Author's notes: Originally I had this story posted on Ashwinder, but I found their very strict editing policies were hampering my ability to crank out chapters before I lost interest. I've decided to re-post here, but with some big-ish changes to the story (because the original FanFic was written before the last book came out).

The story is slightly AU... Basically imagine Snape had survived, and the Malfoys were sent to Azkaban after the final battle. Oh, and ignore the epilogue in the last book.

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe (inclusive of Hogwarts School, all recognizable characters mentioned all institutions, situations, events and happenings) is copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and her business partners.

Chapter One:
"Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart." -Shakespeare

Extra! Extra!

Minister For Magic Announces Education Reforms

In a press conference last night, Minister For Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, announced that Hogwarts school will be re-opening late this September and with the reopening will come reforms to the British Magical Education system. Whispers of changes to the Magical Educational system have been circulating for weeks, but were unsubstantiated up until last night. "There is a great value in tradition," the Minister said. "However, the time has come for change. Our children need an education that will best prepare them for the realities of life in this crucial time of rebuilding." The Minister's plans include the creation of a mentorship program for seventh year students at Hogwarts and the creation of a new eighth year of schooling in which students will specialize in areas pertaining to their future careers. "It is my belief that an extra year of education will help our children to expand their knowledge and in turn, they may use that knowledge to the benefit of our society," the Minister emphasized.

Death Eater Trials Continue: Page 3

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The masses in the courtroom fell silent as the haggard Chief Wizard of the Wizengamot said in a deep resounding tone: "Bring in the next witness."

Harry, Hermione, and Ron looked thoroughly out of place seated on the dais next to the aged Wizengamot members. For their involvement in ending the war and killing Voldemort two months ago, they were given the temporary privilege of being given say in the judgment of the remaining Death Eaters. The accused, Severus Snape, sat before them, chained to a chair; his dark form listless and emaciated, his black hair hanging limply in front of his midnight eyes. Still, he looked better than the last time they had seen him, near death on the floor of the Shrieking Shack. It had been a miracle that they had been able to save him after the battle.

The large mahogany door swung open, creaking on its hinges, and a female witness entered flanked by two muscular Aurors. A hundred or more eyes followed her progression to the witness stand. They observed her intently. She wore plain black dress robes which were neatly tailored to fit her petite frame. Her cream coloured skin served to accent her full lips, absinthe green eyes, and silky raven curls.

"Blimey! Harry, isn't she gorgeous?" Ron whispered to Harry as the woman passed the dais to take her seat on the raised witness stand to their right.

Harry nodded in agreement.

"Miss," the Chief Wizard spoke, "could you please state for the Wizengamot your full name and age?"

"My name is Rowena Persephone Snape, and I am thirty-six years old."

The air filled with tension and few contained their gasps of surprise.

"What is your relation to the accused?" the Chief Wizard continued despite the obvious shock of his peers at the identity of this woman.

"Severus Snape is my older brother," she replied simply. Her voice was calm.

More shocked gasps escaped from the Wizengamot and those watching the trial.

"She…she's his sister? He has a sister?" Harry asked Hermione.

For once in her life, Hermione did not have the answer. She sat for a moment with a look of wonder on her face akin to the one worn by Ron. When her mind regained itself, she looked intently at Severus Snape. She saw him peer pleadingly at his sister, as if to apologize for being the reason she would be subject to questioning. Hermione detected compassion in the once cold Potions master and for a moment all his unattractive appearance fell away and she saw him, not as a heinous old bat, but as a man in suffering.

"Miss…Snape, are you aware of the crimes your brother has been charged with?" the Chief Wizard asked.

"Treason against the Ministry of Magic, the murder of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and accessory to murder, unless I am mistaken," she replied, looking briefly at Snape which caused him to cast his gaze downward.

"And you have evidence that can exonerate him of these accusations?"

"Yes. If I had nothing to testify I would not be here," she replied, her voice ripe with a bitter undertone somewhat reminiscent of the one Snape used in Potions.

"Before you share that testimony, Miss Snape, would you care to take a controlled dose of Veritaserum to ensure the legitimacy of your account? It is a common procedure," the Chief Wizard assured her.

A third Auror approached her with a small glass containing the crystal clear liquid. She grasped it precariously with her long delicate fingers. For a moment she starred at the contents of the glass in her hand and then, she lifted it into the air, as if in a toast. Snape caught her gaze and looked up at her intently. She downed it in one elegant swig, all the while never breaking eye contact with her brother.

Hermione watched them both intently as the minutes passed for the potion to take effect. She compared Snape's looks to his sister and found them to look quite similar. If his hair were shorter and his nose less prominent, Hermione could almost imagine him to be an attractive man.

"What am I thinking?" she thought, as she felt a blush creep into her cheeks. "There must be something wrong with me."

The Chief Wizard ended her train of thought as he asked Rowena Snape to share her testimony.

"My brother was a Death Eater. However, the time for those trials has since passed. He realised the um... nature of his errors and entered into an arrangement with Albus Dumbledore," she began and her eyes momentarily flickered as her courage wavered ever so slightly, "After the first fall of V...well, you know who I am referring to, Severus had selected his side, the side of justice. When... he... rose again and the Death Eaters began operating actively again, Dumbledore made Severus his double agent. Any crimes he committed were sanctioned by this agreement."

"How do you know this for certain?" a stern member of the Wizengamot asked.

"I believe you all know for certain," she replied, "I was informed that my brother's memories were captured by Mr. Potter and shown to you all via pensive."

"Memories can be altered! How can we trust the contents of what we saw? Severus Snape is a master of deceit!" the stern member retorted, rising from her seat on the dais.

"Easily! I have my own memories to confirm them," she said, drawing a phial from her robe pocket and placing it on the stand in front of her.

"You're the bastard's sister. You are no more trustworthy than he is!" Dolores Umbridge called from the audience.

"If my memories will not suffice, then let me offer you this," the female Snape offered, pulling forth a square of parchment from her robes. "Dumbledore had me draw up a binding contract for both he and Severus to sign. It is an extremely binding contract... magical law is my speciality. Had Severus double-crossed or done anything against Dumbledore's wishes he would have been instantly trespassed from England by magical means and completely unable to return on pain of death..." Rowena informed those assembled.

"That's exceptional magic," Hermione whispered under her breath.

"Vile Snapes! Whores and blights on the wizarding society! You should both be dead!" Dolores Umbridge shouted from the gallery, pink in the face.

Rowena Snape, visibly upset, cupped her hands over her face and silently cried.

"I reckon she went a little too far on that one," Harry whispered to Hermione while casting a disgusted gaze at Umbridge.

Below, Snape struggled against the chains restraining him to the chair. Hermione could not help but think he felt responsible for the embarrassment that was befalling his sister.

"Accuse me! Convict me! Pervert justice... Do whatever you will, but let her be. There is no reason to make her feel pain. She has done nothing wrong!" Snape bellowed out to the courtroom.

"Nor have you..." Rowena replied. "This trial has gone on and on in spite of evidences enough to prove innocence. We say we are living in a new era of justice, reason and truth, but we continue to use show trials... my brother is innocent!"

Pandemonium broke out in the courtroom. Half the Wizengamot was on their feet arguing, and the crowd was growing restless and arguing amongst themselves. Snape used all his energy in an attempt to break free from his chains to reach his sister, and was subdued by a spell cast by one of the muscular Aurors. He slumped forward, unconscious. Hermione let out an audible gasp of horror.

The Chief Wizard shot up red sparks from his wand and regained control of the courtroom.

"Is that all you have to testify to, Miss Snape?" the Chief Wizard asked, his voice harried.

"Yes," she replied in barely a whisper from behind her hands.

"Alright then, this court will resume tomorrow, whereupon the verdict for Severus Snape will be read," he concluded.

Slowly, the witches and wizards in the audience filed out through the heavy mahogany doors. Rowena Snape sat still trying to calm herself before going to face the public and reporters outside the courtroom. Before today no one had known she was a Snape; she had worked long and hard to ensure it, as had Severus. She knew that she could no longer enjoy the anonymity she had become accustomed to.

Hermione Granger watched the assembled witches and wizards leave and she had no doubt in her mind that tomorrow's crowd would be twice as large. She watched as Severus Snape regained consciousness. He looked firstly to the dais with contempt and then to his shaken sister, and hung his head in shame. Hermione watched as Rowena Snape rose to leave, passing dangerously close to her brother. She appeared to whisper something to him, because the moment she left the room he began to cry.

"Bloody Hell! He's crying like a girl," Ron exclaimed, his voice louder than he anticipated.

Snape shot him a look that was as cold as ice, and immediately his tears were replaced by his usual horrifying glare.