Wizengamot Chambers - Ministry of Magic
The Wizengamot were gathered for the third time in less than a week. The press boxes and public viewing seats were filled, though several of the hereditary seats for members remained empty. As Dumbledore took his seat, he could see a handful of barely of age wizards and witches standing on the floor. He took a deep breath before banging the gavel. "I declare this three hundred and ninety fifth session of the Wizengamot open."
After the session opened, the role call was done and the previous minutes read, Albus looked to those on the floor. "Do we have any declarations that need to be made?" The six on the floor shuffled their feet before a tall young man stepped forward and crossed his wand over his heart. "I, David Densmore, since the death of my father, four days prior, declare that I am the rightful and acknowledged Chief of the Clan Densmore. Furthermore, I declare my intention to assume my role as a member of this body as is my right by inheritance and law. I declare that my house will vote with the Neutral Alliance at this time, though reserve the right to re-align our allegiance at any time in the future. So I say, so mote it be."
The members of the Wizengamot echoed, "So mote it be." This formal acceptance of seats was repeated by the other five young adults on the floor before they took their seats. After this was done, Albus gestured to Mycroft, who was seated slightly behind and to his right. "I would like to point out that we have the Royal Liaison, the Baron Holmes with us today at the request of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. I will remind you all that the Royal Liaison will only vote in the event of a tied verdict. He is also serving as the third member of High Office needed to call the Wizengamot to order." Albus asked for new business, of which there was none brought forward as the whole hall was eager to get to the reason they were all there.
"I call for the prisoner Sirius Black to be brought before this body to answer for any crimes he has committed. Please bring the prisoner in." The doors opened and a gaunt, pale, but presentable Sirius Black was escorted in by two Auror guards and followed by his barrister. Once he was seated in the defendant's chair, chains sprung up and wrapped around his wrist and ankles. With a nod from the barrister, Albus began.
"In light of the missing file of the prisoner known as Sirius Orion Black, the Head of the DMLE, the Royal Liaison, and the Chief Warlock, a quorum consisting of three of the four needed High Officers, as stated in Section 6, subsection 4, article 2 of the Statute of Secrecy, have unanimously agreed to try Sirius Orion Black for his crimes."
"Sirius Black, you have been brought before this body to answer for the crimes you have been accused of. You are accused of being an accessory to the murder of Lord James Potter and Lady Lily Potter of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter. You are accused of the attempted murder of Harrison Potter, the Heir Assumptive of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter and the Heir Assumptive of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. You are accused of the the murder of the wizard Peter Pettigrew, Order of Merlin Second Class. You are accused of joining the terrorist organization lead by the wizard Tom Riddle, known as the Death Eaters. You are accused of the murder of thirteen muggles. How do you plea to these charges?" A hush had fallen over the room when Albus began to speak.
The barrister stepped forward. "Theodore Tonks, barrister hired on behalf of Sirius Black. My client pleads not guilty on all charges and requests the use of veritaserum while answering the court's questions." Murmurs were heard after the request.
Veritaserum could be requested by anyone on trial, though few were confident enough in their own innocence to request the potion. Once the potion was requested, the Wizengamot could not deny the request, so Albus nodded to the Ministry Potioneer. The man stepped forward and showed the vial to Barrister Tonks, the Chief Warlock, and the Ministry Prosecutor who all confirmed that the seal of the vial was intact. Three drops were administered to Sirius and the typical identifying questions were asked. Once it was determined the serum was in full effect, the Ministry Prosecutor began asking questions. It became almost immediately obvious to many that Sirius Black was an innocent man.
State your full name for the record.
Sirius Orion Black
What is your date of birth?
3 November, 1959
Are you known by any other names?
My nickname is Padfoot
Did you kill the Lord and Lady Potter
Did you attempt to kill Heir Harrison Potter?
Did you kill Peter Pettigrew?
Are you a member of the terrorist organization known as the Death Eaters?
At this time, both barristers looked at each other and had a small whispered conference. After a quick nod to each other, they turned to Albus. "Chief Warlock, we would like to ask the courts permission to proceed with another line of questioning. Both Barrister Allerton and I have agreed that it pertains to the case and may gives us answers to some of the questions we have surrounding the night of the Potter's death."
Albus received a nod from both Mycroft and Amelia before agreeing. "The court grants your request."
Allerton began a new set of questions.
Were you the secret keeper of the home belonging to Lord and Lady Potter located in Godric's Hollow?
Do you know who the secret keeper was?
How do you know that Pettigrew was the secret keeper?
I was there when Lily performed the ritual to create the Fidelus Charm making Pettigrew the secret keeper.
Where you aware that Peter Pettigrew was a Death Eater?
Did you suspect Pettigrew of being a Death Eater?
Do you know how Pettigrew could have turned up dead only a few days ago, when he was reported deceased four years ago?
He was an animagus. His form was a common rat. When I confronted him on the muggle street, he cut off his pinky finger before blowing up the street and transforming into his animagus form. I assume he escaped into the sewers. I was knocked down and hit my head in the explosion. When I woke up, I was in Azkaban.
At this point Ted cut in. "Have you ever had a trial before the Wizengamot?"
Not until today.
The Potioneer stepped up to give Sirius the antidote while aloud murmur broke out among the Wizengamot. A prisoner could only be held for up to one year without a trial. It was a good thing that Black was innocent as that bit of information would have resulted in a mistrial and they would have been forced to release him, even if he was guilty. The two barristers conferred once again before approaching the stand that Albus, Mycroft, and Amelia sat behind. Albus erected a privacy bubble and the five of them conferred for a full two minutes on how to handle the situation.
Once they agreed on a course of action, Albus dispelled the bubble and the barristers returned to their area. "The High Officers and the barristers for both sides agree that because of the high profile of this case and the individuals involved, we would like the Wizengamot to vote on a verdict rather than calling for a mistrial. We feel that it would be in the accused best interest if there were no question of his guilt or innocence in the eyes of the public due to the ambivalent nature of a mistrial verdict. If you have an objection please light your wand red."
Albus waited for a full minute with no objections. "As there are no objections, we will now call for a a vote. For those voting guilty, please light your wands in red. Those voting innocent, please light your wands in blue. You have one minute to vote. If you do not light your wand during that time, your vote will be marked as abstained. Please cast your vote starting now."
Almost immediately, the clear majority of the Wizengamot's wands were lit blue. The seats that were empty were marked as abstained. They all waited the required minute before lowering their wands. "By a vote of 38 for, 0 against, and 12 abstained, I declare that Sirius Orion Black is innocent of all the crimes he has been accused of and grant him the status of a wizard in good standing with the Ministry of Magic. Any property taken at the time of his arrest is to be returned to him within twenty four hours. He is required to undergo mandatory treatment at St. Mungo's Hospital under Head Healer Abbott for his time in Azkaban and exposure to the Dementors. He is to remain in St. Mungo's for a minimum of thirty days and a maximum of ninety days unless he is released by Head Healer Abbott before that time."
Albus banged his gavel and the chair's chains released Sirius. The Aurors who had brought him in came forward to help him again. They would escort him to St. Mungos and the care of the Head Healer. Director Bones had made it clear that everything involving this man was to be done by the book. After what had come to light that day, they completely understood why she had made such a big deal of it. Black was an Auror during the war and if this could happen to him, then it could easily happen to them as well.
John felt like he had the flu. He had almost all of the symptoms, but knew it was only the backlash of the magic. He had been confined to bed for almost a week. He slowly seemed to be recovering, but if he had to eat one more chocolate bar, he might never be able to eat it again. He was relieved to know that he had an appointment with the Head Goblin Healer later this afternoon to see how he was recovering.
Both Sherlock and Harry had been absolutely wonderful about taking care of him this week. Sherlock made sure that he had everything he needed and Harry had spent much of his time cuddled up with John watching movies. Mycroft and Albus had been so busy clearing things up on both sides that he hadn't heard from either one since the day at the bank. While he was extremely glad that Voldemort wouldn't be a threat to his family, he hadn't realized how much work the cleanup would take.
His cynical side, that sounded suspiciously like Sherlock, realized that most governments were in some way, shape, or form corrupt. He just hadn't suspected the depth of the corruption in the magical government. He read the Daily Prophet each day as soon as it arrived to keep up with what was happening. The fact that almost a third of the Wizengamot was caught in the purge alarmed him. He would have to suggest to Albus that the go over all the laws that had been passed in the last fifty years to see what needed to be changed immediately and what could wait. No matter what, the magical world needed to make changes now if they wanted to live without another dark lord rising.
He had done his best to help them along the way. Now all he could do was wait and see what they would do with the opportunity.
St. Mungo's Hospital
Sirius held on tightly to Ted as they stepped out of the floo into St. Mungo's lobby. They walked, with an Auror on each side past the elevator and into the Creature-Induced Injuries Ward. The Mediwitch there called for the Head Healer to meet them. In short order, Sirius was changed into the hospital issued gown and settled in his bed. Healer Abbott ran basic diagnostics before giving him a pepper up potion and a half of a bar of chocolate. They discussed his planned treatment for the next month before the healer finally left him alone with Ted.
"I can't thank you enough for what you've done for me Ted. I am so grateful that Andromeda made you take on my case." Sirius smiled tiredly up at his cousin-in-law.
Ted chuckled back. "You know how scary the Black females are. If I had refused she would have made my life miserable for the foreseeable future. She refused to believe that you were guilty or even capable of what they accused you of, from the very beginning, but without a powerful pureblood line backing us, there wasn't very much we could do."
"Well, when my belongings get to me, hopefully soon, I'll take care of that little problem. Now, tell me about my godson. Who has been raising him? The Longbottoms should have gotten him after me and then Remus after them." Ted could see the hope shining in Sirius' eyes.
"That is a bit complicated Siri. Somehow, after that night, Dumbledore was made his magical guardian and he placed him with Lily's relatives. That is all the public has been told. He requested that I advise you not to do anything in regards to Harry until he can come and talk to you about the situation. Also, the Longbottom's were incapacitated by Bellatrix, her husband and brother-in-law, and Crouch Jr only a few days after you were sent to Azkaban. The four of them died a few days ago along with all the other incarcerated Death Eaters. Many of the ones that bribed their way out of Azkaban are either dead or squibs. We think that is what happened to Pettigrew. His magic killed him and he morphed from his animagus form into his human one. The Weasley twins found his body in the orchard. Between the fact that the five of you at Azkaban were alive and had all of your magic and finding Pettigrew's body, not to mention the fact that they couldn't find your file anywhere in the ministry, and we knew they would have to bring you to trial. So Andromeda sent me to represent you. It's the best opportunity we have ever had to do so and we wanted to make it count."
Sirius blinked, trying to absorb all he had been told. He was worried about Harry and vowed to himself that if he was with Petunia, he would strangle Dumbledore with his own beard. He remembered that all of a sudden a few days ago, the prison had gone eerily quiet before he had been moved to the hospital ward. There were other prisoners there with him and the mediwizards had run frequent diagnostic checks. He had gone to sleep that night in the hospital ward and woken inside a Ministry holding cell. A few hours after that, Ted had been lead in and told him briefly that they would be having a trial for him the next day. Ted asked the same questions that Barrister Allerton had and Sirius had demanded that he be given Veritaserum. He had been awoken early, checked over by a mediwizard, and had mercifully been allowed to shower, shave, and have his hair cut. Ted had brought a set of plain black robes for him to wear and they were in the courtroom very quickly after that.
All of these events had a slightly foggy haze to them, but he knew that was part of the lingering effects of Dementor exposure and that it would lesson the longer he was away from the creatures. He remembered to ask Ted about contacting Mooney before he drifted off to sleep, the pepperup he had been given finally wearing off.
Sirius awoke the next morning to find Albus sitting by his bed reading the Daily Prophet whose headline exclaimed: Sirius Black Innocent! Never Received A Trial!
He cleared his throat and sat up groggily. Albus folded the paper and put it on the bedside table.
"Sirius, I owe you an apology. I was not aware that you had never had a trial, and to my shame I never checked. I am sorry that it has taken this long for you to have your justice." Albus' eyes were dim and his tone grave. "We are searching the records of who responded to the incident to try and piece together how you ended up in Azkaban without a trial." Sirius nodded.
"What about Harry? I was supposed to raise him. James and Lily put it in their will. Please tell me he is not with Petunia!" Sirius was slightly manic to hear about his godson.
"He is not with Petunia. I admit that I did place him with her immediately after that night, but he was removed about a year and a half ago. He has been living with a cousin from Lily's family. He is a very happy and healthy boy. His new guardian and his partner, John and Sherlock are their names, helped us to defeat the last remnants of Voldemort's soul. Indirectly, John is also the reason that you are now free. They have agreed to bring Harry to meet you after the healer has cleared you to have daily visitors besides myself and Mr. Tonks. It is important for you to know the whole story of what happened that night and into the present, so I am requesting that you listen closely to what I am telling you before you make any decisions regarding Harry."
Sirius nodded and watched as Dumbledore erected a privacy bubble. He told Sirius all of the events that had transpired from that devastating Halloween to the present day. To say that he was overwhelmed was an understatement. He understood now that Harry was happy and was a little relieved, if he was honest with himself, that he would not have to take on the parental role in his life. He could resume being the fun and crazy uncle that he had been when Harry was younger. He was very curious about these two men that were raising his pup, but if they had met Remus and Mooney had approved of them, then he felt he could relax a little bit. He was eager to see his pup and his oldest remaining friend.
Albus gave him the box containing the belongings he had on him the night he was arrested, including his fully intact wand. As he picked it up, he felt the wand connect to his core to re-establish the long lost connection. He thought over what he knew he needed to do before crossing the wand over his heart. "I Sirius Orion Black, son of Orion Black, grandson of Arcturus Black, claim by right of blood and magic the Lordship of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House Of Black. In the presence of this witness I call on the family magic to judge my claim."
They both waited for a moment while Sirius could feel the tug on his magic. He was surrounded by a dark green glow and as it dissipated the ring of the Lord Black appeared on his right ring finger. Sirius grinned at Albus who twinkled back at him. "I call on the family magic to remove Bellatrix Eris LeStrange from the House of Black and recall all magics and monetary possessions she held claim to. I reinstate Andromeda Harmonia Tonks and all offspring she may have back into the House of Black. So I say, so mote it be."
Sirius and Dumbledore talked for a little while longer before a commotion in the halls caused Albus to go and investigate its cause. He followed the frantic healers to the Long Term Spell Damage Ward but could not gain access. He left wondering what had happend
A/N: Hello Lovelies, lots of notes on this one. Main disclaimer: Everything (or most if it anyway) is made up and the rest is brought to you by Google. I did very little research for this chapter, because I'm lazy, so the court scenes and the whole setup of the Wizengamot is a mish mash of American and UK policies and procedures. I also made Mycroft the Queen's Liaison because I can. A couple of notes on what's happening.
The Queen's Liaison -
-position is appointed by the Monarch
-only votes in the event of tied result
-makes up one of the High Office positions (will explain more further down)
-made up of 50 Hereditary seats (similar to the House of Lords)
-families Classified as Ancient/Noble, Clans, or Houses
-family classification determines name of family leader
-each family only has one vote, unless they hold a proxy vote for another family
-must be 17 or older to vote your seat
-if underage you may designate a proxy or leave the seat empty
-if the seat is empty, the vote is counted as abstained
-like parliament, the Wizengamot must have the Queen's permission to form a government - usually granted through the Queen's Liaison
-3 of the 4 High Officers (Chief Warlock, Minister of Magic, Head of the DMLE, Queen's Liaison) must be present for the Wizengamot to convene.
-no oath of office is taken other than the declaration that you are assuming your seat and have the right to do so.
-you must declare which party you align with during your declaration, but can change party alliance at at time.
-three party government Progressive Party (light), Neutral Alliance (grey/neutral), and Traditionalist Party (dark)
As stated, anyone on trial may request the use of Veritiserum and their request must be allowed by the Wizengamot.
Since they cannot find Sirius' original trial and arrest transcripts (because they don't exist) they decide to basically re-try Sirius for his crimes. This can only be done by a unanimous 3/4 quorum of High Officers.
Also, I tried to research who would take over in the even the UK Prime Minister was incapacitated, the way Minister Bagnold is in this story, but got different answers. If you can explain it to me, I always love learning new things. In the US, we have a clear line of succession if something should happen to the President, much like the English Monarchy does.
Sirius will remain the fun loving godfather we all imagine him as.
Eris - Greek goddess of chaos/disorder and war (sounds like Bella doesn't it)
Harmonia - Greek Goddess of Harmony and Concord
Complete opposites that I thought were apt.
I have one or two more surprises for you before I wrap up. If you have questions/comments please let me know. I'm trying to be better about answering those. I do read every single one even if I don't reply!
Thank you to those who have followed, favorited, or added to a Community. Some days, that is what keeps me going! Until next time, gentle viewers, enjoy!