Title: Retrograde

Author: Knife Hand

Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated

Spoilers: Nothing Specific, general for first few books.

Rating: M

Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny, or Cho, or... I would buy them all but I am broke.

Summary: Harry's trial before fifth year goes differently because someone knows more than they should about Harry. Time Travel Fic.


Harry was leaning against the Teacher's Desk in front of the Sixth Year DADA Class. Hermione and Susan were sitting together in the front row, both smiling up at him.

"Alright, today we are going to go over something that has already been covered, in a way." Harry announced. "Today we are going to discuss the Unforgivables, but this time not from the perspective of a half insane Death Eater pretending to be a paranoid Ex-Auror."

That got a few chuckles from the class.

"Let's look at it more from a social perspective, than a magical perspective. Why are the Torture Curse, the Mind Control Curse and the Killing Curse considered to be Unforgivable?" Harry asked.

"Because they are the darkest of dark magic." Megan Jones said.

"We are looking at it from a social view, not a magical, so you want another go?" Harry replied.

"Maybe because of what they do? They kill, control someone and cause unbearable pain?" Megan tried again.

"There are many other spells that do the same thing, and often worse. The Killing Curse causes instant and painless death. There are many more gruesome ways to kill someone. Organ Liquification. Burning them alive. Hell, with three simple school level cutting curses I can make sure someone dies painfully within three minutes." Harry disputed.

"Is it control?" Padma asked. "A way for the Ruling Authority to somehow influence Dark Magic Users?"

"Verry good, Miss Patil." Harry replied with a smile. "Yes, it was a brilliant idea to help guide the path Dark Witches and Wizards would take. Unfortunately, as it was a brilliant idea, it means it was not a Magical British idea. It was an order by the International Confederation of Wizards imposed on all Magical Communities six hundred years ago. Now why might the ICW want to dictate to the Magical Communities what the most 'Unforgivable' crimes were?"

Hermione's hand instantly shot up, followed a second later by Susan's. Harry gave it a moment to see if anyone else was going to raise a hand before he waved to Hermione and Susan.

"In your own time, ladies." He said.

Susan and Hermione exchanged glances before Susan nodded to Hermione to explain.

"The three Unforgivables are bad, at first glance, enough to believably warrant being the most evil spells around, thus making them 'Unforgivable' gives them a mystique that would attract Dark Witches and Wizards to them." Hermione began. "A kind of 'look I am so bad that I do Unforgivables' statement. In addition, the spells are difficult to perform and require a specific series of research steps in order to find them, unless you have a specific mentor. This has two advantages. Firstly, the Authority can keep tabs on anyone doing research in those areas or is in close association with those who previously had done that research. Secondly, with the statement that the Unforgivables make, it means that aspiring Dark Witches and Wizards will not go off and try to invent their own spells or potions to inspire fear in the Populus."

"Wait." Megan said. "They want Dark Witches and Wizards to use the Unforgivables?"

"Not exactly." Harry said. "They want to channel the efforts of potential threats in specific directions to prevent them finding or creating worse spells. The three Unforgivables are actually quite limited in some ways. The killing curse requires a fair amount of power and is painless, instant death for the victim, which is admittedly bad for the victim but it could be much worse. The Mind Control Curse is able to be overcome and requires either constant attention or very specific series of instructions for a wide range of situations. As for the Torture Curse, while someone is casting that Curse, they can't do anything else, which either leaves the caster effectively out of action in a combat situation and, more that likely, vulnerable to attack if surprised. While not making the users impotent, it does give Aurors and other enforcers of the Authority vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited."

"If there are flaws to exploit in the Unforgivables, why did the Ministry have so much trouble with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his Death Eaters?" Dean Thomas asked.

"Mostly because the knowledge of the flaws and history of the Unforgivables were at first kept secret, confined to certain key positions in the Ministry to prevent the system being revealed to potential Dark Witches and Wizards, and by around two hunrdred years ago the knowledge was either lost or ignored by Ministers. The belief became widespread that the Unforgivables were unstoppable and a thing to be feared. While they should be feared, the fear became paralysing and, with a few notable exceptions, when the first Death Eater cast an Unforgivable most people either froze or fled in panic. It was not the Unforgivables themselves that cause the carnage, but their reputation." Harry explained.

The bell rang to end the class and Harry gestured that the class was dismissed, but waved for Hermione and Susan to stay. When the others had left the two girls made their way up to Harry's table.

"I wanted to apologise that we had to give you the news yesterday through Headmaster Dumbledore. I was kind of hung up being by Lia's side at St Mungo's." Harry said.

"We understand, Uncle." Susan said. "You needed to be with Auntie."

"We appreciated you letting us know." Hermione added before the two girls left.


Helena Marsden walked into the Ministers Office and saw Amelia working behind her desk with a stack of red reports in front of her and a much smaller stack of blue reports off to the side.

"Home time, Minister." Helena announced.

"I still have reports to go through." Amelia replied absently.

Helena supressed a sigh. The Minister was working herself too hard again, and not for a good reason.

"You don't need to read those, Minister." Helena advised.

"I am not going to be like Fudge." Amelia snapped.

"Of course not, Minister." Helena replied, then reconsidered her approach. "Tell me, Minster, when you were Director of the DMLE, did you read every report by every Auror, Prosecutor and Dispatch Officer?"

"Of course not." Amelia replied. "I only read Operational Unit Head Reports and maybe a Team Leader Report if it was a vital operation. But all these are Department Head Reports."

"Yes, Minister, they are." Helena acknowledged. "But for The Minister, Department Head Reports are like reports from Aurors. It is the job of the Minister's staff to compile the Red Reports into the Blue Reports, which are summarised and constructed for the Minister, showing relevant trends and comparative results across Departments that cannot be gained from reading the Red Reports individually. Some of the Red Reports are only used in Quarterly Summaries, like the one you are reading at the moment, to establish broad trends."

Amelia looked up at Helena, down at the two stacks of reports, the very large Red stack and the tiny Blue stack, then back up at Helena.

"I'll be heading home now." Amelia announced. "Can you please have the Red Reports removed by morning?"

"Yes, Minister." Helena replied, supressing a smile.

Amelia rose and left the office. Once she was gone Helena shook her head and smiled. It was a bit of a job breaking in a new Minister, but this one had a good work ethic and a reputation that made Helena proud to serve under her.

TBC….