Fanfic: The Truth’s In My Eyes by MissMarauder35 (Free to read, 564,411Clicks)

Description:

When a series of changes are made to the justice system, Sirius is given his first ever fair trial.

Characters:

Creator Chose Not To Use Archive WarningsSirius Black/Remus LupinAlternate Universe Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence

Summary:

Summary:

When a series of changes are made to the justice system, Sirius is given his first ever fair trial.Safe to say, everyone is surprised by the outcome.

Notes:

I based this loosely on the UK’s justice system, but not all is accurate as I made parts up. Similarlry, I’m not entirely sure that everything in reference to the wizarding world is cannon.None of theses characters are my own and belong to J.K Rowling. While I love these characters and the story, I do not support her or her terfy ways.

Chapter 1: 1

Chapter Text

Chapter 1:
 
3rd November 1986
The daily prophet was thrown through the black iron bars as it was every day, though Sirius allowed himself to feel that this day was special. It was his birthday so, obviously, the guard was offering this as his gift. Wishing himself a happy twenty-sixth and wondering, as he had done on the four previous birthdays he had spent locked away in his cell, what James would have looked like… what did Remus look like now? Sirius imagined himself teasing them for being oldest, even though the other one was actually the oldest, having been born in September. He imagined James’ outraged face and Remus’ impassive smirk, the one he gave when he was pretending that he wasn’t amused. Sirius wondered whether Remus even remembered that it was his birthday. Probably not. Probably wanted to forget Sirius even existed.Swallowing hard, Sirius unrolled the paper and began to read. The front page had a large picture of a young woman, probably around his age, holding up a thick wad of parchment. The neat print on the papers was clearly visible, even in the moving picture: ‘Conviction (Amendment) Act 1986’. Sirius smiled unhappily. How brilliant, he thought, that only now the ministry had decided that there should be fairer regulations for defendants. Not that Sirius was sure whether or not he ever even was a defendant, having been thrown straight into Azkaban without trial.Over the last three years, Sirius had been reading front page after front page about a group of campaigners. They called themselves ‘Justice’, an obnoxious name when campaigning against the justice system. They had sparked outrage, initially, but had been rather successful despite the interviews with various members of the public that claimed it would fall through in a month or two when the campaign first began. The teams had progressed quickly, and Sirius had followed their growth half-heartedly, not wanting to get his hopes up about anything. The ‘Appeals of Conviction Act 1983’ had been the very first success and was front page news for weeks considering it had been achieved in just a year. It had sparked Sirius’ interest, and he had allowed himself to think that, maybe, there might be hope for him. But months passed in silence, and that hope had fizzled out like a faulty sparkler. A handful of other acts had been published after that: the ‘Rights of Defendants Act 1984’, the ‘Rights of Prisoners Act 1984’, which Sirius greatly appreciated as it meant he got full meals every day rather than the scraps he had been thrown before, the ‘Court Reform Act 1995’ and the ‘Rules of Evidence Act 1985’. It had all happened so quickly, but it became clear that the campaign had vasty changed attitudes towards the criminal system. Sirius had read all sorts of new takes in various articles, calling the treatment of prisoners “barbaric”, “medieval” and a number of other choice words that Sirius wholeheartedly agreed with. It was great, all of it was great, but Sirius couldn’t help but read about them with spite.
Would have been bloody useful five years ago.
“Quite so.”The voice had startled him, and Sirius jumped. He hadn’t realised he had spoken aloud, but quite often it seemed that he verbalised his thoughts if the irritated shouts of other prisoners were anything to go by. Sirius looked into the dark mezzanine where the shadow of a figure stood. It wasn’t the guard; Sirius had become well enough accustomed to his silhouette to know that. It was a woman. When the witch lit her wand and the glow illuminated her face, Sirius realised with a pleasantly sickening feeling in his stomach that it was the woman on the front page of the Prophet.“Happy Birthday, Mr Black.” The woman said. The guard did appear now, and with a tap of his wand a section only big enough for himself and then for the woman of the iron bars became oddly translucent before quickly fading into an opaque black the second the two strangers to Sirius’ cell passed through.Sirius sat frozen. Never before had another person been caged in with him, and until now Sirius’ only company had been the rats that scurried through that gaps in the iron bars. The guard stood at the corner of the cell, wand in hand and his eyes trained on Sirius. The woman waved her hand vaguely at Sirius, which he took as a signal to stand. He did so slowly, still unsure if he was having a manic episode or whether, perhaps, this was really what he thought it might be. He jumped again when the witch waved her wand at him, but he felt nothing. Instead, there was a movement behind him and when Sirius turned around, the cot he had been sitting on was now a plush red armchair.“You were in Gryffindor, I believe?” Sirius turned back around to face the witch when she spoke. He nodded mutely and she smiled. She turned away from him and conjured an armchair of her own. It was blue.  The witch sat down and crossed her legs. She straightened her knee length pencil skirt casually, as if this wasn’t the strangest thing that Sirius had experienced in years and looked up at him expectantly. “I can get you a sofa, if you would prefer?” Sirius was confused until he remembered the armchair the witch had conjured for him and he sat too. it felt wrong to be sitting in such a nice seat wearing the grey and white striped coverall that he had on. Another blessing of the new rights of prisoners was acceptable clothing that didn’t let prisoners freeze, and which meant they had to be cleaned regularly. Still, it didn’t feel right.The witch smiled at him again. “I’m Angelina Hallwood. I head the Justice campaign, which I can see you are already familiar with.” She nodded to the forgotten newspaper on the floor beside where Sirius’ cot had once been. Sirius remained quiet, not quite remembering if that was a part of conversation which he was meant to reply to, or if it wasn’t intended to have gotten a response. Conversation felt so foreign now. “Mr Black, how would you feel about my team taking on your case?”Sirius blinked at the witch blankly. “You…” he spoke, his voice tight with the anxiety of speaking to a real person for the first time in so long. “You want to take on my case?”Hallwood nodded and leaned forward eagerly. “Your case is possibly one of the most unjust incidents that Justice has been wanting to look into. It has been very tricky for us to get permission to see you, Mr Black, as – as I’m sure you already know – your case coincides with the most famous event in the last century. The death of the Potters and the story of The Boy Who Lived made the ministry very reluctant to put your case on trial. They’re afraid that it will upset the balance of a calm only recently established. They are right, of course, but after years of consultations with the Minister of Magic and the Wizengamot, and with the new laws which have been published, they really had no choice but to allow it.”Years. Sirius thought. Why did he deserve years of these peoples’ time? He was innocent, he knew that, but the rest of the country thought the exact opposite. Sirius couldn’t help but wonder… “Do you think I’m innocent?” he asked. Hallwood’s face shifted slightly, it wasn’t as chipper as it had been before.“I think” she began, her tone measured, “that you were never given the appropriate opportunity to prove otherwise. I am well aware when we take on these cases that the result may be that the defendant was guilty all along. But at least the outcome will be just, Mr Black. Do you understand?”Sirius nodded and dropped his head. “You think I did it.”“Mr Black?” the witch spoke gently and paused. Sirius lifted his head to look at her. “I can’t possibly know that yet. The issue with your case is that there is really no case at all. No evidence other than what happened at the scene of the crime, no investigation into the event at all. Your testimony was stored but disregarded and your case essentially ended the moment you were arrested. We want to investigate what happened, Mr Black, and if you were innocent then we will know.”“Right.” Sirius nodded. “Okay, I’ll do it.”Hallwood smiled again. “Perfect. I need to ask you one very important question before we proceed any further, Mr Black.” She gave Sirius a suddenly severe look and leaned even further forward. Sirius felt as though he was pinned to his seat. “Can you tell me in all honesty that you are innocent of the crimes you are convicted of.”Without missing a beat, Sirius answered.“Yes.”~~~
12th November 1986
 “Move it, Black.”The guard tapped his boot impatiently at the shimmery iron gates of his cell. Sirius stared at them, the translucent image of something that was no longer there. The freedom it teased. His wrists were bound in manacles, so ‘freedom’ was an ambitious word, but it felt like it all the same. Sirius stared at the line where the floor of his cell met the mezzanine, frozen.“Oh for Merlin’s—” the guard gave a sharp yank to the chain which connected Sirius’ wrists to the other man’s hand so that Sirius was forced to take an abrupt step forward, right over the threshold of his cell. “Better?” the guard asked, irritated.“Sorry.” Sirius mumbled.The guard looked him up and down, his lip twisted ever so slightly. “We need to go. Your appointment is in ten minutes.”Sirius nodded and obediently followed the guard, who generously allowed the chain to go slack so that he wasn’t dragging Sirius along. Sirius didn’t know the names of any of the guards, but this was seemed to be the youngest of them all and was by far the fairest. He wasn’t nice, per say, but Sirius assumed that he was the best he could hope for.It was a long walk out of the prison and two the small courtyard which acted as an apparating point. The guard held Sirius firmly around his bicep, which Sirius knew must feel awfully slender and doughy due to the lack of exercise he had had over the past five years and then Sirius was pulled through the vacuum of space. Embarrassingly, he almost fainted when they finally stopped moving, but the guard seemed to have anticipated this and instantly tightened his grip, stopping Sirius from falling.They were outside what appeared to be a new building. It was very modern, with white concrete walls accented with grey pillars and large windows that seemed to stretch from floor to ceiling. Sirius and the guard were standing on a stony path which was bordered by geometric grass patches. A circle of signs reading ‘disillusion perimeter’ ran from a few yards behind Sirius and around the back of the building.“Come on. Five minutes.” The guard spoke.Off the two went again, this time to the entrance. The doors were glass too, which Sirius thought strange but knew it was probably very modern. The guard spoke Sirius’ name to the door and then it slid open smoothly. Inside the building was clean and rather bare. Unlike the exterior walls, the interior was mostly grey with accents of white. It wasn’t dark, though. The windows resolved that. Sirius was led to the front desk, which was also white, where a middle-aged woman with greying black hair greeted them with a smile.“Good morning, Mr Black.” She said. Her voice was bright, and he wondered if she had any idea who he was. he was pretty sure that the entire nation knew who he was, and what he had supposedly done, but the woman didn’t seem to show it. “I’ll just need to check you in and then I’ll call Angie down for you.”After Sirius had scrawled his signature onto a gridded piece of parchment, the receptionist cast an effortless patronas – a robin – and it flew up the flight of stairs to the right of the desk. About five minutes later, Hallwood appeared at the very top.“If you’ll follow me.” She called down, her voice echoing off of the bare walls as she spoke. The guard gave Sirius a small nudge and Sirius went. They met her at the top of the stairs and then she led them down a corridor into a bright room. There was a large round table with a number of people sitting around it, staring at him as Sirius walked in. The three seats closest to the door were empty, one of which Hallwood took. The guard nudged Sirius again, so he sat beside her and the guard took the third seat so that Sirius was sandwiched in the middle.“Good.” Hallwood chirped. “Everyone’s here. Now we all know who this is, but I shall introduce him anyway. This is Mr Black. In 1981, he was convicted for the murder of the Potters without trial. Mr Black claims he is innocent of this accusation, so we will be working as his defence for the trial.” There were a few raised brows, a few drawn brows, and a quiet cough that made Sirius feel rather uncomfortable. Hallwood, however, seemed unperturbed. “First thing’s first, is I’ll introduce you all to Mr Black, then we will set about writing up an outline of his version of events. Mr Black, this to my left is Mr Bramsley, he is an ex-auror and one of my most trusted collegues. To his left is Mrs Pasely, and expert in witness testimony, next to her is…” Hallwood continued until each of the dozen or so people had been addressed. They had all given Sirius a polite nod, which Sirius thought was post likely because they were polite people rather than them thinking he deserved it. He couldn’t remember half of their names, which he felt a little bad for. Most of them were ex-aurors who left the field to work behind the scenes, some were lawyers who volunteered for the organisation and the rest were private investigators who had volunteered also. Hallwood, Sirius learnt, would be representing him in his trial. He felt some comfort in that.“Now, Mr Black, can you please recall the events of the 31st of October 1981 to the best of your ability and in complete honesty?” Hallwood said now as she unrolled a long piece of parchment and set and enchanted quill upon it. Sirius nodded. “Good.” The witch said, then turned to the quill. “The date is the 12th of November 1986. The time is 10:10. This is the account of Sirius Orion Black.” The feather moved frantically is it scribbled her every word.Then she turned to Sirius with expectant eyes, as did everybody else in the room. when Sirius didn’t speak, Hallwood murmured, “Just tell the truth, Mr Black. It’ll be okay.”Sirius took one long, deep breath. He nodded. “Okay. I remember that I had spent the morning at home with my flatmate Remus Lupin. I was trying to decide whether or not I should do something for my birthday, given everything that was happening and the likelihood that nobody would be able to make the time given their duties. We agreed it would be easiest to just do something at home, order food or something…” Sirius looked down to his lap and picked at his thumbs. Remus. It had been so long since Sirius’ life had been that way, since he had not spent every morning waking up to a lonely cell but to his best friend. His— “At the time,” he interrupted his own thoughts, “we… well we thought that Remus might be the traitor. Before he registered as a werewolf, Dumbledore and Moody had him spend a few months with Greyback’s pack trying to get intel, and to see if there were any that we could bring back over to our side. I… I hate that we thought that of him, and of course I now know that he hadn’t done a thing wrong. But we knew there was a traitor and it just… it made sense that it was most likely to be him, since he had spent so much time with that side—”“I’m sorry to interrupt Mr Black,” one of the investigators cut in, “but you say that you regret suspecting your friend. You don’t believe it was him?”“I know it wasn’t Remus.” Sirius said firmly. “He wasn’t the secret keeper, he couldn’t have given away the Potters’ location even if he was the traitor.” The investigator nodded, then his brows drew in. “But were you not the secret keeper?”Everyone’s ears seemed to pick up, reminding Sirius a lot of Moony and a lot of himself when he was Padfoot. He sighed. “I was, originally.”“Originally?” Hallwood turned to him, her eyes bright.“Originally.” Sirius repeated. “It… it was so stupid! We… we thought that I would be too obvious of a choice, and as I say, we thought that Remus was a traitor, so we switched to the only other person we trusted. If we hadn’t…” Sirius clenched his jaw, feeling his throat tighten and his chest ache. “If we’d let it be, James and Lily would…”The room was silent, all that Sirius could hear was his own heartbeat, his gulps as he attempted to fight back angry tears. It was his fault. He hadn’t intended for it to happen, but it wouldn’t have happened if they had just left things as they were.“So then… who was the secret keeper?” one of the lawyers asked.Sirius sniffed and his lips twisted, the name sour on his tongue. “Peter Pettigrew.”“Peter Pettigrew?” the investigator that had first interrupted Sirius cut in. “But he was killed in the explosion. The one you are accused of setting off.”Sirius shook his head. “That wasn’t me. I knew something had happened that day when I was able to remember the location of the Potters. I shouldn’t have been able to because of the spell. So, either Peter was dead, or the spell had been broken. The first thing I did was floo to Peter’s flat, but it was empty. So, I went to Godric’s Hollow and… well I’m sure you can imagine what I found.” He let his eyes focus on the quill, ignoring the people watching him wide eyed when he next spoke. “I wanted to kill Peter. I’ll admit to that. We trusted him. We fucking trusted him and that’s how he repaid us. I wasn’t thinking so I just apparated back to his flat and when I saw that the front door was open, I went out into the corridor and saw him go down the stairs. I followed him, and I should’ve realised that he was up to something. But all I could think about was payback. Returning the favour, I guess you could say. He was in the street and I drew my wand on him, shouting all sorts of things at him. And he just… stared at me, grinning. I asked him how he could do that, what the fuck was he thinking, when suddenly there was a bang and I fell down. There was smoke everywhere as I was standing back up, and I heard screams. I hadn’t even realised that there were other people there. All I had seen was Peter and what a fucking traitor he had been. Then, as the smoke cleared, I saw a rat scurrying away.”There was a long pause. “A… a rat, Mr Black?” Hallwood tilted her head.“Peter.” Sirius clarified. “He was an animagus. We all were.”“You…” Hallwood’s eyes were as wide as everyone else’s. even the guard was staring at Sirius in disbelief. “Can you prove that Mr Black? Can you show us?”Sirius nodded at her and then turned to the guard. “The manacles might fall of though.”  The guard nodded mutely and stood. Sirius followed and watched warily as the man stood with his wand raised and ready to strike him should the need arise. Breathing in deeply, Sirius prepared himself. He knew he could still do it, because he did it almost every night when it was dark enough that no one could see. He felt safer as a dog. It was nice to not think human thoughts for a while.Sirius changed easily, and sure enough the manacles slid right off of Padfoot’s thin legs. The dog heard gasps and even a laugh, and the part of Sirius’ brain that was still human realised that if they hadn’t believed him before – which they probably hadn’t – they believed him more now. He changed back and allowed the guard to put the manacles back on. When they were secure, he looked at Sirius with an odd grin and then went to sit back down.“We were all animagi.” Sirius reiterated. “We weren’t registered, because we did it while we were in school so that we could be with Remus on full moons. We knew it was illegal, but Moony – Remus – tore himself apart every month and we couldn’t bare not doing anything. When we were with him, we entertained the wolf so that it wouldn’t hurt itself.”“Can you prove that Mr Potter and Mr Pettigrew were also animagi?” Hallwood was scribbling notes of her own now, even as the enchanted quill took down a log of everything being said.“I’m not sure that it proves anything, but we made a map while we were at school. We named it the Marauders’ Map, because that’s what we were known as, and we signed it each with out nicknames. Remus was Moony, because he’s a werewolf. I was Padfoot, because of my padded feet when I’m a dog. James was Prongs, because his animagus was a stag and the prat forgot what antlers are called.” Sirius smiled fondly at the memory, but it quickly became a frown. “And Peter was Wormtail, because his animagus was a rat.”“This is… this is brilliant.” Hallwoods shook her head as she continued to write. “I think we actually have a good defence case here.”“You think there’s enough evidence?” Sirius asked her sceptically.“Maybe not enough evidence, but your account changes everything we thought we knew about the case. As long as you win the jury over, you’re a free man.”“Jury?”“That’s right.” One of the volunteer lawyers said. “We’ve taken a more muggle approach. Under the Court Reform Act, you’re entitled to be tried before a jury of laymen who decide the verdict. The judge, no longer the Minister of Magic but a witch or wizard who specializes specifically in law and has had training under the new regulations, decides your sentence should the jury deliver a guilty verdict. Things have changed a lot, Mr Black, and if I do say so myself, they’ve changed for the better.”“That’s right.” Hallwood nodded. “Now, Mr Black, do you think it would be probable that Mr Lupin would be willing to testify that you and your two friends were animagi, and that Mr Pettigrew’s form was that of a rat?”“I—” Sirius thought for a moment then bit his lip. “I think he probably hates me too much for that right now.”“Mr Black, if the court requires him to come and testify as a witness then he must come. I know it must be sore ground for you, and for him too, but if the wrong man is behind bars for such a serious crime then we must set it right. If Mr Pettigrew is still out there somewhere, then we need to bring him to justice.” Sirius nodded and he heard Hallwood sigh. “Well then, I think that’ll be all for today folks. Mr Black, you’ll be staying in arranged accommodation while we wait for your trial. You’re currently on bail but I’m afraid you’ll be put on house arrest.”Sirius shrugged, feeling happily dizzy at the prospect of staying in a house rather than a prison. “Better than what I’ve got now.”Hallwood gave a sympathetic smile. “Quite.”~~~His safe house turned out to be that of an abandoned farm. There was a vast garden, front and back and the wards which kept him bound within the perimeter of the property gave him plenty of room for running about in circles as Padfoot. He couldn’t go far, but it was much further than he had been permitted in his box of a cell.“The wards alert us if you try and pass through the boundary. You won’t be able to get through, but it’ll still tell us you tried. Similarly, it alerts us when a member of your Justice team passes through. Should one enter but not exit within a day, aurors will be by to check that everything is in order and there’s no bodies lying about.” The guard grinned sardonically. As he removed Sirius’ manacles. “Other than that, I’m the only one allowed through.”“Noted.” Sirius said absently as he surveyed his new freedom. “Thanks… erm… sir.”“I’ll be back every morning to check in, make sure there are no issues. New clothes have been put in the wardrobe, and the dress bag has your robes for the trial in it, so keep it safe.”Sirius nodded, then the guard left.The house was nice. Warm and every sofa was plush, as was the mattress of the double bed in his room. The kitchen was stocked with food, mostly canned things that would last a while, but bread and oats also. There was tea and coffee too, which Sirius immediately made and then spat straight back out, having forgotten quite how bitter it was. The clothes were all loungewear, except of course his trial outfit which he handled like they were ancient papers which might rip any moment just from the oil on his skin.At three in the afternoon, the doorbell rang.Hallwood grinned at him when he opened the door, and Sirius couldn’t help but grin back. “Good afternoon, Mr Black. I just wanted to give you an overview on everything we have for you case and to prepare you for the trial on Saturday. You’ll be given another summary of the new court system on the day, but I think it’s fairer to get you properly prepared.”Sirius led her through to the kitchen and made them both a cup of tea and fetched the biscuit tin from one of the high up cupboards before they settled around the coffee table. While he opened the tin, Hallwood flattened a piece of parchment with what looked to be a diagram on it.“Thanks.” She said, accepting a biscuit from the tin Sirius was holding out to her. “Now, this here is the layout of the court. The Judge sits here at the very front, and this box here is where you’ll stand. It’s warded, but comfortable enough. This box opposite is where witnesses will testify and where you will also testify when the moment arises. And these seats opposite the witness box are where the jury will sit. Muggles only have twelve, but we decided that twenty would be a much more diverse number. They will hear the case and testimonies and then decide on a verdict based off of that. You should know that they aren’t bound by law. They can base their decision simply on what they believe is right and the judge has no control over the verdict. Now, this differs to the old system because it is laymen who will you’re your case decide a verdict. Everyday people who come from all sorts of backgrounds. Is that all clear so far?”“Erm… yeah.” Sirius said as his eyes roamed the page.“Good. At the very beginning of the hearing, you’ll plead either guilty or not guilty. You’ll obviously plead not-guilty, and at that point the judge will ask if you would like to appeal your conviction. Normally, in cases where it seems that a prisoner may have been wrongly convicted at their original trial it would go straight to an appeal court, but since you were never given a trial it’s being treated as the very first one. You won’t need any new evidence, unlike and appeal trial – even though we do have new evidence to offer – and even though technically it’s an appeal on your conviction, it will just be performed like a normal trial.”Sirius stared at Hallwood, then blinked. “I… I think I get it.”The witch laughed. “I’ve brought a Justice’s info pack with me for you to have. It has everything you need to know in there if you’re unsure about anything, and we’ll have plenty of time to go over things before the trail. I also need to inform you that Mr Lupin will be attending the trial and will be delivering his testimony. It’s the prosecution who will be calling him up, as it will be for every witness. Their job, Mr Black, is to tell the court that you’re guilty. It’s our job to prove that they’re wrong.”“So Remus will be testifying against me?” Sirius heart dropped, though he didn’t know why he hadn’t expected that. He wouldn’t blame Remus for blaming him for what happened, even if Sirius’ conviction was quashed. Sirius wouldn’t blame him at all.Hallwood shook her head. “No. He’ll just be giving his version of events, Mr Black. It’s the prosecution that will make his account sound like it proves your guilt, regardless of Mr Lupin’s personal beliefs. As long as we can get him to confirm that Pettigrew was, or potentially is an animagus, then that validates your story to some degree and if it brings any doubt on the whereabouts of Mr Pettigrew and on his involvement in the Potters’ death, then it is reasonable that it casts doubt on the running theory as a whole and your guilt cannot be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.” She sighed, and then her tone lightened in a clear and very on-the-nose but mildly appreciated attempt to cheer Sirius up. “Are you looking forward to getting your old life back? Do you have some sweetheart that got left behind that you can go galivanting through fields of stupidly long grass to get back? Some girl that you need to make fall back in love with you so that this can all be one big tragic love story?” she nudged Sirius shoulder playfully and he chuckled.“No… there’s no girl for me Madame Hallwood.”For such an observant woman, Sirius was surprised that Hallwood didn’t catch his meaning but simply smiled and said, “There’s always time for you to find a nice girl when you’re out.”At the door, Hallwood shook his hand. “I’ll see you early Saturday morning, Mr Black. It’ll be a long day, so have an early night on Friday, okay?”“Yes. Thank you.” Sirius answered. He ignored that niggling feeling that by next week he would be back in his cell, in the cold darkness of his cage and he smiled as she tuned to leave. There’s always a chance… he told himself… there’s always a chance…

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