|SIYE Time:23:59 on 21st February 2018|
Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Summary: When the Weasley wedding is attacked, Harry grabs the first hand that comes to mind - Ginny's. They find Voldemort has hidden his Horcruxes in plain sight out of some of Muggle history's most important artifacts. Now the pair go across the continent, risking capture by both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, to end the war.
Hitcount: Story Total: 27166; Chapter Total: 1687
Awards: View Trophy Room
A/N: I love how even though Chapter 5 was the shortest, it was also the best-loved. There's definitely a soft spot for Arthur out there. You get another taste here. By the way, I'm still looking for a beta. If interested, drop me a line.
Also, last week someone nominated Hiding in Plain Sight for Best New Story. I lost the email, otherwise I would thank you properly. But know that even though on that day I was on a beach in the Virgin Islands sipping daiquiris, that was still the best part of my day. Thanks so much!
Chapter 6 - Off Solid Ground
Arthur kneeled down as if drawing out a plan in the dirt. "You weren't going to Munich to run away. You were running to something, right?" Harry and Ginny looked at each other. When he nodded to Arthur, she did, too.
"It's Dumbledore's mission. The one you were taking Ron and Hermione on. Why you dropped out?"
"Yes, sir. But I… we have more information now. It shouldn't take as long. But the less you know about it, the better," Harry explained.
Arthur laughed. "You don't have to tell me that, dear boy. I found it rather comforting not knowing anything last night. Frustrated Snape to no end, though. That was also comforting. I just wanted to know you two were alright. Everything else, I couldn't think of two more capable young people." Arthur's face turned from jovial to calculating in an instant.
"Can it end the war?" he asked in a low tone.
"It will end the war, Dad," Ginny said with no hesitation.
"Is it still dangerous?" Harry couldn't get around that truth. He nodded slowly again.
"Then you're going to need help, Harry." Ginny beamed, but Arthur raised his hand. "On a few conditions. One, I don't know how you get out of this place. I'm not worried if Kingsley finds out - I'm worried about your mother. I'd be sleeping out in the shed for a year if she finds out I let you two go. So I didn't. You understand?" They both nodded.
"Two, you find a way to contact us occasionally, just to let us know you're alright. I don't know how. I reckon the Floo network and owls will be monitored, especially when it comes to us. I'm sure you can figure something out." Harry shrugged at Ginny. He had a good point.
"Three, if you find yourselves in Romania, tell your brother to write to his mother more often. I tell you, you two, Ron and Hermione are always getting yourselves in danger and being chased by Merlin knows what, but all she can talk about is whether Charlie is eating enough or not."
Ginny smiled wide and gathered her father in a hug.
"Take care of my baby girl, Harry," he said around a stray wisp of red hair.
Harry smiled. "Of course. But don't you have that backwards, sir?"
Arthur looked from one to the other. "Oh, yes, I guess that's right, considering the history. Sweetie, try to make sure this young man doesn't get himself killed." They ended their embrace reluctantly.
"Okay. I've got some paperwork for Kingsley to fill out. I should only be gone a minute," Arthur said with a wink. He turned and exited the door. Harry listened through the metal until he couldn't hear footsteps anymore.
"You sure you still want to go?" Harry asked Ginny.
"Don't tell me you're getting all soft now, Potter," she replied with a smirk.
Harry eased the door open with barely a whoosh of air. Sneaking around Hogwarts after hours had given both Harry and Ginny plenty of practice in walking silently. The hallway remained just as sparse as when they arrived. They came to the end and found Arthur and Kingsley poised over a spare kiosk, handing a quill back and forth, about five feet away. It wasn't enough space to get past them without the Invisibility Cloak. Beyond them were seemingly endless lines of people waiting to go through tall, open rectangles. Every so often, one of the rectangles would expelled a terrible, shrill noise. Two or three people in uniform would always waddle over to the person standing inside the rectangle and start patting them in inappropriate places. Harry and Ginny retreated into the hallway to reconvene.
"Diversion?" Ginny suggested.
"I don't know. Your dad and Kingsley are too close for me to get a spell off. They would hear the incantation before it even connected."
"What about wordless magic? Isn't that something seventh-years work on in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms?"
"I didn't make it to my seventh year, Gin."
Ginny crossed her arms in front of her chest. "You're telling me Harry Potter wasn't working ahead in Defense? I find that hard to believe."
Harry groaned. "Fine, I was practicing a little over the summer. But nothing worked. I couldn't even get a simple Lumos."
Ginny crawled around Harry to take another look at the airport terminal, then returned.
"It doesn't have to be perfect. Just hit one of those beepy rectangle things."
"Didn't you tell me that magic interferes with Muggle electronicals? Make some noise!"
Harry grimaced, but took a few crawl steps back to the corner of the wall. It looked like Arthur and Kingsley were wrapping up their business. The nearest empty rectangle was beyond them by another 50 feet. Harry drew his wand from his pocket, closed his eyes, and thought as hard as he could while trying to precisely capture the correct wand movement. A single arrow emerged from the end of his wand, reached an apex, and spun out of momentum. It ran out of steam but skittered along the vinyl, merely tapping the obnoxious portal rectangle with its feathered end.
The first rectangle started droning even though no one was inside. Some officers scrambled over from another lane, then that lane's rectangle also activated, then the next, and the next. Finally, the lights started to flicker in the tall, cavernous glass space and people started to scream out of reflex. Small children started wailing. Kingsley and Arthur were both drawn into the crowd to try and keep order, although it can be said that Arthur seemed to be shaking his head and murmuring to himself as they crossed the aisles.
Harry reached behind himself, found Ginny's expectant hand, and dragged her across another aisle and under a series of shiny metal tables, scraping their knees along the shiny vinyl floor. They emerged on the other side of the security checkpoint at a run. Just in time for them to reach an automatic door that led to the gates, the electricity came back on. They had just enough room down a hallway to bring their scramble back to a comfortable walk as to not draw attention to themselves. A quick glance at a large monitor at the end of the hallway told them that Munich lay just beyond the door labeled C-34.
They followed large yellow signs hanging from the ceiling until they reached gate C-34, where a lady in a crisp uniform was waiting behind a desk. Ginny could tell that the woman was normally quite pleasant but had reached the end of her patience, much like how her mother looks when Ginny lets her room at the Burrow get too much out of order.
"Mr. James, I presume?" She greeted the couple in a tone that became higher as the sentence progressed.
"Yes…" Harry responded as he let go of Ginny's hand.
"And Miss Evans?" Ginny was looking out the window at all of the airplanes in a row. Harry had to nudge her.
"Oh, sorry. Yes. That's...me," she responded, reminding herself that she was Miss Evans for the foreseeable future.
"Wonderful. We were about to leave without you. Passports please." Harry fished through his coat and found them both. The woman flipped through them and handed them back. "Boarding passes?"
Harry and Ginny looked at each other at a loss. Each one of them motioned for the other to respond.
"Ummm, what are those exactly? You see, it's our first time flying without our grandparents. They died last month. We're on our way now to the funeral," Ginny said as sweetly as she knew how.
"Oh. Dear. I'm so sorry." The lady returned to her helpful, pleasant natural state and started pushing buttons on the board sitting on her desk. In a few moments, something under the desk started making a screeching racket. The lady reached below, pulled out two cards, and handed them to Harry. They both thanked her on the way to the heavy metal door before Harry turned back around, his eyes wide.
"Where's our stuff?"
"Your luggage? When is the last time you saw it?" The attendant asked.
"I don't know. We just got out of the car and came in, then there was this big disturbance and we got rushed…"
The woman returned to her desk and punched a few more buttons. "It's on the plane already, sir."
Harry made a show of straightening his lapel. "Oh. Of course it is." Both he and Ginny stayed in the walkway looking at the woman. She stared back.
"...And it will be waiting for you when you get off the plane in Munich. Just look for the signs that look like suitcases." Harry and Ginny both nodded gratefully, clasped hands again, and made their way down a rickety-looking tube to a cramped door that reminded Ginny of the portrait hole that led to Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts. Another uniformed woman took their cards and escorted them to the last two empty seats on the plane. One was next to a small round window while the other was between that seat and a man with a scowl on his face, a folded newspaper in one hand, and a red drink with a celery stick hanging out in his other. Ginny could hear his sigh at having to leave his seat to let the two teenagers into theirs.
"Do you want to sit next to the window?" Harry asked. Ginny's eyes lit up as she nodded.
"But are you sure? It's your trip."
"I'm sure we'll have other chances." The fact that Harry said "we'll" was not lost on Ginny. She wanted to try to read his meaning in his face, but she also couldn't help looking out at the men throwing luggage around, the little carts screaming between the wings and tires of vehicles much larger than themselves, and the round spinning source of a tremendous noise.
Soon, there were dings throughout the sitting room (the uniformed ladies called it a "cabin", but it didn't look like any cabin Ginny had seen before) and the airplane reversed, turned, and rumbled for a few minutes, moving along the ground much too slowly for Ginny's liking. The plane stopped for a few moments before everything began to shake and there was an ear-numbing roar from outside. Harry and Ginny simultaneously grabbed each other's hand, strangling until the fingers turned white. Both of them had their mouths open, waiting to scream. Then, the plane pitched upwards, pushing them deeper into their seats and popping their heads against the cushions.
Ginny used a great deal of strength to turn her head toward the window. She saw London fall away, with cars becoming ants moving along tunnels as if in an ant farm, but those tunnels were actually roads. They seemed to be going so slowly. She traced one make a mile's worth of progress from one junction to the next.
A splitting feeling started coming from the inside of Ginny's ears, as if her brain was trying to escape. She turned to Harry and saw that he was gritting his teeth as well.
"What's happening?" she screamed at him, but received no response. There were a series of pops in her ears and the pitch of the noise changed but was still there. In fact, it was louder. All she wanted was for Harry to open his eyes, but it seemed he was trying to struggle through the pain alone. He always did.
The man with the newspaper handed Ginny a green, shiny pack of gum. He mimed that she should put a stick in her mouth. She read his lips say "It will help" and motioned that she should help Harry do the same. She unwrapped the gum and started chewing, noticing almost immediate relief. Harry's eyes were still closed and his teeth were still clenched. Ginny unwrapped a piece for him and held it in her fingers. With her other hand, she kissed her index and middle fingers and placed them on Harry's lips. His mouth automatically relaxed and he looked over. She then pushed the stick of gum in. After a few chews, he smiled at her.
"You were always a better flyer than I was," he said. She grinned and then realized she could hear him again. She handed the man his pack of gum but he waved her off.
"First time, eh?" he asked. Ginny and Harry both nodded. "You get used to it. But always carry gum." They thanked him in turn, then turned to the window. Harry leaned against Ginny's shoulder while she pointed out what she thought certain objects were even though she had no frame of reference. For some, she would ask Harry's opinion, as if he had been outside of Britain any more than she had.
Just as soon as they had gotten comfortable, the plane felt like it was losing speed and pitched down. The pilot came over the speakers and announced something about "final descent", which widened Ginny's eyes. That sounded ominous. Yet both her and Harry couldn't look away from the window as the buildings grew larger, the cars and trucks started going faster, and the ground rose up to meet them before seemingly slamming into the bottom of the plane. It reminded her of one time when she was filling in for Harry as seeker on the Quidditch team during her fourth year and he was serving his "lifetime" ban from Professor Umbridge. She followed the snitch straight to the ground, pulled out of the dive just in time, and ran along the grass with her broom between her legs before pushing off again. Ron had reported after the match that he nearly had a heart attack.
But the plane didn't leave the ground. It slowed, then stopped, then rolled to another metal tube, another large room surrounded by glass, and another collection of people yelling at each other. If it wasn't for the signs in German, Ginny would've thought they hadn't gone anywhere. She spotted the signs with what looked like pictures of luggage and called Harry to follow. After waiting at a rotating belt for what seemed to be ages, they found their bags and made their exit to the taxi stand.
As they queued for the next available taxi, Ginny noticed one in particular that was aggressive in aligning itself with Harry and Ginny's place in the queue. It weaved between pedestrians, cut off buses, and dove into a space, barely missing a collision with another irate driver. Ginny elbowed Harry.
"This one seems to really want to be our driver. What do you think that means?"
Some of the color drained from Harry's face. "I don't know. Feel like finding out?" Ginny shrugged.
When they reached the front of the queue, the driver jumped out of his taxi, jostled over to Harry and Ginny and took their bags, storing them in the trunk. Harry and Ginny hopped across the rear seat while the driver slid into his.
"Herr Potter! It's ein honor to haffe you in Germany!"
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