Ginny's eyes snapped open, her heart pounding, as a high-pitched wailing noise blared through the house. Instantly thinking they were under attack, Ginny leapt out of her bed.
As she pulled on a pair of jeans, Ginny heard the sound of footsteps pounding down the stairs past her room down onto the ground floor. Grabbing her wand, she opened her door and crept downstairs after them.
Creeping across the living room, she heard Ron's voice from the kitchen. "Are we being attacked?" he asked.
"I…" Dad replied, his voice hesitant. "I don't think so. I can see four… or maybe five people just walking down the path to the house."
"Visitors at this hour?" Mum exclaimed.
Then there was silence.
"Ron, go and…" her dad began, then he paused. "Never mind," he said, now sounding relieved. "They're Aurors. I wonder why they are calling at this hour?"
At this, Ginny relaxed and put her wand into her pocket. She paused for a second before deciding that she didn't particularly want to sit around and socialise with visitors. So she turned around and walked back up the stairs to go back to bed.
Just as she reached her room, Ginny heard her mother scream. Quick as a flash, she whipped out her wand and bounded lightly back down the stairs and into the living room.
"You're arresting her for Treason?" she heard her dad exclaim from the kitchen, as she charged into the living room. "This is nonsense!"
Ginny froze. Were they here for her? They couldn't be… could they?
She heard another voice talking and then her dad shouted in a terrified voice, "For Merlin's sake, man! She is a fifteen-year-old girl! What can she possibly have done?"
The sound of her father's terrified voice shocked Ginny out of her hesitation. Pushing aside the coil of dread inside her, she instantly spun around and dashed, as quietly as possible, up the stairs to her room. She would have to use the preparations she had been making to disappear with Adam in a couple of weeks, and make a run for it now.
Now incredibly thankful she had already made the majority of her preparations, Ginny entered her room, dived under her bed and grabbed the bag she had hidden there using the Invisibility Cloak. Once she had the bag, Ginny reached under her bed again and grabbed her broom.
Ginny struggled as she swung the bag onto her back. It was her dad's rucksack, and it was considerably over-sized on Ginny's much smaller body. Once it was on her back, Ginny ran to the window, opened it, and hopped onto her broom, throwing the Invisibility Cloak over her.
Once out of her room, Ginny sped away as fast as the broom would carry her. She knew from experience that the Cloak wasn't big enough to hide her and the entire broom in flight, but right now she needed the speed. She just hoped that the still-visible bristles of the broom would be largely invisible against the night sky.
Once she was far enough away from The Burrow so that she was confident she wouldn't be seen, Ginny expertly guided the broom to the ground. In her opinion, it was just too risky to continue on the broom. The Aurors would have realised by now that she was gone and they would be out searching for her.
Once her feet touched the ground, Ginny hopped off the broom, stuffed it through the loops of the backpack next to her dad's tent and adjusted the Cloak, ensuring that she was now completely invisible.
Pausing for a moment, Ginny scanned the countryside around her. Her eyes settled on The Burrow, which was now no more than a set of lights shining in the distance. Looking back at the house, she felt a terrible sense of longing, but she had no choice, she had to leave. Her only option now was to meet up with Adam, but first she had to find somewhere to hide for the night. She needed a plan.
After several minutes of consideration, Ginny decided to head for the village of Ottery-St. Catchpole. From there she should be able to contact Adam and she would be able to find food and somewhere to sleep.
Ginny knew that the village would be one of the places the Aurors who were after her would look, but if she kept to the Muggle area of the village Ginny hoped she could avoid notice.
Taking one last look at her home, Ginny pushed aside her sadness, turned, and began to walk across the fields towards the village.
Ginny walked for what felt like an age, until, much to her relief, she came to the road that led into the village. It was a small country road that very few Muggles ever drove down, but it had room for two cars to pass. When she saw it, Ginny allowed herself to stop and rest for a few minutes;, she knew where she was now, from here she could follow the road into the village.
Ginny jogged down the road until she approached the village. Finally crossing the bridge over the River Otter, she encountered the first of the Muggle lamps that were the only visible lights in the village.
As she entered the village, Ginny quickly ran past the small lane that led to the few wizarding shops in the village. In the past when she had visited Ottery-St. Catchpole with her family, they had always stayed the in that area but tonight it was the one place Ginny wanted specifically to avoid.
Once past the wizarding area, Ginny padded tiredly down the Muggle high street, glancing at the various shops as she quickly passed them. Only one building on the street had its lights on and, from inside, Ginny could hear music playing and raucous voices. She approached the door and peered in. Inside the building, there were groups of Muggles gathered around tables drinking.
I know, Ginny thought suddenly, this must be some sort of Muggle pub. She shivered, looking enviously at the people warm inside.
Ginny turned to continue down the high street. Then she froze. Walking down the pavement toward her was a cloaked figure. Cloaked! Cloaks meant wizards! In a panic, Ginny turned and ran in the other direction.
"What the hell!" a man shouted as Ginny ran straight into him.
The force of the impact sent Ginny flying to the ground, landing on her bottom, while the man staggered backwards.
"What is it, mate?" another man said, as he too walked out of pub.
"Felt like someone tried to push me over!" the first man exclaimed. "But there's no one here."
Ginny struggled back to her feet and realised with horror that the two men's loud voices had attracted the attention of the cloaked wizard who was now walking quickly towards them.
Panicked, Ginny pushed past the two men and sprinted down the street. She ran frantically away from the pub and careened into the first side street that she saw. Now off the main road, Ginny stopped, trying desperately to stop her ragged breathing that would surely give her away.
Having finally collected herself, Ginny walked cautiously back to the turning onto the high street and peered around the corner. As she looked up and down, she could just about make out the cloaked figure standing outside the pub. He too seemed to be scanning the area but he hadn't moved in her direction. Ginny sagged against the wall in relief. The man hadn't actually seen her.
Not willing to risk going back to the high street, Ginny walked aimlessly down the road, unsure where it was taking her. As she walked, she suddenly felt as if her energy was draining away. Her limbs felt heavy and she yawned involuntarily. She needed to find somewhere where she could get a bit of sleep.
Ginny knew she was going to have to sleep rough tonight. If the men who were trying to arrest her were in the village, she couldn't afford to put up the tent. It would be far too obvious. She would probably even have to sleep under the Cloak. Just to be safe.
July 11th 1997
The cold woke Ginny early the next morning. As she cracked her eyes open she was, at first, confused by the bright light and the low temperatures of her surroundings.
Then, with a jolt, Ginny remembered where she was and why she was there. She quickly sat upright and looked around. She had slept in the small pavilion on the village green, wrapped in a blanket and under the Cloak. The pavilion was little more than a wooden floor with a roof but it was better than being completely in the open. Through the sides of the pavilion Ginny could see the sun was shining and the grass of the village green was covered with dew.
Ginny took off the Cloak glad, for at least a short time, not to have it covering her anymore, and stretched. Once she had worked the kinks out of her muscles, Ginny returned to the bag and began repacking it.
Before she could go anywhere, she needed a plan. Well, Ginny thought, that's fairly easy. First, I need to get in contact with Adam to find out where he is. Then I need to get to him.
From a side pocket of the bag, Ginny pulled out the letter Adam had sent her a few days ago and re-read it.
Ginny, First of all, I'm safe. Don't worry. It's a little bit awkward that I can't use magic but I'm getting by. As promised, I'm going to try to make some arrangements to come and get you so we can start searching for the… things. Before we meet up, though, I really need you to get some things for me. Could you grab as many of my clothes as possible from my trunk, your broom and anything else you think we'll need as we will probably be roughing it. I'll meet you on the 31st July at the end of the lane that leads to The Burrow. You'll have to sneak out to meet me, so I've put the Cloak in this parcel, it should help you with that. I don't want to put your parents in the position of knowing you're helping me, plus, I don't think they'd let you go if they knew. If, for any reason, you need to contact me, the best I can do is give you a Muggle phone number. It's a phone box near where I'm staying. I don't think you have a phone at The Burrow (if you have I've never seen it) so you'll have to use the one in the village. I've put a few Muggle coins in with the Cloak to help you with that (Muggle phones don't take Knuts). Oh, I nearly forgot, the number is 01718768562. I'll wait there at 10am every day just in case you call, don't call at any other time. All the best, stay safe, and I'll see you soon. Yours, A
Ginny folded up the letter and put it in her pocket along with the Muggle coins Adam had sent. He had sent her five very strange coins; they weren't round but had seven flat edges around the coin. They were apparently worth fifty pence each, whatever that meant.
Once Ginny had packed everything away, she started walking, once again under the Cloak, back towards the high street. At just after eight o'clock, the high street was much busier than it had been the previous evening.
As Ginny walked along, being especially careful not to bump into anyone, she noticed several people apparently walking to work and, much to her relief, there was no sign of any wizards in or around the high street.
As she walked, her stomach suddenly growled and she realised with shock that she, of course, hadn't had any breakfast this morning. She flushed with embarrassment; she hadn't gone to all the trouble of staying hidden for a rumbling stomach to get her caught.
Deciding to try and find some breakfast, she turned around and walked back towards the shops. There was only one shop open at this time. Peering in through the window, Ginny saw an older woman behind a counter near the door. Not wanting to attract her attention, Ginny waited outside the door for someone to come along so she could slip in unseen.
After ten minutes, no one had come along and Ginny's stomach had had enough of waiting. So, feeling brave, she stepped out of sight, slipped off the Cloak and walked into the shop.
"Good morning, dear," the woman behind the desk said cheerily. "Hello," Ginny replied with a smile, hoping that the woman wouldn't pay too much attention to her. She was, after all, a fifteen-year-old girl with a rather large backpack, and what looked like a large broom. Hmm, she thought. Perhaps I didn't think this through.
Ginny walked around the small shop, and picked up a packet of sandwiches and a bottle of orange juice. Once she was done, she returned to the woman. Her purchases came to eighty pence, so she handed over two of the coins that Adam had given her and received what looked like another smaller version of the same coin in change.
Once she was outside the shop, Ginny immediately covered herself again with the Cloak and wandered down the street munching on her sandwiches. Now that she had food, she needed to find a phone box so that she could call Adam.
She eventually found a phone box at the far end of the high street and crammed herself into it to make the phone call. After several minutes of reading the instructions printed on the phone, Ginny thought she had just about figured it out.
When ten o'clock finally came, Ginny picked up the phone. She nearly dropped it in surprise when it started making a buzzing noise at her, but she soon collected herself, dropped one of Adam's coins into the slot and then pressed the numbers that he had written on his letter.
Once she had finished entering the number the phone started making another strange noise.
"Hello?" a voice came from the other end.
"ADAM!" Ginny cried, making sure he could hear her.
"Adam!" Ginny said, suddenly breaking out in a sob. "They came to the house for me! They were going to arrest me! I had to run away!"
There was silence for a second.
"Okay, Ginny," Adam said after what felt like forever. "Where are you?"
"I'm in Ottery-St. Catchpole," Ginny said, having now succeeding in getting her voice under control. "But I've got all the stuff we needed, so I just need to make my way to you now. Where are you?"
"I'm in London," Adam replied grimly. "Can you get to me?"
"I…" Ginny hesitated. "I can," she said emphatically. "How?"
"You'll have to get a Muggle train," Adam said, his voice showing frustration. "I can't Apparate to come and get you, the Ministry would detect me."
"I know you can't. Could I not take the Knight Bus?" Ginny asked hopefully, but she was pretty she that she couldn't.
"If they're after you…" Adam began.
"I know," Ginny replied sadly. "Where can I get on a Muggle train? Will I have enough money?"
"I don't know," Adam replied. "You can probably ask one of the Muggles but I think you'll probably have to sneak on under the Cloak as you won't have enough money."
"Okay," Ginny replied. "I'll do it."
"I'll stay by the phone all day in case you need me," Adam answered. "And I'll meet you at the other end in London."
"Okay…" Ginny began, now feeling less confident. Sure, Adam was at the other end of the phone, but he wasn't here with her.
"We can do this," Adam stated from the other end. "You'll be fine."
Ginny couldn't help but grin at Adam's encouragement. "I can," she replied, putting more confidence into her voice than she felt. "I'll speak to you soon."
"Ginny…" Adam said hesitantly. "I…" he paused. "Be safe."
"I will," Ginny responded. "See you soon."
With that, Ginny placed the phone back down, and to her surprise, some more unusual coins dropped out of the machine. Ginny grabbed them and left the box.
Once outside she paused for a second, making her plans. Get to the train station, wherever that was, and then get to London. Coming to a decision, Ginny walked briskly down the street back towards the shop she had visited earlier. As she approached the shop, Ginny ducked out of the sight, pulled off the Cloak and walked in.
"Hello again," the woman said again, sounding just as cheery as she had earlier.
"Hi," Ginny began, trying to sound as confident as she could. "Could you help me find the nearest train station?"
"Oh my," the woman replied. "It's a fair way away. You'll have to get a bus into Exeter. The bus stop is just outside the pub."
"Oh," Ginny replied, trying to hide her disappointment. Now she had to take a Muggle bus as well! "Thanks!" she then continued, forcing a smile onto her face.
Leaving the shop, Ginny once more threw the Cloak over herself and walked purposefully down the street. She eventually found what she was pretty sure was the bus stop. It was a large pole with a picture of a bus at the top. Once there, she waited around for nearly an hour until a bus, which had a big sign reading Exeter on the front, stopped and she was able to sneak on as people stepped off the bus.
The journey on the Muggle bus was surprisingly smooth, far smoother than the Knight Bus. Throughout the journey, Ginny stood at the back of the bus. She didn't dare sit down just in case anyone tried to sit on top of her.
Eventually, after stopping many times, the bus finally reached its destination. Ginny narrowly avoided getting locked on the bus and had to run to get out when she realised the man who was driving the bus was also getting off.
Once off the bus, Ginny looked around her desperately searching for any clue as to where she had to go. There were crowds of Muggles walking around, and loads of Muggle buses parked everywhere. Ginny felt completely overwhelmed and she struggled to push down the despair that threatened to well up inside of her.
As she tried to calm herself, Ginny suddenly realised that the majority of the Muggles all seemed to be walking in one direction. Follow the crowds! she thought, feeling a surge of optimism.
Ginny followed the Muggles, not really sure where she was going. After ten minutes of walking, she finally reached an area that had shops and seemed to be far busier. Muggles bustled up and down the street and Ginny had to work hard to ensure no-one ran into her while she was invisible.
After nearly half an hour of walking around the town, Ginny was no closer to finding the train station and she realised that she would have to ask someone, which meant she would need to take off the Cloak.
Deciding to get it over with, Ginny ducked behind a kiosk that seemed to be selling newspapers, and whipped off the Cloak. Venturing out into the street, she trotted along, looking for someone to ask for directions. She eventually stopped an older woman who was able to direct Ginny towards the train station.
Now knowing roughly where she had to go, Ginny continued down the street in the direction she had been sent, looking for somewhere to slip out of sight so she could put the Cloak back on without attracting notice. It was not until she had walked for several minutes that Ginny saw somewhere secluded. Just ahead of her was a lane that ran behind a large shop called Woolworths. Hmm, Ginny thought, it must sell wool.
"Hey, you!" a voice called from behind her, as she approached the lane.
Ginny froze, and quickly looked behind her. A man was running towards her.
Not wanting to take any chances, Ginny began to run. She needed to find somewhere to hide, the lane was a dead end, and if the man knew her, then he must be a wizard and would be able to guess that she had somehow made herself invisible.
"Get back here, Weasley! You no-good, stinkin' Death Eater!" the man shouted as he ran after her.
As she ran, weaving between the few Muggles who where on the street, Ginny realised with dismay that the man had called her a Death Eater! She wasn't a Death Eater. It hurt to know the Ministry, or whoever was after her, were spreading lies about her. Would everyone from school think she had joined Voldemort?
Ginny kept on running, looking for anywhere that she could use to disappear. As she dashed down the Muggle streets, she glanced over her shoulder and was surprised to find that the man now had a wand in his hand.
Ginny was still running, pushing past bewildered Muggles, when a red spell hit the ground several feet to her left. It was too far away to trouble Ginny, but sent the Muggles around her into a panic.
Several screamed, and Ginny heard a series of raised voices that were now shouting at the man who was chasing her. Despite all the commotion that he was causing, the man managed to fire two more Stunners at her, both of which were woefully inaccurate.
This guy has rubbish aim! Ginny thought to herself. If I could do magic right now, I'd show him a thing or two!
As she continued running, Ginny realised that the man's decision to fire spells at her had actually worked in her favour: the nearby Muggles were delaying him.
Suddenly, Ginny saw on opportunity to use this to her advantage and slip out of sight. In front of her was a set of stairs that led into a tunnel in the ground. If she could get far enough ahead she could slip the Cloak over her and disappear.
She put on a burst of speed and practically leapt down the stairs and into tunnel. As soon as she was out of sight of the road, she whipped out the Cloak and threw it over her, just in time to see the man pound down the steps and run straight past her.
Ginny leaned back against the wall of the tunnel, trying to catch her breath. She felt herself tremble slightly; that had been close. Far too close! What had upset Ginny even more was the fact that the man had accused her of being a Death Eater! Did people really think she was a Death Eater? What would her family think?
Shaking herself, and realising that what other people thought wasn't important, Ginny walked cautiously down the tunnel and up the stairs on the other side. To her horror the man was standing at the top of the stairs, leaning on the railing and breathing heavily.
"Damn…" he muttered. "Could've gotten a reward."
So they had put a reward out for her, too.
The man stayed there for several minutes, until the sound of sirens made him visibly tense. As the sound of sirens seemed to get closer, he turned on the spot and vanished with a pop.
Ginny heaved a sigh of relief and continued down the street. She kept walking, still following the woman's directions. Several minutes later, she turned a corner and nearly sobbed with joy. In front of her was a large sign reading: Exeter Central Railway Station.
Now all she needed to do was slip onto a train to London and let Adam know she was on the way.
Adam July 11th 1997
Adam dashed towards platform fifteen of London Paddington station. If he had read the timetable correctly, then Ginny should be on the train that was about to pull in at the platform, and he wanted to be there to meet her.
By the time Adam arrived at the platform, the train had already arrived and a large number of Muggles were walking down the platform towards the exits and the underground trains. Adam walked up and down the platform, hoping desperately to spot Ginny amongst the crowd, but there was no sign of her.
Suddenly, Adam was nearly bowled over by an invisible object slamming into him. Adam instinctively leapt back but froze when he felt a pair of arms snake around him.
"Ginny?" he asked in confusion. "Is that you?"
"Adam," Ginny's voice exclaimed from nowhere.
Adam fumbled for the edge of the Cloak and lifted it up so he could look into her eyes.
"Glad you made it," he blurted, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her closer. "I've missed you."
"Me, too," Ginny exclaimed. "I nearly was caught by some man. He was saying that I'm a Death Eater."
"What happened?" Adam asked, suddenly feeling very protective of her.
"He chased me. He tried to Stun me, even with all the Muggles around, and he kept calling me a Death Eater. I think they've been spreading lies about me."
"Okay," Adam replied, hugging her even tighter. "The main thing is that we did it. You're here!"
Ginny beamed up at him.
"Now, follow me, and I'll lead you back to where I'm staying," Adam continued.
"Can't you get under the Cloak?" Ginny asked in a worried tone.
"It won't fit over both of us and your bag. Remember, it barely fit both of us last year at Hogwarts?" Adam replied. "Anyway, I was fine getting here, so I'll be fine getting back."
"Okay," Ginny replied hesitantly. "Let's go."
Ginny July 11th 1997
"Adam…" Ginny asked hesitantly as they walked down a narrow path between some of rather old-looking buildings. "Where are we?"
Adam turned and grinned at her.
"This was where Professor McGonagall found me back before my first year," he laughed. "Except, now I have some money so I've bought Muggle camping stuff. It’s a lot more comfortable and it'll be even better with the tent."
As they walked towards one of the old-looking buildings, Ginny felt a new sense of awe. This was one of the places where Adam had lived on the streets.
Ginny followed as Adam pushed open one of the doors on a building. He led her across an empty, draughty room and then into a second, much smaller, room.
Ginny gazed around the room, taking in her new surroundings. There was what appeared to be a tent in one corner, a few bags of clothes and food, and a strange contraption that was attached to a large bottle.
"What is that?" Ginny asked, immediately pointing to the strange thing.
"It's a stove," Adam replied, with a smile. "I use it to cook food and keep warm."
"Oh," Ginny replied, looking around hesitantly. Where Adam was living didn't look very comfortable at all. The only time she had ever slept anywhere other than Hogwarts or The Burrow was at the Quidditch World Cup. She suddenly felt a wave of guilt at what she had just thought. Adam had been forced to live in much worse conditions in the past.
"It'll be much nicer with the tent up. It has a kitchen and bedrooms!" Adam continued, sounding upbeat.
"Okay," Ginny said nodding back at him. "Let's get working!"
Ginny dropped her backpack down onto the floor and she began unpacking the magical tent while Adam took down his Muggle tent and began clearing up his things.
She picked up two of the tent poles and stared at them for a second, suddenly realising she had no idea how the thing went together. She knew a spell that would put it up, but they couldn't use magic right now. Suddenly, a pair of arms snaked around her waist and she relaxed as Adam leaned his head over her shoulder.
"I really did miss you, y'know," he said softly.
Ginny grinned up at him. "I missed you, too, but we're together now."
Adam pulled her closer and chuckled. "I think we'll need to work together on that tent."