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augury_hjg in augury_rpg

to boldly go...

Who: Harry and Hermione
What: Quality time under a cloak
Where: Ministry of Magic
When: Backdated to Friday November 7, morning
Status: Complete

Squeezing under the cloak like this had been far easier when they were eleven, Hermione thought distractedly as she tried to keep her eyes on the Ministry's main entrance. She wanted to have the general procedure memorised, as well as any common variants thereof, so that anything that may come up when they were finally ready to do this properly would not come as a surprise to them. Still, it would have been easier if she were able to sneak closer to the thrum of people so that she could hear what they were saying rather than just trying to lip read; she was afraid that any use of magic to enhance the sound would be detected, which was the absolute last thing they needed at this moment.

Intent aside, it was nearly impossible to make herself comfortable, and she did not want to move around too much lest she either dislodge the cloak or annoy Harry so badly that he would inadvertently call attention to them both. She was beginning to think that only one of them should have come, the other going to talk to the people they needed to warn away, but a larger part of her was afraid they would still miss something even with the two of them, and so decided to keep silent. This was difficult enough without her second guessing herself.

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Harry was being very careful to stand absolutely still. Or about as still as he could, with Hermione jammed right next to him, not to mention that he was half-crouched at an odd angle to keep from exposing his feet.

The cloak was clearly no longer built for two.

He wondered how long they had been standing there. Ten minutes? Twenty? An hour? It felt like ages, but that was mostly the discomfort speaking.

"Mr. Weasley said he mostly Apparates to the Ministry," Harry whispered. "So we're not really getting the full extent of the commute here."
"Not to mention all the people who come by Floo," Hermione said -- she was unable to see any of those entrances from here either, which made this entire thing both difficult and pointless. They needed to be able to see better, to hear, which was something they would never be able to do if they were stuck here, together, under a cloak that barely hid them.

There had to be some way to get closer than this. Failing that, to separate long enough to actually see more than just the main visitor's entrance, which would hardly help if they ended up coming Polyjuiced as Ministry employees, as had been the original plan. "One of us needs to get in there. Either using the cloak or with Polyjuice."
Harry started to turn his head to look at Hermione, decided it wasn't worth it in such close quarters, and continued to stare at the trickle of people heading toward the visitor's entrance.

"We need to identify ourselves if we use the visitor's entrance." He frowned. "Maybe we can... knock someone out? Find out who they are? And use their names as identification?"

The plan sounded ridiculous to his ears.
"Using the visitor's entrance will just get us arrested," Hermione murmured, eyes alight as her mind started to turn over with possible plans. Apparating of using the Floo blindly was reckless, it involved too many people potentially being able to see them. No, the one that presented itself to her was far easier than that, and she was stunned that it hadn't occured to her before.

Pulling two vials of Polyjuice Potion out of her pocket, she held one out to Harry. "If we grab the hair from people coming out, rather than going in, it shouldn't look too suspicious. Especially if we wait a bit first - we can pretend we forgot something, or just went out for breakfast. I've seen it happen at least three times already," she whispered, trying to keep her eyes out for people who seemed somehow similar to them, either in movement or mannerisms, so they wouldn't look too obvious. "Then all we'd need to do is duplicate their clothes, and if we get close enough to them to grab the hair, I can do that easily."
Harry watched as a furtive looking witch came out of the visitor's entrance. She reached into the folds of her bright magenta robes, pulled out a dowdy Muggle housecoat, and pulled it on over her outfit, before hurrying away down the street.

"So we'll need to grab their hairs and then... make sure they don't come back inside the Ministry. So again, we need to knock them out and stick them somewhere safe."
"It's too dangerous," Hermione hissed back, her eyes watching people carefully. She pointed towards a young looking witch who she'd seen head in not ten minutes before, now missing the box she had been holding. "If we get the right person, it shouldn't be an issue. Like her -- she's obviously just come in to deliver something to someone, and likely won't be back. We need to chose people like that."

Strangely enough, now that she had something specific to pay attention to, it wasn't that uncommon. Of the stream of people entering and exiting, a few people did seem to be one-time visitors that wouldn't cause any problems were they to be imitated. "If need be, we can Summon the hair. If they're not regulars, and we manage to find people with casual clothes anyway, I highly doubt anyone will notice the difference for the small amount of time we're in there."
Harry frowned, his mouth setting into a grim line. If they were going to do this, then it'd better be done and quickly. Before they had the chance to really consider things, before they could think rationally on what they were about to do.

"Right." Slowly, careful not to disturb the delicately balanced hangings of the cloak, he drew his wand from his pocket. "We'll Accio strands of hair from the right people. Whenever you're ready."
Reaching a hand out and placing it on Harry's arm, hoping to still him, Hermione knew that the only way this would work would be to do it carefully. First they needed to find a place they could remove the cloak for enough time to actually catch a flying hair, then find the right people. Only then would it be prudent to move into action -- if they jumped into it now, and went too fast, the plan would fall apart.

"Steady," she whispered, gesturing to a large column behind them. "We'll go hide there first. Hopefully someone will come along then, but we need to be able to get the cloak off to catch the hair first."
Harry nodded. Then, in an excellent display of careful manoeuvering, they began to edge (awkwardly) toward the column. Harry was practically crouching, hunched over, ever mindful of his feet and just what would happen should they be exposed.

If there was a way to extend the length of the cloak... Hermione would've done it already. Harry grimaced.

Once they were situated behind the column, he returned to the task of watching the telephone box. And watching. And waiting.
Wanting to curse herself for not having a better plan, Hermione was tempted to give up on the whole thing before she saw someone come out of the Ministry that would be perfect for Harry - same height, casual clothes, carrying what looked like some form of delivery. He even had dark hair, which would be perfect if the potion wore off before they had a chance to get out.

"There," she whispered, pointing carefully towards the man she was talking about. Youngish, fairly non-descript; not someone that would be given a second look by most of the Ministry people, Hermione was willing to bet. "See? In the black jumper and jeans. It's close enough to yours that no one will notice the difference."
"Right."

Harry eased himself out from under the cloak, silently hoping there wasn't some sort of... hidden group of spies that would come running the moment he made himself visible. When nothing happened, he let out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding, then glanced over where Hermione was still presumably standing, raising his eyebrows in relief.

He turned to his target, raised his wand and whispered, "Accio a few strands of hair!"

Said strands flew into Harry's outstretched hand and his target walked away, perfectly unaware of his contribution.

Almost too easy... Disturbingly so. Harry turned, fumbled around for the cloak.
"Now we just need to find one for me," Hermione said decisively. She had no intention of allowing Harry to go in there alone, however impatient she was to get this over and done with so they retreat to somewhere slightly safer. Unfortunately young, almost ridiculously short females seemed to be in short supply there; while she saw a few likely candidates, they were either wearing the wrong type of clothes or the wrong size.

She was beginning to despair of ever finding one when she saw a young girl with someone who appeared to be her father, dressed in a similar outfit to herself, wave goodbye to her companion and start down the street. "Perfect," she whispered, pointing her out to Harry before she had a chance to disappear. "Just over there, see?"
"Yeah, I see."

Once more then. Harry stuffed the strands of hair in the pockets of his grey hooded jumper, then darted out from under the cloak. A wave of his wand and the hair strands flew into his grasp.

The girl's hand flew to the back of her head and she turned, stared at Harry in confusion... which rapidly turned into shock.

Harry stared back at her, momentarily frozen. He couldn't dive under the cloak now. That'd be too obvious. So he would... should... what?
"Apparate!" Hermione hissed from her safe spot under the cloak. She could feel her heart beating in her throat, and knew that if Harry didn't move, now, they were in for more trouble than she thought they were able to handle. "I'll follow, just go!"

This was a bad idea. She should have known this was a bad idea, why had she talked them into this? The logical part of Hermione's mind pointed out that at least they had hair for their Ministry break-in, but none of that would matter at all if Harry didn't move.
Apparate. Of course. Why wasn't he thinking faster, he'd get everyone killed!

Harry cursed, stuffed the hair in his pocket, then turned on the spot and Disapparated.

An awful squeezing sensation, the breath being knocked out of him... and then his feet landed on a pile of wet leaves. Cold, damp forest surrounded him. The tent wouldn't be far off.

And Hermione... where the hell was Hermione?
When she was sure that Harry was safely away, Hermione positioned herself carefully behind the column so that she could pull her wand hand out from under the cloak without being noticed. Narrowing her eyes at the girl who was about to start yelling, she cast her best Confundus Charm, smiling in satisfaction as the girl looked confused for a moment, then turned and started to walk away.

Perfect.

Concentrating, she Disapparated, landing a few feet from Harry. She took a moment to let herself relax at the (relatively) safe escape before removing the cloak and handing it to Harry. For a moment, she almost wished as though she had kept it on; with the moment of relaxation came a moment of realisation. Specifically, how close the two of them had come to being caught, again. She tried to smile past the fear, forced herself to remember that at least they had hair for when they went back next time.
Harry looked at Hermione for a moment, a visible look of relief flitting across his face. That had been close. Too close. Again. If they weren't more careful...

No.

If he weren't more careful... if Hermione hadn't been there, quick to think and act and...

He took a deep breath, pushed the thought aside. Not right now. They had a task to do.

"Right," he said, after a moment. "Let's go find Ron then."
Too busy trying to force herself to breathe to properly answer Harry, Hermione nodded, turning herself towards their tent. She would need to do better next time, be better. There was too much at stake to be so careless. It should never, never have gotten to the point where the girl had recognised Harry and been able to make a fuss about it.

Falling onto the familiar path back to the tent, Hermione finally managed to still her breathing enough to walk without much effort. "Hopefully his day has been a little better," she muttered under her breath, not quite sure why she was so angry with him. She just wished...well, she wished he'd been there, really, which was not something that she was going to allow herself to think about right now.

Not when they had so much work to do.