1994-11-09: Trial And Error


Addie_icon.gif Alistaire_icon.gif Dumbledore_icon.gif Edwin_icon.gif Holly_icon.gif Ichabod_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Sirius_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif Tonks_icon.gif Umbridge_icon.gif

NPC's: Andromeda, Michael, Liam

Scene Title Trial and Error
Synopsis A simple arraignment proceeding turns into a trial and ends with a surprise.
Location Ministry of Magic - Courtrooms
Date Nov 11, 1994
Watch For Uh. Everything?
Logger The Accused

The Courtroom is steadily filling with employees, witnesses, the Wizengamot and of course the press. Overlooking it all from her new perch amongst the Wizengamot is Delores Umbridge. The newly acting Minister for Magic. She's not paying much attention to those filing in, or at least, gives off that impression. Her own secretary is at her side, going over paperwork set upon the podium. Internally, the witch is most displeased that things have progressed this far. She also had a moment of upset amongst her post earlier in the day. All in all, she's not pleased and not a woman to be crossed. Which is why a few things are in place.. the chair in the center of the court's floor, the one with the golden chains.. additional protection lurking beyond the courtroom's doors, just waiting to be called in. "Let's get this travesty over with," Umbridge murmurs to her secretary. She'll 'patiently' wait a few moments for people get settled in.. before the criminal is brought in.

Settling himself in the upper tiers, Michael Noble casts a resignedly determined glance down at the current "Minister" before checking behind him for Liam's near-constant presence. If the expression on his face is any indication, the Scottish Elder is not best pleased, though at what, it's hard to say. Small, pale eyes turn from Umbridge to the opposite tier; searching, perhaps, for yet another familiar face.

What would a trial be without some muscle waiting in the wings as insurance against catastrophe? One of the people filling in that particular job is Edwin Gifford, looking somber and, like Umbridge, vaguely annoyed with the fact that the convict has actually managed to obtain the trial he asked for. It'd be far easier just to let the man continue to rot in prison, but that doesn't seem to be an option any more - not with all the attention from the press and the stir certain unsavory individuals have caused. At least he hasn't found himself stuck babysitting Sirius and is instead lingering against one wall with his arms crossed, wand out with its tip held loosely against his left bicep. If anyone tries anything fishy, things will get… exciting.

Jack is among some of the first people to enter the courtroom with the masses. For several reasons. He frowns, finding a seat near the bottom, since he's going to take a small part in this. His gaze lingers on the pink-clad Minister for a moment, a short assessment that makes him fidget a little. However, he remains silent, waiting for things to get underway.

Liam follows behind his father with his nose slightly in the air. He's not exactly pleased either, but the only proof of it is the thin tightness of his expression. He moves to sit down beside his father and pulls out a roll of parchment to take notes.

A pair of women find a place as close to the center, closest to where Sirius would sit as possible. It might even be close to Jack, Hi Jack. On first glance, it's definitely obvious they're related. Brown hair, brown eyes, heart-shaped faces. The older of the two has a certain haughtiness about her. Posture ramrod stiff, head held so…definitely a certain upbringing. The younger lacks all of this rigidness, instead sitting next to the other, and throwing a foot on whatever's handy before her, be it railing or someone else's chair. There's a hiss from the older, and the younger, which some would finally recognize as one Nymphadora Tonks, utters a 'Sorry mum' and lowers her leg. Someone actually managed to get her into sensible clothing, too!

She's studied this court system in intense detail for the past couple days, and despite finding it backward and not particularly user-friendly - as the terminology goes - she can make it work. Also in the courtroom, standing off to one side, Holly holds a neat stack of parchment down in front of her, fingers looped under the bottom to keep it from falling. As lined paper in the wizarding world tends to get weird looks, she painstakingly copied her notes for the trial the day before.

She looks extremely calm, eyes partially lidded, watching as the people arrive for all sides of the trial. Visitors, the Ministry, the accused… whom she hasn't seen yet, but soon. She knows it'll be soon.

Ichabod is one of the people filing in. He's forsaken his usual antiquated outfit for a simple gray business suit, the sort that most Ministry employees favor when they choose not to wear standard-issue robes. It keeps him from looking /quite/ as thin as usual. The old man picks his way patiently through the crowd, clambering through several rows of seating with ease before finding a spot - not too far away from Jack and his family, and slightly closer to the Tonkses - and slowly sits down, folding his pale hands over his lap and settling in to wait for the proceedings to begin.

Umbridge looks down upon those gathering, an imperious look upon her face, mingling with a smug look as she rises from her seat. The secretary behind her, ready to take notes as things get started. "This is a special hearing for today, the ninth of November, 1994. We are here to discuss the offenses of Sirius Orion Black, in an arraignment." She manages to make the word 'arraignment' sound foreign, even dirty, as she addresses those gathered. "The accused is defended by Holly Ivy Maplewood." She signals to someone in the back of the room. "Bring in the accused so that we may go over the charges." One would think the woman merely bored by all of this so far.

Escorted into the room under heavy guard comes Sirius Black. To those that have seen him in recent days, he's gotten a hold of some new clothes. (Perhaps by way of loathing house elf.) He certainly looks less crazed than his wanted posters, or the last time he was in this room, albeit briefly. Black doesn't wear the same haughty expression his cousin wore while here, he simply appears hesitant while stoic as he's put into the chair and the chains take hold. The guards fan out, having no need to stand too closely while he's bound thusly. He looks over to Tonks and Andromeda, the latter getting an apologetic glance before his eyes seek out other familiar and friendlier faces in the crowd. To Holly, his expression seems to be clearly saying, 'You know what you're doing.'

Jack watches as Sirius gets led in, giving a short nod in both greeting and approval of how he looks. He appears more like the friend Jack remembers. He leans forward in his seat, and sighs a little as he waits expectantly for things to get rolling.

There's a slight sound from Andromeda, though covered up quickly by a hand. Considering it's the first time she's seen her cousin in nearly a decade and a half… Tonks lifts some fingers to Sirius mouthing 'Good luck!' when he looks their way. Each of Sirius' guards however, gets a look, before she begins glancing around their surroundings. Both Jack and Ichabod get a slight nod in greeting, but it looks like she might be in one of her 'i'm expecting something to happen' modes, so she's keeping an eye on as much as humanly possible.

A soft 'mmh' comes from Holly as she waits for her client to be seated - or, rather, chained to the chair. She's not fond of this method, and she's aware that everyone in this room, with the exception of the handful of people she can spot and call by name - believe Black to be guilty. Still, she smiles as if this is all one big game, the cheeky look actually seeking to catch Umbridge's eye before she approaches Sirius. Leaning down, she mutters something quietly, so that only he can hear it.

"They're going to read your charges. They're going to accuse you of a lot of things you didn't do. Your job today is to show these people that you are a whole lot more civilised than they've painted you. Don't react. Don't say a word. You'll get your turn." She reaches out to lay a hand atop Sirius' very briefly, before turning and heading back to where she'd been standing before. "We're ready, Minister," she says.

Liam narrows his eyes, tightening his expression even further as he watches the man sit down in the chair and get the chains wrapped around him. Serves him right. "Git." He whispers to himself, hoping his father didn't hear him. He writes something down, noting who's here and who's not. It might come in handy later.

Soon after Black is settled into his seat, a chill enters the courtroom. A soul breaking chill that can only mean Dementors have entered the room. Lurking and keeping to the shadows, their rattling breath creating a mist around them, they hover.

Wand out, Umbridge lazily forms her cat patronus, which prowls before her to drive back the presence of the Dementors from her. She's already playing dirty, what with having the Dementors come in. 'For protection,' and to hopefully shake the defense of the accused. "Good. Now that he's finally restrained," she says in sugared tones, she looks briefly at the sheaf of parchment before her, then calls out, "The charges against the accused stand as thus.. October 31st and November 1st of 1981, aiding and abetting You-Know-Who in the murder of the Potters. The attempted murder of Harry James Potter, the murder of Peter Pettigrew, the murder of twelve unnamed muggles.." Letting the body count ring out for a moment, she then continues.. "The willful escape from Azkaban in 1992, in July of this year, casting the Dark Mark, the murder of Balthazar Kittison by way of the Killing Curse, assault on numerous attendees at the Cup on same date, and resisting arrest." After reading off the lengthy list of charges, Umbridge turns a rather smugly cheery expression upon Sirius and his 'lawyer'. "How does the accused plead to the above charges?"

Ichabod nods in returns to Tonks, but he, also, seems rather interested in what's happening 'on-stage'. His pale gray eyes hover on Sirius as the chains encircle his appendages, his face remaining calm and impassive as Umbridge begins to list the charges against the accused. The entrance of the Dementors, however, causes him to stir, and he turns to study them with open-faced interest. It's not frequently that he's able to examine these particular peculiar creatures. Leaning forward to get a better view of the black-robed monstrousities, he briefly considers taking out a piece of parchment to do a sketch, but eventually decides against it. He'll make one later, when there are less bothersome people around making distracting whimpering noises.

Sirius does not like the chains, they only add to the feeling of being trapped. He's in the lion's den and is only thinking of how can he escape this mess? Holly's instructions earn a quick nod of understanding and a low growl of, "I'll try my best." And that's as much of a promise she'll get from the man. He cannot guarantee he'll maintain silence. He's not the type to let someone else speak for him. Unless that person was James. The chains were bad enough, but a growl escapes and he is hard pressed to not attempt to lunge away from the chains as that all too familiar presence is felt entering the court. He twitches, as he tries to fight the urge to move, the chains snaking tighter still. It's taking every ounce of will to keep from showing fear, and luckily, the calling out of the charges is enough to make him force his focus ahead at the loathesome 'Minister'.

Addie had the unfortunate luck of being assigned to Black's guard for the arraignment. That's what she gets for switching shifts so she could go to a quidditch match. Her jaw tightens as the dementors glide in. Even relatively close to Umbridge's patronus, Addie can feel their effect. She shifts her weight nervously.

God. She never wanted to go back to Azkaban again. Indeed, Umbridge has found a weak point in Holly's armor, and she's shoving the knife in deep. The American never had to deal with these dark creatures before. She stiffens, brown eyes resting upon the dementors for the first time in her life…

And she calmly reaches into her robe for her wand. "For the protection of myself and my client," she states for the record, "Expecto Patronum."

She expected the shield of white, though what she gets is a goat. Well, it looks like a goat, and it looks at her as if it's equally as confused. Okay, then! This'll help, for awhile, at least! Nodding toward the chained man, she sends it over to stand near Sirius. Holly tries not to look too terribly stunned, before she turns back to Umbridge. "We plead not guilty to all counts."

Sorry Ichabod, you don't get a distracting whimpering noise from Tonks. You get a very angry hiss instead. Is that woman /mad?/. Andromeda is doing her best not to look affected but the poor woman's never even thought about encountering one much less actually be in a room with several! Still, she's a proud woman and keeps her gaze forward and hands clamped. She barely flinches when she finds a silvery bird form in her lap courtesy of her daughter. But it does help.

Jack is very tempted to bring his bunny out as well, with all the dementors around. He frowns, and hangs on tightly to his wand in his pocket, the instinct to banish the nasty creatures is lessened when Holly and Tonks cast theirs. However, he shudders slightly, and returns his gaze to the floor, watching the proceedings, listening to Holly and the Minister speak.

Umbridge hides the displeasure she feels at Holly casting a Patronus. VERY briefly, her eyes narrow at the plea of 'Not Guilty'. Across the room there are a few hisses, looks of being affronted, curious expressions, and some clearing marveling at the nerve of the criminal. "A plea of Not Guilty on all counts is therefore notated," she announces in her girly pitch as her Patronus continues to pace in front of her. "The charges and the evidence are great, weighing heavily on Black," she practically titters. Amused, she leans forward against her podium just a bit, getting a good look at Sirius and Holly, "Indulge us Miss Maplewood.. how can Black plead not guilty?" This should be good, or so Umbridge thinks. What sort of story has been concocted!

"Expecto Patronum!" rings out another voice, one that presages the arrival of the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore strides into the courtroom as his patronus, much like the red and gold bird seen darting back out of the courtroom after depositing him in a ball of flame out in the hallway, sweeps its wings in front of him to clear a path to the center, near Sirius and his attorney and those facing him. "Pardon me," he says politely with an incline of his head to the Minister as his patronus perches near Sirius, bracketing Holly's, er, goat, and Tonks' patronus as well. "Please don't let me interrupt the proceedings. It seems the time and location of this event had mysteriously not made it to my desk. My apologies." And then he finds somewhere to stand to wait for his turn to speak again, giving his utmost courteous attention to the current speaker.

Keeping quiet, Sirius gives Holly a grateful look and an approving nod for the Patronus. Excellent, and a quick learner to boot. Finding it easier now to think and pay attention, he continues to look forward. It's just better to not notice the friends he has in the audience, seeing him like this. The entrance of Dumbledore is a pleasant surprise, and Sirius grins in the Headmaster's direction. Always one for the entrances and exits.

As yet another Patronus joins the ensemble, Ichabod turns to study Dumbledore as the Headmaster follows it. Soon, his attention is back on Umbridge as she questions the lawyer, his lips turning down slightly in distaste at the tone of the acting Minister's voice. Since the Dementors seem to be keeping their distance from the center of the court, it's a little hard to observe them from this angle; with a slight sigh, he gives up on that and focuses instead on Holly so that he can properly hear her answer.

The Albatross expands it's impressive wingspan at the sight of the Phoenix-patronus. Look, it is Mighty, too! Andromeda gives the silvery bird in her lap a look that was clearly snagged from her sister, Narcissa. Like she had something under her nose that didn't smell nice.
Tonks visibly relaxes in her seat at Dumbledore's entrance. At the very least, it would mean the Dementors won't 'accidentally' try something. She /would/ hope that the rest of the snakes in the court wouldn't try anything either, but that would be hoping for too much.

"Just as he has," Holly replies. Since the plea of Not Guilty has been entered, this arraignment is technically over. Holly anticipated this, though, and even hoped for it. Considering the fact that the Ministry seemed to have no idea how to actually run a trial, it was only a small leap to assume that Umbridge would try to make this run together with other proceedings. Very well.

With the goat over near Sirius, Holly is starting to feel the chill of the Dementors again, both with the uncertain fear that's descending on her, and also the physical cold. The timely arrival of Albus Dumbledore is very much appreciated, and allows Holly to clear her head enough so she can think. A thank you will have to be offered later.

"Minister," she says, taking a few steps away from her post, so she can address Umbridge. "As the arraignment is over, I'd like to motion to move this to a formal hearing. I'll call my first witness."

Jack notes the shudder from Holly, and feeling a little protective, goes ahead and casts his Patronus, sending the little bunny down to hop around Holly's feet. He's fine. She's the one who needs to keep her senses clear. He tucks his wand back into his pocket and leans back, glancing up to see where his father and brother are sitting.

Dumbledore's arrival has Umbridge puffing up further in annoyance. She does however, give the Headmaster a courteous, although perfunctory nod. For now, the dirty ploy of the Minister's is held at bay by the Patronuses. The Dementors retreat to the farthest recesses of the chamber. There's restrained glee on Umbridge's toadish face as Holly speaks, "Are you quite certain you want to do this now Miss Maplewood? Are you that confident in being able to call upon your first witness here?" So far.. she does not officially approve or deny the motion. Finding this amusing, for the moment. "Would this witness be able to tell us that Black wasn't even on the street corner when Pettigrew and the muggles were murdered? Or that wasn't him at the Cup?" She laughs with some incredulity, and a few others on the Wizengamot are unprofessional enough to do the same.

While Addie is not what one would term relaxed while in the presence of dementors, she is able to keep from summoning her own patronus as other pop up in the courtroom. Being proud has it's costs however, and although her eyes are on Black they aren't quite focused on him.

"Tell Maplewood yes or no you miserable old toad, you obviously can't take being challenged," Sirius snarls from below in his restraints at Umbridge. Seems he's not taking kindly to this 'game' Umbridge is playing. Apologies Holly, his brand of chivalry isn't fond of this mockery. He's also unafraid of saying what others are thinking.

It's a good thing that there are all these patronuses. Holly's is starting to look a little transparent. Maybe she's just distracted, or perhaps she doesn't quite have the willpower to keep the goat around for too terribly long.

When Sirius speaks, Holly offers him a nod. Don't worry so much, Mister Black. It's not said out loud, but she does offer a confident smile. In a perfect world, she'd be just about to thoroughly embarrass the Minister, simply by pointing out her own facts.

"Minister Umbridge," she states, feeling quite at ease now with Jack's patronus hopping about her feet. "As I stated when I visited you at your office, I am fully prepared for trial. At that time, I believe I offered the Minister the opportunity to question me as to my plans for trial, and I further recall that I was not taken up on my offer. I also gave the Minister a list of witnesses that I planned to call at trial. I have notified these witnesses as per proper court procedure, and I have seen several of them here. So I will give the Minister the opportunity to deny the motion, should she need more time to prepare herself. I will gladly rescind it."

Managing to look somewhere between wholly charitable and the picture of innocence, Holly awaits Umbridge's reply.

Tonks just, for lack of a better word, facepalms at Sirius' outburst. But truth be told, he does say what she's thinking more or less.

Umbridge's laughter is cut off sharply. First by Sirius's outburst, then Holly. "Miss Maplewood, silence your client or my guards will," she says in a tone as sweet and thick as maple syrup. "He needs to be reminded of his place and to hold his tongue until he's given permission to speak." Seeing this as indeed a game, she struggles to try and gain an upperhand. The challenge from the monster down there, and the woman defending him.. Turning her back to the court, she looks to those gathered behind her, as if guaging the opinion of the Wizengamot.. then deciding against polling the consensus, she pulls rank. "Very well. Motion granted. Bring your first witness forth." Her smile can only be described as nasty and daring for Holly to do her worst.

Dumbledore directs a slight glance toward Sirius for his outburst, just the faintest hint of warning in the old man's gaze, but he remains quite silent, his blue eyes shifting from Holly to Umbridge, and he simply watches her, his hands folded in front of him as if he was waiting for a student to answer a teacher's question. He does nothing else since his unfortunately flashy entrance to bring attention to himself, merely keeps his attention on Umbridge for her answer, head tilted slightly to the side attentively. When the motion is granted, there is a slight smile quirking his lips, as if a play in this chess match has gone in their favor.

Ichabod looks torn between amusement and disapproval at Sirius's little snarl. On the one hand, his words were quite on the mark. On the other hand, the old Slytherin can't help but feel some measure of annoyance that someone could be so.. daft. He steeples his long, bony fingers and glances sidelong at Dumbledore for a few seconds as if contemplating something before his gaze flits back to Holly. Well, seems he might be here for a good deal longer than he'd expected. That's quite alright - he has all the time in the world.

Black's outburst snaps Addie back to the arraignment. Or is it a trial now? She was kind of zoned out for that part. She shifts her feet as the proceedings turn into a full-fledged trial. Guard duty is a liitle boring, to be honest. Black's restraints and the dementors make her rather redundant.

Sirius catches that look from Dumbledore and immediately abandons further thoughts of outbursts. Dumbledore being one of the select few who can keep Black reigned in. Clamping his mouth shut, he looks around the court again, trying to make eye contact with a few faces in the crowd.. Jack. Tonks. The elder Nobles, and a smirky look for Addie and Edwin a piece.

It looks like Edwin would very much like to have Umbridge's permission to silence Sirius, but unfortunately that permission doesn't come and he's stuck lurking in his chosen place, looking grumpier by the minute at the proceedings. Theoretically it could be worse: the defending team could have a leg to stand on. But as far as the Hit Wizard is concerned, they don't.

When Sirius' eyes pass over Jack, he can spy an Auror there with a most displeased expression on his face. Alistaire Phoenix seems quite cheesed off about the presence of the dementors and unlike others who have to contain their anger at Umbridge and her little games, the Auror doesn't, his brown eyes narrowed as he practically openly glares at Umbridge and the Wizengamot. His siberian tiger patronus keeps snarling and swiping a claw toward the nearest dementor, only the Auror's will keeping the magical construct in check for now.

Tonks is one of those unfortunate ones who needs to keep her temper in check, being already on Umbridge's list as it was. Still, she keeps her attention to the rest of the room as well, paranoia being used in healthy doses at the moment. She seems surprised when the arraignment seems to be going right into a trial. Frowning, she pushes up on her seat and glances around. No, she doesn't see who would likely be on the list of witnesses. Oiboy.

Okay then.

There were two ways she could have done this. First, have Sirius give his story right from the start, or, second, build up to it. Carefully cast the doubt around in stages so that by the time Sirius took the stand, they could hit their proverbial home run and send the Ministry packing. This is also partially to enrage Umbridge, admittedly, who's definitely getting on Holly's nerves. She wants their so-called story. Well, she'll have to wait for now.

Start small, work her way up.

"Then I'd like to call Jack Noble to the stand," she says, looking upward at Jack, "as a character witness for Sirius Black."

Jack gives Alistaire an odd glance. It's a weird mixture of appreciation, reflection and a tiny bit of wariness that wasn't there before. That in and of itself is rather odd, but not part of the proceedings today. So, he mentally shelves it for later and returns his attention to Sirius, Holly and the Minister. When Holly calls his name, he stands up, straightening his dress robes brushing any real or perceived wrinkles out, and strides confidently toward the floor. He nods respectfully to the Minister, though if the nod is shorter than the long looks he gives the lawyer and convicted, it's no big deal, right? He moves to stand where he's been instructed to stand, and waits patiently for the first question.

Umbridge's saggy mouth turns downwards into a scowl. Too prepared.. Holly is all too prepared. Despite the secretary and the scribe, the Minister makes notes of her own. "Fine," she snaps, then her tone smooths out like honey. "Ask your questions Miss Maplewood." For the moment, there are none of her own. A character witness? She'll listen for now. Also, with a case this convoluted and complicated, there's no way it will be finished in one hearing. So she allows this to persist for the time being.

Liam watches his brother move down to give witness, and scowls. He mutters under his breath, not being heard by the Elder sitting beside him, who seems to have all his attention on the 'game' they seem to be playing, as well as the basics of the trial. Liam scratches his own notes, rather forcefully, giving Black dirty looks.

Sirius is comfortable with things proceeding. He knows he's innocent. He knows Holly is competent, even if the Ministry doesn't play fair. Having trepidation is only natural as the matter proceeds. As Jack is called forward, he tries to smile encouragingly at him. Liam's dirty looks are met with a smile. Hi there, git.

There's no basis for any witness to swear to anything here, and so Holly says to Jack, "Just tell the truth."

"Mister Icarus John Noble attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry between the years of 1976 and 1982. While there, he was a relation by acquaintence to Mister Sirius Black, and as such, he qualifies to testify as a relevant character witness." There's a pause as she looks up toward the Minister, then to Jack. With the Patronuses around, she can even offer an encouraging smile. "Mister Noble, can you explain to the Wizengamot how you came to know Sirius Black?"

Alistaire might have caught Jack's odd look, but he doesn't comment on it, too intent on giving his atomic glare to the witch running the show. There doesn't seem to be any particular interest in anything other than dismantling this monkey trial, or ensuring proper justice happens. However, as the lawyer and Jack begin their bit of the hearing, he remains silent, his eyes shifting from Umbridge to her goons, noting which are glaring at Sirius or otherwise showing obvious support for the pink toad.

Umbridge is merely tolerating this charade at best. Trying to refrain from looking bored, she gazes down upon Jack. Noting his relation to Liam and Michael behind her, she gives him extra scrutiny. While Jack's beyond her immediate chain of command as an independent curse breaker.. she can make things difficult for Michael and Liam. Afterall, she's already managed to get Dumbledore of all people removed from the Wizengamot.

Ichabod arches a brow as Jack descends from his seat. He leans forward once more, his lips thinning out as Holly begins to introduce the cursebreaker. Well, this is interesting. The absence of the Gryffindor allows him to study his brother and father more clearly, since he's no longer blocking them from view; after doing this surreptitiously for a few moments, the old man directs his gaze back to the proceedings, curious to hear just what sort of testimonial his distant nephew will give on the matter.

Tonks leans over, murmuring something to her mother, and gesturing towards Jack. Andromeda seems quiet but then nods slightly. It's likely Tonks was filling in the older woman on who Jack was. The rest of the nobles (particularly the oldest) aren't pointed out, at least not yet. Tonks /is/ trying to be discrete, though she did catch Umbridge's rather curious look whens he glanced towards Jack's family.

Jack nods quickly, acknowledging the question. This won't be too difficult. "I met Sirius and his friends when I started Hogwarts. I was sorted into Gryffindor with them, and he and his friends welcomed me into the House in such a way that I felt right at home." He chooses to phrase it that way deliberately, not mentioning that the 'welcome' included a small prank including a cheering charm. "They befriended me, and I watched them at every opportunity." Idolized, more like.

Ah yes, the welcome wagon is well remembered. Why waste such an opportunity in hazing firsties? Sirius smiles a little at the recollection, looking more than a little lost in thoughts of days gone by.

"Now I'd like you to speak of the nature of Sirius Black," Holly says. It might seem like a trivial venture, but the idea is to show this court that people aren't born evil. Many seem to assume that all criminals are irrevocably murderous from birth. "His mannerisms, his relationships with other people, how he did in school. Anything that you'd like to provide, Mister Noble."

Dumbledore listens to Jack's story and a mild knowing look crosses his aged features at the words, although it's the merest flicker of amusement amongst this tense hearing.

With a sharply inhaled breath, Jack nods. This is a little more difficult. He wants to tell the truth he knows, but he doesn't want people to misunderstand. "Sirius Black was a good friend. He didn't come from a family that appreciated him, or at least understood him, especially after he got sorted. So, the Potters basically adopted him. He, James and Remus and Peter were inseparable. They were clowns at times, but they did their level best not to hurt. They'd prank someone, sure, but they'd stop before blood was drawn or tempers got too high." Jack's eyes unfocus as he remembers one incident. "He did have a bit of a temper, and his mouth got him in trouble a few times, but it wasn't that uncommon." Throw teenage boys together, and it happens.

"One time, in my third year, I think they were …" He pauses, closing an eye to do the math. "Sixth, I think, I heard James and Sirius having a rather heated discussion. I'd gotten out of bed to use the loo, and James was reading him the riot act. Sirius looked really upset, and it sounded like he was very regretful for something. James said something, and it was something like 'It could have killed him.' " Jack frowns, hoping this comes out sounding like he intends it to. "Sirius looked like he was completely distraught. I mean, I was a little guy, but he looked really upset. I don't know who it was, but he was upset that he hurt someone. Or could've hurt someone." Jack has heard rumors about what possibly happened, but all he knows for sure is that Sirius didn't mean to hurt. That's the point here. "I basically idolized him and his friends because they were so close. They loved each other like brothers, and spent all the time together. One time, they were wrestling in the common room, and they broke a table. They laughed about it, cast reparo, and made jokes about it. No mean words, no hexes, nothing. Just…" He purses his lips. He's not going to give platitudes or overarching things that can easily be shot down. He's thought long and hard about it, and this is what he wants to say. "He's a good friend."

Sirius smirks just a little as Jack talks, but his expression quickly falls.. realizing the time Jack is describing. He couldn't have cared less that Snape could have been hurt. Other factors were behind the regret.. Not that he's going to say it aloud. He upset his friends, Remus felt used like an object in a prank. He shifts as best he can with the chains holding fast.

"Hem, hem, Miss Maplewood. If you could proceed with /relevant/ witnesses to the crimes the accused is charged with.." Umbridge's patience is wearing thinner by the moment. She doesn't see a purpose in establishing Black's character. Who cares if he wasn't loved enough as a child? "Have you any witnesses to call at this moment who can establish his guilt or… 'innocence' for which he has been accused of?" Although, there are some murmurs from behind Umbridge, citing their approval for further establishment of Black's character. A faint twitch of the eye and a flippant, "Continue," is heard from the Minister.

Umbridge is given a look from Tonks, but the auror doesn't say anything. Shifting slightly she does wonder who'd get called next. She certainly gave her permission, but there's a great chance her age'll be tossed in her face, despite her knowing Black's case inside and out. She just stretches and then scratches her hair. She gives it a funny look, not at all liking the brown, but one stern gaze from the woman next to her prevents her from doing something drastic with it. Sigh.

"Thank you, Mister Noble," Holly says. "As the Honorable Wizengamot is aware, teenagers often get into trouble. Pranks, showing off, at times making fools of themselves. As Hogwarts records will show, though, Sirius Black was a student like any other. He wasn't avoided by his peers, he did not make himself an exclusive presence to one group of student over any other, and he was not malicious."

Umbridge's complaint is noted. Holly will eventually have to take a new tactic; saving Sirius for last just won't work, even if it would put that icing on the cake. One more before him, then. And plenty after. "If the Minister would like to forfeit her cross-examination of my first witness, I'll call my next."

Jack likes the idea of not being cross-examined. He knows his words could be taken many different ways. Part of the reason he stayed up the last couple nights running over them in his head. He waits patiently, trying to maintain the calm facade. For the most part, he is successful. He does shift his weight to the other foot, expressing a little nervousness and changing positions at the same time.

"Mr. Noble is a character witness. For now, our questions are reserved for the witnesses at the time of the criminal activities," Umbridge says, waving off her questioning of Jack. Which translates possibly to.. Noble is too positive to use. Carry on. "Call on your next 'witness'."

Liam is furious with his brother. He takes one look at the proud look on his father's face, and grumbles a bit more. He has never gotten on with Jack, but this is ridiculous. Gaping holes. And he remembers that 'welcome wagon.' Hexes and charms on the first years. He puts his quill down and crosses his arms in front of his chest, tapping his foot lightly, fuming.

Ichabod watches the whole questioning process with a blank face, although his lips quirk up in a slight smile once Jack is finished and Umbridge waves him away. The old man turns slightly in his seat to observe Liam and the mens' father once more, though it is again a very brief inspection and soon he's back to watching and listening to the byplay between Holly and Umbridge.

Holly touches Jack's shoulder, mutters a 'thank you' to him, before saying to the court, "You can take your seat, then, Mister Noble. My next witness…" She looks toward the back of the chamber, in the shadows. Maybe he's trying not to be seen… Holly really doesn't know, but she knew he'd be here. "Mister Severus Snape."

As Jack passes near the 'accused' on his way to sit down, he whispers out of the side of his mouth, "Remember the pudding hex." Something for him to focus on instead of this craziness and the stupid dementors surrounding them all. He notices his bunny getting a little pale, and flicks his wand to renew him somewhat. Poor little guy. He sits down, this time a little closer to Auror Phoenix. Now that his part is done, he can concentrate on other things. Like… watching Alistaire more closely.

Sirius forgets to smile at Jack's words, throwing instead, a look of surprise at Holly.. SNAPE? What the devil are you playing at? 'What!?' is written across his face, instead of shouting it out. Thankfully.

Dumbledore stirs for just a moment. He might simply be shifting his weight from one foot to another, although his patronus remains perfectly still, a guardian against the dementors. His blue eyes shift from face to face, taking in the reactions and obvious behaviors, but he still waits his turn to speak, although he gently corrects Holly with, "That's Professor Snape," very lightly emphasizing the title, before falling silent once more, a patient presence, although he does once more glance down toward Sirius briefly before regarding Umbridge again to check on her reaction to Sirius' reaction.

Tonks has roughly the same expression as Sirius. She can't be /serious/, can she? She just works on chewing the inside of her thumb worriedly before glancing at Jack to guage his reaction.

Well, well.. That is surprising.. the accused's reaction to the witness called by his own defense. Umbridge eyes both Holly and Sirius as sharp as a hawk for a few moments. She may have to ask a few questions of her own of Professor Snape. Settling back into her seat, her mind whirling as she waits for Snape to take the stand.

Surely enough, Severus Snape rises to his feet somewhere to the rear of the gallery - black clothing and a heavy cloak thrown over it all doing wonders to keeping him concealed. His name having been called, he steps forward with a slow, measured pace to make his way towards the place he has been bidden to sit to do his duty as a witness. As he steps past Sirius he turns to look at the man, lip curling into a sneer at the bewildered expression on the other man's face. There is no humour or even malignant delight in his own expression, simply contempt.

Jack was the honey, to be perfectly honest. A student who knew Sirius in a positive light… Whereas Snape is the vitriol. The one who's going to tell the very worst of the story. Maybe even the time referenced in Jack's testimony. But that will be the worst of the worst, and that's what she's counting on. "Professor Snape, my apologies."

This one is going to have to be handled with slightly more care than Jack. "Professor Snape, I'm going to ask you a series of questions. Please answer them honestly, and to the best of your recollection. Can you tell the Wizengamot of your relationship with Mister Black?"

Ichabod turns around instinctively at the sound of Snape's passing, his thin gray brows arching a bit at the development. He's not personally aware of the past between the two men, but the appearance of a Hogwarts professor by itself is mildly interesting. Far more interesting are the expressions on the faces of Sirius and Umbridge, between whom the Wizard glances slowly as Holly begins to speak.

Sirius glares hard at Snape, unable to disguise the equal level of contempt felt for the Slytherin. He can't even give Holly an apologetic look, his loathing of Snape runs so deep. Again, he's finding it hard to remain silent.. and most likely will not be able to hold his tongue during this.

Snape. Jack's attention turns toward the man as he swirls and swishes his way down to the floor. He frowns, watching Sirius' expression, knowing what this means. He sighs, and just waits for what the man will say. Not going to be pretty.

"We both attended Hogwarts and were in the same year," Snape answers silkily once he is seated, hands concealed beneath his cloak and giving the sliver of his sallow face visible behind his curtains of black hair an odd, floating appearance. He tilts his head back slightly, looking down his nose at Sirius from across the room.

"I would scarcely say there was anything that could be called a relationship - save for mutual loathing. He had," Snape pauses, as though thinking of the appropriate word, "reservations about me and expressed them in the way the uninspired and dim-witted so often do."

Alistaire watches the approach and investiture of Snape as a witness. Having been in the same year as the accused and his cronies, all he can do is curl his lip, but he's still watching the proceedings carefully, with all the guardianship of a Secret Serviceman, although he keeps one ear out for the testimony being given.

Umbridge's day possibly just got better, if her expression is any indicator. "Hem, hem.. Professor Snape," the Minister interrupts with perhaps more than a little affection for the moment. "Would you say these reservations might have had something to do with a difference in where you were sorted? A biased reservation, borrowing your own term."

Holly will immediately offer a look to Sirius. Trust her, please. She doesn't want to have him removed from the courtroom. However, just as she didn't prevent Jack from expressing his sentiment, she doesn't hold Professor Snape back, either. "Minister, if I may, you'll have your opportunity to question Professor Snape when I'm finished." She doesn't want the testimony twisted before it's time.

Both of the Tonks women scowl here at the question. Everyone has House bias. /Everyone/. Tonks is giving Umbridge a vicious look at seeking to exploit such a thing while Andromeda? She's hoping Sirius would look their way, and catch her expression which clearly reads 'Please don't rise to the bait.'

Sirius growls under his breath. The looks and expressions of mind your temper and similar are ignored. He's /trying/ to not mouth off here. This is getting more and more difficult for the energetic and opinionated man.

"Minister," Snape begins, turning his head slightly to answer Umbridge's question anyway, "I would not."

The story behind that answer goes unspoken however as he turns back to face Holly, hands neatly folded beneath his cloak and his haughty stare fixed firmly on the lawyer.

Dumbledore has a very faraway look in his eyes for just a few moments as the House bias thing comes up, and there's a frown on his face as he considers this notion. Even so, the phoenix patronus perched on Sirius' chair rustles its silver feathers and squeezes the back of the chair once with its talons. Perfectly natural behaviors for a bird, of course, even one that's reinforced by an old wizard's will.

The smile Umbridge throws Holly's way for the rebuke might as well be followed by a knife to the heart. Snape's answer is noted, and she falls silent, listening intently for things to twist in this testimony.

Holly does not like Umbridge. And for a very fraction of a second, that dislike appears on her face. Back to her testimony, though. "Let the Wizengamot note for record that Professor Severus Snape and Mister Sirius Black were not, indeed, friends at Hogwarts. As the Honorable Wizengamot can doubtlessly see, that sentiment carries on today. Now, Professor Snape…"

She passes by Sirius' chair again, taking strength and hope both from the phoenix Patronus, as well as offering a warning look in her client's direction. He's not going to want her to ask this question, and the answer could very well be up in the air.

"You are aware that Mister Black is accused of killing a good number of people. One Peter Pettigrew, as well as a dozen Muggles. Again, please answer honestly. Do you believe that Sirius Black is capable of murder by his own hand?"

Now, that answer was unexpected. Jack frowns and continues to watch, glad for Holly's persistence in keeping things done correctly. Surely even Liam can appreciate that.

"Capable?" Snape cannot help but actually laugh a little, although it is a mocking thing with no mirth in it, "I highly doubt it. The Dark Arts are, I believe, quite beyond a wizard of Black's mediocre skill and limited comprehension. As you would be well aware, Dark Magic requires ability and a willingness to learn - neither of which are traits Black possesses. He was far more interested in harmless-but-annoying jokes than anything of substance."

His references to the Dark Arts are spoken with near-reverence, as though Sirius is unworthy to even think about them let alone use them. His thin, pale lips curl as he looks once more across the room to the accused. The sneer vanishes before too long, and soon Snape is back to appearing conceited and disinterested.

Tonks' fingers twitch against her knees hearing the tone that Snape uses in reference to such vile magics. There's no reaction, just a scowl and twitchy fingers. But on the whole, she doesn't find much incriminating towards her cousin. Well, at least in the large picture sense.

The loathing on Sirius's face remains undisguised as he glares at Snape with the utmost contempt. Even the warning look from Holly isn't dampening that expression he wears for his nemesis. Considering the fact that the prank he played could have led to Snape being killed or a werewolf today, he's not going to be surprised if Snape answers in the affirmative… and he actually refrains from snarling commentary back at Snape. The comments about mediocre skill have his temper rising, but the rest? The Dark Arts are for the weak, those too cowardly to fight on the side of good.

Jack's eyebrows quirk up as he listens to the good professor talk about the Dark Arts. He starts to understand why he's Rosie's favorite. He continues to listen, flashing a glance every few minutes down to the little bunny at Holly's feet.

She's hoping that Sirius doesn't take the insults and run with them. Again, she passes by the man's chair, her hand touching his shoulder very briefly, albeit in a hopefully reassuring manner. There's a nervousness about her now, an almost heightened sense of alertness and trepidation that she didn't have when Jack was on the stand. This witness is volatile. "Thank you, Professor Snape," she says.

Brown eyes flash toward Umbridge. There are no oaths in this courtroom, and Holly knows that, after this, she's going to have to make up some ground. "Minister, he's your witness."

"Harmless and annoying you say?" Umbridge says, gaze flickering between the accused and Snape. "Were any turned upon you, and are there any instances where you felt these pranks were meant to cause harm?" Umbridge pays no regard to Holly's 'permission'. This is Umbridge's courtroom.

Ichabod has been sitting quite still for the past few minutes as Snape, Holly, and Umbridge have taken turns speaking; each time one of them begins, he swivels his head slowly in their direction to listen, otherwise remaining motionless.

"Once," Snape answers honestly, lifting his head and straightening his back, "But it was through the use of trickery and deception. I was asked if I felt he was capable of killing anyone by his own hand and I stand by my answer - he is not. Is he capable of bringing about deaths through his own obstinacy and arrogance? Certainly. But not through any magical skill of his own. I don't doubt he wished he could cause harm, but he never did and I believe he never could."

Sirius growls audibly at Snape, "You had it coming, Snivellus." Okay, so he's not doing so well keeping his temper in check. It's.. difficult for the man to say the least. He would say more but the chains binding him squeeze like a constrictor to make sure he quiets and stays put. Face paling in impotent fury, he has no choice but to settle back in.

At least the facepalming Tonks does isn't audible. A sigh is released from her side as Andromeda shakes her head.

Alistaire can't help but snicker at the unaffectionate nickname given for Snape, although he does try to keep it covered with a hand as if covering a cough. His patronus shakes its head once and stretches rather lazily.

Jack frowns deeply as Sirius loses control for a moment. He's glad for those chains, though, at least right now. "Pudding." He whispers to himself. "Think about the pudding…" He hopes the man heard him earlier, but he doesn't appear to have done.

Amused. Yes. That would describe Umbridge about now. "As we clearly see, the accused does have quite the temper on him. Since our time is limited here, Professor Snape, we shall call upon your testimony for this event in further detail. Your statement that the accused is incapable of Dark Arts and murder by his own hand is taken into consideration." There's a pause before sweetly she adds, "However, seeing as his temper is easily triggered and that's the second outburst he has made, we cannot discount the possibility of that coming into play. Miss Maplewood, you may continue."

Leaning over to her mother, there's a quiet murmur, likely talking about what Umbridge just said. The 'Minister' does get a cool, disproving stare from Andromeda before something is said back to her daughter. The two then focus their attention back to other things; Andromeda watching her cousin and Tonks indugling her Moody-inspired paranoia and glancing everywhere else for something to go wrong.

There's no way to have a trial without your defendent present, unfortunately. He has the right to hear everything, and he certainly has the right to put himself in contempt of court. Thankfully - in Holly's humble opinion - Umbridge is too full of herself, too willing to shoot this entire trial full of holes - to take into consideration the fact that she could easily dismiss it for the very reason that Sirius is being a boob.

"Professor Snape, thank you for your testimony." If the Ministry wishes to use him as a witness later, that is purely their call, and they may.

Honorable Wizengamot, I ask you to consider your experiences at Hogwarts. Remember that in both magical and mundane worlds, dislike among students is inevitable. Practical jokes and pranks happen, and at times, they can lead to disastrous results. However, the act of committing a prank does not necessarily lead a boy to become a murderer."

She looks at Sirius again. This trial has already gone on for some time now. Her own Patronus is long gone, and she can only draw on the strength of the others around her now. The Dementors still circle 'round, the anger in Sirius' posture and words is tangible. "If it pleases the court, I would like to request recess and adjournment to a date to be determined."
GAME: Save complete.

Snape stands up slowly and stalks back towards the gallery without another word.

Holly's Patronus is gone, but the little bunny is still there, hopping around her feet. Jack is getting a little tired maintaining it, and it starts to flicker again. He's not sure whether he should renew it, or just let it fade. However, with Holly's motion to adjourn, he's letting the thing get paler and paler. He turns to watch Snape move back up to his seat, inwardly admiring the presence he brings with him.

Umbridge's smile is wicked, and she's all too pleased to call a halt to the proceedings for now. She picks up the little gavel she has, her stubby fingers curving around the handle lovingly. It's rapped against the podium. "Recess is granted, and the Wizengamot is adjourned until the next date is assigned." IF it gets assigned. Dismissal given, Umbridge settles in to go through her papers to get out the docket for the next case they'll have to hear.. Amongst the papers is an aged ivory envelope. Thinking it part of another case, or a part of this one, she opens it.

A sickly green light spills forth from the opened envelope, accompanying what is best described as the Dark Mark in miniature. The skull and snake rise above, hovering. The acting Minister gapes open mouthed in surprised horror that is honest, and lets out a terrified scream as she dives between the benches.

It just so happens that Tonks was looking in that direction. The green light's got her on her feet, and the mark? HI UMBRIDGE DON'T MIND HER. Um and the wand. "Evening post, Minister?" Since Umbridge is already, well, away from the envelope, Tonks is waving her wand at it, encasing it some sort of transparent bubble like thing. Evidence and all. It should be preserved as it was with that charm. "Did you see who it's from?" She's careful NOT To point the wand at Umbridge herself.

Well, it would seem things are drawing to a close, then. Ichabod raises his hands, pressing a long forefinger against each of his temples briefly. Once the gavel cracks on the surface of the podium and Umbridge calls recess, the old Ministry worker stands slowly, lowering his arms back to his sides and beginning to turn around so that he can get back to something productive. Until, that is, the sound of the Minister's scream echoes off of the cold stone walls of the courtroom. Spinning quickly on his heel, he locks his gaze on the sight of the eerie, floating symbol, one of his hands covertly tucking into the pocket of his suit to grip the handle of his wand.

There's relief as Holly requests adjourning for now. Sure it means going back to the safehouse, but Sirius is keen to be free of these chains. "Hurry up and get me out of these bloody.." he mutters, waiting to be let loose and taken back to more comfortable surroundings. That is, until that all too familiar sign flashes in the air and those old feelings come back.. What that symbol represents, the bodies found beneath it.. Still held fast by the chains, he can't, well, can't do a blasted thing but sit here. Don't mind him.

Happily forgotten amidst the events of the trial, Edwin hasn't had cause to bring that wand of his to bear until now - the appearance of the Dark Mark is cause for alarm amongst anyone, but especially so for those in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He strides forward a few paces with his wand held cautiously towards the envelope, ignoring Umbridge's attack of cowardice in favor of giving the thing a very nasty look. It's an unwelcome surprise, and after a short pause he sends his gaze meaningfully over to Sirius. "Arrange a little present for the Minister, did we?"

Alistaire's wand is out, and he moves into an open area, scanning the room for anyone's reactions, anyone bolting, anyone looking like they want to start flinging spells.

This is really something Holly hadn't anticipated.

She knows very well what the hell a Dark Mark is. Who doesn't? Even coming from the United States, she fears Voldemort, calls him You-Know-Who like the rest of the wizarding world here. And now the Dark Mark is in her courtroom.

Then, finally, Holly's temper snaps. "You will not address my client unless you're called for witness," she says to Edwin, her own wand being drawn, albeit still being pointed toward the floor. Well-aware of the implications of this - after all, Sirius is on trial for being a Death Eater, she says to the Guards, "Get him out of here!" Hopefully, everyone's a little too taken with the Dark Mark to notice the fact that she's tarted giving orders. "Make sure he's safe."

With all the commotion, Jack doesn't notice the mark until the BANG. He was too busy watching Snape walk back to his seat. He frowns, and pulls out his wand, refraining from aiming it anywhere just yet until he can see where the problem lies. He does intend to offer his skills to help, though, so he calls to Tonks and Phoenix, looking toward each of them in turn. "If you need…" That's all he'll say, all he'll offer. They should understand.

Umbridge is QUITE entitled to her moments of cowardice thank you. She's got her limits of evil and she knows Evil Is Not A Toy <tm>. She's happiest inflicting her racist attitude on people, she's no Death Eater, never was, never will be. She shakes her head dumbly at Tonks, as she pushes herself to her feet.. after scrabbling back a few more feet. "No.. Just my name on it.. and yes! Have the Dementors escort the accused to Azkaban!! For this travesty alone!" She'll latch onto Sirius as a scapegoat quite easily. "He's responsible!"

Edwin's given a look. "Don't antagonize. Be at least /somewhat/ professional about your job." Tonks flicks her wand, and the isolation charm around the envelope lifts a little bit and she rotates it so she can eyeball it carefully. She nods to Jack, but her attention's still on Edwin. "Why don't you go looking for suspicious parties that /aren't/ Sirius Black. I've got things handled here. After all, Dark Marks fall under Auror jurisdiction."
She stares at Umbridge. "But—you've no proof that it's Sirius. We need to be professional about this, Minister. Panicking won't help." In response, the Alabatross on Andromeda's lap manages to get a flawless take off and flies in circles around Sirius' chair, waiting for the dementors to come.

For a few moments, Dumbledore's face goes as white as his beard and hair, although he does something extraordinary. He taps his wand on the chains holding Sirius, quite pointedly so, and nods that the younger man should go with his protection detail. Then, he says in a clear voice, "NO." Striding forward, he looks up at Umbridge in her high chair and shakes his head. "The accused will remain in Auror custody, Minister… since we all know that the dementors have already failed once in keeping him in their custody." The old wizard says, with equal politeness, even if his words are firm, "Sirius has been in full view of all of us, and he has been sequestered prior to this hearing. Please be sure of your facts, Madam Minister, before you assist in a blind miscarriage of justice."

With the proceedings over, Liam is anxious to get out of the courtroom. When the Mark shows, he's even more anxious. Not that he's cowardly, he just doesn't think it's his place. There are Aurors and Hitwizards here. It's their job after all. He steps toward the exit as quickly as he can.

"Like Hell I was! I haven't got a ruddy wand and don't know how to cast that spell! Piss off Gifford!" Sirius barks out heatedly, even as some guards snap to and see to the chains releasing Black to their custody at Dumbledore's command. (Even if no longer on the Wizengamot, it seems the chains and chair still bow to his authority.) Despite wanting to take the Minister's orders and run with them, the guards know there's an agreement.. and unfortunately.. no proof this was arranged by the prisoner in their charge. Besides, they fear Dumbledore's wrath more than Umbridge's. So they hasten their steps and get Black back into containment at the safehouse before the man can even throw a look of gratitude to the Headmaster.

Jack growls. This is the kind of thing he hates. He doesn't like the jumping to conclusions that the Ministry does. It's one of the reasons he went independent. He eyes the Mark, watching it turn in its little bubble. He'll stay put and offer whatever he can. He does hear rustling and turns over toward his brother's place, only to watch him leaving expeditiously. Stupid Git. He returns his attentions to the Mark, analyzing, going down a mental list of charms that could make a letter do that.

It had to be said, though, because the casual accusation can only have a negative impact on the Wizengamot's perception of Sirius, and Edwin was very happy to be the one doing the accusing. He flat-out ignores the women snapping at him in favor of turning his wand on the prisoner - just in case - and stands at the ready, prepared to hop to any commands directed his way from the Minister's seat. It's not like he's chomping at the bit, but he's only a few shreds of his patience away from doing just that. Sirius' adamant denial doesn't do much to change the flat expression on the Hit Wizard's face either, and even Dumbledore gets a mildly dirty look to boot.

"You.." Umbridge just sputters like her predecessor as she straightens out her robes, "See here Dumbledore, your authority stops at the grounds of Hogwarts!" Instead of the icy and sweet smiles, she's showing her anger for the world to see. Tonks is given a furious look as her toad like face scrunches, "Professional! You're in his back pocket!," his meaning the departing prisoner. Taking a few deep breaths, Umbridge chooses to have her secretary collect her things.. WHO WILL DO HIS JOB as instructed.. since the Minister turns on heel and strides from the chamber, snagging Aurors and Hit Wizards in her wake as protection. "I order an immediate investigation into this matter," she's heard ranting as she flees the scene. Rattled, she is.

A thankful look is tossed to Dumbledore, because Tonks knows she wouldn't be able to reason with the woman. Considering her 'freak' status and all. Instead she focuses on the letter, "We'll need this inspected—Minister!" Tonks turns at the retreating woman. "Please report yourself to the Auror division for prompt inspection. They will bring in curse experts to make sure you weren't cursed by the the letter. Please don't run off without first visiting them." Stepping down from her spot, she keeps her demeanor. After all, she has business to attend to. "Jack, we could probably use your assistance most likely in this. I'm not sure if she'll even listen to me." She notes the bobbing letter. "Also, we need to get someone from Charms up here to analyze this thing. And can we trace it?" She seems to be in business mode.

Jack is on his feet quickly, moving toward the metamorphmagus. "Sure, Tonks. I can see about a magical signature, also finding out what hexes or charms…" Jack's gazing at the bubble. "Would you release it, slowly, and I'll scan it for…" He frowns as she calls in the charm guys. "Yeah. All of us … " He starts to work on it.

Dumbledore ignores any spiteful comments or dirty looks directed at him with all the courtesy that he's used to giving to anyone and everyone. "I have no back pockets," he remarks as Tonks takes charge of the evidence and the other members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement take up their duties. "Miss Maplewood, please keep me informed as to the date and time of the next hearing. I will also be very interested to hear the results of your tests, Miss Tonks," he adds to the metamorphmagus politely. With a last skim of the people in the courtroom, he nods his head politely to his friends still on the Wizengamot, even smiling slightly to a couple of them. "Oh, and let me help clear the room," he adds kindly, and his patronus suddenly flares to almost painful brightness… if one where a dementor. "Begone." Just one word, said mildly but firmly, before sweeping out of the courtroom with a swish of his blue and silver robes.

Though he'd certainly like to stick around and give some of the defense team a bit of trouble, Edwin knows where his loyalties lie. As such he reluctantly turns to stride after the fleeing Umbridge, taking a short jog for a few paces to catch up with the acting Minister. She needs someone competent to help protect her from such lovely things as vicious letters, after all.

There's a wane smile, "Sorry, Jack. Even I need to follow some of the rules." Tonks nods to Dumbledore. "Don't worry, I won't call the entire department in," she's saying this to assuage the other. "Just a couple who might like to get a look at it." She reaches out and pats him on the arm, giving him a strained smile. Of course, there goes Dumbledore and blinding everything. Wow. Okay, once that's clear, she'll begin making her way out, though only stopping to raise her hand to her mum, who's already seeing herself out. "What a day."

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