capt_angie: (looking over shoulder)
[personal profile] capt_angie
There's nothing particularly remarkable about the door. Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, they're just the ones big enough to have names; there's any number of winding back streets the Muggle inhabitants of London haven't the faintest clue about. The place is probably packed reasonably full, though from the outside you'd never know; just a peeling black door in the middle of a featureless brick wall, and the only indication that anyone has even been here in the last few years is the gentle rise and fall of voices from behind the wood.

The slim robed figure checks the number on the door against a scrap of paper in her hand, then bends and places an ear to the wood, concentrating hard. Silencing spells and shielding spells are too obvious. Spells like that are an instant red flag, they were taught in Defense Against the Dark Arts, an announcement to the world that there's something to look for - and there's always someone stronger or someone specialised to get through or around any protection you manage to get set up. No, this is a bit more complex, a bit more subtle. The initial muffling spell is overlaid with a tangle of enchantments that make it sound, to anyone listening, as though there are two people distantly arguing over the possible healing applications of Bubotuber pus, and someone a little bit closer droning on about, by the sounds of it, the standardisation of equipment used by Ministry Astronomers.

It's pretty cunning, even going by what she remembers from her seventh-year module on stealth and camouflage. She's impressed – enough so that she doesn't notice the doorknob gently turning. The first she knows of it is when the door swings inwards and completely disrupts her balance, sending her staggering forward to land flat on her face in a dingy hallway, a fountain of dust swirling around her and a handsome, red-haired man pointing his wand at her face. Coughing and choking, she frantically waves the piece of paper still clutched in her hand – a few cryptic lines and an address, found unsigned on her desk at the AMRS two mornings ago.

After a moment or two, the red-haired man lowers his wand with a sigh, holding out his hand to help her up.

"Assume you're here for the squad, then," he begins. "Down the corridor to the left, and don't – hey, wait a minute, I know you. Didn't you date my brother for a bit?"

Angelina Johnson rubs half a ton of dust out of her eyes as she climbs to her feet, and blinks as she recognizes Charlie Weasley.

~~~~~

Just about two thirds of the tiered seats in the room down the corridor are filled, perhaps forty people all told. As she takes a seat amongst them, Angelina wonders whether they too received a note, as she had.

Looking up, she sees Charlie walk towards the raised platform at the other end of the room, and turn himself around to face a room that's slowly falling silent. There are others waiting there – two wizards and a short witch with close-cropped hair. There's a small table with a jug and a glass of water waiting, as well, and Charlie, nodding to the others, leans back against the table and folds his arms, scanning the faces turned towards him.

"Right," he says eventually, when it's as close to silent as it's going to get. He gestures to the other people on the platform. "You don't know us, and we don't know you. Most of you are probably wondering why you're here, why you were contacted. Two reasons: one, that you're either part of, or trusted by someone who's involved with, the Order of the Phoenix or the Department for Magical Law Enforcement, and two, that you can fly."

He pauses for a moment, and Angelina watches the slow ripple of nods and murmurs spread across the crowd.

"You're here, ladies and gents, because we're going to ask you to fight. Voldemort -" a few winces from the audience, one or two audible gasps, " – is coming, you all know that. And we've recently found out that he has Inferi, and that there's a fair probability of some sort of aerial strike. What we need, and what we don't have, to deal with these things, is an airborne force of our own – one we can keep quiet, keep a surprise. Hence the charming surroundings."

A few nervous laughs, as Charlie grins wryly.

"You can fly, that much we already know - but we're not talking a five-a-side office Quidditch match at Christmas, alright? We're talking speed, agility, skill, and you lot came recommended. If you don't think you can do this, no one here'll hold it against you. There's tea and biscuits in the next room, so I'm told, and you can go and grab a cuppa, have a sit down, leave when the meeting's done. This is not a game, this is for the defense of the wizarding community, and if you are not willing to put everything you have into this then I am telling you to get up and walk out."

There's a long silence. Angelina swallows deeply – and looking around again, sees others doing the same. None of them move.

"Okay," Charlie says on a long breath, rubbing a large hand over the top of his head. "Okay. Then I guess we can get started. Welcome to the Ministry Civilian Air Corps."

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Angelina Johnson

August 2010

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