SIYE Time:18:13 on 21st January 2019

The Weight of the After
By Paperyink

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Category: Post-HBP, Post-DH/AB
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Mild Language, Violence
Rating: R
Reviews: 10
Summary: As the trials against those complicit in Voldemort's regime begin, Ginny Weasley must come to terms with the worst year of her life- on record. But not every war story should be told.
Hitcount: Story Total: 2402; Chapter Total: 399
Awards: View Trophy Room


Chapter 3: There Ain’t No Rest for the Witches

Hermione wrestles her way through the steadily growing crowd in the courtroom, towards the bench where Harry and Ron have saved her a seat. She almost gets caught in the swarm of journalists and schoolmates that buzz around her, but Ron’s arm reaches in and yanks her through, swinging her onto the bench.

“Who is ‘the general?’” she asks when she lands in front of him.

Ron gives her a perplexed look. “Did I pull you too hard? Did you bang your head when I wasn’t looking?”

No,” she draws out, lips twitching with amusement. “I keep hearing people say, ‘the general has it under control,’ ‘the general will tell us what to do,’ the general, the general. Who are they talking about?”

“If you don’t know then I don’t know,” Ron shrugs.

Hermione heaves a sigh, then switches tracks. “Well, anyway, Ginny isn’t happy that we're here," she says reproachfully as she squeezes between him and Harry, her wild curls getting into both of their faces.

"Oh really," Harry snaps sarcastically, breaking out of his tension-filled daze and batting her hair out from under his nose, "I couldn't tell." He jerks his head towards Ginny, who, after their now-customary staring contest, had what looked like a difficult conversation with Hermione accompanied by intense hand gestures, before sending Hermione over to them. Now, she’s angled away from them and whispering quickly with Neville, periodically shooting Harry, Ron and Hermione heavy glances.

"That is the understatement of the year," Ron agrees, eyes now focused on the consuming task of untwisting the tie on a bag of sweets. "She's got that expression on that makes her look like mum. I hate when she does that."

"What did she say?" asks Harry, a little desperately.

Hermione heaves a long-suffering sigh. "She said that there are more important things to do than sit here for hours listening to her talk, and then gave me an excessive list of examples.”

“At least she talked to you,” Harry grumbles, dragging his hand down his face. “That sounds like a longer conversation than I’ve had with her in months.” He hunches over, sinking back into his brooding swamp, but then he abruptly sits up ramrod-straight.

“You see it says ‘war crimes committed’?” He asks in an urgent, low voice. “You don’t think they asked her here because she was” he stops and doesn’t finish the sentence.

“I don’t know what to think,” Hermione mutters, glancing at Ron out of the corner of her eye, who is valiantly attempting to ignore the conversation. “She has been different, I suppose; more distracted, or– well, you've seen her. But she isn’t that different. After all, the war impacted everyone in a variety of ways, and I figured if there was anything out of place it was because of F–”

“Can we not talk about this?” Ron interrupts, looking up from the twist tie to glare at both of them. “I– what did we expect? That she and the others were having picnics by the lake and eating pumpkin pasties while we were out in the woods?” They all avoid eye contact at this assertion, a touch too close to the truth. “But no, this,” he gestures to the whole courtroom, “is proof. And I don’t want to talk about it. Not– not before I have to sit through it.”

“I only just–,” Hermione persists, but then she bites her lip hesitantly. “I don't understand why she didn’t tell us anything," she finishes despairingly.

"What’s hard to understand?" Ron asks despite himself, stuffing a handful of freed Pepper Imps in his mouth, leaving his ears steaming lightly. The effect would be comical if not for the cold dark circles that have been present under his eyes since the light left his brother's. "She's proving to us that she can handle whatever's going on with her by herself. And," he adds in an afterthought, "she's protecting us."

"From what?" Harry and Hermione say in unison.

Ron doesn't answer immediately. He studies his little sister. Her jaw is tensed as she takes in the courtroom, and even though she nods authoritatively as Neville talks in her ear, it’s obvious even from fifty feet away that her hands are trembling slightly. Ron sets down his bag of sweets.

"After the Chamber, she cried for a few days, but just a few days. She was... with everything that happened... she was only eleven you know?" His mouth pulls down with remnants of grief. Hermione takes his hand, and he squeezes hers gratefully. "But after that, she put on a brave face, went back to talking our ears off, and forced everyone to start treating her normally again. Because she saw what it was doing to mum, to all of us. I don't think I've seen her cry since then, not even…” He trails off, swallowing thickly. "Look, I don’t know everything, but I know enough about Ginny. She put our well-being over hers then, and she's doing the same thing now."

Harry and Hermione don't need to respond; they both know he’s right. The mood between the three of them has settled into a familiar sense of foreboding they thought they were finished with.

The midday sun breaks through the clouds and shines through the high stained glass windows of the courtroom. A stream of light strikes through the red panes and lands on Ginny, bathing her in a fiery glow. She turns her face away from the offending light to their direction, and an old, settled behemoth of pain behind her gaze is now suddenly obvious to each of them. Indeed, it’s like discovering a still portrait they've walked past every day is alive, and moving, and talking, and understanding.

"I think," Hermione says, "I think this is going to be bad."

"They won't stop staring at me," Ginny mutters out of the corner of her mouth. Neville tears his eyes away from where Hannah and Anthony are talking and follows Ginny's line of sight. Harry, Ron and Hermione are all gazing towards them, identical troubled looks on their faces.

"Well, of course they won't. They're worried about you," he says simply.

"I wish they'd just shove off," she says forcefully, "but if they're going to hear about it this way, so be it. Fine by me," she lies and blows a strand of hair out of her face.

"Hang on a minute, what? " She turns towards Neville, who has a strange mixture of outrage, confusion and concern on his face.


"You– you haven't told them? Any of them?"

"Of course not!"

"Bu– wh– but why?"

"Oh yes, Neville, right" she mocks, "let me just tell my family that instead of gossiping with friends and... falling asleep in Arithmancy this year, or whatever, I led the resistance against Voldemort and was terribly tortured. What was I supposed to say?" She narrows her eyes at him. "When should I have told them, after Fred's funeral or after Lupin and Tonks'? Or maybe I should have done it last month when my mother still wasn't getting out of bed?" This is the argument she’s been waiting for, and she’s doing a bang-up job of getting her point across, but Neville doesn’t seem to agree. He shakes his head.

"This is not the way they should find out," his honest eyes blaze into hers. Annoyingly, a stab of guilt goes through her again. She rubs the fabric covering her left forearm distractedly, and Neville's eyes flicker to the spot.

"Don't you think I know that?" she forces out. "Don’t you think– this is not how I wanted– I didn't expect this to be..." she falters, searching for the right words, and true to the pattern her life has taken lately, cannot find any. If she were being honest with herself and the world, she would admit to him that this path of revelation is the easiest one she has come across.

The clouds shift overhead, and sunlight tinged with red suddenly burns into her eyes. Her body's involuntary reaction forces her to shy away, and she inadvertently meets the eyes of the three people that are causing her such consternation. Hysterically, her frustration flares because of how serious they are in their business robes, compared to her dark green dress, Charlie's old dragon skin jacket, and frayed boots.

She turns away quickly and shakes her long hair back behind her. "This is the way it's happening. End of." Neville’s gaze burrows into the side of her head, but then he sighs, relenting, and takes both a physical and proverbial step back.

They turn towards the rest of their little group, and Neville beckons them to lean in. Silence falls among them as they wait for Ginny to speak. She wrinkles her nose; they’re more prim and polished than her as well. Even Seamus looks austere. She hates it.

She clears her throat. Focus, focus. "Alright. We're here to implicate the Carrows, and so we'll tell them everything that we've already told Kingsley, and anything else that will help," she leans in further and lowers her voice. "But tread carefully."

"That's never gone well for me," Seamus says.

Neville nods in agreement. Seamus looks insulted.

Ginny rolls her eyes. "Let me rephrase: tread carefully, or my foot will be stomping on yours every other word you say."

Seamus gives a sideways salute, "Aye aye–”

“Nope.” Ginny jabs her finger at him before he can go on, eyes narrowed. “Stop right there. No more.”

"What happens when they ask a direct question that you can't answer?" Hannah mutters nervously.

"We’ll answer the best we can," Anthony cuts in. "They can't expect–” he pauses as if to collect himself, then lifts his hand up as if to give a lecture, and says almost angrily, "this was a war; things fall through the cracks. Even the best of men have things to hide in the worst of times." His solemn words clash intriguingly with his London accent.

Ginny nods, smirking. "The sage speaketh the truth."

“Oh piss off,” he grunts, but he’s grinning.

"But anyway, listen,” she says, switching to serious and holding each of their gazes in turn, making sure to catch their eyes, “we say what we need to say, and we hold the line there. Agreed?" Seamus, Anthony and Neville nod, and then Anthony surreptitiously points to something behind her. Hestia Jones is making her way over to them.

"Right mates, let's jump headfirst into this cesspool, shall we?" he says, and he, Neville and Seamus head over to meet her. Ginny makes to turn around, but Hannah grabs her arm and pulls her off to the side.

"Ginny," she begins quietly, "I did what you said to– just the bare bones. But if it comes to it, I can..." She trails off, her mouth set in a determined line. Ginny catches her hand and squeezes it.

"I know," she smiles humorlessly. "But maybe things will work in my favour for once in my life, who knows?"

Hannah grips her arm tighter, her sweet face marked in concern, and Ginny is just so damn tired of constantly facing that expression on her friends and family. "You know, they'll understand. They'll understand why."

Ginny looks at Hannah. She looks at Hannah for a long time.

"Okay," Hannah says, resigned. "Just– just know I'm here for whatever you need." And with that, she makes her way towards the benches, but not before catching up with Neville to wish him luck, and kissing him on the cheek. Ginny grins as Neville’s face turns a radiant red punctuated with a bashful smile, his eyes trailing Hannah's form all the way until she takes her seat among a few other D.A. members who have come for support, including a pale Dennis Creevey, a stern Terry Boot and a very serious Susan Bones. A jolt goes through her, and her smile fades; the courtroom has become so full, it’s bursting at the seams. A second jolt runs through her; both Percy and Bill are now sitting next to Ron, her brothers' heads together in deep conversation.

She takes a moment to shut her eyes against the panic that’s beginning to enclose on her brain, then turns to join the others and nearly crashes into something immediately behind her. She swears and jumps back before realising it’s Luna, smiling at her vaguely, wearing what could only be described as a white tunic with an overcoat thrown over it that’s patterned with daisies and husks of corn. Unprecedented warmth floods through Ginny, and she grabs Luna into a tight hug. Like with Neville, her desire to see her friend had been buried until that very moment.

"You could have said hello instead of standing right behind me and freaking me out," she says into Luna's shoulder.

Luna shrugs, "you seemed quite busy up here." She pats Ginny's head lightly, and Ginny chokes out a laugh.

"I didn't know you were coming."

"Neither did I," Luna says, eyes wide, "but Daddy's off to Puerto Rico– there was a reported sighting of a Purple-Striped Monos Voladores, and you know how rare those are.”

“I do,” Ginny agrees.

“So I'm here for the Quibbler.”

"Good," Ginny says firmly. "At least ethical journalism will be represented here by one honest person." She glares in the direction of Rita Skeeter. She’s now trying and failing to interrogate Padma Patil, who is literally batting her off like a fly.

"Oh yes," Luna says in her dreamy tones, "although, I was hoping you would write the piece."

"Wha– me?" Ginny asks incredulously, utterly nonplussed. Luna tends to have that effect on most people, but it rarely happens to Ginny anymore, and when it does it’s usually a lot funnier than whatever the hell is happening here.

"Yes, you," Luna responds, eyebrows raised as if it were obvious. "You're the best writer in our year, maybe even in Hogwarts, and this is your story to tell." She says this matter-of-factly as if she’s explaining how to make tea. “So I'll take the notes, and you'll write it. Yes?"

Ginny gapes at her, and Luna smiles back cheerily. "I knew you'd say yes!" she exclaims. "Okay, good luck! Don't lose your temper too badly," she calls out bluntly as she flounces away.

"But, Luna! I didn't–” she croaks out, but Luna is already halfway across the large room, being hugged tightly by Hermione. Ginny groans and pulls the sleeves of her jacket around her fists, to cover her eyes; there are now too many people in the courtroom that she knows. Her plan to make the trial as impersonal as possible is quickly unraveling. She was foolish to believe it wouldn't happen.

She makes her way over towards where Hestia is briefing Neville, Seamus and Anthony. Hestia smiles and winks at her, pink cheeks dimpling. For a moment, Ginny’s afraid she will be accosted by concerned, here-to-help looks from yet another adult in her life, but Hestia squares her shoulders in a most business-like manner and clears her throat to get their attention, her glossy black hair glinting in the refracted sunlight.

"As you all know by now, I will be head of the prosecution for this case. I've read the statements you gave to Magical Law Enforcement, and it should be enough to put the Carrows behind bars for a long time. I was a Chief Prosecutor before the war, so not to worry, I won't muck it up," she winks again at them all. Seamus, of course, winks back. "But," she adds sternly, eyeing each of them in the intense manner only barristers and mothers know how to adopt, "if there is anything else you can think of at all that would help the case, please do not hesitate to say it."

Neville shifts uncomfortably beside her, and she almost groans out loud. How is it that someone who kept secrets under fear of torture is such shit at it under the stern gaze of a bloody solicitor?

When no one responds to her inquiry, Hestia nods. "Right," she says briskly, gathering up an alarmingly large stack of parchment. "Just answer the questions clearly, don't lose your heads, and these wankers will be out of your lives for good."

"Pinky promise?" Anthony deadpans. Hestia's lips twitch before she turns around, leading them to the witness benches. They walk together in a tight group, purposefully avoiding all contact with the gathering spectators, but that doesn't stop Rita Skeeter from diving between Anthony and Neville and landing haphazardly in front of Ginny.

"Ah, Miss Weasley!" she exclaims, breathless excitement clear in her brittle voice. "The youngest warrior of the family. There is no doubt that we owe a great deal to you and your compatriots, but what really went on at Hogwarts this year? Terrible, terrible times no doubt, but surely the stories are a tad... hysterical? Surely some of these ‘missing persons’ are just taking a much-needed holiday?” She laughs, a tinkling, unnerving sound, before abruptly changing her demeanor and leaning forward, eyes narrowed. “How does it feel to be here, surrounded by your schoolmates, on the other side of the law, possibly about to send two people to their deaths?" Her tone becomes strangely hushed at the word "death" as if she’s attempting to evoke sympathy for the Carrows. Anger flares through Ginny.

"Why are you here?" she snaps at Rita, who draws back, clearly bemused by the question.

"I am here on behalf of the Daily–”

"No," Ginny interrupts, "I don't mean here," she gestures around the courtroom, "I mean here. On this earth. Still. I thought all forms of evil were supposed to evaporate once Voldemort did, but clearly I was wrong." Neville, Seamus and Anthony snigger openly, and she hears a booming laugh to her right that unmistakably belongs to Ron. It is immensely gratifying.

Rita flinches at the mention of Voldemort, but then curls her lips in a menacing smile. "It's so wonderful to see that the youth's sense of humor has not been taken away by war," she says loftily. "Tell me, Miss Weasley, will your jokes help you keep the interest of your precious crush, Harry Potter? Now, without a price on his head, he can find someone a little more… civilised, if you catch my drift."

Ginny’s eyes widen in shock, and she almost involuntarily shifts her arm back, with clear intent to strike.

"Oi, why don't you bugger off, you manky shrew," Seamus sneers, as Neville catches her arm and prevents her from moving any further. Rita gives a hair-raising tinkling laugh, pivots on a teetering heel, and sidles away. If she moves quick enough, she’s certain she can hex Rita right between the shoulder blades.

"That twat," Anthony growls, hooking arms with Ginny and pulling her towards the witness benches as if he guessed her train of thought. "As full of lies as she is with vodka. She doesn't know what she’s talking about Ginny, she's just baiting you." He wrinkles his nose in disgust.

Neville looks at her nervously. "Were you really going to hit her?"

"What do you think?" she snaps.

She drops down heavily on the benches, Neville and Anthony flanking either side of her as if they’re her security detail.

"Don't let her get under your skin, Ginny," Seamus advises from the other side of Anthony. Ginny rolls her eyes; that’s a fat load of tosh coming from him.

"I'll behave as long as she does," she grumbles, arms crossed.

Neville sighs wearily and opens his mouth to respond, but before he can, the giant double doors open with another great clang. A hoard of witches and wizards of a variety of nationalities come bustling through, murmuring seriously to each other as they make their way to the seats designated for members of the International Confederation of Wizards. Ginny can't believe her eyes; there aren't just wizards and witches from all over Europe, but from all over the world. She overhears snippets of conversations in French, Hindi, Spanish, Arabic, and other languages, some that she's never heard before. The English throughout is spoken with the usual English, Scottish and Irish accents, but there are also American and Australian dialects scattered through the crowd.

She never imagined her little trial would attract or require so many officials from around the world, and judging by the awe on Anthony, Neville and Seamus' faces, they didn't either. She glares towards Kingsley. Not full court my arse, she thinks angrily.

"Jesus Christ," Anthony mutters. "Wh– what do they have so many people here for? This is fucking ridiculous." But even as he says this, he runs one hand self-consciously through his curly hair and straightens his tie with the other. Neville gulps loudly next to her.

A woman emerges from the pack in a waltz, unfurling a sure and practiced path towards Kingsley. She is middle-aged, petite and thin, with a sheet of honey-blonde hair, pale skin and icy grey eyes, her perfect nose the only cute feature on an otherwise intimidating face. She glides more than she walks, her deep blue velvet robes artfully trailing behind her. When she arrives at Kingsley, she offers up her left cheek for a sterile kiss.

“That’s Ruxanda Ivanova,” Anthony informs them, brushing hair out of his eyes in a tick-like manner. "She's been in the justice game since before the Soviet Union collapsed. Her takedowns are fucking legendary.”

When Ginny looks back up, a man who must be Dominic Esnaider has joined them on the bench from seemingly out of nowhere. He is quite older than Ivanova and Kingsley, and just as much more stylish. The silver scarf adorning his navy robes is made of fine silk, and his blonde hair has flecks of gray that look more like a choice than the result of aging. He grasps Kingsley’s hand in an enthusiastic handshake, then pulls Ivanova in for what is clearly a much friendlier greeting that she’s prepared for, kissing her enthusiastically on both cheeks.

Anthony continues with his commentary. “That’s Esnaider, obviously. His family’s old style, all about vamps– you know, the classic shite. But I’ve heard that he fancies himself as an ‘anti-corruption superhero,’ whatever the hell that means.”

The last person to join the three magistrates arrives there in the sort of politician-power-stride that Ginny has only ever seen done by men. She is shockingly young and tall and willowy, with a dark, curly business bob and striking features, her black pencil skirt and maroon blouse decidedly more muggle-like than anything her colleagues are wearing. She wrings both Kingsley’s and Ivanova’s hands enthusiastically, but looks as if she suffers through Esnaider’s greeting of choice more than Ivanova did.

"Then that’s Shira Klein," Anthony adds unnecessarily. “Her record for winning human rights cases is astounding for someone so young. She’s ruthless.”

Once they’re seated, the magistrates busy themselves with individual tasks. Esnaider pulls Kingsley into a rapid conversation. Klein puts on a fashionable pair of spectacles and begins neatly stacking court files in front of her. But Ivanova is simply surveying her surroundings in a similar way to Ginny, though her gaze holds detached intrigue instead of Ginny’s own special cocktail of annoyance and sheer anxiety.

Anthony cockily leans back on the bench. "Shira's well fit, and a nice Jewish girl to boot. I'll ask her out after the trial, just wait. Mum'll be proud." Seamus and Neville both snort, but Neville at least coughs to try to cover it up. Ginny rolls her eyes.

"Oh please. Both of those women could cut you blokes down with a single glance," Ginny whispers reverently. "And I would just stand there, basking in it."

"Pfft, come off it. Just wait until you're on the other side of their glares," Seamus grumbles.

She doesn't have to wait very long. Ivanova leans forward to speak to Kingsley, who mutters something in response. All of a sudden, her and Klein’s equally piercing gazes land on Ginny. Esnaiders follow their lead. The boys shift uncomfortably in their seats.

"Why are they looking at me?" she asks, confused. "The Chosen One is over there." She jerks her thumb in the general direction of Harry, but even as she says this, unwanted sympathy rises in her. This must be how he feels every day. She shakes her head impatiently.

"I reckon you're the star of this story, Ginny," she hears Seamus say. Several members of the Confederation are taking heed from Klein and Ivanova and eye Ginny curiously. She scoffs. The star of what?

"What a shit story. I want a rewrite."

"Order, order!" Kingsley's booming voice rings through the echoing chamber. The room immediately falls silent, and rows of people turn to face the center of the room, where the chain-decorated chairs await their occupants. Kingsley draws the parchment in his hands closer to his face, and when he clears his throat, a quill beside the judges’ stand rises to attention. As he begins to read, it jumps into a frenzied skate across the roll of parchment beneath it.

"Today, the eighteenth of August, nineteen-ninety-eight, begins the seventh hearing in the Special Court Tribunal for the Second English Wizarding War. This trial will concern the alleged war crimes committed against wizards and witches of all blood statuses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the time period of the Second English Wizarding War, between the years nineteen-ninety-seven to nineteen-ninety-eight." He draws breath, and then begins to read the rest of the document quite quickly.

"These alleged war crimes are herein direct violation of Sections II and VI of the Wizarding Code of Justice and Human Rights, ratified in 1945, and the Wizarding Section of the Fourth Treaty of the Geneva Conventions, ratified in 1949, regarding rights of both magic and non-magic persons in times of war under international wizarding law. These crimes include membership of a criminal organisation, withholding of defensive weapons, discrimination, cruelties, atrocities, torture and other inhumane acts, as set forth in Counts 1, 2 and 3 of this indictment." A shocked silence falls over the already-quiet crowd at the mention of torture. Ginny wonders, not for the first time, just what these people were expecting when they walked in (uninvited, in her opinion) to the trial. Kingsley goes on.

"The wizard and witch accused of these crimes and accordingly named as defendants are Amycus and Alecto Carrow, confirmed Death Eaters and respective Professors of Defense Against the Dark Arts and Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the school year nineteen-ninety-seven to nineteen-ninety-eight. Magistrates Ruxanda Ivanova, Shira Klein, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Dominic Esnaider will be overseeing this hearing of the accused. Head of prosecution Hestia Jones and head of defense Dorian Parkinson will prove or dismiss guilt using given evidence and that provided by witnesses Seamus Finnigan, Anthony Goldstein, Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley. The accused may be brought in."

Ginny's blood runs cold. Her ears begin to thrum with the distinctive movements of hunched, heavy bodies that she detects from the corridor outside the courtroom. The crowd inside chatters on, blissfully unaware of the impending arrival, but Ginny would recognise the sounds anywhere. They’re unmistakable, even with chains jangling on their wrists and ankles– the terrible rumble of them barging through a door to drag her by the hair to Merlin knows where for Merlin knows what; the rustle of robes that always preceded an agonising hex; the heavy swoosh of a stubby hand drawing back before striking across her face. She’d be astonished if those sensory memories ever left her, or left her alone.

The doors open with a long, slow groan this time around. The Carrows shuffle through the doors, shackled arms held by two Security Wizards. Amycus’ ratty black hair is matted with dirt; his face glistens with oil from the lack of hygiene that accompanies a prison sentence. His striped uniform is grayed and unwashed, but even as he limps into the courtroom with difficulty, he doesn’t have the usual aura associated with time in Azkaban. No doubt the lack of Dementors guarding the prison has drastically improved the lives of prisoners. It’s a change that Ginny has wholeheartedly supported– until today.

She assumes Alecto looks much the same. Ginny just hasn’t managed to look at her yet.

Amycus’ murky brown eyes scan the courtroom and land on their little witness section. His leer deepens and, as if part of some obtuse plan, he casually rolls the sleeves of his uniform up to his elbows, revealing his coveted Dark Mark, the cleanest skin on him by far.

The others draw in sharp breaths, but Ginny’s eyes accidentally slip sideways.

Alecto’s cold, sadistic gaze is waiting for her there, and by her triumphant expression, Ginny knows that it’s been trained on her since the moment she walked in, always the patient fucking predator. Tiny, needling pinpricks of pain rush up her skin; how did this go so wrong already? She’d prepared for this moment, coached herself on how not to get backed into a corner, and here she is basically voluntarily walking backwards, and Ginny can’t help it; she reaches out to grasp both Neville's and Anthony's hands tightly, but she knows it’s a fatal error the moment she does it. Alecto's gaze flickers to their joined hands, and she begins to laugh, terribly; Amycus joins in soon after. Vomit threatens to ascend through Ginny's esophagus, but she doesn't let go.

"Settle down, settle down," Kingsley says, and although Amycus and Alecto are the only ones making any noise, his gaze is fixed on Ginny and the others. "If you'll take your seats, Mr. Carrow, Ms. Carrow, this trial can commence."

Amycus gives a mocking salute to Kingsley, and despite the guards shoving them along, they saunter over to the chained chairs as if they are thrones. The chains immediately wrap tightly around them, but they both eye their new confines with indifference. Ginny wants to wipe the smirks off of their faces.

Kingsley clears his throat. "This trial will begin with–”

"Now, now," Amycus interrupts in his acidic voice, a twisted smile forming from his smirk. "We don' wanna start this trial wivout reacquainting wiv our old friends, now do we?" He looks straight at Ginny and bares his crooked teeth. "How's about you give us a proper greeting, huh She-Weasel?" Alecto barks another laugh.
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