Part Four: Under Control
The day got more interesting.
Harry blinked once when he landed gracefully in the Prime Minister's office, mildly surprised.
"Do not move. You will both remain silent and still, else we will shoot you. Any movement towards your wands will result in your termination."
There were five men in black suits and with guns, all of whom were standing professionally with their aims trained on Harry and Minister Scrimgeour. A sixth man had his gun pointed at Kingsley, who was currently tied up with rope and on his knees, gagged.
It was the seventh man, standing next to the Prime Minister, who had spoken. He wore a suit with a label on his suit with the words "Regnum – Defende." He had a powerful presence, easily engulfing the Prime Minister's. It was obvious from his blank face and relaxed poise that he was a dangerous man, someone who knew what he was doing.
"What is the meaning of this?" snarled Minister Scrimgeour, but Harry noticed he was keeping quite still. At this range, even magic wouldn't be able to save them from bullets. Well, at least Scrimgeour didn't have the skill necessary. "I am the Minister of Magic! I shall have you know that you are stepping onto dangerous grounds. How dare you—?"
"I am the Director-General of MI5, the Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 5," said the seventh man coldly. "If you remain calm and do what we ask, then you will go unharmed."
"Prime Minister," growled Scrimgeour furiously. "What is the meaning of this?"
The Prime Minister spoke at last, with a touch of weariness. "Minister, just do what he says and all will be well, I assure you—"
"Remarkable," said Harry, drawing the attention of everyone. He stared intently at the Prime Minister, locking onto his gaze. "You've managed to overpower Auror Shacklebolt and trick the both of us here. Well done, Prime Minister." He took a careful step nearer to the man and smiled amusedly when the MI5 agents jerked, aiming their guns more steadily in his direction. Harry cocked his head to the side. "Surely you wouldn't kill a sixteen year old boy, now would you?"
He took another step forward, guns following his moments, then another until he could take a calm seat into one of the chairs before the Prime Minister's desk. "Now, what's this really all about, Prime Minister? I'm sure you didn't do this for some trivial matter. What is it you wish you achieve through this—er—affair?"
The Prime Minister blinked as he looked Harry, as though unsure of what to make of the teen, but it was the Director-General who answered. "You were both brought here in order for you to attend and testify at a meeting of Cobra."
"Cobra? What utter nonsense is that?" snapped Scrimgeour.
The Director-General stared hard at the Minister. "You will do well to show some respect, Minister Scrimgeour. We are the ones with the upper hand here."
"General," warned the Prime Minister. The Director-General backed down. "Cobra, for your information, stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A. It is our emergency council, the government's ultimate response to any major crisis—which, I'm sure you'd agree, your war is."
"And?" said Minister Scrimgeour coldly. "What is this to us?"
The Prime Minister was silent for a moment, before saying thoughtfully, "I remember when your predecessor made himself first known to me, Minister. When I had asked why my predecessor hadn't informed me of your wizarding community, he had replied back, 'My dear man, would you tell anyone?' And of course, I did not. I kept it a secret; through all these years, I have feared that someone would discover this secret of mine and did my best to conceal your community from my own."
The Prime Minister glared at Scrimgeour. "But no more. You have failed to contain your war and now innocent people are dying in my country. So I have finally decided to act. A year ago today you came over to inform me of war in the wizarding community, and a year I have waited to hear that you've stopped this madman. I have heard nothing—and seen nothing occur. My people are dying, Minister, and I have done nothing. But no more. Thus, I have called for a meeting of Cobra, and you have been invited—perhaps not so cordially, but there was no other choice."
"Muggles," sneered Scrimgeour. "You are all alike. If we wizards couldn't stop He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, then what bloody chance do you think you have?"
"Minister," Harry said disapprovingly. "No need to sound so prejudiced—however." He turned to face the other men. "There is a reason for the International Statute of Secrecy. Have you men forgotten your history? Witch trials and hunts, these have happened before when our two worlds collided. You are opening a can of worms that will be impossibly hard to shut again."
"It is a risk that I am willing to take," answered the Prime Minister coldly. "How can I stand aside and twiddle my thumbs while my world is being torn apart by yours? Rest assured, however; I do not intend to reveal magic and wizardry to everyone—only to those invited to attend Cobra, which consists of my most trusted advisors and ministers."
"You've already informed all of them?" asked Scrimgeour incredulously. "And they believed you?"
The Prime Minister smiled humourlessly. "Good heavens, no! These men you see before you are the only ones who know."
Harry nodded calmly. "Excellent," he said pleasantly. "It will make this all the more easier." Then before anyone could react, he had his wand out—
"Wand!" roared the Director-General instantly, swiftly grabbing the Prime Minister and tugging him under the desk. The five other men attempted to pull on the trigger of their guns—
Gold light exploded like sharp rays of sunlight, a globe of brilliant radiance filled the room—
The light vanished abruptly and there was silence. An eerie stillness.
Harry sighed and allowed his hand to drop. The six agents were bound tightly together and unconscious in the corner of the room; the Prime Minister and the Director-General were bound as well, except in their case, separately and with both still conscious.
Directing his wand absentmindedly in the direction of the six MI5 agents, he cast quick Memory Charms and easily locked away all memories concerning magic and what had just occurred. "I apologise for this Prime Minister, but I assure you that what I am doing is best for the both of us, and our two communities. I sympathise with your plight, with the pain and horror you must be going through—unable to stop the terror that Lord Voldemort is inflicting on your world. But, I cannot allow you to reveal what our world has spent centuries trying to hide."
Harry met the Prime Minister's gaze sadly. "At this present moment, I can't see what good it would bring to inform Cobra of the wizarding community. There's nothing you can do at the moment, nothing you can offer as aid to this war against the Dark Lord. I'm sorry, Prime Minister, but I must be frank—you trying to do something will only interfere with us, and ultimately will prove to be distractions rather than aid."
"You don't have a clue what kind of power we Muggles have, Mr. Potter," said the Director-General coldly. "You may have your magic, but we have our science."
"Science?" burst out Scrimgeour incredulously. "What is science to magic? Your bloody 'science' wouldn't last a minute against a wand! Your insolence—"
"Minister," said Harry, giving him a stern look. Scrimgeour sneered, but remained quiet. "Thank you. Now, Director-General." The man met his gaze, and the teen reached across and brushed through the Muggle's mind swiftly. "I see you've gleaned much information about our world from Auror Shacklebolt—your own version of truth serum, I see. Ah, yes, we cannot deny the power of science; you are correct in this." Harry's eyes widened slightly. "Oh my, now that is surprising—though not unmanageable. You're attempting to make Muggle-borns into spies."
The Director-General's eyes narrowed, before he broke eye contact abruptly. "You can read minds," he said solemnly. Harry had to give him points for his composure. The man was devoid of any facial expression that gave away his feelings. Quite impressive.
But instead, Harry remained cold and aloof—he needed to make his warnings stick. "Indeed, Director-General. I can read minds—and, and so much more." There was a subtle quality that he added to his voice, and both the Prime Minister and the Director-General found their eyes drawn to him. Harry stared hard at both of them, and allowed the full weight of his seriousness press on them. "And now, Prime Minister, Director-General, allow me to address something you have till this moment been ignorant of: you have absolutely no idea how powerful magic can be. Of course, your experience with magic has been severely limited: you have only met wizards such as our former and present Ministers, both fools, and Auror Shacklebolt, who while powerful in his own right is nowhere near the upper echelons of the wizarding world in terms of magical power—it is time to correct your view of magic and the so-called strength of your science."
Harry twirled his wand, drawing their attention to it. "With this wand, this single wand alone, I can destroy Muggle London—and nothing you can do could stop me. Would you fire your guns at me? I could create a ward that would turn every bullet into a lovely flower. Would you direct your missiles in my direction? I would've been warned long before because of my proximity wards and Disapparated instantaneously to a location hundreds of meters from where I had previously been. Would you attempt to overwhelm me with numbers alone? With two words I could kill a man—now allow me to ask, how long do you think it'll take to whisper two words over and over again to destroy a battalion of hundreds of soldiers? Not too long, sirs, not too long. All the while I would have a magical shields that would protect me from any lucky shot, dragonhide clothing to protect me from those that manage to get through the cloak—and a single wave of my wand to heal anything truly powerful enough to damage my person.
"Would you hide within your mighty structures of concrete and metal? I could Apparate through walls, I could conjure a fire so fierce it would burn water, let alone melt metal; I could send a storm so powerful it would blow your walls down, or I could transfigure cement into sand and metal into straw. I could drop the earth beneath your feet, call lightning out from the sky, summon the ocean in the middle of your city, or put your nation to sweet sleep. Would you believe your hiding would save you? I have spells that could search whomever I wanted, wherever they may be. You will have no where to hide, to shelter, to cower from my might and power." Harry leaned back into his seat and stopped twirling his wand. "I may not be able to destroy Muggle London in a single day, or even perhaps a week, but if I direct my wand and my magic to her destruction, in the end, she will fall."
There was a stunned moment of silence. He sighed slowly, and asked gently, "A single wand, gentlemen; what can you possibly do against a single wand?"
The Director-General suddenly met Harry's gaze with a fierce blaze burning in his eyes, and he answered slowly but with authority. "I would snap that single wand."
Harry looked at him sadly. "Oh, Director-General, but I have another, and another, and another after that." He sighed again. "This, gentlemen, is what Lord Voldemort is more than capable of. And he has not just one wand, but many under his command. You say your people are dying? That you would do anything to protect them? To defend them against this unknown power? Sirs, the unfortunate truth is that you cannot. You cannot. At least, not on your own. In fact, you must be thankful that what I have just detailed for you has not yet taken place.
"We are in the midst of a war of magic and power unlike anything you have ever seen nor dreamed of. A war between wizards and witches and magical creatures—and we are far from putting an end to it. If truth be told, the real war has yet to even begin."
Harry met the Prime Minister's gaze. "I'm sorry, Prime Minister. I am truly, very sorry. But at this point there is nothing you can do that will help—and anything that you do will, most likely, prove to be ultimately detrimental. I am sorry."
Harry shook his head sadly, and sighed one last time. Hopefully this made it clear to them: the war against the Dark Lord could not be won by Muggle weapons alone.
"Excellent work, Potter," said Scrimgeour suddenly, off from the side. "Yes, very good work. Now, Prime Minister, Director-General, I feel there are a few apologies that you yourselves should present before the two—" the Minister frowned, before waving his wand and releasing Kingsley from his prone position, and spelled him back to consciousness "—make that three—of us. We are waiting."
The Prime Minister raised an eyebrow and the Director-General glared coldly back. Neither gave any sign of apologising.
"Now, see here!" snarled Scrimgeour. "You lay a hand on my Auror, then attempt to terrorise the Minister of Magic and the Boy Who Lived, and now will not apologise? I am absolutely insulted—"
Harry sighed, rolled his eyes, and ignored the Minister; instead moving to check on Kingsley. "Are you all right?"
"—I promise you, you will not get away with this—"
Kingsley groaned and weakly shook his head. "Potter? Harry? What's going on?" He winced and gritted his teeth. "Headache."
Harry lightly ran his wand over the Auror's head, before gently whispering a few spells. "Does that clear the pain a little?"
"—if you do not, you can expect unpleasant retributions—"
"Yes, thank you," replied Kingsley in a slightly stronger voice. He blinked slowly, struggling to keep his focus on Harry. "What happened?"
"—add insult to injury—"
Harry gently shook his head. "Not now. I'm sure Minister Scrimgeour will be happy to fill you in later. I just wanted to make sure you were safe and uninjured. Just sit tight, okay? I'll bring Healer attention to you soon."
"—I am the Minister of Magic!"
When Harry turned back to the scene, he was much amused to see Scrimgeour glaring at the two stoic, still-tied-up Muggles, his wand gripped tightly in his hand and a twist in his mouth that spoke of severe distaste. His face was flushed slightly with an obvious mix of contempt, irritation, and anger. Over all, it was a delightfully entertaining scene.
"Yes, we are all aware that you are the Minister of Magic, sir," said Harry in a patronising tone, with a small amused smile. He waved his wand slightly, and released the ropes on the men. "Now, act like the adults and political leaders that you are; shake hands and apologise. Go on. We have all had a severe misunderstanding today—but I hope everything is cleared up, yes? So, go on. Shake hands, say sorry, forgive, and never forget."
No one moved a long moment, before the Prime Minister took in a deep breath, then held out a hand. "I apologise for the misunderstanding, Minister Scrimgeour, Mr. Potter, Kingsley."
Under Harry's cold glare, Scrimgeour reluctantly shook hands. "Prime Minister, I hope this never happens again."
"Excellent," said Harry. "Well, it seems we're all squared out, then. You hurt Kingsley, I hurt your agents. You forcefully gained information about the wizarding world from the Auror's mind, I took information about your Muggle world from the Director-General. And finally you both have shaken hands on it and apologised. Very well, let us all consider our misunderstandings resolved, shall we?"
When everyone present nodded, Harry spoke once more gravely. "And Prime Minister, do you understand that your best chance of surviving and riding out this war is to stay clear of Lord Voldemort?"
The Prime Minister met Harry's eyes, and gave him a long measuring look, before answering, "Allow me this one question, Mr. Potter: do you believe your side will win this war?"
The teen in question didn't hesitate for a moment. "Of course, Prime Minister. It is only a question of how long it will take until victory is achieved."
"Very well, then," said the Prime Minister. "I will trust you."
"Thank you, Prime Minister. And Minister Scrimgeour, what of you?" Harry glared at him coldly. He had not forgotten the argument they had just had before Flooing here. "The Prime Minister has brought many concerns before you today—many of which echo my own: what is your response to these allegations of your administration failing to achieve any significant victory in this war? Will you attempt to rectify your mistakes?"
Four pairs of eyes—Harry's, the Prime Minister's, the Director-General's, Kingsley's—stared hard at the Minister of Magic. Scrimgeour kept up a cool façade, however.
"There is nothing to rectify, Prime Minister, Potter. My administration is doing the best it can in the face of these tragedies. But everything, I will assure all of you, is under control—"
There was a yelp of surprise, a gasp, then a shout from the corner of the room—the portrait of the silver-wigged frog-like man—roaring in panic, with terrified eyes—
"MINISTER SCRIMGEOUR! EMERGENCY! ALERT! Break-in at Floo Control Center! Foundation network stolen! Dark Mark visible!"
"What?" Scrimgeour stood absolutely still.
"DEATH EATER ATTACK! Aurors too late! FOUNDATION NETWORK STOLEN!"
The Minister of Magic collapsed heavily onto a seat, his strength leaving him abruptly. The Prime Minister glanced around in confusion. The Director-General's eyes were narrowed. Kingsley was wide-eyed with surprise.
"All employees at Floo Center killed! Fourteen casualties! Death toll mounting! Minister Scrimgeour, presence required immediately at the Ministry!"
Harry gently shook his head, and sighed deeply.
"Everything is under control, Minister?"
Harry surveyed the scene before him with tightness around his mouth and a grim shadow in his eyes. Lord Voldemort had struck hard, and fast, and now the whole of magical Britain would be reeling from the strike.
The Floo network was completely disabled. As long the Foundation network was missing, the island of Great Britain was blanked out and isolated from not only the international wizarding community, but also from each other. Now, the only methods of travel would be Apparition, Portkey, or broom—none of which were especially safe for young children, and none as secure or as reliable as the Floo.
"—not one survived," whispered a hoarse voice in disbelief.
"Too many—the Aurors tried—"
Eleven. Harry had counted carefully. Eleven employees who worked at the Floo Center were all dead, and from the looks of their location, body position, and facial expression—they were caught completely by surprise. Six witches, five wizards, ranging from young adult to elderly. The three other deaths had been from innocent bystanders inquiring at the Center about their Floo connections. Two witches, one wizard—all young.
"—why? Oh Merlin, why?"
"What the fuck is the Ministry doing? Where the bloody hell were they when the Death Eaters came?"
Harry bent over and gently closed the lifeless eyes of a dead witch. Rest in peace, he whispered silently to her. I promise you, I'll bring justice to those who murdered you.
To be continued….
Part V:Trials will be updated soon.
Sorry for my rather long, extended absence. I've been sick, overworked, worried over college apps, and a multitude of RL things that have kept me away from fanfiction.
Hmm. But a lot of that's done and over with, now, so I can work more on my fics again.
Comments always welcome.