Disclaimer: I own nothing.
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
-"Hero" by Mariah Carey
Percy Apparated back into his office seconds before the door opened (literally seconds. Talk about a close call). Dolores Umbridge stormed into the room, followed by the Minister.
"Mrs. Umbridge, Mr. Minister, what can I do for you?" Percy asked, trying to look as casual as possible. That wasn't hard because Percy was a master at hiding his emotions.
"Oh, Percy- may I call you Percy?" Umbridge questioned.
"You may," Percy agree, although he was thinking No, you may not. That makes me very uncomfortable.
"I'm sure you've heard of the attack and the Muggleborns escaping," Umbridge snarled, although her anger (thankfully) didn't seem to be directed at Percy in particular.
Percy sighed. "Of course I have. I'm sure all of the Wizarding World knows by now. If we ever find these people, I'll take them to Azkaban myself."
"Forget Azkaban! More like the Dementors," the Minister muttered.
Percy swallowed, trying to disguise his fear. "Exactly," he told them. "Do we even know who they are?"
"One of them left this," Umbridge growled, handing him a square piece of paper, colored the same shade of blue as their cloaks.
Percy swallowed a grin. That had been Oliver's idea. The Quidditch player had thought that the cloaks obviously meant they were a group, and since they'd land themselves in the papers one way or the other, he decided to give the Ministry a name to go with the mysterious heroes.
"Freedom Fighters," he read, pretending to be skeptical. "They're fighting for the freedom of the Mudbloods, obviously. Probably a group of blood traitors that don't realize that it's better for everyone if those magic stealers are locked up."
It physically pained Percy to say these things, but if he wanted to stay under the radar, he needed to act exactly like the rest of the prejudiced people he was surrounded by.
Umbridge nodded. "Unfortunately, this is going to require a lot of paperwork. You are one of the only people we trust enough to preform the tasks associated with this escape. Some of these Freedom Fighters," she spat, as though the two words were poison in her mouth, "might be hidden in the Ministry, and we can't take any chances."
Percy puffed up with pride (non-existent pride. He was prideful, but he wouldn't even think of being prideful of killing and imprisoning innocent people). "Thank you, Ms. Umbridge. Luckily, paperwork is what I do best."
She grinned as she headed for the door, the Minister ahead of her.
"Thank you, Percy. I'm happy to see that there are still some trustworthy and intelligent people in the Ministry. Oh, and please, call me Dolores."
Once again, Percy thought. No, thank you. That makes me very uncomfortable.
As soon as the door shut behind them, Percy cast a silencing spell on the door before bursting out into laughter.
Oh, if they only knew…
Percy knocked on the door of Audrey's house.
"Who is it?" she hissed through the small opening door that was just below eye level for Percy, and she risked a peak through it.
"Owl," he replied, holding his necklace up for her to see.
She sighed in relief and opened the door, allowing him to step inside.
"Thank goodness. Is anyone suspicious of you?" she asked.
"Not at all," Percy replied. "In fact, Umbridge trusted me to do the paperwork regarding the escaped Muggleborns and said I was one of the few she trusted enough to do it. How are the Muggleborns?"
"Safe," Audrey answered. "I'm assuming you're here to talk about our next mission. I already have one in mind. Adam and I have already talked it over and have decided that you and I should take the lead on it."
Audrey seated herself at her kitchen table, and Percy sat across from her.
"What is it?" he asked, curiously.
"Are you good with kids?" she asked, purposely avoiding his question.
He frowned. "For the most part. I helped raise four younger siblings."
She smiled. "Good. The Muggleborns informed us that there are still children hidden somewhere in the Ministry. Obviously, the Minister and Umbridge and the few others in on it didn't want the whole world to know about the children. For a lot of people, even Muggleborns and Muggle haters, killing, torturing, and imprisoning children would've been a deal breaker. That's why the kids are kept in the lowest part of the Ministry, where no one ever goes, and it is going to be extremely hard to get them out. There's also another problem: the kids have trackers implanted into them, so we can't take them to a Safe House. We need to get them out of the country entirely, where the Ministry can't touch them."
"Where will we take them?" Percy asked.
"France," Audrey answered. "I'm still working on living arrangements for all the kids, but the minute they step over the border of England, Umbridge, the Ministry, and, as of now, You Know Who can't touch them."
"And how do we plan to go about this?"
"It is your job to get them out of the Ministry. There's nine kids in all. Once we get them out of the Ministry, I will take them to a temporary Safe House. They will eventually be tracked, but it will take some time for the Ministry to do that. We probably have until sundown before they're tracked. The kids' trackers mean that they can't be Apparated or Port Keyed either. They need to be transported without magic. While we can't remove the Trackers, Hazel does have a way to alter them. That would mean their Trackers would display them to be ten miles away from where they actually are. It isn't a huge window, but it's better than nothing.
"At sundown, the kids will be divided. We've already decided who will go with who. I get one kid; Oliver gets a toddler; Adam has a twelve year old. Hazel will take the twins. Nicole has a five year old and her baby brother. You have two sisters- one is eight, and one is ten. We'll each go in different directions."
Audrey placed a paper on the table that displayed multiple X's.
"These X's are safe houses. When one of us cannot be with the kids, they will stay in one of these locations. Unfortunately, they will not be able to stay in one place too long, no longer than a few hours. That's what makes your job in particular so hard. You'll need to find a way to bounce back and forth between the Ministry and the sisters without looking suspicious. Still, one step at a time.
"First of all, how are we going to get them out of the Ministry without looking suspicious?"
Percy grinned. "I have an idea…"
Percy glanced at his office door to make sure it remained shut before scribbling down a note and placing it on his desk in case anyone decided to pop in while he was absent (which he doubted anyone would).
I've gone on my lunch break. Come back around 2 pm. -Percy Weasley
Percy took another glance at the door before leaning against the wall furthest from the door, and he tapped his wand against it fifteen times before lightly kicking the wall.
The wall disappeared, and Percy was left staring at a doorway and a tunnel. Audrey was behind the wall, blinking at the rapid appearance of a doorway in shock.
Percy slipped into the tunnel and tapped his wand three times on the right side of the doorway before repeating the action on the left side and above the doorway. The doorway disappeared, and Percy quickly cast a Lumos spell.
"What the…" Audrey muttered, pointed to the now blank wall. "Okay, I was a little weirded out when you lead me into the tunnels through a cellar door in that restaurant down the block, but now… what on earth just happened?"
"In the war against Grindelwald, the Minister had these escape tunnels built in case the Ministry was ever attacked. Over time, they were forgotten about. I discovered them shortly after I got my first job at the Ministry."
"Is there anything you don't know?" Audrey asked as they started walking in the direction of the place where the children were being kept.
Percy paused. "I do not understand a lot of social things, and I was horrible a Divination. I managed to get an O, but that was because I made up most of my dreams since I could never remember my real ones. Oh, and according to Oliver, I don't know how to lighten up, 'let loose' (whatever that means), or take care of myself."
Audrey pursed her lips, wondering if Percy was an underrated genius (a real life genius, like above gifted on the scale on that IQ test Audrey had had to take when she was younger) and if he possibly had undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome (he did display a lot of symptoms of it). But she shrugged it off; asking probably wouldn't give her as good an answer as watching his behavior would. She knew he was smart, but over time, she might discover if he was an actual genius, and as time passed, she'd hopefully learn whether it was Asperger's, social awkwardness, or just Percy's personality. In this case, observing would probably get her farther than outright asking him.
They walked in silence for a few moments before Percy finally stopped, and he shined his light near the floor… or where the floor should be. All Audrey saw was a black hole, barely big enough for a single person.
"There aren't any stairs in the tunnels. There are some slopes that you can walk down to arrive at the next floor, but this is faster and easier because navigating those slopes are hard."
"Speaking from experience?" Audrey asked with a raised eyebrow.
Percy nodded. "After I discovered these, I started exploring them when I was bored. What? I'm here almost all day everyday. You didn't think I worked all the time, did you?"
"There was that one time I took a wrong turn and wound up in my dad's office. I scared the life out of him. I don't think he ever figured out where I came from," Percy whispered.
Audrey chuckled again before glancing into the hole in the ground.
"So… how do we get down?" she asked.
"Easy. Levitate," Percy answered. "Unless you want to go the old fashioned way…" he added, shining his lit wand tip upon a rope trailing deeper into the hole.
"Levitating, it is!" Audrey exclaimed.
Percy cast Wingardium Leviosa and stepped over the hole. He levitate above the empty air.
"Just keep descending until your feet hit the ground. We're going to the lowest floor," he told her before beginning his descent. Audrey followed a minute or so later.
They floated down the tube or hole or whatever it was in silence, and Audrey could hear voices and noises coming from all around her, sounds that pierced the walls from the other side of the walls of the tunnels. These tunnels were rather amazing; Audrey mentally congratulated and thanked the person that built them. They were ingenious and useful and an all around good idea for an escape plan.
After several minutes, Audrey's feet touched the ground, and Percy lead her through a narrow tunnel. She coughed as dust wiggled its way into her lungs, and she brushed aside some cob webs.
"Why is this one so much dustier and dirtier than the others?" she asked.
"I cleaned up most of the other ones while I was exploring," Percy muttered to her. "I've never explored this one."
Percy suddenly wheezed, and Audrey watched as he withdrew an inhaler from his pocket and puffed the medicine into his mouth.
She frowned. "You have asthma?"
He nodded. "I've had it since I was four. After I turned seven, I didn't have any symptoms until I was sixteen when Oliver convinced me to play Quidditch with him. The exercise triggered an asthma attack, and ever since then, it acts up from time to time."
Audrey nodded. "I see."
She watched as Percy crept down the hall and came to a dead end.
She was about to ask him if they'd gotten lost when he held up a single finger to tell her to be quiet and beckoned for her to lean her ear against the wall, which she did, perplexed.
That's when she heard it: crying, sniffling, a baby wailing, and other small, pitiful noises.
Percy cast a quick spell, and Audrey watched as pink lights glowed through the wall. A body heat sensing spell.
"Nine," he murmured. "All kids. No adults."
Audrey nodded in return, and she watched as Percy leaned against the wall, tapped it with his wand fifteen times, and lightly kicked it.
The wall disappeared.
Audrey glanced through the doorway and nearly cried at the sight before her.
There were nine kids inside the room, all seated on a hard bench in a cell like room with only four gray walls and a heavy, undoubtedly locked door.
All of the kids were dirty and shaking from cold in the frigid room. Some of them looked sick, and they were all starving; some had obviously been here longer than others, which was made obvious by their dangerously low weight. They were bruised and cut up and trembling from fear.
The kids huddled together, fearful of the strange people who had just appeared in the room.
Audrey smiled softly at them. "it's okay, kids," she whispered with a brief glance at the door. "We're here to help you."
Audrey held out a hand to the closest kid.
"Let's go, kids. We're breaking you out," Audrey murmured. "You're safe with us. I promise."
Audrey and Percy knew that they would never forget the way the kids' faces brightened up at that simple statement, nor did they want to forget.
The next few chapters will center around this mission because it will be one of their biggest missions (and will lead up to a larger part of the plot later on).
Hope you enjoyed the chapter! Thanks for reading! Leave a review!