The Army of Bane.
In Las Vegas, Greg looked up as the message hit his tattoo, smirking at the disgusted sounding person. "Go for it," he told her, shaking his head as he went back to his work.
"Greg, you've got a fuzzy thing with a paper for you," Warrick said as he walked in to grab some test results.
"Thanks." He walked out, going to Grissom's office. That's where they usually went. He blinked a few times at the cat. "Hello, Professor." He took the message, watching as she changed back. "Big problems?"
"No, I was over here talking with Mr. Boyle about poor Philip," she told him. "That was asked of me as a special favor since Xander won't walk in here."
"We like his friends," Grissom pointed out. "You can do that? Change like that?" She nodded. "Can all of you do that?"
She laughed. "Merlin, no. It's a difficult process and many are not interested. It's an exacting task that one of us sets out for ourselves. Even all those who try do not have the control and desire it enough."
Greg folded up the letter. "What's wrong with Ron now?"
"Ron and his girlfriend consummated their relationship after breakfast one morning because of all the panties he had received after being interviewed." Greg blinked. "Harry agreed to do a single one to set the record straight. The reporter asked to speak to Ron also since there have been some questions about him. Even though he stated he has a girlfriend, they were being sent to him all the time. Dawn finally snapped and dragged him out of breakfast, where things got a little more intense than they expected. They are officially engaged, though Ron hasn't picked out her ring yet.
"Dawn's got to be throwing fits over this," Greg pointed out. "Emilia should be at home."
"There wasn't anyone there. She's probably shopping or something," McGonagall said with a shrug. "So if you would please bring her back to talk to young Miss Summers? Xander made her promise not to do such things again until she had that talk with your wife."
Greg laughed. "I'm sure Ron's fond of that."
"I believe he's found other methods of stress relief with her," she said with a sly look.
"Probably," Greg agreed. "We'll try to get up soon. Maybe even this weekend. We're in a small slump and I'm not sure when I can get away." He looked at Grissom. "Purely a fun trip so I won't beg for time off."
"That's fine, Greg. Don't worry about it." Greg grinned and gave his teacher a hug before leaving. "Did you need some privacy to get home?"
"Where can I portkey back from? I know Greg's picked out a spot."
"Anywhere is fine. Some of us are used to Greg's quick trips to get something." She laughed and nodded, pulling a large envelope out of her pocket and zipping off. Grissom stood up and went to find Greg. "So, what is going on?"
Greg looked at him, then flicked the door closed. "Grissom, your hearing loss is getting noticeable," he said, looking directly at him. His boss nodded. "But, if you *really* wanna know. Ron, one of the young Banes, did a small interview."
"I got that from her."
"Emilia's been giving the kids their talks. She's really good at it and this girl now needs hers."
"Ah." He nodded. "I've heard those can be tough. Like you pointed out, we haven't had much work, and your weekend off is next weekend. If we don't have anything you can take that Friday off."
"That's fine, we can go then. Ron can hold off for another week and a half. I'm sure she's giving him other fun things to do."
Grissom tipped his head off to the side. "Why hasn't this Harry one gotten a lot of fan mail? You said he was famous."
"He is, but I'm guessing it's because he's him. He's still got a calling and some girls find that daunting." He shrugged. "Who knows with young women, huh?"
"True. Thank you, Greg. I'm trying to keep this out of the public eye."
"Grissom, we were standing not five feet from you and you didn't eavesdrop. Catherine's noticed it too. We're worried about you, big guy." He punched him on the arm and smiled. "After all, you could get really hurt out in the field."
"I know, Greg, and I appreciate that. Thank you."
"You're welcome." He handed over a sheet of paper. "For Nick if you should see wander-boy."
"I'll pass it on," he said with a nod of leave taking. He found Nick in the garage and waved the paper. "Nick?" Nick came over to retrieve it. "Anything new?"
"Nothing yet. We're working on it, Grissom."
"Do your best." He walked away, going back to his office. Maybe he should get a second opinion about his ears.
Philip looked up as the door to his room opened, smiling at the man standing there. "Nick," he said, hugging him. "Come to spring me?"
"Sure have." He walked Philip out and outside of the London Legacy house. "Do they think you were really that tainted?"
"I've had some unusual urges and they don't know what to think." He looked at his feet as they walked. "I'm not sure I should be a priest, Nick. The taint goes a long way."
"Philip, you were meant to be a priest. Your small taint isn't going to matter to the Church."
"It is, Nick. I can't bless water anymore." Nick stopped and stared at him. "I tried the other day before a mass I went to help with. It held none of the spark it usually did."
"Then what will you do?" Nick asked. "You've always been a priest."
"Yes, but sometimes life calls you to other fields," Philip said with a gentle smile. "There's been signs that I'm to be called to be a Knight."
"A holy warrior for the Church? But they're not as useful today as they had been," Nick pointed out, stepping closer. "I don't think you'd like the job, Philip."
"Some of us are used to guard things, Nick. I think that's my calling and I'm not sure I like it."
"I'd be damn mad."
Philip grinned at him. "You and your temper," he said fondly, giving him a hug. "This feels too good now," he said softly.
Nick pulled back. "Friends should be able to comfort and hug, Philip." He let him go and they started to walk through the park again. "So, what will you be guarding?"
"I don't know yet. I know there's a few artifacts around."
"Ask Xander, he could probably find them for you." He nudged Philip with his shoulder. "Maybe it'll be a book, then you can spend the whole time translating it."
Philip snorted. "I doubt I'm that lucky. Usually you get called to guard something that you don't understand. That way it can't be used."
"That does kinda leave the book out then, yeah," Nick agreed. Philip nudged him this time but they were smiling. He noticed Philip looking at the walls with longing. "Can't you go off property?"
"The last time I did, I had an overwhelming urge to harm someone. I nearly hexed him for hurting his child in the middle of the street."
"That sucks, but it is very you," Nick pointed out. "Or don't you remember that fake boxing lesson for your kids with one dad?" Philip hung his head, moaning a bit. "Sorry."
"No, I remember, I had a lot of penance to do for that one. The Bishop was not pleased."
"What happens if you leave?"
"I'll have to give up the house." Philip sighed. "I'll have to do a lot of paperwork, retrieve my box of possessions. Things like that."
"If you do, Derek said to tell you that you're more than welcome back at our house, no matter what London thinks."
"London thinks I'm dangerous?"
"I'd guess so since your door was locked," Nick offered. Philip nodded. "You could talk to Dumbledore. Maybe get on there as an assistant in Runes or Arithmancy." They started to walk again.
"Maybe," Philip agreed. "But should I take this taint near the kids?"
"Hell yes! You're great with kids, Philip. Never let them tell you otherwise. You're not a danger to them and the school could use you."
"Yeah, I guess." Philip gave him a hug and moved on. "We should try to get to a soccer match."
"I've got one better," Nick offered. "Gryffindor's playing Ravenclaw next Friday."
Philip's face lit up with his smile. "Done," he agreed. He and Nick shared a laugh, continuing to move around the gardens.
The people listening to them wondered what teams those were but supposed it was part of the oddness that Philip had been showing. Such a pity.
Tip Top looked up as the owl flew in the back door, smiling as the letter was dropped and owl went to rest in her cage. "Thank you and good morning to you too," she told it. She undid the seal, noticing that it was from Methos, then read his letter first. The enclosed one was explained. She slowly frowned, then opened the enclosed letter. Then she scowled. They would see about this!
She had very clear memories about Harry's past and she knew that they deserved a good caning more than anything. Especially that cousin of his. Too bad the boys were back at the shop. They'd already have ideas for her.
She paused. "When did the boys become my muses?" she asked herself. "I used to create on my own. My personal muses used to be strong enough to jump into other people's heads." She shook herself. "Marriage has wrecked you, Tipsy, and you knew it when they showed up on your doorstep." She went to her study, looking at all her ideas. A new one slowly filtered into her head. "Yeah, that's what I need," she told her muses. "Give me more of those." More ideas flooded into her mind and she cackled. "Oh, Harry's going to love that." She sat down to sketch out the idea. It'd have to be a single-use prank. She'd never be able to sell it, but what an idea!
The twins looked up as their shop was invaded. "Hello," George said, smiling at his associate. "What can we do for you today?"
"You can help me look over rings," Ron told him. "I want to know where to bring Dawn our next time off."
"Well," Fred said, coming out of the back room. "That's interesting. What happened?"
"Remember all those panties I joked out?" The twins nodded and he grinned. "She got jealous and jumped me in a closet. McGonagall said we're engaged now."
"Ah," the twins said together.
"Come along, let's go preview some rings. What sort does she like?"
"She said she really likes the nice ones, and she wants something delicate but sturdy. She wants something that's all her. I've got the galleons to do it, but I don't know what to get her."
"You could take her ring shopping," Fred pointed out.
"Yeah, but I want to take her to the store and look in one place, not go all over," Ron pointed out. "There's more jewelry stores than there are clothing places here."
"Good point." George looked at his twin. "We'll be right back. I'm going to show him our favorite shop." He led Ron out, taking him down to one dusty, older shop. "This is where we got Tipsy her earrings from us," he explained. "They look old, but like Ollivander's it's really neat inside." He let Ron walk in first.
"Whoa," Ron said, looking at all the shiny things. "This is really cool."
"Hello," an older woman said from behind a counter. She was the only thing that didn't sparkle. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm pre-looking for engagement rings," Ron explained.
She looked at George, then at Ron. "Aren't you already married?" she asked George. "I remember you buying a beautiful pair of Kenyan diamond solitaires. Four carats if I'm not mistaken?"
"We are, this is our little brother Ron." He patted Ron on the back. "Do you have a picture of Dawn?"
"Sure." He pulled out his wallet and pulled out his favorite six pictures, putting them onto the counter. "That's my girl."
She picked up one and examined it, then led him over to a small case, putting the picture on top of it. Three more went on that case and the other two went onto another case. "That's where you'll find her perfect ring."
Ron squatted down to look at the rings, then moved to the second case. In between he found a ring that just spoke to him. "Can I see that one?" he asked, pointing it out.
"I don't think you're a veela," she pointed out.
"Oh." He shrugged. "We're very open to them. Even dad's had some problems at work I think." He looked in the cases again. "Nothing in there really seems to say 'her' to me."
"Hmm." She looked around the store. "Of course, the best fit comes with the young lady being present, but I understand you wanting to narrow the field for her." She went into the back and came out with a small tray. "How about these?"
"How about something pink since she likes pink so much?" George offered.
"Or, hey, anything that would remind her of home?" Ron asked. "She used to live in Sunnydale."
The woman frowned, tapping her lip. "I have a bone ring somewhere but I doubt that's what you were thinking." She shrugged. "Bring your young woman back here and we shall see." She gathered up the pictures and handed them to him. "She will love whatever you pick."
"I know, but I want it to be something special," Ron pointed out. "I'm mushy that way." He waved and followed George back into the street. "Now where?"
"Well, there's one other place. We didn't have to go there, but since Dawn is so unusual I'm guessing they'd be perfect." He led the way toward Knockturn but took a small alley to the left right before the stairway down. He knocked twice on a door and it opened. "My brother's previewing engagement rings for his fiancé," he told the very handsome man standing there.
Ron looked at him. "You're an incubus," he pointed out.
"I am," the man agreed, "reformed of course." He smiled. "Come in. I will not hit on you. I only prey on those who are false." He watched as Ron walked across his boundary. "You have doubts?"
"She's so young, but we've agreed to make it a long engagement," Ron said firmly. "One year after her graduation. That way she can figure things out and tell me if I'm not what she wants."
"Wise of you. You have not embraced monogamy?"
"I try really hard, but I still look."
"As do most men," the incubus assured him. "Does that ease your doubts?"
"Mostly," Ron agreed with a grin. "You're good." He handed over the pictures and the man flipped through them before handing them back. He pointed at a case. Ron walked over and squatted down to look at the rings. A single ring shone out at him. "Wow. George, come see." He pointed it out and the incubus took it out of the case. "This is...wow."
"What is that?" George asked.
"Goblin gold and a very rare diamond. One almost never sees a diamond like that in nature but this one was found a few centuries back."
"Does it have a history?" Ron asked.
"No, it's been waiting for the right wearer. Strangely enough, my last sale flinched away from it."
"When was your last sale?" George asked.
"Narcissa Malfoy's wedding rings."
Ron grinned. "That's more than enough reason." He looked at George, then stood up. "I will be right back, even if I have to steal the girl from class."
"It will be here this weekend, young man."
"I can't wait," Ron told him. He hurried off, heading back to the school through the shop's floo. He found the Headmaster waiting on him. "I found it," he said happily. "It's the most precious thing and I adore it. Please? Just for an hour more?"
"If you do, you shall have detention tonight in the library."
"Okay," Ron agreed, heading out to go find his Dawn. Dawn was easily grabbed out of Transfiguration and carried off by Ron, back through the floos and out into the alleyway. "I've got something I want you to look at and think about," he told her. She nodded, smiling at him. He led her back into the shop and the shop owner pointed at the new case, giving him a smile and a nod.
Dawn looked at him. "I know you're demonic, what sort?"
"I am an incubus, sister of the former Slayer." He bowed. "I only feed on those who lie to their women. Your man has no need to fear me, even if you do end up with more of a cozy marriage than not."
Dawn nodded. "Thank you." She got down to look in the case, eyes going wide as she pointed at the ring. "That one?" she asked.
Ron looked where she was pointing. "I was thinking the rose colored one but if you wanted that one," he offered with a grin. "I was going to let you pick."
She looked around, finding the one he meant. It was back in it's old case and she squealed, jumping up and down. "I love it, Ron! I adore it and it's so me!" She hugged and kissed him, then George, then the incubus. "Please? May I try it on?"
"Of course." He pulled it out. "That is the one he picked out but seeing you I thought you might like something a bit more plain."
"Plain my ass, I want something that's just me," she said, smiling at him. She looked at the ring, then tried it on, feeling the weight. "It's really heavy."
"It should be. It's three carats. Goblin gold and a very unusual diamond. Very unique."
Dawn looked at it, then at Ron. "Can we afford it?"
"I've got money, Dawn. How much?" The tag was shown to him and his eyes went wide. "You weren't kidding," Ron told him. He looked at the look on Dawn's face, then sighed. "Do you do slips?"
"I had better. You'd never carry that much," the demon pointed out dryly.
"How much?" Dawn asked. Ron covered her eyes. "I can get something smaller, Ron, I won't mind. We can get me this for our anniversary or something."
"No, you deserve it and I'm still getting paychecks," Ron pointed out. He patted himself down. "Of course mum has the key to the vault still."
George laughed and moved to call her from the house. "Molly Weasley," he called into the floo. Her head quickly popped up and he noticed her hair was out of order. "You all right, mum?"
"Just fine, George." She looked behind him. "That looks suspiciously like a jewelry store, son."
"Ron just found Dawn the perfect ring and you've got his key."
"Give me a few minutes. Where are you?"
"You know that special jewelry store near Knockturn?" She nodded, lips pursing. "There. You can step through."
"The key's upstairs." Her head disappeared and the fire went out.
George stood up. "She said it'd be a minute." He lifted Dawn's hand up to look at the ring. "That does suit you," he told her. "Remember, if you harm Ron and make him cry the rest of us consider you fair game."
"You'll have to stand in line behind Xander," she said seriously.
"No, dear, he's our family, he has to stand in line behind us." He kissed her on the cheek. "With that said, even if you do end up like mum and dad, just really good friends who can finish each other's sentences, then I'm sure you'll be happy. Of course, the more carnal the relationship, the less mum has to nag us about having kids."
"Have you told your wife that mum wants grandkids already?"
"Yup, and Tipsy looked at her and pointed out that she wasn't a spring chicken. We could adopt when we were ready."
Dawn gave him a hug. "I'm sure you'll have wonderful kids, George." She smiled up at him. "I'm not babysitting through."
"Good," Ron told her. "They'd wreck any house we had." His mother walked in and he grinned at her. "Come see."
She looked at Dawn's hand, then at her face. She nodded and handed over the key. "If that's the one that moves her."
"I offered to get something smaller."
"But I want her to have that one, it made her squeal and bounce," Ron told her. "Just like I do."
Molly nodded. "I'm sure that's the one then." She smiled at the man behind the counter. "Was it a hard sell?"
"Not in the least. He found it right away."
"The second shop. The other he didn't like," George put in. "She did her wannabe Ollivander routine and Ron couldn't find anything he liked."
"Yeah, but this more than makes up for it," Ron assured him. He signed the slip, noticing the lesser amount.
The incubus shrugged. "I like you two. You're cute. Besides, now I have gossip for my brethren when they come up for a visit."
"Tell Xander's mommy I said hi," Dawn told him. "And if you see Anya, tell her I said hi and that I'm doing really well and I'm happy." She took Ron's hand and gave him a kiss on the cheek, making him blush as they walked back outside. "We should probably go back to class."
"Yeah, I've now got detention in the library tonight," Ron agreed. He smiled at his older brother. "Thank you, George."
"I always like to make people squeal in delight," he said, handing Ron back his key.
Ron looked at it then handed it back to his mother, who sighed. "Tough. I've got an investment coming open soon. I can live on my paychecks, this was just too important to make payments on." He kissed the back of Dawn's hand again, noticing her ring was off. "Where is it?"
She pulled it out of her pocket. "I didn't want it to get jacked."
"Sweetie, no one here would ever think about robbing you," George told her. "Besides, that's what sticking charms are for."
"Okay." She let Ron slide it back onto her finger and grinned again. "Sorry."
"Not a problem," he said, doing the sticking charm himself. "Now, let's go back to school. That way all the other Hufflepuffs can squeal and bounce in joy too." She laughed, following George back to his shop. She even resisted the urge to visit the candy shop. Ron winked at her and accepted the package from Fred. "Thanks. Yours?"
"Ours, the candy store, the routine stuff you usually beg us to buy you," Fred pointed out. He lifted Dawn's hand and looked at the ring, wincing as the light hit it. "That is impressive."
"Isn't it though?" Ron asked smugly. "And the nice incubus was very helpful. Thank you, George. You are such a great big brother. I can almost forgive you for making my life a living hell some days." He hugged them both and took Dawn back through the floo. This time McGonagall was waiting on them. He held up her hand with a shy grin. "I found it."
McGonagall let out a surprisingly girlish squeal as she looked at it, pulling Dawn closer to look at it better. "That is one very beautiful ring," she said, remembering herself. "Congratulations." She patted Dawn on the back as she walked out. "How much did that set you back?"
"He gave me a discount because he thought we were cute," Ron said, waiting until Dawn was long gone. "But I don't think the Burrow went for that much originally." Her eyes widened. "Yeah, that commission for the auction was very handy. And she offered to get something tinier but that was so her."
"It was. Enjoy it, Mr. Weasley." She gave him a short hug. "You have detention tonight with Madam Pince from eight on. Try to behave." He nodded, taking his bag of goodies with him. She went to gossip with Madam Pomfrey. Poppy shouldn't be busy today.
Greg walked his darling wife into the school, finding the Headmaster talking with Philip and Nick. "Ah, other gamers," he said happily. "Where are the happy couple?"
"Ron's playing today and Dawn is bouncing around the Great Hall," Nick told him, giving him a punch to the arm. "Ron bought her the Rock of Gibralter."
"Hell, I'd be bouncing too," Emilia pointed out. "She hasn't had any in weeks."
"Ron's probably found a way around that," Philip pointed out. The expression on his face could only be called a leer.
"Philip, I know it's been a while but Emilia promised to never make me share with another man," Greg said patiently. Philip looked stricken, going pale. Greg hugged him. "The taint?" Philip nodded. "I understand. I'll let you leer at her until you piss her off." He pulled back and hugged his wife. "Go find the future Mrs. Ron."
Emilia stepped up to Philip and kissed him on the cheek. "We'll see if we can take more of it off, Philip. Leave it as more of a desire than a compulsion." He nodded, giving her an extra squeeze. "So, Dawn, huh? They rhyme?" She walked toward the Great Hall. She'd seen pictures. She'd even seen the article in the paper, and the pictures that showed Dawn with her new ring as they went back to class that day. So she knew a lot about the girl, but the taint on her stunned her. "Holy mother of Gods," she hissed. She looked over the girl, barely noticing her cousin. Draco whispered in her ear and she relaxed. "She's in control?"
"Most of the time. She can do both though."
"Good." She walked over and tapped Dawn on the shoulder, smiling at her. "I'm Emilia."
"Finally!" Dawn said, jumping up and giving her a hug. "Oh, Goddess, I've been waiting for you. Xander made me promise not to touch Ron until you could talk to me." Her dog barked. "Can we do that now? Please?" she begged.
"Sure, kiddo." She smiled at the dog. "Good morning to you too. What's your name?"
"Midnight, this is Emilia. Would you like to have your chewtoy while we talk?" He barked again and Dawn gathered up everything, following her and Draco. She finally had to look at him. "Big brother? I don't want to discuss sex with you in the room."
"Fine," he said, smirking at her. He kissed her on the forehead. "I'll be around when you're done or find me after the game."
"Sure." She smiled, waving at his back. "Phew. That would have been an odd discussion." She looked at Emilia as she paced, then flicked her finger at the doorway, making it open. "There, faster," she said with a bright grin.
"You can harness it. I'm impressed." She let Dawn in first. "Oops. Sorry, I was having lusty thoughts about Greg," she said, noticing the handcuffs on the wall.
"No big, I lived with vampires." She settled herself on the couch, her dog laying beside her. "I know you can sense energy because Draco can. So can I. I'm not dangerous."
"I wasn't quite sure what you were but he told me you were an artifact brought to life," she pointed out.
"Something like that," Dawn agreed. "We don't tell hardly anyone."
"That's very wise of you. Even around here there are people who would use you." She sat across from the girl. "So, we've got to have the full talk?" Dawn nodded. "What did Alex make you promise?"
"Not to touch Ron sexually until I had a long and involved talk with you about all the nasty stuff that could happen. So we've been doing ourselves and letting the other watch."
"Good girl," Emilia said happily. "A woman who knows how to pleasure herself is a delight in bed for her mate because she can show him when he's lost." Dawn nodded. "Let's start with the basics. I know you've had some of this before, but it's a little different over here." Dawn leaned forward, listening like there might be a test on all this later.
Emilia walked up to where Methos was standing, tapping him on the shoulder. "Do you know?" He nodded, smiling at her as he pulled her in for a hug. "Am I broadcasting?"
"Summers often makes people giddy and your mate is foolishly not around." He suddenly jumped and patted his rear until the fire went out. "My mistake."
"Greg is very protective," she said with a grin. She patted him on the back. "Ron really loves her. It glows from them both."
"Good. It's nice to see...." He trailed off as she walked off, frowning when he saw where she was going. He hurried to catch up. Emilia could sense problems but Tip Top looked fine. He hoped she wasn't sick, he liked the wench too much to lose her like he had his Alexa. His frown eased when he saw the hand going to Tip Top's abdomen, then he smirked. "Really?" he asked as he joined them.
"Get off," Tip Top told her, pushing her away gently. She was frowning at her. "I am not. I had my cycle just...." She counted back. "Last month?"
"Uh-huh. You're going to the nurse right this moment," Emilia said firmly, grabbing her by the arm and dragging her up the stairs. Madam Pomfrey was waiting on them. "She's preggers."
"She is?" She smiled at Tip Top, who was scowling. "You're not happy?"
"It's not expected," Tip Top said firmly. She looked at the test strip that was placed against her stomach as it turned blue. "Boys?" Madam Pomfrey nodded. "Plural?"
"That I'm not sure about," Madam Pomfrey pointed out. "You are from a set of twins, as are your twins." She grinned. "We'll be able to figure that out soon enough."
"Oooh, the first baby in this generation! I call dibs on planning the party," Emilia said, rushing out to tell Greg. She bounded into him when she found where he was standing. "Tip Top's knocked up," she said happily.
"Holy fucking God," Nick said, eyes wide. "Tip Top Ramvette?" Emilia nodded, grinning at him. "Those kids are going to be horrible!"
"Yup," Emilia said happily. "And if they turn out like Percy we'll have to warp them." Greg and Philip both laughed at that. "I called dibs on the party."
"I don't want it," Nick and Philip assured her.
"Good." She smiled as Tip Top joined them. "See, they're happy."
"I can't tell the twins this! They're too young."
Philip looked at her. "Tell them or I will. In the most embarrassing way possible." She whimpered. "Fine." He turned into a black cat and stalked down the stairs, hurrying to the apparation barrier. He hadn't been able to use his animagus form since he had taken his novitiate vows, so it felt very good to be in this form. Once he was far enough away, he turned back and headed to Diagon. Two stops garnered him balloons and a big box of candy, both with 'congratulations' printed on them in blinking, large, bright yellow letters. He found Tip Top waiting in the doorway and smiled at her. "You or me, girl."
"Me," she said, then she glanced inside and whimpered. "Do I have to?"
He gently moved her out of the way and walked in, letting go of the balloon string. It let out a gale of trumpets as soon as it touched the ceiling. Both twins looked at him in shock, one of them whimpering. He handed over the box. "Your beloved wife chickened out," he said. He pulled his wand and charmed the balloons so they wouldn't leave the store but they would follow the twins around.
"Tipsy!" Fred called, albeit weakly. She stuck her head inside and he pointed at the balloons. "Really?"
George looked at the candy, then swallowed. "Can fathers get morning sickness?"
"It's not morning," Philip said smugly.
The kids in the store mobbed Tipsy and the twins to congratulate them and nearly bought the store bare in celebration. This meant the legacy would go on!
Philip smiled at the twins. "Emilia called party planning rights."
"Better her than us," Fred said, walking over and pulling his wife into his arms. "We'll love it even if it does turn out like Percy," he promised. She sniffled.
"Don't do that," George said, walking over to hug her as well. "You know you're our favorite treat and it was bound to happen with our luck anyway." He kissed the back of her neck since he had that side of her. "It'll just be more of you to love and the baby will be wonderful, just like the three of us."
"It might be babies," Philip said helpfully. "You're all from twins."
"Shut up," Tip Top told him, glaring at him. "I'm too old for this. Twins would make it worse." She looked at the boys, seeing their hurt looks. "This would be like your mother getting pregnant at her age, boys, it's very risky."
"So? We'll wait on you hand and foot."
"Or leg and arm," the other offered. "We'll even put on those tiny shorts and be your faithful servants."
"I think that's what got me into this mess," Tip Top pointed out. Fred kissed her and she went limp. "I'm happy, but I'm scared."
"Consider our feelings," Fred pointed out. "Our mother must have blessed us with kids like us."
"Or at least she tried very often," George added.
Tip Top started to laugh and cry. "Oh, Merlin, I'm messed up."
"Shh, you're our mess," George promised.
"And we love messes, look at all the ones we've caused," Fred added, making her hug them both. "We'll deal, lovie. We always do. And if it's babies, then we'll hire a sitter for our future litter."
"No, no, no, no more than two kids," she said quickly. "I can't handle more than twins."
"Then it's a good thing there weren't three of us," Fred joked.
She pinched him. "Your mother probably drowned one of them thinking he was going to be the horrible one."
"Which means he'd have been like Percy."
Philip slipped past them. "Your brother's playing today," he told George. He got a nod so he slipped back to the school and went back to the game. He and Nick high-fived and shared a laugh, then went back to watching the game, remembering the days they had played.
Alex brought in the last dish and sat down at his place. "Okay, someone call the meeting to order," he offered. "I'm hungry. Draco wouldn't let me nibble cookies earlier."
"You don't get that much exercise, you'll get fat," Draco reminded him. Everyone looked at him. "What? Like it's my fault he's noisy and the Headmaster and Severus forbid him from having sex in Slytherin ever again."
"Just because you kept them all up," Harry said dryly. Snape glared at him. "What?" he asked with a grin. "Holly, dear, would you please swat the gloomy bastard so we can move on to happier news?" He looked down at the head of the table. "It is happier news, correct?"
"It's much happier news," Tip Top agreed. She stood up and smiled at everyone. "Emilia figured out that I was pregnant." The table's occupants blinked. "It's at least one boy, we won't know how many for a few more weeks at least."
"And I get party planning rights," Emilia announced.
The crowd burst out into laughter and congratulating, those close enough even going so far as to risk patting her on the stomach. Xander broke into it by tapping on his glass. "Guys, we've got to do the cheesy blessing ceremony thing, like in Sleeping Beauty." Everyone looked at him. "My family did it for all the kids and look how I turned out."
Holly nodded. "We still do in my branch. Dad wanted me to be powerful."
"And you are," Ron agreed, grinning at her. Dawn stepped on his foot. "I'm not flirting."
"I know but smile at me," she told her. "We've got to go tell Cordy this afternoon." Ron shuddered so she kissed him on the cheek. "I flooed first and Cordy swore there shouldn't be a fight this time."
"Can I come?" Luna asked. Methos had tapped her to join the group since she was who she was. "Please? So I can see my pony and my mule?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. "We'll do the portkey as soon as lunch is over with, Luna. Just remember, you can't get me yelled at by your father."
"Okay." She smiled at him but Draco raised an eyebrow. "He's very nice."
"He's also very taken," Draco said firmly. "I am a jealous spouse."
Xander pounced him, kissing him hard. Draco moaned under him and pushed them onto the floor, getting down to roll with him. He didn't care who was in the room, they were having sex, now. Right this very instant. He had been celibate for *days*.
Tip Top coughed, then started to laugh. "It's good someone can still do that."
"You'll get some again soon," Dawn promised. "My mom said she couldn't stand my father for the first trimester and then she couldn't get enough of him for the next, and the last he was only good for backrubs and fetching things."
"I remember those days," Tip Top sighed. The twins kissed her, making her forget her ex. "What was I saying? Never mind, eat. Alex, let the poor boy eat."
"I am eating, wench, shut up," Draco ordered, panting hard before going back to his Xander snack.
Greg shrugged. "They'll be done soon. They're too desperate for more than a quickie." He handed Tip Top the roasted vegetable platter with a smile. "Here you are. The first of many I know."
The twins loaded her plate for her, making her groan in mock distress. "Guys!"
"Our son or sons will be healthy and strong," George said firmly, adding one last piece of cauliflower.
Fred looked at Emilia. "When are you two going to have one?"
"Um, probably next year," Emilia pointed out. Greg blinked a few times and then slowly slid out of his chair as he passed out. "Sorry, Greg. I wanted to tell you last night but you were just a bit too happy to have me in bed," she told him. "I'm not sure though."
"Dear God, it's starting over again, a whole new cycle," Methos pointed out.
Fred raised his glass. "Then Dumbledore had better watch out."
"The Bane Army will roll through that school and change it yet again."
The group laughed and lunch was officially on. At least until they had to clap for the orgasms.
Dawn peeked inside the Hyperion's main room. "Hello?" she called.
"Upstairs," Buffy yelled back. "Cordy's got a few cuts that need stitched."
"I'll wait," Dawn offered. Luna went hunting for her pony and mule while Dawn sat down with her boyfriend on the couch. Her mother's ring was on her first finger and her engagement ring was on her third. She was even dressed up a bit. Ron of course was being Ron and was in a pair of jeans and a sweater.
Fred trotted down the stairs, smiling at them. "Hi. How's school going?"
"Really well," Dawn said honestly. "I'm doing good, everything's going well. Some of Xander's other friends are preggers." She brushed a strand of hair off her face and Fred's squeal brought everyone running, with weapons.
"Oh, my God, that's a huge stone," Fred said, taking her hand to look at it. "That is, like, so humongous. Ron, that's a really nice job. Where'd you get it? Can you take me there when I need one because that is so perfectly Dawn and so pretty." She knew she was babbling, but this was worthy of it.
The LA group looked at Buffy and Tara for a translation.
"After many years of dealing with Willow-babble, Fred-babble is easy," Buffy told them. "I think she's really impressed by the rock my sister's wearing." She jogged down the stairs, seeing the big stone herself. "Wow." She took the hand to look at it, noticing it was changing colors. "Huh."
"It does that when people who might hurt her are around," Ron said. "We found that out when someone tried to jump her in Hogsmeade last weekend." He put his arm around Dawn's shoulders. "So?"
"I approve," Buffy told him.
Wesley shouted, "No, leave me alone!" at someone upstairs.
Spike cracked up, walking down the stairs carefully to avoid the sunlight. He looked at her ring and smiled at her. "Nibblet, you are lucky. He musta dropped some dosh on that."
"Oh, he did," Ron agreed. "But it suits her and she wanted that one."
"I offered to go with something smaller."
"No real husband would let you settle on something so important," Fred said firmly. "A woman should have a ring that thrills her." She sat down on Dawn's free side, not minding when Buffy moved her so Cordy could have that spot.
"May I?" Cordy asked. Dawn let her see it. "Unusual gold. Flawless diamond. Very unusual color." She nodded. "He's more than worth it if he's willing to go that far." She looked at Ron. "My warning about asskickings still stand."
"I wouldn't expect anything else," Ron agreed happily. "Come see. We've got an hour." Wesley shrieked but it didn't sound like he was in pain. "Luna, let the poor guy rest between," he called.
"You brought Luna with you?" Angel asked. Ron and Dawn nodded. "Oh, shit." He hurried up the stairs to keep her from killing Ethan, who had moved into Wesley's room without telling him beforehand. They made a reasonably cute couple once Wesley had gotten over being shocked. He found Luna between the two men and backed out, slamming the door shut. "Never mind. Wes, Dawn just showed up with her engagement ring."
"He'll see them when I'm done with him," Luna called back. "I'm saddle training."
Angel walked down the stairs wiping off his ears. "I didn't need to know that."
"What's with the horse references?" Fred asked. "I never pictured Wesley or Ethan as stallions."
"That's a mental picture I didn't need," Gunn pointed out.
"Apparently her mother once called her father a stallion and told her he had started out as a pony but she had trained him," Dawn said with a grin. "Now she wants her own pony. I'm not sure why she calls Ethan a mule though."
"Well, he is stubborn," Gunn pointed out. He looked at the ring. "That looks really expensive."
"There's a sticking charm," Ron told him. "She nearly took it off and hid it after we bought it because she thought someone might want to steal it so I stuck it onto her finger."
"That's a valid worry," Fred agreed. "I had a purse snatched not too long ago. Not that it had anything in it."
Ethan all-but did a Fred Astaire dance down the stairs. "Ah, my lovely little one." He kissed Dawn on the head. "And quite a rock," he said in appreciation. He looked at it but didn't pick it up. Dawn held her hand higher, giving him a patient look. "Luna said it was charmed and I don't want to interfere with that," he explained. "Simply magnificent. Your man has very nice taste."
"He picked it out and then stole me from class to see if that was the one I wanted," Dawn shared. The girls all sighed, smiling at her. "And the jeweler was a really nice incubus. Said he wouldn't go after Ron because he only touched the unfaithful."
"Good job," Buffy told her, ruffling her hair. She noticed Luna and Wesley coming down the stairs. "I think someone needs a juice box and a granola bar," she noted, nodding at them.
"Yes, I was going to do that," Ethan agreed, going to get them their needed nourishment. It was too bad they couldn't stay for longer. He and Wesley shared a kiss and Luna pulled out a small instrument. "What is that, Luna?"
"A time turner. It affects time in it's locality for those holding it." Ethan looked at it and Wesley tried to get it. She turned it and let him grab it but pulled Ethan's hand over before releasing the turning part. They sped backwards and snuck up the stairs the back way so they wouldn't run into themselves. "There, now I have four whole hours before I show up."
"What a very wicked idea you have, minx," Ethan said with a smirk.
"It's not good to play with time," Wesley pointed out.
"You have four extra hours too," Luna said smugly, letting Ethan hold her while she pulled Wesley down to give him another riding lesson, or to get one herself. Perhaps he was already a stallion and she only had to learn how to ride him to his fullest potential. She smiled up at Ethan. They had come to an agreement during the holidays the day before they did the ritual. She liked Wesley and she was relentless. He liked Wesley and he was nearly as relentless, but he could cut and run at a moment's notice. Therefore she was holding them both to her and they could struggle against their ropes all they wanted. Luna had discovered an unknown part of her that liked the hunt and the catching was always sweet each time she had to hunt down Wesley. She smirked at him and he moaned. "Good boy, my stallion," she cooed, patting him gently. "Now, let's use this four hours in a good way to teach me more."
"Definitely," Ethan agreed. He pointed at the bed. "If our boy would relent of course."
Wesley groaned. He didn't like it but Ethan knew he was weak and how to exploit that weakness. He did as he was told, being the subject for their next lesson in sex magic. Ethan was a very enthusiastic teacher of the subject.
Dawn and Ron landed back on the lawn at Hogwarts, Luna landing right behind them from her own trial of a portkey. They congratulated each other and headed inside to their respective houses. Her roommates were still sighing over her ring. Luna's housemates were giving her odd looks. Ron's roommates were still in the back-slapping phase.
The teachers, however, had piled on the homework. There was two months to tests and they were determined to finish out everything. Which is why Dawn had to head down to the dungeons for special lessons. From all the time she had missed, she had to make it up. She met Professor Snape at the doorway. "It went very well. Everyone was very impressed with the taste Ron showed," she shared.
"Wonderful." He closed and locked the door behind her. "Summers, have you any idea if the Headmaster now knows about you?"
"I don't know. I told Emilia but we were in the Room of Requirement at the time, sir. Why? Does he?" He nodded. "Am I in trouble?"
"He's a bit more wary. He thinks that had something to do with your status as a future wife." He looked down at her. "You might want to explain it to him."
She considered it. "How do I know he won't try to use me?"
"I cannot assure you of that," Snape told her. "I trust the man, but you should make that decision for yourself."
"Yeah, but I see something in him that shows some desperation. I'm not letting myself be used as a weapon, Professor Snape. I'm a nice, normal fifteen-year-old girl. No matter what else I am."
"I understand. He wishes to speak with you however."
"Then he can do it with Xander around and after someone finds some way to protect me," Dawn said, looking down at her ring. "It's been off color all day. Ever since we left."
Snape sat down. "He breached the subject with me shortly after you left," he admitted.
"Then he should know that I'm getting warning system feelings and I don't trust him. Not yet. Harry and Ron trust him with their lives, but I don't. Frankly, I've been attacked one too many times for that."
"I understand. I can call your older brother if you want."
"Please. I think I'll need it. Is Holly around?" He rolled his eyes. "Sorry, stupid question, is she free?"
"She is. She's also willing to sit in on this since she was told by Ethan."
"Good." Dawn bit her lip and sat down in her usual seat. "Then I guess we can tell him if we must. As long as I'm protected."
"I'll do my best, Summers." She nodded. "Headmaster? Holly? Malfoy, Dumass, Weasley, and Potter, appear," he called out. The paintings went to get the students, the others came at his call.
Dawn waited until Draco, who was the last one, showed up. "The headmaster has a question about which artifact touched me."
"No," Ron told her. "Not here. There's too much chance of being spied on." Snape looked amused. "I felt one of the portals like the Hufflepuffs put into our rooms in here, Professor, and I don't like it. I won't risk Dawn." He looked at Xander.
"Half the Banes are still at my house," Xander admitted. "Including Daryl and Simon."
"Can we ward a room against spying?" Holly asked. "I know I could do it at home but I'm not sure with so much magic around here."
Dumbledore raised his wand. The portraits were all covered with a heavy black cloth. "How is that?" He saw her look at Ron and Draco, who both nodded. "Now are you ready to tell me the whole truth?"
"I'm the Key," she told him. "That big ball of green energy. Some monks brought me to life to protect me from the person who my sister died to save me from." Dumbledore sucked in a breath. "I'm still just a fifteen-year-old girl, only I have some power built into my body."
"That's why you have the obsidian wand?"
Dawn looked at Xander. "I don't know, is it?"
"You're the one who picked it out."
"I picked it out because it felt right in my hand," she reminded him. "That and it was pretty." She looked at the headmaster. "That is why one of my wands has no core though. Why I can do both sorts of magic and why everyone is very sure I should learn both of them and offensive and defensive forms of each of them."
Dumbledore nodded. "You have put me into an awkward situation, young lady. Our school's charter said we will not admit magical creatures or beings."
"And I'm no longer one of those," Dawn said coolly. "They turned me into a human. I'm just as human as you are. If you don't believe me, get Madam Pomfrey to check me again."
"I'm not doubting that you are human, Miss Summers, simply that you should be here. You could put us into conflict with some other schools."
"They can take a flying leap," Xander told him. "There's no way I'm sending her to Drumstrang."
"What about Faieth?" Snape offered.
"Fucking hell no," Ron said firmly, glaring at him. "If Dawn leaves, I leave."
"And if Ron leaves, my life's in greater danger so I'd have to go too."
"Faieth isn't a real school, it's more a training academy and Dawn could probably finish most of it in a year," Holly offered. "I took six months there."
"I took about four and nearly killed an instructor," Xander told her. "They can be very firm about doing things their way, even when it's counter-intuitive to your natural one. I found myself backed up all the time there."
"Yes, but for those of us who have more control than you did at that time, it can be a great place. Plus, I know that Ethan would support me on this."
"I'm not leaving Ron," Dawn told her. "End of discussion."
"Faieth has classes specifically for cursebreakers who have extra strong gifts in sensing and affinities for hiding spots," Holly told her. "Ron could probably go, as could Harry. It might take a year, but it shouldn't be too long for you to go."
"We've only got one year of school left," Harry said tiredly. "Dawn has four." He looked at Xander. "Opinion?"
"Hate it," Xander said firmly. "Dawn and I have nearly similar main wands. I don't think she could work the way they want. Holly, do you have problems merging with her?"
Holly sighed. "I do," she admitted. "That could be a problem for her. I'll admit that. I still think some of the training could help her though."
"That's why I put Ethan and Wes onto her case," Xander pointed out.
"That is reasonable," Snape admitted. "Xander, we do have to worry about her staying safe. Since it appears that others know or can sense her."
"I can help her work on her shielding," Holly offered. "She is a bit open. I'm assuming that's why she was attacked."
"I was hoping so too," Dumbledore admitted. "Though she reads as tainted."
"Which she probably was, by the hellmouth," Xander pointed out. "So do I according to some people." He looked at Snape. "Any word on if *he* knows?"
Snape stood up. "I've been out of the loop for a bit now. I'm not sure if he knows or if he suspects."
"Then you're pulling out," Harry told him. "I may not like you, but you're too valuable to waste that way." He looked at Dumbledore, watching him stare at Dawn. "This is why we didn't want the information to get around."
"Why we told the two people who needed to know to protect her best," Xander added. "Then some others had to know and you twigged it."
"Yes, well, it has happened in the past," Dumbledore pointed out. "I have to ask, Miss Summers, are you dangerous?"
"Only to those who try to attack or use me," she reminded him. "Anyone who does has one hell of a surprise coming. I may be an airhead sometimes but not all the time." He nodded. "So, now you know."
He nodded. "I do. I wish I didn't. I cannot see how you could fail to be a danger to this school."
"The same way I'm not," Harry reminded him.
"You are," Snape told him. "We've had parents pulling their students out now for two years because you're still here, Potter." He looked at the Headmaster. "Even if she lost total control, the Dark Lord still can't use her."
"That's right. My use-by date as the key has expired for another millennium," Dawn agreed. She tipped her head off to the side. "That means I'm nothing more than a really strong witch." She smiled briefly at Ron. "So, can I stay or should I go shopping for a whole new wardrobe?"
"No, you may stay for now," Dumbledore told her. "This probably is the safest place for you." He looked at Xander. "You knew?"
"Since the day after Buffy found out. That would have been last year," Xander affirmed. "The monks made her of her sister to give her human form."
"Then she really is Buffy's sister?" Draco asked. Dawn nodded. "Wonderful." He smiled and blew a kiss. "Are we nearly done? I was helping find a hidden spot in Slytherin."
Harry looked at him. "Sit and shut it, Dumass." He looked at Dawn. "I've known and I don't care."
"I've known and I don't care either," Ron agreed. "Though if you ever get pregnant I'll probably be really scared that it'll hurt you somehow." He grinned at her.
"Your mother's getting her first grandchild soon enough, I'm sure she'll be too happy to nag," Xander offered, giving him a wink. He ruffled Draco's hair. "You behave. I put that hole there for a reason. Let anyone who wants to be a cursebreaker find it."
Draco shrugged. "Goyle says he can feel it but he can't find the lock."
"I put a special lock," Xander said smugly. "It's not a normal one."
"It's a drop switch," Harry told him. "It's in a snake's mouth, the lower jaw of one of the statues that can move. It's sent by magical currents."
"You remembered that from our second year?" Ron asked. "How?"
"Easy. I was taking a long look around," Harry told him.
"Why were you in my house in our second year?" Draco said, outraged. "I've never broken into Gryffindor!"
Ron gave him a smug little smile. "You invited us in, you nancy ponce." He looked at Dawn again. "Wanna go cuddle?"
"Sure." She looked at Snape, who raised a brow. "But I'm supposed to be catching up." She slumped down a bit. "Can't I be like Neville and just give up, Professor?"
"No. You may not give up until after your fifth year. Until then it is mandatory."
"Fine. Make me sweat a single grade. It's not like Buffy will care." She looked at Xander. "Can't you just ...put potions into my head or something?"
"Sorry, I don't know how to do that," Xander told her. "Ethan does, but he said it'd get most of the memories too."
Dumbledore looked around. "You're all taking this very lightly. She is in grave danger."
"Yay, what do you think she's been in?" Xander asked.
"Must be Tuesday, I'm in danger," Dawn quipped, cracking Harry and Ron up. "They only get into it on Thursday, that way you don't have it all at once."
Draco looked at her. "Now I know you belong with Weasley. He's infected you with his humor," he said with disgust. "Make better jokes around me."
"I've got one about the zebra-striped lesbian hunting lions in the Serengeti," Dawn offered facetiously.
Draco glared. "Don't you dare."
Ron and Harry, who had read the joke, groaned and shuddered. It was juvenile and horrible. "Honey," Ron said sweetly. "Do that to him and the twins promised you a new joke book."
"Okay," Dawn said, nodding and grinning. She adored the twins. Draco hid behind Xander. "Oh, come on."
"Sweetie, no," Xander said, shaking his head. "Please, not now." He looked at the headmaster, who was standing still and pulled his wand, taking Draco's hand in his.
"Don't do it," Dumbledore warned. He looked at him. "I'm mostly impervious to memory charms, even good ones, Mr. Dumass."
"You know I'd do anything to protect Dawn," Xander reminded him. He pulled Draco around to cuddle him. He seemed to think much more clearly with him in his arms. "So, now what?"
"Now I go back to my review, you guys go make Slytherin sing with groans, Ron and Harry either go play or wait for me outside while I'm trapped in this miasma of mediocrity in my performance. Or Professor Snape could be really generous then we could go make all my housemates groan with envy, Slytherin groan, and Harry can go play in the sunshine with everyone else and listen to Luna go over Ethan's next lesson for her."
"Miss Lovegood is taking lessons from him?" Snape asked.
Dawn looked over at him and nodded. "She seems to like his lessons. Said something about him being well broken for saddles and riding...." Snape spluttered. "Sorry, sir, though she has admitted that Wesley is more a placid stallion than a pony for her and she's the one who needs more breaking in."
"Out," Snape ordered, pointing at the door.
"Okay." She grinned at Ron. "Buffy sent me a catalog with Spike's handwriting on the letter. Wanna look at the handcuffs?"
Ron giggled nervously. "I don't really play that way, Dawn."
She shrugged and gave him a sexy grin. "But the pictures are fascinating." He shrugged and followed her out.
"See, I knew she was a Dumass," Xander said. "She's just like the rest of the clan. I bet if we looked, we could even find one of us in Buffy's family tree." He gave Draco a squeeze. "Come on, I'll show you the trip to that trigger." He winked at Harry as he walked his pookie bear out.
Harry held in his giggles until they were gone, then let loose. "Oh, they're so bad," he pointed out. He waved at Snape. "I'm going to go read my latest fanmail and answer more of it. Have fun worrying about our sanity, sirs."
The Headmaster looked at his teacher. "Are you confident that she is safe here?" he asked quietly.
"I am," Snape agreed. "Even if the Dark Lord attacks today, she has a plan in place to get out of the castle, taking as many people as possible with her. He can't use her anyway."
"If you're sure, then I will leave this in your hands, Severus."
"We had it handled, Headmaster. You wanted to know."
"Yes, I did, didn't I?" he asked, walking out. Some days he felt very old. The sound of laughter from further up the hall cheered him up some, but he still felt very old. He had remembered how long ago he had first heard about the Key. Now it was an engaging fifteen-year-old girl who was protected whether or not she needed it. He only hoped the school would survive her tenure.
Holly looked at Severus. "Up for a game of chess? Luna's too engrossed in her lessons to come help me."
"What is he teaching the girl?"
"Presently, sex magic," she said bluntly. He repeated the phrase without sound. "Power raising mostly." She took his arm to walk him down to her rooms. "I have some fascinating books from him on the subject. If you want, you can read them, Sev."
"I wouldn't mind, just in case she becomes a threat." He let her proceed him into the room and locked them in. That way no one could bother them. She was a very sweet woman who hadn't aided in the plan to marry him off. His great-aunt had very good taste. Though he was still fighting it.
Tip Top finished writing the professional letter and sprayed the special legal affixer to it. Then she rolled it up and handed it to her owl. "I know they're muggle," she said at the disgruntled feather ruffling. "They're threatening Harry. You like Harry. They were mean to him." The owl flew off without any more complaints. Tip Top leaned back in her chair and rubbed her stomach. "You hungry?" Of course it was too early so she wasn't kicked in response. "Come on, we'll go steal one of the twins to make us lunch." She heaved herself up, already feeling fat. As soon as she was up she started to feel dizzy and grabbed for the edge of the desk, but it wasn't going to help this time. She passed out, landing beside her chair.
Methos and Draco both lifted their heads, scowling. Then they looked at each other. "Go," Methos told him. "That was Ramvette." Draco nodded and left his things there, trusting someone to pick them up for him. He met Harry and Ron at the floo, sending themselves to the local house first.
Harry found her. "Ron! Call the twins, she's unconscious," Harry yelled, hurrying in to help her. He checked her pulse. Perfectly fine feeling, not weak in the least. "What happened?" he asked, starting to get really upset.
Draco called for his healers and went to help. "Calm yourself," he snapped. "Getting upset won't do her any good."
"Tipsy," one of the twins yelled as they ran in. They pushed the younger men out of the way and picked her up, laying her on the couch. "What happened? All we felt was a loss."
"I've called the healers," Draco told him.
"She was laying like she had passed out," Harry offered, standing up to come over and do what he could. This was one area he was deficient in. Ron gently moved him out of the way as someone else came rushing down the hall. It turned out to be a healer. "We think she passed out. She's pregnant."
"That's fine, step back a bit," the healer ordered.
"No way," George told her. "She's our wife." The healer shrugged and knelt beside the couch to examine her. He and Fred clutched at each other while they watched. The healer finally nodded and put a small patch onto her arm. "Is it serious?"
"Is it the baby?" Fred asked.
"Is she miscarrying? She has once," George offered.
"Or is it something worse? She said bad things could happen because of her age."
"Calm down," the healer said calmly, looking at them. Harry helped her to her feet. "She did pass out. She's a bit vitamin deficient and I've put some medicine on to help her with that." The twins nodded, looking eager. "Take her to her regular healer and have them give her the fullest workup possible. Even a muggle doctor would be fine. For now, let her finish her nap and have someone prepare her some soup or something light. Got it?" They nodded. "Good boys. I'm sure you'll spoil her until she screams but she needs it. She's in very good condition for her age and it should be fine." She looked at the younger ones, then nodded. "Go get sick," she offered. Harry ran out, going to do just that.
"You'd think he'd be the one to handle such things," Draco snorted.
"He's never seen anyone sick," Ron said quietly. He looked at the healer. Then at the twins. "One of you go back to the store and switch off until I can get mum here."
"What the hell is going on?" Juliette yelled as she walked down the hall. She slammed the door open. "I was in a meeting, what happened? Was she attacked?"
"Passed out," Ron told her, giving her a smile. "We're setting watch times."
Juliette nodded. "That's fine. Boys, go back to the shop for now. One of you can be here at a time." They looked hurt. "You can't afford to close for a whole day yet. Either one of you goes back or get some of your relatives to watch it for you."
Xander walked in, sweaty and dripping. "What's going on?"
"Tipsy passed out." She grimaced. "Eww."
"Sorry, I was moving heavy stuff." He looked at Tipsy. "My thing is not medical. I can only bandage. Is there a price list at the store?" The twins nodded. "Then I'll do that and see if I can spring Ginny." He took another look around. "Harry?"
"The one getting violently ill," Draco told him. "I'd kiss you but you're rather nasty."
"Shit happens when you do manual labor." He looked at the twins. "I'll go now, but bring a towel. Come back after she's awake." He headed through the floo to do that, calling the school for the kids. "Hey, it's me. Tip Top just passed out and every Bane felt it," he explained. "She'll be fine. Ron, Harry, and Draco will all be back shortly. Can I borrow Ginny though? The twins want to stick beside her and I know Ginny has a free class right about now."
"I'll send her over for that class only," McGonagall told him. "Keep me informed if anything changes."
He nodded and stood up, breaking the connection. Everyone in the store looked at him. "Their wife passed out." He pointed at the balloons. "She's fine but they're fussing over her. I'm Xander, a friend of theirs." He moved behind the counter.
"Why are you all sweaty?" one very young child asked, giving him an adoring look.
"Because I was moving really big boxes full of stuff," he said with a smile. "I had to because water was seeping in near them from the moat protecting it."
"Wow, do you live in a castle?" she asked.
He shook his head. "Not quite. But the moat now has a monster in it to protect the treasures." He grinned at her mother, who was rolling her eyes. "I'm a cursebreaker. It's my work space."
"No wonder you have a moat," the mother said, shaking her head. "Pay the nice man for your new toy," she said.
Xander took the toy and looked at the list. Then at the mother. "You do know this has little parts?" She frowned. "I'm all for safety warnings for little kids. I finished growing up in America. I always make sure of those sort of things when I'm helping out."
"That's fine, I'm sure she won't choke," the mother said tolerantly. She let her daughter pay for her toy and then left, dragging her out of the alley. Really, and he probably wasn't even a parent. Though she understood, he was a man and unaware of how much a mother knew about what her children were doing.
Xander gave the other parents his best 'little boy caught trying to be good' look. "Sorry, but I worry." They agreed it was thoughtful and that it was okay.
One girl looked at him. "Why don't the owners put the things for the littler kids on the bottoms shelves and the stuff for the older ones on the higher ones?"
Xander leaned on the counter to look down at her. "Because they pointed out that some kids are older than they seem and there are some people who are kinda short. But I tell you what, why don't you draw out your ideas and send it to them? They listen to customers more than anyone else because you guys keep them in business. So if you draw it out for them and explain it then it's likely to get done faster."
"Okay," she agreed, looking up at her mom.
"I'm sure they'll listen," her mother said patiently.
Xander shrugged. "They can be stubborn, but kids like yours do keep them in business and keeping the kids happy is what they like to do." He grinned. "Besides, they never listen to me. I'm only the one training Ron."
She gaped. "You're Alex Dumass?"
He nodded. "Alexander Dumass," he said, shaking her hand.
"Wow," the little girl said. "You really know *Ron*?'
He smiled and nodded. "Very well. I'm teaching Ron and Harry both how to do my job and Ron's girlfriend Dawn is taking the beginning lessons now."
"Wow," the little girl said again. "You are cool by default," she said, handing over her toys. "Mommy, pay the man so I can write out my ideas. That way I can slip in a nice note for Ron for his girlfriend." Her mother rolled her eyes and shared a smile with Xander but she did pay for everything.
Xander was quickly overwhelmed by the crowds, but he made sure the people who wanted to check out could do so first. Ginny came rolling out of the floo and came over to help, taking more of them while he chatted. He grinned at her and some of the younger kids went over to talk to her about Ron. She would know more after all, she was his little sister.
Harry walked down the streets in Diagon, looking for the shop.
"Oh, bloody hell, you're Harry Potter," some older woman said loudly, rushing up to him. She stopped when she noticed his panicked look. "Sorry." She smiled and held out a hand. "I'm Thelma Thurston, editor of Teen Witch Weekly."
Harry shook her hand and blushed. "Hi. Nice to, um, meet you." He glanced around, people were staring at him.
"Oh, you weren't acting," she said, pulling him closer to give him a hug. She could feel his blush through her clothes so she let him go. "Don't you worry, we've had more questions and I wanted to know if you'd consent to do a small follow up for us? Maybe answer written questions?"
He stammered a bit then finally nodded. "I've got to, um, aah, got to pick up stuff for Madam Pomfrey," he said, holding out the list. "Do you know where this one is?"
She gave him a motherly pat on the back and turned him around, pointing at the sign. "Right there, Harry." She gave him a gentle push and he gave her a grateful smile and a wave before trotting off just fast enough to seem like he was running away from her. "That poor dear, I thought that was all an act." She sighed and went back to her offices to note the encounter and write a short 'gossip point' about it. She made sure she pointed out that he blushed and stammered and looked very lost when she had called his name. Her girls would eat that up. It even fit into a blank spot they had from someone pulling out an ad. So it went into this month's issue.
Harry handed over the bag to the school nurse. "Here you go. Please, send Malfoy next time," he pleaded.
"Were you mobbed?" she teased, pinching him on the cheek.
"No, but the editor for Teen Witch Weekly cornered me and I stammered," he said, blushing in embarrassment this time. "She grabbed me and hugged me, Madam Pomfrey."
"I'm sure it'll be fine," she said patiently. "Why don't you go back to class? I'll be sure to find someone who's less popular next time." She waited until he was gone to cackle in laughter. That poor boy! If she hadn't known it wasn't an act, she wouldn't have believed him to be shy either.
Two weeks later, Harry looked up in shock as the owls started to hoot as they came in. There hadn't been this many in months. "Ron, your fanmail's here," he said, grinning at his friend. Most of owls did land on their table and he helpfully started to pull off letters and pile them up. Ron would hand him any that were his. One he knew was his because it said 'complimentary copy for Harry Potter' across the strap holding it down. He put that next to his plate and continued on, enjoying his friend getting all the attention. At least it wasn't for him. He noticed Ginny took his Teen Witch Weekly copy and let her, she probably wanted to look at the fashions. As soon as everything was gathered up, the owls flew off, a few more coming over to deposit more mail. Ron carefully stacked it and started to sort it out by which one of them got it. Ginny burst out in giggles. "What?" Harry asked her. "Something funny with Ron's picture?"
"No, you," she said, handing over the marked page. "When did you sneak off?"
"Madam Pomfrey sent me because I had a free period and I was going to get into trouble," he told her, frowning as he read the 'gossip point'. "Dirt." He handed it to Ron and looked at the piles. "Switching sides today?"
"No, most of them are yours," Ron told him, handing him his stack of mail. He read the point, then flipped through to see if he was mentioned again. He stopped at a small article, nudging Harry and handing it back. "At least we know why now." He shifted down on the bench, letting Harry have some room in case he exploded at someone.
"Cho!" Harry yelled. "That's really unfair!"
"It's true, Harry, and we both know it's true. If it wasn't for Hermione, you'd never be in the same room as a girl."
"That's right, if Hermione didn't try and make you see all girls weren't aliens, we'd never see you," Susan Bones pointed out.
"It's nice that you have a tamed girl to teach you about them," one of Dawn's housemates offered. "We're all really thankful that Hermione sees fit to put up with your shyness and makes you try to interact with girls."
Harry let the magazine drop from his hands. "That's not fair! I don't understand you guys!"
"And you probably never will," Dawn said wisely. "It is a rare man that understands women and most of them used to be women but opted for surgical fixing." The girls around her looked at her. "You guys don't have transexuals over here? They're really nice, just stuck in the wrong body. Wow, and Giles used to say that Britain was so much more liberal and tolerant."
Harry pouted at Ginny, who shrugged. "They asked, Harry. All I told them was that it wasn't an act. Girls make you sweaty and shivery."
Hermione dug through Harry's letters. "Here's one from Xander," she said, hoping it would take Harry's mind off the problem. She glared at Ginny. "You nearly drove him into seclusion," she hissed. "We'll never get him comfortable around women now."
Harry shot a glare at her, having heard that last part. But he opened the letter instead of retorting.
First thing, calm down.
It can get a lot worse. There are many worse things to be than shy, Harry. Trust me, I am famous and I know all. Really, being thought of as shy and confused is not a big problem. Lots of women like shy guys, as I'm sure you're going to find out soon by the increase in fanmail. Just remember, those girls don't really know the real you and you can be whatever you want, including the guy who waits for the right girl. There is nothing at all wrong with waiting for the sex stuff or even for the dating stuff. You need someone who makes you feel like Dawn makes Ron feel. I fully stand behind you waiting for her, Harry, and remember, it isn't as bad as you think. You can do a lot to help lots of shy people all over the world because you are.
So take a few deep breaths and forget about hunting the girls in your school down to torture them for saying those things. It won't do any good and your rep will only get worse, then you'll get the sickos who want you to hurt them.
Harry was giving the paper a sappy grin when it was taken from his hand. "Xander telling me to calm down and not hurt the girls who said I was horrible around women," he explained. Snape looked down at him. "It's not my fault! All I did was run an errand for Madam Pomfrey. She cornered me and I didn't have time to react and think."
Hermione gave him a gentle smile. "Harry, you would have stammered and blushed anyway," she pointed out. "You're like that. We all understand, that's why we're keeping the hunting of you down to a minimum."
"Yeah, Hermione and I have been driving off the most aggressive women for years," Ginny agreed.
"Can you stop doing that now? Please?" Lavender Brown asked from further up the table. "Let Harry fend for himself for a bit."
Harry had this sudden picture of his picture on a wanted poster and the words underneath said 'open season'. He bolted from the room, going to hide in the Chamber of Secrets. He would come out when those scary things left school.
"Does anyone else know snake?" Ron asked. "Otherwise we'll never get him out of the Chamber."
A few girls took off running after him, hoping to catch and capture him before he made it down there. They heard more running feet and let the faster moving ones pass them. Harry was one fast little guy.
Harry was just about to duck down into the chamber when he felt himself be grabbed and carried off. "Let me down," he begged. "Please? I promise I won't run right this moment." He found himself carried into Slytherin and locked in one of the girls' dorm rooms. "Oh, come on," he said, pounding on the door. "Let me out! This isn't even my house, please let me out!" He patted himself down for his wand but it had been taken from him by all those grabbing hands. "Please!" he begged, trying for louder. "Let me out! I promise I'll even go to class and behave like a normal boy!"
After two classes with no return of Harry, McGonagall had all the girls called into the Great Hall and locked them in with Madam Sprout. "Now, where is my seeker?" she asked them. None of the girls said anything.
"We really are worried about the poor dear," Madam Sprout told them. "He didn't get to eat breakfast and he was obviously upset before you caught him."
"It's no fun hunting him if you've got him tied up," McGonagall said after a few more minutes of silence. The door cracked open and Draco Malfoy-Dumass walked in. "How did you unlock that?"
"Easy, I'm married to a cursebreaker who likes to break lock charms," Draco pointed out. He looked at the women. "Xander has said that if Potter doesn't reappear very quickly then he will pull the boy out of school for his own good." McGonagall groaned and had to be helped to a seat. "That means none of you will ever see him again because Xander can send him to Egypt and make sure his assignments are all there. Forever. After all, the cowed and fearful witches down there won't cause him problems and will gladly do *anything* to be married to him. Including wait on him hand and foot and do odd sexual things for his delight." He looked at the very guilty looking girls from his house. "He's in Slytherin somewhere," he told the teachers.
"We were going to give him back," Pansy whined. "Later."
Millicent nodded. "After we convinced him that he'd like us better than some froofy girly girls."
Draco sneered at them. "Just wait until Snape hears about you letting Gryffs into our tower. You thought he yelled at me?" They shuddered and clutched each other. "Where is he?"
"In the first year girl's dorm," Pansy sighed. "It's better hidden and they won't jump Harry." One of them laughed, making the older girls all glare at her. "They won't if they know what's good for them," Pansy pointed out coldly.
Draco rolled his eyes and left, going to tell Snape where he was. The male teachers were in the staff lounge. "He's in the first year girls' dorm in Slytherin courtesy of Pansy and Millicent," he told them. Snape looked at him. "They admitted that they put him there because it's hard to find and supposedly the girls wouldn't jump him."
"Has anyone given thought to the lock charm that must be in use?" Professor Flitwick asked. "Harry is quite good with locks."
"At least Dumass has probably been in that room too," Dumbledore pointed out.
"He'd never touch first years," Draco said coldly. "Not even as one." He looked at his head of house again. "He wanted to know if he was needed. He's presently waiting hand and foot on Tip Top since the boys are stocking today."
"We might be able to handle it," Snape told him, being very sarcastic as he nodded toward the door. "After you, Professor Flitwick?" They walked down there together, going to let the young man out. The hall down there was twisted and damp, and there was little light. Harry's wand wasn't lying anywhere that they could see so they assumed it was on him. Snape let the Charms teacher at the door first.
Flitwick looked at the door. "I've never seen such a charm before." He heard muffled pounding. "And a silencing charm, very ingenious. We shall have to see the perpetrators in my NEWT class." He pulled his wand and glared. "I demand you open!" he said, hitting it with a burst of power. It spit at him.
Snape left him to it, going to get Holly, just in case it had been Lovegood. She had joined in on the chase for some reason. They came back and found the Charms teacher still trying. Holly walked over to help, but together they were acting against each other. "Summers," Snape called, trusting the nearest portrait to find her. She was escorted in by the Headmaster a few minutes later. "Perhaps you can do something about this?"
"I don't know, but I'll try," Dawn promised. She tested the door, then grimaced. "There's a wall in front of it. I can't even see the lock."
"Would more light help?" Holly asked.
"No, it's perfectly clear, but it's like the door is totally solid and there's no handle, no lock, nothing on it. Just one thick panel of wood that goes into the bricks. We may need Xander for this."
"I've never heard of a charm that does that," Flitwick noted.
Dawn looked at him. "There are other apprentice cursebreakers, including a female in your house."
"Yes, I believe we should have them here as well," Dumbledore pointed out. "Severus, don't you have a safety latch? I know you do on the upper form's doors."
"I hadn't thought about them and I don't think it will work, but I will try," he offered. He walked over to a small portrait and whispered something to it. It made a clicking noise and opened, letting him inside. He walked back through the old spying paths to the hidden doorway inside the bathroom, pushing it out. He was pounced by a crying young man, one which clung to him in misery begging to be let go. "Stop that," he said coldly, trying to push the boy off. He felt someone slipping past him and then someone grabbed Harry, letting her cry on him. "Miss Summers. You were not to know about those."
"Tough noogies," Dawn said firmly, leading Harry away. "Come on, Harry, we'll get you settled into the infirmary. Those girls will touch you over my dead body."
"They've got my wand too," he said, starting to sniffle now. He wiped his face off. "Can I please go hide now?" he asked.
"Sure, come on. You can show me this chamber place after Madam Pomfrey checks you over," Dawn said, leading him out without anyone saying anything. The nurse tutted over him and then Dawn took him to the girl's bathroom. "You wait right here. I'm going to chew them a new one." Harry grabbed at her so she stayed with him, letting him take her down into the chamber. She called pillows and let him curl up under her robe while she watched him take an exhaustion nap. "What did those girls do to you?" she muttered.
In another part of the dungeons, Professor Snape was confiscating all the items in the room that had obviously upset the boy. The dolls that had been made of the boy, and made to do various disgusting things, were enough to make him want to cry too. He needed to speak to some of his females about their desire to rip things off and to change the owners. He found the shrine as well, and all the drawings and scrolls of stories seemingly offered in supplication to the big color photo of Harry leaning against his broom with a smile. His house photo for last year's yearbook. "Dumbledore," he called. The headmaster walked in a few minutes later, joining him looking at the shrine. He handed over one of the tied-up dolls, the most tame of the lot, and watched as the headmaster looked around. "I believe we need to have a discussion with a few of the young ladies." He saw the look at the box of things he had already confiscated and handed over another, clearly castrated, bound, and with a gag forced into it's mouth. Again, fairly tame compared to some of them.
"I believe you should call your entire house together and talk about this," Dumbledore agreed.
"And I should say what?"
"That the school does not condone acts of violence against other students." He handed the dolls back, letting him deal with this.
Upstairs, the talk was already beginning. Once the teachers had left, Hermione and Ginny had sealed the door. "Ladies," Hermione said. "Dawn sent me a short message. Did you know that some of the Slytherin first year had a thing for mutilation of their wanted man?" She stepped forward as the other girls turned on all the Slytherins. "Not only was Harry so upset he was crying, he clung to Professor Snape because of some of the things he found while he was trapped in their rooms." Someone pounded on the doors. "Go away! We're having a girl talk!" She turned to glare at the girls again. "I believe we should teach them better manners."
"Kidnaping is one thing, and I'm all for stealing Harry for a quiet moment or two," Ginny added. "Some of the things Dawn found were simply disgusting. Like cutting him into pieces disgusting."
"How dare you threaten our Harry!" One of the Hufflepuffs shouted, lunging at the younger girls. Of course, the other Hufflepuffs never let one go where twenty could go, so they joined in fairly quickly. They proved the old saying of never taking away a good child's toy because they will instantly become a bad child and start to wreck things to get it back.
By the time they were done, most of the house needed some salves and ice packs and the rest of the girls in the school felt much better. One of the Ravenclaw seventh years looked at Ginny. "Where is he now?"
"Dawn took him down into the chamber and is watching him," Ginny told her. "By the way, she said one of you has his wand. He will need it for classes." She unlocked the door and walked out. Everyone who hadn't been a victim followed.
Luna paused at the doorway. "You know, there are worse things. I know someone who can introduce you to them," she told them. Then she skipped off to class, humming a happy little song.
At the end of the week, Harry reluctantly let Dawn help him back up to the main school, surprising the guard the girls had put over the bathroom. "Hi," he said weakly.
The Hufflepuff of the pair hugged him. "It's all right, Harry, they're very sorry they did that to you," she promised.
"We still haven't found your wand though," the fifth year Gryffindor reported. "We're searching. All the good girls in the school are." She gave him a friendly pat and a nod at Dawn. "The Headmaster wants to see him after Madam Pomfrey checks on him." They left the room, going to their next class. Harry probably needed a few minutes to adjust himself.
Dawn smiled at Harry. "See, most of them aren't like the Slytherins." She took him by the arm. "Like I said, they get to you over my dead body," she promised. She walked him out and took the back way he knew up to the infirmary. "Madam Pomfrey, I got him out."
"Oh, Harry," she sighed, coming over to hug him. "You poor thing." She led him back into her private office to check him over and to talk with him. He probably needed some counseling. She had seen what those first years had been forced to destroy by Professor Snape. When she was sure he was better, she called a house elf and instructed it to get him some clothes from his trunk and to bring them back here before the Headmaster came down. Harry could stay in here today. That way none of those wretched beasts could get close to him.
Ron brought in the clothes and gave Harry a grin and a punch on the arm. "You okay there, Harry?"
"Better," Harry admitted. "I'm not having visions of me being mutilated anymore."
Ron nodded. "Good. I'd like to kick their asses myself but Ginny assured me that the girls took care of them for you. Apparently the Hufflepuffs and Gryff girls got really upset with what Dawn told them was found."
"How did she do that?" Madam Pomfrey asked. "She never left his side."
"I'm guessing she projected somehow," Ron said with a shrug. He let Harry into the bathroom after checking it for him, then stood guard over the door. "Dawn, how did you tell Hermione and Ginny."
"I got really pissed and wanted to tell them," she said with a shrug. "Not a clue otherwise. Harry was just in really bad shape and he was babbling about what some dolls and some pictures of him."
"Rest assured, Professor Snape had those girls destroy all those things," Madam Pomfrey told her. She grimaced as Draco walked in with a bag. "What do you want?"
"Xander sent this for Harry." He handed it to Ron. "The headmaster gave it a look over but I'm not sure what's in it." He looked at Dawn. "Did you like the chamber?"
"It was gross and slimy," she told him. "Just like some of your brethren."
He gave her a tolerant smile. "That is true, but not of the best of us." He looked over as Potter came out dressed in his jammies. "My consort sent you that," he announced, pointing at the bag.
"Is my wand in it?" Harry asked.
"No. Xander was still throwing a fit about that staying missing earlier," Draco admitted. He watched as the boy was put into bed and guarded by the cute couple. "Dawn, perhaps you should go shower and change as well," he suggested. "You look a bit...scruffy."
She shrugged. "Only if someone I trust comes up to watch with Ron. I'm not leaving him with only one guard and Madam Pomfrey has work to do," she said to ease the older woman's hard look at her.
"I'll find Lovegood," Draco sighed, going to do that. He found her dancing outside of Potions. "Are you mental?"
She smiled and held out the letter. "I finally got a real love letter from my stallions," she said happily.
"Good, go read it to Potter in the infirmary so Dawn can bathe and change." She nodded and hurried off.
"I was not aware you could dismiss students to do a task," Snape said from behind him.
Draco looked at him. "If I had been him, I wouldn't let go of Dawn either. She's a formidable witch. Unfortunately she's bathed in the Chamber for the last few days and is wearing the same outfit. Lovegood is decent enough and Potter probably trusts her. If not, Weasley is there and it stops her singing outside your classroom about her sexual partners and exploits." He raised a brow. "Who made those dolls?"
"One of the girls apparently has an older sister who took Alternative Magical Styles while it was taught here. They were voodoo dolls without any charming agents. He had right to be scared of them."
"Interesting." Draco strolled off, going back to Charms. He took his seat with a nod for the teacher.
"Is he out?" Professor Flitwick asked.
"And in the infirmary to make sure he's not hurt. That way he has time to calm down. Weasley, Lovegood, and Summers are watching over him now."
"That's fine, I'll release them from my class for today," Flitwick promised. He looked at the Ravenclaw/Slytherin class. "Since this incident, I thought it prudent to go over locking charms. Some of you know the basic 'Alohoamora' charm. Some of you do not. We will start there. In the practical room there are locks of all sizes. Someone please get them." They floated in and he didn't think anything of it. "Thank you, whomever did that. Each of you take a lock and work in pairs."
The Slytherins worked in groups. Each of them looked at their lock before doing anything. The boys-only pairs got theirs open with a bit of teaching by the ones who knew. The ones with boy-girl pairs had locks that gave off smoke. The girls all shifted uncomfortably when they saw images in the smoke, but the boys didn't seem to see anything. The girl-only pairs quickly started to scream and try to get away from their locks. Their smoke had shown them horrible things happening to them. The same sort of things they hand wanted to do to Potter. They started to cry, hiding behind the clueless boys. One of the girls tossed down a wand and ran from the room crying.
Draco looked back at the group, then shrugged at the look the teacher was giving him. "It wasn't me. It was probably one of Potter's ...fans," he finish smugly, noticing the Bane marking on one of the locks that the girl-only pairs had used. He opened his own lock and looked at the teacher. "Which one is next?"
Flitwick looked at him. "The freezing lock opener." Draco nodded and opened his book to read up on that one. "Settle down and get back to work," he ordered, picking up the thrown wand. Holly. Just the one the school had been looking for. He examined a lock and found the small marking himself, grimacing. "I remember teaching them that," he said fondly, going back to his pile of pillows. "Get back to work or I shall have to take off points," he demanded. The wand disappeared from his hand and Draco gave him a small incline of his head saying he had done that. "Thank you, Mr. Dumass. Five points to you. I'm sure Harry is curled up around it."
"Hopefully," he agreed. "He might need it." Draco went back to his reading while the teacher tried to calm down everyone else. What fun his new friends could come up with when challenged.