Chupii: Thanks! I'm trying to update more frequently. Maybe after finals…
AlsoKnownAsMatt: Yeah, there are some errors. I just don't have a beta because that would delay my updates even further, and I really just want to get chapters up for you guys.
plums: I see your point, but I hate writing super long tedious one-shots. It takes forever, and I think you lose some character development. I just don't have the attention span. I will try to work on the transitions/chapter breaks. Thanks for the tip!
Guest: Yes, Daphne is very smart. This chapter will explain the Aimee Yaxley/Harry Potter relationship. I refuse to give anything away. *winks*
anthony37: Hmm, I hadn't thought of that angle, but now that you've mentioned it I'll have to explore it. Maybe in the chapter after this one. I can't tell you what the verdict is yet… *smirks*
Anonymous0786: Nope. Alastor Moody is just plain dead.
Kairan1979: That is true. Penelope is going to try to do her job whether she likes it or not. I'm not sure what's going to happen to Harry. Stay tuned to find out!
mickypants: I don't know what that reference means so I have no idea what you're talking about, but if you PM me and explain it I'll let you know.
RAfan2421: The Double Agent one-shot if great. The whole story is just the trial. I thought it was an interesting concept to explore, revealing someone's past through this setting. This is more a character driven story than a plot driven one. There really is no fancy adventure or anything like that. I'm not sure exactly what you expected, but I don't think I ever claimed this story to be anything else. Hope you keep reading!
Harry closed his eyes, almost as if he was in pain. It was a strange reaction to be sure, but most people were more interested in the answer to the question than his reaction to it. Little was actually known about the girl. She graduated with honors from Durmstrang, but she didn't join the Death Eaters until two years later. Like Harry, she had rarely participated in raids, but unlike him she had not survived the war. Rumors swirled that Bellatrix Lestrange, jealous of Harry's attentions to the girl, had killed her in rage, or that Harry himself had killed her in an effort to advance his position in Voldemort's ranks. No one knew exactly what was true anymore.
"What do you want to know?" he asked, opening his eyes and looking at Daphne.
"What was your relationship with her?" Daphne pressed.
Harry gave her a look. She interpreted the look of him asking exactly which side of her was asking, the lawyer or the girlfriend. Daphne supposed that it was a little bit of both. There was no separating her personal from this case. It was the whole reason she had taken it.
"We were friends," he answered quietly. It was such a loaded sentence, and Daphne knew that he knew that.
"Friends?" she repeated, crossing her arms.
"Surprised?" he asked, smirking. "Did you think Death Eaters sat around and hated each other?"
"Well, you certainly don't sit around and braid each other's hair," Daphne quipped.
Harry's ghostly smiled made another appearance. "Being in that place is what I think being in Hell would be like. Aimee and I were friends because otherwise it's possible we both would have lost our minds." Pausing for a moment, he added, "I trusted her."
"Why?" Daphne asked. It was rare for Harry to say he trusted anyone. The last time he said he trusted someone, he had said it to her.
Harry shook his head. "It would be easier to show you." Three memories were given and deposited into the Pensieve.
The first memory started to play. It looked like Voldemort's throne room. The inner circle stood to the side of his throne. Harry was next to Bellatrix while Aimee stood next to Rabastan. There was a young women, probably only nineteen, on her knees in front of her.
"Bella," Voldemort said smoothly. "Teach this Mudblood a lesson." Bellatrix cast a Crucio, causing the girl to spasm on the floor in pain. Harry seemed to look on impassively, but those who knew him saw a hint of fear and revulsion in his eyes. After the girl had screamed so much that she had lost her voice, Voldemort had dismissed the meeting.
Harry walked down a hallway and turned into a bathroom. Closing the door and casting a locking charm on it, he promptly emptied the contents of his stomach into the toilet. Daphne watched with horror until Harry stood up, flushed the toilet, and washed his face. He remained there for a while, clutching the countertop tightly.
The door opened, and Harry turned, wand gripped tightly in his hand. Aimee Yaxley stood in the doorway. Her black curls were pinned back, and she could easily be mistaken for Bellatrix except that she was more gentle looking.
"What do you want?" Harry snapped, his voice harsher than usual.
Aimee shrugged, twirling her wand in her fingers. "Nothing," she answered casually.
"Well, you know the way out." Aimee didn't respond to that. Instead, she just stood there observing him. Annoyed, Harry turned to face her.
Before he could say anything, she said, "I had been wondering why a Gryffindor Golden Boy would join the Death Eaters. I guess I have my answer now."
Harry narrowed his eyes. "You don't know anything," he challenged.
"That's true," Aimee agreed. "But I can guess some things. You don't like killing or torture. I could see it in your eyes. In fact, it disgusts you. Your cover is good, Mr. Potter, but it isn't perfect."
Harry's hold on his wand tightened, but Aimee stepped towards him, get close enough to whisper in his ear. "Don't worry," she said. "I won't tell."
"Why?" Harry's voice was now tired and hoarse. Any other Death Eater would've gone immediately to Voldemort, eager to reap the benefits of capturing a traitor. Why didn't she?
"Because I don't want to be here either." The memory faded out, leaving a lot more questions than answers. Daphne turned to Harry.
"What did she mean, 'I don't want to be here either'?"
Harry's jaw clenched in that way it always did when he was upset or angry. "Aimee graduated from Durmstrang and started Healing training. She didn't join the Death Eaters until her father issued a threat."
"No," Harry replied. "Against her daughter." Shock emulated across the courtroom as he continued talking. "Her fiancé was Muggleborn. She Obliviated him as he would be safe from all this and hide her daughter so her father couldn't have them as leverage. Aimee was no more a pureblood fanatic than I am. She had a NEWT in Muggle Studies for Merlin's sake."
"Did her plan work?" Daphne couldn't help but ask.
Harry's eyes darkened. "Somewhat. Her daughter was safe, but her fiancé was killed in a raid on a Muggle neighborhood." He paused.
Daphne would've kept asking questions, wanting to know everything and anything that had happened to him during that horrible time, but the next memory was starting.
Aimee and Harry were sitting in the window seat of a lavishly decorated bedroom. The door was closed and presumably locked, but the windows were open. Both were smoking Muggle cigarettes and sharing a bottle of Firewhiskey. Harry took a drag of his cigarette, passing the bottle to Aimee. She took a swing and then laughed.
"I love these Muggle things, but nothing beats Firewhiskey," she proclaimed.
Harry nodded, releasing the smoke. "The two keys to a stress-free night," he said, gesturing to the two items.
Aimee looked out the window wistfully, flicking the ashes off her cigarette. "What do you miss the most?" Harry looked at her quizzically. "About your life before all this, I mean."
Harry took a drink out of the Firewhiskey bottle and swallowed. "Playing Quidditch with my brother," he answered. "Being woken up on Christmas morning by my lunatic godfather and his brats. Pulling pranks with friends. Listening to my parents squabble and not mean it. All those little things, I guess. I was prepared to miss my family and all the big things. I never knew how much I'd missed those."
Aimee gave Harry a shrew look. "And the girl?" she prodded.
Harry almost dropped the Firewhiskey bottle. "What girl?" he said defensively.
Aimee sighed. "The one you left behind to be here," she said. Harry began to make noises of protests, but she stopped him. "Harry, trust me. I've been there. I know."
Harry didn't say anything in reply, only leaning back into the window seat. He closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of wind on his face. Daphne remembered how he always used to do that when they meet at the Astronomy tower at night. He said he loved the wind, how it made him feel free.
"Do you think this war is ever going to end?" he asked, throwing the rest of his cigarette out the window.
Aimee frowned. "I don't know," she answered. "I don't think it can go on forever, but I don't know how it's going to end either." She grabbed the bottle out of Harry's hands. "I just hope that I can defy these bastards at least once before I die," she stated, finishing off the bottle.
Harry ran his hands through his mess of a hair. "I just can't afford to think like that," he said. "I have to finish what I've started."
Daphne raised an eyebrow. She didn't know if Aimee had known the details of Harry's mission. She barely knew any herself. The girl herself, however, did not seem too surprised. Aimee squeezed his hand comfortingly. "You will," she said with conviction. "I'm sure of it. Just… Promise me something?"
"Okay," Harry agreed.
"If I don't make it through the war, find my daughter and take care of her for me?"
Shock was written all over in Harry's face. "What about her father?" he asked seriously.
Aimee's forehead was scrunched and her lips tilted into a frown. Harry didn't seem to need her answer. "I will," he promised. "I'll do the best I can."
Aimee smiled and kissed his cheek. Daphne didn't let it bother her. It didn't seem like a romantic kiss. "Thank you."
Daphne studied Harry's face. There was tiredness and sadness and pain as she expected there to be, but there was also something she didn't expect: guilt. What did Harry have to be guilty for here?"
"Aimee Yaxley is dead, correct?" she questioned briskly.
"Yes," Harry answered, looking down at her feet.
"And how exactly did she die?" There was nothing but silence from Harry. "Harry?"
"Mr. Potter, please answer the question," Minister Bones stated, peering at through her glasses.
"I killed her," Harry answered, his voice monotone and flat.
Just as fast as Harry had won sympathy in the courtroom, he also lost it. Many people who were starting to think he wasn't that bad were suddenly denouncing him. His simple statement made him look like a hypocrite and a liar. Most of all, it made him seem guilty of something.
Daphne, however, remembered something Harry had said earlier on in the trial. "She was your one kill, wasn't she?" the defense attorney asked softly. Harry nodded, looking down at his hands. "Why?"
"I made a promise," Harry stated, meeting the lawyer's eye. "And as you have reminded me, I always keep my promises.."
He gestured for her to play the third memory. Harry was in a darkly lit room, reading a book in a chair. He looked better than he had in the last memory. From the looks of him, it was a more recent memory. Aimee came out the room, parchment rolled up in her hands.
"You are going to love me!" she proclaimed, waving the paper in her hands.
Harry looked up fleetingly from his book. "And why is that?" he asked, his eye returning to the page.
Aimee glanced around the room before casting very strong wards around the door. After guaranteeing it was safe, she said, "Because I have the ward plans."
Harry's eyes widened. He looked at the papers in her hands. "How?"
Aimee gave him a devious smile. "It's better that you don't know," she stated, handing them to him. "Give them to your people."
Harry just looked dumbstruck at what he had been given before his eyes narrowed. "And what is this going to cost me?" he questioned.
"Just a small favor," Aimee reassured him. "I need you to get something for me. Promise you will?"
"Promise," Harry agreed, still glancing down at the papers in his hand. The memory faded out, leaving the courtroom stunned yet again.
"The Unspeakables provided the warding plans to the Aurors."
"Who gave the plans to them?"
Harry smirked. "A friend of mine dropped them off anonymously for me." He shook his head. "If it wasn't for Aimee, this war wouldn't be over."
"What was the favor?" Daphne asked, furrowing her eyebrows. Some of the pieces of this puzzle still didn't fit.
Harry sighed. "She asked me to get a poison for her."
"A poison?" Daphne repeated. She was about to ask why when she thought about why. Horror spread across her features. Now Daphne understood that while Harry hadn't killed Aimee like he had Moody, he felt more responsible for her death than that of his mentor. It was like this cloud that was haunting him wherever he went now. She saw a lot of clouds over him that there hadn't been before.
"I bought it for her because I thought she was going to use it for a potion or something. Aimee was valuable because she had Potions and healing expertise. I was valuable because of my dueling experience. When I gave it to her, she just smiled and said thank you. The next morning, house elves found her dead in her bed."
Daphne had more questions, about a million more, but she was too tired to ask them. "That's all, your Honor," she said to Minister Bones.
The older woman nodded. "We will reconvene this court tomorrow. Ms. Greengrass, Ms. Clearwater-Weasley, please see me in my office. Court room adjorned."
People started flooding out of the room. Harry was escorted back to his Ministry holding cell. Daphne grabbed her briefcase and headed to Bones's office. Harry had done his fighting. It was time for her to do hers.