- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- Canon Divergent
- Established Relationship
- Fix It
- Time Travel
Posting will continue through December 5th so I'll try to post as much as I can but I don't expect to finish on the site. This story will probably appear on my personal site sometime before April 2020 but I make no promises since I'm going to be all in on my QB come January 1st.
His first day of training with his own staff was going just about Harry had expected it to. With some reluctance, he picked himself up off the ground and held out a hand for the staff, which he’d dropped just short of getting knocked on his ass for the fourth time in ten minutes. It slapped into his hand eagerly, and Harry exhaled sharply in an effort to rein in his temper.
Off to the side, Master Gildhard laughed. “I think you’re making the boy mad, Bannat.”
Bannat of the Stonefoot clan smirked. “Is that so? Am I pissing you off, little wizard?”
Harry cracked his neck and took a deep breath. “I have to admit, Master Bannat, that you’re not my favorite person right now.”
“Well, that’s an unfair contest,” Bannat declared. “I never could be your favorite person while that pretty little witch of yours is running around the worlds.” He swung his own staff casually, magic flowed off of it gently in a stream as he did so. “You’re holding back.”
Harry grimaced and looked away from Bannat, which did no good since the training yard observation area was full to capacity. It often was when he trained, and most of the time, he could ignore it. Today, it felt less like he was on display, and more like he was being judged. Perhaps it was because he was the first wizard in the dverger’s recorded history to wield one of their staff weapons.
It was nothing like a wizard’s staff or stave.
It was made of a magical variation of the Australian Buloke tree that grew exclusively in Agharti on the southern coast. As Master Gildhard had decided during the creation of the staff that Harry’s element was air, the weapon contained the feathers of a phoenix, a giant eagle, and a thunderbird. There had been a fourth feather, which Harry had in his possession. It was a griffin feather, and they hoped with time that the staff would accept it as an addition.
But beyond its construction, the staff was sentient. The moment he’d touched it, Harry had felt a bone-deep connection with it that he’d never imagined possible.
Bannat poked him roughly with the crystal end of his own staff weapon. At least it hadn’t been the viciously sharp end. His own had spear point as well, so at least he wasn’t at a disadvantage in that aspect. The crystal on his own staff sparked, and magic arced off it.
“Boy.” Bannat poked him again.
Harry huffed. “Harry.” He turned to glare at the dverger. “My name is Harry, for fuck’s sake.” He swung his staff and shoved a wall of magic so thick it was opaque at Bannat. The dverger master flew ten feet backward and landed on his arse.
Gildhard burst out laughing.
Bannat offered him a rueful grin as he stood and dusted himself off. “That’s more like it!”
Harry huffed. “Stop trying to get my temper up, it’s rude, and I don’t want to hurt you.”
“If you hurt me, I deserve it,” Bannat stated. He swung the staff he’d not lost control of during his tumble and used his free hand to beckon Harry. “Come on then, show me what you’ve got.”
“You think Riddle is going to go easy on you?” Bannat demanded. “That corrupt fucker tried to murder you when you were an infant. He’ll come for you. He’ll come for your woman. He’ll come for your children if he lives that long.” Bannat tossed a stinging hex so powerful at him that it cracked like lightening when Harry deflected it. “You’re the future patron of the Horde, kid, and there will never be a day when you’re on Earth that you aren’t in danger of being murdered. Our last two patrons didn’t survive to see fifty.”
“Well, the last one was apparently a real arsehole,” Harry snapped, and Gildhard laughed again. “I know there are plenty of magical people out there that don’t want the Horde to have a patron, and they would take me out given a chance. The Chieftain made that clear to me.”
“Then stop holding back.”
Harry turned his head at the sound of a new voice and found Ragnok leaning against the doorframe of the entrance of the training arena. The chieftain stepped into the arena, and there was a brief rush of conversation amongst the normally silent audience. Ragnok drew his own glossy ebony stave. Harry had never asked about the core. It seemed like a private thing with the dverger. His own cores hadn’t been announced as far as he knew, and only Gildhard was there for the final selections.
Bannat retired from the field with a nod.
Ragnok circled him. “Do you fear Tom Riddle?”
“Do you fear your fate?”
“No.” Harry swallowed hard and took a deep breath.
“Do you still fear dementors?”
“What would you see, Harry Potter, if a dementor sprung full form in front of you at this very moment?” Ragnok questioned. “Death, destruction?”
Harry shook his head. He wasn’t certain what he would see, and that felt like the wrong answer. Still, it was the only one he had. “I don’t know what I would see.”
“A dragon,” Gildhard suggested from where he now stood with Bannat and Sharprock. “A basilisk?”
Harry shook his head. “Death is what it is—if it comes to me in the form of a beast, so be it.”
“Perhaps we’re approaching this from the wrong perspective,” Ragnok said thoughtfully. He swung his stave in a magic heavy arc, and pebbles from the stone floor of the arena rose from the ground lazily. “Fear has never been your motivator, has it?”
Various moments flickered through is mind—Quirrell, the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, dementors hell-bent on murdering his godfather, a dragon let loose from a chain, Voldemort rising out of the cauldron.
A pebble smacked against his check—the pain was sharp, and the smell of blood filled his nostrils. The pebbles started to swirl around him. His magic swelled, and he cast without thinking. The pebbles evaporated in the wake of the silent evanesco charm that burst from his staff.
“Self-defense is not quite right,” Ragnok said. “And pain doesn’t bother you over much. Your magic is reactive to threats.”
“Hyper magical resonance,” Bannat offered from the sidelines. “A never-ending response to the murder of his mother.”
Harry grimaced and took a deep breath. “I hear her beg for my life when I’m in the presence of a dementor.”
“Son of a bitch,” Sharprock muttered. “You don’t respond this way with a sword in your hand.”
“Had I known, I’d have shaped his staff differently,” Gildhard said snidely.
Harry flushed. “I…”
“You seek aggression from someone who was taught from the cradle to be on the offensive magically,” Warhide said from his place on the observation deck, and all eyes swiveled to him. “It is contrary to his very nature to attack first.” He stood and walked down the stone steps and stepped into the arena. “Harry’s very first act of intentional magic was the rejection of the Killing Curse.”
“I didn’t…” Harry trailed off when Warhide simply quirked when dark blonde eyebrow at him. “I don’t understand.”
“I’ve studied that memory thoroughly, lad,” Warhide said. “It’s evidence in Sirius Black’s trial though I doubt the ministry is dumb enough to request it be played in a public trial.” He drew his own staff and tapped the center of Harry’s chest as Ragnok made room for him. “There are hundreds of theories bouncing around the scholarly guilds regarding it. They speculate that your mother performed some ancient, unknown ritual to protect.
“Some think that Riddle did it to himself by accident due to the number of power building rituals he indulged in over the years. They think he burned himself out. But something in you recognized Tom Riddle that night. Whatever it was, found the Dark Lord’s very existence offensive as fuck, and your magic responded with purpose.” Warhide nudged him gently. “Who are you, Harry Potter?”
“I…” Harry swallowed hard. “Tyr…I…”
“Who are you?” Tyr demanded. “Son of James and Lily Potter?”
“Son of Sirius Black.”
“Yes,” Harry said hoarsely.
“Patron of the Horde,” Tyr prodded.
“Yes, all of that,” Harry snapped impatiently.
“Oh, lad,” Tyr said with a small smile. “That is the least of who you are. Shall we show him, sir?”
“Yes, I think we shall,” Ragnok said and hitched up his chin.
Harry barely had time to recognize their intent before every single dverger on the training arena floor aimed a spell at him. His wand snapped out his dimensional store and into his hand even as he cast a wide defensive shield with his staff. Spell after spell rained on him—from bludgers to cutting curses, and at first, all he could do was shield and deflect. Deflection worked far better than he’d hoped when he pushed a cutting curse Ragnok shot at him toward Sharprock and the dverger lost of a chunk of flesh from his bare arm.
They gave him no quarter and five minutes into the very one-sided fight, he realized he had no choice but to start taking them out. Biggest threats first, he decided and wondered if they’d all be insulted even as he sent dual stunners at Tyr Warhide. Warhide blocked one but got hit by the second. He targeted the chieftain then Bannat. He managed to knock the wind out of Ragnok, but the older dverger shook off the stunner with startling ease. But the moment Harry drew purposeful blood, the chieftain retired from the fight with a laugh.
Line drawn, Harry quickly took a piece out of all of them until he stood in the arena by himself in front of a stunned audience. He blew out a surprised breath of his own as he stowed his wand.
“Do I owe anyone an apology?” he asked as he offered Tyr Warhide a hand.
Warhide took the hand and let himself be pulled up off the ground. “No, but let me know when you figure out who you are.” He poked Harry in the chest with one finger and laughed. “I look forward to a formal introduction.”
– – – –
Because Sirius couldn’t leave the bank legally, the International Brouhaha convened his trial in the Hall of Mages deep within the bank. Harry and Hermione were settled in a heavily warded observation box that was visible to the dverger in the room and a select few wizards. Dumbledore wasn’t one of them. The headmaster had been regulated to a seat in the audience, and Harry could tell it’d pissed the old wizard off in the extreme.
“Lupin has tried several times to get Sirius’ attention,” Harry noted. He wasn’t surprised his godfather was ignoring the entire audience.
“The whole Order is here,” Hermione murmured to him. “Or at least the ones I was introduced to before I escaped headquarters. The solicitor representing the British Minister of Magic is Dedalus Diggle. He’s an Order member as well. I don’t think it’s illegal, but it makes me uncomfortable. We’ll probably be called as witnesses. I imagine Diggle has instructions from Dumbledore to force one or both of us on the stand. He could probably create a situation where we could incriminate ourselves on the stand for the improper use of a time-turner.”
Harry sighed at that. He wrote it down on a piece of parchment, folded it neatly into a little origami bird, and pushed it past the ward. It dropped briefly then with a delicate flutter of paper wings flew directly to Tyr Warhide. Several human members of the audience looked in their direction in confusion. Harry noted that Dumbledore was now glaring at the space they occupied. Perhaps he was trying to use mage sight to see through the ward.
Warhide unfolded the bird, read the note, and nodded as he shared it with Sirius. Harry watched as his godfather consider Hermione’s theory then nod at something Warhide had asked. Warhide left the table, crossed the arena floor, and walked up the small set of stairs to their box. He walked through the ward with no issue.
“Tell me about the time-turner,” Warhide said roughly. “Who gave it to you, and what instructions were given to you?”
Hermione pursed her lips. “Minerva McGonagall gave it to me. I was given it so I could take all the classes Hogwarts offered third year students. I was told to use it for my classes and for study time only.” She paused when he huffed. “I know, I feel ridiculous looking back on it. The only good thing that came out of it was that we were able to save Sirius from the ministry.”
“Did you change a single event you knew to be true?” Tyr questioned.
Hermione frowned. “You can’t do that.”
“You most certainly can do that but is dangerous and a violation of international law,” Tyr assured. “Especially with Potter in the mix. His magical power prodigious, and he’s more than capable of twisting a timeline with sheer will. Time-turners are dangerous and are highly restricted. The fact that you were given was an outrageous abuse of magic that is supposed to be restricted to academic research in a supervised setting.”
“We didn’t change anything we knew to be entirely true,” Hermione said. “The hippogriff that Sirius escaped on was supposed to be killed by the ministry, but we don’t know if that actually happened before we turned time because neither one of us witnessed him executed.”
“Did you, at any point, have a conversation with the younger version of yourselves?” Tyr questioned.
“No,” Harry said. “You’re irritated.”
“With myself,” Warhide admitted. “I dismissed this as an issue, and I feel like a fool for it. No one on my research team considered it an issue either, so I’ll be distributed my irritation in their direction at a later date. This trial is about Sirius Black’s actions in 1981. His escape in 1994 shouldn’t be an issue at all, but if the ministry wants to go hard on that, then we’ll have no choice but to address the time-turner situation, and they’ll regret that shite since it will put Fudge’s actions on display as well. He ordered the execution of a man who’d never had a trial.”
“Well, he has that habit,” Harry said. “I mean, I’m not sure what kind of trial Barty Crouch, Jr. had, but Fudge had him kissed in a classroom at Hogwarts without even a thought.”
“High Warlock Sarr has that situation under investigation. Fudge exceeded his powers as minister and acted like a tyrant. Crouch, Jr. should’ve been returned to Azkaban to serve his prison term,” Warhide explained. “Fudge committed murder in front of you, kid, and he’ll pay for that in the World Court. He doesn’t even know that charge is coming.”
“Good.” Harry frowned and glanced toward the ministry box. Fudge was front and center the Umbridge woman that liked to glare at him silently whenever he ended up in a room with her. Thankfully, it had only happened a couple of times.
“They’re going to target Hermione to get a rise out of you or as a way of implicating you in a crime involving the time-turner if it comes up. Justice Bertrand is pretty irritated already and might not allow it. The panel of judgment has been sequestered since the International Brouhaha was declared, so they haven’t heard anything about any of this,” Warhide said. “Be prepared and stay as calm as possible.” He paused. “And watch your language, Potter.”
Harry sighed and slouched a little in his chair. “I hate these people, you know.”
“I do know,” Warhide assured. “And honestly, most of them even deserve it.” He tapped the edge of their box gently with this closed fist and left them.
“How did training with your new staff go?” Hermione questioned.
“I’m having a difficult time being the aggressor,” Harry said. “I feel like…my magic…” He huffed. “It’s going to sound really weird, but I feel like I shouldn’t have to seek out a fight. If a fight is necessary, it should come to me.”
Hermione stared at him for a long moment then settled down in her own seat. “Well.”
“I know.” Harry shrugged.
Bertrand activated an orb on his desk, which was high in the arena. The members of the panel of judgment were seated in front of one level down. Harry thought the whole thing looked really pretentious.
“On this date, October 1, 1995, I call this session of the World Court of Magic to order. The British Ministry of Magic vs. Sirius Orion Black. Mr. Black stands charged with the murder of thirteen non-magical human beings on November 1, 1981. Let the record show that in a pre-trial motion submitted by Master Warhide that Mr. Black has pled innocent to all thirteen murder charges.” Bertrand focused on Dedalus Diggle. “Will solicitors of record for both parties please stand and identify themselves.’
Diggle stood. “Dedalus Diggle, British Ministry of Magic, Chief Justice.”
Warhide stood. “Master Tyr Warhide of the clan Ironfist representing Sirius Orion Black.”
Harry shifted in his seat as Diggle made a show of activating a charm on the small podium on his desk.
“Mr. Diggle, I’m aware of the fact that you’ve never presented to the World Court,” Bertrand said evenly. “So I’ll give you a little leeway to get settled in the process, we are not at the point in the trial where you can lodge an objection.”
“With all due respect, Chief Justice Bertrand. I have no choice but to protest Mr. Black’s representation. It is a violation of British law for a goblin to represent a witch or wizard in a criminal proceeding.”
Bertrand stared at him for a long moment, eyes dark. “Mr. Diggle, this is not a British court, and you are not in Britain. Every single square inch of land this bank sits on belongs wholesale to the dverger nation, a matter settled in the Treaty of 1245.”
“Sirius Black is accused of committing thirteen murders in Britain. He is subject to British law, Chief Justice. Failure to provide a proper solicitor for him will invalidate this entire process,” Diggle continued.
Harry was pretty sure that Warhide couldn’t look more bored if he tried.
Bertrand glared openly at Diggle, and the wizard shrank back a little, startled by the outright disapproval. He focused on Warhide. “Master Warhide, how long have you been practicing international law?”
“Fifty-six years,” Warhide said smoothly. “I received my mastery in corporate law first. It was the only mastery I could study for and complete at that age as I was not considered an adult by my own species. I’d just turned forty-four when I tested with the ICW for the certification. I continued to apprentice until I turned seventy-five. I hold additional masteries in creature law, criminal law and finally international law. Though it holds no weight in this court, I am also licensed to practice law in the Muggle world both in Italy and Great Britain.”
“That’s ridiculous, Chief Justice, this goblin barely looks thirty years old,” Diggle exclaimed.
“I am, in fact, ninety-four years old,” Tyr said dryly. “Though it’s terribly rude for you to make me admit such a thing in public.”
“But…” Diggle frowned at Warhide.
“Don’t look at me like that—it’s no fault of mine that your species ages so poorly. You look more like a goblin in this very moment than I ever will.”
Bertrand cleared his throat and shot Warhide a knowing look before focusing on Diggle, who looked horrified. “Mr. Diggle, Master Warhide has appeared before the World Court of Magic dozens of times during his association with the International Confederation of Wizards. If I allowed you to declare him unfit in this process, it would invalidate every single trial he’s ever participated in. Therefore, your objection is overruled with prejudice.”
“What does that mean?” Harry questioned softly.
“It means he won’t entertain the objection again from Diggle during the course of this trial,” Hermione murmured. “It’s a good thing. He’s forcing Britain to recognize dverger education as a legitimate option that they’ve been loathed to do for hundreds of years. That’s why the bank’s employees seek mastery testing with the ICW though Dumbledore tried to get rid of that while he was Supreme Mugwomp. He couldn’t even get the percentage of supporters required to call a vote on it.”
Harry nodded. Diggle looked befuddled while Fudge and everyone else in the ministry box looked furious. Good, he hoped they choked on it.
“The British Ministry of Magic may present their evidence,” Bertrand said.
Diggle flushed. “With apologies, Chief Justice Bertrand, due to the age of the case, we were unable to locate the scene reports, interviews, witness statements, or the interview conducted by the DMLE at the time of Mr. Black’s arrest.” Diggle took a deep breath. “The only thing we have in evidence is his wand, but spells conducted on it are inconclusive because due to the fact the Black family is well-known for warding their wands against outside intrusion.”
“Mr. Black,” Bertrand began and focused on him. “Are you aware that it is a crime to ward your wand in such a fashion?”
Warhide put a hand on Sirius’ arm. “Chief Justice, I would call your attention to Britain’s agreement regarding entrance into the ICW on July 2, 1349.” He paused. “They grandfathered in an exception to wand warding for their so-called Sacred Twenty-eight. The Black family was included in that list.”
Bertrand gave Warhide a sour look then focused on Diggle. “Mr. Diggle, per the records of the ICW, more than fifty Muggles witnessed the altercation on the street between Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. All of their statements were taken before they were memory charmed per the rules regarding the International Statute of Secrecy. They’re all missing?”
Diggle nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“So you’re saying you don’t have a single scrap of evidence to back up your ministry’s illegal incarceration of Sirius Black for twelve years in a prison guarded by dementors?” Bertrand demanded.
“Just a wand we can’t investigate.”
Warhide activated a charm to gain the Chief Justice’s attention, and Bertrand focused on him.
“You may speak, Master Warhide.”
“It would be perfectly reasonable at this point me for me to seek the dismissal of all charges. In fact, many in my place would be doing exactly that, but my client wants to leave this room a free man. He wants the world to know he’s innocent. Since the ministry admits to having no evidence to present, I would like to put my client on the stand and question him under vertiserum.”
“Mr. Diggle, do you have any objections to this?”
“Not regarding the original charges,” Diggle said stiffly. “But there are additional charges that Mr. Black must answer to. He’s an illegal animagus, Chief Justice. Moreover, he escaped custody not once but twice. Both escapes are considered felonies under British magical law.”
“Since neither of his incarcerations was legal, to begin with, I dismiss both charges of escaping custody,” Bertrand said.
Harry had never once seen anyone looked more appalled in his life. He shared a look with Hermione who bit down on her lip and shrugged.
“He had help escaping the second time,” Diggle announced. “Harry Potter and Hermione Granger helped him—that’s a felony as well. We will be pursuing charges against them both.”
“Will you?” Bertrand questioned with one raised eyebrow. “Per my records, the two children in question were thirteen and fourteen, respectively. I know, for a fact, that Britain doesn’t have a single law on the books that would allow you to charge an underage witch or wizard with a felony. In fact, such matters are automatically referred to the World Court of Magic. When you do forward those charges, they will be dismissed as ridiculous. You’d be wise to reconsider wasting my time.”
Diggle shifted on his feet and glanced toward Fudge. Harry figured that Diggle was going to lose his job at the ministry as soon as someone had the power to fire anyone. Which could be years since Zayd Sarr had set up an office and started interviewing everyone in the place, starting with the ladies who ran the cafeteria.
“There remains the charge of being an illegal animagus,” Diggle pointed out stubbornly.
Bertrand focused on Black and raised an eyebrow. “Mr. Black?”
Sirius stood and looked toward Harry just once before speaking. “Yes, Chief Justice Bertrand, I am capable of the animagus transformation. I never registered because I believed it was a valuable magical skill to keep to myself during the war. I’d have registered after the fact, of course, if I hadn’t been in Azkaban.”
Bertrand nodded. “Remind me, Master Warhide, what’s the penalty for being an illegal animagus in Britain?”
“Five years in Azkaban in a minimum-security cell,” Warhide answered.
“Very well, Mr. Black, this court finds you guilty by your admission. You’re sentenced to five years in Azkaban, time already served.” Bertrand accepted a piece of parchment from a wizard who approached his desk and signed it. “This ruling protects you from being charged with this crime a second time, Mr. Black. You have thirty days to register after the International Brouhaha concludes.” Bertrand focused on Diggle. “Do you have any other matters?”
“During Black’s second escape, a time-turner was used illegally,” Diggle announced.
“Do you have a single piece of evidence to prove that?” Bertrand asked.
“A witness, perhaps?”
“Just two children you won’t allow me to prosecute,” Diggle snapped and flushed. “My apologies, Chief Justice.”
“I sincerely hope you aren’t saying that the British Ministry of Magic allowed two third-year Hogwarts students to use a time-turner without direct supervision,” Bertrand said lowly. “Is that what you’re confessing, Mr. Diggle?”
“At this point, I’m uncertain as to where the time-turner came from,” Diggle said stiffly.
“You’ve no evidence, no adult witnesses, and no provenance regarding the time-turner itself? Can you verify the time-turner in question even exists, Mr. Diggle?” Bertrand questioned. “Shall I have Erwin Schrödinger himself dragged from his grave and resurrected to figure this out for us?”
Warhide snorted and cleared his throat roughly when several people glanced his way.
“I have no further charges or issues,” Diggle admitted. “I’d like the option to question Mr. Black if his testimony isn’t thorough enough to satisfy British law.”
Harry wondered if Bertrand ever had the urge to throw shite at people because he looked like he did.
“Master Warhide will question his client without interruption. Should you have additional concerns, they will be addressed at that time.” Bertrand focused on Sirius. “Mr. Black, if you’ll stand and come to the witness stand. I would warn you that the chair has been spelled heavily for honesty. Beyond the fact that you’ve agreed to be potioned, the chair will not allow you to lie.”
“I understand, Chief Justice,” Sirius said. “At this point, I have nothing to hide.”
“I requested that Amelia Bones procure the vertiserum to prevent any accusation by the British Ministry of Magic regarding the potion,” Warhide announced. “Madam Bones? If you would give the vertiserum to Chief Justice Bertrand so it may be tested for use in the proceeding?”
“Is testing required?” Diggle questioned. “I have the utmost faith in Madam Bones.”
“Yes, testing is required,” Bertrand stated. “Mr. Black’s testimony will not be considered legal for the proceeding if the potion is not tested. I’m beginning to wonder, Mr. Diggle, if we should’ve investigated your education.”
Diggle flushed. “I have masteries in both British and international law, Chief Justice.”
Bertrand looked liked he didn’t believe that for a hot minute. Harry wondered if the Frenchman would have that looked into. He seemed the type to trust little and verify a lot. Hermione leaned forward slightly in her chair and watched the testing process. Bertrand had a very elegant hand with his wand. Harry wondered if that came with practice or age. Perhaps the Chief Justice had always been the elegant, precise sort.
Warhide watched Amelia Bones take the potion back, and together they administered it. Harry appreciated the dverger’s attention to detail and his ever-vigilant manner when it came to the safety of his godfather. The Chieftain had told him that Warhide wanted to move to Britain and be his personal solicitor going forward. Harry figured he definitely needed someone like Warhide at his side in court and probably at his back on a regular damn basis.
Listening to Sirius answer questions regarding Pettigrew, Godric’s Hollow, and his parents’ murder was difficult, so Harry tried to focus on other things and found himself staring at Hermione. Her cheeks were pale, and her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. He reached out and took her hand, and she tried to smile for him even as she laced her fingers with his.
“It’s okay,” he murmured.
“It’s terrible,” Hermione corrected and took a deep breath.
“Mr. Black, can you tell me what happened after Pettigrew blew up the street and the DMLE arrived?”
“I arrested by Barty Crouch, Sr.”
Harry winced. His godfather’s face was expressionless due to the potion, and his voice lacked any sort of emotional content. It was disconcerting and terrible.
“Who interviewed you after your arrest?”
“No one interviewed you?” Warhide asked. “What happened after you were arrested?”
“Barty Crouch, Sr, took me directly to Azkaban and placed me in a cell,” Sirius responded. “I didn’t leave until I escaped in 1993.”
“Why did you escape Azkaban?”
“I saw Peter Pettigrew in the Daily Prophet. He’s an animagus as well—a rat.”
“Fitting,” Warhide said.
“Very,” Sirius agreed. “Pettigrew was living with a family as their pet. Their youngest son knew my boy. I realized that Pettigrew was near Harry—he could hurt Harry. So I left Azkaban.”
“You just left?”
“It wasn’t hard,” Sirius admitted. “Their security is shite. They rely too much on the dementors. The magical dampening protocols haven’t been updated in a hundred years because the ministry is full of cheap bastards. They have no wards or protections against the animagus transformation. A human guard comes through the cell block once a week. On my cell block, they came through every Sunday. If I’d escaped on a Monday instead of Saturday night, they wouldn’t have noticed I was gone for a whole week.”
Practically everyone in the ministry box was glaring at Sirius. Even Amelia Bones looked genuinely put out, but Harry figured that might be because she’d just realized how lucky she was that Sirius was the only escapee she’d had during her tenure as the Director of the DMLE.
“For the record, why did you escape custody a second time?”
“Because Minister Fudge was going to murder me.”
“Chief Justice, I object!” Diggle shouted.
“Mind your tone,” Bertrand responded. “And use the proper procedure, Mr. Diggle, or I’ll have you arrested for contempt of court.” He shifted parchment around in front of him. “And your objection is overruled, Master Warhide questioned Mr. Black’s motivation, which is his own to determine.”
“He accused the sitting Minister for Magic of Great Britain of attempted murder,” Diggle protested.
“And?” Bertrand raised an eyebrow. “Are you representing the British Ministry of Magic, Mr. Diggle, or are you representing Minister Fudge?” He focused on the man. “You are aware that the two are mutually exclusive, correct?”
Diggle flushed. “Yes, of course.” He sat down.
“I have no further questions for my client,” Warhide announced.
“Mr. Diggle?” Bertrand prodded. “Do you have any questions?”
Diggle hesitated then shook his head. “No, Chief Justice.”
Harry figured that Diggle didn’t want to risk getting the ministry in more trouble.
“As Master Warhide did not request a dismissal of charges, the panel of judgment will now review the charges. Ladies and gentlemen, do you need a period of recess?” They all declined with a shake of their heads. “Then please cast your votes.”
Charms lit across the panel, and Bertrand merely focused on Sirius. “Sirius Orion Black, the World Court of Magic declares you innocent of all charges. Per the request of Master Warhide, I’ve received compensation law, both local and international, regarding your unlawful incarceration. The British Ministry of Magic will pay you 1,000 galleons for every month you were illegally incarcerated.” He focused on Diggle. “The British Ministry of Magic has 30 days to return Mr. Black’s wand and to arrange the transfer of funds, Mr. Diggle.”
Diggle’s mouth dropped open, and Cornelius Fudge slumped over into his undersecretary’s lap in a dead faint.
– – – –
Additional Author note: Sirius Black was incarcerated for roughly 141 months. https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Wizarding_currency