Summer 2006 was a summer which Fleur would never forget. Together with her husband Bill and their children – six-year-old Sirius, three-year-old Fabian and two-year-old Gideon – she was planning to travel to the World Cup, which was taking place in France that year. She had managed to get cheap tickets via her family’s connections. Because the children were still so small, they had booked rooms in a wizarding hotel which had been built near the stadium especially for the World Cup.
The family stood in their living room in front of the large fireplace. Fleur had decided to travel by Floo Powder; it was just the safest way to travel with children, so long as she held them tightly. She threw a handful of Floo Power into the fireplace, and, stepping into the green flames with Gideon on her arm and Fabian’s hand in hers, she shouted loudly: “The World Cup!”
One moment later she was whirling through the air, clutching her children hard against her body.
Thud! Fleur landed at the most beautiful fireplace she had ever seen. This had to be the hotel! It looked even better than in the leaflet she had seen. Everything was made of white marble and gleamed in the sunlight. Just when she had let Fabian down, Sirius appeared in the fireplace, his eyes shining with joy. Only a wink later Bill appeared too, carrying the heavy trunks.
“I told you not to let Sirius travel alone!” Fleur said sharply. “’E ees much too small. ‘E could ‘ave gone lost!”
“I told you not to pack too much,” Bill retorted. “We will only be here for the final, not for a two-week-long family holiday.”
“If I spent as leetle time with ze children as you do, I’d zink zey only need one outfit per day, too!” Fleur resembled Mrs Weasley quite remarkably when she was annoyed.
“Well, someone has to earn some money!”
“But you are…”
Bill would never know what he was, because Sirius chose this moment to squeal with delight. “Look, there are plugs!”
Plugs? His parents looked each other in the eyes. Plugs were some strange Muggle devise for something called “eckeltricity.” Normally they weren’t found in wizarding communities, unless one counted Bill’s dad.
“Plugs?” they echoed.
“Oh, and here’s a switch, see!” Sirius continued exploring the room. When he flicked the switch, a light turned on. This was when Fleur realised that they were in the wrong place. They had landed somewhere in a Muggle house, they didn’t know where they were and they didn’t have any Floo Powder left to get back. There was only one option.
“We ‘ave to get out of ’ere!” Fleur commanded, pushing her husband in the ribs, grabbing the two babies and shooing Sirius away from the switch.
She stepped into the middle of the floor and started searching for a way out. Bill followed closely, only taking his time to shrink to suitcases into a pocket friendly size.
“Can I help you?” a friendly woman asked when she noticed the young family that was obviously lost on the busy streets.
Just as Fleur started to refuse her offer politely, Sirius started talking again. “We’re searching for the World Cup, you know,” he piped up.
Fleur could barely stop herself from shaking her head in despair. Didn’t this boy have any sense? It was clear that they were stranded somewhere in the Muggle world, and they didn’t know about the World Cup.
To Fleur’s great surprise, the woman beamed at them. “I should have known!” she exclaimed loudly. “There are so many visitors here for the World Cup.”
Her eyes rested on the family for a moment. Fleur felt uncomfortable being inspected so closely by a complete stranger. Was there anything unusual about them? The woman’s eyes settled on Bill, studying his face, and his long hair which had become a bit darker during the years and wasn’t a flaming red anymore.
“Owen Hargreaves!” the woman shouted and the family jumped. Little Fabian started crying, Sirius watched the woman as if she were a really interesting pet, but Fleur’s hand grabbed her wand. Was this a threat? What did that woman mean? Maybe it was a codeword… After Bill’s grave wounds, and the long years of war, Fleur had become almost as paranoid as Moody. She was deeply mistrustful towards any stranger and always expected the worst. She felt Bill’s muscles tighten and knew that he also had his wand at the ready, prepared to fight for his life. When the woman started rummaging in her handbag, Fleur panicked. What would that stranger do to them?
The woman took something out of the bag and turned towards them, the probably-deadly weapon in her hands. Fleur had to work hard to suppress a scream. One step further and she would start throwing hexes.
Just then she felt Bill relax beside her. He staring at the thing in the woman’s hand and his eyes grew larger and larger. Fleur followed his view and started choking. The deadly weapon was –
“Could I please have your autograph?” the woman asked, blushing and holding out a pen and a piece of paper. “You were so great in the match yesterday. I just hope it doesn’t hurt anymore?”
Bill looked bovine with astonishment, Fleur decided. Normally it took quite a lot to startle her husband, but this woman had managed it with only three sentences. Obviously someone who looked like Bill was famous here. She stomped on Bill’s foot, trying to signal him to say something.
“Er… yes, of course. I’m very flattered. Just give it to… to me,” Bill stuttered.
“What was the name again?” he whispered to Fleur.
“Eet doesn’t matter,” his wife retorted. “Just do a few unreadable squiggles; stars always sign zat way.”
When she saw the signature, the woman squealed in delight. Meanwhile, the unusual assembly and the loud shout of “Owen Hargreaves” had attracted some passers-by who now watched them curiously. Soon, they too were requesting autographs, and Bill had to scribble the same signs over and over again.
It didn’t take long for some reporters to appear. Although Fleur didn’t know anything about the Muggle world (Now she actually wished her father-in-law were with them; normally she wished he were as far away as possible, not always giving stupid Muggle stuff to Sirius. Who on Earth collected PLUGS?), she was clever and so had long ago figured out that this whoever-he-was had to be a star. So, when the photographer pointed his camera at her, she pushed her long, perfect hair back and beamed at him. Despite their happy marriage, she enjoyed getting men’s attention from time to time. Bill was even sweeter than usual when he was jealous.
“Would you please take her into your arms?” a photographer asked Bill. Fleur’s husband moved closer to his wife and put an arm around her. Lights were flashing and when they kissed the crowd started whistling and hooting.
“Do you love her?” one of the reporters shouted.
“I love her more than my life itself,” Bill responded earnestly.
Other questions were being posed. The kids were getting bored. Sirius had nicked a kid’s ball about the size of a Quaffle and was ready to throw it into a shop’s window. Fabian was wailing; he wanted something to drink, and Gideon clearly needed his nappy changed very soon… he was already starting to smell awfully. But seeing as her husband was enjoying the attention these strangers gave him, there was only one way to interfere.
“Zat’s enough now!” Fleur couldn’t stand it anymore. She wanted to get back to her world, back to where people behaved normally. Back to the world where she got all the attention, not Bill. Many of the girls looked like they wouldn’t deny kissing him. They had to get out of here.
“Darling, we ‘ave an urgent appointment.” Tugging lightly at his shirt, she managed to regain his attention. Their eyes met and she knew that he understood. “We should really ‘urry up.”
When they were getting up, the crowd started to dissipate. With Gideon on her arm and Fabian holding her skirt, Fleur started off to a less crowded place. She didn’t care if Apparition was unhealthy for small kids; she wanted to go home. NOW. Without looking back she started walking, hoping that her useless husband and eldest son were clever enough to follow. They needed a Muggle-free area. It would be highly suspicious if some famous star disappeared suddenly in the middle of a busy street.
With a loud pop, Fleur appeared in her living room. Fabian and Gideon were screaming at the top of their lungs. “Be quiet!” she snorted irritably. The next moment she was crushed brutally by her eldest son who had Side-Along-Apparated with his father to the very same spot.
“Cool.” Sirius’ eyes beamed. “Can we go on a trip like that again?”
Although Fleur and Bill often disagreed, this time they had only one word to say: “NO!”
The next day Owen Hargreaves, English football player, was hit brutally by his wife’s hand-bag. “How DARE you!” she screeched furiously. “Having an affair with that blond bitch! And I find out in the papers! Never – ever – come near me again!”
A small notice appeared in a Berlin newspaper one week later:
“Yesterday a pick-pocket was detained by the police. He was found to be in possession of eleven purses, several mobile phones and keys, and two mini-suitcases. These pieces of art could even be opened and contained miniscule clothing and effects for a small family. Until the owner requests the return of these masterpieces, they will be part of an exhibition in the local museum for dolls and miniatures.”
A/N: Many, many thanks to my amazing betas harry_ginnyphile and Dreamer for all their help and suggestions. You've done a great job! Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. That distinction belongs to the amazing JKR.