A True Bane to the World
Xander looked around the marketplace, frowning greatly. He had no idea where his apprentices were, or even his consort. He had told them to stay still. It wasn't like the open air market in Rio was that great, but it was still confusing if you weren't used to city life. Which neither of his boys were. They had even managed to spring Harry for a weekend and he was lost too! Someone was going to kill him, he was sure of it. He was equally sure that the line would start behind Molly Weasley, who could wield a very impressive cast iron frying pan. He looked at the nearest seller with a grimace. "I left my two apprentices and my consort here. Red hair, black hair with glasses, and an arrogant blond. Did you see which way they went to get into trouble?" The man laughed and pointed. "Thanks." He shook his head as he walked off, unable to cast a locating charm since he was surrounded by muggles. Those boys were in such trouble when he found them.
Draco looked around at the stalls, then sighed. He knew he was lost and he would get yelled at, but he had earnestly wanted to strangle Weasley and Potter when they started to chat quidditch and ignored he was standing there as well. It's not like he kept up with the team standings at all. No, he wasn't a fan as well. He rolled his eyes and let out a sigh, going back to his shopping. He was in the fabric section and there were a few very nice pieces around here. He found a delicate pale pink silk and fingered it, wincing at the harshness of the fabric. Low thread count. "Do you have that in a higher grade silk?" he asked. "Something around the six or seven hundred thread count?"
The shopkeeper gave him a long look. "You know silks?"
"Yes, and I'm dressing my sister. She does deserve the best and that's a bit harsh for her delicate skin."
"I have a crepe gauze in that color," he offered, pulling out the sample piece. "I've got about six yards of this one left."
Draco felt it, nodding at the soft feeling. "Is it dry clean only?" The man looked offended. "Just asking. She hates it when I get her expensive things." He fingered it again. "How much a yard?"
"Seven dollars American," he said proudly.
Draco considered it. "Five?" The man looked offended. "Just checking, some do haggle."
"Ah, that is for lesser things," he said with a sneer.
"Yes, but if you don't try they seem really upset for some reason," Draco said with a shrug. "Seven is fine, I'll take all of it. How much is that local?" The man pulled out a calculator to do the math in front of him, and Draco paid without a qualm, even though he knew he was being cheated. What did he care? "Which way to the food section? Or the book section?"
"They're near each other. Go to the end of this row, run into the building and slide along the wall past the stalls. Go over the ditch and around the corner, entering through the gate. They'll both be in front of you. Food's nearest to the entrance and the books are father in. Anything else you needed?" he asked with a smile.
"How about a less dirty approach?" Draco suggested. The man laughed. "Sorry, I'm not wearing my leathers today and my shoes will scuff. She'll whine since she helped me buy them."
"Go down to the other end of this row, turn right, go six rows over, then head to where the worst smells are. That's near the books, then head back toward the entrance."
"Thanks." He waved the package as he walked off, having to come back for his wallet. He grimaced. "My consort's going to be pissed," he muttered as he walked away. Something about this place was making him brainless. Maybe it was the aura of 'muggleness' that exuded from all the people. Or maybe it was something else. He passed by the next row and saw a scaled body go into a shop, so he went to investigate. He smiled winningly at the shopkeeper. "Hello. Draco Malfoy-Dumass," he said smugly.
The shopkeeper let out an ungodly scream and people started to run.
"Now now, there's no need for that. I'm looking for some things for a friend. I have no intention of hunting today. Or my mate." The exodus still continued. He sighed as he went to find a book to write notes in, noticing one shopkeeper had stayed, though she was giving him a long, harsh stare. "I need books to note observations and translations in. Do you sell those?" he asked nicely. If only to ease the glare. He hadn't been glared at like this since his father was alive and he had been six.
"I don't. The woman in blue does. Martna!" Martna turned and turned pale. "He looks for books."
"This way, Mr. Dumass," she said quietly, glancing around as she led him into her tent. She made quite sure no one could see her talking to that one. "You are a member of the clan of Dumass?"
"I'm consort to Alexander," he said fondly. "He's reaged you know."
"We had heard of that evilness," she said softly. "What books do you seek?"
"Well, I truly seek some books to make notes and translations in, plus a diary for my little sister and possibly a work journal, but if you have something of interest I would adore looking at it," he said with a winning smile. Maybe he could find something to make his consort be proud of him and give him that goofy, happy grin again.
She nodded and headed behind a beaded curtain. She came out with a small stack of books. "Those are plain journals. You do not need one already charmed?"
"No, I can do any and all charms myself," he assured her. She put three books beside the stack, laying each one out carefully. "What are those?" he breathed, touching the cover of the first one. The rush of evil ran up his fingertips, making him remove his hand before he could be permanently tainted. "That holds something?" She nodded. "All of them?"
"Two, the middle one came with them. It is the method of entrapment." She sat down across from him. "Do any of the journals suit you?"
He checked them, pulling out the ones he liked. "I like these. How much?"
"The books are cursed," she whispered. "I do not want them near me. I do not want their taint."
"Agreeable. How much for the others?"
"Seventy-five pesos? I'm sorry, I'm not from this part of South America."
He gave her a gentle smile. "That's fine, neither am I. This is my consort's idea of a vacation." She gave him a hesitant smile. "Did you want to charge me for the others?" She shook her head quickly. "Then I will take them." He pulled out his wallet and handed over a few bills, which added up to about three hundred in the local currency. "Is that enough?"
"More than," she agreed with a small smile. "I thank you. Let me bundle the books up for you." She wrapped the three books together in brown paper and put the others in a bag. "Thank you for not smiting us."
"That's my consort, I'm simply a veela," he said smugly. "He'll be getting these tonight." She relaxed and nodded. "I thank you." He shook her hand and left, heading to find his consort or Potter. He could still feel the taint in the books. He found the regular book section and then found Harry and Ron looking at journals. "Where's my consort?" he asked calmly.
Ron jumped and looked at him. "Where did you go!"
"You ignored me, I left," he said bitterly. "Where is he? Someone just gave me a present for him," he said, patting the bound books. Ron reached for them and he shook his head. "No. You can't touch them. I can still feel them." Ron looked amazed so Draco kicked him. "These need to go into a storehouse. They're storehouses of their own."
"Oh." Harry smiled at him. "He's probably hunting us. I doubt he'd let any of us go for very long."
"Fine. Let's head to the food section and sit down. He'll expect us to go there with the way Weasley eats."
"We just came from there," Harry admitted. "What else did you get?"
"Journals. A diary and a work journal for Dawn." He gave a slight shrug. "It'll only help her study her unique gifts. We need to find a steady place to wait for him."
"With our luck, it'll be somewhere he's already searched," Ron pointed out dryly. "Let's duck out of the way for a moment." He got them into a nearby alleyway and pulled his wand, casting a 'find me' charm, one that was taught to all little children in the wizarding world. Alex would be pulled in their direction until he found them. Ron put his wand back up and looked at them. "It should be fairly soon."
"Not soon enough," a smug voice said in Portugese behind them.
Draco groaned and shook his head, handing everything to Potter. "Here, hold that. Do not unwrap the books or let them out of your grip." He and Ron moved to face the threat. "Leave, now. Before we're forced to harm you in painful ways."
"In other words, we're gonna kick your asses," Ron sneered. "My coworker is a bit too polite and upperclass at times."
The man sneered and snapped his fingers, and his friends came out of the shadows. "Think so?"
"Want magic or fists?" Draco muttered.
"Fists. I'm not sure they're wizards," Ron said sadly. "Or else I'd get practice in today after all." He waved on the leader. "Let's end this. Come on." The man chuckled and a few of his people rushed them. Ron and Draco both showed that Xander had been training them to brawl. Not to mention Methos and Tipsy. Those few were taken care of with only a few hits landed on them. Draco wiped off the blood on his lip with the back of his hand. "All right there?" Ron asked.
"Just fine," Draco said dryly, in his best 'bored now, please find something more amusing for my pleasure' tone. "Any more of you want to try?" The rest of them rushed and it was a harder fight. The first few joined in once they made it back to their feet.
Behind them, Harry groaned and shook his head. He couldn't let the books fall, he could feel the taint in them. Whenever one of them got close enough, he did use the books to hit them or kicked them. He knocked two people down on his own. That only left seven for Ron and Draco.
"What is going on here?" a female voice shouted.
"These heathens jumped us while we were waiting on a friend," Draco said as he finished off the one in front of him. The rest had backed off and were giving her a fearful look so he and Weasley turned to look at her. "Are you the authorities?"
"No, I'm their boss," she said smugly. "Such little boys to be out all alone," she sneered.
"Not really," Ron pointed out. "We're all of legal age. Then again, we don't usually like to hit girls." The thugs laughed at that. Ron gave them a look. "I do have *some* manners and my mother's tougher than your boss."
Draco caught her when she lunged, sneering back. "Some of us aren't that mannerly when attacked. As far as I'm concerned, you're simply a man who was emasculated at a young age." He kicked her in the stomach and then punched her, knocking her onto the ground. "There, I believe that concludes this session of 'how to kick ass', do come back for the next show."
She got to her feet, staring at them. "You're not normal," she sneered.
"Actually I am," Ron told her. "It's Draco who's unusual." He smirked at her. "Want me to try now? I'm actually better trained thanks to my big brothers."
Alex walked in the alley and coughed. "I'd leave now," he warned with a deadly smile. "They're my apprentices and my consort."
"One of you is gay?" she said in derision. Draco wiggled his fingers with a bright smile. "Fine. Let's leave."
"Remember, gay men the world over have learned how to fight people like you," Draco called after them. "We consider it stress relief when our clothes don't match." He took the books from Potter and handed them over. "I found the bruja section and went looking for work journals. She gave me those for us to store somewhere."
Xander laid a hand on them, eyes going wide. "Where?"
"About four rows back," Draco said, pointing in that direction. "I can lead you back."
"Please. They would have tainted her. They're leaking and oozing nastiness and I want to check her."
"I sort of caused a panic when I introduced myself," Draco said hesitantly. Xander gave him a long look. "Sorry!"
"Not an issue. I have a reputation and my name is pretty well known." He followed them back that way. "Stay with me and together this time," he ordered impatiently.
"Yes, Alex," they chimed in unison. They smirked at each other.
"Harry and I stayed together," Ron added.
"You were ignoring me, I left before I kicked your bums," Draco informed him curtly. He led the way down a side path he had taken when he had gotten lost. This 'finding' stuff was rather fun. He walked them into the section. "The pale purple tent had them."
"Thanks. Hold this." He walked that way, making what few people who had returned hide again. "Not here for you at the moment," he assured them. He tapped on the tent frame before walking in. The woman squealed. "I've come to make sure it didn't taint you. My consort said you acted wisely to get rid of the books." She nodded quickly. "Hold out your hand. It will not hurt." She held out a shaking hand so he clasped it, staring into her eyes as he felt her aura. Then he smiled. "You will be fine. Have your priest rebless you and rebaptize you if you can find one who will. You will be fine." She nodded and withdrew her hand. "I thank you and assure you that they will find themselves in protective custody. Are there other such things I should look at?"
"There are," she whispered, pointing a shaking finger. "Across the way in the green tent that smells. They do bad things to creatures."
"Thank you, m'lady. Be safe and find a priest soon." He walked out, heading that way with the boys. He tapped before walking in, stopping the drug sales going on. "Hello." He grinned. "Alex Dumass." The seller squeaked and backed against the back of his tent. "I was told to come here and see what sort of evil you were doing with your clients. Is it something I need to deal with?"
"No," he breathed. "They come here of their own will. I do nothing with them. A few have been taken. There is something feeding on my clients."
"They are drugged up," he pointed out gently.
The man swallowed. "It is a girl, young, pretty, brunette."
"A slayer?" The dealer nodded quickly. "I cannot interfere with her duties. I know of them and have helped a few of them." The dealer's face fell. "Anything else?" He shook his head and his grunt couldn't quite cover the sound of a thin scream. "Who was that?"
"She is no concern of yours," he said more firmly, standing. "She is mine by rights. She agreed."
"Yes, but she has the right to leave if she doesn't like you," Draco told him. "It's a veela, I can feel her." He followed the screaming, finding the cage she was shackled in. "Calm yourself," he ordered, exerting his nature. She went silent, staring at him. "I'm Draco Malfoy-Dumass, son of Narcissa and cousin to Emilia." She let out a squeak, she was in the more demonic form so she couldn't speak. "I will free you if you tell me you have broken your contract with him."
She changed back. "You are a consort veela?"
"Half," he admitted. "My consort is Alex Dumass."
She hissed. "You consort with one who kills us?"
"He doesn't kill us, he kills demons when they cause trouble. Big difference," he pointed out, crossing his arms. "Have you ended your contract with him? Are you willingly breaking it?"
"I am," she agreed. "Let me out."
"Fine." He pulled his wand and opened the locks, then opened the chains holding her against one of the walls. "There, you're free. We are heading back to Paris for a few hours, we can take you back to the Hall." She relaxed. "Do not charm the ones with me. Please, they'll get cranky otherwise and I'll have to deal with them like that for days." He led the way back out after looking around the room. "Alex, there's other demons chained up back there. He's selling them or killing them I'd guess."
"Both," she said, sneering at the man. "You will not have me. I have no trust and no faith in you. Our deal is off."
"Next time you come back, it'll cost you more," he said bitterly. "Take her and go. The rest are no business of yours."
Xander hauled him closer, looking into his eyes. "They are if they're harmless demons," he said coldly. "If I have to free them all and take you out, I will. I do know what you are. It was very apparent." The dealer whimpered and went limp, making Xander drop him. "Or should I call the Slayer here?"
Harry looked in the back room, then at Xander. "Mostly harmless, Alex. All of them look in bad shape."
"Who is the local slayer?" Ron asked. "Would she be ethical or not?"
"I have no idea," Xander admitted. He looked at the man on the floor, then sneered. "Fine, let's do this my way. My will be done. Mom?" he yelled. His mother appeared in a dull flash. "Look in the back room. We wanted your opinion on the legality of kicking his ass."
She lifted the curtain and looked, then glared at the man, making him cry. "Let me, my son," she said coolly. "We owe him." She looked at Draco. "You do better than I had hoped. Thank you, son-in-law."
"He believes we are not the same," the veela sneered.
"Honey, we're not the same," Xander's natural mother sneered back. "I'm a demon of a higher order. Would you like me to make sure she gets back to the hall, son?"
"If you want," Draco agreed. "I promised to help her so I will if she wishes." The woman shook her head, getting away from him. "Then we'll be going. We've got some cursed books to deal with. We'll be in the city for a bit longer if you need us."
Harry's head suddenly came up and he tracked a scent he could feel and smell. He touched the back wall, finding the catch to open the doors instinctively. "Oh, shit," he said, backing away quickly. "I don't want to know."
Xander's mother looked, then glared at the dealer again. She smiled at the boys. "Leave, please. Before my Lord and Master gets here. You know he's got it in for you, dear one." She kissed Xander on the cheek and patted Draco on the back, watching as they left. Then she drew a symbol in the air. "Lord, I've found the person with the symbiotic drugs."
The Lord of All Demons appeared in a bright flash, and the dealer and the veela both went to their knees to offer their obeisances. "What is the stink of mortals?"
"My son, Lord," Alex's mother said with a fond smile. "Plus his consort. He freed that one," she said, flicking a finger at the veela on the floor. "I offered to take her to France, to their ancestral hall, so he wouldn't have to deal with her."
"That is fine. You have done well, my beloved. You deserve a reward." He stroked her cheek. "What is in the back room?"
"Many injured of the lower classes, those born differently, Lord," she said quietly. "My son wanted to know how to best handle this without involving this man's Slayer."
"That's fine," he agreed. "Take her and leave. He and I shall...talk," he said with a sneer for the man. Xander's mother disappeared with the veela as fast as possible. She didn't want to even witness that discussion. "So, you muddy your calling and harm those which are mine?" he asked dryly. "Even though you are now one of mine by right, vampire?" The dealer whimpered.
Xander walked the boys into the local Gringott's branch and back past the main cashiers' floor. He tapped on a door he could see the symbols for 'curse breakers' on and entered at the grunt. "Morning," he said cheerfully. "Dumass. We were just handed some nastiness that needs to be protected from everyone and everything." The goblin gave him a long look so he grinned. "Yes, the rumors are true."
"So I can see," he said bitterly. "You ask no fees?"
"No, they need to be hidden," Ron told him. "They're oozing crud." He handed over the wrapped parcel. "We don't want a fee for taking them away from those who would release whatever is in two of them."
"The third book holds the knowledge to trap them according to the woman who gave them to me," Draco told him.
"She's fine, only needs reblessed," Alex told him. "I already checked."
"Very well then," the goblin agreed. "What are they? Books with trapped creatures?" Draco nodded. "Two and one with the knowledge to trap, correct?" Draco nodded. "Where is it?"
"In the center of the two, as she always put them. She was wandless, not local, and scared to death of them."
"That shows sense for a muggle," the goblin noted dryly. "Thank you. We will send these to the new storehouse in Tahiti."
"You'll need somewhere like Sweden," Xander warned. "They literally ooze magic and nastiness to our senses. Someone will try for them. They're higher demons at the least."
"Very well. Do you want to take them there?"
Xander grimaced. "I've been there once," he whined. "Do I have to?" The goblin burst out laughing. "Let Harry and Ron take it. They're my apprentices. Draco and I will wait for you. Unless you want to go too, Draco?"
"No, that's fine with me. I do most of the research," Draco said fondly. "Let them do the dangerous stuff. I'll stay where I won't get dirty."
"Wimp," Ron taunted.
"Ron," Xander warned. "You've known Draco how long and how well?"
"Point," he said bitterly. "Fine, we'll take the books up to Sweden. How do we get there?"
"There's a portkey available for emergency transport," the goblin assured him. "This way, boys. Thank you, Cursebreaker Dumass. Should I make a note you're available?"
"Nope, we're on vacation," Xander said fondly. "I just got done with another year of school. Again." He saluted and drug Draco off and out to eat. "Have fun, boys."
"Gee, thanks," Harry called, waving at them. He looked at Ron. "How did we get suckered into the nasty jobs?"
"You're apprentices," the goblin assured him.
"Oh, that's right," Ron agreed dryly, giving his best friend an odd look. "Just think, you could have stayed at camp this weekend."
"Sorry, but I missed hearing you snore from the next bed," Harry said as he followed the goblin. "It's odd after sharing a room with you for so long. Oliver doesn't snore or mumble."
"Are you two involved?"
"No, we were roomies at school," Ron said with a grin. "I like girls, mate."
"That's a nice thing in most cultures," the goblin said. He handed over the sheet of paper. "Both of you take hold. I'll set it off." They took hold, Harry taking the books back. "Ready?" They nodded so he set it off, watching as they disappeared. "I hope the people in Sweden aren't too full."
Harry landed and looked at Ron, holding the books firmly against his chest. He helped Ron up off the floor, looking around the cavern they were in. "Hello?" he called quietly, wincing as it echoed.
"We're full," a goblin called back, coming out with a light. "Why are you here?"
Ron pointed at the bundle of books. "They've got stuff trapped in them and they're leaking. We're Dumass' apprentices."
The goblin blinked at them. "He's back to work?"
"As a freelance," Harry agreed. He held out the books. "They really are oozing. They're in there with the book containing the knowledge on how to keep them trapped."
"Very well. Come this way. We may have a storage container open." He led them to the office, which was a bit chilly. He nodded at his superior. "Dumass sent them." He dropped his quill and stood up, looking at the boys, eyes open wide. "Books with trapped spirits."
"Demonic at the least," Harry offered. "Two books with the book to keep them trapped in between."
The goblin cast a small charm on the bundle and shuddered. "That is too high risk, even for this facility," he offered. "Come, I will send you to Siberia. They are more guarded than even we are." He wrote out a note and gave it to Ron. "Give this to the goblin who comes out to protest. He only speaks Russian but that is in his native language." Ron nodded. "We thank you for turning these over."
"They were handed to Alex's consort when he was looking for work journals," Ron told him conversationally as they were led back to the entry point. "Another portkey?"
"Yes, it is the only way in. They will send you back here and we will send you back to where you came from."
"Brazil," Harry told him. "We were in the market. Never a dull moment," he said with a grin.
"Not with Dumass around," the first goblin agreed dryly. "We've seen him a few times, especially when we've had things start to work in concert."
"That's okay, I'm part of the reason why we found out Stonehenge had been broken into," Ron told him. They gaped at him and he nodded. "They got most of it back, but there's a hunt for the last few things."
"We're going to get an update from Paris," the boss said lightly. "Good trip and stay warm." He activated the portkey, sending them on. He looked at his minion. "They're very strong."
"Dumass would only pick someone who could keep up with his life," the minion pointed out. "Look at what he gets into. Things like that fall into his lap. I'm assuming his great- nephew would be the same."
"Potter," he said smugly. "It was all over the recent news." He went to do the update from the main office. He was bored anyway.
"Well," he said, looking at the spot they had left from. "Very interesting."
Ron and Harry landed, this time on top of each other and the books. "Ow," Ron complained as he stood up, helping Harry up this time. "Sharp elbows, Harry?"
"Sorry, Ron," he said with a grin. "I need to eat more." They looked at the person walking their way and Ron handed over the note.
The man looked stunned and shouted something, handing over the note. He bowed slightly to them. "I am Cursebreaker Tomerion," he said in broken English. "You are Weasley and Potter?" They nodded. "You have books?"
"Three," Harry said, patting the bundle. "Two stuffed with something and one with the key holding them in check."
"Thank you for finding such. Alex always did find the worst things," the cursebreaker said fondly. "Saves me from doing so." He bowed slightly again, then looked at the goblin, who grumbled something. "He said this is more dangerous than we have room for."
"Sweden said the same thing," Ron told him.
"Ah." Tomerion nodded quickly. "Goblin Tghrsth said that it must go to Antarctic facility. Said here is too dangerous. Have had a few attempts."
"Good to know," Ron agreed. "Geneva did too. So did Stonehenge." The goblin looked at him so Tomerion translated for him. The goblin babbled something angrily. "Is he mad at us?"
"No. He says that they dishonor him by keeping him here when he could have kept them safe. Come, I will escort you. Have you cloaks?"
Harry shook his head. "We were on vacation in Rio."
"That is fine. We will have to come here anyway, borrow some," he said, handing over the cloaks. "Come, we go." He changed the portkey and took them with him to the Antarctic facility. "We are here."
"Brrrr," Ron said with a shiver. "You weren't kidding, it's freezing down here, man."
"It's about sixty below outside, Celsius," a goblin said as he walked up to them. "What is it?"
"Books stuffed with things," Harry said. "Two of them and one with the knowledge to trap and keep them." He handed over the package. "You're the third spot."
"You don't get much more secure than down here," the goblin noted. He cast a charm on the books and nodded. "Yes, this is the right place for this. We thank you. Thank Alex for us too. How is he?"
"Nineteen, horny, and married," Ron said with a grin. "You are?"
"I am Delsian. He'll remember me," he said fondly, winking at him. "Thank you, Tomerion. Have a safe trip back. Assure that one in Siberia that I will bury it in the ice myself." Tomerion nodded and took the boys back, giving them a smile as he took the cloaks and sent them back to Sweden, who sent them back to Brazil.
Ron walked out of the back room past the goblin. "It went to the Antarctic," he told him. The goblin's eyes went wide. "Thanks for that."
"You are quite welcome. Thank you for turning them in." He got up to show them out, escorting them to the doors. "Be safe and many prosperous hunts," he said in parting.
"May all your transactions bring great profit," Ron said in badly accented goblin, making that one laugh. "I'm still learning," he said with a grin. "I'm trying."
"You try very well," he assured him. "Go, have fun. Get warm on the beach with many women." He went back inside.
Harry looked at Ron. "That's not a bad idea."
"It's not," Ron agreed. "Race ya?" He took off.
"Cheater!" he called, racing after him. "You should have let me have the head start, Ron, you run faster."
"This way all the girls give me hot looks first," he taunted as he jogged out, grinning at everyone. "We're heading to the beach," he told one shocked looking woman.
"We're on vacation," Harry said happily as he raced past her. He didn't care what the papers said.
Alex looked up as their suite's door opened, grinning at the boys. "Have fun in Sweden with the paperwork?"
"We ended up in Antarctica," Harry said as he closed the door behind himself. "Delisan said hi."
"Delisan." Alex sat up. "What is he doing working in a storage facility?"
Ron shrugged. "He said he'd be burying the books himself in the ice."
"Bullshit," Xander said as he stood up. "They don't put them directly in the ice. They put them in lockboxes." He went to the fireplace and connected them to the floo, sitting down in front of it to call his home Goblin coordinator. "Hey, it's me. We just handed over some stuff, which I sent with my apprentices. Since when has Delsian been in charge of Antarctica?"
The goblin gave him a long look, then looked behind himself for a moment, then looked at him again. "He's not."
"That's what the goblin down there said his name was," Harry offered. "We took it down there. From here in Rio, to Sweden, to Siberia, to there. Tomerion went with us from Siberia to Antarctica."
The goblin nodded once. "Did you fill out forms?" Both boys shook their heads. "Then something is wrong. You would have had many forms to fill out normally."
"The guy in Sweden cast a charm, sent us on with a note for the guy in Siberia, who sent us down there," Harry offered.
"Then they would have notes filed," the goblin told him. "The end facility still would have had papers for you to fill out. The others may have had you sign things but it is not necessary." He looked at Alex. "Stay on alert." He disappeared.
Xander stood up. "Don't tell Draco," he hissed, shaking his head. "He'll throw another fit."
"Of course he will," Ron agreed with a grin. "This isn't the vacation either of us wanted to have."
"Me either," Xander agreed dryly, going back to his seat. "Did the run feel good, boys?"
"Yup," Harry agreed, flopping down on the couch. "Anything else coming up?"
"Not yet," Xander noted. "Go nap or play."
"Thanks, Alex," Ron said, dragging Harry up and into the room they shared. "I knew there was a reason he wanted us to go."
"The guy in Sweden said he'd been there a few times, so he probably wanted to avoid it and give us experience in it," Harry agreed. He laid down on his bed. "How's Dawnie?"
"Doin' fine. She just got done with her usual shoe shopping trip. Aunt Cordy got the other Cordy over to help her shop for school clothes. Her robes are apparently very neat." He laid down facing Harry. "How's camp?"
"Kinda boring. I'm doing all these drills that are really simplistic. Then again, I'm helping retrain my backup seeker too," Harry noted. "He's worse than Ravenclaw's new one was last year." Ron grimaced. "Really. Draco plays much better."
"Suggest it. He's been bored recently," Ron offered.
"Alex would kill me, Ron."
"Maybe, maybe not. Draco doesn't do that much at the moment. He's doing a lot of research but a lot more wandering around at times too. Maybe he'd like to train as a backup."
"Maybe. I know we traded to get him and a new beater. He was part of the deal." Harry grimaced. "The beater's pretty good. Big, huge bear of a guy. Russian too. He's exactly what I would think of when I think Russian." Ron grinned at that. "He's a crap cook though. We all fixed something for dinner and he spices everything very liberally."
"I guess that would keep you warm in that cold country," Ron pointed out.
"I guess," Harry agreed. "Maybe I should suggest it to Draco. We're a pretty easy going lot, but we're determined and fanatical. You thought Oliver was bad, this new beater is ten times worse. He studies the stat sheets and rewatches games over and over again. He's got stats and star player's pictures on his wall so he can watch them when he's in bed. Even Ollie's in awe of how frantic he is."
Ron snickered. "I'm sure he could make Dawn see it's more than a game."
"Maybe. If anyone could, those two could. He shook Oliver's hand, recited his stats with a smile, and said he was pleased to guard someone like him. That he had been wasted before."
Ron burst out in giggles. "Good on him! Oliver's a good keeper. One of the best probably."
"I think so and so does Bear. That's what we call him." He grinned at Ron. "He wanted to meet you."
"I'll walk you back into the camp," Ron promised. "If I'm not injured from this latest crap."
"Sure, Ron. I'd welcome it," Harry agreed with a grin. Someone knocked on their door. "We're still dressed." Draco walked in, giving them odd looks. "Hey, Ron suggested you might want to think about trying out for at least a backup spot on a team."
"I can't get that far from Alex," he pointed out bitterly.
"If you want to play quidditch, I'll be a supportive spouse," Xander called from the living room. "Go for it. Ron and I will travel back and forth for the games and work."
Draco looked out at him. "You're serious?" His spouse gave him a smile and a nod. "You wouldn't mind?"
"No. You're good, and you need to find out if only to soothe yourself. Go for the big tryout." Draco slumped and nodded. "If you want, I won't force you to, Draco." He held up a hand and his mate came over to sit in his lap, getting a cuddle. "I would never force you to do anything, Draco, but I want you to be happy. If quidditch makes you happier than curse breaking and research then go for it. You should. You and Harry both need to get it out of your system. I'll be back for as many of the games as possible." He pinched him. "It's been a year, Draco, we can widen the leash a bit. It'll be uncomfortable but I'd give you a way to find me always, even if I'm not in the country."
"I'll consider it," he agreed, resting his head on his mate's shoulder. "What if I stayed?" he asked quietly.
"Then you're my favorite researcher and my only bed partner," Xander said simply. "I would never give you up, Draco, and if you try to leave me I'm going to get pissed and fight for you." He gave him a squeeze. "I value you just as much as I do Harry and Ron. Got it?" He looked up, giving him a long look before nodding. "Good. I want you to stay around and help me but I'll let you go play quidditch if I have to." He gave him a gentle kiss. "Now, weren't you resting so I could pounce you tonight?" Draco nodded, starting to look smug. "Whatever would you do without constant sex?"
"Be able to sit on my broomstick without wincing?" he suggested lightly.
Xander kissed him. "I want you for more than your skills, Draco, get that out of your mind right now," he said against his lips. "I want all of you, not just the slutty and pretty parts. I even like your funny left little toe."
"I'm perfect, even that toe," he said firmly. "There is nothing on me that isn't perfect."
"Hmm, I should investigate that," Xander agreed with a smirk and a wink. "Unless you want to see if you can wait. I am addicting and it's time for your next fix, Draco."
"Yes, but you're more addicted than I am," he said smugly. "If I'm an addict, you're so addicted you always crave my taste and touch."
"Oh, I do," Xander admitted. "Each and every minute of each and every day." He gave him another kiss then put him gently off his lap. "Go rest. I'm holding myself down to two tastes a day at the moment. Otherwise you'd never get out of bed."
"How is that different from now?" Ron asked from the doorway to his bedroom. "Are we going to be doing anything tonight? We were going to sleep, finally. We've done four countries today."
"Sure, go take a nap, Ron. If something happens I'm sure someone will find a way to wake us up." He grinned at him. "Tomorrow, we're going over Goblin again. I got told you tried very hard, but your pronunciation still stunk. You've got to be able to speak it and read it because half the forms are in it and only two-thirds of all goblins speak English."
"We ran into one earlier that only spoke Russian."
"I've met him," Xander admitted. "We communicated via pantomime. He was pretty cool about it though. He knows he's behind the rest of them. Go nap." Ron nodded, closing his door so he could lie down. Xander smirked at Draco. "You too. Go nap. I'll be in soon to make your body beg and howl for my touch."
"Sure you will, as long as we don't get called out."
"Siberia and Antarctica are like Stonehenge, only those certain cursebreakers get called to those sites. Tomerion is probably going to be the one investigating since he was there." He leered at his mate. "That means I'm all yours."
"Mine all mine?" Draco teased. Xander nodded, smirking at him. "Then come pleasure me, my love slave. I'm not in the least bit tired." Xander whooped as he lunged for his mate so he could carry him into the bedroom. He even remembered to lock the door so Ron and Harry couldn't walk in and complain about the noise. Again. Like they had for the last two nights.
In their bedroom, Ron and Harry shared a look, then burst out into giggles. Listening to those two was usually really funny. Alex called Draco all sorts of pet names in the bedroom and Draco hardly ever got to complain about them.
Fred Weasley's head snapped up and he grinned at his big brother, who was over to help them with the pre-school rush even though he was on vacation, as a message came across his tattoo. "Hey, Charlie?" Charlie gave him a look and a grin. "Ron wanted to know what to do about the dragon that is presently following him. It's a baby he said, steamer but not putting out too much, and it's red."
"Red. He said they're in R io if that helps. Said they were walking through the muggle marketplace again and one toddled out to him and tried to eat him, and now it's stalking him."
Charlie looked up and silently asked for patience for his youngest brother. "His mentor isn't around?"
"No, apparently he and Potter are out alone for the moment. They were sent to get breakfast and got lost."
"Can I kill the twit?" Tipsy asked as she came out of the back. "He woke me up. Severus is laughing his ass off, I can feel it. So is the Prof." They both jumped as something exploded. "George?" she called.
"Present. It worked." He came out of the back, his face was smudged with smoke and his hair was standing on end. "It worked quite well," he admitted with a grin. "What's wrong with Ronnikins now?"
"Being stalked by a baby dragon through a muggle marketplace."
"Wonderful, only Ron could manage that one," George agreed. They all looked at Charlie. "Got any good advice?"
"Get the dragon away from the muggles?"
"Harry's laughing about some of the muggles thinking it's a cute toy robot the guys are playing with. I'm wide open at the moment," she said bitterly. "They're leading it back to the wizarding section they found yesterday. Ron wanted to know if he could pick it up safely?" Charlie shook his head with a grimace.
"Oh, Holy Mother of Merlin," Fred hissed. "He thinks it's impressed. It's trying to suckle his ankle."
Charlie groaned and put his head down on the counter. "Why are we related to Ron?"
"I have no idea," George said dryly. His wife suddenly winced so he stroked her stomach, crooning at their newest offspring. "It's all right, we won't let Ron watch you without supervision," he assured them. "You won't be tormented or changed funny by Ron." Tipsy swatted him. "Got anything to tell him?"
"Yeah, don't mother it," Charlie said. "It's probably too late, but still! He should know better!"
"Harry just made a joke about it being the only grandchild your mother was getting from Ron," Tipsy told him. "I sent it to Alex, he's rolling around laughing and Draco feels slightly worried."
"Why are you so open?" Fred asked. "You weren't last time."
"I was so! This time it's just those four." She flicked a finger in the direction of Dumass Manor. "The Prof just called to tell them to get Ron out of sight with the dragon."
"No! Keeping a dragon is illegal!"
"Yay, it's a baby and it's stuck on him," Tipsy complained. She decided to do the practical thing, going to call Arthur. "Hey, dad." He smiled at her. "Just got a heads-up from Ron. He had a baby dragon stalk him around a muggle market in Rio." Arthur's mouth opened and she held up a finger with a grin. "He's asking for help, but they're around muggles and they think the baby's already impressed or something. Harry was thinking it'd make a wonderful grandchild for you."
"If Charlie can't bring home dragons as grandchildren, neither can Ron," Arthur assured her. "Molly won't stand for them steaming or burning things. Let me call Species." His head disappeared and he tossed some more floo powder into the brazier next to him. "Ah, Helen," he said happily. "Ron ran into another dragon. This time it's a baby, it was in a muggle market, and it's been following him around."
"Bloody hell! He impressed it!"
"Not intentionally. I know Ron and he's got a healthy respect for dragons. They're in Rio, who should I tell them to go to?"
"Rio? Brazil?" He nodded. "There's not much down there, but they do have a species department. The problem is that they're not illegal to keep or kill down there. All of Central and South America is really lax on dragon rules. Let me talk to my boss, he might know someone down there personally. Hold on." She put him on hold and called out to her boss. "Boss?" She came out of the office, giving her minion an odd look. "Ron Weasley just called his dad in a round-bout way. He's in Rio, in a muggle market, and he's had a baby dragon follow him around."
The boss blinked a few times, then shook her head. "Baby?" She nodded. "We're sure it's a baby?"
Alex's head appeared in another floo. "Oh, good, it looks like you've already heard about Ron. Yes, it's impressed. It's a hatchling and it wanted him as its first food. He's panicking, doesn't want to keep it, but we have to find a way to get it out of the market and that means picking it up."
"Could we transfer it to Hagrid?" Helen suggested.
"Keeping a dragon is illegal," the boss said automatically.
"Yeah, but that's a school," Helen reminded her. "It would be for educational purposes and you *know* Hagrid's always wanted a dragon. I heard he nearly had one but Dumbledore made him send it to Charlie."
"All right. Dumass, bring the dragon and Ron back with you. I want you both in this office with it within an hour of landing back on your native soil."
"That means we'll have to pick it up," Alex reminded her.
"I know. It sounds like it's too late anyway. Just bring it here and we'll figure it out. Isn't Charlie around here at the moment?"
"He's on vacation and this makes the second thing we would have called him about," Alex said with a small grimace. "I hate doing it to the guy."
"Yeah, but he's a Weasley so he'll relax about it eventually," Helen said dryly. "How long should that be? So we can find the poor thing food."
"It takes about an hour and a half to apparate from here. So maybe three at the most. Thanks, loves." He hung up and looked at the kids. "Okay, Draco, go pack." Draco grimaced but nodded. "Harry, Ron can take you back to camp after we get this settled with the dragon. I want you and Draco to head back to the house. Tell Dawn what's going on and Aunt Cordy to tell her to expect anything at the moment. It's a baby and she's always liked baby anythings." Harry nodded, grinning at him. " Good. Ron, apologize for worrying Charlie, and let's head up now. The other two can follow."
"Yes, Alex," he said, picking up the beast. "Just a bit more and you can eat," he crooned. "My big brother will have a lot of food for you, yes he will," he said, nuzzling the dragon like a mother would. He and Alex apparated, thinking of the Ministry.
Harry looked at Draco when he chuckled. "What?"
"Is there some syndrome that's labeled 'Only Harry or Ron Could Do This'? I've always wondered that."
"Some days I wonder that myself," Harry admitted. "Come on, I'll help you pack. I'll do mine and Ron's stuff since Alex had more." They sent themselves back to the hotel suite, and had to obliviate the housekeeper cleaning their rooms, but they got checked out and on their way home fairly quickly. Harry landed first, and walked inside. "We're back, Ron and Alex are at the Ministry with the baby dragon that tried to eat him," he called.
Dawn and Aunt Cordy both came out of the library and gave him a long look. "What?" Dawn asked.
Draco walked in. "Ron was found and adopted by a baby dragon in a muggle marketplace. It tried to eat him, and since it couldn't it was impressed enough to want to keep its new human pet. They're at the Ministry."
"Alex thinks it just hatched and Ron found egg shards still in its scales. It's a pretty little steamer, bright red."
Aunt Cordy gave them a look. "How do you and Ron do things like this, Harry?" she asked finally.
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. How does Alex?"
"Good point," she muttered, heading into the kitchen. "I'll wait to hear if it's coming back before laying out some fresh meat. Dawn, go back to your herbology lesson please."
"Sure. Can I see the dragon?"
"Of course. It's a beautiful little thing," Draco assured her. "Perfectly conformed. Bright red. Only puts out a bit of steam now and then. I think they're trying to allow Hagrid to keep it."
"That would be a nice thing for him," Harry agreed. He carried his and Ron's bags up to their room, dropping them onto their beds. He looked at the house elf that came in. "Don't worry about it, we can unpack." It looked hurt so he sighed and relented. "If you're that bored. Ron's brown leathers need some stain treatment," he offered. She nodded and opened Ron's bag to put everything in the wash. "Thanks, Me."
"Welcome, Mr. Harry." She grinned at him. "Dragon?"
"Yup, Ron was taken as the pet of a baby dragon because it couldn't eat him. Thinks it's his mum or something."
"He takes good care of babies," she assured him. Once she was done on Ron's bag, she turned to his and pulled everything out to put it into the wash as well. All boys were dirty and nasty things, they always needed to be cleaned up after. That's why she liked them so much.
Harry went down to help Dawn with her lessons, finding Draco already in there. "Herbology?"
"Starting with water bladders," Draco agreed.
"I liked those lessons," he said happily, sitting down to help.
Alex and Ron appeared and the guards gave them shocked looks. "They told us to bring the dragon that adopted him," he said dryly. "We had been surrounded by muggles with the baby dragon following him."
"Go right up. Do you need to know where Species is and can I register your wands?" the guard asked. They handed over their main wands and he registered them. "The others?"
"I've got three and Ron's got two," Alex admitted. "You really want to do all of them? I promise not to do more than leer at any of the pretty girls. My consort would kick my ass."
"Go," he said, handing over a glowing ball of light to lead them. Once they were safely in the lifts he shook his head. "How do cursebreakers get into such things?"
Back at the shop, Bill had finally made it out of bed and had come over to help and to leave their mother some peace and quiet so she didn't have to fuss over him. "What's going on?" he asked as he walked in.
"A baby dragon decided to take Ron as a pet," Fred told him with a grin.
"He's a cursebreaker by nature," Bill said happily. Charlie gave him an odd look. "I had a tainted unicorn that tried to take me home and mate with me. Cursebreakers are great because trouble calls out to us stronger than any substance we have an affinity for."
Tipsy looked at him. "Then I suppose Harry and Ron will make *excellent* cursebreakers," she said dryly. He grinned and nodded. "They also found out last night that the Antarctic facility wasn't being used correctly. They had to drop off some stuffed books and didn't have to fill out paperwork?"
"Then I'm equally sure that the Specialists will have one hell of a cold day," he said cheerfully. "Makes me glad I turned down that job." He poured himself a mug of tea then came over to work a register. "There, you go find Ron and beat him for me," Bill said.
Charlie gave him a look. "They got ordered to come up to the species department. They're thinking Hagrid might be able to keep this one."
"I'm sure it'll make a wonderful present for Dawn and she'll watch over it while they're at school," Tipsy said, smirking at the older brothers. "Have the two dimbulbs told you that I'm carrying twins?" They broke out in identical grins and patted her on the stomach. "Thanks, really. Don't beat them for me."
"You're twins, they're twins, feel lucky you're not carrying a set for each one," Bill said dryly.
"Ron said the same thing the first time," George said. "Hands off the wife and my kids. We'll let the family babysit, but only if someone watches Ron while he does it."
"Being in trouble is the natural habitat of cursebreakers," Bill assured him. "I almost thought you two would be joining me."
"I'd never stand that much dirt," Tipsy assured him.
Bill chuckled. "Good to know, Tipsy. They could be doing some underwater stuff though."
"I'd hate living on a boat even more. I can't imagine morning sickness on a boat since I get boat sickness too." She took Bill's tea to sip, adding a good spoonful of honey to it. "Better," she said with a smile. He gave her a tolerant look and headed into the kitchen. "Can you bring me some of the carrot sticks too?" she called after him.
"Sure, Tipsy. Where are the first two?"
"Sleeping, let them," the trio said in unison.
Charlie and Bill both giggled at that. "Sure," Charlie agreed. "We'll play with them later. It'll be a nice change from dragons."
Tipsy gave him a look. "You've never taken care of twins, have you?" she said with a grin, patting him on the side of the face. "Remember, they have to wear clothes, they cannot run down the alley, and we have leashes for when you want to take them outside to play. Even at your Mum's." He looked confused.
"It's necessary. Joxer wanted to live with the garden gnomes," Fred said.
"Incredibly smart of her of course," George agreed. "My daughter totally."
"She's mine," Fred reminded him. "Iolaus is your boy because he likes the mud."
"Guys, no fighting. There's no way to tell which one is which since you're identical twins." She took another sip of her tea, taking the carrot sticks when they were offered. "Thanks, Bill. Guys, doesn't this mean we can work in the lab?" The twins let out an evil chuckle as they led her back there.
Charlie pointed at an empty shelf. "That one's reserved for whatever they create during this time."
"It'll be great," Bill assured him. "They've got two great minds between them. Hers and the one the twins share."
Charlie burst out laughing. "You are so bad," he chided. He looked down when he felt little arms go around his legs. "Hello, now. Are you up, Joxer?" He picked her up and took off his t-shirt to put on her. "There, now you're even dressed." She beamed at him and gave him another hug. "So, you're mobile now. Are you liking it?" She giggled and pinched him on the nose. "Thanks, love." He kissed her on the forehead, using his wand to open the door since someone had knocked. "Sorry, we lost track of time. The twins are creating more stuff with their wife." The kids streaming in cheered.
"Hey, she's wearing clothes, I'm impressed with your abilities," Luna said lightly. "Good morning, Joxer. How are we this morning?" Joxer gave out a maniacal giggle. "Ah, that's the baby Strife loved." She patted her on the head. "Any word on new Ron troubles?"
"A baby dragon decided to take him as a pet. They're in the species department," Bill told her. "How are your demons?"
"Wesley's not a demon yet," she said primly. "Otherwise, Ethan is wonderful." She smirked at him. "Even my Da's gotten used to him now. Thinks he's wonderful for making me do my homework and giving me incentive. Speaking of, he gave me something for the twins."
"Guys?" Bill called. Fred came out of the lab. "Luna has presents for you."
Luna handed over a small vial. "Incubus' blood. From one born." Fred gaped at her and she grinned. "Ethan likes pranks."
"Thank him for us," he said with a bright grin as he took it. "Has he talked to Snape yet? Seen what he can change with him?"
"No, he said that would be business and he can't imagine Professor Snape as a demon or as a minion," she said honestly. "He said I'm enough of one." She waved at Joxer then skipped out.
Fred looked at his little girl. "Don't grow up like that one," he pleaded. He kissed her on the forehead. "You behave and get dressed in real clothes sometime soon so Uncle Charlie can have his shirt back. Going with only one shirt might make him chilly." She let out another wicked chuckle. "Yes, that's my girl," he praised happily. He went back into the workshop. "Joxer has that wicked chuckle down pat now," he said proudly. He held up the vial. "Incubus blood? From one born?"
Tipsy snatched it and took it over to her newest treat. "Thanks. I needed this. I was going to ask Alex if he could get me some." She grinned at them as she let a few drops out, then sealed the vial with wax. It was very hard to get blood from an incubus. They weren't the most willing to subjects about giving things. Not even pubic hairs. The whole lot of them shaved apparently.
The twins shared a smug look. Even if her new treat was used on them, they'd love it because their woman created it.
Dawn walked into the kitchen later that night, hugging her boyfriend. The dragon let out a complaining noise. "Oh, you hush," she cooed, scratching it gently. "Remember, he's not your Da, I'm taking you to your Da in a few days. We're just sitters." The baby cheeped and ate another piece of meat. "Good boy dragon," she cooed.
"Dawn," Alex complained.
"Well, it's cute! It's a baby!" she complained.
"A baby that can eat your puppy," Ron snorted. "Where is he?"
"Safely helping Harry nap." She beamed at him. "Isn't he supposed to be back tonight?"
"Oops, yeah. Thanks, love." He gave her a long kiss then walked away, leaving her with the dragon. "Harry, come on, we've got to take you back, mate."
Dawn smiled at the baby, petting it gently while it ate another piece of meat. "Good boy dragon," she assured him. "You just eat as much as your little tummy can hold."
Alex shook his head as he stood up. "Remember, it is still a dragon, Dawn." He went to his former study to grab a book. It was now an auxiliary library and he had a few books in here he had been meaning to read. Midnight came in and settled in with him, giving him a playful bark and an adoring look for being his body pillow. "Sure, guy, you nap too. Stay away from the dragon though. It's young but it can still hurt you and we don't want you hurt." He stroked him gently. "Good boy, Midnight." Midnight groaned and moved his head so the long fingers could hit just the perfect spots.
Ron walked Harry back to the gate of the training camp, smiling at the coaches waiting. "Sorry. We had a bit of a problem earlier with a dragon."
"Again? I thought he was going for curse breaking, not dragon handling," the head coach complained. "Are you done?"
"Quite," Harry agreed with a grin. "One decided to adopt Ron. It's a hatchling." Both coaches whimpered. "I was standing right next to him too."
"Thank you," the defensive coach told Ron. "We couldn't handle him having a dragon here." He opened the gate. "In you get, Potter. Thank you, Weasley."
"Weasley?" a booming voice said from inside a nearby building. A big bear of a man with red hair came out and hugged Ron across the gate. "Weasley! It is good to meet you."
"Thanks. Harry told me about you," he said with a grin, shaking his hand. "I'm Ron, I was the right Weasley, right?" Bear laughed and nodded, smiling at Harry. "So, are you a fan of Dawn's too or just think I should join Harry as Oliver's backup?"
"You play?" he asked in amazement.
"I'm not great, but I'm okay as a keeper," Ron agreed. "Most of my family plays something or other. The twins played beater at school." The big man beamed at him. "I tell you what, we'll be here for another few days so I'll come up to watch a practice tomorrow?" he asked the coaches. "I promise I won't bring the dragon with me."
"Dragon?" Bear asked.
"Yeah, we're late because a hatchling decided to adopt me," Ron admitted, scratching the back of his head. "In the middle of a muggle market too. Followed me around. Fortunately most of the muggles thought it was some new robot." Bear gaped at him, then pounded him on the back with a laugh. "Tomorrow? That way you can rest?"
"Thank you. That would be greatly appreciated." Bear nodded and left, talking with Harry on the way back to the dorms. "You really do know him?"
"He slept in the next bed for seven years, plus he helped me get into all sorts of trouble," Harry assured him. "You didn't hear about the flying car thing? That was his idea." He opened the door. "Hey, Oliver, I'm back," he called. "Ron said hi, he'll be up to watch practice tomorrow. Without the dragon."
Oliver Wood came out of their room, giving him an odd look. "Dragon?"
"Dragon, a baby dragon," Harry assured him with a grin. He sat down, pulling Bear with him to tell them all about it.
At the end, Oliver could only shake his head. "I always knew the whole Weasley clan was trouble incarnate."
"You should meet the twin's twins," Harry said dryly. "Joxer tried to go live with the garden gnomes recently. Dug into one of their burrows and we couldn't find her for about an hour."
"I haven't even seen pictures of them," Oliver pouted. "I had to find out by the tabloids."
Harry winked and went to the floo, calling the shop. "Hey, Tipsy, tell the misbegotten things you married that they forgot to send pictures to their friends, namely their former Captain and the ladies."
"Shit!" Fred yelped. "Can we come through?"
"Sure," Oliver said with a grin. "I hate being so cooped up by the press, but I'd love to see the kiddies. I can come there if you want."
"No, we can bring them as long as we have the baby leashes," Tipsy promised with a smile. "So you're Oliver?" He grinned and nodded. "Cool, step back. My stomach's a bit huge at the moment." He stepped back and she sent herself through with the kid she had been holding, handing him over. "That's Iolaus."
"Ooh, you're a pretty one then," Oliver cooed, making the baby cackle at him. "And a true Weasley it seems." He sat down with the baby, waiting on the other one.
The twins came out with her between them. "Sorry, had to force clothes onto her again," George offered, coming over to sit next to him so he didn't have a lapful of baby. "This is Joxer."
Oliver stroked her cheek. "You're adorable too. You are both so cute little Weasley troubles."
Tipsy sat down with a groan. "You have no idea. Harry, is there some sort of foot....." She trailed off as Bear pushed the coffeetable over. "Thanks," she said with a smile. "It's another set of twins and the last. The doctors promised to tie me off after these two." He grinned at her. "So, you'd be Bear then? Harry told us about you." He nodded and shook her hand gently. "Good to meet you. Like pranks?"
"Quite a lot." He looked at the children. "They are adorable. Do they crawl?"
"All over," Fred assured him. "And they get lost. That's why we've got the baby leash."
"It's probably normal baby stuff. Have you heard from the girls?"
"Not since we sent out announcements of our marriage. I'm guessing they got upset because it was so sudden," Fred said bitterly. "If we had time, we would have waited and invited everyone, but Mum pulled a wand on Tipsy so we did it to protect her."
Tipsy nodded. "She did. Arthur had to have her sedated and drug inside after the ceremony." She stroked her stomach, calming the kid that had just kicked. Iolaus squealed so she took him back, letting him pat the new ones. "Yes, you're a good big brother already, Iolaus." She stroked through his thick red hair. "How you got Percy's hair I'm not sure, but you're a good big brother."
"We know he can't be Percy's, he's got a sense of humor," George said dryly. He handed over the daughter, letting her charm another person. "You're allowed to come play or babysit anytime you want, Oliver," he said earnestly. "We'll even hide you from the press."
Oliver grinned at him. "Thanks, guys. It's not often I get offers like that." He patted the tiny back, making her belch, and him laugh. "Yes, you definitely are a Weasley, little one." He cuddled her until she protested. "I want some of my own some day."
"For that you'd have to date," Tipsy pointed out. "Press or not, Oliver." She smirked at him. "Or I do know some very nice young women. A few my age, a few younger, and one that's Harry and Ron's age."
"She likes seekers," George reminded her.
"That's why she took Harry to last year's Ball," Fred agreed.
"No, she did that as a favor," Harry said smartly. "Otherwise we would have been hounded by the press about who I was taking."
The twins shared a look. "Hey, Oliver," George started.
"Where are you living now?" Fred finished.
"Here since that girl broke into my last place," Oliver admitted sheepishly. "I hate being so insecure but they all try it."
"We've got a nice apartment above the shop," Fred offered.
"Mined walkway with pranks and treats waiting for those who don't have the passcode," George agreed.
"We'd only ask that you pay a bit of rent and agree to babysit now and then," Fred assured him.
"Plus invite us to any really great parties so we can laugh the next morning," George finished.
"We were going to live in it but our wife has a wonderful house that we shamelessly stole as our humble abode," Fred told him with a wicked grin.
"We'd invite you out there but it'd pretty well embarrass you since Fred's a noisy git," George offered.
"Me? I'm not the one who screams bloody murder," Fred retorted, sticking his tongue out. "You've never learned to be quiet when you're alone. Lee used to complain about you all the time."
"Lee used to complain about both of you," Oliver reminded them, grinning at them. "You guys sure? I don't want to be like a house guest."
"No, it'll be all your place," Fred assured him. "Say fifty gold a month? It's a wonderful six room apartments with a huge bathroom and walk-in closets."
Oliver sniffled. "I love you guys," he said, hugging each of them. Joxer pouted at him until he hugged her again. "Yes, I love you too and this means I'll get to see you both more often." He looked around. "Where's the other one?"
Harry snorted and pointed at the door. "He headed that way but the door was closed. The bathroom's in the other direction so I'm guessing he's playing in one of the bunks."
The twins got up to stalk their son, eventually having to look outside on the pitch. They found him crawling across the soft grass and had to run to catch up to him. "Iolaus, you're not old enough to fly yet," George called as he ran.
"Bloody well moves like he's already on a broom," Fred complained as he ran.
Tipsy giggled. "They make very good fathers," she told Oliver, giving him a short hug. "Welcome to the brood. I'll adopt you like some odd stepchild soon enough." She pinched him on the cheek. "Should we send out apartment warming notices?"
"Please, just to the teammates," Oliver agreed, grinning at her. "I like you. You suit them very well."
"Thanks, studly. I think you're cute too." She took Harry's arm and led him back to the room. "Give, I want to hear the whole story with the dragon. Plus the concert and the second attempt at a kidnaping if you know it."
He grinned and sat beside her, head on her stomach to tell her while the kids kicked him.
Oliver grinned at his coaches as they joined them. "The twins are hunting their son. He was crawling for the pitch with a wicked giggle." He hefted Joxer to his shoulder. "They've offered me the apartment above their shop. Totally safe and mined with pranks."
"Fine," the head coach agreed. "We'll still keep someone dealing with the press for you. Where is Potter? We wanted to talk to him about that."
"Telling Tipsy about the dragon," Bear said, looking stunned. "You have problems with the press?"
"All the time," Oliver sighed. "Harry and I are both mobbed whenever we go out. Plus, Harry's got this thing about being honest and saying what he's thinking. That's why the press had the twins being pregnant instead of their wife." He led him back inside. "Potter, coaches."
"Hey," Harry said with a happy grin. "I'm being kicked."
"Good for you, kid. Just one thing? Can you quit talking to the press?"
"I usually don't mind them unless they mob me. Now that they know I'm shy, I run and hide whenever they appear, and they only take pictures from afar I'm pretty okay with them."
"Yeah, but your mouth can get you into so much trouble," Tipsy told him, stroking through his hair for him. "No more speaking before thinking, okay?" He gave her a 'sorry' look with puppy eyes. "I know, it was early and you weren't thinking," she soothed. "Think next time."
"Sorry, Tipsy." He gave her a hug. "I'll be more careful."
"It's not a problem, Harry. We dealt with it. Even those women who got really upset that men were trying to do that instead of them. Though, the Hufflepuff who came up with the formula was really pretty neat." She grinned at him. "You're a good boy most of the time, Harry Potter. Keep it that way." She patted him on the head. "Go back to telling them stories. It'll make them smarter."
"Sure. Where was I?"
"The gross breakfast."
"Oh, yeah. I don't know what that meat was, but it wasn't pig. Not even Ron could eat it and that's saying something."
The coaches shared a look and backed off. Harry was Harry and he would learn, but his family would stick by him. That meant they didn't have to protect him so much.
Fred came in with their giggling son, handing him to Oliver. "Try to keep hold of him while George finds the baby leash," he said. "We found him halfway to the far goals." Oliver looked impressed.
"He's fast," George wheezed. "If the next two are this fast, we may need to start running again." He flopped down into a chair with a sigh, looking around. "Joxer?" Oliver pointed at where she was hugging Bear. "Oh, good," he sighed in relief. "She's faster."
Fred sat down next to Harry. "Unfortunately true, and they're not walking yet." He nudged Harry with his foot. "Having fun?"
"Hell yes," he said with a grin. "Since I can't stand kids for more than a few hours, I'm spoiling yours. I'm sure your mother will appreciate it."
The twins shared a look, then shook their heads. "Mum thinks they're already spoiled," Fred assured him.
"She complains about how spoiled they are, even though they never seem to want anything," George added.
"There are three of you to spoil the two of them with attention," Oliver pointed out. "I'm sure she would have loved to have someone to share all the daily chores with while your dad was at work."
"Probably," George agreed with a grin.
"Mum thinks they're spoiled little brats in the making though," Fred complained.
"Wait until they become two," Harry advised. "I've heard there's a reason they're called the terrible twos."
The twins looked horrified. "And we've got..."
"Another set coming?"
Oliver burst out in giggles. "You're Weasleys, they'll be fine," he promised. He grinned at the coach. "When's a good day to move?"
"Next weekend," Tipsy told him. "That way we can have it cleaned and update the pranks. Plus, the alley will empty for a few days since the kids will be gone."
"That's a great thing," Oliver agreed happily.
The coaches shook their heads, but left them alone. They'd all get up for practice in the morning, even if they were tired and cranky. The Defensive coach heard a quiet slapping noise and picked up the baby, bringing it back with an odd look for Oliver. Then he escaped before the baby could follow him again.
"You two are just so adorable," Oliver cooed. "You can even make the coaches not complain." Harry laughed. "They were coming in for bed check."
"They can complain in the morning," Harry reminded him.
Tipsy looked around. "Where's everyone else?"
"Harry's scared them into the other dorms," Oliver said smugly. "Someone tried to break her boyfriend in so he beat him up like he was an intruder."
"I didn't know he wasn't," Harry defended.
"True, which is all that kept you from being arrested," Oliver reminded him.
Bear let out a long laugh. "I will like playing with you two. You liven the game up."
"Hey, no one would *dare* attack our games," Harry said dryly. "Those quidditch hooligans wouldn't dare show their bums here."
"Too true," Oliver snorted. "They're scared of you too, Harry. Good job!"
Harry stuck his tongue out at him. "See if I don't wake you up again tonight."
"You do anyway," Oliver assured him lightly. "But I'm used to it. I shared a room with five other guys for way too long not to be used to it." He cuddled the baby in his lap, making her giggle happily. "You're something I want of my own some day. Will you play and tease my kids?"
"Hell yes," George assured him.
"Otherwise we'd have to pout, Oliver," Fred pointed out.
"We'll even lend you the Big Book of Dark Pranks to read to your girl when she delivers," Tipsy assured him. "Helped me tons."
Oliver and Harry both burst out into giggles. "I doubt you needed the help, Tipsy," Harry taunted.
"Nope, but I did get some great ideas." She beamed at her husbands, who blushed and nodded. "See? I'm wonderful."
"Absolutely," the twins agreed in unison.
"You poor sods," Oliver said with a head shake, but he was grinning. "Being the love slaves of a prankster worse than yourselves."
"But we enjoy it so much, Ollie," Fred assured him. George nodded, beaming wickedly.
Joxer let out her wicked chuckle, cracking everyone up. "Yup, she's a Ramvette-Weasley," Harry assured everyone.
"How does this sound?" Fred asked his wife. "Oliver Wood, extraordinary former Captain of Gryffindor's Winning House Team, is inviting his former teammates, their significant others, and any children to his apartment warming party. He will be hiding above Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes for his own protection from certain fan-types and seeks the company of sane friends to keep him happy and calm. Next Saturday at two in the afternoon. Snacks will be served from a catered establishment so Forge and Gred can't cook. Bring music if you want some."
"Sounds good," she agreed with a grin for him. "A bit over the top."
"We're signing them," Fred assured her. He handed them to George when he came in, he was addressing them once Fred worked out the wording.
George read it then wrote his own note at the bottom. "Please bring your children so ours can have someone to taint...er, play with," he added with a grin.
"I'm sure the kids will love having other kids to play with," Tipsy agreed cheerfully. "Are we inviting Ron and Dawn?"
"She'll be back at school by then," George reminded her, sitting down to address each one and the envelopes. He put self-updating charms on the envelopes in case any of them had moved from their parents' homes. That way no one could claim they couldn't be found. "We could invite Ron but I'm not sure if we should."
Tipsy yawned and touched her arm, calling Alex. He sent back a subtle laugh and a response. "They'll be out of the country. They're being sent to check some of the lesser storehouses, starting with Tibet. That means a month on donkey back somewhere that already has snow." The twins cackled, it served Ron right.
Dawn looked at the train. "Are you sure it's a great idea?" she asked.
"It's the only way," Alex reminded her. "Hagrid's not back yet and won't be until tomorrow. You'll get your own compartment, and only those you trust can come in. Do not let the Hufflepuffs spoil him either," he warned. She rolled her eyes. "Okay. Let's get you on." He nodded at the conductors bustling around. "There was a special compartment for Dawn Dumass?"
"This way," one said, taking the cart for her. He opened the door. "First on this side, ma'am. Is that it?" The dragon poked its head up out of her shirt, making him smile. "Ooh, it's a pretty thing. Steamer?" She nodded, grinning at him. "I'm sure Hagrid will do it really well. Have a good trip, ma'am. No dog?" Midnight barked from her bag. "Ah. In you go." He helped her in there then looked at Alex. "Back again?"
"Protecting her for Ron," Alex said grimly. "Be good this year, Dawn, I'll be up as soon as I can to visit!" He hurried away before he got stuck on that side of the platform.
Dawn smirked from the window and settled in, letting the dragon out of her shirt. She laid down the newspapers and the hay she had packed in the extra bag, then set out half of the meat she had brought in the cold bag. "There you go. You lay down and rest for now." The dragon curled up in the hay, nibbling on some of the meat as he got comfortable. He settled in with a sigh and she piled the hay around his back, like he liked. She nearly jumped when someone knocked on the door. "Occupied!"
Luna walked in and shut the door. "I knew that, that's why I knocked." She sat down across from her, grinning at the baby dragon. "Hey, you. Are you comfy?" she cooed, reaching down to scratch it on the head. The dragon purred for her. "You're so good. Yes, you are. I'm sure you'll cause the school a lot of chaos for a while." She grinned at Dawn. "Ginny'll join us in a few minutes."
"Sure," Dawn said happily. "She knows how to deal with animals. I have no idea what we're doing about him tonight since Hagrid won't be back until tomorrow night."
"I'm sure we'll be protecting him from Professor Snape for a bit," Luna said dryly. The door opened and Ginny slid in quickly before closing it. "Used to the twins?"
"Hell yes," she snorted as she sat down, waving at the dragon. "Hello, dear one. Having fun?" He belched and ate another piece of meat, giving her a smug look. "Yes, your human pets are very good to you. You'll adore Hagrid I'm sure." She looked at her girlfriends. "Do either of you realize this will be our first year without danger at school?"
"It had occurred to me last night," Luna admitted. "I must say that I'm incredibly happy about that thought. Harry and Ron always manage to find trouble." Someone knocked on the door. "We're occupied, thank you."
A conductor stuck his head in. "I know, just checking on her. The trolley witch has some more meat if you run out, young miss. Is he all right?"
"Just fine. He's settled and content," Dawn assured him with a grin. "He's nested at the moment." She looked down but the dragon wasn't in the nest. "Crap. Did he run out?" She cast a tracking charm, tracking the dragon up the train. It had managed to cross three cars before she finally caught up to it in Slytherin territory. "Hi," she said, smiling at the guys staring at her in shock. She held up the dragon. "It's a friend." She strolled away, unconcerned about them or their opinions.
"That's it, I'm telling my parents," one first year boy pouted. "I can't have a dragon, they said so. If I can't, she can't."
One of the new seventh year girls looked at him then shook her head. "You don't mess with that one. That's Malfoy's adopted little sister. She's a Dumass. That's Dawn." The boy gaped and she nodded sagely. "She defends Hufflepuff and helped in the last battle until that lunatic Alex caught her and sent her away. We don't bother her."
"Fine," he pouted. "I'm still going to point out that she has a dragon as a familiar."
"He's not a pet or a familiar, we're bringing him to Hagrid," Luna said as she walked up to them. "Did he shed? He's missing a tail scale." Someone found it and held it up. "Good, keep that for your Head of House. I'm sure he'll want it." She left, they would ensure Snape got it so she didn't have to worry.
"That's Luna Lovegood, a seventh year Ravenclaw," the seventh year girl told the first year. "She summons demons and plays with hellhounds. That trio, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Dawn Summers-Dumass are not to be touched, ever. They're deadly, they're protected, and if Dawn and Luna can't do it, Weasley's got tons of big brothers, two of which are curse breakers and the Dumass clan will stick up for Dawn in the entirety. Even Snape will stick up for her, even though she's a third year Hufflepuff." The young boy gaped at her and she shrugged, but she was grimacing. "Her family has some sort of hold on him. He's got to stick up for her. We do not touch the three of them. Ginny deals with unicorns. Luna with demons, and Dawn's a future cursebreaker. Got it?" The boy nodded. "Good. This is probably the only warning you'll receive."
"Has anyone thought about the fact that we won't be woken up this year by Malfoy- Dumass and his consort?" one of the seventh year boys asked. They all snickered, it would be good to sleep in this year.
Dawn stepped off the train with her school bag holding her puppy and the dragon back down her shirt. She found the Headmaster and McGonagall waiting on them. "Hi. I've got him."
"I'd hope that was the bulge in your shirt and not a future Weasley," McGonagall assured her. "May I?" Dawn patted the lump and the red snout popped out. "He's adorable," she noted. "A steamer?"
"He doesn't do it much, but he will steam when he's startled," Dawn said, pulling the dragon out to hand it over to her. "Here you are, Professor. Little guy, that's Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster. They're very good dragon-sitters." The dragon cried pitifully and she sighed. "He's been with me all day," she pointed out, patting him on the head. "It's all right. Is Fawkes around?"
"Phoenixes and dragons are enemies," Dumbledore said gently. He let the dragon sniff him then scratched him on the head. "Relax, little one, we will protect you quite well until your pet human gets here." The dragon steamed at him, making him chuckle, even though he had to wave his fingers around to cool them. "You're very good."
Dawn took him back, putting him back in her shirt. He curled up against her stomach again. "I can watch him tonight and then I'll spend most of tomorrow with Hagrid as soon as he comes back. He'll treat the dragon like I do."
"That probably would be best," Ginny agreed. "Dragons can gather in clan groups sometimes according to Charlie, and this one's little enough to want parents. Apparently he picked Ron to get to Dawn, who'll share him with Hagrid. They pet and give him the most praise at the moment." She looked over as Professor Snape walked up to them. "Sir," she said respectfully.
"Sir," Luna said as she joined them. "One of yours has a scale that he shed earlier."
"Thank you, Miss Lovegood," he said stiffly. "It's here?" Dawn let him see the dragon, and it struggled until it got back in her shirt. "I would not harm you," he assured it. The dragon's nose came back out. "I would not harm you. I only take my ingredients from things long dead." He let the dragon sniff him then it snuffled until Dawn handed it over for him to pet. "Very well, you may stay with me tonight," he offered. "That way you're not tainted by ten thousand Hufflepuffs coming to pet you all hours of the night."
"They haven't yet," Dawn pointed out with a grin. "Only one peeked in earlier." She scratched the soft scales. "You be good for him, little guy. I'll be down to see you tomorrow morning." The dragon 'eep'ed and hiccuped. "Ooh, poor thing. Want some water?" She handed over a bottle of water for it. "He can drink out of the top," she assured him. "He did earlier. He's also had the better part of a beef loin," she said, handing over the cold pack. "I've got some hay for him too. He likes to have his back covered once he's lying down and he can't quite figure out how to do that on his own." She walked the professor off, chatting with him and giving care instructions. "He likes to be read to as well. He likes the sound of human voices. Especially deep ones. He loved Xander's voice when he read to Midnight last night." Midnight woke up and poked his head out of the bag. "Awake again?" she teased, stroking him gently. "Professor Snape's going to watch the baby for us." Midnight sniffed him then relaxed again, panting happily. His tail was moving the side of the bottomless bag. "Good boy, Midnight. Yes, you are such a good boy," she cooed, scratching his ears.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Must you do that around me, Miss Summers?"
"Yes!" she snorted, hitting him on the arm. "Grumpy prat. I'll tell Ron to prank you again," she said smugly. He gave her a long look so she smirked harder. "He will you know."
"I realize that. I'm hoping I don't have to see him this whole year," he said as they loaded themselves into a carriage to go up to the school. "I will allow you to set up a nest for him in my office."
"He'll need constant attention," she warned. "He won't go sleep in a corner, he'll try to snuggle up to your throat. He did to us last night."
"He is a dragon and will soon be too big for that," he reminded her.
"Yeah, but he's still just a hatchling and they curl up with the mommy, or in the hay if the mommy's nearby. Unless you sleep in your office?"
"No, I do not," he said dryly. "I do keep regular rooms in the school."
"I figured you did, but there are some really strange rumors about you not sleeping and brewing things that would make the old order blush and piss themselves." The carriage stopped and they got out. She let him lead the way into the castle, smiling at the people who were giving her pitying looks "It's a new creature for Hagrid. We're babysitting," she told them.
"Oh my God, it's a dragon!" a young Hufflepuff girl said in direct imitation of Dawn's style.
"It is," Snape agreed cooly. "Back away before you scare him and he singes you badly. Dragons are not like your familiars and are not to be treated like it," he reminded them as he walked. The trusting little body in his arms was making him have funny feelings, that was his excuse for not taking house points off them for assaulting his eardrums. He led the way into his apartment, letting her set out the nest. "Should I take him with me to dinner?"
"You could if you wanted. He'll sit in laps. He sat in Luna and Ginny's part of the trip up." She finished with the nest, casting a small spell to hold some of the hay up until the dragon could curl up in it. "There, perfect. He's newspaper trained so far so you might want to set some of that up as well, sir. Shall we?"
"We should," he agreed, taking the dragon with him. It had locked its claws in his shirt so he had to. This one was too fragile yet. He walked into the Great Hall and everyone quieted. "It is a new creature for Professor Hagrid," he announced.
"Yes, it is," Dumbledore said lightly, smiling at them. "All settled in?" He looked at the dragon as it was brought up. "It refused to relinquish you?" Snape nodded curtly. "Very well then." He smiled at the first years who had just been led in. "As part of my yearly announcements it is my pleasure to inform you that Care of Magical Creatures has acquired a new creature to study over the long term. It is due to the persistence of a few people that we were gifted with this honor, and we owe them much for giving us a baby dragon." Snape snorted, knowing he meant they owed Alex a good asskicking for this. "As such, this baby is a steamer, it is to be treated respectfully at all times. It is still a dragon." He looked at each of the tables. "Anyone who hurts this creature faces a stiff legal fine and six months in Azkabahn on order of the Ministry for Magic." Most of the students winced. "It is not a potions experiment, it is not a source of ingredients, nor is it a playmate for you and your familiars." Dawn snorted at that. "Even yours."
"He'll naturally seek me out," she reminded him. "Besides, Midnight and he don't really get along. Midnight didn't think he was fun." She went back to her seat, smiling at her tablemates. "It's a cute little thing but Hagrid will get to name him. He adopted Ron in a muggle marketplace."
The whole table 'oooh'ed, sensing a new story of Harry and Ron naughtiness. They lived for those moments of light and fun.
Snape shook his head in disgust. Those boys would give him gray hairs if he had to keep associating with them. It was bad enough when they were students; now they were adults who caused havoc and carnage.
Professor Snape looked at the Ravenclaw table the first morning of classes and grimaced. "Miss Lovegood, what is that in your lap?" he demanded, getting up to walk down there.
"It's a puppy, sir. His mother gave him to me."
"Unless I'm mistaken, that is not a normal dog and demonic entities are not allowed in this school." He glared at her once he reached her. "That beast should not be in here. It is dangerous."
"He's not!" she protested with a pout. "He's not even fully weaned yet. Doesn't eat a bit of a soul yet, Professor. Please? He's so adorable," she said, holding him up so the odd head could be seen next to her pouting one. "Please?"
"No." He pointed at a window. "Demonic entities are not to be in this school. Take him out and leave him out of it. He can live in the forest."
"You're just a mean, grumpy prat who needs laid," she said, sticking her tongue out at him. "My poor baby doesn't even react to holy water yet, so there!" She curled up around her dog, glaring at him. "If you don't believe me, I'm sure my lover can come tell you about their kind. Wesley does seem to know quite a lot."
"Another being that should not be in this school," he said darkly. "One which we will have to make sure stays out."
"Oh, chill already," Dawn sighed from her usual seat. "The dog doesn't react to holy water. He's still drinking milk. We should be really thankful that she broke him of trying to nurse off humans." Snape gave her a dirty look. "Yes, sir, I'm still here to plague you," she said lightly, grinning at him. "He's still innocent and he's not demonic until he takes his first soul. Right now, he's really happy with the milk. Let the poor guy stay. Please? Midnight would like a buddy besides Fang. Fang's so much bigger and he's afraid of hurting him."
"Fine. Then I'll have to ask the Headmaster," Luna said as she stood up. "Come, let's go see him right now. I want this over with so you can go pout and sulk in your gloomy and slimy cavern of misery downstairs." She stomped off, taking her bag and her dog with her. They ran into the Headmaster in the hallway and she stopped him, holding up her dog. "Isn't he allowed? He doesn't eat souls yet and he's not reacting to holy water, sir." She pouted at him. "Please? I'm taking very good care of him for his mam. She's even helped me break his nasty habit of trying to nurse off me."
The Headmaster looked at her. "The rules state that you should not have a demonic entity in this school, Miss Lovegood. Even if it is still innocent, it is still demonic." She scowled and he sighed. "It is not allowed. Even if you will it to be so, you cannot keep him here. He could hurt the other students when he manifested."
"The same as your demonic consort is not allowed in here," Snape added for good measure. "Do not try to hide him either, we will find him."
"But if I don't help him then his mum'll make sure none of the other puppies will come help me when I need it. It's a mark of friendship," she tried. "He really is sweet and he doesn't go on the floors. Please, Headmaster?" she pleaded, doing her best to look cute and innocent. "I'm a seventh year. We're allowed to change familiars in our sixth year to something that suits us and my baby here does," she reasoned. "Besides, if you don't, his mother might get mad at all of us. I'd hate for you to be eaten like that. The other way if you wanted and could find someone who'd like you that way would probably be nice and all, but having her eat you would be really nasty and painful from what I've heard from Wesley and the hounds themselves."
"Can you honestly swear that beast won't hurt anyone in this castle?" the Headmaster asked gently.
"Other than Mrs. Norris?" she asked hesitantly. "I know how to tell when he's getting ready to go for his first kill, sir. He's nowhere near that stage yet and shouldn't be that way for about six to ten months. When he does, of course I'll give him back to his mother but he's just a helpless little one right now and she's helping the curse breakers at Stonehenge." He shuddered. "Exactly, and that's no place for a little guy like him," she pointed out, stroking the scaly head. "He's such a good boy to be eaten by those nasty artifacts. Even Mr. Dumass said it was probably going to be all right for the whole school year and he knows a lot more about demons than even Ethan does." She tried her most powerful power, according to Ethan and Wesley, the puppy eyes. "Please, Headmaster? I'll let you check him each and every day if you want to, just to make sure he's not getting more mature." She moved him away from her breast, making him growl. "Do you mind? You can't try that in front of them, they might want to help," she said, scowling at him. "Learn something about timing, Perseus."
Snape moaned and shook his head. "Headmaster, surely...."
"He is adorable and still very young, Severus. Besides, it would give you greater insight into the workings of demonic magic." He gave him a look. "Plus, you have in your store of books a potion to make sure he does not mature within the school's walls. Yes?" Snape growled but nodded. "Then if you would make it for him a compromise could be reached. Of course she would not be allowed to bring him down near *your* students," he said gently, smiling a bit. "He would be a good influence I believe. Give her something to care about that wasn't too old."
Snape rolled his eyes. "Fine," he spat. He glared at Lovegood. "I will see that beast after hours each and every week. I will make that potion for him. Your consort will not show up however, or else I will have Mr. Dumass slay him." She nodded quickly. "Thank you. Dismissed." She turned and ran off. He glared at the Headmaster. "Albus...."
"Severus, he is harmless. I did look at him and he is not near weaned yet. His mother obviously gave him over so she could nourish him. Perhaps it will make her want to become the true consort of her *human* mate, the one who could give her things to love and protect other than her pets."
Snape snorted. "I doubt Wesley is ready for children, Albus."
"Be that as it may, women have known how to get around men's objections in that regard for years now. If this works, then we should see her pregnant by spring break, and then she'll be safely contained and the powers passed onto her child," he said gently. He suddenly smirked. "Or else he'll take her away, back to LA probably, to help over there again."
"If you say so. I will be keeping an eye on that dog." He stomped off, going down to his classroom. One of the elves had refilled his plate and put it on his desk. "Thank you," he snapped. There was a giggle and he glared at the doorway to his office. "Who are you and what do you want?"
Dawn came out with her dog. "I chased Midnight down here, sir. He was just licking me to get the syrup I dripped." She smiled at him. "Are you sure you're going to be able to make do without Mr. Malfoy around, sir? I know you leaned on him for comic relief most of the time, and as a fellow potions person."
"I'm sure I can find others who can be comic relief," he said dryly. "Your class would make a fine example actually. Since not a one of you manage to get things correct."
She shrugged. "So sue us, we're not going to be potions masters. Let's face it, a Hufflepuff potions master might make the world shudder in revulsion and wonder why we didn't cuddle them to make them normal." He groaned, but his mood was lifted. "Then again, what we're concerned about is contraception, cosmetics, potions to help with the cramps and the bad skin. You can teach us all those and we'll listen and do everything correctly each and every time. The other stuff?" She went 'pfft'. "Who cares? It's not part of our worldview to make things light and feathery unless it's a shopping bag and they can't take potions. Your potions can't take off the extra five pounds all of us females are *convinced* we have on our hips or tummies. You can't make our noses smaller or our breasts larger. Why would we care?"
He smirked at her. He had learned to appreciate her outlook on life, as long as she didn't get too cheerful around him. Anyone who had survived a warzone like her life had been so far had to understand him a bit better than average. That's why he liked Holly as well and Dawn did remind him of his ...friend. "How eloquent, even though you did say the word 'tummy' in there." He shook his head. "I'll take that under advisement, but the processes are much the same for everyone. Even if it does not interest you it is leading you to a pattern of thinking logically."
"Yeah, well, I'm betting physics would too but again, not something that's going to really concern us too much or keep us up at night. Now, some of the Ravenclaws might be like that. Granger was. Then again, some of the Gryffs join in with us and we can't tell the difference in the dark." He blinked a few times, then his mouth opened. "No, not me," she said, grimacing at him. "I have my Ron snuggly. Like I said. Teach us skincare stuff. We *all* need that. Teach us something to whittle away that last five pounds or to make our chests or dicks bigger. You're teaching teenagers, Uncle Severus. Consider your audience sometimes. At least give us something interesting once a month that uses all the other stuff we *have* to learn."
He nodded once. "I shall think on that, but not too hard. Now get your walking bundle of contamination out of my dungeons."
"Yes, sir. We love you too. Don't we, Midnight. We love the Unclie. Bark for him?" Midnight barked and wagged his tail. "Good boy." She nuzzled the back of his head. "Come on. We've got that nice Professor Flitwick next. Yes, we do," she cooed, walking him out.
He shook his head but he did consider the idea. He might have whole classes of students who listened and worked diligently, even once a month. If he laid out some of the more common and baser potions that required the skills he was already working into each year it would be for the best. Besides, did he really want to teach a Lovegood in eleven or twelve years? Or the spawn of Weasley and Dawn? He nearly shuddered at that thought. The very thought of such a child was more than enough to remind him why he hadn't taken a wife and procreated the next generation yet. "A true bane to the world," he said in disgust, sitting down to look over his lessons. It would be...interesting to have students who listened in class. Even if he did have to humor Dawn once or twice.
The End, For Now.
To Part 4