Hello, How Low?
Harry had never had real family before to depend on her. But here was her godson. Someone she'd been charged the care of, as in like an honorary parent.
And those bastards were using him against her.
"Miss Henrietta, we'll be reaching my contact soon. I know you know her –Arabella Figg?" Archer spoke up in the car and she glanced at him in surprise, just remembering that Giovanni had told her Archer had used Mrs. Figg and then consequently Rufus Fudge as contacts.
Figg, huh? So she could guess that they would be attempting to meet with Rufus.
In some ways, she did and didn't expect that. She'd been so far removed from her 'past' that she was almost solely living in the present, and with Giovanni and in his ('theirs' her mind whispered) estate that everything else was like an unreal dream. And now it was crashing down on her like the reality it was.
A hand on her wrist squeezed and broke her out of her thoughts. She looked to see the owner of the hand smile grimly at her.
"Do not worry, Miss Henrietta. Things will be fine in the end, and until you are back with Giovani again, I will make sure that you will be fine in the meantime."
She nodded, though inwardly she was still feeling trepidation. But soon enough, they'd reached the area of her old home and parked in front of Mrs. Figg's house. However, as she looked out, it was almost amazing, but also disconcerting to see her aunt, uncle, and Dudley getting out of her old house and heading to the car, as if nothing was wrong and nothing was missing in their lives.
Just like she had never existed.
It made her a bit sad. Not that she ever cared for the Dursleys, except for Dudley. It was just so sad and disheartening to have been so forgotten and thoroughly, especially by people who were supposed to be family. She knew it was a spell that had done this, as Giovanni had explained to her how he'd had Archer go to the store where she had told him an old schoolmate of hers (and his family) could help her out…but she knew that even without a spell, the Dursleys would have wished to have completely forgotten her existence in their lives just as easily and utterly as they had with that spell.
They had never wanted her in their lives after all.
"You are worth so much more than them," she heard Archer say strictly, and she saw that he'd seen and watched her attention be captured by the family now moving out of the driveway and starting to drive off. "And you have a new and better family now."
Harry smiled slightly and agreed, patting Archer's shoulder in thanks briefly, before getting out of the car and leading the way to Mrs. Figg's front door. She rang it a few times, and finally got an answer the fifth time.
"Hold on, hold on! I'm coming!" she heard the old woman say irritably, tossing the door open.
Mrs. Figg's eyes widened at the sight of her, gasping aloud and her wrinkled hand flying to cover her mouth in shock.
"H-Harry?" her name slipped out from Mrs. Figg's lips.
Harry hesitantly gestured to inside the house, to which the old lady quickly looked around in fear before shuffling inside and opening the door. Archer quickly ushered Harry inside, and then the two of them were seated in the living room and having tea, while Archer explained their predicament.
Mrs. Figg was wringing her hands. "I…I don't know about this. But I guess I can contact Rufus right now and see about him coming over and trying to help you."
Archer nodded in agreement, while Harry inwardly worried and tried not to get too impatient. There was a part of her that didn't want to just sit there and wait, while part of her understood that this was probably the best course of action. They needed help to get into the Ministry after all, and Harry couldn't risk Teddy being taken even farther away from her and having who knows what being done to him.
His father was part lycanthropic, and people in that world were prejudiced enough as it was. Adding on Teddy being a half-breed and Harry's godson…
She hoped being bait for her was enough for them to leave Teddy alone and not touch him while she was still away from them and out of their hands. If not…
"Harry? And Mr. Archer! Is there –is there a problem?" Rufus asked in alarm, looking apprehensive.
"There is actually," Archer said dangerously, and Harry watched him in fascination.
To be honest, she'd always seen the more polite, prim side of him. Aside from some hints, she can't have recalled ever seeing the polite and respectful Rocket Executive be so alarmingly scary. But she should have guessed. After all, she realized that to be Giovanni's second in command was a very big deal, and probably needed a strong stomach and steel nerves. She was amazed that she hadn't seen this side of Archer earlier than then actually.
"You see, Mr. Rufus," Archer started out. "Your Ministry has kidnapped Teddy Lupin –godson to Harry. She is not pleased by that, so I am not pleased. As I told you two, limit your contact to the British Wizarding World in these coming days."
Harry hadn't known that, but she kept her surprise to herself.
"However, I will need, Mr. Rufus, for you to get us into the Ministry building so that we may find Harry's godson and retrieve him from there, and take him to a safe location to be with family."
Rufus grimaced. "It's not a really good idea for you two to just sneak into there, and go and get Teddy Lupin. I haven't heard about this at all, or know if they'd gotten him, but I swear that I'll do all that I can to help you two. However, my only condition is that you at least let me go into the building, find out if they really have him, and where. It's not a good idea to just rush into the building and try to break him out, without any information at all."
Harry knew, even without looking at him, that Archer was much more for this idea than for them to just storm the building and to run in and grab Teddy. He was logical and prepared like that. On the other hand, she also knew that the two men were looking to her, and knew her mindset. She would have rushed headfirst…just like she had for Sirius.
Nodding slowly, she agreed and her shoulders slumped. 'But please make sure to be quick and careful about it. I would really want to know and to get Teddy back soon, safe and unharmed,' she carefully worded, making sure her lips were readable to Rufus.
"I will," Rufus promised, giving her a sincere smile. He'd always been kind to her…
She gave him a reluctant smile and hoped things would sail as smoothly as possible.
Rufus was increasingly paranoid as he walked through the building, hoping he didn't look as suspicious as he felt. He just had to look at the lower levels of the Ministry building, and see if Teddy Lupin was being held somewhere there.
He just wondered why he hadn't heard anything about this, not even a whisper. Wizards in general were horrible at keeping things to themselves, but in this building and where he was at and his rank, he should have heard something.
He made his way to the Ministry's elevators nervously, and stayed that way as he made his way down. At one of the lower levels, he ran into Harry's "primary doctor," who was wearing a suspicious smile on his face.
"Fudge! Good that you're here," Malcolm Walters had always been someone that Rufus was wary and kept a distance from. And given how that this was even before he met and became in charge of the infamous Harry Potter, Rufus couldn't stand the man especially now.
He was, however, aware that as the man in charge of all this, he would probably have the most answers and be the person Rufus needed to talk to the most.
"Walters," Rufus smiled thinly. "Was there something I could do for you?"
"Actually, yes," Walters replied absentmindedly. "If you could, those files about Harry's family –bring them to me, would you? Not her Muggle family. The ones you've dubbed as her 'extended family.' Particularly on Remus Lupin."
Rufus tried not to show any discomfort on his face, nodding along to answer the other. However, his suspicions had been aroused and he was now sure that Teddy Lupin was being held there.
Regulating his breaths, he went to go get the files slowly and tried to idly make his way through while keeping a sharp eye out for Teddy, hoping to find the toddler quickly. Unfortunately, he kept going farther and farther, until he reached Harry's old room (not the room they experimented on her, thank Merlin) and he peeked in to see a little boy huddling on Harry's old bed, his hair rapidly changing colors.
He wanted to open the door and say something, but he wasn't sure if he should. He didn't want to be caught around there, but…
He opened the door slightly and quickly put his head in, drawing Teddy's attention to himself.
"Teddy," he whispered, and the boy hesitantly looked at him. "I have to go, but your godmother is looking for you. You'll get out of here soon, I promise."
And before the boy could reply, Rufus quickly closed the door and then started to leave the area. He had to get back to Harry after all, and tell her what he'd managed to find out and who he'd found. He grabbed his files and dropped them off to Walters' desk, and then did his best to quickly leave the Ministry building. As he made his way back to Arabella's, he found himself growing hesitant again.
If he told her that her godson was in the Ministry, he knew what she would do. Anyone with a brain and could actually think would see the pattern and figure her out. Harry had a habit of being protective of her loved ones, a manifestation of her childhood neglect and unloved blood family. She would go to any lengths for them, and her godson was now being held captive by the Ministry. She would become rash and unthinking, and prone to just rushing out ahead.
Rufus telling her might not be the best thing.
But as he looked her in the face, that intimidating, fearsome man next to her, Rufus couldn't find himself saying anything but the truth to her, especially as she looked at him with glistening emerald eyes. He, much like every other wizard on the planet, had grown up thinking she was and would look like a princess. Seeing her now, he couldn't say that wasn't truth after all. He'd always thought she was pretty and had regretted not taking his uncle up on the offer of introducing him to her, back when he'd been Minister.
"I found him," he croaked out, sighing inwardly to himself.
He really couldn't have helped himself, even if he'd tried.
Harry's eyes widened and she looked pleadingly at him.
Rufus wouldn't have been able to deny helping her, even without her plea to him. It was simply inevitable in a way.
Harry had been relieved that Rufus had agreed to help her and Archer into the Ministry. She hadn't been too sure that he would agree, but in the end he had, and she was grateful that he was going to such lengths to help her out.
"What are you going to do when you get there?" Rufus asked hesitantly.
Archer looked thoughtful. "Generally, being only the two of us, we should keep a low profile and try to sneak in. You should keep your distance and make sure to keep your involvement as small as possible to not implicate yourself. We would need disguises, but I'm not too sure any of the magical disguises wouldn't be detected. They would be looking for that, yes?"
"But the area he's kept in is especially dangerous," Rufus told them. "It was where…Harry was kept in."
She made the beginnings of a silent snarl. Those bastards…
Rufus paused before continuing. "Actually, he's held in your room."
Harry angrily grabbed whatever was in reach and threw it at the wall, breaking a flower vase. The runes on her body began to light up as her magic strained against the locks on her, and her magic lashed out minutely, causing things around the room to shake violently and a few things to break.
Archer quickly came over to her, doing his best to calm her down while Rufus stared at her in awe and thought.
"It's alright, Harry. We'll get him out of there," Archer murmured.
"I don't think those runes will continue to restrain your magic for much longer," Rufus quietly noted. He looked around at the damage. "No, they won't."
"Let's continue planning, shall we?" Archer pulled them back on track, and they decided that plain disguises will have to do in order for magic to not detect them.
After they had planned what they could, it was time for them to actually go through with it. They headed into the building, following Rufus as a light-haired couple of different shades of blond, and Archer slightly putting himself in front of Harry to hide her from view. She held onto his arm, but inched to keep behind him. She was nervous herself about being back in this building, but she was also feeling the creeping vestiges of terror. She hoped she wouldn't flash back to painful memories, but she could already feel herself start to freak out.
"Relax, Miss Henrietta. I have you," she heard Archer whisper to her, and she felt him squeeze her arm.
"We'll go to the elevators, and then I'll have to leave the two of you by yourselves. Harry can lead you to where the lower levels are, and to where her room was," Rufus told them quietly. "I will be heading to another elevator and head to the lower levels separately."
"Head to your office," Archer advised him. "Make yourself look busy."
By the time they reached the elevators, that was exactly what they did, splitting up to go to different elevators. Harry watched Rufus leave them behind, and struggled to follow after Archer into the elevator. It got crowded fast, and the two of them had to squeeze to a corner. Archer protectively held her to him, glaring lightly at anyone who looked in their direction (especially if it was towards her). Thankfully, most of them had left after a few floors down, to which they made it towards the lowest of the levels and where Harry remembered being kept locked up in. She grew increasingly agitated, her body tensing up on its own.
"Miss Henrietta," she heard Archer call her softly, and she broke through the red haze to see him looking down at her in concern. "It's alright," he reassured her again, once he saw he had her attention. "We'll find your godson and then head back soon. Giovanni wouldn't even find anything remiss."
Harry smiled at that, not totally sure they would be able to get away with Giovanni not figuring anything out, even if they managed to get back home in time for him to not notice they had been gone.
'Right,' she mouthed sarcastically at him, but she was no longer fuming or worried.
Archer gave her a light smirk, and then they hurried through the hallway and tried to make their way to Teddy. Harry made sure to remember the direction to her old room here, but she had always done her best to keep her mind blank of thought while she'd been there. And when she'd gotten away from the place, she turned to making the memories fade as much as possible and as quickly as she could.
"This way?" Archer asked when they reached a spot that made them choose between two paths.
Harry nodded and pointed to the way Archer had guessed, having seen her stare down that hall restlessly. They began to speed up even more, and soon enough they had reached the end of the hallway and where a lone door stood in front of them. It had somehow become rather ominous to their eyes, despite how normal looking it looked in reality.
Harry darted forward then and yanked the door opened, and a small boy was startled and stared at the door in fear. But then he recognized the girl and exclaimed happily.
"Harry!" the boy jumped off the bed and ran towards her.
"Don't worry," Archer said as she held her godson, squeezing him tightly. "We're going to get you out of here."
"No, I don't think you will," a familiar voice said, and Harry turned to the speaker in utter hate.
Malcolm stood there and smiled grimly. "It's been awhile," he said, as Archer slowly backed up closer to Harry, watching the man and the group of Unspeakables behind him.
Harry didn't really see a way out, so she closed her eyes and grabbed her godson's face, before then looking into his eyes and trying to use her Legilimency to transfer her thoughts to him. When she saw his eyes dilate and then return to normal, as well as his look of comprehension, she knew she'd managed to convey what she wanted to him. She stood up and glared at the man who'd made her life a living hell, and then grabbed her godson's hand.
"What do you think you're doing?" Malcolm spoke with deadened amusement, while Archer inched closer to her.
She bit her lip and looked at Archer, who frowned and glanced at her godson and then at the group of people in front of them. He sighed, but nodded. Within seconds, Harry had picked up her godson as Archer moved forward and physically assaulted two of the Unspeakables, and handing a very harsh haymaker to Malcolm's jaw and breaking it, and distracting the rest as she'd rushed Teddy passed them and managed to push him further and watch as he made it to the end of the hallway, before she went back to the others and joined in on the physical fighting, finding it amusing that the wizards were so incapable of it that they were losing out to Archer so easily.
However, one of them got a lucky shot in and sent a stunner towards Archer, and then as she worried over him, she missed the stunner towards her.
She supposed that Giovanni would definitely end up finding out they'd gone out after all.
There was a series of frantic knocking on his door, ones that sounded more like banging. Anxious, Rufus debated on answering the door and hoping whoever it was would go away, but then decided that if he was going to be imprisoned, he might as well not go out like a coward. Cowardice would not be a family trait, if he could help it.
Opening the door, he saw nothing outside. However, a second later, he felt something tackle his legs and hold on, and he looked down to see Teddy Lupin crying and holding onto him. Panicking, he backpedaled and quickly closed the door, hoping no one had seen that. Once in the safety of his office, he bent down and gently took hold of Teddy's hands, prying him off of his legs.
"What are you doing here, Teddy? What happened?" he asked, but inwardly he was panicking about this turn of events.
Where were Harry and Archer? Why was Teddy there?
"Harry came to get me, like you said she would," Teddy sniffled. "But then the bad man came with people, and Harry and her friend fought them and she got me away from them all. She told me where to go, and I found you."
Rufus bit his lip and looked at the door anxiously. Then he turned back to Teddy.
"I have to stay here and keep working," he told him, keeping his voice quiet. "When it's time for work to end, I have to sneak you out of here. But you have to stay quiet and hidden until then, okay?'
Teddy nodded, but Rufus was also thinking on if he could break the other two out as well. Maybe not then, but there had to be something he could end up doing…
Being bound by magic was infuriatingly hard to escape from, Archer found out. But that did not infuriate him, so much as that as soon as they had them and the two of them had been incapacitated, they'd been moved to a large room where Harry knelt in the middle of the floor, and had been chained to it.
She looked over at him, her lips twitching into a resemblance of a smile. And then that man came near her and held the tip of his wand to her neck and chanted something. The runes on her body began to light up and glow, and Harry threw her head back.
The screams that were pulled from her echoed through Archer's head, and he moved frantically against his bonds.
"You'll regret this," he hissed a them. "You'll regret this and you will all pay."
But right then, he had to sit helplessly and watch Harry suffer.