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Scottish Holidays

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Chapter 1

Meet the Parents

When the plane landed in Glasgow, both girls were tired, but not for the same reasons. Merida had slept during half of the trip, but it had strangely tired her even more. Elsa, however, had been incapable of sleeping, because she knew that in a few hours, she would be meeting Merida's parents. Her family. It was an awful thought which she couldn't ignore, and she had more than enough time to turn it in her head again and again. What if they hated her? No, Merida had said they would love her. But at the same time, her girlfriend hadn't seen her parents in a long time, they might have changed since the last time she had seen them.

This was the thoughts still swirling in her mind, as Merida took her by the hand and they made their way through the airport. Elsa was on autopilot, even when Merida rubbed her back to comfort her, or gave a gentle squeeze to her hand.

Elsa had no idea how they arrived at the arrival hall, their cases in their hands, and Merida's phone buzzing in her pocket.

"My dad should be here any minute now."

Elsa took in a shaken breath. When she had suggested they spend Christmas in Scotland, so Merida could see her family, she had pushed to the side the fact that she would also be there to meet her girlfriend's family. Now, it was impossible to ignore.

Merida gave her a bright smile and passed her arm around Elsa's waist, to bring her closer.

"Don't worry, really. It's all going to be fine. My mum's going to love you, and my dad already thinks you great."

"Really? Why?"

"'Cause you brought his little girl home."

Merida placed a gentle kiss on Elsa's cheek, and the blond let out a more calm breath. Just as Merida separated them, taking back her hand in hers, they heard a booming voice echoing through the airport, one which made Merida sighed.


They turned to the right, where Elsa recognized immediately the tall and bulky man, with unruly red hairs and a similar beard. She had absolutely no doubt he was Merida's father. Merida smiled at her dad, and they walked up to him. Elsa had to be dragged by her girlfriend, seeing as she had presently lost the usage of her legs.

"I'm so happy to see you!"

He hugged fiercely his daughter, and she realized how much she had missed her dad's bear hugs, the one which choked you and warmed you up in an instant. As he let go of his attention, he turned to Elsa, who could only gulp. He was so much taller than her she felt she had just met a giant.

"You must be Elsa, its a pleasure to meet you."

Merida really thought he was going to hug her, but she had preemptively warned her father that if he broke her girlfriend he was going to be in big troubles. So instead, he extended a giant paw, which Elsa took with her small hand.

"A shared pleasure, sir." she managed to let out.

"Alright, let's go! You're mum's waiting, and you know her, she'll start to panic should we be a tiny bit too late."

Without another word, he took both of the girl's cases as if they were full of feathers, and led them to the parking lot.

The car was big and black, some kind of SUV Elsa had never seen before. It had a big trunk in which their cases looked ridiculously small, and a back seat worthy of a limo. The girls took the back while her father sat in front of the steering wheel.

"It's a new car?" asked Merida.

"Yep. I bought it a few months ago. I had an accident with the other, an idiot who forgot what red light meant."

"Oh yes, I remember, mum mentioned it, I think.'

Elsa had no idea what should baffle her more. The size and luxury of the car, the fact that Merida's father apparently had a car accident and Merida was barely shaken by it, or the casualty by which her father told her about the accident. But then again, he looked like such a mountain that it was probably impossible to physically harm him.

They left the airport, and before any real conversation could start, Merida's father informed them:

"Now, your mother wanted to tell me that we have some guests for the few days to come. No worry, they'll be gone by Christmas' eve. But they are our future business partner, and they apparently have such a busy schedule that they couldn't pass at any other time. So we'll have to wait until they're gone to go hunting, sorry Merida."

She shrugged.

"It's okay. I'll take Elsa on a few tours, show her around and all. But still, it's sad that those people have so much work. Don't they have a family to take care of?"

"No idea. We'll have to ask. They arrive in train, from London, in a few hours."

After this important piece of information, the rest of the trip was spent talking. Merida's father had a lot of questions to ask, for both his daughter and her girlfriend. He had heard so much from his wife about what had happened since the two girls met, and he wanted to know if it was all true. Yes, they had met because Elsa was drunk after three beers – a story which made the blond blush furiously, and Merida hugged her even more. Yes, Elsa was majoring in architecture, because she had always loved it. Yes, Merida was back to her studies, to become a potential archery trainer. Yes, Elsa hadn't seen her parents in years because they were always busy, so her sister and she had grown without their help. As time went on, Elsa felt herself warming up to Merida's father – who insisted on multiple occasion she called him Fergus – and quickly questions started to go both ways, to Merida's surprise but also joy. Her family owned a big iron and steel company and exported pretty much anything they were asked for. From fine weapons to decorative objects or train tracks, they had engaged a lot of masters blacksmiths who did a fantastic job on the small and detailed object, when normal employees worked on the bigger pieces.

They arrived at the village of DunBroch about two hours after they had left Glasgow, and Elsa quickly looked out the window. It was a particularly colorful town, with a pub, a few shops inside very old looking stone houses. The real houses were a little bit more modern, but the plants and moss growing over them gave them an antic feel nonetheless. The road turned to dirt under them as they made their way around a small hill, on the other side of which was the big location on which DunBroch Bear Steel resided. But instead of turning left they went to the right, toward the forest, and another hill, until they reached the metal gate, in front of what looked like a Victorian mansion.

Elsa was shocked. Never had Merida mentioned the size of her house, but this was big. The piece of land itself was already big, surrounded by a large metal fence. As they entered, Elsa noticed the garage, a separate building where they were heading, as well as another stone building behind the house, and by the quantity of hay placed beside, it was probably where Merida's horse resided.

As they climbed out of the car, Elsa took a good look at the house. While she now realized it didn't have all the decorations a Victorian mansion would have around its windows and its roof, it still had the size of it. The walls were made out of small stone slabs, and she wondered how good the isolation was. While it wasn't snowing yet, it was already really cold, and Merida had promised her some snow by the end of their trip.

"Go on ahead, I'll take care of the cases." her father declared.

Merida nodded and took Elsa by the hand. She trotted to the large wooden door. She hadn't realized until now how much she had actually missed her house, and with great familiarity, she turned the gold tainted handle and entered.

They arrived in a small hall, with a set of wooden stairs right in front of them, the kitchen by their left and the living room to the right. The first thing Elsa noticed was how hot it was actually, once inside.

"Here, let me take your coat."

Elsa took off her heavy winter coat, her scarf, and her boots, and Merida quickly did the same, before calling with a strong voice:

"Mum! We're here!"

Instead of a single person coming toward them, three little persons ran down the stairs and straight into their sister's arms. Merida quickly fell backward, hugged to death by the triplets. While Elsa had already seen pictures of them, they looked even more alike in reality.

"Alright, guys! Let me go, please!"

Finally, they let her alone, and she quickly got back to her feet. Her brothers' attention was now on Elsa, who looked slightly embarrassed by the attention. The boys must have been about six, and they were rather small in size, if not for their curly red hair which topped their heads like cream on a cake. They had the same blue eyes as their sister and the same freckles on their cheeks.

"Alright guys, meet Elsa. Elsa, this is Hubert, Harris, and Hamish."

The boys waved their hands at her, a bright smile on their face. While they weren't very talkative and they looked way too much alike for Elsa's liking, she found them cute anyway. However, Merida had warned her that they were professional pranksters, and their cheeky smiles led her to believe that it was true.

"Boys, don't bother your sister too much." a voice range from upstairs, and quickly all eyes were at the top of the stairs.

A woman with a strong baring walked down, her long dark hair flowing freely behind her. A gray lock was all that showed her age, and a few wrinkles on her forehead and at the corners of her mouth. She had dark brown eyes full of kindness, as she stepped on the parquet floor and up to her daughter. She hugged her warmly, a hug which Merida reciprocated before she turned to Elsa, who felt she had shrunk under the gaze of the woman.

"You must be Elsa. It's a pleasure to meet you."

Just like her husband, she extended a hand, which Elsa took.

"The pleasure is all mine."

"I hope you had a safe trip?"

"Yes, it was very calm."


The door opened behind them, and Fergus entered while carrying the two cases easily.

"Ah, Fergus, can you please show the girl to their room? Then you need to go and fetch our guests."

"I know."

But before Fergus could take a step inside, Merida took both of the cases from her father's hand.

"I'll take care of it, don't worry. I remember where my room is."

She wanted to take Elsa's hand, but with a case in each hand it was difficult, so instead, she looked over at her girlfriend and said:

"Go up, I'm right behind you."

Elsa nodded, and after giving another smile to Merida's mother, and her brothers, she walked up the stairs. Merida's mother declared behind them:

"If you want to rest a bit you got time. Our guest will arrive right before dinner."

"Okay, mum!"

They walked up the stairs and at the end of the left hallway, Merida asked Elsa to open the door. This was Merida's old room, the one she hadn't been in for the past three years or so. It hadn't changed at all. The walls were covered with movie posters, barely leaving any visible light green wall. The floor was a parquet floor, like the rest of the house, and to Elsa's relief, it didn't creak at all. The room was mostly occupied by a large post bed, a desk against the right wall, littered with papers that hadn't been touched in a while, and a wardrobe opposite the bed, on which rested gems and stones from around the world, and a few figurines. On the left wall was a bow-window, where a few pillows had been placed for comfort.

While Elsa looked around, more by curiosity than anything, Merida was mesmerized by the fact that her room had been so well preserved. But then she noticed Elsa yawning and asked:

"You want to take a nap?"

"Well, not alone. If you want to do something else..."

"I was gonna check on Angus, but I can do that later, don't worry."

Merida made sure the door was well closed, so the triplets or her mother wouldn't bother them, and the girls slid under the cover of Merida's bed. Almost instinctively, Elsa nuzzled closer to Merida, placing her head right under the redhead's. Merida circled her with her arms and pressed her lips to the crown of Elsa's head.

"Now that you don't have any reason to be nervous, sleep."

Elsa didn't answer, but the regularity of her breathing, warming Merida's collarbone, was enough for the redhead to know her girlfriend was asleep, and for her to fall asleep as well.

They were awakened by an increasing number of steps downstairs, and the voice of a man and a woman which Merida had never heard before. Elsa, however, seemed to recognize them, although she couldn't quite place where.

"I think we would go and say hi, don't you think?"

"Yes, we should." agreed Elsa.

Separating herself from her comfy girlfriend was hard, and shedding the warm covers away from them was even harder. Merida tried to dress Elsa's hair, but her plait had been disturbed by their nap.

"Maybe you should redo your hair before walking down."

"Okay. See you downstairs."

They shared a kiss before Merida stretched out of the bed, and walked out the door. She walked back to the stairs, where she found the couple her parents where receiving still discussing with her parents. The man was thin and blond, taller than her mum. He had a small mustache above his upper lips. He kept his back straight, stiffly, and it was impossible his suit hadn't been tailored for him. Beside him stood a woman whom, by what Merida suspected, was both his wife and associate. She had reddish-brown hair, with blue eyes, and was just as well dressed as him. Although, the more Merida looked at her, the more she reminded her of someone.

"Oh, Merida, come down, please."

She did as asked, and walked casually down the stairs until she was at the bottom.

"This is our daughter, Merida. And where is..."

"Oh, she's coming," Merida answered. "Fixing her hair," she added in a whisper to her mother.

As if on cue, the door of her room cricked open, and steps were heard upstairs. All the eyes where turned to the top of the stairs, and when Elsa arrived she looked down at the entrance hall. Then she froze, and her smile vanished, turning to shock.

"Elsa? What are you doing here?" asked the man, much to everyone's surprise.

There were only two words that Elsa could push out of her mouth.

"Mother? Father?"