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augury_harry in augury_rpg

and the rain came down

Who: Harry, Ron, Hermione
What: Planning the next step
When: morning, 3 November 1997
Where: somewhere in the woods of northern Scotland
Status: incomplete

Rain pattered heavily against the tent in a steady rhythm that nearly lulled Harry to sleep. He sat in the entrance, watching small rivers of rainwater and leaves and twigs sluice through the muddy grounds.

The tent was cold and confining, but it was better than being caught outside on a day like this. Several days like this. He wondered when the rain would let up.

The fake locket- RAB's locket- Regulus Black- dangled from his fingers. Occasionally he twirled the chain in circles, once nearly losing it in the mud.

They would have to move soon. Do something soon. Harry was becoming restless, irritated at their non-action. Something had to change soon.

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Hermione was thoroughly tired of all the books she had brought with her. She had selected the ones that she suspected would be the most helpful in the long run, but none of them were helping in the way that she hoped they would. Still, she kept re-reading, hoping that something would come up that she had missed the first times. Occasionally she would shoot a glace at Harry, slightly worried at how restless he seemed lately. They all were, she supposed; a limited amount of space with three people who were used to moving around was never going to be the most ideal situation.

Giving up with a half-repressed sigh, Hermione moved to the entrance of the tent, sitting herself down next to Harry. She opened her mouth to say something, pausing when she realised that she wasn't entirely sure what that would be right now. There didn't seem to be anything she could offer at the moment that would change a thing, and she didn't particularly want to make this any worse for any of them.

"I should re-check the spells," she said finally. She had checked them a thousand times since they had arrived, but there was always a part of her that was going to be sure she could do it better. "Maybe I can do something to improve them."
Harry stopped twirling the locket, looked at her. "You've re-checked them at least six times already. I don't think there's anything left to do with them."

So Hermione was restless too then. Harry held back a grimace, wished he could offer her something more concrete to do. Like destroy a horcrux. Or even find another one. He'd settle for finding one right about then.

"It's not about to fall out the sky though..." he murmured, gazing out at the rain.
"It never hurts to be prepared," Hermione pointed out, not sure of what else she was meant to do. Drawing her knees up to her chest so that she could rest her chin on them as she watched the rain create a muddy puddle in front of them, she was at a loss of what else to suggest. They had a lot of work in front of them, that had never been in question -- brief periods of inaction like this were to be expected.

"There has to be more books on Horcruxes at Hogwarts," she said abruptly, having tossed the thought around in her mind most of the morning. "Or at the Ministry. Professor Dumbledore removed them from the library, he wouldn't have destroyed them. If I could get my hands on them..."

She cut herself off, knowing it wouldn't help them find any of Voldemort's Horcruxes. It was a pointless exercise, really, based on a niggling feeling she had that there was more they needed to know about the concept of Horcruxes in general. Besides, the more she knew about them, the easier it would be to destroy any they found.
Harry frowned. More possibilities that Dumbledore hadn't told him about. Another potential roadblock. He held back a sigh, but his hand clenched around the chain of the locket.

"But if there were books on Horcruxes at Hogwarts," Harry said, a thin note of annoyance on his voice, "wouldn't Dumbledore have left them in his will for us?"

Not really, no.

He shook his head. "No... no, then the Ministry would've kept them. The same way they kept Gryffindor's sword." Possibly. Always so many possibilities. "So... we break into the Ministry or Hogwarts?"
Hermione pondered the question for a moment, seeing the benefits of both courses of action. It seemed pointless to go for the Ministry before they had exhausted the possibilities of Hogwarts, which she could only assume would be easier to infiltrate at this point. On the other hand, a part of her still wanted to believe that if there was anything at Hogwarts, Dumbledore would have told Harry about it already.

"I don't know," she said finally, toying with a shoelace as she thought over what the best course of action would be. "Hogwarts would be the most logical place for Dumbledore to hide the books -- he wouldn't want to keep them out of his sight for long, I'm sure. But the Ministry would be more likely to contain the books that Dumbledore wouldn't have wanted in the library even before..."

She trailed off, chewing on her lower lip. There didn't seem to be an easy answer to any of this; the most logical would be both, but Hermione was no longer sure they had time for that sort of thorough investigation.
Ron sighed, sitting down heavily on one of the couches. It groaned protestingly, but he needed to sit down - he'd been pacing back and forth irritably for some time.

"But how are we even supposed to know where to look even if we narrow it down to one place?" He spread his hands expansively. "Let's say they're at Hogwarts. They wouldn't have been in the library, not even in the deepest part of the Restricted Section. We checked. And it's not as though we'd be able to find them if Dumbledore hid them someplace."

He sagged back, resting an elbow on the arm of the couch and his head on his hand. "And I don't fancy our chances of finding them if they're in the Ministry. Not with the price on Harry's head, and probably ours too, pretty soon." He shook his head in exasperation. "So we'll need to figure out a better way to find out about Horcruxes, I think."
Hermione let out a deep breath, worrying at her lower lip. It was a near impossible choice, really -- neither option gave them any guarantee of results, and she could well be spelling death for...

That was something she wasn't going to think about.

"The Ministry," she whispered eventually, going with her first instinct before she began to flounder under all the possibilities. "I think we should go to the Ministry. Everyone will expect us to be going back to Hogwarts, they'll be waiting for it -- it's the place we feel most comfortable. I can't think they would ever imagine that we would go for the Ministry itself."

Reckless might be a good word for it. Or stupid. The Ministry would most likely be more guarded than Hogwarts itself, these days. Merlin knew what they'd be up against.
Ron breathed out a shaky sigh. When he spoke, there was audible trepidation in his voice. "Y'know, not for nothing, but I can't really imagine we would go for the Ministry either."

Even less can I imagine us being able to get out of it afterwards.

He sat up straighter, his hands clasped, his elbows on his knees. "And how are we supposed to do it? It'd take weeks of planning and Merlin knows what amount of luck to break into the Ministry even before this. Now..."

He spread his hands and let the absence of an ending to his last sentence speak for itself.
"That's how," Hermione pointed out, unable to summon any form of determination in her voice. She couldn't make herself sound sure of the idea, when she knew that he was right. The sheer amount of work that would have to go in to what she was proposing was phenomenal. "We observe. We plan. We...we do what we need to."

Her voice nearly broke on the last sentence, and she was proud of the fact that he managed to collect herself before it became too obvious. Stretching her legs out, she kept her eyes trained firmly on the rain-soaked ground, for fear of seeing her own apprehension mirrored in their eyes.

"What other choice do we have, Ron? What else would you suggest?"
"For starters, I'd suggest figuring out how exactly we're supposed to get into the Ministry when we're probably the most wanted people around. Or at least Harry is." Ron sounded frustrated even to himself. "Then I'd try to figure out just how, even if we do get in, where we even start looking for information about Horcruxes. The Ministry's an awfully big place, you know, and we didn't even see a hundredth of it in fifth year."

He paused a moment, then added the capper. "And then I'd try to think of a way to get us out of there afterwards, which is probably going to be the toughest part." He looked up. "After that, things ought to be easy."
Hermione raised an eyebrow, mildly amused by his concept of 'easy'. However much research and reconnaissance they managed to do, no part of this plan would simple. "Polyjuice would be the most logical option," she mused, glad that she had remembered to bring some of that. It would make things easier if they didn't need to spend the next three months brewing it. "If we use that, and we plan things properly, we may well be able to get in and out without anyone noticing."

She crossed her legs under her as she plotted out the possible options in her head. The hard part would be getting in, as far as she knew. If they managed to chose the right people, and practice imitating them enough, once they managed to pass what security checks they had, it should be slightly smoother sailing.
"We also have the invisibility cloak," Harry said, swinging the locket back and forth, back and forth. "We can't all fit under there, but it's something. And in a pinch, we can throw it over us and crouch down."

Or something. It was the start of a plan anyway.

"But we don't have weeks to plan." He looked at Ron. "Don't tell me it's crazy, I know it is. But I think our best bet is that no one expects us to do something like this. We should use that to our advantage."
Hermione refrained from pointing out that the entire situation was many variations of crazy, but only barely. Staring at a growing puddle of water as she ran options through her mind, she was forced to concede that all the planning in the world wouldn't help if they had no idea what they were after.

"Let's start with what we're there for," she said eventually, focussing her eyes on the fake locket Harry held in his hands. "Information on Horcruxes, whether it be books in general, or last known locations of the other artifacts we need. Where in the Ministry would those be held? If we can focus on three main areas, we should be able to split up when we get there and each focus on one of those places. Theoretically that would require us to spend less time there than if we all searched the same place."
Harry frowned. "We shouldn't split up. We might not be able to get back together again if we do that." He clenched his fist over the locket, stuffed it in the pocket of his grey jumper.

"So we needs books. And Gryffindor's sword, if they have it." His gaze drifted to the outside, watching the rain come down in heavy sheets.

But where would those things be kept?

"The Department of Mysteries," he said suddenly.
Hermione furrowed her brow for a moment, and she looked at Harry quizzically. She couldn't imagine why either of those things would be in the Department of Mysteries when there were so many more specific departments they may belong to.

"Why there?" She asked curiously, not entirely sure if it was because she wanted to know, or because she wanted to avoid returning there. Her memories of the place were hardly things of happiness, and it was beyond here why Harry would consider returning.
"'Cause that's where the Ministry keeps things it doesn't understand." Ron's eyes brightened a bit. "That's where they study things. Mysteries, right?"

He sat up straighter. "Look. Horcruxes people know about, right? But not as much as You-Know-Who does, so obviously they're going to want to try and figure out as much as they can, maybe learn as much as he knows."

"The sword - that's probably the most powerful magical artifact in the school. Maybe even in the country. Think anyone really knows everything it can do?" He paused. "Well, maybe Dumbledore, but he certainly didn't say an awful lot about it. So after he died, someone must have taken it and brought it there. To study it, you know?"
"Exactly," Harry said eagerly. His mind was racing with possibilities. "So we'll use polyjuice to sneak into the Ministry. We'll have to waylay a few employees and... and stick them someone."

He was talking very quickly, trying to get everything out while it was still fresh in his mind. "Then we'll go down the Department of Mysteries. We should have some idea of where it is. We'll go in, get what we need, and leave. If we need too, we'll have the Invisibility Cloak for backup and I still have some of that shield powder left in case. Well, just in case."

Easy enough...
"So who do we chose?" Hermione asked, glad that her shock at the idea they were actually going to do this was able to override the part of herself that wanted to point out the many flaws and holes in her plan. It was easier, she decided, to concentrate on the details of this one idea rather than the many ways it could go wrong.

And there were, really, many ways it could go wrong. There seemed to be far more ways that this plan could go awry than there were ways it could go correctly, and that thought terrified her beyond all belief. "We might be better off if we can chose people that we know," she decided, eyes lighting with some form of plan. "Or at least that we've seen before. Polyjuice is all well and good, but we'll be better off if we can imitate their manners as well as their appearance."
Ron raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Y'know, it probably won't be so easy to do that." He slumped back in his seat, ruffling his hand through his hair. "How easy is it to imitate the manners of someone you've only seen before? How much time do we really spend around Death Eaters anyway, that we ought to know their personal habits?"

He shook his head. "No, I think we're going to have to pick out who we want to impersonate, and find a way to really study them. Fool anyone who knows them, you know?"
It was close enough to the point that Hermione had been trying to make that it seemed easier not to argue. She tried not to watch Ron while he moved, playing with her own hair in an effort to distract herself. She wanted to sigh, but it seemed to require more effort than she possessed.

"It's a shame we can't convince people we care about not to go that day," she said softly. It would be so much easier, on two counts. Primarily it meant that the people they cared about would not get caught in any of the what seemed inevitable cross-fire, and partially because half their work would already be done for them -- memorising the mannerisms of someone they already knew well was much easier than those of strangers.