Growing Up Snape

By Teacherbev

Summary: Sequel to Snape's Invisible Friend. Snape adopted Harry and now has to deal with raising a magically strong preschooler without killing him. No Slash/No Mary Sue.

AN: This story will not make much sense unless you read "Snape's Invisible Friend" before reading this. The story begins directly after the conclusion of SIF, summer just before Shaun/Harry turns five.

Chapter 1: Finding a Friend

The week following the End of Term feast of 1985 was memorable only for its lack of troubles, and that in itself was memorable. No frantic owls from the Ministry for Magic, no stress related squabbles amongst the staff as they finished up essays, tests, and final grading. No unexpected hitches in the plans for many of the staff to leave for a short vacation, and most important for Severus Snape, no temper tantrums or explosions from his adopted son, Shaun; formerly known as Harry James Potter. At four and a half, almost five, Shaun had begun to shed his abnormally shy and complacent behavior that was a relic of his three years of abuse at the hands of his Muggle Aunt and Uncle.

Last summer, Severus had been virtually alone in the castle when a battered, bleeding and virtually silent toddler suddenly appeared in his lab. He had healed the boy and then cared for him alone for the next month until the other staff members began to return for the fall term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He had to keep his voice and temper under tight control as the child was terrified of any loud noises and had been both emotionally and physically scarred by his former guardians. And as time had passed he had come to care for the small, abnormally quiet child who was so starved for affection that he gratefully ate up the awkward and stumbling care that Severus Snape was only beginning to be able to offer to him as the days were spent together in almost silent company.

No one had been more dumbfounded than the snarky potions master to find that he was the only one able to see and hear the traumatized child. And by the time it was discovered that the boy was none other than the orphaned child of his worst childhood enemy, James Potter, the boy was too deeply entrenched in his heart and in his life for him to react in any other way except to adopt him, to love him and care for him as his own child.

So now Severus Snape, evil git of the dungeons, sat enjoying the warm afternoon sun on a picnic blanket, the remains of a spectacular meal surrounding him as he sipped on ice cold butter beer, watching his son fly. His toy broom grasped tightly between small hands, a grin so wide it threatened to split the boy's face in two as he chased the large gold children's snitch that he had gotten as a present from Madame Hooch last Christmas.

The crackle of a small stick warned him that his glorious afternoon was about to be interrupted. He looked up to spy Remus Lupin and the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore, meandering through the mid June sun, heading directly for his blanket. He scowled as he thought that they were coming to gang up on him; that he most likely would not want to hear whatever they had to say.

Lupin had been hired last Christmas to tutor Shaun in basic non magical education and also to be close so that Severus could work on perfecting his new potion, Wolfsbane. Unfortunately, Shaun had not been satisfied with learning only non magical things and now they were most probably joining him to discuss summer plans to begin teaching Shaun magic.

He sighed, finished his butter beer and waved a hand in invitation to the two wizards to join him on the blanket, which they accepted with a grateful murmur of thanks.

Severus just waited, he would not start this conversation, after all, he wasn't too upset at leaving things the way they were. Albus looked over his half moon spectacles at the man he considered a son, sighed with resignation and began, "Ah, Severus, you know why we are here. The students have left, the staff has left and it is time to begin finding suitable peers for young Shaun. Remus and I have been over the lists of students that will be in his year and whose parents also belonged to the old Order of the Phoenix or have strongly supported the light and might have a need to protect their children from the remaining Death Eaters."

Severus frowned, "Just how many children are we talking about Albus?"

Remus smiled at his frown, "Now Severus, I have read up on young children and their schooling and I have found that the minimum group should be about four children, both boys and girls to about ten maximum. Though I really don't want to teach ten five year olds by myself, I am more than willing to help Shaun learn how to relate to other children his age or thereabouts."

Albus pulled a folded parchment from within his robes and tilted his head back to read through his glasses. "We have found Neville Longbottom, Susan Bones, Blaise Zabini, Terry Boot, and of course the four youngest Weasley children. Charlie, Bill, and Percy Weasley are either already attending Hogwarts, or in the case of Percy, he will be attending in another year and is too old to belong to this group. I would suggest that you and Shaun meet with each of these families individually over the summer and then if the children interact well, we could extend an invitation to their parents to send them to day school several times a week here at the castle. They would not have to attend every day, nor all day long if it is decided not to include them in any of Shaun's advanced classes."

Remus added, "Might I also suggest the Lovegood girl and perhaps the youngest Abbott girl, their parents didn't belong to the order, but they are firmly on the side of the light?"

"Ah, yes, that's a good suggestion, especially with Oddgard publishing the Quibbler," he waved his hand in dismissal at the startled look Severus gave him, "I know, it doesn't have the highest reputation, but it is widely read and is not controlled by the Ministry." Albus smiled and his eyes twinkled.

Severus scowled, "Do I have a choice in the children at all, Albus? Can't we just find one child for Shaun to play with, preferably a quiet, non-annoying child?"

Remus looked to Albus for support, "Severus, we've been over this. Shaun is too quiet and complacent. He is just beginning to act like a normal child and he still over reacts to loud noises and especially yelling. He needs to be around children his own age, both quiet ones and loud ones to realize what normal childhood behaviors are. He still shows signs of being traumatized and you know that he still turns invisible much too frequently. Surely even you know that that isn't normal?"

"Of course, but I just don't want to push him if he's not ready for it. I don't want to add any stress to his life." Severus sighed in frustration and resignation.

Albus patted Severus' knee in sympathy, "You know we won't push Shaun to do anything he isn't ready for, but if we don't try he won't ever succeed and it will just become more difficult as he grows older. He only interacts with the adults on staff; I haven't seen him willingly start even a conversation with a student, have you?"

"No, and in fact, he turns invisible almost instantly whenever he comes in contact with them closer than sitting at the head table, surrounded by us unless I am standing with him." Severus looked up to where the boy was still playing catch in the sunshine, he noticed unmistakable signs of fatigue and knew he would have to call him down to come take a nap soon. He stood and brushed the wrinkles out of his summer robes, "I suppose you could arrange to have them visit the castle, one or two at a time, Albus. I suppose we can handle that right now. Shaun, come down and say hello to Grandpa Albus and Uncle Moony and then it's time to go in for a rest."

Shaun turned and noticed the new men sitting on the blanket beside his father and smiled. He expertly landed the small broom and grabbed first one and then the other in a warm hug. "Did you see me; I can catch the snitch all by myself now. Daddy doesn't have to help with his wand at all any more!"

Shaun bubbled with happiness as he shared his day with the three wizards before saying goodbye. Holding tight to his daddy's hand he returned to the castle, leaving Remus to start planning invitations as Albus searched through the left over picnic basket to find any sweets that might have been left over.

Two days later, the two Snape men stood in the entrance hall, waiting for their first guests to arrive. Severus nervously knelt and straightened his son's lightweight summer robes and then stood and did the same to his own. He had started to wear colors last year instead of his favorite black robes, but he still much preferred very dark colors and had on robes that only showed they were green when the sunlight hit them. He and Shaun had short black ponytails tied with black ribbon in their hair and ankle high black boots.

The first to arrive was Neville Longbottom and his formidable grandmother. Luckily Shaun had plenty of practice watching his 'Grandma' Minerva show that exact same pinched lip expression to her students or Severus was afraid the boy would turn invisible and disappear right on the spot! Neville hung back and held onto his grandmother's hand tightly, shyly looking at Shaun from around his grandmother's overly large red handbag. Severus noticed Shaun's eyes widen when he caught sight of the stuffed vulture on the old lady's hat but his grip on Severus' hand just tightened and Severus squeezed it in reassurance.

Not a minute later, Mr. and Mrs. Zabini came through the entrance doors, their son Blaise walking between them. Severus looked him over surreptitiously. 'Well he wasn't swaggering like that imbecilic Draco Malfoy; he certainly looked much smarter than Goyle or Crabbe's sons, strong Slytherin background but definitely supported the light in the war. I could stand to have him friends with Shaun. Longbottom's boy seems to be very shy, but so is Shaun so they might be able to relate, but I really want to get Shaun over his shyness. Maybe Remus could work with both boys on that.'

The Great Hall had been set up for the initial introductions so Severus invited them in to begin lunch. There was a large table for all of the adults, Zyphram and Alicius Zabini, Agnes Longbottom, Albus, Remus and himself. The three boys had a small table just out of hearing range but still within watching distance. Severus had talked to Shaun several times over the last two days impressing upon him the knowledge that no one else turned invisible, that his daddy would be there and that he really needed to try to get to know these children as he would most likely be going to school with them at some point.

Severus seated himself so he was facing the small table and listened with only half an ear as the Headmaster and Remus explained their idea to the two sets of guardians. The three boys seemed to be getting along better without the adults; at least all three of them were eating Shaun's favorite fried chicken with crisps. As lunch progressed, he relaxed slightly. Neville and Blaise were talking animatedly and Shaun was even joining in every once in a while. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad he thought to himself.

The three boys had enjoyed flying with their fathers, though in Neville's case, Remus had volunteered to take him on the front of his broom for the flight. Agnes Longbottom had an annoying habit of overprotection and kept saying that 'poor Neville had never shown any signs of magic' and how 'all her family was afraid the poor dear was a squib!' Both Remus and Albus gave her calculating glares when she would say this loud enough for Neville to hear as he seemed to shrink each time he heard it.

Finally Albus explained that he had found the boy's names by checking in his Registry of Magical Children and that Neville was certainly a wizard or his name would not have even been in the book! He made sure to say it loud enough for the boy to hear. Neville stood taller and seemed to gain in confidence after hearing that. All three of the Hogwarts men decided that Neville would be coming to school with Shaun even if Shaun had hated him, which he obviously did not.

After Shaun was asleep that night, the three men sat in Severus' living room, drinking wine and discussing the afternoon. Albus shook his head in frustration, "Agnes was a good mother to Frank, I suspect she would like Neville to be safe after what the death eaters did to her son and daughter-in-law, but I just wanted to shake her this afternoon and make her see what she is doing to that poor boy's confidence!"

Severus snarled, "I would have done more than shake her if the children hadn't been there!" Remus just nodded his agreement and took another sip of the excellent wine. He took a quill and parchment out of his robe pocket and made a tick against the names Neville and Blaise. "Are we agreed that both boys should be invited to day school then?" Both Albus and Severus murmured agreement and Remus continued, "I know you have Charlie and Bill Weasley in potions already, so any objections to inviting the Weasleys next and then perhaps the last three families next week after the full moon?"

Severus waved a hand in dismissal, "I have no objections, Charlie is adequate, Bill could be quite good if he paid more attention in class, but neither of them is any more of a handful than other students. I suspect the others will be the same. I understand their mother home schooled all of them so they should be similar. I remember Arthur and Molly from the old order, and although Molly can be a little too mothering, they are both good acquaintances. Though perhaps you might invite Susan, Luna and Terry as well so that Shaun meets some girls also; I understand the youngest Weasley child is a girl."

Remus frowned, a small crease appearing between his faded eyebrows, "Do you think Shaun is up to that large of a group all at once? I was very proud of how he handled the two boys, but I'm not sure he's up to that large and loud of a group."

Albus chuckled, "I suspect that Severus just wants to get the group up and running as fast as he can so he can begin brewing again! I understand you have some difficult potions to replenish for the hospital wing that Shaun shouldn't be around."

"Well yes, I have some to brew that could be quite toxic for a young child, but I really think that Shaun could handle the group. He at least will recognize Bill and Charlie, and I assume a group this large and diverse will split up into smaller groups and allow him to observe them and join them as he feels comfortable with them. I am also interested to see the group dynamics amongst them all. We might also invite Blaise and Neville back to see how they all fit together."

Albus looked thoughtful before nodding slowly, "You have an excellent point. We will need to evaluate whether the girls fit in with the boys at this age and who reacts well or poorly among the group. It would do us no good to have several children that play well with Shaun individually but fight constantly with the others. I will set things in motion tomorrow. If there is nothing else gentlemen, I must finish some paperwork before I go to bed this evening. Goodnight." He put his empty wine glass down on the coffee table in front of him, stood up and left.

Remus stretched over the back of the arm chair he was sitting in and several vertebrae popped loudly. "Ah, that felt good. Do you need anything else, Severus?"

Severus waved dismissal without even saying a word and already had his head buried in a potions journal before Remus quietly shut the door that connected his quarters with the Snape's.

The full moon had come and passed before the day everyone had agreed upon to meet came to pass. Shaun was again standing excitedly in the front hall, bouncing on the balls of his feet as his father tried futilely to straighten his robes. "When will they be here, I like Neville and Blaise, can we go flying again, can we Daddy?"

"They will be here when they get here, and I am certain that we can fly at some point. The way the two Weasley boys fly I am certain that the whole family likes to fly as much as you do. Now stand still for a minute so I can fix your collar." Severus heaved a long suffering sigh. How had his life gotten so complicated in just a single year? Today was the anniversary of Shaun's arrival in his lab and he was amazed at the difference a year had made in both of their lives. And if he was truthful to himself, it was just as good an improvement for him as it had been for his son.

They heard the Weasley's long before they could see them coming up the path. Severus took Shaun's hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly. "I know that you can do this, Shaun, I know that you are scared but remember how scared you used to be and now you have two friends that you didn't have before. I will be near you and you can always come and take my hand if you need to."

Shaun bit his lower lip and looked up with trust and love, "I know Daddy. Uncle Moony and Grandpa Albus told me the same thing. I'm okay, Daddy, I can do this."

The thirteen children played tag under the watchful eyes of their parents for almost an hour before the group was called in to lunch. Charlie and Bill had taken it upon themselves to make sure that all of the children were included in the game of tag and that no one had been overly teased or picked on. Apparently they had talked to their younger brothers and sister about how shy Shaun was so no one had startled him or pushed him to join in the group if he didn't want to. Severus was pleased to see the interaction among the diverse group of students, though he was rather pleased that the third Weasley boy, Percy, wasn't being considered for inclusion in the group. He acted put upon and as if he was too good to be playing tag with a group of children.

Lunch had just begun when Remus joined them, still a little tired and pale from the full moon that had just passed. He sat next to Severus on his right and Arthur Weasley on his left. Remus looked startled and sniffed at Arthur's robes. A confused expression came over his face as he wrinkled his brow in concentration. A dawning look of comprehension was quickly being replaced with a face of pure rage. The wolf within the normally peaceful man was showing as he turned full on to the man beside him. "Arthur, would you by chance have a 'pet rat' in your household. A slightly fat, grey and brown rat with a long skinny tail; one about four years old?"

Arthur swallowed his bite and looked at Remus in confusion, "Why yes, Percy has a pet rat just like that that he just found outside one day, and now that you mention it, it is about four years ago that he got it."

Remus face became even more calculating, "And would said rat be missing a toe, perhaps on one of its front paws?"

Arthur looked at the werewolf in confusion, "How do you know that?"

Remus merely looked determined, "Does he have the rat with him today?" Remus' nose was twitching, reminding Severus that this close to the full moon, his senses would still be heightened from his transformation.

Arthur put down his fork and stood up, walked over to Percy and leaning down, whispered something into the boy's ear. Percy just nodded once, reached into his robes and pulled out a sleeping, fat rat and held it up to his father. Arthur took the rat in both hands and walked back to the adults table, carrying the rodent away from his body. The rat was still sleeping when Remus pulled his wand and shot a stunning spell at it.

The table erupted in startled shouts as Percy emitted a high pitched scream, Molly started yelling at Remus, Arthur dropped the stunned rat and shook his hands trying to relieve the tingling from the spell's backwash. Unseen by anyone, Shaun had flickered before disappearing and a small whoosh of sound was the only clue that he no longer sat at the table between Neville and Blaise and in fact was no longer in the Great Hall. Severus had grabbed Remus' wand and Albus was trying to calm everyone down, without much success. He placed his wand on his throat and casting a quick Sonorous charm said, "Everyone sit down and be quiet. I'm sure Remus had a reason for stunning the rat. Let's let him explain!"

Remus sat heavily, shaking in reaction, gulping air as he tried to calm down enough to explain. "Albus, you need to cast a cage with anti-animagus spells and then force a transformation. If I am correct, that is no rat. I smelled something I have not smelled in four years, someone I thought dead!"

With a complicated wave of his wand, a glowing green cage appeared around the stunned rat. With a nod, Severus, Arthur, and Albus cast simultaneously, forcing the rat into the stunned form of a short, slightly balding wizard. Arthur stumbled back, falling heavily into his chair, "Peter Pettigrew! But that means, that means…"

The color had drained from Albus' face and his eyes were steely blue and piercing. "That means that Sirius Black did not betray the Potters, and he certainly didn't kill Peter and the muggles. Amelia, could you arrange some trustworthy aurors? Severus, please go fetch some Veritaserum, Zyphram could you collect another member of the Wizengamot besides us for a tribunal. Molly, Agnes, and Alicius if you could take the children outside for a while, ask Hagrid to show them the Kneazle kittens he is raising for Minerva's niece. Thank you." Each of the named individuals hurried to complete their assigned task, they were all very curious to hear the story of Peter Pettigrew, a wizard supposedly dead at the hands of Sirius Black.

Molly and the other witches didn't notice that they were shy one child as they herded the still loudly complaining children outside and down the front steps. But Neville was looking for his friend and noticed. He walked over to his grandmother and asked, "Grandma, where's Shaun, is he still in the castle? I wanted to walk with him but I can't find him."

Agnes Longbottom looked around worriedly without spotting the small dark haired boy. Albus had explained the situation and the boy's 'special' abilities to them when he had extended an invitation for Neville to begin studying with him so she knew that he might simply have become 'invisible' but still be here. She called out to the children to stop and carefully asked them, "Have you seen Shaun? Is he here anywhere?" She knew the Weasleys and the others hadn't been told yet, they would not learn of this unless they would also be asked to join the study group.

Molly grabbed Charlie and Bill and told them to return to the castle to check if the boy had been left in the Great Hall. She had noticed the boy seemed to be very shy, something she found unusual since she knew he was being raised with Professor Snape in the castle. Of course both Charlie and Bill knew that Shaun became invisible in tense situations and they suspected that the little boy had simply chosen to hide and stay close to his father. They nodded to their mother and turned back as the rest of the group made its way down towards Hagrid's hut, the children running ahead and talking excitedly about the kittens they would be playing with, all thoughts of what had happened in the Great Hall quickly forgotten.

The two Weasley boys made their way quietly over to their father and explained the situation to him so that he could tell Professor Snape when he returned with the Veritaserum from the dungeons. Mr. Weasley looked stunned for a moment but quickly shooed his two eldest back outside with the rest of the children. Arthur walked over and stood next to Albus as he was speaking to the other member of the Wizengamot that Zyphram Zabini had brought through the floo. Albus noticed Arthur standing beside him and leaned over to him to find out what he needed. "I'm sorry to bother you Albus, but Charlie tells me that Shaun isn't outside with the others. He also mentioned something about Shaun may be 'invisible' if that is possible or makes some kind of sense to you?"

Albus reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose above his spectacles and nodded tiredly, "I should have expected him to hide. Yes, Arthur he can turn himself invisible when he is stressed in a situation and I suppose with the stunning, the yelling and the general turmoil, we should have checked on him. I will take care of it, thank the boys for me, and this is a secret for now, the other children are not to know about it, not even Molly at this point, please."

"I understand Headmaster; if you will excuse me I will go and assist Madame Bones with Peter Pettigrew." Arthur nodded once and left the group to continue their discussion of the implications of Pettigrew being found alive.

Albus motioned Severus to join them and pulling him to one side, explained what Arthur had told him about Shaun. Severus quickly handed the vial of Veritaserum to the Madame Bones and left the Great Hall to go check his own quarters to see if Shaun had popped himself home in his panic. As soon as he left the room he stopped for a moment and called, "Nippy!"

"Yes, Master Snape, can Nippy help you?" Nippy was the Snape house elf that Severus had brought with him to Hogwarts when he had moved there to begin teaching full time. Nippy was trained to help him in potions and had also been invaluable in helping to watch over Shaun when Severus needed him to. Unfortunately Nippy and the other house elves couldn't sense Shaun when he became invisible. They could only search for him and hope he would answer when they called him.

Severus didn't know that the Hogwarts house elves had taught Shaun how to become invisible and soundless as well as how to pop inside the castle. No one could apperate or disapperate within Hogwarts but the house elves had a totally different method of moving themselves instantaneously that wasn't the wizard's way so it wasn't blocked by that spell.

Severus brushed back a lock of his shoulder length hair that had escaped the ribbon he had tied it back with and knelt down before his trusted elf. "Shaun is frightened by what took place in the Great Hall and disappeared again. I don't know if he is still in the Great Hall, though I doubt it with all the strangers there now, but I don't have any idea where he might have popped to. I will check out our quarters, I need you to ask the other elves to search for him and then let me know if you find him. Please tell them to let him know that no one is mad at him and that it is okay to come and stay with me, he doesn't have to go outside with the other children if he doesn't want to. Thank you, Nippy." Nippy just nodded once and with a loud crack he disappeared from view to begin the search.

Shaun had 'popped' himself into his Grandpa Albus' office. He was afraid if he returned to his bedroom, his daddy would just make him go outside with the others and he was too afraid of them, they had been so loud, especially Percy, but all the Weasleys made him nervous. He sat on a straight backed chair and looked around. Grandpa Albus occasionally looked after him when Moony couldn't and his daddy was busy, but they usually stayed in either his rooms or Moony's rooms since all his books and toys were there. He had been up to his office a couple of times but always with his daddy and Grandpa there.

Shaun wandered around for a few minutes, looking but not touching all of the wonderful twirling, spinning, and whistling gadgets that seemed to cover every free space in the circular office. He looked up and spotted an owl stand but there was no owl on it, just a pile of dirty dust and bits of pretty red and gold feathers piled up around the base. He reached up to take a large, perfectly formed feather and snatched his hand back when the dust moved. He looked around but there was still no one in the office so his curiosity got the better of him and he pulled a chair over to get a better look.

A small, featherless head with a pointed gold beak pushed its way out of the dust and looked around. Shaun gingerly reached out a single finger to touch the baby. It was too small and helpless looking for him to be frightened of it. The bird chirped in contentment as Shaun stroked the top of its head gently, softly talking to it like his daddy did when he was scared. "Hey little, chicken, how are you? My name is Shaun, where's your Mummy? You are too little to be alone, Uncle Moony says babies need a lot of care and can't take care of themselves all alone. Do you want me to take care of you?"

The 'chicken' stood up, wobbling on its skinny legs and took a stumbling step towards the small boy who gently scooped him up in his hand. Shaun noticed the dust was really warm, perhaps it was the 'chickens' nest? Not knowing what else to do he used his other hand to carefully scoop as much of the dust as he could into his pocket and then placed the baby gently down on it and then took his handkerchief out of his pants pocket and covered the baby with it.

He climbed down and dragged the chair back to where it belonged. He had just begun looking at the wonderful silver instruments again when a pop announced that he was no longer alone. "Young Master Snape, Missy has been looking for you. Master Snape is worried about you and tells us that you's is not in trouble, no ones is mad but yous is to go to your daddy now. Missys will take yous to Master Snape now."

Shaun took Missy's hand and allowed her to pop them to his living room where he found his daddy waiting for him a worried expression on his face but Shaun could read no anger on his face or in his body language so he sighed in relief and ran to hug him, careful not to squash the chicken in his robe pocket.

When daddy sent him to go potty before they returned to the Great Hall, Shaun took off his robe and made a nest of it for the chicken on his closet floor. He grabbed another of his favorite green robes and shrugging it over his shoulders, returned to grab his father's hand to be taken back to the Great Hall.

Shaun had a hard time not going invisible again when Severus pushed open the doors to the pandemonium going on in the Great Hall. He tightened his grip on his father's hand and Severus, understanding the boy's fear, swung him up to sit on one hip, his free hand rubbing the trembling back in reassurance. Severus felt the small shakes start to fade and then stop completely as the boy realized that no one was watching him at all.

Severus stopped for a moment to sort out all of the activities going on and decided the group standing with Madame Bones was the one he was most interested in and walked over, still rubbing Shaun's back as the boy clung to his neck from his perch on his left hip. Madame Bones took one look at him and gave him a small smile, "That's something I never thought I would ever see, or believe! Good for you, Severus, you both look wonderful."

Severus nodded back at her with an equally small smile and turned to the group in front of her asking, "What has happened since I left?"

"We are waiting for two more Wizengamot members to have a full five judge panel, the two Aurors I called have taken Pettigrew into formal custody and the two clerks are here setting up to record the official proceedings. Albus has decided to just have a full hearing and trial right now, before that fool of a minister can find out and his buddies like Malfoy can influence what happens. I never did like the fact that there was no trial for Black, but that was before I was named the head of the Magical Law Enforcement branch and I have been blocked repeatedly on calling for one since then. I can only speculate that someone really doesn't want answers under Veritaserum coming out."

Severus agreed whole heartedly with her sentiments, but as a spy for Dumbledore he had been unable to tell anyone what was going on without blowing his own cover, besides, he had no love or trust for the ministry in general. After all, they had thrown him in Azkaban without a trial also, and it had taken all of Dumbledore's influence to get him released. And after all that, they were not willing to believe anything he said. He looked around and noticed the house elves moving the tables and making a court room set up appear.

He talked softly to Shaun and went to take a seat in the front row of chairs. He knew he would have to verify the brewing of the Veritaserum but other than that he was just a spectator. He sat with Shaun on his lap and looked pointedly at Albus until the Headmaster looked up and caught his gaze. Severus whispered to Shaun, "Disappear child or they won't allow you to remain with me." As Shaun complied, Albus noticed the child flicker and fade from sight. He gave the two a small nod of acknowledgement and understanding and turned back to the other judges.

It took another twenty minutes for the proceedings to begin and the room had gradually filled with witnesses. Oddgard Lovegood had called upon a reporter from the Daily Prophet that he knew was disenfranchised with the current Minister and would report things accurately and he had promised to run the full transcript in his Quibbler without editorial comment so they knew the Prophet would be forced to also run it rather that repress the news, since it was unflattering to the Ministry at best and downright accusatory if judged in total accuracy.

The head table was set up for the five judges of the Wizengamot and the two official clerks at either end. A chair with straps had been conjured and placed on the floor in front of them and Pettigrew was strapped in it, looking like a rat even in his human form. The aurors that Madame Bones had called, Alastor Gumboil and Gawain Robards, stood on either side of him wands out and ready to question him and make sure he did not escape again.

Two tables, with Madame Bones and several others at the right one, a token defense attorney sitting all alone at the left one, were sitting in front of the audience chairs. He looked vaguely upset since he had been unable to contact anyone outside of the castle after he had arrived just minutes ago. He knew there was absolutely nothing he could do, since the sentence involved the possibility of the Dementors kiss, Veritaserum was required and there would be no denying what was said under its influence. Pettigrew would admit his guilt or prove his innocence without his attorney contributing anything to the proceedings, but it was required for him to be a witness.

Remus Lupin was sitting beside Severus Snape, finally calm after taking a calming draught from the potions master, ready and willing to hold Shaun if Severus was called to do more than just state his verification of the brewing. Shaun had been told to crawl to Lupin if his daddy had to stand up and to try very hard not to be noticed by anyone there, so he sat with a leg to either side of his daddy's lap, his head back leaning in comfort against his chest, comforted by the gentle rise and fall of the man's breathing. He had hold of his Uncle Moony's hand underneath his daddy's arm and was waiting for his cue to move over if he needed to.

Albus Dumbledore, stately and powerful in his official plum robes with the stylized silver 'W' on the breast, stood and waved his wand to seal the doors to the Great Hall. He seemed to radiate power as he motioned to the clerk on his right to begin the trial of Peter Aloysius Pettigrew.