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SIYE Time:11:04 on 25th April 2024
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Fated Miracle
By millie

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, James Potter, Lily Potter, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, General, Romance, Tragedy
Warnings: Death, Disturbing Imagery, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 14
Summary: The night of Halloween 1981, something happened that had never even been thought of before. A miracle occurred and the Potters survived an attack from Voldemort who was vanquished. But life is not completely easy after Voldemort is gone and James and Lily have a lot more hurdles to go through. Alternate Universe.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3986; Chapter Total: 491





Author's Notes:
I apologise deeply for being completely inactive for a month. Life was very busy and I couldn’t find time to post at all. First, I had to go to another city for a family wedding (considering the fact I was attending as part of the host family, not a guest, there was a lot to do) and I did not take my laptop with me so I did not have access to my files.



Secondly, once we came back, my exams started and I literally had no time to even think about anything fun (that’s a lie, I daydreamed about holidays a lot :)). My exams ended this Monday so I decided to wait till Saturday to post like my usual schedule.



Thank you for being patient with me. I hope you like this chapter (I apologise for the short length but it seemed like a good place to end!)

Millie15128




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Chapter Four
Innocent


Frank found Amelia Bones in her office in the corner of the Auror department. He knocked on the open door and waited for her to give him permission, which she did, though she didn’t look up from the file in her hand. Frank entered the office and sat on one of the chairs in front of the desk. While Amelia was busy, he passed the time by looking around the office. He didn’t come here often; he could count the number of times he came into this office on his two hands and would still have fingers left over.

The office wasn’t overly large, but Amelia had made it suit her needs. A bookshelf was behind her desk, and a set of wooden filing cabinets sat next to them. The floor was carpeted in a tasteful grey, and the desk was oak brown with gold trim. There were a few pictures on the walls consisting of people he thought might be her family and one of her graduation and another of the day she was promoted to Deputy Head Auror.

Less than ten minutes later, Amelia placed the papers on her desk and looked at him. “Auror Longbottom, I thought you were on indefinite leave?” She phrased it like a question.

Frank nodded. “You would be right about that, Deputy Head Auror. However, I have some details regarding the incident in the Daily Prophet that I feel should be brought to light immediately,”

The usually stern woman’s eyes softened. “Ah, yes. James and Lily were good friends of you and Alice, weren’t they? I apologise sincerely for your loss.”

Frank’s lips curved upwards in a wry smile. The Daily Prophet declaring James and Lily dead was undoubtedly the work of Dumbledore, who had been the only one on the scene who had no idea the Potters were not dead. Well, Sirius didn't know as well, but he didn’t think anyone would have asked Sirius about it with the way they dragged him to Azkaban.

“Thank you, Madam Bones, but I was actually referring to the incarceration of Sirius Black.”

He saw a second of doubt in her eyes, as if she was suspicious of the reasons behind Sirius’ arrest before they hardened. “I am willing to listen to you, Auror Longbottom.”

Frank leaned forward. “Are you aware that Sirius Black never had a trial?”

“Pardon?”

“Sirius Black never had a trial,” repeated Frank, understanding her shock. “He was taken from the scene as a suspect without any forewarning ” even when they had no reason to ” and was immediately thrown into Azkaban.”

“How do you know this when I, myself, had no idea?” she asked. Her tone was pleasant enough, but he could read the suspicion in her eyes.

“Marlene McKinnon and Remus Lupin were at the scene when Sirius Black was arrested. When they tried to stop the Aurors, they claimed that the Head of the DMLE had ordered Sirius to be sent to Azkaban, not taken in as a suspect. Add in the fact that Albus Dumbledore seemed to be convinced of Sirius’ guilt, no one bothered to get Sirius a trial.”

“And do you believe he is guilty?” she asked, her expression unreadable. “You are advocating for a trial but what if he is proven guilty?”

“Sirius is innocent,” replied Frank quietly. “You know Auror Black, Madam Bones, and you know he would never have betrayed James Potter.”

Amelia didn’t verbally respond but raised an eyebrow, motioning him to continue.

“I don’t have any physical evidence, but I do have witnesses.”

She didn’t ask him who the witnesses were; she correctly guessed that he wouldn’t answer. “Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, Auror Longbottom. I assure you, it won’t be long before Auror Black will get his trial.”

Frank nodded his thanks and stood up to leave. The first part of their plan had gone without a hitch. Hopefully, the rest of the plan would be similar.

∼FM∼
Amelia Bones shivered unnoticeably as she looked up at the imposing building that was Azkaban Prison. Taking a moment to steady herself, she entered through the iron gates ” she ignored the Dementors hovering beside it even as she pulled her cloak tighter around herself ” and crossed the big grey archway where the paths split into three. On the left were the maximum-security prisoners, on the right, were the minimum-security prisoners, and in the middle was the administration department.

Amelia flashed her Auror I.D badge to the guard standing beyond the archway. “Who’re you here for?” he asked through a yawn.

“Sirius Black.” said Amelia.

The guard looked at her for the first time and seemed to realise who she was. “Of course, Madam Bones. Let me grab my cloak, and I’ll be right out.” He disappeared inside through the middle path and reappeared a few minutes later wearing a heavy-duty cloak. He led her to the left side of the prison, where most of the Dementors were present.

They walked down one corridor of cells before climbing a staircase at the end of the corridor and coming up onto the first floor of the prison, where the most security was present. Amelia immediately cast her Patronus, a bear, the same as the totem of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Bones. Sirius Black’s cell was the last one in this corridor, with three Dementors hovering beside it.

Amelia used her Patronus to push the Dementors back before facing the guard. “Open the cell.”

The guard looked at her with an uneasy expression. “Are you sure, Madam Bones? He’s dangerous, they say””

Amelia raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t think I made myself clear. I wasn’t requesting you, I was ordering you.”

There was still doubt in his expression, but he came forward and tapped the cell with his wand. He muttered something under his breath, and the rusty bars creaked open, the sound like a cannon blast in the eerie quietness of the prison. Amelia lit the tip of her wand and stepped inside.

The walls were made of dirty stone; it was so dark in the cell that even Amelia’s wand couldn’t light the cell up properly; it was as if the darkness was inside the stone bricks. A tray with a bowl of grey, sludgy food and a glass of water sat near her feet. There was a toilet and a sink in one corner and a thin metal bed on the opposite wall. On top of the bed, surrounded by a ratty blanket, was the wizard she had come to get.

He was awake and still sane ” it hadn’t even been a day since he had been left here ” if a bit paler. He was watching her approach but made no move to get up.

“Sirius Black,” she said, holding her wand high to cast the light on him. “You’re requested at the Ministry for questioning. It would be in your best interests to cooperate with the Aurors.”

A bitter laugh escaped him. “What? Finally, realised you got the wrong man? Or are you asking to get the various crimes I did under Voldemort?” The guard shrieked at him using the name, but Amelia paid him no mind. Instead, she leaned forward, not enough that the guard would notice but enough that he wouldn’t be able to hear her.

“I’m here to free you, so listen to me, will you?” That seemed to get his attention. His head shot up, and he searched her face as if looking for a lie. After a few seconds, she passed his inspection, and he stood up from the bed, letting the blanket fall to the floor.

The guard yelped and moved forward. “Hold on, Madam Bones!” He brandished his wand, but Amelia raised a hand, immediately stopping him.

“Do you think so low of the Deputy Head Auror that she can’t take on one Death Eater herself?”

He backtracked quickly. “No, no, of course that’s not what I meant””

“Good. Then you let me do my job while you do yours.” She pulled a pair of magic-resistant handcuffs from her robe and moved forward. Black presented his wrists without being prompted, and Amelia closed the handcuffs around his wrists, noting the glow it caused. Black didn’t even try to struggle; he just followed her as she led him out of the cell.

They followed the guard through the corridor and down the stairs. Once they were standing in front of the building, she turned toward the guard. “Bring me everything that was confiscated from him.”

He looked like he wanted to argue again, but he seemed to have given up on that, so he turned around and disappeared into the administration department.

“Were you telling the truth?” Black turned towards her as soon as the guard disappeared through the door.

“Have you ever known me to be dishonest?” Amelia glanced at him. “Auror Longbottom was the one who brought it to my attention that you never received a trial. I, and most of the wizarding world, had assumed that you had gotten a closed trial with no press or visitors or even the House seats ” just the Minister, the Head of MLE and other concerned Ministry officials.”

“Frank knows what happened?” he asked quickly. “And he believes me?”

“Yes, he came to me with the information that Remus Lupin and Marlene McKinnon had witnessed the Aurors arresting you.”

That seemed to bring a significant change in him. Before, he had been a little hopeful, but now the light dimmed from his eyes and was replaced by a raging, burning fire. “Peter, that rat””

Before Amelia could ask what he meant, the guard returned with a black pouch in his arms, causing Sirius to fall silent though his eyes were still glinting with fury.

Amelia took the pouch from the wizard and followed him to the big iron gates. “Grab my arm,” She held out her arm for Black, who gripped it by the elbow. She nodded at the guard, who glanced at Sirius fearfully and nodded back shakily. A second and a trip through a rubber tube later, the two were standing in Amelia’s office ” her being one of the few people who had access to Apparition from inside her office.

“Sit down,” she instructed. Black practically fell into a chair. Amelia removed the cuffs with a tap of her wand and pushed them into her robes. She rounded the desk and sat down in her chair. She said nothing for a few minutes and opted to watch Black instead.

Rubbing his wrists, Black looked at her with deadened eyes. “What now?” he asked flatly as if he couldn’t care less.

“Now we get you a trial,” she replied. “What were you saying about some Peter earlier?”

That furious look was back in his eyes, and he straightened up, his hands wrapped around the armrest, knuckles white. “Peter! That absolute rat! He betrayed James and Lily! They trusted him and he” he...” He was so overcome by rage and sorrow that it seemed to choke him and make him unable to speak.

Not that Amelia particularly cared about that at the moment. “What do you mean Peter was the one who betrayed the Potters? Everyone seems to be of the opinion that you were the Potters’ Secret-Keeper.”

He slouched back in his chair, staring at the floor before him. “We thought it was a perfect idea. Let everyone think that I’m the Secret-Keeper while it actually was Peter. Everyone would assume it’s me since James and I have been close for so long, and no one would look at Peter twice,” he gave a short, bitter laugh. “It would have worked too had it not been Peter himself who betrayed us to Voldemort. I can imagine him being so happy the night we asked him to be Secret-Keeper and rushing to go back to his Lord to give him the happy news.”

Amelia looked at him closely, but he didn’t seem to be lying. There was no deception in his eyes that she could detect.

“And now James and Lily are dead, and it’s all my fault!” Black seemed unaware that she was still there. He was speaking in a monotone voice and going on and on without realising she was listening.

“If Peter was the Secret-Keeper,” she started, “Then why are you the one at fault?” She wasn’t sure if he had heard her, but he glanced up, and she could see his eyes were clear.

“I was the one who suggested that we use Peter as a decoy,” he replied quietly.

Amelia didn’t know how to respond to that; she had never been the emotional or comforting type; that had been more her brother’s forte. Instead of acknowledging it, she ignored it instead.

“What were you doing at Remus Lupin’s cottage where you were arrested?”

“Peter was there.” was his only response.

“I see,” Amelia raised an eyebrow. “And where is he now?”

Black shook his head. “I don’t know. If Marlene and Remus didn’t tell Frank about him, then it means he probably escaped. I don’t know what Frank is going to do for me at my trial. Peter was my only evidence and I doubt the Wizengamot will let me use Veritaserum.”

“Frank said that he doesn’t have evidence in physical form but he has witnesses.” said Amelia.

Sirius glanced at her, a confused look in his eyes. “Witnesses? The only witnesses that I can have are J”James, Lily or Peter and none of them can testify for me.”

Amelia sighed and stood up. “I didn’t ask him about his witnesses; I assume he has a plan or he wouldn’t have approached me so confidently.” She walked around her desk and stood directly in front of him before she continued.

“You’re staying in one of the holding cells till your trial; I’ll try to get it scheduled as early as possible but it might take a week, at the very least.”

Black nodded and stood up. Amelia gripped his arm and Apparated them to the holding cells inside the Ministry. She motioned for Black to pull up his hood and showed the wizard at the door her I.D. badge.

He didn’t even look up before bidding her entry. Amelia led Black towards one of the holding cells at the very end. The cell was rarely used, so it was relatively clean and brighter than the others. She tapped the bars with her wand, which clanged open. Black went inside without being prompted.

Amelia locked the bars again and looked at him. “I’ll have a house-elf send you food till your trial.”

Black, who had been gazing at his surroundings, turned to look at her. “Thank you, Madam Bones.”

Her lips twisted into a wry smile. “Thank your friend, Auror Black. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have realised the injustice that was being done.”

∼FM∼

Sirius’ trial occurred a week later, and the waiting period felt like torture for the members of the Brotherhood, especially the Marauders, Longbottoms, and Marlene. No one in the Ministry or the Wizengamot other than Amelia knew who the trial was for though that didn’t stop various politicians and even Dumbledore from finding out.

Albus Dumbledore banged his gavel. “Order!” The few people who were talking quieted down easily, and the meeting began. “Welcome to the five-thousand, one hundred and ninety-second Wizengamot session!

“This is mostly a judicial session. Firstly, I would like everyone to hold a minute of silence for the loss of one of our very own. Lord Potter will be missed.” The silence was not held for Sirius Black because he betrayed the Wizengamot. After the minute of silence was over, Dumbledore spoke again. “We have one trial on our agenda. Madam Bones, I turn the floor over to you.” Dumbledore was curious about whose trial it was since no name was given, which was weird, but he held his tongue.

Amelia nodded to her Aurors, who disappeared through a side door. When they reappeared, Sirius Black was with them in prison robes and handcuffs around his wrists. “Honourable Witches and Wizards, the defendant is one Sirius Black. The charges for the accused are being a Death Eater and accessory in the death of Lord and Lady Potter.” The Aurors led Sirius towards the chair in the middle of the room and removed the handcuffs from his wrists.

A tall, blonde woman had followed Sirius into the room who now introduced herself as Caroline Baker, the lawyer appointed to Sirius’ case.

Sirius sat down, letting the glowing iron chains slither around his arms and legs till he was tied up securely. Despite being treated like a convicted criminal, he was sitting in the chair like it was a throne; Amelia recognised his aristocratic posture was one most Purebloods used when disguising weakness.

There was an uproar from the wizards and witches seated. Several of them even stood up or tried to send spells at Sirius. Thankfully, a magical barrier had been erected between the benches and the dais three years ago. Dumbledore banged his gavel again, but when that made no difference, he sent up red sparks with his wand that erupted with a loud bang.

“What is this, Amelia?” asked Dumbledore. “I thought Sirius Black had already been convicted of these crimes?”

Amelia shook her head and suppressed her irritation at Dumbledore for not using her proper title. “That’s where you are wrong, Chief Warlock. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Sirius Black never had a trial,” She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Barty Crouch and Millicent Bagnold had frowns on their faces. Dumbledore looked shocked, as if he didn’t know that, which was a small consolation.

He might be manipulative and uncaring of other people’s beliefs, but he hadn’t condemned an innocent man to Azkaban on purpose.

Though, given that he had believed Sirius to be guilty without evidence despite fighting on the same side, he wasn’t that much better.

“Sirius Black was arrested on the scene and the Aurors sent were heard saying that they were to arrest Sirius Black on the orders of Bartemius Crouch who wanted Black to be thrown into Azkaban immediately without a trial.” continued Amelia.

Amelia motioned one of the nearby wizards to take the documents in her hand. “The reports from the Aurors in question have been taken after checking them for signs of compulsion or the Imperius Curse, as per routine, Chief Warlock,” The wizard placed the file on Dumbledore’s desk, who tapped his wand against its surface; immediately, every wizard seated on the benches had the file in front of them.

Many of the old, traditional families were looking outraged at this piece of news though Amelia noticed some of the Dark-aligned families glancing at Lord Malfoy.

“What if he is guilty, Madam Bones?” asked Lord Nott smoothly after he’d been granted permission to speak. He was not one of Malfoy’s supporters but was dangerous in his own right. “That’s quite a big accusation you just made.”

Amelia smiled politely. Only a select few could tell the sarcasm in her voice when she said, “That’s why we are holding this trial, isn’t it?”

∼FM∼

Sirius felt like he was going to throw up. Or cry. He was going to do either of them or both if he didn’t control himself; it was with difficulty that he presented a clear image in front of the Wizengamot.

Amelia turned away from the jury and faced him. “Sirius Orion Black, sentenced to life in Azkaban Prison by Head of the DMLE, Bartemius Crouch on the thirty-first of October 1981 for leaking the hidden location of James Potter and Lily Potter nee Evans, resulting in their murder by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the attempted murder of their son, Harry James Potter, otherwise known as the Boy Who Lived.”

“How do you plead?”

“Not guilty,” replied Sirius as calmly as he could, though he was sure his voice sounded hoarse due to not being used.

She raised an eyebrow at him. “What evidence can you provide for your claim when most of the evidence is overwhelmingly against you?”

Caroline stood up from her seat next to him, moving one of her parchments to the top of her file. “My client was never acknowledged as the Secret-Keeper. While it is true that they or James and Lily Potter never refuted the claims, he was never confirmed. No one in this room other than Sirius Black was there when the Fidelius was cast so we have no concrete evidence that Sirius Black was the Potter’s Secret-Keeper.”

“Why would the Potters feel the need to have people believe Sirius Black is the Secret-Keeper?”

Caroline smiled. “I would think that would be obvious. As long as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named keeps his attention on Sirius Black, he might never reach the real Secret-Keeper,”

Amelia nodded slowly. “According to you, Sirius Black was never the Potters’ Secret-Keeper?” Caroline nodded. “Then who was it?”

“Peter Pettigrew,” said Sirius quietly though his voice still echoed around the room. Murmurs started around the room like fires though they settled when he spoke again. “James and Lily originally wanted it to be me since I’ve been James’ friend since we were eleven and a”” He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. When he spoke again, his eyes were shining. “”was closest to both of them but I felt those were the exact reasons why I shouldn’t be their Secret-Keeper.”

“We thought there was a spy among us so we were the only ones who knew who the Secret-Keeper would be,” he finished hoarsely.

“Are you saying that you were not the Secret-Keeper for the Potters?” demanded Amelia.

Sirius licked his lips and nodded. “That is correct, Madam Bones. I was supposed to check up on Peter and keep him safe but when he didn’t return from work, I got worried and went straight to James’ and Lily’s home.”

Chatter increased around the room. The jury was whispering and murmuring, and Sirius couldn’t help but note that many of them looked doubtful now when they had been certain of his guilt earlier.

“What did you do when you reached there?”

“I”I held Harry. I couldn’t find their daughter, Elisabeth Potter, so when Dumbledore arrived, I was extremely grateful. He requested to take Harry from me and transport him to a safe location. I resisted at first but then I agreed. My girlfriend, Marlene McKinnon, was there as well and she and I discussed what to do next. I was to go after Peter while Marlene cleaned up the Potters’ bodies.”

“Why did you resist handing Harry Potter over?” Amelia asked, her eyes on him.

“He’s my godson,” said Sirius, a desperate, pleading lilt to his voice. “His parents were g-gone, I couldn’t find Lizzie and he was crying when I got there. His parents trusted me to take care of him,” he said quietly. “I had already let them down too much, I wasn’t going to risk their son’s safety as well.”

The eyes of a few of the witches and wizards in the jury softened at this.

“How did you know where to find Peter Pettigrew?”

Sirius blew out a breath and thought about what to answer. He didn’t have any clues or evidence that had led him to Remus’ cottage. He’d instinctively known Peter would be there after he didn’t find Peter in his flat. “I went to Peter’s residence first, but he was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t sure if he would have gone into hiding; if James and Lily were dead, he might have concocted a plan for me to take the fall so that he would be free.

“If that were the case, then there were two people who he would have to convince of my guilt. He rightly guessed that Remus Lupin would be easier to convince and if he was on Peter’s case, then he might have a chance to convince Marlene too,”

Amelia’s eyebrows were dangerously close to disappearing into her hairline, and when she spoke, there was a sceptical note in her voice. “You deduced all that by yourself?”

Sirius shrugged. “I watched Peter grow up; I’ve known him since we were eleven and I know the way he thinks.” He shook his head and let out a small bitter laugh. “Though, I guess I didn’t know him well enough,”

Bartemius Crouch then stood up. “Excuse me if I express a bit of doubt in your story. How very convenient for you, Mr Black, that you knew where Peter Pettigrew would be. Yet, when my Aurors arrived there, he was nowhere to be found. You aren’t suggesting that he Apparated, did you? Not when my Aurors confirmed the existence of Anti-Apparition wards on Mr Lupin’s cottage?”

“He’s an Animagus,”

“He’s a what?

Sirius exhaled heavily. He felt like he was betraying everything the Marauders stood for, but he owed James and Lily to take care of their children, and he wanted Peter to pay for his betrayal.

“How do you know that?”

Sirius let out a derisive chuckle. “He became one in fifth year; he was my friend, my dorm mate. How could I not know?” Sirius didn’t reveal anything else. He might have given Peter away, but he would take Remus’, James', and his own secret to the grave.

“Where is Peter Pettigrew now?”

Sirius shook his head. “I don’t know; probably hiding like the coward he is.”

Crouch’s lip curled. “If you cannot provide the whereabouts of Peter Pettigrew, then I cannot in good conscience let a convicted murderer like you go free.”

“Well, you’re not the one leading this trial, Mr Crouch,” said Amelia sharply. “Sirius Black’s testimony has enough credibility to be taken seriously. Mr Black is to be given a fair trial, one that he was denied earlier. And Veritaserum and Pensieve memories are allowed to be used in a criminal trial.”

Malfoy lit the tip of his wand and held it high in the air. Sirius snorted mentally. The Black Heirship was slipping out of his hands, and of course, Lucius couldn’t let that happen. Dumbledore waved a hand to let him continue, prompting him to stand up. “Permission must be given to administer the truth potion, Madam Bones, and memories can be altered or tampered with.”

“My client gives his permission to use Veritaserum,” said Caroline, her eyes sharp. “I also have witnesses who were present at the scene when the Fidelius Charm was cast.”

Sirius turned towards her, his brain whirring. The only ones present then had been him, Remus, James, and Lily. Had Remus believed him? Amelia had said that Frank had talked to Remus and Marlene, which meant they both probably believed him.

But it was not Remus who entered from the door behind the witness stand. It was James and Lily.

∼FM∼

James had to resist covering his ears when they entered the witness stand. When something surprising happened in the Wizengamot, most of the witches and wizards usually kept their surprise hidden or contained to low whispers, but they were almost shouting now. Naked shock was on their faces. James suppressed a smirk; none of them had expected someone thought to be dead to be the one who took to the witness stand.

He snuck a glance at Sirius. He was staring at them, his face white and eyes almost round. James grinned and winked at him, but Sirius didn’t respond at all; he was still in shock.

Amelia recovered the quickest. “This is quite a surprise, Lord and Lady Potter. It was thought that you both died on the night of Halloween,”

Lily smiled. “People seemed to have been misinformed.” She looked around at everyone. “Voldemort underestimated us and decided not to waste the Killing Curse.”

“He used the Blasting Curse on me and failed to realise that just because my head was bleeding didn’t mean I was dead yet,” continued James. He glanced at Lily, letting her finish the rest.

Lily took a deep breath and let her gaze travel around the room. They had debated about revealing what had happened with her and Harry, but then the Daily Prophet had forced their hand. If they didn’t tell the truth, they might be branded as liars, and the wizarding world was already too invested in Harry’s life; she didn’t want them to be even more invasive.

“I had an emergency Portkey with me which I used to transport myself and my children to safety after I heard James fall,” she said. “Unfortunately, Harry pulled away at the last minute accidentally and was left behind. I left my daughter in capable hands and immediately returned just as Voldemort cast the Killing Curse at my son.”

“Which then rebounded?” asked Amelia.

“I rush over to intercept the curse but it went past me and hit Harry instead,” she confirmed. “The resulting explosion knocked me out cold; since I fell down, my head started bleeding as well and Marlene McKinnon who had been in charge of cleaning up our bodies had to provide emergency medical aid to keep us, especially James, from dying.”

Dumbledore spoke up. “It is a delight to see two of my best students to be alive and well, Lord and Lady Potter. However, we were in the middle a trial and you have been called to the witness stand to present your evidence,”

James nodded, stepping forward. “Of course, Chief Warlock. Firstly, I would like to point out that Sirius has been my best friend, my brother, since we were eleven. We have been through everything together, have seen each other’s highs and lows and we both would rather die than betray each other.”

“We’ll take that into account, Lord Potter,” said Amelia.

“I was the one who cast the Fidelius Charm over our home,” continued Lily. “Both of us were obviously there when we discussed switching the Secret-Keepers and consented to trusting our safety in Peter Pettigrew’s hands.”

“While the testimony of witnesses is usually considered foolproof,” started Bartemius Crouch, and James had a bad feeling about it. “I don’t think I have to mention how close the Potters are to Sirius Black, something they emphasised themselves. What are the chances that they are covering for their friend?”

“That’s absolute bullshit!” shouted James, his nostrils flaring in anger. Lily placed a hand on his arm to calm him down though her own face was twisted with fury. “Why would I want to defend someone who might have been the cause of my wife’s and children’s demise?”

“I don’t know about you, Mr Crouch,” said Lily, her eyes narrowed. “But we value our family’s safety more than whatever we would get out of defending a traitor!”

Dumbledore banged his gavel as whispers grew in the courtroom. “Both parties should control themselves. Mr Crouch, you do not have the authority to question the authenticity of the testimony of a witness. Lord and Lady Potter, you’ve given your testimony so you should leave the room,”

Crouch begrudgingly sat down again. Lily left the room through the door they came from, but James opened the fence separating the witness stand from the room and made his way toward the Potter Seat. When he sat down, the Potter Coat of Arms glowed golden before dimming. The same golden glow surrounded him for a second and was absorbed into his skin.

Frank, who was sitting in the Longbottom seat right next to him, nodded at him and smiled. James grinned back but then turned towards the room.

“The room recognises James Potter, Lord of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter,” called Dumbledore. James nodded, his eyes on Sirius, who had twisted around to look at him. He was finally believing them as wonder and hope had entered his eyes which were shining brightly.

When the room settled and quiet fell around everyone, Caroline spoke up. “My client has given his permission to administer Veritaserum, Madam Bones. Everyone here seems to be disbelieving of the testimony and evidence provided by the witness, instead choosing to believe flimsy circumstantial evidence,” Crouch flushed an ugly sort of red at this. “The truth potion should remove any doubts,”

“Of course, Miss Baker,” Amelia motioned to the wizard in the corner who left the courtroom and returned five minutes later, a clear potions vial in his hand and another vial containing a silvery potion.

Amelia took the bottle from him and let three drops fall on Sirius’ tongue. Immediately, the effect could be seen. Sirius slumped in his chair, his eyes glazed over though James knew he would still be mentally present.

“What is your name?” asked Amelia.

“Sirius Orion Black.”

“Are you a Death Eater?”

“No.”

“Were you the Potters’ Secret-Keeper?”

“No, it was Peter Pettigrew,” The wizards and witches started talking amongst themselves again, and James saw Crouch pale slightly. He seemed to be realising how badly he had judged things.

“How do you know the Secret-Keeper was Peter Pettigrew?”

“I was there when the Fidelius Charm was cast and provided power to the spell.”

“How did you know where to find Peter Pettigrew?”

“I didn’t know for sure; it was a gut feeling. An instinctive decision to go to Remus’ cottage.”

Amelia nodded. “How did Peter Pettigrew escape the Aurors who didn’t see him anywhere when they searched the cottage belonging to Remus Lupin?”

“Peter is a rat Animagus so he would escaped when the rest of us were distracted.”

Amelia nodded again and faced the rest of the room. “Sirius Black has confessed to be free of guilt while under the influence of the truth potion. It is now time to take a vote.”

“All those in favour of conviction?” called Dumbledore. No one raised their hands. Even those that James knew would benefit from Sirius’ incarceration, like Lucius Malfoy, did not raise their hands.

“All those in favour of clearing the accused of all charges?” This time, almost everyone raised their hands. Lucius Malfoy, Parkinson, Crabbe, Goyle, and Bulstrode were the only people who abstained from voting.

“Very well, the accused has been cleared of all charges.” said Dumbledore, a hint of a smile playing around his lips. “Court dismissed.”

The witches and wizards started moving, leaving their benches and moving towards the now open door; James chose to remain behind and wait for Sirius, accompanied by Frank.

The Aurors, waiting in the corner, now removed the chains from around Sirius, who stumbled to his feet. James had half a second of warning before Sirius was squeezing him so tightly that he felt as if he couldn’t breathe. Regardless, James hugged back just as tightly.

“How”what?” asked Sirius when they pulled apart, unable to complete his sentence.

James clapped his back. “We’ll explain everything after we get back Harry. Come on, Remus, Lily, Marlene, and Alice are waiting for us,” They waved goodbye to Caroline, who was a member of the Brotherhood, and left the courtroom.

∼FM∼

Lily narrowed her eyes when she saw Dumbledore leaving the courtroom. She had a bone to pick with him. She strode towards him, ignoring Alice and Marlene calling her back. Dumbledore seemed to be expecting her as he turned towards her before she had even reached him.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed Sirius, Frank, and James exiting the courtroom. “I would like guardianship of my children back, Dumbledore,” she said tightly. James came up behind her, making her stand taller, grateful for the support he offered.

Dumbledore sighed. “It’s not as easy as that, Lily””

“That’s Lady Potter to you, Headmaster,” she interrupted, her eyes flashing. “I don’t see what’s so difficult? Are you going to deny us what’s rightfully ours?”

Dumbledore glanced around the corridor, and only then did Lily notice that people were staring at them. “Let’s take this somewhere private, Lady Potter,”

Exhaling through her nose, Lily nodded sharply and followed Dumbledore to an empty office nearby. They were accompanied by the Longbottoms, Sirius, Remus, and Marlene, who tagged along behind them.

“I said this to Sirius before and I am saying it to you now,” said Dumbledore once the appropriate locking and privacy spells had been cast on the door. “I have reason to believe that Voldemort did not die that night. He will come back one day and when he does, he will go after Harry. Harry is safe where he is and would be till it’s time for Hogwarts.”

James raised an eyebrow. “What kind of parents do you think we are, Headmaster? Did you really think that we were going to let Harry be raised somewhere other than with us? I fought hard to have my family with me,” he said quietly. “Now that Mum and Dad are recovering, and Voldemort is gone for the time being, no one, not even you, is going to stop me from having my complete family with me.”

“What is so special about this safe location anyways?” demanded Lily. “I dare say, Harry would be safer at Potter Manor behind all the centuries old wards than at some random safe house.”

“Lily, when you tried to sacrifice yourself for Harry,” said Dumbledore. “A sort of shield was formed which reflected the Killing Curse back to Voldemort. Since you share the same blood with Harry, this protection runs through his veins and will keep safe from Voldemort or his Death Eaters who can not touch him as long as your blood runs through him.”

Lily looked at him with a confused expression on her face. “Are you implying you cast blood wards on this location? But, for that to work, you would need someone with the same blood to be living in the. . .oh.

Dumbledore did not know where Lily had sent her parents for safety, and she had only one other blood relative.

Petunia.

James glanced between Dumbledore and Lily before coming to the same conclusion. “No! Dumbledore, Lily’s sister hates magic! Why the hell would you send Harry there especially with that whale of a husband she married; they hate so-called freaky things.”

“Yet, she took him in, Lord Potter,” replied Dumbledore quietly. “She took Harry Potter into her home, and in doing so, she sealed the blood magic I had cast.”

“Did you even confirm that she wanted Harry?” asked Lily, trembling with rage.

Dumbledore glanced at her. “I’m sorry, Lady Potter; I don’t quite understand what you mean.”

“DID YOU EVEN STOP TO MAKE SURE WHETHER SHE WANTED HARRY?” shouted Lily, losing her patience. “The Petunia I know wouldn’t have taken anything abnormal into her home unless she had no choice. Did you deliver the news of my ‘death’ to her in person or did you just drop Harry off at the doorstep with a letter or something and hope for the best?”

Judging by Dumbledore’s expression, that is exactly what he had done. James felt rage building up in him. Before he could erupt, Remus spoke up.

“Dumbledore, if these blood wards are really that important, then I don’t see why you can’t just cast them over Potter Manor.” he said calmly. “I’m sure the protection would be even stronger as Lily was the one who gave the protection in the first place.”

“For the protection to work properly, Harry would have to remain inside the Manor at all times, there are to be no exceptions to this,” said Dumbledore firmly, his eyes unyielding.

James took a moment to gape at the boldness of the Headmaster. “I’m sorry, what?“ He shook his head, staring at Dumbledore. “I don’t understand you, Headmaster. You are no one to suggest how we raise our son!”

“You mean nothing to Harry,” said Lily harshly. “Cast your blood protection on the Manor if you need to but you are no one to suggest what we do with Harry and how he is raised. You will only be Harry’s headmaster in the future, provided that we even send our children to Hogwarts.”

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. “You would consider sending Harry to another school?”

“Hogwarts has really lost its standard, Headmaster,” said James quietly. “Blood purity runs rampant in that school and the teachers don’t do anything,” He’d been one of those prejudiced students who had nothing to worry about. “There’s the prejudice against Houses as well, especially Slytherin; I don’t want to subject my children to that bigotry if they get Sorted into a House the public doesn’t like.”

“There’s the quality of teaching as well,” added Lily. “Most teachers at Hogwarts are of subpar quality. If Voldemort will come back someday, I want my children to have more education and training than that.”

“We’ll be seeing you again, Headmaster,” said James, turning to leave. “Hopefully, not any time soon.”

∼FM∼

Lily had always hated the place where Petunia lived. In her opinion, it was a modern suburb but completely devoid of life. All the houses had the same four bedrooms, the same garage, and the same neatly trimmed garden; it gave her the creeps. She much preferred the different cottages of Godric’s Hollow or the town in Cornwall near Potter Manor.

“Ready?” asked James. He clutched a file in his hands that Lily knew contained the guardianship papers. Dumbledore had officially signed the guardianship rights of Harry to Petunia, so they needed more than just going there and getting their children back.

“I think so,” replied Lily. She wasn’t; her mind was constantly jumping between different scenarios and the situation they would find Harry in ” Petunia might be a bit more pleasant to Harry, but she knew Vernon would never be.

They walked over to number four, Privet Drive. There was no car in the drive like Lily had seen before, so she reasoned that Vernon was probably not home. Good. Petunia would be much more pleasant. She rang the golden doorbell before James could because that was just a recipe for disaster. She had learnt her lesson, never bring James and Sirius near a Muggle doorbell.

“Hello, I am Petunia Durs”” Petunia’s face turned the colour of sour milk when she saw them. Lily supposed it must be a shock; Dumbledore had told her that she had died, and to see her on Petunia’s doorstep a week later ought to be scary. “Lily, you, you died! That man said so! But then” you””

Lily smiled softly. “I didn’t die, Tuney. Dumbledore didn’t bother checking our bodies properly. We didn’t die but everyone thought we did.”

“We’re here to get Harry back,” added James.

“Right,” said Petunia shakily. “He’s upstairs.” Petunia led them through an expensive”looking foyer and up the wooden staircase. The door to the first room on the right was open, and through it, Lily could see Harry playing with Petunia’s son Dudley.

“I didn’t expect you to place him with your own son, Petunia,” said James quietly.

Petunia didn’t blush, but her cheeks took on an unhealthy pink tinge. “Vernon wanted to put him in the cupboard under the stairs,”

Lily was sure her face had turned red; she could definitely feel the heat. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes to calm herself, not wanting to blow up at Petunia. James looked as if smoke would come pouring out of his years, so she squeezed his hand, willing him to calm down. His muscles relaxed slightly, but he was still glaring at Petunia.

Petunia winced slightly. “This was just before he left for work so I brought him out after Vernon left,”

“Thank you, Petunia,” said Lily. “I think we better go now; if I am here when your husband comes home, I don’t think he will live long.” Her voice was calm, too calm. A clear indication that her infamous temper was about to make an appearance.

Lily opened the door wide and stepped inside, followed by James and Petunia. Harry looked up from where he was making a lopsided tower, and his face broke out in a toothy grin. “Mama!” Harry fell over twice, but it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm as Lily knelt on the ground. Little Harry barrelled into her and gave her a sloppy kiss on the cheek. James went over and kneeled next to them, joining the family hug.

Sometime later, Lily stood up, placing Harry on her hip. “Sign these papers, Tuney,” she said when James extended the file. “We’ll be out of your hair as soon as you sign.”

Petunia left the room and returned with a blue pen two minutes later. She opened the file and took the parchments out, signing in all the required places. When she was done, she handed the file back to James and looked at them with awkward relief.

“We’ll be leaving now, Petunia,” said Lily. “You can tell Vernon the truth.” With that, there were twin pops of Apparition, and the Potters disappeared from number four, Privet Drive.

∼FM∼

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