Chapter 9 : 9- Flying in Style and Smoke
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After ten minutes of flying low in the trees, Harry gave the signal to fly higher, sure that he, Enzo and Lawrence were now well away from any pursuers.
After another thirty minutes flying, Harry finally saw the small, village like shopping centre that they had arranged to go to for their disguises.
“I’m fine.” Lawrence said, waving away Harry after they had landed within walking distance of the centre.
“Stay still.” Harry ordered, waving his wand at the injury. Though the cut was deeper than Harry had expected, he was able to do enough to leave a fresh scar at the back of Lawrence’s head.
“Thanks.” Lawrence said begrudgingly.
“Prop up the broom.” Harry said to Enzo, leaning his own Nimbus against the wall and Enzo copied as Harry pulled out his cloak. A second later, the brooms were hidden from view. “Okay, Lawrence, you’re up.” Lawrence nodded and looked around in an attempt to get his bearings.
“This way.” And he indicated them to follow.
Harry would have preferred a more stealthy approach, but as they were surrounded by Muggles, none of them wanted to risk using magic for the Disillusionment charm merely camouflaged the target and there was no hope of them all fitting under the cloak. Mercifully, the centre wasn’t busy though those that were doing there shopping couldn’t help but notice the three men walking around in dirty, ragged robes that looked almost unbearable in the summer heat, unaware of the Thermal charm that was placed on the inside of the robes, keeping them cool.
“Here, this’ll do.” And Lawrence walked towards a very stylish shop that had manikins surrounding them the moment they entered, modelling the new season’s collection of expensive shirts, waistcoats, blazers, skirts and trousers. “Say what you want about Muggles,” Lawrence said as he admired a pair of designer jeans. “They don’t half know a thing or two about fashion.” And he and Enzo went off to browse through the shop’s collection.
Harry scanned through the shop under the watchful eye of the store clerks, who had narrowed their eyes at the sight of the three inappropriately dressed men, and only found something from the previous season’s collection.
He reached out and picked up a dark red reefer coat with two sets of buttons on one side of the jacket. He couldn’t help but grin at the sight of Gryffindor’s main colour. Along with it, Harry took a black shirt and trousers to try on in the changing area but the moment he took off his robes, the heat of the weather became noticeable. Harry quickly placed a Thermal charm of his own on the shirt and coat as well as removing the electronic tags and labels.
“Not bad.” Lawrence said once Harry caught up with him. He was wearing dark blue jeans with a smart cream t-shirt and a dark brown leather jacket. “Always wanted one of these. Could do with a Thermal Charm though.” He remarked when he saw Harry catching sight of the jacket. “Now, where’s Enzo?” But even as he said his name, Enzo appeared dressed in a new blue linen blazer with the top buttons of his light blue shirt undone and light brown trousers. “Very snazzy.” Lawrence laughed and he indicated them to follow him towards the counter.
“Uh, I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid you can’t buy the clothes while wearing them. And I must insist that you take your own… garments with you.” The woman spoke in a very nasally voice and looked down on them with a frown.
“Actually, I think you’ll find we have permission from your manager. We called ahead.” Lawrence said quietly as his hand slipped into the pocket of his jacket. The woman blinked rapidly and before looking back at the three of them as though they were completely different people.
“Oh yes, of course. I’ll just ring them up for you.” She then ran up the combined prices, opened the till and then shut it again without the reception of money.
“Oh, and about our old clothes, you wouldn’t mind taking care of them for us would you?”
“Of course not, sir.” The woman replied with an appraising look at Lawrence. “Thank you for shopping with us and have a nice day.”
“You too.” Lawrence said with a wink that made the woman blush.
Once they left the shop, they walked to the shop opposite and bought a slim suitcase and two passport holders before returning to the alley where they had left the brooms.
“You sure you know what you’re doing there?” Lawrence asked as Harry drew his wand and opened the case in an attempt to cast an Undetectable Extension charm on it.
“I’ve seen Hermione do it a couple of times.” Harry replied, noticing the feel of his pouch against his chest beneath his shirt.
“They weren’t there.” Lawrence said sympathetically as Harry murmured the incantation.
“What?” Harry said loosing focus.
“The others, Kaman’s Militia, the Order. They weren’t at the Burrow.”
“No,” Harry said, remembering that he had not yet brought Lawrence up to date with the Ministry survivors. “The French Ministry launched a rescue mission. They’re in their care now.” Lawrence didn’t respond but breathed a sigh of relief as he leaned against the wall.
After his third attempt, Harry finally made just enough room for the brooms and placed them in bristle end first before struggling to replace his cloak into the smaller inside pocket of his reefer coat.
“Great, now who’s disguising who?” Lawrence asked drawing his wand and, several minutes later, Harry and Enzo were completely unrecognisable. Harry now had long blond hair that covered his scar, with sideburns, a goatee beard and a long pointed nose that reminded him of Snape.
Enzo had a full ginger beard that came down to his chest with droopy looking ears and thinner lips whereas the only change in Lawrence was the large grin on his face. They had decided that, as his rather noticeable cursed scar could not be concealed with simple disguising charms, he would be going under Harry’s cloak once they reached the airport.
“And here I was thinking the goatee was a bit too far but you actually pull it off quite nicely. Now for a taxi.” Lawrence said looking in the opposite direction as Harry picked up the case with the new uncomfortable bulge of his cloak in his jacket. “This way.” And, once again, Harry and Enzo followed.
Ten minutes after they reached the taxi rank, they were finally able to find an available taxi to take.
“Nearest airport please, mate.” Lawrence said as he got into the front passenger seat. The man grunted in understanding and set the meter before turning out of the centre’s taxi rank. Harry stared out of the window as the taxi steadied at a moderate speed. He hated the thought of leaving the country. But then it struck him. Where should they go? The original plan was to journey to Norway but now they knew where the others were, would it not make more sense to regroup?
He thought of his sons, his wife, his friends. He was craving to be with them. They all thought him dead. He had forgotten to tell Lawrence and Enzo that detail.
Harry’s mind was wiring. Would Dagfinn Boyson have put together a rebellion by now? Did he have friends and allies loyal enough to help him fight against the new regime while he had a bounty on his head? Surely he would. You didn’t become Minister for Magic by being unpopular and he certainly possessed the fighting spirit of an Auror that would push him to act. But there was still the task of finding him. Lawrence had suggested that, if there were signs of a rebellion brewing, surely someone local would be in support of it.
“Thirty-two pounds.” The driver said after an abrupt halt.
“Sure mate. Here you go.” And Lawrence handed the man a single pound coin while simultaneously slipping his left hand into his jacket pocket. The man gave another grunt and pocketed the coin and drove off the moment the three of them were out of the car.
“He is okay to drive isn’t he?” Harry asked.
“Don’t worry, I didn’t overdo it, he’ll be fi-” But Lawrence cut off and turned slowly around, away from the main entrance. Harry turned his head slightly in an attempt to see what Lawrence had seen. At the entrance were two men dressed in long black coats that dangled around their ankles. They appeared to have not seen Lawrence though the three of them did not escape their gaze as they scanned for anything suspicious. Enzo too had spotted them and caught Harry’s eye, obviously waiting to go by Harry’s lead.
“Coffee?” Harry asked the two of them indicating the coffee shop he had mercifully just noticed and the others agreed, Lawrence taking tentative care not to show his face.
“They couldn’t be more obvious if they tried.” Lawrence said bitterly under his breath as they strolled towards the little shop.
“Sneaking in the shadows isn’t how these people work.” Harry replied just as loud. They entered and sat at a small table while Harry ordered drinks for them at the counter.
“So what now?” Lawrence asked as Harry sat down. “They’ve seen you two with me, if just the two of you go on they’ll get suspicious. I should’ve put the cloak on before we got in the taxi.” Lawrence looked down at his drink in frustration.
“Say goodbye to us.” Harry said, the idea hitting him in the head like a Bludger and Lawrence looked shocked at him. “When we leave say goodbye to us and go around the shop, then put on the cloak and find us inside.” Lawrence nodded, taking in the idea.
“And what do we do if there are more inside? Which there will be.”
“We carry on like we planned.” Harry answered and he then turned to Enzo to begin trying to explain the situation.
“Oh, hang on.” Lawrence interrupted and from the inside pocket of his jacket he pulled out a small notepad and pen. “Got them from the shop we got the case from.” He answered as he began to draw, with stick men, Harry’s plan.
It took Enzo a while to get to grips with this new form of communication, though Harry had to admit his plan wouldn’t have been the easiest to mime. Eventually, Enzo nodded his head with a smile. The three of them stood up and Harry pulled out his crumpled cloak after handing Lawrence the suitcase that contained their brooms and removed the Sneakoscope from his Mokeskin pouch, knowing it would attract attention once he got close to the Dark Wizards. “I’ll look after it.” Lawrence said as he placed the cloak beneath his jacket and zipped it up.
The three of them left the coffee shop and when they were sure they were just in view of the guards, Harry clasped Lawrence’s free hand and shook it with a smile. “Be quick.” Harry murmured as he allowed Enzo to do the same. Lawrence winked and walked off as Harry and Enzo walked towards the entrance.
Before Harry knew it, he and Enzo had slipped casually past the guards and had reached the large hall. It wasn’t as busy as they had expected, though Harry hadn’t realised before looking at the giant clock above them that it was already after midday and that most holiday makers would have flown in the morning.
Harry scanned through the flights on the giant electronic timetable before them. There was a flight to Bergen, Norway very soon but the one for France had been severely delayed and wouldn’t leave for another hour and a half. Harry did not like the thought of waiting here for an hour and a half in the presence of Dark Wizards which, as he was notified by Enzo, there were a number of. Harry counted six not including the two outside and there were still a large number of civilians that could get hurt or worse if a fight did break out.
Keeping alert, the two walked up to the ticket desk. To the right of them, Harry noticed a tall oval-headed tanned man with short black hair, a large ruby encrusted golden ring on his finger and dressed in a smart Muggle three-piece suit. The man caught Harry’s eye momentarily as they approached the desk. As soon as it had happened though, the man’s dark brown eyes rested back onto the holiday brochure for the Bahamas in his hand. At first, Harry assumed his suspicions to be his own paranoia but Enzo’s sharp intake of breath at the sight of the man told him otherwise.
“Hello, sir. How may I help you?” The woman said and Harry forced his mind to click back into place.
“Hello.” Harry replied as naturally as he could and after several minutes of a transaction that involved Confunding the woman into believing that the two empty passport holders contained their identification and that the single pound coin Harry handed over was sufficient enough funding, both he and Enzo had two first class tickets to Bergen, Norway.
They walked slowly towards the waiting area as Enzo leaned over and for the first time, spoke.
“Gavino Marianti.” He whispered in a soft voice and Harry knew he must be from some organization in Italy.
Remembering the names of the Leaders from Selwyn’s book, Harry whispered back “Friends with Naldo Rosario?” Enzo shook his head at the name. Harry remembered the large ring the man was wearing; the sign of the Gold Hounds. Suddenly, Harry felt something grab his shoulder that made him twitch towards his wand.
“Relax, it’s me.” Lawrence said.
“Bloody hell, you nearly gave me a heart attack.” Harry whispered back though it was relief he was experiencing now.
Security was next and the two baggage-less Aurors easily passed through the Muggle detectors. Harry then turned and pictured Lawrence passing through, unable to go around due to the security guards and barriers though protected by the power of Harry’s cloak. But then something happened that he had not expected.
Instead of the usual noise the machine would make when it had detected metal, it began to give off a high pitched whining noise as though the machine itself was enduring terrible pain.
“What the..?” One of the guards said as he examined the machine. “Damned thing. Barry, go get someone from technical won’t ya?”
Both Harry and Enzo immediately delved their hands into their pockets but all Barry had to do was go through the door directly behind him and he was gone. “Don’t’ worry, you two are good to go through.” The guard said to Harry and Enzo thinking their shocked faces to be a reaction to the hideous noise. Harry’s heart was thundering. Had the magical properties the cloak been too much for the machine, which was now beginning to let out smoke, and damaged it in this way?
“What in Merlin’s name was that?” Harry heard Lawrence whisper through gritted teeth. But Harry just smiled and nodded towards the guard before leading Enzo on forwards.
“Just keep going.” Harry said as quietly as he could to the other two before entering a large waiting room, the doors that would lead to their plane in sight.
Harry and Enzo casually sat amongst the rest of their fellow passengers, despite the dread now sinking into Harry’s chest, as Lawrence went to patrol the entrance for any Dark Wizards. Would they come inspecting the commotion? Possibly, Harry thought. Or perhaps their faith in Muggle technology was deemed untrustworthy when dealing with Wizards and that’s why there were no wizarding guards at the security check.
But Harry’s train of thought was cut off by Enzo who had nudged Harry to look behind him. Glancing a look, he saw that the suited up Dark Wizard, Gavino Marianti had entered with two others and was going around passenger to passenger talking to them. Though Harry couldn’t fail to notice that they all kept their hands within pockets the entire time.
“They’re cursing them into truthfully telling them who they are.” Lawrence’s voice whispered from behind them.
“Damn.” Harry muttered as he watched the Marianti get closer, his hand not daring to leave his blazer pocket.
If they took them on with brute force, although it would be three on three, they could not afford to take the chance of more joining in and if they tried Confunding or Imperiusing them there was a chance the subject could fight back, blowing their cover, or have one of their allies realize something’s wrong and, again, risk the threat of being caught.
Desperate to avoid a fight, Harry scanned around looking for inspiration when he saw a man at the doors just opposite them. Harry caught his eye just in time.
“The plane’s ready and he’s about to open the door. Move now.” Harry ordered quietly and he and Enzo stood up and began to walk.
The timing was perfect and, as the man checked the tickets and passports, the latter in a Confunded state, and the announcement rang out that the door was now open, Harry momentarily thought they’d made it. Until Lawrence whispered in his ear.
“Suit boy’s joining us.”
Both Harry and Enzo paced quickly through the plastic tube like corridor towards the airplane as more passengers entered behind them.
“Good afternoon, sirs. And where are we sitting today?” The heavily makeuped air-hostess asked in a pleasant tone that did not suit the situation. Both Harry and Enzo flashed their tickets at her and she pointed them towards First Class.
When they reached them, the two sat in their seats, Enzo seated a couple of rows in front of the opposite side of Harry. Lawrence was now mulling around, desperate not to bump into any of the other passengers and risk being found.
“Where are you?” Harry murmured to himself, thinking of Marianti. Harry’s question was answered by the sight of the suited up wizard and one of his cronies being escorted to a pair of available seats behind Harry on the diagonal by the air-hostess.
“There you are, sirs. Now just let me know if you need anything.” Harry heard the hostess say pleasantly and Harry was now praying Lawrence had his back.
Nearly twenty minutes passed without a disruption from Marianti, though Harry wasn’t sure how much longer it would stay that way. The announcement from the pilot rang out that they were about to take off and the plane began to move and pick up speed until finally, they were off the ground.
Many of the other passengers began to recline into their chairs, relaxing as the plane gained height, though Harry was too busy keeping his senses alert for any disruption. That’s when he felt it. A light-headed sensation that began relieving him of all stress and anxiety and started to replace them with a relaxed happiness as a voice in Harry’s head commanded “Turn around and tell me who you are.”
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