Title: Reunion (Thanks to Laura for the name)

Author/pseudonym: Voracity

Email address: bookwrecker@yahoo.com

Rating: ::Snorts and shrugs shoulders::

Pairings: see above

Fandom: see notes

Status: Done, and with a sequel

Other website: http://www.e-fic.com/~voracity/

Disclaimers: do you really think you've seen me on tv promoting it? Then I'm probably not the owner, I'm only having fun. As there are various owners this time, let me make it known that asking me for money is like squeezing blood from a stone - usually not a worthwhile waste of time.

Notes: Can we say AU Crossover? I knew you could. <G> I'm doing my usual 'take a favorite character and run' thing with this one, putting a bunch of my personal faves into the HP verse. You'll see, it'll be fun and rewarding. And maybe even funny. BTW, this happens during an AU fourth year in the HP verse, about two weeks before the other schools show up. Some casting notes: Scribe and D'Nalia have agreed to appear in here. Scribe is a wonderful woman named Emilia Dorekson. D'Nalia, in line with her heritage, is a woman named Tipsy Ramvette. You'll appreciate them, both women have so far. As an added thing, the value of gold quoted is as of the morning of September 15, 2003.

Summary: it's reunion time and Dumbledore has asked for a bit of help from some of his former students.

Warnings: my sense of humor? Sweaty men? My cats helping me type?

The big red train pulled into the Hogsmeade station, off-schedule but definitely on time this time. As wizards and witches piled out, the residents of the town watched in awe. For you see it was the time of the reunion. With first war over with and the second about to begin, Dumbledore had called upon his old students to come back so they could discuss plans. He knew he couldn't count on all of them, but a great many of them would be willing to help in their own ways. Witches and Wizards waved at their old friends, smiling and chatting as they loaded up to take the carriage ride up to the castle. The students, who had been dismissed for the day, were hanging out the windows, watching them pull up. A few of the more adventurous ones looked up at them and waved, smiling at their new house-mates. A few of the more surly simply walked inside the castle, going to wander around. Most of the first class of American exchange students were in the first group and they were all happy to be back.

Dumbledore greeted each of his former troublemakers warmly with a hug and a handshake, or a kiss on the cheek for the ladies. He invited them all to the special lunch and dinner, then let them find their favorite teachers of years past. He saw one shy wizard he remembered fondly and pulled him in for a strong hug. "Philip, you came," he said in relief. "I need to speak with you," he whispered.

"I had to come, Headmaster, you know how I am," Philip Callahan said softly, smiling at him. "I nearly had to drag Nick with me, but he's around here somewhere as well."

Dumbledore laughed. "I'm surprised you could find him! Didn't he disappear into the American muggle's Navy?" Philip nodded. "Then I can't wait to hear all the stories you could both tell me." He patted the man on the back. "Hagrid's outside if you wanted to stop in and see him. He's our Care of Magical Creatures teacher and our Keeper of the Keys." Philip smiled and headed out that way to talk to his old friend. Dumbledore saw another student, long missed, and laughed. "Ah! The Wizard of Blood!" he said happily, hugging him. "How are you, my boy?"

"Good," Greg said with a slightly naughty grin. "Even though I went the way I did, I'm rather happy. I help the bad muggles get caught and throw them into places where they suffer."

Someone coughed from the shadows before walking out. "Wizard of Blood?" Snape asked dryly of his former favorite student.

"I work with a crime lab doing sample analysis." Snape frowned and Greg grinned brighter. "What did you expect after I nearly got killed? Me to sit by and let them win?" Snape laughed and shook his hand. "So, how's the new crop?" he asked as he walked his mentor back down to his offices.

"Slow, dim witted, and dreadful," Snape answered, letting him into his private office. "Sit." Greg sat down, arranging his robes around him. "You test samples?"

"And do DNA, things like that mostly," Greg agreed. "I analyze crime samples to catch criminals."

"I suppose it must pay well," Snape admitted with some fondness.

"Plus, I have a lab all to myself and no one says anything about my little 'projects' in the corners as long as it doesn't cut into my work time," he said with a tip of his head. "How are you, Master Snape? I know things haven't been that easy by the news that's leaked to America."

"Not at all well, but I manage to survive to this day," Snape remarked. "You look like you're in good health. Is that a tan?"

"I live in Las Vegas, sir, what did you expect me to do, stay pale? I work nights." They shared a small laugh. "Anytime you want to escape, I've got a spare room and you're more than welcome to come visit. I'll even introduce you to some of the pretty showgirls I know."

Snape shook his head. "I have no need of women, Gregory, and you know it." They shared another smile, Master and prize pupil bonding again. "Down to business I suppose."

"What can I help you make? Or should I be ready to set up a sanctuary for some of the Slytherins?" Greg asked.

"I could use some help with figuring out what Longbottom has done to one potion. I don't know how he's done it, but it's crawling around in his cauldron." He pointed at the carefully covered cauldron against the wall. "Between him, Potter, and Weasley, my nerves are shot and I may be taking you up on your offer soon. Either that or go on a suicide mission."

"Sir, don't even joke about that. I'd have to come back and teach classes for you. Think about how horrible that would be."

Snape chuckled. "I fear they'd like you more anyway. Besides, you have more patience with the hopeless than I do." He stood up. "Shall we? I need to identify this life form before it starts to grow again so it can be killed." Someone tapped on the door. "Go away, Malfoy!" he called. Only he would have dared to interrupt this meeting.

Draco Malfoy stepped in and held out a letter. "It came from my father, with a shock if I don't deliver it quickly enough," he said, waving his hand in the air once it was taken by this new person. He looked him over. "Who're you?"

"I'm Greg Sanders, I went to school with your father, the schmuck," Greg told him simply. "I'm Master Snape's most prized pupil." Draco nodded, giving him a calm look. "You really are your father's boy, aren't you?" he sneered.

"I haven't finished growing yet," Draco pointed out blandly, looking at his Head of House. "Sir, with all due respect, I've had to pull Crabbe off one of the women who just came in. Perhaps you should give the tours or allow me to lock him in the bathroom?"

"Fine," Snape said with a hand wave. "Lock him in the bathroom or bind him to his bed with his textbooks. He could use the time to do his homework." Draco nodded and left. "Which one of the veelas came with you?" he hissed.

"I believe it must have been Malfoy's dear cousin, Emilia. I saw her on the platform but she refused to answer when I waved." He shrugged. "She's a snotty bitch, but she does attract trouble like Goyle and his family."

Snape looked at him, recognizing the bitterness of love gone wrong, and decided not to say anything about it. "I see. I'll check on them later," Snape decided, uncovering the cauldron and catching the slime before it could move. "This is what he did with a simple floating potion."

"How in the world?" Greg asked, staring at it. "Longbottom's parents weren't that bad!"

"His Grandmother raised him," Snape said gently.

"Oh. No wonder," Greg said with a frown. "Should I talk with the boy?"

"I doubt it'd do any good at this late of a stage. I have no doubt that if someone needs to speak to him, one of the *good* boys also came."

"I sat with Philip Callahan on the way up, and that weak one, Nick Boyle," Greg told him. "Philip's a priest. He even let them break his wand." Snape shook his head at the, to him, stupidity. "I know you wanted more for him."

"I expected more from him," Snape corrected. "His abilities drove him that way and nothing can be done."

Greg leaned closer. "The boy works with the Dark, Master Snape, he might be worth talking to." Snape nodded. "As does Boyle." He looked impressed. "The Legacy, I saw Nick's crest."

"Oh, dear," Snape sighed. "They've sucked in more of us. One of these days, we'll have to bring their judgmental asses into compliance or get rid of them," he sneered.

"Then let's encourage them to join the war," Greg said with a grin and a wink, making his master laugh heartily, a sound very few heard, but that he heard often during his training. "Shall we? So I can tell Longbottom what not to do next time when I talk with him tonight?"

"You're too soft for you own good. One would think you were a Gryffindor instead of a Slytherin, Gregory."

Greg shrugged. "What else did you expect after having a few years working with the police in Las Vegas?" They bent to examine the being in the cauldron, hoping they could fix it before it spread further and ate them.


Hagrid looked up from his whittling as a shadow moved across him. "Philip!" he cried, getting up to hug him, nearly smooshing the poor man. "How are you?" He pulled back. "You're a priest?"

Philip smiled and nodded. "I felt I had a calling beyond my skills in the Dark Arts," he agreed. "Nick!" Nick hurried over to him from talking with Madam Sprout.

"Nick Boyle, as I live and breathe," Hagrid said, giving him a hug too. "Welcome back!" He clapped them both on the back. "Fang!" His dog ran over to sniff the new friends. "This here's Fang, my friend." They both petted the dog. "How've you been?"

"I've been better," Philip admitted. Nick punched him on the arm. "Do it again, Boyle, find yourself in the lake."

Nick laughed. "Sure, you say that now, but the last time you ended up in the lake," he taunted back. Hagrid laughed and Nick turned a bit more serious. "We heard, Hagrid, and we want to help. Who's running Potter and the Order this time?"

"Dumbledore of course. We'll be meetin' tonight I'm sure, probably after dinner so as to not arouse suspicion." He winked at them. "What're you doin' now, Nick?" Nick held up the pendant he wore. "You're with those buggers? After what they did to your Da?"

"They were the only show in town that would let me be myself," Nick told him. "Philip's in there sometimes too. Like a yo-yo." Philip groaned and shook his head. "You are! Are you coming back this time or not?"

"I'll have to I guess," Philip admitted. "With what's been going on in the Church, it's making me sick so I'd best leave for a bit again. I'm sure Derek will love this one."

"Derek's always up for a fight against the Dark, he won't care that it's wizards this time," Nick reminded him. "After all, he didn't blink when he found me studying a few weeks back."

"You never told him?"

"Tell Derek Rayne that I'm a wizard, and nearly a squib? With the hunter his father was? I wasn't sure he wasn't going to be a bigoted ass about us." Nick chuckled as Philip nudged him. "Then we found out Derek's been possessed once and it was a bit more cool. He is an ass, but not about us. More about demons than wizards."

"Good," Hagrid said firmly. "I'm glad you've got friends in the big world over there. I worried when you went back to America. Big place for such a little boy."

"Little?" Philip laughed. "He eats like you, Hagrid! All the time at that!" Philip told him. He glanced around. "Where's the Defense teacher?"

"We've got Moody this year," Hagrid said proudly. "Not as good as Lupin was last year, but still decent enough. Oh, you've got to meet Harry. He's a right gem. Him and Weasley."

"Potter and the Weasleys hooked up?" Philip asked, starting to laugh. "That's got to be a match in insanity!"

"Only sometimes," Hagrid admitted with a big grin, winking at them. "C'mon, I'll show you my latest pretties." He walked them into the sheds with the creatures, showing off his current friends. He remembered them fondly from his days as a student. They had been his best human friends.


Blair Sandburg looked at around the greenhouses, taking a deep sniff of the various smells. "I missed this place," he decided. He heard discreet digging and walked that way, pouncing on his old teacher to give her a hug. "Madam Sprout," he said happily. "I've missed you."

She squealed and hugged him. "Blair Sandburg! You old reprobate," she said fondly. "Are you still charming all the ladies?"

"And some men," he said with an impish grin. "Oh, and I've got my own Sentinel now! Jim's a former Army Ranger." She scowled. "I've used so much that you've taught me because that man is allergic to *everything*." They shared a laugh and he leaned on her as they toured the greenhouses together, chatting about what he had seen.


Remus Lupin looked up as the door opened, smiling at the people standing there. It was after dinner and all the various friends had come together to figure out what they could do to help the fight. He shook Philip and Nick's hand, nodding curtly at Greg. "You came all the way from America?"

"I come from the land of Sin," Greg said with a teasing smile. "Not even you would find it hard to fit in around my town. Vegas, baby."

"You live in that den of iniquity?" Blair asked as he walked in. "Beats the heck outta the Home of Rain, Cascade," Blair admitted as he walked in. He grabbed Remus and hugged him hard. "Hiya, Reamie." Remus swatted at him and he laughed. "It's good to know that you haven't let time sour you as much as it could have. Come see me sometime, okay? I can probably get you a job in my neck of the woods. We're filled with Pagans."

"Really?" Philip asked as he and Nick settled in, looking at the teachers walking up to join them. "That must be interesting. Are they helpful?"

"Until my Sentinel has to talk to them, then they're grumpy for months," Blair said with a grin. "Priest, Philip?" He nodded. "Why?"

"Because I do good work," he pointed out gently.

"Yeah, but you can't do what you were good at!"

"Bet me," Philip said with a sly smile. "I've done six exorcisms against Doctrine this year so far."

"It's only August, I thought most of them happened around the holidays," Nick pointed out as he changed seats. "Hi, Blair."

"Hey, Nickie!" He gave him a hug too. "How's it goin'? I heard you got stuck in a bad way and had to run to the Legacy."

Nick sighed. "I'm second in command in my house, under a Rayne. But he likes demons more than us." He grinned. "It's not so terrible."

"One would have thought that they'd be able to see their noses in the dark that they keep harping on," Greg noted as he sat down. "So, bossman, what's going on?"

Dumbledore smiled at them. "We've had intelligence that a raising ceremony has begun to bring back Voldemort." He held up a hand at the indrawn breaths. "Unfortunately, Mr. Potter and he have already met three times, gentlemen. Once more or less in the flesh, once from a piece of his soul in a book, and once through Mr. Black and Mr. Pettigrew. This year I fear he will meet fully in person and bad things will be started."

"I wondered why we were celebrating you being the Headmaster for seventy-three years," Blair noted. Dumbledore smiled at him. "What do you need?"

"I've talked with a few other of the former students. Most of them have started to gather closer to home. I know for you four that's nearly impossible due to your jobs." They all nodded. "I had hoped that the Order could count on you four for your help. In your own fields, you're the best there is. Remus, perhaps they can find a safer place for you as well."

"I know a few places that would kill to have him there," Greg assured him. "A real werewolf at the Planet Hollywood would bring in masses of tourists and the rest of the time he'd only have to answer inane questions. Unless he wanted to set up as a paranormal researcher, Vegas has its fair share of hauntings and the like." Remus shrugged.

"I'm doing the college thing so I could probably get him into Rainier," Blair offered. "I also work with the cops so I can even find him a safe place to be, serial killers beside the point." He looked at Greg. "Wanna transfer to my neck of the woods? We've got a creep hunting our Blood Geeks. We've lost two in the last month and had three more injured checking out scenes."

"Nah, I'm working for the bug guy," Greg said fondly.

"Grissom? Damn! I met him a few years back at a speech, he was a really interesting speaker and a great guy it seemed."

"He is. Doesn't always use his sense of humor and he thinks I'm odd, but he's generally a good boss to work for." The others laughed and he turned back to give Dumbledore a smug look. "I think I'm in the best position to set up a sanctuary, Headmaster. Vegas sees an incredible number of tourists each year and most of them are easily lost if they don't make themselves known."

"I'll keep that in mind," Dumbledore said fondly. "Nick, Philip, can you get the Legacy to back us up? The Ministry is being a bit difficult." They nodded. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, Derek's heard something through his contacts about a great dark power and he's ready to jump and hit it," Nick assured him. "Derek's *all* about killing the dark side."

"Good. I'm afraid we might have to rely on some of the more circumspect members. Philip?" Philip nodded. "I don't want to impose, but I know your present position is hard to work around."

"I can ask to be transferred back closer or I can go back to the house with Nick and work on translations and things for you there."

"I'd almost rather you took a sabbatical and set up to do translating work closer to here," Dumbledore said gently. "I know it will be hard."

"Headmaster, have you seen some of the shite in the Church these days? I can't criticize God, but I can criticize the people he's picked to run it. A few of them are imbeciles of the highest magnitude and even I can't find patience for some of them." Snape looked at him and he shrugged. "Even I have a limit."

"That comes as a surprise, you always were the most patient being on the face of the earth," Snape reminded him. Philip smiled at him. "If he's staying, I want him to tutor Longbottom and Weasley in Potions," he put in.

"That'd be fine. The boy's a good one, just needs some care and someone to give a damn about him, not his past," Philip assured him. "I've taught at schools before. I had some of the worst beasts and some of the best little ones ever." He looked at Nick. "You want to stay with Derek?"

"He needs me, Philip; I can't leave him because of this." Philip gave him a smile. "Thank you for not saying anything."

"Love is love," Philip quipped.

"You're dating your boss?" Greg asked.

"So am I," Blair put in. "He's really charming, yummy, and a big hunk of chocolate energy." He wiped the drool off his chin. "I haven't told him yet, but I think his son's really cool and he'd understand."

"I'm glad you've found someone to calm you down, Sandburg," McGonagall said, staring down at him. "I'm sure it will save a lot of wear and tear on the world."

"I'm not that bad," he teased.

She nodded. "Yes, you were." She smiled at the boys and girl walking in. "Potter, Weasley, Granger, these are our first three exchange students. Sanders, Sandburg, and Boyle. Callahan is a local."

They shook hands all around, but it was Blair who stared at Ron. "You've got a destiny," he noted. "Try not to die, someone's depending on you living."

"Huh?" Ron asked.

"He's a Guide," Blair announced. Everyone stared at him. "It's my area, guys, I have a Sentinel of my own. One of us can always find another." He looked at the boy again. "Do really well in herbology, you'll need it, trust me."

Hermione coughed gently. "Why would he? What is a Guide?"

"I'm a Guide to a Sentinel," Blair told her. Her face lit up. "I take it my book's here?" She nodded. "Good, then find it and give it to Ron. He'll need it soon enough." Dumbledore coughed gently to make them pay attention to him. "Sorry, but better to get them off on the right foot instead of letting them flounder. It sucks when they start to fight the future."

"It's understandable. I heard you've had some problems on your end."

"If there hadn't been such a media circus, I would have simply obliviated the person who read my diss," Blair sighed. "But then it got into the news. And another one stepped forward after I tried to lie to protect my sentinel." He shook his head slowly. "I don't know what's going on, but I've got my Doctorate and I'm not happy in either job."

Snape looked over as the door opened and someone walked in, a female someone they found out as soon as she took off her cloak. "Who are you?" he demanded.

"Willow Rosenburg." She looked at Dumbledore. "The Powers sent me. I close Hellmouths and stick souls." They all gasped and she grinned and shrugged. "What can I say, it's necessary, I'm from Sunnydale."

Dumbledore laughed. "I had heard that one of us managed to survive over there without going insane."

"No one ever said I was fully sane," Willow pointed out. She smiled at the only person she knew, Father Philip. "You left right when we really could have needed you. Can you bless some more water for Buffy? She's been banned from most of the churches in town."

"Of course," he said with a smile. "I'll send some out as soon as I hit the muggle world again."


"Normals," Nick explained. He looked her over. "She's not carrying a wand." He stood up. "You're a Wiccan." She nodded. "And you do major magic?" She nodded again. "Why aren't you evil?"

"Because you people can't see past the little pert upper class noses on your faces," she said snidely. "Some of us aren't bad and we're not going bad! Now sit down!" He sat, staring at her because she had compelled him to sit. "Thank you." She looked at the Headmaster again. "I got told to come see you, you'd brief me, figure out a time for me to be needed, and I was going to go back home until then. As is, I'm skipping courses and homework time." She crossed her arms and looked at Snape. "Say it," she encouraged.

"You're a ballsy little brat," Snape sneered.

"There's good and then there's *good*, you vamp wannabe. I'm *good*. As in it's not bragging if it's true sort of good." He laughed and she smirked at the others. "Anything figured out yet?"

"I believe we could use you, but I'm not sure when," Dumbledore admitted, sounding amused. "How did you get in here?"

"I hit the barrier and walked. Nasty thing that barrier."

"It protects the school," McGonagall said sharply.

"A school full of wizards and witches and you need protection spells? Who is the fuck and where is he?" she sighed. "I've got a Slayer at my disposal."

"Wow," Nick said, staring at her. "They exist?" Willow nodded. Nick looked at Philip. "She knew you how?" he asked his best friend, tamping down the hurt for not being told this juicy piece of gossip.

"I was sent there," Philip said grimly. "The Hellmouth, charming place to die." He patted Willow. "Calm down, dear, it's not time to get pompous yet. And please, stop drinking the Starbucks specials." She laughed and hugged him. "Thank you, Willow." He smiled at the Headmaster. "It's early where she is," he pointed out. "She was probably up all night."

"I'll have her shown to a room," McGonagall said, peeling the girl off her student and walking her out of harm's way. Snape was going to kill her, she could tell.

Dumbledore blinked a few times. "I had no idea we had garnered such attention," he said finally. Philip snickered. "I'll need to know what you know about her."

"She's what she says she is, but the dark streak I first saw is starting to widen. Be careful with that one, she *wants* to be good."

Greg cleared his throat. "I know this sort of thing wasn't my best subject, but huh?"

"She's a wandless witch," Snape told him. "They're prone to being overwhelmed and seduced to the dark. If she's that powerful, then she's a double-edged sword."

"Oh. Okay. I guess that's okay." He looked at his tutor, Philip, who had been the top student in Defense for all his years and had reset the benchmark for tops for everyone who came later. Philip nodded. "Okay then, now what? By the way, how did someone raise Pettigrew from the dead?"

"He never died," Dumbledore said sadly. "He's the betrayer, not Sirius."

"Cool. And?"

"The mutt is annoyingly loose," Snape sneered. "Do watch out for him, he seems a bit rabid recently." Harry glared at him so he glared back. "You had something to say, Potter?"

"Just that you're judging him on what he was *before* he was tormented in a hellish existence for nearly fifteen years," Harry sneered. "I'd like to see you live it and come out the same person...sir."

"Harry," Dumbledore said gently. Harry backed down. "Thank you. This is not the time for that." Someone knocked and another teacher joined in. "Ah! I had wondered if you had decided not to come," he said happily.

Mad Eye Moody looked at everyone, paying particular attention to Philip. Then he looked at Dumbledore. "I had to talk someone out of stealing from Snape," he said, sipping from his hip flask before putting it back. "What's the decision?"

"Some of us are staying," Blair said, starting to frown. Philip and Greg both looked at him and Remus frowned at him. "Hi, Moody."

"Sandburg," he said with a nod. "Nice to see that you've calmed down." He looked at Dumbledore. "Which ones and how are we going to integrate them?"

"I'm sure we'll work that out later, Mad Eye. If you wanted to do a hall patrol, go ahead," Dumbledore said calmly. He waited until the teacher was gone to look at Blair. "What's wrong?"

"He didn't call me a pet name," Blair said. "That's not Mad Eye." Dumbledore opened his mouth but the door was opening. "McGonagall, he didn't call me his pet name, that's not Moody," Blair insisted.

"That's true, he always called Blair Springy," Remus agreed. "That was rather odd."

She nodded. "I've seen some other odd quirks. I had been hoping age hadn't gotten to him but I suppose I was hoping in vain. The girl's settled near Philip's room, so he can calm her down if she has another bout of excitement."

Dumbledore smiled. "Excellent." He stood up. "Whatever you four can do to help us would be most appreciated. If you have any ideas, let me know before Sunday?" They nodded and the Headmaster went to talk to another group of students.

"That wasn't Moody," Blair told his friends as they left. "I swear it's not." He frowned and glanced around. "I know cells won't work here. Philip, how far did the barrier go?"

"The edge of the woods on the far side," Philip said quietly, glancing around. He saw the Weasley son standing nearby. "I'm going to chat with him, I'll see you later?" Blair nodded, walking away while still frowning. Philip walked over to where Ron was leaning against a wall watching them. "Philip Callaghan," he said, holding out his hand.

Ron shook it. "Ron Weasley, youngest son. Who're you?"

Philip smiled. "I was the top Defense student in my years," he said gently. "Now I'm a priest and a teacher myself. I study languages." Ron nodded, looking happier now that he had some idea. "Do you play?"

"No," Ron said, shaking his head. "My older brothers do though, they're the beaters for the house team."

"I've missed quidditch, tell me about the last few games, Ron?" Ron nodded, leading him out to a spot where they could look over the fields. He could trust someone who had studied so hard in the Defense classes.


Blair checked his position then flipped open his new cellphone, a gift from Simon. He dialed home, withholding a wince for the roaming charges he was going to get. "Hey, it's me," he said happily. "Yeah, the reunion's going great," he admitted happily. "I've rejoined most of my pack of rough students and we've been telling stories all day." He laughed at the comment about his stories. "I know, I could probably overshadow them all, but I'm trying to be good." He glanced back at the school. "Simon, what are you doing right now?" He listened to the description of dinner. "Is Jim or anyone there?" He hummed. "I'll be back in half an hour, have Jim there." He smiled at the protest about him being in England. "I'll be there in half an hour, have Jim there," he repeated, then he hung up. He concentrated on the picture of Simon's back yard. It was a hellishly long apparation but he couldn't make a portkey to save his own butt. He started off, hoping to keep his stomach contents where they belonged.

Someone walked out of the woods whistling. "All the way home?" Greg asked, impressed in spite of his jaded nature. "Well. Must be one hell of a lover." He grinned and looked at his Master. "He'll be back soon, you know Sandburg."

"Yes, unfortunately I saw quite a lot of him," Snape agreed. "Come along, let's get these ingredients before the store closes."

"Your wish and all that, sir," Greg quipped, following behind him.


Dumbledore walked into the sitting room, smiling at the people sitting there. "William," he said, giving him a hug and a clap on the back. "I see you've met Deke Reynolds and Emilia Dorekson. And Methos," he said fondly, giving him a smile and a handshake. "Why did you come? You weren't one of mine that I remember."

Methos smirked. "Because you needed me, you old coot. That and I heard how much trouble you've had with Defense teachers recently. I thought I'd put my name back on the list as it appears I did so well with your class," he said with a smug hand-wave at the Headmaster.

"How old are you?" Deke, a six-foot-five, athletic, African-American asked.

"Five thousand or so, give or take a few centuries."

"Cool." Deke smiled. "I wish I could anticipate that sort of longevity in my own life, but when you live by the gun, you die by it; usually in a horrible and messy manner."

Methos nodded. "I remember, that's why I live by the sword." He looked at the unknown member of the group, the one watching them. "You seem familiar."

"I was a first year the year you left," the young man said.

"You can't be," William, also known as William the Bloody and Spike, piped up. "Xander, you're a liar and why you can't tell the truth I'm not sure."

"Because I tripped a curse while I was curse breaking and deaged?" Xander said snidely. "Shut up, Spike." He looked at Methos and smiled. "You don't recognize me? I look nearly the same, Professor Methos."

Methos laughed. "Alexander Dumass. You haven't changed much," he agreed, shaking his hand. "How old are you?"

"Seventeen," Spike said snidely. "Old enough to go back through here again."

"If my wand still worked, I'd hurt you and make you beg," Xander said pleasantly. "I'm nearly eighteen, just a few more days." He looked at Methos. "It's horrible, but I'm glad someone stopped it before I became an infant again. And then our beloved Transfiguration teacher stuck me on the fucking Hellmouth! Thank you for that, Albus, I'll have my Slayer buddy kick your ass later for it."

Dumbledore gaped. "Rosenburg's here," he said.

Xander stood up. "Then I'm hiding. She doesn't know. She'll *never* know, Albus, promise me."

"I won't out you," he said, regaining his happy mood. "Not a bit of a word to her, Alex. I promise." He smiled. "Why doesn't your wand work?"

"The curse changed me. Now I'm a geeky teenager with memories that fight my body, hence me being geeky and awkward, unable to fight, and more often than not able to be possessed. I need refitted," he finished with a shrug. Spike gaped at him so he hit him in the head with a book. "Open your mouth again and get staked, I'm not putting up with you."

Spike closed his mouth and nodded. "Of course," he agreed. Now that he knew, he knew he was in big trouble. That boy was legendary for killing things that got in his way before he had mysteriously disappeared. "What about your parents?" he asked. Then he flinched when Xander glared at him.

"Ask him, I've been wondering that for a while now. And if I could find an owl I would have yelled at him sooner."

Methos chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm always happy to hear that things worked out splendidly for my students. Sit down, Alex. It can't be that bad."

"I turned back to a five-year-old," he protested. "He gave me to some punk-ass muggles who owed him one for saving them, and they're drunks by the way, thank you for that as well, Albus. I've had to regrow on the Hellmouth, Professor! The Hellmouth! I've had a friend eaten and I had to stake him! I've had to watch Willow get her magic working and mine be stuck because this body I deaged into is now warped and I can't get anything to go right. I'm a magical bomb waiting to explode and *all* the little creatures can feel me." Methos pulled him back down. "In short, most of the time I'd rather be dead and now I'm here to help?"

"Mr. Potter is facing the Dark Lord soon I'm afraid. He'll need all your help."

"Yes, that's something else I wanted to talk to you about, Albus," Xander said in a deadly smooth voice. "I've seen Mr. Potter and recognize some of the things about him from personal experience." Albus Dumbledore actually flinched. "I should hurt you for doing that to my great-nephew."

Methos pulled him closer, giving him a short neck squeeze. "We'll work on fixing you and the boy," he said quietly. "Calm yourself before I'm forced to harm you."

"Yes, Professor, as long as something's done," Xander agreed, staring at Albus. The Headmaster looked away first. "When, where, and for how long?" he asked.

"Three encounters. I've heard rumors of a raising ceremony, and we're not sure of when," the Headmaster told him. "Can any of you conveniently hang about?"

Methos shrugged. "My life is flexible. I could always take up my former studies at St. Andrews." Dumbledore gave him a gentle smile.

Emilia Dorekson coughed gently, stopping Spike from staring at her chest. "Do you really want me here?" she asked in a sultry voice. "I am rather...distracting," she reminded him with a wink and a naughty grin.

"My dear, you're a charming and wonderful diversion not only for me, but for the hormonal wastelands in the dorms," Dumbledore said, kissing her on the cheek. "I welcome any and all help such wonderful Veelas as yourself can give me."

"I'm only half, but I can foresee myself taking up the cause of my *dear* cousin, Draco."

"Malfoy's your cousin?" Spike asked.

She nodded. "His mother is my first cousin, though she's loathe to admit it most of the time these days. Her husband doesn't approve." She laughed and the whole room was drawn to her bosom. "We should set up a guest lecture series, Albus. Or perhaps I could teach Sex Ed?"

He chortled, shaking his head. "The Board would not approve, especially since your in-law presently has them cowed. But I can allow guest lecturers. Dear, Emilia, life has been so boring since we haven't had anyone to peel the boys off of."

"Or to lock in rooms when the womanly hormones got out of control?"

"Or that, or even to egg on the girls to snare their menfolk and hold them tightly to their sides. There hasn't been one single set of handcuffs in this school since you left."

She giggled lightly. "Then I should correct that oversight." She leaned back, crossing her legs. She noticed Alex staring. "Your new body works?"

"I'm nearly eighteen, Emilia, but even at my right age of almost sixty I'd still react."

Spike laughed. "You're in so deep. This is one area where Vampires are free." She kissed him on the cheek, and his face went slack as all thought left his head. "What was I saying?" he asked in a dreamy tone.

"Nothing, just that you were going to perform oral sex for me later with someone of my choosing. After all, I only watch, I never touch. Touching is naughty and leads to all sorts of complications." She ran her fingertip over his cheekbone. "Pick a boy, I like watching boys on boys."

He nodded. "Of course. I'll kidnap the cutest of the lot for your pleasure," Spike said, but Dumbledore had stuck him to the couch so he couldn't get up. "Oi! She wants to watch me blow someone! Let me up, you ponce!"

Dumbledore shook his head. "Emilia," he said with a sigh of pleasure.


Blair landed in the back yard, falling to his knees to retch a few times. "Ow," he said, rubbing his watering eyes. "I hate that trip, man."

"Then why did you make it?" Simon's son Daryl asked, smiling at him when he looked up. "Dad sat me out here to watch for you. He doesn't understand a thing but he said he trusts you to know what you're doing. Jim just pulled in. They're having a beer to lube the gears on the bs meter."

"Good." Blair forced himself to stand up and walk over to sit on a deck chair. "Get them for me, Daryl? This is going to be one strange story, but we've got problems at the old homestead." Daryl nodded and stood up, heading into the house. He came back out with two men. One was Blair's hunk of chocolatey goodness, Simon, and the other was his sentinel and roommate, Jim Ellison. "Hi," he said, waving at Simon's shocked look. "You thought I was kidding?"

"How did you get back here from England in half an hour, Sandburg?" Simon demanded, crossing his arms over his massive chest.

Jim touched him on the arm, and Blair noticed how good their skins looked together; Jim's paleness against Simon's dark bronze tones. He wondered if he and Simon looked like that together. "I'm a wizard," Blair admitted as he pulled his wand. He made a few sparkles appear. "That's why we're going to have problems and *I'm* going to need the backup." Jim stiffened. "Sit, it's a *long* story."

"First, tell me how you got here," Jim said firmly.

"I apparated. Not good over long distances, but I can't do portkeys. Now sit!" Jim and Simon both sat, staring at him. "Needless to say, you can't tell anyone." Blair pulled his hair back so he couldn't fool with it. "I've been a wizard all my life. I'm what's known as an unblooded wizard, meaning it doesn't run in my family." Both older men nodded and Daryl opened his mouth. "Questions later, Daryl. This is important. My people are gearing up for a war of epic proportions."

"This school, it's for people like you?" Jim asked. Blair nodded. "You're not British."

"The American schools were having problems the year I was supposed to enter so a select few, all of us brilliant or over achievers, were selected to go to Hogwarts." Daryl opened his mouth again. "What?"

"Do that again," he said with a grin, pointing at the wand. "That was pretty cool."

"Oh, I can do many things with it," Blair said with a wink and a grin. "I'll tell you later, 'kay?" Daryl nodded and settled in to listen. "Anyway, I started Hogwarts at eleven, just like everyone else. Oh, and it's in Scotland. I took a plane to England and took a train up there. It's the tradition after all," he said with a grin.

"War?" Simon asked.

"Yeah, a few of us have gone bad. My Headmaster's fighting the good fight but he's being duped and won't see it. I noticed a few things and it's imperative that I stay over there, if only because they'll need more defenders for the school. I may not be the best at Defense Against the Dark Arts, but in Herbology, and especially Defensive Herbology, I rocked. So I need to stay there for a while. I can cover my ass by doing some long-put-off research at St. Andrews. I figure a few more of us will end up there since it was started by a few of us and it's got a large collection of our works. The problem becomes Jim and what about him while I'm gone for a year or three." Jim opened his mouth. "Is there some sort of transfer or exchange program?" Simon nodded slowly. "Would either of you like to come to the United Kingdom with me?"

Daryl raised a hand. "I wouldn't mind, the accents on the ladies are kinda cute," he admitted with a teenager's grin. "Are we talking London or somewhere little? Private school or not?"

"Probably a private school for you," Simon said, starting to frown. "Blair, I can't just drop everything and head over to watch your back."

"I know, and I'm not expecting it, but it will probably be a while, Simon. Our champion's a fourth year boy."

"Translation?" Daryl asked.

"Um, probably fourteen. Fifteen at the most."

"Oooh, a hard age to be," Daryl remembered with a shudder.

"He's fighting?" Jim asked. "At his age? He's just a kid!"

"His parents were killed by the Dark Lord, his blood was tainted because he couldn't be killed. He's the Dark Lord's weakness and enemy." He hit him. "That's why I'm going over, because he's a kid!"

"Sorry, Blair," Jim said, looking sheepish. "But it's not right."

"Hence a bunch of us coming back to help," Blair said more calmly. "Simon, you're awfully quiet."

"I'm considering," Simon admitted. "What would you need us for?"

"For my sanity?" Blair suggested. "Or how about so I have my boyfriend and my sentinel over there with me?"

"With the trouble he gets into, this Dark Lord may well take him," Jim pointed out dryly. Blair glared at him and he laughed. "Good to know that you haven't *really* changed, Sandburg. When were you going to tell us?"

"I'm forbidden from telling you normals," Blair snorted. "I can be in deep doo-doo if I tell you these things out of the blue. Like prison with soul sucking creatures sort of deep doo-doo."

"Soul sucking creatures?" Daryl asked. "Their prisons have vampires?"

"Emotional ones would be a suitable description I suppose," Blair agreed, grimacing. "Dementors suck all the joy and happiness out of you, leaving you a hollow shell of a being until you die in there. And it's the only prison we have, you go for any crime and stay for various lengths." All three men shuddered. "Seeing why I didn't tell you?"

"I wouldn't have told me either," Jim admitted. He nudged Simon. "Can you get us over there?"

"I can," Simon agreed, standing up. "Let me make a few calls. You may have to wait a few months to get with us. Jim, can you handle it?"

"Probably," Jim agreed. "If not, Blair can probably pop back."

"That's a hellish trip, one which I have to do in reverse," Blair sighed as he stood up. "I'd better get back. I'll be somewhere that my cellphone will work tomorrow at ten at night, my time. Got it?" They nodded so he gathered himself together for the trip back. He landed and ran into a few others who were calling home, including Nick. "Hey," he said, leaning against Nick's body. "Ow."

Nick patted him on the back. "I know, Blair. How was home?"

"I'm arranging to stay nearby. They're coming to join me," Blair groaned. Someone rubbed his back and he looked behind him. "Hey, Emilia. How's it shakin'?"

"Hard, baby, just like always." She winked at him. "I've got something I need to pick up from home. I've got a vampire waiting with a toy for my viewing pleasure." She disappeared.

Blair forced himself to stand erect. "Why is she still a virgin after all this time?"

"Because it'd wreck what she is and send her into a critical time heralded by lack of control," Nick reminded him.

"Oh, yeah. I think I'll talk to Greg and get him to make me something to ward against her." He waved. "I'll see you later, I need a shower. The Ethereal plane is still nasty and gross." He walked back up to the castle, ignoring his shaking limbs.

Nick pushed the mute button. "Yeah, I'm back, Derek." He grinned. "I don't know, but we will need to have a talk. Yeah, you could say things are going to get serious." He laughed. "I miss you too and Philip said hi. Yeah, he's here. You didn't know? I'll pull him down with me so he can talk to you tomorrow too. Night." He hung up and trudged back up to the school, going to inform Philip that he had outed him as well.


Greg Sanders, blood geek CSI extra ordinaire, answered the knock at his portrait and smiled at the boy standing there. "Come on in, Malfoy. No goons? Your father never went anywhere without his. He was too worried about his hair getting messed up."

Draco shook his head before sitting down. "I want to know what's going on and everyone around here seems to think that I'm some child. I'm not, and I noticed you'd be blunt enough to tell me the truth."

"The truth," Greg said, seeming to muse on the point. "The truth is that your father is a very bad man. That he likes to hurt people for shits and giggles. That there are a lot of people around here who're surprised that you aren't a victim yet and that you haven't done the same, if you haven't that is."

Draco stood back up to face him. "I may irritate people because the strife is enjoyable and fun, but I don't *harm* people unless they ask for it."

"Charming," Greg said snidely. "What do they have to do to earn your ire? Exist? Be non-pureblooded?" Draco's face hardened and Greg held out his arms. "Then you've got to love me, man, I'm no more a pure blood than your father's Lord and Master is."

"You-Know-Who was a Slytherin, of course he's a pure blood," Draco snapped.

Greg laughed. "You're sorted as a Slytherin because of three things: ambition, power, and cunning. Or a strong combination of at least two and the will to have them all. There are pure bloods in other houses. And yes, Voldemort was a halfling. His father was a muggle." He shrugged. "It's in the history books if you don't believe me. We used to make fun of the prat because of it."

Draco shook slightly in fear. "You knew him?"

"I came in at his fifth year, during your father's first year. All of us exchange students did. That's the year the top male academy in the US fragged and blew up."

"Blew up?"

"Literally and figuratively. The board killed it and the students all suffered. The incoming first years were sent over here." He smiled. "That's what happens when your top school has an opening class of ten."

"Ten?" Draco asked.

Greg nodded. "For those who are super bright and special," he said happily. "That was the top school then, the new one is a bit bigger and less popular because it's a military academy in disguise."

Draco sat back down. "Did my father ever torture you?" he asked finally.

Greg sat beside him. "He tried, I had some friends who stuck up for me."

"Potter and them?"

"No, Draco, they stayed out of inner-house struggles. They laughed a few times, but nothing else. Severus helped me a lot. I was his apprentice and when he got a job here I officially became his apprentice. Lucius was told to leave me alone under penalty of death because his Lord and Master wanted to recruit me, and I refused. I was to be a target, but I escaped before they could get me." Draco looked at him. "I'm also an alchemist," he said quietly. "Voldemort wanted me very badly. Either dead so he could turn me into a zombie and control me, or at his feet begging for favors and the right to work for him. Fortunately, I did escape." He patted the boy on the back of the head. "Don't become a victim. You may think you're all that, and you enjoy the strife, but if you follow you're an enemy to some very powerful students." Draco swallowed. "You haven't realized that my year graduated stronger wizards and witches than yours will?" he asked with a gentle smile. "Or that the power flows have gotten weaker each decade?" Draco shook his head. "They have. I will give you this much, you at least want to know enough to make a decision. Make sure you make your own decisions." Draco nodded and stood up. "I'll see you at breakfast. And possibly in Vegas. I'm setting up somewhere so the wizards can come recuperate in the desert." Draco nodded, leaving him alone, looking very troubled. "I hope I did the right thing," Greg sighed, closing his eyes. "If Voldemort gets that boy, he's in for a world of hurt."


Philip lay on the roof, staring up at the stars. He had missed this sense of peace. He had missed it for a long time, since it had been stolen from him. He heard movement and looked at a young man joining him. "Philip Callahan," he said, holding out his hand.

"Alexander Dumass," the other said, shaking it. He saw the skeptical look. "I was a curse breaker and one got me, deaged me to five. I'm also Willow's friend Xander."

"Ah!" Philip smiled. "She talked about you often. How you tried so hard, even when you tripped."

"My body and my memories are fighting. They won't synch, no matter what I try." The boy sighed and laid down to stare up. "I want to be myself again," he noted.

"So do we all," Philip agreed. He stared up again. "There's a book in the library on aging curses. Maybe it has something?"

"Maybe," Xander agreed. "I've asked Madam Pince to pull everything on it for me, but she's only found a few books." He sighed again. "Are you staying?"

"I have to. They need me."

"I'm trying to decide."

"You're needed back at Buffy's side. When the time's right, you can come back and spend some time here, maybe spellin' someone once you're fixed."

"I hope I can be fixed," Xander admitted. "Have you seen my great-nephew Harry or any of the Weasleys?"

"I had a charming talk with Ron about quidditch earlier," Philip admitted. "I met Harry in the Headmaster's office as well. With a witch named Granger."

"I saw her. A mini-Willow in the making." Philip laughed at that description. "I don't remember her family."

"She's unblooded."

"Ah. No wonder the Slytherins were making fun of her at dinner." He grimaced. "What happened to my house?" he whined. "Gryffindor used to be so pure and Slytherin used to be full of pompous asses."

"Potter's father came in and he was a great joker," Philip said with a smile. "A bunch of us were. You don't like jokes?"

"I do, and I did even then, but I also listened at dinner, Philip. There were a few who were saying it'd be better to join forces with the Dark than to be a victim. And that Longbottom boy, he looked like he wanted to hit them. Longbottoms were never fighters, they always went along with everything."

"The boy lost his parents in the first war, Xander. Be easy on him."

"I am, he's a true spirit. But I'm starting to wonder about a few others. Fair weather friends doesn't even come close to what they were saying."

"Saying and doing are two different things," Philip said gently.

"Yeah, but saying often leads to doing according to America's politicians. I want to stay so bad!" he said angrily. "Why did Albus have to stick my ass in Sunnydale?"

"Because he decided you'd be safer there," Philip soothed, giving him a smile. "He did try."

"Yeah, he tried to kill me," Xander retorted. "He knew it was the Hellmouth. You should have seen his face when I faced him down about it."

"He tried to help."

"I know," Xander admitted, "but if he hadn't then I might have been safe and I might have overcome this already. I know the Hellmouth's keeping me this way somehow."

"Perhaps a long vacation here would help you then," Philip said carefully. "Could you live with the knowledge that you left them there?"

"I don't know," Xander said bitterly. "Buffy's gone schitzo recently because of her honey coming back from Hell. There's a major battle coming up. If I could be in two places at once, I would be, but I'm not a twin." He snickered suddenly. "I met the Weasley twins," he said happily. "They were showing off at dinner."

Philip laughed. "I remember. That one girl who turned into a bird was funny," he agreed. He reached over and patted Xander's hand. "We'll figure it out. Ask Nick for his suggestion. He has a unique way of looking at problems. Mostly from an explosives point of view, but it does work."

"Maybe he'd become me a few times a month so I could come back?" Xander asked hopefully.

"You'd have to ask him," Philip pointed out, but he was smiling. Xander nodded, shifting closer. "I'm a priest, Xander."

"I only wanted a hug, Philip. Nothing carnal about it. I like women if I remember right. I only got those memories back recently." They shared a hug and went back to watching the stars.


The next morning at breakfast, Methos looked around at the students and realized why he had quit the first three times. He *loathed* teenagers, he really did. The insecurities. The hormones. The giggling creatures he was going to cut the head off of! He grabbed his sword's hilt, but a hand on his arm stopped him and Dumbledore shook his head. "Let me stop them," he hissed, eyes narrowed. It was a scary look that hadn't been seen in most of the world in nearly four thousand years, the Insanity of Death.

"No, Methos," Dumbledore said gently. "You may not stop the giggling creatures that way." He smiled at the students. "Do be careful, Professor Methos is not particularly a morning person, girls." They moved away from him. "Thank you. Do eat, Professor." He let go of his sword and grumbled something so Dumbledore went back to his seat. He smiled at Snape. "Crisis averted," he said with a touch of humor.

Snape looked at him. "He was going to kill them?" Dumbledore nodded. "What did he teach?"

"Defense," Dumbledore said happily. "For many years."

Snape nodded. "I thought so. That's *him*, isn't it? The one who taught Dumass how to kill?"

"No, he was the one who left during Dumass' first year. That's Professor Methos." Snape shuddered. "I see you remember your history lessons?"

"Yes," Snape agreed dryly. "I now know why he was going to kill them. Their giggling would have done the same to me if I had been him." Methos roared and reached for his sword to go after the girls again but a young man stood up and got into his face, stopping him. "Who is that?"

"Dumass. That curse deaged him. I sent him to the place that Rosenburg girl came from. She doesn't know it's him though."

"You put a diminished Alex Dumass on the Hellmouth?" Snape asked. Dumbledore nodded. "Were you trying to kill him? Or the rest of us?"

"I thought he'd be safe," Dumbledore sighed. "A mistake I regret. I should have kept him closer at hand. That reminds me, Severus, I need you, Poppy, and Minerva to look at the poor boy. He can't synch his old form with this one. He actually tripped this morning."

Severus looked alarmed. The boy had been known to be a great dancer, a wonderful swordswizard, and the most athletic flyer since the school began. He had professional teams panting over him because of his ability and most of the witches in the world as well, and he was tripping over his feet? "Is it his hellmouth?" he asked. Dumbledore shrugged. "That's fine, I'll examine him in minute detail later. Greg could probably help me with it if he's still here." He glanced around.

"He's still asleep. The time difference, Severus."

"I had forgotten," he admitted. "Send him to me later, we'll use my special laboratory." Dumbledore nodded and Severus watched the boy who used to be a man. How the mightiest of the mighty had fallen. He saw his apprentice stroll in and smirked at his attire. "No robe?" he asked when the boy sat near him.

"I can't exactly wear them at work, Master. I wear lab coats these days," he said with a smirk. He looked up and adjusted a gelled spike of hair to his satisfaction. "There, perfect as always."

"Don't you mean Prefect?" Draco taunted with a cruel smirk.

Greg shrugged, giving it back. "Actually, I was tied for Head Boy if we want to be technical about it. I was also part of the group known affectionately as the Bane of Ravenclaw because we topped *every* class for five straight years, with only one test being the exception and Divination being off all our schedules. Your cousin Emilia was tops in there, Draco."

He looked at her. "You're my cousin?"

She nodded. "Your mother's first cousin. Your father doesn't like me so she isn't allowed to talk about me." She blew a kiss his direction. "We'll talk later, sweetie, I'm sure I can give you some *interesting* facts about the family heritage on your mother's side." He blushed and looked at Greg again.

Pansy gave him an adoring look. "Why didn't you get that one test?" she asked breathlessly.

"Because the teacher thought we were smug bastards and wrote ours in Chinese. The translation spell took too long to perform so we didn't get to two questions before time was up," he said with a small shrug.

"What were your areas?" Draco challenged.

"Potions and Transfiguration. Philip's were Runes and any language, Defense, and Creatures. Nick Boyle's was Herbology and Creatures. Sandburg's were Runes, Charms, Herbology, and Astronomy." Draco looked impressed. "Between us, we helped the weaker members. Not since Dumass has there been scores like ours in most of those classes."

"What happened to him anyway?" Draco asked.

"From what I learned yesterday, he got caught by a curse thrown during a Curse-Breaking in Egypt. He got deaged. He's supposedly not coming yet, he's waiting to get some things settled before he comes back." He ate a bite of hotcake. "You missed out on a lot of fun, Malfoy. We did things like steal Potter's invisibility cloak and break it." He smiled in fond remembrance. "We were invisible for four days because the magic broke funny. We had to fix it ourselves because no one could find us. They thought we had skipped off to raise hell in London."

Draco snorted. "You mean it was his father's?" Greg nodded. "Oh." He looked at his fellow Slytherins. "Then it must be getting ratty."

"Philip and I fixed it like it was brand new," Greg said proudly.

"And if I had caught you, I would have given you a year's worth of detention for daring to break an invisibility cloak," Snape put in. "That was rather dangerous, Sanders."

He shrugged and grinned at his Master. "All the good stuff is a bit dangerous. Look at roller coasters." Snape shuddered. "Come back with me for a weekend, there's someone I want you to meet. He's just as dedicated as you, but his area is bugs and forensic science." Snape looked doubtful. "Really."

"Is he a muggle too?" Pansy asked with distaste evident in her voice and on her face.

Greg sneered at her. "You meet some of the most interesting people among them, my dear. I've met serial killers who would scare Draco's daddy's boss. I've met some of the most delicate and gentle souls as well. I've met people that would blow you away by the skills they have, and without an ounce of magic or specialness. When you have to adapt, you find all new levels of skill within yourself."

"You live among them," she accused.

Greg nodded. "Hidden in plain sight in one of the cheesiest cities in the world," he said proudly. "I do what I love and I get paid a lot for it, but I also get to do whatever magic I want and people ooh and ahh and say they wouldn't dare ask a magician how they do their tricks. No one bothers me when I have to bewitch someone, they think it's great fun. Hiding in plain sight is definitely the best prank of them all."

Snape laughed. "I'm sure you feel that way, but what about the American Ministry?"

Greg looked at him. "There's an American Ministry?"

"What?" Draco asked.

"That wasn't rhetorical, sir, I've never seen anyone from one," Greg told him. "Not a single auror or anyone from any American Ministry. I've seen a Canadian auror on vacation," he admitted, "but nothing resembling anything like the Ministry here in America."

"Stupid Puritans," Snape said warmly. "Screwed up the most necessary things and reviled that which was holy."

"The Ministry is Holy?" Pansy asked, looking confused now.

"The Natives," Greg told her. "Natural potion makers without ever having written anything down. The Puritans ruined their heritage and lost untold knowledge by doing so." Draco looked impressed. "They're trying to fight back, but so much was lost." He smirked at Draco. "And just think, they were all pureblood English." Draco chuckled, shaking his head. Greg turned his attention to his ex-girlfriend. They had talked a bit last night and put aside all their anger at each other. For the most part. "Hey, Emilia, did you stake the vampire after he got done with his show for your benefit?" A boy down the table blushed bright red and tried to hide it behind his cup of juice.

"Why would I?" she purred. "Spike's great fun, Greg. Maybe you'd like to help him entertain me tonight?"

Greg shook his head. "Sorry, I like beings of the female persuasion. Whenever you're ready to go uncontrolled, yell my way and we'll have a grand old time," he said with a small leer. She laughed and threw her napkin at him. "Just adding myself to the list. I do have some practice now."

"Showgirls?" Draco snorted.

"Usually I go for brains, but I find that every now and then a pretty creature interested in no more than my body is a treat," Greg told him. "Always go for the smart ones, they'll keep you interested and you don't have to work so hard to impress them because most men don't see the worth in a beautiful mind, only in a beautiful bust and rear."

Snape snorted, looking like he wanted to laugh. "I'm sure you're right but that shouldn't be a problem for him for a very long time."

"Hopefully he'll be able to see a person's worth and not their bank balance as well," Greg said with mock-sweetness, making Draco give him a short glare. "Trust me, the best lover I've ever had was poor, muggle, blind, and fantastic at numerous things. Including music and pleasing me." He gave him a smug look. "Look outside your house, kid, it'll only help you find someone who's not like your mother. Who, by the way, used to bore the shit outta me when she hit on me." He stuffed his mouth again while Draco spluttered.

"That was mean," Emilia teased. "You probably couldn't have been his step-daddy, Greggy. Narci lost all her good taste when Lucius Imperious'd her in her sixth year to make her sign the binding contract and remove the markings." Draco opened his mouth and she looked at him. "Ask her, she'll burst out crying. Your father is a bastard and I owe him a kick in the balls soon. Wanna help me?"

Draco spluttered. "You act like it's so easy!" he said in outrage. "It's not! He's powerful!"

"Pfft," Emilia said with a wave of her hand. "Every man has weaknesses, Draco. The faster you learn that, the faster you climb to the top of the ladder, even above him. I'll be around for a bit so I can guest lecture in a few classes. We'll discuss family history." He nodded curtly. "I'll even show you how to do what I do," she purred with a little smile. "The gift is in you, once we release it."

Blair walked over and leaned down to kiss her on the cheek. "Emilia, are you having surges?" he asked quietly. She looked at him and shook his head. "I'm going to be nearby if you need help with them again. My own Sentinel won't mind you because he'll realize you won't steal me or hurt me." She kissed him on the back of the hand she pulled off her shoulder. "Good girl. Just let me know, okay?" She nodded and he went back to his seat at Gryffindor.

"Surges?" Greg asked.

"What I am comes with some sensory spikes now and then," she admitted. "Did you know Blair had his own sentinel?" Greg nodded. "I heard he was military."

"I'm sure they've had some wonderful fights then," Greg said with a smile. "If you need my help, I've got a floo connection and voicemail on it, dear." She nodded, giving him a smile. "Or if you feel like it, drop by. I'm sure Grissom would *adore* you." She giggled and the mood lightened again. "He would. He's a bit stiff."

"I could cure that, but I'd demand something in return," she pointed out, hinting broadly.

"Honey, you know anyone at this table would probably drop to their knees and do your very bidding if you wanted us to," Goyle put in. Draco elbowed him. "Ow. Sorry." He looked at his plate.

She chuckled. "I'll keep that in mind and pass you along to Spike for another show," she assured him, sipping her juice delicately. The boy who had blushed earlier squeaked and had to run from the room.

"What's his problem?" Goyle asked.

"He's shy," Emilia said with a wink to her cousin. He blushed as well, but ignored it.


Greg looked at the young man, frowning at him. "There's a shield on him, I can't get through it," he complained. He looked at Snape and the mediwitch, Madam Pomfrey. "Can either of you bring it down?"

"No, I can't," Madam Pomfrey said, frowning at the boy. "How did you do that to yourself? It's like another layer of yourself, only twisted slightly. Like you're wearing a costume of yourself."

Philip walked in and pulled Dumass' useless wand off the table, looking at it. "May I? Dumbledore just admitted he had put a cover on the boy to protect him from being seen."

"It backfired, everything sees me and comes after me," Xander said patiently. "But, please, if you can cure this, go for it." Philip smiled as he twitched the wand. Xander's whole head filled with a bright, painful light and he passed out.

"Now, the cover's anchored at his feet," Philip told them. "There are memory blocks as well. We'll need to remove them all, this is basically torturing the poor guy." The four of them got to work removing all foreign magic on and in the young man's body. By the time Xander was allowed to wake up, the only magic on him was his own and it was starting to refill every crevice of the boy's body. Madam Pomfrey looked at Severus but Philip smiled at her. "It's supposed to do that. I read the notes the Headmaster kept on him."

She nodded. "That's fine. Should I move him upstairs?"

"No, he'll be fine once he wakes up," Greg assured her. "Thank you, Madam Pomfrey. You just made him one extremely happy guy." She laughed and left them. "So, Philip, any other surprises?"

"He will need refitted. Dumbledore said he has his spare key if Alex lost his. He's to go to Diagon on the way back to outfit himself." He smiled. "As am I." Greg gave him a hug. "It's going to be a shock, I haven't used a wand in nearly forever," Philip noted.

"I'm sure it's like riding a bicycle," Greg promised. He pulled back. "I will expect you to come see me sometime if you're staying over here." Philip nodded. "Good." He grinned and winked. "I might even get you to give up your vows."

"You naughty beast," Philip teased back. "Not a chance."

"Ooh, a challenge," Xander said blandly from the floor. "Help?" He was helped up by Snape and allowed to look at himself. "Hey! I work!" he said happily, hugging them all. "Remind me to get Pomfrey some really pretty flowers." He grabbed onto Greg and Philip. "Come, tell me about your years since it looks like we may have to work together." They laughed and allowed him to walk them out to a special room no one had entered since Alex had left the first time. He looked at the painting of the large dog. "This isn't what had been here," he noted. "Sword polish." The portrait opened, admitting them to the room Alex Dumass had once converted into his personal gym and practice area. "No one cleaned," he sighed, seeing the dust on everything. A house elf appeared and gave him a fearful look. "Do you think you could clean in here? I need to make sure everything works," he said with a winning smile. It nodded and got to work getting rid of the dust. He looked at the younger men. "So? Give."

"We came in the same year as James Potter," Greg told him. "It was us, Sandburg, and Boyle, plus a few women. We were collectively known as the Bane."

"The Bane of Ravenclaw I've heard of," Xander said, sitting down on a chair that appeared. "Thank you. Sit. Don't stand on formality." He smiled at Philip. "You broke my score?" Philip nodded, giving him a bit of a smug look. "Good! I thought it would have been done sooner, but I guess Damara ended up leaving the class for other pursuits." He shrugged at their confused look. "Not a person you'd know. She was two years behind me." He crossed his legs. "What were the others Banes of?"

"The girls were mostly banes of the school," Philip told him. "Emilia Dorekson. Tipsy Ramvette. Kylan Jones. Dorian Morehouse." He gave Greg a look. "We lost so many to the first war," he said sadly.

"We have Tipsy and Emilia, we should be happy that they survived," Greg said firmly. "I don't want to go back to my depression period, Philip, it won't help now. Mourn later."

"I do, every night after dinner," Philip admitted. "If I had decided to stay, or at least not let them know I was a wizard and not had my wand broken, then I could have fought."

Xander reached over to touch his knee. "You fight the dark on so many levels, Philip Callaghan, you've more than made up for whatever perceived sin you may have committed against your friends." Philip looked at him. "Good people are lost every day because they don't fight, those who fight and die are given special honors. Remember them as they were, not for what they could have been." Philip nodded and he looked at Greg. "Why did the asshole want you?"

"I'm a potion's master and an alchemist," Greg said simply. Xander groaned. "I escaped and I'm safer over there. America really is still the Wild West for wizards and witches. I'm hiding in plain sight."

"Good." Xander glanced around, then back at Philip. "Don't you fence?" Philip nodded. "Spar with me to make sure I can still dance?"

"If you'd like," Philip agreed with a small smile. "Are you staying?"

"I need to stay, but she does need me. I'm going to try and find someone to take my place over there," Xander decided. "I can't deal with the Hellmouth. If the magic around here is blinding me now, then over there's going to send me into a coma." Both younger men nodded, understanding that. "There are others in Vegas, Greg?"

"A few. Two other potion's masters. A few of us who are hiding as stage magicians," he said with a disarming grin. "One or two who are professional gamblers." Philip laughed. "Seriously. Do you think it'd be a good idea if I set up a house? A resort would gain too much attention, but a large house? Complete with pool and all that good stuff?"

"You're a young man, Greg, you could easily do that and more, and it'd all be put down to being a young man," Xander reminded him. That got a laugh and Alex stood up. "Come on, I want to make sure I can still dance. I haven't gotten laid in *years*."

"Years?" Greg asked. "But you're cute, you're just under eighteen. Why not?"

"Because I'm dating a cheerleader," Xander sighed in disgust. "The last real sex I got was technically last year, but it was a quickie. I didn't even get off. Post-combat Slayer."

"Buffy?" Philip asked.


"Oh, damn!" Philip sighed. Greg looked at him in alarm. "Faith's the one who was most recently activated. The Legacy's heard of her because she's bad. She's going worse each day and she's going to cause us all problems."

"I can see her doing that," Xander agreed. "Come on, Philip, I'll tell you all about it." He pulled one of his fencing foils off the wall and tossed it over, then grabbed his specially balanced weapon. It fit his hand like it was made for it, and it was like an extra extension to his arm. It was as natural to him as his hand was, and it showed when they faced off. His footwork dazzled Greg, and by the end of the short sparring session, Xander was beaming in joy. "I'm back," he said smugly. The guys laughed. "Okay, next, I want a lover." He took the foil and put it back carefully, then put his back into its special case, taking his short katana to strap onto his back. "There, now I feel better," he announced, letting them walk out in front of him. They found Emilia outside the door waiting on them. "Precious," Xander purred.

She put a hand in the middle of his chest. "A veela without control is a horrible thing on society, and it's a family curse to be that way if we're broken in. So down boy." He grinned and kissed her gently, making her moan. "Thank you." She looked at Greg. "I'm tired of this," she pointed out. "I've been a virgin now for thirty-eight years. After a while, masturbating gets boring. I want the clause negated. Can you do that, Greggy?"

He laughed and hugged her. "I've got a few special ideas about that, let's get Severus into this talk." She nodded and let him lead her off.

"I guess it's just us?" Xander suggested.

Philip laughed. "It wouldn't look right for a man my age or a priest to go trolling for lovers among the students, Xander. Have a good time and be careful." He walked off, going to find Professor Methos and talk to him.

Xander walked back into the main part of the school, watching the students wandering around on their way to a Hogsmeade weekend. He smiled at one sixth year girl, but a hand on the back of his neck stopped him.

"You are still underaged," Snape hissed in his ear. "As is she. You will not troll the halls for lovers. Find one in town if you want one." He let him go and walked off.

"I'm eighteen again tonight," Xander complained.

"Then go to town, there are many diversions there," Snape snapped back, glaring at him. "You may have been the only Slytherin who was ever transferred to Gryffindor after sorting, but I won't allow you to sully our house now."

"Yes, sir," he said, saluting. "I'll go find a wonderful woman in town and have sex with her until she begs and thanks you for suggesting it," he said cockily. He jogged off, heading into town.

Snape groaned and shook his head. "That boy! I'm glad I never had to deal with one such as him." He walked off, going to talk with his favorite student.

On the stairs, Ron and Harry looked at each other. "He was resorted?" Ron asked. "That happens?"

Harry shrugged. "We'll ask Hermione once we find her in town. She's read Hogwarts a History, she'd know." They walked out the door together, chatting about all the new things they had been learning. "Hey, Ron, do you think I should ask a few of the older students if they knew my father?"

"I think they'd probably be willing to tell you stories," Ron agreed. "He was pretty well known and a lot of them would remember him at least." He nudged him and pointed at a mysterious woman down the path from them. She had been at their table and looked to be about his parents' age. "Try her."

Harry jogged over to where she was walking alone and touched her on the arm. "Excuse me," he said politely. She smiled at him. "I wanted to know if you knew my father and if you'd be willing to tell me a story about him."

She hugged him. "I knew your father very well, Harry, I'm the oldest of the Banes and I'm the reason he started playing pranks." Ron caught up with them. "A Weasley," she said in delight, her voice a light Irish lilt, hugging him against her chest. "I adored your father as a little boy, he was always so odd." Ron laughed. "Come on, I'll tell you all about our first meeting, Harry. I was two years ahead of them."

"Which one are you?" Ron asked. "My dad's never shared much but I remember him saying something about a few women in the house."

"My name's Tipsy Ramvette. Also known as Tip Top." She ruffled his messy hair. "You are so cute!" He blushed. "If only you were older," she sighed. "How is your father?"

"Good. Working for the Ministry and Dumbledore."

"Ah! Good on him. And your mum?"

"She's great too," Ron told her. "My dad was in your year."

"Yes, he was. He was there when I pulled my first prank in Hogwarts too," she said fondly. "I was sorted and the first thing I had to say to defend my name is 'my mother thought I would be a better drunk this way'." The boys giggled. "That was enough to disarm most of the table, but one girl just wouldn't quit. So I changed her arms into wings and did a lightening spell to make it seem like she flew off." She beamed. "That taught her to stay directly out of my way. That was your mother, Ron." Ron giggled again. "I'm sure she's calmed down and she's not nearly as stiff."

"Yes she is," Harry told her, smirking at Ron. "The twins are always in trouble with her."

"Yes, I wanted to talk to those twins." She frowned when she saw a blonde woman bothering them. "Oi! Cassandra, bugger off and leave them be! They're Weasleys." The blonde glared at her and stomped off. "Fucking bitch."

Harry goggled. "You don't like her?"

"She's my bloody twin, Harry, I don't have to like her. We haven't liked each other since she shoved me so I couldn't get out of our mother right." She patted him on the back. "Don't worry, Cassandra's a stuck up prig, she was probably trying to chastise them for their fun-loving nature. If there's anything she hates more than evil, it's fun. Girl should have been a puritan." Ron laughed again. "Good boy, laugh at the jokes." She smiled at Harry. "Your da came in with a chip on his shoulder and angry with the world. So I decided to teach him how to have fun. That first night, his head ended up inside a pitcher of juice because for some reason he couldn't slake his thirst." The people around them laughed. She smiled. "Harry here wants to know what his father was like, people, we should help him with that." The ones who had known James drug Harry off and Tip Top patted Ron on the back. "C'mon, you and I need to have a butterbeer and chat. You're pretty neat for such a young man."

Ron beamed and let her lead them to the bar. "I can even buy the first round," he said happily.

"Nah, I create things, I've got money to spare on a young thing like you. You look like you could help me get back at the twins." Ron nodded, looking happy. "Is that your sister?" she asked, pointing. Ron looked and then waved Ginny over. "Hi, I'm Tipsy Ramvette," she said.

Ginny squealed and hugged her. "Dad said to do that if we saw you." Ron looked confused. "Ooops. I've got the letter in my room. Sorry, Ron." She sat down to look at the older woman. "Dad asked that I suggest you get the twins badly, to teach them that they're not the best."

Ron noticed something under her sleeves and nodded at them. "What're those?"

She rolled up her sleeves, showing off the 'Banes' written in a delicate, but large, script on each forearm. "So many of the other students thought we were going to be talked into joining that we snuck out and had our names engraved so nothing else could go there," she said firmly. Ron beamed again. "You like that?"

"I adore it. Anyone who's not a friend of his is someone I at least want to get to know."

Tip Top laughed. "You're quite a young man, Ron. So, let's get down to it. How can I best get the two wannabes for my titles?"


Dumbledore walked up to the Gryffindor table that night at dinner and put a hand on Tip Top's shoulder, giving her a gentle smile. "Do not do anything that would embarrass a teacher," he said, looking at the twins to make sure they got the point as well.

"That's no fair, Severus is embarrassed just to see me," she complained, giving him a pout. "Even though I left during in his fourth year and the worst came after that."

He laughed and shook his head. "Beyond that, Ms. Ramvette. Beyond that." She beamed. "The contest may go on, but not if you irk the teachers."

"Yes, sir," she said smartly. He let her go and walked away, so she beamed at the twins. "I challenge you to beat me." They gaped and stared, then looked at each other. "Don't think you're up to it, boys?"

"Who are you?" George asked finally.

Ron cleared his throat. "Ms. Tipsy Ramvette, may I introduce my misbegotten brothers, Fred and George Weasley." He pointed at each one so they wouldn't confuse her. "Boys, this is the one who made James Potter and his crew prank in self-defense." They gaped more. Ron grinned at them. "And I'm betting on her."

Fred glared at him. "I'll tell dad on you." He held out a hand. "Shake on it like supposedly civilized people that they expect us to be?" She shook his hand.

"When shall we begin?" George asked.

"I'm here all week, how about in the morning?" she suggested. They grinned and nodded, bending together to talk.

Ron giggled and nudged Harry. "We'll have to stay out of the way."

Harry smiled. "Yeah, we will." He smiled at the woman who had told him that she had dated his father before his mother. "Would you tell me more?"

"Sure. You are just like him," she sighed. "I miss that man so much. If your mother hadn't been such a pure little person, I would have been your mother instead of my own." Ron looked at her in alarm so she smiled sweetly at him. "You like Harry?"

"We're best friends," Ron agreed. "I bring him over in the summers and all that."

"Good on you, young Weasley. He could use a decent family. I met Petunia once." Harry shuddered. "That was my feeling exactly. If I lived closer, I'd let you summer at my house this year." She shrugged. "Unfortunately, we're in the Greek Embassy this year." She took a sip of her juice. "Since my husband's the ambassador to the Near East, we sent our girls to Italy to train." She looked at Tip Top. "What about your family, Ramvette?"

"I divorced my husband, he was a boring and egotistical asshole," she told her while cutting up some meat. "If I had the balls to do it, I'd go for Ron here. What about your girls and Harry, Juliette?"

"I believe one of them would find him most charming," Juliette agreed. "I wonder if I can talk Dumbledore into letting him come visit her this summer. Then I could show him my picture albums and introduce them."

Harry blushed. "I'm not good with girls," he admitted.

"It takes practice," Ramvette assured him. "If you get in some practice flirting then I'm sure you'll do fine. The Gods know I had to send my daughter to Canada to get her away from the lothario hunting after her rear-end."

Ron's eyes nearly bugged out. "You have children?"

"Just the one. She's a mouthy little shit." She pointed at her twin sister. "More like her than me. I'm starting to wonder if we didn't switch kids."

"What are you doing now?" Juliette asked.

"Running Morehouse's former estate as a tourist attraction." She gave a little sniff. "Everyone always likes the big manor house. We host a few weddings a year and allow some charity events." She caught Philip's eye and smiled sadly. "Her sister died two years ago of cancer."

"I heard. I was sorry I couldn't go," he assured her. "Do you know anything about Kylan's son?"

"Cute, very cute, but so very wrong thinking. He's going to that new Aussie school and he's the Prince of Darkness down there." Philip grimaced. "I've tried to talk to the boy as a belated favor to his father, but I couldn't."

"I'll send him a letter," Philip decided. "Maybe take a vacation. A Morehouse and a Jones together would be one stubborn child."

"The child needs a good arse kicking," Juliette told him. "He's a stuck up prig, Philip. Worse than any diplomat's kids."

"The school's encouraging it," Tipsy told her. "That and where Cassandra was made his guardian."

Philip grimaced. "Why would they do that to the boy?"

"Because I was ill with my miscarriage," Tipsy told him gently. "The judge decided to leave him there for the time being. Then he decided the boy was a 'fine and upstanding lad' so left him there permanently. I'm going to have to intervene again, Cassandra doesn't understand."

"Your sister doesn't understand many things until she's in the middle of them," Philip said wisely. He smiled at the boys. "Eat. We're here all week." The boys quit staring and ate, so he gave them a smile. "Both your fathers would have been proud," he assured them.

"If only because Harry didn't get along with Severus," Juliette put in, making some of them crack up.

Ginny looked at the silent teenager sitting across from her. "Why are you wearing a Slytherin tie?" she asked.

Xander looked up. "Because I'm one of them and one of you. I got resorted in my fifth year because the hat woke up screaming one day."

Philip snorted. "Tell the truth, you'd screwed all the Slytherins and couldn't get any of the good girls so you switched over," he teased.

"Philip!" Nick said, shocked at his friend.

Xander laughed. "Close, but it was officially redone." He smiled at the young girl. "The Slytherin house expelled me because I was better than most of them. So I was resorted."

"That means you're Alex Dumass, the Breaker," Hermione said firmly, staring at him. He nodded and she smiled. "Is it true that you were known for breaking things?"

"More like fixing things, but I got the nickname because I broke people in." He saw the revulsion and laughed. "Not like that, though I certainly did get into a few fights my first year. By the end of our first year, almost no one wanted to challenge me, except when someone wanted to try and impress a future spouse. I got into fewer brawls than nearly my whole year. Though I *was* given that nickname because there was only one virgin over the age of consent for those days in the entire school the year I graduated - and she couldn't be touched or she would have lost control of everything." He ate a bite of dinner. "Then I went to become a curse breaker." He looked at Ginny. "Your brother took over my old job I think. If you're related to Bill?" She nodded. "Thought so. You look just like the cocky little guy. Tell him I said hi."

"You can use my owl if you want," Ron offered. "I've got a letter to go to him anyway."

"Sure," Xander said, giving him a smile. "So, Blair said you're going to be a Guide," he said, staring at him. He suddenly laughed. "Hey, Sandburg," he called down the table. Blair's head popped up. "He's got two possibles. Should I warn him for one?"

"Dumass, don't warn him, it takes all the fun out of it," Blair complained, walking up to get close so Xander could tell him. He ignored the whispering going on around the table. He heard the two names and stared. Xander shrugged. "Are you *sure*?"

"Yeah, I saw them both, and a split path in front of him."

"One's a training one, it comes and goes as an innate function of what they are," Blair said thoughtfully, staring down at Ron. "The other's for life I think." He shrugged. "Interesting. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll start sending him my works when I get home." He patted Ron on the back. "Work on your temper. You'll need patience." He went back to his seat, bragging on his man to some of his other year mates.

Ron gave him a wary look. "Do I have to worry about dying?"

"You might fight both of them a bit, but it's the Guide's job to be stronger," Xander assured him, giving him a hug. "Don't worry, it'll be okay. You'll live through the first and die with the second after a long enough life." Ron still looked worried. "Trust me, I'm famous," he said with a shit-eating grin. Harry snorted his juice, starting to cough. "You don't get to use that line? It's a good one," he said happily. "You should try it sometime."

"I don't want to be famous," Harry said firmly.

Xander laughed. "No one really wants to be famous once they are, not after they get their garbage gone through the first time. You learn to live with it and guard your privacy jealously. Give the public some tips and hints and hide the rest." Harry nodded, staring at him now. "You have to set boundaries and be firm about it. Only let them photograph you when you want it, not them. Don't beat up on the photographers though, it's a nasty fine. I did that a few times and the judge wanted to put me in jail but I kicked his ass too." Harry laughed, lightening up some. "I wish I was here to help you more, kids, but I'll be around." Ron beamed. "Just not here in the school. Otherwise they'd have to sort me for a third time."

"I believe you should stay there," Dumbledore called. "The hat refused to see you again, Mr. Dumass." The rest of the crowd broke into whispered conversation.

Xander stood up. "Yes, I was deaged. Get over it already, before I decide to go back to town to celebrate my re-eighteenth birthday instead of using my reputation." A few of the women smiled and he winked. "Though I never repeat." That got some giggles so he sat down. "See, you've got to find a niche and only let them see that, but live your real life at home, Harry. Once you've done it for a few years, it becomes second nature."

"Thank you, Mr. Dumass."

"Call me Xander, everyone these days does." He saw the vampire sitting in the corner on the other side of the room and saluted him with his cup of water. "I want to stake him so bad so he can't nark at home."

"I think the veela would mind that," Ron told him.

Tip Top laughed. "Emilia? She'll control him, she does all her toys. Or her cats to get them through customs." She winked at Xander. "Think I could be included? I always have the best ideas after a good orgasm or six."

He laughed and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm sure we could arrange for you to be mine today, dear one. You're fun, I like fun women."

"And men," Hermione put in, smirking at him. "I read your biography for a report last year."

"Wonderful. Was it interesting?" She nodded. "Then it couldn't have been the one I saw." He frowned, then shrugged. "The only person who could tell you the real story was there, Ms. Granger. Remember that, humans all see things differently." She nodded. "Good girl. You're what? A fourth year?" She nodded again. "Pity." He smiled at the boys. "When she's of the right age, get her hard and it'll loosen her up. Orgasms always give great ideas." He finished off his dinner and stood up. "I'm going to wander down and look in the pens. An hour?" Tipsy nodded smugly. "Cool, I'll be in my rooms. Just look for all the gossiping paintings." He strolled off, calm and smooth in his walk.

"That man will be the death of some woman yet," Juliette pointed out dryly.

"No, he only sends them into pleasure comas," Tipsy retorted with a grin.


On his way to the baths later that night, Xander smiled as he ran into a former schoolmate. "Minerva," he said happily, giving her a kiss on the cheek and making her blush. "How are you doing?"

"You won't be talking me into any wildness this time," she teased back, though she was smiling.

"You know I never go to the same well twice," he said with a wink. "How are things?"

"Well enough I suppose. None of the current crop are nearly as powerful as our year was so the messes have calmed down."

"Wonderful! Why is that?"

"I'm starting to think that we have some sort of power drain. The students all seem to get more powerful once they leave." She grimaced and looked at his attire. "Going for a swim?"

"Yes, you know how much I love my baths and the castle seems to have moved my bathroom on me. I think it might be picking me up someone for later," he said with another wink before walking away. "I'll be sitting in your class tomorrow, my dear, do behave and let me tease you some more then."

"You silver tongued devil," she sighed, shaking her head. "How did I fall for that man?"

Severus walked past her. "That tongue's ability?" he suggested dryly. She shrieked in outrage and he smirked. "I shall have to tell Dumbledore about this, Minerva. You sleeping with a student?"

"I was in school with him," she countered. "A mere girl myself," she said with a sniff before walking away.

The illusion fell and Nick started to laugh. "I liked that," he said happily, going to tell Philip what he had overheard.


The next morning, the adults decided to follow some students in their houses to various classes, arranging themselves by which classes they wanted to go back to. Philip and Greg ended up in potions together with the fourth years and Philip decided to sit with Neville, giving him a smile. "Don't worry, I was good in here," he whispered to the boy, who looked happier to be there suddenly. Greg winked at him. "And do whatever he does, unless it's wrong. He used to do that once in a while to get the rest of us following his lead." Neville laughed.

Snape walked in. "What's so funny, Mr. Longbottom?" he sneered.

"The nice alumni was telling me about his potions days with that one," Neville said, pointing at Greg. "How he used to mess up to mess up the rest of the class."

"Yes, I remember those days," Snape said with a look at his former apprentice. "He spent many nights doing extra potions because of it."

"It's what made me so great," Greg said with a smug look for his teacher.

"Really? I thought it was...." Philip's mouth was closed for him by Greg. He winked at him and Greg went back to his seat.

"I'm enormously glad that I don't have any students like you these days," Snape told them. He rolled his eyes and pointed his wand at the board, putting a potion on it. "Do that. Now." He sat down, watching as Philip walked Neville through the basics again. He raised an eyebrow at the unorthodox method of chopping but it appeared it was getting it done. He stood up to walk around and look at everyone's potions, sneering at Malfoy. "You can't add that yet," he noted.

Greg looked at Malfoy's potion, then at the look in the boy's eyes. "Perhaps I should tutor the boy tonight," he suggested gently.

Snape looked at him, then seeing the look in his eyes, nodded. "Do so now. Take him into the dangerous potion's laboratory." Greg nodded and stood up, gathering their things so he could drag Malfoy in there. "Does anyone else need such treatment?" he taunted. No one said anything, not even Philip. "Good." He went back to his seat after checking on Longbottom's. The boy was doing wonderfully, for once. He couldn't even pick on him because Philip would start off on him and he'd never hear the end of it, or get the fear back.

Greg locked the door and handed Malfoy back his books. "What happened?"

"My father came back from a trip last night and sent me a letter saying he's coming here," Draco told him. "He'll be in tonight."

"Fuck 'em," Greg told him. "You stay with me and it'll be fine. If the fuckwad so much as touches you, I'm siccing Philip on him. Got it?" Draco nodded. "Good. Now then, let's get down to this potion. We want you to be brilliant enough for Severus to send you to me this summer."


"Because if I'm right, your father's got plans for you and with what you are that'd be very dangerous for the world. Therefore, I'm saving Philip a lot of future work."

"He's a priest, he doesn't even have a wand," Draco sneered. "I heard him say so!"

"He's an exorcist, boy, and he's constantly fighting the dark, even the dark people create for themselves. For right now, let's say I have my reasons for helping you. If I'm right, you'll be thankful for it. If I'm not, then I'll let Dumass have you. Got it?" Draco looked confused but he nodded. "Good. Go grab some water while I pull things out of the cabinets."

"We never use this room."

"No one but his NEWT classes do. This is for the most dangerous of all potions, the ones that can kill people." Draco nodded, going to do as he was told. Greg watched the familiar movements, he had seen Emilia move the exact same way, with the same near-grace and extension of limbs.

"Do you enjoy watching me?" Draco sneered. "Into little boys?"

"No, but your father's master is," Greg told him. Draco dropped his cauldron onto the floor. "Get it now, kid?" Draco nodded and picked up, cleaning up after himself. "I'm going to get Emilia to pounce you for your long talk with her today. You need to know everything before your father gets here. We can't protect you if you don't. The lack of knowledge puts you deeply into his pocket and his debt."

"He's my father."

"Yay. We're not sure of that. Lucius used to have me make fertility potions for him hoping to get a girl pregnant." Draco gaped, mouth hanging open. Greg smirked. "Yeah, me. So let's do this and then you're going to talk to her." He touched something on his arm, smiling when he felt the contact with the one he wanted. She always felt like warm syrup running over his mind.


Emilia stood in the center of the hallway, letting the rushing students and adults flow around her. Her quarry was walking up to her, again braving the river of people around them. As soon as he stepped close enough it was like the outside world ended and it was just them in the hallway. "You feel it," she noted. He shrugged, looking unconcerned. "You're a halfling, Draco. We are special and dangerous beings in our own right, even before we let the world use us for our own ends."

"I'm not like you. I'm human," he pointed out.

She laughed. "Our grandmother was fully veela. I am fully veela because my mother married one of us. Your mother is a halfling because our mother was captured by a normal and she gave in to get free sooner." Draco opened his mouth so she stepped closer, laying a finger across it. "You are more than the sum of your parts, Draco, and the family heritage surges through you. We are a founding line," she said firmly. "We have our own curses and benefits. Where other veeela families get weaker with the addition of the weak wizarding blood, we are allowed to be our full selves. Your father's innate weakness in choosing my cousin has made sure that you are *strong* and dangerous, just like I am." She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Within you is an awakening spirit. You can feel it starting to stretch like a cat inside you, making you yearn for things you don't understand." He nodded slowly, staring into her eyes as they shifted color from silver to violet. "Inside the both of us, Draco, is the power to rule continents, to wield power unimaginable, and the curse is that you can not be touched or it will go wrong."

He removed the finger from his lips. "I've been touched many times," he countered. "Nothing like that has happened."

She smiled sadly. "Then you're in the most danger. If you had still been pure, then you wouldn't long for it, but from now on you may not touch anyone sexually. Not at all. You may sleep beside them, but the first sensual touch you share will cause your powers to flow up and reach out, and you won't be able to do a thing about it," she said quietly. "Even now I'm having a potion worked on so I can break the terrible curse and find a mate. When you think you've found one, then the potion can be given to you."

"I won't give it up, I like sex."

"I know," she agreed, kissing him on the forehead again before stepping back. "That is the tragedy you have. That and the fact that your father can play upon that now. He can torment you until you do give in and it will destroy you and whomever you're with." She gave him another sad smile. "I tried once, with Alex Dumass, the Virgin Breaker, and I nearly killed him. He felt the power rise and got me help before it was too late, before I was destroyed in the inferno of *need* that comes with it, but you won't have him here to do that. You will have to wait." Draco started to frown and she smiled, pulling him closer to kiss him, awakening his power. He moved back and grabbed his head. "That is the need, Draco; learn it, it never leaves. Our mother was hoping that you wouldn't be touched, that she had cured it with the careful choice of her husband, but we are like this forever."

He looked at her through his tearing eyes. "What is that?" he pleaded.

She helped him to his knees on the floor. "That is the need, young man. With it you are marked, and you are cursed. If you let on that it happens to you your father will take you during the resurrection ceremony to destroy his Lord and Master so he can take his place. With this power, you will see people as they truly are." She kneeled next to him, pulling him closer. "As it gets stronger, it is hard to resist," she whispered. "This is your test of strength, that you will resist. If not, you will have chosen your mate. You can touch yourself and have others touch others in front of you, but never to have anyone touch you until you are ready." He looked into her eyes again. "I am your aunt, and you are my nephew. I will train you in the glorious ways of our life, but I cannot choose him for you."


"Him," she agreed with a smile. "Some day you will understand how I know, but it will be a male, Draco Malfoy, child of Narcissa Dorekson, grandchild of the Great Mandalia, veela consort and courtesan." He gasped and she gave him a smile. "Now do you see why I and my fellow Banes wish to guard and warn you?"

He struggled to his feet, eyes still watering. "I do," he said firmly. "He won't do that."

"He will. He comes tonight to tell you of your fate. If you stay, I will help you. If you go," she said as she stood up to face him, "I may have to destroy you to save everyone. For even Voldemort is more gentle than your father is." Someone bumped Draco as he walked past and the spell between them was broken. "Go to the infirmary," she said gently. "Have her send for Sandburg. This is a sensory spike and it easily fixed." He nodded, gathering his things and doing as she ordered. She looked up. "Grandmother, help him. Mother, please, help the boy. He still trusts that creep," she whispered. She looked down and saw Draco's two guardians and smiled; time to have some fun. "Boys. Draco had a headache after learning some hard truths about his family heritage. He'll meet you in class. Care to walk me that way?" The one who had been trying to stalk her, Goyle she believed, stepped forward, but the other hit him on the arm. "I promise, I won't harm either of you," she purred, going to free her nephew from them. They obviously had been told something. She cast a small fascination around them as they walked her out to Herbology. As soon as they walked in the door, they grabbed each other. She fed off the energy pouring off them, and the others that were getting warm because of it. One female dared to stop them though.

"You disgusting perverts!" Hermione shouted angrily. "Get off each other or go find a dark corner! Dear Merlin, you're disgusting to do it in front of others!" One of the boys near her stopped her from breaking them apart, but it did enough to break the spell. They blushed as they ran out.

Emilia found a seat to watch the class. She so loved fourth years, on the cusp of everything. She only hoped it was worth it. To defeat Voldemort she would have to push the boy beyond his normal limits. At least it was for a good cause and the others would be monitoring him.


Blair smiled as he walked into the infirmary. "You sent for me?" he asked with a little boy's smile.

"Emilia Dorekson told him to send for you when he had a sensory spike. I have no idea what this is about," Madam Pomfrey said primly.

Blair chuckled and hugged her. "Draco's part veela." She hissed and shook her head. "Their family is prone to sensory spikes as their hormones get involved. She must have finished awakening him." She left them alone and he gently moved the curtain. "Hi, Draco. I'm Blair. I'm a Guide." Draco looked at him. "Which senses?"

"Smell and hearing," he whispered.

"I understand. I helped Emilia through a great many surges. Just relax and I'll help you though this one," he said soothingly. He stepped to the side of the bed, near the boy's chest. "I want you to focus on another sense this time. For now this will stop the surge until we can guide you to put in dials of your own."

"Dials? What are those?"

"I'll explain later," Blair said calmly, remembering that the boy was so pure he squeaked. "For now, concentrate on my hand. Feel the weight of it on your chest." Draco closed his eyes and concentrated; slowly he relaxed and went limp. "Good boy, Draco," Blair said, giving him a smile. "Very good job. A lot of people with spikes get scared during them, but you handled this one like an old hand at them."

"I had one a few weeks back, everything went so loud," Draco whispered, staring into his eyes. "I went into the bathroom and hid, turning on the water to create counter noise."

"Excellent," Blair agreed, removing his hand. "That was exactly the right thing to do and you did it instinctively." He helped the boy sit up. "I want you to find me tonight after dinner."

"I have practice," Draco said automatically.

Blair leaned closer. "Then find me after practice and forget about your homework. I can get Greg to get Snape to give you an excuse." He nodded. That's when the boy's bodyguards walked in. "Hi, guys," Blair said, pulling back to look at them. He smirked. "Is Emilia leaking?" he taunted.

"What are you doing?" Draco demanded quietly. His head still hurt.

"She made us kiss!" Goyle cried with a lot of fake dramatic flare, a bit too much actually. "In Herbology."

"If it wasn't already there, she couldn't have encouraged it, but she usually doesn't do such things," Blair assured them. "She's ethical that way."

"What's that?" Crabbe asked.

"Go look it up," Blair responded slowly and clearly. "The teacher in me won't allow me to contribute to your lack of education." The boy backed away from him. "Draco, how's your head?"

"It's throbbing in time with my pulse."

"That's normal. Madam?" Madam Pomfrey walked over to join them. "He needs a light headache potion. Anything too strong and he could go numb in the head." She held in her snicker but Blair smiled. "Not like that. He's very susceptible to medicines now." She nodded and went to get it for him. "There you go. Let's go out and watch Herbology. That was always my favorite class outside of charms." He helped Draco off the bed, and back into his robe. "Come along," he said once Draco had drunk the small potion. "Come on. A surge isn't an excuse to do nothing, no matter how lazy you feel. Regaining activity is the best thing for you."

"Yes, sir," Draco said, following him out. "Will I have many of those?"

"That depends on your hormones." He looked Draco over. "At your age, I'd say you'll have a full two years worth of them to look forward to, if you don't choose a mate. As soon as you do, it'll taper off to moments of extreme stress." Draco nodded shortly. "Good. Are you pure? I have to ask out of clinical curiosity and to help you better." The boy shook his head and made a scoffing noise. "That's fine, it'll be harder, but I'm sure you're more than strong enough to withstand it."

"He has to give up sex?" Goyle asked. Blair looked at him and nodded. "Why?"

"Because otherwise he'll have more surges and others will get caught like you did earlier. That could have been Draco's surge since you're so close to him."

"I have no desire to see them kiss," Draco said before opening the greenhouse's door. He handed over his excuse and went to his seat. "What are we doing?"

"The basics, just putting in seedlings," Pansy said with a smile for him. "Did that veela attack you?" she teased.

"No, she gave me a headache," he said firmly. "Now quit talking, the medicine hasn't worked yet." He took a few plants to work with, able to feel the energy in them this time. He looked at Blair, who smiled and nodded. So this was expected. Hmm. He planted the first one and decided to get some from Blair's table. "What is that?"

"You can sense energy, it's a veela's gift," Blair whispered so no one else would hear. "You'll do the same to know people, Draco. We can teach you that too." He straightened up and looked around. "I need to talk to that one boy, Weasley."

Draco snorted. "There's a whole great lot of them. Which one?" He went back to his table.

"Ron, I think. He's a future Guide. I'll need to start him down the right path." Draco dropped his trowel and looked at him. Blair grinned his most naughty grin. "Sorry, Draco."

"See that you don't worsen my headache," Draco said firmly, glaring at him until he laughed. Then he went back to his potting.

"What was that about?" Crabbe asked.

"He's to be teaching me how to control those headaches I've been getting. Madam Pomfrey said so," Draco informed them, not quite lying. "It looks like I'll have to endure Weasley during them as well." He sneered at them. "I'll be back late tonight."

"Yes, Draco," Goyle agreed. "We'll cover for you. Should we do your homework?"

"No, Sandburg said he'd get Snape to write me an excuse." He brutally shoved the plant into the pot, then decided he had enough, walking out to sit in the fresh air. The smells were turning his stomach.

Blair winked at the teacher and she relaxed, not going after the boy this time. She understood, had gone through the same thing with Emilia many times over her later years.


Greg looked at Xander, then yawned. "Sorry, time difference."

"Tell me about it, I'm in Cali," Xander admitted with a grin. "So?"

"Emilia got through to him. Blair's giving him a lesson tonight. Oh, and he needs Ron Weasley."

"I can find him," Xander agreed. "He should be in charms, Philip's with them." He winked. "You look like fun."

Greg gave a heart-felt sigh. "And if I ever want to try the darker side of lust, Alex, I'll call." He grinned and winked. "I like the internal fleshy pink things." He trotted off, going back to Potions.

Xander strolled away, stopping a crying young student to dance with her a bit. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"My boyfriend's a dork. He broke up with me over that *veela*." She sniffled, giving him a hopeful look. "How do I make him sorry?"

"Emilia doesn't mean to do such things, they simply happen," he soothed. "It's that way with all veelas, precious one. Try tying him to a bed tonight and showing him you're much better for him than some fantasy woman." She giggled and he let her go, watching as she continued to dance down the hallways for a few more feet. He went to Charms, sliding into the back of the room, near where Ron and Harry were sitting. He nudged the redhead as he moved past. "Sandburg wants to see you tonight," he whispered as he sat down on Harry's other side.

"Me?" Ron asked. Xander nodded. "Cool. After dinner?" Xander nodded again. "Wonderful." He grinned.

"Mr. Weasley, I know he's a beautiful specimen, but please pay attention to me," Professor Flitwick said. Ron blushed and Xander laughed.

"You know how I am about my conquests, Professor. He's a charming young man but too resistant to my wonderful nature. Won't let me feed him things at all." The other students giggled and Xander grinned at them. "I'm lonely, what can I say? I'm eighteen! Again!"

Professor Flitwick laughed. "I'm sure you'll find someone more agreeable in a few classes. For now, help those two with their present work, they could use your expertise."

Xander looked at Ron and winked. "That way no one says anything," he said quietly, taking Harry's wand. "Which one?"

"Long distance fire," Harry said, taking it back. "What's wrong with yours?"

"It still doesn't work. When I was deaged it quit working totally for me." He shrugged. "I need refitted." He grinned at Ron. "Wand?" Ron handed his over. "Okay, the motion is the most important thing, otherwise you light the people below you. It's a short snap of the wrist and make sure the wand tip is pointed where you want it to go. Otherwise you light someone's hair in here or your own feet outside." He flicked the wand at the brazier in the center of the classroom. "Ignius!" A large fire roiled up, filling the ceiling with smoke. "Sorry, not my wand," he shouted through the smoke.

"I understand. Will someone kindly start a fan spell focused on the windows, someone who can see the windows?" Professor Flitwick called. Hermione started it since she was next to one today. "Good job, Mr. Dumass. Mr. Weasley?" Xander handed the wand back and he unlit the fire for the next try. "Try it now."

Ron did the short snap a few times to make sure of his placement. He did it again, this time with the incantation. "Ignius!" The fire roared to life on the floor next to the brazier and was quickly put out. "I did it," Ron said happily.

"Yes you did," Professor Flitwick agreed, smiling at him. "Five points, Mr. Weasley. You didn't light anyone on fire this time." He looked at Harry. "You, Mr. Potter?" Harry looked alarmed but tried it and caught the professor's hat on fire. It was quickly doused by Hermione. "Closer, and again not another student. Five points for you as well. Remember to practice this one in the fire pits outside, not in the dorms," he said cheerfully. "We don't need an accident."

Xander chuckled. "We had one of those," he said happily. "It was one of the last straws before I was resorted." The kids all laughed. "Oh, come on! I only took off Draco's grandfather's hair." That got more laughter from the Gryffindors.


"I will not work with him!" Draco shouted for the second time.

"Oh, get over yourself," Ron sneered. "Afraid of me?"

"Enough!" Blair called. "Draco, in four days time I'm leaving the school. Ron is the only one around here qualified and with the right abilities to do this. Either you work with him or you suffer until my next visit in two months. Now, then." He clapped his hands, rubbing them together. "Ron, I want you to calm yourself. Draco, you as well. We're going to put switches into Draco's head so he can control some of this." Draco grabbed his head, making Ron laugh.

"Metaphorical ones," Ron taunted. "Not that I wouldn't like to open your skull for you."

"Enough!" Blair said, louder this time. "Ron!" Ron looked down at his feet. "Why don't you two just have sex and get it over with?" Draco looked horrified. "Sorry, I forgot, Draco, never mind. You'll be picking your mate that way, at least for as long as you like them." Ron gave him a confused look. "Male veelas can switch mates throughout the course of their lives, females can too but males do it easier. They basically change with their attention span. Many of them have died for that," Blair said firmly. "So be careful." He smiled at them. "The hormones are much easier in men. You don't have near the amount of estrogen that the women have. They get worse surges than you ever will." Draco shuddered and curled up around himself. "Now that we've got that settled. Both of you sit on the mat, facing each other. I'll be sitting next to you." They sat and he sat beside the large space between their knees. "Closer. So that you nearly touch knees. During most exercises you'll want to be in physical contact." They grumbled a bit but did as he ordered, sure it was an order. Because otherwise they'd both suffer. "Good," Blair praised, knowing what it had taken to get that close. "Now then. Draco, this is the picture I want you to see," he said, pulling over a picture from an ad for a stove. The boy wouldn't need much finesse so he could have less precise dials. "Focus on the picture for a bit, memorizing it." Draco nodded and closed his eyes. "Good boy, Draco. Ron, take his hands if you want, it'll keep him calm if you hold them." He shifted more to Draco's side. "I want you to picture seven of those, Draco," he said, dropping into the vocal pattern he used with his sentinel. Draco shivered. "Listen to my words, not my tone," he said with a smile. Young men were too focused on their dicks. "I want you to picture seven of those dials, Draco, and I want you to picture wires running from each sense to them, then one to your libido, and one to your dick. Do that now and nod when you can see it." Draco sighed, starting the process of giving himself control.

Ron watched in wonder. That voice was making him want to put some in himself. He would be learning that?


The time comes as it always does, when reunions end. The train was ready, everyone was packed and heading down. Methos stopped in the library, giving the librarian a weary smile. "I will be back," he said calmly. "Until then, do you have a key to my book locker?" She nodded and pulled it out to show him. "Allow Mr. Potter and his crew to use them, or any of the Bane," he instructed. "I allowed Callahan to use it that year that I subbed for a few months, any of them are allowed to use it as well." She nodded and made the note. "Thank you." He blew a kiss. "Our librarian was much less beautiful and much more stodgy. You're a wonderful breath of fresh air." He walked out, leaving her blushing.


Greg stopped in to see Snape. "You're coming to see me this summer, right?"

"If at all possible," Snape agreed, giving him a hug. "I shall see you soon."

"Yes, you shall, or I'm going to get really pissed and send one of my coworkers to bother you." They shared another laugh and hug, then Greg jogged off to catch a carriage.

Snape shook his head, walking out to watch him leave. The boy was like his own son, he would miss him.


The Bane gathered in a large compartment, deciding how they were going to do this. "I wish I could come back and work," Greg put in, "but I can't. My shift's short as is. I'm their only DNA and sample tech on night shift."

Blair nodded. "We understand, Greg. You'll be our hidey-hole. When it's necessary, you'll be back. We can count on you that way. Okay?" Greg nodded. "Then calm down. You'll see him soon."

"I hope so. Dumbledore's ready to use any advantage." They looked upset at that. "The kid's fourteen, Blair," he sighed.

"I know. That's why I'm coming back to St. Andrew's to do research. Jim will help me train the boy if we get him for a few weekends. He's a former Ranger." Nick coughed. "And hey, if you can come back, you can do the same."

"I tried, he didn't see the need for hand-to-hand yet," Nick told him. "I've got to go back to my house, but I'm getting Derek onto this so we will help."

Philip sighed. "I've decided to ask for a small former parish house that's near the school, about fifty miles away. It's empty and has been for a good few years. I can concoct a story good enough to allow me to have it since there's been strange things noted near there." Nick gave him an alarmed look. "Mostly wizards, Nick, don't worry about it." He patted him on the knee. "Watch out for Sloan. He will try to get in the way." Nick nodded. "Blair, you're going to St. Andrews?" Blair nodded. "Then you'll be seeing me now and again."

"Cool. I miss our talks," Blair said with a grin. "You can meet my Simon." He winked at the laughter from the ladies. "Emilia?"

"I'm staying nearby in case Draco needs me. I'll be doing guest lecturing now and again for the various classes." Everyone nodded. "Tipsy?"

She sighed. "I wish I could hand over the manor house to someone else. Even Cassandra. Even if Potter doesn't need me, the twins will. The fact that we came to a tie means that we should encourage them to start their own business." Everyone looked impressed. "But I'm in Canada or Norway all year long."

"We can come back and we can go through you," Blair soothed. "You'll do whatever you feel is best, no one's saying that you can't stay out of it this time."

"Yeah, but it sucks, I want to kick Voldemort's ass!"

"Good point," Xander said as he walked in. "We'll figure it out," he assured her. "I can't find anyone to stay for me so I've got to go back to the Hellmouth for a while, but I'll be back, hopefully before the official start of the festivities." He sat down near them. "I had a ...talk with Lucius when I saw him last night. He looked pissed about his boy telling him off." He smiled at Emilia and she tipped her head. "So I gave him the Gods honest truth. And he nearly jumped off the walkway to get away from me," he said smugly. "We'll handle it when it's time. For now, we have time to make choices and arrangements." He patted Greg on the thigh. "Even you. I like your idea and having you over there. Voldemort will still want you since he couldn't get Flammel's stone during Harry's first year. So stay there." Greg nodded, relaxing. "Good. Are any of you going to Diagon? I could use a shopping buddy."

"I've got a flight this afternoon," Tipsy sighed. "I left a bumbler in charge. I expect the house to have fallen in by the time I get back." Everyone winced. "Also, the darling son is coming back this year to go to a Canadian school. I just got the message last night."

"Oh, shit," Blair sighed. "Can he be handled? Or trusted?"

"Cassandra raised him. I don't know what she's told him," Tipsy told him. "You'd have to ask her." She shrugged. "We don't talk." They all nodded, understanding after so long knowing them. The door opened and she saw her sister. "What?"

"I know you got told he was coming back," Cassandra said as she walked in. "Are you going to turn the house over to him?"

"If he asks and I find out he can handle it," Tipsy agreed. "Will he want me to?"

Cassandra shrugged. "I don't know. He's never shown interest in his family."

"I wonder why," Blair said, staring at her. Tipsy put a hand on his arm. "Sorry."

"No, I did say some things about his mother being wild in her youth."

"In other words, you ruined his view of his family," Xander said firmly. She glared at him then realized who she was glaring at so she backed away. "You're not worth the cleaning bill, Cassandra. Don't worry. But do tell the boy the truth. That his parents died fighting an evil man who's about to come back."

"You can't believe that," she said angrily.

Tipsy looked at her. "I've seen it, Cassandra, and I know you have if I have. So get off your rocking horse and deal with it. I'm not putting up with you not preparing that boy for reality. Voldemort is fighting to come back. He's been a ghoul for a long time according to reports."

"A ghoul?" she breathed, clutching her throat. "Hidden under a turban. In symbiosis with a teacher. A Dark Arts teacher." Everyone nodded and Cassandra sobbed. "I'm sorry!"

"Don't worry about it," Tipsy said, getting up to give her a hug. "Tell the boy the truth, or send him to me to tell him the truth. His parents died to save an orphanage of wizards and witches. The one they used to run, the one he came from." Cassandra looked startled. "He's not theirs biologically, Cassie, their only biological one died with them, unborn and a girl." Cassandra nodded and walked off, Tipsy allowed herself to sit down and go limp. "I hated having to tell her."

"She's got a unique view of seeing the world," Greg said gently. "She's finally seeing the way it was, not the way she wanted it to be." He reached over and gave her a hug. "Be easy, Tip Top, we'll deal with her too." She nodded. "How are we staying in touch? I don't have an owl."

"Owls, even regular ones, don't go near the Hellmouth," Xander told them.

"I'll have a floo connection," Philip told them. "The house is so old there's no electricity." Nick shuddered. "I'll have a generator put in."

"We could use muggle technology," Blair pointed out. Everyone looked at him. "Who among us doesn't have a cellphone?" Xander raised his hand. "You can fix that?" He nodded. "See, that problem's solved. No one can interrupt it unless we suddenly start shooting down satellites. And I don't think any of us can do that, can we?"

"No, and it's unexpected for some of us," Philip agreed with a smile. "Nick, I'll be at the house in three days." Nick nodded. "Good. Maybe I can get one from Derek, it'll save my pitiful salary."

"At least you have one," Xander pointed out. "I'm working fast food after school for mine."

"You've got a vault, empty it," Blair scoffed.

"I have *vaults* and how would I explain it?" Xander asked.

"Good point. Don't put it into a bank, they'll have to report it and you'll become a suspected drug dealer," Blair told him. "I'll help you long-distance with some of that stuff, don't worry about it, Xander." He looked at the others. "Any other immediate problems?"

"The lunch trolley?" Greg said lightly, making everyone laugh. "What? I got up late." He frowned at them. "Hey, did you guys get to meet the big dark guy? Deke Reynolds?" Blair nodded. "What branch is he in?"

"Mercenary," Blair told him. "Formerly army I think." He shrugged. "He's a handy guy to know. He's in LA too." He chuckled. "I'm sure Jim and he would have a great many interesting talks about what they've done." That cracked up the rest of the group.


Philip looked at the person over assignments in the UK, the person technically over his since he had started in Ireland. "I want this parish house," he said, handing over the documents he had found. "I need the vacation, I have some translations I need to get done, and there's been enough activity of my sort in the area to warrant me being there to help fix it."

The Monsignor looked at the paper, then at him. "That house hasn't been occupied in seventy years, Father. What makes you think you can demand anything?"

Philip smiled. "Because there have been six documented cases of possession in the area. I'm the best one to handle that. It will also keep the books I'm working on for the Vatican's Special Occult Collection out of the public eye. I'm not asking for much. The house, some candles, a generator if you've got one lying around for emergencies and heat. A few supplies now and again. It's in the middle of nowhere and you won't have to look at me for at least a year or two."

"I see." The man considered it. "It's not up to codes."

Philip snorted. "So? I can fix that as well."

"Good point." He filled out the paperwork, changing it to a more modern facility where Philip could be more useful. "Here you are, Father."

Philip checked it and pointed at the name. "Not that one. I don't need to remember the people lost there. I need the other one."

"There's no road, Father, be reasonable."

Philip got down into his face. "I know you know what I am," he said quietly. The man blanched. "My people are going to war soon. The people they're against can only be stopped by someone like me. They're against anyone who's not like them and pure blooded. You have three churches in harm's way at the moment and they know because I told them so. If I'm put there, then I'm in the middle of it and I can stop it before a lot of people lose their lives. I'll have a phone if you desperately need me, but I need to be there. Even if I have to quit." The Monsignor swallowed so he stood back up. "Please," he said, handing back the papers. It was corrected for him. "Thank you," he said with a faint smile. "I'll do my best. I'll be in residence within a month." He gathered his things and walked away.

The Monsignor slumped in his seat. Then he picked up the phone to call his superior. "We heard right. Philip Callahan just said so," he said quietly. "He said he's helping fight the war." He smiled. "As you will it. No, the Vicarage we bought up in Scotland. I don't know, does it matter if he buys another wand? If it helps?" He hung up on the laughter. "I wish you God's own luck, Father Philip, you'll need it." He crossed himself and said a prayer for the priest before getting back to his office assignments.


Xander handed over his vault key. "I need into one of my vaults," he told the goblin. It looked at him. "I deaged, creep, try something and I'll skewer you." He saw an older goblin from the main office. "Tell him I'm me," he demanded.

It walked over and examined him, then the key. "He was deaged while on assignment," he told the goblin. "That is his key." He looked at Xander again. "Mr. Dumass, we put your back pay in there and your retirement funds. We've also had to add another vault to your complex. Are you doing a full tour?"

"I'll be in town for a bit, I'll do it then," Xander assured him. "I'm not coming back to work." The goblin's face fell. "I can't. I have something more important to do, like threaten my great-nephew's guardians." The goblin nodded. "I'm at Dumbledore's disposal. Maybe in a few years. But if you would, send a message to Bill Weasley saying I'd like to see him."

"He has vacation next summer," the higher goblin told him. "I'll pass that along to the message office." Xander nodded and smiled. "Good hunting," it said, smiling at him.

"You know?"

"It's been obvious. We do get charge sheets." He walked away.

Xander took back his key. "Thank you. I'll be in this form and continue to grow up from now on." He walked over to the cart goblin and got in, letting him see the key as well. "The one with the most money," he ordered. It nodded and took off, going the special direct way for employees. Xander opened his own vault, a perk of working there, and whistled. "I love interest," he said happily, taking out a large bagful of money. He filled up his pants pockets as well, he'd need to bring some back with him. He went back to the surface and let them put it into a never full bag for him, then went right to Ollivander's. He found Philip in there. "Getting a new one?"

"I'll need it," he said, trying out the next one. That one worked and Xander paid for it. "You don't have to," Philip protested.

"Consider it a contribution to the war effort," Xander quipped. "Go in peace, Philip. I'll see you soon." He waited until he was alone with the shopkeeper to pull out his old wand. "It hasn't worked since I was hit with the curse."

Ollivander took it to look over. "Veela and rosewood," he said happily. He looked the boy over, starting his measuring tape. "We'll see how far off it is. Usually the ones directly on either side don't work at all."

"That's what's going on with that one," Xander admitted. "I've been able to use Ron Weasley's and Harry Potter's, and a bit with Blair Sandburg's and Greg Sander's, the two exchange students."

"Excellent. Do you fight?"

"I live on a hellmouth." The proprietor hurried back to pull out wands for him to try. Six later he found one that worked at all, but it had a whiplash effect instead of a floating one. The next few didn't work at all. Ollivander sighed and went back to pull down a larger than average box. "What's this one?"

"Very thick I'm afraid," he said sadly. "I don't know why I did it that way."

Xander picked up the solid, rounded bulb handle and it fit nicely in his palm. "I like it," he noted, trying the floating spell again. It floated the ladder off the ground easily. "Is that one it?"

"It could be," he agreed, taking it back. He went to get another like it and handed that one over. "Silverwood and veela's pubic hair. Very unusual. Just like you." Xander moved it and it sparked. "Yes, that one's for you," he said with a smile. "Nine galleons." Xander plopped them into his hand. And then another six for the wand that nearly worked. "Thank you, Mr. Harris."

Xander smiled. "Not any longer, not if I could find someone to take over for me." He walked out and nearly ran into a young man, one with dark hair would could pass for his cousin. "What do you want?" he asked, having a feeling about this.

The boy gave him an adoring look. "Sir, I've been looking for you all day, I'm to take over for you on the hellmouth," he said happily. "I was one of the tops in my Defense classes and Dumbledore said it was necessary."

Xander looked him over, nodding at what he saw. "You know you'll have to play an eighteen-year-old boy?" The kid nodded. "That I work with a slayer?" The boy nodded again. "Then let's get you fixed up with an illusion. Polyjuice won't do." He looked in the boy's eyes. "Remember, you can't kill the pseudo-parents, no matter what they do. They owed Albus." The boy nodded so they walked down to Knockturn, getting him a long-lasting illusion collar with a blood ruby key. It was keyed so Xander's mannerisms and speech patterns were ingrained, then Xander handed the boy some money. "I'll be paying you a salary," he said quickly. "Use it wisely. Get that changed into American and meet me in my room tonight so we can tell each other memories." The boy nodded and canceled the illusion, going to do as he had been ordered.

"That's a cute kid you've got," the shopkeeper said with a sneer. "You gonna keep him?"

"He's going to the Hellmouth as me. The least I can do is pay him enough not to make him work fast food." He walked away, going to do some shopping now that he knew he was going to be staying. He needed things! Many things! He was so happy he was about to pull a musical number in the middle of the street. He walked into Madam Malkin's and smiled. "I need things," he told her. "Money's not an object." She led him into a private room, bringing back robes and outfits to soothe and comfort him in his new life. He was going to enjoy this.

That night, the boy met him in is his rooms at the Leaky, and so did an old friend. "Emilia," he said happily, kissing her gently. "Did you need to feed, my dear and precious one?"

She purred and stretched. "If you wanted, I could, but I was going to guard the boy. There's a siren heading that way." They smiled at the boy, who nearly came from that alone. "Would you put on a show for me, Kenneth?" He nodded quickly. "With Xander?" she asked, stroking a finger down the center of Xander's chest. "I would be most appreciative and might even pop around now and then to help you a bit."

The boy fell to his knees and mouthed Xander through his pants, smiling at her. "Anything for you," he promised, grinning up at her.

Xander looked down at him, undoing his pants. "Okay by me then," he told Emilia, quickly getting into it. He hadn't had any in a *long* time. Nearly four days.


Nick walked into Derek's office, giving him a smile. "Get rid of Sloan, I need to talk to you," he said quietly, sitting across the desk.

"Is that Nick?" Sloan asked from the screen of the tele-conferencer. Derek Rayne nodded. "Then bring him around, I need to talk to him about this. Mr. Boyle?"

"Go away, Sloan. This is more important. You can bitch me out later." He hung up on Derek, standing up to look at him. "Derek, this is bad, and I'm going to have to go do something soon, but I don't know when."


Nick gave him a gentle smile. "You know how I just went to a school reunion?" Derek nodded. "In Scotland?" Derek nodded again. "It's the sort of place your father would have hated. I'm a wizard, Derek. A weakly powered one, but I am a wizard." He pulled his wand and put it on the desk. "I was an exchange student." The tele-conferencer beeped. "Don't. Sloan will shit. We need to get through this before you go running to London."

Derek sighed. "Nick, I can't accept you doing this. You know that. The house rules forbid you to practice magic in any form."

"Yeah, well, I'll kinda have to practice, Derek. You know those bad vibes you've been getting?" Derek nodded, slower this time. "They're my kind. There's a few who have went bad." He started to pace. "We thought we had cured it thirteen years ago, but the asshole is coming back and we're going to war." He stopped to look at his lover, seeing the hurt look. "I'm going to have to go help, and if you and the rest of the Legacy want to, I was offered the right to tell you about it. If not, I can erase this memory and we'll go back to the way we were." The tele-conferencer turned itself on, meaning Sloan had forced the connection. "What do you want?" he asked bitterly. "I'm ruining my life here. Then I have to go help Philip pilfer a few items from storage."

Sloan held up his own wand. "What's going on, Mr. Boyle? I think I should know."

"You went here in the states?" Nick asked. William Sloan nodded. "There's rumors of a resurrection spell being done to finish bringing back Voldemort." Derek slipped past him. "Dumbledore's heard. The ghoul's really a ghoul at the moment, they're giving him back his body."

"Shit," Sloan said. He beeped Derek, stopping him from not allowing Philip to take anything. They both came back to the office. "Philip, take whatever you want. You will check in with me personally each week. Do you understand?" Philip looked confused but nodded. "How many others do we have?"

"A few are at St. Andrew's studyin'," Philip said gently. "Sandburg. Professor Methos. Dumass."

"Sandburg, the one with the dissertation?" Derek asked. Philip and Nick both nodded. "Well." He frowned. "I don't like this. My father fought..."

"And killed many who weren't bad, Derek, get over it," William Sloan snapped. "Mr. Boyle?"

"I was asked to get the Legacy in with Dumbledore, Sloan. If the war is restarted, I'm going over. Potter's a fourteen-year-old boy." Sloan hissed. "And he's already fought a few times. We've got someone who can't leave their job over here who's setting up a sanctuary for wizards and witches." He picked up his wand and put it back into his back pocket. "I'll do what I have to."

"Very well. Father, take whatever you need and send me a list of anything Derek doesn't have. I'll also want a physical address by the end of tomorrow where you'll be. Mr. Boyle, you're staying there and we'll get you over there as soon as it starts. I doubt we'll be able to stop it before it happens. They'll get more closed-mouthed as the time draws near. Derek, calm down and talk with Mr. Boyle. He couldn't have told you, he would have been sent to prison." Derek turned off the monitor and looked at him.

"Sorry, Derek, but he was right. I could not tell you until now. Not until it was necessary." He stiffened up. "I'll understand if you want time to think. I'm going back to my old room until you're ready to talk with me. I need a nap, the flight was a bitch and a half." He smiled. "Come get me when you're ready."

Derek stood up and kissed him gently. "Go to our bed, we'll talk after dinner." Nick nodded, heading up there. Derek looked at his father's picture. "You see, you were wrong," he whispered, sitting down to write in his journal.


Greg Sanders walked back into his police station, through to his section of the job. He waved at a coworker as he passed. "Still on vacation," he said when they opened their mouth. "Just having a moment where I need advice." He tapped on Gil Grissom's door, walking in at the grunt. "Catherine," he said, giving her a hug. "Can I steal the bossman from you? I've got some major problems from the reunion and I need advice."

She nodded, standing up. "It was that bad?"

"No, more that situations were starting and I'm about to get caught in the middle. I'd rather warn now than explain later. But I'll try to pop around on you later because I'm going to need some special help and I think you'll be able to tell me where to go." She looked confused but left them alone. Greg licked his lips as he looked at his boss. "Get your coat, I can't tell you in here. I'm being paranoid, but it's reasonable," he said before his boss could say anything. "If anyone overheard this it's going to be bad for both of us."

Grissom looked concerned. "How bad was this reunion?" He grabbed his jacket and followed Greg out to his car, getting in and letting him drive them to a park. "It's this bad?"

Greg parked the car and looked at him. "I'm going to tell you exactly where I went, and by the time I'm done you're going to ask me to take a drug test. I can prove everything I'm going to tell you and it's necessary that you know now. Otherwise I'm going to have to leave the unit and disappear into the ether. Walk?"

"Love to," Grissom said, starting to really get worried. "I thought you went to school in Scotland."

"I did." He smiled as they walked. "It's not drug or case related, but it's important, Grissom. I..." He glanced around and stopped them near a bench. "Sit." Grissom sat and Greg stared down at him. "I'm a wizard. Affectionately known as the Wizard of Blood. I'm a Potion's Master and an alchemist." He pulled his wand and changed a leg of the bench to taffy. He ate a piece and handed over some for his boss to test. Then he sat down. "My school trained me to do that," he said gently as Grissom chewed. "Sorry, I wanted orange. I can change the flavor if you want."

Grissom shook his head. "No, that's pretty good. Give me another piece please." Greg handed over another chunk then changed it back without any visible effort. "How do you do that?"

"This is my wand," Greg said proudly. "Ivory and phoenix feather." He let him see it. "It's basically a funnel and a focus for my abilities." It was handed back and he put it into his pocket, pausing in the narrative as some prostitutes walked past. One stopped to look at him and he frowned. "I didn't think you guys existed," he said happily.

"We're not Ministry, sir, we're the Preservation League. We deal in decency issues." She raised her wand but Greg was faster, tossing a seed onto her and making it do a quick grow, into a Devil's Snare plant.

"Leave. Now. I only accept official government regulations. If you come near my Slytherin ass again, I'm going to do worse." She shrieked and apparated off, taking the plant with her. He smiled at his boss. "If I was back at school, I'd be in trouble by now. They have regulatory bodies, we don't over here."

"That Ministry place?"

"Is their regulatory agency," Greg agreed. He stood up. "Come on, I just got back and my butt's numb." Grissom stood up and walked with him some more. "The problem is, my people are getting ready to go to war."

"Your relatives or your people?"

"I'm what's known as an unblooded wizard, Grissom, it's not in my family. The wizarding community at large is what I'm talking about. We've had some go bad and we thought we had stopped it thirteen years ago, but the guy's still living and we'll have to kill him this time for real."

"So, you're quitting?"

"No." Greg gave him a grin. "I won't quit. I may disappear now and again, hopefully with warning for you, but I'm not quitting. I'm setting up a sanctuary over here so you don't have to replace me."

"How are you going to do that."

"Like I said, I'm an alchemist."

"That pot of yours in the corner," Grissom said, stopping them. "You can do that?" Greg nodded. "Have you before?" Greg nodded, grinning harder this time. "This is really hard to accept, Greg, even with proof."

"I know; like I said, I'm expecting a drug test summons tonight when I take you back."

Grissom laughed. "I'm not so sure I shouldn't take one too." He glanced around. "What exactly do you need to do, Greg? I need to know so I can protect you, because from what you're not saying this evil power is larger than all of us."

"Oh, he is. He's defying death presently," Greg assured him. "He likes to torture normal people, like you, because you're like roaches to normal people for him." Grissom hissed. "As for what I have to do. I have to use something in my little pot in the corner to make some gold. I have to buy a really large house so I can set up a sanctuary. I have to disappear sometimes, but I should have warning. With any luck, the ones who are staying won't need my help. My best area isn't Defense, it's potions. I'm there if they need me though."

"I understand." Grissom clapped him on the arm. "Thank you for leveling with me. Why did you go to work for us? You could probably be making a lot of money doing what you love."

"I could, but if you remember, I came into CSI because you guys saved me from an attacker, a Death Eater, Grissom, one of the bad guy's henchmen. He wants me because of what I can do and he's not used to taking no as an answer." He shrugged. "Then I realized I was doing good work. Besides, if I want money, I can make money." He laughed at the sour expression on his boss' face. "I'm usually more discreet but I can't be this time. I've got a cover story ready so it's not a problem."

"You sound so confident, like you're older than you appear."

"We age slower, I'm actually about thirty-nine," Greg admitted.

"And you weren't going to ever tell us?"

"I can't, man, our prisons are fiercer than the ones here. Hell, I'd love to go here instead of there. There you get every happiness sucked out of you and you live like that. Here, you get raped and beaten, and possibly killed, but you mostly survive the same way you went in." Grissom's beeper went off. "Tell them to go away and I'll finish telling you everything." Grissom called in and told them he was busy, to handle it themselves. Greg took him to the roller coaster on top of a casino, one Gill was familiar with. As soon as they started up, he pointed off to the right. "Look that way, wait for the flash," he said, taking his boss' wrist in his hand.

Grissom hissed when he saw the large creature out there, then looked at Greg until they got off. "What was that?"

"That was another like me. He keeps a menagerie for his personal stash. I hate him, but I can't interfere at this time."

"You have a nickname, you're well known," Grissom said as he led Greg to a little dinner he liked the pie in. Most of the CSI's had been in here before and they were near to the scene in case they were needed.

Greg waited until they had their pie to look at his boss, giving him another of those confident smiles. "I'm about number nine of the top ten list of most powerful masters, Grissom. There are two other of us in town, one at eleven and one at fifteen, and a few stage magicians who can do a bit more."

"How do you move up?"

"You either create something spectacular or you do something world-ending." He took a bite of pie. "Or someone ahead of you dies and you move up. I may be at eight now because the other alchemist on the list is about ready to die I think." He grimaced. "I was taught by number two on the old list, a master of poisons. You'll hopefully get to meet him this summer. He's a great guy."

"I'm sure he is." Grissom stopped as one of the other techs came in. "Sarah," he said with a smile. "How's it going?"

"It wasn't what they thought so we're mostly free. I'm springing for coffee. Hi, Greg."

"Hi, Sarah." He smiled. "I got an offer that I think is more for you than me. Do you know where Cascade, Washington is?"

"Yeah, they have a serial killer tracking CSI." She frowned. "Why?"

"Because I went to my reunion and met my old friend, Blair Sandburg, he works out there. He said they're not *officially* asking for help, but that some people are starting to volunteer and maybe even suggested that I could go out there."

"Oh, that's great, but we need you here," Sarah reminded him.

"Yup, but what they really need is scene techs at the moment. So I'm passing it on to you, a great scene tech who could probably crack the case within hours."

"I have a friend out there, I'll call her," Sarah said, giving her a smile. "Thanks for the head's up. How was the reunion?"

"Complicated, that's why I'm hogging the boss."

"Oh. Sorry." She grinned. "I'll see you back at the office?"

"I'm still on vacation," Greg reminded her. "I'll see you officially tomorrow." She nodded and left. "Phew." He shook his head. "I hope she goes." He smiled.

"Don't be mean to her, she's a very good CSI."

"She's clueless, Grissom. She really is. Besides, she treats me like I'm a teenager."

Grissom laughed. "You act like it sometimes. People like her often don't get along with the more free spirits in the world, Greg." He patted him on the hand. "Do I need to know your plans?"

"Well, tonight, I'm going to sit down with my little side project in the office while I'm pretending to check my mail." He licked off his spoon and dropped it onto the plate. "Then I'm going to go corner Brass because I want to have this in with IA before they start asking questions. Better to warn than to explain as Blair said." He grinned.

"Sandburg, he's the guy with the dissertation problem, right?"

Greg nodded. "Yeah, he lied to save his subject, then someone else stepped forward, another cop. So he's got his big three letters, but he's still working with the PD out there. They really do need some CSI's from what he was saying." He sipped his coffee. "After I talk with Brass, and probably someone with IA, then I'm going to corner Catherine Willows to get her to give me the name of someone."

"Good idea, she would know. I will say that I'm impressed you've hidden this for so long, Greg."

"And I plan on continuing, Grissom. Neither of us can tell anyone else. I don't let it affect my work and I resist the urge during the frustrating times to use it in the lab to help. I keep everything very legal in there."

"I'm glad to hear it, Greg. I've had no qualms about your work so far." He smiled. "Is that where the turban came from?"

"Actually, it came from one of our finer haberdashers. It's an older style and I hate the pointy hats all students have to wear during ceremonies. I only wish I could wear my robes to work. I look spiffing in them," he said with a wink. Then he sighed. "I guess I'll have to warn the other guys in town. Two of them I can get directly for a meeting tonight, another I'll have to tell his people, and the last won't come even if I say I'm giving out free money."

"Do it after you finish setting everything up," Grissom suggested. "That way they know and understand." Greg put down some money. "Thank you for the pie, we'd better get back to the office."

"Sure. The car's only a block away." He grinned. "I can't quite always find the perfect parking spot."

"I'm surprised you haven't done anything about it."

"I did for a while, but then I got my parking spot at the station," Greg told him as they walked out. "I don't want you to freak, Grissom."

"I'm not, Greg. You gave me the proof I needed. I am going to think for a while and may ask you for more proof. Are you going to work in the lab?"

"Yeah, probably. There shouldn't be anyone else in there. It'll seem like I'm checking my mail and prioritizing samples for tomorrow night's return." He opened his car with the remote. "In you get." He slid in to drive, taking them back to the station. Once he was in his lab, he closed the window blinds and logged onto his internet account to look like he was checking the mail. Then he went to his little project in the corner and began to churn out gold. Just a small amount, enough to be reasonable with his story. Once he was done, he cleaned his inbox of the spam and department spam, then loaded everything into a bag and took it to Brass's office. He was the main detective they worked with and had been in the department for nearly twenty years. He knocked politely. "Brass?"

"What?" he called. Greg walked in. "I don't usually see you. What do you want?"

"I need some advice and Grissom knows I'm here," Greg said as he closed and locked the door. He sat his bag on the desk. "While at my reunion I ran into an old friend from Africa. His family owned a mine and way back when I gave him some money to help him restart operations. We made an agreement that I'd get ten percent of the profit for three years. I got that at the reunion," he said with a smile and a wave. "I don't know what to do with it."

Brass dumped out the bag, expecting money, not gold lumps. "What's that?"

"Gold. Chucks of gold." Greg flopped down into a chair and stretched out. The detective looked at him and he nodded. "Real gold, I tested it a few minutes ago in the lab. And I'm getting more each month, just like that. Because they don't press it into bars."

"Oh, shit," Brass said, moving some of the smaller pieces around. He looked at the kid. "What are you going to do?"

"I'd rather tell IA now than later, when they catch on, but I'm a young man, Brass. I want a big house with my own lab and room for my friends to come over and stay for months on end. I want an indoor pool. I want snazzy clothes. I want to have one of those five hundred dollar haircuts, just once," Greg explained. "But that'll look bad if I don't explain it now and I can't exactly carry that over there and go 'hey, this is mine'."

"How did you get it back into the country?"

"I had it shipped to myself." He shrugged at the look he was getting. "I don't know anything about import regulations!"

"Good point. You're a harmless blood geek." He moved a few more pieces around. "That's all you want?"

"Well, I want to save so that when I take a vacation again I go somewhere exotic where there are many topless cute women, not like on the European beaches where any woman can go topless." Brass stared at him. "What? I'm twenty-eight, Brass."

"Good point, kid. Let me make a call. You gather all this up." He waved a hand at it. "How are you getting rid of it?"

"I'm going to ask Catherine Willows for her help. I figured she'd know someone who was legal enough not to get anyone in trouble, but illegal enough not to bug about the origin. I don't know which mine he got it from, the one in Africa, the one in Asia, or the one in Russia." Brass winced. "Yeah, and he did it by their regulations, not ours. All they had to do was give me a bill of sale. As soon as I find out what forms I need, I'll tell him," he silently added 'and have them forged', "but until then all I've got is a bill of sale." He handed that over too.

"It's a good thing that you're doing it this way, kid. It'll cause fewer problems."

"Which is very good for me and for Grissom, who I told earlier."

Brass nodded, picking up his phone to call a friend over in Internal Affairs. "This is Brass," he said. "I've got one of the guys I work with who's got a major money problem. No, some fell into his lap and he needs to let you guys know before you can jump on him. Yeah, he's trying to do the right thing and doesn't want any hangups later. Because he's a CSI and normally honest. " He laughed. "Sure, I'll send him to that coffee shop." He hung up. "Go tell Catherine and then go to the coffee shop in the Luxor. He'll meet you there." Greg nodded, picking up his bag of goodies. "You can take her with you if you want, she might help smooth it along. She's seen some whales and high end rollers pass through town." Greg gave him a smile and shook his hand, leaving a little piece on the desk. "Sanders!" he yelled. Greg came back and he handed it over. "I don't accept tips, kid. Keep it all together."

"Yes, sir." Greg hurried off, heading to find Catherine. "Log out," he said once he found her. The guys with her looked at him. "I need Catherine and Brass said I was to take her with me. So come on. We've got a few minutes until we're due at the Luxor." She nodded, looking confused, but followed along. He explained it as soon as they were in his car. "Okay, a friend of mine from school owns a few mines. Gold mines. He's an orphan and due to tax laws in Africa, where he was from, he didn't have the money to run it. So I graciously gave him some of my scholarship money at one point in time. He paid me back during the reunion and I'm going to be getting more for the next three years," he said as they drove. "Open the bag and see the problem."

She did and gasped. "That's lump gold!" She looked at him. "This is illegal!"

"I don't know anything more than he gave it to me and it's mine because of our agreement. I'd get ten percent of his profit for three years for letting him restart operations." He pulled into Valet parking at the Luxor, letting them have his car. He let her carry the bag. "Their regulations state that they only had to give me a bill of sale." He looked at her. "That's why I stole Grissom earlier and I've already told Brass. We're going to talk to IA now, and see what needs to be done about this. If I get the 'all clear' I'll need to sell it. I want a house."

She kissed him on the cheek. "Sure, Greg. I think I know someone. Let's go get this settled. This is so strange even they've got to agree it's the truth." She let him walk her into the coffeeshop. "This is nice, no official rooms and tape recorders." A man sat across from them. "Hi."

"Did Brass call you?" Greg asked. The man gave him a patient nod so he started the spiel again and let Catherine wield the bag.

The man looked at the gold pieces then at Greg. "This is real gold?"

"I tested it earlier in my lab. I'm a CSI, the same as Catherine is." He leaned closer. "I know it's odd, but I want a house, a big house."

"You want a mansion?" Catherine asked.

Greg smiled at her. "That many bedrooms and the indoor pool, yes, the rest of it not a chance. I just want a nice house with enough bedrooms for all my friends to come visit for a long time. People I don't ever get to see. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I went to school with Sandburg and he said the CSI in Cascade are looking for unofficial help with scene jockeys." She smiled. "They've got a serial killer chasing them."

"Oh, dirt," the IA agent said. "Not officially?"

"No, he said they're hoping not to. He wanted me to go, but they don't need more blood geeks. They need scene people."

"That's the usual way it goes. That way they don't have to call in the Feds." He sighed and pushed around the only stone he had taken out. "I don't know what to tell you, sir."

Greg gave him a pleading look. "Please let me cash it and not get into trouble? I'll keep excellent records, but I want a house. A real house to call my own. I want one of those five hundred dollar haircuts that everyone said are so great, just to try one out. I'm almost twenty-nine and I'm kinda lost. I'm being honest, I'm being good, but I'm stuck."

"I know." He gave Catherine a look and she nodded so he pulled out an incident report form. "Let me note this. How long? Three years?"

"Ten percent of the profit of the mines for three years. If he sends it lump again, I'm going to find an official-type person who'll turn it into ingots for me, but right now I'm clueless. This got dumped on me during my reunion. I was having a ball teasing the current students."

"That's fine. What's this person's name?"

Greg searched his mind. "Dumass. He's African. He has a mine in Africa, a mine somewhere in Asia, and one in Russia that he inherited." That was noted as well. "Will I have to tithe the department or anything?"

The agent laughed. "We don't demand it but if you want to give some to our charities we wouldn't mind." He smiled. "Now I know you're clueless."

"I'm still paying off my student loans."

The agent nodded. "Do that before you buy the house, Mr. Sanders." He smiled at Catherine. "I suppose that's why you're here?" She nodded, giving Greg a smile. "Good. Hopefully you can find him someone who won't get him in trouble."

"I know someone legal enough to have licenses and be off the fence list, but illegal enough to not ask questions," she told him.

He nodded and finished writing the report, letting Greg sign and date it. "Thank you for telling us first."

"As Sandburg used to say, better to warn than to explain later. It causes fewer ulcers." The agent laughed again and left them alone.

Catherine twisted Greg's ear. "I want the truth," she hissed. "I'm putting my butt on the line for you." He put his wand on the table and she let him go. "Why do you have one of those?"

He pulled out the only clipping he ever carried with him and handed it to her with a smile. "I'm number nine, unless it's changed."

"You're number seven," she corrected, handing it back.

He looked. "Wow, who else died?" he asked, reading the self-correcting list. "Huh, that Asian guy died too. Too bad, I wanted to meet him." He looked at her, putting the clipping and his wand back. "We're going to war, Catherine, and I'm sanctuary."

She sighed. "Fine, that's a good reason I guess." She let him get the tab since he had the money and walked him back out to their car. "Give me your phone and the keys. I'm driving while you tell me everything!"

He slid into the passenger's seat, looking at her as she started the car and hit the street. "One of your clients?"

"Yeah, a big tipper too. Tipped in galleons." Greg hissed. "So I asked. Don't you guys have rules against that?"

"There's no agency here in the US. Want to help me find a house too?"

"No, Greg."

"Please? I'll pay you a percentage as a finder's fee. I figure you know somewhere I could have my own lab setup."

She laughed. "I do, I even know a house that might fit. The family had seventeen kids." He whistled. "I'll pass your number onto the realtor I know. She's another girl I used to work with." She turned into an alley and took his phone from his fingers, dialing quickly. "Phil? It's Catherine. I've got a favor to ask. No, I've got a guy with lump gold to get rid of. Yeah, all legal. No, he's a cop, Phil, I work with him. Nothing illegal about it. Yeah, he even told our bosses about it." She laughed. "We'll see. He's my present sugar daddy." She hung up and beeped, watching as a garage door opened down the alley. "I could never remember which one it was," she told Greg as she drove inside. The door closed and the lights went on. "Get out."

Greg got out with the bag. "It's profit from a mine," he explained, handing over the bill of sale.

The man looked at it, then at him. "Why?"

"I loaned the owner money to keep operations going during our school years. I'm getting ten percent profit for the next three years, a bit each month."

"Hmm. Interesting." He led Greg into the back of the shop, pouring the bag out to weigh the gold. "Seventeen pounds, very interesting." He looked at Greg again. "You a real cop?"

"CSI," Greg said, pulling out his ID card. "I'm a blood geek."

"Hey, I've heard of you. One of my other guys was complaining about his list standing not going up since yours did. You're the Wizard of Blood." Greg nodded, giving him a brilliant smile. "Wow. Sure, I can do this for you. It's not a problem. Though you might want to give Catherine a tip for bringing you to me instead of someone else. I'm understanding." He did his own check. "That's 24 Karat as well," he said happily. "Let's see." He clicked something on his cellphone and came up with a number. "Today, 24K is going for 374.48 an ounce," he said, frowning as he pulled over a calculator. "That's 247.917 troy ounces." He punched the numbers in and whistled, showing it to Greg.

"I can't do math that fast, how much?" Catherine asked.

"Ninety-two-thousand, eight-hundred-thirty-nine dollars and ninety-six cents," Greg told her. She put down four pennies, making them laugh. "Thanks, Catherine." He smiled at the changer. "Gonna give me face value or do we have to haggle?"

The money changer laughed. "I won't charge you more than a ten percent fee for doing this, kid. Catherine obviously likes you if she paid money." He walked over and cut a check for him, handing it over. "Here you go. Eighty-three thousand, five-hundred-fifty-six dollars with the four cents she put in."

"You're buying me dinner," Catherine said, making Greg hug her. "Easy on the merchandise, Greg." She smiled at the changer. "So he can come back if his friend does it to him again?"

"You kidding? This is the finest I've seen in quite a while. Whichever mine this comes from has got to be doing a gem of a profit. Just don't try to break me, kid. Okay?"

"Sure, not a problem," Greg agreed, accepting his card. "I'll even call ahead the next time. With this much I should be able to put some in the bank." They shared another laugh and he escorted Catherine back to the car. "Thank you so much."

She pinched him on the cheek. "I want a kick ass birthday present," she said firmly. He beamed. "Thank you." As soon as the garage door opened, she backed out into the alley. "Your bank wouldn't have late hours, would it?"

"It actually would," Greg said, checking his watch. "It's not six yet." She looked at him and he showed it to her. "It's not six yet."

She checked her own. "It's not," she agreed. "Where?"

"The nearest Federal branch." She sped off, going to let him cash that very nice check. Though he did put most of it into the bank, he did treat her to dinner and he did buy her a very nice birthday present later that night, before calling the realtor she recommended. "Hi, my name's Greg Sanders, I work with Catherine Willows. She said you might have the perfect house for me?" He smiled. "Cool. No, I'm looking for somewhere big enough that all my friends can come over and stay for months on end and an indoor pool, but that doesn't feel like a mansion," he said as he lay on his bed after dinner. "Yeah, she said something about a large family with seventeen kids?" He smiled. "Cool. When can I see it? Even better." He noted the address. "Yeah, I'll be right there." He hung up and hurried out to his car. With any luck, this would be very nice and he'd be able to do all this and tell Grissom tomorrow that he was on his way to closing.

The meetings could wait until after that. After all, the stage magicians would be in town the whole year.


Greg opened his letter and hissed, letting it land on the desk. He hadn't had time to open it before he came to work, and now he wished he had some antacid nearby. He walked over to his table of chemicals and mixed himself some. He was drinking it when Grissom walked in. He waved as he chugged. "Antacid," he explained.

"Why? Did it start?"

"Yeah. I got news earlier, just after I got back that said the Potter kid had somehow gotten chosen for a competition that was way beyond his skills. They raised him earlier in the week." He walked over and handed over the letter. "I'm on call for them now."

"I understand, Greg. I'm sure you'll do your best. You may not be a fighter, but I do understand," he soothed. "Was that really antacid?"

Greg belched. "Yeah. I didn't pack my Tums tonight. Sodium bicarbonate the old-fashioned way. Ancient alka seltzer." He pulled a sheet out of the printer and handed it over. "That is for you I believe?" he asked with a faint smile.

"It'll be okay, Greg, even your mentor will be fine. Even if he goes back into the fold to spy, he'll be fine."

"I hope so. If not, I might be leaving to teach Potions."

"Potions?" Sarah asked as she walked in. "Why would you?"

"That's what my school called it," Greg said quickly, taking the letter from his boss' hand. "I don't have it done yet, Sarah, it's two down on the list of priority samples."

"Greg, you said we were first."

He looked at her. "Sarah, a nine-month-old was raped and her sample came first," he said honestly. She backed off. "Give me an hour, there's two ahead of it and they're processing now." She nodded and walked out. "Sorry, Grissom."

"I understand. Try to keep the snapping to a minimum, Greg. How's the house?"

"Wonderful," he said with a grin. "Everything's finally painted and I moved in this weekend. I ran around in my underwear singing all Saturday."

"You young men and your things," Grissom said with a smile as he left with his report.

Greg went back to running samples, only taking time to call Sandburg. "Check the mail," he said mysteriously. "Any news?" He smiled, then started to frown. "You're kidding." The negative answer he got made him nearly throw the phone. "I've got the big house I always wanted if anyone needs it, Blair, you know that. Any time and anywhere. Just give them my number and tell them to call." He hung up and took a deep breath before running the next sample. He heard a quiet cough and turned to look at his master. "You made good time."

He smiled and held up the small piece of paper that had been his portkey. "I had some help." He laid it on the desk. "May I help?"

"Nah, give me ten more and I'll look at your shoulder for you. Or have our doc look at your shoulder. He's used to dead people though." He finished prepping her sample and grabbed his first aide kit so he could treat his master's wounds. He had been hurt by something very large with claws and fangs. His right arm was nearly useless. "What did this?" he asked quietly.

"Not now, later," Severus replied. "It's dead."

"Greg?" Sarah called as she came down the hallways. She found him putting a bandage on some stranger's arm. "Is he all right?"

"He's fine. Sarah Sidle, this is Professor Snape. He came for a visit to see the new house." He put on another bandage. "It's time for a change."

She walked closer. "What did that? It looks like a snake and some claw marks."

"It happened back at home, that's why he's here," Greg told her. "I just started it and it's only been twenty minutes at the most."

"Sorry." She walked off, going to see Grissom. "There's a strange guy all in black in Greg's office getting bandaged."

Grissom looked up. "I'm sure he knows him if he's bandaging him."

"Don't you think that's odd?"

"Not really. All sorts of people need bandage changes, Sarah, especially after a long trip. I will be asking him if he wants the rest of the night off after his priority list is done." She sighed and walked off, he went to find Greg. "Hello," he said, smiling at the stranger alone in the lab. "Gill Grissom."

"Severus Snape," he said, shaking his hand with his good one. "Gregory will be right back, he went to find a new box of gloves."

"That's fine." He saw a mark and frowned. "That looks like a scorpion's tail." He frowned so Grissom backed up. "I study insects as my major area of expertise. May I look?" Snape shrugged so he stepped closer, looking at the marks. "How big was the scorpion? And what else was there? These marks don't seem to be consistent."

"It was a creature," Greg said as he walked in, shutting the door. "Sarah's on the hunt again." He rolled his eyes. "Commonly called a Manticore: a hybrid humanoid monster having the body of a lion, the face of a man with a red mouth, and the stinging tail of a scorpion -- sometimes described as ending in a bony conglomerate of poisoned spikes," Greg gave the textbook definition. "There's one in town and an anti-venom is available."

"They have three rows of teeth, right?" Gill said, counting the bite marks. Snape nodded. "Then you're very lucky it didn't kill you. I have some topical antibiotic creme if it'd help."

"Nah, I've got something at home ready just in case. I've been making a lot of antidotes recently." The door opened. "It's not ready yet, Sarah." The door closed again. "I'm going to take off as soon as her thing is done, unless you've got another priority thing?"

"Do you?"

"One, and it's nothing that can be rushed. I was going to start it and let the machine work through it without my standing over it."

"That's fine, Greg. Thank you for the warning, I knew this was exceptional when Sarah came to complain." He walked out, finding Sarah in the common area, talking to someone named Cassie in Cascade. "Are you going over there?"

"Just wondering if I could help from here," Sarah told him. She went back to her conversation. "Have you tried taping the scenes and the surrounding areas?" she suggested, listening to her friend chatter away about how she was probably going to get it any day now. "No, not really. We have the right to question here," she said happily. "I even get to carry a weapon. No, I'm not sure if we have any openings. You'd have to check the site. Yeah, it'd be great to have you here too, Cassie. Just think, our detectives have got to be nicer than yours. No, one of our blood geeks, Greg, knows Sandburg." She laughed. "Well you won't have to put up with him here if you come here. Yeah, I knew his ex, Carolyn, she transferred into San Francisco just before I left. Really nice woman, but a bit uptight. Really? And this Sandburg? Really?" She laughed. "I'm not surprised he's friends with Greg then. Yeah, cute guys by the boatload. Even I find a few that live up to my standards. Cool! At the very least I'll see you at the convention next month. Yeah, if you need me, yell my way and I'll run out," she promised. "Good luck, bye, Cassie." She hung up and went to talk to her boss. "That was my friend Cassie, she runs Cascade's crime lab. She said they're about to ask for people to rotate out on vacations and things." Grissom looked interested. "She's also thinking about changing towns, said Cascade's really dangerous for such a small city. She's thinking about moving out this way so we can be closer."

"I'm sure you'd have a lot of fun, but they're threatening us with more budget cuts unless we can justify everything." Sarah winced. "Leave Greg alone, Sarah, that was the man who got him into the lab in the first place."

"Sure, Grissom. Let me go get that thing from him and I'll be out of his hair all night." She walked down to Greg's lab and walked in. "Greg? Anything yet?"

Snape growled something and flicked his wand, turning her into a small green thing. "That suits you better," he sneered.

"Turn her back," Greg sighed. "Otherwise we'll get someone more obnoxious, it's in the city's contract. We have our quota of nice people."

Warrick Brown, another CSI came to the door. "Whoa, newts in here? Greg?"

"Sorry, just a small glitch; I think it escaped from Grissom's office. I'm trying to decide whether to capture it or not," he said with a grin. "I haven't started yours yet, Sarah got demanding and that pediatric rape case came first. I'm going to start it and let the machine run while I skip out. So just come in and check the spot, okay?" Warrick nodded, bending down to catch the newt. "Thanks." He took it gently and smiled until the other man had left. "Turn her back, please, Master? I'll do some behavioral modification on her as soon as you do and then we can leave." Snape groaned but turned her back and Greg looked at Sarah. "Did you enjoy your time as a possible victim to Grissom's inquiries?" She slowly shook her head. "Then repeat after me. I was a newt and I'm better for it. I will not bother Greg again."

She walked out of the office and right into Grissom's office. "I was a newt and I'm better for it. I won't bother Greg again so you won't be able to use me in an experiment," she said, nodding for his benefit.

Grissom smiled. "That's good, Sarah, why don't you go take a nap, you look tired." She nodded some more and went to take a nap. "GREG!" He came running. "Explain?" he suggested.

"She pissed him off, feel lucky she wasn't a roach. I'm leaving now," he said, waving as he walked out. He decided driving was out and apparated them both to his house. The person who saw him shook his head like he was having hallucinations.

"Maybe I need my eyes checked," Brass muttered, blinking a few times. "Nobody simply disappears without a stage." He went back to talk to Grissom. "I think I'm going to take off tomorrow and have my eyes checked. I just saw someone disappear."

"That might be a good thing," Grissom agreed. "People don't just disappear." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Greg walk back into his office and disappear again. He blinked a few times. "Maybe I'll go with you," he decided. "There's got to be a place that's open right now."

"Yeah, I hope so. That's not something I want to admit and I have my annual physical in three days." He helped look at the ads in the phone book. This was Vegas, something had to be open.