Amusing Challenges

Alex Dumass looked up as the goblin appeared in front of him, grimacing a bit.  "What?" he asked.  He went back to his book.  "It had better be good."

"It is, I need you to intervene with some of your friends."


"Because it's necessary," the goblin said dryly.  "We have an artifact that's gone missing.  It's in the hands of the police.  It's fairly dangerous."  It handed over the scroll from his pocket.  "We need it gotten and on the second page is a contact one of your friends, particularly Mr. Sanders, can contact to get to it before it starts to harm people.  His sister's one of you."

"Joy.  I'll talk to Greg later."  The goblin nodded and disappeared again.  He touched his tatoo, then called when he didn't get an answer.  "Greg, I just got a goblin call about an artifact in police custody.  They suggested I use you to contact someone and then you go to the cops who have it."  He smirked at the disgruntled noises.  "Yeah, well, they said it was dangerous. So I need some time soon, Greggy.  Pwease?"  He grinned.  "Sure, I'll read to your heathen brats. Thanks. Call when you're ready for me."  He hung up and went back to his book.  There were only a few things it could be, otherwise they would've went to one of the curse breakers who had a direct connection back to the police department system.  After all, they had one guy who had a wacky brother who was an obsessive inspector and he knew.  So therefore it had to be something really nasty, something that had been collected by someone, and it was probably in one of three languages.  Which narrowed it down to six things.  He glanced at the scroll and nodded.  Yup, he was right.  He got back to his fun reading until Greg was ready for him.


Greg looked at the notice then groaned at the name. "I know him."  He shook his head.  "Griss knows his boss.  Wonderful."  He looked at Alex.  "You wanna come?"

"No, but I have to go to take control of the stupid thing.  Notice it says do not destroy or else. If they'd be willing to lock it in a safe forever and ever, I could accept that."  He handed over a set of keys.  "The apartment there."

"You have an apartment in New York?"

"Yeah, I used to spend a lot of time in Times Square before they cleaned it up, Greg."  He took his hand and disappeared with him.  They landed in his condo and he rolled his eyes, doing the cleaning spell.  "There, better."  He looked at him.  "You're the expert here, do whatever you need ta do, Greg."  He headed for the bedroom.  "Who in the hell has been here?"  He called downstairs.  "This is Harris.  Who in the hell was in my condo?"  He listened.  "Fine, and I want him taken off the payroll.  Gee, I don't know. It couldn't be the dried semen on my sheets perhaps."  The man on the other end groaned and hung up.  He stripped off the bed and remade it with magic, then went back into the other room.  Greg was on the phone.  He pulled his wand again and wrote 'invite him over if you have to' in the air.

Greg nodded and offered that.  He finally hung up.  "What happened?"

"Someone had sex on my bed and left really nasty sheets."  He shrugged and headed for the kitchen, finding no food.  "Well, looks like takeout."  He looked back. "I'm in the mood for Polynesian.  It's what I seem to end up having whenever I'm in town."

"Sounds good to me," Greg agreed, sitting down.  "I'll wait. He said about a half hour."

"Decent."  He grabbed his wallet and headed out.  By the time he got back, the guy who had sex on his bed was fired and the detective was in his apartment.  He walked in and nodded.  "I got you steamed stuff so your wife doesn't complain, Greg."  He looked at the detective.  "Hi.  Alex Dumass."

"I've heard of you," he admitted dryly.  "Why are you and Greggy here ganging up on me?"  Xander found the scroll and handed it over, then got down plates for them.  He took his plate as he read it.  "I can believe in magic thanks to my sister, but not this stuff."  Xander took off his shirt and undid the hiding charms he used on his scars.  "What the fuck?" he asked, looking closer.

"I lived in Sunnydale."

"Yeah, I heard about that place," he admitted, then he looked at the scroll again.  He looked at him.  "So, why did they send you and Greg?"

"Because for some reason I make cops nervous," Alex said dryly. He grinned then started to eat. "The ones in Vegas get very nervous when they see me."

"That's because every time we see you, something's going on.  Dragons, walking mummies, attacks, hostage situations," Greg said dryly.  "We love you but really, Alex."

Alex smirked.  "Hey, I get paid to handle problems.  Hence me being sent here."  He ate another bite and looked at the detective again.  "So, Detective Flack, how can we do this legally and not get anyone in trouble or release it?"

"I don't know yet," he admitted.  "I've got to think about this and talk to someone."

"It works for me," Xander admitted.  "But until then it can't be destroyed and shouldn't be touched unless you want me to have to show up and save asses.  Because I have to handle that if it does happen since it's my assignment."

"Sure, I get that," he agreed, smirking at him.  "Hell, if I knew another guy who knew about this stuff I'd ask."

"I don't know any other cops who're wizards," Greg admitted.

"I knew one but he's dead," Don said dryly.  "Down in Miami.  We've worked with them a few times and I saw Speed's wand."

Xander looked at him, then smirked.  "I know someone in Miami and he is a cop.  I'm not sure if he knew Speed though."  Don looked at him and he winked.  "I'll get the guy up here.  He went to an American school."

"That could help.  Does anyone at your work know, Greg?"

"Most of them.  We had a death eater attack there," Greg sighed, taking a bite of his dinner.  "I told Gris after our reunion but it's still well-known."  He looked at Xander. "Who?"  He got a head shake.  "You can tell me."

"I can't.  He told me I can't.  He's trying to be muggle."  He finished his dinner and stood up.  "You can stay and talk, Detective Flack.  I'll be back soon."  He disappeared with a small pop.

"He's such a showoff," Greg complained. "Deaged and all that stuff."  He ate another bite. "So, your sister?"

"Yeah, she went locally," he admitted with a grin.  "Shocked the hell outta us.  She hardly ever uses it these days but she's a witch."

Greg grinned. "I'm sponsoring Catherine's daughter to Canada.  She didn't like the New York school and the Chicago school was crap at that time.  They've been working on reforming it."

"Wonderful.  She used ta complain about the attitude problem a lot.  Where did you go?  I never even suspected you, Greg."

"Hogwarts," he said with a grin.  "Our school imploded and I got offered there instead.  Now it's a pre-military training ground.  They went and tried that with Chicago and Alex helped make them implode.  You might wanna watch it if he has to deal with this thing.  He's a curse breaker and they bring chaos and trouble with them wherever they go.  It's how they find each other.  His apprentice found a dragon in Rio and had the hatchling follow him around.  Ron and Harry are *horrible* about attracting trouble."

"Harry's real?" Don asked, beaming at him. "I thought it should be with how detailed it was.  So you went there?"  Greg beamed and nodded.  "Wow.  Does he know about those books?"

"Yeah and he hates 'em.  He's suing the idiot who changed himself into the woman writing them.  Fair warning, from fifth year things get different.  Alex showed up and we had the reunion."  Don nodded.  "Also, Draco's not exactly the little shit he was.  I had to help, Emilia had to help, and then Alex took his little consort veela in and fucked him stupid a few times.  So now he's snarly but he's more polite and Alex is keeping him busy and sore."

"Man!" he complained.  "What did the twins end up doing?"

"Dating Tipsy Ramvette and having kids along with their joke shop," he said with a smirk.  "It's all family to us, man.  There's a group of friends known as Banes.  Harry, Ron, Draco, and Alex are the younger generation but the older one have Tipsy and her twins.  Me and my wife Emilia.  Severus.  Professor Methos."

"The Highlander guy?"

Greg nodded, smirking at him.  "Yup, the highlander guy.  He's our new and semi- permanent defense teacher.  Philip Callahan is the new headmaster when they removed Dumbledore for how he treated Harry and things."

"That's so cool!"  He shifted slightly closer.  "Do you know anyone I can date?  I know I sound like a groupie but it's just so neat.  She used to give me the most disgusted look."

Greg grinned.  "It's okay, I understand.  I see plenty of them every few weeks.  Some of my coworkers are really involved.  I've got a totally muggle coworker who wanted to learn Potions so he could find the link between that and chemistry."  Don beamed at that.  He looked at him and pulled his wand.  "Don, are you sure you're not?"

"My dad asked to make sure.  He didn't really like my sister after she came out.  They said I wasn't."

Greg cast a charm and looked at him.  "They're wrong, Don.  And people who aren't trained have accidents and often get a lot more sick."  Don's face fell.  "We need ta get you checked, man.  Just in case.  Even if you're basically a squib, it's still better to know."

"Who would do it officially?"

Greg smirked.  "Professor Callahan since he's the headmaster."  He touched the tatoo on his arm, nodding finally.  "Give us a few minutes to get him here.  He's in a staff meeting."  Xander reappeared with a man he vaguely knew.  "Hey, Horatio," he said smirking at him.  "You're one of us?"

"I am," he admitted.  He looked at Greg.  "You are?"

"The Wizard of Blood, man."

"Oh."  He smirked.  "Interesting."  He looked at Xander, then at Don.  "What's going on?"  Don handed over the scroll.  "I see."  He looked at Xander.  "I'm here to consult?"

"Of course and I'll help you break that stupid ass shield you've been trying to get for the last year.  Not an issue.  You should've asked, Horatio.  I would've passed it back.  The Gringotts conglomerate doesn't like drugs.  We curse breakers do stuff like that a lot."

"Small issue," Greg put in.  "Don's not a muggle.  The idiots in New York misdiagnosed."

"Really?"  Xander pulled his primary wand and cast a charm over Don, making him shiver.  "You're right, Greg."  He grinned at him.  "We can handle that too, Detective.  After all, I've got to teach advanced charms and defense."  He sat down and looked at Horatio.  "Come sit and eat, studly.  There's extra."  Horatio smirked and came over to sit down.  "Don's sister was one of us."

"I went to the school here in the city as well," Horatio told him.

"How did you meet someone like Alex Dumass?"

"Xander?" he asked, nodding at the kid.  "After he got deaged.  He was a royal, bouncy brat in town to look at something for his slayer."

"Wow."  He looked at Xander.  "You work with a slayer?"  Xander nodded.  "Presently?"

"Former.  Buffy.  They didn't like me being a wizard.  I wasn't as good of a whipping boy."  He heard the pop and looked at Philip.  "Hey, boss."

"Don't call me that," he said in a soft lilt.  He cast the same charm over Don.  "He's not terribly strong but he's not a squib," he decided.  "So we'll have to set him up with remedial lessons so he doesn't get hurt."  He walked around, smiling at him. "I know there's an academy in town."

"Stupid people," Xander said dryly.  "They're the ones who kept trying to 'finite' the seventy foot tall demon."

"It happens," he admitted.  "The other choice is a personal tutor."

"And I'm still teaching the boys and it's not that hard," he pointed out.  "And hey, it'd give someone else for the group to fuss over."

"You mean I can really meet Harry Potter?" Don asked.

"He's one of my apprentices," Xander said with a smirk. "Him and Ron.  Ron's engaged to Buffy's sister, who I adopted when she died. And I'm married to Draco."

"Yeah, never mention his former family in front of him," Greg ordered.  "It leads to punching and he needs work on that."

"Greggy, I don't care that Draco can't punch someone out. I keep him around for his brains and his prettiness.  My veela is very pretty."

"And very much a slut," Philip complained.  "Used ta make Slytherin complain with the noise," he explained at the shocked look.  Horatio chuckled quietly. "What's up?"  The scroll was handed over.  He snorted and handed it back.  "I'm surprised he hasn't stolen it."

"I didn't want to keep someone from a cell," Xander told him, getting comfortable.  "Dinner, Philip?"

"No, thanks.  The house elves have been spoiling me rotten again."  He looked at Don.  "Are you sure there's no others in the department?"

"Not that I've had a hint about," Don admitted, looking at Horatio.  "Did you catch anyone?"

"No, and Mac wouldn't believe even with proof," he admitted.

"I gave Brass bunny ears to prove it to him," Greg offered with a grin.  "I made a bench into taffy for Gris."  He finished his dinner and put his plate aside.  "You should come out, Horatio.  I'm holding a sanctuary and my kids are going to be kick-ass CSIs or potions masters."  That got a gentle smile.  "They're already helping me in the lab and helping me teach David Hodges potions."

"Interesting."  He looked at Don again.  "We can give you something to tell, Don.  It'll light up when you get near someone with a wand or a taint."  Xander nodded, he could make one of those. "Is that part of a present case?"

"Yeah, it is. A guy was carrying it when he got killed."  He scratched the back of his neck.  "Can I go see Hogwarts?"

"Sure, when I bring you over we'll have to pick up Dawn for a weekend," Xander promised with a grin. "She got a late start and managed to catch up."

"Is Severus really that cranky?"  Everyone in the room nodded. "You know Snape, Horatio?"

"There was a potion's convention in Miami a few years back.  I ended up meeting him by accident and didn't like him then."

"Sev takes some getting used to," Greg agreed.  "I was his apprentice and it took me almost a year."  Don gaped so he grinned. "Yeah, I was a Slytherin.  He was the year ahead of us.  He's Alex's son."  Xander nodded.  "He's got his father's cranky nature."

"Only when I don't get enough sex," Xander said blandly.

"You mean you let Draco sleep?" he teased.

"Yeah, every now and then he puts me in a full body bind so he's left alone," he joked dryly.  "You know my boy loves me.  It's a good thing I got deaged or else it'd be really odd with me being my actual age with the hot eighteen-year-old."  Horatio smiled at that.  "Just don't mention the Malfoy name around him."

"Of course not.  I'm sure you've made him better than his father."

"Oh, much better and my consort veela spouse helped," Greg said proudly.  He pulled out his wallet to show them a picture.  "That's my Emilia and our kids.  The boys are twins."

Don smiled at that. "You're damn lucky to have them, Sanders."  He handed it back.  "Damn lucky."

"I know. I waited nearly forever for my lady."  Alex and Philip nodded at that.  "So, let's talk about how and where the artifact is.  If it's not being looked over by your CSI team, it would be okay for now, but if one tries to open it, I'm betting Alex is going to have to go in."  Alex nodded at that.  "Have they tried to open it?" he asked Don.

"Not a clue," he admitted.  "I know they dusted it for fingerprints and scanned it to see if they could figure out what it was to identify the period and who made it, the antique stuff."  Horatio nodded, that was standard protocol.  "If it was opened or not?  Not a clue.  How would we know?"

"Ball of smoke," Xander told him.  "Sudden personality changes."

"I haven't seen any."

"Then we may be in time," Horatio noted.  "I'll come in with you tomorrow if you think it'll help."

"I'm not sure it will or not," Don admitted.  "I might need the backup for that stuff."

"Can we say it's a priceless paranormal artifact with something supposedly trapped and it needs to be picked up by a collector?" Xander asked.  "I've had to use that before and even if you don't believe most cops don't want it sitting around their labs with weirdos trying for it."

"Mac would kill anyone who came up ta him with that story," Don assured him with a smirk.  "Go rest, kid, let us cops handle this part and then you can have it."  Xander nodded and got up to go into his bedroom.  "He was in my sister's history book."

"Ours too," Greg admitted with a grin. "He should be about ninety but he's back to twenty and pretty."

"With a very pretty lover I bet," Don said smugly.

"He's never had that problem.  He slept with half the world, Don."

"Only a quarter," Xander called.

"Yeah, right," he called back.  "Have tattoo sex with Draco, Alex.  Amuse the Prof and Tipsy."  He looked at him again.  "His little black books are phone books arranged by year.  Full city phone books arranged by years."  Don gaped at that so he sighed and nodded.  "He slept around a lot and he never went back to the same well twice.  He wears Draco out.  A lot."

"Wow," Don said, shaking his head.  "Was it a spell or a curse?"

"No, just his nature," Horatio said dryly.   "We've all heard rumors."  Greg sighed and nodded.  "Seen more than you should?" he teased.

"Much.  He and Draco like to pounce each other if it's been more than a day.  So the whole group saw it during dinner a few times, plus near my pool, and a few other places."  He smirked. "Ya know, one of these days I'm going to have to leave Vegas since we age slower," Greg admitted.  Don blinked.  "Yeah, we age slower," he told him.  "We live longer too.  It's the magic, and when it's backed up and unreleased, like yours, you get really badly sick, like cancer sick."  Don shuddered.  "So we're going to get you trained. Then you too can live to be over a hundred and having fun."

"How old is Dumbledore?" Don asked.

"A hundred and fifty-five that he admits to," Greg said dryly.  "We think he's fudged a few years in there when he was younger.  They're expecting Alex to fully live out his second life to near that age.  And hey, some wizards live to be two and three hundred years, even without elixir of life."  He shifted some.  "It's kinda nice but I'm going to have to move some year soon."

"If we have a spot open, you can apply with us," Horatio agreed.  "Or New York. Since there's a school locally there's got to be more people who know."

"There should be," Greg agreed.  "That's why I think we've got to figure out who.  Just so we have some backup while we're teaching Don.  I figure most of the Banes will want to help.  They think Alex is sweet and darling most of the time and I'm helping with Lindsay, Cat's daughter.  She's in Canada," he said proudly.  Horatio smiled at that.  "She's doing really good.  I'm very impressed with her.  Her and Dawn Summers both started a bit late but they're fully caught up.  Plus Dawn plays beater."

"That's right, I'll get to watch Quidditch," Don said happily.

Greg grinned.  "You will.  So, charm and then letting the ones who know know?"

"That would be the best place to start and it would make sure that no one tries to accidentally open it," Horatio agreed. "If Aiden was still there, I have the feeling she knew."

"Aiden?" Greg asked, considering it.  "Mouthy brat of a female?  Hung on Danny during that convention?  Her?"  Don nodded.  "Yeah, she's teaching Potions at Chicago.  Got hit in the head the other day with an exploding cauldron.  I've been subbing long distance for her."  Don gaped and he grinned. "She's not bad, but she's not great.  Is Calleigh?"  Horatio shook his head.  "See, now I would've pegged her."

"No, and she doesn't believe either," Horatio said dryly.  "Speed was?"  Don nodded.  "Then why didn't he survive the shooting?"

"He didn't have his wand on him and if his magic was low at that point, even an instinctive shield wouldn't have been that strong," Xander said from the doorway.  He handed Don a piece of braided yarn.  "The telling charm."  He looked at Horatio.  "Did anyone get his things?"  He shook his head.  "Look, see what he was doing last, man.  I'm guessing something was making his magic low if he died that way."  Horatio nodded. "I'm going to nap.  Night all."  He went back to bed.

"Do you guys feel like you've just talked to a definitive source?" Don asked.

"Only about some things," Greg noted dryly, smirking at him.  "But he's got a huge library.  Ten stories and thousands of books.  Every book he finds, he has copied in the original language and then has a translation made."  Horatio moaned.  "Yeah, and they're mostly at the castle in Scotland. It's a very pure magic spot, Horatio.  It feels great to be there but it's so easy to get lost."  Philip came out of the kitchen with a laugh.  "You used to deal with the unholy and nasty.  Any of your friends locally looking this way?"

"No," he admitted quietly, sitting down.  "No one in the Luna Foundation knows it's here."  He took a bite of dinner.  "Sorry, Lieutenant."

"Not a problem, Father Philip.  What are you doing now?"

"Headmaster at Hogwarts.  They took Dumbledore out for playing with Potter's life."  He ate another bite and looked at Don.  "You noticed how he was 'protecting' the boy by using mental coercion?"  Don nodded, he had realized that in the books.  "It got him fired.  McGonagall's still in her spot but not second anymore.  That's now Professor Methos."

"Would you kindly ask him to have Duncan removed from my city?" Horatio asked.  "He's annoying and we keep running into him.  He's making Delko paranoid."

"I'll try," Philip agreed dryly, "but Methos doesn't want him around the school either."

"Just don't send him to Vegas.  I can't imagine Brass or Grissom dealing with him."

"From what I saw on the tv show, we don't want 'im either," Don admitted.  "Send him back to Paris."

"It'd serve Beaubaxton's right," Philip agreed happily.

"That's mean, Philip," Greg teased.  The former priest gave him a look so he smirked.  "It is."

"So?  One'a the tarts wanted to come in so she could seduce Ron away from his girl.  Put it on her application."  He ate another bite.  "I had to write the nice letter pointing out he had graduated and they were very close, that nothing was going to tear them apart or else Dawn would destroy the world.  She wasn't happy and filed a complaint with the Ministry, which got Arthur to send Percy to jump on her about it."  He ate another bite then smirked once he swallowed since they were gaping. "Percy's healing after his girlfriend was shot in front of him by aurors," he told the other two.  "That's one reason why Fudge left.  With prejudice."  Don beamed at that.

"He was worse than the books," Greg assured him.  "Much worse than the books."


Don walked into the precinct the next morning, looking at the little piece of braided yarn.  It lit up a few times and he noted the patrol officers.  One looked at him and winced.  He shrugged.  "I got a visit last night," he explained quietly.  "My sister went locally."  That got a nod.  "I've gotta find someone upstairs."  He headed that way.  He got a weak glow at Stella.  That didn't really surprise him but he'd have to see who else got it.  He made the thing glow weakly until Greg had tweaked the charm for him.  He came off the elevator to the next floor up and suddenly it flashed really brightly.  He looked up and locked eyes with Mac, who raised an eyebrow. "Really?"   He put it away.  He'd test it later when they were out at scenes.

"Who gave you that?"


"The author?"

"The guy who goes and raids tombs."  Mac gaped and he took his arm, walking him off.  He handed over the scroll.  "Alex Dumass got sent to collect this thing," he said quietly.  "By the way, did you know Stella sets that off a little bit?  The same way I do?"

"It's not unheard of in families," he admitted.  He looked at him.  "You are?"

"Apparently.  The school didn't think so but Greg Sanders found it last night."

"Greg?  Nerdy, DNA tech Greg?  From Vegas?" he demanded.  Don smirked and nodded.  "He can't be!"

"He's the Wizard of Blood, or that's what he called himself when he introduced himself formally."

"He's an alchemist?" he hissed.

"He is?  I knew he was Snape's personal apprentice," he said quietly, glancing around.  He saw Danny and wondered, pulling out the yarn to look at it, then at him.  He motioned him closer.  Danny shook his head.  "Now, Messer."  He trudged over and he held it up, making him wince.  "Something you wanna share?"

"Yeah, I think it's cute you read the books," he offered with a bright grin.  "What's up?"  Mac handed him the scroll and he snorted, handing it back.  "Wonderful.  We're doing what?"

"For right now, locking it up," Don told him.  "He said it can open and release the whatever.  So you guys done with it?"

"Mostly," Danny admitted. "Stella had it earlier."  He looked at Mac, who shrugged and went back to reading.  "Really?"

"Really," he agreed dryly.  "Don, if you are, then you've got to be taught."

"Greg and Alex said they could handle that."

"Good, because I'm going to be riding your ass until you're skilled enough to help yourself."  They shared a look.  "I don't use mine usually."

"I haven't since I left my family," Danny admitted quietly.  Mac glared at him.  "What?"

"You're a pureblood?"

"Back to the time when we were all Italian, why?" he demanded, scowling at him. "That bother you too?"

"No," he said calmly.  "I just didn't realize it, Danny."

"Yeah, well, up yours," he said dryly, looking at Flack.  "I can help with the exercises.  I need ta start doin' 'em again."  He grinned. "Any other shocks?"

"Stella reads like me to the yarn?" he offered.  "I met a living legend who got deaged to twenty and he's sleeping with a consort veela?"  He shrugged and grinned.  "Alex seems pretty nice.  Ho...the other guy we brought in for advice said he knew him by his name that he got hidden under."

"Xander Harris?" Mac asked dryly.  "I ran into him once.  More than enough for me.  Danny, go get this, take personal possession of anything to do with it.  Lock it in the safe.  I need to know if this guy was related this way."  Danny nodded, heading off.  He looked at Don.  "You all right?"

"Yeah, I'm more than happy.  Greg said he'd take me to get books and lesson stuff.  Maybe even to Oll....  Um, get the pointy thing," he offered with a grin.  "Oh, someone named Philip Callahan took over at that school."

"I remember Philip," he agreed smugly. "He'd do good."  He walked off.  "Go back to work, Don.  Let us handle this."

"Sure, but I wanna know.  I've got his addy locally if you need it."  Mac just nodded, continuing to walk.  "Wow."  He went back to his desk, very happy with the world.


Xander tipped his head back as his door was knocked on. "Open!" he called.  Someone came in and he smirked at him.  "Mac Taylor."

"Mr. Harris.  Or should I say Dumass this time?"  He closed the door behind him.

"You should.  I'm back to my actual life now."  He shifted to look at him.  "I didn't realize you were the same one Flack was talking about."  That got a nod.  "Is it still intact?"

"It is," he admitted.  "It's also locked in a safe.  We need to know if the guy was a wizard or just a crank collecting."

"He could be one of the nature side people or even a chaos person.  They do exist and don't have schools.  I'd have to look at the body to tell that."   The file was handed over and he looked at it.  "I don't recognize him so he's probably not in my field or in Gringotts, but I can send it on to do a check."  He got up and went to the fax machine, sending it to his contact.  A few minutes later he got back a note the same way.  He handed them both over.  "He was a chaos sorcerer.  So he was either hiding and protecting that or he was planning on using it."  He sat down again, looking at him.  "It's important that we get it locked into special storage."

"Could it be why someone killed him?"

Xander shrugged.  "Not a clue.  That's not my field.  I break curses and raid places.  Speaking of, I had to break one in Miami.  The drug dealers down there are using a wizard to create unplottable and unfindable locations for their local stashes and things."

"I'll keep that in mind and call the bank if we find one. I'm sure you guys still do that."

"Yup, usually the guys on injury leave. It keeps us from being bored."  That got a smirk.  "Hey, I'm a bad bored person.  My spouse complains when I'm that bored.  Usually of being *sore*, but still complains."

"Don mentioned that you found a new veela."

"Draco Malfoy.  Emilia Dorekson's cousin through his mother."  Mac moaned.  "Emilia's Greg's wife and they've got three kids. He's the sanctuary in Vegas for our group.  Oh, Grissom and most of them know about him."


"Death Eater attack in the station.  He said he gave Jim Brass bunny ears."  Mac burst out laughing and he beamed.  "Yeah, I wanted pictures of that too."  He smirked at him. "So what can I do to help?"

"I need to go over his personal effects now that we know who he is.  I may need you to come with me to identify things.  I'm sure you can go in as an antique dealer or something."

"Usually," he agreed dryly.  "But I tend to specialize in ancient and unfindable stuff."  He stood up.  "Let me change."

"Thank you.  By the way, we found someone else who reads like Don does."  Xander stopped moving and turned to look at him.  "I'm not sure if she is or not.  She's an orphan."

"I'll have her lines traced.  She'll have to be taught."

"Good."  Xander went into his bedroom, going to change into something more respectable.  He came out in a fashionable suit and his hair fixed.  "We don't see too many cases locally."

"Like Vegas, you've got a group hiding it here.  The Military was trying to take over the local school like they did Chicago's," he admitted, following him out and relocking the door.  "We had to handle an attempted assault to get Catherine's daughter out there.  They weren't even taking the mandatories."  He shrugged.  "No Ministry over that here."

"True," he agreed.  "It's nicer though.  No one staring over your shoulder."

"It is but it's also causing problems.  Someone found out a few years back high enough up that it became a hunt.  Greg got the vision and it was horrible there for a bit."

"I heard," he admitted.  "They tried with me but I reminded them I was already serving my country and they wandered off with a veiled warning about being gathered at a later date."

"Yeah, we know."  He held the door open and they headed to Mac's car.  "Bring her too if she's on the case."

"I've already planned that, and the other guy I just found out about," he admitted as he got in to drive.  Xander settled beside him.  "I didn't know this but we have a pureblood from an Italian line in the office.  Messer?"

"Traces back to the Borgia lines.  The daughter of a mistress," he told him.  "I've run into his cousins a few times in Venice when they did stupid stuff and activated an older cursed statue that picked on the virgin males and the sluts."   Mac groaned. "It was attacking them. I had to get them free of it.  It's another part of the job."  Mac nodded and they took off, heading to the guy's address that the bank gave them.  When they got there, they waited for the others, him nodding at Don Flack.  "This weekend, you free?"

"Very free.  I'm not even on call."  He grinned at him. "Is Greg?"

"He's on Saturday night.  He's moved into the field now," he said with a smile for him.  "Emilia is not a happy camper with it but they're not outright fighting about it at the moment."  He looked at the others coming up, nodding at Danny with a smirk. "I ran into one of your cousins a few years back.  Him and this statue at the school in Venice had these problems with activation."

"Would that be the one my mother said attacked some kids to warn me about doing stupid stuff?" Danny asked.  Xander nodded.  "It figures."  He smirked at him.  "Danny Messer."

"Alex Dumass," he said, shaking his hand.  He looked at the other person, staring at her.  "You look just like your relative I met once."  She looked stunned.  "Grandmother or great grandmother.  She was a charming woman, very nice and sweet.  You look just like her at her age."

"You seem too young to know them."

Xander pulled her closer, weathering her scowl and attempts to get free.  He laid a hand on her cheek and nodded. "You have the family gift, Miss Bonasera."  She looked stunned.  "We'll talk later."  He let her go.

"Oh, no we won't."

"Yes, you will," Mac agreed.  "It's important and about something that can impact your health, Stella."  He looked at Danny.  "Where did you go?"

"Up the street," he admitted.  "My old man refused to send me back home."  He shrugged and followed them inside.  "We sure this is the guy?"

"Gringotts said so," Xander said dryly.  "They had a small dossier on him.  He's a chaos person.  They couldn't be sure if he was planning on using stuff or if he was hiding stuff."  He laid a hand on the door and broke the charms, then walked inside.  "Nice attempt on his part," he admitted.  He sniffed then sneezed.  "Damn."  He headed right for the artifacts he could feel, opening the cabinets behind the fireplace.  Stella gasped.  "This is my job, dear.  It's what I do for a living and have for a very long time."  He picked up one and looked at it.  "I'd hope he was protecting considering most of these have things in them."

"You can't believe that," she complained.

Danny pulled his wand and charmed her to hop around.  "Really?" he asked dryly, stopping it to look at her.  She glared and he shrugged.  "You're one'a us too, Stella."

"And she's probably as pure as your line is, Danny."

"I don't have that hangup."

Xander grinned.  "Me either.  I was an equal opportunity slut the first time I was this age."  He got back to work, then backed up to look at the whole collection. "He was collecting a whole House and a Court. We need to see if he's got any links to the Luna Foundation," he ordered.  "This is usually their thing."

"How...."  She looked at Don.  "You don't believe this, right?"

"My sister was one, Stella, and they just figured out they missed me."

"You were probably a late bloomer so they thought you were a squib.  It happens a lot," Xander complained.  "Usually kids like you are watched to make sure you don't come out when you're still young enough to train.  If you're found at a later date, you're usually told, drained of any buildups for your own health and safety, and giving the most minimal training, then your kids are watched harder."  He looked back at Don, then back at the vases when he heard one shift.  "He's got one with a leak.  Danny, please put up a shield while I find the glue?"  He nodded and did that, having to pull Stella closer.  Xander found a pot of sealant and got to work, weaving the charm around the pot to keep it whole and unleaking.  Stella collapsed but he kept going.  "I'd say the other one's got a leak too."

"I'll check it when we get back," Danny promised.  "I hid it safely away yesterday but she did do most of the fingerprinting."  Xander stepped away and looked at the others.  "We good?"  He got a nod so he dropped the shield.  "Now what?"

"I need to know if this guy's got a link back to the Legacy, Danny.  If so, they've got a special storage area and they'll whine and get in the way if we try to move this stuff."  He pulled out his phone and called Nick.  "Hey, Nick, Alex.  I need to see if a newly dead guy is one of you.  He was collecting a whole House and Court.  He's got most of it but we've had one leaking.  No, the bank sent me because he was carrying one when he died.  Please."  He grinned.  "Thanks, man.  No, the NYPD has it and I'm going to have him fax it to you."  He pulled out a pen and wrote the number on the top of the information sheet he had given Mac, nodding at him to do that.  Mac nodded.  "Coming from the dead guy's fax machine. Not exactly protocol but close enough for me at the moment.  Oh, and we've found two late bloomers who were missed.  One's got a sister who was and the other might just take the draining and the safe blocking.  I'm not sure yet.  Thanks."  He hung up and looked at Stella, coming over to wake her up.  "We gotta talk, young lady."

"I'm older than you."

"Dear, I'm naturally about ninety.  I got hit with a deaging curse. That's the only reason I'm back at this cute and cuddly age."  He helped her up and sat her on a nearby couch.  "I know you've heard of the Harry Potter books and they're real."  She gave him a 'get real' look and he pulled his wand, lighting it up.  Then he cast a very slow, methodical charm to change her clothes for her. She squeaked and glared at him so he undid it with a grin.  "You're one of us.  You're a witch.  It runs in your family.  When I was around this age the first time, I slept with whichever grandma it was that you look just like.  So now you have a choice to make.  Having your magic like it is is a leading cause of major illness, like cancer."  She gaped.  "It backs up and damages cells, which clump together, and I'm sure you can figure it out from there.  There is a safe way of blocking them off but we're going to be monitoring you for the rest of your days in case we have to come back and let you drain again.  Which means you're always going to know the guys in this room very closely.  They're going to be watching you for any sickness and things, plus you're going to be pounced whenever you get the sniffles for a while.  Or we can not drain you and give you the training you need to activate it and give you some control.  That's what we're going to be doing to Don.  Greg Sanders and Philip Callahan have both agreed with me to help teach him and then guide him if he wants to go farther than the basics.  You have the right to make that choice for yourself."

"I still can't believe this," she admitted.

He handed her his wand.  "Swish and flick," he instructed, showing her how.  "Now say 'wingardium leviosa' when you do that."

She did it at a nearby book.  "Wingardium Leviosa."  It floated and she squeaked, dropping the wand.  "I did...."  She looked at him and he nodded, summoning his wand back and putting it back into his interior jacket pocket.  "How?"

"Honey, it runs in your family. It has for generations.  I have no idea why you weren't found."

"Don't call me pet names."

"Sorry.  Sometimes names can mean power over someone.  It's a bad habit that my husband hates."  He grinned at her.  "It's still your choice and you need to make it relatively quickly."

"Would I be going to a school?"

"No, not at your age.  Tutoring.  Greggy and I can help you with that the same way as we will be Don."

"We can be study buddies," Don teased.  "You can be the Granger."

"Who's seriously hunting Philip now that he's not a priest," Xander told him with a smirk.  He looked at her again.  "It's up to you but you should probably make it soon.  You've probably noticed you got a lot more sick this last winter?"  She nodded slowly.  "That's the backing up of the flow.  We have to do it soon in your case.  Flack apparently only broke through his recently.  You've been active the whole time and the local school is going to get fried for not finding you."  She sighed and nodded.  "So it is up to you but I need ta know soon."

"How hard and expensive is it?  I have a Druid friend and she's always having to buy stuff."

Xander grinned.  "Up-front costs now and then.  Depends on what you get into.  If you go potions like Greggy, then yeah, lots of expense.  If you go for just the basics?  Some books and a wand.  It all depends on where your skills lay and how far you want to push yourself."

"Okay," she agreed.  "I'll think about it tonight."

"Thank you."  He stood up and looked at Don.  "You're radiating, we're not giving you a choice.  You're going to start attracting demons like I do.  You'd have made one hell of a curse breaker, Flack."  That got a smirk from Danny.  "We draw attention, trouble, and chaos."

"That explains a few of his dates," Danny teased.  Mac came back.  "Any good news?"

"He quit ten years back and your contact said he's not telling the local house with how much stuff is supposed to be here."

"Oh, it's a lot," he agreed dryly.  "I'm going to be here for weeks cleaning up after him."  That got a smirk from Danny.  "Keep it up.  It's the purer's responsibility to make sure none of this information gets out.  By all rights, I should call on you to help me."  Danny just grinned brightly at him.  "Speaking of which, if they went against you and tried to harm your innate skills, you could report them to the Vinese."  Danny shuddered.  "If you want, I can have Draco deliver it for you.  She watches over all the pure Italian families and you're from one."

"No.  It was a difference of opinion. I didn't wanna be a thug."

Alex nodded, grinning at him. "That's still illegal by the charter the Italian school and pureblooded families signed to stay out of the Familia lines.  To not support, marry into, or join the business."

Danny nodded.  "I hadn't realized that."

"That's supposed to be taught in history," he moaned, shaking his head.  "I'm calling William Sloan later," he decided.  "He can beat the local school senseless like they did with Chicago."  He rolled his eyes and found the pot of floo powder, tossing some into the fireplace.  "Gruinth, Gringotts London."  The goblin's head popped up and she screamed, backing away.  "Chill, Stella, it's a goblin.  He pays me for this stuff."  He looked at him. "He's collecting a House and a Court.  I've got to do a full cleanup and I need the local branch to open a containment vault for them. He's got all but three I'd guess."  The goblin groaned.  "Plus, we found two untrained.  Greg and I are working on that right now."

"Are they taking it?"

"One is.  The other's a Bonasera."  The goblin gave him a look so he got out of the way, letting him see Stella.  "Can you get her a family history?"

"Of course.  Anything else I should know?"

"Former Legacy tie-in.  Nick's not telling the local house, and I'm going to kill the local school.  They've so fucked up.  They missed them both and Don had potential I'm sure.  He's a fucking natural curse breaker, Gruinth."

"Fine.  I'll send word around that you're escorting two late bloomers this weekend."  His head disappeared but the fire remained green. A few moments later a book came flying out along with two keys and a box.  The goblin's head came back.  "She's the last of the family line, Alex.  There might not have been anyone to tell her, but I will warn the local branch and have them check their ways of finding students.  This could cause untold problems."

"Like it did in Beirut a few years back," Alex reminded him.   "Or like when we had to clear out Iran during the revolution."  That got another nod and a short groan.  "Tell Draco to pop over tonight.  I might have a message I need him to send."  The goblin nodded and disappeared.  He looked at Danny.  "He can still take one back to the pater familia for you.  Your father broke protocol and custom."

Danny nodded.  "He did.  I'm not so sure the older family wouldn't stick up for him."

"It never hurts to find out and I'll gladly protect you, Danny.  Your cousin owes me for not telling anyone he was one of the male virgins being picked on by that statue."  That got a smirk.  "Okay, I've got a lot of work to do.  We're going to be setting up a link to move the vases back into safety.  Mac, do you know where the local branch is?"  Mac shook his head.  "Danny?"

"Yeah.  I haven't been in years, but yeah."  He handed Stella the books and stuff he had caught.  "Here."  She gave him a weak smile.  "Just read it and think, Stella.  You and Donny have me at your back if you get stuck."  He looked at Don again.  "You're finding control before you make our lives a living hell.  All you guys draw shit like you wouldn't believe."

"If I'm right, he's been using it on the job to help figure out what happened to victims.  He might have necromatic gifts as part of the curse breaking stuff," Xander pointed out.  "It's not unheard of for us to have affinities.  It's one of the first things we look for in recruits."  He grinned at him.  "You ever know where the body is without someone having to tell you?"

"Yeah, all the time," Stella said dryly.

"That's an affinity," Xander said smartly, grinning at her.  "You read that tonight, I'll be at the house.  Mac and Don both have the addy. We'll figure it out once you've read it."  She nodded, going out to her car.  He looked at Danny.  "Shoo.  I've got this.  Check her for demonic taint later."  He nodded and walked out with Flack.  "Taylor, we'll still have to move that one."

"Once we figure out if this is what he was killed for.  We wobbled on cause of death for a bit."


"No.  He was shot but he had a heart attack as well."  Xander grinned at him. "I know, that seems reasonable."  He shrugged.  "Need me?"

"Nope.  Need you out of the way.  We're going to be shielding the house so no one can report the fire and then cleaning the hell out of it."  That got a nod and Mac left, locking the door behind him.  Xander looked up.  "Let me shield."  He wove the shields around the house so no one could hear then lit the fire in the middle of the floor, exposing the pentagram there.  "It figures."  The goblins came out and he waved a hand.  "We've had at least one leak I've sealed.  There's another in police custody that I got sent to retrieve.  They'll hand it over once they're sure it isn't involved in the homicide."  They nodded and hauled up containment boxes, complete with foam padding.  "Good job."  He started on the lower echelon, that way none of them would try to break out for the insult of being handled in the wrong order. Demons could be touchy about the order they were gathered.


Stella tapped on Danny's door, smiling weakly when he opened it.  She walked in and he closed it behind her, letting her turn to look at him.  "I'm scared, Danny."

"You should be. It's a responsibility that a number of us give up once we've got control. I mostly did after I left my family so they couldn't find me.  Mac did once he wasn't using it for the military."  He smiled and moved closer, patting her on the cheek.  "We'll see what we can do, Stella.  No one says you have ta use it, just train it.  That way you don't die horribly and I've got someone to talk to for a few more decades."  She smiled and nodded.  Someone tapped on his door and he reached back to open it, looking at the blond man standing there.  "Who're you?"

"Draco Malfoy-Dumass," he said, stepping inside.  "Alex's husband.  He said you needed a message taken to either your family's pater familia or the Vinese."  He looked at Stella, frowning a bit.  "You're blooded."

"She is but she was an orphan so no one told her or found her.  The local school passed by a few of us, including a curse breaker who should've been found."  He picked up the letter off his table, looking at it, then at the kid.

"You can decide which it goes to," he said at the indecision.  "Alex said so, but he did say it was necessary.  If it's known that purebloods are involved in the criminal underworld, it could expose us greatly."  Danny nodded and handed it over.  "Which one?"

"The pater familia.  If he's involved he'll know and accept my removal formally from the family's books.  If not, he'll report it or handle it as needed."  Draco nodded.  "Stella just found out today.  Your boy said you're taking him and her shopping."  He grinned a bit.  "Fair warning, Flack's sister got found and he's hooked on the books."

"I'll make sure Potter's at quidditch practice for his team when they come over then," he said with a wicked smirk.  "That author irks him to no end.  Do remind him things changed during the fifth year thanks to the reunion.  Greg's got a better set of accounts from that year on."  He bowed to them.  "Have a good evening."  He left, heading back to Alex's condo and then portkeying from there.  He landed in front of the massive old bronze gates and rang the bell.  A wizard, big, blocky, bulky, reminding him of Crabbe and Goyle, came out to answer his summons.  "I'm Draco Malfoy-Dumass and I have a message from a family member in New York for the pater familia," he said quietly.  The wizard nodded, letting him inside.  He followed him to the carriage that would take him to the house, getting in and calming himself.  He hated this part of the pureblood rituals.  Fortunately his mother handled anything for the remaining Malfoys.  The carriage stopped and the door opened, letting him out.  He bowed formally at the woman standing there.  "My spouse, Alex Dumass, sent me with his message for a wizard in New York that's related to the family."

"Which?"  He handed it to her.  She looked at the name on the front and sighed.  "Very well, come in, Mr. Malfoy."

"Malfoy-Dumass.  I reject my father and I am married," he said with a soft smile.  "My husband is much more reasonable."

She smirked at that and led him inside to a study, knocking and leading him inside at the grunt.  "Husband, this is Draco Malfoy-Dumass.  His spouse Alex sent him with a message from a cousin of the line."  She handed over the letter.   Then she withdrew.  It wasn't her duty to be here.

Draco bowed.  "Apparently my spouse ran into him when he was sent for an artifact that ended up in the possession of the local police department there," he sad calmly.  "He offered my services as a messenger to you.  He decided to send it to you instead of the Vinese as a matter of formality.  I did not look at the contents."

"I noticed it is still sealed.  Sit, please. I would know more about your spouse.  I heard he had been deaged."

"He's twenty now."  He sat down, comfortable but not too comfortable.  This was all about impressions and attitudes.  "He's back to curse breaking and training his apprentices, and myself to handle his affairs."

"I see.  You are a veela?"

"Consort," he agreed.  "My mother and cousin are as well."  That got a nod.  "She's in Paris," he admitted with a small smile.

"I've heard your father died of his stupidity."

Draco nodded.  "And I'm quite happy, now, that he gave me to Alex."  The man smirked at him so he shrugged.  "I'm realistic and Alex treats me like I'm precious and necessary to his life.  I couldn't ask for more as a veela or as a Malfoy.  Though I do not use my former surname any longer as my father's reputation sullied it beyond repair."

"I heard. You fought with the Potter boy?"

"I fought with my husband, who fought with his grandson, the Potter boy," he corrected dryly.  That earned another smirk.  "It's an odd family I now belong to."

"I see.  And this one?"

"I hadn't met him before.  Blond, male, wears glasses.  Had a pureblood with him who managed to get missed apparently. You'd have to ask Alex which one."

"You'll stay while I read this?"

"If you wish."  The old man nodded and broke the seal, reading the long letter.  Draco watched his face, noticing the change of expressions and the momentary anger.  "Alex gave him the choice to bring this to you instead of the Vinese as he had been trained to report anything related to a pureblood family in Italy to," he offered at the stare the old man gave him.  He sat up straighter.  "Your relative chose you for this missive instead of the Vinese."

"It should've went to her.  Where is my nephew?"

"New York City, in America.  He works with Alex at the moment."  He wrote down the floo address. "That's Alex's floo, he can give you an exact address."  He wrote down another one.  "That's where I picked up the message."

"Thank you, Mr. Dumass. Escort me to the Vinese?"

"As you wish," he agreed, standing up respectfully when he did.  The old man smiled and grabbed his cane, allowing Draco to follow him out and to a carriage.  It took a few hours but it was lovely countryside and the old man was reading the letter again.  He looked at him once.  "Is the local school in Venice anything like Hogwarts?"

"No," he said quietly, looking at him.  "It's much less chaotic and more orderly.  It's also much more quiet.  We're much more restrictive, having placement exams to enter.  Venice only wants the brightest of the bright.  Schools like Hogwarts are general education.  Venice is a specialty school, like New York's."

"Alex said that they've been missing wizards.  The one with your nephew was a Bonasera by her looks.  He mentioned she had just been found," Draco offered quietly.  The man's face hardened at that.  "He also said that the other one was a detective and a natural curse breaker, that his sister had been found and not him.  Your nephew was helping her and I know Alex had me bring him a few of the beginning books for both of them."

"As he should.  Your mate is very good, Draco.  He knows his proper place and he's training you very well to uphold that.  I hope you can live up to it."

"As do I."

"Good boy."  The carriage rocked to a stop and they got out, him first as was proper.  He nodded at the boy to follow him inside the villa, going right to the study.  He went to one knee, bowing his head.  "Vinese, I have communication on a grave matter, brought to me by Draco Dumass."  He stood up and handed over the letter, motioning the boy closer.  He also bowed properly, following his lead.  "His mate ran into my nephew in New York."

The Vinese, who was a very ancient woman, she reminded Draco a lot of an older McGonagall by the set of her face, opened the letter and read it.  He knew she was named to this position because she as the oldest and most powerful pureblood witch out of the Venice school.  When she died another would be chosen by those same standards and serve until her death.  "Are you letting him free of the family?" she asked finally, her voice low and scratchy.

"No, Vinese.  What was done to him is wrong.  My family will not stand for this."

She nodded.  "Very well.  Send his family to me. Are they in New York as well?"  Draco nodded silently at that.  "He was trained there?"

"I do not know, Vinese," Draco said quietly.  "I was only the messenger and my spouse didn't tell me that."

"Very well.  We will be going to New York in a few days, we will talk to the nephew then."  The old man nodded and bowed again, as did Draco.  "Mr. Dumass?"  Draco looked at her, standing up again.  "How old is your mate now?"

"Presently, twenty."  He let out a small smile. "He had to regrow from the age of five on a hellmouth."

"Really?  Why?"


"Ah."  She nodded, smirking a bit.  "Who is in charge of the school now?"

"Philip Callahan, with his second being Professor Methos."

"Very good choices.  It's nice to see that your Ministry finally got off their asses," she noted dryly.  He nodded, letting out a small smirk.  "Do you gather and hunt with your spouse?"

"I do some. I make his potions and help with the collections and translations mostly.  I'm not suited to working in a tomb.  I'm a bit claustrophobic and my charms skills aren't what they should be for safety reasons.  Therefore he has me in the library and the laboratory most of the time."

"Interesting.  You are an asset to his family?"  Draco nodded once.  "Very well.  Where might I find him?"

"An artifact containing a demon fell into the hands of the New York police department.  He's handling that situation at the moment.  The former owner died and had it on him, and Alex had to clean out his residence.  He said he was collecting a House and a Court."

"Legacy?" she asked.

"Alex said former when he was complaining.  The local branch is holding them safe."

"Very well.  Any other news?"

"He said the school there is missing people," the old man told her.  "He said he found a Bonasera who recently came to light."

"Interesting.  I shall bring her what I can.  I'm sure your nephew is involved?"

"I heard him say he was going to help her catch up," Draco admitted. "Before I knocked."

She smirked at that.  "Thank you, Mr. Malfoy-Dumass. You have done a great service."

"May I bring a message back to my spouse?"

"Tell him to warn the nephew and only him that we are coming to see him.  That way he has time to clean and prepare his residence."  Draco nodded and bowed again, then backed out of the room and left, going to the end of the wards to portkey back.  "Interesting news."

"Very.  Young Daniel showed promise if he's the one I'm thinking of.  Instead he's been forced to live as a muggle and be a criminalist.  He does lab work."

"Are you going to ask him to come home?"

"He was never raised here," he pointed out.  "I'd doubt he'd feel comfortable since he's an American."  He shrugged and smirked at her.  "But his father and I are going to have a long talk."

"Oh, yes, we will.  He broke the covenant.  It is not allowed."  She stood up.  "We shall leave tomorrow afternoon."  He nodded and left, heading back to his carriage.  She called an old friend over there, another of the pure lines who had immigrated at the turn of the century.  She smiled at the tired face. "How is your child?"

"She has the flu," she admitted. "Vinese, what can I do for you?"

"I need information.  One Daniel Messer did write to his pater about his family to note he had officially removed himself from the lineage."  She nodded at that.  "You knew?"

"I had.  I hadn't known why except that he didn't agree with his family's views on certain matters.  I know they shun him.  I know he's got a past that he walked away from and the past was at their urging."

"Interesting.  I would like a more full disclosure on what you know.  I'll be arriving with his pater tomorrow."

"That's fine, Vinese.  Please use my garden and I'll gather what I know.  I know he works with the police department and he does good work with them. I know that there's a few others in the department, including that Taylor boy that the Marines had."  She smirked at that, they had run into Taylor over a family squabble the Marines had gotten into.  "Taylor would probably be his supervisor."

"Interesting. I shall see you tomorrow afternoon.  I wish your child better health, dear."

"Thank you, Vinese."  She signed off and started to call around desperately to get information on this young man.  Something bad was going to happen if the Vinese was coming to New York again.  The last time it had nearly destroyed a few blocks.


Alex looked up as someone walked into the house, then went back to his lunch. "What's up, Danny?"

"I heard the Vinese's coming."

"It probably got brought to her attention."  He finished his sandwich and stood up, looking at what he had left to do.  "She'll expect to see you at your place."

"Can you come with me?  I'm not good on the protocol shit."

Alex grinned.  "Sure.  Let me get Ron here."  He summoned Ron over the tattoos, bringing him.  "You carefully pack and hand them back through the fireplace, Ron.  In order, follow the pattern or else they'll try to break free because you're jumping line in the demon hierarchy."  Ron nodded and got to work.  "Ron, count the lines," he ordered.  "I'm on X and then thirteen lines. Anything with that goes next.  Then fourteen, then X and a B, then lines."  He nodded, checking the vases for those markings while Alex led Danny off.  He took him back to his place and changed once he got there, nodding at the people standing in there.  "He came to retrieve me on the matter going on," he said, shaking hands.  "Vinese.  Pater."

"Alex," she said, smiling at him.  "You haven't changed much since the first time you were that age."

"Except I don't sleep around as much," he offered with a very bright grin.  "Do you mind if I stay?  We need to talk about New York's school."

"As he wishes it," the Pater said, looking at Danny.  "Nephew."

"Pater," he said, nodding at him and kissing his ring, then bowing to the Vinese.  "Vinese.  I'm honored you heard my request to disturb the lineage."

"What I heard was that your lineage has broken the covenant."

Danny stood up and looked at her.  "What covenant?  We never got taught that here."  She growled and he backed up. "Sorry."

"As proven, New York's school has issues," Xander said dryly, creating some tea and cakes.  "Sit, please."  They sat and he sat beside Danny since there weren't enough seats.  She looked at him and he grinned.  "It's good on my back.  I'm dealing with cursed and possessed vases."

"Ah.  And the Bonasera female?"

"She's decided to train herself," Danny admitted.  "She's an orphan, Vinese."

"I see."  She nodded.  "Very well then.  I will talk with her while I'm here."

"She's my coworker. I can call her over when we're done," Danny promised.  She smiled at him.  "I had no idea that there was a covenant, ma'am."

"I realize that now.  It is said you broke it but you went back to an honorable life instead," the Pater offered.  Danny swallowed and nodded.  "Was that at his urging?"

"Some. At that time I had something to prove and chose that way at his urging," he admitted quietly.  "I make no mistake that it was a bad decision and one I'm still regretting."

The Pater nodded.  "I can see that.  Given a choice, would you go back to it?"

"No," he said firmly, getting up to pace.  "I hate the life. I hated the violence.  I like what I do now, Pater.  I'm doing good work now."

"Sit, child," the Vinese ordered calmly.  "He reminds me much of your daughter, Palmero."

"As he does me.  She did that same pacing whenever she was upset."  He smiled at Danny.  "I was only making sure."

Danny sat and looked at him.  "Living that life means I can't use my gun now if I have to, Pater. Violence bothers me and I see the end result every day."  That got a nod.  "I left my education and my old life to get away from it when my dreams were shattered and my final decision was asked for.  I would no more go back to it than I could play beater any longer."

Xander patted him on the leg. "What injury?"

"My wrist."

Xander nodded.  "It happens when those injuries happen, but you could've done therapy, Danny.  I have and I've broken a lot more than that."

"It damaged the nerves, Alex, and I went to a muggle hospital."  That got an unhappy sound from the old woman.  "I called the family healer when I woke up there, but he said he couldn't undo the healing it had went through.  I learned to accept that loss."  They both nodded at that. "I didn't want to get anyone in trouble but when I was found by Alex and realized a few others in the department knew, I felt I had to formally withdraw from the lineage.  Mac already doesn't trust me when he found out who and what I was.  This would only make it worse."

"I understand," the Pater said, giving him a gentle smile.  "The errors were not yours.  You were young and the guidance you were given was bad.  The faults lie in the adults around you. I'm sure they knew of the covenant and I know your grandfather did."  Danny nodded and relaxed at that.  "Are you content where you are?"

"I love my job, Pater. Things like Mac breathing down my throat I don't like, but other stuff I do."

"Very well," he agreed.  "Then we shall be talking with your family tonight.  Now, about the local school?"  Xander pulled out something and handed it over.  "What's this?"

"Their rolls and the public information they released to Chicago about how many students they found but didn't offer to.  Salem sent their own figures and Canada sent theirs when I called up there through the bank. They're only searching out those who fit into their rolls and are of good enough families.  No one lower class.  No one in an orphanage, like the one woman.  No one who might protest having their children trained, like Don Flack.  His sister went and they told his father he wasn't one, probably to keep his dream of his son being like him."  Danny nodded at that.  "They're intentionally screening out wizards and witches.  It's to the point of dangerous.  The Bonasera heir should've been found at birth.  Orphan or not, she was slated to go to an academy.  She's so blocked I had to drain her before giving her the first books so she could read the theory until we can fit her for a wand this weekend.  Flack is a natural born curse breaker."  They both sighed.  "This is wrong.  The military in this country is trying to take over the academies, still, and they're missing people on purpose.  Salem doesn't cover this area and neither does Canada.  I'm sure it's done intentionally."

"As I am," the Pater agreed dryly.  "Is there no governing body?"

"No and we're in a hunt situation," Danny told him.  "Someone found out about magic thanks to a covert group a few years back working on demons. A chaos sorcerer was handed to them."

"By a Watcher," Xander offered dryly.  "Rupert to be exact."

The Vinese moaned.  "How dumb was he?"

"He was on the hellmouth, Ethan Rayne was his nemesis and former lover.  He handed him to the Initiative when Rayne tried to court him again. A few years later the information got to the wrong ears and a hunt started."

The Vinese nodded.  "A Ministry would be better."

"It would, but this is still America.  We've got more fundamentalists than Iran some weeks."  That got a slight smirk.  "I'm serious.  There's whole portions of the country where you go into deep cover if you're living there and one of us or one of the Nature Path people.  There's some watchdog groups in some locations but they're picky.  The one in Las Vegas hates potion masters and keeps trying to stop one of them because he's married to a consort veela and has children."  That got another moan.  "So yeah, we're scattered all across the board.  Even with a Ministry we wouldn't have enforcement at the moment, not with the hunt."

"The senior wizards over here?" the Pater prompted.

"Do what they can.  Vegas has an overlord to keep things down.  New York has one too.  I met him when I came over to handle that really hyped demon that the local school was casting 'finites' at, even though it had been done by a Nature Path worker."

The Vinese held her head.  "I have friends in Canada and Mexico.  We will be talking, Mr. Dumass.  Is the young woman all right?"

"She got really sick over the winter with colds and stuff," Danny admitted.  "We think we caught it in time.  I couldn't even tell because I gave up my skills to hide.  I didn't even think about it and nothing and no one told me anything about any European Guardian families."

"Yet another failing in the school," she sighed.  "The Chicago school?"

"Is being fixed.  They didn't encourage their kids to have wands and they weren't teaching them magic," Xander told her.  "They were recruiting for the military when I had to extract a friend's sponsored child and help her get into Canada quickly."

"Then we shall be talking with those who can make a difference," the Vinese said, standing up.  "Daniel, do not worry.  You are not in the wrong.  You are willing to stay in the lineage?"

"Yes, Vinese, but I'm not sure I can live up to the ideal and marry another pureblood."

"Marry who you want, nephew.  You're not in the line of succession and after your life, I wouldn't expect it.  I will tell the other Uncles and Aunts that you are to be left alone about your choice of spouse.  Do you like the Bonasera heir?" he offered.

"As a friend.  She'd kick my ass if I tried ta hug her," Danny offered with a shy grin.

"I'd like to pair him with the Flack son," Alex offered dryly.  "They think alike and the Bonasera heir would probably be better suited to being tutored by Mac Taylor since he's former military and has that same protective instinct.  Plus he says they're closer."

The Vinese considered it, then nodded.  "Very well.  Should he marry this Flack son, we would not care."

"Whoa," Danny said, holding up a hand.  "Just a friend. Really.  Don doesn't know more than his sister told him and those Potter books.  He wanted ta go see Hogwarts and Dumbledore."

Alex smirked at him. "Then it's your duty to tell him, Danny," he said with a bright grin.  "Plus, not unusual."  He stood up and bowed. "I'd best get back to my apprentice Ron.  He's helping me clean up a demonic collection.  Let me know about that one in custody, Danny."  He disappeared from the spot.

Danny shrugged.  "It's not like that."

"If it happens, it does," his Pater said, kissing him on the top of the head.  "Where would your father be?"

"I told him one of the Uncles was coming over to check on my removal from the family so he said he'd wait at home."

"Thank you, nephew."  He smirked and took the Vinese's hand, then the homing chip Danny handed him.  "You behave and I will see you later about the family matters."  They disappeared.

Danny shivered, suddenly feeling the weight of the family coming to rest on him.  With what his brother did, he was now the heir again. That meant some day he'd have to have kids.


Alex reported back to Gringotts a few days later.  "All right.  We're done with the collection. The one in custody joined it and they're arranged in proper order inside the vault," he reported.  "I've taken Flack and Bonasera to Diagon to get fitted, books, and Don wanted robes, with Danny Messer, who is watching over them with a few more local wizards.  I've given them a way to contact myself and Greg Sanders so we can help with their education.  They're being considered for inclusion into the Banes, and they'll be fine.  Messer's family was straightened out and ordered home for confinement by the Vinese.  His boss isn't too happy about it but he understands now that Danny left the old life and went back to the proper ways.  I did break three cartel shields in Miami as a favor for helping with this situation.  I also managed to help a lot more things happen well.  Do I have anything else to do or can I go back to my book and my spouse?"

The goblin looked at him and held up a slip.  "You should probably deposit this."

Xander looked at it, then at him.  "Did you get into my storehouse?"

"They opened the one in the other house's backyard when a unicorn dug into it to get at the itchy thing."  He grimaced and looked at him. "I would like an accounting of what you have stored."

"Which storeroom was it?"

"The one that held the pickle jars."

"Oh, that one.  That's nothing."  He tucked the check into his pocket.  "I'll take that under advisement with Draco.  Anything else?"  That got a head shake.  "Thanks."  He disappeared, going to deposit that into the household accounts, yell at his aunts for letting them into that, and then home again to shag his husband stupid.  He had missed his Draco snuggly.  A lot.

The End.