Love conquers all

Chapter 4: The Wizengamot

The day came when Ginny had an appointment with the psychologist. It was not something that she looked forward to very much, but she had made a promise to give it a chance. She got ready to leave for St. Mungo’s and said goodbye to her mom and Harry, who was still living at the Burrow. He never really could get himself to leave the house, only when he had to go to Quidditch practice now and then.

“Good luck, Angel,” Harry whispered, while he gave her a brief hug.

“Thank you.” Ginny tried to give him a small smile but it was really difficult for her to do so. It was really hard for her to keep her inside still. Her stomach felt like it had a million little beetles gnawing on it. Trying to shake her worries aside she walked over to her mother and gave her a hug.

“You’ll do fine, sweetie,” Molly said and hugged her daughter and then stood back. Ginny gave one last smile and a wave and then Apparated to St. Mungo’s.

When Ginny had left, Harry sat down at the kitchen table. He didn’t really know what to do except wait for Ginny to return. He just hoped that the psychologist could help Ginny work this through.

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Harry still sat at the kitchen table when Ginny returned to the Burrow with a loud pop two hours later. Ginny looked beat and her eyes were red-rimmed. Harry rose from his chair and gave her a big hug.

“Are you okay, Gin?” Harry asked.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Ginny shrugged and tried to smile, but it never really reached her eyes.

When Mrs. Weasley came into the kitchen she also gave her daughter a hug. Mrs. Weasley knew that Ginny might not want to talk too much about what had happened at the psychologist and therefore she didn’t mention anything.

The following day found Ginny and Harry sitting under the large oak tree in the garden. Not much was said, they were both content with just being together. But after awhile Ginny broke the silence.

“You know, I think it really would help me going to that psychologist, Mrs. Smith. She is really nice in some way and she’s a great listener.”

“That’s really great Gin, I’m happy that you’re getting help from someone like her. But I wish you would talk a bit more with us too, I know it’s hard but I just want you to get through this,” Harry said and looked her in the eyes, trying to make her understand that he would like to help her too.

“I know that. Just please give me some time,” Ginny begged. “I know you all want me to get better, and I really think that everything will get well again someday.”

“I know, just know that I’ll be there for you when that time comes.”

“Thank you for understanding.” Ginny reached over and gave Harry a hug.

The rest of that afternoon was spent relaxing by the pond and enjoying the sun.

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Time went by and a few weeks before Harry’s birthday Ginny received an owl from the Ministry of Magical Law Enforcement. It said that she was expected in one week’s time to stand as a witness in the trial against Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Goyle. When Ginny read the letter she couldn’t help but get really nervous about going there. It would be the first time she would have to face them. She was not sure if she could do that.

Harry could see that she was worried about going to the trial, and tried to reassure her that he and the rest of the family would be there with her. And they would make sure that no one hurt her again. But it never really helped Ginny; she was still worried sick about going to the trial. At her next meeting with the psychologist she tried to talk about her fears about going to the trial, and Mrs. Smith was real understanding and tried her best to help Ginny get over her fears.

When the day for the trial came, Ginny woke up at six o’clock in the morning and was unable to sleep anymore. So, she walked down into the living room and sat by the fireplace. Harry found her there one hour later.

“Morning, Angel,” Harry said and plopped down in the sofa next to her.

“Morning Harry, did you sleep well?” Ginny asked, trying to sound calm and at ease. But Harry heard the nervousness in her voice and turned to look closer at her.

“Mm, I did, how about you? You’re up really early.” Harry reached out and tugged a stray lock of hair away from her eyes. That simple gesture almost made Ginny cry; she was trying really hard to look poised and calm.

“Yeah I guess so. I just couldn’t sleep anymore, you know, it’s a big day today,” Ginny tried to explain.

“Yes it is a big day, can’t wait to see that ferret and his cronies locked up in Azkaban.” Harry tried to make her smile but he saw that it never really reached her eyes. The mention of Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle almost made Ginny sick.

“I’m sorry Gin, didn’t mean to bring that up. I guess you’d rather talk about something else?” Harry asked and hugged her; he could see that she still wasn’t quite ready to talk about that.

After awhile Ginny said, “It’s okay, I need to be able to talk about it some day, and I need to tell the whole Wizengamot about what happened that day. It’s not something that I look forward to, but I know that I have to do it; otherwise they might end up hurting someone else. And I’m really glad that you all are going to be there.”

“Mm, I’m happy that you feel that way, that is one step in the right direction,” Harry said and smiled.

Ginny gave Harry a small smile and rose from the sofa, and then she leaned down and gave him a small kiss on the cheek and whispered, “Thank you.” Then she walked up the stairs to get ready for the trial.

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At precisely one o’clock the whole Weasley family, plus Hermione and Harry stood outside the large doors leading to courtroom number 10. Harry had a small flashback to his fifth year when he himself had stood in the centre of the room, accused of using underage magic. But as they entered the room Harry could see one difference from last time he had been there. At the centre of the room there was not just one but three chairs. As he saw these chairs he felt his inside boil with anger and knew that he would have a hard time even looking at Malfoy and his cronies without feeling the need to punch them right then and there.

Mr. Weasley, who walked beside Harry, saw the fury in the young man’s eyes, and gently put a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Calm down Harry, I know how you feel, but it wouldn’t do anybody any good to try and get revenge on your own. Let the law deal with them. We have a good case and they are sure to get a long punishment in Azkaban,” Mr. Weasley said in a calm voice.

Harry willed his insides to calm down and sat down with the rest of the Weasley family and watched as Mrs. Weasley followed Ginny down to greet Mrs. Jones, who waited at a small table at the front. Mrs. Weasley gave her daughter one last hug before going back to sit with the family.

Five minutes later a door opened to the right and about fifty witches and wizards in plum-coloured robes came into the court room. They all sat in the balcony overlooking the three chairs in the middle. Harry’s eyes sought out the familiar faces he knew among the members of the Wizengamot: there was Amelia Bones, the new Minister of Magic (Fudge had stepped down sometime during Harry’s seventh year at Hogwarts), and then there was Dumbledore who sat in the middle as he was still Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. Harry also recognized a few other members but he didn’t remember their names.

The trial began shortly after, and a Wizard rose up and said in a booming voice, “This is the trial against Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Crabbe, and Mr. Goyle, who are all accused of attacking and abusing Ms. Ginny Weasley.” After a short pause he continued, “Is everyone ready?”

He looked down at the Court Scribe sitting to the right of the benches were the members of the Wizengamot were seated. The elderly witch with grey-streaked hair nodded her head and took up her quill. (Percy had stopped working for the Ministry when Fudge had stepped down, and now he was the assistant manager at Flourish and Blott’s. His relationship with his family was still somewhat strained but he had been forgiven and was now again attending all the traditional Weasley family gatherings.)

“Very well then, please escort the three accused in.”

At this, a door to the left was opened and Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle came in. Each was flanked by two Aurors in black robes.

When Harry saw the three men walk in he felt bile rise in his mouth and he clenched his fingers so hard that he almost broke through the skin of his palms. Then his eyes sought out Ginny sitting in the front with Mrs. Jones. He saw that Mrs. Jones had put a reassuring arm around Ginny’s shoulders, which had gone rigid the moment the group had walked into the court room. If Harry had been able to see her face he would have seen her pursing her lips and looking straight ahead, trying to avoid looking at them. But as the group passed the table and walked towards the three chairs, Harry saw Malfoy send her one of his typical sneers and wink at her. Crabbe and Goyle looked meeker and kept their eyes to the floor. As soon as they were seated the chains wrapped themselves around their wrists and ankles.

Then the trial began. Harry never paid much attention to what was said, he only looked down at Ginny and he could almost see the chaotic emotions run through her body.

The lawyer representing the three prosecuted stood up from behind another table. Harry had been so focused on Ginny that he hadn’t noticed him until he stood in the centre of the room and addressed the Wizengamot. Then he proceeded to lay out a long story that would prove that the three accused had never set foot in Hogsmeade that day. He even called a witness who claimed to have seen the three young men in his pub that very day.

When Mr. Weasley saw this witness he leaned over to Harry and whispered, “I know this guy, have seen him in another trial, in which he also claimed to have seen an accused murderer being in his pub at the time of the crime. I believe he is well known for being easy to buy, if you know what I mean. He owns a dingy little dark place down Knockturn Alley.” Harry nodded his head and saw the so-called witness sit down after telling his story.

When it was time for Mrs. Jones to speak her case, Harry could see that Ginny turned more rigid. He wished that he could be by her side to try to ease some of the tension from her. Mrs. Jones laid out their case for the Wizengamot and she showed the clasp with the Malfoy crest as evidence that Mr. Malfoy at one point had been at the crime scene. When Mrs. Jones had finished her speech, she ended by calling her witness, Ginny Weasley.

Luckily Ginny could remain in her seat and didn’t have to move to the front were she would be faced with Malfoy’s glare. She however stood up and in a quivering voice told the Wizengamot what had happened that day. Harry could almost hear the tears in her voice. His heart broke for her and he hoped for this to end really soon. He looked around him and saw that the rest of the Weasley family had pain and anger written in their faces as well. Mrs. Weasley was crying silently on her husband’s shoulder, her heart breaking at hearing what her little girl had gone through.

When Ginny was done speaking and the members of the Wizengamot had asked their questions, Mrs. Jones finished off by saying that they had a recording of Ginny’s memory from that day. This was to further establish the three prosecuted were indeed very guilty of this crime. At this Harry saw Malfoy’s shoulders tense and he could tell Malfoy tried to look back at Ginny, but the restraints on him didn’t allow him to do so.

The Wizengamot members agreed to see this memory from the pensieve. Then Mrs. Jones lifted the pensieve up from beside her chair and walked into the middle of the room and placed it on a small table. She waved her wand a few times and muttered a few spells to unlock it. Then she gave one last flick with her wand and the characteristic white swirling smoke rose from the stone basin.

Harry gripped the armrest of his chair, preparing himself for what he was about to see. Together with the rest of the people in the court room Harry saw Ginny walk down an alley in Hogsmeade. Suddenly the image turned blurry but the sound and voices were still there. Harry jumped when he heard Ginny scream and beg them to stop. It chilled him to the bone thinking about what they did to her. He looked down to Ginny, she had her head buried in Mrs. Jones embrace and she was crying.

At the very end of the memory everybody could hear a gruff voice speak up, “Come on Draco, let’s get out of here before someone sees us.” Then the mist evaporated and the court room went silent.

Both Crabbe and Goyle had slumped down in their seats, as if they knew that they were bound to get sentenced. But Malfoy still sat up straight and had his head lifted up, staring up at the members of the Wizengamot. As if he dared them to sentence him, a member of one of the oldest magical families in history. True, his father might have been a Death Eater, but that didn’t outshine that the Malfoy family had been highly respected throughout the ages.

A wizard rose and announced that there would be a short break, during which time the Wizengamot would decide what the verdict would be. And then the whole Wizengamot rose and walked out of the room.

About five minutes later they walked back into the room and sat down. When Harry saw them walk in he held his breath and sat up straight in his seat; he wanted to hear what their sentences would be.

“Now that we have heard all the evidences in this case, it is time to hear the verdict,” Dumbledore said and rose from his seat. The room went silent in seconds and everyone in the courtroom looked expectantly up at the Chief Warlock.

“This is a serious case that has everyone wondering what the world has become, when something like this happens. Before I give the verdict, I want to give my deepest sympathy to everyone that this affects, not only Ms. Weasley and her family and friends but also the families of the accused sitting in this room,” Dumbledore said and first nodded his head to where Harry was sitting with the Weasley family and then to the other side were Harry could see two women sitting. They looked pale and frightened and both had tears in their eyes. Harry guessed they were Crabbe’s and Goyle’s mothers. For a short moment he felt sorry for the two women, because he knew that they had both lost their husbands in the last battle against Voldemort, both fighting on the dark side of the war.

“The verdict is as follows,” Dumbledore said and paused briefly before continuing, “Mr. Malfoy is sentenced to lifetime in Azkaban, Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Goyle will be sentenced to 50 years each in Azkaban. The verdict is not subject to change at any point or under any circumstances. This case is closed. Have a nice day.”

With that last word said, the Wizengamot rose and walked out of the room. Harry vaguely noticed that the mothers of Crabbe and Goyle cried out loud when they had heard the verdict being said. But he only had eyes for Ginny and ran down to the front of the room and hugged her tight.

“Shh, Angel it’s all over, they will never harm you again. It’s all over,” Harry soothed Ginny and held her still crying form. Harry let go of her when he noticed Mrs. Weasley standing beside him, she also wanted to give her daughter a hug.

Harry stood back and looked to the centre of the room where Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle were rising up from their chairs. Harry walked a bit forward and glared at them as they walked past him. Malfoy walked in back, flanked by an Auror on each side. When Malfoy saw Harry standing there, he took one step to the side, standing right in front of Harry. The two Aurors reached out for him, and tried to pull him back. But Harry lifted his hand and shook his head and said, “No it’s alright; I wanted to give him a bit of advice in case he ever gets near Ginny again. Oh no, that’s right, that will never happen, as he is to spend the rest of his life in Azkaban. Oh well, I guess you can just take him along then.” Harry gave Malfoy a smug smile and wiggled his fingers in a mock goodbye wave.

“Shut it Pothead, I’ll spend forever relishing the fact that I was able to take something from the great Potty that he would never be able to get back. Your girlfriend’s most prized possession. I wonder why she never gave it to you; you had a whole year claiming it? I guess all you have left is a pretty little slut to call your own! Tsk, what a waste of…” SLAM!

Before Malfoy was able to say another word, Harry’s fist hit him right on his nose. Malfoy cried out in pain and bolted right ahead and tried to reach Harry. Harry faced his enemy of eight years and swung at him again and again and again. He was able to hit Malfoy at least three times before the two Aurors had pulled Malfoy at a safe distance. But Harry saw red and followed them, crying out in rage. He suddenly found himself restrained by strong arms belonging to Mr. Weasley, Bill and Charlie.

“Let go of me, let me have him, let me… I’ll kill him… he has no right… let me go…” Harry was beyond reason and all he saw was Malfoy’s sneering face, which now was covered in blood. But the three Weasley men didn’t let him go.

“Harry! Harry, listen to me! Calm down! This is doing no good, please calm down will you? Calm down, for Ginny’s sake, please,” pleaded Mr. Weasley and stood before Harry and looked him straight in the eyes. When Harry heard Ginny’s name, he looked back and saw Ginny’s horrified expression and calmed down a little. His shoulders slumped and turned to Malfoy still standing between the two Aurors.

“I hope you would enjoy your lifelong stay in Azkaban, the world on the outside would surely not miss looking at your sorry face,” sneered Harry. Just then Dumbledore came rushing in to the courtroom, followed by about five other members of the Wizengamot.

“What’s going on in here?”

One of the Aurors told what had happened, and as Dumbledore heard the story, he kept looking at Harry with that annoying stare that Harry had seen countless of times. Harry looked down in the ground and just hoped that he could get out of here soon.

“I do not, in any circumstances at all, want to have disorder in this courtroom, is that understood young man?” said Dumbledore in a stern voice.

Harry nodded his head and kept looking to the ground but when he heard Malfoy snigger quietly, he quickly looked up and glared at the white-haired boy daring him to say anything, anything at all. But no word came from Malfoy.

“Well, I can understand from Mr. Jackson here,” Dumbledore nodded toward the Auror who had told him what happened, “that there was some sort of provocation going on and therefore I will let you, Mr. Potter, go with a fine of 20 galleons for disturbing the peace in this courtroom. This is to be paid in one week’s time.”

Harry nodded shortly and turned to walk away. He didn’t care about the fine, he just felt somewhat glad that he had hit Malfoy. Ginny walked over to him and gently took his hand.

“I’m sorry Angel, I…” whispered Harry, trying to make her understand.

“Shh, it’s okay, I understand. I would have hit him also, if I have had the guts to do it,” smiled Ginny and gave him a small kiss on the cheek.

Just then Mrs. Weasley said, “I believe that is enough excitement for one day. Shall we all go home and have dinner?”

Then she put a reassuring arm around her daughter and walked out of the courtroom, followed by the rest of the Weasley family, plus Harry and Hermione.

The family dinner was joyous and as loud as any other normal Weasley dinner. They had lots to celebrate this day. Everyone was elated that Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle all had got sentenced to Azkaban.

When the dinner was almost over, Ginny clinked her glass and rose. Everyone went silent and looked expectantly to the youngest member of the Weasley family. Harry smiled reassuringly at her, giving her a silent support, Ginny returned his smile and took a moment to look at each of her family members.

“I don’t really have anything planned to say. But I just wished to say that I’m so glad that you were all there for me today. Even though it was hard to stand there and tell what happened that day…” at this Ginny paused, and closed her eyes, trying not to cry, then continued, “But knowing that you now know what happened somehow makes it easier for me now. I don’t know if I can explain it, but just know that I believe that I’ll get everything sorted out eventually. I love you guys…” At this she sat down and felt a small tear prickle its way down her cheek.

Everyone at the table nodded their heads and then Fred raised his glass and called a toast, “To Ginny, our brave and wonderful sister whom we all love dearly.”

Everyone raised their glasses in a toast, and George added, “And to Harry, the defender of our sister’s honour who is not afraid to kick some serious Malfoy arse.”

“George, language please. That is not something I wish to hear at my dinner table,” shrieked Mrs. Weasley. But when she saw everyone laughing and clinking their glasses, she couldn’t help but chuckle a bit herself. She knew that her sons just wanted to have some fun, and fun they needed this night.

In all the commotion at the table, Harry felt Ginny slip her hand in his and squeeze it gently. He looked at her sideways and gave her a lopsided smile and mouthed, “I love you”. Ginny felt her cheeks blush a little and smiled, then leaned over to kiss him. This didn’t go unnoticed by the twins.

“Look brother dear, the fair princess is thanking her prince charming in shining armour.”

Now it was Harry’s turn to feel a blush creep up his neck. He let a nervous hand run through his hair and looked down to his now empty plate.

“Okay that’s enough from you two, you’re helping me with the dishes tonight,” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed and she began clearing the table. Both Fred and George rose from their seats and reluctantly began clearing the table as well.

Harry vaguely heard the twins’ complaints; his focus was more on Ginny who now rose from her seat pulling him with her. They walked out into the garden and found their usual spot under the oak tree. The rest of that night was spent in almost silence; they both relished in the fact that the trial was over and now they could begin looking ahead.

Harry sat beside Ginny, thinking about what their future would bring them now. He knew that it might take some time before everything would be back to normal. He just wished that his relationship with Ginny would progress in a positive direction, but when would she be ready to take the next step? Harry still pictured him and Ginny getting married and doing everything that that would involve. He knew that she might find it difficult doing anything physical with him without remembering what Malfoy did to her that day. Whenever they had been together in the last couple of days, she was content just sitting together with him, just like they were doing right now. He could feel that she needed the space, and whenever he tried to initiate anything else she would recoil slightly and give him a weak smile and excuse herself. They had kissed a few times but that was only because she had taken the initiative to do so.

Harry sighed and looked down at Ginny who now rested her head in his lap. Somewhere deep inside him he had this foreboding feeling that this was not the happy ending he so much wished it to be. But he just promised himself that he would try to take it ever so slow, even if it would be really difficult for him to do so. In spite of those difficulties, he wanted this to work out. He knew deep down in his heart that he loved Ginny, no matter what had happened to her, and never would he look at her any differently than before. With that in mind he rested his head against the rough bark of the oak tree and relished the silence that surrounded them.


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