? Just so? Wow."
"Incredible! If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I'd never have believed it. Snape was hit, too, of course, which is why we think it went through the Dark Mark. Luckily it only killed Voldemort!"
"Was Pettigrew there?" Sirius asked with a trembling voice.
"Yes, he was! That's my surprise." Remus' eyes started to shine as he told Sirius that he had been pardoned by the Wizengamot and judge Bones' decision. "They leave you the option to press charges against the responsible people from back then, but only Fudge is left. I'd say you should, after all they didn't even grant you a trial."
Sirius shook his head. He didn't want to be reminded of all of this anymore. He just wanted to leave it all behind. Then the pain started to set in again and he stretched his hand out for the potion.
A few hours of rest later he was examined by a healer from St. Mungo's. The healer declared he only needed extended bed rest for at least one or two weeks before he should try to get up for longer periods of time.
"He's only allowed out of bed for about two hours a day. And that time should be spent on a sofa or in an armchair."
"He'll hate it," Harry remarked.
He had entered the room a short while before the healer came in and was so happy to see his godfather not only alive, but on the way to be better.
The next two weeks were spent in boredom, but Sirius and Remus had some plans. They would await the unfreezing of the Black estate and accounts to go out house hunting to find a new home. Sirius was cooperative and stayed in bed most of the time. He knew he was still too weak to do more than spend a few hours out of bed every day. But the time he was allowed out of bed increased in the second week.
The others would let him sleep alone now, if he slept during the day. For that reason no one was around him, when one day someone apparated right into Percy's room and sat down next to Sirius to shake him awake. Sirius jumped and found himself opposite Cornelius Fudge.
"Cornelius Fudge! What brings you here?" Sirius asked with a growl.
"You will be granted freedom, Black, but I'm the one with the power to unfreeze your accounts. And I'm only willing to do so if you hand over 80 of what's in there. Nothing less or I'll set the Dementors on you after all."
Sirius blanched. He backed away from the Minister, but inside he called frantically for his mate and was heard. Downstairs, Remus felt restless and said:
"I'll go look after Sirius! Something is wrong!"
Remus ran up the stairs, closely followed by Minerva, Molly Weasley, Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny. They crashed through the door and found Fudge next to Sirius, with dangerously glittering eyes.
"You must be out of your mind, Fudge! You'll not see one single Knut of what is my possession by birthright. If I've been cleared by the Wizengamot you have no right to threaten me like this or it will cost you your job! Frankly, I was letting it go, but now I will press charges and if they hear at the trial what you just said then you're not only politically dead, you'll be ruined!" Sirius said in a low voice, again with a growl.
"Sirius! Minister, what are you doing in my house?" Molly asked with a stern face.
Fudge gave a faint smile and said:
"I was going to inform him of his pardon…"
"Oh yes, and threatening me with the Dementor's Kiss if I didn't hand over 80 of what's in my Gringotts vaults," Sirius added.
"WHAT?" everyone else cried out.
Upon which Fudge disapparated.
"He didn't!" cried Ron.
"Oh, you'd better believe it!" Sirius replied, still breathing heavily. "Just barged in here, shook me awake and told me calmly that he wouldn't unfreeze my vaults. Someone better get hold of him or I'll do it myself!"
"We'll go both of us," Remus said calmly and angrily.
"He's definitely overstepped his boundaries. I'll be at Gringotts right now and will warn them that he might try to get hold of your money, Sirius!" Molly Weasley announced.
"He can only unfreeze the accounts, Molly, don't worry, the goblins won't let him even near there without a key and the keys to Sirius' accounts are with Dumbledore," Remus told her.
"Oh, good. I'm glad for that. Shall I still notify Bill none the less?"
"That would be a good idea. Get up, Sirius, this will be the test of how you'll do outside of bed!"
Everyone but Sirius and Remus left the room, then the two of them got dressed and left for the Ministry. On the way they both mulled over some ideas and finally they headed to the Aurors' Headquarters to find Kingsley Shacklebolt rather than the Minister himself. Kingsley was there and welcomed them. Sirius came right to the point and told him of the Minister's behaviour. Shacklebolt's reaction was astonishing, because he balled his fists in anger.
"That's probably the worst he's ever done! Sirius, I tell you the man is corrupt you wouldn't believe it. He's filled his pockets with about a quarter of Lucius Malfoy's money over the years. Even during the war he still continued to keep Malfoy in his favour. I don't know why he managed to make Malfoy pay over and over again. But this is just the icing on the cake!"
"We've just decided on a coup d'état, Kingsley! There's no way that we can let this man keep on ruling the wizarding society. He's gone mad, I tell you! I'm willing to risk everything to change the community for the better and I'd bet I'd be forgiven an illegal action if everyone got rid of him. Do you think we could get the Aurors' support? If I have that I can do it!" Sirius said through clenched teeth.
"Sirius! You'd do that? But it's going to be hellishly dangerous! You know that there are a lot of his supporters who could be bringing you down."
"I know. I take that risk. I think I have enough to offer politically that people will forgive me my actions. Besides I'll only take on the role until the Ministry is clean again!"
A grin spread over Kingsley's face. He took Sirius' hand and pulled him to the Chief Auror's office. During the last year, Alastor Moody had been called back to the post by Amelia Bones. Of course she had gone against Fudge's wishes and everyone knew that the old Auror detested the Minister. And since then the Aurors were back doing what they were supposed to do.
"Chief, could I have a few minutes of your precious time?" Kingsley asked.
A few minutes grew to become several hours. Remus sent an owl back to the Burrow to tell everyone to stay at home and wait for the news they'd have the next day and not to worry, they were fine.