Thank you so much for the lovely reviews and for those who have read! I want to apologize for this taking such a long time to get out! I was having a lot of trouble, but now it's here! This chapter and the following chapters are going to be dealing with the trial. I've changed it than the typical Wizengamot trial that we're used to from the Harry Potter series. Please don't be upset! Anyway, I hope you all enjoy! (By the way, take a look at my blog in the forums for more information!)
More than a month had passed, the last days of February quickly approaching.
"It's already February. I thought you'd be awake by now… I wish you were so I could talk to you and tell you how sorry I am. I realize I've already said it to you, but I can't tell you enough how sorry I am…"
"Well, the trial begins today," Ginny said after a long pause to Sophie softly. Her hand rested atop of Sophie's cold one, her thumb brushing the top of it soothingly. "I suppose I understand why Draco's doing this. Not completely, but a little bit…"
Ginny looked at the clock on the small bedside table. A small sigh escaped her and she stood from her chair. Running a hand against Sophie's forehead and leaning down to kiss it gently, she said, "I'll visit you soon. Please wake up soon."
Kissing Sophie on the head once more, she turned around and walked out of the room. Closing the door behind her, she leant against and closed her eyes. After collecting her thoughts, she walked down the hallway to the fireplace, grabbed a handful of Floo powder, stepped in, and Flooed to the Ministry of Magic.
As the emerald flames died down around her, she stepped out of the fireplace and started walking toward the lifts. Stepping in, she went to the second floor, stepped off, and made her way to Draco's office.
She door after door until she reached the receptionist's room, where Natalia wasn't occupied at her desk. Not thinking anything of it, Ginny walked forward, knocked quickly on Draco's office door and pushed it open. As she did, her eyes grew wide as she saw Natalia pull on a black sweater and Draco run a hand through his hair.
"Just like your husband, eh? Don't feel the need to have the common courtesy of waiting for someone to open their door?"
"I-I'm sorry. I'll j-just leave," Ginny stuttered as she looked to the floor.
"Well, you might as well stay now," Draco said, his eyes rolling.
Before Ginny could object, Natalia tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and passed Ginny, closing the door as she left. Ginny looked at the closed door and then turned back, her eyes still at the floor, embarrassed to look at Draco.
When she hadn't said anything, Draco sighed heavily. "Look, Potter, I don't know what it is you want. Whatever it is, you should spit it out now seeing as we have to get down to the courtrooms."
Finally, after a few more seconds, Ginny swallowed the lump that had grown in her throat, and her eyes looked up at him. Quietly, she said, "I was going to see if you had changed your mind about this whole lawsuit. Why do we have to go on fighting when our daughter is in St. Mungo's fighting to stay alive? Shouldn't we stayed focused on her?"
Draco's response paused as he searched her eyes for something. "You know why."
"Excuse me, Draco, but your wife's here for the hearing."
"Thank you. Let her in, we're done here," he said as his eyes moved back to Ginny.
Opening and closing her mouth for a second, she snapped it shut, her teeth clenching. The door opened again, and Astoria walked in, a smile on her face. She cleared her throat, and Ginny gave a tight nod, turned, and rushed past Astoria.
"Why was she here, darling?" Astoria asked as she walked closer to Draco, kissing him on the cheek.
"No reason," he responded nonchalantly. He grabbed a file off the desk. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to show support for the trial. Don't you remind me telling you this morning?"
"That's right. Sorry, it's been a distracting morning," he said. Before she could question him, he put his hand on her lower back and asked, "Ready then?"
She nodded and the two of them exited the office. As they were about to pass Natalia's desk, she said, "Good luck with the trial."
Draco nodded his head in thanks, looked at her, and then winked. He and Astoria then left the office and began their way to the lifts.
"She looks different," Astoria commented.
"Really? I haven't noticed."
Ginny and Harry were inside, sitting at their table with their law counselor. The two were quiet as the counselor explained to them how things were going to go. He stopped when they heard the door to the courtroom open.
Looking toward the door, they saw the whole group of witches and wizards that created the Wizengamot enter. A shiver went through Ginny's spine, and Harry grabbed her hand instantly, squeezing it lightly to comfort her.
Finally, Kingsley Shacklebolt walked through the door and went to his seat. Draco's and Ginny and Harry's counselors stood up, took each of their extra files up to Kingsley. When they returned to their seats, Kingsley began to sift through each of them.
"Mr. Malfoy, you're suing Mr and Mrs. Potter for emotional damages for yourself and the daughter you share with her, Sophie. Is that correct?"
"It is, sir," Draco said as he stood.
Kingsley nodded and handed the folder over to someone behind him. He then looked from Ginny and Harry to Draco. Clasping his hands together, he looked side to the rest of the Wizengamot members. "For those of you who don't know."
Before he could go any further, one of the members interrupted, "We all know the story, Shacklebolt. Let's just get this going."
A few chuckles filled the courtroom, even Kingsley's deep chuckle. His head nodded. "Very well. Mr. Fields, Mr. Malfoy, you may begin."
Draco's counselor stood and smoothed out the front of his black robes. "The first witness we're calling, Minister, is Draco Malfoy."
"Do you think that's such a wise decision?" a throaty voice asked.
"Yes, we do, sir. Where else are you going to get his side of the story?" When no one said anything further, Draco stood and walked to the chair in the middle of the two stands of the Wizengamot members. "Mr. Malfoy, when was it that you fond out about Sophie, your child with Mrs. Potter?"
"A day or two after Christmas."
"And how did you find our about her? Was it Mrs. or even Mr. Potter who told you?"
"No. I found out about Sophie from my father," Draco answered, his eyes fleeting over to Lucius and Narcissa. "He had told me to come over to the house one day, and had a conversation between Ginny and Harry."
"Is this the conversation you heard?" Mr. Fields asked as the conversation between Harry and Ginny began.
As it played, Ginny's eyes widened and she leant over to Mrs. Bayens. "That was a private conversation in our bedroom!"
"Are you sure?" Mrs. Bayens questioned quietly. Ginny nodded and Mrs. Bayens stood up. "Objection! That conversation between my clients was taken without their knowledge. It was in the privacy of their own home."
"Is this true, Mr. Fields?" Kingsley asked.
"I don't know, Minister," Mr. Fields said as he looked to Draco.
"Dismiss the conversation right now until further investigation. Continue questioning, Mr. Fields."
He nodded and took a step toward Draco. "Mr. Malfoy, just to make sure the answer is clear, you did no find out about your daughter from Mr. or Mrs. Potter?"
"No, I did not," Draco answered as if nothing had happened.
"Now, I want to ask you, could have anyone in Mrs. Potter's family told you that you had a daughter out there somewhere?"
"Objection! That's an opinion."
"Minister, it's not just an opinion, Mr. Malfoy can tell you otherwise."
"Overruled. Mr. Malfoy, answer the question."
"No, they couldn't have."
"And why's that?"
"Because they didn't know," he answered. "They didn't know about Sophie either. They found out the day I went over to confront Ginny at her mother and father's."
"So they didn't know that they had another member of the family out there? What do they think happened? What was it you all were told?"
Shifting in his seat, the look of discomfort on his face, Draco leant forward slightly. "I was told in July of 2003 that she had lost the baby - lost our son. When I confronted her at her parents' house, I learned that she had told her family that the baby was stillborn."
A soft hiccup escaped Ginny as the tears that filled her eyes rolled down her cheeks slowly. Harry squeezed her hand comfortingly.
"How did you feel when she told that she had lost the baby?"
"Devastated," he said over the lump in his throat. He looked over at Ginny who was looking at him. As their eyes locked, a feeling of guilt erupted though him. He swallowed the lump in his throat, tried to move past the guilt, and broke his glance with Ginny. "I didn't know what to do with myself. I was out of my mind."
"Now, tell us how you felt when you found out that you really did have a daughter out there and that Mr. and Mrs. Potter had kept her from you for the past seventeen years."
"I was devastated, once again. I was livid. I couldn't believe that she would do something like that to me. I was shocked she could do something so disgusting in the first place. I just couldn't believe history was repeating itself."
"When you say 'history was repeating itself,' what were you referring to?"
"I was referring to the time when Harry pretended to be dead and to stay in disguise from the people he loved."
"Nothing further," Mr. Fields said.
"Mrs. Bayens," Kingsley announced.
"Draco," Mrs. Bayens started as she stood from the desk and straightened her glasses. "You've just told us about the year you and Ginny worked together. You've told us about what Harry did. Now, why don't you tell us your role in it all."
"I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean," Draco answered as his brows furrowed.
"Oh, come on now, Draco. We all know you were a part of that story. You were with Ginny practically the whole year. You were there when she gave that conference. You were having a child with her. You punched your own father for her!" Mrs. Bayens exclaimed. She stepped away and asked, "So, please, Draco, tell us about the role you played."
"Well, I believe you've pretty much said it all, counselor. We were romantically involved."
"And whose idea was that?"
"I believe we made the mutual decision to get into a relationship together."
A few chuckles escaped the Wizengamot. Not fazing her, she said, "I think the two of us know exactly what I mean, Draco."
"And I've already answered your question."
"Okay, let's backtrack then. You discovered Harry's secret quite early in the year, didn't you?"
"Yes," he responded, a new tension in his voice.
"You didn't say anything to anyone. How come?"
"Because I didn't have any proof."
"Okay. So, when you confronted him, what happened?"
"He told me the whole story and the reason why he did it."
"That's not all that happened when you confronted him though, was it? I know it was a long time ago now, Draco, but what else happened during that confrontation? What happened that made you pursue a relationship with Ginny?"
Draco's jaw clenched. After a few short seconds, he answered, "Harry asked me to make Ginny fall in love with me."
"And you did it. Why did you go through with it instead of telling her that the man she loved since she was a girl was still alive? That the whole reason she had started drinking was actually a lie?"
"Because he didn't deserve her. If he loved her, he would never had gone through with pretending he was dead, and I thought I could help her. I thought I could make her forget about him."
"But that never fully happened, did it?"
"Objection, Minister. This is getting out of hand," Mr. Fields said.
"Actually, I'd like to answer that," Draco said as he looked to Kingsley. He nodded, and Draco answered, "No, counselor, it didn't work completely. I'll admit, I was naïve to think otherwise, but my time with Ginny taught me something. When you truly love someone, you will never forget about them. You will never stop loving them. Does that mean you can't love someone else? Of course not. You can love someone else just as intensely and passionately, but it's not the same.
"I was wrong in thinking that I could make Ginny completely forget about Harry. Do I think she loved me? Yes. Did I love her? Well, I think that's pretty easy for everyone to answer for themselves."
Mrs. Bayens remained silent as she looked at Draco. Finally, she pulled herself together and asked, "Do you still love her, Draco?"
When Draco didn't answer, Mrs. Bayens nodded. "Nothing further."
"Okay, Mr. Malfoy, you can step down. I think after that, we all deserve a recess. Afterward, Mr. Fields will call his second witness. Return here in one hour." Kingsley declared. "Also, get that conversation between Ginny and Harry worked out." With that, the Wizengamot exited, leaving everyone to themselves.
After the Wizengamot left, Draco hurried out of the room, Astoria, Lucius, and Narcissa following after him. Ginny watched after them, her eyes still watery.
"How do you think it's going?" Harry asked.
"Well, it could go either way. That speech he just gave will more than likely have the Wizengamot sympathetic toward him. In saying that, some members could see this whole trial as him just doing it to get revenge. That conversation between you two - as long as it's proven that one of them took it - could give you a little advantage."
"So, pretty much a standstill," Harry said with a sigh.
Mrs. Bayens closed her bag, looked at Harry and Ginny, and said, "Don't sound so down. It's just the first day, and nothing's going to go away over night. Give it time."
"Thank you," Harry responded. Mrs. Bayens smiled warmly and left, leaving Harry and Ginny alone with her family.
"Ginny, come, let's have some lunch," Mrs. Weasley said as she walked up, her hand resting gently on her shoulder.
Draco made his way back to his office in a hurry. He stormed past Natalia at her desk and entered his office. He slammed the door and threw himself into his chair. Letting out a groan, he ran a hand through his hair as the memories of him and Ginny began to come to life inside his mind.
A knock came to the door. He ignored it, but they came in anyway. "Draco," Narcissa said she and Lucius walked closer.
"That speech was brilliant," Lucius said, a smirk on his face.
"Excuse me?" Draco questioned as he looked at his father in surprise.
"It was brilliant. You know how everyone's a sap for a love story. The Wizengamot's going to eat it up. You even got that crock of a lawyer's attention!"
He remained silent for a minute as he mulled it over. Nodding, he looked at Lucius curiously. "I have to ask, where did you get that conversation?"
"From their house," Lucius answered after he locked and soundproofed the room.
"Father, are you mad? How are we supposed to use it as evidence? And what possessed you to do that?"
"There was a day when I bumped into Sophie at the Ministry. It took just a moments glance to know that there was something we were missing; so I took matters into my own hands, especially after you had mentioned her through passing.
"Now, before you get your wand in a knot, calm down. There's no possible way anyone's going to know that that conversation took place in their home. They can't trace it anywhere. Since they can't trace anything, and there's really no way for them to know how we received it, they can't remove it from the case."
Lucius paused and sat down in one of the chairs in front of Draco's desk. Before he could say anything else, a knock sounded through the room. Removing the charms that were placed minutes ago, the door opened, and Astoria walked in with sandwiches.
"I just heard the best news!" she exclaimed as she walked further in the room and passed out sandwiches.
"Here we go," Narcissa said under her breath as she rolled her eyes.
Draco smirked as he heard his mom and took a bite of his sandwich. "What's this news?"
"Kingsley Shacklebolt's looking for someone to replace him as chief warlock. He doesn't think he can be completely objective," she said excitedly.
"It's a definite win," Lucius said, his smirk growing.
"Natalia, is this true?" Draco asked as he exited his office.
"Yes," she said, a smile on her face. "I was going to come in to tell you she came in and told you."
"Thank you," he said with a grin. He winked at her once again and then walked back in his office.
The courtroom was occupied with everyone but the Wizengamot. Finally, fifteen minutes after the said time to back, the members walked in and took their seats. As they took their seats, Kingsley came in and stood behind his seat.
"During the recess, I talked with my fellow members. As this wasn't an easy decision, I believe it's for the best. I am taing myself off of this case. The rest of the members will be able to come to a decision more objectively."
Harry, Ginny, and others began to say something when Kingsley lifted his hand and silenced them. "The decision is made and it has been voted on. Once I leave, the hearing may start again."
Without saying anything further, Kingsley left the courtroom. As he left, Mafalda Hopkirk asked, "Before we begin with the next witness, we wanted to address the conversation issue. Mr. Fields, has that been figured out?"
"My team and Mrs. Bayens team has looked into it. There is no trace of where it was taken or who took it. Since we can't find anything that proves Mrs. Potter's statement, I do ask that we use it as evidence."
"Mrs. Bayens, this is true of your findings also?"
"Unfortunately," she answered.
"Let the record show that the conversation of Ginny and Harry Potter can be used as evidence," Mafalda said as she looked at the recorder sitting on the opposite side of the room. He nodded, and she looked back to Mr. Fields. "You may begin with your next witness."
"Thank you," Mr. Fields said. "The next person we call to the stand is Harry Potter."
Harry stood and walked to the chair. Mr. Fields stepped forward. "Mr. Potter, where were you when you made us all believe you were dead?"
"And when did you return and for what?"
"I returned in 2002 for a teaching position at Hogwarts."
"It was your first time back in how many years?"
"And why did you return?"
"Kingsley wanted me to return upon the arrival of a new student he was worried about."
"So, when you returned, was it your idea or his that you remain in disguise?"
"It was a mutual decision."
"Explain to me why you wanted to remain in hiding."
"I thought it was better for everyone that I just stayed gone like I had for the years prior."
"Are you sure? It just wasn't better for you?"
"I didn't think so. I can't really answer for anyone," Harry said trying to keep his voice even.
"You can't answer for them, but you could think for them. Is that right?"
"It was a mistake!" Harry shouted as he leant forward. "I made a mistake by staying away."
"Did you also make the mistake of asking Mr. Malfoy to make Mrs. Potter fall in love with him? For revealing yourself to her minutes before she was supposed to walk down the aisle? Or how about when you didn't tell Mr. Malfoy that he actually never lost his child?"
"Shut up!" Harry yelled as he stood out of his seat. "I thought it was best for her! It had been so long! She deserved to be able to move on and have a life with someone! I saw the way she had been looking at Malfoy and how they were already getting close!"
"So, she deserved to have a life with someone… For months she started to have that. The two of them got engaged and were even beginning to start a family together. She was beginning to have that life with someone. Why take that away from her?"
"Because I came to my senses," he answered through gritted teeth.
"But why did you take that away from someone who was doing you favors? He did as you asked and was keeping your secret!"
"I hated doing that to Draco, but I loved Ginny. I couldn't go another day without being with her."
"There's something close to it, isn't there, Mr. Potter? The underlying reason is because you were getting jealous, isn't it? You were getting jealous and never actually wanted Mrs. Potter and Mr. Malfoy together. So, when it came about that they were going to have the life you realized you wanted, you couldn't help yourself in getting what you wanted!"
"Okay! Fine!" Harry exclaimed. "I didn't think that their relationship would actually get as far as they did! I thought they'd get together, have a fall out, and then I could come in and make it all better!"
"What really was the breaking point for you? Wasn't there a time period where you left your position at Hogwarts?"
Harry stayed quiet as his fists clenched and his teeth ground together. "It was soon after Ginny found out she was pregnant and after Bevan Tannatt was found to be an undercover reporter."
"What was your intent in leaving?"
"I thought I'd be able to let them be and let them be happy."
"But you weren't able to do that because you wanted that life, didn't you? So you could go as far that the baby was the breaking point."
"Sure, I guess."
"Now, let's speed up to the moment Mrs. Potter was having the baby. Did you know then what she told Mr. Malfoy and what she planned to do?"
"Yes," Harry said as his eyes flitted to Draco.
"And you didn't feel the need to tell Mr. Malfoy? Even after everything he had done for you, and after what you had done to him?"
"I thought about it, and Ginny and I discussed it many times, and each time we came up with the same decision. We were thinking of Sophie."
"Thinking of Sophie? You were thinking of her when you brought her father into the decision? You thought it'd be best for her to grow up without her father?"
"Don't try to make this out like we're the bad guys! We were trying to protect her!"
"Protect her? Protect her from what? The monster of a man who did so many favors for you? Who cared so much for Mrs. Potter? Who put his life on a standstill to do everything you had asked?"
"Yes!" Harry exclaimed in anger.
As the shocked gasps escaped from people, and before he could answer any further, Mr. Fields smirked and said, "Nothing further."
Without waiting to be announced, Mrs. Bayens stood and walked toward Harry. "What were yours and Ginny's reasons for giving up Sophie, Harry?"
"We thought it was best because we've seen how the Malfoy's can be. For years they have used and manipulated people to get what they wanted. We knew that if they knew about Sophie they would do the same. We didn't want to have to put Sophie between households or to go through custody battles throughout her life. All we wanted was to give her a well structured home with a mother and a father who were together happily."
"And didn't she get that life?"
"Yes, we made sure of it. We were able to pick the Palmers beforehand."
"You went beyond that though, didn't you, Harry?" A long pause occurred and Harry didn't answer. "You've been making sure Sophie has been okay since you and Ginny gave her to the Palmers, didn't you?"
Harry looked down at his feet as his face became heated. He looked back up and answered, "Yes."
"Please tell everyone what you have done over the years for Sophie and the Palmers."
Letting out a heavy sigh, he began, "I've kept in contact over the years with the Palmers. I've given them money when they needed it, I've made sure that they always had a roof over their head, I would pay for Christmas presents so Sophie would have something to open in the morning with them, and just recently, I've paid for both Mr. and Mrs. Palmers funerals."
Gasps and hushed whispered filled the courtroom. Harry chanced a look at Ginny, who's tears were apparent on her face as she shook her head.
"What else did you do, Harry?"
He tried to swallow the lump in his throat as he said thickly, "I used to go visit at least twice a year."
Before Mrs. Bayens could ask anything else, Ginny stood from her seat and hurried from the room. Harry, Draco, and everyone else's attention followed her. When the door slammed, the room became eerily silent.
After a few short seconds, Mrs. Bayens cleared her throat. "T-There hasn't been a day that's gone by that you haven't done something or thought of Sophie, is there?"
"No," Harry answered quietly.
"Mr. Fields," Mafalda Hopkirk started after another long pause, "do you want to redirect in any way?"
"I do have one question for Mr. Potter." She nodded, and Mr. Fields asked, "Mr. Potter, is this another one of your mistakes?"
After the last question Mr. Fields asked, the day was done, and everyone left. Harry was walking through the white gate of his and Ginny's home when he noticed a couple bags sitting on the porch.
"Damn it…," he said softly as he ran a hand through his hair.
He walked up the porch, grabbed the bags, and entered the house quietly. He set the bags down and called out, "Ginny?" When no answer came, he walked into the kitchen to find Ginny leaning against the counter, a mug in her hand.
"Ginny…," he trailed as he took a step toward her.
"You take one more step toward me, Potter, and I swear to Merlin you'll regret it," she said through her clenched teeth. Her eyes flashed with anger as the resemblance to Fred and George became apparent.
"Come on, Gin," Harry began.
"Come on? Come on?!" she questioned, her voice becoming louder. "How dare you say that to me right now! How dare you after everything you've done! How they hell are you even standing in front of me and looking me in the eyes right now?"
When he didn't answer, she let out a snort. "Yeah, that's what I thought. If the bags weren't enough of a clue, I don't want you here. I want you out of this house."
"Gin, be reasonable…"
"Be reasonable?!" she asked as her eyes widened. She moved away from the counter, her grip on the mug tightened, her knuckles white. "I think I am being quite reasonable seeing as our whole bloody life together was a lie! You've lied to me every day for the past seventeen years! How am I suppose to take that?"
"It wasn't all a lie…"
"What would you call it?! There's been lies inside of lies inside of lies! Can you even find your way out of them?!" Again, he didn't respond. "Just get out of here, Harry. Get out of my face. I don't want you. I can hardly even look at you!" When he didn't budge, her temper flared up more and she began to shout, "Get the hell out of here! I don't care where you go! Get out! Get out! GET OUT!"
After a moment, she took a sip of her tea, and he looked at her. "That's it? What else can I say, Ginny? What can I say that will change your mind?"
"Nothing. I want you out of here. I want you out right now."
"I'm not going anywhere," he sad as he looked at her tensely.
Out of frustration, she threw the mug on the ground, the tea going everywhere along with the shattered pieces of glass. "Get out! I don't want to hear another thing from you!"
"Then how about this?" he asked as he rushed forward, cradled her face with his hands and kissed her hard.
Her eyes remained open and she didn't kiss him back. When he didn't pull away, she pushed him back and slapped him. "Get. Out."
Running a hand over his stinging cheek gently, he looked at her. "Fine," he said angrily. He then turned, walked out of the kitchen, grabbed his bags, and walked out the door slamming it behind him. Once Ginny heard the pop him Apparating, her chin began to tremble, and before she could help herself, she sunk down to the tea covered floor and began to sob.