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Chapter 2: Getting There is Half the Fun
Minerva McGonagall was standing next to her employer and longtime best friend, Albus Dumbledore and surveying the room they were in, waiting for the plane to start boarding. It supposedly would in ten minutes, but the flight steward had said this every five minutes for an hour and a half. Now was no exception.
"I would like to thank everyone here for their patience and say that the plane will be boarding shortly, hopefully in ten minutes time…"
Minerva looked around. With the exception of the heavy delays, and Alastor's demanding that he had a right not to have his bags searched, they had so far encountered no problems- well, hardly any. Albus' beard charm had set off the metal detector, which resulted in him fumbling with the knot, well entangled into his beard, for several minutes, until he finally gave up and asked security for a pair of scissors to cut it out. Then Fred and George had attempted to smuggle in a dungbomb, which, in Muggle eyes, had a startling resemblance to a grenade, but luckily the guards had simply confiscated it and sent the twins on their way with only a very strict warning after much explaining from various witnesses in the group. This also resulted in Alastor loudly explaining to the boys how to properly smuggle in various items under heavy security, which garnered more than a few scared looks.
All of the witches and wizards in the room were fairly inconspicuous, with the exception of Tonks, who was wearing neon bright Muggle clothes and had changed her hair to an equally vibrant orange, though she appeared to regret it- she was slowly changing it back to pink as she talked to Remus. Kingsley Shacklebolt was reading a copy of the Daily Prophet disguised as a Muggle book, The DaVinci Code, which he had seen several copies of at one of the newsstands. The woman next to him was attempting to converse with the wizard, and he was valiantly trying to persuade her that he couldn't speak English, despite the book.
Minerva almost smiled as Kingsley waved his hands about in bizarre gestures and said, "I no speaké de Inglesh," in a very foreign, albeit obviously fake accent until the poor woman finally gave up any attempts at communicate.
She glanced at the other end of the room and saw Bill and Fleur. Almost every man in the room of every age and every shape size and form was staring at the part-veela and Bill had taken a notice. A second later he wrapped both arms around her and kissed her hard on the mouth. When this had minimal effect on the staring men, he resorted to scowling so nastily that he could have given Snape a run for his money. Fluer looked unbothered, and more bored than anything.
Speaking of Severus, he was sitting next to Rolanda, who was conversing animatedly with an athletic looking, very tanned young couple. He was glaring at them, as well as anyone else who attempted to talk to him, or even so much as look at him kindly. Minerva couldn't help wondering what they had done to annoy the man so. Knowing him, it needn't be anything else, but still...
Little did she know what was going on in Severus' head.
Damn Muggles, thought the Potions Master, glaring at the couple Rolanda was deep in conversation with. They didn't notice. Damn tan Muggles, with their brown...bronze...gently glowing skin. I bet THEY'VE never been made fun of for having pasty complexions... Not my bloody fault I can't tan...
He tore his eyes away, seething in jealousy, and looked around the room. Dumbledore and McGonagall were together, as always. He almost sneered. It was as if the Headmaster and his Deputy were attached at the hip sometimes. Hopefully the two idiots would realize their feelings for each other soon. It was nearing sixteen years that he'd had to put up with the lakes of sexual tension exuded by the two, and he'd had enough around fifteen years ago. Then again, he thought, feeling slightly ill as pictures of McGonagall and Dumbledore doing very un-McGonagall-and-Dumbledore like things crept into his mind, maybe things should just stay as they are. Oh God mental image...
Hagrid and Nicolas were absent, as they were traveling by portkey. Snape almost wished he'd been the one to go with Hagrid. Even the over-enthusiastic, thick oaf would be better than this insufferable madness.
The original plan had been for everyone to travel by portkey, but the Ministry would not grant them one large enough for the group, only one for two people. It was too far a distance for most to Apperate safely, and even if they all made it, everyone would end up in a different spot. The Floo Network only worked across touching landmasses, and flying over the ocean as well as most of America would take days, and be highly uncomfortable.
Albus had accepted that they had gone through all of their choices, and that the Muggle airline (their last resort, other than a boat) wouldn't allow someone the size of Hagrid. Nicolas volunteered to go with him, as he had already been to Vegas once and was less likely to get lost than the others.
Like it could be that hard to get around, thought Severus bitterly. He probably just wanted to escape this torture. Again his eyes began to wander.
Trelawney was in a corner, covered in her usual numerous scarves, shawls and bangles, reading tarot cards for a large group of Muggles who all looked shocked, horrified, or anxious. Some were eying the plane, which could be seen out of the huge windows behind Severus, with increasing anxiety. His lip curled slightly. As much as he hated the batty biddy, anyone who made Muggles realize the dangers of their many bizarre transport inventions deserved to be rewarded.
Rolanda was still going on about something with the olive-skinned freaks, and Snape was getting increasingly bored. He watched the three of them for a moment, raising his eyebrows at Hooch's outfit. She was wearing what appeared to be jodphurs, as well as tall black boots, and looked for all the world like Lucius Malfoy when he came to Death Eater meetings riding a winged horse (granted, that had only happened once, and it had been under very strange pretenses, but still the comparison existed.) Of course there was the issue of her top, a bright-purple sleeve-less thing, and thin light blue jacket hanging off her shoulders that boasted the Applebee Arrows name and team logo in silver, which Lucius would never be caught dead in- the man thought jersey material to be tacky.
Bored and having been slightly entertained by his analysis of the Quidditch mistress' outfit, a brillant and cunning (well...brilliant, anyway) plan began to develop in the dark corners of his mind. Snape's lip curled rather evilly.
'Welcome one, welcome all to the wizarding-world-undercover fashion show!' boomed the emcee in his head. 'Today we bring you several of Hogwarts' most esteemed professors, and several of our world's greatest protectors. First, let's welcome to the stage Sybill Trelawney!'
Severus imagined a smattering of half-hearted claps resounding weakly as the unstable (in more ways than one today) woman stepped out onto a well-lit catwalk, wobbling slightly in the tall, strappy wedge heels she was wearing, thin ankles barely visible beneath the hem of a long, flowy skirt that seemed like nothing but patches.
"Today this Divination Diva is sporting the eastern-European look, complete with a loose skirt and layers. Shawls and bangles seem to be her trademark, as well as that of everyone else in her profession," continued the emcee. Snape found his voice oddly familiar.
Suddenly, Lucius materialized in the seat next to Snape at the front of the long runway. He looked remarkably confused, which was normal, but after a moment of glancing around his expression turned to one of delight, before his gaze fell on Trelawney. He frowned.
"Well it's a very nice idea, but too overdone," he began, waving at Trelawney. "The whole gypsy thing is very much in style, but see the skirt is just a bit too long, and really, if you can't walk in heels you're just embarrassing yourself trying. And the anklets! It's one thing to have bracelets up to your elbow, but another to have anklets up to your knee. As for the shirt, well there's just a certain age that everyone reaches after which they shouldn't wear anything strapless, and scarves are great accent pieces, but she has enough to keep everyone in Russia with the last name 'Ivanov' warm in the winter." He snapped his fingers and called loudly, "NEXT!"
Trelawney disappeared in puff of smoke. Tonks appeared in her place and began to hesitantly walk forward, then stumbled.
"Here's Nymphadora Tonks, reppin' the scene kids and stylin' those neon-brights, all the rage in the 80s and in the clubs today."
Now funky bass beats began to play in the background. Snape began to tap his fingers to the music happily, but was forced to stop as he needed his hands to cover his eyes once he looked properly at Tonks.
She was clad in one of those sleeveless shirts like Rolanda had been wearing, hers a bright fuchsia, as well as neon-green, tight jeans and a pair of bright turquoise Chuck Taylors with thick yellow laces. Just in case that wasn't bright enough, she had topped off the look by turning her hair a vivid orange, and placing multi-colored clips throughout the short cut.
Even Lucius was too distracted by the burning sensation in his eyes to comment. Tonks reached the end of the catwalk, tried to turn on one foot, and fell off. Severus sighed in relief and lowered his hands, again tapping his fingers and now also his right foot to the thumping music, which hadn't stopped.
"Enough of the ladies for now!" called the voice, "Give it up for Kingsley Shacklebolt!"
Kingsley appeared at the back of the room and looked around curiously before shrugging and walking down the runway, his steps coinciding with the beat of the music. Lucius looked overjoyed.
"The brilliance! His shirt! His pants! Such style!" he squeaked, standing up and beginning to applaud enthusiastically. Snape stared at him in confusion.
"He's wearing a plain white t-shirt. And blue jeans," he said flatly, not seeing what was so spectacular.
"Exactly!" replied, flopping back down as Kingsley disappeared. "The pure simplicity! The nerve! The daring! And that v-neck was a nice touch."
"Now, there are many ways to wear our jeans in this day and age. To show us three of these styles, meet Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Severus Snape!" Snape experienced a quick, jarring sensation and was suddenly on stage, being blinded by the bright white lights (which was still preferable to being blinded by Tonk's attire, he thought, squinting).
"Get a move on, Snivellius. Make way for the PROS," came Sirius' voice from behind him, emphasizing the last word. Severus clenched his teeth.
"Why don't you go first then, Black, if you're so good?" he asked menacingly.
"Fine then," replied Sirius, shrugging. "Watch how it's done." He began to strut down the thin platform, exaggerating all of his movements and running a hand through his long, slightly curly hair. His pants were loose and baggy, and from behind Snape could see his boxers.
"Pink, Black?" sneered Severus, as he glided smoothly after the man.
"Severus, there is NOTHING sexier than pink boxers," Lucius called from the darkness surrounding the runway.
"Yeah, chicks dig 'em," the emcee's voice agreed. Sirius smirked happily. Lupin had followed them and was now standing beside him, wearing jeans that were ripped almost to shreds and unraveling at the bottom. His brown shirt sported the image of a howling wolf. Snape was preparing himself to make a snarky comment, when suddenly he felt a vice-like grip on his arm.
"Severus...Severus!" Rolanda was shaking his shoulder violently. The man's eyes had been glazed over for several minutes and that, combined with the uncharacteristic smile on his face, was downright creepy.
Snape quickly jerked away as soon as he was brought back to reality, rethinking his decision not to give the woman a bit of his mind on her personal space issues. Those thoughts were quickly chased out of his head by the realization that the fashion-conscientious part of his mind took the form of Lucius. Now that was disturbing. But not very surprising.
"I don't even want to know what you were thinking about over there," she commented, disgusted. "Anyway, these two say they have a secret for tanning that works on even the palest skin-"
"Really?!" Snape was dragged out of his ponderings about the allure of plain white tees and pink boxers.
"Oh, yeah," replied the man in a slightly Spanish accent. "It's easy, you see...." Snape leaned over Rolanda and eagerly listened as the man explained the development of tanning lotions and sprays and, it seemed to Snape, the meaning of life itself.
Rolanda looked around, bored, and tried to ignore Severus, who was practically on top of her now. She thanked Merlin that he'd tied back his long, greasy hair at the back of his neck- she did not want that in her face. Though she had to admit he smelled nicer than she would expect. Her eyes skimmed over Poppy, who was blushing slightly as she talked with Alastor, who was wearing a very lopsided bowler hat to cover his glass eye, and over to a corner, where Sirius Black and the Weasley twins were huddled over something. Now what on earth could they be doing?
Fred Weasley rubbed his hands together, looking one more time at the chart that Sirius was holding up. "Excellent. Pure genius. Well thank you, Sirius, for your extensive knowledge and willingness to work for the cause."
"You two make it sound like we're communist," remarked Sirius, staring at the twins. They ignored him.
"Right," continued George, "so we just stick it here, twist hard, then connect these two, disable that, and tie this string to reverse this lever-"
"Don't forget, you have to push it first-"
"Right, thank you brother. What would I do without you? Anyway, then, voila!"
"Exactly," smiled Sirius. Fred went over the plan one more time in his head, then nodded, confidant he had everything. Suddenly, a sharp pain penetrated his side in the form of George's elbow between two of his ribs.
"Ow! What was that-" Fred looked away from his brother, who was raising his eyebrows and subtly jerking his head toward the windows, and saw McGonagall glaring at them. Sirius was still talking and gesturing, so Fred stepped on his foot, hard. He shot up, then looked like he was about to yell, but George nodded at McGonagall and instead he gulped. She raised an eyebrow, and all three stared back innocently, giving her large grins and small waves. Luckily, the flight steward came on the intercom and announced that they were finally about to board, forcing her attention away. All three sighed in relief.
A/N: So, the banana-macadamia nut pancake contest is still running! For those of you not fortunate enough to read the original 'What Happens In Vegas", you have the amazing chance to win your favorite character a delectable banana-macadamia nut made by Stephanie (who insists Rayne steps away from the griddle) by:
a. having the most enthusiastic review,
b. offering us the most innovative idea
c. explaining exactly why your character of choice deserves the tasty fluffiness of our breakfast treat.
While we would love to give the pancake to someone already in the story, feel free to nominate any HP character- you never know how we can find a way to work them in.
Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!