Ever since he woke up in this world and took upon the responsibility of being Harry Potter, his sole focus was on improving his magic, acquiring more power, enhancing his skills, winning the Tasks and most of all, staying alive at all costs. Every action that he took, every plans he made and every thought he had was extrapolated from his need to survive. It was not by choice but out of necessity that he built new friendships and connections.
If he truly had any choice in the matter he'd have left Hogwarts the first time he woke up and holed himself in some distant land. The Triwizard Tournament ensured his stay in Hogwarts and from there he was forced to accept the role of Harry Potter. He couldn't exactly run away with his magic bound by the Goblet of Fire. Though he loathed becoming a pawn in this farce, it was better to suck it up and live rather than die again.
To this effect, Harry had to create reasons of his own to push forward in this new life. So, the first thing he did was to consider this new life not as a curse but as a second chance. Then he began making bonds with the people around him like Hermione, Neville, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan, the whole Gryffindor Quidditch team, Daphne, Tracey, Sirius, Andromeda Tonks and many others.
Harry considered them all acquaintances and friends even. And amongst them all, he never felt what he was feeling right now looking at Nymphadora Tonks. He could hear his heart pumping out at an accelerated pace. Everything became crystal clear and Harry found his focus zeroing in on Nymphadora Tonks and no one else.
Suddenly, a startling realisation set in.
'I have a crush on Nymphadora Tonks.'
However, his blunt admission seems to have disarmed Tonks.
"Nice to meet you Nymphadora." Harry quickly greeted offering his hand to the young Auror.
Tonks snapped out of her frozen look to shake Harry's hand.
"Don't call me Nymphadora. Just call me Tonks."
"Okay. Tonks, it is."
Tonks retracted her hand while a coy smile graced her lips.
"So, you think I'm beautiful, huh?" asked Tonks, her hair suddenly became bright pink and her nose suddenly looked like a pig's nose.
"That's so cool." Harry crowed, his eyes lit with wonder at the magic.
For someone who grew up only seeing this on a square screen of tv, it was indeed cool. But, for Andromeda Tonks, it was another case entirely. Andromeda smacked her daughter on the head.
"Stop fooling around Nymphadora. You are an Auror on duty, not a child. Act like one." Andromeda chastised.
"Stop calling me that." Tonks growled.
As the mother and daughter fought in the middle of the Atrium Harry and Dumbledore were left in the background as observers. Harry took the time to focus on Tonks who went through a series of changes in her hair colour depending on her mood.
"Fascinating piece of magic, isn't it? Miss Tonks is a Metamorphagus. A trait that's commonly seen among the members of House Black. It is the ability to change the body to what one desires." Dumbledore explained.
"So, it's like spell-less transfiguration. Can she change into an animal then?" Harry asked.
"Imagination is the limit for a wizard or a witch."
Harry was not so keen on believing Dumbledore's idealistic view of magic. There were quite a lot of other variables involved in magic. Magical power is the first and the most important factor for a wizard or a witch. If there is no power to fuel the spells all the idealistic nonsense Dumbledore holds onto would be irrelevant. People listen and follow Dumbledore because the man is powerful, not because he is the paragon of virtue or a gentle educator. This is the same for magical spells. If there is no power involved no amount of imagination will fire up the spells. Without power, a wizard or a witch would be even less than a Muggle especially since most of wizardkind has no other skill save for their magic.
"If imagination was the only criteria then so many wizards and witches would have been great."
"What makes you think some are great while others are not?" asked Dumbledore, looking at Harry through his small spectacles with a frown.
"I know the names of Merlin, Salazar Slytherin, Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw. I know these names because they accomplished something great in their time. I have no doubt that your name will also be remembered fondly for hundreds of years for defeating the Dark Lord Grindelwald." said Harry.
Dumbledore let out a long-suffering sigh as if Harry's opinions were childish and inconsequential.
"Harry, greatness is not everything in life."
"Maybe. But, it is something that everyone strives for. We are social creatures are we not? We cannot live without recognition and appreciation. It validates our existence."
"In that case, you must be satisfied. After all, no one can claim they survived the Killing curse from Voldemort." said Dumbledore.
"You and I both know I had nothing to do with the events of that night. I was a toddler barely able to crawl. It's only cause the pureblood bigots and their inflated ego that I'm being saddled with the credit for taking down Voldemort instead of my parents." said Harry, not liking the way corners of Dumbledore's mouth twitch with a satisfied smile.
"Then you understand Harry love is far more essential and powerful than any force in the world. A mother's love has the power to even hold back death." said Dumbeldore, looking far too accomplished as if the old man scored a victory of some sort.
Harry became acutely aware that Dumbledore was in his own echo chamber. The man was delusional holding onto idealistic notions blown way out of proportion. Sure, love is a powerful motivator in life and spells. But, that doesn't mean it has the power to ward off death as Dumbledore claim. It'd be more likely that James and Lily Potter managed to use some kind of protective magic triggered by their willing sacrifice.
A life for a life. An equivalent exchange of sorts. The more Harry thought about it the more he was sure there was an obscure Alchemical ritual involved during the events of that October night.
Before Harry could respond to Dumbledore's dumb-ass outlook on the events surrounding the night of Voldemort's attack, they were interrupted by the arrival of Ted Tonks.
"Mr Potter, Professor Dumbledore. The Wizengamot is ready."
Harry was a bit suspicious because Dumbledore remained by his side instead of taking his seat as the Chief Warlock.
"Shouldn't you be chairing the Wizengamot, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Ah, Harry. This is a trial which means it's under the oversight of the DMLE. My duty as Chief Warlock solely lies with the legislative format of the Wizengamot. In trials, I'm often a spectator with the possible exception of a vote afforded to my position." Dumbledore explained, his eyes twinkling merrily away as if those restrictions were the greatest thing that happened to the man.
Harry nodded in understanding while in the deep recess of his mind he couldn't help but be exasperated with the old man. Here was a man who resented and feared power and yet ended up in a position to wield enormous power. Instead of using this enormous power to cut away the rot, Dumbledore uses it to weaken the wizarding world as a whole. The sad thing was, the man was most likely not even aware he is weakening the British wizarding world.
"Mr Potter. Now would be the time for Sirius to face the Wizengamot." Ted Tonks reminded him.
Harry nodded sheepishly for losing himself in his thoughts.
With a sharp pop Dobby, his trusted House Elf teleported into the Atrium with Sirius in tow. With Sirius' arrival, the attention they were getting suddenly became threefold.
"Well, that's a lot of people." Sirius commented, looking a tad uncomfortable at the crowd. A lot of that crowd were quite scared to be near Sirius while some were openly fascinated.
"An ingenious idea Harry. Using a house-elf to transport Sirius safely into the ministry." Dumbledore commented as they made their way towards the Wizengamot chambers.
"I thought, if Dobby can sneak into Hogwarts then he can get Sirius into the Ministry quite easily."
Somehow they managed to slip into one of the lifts despite the crowd and those annoying flashlights of cameras. The Aurors posted for the protection detail of the Ministry had their hands full with controlling the crowd. Despite that, the blue cloaked Aurors made sure to check everyone using a brass scale that Harry reckoned was some kind of instrument to gauge the particulars of a wizard's wand. After carefully wading through some security measures they finally reached their destination.
Dumbledore took his seat among his peers of the Wizengamot while Harry remained by Sirius' side. The courtroom was quite large, oval in shape with all the Wizengamot members sitting on high benches.
"Mr Potter, come with me before the seats in the Gallery are filled." said Ted Tonks.
As Harry and Mr Tonks took their seats in the Gallery Sirius was led to the chair at the centre of the courtroom. Once Sirius took his seat the chains tied to the chair jumped up and locked Sirius' arms up. Harry could see the runes carved into the chains glow for a moment before dimming down.
"Magic suppression runes. The chains will ensure Sirius' magic will be suppressed throughout the trial. This way, it will be clear that the Veritaserum is effective." Ted Tonks explained, seeing Harry's furious look.
Harry calmed down a bit but he was not so sure whether to trust the Ministry. It was still possible for the Wizengamot to vote against Sirius even if the testimony is under the Truth Serum. After all, this governing body has only one interest.
Self-interest! Nothing more.
There was no obligation for the Wizengamot members to be impartial and just in their rulings. Nor was there any levers of power that holds the Wizengamot accountable for their decisions.
The Wizengamot, Harry learned, was just a sham organization that holds enormous power over the British wizarding world. Twenty-three seats in the Wizengamot chamber are reserved for the founding families of the Ministry. Out of those twenty-three families, many had gone extinct over the years. However, the number of seats in the Wizengamot never shrank. In the absence of a founding member, the seat was given to another House with suitable wealth, legacy and accomplished members. Moreover, these Houses later took on the title of Noble Houses or sometimes known as the Most Ancient and Noble Houses of the British wizarding world.
Currently, there are twenty-six hereditary seats in the Wizengamot out of a total of fifty. The rest of the seats amounting to twenty-four is held by specific department heads of the Ministry of Magic, the executive staff of the Ministry and those chosen by the Minister of Magic. The sad thing was, the Minister could pick any person for a seat in the Wizengamot and they could keep it for the rest of their life.
Since, wizards and witches mostly have a long life many of the seats in the Wizengamot were filled by the Bagnold Ministry or even the administration before Minister Bagnold. This left the Wizengamot in the hands of the Noble Houses of the Wizengamot since most of them usually vote as a block. This left people like Lucius Malfoy to exploit the system and gain too much influence with the Minister.
With Lucius Malfoy out of the picture, Harry wondered how the Noble Houses were going to vote. Sure, he did his part but he could not guarantee the Noble Houses would vote in Sirius' favour. Since this is a criminal proceeding under the direct oversight of the Wizengamot a clear majority of votes not less than twenty-six is needed to exonerate Sirius from all the charges. Harry eyed Damien Greengrass among the Wizengamot members.
Undoubtedly, the man had his reasons to help Harry. The man had surely gained something from Malfoy's fall. He just hoped the man would remember his aid and do what was necessary for Sirius.
On the off chance, this trial turned out to be a sham... Well, drastic measures have to be taken, Harry thought as he made sure that his wand remained secure in the holster.
"Order! Order! I, Cornelius Oswald Fudge hereby call this court to order. This is an emergency session of the Wizengamot acting under Article 2 of our constitution. This court will be acting as the chief judicial body of the British wizarding world for the proceedings of this day. The office of the Minister for Magic shall be operating as the chief interrogator for the duration of this trial. The proceedings of this court shall of course be under the lawful oversight of the DMLE as specified under Article 5 of our constitution. For this reason, Madame Amelia Bones, the director of the DMLE shall be operating as the co-interrogator for the duration of this trial." Fudge announced, his voice loud and clear amplified by magic.
"Let the time and date be noted. The trial of Sirius Orion Black has begun. Mrs Tonks, you have the floor for the opening statement. Please bear in mind to keep your statement concise." said Madame Bones from her seat beside Minster Fudge.
All eyes were now turned on Andromeda Tonks. Harry let out a breath he was holding and leaned forward in his seat.
Now, it begins.
Andromeda threw a brief look at her cousin. She had so many things she wanted to say and ask her cousin but she had kept all of that within. In a way, she considered Sirius more than just her cousin. Sirius was more like a brother to her. It was not just because Sirius was the only member of her arranged family she kept in contact with.
She liked Sirius because he was so brave from the beginning to have veered off from the rest of her dysfunctional family. It was not easy for Sirius to live under the same roof as the rest of the Blacks. At least, she could pretend and play the perfect daughter. Sirius had the courage she could not muster even from a young age. It was for this reason she had fiercely believed Sirius was not guilty of the charges he has been accused of. The fact that slimy good for nothing Malfoy was keeping Sirius from getting a trial made her all the more certain of her cousin's innocence.
There was evidence that could set Sirius free. There were credible witnesses and there was the benefit of the doubt as well in Sirius' favour considering the portfolio of witnesses that she could pull at a single call.
But, this was not a trial conducted inside the closed courtrooms of the DMLE. There, she could argue facts and present her evidence to get a clear cut verdict. The Wizengamot however operated on another dimension.
Here, inside the Wizengamot chambers only politics matter. If she is to have her cousin set free then she has to play to the fear of the members. What better emotion is there for a politician to take you seriously? The fear of losing their power and privilege is what Andromeda intends to strike at. And strike she shall.
"Esteemed members of the Wizengamot and my magical brethren. I'm not here to convince anyone of the innocence of Sirius Black. I believe all of us can reserve our judgment after we hear the testimony from Mr Black himself under the Veritaserum." Andromeda paused to let that detail sink in. She strode to the far left side of the courtroom where the non-permanent members of the Wizengamot sat.
"Rather than defend my client's innocence I'm interested in drawing your attention to the terrible miscarriage of justice that took place in November 1981. Sirius Black was found under odd circumstances, however, that doesn't mean he does not deserve a trial. Mr Black was not just an average citizen of our world. He was an accomplished Auror who contributed quite heavily in combating the terrorist organisation known as the Death Eaters as I'm sure many among this esteemed chamber already knows."
After making sure she had the attention and some nods of acknowledgement from the left side she switched her focus to the right side where the Noble Houses took space.
"The very least he was owed was to present his side of the story, especially considering my client was the heir of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Instead, Mr Black was thrown into Azkaban under the care of Dementors straight away without a trial. I'd like to ask, who among the esteemed gentlemen and ladies of this court has the power to condemn a wizard of my client's stature without a trial? Who among the Wizengamot has made this happen that an heir of one of the founding members of this Ministry was denied due process? This incident has set a dangerous precedent that will pierce the veil of protection afforded to average wizards and witches of our society. This incident challenges the laws that govern us and the bonds that hold our society together. So, I ask this chamber to give this trial the due diligence it deserves as it threatens the sanctity of our laws, power and above all the commitment of this body to justice and truth. Thank you."
Andromeda could see her words were having the intended effect. Some of the Wizengamot members were spooked as she was poking a hole at their privilege and power. If one of their own was not afforded basic rights then it'd present an opportunity for those who seek reforms in the Wizengamot. The Nobles could never afford to lose their power. Their power comes from the perception of their power by their allies and enemies alike. A challenge against one Noble House can become a challenge against the whole lot. They could not allow for something like that to stand. Especially, since the whole matter now got dragged into public discourse increasing the scrutiny.
She counted ten tense faces among the Nobles. The rest were either not bothered by her offhanded remarks or they were good at keeping their thoughts to themselves. Either way, her role in this matter was now nearly over.
Now, the real fun begins.
Discord link is in my Bio.