|SIYE Time:6:54 on 21st October 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
on indefinite hiatus.
Hitcount: Story Total: 116534; Chapter Total: 3520
Awards: View Trophy Room
Yes, I know next to nothing about farming, and most farmers probably don't plant corn midsummer, but there is a method to my madness. Neither do I know that much about riding, but I love horses, so I hope that any proper riders in my reading audience will forgive my mistakes. Whether information in this chapter about farming is correct or not, it happens anyway.
Eleven: Summer 1994 Part One
The summer Harry turned fourteen turned to be very eventful. Firstly, he managed to make Dudley faint with only four words (“This is Sirius Black”). Next, he just about got himself suffocated with kisses from Ginny when he told her about his grandmother's surprise.
The first part of it wasn't completely wonderful. She was going to begin growing crops again, which meant he had a few more chores. She told him that before Aunt Petunia had come to her, she had decided to stop growing most of her crops because she couldn't do it by herself and didn't want to hire a couple of farm hands, but after Aunt Petunia brought her two young boys, she reconsidered. She had let the land rest the past couple years, and was ready to get cracking again. She informed him that the jobs would be split between her, Dudley, and himself. Dudley got the foul part: pigs, cows, and dealing with the bean plants she had started. Thea had an apple orchard she was going to bring back into use and a strawberry field, but due to her arthritis she'd need help from time to time. Harry got corn as his lot, and horses.
“But we don't have horses,” he said as they ate their traditional lunch after she picked him up from the station, feeling confused. “Or a cow or pigs.”
“We didn't before,” Gram acknowledged. “I went and bought a cow and a couple of hogs last week, and I've already got Dudley started on them. Mind you, he keeps complaining, but I hope the work will knock some sense of responsibility into him. Heck, just sense in general would be nice. I hate to criticize my own daughter, but she's spoiled the boy to the core.”
Harry tried to imagine a world where Dudley wasn't fat, lazy, and a bully. It was hard to think of, but when he managed it, a grin broke his face.
“And as for the horses,” Gram added, “I've taken the liberty of reserving a slot at a horse show in the village tomorrow, and we'll get a couple there. I want you to pick yours out yourself, and make sure you get one that’s strong enough to pull a plow. And do you think your friend will want a horse too? I always had horses when I was growing up, and we had them on the farm until your grandfather died, and I've always said they bring out the best in people.”
Hey, Gin, do you want a horse?
Her reply wasn't exactly a thought, per say, but more of a jumbled mix of ecstatic joy, disbelief, and a very huge “YES!”
Thought you might, thought Harry, smirking.
But I don't know how to ride, Ginny thought.
Hang on, I'll tell Gram.
“Ginny would love a horse!” Harry said, grinning. “She loves them, but she doesn't know how to ride.”
Gram waved a hand. “Oh, don't worry about that. I taught your mum and Petunia to ride, and both of them could have gone into professional riding if they wanted to. Right, we'll bring along Ginny tomorrow, along with Dudley and Petunia.”
“Dudley wants a horse?” Harry said, frowning.
“Not really, but Petunia and I agree that it would be best for him to learn. Knowing to ride a horse is a useful skill, and one that can change a body.”
After they finished their lunch and headed back to the farm, Harry found Dudley out behind the house by a newly erected pigsty, shoveling muck.
“Hey, Dudley,” he called. “Having fun?”
Dudley dropped his shovel and made a rude gesture at him. “Just wait until Gram puts you to work! She'll work you into the ground!”
“Gram has promised me I'm not a slave and I have a choice in what I do,” Harry said. “Besides, horses are cool, and I've only got one plant to take care of.”
Dudley pointed to the large field south east of them. “It's not just one plant, Potter! It's a whole corn field!”
“So? It can't be that hard.”
And he was proven quite wrong when he finally began his chore.
After they went to the horse show, where Harry picked out a large black stallion dubbed Captain, Ginny a chestnut filly called Saturn, and Aunt Petunia a gray mare the woman who sold her affectionately referred to as Darling because Dudley refused to choose for himself, they went home and had their first riding lesson. Ginny stuck around to keep practicing with Aunt Petunia, who proved to be very good, while Gram set Dudley to caring for the bean plants while she showed Harry how to begin plowing the cornfield.
She had an old-fashioned iron plow, not the kind driven by a tractor, which was why he had to choose a strong horse. Captain seemed perfectly willing to pull the plow, and Harry thought it couldn't be too hard if his elderly grandmother could do it. Gram showed him how to hold it and the reigns, how to keep Captain in check while he plowed, and everything else he needed to know. The actual corn field didn't take up all the space Dudley seemed to think it would, really less than a third of the large field, but it was still quite a lot of land. It turned out that plowing was not as easy as it looked.
By the time Gram was satisfied he could manage on his own and went to go tend to the strawberry field before going to make dinner, he had tugged off his tee shirt and had plowed about a quarter of the land. He was sweating profusely, and keep gulping down the water Gram had left him. Captain was sweating in the hot sun too, and Harry doubted his dark coat was helping. Several times, he stopped him and mopped him down with his tee shirt, as it was the only cloth he had around to do so. Gram told him to plow until six thirty rolled around. She said she doubted he would be done in the hour or so he had, and didn't want to find out that he had overworked himself and his new horse. He glanced at his watch every now and then, finding that time was inching by.
However, plowing seemed to have a good side to it. A few weeks into it, and he was beginning to notice a changes in his physique. He had always been skinny, but after finishing plowing the corn field and starting the actual planting, he noticed his arms were much more toned, and his chest had begun to fill out. He made comments to Ginny every now and then, but she assured him that it was normal. Riding Captain helped too; he may have been a docile animal, but he was still a very powerful horse, and it required a good deal of strength to reign him in after he got going.
As his fourteenth birthday approached, he stopped paying much attention to these changes. One afternoon, Harry was finishing up his chores before heading over to Sirius's flat with Ginny and Ron (he had found the flat just recently and they were going to celebrate a bit), when both Ron and Ginny came walking up to him.
He was out in the strawberry field, picking ripe strawberries (Gram had a business thing she had to go to and had asked him to look after the field that afternoon) when they came. Since it was so hot out and no one was around, he had removed his shirt ages ago and had left it over by the stables.
Harry looked up, squinting against the glare the sun left on his glasses. He saw two red blobs moving towards him, until he brought his hand up and shielded his eyes. The two blobs turned into Ginny and Ron. He waved to them, grabbed the bucket of strawberries, and stood.
They had reached the edge of the field, and Ginny stopped suddenly. Ron kept walking for a few steps, then turned to see why his sister had stopped.
She was still a few feet from him, but he could see the stunned look on her face. He remembered with a jolt that his shirt was still in the stables, and felt his face go red. However, he was still able to tease his girlfriend.
Like what you see? Harry thought, managing a grin.
Ginny stepped forward, her eyes a darker shade of brown than normal, and grinned back at him.
Immensely, she thought. She raised a hand, and laid her palm on his bare chest.
“Oi!” Ron yelled, but by his tone Harry heard that he was more amused than annoyed. “No feeling up in front of me!”
“Oh, does that mean we can do it behind your back?” Ginny asked innocently. Ron turned as red as his hair.
Hey, I haven't got objections if you don't, Harry thought, still grinning.
Oh, you know I don't. Ginny smirked at him. Then, aloud, she added, “Come on, Harry, Sirius is expecting us.”
After a hasty shower and a replacing of clothing, they started towards the village. Ron rolled his eyes and pretended to retch into one of Gram's flower beds when Harry took Ginny's hand. Ginny smacked Ron on the arm.
At Sirius's new flat, they found not only Harry's beaming godfather, but Remus, and a young witch with vibrant blue hair, as well.
“We have news for you,” Remus said as they stepped inside.
“What's up?” Harry asked, dropping into a chair.
“You know how every Defense teacher has only ever lasted a year?”
“Yeah,” Ginny said, pulling up a chair by Harry. “People say the job's jinxed.”
“Well,” Remus said, drawing in a long breath. “Jinx's over. I'm staying as the Defense Teacher.”
Harry clapped Remus on the shoulder, grinning. Ginny jumped up and hugged Remus around the neck, who laughed and hugged her back. Ron cheered through the mouthful of food he had managed to accumulate already.
“Well done, Moony,” Sirius said. “Now, party time! By the way, kids, this is my second cousin, Nymph—”
“Oh, no you don't!” Sirius's cousin snapped, tugging out her wand. “You're not calling me that!”
“Nymphadora,” Sirius finished with a smirk. “But she hates that name so call her Tonks.”
“And this is what will happen if you do call me that,” Tonks said. A blink later, Sirius's face was bright, neon green, he had tentacles sprouting from his nose, and his eyebrows had grown to three times their length and bushiness. Sirius yelped, and Remus hastily remedied the jinx. Harry, Ginny, and Ron burst out laughing, and Remus chuckled as he removed it.
“Tonks is an Auror,” Remus said. “So when she says don't do something, it's generally good for your sanity and your health that you take her advice.”
“Damn right,” Tonks grumbled.
“You know I'll get you back for that, cuz,” Sirius said warningly.
“I know,” Tonks said, tucking her wand into the waistband of her jeans. Harry noticed Remus's eyes following the wand along its path, and the slight flush that came up the back of his neck. Or rather, Ginny noticed it and reported it to him. “But I didn't go through years of Auror training for nothing.”
“Tonks has decided to share the flat with us,” Remus said. "She's his 'parole officer.' And at the moment, Sirius's bank accounts are frozen until Pettigrew is convicted and I don't have very much even though I've got a steady job so she'll be paying most of the rent until we have enough.”
“And when they do, they'll be paying me back,” Tonks said.
“Of course,” Sirius said with a scoff. “What kind of men do you take us for?”
Tonks did not reply, but — as he noted rather than Ginny — gave Remus a look that Harry had sometimes seen on Ginny's when she was looking at him.
They spent a few hours at Sirius's flat, laughing and talking, discussing the new term and occasionally Harry's parents. Somehow the topic of Harry as a baby came up, and Harry was as red as any Weasley head as Remus and Sirius told embarrassing tale after tale of Harry's baby years. By the time they headed home, Ginny had serious teasing material on Harry and he was worried that his face would be red for the rest of his life.
The next week was the formal hearing to convict Pettigrew. Everyone who had been in the Shack the night they found Sirius was asked to attend, and Hermione — who was traveling with her parents — came back from France for the hearing.
Gram drove Harry to the Burrow to get Ginny and Ron, then to Sirius and Remus's flat to pick them and Tonks up. The drive to the Ministry was long, but Gram wanted to try out the new van Petunia had bought as a thank-you gift. Of course, there was also the matter of Sirius not supposed to use any kind of magic until after the hearing. It had been decided that since Sirius couldn't travel by Floo, none of them would. Except Hermione, but that was only because she was in France.
Sirius and Tonks squabbled like kids over who would get to ride up front, but in the end, Ron got the front seat, Harry and Ginny in the short bench in the middle, and the three adults got squashed in the back seat, with Tonks in between the two men since she was the shortest of the three. Remus looked somehow disgruntled and pleased for a moment, but hastily stifled it. Tonks did much less to hide her look of glee at the thought of being smushed next to Remus, and Sirius grumbled about it the entire time. Ginny and Harry exchanged amused looks, Ginny letting out a giggle that Ron questioned her about.
The hearing was to begin at ten that morning but unfortunately they had to be there by nine. And since London was about four hours away they had to leave very early that morning, at half past 4 a.m. Ron was quickly snoring in time with the radio, Ginny was curled up on the bench tucked under Harry's arm, Sirius's cheek rested on the window with his mouth hanging open, and Tonks was leaning on Remus. Remus and Harry were still awake; Harry because he didn't want to sleep and Remus because — Harry suspected — Tonks was asleep on his shoulder. Gram was humming along with the radio, rain pattered on the roof of the van and splattered the windows, and the windshield wipers swished over the windshield rhythmically. Harry's head drooped onto Ginny's. Gram hummed the soothing hymn that was playing. Ginny's weight warmed his body. Gram gave him a kind, grandmotherly smile in the rear-view mirror. His eyes fluttered shut.
The left side of his body was uncomfortably lit up. Harry cracked open one eye, and shut it quickly. The sun hung just above the horizon at the corner of the window, staring him down menacingly. The rain had stopped. He sat up; his back felt stiff and his side hurt from leaning over. That was odd; Ginny had been holding him up when he fell asleep. He glanced down and found out why: Ginny had shifted, and now lay on the bench with her head in his lap. Harry ran one hand down her silky hair, and looked around the car. Ron was still asleep but both Sirius and Tonks had woken up. Tonks had pulled out a book and was reading, Sirius look only half awake and was looking out the window. Remus had a thick textbook on his lap and his hand rested on a bound notebook, holding a pen, but his eyes were on Tonks, who seemed aware of attention and amused by it.
Harry looked towards the front of the car; Gram had changed the station and now Muggle rock music was coming from the speakers, but quietly.
“You all right, love?” Gram asked him suddenly.
“Fine,” Harry said. “Why?”
“You look like you've seen a ghost,” Gram said. “It might be your girl in your lap, but you're white as a sheet.”
“I'm fine,” Harry said again with a grateful smile. He saw Remus looking up in the rear-view mirror, and moved his gaze down to Ginny.
The light from the dawn drew veins of gold and copper in her red hair, lit up the freckles dotting her nose and cheeks, and gleamed on her long eyelashes. The corners of her mouth were turned down and her eyebrows knotted together. Harry ran another hand through her hair, letting the soft strands run through his fingers. Ginny shifted, moving from her side to her back, and her face relaxed. The sunlight hit her cream and blue flower patterned shirt, putting emphasis on her gentle, young curves. Harry rested his head against the seat, letting his eyes shut again.
“We'll be stopping for breakfast soon,” Gram said. “Next exit.”
Harry nodded, eyes still closed. The hum of the engine was enough to lure him back to sleep, but the music was counter-acting that. He cracked open one eye and turned it to the digital clock above the radio. Quarter to seven. Gram flicked the turn signal and changed lanes.
“Where should we eat?” Gram called.
“Anywhere with coffee,” Sirius called back. Gram let out a laugh, and glanced over at Ron. She reached over, and poked him in the shoulder. Ron grunted and turned aside.
“Wakey wakey mister,” Gram said. “Where do you want to eat breakfast at?”
At the mention of breakfast, Ron sat up groggily. “Bacon and eggs,” he mumbled, and flopped back over. The car at large all chuckled.
Harry bent over and brought his mouth close to Ginny's ear — she had shifted again —. “Wake up, Gin. Breakfast is in a minute.”
Ginny groaned and flapped a hand vaguely. Harry leaned closer and pressed his mouth to her cheek. She smiled, and opened one eye.
“I like it much better when you wake me up than when my brothers do,” she said. He grinned and sat up. Ginny stayed with her head in his lap; her lips parted in a yawn. “So what's this about breakfast?”
“Where should we go?”
“We've got a drive in place, but their coffee's bound to be rubbish,” Gram said as she pulled off the highway. “There's a couple of diners, and a Waffle House.”
“Not Waffle House,” Remus, Tonks, and Sirius said loudly.
“Not Waffle House,” Gram said, smiling with mirth. “Which diner, then?”
“The closest one,” Ginny said.
“Uncle Sam's it is,” Gram said, moving into the turn lane.
After a quick breakfast, Gram filled up the car and they got back on the highway. Ginny took out the book she'd brought and set to reading. Ron, Harry, Gram, and Sirius played a game called Twenty Questions, where one person thought of an animal, vegetable, or mineral and the others tried to guess it with only twenty questions. Remus kept going through his text book and Tonks listened to the game while watching Remus out of the corner of her eye. After they got bored of Twenty Questions, Sirius 'borrowed' Tonks' book, and read it aloud to the car, fighting to keep Tonks from snatching it the entire time. It turned out to be one of those cheesy romance novels women read, called The Angel and the Rogue. After Tonks wrestled it back from him, she hit Sirius over the head with it almost hard enough to knock him unconscious. After that, he didn't touch her stuff.
They pulled up to the Ministry entrance at quarter to nine. Gram dropped them all off while she went to find a parking space, and Tonks led them inside to wait for her. About twenty minutes later, she walked in and looked around at the high ceiling atrium in wonder. They met Hermione and her father at the Floo gates, and left for the trial.
They took the elevator to the ninth floor, then down a set of stairs to the courtrooms. Tonks escorted Sirius away while the rest of them took their seats in the stands, and then returned to stand at the back of the courtroom. Men and women in purple robes slowly filled two thirds of the stands. A stand almost like a pulpit at the forefront of the courtroom held Minster Fudge and two others as the clock ticked closer and closer to ten. On the left side of the pulpit, Professor Dumbledore sat with his hands folded. Ginny slipped her hand into Harry's. He gave her a grateful smile. He couldn't help but be worried: What if the members of the Wizengamot didn't agree with Dumbledore and put Sirius back in Azkaban?
It'll turn out all right, Ginny thought.
I hope so.
A gavel banged, interrupting their thoughts. Harry turned his gaze to the judge or whatever the wizarding equivalent of a judge was called.
“I hereby bring this court meeting into order,” called Minister Fudge. “This is the formal hearing of Sirius Black vs. the Justice System —”
“Your Honor that is incorrect,” said a burly woman next to him. “This is the criminal trial of Peter Pettigrew.”
“Oh, yes, thank you Madam Bones,” Fudge said very ungratefully. “Criminal trial of Pettigrew, yes. Presiding Official Minister for Magic Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Court Official for the Prosecution Madam Amelia Bones,” he gestured to the woman who had corrected him. “Official for the Defense Sir Lenard King,” he pointed to a weedy man beside him. “Bring in the defendant.”
A set of double doors opened into the hall, and a pair of guards in Ministry uniforms led Peter into the hall. His wrists were bound by heavy metal shackles as were his ankles. The guards led him to the single chair in the middle of the floor and pushed him into it. Chains sprung from the arms of the chair and bound him to it.
“Please state your name and date of birth,” Fudge called.
“Peter Raymond Pettigrew,” Peter said, “June 5th 1958.”
58? But wasn't he in the same year as my parents? Harry thought.
Maybe he was held back, Ginny replied.
“You have been charged with treason, multiple murders, and aiding He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in at least two murders,” Fudge said. “What do you plead?”
“I was threatened!” Peter whined. “He would have killed me!”
“What do you plead?” Fudge repeated, waving a hand at a guard. The guard pulled out a vial of something, moved forward and said something to Peter. The rodent-like man grimaced, but a moment later took the vial and sipped from it. Peter sagged in his chair.
“Guilty,” Peter mumbled.
“You confessed to Professor Albus Dumbledore to be guilty of betraying James and Lily Potter's location to You-Know-Who,” Fudge said. “At the time of that confession, were you persuaded, threatened, or forced in any way?”
“I hand the interrogation to Madam Bones,” Fudge said, leaning back in his chair. Madam Bones rose from her chair and placed a monocle in her eye.
“Peter Pettigrew, what caused you to change allegiances to You-Know-Who?” she said in a gruff voice.
“I was recruited to spy on James Potter in my seventh year and try to recruit him for the Dark Lord's cause,” Peter said. “When James married Lily, my master told me to keep tabs on the both of them.”
“Who recruited you?”
“I was originally brought into the Dark Lord's ranks and commanded by a man called Rowle.”
“Originally? What changed?”
“Rowle did not have a strong enough hold over the school,” Peter said, “so I was told to work with Severus Snape and to report to Lucius Malfoy, who was in the process of becoming a governor for the school.”
“In addition to betraying the Potters and killing twelve Muggles to fake your death, what crimes did you commit under You-Know-Who's orders?”
“Not many,” Peter confessed. “I was mainly a spy. But I did help with four raids on the Hogsmeade village.”
“What did you do on those raids?”
“I stole money from the stores and captured people for the Dark Lord's ranks.”
“Did you kill or torture anyone?”
“I killed a shopkeeper,” Peter said. “And tortured his sister.”
“What were their names?”
“Martin and Heidi Fortescue. Martin owned a jewelry store and Heidi worked for him.”
“Thank you, Peter. I am finished questioning you.”
“Does the defense have any questions for the defendant?” Fudge asked.
Sir King stood up. “Peter, if you were to refuse Rowle when he recruited you, what would have happened to you?”
“I'm not sure,” Peter said. “I didn't ask.”
“And if you tried to leave the Dark Lord's ranks?”
“They would have killed me.”
“Were you threatened or forced to commit the crimes you confessed to?”
“At first, I was told that if I tried to refuse any assignments I was given, I would be punished severely. But after a while, I wasn't so opposed to what they were asking me to do so I didn't try to refuse.”
“But you were threatened?”
“When you killed Martin Fortescue, did you do that out of your free will, or were you ordered to?”
“I was ordered to take everything of value from Fortescue's shop and to kill anyone who stood in my way.”
“And Martin Fortescue fought you?”
“Well, no, he was willing but his sister was not compliant. So I killed Martin to get her to obey me.”
What's King trying to do? Harry thought.
Probably make sure Peter gets the lowest sentence possible.
“Who ordered you to?”
“The leader of the raid, Dolohov.”
“Did anyone help you rob Martin Fortescue, kill him, or torture his sister?”
“I was aided by another Death Eater, a woman younger than me called Veronica.”
“What was Veronica's surname?”
“I don't know.”
“You said you were recruited in your seventh year. When did you begin doing field work for the Death Eaters?”
“When I graduated from Hogwarts.”
“What was the nature of your spying on James Potter?”
“To see if he would be a threat to the Dark Lord's cause.”
“Not to kill him?”
“Not until after Severus Snape overheard part of a prophecy concerning the Dark Lord and —”
“Your Honor, the nature of that prophecy is irrelevant,” Professor Dumbledore cut off Peter. Ginny frowned, and Harry felt suspicion rise in her.
“Noted,” Minister Fudge said. “Pettigrew, comply with Professor Dumbledore's request.”
Peter looked confused. “Um, okay.”
“Sir King, you may continue.”
“When did you begin looking for an opportunity to kill James Potter?”
“In the spring of 1981.”
“Objection,” Dumbledore said.
“I will let the question stand,” Fudge said.
“Because of the prophecy I mentioned,” Peter said.
“You did not give James's location to the Dark Lord because of any personal feelings?”
“No. I was sad that James, Lily, and Harry had to die, but my Lord commanded me to betray them.”
Wait — all three of us had to die?
We'll ask Dumbledore after the trial.
“What would have happened if you refused?”
“The Dark Lord would have tortured it out of me.”
“So you were forced?”
“Not exactly,” Peter said.
“Then why did you do it?” Madam Bones asked. Sir King gave her an annoyed look.
“The question stands,” Fudge said before King could protest.
“I did it because I wanted to obey the Dark Lord; I believed he was right and he promised me great rewards.”
Sir King sat down and hung his head. “I'm finished,” he said shortly.
“I would like to call Sirius Black to the witness stand,” Madam Bones said.
“Bring in Sirius Black,” Fudge said. Ginny noticed a note of anger in his voice.
A guard went through the double doors, and returned with Sirius. Harry crossed his fingers. Another guard retracted the chains holding Peter in place and took him to the back of the room. Sirius sat down in the chair, and threw Harry a wink.
“Please state your name and date of birth,” Madam Bones said.
“Sirius Cademus Black, November third, 1959.”
“You were convicted without a trial for the crimes committed by Peter Pettigrew, is this correct?”
“Please tell the court how Peter Pettigrew became the Secret Keeper for James and Lily Potter instead of you.”
“When we were told that Voldemort —” there was a collective intact of breath from the Wizengamot members, Sirius ignored them, “— personally wanted James and Lily dead, Dumbledore advised them to use the Fidelius Charm and offered to be their Secret Keeper, but James wanted to make me Secret Keeper. But I thought that I would be obvious to everyone, so I begged him to choose Peter. We knew someone was leaking secrets to Voldemort, but we thought at the time that it was Remus. James agreed with me and they made Peter Secret Keeper. A week later, they were dead. I went to find Peter, and he claimed that I had betrayed James. Then he blasted the street, cut off his finger, and changed into his Animagus form and escaped.”
“Professor Dumbledore made us aware of the fact that you, Pettigrew, and James Potter were all unregistered Animagi,” Madam Bones said. “When did you become Animagi?”
“Our fifth year at Hogwarts,” Sirius answered.
Beside Harry, Remus stiffened. Gram, who was on his other side, patted his shoulder.
“Madam, if you wouldn't mind, the reason is irrelevant,” Sirius said.
Madam Bones frowned. “Why did you become Animagi, Mr. Black?”
“It concerns the personal affairs of someone very close to me and I would rather not say it for the entire court to hear.”
“He is correct,” Professor Dumbledore said. Madam Bones sighed.
“Very well. Then please tell the court how you escaped from Azkaban.”
“When the Dementors opened my cell to give me food one day, I transformed and slipped past them.”
“Your Animagus form is a dog, correct?”
“And what is Mr. Pettigrew's?”
“Thank you, Mr. Black. I have no further questions.”
“Does the defense have any questions for the witness?” Fudge asked. Sir King nodded, and stood.
“What made you suspect Remus Lupin of being the spy rather than Mr. Pettigrew?” he asked.
“Because we knew there was a spy, but the only one close to James and Lily who was acting remotely oddly was Remus,” Sirius said. “Peter was just being his normal fidgety ratty self.”
“In what way was Mr. Lupin acting oddly?”
“He kept asking when meetings were when he already knew, what was going on, who was on patrol where, stuff like that.”
“Of the Order of the Phoenix,” Sirius said.
“That would be the organization formed by Albus Dumbledore to resist He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, correct?”
“And Mr. Pettigrew did not ask many suspicious questions?”
“So it is plausible to think that he did not wish to report the group's every move, nor Mr. Potter's?”
“If you want to look at it that way, yes,” Sirius answered. “But Peter is a better actor than you'd think. Yes, he did not ask suspicious questions, but he did ask questions. Just not about the group.”
“Only questions that concerned James Potter?”
Sir Lenard bent and made a note on a stack of papers in front of him. “The defense has no further questions.”
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