Note:  I checked that one scene that needs a 'eww' warning with the Imaginings list.  They said it's not too graphic and doesn't need more than a 'that's gross' sort of warning.  It is how they get Peter Pettigrew captured.

A Child Not For The Greater Good.

The old man walked around the wreckage, searching for something.  He knew it wasn't possible but they had to have that child survive.  They were all sunk without him.  So he was prepared to do something he had to do, which was wrong by everything he held dear.  Since it was an emergency they'd all forgive him.  He found the tiny body and set up the rite.  Anyone who interrupted him he'd obliviate, but he was hoping he had enough time.  He had trapped what he needed before it escaped and now it was time.


Xander Harris, a redemption child, felt himself be called and he was still on downtime.  "Hell no!" he muttered, fighting against it.  The others who knew him were watching.  "Someone's trying to capture me.  D'Hoffryn!" he shouted.  The demon showed up and gave him a confused look.  "They're trying to summon me specifically.  Something's not right.  It's not an assignment."

"No, it's not, but it might be slightly necessary.  You'll look nice with the scar."

Xander glared.  "I got those books read to me.  No way in hell is it turning out that way.  So some help here?"

"I cannot stop him," he said, sounding sad.

"Then I'd better have some help.  Because no way in hell am I going through what he did."  He disappeared with a scream of pain at the calling.  He woke up in the body, screaming at the continued pain.  Yup, it felt like what Willow had hit him with a few lives back.  He hadn't been certain before but now he was.

The old man smiled.  "It's all for the greater good and you'll help us," he told the crying child.  Xander shook his head.  No he wasn't.  He didn't deserve his help.  "You will, redemption child, or everyone will suffer."  The baby shrugged.  That the old man did not expect.  "You understand?"  The baby nodded.  "Then you'll help?"  He shook his head again.  "Then I suppose we'll have to do what we must for the greater good."  He cast another spell.  "There, that should solve all that resistence."  He walked the baby out, finding others coming to help.  Now things would go as they must.


D'Hoffryn looked around.  "I need volunteers."

The redemption child who had been John Sheppard looked at him.  "You look worried."

"Alexander can probably warp everything everywhere if he's forced into doing so."  They shared a look.  "He's not pleased and there's a new spell on him."

"Yes, well, turning him into Harry Fucking Potter would do that," Rodney McKay said angrily.  "I'm going.  Send me as Hermione."  D'Hoffryn smiled and sent him and John as Ron.  Then Evan as Hannah Abbot.  That might solve some of the problems.  Because this was now a disastrous start to a prophecy that would be destroying all demon kind.


Harry Potter, now six years old, looked up and called on D'Hoffryn for the second time.  The demon lord appeared.  "I cannot directly help," he reminded him.  Harry/Xander pointed at his now useless arm and injuries.  "Oh, dear."

"This won't keep going on," he vowed.  "Or I'll end them all."

"You'll do as you must and punish the one who did it."

"Yes, I will be."  D'Hoffryn called someone to heal the young body.

A wizard appeared.  "Well, this is not what I imagined to have happen."

Harry looked at him.  "I'm not your warrior."

"You'll do what you must for the greater good."

"I'll kill you all and these humans," Harry assured him.  "I've been in many wars."

"Good."  He smiled.  "That means that the spell called the right redemption child."  He hit the demon with magic but D'Hoffryn laughed and hit him back with something stronger.  "Very well then."  He hit them all with something else.  "You'll learn your place soon enough, Harry," Dumbledore said, patting him on the head with a smirk.  Then he disappeared.  It was nice the boy was healthy again.

Harry/Xander plotted.  He knew what that spell was.  Someone was in some serious trouble.  But it did give him an idea.  Not one he'd be able to deal with anytime soon, but hey, maybe he could deal with the muggles for now.  He cast a spell on them as they came in.  Of course, a ministry witch showed up.  Thankfully he still had injuries.  She started to remove the child from their care but Dumbledore stepped in.  Again.  Pity.  He'd get his and Harry was not putting up with eleven years of abuse.


The day Harry was supposed to get on the train, he was dropped off at the train station.  He knew he was supposed to wait for the Weasleys.  Fortunately Mrs. Weasley was herding her kids his way.  Ron sparkled to his sight.  Which was very interesting.  So maybe he had some backup after all.  Once they were on the train, Harry smiled.  "Harry Potter."

"Ron Weasley," he said, staring back and shaking his hand.  He looked Harry over, getting a grimace back.  When Hermione came in with Neville looking at his toad, she gave them both a pointed look before following him off.  "It so fits Rodney," he hissed, cracking Xander up.  Things went according to the book for the sorting, dinner, all that.

The next day, the Headmaster called him up after lunch to talk to him.

"Harry, I'm glad you can join us here," he said with a smile.

Harry stared at him.  "Don't play this fucking game with me, Dumbledore.  I read the damn books in one of the other realms.  I'm not playing along."

"You will because otherwise there will be great loss of life."  Harry shrugged.  "You honestly don't care about that?"

"No.  Because you didn't need redemption."  The headmaster gaped.  Harry stared back.  "We're sent out to people who need us, who forgot that there's a reason to go on.  Not as warriors for some stupid prophecy that was self-fulfilling.  If you hadn't told him, this wouldn't be a problem.  You wouldn't have had to pull up some of the darkest necromatic magics to pull me."

He stared him down.  "Beyond that, there's no compulsion, no spell, nothing, that will make me fight.  I lived on the hellmouth, Headmaster.  I've seen death up close and personal; hunted him in fact with a slayer.  I've done things you cannot imagine.  I have seen magic you won't even think exists," he finished with a sneer.  "I'd start on a better plan than trying to compel me.  You might be able to get muggles but I'm not one."  He walked off.  If it hadn't been for John and Rodney, he'd have went to Slytherin.  That would break that stupid book prophecy.

Instead he'd have to stack the deck in a way only a Xander could.

Up in his office, Dumbledore was thinking on what he could do.  There had to be a way to get the boy to do what he needed.  What they all needed.


Xander felt the touch to his mind during the next potions lesson, staring at the teacher.  He smirked mentally and let him see some of one of his other lives.  Snape shuddered and stomped off.  So he sent him a copy of the redemption child myth later on.  Then he'd see what he was doing.

Later that night, John cornered Xander, staring at him.  "Calm down," he said quietly, glancing around.

"There's no way in hell I'm going to let it go that way."

"No, we won't.  Just calm down."  Xander nodded, relaxing again.  "We're figuring out how to do it."

"I'm not inclined to do it at all," he said bluntly.

John sighed.  "We can't let them die."

"John...."  He sighed, leaning against the wall.  "What happens if we're rejected?" he asked quietly.

"I know that."

"There is nothing that says I have to go along."

"True," he agreed.  He leaned against the wall.  "Would you be proud of that decision though?"  Xander glared at him.  Ron smirked his most Ron smirk.  Which used to annoy the trio back on Atlantis.  "Would it?"

"I don't know."

"Yes you do," Hermione said as she walked up to them.  "We retrained you after all that time in battles."  She glanced around then at them.  "At the very least we can kill the bad thing or keep him from being raised."

Harry considered it then sighed.  "Maybe."

"That's something I would agree with," Ron said.

Harry huffed.  "I'm not playing nicely."

"No, we're not."  Ron and Harry shared a smirk and Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Honestly you two."  She walked off.  "Hannah Abbot, Ron?  Really?"

John smirked.  "That's good to know."  He strolled off to scout Evan's present life.

Harry sighed, shaking his head.  He had to do something.  He wasn't going to get with Ginny.  Or Cho because she hadn't been a good relationship.  Secretly he wanted what John and Evan had.  He wanted it so bad at times.  But even if he found someone to be with him, there was no telling if they'd join him the same way.  He went up to hide in his room.  The lessons in magic were coming in very handy.  Things he knew before now he could do better.  Though that wand of his was a piece of crap.  It did not fit him at all.  He'd have to fix that.


Halloween came and Rodney was off searching for something.  Which they hated but it'd be fine.  They could rush in to save her.  Dumbledore was looking very pleased but they weren't going to knock out the troll at all.  Just get Hermione out of the troll's way.

Let the teachers be teachers.

The books hadn't shown them doing many protective, teacherish things.

They could give themselves points for actually handling a problem within the school.

They managed to divert the troll to get Hermione out of the bathroom and off into the shadows before the teachers got there.  They shared a look.  "Did you figure it out?" Ron asked.

"It still makes no sense!"

"Magic happens," Harry quipped.  "Get over it.  It's not all tech.  Just think about how Ancient things would fit in around here.  We might have *heat* in the winter."  Hermione shivered.  They snuck back to the Gryffndor dorm, avoiding all the teachers.  "Can we keep Norbert?" he hissed.

"No," John sighed.  "If it wasn't fire breathing...."

"No," Hermione said.  "Some rules are for a good reason.  Especially with beasts."   They broke up once they got into the dorms, heading to their rooms.  It was time for a nap.

An hour later, Harry woke up, sniffing something.  "I don't believe that."  He got up and grabbed his glasses and wand, knocking Ron's bed on the way.

"Hmm?" he asked, waking up with a yawn.  "What's that stink?"


"Oh, bloody hell!" Ron complained.  That woke up everyone else.

"What's that stink?" Neville asked.

"Troll," Harry said.  He looked at the other kids then at Ron.  "Can you do that thing?"  Ron nodded, sending a message at Hermione.  They heard the troll roar and struggle on the tiny stairs.  The roof was only six foot high and the troll was over eight feet plus it was too narrow for him to get up them.  "Ron, get your brothers?  They're older."

"Brilliant!"  He got up and went to get the twins.  Who he wasn't sure weren't like them as well.  "The troll's in the stairway," he told the student that glared at them.

"You're barmy," one of the other students complained.  "It's a nightmare, Ron.  Really."

"Sniff," Ron ordered.  They did and grimaced.  The twins got up and took Percy that way, because Percy insisted since he was a prefect.  They found the troll trying to get up the girls' staircase.  Ron looked over one of the twin's arms then at him.  "Stun it?"

"Won't work," Percy complained.

"Float the club and bash it on the head," Harry said from behind them.

"Not a bad idea.  At least it'll get away from there," Percy decided.  The twins did that.  They slammed the club into the troll's head.  It went down with a yelp.  The twins smiled at Harry.  Who went back to bed with Ron.

"Interesting," one of the twins said, looking at his other half.

"Very," he agreed.  Teachers fled in.  "We knocked it out with its club."

"Five points to Mr. Potter," Dumbledore said.

Harry came back.  "What would a first year do against a troll?" he asked.  "The twins got it, not me."  He went back to bed.  "If anyone asks, the twins got the troll," he announced.  The other first years cheered.  He went back to bed.

"They tried to give you points?" Ron demanded.  Harry nodded.  Ron snorted.  "Bloody imbeciles."

"Yup," Harry agreed.  He closed his curtains and settled in to seethe.  How dare they endanger the students that way to get him to protect them!  Well, they had another thing coming.  Harry had all sorts of spells he could use now that they've proven they were dark and out to hurt people.  Be damned if he was going to let that go on.  Even if he wasn't the hero they wanted.  He and Ron would have to talk in the morning.  Though it was amusing that Ron snored when John didn't.


The next day he heard the rumors and looked at one of the older students.  "The twins got the troll.  What would a first year do against a troll?"  They looked shocked.  "Someone less than intelligent decided I had, probably because of me being me, but I did not touch the troll.  Congratulate the twins."  He went back to his breakfast.

Ron looked at him, quirking an eyebrow up.  "Not sleep well?"

"No, I didn't."  He winced and rubbed his head when Quirrel walked past their seats.  "Have to do something about that," he muttered.

"Got any idea what's causing it?" Neville asked, trying to be helpful.

Harry nodded.  "I have a pretty good idea, yeah."  He grinned.  "It'll be handled I'm sure."  He got back to eating and glanced at Ron, who gave him a pointed look.  They had Snape today.  Cutting would get them noticed and put in detention with Filch.  So they'd go after class.   They had both wanted a Room of Requirement on Atlantis so maybe....

Hermione, of course, followed to check out the magic on it.  She still didn't believe in magic over technology.  Hannah Abbot snuck up on them to join them at the last minute.  Hermione looked at her.  "This might be interesting."

Hannah smiled.  "Very."  Harry got them into the room and found books that they couldn't touch.  "Interesting indeed."

"Hmm," Harry said, then spat something.  The protections on the books disappeared into smoke.

"How?" Hermione asked.

Harry grinned.  "Way back when, there was two of us.  Then the other eight got appointed."  She nodded slowly.  "Picked for certain situations but it wasn't expected to be permanent."

"Okay," Hannah said.  "And that means...."

"The Warrior Child and the Peace Child were the first," Ron said quietly.  He thought up a couch and sat down.  "They were doing this for almost a thousand years before us.  Until this last few times, you barely ran into any of the others in any life or even between lives."

Harry beamed and nodded.  "Yes, I was.  Including during the damn demon/human wars."  Hermione and Hannah both gaped.  "It's safe to say that I know a bit more about some things that even those who've spent their whole lives studying it."  He found the book he wanted wasn't there and summoned it specifically from somewhere else.  Whoever had it in their library could bitch and moan.  He settled in on the floor to read it over, handing it to Ron when he cleared his throat.

"Thank you," Ron said, taking it to look over.  The spell wasn't hard.  "He's going to yell."

"Yup," Harry said with a grin.  "Yay."  That got a nod and it was shared around.  Harry and Ron went over their future plans and what needed to be done.  Harry had to find the Mirror of Erised and break it.  Harry had to touch Voldemort on Quirrel to kill him.  Or they had to find a way to trap Quirrel and his ghoul.

"It's mean but Gringotts?" Hannah asked quietly.  She pointed at a new painting.  Harry and Ron both stunned it and Hermione huffed but did something better.

"If we could convince them but I doubt the Ministry would stand for it," Ron said.  "You know there's a problem there."

"I remember," she admitted.  "And it's a bad idea."

Harry snorted.  "This is all a bad idea.  From summoning me because Harry didn't survive onward has been a really bad idea."  They all stared.  He nodded.  "That's what that was."

"Crap," Hermione muttered.

"Yup.  He thinks this is for the Greater Good," Harry said sarcastically.  "I've pointed out that I'm not his warrior and I don't really care."  They all stared at him.  "By the way, we're on number three, not number two, people."  Ron swallowed, staring at him.  Harry nodded.  "There's no way in fucking hell.  They can call back their Saint Merlin and he still wouldn't get me to do it."

"Good," Hannah said firmly.  "I wouldn't help them either, even if I would end the threat another way."

Harry let out an evil cackle and got another book, this time a diary.  He found the spell and showed it to her.  "You mean like that?"

She moaned.  "Can you do that?"

"Yes, I can."  He smirked.  "I wonder if they realize I'm still carrying Hellmouth taint?"  Ron gave him a horrified look.  So did Hermione.  That had once screwed up everything on Atlantis for two weeks.  It had nearly gotten the city sunk when demons had shown up to help him with the flu he had.  "Though, that's a good idea."  He summoned some chalk and moved off to draw the summoning circle.

"Not inside the school," Hermione said firmly.

"Fine.  Pitch?"

"Road," Ron countered.  "Outside the shields?  That way we're not endangering the innocent."

"Sure."  They snuck out and went to the road to do that.  The demon Harry summoned gave him such an odd look.  "Hi, Peter."

"Redemption child," he said with a slow nod.

"That's Alexander," Hermione said with a smug look.

"Oh fucking hell!" the demon shouted.

"Dumbledore summoned me *specifically*," he said dryly.  "He's so broken the covenant."  The demon whimpered.  "But not why you're here.  Peter, there's a ghoul on our defense teacher."



"Interesting."  He stared at the gathered children.  "You got more added?"

"I volunteered," Hannah said with a smile.

"I couldn't let my idiot son do it on his own," Hermione said dryly.

"Oh, fuck.  That means you're McKay," he said, staring at her.  She smirked and nodded.  "Christ."

"Well, yeah," Harry quipped with an evil grin.  "And I'm so going hellmouth right now.  So, ghoul?"  He clapped his hands together.

"Sure, ghoul."  He nodded.  "Can it come outside the boundaries?  I can't really get into the wards unless I'm summoned and that might be a bad thing for the other students."

"It's hunting unicorns every few days," Ron offered.

"Even better.  The forest protects my kind."  He wandered off that way.  "Adults come."

"Yay.  Thank you, Peter."

"Eeeh, ghouls are tasty."  He disappeared.

"And this is how you apparate," Harry was instructing when Snape showed up.

"No first year can," he sneered.  "You're all going to be expelled.  Especially you, Potter."

"Please do," he agreed with a grin.  "I'd love that."  Snape gave him a confused look.  "I'm not Harry, Professor.  I've never been Harry Potter.  Harry did die.  Unfortunately Dumbledore was there."  He walked around him.  "Okay, on three."  They all apparated to the local sweets shop.  Because they were eleven-years-old again and they wanted chocolate.

Snape stared at the bare spot.  "This is not good."  He went to talk to the headmaster.  The headmaster wouldn't see him; by the morning he had forgotten everything except the nice prophecy that was sitting in the middle of his desk.  Which he read and didn't understand why he had it out, but apparently something was going on.  He'd have to watch and see if he could figure this most disturbing puzzle out.  Though, whenever he looked at Potter, something in the back of his mind itched for some reason.


Over the holiday break, Harry found the mirror.  He stared at it.  It showed him with someone nice.  Someone shadowed.  He never got a good, clear look at them.  Though half the time they were blond.  Male he didn't mind but blond confused him.  He finally shrugged it off and used the ill-fitting wand to break the damn mirror.  Somewhere he heard a scream of rage and shrugged, strolling off.  He went back to his common room and flopped down.  "The mirror seems to think I need someone male and blond."

"Malfoy?" Ron snorted, looking at him.  "You have better taste, Harry."

"It wasn't necessarily him.  It wasn't that clear.  Just blond on occasion."

"So there's maybe a choice."  He shrugged.  "Doesn't it show what your heart's desire is?"  Harry nodded.  Ron stared at him.  "Really?" he sighed.  Harry shrugged, looking at the magazines on the table.  "You'll find someone.  I promise you will."

Harry grinned.  "Some year."

"Hopefully some year soon, kiddo."  He punched him on the arm.  "Go for a fly?"

"I'd love to."  They snuck out to do that with the school's brooms.  Madam Hooch gave them a dirty look but Harry charmed her out of them and they went flying in the cold, crisp, more than chilly December air.

The headmaster huffed out.  "Mr. Potter."

Harry looked down.  "No I'm not."  He smirked.

"You destroyed something."

"Did I?  I thought I was in the common room."  He looked at Ron, who nodded to back him up.

"That was an important...."

Harry zoomed down and stopped in front of him.  "I know *exactly* what it's for.  I told you, I'm not going to play this game."  Then he zipped off again to the other end of the pitch.  Ron followed.

"We shall see," he said coolly.

"No, we won't," Harry called back.  He looked at Ron.  "You know, I think the only worthwhile reason to stay in this life is quidditch."  Ron laughed but nodded.  "Good.  We'll try to do that together."  They got into a game of tag.

"Get down here!" Hermione yelled from one of the stands.  They flew over and Ron snatched her, putting her in front of him.  She shrieked but he was good enough to keep them in the air.  Harry was laughing and grinning so it was a good thing.  Something he and Hermione wanted to see him do more of.  Because if those muggles came near Harry again they'd destroy them.  John would do worse than he'd ever done to a wraith.  Or maybe he'd summon a wraith.

Hermione looked at him.  "Quit making evil plots."

"Fine."  He let her go back into the stands and flew off after Harry again.  Hannah came out to fly with them for a bit.  So did a few other students that were staying.  "Tag, you're it," he called at Hannah then zoomed off.  She huffed and flew after him.  The others helped.  It was a wonderful afternoon.


The headmaster watched all his plots and plans dissolve.  How could he train Harry to fight Voldemort if he wasn't going to submit to his training?  Perhaps another bad year would help him.  He sent an order to Snape to challenge the boy even more than usual and got back a simple answer of 'I do not want my classroom in tiny rubble from his caldron exploding'.  So apparently he had to move around Snape.  Perhaps Quirrel's free time should be taken up with some extra lessons.  He could easily talk the teacher into assigning Harry detention.  Then again, he couldn't find Quirrel.  He summoned a house elf.  "Where is Professor Quirrel?"

"Muffy has not seen Professor in many days, Headmaster," she said, looking down.  "Muffy is sorry.  Muffy did not know Muffy was to watch Professor."

"No, you weren't.  Did he leave for the holidays?"

"Muffy has not seen Professor in six days, Headmaster."

"Hmm.  Thank you, Muffy."  She disappeared.  He considered it and used a tracking charm that was on all the teachers in case they had problems on the school's grounds.  It really was for their own safety.  He found it reading 'dead' and where his body was so he hurried to find him.  He was in the forest.  He was indeed dead.  So was the remains of the ghoul next to him.  "Oh, my," he muttered, summoning someone.  He could say he didn't know.  The head auror showed up.  "I was looking for my defense professor and found him."

The head auror squatted down to look at the remains.  "That's ghoul slime."

Peter the demon appeared.  "The ghoul was delicious," he said with a smirk.  "Very corrupt, very evil.  Even those during the last world war weren't that evil.  It marinated him very well with the unicorn blood he'd been drinking."  He stared at the auror.  "Perhaps the wards that keep my kind out should have been able to keep his kind out?"  He disappeared.

"That's a really good question," the head auror said.  "How did the dark arts wards not find him?"

"It's probably some sort of protection on his turban," Dumbledore complained.

"I see."  He summoned others.  They showed up at a run, including the Minister for Magic for some reason.  "Minister, clearly ghoul slime and a demon appeared to say he was evil and tasty."

"The professor?" he demanded.

"No, the ghoul," he said, staring at him.  "Said he was worse than the muggles during the war with Grinderwald."

"The Nazi bastards?" one of the aurors asked.  He stiffened.  "They were anti anyone but them."  His boss stared back.   They tested the slime.  There wasn't enough to be positive but they were pretty sure.

"Nonsense.  Voldemort was destroyed by Harry Potter," Dumbledore said.

"That's right," Minister Fudge agreed.  "That's preposterous."

The demon reappeared.  "No, it's not.  It wasn't all of his soul either."  He smirked at the headmaster.  "I believe you know of his other soul parts.  The higher ups call them... oh, what was that word?  Oh, yes, horcrux?"  He disappeared.  The ghoul had been very tasty.  He was pleasingly full and needed an after feast nap.

"What's a horcrux?" the head auror demanded.  Dumbledore looked clueless and shook his head.

"Honestly," Hermione sighed from behind the group.  "Accio book on Horcrux."  It flew out and she handed it over.  "It works in any library as well."  She walked off.  "Does that mean Harry's scar will quit bleeding whenever he looks at him?"

"Damn I hope so," the head auror muttered, looking up that subject.  Another book came floating out and he grabbed it before Dumbledore could, glancing through it as well.  "Soul pieces split off to keep him partially alive."

"Figures since that's very dark magic," Fudge sneered.  "Find them, destroy them."  He stomped off.  The kids playing tag got a look but he popped off before he got a good look at anyone.

Dumbledore sneered at the children as he stomped past the pitch.  That really did screw up all his plans, though it was nice that Voldemort's ghoul was now gone.  He needed to do more research on what redemption children could do.  That demon was suspicious.


Summer vacation arrived and of course Harry had to go home.  When Hallie didn't answer his call because it was blocked, he knew he had his permission to do something dumb yet nice.  Fortunately he could do wandless magic that the Ministry couldn't catch.  So the muggles were compelled to go on vacation.  In Africa.  Without him.

His aunt was ecstatic about it.  His uncle grudging but they had 'won' the trip.  Dudley wanted to know if he could bring all his toys so Harry couldn't play with them.  Harry got a long, stern lecture about keeping up the house's chores.  To keep the grass trimmed.  To not invite anyone in.  To make sure that no one knew he was home alone since Mrs. Figg couldn't watch him for that long.  Finally they were gone.

"Maybe a headhunter will eat Dudley," Harry muttered as he went into the kitchen.  They hadn't left hardly any food.  He had no money, or access to his vault during the summer.  Yet.  He wrote the bank and settled in to research what he needed to do.  It wasn't really that hard.  It was often overlooked by those who used demons because no one dared to think that they wouldn't be answered.  Or that the demons wouldn't destroy them for trying.  Harry knew exactly what would happen though.  He'd done it once before.  That's why the other eight redemption children were added.  After the Peace Child had been killed.

His temper tantrum then had let the humans take over the planet from the demons.

Maybe this time....  He'd figure out a way to constructively channel it.  Hermione surely had ideas.


Harry looked up as Mr. Weasley came out of the fireplace, smirking and waving.  "Good afternoon."

"Harry?"  Harry grinned.  "What are you doing inside that arcane, ancient set of markings?"

Harry looked then at him.  "I'm looking at power flow research and it's protecting me from anything attacking since something tried the other day."  Not fully an untruth - it was protecting him from letting out magic that might show up on some magic sensor since this was heavier magic.

"I see."  He walked closer.  "Can you come out of there?"

"If you can prove the Headmaster didn't send you."  Mr. Weasley gaped in horror.  Harry stared back then pointed at the trunk filled with dead being that had attacked him.  "That showed up saying the Headmaster complimented me on my planning ability."  Arthur Weasley looked and went pale.  Mrs. Weasley came out of the fireplace.  "Hi, Mrs. Weasley."  Harry closed his present book.  She had an old bloodline and could probably feel earth magic.  She gave the capturing circle a strange look as well.  "In case of another attack."  He pointed at the trunk.

"No, Molly love, you shouldn't see that," Arthur said quietly.  "Harry, where are your aunt and uncle?"

"Hmm.  It's nearly the middle of July so hopefully being eaten by something in Nairobi?"  Both adults gaped.  He smirked.  "They won a safari."

"Who's been watching you?" she demanded.  Harry waved a hand.  "We'll see about that!"

"If you tell someone, the Headmaster will probably obliviate them like he has others," Harry said calmly and quietly.  Harry stood up and took off his shirt, pointing at his shoulder.  "He kept them from removing me after I had to get some healing done."  She gasped.  He looked back at the demon.  "Hi, Hallie."  He grinned.

"Harry."  She froze the wizards, staring at him.  "No wonder I was blocked," she muttered.

"Bad idea of his," he agreed with a smirk.  "But they're on safari."

She smiled.  "Good job, Harry."  She patted him on the head.  "Go with them for now."  He packed things efficiently into his school trunk while she unfroze them.  "I'm Halfrek, over Lost Childhoods."  Mrs. Weasley stiffened, staring at her.  "As of this moment, you will make sure Harry is taken care of for the rest of this summer until I can with his relatives?"

"Of course," Mrs. Weasley agreed.  "That's why we showed up."

Hallie smiled.  "Good.  I was unfortunately busy when he called the last time.  Now... not so much."  She disappeared.

Harry grinned.  "That's why and how I got healed.  Before someone obliviated them."

"Are you certain?" Arthur demanded.

Harry nodded.  "Muggle social services showed up even."

"I'll have someone look into that.  For now, let's get you back to the Burrow.  Ron's been fretting."  He went to help Harry pack while she locked up the house and checked the kitchen.

"Harry, what have you been eating?" she called.

"I've had a sandwich for breakfast and last night there was a local church having a dinner; I went there so I didn't have to cook," he called.  "The bank gave me a small stipend to pay for groceries out of my trust vault."  Soon enough they were at the Burrow and Molly was making all the children a late lunch.  Harry grinned at Ron.  "Hallie showed up."


"You knew?" his mother demanded.

"Yeah, mum.  Harry and Hermione looked up how to summon her back in April."  He stuffed his mouth.

"They're on safari."  Harry grinned.  "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," he said, taking his sandwich and eating it.  It'd make her feel appreciated.

"Hermione said that the muggles have people who handle things like that but she supposed that something or someone was blocking them or maybe it got taken by the Ministry's version who were fighting.  Dad?"

"No, I'm not sure we have someone like that," he admitted quietly.  He went to call someone to talk to them.  They knew about the call.  They knew that the social worker had a suspicious accident with a telephone pole the next day.  They decided that since she hadn't removed the boy there wasn't a reason to look at it, but Arthur assured them there had been.  Someone showed up to talk to Harry in the garden under some truth serum.  Thankfully he knew how to defeat it for the demonic parts.

Ron finished eating and helped his mother by taking Harry's trunk and owl up to his room.  It was heavier than usual but Hermione's had been heavier.  Though he wasn't sure why Harry was turning into a book nerd.  Finally the auror left and Arthur looked wrung out.  Then Harry came in and they went to degnome the garden together.  It got them away from the worried adults and into the sunshine.  Plus away from the twins planning new pranks.

The adults sat down and talked about things.  Something really had to be done to help the poor boy.  And explain to him that the headmaster wasn't evil.  Though it was nice the aurors took the creature's remains to get rid of.


Harry looked at Hermione that night in the garden, getting an odd look back.  "Saw Hallie."


"Finally," Ron complained.

"Oh, dear."  She stared at him.  "Are you all right, Harry?"

"I'm good."  He grinned.  "It's all right, Hermione."

"Good."  She settled in and got comfortable.  "We have to shop for our next year soon."

"Want to keep going there?" Harry teased.  "Even with Malfoy and everyone."

She snorted.  "I've seen worse bullies in muggle school.  Being brilliant does draw them."

Harry nodded.  "So did Dudley.  Wonder if they survived their safari."

"Probably," Ron sighed.  "Bullies never get what's coming to them in a timely manner.  Though I get to paste Malfoy again, right?"

"Sure," Harry decided.  "If he starts something, Ron."  Ron smirked at him.

"Honestly!" Hermione complained.

Arthur came out to look at Harry.  "That was very nice accidental magic, Harry.  They can't remove it at all."  Harry grinned.  "I suppose it's reasonable but next time, put less oomph into it, all right?"

"Yes, Mr. Weasley."

"Good boy, Harry."  He went back inside to talk to his wife.  Ron's temper was getting out of hand again.


Hermione frowned at her body then at the boys.  "I never understood what girls saw in cute men before," she hissed.

"Eugh!" Ron complained, moving away from her.  "I do not need to know, Hermione."


Harry grinned.  "It proves you're a girl instead of a changed skewrt," he teased.  She swatted him.  Which drew attention from Lockhart.  Who tried to suck up to Harry.  Harry walked off shaking his head.

"That was rude," Mrs. Weasley hissed.

Harry looked at her.  "It kept me from being rude," he said calmly and quietly.  "Very rude."  She gasped.  "I don't need attention and I don't want pictures."  He disappeared into the shelves to look for something.

Hermione joined him, giggling.  "That was nice avoidance procedure, Harry."  Harry gave her a smug look and handed her a book on being a young witch.  "Is it that much different?"

"Yup.  Probably.  Considering what we got taught in health class?  Definitely."  She flipped through it and got another one that looked more informative for her parents.  Her mother sighed but agreed it was good to start looking at that.  Harry got his own comics and then went to get his other books now that Lockhart was gone.  Ron was trying hard not to snicker in a corner even if Malfoy was annoying him.  "Lay off him," he told Malfoy, getting that same tingling feeling Hermione had just gotten over Lockhart.  Malfoy sneered so Harry stared him down.  "Didn't Lockhart try to pounce you too?"  Malfoy stomped back to his father's side and they both sneered at him.  Harry walked off after punching Ron on the arm.  They got their books and moved onto the next stop, clothes.

Mrs. Weasley looked at the book Hermione was reading.  "Dear, that's not really public reading."

Hermione looked at her.  "The repression of the female form is stupid.  It's just a body, Mrs. Weasley.  If we can look at it in classical art, I can read up on the mechanics of it.  I'm learning the differences between what we as muggles have and what we as witches have."  She waited her turn and got up there to get measured and fitted.  Madam Malkin gave her an odd look.  "Mum, we need to look at the whole health issues of certain medicines as well."

"That's a wise decision for when it's time," she agreed with a smile.  "I'll see if I can find someone to talk to about that subject, Hermione."

"Thanks, Mum."  She finished getting fitted and they paid, waiting on the Weasleys and Harry to finish up.  Malfoy came in and she ignored him totally.  Which pissed him off.

"What?  It something you're learning so you can have one of your own?" he sneered.

She looked at him.  "No, I'm comparing the advances muggles have made in things like birth control and fertility to what the wizarding world has in case I some day want to make myself spawn."  She went back to reading.  "Unlike your wife, I plan on doing something with myself beyond pushing out heirs."  She looked at her mother.  "What do you think about me going to medical school as a healer?"

"I think it's a grand idea and would use your brains to the best extent," her mother said, smiling proudly at her.  "I think you being a surgeon or something would be wonderful."  She moved some of her daughter's hair behind her ear.  Hermione grinned at her.

"What's a surgeon?" Ron asked.

"The type of doctor that operates when you have very bad injuries that need stitched instead of healed," Harry said.  "Or when things like your appendix burst they take them out."  He looked over.  "I thought you hated doctors?"

"I hate stupid doctors," she corrected.  "I can see myself being a very good one, Harry."

Harry grinned.  "I think you'd be great and you'd get to boss people around all the time legitimately."  Hermione's mother burst out laughing but nodded that was true.

"The wizarding world doesn't have those sort of doctors," Molly hissed.

"Yes we do," Arthur told her.  "Doctor Morgans is one, Molly."  He smiled at Hermione.  "It's not a path many young women go toward but it's a very good one with your skills and brains.  Talk to Professor McGonagall about it and Madam Pomfrey.  They can point you in the proper direction for optional classes and the like."  Hermione nodded, going back to her book.

Hermione looked up at the sound of a pained gasp.  "Oh, dear.  Mum, I think she's in labor and needs the hospital."

"Oh, dear," she said, rushing over to help.  "I'm a dentist but I have taken most of the same medical classes."

"Most of ours are born at home, not the hospital unless there's a problem," another woman chided.

Hermione looked at her.  "Yet, children born in a hospital have less health issues.  Though there is a trend toward more home births with midwives."  Her mother helped get the poor woman back to the pub so she could floo home.  Hermione followed the Weasleys.

"I never thought about that," Ron told her.  "Yeah, I think we were all born at home, even the twins."

"My mother said the birthing experience wasn't exactly comfortable but it was better because there were doctors there to help when I had initial trouble breathing for the first few minutes and other issues.  Plus I got a lot of later tests done and out of the way."  Mrs. Weasley gave her an odd look.  "It's also more clean, no germs or other things that can kill the mother and child."

"That doesn't often happen," she chided.

"The wizarding world has a ten percent infant and mother mortality rate," Hermione's mother said as she joined them again.  "England's is about point-eight the last I heard."  Molly gaped.  "We have better ways of treating infections post birth and even keeping them from starting.  That's why I didn't mind so much that the operating theater I gave birth to her in was so sterile.  Though the modern birthing rooms are much more bright and cheerful these days than they were ten years ago.

"You can even invite the whole family in if you wanted to.  One of my friends just had a second one.  Her husband and her first child both were in there to help her through it.  She said it was a wonderful experience.  The nurses were mostly kind.  They gave her a special dinner with her spouse that night.  They helped her settle in to breastfeed the first few times.  They even changed the baby's diaper in there."

"That I would have welcomed," she admitted.  The two mothers hung back to talk about the different birthing experiences.  The kids ran ahead to get what they needed and sneak in some sweets.  The mothers let them because it meant less fussing later on.


Hermione walked up to where Harry was pacing their first night back, looking at him.  "It's nice that I'm getting to experience what girls go through," he said quietly, glancing around.

Harry grinned.  "Not that bad, huh?"

"No, very different.  Have you...."  Harry smirked.  "Oh."

"All the way through, yeah.  Was not happy."  The Room of Requirement opened and they went in.  Ron slid in behind them with Hannah following.  "Someone's going to start talking about us," he quipped.

"Let them," Hannah snorted.  "I don't mind in the least."  She sat down once the couch appeared.  "Harry, what are you planning?"

"Not going into the chamber?"

"That's a good idea," Ron agreed.  "I can fully support that since I don't want to see that thing."

"Me either," Hermione said firmly.

"If I remember right, weren't you petrified?" Hannah teased with a grin.

"Don't remind me.  Please!"  She walked off to start her first talk with the stubborn mediwitch.  "Madam Pomfrey, may we speak?" she asked.

"Of course, Miss Granger.  What's wrong?  A girlish question?"

"No, actually a life question."

"Oh, you're thinking of being a mediwitch?" she asked with a smile.  "I must say you do have the tenacity."

"I was thinking more a full doctor, not a nurse.  I know it's more schooling but I feel I can help more people that way in a more meaningful way than all the fussing that nurses get to do.  Doctors don't have to fuss as much," she said at the odd look.

"Dear, you're female."

"There's been female doctors since the late eighteen hundreds," she said dryly.

"It's not something most witches would feel comfortable doing.  Are you sure you wouldn't consider being a nurse?"

"I can't really see me *fussing* over someone.  Fixing them, healing them perhaps, even as a surgeon, but not fussing.  I'm not really the fussing sort."

"Many girls find fussing more natural as they age," she cautioned.

Hermione looked at her.  "I have no intention of using any sort of maternal instinct I may have been blessed with."  The nurse gaped.  "That is why muggle women have birth control.  So we can hold that off until we're good and ready."

"That doesn't tend to work on witches."

"I'll tell my mother that.  She's asking around London for a mediwitch or healer who deals with those sort of things."  She shook the thought off.  "Anyway, are there good university programs for doctors?  Or healers as the nomenclature goes."

"Yes but they do have very strict intake rules.  I'm afraid one won't take you because you're not pureblood."

"If it's that stupid about it I'll go become a regular doctor," she said dryly.  The nurse gasped.  Hermione stared at her.  "In the muggle universities, over half the doctors that graduate are women.  Usually just over half."

"That's very...forward of them I suppose.  The wizarding world...."

"Is about a hundred years behind, I know," she sighed.  "It's something I dread dealing with most of the time."  The nurse scowled.  "Really.  You guys still have all of the liberation movements ahead of you.  I'm told they were mostly fun by my mother but she was a young girl at the time.  She didn't get to participate in much of the women's liberation movement."

"Most wizarding women plan a career until they have children."

"Which I believe is a crock.  My mother managed to raise me while dealing with a fairly demanding dental practice.  Including for the year my father was off doing donated dental work in the tribal regions of central Africa.  Very few muggle women stay at home with their children these days, Madam Pomfrey."

"Surely the children's education suffers?"

"No, we have mandatory schooling and homework for that.  Generally starting around the age of five or so.  I won the birthday cut off so I got in at four.  It kept me from being bored at pre-school."  She smiled.  "Though it was nicely less strenuous than I'm told the Asian style of schooling is."

"I've never looked into that."  Another muggle born, upper year student walked in.  "Did you go to pre-school?"

"Oh, yes."  She smiled.  "Mine was centered on learning through play but I had a lot of fun from what I remember.  Clay and painting and all that.  You, Granger?"

"I had a lot of fun but ours was more about coloring than clay.  Someone had a clay allergy.  We got plenty of building blocks and of course I could sit and read when I got bored."  She smiled.  "I'm thinking about going toward medical school and asking questions if you needed her."

"No, I just need a plaster for a small cut.  The healing spell isn't working."  The nurse healed it for her.  "Thank you, Madam Pomfrey."  She left them alone.  Granger would make one scary, overly worked doctor some year she was sure.

Hermione smiled.  "So the other program?  Is it more based on magic or skill based?"

"It's a mixture of both.  I'll write someone there to get information for you.  It also does the better mediwitch program so they may send over both.  I have a few other students who'd like to look at that."

"That's fine."  She smiled.  "Thank you for your help.  What about next year's optional classes?"

"Take arithmancy definitely.  Runes won't really help or many of the other ones but there's a special topic sixth and seventh year class."

"Wonderful.  Thank you for your time, Madam."  She left.

The nurse leaned back in her chair shaking her head.  "She really must get used to her new world now.  She's not a muggle anymore."


Hermione got stopped by Professor McGonagall the next day.  "Yes, Professor?"

"Miss Granger, I'm told that you've picked a probable course of your life?" she asked, walking her back to her office.

"Yes.  I fully plan on going to medical school."

"Oh, a mediwitch?  I hadn't thought you interested."

"No, a doctor of some sort actually.  I'm considering surgery."  The professor gave her an odd look.  She smiled.  "It will make good use of my mind and skills."

"I see."  She let into her office so they could talk in private.  "That's an unusual course of study for females."

Hermione stared at her for a minute.  "I know that the wizarding world is over a century behind the muggle world in most things but I would've expected other women to be supportive of women who don't want to simply be a wife and mother."  McGonagall frowned but nodded she was.  "You do realize that there's been women physicians since before the turn of the twentieth century?"

"No, I hadn't."

"As of last year's graduating class at the bigger universities in England, over half of all new doctors graduating are females, Professor."

"That's...  well that's good.  What about their later lives?"

"There's nothing stopping working and career minded women from having families," Hermione said dryly.  "In fact, we're not the best country at it, but some of the others in Europe offer up to four years of paid maternity leave if they want.  Others only offer a year.  I believe England's one of those.  Not to mention there's daycare centers for those who work so their child can be watched by competent people who also encourage mental and emotional growth.  There's also nannies if you're wealthy enough for one.  Beyond that I'm firmly against the thought of children until I'm at least settled into my future career and then perhaps my early thirties.  At which time I'll probably be delivering in a muggle hospital center because they give women in labor painkillers when they need it."

"Like a pain tonic?"

"Like morphine."

"Oh, that may be comforting," she decided.  She shook her head quickly.  "Beyond that, most girls in your class are looking forward to being mothers."

"That's their choice then.  It's not one I'm going to push on anyone and if that's all they want out of life, that's their life.  Though I'd encourage all of them to take a year after school to do things they want to do before the wedding so they don't have to explain it to their future spouses or drag children around.  It's much harder to go on a wild train ride across Europe to visit places when you have to talk someone else into going with you."

"Yes, it would be.  Are you?"

She smirked.  "I'm probably taking a summer off for a planned backpacking trip.  There's some fabulous ancient libraries out there waiting to be stared at in awe.  A large backpack, a laptop computer, a Europass for the rail and I'm set to traipse around for a whole summer."

"Most women...."

Hermione raised a hand.  "Please, Professor.  Most women in the wizarding world push down their own dreams because socially they're still inferior and only getting sank farther as the Ministry tries to keep us in the old ways.  Beyond that, I doubt the Ministry will succeed in their plan to keep us so backward.  We're sharing a country with one of the top industrial nations.  Some things are going to leak through.  Especially with how few purebloods are breeding and how shallow their breeding pool is."

"It is not," she snapped.

She stared at her teacher.  "How many purebloods aren't related to each other in the UK, Professor?  Ron's related to half the country."

"That may be...."

"Professor, have you heard of a ruling family in Europe called the Habsburgs?"

"Well, of course."

"Do you know what happened to them from inbreeding?  How some of them had defects that meant they couldn't eat, couldn't drink, died young?  If Ron marries anyone closer than a fifth cousin, which is really hard to find, then they're starting to run the risk for that.  Ron was helping his mother with a family reunion being set up this summer.  I helped address some of the envelopes for her."

"I don't think we'll ever get that far.  Magic would prevent that."

"It didn't prevent Pansy's squashed face," she pointed out dryly.  "Pansy's jaw is nearly that bad now.  She can barely not drool on Lockhart during classes.  She has trouble eating half the meals as well.  We've heard her fussing at her friends over it."

"The magic prevented that sort of problem, Miss Granger."

"If you're sure.  But perhaps that's why there's so many muggle borns like I am?"  She stared at her.  "Who all come from a society that's a lot more open."  She left her to think while Hermione went to eat.  Pansy was indeed rubbing her jaw because it looked like it had locked up.  She sat down next to Ginny.  "Anything I missed?"

"Not really.  Someone slugged Parkinson in the halls or something," Ron said.

"An icing charm should help her," Hermione said.  The kids at the next table looked over.  Hermione hated Parkinson with a deep-seated, fiery hatred, but she wasn't going to let another being suffer like that.  Parkinson wasn't a wraith, she just sucked like one.  "Like you would chill an injured knee?"  That got a nod and that one passed that on.  They had friends over there.  That one heard and told Millicent, who did the charm.  It was a bit strong but it helped the swelling go down.  The charm got removed and Pansy relaxed, sipping some of her pumpkin juice slowly.  Hermione looked at Ron.  "How is your mother's planned reunion going?"

"She said she's still not inviting past second cousins."

"Ron, you're related to half the country," Harry said dryly.

"I know.  It makes sense to me too.  Thankfully she's not nagging me like she is the oldest two about girls."  He grimaced.

Hermione smirked at him.  "I'm sure you'll find someone who'll put up with you and the way you eat."

Harry snickered, shaking his head.  "Maybe."  He looked up the table at the twins, who were plotting again.  Then at Ron.  "I've got detention later."

"What did you do now?" she complained.

"I have no idea.  Apparently I was not talking in the halls between classes as I read a section so that's wrong."

"Ah, one of those.  Have fun, Harry," Ron quipped.

"I'll try."  He dug in and they went to their next class.  That night they all gathered in the room of Requirement again.  "All right, we've got things started."  The other three nodded and they settled in to plan things.  They had two huge problems this year to have solved without having Harry and them doing it.


Ron walked up to his twin brothers as they came back from the library later.  "We need to talk."

They stared at him.  "Very serious...."

"Ronniekins," they taunted with smirks.

"You know Ginny's new diary?" he asked.

"Mum told us to leave..."

"Her be about it," they agreed.

Ron shook his head.  "No.  I caught her writing in it.  It was writing back."

"Ginny couldn't afford...."

"Something that magical," the twins said, looking at each other.

"She couldn't have lifted it," one said.

"No, Mum would've caught her," his twin said.

"Also, have we noticed that she's gotten ...quiet recently?"  They stared at him.  Ron nodded.  "She's spending more time writing in it than her homework or with her new friends.  Or even pestering us.  She hasn't even stolen my socks and old shirts in weeks."

"You think it's a problem," one said.

Ron nodded.  "I'm pretty damn sure," he admitted.  "I'd like the thing to be looked at by Bill since each time Harry gets near it his scar itches."

"That's a problem," the twins agreed.  They went to deal with that.  Ginny was in the common room writing in said journal.  One peeked over her shoulder.  It was answering her back.  The twins shared a look.

Fred grabbed the journal from her.  "What's this then?"

"Give it back, Fred!  It's not yours!" she shouted, trying to get it from him but George kept her from getting to him.  "Get out of the way, George!"

Fred took someone's pen and wrote in it.  "Interesting that it answered."

Hermione looked up from her reading.  "If it's answering, ask who is stuck in it?  See if it's possessed?"

"That's not a bad idea," George agreed while Fred did it.  Ron came in and tried to help him with Ginny.

"Don't do that!" she shouted.  "Give it back!  I'll paste the both of you!"  Ron took her wand from her.  "Ron!"

Fred tossed it into the fireplace because the journal tried to demand that he give it back to her.  Fred turned to look at his sister and nag her about such things.  The fire exploded, showering the room with debris and balls of fire.  The diary was glowing green, pulsing on top of the fire, not burning a bit.

Hermione was blistered but she set off the alarm and moved to the twins.  "Madam, get someone!  They threw a possessed book in the fireplace and it exploded!  The twins were right in front it and one's on top of Ginny!"  She summoned more help and moved to the twins.  Hermione moved to check on Ron, who was unconscious.  Harry too.  A few others had bad burns so she summoned cool compresses to put over them.  More teachers ran in.

"Professor Snape!" Hermione said, pointing at the fireplace.  "That was writing back to Ginny.  The twins threw it in there when they found that out.  It's not burning."  He looked confused.  She pointed and he stared then swore and called for someone.  More people from the hospital showed up so Hermione got out of the way.  They were better trained.  She flopped down on the stairs.  Harry was barely awake and moved next to her.  "Ron?" she asked.  He blinked.  "C'mere."  He moved back out of the way.  "Ginny should be fine."

"Not if that thing's possessed," he said.  McGonagall looked at him.  He pointed at the still glowing, pulsing diary.  "It looks like it's going to explode again."

She looked and summoned a goblin.  Apparently Snape getting Dumbledore wasn't helping.  She pointed at the diary.  "That caused the explosion."

"It was answering her writing," Ron told the goblin.  "My brother's a cursebreaker.  We knew that's not right."

The goblin moved closer.  "That's a dark artifact," he agreed.  He summoned help.  He looked at Ron.  "Cursebreaker Weasley's family?"  He nodded and pointed at the twins being moved onto stretchers.  "We'll alert him.  Have whoever had this artifact checked for spell residue," he ordered a healer.  "It's clearly cursed."

"We can do that.  Which one?"

"Ginny," Hermione said with a point.  "It was hers."  They nodded and got her loaded too.  They had a special unit to deal with the effects from cursed artifacts.

Ron stood up and wobbled.  "Let me call Mum," he told McGonagall.

"You go to the infirmary, I'll call her myself," she said firmly.  "Twenty points, Miss Granger, for being in such good control."  She walked out.

"C'mon, Ron," she said, standing up.  "Harry?"

"I'm good.  I got knocked out of my chair and stunned, not out."  She nodded, walking the others up with the mediwitch.  Harry looked at the kids staring from the stairway.  "Someone go find Percy?"  One ran off.  He was probably in the library.  Harry stood up with a moan.  "Let's clean up some of this mess."  They nodded and the upper years taught the repair charms so they could fix the fireplace, the walls, the curtains, the furniture, and everything else that got blown about.  That is not what he wanted or expected to have happen.


Professor McGonagall started the floo.  "Arthur Weasley, the Burrow."  His smiling face spun into her fireplace.  "Don't, Arthur, it's not a good moment."

He lost his smile.  "Was someone expelled or damaged?"

"The twins found out that Ginny's new journal was cursed."

"I knew she had a new one.  I thought it was something Molly had gotten her to go over girl things."

"Apparently not.  The twins took it from her when they found out and threw it into the fireplace."

"Is she beating them?" he asked.

"She's in the spell damage unit."  He moaned and started to wobble.  "The journal made the fireplace explode.  They both took some damage since they were in front of it.  They're all three at St. Mungos."  She swallowed.  "The journal never burned, Arthur.  I have no idea what it is but I called a goblin and he said it was a dark artifact."

"I'm sure it was.  I'll get Molly and go.  Ron?"

"Wobbly and was unconscious for a bit but Miss Granger got him out of the way.  He's in the infirmary.  She also put cool compresses on the burns the twins had before the medical people could get there."

"I'll thank her later.  Let me get Molly to St. Mungos.  If you find out more about that journal you'll let us know?"


He signed off and went running up the stairs.  He had to wake Molly from her long soak.  "We need to get to the hospital.  Ginny's journal was an artifact and possessed.  The twins got burns when they tried to burn it."  She got out and rushed for her clothes.  They apparated to the hospital together.  The mediwitch at the desk looked at them.  "Our twins and daughter?" he asked.

"She's upstairs in Spell Damage already, sir.  They've exorcized her and are working on the damage it caused.  The twins are being treated for some burns."  She led them back there.  "Healer Jacobs, their parents."  She left them alone.

The healer came out to talk to them.  "Neither's hurt very badly.  One twin's got some burns on his arm and side, the other on his back.  Apparently he was blocking your daughter from saving her journal when the fireplace exploded."  Molly stifled a sob.  "They'll be fine.  Very little scarring if any, Mrs. Weasley.  They did the right thing.  Whoever put on cool compresses helped as well."  He let them see the twins.  Ginny was in isolation until they could make sure all the damage was done but the healers told Molly what was going on and let them see her through a window.


Professor Snape hid in his office, swallowing some warmed brandy to calm himself down.  That journal had looked familiar and it had felt familiar, but why was such a thing in this school.  Especially in the hands of a female Gryffindor.  A pureblood female Gryffindor whose family had fought him last time.  There was something odd going on.  He was not sure what or why but his brain itched in that same feeling he got whenever he considered Potter.  Which was probably a bad sign.

Perhaps they should remove Potter from the school before more people got hurt in whatever senseless attack this was on him.

He got himself some more brandy and considered the 'golden trio' as they were called.  There were others who they seemed to be overly friendly with.  Including Hannah Abbot.  Her parents would not be pleased that she had been seen repeatedly with Mr. Potter in out-of-the-way corridors.  Perhaps a word to them later?  When it was more likely they were doing adult things instead of just snogging?

That would probably piss off that Gryffindor bitch, and her Weasley mutt, but that was fine.  He did not care what Hermione Granger did, thought, or wanted.  She was an uppity thing that he would have put in her place long ago if she had been in his house.  Though, she would never have been put into his house thankfully.  The few half-bloods in Slytherin were very noteable and powerful; she was not.  Neither was Weasley.  Potter....  His parents were powerful.  His mother especially.  He had no idea if the hat had argued another house.  It had taken a few extra seconds to sort him though so probably.

"Probably Hufflepuff," he sneered, finishing his drink and going to his rooms.  He needed a good night's sleep to deal with the morning meetings.


"How many more artifacts are in this school!" McGonagall demanded when Dumbledore tried to brush off her concern during the morning meeting.  "We know there's been at least three!  I have three students in the hospital, Albus!  One in the spell damage ward because the wards on this school didn't detect a possessed, *dark* artifact!  I demand that those things be removed!"

"There's always been things hidden here," he told her.  "Most of them are drained by the wards.  I do not know why they didn't pick up the journal."

"The same as you don't know why they didn't pick up a ghoul?" she snorted.  He glared.  She stared back.  "It seems to be my children that are being unfairly targeted.  You'll find a way to fix it or I'll go to the Board."

"That will cause more damage to your house; you know they don't like Gryffndor."

"That's because most of them are hiding dark marks," she sneered.  A few of the teachers gasped.  "Most of them claimed they were under an unforgiveable."  She stared at him.

Professor Flitwick cleared his throat.  "There's a better way of handling this.  The goblins will need the curse breakers to go over the school.  We clearly need a new defense teacher because ours is pathetic."

"Didn't you see the paper today?" McGonagall asked dryly.  "Apparently the Australians found out he had memory charmed some people so he could steal their stories."  She found a copy of the paper and handed it over.  "He's wanted for questioning by their aurors."

"I'm sure that's just a misunderstanding," Dumbledore said.

She looked at him.  "Are you sane?" she demanded.  He glared at her again, lips pressed together.  "We all know the man couldn't hex his way out of a wet paper sack, Albus.  I can do defense better and I never even took an OWL in it."  A few of the teachers snickered.

"He is a dolt," Snape agreed calmly.  "I would second the motion to have the curse breakers come in quietly.  It seems that we're hiding many things in this school."

"Thankfully the twins will be all right," she told him.  "And the house got together to repair all the damage for me."

Dumbledore sighed.  "I'll talk to one."

"Better yet, I'll talk to one," Flitwick said.  "I worked with them if you remember."

"That would be fine."  He got up and walked off.

"I swear that man has problems," she muttered.  The teachers all stared at her.  "Sorry, venting a bit.  Ignore me."

"Actually, that's not far off," Flitwick told her.  He stared at the doorway then at her.  "We'll see."  He went to make that call.  Plus another one.  Strange things were going on here.


Draco walked up to his head of House's seat in the Great Hall.  "May I have a few minutes later, Professor?" he asked quietly.  Snape nodded so he went to get lunch and consider the wrongness that was a happy Harry Potter the day after half of his house had been injured.  Especially his best friend's little sister and twin brothers.  That ... was not really the good heroish thing to do.  After lunch he followed him back to his office, closing the door so no one could overhear.  "There is something blatantly wrong in Gryffindor."

Snape sneered.  "You concern yourself with their house?"

"Potter was *giggling* this morning.  With Ron Weasley.  If one of your Slytherins showed so little concern with three siblings in the hospital, one in the spell damage ward, you'd have them checked for possession."

Snape considered that.  "That is true," he admitted.

"Beyond that, there's something incredibly strange going on.  Granger is reading things that are years ahead of us and muggle things.  In class yesterday.  Even the other muggle born girls went gooshy minded over Lockhart but she apparently got missed in the mass drooling charm he did?  She does things that look like Arithmancy and hasn't had the first class in it yet?  It may be muggle math but it's very complex.  One problem was taking over ten pages of parchment during defense and she complained she didn't get to finish it."

"You've been watching her?" Snape asked casually.

"Yes, and I'm not sure why," he admitted, scowling at himself.  "It's .... there's something very wrong about her.  Something that seems... older and sometimes male.  I doubt there's many muggle women like her.  Though there might be, I have no earthly idea, but I doubt they go on about science things to a pureblood Weasley, who can't even spell that word."

"They were talking science?" he demanded.

"Space travel that I overheard.  Something about space ships.  I know there's some muggle books with that sort of thing but how would Weasley have gotten hold of them?  That's another thing.  Potter doesn't act like ...."  He cleared his throat.  "Muggle borns act in certain ways."  Snape nodded that was true.  "Potter has no interest in anything any of the muggle borns do.  Not their sports, not their books, not their stories.  He never is seen outside of Granger, Weasley, and Abbot's custody.  And another odd thing, I've seen them going up to the third floor and can never find out where they go."

"Third you say?"  Draco nodded.  "Hmm.  Somehow he found the Room of Requirement then.  That's been hidden for years."

"I've heard rumors," Draco admitted.  "What would they need it for?  And how is Weasley building muscle mass?  He was showing one off to Hannah Abbot the other day in the courtyard, making her giggle at it of course, but we haven't had any time to do any strenuous work.  He hasn't even been in detention with Filch yet this year."

"That is a good thought to have," Snape admitted, thinking about things.  He stared at his protege/godson.  "Those are interesting observations, Draco.  I shall look into them."

He swallowed.  "I'm only concerned if they're related to the attack on their house.  What says they don't have it in for others if they are."

Snape snorted.  "Potters would never attack that way.  His father would have done something foolish to embarrass one, not attack a whole house."

"If you're sure, but Potter wasn't raised by his father.  Who knows what those muggles did.  Especially since there was a nice story in the paper saying that Potter had an accidental magic explosion that sent them on safari and left him home alone all summer."

"I did not see that."  Draco got it for him from the refuse pile he kept to restart fires.  Snape read it, grimacing.  "That was a fairly specific leak," he sneered.

"Or a wish," Draco countered.

Snape looked at him.  "Why a wish?"

Malfoy smirked.  "My father said that Arthur Weasley reported a vengeance demon in his house when they showed up to gather him for a visit."

"A *vengeance* demon," Snape said firmly.  Draco nodded.  "Did he tell you which one?"

"Hallie?  Over Lost Childhoods?  He was reading the report."  He smirked brighter.  "There was also a demon Potter had defeated trapped in a trunk waiting on disposal."

Snape gave him an odd look.  "I'd like to see that report."

"Ask Father."

"I can do so.  That does not add up, no.  They're muggles who hate magic from what I've been told."

"Oh, yes, because the supposed hero of the wizarding world needs someone who hates magic to warp him so he hates all of us," Draco said dryly.  "And might even turn into a dark lord."  Snape gaped.  Draco stared back.  "It's entirely possible.  The last one grew up in an orphanage."  He left him to think.  Because those things together were bothering Draco on a level that made his mind itch in a very bad way.  It wasn't like he could scratch it either.

Snape called Malfoy Senior to talk to him.  "Vengeance demons?" he hissed.

"Are we playing word games?" Lucius demanded with a dry smirk.

"No.  Your son showed up to ask why Potter was cheerful the day after a cursed artifact was found in Gryffindor, after it had blown up part of the common room."

Lucius stared at him.  "Artifact?" he asked a bit too casually.

"The goblins have it."  He waved a hand.  "There was a report Potter was dealing with vengeance demons?"

"There's a few who think he's summoning demons," he admitted.  He found the report and handed it over.  "We all think it's...odd of a Potter."

"As your son pointed out, he wasn't raised a Potter."

"True.  You'd think some of that would still trickle down from his parents."

"Those muggles hate magic.  Loathe it enough that they tried to flee owls by a report I saw."


"Your son thought the same and made a reference to orphanages and the last dark lord."

"Could be," Lucius admitted.  "If so I'd want to be on the correct side."  He took the report back once Snape had read it.  "My son was watching him?"

"He said things bothered him.  Including Granger acting like an old soul and talking about science with Weasley."

"His father would crap eels," Lucius said.  "They're not that muggle loving."

"Which is what your son thought was odd.  That and the inclusion of Hannah Abbot."

"Is she in Gryffindor?  I thought her father was bragging about Hufflepuff."

"She is."

They shared a look.  "I'll look on this end, but do be aware that there's those who are starting to put things together and acting timid."  He signed off, going to do some research.  That was very odd of the Potter boy.  His father must be throwing fits in the afterlife.

Snape considered what he knew, including that cryptic prophecy that had been left on his desk by someone.  Actually, that might fit some of what was bothering Draco if it was Granger.  Here to help Potter.  That was interesting but what could a girl do?


Harry got called up to the office, huffing mentally because some things were clearly changing.  Umbridge shouldn't be here for another few years, yet here she was in all her pink nauseousness.  "Yes, Headmaster?"

"The Ministry would like a word, Harry."  He smiled.

Potter stared at him then rolled his eyes and looked at her.  "Is there a problem?"

"We believe that was not accidental magic," she sneered.

He stared at her for a moment.  "Do you think I learned how to non-accidentally spell someone on a trip to Africa here?" he asked dryly.  "Because there's been no lesson on that."  He crossed his arms over his chest.  "Beyond that, the aurors said it was accidental."

"The Minister has not," she sneered.

"The last I heard, the Minister did not make legal decisions about accidental magic. It wasn't his departmental duty," he said dryly.  "Professor Binns said that was the auror's duty during History of Magic."

"You little snot," she sneered.  "You're going to prison.  I'll see you in Azkaban."

"If it thrills you, have that mental fantasy," he offered with a hand wave.  "Unfortunately he cannot overrule a decision on a case.  Even if he rewrites the law."

Dumbledore froze her.  "I can make this go away, Harry," he offered with a smirk and a twinkle in his eye.

Harry looked at him.  "Your obviously feeble plot won't work, Dumbledore.  They can't prove anything and if the Minister does kick me out of the wizarding world, good."  The old man gaped.  "I'm not your champion.  I'm not going to fight for you.  For all that I care, you can have fun with old Tom yourself."  He stared at him.  "I don't care what you do to me, I'm not giving in.  If you toss me in prison, well there's a few that would suddenly understand some things.

"Because not exactly one of you totally.  After all, hellmouth battles taught me a lot."  The headmaster lost his twinkle.  Harry smirked at him.  "I'm not the one you fuck with, Dumbledore.  The last time I ended the demon/human wars in favor of humanity.  What will I do this time for pissing me off?"  He unfroze her.  "Now, is there anything else, madam?  Or can I get back to my class day?"  He walked off.

"How dare you!" she shouted.  Dumbledore summoned him back happily.  "You should learn to respect your betters, boy!"

He chuckled.  "You're not my *better*.  You are not more powerful magically than I am.  You are not smarter than I am since you could barely take two OWLs and didn't even bother to show up for your NEWTs.  Before you ask, I found the yearbook section a few days back and went browsing."  He stared at her.  "If you're referring to your blood being better?  I don't believe inbreeding the way the British wizarding society has is good for anyone, madam.  After all, none of the purebloods are really *powerful* are they?"  He stared her down.  "Half of them currently attending can barely cast a spell in class."  He walked off.

"I'll have you in prison!" she shrieked.

He huffed and turned to her, tossing his wand.  "You'd have to prove it.  Go ahead and test the wand."  She did and crowed.  "That is taught in Transfiguration to compel animals for transformation.  If you had done any good in that class you'd know that," he said dryly.  "Do you think I didn't cast a single spell in the three months we've been here?"  She sneered and grabbed him.  He threw her into the fireplace.  Dumbledore sent in some floo powder and called out for the Ministry so she could escape.  She stormed back a minute later and hauled him with her this time.  He allowed it because he was going to make her miserable.

She dragged him into the aurors.  "This little snot is to go to prison.  The Minister said that was not accidental magic," she sneered.  "And he threw me into a fireplace."

"Then next time don't grab me, harridan," Harry said, getting free.  "But you can keep the wand.  It doesn't fit me that well.  It was nice how long Ollivander managed to hold off the compulsion to fit me with it, but even he can't do it permanently."  She shrieked and moved to hit him.  He slugged her, knocking her out.  "Figures you're worthless in that area as well," he said dryly.  He looked at them.  "She decided that the last spell I did showed that I sent them to Africa.  Because apparently I haven't had to cast anything in three months of school work."

The head auror for field teams tested it and nodded once she was awake.  "That's taught in his year of transfiguration to make animal to inanimate transformations easier on the animal, Under Secretary Umbridge.  That is not what happened to his muggle relatives."

She huffed.  "He still threw me into a fireplace."

"You nearly broke my arm," Harry told her.  "Of course I fought back.  I'm not stupid."  He stared at her and she shivered, backing off.  "You know, the more these things happen the more I believe the wizarding world should be remade."  She fled.  He took his wand back with a smile.  "Now that she's gone, may I go back to class?"

"Mr. Potter," the head auror said, staring at him.  "I found your relatives."

"I'm sorry.  Were you mentally damaged?"

"Quite."  He stared at the boy.  This wasn't a child.  It wasn't a student.  It wasn't an old soul reborn.  There was something off about him.  "You're sure it was a compulsion?"

"Yes.  Because this wand doesn't fit me at all."  He used it to light a candle to show him.  "Ollivander fought for twenty minutes before he had to give in."

"Do we have any idea why?"

"I'm told it was interesting that the twin to my wand gave me my scar," he said dryly.

"Hmm."  He considered it then nodded.  "It'd be too late to see if it's still there."  He took the wand to check it.  "No abnormal spells on it."  Harry nodded he knew that.  "Are you really Harry Potter?"

"That's what I'm told."  He stared at him then smirked suddenly.  "Though there's no telling what happened before I knew my name."

"Hmm."  He tested the kid, coming up with some odd things.  "How did that happen?"

"If you're talking about the demonic magic?  Halfrek once showed up to help me when I was severely injured but the Headmaster showed up to send her off."  He smirked.  "She was healing my arm."

"I heard that story from her."  He put his wand away.  "You're not ... the average student, Potter."

"No, I'm not.  Though I'm told that it's nice some older prophecy bs is going on."  He stared at him.  "Including redemption children."  He walked off.  "Let me get back to class before I get a detention for her being stupid."  The auror sent him back to the school.  Harry got to avoid the headmaster since he wasn't in his office this time.

The head auror for field teams went to the archival section in the Ministry, which related back to the Unspeakables he knew.  He found one of the archivists at her desk.  "What is a redemption child?"

She pulled down a book from a crowded cubby.  "It's an ancient prophecy that's been done repeatedly.  It states that a child will suddenly appear in a hero's life when they've lost all hope and need a reason to go on."  She looked up, picking up a quill pen.  "Why?  Is the prophecy being noted?  It usually means one's about to show up."

"I just talked with Potter."  She nodded.  "He insinuated there's one going on up at the school."

"Interesting.  Usually it's a younger child, giving them someone to think of as family."  She made that note.  "Do we know which one?"

"Thanks to some veritaserum, yes.  Alexander."  She dropped the quill and closed the book, taking him back to her boss's office.  "What?"

"We need to talk to the supervisor."  She knocked and let them in when he grunted.  "Sir, we have a problem."

"Which one?" he asked, putting down his sandwich.

"There's a redemption child at Hogwarts."

"Why?" he asked.  "And why is this so important?"

"It's Alexander.  The warrior child."  He blinked a few times.  "And he's as old as Potter is."

"Actually, he is Potter.  When we questioned him under veritaserum this summer, that slipped out a bit.  We did the memory viewing while he was still under it and a few of those memories slipped into the mix.  I've removed them from the official record."  He crossed his arms over his chest.  "So why is this bad?"

The supervisor and the archivist shared a look.  She left them to talk.  "Forget you heard that," he ordered her.

"I will be, sir."

He looked at the auror again.  "There's a few reasons why that's very bad.  Redemption children aren't saviors.  They're the ones that help and encourage."

"I caught necromatic magic in the boy's aura just now.  Umbridge brought him in saying the Minister decided that wasn't accidental magic after all."

"No, it was probably intentional," he agreed.  "We looked at that spell ourselves.  It was a well crafted, non-wanded spell.  Very muggle magic."  He smiled.  "Sometime in the past, he had gotten to know one of those nature witch sorts."

"Considering I got some bleedover from his life on the hellmouth, as Alexander Harris, yeah.  I'd say."

"I'd like those memories stored better."

"I destroyed them."

"Excellent.  Thank you."  He stared at him.  "It means that Potter's not the prophecy child."

"Or it means that something worse is going on," Harry said from the doorway, smiling at the auror.  "I thought I had blocked those."

"They were blurry but the truth serum helped I suppose," he said blandly.  "So, Alexander."

"Harry Potter did die."  They both slumped.  "Fortunately the Headmaster got there first."

The head of the Unspeakables looked at him.  "We had necromacy alarms going off like hell that night."

"Yes, you did."  He came in and shut the door, then spelled it in a way they couldn't.  He smiled.  "In case there's other nosy people, like the headmaster.  Who offered to get Umbridge off my back if I went along with his crackhead plans."  He grinned.  "I've pointed out since day one I'm not his warrior."  They stared.  "He *summoned* me.  *Specifically*."

"Oh, dear," the auror said.

"Oh, yes.  And I'm not inclined to deal with anything for him.  Even if a few of the others currently on assignment have decided we can mitigate the problem without helping him."  He stared at him.  "Yes, that diary is his.  So was the ghoul."

"That demon was awfully convenient."

"He owed me a poker debt from when I was Xander Harris."  He grinned.  "He eats ghouls.  His sort like the corrupt ones the best.  Said they taste like chocolate."

"Good!" he decided.  "So that really was the old Dark Lord."

"Yeah, it was Voldemort.  So was the diary.  There's a few others."

The head Unspeakable stared at him.  "Ghoul?  And we didn't get called?"

The head auror sighed.  "The defense teacher last year got killed and the ghoul that had been on his head was killed by a demon.  The demon popped up to tell us he was corrupt and tasty."

"So a soul eater," the head Unspeakable said, looking at the student.  Who smirked and nodded.  "Poker?"

"A lot of demons play kitten poker."  He beamed.  "He owed me about three cats from that life."

"Oh, all right."  He clasped his hands on the desk.  "You said there's others?"

"Yeah, about three of them.  They came to help me."  He beamed.  "We're not going to let Dumbledore win or Voldemort, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be a pawn.  The last time, I let Cerevatna fall."

"That was during the human/demon wars," the head Unspeakable said quietly.

"Well, I am the Warrior Child," he said dryly.  "They had just sacrificed the Peace Child. I lost my temper a bit," he finished smugly.  "So far John's done a *wonderful* job helping me.  So has my father in my next-to-last life and John's mate.  By the way, there's more than ten.  A few others volunteered."

"Which is the start of another prophecy about the demon lords falling," the head auror noted.  Inside his guts were twisting themselves into pretty Celtic knots.

"Hmm.  Well, if I have to, I'd probably give it back.  I hate being in charge of things."

"Good," he said weakly.  "So what are we doing right now?"

"Well, right now I'm skipping herbology."  He beamed.  "And I plan on getting some chocolate on the way back if possible.  And then tonight we're going to plan about how to get Dumbledore embarrassed totally for doing this.  Because I want that old fool out of my way and out of my life."

"I can agree with that since it sounds like he's manipulating things greatly," the auror said.

"Do watch out for memory spells."

"We know," he said with a smug look.  "We've caught a few."

"On the social worker?"

"Yes.  The accident?"

"No clue.  It could've been a bad reaction to that spell that caused the crash.  It could've been an accident.  I'd never hurt one of Hallie's people.  Then again, I didn't really interact with Hallie until I was Xander Harris and dating Anyanka.  Nearly married her too."

The Unspeakable shuddered.  "Okay, good to know."  He smiled.  "Is there anything we can do?"

"Find the other horcrux and destroy them?  A lot?"

"We can probably do that but you're carrying one," the auror said.

Harry nodded.  "I know.  I'm working on that.  Maybe CPR.  Hermione would do a fantastic job since she's thinking muggle medicine this time."  He shrugged.  "Anyway."  They smiled.  He smirked back.  "Don't try to use us like he is.  We don't need another pain in the ass moment.  If things finish up according to the current plans, then we'll coast through the rest of this life as the vacation we were on when I got summoned.  It was a bit stressful saving Atlantis last time."  He disappeared.

The head Unspeakable looked at the auror.  "Forget all that?"

"Gladly.  Is that really bad?"

"Yes.  And it means that Dumbledore's a real problem."  That got a nod and the auror went back to his office while the supervisor took a long drink for lunch with the rest of his sandwich.  Had to have something to soak up the whiskey before he drank himself to death.


Bill Weasley walked into his supervisor's office.  "You needed to see me?"

"I have unpleasant news, Cursebreaker Weasley."  Bill stiffened, staring at him.  A goblin not being direct and warning him it wasn't good news meant it was really horrible and possibly embarrassing to the bank.  "There was an explosion in Gryffindor dormitory's common room thanks to your twin brothers throwing a cursed artifact into a fire to free your sister from its influence."

"Are they injured?" he asked calmly.  He slowly sat down in the chair behind him.

"Some burns.  She's in the spell damage ward at the hospital in London."  Bill nodded, relaxing slightly.  "The artifact in question is still being looked over and we need you to check it for something specific I think you've seen in the past.  The journal didn't burn."

"That means it's a horcrux," he said bluntly.  "The soul energy would keep it from being destroyed.  Other artifact that're just possessed will burn and that's the only reason Ginny would be in spell damage."

"We believe so, yes."

"Why was that in Hogwarts?"

"We do not know."

"How did my sister get it?"

"She was not sure.  She said she found it after gathering her school supplies."

"They don't move on their own," he sneered.

"It's possible it was attached to the defense professor who was in there doing interviews.  It's also possible that it got mixed up with her things by accident."

"Or it's possible someone slipped it to her," he shot back.

"That is also possible."  He smirked, a scary sight to most people.  "We have been asked to fill in up there."

"I want on the search teams.  Before more things come for my idiot brothers and sister."

"Yes, you're being offered that as well.  The contract was to bring up a team at a cheaper rate while they paid one of you to teach.  One of the senior cursebreakers will be doing that part."

"Thank you.  This artifact?"  The goblin took him to the examination room.  Bill looked at it then opened it.  Blank pages.  He picked up a quill and wrote in it.  The ranting he got back told him it was still possessed.  He asked why Ginny was writing to them and who they were.  She was in the hospital after a problem at her school and he'd pass on any messages.  "Who's Tom?" he asked it.  He wrote 'Tom who?  Got a last name?' and watched the name that appeared.  He wrote he'd send his wishes onto Ginny and tell him she was waiting to hear from him then closed it and put the pen aside.  He walked out.  "Tom Riddle?"

The goblin stared at him.  "You are surely mistaken, Mr. Weasley."

"He said his name was Tom Marvello Riddle."

"That is not possible."

"If that's a horcrux it is," the head goblin guard told him.

"It is," Bill said.  "The soul energy is leaking badly from it thanks to the damage.  Who's that?"

"Lord Voldemort," the goblin guard said bluntly.

"Oh hell no!" Bill shouted.  The goblins smirked at him.  "If I remember right, destroying a horcrux releases a crapload of energy and can kill a pretty strong wizard if shields aren't put up."

"Unless it's a family member or someone tainted by them," the goblin guard corrected.

"I'm sure he doesn't have a relative," Bill snorted.

"No.  Not that we're aware of.  But there is said to be one who was able to survive him."

"I'll talk to Potter myself.  My brother Ron's his friend."  That got a smirk back.  "Any other bad shocks?"

"There's rumors of a beast roaming around the school.  We've heard rumors about a troll," the supervising goblin told him.

"Huh.  Well, I can kill those," Bill said dryly.  "And then yell at the teachers for letting one into the school.  I can do a mean impersonation of Mam when I want to."  They laughed and let him go visit his family.  He walked into the spell damage ward first.  He knew where it was.  He'd been there before.  He found the healer in with his sister and pulled him aside to tell him what he had seen.  That changed her treatment so they could make sure nothing remained.  He looked at his sister once they were done.  "How on earth did you end up with a cursed, possessed diary, Gin-Gin?"

"I don't know," she whined.

He stared at her.  "They're some of the best outside those in Geneva at repairing spirit-caused damage."  She gave him a weak smile.  "Mum and Dad?"

"Mum was wailing so they sent her home to rest."

"Okay."  He patted her foot.  "The medicine's going to taste real nasty.  Trust me."

"Already does.  Are the twins all right?  They were between me and the fireplace."

"I'm told they're mostly fine.  Probably singed.  I'm going to check on them now."  She nodded.  "I'll pop back around before I go."

"Why did they let you in when they wouldn't let in Mum and Dad?"

"The special skills and shields I have for work," he said with a smirk.  He walked off to find his idiot twin brothers.  They were easy enough to find.  Nurses were screaming to get away from the charmed mice they had made.  He fixed them and killed the mice then walked in there.  "Bored?" he guessed.  They smirked and nodded in unison.  "Well, at least Mam's going to be able to tell you two apart now if you're shirtless."

"She'd never allow us to be unclothed," Fred told him.

"Too true, my devious twin," George agreed.

Bill smirked.  "Good job, you two."  They grinned.

"Why did it explode?" Fred asked.  "It should've burned."

"Most would've but not with what this thing was.  It's a special type of possessed artifact and it's holding a truly nasty soul."  They nodded.  "It can kill a wizard to kill one of these so you did good but call next time?"

"Definitely," they agreed in unison.

"Never want to do this again," one quipped.

"Me either," the other agreed.  "We itch."

"Write Charlie, see how he deals with burns since he gets too many from his scaley friends," Bill quipped.

"We have," they agreed.  The nurse stomped in and they gave her angelic looks.  She sneered.

Bill stared at her.  "Why don't you give them their homework so they're not as bored?" he suggested with a grin.  "After all, being in here never stopped my paperwork and reports."

"I would but the school hasn't sent anything.  The headmaster said they could make it up there."

"No," Bill said dryly.  "That won't work."  He walked out to floo from the public floo up the hall.  "Headmaster, my brothers need something to do.  I'm sure Professor McGonagall has a research topic somewhere that they can use?"

"I don't see a need, Mr. Weasley."

Bill stared at him.  "They'll be in here another week, Headmaster.  How do you expect them to pass their tests?"  The headmaster glared at him.  He grinned.  "Surely want you the twins to leave at the end of their seven years, not stay for an extra one?"

"I'll talk to the head of their house."  He hung up and went to talk to his paintings.

Bill looked at the floo.  "Something's going on up there," he muttered.  He looked at the nurse waiting.  "McGonagall knows what they're like when they're bored.  I'm sure she'll have something.  If not, I'll ask in person.  After all, I want them to get jobs when they graduate."  She smiled and went to tell the other nurses.  He popped back in on Ginny then went back to the bank since they were having a meeting about who was going to the school.  He nodded at the elder curse breakers.  "Can someone check Dumbledore for a possession?  He just said my twin brothers being in the hospital for over a week was fine and they didn't need to do homework."

The head curse breaker nodded.  "I can do that.  I'm to teach defense anyway."  Bill grinned.  "McGonagall arranged it just now.  Apparently she's taken control."

"Good!"  He sat down.  "Any hint that there's more horcruxes in the school?" he asked the head goblin.

"We have no idea what the past headmasters have hidden.  I have heard rumors of a philosopher's stone last year."

"Broken in the mirror he hid it in, which was another semi-dark artifact," the head curse breaker told him.  "He asked me if I could retrieve it."

"Semi-dark?" Bill asked casually.  He was the only one with siblings presently in the school.

"Depends on your definition.  Shows you your fondest desire sort.  Some have starved staring at it."

"I'd consider that not good for a school," Bill decided.  "I wouldn't put that near Charlie's dragons really."  The others smiled at him.  "Have we heard other rumors?"

"There's something strange about Mr. Potter," the goblin said.  "Your father was told to protect him this summer and it's said there was some...accidental magic that sent the muggle family he lives with to Africa."

Bill considered that.  "That's really strong accidental magic, yeah."

"Bill, you check Potter," the head curse breaker said.  "Start with the Gryffindor dorm to find anything hidden in there."  He looked around.  "Any of you Slytherins?"  One raised his hand.  "You do your dorm.  You guys choose between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, I'm not expecting much there."

"The castle's a maze of underground rooms, hidden rooms, rooms that only appear in the right moon phase, and even worse," Bill said.  "Plus the Room of Requirement."

"We won't touch that room unless something really bad pings us."  A goblin knocked and walked in, whispering in the head goblin's ear.  "Problems?"

"Professor McGonagall just had the headmaster taken in for possession."

"Hmm, bet Fudge'll hate that," Bill quipped.  The goblin smirked at him.  "Are we staying on the grounds?"

The head goblin nodded.  "You will be.  Also, she asked that you be able to talk to any students who are interested in such a career.  Hopefully without scaring them off."

"Sure.  We'll make it seem neat," one of the others said with a grin.  "Gotta have someone to follow us when we croak from finding the wrong thing."  The others nodded that was true.  They went home to pack and head to the school as a group.


Minerva McGonagall watched her boss walk around talking to the paintings and decided she wanted to do something...well, something a bit rash.  It was definitely a political move, which she hated.  It was also the only way to save the students since he clearly was having mental problems.  Maybe it was his age.  Maybe it was something else.  She wasn't sure.  She cast a sleep hex and waited while he drifted off.  Then she called St. Mungos herself.  "I believe I found another person that needs the spell damage ward," she said quietly.  "He was wandering around talking to paintings that had nothing in them.  I've sleep hexed him."

The mediwitch that answered the floo smiled.  "It's always better to be safe than sorry, Professor.  Where are they?"

"The east corridor on the second floor and we need absolute...privacy.  Or else there's going to be politicians involved and press members."

She nodded.  "The headmaster?" she asked quietly, glancing around.

"Yes, I'm afraid so," McGonagall sighed.

"Some of us have been wondering what happened to him for years, Professor.  I'll send some orderlies and a healer up for you."  She signed off and called up there.  "We have a possible case of possession at the school," she said.  "And it may be long term."  The healer gave her an odd look.  "Remember your thoughts the other day in the tea room?"  He grimaced but nodded.  "Professor McGonagall called after seeing him talking to empty paintings."

"I'll go gather him myself so we can do it quietly," he assured her.  He got two sturdy, tough guards and took them to the school.  The professor led them to where he was.  Dumbledore was just starting to wake up.  They quickly got him back to sleep and took him off.  He was in a nice private room that locked from the outside within minutes.  One of the nurses decided that the garish robes were a clear sign that he was possessed but the rest they'd search his aura and mind for.  When they found touches of necromancy they flinched and kept him sedated as strongly as they could.  It was old, like the demonic taint they could see.  Clearly it was a long standing possession.

They hoped Fudge didn't hear.  He'd throw fits in the press.  Or they'd be manipulated into admitting him permanently.


Minister for Magic Fudge smiled at the reporters waiting on him to come out of the building.  "Another fine day," he greeted happily.

"Minister Fudge, what do you say to the report that Professor Lockhart is a fake?" one asked.  "That's he's wanted in two other countries for illegal memory charms?"

"He is?"

"It was in the paper," one of them said smugly.  "Don't you read it?"

"Of course, but the last few days I've had a lot to deal with so I must've missed it.  I only got the chance to skim it."  He looked at his guard auror.

"We've gotten a request from the Australian and Swedish ministries to gather him so they can question him," he reported.  "They're trying to get him from the school but he seems to have disappeared."

The reporter snorted.  "He was at dinner last night," she told him.  "He was at lunch today.  Clearly that auror didn't look too hard."  The auror glared.  She smiled at the higher auror coming out.  "Any word on when Professor Lockhart is being arrested?"

"That's not up to us," one said.  "That's up to the two on that team.  They said they can't find him inside the school."  Her partner snorted, shaking his head.

"Is that team a pureblood team who only got their job due to nepotism?" another reporter asked.  "There's been rumors that hiring for the aurors and admittance to the academy is solely based on family lineage, not ability or desire."

"I had to prove ability," the female auror told her.  "Some...  They're hired to be poster aurors."  She walked off.

"They are not!" Fudge ordered.  "You retract that statement."

She looked at the pretty boy guard auror then at him.  "Sure, if you're sure that's why, Minister Fudge.  Not like there's been a half-blood in the academy in ten years.  That is a fact you can check.  I should know, I was the last one."  He gaped.  "They all told me it was a favor that I got in and I shouldn't have because of my mixed blood."  He started to turn red in the face, showing his intent to yell.  "The records of admission are open."  One of the reporters went to find that out.  She walked off.

"They can bust you down," her partner warned.

"Not really.  They already have me on the shit jobs because I'm not a pureblood."  She smirked.  "If it wasn't for my other gift I wouldn't have gotten in."

"Probably true.  The system's cranked," he agreed.  They finished their trek to the pub for lunch.

Minister Fudge sneered.  "How dare she!"

His guard coughed.  "Sir, she's right.  I was in her training class.  They did say that repeatedly.  If she didn't have a special skill there wouldn't have been any mixed bloods at all in twelve years."  Fudge glared at him.  "The current head of the academy makes that decision, sir.  Not the teachers or the aurors on the street.  Perhaps that's why our first year is spent mentored.  I know half of us don't make it through the first year either."

"So you're saying that the academy is picking those that can't do the job?" a reporter asked casually.

"Being a pureblood doesn't give you any better average with capturing idiots who do bad things," the auror told her bluntly.  "I'd rather have aurors at my back that had skills, not blood."

"That's preposterous," Fudge sneered.

"Sir, we all bleed the same color.  I've seen plenty of it.  The ones who have the ability to do the job aren't hired."  His boss stomped out.

"Crouch, there's some falsities about blood purists in the auror academy?"

He nodded.  "We've fought over that for years because they keep sending me people without any skills.  You appointed him though and no one's willing to stand up and remove him because of his family."

"Are mixed blood and muggle born aurors better ones?" a reporter asked.

"Not always," he told her.  "I'd rather see it be based on skills to get in.  Like it was in my year.  You had the right OWLs, the right NEWTs, and then you had to prove you had the skills or you washed out.  Now, it's all about how your blood weighs and not how your wand does.  I've always said accuracy over abundance for spells."  He smirked.  "What brought this on?"

"Someone mentioned the aurors hunting for Professor Lockhart can't seem to find him and that may be because they were hired for their blood," the reporter noted.

Crouch snorted.  "To be honest, they're rookie aurors.  Yes they're both purebloods."

"He was at lunch," that reporter told him.

"I'll note that to them.  Both are just out of training.  I can't spare a real auror for such duties right now.  If they haven't gotten him by tonight I'll ask someone to pull a few hours of overtime and take their badges."  They nodded, taking that quote.  He looked at Fudge.  "I've been trying to get a meeting about him again, Minister.  You keep being too busy."  He walked off.  "Auror Smithers, you were off duty earlier."

"Yes, sir, but my replacement is apparently off today," he noted.

Crouch looked at him then shook his head.  "Get Shacklebolt to do it."

"He's got a broken wand wrist, sir."

"I know, he probably won't need it.  You're mostly ceremonial."

"Yes, sir."  He smiled and got that auror sent down to change out with him.

"Not healing capable?" one of the reporters asked him.

He sneered at her.  "I don't talk to your sort.  You like to twist things," he said bluntly.  "Get away from me and the Minister before I consider you an imminent threat."  They fled.  He looked at the Minister.  "Sir, your itinerary for the rest of today is?"

"For right now I was going to get a nice lunch and then go back to the office."

"That's fine, sir."

"You could be nicer."

Shacklebolt looked at him.  "I'm not hired to be nice to people who need to move along, sir.  That's not my job.  I'm not a poster auror."  He pointed.  "Shall we since the crowds have thinned out to an acceptably safe level?"  He huffed but stomped off.  Shacklebolt followed rubbing his sore wrist.  The Minister tried to get him to help the servers but he pointed out his cast and that he couldn't.  Plus it wasn't in his job description.

That night, Minister Fudge changed the job description so the aurors had to be more pleasant in public and help the Minister with his needs.  Unfortunately the paper burned as he was drafting the resolution.  He wasn't sure why but maybe it was that cursed artifact they had found in Hogwarts.  It had to be in the Ministry for examination, right?


McGonagall tapped her glass for attention.  "Starting tonight we will have a few guests at the school," she announced.  Everyone stared at the people who came in the doors of the Great Hall.  "Your new Defense professor is Cursebreaker Williams."  He smiled and waved, walking up to his new seat.  "With him are some other curse breakers who will be going over the school to find any other oddities that have been stored in ages past.  They are open to questions about their jobs for those who think they might want a career with Gringotts, especially as a curse breaker."  She smiled.  "We have a very nice suite for you all on the third floor east corridor."  They nodded.  "For now, sit and eat with us, gentlemen."

Bill sat down at the Gryffindor table, looking at Ron, who had his fork paused on the way to his mouth.  "Ginny's better.  It'll be ages for her to come out though.  Probably at least a good month."  Ron ate that bite and nodded.  "The twins are going barmy.  Dumbledore didn't think there was a need to send them homework."

McGonagall smiled at him.  "I have rectified that situation, Mr. Weasley.  They are not doing it again."  He smirked at her for that.  She started a conversation with her new defense teacher.  At least he knew what he was doing.

Bill looked at Ron again.  "They were charming mice to attack the nurses."

"Sounds like them," Ron agreed with a grin.  "Any other good news?"

"Mam's finally calmer.  They made her quit sobbing on Ginny and go take a nap."

"That's great," Ron decided.  Percy shifted down.  "We're good."

"I'm here to make sure there's no more of those things, Ron.  Before you and Harry run into them."

"Harry's being a good boy this year," Harry quipped with a grin for him.

Percy gave him a dirty look.  "You haven't been horrible on the twin's scale but still, Mr. Potter."

Hermione sneezed and Percy inflated.  "Oh, I'm sorry, Percy.  Madam Pomfrey, I sneezed on Percy.  Apparently he's allergic and swelling."  She came down to 'finite incantantum' him.  Then went back to her dinner.

Percy stared at her.  "Do behave, Miss Granger."

"It was an accident, Percy.  I'm sorry."

"I'm sure it was," he huffed.  He looked at Bill.  "I'd assume you'll be checking the house?"

"First and then we'll start with the maze of other rooms."

"There's rumors that there's a hidden chamber," Hermione quipped.  "That it has a beast in it that's petrified a student already."

"That's probably what Harry's heard hissing in the walls," Ron told her.

Harry nodded.  "Could be.  I have no idea."

Bill looked at him.  "I'm to check you over too since someone let on that the journal made your curse scar itch."  Percy stiffened.  Harry nodded that was true.  "Any idea why?" Bill asked casually.

"The same reason that Quirrel made it break open and bleed a few times?" Harry guessed.  "It hates them?"

"Could be," Bill said with a grin, ruffling Harry's hair.  "We'll figure it out."  He grinned at his just younger brother.  "Relax, Percy.  If another artifact enters this school we'll find out."  Percy smiled and dug in again.  "The 'rents could use some good news so write home tonight?"

"I can do that.  I did get an 'excellent' on a Charms paper."  Bill smiled at that news.  Percy settled in to write the letter.

Ron looked at Bill, smirking slightly.  It was nice Bill could turn Percy back into a boy instead of a hidebound asshole with power issues.  "Last year we had a troll."

"I heard rumors about a troll."

"The twins used its club to knock it out," Hermione said with a grin.  "It was trying to get up Gryffindor's stairs.  We have no idea how it got into the house, especially since it had been by Moaning Mrytle's bathroom earlier that night."

Bill nodded once.  "That probably means there's another hidden tunnel or something it sniffed out.  I'll look into that."  She smiled.  He grinned back.  "Finish up, you lot. You probably have homework."  They nodded and went to the library.  Percy as well.  Bill finished his own dinner and walked up to his boss.  "The rumors the goblins heard about a troll were true.  I'm told my twin brothers knocked it out."

"Yes, and then Dumbledore decided to give Mr. Potter points for it," Snape said sarcastically.  "No matter how much he complained."

"Eeh, maybe last year's ghoul got him too," the new defense professor noted.   "Speaking of, how is your sister?" he asked Bill.

"I told the healers what we found out earlier to make it easier on them.  They're thinking a month or so since the spirit was so strong."

"Huh."  He ate another bite and nodded.  "We need house elves in the field camps."  Bill grinned and nodded.  "Start with the Gryffindors tonight, Bill."

"I can do that."  He went to talk to them.  He'd get Potter tomorrow.

The defense teacher looked at Snape.  "One of yours is on the team, Professor Snape.  He'll be doing your house."

"That is more than acceptable.  I'm sure he found all the hiding places the students use."

"Probably.  That's how we know someone's got the knack."  He smiled.  "Where was the last bloke at when he got arrested?"

"Very far behind," Snape told him.  "Miss Percival," he said.  She looked up from inhaling dessert.  "The new teacher requires your notes."

"Yes, Professor.  I'll get them to him tonight.  Plus my cousin's."

"Thank you," the defense professor said with a smile.  "We want you all to get a good education so you can get jobs later on."  She smirked and got back to her dessert.  Professor Williams finished up and stood up.  "Professor, let me drop my own bag on my bed and I'll go look over my office and whatever he left."

"Beware, there's many too many smiling paintings of him," Flitwick said dryly.  "They all scowled when the auror stomped in to arrest him during a class."

"It was probably all the sucking for the paintings that made his mind go odd then, huh?" he countered with a grin.  Snape let out an inelegant snort but was hiding his mirth.  He winked at Flitwick, who had been one of his favorite teachers, then left to do that.  Sure enough the room was covered in Lockhart paintings.  He cast them into a box and put them in the hallway.  The ones in the office he looked over and then sent to the same box.  He also changed the colors on the furniture so it wasn't gold and cherry colored.  "The man was a fop," he decided.  He turned and found Ron Weasley and Harry Potter there with Hermione Granger behind him.  "Well, I was going to let Bill talk to you two."  He smiled.  "Mr. Potter, why did the journal make your scar itch?"

"We think there's something in his scar, some sort of curse left within it," Hermione said.  "I figured you'd want to test that yourself, Professor, so I nagged them into showing up."  Because she couldn't figure out how to remove the damn taint herself mostly.  So this was a job for a professional.

"Could, yeah."  He tested it and frowned.  "Bloody hell," he muttered.  "That's really not good, Potter."

"I'm told that someone found some necromancy in it," Harry told him.  "I'm not sure when."

"I saw that too."  He did another spell against it and what he got back made him shiver in dread.  "That's... really bad, kiddo.  We'll work on that."  He smiled.  "If anything else bothers you that way, you make sure me or Ron's older brother hears as soon as you feel it.  Even if we're not in the school."  Harry smiled and nodded.  "Good kids.  No homework?"

"We're playing puzzles," Ron said with a grin.

"Go have fun then."  They fled.  He made notes to send to the goblins.  They couldn't remove that without killing the kid.  Bill stomped in.  "Bad?"

"I found a whole cache of ancient wedding sets that compel brides," he said.  "All in a locked bedroom hidden within the tower.  Apparently it's been used on muggle born witches."

"We can go look."  He followed Bill back up there to look at the stuff he found.  It was clearly nasty.  "Guess that's one way to make them marry into the wizarding world," he decided.

Bill looked at him.  "I'm finding a lot of compulsion and fertility spells, Todd."

"Me too.  Let's box 'em up."  Bill nodded and they did that.  He took them to McGonagall, who was appalled but she said it explained how some very modern students had suddenly been quieted and married off quickly.


Bill followed Harry down a hall a few days later.  He had seen the Malfoy brat shoot a snake at a girl to make her freak out during a class change time.  He had seen Harry hiss at the snake and it skid off into the shadows.  He had seen everyone back away from Harry too but he'd deal with that later he guessed.  He was following to see exactly what Harry Potter was doing because most kids, even if they could talk to snakes, wouldn't be chasing one through a school.  "Hey, Harry?" he asked after a few hallways.

"Shh.  She's just past the bathroom I think and she's poisonous, Bill."

"Oh, okay, I was wondering why we were chasing it."  They walked past Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and he heard a grinding noise.  He backed up a few steps to stare at a sink moving out of the way.  "What are you?" he asked.  He went to look.  He heard hissing and got out of there.  "Harry, I think there's a bigger one," he called.  Harry handed him the original snake.  He looked, a black garden snake.  "Glad you're not deadly."

"Shit, Bill, don't look!" Harry called.

"Yup," he said, summoning his cohorts.  They came running.  Harry was looking at his shoes as he backed out of the bathroom.  They could hear Myrtle crying about the yellow eyes showing up again.  "Harry here was chasing the snake the Malfoy heir shot at a Hufflepuff and the sink opened as he walked past hissing."

"Hissing?" Professor Williams asked.

Harry shrugged.  "They talk to me?  They always have really.  Kept me great company when I was weeding my aunt's garden."

"Sure," he decided, glancing in there.  He saw the tail end of something.  "That's a huge thing."  Fawkes appeared with a shriek.  The snake fled back into the hole.  "Huh," he said, going over to examine around it.  "Drape this, boys, so we can look it over."

"Is that what petrified the one kid?" Harry asked.  "Hermione thought it might be a basilisk since I could talk to it and it did that."

"Yup," Professor Williams said with a grin.  "Sure as shit is.  Go cancel class for me, Harry."

"Yes, sir."  He took the garden snake back since Bill didn't seem to care about it.  He walked into the defense room.  "They just opened the Chamber and found a creature.  Professor Williams said to have a good day."  They all fled.  Harry put the snake into Malfoy's bag magically as he walked past the classroom he was in.  Harry stopped in Transfiguration, waving the teacher out.  She came out to stare at him.  "They found the Chamber and the basilisk."

"Excuse me?" she demanded.

"Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, Professor.  I was following Malfoy's pet snake and Bill caught it opening."

She smiled.  "Five points for dumb luck, Mr. Potter.  Get to class before I take ten for skipping."  Harry jogged off.  She leaned back into the classroom.  "I'll be right back, behave."  She walked off, going to check.  Bill stopped her.  "I am the temporary headmistress, William Weasley."

He grinned.  "Can't have you risked by the basilisk, Professor.  Who'd run this insanity otherwise?"

She stared at him.  "We're certain?"

"Yup.  Damn skippy as a coworker says."  She shivered.  "Anything else we should hear?"

"I have no idea how we'd kill it."

"I do.  We need something huge and sharp.  We're rigging up something now.  Every now and then you find these things hiding.  If we can't kill it, we'll hood it and send it to Charlie.  Should give some of his scaley friends some fun to fight with it."

"That's mean, Bill."  She patted him on the arm.  "Tell me how it goes as soon as you're done."  She went back to her classroom.  The next one was the second year Gryffindor/Slytherin class.  She heard a hiss and looked around then screamed.  "Mr. Malfoy, you are not to have snakes in this school!" she shouted, getting up onto her desk.

"It's not mine!" he complained.

"It came from your bag to scare a Hufflepuff last class," Pansy told him.  "And this class.  Professor, is it able to sense that you can change forms?" she asked.

"I do not care, Miss Parkinson!  At all!  Mr. Malfoy!"

He got up to uncast the snake.  It stayed.  He tried it a different way.  It disappeared.

"Thank you!" she ground out, getting down off her desk.  "Forty points from Slytherin for having illegal animals in this school and bringing them to class."  He ducked as he sat down.  She took a calming breath.  "Go play outside in the sun.  We could all use it."  They fled because they had been going to have a test.  She sat down after checking around her chair.  Things were going on that she had no idea about.

She heard shouting and had the emergency bell rang by a house elf.  All the students fled out to the pitch.  That had told to them on their first week's lectures from the prefects.  She followed once she was sure the stampede was over with.  She looked around and went back to the school.  She took the back way to the dungeons, finding Snape still holding class.  "We did ring the emergency bell, Professor."  He sneered at her.

"Mostly because they just found a basilisk in this school," she finished more quietly.  He gave her a horrified look.  "Take the back way."  He ordered that to happen and she walked them out, him following.  The house elves were checking for other students, getting the ones hiding in their dorms and other bathrooms.  She looked at her teachers.  "I believe we'll go over emergency procedures again tonight," she announced to them.  They all nodded.

"What happened?" Professor Sprout demanded, pushing her way forward.

"They found a basilisk in the Chamber that happened to open in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom."  Flitwick slapped himself on the forehead and moaned, shaking his head.  "It's a beautiful day.  Why don't you run through how to charm things for the next quidditch match?"  They nodded and went to instruct their houses on how to do some simple charms for that while she watched.  Hagrid was pouting.  "They're going to kill it," she reminded him.  "It's too dangerous to be in a school."

"I agree, but it'd still be nice ta see and teach about."

"Perhaps later, after it's dead and safely contained."  He smiled at her for that.  Someday she'd have to talk to Hagrid about dangerous things like Fluffy.  It was clear Dumbledore never would.

The curse breaking team ran out of the school being chased by a giant snake thing.  The whole school was watching.  "Gryffindor upper years, with me," she ordered, turning around.  "Do levitating charms.  Aim for the center."  They did that and the thing's center went up.

"Upper years, take the head," Flitwick ordered.

"The tail," he told the Slytherins.  "Jenris, lock the tail so it can't wiggle free.  I know you use them with your father's specimens."  She nodded and they did that.  Aurors started to appear.  "How droll, the dark arts wards do work," he said sarcastically.

McGonagall looked at him.  "We hope."  He nodded that was true.  Flitwick cast a cutting hex to take off the head.  That stopped it.  They slowly let it fall down.  The carcass twitched a few times but otherwise it was truly dead.  McGonagall walked over, clearing her throat.  "Is that the only one?"

"We need a parseltongue to get any further than the tunnel," Professor Williams noted.  "Can we borrow Mr. Potter later?"

"Yes, you may."  She smiled.  "He is?" she asked.  He nodded.  "Interesting."

"He said they used to keep him company when he was weeding for his aunt," Bill said with a grin.  "It opened because he was tracking Malfoy's snake past her bathroom."

"Very interesting.  Thank you, gentlemen."  They all smiled.  "How many artifacts have we found?"

"A crapload of things with compulsion spells to make muggle born witches jump a bloke while fertile," Bill said.

"I used to wonder why so many of them changed their minds about marriages so suddenly," she said dryly.  The aurors were giving them horrified looks.  "We've had a few and I was worried we'd see Miss Granger have the same thing happen."

Hermione cleared her throat.  "No, I'd raise it on my own before being forced to marry someone against my will.  Or else I'd kill them for it."  She smiled sweetly.  "Bill, that journal thing.  Is there maybe a way to see if a fang would kill it?  Since Ron heard what it was."

He blinked at her.  "Yes, but it'd still have to be related to the spirit possessing it."

"We have that," Professor Williams told him.  "We can do that later.  Thank you, Miss Granger.  You're just full of good ideas."

She smiled.  "The benefits of being a book nerd who gets bored nagging the boys to revise."  She walked off.

They shared a look and nodded.  "I want her in our job," Professor Williams said.

"She's stated a desire to be a healer," McGonagall said.  "Particularly a surgeon."

They all nodded.  "I'll let her bandage mine, she'd swat more than my mother," Bill quipped.  They all laughed.  It was a good tension break.  The aurors were giving them funny looks.  "I say we let Snape harvest and only keep most of the fangs," he announced.

"Works for me," Professor Williams said.

"Minister Fudge will never allow it," the auror said.

"I did not know he was the headmaster," McGonagall said dryly.  The auror whimpered.  "Go tell him we found the Chamber, boy.  That way he can make less idiotic statements to the press over things he knows nothing about.  Now."  He fled.  She looked back at the pitch.  "Severus?"  He came walking over looking unconcerned.  "I've decided you can harvest all you wish, outside the few fangs the cursebreakers want to keep for use with cursed artifacts."

"That would give us many potions ingredients but I could never use them all before they go bad."

"You said you needed to update your classroom," she said.  "I don't see that being a conflict."  He smirked at her.  "Any extra and it goes into the greenhouses."

"Agreed, plus she can probably turn the remains I won't use into compost."  He crossed his arms over his chest.  "Can we start now?"

"Hagrid wanted to let his students see it," she told him.  She motioned him over and gave him that order.  They came over to look, get close to it, all that.  Then Snape's favorite students got to dissect it.

Minister Fudge showed up.  "What are you doing?"

"Putting this honorable beast's demise to good use," Snape said dryly.  "As I was ordered to do by our headmistress."

"Where is Dumbledore?" he demanded.

McGonagall looked at him.  "In the possession ward at St. Mungos."  She smiled.  "They believe he might have been affected by the ghoul last year."  He blanched and backed up, shaking his head.  "Since this was coming out to attack the students, it'll go to updating the potions classroom and partially some in the greenhouses.  That way we don't have to ask the Ministry for updating funds."

"I'm sure they'd like that," he humphed, "but it's not seemly."

"How do you think potion ingredients get gathered?" Bill Weasley asked him.  "Newts eyes don't just grow on trees, Minister.  Half of the beasties we cursebreakers find in tombs and the like goes to Gringotts to be sold for potions ingredients."

"That's disgusting."

"Better than being eaten by it," one quipped with a smile for him.  "Last year I had a slightly smaller one of these.  Netted me an extra ten thousand gold for my cut of the parts they sold."  Minister Fudge sneered.  "Which went directly into my parents' home."  He backed down since he had been pushing that need to help their local economy.  Not that Fudge wasn't parroting what someone else told him about that.  They weren't sure he could spell economy.

"Let's leave the potions people to their delicate vivisection," McGonagall ordered.  "Boys, I want that chamber cleaned by tomorrow if possible?"

"Depends on what else is down there," Professor Williams told her.  "We can definitely tell you if it's possible once we can get in."

"Why aren't you in already?" Fudge demanded.

"It takes a parselmouth," Bill told him.  "We only know of one."

"There's one?" he demanded.  "They're evil!"

"No, I don't think this one's ever been evil as more than a prank," McGonagall said.  "It is a bloodline skill in some of them."  She walked off.  "Is it safe to let them go in for dinner?"

"Should be," William said.  "Boys, go make sure."  They did that and told the house elves what to use to kill the snake slime when they found them mopping it up.  Fudge huffed off but he just smiled and waved at his back.  "Idiot frog humper."  Snape tried hard not to laugh.  He grinned at him for it.  "He probably has to use compulsion potions on them too."  He walked off.  Snape kept himself from laughing, barely, and it was good.


Draco Malfoy was still confused.  He believed in the art of the coincidence but there was a bit too many recently for his tastes.  So instead of a charms paper he was stalking Granger and Potter.  They were talking about space ships *again* and it bothered him for a lot of reasons.  So he decided to step in and do something.  They were headed to dinner.  As he walked past them, he sneered.  "Still doing *muggle* homework?  Don't we give your kind enough?"

"Quite but I do need to keep up in those lessons to get into a better university," she said happily.  "What's the use of an education unless you use it?"  He glared.  She sat down at her place at the table.

"What're you studying now?" Ron asked her.

"Chemistry and it's driving me 'round the bend," she complained.  "It's not as precise as science since outside forces can change your variables and reactions."

"What's chemistry?" Neville asked.

"It's like potions for muggles but it deals with base components, not the greater ones.  The individual compounds that make up a compound we'd use in potions."

"Oh," he said, still not getting it.  She pulled out the book and went over an example lesson on all the chemicals in tea.  He nodded he got that.  She smiled and put the book back.  "It's a mandatory for getting into a good university but they don't offer it here.  It's much harder to do it on your own, especially without lab time, but I'll do that this summer to pass the class."

"Eat, Hermione, before your brain goes numb from lack of energy."  He handed her the meat.

"Thank you, Harry."  She smiled.  "I always do manage to revive it even if I've been working it so hard it's limp."

Snape walked down sneering.  "What sort of book did you bring into this school?" he demanded.

She smiled.  "A chemistry and a physics one, Professor.  I have to keep up with those subjects to get into a good university program.  The same as I'm going to start calculus after the holiday break."  She smiled.  "That way I'm not being found in neglect of my muggle education and no one can say anything to my mother from an official standpoint."

"You being here takes care of that."

"No, actually it doesn't.  My former headmistress told my mother that me going here was not good enough for the muggle authorities.  That they would make me take yearly tests to make sure I was keeping up my other education, even being in a special school for magic.  She was a squib and when my letter appeared at the school she noticed it."  She smiled.  "She's made sure that I have to keep taking the muggle classes as well or else they'll start fining my mother."

"We'll have someone fix that," he assured her.  "That way you can quit polluting the other students."

"I'm surprised we don't have chemistry taught here.  It'd seem to be a prior class for potions.  The same as physics does help me in charms, transfiguration, and the boys with flying."  He sneered and stomped off.  "I suppose I'll be doing my necessary chemistry experiments in my room this summer," she decided.

Harry grinned.  "I have no idea what I'm doing this summer but I hope it's as peaceful as last summer was."

She smiled.  "I'm sure we'll spend some time with the Weasleys."

Ron nodded since his mouth was full.  He swallowed.  "Mum's sure she can make you into a proper witch, Hermione."

"I'm quite proper for my age and status within my natal world, Ron.  Just because I don't believe that a woman must only stay at home to bear baby after baby doesn't mean I'm the one that's wrong.  After all, life has moved on and women can do a great many things today."

"I wonder if we could recreate Woodstock," Harry mused, looking up.  "Hmm, flying cars."  McGonagall looked up and wiped her mouth after one last bite to go deal with that.  He grinned at her.  "Think any schools in the Americas are this uptight?"

"No, probably not.  They had the sixties, the eighties, and the dreaded seventies to get used to women's liberation."  She smiled.  "Plus I'm told they do have muggle classes within their schools.  Namely chemistry, physics, and mid-level math."  Ron shook his head quickly.

McGonagall came back and sat down again, smiling at her teachers.  "The Minister has found out that the headmaster is away at the hospital resting," she told them quietly, getting a few nods.  "He's not happy."

"It looks bad on Albus, not him," Madam Sprout told her.

"He doesn't like a woman in charge of the school.  When I reminded him the Minister before him was a woman he huffed off.  Probably to the board."  She smiled when Harry looked up at her.  "What is going on with Mr. Potter?" she asked them.

The new defense teacher smiled.  "He's being a bit crafty sometimes but mostly he's been studying some books the Granger girl is getting him."

"A Potter, crafty?" Snape snorted.  "Impossible."

"It does take some guile and craftiness to plot and prank like his father did," Flitwick reminded him with a smile.  He waved the boy up.  "Mr. Potter, I was wondering if you could settle a bet for us."

"Sure, Professor.  Of what sort?"

"We noticed the hat had taken some bit of time to sort you."

"We had an argument about me being in Slytherin," he offered with a smile.  "But the only slytherin I had met was Draco and I would've rather stabbed myself than be in the same dorm as him at the time.  Now...  I'd do about the same," he admitted with a grin.  He went back to his seat.

Snape's fork didn't exactly drop from his fingers but they were on the plate already so that was probably why.  "The hat is psychotic," he decided.

"He's powerful," Flitwick reminded him.

"Perhaps but it's still psychotic.  It's lost its mind."  The defense teacher cackled, shaking his head, earning a Snape glare.

"Could it be that the hat looked deeper than you have?" Flitwick asked with a smile.  "After all, there's depth to that boy if he's survived this long."

"I'd rather not look that deeply into anyone's soul.  It's not in my plans to be that deep into anyone's lives."  He ate a bite and watched his house's conduct.  They were still behaving like children, albeit well trained children.  Better than some of the others.  Weasley was choking over something Granger had said.  It nearly made him want to curse the trio.  Or quad as he had noted.  Hannah Abbot was looking over at them, giving the trio a dirty look.

"What do we think of Miss Abbot and Mr. Potter going out?" Madam Sprout asked quietly.

"I think it's nice he's making friends outside his house," McGonagall said.  "But I don't believe they're seeing each other that way.  Though I loathe the day that Molly decides Hermione Granger and her son should be set together."  She stuffed her mouth.  Hannah walked behind Ron and swatted him on the head, earning a loud 'hey' from the redhead.  The women stared then at each other.  "Interesting," McGonagall said.

"That was clearly not a friendship move," Flitwick agreed.  Snape gave them a dirty look.  "Haven't you seen that sort of move before?"

"No.  I do not pay attention to such things.   Who is seeing who is not the sort of information I need unless they are an enemy."  He finished up and watched his house make plots.  Strangely enough, Malfoy wasn't helping them plot.  He was watching the 'golden trio'.  Something had to be done about that before his father heard.


Draco was waiting on Snape when he came back from his detention-giving walk for stress relief.  "What's this prophecy about?" he asked, pointing at the one laying on the desk.

"Did you snoop?" he demanded.

"No, professor."  Snape snatched it off the desk and put it back into the cabinet but it floated back.  "It was doing that when I came in so I thought to look to see if it was important."

"It's the crock of some demented older mind who needs solace," he sneered.

"Is it possible it's not?" Draco asked.  "I know that subject has a book in the library.  I ran across it by accident looking for information on 'redeeming goblins' for a history paper."  Snape gave him an odd look.  Draco nodded.  "Binns."

"Figures," he muttered.  It floated back into its spot and shone brightly.  Snape read it and sneered.  "I still say it's the foolish words of those who want hope but aren't willing to make it."

"If you're certain.  Did you want the gold trellis flowers on the homework or the silver?"

"What homework?" he demanded.  "I did not give your class homework, Mr. Malfoy."

"You sure as hell did," he snorted.  "A foot of paper on trellis flowers or agave flowers.  Though I'm not sure why on those.  I can't find much on them beyond that you make the liquor called tequila from them and they're part of the lily family.  Usually grown in Mexico."

Snape gave him an odd look.  "Are you fevered perhaps?"  Draco got his notes to show him.  "You're still using a quick quotes quill I see," he said with a grimace.

"Just for lectures and assignments."

Snape saw the evidence there in front of him.  He had yelled at Granger and Longbottom for getting something right and had assigned a homework paper for their next class.  "Either's fine," he said, handing it back.

"Could your anger at that prophecy be the same thing that's make you forget the homework?" Draco asked, looking a bit shrewd.  Snape glared.  "Dumbledore was a master of the memory charm."

Snape stared then got something he had mixed up long ago.  It was kept with a stasis spell so it'd always be good.  Too many students got obliviated by their parents when they saw something they shouldn't.  Usually something that Dumbledore wanted to know about.  Snape took the potion and waited.  Slowly that brain itch came back and he frowned, looking at the paper.  Then suddenly he remembered.  "Potter apparated in his first year," he sneered.  "I nearly got him expelled for that.  Only here a month and already causing problems."

Draco looked at him oddly.  "How?  No first year should have the power to do that."  Snape stared at him.  "I can barely do it now and I've been working on my magical stores since I was eight."

Snape stared at him.  "What?"

"How did an eleven-year-old who had only known about magic for six whole weeks apparate?  How did he even learn it was possible since I doubt anyone did it in front of him?  They weren't really in with Granger at that point so she couldn't have."

Snape considered that.  "I do not know."  The prophecy flashed.  He glared at it.  "I doubt it."

"If so, is that a good or a bad thing?" Draco asked him.  Snape glared.  "Fine, gold flowers?"

"Fine."  He waved a hand.  "Go away, Mr. Malfoy."  Draco walked out.  Snape reread the prophecy.  "If a child should suddenly appear to one of them I'll understand why but I doubt very seriously that one of them is.  There's no heros from the last war."


Draco looked up from his reading on Redemption Children in the library to find one Harry Potter up the row from him by himself.  He considered things.  Usually they showed up as babies, helped a lot of people do better things.  They weren't usually the hero, they were the reason the hero came back from the war.  So it couldn't be Potter.  Then again, something seemed about the story.  Like there were others that hadn't been told in the book.  It wasn't a comprehensive history but someone's ideas on who had been one based on when the rumors of the prophecy had shown up again.

Which meant that there may be one coming but for some reason that didn't seem right to him.  No, there was one in the castle, in Hogwarts.  There was also a lot of darker currents going on that was going past him.  He glanced around.  They were alone in this corner of the library outside the librarian, who was probably watching to make sure they didn't fight.  Draco got up, his chair scraping loudly in the quiet.  He walked past Potter.  "How many redemption children are there now?" he asked.

Harry blinked at him.  "What?"

"How many exist?"

"It used to be ten.  Two died and more replaced them.  Why?"  He stared at Draco.  This was interesting.  Very interesting.  Draco put the book in front of him.  Harry smiled at it.  "That's a good account.  They only got two wrong."

"So you know...."

"There's a lot you don't know, Draco, and a lot you'll never find out," he said bluntly.  "I don't know how you found out but getting in the middle of it right now is very dangerous."

Draco glanced around then looked at him.  "It's not just you.  It's you and Granger."

"Perhaps," he said, leaning back so he could stare at the blond boy.  "But things going on are not what they always seem.  Even the simplest answers aren't going to work this time.  This isn't a *normal* assignment."

Draco swallowed.  "So there's to be another war," he said.

"Someone's trying very hard."

"Why?  Why you?"

Harry grinned and pushed his hair off his forehead unconsciously.  "Because someone decided it and made it so."  He gathered things and stood up.  "Forget you heard about it, Draco.  It's got nothing to do to you and the only safe ones aren't involved."

"Then Granger should hide it better," he snorted.

"Actually, Hermione's very much a woman of her generation.  The muggle world is vastly different from this one.  If only because women have more rights."  He smirked.  "She's right but then again the people in power are dumb.  Which she loathes.  She hates that ignorance can be cured but they're not even curious."  He walked off.  "Have a better night, Draco."

Draco stared at his back, considering things.  He went to Snape's office, finding him with the new defense teacher.  He decided to leave them be and talk to his head of house in the morning.  Things were definitely not as they seemed.  Things may be buggered around the castle actually.


It had taken two days for Draco to get some time alone with Snape.  "Professor," he said, walking in and shutting the door then sealing it.  He glanced at the fireplace.  No head.  He put the book down.  "Potter said they only got two wrong."

Snape looked at it then at him.  "Interesting to note.  Why would it matter?"

"Because he's not the only one and he said this isn't a normal assignment.  Stressed it wasn't the normal assignment.  He didn't disagree when I mentioned Granger either."  He glanced at the fireplace then at him again.  "He said there's going to be a war."

Snape considered that information.  "Then it is wise of you to stay out of it, Mr. Malfoy."

"I would but I bloody well can't," he complained.  "If I'm one of the few noticing it there's probably a reason, right?"

"No.  It just means you pay attention to things that don't matter to your life," Harry said as he shut the door and walked over.  He looked at him.  "Relax, Draco.  None of this has anything to do with you or your family.  You're an aggravated spectator right now.  The fact that the person who started this ...thing is doing it in a school pisses us the fuck off."  Draco shivered.  "The fact that what happened was so wrong, so misguided, is because someone's a sick fuck."

"Do not swear in my presence," Snape said.

Harry looked at him.  "If you knew what I know, you'd swear at him too."  He smiled then at Draco.  "Just ignore it, Draco.  It does not concern you.  If it does start to concern you, I'll warn you personally about it.  Because things are not as they appear and this is not the *normal* assignment for one of us."

"Because of everyone expecting you to be a hero?" Draco asked calmly.

"No, not in the least.  We've been heros in the past.  We'll be heros in the future.  Actually, our last lives in the last realm are farther ahead temporally.  Atlantis was a beautiful city, we made sure of it."  Draco shivered again, taking a step back as he swallowed.  "There is nothing in this battle that should affect you unless we are forced to fight.  We are all trying very hard not to have to fight.  We're moving around all of the plots, the plans, all that."  He stared  him down.  "If someone should force us to fight we'd have to take it away from the students."  Draco nodded.  "Now, forget it.  All."  He stared him down.  "It's not healthy to wonder such things."

"Which one are you?" Draco asked quietly.

"Me?  I'm Alexander."  He grinned.  Draco stiffened.  "I'm supposed to be on vacation right now.  If things calm down and are ended, we'll just vacation in this life instead.  We needed it after saving Atlantis this last time."  He grinned at Snape.  "The memory remover you brewed is on your back burner in your storage area, Professor."  He disappeared.

"You can't disapparate in the castle," Draco said.  "How did he do that?"

"I would assume they had access to powers outside ours," Snape said.  He went to check the potion.  It was perfectly done, which meant Granger had done it.  He force fed Draco a draught and then took one of his own.  He did not want to know such things.


Harry watched Hermione during astrology class, sighing mentally.  "If you want to go back to science, go," he mumbled in Ancient.  "Maybe we can even go help yourselves."

She looked at him, shaking her head.  "Too much risk."

"Go be ascended then," Ron offered.

"I can't do that either."

"No but we can," Harry reminded her.  She stared at him.  "We should see if we want to go back to them."

"If I go near it they'll want to bring me in."

"Yes but this isn't the same lives or realm," Ron pointed out.  "Different variables."

She huffed.  "I know that."

"Then be who you want to be, Hermione.  If that's the harder sciences and math again, so be it."

"I've been thinking about using some of what I know for prosthetics research."

"That'd be a lot of help," Ron agreed.  "Or you could go for a math degree?  Or even an engineering degree set again."

She shrugged.  "I don't know."

"We probably have time," Harry pointed out.  "I need this break.  I'm going to take it once I can."  She looked at him.  "It's been a very long life, Hermione.  I've been going so damn long."  She patted him on the arm.  The teacher was watching so that's all they could do.  "I just want some peace and quiet for a bit.  I'll hang out on your couch and watch you be brilliant.  How's that?"

She smirked.  "I'm sure you'll have a job of some sort, Harry."  She gave him a pointed look.

"Maybe quidditch."  He grinned.  She rolled her eyes.  "We need to remember fun."

"We do," Ron agreed.  She looked at him.  "It does get tiring after a few rounds, Hermione."

"I understand that but...."

"We can do great things that don't wear us out," he reminded her.  "Even if we're helping people.  If we want to do it, it'll be better for us."

"Good point I suppose."  They looked at Harry, who the teacher had come over to chide about talking during class.  Clearly they needed to get him a vacation more than anything else.  Maybe she'd invite him on her backpacking trip of the great libraries.

Ron knew he'd always have a couch with Harry's name on it, no matter what he did.  He was just that sort of guy.


Hannah Abbot was walking down the hall with Hermione complaining about something girlish and trivial.  "I just can't stand what they expect of us.  I mean it's like we don't even have *rights* or something."

"We have a few," Hermione told her.  "We'll have to see how that goes.  What about your family?"

"I'd rather be disowned than do something disgusting like that."  She grimaced.  "Really."  Hermione laughed.  They got let into the Room of Requirement.

Draco stared.  He'd heard about the room and how to use it.  He had figured out that if more than one student needed it, it could probably create a separate space for them.  So maybe if he wanted hard enough....  He paced and wanted *so* badly to know what was going on. It let him slip in and he saw them all doing something with arcane symbols.  He hid in a shadow.

"Your hair shines thanks to the oil you use in it," Hermione called as she drew another symbol.

"Malfoy!" Potter complained.  "Go away."

"No.  There hast o be a reason why some of us realize something's going on and others don't."

"Maybe because you're used to watching people for small things that let you have power over them?" Ron guessed.  "Some day you'll make a horrible Minster for Magic, Draco."  He finished up his section of the circle with a sigh.  Hannah got hers and they grinned at each other before thinking up ice cream sundaes.

"Make me one," Hermione ordered.

"When you get done so you don't drop anything on the lines," Ron countered.

Harry went back to his own drawing.  "This is really insane.  Go away, Draco."

"No, I won't."  He came out of the shadow, looking at what they were doing.  "Is that for power raising?"

"Not quite," Hermione quipped.

"We're plenty powerful enough," Harry agreed.  He looked up.  "You're going to force me into using a memory spell on you, aren't you?"  Draco shook his head quickly, backing up.  "Then shoo!"  He fled.  He sighed, looking at them.  "I tried."

"We know you did," Hermione soothed.  "I'll talk with Snape."  She got up and went to do that.  Draco was already in there so she froze him and walked in scowling.  "He's upsetting himself quite a lot."

"You...." Snape spluttered.

She smirked.  "My last two lives I was a physicist."  She beamed.  He slumped, shaking his head.  "Can we please mute his memory of all that so he doesn't get himself hurt?  He's trying to poke his way into a situation that's already caused a lot of pain and three kids in the hospital."

"That diary," he sneered.

"We let the family handle her problem about being possessed," Hermione told him.  "We just let them know.  We did not expect it to explode the fireplace."

He considered it.  "I will suitably mute it."

"Thank you."

"Why are you two here?"

"Dumbledore summoned us against all that's supposed to go on."  Snape stiffened.  She smirked.  "He wanted a warrior.  The one he got....  Not exactly what he wants and he won't break him.  There's no way he'll break and do what Dumbledore wanted.  We may avert the problem but we're not his warriors."

"I see.  The ...odd inter-house relationship?"

"They were soul mates last life."  She shrugged.  "It's all good for us."  She smiled.  "Thank you, Professor.  Right now we're working on some unblocking  of Harry since someone clumsily put on some."  She walked off.

Snape unfroze Draco and did the memory spell himself.  Draco pouted at him.  "It is dangerous to get involved in that.  It will get you killed," he ordered calmly.  "Find another thing to wonder about, Mr. Malfoy."

"Fine," he muttered, walking off.  He still knew everything except what he had seen in the Room of Requirement.  It still bothered him and he wasn't sure why.  He ran into an odd little girl in the hallway wearing Ravenclaw's uniform and he knew, just *knew*.  "Room of Requirement," he complained with a point.  "Third floor."

She smiled.  "Thanks, Malfoy.  Nice of you to point me toward the nargles."  She strolled that way and the room let her in.  "Dudes," she complained.  "Felicitations and sunshine."

"Dean," Harry said, blinking a few times.  He couldn't help it, he snickered.  "I would've thought Sam might've been Luna Lovegood."

"No, I don't think they could use him this time," she complained, coming over to help.

Hannah smirked.  "We need more boys before they start saying things about Harry having a harem."

"Hey!" Ron complained.

She kissed him. "I knew you wouldn't.  You changed him."

"Ditto for me," Luna agreed with a grin.  "Though, I gotta say I appreciate what Sammy went through with his creepy, crawly mental powers of fucked up ness.  Because *damn*."  Hermione cackled.  "By the way, I'm a seer."

"Hey, we match," Harry quipped.  "I picked it up as Xander."  He grinned.

Luna slugged him on the arm.  "Pain in my ass.  What're we doing about the others?"

"Neville we're helping but there shouldn't be a need to start DA," Hermione said quickly.  She finished her section with a sigh.  "Thank you, Merlin."

"Forgot a dot," Harry said with a point.  She looked then added it.  They settled in to do the rite.  Harry's powers were finally unblocked.  All the things that Dumbledore had done before Harry had died and after Xander had been summoned, they melted off leaving Harry glowing and healthy for a change.  They settled in to make better plans.  Now that they had an extra hand, things would be easier.


Draco needed to know what was going on.  It was a deep seated mental command to know what was going on.  He wasn't sure why he desperately needed to know what was going on but he did.  So he stalked the group.  The inclusion of the new girl bothered him.  Something was about her.  A lot off about her.  She was, to use a muggle-ism, freaking his mind out.  And she liked to stare and grin at him like she was insane, which was probably what was causing the freak outs.

So when he caught them gathering again he snuck in better this time, using an 'ignore me' sort of spell he had found in the library.  If they could tell he was there, he was being ignored.  Which suited him just fine and whatever mental problem kept making him want to know was keeping things down when he was with them.  So that would continue.


"I think he's a conduit," Harry admitted later that night, once Malfoy had snuck back out.  "And I'm not sure why I think that."

Ron looked at him.  "Could be that a higher thing is using him."

"Just what we need, higher demons," Dean snorted.

"True," Harry sighed.  "We have enough of them right now."  He considered Malfoy and shrugged finally.  "We'll figure it out. We always do."  They nodded and got back to the serious business of learning heavier magics.  Ron hadn't used them in any of his past lives.  He had managed to miss magic all together actually.  Luna had been taught that magic was evil, even if it was a bloodline gift.  Hermione still didn't like to believe in it and kept trying to find the base physical laws that governed it.  Harry...  Well, Harry knew better than most what was out there and possible.  Including having books from the most ancient of demon cultures.  For this he might even break into his storage area that no one wanted to remember he had.  "We need to go on a trip this summer," he decided.

"Where?" Hermione asked.  She looked up from her reading.

"Celedin.  It's in Turkey."

"It's the major gateway to the demon ruins," Ron told her.  "Mixed city but horribly ancient and mystical in nature.  It's said you can't even find it if you don't know about the demons."  Harry nodded.

"We heard it's the demonic equivalent of a Tibetan monastery," Luna offered.  Harry beamed and nodded.  "Why there?"

"Because I haven't visited the old home wrecks and ruins in years.  I would've went as Xander but I didn't get to leave Sunnydale.  I got called for John and the city right after Sunnydale fell."

"Why isn't Jack's daughter one of us?" Ron asked.

"She never was.  We just prompted the city to make her since no one was in a free position."  He smirked.  "D'Hoffryn had to piss off the slayers highly to get me out of my life there to come to you.  And I still had to go back a bit in time."

"Huh," Hermione said.  "Though it was helpful."  She hugged him.  "We might've died willingly if it wasn't for you pouting at us to get all our power bars."

Luna snickered.  "He did that to Castiel a few times."

"You know, I thought I saw him lurking one day during Magical Creatures," Harry told her.

"No way," she complained.  "Ours?"

"No clue."

"Huh."  Luna nodded.  "We'll have to see."  They all closed their books when they started to get sleepy and curled up in there.  Now that Draco was gone the time distortion field had went up so they'd have a full week in here for the night it was back in Hogwarts.


Somewhere in Turkey, on the coast, a building shimmered into view in the bowels of a forgotten, hidden, mystical city.  It was a silvery gray building.  A temple.  The demons and half-demons all stared at it, a few looking around.  The answering temple wasn't showing up.  Something was seriously wrong somewhere.  Inside the temple they saw a glow and then a thunderclap.  "Bloody fucking hell!" a voice shouted.  "I'll kill Dumbledore for pulling him!"  The demons wisely fled.  When the Peace Child got mad, the world ended with a fiery crash.

They did not want to know why he was back suddenly.

They just wanted the Warrior Child to come save them.


Harry woke up sweating and nearly screaming, looking around his room.  "How did I get back here?" he muttered, looking around.  No Ron.  No others.  He stared.  This wasn't right.  He got up and found his dagger and wand, sliding them into his waistband and heading out at a great sneak.  He walked down to the common room and found... Draco Malfoy?  "What the fuck?" he demanded.  "Did you do something to the house, Draco?"

Draco stared at him.  "No, Alex, I did not.  It's just simpler this way."

Harry paused, staring at him.  "You're not Malfoy."

"No, but he was a bred sacrifice."  He stood up and moved closer, making Harry tense.  "You'd think after all these years you'd be happy to see me," he said more quietly then grinned.

"But... they killed you."

"They did.  They also entombed my spirit for a thousand millennia."  He stroked Harry's cheek with a soft, gentle smile.  "This isn't our way, Alex."

"This was not my doing.  Don't you dare bitch."

"I'm not.  Though things like this only seem to happen to you."  He kissed him, making Harry moan.  "That's my good boy, Alex."  He smiled.  "Not even you can release me before its time but when it is time, we will be brothers again.  Your mate comes sometime, I'm not certain when, but you must let them in."

"I'm more than ready for one," Harry said, staring at the being who had been family, lover, and savior to him more than once.  They had done for each other when they were put together.  "I thought they destroyed you."

"They tried awfully hard," he said with a grin.  "But you can't really destroy us, Harry."  He kissed him again.  "We'll be a trio or maybe I'll find my mate at the same time."  He winked.  "If you take over, remember to give it back this time?" he sighed.

"That's a last resort."

"Good!  You always stress out when you're in charge.  Then everything's like training for a battle."

"I've changed over the centuries."

"Good!  I'd hope so!"  He grinned.  "More peaceful?"

"That's not what lives they put me into."  He let his mental shields and physical ones drop to share with him.

The Peace Child shivered but let him see his loneliness and how tired he was of waiting.  He stared at his best friend and mate.  "Use it if you must and do send for your things in my temple.  Though, if Dumbledore comes back, I'm so watching you destroy him."  He winked.  "I've gotta go.  I'm only borrowing this mind."  He waved a hand.  "His father really did a crappy job making him a bred and born sacrifice."  He disappeared and Harry woke up with a gasp.

Ron lifted his head from where it was laying on Hannah's hip.  "Nightmare?" he asked quietly.

"They didn't destroy Sanda," he said, blinking a few times.

Ron blinked back.  "You saw it."

"He's trapped.  A thousand millennia."

Ron counted.  "That's in another thousand years then."  Harry swallowed but nodded.  Ron moved over to hug him.  "It'll be all right, Xander," he soothed.  "I promise it will be."  Harry nodded, calming himself down again.  "He might even come back to nag you about your temper again.  I heard all about the songs they made to your temper and his nagging."

Harry laughed.  "He nagged more than Hermione did in any lifetime."  Ron gave him a squeeze and let him go.  "His temple's back out so he said I need to get my stuff out of his closet."

"We can go," Hermione said.

"No we can't," Luna moaned, rubbing her head.  "I hate visions."

"Amen," Harry quipped.  "Why can't we go, Luna?"

"Because the city's going to panic if you show up with us.  There's a prophecy about so many redemption children being together in one life at one time.  It may be the end of demon kind."

"I'm not going to destroy them.  Though Sanda wanted me to destroy Dumbledore."  Ron nodded he agreed through a yawn.  Harry bounced up and started a summoning circle.

"Not in the school," Ron complained.

"Fine," Harry muttered, grabbing a few things and heading out.  He snuck past Filch but not McGonagall.  She caught him in the entryway.  He stared at her.  "I'm going out for some air."

"You should be in bed, Mr. Potter."

He stared at her.  "Professor, I'm going to talk to someone who needs to see me," he said, which was a bit of a lie.  "I don't want to invoke Halfrek in the school."  She blanched and shook her head.  "Since we have to discuss my family this summer....."  He opened the door and walked out, heading down to the ward's barrier.  He set up the calling area and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Until finally the one he wanted sighed and showed up.  "Want the names of six people who'd love to have you torture their families in return for going to get my stuff out of Sanda's temple?" he asked her.

She blinked a few times.  "Huh?"

He grinned.  "Sanda just showed up in a dream using a born sacrifice's body."

"He's dead, Xander."

"He's not dead.  He said they couldn't fully kill him, just trap him for a thousand millennia."

"Oooh, that's bad."  He nodded.  "Interesting.  Why do you need me?"

"It's in his temple.  I doubt they'd let me go to Turkey on my own right now."

"Good point," she admitted.

"I doubt I can get it all back here by in the morning."

"Better point," she sighed.

"He wanted me to clean out my closet there.  And if I show up, he said there's a routine freakout coming about how many of us are in one life."

"There's a prophecy," she admitted.  "But yeah, we already knew you were going to change things if necessary."  He beamed at her.  "I heard rumors of the temple showing up in Caledin."

"There's that one and in the ruins of our twin temples.  That one has a sealed storage area.  It has a lot of things I've collected through the ages."

"I can't get there.  We can't go into the doorway, Xander."

"Point.  Well, maybe we'll all take a trip."  He grinned.  "Is Sam here?  Dean thought he wasn't."

"Yup, but he's older.  And what is with all the girls?"

"Maybe they think they need the more logical tempers?" Harry suggested with a shrug.  "Evan's not liking it.  Rodney's freaking out at girl things.  I'm waiting until their first periods to flee in danger.  Dean's one too."

"Figures."  She nodded.  "Sure, I can do that.  Six whole students?"  Harry wrote out names and she moaned when she read each one.  "You absolute fucking asshole," she praised.  He beamed.  "Thank you, Harry."

"Welcome, Hallie.  Just pack it for me?"

"I can do that.  I've wanted to go back to the Gateway."  She disappeared.  "Mortals are coming."

"Usually."  He disappeared before they could get there, landing in front of Snape.  "I found out what's wrong with Draco."  Snape raised his head.  "He was a born and bred sacrifice.  Which means it's probably from one of his parents as well."

"Probably Narcissa since she's got siblings and Lucius doesn't," he sneered.  "How do you know?"

"An old friend went dream walking and used him as an anchor a bit ago.  He shouldn't have gotten anything from it but just in case...."  He disappeared right before someone knocked on the door.

Snape got up to answer it.  "Mr. Malfoy?"

"Potter's barmy and gives me a damn headache," he muttered, pouting at him.  "Something was visiting him but all I saw was us talking in the Gryffindor common room."

"So he told me."  He got him a specific potion they used on the spell damage ward and let him have it.  Draco went limp and Snape exorcized the spirit from him.  Then he sent him back to bed.  Snape went to look up wards on how to protect the idiot boy.  Maybe it would stop all this problems from Potter as well.  When he was in the restricted section of the library, a book floated in and put itself in front of him.

"Wards of the Ages," he read.  He flipped into it, finding it to be on the wards used for Camelot.  He got the point and found which one he needed, one to keep out spirits and other influences.  It had to be done on the boy's body, so an inking was in order.  Yes, he could do that.  It wasn't very hard in the least.  Not the tying down, not the tattooing process itself, and not the magical spell that would hurt Draco for a few days.  It might even be fun.


Ron looked up as the strangely large owl flew in with a small box.  He caught it when it dropped it.

"Thank you, Ceddie," Harry called.  "Want some sausage?"  He held up a link and the owl-like creature took it to eat on the way to the roof.  He smiled, taking the box from Ron.  "Thank you."

"Demon porn?" he mouthed.  Harry gave him a confused look so Ron pointed at the writing on the top.

Harry read it and burst out giggling.  "Sanda put it in there.  He always said I needed a diversion."  He tucked the box into his bag.  They'd open it later to see what she had found.  She probably couldn't have gotten everything out but you never knew about Hallie.  Harry spotted Luna looking over and grinned, getting a smirk back.  Then she went back to chatting with her oatmeal.  Someone had given it a face and a smart-mouth so it was talking back to her this time.  Her dormmates were giving her odd looks but they had no idea who could warp oatmeal into cracking dirty jokes.

McGonagall came down to get the bowl of oatmeal at one particularly raunchy one and walked it off to uncharm it.  The house elves took it from her once she had.  She went back to her seat to finish her own breakfast - thankfully not a talking one.

It was apparently going to be one of those days in the school.


Luna strolled up to Harry that afternoon after classes.  They were outside enjoying the weak sunshine.  Harry was nearly glowing with it at the moment.  "Harry, I was wondering.  How did the group get started?" she asked.

"That is a long story," he said with a smile for her.  "Very odd too."  He walked her off to talk to her.  Ron and the others followed.  They found a nicely open set of seats in the pitch out of the wind but open enough that they could see if someone tried to sneak up on them.  "Long, long ago, before the Ancients left, there were greater demon courts.  Like mediaeval courts, they had kings and queens and knights.  They mostly hid themselves from the Ancients because they thought they were uppity tossers, to put it bluntly."  He grinned when Hermione groaned and covered her face with her hands.  "When the Ancients left, the demon courts threw a lot of great parties, a few wars, and decided who would get the newly uninfested lands.  They considered them like roaches in a lot of ways," he said at Ron's odd look.  "Made a lot of comments about roaches."

"How did we go from demon courts ruling the world to humans?" Luna asked.

"Well...."  Harry shifted to cross his legs 'indian' style and lean on his knees.  "When the Ancients left the demon courts realized that the humans, for lack of a better phrase for them, had given a sort of balance to the powers that were floating around.  The humans could do things that they couldn't if they were attuned to the power flows.  There were a few of the Ancients left and a few that had been crossbred from some of the lighter demon societies with them.  Mostly drunken matches thanks to the Ancients going out to 'have some fun with the natives'."

"So, some of the young and dumb pulled a Viking and raped and pillaged," Ron said.

Harry nodded with a grin.  "That's how the first humans got started but there's also the ones that were slowly evolving.  The demon courts watched over them because it was great and confusing but they helped them along when they realized they were more attuned to the native magic than the demons were.  Some demons could use elemental magic but not earth magic, not the wicca sort of magic, nothing like that.

"At that time, they decided they needed to make sure that all of the humans didn't die off.  So they started what amounted to zoos.  Basically.  They kept them, fed them, watched how they did things.  Some were more zoo-like and some were more nature preserve like.  They put a village in a bubble so they couldn't roam too far, made sure there was food there, and watched how they grew and learned.  Any of the truly gifted they took out of the population to keep a closer eye on.  Can't have your animals getting ideas after all."

He summoned them some butterbeer and they all popped them open to drink.  "Back in the earliest days, some of them decided that the mage potentials were great sport.  There were some that did gladiator type things.  There were some that trained theirs in magic so they could do better sorts of combat and be protective.  It was a lot of what the Roman Empire did later on."  Ron nodded he heard of those years.

"But some of the highest academics they had realized that the senseless idiocy of the lowers meant that the spark that kept the balance was going to die out.  The kings didn't want to listen because that'd take their fun away.  So a group of academics decided to pick two to make sure that they spark lived on.  Which caused no end of shit for the academics.  They found me when I was about seven, eight, something like that.  I had just lit half a village of demons on fire for being mean to me.  I was on my way to be gladiatored.  Sanda was one of the belly-button, tree hugging, bastardized yuppie/hippie mixes from one of the special, protected villages.  He had been their healer and things.  They decided on us."

He took another drink and put the bottle aside.  "A few kings heard and tried to attack them so they did a few extra spells to protect us.  That's where the rotating immortality came from.  About a year after we were gifted, all the courts decided to try the demons who had done this to us, basically made us ascend to their status, for daring to be so uppity.  So they got their fair hearing, sort of.

"The demons pointed out, yet again, that they kept the humans around because of the magical sparks that balanced out the demonic magics.  But they were killing all them off and not letting them breed.  Which would mean that they lost all those sparks.  A few realized they were right.  A few hated that idea.  So they attacked.  Sanda and I were both killed.  They didn't even try to use an army to attack the tower.  They just blew it up with a comet basically.  Summoned one into the right orbit and let it hit the tower.  And the next morning we found ourselves in another body.  In the human world.  Which confused the hell out of us.  Though that time we had been born twins."

He grinned.  "Sanda hated that with a passion most of the time.  We had learned to like each other during that year of training we had.  They had originally hyped our powers and stamina so we could breed true, create a line of mages, all that.  Mixed some of their gifts into ours as well so they'd strengthen the human magic.  Mostly that was an experiment that the group allowed."  He took another drink and put the bottle aside again.

"The next life, one of the demon courts realized it.  They could feel the spark from that academic group's powers.  So they captured us.  And tried to kill us.  Which sent us into another life.  After about four of those, Sanda lost his temper and blew up that court.  And then firmly announced there would be peace.  Hence his name.  I guarded Sanda.  I had the weaker magic but the stronger physical skills.  So I was the Warrior Child because of it."  The group nodded.

"It kept going.  We did do as was needed, making sure that there were more mage potentials out there.  Mostly because we didn't want to be alone.  A few lives, Sanda and I ended up with merged households.  A few we ended up together after everyone had died of a disease we were immune to.  A few we were apart but we started to realize that we gave the people around us hope.  We were real honest when someone noted that we had skills."  He smirked.  "More than most would like.  So the rumors started that we held redemption from the strife, that we were encouragement for humanity to move forward and take control."

Harry finished his butterbeer.  "Then the wars started.  Which we did not encourage.  We didn't mind them but neither of us outright said 'let there be a war to take over control of this world'.  Frankly after the first few lives within the war, we hated it.  We hated it so hard.  The demons we were fighting against had better weapons, better skills, more knowledge, and targeted mage born again.  Because we had this nasty habit of panicking and blowing shit up.  A lot in my case."

He grinned. "I destroyed almost every single fighting arena they had.  At once.  Because I sneezed while pissed off.  They had taken that life's granddaughter to sacrifice and we couldn't get to her.  No one in the village wanted to go after her because she was mage born.  The humans were really starting to think that it was our fault.  The demons used that and got some of them to capture us. They had found a way for the demons to undo what had been done and grant it to king that the demons would fight to become.  We fought like hell.  They sacrificed over seven hundred mage potential children.  Building up to us.  And most weren't all that ancient."

He sighed.  "Then they came for us.  They were going to do it at the same time.  Unfortunately they hadn't thought about how badass either of us were.  Sanda killed every single one of the guards that came for us.  I was weaker, sick.  I had caught some sort of demon flu-like thing that was wrecking my magic.  I was so sick."  He shrugged.  "So Sanda completely ruined the ritual site.  That was the last arena left standing.  All the demon kings were there and would later on fight for the power.

"When they finally managed to get Sanda out of the cell the roof pretty well collapsed on all of them.  And me.  Which allowed me to call up some magic I didn't want.  We had been begging for the demon that was technically ascended and over our lives to come help us.  He wouldn't.  Which is when I found out that if you call on them three times and they don't come - if nothing's blocking them, it'd be a successful summoning otherwise, all those 'but' clauses - then you can take their powers."  Hermione and Hannah both shivered.

"At the time I didn't realize that until it happened.  When he didn't show up I started to shout that I'd do a better job than he would.  And I proved him right when I ripped his power from him and it killed him.  I've since found a way around that problem."  He grinned.  "Anyway, I got up out of the rubble, whole, healthy, pissed off.  Sanda was being weakened because they had stabbed him in the side.  I followed the magic, taking out half of everyone in my path.  The rest I just stabbed with the sword I got from an early one.  I got out there to see them sacrificing Sanda.  And then I lost my temper."  He got patted by Luna.

"It's okay," he told her with a grin.  "I know I was wrong.  Sanda's last act was to glare at me for daring to create pretty hell on earth.  Because the demon lords?  They didn't remember that they had come from somewhere.  Those demons didn't like to be called back from their rest.  At all.  D'Hoffryn was one of those.  He stepped in to take the powers from me before I cast a second spell to end more of the demons.  I had killed every single court member that was in attendance.  That left the lower powered people fighting for control.  Which was how I led a lot of groups at them to defeat them.

"D'Hoffryn kicked me into my next life himself and stole the powers from me so he could summon and send us on assignments.  By that time I had been doing it for sixty years in just that life.  I saw when they made a slayer.  I killed the ones who did it for daring to do that.  I supported her as much as I could but she was nearly feral.  We talked when we had to summon her to help with ADAM and the Initiative mess."  Hannah gaped.  He grinned at her.  "That's how we beat it, yeah."

"I thought you said she ripped out your heart," Luna said.

"She did.  She blamed people like me for what happened to her.  They were mage born.  I told her why it had happened when she showed up the last time.  How the current ones got better things than she did.  How we were working to make it better for the future ones.  She decided Buffy was strange and needed a warrior to mate with her."  They all snickered.  "But it happened.  And we moved on."

"We were called into service during the war, but after Xander had defeated a good number of the courts," Ron told them.  "We were asked.  D'Hoffryn saw how much hope he gave, how many wishes came from others wanting someone to help them the same way.  He figured it'd save him some work and maybe even balance out the fighting some.  Make them finally quit and go to a pleasant status quo."

"I never would've allowed it," Harry told him.

"We know."  Ron grinned.  "I was seventeen when I was asked.  My parents refused to let me join a war party.  They were going to breed me like a cow for the family's needs.  They had picked out three young girls I was to bed nightly until they got pregnant and then they'd pick me another two to spare them.  The rest of the time I could work with our animals."

"There were agricultural societies?" Hermione asked.

"Yup, they lost that skill during the war," Ron said with a grin.  "The demons decided they were the root of the uppity uprising so they destroyed them.  Very few of us survived but most of us that got picked by D'Hoffryn were either from one of them or from one of the warrior clans."  Harry nodded at that.  "Was Ronon?"

"No.  They never spread that up there.  The Ancients freaked out at demons.  Hated them like hell.  Thought they were an abomination of evolution.  They learned some from them but the ones that learned magic got banished.  Even if they did ascend.  Even if they wanted to learn how to ascend from them they wouldn't do more than travel to ask them questions.  They thought about them like Malfoy thinks about muggle born witches."

Hermione nodded.  "I've seen a few rantings in some private journals about such matters."

"When they came back and found the demon societies failing they were happy and decided not to interfere with their successor's race beyond the ATA gene," Ron told her.

"The ones with magic," Hannah asked.  "Are they still around?"

"Not in this galaxy.  The ascended ones of the Ancients kicked them out.  Basically sneered them to death.  That's why there's a small bit of missing normal Ancients.  They had a bit of a brawl and killed seventy percent of the ones that had ascended at that point.  Then a new group made it, among them Merlin, who created something that pissed them off.  Not that him pretending to be one of them didn't."

"Did you ever work with the other Ancients?" Hannah asked.

"No, they considered us an abomination and a failed experiment that should've been put down a long time ago.  I was politely snide to one I found watching Ancient Greece way back when.  For daring to see him, he started Vesuvius to ruin Pompeii.  They had a mage school hidden on the mountain's other side.  They didn't care about the rest of the mortals that had passed on."

"So real asshole sorts," Hannah decided.

"Yeah.  I'm not sure if one's going to interfere right now or not.  I've caught signs that one's watching the school."

"The best way to do that is to interfere with what Hallie packed for you," Ron noted.

"I saw the note on the bottom that said the aging spell had collapsed when she had opened the door.  That she had put on a temporary one for the whole box.  I'll fix that later."  He smirked meanly.

"Have you met any of the others?  Like some that had turned Ori?" Hermione asked.

"No.  They hated me and Sanda more than most of the mage born.  Magic really, seriously screws with how the Ori see things.  The one mage born Ori that happened they killed on sight.  He didn't get a chance to ascend.  Some of the ascended among them had told them a mage born had come to be and they killed him from afar, his whole family's house, all of it.  They made sure none of either family's lines got to go on.  Though it's the same gift that makes a harsesis child come to be."

"So...." Hermione said.  She had noticed Ron looking around.  "What if one's around here?"

"I don't know," Harry said, shooting a spell at them.  They appeared with a glare.  "Are you here to kill more mortals?"

"We were seeing why you were in this realm, boy."

"Technically, idiot, I'm older than you," Harry said with a smug look.  "You're one of the ones born after they came back from Pegasus.  By the way, we're also the ones that saved your pretty city from the wraith.  Destroyed them all."  They gasped and stared.  Ron smiled and waved.  So did Hannah and Hermione.  "Secondly, someone decided to be arrogant enough to summon me.  Apparently they thought I'd be their warrior.  I've since proved them wrong and am treating this life like a vacation."

"You should leave before you mess in things you do not understand."

Xander stared at him.  "If it wasn't for Alina's child, no humans would have any magic skills."  They glared.  "She was my aunt.  So technically these are my relatives."  He grinned. "It was her womb that gave the first fully human mages birth.  It was her urging that had them going out to make more as often as possible."

"If I remember the history I was taught, there were five founding lines?" Ron asked Harry.

"Eighteen founding lines, seven styles of magic, five of them considered human instead of a crossover or a crossbreed."

The ascended stared.  "You're Alexander," he said.

"Yes, I was."  He grinned.  "This time I'm apparently Harry fucking Potter."

The ancient being floated backwards.  "Why come here?"

"Not my choice," Harry pointed out.  "As I said earlier, I was summoned.  Directly summoned."

"The one who dared to warp the lines?" the ancient demanded.

"Possession ward," he said with a grin.  "They think he's a bit barmy."

They stared at each other for a minute then the ancient sneered.  "You don't need what you had stored."

"Actually I wanted the pictures.  Some new redemption children have been added and I wanted to show them off.  If you bothered that then I get to destroy you."

"You can't."

"The last one who told me that I blew up," Harry said, pulling magic and killing that ancient.  It exploded, shooting ectoplasm all over the group.  Harry passed out onto Luna.

"Are there more?" Hermione asked Ron.

"Two more," he assured her.  He pulled magic as well and they fled.  "And don't come back," he snarled.  "Or I'll go Ori on your asses!"  He moved.  "Harry?"

"He's fully out," Luna said.  "Pulse is a bit weak but he's not more than worn out from what I can tell."

Hermione did the checking spells.  "Energy drain."  The nurse and others came running.  "There was some sort of spirit that decided to sneer at us."

"He said he was one of the Ancient Kings," he told McGoangall, who gasped.  "It attacked Harry and he shot a spell back.  It's drained him pretty far we think."

The nurse nodded.  "We can stop that energy drain."  She did that and then summoned a stretcher to move him.  "Let's go inside before they come back."

Ron nodded, letting the girls go in front of him.  He spotted one watching and sneering so he shot a spell at him.  The spirit screamed, which the others heard.

McGonagall looked.  "Those aren't normal spirits."

"I'll get the defense teacher," Hermione said, running to get him.  The man knew something about Atlantis.  She had asked him about the myths and he had answered in a way that proved he knew something.  "A floating, ancient being attacked Harry," she told him when he opened the classroom door.  "He made one explode into goo."  She glanced at herself then at him.  "There's at least one more."

He stared at her.  "Here?" he demanded.  She nodded.  "That sucks."  He followed, going to shoot spells at the Ancient being.  "I saw one of you when you killed a whole tomb's worth of people," he sneered.

Ron came jogging out with Hermione's bag.  "Need this?"

"Bloody hell yes," she muttered, digging into it until she found something.  "This won't hurt anything non-electrical."  She threw it into the ascended being and it shrieked as it dissolved into a puddle that splashed on the floor.  The teacher looked at her.  She smiled.  "Things aren't always what they seem, Professor."

"I understand that," he decided.  "We'll be talking later."

"Take the Dumbledore cure," she advised.  "It's safer and easier."  Another two showed up and she got them too.  Luna came jogging out with a few weapons of her own.  "I doubt a shotgun will work," she complained.

"Blessed rounds will work against an ascended," she countered.

"Hold," a male voice ordered firmly.  The ascended sneered.  Hermione killed them for it.  Luna was staring at the guy.  "We will make sure nothing of the like happens again," he told the defense teacher.  "It is not time for this world to know about them yet."

"So they were Ancients?" Professor Williams asked.

Castiel nodded.  "They were.  They were out of bounds as well.  Those sort were not to be in this galaxy."  He stared at Luna and smiled.  "You look very cute like that, Dean."  He faded out before Dean shot him with the special blessed bullets.

Luna looked at Hermione.  "I hate angels sometimes."

"You're the one that taught him to pick on people," she shot back.  "I'm sure he was much more uptight before you two.  I know I was."

"Yeah, he kinda was."  She looked around.  "I can feel the one that's left."

She appeared with a smile.  "We would not harm you children.  Even if you are not what you seem."  The girls glared at her.  "Some of us are just and simply like to watch things."

"You make sure if they come for Harry that they know we'll destroy the rest of them," Hermione told her.

"Of course I will."  She smiled.  "Quite interesting."

"Yes, well, I learned it when I saved the city from the wraith."  The ascended gaped in awe.  "I was her head engineer."  The Ancient nodded and faded out.  She and Luna shared a look.

"Don't even think about trying to memory charm me," Professor Williams warned.

Hermione pulled out something and flashed it.  Then they walked off.

"How did you make an MIB flashy stick?" Luna demanded.

"Trade secret."  Hermione smirked back.  "Take engineering classes like I suggested last life, Luna.  If you had, you'd be able to make your own."  They walked up to the infirmary.  Hermione got the box and had Ron talk to someone who could fix that problem.  Who ended up inside of Draco Malfoy again.  Sanda was not a happy camper and went to destroy them himself after fixing the spells.  Only one thing crumbled and it was a very ancient painting.  There wasn't much they could do to save it outside a stasis spell.  They did and it was easier.  The picture was blurry but still mostly seeable.  It was clearly a house picture.  No people or animals, just a house.

Draco came back and took off the stasis spell, letting it crumble.  "It would be cruel," he told her.  "Alex deserves better."

Luna looked at him.  "Are sentinels real?"

"In this realm, yes.  So are time lords before you can ask."  He smirked.   "My idiot son's antics have kept my sleep unhappy for years now."  He looked up then at her.  "By the way, you're working in this realm for the next few lives, children.  That one needs some recovery time.  The city's children will fill in for you for now."  He faded out of Draco.

Draco blinked at them.  "I do not like this trend," he complained.

Hermione used her flashing stick on him too.  She went back farther on him.  She got the rest of the people waiting around as well.  Even Bill Weasley.  The group plopped themselves around Harry's bed until sense came back to the adults.

"Have I mentioned recently that your brain is a scary place?" Ron asked her.

"No but thank you for that compliment," she said with a smirk and a few bats of her eyes.

"No flirting with my man, even if your giant, scary brain is turning him on," Hannah hissed and pinched her on the arm.

"I'm so very glad I don't have to have that talk with anyone," Luna said, smiling at Ron.

"Me too."  Hannah swatted him so he settled down to be a good boy.  For now.  He summoned their bottles and traded with Hermione since hers now had a bug in it.  He banished the bug and took a drink with a sigh.  He'd take butterbeer over Bud Light any day.  Definitely one of the few reasons to stay in this life:  quidditch and butterbeers.  And Hannah.  He looked at Luna with a grin.  "How are your nargles?"

"They're trying to tangle themselves up again but you never know what they'll do next.  The Unitoppers and the bubble beasts are worse at it."  She rubbed her head.  She hated that she made no sense when the visions came.  It wasn't even usually important ones, just spot ones when she touched something with a magical residue.


The auror Tonks showed up to take a report because the wards' alarms had went off but then had quickly stopped.  They didn't know why and the head auror was too busy to come ask himself.  "Wotcher, Luna," she said with a grin.

Luna stared at Nymphadora Tonks/Samuel Winchester.  "At least Dad would be less happy about you than me," he decided.  She cackled, patting her on the head.  "Why is it I got the creepy mind powers this time and you got the physical powers?"

"Don't know," she admitted with a smirk.  "Just lucky I guess."

"Next time I get to be the hero stud and you can keep the creepy mind powers."  She walked around her.  "Harry's in the infirmary."

"Why this time?"

Luna smirked.  "They don't know."

Tonks went to talk to everyone who had been involved.   What the house elves said was interesting and dangerous.  Everyone else decided it was a prank that had gone wrong.  Which explained why Malfoy was watching them again to the adults.

Snape pulled Draco aside later on.  "That marking should have prevented it from going on again."

"It normally would but we didn't account for the fact that the spirit is nearly ascended and trapped," Hermione said as she walked past them.  "Or that the spirit is a centuries old mage born warrior from the human/demon wars."

Snape grimaced.  "That is impossible."

"Sanda," she said happily.  "He thinks he's nice."  She turned the corner and walked off again.  Her duty was now done and she could have some free time reading fun with her new physics textbook.

Snape grimaced but took Draco to look up that spirit and see how they could block it from using him.  That really was irksome but it meant he'd get to have some more fun putting another mark on Mr. Malfoy's very pale, soft skin.  This one was even more intricate.  Draco tried to flee but unfortunately it was necessary fun for his professor and godfather.


Later that night, Harry snuck out to where Draco was pouting outside.  He peeled up the edge of the bandage to check, making Malfoy stiffen.  "Hold still.  I'm checking his handwriting.  Sometimes they have to be very precise."  He looked and shook his head.  "He forgot one whole section."

"Can we do them in the painting on way?" Malfoy asked quietly.  "And who was he?"

"Sanda."  He retaped it before sitting in front of him.  "I'm not sure the painting on ways would go deep enough.  I know he didn't use specially blessed inks."  Draco whimpered, shaking his head.  "That will work unless Sanda *really* wants to take you over again."

"He's...  he's powerful," Draco said.

Harry nodded.  "He was.  He was sacrificed for it."

"When?  What I'm seeing isn't the modern world."

"No, not by a long shot," Harry agreed.  "That was before the world was run by humans."  Draco slumped, shaking his head.  "It's gotten you involved in a battle you weren't meant to be in, Draco, and I'm sorry about that.  That's why I'm trying to protect you."  Draco sneered.  "There's no way you can fight against them."

"And you can?" he sneered.

"It nearly killed me earlier to kill one of them."  Draco slumped and lost the sneer again.  "There's a lot you don't know that's going on and we're trying to keep you out of it but you keep sneaking in."  He stared at him.  "Snape hasn't done a bad job so far.  He's missing a few tiny figures.  I'll find out if there's someone who can do the full set properly for you without it hurting too much more."

"It's still hurting, even with a pain potion," Draco complained.

Harry nodded.  "You still have pretty sensitive skin.  Some of us got it tougher by repeated roughhousing and being hit by bigger things."  He stared over Draco's shoulder.  "Castiel, is there someone who can protect him?"

Castiel peeled up the tape to look them over.  "A few of them are in the wrong spot.  Most won't matter but a few will."  He touched one of the new ones, earning a hiss.  "That one will leave you open to the ones who wanted to show up."

Harry nodded.  "So we'd have to do something drastic?"

"Quite."  He patted the boy on the back, retaping it.  "For that you can be unconscious and wake up when it's better."  Draco smiled at him.  "I will talk to someone.  I am not really allowed to do mystical markings."  He looked at Harry.  "What is wrong with her?"

"Visions.  Heavy, hard hitting ones like Sam used to get.  Mostly over nothing important."

He nodded, going to stop Luna's current run of them.  She went limp against him when his touch stopped them.  "I will ask to see what we can do," he soothed.  She grinned.  He kissed her on the forehead and left to do that.  The other angels sneered at him.  So he showed them why he cared.

The head angel shuddered.  "We have no intention of doing that here, Castiel."

"I know."

"The redemption child....  You wish to fall to save him?" he asked.

"I do not wish to fall, simply to mitigate the visions.  The me in that realm cared very deeply for Dean Winchester.  More than he probably should have but he was nearly his acknowledged mate."  He went to get Luna and bring her up.  She was still having visions.  He read them as he stopped them, looking at Gabriel.  "Sam.  Would you save her?"

He nodded.  "This time."  He went to do that, glaring at the ascended.  "Leave this redemption child alone," he ordered calmly, touching Sam to stop her problems.  The things binding her fell off and she was pissed off.  "You cannot harm her kind, Sam.  It takes someone very strong with magic."

"Which I now have," she said simply, destroying the being.  She panted, holding her chest.  Gabriel touched her on the shoulder, easing it some.  She looked at him.  "Thank you."

"Though it is not the same realm, we have seen what happened before."  He brushed some of her hair off her face.  "You look cute with the pink hair and the shotgun."  He smirked and disappeared after flashing into his true form for a second.

She stood up, wincing and holding her chest.  The few people who had witnessed it her partner was dealing with.  The mess was still there.  "Don't comer near the redemption children," she told the mess.  "We're not nice when we don't have to be."

Her partner got finished and walked over slowly and carefully.  "What the fuck, Tonks?"  He reached out but couldn't make himself touch her.

She looked at him.  "That was an ancient spirit that shouldn't be here.  They've killed thousands of beings, muggle and wizard."  She shrugged and winced.  "And it hurts like a bitch so I'm going to have a lie down."  She walked off rubbing her chest.  Mediwitches were waiting.  The unspeakables were waiting too.  "An ancient."

"Bloody fucking hell," he muttered.

She stopped him from moving.  "That's why the wards went off.  Potter got one.  Granger got two with a muggle weapon.  The defense teacher got another one."  He nodded.  "Granger had something that did the same obliviate spell non-magically."

"Good!  Saves me some energy."  He went to work on the current problem.  Including her partner.


Head of the DMLE Barty Crouch Senior walked into Tonk's room at St. Mungos.  "Well," he said, staring at her.  "That was a bit of stress."  She nodded.  "How many more?"

"I'm hoping they decided losing them is a good reason to stay away."

"I hope so too.  Granger's a bit...odd, even for a muggle born.  So're you by the way.  I've noticed it's odd in the same way."

"Well, yes.  There's a reason for that."  She smiled.  "I can't tell you why though."

Castiel faded in and stared at her.  "He may know.  He will not use it," he told her.  "The Hosts of Heaven are going to make sure they do not come back."  She pointed at the other corner where one was.  "That is also why I came, Sam."

She grinned.  "Thanks, Castiel."

Crouch stared at him.  "As in an angel?" he demanded.

Castiel smiled.  "Archangel.  In their last lives, I was helpful to them.  I guarded that one's brother as if he was my mate.  We were battlefield companions."  The auror slumped and nodded.  "This life, it is different and we're in a different realm.  Therefore I cannot do more than my assigned job as an angel.  Neither can she do more than her assigned job as an auror."  He glared at the spirit.  "Go.  Now."  It huffed but disappeared.  He rolled his eyes.  "Things will go as they will but most of them have been pushed back out of this galaxy."  He smiled at her.  "You will feel better soon, Nymphadora Tonks."

"Just Tonks, Castiel."

"Fine.  Just Tonks then," he teased with an evil smirk.  "Your former brother does have too many visions."

"Are you going to be her guardian angel this time?"

"It is apparently necessary to stop the minute visions from doing what they nearly did to you and did do to Cordelia Chase."  He disappeared again.

Tonks grinned at her boss.  "In our last lives, my brother and I got messed up in an angelic plan to end humanity.  Which we stopped."

Crouch stared at her.  "And here?"

"I'm a redemption child."

He nodded once.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem, boss, but I don't really need anything special.  Outside watching over the one at Hogwarts, I don't have a lot to deal with."

"That's even better.  How would you like Shacklebolt as a partner?"

"I guess we'd work.  He picks on me a bit and he's a good fighter.  Doesn't believe your wand is everything."

"Good.  He requested you.  Said you were pretty ballsy to kill the ascended spirit that way."  He smirked.  "Which one is up there?"

She shook her head.  "It's a complicated, frustrating thing, boss.  Let's just say it's not normal and we're all trying to fix it because the same thing that caused us to be here, caused them to be let in again."

"Voldemort?" he asked quietly.

"No.  Something Dumbledore did.  He didn't realize it'd have that side effect and probably didn't much care when he did it."

He nodded.  "Then he's staying in his little room upstairs."  He walked off, going to talk to Shacklebolt.  "She's agreed but now and then she'll have a guardian angel visiting her," he said once his auror was in the office with him.  "The angel's guarding someone at Hogwarts who was her brother in their last life from his visions."

Shacklebolt nodded then shrugged.  "That's fine.  I can deal with weird things."

"Good.  She'll get out later."

"We can go for beers and talk."  He walked off, going to check on her.  She looked up from her puzzle book when he opened the door.   "If you think you're good enough to sneak out, we can get a beer."

"Make it a whiskey shot and you're on," she said, changing form and clothes so they could leave together.  She summoned her wand and clothes once she was outside.  Then they went to the bar.  She could really use a drink.


Draco came back from his weekend away with the guy who did the mystical tattoos that Hermione found.  He was grimacing but looking less pained.  "Being unconscious did make it hurt less," he said dryly.

Harry grinned.  "Good."

"He showed up during it to tell him that he could still get in."

"He has to want it really hard, Draco.  There's others that are born and bred sacrificial channels."  Draco gave him an odd look.  Harry nodded.

"Bloody hell," he muttered, walking off to tell Snape that.  Plus to be checked back in.  Snape looked them over.  "I'm a born and bred sacrificial channel?"

"Your mother was bred as a sacrifice of power," he said quietly.  "She killed the one that was going to use her with your aunt Bellatrix's help."  He nodded.  "Very fine work."

"Apparently he can still get in but he has to want it really hard and it will keep me from remembering anything in his spirit."

"Even better."  He handed him back his shirt.  "I believe it's nearly curfew."

Draco nodded.  "Thank you for the help."

"It's not a problem in this case."

Draco walked off happier.  He wasn't in pain this time.  He hadn't had to remember living through that massive of an artwork.  Or them having to strip the skin off his back and regrow it to start again so they didn't have to deal with Snape's misplaced things.  Maybe he'd study that art.  It seemed to be a dying one but an important one.  Snape seemed to enjoy making him scream so maybe he would enjoy doing it to others.


Harry and the others met that night in the Room of Requirement like usual.  "All right, we have a few more things to deal with.  The remaining horcrux?"

"Bill has a good idea.  He's run into them in a few tombs," Ron said.  "What about yours, Harry?"

"Well, I either have to expel it or die for a few minutes."  They all glared at him.  "CPR, people."

"No way in ever bloody hell," Hermione assured him.

"Okay.  Then we need to find some other way to expel him."  They all nodded and got into the books for that.  "Also, the whole Sirius Black thing?"

The group considered it.  "Dumbledore's not blocking it," Luna said.  "Tonks knows about us."

"It's kinda neat that Sam's a metamorphagus," Harry said with a grin.

"Very but he gets the creepy mind powers back next time."

"Just as long as I don't get them," Hermione complained.  "I'd hate to ruin my genius mind with them and they appear to carry over."

Luna looked at her.  "Shut up."  Hermione smirked back.

"If you two have a girl fight the boys will expect torn clothes and hints of panties," Hannah said absently as she read.

"They have to wait until we're older and we go naked mud wrestling," Luna quipped.

"Eww," Harry complained.  "You were both my parents, people.  I don't want that mental image."  They snickered and patted him but got back to their current plans.


Ron came up with an idea to deal with the Pettigrew/Scabbers situation and get a bullying, problematic student out of the school.  They could even use Draco Malfoy for it.  He had caught one of the younger Gryffindor kids crying because the stupid seventh year had somehow managed to lay claim to their owl and was going to hurt it.  So....  He walked past Malfoy during a class change.  "Talk to me later," he hissed.  "It's important."  Draco grimaced but slightly nodded.

After that class was lunch and Draco was hanging around outside the Great Hall to wait for him.  Ron walked up behind him.  "There's a seventh year that needs to be watched tonight," he said quietly.  "He's gotten a first year to help him do something extremely sickening and you won't want him in the house after that."  Draco looked at him.  "Cranston."  Draco nodded and walked off.  Ron went to talk to that first year, letting her have Scabbers for that bet.  No one's owl should be that traumatized.

But since Scabbers wasn't really a rat....  Well, the rat would prove his worth later.


Draco watched the seventh year lazily, trying to figure out what was going to happen.  He saw one of the kid's hench idiots show up with a bundled, wiggling package and he knew.  He just *knew*.  He went to the bathroom, which was connected to their dorm as well.  Yup, he was right.  The idiot was going to inflict sexual torture on an animal.  He went downstairs, nudging Crabbe and Goyle.  "Go get McGonagall," he ordered in a hiss.  "Then get Snape.  Make sure he gets here second."  They nodded, looking confused.  "And do be fast."

They casually walked out talking like they were going to the library then ran for their targets.  Draco went back to the bathroom, going to 'fix his hair'.  He listened, the door was open for anyone to see and be disgusted by what was going on.  So when the rat changed into a person and started to beat the naked seventh year, Draco shot ropes at both of them.  Conveniently just a few seconds before McGonagall got there with Snape huffing behind her.  He pointed in there.  "The adult wizard had been a rat that our seventh year was going to use as a *toy*," he told her.  He looked at Snape.  "I doubt you wanted that in the house, Professor."

"No, I'd rather not have such things."  He went to look, staring at the rat.  His stomach sank.  He knew that man.

She walked in and stared.  "Mr. Malfoy, a hundred points for finding a supposedly dead person," she said, her voice like ice.  "And stopping a seventh year who was planning on doing the most disgusting of things."  Draco nodded his thanks and left.  "While you're there, have the defense teacher call for an auror please?" she called after him.

"Crabbe, have the defense teacher get McGonagall an auror or two," he called as he walked down the stairs.  He rushed off.  Draco sat down on the couch.  The rest of his yearmates looked at him.  "Cranston's fun project of the night turned out to be an animagus."  Pansy shuddered and Millie went to vomit.  "Yes, that was my feeling as well."  The defense teacher ran up the stairs with a pair of aurors behind him.  Draco got a funny feeling from the female one but maybe she wasn't like Potter.  She winked at him and he knew.  He was surrounded by people who weren't supposed to be there.  At least none of them were in his house.

"Professor," Shacklebolt said, staring at the two bound people.  He tipped his head to the side.  "I know him from somewhere."

"That is Peter Pettigrew," Snape said dryly.  "Who Sirius Black supposedly killed."

"Huh," Tonks said with a nod.  "Figures."  Her partner looked at her.  She just smiled.  "Not like the Ministry got anything else right.  Can't even pay us the right rate.  I got paid like a secretary this time."

"Good point.  Do I want to know why the other boy is naked?"  McGonagall shot a spell at the bound man and he changed into a rat.  Snape trapped it with a sneer.  "Huh.  So...."  Tonks shuddered.  "Good job," he told the professors with a grin.

"Mr. Malfoy somehow knew and got us," she admitted.  "Perhaps they can share a cell for real?"

"Might make it more interesting," Tonks agreed.  She magically put the clothes tossed on the bed on the naked kid so they could bring him in.  "Was he hiding as a general rat in a store room?"

"Mr. Malfoy?" McGonagall called.  He came jogging back up to the bathroom doorway.  "How did you find out?"

"Weasley overheard him blackmailing one of your first years for their owl and changed them out from what I'm told," he said dryly.  "He warned me."

She grimaced.  "Interesting."  She picked up the cage to look at it.  "I do believe that is Scabbers."

"We'll check their kids," Shacklebolt promised with a grin, taking the rat.  Tonks took the kid and they walked them off so everyone could see their shame.

"You might check for feathers," a female voice called.  "There's a few missing owls in the owlry."

"We will be," Tonks called with a wave back and a grin.  She looked at her prisoner.  "So, owls too?" she asked dryly.  He sneered.  She sneered back.  "My aunt does that *so* much better."  Shacklebolt snickered and nodded.  They took them back to the Ministry.  "Think they should get to share a cell since they're so friendly?" she asked her partner.

"That's just mean, Tonks."  Their boss came out to look at them.  He shook the rat, who tried to change back.  He got caught anyway.  "Thanks to that one *liking* animals, we found this supposedly dead illegal animagus, boss."  He grinned.

Crouch stared at him.  "Pettigrew," he said, looking confused.  "Sirius Black killed you....  Huh.  Get me that file, Tonks."

"Let me book this one in for his animal habit," she said.  "They suggested they could share a cell."

Crouch looked at her.  "No, let's not.  Pettigrew might kill him for it.  Any idea where he was hiding?"

"As a Weasley pet," Tonks said with a grin.  Her boss glared.  She grinned brightly.

"I'll check them later," Crouch noted.  "Get me that file and make sure he hits Azkaban tomorrow morning."

She nodded and they settled in to do the reports.  She got their office house elf up.  "Lawey, please get the full Sirius Black file for the boss."  The house elf nodded and went to find that.  The poor thing was mute after a lot of earlier mistreatment; he had adopted the department to be owned by when they had saved him during a raid.  She looked at her prisoner.  "Like them too?" she asked him.  The kid growled but Shacklebolt was snickering at his desk.

Crouch came out with the file.  "Where's the court transcript?"

"Wasn't one?" she guessed.  He stared at her.  She shrugged.  "I tried to look when I was younger since my mum's related."

He went to look that up in the official trial records.  They recorded who got one automatically once the paperwork was filed.  He heard Tonks telling the kid's parents cheerfully that he was found to be molesting animals and winced at her lack of tact.  Maybe the kid wouldn't make it to Azkaban.  Which honestly suited him just fine.  Nope, not in the records book at all.  Interesting.  He considered it and went to the senior judge.  Not Dumbledore or Fudge, but someone with a different political agenda.  He needed to warn him not to eat breakfast anyway.


Molly Weasley smiled at the auror who appeared at her back door.  "Yes, Auror Crouch, is there a problem?  Did the twins blow themselves up?"

"No, Molly.  There's a problem though.  May I?"  She let him in.  He sat down across from her, pushing over the two pictures.  "Recognize one of them?"

She looked.  "I recognize both of them actually."  He nodded.  "Oh, dear."

"We need to check the kids and you two for spells."  He smiled.  "Won't take but a minute and once I clear Bill he can do that."  She beamed and nodded.  "Calming potion?"

"Ron called and said to take one tonight.  I thought it was the twins."  She took another drink.  "At least Bill's nearby at the school."

"Excellent."  He patted her on the hand.  "I'll get him and you tell Arthur?"  She nodded, going to wake him up from his post-dinner nap.  He summoned Bill by floo.  "Need to check you for funny spells, then you can do the rest."

"Sure," Bill said, coming through.  "What sort of strange spells?  Did I hit the wrong compulsion artifact at the school?"

"No, dear, it seems our pet rat was actually a dead man," Molly said with a smile.

"Mum, you overdosed on the calming potion," he said with a grin of his own.  He let the auror check him.

"Mostly not noticing him it seems."  He ended those and another he found.  "Huh, not noticing something on Ron."

"I'll pound him later.  Probably the old wand he's using."  The auror smiled and left him to do it.  He'd report anything he found later on.  His mother's calming potion OD was very helpful.  So was his father's calmness.  They had about the same sort of spells he had.  He called Charlie and had someone there check.  They could remove them and report anything odd.  Bill went back to the school to gather the kids.  He tested them all, ending the spells.  "Scabbers wasn't a rat," he told them.

"I knew something was off about him," Ginny complained.  "Ron never could change his colors."

Bill smiled at her and patted her on the head.  "You're all clear."  She beamed and left with the twins and Percy.  Bill stopped Ron.  He locked them in and did privacy spells.  "We're going to talk."  He stared at Ron.  "Why is there demonic magic on you, Ronald Weasley?"

"Because some of us are reborn," he said.

"What?" he demanded.

"What prophecy has Snape been muttering about?"

"Redemption...  Shite!"  He stared at him.

Ron grinned.  "Something was going on in a bad way and a few of us got sent to handle it.  It's not the normal thing."

"So why can't you pass Charms with a better grade than I got?"

"First magical life, Bill.  My last one I flew planes for the US military."

"Oh."  He blinked a few times.  "Huh."  He tested him again.  Then shook his head.  "Anything else I should know?"

"Hannah's my actual mate," he said with a smug grin.

"Good on you.  I'll ease on that with Mum later on since she's taken too much calming potion."

"Knew that switching Scabbers for that one kid's owl would help," he quipped.

Bill gaped.  "Excuse me?"  Ron explained the whole thing and Bill shuddered.  "I need a bath," he muttered.  "With really strong soap."

"Us too.  But I figured he'd change back to prove himself."

"Sure did apparently."  He patted him on the head.  "Your little group helping Harry?"


"Good."  He undid the spells.  "Hit the books.  I expect better from you now that I know, Ron."  He shrugged and went to do that.  Bill went to tell his supervisor that and why they had needed an auror.  His boss kindly gave over the bottle of fire whiskey.  The teachers had the stash of confiscated hooch for their needs.


Luna walked up to Ron and hugged him.  "You're my favorite Fizzlesnort."  She walked off again.

Ron stared at her.  "We've got to get those visions calmed down," he said quietly.  Hermione nodded at that.  "Any idea how?"

"Ask Harry?" she guessed.

"Did I hear someone talk about visions?" the divinations professor asked from behind them.

Ron looked at her.  She looked sane today for some reason.  "Luna?" he called, bringing her back.  She was grimacing but she was sucking on a sour lolli anyway.  "Is there anything that works to block you off?"

"Not that I can find."  She smiled at the teacher.

The teacher stared at her.  "Oh, dear.  Spot visions?"  Luna nodded.  "It figures.  I felt someone having them."  Castiel walked up behind them and swatted Luna on the head, earning a yelp.  "You are not the normal soul."

He smiled.  "No, I am not."  He looked at her.

Luna looked at Ron.  "You're mum's going to throw a panicking fit about Hannah and Hermione.  She thinks Hannah's parents won't accept it."

"I'll be disowned then, thanks," Hannah said with a smile as she joined them.  "What about that herb tea that Sam used to use?"

"It will not work," Castiel admitted.

Professor McGonagall walked up to them.  "This is an unusual gathering."  She looked at the adult.  "Are you a Ministry official?"

"Her guardian angel," he said with a smug look.  "I'm stopping her spot visions again."  McGonagall gave him such a strange look.  He smiled and faded out.

She blinked a few times, looking at the students, who all nodded.

"Castiel's pretty cool and he's a warrior angel too," Luna said with a happy sigh at the end.  "I like the guy for stopping the fkadkdkdd..."  She trailed off into more gibberish.

Ron pointed.  "That's one."  They got her against a wall and tried to help her.  Castiel came back and stroked over her hair, letting her pass out.  "Strong one?"

"Panicking idiots in charge."

Harry walked past them.  "I'm handling that."  Castiel smirked at him.  "I did learn how to be devious, Castiel."  He cackled on his way to Professor McGonagall's office.  "I'm using your floo, Professor."  She stomped off after him.  He knelt in front of it and called out to the Daily Prophet.  "Hello, I'm Harry Potter."  The witch on the other side gaped.  "Someone owled me that my parent's killer never got a trial?"

"So someone at the Ministry leaked," she admitted cautiously.

"I more than most would like to hear what he says under truth serum.  I want to know what happened that night.  Can you help me with that?"

She smiled.  "I can definitely put that out there, Mr. Potter.  I think a lot of people would like to know."

He gave her a look.  "Considering there's twelve books on what happened and they're all citing different rituals, rites, and events?  With at least seven I'm told are top sellers?  Probably."

She cackled.  "Good point.  Can I quote you?"

"Yes.  Yes, you may."  She beamed and signed off.  He looked at the professor.

She stared back.  "Interesting."

"He didn't get one.  Hermione looked too.  When we heard who the rat was...."

She nodded.  "That was my idea as well.  That and they should share a cell."   He smirked and snickered as he walked off.  She went back to helping Luna, who was now in the infirmary.  She had a migraine from the visions.  The divinations professor was giving the nurse ideas but Poppy had her own.  Castiel had his and was overriding both of them while Hermione mixed a few potions together for him and added something once they were warm.

Castiel delivered it to Luna, helping her sit up to drink it.  "The chocolate will cover the stronger tastes," he said quietly.  She nodded and drank, grimacing.  She laid back down.  Slowly the pained look eased and she was able to sleep.  Hermione was writing down the recipe.  Castiel smiled.  "Thank you, Hermione."

"I hate to see anyone suffer, especially not a friend."  The nurse and teacher stared at her.  She handed it over.  "He had me make it."

"Who is he?" Poppy demanded.  Castiel smiled and exuded a bit of his angelic powers.  She gasped and backed away.

"I'm the Archangel Castiel, her guardian angel, Mediwitch Pomfrey.  That potion has the best chance of easing any episodes.  If she takes some each day it should cut out all but the most dire.  I am working to find a way to pass them on but that would take cooperation from some other Powers."  He bowed to the ladies.  Then he petted Luna's hair.  "Rest, Luna.  You need to rest."  He disappeared.

"He told her the bit of chocolate melted in helped ease some of the taste that'd make her vomit," Hermione told them.  The mediwitch smiled and patted her on the cheek before looking over the recipe.  The teacher was telling her how each one worked to block other sight.  She left the teachers to do their thing, checking on Luna before going to class.  She ran into Professor Flitwick.  "Luna's in the infirmary napping off a migraine from another set of visions," she told him quietly.  He gaped.  "When she goes into nonsense, that's when she's having one."

"Oh, dear.  I didn't even consider that for a cause."  He went to check on his student.

Hermione smiled, going to Transfiguration.  "Professor McGonagall will be right down.  She's with a student in the infirmary."  They all nodded, pulling out something to work on.  She sat down at her usual desk and pulled out a book to look through.  It was a new biography.

"Who's that?" Draco sneered.

She looked at the cover then at him, smiling.  "The person whose mathematical work led to the invention of airplanes and space shuttles; things that fly without needing magic."  She got back to reading.  "He had other formulas that haven't been as widely explored."

"Muggles fly?" Pansy demanded.

Hermione looked up and nodded.  "Airplanes are self contained metal tubes with wings and engines that hold a lot of people and go nearly everywhere on this planet.  Space shuttles go into space.  To the moon and a few satellites, like the space lab."  She smiled.  "They're presently working on sending equipment to Mars to look closely at their ground, soil, and air composition."  She got back to reading.

"No one can reach the moon," she snorted.

"They did it back in the late sixties," Harry told her, looking over at her.  "Sixty-nine if I remember right.  Some Americans did it.  Russia had the first animal in space and I think the first human but they reached the moon first and put up more satellites than anyone else.  They launch from Florida."  He got back to his essay for Charms.

Ron blinked at him.  "Dad told us about it, showed us a book that had pictures from them walking on the moon."

McGonagall walked in.  "Why are you talking about astronomy?"

"Hermione's reading on the guy who did the math to start the space shuttle and plane programs," Harry said, smiling at her.  "Pansy doesn't like that muggles can do such."

"There's no way," Pansy snorted.  "You can't breathe on the moon."

"They have special suits for that.  They include tanks of air.  Like for those who swim underwater to wrecks and things."

"They can?" McGonagall demanded.

Hermione nodded, smiling at her and summoning the book she had in her trunk.  It floated in.  McGonagall took it to look at.  "That's on the moon exploration and the differences between it and the proposed missions to Mars."  She put her reading book away.

McGonagall looked it over.  "Pictures."  They nodded with a smile.  She handed it back.  "I'd like to borrow that sometime, Miss Granger."

"Of course, Professor.  It's a fascinating area of study.  Quite a lot of math at that end but still a lot of new discoveries."

"But... but... you can't fly a broom that high up," Pansy said.

"Space shuttles," Hermione said, pulling back out that book.  She showed her a picture.  "These are fuel pods that get sent off once they're empty.  The humans are in this section," she said with a point.  "This is a storage bay for whatever they need to bring up."  She turned the page.  "That's an airplane, it flies in our atmosphere but it holds a lot of people at once.  They range from two people ones to ones that hold over a hundred people."  She looked and flipped the page.  "That's a picture of the moon landing.  They're standing near one of the craters."

"That has to be faked," Pansy said weakly.

"Talk to your astronomy teacher," McGonagall said.  "She should be keeping track of those things."  Pansy nodded, settling down at that.  She smiled at Hermione.  "How many other planets have we visited, Miss Granger?"

"The moon in person, Mars by robotic device to take samples and pictures."  She smiled.  "Plus a few satellites as they passed by there.  There's also some debate going on about Pluto being downgraded from a planet due to its size."

"Interesting."  She started their lesson for the day, thinking about how losing a planet would make their astronomy teacher go into a tizzy.  She did so love her planets and alignments.  She wondered if the muggle studies teacher went over such facts.  She'd have to check into that.  After all, they were sharing a country with a lot of them and had to understand them better to be able to hide from them.


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