All In Favor
The Atrium at the Ministry of Magic was full to bursting of people waiting. The queues to the elevators stretched all the way back to the bank of fireplaces they had just exited. It was also loud, people shouting, screaming, Harry could swear he also heard the sounds of sobbing somewhere. Dumbledore set his hands on both Harry and Ginny’s shoulders, guiding them through the swollen crowds. Off by the fountain, there was a large group of people sat on the floor. That was where the sound of crying was coming from.
“Mourners,” Dumbledore said to them. “The Ministry called in the families of the deceased victims to inform them personally. They’ve been here all day.”
Harry just nodded. Dumbledore led them past the fountains, heading for an elevator guarded by wizards in uniforms. He stared at the groups of mourners as they passed, then felt a punch to his gut as he saw people he knew from school. Alicia Spinnet was crumpled on the floor beside Lee Jordan, who held and rocked her as she cried into his shoulder. Colin Creevey and his younger brother knelt by the fountain, the both of them silent with cheeks tear-stained. Gryffindor’s reserve keeper, Anna Williams, was sat with her back to the fountain with a numb expression as she held a wailing toddler to her chest. Lavender Brown was standing near one of the elevators, screaming at an Auror. Her voice was so shrill and her sobs so heavy Harry couldn’t understand what she was saying. Parvati and Padma Patil and a woman who looked like their mother were standing just behind her, their arms about each other and sobbing almost as loud as Lavender. There were dozens others, people he saw every day but had never bothered to learn names, teachers, students, children; all wept. Then they had reached the single elevator without a queue and the uniformed wizards were opening the gate for them.
“You’re early, Professor,” one said to them.
“I am aware,” said Dumbledore, a little curtly, in reply. The wizard just nodded and they stepped past into the elevator. The wizards shut both inner and outer gates, trapping them inside the elevator. Harry wished he was standing next to Ginny so he could take her hand.
“Ninth floor,” Dumbledore said. “Wizengamot chambers.”
“Going down,” a soft voice announced. The elevator shuddered, then began to move downward.
Did you see them? Lavender, Parvati, Padma? And Alicia? And Lee? Ginny thought.
I saw them.
And Colin and Dennis?
And Williams and that little boy? He couldn’t be any older than three…
I saw, Ginny.
Gi nny’s thoughts were scrambled, her mind unable to express in comprehendible words what she was thinking. Harry felt the same.
“You will face great scrutiny, Harry,” Dumbledore said. “Especially from Mr. Malfoy and his compatriots. Take great care to hold your temper,” the Headmaster added in an almost harsh reminder.
Harry nodded, dropping his gaze. Dumbledore was right in warning him. He didn’t have the best track record of remaining calm.
The elevator halted abruptly, and the gates retracted automatically. Dumbledore squeezed his shoulder, Ginny’s as well, then let go of them and started forward down a long, dark hallway. Harry grabbed his wife’s hand before following; their footsteps echoed against the black stones. Dumbledore turned a corner, then another, before they reached one last long corridor. There were voiced coming from the closed door at the end, which Dumbledore opened. He gestured for them to go in front of him, and they walked into a vast, stately courtroom. It was much bigger than the room Pettigrew had been tried in last year, maybe three or four times as large. Harry looked around, a little awed, as the voices abruptly quieted. There were hundreds of people staring at him now, and the seats lining the courtroom were barely half full.
“This way,” Dumbledore murmured to them, stepping past them and walking towards the opposite end of the courtroom. Harry swallowed nervously, following his teacher with short steps and a clenched jaw. The Wizengamot members were speaking again, yet their voices were still hushed. Ginny moved slightly closer to him, her hand tight on his. Dumbledore opened a gate, then paused to wait for them. “To the sixteenth tier,” Dumbledore told them as they passed him.
“Right,” Harry muttered. He started counting the rows of seats they passed; people stared at him, their gazes seeming to burn right through him. Dumbledore touched his shoulder halfway up the rows, gesturing for them to turn out of the aisle into the row. There was a wide gap between the seats and a short wall in front, letting them easily pass the handful of people sat there already. The seats were also divided into groups, with short gaps between every four seats. A few of those already seated greeted the Headmaster, either in a wave or a word, but Dumbledore’s replies were always short. Halfway down the row, Dumbledore stopped, indicating they should sit.
“Now, we wait,” Dumbledore said.
Harry just nodded.
The following hour felt almost like several days. The courtroom slowly filled, witches and wizards in somber black robes, until finally, nearly every seat was full. Harry looked around the courtroom, and he could barely make out the faces of the people directly opposite him.
Harry shut his eyes rather than turn his head, immediately slipping into Ginny’s perspective. Her gaze was fixed on a man stood with their back to them before his seat near the Minister’s podium, a man with silver blond hair pulled back sleekly by a black ribbon.
Malfoy, Harry thought bitterly.
And son, Ginny replied, flicking her gaze to the left of Lucius Malfoy, where Draco Malfoy was sat, gazing at his hands clasped in his lap with a blank look in his eyes. Harry never thought he could hate Malfoy more, but in that moment, the arrogance and utter disregard for the lives lost that day that shone in even the most subtle of actions made him loathe every single fiber of Malfoy’s being.
Then a loud, booming voice echoed throughout the courtroom, distracting Harry and Ginny from the Malfoys. “All rise for the Minister of Magic!”
Harry and Ginny rose automatically, even though at that moment, neither of them cared much for the Minister. Fudge swept into the courtroom, followed by four intimidating looking wizards in matching uniforms that Harry guessed to be guards. A group of three followed behind the guards, one of which he recognized as Amelia Bones, but neither the second witch nor the wizard rang a bell in his memory.
They remained standing as the group crossed the courtroom, the four wizards dispersing to stand before the high seats, the three others taking seats lower than Fudge’s, and Fudge himself taking the highest seat of the podium. Harry went to sit back down, but realized quickly that no one else was, so straightened his knees.
“The Twelve Mugwumps,” announced the booming voice again, and Harry turned back to face the door. Thus entered six wizards and six witches, all dressed in stately, red robes. These twelve marched in single file across the room, until they parted before the Minister’s seats, dividing into two groups of six, where they climbed the steps to take the seats directly behind and raised just above the Ministers. As they sat, so did the rest of the courtroom; Harry hastened to return to his seat.
Minister Fudge took a look around the room, then picked up his gavel. “The Wizengamot is now in session,” he announced. Harry swallowed thickly.
“On our agenda tonight,” Fudge continued, “we are to vote on the Wembley Act of Caution, so proposed by Wizengamot member Lucius Malfoy. Are all in agreement?”
Over a hundred Ayes echoed throughout the room, coming even from Dumbledore. Harry frowned. They had to vote on what was on the agenda?
“Before we vote, I’d like to give Mr. Malfoy opportunity to address the issues his bill have brought up,” Fudge said. “Most notably, the lack of exceptions to the ban on the use of magic before Muggles. Mr. Malfoy, you may have the floor.”
“Thank you, Minister,” Lucius Malfoy said in a glibly smooth tone, rising from his seat. He stepped into the aisle, then took the steps down to the main floor. Harry watched, his fists clenched, as Malfoy waved his wand and a much smaller podium than that of the Minister’s rose from the ground. Malfoy took a sheaf of paper from his robes, then spread them out over the surface of the podium.
“Listed under clause B of the Wembley Act, there are currently no proposed exceptions,” Malfoy said. “This is necessary, because of the following reasons. One, if we were to include exceptions, the definition of said exceptions would need to be incredibly strict. Furthermore, if there were exceptions, any case claiming to fall under the exception of this law would need to meet those strict definitions, and by and large, none would. Any situation where magic is necessary for defense can be easily avoided by defending oneself with non-magical means. Therefore, the inclusion of exceptions would only weaken this act to the point that it can be completely circumnavigated.”
Circumnavigated? What? Who actually uses words like that?
Shut up, I’m trying to listen.
And is he just saying that including exceptions would be against the point of the whole thing?
No, he’s saying that if they did, the definitions would be so high that no one would even reach it.
Now, shut up.
Damn it, we missed two.
“— in the event where a witch or wizard found his or herself in such danger that the use of magic is necessary to escape, the kind of magic that would be required would be highly dangerous itself to any and all Muggles around them. There are thousands of cases wherein a Muggle witnessed some sort of magic and was later impaired for life because of it. For as we all know, we wizards are superior to Muggles in that their minds are unable to comprehend what we do with magic.”
Did he just call Muggles stupid?
I think so, yes.
“In our efforts to prevent further exposure and danger to Muggles, we must consider that damage comes in many forms. If a Muggle were to witness that sort of magic, the damage it could do to his or her mind could possibly be permanent, even if he or she were to be Obliviated, perhaps even especially.”
Harry pushed his glasses up onto his forehead and rubbed at his eyes, not able to believe what he was hearing.
“Thus, I believe that granting exceptions to this law would be detrimental on all fronts,” Malfoy said in conclusion. “No good could come of it.”
“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy,” Fudge said. “I will now allow for questions.”
Harry dropped back in his seat, staring blankly down at Malfoy. He hadn’t realized Ministry proceedings could be so tedious. Glancing at Dumbledore, he leaned over slightly, then whispered: “How long will this go on?”
Dumbledore glanced at his watch. “I suspect quite a while,” he said. “Be patient.”
Harry fell back against his seat with a huff, glaring down at the court floor and at Malfoy’s subtle smirk. He wondered if anyone could be more arrogant than Lucius Malfoy.
It seemed like everyone and their mother at the Wizengamot had a useless question about this or that minor detail in Malfoy’s bill. No one asked why the hell he though banning all magic in Muggle areas was a good idea, no, they were all too concerned with what exactly determined an area to be Muggle or Wizard, or if all witches and wizards would be required to have the Trace put back on them, or some other nondescript bit of information. Harry checked his watch nearly every ten minutes, the time agonizingly slow as the second hand ticked on.
At quarter to nine, Fudge finally declared the time for questioning to be done. He banged his gavel and called for silence. “Are there any others who wish to speak before we move to a vote?” Fudge called out, Harry sat up straight in his seat as Dumbledore stuck his hand in the air. “No one?” Fudge announced, looking the other direction. Dumbledore rose from his seat.
“I wish to speak,” the Headmaster declared.
“Ah, Professor,” Fudge said, sounding thoroughly disgruntled. “Of course, you do. We really do not have much time for —”
“You allowed for Mr. Malfoy to answer questions for over an hour, Minister,” Dumbledore reminded him, his own voice sharp, “and I counted multiple repetitions of questions. I believe I am entitled to have the floor for a short period of time.”
Fudge glanced behind him at the red-robed wizards, then gave a heavy sigh and banged his gavel. “Professor Albus Dumbledore has the floor.”
Dumbledore gave a nod, then made his way from his seat towards the aisle. Harry half rose from his seat, but the Headmaster glanced back at him and gave him a placating nod. Harry shrank back in his chair, watching as the Headmaster took the long walk to the courtroom floor.
Professor Dumbledore took up the podium that Malfoy had only just vacated. He took one, long look around the room, his usually encouraging eyes cold as they swept the room.
“To react to the events this morning,” Dumbledore began, his voice grave, “with a ban on all magic would be tantamount to suicide. We should not be busying ourselves with what we should do, but with who did it.”
“Get to your point, Headmaster,” Fudge said.
“Six months ago, Minister, you came to my school to respond to a school event gone awry,” Dumbledore called, “you declared it an accident and moved on. I will hold my tongue no longer. Six months ago, Lord Voldemort was resurrected to power.”
Harry wasn’t sure how he expected the Wizengamot to react. Perhaps with shocked gasps, shouts of denial, fainting, whatever. He did not expect stony silence.
“The terrorists who attacked Kings Cross Station this morning were the agents of Voldemort, working in hopes to stir panic amongst us, to disarm and alarm us all. If we pass this bill, we would give him what he wants; a nation in fear and unable to defend itself.”
“What evidence do you have for this?” Fudge asked.
“I brought with me an eyewitness,” Dumbledore answered. “Harry Potter.”
There were the whispers. There were the gasps and the mutters he’d expected. Harry stared straightforward at his professor, ignoring the sudden hundreds of eyes on him.
“How could the Dark Lord have returned?” Madam Bones asked.
“Through an evil sacrament,” Dumbledore answered her, “so described in Felicia Tiberina’s Black Book. Bone of the father, flesh of the servant, and blood of the enemy. He implanted his own agents in my school, and used the Triwizard Tournament to his advantage, to capture Potter and use his blood for his resurrection.”
“What agents?” Fudge asked harshly.
“Aurora Sinestra, Barty Crouch, Jr., and Ludo Bagman,” Dumbledore said. “Aurora Sinestra was too young to have been a member of his order fourteen years ago, and therefore was able to trick me into trusting her. Barty Crouch was said to have died in Azkaban, but in truth, he was smuggled out by his mother and father, replaced by his mother who was using Polyjuice Potion. Ludo Bagman was acquitted of being a Death Eater in the excuse that he was simply too dumb to know what he was doing, while he was actually a member of the inner fold of Death Eaters.”
“Aurora Sinestra was proven to be mad,” Fudge declared. “She and her brother were sent to Azkaban earlier this year for the unlawful kidnapping of a wizard and his wife.”
“That wizard was Abraham Vance,” Dumbledore replied, “the man who translated and decoded the Black Book and prepared the sacrament that brought back Voldemort, under threat of losing his wife and his own life.”
Further mutterings echoed throughout the courtroom; Fudge banged his gavel, calling out: “Silence! Silence!”
Dumbledore stared patiently up at the Minister.
“How could Barty Crouch, Jr., have been an accomplice?” Fudge demanded. “No one but Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban!”
“As I said,” Dumbledore answered, “his mother used Polyjuice Potion to take his place. She was the one who died and was buried on the prison grounds.”
“This is all very convenient for you, seeing as Barty Crouch, Sr., is dead as well,” Fudge pointed out.
“Yes, he was said to have committed suicide, as he was very ill and had been for quite some time,” Dumbledore replied dryly, “however, according to his Healer, his supposed illness was non-existent until barely a month before his death, when his son cursed him in order to cover up his murder.”
“What about Bagman, then,” Fudge demanded, “are you asking us to believe that he was secretly working for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the past decade and a half, despite having proven that his cooperation with Death Eater Rookwood was a misguided attempt to improve his own standing in the Ministry?”
“Yes, I am,” Dumbledore replied calmly. “You already had Mr. Bagman arrested and sent to Azkaban for sexually assaulting several young girls, a feat he managed to successfully hide from the Ministry until I provided all the evidence needed to try him. If he was capable of hiding a history of pedophilia from you, I am sure he was able to hide his other radical beliefs.”
Amongst the shocked gasps and fervent mutterings, Harry leaned forward slightly to look at Fudge, who was purple in the face but for his lips, which were white from pressing them together so tightly. He glanced back at Dumbledore, whose expression was still just as calm and cold.
“Bring your witness forward,” Fudge said coldly.
Dumbledore gave a nod. “I call one Harry Potter to the floor.”
Ginny gave Harry’s hand a quick squeeze as he pushed himself to his feet. Brushing off his robes, he made his way down the row to the aisle leading down. As he walked, the Wizengamot members around him fell silent, until he reached the aisle and there was a heavy silence blanketing the stands. Harry held his gaze on his feet, walking quickly but carefully down to the courtroom floor. Dumbledore stepped aside as he approached, and Harry took the podium. Looking up, he swallowed as he met Fudge’s irate gaze.
“Present your testimony, Mr. Potter,” Fudge called.
Harry cleared his throat. “Last year, Hogwarts hosted the Triwizard Tournament and I was selected to participate. Students above the age of seventeen were allowed to enter their names to the Goblet of Fire for selection, but I wasn’t old enough. Someone entered my name for me, we think they managed to Confund the Goblet into believing there were four schools participating instead of three and entered my name under the fourth school in order to ensure I was picked. There were three tasks, the third taking place in June of this year. It was a maze, and at the center was the Trophy; whoever reached it first would be declared the winner. Except Bagman had turned the Trophy into a Portkey. Professor Sinestra was stationed inside the maze to keep anyone from getting too close so that I would reach it first. She attacked two of the other champions, injuring Fleur Delacour and killing Cedric Diggory.”
Harry paused, taking a breath. For a second, he was sure he smelled the blood, but he ignored it. He couldn’t think about that just then.
“I and another champion, Viktor Krum, reached the center of the maze at the same time that Sinestra killed Diggory. Krum dueled with her, she cut off his arm, then I dueled her, but she knocked me into the Trophy. The Portkey took me to a graveyard in the village of Little Hangleton, where Sinestra’s brother and Abraham Vance were waiting. Like Professor Dumbledore said, Vance was forced to create the potion for Voldemort to be reborn. Vance took bone from the grave of Voldemort’s father, then cut off Sinestra’s hand for the flesh of the servant, then he took blood from my right arm.”
Harry stopped again, then reached over and rolled up his right sleeve. “I still have the scar.”
“What happened after that?” Madam Bones asked.
“The potion changed colors, then Vance put the homunculus that Voldemort was possessing into the potion.”
“How was he able to possess a homunculus?” Bones demanded.
Harry glanced out of the corner of his eye at Dumbledore, then back up at the high podium and Bones. “After he attacked me as a baby, the curse rebounded, but it only destroyed his body. His soul was left on earth, it was weak, but able to possess small animals and such. The homunculus was created specifically for him, so his soul was able to inhabit it for long enough that Vance was able to create a new body for Voldemort.”
“How was his soul left behind?” Bones asked. “That shouldn’t be possible.”
“It isn’t possible to survive the Killing Curse, yet I’m standing here,” Harry said. “I don’t know how he managed to survive that night, but I do know that he’s got a new body now, that he’s alive and he ordered the attack on King’s Cross today.”
“How can you prove that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named ordered the attack?” Fudge asked him sharply. “The insurgents who carried out the attack all killed themselves and none of them bear his mark. The Dark Lord never ordered his Death Eaters to perform suicide attacks during the war.”
“Because that’s the kind of thing Voldemort does!” Harry insisted. “He does things that don’t make sense so that he can confuse us and trick us into thinking that it’s something else, when really it’s all to accomplish his goal in a way we won’t notice!”
“That is not enough,” Fudge snapped.
Harry gaped at him. Then he glanced down, then caught the eye of Lucius Malfoy. Harry clenched his jaw, remembering that the last time he met eyes with Malfoy, it had been in a graveyard and Malfoy’s face had been hidden behind a mask.
“What about the fact that the bill you’re voting on today was drawn up by a Death Eater?” Harry said coldly, never moving his gaze from Malfoy’s.
Fudge banged his gavel amongst the sudden shouting that filled the courtroom. Malfoy held Harry’s gaze, his face stony and impassive. “Silence!” Fudge called, banging his gavel still. “I will have silence in this court!”
“You accuse Lucius Malfoy of treachery?” Madam Bones demanded of Harry.
“I accuse him of being there the night Voldemort returned,” Harry said. “Voldemort likely wrote this bill for him.”
“Lucius Malfoy is an upstanding citizen,” Fudge snapped, “he is a generous philanthropist and vocal advocate in the Wizengamot. He was proven innocent in 1982 and is innocent to this day. If this is all you have to your claim, then I must say, Mr. Potter, it is a weak attempt to discredit Mr. Malfoy.”
“He was there!” Harry swore. “Give him Veratiserum and ask him, he’ll confess! You could give me Veratiserum, even. I am telling the truth!”
“The use of Veratiserum on an underaged wizard for court proceedings is outlawed,” Fudge said coolly.
“I’ve been emancipated,” Harry said.
“That changes nothing,” Fudge told him. “If you have finished giving your testimony, you may return to your seat.”
“Your seat, Mr. Potter,” Fudge repeated harshly.
Harry glanced at Dumbledore, but found his Headmaster expressionless. He turned away, stepping down from the podium.
“I believe we have heard enough from you, Professor,” Fudge said as Harry made his retreat to the stands. “If you have nothing more to say, you may return to your seat as well.”
“I wish to call for a vote,” Dumbledore said calmly. Harry paused at the steps, turning back. “Would all those who believe the Wembley Act unwise in light of the new evidence please raise their hands?”
Harry looked around, already feeling emboldened by the number of hands rising to the air. Then Fudge banged his gavel.
“Professor Dumbledore, you may take your seat. We are going to vote on the Wembley Act.”
Harry glanced at Malfoy, but the adult was just as impassive as before. Dumbledore strode from the court floor to the stands, then waved Harry forward. Turning, Harry quickly advanced up the stairs, Dumbledore on his heels. They passed down the row in silence, everyone watching them until they had reached their seats. Ginny reached over and took Harry’s hand.
They’re not going to let the bill pass, she thought.
I hope so.
Fudge banged his gavel once more, then raised his wand. “All those in attendance with eligible votes, please take a ballot and cast your vote. When you have finished, the ballot will vanish and appear in the box before me. You have ten minutes.”
Fudge gave his wand a flick, then slips of paper appeared before every Wizengamot member in the court. Harry didn’t get one. He looked around as the witches and wizards wrote down their votes, then slowly as the ballots vanished and reappeared in a sealed glass container that had appeared before Fudge. While an hour had dragged on before, the next ten minutes seemed to take days. Harry sat forward in his seat, watching nervously for Fudge to open the box. It filled slowly, until finally, Fudge banged his gavel.
“The time is finished,” the Minister declared. “Any who have not submitted their vote will be discounted.”
Harry clenched his fists, feeling his nails dig into his palms.
Fudge tapped the box with his wand, and the glass lid vanished. He gave the wand another wave, and the ballots lifted into the air, dividing themselves automatically. Harry held his fingers tighter. The two groups looked nearly even. The two groups floated downward, settling in front of Madam Bones and the other witch that had entered with Fudge. Both women drew their wands, then began to count the ballots. Harry leaned forward more, watching as the two witches counted. Fudge leaned down and spoke to Madam Bones, but his voice did not carry throughout the courtroom as it had before. Madam Bones gave a nod, then Fudge spoke to the other witch. Leaning back, Fudge flicked his wand at his throat.
“There are a total 320 votes,” Fudge announced. “165 of which are in favor of putting Lucius Malfoy’s Wembley Act of Caution into action. I declare the Wembley Act of Caution hereby enacted.”