Chapter 5: Holding Back

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   Standing in the courtroom Tessa could only spin in circles trying to see who was talking.  "He's a murderer!" One man shouted. 

"He should be in Azkaban!" Another screamed. 

"We should kill him!" Yelled a third.  The crowd went quiet for one moment as they actually considered the notion.

Tess jumped to her feet, "You can't!" She yelled as the thin ring around her wrist burned.  The skin on her wrist sizzled and blackened leaving a revolting smell in it's wake.  Beside her Harry turned green at the sight of the injury but Tessa had so much adrenaline coursing through her that she didn't feel it.  "Are you thick?  Do you not see the man who is supposed to be dead?!  Use verituserum on them both if you have to!" She yelled out.  It probably wasn't a very good idea to call some of the most influential wizards and witches on the continent thick but she was beyond caring. 

"And you Ms. Black, where have you been for the past twelve years?" A high pitched voice rang out into the silence.  "Have you or have you not, Cassieopia Black, been living in the muggle world under the alias Tessa Hale?" Tessa glared at the woman who stuck out horribly due to her all pink attire.  The woman seemed to look at her not with contempt or fear but smug satisfaction.  As if she were planning to throw them all in Azkaban.  As if it would be the easiest thing in the world to toss them in there to rot and forget all about them.  It chilled Tessa's blood.

At this point Dumbledore stepped in, "It is not, I believe," the man paused, "illegal to grieve.  Ms. Hale lost her entire family during those dark times.  Anyone who went through similar circumstances would surely also wish to be someone else for a time." The woman in Pink's cheeks colored as people around her nodded.  "Now I think we should take Ms. Hale's advice and use verituserum on both Mr. Black and Mr. Pettigrew." More people murmured with agreement calmer now that Dumbledore had given his opinion.  "All in favor?"

     28 people ruled in favor.  That was just one more than exactly half.  Which meant Sirius was as good as free.  Relief coursed through Tessa and she began to feel the full affects of her burn.  The pain brought tears to her eyes but she kept herself from crying out.  She didn't want to bring attention to the Unbreakable Vow.  They gave the serum to Sirus first.  He swigged the colorless potion eagerly.  "Sirius Orion Black," Amelia Bones, the prosecutor for the trial said.  "Did you aid He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in the murder of the Potter's?"

"No." Sirius said quickly.  The courtroom burst into muttering but Tessa paid no mind to it.  She was too busy staring at Harry.  The boy looked pale and hearing the story of how his parents died was probably the last thing he needed right now. 

"You can step out for this part if you want?" She said nodded her head at the door.

Harry looked as if he wanted to fight her on the matter but after a moment he caved.  "Yeah all right."

Tessa nodded awkwardly patting the boy on the shoulder.  "Excuse me Ms. Bones." The brunette woman looked up catching Tessa's eye.  "Before the court proceeds I would like to take Harry out into the Hall, for obvious reasons."

Amelia nodded sympathetically, "The boy is of no more use to the trial so I concur."  With that two Aurors, there to make sure Sirius didn't try and escape, opened the heavy mahogany doors. 

   Once outside of the courtroom Harry quickly took Tessa's arm and pooled out his wand.  He muttered a simple healing charm however the spell had no affect.  "I don't get i-"

"It's old magic Harry.  Wounds like this can be healed with magic.  I'll have to do it the muggle way." The boy nodded and opened his mouth to say more then closed it again.

After a moment he chose to ask something different, "Did you know them-my parents?"

"I knew your father to an extent but practically no one could go near your mum not that I ever tried." Harry have her a questioning look and she sighed sitting down on one of the abandoned benches along the hall.  "You're mum was guarded by the two most obsessive boys in Hogwarts."

"My dad and Sirius?" He asked his green eyes clouded with confusion.

At this Tessa actually laughed, "James yes, but Sirius was too busy chasing girls and combing his hair.  No, I was talking about Severus Snape."  Tessa could tell she dropped a bomb by the way the boy went slack jawed.

"Snape?!  But he's a git!" The boy looked scandalized as he tried to imagine his mum with Snape.

"That was the general consensus yes." Tessa laughed remembering the Snape's less than friendly attitude to anyone but Lily Evans.  "But your mum apparently knew him before Hogwarts.  Maybe lived in the same village?  Happens quite often.  Whether it be conscious or not magic folk tend to migrate towards other magic folk." Tessa was surprised to find herself speaking kindly of the woman.  She had hated James but found she had no ill will towards the woman.  Not that that did much good seeing as how both of them were dead.

"There's so much I don't know about them." Harry said crestallen.  Tessa again awkwardly patted the boy on the shoulder and despite all the times that she sat up at night wishing that James Potter were dead in split second she wished he was alive for the sake of a boy she barely knew.  Because she too knew what is was like to grow up in a house where no one wanted you around. 

"I know Harry.  I'm sorry." She replied turning and pretending not to see the tears rolling down the boy's face.  Harry didn't sob or sniffle he just wiped his eyes angrily in total silence.  An act that Tessa guessed was learned so that no one could hear him cry.  Half of her wanted to go and comfort the boy, to hug him and tell him everything would be okay.  But she held back.  In part due to the fact that nothing would make being an orphan okay and in part because physical affection was not shown in the Black House and she was afraid the hug would seem forced or weird.  "I know."

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