|Synopsis||Holly gets the rest of Sirius' story.|
|Date||Nov 02, 1994|
|Watch For||A quick-quotes quill!|
After talking with Jack for quite awhile and coming to the conclusion that the holes in her memory are nothing that are going to compromise this case, Holly had to go see Sirius immediately. He's probably heard already, but with a copy of the Prophet in her bag, as well as the letter she was sent from some anonymous ministry official, she figures that if he doesn't know, it'll be a good warning.
Opening the door after acquiring the proper permissions, she shoulders into Sirius' room. She hasn't been here, for the simple fact that being buried in paperwork has kept her from the testimony that she needs for the trial. However, with the Ministry bearing down on them, there's no choice. "Sirius? It's Holly. Can I come in?"
Thanks to a few of the rules, Sirius hasn't seen a recent copy of the Prophet in days. Not since the first couple of days he was here. He's heard some rather active whispering amongst guards, but for the most part, he's out of the loop and that's as frustrating as being locked up. He's trying to behave, he's trying to not let certain people get to him. Edwin to name one. As Holly announces herself, he stops mid-stride as he was pacing and looks over his shoulder. A simple nod is made. There's not much furniture in the room beyond the bed and the stand next to it containing a simple lamp. The fewer things there are, the less of a chance of him using as a potential weapon.
She's not exactly following rules herself anymore, mostly because the Ministry's pushed her into being far less polite. Like the Revolutionary war, United States is going to have to start breaking all the rules of engagement to win. She drops the copy of the Prophet on the nightstand.
"This," she says. "And someone obliviated me a couple nights ago." That should pretty much summarise how everything's gone to hell recently. "So we're going to just go ahead and start moving on this, and damn the rules. I'm going to need to get the story now. I can't wait until the Ministry decides to schedule things, because if they have their way…"
The statement is left hanging.
Frowning deeply, Sirius reaches for the Prophet and starts scanning the lead articles. His expression growing ever darker. "Go ahead and shut the door," he utters. He can speak with his lawyer in private, especially if they're going to get on with his side of the story. It's all for the defense and they can have that straight. He stops scanning the Prophet and starts over, this time reading it carefully, taking in the details and uttering a few rude words so often.
"And things were difficult enough," Sirius states in a sour tone. The paper is folded up and set aside as he remains standing. "Agreed.. have you got anything to write with? Or know a few spells to record the conversation?" Things are bleak yes, but he's not the sort to give up easily and all is not yet lost.
"Got this," she says, pulling out a Quick-Quotes quill and a notebook. This one won't spin the story, though. It'll write down the conversation word for word. She only uses it in the very rare circumstance when there is literally no time. "I use it for court reporting and depositions. Got some very good charms on it to prevent it from making up stuff on its own. It'll miss and 'of' or a 'the' once in awhile, but overall, it works."
Setting the notepad aside, she drops the quill on it, and it seems to wake up, shake itself off, and get to writing. "Holly Maplewood, November second, nineteen-ninety-four. Testimony of Sirius Black. Mister Black, I'm going to ask you a few questions. I need you to answer me as honestly as possible. Okay?"
Sirius nods in approval at the quill. Probably the fastest way to keep up. He fairly trusts that the quill isn't charmed for malicious note taking. He gestures for Holly to take a seat if she wants. He will of course remain standing, and of course, pacing with agitation. So that's something the rumors coming from the guards have got right. The man is a bit off his nut being locked up and watched constantly. A hand is waved at Holly, "Ask your questions, you'll get an honest answer." Brutally honest at that depending on the question.
Satisfied, she finally closes the door, and, pulling out her wand, she casts a silencing charm to sound-proof the room. This is noted on the paper, though that's just for Holly, anyway.
"Okay, starting back at Hogwarts." She pacees a few feet, back and forth, to the window, where she makes sure it's closed, then casts another silencing charm. Somewhere between now and the last time she spoke with Sirius, she's become paranoid.
Pulling another notebook out of heer robe, she flips through it until she locates the notes that she's previously taken. "You said you helped Peter Pettigrew become an animagus. A rat, if I remember correctly. This would mean that you had some knowledge of the subject. Why don't you tell me about that?"
Sirius shrugs slightly and glances towards the window. He's quiet a few moments as he collects his thoughts. His expression is unreadable as he thinks back and a distant look is in his eyes. "Back in our second year, we, that is James and I, worked out that Remus was a werewolf. The signs were there, didn't take much to figure that out. He was our best mate, didn't seem right that he had to suffer alone once a month. We couldn't be with him as we were, so we decided at twelve to become animagi. Worked it out on the sly, managed to keep it quiet from the teachers and Dumbledore." Which is a feat in of itself. "James and I had to help Peter quite a bit, and we knew we were breaking the law and didn't care. Remus was more important."
"Yes, I spoke with Remus recently." She'd seen his name on the list of registered werewolves in the Prophet. Again, another battle to fight that, while related to this one, isn't going to help right now. "He spoke to me about the Dementors. Said you had a story to tell…" That was Sirius' story to tell. Obviously, working things out for herself, Holly can see why. This case has so many layers, that when Shrek comes out in a few years, it's gonna make the ogre look shallow.
"So you're an Animagus," she says, eyes narrowing a bit, then glancing toward the door, as if she expects Umbridge to come running in at any moment. "When you're in court, you can't admit you knew you were breaking the law… That's a given. The more you admit, the more you can use against you. When you're in court, I'm going to ask you why you did it, and you need to reply that you did it to help your friend."
They'll go over this again later. Moving on. "Remus is a werewolf. Werewolves notoriously attack humans as part of the curse, so naturally, it would make sense to become animals. But werewolves have hunted small animals in the past, as well." It's rumoured that they exist in the Forbidden Forest, in fact. "So what did you become? What could control a werewolf?"
"I would say I've already had time served for breaking the law," which is to say, Sirius would admit it and not give a damn. Quite possibly biting anyone who said he should serve additional time. "We knew we would need two large animals, and one small. The Whomping Willow on the school grounds, it has a knot at the base that you have to press to still the tree. That's the entrance to where Remus was hidden. As I mentioned, Peter became a rat." In every sense of the word. "James a stag and myself.." Sirius is no longer standing there, instead, is the large black dog that was 'terrorizing' Mo. Letting Holly get a good look first, he then transforms back. "Large enough to communicate, to keep him in check. Took us until our fifth year to work it all out."
"Sirius, we're playing a game here," she says. "The object of the game is to skirt the truth just enough so that they can't have reason to put you away again, because they will - of that, I have no doubt. Generally, people don't like to be told they're wrong. And the Ministry… Well, that's a whole lot of people with enough collective sticks up their backsides to make this extremely difficult to win. So we need to play the game."
Holly has a feeling that it's going to take a lot more convincing than that, but for now, that's all she says on the matter.
The quick quotes quill jabs at the corner of the page, and it flips to the next one. From there, it continues writing.
Holly gets the feeling somewhere deep down that this is all something no one should have ever been privy to. Up to this point, years have gone by, and no one ever knew. Her reaction to the dog? Sirius will be treated to the widening of her eyes, and Holly herself will feel the temptation to roll up the copy of the Prophet she brought with her and smack him across the nose with it. Bad dog!
When Sirius the man reappears, Holly considers. "So you already know how to play the game," she says. After all, he could have told the Ministy he could become a dog years ago. But that would mean admitting he broke the law. Holly sits down on the bed, on the edge. "Sirius, you don't believe you broke any law, do you? Not really. Becoming an Animagus, escaping from Azkaban, that was all stuff that you believe had to be done, isn't it?"
Picking up the Quick-Quotes quill, she flips the back, writes something down, then allows the quill to get back to work. "So you essentially hung out with a werewolf on the nights that he changed."
"It's not a very fun game," Sirius says with a faint growl to his words. He understands what Holly means and how this has to be handled. It's just frustrating, and the truth just gets straight to the point. Particularly when a childhood decision seems to be the least of his worries. "It all had to be done. I didn't see any other way around it, or any other viable alternative." Not to mention to a 12 year old Sirius and James, incorrigible, intelligent and gifted, the excuse to do something dangerous had great appeal. "We did. The four of us. They were among the best times we ever had together," he says the last, his voice quieting as he looks away from Holly. Remus needed us, and we found a way to give him support."
"It can be, it you let it," she says. "And at the end, you win your freedom. I hear the alternative isn't so good."
Leaning forward with her elbows on her knees, she meets his eyes. This is the stuff they can use in court. The truth. Appeal to their human side.
"We don't have Peter Pettigrew, and we have to assume that we never will," she says. "Obviously, no one is… No one grows up planning to do what he did. I know this must be hard for you, but I need you to think for him right now. Think as him. Tell me what might have happened to make him kill those muggles."
Sirius can't exactly see the fun in it. Not when he's locked up in here with guards out to get him, and a Death Eater. Sometimes, he's thinking he should have ignored the American's arrival and stayed hiding. A dangerous light flashes in his eyes as he turns to look at Holly for this line of thinking, "How the devil should I know? Aside from him saving his miserable hide! He knew I was there to kill him, so did it to save himself. Faking his death was a good way out, a good way to hide." His words have bite to them, full of anger that's had a long time to fester. The man's temper is going to be his downfall in this, it seems.
Holly stands, taking a step back away from Sirius when he looks at her as he does. She can't even begin to fathom why someone who was apparently such a good friend could have gone so bad. This is one question that no one can answer.
"Okay, we'll move on," she says. "And really, so many things are coming together now, it… We may not even have to bring that up. I hope we don't have to bring that up. But Mister Black…" She alternates between using his last name and his first. "It would be an important part of the case. If you want to think about it and write down anything…"
Anyway. "So you were arrested for thirteen murders. You spent a year in Azkaban for each of them… And then you decided to escape. How? No one had ever escaped from the Dementors before."
Moving on, good idea. Considering Peter's betrayal was worthy of nothing short of murder. "Coincidence, the number of years. I was given a life sentence. Have you done your research on Azkaban and Dementors?" If not, he's thundering ahead anyway. "I was responsible for the murder of my best friend and his wife, framed for the murder of innocent muggles, thought to be a Death Eater.. needless to say those weren't happy thoughts that couldn't be used by the Dementors." So he stayed relatively sane, or at least, stayed in some command of his faculties. "So I stayed there. Didn't think to try to leave, no one to plead my case to. Until last summer. Fudge was on a tour of the prison, came to talk to me. He had a copy of the Prophet with him. On the cover was the picture of a family in Egypt. There on the shoulders of one of the boys was Peter. I knew it was him, couldn't mistake him for any other rat and he was missing a toe. I asked Fudge if I could have the paper, he gave it to me. I now knew that Peter was alive, at Hogwarts and ready to act should Voldemort return. As to how I escape, you know that Dementors can't see, right? They feel their way around, leeching off of human thoughts and emotions. I transformed, and being incredibly thin after so long in my cell, I could slip through the bars." The more he talks, the more his agitation increases, and a maddened look creeps into his gaze.
Holly turns from Sirius as he explains his escape, looking at the walls, out the window which doesn't show where they really are. "All these things they claim to know, and they couldn't even figure this one out," she says. Admittedly, it's complicated, but it could have been open and shut with a little research. There was proof. It wasn't even covered up - plain as the nose on anyone's face, the truth was there.
When she turns back to Sirius, she's almost worried for her safety. "I'm going to try to move this as quickly as possible. We're going to try to get you freed. We're going to clear your name, okay? But I need you to keep working with me like you have."
She looks toward the quick-quotes quill, which is still scratching away. It briefly stops in the silence, of course, and seems to 'look' at Holly questioningly. "Ah, I'm going to need time to put this all together and make a case out of it. Is there anything else you can add?"
No longer looking at Holly, Sirius hasn't even immediately registered that she's spoken. It comes more as an afterthought when he responds. "I know I didn't act like an innocent man for much of the time." The grief, the betrayal, and the Dementors, it's taken a toll really, and it all shows. "I never would have killed those muggles." Peter's life is the only one he has actively wanted to take. For a moment, it seems as if he hasn't anything else to add, then, "The Quidditch Cup. That wasn't me. I was in the Hogsmeade Post Office that day, the precise moment the Cup started. The postmistress, Miss Gale can vouch that she had allowed a stray dog inside."
"That's something we're going to need to figure out, too." Who the hell looked like Sirius Black at the Quidditch cup? Who killed that referee? Maybe she would have thought to ask that question if her mind still didn't feel fuzzy from being shot full of little tiny holes. "No, you didn't do yourself any favours. You could have— " No, he couldn't have turned himself in. Justice doesn't work here like it should. "You did the right thing, Sirius. It just… wasn't the right thing. You didn't have any choice, though. Okay, that's enough," she says to the quill, which stops writing. She picks it up, and takes the notepad, placing both in the pockets of her robes. "I've set an arraignment for you. I'll be back to go over your testimony later this week."
"I told Tonks and Remus there's a Death Eater here, as one of my guards," Sirius says in an empty voice. "Edwin Gifford. I overheard him .. I suppose it doesn't matter." Just the fact that there's a lacky of Voldemort's here, it's enough to make him feel quite uncomfortable. "Right. Well. I'll be here." As if he's going anywhere, ha ha! "By the way, you haven't said what you wanted for doing this, Miss Maplewood." He's not worried about the monetary cost of course.
Why can't anything ever just be easy? Death Eaters as part of Sirius' guard? It'd be nice if she could just take Sirius somewhere herself, but the Ministry would never allow that. "Try to keep a cool head. Don't let anyone get to you, don't tell anyone what you told me. This isn't the way to do a trial. Both sides need all the information, but they're not showing me that courtesy, so… They get to be surprised in court." Eye for an eye, what?
"What I want? For this?" She sits down again on the bed. "When I was eight years old, my father was murdered. He went to a store at night, and never came home. He never trusted our world to do anything for him, so he left it - and his wand - behind. I didn't get into law because I want something in return. I got into it to make people stop being asses at each other, and grow the hell up. That's what I want."
"That's a rather rosy tinted view to take," Sirius says, unable to look at anything without pessimism at the moment. "You won't be doing this for free," he states in a firm manner that clearly says he will not take no for an answer. He falls quiet again, stewing in his own thoughts before, "I'm sorry about your father. Sounds as if you're making him proud by your career." He's said nothing so far about behaving. That's something he can't promise should he get pushed again.
"There's nothing rosy-tinted about it," she says. Maybe she's supposed to be the stable one here, but despite the fact that she can look at the world and see it as it is… "I can try all I want, and there's always going to be the Umbridges of the world to scare people into believing the worst of everything. And even if I can effect some change, there's always going to be punks hanging out at 7-11s waiting to kill someone who looks like an easy target. Or Ministry supporters in London obliviating your lawyer."
She does catch that he said nothing about behaving. That's a problem. "Sirius. I can't win this case for you if you let people goad you into things. If they're just words, they can't hurt you. But there is evidence that can be used against you in court if you lash out, and I have no idea who the ministry's going to call. It could be anyone, Death Eaters included. I'm not telling you not to defend yourself if you have to. But if you don't, then try to stay calm."
Sirius has no clue what a 7-11 is, so just shrugs. He's in one of his moods and it's difficult to shake off once he's descended into a funk. He also hasn't forgotten Tonks hexing him to make him behave. "I will do my best, and if need be, I will defend myself." With the weapons he has at his disposal. On some level, he's aware that Holly isn't catching him at his best. He was more lively and animated during their initial meeting. It was that thrill of being on the run, 'kidnapping' and such that had him going.
Holly's not really at her best at the moment, so at least they're even. She's starting to feel more like a victim of a successful obliviation than a mental patient, with the exception that she's well-aware that there's something missing from her memory that could be extremely important. Bothersome, but not something she can't live with.
Nodding, she stands again, and heads toward the door. For a moment, she thinks about saying something encouraging, but at the moment, she can't think of a thing that's both true and inspirational enough to help. On her way out, she grabs the Prophet, so no one knows she's been sneaking in stuff for the man to read. "I'll see you soon."
"Stay on your guard, try to not travel or be caught alone. Dirty tactics at play if they've taken to Obliviating you." Even if Holly had something inspirational to say, it probably wouldn't sink in for Sirius. "Take care of yourself and watch your back. There are possibly more tactics for them to try and use."
"Yeah," she says, nodding, closing the door behind her, and allowing those assigned to watch the place to lock it again. Glancing behind her at the door, she almost considers staying for awhile. The company wouldn't be great, but it'd be something…
Leaving the house means she has to walk half a mile on her own before she can apparate home. It's a very quick half mile. Sirius isn't the only one in prison here. After all this is done, neither one of them is really ever going to be free.