Holly kept her eyes squeezed tight and she felt her body spin through the fire and ash. She kept her elbows tight to her body so she wouldn’t scrape them on the cement. She was just feeling a bit dizzy when she finally landed on the firm ground. Holly quickly walked out of the grate and straightened up. She made her way through the crowd of people and leaned against a stone pillar. While she waited for Draco, Holly looked around the new and improved Ministry of Magic.
Over the summer it too had a serious facelift. Gone were the Death Eater propaganda posters, the Blood Status stations, and the Snatcher station. Most importantly, the massive statue depicting wizard’s rule over Muggles, was gone from the center of the Atrium. In its place was a fountain, but not the one that had been there previously; the Fountain of Magical Brethren. The new fountain actually looked pretty normal, like it could be sitting in a Muggle garden. Holly watched as the glittering gold water that spouted from the top of the fountain fell down into the basin below with a soft splash.
“Brilliant isn’t it?”
Holly looked beside her and saw that Mr. Weasley had joined her. She gave him a puzzled look at his remark.
He chuckled slightly, “Let’s move closer and you’ll be able to see” Holly waved at Draco as he walked towards them from his grate and the three walked closer to the fountain.
Holly’s eyes widened and she let out a small gasp when she saw what the fountain did. As the shimmering gold water fell, it mingled together and formed translucent images. Holly thought the designer of this fountain deserved an award. The images told a story. Before Holly’s eyes she saw the dark images of the First Wizarding War, the flash of green light that supposedly defeated Voldemort, the few years of peace, the return of the Dark Lord, and finally the Second Wizarding War. The story was not all dark. The images also showed Muggle/Wizard interaction, happiness, laughter, and love. At the base of the fountain were inscribed the names of all who gave their lives in the Wars, both magical and Muggle beings.
“Well? What do you think?” Mr. Weasley asked Holly and Draco.
Holly turned to the men, her eyes shining slightly with tears, “I think it’s magical”
Mr. Weasley nodded in agreement, “Almost time for the hearing, I’ll accompany you down there” He said clasping his hands together. He turned on his heels and started towards the elevators at the edges of the Atrium.
As he walked away, Holly felt Draco tense up beside her. Wordlessly she took his hand and squeezed it for reassurance. She felt a slight pressure back and took it as a good sign. The joined Mr. Weasley and started the journey down to the room of the hearing.
“How do we know we can trust them? This family lied to us after the First War, what makes up think they won’t do it again?”
“The Blacks are dark to the bone. They can’t be trusted!”
“SILENCE!” Holly jumped slightly at the sound of Kinglsey’s booming voice. She was used to him being very soft and calm so this new voice took her off guard.
Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up from behind his desk to silence the crowd. They were all sitting in a circular room with raised pew-like benches. On one side of the Minister for Magic sat the Wizengamot, the highest court of law in the wizarding world. On the other side sat Holly and the rest of the witnesses. The Black family sat in sunken middle part of the room. The council had already sentenced Rodolphus Lestrange to Askaban for his crimes, and cleared Andromeda Tonks’ and her grandson Teddy’s names. The conversation now fell to the Malfoy family; Lucius, Nascissa, and Draco.
“We have only heard one side of the witnesses! The other side will say their statements and then we will decide.” Kingsley said wisely. He looked over at Holly’s bench and nodded. Holly watched as the boy beside her stood up and walked down the chair in the middle of the room beside the Malfoy family.
Harry Potter took his seat quickly and sat waiting for the questions to begin.
“What is your stand for the Malfoy family?”
“Not guilty” Harry replied.
“They pose as no threat to the wizarding community. I believe they have changed sides and have learned from their past mistakes.”
“What evidence do you have to support your claim?”
“In the Battle of Hogwarts I witnessed with my own eyes the actions of the entire family. They never actually fought against us in the first wave of battle and in the second they fought with us. I believe they were only siding with Voldemort in the first wave because they had been threatened with their lives.”
Kingsley addressed the crowd again, “Harry Potter has had a long history with the Malfoy family, tracing back to his first day at Hogwarts. He was never friends with Draco Malfoy; many would even call them enemies at school. Harry Potter also had various run ins with Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy throughout the years including the Quidditch World Cup, the re-birth of Lord Voldemort, and the fight at Malfoy Manor. Mr. Potter, with all these instances in account does your claim still stand?”
“Yes it does.” Harry said confidently. Holly swelled with pride at her brother’s words. As he sat back down beside her, she squeezed his hand in thanks. After a few more witnesses were questioned, it was soon her turn. Mr. Weasley passed by Holly on his way to his seat; he had just defended the Malfoy family, explaining how they had saved him and his family in the battle.
Holly looked up at the council and immediately paled when she saw everyone’s eyes on her. She took a deep breath and thought about saving Draco and his family from Azkaban. Her head cleared instantly and was ready for the questions.
“Please note that Holly Potter will not be a witness to Draco Malfoy as there is a conflict of interest. She will be a witness for Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.” Kingsley stated. Holly nodded in agreement. The questions for Draco’s parents when smoothly. She calmly explained how they had changed sides after she woke up and how they had fought against their ex-comrades.
“What is your stand on Bellatrix Lestrange?”
“She was a supporter of the Dark Lord and I don’t believe she could have changed.”
“Do you or do you not think she should have died?”
The question took Holly aback, “W-well I don’t think anyone should die an unnatural death.” Instantly the room filled with urgent whispers. Holly saw that Mr. Weasley had gone ashen and she realized what she had done.
“However,” Holly added loudly to be heard over the whispers, “We were fighting in a war. Bellatrix Lestrange had tortured and killed many of our own over the years including Frank and Alice Longbottom, and Sirius Black. I also personally witnessed her attempts to kill many of our people in the battle including Ginny Weasley, Oliver Wood, and Dean Thomas. If we hadn’t killed her, she would have killed many more of us.”
The room was silent after Holly’s monologue. She looked back up at Mr. Weasley and he nodded slightly at her. Kingsley Shacklebolt looked around the room, as if waiting for another debate to ensue. When none did he clapped his hands together, “Very well. We will talk together and decide the fate of the rest of the Black family shortly. Witnesses may go, Malfoy family, please enter the side chamber; we will get you soon.”
Holly got out of her chair and joined Harry and Mr. Weasley outside the hearing room. “Well? How do you think it will go?” She asked Mr. Weasley.
“I think we argued our case as well as we could. It’s up to the council now.” Mr. Weasley replied.
“Alright, I had to go. I’m meeting Ginny soon to go visit Teddy and Andromeda” Harry said, “See you both Saturday” He finished with a wave. Holly watched his walk down the corridor to the elevator and then turned to Mr. Weasley.
“So, we’re looking for a house again.” She started.
Mr. Weasley looked at her seriously, “Nightmares again?”
Holly sighed, “Yes, Draco this time. I think we need to be somewhere away from people until we get a handle on them. Was that house near you still available?”
“Of course, I’ll send an owl before I leave and stop in sometime tomorrow.” Mr. Weasley replied, “What’s Draco going to do when you go back to school?”
Holly ran a hand nervously through her hair, “I’m not really sure. He’s told me he doesn’t want to go back to his parents but he also doesn’t want to go back to school. I’m actually considering not going back to Hogwarts just so I can stay with him”
Mr. Weasley shook his head, “No don’t do that. We’ll keep an eye on him. It will be easy if you’re so close. Maybe you could ask Fred and George if he could get a few shifts at the shop. Not for babysitting, more as more company.”
Holly nodded, “Good idea. Thank you for everything Mr. Weasley. You’ve helped us so much these past few months.”
He waved her thanks off, “My pleasure Holly, don’t worry about it.” Mr. Weasley gestured towards the elevator, “They’ll probably be awhile, why don’t we grab some coffee at the Atrium Café and wait? I’ll send the owl on the way” Holly nodded and they made their way towards the elevator while discussing retail and moving arrangements.