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Chapter 2 : Chapter 2:BRAVE, BRILLIANT AND KIND
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“Lovely, lovely car” said Mr. Weasley locking it carefully.
“Yeah! Much more roomy than it looks” said Harry grinning. The car was actually his but he had asked Mr. Weasley as a “big, big favor” to keep it in The Burrow while he was in Hogwarts. “The house in Grimmauld Place doesn’t have a garage, you see” Harry had explained, “and I wouldn’t like to leave it parked on the street. And could you drive it often, please? I don’t want the battery to go dead”.
Hermione had asked Harry what did he need a car for. After all, she argued, he had an excellent broom and now that he and Ron had passed their test, he could also apparate if he needed to. Shouldn’t he learn how to drive and get a Muggle license first? But he had said that he had always dreamt of having a car and that now that he did it he could practice his driving during the summer. She didn’t look convinced but she hadn’t pressed the matter probably guessing that the real reason to buy the car was Mr. Weasley’s liking for everything Muggle.
Precisely because Harry didn’t have a Muggle driving license, Mr. Weasley had driven them to London. They had got up early and dressed smart for what was going to be a very busy day. So now they walked hurriedly the few streets that separated them from the Ministry of Magic, talking excitedly about the program they had ahead.
“I really hope this doesn’t take too long. We have so many things to buy and the ceremony it’s at noon,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“You don’t have to stay until the end; I don’t want you to be late…” suggested Harry
“No, dear! We’re not leaving you alone. Besides, he was our friend too.” she replied agitatedly trying to keep a fast pace. “It’s Gustavus Woodword I’m afraid of. God knows that man can talk forever! I still can’t believe somebody appointed him Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot”.
“Don’t be unfair, Molly” reasoned Mr. Weasley. “He’s a very intelligent wizard and a good man…”
“So was Dumbledore” she replied, “but he wasn’t in love with his own words”.
“Why does it sound like you were talking about Percy?” commented Ron and everybody chuckled except Mrs. Weasley.
“Don’t talk about your brother like that!” she retorted vehemently.
“Sorry, mom” apologized Ron without conviction.
“Okay” she said and after giving a look at a clock on a shop’s window, instructed: “Hurry up, you lot! If we are late they won’t let us in”.
The Weasley, Harry and Hermione almost trotted to the shabby telephone box that served as the Ministry Visitors Entrance. Mr. Weasley gave their names and the reason for their visit and then they agreed to go down in two groups because six people squeezing in it would attract too much attention from passing-by Muggles.
Harry, Ron and Hermione took the first ride down. When they reached the Atrium they stepped out and stood next to the doors to wait for the rest of their party. There were fireplaces on both sides of the hall for those arriving or departing through the Floo Network. The wizards and witches using the fires closer to them were surprised to see Harry and his friends and many of them approached to greet them or thank them.
After seven years living in the magical world, Harry was used to the attention and so were Ron and Hermione. Although they had to admit that after defeating Voldemort, it had increased exponentially. When Harry and Ron had taken their apparition test the week before almost everybody had wanted a picture with them, including the Ministry instructor. The only ones who hadn’t requested for a souvenir were their former Slytherin classmates. Actually, they had not talked to them at all.
The telephone box finally arrived and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Ginny came out.
“Why did you take so long?” protested Ron.
“There was this Muggle who insisted in use the telephone even when we told him it’s broken” Ginny explained. “We had to pretend we were leaving so he could check for himself”.
“I though he was never going to leave” complained her mother, walking to the security desk.
Eric Munch was no longer in the security desk. In his places there was a petit witch with peacock-blue hair the same color of his uniform robes. .
“Good morning, Arthur” she said cheerfully. “I see you have company today”.
“Morning, Isadora” replied Mr. Weasley. “We’re attending Dolohov’s trial this morning”
The witch’s face became serious instantly.
“I wish he could spend many lives in Azkaban,” she said harshly. “Did you know he killed our Muggle neighbors, the Alis. They were the nicest people you can think of. Mrs. Ali and my mother used to exchange recipes. Their son Jalil and I went to kindergarten together. Fortunately he wasn’t killed because he lives in Liverpool now…”
“That’s terrible but…” interrupted Mrs. Weasley. “I don’t want to be late. Can you weight our wands, please?”
“Of course” said Isadora adopting a business like expression. “Do you have the pass for the trial?” she asked Mr. Weasley.
“Yes, naturally” he said producing a parchment with an official Ministry seal.
Everybody wanted to attend the trials, especially the most important ones, so the Ministry had been forced to request advance registration. It had also put in place a policy giving priority to the victims’ and the defendants’ families. Mr. Weasley had registered his family, Harry and Hermione as soon as Dolohov’s trial had been scheduled.
Isidora gasped when she saw Harry’s name on the parchment. Just then she realized he was there, almost blocked from view by the much taller Ron. Arthur Weasley gave her a warning look and she sped the process of weighting the wands, giving them their receipts and handing them red badgers with the date and the courtroom number for the trial they were attending to.
The group ran to the elevators and a few seconds later they were riding down to level nine. Most of the people in their lift went to other levels so it made several stops in the way. When the doors finally opened on Level Nine everybody rushed down the hallway and down the stairs leading to Level Ten where the courtrooms were located.
There were many people waiting outside the courtrooms, all of them wearing red badges similar to Harry’s. He supposed than most of them were waiting for the ongoing trials to end so they can get in for the next one. Some looked sad, the relatives of the victims he imagined, and some looked worried, probably because someone in their family was facing the Wizengamot.
“Courtroom ten is at the end of the hallway, last right hand door,” shouted Mr. Weasley leading the way. Harry remembered it. It was the same courtroom where he had been judged for casting a patronus in front of Dudley when the dementors had attacked them three years ago.
Fortunately the doors hadn’t been closed yet. They hurried inside and climbed the stairs scanning the crowded torch-lit room for empty places, finding some at the very top of the stands reserved for the public. The view wasn’t the best but there wasn’t any other space available that could sit six people. So Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Harry, Hermione and Ron took their seat and they were still trying to make themselves comfortable when a middle-age wizard located in the center seat of the judge’s balcony, said: “The Wizengamot begins the trial. Date: July 28th. Interrogators: Gustavus Woodword, Mildred O’Ryan and Elise Thompson. Court Scribe: Alicia Spinnet.”
Harry leaned forward trying to see better and realized that the person taking the trial’s minutes was, indeed, his old Quidditch teammate and D.A. fellow, Alicia Spinnet. She sat at the same spot that Percy had during Harry’s hearing. Behind her and the three interrogators sat around ten witches and wizards in official plum-colored robes. This was a sign of the importance of the trial. The Wizengamot was so busy judging Death Eaters and their supporters that the quorum usually didn’t exceeded the minimum of five members required by the law.
A door in the corner of the room opened just as Harry had once seen it in Dumbledore’s pensieve. But instead of dementors, two moss-green robed wizards entered the room dragging a chained man that Harry recognized immediately. They put him in the chained chair at the center of the courtroom and then they leave.
“The accused, Antonin Dolohov is present,” continued relating Gustavus Woodword. “He has recognized being part of the terrorist group called The Death Eaters. He is being judged under the following major charges: the murders of Petros Ilonopolus, Jeremy Hart, Melinda Watson, Colin Creevy, Peter Knight and 23 Muggles. He is also accounted for using the Cruciatus Curse to torture Orlana Resendes, Amrita Shah, Alexander Grant and the five members of the O’Connell family. Additionally,” said Woodword, disgust obvious in his face, “he is charged with the following minor charges: the murder of the werewolf Remus Lupin…”
Woodword had no chance to say another word because Harry stood up and without thinking, shout: “NO! THAT’S NOT FAIR!”
Everybody’s faces turned around, attempting to find the source of the cry in the dim-lit room. Hermione pulled Harry’s jacket trying to make him sit.
“Who interrupted the session?” asked Woodword angrily.
“I did!” shouted Harry pushing Hermione’s hand away. The torches around him became brighter and a loud murmur traveled across the room when people recognized him.
“Mr. Potter”, replied Woodword calmer. “This is a extremely serious trial…”
“I know, sir” interrupted Harry with firm, loud voice so everybody could hear him. “The man you are judging is a criminal and coward…”
“Then, why don’t you let us continue”, suggested Woodword impatiently.
“Because you have made a mistake!” exclaimed Harry. “I can’t believe that you say that the murder of Remus Lupin is a minor crime!” Murmurs resumed all over the courtroom.
“Silence!” ordered the interrogator and the noise ceased. “I’m sorry Mr. Potter but there’s no mistake. Under the Wizarding law, killing a werewolf is a minor crime. And that only in the case that the werewolf in question has not transformed.”
“But that’s stupid!” protested Harry. “Remus Lupin died fighting Voldemort and the Death Eaters!” People flinched when they heard Voldemort’s name but many faces turned to Woodword waiting for his answer.
“I understand that” the interrogator said, sympathy in his voice. “And I understand Mr. Lupin was your friend…”
“Yes, he was” affirmed Harry. “I’m proud to say that he was my friend. He was also my teacher once and I think I wouldn’t be alive today if he hadn’t taught me what he did”.
The voices arose louder this time. If Harry Potter wasn’t alive probably many of them wouldn’t either. Maybe the ones being judged in this moment would be others. If they were judged at all.
Woodword ignored the noise this time and replied: “ There’s nothing I or anybody here can do, Mr. Potter. That’s the law.”
“Then change the law!” shouted Harry with anger, tears in his eyes. “Remus Lupin was a brave and brilliant man. He also was one of the kindest wizards I have ever known. He deserves justice!”
“I understand, Mr. Potter,” said Woodword gently, almost as an apology. “But even if we changed the law it would not apply to this case. Only laws created before a crime is committed are applicable in any trial,” he explained.
“But he has a baby…” added Harry, more weakly this time.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Potter,” offered the interrogator. “I really am. But the charges stay as they are. Can we continue… please?”
Harry didn’t respond, juts nodded and sit down, dumbstruck. The torches went back to the faint level they were before the interruption, the murmurs dying quickly. Gustavus Woodword resumed the reading of the charges against Dolohov but he couldn’t hear him anymore. He felt as if Remus had been killed all over again.
Harry cried silently while Ginny held his hand tightly. After a while he turned his head and looked at her although the tears and the lack of light didn’t let him see her face properly. She leaned towards him and kissed him sweetly. Then she dried his tears away with the sleeve of her blouse and turned her eyes back to judge’s balcony. But her hand remained on Harry’s.
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