Disclaimer: I own nothing.
This story is written as a response to the challenge proposed by Last of the Pendragons. Pairing is Harry/Susan.
Wizengamot Chamber 10, Ministry of Magic
Harry Potter was a scared, yet bored young man.
It all started when some Dementors decided to make a small trip to Privet Drive, searching undoubtedly for some yummy souls to suck. 'And when we talk of yummy souls to a Dementor, the name Harry Potter is the first on the list. Bastards.'
Then, of course, he had to be charged for casting a spell. Never mind that he almost lost his soul and that two Dementors were running willy-nilly, he had cast a spell! Scandal! Ministry Bastards. 'Save for Madam Bones, of course.' he amended his musings, remembering that the stern witch seemed to have her mind set on clearing him of all charges. To add insult to injury, they had the nerve to ask for a full Wizengamot hearing and change the time of the hearing at the last possible moment! Thrice accursed bastards!
His thoughts and incessant cursing of incompetents and toads was broken by the powerful voice of Madam Bones. "Those in favour of clearing the witness of all charges?"
Harry grinned evilly at this. Here was a way to rile Fudge up, making fun of the Wizengamot. Controlling his mirth, he lifted his hand with everyone else.
Silence filled the room. Most of the occupants of the room turned to each other, whispering. Some shouted their displeasure. Madam Bones covered her mouth, hiding a smile caused by Harry's cheekiness.
And that's when something else hit her like a thunderclap. Collecting her monocle, she asked for order in the room. As soon as every member was once again seated and silent, Madam Bones finally turned to the green-eyes wizard. "This is a highly unusual time Lord Potter." she started, "What drove you to vote as a member of the Wizengamot?"
The wizard lifted an eyebrow. "W-what?" he replied, genuinely shocked. He never noticed Dumbledore's glasses hanging precariously on the tip of his nose.
Amelia Bones frowned. "Lord Potter, I assure you this is no time for jokes. Do you understand what you've started when you lifted your hand to vote?" her frown only got deeper after she saw the young wizard shaking his head in denial.
"That is irrelevant!" squeaked Fudge, "we are discussing the verdict of the charges upon Mr. Potter!"
"Lord Potter, your birthday is July 31st, am I correct?" asked Madam Bones, ignoring the blathering incompetent Minister. She saw something wrong here, and her Auror instincts were urging her to press on this line.
Harry nodded, still unsure of the reason why he was suddenly addressed as Lord Potter. "The charges mention that spells were cast on August 2nd, correct?" Harry nodded again at the question.
The head of the DMLE nodded. "Did you know that the heirs of Houses without a member of age can request their emancipation when they turn fifteen?"
"Irrelevant!" shouted Fudge again, decorum forgotten. "This matter does not affect the incident!"
Sighing, Amelia stated on an even tone. "Those in favour of clearing the witness of all charges?"
Most of the room lifted their hands. "And those in favour of conviction?"
Only a few raised their hands. Fudge seemed furious. "Very well, very well... cleared of all charges!"
Madam Bones nodded. "I request the Wizengamot to add a new item to this meeting: The reclamation of the Potter seat by Lord Potter. As Lord Potter was cleared of all charges, I suppose it would be beneficial for all of us to discuss this in the current session. Of course, the full Wizengamot does not need to be here, so anyone who has matters to attend is free to go. Those in favour?" The same people that voted for Harry's innocence stood once again. "And those against?"
This time, nobody moved. "Very well, we will now advance to the second point of the meeting. As I asked earlier, did you know, Lord Potter, that the heirs of Houses without a member of age can request their emancipation when they turn fifteen?"
"No Madam." Harry stated, narrowing his eyes in thought. "I am not in touch with my family's connections."
"You mean you didn't know?" blurted one of the witches on the nearest stands. "The Ministry has to send a notification on these cases!"
"He was charged! The notification is not sent on those cases!" stammered Fudge, quickly looking around, undoubtedly (at least on Harry's mind) looking for the nearest place to hide, the bloody rat.
"Irrelevant!" snapped a witch in the second level. "The Charter clearly states the notification must be sent fifteen days before the wizard's birthday!"
"Hem Hem," the witch to Fudge's right, so far silent, decided to interrupt. "We must take into account Mr. Potter's... allegations regarding past events."
"Madam Umbridge, you will refer Mr. Potter as 'Lord Potter' until the decision of this court." replied Amelia, drawing nods from the crowd.
Harry was tired of this shooting of accusations. "Veritaserum." he said clearly. "Do I have the right to ask to be interrogated while under the effects of Veritaserum on the events of the last Triwizard Cup?"
Half of the Wizengamot looked upon the young wizard with looks reminding him of approval. The other half merely observed him, still evaluating.
Umbridge smiled sickly. "Veritaserum can be negated by a sufficiently powerful wizard. As such, I do not believe that would help your statement."
"Madam Umbridge," interrupted Amelia, reigning her fury at Umbridge's attempts to discredit the young wizard "surely you don't mean that a fifteen-year old wizard can break through the strongest truth serum, do you? Besides, the DMLE never managed to properly investigate the occurrence."
Amelia's statement became a trump card. On the following vote regarding Harry's request, three-quarters of the court approved the motion to administer Veritaserum to Harry. Still, Fudge and Umbridge, along with a few others, stubbornly voted against the young wizard.
"Very well." the stern Auror nodded. "This court will recess for fifteen minutes. Those who have other matters to attend may leave freely. Lord Potter, I'd like to have a word with you."
As everybody else left the court, Harry could not help but wonder at how things changed in less than an hour. In the beginning of the session, Harry was being charged, and now he was about to seriously shake things up with the reclamation of his seat. However, there was another thing that annoyed him greatly.
And that annoying thing decided to open his mouth. "Harry, I understand that you want the truth to be known, but I must advise you against this approach. You are still too young and inexperienced to reclaim your seat."
Harry took a deep breath, reigning his annoyance. "Professor, we both know that the Ministry sees us as an annoyance. First, knowing the truth would be a good way to either throw Fudge out or to force his moves to take a better stance to fight Voldemort. Second, I do not find the simple fact no one even bothered to tell me about my inheritances is funny or good for my future. The Ministry shouldn't be the only way to find out, Professor."
Albus Dumbledore knew when somebody was taking a shot at him, and Harry had the subtlety of a trebuchet. "Now Harry," he started, "surely you can understand that people might only want to spare the younger ones from the responsibilities..."
Harry shook his head. "Professor, if a child had the only way to solve a complicated problem that should be fixed as fast as possible, should one spare the child and end up with a snowballed problem?"
"I am not saying that you should ignore your responsibilities, but wouldn't it be better to wait a little more until you claim your seat? There are many details that require you to receive a proper education."
Now, Harry Potter wasn't a walking trap sniffer, but he could see what Dumbledore was getting at. 'You little... you want me away so you can control things better, or at least you want me to be your puppet here. I wonder what else you upheld from me, Headmaster.' he mused, finally realizing why the Headmaster of Hogwarts was so worried about the seat. However, further thoughts were not possible, as Amelia Bones approached the young wizard.
"Albus, could I speak privately with Lord Potter for a few moments?" she asked, leaving very clear that the elder wizard had no part in this conversation.
"Why, Amelia, I'm sure young Harry here could use some guidance..." Dumbledore started, only to be met by the witch's stern gaze.
"Why, Albus, you believe that I may misguide young Harry for personal gain? I assumed you thought higher from me."
Dumbledore chuckled fondly, his eyes twinkling. "I did not intend to offend you in any way, Amelia. I believe, then, that you'll help Harry with the basics, then?"
Madam Bones nodded. "Indeed. I figure it might be good to explain him the basic procedures, just so he isn't lost in the Wizengamot's protocol."
Dumbledore nodded, as he got to his feet. "Very well then, I shall assist the rest of the session on the visitor stands. Good luck Harry." he said cheerfully, as he turned to leave without making eye contact.
Amelia kept gazing at him until he left the room. Sighing deeply, she turned to the Boy-Who-Lived. "Now, Lord Potter, the interrogation will include a control question to know if the serum is working, It may be a bit personal, but it isn't nothing offensive. After the control question, the interrogation itself will begin. Do you understand the procedure so far?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, I do." He couldn't help but pray that the question did not bring any spotlights over his treatment be the Dursleys.
The remaining time was spent by Amelia with a quick explanation of the seats in the Wizengamot and the monthly meetings. When all the members of the Wizengamot who wished to attend to the meeting were properly seated, an Auror approached Harry, giving him three drops of the colourless truth serum.
"We now resume this session of the Wizengamot with the inquiry on the events of the Triwizard Cup, as requested by Harry James Potter, heir to the House of Potter.
"Thank you Minister Fudge." Amelia replied, before turning her gaze to Harry. "What happened in the maze of the Triwizard Cup between you and Cedric Diggory?"
"We decided to take the Cup at the same time. The cup was a portkey, which took us to a cemetery somewhere. When we arrived there we grabbed our wands, but Cedric was killed before we could do something."
The head of the DMLE nodded, mentally recording this bit of information. "Who killed Cedric Diggory?"
The members of the Wizengamot started whispering, before being silenced by a gesture from Madam Bones. "Petter Pettigrew is dead. Explain."
"He is not dead, he merely faked his own death after betraying my parents to Voldemort, as he was the true Secret Keeper of my parents." the room flinched at the mention of the Dark Lord's name. "He is an unregistered Animagus, a rat missing a finger."
Fudge snorted. "Yeah, and you're going to tell us next that you spent your childhood as a slave in a dark hole, am I right?"
Harry's answer was the most unexpected one. "Yes."
The chamber burst in outrage. Fudge had his mouth wide open in shock. Dumbledore covered his face with his hands, thinking about Harry's words."What is the meaning of this? This is outrageous! Who the hell do they think they are?" screeched a younger witch, her eyes speaking of painful punishments to the Dursleys. Luckily, Harry did not hear this question.
"Order in the court! Order, or I'll clear the room! Lord Potter's statement about his home life will be investigated by the DMLE at a later date." shouted Minister Fudge, trying to fight his shock at Harry's revelation. "Madam Bones, please continue the interrogation."
"Harry, you said that Peter Pettigrew is an unregistered Animagus, a rat missing a finger, correct?"
Amelia blanched, not missing the implications of Harry's statement. The biggest part of Pettigrew's body was a finger. "What happened next?"
Harry slowly explained the rest of the battle in the graveyard, drawing gasps from the crowd as he described the events that resulted in the rise of Lord Voldemort. Said gasps were even stronger as he described his duel and escape from the Dark Lord. Sadly, the questions made by Madam Bones never made him reveal the names of the Death Eaters he knew, much to the relief of Lucius Malfoy.
By the time the Veritaserum wore off, Fudge was already thinking about what he could do to salvage his career. 'Surely it would be better to offer full support to Lord Potter?' he thought, fiddling with his hands behind the counter of his seat. He never expected the boy to pull this trump card and reveal his version of the events to the world. What to do now? "I guess, Lord Potter, that this testimony lifts any doubts anyone could have regarding your character. I motion the court to vote on Lord Potter's reclamation of the seat."
Harry wasn't surprised by this turn of events coming from Fudge. Seeing how the man grabbed to his power like a castaway grabbing a piece of lumber, it made sense that he would move to support him.
"I second the motion," stated Augusta Longbottom.
"All in favour of Lord Potter reclaiming his seat?"
The majority of the court lifted their arms, stating clearly that a few stragglers would not affect the decision of the majority of the will. After the courtesy 'against' vote (where only Umbridge had the nerve to vote), Fudge confirmed Harry's reclamation of the family seat. "The Wizengamot recognizes Harry James Potter's claim to the title of Lord Potter and the family seat of this court. Lord Potter, the Wizengamot welcomes you."
Amelia Bones Office, 15 minutes later.
"Well, how that we are here, let's make some points straight. Please sit, Lord Potter." Amelia said, noticing with interest his reluctance in sitting on the chair on the other side of her desk.
"Harry, now that you were deemed able to take your seat at the Wizengamot, you must take a crash course on proper Wizarding etiquette. This may sound boring, I know," she stated, noticing Harry's slight change of posture. "but you have to realize that most purebloods are easily... deluded by someone's posture."
In his mind, Harry understood what Madam Bones was getting at. Reclaiming his seat as a member of the Wizengamot implied that he would be watched at all times and evaluated. Of course, people would know only what they could see, meaning that Harry needed to be able to have a respectable public figure. "I understand," he said evenly, "but who would teach me?"
"While normally I'd indicate you a few elder families to teach you. However, I'd like you to talk to a someone, about everything that happened."
Harry made an uncomfortable face. "Madam... with all due respect, I don't feel like talking about it." He somehow felt she was trying to help, but he couldn't bear himself to describe once again all what happened, to hear their surprised gasps. 'They don't know a thing about it.' he thought bitterly, as his eyes roamed through her desk. To Harry, the dark wood desk seemed incredibly plain for a high-ranking Ministry employee. The inevitable scraps of parchment were there, along with a few quills and an inkwell. The only decoration seemed to be a wizarding portrait with several people waving at him. He could recognize a younger Amelia Bones there, along with some elder people that might be her parents. His analytical gaze softened at the visage. "I don't mean to be rude, but is that your family?"
The head of the DMLE looked sadly at the picture, a fact that was not missed by Harry. "Yeah. Most of them died in the First Wizarding War, when I was just a young Auror." she pointed to a couple with several kids around them. "That's my brother Edgar, his wife and his kids. They died with my parents a week after this photo was taken. You know my niece, Susan, right?"
Harry narrowed his eyes, picturing the features of the people on the photo. They all seemed familiar... "I talked to her a few times in Herbology, she seems to be quite nice." Then he realized something else. "Niece?"
Amelia nodded. "Her parents died in an accident a few months after..." she stopped as she saw Harry nodding.
"I understand. Sorry to ask about that." he replied. A comfortable silent fell upon the room for a few moments, each occupant in the room deep in thought. Amelia was on a trip down memory lane, seeing the laughs and the jokes on the day the photo was taken.
Harry, on the other hand, was gathering his thoughts on the conversation he just had with the stern witch. What seemed to be just concern turned out to be outright understanding of Harry's situation. She, too, had seen death in her career and in her family. At this time, Harry started to realize that her suggestion may be worth it after all.
"Madam," his lips curled into a reassuring smile, "I think I'll take your offer after all."
Amelia smiled. "That's good to know, Harry. Could we start next Tuesday afternoon, at The Leaky Cauldron? There are a few things you should go through on Gringotts, so that is the best place for us to meet. Also, I hope you have something formal to dress. IF you don't we'll have to make a stop at Madam Malkin's"
Harry nodded, thinking about his Yule Ball robes. "I think I have something that will do the trick. Thank you for your help Madam Bones." he said sincerely.
"Call me Amelia, please, and don't thank me. I'm happy to see a fine young man step up to let his voice be heard. Not to mention Susan speaks highly of you." she replied, grinning as she saw his blush. Oh, the joys of youth.
So, here is the start. I decided to have Harry spill the beans here in order to make him a credible Lord Potter in the eyes of the other wizard. The Dursleys... let's say I like to make them suffer. :)
About the pairing... Susan Bones. I like unusual pairings, and from the looks of things, there are a lot of people that like Harry/Susan as well. On the other hand, this allows me to ring into the field Amelia Bones, who, for the lack of a better term, seems to be a badass character that should not be crossed.
Hope to hear your thoughts about this.