Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters.
A/N: Thanks to MaeSilverpaws1, who is beta-ing this story.
Chapter One Hundred-Sixty-Five
Sirius felt his heart drop the moment he saw the smiling face of the horrible little toad. It had been bad enough that he had to see and listen to her at every trial as she vindictively read out the crimes and sentences of the Death Eaters. That hadn't been so bad seeing as the Death Eaters are horribly vile people themselves but her smile irked Sirius so much. And it was that smile that made him feel so worried right now.
"Good Morning, Dolores," Sirius, never one to back down, forced himself to smile.
"Good Morning, Sirius," Umbridge said in her extra surgery voice. "It's nice to see you're so timely."
"Timely?" Sirius raised an eyebrow at that odd comment, thinking about the empty room behind him. "It seems more like I've missed a memo."
"Oh no, you haven't missed it," Umbridge smiled, "you're exactly where you should be."
Sirius knew then that this was the last place that he wanted to be. He also realized that it wasn't just Umbridge's smile that was sending a child down his spine, he was actually feeling cold and his mind started to fill with bad memories.
Two dementors floated towards him from the end of the corridor that lead to more courtrooms. Though dementors didn't really have expression, he knew they were staring at him like he was their prey. He turned back toward Umbridge, planning on getting out of the corridor as quickly as possible, but there was a wizard behind the horrible toad casting a curse at him.
"I wonder why the trials are being put on hold today," Tonks said tapping her foot on the ground as she sat at her desk in the Auror's office. She looked at the yellow paper that everyone in the office seemed to have received explaining.
"Clearly, since that's about the third time you asked me," her partner answered looking annoyed. He was a good enough guy, but he got just as annoyed and anxious as she did when they didn't have an real assignment. Her nervous energy always made him snappier.
"I'm going to go over and talk to Kingsley, he'll be more pleasant than you are," Tonks said in an overly huffy voice and he rolled his eyes.
"Fine, I'm glad you can be a bother to someone else," he replied. "Maybe I'll actually get to finish my paperwork."
Tonks stuck out her tongue at him, which he ignored as she walked away from her desk and went to find Kingsley. Who was in his own office, he wasn't working at any paperwork but looking at a map with furrowed eyebrows. "Hey Kings."
Kingsley didn't turn to look at her immediately but when he did he was smiling. "And what do I own the pleasure of your visit, Tonks."
"What are you working on?" Tonks asked instead of answering.
"Oh the usually," Kingsley answered and when she raised her eyebrow indicating that she didn't know what he meant by that he chuckled. "I'm coordinating the search for the remaining Death Eaters. I just finished reading the reports and now I'm trying to find the pattern in their movements."
"Oh," Tonks said, thinking that now really wasn't a good time to bother him with her boredom, even if she was bothered by the sudden cancellation for the trials that day.
"I could probably use a few minutes break," Kingsley said, "I have been staring at these charts for the last hour."
"I don't think I'll ever be made for tracking fugitives," Tonks made a face at the just the idea of sitting quietly in an office looking at a map for an hour, trying to figure out what a criminal was thinking.
"True, perhaps not this particular part of the job isn't suited for you," Kingsley agreed. "But I was thinking about asking you to join me when I do have a lead. Moody always said you had good instincts for tracking in the field."
Tonks couldn't help but blushing at the compliment, "Count me in."
"Now what did you want to talk to me about?" Kingsley asked.
"Nothing really, I was just wondering why the trials were cancelled today," Tonks said. "The memo said that there was going to be an interdepartmental meeting …"
"Fudge is exercising probably what will be his last show of power," Kingsley said sitting back in his seat looking thoughtful. "He knows the public is not happy with how he had handled Voldemort's return. The fact that the Aurors had joined the fight has given him some more leniencies with popularity."
"As if he had anything to do with that," Tonks rolled her eyes.
Kingsley smiled, "which is the new thread the Daily Prophet has been saying lately. They are saying that it was Scrimgeour was the one that reacted, not Fudge."
"So Fudge thinks it would be a good idea to have a meeting today." Tonks said shaking her head, "Even though the trial has been vastly popular to the public. Don't you think that it'd be better for him to just to hold the trial. What does he think he will accomplish by doing this?"
"Don't know," Kingsley said furrowing his eyebrows looking like he had moments ago when he was trying to figure out the Death Eaters next move. "I would have to guess he is trying to find support from the heads of department, though he would have to know that each of them are likely to have aspiration for his job, and who all know that he hold a very weak position now."
"Especially Scrimgeour, as you said the public is already starting to view him as the hero that helped save the day," Tonks said. "never mind the lowly Auror that had informed him of the danger in the first place."
"True, Scrimgeour is probably the most likely person to be the next Minister with all the popularity he's getting," Kingsley said ignoring the comment about herself. "Perhaps Fudge is trying to get to Scrimgeour. If Fudge had Scrimgeour's support he probably could remain as Minister."
"Oh," Tonks said thoughtfully.
"But you're not convinced," Kingsley said reading that from her expression.
"No … I guess it makes sense, it's just … it felt like a really odd time for a break," Tonks shrugged. "Plus the fact that we only got the memo when we arrived in the office today. What about everyone else that goes to the trials that doesn't work at the Ministry, did they get a message too? Or do they show up here only to be turned away."
"Wouldn't you be the one to answer that question," Kingsley said. "Don't you live with Sirius, was he planning on going to the trials today too."
"Oh yeah," Tonks smiled sheepishly, she should have thought about Sirius before now. "We didn't talk about the trials this morning but I think he was still planning on going. Maybe I should owl him."
Sirius wasn't really sure how he had found himself in the courtroom changed to a chair. He knew he didn't loose consciousness but his head a started to buzz when the curse hit him and made it impossible for him to react or fight. Now that his head was starting to clear again he found himself wandless, chained to a chair and surrounded by dementors, a handful of wizards and one extremely pleased looking toad.
"What are you doing?" Sirius asked angrily but his heart was pounding in his chest and he felt fear that had nothing to do with the presences of the dementors. "Why have you chained me up?"
"Now that the defendant has …"
"Defendant!" Sirius gasped, still trying to sound angry but that was fading fast and his dread was starting to take over.
"… been awaken we shall start the trial," Umbridge finished without pausing.
"Trial? What am I being accused of?" Sirius asked.
"The use of an Unforgivable Curse," Umbridge's smile spread across her face as she watched the color drain form Sirius's, the fight seeming to drain out of him as well.