Meetings, Greetings, and Asskickings.
Ron walked Dawn back into Diagon since that's where most of the other students were and she wanted to see if she could find Luna or Ginny today. They paused outside the twin's store, both of them shaking their heads at the banner that proudly proclaimed 'Our wife is pregnant so we're having a sale to clear room for her to create during mood swings'. "Poor Harry. When they get hold of him, he's going to wish he had rephrased that." Dawn chuckled and dragged him in there to pounce Luna. "Hey, Luna," Ron said patiently.
"Morning, Ron. You look phat."
"Thanks, babe. Many, many beaches gave me this glow." He patted Dawn on the back and went to check in with his brothers, and his mother since she was helping. "How many times has Harry apologized?" he asked his mother.
"Twice now, once in print." She kissed him on the cheek. "You look fit, dear."
"Thanks, I tried all summer to relax but work kept popping up." She gave him a look. "Alex promised us a vacation to recover from school and to finish learning all the neat stuff he knows." He ducked a flying plate, going back to stop Tipsy's fit. "Hey, now, that's no way to treat me when I show up with my girl and actually clothed this time," he said with a grin and a hug for her. She gave him a shove but he didn't mind. "You might ask Bill if there's a way for them to carry the little future people."
"He said I'd have to ask Alex, that would be dark magic and he doesn't like to deal with it," she said bitterly. "Then Snape sent me a basket of potions for hemorrhoids." She sniffled. "He's a mean git, Ron." He let her cry on his shoulder, patting her on the back. "Go make fun of him!"
"I will," Ron promised. "I'll even get Draco in on it, love. You just relax and rest. You shouldn't have to be so upset at the moment. Not until the two who're already born start to wander." He got her settled into a chair with her feet up and a drink in her hand, plus a few books and a clean notebook beside her. "There, how's that?" he asked with a fatherly grin.
"Can I have the soft blankie too?"
"Sure, love." He got it for her and she curled up to read for a while. "Where are your idiots?"
"In the lab and out front. They're stocking while your mum runs the registers."
"That's fine then." He gave her a kiss on the top of the head then went to find the twins. "I got her settled down and in the comfy chair with a blanket, a drink, and a few good books, plus a notebook," he said quietly.
"Thanks, Ron. I didn't know what to do about that!"
"Easy, now you prank Snape since he's the one who sent the hemorrhoid potions." Molly snorted. "A whole basket of them."
"With a card that said since we were going to be giving him more pains in the ass soon, that we should at least be able to cure hers," the other twin said as he joined them. "It didn't sound a thing like him."
"Possibly, or McGonagall," Ron said thoughtfully, looking at his mother. "Or possibly Draco." He shrugged. "Trace it back somehow and make her laugh with them." He patted them on the back. "Where's Luna and my girl now?"
"Ice cream shop," Molly said. She kissed him on the forehead. "You behave, Ron. I want to hear from you more often than I do Bill."
"This year we'll be at the house on and off," he reminded her gently, getting free to jump his girlfriend. They were easily found and he pounced her with a big grin. "Someone was really tasteless. They sent her a whole basket of hemorrhoid cream in Snape's name."
"That does bite," Dawn agreed. Luna grinned at them. "She's got good news."
"Ethan ate the person above him to move up the hierarchy?"
"No, Wesley's back over here to stay," she sighed happily. "Ethan made sure of it." She squealed when she saw one of her friends, going over to hug her and chatter with her for a few minutes, the girl's mother looking a bit worried by the strange language coming out of her daughter's mouth. Then Luna came back to Dawn's side and waved Ginny over. "You can go, Ron," she said, making a shooing motion. "I'm sure you've got tombs to break into."
"No, we're getting the year off," Ron said with a bright grin. "We're on our way to Paris at the moment to bug the Prof."
"Is he coming back?" Dawn asked. "He was kinda interesting anytime after ten in the morning."
"I hope so. You'd hate to have another Lockhart," Ron said bitterly. "Let me run on. Mum was in the twin's store, Ginny."
"Thanks, Ron." He waved and disappeared. "Captain Obvious today, isn't he?" Dawn snorted and nodded, sipping her milkshake. "Anything good happening when we get back?"
"The usual Hufflepuff party," Dawn offered.
Luna shrugged. "Not as far as I know in my tower, but then again we are Ravenclaws."
Ginny laughed, patting her on the back. "That's fine, we're not doing much either. Maybe we should crash the Hufflepuff party?"
"Depends, Ginny, do you really want to work with unicorns?"
"Oh." She blushed. "Never mind then. Have you gotten a treat package yet?"
"I have," she said proudly. "Greg helped make me one with Cassandra's help. She is so adorable! Also, Emilia's having twins too," she squealed. "He's walking around after her to hold her stomach all the time."
The other girls laughed, shaking their heads. Men!
Ron landed outside the house, tapping gently on the door. Alex opened the door, putting a finger on his lips. Ron nodded, walking inside. He whispered the basket thing in his boss' ear, then went to help the crying person he could hear. It turned out to be the professor. "What's wrong?" he cooed, sitting next to him. "You won't have me or Draco next year at all. Just Ginny, Luna, and Dawnie." Methos glared at him. "Not the issue?"
"No, it's relief. You're not coming back," he said happily. "Gotcha."
Ron hit him on the shoulder. "Prat," he said fondly. "Someone sent Tipsy a basket full of hemorrhoid creams with a note supposedly from Snape." Methos winced. "Yeah, so I just got to soothe her too." He got comfortable, putting an arm behind the teacher's shoulder. "So, we're here for a few days. What should we see?" he asked with a grin.
"We were going to stay at a hotel," Alex assured him.
"You'd better with the way you draw things to you. Hasn't Narcissa stopped crying yet?" Xander shook his head. "Blast. Woman, he's not that grown up yet," he called. "If you don't quit, I'll make you cook and poison them."
"I've already given them the common poison inoculations," Xander said dryly. "After living with Bill's cooking, it was something I took each and every year, plus the six boosters for the odder poisons. They're getting those soon, as long as Draco isn't affected by them." He came in to sit down. "You should have seen your face, Ron."
"Hey, I just soothed Tipsy," he pointed out. He heard a pop and looked around. "Who was that?"
"It was me," Snape said as he walked in. "It was not me who sent the basket."
"That's not a problem, find out who did before they all get you," Xander advised with a grin. "Come on in, we're visiting today."
"Of course you are." He sat down across from Methos. "The Headmaster wanted to make sure you were coming back since he hasn't heard from you yet?"
"I sent the letter yesterday. Give some time for the owls to fly." He rolled his eyes. "Do you realize we don't have to teach Draco, Ron, Harry, or Alex another thing?"
Snape nodded. "Yes, it gave me good dreams all summer long." Ron snickered. "Though I haven't had to see you in years." He looked at Alex. "Have you been having a good vacation?"
"Sure, in between the crises and the emergencies." Snape grimaced. "Ask Draco, he's been keeping a catalog of them all."
"I'm sure he has. Have you had to buy him more jewelry recently?"
"Buy?" Alex snickered. "We went back to look over Sunnydale for two days and found a few stashes that had still been hidden. He's got another trunk with his share in it that he's got to decide what to do with."
"I liked mine too much," Ron noted. "All the obsidian jewelry is really pretty. I was thinking that collar was going to be Dawn's Christmas present."
"It's a collar of pure obsidian with a single line of white through it, carved whole except a small piece in the back," Alex told him. "It looks like it was carved whole and then that piece was formed by magic so it would have an entrance. It locks back inside the rest of it. Silver tracings at the closures. It's beautiful."
"We'll have to get Dawn a holiday robe that'll suit it," Draco said as he walked in. "My mother said if you try to make her cook she'll scratch your eyes out and watch them grow back a few times." He sat down on his consort's lap. "Professor Snape, a social call?"
"I came to make sure you've made it this long."
"You haven't been in danger the whole time, except for when the spirit of the dog came out to eat Ron."
"No, dear, the pirates wouldn't have killed me at all," Draco said sarcastically.
"They probably would have taken you for a sex slave first," Ron said dryly. "Unlike me."
"That's because you're ugly," Draco assured him. "Whereas I'm beautiful."
"You are," Xander assured him, giving him a kiss. Draco calmed down and went limp against his chest. "Are you going to give your mother those earrings?"
"Thank you for reminding me," Draco agreed, going to find his bag to get them for her. He smiled as he presented them. "They're cursed to keep you alone and lonely for at least a year after you last wore them."
She gave him a strong hug. "Thank you, son. I adore you." She put them on then took them back off to put them into her pocket. "That should help. At the very least, I can wear them in front of the horrible little man. He reminds me of Fudge quite strongly, but he's perfectly muggle and stupid."
"It's all right, mother, I understand. If one was courting me I may have killed him already." He gave her a hug and went back to his consort, sitting in his lap again. "She put them on and took them back off," he reported. "That was a good idea."
"I have many good ideas, like us going to Tibet this month," Xander said, giving him a hug.
"Why would we want to go to Tibet?" Ron asked.
"Because I've been asked to check on a storehouse. It's a long hike in the snow."
"Snow?" Draco asked.
Xander nodded. "Snow." He grinned. "You don't have to come if you don't want to, but it'll take most of a month."
"What is it with you and taking off for the holidays?" Draco asked, starting to pout.
"It'd be the end of this month, Draco. Not near the holidays. Near the holidays I have us planned for the desert because it'll be marginally cooler there." Draco shifted and nodded. "Good enough?" He nodded again. "Good."
"What about the holiday dance?" Ron asked. "I said I'd go if I could."
"If we can get you back there, you can go," Xander assured him.
"Welcome, Ron. You're right, we will have to get her something stunning this year." He considered it. "Bring the necklace to Madam Malkin and tell her it's for Dawnie. Maybe she'll be able to figure something out. She should know Dawn by now."
"Good idea." Ron beamed at him. "Why are we going to the desert?"
"To show you how to break into old and ancient cities," Xander said with a grin. "Not all of it is as easy as Sunnydale."
"I figured that much, but a whole city?"
"Yuppers," Xander said happily. "I've already stuck our claim in and they've approved us since there's so many of us. If Dawnie's free over the holidays she'll be coming with us."
"Cool," Ron breathed.
"No, hot, very, very hot," Methos told him. "With little water." Ron shrugged. "Never mind. You'll have to figure that out for yourself I suppose." He rolled his eyes. "I'm glad I can't remember my own youth."
"There may be potions to help you with that," Snape offered with a smirk. "It's said that the brain's capacity is infinite."
"It would drive me insane," Methos noted. "Or more insane depending on your viewpoint," he added, catching Alex's look at him, then his smirk. "I know how some people would vote."
"Ehh, the same people would probably vote me into the nuthatch too," Xander said with a grin. "But it's so much fun!"
"It is," Methos agreed lightly. "Am I hosting dinner tonight?"
"Well, I was going to show my boys the main branch here in town and have them given the tour if possible. Then we were going to do the stereotypical ugly tourist things for a day, then move on. Non-Roman version of course."
"Of course," Methos agreed. "I doubt you could sack and pillage a town for the pleasure of it just because it's there and not of your people."
"He'd make a good conqueror," Draco defended. "The aurors seem to think so; they want him to work with that little muggle scientist who talks to aliens."
"I can see him going off world and having the universe panic," Snape said dryly. "If they knew him better, I'm sure they'd see it the same way."
"I think it's where they want to make sure we won't be invaded again," Ron offered. "They think he's scary enough to keep everyone away if they think we're all like Tonks and Xander."
"A whole planet full of Tonks and Xanders," Snape mused. Then he shuddered. "How utterly revolting. They'd have to take over other places to make sure that they had supposedly fun things to destroy."
"Tonks did a good job of doing that to the majority of the universe already," Xander said fondly. "Besides, it'd be some pretty funny looking kids. She's always got odd hair." Ron and Draco both snickered and Snape shook his head. "She does!"
"You are certifiable," Draco snickered, patting him on the chest. "Good thing we think you're good enough to have us, otherwise we'd lock you away, take your seed, and create the next generation to live correctly."
"I demand that you send Narcissa out," a reedy, high-pitched voice called from outside. "I'll...I'll challenge you to a duel for her attentions," he called.
"He'll what?" Draco asked, starting to laugh. He got up and opened a window. "You'll what? This isn't the dark ages, you nit."
"I'll challenge whoever for my fairest of fair maidens for she has enchanted my very soul so that I must have her beside me, or else I shall perish. Dying in a duel would be a blessing compared to dying from the heartache."
"Do you want her son, her protector, or just any random male in the house?" Draco asked, smirking at him.
"Any would be fine, though I will not harm her child if she does not demand it of him. I would not harm children."
"Then it's a good thing I'm eighteen," he said dryly, closing the window. "Any other takers?"
"He's a muggle, you can't use your wand," Ron reminded him. He got up and opened the door. "You... nasty, swollen-headed man. What weapon were you proposing?"
"I can fence a bit or I can use dueling pistols. I brought my father's set."
Xander stood up. "My turn?" Everyone waved a hand so he went outside. "Dueling pistols?" The box was opened and shown for his inspection. "Those are ancient. I much prefer revolvers," he said, pulling his. The man squeaked and the box shook, so Xander sighed and picked up one. "It's weighted funny. Are you sure they work?"
"I am," he said fiercely. He took the other. "They are loaded. You may check if you want." Xander peered down the barrel, then shrugged and they went back to back. "On the count of ten paces?"
"Of course. We must observe all the forms," he said dryly. He felt the back move and paced off ten paces out loud, then turned and raised the gun, taking more careful aim than the other guy. His gun exploded but it was internal. "Ow!" He dropped it and the other man pulled out an automatic weapon, so Xander pulled his revolver and shot him in the shoulder, making him howl and fall to his knees. Xander walked over holding his bleeding hand. "That's not very sporting," he said in his native accent. "Putting a lead chunk in there is not how it's done, old man. Hey, Prof, can I borrow a few bandages?"
"Get your bloody ass in here!" Methos yelled, pointing inside. Xander shrugged and walked inside, letting Draco baby him for a bit. Methos glared at the man, making him whimper. Then he decided to let someone more official take care of it. He called the cops. "There's a lunatic up here who's just shot at my house and had one rebound back into his body for the love of a woman who's hiding here because he won't leave her alone," he reported. "Come get his bleeding body off my lawn." He waited while the operator gurgled then hung up. It had been long enough for a trace. Surprisingly enough, it only took the cops five minutes to get up there. "Stupid idiot shot at my house and it rebounded back into him. He was going on and on about love and dying of heartbreak if I didn't surrender my guest, who is hiding from him. Even her son told him to go away and he did not listen. I want him off my lawn before I finish him."
"Fine, sir," one of the officers agreed, handcuffing him to the stretcher once he was on it. "Is the woman here?"
"Narcissa?" She came to the doorway. "They need a statement."
"That odious little man will not leave me alone!" she said, stamping her foot. "He's followed me shopping, eating, having fun, and even into the bathroom twice. I had to run here for protection! I want him gone before I deal with the man myself, and trust me I can and will kill him."
"Mother, remember your blood pressure. You don't want to look flushed," Draco said, coming to lead her away. Then he went back to helping his consort. "Stupid bastard," he muttered as he cleaned the wounds. They looked like little pieces of the weapon had sunk into his skin "Lucky you didn't blow your entire hand off!"
"Yes, Draco," he said softly, staring at him instead of the injury. Draco looked at him and deflated then sighed and kissed him gently. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Next time, let Weasley do the honorable things. I can live without him, not you." He went back to wrapping the marked hand, then took him downstairs to lie on the couch. "Severus, did you bring a healing potion?"
"No, surprisingly I don't bring one around with me all the time," he said dryly. "Is he all right?"
"His hand's got some open spots from where the gun exploded," Draco said quietly, looking outside. "We should go."
"You probably should," Narcissa agreed. "You be safe, son. I had no idea he was so reckless." She kissed him on the cheek. "Protect him better," she demanded, flouncing off.
Xander nodded. "Sure. It's not like I'm not used to doing that for others. Ron?"
"Coming." He came back in and created the portkey back home. He was very good at them, better than Draco since he preferred to apparate. They landed back at Dumass Glen and the house elf screamed. "It's not that bad," he complained. Aunt Cordy ran in, looking worried. "He took on a duel for Narcissa and the dueling pistol had been fixed," he explained. "There's five or six small holes."
"I cleaned it as well as I could," Draco said, starting to feel faint. He hated the sight of blood. He scrubbed at his hands. "I need to clean up," he announced, running for his bathroom.
Ron got out of the way to call Methos on the tattoo wavelength they all used, noting that they had left their bags. That Alex was fine and all right. That they were back at the house. He let his arm go when someone grabbed his ear. "Ow!" He swatted at the hand on his ear, turning to find one of the twins there. "What? I just got back!"
"Our wife is mad at us because we're not as nice as you," the twin said bitterly.
"Not my fault! I'm used to soothing crying women!" He shrugged. "I did it with Hermione when she did, with Dawn when she did. Be nice, sweet, and gentle to her and she'll be fine."
"Or else you're being too nice and sweet and you're pissing her off that way," Dawn suggested. "Burst out in tears in front of her. See if it helps."
"George did! She yelled at us for being upset!"
"Fine," Ron said patiently. He took Fred back to the store, walking through the quiet students standing there. "She's fine. She's pregnant. Ask your mums what that's like." He drug him into the back, frowning at her. "I don't have time for this right now, Love. Xander just got injured taking a duel for Narcissa because the gun had been tampered with and it exploded into his hand. Now, tell me what they're doing wrong so I can teach them." She sniffled. "No, crying doesn't solve anything. Tell me." She burst out into tears and ran off. Fred ran after her and Ron grinned. His plan had worked perfectly. He walked out past George. "She's fine now. Remember last time, brother dearest. We're at Dumass Glen."
"Sure, Ron. Thanks for making her cry."
"Fred ran after her to soothe her. Want me to do this?" George nodded, running back there to help. He looked at the kids and shrugged. "It helped," he offered. The lone parent in the store laughed. "It did. She said they weren't quite as sweet as me. Must be all the frogs I've eaten in my life." The kids all rushed forward, most of them asking for autographs with their purchases. He shared a look with the parent, giving another half shrug at his son's request for an autograph. "If it helps business," he said lightly.
The father laughed. "I'm sure it does. How is your girlfriend?"
"Dawn's good. She was ready to go pounce the person who had hurt Alex and pound them flat, but she's having another girl moment. I think it's in the air today. Or else I just don't understand."
"No man understands a woman," the father said wisely. "I haven't and I've been married for twenty years." He paid for his son's purchases and then they left.
Ron leaned on the counter once the last one was gone, looking behind him as the twin came out. "She okay now?"
"Fine. She agrees, it's in the air."
"Then we've got to fix this. It's horrible. Dawn'll start soon." He stood up and relinquished his spot. "I'm going back to the house. The kids all cleared out like someone called dinner." A girl walked in and squealed, making him grin. "Hello," he said softly. Now he knew why Harry hated the press. He really did. "Welcome to my brothers' store."
"Wow. You're his brother?" she asked George.
George nodded. "We tested nearly everything in the store on him."
She gave him a worshipful look. "Wow. Can I have an autograph, Ron? Please?"
"Sure, little one. What's your name?"
"Emily." She handed over her diary and he signed it, making her simper and coo. "Thank you, Ron. Have a nice year in training."
"We're mostly taking this year off," he said with a wink. "That's why I've got a tan." He waved and disapparated before he could be pounced again. He landed back at Xander's house, on the doorstep, and walked inside. "I have fans," he told Dawn, eyes wide. "They're mobbing the store." She snorted and pouted at him. "What? I know Tipsy's got something wrong with her and it seems to be in the air, but you too? You're not pregnant."
"No, I'm not," she said, stomping her foot. "Meany."
He kissed her on the forehead. "If you do end up that way before you graduate, your sister's going to take it out of my hide, Dawn. Besides, think about dragging a kid to Potions with you." She smiled a bit. "Good enough?" She nodded, pouting on her way to the kitchen. "Is this some strange veela power, to make the entire country want to be pregnant? Or to make the presently pregnant ones cranky?" Greg came out of the study shaking his head. "No?"
"No. I noticed Emilia had a change as soon as we appeared too, but no. Why?"
"Tipsy. Dawn just said I was mean that she wasn't stuffed up yet and she hates kids. As much, if not more, than Alex does."
"We'll figure it out," he promised, patting him on the back. "Don't sleep with her tonight, okay?" He went to look it up in the library. Alex had the best veela collection on three continents.
Arthur Weasley walked into his house and was pounced by his wife, making him smile. "Good to see you too, Molly love. What's wrong?"
"Arthur, I think we should have another one. All of ours are nearly out of the house and I'll be lonely here all day without one of the babies."
He kissed her gently again. "I was hoping this wasn't going to get you. Molly, you can't have more kids. You've been through the change, dear." She started to sniffle. "Now, none of that," he warned firmly. "Let me call Ron to warn him, then we'll talk about it. All right?" She nodded, giving him another kiss. "Good girl. Could you get me a drink of water?" She nodded, going to get him some tea. He got down to use the floor. "Ron!" Ron's head popped up. "Whatever this is has gotten your mother as well."
"Dawn and Tipsy too, plus Emilia. Anyone who is preggers acts like a loon and anyone who isn't wants one. Why?"
"I don't know yet, but be careful with Dawn." He hung up and stood up as his wife came back. "Thank you, love. Now curl up with me for a bit, let's talk about this new baby idea. There are some war orphans and we might be able to adopt since you're past the age to bear children."
"That's not fair, Tipsy can."
"Yes, love, but Tipsy's never had that many children. She's only had the one she had and then the miscarriage. Now the twins and the new twins. I'm betting she'll be done after this set." He stroked the back of her neck. "I wouldn't mind us adopting or something though. Those babies need a lot of love."
"It's an ache, Arthur. I want one so bad. One of my own." She curled up against his side, stroking his chest.
"I know you do, Molly, and if it were possible I'd gladly do it for you. But you can't be pregnant again. The doctors said it was impossible after Ron. We could get another like Ginny, Molly. It would be lovely to have another baby in the house," he said supportively.
She continued to stroke him, getting him into the mood. "We could try anyway," she offered hopefully.
"Sure," he agreed, smiling at her. "You know I never mind trying with you, love." He kissed her and brought her upstairs like a proper husband would. "No dinner in the oven?"
"No, it's in the fridge," she said with a smug look. "That chilled salad you liked so much that got us Percy."
He chuckled and went with her desires, it wouldn't hurt her any. Then maybe she could help him figure out what was going on.
"Why is that every time I come up here, something's going on?" Buffy asked as she stepped in off the back lawn.
"Because you have bad timing," Ron assured her. "Are you feeling odd?" She shook her head. "You're sure? No outbreak of baby feelings?"
"It's happening all across Britain," Xander said from the couch, where Draco had stuck him and done the sticking charm himself. His skin to the couch so he couldn't slide out of his clothes to get free again. "It's worse in the wizarding world, but it's still there for the rest. Are you sure you're not feeling it?"
"No, but then again I'm a vampire," Buffy reminded him.
"Doesn't matter, my mum's got it and she's gone through the change," Ron offered. "Even your sister's got it. I'm avoiding her at the moment."
"Good," she said, patting him on the side of the face. "I'd hate to kill you today, Ron. Xander, what happened to your hand?"
"Oh. You guys still do that?"
"Yuppers," he said lightly, smirking at her. "Dawn!" he yelled. She came running down the stairs and squealed, launching herself at her sister. "Cool. Go walk Midnight and let her see the unicorns from a distance."
"Sure, Xander. Are you feeling better yet?"
"Some. Thanks, munchkin."
"Welcome." She led her sister off. "I want a baby and Ron won't give me one."
"Imagine that dark and gloomy guy's face if you had one," she retorted.
"Ron said the same thing," she said with a pout. "Midnight, let's go for a walk in the garden." Her dog came running down the stairs, following them out. "Midnight likes the baby unicorn. They play tag," she said lightly.
"Chows are supposed to be holy dogs so I guess he doesn't bother the baby unicorn." She watched as the baby unicorn came out and rushed after the puppy, chasing it to nip it on the tail, then taking off in the other direction. "Wow, it is tag." She shook her head. "Tara said hi and sent a hug." She gave her the hug from Tara. "When do you have to be back and how are you getting there?"
"We all take the train," she said. "We go the first. It's tradition."
"Then I guess that's okay. Don't want to break with tradition." She gave her a light pinch. "Is this some conspiracy to make all the guys moan in pain and regret?"
"No, I seriously want one," she told her.
"You hate kids, Dawnie."
"Well, yeah, but sometimes this urge just hits me and it's horrible."
"Those are the days that you babysit," Buffy reminded her. "That's always of the good for someone and you can earn a few extra coins."
"See, that won't help this time! It's an ache!" she whined. "I want one!"
Buffy stopped her, putting a hand on her arm. "No, Dawn. You're too young, that ache is some sort of magical thing, and it's not what you need. You need to finish school before you even *think* about kids. It's not like I can raise it for you and neither can Xander. Be a bit more practical. It's a spell. Repeat it over and over if it helps, but it's not real. Someone's manipulating you." Dawn shook her head. "Yes, they are. Come on, I'll prove it to you." She walked her sister back inside. "Can anyone find out how to block the magic from touching her?"
"We think it's infecting the fundamental flow of magic," Aunt Cordy said, gripping the counter. "It's even affecting me, Dawn, and I've never been able to have children." She hugged her. "It'll be fine. It'll be stopped soon."
Dawn shook her head. "But it's this big, cramping, grabbing ache."
"I know, I feel the same way," Cordy assured her. "Go lie down for a bit, alone. Cast the strongest contraception charm on yourself that you can or have Alex do one for you. He's got to be good with them if he's only had one kid with all the people he slept with."
Buffy drug Dawn out there and handed Xander the wand he was trying to get. "Cast a contraceptive charm on her. Let's see if it helps."
"Permanent, special, or temporary?"
"Special?" Dawn asked.
"Works except for two out clauses. One of them only happens if you're sleeping with an elf. The other is if you're sleeping with something not of your species."
"One that'll last until she starts school?" Buffy suggested.
"Sure. Move closer, Dawn." She did and he laid his hand and his wand on her stomach, murmuring quietly until she yelped and pulled away, then he cast the rest of it. "Your period may be a bit heavier this time, but you cannot get pregnant for the next six months." She gave him an odd look. "I learned it in Egypt from a witch down there. She was a pro but it was the one she used." Dawn nodded and trudged upstairs to take a nap. "Do you need one?"
"No, I'm not feeling that, but then again I know I'm not wholly here. Being a vampire is like that." She trotted off to sit and watch the unicorn and the puppy play. Unicorns were really cute! She would coo but her demon always got mad and growled at her when she did.
George Weasley, strong, deadly, fast, and hell with a prank sat up in bed and stomped out of the room. He couldn't take this any more. His wife was still complaining. If this kept up, he might be tempted to take a long buying trip until this all settled out. He lit a candle with his wand so he could pace and not run into things, like the cat that had somehow migrated from his mother's garden to their house. He was yanking on his hair when his twin came out. "I can't bloody well take this anymore," he complained.
Fred nodded. "I know. Is there anyway for us to fix it though?"
"I don't care if I have to go stab whatever's doing this multiple times and give it a bloody messy death!" he shouted. "I want whatever is causing these mood swings to stop!"
"Let me call Percy, maybe he knows what's going on," Fred soothed. He called Percy's apartment, getting a sleepless brother. "Having a girlfriend problem?"
"No, one of my coworkers came over to have me procreate with her," he said quietly, glancing behind him. "I had to sedate her when she got hysterical and tried to rip my clothes off." He looked at George and sighed. "It affects those already pregnant?"
"Makes 'em cranky because they can't get knocked up again," Fred told him. "Do we know what is doing this? We'll volunteer to kill it since Alex is banged up at the moment." Percy shook his head. "Not at all?"
"No. We think it may be some ancient magic laid on the land. It seems to happen when the population falls below a certain level. The last bout was right after the industrial revolution started. It was necessary then but it's not now." He grimaced and his head turned around. "No, go back to sleep. There's nothing wrong. It's my brothers asking for a bit of information for their wife." He smiled at the twins. "Give me an hour. I will find that out for you," he said, disappearing and using the excuse to get around his coworker from Species. He ran for the Ministry, going to help in the archives if he had to. He found Draco in there terrorizing someone. "Use the spell to call the information down," he ordered.
"But we can't use that in here without the Minister's authorization," the worker whined.
"I'll cover for you," Percy assured her. "Do it or I will. It's affecting those who are pregnant and it could make them want to miscarry to restart a new pregnancy." She gaped but still shook her head. "Fine, then get out of my way."
"You can't! Guards!"
Percy glared at the guards and they backed off. "They're keeping the source of all the pregnancy feelings hidden. It will make pregnant women terminate eventually if not stopped." They shuddered and he went into the archive proper whispering the small spell. A small stack of books appeared on the table. "Malfoy, come do something useful." He handed over half the stack and used the same spell to get to the pertinent sections.
"I've got a diary," Draco announced. "It's under Merlin's tomb." He put that one aside. "There's a demon down there guarding the nexus of the magic and the land?"
"Or something like that," Percy agreed. "It's known about." He looked up. "It's in heat?" Draco nodded. "Fuck!" Everyone stared at him. "Yes, I do know those words," he said dryly, glaring at the guards again. He found the exact entrance and pulled it out, copying it for the twins and their friends. He took that and the diary, taking it to the shop. He found Fred holding Tipsy and Draco rushed over to weave a sleep spell around her mind. He handed over the information. "It's under Merlin's tomb. You'll need a damn good cursebreaker."
"Alex is knocked out. It's started to affect him too," Draco admitted. "Is your brother Bill around?" The twins shook their heads. "What about Ron? Could he or could Potter?"
"Ron's got an affinity for money and jewelry. Potter's got one for power flows," Fred noted.
"Harry's also in quarantine," George groaned. "He got a suspicious substance tossed on him the last time he ventured outside. Apparently there's a few fans who blame him for the old seeker retiring."
"Fine, then Ron and I can go," Draco noted. "Half-trained we're still better than most. I can see the power flows. He can break the curses." They gaped at him. "I don't want to babysit Weasley's brat from my sister!"
"Fine," Percy agreed. "Boys, we'll need a sword. Pure steel."
"I can get that too. Let me wake the bastard and I'll be right back. Anything else?"
"Lanterns," Fred said flipping through the journal. "It's dark and light sucking."
"Fine. Be right back." He disapparated, heading back to the house and running up the stairs. He pounded on Ron's door before walking in. "Out, Dawn." She whimpered so he knocked her out. "There's a demon who guards the joining point of the magic to the land here on the island."
"Shit!" Ron said, jumping up. "It's in heat?" He nodded. "Then let me put on clothes. What do we need?"
"Pure steel and light that can't be sucked away."
"Phosphorescent lights are good for that and pure steel? Try the weapon's cabinet. I'm not sure if anything in there is pure steel." Draco nodded and headed down to look while Ron got his girl tucked into his bed, then he got dressed and stamped into his boots. He grabbed his jacket and his spare wands, then headed down to help Draco. "Small stones of steel?"
"Purified steel nuggets, and one long dagger," he said, pulling it out. "The house elves said that was all in the catalog." He handed over the dagger. He was not a knife fighter. They headed back to the shop, Ron landing with a yawn. "Are we ready?" The twins nodded and left Percy there to watch their wife while they went to deal with this thing. Draco found the opening, leading the way down the hidden stairs inside the tree. They came to the bottom and Ron snapped a few of the light sticks open, handing them out. "Lead on, Weasley."
"Yup, sure. Let me pass, George." He walked past him, going for the darkest spot ahead. It was always the darkest spot that held the keys it seemed like. He saw the dropoff before he got there. "There's a ledge, be careful." He walked off to the side, looking around, his light stick held high. "I don't see a bridge."
"I felt a hidden spot behind us," Draco admitted. The twins glared at them. "It's always been the darkest spots before!"
"Let's check that out," Ron agreed, following him back. They took the lead together, letting the twins follow behind them. Draco found the doorway and Ron broke it open. The lights were slowly fading so he activated a few more, handing them back as well. "See, darker. It's always in the darkest spot it seems like." They followed the pathway, it had a worn track so it should lead somewhere. They found a hidden passageway but it didn't have a door. It looked like an alcove but it had danger markings on it. They passed by it, heading further into the darkness, going to find the stupid demon and take care of it, one way or another. They found a spot where the darkness started to fade and put down their lights as they walked up the end of the pathway. There was a glowing stone and a demon kneeling beside it. "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing!" Ron shouted. "You're infecting the whole fucking planet!" The demon leapt up, his arms growing knife- like protrusions as he moved toward them.
Draco turned up his powers and let them fly at the demon, making it moan and stumble to its knees again. He crossed his arms. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you?"
"I need to guard the nexus," he moaned, looking at them. "All I need is some help, I was praying for it."
"Well, you weren't getting it. You were making all the women on our island want to have a child, and if they're with child they were going to hurt themselves!" George shouted. "We do not need that!"
"Calm down," Fred said calmly. "What will help you?" The demon whimpered something. "Excuse me, what was that? You need what?"
"I need the touch of another being sexually," it whined. "Even if it is not of my species, that will start the cloning process."
"Would a surrogate work?" Draco asked. The demon looked confused. "Something sexual that was not attached to another being?"
"I don't have any," Fred noted. "I haven't needed any in years."
"Me either," George agreed. "Ron?"
"No! I have Dawn and we're only halfway through the Joy of Sex."
"I don't have any either," Draco noted. "I only know what they are. I haven't needed one. It's all I can do to get out of bed some days with my consort in one of his moods."
"Then let's create one," Fred decided. "Unless one of us wants to go get Luna Lovegood out of bed?" Ron shook his head quickly. They looked at the demon. "How big?" The demon pulled out his. "All right, now I feel inadequate," he sighed, looking up.
"Damn, and I thought Alex was big," Draco said in awe. "Would a more human size one work?"
"Humans are puny in comparison but it would do in a pinch," he offered.
"Fine. Then let's work on a rock," George decided, judging the demon's size and then the rocks around them. He found one where there was a seat at about the right height and transfigured it to include a new protrusion from stones. He made it fairly the same shape as the demon's own, then added a human-style head to the top of it. "There, try that," he said, pointing. The demon walked over and gently sat down. He grimaced and George adjusted the angle for him. The demon sighed and the red strands in the stone eased as he mounted it fully and took it for a trial ride.
"Are we done now?" Fred asked.
"Do you have any steel? We need the essential nutrients and there's none around here," he said. The steel nuggets were handed over. "I thank you. The guardianship will continue."
"Good job," Ron agreed, waving as he walked away. Halfway back they heard a roar, then a splitting noise. He almost turned around but he decided he didn't want to know that much. He stopped at the entrance with the danger markings, considering it. He walked forward but his brothers stopped him. "I only wanted to look."
"With our luck there's a monster on the other side," Draco said bitterly. "Then I'd really have to do your job and get dirty all the time." He felt the power on the doorway and frowned. "That's pure energy in there."
"Okay, that's enough," George decided. "Come on. Before you get killed and I have to take your places. I doubt Alex would like me taking your place, Draco. Ron, please behave."
Fred looked at his twin. "Do you realize what this means?"
"That we just saved the world with a dildo?" George asked.
"That too. We won't be able to tell anyone about this. They'll never believe it." He caught Ron as he turned around. "No, Ron. Keep going, Ron."
"I'm not carrying him," Draco noted. The power was calling to him too, it was seductive and sweet. It wanted him to come back and kiss and lick it. He might have if Alex hadn't worn him out just a few hours ago, but he could fight it, he really could. That's why he was headed back there until the twins knocked him out and floating them ahead.
They met their brother at the entrance, surprising him. "Morning, Bill. It seems that the problem's solved. The demon guarding the spot was in heat and needed help."
"You went down to the nexus point and played with the magic rock?" he asked in shock.
"No, we went down there, made him a dildo out of the stones, then kept Ron and Draco from the alcove with the danger markings," Fred retorted dryly. They left the younger ones there and headed home. Hopefully their wife would be sane again. "Is she all right?" Fred asked.
"Tipsy, love, why are you kissing our brother?" George asked. "Kiss us instead. We saved the day for once." She launched herself at them and kissed them so hard they saw stars. "Hmm, have to save the world again," he noted to his twin.
"It would be a good thing on occasion." He picked up his wife and took her into the bedroom to solve this horny moment for her.
George grinned at Percy. "Thanks, mate. Bill's there." He jogged in to help his twin, hoping to catch up soon enough. Even though his wife was generous enough to let him finish after she was done, he wanted to be first this time so Fred got to go after her. Fred was busy kissing her so he latched onto that spot that made all girls squeal and buck into your mouth. It was about all he needed but he knew she'd need more so he played all he wanted to until his brother batted him away and got some of it for himself.
Draco woke up staring at a Weasley and shrieked in horror. "I know I didn't spend the night with you!"
"No," Bill said dryly. "You didn't. It's still dark as well, Draco. Catch a clue, please."
"Sorry, some of us don't wake up instantly," he said bitterly. "Is something wrong with Alex?"
"No, just that he's still asleep and it's always better to leave him that way when he is," Bill said dryly. "Now, what did you two touch?"
"The demon?" Ron asked.
"You put a hand on that danger marking and so did I," Draco reminded him.
"Okay, that explains why I had to take the power strands off you both. Why?"
"We were curious but we weren't going to enter it. We touched the wall to taste the power," Ron defended.
Bill hung his head and shook it. "Ron, you're usually so much smarter than that. What does a danger symbol mean?"
"To test it to see what sort of danger it is," Draco told him. "That way you know if it's a danger without you opening the door."
"In this case it was. The artifacts in that room are dangerous. They're power sucking. They like to eat little boy and girl wizards like you both," Bill said condescendingly. "You have to be a level One Plus to get down into that tunnels legitimately."
"You'd rather that every pregnant woman in the aisles lost her baby and the rest became pregnant?" Ron asked.
"Well, no," Bill admitted. "It's still a breach of policy."
"We're apprentices, our master is asleep, and you said yourself that we haven't been told," Draco reminded him.
"What's a plus level?" Ron asked.
"Those who are so good they can walk down a street and find everything on it. Alex was before he was spelled. I am now. That's why they let me go on commission status. The others they want out of the business so they give it when they demand it. They offered it to me at the same commission rate Alex gets now." They gaped at him. "Understanding more now? You two just took on something that's so far beyond your levels of ability it's lucky you weren't dinner for some of the artifacts."
"We didn't go in."
"No, you didn't. You got near enough to them that they got the taste of you," Bill pointed out firmly, hands drifting to his hips so he could go into lecture mode. "There are things in this world that are out of your league, Ron, and probably always will be. There's things down there that Alex can't handle, and neither can I. Merlin himself started that storehouse. He was an amateur curse breaker. He gathered a lot of nasty things and that's his storehouse. People want those things and you've just proven that you can get to them and draw them to you. That just put you and Dawn and everyone around you in danger." Ron slowly shook his head. "Yeah, it did. Even if I don't report it, which I'll have to so you get the advanced training, people will know. The things'll call out to you until they finally get you or you die. There's two things down there that still ache to nibble my butt to death too. Welcome to Curse Breaking, Ron and Draco, you're now in danger."
Ron stood up, glaring at his brother. "Bill, there was only three things in there. Not over five because I did feel two shadows." Bill went pale. "Beyond that, Alex will teach me *everything* I need to know. Advanced lessons and all. We went down there to stop the demon from destroying everyone, including our sister-in-law and mum. If you don't like it, I'm sorry. I'm sorry if we stepped in something we shouldn't have. We were taught to test things with danger markings to make sure it wasn't something that we'd trip just by being in the same area." Bill sighed and nodded. "So, by our training we were doing it correctly."
"By all the training you were doing it correctly but you shouldn't have been down there. There's a reason why there's a shield." Draco shook his head. "Yes there was."
"Not really. Only an illusion shield like what Penn taught us," Ron told him. "I felt it too. It wasn't that hard to find, there were signs lit up magically."
Bill whimpered. "Okay, sit there. I'm getting Alex, I'm getting some of the top goblins. Just sit and do not step foot outside of this area I've got boxed off." He walked outside and took a deep breath. Waking Alex was always risky. He touched his earring, which led to a telltale Alex wore. It always made him flinch and wake up. "Come on, big guy, I need help," he whispered. "The Tomb was broken into." Alex teleported in and ran for the doorway. "Ron and Draco were down there. They said there wasn't a barrier at all."
Alex leaned his head against the tree. "The thing that tried to eat me isn't down there." He looked at Bill. "Call the specialists." Bill nodded, going to do that, leaving the kids to their rightful master. Xander walked into the boxed off area, making sure to walk over the barrier Bill had set up. "Explanations?"
"The pregnancy thing was from the demon guarding the pretty stone that joins the magic to the land," Draco told him. "He was in heat."
"We saw the danger signs and we both tested it like you taught us, hand on the wall and tasting the edges of the magic," Ron finished. "Then it started to draw us. We were with the twins."
"No, they're fine. If they had been affected, they'd still be here," Alex admitted. "From the top. The doorway?"
"Illusion shield only, like what Penn taught us only a bit less flimsy," Draco noted. "I found it."
"I led the way down until we got to that first ledge, then we backtracked. We used most of the glow sticks too."
"That's fine," Xander agreed. "I know the demon needs steel?"
"The steel nuggets and we brought the dagger just in case," Ron admitted, handing it over. Xander was much better with them. "Then we finally found it, figured out what the problem was."
"The twins created a dildo for it and it's happily splitting itself or whatever," Draco offered.
"There were signs on the ground," Ron offered, pointing at one. "There's one."
Xander stepped back outside of the box, going to look at it. "Bill, there have been visitors. The warnings were violated." A few more curse breakers in black leather appeared. "They were working on the pregnancy thing and found it had already been broken into," Xander told them, pointing at the warning. "They've been broken. My consort said he found an illusion shield. I taught them to test the danger markings to see if it was something that should make them run. They did."
"Ron said he felt three things and two shadows," Bill offered. "Alex said the thing that almost got him isn't down there."
The Specialists, curse breakers who only handled the worst of the worst, and guarded this tomb and the storage areas, all winced in unison. "All right," the one in the lead said. "We need to question them."
"I removed the power traces," Bill offered, pointing at the boys. "They're Alex's new apprentices."
"The blond is my consort, Ron is my apprentice. Draco's a consort veela," Xander corrected.
"Even better, we can get things from him," another said, going in to talk to them while the others worked over the area. Finally he warded them and brought them out of the area back to the opening. "Okay. Is the same shield up now?"
Draco tested it. "It's flimsier. It was like a thick curtain before." The Specialists all frowned. "Is that bad?"
"Someone's been in Merlin's Tomb, which holds some of the worst artifacts in known history, Draco. What do you think?" Alex asked dryly. His consort glared at him. "I know, it's not your fault. You guys solved the pregnancy feelings greatly. We appreciate the hell out of that and the fact that someone made it past the demon guarding it is worrying me. Who could do that? It was a really powerful elemental."
"Luna probably couldn't," Ron pointed out. "Ethan might know though."
"No, no more demons near this stuff," Bill said quickly. "That is a good point though. Did you guys feel an elemental, an earth elemental?" They shook their heads. "Then it's probably dead. Who could do that, Alex?"
"Watchers or the Legacy."
"The Legacy?" one of the Specialists asked. "You believe in that fairytale?"
"I know members of the group," Xander told him. "I've been in the London House while I was trying to help Philip Callaghan after he was tainted." They winced. "So yeah, and they've got some of us working for them." He looked at Draco. "Call Nick, tell him to keep it quiet, absolutely quiet." Draco nodded, stepping away to do that. "If not, it was the Watchers and there's not many of them. Luna Lovegood's in a relationship with one of their former people and he might know."
"Fine. We can talk with him after we look," the lead Specialist agreed. He walked down the stairs, snapping his own glow sticks on. "Ron, did you not think to clean up after yourself?"
"I put all my used ones in my pocket," he defended. "I was knocked out on the way back so they may have fallen out." He patted his pockets. "Nope, I've still got all five of mine. Malfoy?"
"I had six, I've still got five. So only one's mine." He carefully picked up the one lying there, looking at it. "It's not like ours." He put it into the baggie that was held open for him. He and Ron led the way they had come, going down to the danger marked alcove. "Here is where we tested."
Bill grimaced. "This isn't the way into the tomb."
"No, it's not," the Specialists agreed, either saying it or by grunting.
One of them went for the demon and came back blushing. "He's in heat and splitting himself off." He led the way back to the main Tomb entrance, testing it. "This one hasn't been broken, just that one."
"That's like the closet," Xander said, looking confused. "Why is anything in there?"
"That's the ritual room," Draco said, suddenly getting it. "I can feel a current, a swirling current. It's like it's being blocked by something."
"That would be the shield," Bill noted. Draco shook his head. "You can feel past that?"
"Yeah, so can I," Ron admitted. He walked forward, touching the wall again. He found the knob and turned it, opening the chamber doorway. He pushed the door open, standing there to stare at bodies on the floor. "I think they're still here." The Specialists pushed him out of the way and headed inside. "Is that normal?"
"No. They got greedy and there are still things missing," Xander assured him. "Can you feel the attraction?"
"It's less now," Draco noted. He walked to the doorway, pointing at something on the low altar. "That's what's drawing me." Ron looked over his shoulder and nodded. "The same thing?"
"It's to draw sexual creatures and demons," Xander said as he walked inside. It was calling to him too but he could ignore it. He looked around. "Guys, this room used to be full if this was the original altar room. It's been nearly fifty years since I was in here, but I put the Cross of Lexian in here. I remember staring at the painting," he said, pointing at it.
Bill looked and nodded. "Me too, but I thought the room was higher up."
"It is higher than you think when you take this path," one of the younger Specialists noted. "This is the back way, you guys would have come through the main opening, which passes on the other side of the tomb." He looked around. "I was in here last month and it was full. I wrote a report saying that there was no more floor room, I remember it. We're in deep."
"Geneva got stolen from too," Xander said bitterly. "We helped with the cleanup and retrieval."
Draco groaned. "Not another dog spirit."
"No, none of those," Bill said, giving him an odd look. Draco pointed at Ron so he rolled his eyes. "Ron, you released a hunting spirit?"
"No, it was already gone, it just decided Ron made an excellent stick for fetch," Xander corrected absently. "We're in deep if this was full. There's no hammer, no tongs, no staves. No rack that held the staves. There's no cursed armor. No cursed swords. Not even a possessed item in the whole room. They only left the eating ones and two of them are now broken. That means all that's left is the sexual one." He looked around. "There's no way this was done in a few minutes. You can't shrink this stuff even with the help of the nexus."
"Is the hallways supposed to be rutted?" Ron asked. Everyone shook their heads. "It is. We followed the ruts."
"So it's one of you guys," Bill said, looking at the Specialists. "Are all of you here?" They shook their heads. "Can we find the others?"
"Two are on their honeymoon together," one of the guys said. "Plus our boss and the newest guy. Tremaine."
"His family's a Watcher's family?" Xander asked. They all looked stunned. "Okay. So we find Wesley. Ron, go get up Luna and have her find Wes right now. Draco, go back to the house and take an inventory. Aunt Cordy said she thought someone may have been in the swamp but she couldn't tell." They nodded, rushing off. "What do we do now?"
"Now, we worry," the lead Specialist said dryly.
"We wait," another one agreed.
"We do it topside because we're only contaminating the area," Xander decided. They nodded and headed topside, with him stopping in to check on the demon. "Who's been taking stuff from in there?"
"The guys in white. They have the correct passes. They said they were moving things to work and examine things." He shrugged, looking at his new clone. "I think the color's off."
"It's where he's so new. No one except the Specialists get in there for a bit. We're going topside. Some things are missing that shouldn't be. They never told us." The demon nodded, sitting up. "Not your fault. You couldn't have known." He jogged up the trail, going back to get some fresh air. "The demon said they had passes. Correct passes. They were in white. Said it was for examination and to work on some of the things."
They all turned to look as goblins started to dart in, one of the Specialists pulling one aside. "Have you taken anything out?"
"Three things for examination. How many are missing?"
"The greater majority in the room with the painting," Xander said. "My apprentice and my consort went to deal with the pregnancy problem. We found it because of them."
The goblins looked at him. "Pregnancy problem?" one asked.
"The demon was in heat and desperate," Bill said with a shrug. "It was driving all of the human women insane. It was about to make any pregnant ones miscarry and the rest were being compelled to get pregnant. They found things weakened and barely in place. They just didn't know it."
"Come, we will look," the head goblin ordered. He walked them down the correct way, then opened the door and gasped. "How?" he managed to get out.
Xander led them back up and down the way the boys had come, pointing at the grooves in the floor. "I'm guessing it's the rack for the staves." He opened the other door, letting them inside. "The demon said they were wearing white and had correct passes."
"You have a theory?"
"One of the missing guys has a brother that heads the Watchers," Xander told him. "Them or the Legacy found them. Before you say it, I do know members personally," he said at the opening mouths.
"The head of the London House is William Sloan. He went to an American school and Oxford's College of Magic for Anthro and curse breaking," Xander told him. "Nick Boyle is also a member but he's in San Francisco."
"Nick said he hasn't heard anything but he's putting a query out on a particular artifact to see if anything comes up at all," Draco offered as he walked in. "The swamp was breached, but nothing looked to be missing. Unless it was something really small and inside something else we're good. They didn't get past the water ring."
"That's a blessing at least," Xander sighed, shaking his head. "I knew I should have asked for a special courier pickup but we've been so busy keeping ahead of the emergencies I forgot."
"What pieces?" the goblins asked.
Xander looked at him. "We found the DeGossi Emeralds and the Land-Braun collection in Sunnydale." They gaped at him. "We've handed six different emergencies since then," he defended. "Don't give me those looks."
"We'll send someone up tomorrow to gather them," one of the goblins assured him. "Anything else of interest?"
"I've got a whole case of jewelry and so does Ron," Draco admitted. "We split it that way this time. He's got some obsidian stuff and I got the real jewels."
"I kept the rest of the haul, and again it's waiting to be cataloged in the Swamp. Again, due to everyone and their brother needing help recently."
"It has been an active summer," the head Goblin over all the curse breakers agreed as he walked in. "You did not come to Paris yet?"
"We were going to be there today but I got hurt in a duel with a stupid little muggle joker who wanted Draco's mother." He held up his bandaged hand. "It's got a few holes in it at the moment."
"Very well then. As soon as possible so we can test them for remaining taint."
"I unraveled a few power lines and unwrapped two more," Bill offered respectfully. "They were down here to deal with the demon, who was in heat again."
"Which is a good enough reason. Were the charms broken?"
"We followed the lights on the ground to the entry," Draco offered. "The shield at the top of the stairs was like a thick curtain, nothing else."
"Interesting. I noticed the ruts and the demon did say that they had correct passes, down to the magical stamp in them." He looked at Bill, who had figured out how to do that. "Who did you teach that to?"
"One of the teachers, Gilmore. Plus one of the guards came in during the tutorial and watched for a few minutes. He may have figured it out from just that."
"You finally figured that out?" Xander asked with a grin. "Good job, Bill."
"Thanks, Alex. How was Vegas after we left?"
"There was a hostage situation that I fixed and it got Ron and Dawn tickets to see Kid Rock. Penn's trying to talk him into coming over here."
"Lovegood will be over the moon," Draco said dryly.
"Listen to some of the lyrics, you might be surprised, and he is a wizard," Xander offered, giving him a look.
"Fine. I will. Should I try to help Ron now?"
"No, stay here for now," the head goblin ordered. "The other?"
"Is waking up Luna Lovegood. She's the one who's the crossover with chaos magic. One of her lovers is a former Watcher."
"An excellent idea, Alex. Thank you." He went to help, mostly by taking care of the artifact that wanted to eat anyone with a sexual nature.
Ron pounded on the Lovegood's front door, getting the house elf. "I need Luna up and dressed right now and Wesley if he's here," he said, pushing his way inside. "We think the Watchers did something to a tomb and took some powerful artifacts." The house elf ran up the stairs to get her mistress up. Ron nodded politely at the older man who came out. "Sorry to wake up, sir."
"It's not a problem. I'd say you were one of Ginny's kin?"
"Ron Weasley," he said, shaking his hand with a grin. "We just stumbled upon evidence of a theft and we think the Watchers did it so we desperately need to see Wesley at the moment."
"That's not a problem. I'm sure Luna would love to help you. Which tomb?"
Ron started to tell him but then grinned. "I wish I could, sir. They'll have to release that information."
"Not a problem, Ron. That's a good thing." His daughter came running down the stairs in only her hair. "Daughter, clothing is not optional outside of your room."
She frowned at him then looked at Ron. "What happened?"
"There's been a theft and it's either the power hogs in the Legacy or some of the Watchers we think, there's a relation to one of the top ones." She groaned. "So we need Wesley."
"I'll floo him. Where should I send him?"
"Bring him here and I'll take him back with me since I have to report back."
"Fuck me, it's in Stonehenge," she said, eyes going wide. He only blinked. "Oh, fuck me." She ran back up the stairs to get Wesley on her private floo. "Love, you've got to come here right now. There's been a theft of an important artifact and they think it was your former bosses." He started then nodded, puling on some shoes and a jacket so he could come through the floo. "Let me dress, I'll be right down." She threw on a dress without anything under it and a pair of sneakers, plus her favorite cloak. She grabbed her extra supplies kit and followed him down. Ron gave her a look. "If it was them, chances are they used some chaos magic and I am skilled in it."
"Fine, but you're staying topside, Luna. I can't give you authorization for that." She nodded so he drug them outside and created the portkey, sending them back to the box Bill had set up. "Stay in here. I mean it." He ran back to the opening. "Wesley's here and so is Luna," he told his brother as he came up. Bill grimaced. "She does know chaos and demonic magic."
"True, she would," he agreed. "She does worship them and sleep with one." He went that way to question them. "Head back down, Ron."
"Yes, sir." He jogged down the stairs, walking more carefully up the tracks. "Reporting as ordered," he said as he walked in. "Alex, are you all right?"
"Headache," he admitted. "That thing that wants to eat me is close by and getting closer." He looked at Ron. "Who did you bring?"
"Luna and Wesley."
"Good idea. That thing is coming closer. Yo, boss, I'm serious. Remember, that thing's really small. Someone's wearing it."
"Tell us when they enter the cavern," he ordered. He looked at Ron. "Luna...."
"Lovegood, sir. She's a practicing chaos and demonic witch as well as being in my sister's year at Hogwarts. She's also the lover of a former Watcher." Xander moaned and grabbed his head so Ron moved to steady him. He heard a scream and sat him down, trusting Bill to handle Luna.
Topside, Luna had just felt the magic sucking everything around them and tried to capture the person doing it, but he managed to escape with a smirk. So she screamed in frustration and pointed a finger at him, intoning a harsh string of syllables. "Capture him," she told the hellhound that appeared. "The smirking one." The demon dog pounced and held him down, sniffling the human's soul. "Not yet. We need him alive, Brutus." She walked out of the box carefully and over to him, looking down at him. "You're wearing an amulet of immense power. It's been reformed because the curse on it is warped." One of the cursebreakers coughed so she looked at him. "He's wearing an artifact on him and it's sucking in magic. If I can feel it I know you can."
"I can't get near that thing to test it," he admitted. "I'm not that powerful."
Bill came over and laid a hand over the amulet. "That is one of them. It's been reworked into the wolf's head pendant he's wearing." He straightened up. "It's the only remaining piece of an ancient sword that sucked souls. Alex is affected by it most of the time. He's got to be in pain downstairs. Good work, Miss Lovegood. Have your...pet sit on him for a bit longer please." He went to tell them downstairs. "Luna Lovegood found one and had a hellhound sit on him."
"Luna, since when do you call up hellhounds?" Wesley asked in mild reproof. "I would have gotten him for you."
She kissed him senseless. "Hush, Wes. I'm good at conjuring hellhounds. They're just big, fluffy puppies to me and you know I've always wanted a dog." She kissed him again, making him have such a goofy grin that the curse breakers had to look away before they laughed. "Now be good and go search him for me. My puppy won't hurt you. He loves what I love."
He nodded, trotting over there to find the pendant and take it off him, plus anything else magical that he might find. He handed over the wand to the nearest human in leathers, figuring out that they were probably curse breakers. "He's clean."
"Fine. Brutus, drag him to the tree and keep him against it," she said, pointing at a tree.
"Not that one, ma'am," one of the guards said quickly. "Have him drag him this way and I'll tie him up so your...pet can guard you some more." Luna nodded for her dog to follow so Brutus drug the fully grown man by his collar and handed him over, then trotted over to get petted and scratched for his good behavior. It wasn't like he was that hungry anyway. He nuzzled his mistress gently, then lay on her feet staring at the others working around them.
Wesley gave her a look, then shook his head. "Luna, you shouldn't really keep a hellhound as a pet. It can corrupt them horribly. They might not want to eat."
"Oh, he usually lives in London, he likes muggers," she said with a grin. She squatted down to scratch him some more. "Such a good boy, Brutus. Yes, you are. If you can't be my familiar then I'll have to make do with petting you now and then."
"Ma'am," one of the curse breakers said.
"I'm not that old," she said firmly, glaring at him. He took a step back. "Is there new news?"
"We're going to the Watcher's building. We'll need you and your companion to come with us. Plus your pet if you want him to."
"Sure. From what I've heard about Tremaine, he should be eaten," she agreed. Wesley handed her the bag she had brought with a smile and she took his hand, walking off with him, Brutus following. One of the curse breakers got a good scare when he stopped to sniff him but he only wanted to pee on him so it was all right until it started to eat at the leathers. Luna apparated after the curse breaker, taking Wesley with her, and when they landed Brutus sat down and howled. A few more hounds appeared, all of them gathering behind their mistress. "Follow the curse breakers," she ordered. "The people in leather and jeans are our friends. They're taking the evil things away." The dogs followed the curse breakers, rushing inside once the door was broken in. Luna giggled. "They're such nice puppies."
"Luna, I had worried if you've been warped, now I'm sure. But I can't seem to make myself feel more than sorry for taking that innocence."
She kissed him. "I don't mind that innocence. After all, you took the other too," she said with a wink. She took his hand and walked inside. "Hello?" she called lightly. "We're here to take back the things you've stolen. Before we let Mr. Dumass come after you lot. I hear he's a bit cranky because he's not had sex recently." A few of the curse breakers gave her a look, but the older ones laughed. "Ask them," she told them, smirking at them. "He's famous for it."
"Infamous probably," Wesley corrected.
"Either way, the Daily Prophet and Witch World Weekly like to report on his sex life," she pointed out. "It does make for some interesting reading. I never knew that Hufflepuffs held sex magic rituals in their upper common area."
One of the curse breakers gave her an odd look. "Since when? They didn't when I was there!"
"According to the papers, just before the end of term," Wesley said with a shrug. "I have no idea if it was true or not. You'd have to ask Mr. Dumass or his consort."
"Malfoy was a Slytherin the last I knew. They all were," another breaker noted.
"Yes, it was part of the brilliant guarding activity in the school. Each house got a Gryffindor to guard them, except for Slytherin. Mr. Dumass and his consort stayed with Hufflepuff. We got Miss Granger. Mr. Weasley got Gryffindor. Slytherin got Mr. Zabini." She smirked at him. "As for their jobs, well.... Let's just say that Draco's main contribution to the house was their fashion got much nicer. A bit darker, but that was mostly fine." She smiled at them. "Do duck now, please." They ducked and the gunshot ricocheted off the walls. "Wes, dear, is this your battle or mine?"
"Oh, let it be mine," he said darkly, storming up the stairs. He owed them quite a lot.
Luna let out a happy sigh. "I love my man. Wesley, love, should I call Ethan in?"
"If you want."
"No! Not until the artifacts are secure!" one of the breakers ordered. "They might explode."
"All right then," she agreed phlegmatically. "If you wish." She sat down to wait. Her stallion was perfectly capable of making them pay for getting her up as well. She fingered a strand of her hair while she waited. A bitch showed up holding a puppy so she squealed and took the puppy to pet. "I'll watch him. The others are upstairs." The bitch sniffed her then headed up the stairs. Luna stroked the puppy's head and back, letting him go back to sleep on her lap. She wanted a puppy but her father said she couldn't have one until after she graduated, so it was nice enough to be the puppy-sitter for the mommy dog until then.
Xander woke up in a familiar room and groaned, covering his face with his hands. "Hospital all full?" he asked when he heard footsteps.
"They hate you curse breakers for some reason," Madam Pomfrey said dryly. "I can't think of why that might be."
He uncovered his face, giving her a long look. "Because we're horrible patients. We usually only want patched up so we can go back to our fun and games."
"Yes, I've seen that trait before. Thankfully it suits Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter's future career ambitions since they're like that as well." She fussed over him while she checked him over. "Yes, you should be fine. No more headache?" He slowly shook his head. "Good boy, Alex. Now get up and out of my infirmary." She smiled. "Before your consort comes back for another year and you're forced to stay again."
He hopped out of that bed and grabbed his clothes, kissing her on the cheek. "I love you, Poppy, but not that much." He put on his clothes as he walked, sending himself home as soon as he got far enough away from the school. He walked in and headed upstairs, eyes wide. Draco smirked from their sitting couch so he laid down with his head in his consort's lap. "Good. We're not going back ever again. Even if I'm dying, I do not want to go back into that school ever the hell again. Promise me?" he pleaded.
"Unless it's an absolute emergency I'd never make you go back in there and stay in the infirmary. Especially since she kicked me out and said I couldn't go back. Said she'd turn me into a bludger and let the twins beat me off," he said with a grin.
"Hmm, that's an idea. A good bit of sex should cure everything that's remaining." He sat up a bit to kiss his consort, putting the book aside. "Less reading, more snogging, Draco."
"Yes, love. You know I live to serve." He kissed him again, then stood up, making his lover fall onto the floor. "Tag?"
"Come here," Xander said smoothly, standing up with a leer. "You can run, but it won't save you." Draco laughed and took off for their bedroom, trying to get the door closed, but he failed miserably. Alex was simply stronger. And bigger. And more motivated. Alex got in with a wicked chuckle and Draco found that he *had* to take off his clothes to reward him for that sound.
To Part 3