Harry goes on his first vacation...
SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: This chapter is named after the song "Destination Unknown," by Marietta. You can also view the refrain to it in this chapter. (While posting lyrics to entire songs might be frowned upon at various websites, posting only a few lines of a song isn't so bad.)
FURTHERMORE, there's a reference to The Da Vinci Code in here, as well as one for Angels & Demons/. Kudos if you can find either of them. /(Oh, and for those of you who probably have reread those books countless times like I have and can see them, please don't give it away in your reviews.)
ONE OTHER NOTE: I promise this will get better. I just need to set things up the right way first. (I'm also aiming to make this sort of moody, to reflect Harry's mood.)
Chapter 4: Destination Unknown
As Harry flipped through travel brochures at the agency downtown, he wondered where he should go for vacation for his seventeenth birthday.
For some strange reason, Europe seemed to appeal to him the most. And by that, it was the continent of Europe, and not necessarily the British Isles, which, of course, he came from.
Harry carefully weighed his chances. To go to the continents other than Europe would mean lots of shots for certain things, and there wasn't really anything on those other continents which seemed to interest him much. However, if he did go to Europe, than he'd have to be careful not to run into anyone who might be out looking for him. (He guessed that the closer he was to Great Britain, the more alert he should be.)
Taking the brochures for different countries (mainly for Western Europe), Harry perused through where he could go.
As Harry thought about which places he'd like to travel to in continental Europe, he made sure he had the right things he would need for his trip, such as suitcases and visas.
So where would he like to go? Spain? France? Italy? Germany? Russia?
Even then, what would he want to do? Relax on a beach? Look at some art museums? See the sites?
How ironic it can be that just trying to find some way to relax could be hard work.
In the end, Harry just decided to sample Europe and travel throughout, spending a few days in each country he was thinking about visiting.
Harry hoped he would find something that could enlighten him in any way. He thought about taking cruises along rivers, sampling the food, seeing the sites, visiting the museums...
Eventually, Harry came to realize one important thing: His sojourn back to Europe was not so much a vacation, but more of a journey. He wanted to try new things, see what he could amount to in the world. He wanted to take advantage of the freedom he had longed after for so long.
Towards the end of the month, Harry found himself on a plane to Madrid. His appearance had changed little: He magically disguised his scar, he wore sunglasses (even though he now no longer needed regular glasses), he was now taller than before (to compensate from the lack of nourishment at the Dursleys), and his hair was now somewhat neater.
But mere physical changes like those weren't his only tricks. For another thing, he now wore a ring which disguised his magical signature; this he acquired from the vault at the Founders' Temple. That way, no one could try to track him magically.
His final trick was rather ingenious: He didn't change his name at all. Given the wizarding world's tendency to jump to conclusions, chances were they would have automatically suspected that he would have changed his name from "Harry Potter" the moment he fled their world. Therefore, they would merely shrug off his name as a coincidence with that of their Boy Who Lived.
'This is too easy,' Harry mentally chuckled to himself.
Harry decided that for this special occasion, his seventeenth birthday (and his first real birthday since Azkaban), he would treat himself a little royally. So here he was in first class as the jet was taking off.
There was a small TV, a pillow and a blanket, and a pair of headphones attached into a radio. While having grown up completely independent of such electronic luxuries, unlike a certain gluttonous cousin of his, Harry decided to indulge himself this one time.
Harry perused through all the different channels, including stations for drama, science fiction, and movies in general. After he had enough interest in that, he experimented with the radio, checking out the different stations.
Harry finally stopped on one song, which finally caught his interest for some strange reason. Settling back in his seat, he gave it a try.
Soon, the song "Destination Unknown," by Marietta filled his ears. Even as he relaxed to the song, he contemplated its words in his head: "Never took this road before - destination unknown ... Oh oh oh ohohoh - destination unknown ... Won't be coming back this way gotta go it alone ... Oh oh oh ohohoh - destination unknown..."
Even as Harry listened to this song, he felt himself dozing off. After switching off the music, he gazed out into the sunset. However, before gentle slumber overtook him, he had one last thought...
'That song was actually rather fitting.'
Madrid was an exciting and lively city. Harry enjoyed simply walking among the sunny streets and being part of the atmosphere.
One day, Harry went to the Padro Museum. He enjoyed perusing through the galleries until there was one painting he couldn't avoid in terms of both size and subject matter.
Taking up a whole wall and painted in stark black and white, Picasso rendered one of his most famous works of art. Before the Second World War, the Spanish town of Guernica was bombed by German planes for the sake of a test run. The resulting deaths of more than a thousand people were both cruel and pointless. The unforgettable images almost seemed to burn themselves into Harry's memory as he gazed upon them, especially with things like the mother screaming in agony while holding her dead child.
This mural also brought back memories of things Harry witnessed while in Azkaban, things the dementors helped him see through his link with Voldemort.
For what seemed like an eternity, he just looked at the painting without really seeing it, losing focus...
"Sir? All you felling well?"
Harry snapped out of his funk and turned to see one of the museum's workers looking at him, concerned.
"Huh? Oh, I'm fine."
The museum worker turned back to the painting. "One of Picasso's finest works without a doubt. I pass by it almost every day I work here, and yet every time I see it, I feel like I'm seeing it all over again. The artist certainly did a good job of conveying the grief and terror."
'And if Picasso had ever seen what I have seen, I don't think he would have ever been able to paint ever again,' Harry thought. "I see. Thank you."
The worker nodded and moved on. Gazing upon the mural one last time, Harry left the museum.
Even in the bright Spanish sunlight outside, he still couldn't get those dark and shadowy images out of his head.
'So dark the con of man,' he thought, echoing a paraphrased thing Godric had taught him once.
France was a beautiful country. Harry started in Normandy, went through Paris, and continued working his way south, trying the wines and the food as he went along. He took cabs and cruised on boats, enjoying the scenery as it all passed by, as if in a dream.
However, when he saw a pair of people together in love, or a family enjoying the day together, he felt some chill enter his heart, which he tried to ignore as best he could.
Italy was also beautiful in its own right. For the entire day on his seventeenth birthday, Harry explored the fabulous city of Rome.
Rome, in his opinion, was a hodgepodge of the ancient and the modern. Famous ancient monuments and some crumbling ruins still stood, where tourists milled all around.
As Harry observed ancient Latin inscriptions on the monuments he visited throughout the city (including the Coliseum), he couldn't help but feel a strange sense of dÃ©jÃ vu. Granted, most of the spells he had ever used had Latin incantations, but speaking, reading, writing or understanding classical Latin was something completely different altogether.
Still, something about it appealed to him...
Shaking it off, Harry decided to get his mind off things by going on a tour of statues throughout the city which seemed to unfold into a trail across Rome.
That evening, Harry feasted upon delicious foods and some wine for his seventeenth birthday, which he privately celebrated with some cheer.
Germany was a beautiful land; its mountains graced the wooded landscape, and it was rather cool for the temperature. Despite the country's turbulent history, especially within the last century, it was now a truly wonderful place to visit. This country was the fatherland of scores of athletes, scientists, musicians, and other geniuses.
There were differences, of course, especially compared to the previous three countries. The musical sounds of Romantic languages (Spanish, French, and Italian), were replaced with German. Beer was a popular drink instead of wine. The architecture was certainly different enough, as was the music.
Then again, the whole reason Harry went on vacation was to enjoy himself and try new things. This was certainly a more comfortable change of scenery than Azkaban, at any rate.
And for all Harry cared, he could have been in Antarctica, so long as the wizarding world wasn't there.
Deciding to try Russia some other time, Harry got plane tickets back to America and flew out of Hamburg during the first week of August.
As he flipped on the radio, he could hear the same song again, and could only marvel at the coincidence.
'Like I thought before: Very fitting.'
It was true, and Harry knew it. Physically and geographically, he could go wherever he liked.
But spiritually and in life, he didn't have a clue where he was going.
(End of Chapter 4.)
A/N: If anyone wants to listen to this song (which I consider to be quite good, by the way), it can be found on the Top Gun soundtrack.
Next chapter is where Harry really tries to teach himself, and when he starts going to college... -Quillian