Ash didn't want to say she was pouting…but she was.
Continually tugging on Cyrus' sleeve, he kept ignoring her while she went on to being insistent.
"Why can't I drive?" she huffed.
"You don't have a license," he grumbled.
"How do you know that?" she insisted.
He snorted, surprising her. "Cynthia told me back then how you'd never gotten around to getting your license."
"How do you know that I haven't gotten it since then? It's been a few years," Ash's pout was threatening to get worse.
"Your aunt was complaining to Sirius on the way here how you had been hassling her to drive the car, but didn't have a license."
"Damn," Ash muttered, cursing her aunt under her breath. Fully pouting now, Ash turned on the radio. To her consternation, the radio was playing that infernal Going to the Chapel of Love song. Growling, she violently jabbed a button, and changed the channel.
Then the classic Grease song You're the One That I Want came on and Ash figured they were curse. They, not just she this time.
But then Cyrus started humming along with the song, to her surprise, so she figured it was worth it. Grinning slyly, she hummed along with him. And even when the songs after were continually love songs and geared somehow towards them, Ash went along with it and decided she was jinxed, he was jinxed, the radio was jinxed, and the car was jinxed.
"We're here," Cyrus announced, drawing her attention back to him.
She looked at the house Rufus had said he'd be in when she'd called again, waiting with Teddy at an Arabella Figg's place. He parked the car and then they got out, to which Ash hurried up and walked ahead of Cyrus, getting to the door and ringing the doorbell. By the time it opened, Cyrus had joined her side.
The man on the other side of the door must've been Rufus Fudge, who gave her a hesitant smile.
"You're Ash?" he asked hesitantly.
She turned more serious and nodded. "That's me. This is Cyrus. Is Teddy inside?"
Rufus nodded, opening the door more and letting them in. "He's currently eating some dinner, and we've been going over some beginning spells to take his mind off of things."
Ash started to open her mouth to ask him about these spells, when Cyrus subtly grabbed her elbow. Frowning, she looked at him and he shook his head, so she figured that he was telling her not to ask anything.
"Teddy, your godmother's friend is here," Rufus called out and a little boy shyly peeked out from around a corner. "Teddy, this is Ash and Cyrus. They're friends of your godmother," he reiterated, introducing them.
Teddy, still shy, waved at them.
Ash grew a warm smile and walked closer to the boy, kneeling in front of him.
"Hi," she said softly. "My name's Ash. Are you Teddy?"
He gave her a small smile and nodded. "Where's Harry?" he asked seriously, and for his young age, Ash could already see the kid was smarter than his age.
"She's coming soon," she said, even though she wasn't sure about anything. "But for now, we're going to take you to her new home. She's married, you see. You'll be meeting her husband soon, and he'll take care of you while Harry is busy doing something."
She felt movement by her side and turned to see that Cyrus had moved closer and kneeled down next to her, having an unusual soft look on his face that was accompanied by an even softer smile. She didn't think he'd ever be capable of an expression or want to show such a look to anyone, but she was so caught off guard that here he was now and she was feeling oddly warm at the sight of him.
Arceus damn it, where was Harry so that Ash could blubber at her about all this strangeness and complain that it was all too strange?
"Let's go home," Cyrus murmured. "She'll be so happy to see you safe when she comes."
And if Ash's heart skipped a beat when Cyrus smiled a little more and held out his hand for Teddy to take, and Teddy's small hand reaching forward to grasp it –she swore the sweet scene didn't make her feel all warm inside.
Giovanni looked over the count of Rockets that had come from the other side. Ariana stood next to him, looking a slight bit too eager for some carnage.
"Good count," he appraised, looking over the little over 20 Rocket agents at his disposal.
They were from units he could count on to take care of business, the part of Team Rocket that got things done and did the dirty work. Right now, each of them were coaxing the Electrode and Weezing they'd brought over into taking the new drug developed to have pokémon adjust more easily in the Mainland atmosphere.
He'd been developing it over the years, and it was great luck that this was the year that it had finally been finished and finalized. Between the pokémon that they were going to hide around in specific areas and the explosives they'd had on hand, he wasn't going to let the Wizarding World forget what they'd done to Harry for a long time.
They'd be paying for it after all.
"With Archer's information and Fudge's help, I've already had a few agents snuck into the society and infiltrating their world without a problem," Ariana informed him.
"Good," Giovanni muttered, still thinking over the situation and the time that had passed since Archer and Harry's quickly thought up plan of theirs. "They've been planting the explosives?"
"Yes. I've even made sure that they'll work against the magical protections around some areas that have those –explosives are hard to protect against with the magical protections that many of the places have used for years. They're outdated and most spells find it hard to counter explosives anyway. And given their current attitude, they haven't come in contact, paid attention to, or cared enough about 'Muggle' innovation in these passing years that explosives are still foreign to them and they haven't created and crafted a magical defense against them."
Giovanni hmmed, still lost in thought. He was jolted out of it when Ariana placed a comforting hand on his arm.
"She'll be fine, you know," Ariana told him sincerely. "Your wife's the type of person that knows struggle and survival. So trust her on this."
He gave her a grim smile.
"I am. I just still don't like it."
For a while, Harry flew away from the Ministry building and then just traveled off to somewhere. Archer kept quiet all the while, holding onto her tightly as she flew on her phoenix form, getting used to it and adjusting to the body like she had never been able to before.
But he began to notice that she was tiring after having been flying for at least a few days, so he firmly patted her leg.
"Harry, I think this is far enough," he reassured her, lucky that he also recognized the area. "I know a place nearby that we can stay and rest, so land us down here."
Harry made a trilling noise that made his heart feel light and his body to thrum happily. She settled down on a glassy plain and he jumped off of her, which she then began to shift and slowly began to transform back to her normal form. Archer cringed because he could see (able to be up close to it now) that the transformation looked painful and unnatural, and hoped that she wasn't feeling too hurt and pained after everything.
When she was back to human form, she keeled over herself, gasping for air and trying to not pass out. Her hair hung around her face and her eyes were closed and stinging from her tears and sweat. Archer rushed to her side and placed his jacket around her, and tried to support her from completely collapsing to the ground, worried over her current state.
"Are you alright?" he asked anxiously.
Unable to answer, she just lifted her head up and gave him a weak smile. Then she was back to trying to catch her breath and focus on making sure her body wasn't feeling as if it preferred to just lay down there and block out the world. She felt, more than saw, Archer pick her up from the ground and hold her close. He then started to walk off, keeping her close and supporting her, when all she wanted to do was bask in the bonelessness she was feeling at the moment.
"How do you feel?" he asked semi-rhetorically in a quiet manner.
She still couldn't feel up to answering, so she let out a whimper to show how she felt. She felt his nod against her.
"I see," he noted regretfully. "It'll be alright. I promise. We'll be heading somewhere private and where you can recuperate. Soon enough, Giovanni will be back to your side and hoping you'd be well enough to hear him rant about how worried and upset he was at the crazy plan you came up with."
Harry couldn't help but laugh lightly at that. "Overprotective and sweet, he is," she spoke out, her voice rusty from disuse. "Can finally…talk to him…now…"
She felt exhausted at trying to speak just that though.
"Don't worry about that," he told her seriously. "He'd always cared about you, voice or no voice."
In fact, at this moment, he was pretty sure Giovanni cared so much about Harry that he was probably in the middle of setting things up for when the Wizarding World would find themselves at Giovanni's mercy –his mercy he wouldn't grant, because of how much none of them deserved it and Harry deserved a lot more from them than what she got.
Revenge was a bitch and so was karma.
"We're almost there," Archer murmured an hour later, though she was worryingly silent. He sped up and found they had managed to make it to an abandoned building that they could use as a temporary place to stay, so long as it was enough for Harry to just take as much time as she needed to rest up. After everything, she really needed it.
Going into the building, he found a clean room with an old mattress, and laid Harry down on it. He frowned uneasily to himself as he noticed she had her eyes closed and had obviously passed out, but he did a quick check on her still form before leaving her alone to rest. He then went to find a payphone outside of the building and called collect to Giovanni's phone.
"Hello? Who is this?" Giovanni asked sharply into the phone.
"Sir, it's me," Archer spoke worriedly. "We've made it out of the Ministry and have completed our tasks. At the moment, Harry is resting and when she's up, we'll head back to the estate and fill you in on things. On your part, I believe I told Ariana to get some Rockets from the Regions to travel to here."
"Yes, you'd provided ample time to get things ready. Currently, we're about to embark on the Wizarding World and act on the rest of our plans, making sure everything is in place first. However, after all this is over, we need to have a talk, Archer. In the meantime, make sure Harry is safe and comfortable, and feeling alright."
"Yes, sir. Understood, Giovanni."
He hung up, wincing afterward. He knew the moment he'd agreed to Harry's request that Giovanni wouldn't be happy about it, so there was no point in dwelling on that issue. Instead, he went back to Harry and checked on her. Still out.
He hoped she'd wake up soon and feel better.
Sirius had taken a car to Grimmauld, hoping to find Remus there. He knew he'd willed the place to Harry, so even if the Ministry had done what they did, her belongings, money, and estates would stay to her no matter what. And knowing how close she actually was to the Malfoys, he'd reached out to his cousin and had Narcissa named a proxy if anything were to happen to either of them. He was sure she and her husband had made sure to keep everything intact and away from the hands of the Ministry.
Entering the abode, he tried to use his senses gained from being a dog Animagus, but couldn't tell if Remus was there or had been there recently.
"Remus! Are you there? It's me, Sirius! I know you think I'm dead, but it's a long story! I promise," he called out.
Still no sign of anyone, and he was wary about that. At least Kreacher should be skulking about. And speak of the devil, the House Elf appeared then, turning around the corner. However, he wasn't as Sirius remembered. In fact, Kreacher was groomed and cleaned up, walking straight and actually smiling at Sirius.
"Ah, old master is alive and home? Good, good. Would you like Kreacher to make you something to eat or get a drink?"
Sirius twitched and almost barked out a rude 'no' before considering his attitude. Obviously, something had changed in Kreacher and he liked the 'new' elf before him. Still…
"Water is fine, Kreacher," he said gruffly, watching the House Elf closely. He wanted so desperately to ask about the change…
"And when will Mistress Harry finally come home?" Kreacher asked, suddenly turning a lot more eager.
Ah. That explained it. Something Harry said or did had changed Kreacher, so now Kreacher was a changed elf and looked to be extremely loyal to Harry. It was kind of ironic, considering how fanatically loyal Kreacher had been to his mother, and now was fanatically loyal to another female. After all, Kreacher had loved Sirius' brother, but the elf had worshipped Walburga.
"Soon," Sirius said more confidently. "She's taking care of some business, and the Ministry is finally being dealt with."
A vicious grin stole across Kreacher's face, alarming Sirius.
"Very good, Master Sirius. Ministry full of traitors…" Kreacher began to mumble familiar insults under his breath, becoming likened to his old self, if oddly about something different and for a different person now.
"Kreacher, you wouldn't happen to know where Remus is, do you?" he interrupted the elf, who had just handed Sirius' glass of water to him while continuing to mumble.
Kreacher gained a pinched look. "Wolf is downstairs. Basement," he informed Sirius.
Back to being wary, Sirius nodded to Kreacher and took to find the entrance to the basement, where he was hoping he'd reunite with his old friend. He opened the basement door and peered inside, only to find the whole place dark.
"Kreacher, can I get a light in here?" he yelled from where he was at, still feeling weird about the House Elf listening to his orders so easily and him actually giving any orders to the other.
The lights in the room lit up and Sirius cringed back when he saw not just the state of the room, but the state of the lone occupant.
In his wolf form, despite it not being a full moon or anywhere near a full moon, Remus was chained to the wall and looking horrible, places on his body all torn up from his own claws.
"Remus?" Sirius gasped.
Remus lifted up his head from where he'd been resting on the floor, his amber eyes glowing in the dimness of the room.
As he looked at Sirius and made a whimper, at least his friend had been able to recognize him. Now he just needed to find out what had happened and what was wrong.
It was sunny that day. Nothing seemed out of the norm, and everyone had felt content and relaxed.
At exactly 12 o'clock, everything burst into a different perspective.
In Hogsmeade, several people would shift around the area, checking in on the various explosives set around to surround the town and prevent easy escape, along with the anti-Apparation ward their new magical contacts had placed over the area. One particular individual moved to the center of the town and released an odd thing from a red and white ball. He left it there and walked off, and other people watched him curiously while others stared at the strange creature that they didn't recognize.
It started to glow, saying only one thing "Electrode!"
Before anyone could run away, the crowd around the pokémon was engulfed in the explosion as the rest of the explosives around the town began activating straight after that. If Hogwarts remained standing, silently watching over the former intact village, then their pro-Potter stance had always been a staunch rally.
Around the rest of the Wizarding World was another matter.
Diagon Alley was a mess, chaos left behind in the wake of the explosions that had occurred there. Every business in the alley, stretching out to the other alleys like Knockturn, had become casualties, glass exploding outward and littering the ground and people caught in the crossfire. People were scared and confused, and no one knew or understood what was happening.
And what was left of the Ministry, after Harry's momentous escape, was left to further ruins. Little spots of fire were kindling around, more walls of the Ministry had been collapsed, and at least here were people who had been severely hurt (if not even dead). Truthfully, a few of them had even been targeted, in response to the cues and information Rufus Fudge had told about certain people, as well as some of the infiltrators' information gathering.
So if Giovanni walked in there casually, looking around at the pandemonium he and his Team had caused, he could only observed in contentedness.
He walked further into the building, heading straight down to the lower levels. While his other men, mostly the infiltrators, would have hunted down and taken care of the others who had hurt Harry, he had one particular person he would take care of personally.
From there, he spotted Malcolm Walters alone in his office, nursing the newly healed jaw and various other wounds that he'd gained from the explosions in the building. Giovanni found the man's wand and took it, dropping it to the floor just as Malcolm spotted him.
"What are you –"
With a sure step, Giovanni put his foot on the wand and broke it.
"How dare you?" the man yelled in outrage, leaping at him.
Giovanni easily caught the other and then violently threw the man back, making Malcolm land against the wall hard.
"Who are you?" he asked him fearfully.
A cold, satisfied smile crossed Giovanni's face, as he took out his Beretta 9mm and aimed at Malcolm's forehead.
"A friend of a mutual friend," he said casually.
And he shot Malcolm, just as the other's eyes showed his understanding and knowledge of who he meant.