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Albus Potter and the Pureblood's Secret by Gryffin_Duck
Chapter 16 : The Summons
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 7


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That night, Albus and his friends spent a good hour or so discussing their internships. Kaden listened, proclaiming how jealous he was, until Rose pointed out that he essentially had an internship with Professor Burke. Rose had returned from her internship slightly dejected, as all she’d done was file paperwork due to healer-patient confidentiality. Healer Sterling had a few patients who’d agreed to let Rose observe their sessions, but none of them had appointments that afternoon.

John, on the other hand, had had the time of his life. He’d gotten to meet all the Puddlemere players and participate in a practice. Amanda had gotten to sit in on a few meetings, none of which sounded all that interesting to Albus, but she’d been pleased. Matt had mostly been amused by what Grandpa Weasley did at his job.

“He’s got a whole corner devoted to electronics,” Matt said. “And we spent the entire time dissecting an old computer.”

“He does that at home, too,” Rose explained. “You should see his shed.”

“Then he showed me his collection of batteries and asked me if I’d like to have some to start my own collection,” Matt said, grinning. “I told him no.”

“I think one of his greatest disappointments is the fact that none of his kids or grandkids inherited his love of all things Muggle,” Albus said. “He’s probably hoping he can make you his prodigy instead.”

“What about yours, Al?” Matt asked. “How was the Auror Department?”

Albus had debated how to bring up the illegal potion investigation, and even thought about not bringing it up, but knew it would just eat him away from the inside if he didn’t discuss it.

“Johnson told me that he’s launched an investigation to find out who’s selling Polyjuice illegally,” Albus blurted out.

Kaden stared at Albus. “Seriously?”

“Well, we already knew that,” Rose said. “After Boone was arrested, of course they were going to investigate the Polyjuice.”

“No, they’d been investigating it before that,” Albus said, and quickly explained what Johnson and Walters had told him. “And Johnson is going to bring me with him when he interviews people.”

“That’s awkward,” John said. “Are you going to tell him about Burke?”

“I don’t want to,” Albus said, carefully avoiding Kaden’s gaze. “But do I have to, legally?”

“I don’t think so,” Rose said slowly, furrowing her brow. “If you were officially questioned you’d have to tell him, or else get in trouble for withholding information.”

Albus nodded. Johnson wouldn’t question him. There was no reason to suspect Albus knew anything.

“But it’s only a matter of time before Johnson finds out it’s Burke,” Rose said. “Burke is brewing it in Hogwarts, where information spreads like fiendfyre. Not to mention the fact that Meg Johnson is Head Girl. One owl to her dad and Burke would be arrested within a day.”

Albus hadn’t thought of that before, but Rose was right. Burke was living on the edge when it came to his brewing.

“What would happen to him if he was caught?” Kaden asked, his face pale.

“He might get off with a fine, given his illness,” Rose said. “It depends on how generous the wizengamot is feeling. But he’d definitely be sacked.”

“You better hope he gives Amy the recipe for that potion soon,” Albus told Matt.

“Amy’s been owling him about it,” Matt said. “She wants it before he declines anymore. Just in case his mind starts going. But so far he’s ignoring her.”

“Can’t she find out what’s in it if she has a sample of it?” John asked.

“She can find out the ingredients, but not the order they were put in or the amounts,” Matt explained. “She could probably figure out, but it’d be a lot of guesswork and I’d have to test them all.”

“Do you think…” Rose began, “and Kaden, don’t kill me, that maybe Burke isn’t giving Amy the recipe because he wants to keep getting paid by your parents, Matt?”

“He would never-“ Kaden said.

“Yes,” Matt interrupted. “That’s what Mum thinks. She wants to offer Burke one more big payment for the recipe and be done with it. Dad disagrees. He thinks Burke needs more time to work out the side effects.”

“What do you think?” Rose asked.

Matt shrugged. “I don’t know. The side effects suck, especially the migraines, but if he snuffs it or gets arrested before Amy gets the recipe, then I’m screwed. I guess I agree with my mum.”

“And Amy?”

“She wants the recipe. She said she’d work on it to try and get rid of the side effects.”

“Then you need to tell your mum,” Rose said. “Tell her what you want. You’re almost of age. You should have some say.”

Matt nodded. “It’s just so weird…the fact that I’m almost of age.”

“I can’t wait,” John said, grinning. “Come December, I won’t have to chop another vegetable for my mum by hand again.”

***


“My sister has now earned her fourth detention of the year,” John announced at breakfast the following day. “She’ll beat me at this rate.”

“What did she do this time?” Albus asked.

“Magic in the corridors, like usual,” John explained as he loaded his plate with bacon. “This time a suit of armor was harmed.”

“Better than that third year who lost all her hair due to your sister’s inability to follow the rules,” Rose muttered.

“It grew back,” John pointed out.

“If you and Kaden aren’t careful, she’ll take your title of Hogwarts pranksters away,” Matt said.

“Mail’s here!” John exclaimed. “Watch. Bet she gets a howler.”

Albus craned his neck to watch as Gemma received an envelope the telltale red color. Mrs. Brickston’s dulcet tones soon filled the Great Hall, but Albus didn’t pay attention because he’d just received an envelope of his own. It was cream colored and had the Ministry seal on the back.

Across the table, Matt was inspecting his own envelope, his brow furrowed in concern.

“Who’s that from?” Albus asked.

“The law offices of Watkins and Gould, public defenders,” Matt read off the envelope. “Weird. What about yours?”

“The Ministry,” Albus said as he ripped open the envelope. He unfolded the letter and read it. At the top was the Ministry letterhead.

Dear Mr. Albus S. Potter,

You are being summoned to appear in court for the
prosecution in the case of Boone vs. the United
Kingdom, scheduled to begin on 22 November 2021.

In accordance with title 22, section 3.4, of the Public
Prosecution Act of 1982, you are required to present
yourself at the Prosecution Office at the Ministry of
Magic on 15 October 2021, at 10 o’clock in the morning,
where it will be determined at a deposition whether you
will be a witness for the prosecution at the trial
mentioned above.

If you are in need of a signed excuse form for your
place of employment, please reply via return-owl.

Sincerely,
Jackson Santiago
Director of Public Prosecutions
Ministry of Magic
London, England
United Kingdom


Albus’s heart sped up. What did that mean? He looked up to ask Matt, but Matt had stood up abruptly, and ran out of the room without a word, clutching his own letter.

“Rose,” Albus said, tapping his cousin on her shoulder. “What does this mean?”

Rose took Albus’s letter and scanned it. “It means you’ve been summoned as a witness for the prosecution in the Boone case.”

“Prosecution meaning….”

“Meaning the Ministry’s side,” Rose said quietly.

The Ministry’s side. That meant Matt’s letter, from the public defender’s office must be about Boone’s side. “I’ve got to go find Matt.”

“Where did he go?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know, but he got a letter from a public defender’s office.”

Rose’s eyes widened. “Oh my God. Let’s go.”

Albus and Rose left the room, Rose still holding Albus’s letter from the Ministry.

“Do I have to go?” Albus asked as they ran up the grand staircase.

“Yes, that’s why it’s called a summons. I don’t know how it works when you’re not of-age, but you need to show it to your dad today. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me before…of course you got summoned. You and Matt essentially found Boone, and now he’s on trial for murder. You two are going to be crucial in the case.”

“What about John and Kaden?”

“They must not think they need all four of you, and you’re Harry Potter’s son,” Rose explained. “They must think your name will carry more weight.”

“But I don’t think he did it! I don’t want to prosecute him!”

“If they put you on the stand, all you’ll have to do is tell the truth.”

“Why can’t I tell the truth for Boone’s side instead?”

“Because the prosecution already claimed you. You can’t be a witness for both.”

Albus didn’t think it was fair that he couldn’t choose. Why should he be forced to argue for a side he didn’t agree with?

Without discussing it, Albus and Rose headed for the Marauders’ Den. Once inside, they found Matt sitting rigid on the couch, the letter sitting on the table in front of him. Albus sat down next to him and picked up the letter.

Dear Mr. Matthew C. Eckerton,

You are being summoned to appear in court for the
defense in the case of Boone vs. the United Kingdom,
scheduled to begin on 22 November 2021.

In accordance with title 22, section 3.4, of the Public
Prosecution Act of 1982, you are required to present
yourself at the Offices of Watkins and Gould on
1 November 2021, where it will be determined
whether you will be a witness in the aforementioned
trial.

If you are in need of a signed excuse form for your
place of employment, please reply via return-owl.

Sincerely,
Elroy Watkins
Public Defender
Watkins and Gould
London, England
United Kingdom


“Mine was from the prosecution,” Albus said quietly. “I have to be a witness on their side.”

“I have to get out of it,” Matt said quietly. “I can’t take the stand. What if, what if they ask me why we were in the Shrieking Shack? I’d have to answer truthfully, and to do that-“

“You need to talk to your dad,” Rose interrupted. “You need to go to the Ministry. Now.”

Would Matt’s dad be able to get him out of it? Albus wasn’t even sure his own father, Harry Potter, could get him out of having to testify. But Matt’s dad was a force to be reckoned with.

“Didn’t your dad find Boone his attorney?” Albus asked.

Matt nodded, still staring straight ahead.

“Go now. Al will go with you, and I’ll tell Uncle Harry why you aren’t in Defense,” Rose said. “Go to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey will let you use her floo.”

Matt nodded again and stood up. He picked up the letter and folded it slowly and carefully. Rose handed Albus back his own letter and the three of them left the room. When they reached the hospital wing, Rose left them for Defense, for which she was already fifteen minutes late.

The hospital wing was quiet. Madam Pomfrey was at her desk, doing paperwork, but she hurried over once she saw Albus and Matt.

“What happened?” she asked.

“We need to use your floo,” Albus said.

Matt handed her the letter, which she quickly scanned. She frowned and handed it back to Matt, shaking her head.

“I don’t see how they can do that. You aren’t even of age,” she said. “You need to floo your dad at work, I presume?”

“Yeah,” Matt whispered.

“Of course,” Madam Pomfrey said as she walked over to the fire. She took a small pot of Floo powder off a shelf and held it out it to Albus. “I’ll let the headmaster know.”

Albus thanked her and took a handful of powder. He stepped into the fire, shouted “Ministry of Magic,” and was whisked away. He stepped out of the floo at the Ministry seconds before Matt appeared, looking disheveled with ash in his hair.

The wizard manning the visitors’ desk seemed hesitant to let them go through, given they were in Hogwarts robes and term was in session, but eventually Albus managed to convince him they were only there to see Matt’s dad. He did insist on personally escorting them to Mr. Eckerton’s office, however.

When they arrived, Albus could hear shouting from behind Mr. Eckerton’s closed door. The visitors’ desk wizard frowned and knocked. A few moments later Mr. Eckerton answered the door, looking frazzled and not at all like his usual composed self.

“These two just showed up here,” the wizard said, gesturing to Albus and Matt. “This one insists he’s your son and they need to see you.”

“Thank you, Montgomery,” Mr. Eckerton said. “It’s fine. I’ll take them from here.”

Montgomery paused before leaving, as if unsure he was breaking some sort of rule by leaving Albus and Matt in the bowels of the Ministry, despite the fact that a head of department had vouched for them. Eventually he slouched away, and Mr. Eckerton gestured for Albus and Matt to enter the room. Albus noticed he didn’t seem at all surprised to see them there.

Another man was in the room. He wore pristine, starched black robes and he stared at Albus and Matt as they entered.

“Are we done now, Eckerton?” the man asked. “I see you have company.”

“No, we are not done,” Mr. Eckerton replied. “This is Albus Potter, and my son, Matt.”

The man narrowed his gaze at Matt, and then looked at Mr. Eckerton.

“Matt,” Mr. Eckerton said as he put a hand on Matt’s shoulder, “this is Mr. Watkins, the man who sent you the summons.”

“You know about that?” Matt asked. “I came here to show you the letter.”

“He sent me one as well, because you’re not of age. I’ve been telling him how I do not wish you to testify.”

“You got me into this mess, Eckerton, and if your son can get me out of it, all the better. He essentially caught Boone. He, along with his friends, are the only people who can confirm that they saw Boone Polyjuiced as Young. I need one of them on my roster of witnesses.”

“Then why not pick one of the others?”

Watkins glanced at Albus briefly before responding. “I wanted Potter. The prosecution has already taken Potter. The other two hardly interacted with Boone. Interestingly, your son interacted with him more than Potter did, judging by their statements to the Aurors.”

“He’s only sixteen,” Mr. Eckerton pointed out. “You can’t force him. If I can prove it will be detrimental to him-“

“You really want to open that can of flobberworms, Eckerton?” Watkins asked, smirking.

“If I have to, I will.”

Watkins picked up his briefcase and took a few steps toward Matt and Mr. Eckerton. “I get paid crap as a public defender. My guess? I’ve got a 1% chance of winning this, even with the best witnesses. As much as society’s changed in the past 20 years, people still have a prejudice against werewolves. You could have someone else on trial for the same crime, having been imprisoned in Azkaban already for the same crimes as Boone has, and if they weren’t a werewolf, I doubt they’d be convicted. But Boone? Given the public’s opinion of him and his status as a lycanthrope? Very little chance. People don’t trust werewolves, Eckerton. I know you’ve devoted your life to changing that, but it hasn’t happened yet. I need good witnesses. I need your son, if Boone has any shot of getting off.”

With one last glance at Albus, Watkins strode out of the office, letting the door slam behind him. Neither Albus, Matt, or Mr. Eckerton moved for a good thirty seconds after he left. To Albus’s surprise, it was Matt who spoke first.

“Anyone else see the irony in his little speech?” Matt asked with a wry smile.

Albus laughed and Mr. Eckerton chuckled. Mr. Eckerton gestured for Albus and Matt to sit down, and he sat down behind his desk.

“That’s who’s defending Boone?” Albus asked as he sat in one of the leather armchairs in front of the desk. “It seems like he doesn’t like werewolves.”

Mr. Eckerton shook his head. “No, he likes them fine. Doesn’t really have a strong opinion one way or the other, which can be a good thing. He’s just very much a realist. Doesn’t sugarcoat anything. And he’s good. He’s very good. He complains all the time about being a public defender and how there’s no money in it, but after all these years, he hasn’t switched. No one’s forcing him to be a public defender, but he still does it.”

“What did he mean about opening up a can of flobberworms?” Matt asked hesitantly.

Mr. Eckerton sighed. “Adults who receive summons’ from a court or attorney have to appear, unless they are incapable of testifying, whether from mental or physical disability. There’s more of a grey area when it comes to children. Obviously, if they are incapable of testifying due to mental or physical disability they don’t have to, and if they’re too young they don’t have to either. No one can force a three-year-old to take the stand. Very few would even want to. But with older kids, it’s harder. Parents can petition a judge to have the summons thrown out, if they can prove testifying would be detrimental to a child’s mental, physical, or developmental well-being.”

“And that’s what Watkins was getting at?” Matt replied. “Is that what you’d have to do?”

Mr. Eckerton nodded. “And the chances of a judge throwing the summons out would be very small. You’ll be of age in less than six months. Very few judges would see you as a child anymore. But if you want me to try, I will.”

“And there’s no other way?” Matt said quietly, his hands shaking.

“Well,” Mr. Eckerton began, “there is one other way, but it could do more harm than good.”

“What is it?”

“You heard what Mr. Watkins said about werewolves. If we tell him you’re a werewolf, there isn’t a chance he’d put you on the stand. He’d be too afraid it would get out, and well, you heard his opinion.”

“No,” Matt said immediately. “I don’t want him to know.”

Albus wasn’t at all surprised by this. People finding out about his lycanthropy was Matt’s biggest fear, and even if it meant he wouldn’t have to testify, there wasn’t a chance he’d willingly tell someone about it.

Mr. Eckerton nodded. “Then chances are you will have to testify. Do you want me to start the paperwork to petition a judge to let you off? I can have Healer Norlam write up a statement.”

Matt didn’t respond for a few moments. When he did, he spoke very slowly. “Is there a chance, that if I testify, Boone won’t be found guilty?”

Mr. Eckerton sighed. “I’m no attorney, Matt-“

“But you’ve dealt with stuff like this before.”

“I have, and I’ve always tried to protect you from it. The United Kingdom has made great strides for werewolf rights over the past few decades, and it is by far a better environment than Australia, but there is a long way to go. I hope you one day live in a world where whether a person has lycanthropy or not won’t affect the outcome of a trial, but prejudice is unfortunately not something that can be changed overnight. You learned about the prejudice against you at far too young an age, and now you are learning more, again at a young age.”

“I’m almost of age, Dad,” Matt said quietly.

“There are some things that none of us are ever old enough to handle,” Mr. Eckerton said, slowly shaking his head. “Stuart Boone’s lycanthropy will play a role in his trial. That is something in which I am confident, and because of that, he needs all the help, all the witnesses, he can get. Your testimony could only help him. It would not be a guarantee of a not guilty verdict, but it would help.”

Matt nodded. “Can I think about it for a few days?”

“For a few days, yes,” Mr. Eckerton said. “But make a decision soon. Even with magic things run slow in government and we’d need as much time as possible to submit that paperwork to a judge.”

Albus tried not to look too surprised at Matt’s decision to think about testifying, but the fact that he was even considering it was astonishing. Even a year ago, Matt would’ve asked his parents to do whatever they could to get him out of it, and they would’ve found a way. Albus was certain that the confrontation with Boone in the Shrieking Shack had been a turning point for Matt, even if his progress since seemed small.


A/N: For vacation last week, I was at LeakyCon and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. It was absolutely amazing. Thanks for all the reviews, and special shout out to Bubbles, for leaving the 100th review!


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