Chapter 32

The outcry for Gellert Grindelwald's head was immense. The ICW had held some of the longest meetings in its history following the days of the Triwizard Tournament. It was during these meetings the world was shown just what the magical juggernauts had accomplished in the graveyard. The world was also shown just what Harry and his brother had endured in those final moments, and how much the oldest Potter son was prepared to sacrifice in order to ensure his brother's safety. It was unanimously agreed that no Dark Wizard could possibly have made that sacrifice, but the same was not being said about Gellert.

Surviving members of the Great War, and even families of the fallen during the war, publicly ostracized the ICW for not taking the man in for his war crimes. It was true that he was guilty of his past indiscretions, but the question of who was capable of arresting him was left unanswered. Many had cried out for Dumbledore's intervention, but the headmaster had admitted to the public that despite having bested the man all those years ago at the end of the Great War, Grindelwald was now beyond him, especially after training Harry as hard as he had for the last seven years. He doubted there was a man alive, other than Harry Potter, that could take on the magical titan even in his old age, and expected any attempt to try would inevitably lead to mass bloodshed.

As word continued to spread, with more and more opinions reaching the various newspapers daily, Harry realized they may have done their job too well against Voldemort. Gellert and Harry had always predicted that the reign of Voldemort would return, and that he would wreak havoc on the Wizarding World for a while before Harry was given a chance to defeat the monster. Having defeated him in a near private ceremony before he could ascend to his previous horrifying power did not leave a grateful Wizarding Community as they had expected. The gratitude only extended to Harry, and the young man suspected that had Justin not become possessed at the end of the battle he would also still be facing the public's fury.

Being a wanted man was something that would be decided today in a court of the ICW. Harry straightened his robes that held the Potter family crest on them. Looking himself over in the mirror in his bedroom he gently ran his fingers across the newest addition to his outfit. On his lapel was a gift from Grindelwald, a simple piece carved in solid silver, the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. At first, Harry thought it was being antagonistic, but he, as well as his mentor, knew that no one alive stood a chance against him now. He would not be silent in his beliefs, nor would he bow to the demands of the ICW. This trial was something Harry intended to participate in for the sake of his family. As far as Harry was concerned every wizard they sent after him at this point knew exactly what they were getting into, and the consequences of raising a wand toward him would be lethal.

It was mostly for the sake of Fleur and Justin that Harry had decided to face the jury. It would be an easier life for them both if Harry was able to casually walk through the streets with them without being accosted. Truth be told, Harry wasn't certain if that would ever be an option. After the memory had been released to the public by the British Ministry of Magic, people were calling the Potter brothers heroes. Calls for Orders of Merlin, and titles were being shouted down the streets of Diagon Alley, but still, the International Community wanted a piece of Harry.

Harry had already cleared his name for the deaths of Igor Karkaroff and Marcus Flint by making magical oaths, and submitting to veritaserum questioning by the Minister for Magic: Amelia Bones herself. It was enough for the woman to issue him a pardon when she became interim Minister, and Harry knew that regardless of the outcome of this trial he would be safe in Britain, which was why he demanded the trial be held in his home country if they wished for him to attend.

A knock on his door drew him out of his thoughts as he called out permission to enter. In the mirror, the face of his fiance appeared. Turning to face the woman he offered her a small smile, as she asked with a nervous expression, "Are you ready?"

Offering the woman a nod he walked over to her placing a kiss on her cheek,"I am. There is no need to worry. The ICW wouldn't dare try to arrest me here, and they wouldn't be allowed to bring the type of manpower it would take to arrest someone like me anyway. The British Ministry is in my corner at this point. The world won't be happy with what I have to say, but they will have to live with it. This ends today."

Sighing, the young woman wrapped her arms around Harry's neck putting her face on his shoulder, "I just don't wish to live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, mon amour."

"That's half the reason I am doing this." Harry said, hoping to satisfy the woman, "Don't let the opinion of sheep affect you."

"And what of our children?" Fleur demanded, "Will you allow them to one day be born into this world with the taint of being the children of a criminal."

"What would you have me do?" Harry asked carefully.

"Just do what you have to do. Your father is listed as your legal counsel. Let him do most of the talking. He can get you out of this." Fleur pleaded, "All I want is to end this day with you being a free man. You have earned it, and you deserve it. We deserve it. And one day, our children will deserve it."

Green eyes met blue, and a tense moment passed before Harry acknowledged her request with the slightest of head movements. He did not wish to deny the girl anything, so assured her, "Very well. I will try not to antagonize the ICW."

"Will you still wear that?" The woman asked, gesturing towards the silver pin on his lapel.

Frowning, the young man nodded, "I will not hide who I am from the world. The heir to the Potter family, and the apprentice to one of the most powerful sorcerers to ever walk the world. It may come with a stigma, but it was something you agreed to when being with me."

Biting her lip for a moment the woman conceded the point, and Harry put her hand through his arm with a soft smile, "Now let's get this over with. I want to get on with my life, and put all this behind me."

Fleur gripped her fiance's arm with an uncertain squeeze and followed the man through the house where Fleur's family and his own were waiting by the Floo Network. Sebastian and Appoline both offered him consoling smiles, while his own parents looked very nervous. Justin on the other hand merely sat on the nearby couch looking supremely unworried, something Harry was rather grateful for, "I am ready."

James nodded his head coming forward and placing a hand on his shoulder, "Once we enter the courtroom just let me do most of the talking. We are pleading not guilty to all charges. I hold a lot of sway as Lord Potter even in front of the ICW, and they all remember what our family has done for the world throughout the centuries. It will help that your struggle in the graveyard is still at the forefront of their minds, so let me end this for you."

Glancing at Fleur, Harry took a deep breath before nodding his head, "Very well. I will trust you this time, Prongs."

Justin gave a sigh of relief at that before cheekily saying, "They were thinking you would be difficult."

"I have a compelling reason not to be," Harry answered his brother with an assuring smile.

No one questioned his words further as he stepped toward the Floo, and whirled across the country into the Ministry of Magic Atrium. What awaited Harry wasn't necessarily a surprise, but still he grinned at the sight of dozens of international Aurors lined up on each side of the atrium in anticipation of his arrival. Mixed in the group were a few British Aurors, but the Potter Heir was certain that most were from the international delegation. At the end of the tunnel was the Minister for Magic, Amelia Bones, and of course, the Chief Warlock, Albus Dumbledore himself. Next to both of them was a massive pale-skinned man Harry had never seen before, but judging by the symbols on his robe Harry guessed he was likely in charge of the International Aurors. A part of him was hoping to run into Investigator Chase again, but perhaps it was for the best that the man was not there to antagonize Harry.

Once the Potter contingent had arrived, Harry began his walk through the atrium with James and Sebastian on each side of him. When Harry made it to the three at the end, the young man greeted Dumbledore first. "Hello, Headmaster. I see all the stops have been brought out for my arrival."

The man offered Harry the smallest of smiles before saying, "Indeed. Harry, you are of course familiar with our Minister for Magic, Amelia Bones."

Harry offered a slight bow to the woman who gave him a nod in return, before Dumbledore gestured to the other man, "This man is Brady Merritt. He is from the American Auror office. He is now the head investigator for the ICW following theā€¦unfortunate events surrounding Perseus Chase."

Harry looked at the giant of a man that was Brady Meritt, and offered the man a nod, "Investigator Merritt, a pleasure."

The man grunted, "Mr Potter. It seems that regardless of the outcome today my department owes you an apology. I assure you that there will be no more illegal maneuvers by the ICW. Investigator Chase has been suspended and is under house arrest, pending the investigation results. The illegal warrant Chase attempted to execute was a gross miscarriage of justice, and for that, you have my apologies. The death of Igor Karkaroff should have been fully investigated before any charges were brought to your person. Your Minister assures me that she was thorough in your questioning to ensure you were in no way knowledgeable or culpable in the deaths of Marcus Flint and Igor Karkaroff. You will not be placed on trial for either of those crimes today, but an investigation is still pending."

James and Sebastian both seemed to visibly deflate in relief at the man's words, while Harry seemed contemplative. Glancing over his shoulder to Fleur made him halt in the biting response that came to his mind, so instead, his eyes returned to the hulking man in front of him, "I accept your apology, Investigator Merritt. Let us hope this trial can come to a conclusion we are all satisfied with."

The two both offered each other the slightest of nods, and the man spoke now with a slight bit of apprehension in his eyes, "Now, Heir Potter, as we are about to descend down into the courtrooms you will not be allowed to carry a wand for the duration of this trial. You are to surrender it before we begin."

Narrowing his eyes Harry turned to Dumbledore before saying, "Very well, but I will only surrender it to the Chief Warlock. Let's just say my wand is special, and it requires extremely delicate handling. I would trust very few with it, and while the Chief Warlock would not usually be one of them, I will make an exception to satisfy the courts."

Merritt and Amelia Bones exchanged looks before the man conceded with a nod, and Amelia spoke, "I think that will be an acceptable accord for this unique set of circumstances."

Harry wandlessly summoned his wand to his right hand and eyed it carefully before offering it to the headmaster. Before the elderly man could take it, Harry, however, lowered it, "No tricks Dumbledore. I am very attached to this wand now, and it is my birthright. I would not take kindly to anyone attempting to separate me from it. I am still very in tune with the original wand that Ollivander gave me, and I assure you I will come for any who would attempt to separate me from my new partner."

Amelia and Merritt both frowned at his words, but Dumbledore merely nodded in understanding, "It is as you said your birthright."

Satisfied Harry handed the man his wand, and the headmaster smiled at the connection between himself and his former wand, before sliding it into his sleeve without further hesitation. Turning his eyes towards the others Harry asked, "Shall we begin?"

Merritt immediately nodded and made a slight gesture with his hands. Four Aurors stepped out of line from nearby, and the lead investigator explained, "These gentlemen will escort you to the courtroom. We will meet you there to begin your trial."

Nodding in understanding Harry offered a final reassuring smile to his family. A knowing look went towards his little brother who he knew was holding his first wand on his person just in case the worst were to happen. Justin caught his gaze and offered the subtlest of nods confirming that he had done as his brother asked, allowing Harry to feel a slight relief course through him before following the small squad of Aurors to the elevator. Harry had anticipated the ICW would attempt to remove his wand from him and had to have a contingency just in case.

The ride down was uncomfortable, and none said a word. Harry had stretched his senses to push his magic out warningly, but at the same time, he was ensuring that none of the four were going to try anything suddenly.

When the group exited the elevator Harry was practically frog-marched to the courtroom where the ICW had already gathered. Upon his arrival, the entire room went quiet, and Harry sat in the chair in the middle of the room. There had to be at least 100 delegates or more from the ICW as Harry surveyed the room carefully with his eyes trying to remain as calm as possible.

It didn't take long for his family to fill a small section for guests in the back of the room, nor was it long before the three lead prosecutors entered. Dumbledore rose after all had taken their seats, and began the procession, "Good morning. My name is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. Sitting with the prosecution are Amelia Susan Bones, Minister For Magic, and Brady Patrick Merritt, lead investigator for the ICW. I hereby bring to session on July 1st, 1994, the matter of the International Confederation of Wizards vs Harry James Potter."

Harry felt a small ball of anxiety for the first time settle in his stomach, but Dumbledore did not stop there, "The charges that are to be reviewed are that Harry James Potter aided Gellert Grindelwald in his escape from the ICW, while fully aware that the man was a known and escaped war criminal, and that he attacked ICW Aurors while doing so. For the record, the charges of the murder of Igor Karkaroff and Marcus Flint have been dropped due to sufficient evidence provided by the British Department of Magical Law Enforcement."

A few murmurs went up throughout the room, but no one raised an audible complaint. After Dumbledore left a moment for the side chatter to stop he turned his eyes to Harry, "Mr Potter, how do you plead?"

Before Harry could answer he glanced behind him where his dad in his Wizengamot robes stepped down from the stand, "Witness for the defense, Lord James Charlus Potter. Father to Harry James Potter."

Whispers once again filled the courtroom as his father stepped to be at his side, and offered his son a squeeze on his shoulder, "To all charges we plead not guilty."

Amelia Bones nodded, "Noted. Mr. Merritt, it is your floor."

The large man nodded his head, before turning his eyes to Harry, "Lord Potter, Heir Potter. I am going to ask some clarifying questions for the court. Do you understand?"

James immediately answered, "We do."

Merritt nodded before gesturing to an image that was being projected in front of the entire ICW. Harry immediately recognized himself and Gellert standing side by side wiping out scores of Aurors and Hitwizards, "This image has been verified by experts. Mr Potter, do you recognize these images."

Instead of speaking up, James spoke for him, "We do recognize the images."

Merritt nodded, "Can you explain the circumstances of this image for those that were not present."

James nodded carefully pacing in front of Harry as if he were protecting him from the man's words, "We were celebrating my son, Harry's, win of the second task at the Triwizard Tournament. It was a celebration among family and friends. A voice brought us out our evening, and former Investigator Perseus Chase of the ICW announced that they had the place surrounded, and Harry was under arrest for crimes we knew he did not commit."

Taking a moment to consider his next words James frowned before saying, "Harry had told us all to stay back in case he was attacked by the contingent of ICW Wizards, and a man in disguise stepped out of the building with him. This man revealed himself as Gellert Grindelwald."

A delegate from Germany immediately stood to his feet, "Lord Potter, were you aware this man was Gellert Grindelwald before he revealed himself?"

Shaking his head James responded, "I am not the one on trial here, honorable representative, but I can confirm that I did not know for certain that Grindelwald was among us that night."

Clever Harry thought. Not a lie, but Harry knew the man had to have suspected that Gellert was the escort of Fleur's grandmother. The German seemed satisfied with the answer, and Merritt continued with his questioning, "Lord Potter, you are a reserve Auror even after all these years. Did you not see fit to help the International Aurors arrest Grindelwald?"

"Not when they were attacking my son without due cause." James said with a tint of irritation in his voice, "I was happy someone stepped in to assist my son regardless of who he was, and their history of violence against my family. I was only concerned for Harry at that moment, as any normal parent would be. I knew my son was powerful, but against Chief Warlock Dumbledore and the contingent of Aurors that arrived to arrest him, I doubt I could have made much of a difference in the unlawful arrest."

Mutterings of acceptance passed through the courtroom. Merritt then asked, "Your innocence is not under question today, Lord Potter, only that of your son's. I need him to answer the next question. Harry Potter, did you intentionally aid in the escape of Gellert Grindelwald when he was to be apprehended by the ICW."

"I did not." Harry answered simply.

Merritt frowned before asking, "Can you explain?

"I did not cast the first spell. I was attacked unjustly by the ICW." Harry explained, "The fact that Gellert Grindelwald and I were both targeted by the ICW at the same time meant an alliance would be formed between us. There was no criminal intent on my part at the time in protecting Gellert Grindelwald."

Merritts frown deepened, clearly trying to think of what to say next before shaking his head. James took this moment to speak, "It also clearly states in Wizarding By-Laws accepted universally by this governing body that any individual has the right to resist an unjust arrest. This body of representatives would have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son was attempting to help Grindelwald escape. Which I think they will have a hard time proving that he was doing anything except escaping himself. Something that is not illegal. It should also be noted that not a single Auror died fighting against my son or Grindelwald. We all saw what the two of them were capable of. Had the two wished for death and destruction I think there is no doubt that is exactly what would have happened."

His words brought silence to the courtroom. Images of Harry fighting for his life against Voldemort and the dark magic unlike the world had ever seen were likely flashing through the minds of all present. Further questions were presented, but none could stick the criminal intent charge to Harry as they argued semantics over the scenario.

The bottom line was no one could prove that Harry's defiance was to help Grindelwald escape. There was also no question that the duo had shown extreme diligence in ensuring that none were killed in the assault.

In the end it was clear Merritt was disgruntled, but finally, the man ground out, "Mr Potter there is little doubt you are in league with Grindelwald. You even dare wear his symbol in front of this governing body. I am reluctant to allow you to leave this courtroom a free man."

Harry finally stood from his chair, and the tension in the room spiked, "I have not once denied that my magical mentor is Gellert Grindelwald, and I will not deny it now. Thanks to this man, our world was saved from descending into the flames of war. You have all seen the memory. There isn't a person alive that could have stopped Voldemort, much less whatever he did to imbue his power into five of his followers. The Dark Lord nearly conquered the United Kingdom with a small gathering of followers. Had he killed me, my brother, and Grindelwald that day, who could've stopped him? Who would have prevented the hundreds, if not thousands of witches and wizards that would've been killed? Ask yourselves that question, because without Gellert's teachings I wouldn't have stood a chance against the bastard that killed my grandmother."

This brought silence, but Merritt leaned back in his chair, "You are still continuing to aid and abet a fugitive on the run."

"A charge that you cannot place on him today. This was not something on the docket, and the ICW cannot make up charges as a trial progresses." James Potter spat angrily.

Merritt acknowledged the man's words with a nod before saying, "Regardless, we could, as a governing body, decide to bring these charges back up at a later date."

"That would be unwise." Harry said casually, "While I will stand before this body, I promise not to interfere in their affairs any further than I already have, but I can assure you, Gellert would not go quietly if you were to find and attempt to arrest him."

The silence was palpable, and Harry continued, "I would not assist him, as we have already been in agreement that if my name was cleared today he would not jeopardize my future for the sake of an old man in the final years of his life. Gellert has asked me to assure all of you that he will remain out of the public eye 'til the end of his days. Put a warrant out for his arrest if you wish, but he will never interfere in the events of the Wizarding World again. He intends to go into hiding, never to be seen again."

The German delegate spoke once again, "There can be no question that a warrant will be issued for the arrest of Gellert Grindelwald. If he were to ever be spotted among the Wizarding Populace the ICW would have no choice, but to apprehend the man."

Harry smugly wanted to say, 'or die trying', but refrained.

An agreement was immediately made among the ICW, and calls for contingencies were discussed briefly before James Potter took control of the situation, "Honorable representatives, I think we have cast far more than a shadow of doubt about what my son's intentions were that day in escaping the attacking Aurors of the ICW. There was certainly no criminal intent in his actions, and I remind you again that this is a requirement to charge my son."

It was clear the man's words disgruntled the majority of the delegates , and Dumbledore spoke for the first time, "All in favor of clearing the accused of all charges."

It was slow, but enough wands were lit at the end to clear Harry of his charges. Dumbledore, with a genuine smile now, announced that the young man was cleared of all charges and Harry slowly rose from his chair to embrace his father in thanks.

Journalists were now being allowed into the courtroom as the delegates were departing trying to avoid leaving comments behind. Clearly, none were thrilled with the way the trial went, and Harry was uncertain as to their expectation, but he also recognized a good bit of fear in the eyes of most. They had all seen what he was capable of. It was likely many were afraid to sentence him for they knew Gellert might come for him, and or he may fight his way out of it despite his extraordinary disadvantage. He had made it clear on multiple occasions that he didn't need a wand to be a threat, and that was clearly something they had all considered. Regardless, none sought to make him an ally, or congratulate him on being cleared of all charges. Something that suited Harry just fine.

Fleur was the next to greet him as she stepped into his open arms and embraced him with relief clearly written on her face. Harry kept one arm around the girl as he began pushing her towards the courtroom exit with his family in tow. Dumbledore awaited them there, and without hesitation or prompting, he offered Harry his wand, before allowing the young man to pass.

Harry continued to ignore the flashing cameras, and screaming questions of journalists as his family pushed their way towards the elevators without the assistance of the Aurors Harry noted in the back of his mind. It couldn't be more clear that while he may be a free man it was not something the world was happy with, but he could care less.

With his family at his back, he exited the Ministry without further troubles, and took a deep breath when he arrived back at Potter Manor ready to get back on with his life in whatever form that may be.

(A/N) One more chapter! The epilog is readily available on discord if for some reason you have not jumped on that train yet. Dreams of Home is progressing nicely right on and Discord as well, so if you haven't given my time travel story a chance yet, drop in and let me know what you think. If you are determined to keep reading on FFN I will see you all in two weeks for the conclusion of Fleur De Lis. Cheers everyone!

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