Note: Thank you to Scribe for starting this one off with her last challenge. Love you, dear.
Beginnings of a New Group
"What the HELL was that!" was shouted by an agitated male voice, his body going tense and his hand reaching for the gun he wasn't wearing.
Greg listened, the nodded. "Hippogryph. Pissed off one too, sounds like a bull maybe." He shrugged. "Most of us don't live around magical creatures that often, unless you live with Alex's aunts and then you're surrounded by unicorns. Or you work in a job like Ron's brother and you play with dragons all day." He looked at the cop next to him. "By the way, I am *not* the person to call for a dragon problem. It's happened in the past, but I'm not. You can call any of the other Banes, just not me for dragons. Potions, healing, esoteric knowledge, but not dragons."
"Dragons and unicorns are real?" he asked, looking at him. "Can I see?"
"Dragon? Well.... Depends on if we go to the school to pick Dawn up or not. Then we can pop in on their little dragon buddy, Keelian, who found Ron in a marketplace in Rio and decided he was his mom."
Don Flack snickered at that. "Does that happen often?"
"Only to curse breakers," Danny called from behind him. "I've never been to Diagon."
"I got sent to pick up a healing potion way back in my second year in the Marines," Mac offered from behind them, glancing around. "Where to first, Greg?"
"First, well, bank. Gotta hit the bank, get the exchange rate figured out and that stuff." He glanced back at the unusually quiet Stella. "You okay?"
"They look like they're in a Dickens novel."
"Some do. Outside of Britain it's usually a bit more modern." He grinned at her and motioned her closer, pointing at a shop. "See?"
She blinked at the newest, hottest, designer gown on sale at the wizarding shop. "Wow." She looked at him. "Is it cheaper here?"
"Not by much," Greg admitted, taking her arm and walking her into the bank. He smiled at the redhead standing there. "Hi, Ron. Did Alex send you?"
"Yup, bloody bugger's just now getting off Draco." Mac looked a bit stunned so he smirked. "Sorry, but consort veela's, ya know?" He whistled at one of the goblins, motioning him closer, getting an intolerant glare. "Gruinth, these are the guys Alex and the rest of us are teaching, the first of the lot that New York refused to find. Alex said he'd appreciate it a whole lot, and would willingly clean out *two* of the storage units at the manor, if you'd give them a *good* exchange rate? And take it out of his vault?"
Gruinth grumbled a bit. "Which house?"
"The one with the unicorns."
"I'd rather the other house. There's no telling what's being stored there," he complained.
"Yes, there is. He's had us recataloging the whole collection. Did his Great-Aunt, the first cursebreaker one, have a thing for cursed emeralds?"
"Indeed," he said dryly, nodding a bit. "Come with me please." They followed and he looked at Stella, then at Danny. "You have a vault in New York?"
"They're still debating who has access to the family's vaults since the Vinese sent my family home ta spank 'em for breaking the covenant," Danny told him. He grinned at Flack. "That's a goblin. Any businesses, they own it, run it, are the backbone of it, and growl at us mere humans for being bigger and in the way."
"Yes, but we like our human curse breakers, or else we wouldn't put up with you humans," Gruinth assured him dryly. "Did he send you with a letter and a key this time, Ron?"
"Alex?" he snorted. He pulled out a letter and handed it over. "From Draco."
"Thank you. His mate is quite good at handling the family's matters." He read the letter and fingered the key. "That would be more than acceptable. We'll get that shifted around immediately." He looked at Greg. "Alex has thoughtfully seen to the necessities of their training. He's allowing them to use one of his more minor vaults so they don't have to worry about the exchange rate."
"Cool," Greg said happily. "I'll contribute later this week, when I've got more gold made."
The goblin groaned. "I had forgotten you were one of those."
"Of course I am, I hold the Bane's sanctuary since I'm the one with the most full-time and demanding job."
"Yes, I remember." He looked at the others, then back at him. "Don't they do the same job as you do?"
"Yup," Danny agreed happily. "Without the potions sideline."
"There have been expert potion masters in your family," the goblin assured him.
"Yeah, but I'm not one. I'm a jock, or I was a jock. I should probably brush up on potions anyway." Greg looked at him and nodded. "Yes, mother."
"No, that's Emilia. And possibly Tipsy." He shrugged and held open the office door for Stella, then walked in. "We're doing the full shopping today, including Ollivander's and the book store, then we're going to pick up Dawn and do the beginning lessons at the castle since the magic's so pure." Ron beamed at that. "Yes, you can snog Dawnie into the carpet again," he said patiently. "Just remember the birth control potion, Ron."
"Always. Since she was making it wrong there for a bit, we're always making sure we both take it." Greg let out a whimper. "Whoever taught her made her make a kick-ass fertility potion," he offered with a grin. "Fortunately I was buying mine."
Greg looked at him. "I will make yours personally so I don't have to deal with a pregnant Dawn *ever*," he said, patting him on the arm. "The squealing would be very annoying and Emilia would giggle helplessly for weeks on end, which means I wouldn't get to partake of my consort veela's sweetness."
"Which seems to make them very cranky veelas. I've never seen Draco more cranky than when Alex had the wizard's flu and couldn't fuck him into the mattress for two weeks."
"I remember. I don't want to remember, but I remember him coming to pout at my wife for a week and a half of it."
"Better her than me! Or Harry! Poor Harry got broadcast at during practice by the pouting veela."
"While I feel sorry for Mr. Potter's injuries," Gruinth noted patiently. "We should complete this transaction so that the rest of the day isn't wasted, Ronald."
He looked at him. "Only my mum gets away with that," he assured him.
"You are an apprentice."
"Who is still having random outbursts of magic thanks to the flu and that stupid tomb we had to count crap in." Gruinth moaned. "I'd hate to redecorate or worse." Then he smiled sweetly.
"I see you'll turn out like Alex," he said dryly. He wrote down the details of this transaction, including that they were late found wizards so no wand imprint could be taken yet. He pushed it over to Greg. "You're using this vault number. I'll send someone down to get the gold for you."
"Can't we go?" Don asked.
"Most people don't volunteer to go to the vaults," he noted. "If you wish, you may go as well." Don beamed and nodded.
"New York's are enough to make me hurl," Danny said before anyone could suggest he go too. "Stella? Dark, twisty roller coaster ride?"
"Sure, I'm up for it. Mac?"
"I'll stay. I did it once before, thank you anyway."
The goblin nodded and summoned a lesser goblin. "Take the two fledgling wizards down to this vault, draw out this much," he ordered, handing over the slip. That got a nod and he led them off. He looked at Greg. "I'm basing it on the upper average of what most first years need, Wizard Sanders."
"Thank you. The trained ones could use refresher courses as well. They're not even carrying their wands most of the time."
"How do you carry yours daily on the job?" Danny asked.
Greg opened his jacket and pointed at the small holster. "Quick draw, just in case. This jacket and my on-the-job, branded jacket both have one. Alex gave them to me for my birthday this last year."
"He was getting us ours," Ron told him, stretching then sitting down again. "Most curse breakers carry at least two wands. Alex has six or seven I think, he occasionally seems to pull one out of his bum for special things and types of curses."
"The ones who work in the lab keep their extras in a box for easy access and noted what they're used for," Gruinth told him. "How many are you up to now?"
"Three." He pulled them. "My original, my secondary for intense charm work, and my one for the more delicate stuff. I'm using Alex's for that but I'm getting ready to go for my own." He heard footsteps and put them back in the holster inside his vest. He saw the curious looks. "We hide them because almost no other witch or wizard needs or uses more than one wand. It's a clear signal we're curse breakers and fairly good at it if you've got more than two. Since people like to steal us so we can get them things, keeping them hidden helps us but also gives us a hidden weapon if something does happen. Speaking of, anyone find Bill yet?"
"He was released the other day after getting his captor eaten."
"Good on him," Ron said with a smirk. "Alex said he and Arens are the best at getting out of that stuff. What was it?"
"A Fabrage egg under magical restraint."
Danny shook his head. "I thought you guys only went for cursed stuff."
"No, any artifact that's been in a magical household or tomb, has magic, or is related back to a magic user. There's some muggle-borns that go after the non-magical things that've been stolen out of magical tombs and houses because they can tell the faint magic that's tainted it over the years it was around us. We've been working with one goblin who heads over really ugly vases that're non-magical."
"He studies them, Ron, and you're right, they are mostly ugly. Which storehouses?"
"The ones that're vexing Draco to no end because Alex hasn't been sleeping again."
"Ah those. That's fine. I would appreciate it and it would make a very nice profit for you and the other apprentices plus him."
"You know he has more shit stored around everywhere than the bank does, right?" Ron asked dryly. The goblin nodded. "Good, because the caverns we've been working on cataloging have the tent spell on 'em." The goblin moaned. Ron nodded. "Basically, that's how we feel too. Oh, Alex wanted to know if you could send him after another library. He said he's bored and we need to practice our book copying again."
"We hate library jobs. It's nearly impossible to judge the worth of a book's contents without having a translation already available and it researched."
"He said you pay him a flat fee for that," Ron reminded him. "Plus, he wants a reason to expand the library again." Greg gave him a helpless look. "We had to move some of the general charms books back to the other house." Greg whimpered. "We've got the library plus the space between the second and third floors, Greg. It's still overly full. He said he can't have the library expanded again until he has at least one whole wall of books that needs to be shelved."
"He should move the more theoretical works back there, that would give the Aunts and his father something to do besides hunt down and scare the farther flung family members."
"Aunt Cordy wants a new baby," Ron offered with a smirk. "His father's pushing for an heir to be born instead."
Greg held his head. "Don't mention that. Catherine's still wobbling back and forth on that subject." He looked at Danny, then at Mac. "He wants Catherine to have their heirs for him. He respects her and the family would allow her some raising duties, but that's just a horrible thought."
"What is?" Stella asked as she came in, a bit pale and wobbly but with pink cheeks.
"Draco and Alex have to both have heirs some year soon, his father's pushing for it now since Aunt Cordy wants a baby around the house."
"Tell me we won't get pounced by the aunts," Don pleaded as he came in, handing Greg a bag. "We only need that much?"
"Some we can get directly from the bank," he offered. "Outfitting Lindsey took about twenty gold her first year plus the refresher books." He shrugged. "Okay, we're off to Ollivander's. Thank you, Gruinth."
"Not a problem. We like to keep Alex happy and unbored. Otherwise he pounces us and the power that makes him such a good curse breaker causes the rest of us harm."
"We never do it on purpose," Ron offered with a grin.
"That's the most troubling thing about it," Gruinth assured him. "Make sure they get ice cream as well, Ron."
"Of course. I think that's an excellent lunch." He smiled at Stella and offered his arm. "I am engaged so therefore you don't have to worry about anyone saying anything about you being with me. Unlike the harpies that'll gossip if you're on their arm." She smiled and nodded, walking out with him. "Ollivander instead of the other stuff?" he asked Greg once they were outside.
"Yup. It's usually the longer and more amusing stop." He smiled at Danny. "Do you still have yours?"
"I do but I need to clean and condition the wood."
"I've been using pledge on mine now and then," Mac offered.
Greg groaned and led them that way, taking them to the dusty little shop with only one stool. Ollvander stepped out of the back, giving him an odd look. "New York's academy purposefully passed over Don and Stella, and Mac and Danny are refreshing themselves while we Banes teach Don and Stella."
"I see. Well, let's start with those who already have wands, shall we?" he suggested. Mac pulled his out and he gave him an odd look. "What *have* you been doing to the poor thing?"
"Pledge. It was a bit dusty and it says it's got wood conditioners."
Ollivander moaned. "No. If you must, use something like Olde English Oil, sir. Not pledge or any other lemon scented monstrosity of chemicals." He walked it into the back then came out without it. "I'm purging the chemicals from the wood, before it makes a spell backfire. Yours?" he asked Danny.
"Might not be the right one for me anymore. I used ta be a jock," he offered sheepishly, handing his over. "I need to condition it. Olde English Oil stuff?"
Ollivander handed him a bottle from under the counter. "That is preferred. Though some *do* use broom polish," he said, glaring at Ron.
"Yes, I do, and so does Harry. It's not like we don't have to do the brooms too," he noted dryly. He smirked a bit. "Also, Alex thinks I could go up to a third wand since I've been using his again for delicate stuff. He's getting pissed that I'm stealing his all the time."
"We'll see after we fit these other ones, Mr. Weasley." He looked at Greg. "How is yours doing?"
"Excellent," Greg said proudly, pulling his out and presenting it. "I've been teaching the kids how to care for their wands and brooms so I've been doing the conditioning treatments a lot."
"I can see that." He handed it back and wiped off his fingers. "A bit less often would be fine, Mr. Sanders." He went to get Mac's wand from the cleaning solution, coming out wiping it off. He handed it back. "Swish and flick for me please?" Mac did so and some dull blue sparks came out. "Was it always like that?"
"I'm not really powerful," he admitted, shrugging a bit. "It's comfortable and I don't use it that often."
"Then that should be fine. Share the conditioning lotion with your friend there." He picked up Danny's wand to examine it, then handed it back handle first. "Try it." Danny concentrated then swished and flicked. Nothing happened. "Yes, you do need refitted. What do you do now?" he asked, getting his tape measure out of the drawer.
"I'm a criminalist with the NYPD. I do lab work and work crime scenes, especially homicides." Ollivander stared at him.
"The same thing I do when I'm not doing potions," Greg told him. "They all are, but Don's a regular detective."
"Oh. I see." He nodded and went to pull down a few boxes. "Mr...."
"Messer," Danny offered. Three of the boxes went back and a dull black one was pulled down. "What's that?"
"That is some very nice wood from a very special tree in Florence and veela hair," he offered, handing it over. "Try that, Mr. Messer."
Danny took it and tried it, smiling at the pretty blue sparks that matched his eyes. "Wow. That feels nice."
"It should. A few members of your family have that same combination." He took the old wand and put it aside. "We'll let you trade out this time."
"Alex is footing the bill for the outfitting," Greg told him. "I'm covering the rest." Ollivander smiled at that. "Really."
"It's not a problem. There are always people who need emergency or backup wands for something. That's what the used ones go for." He smiled and set his tapemeasure to work on Don, going to pull down a few boxes that were indicated by the measurements.
Don watched the tape work, smiling as it kept going. "I wanted to know why it takes an inseam measurement."
"Longer inseams usually mean you're going to be good in transfiguration," Ollivander said as he came back. "The longer interval between nostrils is indicative of being good in Divinations." He looked at Stella. "As are some family lines. Try this one, my dear," he offered. "Rosewood and unicorn ivory." She smiled and tried it and he beamed at her, clapping once. "That's the perfect fit. Just like your grandmother's." He took the tape measure back and handed Don a wand. "Go ahead and try it."
Don tried it and nothing happened. He groaned. "Not again."
"It just means it's not the right wand," Greg assured him, patting him on the back. He frowned and did it again, then took off the blocking charm Alex had put on him so the mischief would stop around him. "Try it again, Don. Mr. Ollivander, he's a natural curse breaker."
"Ah. I've seen a few of those," he nodded. He got another box and handed it over next when Don's didn't quite agree with him. At least the fire was a pretty shade of green. Ron stopped it and Ollivander handed over the next one. "Willow and unicorn tail." He tried that one. "Hmm. No, not that," he said once he had put the small cloud raining on his head out of his misery. "This one is deadwood and veela. Ten inches, very swishy for charms work." He handed it over. Don tried it and Danny had to duck the flying boxes of wands. "Interesting."
"Try mine," Ron said, handing over his second one. "Since Alex said he's a natural curse breaker....." He grinned at the wand maker.
Don tried it and fireworks came out but not good ones. "Well, it's pretty." He handed it back carefully before he set the ceiling on fire.
"Yes, but it does give me an idea," Ollivander admitted, heading further back into the shelves. "Ah, here," he said, coming out with two. One he handed Ron. "So Alex can have his delicate charms one back, Mr. Weasley. Try this one, sir."
"Don, please." He took it and tried, grinning at the pretty multi-colored sparks. "Why're mine so many colors when Mac's were just blue?"
"Two reasons really. That would be your secondary wand," he admitted, going to find another one. He came back with another one. "Eleven inches, birch and dragon's fire." Don tried it and the sparks were harmonious this time. "That is your main wand." He smiled at Greg. "Would Alex like to start teaching him on both now or not?"
Ron touched his arm tattoo to call, then nodded. "Alex said that's fine." He tried the third wand and it sparkled glittery trails of silver sparks. "Cool, I needed this." He tucked it into the holster and dropped some coins on the desk. Ollivander gave him a look so he added two more. Another look and another one was added, then he got six sickles back. "Thank you, Mr. Ollivander. Harry's supposed to come in for his second one soon. Dawnie too."
"I've already seen Miss Summers and she's already got three."
"Yeah, but one's only for power storage. Not that she doesn't use the obsidian wand," he offered dryly. "Freaks Flitwick out now and then how she's channeling the energy she's got." He grinned at Stella. "Your turn."
"Don't we have to clean up a bit?"
Ollivander smiled at her. "The testing is why I never clean the store, my dear. We should try a second one, just in case you have curse breaker tendencies."
"She doesn't get into trouble that way," Danny assured him. "That's more me'n him."
"That's fine, Mr. Messer. Gregory?" Greg put down a handful of coins. "Four more please, Gregory." Greg sighed and put it down, taking the change back. "There you are. Do we need the boxes?"
"I could use one for mine at home. Mine's cracked," Mac admitted, taking one of the spare boxes. That got a smile and they left, Danny's wand going into his back pocket. Don's went inside his jacket. Stella's got put into her front pocket. Mac carefully put his wand away and carried it. Greg and Ron both looked at him. "I don't use it that often."
"Sure," Ron agreed. "Bookstore or other stuff, Greg?"
"Bookstore for the compacted lesson books, and then supplies for potions since I'm running that this weekend." That got a nod and Don smiled at the owls. "You've got an owlry in the city and we'll figure that out later."
"Can I get a broom?" he asked with a grin.
"Sure," Ron agreed. "I need to pick mine up anyway."
"Let's see if you can fly first," Greg ordered, glaring at Ron.
"Every new wizard needs a broom," Ron whined.
Danny chuckled. "Mine got mailed to me by my father," he told Don. "It's still working so you can borrow mine now and then."
"Can we fly in New York?" Stella asked.
"Oh, yeah, there's a whole shielded section of the park," Danny assured her. "I flew there all the time." She smiled at that. "If not, I know a few places outside the city where we're allowed to go play and romp."
"Okay. I wouldn't mind trying."
Ron opened the door to the bookstore, letting her inside first. He smiled at the pouting clerk. "What?"
"Alex has something on back order he hasn't picked up in a month."
Ron held out a hand and it was handed over. He paid the bill on the front and shrugged, stuffing it into his pocket once it was shrunk. "Thanks, mate. Refresher and late-bloomer sets?"
"Back wall, beside the other textbooks, blue bookshelf, Ron."
"Thanks, mate." He walked her that way, pulling down two and handing them to Don. "Beginning curse breaker stuff for when you get that far. It's got good shielding lessons in there to stop the mischief energy." He frowned and pulled down another one. "Magical creature guide as well, just in case." He found the refresher sets and whistled. "I didn't think there were this many."
"Oh, yes," Greg said, looking. He pulled down a set and looked at the index, then put it back and looked at the other one. He frowned and went for the larger set, looking in it. "This one," he decided. "Philip said it's harder but it's more comprehensive." He handed a set to Stella and to Don, then got one of the less complex sets for Mac. He looked at Danny, then the bookshelves. Then he pulled down another set and read, nodding before handing over those three books. "Potions heavy but you do lab work so you'll be able to understand it. Also Defense heavy. Alex said he's counting on you to do that for him since Mac's behind."
"That's fine. I was okay in Defense in my youth," he agreed, looking through it. "There's no herbology." Ron found the compendium and handed that over. "Gee, thanks. Heavy ass book."
"Yeah, well, anything you ever wanted to know about herbs. Dawn's got one since she sucks in there," Ron offered with a small grin. He pointed at the thicker Defense one. "I could've suggested that one."
"No thanks. This is hopefully more than enough."
Greg looked at the Defense Compendium. "When did you and Harry go through that one?"
"Fifth year." He smirked a bit. "What can I say? We needed it." He heard a familiar voice and looked around. "Hermione!" She came around a shelf and looked at him so he motioned her over. "You remember Greg, right?"
"Hi, Greg." She gave him a hug and smiled at the rest. "I'd heard through the grapevine your group was sponsoring some late bloomers. Are you them?"
"We are," Stella said, holding out her hand. "Stella Bonasera."
Don beamed. "Don Flack."
"Nice to meet you as well, Don. By the way, the true books will be in here in about three weeks. That way the wizards know what truly happened during the last three years of school." She smiled at Mac. "You are?"
"Mac Taylor, trained in Chicago," he offered, shaking her hand.
"Nice to meet you as well. I'm over the Archives in cataloging right now." She smiled at Danny. "You look like someone I've been working with recently."
"Danny Messer. Trained in New York."
She 'ah-ha'd. "I do know one of your cousins. He's in protesting that we stole some books from the Venice school." She gave him a delicate hug. "If you'd like, I can tell him you're around."
"We're all going to Alex's hidden house to start the beginning lectures," Ron told her. "But I'll be back at the manor Sunday before Harry's game. Just owl and tell me if you want to have tea and make me bring him."
"Can we watch the game?" Don asked.
Ron smirked at him. "Alex planned that as the last thing you'll do this weekend since it's looking like a long game." Don bounced a bit and he grinned at him. "Calm down, mate. It's not a great team they're playing but it'll be a long game because the snitch has been stubborn recently for Harry."
Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes. "You'd think Harry would think about more than the snitch now and then, Ron."
"He does, when he's not in practice. We get plenty of working with Alex," he assured her dryly, smirking at her. "Speaking of, Alex said if I ran into you he wants his books back too. He knows that your boss has some locked away. The anti-theft spell said so." She groaned and made a note of that. "Thanks, Hermione. Tea Sunday, about two?" She nodded and kissed him on the cheek, then waved before walking off. "Oh, Hermione, Philip will be at the game," he called after her. She gave him this little kitty nasty smirk and a wink before strolling off.
"That's mean," Greg said, swatting him hard. "Behave."
"Why? Philip needs something to do besides read now and then. Your wife said so," he teased.
Greg moaned and shook his head. "We should go before Ron goes even funnier thanks to all the books around him." Ron walked off with a chuckle, finding the ones he and Harry had wanted. "You done?" he asked when they all headed for the checkout.
"I am." He held up his next book and Greg moaned, taking it to look at. "I've got the others at the castle."
"Thank you, Ron." He handed it back and signed the draw slip at the counter, getting bags for everyone. He looked at them. "Two last stops. Then Ron can take whoever into the broom shop and we'll have ice cream to give Dawn time to finish classes for the day." They all nodded and followed. "Alex is still working on the anti-theft spells from the old manor?"
"Yup. He's recently sent Philip a marked map of the castle to free his crap from wherever Dumbledore hid it. Pissed Draco off to no end. Half of it ended up on top of him when it appeared in the castle. He was examining some of the jewelry on the big table." Greg giggled at that. "Alex shut him up the old fashioned way when he stormed into his office to complain."
"Spanked him," Don asked.
"No, kissed him stupid and got a blow," Ron said dryly. "Veelas are sexual beings and Draco's no exception." He turned to look at the group. "By the way, Draco is not to be called by his former last name. He will hit you if you do." They all nodded at that. He grinned and turned around, finding Oliver standing there. "Oliver!" He gave him a manly, back slapping hug. "These are Stella, Don, Danny, and Mac, Alex's new students."
"Hi," he said, smiling and waving. "Coming to the game? Alex had me get tickets for you lot."
"We definitely are," Greg agreed happily. "We're hoping it's not another overnighter like the last one."
"Us too," Oliver agreed happily. He smiled at Stella. "Yes, I'm cute."
She shook herself. "You are, but you're much too young for me."
He giggled and kissed her on the cheek. "You'll get on just fine with Tipsy and them. Greg, she said she wants a visit with these guys. She sent me on bullshit errands all day to make sure I ran into you." He headed into the broom shop.
"I guess the twins are making her unhappy again," Ron said dryly. "Potion stuff, Greg?" He nodded and they headed that way, Don smirking at Stella. "Ollie has that affect on women. That's why he's got groupies who try to break in and raid his underwear." She giggled at that, punching him on the arm. He smirked and nodded. "Really. That's why he's living above the joke shop." He let Greg lead the way in there this time. "Ah, the scene of my discontent in school," he complained.
"If you had spent less time mooning over Granger and more doing homework it might not have been so bad, Ron," Greg said firmly. "Others managed to pass Sev's class."
"He hated me doubly because of the twins and Harry, Greg. The only Weasley he's ever liked was Percy, and that's because he's a kiss-ass at times."
"Well, yeah, but he's getting better," Greg reminded him. He led them back to the cauldrons, finding good ones.
"Little, tiny baby cauldrons," Don said, looking at his.
"You don't need the bigger ones unless you start working in the field," Greg assured him. He grinned at him. "If you do, Alex might hire you to help his crew since only Draco does potions among them."
"Thank Merlin," Ron agreed sarcastically. "We'd die if Alex had to."
Greg nodded at that. "Definitely." He handed Stella the last one and went to get them component cases and have them filled. Then he produced his list with a smirk and a wink for the salesgirl. "Hi."
"Oh, dear. You're Snape's apprentice," she said blandly. He smirked and nodded, beaming and bouncing a bit now. "Restocking?"
"Please, Vishnu, yes. Vegas is *horrible* to get some stuff out of. They confused bear and deer testicles."
"I don't have to touch that stuff, right?" Don asked.
"Not at your level, mate. That's a fifth year potions ingredient," Ron assured him with a pat on the back. "Alex and Draco have anything to pick up?" he called.
"Draco's order is ready but it's relatively heavy, Mr. Weasley, plus you'd need to pay for it."
"I can do that, and Draco will pay me back or I'm chaining him down and then chaining Alex across the room." She giggled and he smirked. "Hey, it works! I can sneak up on 'em when they're asleep." She got his order and rang up the others, then she and her coworker went to gather things for Greg's massive list.
"Jeez," Danny complained, looking at the boxes of stuff. "Do you do anything but potions, Greg?"
"I work," he offered with a smirk. "I'm also teaching Hodges potions."
"Why?" Don asked patiently.
"Because he wanted to learn. Since he's had so many brushes with magic over the last few years, he decided there's got to be a link between the two and he wanted to figure it out." The salesgirl gave him an odd look. "He got changed a few times."
"Poor guy. By you?"
"No. But the daughter did manifest and make him into a bunny rabbit for a few days," he offered happily. "I was so proud!"
She smiled. "My son turned our cat into a salamander, his friends told him cats were girly." Greg beamed at that. She put one last box there and looked at him. He held up his key and she smiled. "Thank you for not making me heft six thousand gold to the bank tonight."
"Welcome, dear." He signed the slip, adding two vaults to it. She nodded and signed it, running it through the system. One of them bounced and he flooed the bank, getting that fixed. She ran it again at his nod and signed off on it at the second spot, putting it into the register. "Give me three to send this home." He called Emilia, who came at a jog. She whimpered at the ingredients. "Just put 'em in the lab?" he asked cutely, kissing her. "I'll reward you later."
She moaned and nodded, taking all that stuff home with her.
Ron looked at the stuff for Draco. "Can it be flooed?" She nodded. "Safely sent through by itself?"
"Nope. Portkeyed would be safer."
Ron nodded and turned Alex's book into one, then dropped it on top of the boxes, watching as it headed there. They had set up a delivery point for things like food and boxes. His tattoo itched and he answered it, telling Alex he had sent it and his book needed changed back. Plus how much they owned him and he expected it to be sitting on his bed when he got home. He got another request and groaned, looking up. "Fine." He looked at Greg. "I got ordered to pick up some owl food."
"That's fine. It's across the street," Greg reminded him. He looked at them. "I was going to let you guys browse the robe shop if you wanted." Don smiled and nodded. "So he can do that and then we'll go to the broom shop or wherever, then the joke shop, then Hogwarts, then to the castle." That got some smiles. "Oh, watch out for Keelian, he likes to shirt dive." He walked them out, letting Ron jog off for owl food while they went to the robe shop. Don found one that looked really good on him and Greg indulged him while the others watched. Then they went to the broom shop. Ron's broom got handed over with a wink. He took it into the back to try it. Danny got into a talk about his old broom versus the newest model.
Mac just stayed far away from the brooms. Stella gave him a look. "I'm horrible at flying. I don't have the natural grace. I fall off more often than not."
Danny smirked at him. "I'm an excellent flyer."
"You should be, you nearly went pro, Danny."
"Alex said he's looking at your wrist this weekend," Greg told him. "He plays beater and he needs backup for family games. Dawn and Ron are both keepers and he doesn't like to break up the twin's team. He said they're nicer than he is." Danny snickered at that, leaning on the counter. "Did you need a new one?"
"Mine's in my bag." He pulled it out of his pocket and enlarged it, then took out his broom and enlarged it.
"I want to learn that one," Stella ordered, pointing at the bag. "That's very handy for packing."
Danny smirked at her. "Makes moving easier too. I can fit *everything* into my car." She smiled at that. "One trip, all pretty light when shrunk? Hell yeah, I use it a lot." He looked at his broom, then let the salesgirl look it over. "Think it's still okay?"
She took it to look at the spells, then shook her head. "No, your levitation spell's cranked," she offered, showing it to him. "It can be fixed, but it's time consuming." She looked at him. "You used this in games?"
"No, that's my practice broom." He pulled out another one and enlarged it. "This was my game broom."
She moaned and took it to hold and stroke. "Oh, this is a classic," she whimpered. Ron came out with his and moaned, getting in a stroke. "His game broom."
"Ooh," he sighed, giving it another stroke. "Very classic. Not really fast by the Nimbus standard, but classic for aerodynamics and maneuverability." She nodded and carefully handed it back, letting him shrink it again. "Maybe you should get a new practice broom, Danny."
"I know. We spend a lot of time using them at the castle and you don't want to risk banging that one up." He led him to one and handed it over. "I like this one for just general flying or you can't go wrong with a Stardust. It's new out this year and *wonderful*. Harry was thinking about trading his out for one."
"If Harry Potter trades out his Firebolt, they'd sue him," the saleswoman said dryly. "Every boy wants to be Harry, Ron, and they all want Firebolt models. It's how they make the majority of their sales." He grinned at that. "Are they paying him royalties?"
"No, and Harry ignores it unless they blatantly come out with ads using him." He shrugged. "He still needs a new practice broom."
"The new Stardust is good for that," she agreed. "I wouldn't put a seeker on it for a game, but a chaser would be great. It's good for ups and downs, plus sudden direction changes, but not quite in the seeker category."
Danny nodded. "Can I try it?" he asked, taking down that one as well.
"Of course. Ron?" He nodded and led him back there to try them out, letting Greg hold his broom for him. "Are you guys playing fun matches?"
"All the time," Greg agreed dryly. "The whole Bane network pretty much loves quidditch and we've got a few house players, plus the rest of the Weasley clan we can draw from. Only three beaters though. Not that Alex doesn't make the twins sorry whenever he plays against them, but...." He trailed off with a grin. "Gringotts wanted Alex to play pro for a bit so he'd slow down. That and to clean out some of his storehouses."
She nodded. "You've got to expect he's got some nasty crap down there."
"You have no idea," Ron called.
Danny came out bouncing and handed over the Stardust. "I want that one. How much?" She held up the tag and he hissed, but Greg filled out the slip. "Tell him I'll get him back later."
"He said we could get you guys brooms," Greg assured him. "Stella?"
"I'll try it on someone else's first," she promised, backing up a bit. The look in Danny and Ron's eyes was scary. Very, very scary.
Don grinned. "Can you teach us how to fly, Danny?"
"Sure," he agreed, punching him on the arm. "S'not hard. Just some balance and stuff." He grinned and took his new broom, shrinking it down as well. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." She took the spare broom back from Ron and watched them walk out, moaning a bit. He had one of the Great Brooms of the Ages! She went back to the old Quidditch Quarterly magazines to figure out who he had been. She remembered they talked about an injury and he sounded American, like the TV shows she watched. She found him and whimpered. No wonder! He had been set to go pro when he broke his wrist and had muggle doctors botch it. Well, Alex Dumass would see about that! He was pro quality himself!
They finally made it to Hogwarts and Stella stared at the creatures in the pens, then at Don. "That's a unicorn."
"It is," he said in awe. "Wow."
A female voice chuckled as she walked up to them. "I'd watch out, he's a cranky bitch since Apple's not a happy pregnant mare." She smiled at them. "Hi, I'm Dawn."
Don grinned at her. "Ron's been happy about seeing you all day. He's inside with the Headmaster."
"That's cool." She looked down. "Word of advice, squeak, he likes that when he pounces, and watch out for shirt diving." She whistled and Apple came over. "Hey, girl. How are you?" She stroked her mane. "This is Ginny's mare, Apple."
"Someone gave her a horse?" Don asked, letting her sniff his hand so he could pet her.
"No, Ginny's a Valkyrie now." He gave her a look. "Seriously. She took part of the first quarter off for training. Now Apple's pregnant from going into heat so her studly horned one there is cranky."
Don smiled, nodding a bit. "I'd be cranky too if my girl was stuffed up." Stella squealed and he looked back. "Ohhh, it's a dragon!" He walked over.
Stella looked at the creature that had leapt into her arms. "Are you sure? It's purring." She scratched the scales. "You sound like a cat." It belched some steam and shifted onto its back. "Okay, so maybe you are a dragon."
"He is, that's Keelian. He's just a baby." Dawn came over to scratch the belly. "Who's the little fierce one then?" she cooed. The dragon steamed happily and stretched out, encouraging more pets. "Ron was out getting breakfast one morning while they were on vacation in Rio and Keelian pounced his foot, trying to eat him. Ron just gave him an amused look and tried to send him home so he decided Ron was a mommy dragon. Fortunately we got to keep him here at the school." She smiled at Stella. "He's a cuddly little sucker who'll sleep on your throat if you let him." She pulled Don closer. "He likes petted. Don't be scared. He'll only steam."
He gently scratched an eye ridge, getting a loud moan and a louder purr. "He likes me."
"He likes anyone who'll pet him, the little bugger," Hagrid said.
Stella looked up at him and smiled. "Hi. I hope you don't mind."
"Nah, Keelian there needs love and affection. Poor little guy gets so lonely sometimes." He patted the swishing tail. "You behave."
"He's being fine," she assured him, kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you." Hagrid blushed and walked off to take care of the animals.
"You made his week," Dawn said quietly, smiling at her.
"He seems like he's a really nice guy."
"He is." Don smiled at her. "At least in the books he is."
"He is," Dawn assured him happily. "Lets the kids climb on him now and then too." She smiled when Ron came out. "He got in a good pounce."
"That's fine. Luna's coming and so's Ginny, but Alex said she could come up later with Apple. Philip said to bring him with us since he's been sneaking into his office to steal his candy again."
"I'm sure he'll love crawling and skulking around the catacombs this weekend," she agreed dryly. She looked at the dragon. "Wanna go to the castle?" He let out another loud purr. "Go find Midnight." He hopped down and went to find his playmate. "Good boy. Come back here with Midnight!" She looked at them. "My familiar is a chow."
"They're good dogs," Stella assured her, smiling at her. "So this is Hogwarts." She looked at the castle. "It's bigger than I expected.
Danny smiled at her as he joined them. "New York's looks like a really small college campus."
"Chicago's is mostly in one building," Mac offered.
"Venice's is in an old palace," Draco said as he walked up to them. "Dawn." She squealed and gave him a hug. "Thank you, princess." He smiled at her. "Are we nearly done?"
"Yup, but Ginny's going to be late."
"How did my baby sister get detention this time?" Ron asked dryly.
"Armwrench was in a bad mood so she asked him if he was having his period," she said with a smirk. "He set hers off for her instead. She had Apple bite him."
"Why was Professor Armwrench in a bad mood?" he asked patiently. "We like him to stay in a good mood, Dawn."
"Big, blond, and stupid was down for a bit."
"Ah. Yeah, I guess his brother would put him in a bad mood," Ron agreed happily enough. "Midnight!" The dog came trotting out being chased by the dragon and dragging Dawn's backpack. "Luna packed for you? By the way, don't be alarmed, Luna's having another non-blinking day," he warned. "She'd be the blond slowly bending her wand by putting it in her hair." That got some nods. He looked around once the beasts got there. "Luna said she was coming. Lovegood!" he bellowed. She came jogging out of the nearest greenhouse. "We're going. Are you coming?" She nodded and ran inside to get her bag and then back out. He looked at Draco. "The invitations are in place, right?" He got a nod. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure." He lit a fire right there, making the unicorn stamp off. "Sorry, bastard," he called after him.
"Hey!" Hagrid called. "He's sens'tive!"
"So? He still tries to bite me!" he complained. He tossed in some floo powder. "Okay, we're going to Dumass Castle." He disappeared to show them.
Ron pointed. "Go ahead. Take some of the powder, toss it in." Don stepped up to do that but the fire didn't change color with the order. "Crap. I knew he was going to botch it." He called Alex, who came out to reset the floo. "Try it again, Don. He's got it fixed." Don tried it again, disappearing this time. "I'll go last." He pinched Dawn's bum and smiled at her squeak. "What?"
Stella shook her head and disappeared. She came out the other side and smiled at the feeling of lightness and peace that filled her. "Wow."
"Yeah," Don said happily, grinning at her.
"Get out of the way or they'll run you over," Alex called as he headed back to the house. "Come to the library when you figure out how to walk."
"Thanks." They got out of the way, pulling Mac out of the way as well.
Danny came out last of their group and gave a lopsided grin. "I heard about this place. Where we headed now?"
"To the castle and to the library," Stella ordered. He beamed and headed that way. Greg came out with Dawn and Ron right behind him. "Anything we should know about the lawn?"
"Now and then the three horses around here like to run out to scare you," Greg offered, smiling at her. "Come on, guys. Alex is probably in a cranky mood. We made Draco get out of bed." Draco snorted and nodded. "The goblins want you guys to clean the stuff here."
"Fat chance I'm hauling any of that crap," he retorted. "Besides, Alex said it balances out the innate power so we're not all blinded by it." He waved a hand. "Shall we?" Don nodded and walked Stella that way, Mac behind them. He smirked at Greg. "He's bought more books."
"Alex is as big of a book nerd as Philip and Methos," he reminded him, patting him on the back. "Is he ignoring you for the books?"
"No," he pouted. "But he brought one to bed the other day."
"I'm sure it was only to kill time until you joined him, Draco." He walked the pouting one up there, letting him pounce his mate. "Are you in heat or something?" he demanded.
Alex smirked. "Not quite, but it's very nice," he offered before kissing his mate again. "Play later, Draco," he ordered, making him sit in his own seat. Draco smirked at him. "I'll even play exploding snap for who gets to be on the bottom tonight."
"You're on. Even though you do cheat," Draco said smugly.
Mac just stared at the books. "Wow. Chicago didn't have this big of a library. We don't have this big of a library in New York."
Danny looked around then at him. "Nice job, Alex."
"Thanks. I'm hoping for another library job soon."
"I told Gruinth that, he complained," Ron offered. He got his book off the shelving cart and sat down, then leaned back in his chair. "Me, can we have something to drink and nibble!" he yelled. "We had ice cream for lunch!"
"Stupid boys not eat right!" she called back, coming out to bring him something to nibble on and swat him. "Ron knows better than to not eat right. Ron should be eating better, should be eating Dawn's food!"
Ron smirked at her. "Dawn is a meal by herself," he agreed happily. The house elf 'eeped' and disappeared. "Sorry," he called.
"Me not upset, getting tea!"
Alex sighed and shook his head. "Ron!" He threw a book at his head. "Behave and quit giving the house elves dirty thoughts!"
"Yes, Alex," he said sweetly. "Oh," he said, standing up and emptying his pockets. He tossed Draco the owl food, then Alex a bag he enlarged. "Tipsy and the twins."
"Thanks, Ron," he said happily, digging into his bag of pranks. He looked at Danny and motioned him closer, getting a nod. He looked at his wrists, then pressed on his palm. "You can play with me on family and Bane games. You just need to practice some." He let him go. "Sit!" They all sat. "Wands?" They got them out. "Good. Let's start with the easiest stuff."
"Floating?" Don asked.
"Not quite. There's some easier stuff." He pulled his primary wand. "Luminos." It lit up. "Go ahead."
Mac and Danny both pulled theirs, lighting it up.
"Do we have to say it really loudly?" Don asked. "Luminos." His lit up very brightly. "Hey, that's good, right?"
"It means you've got energy to burn," Alex assured him. "We can do that too. Stella?"
She held her wand up. "Luminos." It lit up.
"Good job. Now say 'nox'." They did and it unlit, but Don's had an afterglow. He pulled Don's hand over and put a crystal in it. The afterglow faded. "That's fairly common in young curse breakers. I had to sleep with one because I was my own nightlight for a few months." He looked at Stella. "No one says you have to use it after you get control."
"I'm not sure I'm going to be doing that," she admitted. "It's just so odd!"
"It is," Danny agreed, patting her on the back. "It was for all of us. Mac was there too. Even I thought it felt odd to be using my own wand and I was born with it." He shrugged and sat down. "What's the lending policy?"
"Here in the valley unless you ask."
"That's cool," he agreed happily. "My old practice broom got drooled on."
Alex nodded. "So did mine. What did you get for the new one?"
"Stardust," he said happily.
"They're good brooms," Alex agreed. "I had mine customed to counteract the random surges of magic I get now and then." Draco nodded fiercely at that. "Sorry, dear."
"Thankfully we can now fly on your broom together again," he noted dryly. "Plus my wrist was able to be healed." Danny snickered at that. "A magic surge took out his flying charm." Danny moaned. "Exactly." He smiled at Don and Stella. "All right, let's move forward. The closer we get you lot to control this weekend, the less trouble that Don will draw." That got a happy look from Mac. "Got into trouble did we?" Draco asked dryly.
"Plant demon in the park," he muttered.
"It thought he was cute, wanted to make baby demon flowers with him," Danny teased. He moved out of the way of the punch this time, smirking at him. Stella squealed so everyone stared at her and the new lump on her stomach. "I've heard of energy pregnancies but that was really quick, Stella."
"Dragon!" she said, moving the bottom hem of her shirt to get it out. "Don't do that!" It gave her the most pitiful look and she let it cuddle, but not go back down her shirt again.
"He did that to Ginny for the first month," Dawn assured her. "Rooms?"
"You need a separate one?" Alex asked, looking confused.
"No, theirs," she reminded him. "Plus for Ginny and Luna."
"Luna can have the spare room in our suite," Ron reminded her. "Ginny can have the couch if she wants or the spare in Harry's suite. The others are already set up in the spare tower." She smiled at him for that, giving him a gentle kiss. "Snogging later, work now," he reminded her gently. "Then squealing right after that," he added with a smirk. She beamed and nodded, taking Stella off to the side to work with her while Alex got Don and Draco and Ron took Mac and Danny.
Greg just found where he had left off last time in the potions section and pulled down the next book to start reading again until he was needed.
"Ha! Got you, you little brat!" an older woman's voice said from the hallway, waking Don up. He got up and went to open the door, making Tipsy Ramvette-Wesaley smile at him. "Sorry, toddler running after the dragon." She waved a hand and carried her daughter off. "You don't chase dragons until Uncle Charlie says you can," she ordered as she carried Joxer off. "You know that, Joxer."
Don smiled and closed the door, going back to bed. Once there, he found a small lump in his warm spot. He looked at the dragon. "Got bored?" He snuggled back in, letting it have his chest if it wanted.
"All right, where's the dragon!" Dawn yelled an hour later.
Don moaned and laughed, bringing her in there. "Snoring into my bellybutton, sorry. Tipsy was chasing her daughter, who was chasing Keelian."
"Joxer is a holy terror when she and Keelian get together," she agreed, coming in to get the dragon. It squeaked and unsheathed his claws. "Don't you dare!" It calmed down and huffed her. "Thank you. Come on, let's go back to the nest and let Don sleep. Sorry."
"He was fine. Fairly warm but fine." She smiled and walked off with him, petting and stroking over the firm scales. Don smiled and curled up again, taking over that warm spot. Dragons were very warm creatures. He'd have to remember that.
Dawn went down to the kitchen, getting him some meat, then took him back up to the nest in hers and Ron's room, letting him curl up in there again. "Are you cold?" She put a heating charm on the base of the nest and left the meat in there with him. "There you go, baby. You rest and then you can play tomorrow." She went back to bed, finding him right behind her. "Are you lonely?"
"Probably sleeps with the unicorn," Ron mumbled, lifting the covers. The dragon curled up between them and he smiled, kissing Dawn gently. "There, comfy?" She nodded. "Where was he?"
"Hiding from Joxer in Don's room."
"We'll call Charlie tomorrow about the extra cuddly one." She smiled and nodded, snuggling as close as she could without getting a claw to the breast for it.
Stella came out of her room a few hours later and decided to wander around. She heard some music and followed it to what must be a ballroom, looking around. She saw a ghost and walked carefully closer. "Are you real?" The man stopped playing and looked at her. "I've never seen a ghost before."
The ghost smiled. "I am real. I'm Master Nierly, the music master indebted to this family for saving me, my dear. He floated closer. "I didn't mean to wake anyone."
"You didn't. I can't sleep."
He nodded. "It's often that way when you first discover the gifts. Some get excited, some think too much. When I found out my mother was a siren and I had the gifts, I got very drunk and had to hide from some sailors I drew accidentally." She smiled at that. "It was terribly rude of them to chase me that way, especially those with their pants already down." She let out a small chuckle. "I know, it was odd."
"I threw a massive fit and had tempers for days," Draco said as he walked in. "It happens to the best of us. I used to get frustration bombs in the library doing homework." The ghost laughed and Stella gave him a clueless look. "Veela broadcast sex, dear. I did it in Hogwarts." She blushed a bit at that. "Exactly." He smiled at her. "Come walk with me and we'll talk." She nodded, following him outside. "It's a pretty night," he offered quietly.
"It is. New York's hot and muggy."
"We get some humidity but not too much in this valley," he offered gently. "The others had a much easier transition. I heard Flack's sister was one of us?" She nodded. "The other two knew?"
"Mac's a muggle born," she offered quietly. "Or whatever you call 'em."
"No, I can't use that word anymore," he said dryly. "I still remember the consequences from the last time I said it." She smiled at that. "Have you talked to him about this yet? He seems like the sort who'd have taken this news fairly hard." He walked her off toward the stables.
"I hadn't. You think he wasn't a happy boy?"
"From the way he is now, I doubt he thought it was more than a prank until forced to accept it."
"Maybe," she agreed quietly, considering it. "It's just so strange and odd! Magic's something that you read about in books! Not books I usually read but books." He nodded at that. "Now I find out that I've got a family history of it and that I can do it. I feel...unsettled."
"As you should," he agreed. "You should remember that nothing will *make* you use it. The same as we do have some very muggle science oriented wizards in our world. Most of them muggle born admittedly," he offered dryly, smirking at her. He let her into the stables, hearing the quiet whuffing noises from the horses. "There's nothing here that would make you give up your usual life. Nothing says you can't do whatever it is you do every day for a living. It could even be helpful now and then."
"We do what Greg does."
"Which I still don't understand," he assured her, patting her on the arm. "He manages to use it daily and still not use it on the job. He's had some people suggest he should use it on the job and he's refused." She relaxed at that. "With your boss knowing, he could never force you to use it on the job. Not unless he were going to do the same. Or unless it was magic related." She nodded. "Besides, the greater majority of your life will have nothing to do with magic. You're a muggle. You're going to remain a muggle. Even if you were to marry a wizard, you'd still only use it around the house for cleaning spells and the like most likely. Perhaps some preservation things."
"You can preserve things?"
"Of course. Time stop and other methods. Alex and them have to use it a lot on the job to stop degradation and those issues. Another thing I don't pretend to understand. From what Gregory said, chemistry is like potions only he works with dead people. Which sounds suspiciously like necromancy to me, but I don't claim knowledge of that either." She smiled and nodded. "Right now, you're learning a lot of things you'll probably never use. It's to build your skill levels and to promote a certain way of thinking. It's only at the higher levels that you get into the theory behind magic and that sort of thing. We all had to learn the same spells and show proficiency with them to graduate. It showed that the indoctrination had been successful and that we had a good handle on controlling our innate responses. Unless you're a curse breaker or a veela," he offered with a sarcastic smirk. She giggled. "Weasley is still one of the *worst* at leaking magic when he gets frustrated. I take mine out on my mate and wear him out. This is teaching you how to wear out your magic so it doesn't back up and explode on those around you some day. Once you get a bit further on, we'll let Greg guide you in ways of using your magic that could be helpful should the situation arise on the job or to protect your life if you're getting shot at."
She hugged him. "Thank you, Draco."
"It's not a problem. Now please get off before you wrinkle me." She smiled and got off him. "For now, just know that you'll use the first few lessons and about ten others you'll learn this weekend more often than half the other stuff in those books Gregory bought you. It's progressive. You don't learn cast fireballs before you can put out fires. As long as you pass the test at the end, you can even ignore your wand for long stretches. Mac apparently has." She nodded at that. "Now, you should rest. Tomorrow's going to be a more strenuous day. Alex wants you lot through the first six months of charms at the very least before you leave." She nodded and patted the nose hanging over a stall door. "That's Diablo. Alex's stallion. He's a bit touchy but he seems to like females." He smiled at her. "We should go back inside before Alex hunts me down and takes me on the lawn again."
"We should. Thank you, Draco." He nodded and led her back inside, closing and locking the doors behind them once they were in the house. "In the books, you were a bigger bastard."
"Alex fucked it out of me," he admitted dryly. "I don't like to disappoint him." He dropped her off at her room then went down to his to climb back into bed. Alex snuffled him and relaxed, wrapping him in his arms. "Night, love." Alex kissed the skin he was resting against and settled back into a deeper sleep.
Danny woke up at the nudge, looking at the house elf beside him. "Give me ten to clean up."
"Breakfast is in kitchen. Alex is saying to head down when yous is ready." She disappeared.
Up the hall Don shrieked.
Danny laughed, getting up and heading to the bathroom to get cleaned up for the day. By the time he came down, Don was dressed and calmed down. "House elf get you up?" he asked, clapping him on the back.
"Yes. All I saw was big eyes and big ears." Mac smiled at that. "Did you see a lot of them at your school?"
"We only had three to do laundry and cook," Mac admitted. "They were ordered to ignore us if we came begging for treats and snacks." He sipped his coffee. "Where's Alex, Draco?"
"Outside checking on the storage areas. Someone got into one through a seal." Ron and Harry came in. "Who was it?"
"Keelian," Harry said dryly. "Alex is trying to coax him out of there before he ends up living in that one."
Greg smirked from his spot. "Makes sense to me. Dragons gather nests." He looked at Don. "Yes, that's Harry Potter."
"You read the stupid books, didn't you?" Harry asked blandly. Don nodded, grinning at him. "Total shite, mate." He looked at the house elves. "Don't you dare stuff me full. I've got practice before the game today." Me snorted and pushed him into a chair, putting a huge plate in front of him. He gave Ron a helpless look so they changed plates. "Thanks, mate."
"Welcome, Harry." He grinned at Don. "Don't worry, Harry's a normal guy at home. He farts and swears and scratches stuff that makes Luna and Ginny laugh at him." Don relaxed and sat down across from them. "So, being a cop must be at least a little bit exciting."
"Usually not in a good way. If I'm having an exciting day, something bad's happened."
Danny snorted. "Like the squirt gun wars."
"Yeah, there's the odd stuff too," Don agreed dryly.
"Squirt gun wars?" Dawn asked as she and Ginny walked in. Ron blinked at his sister. "She's got to exercise Apple. We're doing flying exercises while she's doing that. Of course she's in official clothes, Ron."
Danny blinked, then nodded once. "Valkyrie, right?" She smiled and nodded. "Better you than me, sister. Much better you than me. I'd look horrible on the horse and with the vow of chastity."
She smiled. "It means I get to play with the unicorns for at least a few more years." She sat down and smiled at Don. "Yes, I know I'm hot, Thor designed slutty outfits, dear." She patted him on the hand. "Can I have the scones and jam?" He nodded and passed them down. "Thank you." She fixed her plate. "Keelian! I'm going flying in a bit!" she bellowed. The dragon came running in with Alex behind him by a few minutes. "Thank you, dear. Maybe Alex can lend you some stuff for a nest of your own." She let him into her lap and fed him a bite of scone. "You rest, we'll go fly on Apple in a minute." He smirked at her and settled in, staring at Don.
"What? I'm learning how to fly today." The dragon huffed at him. "If I'm any good you can go with me." That got another smirk and a tail swish. "He really is like a cat at times."
"Very much. That means he's healthy," Dawn agreed happily. She smiled at Alex. "We're doing flying lessons while Ginny's exercising Apple, then we'll get back to work on charms and stuff."
"That's fine. There's paperwork Draco and I have to do for a few minutes then we'll join you."
Draco looked at him. "Since when do *we* do the family paperwork?"
"Since I've still got to sign the paperwork authorizing you on the rest of the vaults, Draco." He moaned at that and nodded. "Then we can go fly."
"Yes, dear." He looked around. "Where's Lovegood?"
"Sleeping in. Ethan wore her out yesterday morning and she's tired," Ginny told him.
"More than I wanted to know about her sex life," Alex said blandly. "Could she be pregnant?"
"We're not sure," Dawn admitted. "The hellhounds have started to come back around. One's trying to nurse again." Danny and Mac both choked at that. "Sorry, I guess no one told you. Luna's mated with a nature path warlock and a mid-level demon, one who used to be a chaos sorcerer but changed during the battle. Ethan has the worst timing, he keeps calling during Herbology and having mental sex with her. It wears her out greatly at the moment."
"If she gets pregnant, the castle will expel her," Alex noted patiently. "You need to remind her of that, Dawnie."
"Sev has," she promised. Greg smiled at that. "He's on her ass about it too, Alex. He hates Ethan."
"I don't always like Ethan but I understand his nature," Alex pointed out patiently. "I especially didn't like him after some of his stunts in Sunnydale. Then again, that's his nature, he's a chaos sorcerer. Speaking of, Wes is a sorcerer, not a warlock. He's not an oath breaker."
"If you say so. Angel said he was."
"Angel needs to crawl out of your sister's ass again, Dawnie. Wes never promised more than he'd help Angel if he needed him. Since Angel didn't call when he needed help, it's his own fault."
"Good point." She shrugged. "He glared at Angel when he called him that in front of Sirius and them. Spike growled at him for that."
"And I'm guessing Angel's going to be plagued with Ethan too," Ginny agreed sarcastically. "Can you do much worse than a stripping house elf?"
"Oh, so much worse," Alex assured her with a mean smirk. "Oh." He looked at Greg, then at Danny. "You got a floo call earlier when the wards went off. Someone heard I was working with Flack and called, said she knew Greggy."
"Who?" Greg asked.
"Potion's teacher at Chicago."
"Aiden?" he asked, looking confused.
"Burns?" Flack asked, sitting up straight. "She's one of us?"
"She is?" Mac asked.
"You're just bad at spotting us, Mac," Danny said, patting him on the wrist. "Yeah, she's a potions person. Not as great as Greg or Snape, but pretty decent. She's teaching in Chicago because the last guy knocked himself senseless with a flying cauldron when he made a mistake. She got one from a student but still."
"You knew where she is and didn't tell me?" Don demanded.
"How could I have!" he complained. "It'd expose you to magic and I didn't know you knew." They stared at each other. "We'll call her later," he promised.
"Thank you. I miss Aiden. Speaking of, new girl?"
"Not a clue," Danny assured him patiently. "Sheldon thinks something funny's going on. He thinks Mac and Stella were going to run off and get hitched and we're their attendants. So I guess I'm doing her hair." Don cracked a smile at that when Mac and Stella both choked. "I told him we were going to visit a mutual friend out of the city."
"I'll make sure Sheldon knows it won't happen," Mac groaned, holding his head.
"You're cute and all, Mac, but I take you as someone who'd be kinda boring in bed," Stella agreed happily.
Mac glared at her. "I never had any complaints from Claire."
"That's the benefit of marriage," Dawn agreed happily, smiling at Ron. "You get to know their bodies very well."
"Eww," Ginny announced. "Some of us are under a vow of chastity and have a sore wrist already! Let's not give the perpetual virgin more smutty thoughts please!"
"Yes, dear," Dawn sighed, shaking her head. "Why do you have a sore wrist?"
"Listening to you and Luna compare oral sex techniques!" she complained.
Alex patted her on the back. "You know you're welcome back when Apple goes into heat again," he promised gently. She nodded, pouting at him. "It'll be at least a year and we can always obliviate the memories if they're too hard to bear."
"No, I'm fine," she assured him, just pouting a bit. "She's a cranky pregnant mare."
"They can be, yes," Alex promised, patting her on the back. He looked at Draco. "We did agree to that, right?"
"As long as her mare was in heat," he agreed. "It'd save her from doing something stupid in her need or jumping one of her many brothers or cousins by accident." Ron glared at him. "You were right there, she nearly got you and Potter once."
"Point," he complained, still glaring. "Lay off my family, Draco."
"All right, I'm ending this round now!" Alex announced. "Or else you're both cataloging each and every jewel in all the catacombs." They shuddered and hunched down. "Thank you! Remember, your lines' founders were desperately in love and snogged and shagged every chance they had." That got harder shudders from them. "Good. I'm glad that's settled." He heard a thump and looked at one of the elves, who went to check, then came back to whisper in his ear. "Ron, thank you for reminding Miss Granger I wanted my shit back. Most of it's here."
"I'll catalog it during the charms lessons," Draco promised. Alex looked at him and nodded. "Do the cataloging books automatically update?"
"They do and if they have cards in the card catalog it'll place it on the shelving cart within an hour."
"Thank you." He stole a quick kiss. "Virgin brat, may I please have the tea?"
"Fine, slut boy," she sneered, handing it over.
He smirked at that compliment. "Yes, I am. Quite proud of it too."
"Yes, and you two kept us up yet again," Harry complained. "Someone needs to strengthen the anti-noise spell between my suite and yours. I try and it gets louder."
Alex nodded. "I'll do that tonight, Harry." That earned him a smile. "Practice?"
"Thirty minutes," he moaned, scraping his plate, finishing his tea, and heading up to grab his necessary things so he could head off. "Later all!"
Don looked at Alex. "This is like a madhouse at times."
"No, that's when we've got a ton of artifacts and we're figuring out what they are. Then it's a madhouse of sorting into the requisite piles of 'nasty', 'unholy', 'will eat you', and 'dangerous'."
"Will eat you stuff isn't considered dangerous?" Stella asked.
"Not really. I can fight off something that could eat me. That other dangerous stuff could kill me without me knowing." He beamed at her. "Last month I brought home a demonic containing necklace that strangled the wearers so it could steal their souls and gain power until it could break out and eat the world."
"Word of advice, never try on any jewelry that's just lying around," Dawn told her. "I got sent a cursed piece and it nearly choked me for liking Ron instead of the giver."
Stella nodded. "Wow. Is this just curse breaker stuff?" Everyone at the table who knew nodded. "Good! I don't want to collect cursed stuff. I wouldn't mind learning how to make jewelry, but still."
"I'm kinda looking forward to finding the expansion charms," Danny told her. "That way I can have a *real* apartment." Mac moaned at that. "Exactly. Even just two more rooms and expanding what I have would be really nice."
"You can do that?" Don asked.
"Remember in book four, the tents?" Ron asked. Don nodded happily, beaming at him. "You can do that on an apartment too. Live in a total shithole and do it."
"Which I do," Danny admitted dryly. "You can also conceal the extra rooms from those who don't know."
"If you're really unethical, you could also make your landlord forget your apartment existed and not pay rent too," Dawn reminded him smugly. "Willow did that once."
"Which is a bad thing," Ron said patiently. "Following Willow's example is always a bad idea, Dawn."
"I know, just saying," she said happily, smiling at him.
"Ethan did it on his penthouse in Chicago," Alex said with a small shrug. "I lowered my rent in Sunnydale by about five hundred a month so I could afford to live there on what I was making."
"Yeah, rent was really horrible there," Dawn agreed. Ron looked at her. "It was."
"I've got an apartment about the size of this kitchen and I pay about two grand," Danny told her. Ron gave him a horrified gape. He nodded. "New York rent is horrible."
"Worse than most places," Don agreed. "My apartment's only a bit bigger and I pay about the same amount." Stella and Mac both nodded. "Can you show us that shrinking spell?"
"Once you've gotten a handle on the basics we'll be going over, I'll get to it tomorrow," Alex promised with a smile. "It is the most handy thing. We use it on camp gear and stuff." Ron nodded at that. "Okay, let's finish up and get to flying lessons while I sign some papers and stuff." Everyone finished up and Draco followed him into the office while Ron and everyone headed outside. Dawn got Stella. Danny got Don. Ron watched and flew around a bit while Ginny and Apple worked out together.
Don yelped as he took off. "Level off!" Danny yelled. "Like it's a joystick, Don!" He summoned his game broom and took off to fly with him.
Dawn smirked at Stella and winked. "Okay, like this," she ordered patiently, showing her. She got off and handed over the broom. Stella got on and she adjusted her grip. "Good. Now, when it's activated, you turn using the handle. He's right, it's just like a pilot's joystick. Down is down. Up is up. Level is level. Turn the broom and lean with it, not lean to turn the broom or you roll." She nodded. "Okay. Drop it, stand beside it and hold out your hand. Say 'up' firmly."
Stella got off the broom and laid it down, then put her hand out. "Up!" It flew into her hand, making her smile. She remounted and kicked off gently, taking off slowly and letting herself float up until she got nervous and leveled herself out. "This is really fun," she said happily.
Dawn smirked and nodded. "It is. Alex, I'm stealing your good broom!" she yelled, then summoned it. She flew up to join her. "Okay, let's do some gentle laps, what Danny and Don are doing." Stella nodded and followed her. "You'd make a really good chaser, Stella."
"What's a chaser?"
"The person with the ball who throws it. We'll show you tomorrow." She smiled at her. "I'm a keeper, I block chaser's shots." She headed up and Stella followed, holding on tightly. "No death grips. You won't fall and Ron's more than able to catch you."
"I've fallen from higher up and it only stings a bit," Ron called. "Really."
Danny looked at him and smirked. "Total BS," he called. Ron smirked at him and shrugged. "That's how you know a real player," he told Don. "We don't mind the bumps and bruises." He flew down and took Mac, putting him in front of him. "Quit pouting." He headed back up, talking quietly in his ear to instruct him how to do it. Mac was still stiff and uncomfortable but at least he was in the air now.
"Can I get down? I'm going to be sick." Danny landed and let him off. "Sorry."
"Not everyone likes to fly." He shrugged and zipped off, taking a couple of fast loops around the valley and coming back to where everyone was floating together. "So," he said, grinning at them. "This is part of my sport. Well, outside of baseball, but that's okay too. What do we think?"
"I like this," Stella agreed happily. "There's safe spots to fly in the city?"
"Yup, when we get back I can take you to the school and show you where they are on the maps." Don smiled at that. "You're doing good too."
"It's fun. I always thought it sounded fun in the books."
"Oh, it is," Danny agreed happily.
"I think Stella would make an excellent chaser, Danny," Dawn offered.
"I can see it happening. We do have a borough-wide league. The PD has a team on it," he offered. "If we can get these two trained it'd be kinda cool to play together."
Stella burst out giggling. "I just had the mental image of Sheldon catching sight of us flying and trying to explain it to himself."
Danny snickered. "Lindsey catching us and trying to explain it to Sheldon," he offered. Don snickered at that too.
"He'd check her forehead and vitals first," Stella agreed happily. "We can cover this at work, right?"
"I do," Danny said with a small shrug. Greg joined them. "How many people at your work know?"
"Nearly everyone on my shift in the labs. Death Eaters came after me. It blew my cover big time."
"I bet," Don agreed. "Why did they come for you? I mean, you obviously went to Hogwarts, but still."
"I'm an alchemist, Don. If he had me and my stones, he could have funded his crusade and gotten rid of Lucius sooner." He blinked at that so Greg nodded, smirking a bit. "Yeah, that's how I have the legitimate mansion in Vegas with a pool."
"Wow." Stella looked at him. "Is it hard?"
"Very and it's theoretical. Each of us who manages it does it just slightly different. Magic is a lot like that. That's how you tell wand signatures. You put a bit of yourself into each spell." She nodded at that. "That's a higher level class though. Theory is a senior level elective. Like art." He grinned and looked down as Draco and Alex joined them. "She stole your broom."
"I saw. We'll get the other two brooms the next time they come up if they decide to stick with it." He floated sideways a bit, letting Draco float up next to him. "What was the house elf issue?"
"Grocery shopping. They need to go. I told them to take one of the vault keys."
"Thank you," he said, giving him a gentle kiss. "Okay. Do we want to teach the basics of quidditch? And what's wrong with Mac?"
"Airsick and nervous," Danny offered. He grinned at them. "You guys just want to fly around a bit and then head back into lessons?"
"Sure," Don agreed, looking at Stella. "Or did you want to learn how to play?"
"I want to watch a game first." She smiled at Alex. "Thank you for spoiling us rotten."
He kissed her on the cheek. "Not an issue. I hate most of my sisters so I'm adopting you guys."
"You like Katya."
"Yes, but if I tried to spoil her, she'd try to castrate me again," he complained. He smiled. "The ring of rocks holds the anti-disclosure spells. Stay within them. Otherwise someone might see." They nodded and headed off to explore the grounds. Alex went to check on the health of the spells with Draco's help, adding in new layers of magic to toughen them up again. He also added in satellite interference just in case.
Danny smiled at Mac and then whistled sharply. "I'm calling Aiden!" he yelled. Don and Stella came running with their cocoa. "Good." He found the pot of floo powder. "Useful stuff to have. When we get back, we'll see if we can manage a floo port somehow for you guys, or you can come use mine." He tossed in the floo powder. "Aiden Burns." Her head spun up and she blinked at him. "Hi, precious," he said with a smirk.
"Mother of God," she breathed. "You're one of us? They never found you? I thought you were the sibling of one of us since I never saw you with your wand."
He snorted. "Please! They found me and I went to the local Academy. My family's been wizards for *centuries*, Aiden. Mac's a muggle born. No they missed those two," he said, pointing at Don and Stella. Who smiled and waved. "We're in Scotland taking the beginning lessons with them. We taught 'em how to fly today too."
She smiled at him. "I miss you, Danny. Hi, Mac. Hi, Stella, hey, Don." He grinned back. "So, how did they miss you guys?"
"They told my father I didn't have it when he asked," Don told her. "My sister got her letter and dad checked, but they said I was normal. Turns out I'm a natural curse breaker."
She moaned. "Ooh, you poor man," she sighed. "No wonder you get the hellish cases." She shook her head. "Who's teaching you guys? All I heard was a fellow potion master who went to Hogwarts."
Greg walked over and waved. "Hi, Aiden. 'Tis me and Alex Dumass, plus his apprentices."
She blinked. "You're a wizard, Greggy?"
"I'm the Wizard of Blood, Aiden babe." He smirked at her and she whimpered. "Yup. I had to prove it to Brass so I gave him bunny ears." She burst out giggling and he grinned. "They're heading to the game tomorrow and then home afterward. When's break for you guys?"
"Two weeks, same as New York's." She smiled at them. "I've missed you guys. Teaching potions is horrible!"
"Hey, at least they fixed the school," Greg said dryly. "Lindsey Willows is my sponsored kid. We almost took down your school for that."
"What do you mean almost? You sicced the Legacy on us." She smiled at him. "Good job by the way. They didn't even have wands." Mac moaned at that. She looked at him. "You went here?" He nodded. "Wow, I would've expected somewhere like Fischer Academy for you, or maybe even Andromeda."
"Local boy. That way I didn't have to board. Mom hated the idea of boarding schools." He sat down. "How are you doing?"
"I'm okay. Teaching is very stressful. Almost makes me wish for another trash barge case some days. We've got a good potion's lab here but some of the kids never got taught a damn thing. The school got taken over by the military during the purge so we're just now getting ready to graduate the first class of semi-trained wizards. We've been playing catchup to get them ready." She looked at Danny. "I can't believe you're a pureblood, Danny." He nodded. "Why didn't we hit the school at the same time?"
"I'm five years older than you. We probably had some overlap but I was Cheshire house. You?"
"York. No wonder I never saw you there." She shrugged. "Okay. So, how're lessons going?"
"I got to fly," Don said happily.
She grinned at him. "You fall off yet?"
"No. Not yet. Mac gets air sick." She giggled at that. "Dawnie said that Stella might make a good chaser."
"Maybe," she agreed. "That takes high levels of pushiness and tenacity. Want me to call the PD team's coach for you guys?"
"Please," Danny agreed. "I want to see if I can still play with my wrist."
"Holy shit! I was there at the same time. You fell right before the school championship!" she said. He nodded. "Damn!"
"Vaguely. Damaged some of the nerves but Alex and I did okay earlier when he was working with me. He thinks I could play with some good wrist guards this time."
"Wow. If you do, I want invited back for the borough championship." They all nodded. She smiled. "I miss you guys and your insanity. Here all I've got is Spike and Sirius."
Don chuckled at that. "Ron and Don went off on those two earlier. Arguing over who was worse."
"Spike. Vampires always win." She frowned. "Hold on. Ron Weasley and Dawn Summers?" They all nodded. "You're with who?"
"Alex Dumass," Greg said fondly, showing off his tattoo. "They're helping. They're Alex's apprentice and little sister."
"Oh, man, you're among the famous sort now, guys. So, was Potter there?"
"He's collapsed on his bed," Don said happily. "We had breakfast with him." She giggled at that. "I know, but I read the books to see what my sister could do. I got hooked," he complained.
"Now that you have the reality, it's much more complicated," she agreed. "I'm a coworker of Sirius Black."
"I thought he died."
"Strange stuff that necessitated a time turner," Ron said from the doorway. "You guys can have her included in your next lesson but she won't remember how to get here. Tell Sirius Harry said hi but he's too tired to call because the season's just getting under way. Tell Spike Dawnie says hi and that she looks better in her leather pants than he does. Tell him I agree and to get on Angel's case for calling Wes a warlock too."
"Okay. Sirius!" she yelled. Her head turned and she passed on the message, then turned back to Ron. "He said that's no excuse, of course they're torturing Angel, and anyone would look better than Spike in a pair of leather pants, he's got a flat ass."
Ron snickered. "He does. Thanks." He headed off. "Not too late, guys. We've got a long day tomorrow if you want that expansion charm."
Aiden smirked at them. "That is a handy spell. I'm living in a slum but I've got an eighteen room apartment with classical furniture that I transfigured myself."
Danny nodded. "I'm doing my apartment when I get home. Then we'll practice the spells for their apartments until the next lessons." Mac looked at him. "Silencing, soundproofing, lighting stuff. The homey spells. That way they get practice and their apartments are fully muggle proof."
"Okay," he agreed. "I've only got soundproofing on mine."
"You don't use yours very much," Aiden reminded him. "I used mine about every day. Hell, I had a bath drawn for me by the time I got home thanks to my wand."
"Yeah, that's about what I've used it for. That and transfiguring clothes now and then. I was pretty muchly hiding it," Danny agreed.
"I heard rumors about the Vinese coming to kick some family's ass," Aiden agreed. Danny nodded. She winced and hissed. "Are you in trouble?"
"Nope. I didn't know a thing about the covenant."
"Damn," she said in awe. "Well, at least you were recalled to the family home to be tortured or stuff. So, Stella, you handling it okay?"
"Enough," she admitted. "It's still really strange, Aiden. Did you do a lot of thinking?"
"Not really. It got me out of the house and away from my mother. I was happy until I got there and realized I had *no* clue what the fuck was going on." Don grinned at that. "Your sister?"
"Called crying the second night because she didn't understand what a boarding school was or how people managed to live with bad food."
"Which house was she in?"
"Cheshire." Aiden nodded at that. "She might've known Danny back there."
"Yup, I remember your sister. She used to come bug me and my friends to help her in defense," Danny admitted. "She got pretty good when the guys made her learn the spells by attacking her in the halls, but she was pretty weak her first few weeks." He shrugged. "Standard upperclassmen bullying."
"They did it to me too," Aiden agreed. "Hey, since you're over there, can you guys pick me up stuff from the Weasley's shop? Please?"
"I got some stuff upstairs," Danny assured her. "Whatcha need, Aiden?"
"Ooh, anything! Please! Especially something to stuff up dog noses. Sirius, get the hell away from my ass!" They laughed and she sighed, shaking her head. "He ran off again. Animagus are not fun at times, especially that one."
Greg laughed. "Speak for yourself. I like being a lizard."
"Figures. Where were you in Hogwarts?"
"The year behind Sev. I was his apprentice."
"You were a Slytherin?" He smirked and nodded. "Wow."
"Very. And hey, I finally got Emilia," he said proudly, pulling out the picture to show her. "We're still in Vegas."
"Really wow. Good job, Greggy." He smiled and put the picture back. "Damn it, we need a convention to talk."
"MNPO," Greg reminded her. "Next month in Miami."
"What?" Stella asked.
"Magical Nation of Police Officers."
"Oh." She nodded. "Can we go without joining?"
"Nope. We can get you joined before then," Greg assured her with a wink. "I can do that tonight." He waved at Aiden. "I'm going to do that. You going?"
"I am. I'm still part of it, even though I'm not working in a lab." A small explosion went off behind her, you could just hear it. "I'll see you guys soon. Call me when you guys get back into the states. That was one of my darling future corpses." She waved and disappeared.
Greg pulled out his cell and called someone. "Grissom, read me the number on that blue pamphlet on my desk please? Yeah, that one. For the convention. We've got to get the cops here with me enrolled so they're part of the brotherhood." He smiled and muttered it to himself. "Thanks. No, I can make it back in time for shift on Sunday, but I'm attending a quidditch match with them that day. Sure. I can do that." He listened. "Grissom, look at Ecklie and tell him we found some late blooming wizards and if he tries that I'm going to turn him into something I can use in multiple potions." He hung up and dialed the other number. "Timmy," he said happily, walking off. "You've heard the rumors about the New York academy?" He nodded. "No, man, they lost tons of people. Including some cops." He looked back at them and they all nodded.
"Oh, I don't know. You mean like Don Flack Jr.?" He smirked at him. "You do?" He looked at Don. "He's the alternate keeper for the PD team." He listened again. "We're teaching him and Bonasera actually. Well, Messer is, Taylor is. Those two are. Burns was, we just talked to her. She's teaching potions in Chicago but might go back to a lab someday soon. They're about to get eaten by her." He grinned. "Please! Thank you. Of course. I'd like to see them at the convention too. Fank you, Timmy. Love you too, man. Hey, do we know who's attending down in Miami?" He grinned. "Thanks." He hung up. "They'll be at the lab Tuesday to talk about their brotherhood. Be there. I'm going to bed, night, guys!" He headed up the stairs to call his wife over the tattoo bond and have mental sex with her.
"They're so cute together it's nearly sickening," Stella said quietly. "Ron and Dawnie too."
Don nodded. "True, but young love and all that, Stella. You gotta appreciate it."
"Oh, I do, and I'm hoping I'm just as cutesy when it hits me." She stood up and helped Don up off the floor too. "We should all head to bed. We've apparently got a long day tomorrow." She stopped Mac. "Are you okay?"
"I don't use it, Stella. Hardly ever. I'll be the benevolent boss watching over my fruitcake staff to make sure they don't get into more trouble." She smiled and nodded. "Remember, you can talk to me about this stuff too."
"I know. Just not at work or in the open." She glanced around, making sure they were alone. "Do you think Flack is going to make our lives a living hell?"
He smiled. "Curse breakers are born that way, Stella," he said fondly. "That's how you tell them apart from the normal wizards. The more trained he is, the less hell it'll cause." Alex snorted from the doorway. "No?"
"The great ones are always dedicated to Loki's name," he said dryly, smirking at them. "The more hell we cause, the greater we'll be. Harry and Ron together equal my spot and I'm second highest at this time, until the first guy dies. Bill, Ron's big brother and my last apprentice, is right behind us. It's part of who we are, but he'll be able to manage it better." He nodded and walked off. "Go to bed, kids. There's harder charms coming tomorrow and you'll need to concentrate. Next time we'll get into transfiguration instead of charms."
"Thank you," Stella called. She looked at Mac again. "He'd be the expert."
"He would be. He's been causing havoc and chaos for years. Especially when he got deaged."
Mac nodded. "Yeah, it's a fairly famous story." He led her up to his room to explain. "See, Dumass is one of the top curse breakers, has been for decades. He's about ninety at the moment." She blinked at that. "He was on a job, retrieving something, when a curse hit him. No one knows the origin and there's been rumors it was both sides doing it, but it deaged him from sixty something to five. Then the old headmaster at Hogwarts got involved. He put a shield around Alex and sent him to Sunnydale, the Hellmouth. He lived there until just a few years ago backing up the Slayer as a guy named Xander Harris. When they called a reunion here about the Voldemort situation, he got called back and the shield around him was removed. It freed him to use his magic again."
"I'm taking it this place is dangerous?"
"You know those dark places in the city where inhuman things roam?" She nodded once. "Sunnydale is like that. He hunted them, without his magic and it screwing him up badly, for years. Dawn's big sister used to be the slayer. He adopted her when her sister died," he said quietly. "She's technically a vampire from what I understand." She shivered at that. "So they freed Alex and he came back here, where he got into it with the Dark Lord's supporters. They didn't want him joining the battle on the side of good, but Alex is Alex and did. He and Draco's father ended up in a problem and he called Right of Reparation, which got him given Draco. Draco's since acquiesced and accepted it. He has to have since he's a consort veela and he could've killed Alex by now. Alex came back to help with the battles, along with a group called the Banes, which Greg is apparently part of. That's what the tattoo he and Ron keep touching says."
"I noticed that. It's some sort of communication charm?" He nodded. "I didn't know you could do that."
"You can. It's fairly ancient magic. I have the feeling Father Philip helped with that while he was a student. He's always been one for the whys of ancient magic. When he was a priest he was the one doing the exorcisms that the church didn't want to do. Anyway, Alex ended up defending the school and fighting in the final battle with everyone. He also ended up taking a year back at the school for some reason, I'm not sure why. They wanted you guys to learn a lot. Alex used to be known as a dueling champion. He's a skilled swordsman as well. They gave you guys to the best person for the job. You saw the library, most curse breakers don't do things like that. They gather and hand over. I've worked with a few because Gringotts will send someone out to break shields. Which was why I'm surprised no one found you out before this since you were in Narco and that's something drug dealers do."
"I remember a few consultants but they were focused on the job and not on us."
"That's probably how they missed you," he agreed. "Alex is somewhere between a knight and Indiana Jones. He's been known to have convenient ethics now and then and he's also known for sleeping with a lot of women, but Draco would've stopped that as well. Harry's his family, Ron's his apprentice and marrying into his family. You two may not get it the same way Danny and I did, but you'll learn enough to know what you're doing and he'll be pushing Don harder because of his gifts. Did you read the family history the goblins found for you?"
She nodded. "It said one of my grandmothers was known as a seer who saved her village from the Nazis."
He nodded. "It's in the history books that she did. I used to wonder if you were one too and just hiding it better than I could. Every now and then I still leak accidental magic. Flack's gifts explain so much that I've noticed with him leaking magic at scenes now and then. It usually helps us find stuff, but still." She nodded at that. "I need you to learn as much as you can, Stella. I'm not comfortable with a lot of the magical stuff that you could end up running into and I'm not sure Danny's strong enough to handle it on his own. Even being a pureblood. If something happens it'll probably be you two and Don handling it. There's other cops in the city with skills but I doubt any other CSIs. No one's ever twigged me as one. Anyone who knows your last name should've wondered about you. Danny as well. So learn all you can and we'll handle whatever we can, all right?" She nodded. "Good. Just don't get dead playing quidditch, okay? I'd miss you."
She hugged him. "I'll be careful, Mac. I promise. How many are there in the city?"
"Ask the guy who shows up Tuesday. He'd know most of us. Take whatever you can and make your decision about using it from that. Also, look at the books on divination."
"Greg told me he can teach me that."
"Good. Which means he's got some," he said dryly. "Only someone with the gift can teach it to another with the gift." She relaxed and nodded. "I don't know how and I have the feeling I'm going to be calling Grissom this week."
She nodded. "It might be a good idea, Mac." She stood up. "I'll let you get to bed. Have a nice night and thank you."
"Welcome. Sweet dreams." She smiled and left, heading down to her room. He checked his watch, mentally calculating the time in Las Vegas. He snorted and pulled out his phone and called. "Grissom, Taylor. No, actually I'm with Greg," he admitted. He smiled at the groan. "They didn't miss me. They missed Bonasera and Flack. I'm here getting a refresher at the same time. We should talk. Are you going to that convention Greg told us about?" He smirked. "I don't know, you might ask him to call and see. No, we got them onto brooms today. Stella and Flack are going to a quidditch game tomorrow with Danny, Greg, and I. Yeah, that Danny. Came to find out earlier so was Aiden. She's teaching in Chicago. So, yeah, I'm thinking we should form some sort of mutual support group. Sure, I'll tell him. Why?" He listened and moaned. "Thanks, Grissom. We'll talk in a few days?" He smiled. "Yeah, he told me about the bunny ears." That got a laugh. "I'll yell down the hall. He's about three rooms down. No, we're in Scotland with Alex Dumass and his family." He smiled. "Sure. Thanks." He hung up and went down to Greg's room, tapping gently. Greg opened the door. "Lindsey came in huffing and pouting and David changed in the lab."
"Crap." He grabbed a shirt and nodded. "Thanks, man." He found his sneakers and headed outside to make a portkey and take off from there. He landed back in the lab about dawn local time, looking at the destroyed locker room. He turned around and found Warrick behind him. "What happened?"
"Some kid tried to push Lindsey farther than she wanted to go. She belted him one and came here to hug her mother. She was still emotional and pissed off. We think she leaked magic and it made David change again."
"Okay. Where is she?" Warrick pointed at the shower area. "Thanks, man. I've got it. Send David in here." He nodded and left, so Greg locked the door behind him. David's other form was small enough to get in through the cracks if he wasn't already in here. He headed for the shower. "Hey," he said gently. She sniffled and looked at him. "C'mere." He opened his arms and she rushed over to hug him. "I know, it's scary when it takes you over," he soothed, righting a bench with his foot so he could sit down and put her on his lap. "It's all right. No one's mad at you. It was an honest reaction to being nearly hurt." He got her calmed down, using his wand to unlock the door when it was pounded on. Ecklie walked in and put David down on the floor. "Thank you."
"What the hell happened?"
"She was nearly assaulted and she was angry and scared," Greg explained. "Magic is emotional in nature. It calls out to your emotions." That got a nod. "It snapped. It's a normal thing to happen. She's not the first one who had a leaking issue when she's hurt. We've seen women who're being abused by their men who've killed them without knowing it, they're still huddling in the corner crying when they died." That got another nod. "She'll be fine and we can put the lockers and everything back into place easily enough."
"Okay. Can we stop this?"
"No," he said, staring him down. "I wish like hell we could prevent anyone from trying to force her to go too far sexually, it'd make me one happy father, but we can't."
"Good point. Okay, just clean up in here and help Hodges then." He walked out, closing the door behind him.
Greg looked at her. "He's sorry he's an ass," he said quietly. She nodded, hugging him around the neck. He looked down at David, flicking his wand at him to send a bolt of power his way. David returned to human, rubbing his ass. "You okay?"
"Fine. Just a bit scared. What the hell happened?"
"Someone tried to make her go farther than she wanted."
"Hell." He patted her on the head. "Next time, vent on Ecklie's car." She let out a weak smile. "You all right? Need to see someone?" She shook her head. "Is the guy okay?"
"His tires popped when I stomped off," she said weakly.
"Is he one of us?" Greg asked. She nodded. "Then Penn'll have his ass for breakfast." He called him. "I'm back for a few minutes. Did anyone report the kid who made Lindsey leak?" He listened and nodded. "Yup, that's what she said." He smiled at her. "You also laid a truth charm on him that they can't break." She shrugged at that. "I don't consider that a bad thing either." He listened. "No, tossed the locker room. We can clean it up pretty easily." Someone pushed open the door. "Not yet, Sarah." She left again. "Did you get the name on the watch list?" He nodded. "Okay, just making sure. Yeah, it's handled. Thanks, man." He hung up and put his phone back in his pocket. "It's all okay. You're not in trouble. If you have to, we can use a diverter for the next few days." She nodded, snuggling back into his arms. He touched his tattoo, calling Blair, who he knew had one he used to wear. It landed at his feet a few minutes later. David picked it up and handed it over. "Thank you. This is on loan from Blair," he said quietly, putting it around her neck. "What it does is it releases some of your natural magic back into the air. That means that any plants around you will have great growth until you take it off, okay?" She nodded, looking at him. "Now, are you sure you don't need to see someone?"
"I'm sure," she agreed quietly. "Thank you, Greg. I'm sorry, David."
"Not a problem. I'd lose my temper too and magic is emotional," he assured her. He nodded. "Let me get your mom while you and Greg swish and flick things back into place." She nodded and he left.
Greg handed her her wand and took out his. "Just like normal, but it may be a bit harder." They cleaned up the mess by the time Catherine got there. "Hey."
"We weren't sure what to do with her when she started to leak." She looked at her daughter. "Are you okay now?"
"I'm fine. I'm sorry, Mom."
"Don't be. I'd have killed the little bastard."
"She popped his tires and put a permanent truth spell on him," Greg offered with a small smirk.
"That works for me. Did you apologize to David?" Her daughter nodded. "Then we're good. We'll go home and talk about what happened; we'll talk to Emilia about witch's self defense lessons tomorrow. Okay?" Lindsey nodded and gave Greg a squeeze before moving over to hug her mother. "Honey, this was not your fault. This was his fault and I'm going to kill the little bastard if he comes near you again." She walked her out.
Greg stood up and looked around, righting something he had missed, then looking over as the door opened. "Good as new, Gris."
"Magic responds to strong emotions. She nearly got attacked earlier." He moaned and slumped a bit, nodding. "It may seem harsh, but this was the right cure at that time. It kept her from harming others and Warrick could handle anything she might've thrown at him in her anger and fear. It's normal but I put a diverger on her for a few days." That got another nod. "I'll see you tomorrow night, Gris. It's nearly midnight where I am." He smiled. "They're doing good."
"Good, but you're still nearly out of leave days."
"I shouldn't have to go back with them next time. They could even travel here for potions lessons if I had to. We did the first lesson earlier today and it went okay. Flack has *no* skill at it but Stella's doing okay and Danny's learning as well. It goes with the mindset and I can do theirs by video when I do David's next time."
"That's fine. Thank you for helping her."
"It's the guy I am, Gris. Don't worry about her, she'll be fine. Nothing went that far." That got another nod. "I'm headed back to Alex's." He headed back by portkey, smiling when he landed and Draco was there. "A boy tried to push Lindsey too far. She had a major leak."
"It's happened to the best of us. Dawn had one last year when a boy tried to grope her. He ended up part of the wall until Flitwick and McGongall calmed her down. Is she all right?"
"She's fine. Her mother's got her now. Are you doing the next few potions lessons with them?" he asked as they walked back to the castle.
"I can. Are they complaining about the amount of time you're taking off?" Greg nodded. "Then I'll do the next few and we'll work on synching it with your schedule teaching Hodges."
"That's what I was thinking. We can use a set of charmed mirrors maybe. Or maybe at the convention." He opened the door and ran into Stella. "She's all right."
"Good. What happened?"
"Magic is emotional in part, it responds to stronger emotions, like fear and anger. That's when you leak," Draco told her.
"Lindsey's date wanted her to go farther than she wanted," Greg added. She shivered. "She's fine. The leaking got offensive against him and then she had a small breakout back at the station. Ripped up the locker room. She's good now." She smiled and nodded at that. "That'll be the next lesson I'll be doing with you guys. Well, maybe not present, but over the charmed mirrors or something."
"Not enough leave time?" she asked.
He nodded. "I've spent a lot of it over the last few years. Between the war, Emilia and the kids, and this stuff, I've spent a lot of days here and there, mostly in twos and threes." Draco nodded at that. "But the good news is that Draco can teach basic potions and we can work out a way to do it by charmed mirror or something. I'm teaching Hodges so it won't be that hard. Plus the convention is coming up." He smiled at her. "You should be in bed. We'll be giving you a headache for lunch tomorrow." She smiled and went back to her room. He looked at Draco. "Have Alex work out a syllabus. Just in case you guys end up on a project and I've go to take over."
"He's already got one written up. He figured you, Emilia, and Tipsy would be the most help if we had to leave suddenly, then you and Sev could teach potions and stuff."
"Works for me." He clapped him on the back. "I'm going back to bed. Night, Draco."
"Good night, Greg." He closed up the house and went up to his room as well. His own personal blanket covered him the moment he laid down, wrapping him in his arms to snuggle. It was a good night and everything was safe for the moment.