Greg walked his wife into his office, sitting her in the corner. "I can't let her go yet," he said when someone else walked in.
"That's understandable," Brass agreed. Greg looked over at him then grabbed his jacket to check. "Thought it was someone else?"
"Usually Sarah's lying in lurk for me," he said as he patted down the pockets. He found his old roll of Breath Savers and popped one as he put on the jacket. "What file did you need, Detective? I got nearly everything lined up when I popped in last night."
"I need you to look at something," he admitted, handing over the file he was carrying.
Greg sat down on a stool, reading through the short notes. It was on his lab. "Huh." He looked at his wife. "Did you know the US had spy satellites they used in the UK?"
"No, I didn't," she admitted, coming over to look over his shoulder. "Hey, they caught us going in before our shopping trip."
"Look at the next one," the detective said, leaning against the counter. He waved Nick off. "They also caught you disappearing."
Greg and Emilia looked at the next picture. The last one had most of their group in it, this one had most of the same group, with someone walking in through the wall to Diagon. They hadn't caught the portal in the picture at all. The couple shared a look, then Emilia closed the door with her wand. "That's our speciality shopping area."
"I figured it was something like that. You've got an appointment later with the people who want to ask you about that. We think that they're your kind but we're not sure. But I do know they took over your break-in." He waved a hand when Greg tried to hand back the folder. "That's what they sent us. Grissom thought it was some sort of portal, like that portkey thing."
"Actually, an arch opens up but it's not photographable," Greg said quietly. "Did anyone think to do a sweep for electronics in here?"
"We tested out the field equipment and found one on your computer itself," Brass admitted. "Grissom was not happy, it came from our storeroom." He straightened up. "So you've got some time off tonight for that interview. Grissom's in the field looking at a buried body, he's in bug heaven at the moment. Siddle and Brown are with him. Catherine is working on her baby case and Stokes is up the hall waiting on you. You'll probably have some rush samples soon."
"That's fine," Greg agreed. "Thank you for telling us."
"I figured telling you would get this solved faster," he pointed out. "The longer this goes on the more stress the unit has." He and Greg shared a look.
"I'd never endanger the unit," Greg offered.
"I know, kid, that's what makes this so miserable. You're a genuinely nice guy. Not like some. Oh, you've got a voicemail. Catherine was switching it over earlier and I overheard." He opened the door and left them alone.
Emilia kissed Greg. "We'll go in together," she promised. He wrapped his arms around her, resting his head against her chest. "It'll be all right. If we have to, we could go back and help Severus teach."
"I'm sure he'd enjoy that," Greg said dryly. Nick coughed. "Sorry, post-vacation separation anxiety." He smiled at his wife as he let her go. "Go find someplace to wait on me." She tweaked his nose and left him alone. "What do you have for me?"
"Soil." He held up a small baggie. "There's something off about this. It smells funny."
"Okay. I've got three samples to run first but I can start it filtering." He took the baggie and measured some out over a filter, then poured in some sterilized water. He let that filter through while he started his first swab running in the computer. "You can go grab some coffee."
"I've had nearly a pot."
"Then find the bathroom, it'll be about ten minutes," Greg told him.
"Okay. What's going on? I know the Feds took your break-in."
"We're not sure yet," Greg admitted. "We'll be talking to them tonight." He started the second swab as soon as the first's printout came out. He laid the remains and the paper on top of the file so they could be kept together. "Ten minutes."
"Got it. I'll join Emilia waiting for the bathroom."
"Cool." Greg smirked at his back as he got back to work. At least he was liked and appreciated, even if he couldn't get out in the field.
Greg looked at the person who joined them at the table in the conference room. He had already done the anti-listening charms. The Feds had even come down to the Police Station. "What's the problem?" he asked quietly. He didn't want to appear threatening and the guy already looked spooked.
A woman opened the door and coughed. "This has been reassigned," she said, handing him a piece of paper. "Send your file to me tonight," she told him. He nodded and left it to her. "They hate the strange things," she noted as she closed and locked the door. "I'm Miss Perkins. I'm the closest thing we get to a Ministry around here, kids. I'm the real X-Files department." Greg grinned at that, shaking her hand as she sat down. "Now, I'm a wandless so I'd like the truth. I know you're both wizards of the wand sort."
"We are," Emilia told her. "I'm also a consort veela."
"Ah. The counseling notes." She nodded and pulled out a steno pad to make notes on. "That's the first explanation I needed. The next is the traveling?"
"We're involved in the anti-war effort and most of our friends are over there," Greg said honestly. "Plus they were guarding my spouse after the incident with my labcoat."
"What did they do to your labcoat?" Miss Perkins asked, writing that down as well. "As a matter of record, do you portkey or apparate?"
"I do both," Greg told her. "Emilia's not supposed to apparate unless it's an emergency. She's pregnant." He leaned forward. "We're still not sure who did it but someone put a fetus, a very bloody one, into my smock pocket." She shuddered. "Hence her taking a longer vacation and me going over to visit her every chance I got."
"All right. Do they have customs over there for that sort of thing?" Emilia shook her head. "Didn't think so." She looked at them. "We've gotten your full personnel file. Gold?" He frowned. "I know it's made, by you?" He nodded. "That's fine. I also noticed there was a complaint against one of the other workers who had broken into your lab?"
"Day-shift is all about the career," Greg told her. "I'm me and I'm not much worried about my career outside of getting into the field. He decided I must be evil because of that."
Miss Perkins laughed. "If only he knew what real evil was?"
Emilia nodded. "Definitely. Are we in trouble? We were shown those satellite pics."
"No, not in the least. They're saying it was a malfunction," Miss Perkins said, putting down her pen and looking at them. "We note things like this because we do have a few schools over here. Generally, the United States hasn't needed a full Ministry to handle their violations. They tend to tell on themselves when they do something stupid." Emilia opened her mouth so she held up a hand. "Not you two. Your mate's only done one dumb thing in over a year, and that was in the face of those Decency people who I'd like to eliminate. Personally, the Puritan wannabes give me the creeps." She smiled at them. "And the person there with you?"
"My boss. Half of my unit, and only on my shift, knows. Because we're so active in the fight and I'm holding our house as an escape sanctuary, my boss and a few others had to know. One's been oblivated a few times. One's had some of the knowledge removed when he didn't want to know. Grissom's pretty cool about most things. He understands and only wants to study us scientifically." Miss Perkins laughed. "He's a great guy but he is my boss and had to know."
"That's fine, as long as you trust him."
"My mentor made it very clear that I was going to be responsible for erasing memories if I had to. With one exception, I've done so. That one exception was after the break-in. The Brits did it for us."
"Which is perfectly understandable. They're much better at it than I am." She smiled gently at them again. "What do you still have to do?"
"First, we've got about six more months on my *interest payments*," Greg told her. "I've already dealt with that." She nodded. "We've told Penn since he's the top dog in town."
"I heard and I checked in with him. He'd like to see you both soon if possible."
"I'll call out tomorrow and talk to him," Emilia told her. "I've known him now for a few years. The first time he accidentally summoned me into one of his stage acts and I came out of the box instead of the person who was supposed to. We had to stall the temporal movements for the room to fix it. He's pretty understanding."
"Good. We like it when you older ones can handle yourself. I know Mr. Saunders was one of the unfortunate ones who had to transfer out of the country. Hogwarts?" He nodded. "Do you think that's a viable option with the present situation?"
"I think we made a good impression," Greg told her. "I'm sure Dumbledore wouldn't care to admit foreign students again. As for the war...." Someone knocked on the door. "What?" he called.
Grissom unlocked it and held up his key. "Sorry to interrupt. Greg, underneath your seat." Greg searched and pulled up the small bug. "I know you probably blocked it, it came out in gibberish, but Sarah and Hodges wanted to know." Emilia gave him a look. "I've already reminded them about people eavesdropping on Federal Agents." He looked at Emilia. "There's a car here to take you to an appointment?" She frowned more but stood up. "It's from one of the local hotels. I'm assuming it's a friend and Catherine said it was legitimate."
"Okay, I'll leave my pookie here. You make sure he does some work and I'll come jump him for dinner," she said, giving Greg a kiss. "You behave."
"I always try," he reminded her, grinning at her as she left. "Thanks, Grissom."
"Why don't you come in," Miss Perkins told him.
"Because the Sheriff is looking for me again," he said bitterly. "Greg, the Aberstone case?"
"I left two of the samples running against each other. That leaves three to go. You can check the printer if you want."
"Thanks." He closed the door and relocked it from the outside.
"Like I said, Grissom's pretty cool with everything." He shifted down some, slumping a little. "We're fighting the war inch by inch. A few of our friends are sticking close to the school but I couldn't because of work. That's why I'm running a sanctuary. We expect it to be solved this year."
"Excellent." She made a note of that as well. "We had been listening to their news people but apparently they were kept in the dark?"
"Former Minister Fudge wanted the glory for himself," Greg told her. "It came back during Harry's fourth year, just like he said."
"We've seen him from afar during one battle. He's not human, he's more snake at the moment."
"Oh." She looked stunned. "I didn't know he had done that." She picked up her pen and made another note. "That's interesting. If we find anything useful, we'll pass it on to you so you can pass it back." She looked at him again. "Do you know Mr. Dumass? I noticed you were photographed with him."
"He's one of my new friends. He's chums with my school friends and we often take over his house for meetings. He was guarding my wife."
"I see. It didn't bother you, all those zombies?"
Greg chuckled. "I dare you to call them that to their faces." He smiled. "The Dumass clan had a thing about dying. They had everyone frozen the moment before death. Or I guess when it looked like they were going to die. Alex isn't doing that, his Grandmother is doing it. She had been a painting and wanted to come back."
"Interesting. So they're fully alive?" Greg nodded. "Hmm." She looked at him. "Do you think they're looking for the farther flung members?"
"I know they are. Des is running the project to chase them all down. She's also in charge of nagging everyone to have children to strengthen the family name again. Earlier this summer she threatened to remove one of Alex's nuts and use the seed it contained to give the family children. She's recently decided sperm switching was the best alternative I think."
"Wow. She's one focused woman."
"They used to be a huge family," Greg told her. "Them and the Snapes both were huge families with members who did nearly everything. She wants that back."
"What decimated them?"
"We think it was a flu epidemic. All Alex knew at the time was that it was a high fever, everyone at the house had caught it, and he had survived. He had to bury his whole family, what was left at the time, and then had to go back to school a month later." She took the listening device and dropped it into the pitcher of water. "That probably won't work."
"It'll cloud it." She made a note of that. "Is there someone over there that we could contact about such matters? Since we can't trust the press, who could we talk to about this resurrection spell?"
"You could write Des, she's at Dumass Glen still." She wrote down the address. "What's going to happen now?"
"I've officially taken over the investigation." She put down her pen and looked at him again. "A note will be made about all this. Nothing more will happen on your behalf outside of figuring out who broke into your house. We're pretty sure it was in relation to what was on your wife's laptop. We also think that the nasty surprise you received was from your day-shift people. It was simian and it had been miscarried from the Denver Zoo." She tapped her fingers on the table. "Please be more careful about going over there. We've had to deny a lot of spying rumors thanks to that satellite."
"If they weren't focusing it on our allies, then they wouldn't have to say anything," Greg pointed out. He felt a zinging pain and grabbed his forehead. "Ow." He took a few deep breaths.
"You've got the Sight?"
"Very mildly and only in relation to my personal safety." He looked up, his eyes watering. "Someone else knows. There's going to be a sweep. Someone's going to force us to work for them."
She reached over and took his hand, giving him a contact point outside of himself to focus on. "If they try, then you apparate your ass out of here," she told him. "The schools are safe. They can't use the kids. You, Mr. Boyle, and all of them apparate away and leave for your school." Greg nodded, calming himself. "You leave that problem to me, Mr. Saunders. Got it?" He nodded quickly. "It won't happen. If it does, then we're all fucked and the country will blow up. Call your wife and tell her." She put up her pen and notepad, standing up. "Thank you for the warning."
He took another calming breath. "I'm hoping it was a warning," he told her. "If not, they will go after the schools."
"They won't," she assured him. "The kids can blend into the woodwork very well because none of our communities are as separated out as the British ones." He nodded and she left.
Greg rested his head on the table, thinking about their exit strategy. One hand touched his arm, sending out a general alert to all the Banes. They had to know and Emilia would hear.
"Fuck!" Nick shouted, standing up from the table. Everyone at dinner looked at him. "Someone found out," he announced, looking at Derek. "Greg's Sight is only in relation to his personal safety. He saw a sweep."
Derek wiped his mouth off, considering it. "Then I want you in London, Nick. I want you to leave tonight and take Kat with you." He looked at Rachel, then at Kat. Then he looked at Nick. "You may have to tell them why."
Nick pulled his wand from his back pocket and put it onto the table.
"Ceremonial?" Rachel asked.
"Real," Nick told her. "There are two types, wandless, which would use it in a ceremonial way, or my kind. I use it as a focus." He took a deep breath. "Someone high in the government just found out we're real."
Rachel picked up her water glass, sipping slowly while she thought. "London House will be safer?"
"They can't get the Legacy," Alex told her. "What about me, Derek?"
"Wandless witches, especially those of the lower levels, would be less likely to be targeted," Derek assured her. "Your gifts aren't known about. Nick's could be found out and Kat is still having visions all the time."
"So pack, little one, we're heading out tonight. I'll get to teach you how to portkey."
"Is it dangerous?" Rachel asked. "You could fly. On a plane," she added when Derek looked at her. "Brooms are myths, right?" Nick shook his head. "No?"
"No, and you ride them handle first and straddling it, not side-saddle," Nick told her. He looked at Derek. "Should I call Sloan or are you?"
"You pack, I'll call him," Derek promised. He nodded at the ladies. "If you'll excuse me for a moment." He walked down to his office, turning on the Vidlink to London. "Get Sloan," he ordered. "Our house isn't secure." The person on the other end went running and William Sloan showed up a moment later, dressed in a tux. "Someone with the Sight among Nick's friends foresaw a sweep by the government over here," he said quietly. "I'm evacuating Nick and Katherine to you."
"That's fine. I'll have a plane there within two hours. There's one in Los Angeles at the moment."
"Thank you. Should I warn anyone else here?"
"Get word to those people from Sunnydale, Derek. They'll need to know too." He signed off so he could get things moving.
Derek looked up the number in the case then dialed it. "Hello, may I talk to Buffy Summers please?" He sat down, his free hand coming up to massage his forehead. "Miss Summers, this is Derek Rayne. You've never met me, but I was one of the two who investigated the Sunnydale explosion. Yes, from those people," he admitted with a faint smile. "No, there's something you need to know and I've been authorized to inform you. Someone high in the government now has proof that magic is real. Someone with the Sight foresaw a sweep and a hunt for all magic users. If that's what you want, that's fine. Please." He waited while someone else was put onto the phone. "Ethan," he said dryly. "You're working for good now?" He chuckled. "No, something worse. The government has proof of magic. Someone foresaw a sweep." He relaxed. "Thank you. Of course, if you need us. We're sending two of our people out as well." He hung up and called London again. "Tell Sloan that the group in LA doing the same work are sending three or four people as well, they're to go with Nick when he goes to the school." He hung up and took two aspirin with him when he went back to the table. "Now we wait," he told them. "We'll have a plane here in two hours, Rachel."
"Thank you, Derek." She walked her daughter out to their car, they could almost make the next ferry and meet Nick at the airport before departure time.
Blair Sandburg looked up from his reading, frowning at the ceiling. "Behave while I'm gone," he ordered his class, heading out to his office to get in on the chat going on with the other Banes. First though, he called Simon. "We've got a massive problem heading down the line," he said quietly. "The US knows. Someone high up." Simon spluttered on the other end. "I don't know if you know anyone but there are others." He relaxed at the calming words. "Yeah, I'll start emailing as soon as I'm out of class. Unless Jim wants to hack into my email and send one for me. Thanks, Simon." He hung up and told his brethren what he had just done. He had contacts all over the US. A number of them were Wiccans or other pro-nature magic groups. There was going to be a mass exodus, he knew there was. He went back to his classroom, gathering up the quizzes.
Xander heard the message and went running out of the library, heading up to the Headmaster's office. "Dumbledore, the US knows," he panted.
"Knows what?" he asked. His Defense and Potions teachers were next through the door, followed by the three younger, marked Banes. "What's going on?"
"Someone in the upper reaches of the US government knows that magic exists," Methos told him. "Gregory saw it."
Dumbledore stood up, his eyes wide. "Are they doing anything with it?"
"Greg saw a sweep," Snape told him. He shifted so Draco could walk out for a moment.
Ron shifted past him. "Greg saw a sweep and them coming for families to try and force them to aid the military. He was in a meeting at the time with the real X-Files person. She's a wandless."
Draco strolled back in. "I just received a floo from Wesley. They're evacuating Tara, Wesley, Ethan, and possibly Rosenburg tonight from LA heading here. Boyle's to bring himself and them up here along with the wandless witch he's taking with him." Snape looked interested. "She's fourteen." He looked at Dumbledore again. "I told Wesley to tell Nick to use the house, Xander." Xander looked at him and nodded, pulling him closer to hold. "It will be fine. The wandless can blend in better."
"I hope so," Xander said quietly. "Can't we do something about this?"
"They don't have a Ministry and we'll have to see what the community does," Methos offered. "They might handle it in-house. Right now, we need to prepare to gather those of us closer."
"Greg's at work," Snape said, touching his arm. He got a confirmation from him. "He's making plans. If they get twigged to, they're apparating out. Greg's putting most everything precious in his house into storage."
"That means our sanctuary isn't one anymore," Xander offered. "We'll need to find another one. Doesn't one of us have something in Canada?"
"Yes, but the heir took it over and they're fairly confused," Harry told him. "They were told lies about their parents. When he found out, he nearly had a breakdown so we can't count on that."
"Well, we've still got my house," Xander reminded them. He touched the marks on his arm, focusing on Nick Boyle's mark. He told him to evacuate everyone to his house. "Okay, he's bringing them there. Sev, we'll need Holly to meet with him. The Legacy knows her already." He nodded, going to do that. Xander got a sudden flash alert from his mother. "Boys, we may be staying here over the break. I'm not sure yet." They nodded. "Willow's not coming, she's refusing to leave. She ran out of the hotel and hasn't been found yet. If she does, Spike will bring her and everyone else if they revive the Initiative and go after the demonic. Oz may or may not come up. They're trying to find him."
"Which one was Oz?" Ron asked.
"Willow's ex-boyfriend," Draco told him. "Buffy told me. He's a werewolf. A quiet little man with odd hair." He looked at Dumbledore. "You need to tell someone."
"Indeed. Out. Tell me what the plan is so we can integrate it. Mr. Dumass, make sure your family is on high alert. This would be a very good reason for Voldemort to attack your house."
"Then he dies faster," Xander said firmly. "Des isn't leaving the house anytime soon and she wanted to *talk* with him about what he had done to Sev." He walked his crew out, going down to tell Dawn, Luna, and Ginny. Ron went to call his mother and warn her, and so his father could spread it around the lower levels of the Ministry. Harry went to think and help Methos plan. Xander and Draco gathered the girls and took them to a quiet classroom. Xander looked at the three girls. "We've got something important to tell you and it's not great news," he told them.
"Is everyone all right?" Dawn asked. "All the Banes and everyone?"
"At the moment," Draco told her.
Xander took a deep breath. "Someone in the American government has proof magic exists." The girls all grabbed each other. "We're doing an evacuation of all Banes and magic users we know over there. Their own schools are being warned."
"Buffy?" Dawn asked.
"Is staying to help any others over," Draco told her. "Her, Spike and Angel, plus the non-magic people in the group are staying unless and until they come after the demonic."
"That means we're getting Luna's men and Tara," Xander finished. "They'll be at my house in a few days." The girls nodded. "We're not sure what's going on yet but we'll deal with it however we have to."
"Yes, Xander," Dawn agreed, trusting him. He always had good plans. "Can we go see Tara and them?"
"We'll arrange it," Draco promised. "The only bad thing is that Rosenburg isn't coming."
"But she's magicless anyway," Luna said quietly. She got free of Ginny's clutch. "There's every chance that she'll be fine."
"There is," Xander agreed. "The person who saw it saw a sweep happening. That means that the boys in nice suits are going to go around knocking on people's doors and conscripting them. If she's caught, even though she's magicless, they'll probably want her until she's no longer useful." He took a deep breath. "Wesley said she ran out before they could contain her."
"That's fine," Dawn said. "She made her decision and she can come back and ask for help if she needs it." They all nodded. "What should we do?"
"Prepare, it may get really messy," Xander told her. "Both you and I are listed as American citizens. The Ministry may have a solution for that though." Dawn walked over and hugged him. "I'm sorry this year is so rotten for you," he said calmly, patting her on the back. "We'll fix it, Dawn. As much as possible and as soon as possible."
"Yes, Xander," she said quietly, letting herself cling to him. He was her rock of calm now.
"There's a young girl coming," Draco told them. "She's fourteen. She's wandless if anything and Nick is bringing her. She may be at that house in London or she may be in ours. We don't know yet."
"Philip's mentioned her, said her name was Kat," Xander offered.
"He mentioned her to us," Ginny admitted. "Did Ron tell our parents?" Xander nodded. "Good. Then I'm going to go make a list of what I can do to help. Let us know if you need anything." The boys nodded so she drug the girls off to brainstorm with them.
Xander and Draco shared a long hug. "It'll be okay," Xander told him. "This will complicate the war but it's not the worst that could happen."
"I know," Draco agreed. He let Xander calm himself by comforting him.
Philip looked up from his reading, frowning as the message hit his marking. "Shite," he hissed, cleaning up his work area and heading outside to make a call. He called London directly since they were still watching over him. "Sloan please," he said. "Yes, is it." He hummed as he waited for the hold music to end. "Sloan, it's Philip. What do you need?" Another message hit his tattoo. "No, Alex Dumass said we can use his house, including Kat and Nick. Yeah, that's fine, I'll vouch for him. Sure. You should probably call your schools." He smiled and relaxed. "You're sure? That's fine then. I'm here if you need me." He hung up and went back inside, tracing down the rumors of a way to cancel a blood resurrection.
The twins gave each other horrified looks, then looked at their wife, who was looking stunned. "Shit," one of them said, summing it up nicely.
"We'll have guests probably," Tipsy announced. "I'll need to borrow some of the Dumass house elves." She forced herself to stay calm. Xander's message was a gift in itself. She grew calmer with each breath. "It'll be fine," she assured them. "We can handle this, even if Des doesn't want them in her house."
"Des wouldn't dare turn them away," Fred told her.
"She's not like that," George agreed. He looked at his twin. "Want to call mum?"
"I'm sure Ron already has," Fred pointed out. "Personally I want to owl Percy anonymously."
"No, you'd better sign your names to this one. The current Minister needs to know first," she instructed. "We might have to do something about this."
"The goblins have a memory charm with a trigger," Fred offered.
"Possibly, but things sent to high government officials are opened by others first," she pointed out. She picked up her glass and threw it. "We did not need this right now. The war is too close to coming to a head." She stood up, starting to pace. "Write your brother, one of you call Des and see if we can borrow a house elf. Tell her we can put up one or two people if they need it." They went their separate ways. She calmed herself again. This was a horrible thing.
Fred knelt in front of the fire. "Percy Weasley," he said, waiting until his brother's head appeared. "I know you don't want to talk to me but this is important, Percy," he said at the start of the complaint. "Someone in the US government has proof of magic. Someone, one of our friends, foresaw a gathering so they can be used by them. You need to warn people in the Ministry."
Percy's mouth opened and closed a few times. "Are they sure?"
Fred nodded. "The person who saw it has a ninety percent rating and only sees things related to his own security. He saw a sweep and being penned up. We're getting our American friends over here in the next few days."
"I'll tell the Minister personally," Percy promised, leaving. He ran out of his office and down the hall as fast as he could. Damn his reputation, this was too important to care. He jogged into the Minister's office, not bothering to knock. "We've got a very bad problem brewing and we're being used as an escape point," he announced. The Minister blinked at him. "One of the twin's friends knows someone who has visions. Ninety percent right and only about his personal safety." The Minister of Magic made 'get on with it' hand motions while he sipped from his mug. "He foresaw the Americans gathering all their magic users to use them for the good of their government. They're evacuating." The Minister carefully put down his cup and stood up. "The twins called me personally. I don't know their source, but whichever one it was looked horrified. They may be able to lie but not about this."
His father walked in. "Good, I'm not the bearer of bad news," Arthur said with a faint smile. "We're already evacuating all the Banes and everyone that knows."
"Holy Merlin," the Minister said, sitting down again. "They have proof?"
"That's what Greg thinks. He saw that they had information, proof would be necessary to start off something that major though. He saw a sweep, like Stalin's, only they're to be used instead of killed immediately."
The Minister of Magic nodded. "Thank you. I want a full report, Weasley, from whomever I don't care." He looked out his window. "What about the Legacy, do we know anything about those twerps?"
"We do," Arthur admitted. "One of the Banes evacuating is one of them. He's bringing himself and a young lady who is powerful enough to gain notice, even though she's a wandless."
Percy looked at him. "Banes?"
"I'll tell you some other time, Percy." Arthur looked at his boss. "Alex Dumass is their friend and he's offered them his house for now. We need to let the other schools know. Greg was in a meeting with a wandless witch when he had it and he told her."
"Shit, this will be an immigration nightmare," The Minister noted. He nodded. "All right. Arthur, I know it's not your department. I want a general list of everyone who's associated with you and yours. I know your son's one of them, that one auror's report said he outed himself." Arthur nodded. "If you can, I'd like some idea of who's going to go bad and how powerful they are."
"That's easy enough. Ethan Rayne is the only chaos person coming with them but he's said he's willing to fight with Xander against the Dark Lord. He doesn't want him around either." He suddenly smiled. "I just thought of something." The Minister looked at him, making that same 'get on with it' hand motion. "Last year, when Alex was down with that horrible case of the flu, his mother came to him. She's demonic now you know." He sat down, still smiling. "Something over vengeance if I remember right. She said her Lord and Master didn't want him winning either."
"Oh, my," the Minister said, brightening up. "How wonderful. Plus, we've got Callahan back again as well." This positively brightened his day. "That is wonderful, Arthur, thank you. You and your son go and work on this problem." He shooed them off. "I'm going to make a few calls then get soused."
"Yes, sir," Percy said primly, following his father out. He put a hand on his arm to stop him. "Banes?" he asked again.
"A group of students that were in the years around your mother and my times in school. They helped fight in the first war, son. Now they've recruited some younger members, including your brother Ron." He got free. "They're handling themselves." He walked off, going to call the school to talk to Professor Snape. He could get him the list just as easily and poor Alex would probably be stressed.
Draco stepped out of the floo and into the house, looking at everyone in the kitchen. "I need to see everyone, it's bad news," he told Aunt Cordy. Her eyes went wide. "Now, especially Des." She nodded and hurried to find everyone, bringing them back. He took a deep breath. "Gregory saw the Americans doing a sweep for magical people to use them."
"But they'd have to have proof," Des pointed out. Draco looked at her and she went pale, grabbing onto the back of a chair. "They have proof of magic?"
"We know they have information, we're assuming they've got proof," Draco agreed. "We're evacuating part of the LA group and some of the Banes. Greg and Emilia are coming last because of his job." He smiled at her. "Xander volunteered the house. So far we know Tara, Ethan, and Wesley are showing up along with Nick Boyle and a young female charge."
"Of course they're staying here, it's the safest place outside the school," Xander's sister Katya said.
Des swatted at her. "Hush." She looked at Draco again. "How many?"
"For right now, we only know about those five. Most of the other Banes are nearby already. Nick and his young female may or may not be staying at that place in London."
Des nodded. "That's fine. I'll accept him offering the family's help without asking this time."
Draco shrugged. "He only offered them a place to sleep as far as I know," he said with a smile.
Aunt Cordy snorted. "Yes, because we'd abandon them if something happened, Draco. Have some sense, boy." She stood up, looking around the kitchen. "I need a shopping list," she announced. "Be sure to put Alex's tea and cream on there or else he'll throw fits. We'll send some up to the school for him." The house elves rushed around to do that. "Five?"
"So far," Draco agreed. "Sandburg said he was emailing his friends to warn them, but they're very close to Canada. If they come after Greg and Emilia he said he's coming here as well."
"That's fine. We can handle those numbers," Des told him. "Tell my boy to ask first next time."
"Of course," Draco agreed, smiling at her. "At least it's not strangers."
"No, they're not," Des agreed. "They're his friends and he's always done this to us. He knew a big family who had a fire and he invited over once. Twenty-six people and only the basement free." She smiled at him and walked over to give him a hug. "When should we expect Luna and Dawn?"
"Probably this weekend. We don't have a game." He gave her an extra squeeze because she was like the mother he had always wanted. "I'd better get back. We managed to make the Headmaster frown and panic with this news." He tossed in some floo powder and headed off again.
Des looked at her relatives. "You handle this, I'm going to London to talk to that chippy Sloan." She went to change clothes and gather her cloak for the trip.
Greg walked into Grissom's office and shut the door. "Sheriff, I need him for a moment."
"Can it wait, Greg?" Grissom asked.
"No." The Sheriff smiled and left for a moment. Greg locked the door and charmed it against listening. "I just had a vision." Grissom opened his mouth. "I know, not the most scientific. I only get them when my personal safety is in jeopardy. Someone in the government knows."
"Knows about what I can do," Greg told him. "Knows that there are people who can do magic specifically. They may not know personally about me yet."
Grissom frowned. "What did you....see?"
"There's a sweep coming. Nice guys in tailored suits and lots of papers saying we're not human enough so we're conscripted."
"All right. Are you leaving now?"
"No, but I am taking precautions. Emilia and I will leave if and when they come. We'll be leaving from wherever we're standing at that moment in time. Hiding is not an option then." Grissom nodded. "If we have to, we'll be at that number I gave you. Alex agreed we could shack up at his place for now. I'm moving all my stuff into storage tonight. Magical storage that can and will move with me."
"That's fine, Greg. I agree totally. You should leave and definitely send your wife ahead if there's the slightest danger to either of you. I'll put you on administrative leave for medical matters if you have to go. That will give you six months in case you can come back."
"Thanks, Grissom." He walked over and gave him a quick hug. "If I do have to leave, I'll miss you the most." He walked out, heading back to his office. He found Catherine waiting on him and gave her a hug. "It'll be okay."
"Why wouldn't it be?" she asked.
He looked at her. "Someone knows. Someone in a suit."
"I'm sorry, Greg. Send us a postcard if you have to go," she told him, giving him a real hug. "It'll be okay. Have you told Grissom?"
"I just came from there." He held up her file. "I've got two ahead of you, one of which is running and one's nearly ready. Give me half an hour?"
"That's fine," she agreed. "We'll definitely miss your speed and style if you have to suddenly disappear. What about the house?"
"I'm packing up our stuff into magical storage. It'll go with us." He grinned. "It's pretty handy."
"I'm sure it is," she agreed. She watched him work, she didn't have anything she could do until this was done. "What about Emilia?"
"She's still in the car," he told her. "Penn's gonna have a fit."
Emilia stepped out of the car and tipped the driver, heading inside to the front desk. "Penn sent for me," she said quietly. "I'm his counselor." She called security and they led her down there. "Easy," she ordered the one patting her down. "I'm pregnant." His hands immediately gentled.
"You are?" Penn asked, opening his office door. "Really?" He smiled at her. "How far along?"
"Not by much. I just stopped morning sickness." She walked inside and nodded at the door. "Close it. It's bad news." He closed the door and locked it. "Greg had a vision."
"He has them?" Teller asked from his desk.
"He does, and they're only about his personal safety." She looked at Penn again. "Ninety percent accurate." He winced, that was a great average. "He's only had five in the past and one was off by a day."
"What sort of bad news?" he asked, sitting her on the couch and sitting next to her.
"Someone in the big white house knows about us."
"Oh, fuck me," Penn said, eyes wide. "Is he sure?" She nodded. "Okay, then I'll start spreading it around. We may all be taking a quick vacation."
"You may need to do more than that," Teller pointed out. "Are you and he leaving?"
"Not yet. His people need him," she said dryly. "We're bringing emergency portkeys with us wherever we go. We don't care if we're in the middle of the Forum Shops, we're leaving from right there." She smiled. "He had it this morning and was in with a Miss Perkins." Both wizards snorted and shook their heads. "She knows as well. We're hoping someone will fix it."
"We can hope a lot," Penn agreed. He relaxed. "Now that the unpleasantries are out of the way, how are you feeling?"
"Much better now that I'm not sick every night." He snickered and gave her a pat on the shoulder. "What's up? You called the meeting."
"We wanted to know about the war. We never get any good information."
"As of right now, we think the final battle will be sometime this year. We're hoping winter in time to celebrate the holidays."
"Good," Teller agreed. "Can we help?"
"Honey, you're not a battle wizard," she reminded him, smiling at him. "You do much better over here. Myself and the others in our group are working with some aurors on this. We've also got Potter among us and being trained by us. Plus, Dumbledore added extra security to the school. Sandburg was up planting vicious plants. The defense teacher is even now laying more traps around the school with help from Ramvette and her boys."
"Oh, the twins," Teller said, grinning at her. "By any chance, do you have a catalog?"
"Not only do I have that, I have a direct link back to them," she said, touching her arm and sending a thought their way. That got a laugh and a 'nice to hear it's good news' message. She gave them where she was and he agreed to mail it. "They're mailing the fresh one. They've just agreed to move stores so they can expand."
Teller smiled. "That's good news at least."
"Oh, I've got news that will make you laugh. Greg and I got caught by spy satellite going into Diagon. They didn't see the archway, they thought we were walking through walls and disappearing."
Penn Jillette laughed, giving her another shoulder squeeze. "God Bless the US and their paranoid moments." She nodded. "Where are you registered?"
"Nowhere yet. I was going to do that this weekend with him but with this I think we're waiting for a few days."
"Perfectly understandable," he told her. "Tell me where so I can get the baby something inappropriate yet funny."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Just like you, dear." He grinned at her. "Now, what else can I help you with?"
William Sloan looked up as a woman in a cloak was led into his office, standing up. "Mrs. Dumass," he said, shaking her hand. He sat down once she did. "I must say, you look incredible for your age. Very well preserved."
"Yes, well, since the stasis lowered our body temperatures, we were able to come back without the seizures and the fevers that were killing us. It's easy when your family is frozen before death." She took off her gloves and put them on her lap, lowering her hood. "I suppose you've heard." He nodded. "My darling boy Alex offered everyone room in our house. Including those two of yours coming with his other friends. Nick and he belong to the same group now."
"I suppose that would solve some problems," Sloan admitted. "We've got two more coming from New York who'll need rooms here as well and we've only got three guest rooms. What about Katherine?"
"We have no qualms about the little wandless darling. One of the ones coming over is a lighter and is wandless. Very pure, Tara is."
"I see." He looked at something on his desk. "Maclay?" She nodded. "Very well then, I'll allow both of them to reside with you for now." He looked at her. "How are your defenses? Katherine gave up magic supposedly."
"Really? Alex apparently didn't know that. Of her own free will?"
"Her and her mother made a pact, but I believe this is enough to bend it for her."
"Then we'll only have her taught the protective uses," Des said with a small shrug and a smirk. "I'm sure we can keep Ethan away from her."
"Yes, what is your grandson doing with a chaos sorcerer if he's a protective person?" William asked, he had been wanting to know for a few months.
"Ethan was one of the few who saw my grandson for what he was when he was deaged."
"Oh." William grimaced. "They sent him *there* when he was helpless?"
"Yes, that is why Dumbledore and I will have a talk some day. Not only was he sent there after being deaged, he was sent there with shields that did not allow him to use his innate gifts. His mother is not pleased either." She stood up. "Since we have that settled, did you need anything from our community?"
"I tend to leave that side of my life alone," he told her. "I've kept up my protections but I hardly use my wand these days."
She smiled. "That's probably better. Being trained over there was probably not the sort of education you deserved. My boy was positively disgusted when he handled that Fyarl demon and the sixth years from the local school only knew stunning charms."
"That's it?" he asked. She nodded. "Well." He snorted. "My year learned them and all the other offensive in our seventh so we couldn't duel in the halls."
"Over here, a stunning spell is learned in the fourth year," she informed him. "Most of the offensive hexes are learned your first so you can duel in the halls. It lets you know which ones are the troublemakers who would study ahead and let's the rest defend themselves." She nodded a goodbye and put on her gloves as she walked out, apparating from the walkway.
One of the Legacy researchers walked into William's office. "She just disappeared into thin air."
"Her kind can do that," William noted. "That was Mrs. Destina Dumass. If she ever shows up again, I want to know immediately. It is very important." He looked at his man. "She is very powerful but a power in her own right. She is also the one shielding Mr. Boyle and Katherine. You can pass on that message when you get them through Customs."
"Yes, sir. Will I be bringing them back here?"
"For a few moments, then they'll be going to her house. Her grandson is a friend of Nick's and has generously offered to save us making up a new guest room." His man nodded and left. William considered calling Philip Callahan but decided he'd probably know anyway. Those two had some funny communication between them.
Xander dropped his portkey with a wave of his hand to get the feeling back into it. He had put too much juice into it. He'd know better on the way back. He walked up to the front door and knocked. "Hello," he said in English. "I need to see my brother, Justinius."
"And you are?" the older woman asked.
"His brother Alex. I have information he needs because it will impact some of your grandchildren, Sylvia." He stepped inside and smiled at her. "You don't remember me?"
"You look ridiculous in the school uniform," she said in disgust.
"I was called back to retake my seventh year so I could keep my consort calm and to protect the school. It was this or the ugly wool version." She snorted as she walked away, going to find her husband. Soon an old man with no hair appeared and Xander nodded at him. "We've got some major probs for any of your kids in the US," he told him.
"Alex?" Xander nodded. "I knew you were deaged, but I thought it went back to a decent age where you were an adult."
"I'm twenty," Xander told him. "I got deaged to five, put onto the Hellmouth in the custody of drunks forced together to watch over me, and learned better fighting skills from a Slayer."
"Holy damn," Justinius sighed. "Dumbledore?" Xander nodded. "Better you than me. Come this way." He let the boy into his study. "Why the uniform?"
"My consort is in his seventh year and since he's a consort veela, I'm needed beside him to keep him calm. Then we both got shoved into Hufflepuff to protect them in case the school is attacked." He sat down, looking around the study. It was nearly as nice as his own, even though they weren't very similar in style. "Sit, you'll pass out otherwise."
"I suppose I should," Justinius said. "No time for a family visit?"
"Let me get the bad news out first. My short term memory is shot recently," Xander told him. He looked from his older brother to his brother's wife, then back. "The US has knowledge, and possibly proof, that magic works. Someone high enough up that they're probably bringing it to the President personally." Justinius' wife's mouth fell open. "I know you've got at least one grandchild over there. You need to evacuate them."
"How do you know?" Justinius asked calmly.
"We have a friend who's a seer when it relates to his personal safety."
"Percentage?" Sylvia asked as she found a seat.
"Ninety," Xander told her, giving her a faint smile. "And he had the vision. He saw a folder, the information was on magic. Specifically on someone other than him, but we're pretty sure they know about him as well. Then he saw a sweep." Justinius' hand started to shake. "It was for use, not for death immediately," Xander said quietly. "We had to sedate Holly because she wanted to go over and evacuate some of her friends personally. Instead we helped her call them on someone's cellphone and they're spreading it back through their network and online before heading for Canada."
Sylvia took a deep breath. "We have two grandchildren over there, Alex."
"Then tell them to take a sudden vacation to Mexico or Canada," he ordered. "They can get out from either place. "Or even from the Carribean if they're inclined. Get them somewhere not US controlled."
"How do they know?" Justinius asked.
"I've only got a supposition," Xander offered. Justinius shrugged. "A few years back the government found out about demons. They started a special project aimed at capturing, testing, and turning them for use in the military." Justinius swallowed. "They were in Sunnydale as well. The Slayer and I, along with our friends, helped take them down. Before then, her Watcher was being bothered by a chaos person, an old enemy or lover - we've never been sure which. Anyway, he turned this chaos person over to the military." Sylvia shuddered. "Ethan was tortured for a while before he escaped."
"Ethan Rayne?" Justinius asked. Xander nodded. "He mentioned running into a member of the family over there." Xander wiggled his fingers and smirked at him. "I see. And this watcher was Rupert?" Xander nodded. "Did Rupert not think of how dangerous that was to the community?"
"Rupert wasn't thinking of much at the time. Our group was having problems at the time. Rupert had sworn off magic unless he needed it to stop an apocalypse. He thought he was giving an annoyance away," he said calmly. "Ethan was probably forced to perform somehow. I'm thinking that the file they have is Ethan's. If not, they've had one come up on the job, probably to save themselves, and this is the backlash."
"Poor Ethan," Sylvia said quietly, looking at her hands. "How is he?"
"He's doing okay. I've seen him a lot. Over the years he's alternately pissed me off horribly or helped me. Right now he's in helping mode. He moved to LA to work with Angel and Tara when Sunnydale imploded. He's helping me teach Dawn wandless magic for her own defense. Tara's taking over after that."
"He's written us about her," he admitted. "That and some girl named Luna?"
"Luna Lovegood. Her father runs the Quibbler."
"Oh." Sylvia started to chuckle. "He said she was a bit odd but very forceful and brilliant."
"She's a sixth year Ravenclaw." Even Justinius cracked a smile at that. "Ethan, Tara, and Wesley Wynham-Price are all coming over with a friend and someone he's protecting."
"Wonderful. We'll expect a visit then," Justinius said firmly.
"I've rebuilt the house, Jus. He'll be staying there and you can weather Aunt Cordy screaming at you the same as I can," he said dryly.
"What did Des want Holly for?" Sylvia asked.
"To help us with the war, to help us teach Dawn, and to mate with Sev."
"Sev?" Justinius asked.
"Severus Snape, cousin of ours?" Justinius gave him a long look and Xander nodded, starting to smirk again. "They suit each other. He's not as evil as everyone thinks and she's not as nice as she pretends to be. They're both at the school if you wanted to pop around there."
"I see," Justinius said, licking his lips as he looked at his wife. "We'll have to do that."
Xander snickered. "Owl Holly and have her set it up. They're fighting it by staying friends. Though she has been showing him her sort of magic. Luna and Dawn are both using her as a second teacher after Ethan." He leaned forward. "I really would evacuate your kids, just in case. Have them take a sudden illness or something. If it's fixed then it's all good. If not, then they can run faster. We both know the 'Christian' idea of witches."
"We do," Justinius agreed. He looked at his wife. "Go call them." She nodded and went to do that, using their muggle phone numbers. "Dawn, the Slayer's sister?" Xander nodded. "I had heard you adopted the girl."
"She's been accepted as our youngest sister," Xander told him, getting comfortable. "Des adores her and Cordy likes to dress her in naughty clothes."
"Is she the same Dawn that we've seen in the papers?" he asked. Xander nodded. "How did those two meet?"
"Ron's one of my apprentices. So is Harry but Harry's going to play pro for a bit so Dawn's not alone and so he can get it out of his system. For that matter, Dawn and my consort, Draco, are both very good researchers. I've got my own crew for the next few years."
"No life of leisure?" he asked his little brother.
"Draco and Ron both want to take a long vacation once this year is done. I'll be figuring out our next target after that. Maybe Central America." He shrugged. "We'll figure that out soon enough I guess."
"You're happy with this renewed life?" Justinius asked, looking his little brother over. "You look calm. You're not vibrating anymore."
Xander gave him a gentle smile. "My Draco keeps me calm. Dawn keeps me young, and Ron is so much like Bill was it's not funny. He and Harry are a laugh a minute most of the time. This makes me happy. I adored teaching Bill when I had him. Now I've got his little brother and he's just as good, if also just as stubborn. Ron's even offered to take Dawn's adoptive last name so the kids will be Dumasses so Des leaves me alone. "
"Then I'm happy you found peace," Justinius said, giving him a faint smile. "Try to stay out of the press when you cheat."
"Oh, I have no need of cheating. My Draco's like my Valena was."
"Another veela?" he asked. Xander nodded. "What's his family curse?"
"Monogamy." Xander beamed. "He's nearly eighteen, Jus, he keeps up very well and initiates as often as I do."
Sylvia cleared her throat from the doorway. "Should we be meeting this veela of yours?"
"Come over this summer if we're still standing," Xander offered. "I'm hoping I don't have to rebuild the house again."
"I'm surprised the heap fell in," Justinius joked.
"From what the goblins reported, it was a lightening strike," Xander told him. "Burned totally, but thankfully Dumbledore had looted it before it burned." Justinius looked at him and he nodded. "Seven months after I was deaged."
"Interesting," his brother noted. "Has Des talked with him about that?" Xander nodded, giving him a very smug look. "I'm sure he's very sorry then." They shook hands. "Tell Holly to expect an owl and to be more forthcoming than 'I'm here and the school is chilly', all right?"
"I will. We just put in a new heating system. The school was downright freezing last year."
"Did you visit your consort often?" Sylvia asked.
Xander nodded, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Very often and Slytherin got very tired of us whenever I was around," he assured her. She swatted at him. "What? My consort's a beautiful boy." He pulled out his wallet to show her. "That's Draco and Dawn. Ron and Harry are hiding behind them." She watched as Ron peeked around in the picture and waved. "You too, Harry." Harry looked over Dawn's shoulder and grinned, then hid again. "That's my crew. The new little sister, two apprentices and my consort." He took the picture back and showed it to his brother.
"You married a Malfoy?"
"Yeah. I started Right of Reparation against Lucius for stealing Harry and the Weasleys. He's the last in my line. Lucius committed suicide instead of facing me." He put the picture away and gave his sister-in-law a hug. "You come over this summer if we're all still standing. Dawn will want to meet the straighter side of the family."
"I'm sure we'll enjoy it," Justinius said, letting him out the front door. He watched as his younger brother remade his portkey and headed off again. Then he slammed the door and looked at his wife. "You thought I was overreacting?"
"Well, yes," she admitted, giving him a hug, "but it seems like everything is going fine so far. Alex seems to have everything under control for the moment."
"That boy is a menace and he's involving our family in the war." She gave him a gentle kiss. "Don't try to calm me down."
"You know Des, dear, she probably jumped in and sounded a battle cry. That whole side of the family is like that. I'm sure Alex had a lot of fun fighting on the Hellmouth." He looked down at her, giving her the most incredulous look. "He probably did even if his life was in danger. You remember how he used to be."
"That's why he took up curse breaking, because the danger was enough to satisfy him," Justinius agreed, calming down. "Des probably did initiate all that mess over there. I'm glad our daughters don't have to deal with that."
"Beside Holly and I do so want to hear from her. She's barely mentioned this man at all."
He gave her a gentle pat to the back. "I'm sure he'll treat her fine or I'm sure he'll die for it," he promised her, going back into his study to figure out where everyone was and who would be in the most trouble. Alex only ever brought him bad news since they didn't like each other. This had the possibility of being horrible. His younger sister walked in and he waved her over, letting her help him.
"Was that the Amazing Dickman?"
"Yes, it was Alex," he said patiently.
"Did he bring his toy as well as bad news?"
"No, he only showed us a picture of Mr. Malfoy. He seemed to smile a lot more than I thought his father had been capable of." He pointed at a branch on the family tree. "What about them? The Yanks now know about magic being real."
"He's a stage magician, he's probably camouflaged. He's not one of the better ones anyway." She pointed at another branch. "What about Sylvia's side? They're wandless."
"I'm sure they can hide," he promised. "She'll have warned them anyway." He looked at her. "Have you ever met Ethan Rayne?"
"Oh, yes, I have," she said dryly. "Alex brought him back to house to help him with his 'crew'," she said, doing the finger quotes. "His apprentices, his toy, and the thing he adopted as one of us."
"Thing?" Justinius asked, starting to frown. "She's the sister of a Slayer."
"Who's now a vampire." She pulled a chair over and sat down. "Dawn is a construct. She's the bloody Key, Justinius. They gave her to her sister for safe keeping and made her precious to Alex while he was over there. Hence the family growing by one magical creature and a Weasley."
Justinius considered it. "Well, her usable energy is locked up for another millennium. I suppose, as long as she's settled in, that she'll be fine with them. They will protect her from anything short of marriage with the Weasley son." He shrugged. "I'm sure she fits in over there very well. Do you know if she plays sports?"
"She joined her house team this year according to the gossip. She's a keeper and will play against her boyfriend next month."
"Ah." He smiled. "Excellent news. I'm sure he knows and can put up with her vagaries." He shrugged. "She's not really a sister to us."
"Everyone over there seems to think she is."
"That's why you're staying over here, Mel. You know you're one of the few reasonable ones in the family." She nodded. "Has Father said anything recently?"
"I think he and mom are having a few moments. I've seen her around a few times. Either that or she's planning with Grandma Des about how to make more Dumasses from Alex's side of the family."
"Interesting," he agreed. "How, since he's with a man?"
"She was talking sperm relocation." She shifted uncomfortably. "I don't care as long as I don't have to listen to the heathenish creatures squall."
"You'll always have a place over here, Mel," he said calmly. "You won't have to associate at all. You can even change your name to that of my new one so you don't get any backlash from what Des has done. That way you can find a decent spouse and settle down a bit more comfortably."
She shrugged. "I haven't met any prospects that I think are suitable."
"I can fix that problem," he assured her. "We'll have a small party to welcome back the grandchildren." He smiled at her. "Help Sylvia find you something appropriate." She nodded and went to do so while he wrote out letters to his relatives. This once he would send them via floo.
Xander walked into the school and ran into his niece, who was lurking in wait for him. "Your parents are fine, still pissed that I'm still in existence," he told her, giving her a smile. "They all but said I'm a bad influence because you don't write detailed notes and you haven't mentioned Sev yet. I was told to threaten you," he said as she walked him up to the Headmaster's office. "Your mother gave me a look like I was pond scum, like usual. Justinius had that whole 'no touching in a friendly manner' thing going again. Mel was in the house somewhere because I could hear her throwing a fit with a house elf for breaking something of hers." They came to the Headmaster's portal. "Other than that, it went well enough. They were socially polite. I showed a picture of Draco and bragged on all my kids. Mel has probably told him about Dawn by now so it's probably safe to include her in the letter. Be sure not to mention me or they'll send a Howler back," he reminded her dryly. "Any other questions?"
"Is the house still standing?"
"I didn't touch the house," he promised.
"I meant ours. You sent Draco to tell Des?"
"It was that or send you to tell your father. He expects bad news from me, it's all I ever tell him since he hates to look at me." He grinned again. "I think he's jealous and needs the stick removed from his asshole but that's just me." He looked at the statue. "Creeping Twizzlers." It spun open. "Want to walk me up?"
"No, I'd better write them a letter. They didn't like my one on how cold it was?"
"They said, and I quote, 'I'm here and the school is chilly', unquote, was not very descriptive or informative." He gave her a pat on the arm. "Try harder, I'm sure you can get it shorter." He walked up the stairs, heading in to report. "Justinius is telling his family," he reported.
"Good," Dumbledore agreed, smiling at him. "Destina said that it was fine that you volunteered the family's help this time. You had always been like this. At least there were only five to seven this time and not twenty-six."
"Will she ever let me live that down?" Xander complained. "They were our neighbors, we should have helped them. Even if the house was full."
Dumbledore snorted. "I'm sure you enjoyed the chaos. Speaking of, when are they due in?"
"By tonight," Xander told him. "Nick can get to the house one way or another." Dumbledore nodded. "I'm taking the kids out this weekend to see their family."
"That's fine, try to keep Miss Lovegood in this time frame if you could. Her father seems to think she's getting a bit...wild."
"Luna? Leather girl?" He snorted. "Then he'd really have a cow if he knew what she had done already before meeting me." He waved. "I'm going to take a nap. Justinius is nap-inducing on the best of days." He went back to their room, going to lay down until lunch. His brother really was boring. It was like he sucked the air along with the fun out of everything. "I'm sure Mel will be very happy with him," he told himself. "They're the same sort and he'll force her to behave like a lady." He took off his shoes and laid down on the bed, robe and all, quickly falling asleep. This was the best part of his day. It didn't matter how badly he did in anything so he could skip with impunity. And he usually did skip history. And sometimes Herbology if he slept for too long.
Nick landed and pulled out his phone, dialing the muggle number Xander had given him for the house. "Des, it's me, Nick. We've landed. We'll have to check in with London and then we'll be up. We'll probably overnight it on the Knight Bus." He smiled. "No, I'm not sure if portkey will work on Kat. She's got some nature but she's given it up." He laughed. "I didn't know you could set a portkey that way." She gave him instructions. "Sure. I'll send her first. She's fourteen, about Dawn's height, has light brown hair. Got it. Thanks, Des." He hung up. "Through Customs, folks, then we'll head to the house." He herded everyone that way, confident because he had done this so many times in the past.
Kat looked at him. "What's a portkey?" she asked quietly.
"Means of transportation," he whispered back. "You'll like it, it's like an 'E' ticket ride." She giggled. Her turn was next so he let her go through, watching as she handled it like a pro. Then it was his turn and he cleared quickly as well. They walked into the terminal to find a Legacy Guardian chatting up Tara while he waited. "I see you've met everyone else." He looked around. "Ethan?"
"Said he needed something," Tara told him. "He said he'd catch up to us by the time we made it there."
"He can probably do that," Nick agreed. He looked at the Guardian, the enforcers of the Legacy. "London House?"
"Just for quick talk and then you can go to your lodgings," he said with a smile. "We've got more coming from New York in the morning so Mr. Sloan took you up on your generous offer to stay with your friend."
"Is he a nice guy?" Kat asked as she walked beside Tara with Wesley protectively behind her. Not even her mother could say anything about their protective natures. They made very good bodyguards.
"He's kinda an odd person but I think you'll like Xander," Nick told her.
"We're staying with Xander?" Wesley asked.
Nick grinned back at him. "Definitely. Plus, he said he'd bring Dawn and Luna up this weekend. Luna's apparently buying something to make Ethan quit smirking."
"That girl is going to drive me insane yet," Wesley muttered as he continued to walk. That private jet had been nice and he had gotten a short nap, but he was still fairly tired. "How long do you think this will take? I'd like to finish my nap sometime soon."
"Sloan shouldn't take more than an hour and I'll gladly send you via rapid transport," Nick promised as they exited the airport. Ethan was waiting on them. "That was quick."
"I only had to check to make sure that my emergency arrangements were going smoothly." He smiled at Kat, who gave him a 'get real' look. "Are you excited to be visiting a real wizard?" he asked quietly once they were in the minivan.
"Wizard?" she asked. Ethan nodded. "Nick, is he pulling my leg?"
"No, kiddo, that's only part of what makes Xander strange."
Tara patted her gently on the arm. "I've known Xander now for a while. He's a good friend and very protective. His whole family is great and they're very nice to us."
"Maybe the pranksters will be around as well," Wesley said dryly. "I'm sure that will liven up our lives for the next few days."
"Don't worry, Wes, you can take a long nap and settle in," Tara promised. "You can even have the time to acclimate yourself before Xander comes up this weekend." He gave her a grateful smile. She turned her head to look at Ethan. "Luna wanted me opinion of leather for her. Fair warning."
Ethan looked gobsmacked. "Innocent little Luna? My student Luna? In leather?"
Tara and Wesley both snorted and laughed. "Innocent?" Wesley asked. "The girl tied me up and used the rope to put a bridle on me, including a rope bit. She is no more innocent than Spike is!"
"She's innocent compared to me," Ethan snapped. He glared at his boyfriend. "We should encourage her to find something less tantalizing. She is rather young for leather activities."
"I think she was talking more a leather bustier, not a sling," Tara said patiently. "Though, you never know what's going on in Luna's mind." Wesley nodded. They had learned that lesson very well. Buffy and she had become *great* friends during their stint back in history.
"Is this Luna person living at the house?"
"No, she's friend of the family's," Tara told her. "She hunted and stalked Wes and Ethan until they had to give in." She grinned. "Another odd, yet very likeable person."
"My mother probably wouldn't approve," Kat said carefully.
"Kat, honey, your mother doesn't believe in magic even when I did stuff in front of her," Nick offered. "She's a little too straight to be in this battle."
"If you say so." She frowned and looked at him. "You know magic? Since when?"
Nick pulled his wand and created a small flower in her hair. "Since I came to school over here for it," he said smugly. "I came over with Philip. That's where I met him, during our sorting. He was the nervous and shy kid next to me in line. Kept muttering to himself about Church this and that."
"Xander said you were an import," Wesley noted.
"The American school I was supposed to go to sorta imploded under politics and stupid power plays. So a few of us came over here as exchange students. I came in with Greg and Blair. We were in Harry's dad's year."
"Wow," Tara said. "Small community."
"Very," Nick agreed. He looked out the front window. "Traffic at this time of night?"
"Sorry, sir, it's nearly the weekend." He pulled the minivan into another lane and took an exit, deciding the back roads would be quicker. These people were odd and the Legacy trusted them? He'd have to watch them so they wouldn't be able to warp the young lady. Her mother had called over to make sure she'd be safe. "Are you sure the young lady should be going with you?"
"Xander recently adopted a friend's little sister and she's Kat's age," Tara told her. "She'll be fine. We're in a big house and she'll have plenty of opportunity to do her homework in the library."
"The house as a library?" Kat asked. "Like the one on Angel Island, Nick?"
"They named an island after Angel, I'm impressed," Ethan quipped. Tara reached over and batted him. "Ow! Shrew."
"I'll tell Luna on you."
"Tell Angel on him, he'd lock him in the weapons cabinet again," Wesley suggested. "He never would have gotten out the last time if we hadn't had that blasted attack."
"Who's Angel?" Kat asked.
"That's one of those *long* stories," Nick told her. "Let's just say he's the one who proves that the dark can repent and pay for their sins."
"Oh." She grimaced. "Was he an assassin or something?"
"No, sweetie, he was a vampire," Tara told her. She looked stunned. "He still is, but now he's been cursed with a soul and told to repent or stay like that forever. He's the most brooding person on the face of the earth but he's a very generous soul most of the time. He took my group in after the Hell God tried to kill us all." Kat blinked a few times. "Like he said, a long story."
The Legacy Guardian stopped the car and looked at her. "You work with Angelus?"
She nodded. "He's running a PI firm in LA. He helps the hopeless. He's a Champion for the Powers."
"Oh, dear Lord, now I know you're going to warp the young lady."
"I'll make sure Philip comes to straighten her out," Nick promised. "Drive or I will. Wes will only get crankier." The Guardian looked at him so Nick slugged him, knocking him out. "Okay. Ethan, put him into the trunk area. I'll drive. Kat, if you want you can come up here and let them stretch out and I'll tell you everything you're going to be seeing, including about the talking paintings."
She moved up once the man was in the back, looking at him like he was insane. "Are you feeling all right?"
"Sure, kiddo, never better. But your mother probably wouldn't agree to this if she knew," he said with a wink. "It's really the safest place on earth outside of the school I went to." He restarted the car and they were off, heading for the London house. The map feature on the minivan told him where he was going so he wouldn't get lost.
William Sloan met them at the door, watching as his man was floated in by Tara's lifted hand and magic. "Hello," he said, smiling at them. "Did he hurt himself?"
"He was thinking too hard," Nick said dryly. "Tell Kat to trust me that Alex is a nice guy."
"He's a very nice, if a bit strange, fellow. You'll like his house," he promised her. "And if you don't, you can call us and we'll come pick you up." He smiled at everyone else. "Give me a few minutes with Mr. Boyle and we'll send you on your way again."
"I'm making a portkey," Nick said as he followed William to the office. He handed over Derek's faxed letter. "We got this on the plane."
William opened it and nodded. "The person who had the proof seems to have had an auto accident. We believe he may have went higher up the chain and we can't really kill that one." He handed it over. "Are you sure you want to stay with the Dumasses? It will be quite a shock for Kat."
"She'll be fine, I'll get Philip to come down." He read the letter, then chuckled. "I'm sure the President won't touch us but it is better to be safe than sorry." He handed it back. "Need anything else? Wes needs a nap."
"No, that's fine. Have Katherine call us in two days so we can check on her for her mother. She requested that we look out for her daughter when she personally called. Derek was amused at her breaking into his office to do so." He smiled as Nick walked out, then shook his head and groaned. "Poor Kat," he hissed. "She'll be shocked for days."
Nick walked back into the lobby and pulled out their plane tickets, turning them each into a portkey, making the last one special for Kat. "Okay, hold onto that," he said, handing it to her. "You'll go first. It's a long trip but you should be fine," he promised. "Tara's coming right after you and then Ethan and Wes before me." She nodded, taking hold of it tightly. She squeaked as the portkey took off. "Good, it worked." He handed out the rest, watching as they flew off, then he made his own because he was too tired to apparate. He landed in a field. "This is not where we're supposed to be," he announced. He laughed bitterly when he saw who was staring at him. "Oh, hey, it's the *bad* guy," he said fondly, pointing. "Look, Tara, it's the bad guy!"
Ethan and Tara looked at him and shook their heads. "Spike's worse," she told him.
"Nothing at all compared to Glory," Ethan agreed.
The cloaked figure laughed. "Really? And how would you know, you puny excuse for a chaos person."
Tara held up a hand. "I'm Tara, I'm from Sunnydale. Part of Buffy's crew." The cloaked figure took a step back, his snake nostrils flaring. "She tried to scramble my brains. That's what's wrong with me."
Wesley cleared his throat. "I thought it was all that fighting you did with Willow."
"True," Tara admitted. She looked at Kat, who was curled protectively against Wes' side. "I really wish I had a Bane marking at the moment."
Nick shook his head. "Oh, yeah." He touched his. "Sorry, kinda sleepy. It's the middle of the night at home." He sent out a 'come help us' message. Within two minutes, a very pissed off Blair and Philip appeared behind them, followed by Xander, Methos, and MacLeod, then followed by Harry and Ron. "Hi, guys, he hijacked our portkeys."
"Then he's fucked," Xander said bitterly. He looked at Philip and Blair. "What's wrong with you two?"
"We were learning a new language," Blair told him. "He interrupted our studies."
"Eww," Nick said, backing out of their way.
Blair pulled his wand. "Ennervate!" he shouted, casting it at the idiot, making him jump and flail. "Do you know what sort of mood you put me into?" he demanded.
"You took me away from the only pleasure I've had in eighteen years," Philip told him, pulling his own wand. "You have no idea what sort of pent-up frustration I hold." He pointed his wand at the few Death Eaters who hadn't been smart enough to apparate away when they had shown up. "Distendus Intestines." They all groaned and held their guts as they swelled and kept swelling.
Harry walked around Xander's protective shield, looking at his opponent. "Gee, it is him, Ron. Look, I told you he was more snake than human anymore." Ron joined him, side-by-side as always. "Think we should end his misery?"
"I'm not in misery," Voldemort hissed. "I am in glorious contentment!"
"You've got to be miserable if you look like that," Ron told him. "I'd kill myself if I woke up like that some morning. And you did that on purpose?" He looked at Harry. "We knew he was mental, but you never said he was that far gone 'round the bend."
Harry shrugged. "I don't get that much of him in my head," he admitted. "I thought he was only loony and homicidal because he was a mudblood himself."
"Take that back!" he shouted, pulling his wand. Harry already had his in his hand and Voldemort found himself retching into the grass as Harry's curse hit him. "Can't you do better than that!" he sneered between heaves.
"Sure I can," Harry agreed. "I'm just playing right now. Taking it back for all your victims, Tommy." He smiled sweetly. "How am I doing? Did you taint me enough to be in fear of me yet?" Voldemort roared as he stood up.
"Crucio!" a voice behind them said, making the Dark Lord duck and apparate away. "I've had enough of this. Potter, next time take a fucking nap!" Methos said angrily. Harry gave him a sheepish look. "Home, now," he ordered. "Every last one of you." MacLeod coughed. "And someone take him too, he grabbed on when I came." He went on muttering about people who played with their victims. What sort of fair play was that?
Kat looked up as they landed in front of a big house. "We're supposed to be here, right?" she asked Philip. He smiled and nodded. "Are they sane?"
"That was the Dark Lord, Kat, he kills my kind because he's one of us."
"Think of it as a hate crime that keeps spreading," Nick told her. "She was worried that Xander was odd." He patted Harry and Ron both. "Nice work, guys. You had me believing that you had snapped."
Ron grinned. "Thanks. I figured it irritates my older brothers, why not him?" He led the way inside. "Des, we're home," he called.
She came out of the library. "All of you?"
"No, some of us were in the library," Blair admitted, giving her a hug. "We're the escort crew. Nick's portkey got hijacked."
"Well, shit," she said angrily. "Boyle!"
"Wasn't me! I made it for the kitchen."
"Fine. Inside, now," she ordered. "The rest of you fly off somewhere else." They all disappeared, except Methos and MacLeod. "And you are?" she asked him.
"This is a Scottish hero. Introduce him to McGonagall," Xander offered. Methos broke down in unmanly giggles, shaking his head at that idea. He looked at his grandmother. "I checked the portkeys, he did make them all for the kitchen but it was hijacked. That means I'm going to need the Ancient Dark Arts notebooks I made. Do you know where you shelved them?"
"In your study, just under your school books," she told him. He blew a kiss and went that way. "Dawn called, she was worried about you."
"I'll see her in a mo," Xander called, coming out with a small stack of journals. "Harry, Ron, come on, we'll go back to my room." They nodded and followed him. "Tara, we'll be back Sunday. Tie Wes and Ethan up for Luna."
"Sure thing," she called after him. She waited until everyone else had cleared out. "That was Xander," she told Kat. "He fought beside the Slayer in Sunnydale. He's another *long* story begging for popcorn while it's being told."
"And a few hankies," Des pointed out. "Welcome to our home. If you'll wait in the study across the hall," she told MacLeod. "I'll have Methos come deal with you." She walked everyone up to their rooms. "Okay, this is your room, Katherine. The little things with big ears are house elves. Ask them if you need anything, even a snack or some laundry done, got it?" She nodded, looking like she was trying to be brave. "It's not normally like that. We're at war with that creature you saw earlier. Never doubt he's evil and wrong. We'll show you around tomorrow, let you see all the safe places you can hide just in case. All right?" She nodded. "Good girl. Come see me tomorrow and I'll let you call your mum." Kat walked into her room and shut the door. "Tara, take Ron and Harry's room. Ethan, Wesley, take Dawn's room for now. We'll get you three sorted into more permanent rooms tomorrow. Philip should be back tonight so if you hear someone muttering it's him walking in his sleep again." They nodded and she went to chew Methos a new one, finding him muttering about Ron and Harry's mental problems. "They did what?"
"They decided to make fun of the arse," he told her. She rolled her eyes. "Ron told him he should commit suicide because he was so ugly. Harry pointed out that he hadn't know how far 'round the bend the thing was because he only heard him occasionally. Asked him if he was tainted enough for him." He crossed his arms. "Those two are going to give me an ulcer."
"Then swat them. I'm sure Ron's used to it and Harry's still a fragile thing so be careful with him," she instructed. "Now take your muggle and do something with him. Preferably something like feeding him to the giant squid. The man broadcasts morbidity worse than Angel does." She walked away, going to stomp around in the kitchen so she wouldn't disturb anyone. "Boys," she said in disgust. "All of them should be chained up and trained for obedience."
Methos walked into the Dark Arts study and found MacLeod enthralled by a painting. "Oh, quit," he said in disgust. He pulled him away, sending them both through the floo to the Leaky, where he personally locked MacLeod in and told Tom to keep him up there. Then he went to yell at Harry and Ron, and found Xander doing it for him.
"You two do not make fun of snake-face until you're ready to face him. You're not yet. You need at least another month of serious training before you're fully ready to take him on. He's not Draco, he won't stop when he's tired." They nodded, giving him patient 'I'm listening, not' looks. "For that, you two now have extra study time with me. He's using ancient magic if he could hijack portkeys that way." They nodded, still looking patient. "Go to bed and see me tomorrow after classes and practice." They headed off, chatting about their tactics. Xander looked at Methos. "Was I like that?"
Methos nodded, smirking at him. "If not a bit worse," he agreed, giving him a pat as he walked past him. "I've got to tell on Mac, you go cuddle."
"Fine," Xander sighed, heading up to find his mate. He found the Hufflepuffs had kidnaped him and was forcing him to give his opinion on their causal outfits. "Eww," Xander told one boy. "That is sickeningly bright and glaring. Change, now," he ordered, pointing up the stairs."
"But the magazine said it was fashionable," he whined.
"Yes, but only if the colors look good on you," Xander told him. "That doesn't. It makes you look like someone plugged you into a light." He cleared his throat. "The magazines are to give you an *idea* of what to wear, do not take it as a bible. Most of you are not size two and over six feet tall like the models." The girls groaned. "Nor do we want you to do that to yourself because then you get sick and die. Supermodels are called super because they survived this long. You pick clothes that suit your figure and your coloring. And only three people in this tower can wear pink and get away with it," he told the horde of pink-clad girls. "No matter what Chanel says." They pouted but went up to try on something else.
Draco looked at him. "Bad night?" he asked.
"Very. Ron and Harry decided to play 'taunt the Dark Lord' over his snakeness." He sat down with a groan. "They drove him to attack them but nothing further." He stole a kiss. "I left journals in Prof's classroom. We'll need to look at them after practice tomorrow. He's using ancient magic now if he's hijacking portkeys."
"Okay," Draco agreed. "Why did you leave them down there?"
"Because I put them down to yell at Harry and Ron." He reached over and rang the house elf bell. One appeared, smiling brightly at him. "I left a small stack of journals in the defense classroom and I'm *really* tired. Would you please get them for me?"
"Wants food too? Dobby gets food. Harry Potter likes you and he hungry too."
"Sure," Xander agreed, giving him a smile and a quick scratch behind the ears. "Thanks, Dobby. You're an excellent house elf."
Draco waited until he was gone to snort. "Potter freed him from my father."
"Good for him," Xander agreed. "Why does my house have seven house elves in a three house-elf home?"
"The rest were ones Mother didn't want," Draco told him. "We could bring one up here."
"Dumbledore would kill us," Xander reminded him. "I want to live through the holidays. Maybe we should send one to Cordy. She hates to clean."
Draco snickered. "I can just see Angel's reaction. He didn't come upstairs most of the time he was at the house. I'm sure he'd scream like a little girl."
"Probably," Xander agreed, grinning at that thought. "What an excellent idea. Maybe a house elf strip-o-gram?" Draco burst out in giggles, and they only got worse when Dobby came back with the journals, minus one, and a tray for them. "Thank you, Dobby. Was one missing?" The house elf nodded. "That's cool. I'm sure it'll turn up," he said, smiling at it. "Thank you."
"You's welcome. Yous call Dobby again if yous need anything." He disappeared.
Xander looked over at a painting with people in it. "Can you please tell the Headmaster I'll need that journal back by tomorrow?" It nodded and hurried off. "Thank you," he called after it. He shared the snack with Draco while they approved of outfits. Some of the kids had very good taste. The rest they were gentle with.
Angel looked up as Spike chuckled, walking out to see what was making him so happy. Usually only a good fight with a lot of bloodshed made him laugh like that. He found him staring at a little creature wearing a ribbon across it's chest, like it was in a beauty pageant. "What are you?" he asked.
"Present," she said, holding out the card. "For yous a present, for Missus Cordy a housekeeper," she said proudly. This was her last job doing this then she could be a proper house elf. She started to hum 'happy birthday' as she took off her clothes.
Spike continued to laugh, dodging Angel's clutching hands. "She's a right cute one, huh," he said, grinning meanly at him. "House elves are very popular in our world."
Angel sat down and started to cry. "Why does Harris do this to me?" he said in misery.
Fred came down the stairs. "Ooh, a house elf," she squealed, coming down to hug it. "You are so cool!" she told it. "You are the coolest creature in the whole magical world!"
Gunn peeked his head down the stairs. "What is that and why is Angel crying."
"Xander sent her," Spike said with a bright grin. "She has to finish her strip-o-gram or she can't go free to be our housekeeper." Angel looked horrified.
"Oh, you poor thing," Fred told her. "I was a slave once, I know how bad it can be. You just finish it up and Angel will hold still and watch, then we'll give you whatever sort of clothes you want and take you on as our housekeeper." The house elf nodded and went back to her last job.
Angel just sat there, broken now. This was too much for him.
Cordy came in with Buffy, large bags in hand. "Here, Angel, I liberated your card again," she told him.
"Keep it," he said, looking at her. "Xander sent us a present," he said, pointing at her. He looked at her. "Done?" She nodded. "What do you need?"
"Clothing," she said. "Then Sweetums can be the housekeeper like a real elf."
Buffy took off her tank top and handed it over. "Here, you look cold," she told her.
"Housekeeper?" Cordy asked. "Can you cook?" The house elf nodded. "Then I'm all for it. How much is your salary?"
Sweetums looked upset. "Sweetums no get paid. House elfs do jobs for masters, live long and make happy."
"Oh, dear," Fred said. "You're still a slave."
"They like it," Spike told her. He nodded at the house elf. "Tell her what happens if we free you."
"Sweetums have to go back to bad place," she told Fred. "Sweetums like housekeeper, be like a real house elf. Please don't free Sweetums?"
"Oh, you poor thing," Cordy said, giving her a hug. "Of course we won't free you unless you want to be freed. I'd never let someone go to that horrible spot again," she said looking at Fred.
"I guess it's okay since she wants it and all. Maybe we can find her a paying job," Fred told her. "Recondition her away from the slavery mindset."
Buffy looked at her. "The ones in Xander's house seem to be happy doing all the little things that humans don't like to do. I asked one and she said that's why house elfs are." She waved at the house elf. "Do you mind vampires? We won't eat you or anything so you're safe."
"Sweetums not mind as long as Sweetums not eaten," she promised. "Sweetums stay?"
"Yup, you sure are," Cordelia told her. "And right now, some of us could use a snack." The house elf wiggled until she was put down and hurried in to make them a grand dinner. She was proud of her new job. Cordelia looked at Fred. "We'll work on her," she said quietly.
"Thanks," Fred agreed. "They seem so much happier than I did."
"That's because they were made to do that," Spike told her. "Bred down or whatever." He smirked down at Angel. "Didn't like your birthday prezzie?"
"I will stake you," Angel warned. Spike took off running. He stood up, looking at his women. "Fix her," he told them. "I'm considering her a case."
"Sure," Cordelia agreed, nodding. "We'll do it as often as possible, as long as it doesn't make her cry."
"Good." He went to punish Spike for his sense of humor. Some days, he missed Ethan's dry and bitter wit. He really did.
Cordelia looked in the kitchen. "Give us a list and we'll get you whatever groceries you need," she promised.
"Sweetums have list later," she promised.
"Do you have another name?" Fred asked, coming in to watch her. She was very efficient.
"Masters picks Sweetums name," she told him. "Sweetums not care."
"How about... Morgan?" Cordelia asked. "After the little horse that's so strong?" The house elf smiled and nodded, her ears flapping. "Good. I'm going upstairs to put things up. Yell whenever the food is ready." She hurried up to put her new clothes away. This job was worse on the clothes than patrolling in Sunnydale had been.
Buffy came in to watch the house elf work. Cooking mystified her but it was fun to watch. That's why she watched the cooking channel whenever she was bored.