|SIYE Time:13:29 on 17th July 2018|
Driving Miss Weasley
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Category: Alternate Universe, Post-Hogwarts
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
Warnings: Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Violence, Violence/Physical Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: It should have been a simple task. Escort Ginny Weasley to her Quidditch match. But it all changes when Harry Potter rents the wrong car. What started out as a simple road trip between two friends and past lovers quickly turns into a hellish game of cat and mouse, and Harry and Ginny find themselves running away from a mysterious and deadly group of mercenaries, through a Scotland plagued by a mysterious infestation of Dark creatures.
Hitcount: Story Total: 5516; Chapter Total: 699
Awards: View Trophy Room
Up above, Ginny floated in the air. When she’d woken up moments before, heard voices and saw Harry place his broom and invisibility cloak right in front of her nose, she hadn’t hesitated. She was glad the cloak also hid her from any detection spell, because she was quite sure she saw Savage cast a Homenum Revelio around the tent as she snuck outside behind them. That he did it silently and covertly made her wonder who his sidekicks were, and if they even knew about magic.
Now she looked down on the convoy of big, black cars as poor Harry was roughly pushed into one of them by the group of men. She felt guilty. Guilty for leaving him in the hands of them, and guilty for arguing with him over that stupid bedroom. But she couldn’t help it; the man just had an exceptional ability to get under her skin. And now he was kidnapped, and the last talk they had was an argument.
“Focus, Ginny,” she muttered to herself.
The three cars one by one started rolling down the hill, and they rejoined the small road down near the water, their head- and taillights illuminating the slightly worn asphalt and the spindly trees next to the road. Ginny made sure the invisibility cloak still covered all of her, and then guided her broom a bit lower, in chase of the cars.
The flight was miserable. When she first lifted off, there were only a few specs of rain here and there. But as the night progressed those specs turned into true Scottish downpour. Having forgone Harry’s warning of not using magic, she cast a warming charm on herself about once every five minutes. Not that it was of any use; her pyjamas didn’t protect her from the rain and wind at all. After what felt like a few hours of uninterrupted flying, she was convinced that she’d never been colder than she was now. But she never lost track of the cars as they drove down the same road she and Harry had taken on the way there, only in the opposite direction. The thought of seeking help did cross her mind, but she remembered Harry’s wariness of everything magical earlier that day, and decided against it. Besides, she was afraid she’d lose track of him if she did that, and she wasn’t about to let that happen.
The unfortunate consequence of having to fly all alone for such a long time was that her thoughts started wandering. Horrifying images crossed her mind of what the men were planning to do to Harry. She knew what those guns and all the other macabre weapons she found in the boot of their car could do. She’d seen it in the movies she and Harry used to watch. That was before their relationship derailed so badly, though. She stole another glance down below, but nothing had changed. The cars were still calmly driving along the road.
Before today, if anyone were to ask Ginny how she was, she would have told them she was doing fantastically. Her flying was better than ever, now that she didn’t have any demanding boyfriends on the side, she was happy with her role in the team, and her Quidditch career was still flourishing. She was a regular in the national team, she competed for the Golden Quaffle every year, scoring as many goals as she ever did, and there was still no sign of her body slowing down, even after the countless injuries she’d had. A healthy mind in a healthy body, as her team doctor always told her. Other than the trainings, matches, interviews and signing sessions, she went out with her teammates from time to time and she regularly visited the rapidly expanding Weasley family. Yes, Ginny knew that she was a girl who had her life sorted out.
There was a downside, of course. The unwanted attention she received from creepy fans, but most of all from the tabloid press, was surely getting out of hand. A few weeks ago, the body guards from the stadium caught a “journalist” trying to sneak into the dressing rooms, apparently with the intention of writing a story about Harpies’ star player Ginny Weasley’s fitness (a thinly veiled excuse to photograph her in the nude), and Gwenog decided for her that it was time for extra security.
And that was when Harry had stepped into her life again. When she first heard he would be her chaperone, she flat-out refused. When she saw just how incompetent the second choice Hit Wizard was, she admitted defeat. Since then, Harry had been escorting her to and from her trainings, six days a week. It was incredibly awkward at first, mostly because her teammates never stopped teasing her about Harry, the Vanquisher of Evil, Witch Weekly’s most eligible bachelor three times in a row (the streak was only broken because he started dating Julie), and her ex. But one of Gwenog’s patented stern lectures quickly helped calm things down again.
Until this week, that was. Harry announced a few days ago to her that they would forgo the Floo network, Apparition, Portkeys and broom rides, and instead travel to her match in Portree by car. The prospect of spending the entire day alone with Harry left her nervous and restless all week, and she hated the git for that. All she wanted was enough time to prepare for her match as best as she could, and she had no time for drama like this. But after today, even with the threat of being chased by a rogue Auror and his three big, menacing sidekicks, she had to admit that it had been the most fun she’d had in ages. Their trip was exciting, Harry was perfect company, and during their dinner she felt herself simply glow with happiness. Not because of a win, not because of a cup title, but because of Harry. When she found herself sitting on that couch in the tent a while later, with Harry’s strong arm around her and his warm body next to her, it was all she could do to not tear his clothes off and show him exactly how much she’d missed him.
She wasn’t sure how much time she’d passed with her introspection, but it felt like ages before the car finally turned off the highway and onto a small country lane. They all turned off their lights. She slowed down and ducked a little bit lower, straining her eyes to keep sight of the black cars through the thick canopy. The small road had no lampposts, as it followed the carved out path of a small mountain stream up the steep hill. The higher they went, the less trees there were. They were getting close to their destination now, and that thought filled Ginny’s soaked and frozen body with dread. She had no plan whatsoever. She was up against four men, one of which a qualified and skilled Auror, she was cold and tired, and her wand skills were rusty from lack of practice. This was a very stupid idea.
The cars stopped next to a run-down farm. The house, sheds, and stables looked old, with walls made of stone and roofs made of wood. In the darkness she could still make out the holes in the roofs of some of the sheds, and Ginny guessed that the complex hadn’t been used in a very long time. It reminded her of how the Burrow looked to Muggles, because of all the repelling charms. The car doors opened and the four men stepped out. They grouped up briefly and then entered the central building, dragging Harry along.
Ginny stayed there for a while, plagued by indecision. She heard a faint buzzing that she thought was blood flowing in her ears. Her stomach sank as she saw five more cars drive up the small road and park by the farm, next to the cars that were already there. Ginny counted a dozen men stepping out and entering the farm house. The buzzing grew even stronger. Her mind was racing. Who were all these people? What were they doing out here? What did they want with Harry?
She was abruptly torn from these thoughts when an unbelievably bright light shone in her face, and she almost fell off the broom in shock. The buzzing had now turned into a deafening roar, and in the chaos of the moment she was sure that she was discovered. Then she remembered that she was still under cover of the invisibility cloak. Taking a deep breath to settle her racing heart, she steered her broom higher to get out of the glare of the strange light. It looked a bit like a spotlight in a Quidditch stadium, she thought. But now that it wasn’t blinding her anymore, she could see that the light belonged to a strange machine that hovered in the air and looked a bit like an enormous insect. It emitted a strong wind that constantly kept her off balance. Again she remembered the movies she and Harry used to watch, and she tried to recall the name of the flying thing. Holly, helly… copter? Whatever the thing was, it slowly descended into one of the fields next to the farm and landed softly in the wildly billowing grass and weeds.
Ginny watched from above as a handful of men jumped out from the side, their clothes and hair flapping in the gusts from the machine. Two of them then opened a door at the front of the helicopter and helped a third out. She immediately knew that this one was different from the others. Instead of a simple black shirt and dark jeans, he wore white pants and a purple sweater with a strangely high neck that extended all the way to his chin. The clothes looked very out of place in the run-down, overgrown farm. She couldn’t quite see his face in the dark, but she caught a glimpse of long grey hair waving in the wind. But the most notable thing about him, she thought, was not his appearance, but rather the way the other men treated him: the helping hands as he stepped out, the nods and attentive postures, and the way they all grouped around him as they led him from the flying machine to the farmhouse. She garnered that this person must be the leader of the mysterious group. The man paused briefly at the entrance, and then entered the farm, with his followers trailing behind him.
Seeing no other option, she pushed the nose of her broom down and descended towards the complex. She landed close to the flying machine and pocketed her broom after shrinking it. Now she had to decide where to go. She loitered around the buildings, tramping through the long, dew-covered grass in her pyjamas and slippers, looking for a safe entrance, but it felt more like she was avoiding her fear by staying outside. Her bare feet were wet and dirty, and she shivered all over.
“Get it together,” she muttered. Casting a spell that muffled her footsteps and praying for luck, she finally entered one of the wings of the central building through a small door. The door closed with a lot more creaking than she’d hoped for, and the sound of the wind blowing through the long grass died down. Now inside, she heard conversations and rowdy laughter coming from another part of the building.
“Did you hear something?” she heard someone say, and she froze.
“Sounded like a door.”
“Yeah, let’s check it out.”
She snapped out of her stupor when she heard heavy footsteps coming closer, and she snuck away from the sounds as quietly as possible. She quickly encountered a solid wall, but she didn’t think she’d be discovered here, wearing Harry’s invisibility cloak. Two men then came around the corner at the far end of the long and narrow room. Their torchlights occasionally shone on her hiding spot, but they didn’t react to her. They stopped at the door and one of them opened it.
“Sounds like it was this door,” he said to the other. They both had thick American accents, which only added to the mystery. Who were these people?
“Don’t see anyone here, though,” the other said, casting another look around the room. “Must’ve been the wind or something. It’s an old building, you know. Come on, let’s go back.”
“You got it,” the first man said. He shut the door and they slowly walked back the way they came.
Ginny stayed in the same spot for another minute or two, and then followed them across the room. The sounds of conversations she heard earlier became louder and louder. She rounded up the corner at the end of the wing, and she found herself at the edge of the main hall. Under a roof reinforced with a network of thick wooden beams, a large table had been set up in the centre of the hall. All the men she’d seen enter the building were gathered here, eating and drinking in what looked like a hastily set up mass picnic.
“Alright people, your attention please!” someone called. His strong voice reverberated around the large hall. With shaking legs, Ginny fully entered the room, and now she could see the man wearing a purple sweater standing at the end of the table, with his hands raised to gather everyone’s attention. The chatter and laughter died down. The man tucked his long grey hair behind his ears before he spoke.
“Thank you! Now, as you all know, our dear British friend Callum Savage has finally managed to get the all-important car back.” Jeers rang around the table. “Yes, excellent work, Callum. I didn’t think you had it in you,” the leader said. The men laughed at that. “So now we can finally go ahead with our main mission, and I wanna just quickly rehearse it with you all. Callum, please join me.”
Savage stood up from his place at the table and moved to stand next to the leader. Ginny knew she had to look for Harry, but her curiosity convinced her to remain standing here, and hear what these people were planning.
“Thanks boss,” Savage said loudly. “Alright, everyone. Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde is a tough nut to crack and it’s built to keep it safe from exactly the thing we’re about to do. The British armed forces are going to be pissed if we steal one of their nuclear submarines, and we think that it’ll take about half an hour before reinforcements arrive in the shape of helicopters and Eurofighter Typhoons. Which means that we have twenty minutes at most to overpower the base, steal a submarine, and get the fuck out.” Ginny didn’t know half the words he said, but she knew enough to deduce that these men were planning an incredible heist. “Let’s start with getting into the base. We’re in luck here. Usually all the roads leading there are chock-full of cameras, but the Scottish are angry at Britain for maintaining this naval base on their shore. So, using a fake identity, I told a traffic controller I was planning an anti-nuclear demonstration and I’ve managed to convince him to keep his eyes closed for a while. This gives us the element of surprise.” His tone of voice screamed arrogance, and Ginny wondered how Harry could have ever worked with him without going barmy.
“And now comes the tricky part, namely getting the car in place. The reason why I chose this car specifically is because it’s the exact same type one of the higher-ups drives. He tragically died in a traffic accident today, but no one knows that yet, because his body is sadly unrecognisable. I reckon he won’t be missing this.” Grinning widely, he held up a small card. Ginny thought it looked like the access cards all Ministry personnel had to wear on them. It had been part of Kingsley’s policy to modernise the magical governance. “So once I’m in place with the car, I’ll activate the EMP we’ve mounted on it, and then the power will be out for a short while. They have an emergency power network, but we should have enough time to open the gate and let you lot in. After that, we bee-line for the submarine, get in, and sail out of the loch before the air support arrives. Right, any questions?”
Ginny had heard enough. It was time to get to Harry. Whatever these people were planning wasn’t a priority now. First she needed to get her and Harry out of here, and after that they could alert someone and see if there was a way to stop this group. With her mind made up, she turned around and exited the farmhouse the way she came in, hoping that the men inside would still believe that it was the wind opening the door.
She circled the building again, but she couldn’t remember where they’d taken Harry. Hoping for the best, she entered one of the barns close to the central hall. It was cold and dark inside. Straw covered the floor and tickled her feet, but the interior had been stripped bare, and the small building was completely empty. No Harry. She exited again, and immediately ducked her head down when she saw two people walk by a few yards from her. It only then occurred to her that she was invisible anyway. She noticed the purple sweater and Savage’s blond hair and, intrigued, she set off after them. They approached a shed further into the fields, and she trailed behind as close as she could, holding her hand in front of her mouth so that the two wouldn’t feel her breath in their neck. Lucky for her, they seemed too preoccupied with their quiet conversation to notice her tiptoeing behind them.
The door was opened, and they all stepped inside. Ginny slipped away from them and quickly darted to the end of the room, hiding behind a wooden work bench. The last barn she was in was completely stripped bare, but this one seemed to have been left alone. The whole shed was filled with all sorts of bits and pieces, all rusted away. Chains hung from the support beams, old shears, spades, drills and other tools hung all over the four walls, and the work bench she used as hiding spot was cluttered with hammers, nails and other things she couldn’t quite identify in the dark. The only source of light here was an oil lamp that hung in the centre of the room, right above a chair that had a person bound to it. She stifled a gasp when she realised that person was Harry. His arms were bound to the armrests and his legs to the chair legs, but otherwise he looked okay. Savage leaned against the doorframe to her right, and the leader approached Harry slowly, a calculating look on his face.
“So this is the man who has been thwarting my plans,” he said. “Harry Potter. Callum tells me I should be honoured to meet you, that you’re the famed Boy Who Lived, and that you went on to become the one who defeated the darkest lord of this century when he was just seventeen. You’ve made quite the name for yourself, and I can respect that. In fact, I think we two are quite alike in that sense.” Ginny frowned. She’d assumed that he was a Muggle, but apparently he knew about Harry and Voldemort.
“Do I know you?” Harry asked, staring up at the man.
“Oh, I’m sorry, where are my manners. The name’s Bruce Skinner, founder and CEO of SkyTech.” He paused at Harry’s confused look. “Are you telling me you’ve never heard of SkyTech before?”
Savage cleared his throat. “Magicals live quite secluded from our society, boss. I know he’s used a computer before, but he’s one of the few in our Ministry who has.”
“Interesting…” Skinner said, not once taking his eyes off Harry. “Well, no matter, no matter. We’re not here in the name of SkyTech anyway. No, we’re here for something bigger, Mr Potter. Much, much bigger. We, my wizarding friend, are stealing a submarine! Now you’re obviously wondering how we’re going to do that. And why. And I’ll tell you that. See, aside from being a multi-billionaire and one of the most powerful men in the world, I’m also… an historian of sorts, and I’m particularly fascinated by colonialism toward the end of the nineteenth century. You magicals know of the Congo, right? Of course you do. Huge country in Africa, jungle, poverty, wars and all that, assigned to Belgian monarch Leopold II during the Conference of Berlin in 1885 yadda yadda yadda. Good old Leopold controlled a vast area of pure jungle and river, seventy times as large as his Belgium, and because the European powers wanted to stave off war, they gave it to him as his personal dominion and he was told to do whatever the fuck he liked with it.” He started pacing in front of Harry.
“And he did, Harry. He did. See, originally he wanted to make it profitable through ivory trade, but the elephants were already almost hunted to extinction by slave traders from the east. Lucky for him, some guy invents the rubber tire in 1888, and guess what Congo is full of? Rubber! Leopold is soon one of the richest kings of Europe, and his Belgium gets decorated with palaces and gardens and all sorts of fancy places for Leopold and his friends.” Ginny saw a manic gleam in his eyes as he paced around the middle of the room. She wondered at first what the purpose of his speech was, but now she considered that there simply wasn’t a purpose to it, and that this man was simply raving mad.
“So how do they collect the rubber? Now that’s the interesting part. The Congo gets divided into districts, with a collector at the head, and the local population had to go collect the goods. That took time and energy, time and energy they needed to grow their own food in the first place. So obviously they’re very much against this rubber business. But Leopold had a simple, but unforgiving system: the more rubber the collectors provided, the more money they got. The collectors are only humans and they crave more wealth, in short: the local population was violently repressed and forced into the jungle again and again to collect as much rubber as they could. ” He took a breath turned toward Harry.
“Do you see, my friend? Do you see how this works?” He bent over Harry and tapped head. “System thinking, Harry,” he said softly. “We only act according to the system we live in. The input is a few inhuman decrees and laws here and there, and the output is a society of monsters. Just look at the rulers of the Congo, they were of the most vicious kind this earth has ever seen. Oh, we know they chopped off hands if they suspected someone had stolen something, but did you know that they also sometimes used those hands to decorate their gardens back in Belgium? Like little rotting garden gnomes. Oh, can you imagine the smell?” He chuckled. “Free will doesn’t exist, Harry. Normal men are turned into monsters by a simple set of decrees from the monarchs. People are turned into law-abiding citizens, regardless of what those laws are. We are all but pawns in the system, moulded by our world, shaped by our superiors, and enslaved to the world order.” He rose up and started pacing again.
“And it wouldn’t be a problem if the world order wasn’t rotten, you know. Terrorism that was created by the West sticking their heads in parts of the world that were never theirs is now biting back at the West. The US, that shining beacon at the top of the hill, is impoverishing, declining into infighting because of that damned two-party system. But most of all, Harry, most of all, it’s the inequality in this world. Do you know what I see when my driver drives me to work? Do you know what I see from the backseat of my big, fat, expensive car? I see people living on the streets. Ever since this damn financial crisis started. People, families, unshaven, unwashed, and all so hungry and thirsty. I see mothers crying because they don’t have money to give their kids a haircut. I see kids hanging around under the bridge doing heroin because they can’t to go to school. And I drive past them, on my way to work in a multi-billion dollar industry that runs entirely on people procrastinating on the internet. It’s fucked, and I can’t, can’t, can’t get that image out of my mind.” He emphasised his point by banging his fist on the work table.
“You’re mad,” Harry said, astonished.
“Mad?” Skinner threw his head back and laughed. “Oh, of course I’m mad! I work eighteen hours a day, and I sleep six hours a day. I have no family, I have no friends, I have nobody! You see, I alone, Harry,” he rapped his finger on his own chest, “I alone run a company that’s bigger than most countries in the world, I mean, one would have to be mad to live the life I’m living. And I am, Harry. I am. You can trust me on that.” He sighed, and some of the energy seemed to leave him.
“But the word “mad” has such a negative connotation,” he said, absently inspecting some of the tools on the work bench Ginny was hiding behind. “See, I prefer the word visionary. And that’s how we find ourselves here, on a run-down farm in the middle of Scotland. We are going to reshape this world, Harry. And that starts with a submarine. Do you have any idea how powerful a nuclear submarine is, hm? It’s untraceable if it’s hidden properly, and it has nuclear missiles on board that are more accurate than the average Joe at the shooting range. It’s a moving, uncatchable weapon of mass destruction. One submarine, and you can bring an entire country down to its knees to do your bidding, just by aiming a warhead at their capital city.” He paused again. “What happens after that will be a nice surprise, I think. For the normal people, I mean. You’ll be dead by then, of course. I’m a realist, so I don’t think you’ll be watching the show from above in the afterlife.” He shook his head. “I’m rambling like a motherfucker. Well, Harry, it’s been nice meeting you. I’ll leave you to the care of Callum now. Goodbye!” He gave Harry a gentle slap on the cheek and made his way to Savage.
“Oh, and one last thing,” he said as the door opened and three more men entered. They all had heavy guns in their hands. “You’ll get a nice demonstration of what I told you about system thinking before you go. Gents, I see plenty of tools here. Extra commission for creativity. And I do want pictures and videos of it later. Just to check, you know? Understand? Good.” He turned to Savage before he exited. “I’ll fly ahead, I’ll see you with the car.” And then he was gone. Savage slammed the door shut behind him.
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