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SIYE Time:12:31 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: 3988; Chapter Total: 408





Author's Notes:
This chapter has not been betaed so I apologise for any mistakes.




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Chapter Five
Trials and Tribulations


Eve rything was slowly going back to normal. James’ parents were recovering and could now even get out of bed and come downstairs for a bit if the others cast the Bubblehead Charm. James and Lily were no longer jumping and pulling out their wands at every little thing. A sense of peace and tranquillity had descended over them.

Neither of them went to work immediately. The Auror office didn’t have a problem extending James’ leave, while Lily confided in him that she had no idea what to do. Before dedicating herself to the war effort, she had dreamed of pursuing Masteries in Charms and Potions and potentially starting her own business. But she had decided not to rush things, especially since the thought of leaving Harry and Lizzie alone gave her anxiety, and she much preferred staying at home with them until she could be sure they would be alright without her.

Christmas of 1981 contrasted widely with that of the previous year. This time, James and Lily invited all their extended friends and family, including the Longbottoms, various Order and GB members and Lily’s parents. Lily had sent an invitation to Petunia as well which had not been answered. The party brought the whole Order back again as it had disbanded after the war.

It was the first time everyone truly felt the war was over and they could actually celebrate. Harry and Lizzie were given toddler-friendly wands for their birthday that could produce colourful light when waved while James gave Lily a set of goblin-made unbreakable crystal vials. They were extremely rare and even more expensive but it was the best gift Lily had ever received.

However, the best gift was Lily’s who announced, quite happily, that she was two months pregnant. The news was a surprise for everyone, though no one more than James and resulted in him dipping Lily in his arms and kissing her for several long minutes while everyone else grew more and more uncomfortable.

Their bubble of peace and contentment was abruptly burst three months after Halloween by one Albus Dumbledore.

James made sure Lily had no idea who was here - she was liable to explode these days if the name of Dumbledore was so much as even spoken of - and went to the huge, iron gates himself. Dumbledore was standing outside, looking absurdly out of place among the stately pillars of the Manor and sprawling hills nearby due to his outlandish robes and long, silver beard.

“Dumbledore, what can I do for you?” greeted James without bothering to open the door. He may be more civil to Dumbledore than Lily would be, but that didn’t mean he had forgotten about Dumbledore placing Harry with the Dursleys.

“James,” Dumbledore smiled, a familiar twinkle - which had died down during the war - in his eyes once again. “May I come inside? I’m sure you agree that we have a lot to talk about.”

James didn’t change his stance. “I disagree; I don’t see what we could possibly have to talk about. Whatever you have to say, you can say it right here.”

The brightness in the older man’s eyes dimmed a little. “I would like to talk about the future of young Harry Potter.”

James raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business. Harry is mine and Lily’s son so I believe we two are the only ones who should have a say in his future, not counting the various family members of which you are not a part of.”

Dumbledore sighed. “I’m not sure why you are believing me to be the villain here when I just tried to do what was best for your son. If this is about Sirius, then I admit I should have trusted in him and investigated further but, as much as we might wish, it is impossible to change the past.”

Catching the look on James’ face, he let out an amused chuckle. “At least without the use of a time turner but if those were easily available, the world would be chaos, wouldn’t it?”

“Fine, I’ll let go of what you did to Sirius,” conceded James. He wouldn’t forgive Dumbledore for believing the worst of Sirius when he had never given any reason for Dumbledore to think so, but he could set it aside. “What possessed you to take the custody of our children in your own hands?”

For the first time in their conversation, James’ tone turned acid. His teeth clenched together, and his hands curled into fists to stop himself from pulling his wand and setting everything on fire.

Dumbledore raised a calm hand and set it gently on the gate’s iron bars. “I was only trying to do what I thought best for the children, James,” he said quietly. “I believed Sirius to be guilty and I think we would both agree that Remus, although wonderful with children, would not be able to care for a child.”

James didn’t say anything. It was true that while Remus would be a great father figure, he didn’t have a steady job, nor was there anyone else that could take care of the children during the full moon.

“What about Marlene?” he asked instead. “The Longbottoms? Heck, even the Weasleys would have been acceptable. We barely know them - only through Gideon and Fabian - but they’re definitely on our side and even know how to take care of children!”

“I did not trust Marlene to be in a position to take care of children due to her behaviour after the death of her parents,” replied Dumbledore quietly. “She was in severe grief and would have been unable to take care of your children properly; I am sure you will agree with that,”

James knew Marlene would have been a wonderful mother to their children if something happened to them, but there was no denying that by the end of the war, she had turned to the GB missions so much that she was often coming home injured and exhausted; nothing Sirius or anyone else said made a difference on her. Maybe she wouldn’t have been able to handle the responsibility. He couldn’t fault Dumbledore for considering the possibility.

“The Longbottoms were already in danger and a target for Voldemort as well while the Weasleys have six sons and a newly born daughter and I feared two more children would have been an extreme burden on not only them but their financial capabilities.”

“What about Andromeda?” asked James. “Minnie? Both of them were also potential guardians for our children in our will but why were they never even considered by you?”

Dumbledore looked more like his age than he had in the whole conversation. “I admit the thought did cross my mind but I sent Harry to Petunia Dursley because I feared living in the Wizarding World where everyone was singing his praises and hailing him as the Boy Who Lived might be too much for the young boy. No child should have to go through such fame at that young of an age.” “In other words, you didn’t want Harry to have a big head!” said James angrily. He felt like punching the gates in front of him or blasting Dumbledore apart with raw magic, but he resisted the urge, hanging on to his resolve by only a thin thread.

“Admirable thought, Dumbledore,” ground out James through clenched teeth. “But it was not your decision to make! You mean nothing, and I repeat, nothing to Harry or Lizzie. It’s high time you keep that in mind!”

“James, Harry’s safety should be your first priority-” tried Dumbledore again.

“Harry’s and Lizzie’s safety is my first priority!” James hissed. “Don’t think for a second you can take our children away from us! If you try a single thing, I will come down on you and I will come down hard with everything I have.” His voice was not that of a fun-loving, kind man but a father desperate to protect his children and willing to do anything for them.

”Voldemort will come after Harry, James and he needs to be trained-”

“You think Harry will be trained in a Muggle household!?” demanded James incredulously. “What will he do if Voldemort comes after him, huh? Punch him?” He laughed derisively. “Harry is my son and I will do anything and everything to protect him but I’m not letting anyone take him away from me, not even the self-proclaimed most powerful wizard in the world!”

“I just need you to trust me, James.” Implored Dumbledore quietly. “Just like you always have.”

“Trust you?” asked James. “Trust you? How the hell am I supposed to trust you when you haven’t given me a reason to?”

James could see it in Dumbledore’s eyes when he realised James could not be convinced. “Good day, Dumbledore. The next time you see my children, it will be if they come to Hogwarts.”

He turned on his heel and strode back towards the Manor, gravel crunching loudly under his angry steps. When he entered the living room, he found Lily sitting on the floor, playing with Harry while Lizzie dozed in a bassinet nearby.

“Who was it?” asked Lily, looking up. Harry was sitting in her lap, trying increasingly to chew her hair while Lily kept pulling it out of her grasp. James went over to her and conjured a band wandlessly. He scooped her hair up in a ponytail and tied the band around it.

The simple action diffused his anger more thoroughly than any Calming Potion could.

“Thanks, love,” said Lily, pecking him on the cheek.

James sat down beside her, causing Harry to squeal delightedly and sidle onto his lap. “Where are Mum and Dad?” He asked, avoiding her question.

Lily narrowed her eyes. “Upstairs, sleeping. They were feeling better than usual today and Freema and Loopy had to force them upstairs for their medicine.”

James’ heart warmed at hearing his parents were getting better. Soon enough, they would be completely alright; Lily was already working on a potion that would hopefully eliminate the greenish tinge to their skin, but as of now, she was unsuccessful.

“And Sirius?” Sirius had started living with them ever since Halloween. After the war, they discovered that his apartment had blown up due to whatever Bellatrix Lestrange had cast on it. Thankfully, there was nothing important in the flat - most of their old memories and mementoes were stored at Potter Manor or Remus’ cottage - except clothes and appliances, which could easily be replaced.

“He took Marlene out on a date,” she replied, smiling hopefully. James felt hope swelling his chest too. Both Sirius and Marlene had been affected by the war, with Marlene going into a deep depression after her parents’ deaths and only emerging from it when the war was finished, and the consequences laid bare in front of her. While Sirius had been almost as much affected by the events of Halloween as James and Lily themselves had been.

It had severely affected their relationship as well, and this was the first time the two were out anywhere alone together, with their entire focus just on each other.

“I hope it helps,” murmured James. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to his chest. Harry, giggling adorably, slid off his lap and waddled over to Lizzie’s bassinet. It was low enough that he could poke his head over it, and they watched in silence as he made silly faces at his sister, unaware that she was asleep.

“You didn’t answer me, James,” said Lily, drawing his attention. Her eyes were still narrowed, and her voice was firm.

James sighed. “It was Dumbledore. He wanted to discuss Harry’s safety.”

Lily’s eyes were mere slits now. “In other words, he wanted to convince us to send her off to Petunia anyways.”

James shrugged. “I’m not sure what exactly he had in mind. I shut him down before he could start.”

Lily frowned, her brow scrunching adorably, making James want to kiss that spot. “I don’t understand what he wants now. He can’t possibly be expecting us to send Harry and Lizzie to Petunia; he knows us better than that.”

“I don’t think it would even be possible for Harry and Lizzie to be safe there even if we do send them,” said James thoughtfully. “The blood protection depended on Harry and Lizzie considering the house their home and it usually requires a few weeks of regeneration before it would fail. Sirius’ trial was two weeks ago so the blood protection has probably failed by now.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” said Lily. “And the fact that Dumbledore came here today gives the impression that he probably hasn’t realised this yet.”

James sighed. “Unlikely given he’s Dumbledore and whatnot but if he has, then I don’t know what purpose he came here for. It’s not like I really let him speak.”

Lily set her head on his shoulder and scooted closer. “Don’t worry, I would have probably done the same.”

“No, you probably would have hexed him,” James grinned and dropped a kiss on her head, pleased when she let out a snort.

~FM~


James returned from his first Wizengamot meeting after Halloween, with Sirius in tow. Lily had honestly expected that to happen because of how less time the two had spent together recently and had already invited Marlene over. Harry and Lizzie were both exhausted after a hyper day of annoying their mother and Monty and Fee were still recovering so it was the perfect opportunity for the four friends to catch up.

Marlene had brought Chinese takeout with her so Lily decided to let the house elves have an early night, dismissing their concerns about her potentially needing them.

“How was the meeting?” asked Marlene once everyone had settled around the dining table. James and Lily were sitting on one side and Marlene and Sirius on the other with the rest of the long table being devoid of people. Lily’s observant eyes couldn’t help but notice that Marlene was eating uncomfortably with her left hand and ‘accidentally’ dropping her fork under the table and ducking down to get it revealed to her that she and Sirius were holding hands.

Lily grinned, glad to see them back to their old selves and emerged back from under the table, her fork in hand.

“Boring,” said Sirius around a mouthful of food. “Nothing new, just everyone arguing but not actually getting anything done.”

“There was an announcement though,” said James, twirling noodles around his fork. “The wizards suspected of being Death Eaters are going to have their trials in two weeks.”

Marlene and Lily both sat up. “That definitely doesn’t count in the category of boring,” said Marlene, glaring at Sirius.

Sirius shrugged back at her. “You think it’s actually going to cause a difference? The suspected Death Eaters include Nott, Malfoy, Yaxley and Parkinson. They can easily pay off half the members of the Wizengamot to vote in their favour. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of members who would refuse what they can offer.”

“Isn’t Lestrange and Black part of that list?” asked Lily. She found it strange how some of the most suspected members were not having a trial.

Sirius’ eyes darkened at the mention of his cousin. “From what I heard, they were included but the Ministry cannot find them anywhere. “ Marlene snorted. “It’s just like them to hide like the cowards they are.” Her eyes, however, were soft as she looked at Sirius and Lily noticed the way she pulled her hand from the table. Sirius had a really complicated relationship with his family so there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about where his mental state was.

Lily felt the conversation was getting a bit too morose and said, “Today is not the day to talk about depressing topics! Let’s talk about something else, surely we have better things to talk about than useless blood purists?”

Sirius snorted, his eyes lighting which had been Lily’s goal. “What Lily Potter wants, Lily Potter gets.”

~FM~


Sirius blinked at the figure in his doorway and wondered if he was dreaming. He dismissed that thought immediately, even his dreams were not this crazy.

“Are you going to let me in, dear cousin, or am I supposed to stand here in the cold?” asked Narcissa, raising an aristocratic eyebrow. The look made Sirius feel like a small child again.

He opened the door wider and let the woman into his home. Sirius had moved out of the Potters a few weeks ago and he and Marlene had decided to buy a flat together. They had considered renovating the Black Manor and living there considering Sirius had become Lord Black in the beginning of January “ the news of Lord Arcturus Black, Sirius’ grandfather’s death had hit the news a few days after Christmas “ but ultimately decided against living in such a large Manor with just the two of them.

“You have a.. pleasant home.” Said Narcissa, looking around the living room. The flat Sirius and Marlene had chosen was small but they had made it cosy. It was a far cry from the polished marble floors and the elegant couches of Malfoy Manor but Sirius appreciated the fact that his cousin was at least trying to be polite.

Sirius gestured for Narcissa to take a seat and sat down in the leather armchair across from her. He waved his wand, and a few seconds later, two mugs and a teapot on a tray came floating in from the kitchen. He poured tea for both of them and handed one of the mugs to Narcissa. It had a funny Muggle design on it and the words “World’s Best Dog” written on it but Narcissa did not comment or made a mocking insult like she usually would have.

Instead, she accepted the mug from him, clutching it between her palms. She leaned closer and blew on the surface, causing ripples but did not take a sip.

“What do you want, Narcissa?” asked Sirius, staring intensely at her. “You made it perfectly clear two months ago that you would no longer interact with any of us or be a part of the Brotherhood now that the war is over.” The contract every member signed did allow her to leave but she was not allowed to speak of her involvement or give away any information regarding the Brotherhood or its members.

“I am aware of that,” she said stiffly as if she knew she was going against her own words. “But I admit, I require some help and you are the only one who can give it to me.”

Sirius’ brow furrowed in confusion. “What is it that you want?” What could she possibly want that only he could give her?

Narcissa let out a breath. “I am not asking you, Sirius, I am asking the Lord of my House.”

Sirius blinked in shock. Suddenly the pieces all seemed to click together. “You want me to protect Lucius.”

“I came here with that intention, yes.” Her shoulders, while straight and back, had a sort of tension to them.

Sirius tilted his head. “What makes you think I will agree to this? You are aware that I am part of an organisation that wants to put men like Lucius behind bars?” His tone was slightly mocking and was rewarded with Narcissa flinching before she caught herself.

“But you are a Black,” she said quietly. “Black never turn on one another.“ Sirius swallowed slightly. That was an unspoken rule in the Black family; no matter what happens, no matter which side you are on, you don’t betray another Black.

Bellatrix was the only one who had betrayed that rule and had been cast out of the Black family by his grandfather for her betrayal.

“I am Black, but Lucius is not.” He replied, knowing what she would say yet wanting to hear it anyways.

“But I am,” she leaned forward and for the first time, her mask fell, revealing a desperate, pleading expression. “Please, Sirius, if you ever once loved me “ ever once considered me your cousin, then please do this for me.”

“I don’t want the- Draco to grow without a father.” Sirius noticed her slip with interest and the way her hand had twitched towards her stomach. He filed that away for future thought.

“I’m sure that is something you can understand.” She finished quietly.

Sirius remembered what he had felt when he realised Harry and Lizzie would grow up without their parents and they were not even his own children. “I cannot vote in favour of him but I can abstain from voting altogether. I’ll try to get James and Frank to do it too but I cannot promise you anything more.”

Narcissa nodded, a slightly relieved expression on her face before she gathered herself. “Thank you, Sirius, that is more than enough.”

Just as she was about to stand up, evidently considering the conversation over, Sirius spoke up. “I’d like something in return though.” Narcissa froze and settled back down. She didn’t seem surprised though. “What would you like?” Her nose wrinkled as if being so direct and blunt disgusted her but Sirius didn’t have the patience for verbal mind games so he, again, appreciated the effort she was making.

“If, or more clearly, when Voldemort comes back “ something I am sure you already know “ I want a written statement from Lucius that he would support us, to the best of his abilities, while staying in Voldemort’s circle.” Other than flinching at Voldemort’s name, she didn’t show any reaction at first.

Then finally, she let out a breath and said, “I’ll have to discuss it with him.”

Sirius nodded in reply, accepting the answer. “I hope you know that I won’t do your favour without this condition.” Narcissa’s face pinched together as if she was sucking on a lemon but then she smoothed out her expression and nodded.

Now that their business was concluded, Narcissa stood up and Sirius followed suit, leading her towards the door.

“For what it’s worth,” he said softly as Narcissa grabbed the doorknob. “I’m sorry.” For a second he thought she hadn’t heard him but as she stepped outside he heard her say, “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

Then she was gone.

Sirius moved to close the door but just then, Marlene stepped inside; she had gone to Diagon Alley for a quick errand and was just returning. She looked between him and the empty hallway outside and said, “Do I want to know?”

Sirius sighed. “Don’t hate me for this.”

The loud tones of an angry witch shouting at her boyfriend could be heard a few minutes later.

~FM~


As promised, once he received Lucius’ statement, Sirius did not vote in favour of Lucius at his trial but did not vote against him either; he had managed to convince James, Frank and the Prewetts as well though not without a lot of reluctance on their part.

He’d also managed to get Marlene to not vote against Lucius, though his ears were still ringing from her tirade. She did not like letting Death Eaters off, especially someone who had been in Voldemort’s Inner Circle but Sirius had promised Narcissa, and those were binding. Besides, after she had calmed down, she understood the place he was coming from and accepted his decision.

The Death Eater trials went exactly as they had expected. Most of them claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse and since there was no way to prove it, they had no choice but to believe them, especially when the Veritaserum option was denied by each and every one of them, claiming ‘family secrets.’

Their group had obviously voted against the rest of the Death Eaters, excluding Lucius, but the Wizengamot members, mainly the elected ones, were too gullible and believed the Imperius defence.

Nott, Parkinson, Malfoy, Yaxley, Macnair, and even Travers and Mulciber had all got off scot-free. Marlene had seethed when she found out Travers had been there when her parents had been murdered and had spent several hours demolishing dummies in the Auror training room, not with her wand, but with her sword.

A few weeks after the trials, the news broke that Igor Karkaroff had been captured for his crimes as a Death Eater. Sirius had heard of the Durmstrang headmaster but for some reason, had never expected he would have been involved in the affairs of Britain.

More surprising than that was when he was brought back from Azkaban and an early emergency Wizengamot session was held which Sirius and James, along with Frank, the Prewetts and Marlene who had finally claimed her Noble House Lordship, naturally attended.

The session, like the Death Eater trials, took place in Courtroom 10, deep inside the Ministry. The dementors brought Karkaroff inside in thin, ragged robes and brought with them an atmosphere of deep, bone-chilling despair and coldness. Sirius took a deep breath, pressing his fingernails into his arm, the pain helping him to ward away the memories of Azkaban and the Potters’ pseudo-deaths.

James placed a hand on his wrist and squeezed tightly. Sirius gripped it with his other hand and squeezed back before turning towards the centre of the courtroom.

When Karkaroff sat down in the chair, the chains glowed gold and snaked around him, binding him to the chair. Sirius shuddered, remembering his own trial and brought up his Occlumency shields to stuff the thought away.

The session was led by Barty Crouch. He stood up and said, “Igor Karkaroff. You have been brought from Azkaban to present evidence to the Ministry of Magic. You have given us to understand that you have important information for us.”

Ah. thought Sirius, exchanging a glance with James. Karkaroff was betraying his fellow Death Eaters and giving away their names to secure his own freedom. On one hand, it was good for them but on the other… Sirius couldn’t respect someone who could not even remain loyal to the side they had chosen.

Karkaroff straightened. “I have, sir,” he said. He sounded eager yet terrified all at once. “I wish to be of use to the Ministry. I wish to help. I ” I know that the Ministry is trying to ” to round up the last of the Dark Lord’s supporters. I am eager to assist in any way I can....”

Murmurs rose around Sirius. People were talking, either with interest or mistrust.

“You say you have names for us, Karkaroff,” said Crouch. “Let us hear them, please.”

“You must understand,” said Karkaroff hurriedly, “that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named operated always in the greatest secrecy.... He preferred that we ” I mean to say, his supporters ” and I regret now, very deeply, that I ever counted myself among them ””

“Get on with it,” muttered Sirius. James snorted in agreement.

“” we never knew the names of every one of our fellows ” He alone knew exactly who we all were ””

“Yet you say you have some names for us?” said Crouch.

“I ” I do,” said Karkaroff breathlessly. “And these were important supporters, mark you. People I saw with my own eyes doing his bidding. I give this information as a sign that I fully and totally renounce him, and am filled with a remorse so deep I can barely ””

Sirius exchanged an eyeroll with James.

“These names are?” said Crouch sharply. Sirius smirked; Crouch seemed just as annoyed as them at the prolonged, unnecessary remorse.

Karkaroff drew a deep breath. “There was Antonin Dolohov,” he said. “I ” I saw him torture countless Muggles and ” and non-supporters of the Dark Lord.”

“Well, that’s useless,” muttered Frank, from James’ other side. James and Sirius both hummed in agreement. Dolohov had been caught only days after Karkaroff’s arrest.

“We have already apprehended Dolohov,” said Crouch. “He was caught shortly after yourself.”

“Indeed?” said Karkaroff, his eyes widening. “I ” I am delighted to hear it!”

“Sure looks delighted, doesn’t he?” noted James sarcastically. Indeed, Karkaroff looked more scared than before. One of his names was useless.

“Any others?” said Crouch coldly.

“Why, yes . . . there was Rosier,” said Karkaroff hurriedly. “Evan Rosier.”

“Rosier is dead,” said Crouch. “He was caught shortly after you were too. He preferred to fight rather than come quietly and was killed in the struggle.” James, Sirius and Marlene who had all finally returned to the Auror office had all participated in his arrest, alongside Moody and other experienced Aurors.

“No ” no more than Rosier deserved!” said Karkaroff, a real note of panic in his voice now.

“Any more?” said Crouch.

“Yes!” said Karkaroff. “There was Travers ” he helped murder the McKinnons! Mulciber ” he specialized in the Imperius Curse, forced countless people to do horrific things! Rookwood, who was a spy, and passed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named useful information from inside the Ministry itself!”

Sirius straightened in his chair. That was a name he hadn’t heard before.

“Rookwood?” said Crouch, nodding to a witch sitting in front of him, who began scribbling upon her piece of parchment. “Augustus Rookwood of the Department of Mysteries?”

Sirius was glad the man had been caught. If he had been from the Department of Mysteries then it could be very possible that he revealed countless Ministry secrets to Voldemort.

“The very same,” said Karkaroff eagerly. “I believe he used a network of well-placed wizards, both inside the Ministry and out, to collect information ””

“But Travers and Mulciber we have,” said Crouch. “Very well, Karkaroff, if that is all, you will be returned to Azkaban while we decide ””

“Not yet!” cried Karkaroff, looking quite desperate. “Wait, I have more!” He was sweating strongly now. “Snape!” he shouted. “Severus Snape!”

Sirius shared a startled yet not entirely surprised look with James. They had suspected all along that Snivellus was a Death Eater but to have it confirmed…

“Lily’s going to hate this.” Mumbled James. Sirius nodded in agreement. For some reason, Lily still had a soft spot for her old friend and would be devastated that now there was no doubt that he wasn’t the boy he had once been.

“Snape has been cleared by this council,” said Crouch disdainfully. It was evident what he thought about Snape’s guilt. “He has been vouched for by Albus Dumbledore.”

“No!” shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chains that bound him to the chair. “I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!” Dumbledore, who had been silent till now, stood up and addressed the room. I have given evidence already on this matter,” he said calmly. “Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.”

“Oh sure,” muttered James angrily under his breath. “He vouched for bloody Snivellus but wouldn’t even give you the benefit of the doubt!”

“Very well, Karkaroff,” Crouch said coldly, “you have been of assistance. I shall review your case. You will return to Azkaban in the meantime....”

The dementors once again escorted Karkaroff out of the courtroom. James and Sirius stood up, waving goodbye to Frank and the Prewett twins and moved towards Marlene who was standing near the seats of the Noble Houses.

“I saw Dumbledore looking at me earlier,” she said as soon as they came within earshot. “We better leave quick if you don’t want him to talk to us.”

The three of them hurried away from the courtroom.

~FM~


The next arrest news that hit the Prophet was even more surprising.

“Ludo Bagman?” muttered Frank. Marlene, Sirius, James and Lily had decided to visit the Longbottoms. They weren’t living in Longbottom Manor where Augusta, Frank’s mother resided but had chosen to live in one of the smaller, more obscure Longbottom properties.

The children, Harry, Lizzie, Neville and Victoria, the Longbottoms’ daughter who Marlene and the others had met only after the war, were rolling around happily on a nest of pillows and blankets that James and Sirius had made for them earlier.

“Wasn’t he that annoying Gryffindor a few years below us?” asked James, turning to Sirius. “The one who always used to follow us around?”

Sirius nodded. “Yeah, that was him. Never really expected him to be a Death Eater, didn’t really seem like the kind of guy.”

“He asked me out once,” revealed Marlene, feeling her lips twitch at the memory. “Gave me a long list of all his best qualities but failed to mention his best one.”

“Which was?” asked Sirius, his fingers tightening around his shoulder. Sirius wasn’t really the jealous type but he could get quite possessive and Marlene found she happened to like that side of Sirius.

She grinned in response to his question. “How absolutely beautiful he looks while Bats are flying out of his nose.” The room erupted into laughter while Alice who was just coming inside from the kitchen, levitating a tray of Butterbeers made a horrified face and asked,

“But he just asked you out! What happened to ‘the worst she can do is say no’?”

“He didn’t just ask me out,” replied Marlene, catching the bottle of Butterbeer Alice tossed at her. Usually, the group preferred some kind of alcohol but the after-effects of war were still lingering and it was dangerous to be drunk when Death Eaters could catch you by surprise any moment. “He also insulted James and Sirius in the same breath and you all know how I get when someone insults my loved ones.”

“Ah yes,” James snorted. “We all remember that.” Marlene smiled even as her heart twinged and ached with sadness. The last time she had hexed someone for insulting her loved ones, it had been her parents whom she had defended. And when the time came to actually defend them, she hadn’t been there at all.

Sirius pulled her closer to his chest and dropped a kiss on the top of her head. The heaviness in her heart lessened, and Marlene shook her head, tuning back into the conversation.

“When’s the trial happening?” asked Lily, bringing them back to their original topic.

“I’ve heard it’s going to be in a few days, probably by Thursday.” Answered Alice. She handed everyone all the bottles and then settled down next to Frank, snuggling into him. Frank pulled her into his lap and kissed her lips softly. They looked so disgustingly sweet to Marlene, it almost made her puke. Almost, because she knew she and Sirius were just as bad.

All of a sudden, a loud, blaring alarm sounded in the room. Marlene straightened, her gaze colliding with Sirius’. They both knew what that meant.

The wards were failing.

~FM~


Author's Note: I have only one word for my absence for so long: exams. Unfortunately, it might take me some time to post the next chapter as well because I've been facing a lot of internet problems so it's hard to do anything really, on the internet. It took me forever to get these websites to work long enough to post this chapter.

Parts of the chapter have been taken from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and do not belong to me.

On the other hand, I am working on other projects! I've only just started so it will be a while before I can post them but I'm so excited!

Thank you for reading and reviewing!


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