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Chapter 1 : A Family Vacation
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"Rose, are you sure this is a good idea?" Scorpius asked for the 20th time since he and his wife had left their house that morning, all packed up and dressed in their best Muggle attires.
"Scorpius, I have told you time and time again, relax! My Mum has done this countless times and it's perfectly safe!" Rose reassured him as she checked her watch and looked around, hoping to spot the people she was waiting for in the hustle and bustle of the crowd.
The young couple was sitting in the middle of the London Heathrow Airport, waiting for Ron and Hermione Weasley and the start of their family vacation abroad. It was something Hermione had insisted upon, taking her daughter and her husband to a cultural circuit through the European capitals, in hopes of nurturing their hunger for knowledge and helping Scorpius overcome his fear of all Muggle transportation methods.
Scorpius was very reserved when it came to the Muggle’s means of transport. When Rose was 18 and just fresh out of Hogwarts, her mother had paid for her to get a Muggle driving license and bought her a car. The first time Scorpius had been on a drive with Rose in the car, in the English country side, he had yelled himself hoarse for 15 minutes, gripping the car seat until his knuckles had turned white and his face was a strange shade of purple all because she had hit the breaks a little too sudden when a stray dog had crossed their path. Now, he was shaking like a leaf in the Muggle airport, throwing panicked looks at the ceiling whenever the sound of an airplane taking off could be heard in the distance.
"Rose, I'm still not sure about this!" he whispered urgently clutching her arm painfully, as he saw his in-laws approaching them in the crowd and Rose waving them over. "Your parents, they don't make the best decisions when it comes to going places and doing stuff," he added licking his lips nervously and shooting furtive glances out the window where a plane was slowly turning on the flight strip, half expecting it to crash into the main building.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she retorted, throwing him an annoyed look.
"Rose, they did break into Gringotts!" he argued and crossed his arms in what was supposed to be a dignified manner.
Rose rolled her eyes and smacked his shoulder.
"And you should thank your lucky stars they did, or else we would all be supporting Dark Marks on our foreheads and get tortured on our birthdays!"
The conversation was cut short by the arrival of the Weasleys, Hermione beaming happily and Ron looking like he was ready to bolt at any second.
"How are my children today? Excited for the big trip?"
Rose smiled as she hugged her parents while Scorpius nodded his head and ran a sweaty hand through his hair. Ron threw him a sympathetic smile.
"I think it's about time your father got on an airplane for the first time, too! I wanted to ride a plane when we went and got your Grandma and Grandpa Granger from Australia, but no, he insisted we use an International Portkey!"
"The Ministry did extend us the courtesy of making it available for the non-magical folk we wanted to travel with and it would've been rude to refuse them!" Ron argued, sounding very much like his brother Percy.
"The same Ministry that until a month earlier was offering thousands of Galleons as a reward for our heads? Who would want to be rude to them?" Hermione replied and rolled her eyes, taking the tickets out and looking for the check-in points where they needed to check their luggage for the trip.
"I am so excited for Athens!" Rose exclaimed and clapped her hands. "It was such a clever idea to start in Eastern Europe and travel our way back!"
"Yes, one of your mother's better ideas." Ron mumbled. "My idea of a vacation isn't to visit 8 countries in 3 weeks." he added under his breath.
"Nine, you're forgetting the small one that's in the middle of Rome." Scorpius commented in a whisper and both men chuckled, earning glares from their wives.
"Ron, your idea of a good vacation is moving me into your childhood home and stuffing your face with your mother's cooking. We are going and we will have a wonderful time!"
They were already in line for the check-in when the conversation died away and Hermione motioned for the men to place the luggage on the belt next to the flight-attendant.
"What is she doing with my bag? I have important stuff in there, underwear and shampoo!" Scorpius asked Rose and she giggled.
"We went over this, honey. The bags go under the plane and we get them when we land."
The customs check didn't go any better, with Scorpius whimpering as the security guard scanned him with the metal detector and Ron complaining loudly about being poked in his "privates" by the stern looking guard. Rose hadn't seen her mother so annoyed since she had caught her father tampering with Hugo's toy broom to make it fly higher.
But after what seemed like ages, even though it was only about half an hour, the four were seated on their flight, waiting for take off. Scorpius was sweating profusely at that point and throwing panicked looks across the isle at Ron, who wasn't looking any better. The flight-attendants got up and started instructing the passengers on security, emergency exists and the pamphlets located in front of them.
"Rose, look! It says here we crash into the ocean! I can't swim! We'll get eaten by sharks!" Scorpius exclaimed and tugged at her sleeve like a five-year old.
"Honey, calm down. We are only passing the English channel and there are no sharks there! People actually swim across it so we'll be okay!"
The airplane started moving across the strip, preparing for take off, and the passengers were treated to some of Ronald Weasley's best choice swear words as it left the ground, prompting Hermione to put in ear plugs and ignore him for the rest of the flight. Scorpius was looking in awe out the window, squealing in a very unmanly way as he saw the plane soar above the clouds and then poking Rose in the side as the peaks of the Swiss Alps were visible under them at one point. He hyperventilated at one point, when the seat belt light went on during some turbulence over Austria, but he mostly behaved well for the duration of the flight.
When they landed in Athens, a few hours later, the sun was burning hot and Hermione was positively giddy with anticipation at the thought of so many new sights to discover. The four of them retrieved their bags and exited the airport.
"Now, all we need is a rental car and we'll be on our way to the hotel!" Hermione informed them as she and Rose started filling out the papers necessary for them to get a car.
Scorpius shot Ron a panicked look.
"Oh bloody hell..."
Ginny Potter made her way across the yard of her house and took the mail from the Muggle postal box located next to her gate. She and Harry had settled into a Muggle neighborhood when James was born, hoping to keep the children away from the chaos that surrounded them in the wizarding world, even after all those years. They didn't want them exposed to press or random strangers walking up to them and telling them what a great job their father had done of killing Voldemort.
She took the mail inside, skimming through the bills and catalogs for different products, until she spotted a letter addressed to the Potters, written in Hermione's elegant scrawl.
"Harry! Hermione's written to us! Come here so we can read!" she called and seconds later she heard her husband running down the stairs and entering the kitchen, his black hair standing up at odd angles and his pajamas wrinkled.
Inside the envelope she found a picture of the four of them smiling and waving at the camera, in front of a large palace called Schonbrunn Palace, which the text on the back of the photo indicated as being in Vienna. Next to the picture was a letter.
Dear Ginny and Harry,
I am writing to you the Muggle way, in hopes of keeping with the theme of our vacation. We are in Italy at the moment, in Verona, and the picture I have enclosed was taken in Vienna a few days ago. I am going to need a vacation when all this is over.
We started the vacation in Greece and Ron insisted he drive us from the airport in Athens to our hotel. He forgot the Supersensory Charm on the mirrors and he almost crashed the car twice. He still thinks I have no idea he Confunded his driving examiner. After visiting the sights of the old Greek empire in Athens we traveled south, to Thessaloniki. We spent a few days there and I wanted to visit the monasteries in Athos. When we got there, Ron took one look at the monks, dressed in their long, black cloaks, yelled "Death Eaters!" and took off with Scorpius in toe. The best thing about this whole experience is that those two finally bonded over their mutual lack of understanding of everything non-magical.
We took a train to Budapest, in Hungary and Rose and I wanted to take a cruise on the Danube river (it is the second largest river in Europe after all) but Scorpius took one look at the water, declared there were probably sharks in there and refused to go. I think Draco and Astoria home schooled him before Hogwarts. Rose and I went alone and when we came back, they were drunk, telling us how good the Muggle version of Butterbeer was. In retrospect, I guess I should have told them that beer and Butterbeer aren't the same thing.
Austria was better, although the boys did comment loudly at the dinosaur bones in the Museum of Natural History, claiming that they forgot to add the wings on the dragon. It wasn't much better when we visited the art gallery, because they couldn't understand how Monet had forgotten to add the charm on his paintings that made the people move.
We wanted to go see Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but after a few days in Germany, Ron took one long look at the bridge separating continental Europe from Denmark (it's a breathtaking sight, a bridge over the water, 20 miles long) and said we are spending more time in France.
The first thing we visited in Italy was Rome, where Scorpius tried to Confund the people waiting in line at the Sistine Chapel so we wouldn't have to wait and Ron freaked out at the Sunday service at the Vatican, claiming the "old guy" was doing "old magic", when the Pope offered the blessing in Latin. We had another Death Eater scare in Venice, where they saw people wearing carnival masks, and by that time I suspect Ron had filled Scorpius in on everything he needed to know about Death Eaters, because the poor boy was white as a sheet. Rose wasn't very pleased when I pointed out that maybe girls do end up marrying boys that are like their fathers.
Hopefully France will be more uneventful, although I have yet to tell them that the Eurostar crosses the Channel Tunnel on its way back to London. I think it's best if they find out before Ron has time to arrange a Portkey.
Harry, I say this with all my love, but from now on, you are babysitting Ron while I take Ginny on vacation instead.
(And Ron, Rose and Scorpius)
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