-1Author's Note: I know, another new fiction is not in order. But this is nearly a self containing short story that plagued me for a while. It's nearly complete and should be up within a few days.
The Greatest Trial
Chapter 1. The Execution
Memories. For years that was all he had. Now even that was being snatched away from him. Harry James Potter faced execution in thirty minutes. The Dementors were ready, and so was he.
He stood with the support of two burly guards. He knew them well, Jimmy and Billy. He couldn't have made it this far on his own strength. For that he was glad in some corner of his insane mind which yet retained a modicum of sanity. Let the world see his weakness. The weakness of their savior. The weakness they themselves inflicted upon their savior.
He raised his head. His vision was groggy, his glasses had broken long ago. Not that he cared. The sunlight was too strong for him. It burned his eyes. Years of darkness in his tiny cell had left a massive toll on him.
He sighed. He opened his mouth and the two guards shook their heads sadly. They knew what was coming. It was always the same words.
"Pettigrew, Riddle, Snape, Malfoy, Fudge, Umbridge," he recited ominously. He couldn't see clearly but he knew the effect his words would have on the spectators in that same corner of sanity that was preserved within him. He continued, "Dumbledore, Granger, Weasleys, Lupin."
There was absolute silence. His words fell on every single ear as a proclamation of doom, a silent curse transcending far beyond eternity. There was no emotion attached to his voice, none at all. He had the voice of death. It was a pitiful sight. It was a terrible sight.
"Prisoner 24601," a grim voice spoke resolutely. "Your sentence of fifteen years in Azkaban is now over. You await the Dementor's Kiss. Do you have any final words?"
His only response was to continue chanting. "Pettigrew, Riddle, Snape, Malfoy, Fudge, Umbridge Dumbledore, Granger, Weasleys, Lupin."
"What does he mean?" the grim man asked the two guards by the prisoner's side. "Does he wish to speak to these people?"
"Pettigrew, Riddle, Snape…" He stopped abruptly when the guard on his right let go of his hand. Unable to hold his weight, he stumbled and collapsed to the ground. "Malfoy, Fudge, Umbridge, Dumbledore…"
"Stop him," a voice yelled from the crowd. Several voices started coming from the crowd.
"Granger, Weasleys, Lupin."
The guard who had let go of his hand shook his head sadly. "That is all he has been saying for the last five years, Minister Wiltschild."
The prisoner shook his head adamantly. The guard was trying to protect him even at that final desperate moment. But being alone in Azkaban did create a bond between the guards and the prisoner they believe to be innocent. He opened his mouth but the other guard shook him. The message was clear. The guards didn't want him to speak. But the prisoner didn't care. He continued speaking.
He head suddenly shot up and his eyes opened, two throbbing dull emerald orbs of doom.
Goosebumps were felt by every single person who heard that final innocuous word, Balance. It wasn't the word itself but the way he spoke it. It was a promise of hope and retribution, of wrath and love, and above all, of himself.
"Mr. Potter," the grim man spoke forcefully. "Do you wish to say something more clear?"
He nodded his head eagerly and continued, "Snape, Malfoy, Fudge."
The Minister of Magic shook his head sadly. Another prisoner had gone insane in Azkaban. At least, they were certain of his guilt.
"Umbridge, Dumbledore, Granger, Weasleys, Lupin."
The two guards held him up again and he felt a Silencio spell hit him. He stopped speaking. There was no reason to move his lips when nobody could hear him. The chanting went on incessant in his mind.
"In that case, I open the floor to those who have been wronged by this criminal," the grim voice said dully. "Let Amos Diggory approach first."
"You might not have cast the Killing Curse on my son," the man said sadly on facing the prisoner. "But he would have been alive today were it not for you. You are a vile and abhorrent creature that brings death and destruction in its wake. Yet, now I can only pity you. May you find peace in the afterlife, son."
The prisoner looked up with sudden vigor and pointed his throat to the guards, and reluctantly, the silencing charm was lifted. He looked at the man who placed the guilt of his son's death on his shoulder and said simply:
"Light." Then he chuckled as if he had made a highly witty remark.
Shaking his head, one of the guards beckoned the bemused accuser to depart.
"Arthur and Molly Weasley."
His all-but surrogate parents approached him haughtily and lashed out.
"After everything I did for you," the woman spoke first. Grief made her voice heavy with emotion. Grief of wounds reopened after a decade and half of festering. "I took you in, fed you, loved you like a son… and how do you repay us? By killing one of my own sons? You despicable beast! You! You!" she burst into tears hysterically and the man took her to his arms protectively. Turning to the prisoner, he said, "You disappointed us, Harry. You are a disappointment to us all," and then he led his wife away.
He didn't say anything. He raised a finger to his face, and almost as if surprised, plucked a tear from the corner of his eye. He looked at it curiously. It was highly strange and amusing. He had lost his tears years ago. What a time to regain some new ones!
"Ron and Hermione Weasley."
His one-time best friends walked up to the podium and Ron shouted, "It wasn't enough, was it? Everything you had! The money, the fame, the friends… no, you wanted more… The biggest mistake of my life was to knock on the door of that train compartment… I wish you had died with your parents!" He tried to take a swing at him, but the guards stopped him. The prisoner smiled. The guards would take care of him, at least, until it was the Dementors' turn.
Hermione was more restrained. "I wish I understood what happened to my best friend but clearly you are not he. The Harry Potter I knew died long before you came into being. Let us go, Ron."
Before they left, he opened his mouth again and said coldly, "Dark Brother."
The Minister was confused. It seemed to him that the prisoner's words had some deeper meaning behind them that he should be able to fathom. It was almost as if the words were intended solely for his own sake. But then he shook his head. Clearly, Harry Potter was insane. Sighing, he proceeded on with the names.
The prisoner's eyes shot up. He cursed his failed vision and sighed that he could not clearly see her beauty one last time. But then he felt a tight slap and his head went flying back, his cheek stinging terribly. Almost instantly, he felt soft lips touch the very spot that was stinging as if to will the pain away. But all he could hear were the tears of a woman in great pain as she ran away.
Shaking his head, he said dejectedly, "Chaos."
The Minister's eyes widened at that proclamation. With trembling hands he continued, "Severus Snape."
The dour man walked up. He didn't spend much time but he leaned forward and whispered, "Tell your father and Black, I win."
As he left, the prisoner laughed almost happily. "Dark Sister," he said joyfully, turning his head to the Minister almost expectantly.
The Minister had a sudden inkling of doubt. But he saw the next name and sighed. "Albus Dumbledore!"
The ancient wizard walked to his former protégé and shook his head sadly. "Was it my fault?" The prisoner shook his head. "Could I have done something to prevent all this?" The prisoner thought for a while and beckoned his former Headmaster closer. He wanted to speak to him alone.
He waited eagerly for the long-bearded one to come within inches of his face and then with a laugh, he tugged the long overflowing beard twice, with a hoot. From the distance, he could hear the cries of the woman who had slapped him increase in volume and intensity.
When Dumbledore walked aside, the Minister stopped him. Leaning forward, the Minister spoke to him in hurried whispers, handing the list of names to his undersecretary, yet another Weasley.
Percival took the list and shook his head at the next name, his former boss. "Cornelius Fudge."
The former Minister of Magic rose to the podium with poise and grandeur and beckoned at the prisoner. "Here you see one who thought himself above the law." Then turning to the prisoner, he spat, "Nobody is above the law! Not even the Boy Who Lived!" Bringing his attention back to the people, he started a speech on his own role at capturing the prisoner when Percy Weasley ordered some guards to forcibly remove him.
But the prisoner merely laughed. "Order," he barked loudly and continued laughing. He was done, he didn't need to hear the rest. Several others came, men and women he had wronged in one way or the other. They all came to look at him one last time, to forgive him or curse him. The last one was Remus Lupin.
But before Lupin could reach the podium, the prisoner made a noise like a wounded feline and tried to pounce on the man with his fingers stretched like claws. The guards held him back.
"James and Lily would have been so disappointed," the man said sorrowfully.
He wasn't listening. "PETTIGREW, RIDDLE, SNAPE…" he shouted before a Silencio hit him again.
"I am almost glad that they didn't live to see the monster their little baby has become. I am glad Sirius didn't live either. I am only sorry that I did," he spat at the prisoner and walked away.
Then Percival said, "Let he who has been condemned now meet his fate. The Dementor may ascend."
A dreary solitary black cloaked figure wafted from a distant corner. It paid no heed to the shivers and shudders from the crowd. As the creature of Darkness reached the podium, the two guards retreated, removing the silencing charm from the prisoner. There was no need to restrain him anymore. He only had mere seconds to live.
But mere seconds was all he needed. With the final breath of his life, Harry Potter stared at death calmly and said:
"Stop!" a voice yelled but Harry's eyes covered in mist as he passed into the oblivion of a Dementor's Kiss. Prisoner 24601 had been executed.
"Stop!" Minister Wiltschild shouted urgently as he ran towards the podium but he could only gasp in horror as the weakened form of the prisoner crumpled with a blissful expression on his face and collapsed to the ground. The Minister let out a cry of anguish and turned to Fudge. "Guards, apprehend that man!"
Ignoring the former Minister's cries of protests, the young Minister of Magic looked at the crowd darkly. "The posthumous retrial of Harry James Potter will take place tomorrow."
A loud din of mutterings and whispers broke out and the Minister magically amplified his voice before saying angrily, "I want every single person who bore witness in the first trial to be present in Courtroom Ten at nine in the morning."