Chapter 1 : The Trial
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AN: The first chapter is a setup so forgive the lack of story progression that will begin in the second chapter. This story is a very strong AU, you have been warned. Also, this novel is set to occur in the Marauder's era and it will, beginning in the second chapter. Beta-ed by Indyheart, who has been so helpful! Thanks to Lululuna for the story summary help! I was begining to think it was impossible!
Lovely Chapter Image by Caren @ TDA!
"This is a ruse...it must be!" Kingsley Shacklebolt exclaimed, his accent thick with fright and astonishment.
The woman in the middle of courtroom, the one who had the entire Wizengamot council in a state of silenced awe, smiled up at him with clear blue eyes. Her body language suggested that she was exhausted as she slouched forward, her shoulders rounded. It was not a lie, she had been to hell and back just to be there but it was important that she kept the court date that would clear the names of the innocent. Her clothes were torn, as was her skin; dried blood was splattered across her face and arms, pasting some of her brown hair to her forehead. But she smiled, her main task completed. She seemed to take a moment to consider carefully her words. For a woman who knew so many words in so many different languages, choosing them appropriately was an apparent challenge.
Finally she spoke. "Now Minister, this is no illusion-" but was cut off by Shacklebolt's interjection.
"No magic can bring back the dead!"
The Wizengamot broke out into a fury of harsh whispers, finally recovering from their silenced shock. Panic rose swiftly throughout the courtroom. The wizards and witches of the council began to draw their wands, some beginning to descend from the bench that extended high above Grace's head. Their murmurs grew louder, drowning out the woman's explanation. Shacklebolt stared at the people standing behind Grace, most of whom were dead, some for a very long time.
A booming voice suddenly ripped through the air, halting the excitement. "Silence!"
Albus Dumbledore approached the woman, stood next to her and placed a hand on her shoulder as the courtroom seemed to freeze. The stilled people had their eyes transfixed on Albus, whose kind eyes returned their gaze. It could not possibly be him, for he was dead, and as Shacklebolt claimed, there is no magic that can bring the dead to life again.
Albus cleared his throat and said softly, "If you all have forgotten, this is a trial, but not a trial for Grace Potter. If you want your questions answered, then I suggest you simply listen to her."
Grace smiled again, this time at Albus as she affectionately placed her hand over his on her shoulder. "Thank you, Albus." She cleared her throat before addressing the Wizengamot. "I didn't use magic," she said firmly. “Death and I had a conversation many years ago about restoring what should be, and he made a deal with me then. I would restore what was right, with his aid, in return for something from me. Something he wanted dearly. But this all is a very, very long story and for the sake of the trial, my wish is to show you all what happened." She looked at Shacklebolt expectantly as she awaited an answer.
He blinked, looking from Grace to Albus to the rest behind them and slowly nodded. "You and Death had a conversation?" he asked slowly.
She sighed. "Indeed," she said and returned her attention to the curious Wizengamot. "As some of you may know there is a certain ability that can allow a witch or wizard to take their memories and project them to others. I can do this, as well as taking offered memories from people to do the same. But I need the help of my friends and family to do this, and must ask them a great burden to reveal their innermost secrets and precious memories. The combination of our memories will ensure truth and, hopefully, some clarity to you of the Wizengamot today. And I must also ask all of you that, if these people agree to help me show you, I may pick certain pieces from your memory about this tale that are irrelevant to the case, but may otherwise be damaging to their credibility."
"Grace, memory modifications are extremely dangerous-"
"-Not when I do them." Grace cut Shacklebolt off before lowering her voice and continuing. "Trust me, Kingsley, you know what I say is true...you know me."
Shacklebolt took a moment to study Grace, wanting to believe in his old friend the way he had once before. He sighed, finding her eyes and the truth that shone through them. "All in favor...?"
Slowly, primarily out of curiosity, the council's hands raised, one by one, until they were all up in the air.
"So it shall be," Shacklebolt said softly.
Grace turned on her heel to face the people behind her. "Please, when I call your name, come stand by me. You know me, you know you can trust me. Please let me borrow you memories. I only need to use them to project some things, and I promise to return them safely."
She cleared her throat as sentiment had begun to creep its way up from her belly, and she regarded the mass of people before her. Some had been ressurected, some had never died but were there under the pretense of assisting Grace. Some she would not call, as their memories would not suit her purpose.
"Albus Dumbledore," she said as she smiled up at him. "James and Lily Potter."
She embraced them, her arms snaking around both of their shoulders in a powerful hug, as they reached her from beyond the crowd. "Brother," she breathed. "Sister." As they joined her she continued. "Sirius Black and Remus Lupin."
She watched as Remus' wife, Nymphadora Tonks, grabbed her husband's arm with a questioning gaze. "It will be alright." Remus told her with a gentle smile.
"Is that...?" Tonks' hushed voice trailed off as Remus nodded. Slowly, she released him.
Sirius wrapped an arm around Grace's shoulder and kissed her on the cheek, wary of the blood, and asked, "What have you gotten yourself into now?"
She simply smiled and nodded to Remus as he joined them, gazing at her with trepidation.
Before his name was even halfway done being called, Regulus began to make his way to Grace, ignoring his brother when he whispered, "You brought him back?" in her ear.
"He was never dead," she whispered back simply. Ignoring his imploring look she continued. "Severus Snape."
"Seriously Grace?" Sirius suddenly sounded disgruntled. "Why would we need that—” He received a sharp elbow in his ribcage and a warning look from Grace as Severus joined her at her other side.
"Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy."
Sirius looked up sharply, expecting to see his uncle brought back from the dead. Instead, a young man stepped forward, his grey eyes locked on Grace. Sirius looked back to Grace to find her peeking at him out of the corner of her eye. The boy, Alphard, Sirius had never seen before. He watched him carefully, noting that the Alphard's grey eyes had locked onto him. A smile graced Alphard's features. Grace wondered if Sirius would think that he was Regulus', instead of his own. Alphard was Marlene's boy, although she would never know him.
The redhead was swift to follow her name and she easily caught up with Al's lackadaisical strides. She waved gleefully at Lily and James as she caught their eyes. Chuckling, James and Lily returned the motion. Neither of them had seen their daughter since the cold day in October when Grace suggested that she take her niece to help ease the stress of the prophecy that hung so treacherously over James and Lily's heads.
"Emery Lupin and…Eileen Snape." Grace was careful not to look at Severus as she felt him stiffen beside her in response to the dark-haired girl's disunion from the crowd. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Eileen Snape nee Prince. Grace smiled proudly at her daughter, but Eileen's gaze never left Severus.
Remus had gone quite pale as well, watching the boy that Eileen had hooked arms with. Emery was a product of a misadventure between Grace's childhood friend Anne and Remus that Grace was certain he was not even aware of. His shock matched that of his wife's from across the room.
Grace had made it a point to tell the children that she had raised everything that she possibly could about their parents. She had shown them pictures and told fond stories, enabling the kids to familiarize themselves with their parents. She made them aware, however, that some of their parents were blissfully unaware of their existence. Grace had attempted to explain the reasoning behind this to the four children when they were old enough to understand. Upon learning of their pregnancies, cowardice had prevented Grace Potter, Marlene McKinnon, and Anne Smithville from informing the fathers. The woman had thought it best as there was no love in the conception, or so they told themselves.
Grace gathered herself, gently touching the serpent pendant around her neck, and continued to ignore Severus' burning gaze. "Well, then, I believe that's everyone—"
"Not quite, Sweetie," a rather chipper voice sang, interrupting her.
Grace visually tensed as she turned to the offender. She glared at him, spitting, "I thought portal jumping wasn't one of your abilities, Atrum."
He laughed, his body quivering with it. "I lied."
"Nobody needs to see your memories."
She was caught off-guard as Severus grabbed her arms and spun her to face him. In her distraction of dealing with Atrum, she hadn't noticed Severus' reaction to his arrival. It did not surprise her, seeing the man that had once been his father, who was hoped to be dead, standing in the courtroom, looking better than he probably ever had in his life. His eyes bore through her, his body was shaking in anger; his lip curled up in disgust and his voice was dangerously low when he spoke. "What is happening?"
Grace exhaled slowly and placed her hands on Severus' arms. She opened her mouth to speak, when Atrum cut in instead.
"What's the matter sonny, didn't miss me?" Atrum laughed, giddy. "I believe you need my memories more than you think, Gracie."
Grace frowned, "I suppose now would be a decent time to begin to explain things." She looked away from Severus as he dropped his grip on her, staring at the man Grace had called Atrum.
"Who are you?" Shacklebolt asked, taking in the man's appearance. He was well dressed, his graying black hair lengthy but well-trimmed and his smile was riddled with straight, white teeth. He seemed to be physically fit, despite his aging appearance.
"Atrum Unus," he chuckled with a flourishing bow.
Grace rolled her eyes and held her hand up. "It's fine," she said. "Let's just get this over with."
She held out her hands to the people she'd called to her and ran her tongue over the scar that ran diagonally from her upper lip to her lower one. She inhaled deeply, wishing for a cigarette before she began all of this madness. Pulling at her friends’ memories, she said softly. "I need you all to focus. I think it's best to start in the summer of 1976, in my sixteenth year, when I first got a letter from Albus Dumbledore. It was an invitation extended to me to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry upon my impeding graduation of Noctars' Institution for the 'Specially Gifted'..." Her voice began to fade as a picture formed before everyone’s eyes.
AN: So there you are, a story set up. In the next chapter we will be going to Hogwarts so that you will get to see some of your favorite characters in action! Let me know what you think!
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