“Al! Al! Look at that! What’s a HMV and why is it so shiny?” Scorpius asked far too loudly for Al to feel comfortable. He was pretty sure a group of Muggles were now looking curiously at them. Who wouldn’t be? A teenage boy was questioning what HMV was!
“Scorpius!” Al hissed and grabbed Scorpius’ arm, dragging him away from the scrutiny of their gazes. “You can’t go shouting about things you don’t know about! People around here will know something’s up. Dad said we could come as long as we didn’t make a scene and here you are asking stupid questions.”
Al released Scorpius’ arm and the other boy rubbed at it distractedly, while still staring through the window of the nearby shop. It was boasting the best deals on black boxes and multicoloured squares with strange white wires coming out of them. There was even a large rectangular object that had moving pictures inside it. Scorpius was slightly confused by this; he was pretty certain that Muggles didn’t have moving photographs, but the people were certainly not static inside the box. It was larger than any photo he had seen before; Muggles really did do marvellously without magic.
“I don’t mean to ask stupid questions Al,” he pouted and turned away from the glass to look at his boyfriend. “My father never let me come to Muggle London before, you know that.”
“I know.” Al smiled and took Scorpius’ hand in his. “Do you want to go and have a look inside?”
Scorpius nodded. “Why is everything Muggles have box shaped?” He asked more quietly this time, much to Al’s relief.
“I don’t know. They just seem to make things that way.”
They browsed the shop for a while, Al taking the time to explain anything Scorpius didn’t understand – so everything. However, it was not really surprising. Draco Malfoy may not be as prejudiced as Scorpius’ grandfather, but he had hardly embraced the lifestyle of Muggles and a simple shopping trip for Scorpius was turning into the adventure of a lifetime.
When Scorpius prised open one of the boxes and took out a silvery, shining disc, Al knew it was probably best he removed his boyfriend from the area before they were thrown out. Especially when Scorpius popped the disc onto his finger and started spinning it around; beaming in delight as light reflected off it and cast colourful patterns onto the wall.
Feeling more and more like he was escorting a particularly naughty child around, Al snatched the disc, put it back in the case and pulled Scorpius away once more.
“It’s an old way of listening to music,” Al said pre-empting Scorpius’ question. “They haven’t been that popular for years though. Most people just download music directly onto their MP3 players. They can hold much more.” He pointed to a place where people were touching more of the shiny screens and plugging little boxes into them apparently moving music from one place to the other. Scorpius was really starting to doubt these people didn’t have magic.
“But how does everything fit inside? One of those discs is bigger than the little squares!”
“The technology is different, but the principle is the same. The music is digital and can be moved and organised inside. Like on my iPod. Come on, you’ve seen me use that.”
Scorpius thought for a moment. He knew he had seen Al with one of those boxes, but he had never really paid that much attention to it. It wasn’t as though Al could use it at Hogwarts, so it was only ever used when he was home.
“I guess, but why use an ePid when you can just listen to The Wizarding Wireless Network?”
“A what? iPod, Scor. Not... never mind.” Al shook his head in frustration, but couldn’t help but smile amusedly at Scorpius’ attempt. “Because you can have whatever music you want on it and listen to exactly what you want instead of what they want you to listen to.”
Al cast around for something that Scorpius wouldn’t dismantle. Books seemed like a safe bet. Scorpius had seen books before, hopefully the fact they were Muggle books would keep him interested enough to not try to take things apart. He purposefully chose the end furthest away from any electrical items. The last thing he needed was to have to contact his dad and ask for the money to pay for e-book readers if Scorpius decided to see what they looked like inside. Al didn’t plan on getting expelled for repairing any damaged items.
For a few moments, Scorpius seemed bored. They were books after all. However, once he realised that these books were nothing like those found in the wizarding world, instead decorated with colourful covers and written by people who had no idea magic existed, they became vastly more interesting, much to Al’s relief. Happy to browse by himself, Al wandered a little bit away from Scorpius and flicked through the titles to see if there was anything of interest.
“Merlin, Circe and Morgana!”
Oh Al hoped the ground would swallow him right now. Never again he promised himself. Never again.
“Scorpius?” Al asked, glad that people weren’t around looking at the books and so didn’t hear Scorpius’ choice of words. At least here, people would have just thought Scorpius was slightly crazy and not given him the dirty looks they would have in Diagon Alley.
“You have to see these, Al,” Scorpius said, holding up a brightly coloured book for Al to look at. Too far away to see what had captured his boyfriend’s attention, Al moved closer. “There are seven of them; one for each year your dad was at Hogwarts.”
Al looked and saw Scorpius was correct. His fathers’ name was plastered on the cover of a range of books all illustrating what appeared to be key moments in his dad’s life: from his first time on the Hogwarts Express, to the time he, Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron had broken into Gringotts. The goblins were still sore about that.
“What’re books about your dad doing in a Muggle shop?”
Al shrugged, picked up the nearest one and flicked thought it. “I don’t know. Maybe one of them came across stories about him and thought it was fiction.” He put it back down and went to go back to where he had been looking at other books.
“Don’t you want to read them?”
Al looked at Scorpius in confusion.
“I know more than enough about my dad’s life, thanks. I don’t think I need to have yet another perspective knocking around in my head. I mean, what would I get out of it? I already know that...” He paused and picked up a rather purple looking book with what he assumed was a cartoon Hippogriff on the front, “...Sirius didn’t escape to kill Dad.”
“Hey! You ruined it! I was going to read that!”
Al shook his head in despair. He opened his mouth to complain, when a guy with a nametag, dressed in black and pink approached them smiling.
“What’s the matter kid? He tell you Snape kills Dumbledore?” The man laughed.
“I don’t find that funny,” Al scowled. “Professor Dumbledore was a great man and his death is not something to be made light of.”
“Yeah,” Scorpius agreed. “Also, he was already dying; Professor Snape was just trying to help.”
The shop assistant looked flustered at such a passionate response to a book and hurried off in the opposite direction. Al wondered whether if he got streaks like that his father would kill him. Slytherin green would go great with his eyes. He turned back to Scorpius who was still clutching one of the books in his hands.
“You fell asleep when Professor Binns tried to teach us about the war. How is this going to be any different?”
“Because this is from a Muggle and not a boring old ghost. Think of all of the things that might be in here your father never told you!”
“If he never told me, it was probably for good reason,” Al argued. Highly doubting there was anything that his father had not included in his stories. There had been many when he was growing up. Mainly about love and how amazing and wonderful it was and how his parents would always love him no matter what. Utter crap in Al’s opinion. He doubted love could really change a person that much.
“You don’t want to know if your mum had another boyfriend before your dad? Or if your dad did? Have a girlfriend I mean. I bet he did, he’s Harry Potter of course. Everyone was probably after him.”
“Since when are you so interested in my parents’ love lives? It’s a bit creepy. Stick to your own, yeah? Besides, my parents met, fell in love and that was it. There wasn’t anyone else.”
Scorpius snorted. “Right.”
“They did!” This really was not a conversation Al wanted to have. “They’re just history books, Scor. Put them down and look at something else.”
“What if you’re in them?”
“Why would I be? They’re about Dad’s time at school. I came a long time after that. Besides, I’m pretty sure there’s magic preventing anything being written about us. Mum and Aunt Hermione made sure of that.”
“But these are Muggle books, what if the magic doesn’t work on them?”
“Well if it doesn’t, then I’ll hardly be mentioned in his second year. Try the one about the Hallows.”
Scorpius swapped books quickly and skipped to the back letting out an excited gasp when he reached the final chapter.
“This bit’s set nineteen years later,” Scorpius said flicking quickly through the last few pages. “Aww, Al, it’s you!”
“What?” Al snatched up his own copy to see what Scorpius was talking about. True to Scorpius’ word, the last chapter revolved mainly around him and his own experience of going to Hogwarts for the first time. “Well that’s not true!” Al exclaimed. “James never saw Teddy and Victoire snogging. Vicky came and complained at Mum to say James had his tongue down Teddy’s throat and could she please have a word with him as even though she was a prefect, she had no desire to start her job before term.”
“You don’t look that much like your dad either. You don’t need glasses, and you have the most adorable freckles on your nose.” Scorpius leant over and placed a kiss there to prove his point. Al felt his face heat up. “Oh, and we can’t forget that you blush like a Weasley!”
“Shut up!” Al admonished knowing that the blush was not going away. “You’re in here too!”
“Yeah, cameo role for you too.”
“Wow, I’m in a Muggle history book. Wait until I tell father!”
“He’ll probably be in them quite a bit. What with the war being the focus.”
“Do you have enough money for me to buy them? I’ll pay you back.”
Al smiled and started picking up the books.
“If you want them that much, then I’ll buy them for you. We can read them together and correct all of the horrible mistakes.”
“Do you think they have any shiny discs with stories on too?”
“We can certainly look.”
Look they did; it was pretty easy to find the section with DVDs about his dad in. There were multiple copies of the same film, box sets, multiple box sets, in multiple formats. It made Al’s head spin. He knew his dad was famous in the magical community, but the fact he also seemed to be well-known to Muggles was crazy.
Eventually, they decided to just buy the books. Scorpius wanted an excuse to come back and after Al explained that the discs needed something to be played on before they could see the moving pictures, Scorpius lost interest.
They took their purchases to the till and Al paid with Muggle money that Scorpius wanted to play with. Al just commented that he was not from around here before too many people could ask about Scor’s complete confusion over the fact that money came in paper form. He really needed to talk to Aunt Hermione about passing something that made Muggle studies compulsory. No wonder Muggles were getting more suspicious about witches and wizards when they behaved like this when confronted with the Muggle world.
Bags packed they headed for the door, Al thinking it was best to take Scorpius home before he did permanent damage to a Muggle shop. They could explore again another day. Hopefully without purchasing books on the war next time. Al would happily settle for a nice coffee date.
“Al?” Al pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed in frustration preparing for another question.
“If they don’t sell anything to do with dogs, why do they have one on their sign?”