Scion of Gryffindor
36 - Trial of Dolores Umbridge
Harry / Tonks ship
It was after lunch, and Harry had just started running the gauntlet of reporters outside the courtroom. He definitely wanted to watch the rest of the trial of Dolores Umbridge and therefore was willing to put up with the questions they shouted at him.
"Mr. Potter, do you have any comment regarding the trial so far?"
"Mr. Potter, is there any truth to the rumor that you and Headmaster Dumbledore are not on speaking terms?"
"Lord-Baron Potter, how is the Potter Labor Pool business doing? Is it true that one-hundred percent of your current employees are werewolves?"
"Harry, how's Nymphadora Tonks in bed?"
This last one caused Harry to stop short and finally turn to the assembled reporters. Seeing his reaction, they stopped shouting and stood with quills posed, nearly salivating at the thought that he'd actually answer THIS question.
"Who asked that?" Harry asked them in a calm-sounding voice.
Remus and Shack, failing at trying to keep everyone away from their charge, shared a look. They had heard that tone from him before.
A reporter near the front raised her hand. She was relatively young, probably about Nim's age, Harry judged, and garishly dressed. "Sissy Smythe, Teen Witch Weekly," she identified herself primly, happy to have captured the attention of the publicity-shy Boy Who Lived.
Harry gave one short nod. "Thank you for identifying yourself so easily, Miss Smythe." He turned and resumed his efforts to get into the courtroom.
"Aren't you going to answer?" another reporter shouted.
Harry stopped with a sigh. "Who're you?"
"Henry Dunkork, The Stars."
Harry gave him a confused look. "The what? I've never heard of that one."
"The Stars. We started with doing horoscopes seventy years ago and branched out from there."
When Harry continued to look blank, one of the other reporters said, "It's a conspiracy rag. Lots of crazy theories. This week I think their main article was, 'Burning swans seen defending the light side.' Absolute rubbish."
Another reporter, smirk on her face, added, "Last week was, 'Chocolate will lead us to the Dark.'"
A third said, "'The Godric - Salazar feud is still ongoing.'"
Dunkork didn't look happy with all these other reporters mocking his paper, but he didn't interrupt.
After a moment of stunned silence, Harry gave a bark of laughter and shook his head. "You people, all of you, are unbelievable." He turned around again and this time managed to make it through the reporters to the courtroom.
He made his seat just in time for the door behind the bench to open and the Wizengamot judicial panel to enter. While they were seating themselves, Amelia Bones quietly entered and took a seat near the panel. Dolores Umbridge was led in by two aurors and shackled into a chair facing the Elders. Everyone's locations were the same as they had been all morning. The only change was Umbridge's expression. She looked inordinately happy or perhaps smug, now.
Once everyone was settled, the Chief Elder said, "Barrister Maloney, do you wish to present further evidence?"
The ministry barrister who was prosecuting Umbridge, and doing a very poor job of it in Harry's uneducated opinion, stood. "If it pleases the court, due to lack of evidence, we will be dropping all charges with the exception of exceeding ministry granted authority."
The audience made a rumbling noise for a few moments before settling back down.
The Elders that made up the court narrowed their eyes a bit at the barrister. The Chief Elder nodded slowly, clearly unhappy. "Very well. If there is nobody else who wishes to present evidence, we will begin our deliberations."
Sighing at the utter insanity of the wizarding world's court system, Harry stood up. "I wish to speak," he said, using the formal words that he'd looked up with Andy and Shack's help. They'd spent the past week looking up procedures for just this circumstance. Fudge would NOT bail Umbridge out of this mess if Harry had any say in the matter.
The Chief Elder looked up at Harry, a glint of hope appearing in her eyes. "Identify yourself and what you wish to say," she returned the traditional phrase.
"I am Harry James Potter, member of the Wizengamot," Harry answered, giving the least of the titles he carried that would still give him the freedom to do what he needed. Not just any witch or wizard could stand up and make some of the demands he was about to make. "I wish to present evidence against former Undersecretary Umbridge that Barrister Maloney seems to have . . . misplaced."
Maloney dropped into his seat and started to look slightly green. Umbridge's smug expression turned sour instantly. The seated reporters all twitched. The spectators whispered amongst themselves.
For their part, the Elders looked much happier at this turn of events. "Very well, Lord-Baron Potter," one of the Elders said, identifying Harry by one of his more impressive titles. "As a member of the Wizengamot, you have the right to question the defendant and present evidence. As you are not a barrister or solicitor by profession, please heed any warnings or suggestions we of the panel give you. You have the floor, Lord-Baron."
Harry nodded respectfully. "Thank you, sir. I shall, of course, heed the words of the panel." He moved out into the aisle and slowly walked down toward the front of the room, eyes locked onto Umbridge. He stopped immediately in front of the table she was sitting behind.
She glared malevolently back at him the entire time.
"I request that the defendant be given Veritaserum," Harry announced.
The audience reacted by shifting and murmuring. It was insulting to the witness to demand the most powerful truth potion before the questioning even started.
The panel, on the other hand, didn't appear to be at all surprised. The Chief Elder nodded toward an auror standing along the wall. That auror stepped toward Umbridge, pulling a vial out of his robes.
Barrister Maloney stood. "I must object. Veritaserum is a very expensive potion to produce. Do we want to waste so much money to force the truth from a witness who has been cooperative?"
Harry turned to look at Maloney. "I'm just speculating, but I think she was instructed to admit to exceeding the ministry granted authority. In exchange, you wouldn't try her for her numerous other crimes, even though several students, myself included, can easily give you proof of them. I find it curious that you, the supposed prosecutor of the case, would agree to drop serious, PROVEABLE charges just to get her to admit to such a minor offense. More curious still when you realize that you have a method to ensure we get the truth out of her without resorting to plea bargaining. Did someone VERY high up in the government give you some orders, perhaps?"
Maloney flushed and glared at Harry. "Look here, you insolent child -"
Harry waved a hand, cutting the man off. "Never mind. Back to Umbridge. Given her orders to basically admit to exceeding her authority, you never asked her anything that could make her look too bad. Therefore she has had no reason to lie so far. Just to put the Elders' minds at ease, if I cannot prove that Veritaserum is necessary in her case, I will pay the cost for the one dose." He turned to the panel. "Is this acceptable?"
The Elders had watched all of this with concealed amusement. It wasn't their job to prosecute the case, but they knew what they were watching as the prosecutor refused to charge Umbridge with anything serious. Harry's implications of high level protection weren't lost on any of them.
Nor on the reporters. They were all writing furiously.
The Chief Elder said, "Yes, Lord-Baron Potter. Your suggestion is acceptable. I wish to hear what proof you can bring to the case." She nodded to the auror again.
As she was being dosed, Umbridge smirked at Harry before her eyes glazed over.
Suspicious of what the look was for, Harry started his questioning.
"Have you ever received any Occlumency training?"
Harry frowned inwardly. If she knew the same thing he did about Veritaserum, namely that you had to answer truthfully but not completely, then Occlumency could help her keep from admitting to everything. He adjusted the questions he was going to ask accordingly.
"Okay, let's start with proving that the Veritaserum was necessary." Harry looked an apology toward Remus. This was going to get ugly. "What is your opinion of werewolves?"
"They are subhuman things that should be put down like the animals they are."
"Are you aware of my business, Potter Labor Pool?"
"Are you aware of the rumors that I'm hiring werewolves for this business?"
"So you know that I'm an advocate of werewolf rights. Are you also aware that I'm personal friends with a werewolf?"
"Given the opportunity, would you lie to me in order to make me, and therefore my business, and therefore werewolves in general, look bad?"
Umbridge's face contorted for a moment as she tried to refrain from answering. "Yes," the hissed answer finally emerged.
Harry turned a short smirk onto the barrister before looking toward the panel of Elders. "I believe we all agree that the Veritaserum was needed?"
All the Elders nodded. "Continue your questions," one of them invited.
"Thank you," Harry said to them politely. He turned back to Umbridge and continued. "In the first class of Defense Against the Dark Arts I had with you, in early September of 1995, why did you put me into detention?"
"You were disrupting class."
Harry almost grinned. This was the perfect example of what he was worried about. She told the truth, just not the entire truth. Time to close off her avenues of creative truth-telling. "Unfortunately, I disagree. You and I, in the course of that lesson, disagreed on whether Voldemort had returned. This escalated to both of us raising our voices. This is what disrupted the class. Is my synopsis correct?"
"You were a disruptive influence on the class."
"That is not what I asked, I'm afraid. Did the disagreement between you and me over Voldemort's return disrupt the class?"
"You were a disruption to the learning environment for the other students."
The Chief Elder spoke up at this point. "Madam Umbridge, you are avoiding the question. Please give a simple yes or no answer. I trust that Lord-Baron Potter will phrase all future questions as to be unambiguous with what he is asking." She fixed him with an intent stare.
Harry bowed his head in acknowledgment of the Chief Elder's words. "Dolores Umbridge, wasn't it in fact the disagreement between you and me that disrupted the class in question?"
Umbridge slumped minutely. "Yes."
"So you punished me by giving me a detention for saying that Voldemort had returned. My statement was in direct contradiction to the official ministry position on his return. Is this true?"
"In light of recent information, specifically the multiple eyewitnesses to Voldemort being in the ministry of magic atrium seven months ago, was I correct in my assertation that Voldemort had in fact come back?"
"It appears so."
"I'll take that as a 'yes.' So in retrospect, you gave me unjustified detention, correct?"
"Lord-Baron," the Chief Elder interrupted, "you're proving you got unjustified detentions. While unfortunate, it does not qualify as a criminal matter."
"I understand that, ma'am. My goal here is to prove that she gave many students detentions - at least some of which were unjustified and politically motivated - and that she behaved illegally during those detentions. If you will bear with me for a moment, I'll be getting there shortly."
"Very well, but if you don't prove your allegations, you'll be in a whole heap of trouble, young man."
Harry nodded to her and continued with Umbridge. "Name all the students you put into detention."
"I don't remember."
"That doesn't surprise me as the list is so long." He reached into a pocket and pulled out a scroll. "Last week I asked Deputy Headmistress McGonagall to prepare a list of students who served detentions with you for the entire school year that you were working at Hogwarts." He turned from his position in front of Umbridge and looked toward the spectator seating. "Professor McGonagall, I believe I saw you earlier. Please come forward and verify that this is the same list that you sent me."
Minerva McGonagall stood and approached the front of the room. After a cold look at Umbridge, she accepted the list from Harry and scanned through it. Giving one nod, she rolled it up and handed it back to Harry. "To the best of my recollection, this is the same list that I gave you, Harry. It's my handwriting as well, so I believe this is the same scroll I owled you last week." She turned to address the Elder panel. "The magics of Hogwarts keep track of all points given and received as well as detentions. The resulting lists are rarely accessed, but the information is available to the Headmaster and his Deputy. That is where I determined that list." She turned back to Harry and rested one thin hand upon his shoulder. So quietly that nobody could hear, she said, "I am sorry, Harry. I didn't know how many detentions she gave you."
Harry put one hand over hers and matched her whisper. "I'm afraid to say that it gets worse, Min. Have a seat and watch her get her due."
With a firm nod, McGonagall headed back toward her seat.
Harry unrolled the scroll and placed it before Umbridge. "Tell me, Dolores Umbridge, to the best of your recollection is this an accurate list of the detentions you oversaw during your one year as a professor at Hogwarts?"
Harry watched the flat eyes flick back and forth as she read the scroll. "I cannot disagree with any of the names on the list," she finally pronounced.
Harry nodded and rolled it back up, placing the list in front of the Chief Elder. "Tell me, are you familiar with an item commonly known as a 'Blood Quill?'"
Several hisses of indrawn breath sounded around the room as everyone reacted to Harry's words.
"Are you aware that it is illegal to force another human being to use a blood quill?"
"Of that list you just read, how many of the students did you order to use a blood quill?"
Her eyes flickered back and forth for a moment. "Not all of them."
Harry smiled grimly. She wasn't going to get away with that kind of a dodge. "Was it more than half of the names?"
"Was it more than three-quarters of them?"
"Was it in fact all but ONE of the names on that list?"
"So of the twenty-three names on the list, you forced twenty-two students to use a blood quill on ourselves, correct?"
"Was I the student with the most detentions with you?"
"How many hours did you force me to write with the blood quill?"
"I don't know."
"Was it, in total, more than one-hundred hours?"
"I believe so."
The hisses of shock from earlier sounded like noises of anger this time around.
"So, you effectively used a torture device upon me for over 100 hours. Do you regret having tortured me?"
Her eyes flickered again. "Yes."
Harry raised an eyebrow in surprise. He didn't for a moment believe the sadistic woman actually regretted it. Thinking about it for a moment, he realized where he'd gone wrong with his question. "Let me rephrase. Would you regret it if you were not on trial?"
She seemed to slump in her chair. Giving him a hateful glare, or at least as hateful as she could under Veritaserum's effects, she growled out, "No."
Harry turned his back on her. "In addition to that list, Chief Elder, I wish to show you the scars on the back of my hand as further proof. Over one hundred hours of a blood quill etching the phrase, 'I will not tell lies,' left its mark." He showed the panel the back of his hand.
While they were examining it, Umbridge suddenly spoke up, "I was under the Imperious!"
Harry, Shack, and Andy had expected this tactic on her part and so had the counter already figured out.
Harry turned to her in mock surprise. Before addressing her, though, he turned to the auror who had dosed her earlier. "Sir, it is my understanding that a person under the effects of Veritaserum cannot volunteer information without prompting. Is that true?"
The man nodded. "Correct, Lord-Baron. The dose she took just wore off."
Harry nodded. "Thank you for your information, sir." He turned to the glowering Umbridge. "Are you seriously claiming that I cast the Imperious Curse on you in full view of the entire courtroom and made you answer my questions?"
She snarled and spat out, "Not that, you idiot. I mean when I," here, her expression shifted to a sad look, "unfortunately was forced to make you use the blood quill."
"You'd rather be thought of as weak-minded than a criminal, is that it?" Harry asked.
She opened her mouth to give a sharp retort, but Harry shook his head. "You haven't bothered to tell anyone about it until now? You, who claim to be a D.A.D.A. expert," his sarcastic tone told his real opinion on that claimed title, "didn't bother to tell anyone that you were under the Imperious Curse all year?"
She took a long time in answering. "No. The Veritaserum must have shaken me out of the grip of the curse."
"So you're claiming you've been under someone else's control since before beginning at Hogwarts and up until moments ago?"
Harry turned to the auror again with a querying look.
The man frowned. "Theoretically possible," he finally admitted.
Nodding in acknowledgement, Harry then turned to Amelia Bones. "I have a question for you, Madam Bones. As head of the D.M.L.E., you are knowledgeable on a wide variety of Dark Curses. If a person is under the Imperious Curse, do they try to justify their actions to themselves?"
Amelia frowned in confusion. "No, Lord-Baron. Due to the nature of the Imperious, the victim would never question any of their actions."
Harry nodded. Turning back to the panel, he said, "I have a memory I would like to present to you all. In it, you will see Dolores Umbridge talking to herself, justifying an attempt to use the Cruciatus Curse upon me."
The audience grew restless again.
Ignoring them, Harry went on. "Based upon Madam Bones's comment, Dolores Umbridge would not be trying to justify it to herself if she were under the Imperious, therefore my memory should prove that she was NOT under the effects of that curse.
"Also within the scene, she is trying to get more Veritaserum from Hogwarts Professor and Master Brewer Severus Snape as she'd used her entire supply in an effort to dose me earlier in the year. Last I heard, doing such a thing outside of a courtroom is illegal." Shack had been very firm that this action, which hadn't struck Harry as all that unexpected at the time, was in fact highly illegal.
"Next, please note the identities of the students, the so-called Inquisitorial Squad, she had doing her dirty work. I believe nearly all of the students' parents are confirmed Death Eaters. As well as three of them, Crabbe, Goyle, and Parkinson, are confirmed Death Eaters themselves. While I don't believe it is illegal in itself for her to have them as a group under her direction - at least before we knew that three of them were Death Eaters - it does appear suspicious. Add to this the familiar mention she makes of Lucius Malfoy, a now-KNOWN Death Eater, and it strongly suggests, at least to me, that she has ties of some sort to Voldemort's organization.
"Lastly, she admits to having sent the Dementors after me back before my fifth year."
"Objection," Maloney said, standing. "How do we know he's going to give a real memory?"
Harry turned to him. "Actually, I thought you'd be thanking me rather than trying to hinder me. I am, after all, doing your job, here. SOMEONE needs to actually prosecute her," Harry said in an acidic tone.
"Very well, then I object," the oily little wizard seated next to Umbridge said, speaking for the first time since Harry had stood up.
Harry rolled his eyes. "I swear upon my magic that the memory I am about to present to this court, should they agree, is accurate and unaltered." A pulse of magic came out of Harry.
Both barristers shut up and dropped into their seats, staring at Harry in something approaching fear.
"I believe that answers your objection, Barrister Howe?" the Chief Elder asked dryly.
Gulping, Umbridge's lawyer nodded.
Amelia sent one of the aurors out to fetch a pensieve. He returned within a minute and placed it on the table in front of the Chief Elder. When he approached Harry with his wand out, Harry stepped back.
Harry shook his head slowly. "My apologies, but there are very few individuals I am willing to let put a wand to my head."
The Chief Elder nodded and waved the auror back. "Considering your history, Lord-Baron, I cannot blame you. Who would you accept?"
"Remus Lupin or former auror Shacklebolt would be my first choices if I am not permitted to do it myself."
The Chief Elder shook her head. "I'm afraid it must be a current ministry employee."
Which left out Min, Harry's next choice of the people available in the room. He looked over at Amelia. "Director Bones?"
Amelia nodded and stood, moving toward him and pulling out her wand. When she was close enough, she whispered, "Thank you for the trust, Harry."
Harry nodded and let her withdraw the memory, placing it with a wet plop into the pensieve.
The Chief Elder said, "We shall review this memory before we make our decision. Lord-Baron, do you have anything further to present?"
Harry shook his head. "I believe I have hit all the high points, Chief Elder. Thank you for your time." He gave her and the other Elders a short bow of respect before heading back to his seat.
Again using the traditional words were spoken. "If there is nobody else who wishes to present evidence, we will begin our deliberations."
This time, nobody spoke. Even Barrister Howe, Umbridge's lawyer, didn't say anything in her defense. The Wizengamot Elders stood and filed through an inconspicuous door behind their table, the pensieve clutched in the Chief Elder's hands.
Satisfied with what he'd done, Harry leaned back in his seat as the room broke into excited buzzing.
"Damn, Cub," Remus said in quiet admiration.
"Well done, Harry. Well done," Shack congratulated him.
"Indeed, Harry. Well done," McGonagall echoed as she slipped into a seat next to him. She sighed. "When you told me that it was going to get worse, I had no idea." She glared at the pale and sweating Umbridge for a moment before turning sad eyes back to Harry. "I am so sorry, Harry. Why didn't you tell me what she was doing?"
Harry spoke in a soft tone in an effort to reduce the sting he knew the words would produce. "I tried, Min. You basically told me to shut up and keep my head down, remember?"
"I didn't mean for you to accept torture!"
Harry shrugged. "Perhaps, but that's the way I took it. Besides, what would you have done? Gone to Dumbledore and eventually gotten yourself sacked. What good would that have done either of us? You'd be gone, and I'd still have to do the lines." A grin came to Harry's face. "Besides, after watching you deal with that hag at my career counseling session and watching you two during her review of your class, I certainly didn't think you were on her side."
McGonagall snorted in a very unladylike fashion. "Please don't say anything, Harry, but most of the staff was about to rebel before those two Weasley rascals took off and set Peeves on her."
Harry's grin widened. "I noticed none of you seemed to try to help her out and control much of anything after that point. All that mayhem the students and Peeves spread sure was something, wasn't it?"
Her eyes sparkled. "Harry, not all the chaos was spread by the children and that annoying poltergeist."
Harry stared at her for a moment before breaking into laughter.
"I always knew there was more to you, Minerva," Remus said with a soft smile.
She graced the former Marauder with a smile.
"I wonder how Fudge will handle this," Shack said pensively.
Harry grunted. "You mean one of his more rabid supporters being thrown into prison?"
"That, too, but I was thinking about the hit he's going to take in popularity when it becomes widely known that it was the Boy Who Lived who put Umbridge away, implying that Fudge told the prosecutor to let her off with little more than a slap on the wrist."
Harry smiled at him innocently. "Did I say that?"
"'Did someone VERY high up in the government give you some orders, perhaps?'" Remus mocked Harry's words to Maloney from earlier.
Harry adopted a shocked look and placed a hand to the side of his face in a blatantly fake expression of disbelief. "Wow, is THAT what you got out of what I said?"
Remus laughed at him. Shack and Min smiled.
Harry dropped his theatrics. "I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow's Prophet," he said with a hard grin.
"Don't count your dragons before they hatch," Shack warned. "Wait until we find out the result of this trial. Ah, they're coming back out. That sure was quick."
The Elders filed back in and resumed their seats. The room quieted rapidly, everyone waiting for their words with bated breath.
Without preamble, the Chief Elder stated, "On the charge of exceeding ministry granted authority, we find Dolores Jane Umbridge guilty.
"Based on the further testimony and memory provided by Lord-Baron Harry James Potter, we additionally find Dolores Jane Umbridge guilty of the further charges: unauthorized use of ministry controlled creatures, namely dementors; twenty-two counts of use of a torture device upon minors, namely a blood quill; illegal use of a ministry controlled potion, namely Veritaserum; possession of a torture device . . ."
The entire room of spectators were calling for blood by the end of the list. They quieted down when the sentence of life imprisonment was handed down.
Victorious, and feeling a bit guilty for feeling satisfied and smug about it, Harry said his goodbyes to Min and began the long process of getting back out of the room to get home. He had some good news to spread.