"What did you do?" she asked Harry when she returned to Potter Hall.
"I just wrote her a letter telling her what I wanted her to know." Harry replied, "I sent a few pictures that showed how happy we've been. I guess you weren't set to Azkaban so what was your sentence?"
"Nine years house arrest, time served." she replied, "Then six years probation."
"What does time served mean?" he inquired.
"I have already done it." she smiled, "The time we were on the run from the Dark Lord is the time I would have spent under house arrest."
"So your free?" He asked excitedly.
"Just have probation now." she replied, "I have to account for my whereabouts and actions for the next six years. They've made Kingsley Shacklebolt my probation officer."
"Fantastic!" Harry yelled jumping up and down and trying to hug Bella.
"I agree." Sirius grinned, "I think this calls for a celebration. How about we go buy her a present in Diagon Alley?"
"Yes." Harry readily agreed.
"I don't know." Bella said, "Just because I'm free doesn't mean there aren't people still out to get me."
"I'll protect you Aunty." Harry proclaimed.
"How very noble of you Harry." she laughed, "I think you just want to use magic."
"There is that bonus." Harry agreed laughing.
"Sly dog." Sirius grinned.
"Nope that's your job." Remus laughed.
"Please." Harry said hopefully once they had reached Diagon Alley, "It would be a great thank you gift for sending the letter."
"No way am I buying you a Nymbus anything." Bella said, "I won't thank you buy giving you something to kill yourself with. I have something much better in mind."
"Does it have anything to do with flying?" Harry asked.
"In a roundabout way it does." she replied.
"But first we need to get your present." Harry drug her into a jewelry store.
They looked at rings, necklaces, pins and even fancy hair accessories. They pushed bits of gold and precious stones at her until she was ready to scream.
"Stop." she called, "Just stop. I'll find something just quit pushing. Part of this present is getting to shop for it."
"Nooooo." Sirius wailed, "You're the no nonsense type. You just find something and off we go to shop at stores that are more fun."
"This is fun." Bella grinned wickedly.
"Give it up Sirius." Harry said, "You do not rush shopping with a girl. Just grin and bear it. Jewelry was your idea and it was brilliant. I told you we should have told her to go shopping and let us know how much it cost us when she was done. But no. We had to make a family trip out of it."
"You mini-monstrosity." Sirius grabbed him and messed up his hair, "You can't blame this all on me. I do recall one little bit of begging for us all to go."
"I don't recall anything." Harry stated laughing as Sirius moved to tickle him.
Even the shop keeper was chuckling at the byplay between the two of them. He thought to himself how stupid the ministry was to believe Sirius could have ever hurt the boy or his parents. However the change he was seeing in Bellatrix Lestrange was absolutely amazing. Like Sirius the man had been in school with her and knew how horrible she had been. This laughing girl in muggle clothing simply had to be a completely new person. When the trio had first entered the store he had not recognized her at all. She had been drug into the store by the boy as she was protesting that it was too expensive. He had ignored her and pulled her right over to a display of rings that he thought she would like. As he pulled her he was saying how she would like the things on display and even called her Aunty. The boy had hugged her and told her to find something. She had hugged him back and then turned to the shop keeper and greeted him by name. When he had welcomed her into his store by using her name she had told him just to call her Bella.
"Finally." Sirius groaned as Bella finally picked out a necklace and matching earrings, "I thought this was going to take all day. We only have four hours left to get the rest of our shopping done."
"Hush Sirius." Harry admonished him, "She doesn't get to shop that often."
"All done." she called, "Now for your birthday present."
"Which shop?" Harry asked, "Quidditch?"
"No." she smiled, "I'll tell you when we get there."
The group walked farther down the street and stopped outside Eyelops Owl Emporium, "You're buying me an owl?"
"Yes." she said, "You get to pick it out."
"Yes!" Harry exclaimed, "Excellent."
Before the group could enter the store a series of pops filled the alley. Black robed individuals appeared all along the road and people began screaming and running. The three by the owls didn't have time to move before spells were being hurled at them. All three pulled their wands and began to defend themselves. Harry was hidden behind Sirius and Bella as soon as the spells started but it didn't stop him from putting up shields for them. Aurors arrived quickly and some of the Death Eaters broke off to engage them from the back of the group. The majority were still shooting spells at the trio. Twenty minutes later found several Aurors and Death eaters on the ground. A new pop right in front of them caught their attention when Voldemort himself appeared.
"Bellatrix I am so disappointed in you." he said. His once dark hair was streaked with gray and his face was covered in wrinkles, "You see what the boy cost me. Hand him over and all will be forgiven. Hand him over and I will give you your heart's desire, I will mark you."
"No." she stated firmly.
"I don't think you know her heart's desire anymore Moldy." Sirius sneered, "Tattoos are out of fashion now."
"Silence." Voldemort screamed. He then calmed seeing Harry peeking out from behind the two, "Never mind I'll silence you myself. Avada Kadriva."
The green light sped across the space at Sirius and he thought he was dead. It took a second to realize it wasn't aimed at him. By the time it registered there was already something in the way.
***A few minutes previous ***
Albus Dumbledore arrived at Diagon Alley amongst the chaos of battle. He started throwing curses and shields as he quickly analyzed the battle. He saw it centered on a group by Eyelops and then he realized who the group was. He immediately began to make his way to Harry and his two guardians. Before he could reach them Voldemort himself arrived and after a few seconds sent a killing curse at Harry.
"Move Harry." he yelled.
But it was for nothing as the boy swished his wand and a mirror appeared in the path of the curse. The curse struck the mirror and returned to its sender. Voldemort fell to the ground. Albus made his way to the body not taking his eyes off of it lest he miss something happening. He was met by Madeye Moody and Tonks. All three had their wands pointing at the mad man responsible for so many deaths. Moody handed his wand to Tonks and felt for a heartbeat. He stood up grinning and took his wand back from Tonks.
"Looks like he was never able to complete that particular ritual." the Auror said.
"Best news I've heard all day." Tonks sighed.
"Me too." Bella said from her spot not far from the dead body, "Who put up the mirror? I would never have thought to do that."
"I believe that was Harry's doing." Albus turned and looked over his glasses at the boy peeking out from behind Sirius, "Am I right about that?"
"Yes sir." Harry replied, "Sorry I did magic outside of school. I decided it was life or death so it would be ok."
"It's more than ok." Bella grabbed him and hugged him tightly.
"Did we get them all?" Sirius asked.
"Yes." Kingsley added as he walked up, "Witnesses say thirty seven popped into the alley before Voldemort arrived. We have thirty eight captured or killed."
"Keep a close eye on this body." Albus instructed, "I don't want it out of anyone's sight for at least twenty four hours. Then I want it shoved through the veil."
"Yes sir." Kingsley replied then grabbed the body of Voldemort by the collar and apparated away.
"Where are the healers?" Albus asked, "I want these three checked over."
"They've not arrived yet." Tonks supplied, "They'll be arriving momentarily."
"Well be inside the shop picking out an owl." Harry told them, "It's my birthday present."
He turned and grabbed the hands of Bella and Sirius and walked into the shop. In the end he was given a snowy owl with all the necessary accessories by the shop keeper. Bella was a bit aggravated because she still needed to buy him something for his birthday. The healers found them in the store and proclaimed them unharmed. Aurors told them they were free to leave. Remus had arrived and gave all three of them hugs.
"When I heard what was happening I about had a heart attack." the man claimed, "I'm so glad you're all right."
"We're fine but I think I've had enough shopping for one day." Harry declared.
"Good." Remus said, "But we have a slight problem. The press is outside and they all want pictures of Harry."
"How many?" Harry asked concerned.
"One is too many." Bella told him, "They'll start asking you all sorts of questions."
"About how I stopped him?" Harry asked.
"And about us." Sirius groaned, "It's going to be impossible to get him out of here."
"Use my floo." the shop keeper offered, "Part of you take him away then the rest can make a statement."
"Better than a portkey." Harry agreed.
Albus entered the shop, "We need to get Harry out of here."
"This nice man said we could use his floo." Harry stated.
"Thank you." Albus shook the shop keepers hand then turned to the group, "Remus take him to Hogwarts and then you can go home. You two come with me we'll make a statement."
"But…" Bella started and pointed at Harry.
"No I think it best if you are there." Albus stated.
As soon as Harry was gone the three left the shop to the chaos of the media. The noise level increased to deafening levels when they reached the group. Albus raised his hand and although it took several minutes the group quieted. Moody and Kingsley joined the group outside the emporium. Albus indicated for Moody to start.
"We have thirty eight offenders either caught or killed in today's fight. The ministry has two deaths and ten injuries to Aurors." Moody gave his information in his normal growl, "Three bystanders were killed and thirty sustained injuries. Of those thirty twenty five were treated on the scene and released. Five were transported to St. Mungo's. Names are not being released."
"Who were under the masks?" asked on reporter.
"Names are not being released." Moody said again.
"Was You-Know-Who among those caught?" another asked.
"Names are not being released." he reiterated.
"Is it true Harry Potter was here today? Is he ok?" the first reporter asked.
"He was." a man yelled from the side, "And those two protected him."
"Is this true?" the reporter asked.
"Yes." Albus said, "Sirius Black and Bellatrix Lestrange put themselves between Harry and the threat. He has been taken to Hogwarts for his safety and will be returning home with these two when we are finished here."
"Mrs. Lestrange how do you feel about today's judgement?" another reporter asked.
"I am thrilled." she said, "In fact we came today to celebrate my sentencing and Harry's birthday. Other than this little disturbance it has been quite a good day."
"Did you see Voldemort and do you know why he was here?" a reporter yelled from the back.
"Names are not being released." Moody replied. He was getting really tired of repeating himself.
"Other witnesses are saying he talked to you. What did he say?" another one yelled.
Bella looked at Moody and shrugged. Tonks pushed her way through the crowd and reached them just as the last question was being asked. She whispered in Moody's ear and then stood off to the side. He rolled his eyes and turned to the group.
"Minister Fudge is on the way." he said.
"Nymphadora can you get Amelia here?" Albus asked. She nodded and ran off before Albus turned back to the reporters, "We are going to have a few more people join us if you'll hold anymore questions for now."
Tonks returned with the head of Magical Law Enforcement a good five minutes before Fudge managed to appear. After placing privacy wards around them the group began to discuss what had happened and what they were going to say. The rest of the group was ready to pull their hair out over Fudge's disagreement with them all. He didn't believe they had stopped Voldemort and he didn't believe Bellatrix had changed her ways.
"How you got off I'll never know." He sneered, "I will see you in jail soon enough you won't be able to suppress your evil for long."
"Are you still on Lucius' leash?" she retorted scathingly, "I think you'll find he'll be one of those uncovered today."
"This is an outrage." Fudge hissed, "He is an upstanding citizen."
"Who is lining your pockets." Sirius accused, "I saw you cozied up with him not long ago. I even saw him pass you a bag."
"A birthday present amongst friends is fine." Fudge replied huffily.
"True but your birthday isn't until September." Amelia replied, "When did you see this?"
"Last week in the Leaky Cauldron." Sirius said, "I was leaving that party for Ted's birthday. We were in private room three and he was just down the hall outside seven."
"That was nothing." Fudge insisted.
"We'll be investigating that." Amelia said, "Most specifically if he is uncovered as a death eater. Auror Tonks please inform Gringotts that Minister Fudge's accounts are frozen until the pending investigation is concluded."
"Yes Ma'am." Tonks scurried off.
"Auror Shacklebolt please escort Minister Fudge to his home where he is to be confined until such time as the investigation is completed." she continued to instruct. Once they were gone she turned to Albus, "What are we going to say about him leaving?"
"He has a personal matter that came up." Albus offered.
"Ok, now was that really You-Know-Who?" she asked.
The next morning at breakfast the news of Voldemort's demise was all over the papers. As well as the description of just how he was killed and who helped him do it. No one was scared to say his name anymore. Harry read the articles and sighed every time his name was mentioned. One of the articles was about him being raised by Bella. Someone had given the media a copy of Harry's letter to Amelia as well as the pictures. When she read the letter Bella burst into tears.
The letter read:
I am Harry Potter and I have something to say in the defense of Aunt Bella. Sirius says I'm not allowed to come to court because I'm only ten.
I understand you know her as Bellatrix Lestrange but I know her as my beloved Aunt. I know she hasn't always been a good person but she is the best to me. She saved my life and I will always be grateful for that. She also wrote all those letters to get Sirius free. She knew that the rat was the real culprit all along.
She has always told me how brave and wonderful my parents and their friends were. I can't imagine my life without her in it. I won't ever have my parents back but I have the next best thing in Aunty Bella, Uncle Sirius and Uncle Remus. Please take into consideration that she has done without a lot in order to keep me safe. She herself has had a very difficult time in life which was at its worse just before she saved me.
For a woman who was suppose to be such a pureblood fanatic I think it's remarkable what she has done. We have lived as muggles and not used any magic several times. She taught me many things including be polite to everyone regardless of their standing in life and friends are important. She even taught me that all humans are equal whether they have magic or not. She always said love is the most powerful force on earth. She has loved me and raised me the best she knows how.
I know she was bad before and I know she needs to pay the consequences for her actions, she taught me that. I only ask that you take into consideration what she has done for me. I can't thank you enough for giving her the chance to at least defend herself and her actions. I know it's a basic right but with Sirius' case as my background in the wizarding justice system I know that basic rights don't always get done.
Thank you for all you have done. I almost forgot, I am including some of my favorite pictures of the two of us. Please send them back as we don't have copies.
Harry James Potter
"Don't cry Aunty." Harry hugged her.
"I'm not crying." she claimed as she tried to dry her tears, "My joy is just leaking."
Harry, Sirius and Remus laughed heartily. Little more than a year later Harry found himself hugged half to death before he got on the train to Hogwarts. He walked down the train until he found a compartment with three people in it. Two boys and one girl were sitting on the seats when he knocked on the door.
"Mind if I sit here?" he asked.
"Not at all." the girl replied, "I'm Hermione Granger by the way and this is Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom."
"I'm Harry Potter." he said, "Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too." the group replied as one.
Harry enjoyed the ride to Hogwarts with his new friends.