Arthur Weasley and his dearest wish come true

March 2014

The Weasleys were a family full of eccentric people. One of them dealt with dragons for a living. Another had joined the elite team of wizards Gringotts employed to deal with deadly traps in Egypt. Another Weasley decided that testing joke articles on himself would be a good idea without a thought about the repercussions. One Weasley joined Harry Potter in almost every adventure and went face to face with death eaters when barely 16!

All this eccentricity must come from somewhere and everyone blamed Arthur Weasley. Arthur Weasley was an eccentric man and he would not deny it but rather embrace it. Why not, his own eccentricity, his fascination with muggles ought to be shared; so ingenious their solutions to problems he didn't even attempt to solve without magic.

In the years after the wizarding war with the children out of the house and money and time no longer an issue, Arthur Weasley connected to a worldwide collection of muggle enthusiasts like him. All of them shared their admiration for the muggle way of life and their phantastic solutions which Dr. Granger, had explained to him, mildly amused at that during dinner with the in-laws, were in fact perfectly sensible if you knew the advances muggles made in something they called „natural science" over the past 300 years.

Science has hence become an obsession to Arthur and he, with the help of Dr. Granger, acquired several textbooks on GSCE Level Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Molly Weasley wasn't all that amused by the many books her husband brought into the Burrow but well, he deserved a hobby and he had the time of his life. And, with some relief, his hobby no longer risked his career. Shuddering she thought back to the old Ford Anglia that has caused so much trouble for Arthur and the boys. A bookshelf with definitely non-magic books was much preferred.

With the newly found group of enthusiasts encouraging him spending more time in the muggle world, Arthur finally got around muggle currency too. And how easy it was to handle it. 100 pence is 1 Pound. Easy to calculate, easy to understand. And their banknotes were much more original than the seemingly identical gold galleons; with pictures of famous muggles on them. He even managed to collect some foreign currencies, proudly showing them to every grandkid and visitor in the Burrow.

Now being coached by Hermione, Harry and Audrey to behave himself in the muggle world, he was much more intrigued to join the idea of a Mr David Wagner from the Americas to hold a convention with other enthusiasts. And not in the magical US, no, an all-muggle event. Staying in a muggle hotel, doing muggle activities, visiting the muggle sights) Including a flight over the Atlantic Ocean in an aeroplane (he finally understood how they remained airbone, Dr. Granger patiently explained to him a few years ago). Now it was just Molly that stood in the way. Although the word „just" doesn't give justice to the conversation that he was about to enter. Learning about aeroplanes, oh yes, but actually sitting for hours in a metal tube 36,000 feet up in the air surrounded by strangers with tons of highly explosive fuel around him? No, she would have a lot to say about that.

With the face of a man who knows he is about to attend his own (and very painful) execution, Arthur Weasley steeled himself, left his shed and entered The Burrow. „Molly dear, where are you?" „In the kitchen dear". Arthur moved to talk to her in the kitchen but she just called: „Dinner is ready in 5 minutes, would you mind laying the table dear and wash up?"
„Yes Molly dear" he said and then commenced on the set task. Figuring he could rather have a good last meal before the talk.

Five minutes later and they both sat down to dinner; a much smaller amount of food than he was used to, oh well, some 20 odd years living with 7 rambunctious children certainly impacted what he saw as an appropriate amount of food. As it was a typical staple, chicken salad with roasted ham, boiled potatoes and vegetables of their own yard as sides. The rests of a cake would be served later. Just as he liked it.

They ate in companionable silence, both enjoying some quiet time. James Sirius Potter is certainly someone who can make even the Weasley matriarch wish for some calm and silence.
Arthur meanwhile was quietly contemplating how to approach the rather delicate topic. For all her support of his infatuation with muggles, Molly Weasley was rather traditional and viewed any new muggle contraption found in her childrens homes with a sceptic eye and a well-placed comment. Getting her to let him fly in a muggle contraption into another continent would be a challenge but not one he intended to back down from, he was afterall a Gryffindor and a damn fine one. He fought Voldemort for Merlin's sake.

„Molly dear, I have something that I would want to talk to you about." „What is it Arthur?". „Do you remember my pen friend David Wagner, from the United States?" Molly's eyes began to frown, while she tolerated her husbands antics she felt that this pen friendship gave Arthur some rather bad ideas. „I remember him" she said frowning. „Well" Arthur treaded carefully, „he had a rather interesting idea which he shared with several others." „Out with it Arthur, what is it?". „He had the idea that him and I and several others should convene together, as a convention for, in his words, „muggle nutters". I think that this is a good idea and I would very much like to take part in it."

„So you mean to tell me that you want to travel to the other side of the ocean and gallavant with a group of wizards you never met? Arthur, I am not sure that this is entirely a good idea. I really don't think that you should go", she said with conviction. Arthur took a deep breath and gave himself a short respite to gather his thoughts.
„Molly, dear. I understand that this is out of the blue but I really don't think that this is a bad idea." We have lived in peace for the past 16 years and the Americas weren't even affected. There won't be anyone after me there, I will just be one muggle enthusiast among others. And just because I haven't seen them does not mean it is a bad idea. In fact I believe it would be good to branch out, get some new experiences and make some new friends" „Arthur" Molly tried to interrupt but Arthur was on a go now: „And it would be wonderful to go somewhere else than just Britain. The last time we left the country was 5 years ago when we went to France to visit the Delacours. I think we deserve it to take time for ourselves now. We worked and fought hard."

Molly huffed unsatisfied but she did not press the point. A good sign Arthur knew. He knew that she truly didn't believe that it was a good idea but she had to concede the point. The Weasley family prided itself in being unconventional and making new approaches and now he was reasonably sure she would agree that he may travel. Just the tiny problem with her allowing him to sit in an airplane.

„There is just one more thing dear" he said, quietly but with strength. „David had the idea that we ought to embrace this opportunity and he suggested that I would use muggle means to cross the Atlantic." Molly now turned around and Arthur could easily recognise a look he had seen entirely too often directed onto the twins. „Are you telling me", she said in a dangerously quiet voice, „that you don't just want to get to the other side of the world, no, that you will also use a dangerous muggle contraption!?" Continuously getting louder, Molly almost shouted the last part of her sentence.
„I do want to take an aeroplane", Arthur said quietly, never moving his eyes away from her. „It has been one of my biggest dreams. I simply can't let an opportunity like this go to waste."
Molly stood to argue the point but Arthur cut her off: „Perhaps we should postpone this to another time? To give you some time tot hink about it."
Molly smiled a tight thin-lipped smile. The rest of the evening was spend in a tense silence. When Arthur went to bed he was rather optimistically though. For starters she didn't outright forbid him to go and neither did she argue his points into submission.
Over the next days both didn't speak about it, holding a temporary truce. That truce was broken though during Wednesday dinner with Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny. The kids spend their time with the other Weasley cousins, James obviously went to the jokeshop with Freddie, Albus and Lily went to Bill's place.

Over that rather intimate dinner idle chit chat was coming along but Arthur figured if anyone could convince Molly then it would be Hermione Granger. So being the reckless Gryffindor he started to lay out his idea. His children took took to the idea rather well. Obviously Hermione had been on an aeroplane before and wholeheartedly supported his trip. She warned him however that most of the flight would be no more exciting than the daily commute but Arthur wasn't one to be discouraged. With Hermione Granger-Weasley, the smartest witch of her age supporting him with „factual evidence", Molly reluctantly gave her approval. Arthur was mildly suprised to find out that flying was officially the safest method to travel, superior to cars and much superior to brooms. He ought to ask Percy for the accident and death rate of brooms.

Hermione promised to ask her father to aid Arthur with booking a flight, rightfully assuming that this would be a bit too much for Arthur to handle. His lack of a muggle credit card was circumvented with her paying for it, an „advanced birthday present" so to speak.

So the preparations came along wonderfully. A date was chosen, Saturday the 22nd of May. Right on time to be away and back when Hogwarts holiday season started. Arthur would fly to San Francisco with British Airways, where David would collect him 12 hours later from the terminal. Thereone they would travel with magical means to his ranch in Idaho where the convention would be held.
Arthur would be staying for three weeks, doing a busy muggle tourism programm including New York, Washington DC, Yellowstone National Park and Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
He would fly back home from Miami to London, again with British Airways; where Harry would collect him from the airport.
Arthur also became one of the few pureblooded holders of a muggle passport, which was quite tricky to come by. Apparently the muggles could not find any record of Arthurs existence in the world in their computers or files. It unfortunately turned into a major headache for the Ministry of Magic but well, this was to be expected. For the moment, memory spells and confundus charms were enough to deal with the situation until a more permanent solution could be established.
Molly didn't say another word against Arthurs idea but he was no fool, he could see her frown whenever he mentioned anything like „Plane, Muggle, America, passport"… He had overheard quite a litany from her to Percy about all the extra work his father put onto his shoulders. Percy just shrugged and pointed out that this situation was to be expected. „Muggles register for a lot of things nowadays. They all have some sort of identification and it is highly suspicious if there are many people who quite literally were not existing to them. Dad just accelerated a problem that we had regardless. Five more years and we would have been forced to act even without dad's antics". He was just the first one who had the idea.

Saturday 22nd May

After months of preparation, the journey to America was finally about to begin. Arthur was awake at 4:00 in the morning. He could not remember being this excited in the last years. BA0287, that was his flight. He would go to London Heathrow International Airport and leave at 14:05 to America, flying over 11 hours like a muggle.

At breakfast, a storm of owls stopped by, each with well-wishes for his journey. It would not surprise anyone who knew the Weasleys that Arthur would tell anyone exitedly about his travel plans during every available social function they attended (which were quite many, with numerous order members celebration some special occasion nowadays). Letters from the Lovegoods (with a wish to check out hints for the snorkack in Idaho), a card from Kingsley, a note from Prof. McGonagall even.
Ginny, Ron, Percy and Bill were all in attendance with their families, leaving only George behind (who was working, or better printing money with the shop of his). Obviously neither children, in-laws or grandkids would want to miss seeing Grandpa Arthur flying like a muggle. They soon departed for London Heathrow Terminal 5.

As they arrived, Arthur was fascinated. He has been to London before, he has seen a lot of Muggle contraptions nowadays, knowing how to operate a TV and Stereo set without many problems. He saw airliners regularly so high up in the sky but he had never been to an airport and he most certainly had never seen a plane this up close before. They were marvelous pieces of ingenuity. Long but elegant tubes with gracile wings attached to it. Coming in all sizes, from the small machine housing not even 100 muggles to the absolutely massive giants that would cross the ocean and fly to the other side of the world. Arthur had prepared extensively and recognised some of the easier identifiable jets. He could spot the A380 and could barely believe his own eyes; such a massive piece of machinery that was able to fly and that he would sit in! His entourage was equally amazed by the surroundings. Molly just pressed her lips together seeing the organised chaos that Heathrow is. Countless muggles about, a cacaphony of voices and people even beating the Quidditch worldcup spectacle. And every 30 seconds, an infernally loud roar of a plane that took to the skies. The sleaker, smaller ones would rise faster than the larger ones but all of them roared upwards, away.

„Grandpa, won't it be very loud inside the plane" asked Victoire? He replied: „Apparently it won't be much louder than riding the broom. They are insulated quite well because where they are flying it is quite cold and to stay warm they have to have light but good insulation. And I got my earplugs.".
„Arthur", Hermione interrupted „we need to get your bag checked for the flight. See, they are already queuing". They made their way over to the BA check-in service and after a short while could give up his bag. Arthur held his freshly printed boarding pass like a proud father his first born child. His dream was about to become reality.

Harry spoke next: „Arthur, I think you should go to the gate now. The airport is massive, it could take you a while to find it. Better have some time to kill than miss the flight." Arthur quickly agreed andnow began the large Weasley Goodbye. First came the grandchildren. Each of them gave Arthur a hug and well wishes for his flight. He had to promise Audrey to sent a post card (through the Grangers as an intermediate), Lily to take lots of photos and James to bring something cool from the muggles in America. Then came the children and their spouses. Last came Molly. She gave him a strong hug and a long goodbye kiss. And then he left and entered the security before the gate.

It was intimidating. Rows and rows of muggles being searched for dangerous items. He had something on him that was the most dangerous item ever transported but he was confident that Hermione's undetectable expansion charm would conceal his wand just fine.
First came the shoes. Then the belt. His briefcase, thankfully emptied last minute by Audrey Weasley of his galleons, he would have a hard time explaining such an amount of gold. Lastly the bag passed through the scanner and he himself walked through the detector. Nothing indicating anything out of the ordinary. Soon he was done and could experience the waiting lounge. He had an even better lookout on the aircraft and the facilities here. He could see all the many people, loading bags, busses driving passengers, fuel tanks moved and aircraft towed, moving towards and from the gates… A carefully orchestrated chaos.

He arrived at his gate. His jet was waiting. A380, he heard this was the largest passenger jet ever built. Over 800 people could fit on board, flying perfectly safe from one side of the world to another. A different kind of magic at work, ingenuity and mind and countless people working to make this all possible. Really the mundane, normal way for millions of muggles annually but likewise magic was his life and it was perfectly normal to him.
The bird was massive. Large wings, the aircraft painted in a bright white colour scheme and a nametag. The vertical stabiliser was painted blue, red and white, in hommage to the nation and the name. British Airways would fly him over the pond and everyone could see it from miles away. George would appreciate a well-done job at marketing he mused.
The crowd waiting in front of the entrance grew larger. 13:15 came and boarding started. First came First Class. Then Business. And then it was him. He showed his passport and his boarding pass and was admitted to the plane.

It was even larger up close. When he entered the forward section he saw the cabin was already larger than the entire living room in The Burrow. Seat 39A, right at the end of the aircraft, that's where he had to go. Luckily for him he managed to get a window seat. Rows and rows and rows of seats until finally he found his spot. He quickly placed his old faithful bag in storage and sat down. Quite spartan feel to it, but he had a seat and a view to enjoy. And for later, he would have some muggle films and his faithful travel library, courtesy of Hermione and Percy.

One by one the other passengers found their allocated seats, settled down. A few moments later, he felt a small push and felt moving backwards. The journey was about to begin. Full with exitement, he stared outside. They were now passing other planes taxiing, with exotic names. India, Ethiopia, China, all foreign and exotic places that were once out of reach for the most but now accessible with only a short journey… Marvelous. The plane was now standing still on the runway. The last seconds on the ground, for 11 hours and 5 minutes of scheduled flight to San Francisco.

Now the engines began to roar, louder than he could ever imagined. A guttural roar of power and he felt himself pushed into his seat. Not as much as with the Nimbus 5001 that Teddy generously allowed him to ride once but nonetheless, much more powerful. Afterall this was a massive aircraft with over 400 people aboard. He was now faster than any Nimbus ever flown by either of his family. And then, slowly, the nose of the aircraft lurched upwards and he felt weightless for the fraction of a second. And then he was in the air. The ground receded fast and upwards they went. A small turn gave him a wonderful view over London in the distance, rushing away from his eyes at blistering speeds. He saw from the screen in front of him that they were exceeding 250 miles per hour, faster than any broom. He sat more comfortable than on any broom though.

Passing through the clouds, higher and higher. Soon he didn't see London anymore. They were now at 20,000 feet and still climbing. The engine noise became quiter, probably throttling back Arthus mused about. Now, 10 hours and 50 minutes to scheduled time of arrival. The Stewards could be heard hustling in the galleys, preparing the first of the meals they would be serving shortly. Everywhere around him people settled into their routine. Movies were started, headphones plugged in, books opened.

Arthur Weasley simply sat there, taking it all in. Happy and content, finally, he fulfilled his childhood dream. Flying like a muggle, with a different kind of magic.

Meanwhile in London, on the ground

The Weasley family saw the mighty aircraft leap into the skies. With a mighty roar, it took off, it's massive wings stunning the ever talkative James Potter into silence. They turned about as the aircraft moved along on it's way west, disappearing in the clouds, away from them. Molly quietly whispered to herself: „safe travels Arthur". And she new he would come back in 3 weeks, with tales regarding this trip. And she never looked forward to something as much as she looked forward to the 12th of June….