|SIYE Time:20:00 on 11th December 2017|
An Unusually Large Cage
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Warnings: Disturbing Imagery, Spouse/Adult/Child Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: While at Hogwarts to see one of Ginny's Quidditch games, newly minted Auror Harry Potter learns why Mr. Filch always seemed so creepy. Tragic implications, but happy ending. Filch is a creep. Slight crossover with DC Comics.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1232
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Ishido Maad is the property of DC Comics.
A couple of years ago, about the same time, I wrote a heroic!Filch story and an evil!Filch story. The heroic one has barely any Harry and no Ginny, so I won't be posting it here. If you want to read it, it's called "Drawing a Bead" and is linked on my profile. I really don't know why I never posted this one on SIYE before, but here it is.
Ishido Maad comes from DC Comics. He just wandered into this story somehow.
I am neither a physician nor a member of law enforcement. Thanks to the folks of The Teachers' Lounge on FFN who talked me through this one, though my questions had them wondering if I was planning a crime, myself.
"Doctor! She's waking." Helen heard the voice say as she slowly swam into consciousness. "Come on, Helen. You can do it. Stay with us."
Helen groaned and tried to open her eyes. The light was too bright. She squinted and winced. Someone placed a pair of dark glasses over her eyes and she relaxed.
"I'm awake," she managed to croak. "What happened? Who are you? Where am I?"
"I'm Dr. Clough. You're at Massachusetts General Hospital," replied a woman with a kind face.
"Massachusetts? I'm in America? How did I get here?"
"We were hoping you could tell us. You showed up here a week ago, completely incoherent. We were rather surprised to find your fingerprints on a missing person's database from England. Do you remember who you are?"
"Helen Norris, my husband's name is Matthew. We live in London."
"Good, that's all correct. We weren't sure if you would remember anything. What's the last thing you remember?"
"I - I remember something about a school, and a wizard... I'm crazy. I know I am."
"You're not crazy, Mrs. Norris. When we found you, you had some pretty potent drugs in your system, including hallucinogens. It's no wonder you remember some unusual things. You're going to be fine. We just have to detoxify your body."
"Matthew! Where is he? Does he know? He must be so worried!"
"Helen, calm down. Let's take this one step at a time, all right. We have contacted your husband and he's waiting outside."
"Then let me see him," Helen pleaded.
"In a moment, but there are some things you should know first," the physician replied. "Do you know what year it is?"
"What? Was I out that long?" A look of fear stole across Helen's features. "Oh no! Matthew has thought I was dead, right? He's probably remarried? I'm old now?" She disintegrated into tears.
"Helen, Helen. Calm down, please. Relax. Matthew is standing just outside. He hasn't remarried. He never gave up hope that you would be found. Now, what is the last day that you can remember?"
"It was 21 August, 1989. Please tell me. How long was I out?"
"Today is March the third... 1999. You were missing for almost ten years."
"What? Where was I? How did I get to America?"
"We really don't know. You could have been here the whole time, but for all we know, you were just brought here. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case, but there's not much evidence to go on. Would you like to see your husband now?"
"Could I have a mirror first? I'd like to see."
"Certainly," Dr. Clough replied. She walked over to the other side of the room and returned with a hand mirror, which she handed to Helen.
Helen hesitantly took the proffered mirror. She removed the dark glasses and slowly held the mirror up to see her reflection. She sighed with relief when she saw that her face was still her own. There were no major changes or new scars. She had been worried that whatever ordeal she had been through had left her scarred or disfigured. Her face had aged a bit, but she was not out of the ordinary for a woman of almost thirty.
After a couple of minutes of studying her own face, Helen handed the mirror back to Dr. Clough. The doctor looked at her with an unspoken question. Helen simply nodded. She was ready. The doctor went over to the door and spoke to someone. A man walked into the room.
Matthew. Her husband. There he was. He froze as if seeing her for the first time. Slowly, as if in a trance, Matthew Norris walked over to the wife he had not seen in a decade.
"Helen. I never gave up on you. I couldn't believe you had run away and I couldn't believe you were dead. I just knew. I just knew you'd come back to me."
Dr Clough looked at the couple as they had their reunion, then left to give them some privacy.
Sometime later, Dr. Clough walked into a room which was occupied by two men in suits.
"Agent Maad, Auror Potter," she greeted them. "They've been reunited. I have mild compulsion charms on them so they won't question the story. I still don't like this. This is borderline unethical."
"Doctor," Auror Potter began, "I don't really like this either, but we can't tell them the full truth. The Statute of Secrecy forbids..."
"Listen kid, I care more about the pigeons in the park than about some treaty signed before I was born. I took the Hippocratic Oath and I meant it."
"I realize that, but think about this: if you were to tell them the truth, what then? Would they have to be obliviated? Would they have stronger compulsion charms placed on them so they couldn't tell anyone? It's better that they think any memories she retains are merely drug-fuelled hallucinations."
"Harry," Agent Maad interrupted, "I think we could find some middle ground, some way of allowing this family to have a sense of closure. We're glad you caught the man responsible for kidnapping this poor woman. However, this family needs to know that. They need closure. If my experience in law enforcement has taught me anything, it's that."
Harry Potter sighed. "I'll see what we can do, Ishido, but it's not going to be easy. We're still rebuilding, you know. Ordinarily, I would still be in training, not assigned to a case like this, but we lost so many Aurors in the war. Then there are the Aurors who worked with the Voldemort regime. Were they under the Imperius Curse or were they voluntarily collaborating? We have a lot to do before we're back to normal."
Dr. Clough's face softened. "I understand, but Agent Maad is right. They're going to need some kind of closure for their own sanity, as well as for the stability of their marriage."
Agent Maad nodded. "Yeah, they will. I've seen couples break up from the strain of being the victim of something like this. So what about the perp, this Filch character? When's he go on trial?"
"Next month. Fortunately, the ICW is handling the war crimes trials. Otherwise, the backlog for ordinary trials would be years long."
Dr. Clough interjected: "I understand that Mr. Filch suffers from Diminished Magic Syndrome."
Harry Potter looked confused for a moment, then comprehension dawned. "Oh, I suppose that is a nicer name for it than 'squib.' Yes he is, er, does. He was the caretaker at Hogwarts for decades. Headmaster Dumbledore was a skilled Legilimens, but he did try not to abuse his power. I guess he never had a reason to question Mr. Filch."
Dr. Clough looked sceptical. "So how did you catch him, then?"
"My girlfriend is in her last year at Hogwarts. I suppose I should have gone back, some of my friends did, but I just couldn't. When the Minister for Magic offered me a place in the revived Auror corps, I took it. I had gone back for a Quidditch game - my girlfriend is captain of one of the House Teams and plays chaser."
"And Gryffindor wins 290 to 150 against Ravenclaw!" The announcer's voice rang across the Quidditch stadium. The Gryffindor stands were filled with cheers as their team did victory laps. Harry eagerly joined in the celebration, hugging random people around him until he saw someone flying a broom in his direction.
Ginny Weasley flew at her boyfriend, braking only in time to jump off the broom into his arms. They embraced and began kissing, which elicited cheers and wolf whistles from the Gryffindors. Oblivious to the mocking of their friends, the two continued in their celebration of both Gryffindor's victory and the limited time they had to see each other. Harry had traded shifts in order to get to come to Ginny's game and he was not going to waste any time.
As the crowd filed out of the stands, the two stayed there enjoying the time alone together.
"We caught another Snatcher yesterday. He was hiding in Liverpool. He'd gone to ground hiding as a Muggle. Neville was with me on that one. We were able to catch him by surprise, not like the last one."
"How's Ron doing?" Ginny asked.
"He's still on limited duty for a week. They're not taking chances with those curses Ron took catching that Snatcher."
"Well, I'm glad he's better, even if he is a git," Ginny said with a grin.
Harry put on a mock expression of offense. "Oi! That's my best friend you're talking about."
Ginny stuck out her tongue. "He was my brother first, so I'm allowed to call him anything I want."
"Careful with that tongue, Weasley, I might take that as an invitation."
"I certainly hope you do, Potter. We haven't got all day and I'd like to snog my boyfriend whom I haven't seen in a long time."
"And just who is this boyfriend," Harry teased. "Have I met him?"
"You might have. He has black hair and delightful green eyes. His name is Harry Potter."
"Harry Potter... Harry Potter... the name sounds familiar. Wait, I remember him. Skinny bloke with glasses and knobbly knees."
"That's not a very generous description. I think he's rather attractive."
"If you say so. Personally, I don't see what you see in him. A rising Quidditch star like you could have any wizard she wants."
"I do have the wizard I want."
"I see. So, what do you want to do with this wizard you have?"
"I want to kiss him until he can't see straight."
Harry laughed. "Ginny, all you have to do is take off my glasses then."
"The better to kiss you with, my dear," Ginny said as she removed Harry's glasses and proceeded to snog him again.
Their rather enjoyable time was interrupted by someone rather rudely shaking them. Once Harry had replaced his glasses, he saw that it was Hermione.
"Hermione, I don't get to see Ginny often so spare us your lectures."
"No, Harry it's not that. It's Mr. Filch! He's attacked Professor Slughorn!"
"What?" Harry shouted. "Where are they?"
"They're in the potions classroom. Come on."
Harry instantly snapped into Auror mode and ran to the potions classroom with Ginny and Hermione not far behind him."
When he entered the familiar room, He was met by Professor McGonagall.
"Mr. Potter, I'm glad Miss Granger was able to find you. I find it hard to believe that Argus would attack anyone, but he did."
"Professor, may I talk to Professor Slughorn?"
"Certainly, Poppy is treating him now. He only received minor injuries."
Harry walked over to Professor Slughorn, whose expression brightened considerably when he saw the Auror.
"Ah, Harry. So good to see you. I'm rather glad that they have you on this case."
"Well, Professor, I was here anyway to see Ginny play in today's game."
"Of course, of course, Harry. She's going to go far. I've mentioned her to Gwenog Jones, you know. She knows what an eye I have for spotting talent."
"Yes, Professor. Could you please tell me what happened."
"Certainly, Harry. You'll go far with your professional attitude." Slughorn gestured to a student in Slytherin robes on the other side of the room. "Mr. Harper over there had asked me some questions regarding a potion. We were just coming in here so that I could show him the proper technique when I saw Argus Filch plundering my potions cabinet. When I asked him what he was doing, he went insane and started shouting at me."
"What did he say?" asked Harry.
"He was rather incoherent, but he kept shouting about someone 'coming out of it.' This someone was evidently female because he said that 'she would wake up if he didn't make the potion soon.'"
"Can a squib make a potion, Professor?"
"Well, Harry, it all depends. Squibs aren't devoid of magic, not completely. Some have enough to allow them to brew most potions, though the tricky ones are beyond them, as are the most potent ones."
"I see. Thank you Professor. This may be more serious than a simple assault case. We'll probably have more questions for you as the case develops."
"Certainly, my boy. My door is always open to you."
Harry walked over to the Headmistress, who was standing with Ginny and Hermione.
"Professor McGonagall, this case seems to be a bit more involved. I'm going to have to call this one into the office."
"I see, Mr. Potter. I defer to your judgement. And, Harry, I am glad to see you, even under the circumstances."
Harry moved off to the side to send a Patronus message into the Auror Office to see what his supervisors would have him do. When he turned around, Ginny, Hermione, and Professor McGonagall were talking with Professor Slughorn. Harry walked over to interview the Slytherin student, Harper.
The boy in Slytherin robes looked up at him when he approached. "Potter," was his only greeting.
Harry gave the boy a quick scowl, then showed him his Auror badge. "Professor Slughorn gave me a quick version of what happened. I want your perspective too."
"I had asked Professor Slughorn some questions about one of the potions we're working on so he said he would show me down here in the lab. When we came in, Filch was in the potions ingredients looking for something. Professor Slughorn asked him if he could help him, then Filch just went berserk. He said 'She's coming out of it. I have to make the potion or she's going to wake up soon.' Then Filch just attacked. He ran at us and hit Professor Slughorn, so I grabbed him and threw him away from the professor. He screamed and came at us again so I jumped in front of the professor. Finally, Professor Slughorn was able to stun Filch. Some of the firsties had heard the noise and they came in the room, so Professor Slughorn sent them for McGonagall and Pomfrey."
Harry supressed his reaction to the boy's distain for any member of the faculty who wasn't Horace Slughorn. "Thank you, we may have more questions later."
The door to the room opened again and Auror Williamson came in with Neville and Ron. Ron had a slight limp.
"Auror Potter, report," said Williamson.
After Harry had described what had happened, the senior Auror responded. "Your assessment seems correct, there's something else going on here. Filch was always creepy, but this sounds weird, even for him. Potter, Longbottom you go investigate the suspect's quarters. Weasley, guard Filch. If he stirs, stun him again."
"All right, people," Williamson addressed the room. "Granger, you're the Head Girl, right?"
Hermione walked over to Williamson. "Yes, I am."
"Good, your job is crowd control. Keep the onlookers away from the door."
"Girl Weasley, help Granger. Anyone else who is not an Auror, a witness or a member of the Hogwarts staff needs to leave."
As Harry and Neville left the room, Harry could see why Williamson had told Ginny and Hermione to work crowd control. They had to move through a crowd of students who were asking them what had happened. The crowd was quickly silenced by Hermione who began to take control of the chaotic situation.
As Harry and Neville made their way to Mr. Filch's quarters, Harry filled his friend in on what had transpired. They soon arrived at Filch's door, which they opened with a simple unlocking charm.
The first thing they noticed was Mrs. Norris. She was in a rather large cage and she was clearly agitated.
"Harry," Neville said, "I've never seen that cat so upset. I wonder what Filch is up to."
"I don't know Neville. Let's start searching."
Neville started by incanting "Homenum Revelio." Suddenly, the cat glowed blue. When that happened, the cat became even more upset and began meowing insistently, as though trying to get their attention.
Harry and Neville looked at each other with disbelief. Apparently, the cat who had been the object of so much scorn was really a person somehow transfigured into a cat.
Harry walked over the cage containing the supposed cat. "It's all right. We'll help you."
With that, the cat seemed to relax. "Neville, I'll take her to the Hospital Wing. Check down in the potions lab to see if they're still down there. We'll need Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall."
"I'll look for Professor Slughorn too. This is probably one or more potions at work."
"Good thinking, Nev. I'll see you there."
Harry opened the cage and Mrs. Norris jumped out into his arms. Harry was somewhat shocked since the cat had never tolerated his presence before. He hurried to the hospital wing.
Two days later, Harry found himself in a meeting with the Senior Aurors, the Minister for Magic, and a healer from St. Mungo's.
"We've identified the woman," began Auror Williamson. "She's a Muggle from London named Helen Norris. She's been missing since 1989. Filch evidently saw her on a trip to the city and took a fancy to her. He had just enough magic to allow him to brew the potions to let him do this."
The Healer added: "Professor Horace Slughorn of Hogwarts was able to help us determine the potions Filch used to transform his victim into a cat and keep her docile and obedient. We've reversed the potions and cleared her system. She's currently sedated under a sleeping potion, but we can't keep her forever. She needs to be reunited with her family."
Minister Shacklebolt sighed. There were days he wondered why he had ever accepted the position. "How will we explain it? We can't let her keep her memories. How will we explain a ten year gap in her life? We don't have the resources available that we did before the war."
The group around looked at each other, searching for ideas. Finally, the healer suggested something: "Perhaps if we were to have her awaken in another country, it might go some way toward making a ten year gap look less unexplainable."
Minister Shacklebolt sighed again. "It's not the best idea, but if that's all we have..."
No one had anything.
"I'll have the diplomatic corps start talking to their counterparts, then. If any of you think of any other ideas about how we can do this, no matter how unlikely, let me know. You're all dismissed.
"So that's it. That's how we caught Filch," Harry concluded.
"I still don't like it," Dr Clough replied, "but I don't see what else you could have done."
"We just happened to be the first government to respond to Minister Shacklebolt's query," Agent Maad added. "Believe me, the State Department is bending over backwards trying to help the British out with rebuilding."
"Well, we appreciate it."
After Dr. Clough had left to check beck in with the couple, Agent Maad turned to Harry. "Nice move paying for Mr. Norris' airfare over here."
"What? How did you know?"
"A little bird told me. Besides, the Potter heir is not without resources. Maybe some of those resources could help those two see a counsellor, one who knows about magic."
"I suppose you know of one or two in London."
"I just might, Harry. I just might."
Matthew and Helen Norris were sitting in the boarding lounge at Boston's Logan International Airport waiting for their flight. A man with oriental features and a tailored suit approached them. He flashed a badge.
"Matthew and Helen Norris?" he asked. They nodded. "I'm Special Agent Ishido Maad with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Do you have a moment?"
Agent Maad led the couple over to an unoccupied area.
"I just wanted to let you know there's been a breakthrough in your case. A British national named Argus Filch was your kidnapper. Do either of you know him?" Agent Maad showed them a picture.
Matthew replied first: "No, I've never seen him before, nor heard the name that I can recall.
Helen added: "The man seems familiar, but I can't recall knowing him from before... it happened."
"That's probably from the time you were around him. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack during his arrest and passed away shortly afterwards, so we won't be getting any answers from him. We're searching his residence, but so far, there's nothing to indicate his motives."
"Thank you, Agent Maad," said Helen. "I just want to get this behind me and move on with my life."
Agent Maad smiled. "I certainly understand that." He handed Helen a business card. "This is a counsellor I know who works in London not far from where you live. He has some experience in cases like yours and I think it would be beneficial for both of you to see him."
Matthew gave a strained smile. "Thank you very much, but I'm not sure we could afford this."
"Don't worry about that Mr. Norris. The philanthropist who paid your airfare has arranged with the counsellor to pay for your sessions. I would recommend that you both attend. It would really help."
Helen Norris smiled. "Thank you, Agent Maad. Please be sure to thank this philanthropist for us."
"I will, but I'm sure he's aware of your gratitude already. It's getting near your boarding time so unless you have any questions for me, I'll let you be on your way."
They had none, so Agent Maad departed after a couple of friendly handshakes.
Matthew and Helen Norris boarded their flight back to Heathrow. The relief of the agent's revelations washed over them and they fell asleep not long after take-off, holding each other's hands.
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