|SIYE Time:16:53 on 18th June 2018|
Category: The Sting Challenge (2011-2)
Warnings: Mild Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Summary: *** Winner of Best Overall and Best Drama in The Sting Challenge ***
Cornelius Fudge doesn't admit to seeing Voldemort in the Atrium. He is afraid of losing his postition of minister of Magic if he admits to seeing Voldemort. To cover this up, he claims that Albus Dumbledore had used an illegal Curse on the people who admits to seeing the Dark Lord. With the help of the golden trio plus one the headmaster has a plan to reveal that Fudge is a liar.
Hitcount: Story Total: 4340
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
The challenge stated that people had to get a new law passed to involve lawyers in a court case. I went a slightly different route. I went back to the beginnings of England's magical history, and unearthed a core belief of Merlin.
Minister Fudge declares Dumbledore a Liar!
The Minister of magic emphatically states that Albus Dumbledore is a bald-faced liar. The wizard, who shall not be mentioned, is indeed dead. Anyone claiming to have seen him at the Ministry’s Atrium two weeks ago had been placed under a mix of a Confundus Charm and an Imperius Curse…
Harry turned away from that Daily Prophet, and looked at the headline of another sitting beside him.
Minister Fudge declares Britain to be the safest place on earth.
Harry was reading old Daily Prophets. He could not believe that overbearing lying prat of a Minister was insisting that Voldemort was dead. Even with over twenty people who admitted to seeing him that night. There had been more witnesses, but many had changed their story several days later.
“I can’t believe him,” sighed Harry. “Why is he doing this?”
Harry was in the Burrow’s sitting room, with his best friends Ron and Hermione, and Ron’s sister Ginny. He picked up this paper to read to distract him from Ginny, who was sitting on the sofa with him. Ron and Hermione were sitting on opposite sides of the room. They had been acting strangely towards each other today.
“You asked that before,” said Ginny.
Harry moved the corner of the newspaper to look at her. She wasn’t looking at him, so he stared a little longer than he probably should. There was something different about Ginny this summer. Something very different about her, or was it him.
“Cornelius loves his position, and will do anything to keep it,” stated Professor Dumbledore. He was standing in the doorway to the kitchen. His presence startled everyone in the room. “Mind if I sit down?”
Ron stood up from his father’s chair and indicated for the Headmaster, or the former Headmaster, to sit down.
Albus Dumbledore had not been reinstated as the Headmaster of Hogwarts, even though Dolores Umbridge could not serve as the Headmistress this year because of stress caused from an attack by Centaurs. Minerva McGonagall was now the Headmistress, or as she indicates the acting Headmistress.
“If he were to admit to seeing Voldemort, then he would have to admit that he was wrong. That would weaken his grasp on the office. As long as he keeps the Wizengamot believing or at least debating if I cursed everyone in the Atrium that night, he can retain his office.”
“Isn’t there some way of making him tell the truth Professor,” snapped Harry. His voice was loud and forceful, and caught everyone by surprise. “I am sorry. I am so tired of all these lies. It seems that you can say anything because the truth doesn’t matter. As long as it is what everyone wants to hear.”
“Well short of using Veritaserum on the Minister, which would never happen, there isn’t any way of forcing him to tell the truth,” stated the Professor. He sat back and steepled his fingers under his chin and stared thoughtfully into the fireplace.
“Why isn’t Merlin’s Stone of Truth working?” asked Hermione.
“The what?” asked a puzzled Ron?
Hermione rolled her eyes at him and sighed before muttering. “Oh Ronald, why don’t you ever read and study.”
“Because everything I ever needed to know, I learned from you, Hermione,” teased Ron. “I just need to keep you around and I’m all set.”
Hermione’s face turned a light shade of pink. Harry turned away from his friends so they wouldn’t notice him staring at them. Ron and Hermione have had feelings for each other for a long time, but neither one will act on them. Even now it was evident, because they will get close to each other, then one or the other will back away as if they had crossed some invisible barrier.
“I thought the Stone of Truth was a legend,” stated Ginny.
“What is the Stone of Truth?” he asked her. Even after the Headmaster began to explain, Harry found it difficult to take his eyes off Ginny. After staring at her longer than was proper, he did turn to look at the Headmaster.
“The Stone of Truth was a powerful magical object created by Merlin to force people into telling the truth,” explained Professor Dumbledore. “You have sat above it before, Harry. It is under the center portion of the floor in the old Wizengamot chamber. The person being questioned is supposed to always tell the truth.”
“Well that doesn’t work,” stated Ron loudly.
“Was there a spell or a something to activate it or was it always supposed to be on?” inquired Harry.
“Alas, Harry, I do not know. It was placed there before Hogwarts was even built. I have read nothing about a spell or an incantation to activate it.”
Ron smirked as he spoke. “It isn’t like there are a lot of books sitting around from Merlin’s time. It may remain a mystery forever.”
A gleam appeared in the Professor’s eyes as he stared at the fireplace. Everyone sat there in silence waiting to hear what he had to say. After several minutes he smiled at Hermione. “Thank you for bringing that up. However, I might need to ask a rather large favor from you.”
“What is it Professor?” asked a nervous Hermione. “My parents want me to spend a good portion of the remaining summer with them.” Hermione was sitting on the edge of her chair.
“I can appreciate all that you did for the Order last year. I also understand the desire to be with your friends.”
Harry tried not to smile at the Headmaster, who was staring at Ron when he said it. Even he knew about Hermione and Ron’s nonexistent relationship.
“I could use someone who would be willing to do some research for me.”
“If it means spending the rest of the summer in the library, Hermione is your person,” stated Ron loudly.
Hermione glared at Ron, and it looked like they were going to have another row, when Professor Dumbledore spoke up again.
“You will not be spending your time in a library, per se. It will be a small room that is filled with books.”
“Where is it, and what are you going to want me to research?” asked an excited Hermione.
“I need to talk to an old friend about using his books. Elphias Doge is the foremost authority on Merlin.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. “He has even bragged about owning a book in Merlin’s handwriting.”
When the Headmaster told Hermione about the book written by Merlin himself, her eyes widened. Everyone in the room knew that she would do the research. Hermione looked like a kid who was just handed a key to their very own candy shop.
“Where would I need to go to do this research, Professor?”
“I am not sure, Miss Granger,” said the Headmaster thoughtfully. “Quite possibly even in your own room. I will need to check with Mr. Doge first before I can finalize my ideas.”
He pulled out his wand and glanced over at Ginny. “With that subject covered, I would like some privacy to talk to Harry. Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger are welcome to stay if they wish.”
As Ginny stood up to leave, Harry became agitated. He liked having her in the same room with him. He just felt more complete when she was there.
“I want her to stay,” stated Harry. He did not shout, but his voice was strong and firm. Everyone turned and looked at him.
“Why, Harry?” asked the soft voice of Ginny Weasley.
Harry didn’t know how to put it in words. He wasn’t about to profess his undying love to her, but he also did not want her to leave.
“I just feel better, more confident, when you are around,” he told her. He was looking at her, but she seemed to turn her face away from him. He wasn’t too sure what that indicated. Even with all the time he spent with Hermione telling him about females.
Ginny sat back down on the sofa, without making eye contact with him. He could tell that she was just as confused by what had happened as everyone else.
Harry could feel everyone staring at him. He looked at Ron and he had a sour expression on his face. Hermione looked slightly bemused, and Professor Dumbledore seemed to actually be pleased about this development.
The Professor waved his wand and a shimmering shield formed around the room.
“We can speak freely now,” announced the Professor. “Harry, have you told your friends about why Voldemort lead you to the Hall of Prophecies?”
“No Professor,” he nervously admitted. He wasn’t sure how to announce to the people he cared the most about that he was a marked man. The most evil wizard in the world wanted to kill him. The only way to stop him was to kill him first.
“You are the one to defeat him. Aren’t you, Harry,” stated Ginny. Her voice was tense. Everyone stared at her after she spoke. “You were lured to a prophecy that was about you and him. Why would he want that prophecy so bad if it wasn’t about how you are to defeat him? That wasn’t very hard to figure out.”
Professor Dumbledore chuckled at her comment. “I supposed that wasn’t very difficult, Miss Weasley. Yes, Harry is the one to defeat him. Before I say anymore, you must understand that prophecies are very treacherous to decifer. They quite often never come to fruition. Voldemort, however, believed in this one. That was why he has been trying to kill Harry since before he was born. In trying to kill Harry he made the prophecy true.
“I am not going to tell you the prophecy, because it is unnecessary. Understand that Voldemort believes it, so he believes that Harry is the only person to be able to defeat him. He will stop at nothing to kill Harry. On Harry’s side the prophecy says that he has a power that Voldemort does not. I believe that it is love.”
“Love, Professor?” asked Hermione.
“Yes, love, Miss Granger,” stated Professor Dumbldore. “Harry’s ability to love has given him wonderful friends that care for him, like you three. Do not underestimate the power of friendship in times like these. Harry’s ability to make good friends may be what helps him to defeat Voldemort.”
The room was silent after the Professor stopped talking. Harry sat there afraid to look at his friends. He appreciated them and if it wasn’t for them he would have been dead along time ago. Yet, he felt guilty that he was putting them in danger.
“Stop feeling guilty, Harry,” demanded Ginny. “We are more than your friends, Harry. We are your family. We will never abandon family.” She reached over and laid her hand on top of his. Her warm hand made him feel better.
“Yes, Harry, you are family. I know Mum and Dad treat you like one of us,” stated Ron.
“Harry, you know I have always thought of you as my brother,” stated Hermione. Ron raised his eyebrows at Hermione’s comment.
“Even with such wonderful friends, you will need some additional training,” said the Professor. “It would be easier if I was the Headmaster again, but alas, I am not. So I will try to figure how best to get you the training you will need.”
With a wave of his wand, the shields disappeared. “When you four leave, please send in Arthur and Molly. I wish to speak to them before I must leave again.”
The four teens stood and left the sitting room. Harry walked outside of the back door and sat down on the steps. He sat there beside the old wellingtons and stared out at the orchard. Even though his friends said there would stand by him, he still worried about them. Without them, what reason would he have to continue on after Voldemort was gone?
“Stop that,” ordered Ron, as he hit Harry on the back of the head. That action snapped Harry out of his depression. He looked up and saw the three of them staring at him.
“I meant it Harry. I think of you as my brother,” said Hermione. “I will always be there for you.”
“Yeah mate, Hermione and I have been beside you for five years now. No reason to break up a good team. Hey, you want to play some two on two Quidditch?” asked Ron with great excitement.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “I need to get home, Ron, but I will help you get the brooms.” She grabbed Ron’s arm and dragged him off towards the broom shed.
Harry chuckled at how that sounded to him.
“Why Harry? What made you change your mind about me?” asked Ginny.
Harry felt his throat tighten. To tell her that he thought she was beautiful wouldn’t be a proper answer. She was though. The hazy August sun played with the loose strands of hair that the gentle breeze freed from the rest of her glorious mane. Her brown eyes were penetrating, but he didn’t feel uncomfortable when she stared at him.
“It was your letter, Ginny.”
“Which one, I wrote you several this summer.”
“The second one, you told me that I shouldn’t be blaming myself for Sirius’ death. When you said that if I blamed myself, then I should blame you for releasing the Basilisk, I never blamed you, Ginny. I knew it was Voldemort. You made me realize that there was someone else who went through the same type of things that I have. I didn’t feel so alone.”
“Do you still blame yourself?”
“I will always blame myself for the death of any of my friends.”
“Oh Harry, even if you would have not asked for me to stay in there, I would have fought against V-Voldemort. So if anything would happen to me, it won’t be your fault.”
Harry felt his chest tighten as she said about somethig happening to her. “I don’t want anything to happen to you,” he said rather forcefully.
Ginny smiled at him. “Thank you, but if it does it will be Voldemort and his followers fault.” She placed her hand on his cheek and made him look her in the eyes. “I would never blame you, and I don’t want you blaming yourself.”
Her touch, the look in her eyes, and tenderness of her voice made a lump form in Harry’s throat. He wanted to pull her into an embrace and maybe even kiss her. He had to fight that urge. He wasn’t sure how she would react.
“Oi, Hermione’s leaving so it will be just the three of us,” yelled Ron.
Ginny dropped her hand and looked slightly embarrassed. Harry turned to face Ron. He could also feel his face grow warm. Ron had a threatening look, while Hermione seemed genuinely amused.
“I will watch you fly, but I must Floo away in thirty minutes,” Hermione said trying to keep from laughing.
Ginny walked up to Ron and took one of the three brooms. She hopped on it, and flew off without a word to anyone. Harry watched her fly away. She was an excellent flier, but that wasn’t what he was looking at right now. Something heavy collided with the side of his head.
“Ouch, what was that,” he said turning to find out what had hit him. It was a beaten up old Quaffle that Fred and George had knicked somewhere.
“Eyes Potter,” growled Ron.
“I was watching her fly away. Ginny is a great flier.”
“Oh bollocks, you weren’t watching how she handled a broom.” Ron turned to glare at Hermione who sniggered at his comment, or was it Harry’s warm face. “Chosen One or not, don’t mess with my sister.”
“We are friends. What’s wrong with that?” pleaded Harry.
“Just friends Harry?” questioned Hermione. “I have noticed you acting strangely around her.”
“Yeah, well…” stammered Harry not really sure what to say.
“Don’t mess with her. She is supposed to be dating Dean.” threatened Ron.
Harry’s good mood dropped to his feet and buried itself in the ground. He had forgotten that fact. He looked up to see her staring down at them from a distance away. She looked so beautiful and graceful hovering in the air. Stepping over his broom, he flew off towards her. His dark mood had returned.
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Harry, Ron, and Ginny walked towards Hermione’s home. They all looked rather disheveled, after riding the Knight Bus to a location several blocks away from Hermione’s home in Hampton. They were taking her the school supplies they had bought for her.
Ever since their meeting with Professor Dumbledore at the beginning of August, the three of them haven’t seen Hermione. She had taken up the offer to help do research for the Professor. They had received two Owls from her, and both were short. The first one was the longest. She wrote about the marvelous research and her Owl results.
The second letter asked them to pick up her books and school supplies. She couldn’t possibly get away to Diagon Alley with the research she was doing and the time she was spending with her parents.
It was less than two weeks until start of a new year. Harry and Ron were amazed that Hermione hadn’t asked about her new textbooks, before this. Every other year she had read them completely by this point in the holidays.
Ron was carrying most of her books and was walking slightly infront of his sister. Harry was carrying the rest of her supplies, but he seemed to be dragging behind the other two. Ginny kept glancing back at him, or it would be better descibed as glaring back at him.
Harry had not spoken to Ginny except for the most essential types of conversation, since her birthday. He had been in a rather sullen mood during that time. He was sitting at the kitchen table that morning watching Ginny opening her presents. He had wanted to get her a better present, than the Quidditch gloves, but he wasn’t sure how she would feel about it. She said she liked them and put them on and wore them as she opened the rest of her presents. She even wore them when she opened Dean’s.
Harry didn’t even stay to see what it was. He had heard what Dean wrote her. Fred had snatched the letter away from his sister and started to read it to everyone else. Dean wanted to meet Ginny at Diagon Alley and go shopping together. Harry couldn’t stand the thought of Dean spending the day with Ginny. With all the confusion going on in the kitchen as Ginny chased Fred, he left the room, never seeing what Dean had bought her.
The next day Ron and Ginny went to Diagon Alley with their mum. Bill was back from Egypt and working at Gringotts. He was able to access Harry’s vault to get gold so Mrs. Weasley could do his shopping. Harry stayed home and sulked the entire time. Ron and Ginny both wanted him to go, but he said he wanted to play it safe and stay out of the public’s eye. The truth was he didn’t want to see Ginny and Dean walking around as a couple. He never realized how much he liked her until that ruddy letter from Dean.
Ever since that day, the friction between Ginny and him had grown. It was getting to the point where they were becoming like Ron and Hermione, except they didn’t shout and scream at each other.
Hermione’s neighborhood was nice. It didn’t remind Harry of Little Whinging. The houses were all different from each other. They each had there own character, not the cookie cutter type of houses he had grown up in. Many were brick with decades of ivy growning on their facades.
“Where does she live,” Ginny asked her brother.
Ron pulled the piece of parchment out of his pocket and checked it. He wouldn’t let anyone else look at the parchment. Harry suspected that he even slept with it.
“Up the block there, I think that white house with the red door, and what are shutters. Are those green things shutters? If they are then that is her house,” said Ron, as he tried to juggle six textbooks, cat treats, and rolls of fresh parchment.
“Good, you go, knock, and find out,” ordered Ginny. “Harry and I are going to have a discussion.” She turned and stepped in front of Harry. He tried to step around her, but she was too quick for him. “What is bothering you, Harry? You have been in a foul mood for a week, ever since my birthday.”
Harry stared at her. He knew what was wrong with him, but he could never tell her that he hated that she was dating Dean. He had had his chance and blew it. He had to think of something quick. Even in her agitated state, she was beautiful, but scary.
“I am waiting, Harry. You said that I made you feel better and felt you could talk to me. Why haven’t you talked to me? I am not letting you go into Hermione’s home without finding out. So, out with it.”
“I am tired of being me. All my life I have been hidden away. Either my Uncle hid me in a cupboard or I needed to hide because of Voldemort. I have only had a couple of years where I could actually walk out in public.
“I couldn’t even go into Diagon Alley to get school supplies because of Voldemort. I wanted to go with Ron and you, but I would put you in danger. I am sorry that I am such a miserable bloke right now, but I see no end in sight until I can complete my task. I have no idea how I will ever do that.”
He had dropped his face and was staring at the sidewalk by the time he was finished. What he said was not a complete lie, but it was not the entire truth either. He felt Ginny’s hand grab his shoulder. When he lifted his head up, she was staring at him. Her gaze was so warm of comforting. It reminded him of her mum’s stare full of compassion and understanding.
“I am sorry about all you have to go through,” consoled Ginny. “When you told me that my letter to you had helped you, I was so excited, because I thought I could be of real help to you. I cannot relate to this. I don’t think anyone could, except possibly Professor Dumbledore. I am sorry I can’t help you. I wish I could. Please, don’t block me out. I want to help you the best I can. Promise me you won’t go off sulking alone again. You had me feeling like I was failing you. Promise me you will talk about your problems?”
Harry stared at her. When she told him she wanted to help him, it was so heartfelt that it made him feel even worse about what he had done. “I promise that I will talk to next time,” he said. He smiled at her and marveled at the wonderful smile she returned.
“Let’s go to see Hermione, shall we?” She said enthusiastically.
They started up the street to Hermione’s home. Ron was almost to the front steps by that time.
“Diagon Alley wasn’t anything special,” Ginny said as she walked.
“What was the joke shop like?”
“Oh! Now that was brilliant. Fred and George really found their calling with that idea. The place was packed with all types of pranks and stuff. They seemed rather put out that you didn’t come by to see the shop.”
Harry smiled to himself. Evidently the twins still had not told anyone about him being the financial backer for the shop.
“What did Dean think about the shop?”
Ginny almost stopped walking when he said that. He almost cursed himself for being so obvious. When he looked over she had caught back up to him. She was tucking her flaming red hair behind her one ear, and her face looked slightly flushed. She had an unmistakable smile on her face. Had he said too much? Was he that obvious?
“I wouldn’t know. We didn’t meet up. I sent his present back. I’m not ready for a full time boyfriend,” she said slyly. “At least not yet.”
Harry tried to hide his smile, but he doubted that it worked. He had just revealed his feelings to her, and she did not seemed to be offended or told him to back off. She just was not ready, just yet.
Ron had been kicking the front door, because his hands were full. Harry and Ginny quickened their pace to help him. If he damages the door, Hermione and he will spend the entire visit having one of their famous rows.
They reached Ron when the door opened revealing an exhausted Hermione. Her hair was a mess of tangles. Harry even thought he saw a quill stuck deep in it. Her eyes were ringed with dark circles and she looked as if she had not been outside for the entire time she had been here.
She did smile when she saw Ron holding her books. In her excitement she went to take the books from him. They held hands for the briefest of moments, and they were practically nose to nose over the stack of textbooks. Hermione quickly pulled away with her face nearly as red as Ron’s.
“Hey, everyone come on in,” she said gleefully to them. “Thanks for the books and school supplies. I wouldn’t know when I would get a chance to pick them up. Follow me; I have everything in my bedroom.” She turned and started walking away from everyone. Harry who was carrying the rest of her books followed along behind Ron, who was directly behind Hermione.
They ascended the stairs in the comfortable house. It was so different from the Dursley’s. Harry doubted if this house was any dirtier than his Aunt’s, but it didn’t have that uptight pristine look. It looked like a home should look and feel. It reminded him more of the Burrow than the Dursley’s.
Hermione’s bedroom was filled with books and scrolls covering every piece of pink and white furniture. The window blinds were pulled blocking out all the light and the only illumination was a single candle by her desk.
“Blimey, Hermione, how can you read in this light” exclaimed Ron. He walked to the window to open it, but she stopped him.
“You can’t let any light in. It will destroy the scrolls and the books,” she scolded him.
“At least light another candle,” he pulled his wand and was going to tap the light on her desk. Hermione grabbed his arm.
“Ronald that is not a candle, and if you perform magic here the Ministry will notice. We are probably the only wizards and witches for miles,” Hermione scolded him.
“What is all this stuff?” Harry asked her.
“This stuff, as you call it, is the records from Camelot that Elphias Doge had collected,” she said as she swung her arm across the scrolls littering her bed. “That book was written by Merlin himself. It is his handbook for his apprentices.” She pointed to a large book sitting on top of her dresser. It looked ancient. The covers were thick leather, and the yellowed parchment was crumbling around the edge. Hermione spoke reverently of the book. It was probably the oldest magical book in England, and written by the most famous wizard of all time.
Ron stooped over to it and looked down on it. “Yeah, it might be a great book, but they spelled his name wrong,” he said sardonically.
Hermione looked like she was going to spit fire at him. “The name is not wrong. His name was not Merlin it was…” She stopped as Ron just smiled at her, obviously taking the mickey out on her. “You are such a prat, you know that Ron.”
“Yeah, that is why you love me,” he laughed at her. As soon as he said the word love, Hermione and his face turned pink even in the dim light of her room. “I meant like, that is what you like about me.”
“Yeah, Ron that is what I like about you,” she said sheepishly.
“Well now that we got that embarrassing moment out of the way,” stated Ginny, who was obviously amused at their awkwardness. “Have you been able to find out how to force Fudge to tell the truth?”
“Not exactly, none of this information tells me exactly how to use the stone. I did find reference to Merlin making a device that will force sorcerers to be truthful and duty bound to the round table. Merlin believed that sorcerers were to be servants to the King and his court. He believed that if Wizards had the power to rule they would become corrupted by the dark. I think he was writing this while he was battling against Morganna and Mordred.”
“Well he had that spot on, didn’t he,” interjected Ginny. “Are all these books from Camelot?” Ginny was looking at some rather modern looking books.
“No those are books on the trials held at the Wizengamot. Professor Dumbledore wanted me to study many different cases that had been held at the Wizengamot. I am not sure why he wants me to do that, but that is what I have been spending most of my time on this past week. I still haven’t covered half of the cases.”
“Hermione, the start of term is a little over a week away,” stated Harry. “Are you going to be able to get all this finished by then, and why would he have you reading about all these trials?”
“I am not sure, but I have an idea,” Hermione stated hesitantly.
“Well, what is it?” demanded Ron.
“I will ask him when he gets here.”
“The Headmaster is coming here today?” exclaimed Harry.
“Yes, he wanted me to have you three bring my books over today. He still hasn’t told me why, but I must trust he knows what he is doing.”
Harry looked at Hermione. He has often felt the same way about the Headmaster. He seems to tell only part of the story. He never completely tells anyone the whole story. He always seems to do the right thing, but being involved always left Harry feeling like a chess piece.
“So how has everything been going with you lot?” asked Hermione.
“Oh pretty good; Ron has been walking around missing you. My birthday was alright, and Harry has been sulking around the house,” stated Ginny.
Ron looked scandalized at Ginny’s comment. Harry glared at her, because Hermione turned on him after smiling about the comment about Ron.
“Why have you been sulking, Harry? Does it have to do with Voldemort? Are you having nightmares? You’re not still blaming yourself for Sirius’ death are you?”
“No Hermione stop, please,” demanded Harry. “With everything going on I couldn’t go to Diagon Alley. I am tired of always being shut away.”
Hermione looked around her room and smiled a sad smile at him. “I guess I can understand.”
The next few minutes were filled with the four teens chatting with each other. Ginny and Ron were going on about all the things at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Hermione looked somewhere between mildly impressed and slightly scandalized that they would sell such items to the public.
A knock on the front door stopped the conversation. Hermione went down stairs and returned with Professor Dumbldore and another old wizard. He looked to be much older than the Headmaster. He was short and wizened with sparse long white hair sticking out under his large ugly hat.
“Hello, everyone, this is my friend Elphias Doge,” stated Albus Dumbledore. He went around and personally introduced Mr. Doge to everyone. Harry remembered him from the advanced guard that had picked him up last year.
“Hermione, Mr. Doge has something he would like for you to read.”
The Headmaster and Mr. Doge looked at each other before producing an old rolled up piece of parchment. It looked to be old enough to be from Camelot. Hermione took it and ever so gently started unrolling it.
Mr. Doge let out a squeak of excitement that caused everyone to look at him. He didn’t seem fazed by the attention as he looked up at Professor Dumbledore.
Harry was curious what was on the scroll. He budged over to Hermione’s right shoulder to see what was on the scroll. He was impressed. As old as the parchment seemed to be, the ink was virtually brand new.
Only thy Noble and Chivalrous Knights of the Roundtable shalt be permitted access to my secret. Was all that Harry could read, before Mr. Doge spoke and distracted him.
“Can you read it, Miss Granger?” asked the excitable Mr. Doge.
“Yes, the ink looks fresh,” replied Hermione.
“What ink?” asked Ron rather loudly.
Harry looked at him with a puzzled expression. “The ink on the paper. Do you need my glasses?”
Ron gave Harry a scowl that was supposed to scare him, but it only made him laugh.
“Can you read it also Mr. Potter?” asked the excitable Mr. Doge.
“Because I believe this scroll controls the Stone, Mr. Potter, and only one with the blood and the virtues of the Knights of the Round Table should be able to open and read it,” stated Mr. Doge. “Oh this is so exciting,” he gushed.
He glanced up at Hermione. It was obvious to anyone who knew her that she was putting everything together in her mind.
“You want me to represent you in front of the Wizengamot. Don’t you Professor?” asked Hermione.
Elphias looked at the Headmaster. “You are right Albus. She is a bright one.”
“Yes, Miss Granger, I want you to represent me in front of the Wizengamot.”
“But, I am not seventeen, yet!”
“Cornelius has requested that the trial be pushed back to October 3rd. It appears he wants to keep me out the Headmaster’s chair as long as possible. In doing so, he has played right into my hands, or your hands.”
Hermione chewed on her bottom lip for several seconds before speaking again. “If I am going to stand in front of the Wizengamot, then I better get serious about studying.”
Ron snorted at the humor of Hermione getting more serious about studying.
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The four teens met up with the Headmaster and rode a golden lift down to the Wizengamot Chambers. The Headmaster seemed rather relaxed about everything. Hermione was still a bundle of nerves, and it showed as she shook so bad that she had a difficult time writing notes to herself.
Upon entering the chambers, Hermione and the Headmaster walked to their left, while Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Elphias moved to the right. There was a small section for visitors. The two Weasley’s, Elphias, and Harry all found comfortable seats and sat down.
Ginny sat down beside Harry. Ron was on his other side and Elphias was on the other side of Ron. The Chamber wasn’t full and various members were still filing in. Many of them stared at the three teens, some of them, notably Lucius Malfoy, openly sneered at them being there. All of them stared back at the elder Malfoy. None of them were showing any signs of being intimidated by him.
“I call this session of the Wizengamot to order,” shouted the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. Everyone stopped talking and quickly found their seats.
Harry looked over at Hermione, who looked rather peaky. He smiled at her and gave her a thumb up. He could not wait until she took the Minister to task and forced him to tell the truth.
“We are here to prove that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore used illegal Charms to persuade unsuspecting Wizards and Witches into believing that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was indeed alive.
“Albus Dumbledore, do you admit to performing these Charms?”
The Headmaster stood up. He was smiling serenely at the Minister. “No, I never performed anything like that, Cornelius. I would like to have Miss Hermione Granger to speak on my behalf.”
The chamber erupted with people whispering to each other. The Minister struck the gavel on the podium demanding silence. “She can’t represent you, Albus. She isn’t of age.”
Hermione stood up. Harry could tell that she was very nervous, but he could also tell that she was angry at the Ministers condescending attitude.
“I am of age. I turned seventeen September 19th. I am also familiar with magical law, and the Headmaster trusts me.” Hermione stood there full of confidence staring at the Minister. The entire chamber quieted down. Harry heard Ron whisper quietly to himself. “That’s my girl, you tell him.”
Harry could only smile at his best friend’s confidence. He was sure that Ron didn’t want anyone else to hear that.
The Minister seemed to be struck dumb momentarily. He quickly recovered and glared at Hermione. “Well, Miss Granger, since you are so sure of yourself. Are you prepared to defend Albus Dumbldore?”
“I am. Are you prepared to formally charge him?”
The chamber erupted again in hushed tones. The Minister started to turn a shade of red, as his anger began grow. “Listen here you little Mu-girl. I will not be spoken to that way. I am the Minister of Magic,” he shouted at her. “I stated Albus Dumbldore’s charges. And! You will no longer refer to him as the Headmaster. He is no longer the Headmaster of Hogwarts.”
Ron looked like he was going to jump out of his seat and curse the Minister, when he almost called Hermione a Mudblood. Hermione didn’t look iratated. She actually seemed to look calmer than when she first entered the Chamber.
“No Minister, you didn’t charge the Headmaster…” The minister rose in his seat to object, but Hermione held up her hand to stop him from talking. “I will always call Albus Dumbldore, Headmaster, because he will always be a Headmaster to me. I also refer to Minerva McGonagall as Headmistress.
“Now, you claimed that the Headmaster performed a spell on various people. Yet, you never identified what spell it was. If you can’t identify the spell, then how can you claim that it was illegal?”
“He made people believe that he-who-must-not-be-named was alive. Any spell that makes people see something that wasn’t there is illegal, Miss Granger.”
“When did the Headmaster peform this spell?”
“Albus Dumbledore performed it that night in the Atrium, Miss Granger,” said the Minister. He stressed the Headmaster’s name to Hermione.
“You said that he performed the spell that night. However, you were the only one that night who denied seeing Voldemort in the Atrium.” As predicted the entire chamber jumped at Hermione saying his name.
“Do not say that name in this chamber, Miss Granger,” snapped the Minister.
“Why do you fear him, Minister? He is dead. Isn’t he?”
The Minister flushed and angry red as he glared at her. “He is dead. Only attention seekers believe he is alive.”
“Regardless of whether the aforementioned Dark Lord is alive or not, can you explain why everyone except you saw him?”
“I am not on trial here. Albus Dumbldore is the one accused of a crime. Not me!”
“Yes, the Headmaster is accused of some type of a crime. I do have the right to call witnesses to the stand for questioning. I want you, Minister, to take the stand to answer some questions,” she said indicating the chair over the Stone of Truth.
“I am answering your questions now.”
“You are acting as the Minister of Magic, the Head of the Wizengamot, and the prosecutor. I want you to sit on the stand and answer some questions as Cornelius Ogden Fudge, a witness to the crime.”
The Minister stared at the chair for a minute. The woman beside him spoke up.
“You must do it, Minister. You must relinquish the seat and take the stand.”
The Minister seemed to debate relinquishing his position as he rubbed his chin and stared at the chair on the floor of the chamber. After what seemed like a long time he stood up and handed the gavel to the woman beside him.
“I Cornelius Ogden Fudge, the Minister of Magic, relinquish my seat as Head of the Wizengamot to take the stand. I give the gavel to the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Amelia Bones.”
He walked down to the floor of the chamber. Staring at the seat, he turned and made a production of sitting down. “Well, little girl, lets get this over with,” he stated rather pompously.
Ron grumbled something under his breath that would probably get him degnomeing the garden for the next month, if his mum had heard it.
Hermione looked like she wanted to smile at the pompous git. She lifted the scroll that Elpias Doge had given her. An odd looking man several rows up gasped and leaned forward in his seat. As she unrolled it, Harry wasn’t sure if it was his anticipation or if the magical energy in the chamber had just increased.
“Do ye, Apprentice of Merlin, swear fealty to Arthur and the Loyal Knights of the Roundtable and their code of Chivalry? What say ye?”
The Minister stared at Hermione. He was smiling, and it didn’t take him long to start laughing at her. “What was that? Please, Madam Bones, do I have to sit here and have this silly girl ask silly questions of me?”
Harry could feel the magic increase in the chamber. It felt like a hot prickly wind agaist his skin. He looked around and noticed some of the members shifting uncomfortably in their seats, while others were smiling or openly laughing at Hermione’s question.
Madam Bones leaned forward and stared at Hermione. “Please explain yourself.”
“What I have here is scroll from the department of Mysteries. It dates back to the time of Camelot. By using it I have called upon the power of the Stone of Truth.”
“The Stone of Truth,” laughed Fudge. “That is nothing but a myth, a bedtime story.”
“If you feel it is a myth than you should have no problems with answering my questions. Did you see the Dark Lord, Voldemort, on the night in question in the Atrium of the Ministry?”
Fudge smiled at her. He was looking at Hermione, and didn’t notice the cracks in the floor of the Chamber glowing with a white light. Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Elphias Doge noticed, and they all leaned forward to see what was happening.
“I — I,” Fudge started to talk, but the words stuck in his throat. He stared around the Chamber. He looked to be panicking. “I will not be questioned by this Mudblood." He jumped off the chair and started to walk away.
Ron started to get up. He looked like he was going to run over and pummel the Minister of Magic, but he quickly sat back down.
The entire chamber pulsed with a tremendous amount of magical energy. The air seemed to crackle with magic. It reminded Harry of the spell the Headmaster sent at Voldemort in the Atrium, but about a hundred times more powerful. A huge spectral image of a wizard appeared out of the floor. It was at least twleve feet tall, and was slightly translucent. It had a hooded robe and was holding an ornatly carved staff in its left hand. Its face appeared to be long with a long beard that disappeared into its robes. The face looked weathered and craggy. The nose was large and hooked. The eyes scared Harry. They seemed to glow a reddish black.
“Merlin,” whispered Ron.
“Yes, indeed,” squeaked Elphias.
Ginny reached over and grabbed Harry’s hand. Even with everything else happening the feel of her hand grasping his was wonderful. He looked at her, and she looked at him then down to their hands. She smiled and shrugged slightly.
“How dare ye speak thusly to a Noble Knight of the Roundtable, Apprentice,” roared the spectral image of Merlin.
“What is this, another one of your tricks, Dumbledore,” yelled the Minister. He was standing several feet from the image of Merlin. “I will not stand here and allow you and this tart to make a mockery of this…”
He didn’t finish his statement, because the image of Merlin had picked him up. Ginny’s grip became even tighter. The spectral Merlin lifted the Minister up until he could stare into his eyes. He held him there for several seconds, before speaking.
“Ye, Apprentice, are bound to serve the Noble Knights of the Roundtable. Ye shalt be but servants of the Noble and Chivalrous. Yet ye mock them, nave.” The Spectral Merlin’s voice rumbled through the Chamber.
“I look in thee eyes and I seeith naught but lies and deception. I, who gaveth thee thy power by the Spell of the Making, rebuke thee, Apprentice no more. Go forth and serve the realm as the peon ye shall be.”
There was a flash of light and the spectral Merlin was gone. The Minister of Magic was lying on the floor. The Chamber was deathly quiet. The only sound was of Cornelius Fudge straining as he tried to push himself off the floor.
Harry wasn’t sure who was gripping their hands tighter; him or Ginny. He looked across and saw Hermione staring wide-eyed at the Minister.
“Miss Granger, explain yourself,” ordered Madam Bones.
“Allow me, Madam Bones,” said Elphias Doge. He was struggling to push himself up to standing position.
“Mr. Doge?” asked the presiding Head of the Wizengamot. She gazed at him for a few seconds, and then it seemed as if she was able to put everything together. “You and Albus have something to do with this?”
“Yes, we do. Albus came to me a few months ago, and asked me about Merlin’s Stone of Truth. I became involved then. He knew of my theory about the Stone of Truth. I must boast that I was correct.”
“Oh really, in what way?” responded Madam Bones.
“That the sorcerers who built this building did so to hide the Stone of Truth and Camelot from the Muggle world. Camelot disappeared around the same time as this Ministry building was built. Seeing what it did to Mr. Fudge. You can understand how afraid the sorcerers of old were.”
“What did it do to me?” asked a defiant Cornelius Fudge.
“It took your magic away, Cornelius,” state Mr. Doge. Everyone in the Chamber started to talk excitedly amongst themselves again.
“I cannot lose my magic,” stated Cornelius Fudge imperiously.
“Then, by all means perform some magic, Mr. Fudge.”
“I am the Minister of Magic,” he said harshly. He pulled out his wand and flicked it before puffing out his chest. “There that proves it.”
“Proves what?” asked Mr. Doge.
“That I am still magical.”
“What did you do?” As Elphias Doge asked the question, everyone in the Chamber started whispering amongst themselves.
Fudge lifted his wand and stared at the tip of it. It was dark. He pulled the wand back and flicked it while saying “Lumos”. Again the wand tip was dark; he became frantic and started shouting the incantation while violently flicking the wand. By this time, the whispers had turned into excited conversations.
“Give me back my magic,” Fudge shouted at Hermione.
“She cannot,” stated Mr. Doge calmly. “Only Merlin can, and he was the one that took it away from you for being a liar and not showing Miss Granger the proper respect for her position. I am afraid that you can no longer be the Minister of Magic, Cornelius, because you are no longer magical.”
The former Minister of Magic screamed out in anguish, before breaking down in tears. No one was talking now. Two guards entered the chamber and helped him out.
“Miss Granger, I assume you are finshed with the questioning?” asked Madam Bones.
Hermione still looked shocked at what had happened, but she quickly composed herself. “I am finished with the former Minister, but there are others I would like to question about that night. The next person I would like to call to the stand is Lucius Malfoy.”
“I will not go, you filthy Mudblood,” screamed Lucius. Harry reached for his wand. He also noticed that Ginny wasn’t holding his hand anymore. He looked and she also had her wand drawn. “Are we going to stand here and lets this — this outsider make a mockery of our heritage.”
“Merlin, started our heritage, Lucius,” stated Mr. Doge. “Miss Granger is only upholding his beliefs and his rules for our society.”
The Chamber seemed to quiet down immediately. They all seemed confused.
“Merlin never trusted sorcerers to rule. After his dealings with Morganna and Mordred, he felt that sorcerers would turn dark if given too much power. Miss Granger didn’t take Cornelius’ powers away. The reflection of Merlin placed in the Stone of Truth did. All Miss Granger did was activate the Stone. It would be like blaming the person who placed the Sorting Hat on your head for which house you are placed in.”
“I will not take that stand,” hissed Lucius.
Harry felt a surge of Magical energy again. The spectral image of Merlin once again appeared.
“Ye evil apprentice, I feel the blackness of ye heart from whence ye stand. Be gone, apprentice no more.”
There was another flash of light, and the spectral image of Merlin disappeared again. Lucius Malfoy had fallen onto the steps of the Wizengamot. People were swirling around him. Harry thought he recognized some Death Eaters in the crowd.
Harry felt Ginny lean next to his ear. “I wonder how his boss will like him now that he is a squib.”
Harry had to focus on something else to keep from laughing out loud at Ginny’s comment. He focused on the smell of her hair. It was smelled so much like spring time flowers. Her warm and soft hands made his skin tingle. When he realized how close she was to him he completely forgot about her comment.
“Miss Granger, Do you plan on making Squibs out of all the people in this Wizengamot?” asked Madam Bones.
“I am not looking to harm anyone. All I am asking for is the truth. This society that I am a part of seems to believe that you can slander and write libel of people without fear of recompense. I think it is time for the lies to stop.
“I would like to call another witness, Madam Bones.”
The new chair of the Wizengamot stared at Hermione for several seconds. The entire Chamber was deathly quiet. “Very well, who do want to question?”
Hermione looked at her final set of notes and picked out a name. “Barnabas Cuffe, would you please come to the stand.”
A balding paunchy man stood up and started walking towards the stand that sat over the Stone of Truth. He stopped in front of Hermione and said something to her. It wasn’t loud enough for Harry to hear, but he imagined that he was pleading to keep his magic. He sat on the chair and was visibly sweating, as he nervously looked around him. The floor was still illuminated by the white light shining through the cracks between the blocks.
“Mr. Cuffe, would you please tell us about all the articles you have been printing concerning Albus Dumbledore. Who were the sources?”
“The Minister of Magic and Lucius Malfoy told me what to print. They so much as threatened me to print the stories they gave me.”
“Mr. Cuffe, please do not tell me what I want to hear. I just want the truth,” interjected Hermione.
“If you think that I would lie to you after what I have seen here today, then Miss Granger, with all due respect, you are barmy.”
Hermione laughed at his comment. Ten minutes later, Hermione called another witness, an employee of the Ministry. He went into great detail about how he had to help convince people to change their mind about seeing Voldemort, although he didn’t actually say his name.
Over the next hour, Hermione called seven more witnesses to the stand they all went willingly and they all spoke the truth. The spectral image of Merlin never appeared again. By the eleventh hour, Hermione was finished questioning people. She closed the scroll and Harry watched as the glowing in the floor vanished.
The chamber was quiet for several minutes as Madam Bones sat and stared at Hermione. Harry was fidgeting in his seat trying to figure out what was going on. Finally, the acting Head of the Wizengamot spoke.
“Miss Granger, I find myself unsure what to say at this time. I have heard about the legend of the Stone of Truth. I like the former Minister thought it was a myth. You have proven me wrong. I believe that the Wizengamot heard what actually happened that night. I do not find Professor Dumbledore guilty of using illegal curses on people. I am going to ask you what you want done to rectify the besmirching of Professor Dumbledore’s reputation.
“I am not done with you though. Before you answer me about what you want done, I have a couple of questions about this Stone of Truth.” She stopped talking and waited for Hermione to acknowledge and grant her permission to ask questions.
“The first question is; how long have you known that you are a descendant of the nights of the roundtable?
“The second question I have is; do you need to know the answer, or can anyone ask questions of the Stone?”
Hermione smiled at her. “I only learned about being a descendant of the Knights, a few weeks ago. I think that I must ask the question, or someone else who is a descendant.”
“Do you know of anyone else who can open the scroll?”
“Yes, my friend Harry, Harry Potter, can read the scroll,” she stated. The noise in the chamber peaked as the members spoke amongst themselves. Madam Bones stared at him. She seemed to be confused. “Are the two of you related?”
“No.” they said at the same time.
“Such a coincidence…” Madam Bones started to talk, but was interrupted by Albus Dumbledore.
“These two have Muggle lineage. Miss Granger is full blooded Muggle, and Harry is a half Muggle. I believe that they received their blood link to the Roundtable from that side. The Knights of the Roundtable were not magical. When Camelot was destroyed, their relatives became peasants. There is a possibility that there are many more Muggles walking around with the ability to open the scroll than we suspect.
“There is also a second part to the conditions. The holder of the scroll must remain loyal to the standards set by the Knights of the Roundtable. I am proud to say that these two students still hold nobility and chivalry in high regard, as it should be. You might call them modern day Knights.”
Harry heard Ginny chuckle beside him. He knew the Professor was trying to be funny and witty, but he didn’t think it was that funny.
“The spectral image of Merlin said that we, the magical community, are to serve you,” said Madam Bones. “Is that what you two want?”
Harry stared at Hermione. He never expected that question. The look on her face told him that she was caught by surprise also. “No, Madam Bones, that isn’t what we want. We wanted the truth to be told. We want a retraction printed in the papers saying why they printed the lies against the Headmaster. I also want the truth to come out. The public needs to know the “he” is back. That is all we want,” Hermione said.
“I didn’t ask about you and the Professor. I was asking about you and Mr. Potter.”
Harry’s throat tightened up, when he heard his name being mentioned. “I don’t want people to bow to me. I just want respected as an equal,” stated Hermione. “Harry, is that how you feel?”
“Yes, Hermione, I want respect and the public to know that I am not an attention seeking child.”
The leader of the Wizengamot appraised them both, before speaking again. “I have heard good things about both of you from a neutral source, my niece. She tells me that you are good, helpful, and honest people. I see that my niece has the ability to properly judge people. It is my ruling that a retraction is printed in the paper stating Albus Dumbledore did not Curse people to cause a panic.”
She turned to look at Barnabas Cuffe. “I want an article in tomorrow’s paper about how V-Vol, he is back. Then within the week I want the complete truth written in the paper.
“Does anyone object to this ruling?” She held the gavel up and looked around the chambers waiting several minutes before speaking. “I take the silence as an approval. I want to remind all members of the Wizengamot to reconvene here at one o’clock this afternoon to elect a new Minister.”
She slammed the gavel down on the podium ending the trail of Albus Dumbledore. Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione all walked out of the chamber with the Headmaster and Elphias Doge.
“Hermione, I think we did much more than clear my name today,” said the overly cheerful Professor. “Everyone will be too afraid to spend the rest of their days as a squib to openly support Voldemort. Plus they heard that Merlin expected them to be obedient to the Muggles. That will make it difficult for Voldemort to sway their minds to his way of thinking.”
The four teens walked to the lifts. They were fortunate enough to get a lift to themselves. Harry had noticed that Ginny hadn’t let go of his hand. He was enjoying it too much to comment on it.
“Harry,” asked Ginny in a sweet voice, after the doors of the lift closed. “If us pure-bloods are to serve you, what would you want from me?”
Harry could feel his face burn as it must be a bright shade of red. He couldn’t help to think about snogging her senseless. Before he could say anything to try to cover up his embarrassment, Ginny leaned up and gently kissed him on the lips.
It was bliss. He had never felt something so wonderful before in his life. It was over too soon. He was left leaning against the wall of the lift. Ron’s strong hand on his shoulder shook him out of his stupor.
“Two things mate,” growled Ron. “First, that is my sister. Don’t go snogging her in front of me again. Second, that is my sister, that servitude talk will quickly go away then you will be in trouble, cause she is downright scary.”
“Well big brother, I will make sure you aren’t around when I snog Harry.”
Harry’s eyes felt like they were going to pop out of his head when he heard that.
“Second,” continued Ginny. “The servitude might last pretty long. After all I don’t mind being the fair maiden to Harry’s noble knight. How are you going to like being the fair maiden to Hermione’s noble knight, as Merlin called her?”
The lift had luckily opened. Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand and started running towards the Floo with Ron in hot pursuit.
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