Draco stomped around his room. It was nearly time for him to retrieve his mate. He would not let those *things* keep him! He couldn't! It was driving him insane now that he knew what he needed. He sat down briefly then stood back up and started to pace again. At least this was wearing out some of his excess energy. He glanced at the present he had procured for Xander's happiness, then turned to pace in the other direction. Someone knocked on his door. "Enter," he called imperiously.
Ron leaned against the doorframe. Snape had let him in without a word of protest so he wouldn't have to deal with Draco and the rest of the Slytherins were also letting him handle Draco's temper by himself. No one had even protested him coming in this time. "Tip Top just called the twins. They've got snow there. All five of us are going there instead of them coming here."
"Us three and the twins."
Draco waved a hand, he had forgotten about them. "Fine. When?"
"As soon as you grab your bags, pack that present, and grab your warmest cloak. Tip Top's vacation house is in Sweden."
"Fine," Draco said as he gathered everything, putting his box into the bag. He followed Ron down to the floo they were using, sending himself first. He came out the other side, noticing that the entire group of the Banes was there. Every member ever initiated was in that room one way or another. A few were only portraits. Most of them were people. Most of them smiled at him but a few gave him long, deceptively calm looks. He got out of the way so Potter and Weasley could come next. Then the twins came together and they got roundly hugged and clapped on the back. Draco looked at Sandburg. "Where is he?" he asked calmly. "I can feel him."
"He's napping right now," Blair said with a smile for him. "Relax. Sit, have a cookie. He'll be up soon."
Philip put down his mug of steaming something and pulled Draco closer, sitting him next to him. "We've got a small surprise for you, and you cannot complain. Xander said you lot had to go through it before he could do anything." The boys groaned. "Therefore, Catherine and Emilia need to see you three upstairs." He looked at the twins but they were sucking on a different part of Tip Top's neck. "Go now, then you can see Xander before dinner."
The boys nodded, letting Emilia walk them upstairs. She opened the door and smiled. "In you go. It's about time we had this talk, boys. I know it's been hectic recently but I'm sure we'll be fine." She shared a smile with Catherine, then they both smiled at the trio. "Sit."
"Sure," Ron said, looking uneasy. "Does this have to do with the initiation?"
"Initiation?" Harry and Draco asked him.
"I'm asking to be added to the roster," Ron told them. "The twins are being added tonight too."
Emilia hugged him. "I know you will make it, Ron. Don't worry about it. Besides, since you're Xander's apprentice, we can have him force you to join. The same as Harry will be and Draco will have to join to join with Xander." She smirked at her cousin, who flopped down in a chair. "Now, let's get on with this."
"What about that other group who keeps writing me letters?" Harry asked.
"Ignore them. They're stuck-up prigs who are very holy. So holy that even Philip gives them lectures about their egos."
"They think they're Gods?" Catherine asked.
"No, they're sure they're heros like the old stories and songs speak of. They're so holier- than- thou that Philip actually hit one once." Emilia looked at the boys again. "Okay," she said with a clap of her hands. "It's time for the gentle lessons of life. First, let's start with sex since, at your age, it seems to be part of every molecule of your existence."
Ron blushed. "I've already had this discussion," he pointed out.
"Some of us have already done some of these things as well," Draco admitted, shifting but not looking uncomfortable.
Emilia smiled at them. "Yay. Ron, your brothers intentionally tried to screw you up. Draco, I can tell you how to soothe Xander into that state of floating, peaceful bliss that will make him the happiest he's ever been."
Harry blushed. "I'm not seeing the point in me getting it," he pointed out.
Catherine laughed. "If you don't, then you've already given up, kid."
"Fine." Harry got comfortable. "Why do girls insist that they know so much more about us than we do about them?"
Catherine laughed. "Because women's bodies have many avenues of pleasure. You guys have about three." All three boys leaned forward, looking at least slightly interested.
Xander woke up to someone licking across his left nipple. "Draco," he whined.
"Shh," Draco whispered. "I'm asserting my claim." He bit hard on that spot, making Xander sit up and scream. He smirked at him, then shrugged. "I like it rough."
"Draco!" Xander screamed, bringing a lot of people running, including his consort. The person on the bed was dragged off by his hair and taken for a short discussion. Xander rubbed his nipple. "She bit me!"
"She?" Harry asked, looking confused. He looked at Draco. "It looked like you."
"It wasn't me, I was with you getting lessons on how to budget money," Draco pointed out. He slid into the bed beside his consort, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Don't worry, Philip has her," he soothed, getting Xander lying down again. "I'm here and that person will not touch you again. Otherwise, I will unleash my full anger on them." Xander curled up on Draco's chest, getting comfortable as Draco soothed him back into his nap. "There, there, I'll erase the memory of every other lover you've ever had tonight," he assured him.
"That's a lot of history," Blair pointed out dryly.
"I hope you didn't mean literally," Tip Top agreed. Juliette nodded her agreement behind her.
"Not likely. I'm not that great at memory charms," Draco noted. "I think I'm needed in here."
Catherine walked in and smiled. "You two are cute together," she told him. "Come on, you've still got one more hour of lessons before you can be initiated tonight." Draco waved a hand at Xander's back. "Tickle his armpit, all men move when you do that."
Draco gave her a disgusted look but he did so and Xander did shudder and roll off him, giving Emilia the opportunity to capture him and drag him off for more of those lessons. Not that he'd ever need them, but still. He could be polite enough to listen to his cousin and whatever that other woman was. No muggle woman was like her, she couldn't be a normal woman. Muggle women weren't forceful or strong, they simpered and pleaded like the muggles they were. She was definitely something mixed with a muggle and didn't know any better.
Greg glanced at Philip, who nodded that he had everything ready. Then he stepped forward. "I see we have more initiates than we thought." He smiled at them. "Don't worry, it's not that difficult. It's a simple blood vow, a bit of tattooing and then a long kiss." He beamed at Harry's cough and near vomit. "I promise, we'll make it hurt as little as possible." He waved Philip forward. "Philip holds our vows sacred. He is the one who will lead you through the affirmation. Then Severus and I will do the marking while a few others hold you still. Then the kiss will be given. Got it?" They nodded so Philip led the six into the next room. Greg stepped up to guard the door, just in case someone wanted to protest.
Philip stepped up to the small wooden altar and picked up the silver dish. "This vow overrides any other that you have taken," he said solemnly. "It overrides my own vow to the church, it overrides Greg's vow to his department. The only thing you must trust is that the Banes will never ask you to do anything that would be horribly wrong. We would never ask Greg to fix evidence, we would never ask me to perform a rite I was not comfortable with, and we would never ask Tipsy to go straight." They nodded. "Good. Step forward. Vows are taken quietly and individually." Xander stepped forward first. Philip picked up the small dagger. "Alexander Dumass, now returned to your normal and real life, do you swear to uphold the group above all other vows?"
"I do so vow," Xander said quietly. He looked at the plate. "Is this going to hurt?"
"Many people have asked that," Philip assured him. "I have a very light touch with the blade." He lifted it and sliced a small mark on Xander's chest, making him moan. "State what you bring to the group. What assets do you pledge to us?"
"I do pledge myself and my skills," Xander whispered, looking at the blood dripping onto the dish off his breast. "I bring my extensive defensive skills, my weapons expertise, my desires, and my fortunes with me. I also bring the rituals of training the young in many things and the ability to do so with hearty joy." He looked up.
"Good," Philip agreed, smiling at him. "What about your life?"
"My life is the group's. I will protect them as I did my family."
Philip gave him a brief kiss on the lips. "Go and be one with the rest of them." Xander stepped back. "Draco, step forward." Draco stepped forward. "Draco Malfoy, having found a rightful place to belong, do you swear to uphold the vows above all other vows?"
"I do," Draco said firmly and clearly. Philip smiled at him. "The only vow I could have that would compete with this one would be the ones I make to my future consort."
Philip nodded. "Agreeable." He sliced him, gathering that blood as well. "State what you bring to the group. What assets do you pledge to us?"
"I pledge my wealth, my intelligence, my researching skills. My potions abilities. My skills as a veela, which I am even now training to use offensively are also the group's."
"Good. And your life?"
"That is my consort's. It is that way for us," Draco told him firmly.
Philip nodded. "So be it. That's why we would only take you with Xander." Draco nodded his understanding of that. "Go back and be one with your Lord and Master so you can be one with the rest of us." Draco stepped back. "Ron, step forward." Ron stepped up confidently. "Ronald Weasley, having found your calling, do you swear to uphold the vows above all other vows?"
"I do," Ron agreed. He winced when he was cut, even though it didn't hurt that much. "I give to the group my finding skills and the knowledge of what I find, whether it be alone or with Harry. I pledge my fighting skills and my desire to see the world at peace for a change."
Philip smiled at him. "And your life?"
"I pledge it to the service of peace first and the group second. I'd rather be in peace than be accepted."
"Good enough," Philip agreed. "We work at similar causes." He kissed him. "Step back and be one with us." Ron stepped back. "Harry?" Harry stepped forward. "Harry Potter, reluctant hero and generous soul, do you swear to uphold the vows above all others?"
"I do," Harry agreed with a grin. He didn't do more than look over Philip's shoulder as the cut was made. "I pledge my fighting skills and whatever other skills I may find in my life to the group. Whatever I may find while working with Ron is theirs to learn from."
"Good. And your life?" Philip asked.
Harry grinned at him. "Provided I make it through the war, they have whatever's left of it. Until I beat him, I can't make that promise."
"Agreed," Philip told him, then he gave him the short kiss. "Step back and be one with us. Fred?" Both twins stepped forward and Philip looked at them.
"We have never been separated and we will not start this new task in life that way," George said calmly.
"Very well. Fred and George Weasley, twin methods of humor and destruction, do you swear to uphold all the vows above all others?"
They nodded. "We do. The only one who will come above these vows is our wife, who is also part of the group."
Philip smiled as he cut them both. "What do you offer to the group?"
"Our brilliant minds."
"Our skills with potions, charms, and hexes."
"Our innate cheery nature."
"The will to cause others harm if they harm what is ours."
"The ability to harm those who have pissed the group off and then laugh at them."
"The ability to help out with other causes that the group may have."
"The method of destruction for the present cause if we found what we think we did," one of them finished. Philip looked startled and he nodded. "We'll be bringing it to the wife later."
"Good. I look forward to seeing it. And your lives?"
"Are the wife's, and by that extension at the mercy of the group," they said together.
"Very good." He kissed each one of them. "Step back and be one with the rest of us." As soon as they had stepped back he turned and spread some shiny powder into the plate, mixing it with the knife before setting it on fire. He ran the knife through the fire a few times, making sure to get all of it. All of them but Draco and Xander groaned. He looked at them. "Do you not feel it?"
"I do," Xander agreed, rubbing the sore spot on his chest. "I'm more controlled than most people give me credit for, Philip."
He looked at Draco. "Do you feel the binding power of the vows you have made?"
Draco nodded and turned to kiss Xander, which strengthened it. "He was holding some of it for me."
"Good enough," Philip agreed. He let them into the outer chamber. He nodded at Greg. "They have all taken their vows and their skills are of use to us." Greg nodded. "The veela and his consort are still weakly bound but the vow was taken and let into them."
"Agreeable," Greg agreed, looking at Xander.
Emilia walked up to them, looking at each one in turn. "They need to finish their own binding first. That will finish sticking the one Draco took." She looked at the twins. "They vowed to Tipsy then the group, so their vows also need finished." She looked at Harry and gave him a short hug. "You life shall be very long, young man. You shall win quickly and you shall join us." Harry hugged her back.
"Hands off her," Greg warned.
Ron laughed. "Nothing for me?"
"In you, the vows truly stuck fully," she promised him. "You are one of us without further admission." She led him into the back room, letting him sit in the chair to start the marking. Her mate walked in and strapped the poor thing down while she held his hand for the first ten minutes. "Greg?" He nodded that he was listening. "They vowed to Tipsy?"
"Like most spouses," he noted. "They vowed to the group but said their lives were hers. They also vowed whatever they had found that would win the fight faster."
"Ah." She grinned. "Good job on her part then."
In the other room, Xander was being assaulted by Draco's lips with the frantic need he was feeling.
Philip cleared his throat. "Enough." He looked over as the door opened and Blair walked Tipsy in. "Good timing. The twins did what we thought they would."
"Boys," she sighed.
They walked over and held her between them. "Our lives are yours first and the group's second. We can live without them, not without you."
"It is that way among most spouses," Blair pointed out. "That's why I haven't asked for Simon to be admitted yet. Though Daryl thinks he'd like it." Philip shook his head. "You'd be surprised. He's a very resourceful and smart kid. He could probably pick up Willow's arts if encouraged. I can feel the strength in him."
"I'll talk with him next week," Philip promised. "Since they vowed to you first, you must be joined for them to be accepted. Otherwise they will have to be banished from the group until you are joined."
She looked shocked. "Philip! They're not going to betray us."
"I didn't make those rules, you did," he reminded her. "You and Morehouse."
She nodded, looking at the floor. "I remember. It was protection." She looked at the twins. "I still say you're too young."
"We are legally adults and know what we want," one told her.
"We chose our vows," the other pointed out. She looked into their eyes and that one kissed her gently. "Ours, permanently, wife."
"Wife?" she asked, looking a touch amused with them for their audacity.
The other one shrugged. "You will be or we'll have to pout at you from school. We won't be able to see you, touch you, or give you backrubs until you agree."
She rolled her eyes and turned to find the only Bane older than she was standing in the doorway. He had helped found the group, mostly because he gave them the idea to keep them out of his hair. "Professor Methos, will you bind us so they can be marked?"
"I would be delighted. If only so I don't get pranked again," he said as he stepped in. He touched each one on the head, transferring a touch of his quickening to each of them, then forcing it to flow through each body. "Boys, are you hers? Body, soul, and spirit?"
"We are her hands, fully trained to do her naughtiness," the first said.
"We are her eyes and ears, bringing back juicy news so that she may remain happy."
Tipsy coughed. "They are mine, Methos. For them, there is no other. For me, there is no one to match them." They hugged her. "They will wear my mark as well as the Bane marks."
He nodded, looking pleased and smug. "Good. Then have them marked with your mark so they may take ours." She led them back into the chamber they had used for their vows and heated a small brand, marking each one on the upper arm. Then she kissed each one before leading them back out. Methos examined the marks, then the boys. "Emilia?" She walked out and examined them. "Is it done?"
"It is. They are bound to the group through her."
"Very well. Have them marked while I deal with the other issues." He looked at Xander, then at Draco. "Make a shallow cut, drink from each other, then vow to the other," he ordered. He didn't even have to supply the knife, Xander pulled one out of his pocket and made the most shallow and delicate of cuts on Draco's neck. Then he tipped his head off to the side and let Draco do the same. "Do you feel that desire to plunge the knife in, boy?" he asked. Draco looked at him, his hand shaking. "That is the veela's power. You are flaunting it by doing this. Do you swear to treat him as an equal, to keep him as your only consort and full lover?"
"I do," Draco said, making a shallow cut. As soon as he had done so, the shaking and the thundering in his blood to remove this obstacle stopped. The need welled up and he leaned forward, slurping at the blood pooling on the tanned skin. He felt Xander suck on his neck and he moaned. "You are finally mine. I'm going to make you only mine."
"You're mine and I am possessive," Xander whispered back, into the damp skin. "There is nothing coming between us. Nothing. Not even your mother and the other veelas." He bit down hard, making Draco yell and go limp against him. "You are mine, Malfoy. You are now a Dumass."
"I am a Dumass, you are the stronger one," Draco agreed, giving him a besotted look. He licked up the side of Xander's neck, and the wound healed. "I didn't know I could do that."
"Only on the ones you cause," Xander promised, kissing the one he had made before healing it. "Draco Dumass. I like the sound of that."
Methos snorted. "So will your family. Take them to be marked." He waited until he was alone with Philip and Harry. "Your sticking point was the war?"
"There is a prophecy that states I cannot have a life until one of us kills the other," he explained. "I vowed to uphold the group and to give them whatever part of my life was left after I kill him."
Methos considered it. "Until then, you will accept our training? Even mine?" Harry nodded quickly. "You will be one with and for the group?"
"I will, but I can't promise to die for everyone else until *He's* gone."
"That is good enough for me, Harry," Methos assured him. He looked at Philip. "Do the apprentice's binding on him."
Philip stepped up and tapped his wand between Harry's eyebrows. "You are the apprentice to all of us. You are hereby admitted under that condition until this fight is over with." Harry slumped as he felt the power wash through him. Philip gave him a hug. "Between most of us, we have much to teach you, Harry. We will be doing a sleep-joining later to pass on the knowledge we have, but you'll still have to learn it as you go."
Harry beamed. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now, let's lead you into the back room." He led the boy in there himself. "Harry has been admitted under apprentice status," he announced. Emilia hugged him. "We will be doing a dreaming tonight."
"Some of us had other plans," Draco said through his gritted teeth.
"Tough," Greg told him. "The group shares all knowledge." He winked at Xander. "I can't wait to see what you saw in my wife."
"She's very beautiful," Xander pointed out as Severus worked on his left arm. "I've got some interesting news. Justinius had a daughter that was not recognized as a witch and was not sent to school here."
"It happens in the best families," Snape reminded him.
"She went to the Nuremberg Coven." Snape pulled back, staring at him. "She is Willow's equal and opposite. She started out wild and had to calm down due to tragedy."
Snape shivered. "I will have her sent for, Xander." He went back to the marking part of the ceremony.
Methos walked in and looked at them, walking over to place the marks on each tattoo as they were finished. "The left calls to the others of the group. You can use it to send a message to a single one or to everyone. You will receive training in that tomorrow. The right is a statement of fact. You are one of us. You will stay one of us. Even those who had to remove theirs for their own sanity are still one of us." Greg flinched. "You told her differently?"
"I told her we understood why she did it, nothing more," Greg swore. "She was touching her arm as a comforting gesture." He glanced at Methos. "She's never asked to be remarked."
"Since this was all my idea, I will talk with her." Methos promised, giving him a smile. "It was unfortunate that he did her that way. If she had gone of her own free will she might have broken her vows."
"My mother's not like that, she won't ask to come back," Draco told him, wincing as the needle stuck a tender spot. "Ow," he said impatiently.
"The other arm will be worse, we always start on the least tender one," Blair said with a grin. "Relax, float on the pain. Pain is a part of life that we all must have to enjoy the happiness. That's why life's a balance."
"No more hippy sayings, please," Snape told him.
"I wasn't aware you were one of them," Xander told him.
"I wasn't originally. I was adopted before I went on my first spying mission," he admitted. "It was what saved me from falling into a dangerous trap." He switched sides, letting Methos lay that charm. "What is Justinius' daughter's name?"
"Willow and Holly?" Methos asked.
Xander nodded. "Holly is my niece. Justinius was an exiled son above Katya. Grandma Des kicked him out because he went too dark for her tastes. He married and had a few children. Most of them seem to have passed on during the first war, but...." He hissed. "Ow." He took a few deep breaths. "Holly is like Willow, only light now. She's Willow's opposite."
"Interesting." He finished with the charm and touched it, making Tipsy smile at him since he sent it to her. "This one works."
"Charm their marks from me to call only me," she requested.
"Of course." He walked over to do that for her. "Which pantheon did she swear to, Xander?"
"Not a clue. I think she's 'the Goddess is all of them in different disguises' sort. You'd have to ask her."
"I think I can do that." He turned when he heard the knocking, going out to see who it was. "How did you get here?" he asked the man on the other side.
"I don't know," Grissom admitted. "I picked up a folder from my desk and I found myself in the hallway leading down here. I followed the voices."
"Hmm." He looked around. "Catherine?" She came out of another room. "Bring him where you are. A portkey malfunctioned around him."
"Sure, Methos." She nodded Grissom to join her then closed the door. "What portkey?"
"This folder," he said, holding it up. "It came today by courier and was dropped onto the desk."
"It wouldn't have been Greg. He can't make portkeys," Catherine told him. Grissom looked at her. "He's not very good at it. He gets Nick to make all his. Him and Blair both."
"Yeah, they're inducting new members," she said, sitting him down. "What's the folder on?"
"A case." He handed it over, watching as she read it. "I didn't think we dealt with this."
"We don't, magical creature mistreatment isn't our job. I'm guessing it came for Greg." She shrugged and put it down. "We'll figure it out later." She poured him some tea and handed it over, picking up her own cup to drink as well. "We've got about an hour's wait left."
"That's fine, I was on lunch anyway. The only thing I'm missing is the Sheriff asking me for early information."
She laughed. "Well, we know he won't declare you kidnaped. That would take attention away from him and give it to Brass."
"True. He'll think I'm ducking out on him, which I guess I am." He sipped his tea and moaned. "What's in this?"
"Xander had it sent up. That's how he makes tea. The odd sweet and sour taste is the cream. No one would tell me what animal it comes from."
Tipsy walked in and smiled at them. "Xander drinks unicorn cream. It's a family thing, they used to raise them," she said with a smile. She looked at the portkey, then snorted. "One of the locals sent it to Greg. That is a misfire of the highest magnitude. I'm going to have to get onto Penn to stomp him a few times." She kissed Grissom on the cheek. "Thank you for not yelling at my boys about Sarah. They did try to stop her but she was rather stubborn."
"Sarah can be that way," he agreed with a smile of his own. "By the way, Greg's little wind-up toy exploded yesterday. It pretty well blew out the lab's ventilation system."
She sat down next to him. "It was only supposed to go off if someone was harming him from a distance. The smoke screen was to allow him to apparate to safety without being seen."
"Then we'll have to check that out, won't we?" Catherine asked. "Penn Jillette is a wizard? Is Teller?"
"Yup," Tipsy said, giving her a grin. "Them and Copperfield. He nearly blew his cover by hiding things that were too big for the mirror trick to work on." She shrugged. "He got pounced. Penn's our local enforcer of good taste. I'll talk with him tonight after his last show. He's having a jazz ensemble in tonight."
"That's really interesting," Grissom pointed out. "They're doing what they normally would but pretending to do it our way."
Tipsy smiled at him. "One of these days, you're going to know too much," she warned.
"I never tell."
"Besides, no one listens to him most of the time," Catherine put in. "As long as he prefaces it with something about a bug." Grissom gave her a hurt look. "They don't. Sarah especially won't listen to anything about bugs."
"Good point," he sighed, getting comfortable. "Is there anyway to get me back to the station? I am supposed to be working tonight," he said with a small smile. "We're going back to Lady Heather's; one of her workers got caught helping a drug dealer launder money."
"Ooh," Catherine said, smiling at him. "Did you know that Sarah's been thinking about having Yun sent there?"
"I'm not surprised after what I heard he helped the officers do last Thursday," he said dryly.
Tipsy snorted. "What did her little gay man do?" she asked.
"He's a morale helper for the unit we work beside on night shift," Catherine told her.
Tipsy broke out in giggles. "Good on him," she said with a small, pleased-looking squint. "Couldn't happen to a nicer person."
"What did she do to earn the ire of your boys?" Grissom asked.
"She insinuated that I was a pedophile and sleeping with underaged kids, namely them." They winced. She shrugged. "That's why we set her up, though we did try to stop her from leaving with him. They nearly ruined everything by not going to the hotel they had a room in."
Grissom shook his head. "Poor Sarah. Her mouth got her into trouble again." He stood up. "Can you please send me back? I don't care what Greg's doing with his time off, but we'll need him again tomorrow if possible. We've just had an emergency rush for a rural town come through."
"Sure," she said with a hand wave. She pulled her wand and fixed the portkey, then quickly wrote out a note, which went inside. "When you get back, send this to Penn in my name, as Tip Top Ramvette. Just send it with a courier if you want." She waved and he fizzled out. "Cool, huh?" she said with a wink for Catherine. "Did you need to go back?"
"No, tonight's my night off. I'll go back with the Amazing Grego."
"Is that what he was calling himself?"
Catherine nodded. "Wearing a turban, making odd quips, all of it."
"Huh. I'll have to set Emilia onto his butt again." She sat down to gossip, she was so very low on that treat.
Buffy looked up as a man walked in through the Magic Box's door, then looked way up. "Um, hi," she said casually, grabbing her stake and positioning it just right. "Did you need some help?"
He smiled. "I'm Rubeus Hagrid," he said, nodding at her. "I'm here to make a delivery to one Buffy Summers?" Buffy raised her hand slowly. "You're just a little thing, aren't ya?" he asked, still smiling. "The last one'ya I saw was a bit bigger, looked like a champion beater." He pulled Willow in and stood her up. "I was asked by Professor Dumbledore to return this to ya. He said she's mostly fixed but her mind's still a bit wonky you understand. She's been poisoned by the chaos she's been usin' and he said he can't do much more with her except strip her of her powers and make her start over. He said that'd be an imposition and it's more up to her friends you understand." He leaned down a bit. "Professor Dumbledore's very nice, but he don't like to intrude. He's a great wizard."
"Okay," Buffy agreed, nodding. "Are you wizards like Xander?"
He laughed, even grabbing his stomach like Santa Clause. "Oh, no, I'm not at all like him. I'm nowhere near as powerful as he is, Miss Buffy. He's a bit more powerful than most," he said, giving Willow a nudge that nearly sent her crashing to the floor. "I'm not near that powerful. As a matter of fact, the Banes have him this weekend to initiate him into their secret society. They're all real fond of him and his apprentices. That Harry, he'll make a great Bane. They're all tough and strong. Not too sure about Malfoy, but Xander seems to like him enough to keep him." He patted Willow on the head. "I was told ta tell ya that you needed a magically confining room for her still yet. Once you've got it set up, I'll gladly release her and you can settle her in for the night and all that." The door opened behind him and he gave the creature standing there a look of awe. "Why, you're a Braxtonis demon," he said happily. "I haven't seen one of you yet up close." He walked over but the poor thing got scared and ran away from him. "Sorry, didn't mean ta scare you, just wanted a look see," he called after it.
Buffy looked at him. She could get to like having this guy around. "Hey, Hagrid, why don't you have a seat on the couch while I get Giles here," she said with a smile. "Maybe you can explain some of the odd things that Xander does. I don't understand him at all some days."
"Sure, not a problem. We've got some time on the charm yet." He settled himself down on the couch and watched as she used some instrument to call someone. "Is that one of them phellytones?"
"Yeah, it's a telephone, standard of the normal people's lives," she agreed with a smile as she hung up. Giles having a pager was much easier now. "Ron asked the same thing."
"Ron's a great kid. Not a bit'a trouble, not like those twins."
Buffy laughed. "I met them," she said happily. "I ended up with blue hair for a week."
"Yeah, they're bad about their pranks gettin' around. I'm sure their new wife will settle them down." She raised an eyebrow. "It's almost expected that they'll have to take her on tonight before they're initiated. Xander's in the same boat with his consort too." He shrugged. "It happens, the Banes will protect them all."
"Good. Now I have another reason to kick Xander's butt, he told me he was keeping the boy safe." She rolled her eyes. "What's the world coming to when your supposed best friend comes out of the closet as a wizard, doesn't help you with your wardrobe or moving furniture, and then gets married without telling you in advance?"
Hagrid laughed. "I'm sure he wanted to not add to your burden, Miss Buffy. He's nice like that most'a the time."
"Oh, yeah, I've met up with snarky and snide Xander recently," she agreed. Giles walked in and immediately looked at Hagrid and Willow. "Someone named Dumbledore sent her back with him. That's Rubeus Hagrid. He'll release her once she's in a magically confining space."
"I dare say that's unnecessary," Giles said carefully.
Hagrid stood up, looking down at him. "Professor Dumbledore said it was. She's been poisoned by the chaos she's been playin' with and he said he can't do more for her. Not even about the funny mental things she's been givin' off recently. He suggests that you strip her of all her magic and restart her back at the beginning, but that she's definitely not ready to be around normal folks yet." He looked over as the door opened and Ethan strolled in. "He'd know about that."
"What was suggested?" Ethan asked calmly. That man was too big for him to argue with.
"Dumbledore said to confine her tonight and to think about strippin' her magic and makin' her start over. She's been poisoned by the chaos she's been playin' with."
"That would be an ideal solution," Ethan agreed, nodding at Buffy. "Can you clean a room for her, dear? She'll need a safe room where she can't be hurt when she loses her temper." Buffy frowned at him but went to do so. "Thank you." He looked at Hagrid again. "Didn't I see you at the school?"
"I'm Keeper of the Keys and the teacher for Care of Magical Creatures," he said proudly. "Dumbledore trusts me to run all sorts of errands for him."
"I assume that everyone understands your position and keeps out of your way," Ethan said, starting a real conversation. "I don't remember much of the school, it was rather a blur," he said as he joined the couch where Hagrid must have been sitting. "Sit, please, it may take a while. Ms. Summers is undoubtedly strong, but even she can't move all the furniture in a room at once."
Hagrid settled himself again. "That's nice of ya. Is this your store?"
"I can only hope so one day soon," he said with a smile, then pointed at Giles. "For right now, it's his. "
Giles glared at him. "It will not happen, Ethan. After me, it goes to Dawn."
"Who is a delightful young woman, but not very skilled in the arts."
"She's as skilled as she needs to be," Buffy called, sounding very firm. "Do not taint my little sister, Ethan, or I'm kicking your butt again."
"Yes, dear, I wouldn't *dream* of teaching her how to access her natural gift, the one that would allow her to always be protected." He smiled at Hagrid as Buffy stomped out to glare at him. He smiled at her. "It really would be a big help. Anyone with any sort of sight can see that she's not *really* your sister."
"If worst comes to worst, I'm sending her to Xander," she said stiffly. "Do not go near my sister, Rayne."
"Fine, Ms. Summers. We'll deal with that issue after you rescue her the next time. I'm sure that will be relatively soon since one of Spike's new minions has been watching over her."
Buffy sighed, reminding herself that he was helping around town and keeping things calmer. "Fine, I'll hear what you have to tell me. Nothing more." She went back to her cleaning for Willow's convenience, throwing things around a little harder than she needed to. He would not taint Dawn, not while she was living.
Hagrid looked at him. "You're very strong to brave her temper," he told him.
Ethan patted him on the hand. "I'm often told I'm either that or very odd and stupid. Most take a while to figure out which."
Hagrid laughed, clapping Ethan on the arm. "I like you. "
"Thank you. I find you quite enjoyable to be around as well. Tell me, do you drink?"
"Just a pint now and again."
Ethan waved a hand. "When this whole thing is done with, would you like to grab one with me? There's probably a lot of stories you could tell me about Xander."
"Sure," he agreed, smiling at him. "He's a great wizard, nearly as great as Dumbledore."
"I'm sure he is, but his newest consort is quite the kicker."
"Ehh. Malfoy's been calmed by him. He tamed him." He winked. "It's a good thing too, Malfoy's a mouthy brat most of the time. Hopefully their wedding will calm all that."
"I'll have to find them a gift, I hadn't heard," Ethan told him, leaning closer. "When were they married?"
"Probably tonight. That way Malfoy could be initiated into the Banes."
"Ah." Ethan leaned back. "I would like to talk to them again. They were also very fascinating to watch."
"Beware of him, Mr. Hagrid, he never does anything that wouldn't benefit him," Giles said stiffly, going to help Buffy.
Hagrid looked at Ethan. "You're one's them?"
"I am a chaos sorcerer, but I'm most interested in learning about the other forms of magic. Xander's seems very fascinating and I wish I had heard of it sooner."
Hagrid nodded. "In that case, you really need to get to Diagon so you can go to the bookstore and pick up the beginning texts."
"That is a wonderful idea," Ethan agreed with a smile. "I'll whine until Xander brings me the next time I see him."
Hagrid laughed. "I'm sure he'll be plenty tired of whining by the next time you see him. Malfoys are known for theirs."
"I thought Draco behaved well under his new circumstances, but he was the virtual sex slave of Xander."
"Nah, Draco's got a curse on his family line. He can only have the one he takes as a consort."
"Hmm. A fidelity curse. That is one I hope never to be hit with." Willow moaned and he strengthened the magic around her. "There we are, no accidents waiting to happen this time. I'll see that she's stripped myself if I have to. She's known to cause a lot of problems and she lights up the magical spectrum like an arena lighting tower." Hagrid looked confused so Ethan pulled over a magazine to show him what an arena was.
He took the book to look through it. "What do they do there?"
"Play sports, have concerts, and things like that." Ethan shrugged. "It's for entertainment." He leaned closer again. "Which way do you really fly on a broom? There's a few quacks who say you fly brushy end first."
Hagrid frowned. "That'd ruin the tail. The wind would bend it all outa shape and it'd drag. You fly handle first, straddling it like it was a beast."
"That's what I thought. I'll have to find a way to show the misbegotten sometime. Some of the witches like Willow are fairly odd," he said at the confused look. "They do all sorts of odd things. One of them even said she flies her broom backwards and rides it side-saddle."
"You'd fall off," Hagrid snorted. "Don't listen ta them. Ask Xander, he's a whiz on a broom, him and Harry both. Ron's not so bad and neither's Malfoy but those two are wonderful at quidditch."
"I'm guessing that's a sport?" Buffy asked as she came back out.
Hagrid nodded. "It is. It's the wizarding sport. Played on brooms. Harry and Ron are ga-ga over it, they both play on their house team. Xander used to play a lot from what I heard."
"I'll have to have the shopping buddy explain that to me then," she said with a light shrug. "Okay, let's get Willow in there and close her in for the night." Willow made a small sound of protest. "Just until we're sure you're sane, Wills, you know I'd never hurt you." She walked the girl back there and let Giles put the restrictions around her. She saw his frown at the other room. "Let him help if he wants. If she is dabbling in chaos, Ethan can probably take her down and out, and it'd spare us having to hurt her," she said quietly. Giles looked at her, a shocked expression flowing across his face. "Sorry, but it might be necessary. I'm trusting the guys that trained Xander and the Xander-look-alike but not her for some reason. My slayer senses are going nuts on her, Giles."
"Fine," he agreed, integrating Ethan's own protections into his. He heard a door slam and looked out to see who it was. "Dawn's here."
"Hi, Dawnie, we'll be right out," Buffy called. "Willow's back but not all here yet."
"Wonderful." She looked at Ethan, a calculating look. "Why was I able to set fire to the vamp without thinking about it earlier?" she asked him. Hagrid stood up and she looked up at him. "Damn, you're huge," she said with a smile. "When I was younger, I would have loved getting a piggy-back ride from you. Hey, if you give them now, can I have one to blot out the fact that I used magic unconsciously earlier?"
Hagrid nodded at her. "I don't know what those are, but sure. I've never rode a pig."
She grinned. "Piggy-back rides are where little kids ride on the adult's shoulders and pretend that they're riding horses."
"Dawn, leave the nice man alone," Buffy ordered.
"Okay, but only if you tell me how I flamed the vamp without thinking about it. By the way, Spike's a tad bit pissed at me at the moment."
Ethan smiled at the girl. "You have innate magic with what you are. It reacted in your defense. You need to train it before you end up like Willow or you end up burnt out."
"I can handle that, thank you," Giles said stiffly.
"I'm all for learning, I scared myself," Dawn announced. "Plus, it'd keep Spike from growling at me."
"I've never met a real, live vampire before," Hagrid said hopefully.
"Didn't you see him during that reunion thingie?" Dawn asked.
Hagrid blushed and looked embarrassed. "Dumbledore asked me not to hound him with questions and to leave him be. I only saw him from across the room. I'd love to study a vampire for a bit."
"We can give you one," Buffy offered. "If it's one thing the Hellmouth has plenty of it's vampires."
Spike stormed in and ignored Dawn. "She's out of control," he said, pointing at her.
Buffy nodded. "She admitted she was. We're working on fixing it now, Spike. Sorry about the minion, though he was a skanky bit of hair." She shrugged. "Feel lucky he lived that long." She smiled at Hagrid. "If you take him, I'd be really thankful and won't jump Xander in the least when he gets back."
Spike spluttered. "I'm not goin' anywhere!" he shouted finally.
Hagrid touched Spike's hair with a smile. "But you'd be able to explain so much to me and the kiddies."
Spike backed away from him. "I was warned about you," he told him. Then he shrugged after considering it. He could easily get rid of some of his competition using this one. "C'mon, we'll hunt you down a fledge. The world won't miss them." He, Ethan, and Hagrid walked out, Ethan still asking questions of his own.
Dawn sighed. "Hello, having a small crisis here?" she said pitifully. "If this was a bad outfit, we'd be all over it. I *flamed* a vamp without meaning to."
Giles gave her a short hug. "It's easy enough to fix those sort of things, Dawn, and we'll watch you much more closely than we did Willow."
"Yeah, because she stole books," Buffy snorted. "Does she *have* to learn?"
"Yes," Giles said firmly. "Ethan was correct in that, it can use her if she can't consciously control it. I won't allow her to go farther."
"Fine," Buffy sighed. "Take her innocence and make her a mini-Tara."
"Um, Buffy, you remember I have cast things, right?" Dawn asked. Buffy glared at her. "Sorry. But that's fine, Giles. Now, please? I freaked myself badly."
"Which is why you won't turn out like Willow," he assured her, leading her into his office to start at the beginning.
Buffy sat down with her magazine again, glancing around. Willow's room was quiet. With that big guy here, the Hellmouth would be silent tonight. Gee, it looked like it was a night off. She grabbed her jacket as she stood up. "I'm going to the movies," she yelled as she ran out the door. That way no one could stop her. She was long gone before Giles could even look out his office door.
Xander woke up to the warm, comfy feeling of suffocating on someone's hair and tried to push it away but his hands were slapped at. He wiggled his bottom half and finally got free, taking deep breaths of clean, cold air. He gave a bleary glare at the thing that had been suffocating him, his consort's head, and stood up, intending on going into the bathroom. He realized he was in a large barracks-style room and that he wasn't quite sure where the bathroom was. He wandered toward the only door he could see but that was a closet. He shrugged and headed to the door he could 'feel', going out it and down the hall, scratching his head. The surprised 'eep' noise made him stop and look at Catherine, then shrug. "Bathroom?" She pointed, smirking at him. "Thanks." He went that way, not caring that he was nude.
"Damn, why aren't most men that unselfconscious?" she muttered, going back to the lounge to listen for more people getting up. She was watching over them, that was her job this time. She heard Xander come out and went to steer him back to bed, helping him make Draco his bodypillow this time instead of being used as one. "There you go," she whispered, leaving quickly. There were a lot of naked people in there and she didn't want to know why.
Back in Vegas, Gil Grissom looked up as someone knocked on his door, waving the nice man inside. "I see you got it?" The magician nodded, clutching the folder he had sent over earlier. "It took me to Tip Top's house and she had me send it to you."
"I saw. Thank you. How much do you know?" he asked as he closed the door.
"Greg had to tell me a lot because of the current war."
"Said something about a psychopath who killed indiscriminately?" Grissom leaned back slightly, getting comfortable. "He's apparently helping the battles with his wife, Emilia. He said he was going to tell you."
"Emilia's finally married him?" Penn Jillette asked, still looking confused.
Grissom smiled and nodded. "She's a wonderful addition to the unit, even though Greg does pay more attention to her than to his work sometimes and she often comes to have him for his lunch breaks." Penn laughed. "I see you've met Emilia?"
"Yeah, I have. There was a conference a few years back where she was providing stress relief." He smiled. "So you know?" Grissom nodded. "And you're not a danger?"
"Greg had to tell me to explain his current rash of absences. I occasionally ask questions but there's a few of us who know some of it here. Greg was always a little odd."
Penn nodded. "I can see that." He stood up. "Since Greg hasn't memory charmed you, I guess you're safe enough. Anything like this, even if it's just one of us getting arrested, if you call me I've got the number of the people who deal with this stuff."
"I'm a CSI, I don't technically work on every case, but I'll pass that along, Mr. Jillette. The Detective who works with us is very understanding. Greg gave him bunny ears."
Penn laughed. "Yup, that's Greg to a tee. How long has this...war been going on?"
"He said Voldemort was raised last spring during the final trial of the tournament." He noticed the other man's knuckles turning white where he was gripping the folder. "He's been going back and forth all summer and so far this year has been over a few times. He's with the other Banes right now for initiation rites."
"But he is one."
"Yes, but they're doing that nice dark-haired guy, Xander, and his apprentices, Harry and Ron, and his consort Draco, plus I think Catherine said that the twins were going as well."
"Dark-haired guy Xander," Penn said thoughtfully. "What's his last name?"
"Around here, he either goes by Harris or Dumass."
"Alex Dumass is taking the Bane initiation?" he asked, his eyes going wider. Grissom nodded. "They don't need my help then. Tell Greg to call me when he gets back." He paused. "Harry and Ron? Harry Potter and Ron Weasley? The two currently at the center of the battles?"
Grissom thought back. "I think that was their names. I'm pretty sure the twins are Weasleys and Ron's their younger brother."
"Oh, shit," he said, starting to chuckle. "Tip Top's boys. I met them on their last trek through town. Tell Greg to call me and to bring over an explanation and pictures. This I've got to see. Thank you, Mr. Grissom. Have a pleasant evening." He walked out, heading back to his car so he could go home and think while he played music. He always thought better that way. "Wait until David hears about this," he said as he pulled out.
In the office, Gil went to talk to Brass. "You'll never guess who I just saw," he said in greeting.
"The news is all over the building. Why was he here?"
"Oh, he wanted to hear from Greg." Brass dropped his coffeecup and Grissom smiled at him. "He's apparently the top person in the area."
"Fine, I'll call him if something happens and Greg's not here." He went to get someone to clean up his mess and to take something for his headache. He came back and found Grissom a few minutes later. "Where is Greg tonight?"
"Doing some initiation rite with Xander and the boys, plus the twins."
"Joy. Hopefully he won't be bringing them in to work with him."
Grissom shook his head. "This is all about their secret society."
"You'd think that they wouldn't split themselves up that way." He went back to his office, going to have a drink now. Maybe he'd start thinking harder about having someone take the memories from him. He had officially reached the point where he didn't want to know anything else.
Harry whined and wiggled on his bed. "But I don't need to know that," he complained, his mind merged with the others. "I don't need that."
"Shut up and take it, Potter. You may someday and it's not like you'll have to practice it," the voice told him. "Apprentices don't get to pick what knowledge they're given."
"Fine," he said, stopping his resistance so everything started flowing into him again. He tried to block out the sexual experiences of the rest, but it wasn't working. He didn't want to know that much about his uncle's life. The fact that he wasn't *just* his uncle stunned him but he let it go. For now. He'd be facing Xander down soon. He felt the acknowledgment of that statement and let it go for now. He felt more information coming at him and braced himself. This time it was potions and it had a decided light feel to it. It must have been from Greg. The twins had already gone through his head, along with Tipsy, Alex, Ron, and most everyone else. He had enough charms and defense knowledge stuffed into his head to make sure that he only had to practice from now on. He would have to look up that Burnquist book when he got back. The voice soothed him and pointed out that it was a Restricted book and that they'd give him access to it in a few days. The potions stopped and new ones started, this time mixed in with genetics and chemistry. This one felt more rough and tight, so that must have been Greg and the other Professor Snape. He thought that people got more inflexible the older they became, not less. The mental voice slapped at him to concentrate and he turned his attention back to what was flowing past, adding to his mental table of contents. It was really fascinating. So that's what being with a woman felt like. The mental voice blushed but it went on.
Soon, he was floating in that sea of knowledge and one last thing happened, turning the sea into a puddle of pudding. Now he'd have to start working to pull things up. Though he did, at the last moment, push the state closer to liquid so he'd have easier recall. He was woken with a smack on his arm and a shouted, "Don't do that, Potter."
Ron looked over from his own bed. "It's probably easier for him to remember that way," he pointed out. He looked at Dumass. "You're in deep. Expect a long shouting match from Harry."
The twins walked over and tried to smother him with a pillow. "Do not die, Ron. Mum would be incredibly hurt if she knew what you had done last year!"
"Fine!" Ron shouted, trying to get away from them.
Harry looked over at them. "Leave him alone. Otherwise I'm telling your mother about what you did this weekend." They got away from Ron so fast it was like they apparated. Harry sat up and looked around. "Dumass?"
"Sorry, Harry, I was weak," he called back. "I was going to tell you someday but it's not really any different to me."
"Fine. We'll be talking." He scrubbed his eyes. "I feel nasty."
"You should feel very gritty and dirty," Emilia soothed, coming over to hug him. "That's just from the fighting. Don't worry, most of that will float off soon enough." She led him out to the bathroom and put him into a shower. She and the older Banes had done this at least once before. They were helping everyone else, though it appeared that Dumass and his consort had gone back to sleep. She gave them a smile. "They're so cute."
"They are," her husband agreed with a smile for her.
"They're like opposing magnets," Snape put in. "It's that difference."
"But they're not that different," Ron said, shifting to stand up. "Xander had a similar first childhood. They have families who are gone and have to support each other. In a lot of ways, Xander's just the nicer version of Malfoy, without the pure-blood crap."
"He had some in his day but life seemed to have cured that," Snape informed him. He looked the boy over. "Go bathe. Your headache will stop."
"When will this connected feeling stop?"
"It'll slowly ease its way to nothingness right before you go back to school," Emilia assured him. "It usually takes about three days." She pinched him on the nose. "You'll want to pounce her when you get back, Ron. Make her squeal in delight."
Ron grimaced. "Hermione's changed. She looks at me funny anymore," he complained. "It's like she's seeing someone different."
"She might be. Growing up is hard enough without the people you depend on to always be the same suddenly changing," Tip Top pointed out gently. "Shit, we all nearly had our world blown apart when Greg came out as a sexual, stalking predator of Emilia and James Potter finally grew up a bit." Ron snorted, smiling at her. "Really, it's all right. Either she'll fix this in her mind or she'll always be stuck at this mental age."
"It's one of those large steps that each person must take as they grow up," Snape agreed. "You must start to see people as they are, not the kind mental image you created for them." He stood up and wobbled but Greg held him steady. "I believe I want a bath as well."
"Go for it," Emilia said with a grin. She looked down at Draco and Xander, shaking her head. "We can't leave them in here." Everyone else left them alone to deal with them. "It's cold."
Greg leaned down and woke up Draco, earning a scowl. "If you stay in here you'll freeze. Go have your wedding night in your own bed."
Draco slowly smiled. "It is, isn't it," he said softly. He looked at Xander, then nudged him in the ribs a few times, earning a light swat. "If you get up, you can have sex," he said in his most purring voice. Xander opened an eye to look at him. "It's cold and it is our wedding night, but we have a room with a fireplace and locks waiting on us." Xander nodded and stood up, pulling Draco with him. Draco wiped the drool off. "I didn't know you slept nude."
"I can't sleep in clothes, I get tangled up," Xander said as he drug Draco away. He tucked them into his bed and snuggled back in. "Wake me up in the morning and I'll make you scream." He blew a kiss.
"Xander, it's our wedding night."
"Draco, if you don't have a headache, I'm going to share mine."
Draco forced the hard chin up and kissed Xander, making him moan. "I have a cure for your headache and it might transfer some of it over to me," he offered. "All I need is a little bit of encouragement."
"You need a bit more than that. I'm still really tired," Xander told him, starting to yawn. "See?" He gave him a gentle, soothing kiss. "I promise, before we go down to breakfast you can try out nearly everything that Catherine told you. For the next hour or so I'd like to finish my nap."
"If you wish. I'll lay here and get myself ready for you," he suggested.
Xander pinned both of Draco's hands to the bed. "No, you won't. I want to do that myself. You can't take away my fun, I'll pout," he said firmly, but he did smile at the end. "Help me take a nap and I'll make that need howl before we're done." He saw the ache in the younger man's eyes. "I promise, Draco, you're mine. I'm not leaving, but I can't do anything right now because I'm so tired. So just let me do this and I'll gladly give you such great pleasure that you'll thank your cousin by bowing at her feet." He yawned again. "I need to stop that," he said during it.
Draco gave him a soft kiss. "Fine. You'll nap for an hour and I'll jump you then." Xander smiled and snuggled back in under the pile of blankets. He waited until he heard the first snore to try and contact Emilia. She walked in a few minutes later. "Does someone have a sleep charm on him?"
She leaned down, checking him over. "There's a small one. We can't remove it until the bonds are set though. It could break our charm." Draco grimaced. "I promise, cousin, even if it's not tonight it's worth waiting for."
"But I need it," he hissed.
She looked him over then shrugged. "Let me find Methos. Maybe he can break one without the other. Or he'll know how to reapply it. That's a single use charm." She went to find their mentor, finding him in front of the fireplace with Juliette on his lap. "Hey, Methos?" He grunted and shifted to look at her, making Juliette moan. "We forgot to remove the sleep charm from Xander."
He licked his lips. "The bond won't set for three days."
"I know. Can we do one without the other?" Methos shook his head. "Then what do we do? Draco's on the verge of raping him in his sleep."
"Give me a few minutes to think," he ordered, going back to what he had been doing. She moaned deeper and he kissed her, making her fall over and whimper. "Thank you, Juliette."
"Not a problem, Methos. You're still excellent. You should come to Greece with me, my husband wanted to taste you as well."
He ran a finger down her arm. "I might be persuaded this summer." He looked at Emilia. "I can't think of any way."
"Neither can I, but Draco's about to explode."
"Hmm. We can't do a reapply, we set up the charm so it was single use on each person." He got comfortable, stroking his pretty plaything. "I don't know what to tell him. How long will the sleep charm last?"
"We've used it now for two weeks. Any time he's in a bed, he's tired."
"Then bring him out of the bed," Juliette suggested.
"For a first time?"
"Oh. Yeah, Dumass seems like one of the hearts and flowers type for a first time, and handcuffs and blindfolds the second," she added with a mean little smirk.
Draco stormed in. "Whatever it is, fix it," he demanded, pointing. "I can't take this any longer! I'm going to go insane!"
Emilia pulled him close to hold while Methos stood up. "He's coming to look it over now, Draco. Calm yourself like I showed you."
"I can't," he whined. "It's like water, it's raging through me and waterfalling into my cock."
Methos gave him a gentle kiss, which didn't get any response. "He has got it bad." He went into their bedroom to look Xander over, frowning at what he saw. They'd have to do a complete spell cleaning and doing so at any time might kill the binding. He called out to Philip and Nick, bringing them running. "Why wasn't he cleaned of charms before this?"
"We thought he had put most of them on himself," Nick said with a shrug. "The only things I could see were the shields."
"Not any longer," Philip told him. "Now there's all sorts of charms on him." He grimaced. "Who cast the frenzy one?"
"Could it have been cast during the dreaming?" Emilia asked from the doorway. "Greg and I both felt something funny going on. Harry was resisting and it was underlying that. Something snapped him out of it at one point I think."
"We'll have to completely spell clean him and then redo the binding charms," Methos announced. "Pull him back downstairs into the hot tub." He followed them down, bringing Draco with him. "We're working on him now," he said quietly. "Somehow a number of magics are on and around him."
"Will it unbind us?" Draco asked.
Methos gave him a look. "We'll try to get him rebound as soon as possible, Draco. If not, you will still be one of us and he'll be declared your spouse where the Banes are concerned." Draco nodded quickly. Methos held in his 'I hope this works'. Draco had bound himself to Xander first then to the group second.
In the Magic Box, Willow sat back and gave a satisfied smirk. No one would ever work magic on Xander but her. He was hers to command, part of her army.
The door slowly pushed open and Ethan stood there. "No more, young lady," he said quietly. She sneered at him so he casually tossed a fireball at her, making her scream and bring Giles running. "I felt her casting on Xander." Giles gave her a hard look. "We will be stripping her of her energy and starting over again. Get your newest student somewhere safe. She'll absorb it otherwise."
"If you need me to do that, I might be able to handle it," Dawn offered.
"No, dear, you've got enough energy and this could trigger yours into overloading you and killing you. Call Spike and tell him to take you home."
"I'll call the not-Xander," she said, heading for the phone.
"Bind her," Ethan ordered. "She'll be going with me tonight."
"I can do what's necessary," Giles defended.
Ethan gave him a dry look. "It shows in how you've let her get this bad, Ripper. You can't harm her. Whether it's by coercion or not I don't know but you can no more hurt her than you could Buffy during her trials," he finished quietly. A loud 'crack' announced a visitor. "Thank you for being so swift."
"What's up with the Dawnmeister?"
"She's in danger if she's around and unshielded while we strip Willow of her magics," Giles told him.
"Fine, I've got a few very nicely shielded rooms. Come on, Dawnie, you can help me do some research." He took her hand. "Now you want to hold on tight and try to focus on my energy, all right?" She nodded and they left with a louder 'pop' noise.
"Ethan, are you sure?" Giles asked.
Ethan rounded on him. "The girl just put multiple curses on the boy who was supposedly her best friend ever. The one she avowed as her brother before her Goddess. I'm not leaving her as a danger to others. Even if I have to bloody well take her to Angelus to have her turned and trained she's being fixed! Now you can either help or not!"
"Fine," Giles said quietly, going to call Xander's special cellphone. He got the voice mail. "Xander, it's Rupert Giles. Willow placed multiple spells on you. We're working on her now so please stay there for a few days." He hung up again. "There, it's done," he said sadly.
"Thank you." Ethan grabbed the girl and created a small portal, taking her somewhere else to do what had to be done.
Giles silently cried. He had let them down so many ways. This was all his fault.
Ron picked up Xander's cellphone and brought it down to the pool area. "Someone from Sunnydale just tried to call him," he announced as he walked in.
Draco snatched the phone. "That's the whiny ponce's shop," he said, opening it to listen to the message. He frowned and hit the replay button, handing it to Methos while he went to hit something. He would get Rosenburg for this.
Methos hung up and put the phone aside. "Now that we know who, we can wait a bit and see if it all fixes itself soon or not," he offered.
"Can we really?" Draco asked dryly.
"If we clean everything that she did off him, then we've got a good chance that the binding will be broken permanently, boy."
"Can you tell what else she laid on him?" Draco asked, crossing his arms.
Emilia cleared her throat. "Mostly compulsions. She wanted someone to be her warrior and protector it appears." She looked at Draco. "Which would break your bond on him."
"Can I fix this?"
"If you can get him to reject everything but the binding, yes," Methos agreed. "If even a touch of it remains we can easily redo it. We've had to redo a partial one after it was burned once."
Draco nodded and climbed in next to Xander, waking him again. "It's me," he said gently.
"What time is it?"
"Time for you to get off your lazy ass and repudiate Willow," Draco said dryly. Xander glared at him. "Test yourself."
Xander looked at himself, then whimpered. He closed his eyes and did a full scan of his body, moaning in pain. "Who?"
"Rosenburg. The ponce called and said they're working on her again."
"Xander, you'll have to shove them off you yourself," Methos told him gently. "If we do it for you, it could break the Bane binding and we probably won't be able to put it back."
"It wasn't meant to be?" Xander asked.
Methos gave him a gentle pat on the arm. "It was," he assured him. "You were made to be one of us, but we can't spell clean you until the bond sets in and that'll take about three days."
"One of them's wound its way into the binding anyway," Draco noted, holding up Xander's arm. He could feel the wrongness in the charm. Methos tested it then went to hit something. "Is it fully broken?"
"It is," Methos agreed. "Out of the pool. Since someone did that to him, we might be able to put it back on. If not, there's always the consort's binding. We'll make you retake your vows." Ron helped Draco out and the older Banes present gathered around to zap Xander clean and free of all external magics, then Draco stepped in and laid his own binding back on the man, making it into his personal shield. No one was going to touch him again. Xander was taken back down and the vows redone.
Greg wandered back into work with Catherine beside him, looking exhausted. "Didn't it go well?" Warrick asked worriedly. "Was there an attack?"
"Sorta," Greg said with a shrug. "Not from the bad guys, just a friend who's went bad attacking one of the new ones." He sat down at the meeting table since that's where nearly everyone else seemed to be heading. "It'll be fine. Dumass has a very weak bond to us and his consort is just barely stronger. It's mostly one way thanks to his wonderful friend. We'll have to remark him and possibly add a second one. He was possessed and forgot to tell anyone about them. They let his best friend, Willow, who has recently gone bad herself, do things against him." He put his head down as Grissom walked in. "How did you like Sweden?"
"It seemed very nice, what little I saw of it," he said with a worried look. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fighting my homicidal urges to go pounce a young witch until she begs for mercy."
"Ah. The person the folder was sent to wants you to call him." Greg looked at him. "The local top dog?"
"Penn?" Grissom nodded. "Cool. I'll do that after the meeting." He sat up and leaned back. "Not even Emilia could keep me from harming her right now. She nearly killed the poor guy."
"Why?" Nick asked.
"Because she wanted the power and wasn't careful in how she got it," Catherine told him. "She went to the dark and then she tried to force him to do things." She shrugged. "It happens in all forms of society."
"True, it does," Sarah agreed from her seat. "We've got an open case of that right now, a husband wanting what his wife was born having."
Grissom nodded. "That's very true. Let's start there."
Xander looked at the bindings on his arms. They were skewed beyond belief. He looked at the shop in front of him and then took a deep breath, walking himself in. This was the person Methos had sent him to, hoping this person could fix it. "Hello," he said quietly. "I have an appointment. Harris?"
The receptionist led him back to a room and left him in there, then a dark-skinned man walked in. "How can I help you today, Mr. Harris."
Xander rolled up his sleeves. "It's ancient tribal magic but my best friend screwed with it while it was being laid." The man opened his mouth. "Adam sent me."
"Ah." He pulled a chair over to look at it. "A scout's marking, very nice. What was that supposed to say?"
"Banes. It's a secretive society of higher wizards and witches."
"I've heard of them," he agreed. "It was to let you share and talk with the others?" Xander nodded. "Then we'll see if I can undo it." He paused and looked up. "Oh, no, not again."
Xander walked over to the window and looked outside. "That's the biggest fyarl demon I've ever seen," he noted. He looked back at the Shaman. "Do you usually get those? I only get the smaller versions on the hellmouth."
The man smiled. "Sometimes. Here, let me fix this first. You'll probably need help and we have a few more minutes." He sat Xander down again and slowly uncurled most of the script, slowly unbinding and unkinking the charm that was laid as part of it. He got it most of the way finished then sat back. "That's about all I can do."
"At least I can feel a few of them," Xander said, bowing to him. "I thank you." He handed over a large ruby. "For your troubles. Adam heard you needed one." He stood up and looked out the window again. "We should deal with that."
"That is not my form of magic."
Xander straightened up. "It's a good thing it's mine then, huh?" he asked with a grin before walking out into the sunlight. He looked around, seeing where the demon was heading to. Central Park should be about clear this time of day and year. He flagged down a cab. "Central Park, where the big, glowing thing is," he ordered, pointing it out for the driver. It sped off, taking him there. While he traveled, Xander called out to his bondmate, making him groan in his current class.
"Mr. Malfoy, what is wrong?" Professor Flitwick asked him. "Did you get hurt?"
Draco looked at him. "No, Xander's just run into a seventy-foot demon in Central Park in New York City. He's asking for help, sir. May I be excused?"
"Go," he said with a tolerant smile. "Seventy feet? Does he know what it is?"
"He said he's never seen one over six feet on the Hellmouth, sir, but he said it's a Fyarl." He gathered his things together and went to talk to the Defense teacher, rudely interrupting his lesson to grab a book from his personal office. Methos stomped in after him. "How would a Fyarl demon get to be seventy feet tall?" he asked.
Methos raised an eyebrow. "Some stupid idiot playing with it?"
"I'll tell Xander that it's probably a spell then." He started to move but Methos stopped him. "It's in Central Park."
"Damn," he sneered. "Fine. I'll send him some help." He let the boy go, watching as he headed out to apparate off. Methos took a deep breath before touching his arm, calling out the calvary for the new people. Only Dumass would find something like that.