Trials, Part 2

A/N: Disclaimer's in the first chapter.


September 25, Hogwarts

The next day was the scheduled trial for Fudge and Dumbledore. Moving Dumbledore, and ensuring he could not escape, was a rather intensive affair, so Willow, Agnes, and three other witches had arrived at dawn to act as wranglers. Xander, Harry, Hermione and Ron would all be standing witness against him. The Hogwarts Heads of Houses, Pomphrey, Sirius and Remus were all testifying as well, though there'd been some creative scheduling to allow it and keep the classes running as they ought.

Xander, with Willow at his side, opened the door to Dumbledore's Hogwarts cell. "Rise and shine, whiskers. Time to face the music."

Dumbledore regarded him serenely and didn't say anything, merely getting to his feet and approaching the door. Willow started muttering under her breath before he got more than one step in, and by the time Dumbledore reached the door, the ward or spell or whatever it was Willow had done to keep Dumbledore where they put him detached from the room and wrapped around Dumbledore in a faintly visible greenish oval bubble. Xander eyed him. "Just keep walking, whiskers. You're not getting out of that bubble anytime soon."

"I am quite eager to explain matters to the Wizengamot. I am sure they will understand that things had to be done the way they were done." Dumbledore said.

Xander was so very glad it was just him, Willow, and the ladies from the coven here to escort him. He was fairly sure that calm, bald-faced comment would have seen practically everyone else lunging for Dumbledore's throat. As it was, Willow was eyeing Dumbledore like she wanted to hit him, a sentiment Xander sympathized with. He pointedly pushed the man in the small of the back to get him walking. The bubble prevented him from apparating and kept Fawkes from grabbing him, but did not stop anything else from reaching in there, to allow for the application of veritaserum later, among other things. Dumbledore seemed inclined to stroll, but Xander was having none of that, repeatedly prodding the man every time he slowed up. After the third time, he glowered. "Next time, I poke with the sharp end of my axe." He threatened. Dumbledore gave him a sad, pitying, disapproving look for the threat, but he did move faster.

This promised to be a long, long day.

September 25, Ministry

If the previous day's trials had packed the courtroom to the rafters, then today's trial of Fudge and Dumbledore, which promised to be a long, drawn out and rather painful affair, had Amelia wondering if someone had used a temporary expansion charm to fit everyone inside the room. This time, it wasn't just gossip that had everyone talking. There was more than one person outright calling for blood in regards to Fudge, a sentiment Amelia could wholeheartedly understand, and a nearly equal number had dissolved into distressed tears over the possibility of Dumbledore not being the saint everyone thought him to be.

This time, the call for order took a good five minutes to take effect, even with the use of a sonorous. Once Amelia got them settled, Kingsley and two guards brought in Fudge.

The trial quickly took on a rather creepy note, as even under veritaserum, Fudge seemed to think that what he had done was right. And the list of things he'd done was ... more than slightly horrifying. Lucius, it was discovered, had been far from the first or only person to grease Fudge's palms in order to get him to turn a blind eye. He was also a horrifying bigot that would not have been out of place amongst the death eaters, and evidently taken a perverse pleasure in ratifying completely unjust laws that made the lives of anyone not a pureblood a misery.

He'd authored many of the stupid laws currently on the books, and several that were unenforcable or contradicted previous laws. He'd done everything he could to stall or block various reforms, like Arthur Weasley's Muggle protection laws, among others. He'd been responsible for the gutting of the Auror and DMLE department budgets, both for existing officers and training, and the nepotistic, pureblood-only friendly hiring policies forced on every Ministry department.

Amelia found herself unexpectedly grateful for Dumbledore's stubborn intransigence when Fudge started talking about Hogwarts. He had done everything he could think of to gain control of Hogwarts and thereby control what the upcoming generations learned, and from whom. Here, he'd run into serious opposition, as Dumbledore had clearly disapproved of anyone messing about in 'his' territory. Fudge had managed to have a few successes however, mostly via controlling what got written into books, and what books were available for possible use in classes, including jailing insistent would-be new authors on trumped-up charges if they refused to write according to Fudge's decrees. It had worked, too. The Muggle Studies class had been forced to use information that was some fifty or sixty years out of date at best, and History of Magic's textbooks were hugely biased, so that even if Binns hadn't been there to completely disinterest the children in history, they'd never have gotten an honest look at what had happened in the past.

In short, the man might as well have had a Dark Mark on his arm.

Things got interesting fast when Voldemort was mentioned. Despite the fact that Voldemort had been seen by practically every school-aged child in the wizarding world, most of Hogwarts' teachers and many of the survivors of Hogsmeade, Fudge was still, under veritaserum, claiming Voldemort had died for real the first time, and had never come back. The howls of outrage that brought on nearly lifted the roof straight off the courtroom.

Fudge's fate was rather swiftly decided, given the mass of evidence against him. He was sentenced to life in Azkaban by the narrowest of margins, as many people wanted to see him dead for his crimes. He was dragged away still protesting his innocence.

Then, Kingsley and the two guards brought in Dumbledore. Amelia did a double take at the greenish bubble around him.

"Auror Kingsley, what spell is that?" She wanted to know.

"I do not know, Madam Minister. The earth witch Willow Rosenberg did this, to ensure that the accused could not escape, given that he has a phoenix for a familiar." Kingsley told her.

"Indeed. She is scheduled as a witness?"

"Yes, Madam."

"Then we shall inquire as to her means of containment at that time." Amelia really, really wanted some of the Council's toys, if they could pull this off.

And so veritaserum was applied and the questioning began. And very shortly thereafter, so did the horrified silence. Because Dumbledore's sins didn't even come close to starting with Harry.

They started with Grindlewald. Dumbledore admitted to still believing in pureblood supremacy, and to subtly strengthening that cause while still appearing to be a friend to Muggleborns and Muggles. He'd only opposed Grindlewald when the man started killing indiscriminately. Such, Dumbledore proclaimed, was not the way to win the fight for the fate of the wizarding world. There was a better way. And the truly frightening thing was, Dumbledore had come to within a whisker of being right.

Dumbledore's great plan had started a year before he defeated Grindlewald, when pure chance put him in the path of one of the few phoenixes still known to exist just as it was rising again from its ashes. Using the phoenix's temporarily weakened state against it, combined with his own powerful Legilimency, Dumbledore forced a bond on the creature, and then to ensure it did not stray, gathered up every speck of the ashes left behind in its stony nest. Dumbledore knew phoenixes had to return to their nest, their ashes, in order to be reborn. He'd gone on to reinforce the forced bond every time Fawkes had a burning day. And since no one would ever dream of attempting to force a phoenix in such a manner, it never occurred to anyone that it was even possible, so Dumbledore's new 'pet' gave him the appearance of being a true champion of the Light, as everyone knew a phoenix did not bond to any but the Lightest of wizards and witches.

To say this enraged the people watching was the biggest understatement ever.

From there, Dumbledore planned his rise as the ruler of the wizarding world with great care. He met with Grindlewald and, when the man slept, stole his wand, knocked him out and locked him up. Then he sought out certain people and implanted in them memories of a spectacular fight. He sought out his old teachers and Ministry testers and implanted memories of him being far more clever at magic than he really had been at the time. Between the two, and Fawkes' presence, he was soon being hailed as the Leader of the Light.

About the only good news was that while Dumbledore'd been vaguely suspicious of young Tom Riddle, he hadn't had any real idea just how broken the boy really was. That said, as soon as he was named Headmaster, Dumbledore began his campaign to mold the wizarding world in the image he wanted.

Slytherin was subtly vilified, and Gryffindor praised. Binns kept on because he put kids to sleep, rather than interest them in history or teach them about it, thus blinding more and more generations to what had really happened. Certain other courses' books as chosen by the teachers were heavily slanted in certain directions. And the DADA curse was permitted to remain, despite Dumbledore having the power to break it, as it served his purposes, allowing him to choose pitiful teachers and thus gut the ability of future generations to defend themselves.

He'd pretended to fight for equal rights for Muggleborns and Half-bloods, then given mournful looks and blamed the extremists when the pureblood-friendly laws passed. Despite being named head of the Wizengamot and the International Confederation, Dumbledore never once used that power to oppose injustice towards Muggles, Muggleborns, or Halfbloods.

Then things got worse. He'd known Hagrid was innocent, and never did anything, despite having had the power to call for a real trial, given that Hagrid had been a victim of 'he's clearly guilty, so let's snap his wand', and never had a trial. Instead, he'd manipulated Hagrid by giving him a job at Hogwarts and doing the 'I wish I could help but this is the best I can do' dance.

He'd also been aware of multiple cases of Muggleborns or Muggle-raised halfbloods being abused at home, and done nothing to help them. Had been aware of vicious hazing on the part of more than one group of Gryffindors against Slytherins, and just stood by.

He'd used Voldemort and his campaign to his own advantage as well, hamstringing those that followed him by encouraging the use of stunners only. The results on the Order, which had been largely halfblood and Muggleborn, combined with poor education for decades prior, had been rather predictable. It'd been an easy way to thin the Muggleborn population a bit.

And then there's what he'd pulled on Harry. Deliberately going against the Potters' Will, ensuring Sirius never got a trial, allowing Harry to be abused and forcing him to return to an abusive home every year, not to mention the shenanigans Dumbledore had pulled at Hogwarts while Harry was there.

By the time Dumbledore wound down, there wasn't a person in the courtroom that wasn't howling for the old bastard's blood. Xander was deeply grateful Spike wasn't here, as he wasn't entirely sure he'd have been able to stop Spike from draining Dumbledore dry. Or if he'd even have wanted to try to stop Spike. As it was, he and Sirius spent most of the time with Harry huddled between them looking horrified and completely miserable.

The debate on what to do with Dumbledore was sharp, but rather short. The only thing anyone was worried about was what shoving Dumbledore through the Veil would do to Fawkes. Eventually, it was decided to lock Dumbledore away until after Fawkes' next burning day, which would be sometime in November. At that point, Fawkes, able to be reborn away from Dumbledore, would be free of the forced bond (they hoped) and there would be no danger to the phoenix when Dumbledore got shoved through the Veil.

In order to ensure Dumbledore had no chance of escape in the meantime, he was remanded into the care of the Council, who were enjoined to ensure he remained a captive wherever they put him, because, as Amelia put it.

"There are those in our world who would seek to see him free, even now, believing all this to be lies. And there are, now, quite a number who would be only too happy to see him dead. As such, our ability to incarcerate him is ... suspect ... at best."

September 25, Location Unknown

Four hours after Dumbledore's sentence was handed down, Xander, Willow, Giles and Faith arrived at what would be Dumbledore's cell until Fawkes' burning day. It was a small, very isolated cottage that had been stripped of ... pretty much everything. There was a cot, with blanket and pillow, and a chair to sit in, and that was it. The cabin had been surrounded by Willow's anti-escape bubble, among other spells designed to keep Dumbledore in the cottage, and keep the cottage from being seen or found by anyone or anything except Winky. Winky had agreed to be bound to Sirius, and had been given the job of bringing food to Dumbledore once a day, and cleaning the cottage once a week. She was expressly forbidden to communicate with Dumbledore in any way, as well as communicating, in any way, the location of the cottage to anyone. She was also expressly forbidden to bring anything into the cottage except food, even if Dumbledore hurt himself. If that happened, she was to inform Sirius immediately, and it'd be taken care of at that point.

That done, everyone left, leaving Dumbledore to his isolation.