Disclaimer: I don't, and never will, own Harry Potter. All plots and characters belong to J.K. Rowling and company.
/mind-to-mind with Huginn/
A/N: SO... I had nothing to say... then I saw that Corvus has over 500,000 views.
I am floored!
Thank you! THANK YOU! ALl of your reviews and comments and critiques... I can NEVER explain just how much they mean to me.
"I still don't understand, Lucius," Narcissa Malfoy said sounding tired. They had been over this many times over the past couple of weeks- every night since school let out. "You know I agree with the Dark Lord's ideals as much as you, but to put our family in danger in such a way? And wasn't that the book that the Dark Lord gave you to hold in trust?"
"Yes, but it was meant to bring him back into power! The longer he is gone, the more the old ways are being outlawed and buried. I can't even find any books about the equinoxes unless I'm in Knockturn! The bill that Weasley wanted to go through would not only outlaw the books, but extend the Azkaban sentence of anyone found practicing such to a year, instead of the 3 months it is."
"So we fight it inside the Ministry! We don't take it to the school where children reside! Do you know what you nephew went through?" Lucius tried to reply but was cut off as his wife continued to rage, "Then he returns to have you tell him that he wasn't your nephew, that he wasn't family!"
Narcissa studied her husband closely, "You didn't answer about the book being the one you were to hold in trust for the Dark Lord."
The Malfoy head paled a bit, "Well," he cleared his throat. "It was clearly going to be used to further our cause later on. I don't think-"
"NO! You don't think! Lucius Malfoy, what if that was something irreplaceable? Did you even think of the danger we will be in when He returns?"
"Narcissa. You will stop berating me at this moment. You are my wife, not my keeper!"
"Maybe not," she returned coldly. "But I am keeper of our son. I'm sure if I approached Lord Black, he could find a place for us."
"Wouldn't I? You forget, Lucius Malfoy, I was once a Black. That is more than a name. Consider that when the consequences that you are not considering come barreling into this family."
Lord Malfoy watched his wife walk out of his office before using his wand to slam the door behind her. He put his head in his hands and thought over everything that had happened. Again.
Narcissa had allowed him back into the bedroom- mainly to keep him from complaining more. But she had yet to let him touch her in any way. No caresses, no kisses, no hugs. Nothing. He was starving for any affection from his wife.
That damn book started it all. The moment he had remembered about the book, the harder it was to keep from using it. He passed by it daily... it sat idly on the bookshelf behind his desk.
And it called out to him. He had to do it. This would work! This would bring back the Dark Lord!
'Wait,' he thought to himself, confused. 'Where did that last thought come from? I said the same thing to Cissa... Why would I think it would bring back the Dark Lord?'
He ran a finger over his top lip, brows furrowed in thought. 'Could it have been a compulsion? But... then it was out of the house. Once the ball was rolling I didn't want to stop. Once the book was gone, I still felt that it was worth the risk. My son was a Slytherin after all.'
He shook his head out again. This would take some thought. If only he had kept a journal like Severus had suggested all those years ago...
Suddenly Lucius' office floo flared up and a piece of parchment with the Wizengamot seal flew out. He read it with a raised brow, surprised at the events. Then again, when it came to the Lestrange family he should stop being surprised.
He took a glass and poured himself some fire whiskey, knocking it back with a light grimace. Then he went to his bedroom, not looking at his wife as he gathered his official robes.
He wasn't supposed to tell anyone about where he was going.
Albus Dumbledore sat in his chambers and thought about the penseive before him again. There was something about that Lestrange child.
Shaking his head out angrily, he again put his head into the bowl. He would be busy with the memories of his meetings with the boy for hours. He completely missed the notice from the Wizengamot that came flying through his floo.
Fawkes would be sure that the man wouldn't receive it at all, when he decided to place the missive on his perch... and flame over it.
Just Five hour after Sirius Black approached the head of the DMLE, and one hour since the notices were sent out, the entire Wizengamot, bar Albus Dumbledore, was gathered. They all sat up on a dais in a round stone room down in the bowels of the ministry. In the center of the room was a wooden chair with enchanted chains that clinked ominously as if wanting to grab on to any person who was near.
Since Dumbledore was not present, Amelia Bones as head of the DMLE would be filling in for him. Cornelius Fudge sat beside her looking disgruntled at having been interrupted. His toady, Delores Umbridge, sat beside him looking smug. She wouldn't have been allowed in the chamber if not for her connection to the Minister after all.
The doors slammed open as two Aurors dragged in a bone thin man. Though he was clean, his clothes were little more than rags and his hair was long and stringy. He was practically being carried to the chair in the middle of the room. Everyone watched as the Aurors had to magically tighten the chains on the arms of the chair since the man's arms were so thin.
A loud banging echoed through the room, bringing attention to the witch at the head of the room.
"Before we begin, let it be known that a secrecy spell has been cast over this court room. No one shall be able to speak of today's events until it is made public." She looked around the room and saw some people grumbling, no doubt wanting to sell the story. All others were nodding.
"Very well," she continued, taking a deep breath. "The trial of Wizarding Britain versus Rodolphus Lestrange had been called into session." As expected there was a loud uproar at this declaration. After a minute of chaos, she banged her gavel and cast a sonorous, "Enough! This is not a second trial, as we know those are not permitted. This morning it was brought to my attention that Rodolphus Lestrange never received a trial."
Cries of outrage from the pureblood representatives echoed through the room, and Madam Bones banged the gavel again.
"Ladies and gentleman!" She waited for silence before continuing. "This trial is to right that wrong. It is in no way declaring that Lord Lestrange is innocent of his charges, but it is a wizard's right to a fair trial."
Nods all around the room let her know that she had everyone's attention. Madam Longbottom, whose son was supposedly attacked by Lestrange had nothing but cold eyes for the man in the middle of the room.
"It will be a trial with Veritaserum," Madam Bones continued. "Healer Grenton?"
A man in black robes stepped forward with a vial of clear liquid. He had a grimace on his face, not really wanting to approach the convict.
As he moved to grab Rodolphus' chin, he paused in surprise. The man simply opened his mouth without asking. After three drops, the Healer looked into the man's eyes, waiting for the signs of the potion taking effect. When the grey eyes became unfocused, Grenton nodded at Madam Bones.
The witch looked at the man chained before her amd took a breath. "What is your name?"
"Rodolphus Serpens Lestrange"
"Were you at any time a loyal follower of Lord Voldemort?" gasps echoed through the chamber at the sound of the Dark Lord's name.
"Yes," came the dull answer.
"Did you join willingly?"
"At the time of your imprisonment were you still following Lord Voldemort willingly?"
"No," this time gasps echoed throughout the room for a different reason.
Even Madam Bones jerked up in surprise. "Why not?" she asked once over the shock.
"The Dark Lord changed. Where there was once a man standing tall explaining to us a world where traditions remained and muggle-born were integrated more firmly, there was a creature who was determined to destroy all half blood and muggle-born, in the process destroying many of the Ancient and Noble families."
"Do you have the Dark Mark?"
"How long did you follow him willingly?"
"In that time, did you ever commit a murder?"
"In the time you followed Lord Voldemort willingly, did you ever participate in torture?"
"Why did you not participate in these events?
"I was considered his historian and kept to the library. I was also a secondary Potions Master to the Dark Lord."
"While unwillingly following Lord Voldemort did you ever commit murder or participate in torture?"
"Do you agree with the destruction of all muggle-born witches and wizards?"
"They were still witches and wizards, no matter their birth. By killing them, the Dark Lord killed off many powerful magical beings who could have reinforced our society."
"So you don't believe that muggle-borns are weakening the blood of the magical world?"
"I believe that there is no true muggleborn."
"Why do you believe there is no true muggleborn?"
"Magic is inherited," the man bit out, though clearly trying to fight the potion now. "Even squibs have some magic. What we know as Muggleborn are actually from squibs that were disowned or exiled from the Wizarding World."
"How do you know this?"
"I am a history fanatic and read all I could on the subject."
Lucius Malfoy who had been lost in the surprise of his brother-in-laws betrayal of their lord, finally found his voice and interrupted. "What does this have to do with the case at hand?"
Remembering where she was, Madam Bones cleared her throat and turned her attention to the Wizengamot members. She had been so interested in the man's responses she nearly forgot where she was! She made a mental note to see about getting him to research further before continuing.
"I apologize Lord Malfoy," she began. "I was just trying to find the reason for the change in heart. Wanting to follow someone enough to be 'branded', then not wanting to follow that person's ways anymore- it was clear that something major must have happened. Now we know what it was and can view the case even better. Even so, I apologize and will return to the questioning at hand," she waited for the nod, then continued. "Rodolphus Lestrange, did you torture Alice or Frank Longbottom?"
Gasps rang through the courtroom at the answer. Even thought he had declared never to have tortured anyone, it was still a shock. Seeing his eyes were clearing and not wanting innocence to be questioned, she had the Healer administer another dose of veritaserum and repeated her question. He answered, again, in the negative.
"What happened on the night Lord Frank Longbottom and Lady Alice Longbottom were attacked?"
"I followed Barty Crouch, Jr. to the Longbottom home. He was following lead that they knew where the Dark Lord was. Crouch asked them, but they denied it. He cursed them with cruciatus, trying to get the truth. He pulled out veritaserum and dosed both Alice and Frank. Even under the potion, they denied any knowledge. After that, Crouch went crazy. He cast the cruciatus at Alice Longbottom. By the end each had been under the curse for over 10 minutes. I tried to stop him, but he cast at me as well, knocking me down. I attempted to get up, still telling him to stop, but he cast a 'stupefy' at me. I dodged it, but tripped over a toy in the room. He successfully knocked me out. The last I saw was Frank Longbottom standing shakily and trying to talk the man down."
A sob from the Wizengamot reminded them of the fact that Frank's mother was in attendance, and kept from further inquiring about details.
The Wizengamot cast a silencing bubble around themselves and convened to decide the man's future... or lack of.
After just 10 minutes of deliberation, the charm was removed. Madam Bones stood and turned to Lord Lestrange.
"You have admitted to willingly following the wizard known as Lord Voldemort in the previous war. Since you admitted under veritaserum that you only followed willingly for a short time, and that you did not commit murder or torture, your sentence was seriously reduced. The sentence is 6 years in Azkaban. Since you have already served 12 years, the Wizengamot declares it served."
After seeing the relief in Lestrange's eyes, showing his understanding of what she had stated, she turned to the legal body. "When I request, raise your wands." They all knew the process, but still nodded. "Those who find Lord Rodolphus Serpens Lestrange guilty of attacking and disabling Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom, raise your wands."
She looked around the room and counted 8 wands. "Thank you," she waited for them to drop. "Those who find Lord Rodolphus Serpens Lestrange innocent of attacking and disabling Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom, raise your wands." More than 20 wands were raised high, though Lady Augusta Longbottoms was the highest.
Amelia Bones banged her gavel on the dais before declaring. "Lord Rodolphus Serpens Lestrange is hereby found innocent of the charges brought forth and has been declared to have served his sentence for his years as a Death Eater. He will be reimbursed by the Ministry of Magic in the amount 100,000 Galleons for each year he was incarcerated, totaling 600,000 Galleons."
With another bang on the gavel, the Wizengamot dispersed. Amelia and Sirius Black approached the Lestrange Lord and brought him to the office of the Head of the DMLE.
Rodolphus winced internally as he heard himself answer the questions. He noticed multiple Darker families giving him angry looks, the most significant coming from Lucius Malfoy. He knew he had no choice, yet was internally kicking himself. At least he was never a spy. That would at least work in his favor. He hoped he could corner them at some point and make them remember what had happened.
How many Dark families had they lost due to the Dark Lord going insane?
As Madam Bones began delivering his sentence for being a Death Eater, Rodolphus held his breath. This was the fact that would break him. He willingly served the man, for however small amount of time.
He let out a large breath of air as the witch announced his sentence and the fact it was considered served. As the 20 wands lit the air, he collapsed in the chair, thankful for the chains that kept him from slipping to the floor.
The 8 wands that were raised for his guilt were Dark families. Nott, Goyle, Crabbe, Parkinson, Flint and others who he knew he would have to avoid, and tell his son to avoid.
His son! He couldn't wait to see Corvus again!
"What are you smiling about Lestrange?" Black hissed angrily as he took the ex-convict by the arm, Madam Bones taking the other.
He focused on putting one step in front of the other, not even noticing the official elevator the three ended up in.
As he was pushed into a chair in the office of Madam Bones, Rodolphus smiled again and turned to the surly Auror. "What isn't there to smile about, Black? I'm free after being unlawfully imprisoned for 12 years. I get to see my wife. I get to see my son!" He smiled fully now.
Madam Bones spoke up then, "You are right, Lord Lestrange. I can only apologize for the previous administration's horrendous actions and your consequent imprisonment. Once we are through today, you will let us know what other steps you would like to take."
Rodolphus nodded his agreement and waited.
"Well, Lestrange. Where is Pettigrew?" Black snarled out eventually.
Before he could answer, Madam Bones interrupted. "I would like, Lord Lestrange, for you to explain to me the events of the night Pettigrew allegedly escaped."
The man lifted his eyes to the witch before him. He remembered Amelia Bones from their school days. She was 4 years ahead of him, but even then everyone knew she saw through any dragon dung anyone tried to throw at her.
Rodolphus bowed from his seat, and began speaking. He watched as Amelia took notes as he spoke, asking questions throughout his telling. By the time he was done, he was quite exhausted and began to nod off.
He listened as the two began discussing between themselves what would happen. Just as he was drifting off, he heard his name called and opened an eye blearily.
"Lord Lestrange. Today's trial was closed, though the news will be out tomorrow. What would you like to do? Normally we would have you in Saint Mungo's but I also know that the pureblood families prefer to be treated in their own homes by their personal Healers if possible"
Rodolphus nodded and thought it over. There really was no option in his opinion. The only thing that kept him sane in Azkaban was the family he had waiting for him. "I want to go home," he said with a small smile and watery eyes. "I want to go home."
Black looked at him oddly, but said nothing. He led Rodolphus into a side conference room off of Amelia's office and sat him in a chair. The other wizard looked as if he wanted to say something, but shook his head and closed his mouth.
What felt like moments later, but was nearly an hour, Rodolphus stood from his chair as the door opened. A blur of black immediately running towards him.
A/N: Next chappie... still working on it. I still have my bunny trails, but i always come back to Corvus :)
As always, thanks for the notes, reviews, and love!