Sorry about the long update. I actually wrote this chapter about five times but every time something happened to my computer and I lost the document so I was rather turned off from writing it for a while. This chapter has a little bit more text from the original book than I would've liked but please enjoy anyway!
Japanese/Foreign Language/Written Text
Harry gasped; he could not help himself. The large dungeon he had entered was horribly familiar. He had not only seen it before, he had beenhere before: This was the place he had visited inside Dumbledore's Pensieve, the place where he had watched the Lestranges sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. The walls were made of dark stone, dimly lit by torches. Empty benches rose on either side of him, but ahead, in the highest benches
of all, were many shadowy figures. They had been talking in low voices, but as the heavy door swung closed behind Harry an ominous silence fell. A cold male voice rang across the courtroom.
'Sorry,' said Harry nervously. 'I-I didn't know the time had changed.'
'That is not the Wizengamot's fault,' said the voice. 'An owl was sent to you this morning. Take your seat.'
When Harry had seated himself hesitantly in the hard, stone chair, the attention was directed on the tall, dark haired young woman who had followed him into the courtroom. Harry thought that Panda looked rather funny and out of place with her mask off and dressed in semi-formal clothing that looked more suitable for office wear rather than battling. She had mentioned something about a transformation spell so Harry knew that the pretty, porcelain face he was staring at was not her true appearance but it was still rather strange to actually see a face at all after weeks of being confronted with that intimidating mask every time he turned to talk to her.
'And you are?'
'Ann. Ann Callaghan,' Panda said, lowering her head into a respectable bow. Her head was low enough to show enough politeness though the bow was still stiff as if she had purposefully avoided stooping too low in a sign of inferiority. 'I am witness to Mr. Harry Potter's defence,' she said formally.
'Witness?' the voice repeated coldly, 'Miss Callaghan, was it? I'll have you wait outside until Mr. Potter, here has finished talking. We will call you in if further questioning is necessary.'
'Of course,' Panda said. Harry's stomach tightened as the clicking of her high heels grew more distant until she was out of the room. The door snapped back into its frame with a loud bang that brought Harry back to reality. With Panda out of the room, Harry felt what little confidence he had going down the drain.
'You are Harry James Potter, of number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey?' Fudge said, glaring at Harry over the top of his parchment.
'Yes, ' Harry said. He had an itchy feeling that Panda was still listening in on the court from outside the door.
'You received an official warning from the Ministry for using illegal magic three years ago, did you not?'
'Yes, but -'
'And yet you conjured a Patronus on the night of the second of August?' said Fudge.
'Yes, ' said Harry, 'but -'
'Knowing that you are not permitted to use magic outside school while you are under the age of seventeen?'
'Yes, but -'
'Knowing that you were in an area full of Muggles?'
'Yes, but -'
'Fully aware that you were in close proximity to a Muggle at the time?'
'Yes, ' said Harry angrily, 'but I only used it because we were -'
The witch with the monocle cut across him in a booming voice. 'You produced a fully-fledged Patronus?'
'Yes, ' said Harry, 'because -'
'A corporeal Patronus?'
'A - what?' said Harry.
'Your Patronus had a clearly defined form? I mean to say, it was more than vapour or smoke?'
'Yes, ' said Harry, feeling both impatient and slightly desperate, 'it's a stag, it's always a stag.'
'Always?' boomed Madam Bones. 'You have produced a Patronus before now?'
'Yes, ' said Harry, 'I've been doing it for over a year. '
'And you are fifteen years old?'
'Yes, and -'
'You learned this at school?'
'Yes, Professor Lupin taught me in my third year, because of the -'
'Impressive, ' said Madam Bones, 'a true Patronus at his age, very impressive indeed.'
Some of the wizards and witches around her were muttering again; a few nodded, but others were frowning and shaking their heads.
'It's not a question of how impressive the magic was, ' said Fudge in a testy voice, 'in fact, the more impressive the worse it is, I would have thought, given that the boy did it in plain view of a Muggle!'Those who had been frowning now murmured in agreement, but it was the sight of Percy's sanctimonious little nod that goaded Harry into speech.
'I did it because of the Dementors!' he said loudly, before anyone could interrupt him again.
Silence immediately descended like a heavy blanket, muffling out every last mumbling witch and wizard. Harry lifted his head and looked defiantly up into the sharp gaze of Madam Bones, his eye twitched as Fudge scoffed.
'Dementors?' Madam Bones questioned, her eyebrows diving somewhere deep into her hairline, 'what do you mean, boy?'
'I mean there were two dementors that attacked me and my cousin in the alleyway!' Harry said.
'Dementors in Little Whinging? I don't understand,' Madam Bones looked very surprised.
'Don't you, Amelia?' Fudge said, an unpleasant smirk plastered on his face for the entire Wizengamot to see, as if inviting them in on the joke. 'He's been thinking it through and decided that it would be a very good cover up story, very good indeed... Muggles can't see Dementors can they? Yes, very convenient...'
'I'm not lying!' Harry said, triggering another outbreak of muttering, 'I-I have a witness! Call Pa-I mean, Miss Callaghan in, please! She'll tell you.'
Fudge's face purpled very unpleasantly from holding his breath too long until it was roughly the shade of a red onion. Before he could answer, Madam Bones cut across him, 'Yes, please send the girl back in.'
'Oh alright,' Fudge snapped and turned to Percy, 'Weasley, go and get her at once.'
Panda disliked leaving her charge alone to fend for himself in a room of old fashioned, clearly prejudiced witches and wizards however she couldn't do anything without blowing her cover or rousing suspicion. Instead, she chose to remain at a distance where she could still hear the conversation inside clearly without looking like an eavesdropper. Her eyes fell on a tall, slim blonde haired man standing a small distance away from her. He was dressed in expensive looking black robes and smelt heavily of old books and money. She frowned in suspicion, watching him cautiously out of the corner of her eyes and noticed that though the wizard was gazing determinedly at a crack in the wall, every few seconds he would turn to gaze at her when he thought she wasn't looking.
'Excuse me, Miss... It's rude to stare,' the man said suddenly. For once, Panda swivelled her entire head around to give him a cheerful smile that she hoped wasn't too forced, considering the state of the situation.
'I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that I was staring at you,' Panda said in an air of professional politeness, 'also, I would say the same thing to you, sir. It isn't a good habit to discard the practices that you preach.'
Instead of looking displeased at her blunt approach of his actions, the man's pale lips widened slightly so that they remained in a demented transition between a smirk and the beginnings of a smile. 'I apologise. I am simply curious as to how an unidentified person managed to fool the security of the Ministry of Magic.'
He knows, Panda thought grimly. Her arm twitched, aching to grab several of the poison tipped senbon needles she had managed to hide in her hair. The man was only a wizard; if she could take out his wand arm then he could easily be at her mercy. However, he appeared to make no movement for his right pocket where he no doubt kept his wand. The man was evidently more powerful than the average wizard. There was something in the way he moved and how his cold grey eyes analysed her physical appearance in a calculating manner. He was trying to read her mind, to trigger a reaction. I have to play it cool, Panda thought, I have to pretend that his words did not bother me.
'I'm afraid, I have no idea what you're talking about, sir,' Panda replied courteously.
'Ah. You aren't fooling anyone, ninja,' the blonde man smirked, 'I have encountered some of your petty illusional techniques before and I must say that there are some significant loopholes.'
Dammit! Panda swore. He had folded his arms carelessly. How insulting. Clearly, he did not think of her as a threat. Oh, how wrong he was!
'If you don't mind me asking,' Panda said, impressed that despite the torrent of unease unfolding itself in her mind, she still managed to keep her voice blank, 'who are you?'
'Lucius Malfoy at your service,' Lucius replied. He carried a haughty air that suggested that he held quite a large amount of power, was used to handling it and had no problems with misusing it.
'Miss Callaghan,' Panda said, her back instinctively beginning to bend into a bow. She quickly stopped herself before the action became more prominent and hoped that Mr. Malfoy had not noticed. 'I am quite impressed that you noticed. Often only the most experienced of us can see through even petty illusions so I congratulate you.'
'No need,' Lucius gave her an icily cold chuckle, 'I thought it was illegal to listen in on a hearing you are not invited to?'
So he's realised that too, Panda thought bitterly, 'Ah, but Mr. Malfoy, I think I've advised you before to practice what you preach?' She gave a tinkering warning laugh and Lucius frowned.
'I am waiting for somebody.'
'For someone who is simply waiting for someone to arrive, you are standing quite conveniently close to the door,' Panda pointed out politely.
Lucius scowled and backed a few steps away until he stood even further away from the door than she did. Panda gave him an approving grin just as the heavy wooden door burst open. She caught sight of tufts of fiery red hair and a panting face that clearly showed that the kid had practically tripped over himself just to get to the door. Percy's jaw hardened on sight of her and did not speak a word. Instead he turned and walked back inside, his actions clearly asking her to follow.
Panda cast Mr. Malfoy one last glance before disappearing after him. She waited for her eyes to adjust to the light and walked up until she was standing once again in front of Harry. Percy drew his wand and drew a rectangular prism with it. Moments later, a hard backed wooden chair dropped onto the stone floor with a hard clatter.
'Miss Callaghan was it?' Madam Bones said in her booming voice, 'please sit.'
Panda sat, careful to keep her legs shut. With her profession, Panda had rarely worn a dress or a skirt and sometimes it was difficult to remember that such elegant, formal clothing did not provide as much freedom as pants. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that Harry was staring at her, desperately wanting to confirm that he was in safe hands. She gave him a split second's smile that she hoped that no one noticed but by the way Fudge's lip thinned, he had definitely caught onto it.
'Miss Callaghan,' Madam Bones said, her hands banging the edges of several sheets against the top of her stand to straighten them into neat lines, 'I have asked several of my assistants to look through your profile. You are an Irish Auror residing in an estate in Dublin, unmarried though living with a boyfriend. Am I correct?'
'Yes,' Panda confirmed. The court couldn't accuse her of forging the profile card especially since she had specially managed to scrounge it from a real, existing witch. Her transformation technique was perfect... or near perfect but it was good enough that she hadn't roused any suspicions with the Wizengamot yet.
'And what brings you to England, Miss Callaghan? What exactly were you doing at Little Whinging on the twelfth of August? We have looked through your files and we did not find any particular connection you have to the area.'
'I'll be frank with you, Madam,' Panda said, 'Professor Dumbledore had called me all the way from Dublin as a guard as he was-err-a little displeased with your Ministry's reaction to the return of V- You-know-who and there was a lacking of British Aurors who would cooperate,' she quickly corrected herself.
Fudge spluttered, his face turning a wonderful shade of scarlet, 'So the Irish Ministry has chosen to believe in that nonsense that the senile old fool fed them?'
'Oh no, Minister,' Panda replied calmly, 'only a select few. The entire Irish Ministry is still determinedly sticking to their land so for the time being Voldemort does not concern them as long as he does not attempt to seize control of Ireland's power. However, I am not here to discuss politics, Minister. That, I can do happily with you over a cup of tea after the hearing. I believe I am here to defend Mr. Harry Potter?'
The Wizengamot fell into silence as Fudge gave Panda an even more intense glare than Harry had ever experienced throughout the hearing. Harry must admit that Panda was a lot cleverer than he had first anticipated. He had always known that the ninjas were highly intelligent but to be able to pull off a false role that could fool hundreds of the Ministry's oldest, most experienced wizards... he was impressed to say the least.
'Please continue,' Madam Bones said, effectively breaking the silence.
'Yes, Madam,' Panda bowed, 'Under Professor Dumbledore's orders, I was assigned to guard Harry that night. I did not make my presence known but Harry seemed to notice that he was being followed because he tried to evade me. Naturally, I was able to catch up on him within a short period of time but this was an extremely unreliable routine as even if only for a few minutes, I was still leaving him unguarded. This was very stressful on my part as I tried to keep him in sight at all times until he reached Magnolia Crescent where he just disappeared. I quickly caught up with him but when I turned the corner, I began to feel cold which was really strange since it was a really humid summer night. And then I saw them...,' Panda said, biting her lip and shivering.
Harry thought it was a really realistic act, 'I remembered horrible things...,' she stuttered, still shivering, 'they were two, tall black cloaked figures bearing down upon Harry and another boy who I assume is his cousin. Like any normal person, I was terrified and it took me a while to gather my senses back to the present. By then, Harry had already cast his Patronus before I could stop him and it sent the Dementors away...
'It became warm again and I saw Harry and the other boy collapse down on the pavement. I ran out to see if they were alright but Harry was naturally startled from the event and attempted to Stun me.'
Madam Bones continued to scrutinise her with a frown as she finished. 'So that is your story. You may go,' she said finally. Panda stood and bowed before exiting through the door once more.
'Not a very convincing witness,' Fudge said loftily.
'Oh, I don't know, Cornelius, she certainly described the effects of a dementor very accurately-,' Madam Bones began but she was cut off as the heavy wooden door creaked open. A tall, dark haired young man walked in stiffly. He was dressed in a very elegant formal suit and tie and he carried a demanding air of power.
'Who are you?' Madam Bones boomed, 'state you business or I will be forced to throw you out of the courtroom.'
The man smirked, a very familiar smirk that made Harry's skin crawl and heart lighten at the same time. 'Mr. Potter's lawyer.' He knew that voice... and those familiar pale grey eyes...
'Mr. Potter's lawyer? We had not been pre-informed that Me. Potter had hired anyone of that sort,' Madam Bones said sternly, 'please leave at once before I throw you out.'
'I am here to represent Professor Dumbledore who was unable to make it today,' Hawk said, 'he asks me to give the Wizengamot his deepest apologies and that I, Nate Hughes will replace his position instead.'
'Mr. Hughes, you are very late behind schedule,' Madam Bones said sternly, 'I'm afraid that you may not be able to speak for Mr. Potter. We have sent a letter to Professor Dumbledore of the change in times for the hearing and if he does not make an effort to show up on time then the consequences will be faced.'
'If you will forgive me for being frank, Madam Bones,' Hawk said, his smirk only growing smugger, 'I do not believe that such a letter was sent in the first place. It is under my impression that the Wizengamot purposely changed the time without informing us, under a pretence that they have sent a letter to us so that Harry and I would be late and receive a bad first impression. Am I correct?'
Some members of the Wizengamot coughed uncomfortably and Harry found himself mentally screaming at Hawk. Stop being so straightforward you dumbass!Now they'll never let me off.
'Mr. Hughes, was it?' Fudge sneered, looking very much like he'd swallowed a particularly sour grapefruit whole, 'I'm afraid that we'll have to throw you o-.'
'No,' Madam Bones said sharply, 'I would like him to stay.'
'Excellent,' Hawk said, rubbing his hands in a fashion that reminded Harry of a greedy business man. 'I have analysed the situation thoroughly in the short notice I was given. It is to my understanding that Mr. Potter here is being accused of performing magic illegally outside of school in the presence of a Muggle?'
'That is correct.'
'I see. Two spells in fact... a Patronus Charm and a Stunning Spell- am I correct?' Hawk said.
'Yes,' Madam Bones said, 'Please get to the point.'
'Why, Madam... both the Patronus Charm and the Stunning Spell are spells used in the face of defence, yes? Are they not both interesting choices for spells to show to a Muggle? Had Harry simply wanted to show off, a foolish decision, then it is quite coincidental that the spells he chose to show were spells both used for defence. If the existence of a menace is not considered, then I am intrigued as to why Mr. Potter would've chosen to cast those spells in the first place. Do you not agree Madam Bones?'
Madam Bones looked thoughtful, 'That is a very good point,' she said.
'N-Nonsense! There are no Dementors outside Ministry control!' Fudge spat angrily.
'Ah, but sir, then I politely ask that you tighten your level of control on the Dementors or ask yourself why some corrupt Ministry official has decided to eliminate a so called threat to the magical government's image using illegal methods,' Hawk said coolly.
In the complete silence that greeted these words, the witch to the right of Fudge leaned forwards so that Harry saw her for the first time. He thought she looked just like a large, pale toad. She was rather squat with a broad, flabby face, as little neck as Uncle Vernon and a very wide, slack mouth. Her eyes were large, round and slightly bulging. Even the little black velvet bow perched on top of her short curly hair put him in mind of a large fly she was about to catch on a long sticky tongue. The Chair recognizes Dolores Jane Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister, ' said Fudge.
The witch spoke in a fluttery, girlish, high-pitched voice that took Harry aback; he had been expecting a croak. 'I'm sure I must have misunderstood you, Mr. Hughes, ' she said, with a simper that left her big, round eyes as cold as ever. 'So silly of me. But it sounded for a teensy moment as though you were suggesting that the Ministry of Magic had ordered an attack on this boy!' She gave a silvery laugh that made the hairs on the back of Harry's neck stand up. A few other members of the Wizengamot laughed with her. It could not have been plainer that not one of them was really amused.
Hawk's smirk widened into a creepy grin, 'you are not mistaken, Ms Umbridge,' he said politely, 'I am indeed accusing the Ministry for the attack on Mr. Potter. I believe that the culprit lies somewhere within the Ministry and I strongly advise you, Minister Fudge that you make an attempt to set things straight without letting your emotions run away with you. However, I must remind us all once again that we are not here to discuss who the culprit is but rather if Mr. Potter here is guilty or not. I have argued the case I was paid to argue and now Mr. Potter only awaits his verdict.'
If looks could kill then Hawk would've long since evaporated under Fudge's hateful glare. Harry bit his lip and stared nervously at Hawk for reassurance. Unfortunately, Hawk didn't seem to be as emotionally considerate as Panda was because he refused to look at him. Harry looked at his feet as the entire Wizengamot dissolved into urgent whispered conversations. He thought that he had definitely not made the best impression. It was mostly Panda and Hawk who had spoken. Theyhad played what ought to be his part and though they played it well, he disliked the idea of actually being indebted to the ninjas. Though Panda was definitely the most bearable ninja so far, she was still a killer. And to actually think that he owed them a favour made Harry's stomach roll over uneasily.
Then the whispering stopped. Harry wanted to look up at the judges, but found that it was really much, much easier to keep examining his laces. Those in favour of clearing the witness of all charges?' said Madam Bones' booming voice. Harry's head jerked upwards. There were hands in the air, many of them: more than half! Breathing very fast, he tried to count, but before he could finish, Madam Bones had said, 'And those in favour of conviction?'Fudge raised his hand; so did half a dozen others, including the witch on his right and the heavily-mustached wizard and the frizzy-haired witch in the second row.
Fudge glanced around at them all, looking as though there was something large stuck in his throat, then lowered his own hand. He took two deep breaths and said, in a voice distorted by suppressed rage, 'Very well, very well-cleared of all charges.'
Hawk stalked out of the courtroom before Harry could gather his senses to thank him. Stunned, Harry sat a few more seconds before standing awkwardly and took a few experimental steps to see if his legs were still capable of walking. Then he ran, ran the rest of the way towards the door, flung it open and almost crashed into Mr. Weasley who was standing just outside it.
'Cleared, ' Harry said, pulling the door closed behind him, 'of all charges!'
Beaming, Mr. Weasley seized Harry by the shoulders. 'Harry, that's wonderful! Well, of course, they couldn't have found you guilty, not on the evidence, but even so, I can't pretend I wasn't -,'But Mr. Weasley broke off, because the courtroom door had just opened again. The Wizengamot were filing out. 'Merlin's beard!' exclaimed Mr. Weasley wonderingly, pulling Harry aside to let them all pass. 'You were tried by the full court?'
'I think so, ' said Harry quietly. One or two of the wizards nodded to Harry as they passed and a few, including Madam Bones, said, 'Morning, Arthur, ' to Mr. Weasley, but most averted their eyes.
Cornelius Fudge and the toad like witch were almost the last to leave the dungeon. Fudge acted as though Mr. Weasley and Harry were part of the wall, but again, the witch looked almost appraisingly at Harry as she passed.
Last of all to pass was Percy. Like Fudge, he completely ignored his father and Harry; he marched past clutching a large roll of parchment and a handful of spare quills, his back rigid and his nose in the air. The lines around Mr. Weasley's mouth tightened slightly, but other than this he gave no sign that he had seen his third son. 'I'm going to take you straight back so you can tell the others the good news, ' he said, before pointing at Panda and Hawk, still in their disguises. They stood a little further away having a whispered conversation in their own language. Panda seemed to be doing most of the talking but both of them were looking equally concerned.
'You should go and thank them,' Mr. Weasley said, patting Harry's shoulder, 'go on.'
Harry walked towards them, his head high. He didn't like the ninjas much but it was only right that he should thank them. He would feel bad if he didn't. 'Excuse me,' he said. Hawk looked annoyed at the interruption but Panda immediately hoisted up a smile.
So they were going back to using the traditional Japanese honorifics, huh? Harry admitted that he preferred it this way. Honestly, he had grown used to be called "san" by the ninjas and suddenly being addressed as Mr. Potter sounded weird. 'Um- I'd just like to tell you guys, thanks for helping me,' he said quickly. Harry sighed when they continued to stare at him blankly and he hesitated before taking his right hand out of his pockets and shoved it forward.
Panda stared at it for a few seconds before shaking it twice. It was a brief, awkward handshake but a handshake none the less. He turned his gaze to Hawk who gave him a I'm-too-cool-for-handshakes glare. 'Don't mention it, Potter-san,' Panda said, 'we were just doing our job.'
'But still… I'm grateful,' Harry said.
Panda sighed. 'OK. Thanks taken, now let's head back.'
POLL RESULTS ARE OUT WITH NEW POLL TO VOTE ON! This time the question is : What is your favorite kind of review? Please check it out on my profile page!
Yes, the ninjas aren't completely cold. Panda is one of the kinder ninjas after all. I doubt that she would always be cold towards Harry and his friends and even Raven, whose actually a real softie underneath is human sometimes. Anyway, heading back to China on the 31st! New Year's Eve! It's going to be really cold there in Beijing. I'm Chinese… so yeah… anyways, Happy Christmas and err- actually that's wrong but who cares! Merry New Year!
Don't forget to review alright guys? I can't get very far without your reviews to drive me on. Thanks to everyone who did review, especially the regulars though I have been losing some regulars lately. Don't know why but it doesn't matter as long as you review now! Yes, review!