The idea started here:
Date:Tue, 07 Aug 2007 01:34:27 -0000
Subject:[imaginings] Re: Question about Curses 3
I say it was a cellular change, not just cosmetic. One of the crossovers (Stargate) was barely addressed in the series. It could play a more central part in the future.
[Assuming Wizards usually live to around 200] What if far in the future Xander, Draco, Speed, Tony, etc. are all between 150 and 175 and having one of their yearly get togethers. One of their more clumsy descendants trying to prove they "can TOO be a cursebreaker!"
accidentally sets off one of their stored artifacts, de-aging the whole group so Xander has to do it all AGAIN.
Would the Stargate now be public knowledge? Does Xander's group travel through it regularly visiting conclaves of the Wizarding descendants off-world? Are they in Atlantis?
Learning from the Nox and/or Ascended (did Danny re-Ascend)? Would the Wizards have claimed an unpopulated world for themselves and are now mostly located off-world where they don't have to hide from the Muggles (transported their ancestral homes, Goblin tunnels, and all)?
Alex sipped his tea, groaning as he shifted in his lounge chair. "I hate being old."
"You're not that old," Tony, his son, complained. "You're only sixty-eight, Alex."
"I know." He grinned. "Still being weirded out?"
"Very. My father is younger than I am. That's not natural and I still have nightmare images of my mother molesting you for my conception." Speed and Draco came out of the house with more tea and a few vials. "What's up, my bitches?"
"I'm his bitch, not yours," Draco reminded him handing him a vial. "Drink. Severus' ghost said so." He handed one to his mate too. "Drink." He drank his own and watched Alex drink his.
"Not to complain too hard or anything but why?" Tony asked before drinking.
"Harry's little being from his drunken sleeping with Granger," he said with a shudder, his usual response to that thought, "had a vision. Severus' ghost overheard her and came to tell me I had to make that today. Before something worse happened." He slid into his mate's lap, cuddling in. "Where are the others?"
"Mac and Stella are napping. Danny and Don are at work," Speed reminded him. "Memory going in your old age, Draco?"
"He's not old. We're old," Tony reminded him. "We're eighty-eight, Speed. We're tragically old and I can't even pick up hot chicks anymore."
"I can make a wonderful version of viagra for you," Draco offered smugly. "Had to for Potter after that injury you know. Four months of it so he could please his wife."
"I know, somehow it got into the press," Speed said dryly.
"I can so be a cursebreaker when I'm bigger! I'll be the bestest ever! Even better than Grandpa Alex!" a tiny, child's voice screamed. "You don't wanna know what I'll do to you when I start finding nasty stuff!"
Alex flicked his wand at his grandson, glaring at him once he had yelped. "Do not threaten other members of the family, grandson. You can be a cursebreaker if you show the skills. You may even beat me. If you threaten your sister again however I will be beating you." He pouted but pointed at her. "Emily, shut up. Quit picking on your brother. It's annoying us. Am I clear?" She pouted but nodded. "Thank you. Go terrorize the house elves or something please." They ran in to do that. He looked at his mate. "Why did we have kids?"
"You never kept it in your pants and Grandma Des decided there had to be true heirs raised as a Dumass," he said blandly. "Or don't you remember being so proud of your son because he first manifested with an vase holding an incubus in his mouth?"
"I do. Then I remember Draconia being a holy terror to the boys the next year," he sighed, shaking his head. "At least they're all doing something good for society, even if their kids do need babysat now and then." He took another sip of his tea, finishing it. He put the cup down on the ground and watched the kids play. "Speed, where's your heathen grandchild?"
"Library, Alex. Where he should be. With Daddy Eric." He grinned at Tony. "You know, we can do that spell for someone so you have kids."
"I have the one. That's more than enough. She was horrifying enough that McGee and Gibbs got blown up during the birth, I don't need more. We might lose Abby next." He finished his tea and put the cup down. A house elf snatched them to clean. "Thanks." He went back to watching the kids run around and play on the huge lawn between the castle and the portal out. "Why are we all babysitting?"
"It takes all of us to control the horde," Draco said grimly. "They seem to get worse with each generation."
"They do get worse with each generation. Draconia's daughter is so much like her it's not funny," Alex reminded him. "Talk about hellions."
Tony snickered. "Could be worse. She could've manifested as a consort veela too, guys."
"True, that would've made it worse," Draco agreed. He loved their daughter together but she was as big of a slut as her other father was and nearly as smart as them combined. Even Severus called her too smart for her own good. Even Granger had, and that said something. One of the kids skipped up to them with something. "What's that?" He took the small thing, looking at it then handing it on.
"It rolled out of the floo," he said happily, skipping off to beat Emily up again. She was younger and playing with them, supposedly babysitting but the adults had to help her.
Alex stared at it then pulled his wand. "Shit!" He cast a shield around it about the same time it went off. And the world they knew ended with the sound of a farting noise and a flash of light.
The kids all screamed and ran off to find another adult. They knew that magical explosions were bad. Very bad. Grandpa Alex was knocked out. So was Grandpa Draco. One of the girls walked over, tugging on Draco's hand. "Grandma Draco?" she asked, looking worried. "Grandma Draco!" she said more loudly. "Auntie!" she bellowed, more than loudly enough to wake anyone up. Eric came hobbling out. "Something happened to Grandma Draco!" she said, stomping a foot. "Fix it, he won't be happy! It messed up his hair!"
"Can you use the floo?" She nodded, beaming at him. "Go right to Dumass Glen. Right now. Get one of the aunts." She ran off to do that. It was still a long hike to the floo port but by the time someone got there they might be awake. He looked around, finding the source of the problem. He grabbed Speed's arm, tapping into his Bane marking to get them some further help.
Alex moaned, shifting some. "What the fuck?" he muttered.
"Stay still, Alex. We've got you," Eric soothed. "Just relax and stay still for a few more minutes." One of the Weasley twins came running first. "Get that thing, it's probably what did this."
"Containment, blue cabinet, office," Alex muttered. He was very tired and very sore for some reason. "Use front opening."
"Sure, Alex." Eric went to get him one and let him examine it. "What the bloody hell are you?" he asked it, not looking at his friends and semi-family. He created a small, temporary floo fire next to where they were. "Ron Weasley!" he said once he had thrown in the emergency floo powder. Ron's head spun up. "Get back to the castle. This thing is what did that to Alex and them," he said, nodding behind him.
Ron looked then his eyes went wide and his mouth opened. "Fuck me," he breathed. "Be right there." He hung up and came out of his current dig with his brother. "Bill! We've got to get to the castle!"
"We can't!" he shouted back.
"Fred's got an artifact that turned them back into teenagers!" Bill glared at him. "Now! Right the hell now!"
"Coming." They sent themselves back with the camp moving spell, landing on the grass. Ron took the box from Eric's hands, opening the top then the front door to it, moving the shield out of the way. "All right, slide it in here, Fred." He did that and Ron got it sealed again. "There we go. Bill, get someone."
"Eric called the other Banes," Fred told him. "Greg said he's on his way too." He looked at them then at Ron. "I have no idea what that is."
"Came from floo," Draco muttered, peering at him then blinking very hard. "Why are you fuzzy?"
"Nap, Draco. It's going to be a long morning," Ron ordered. Draco nodded and went back to sleep. "Fred, get Horatio and whoever's not here back."
"Danny and Don?" Alex asked. "Ministry?"
"On their way, Alex," Ron promised, patting him on the head. "Just relax for now. I promise it'll be okay." Alex nodded, relaxing again.
Tony fully woke up first while they were waiting for more help to arrive. He looked at his hands then at his chest. Then at Alex and Draco. "What happened?" he asked, trying to stay calm. "The last thing I knew Alex was trying to shield the thing the kid had found coming out of the floo."
"It did it," Ron told him. "Relax, Tony."
"I can't. What sort of magic is this?"
"Demonic and white light magic," Ron said grimly.
"Grandmother!" Tony shouted, bringing Alex's mother phasing in. "What the hell happened?" he demanded, well kinda whined but he was young again. He wanted to know why.
She looked then shrugged. "I have no clue." Ron pointed at the box Bill was working with. She came over to look. "That's forbidden. It was stolen from a demon's catacomb last month. Master!" she bellowed. He appeared and looked then muttered and came over to look at the box. "D'Hoffryn, wasn't that the stolen thing?"
"It was," he agreed, looking at the box. "It's growing inside here too. It'll discharge again soon." She laid a hand on his arm, glancing at Eric then back at him. He nodded. "We'll be back in a few minutes. Let us drain this." They disappeared to talk about this together. It was very unfair that lovers had been deaged without mates.
Horatio came jogging out of the floo first, grabbing onto the pony that liked to run around to get a ride back to the castle. It was a good half a mile hike without it. He got off and knelt beside Speed first. "Speed? Can you hear me?"
"Bad," Speed muttered, pushing at his head. "Not morning."
"Yes it is. I need you to wake up for me, Speed, you're hurt." Stella came out. "Run a checking spell over them. You're better at healing charms than I am." She nodded, doing that for each of them. "Well?" he asked when he caught her doing a second one.
"Draco's just barely eleven by his. Alex is nearly eleven. Tony and Speed both come up as ten. Danny?"
"We haven't heard from him yet," Ron admitted. "He was at the Ministry."
"I'll go. Ron, moving spell?"
He cast it for her and sent her off. He went to help Bill. "Now what?"
"Now.... I have no idea," Bill admitted. "I was unconscious the last time one of those went off." He looked at his little brother. "Get dad. He'll have to do something I'm sure." Ron nodded, stepping over to the emergency floo to get him. He came over to check the others over. Cursebreakers often had to know healing spells. Not like you could heal a broken bone in a tomb by wishing up a mediwitch.
Speed finally blinked, fully awake, up at his lover. "Kiss?"
"I... Speed, you're ten. I'm a bit creeped out at the moment," Horatio said bluntly.
"I'm what?" He got help sitting up, looking at the others around them. "Draco!" he snapped. He woke up with a start then grabbed his head. "What was that potion for?"
"Severus said it was to fight off some spell's effects. I thought it was going to be some artifact or another going off."
"Well it wasn't," Horatio told him, creating a glowing mirror in the air in front of him. Draco looked then groaned and started to swear in another language. "Thank you for taking that out of English." He looked at the kids. "Inside, get the house elves to make cookies!" The remaining ones fled.
Alex raised a hand. "It came through the floo. Is there another bad guy?" he asked weakly.
"There had damn well better not be," Ron said grimly. Finally his father showed up. "Dad, big problems." He let him see. Arthur Weasley's eyes went wide like his son's had. "Something came through the floo. Something that had been stolen from a demon's catacombs. It deaged them back to ten and eleven." His father laughed. "Dad, not funny!"
"I'm sorry, just imagining the Sorting Hat's response to seeing him a third time, son." He shook his head. "Is anyone here?"
"Yeah, I sent Stella to look."
"That's fine. I'll make sure they're brought back. I'll have Tonks bring them if she's not already on her way. The device?"
"Alex's mom came when Tony screamed. She took it to her boss."
"That's fine. She's in vengeance. She'd know." He sighed. "We'll talk tomorrow, see what has to be done. After someone does some research. I'll let a few people know." Ron nodded so he disappeared, breaking out into loud laughs when he was finally alone. His secretary gave him an odd look. "An artifact just came rolling out of the floo at Dumass Castle. They're all around eleven at the moment."
"So they'll be destroying Hogwarts?"
He shook his head. "We'll work it out so they don't have to go. Maybe home schooling this time." He called Philip on the floo to make sure he had heard. The Bane marking could be blocked out if you were working. "Philip, did you get a distress call?"
He grimaced and nodded. "I sent the mediwitch to them. She should be there in the next two or three minutes. What happened?"
"They're all about eleven."
"They're not coming here. The school would never survive." He hung up, going to tell the staff who knew the Dumass clan what had happened. Again in one case. Alex must be seething at the moment.
Later that night, after many mediwitch exams for all of them, Alex heard his mother complaining. "Mom?" he called quietly. She showed up, giving him a patient look. That same mom look he got when he used to ask billions of questions when he was a child the first time. "What's going on?"
"We're still trying to see if it's reversible, son."
He gave her an odd look. "Why wouldn't it be? If it's demonic one of the Highers can reverse it."
"They modified it." She left again, heading back to where the plan was taking place. The orb was going to explode soon and they had to make sure they had everyone involved wrapped in it. "They're going to shout at us."
"We can disappear," D'Hoffryn said grimly. "Though I did hear your son wondering if there was another evil that was going to be showing up soon."
"Not that I'm aware of," she admitted. She reached out, making sure she had the full network this time. Even those that had spouses that weren't connected. Eric especially. Speedle would hunt her down and kill her if he was kept the same age if Horatio wasn't. She made sure to wrap his extra tight around the spool they were creating because he was muggle. Then the orb was released and the power wrapped around the spool. Most of them passed out. A few of them screamed first. It was not making for a happy night for some people but their mornings would be better. She exposed Eric's thread more fully, making sure he got hit. Her poor babies needed him. Even Tony did. She checked Mac and Stella but they had been included. Even if Mac didn't look like he was changing.
Danny groaned, waking up at the thrashing going on next to him. He looked at his lovers then shook his head. "What now?" he whined. He saw Mac wasn't changing and came over to look at him. He could feel the same traces of unclean, yet pure power around him. "Stella?" he said, nudging her awake. "Something's wrong with Mac. The same spell hit you both but he's not changing."
She looked down at her flat clothes. "I'm prepubescent?" she demanded, sitting up. "I hated this age!" She looked at Mac, stroking over his cheek. "He's got that stupid illusion on to cover the explosion's scars," she said quietly.
Danny reached for it but Mac batted at his hands. "Let me, Mac. The same spell hit you." He finally got it undone and looked at the youthened Mac Taylor. All the burn scars were gone. Almost all his scars were gone. He straddled Mac's chest, looking down at him. "Hey. Wakey-wakey."
Mac blinked at him. "What? You know I can't touch you until you're legal again."
"Not an issue for either of us, Mac," she said grimly. She held out her top. "I'm flat. I didn't get boobs until I was twelve."
Danny looked around. "Where's Don?"
"He got called back for that meeting at the Ministry. Maybe he stayed to do that last piece of paperwork that always seems to land on his desk," Mac said quietly. He stroked over Danny's cheek. "You're very young."
Danny grabbed Stella's hand mirror, handing it to him. "So're you, Mac. Quit fussing. I've gotta go find Flack." He headed out, catching the same pony back to the floo port. She was used to it and enjoyed it most of the time. Not like he was extremely heavy now either. He came rolling out at the Ministry, holding up a hand. "I'm Messer. Flack's still here and we think the spell hit more of the group." He walked past the gaping guard, heading up to where Don had his office in Muggle Affairs. He had taken over Arthur's old job when Arthur became the Minister for Magic and Don had retired from the NYPD because he looked too young for his age. Wizards aged slower and it had been causing some odd looks in his direction. Being fifty and looking twenty-eight or nine wasn't helping him any. He walked into Don's office, finding him collapsed on his desk. "Hey," he said gently, waking his husband up. Don blinked at him. "Hey. Wake up." Don blinked again. "Come on, time to head home, Don. You got hit too."
"Can. Even Mac got hit. He's cute."
Don grinned. "Yay us. We're cute again." He stood up and grimaced at the not-fitting clothes, doing a fitting charm. He did one on Danny too since his pants were hanging around his hips and barely being held up with a belt. "Better." He walked out with him, heading for the castle. Everyone else was mostly gathered there. Greg's wife Emilla was still at home. "We have to call Em." He, Emilia, Tipsy, and Stella were all shopping buddies.
"Did earlier," Danny promised.
"If it's going again we should call."
"I'll see if we can," Danny promised, leading him to the floo port home, sending them there. They came out in the castle, finding Greg already screaming in misery. "Hey!" he shouted. "Call the wife!" He ran to the floo to do that instead of complaining about how much he hated being this age the first time. He took Don up to bed, pointing. "See, cuteness."
"Awww, you're both adorable," Don said, coming over to snuggle between their lovers.
"I look bad," Stella complained. "Soon I'll have zits too."
"We have stuff for that," Danny promised, climbing in behind Mac to hold him. "You okay?"
"Anyone else?" he asked quietly.
"Greg. He's calling Em now." He gave him a squeeze. "We'll deal in the morning, Mac. For now, let's rest and figure out what the hell we're doing with this new stuff. If I'm eleven I had smutty thoughts but no hard-on at this age." Stella laughed. "It'll be another year at least before she has boobs."
"We can cuddle and stuff," Don promised. He snuggled into Stella's flat chest. "That's going to take some getting used to. You're not as comfy of a pillow." He thought of something and changed form to his animagus Weimaraner form, then back. "Huh, it still happens the same way."
"We can check that out in the morning," Mac reminded him. He snuggled into Don's back, letting Danny comfort him. "I still have all my memories."
"Alex said he did the last time too," Danny soothed. He knew Mac was worried about forgetting his former wife Claire, but he knew it wasn't going to happen. "Let's rest. There's going to be some screaming tomorrow."
"Hmm. We'll have to figure out if we'll have to worry about first times and stuff," Stella agreed. "And who's the legal adult to shield us all. I doubt we'll be recognized."
"We could go back to the lab," Mac said quietly.
She smiled. "Yeah, we can go back to the lab, Mac." She stroked over his hair. "We'll just be our kids or grandkids or something." He smiled and nodded, relaxing and falling asleep being held. She smiled at Danny. "Think Horatio got hit?"
"Probably. If you two got hit to stay with me, why wouldn't he and Eric?"
"Good point." She snuggled in, getting comfortable as Don's pillow, like usual. "Sleep. It's going to be a long morning."
"Hmm," Danny agreed, letting himself drift off too. There wasn't any danger to them at the moment. Tomorrow... Well, tomorrow he'd see.
Eric nudged Speed awake, looking at him. "What happened?"
"Not a clue," Speed said, sounding sleepy. He grinned, pulling him down to kiss him. "Missed not being able to do that all night." He looked at Horatio then grinned, nudging him awake. "Hey, check a mirror."
Horatio got up and looked, staring at himself. "I'm...."
"Not bald," Eric teased.
"Not funny," Horatio said, shooting a low powered scowl at him. He went back to checking himself out. He was adorable at this age. His hair was a bit longer, and it was still thick and shaggy at the moment. He ran his hand through it, noticing it was stronger. Nothing was breaking or shedding. He looked at his backside, nodding. His butt had stayed. He looked at his lovers, smiling since they were kissing. "I missed doing that too." Speed pulled him down and kissed him, making him moan. "Hmm. Soon, Speed. We're still too young for that stuff. We'll work our way back up to it."
"Didn't Catherine Willows say something about first times and power surges once when she was complaining about her daughter?" Eric asked.
Speed nodded. "Yeah, first times and seriously emotional times can create huge power surges. Alex had his on an island and nearly sank it from what I heard." They both stared at him. He nodded. "There's a reason we used to have breaking in rituals way back when." He pulled them both down to kiss again. "Tomorrow's going to be a wreck."
"You're right, we should sleep," Eric agreed, snuggling in again.
Horatio smiled. "This means we can go back to the lab, boys."
They both smiled at him. "We'll see," Speed promised. "Remember, we're not old enough yet, Horatio." He yanked him back closer so he could be cuddled. "Wonder if Tony's all right." He sent a thought at him, getting back a happy, smutty dream. "Yup, he's a teenager. Heard plenty of those the first time around." He flipped onto his side, holding Eric and letting Horatio hold them both, their preferred sleeping position. It was good for them. This would hopefully be good for them too.
Alex looked around the ballroom, looking at all his friends and family. "Damn," he said finally, cracking a few up. "Where's Horatio?"
"Playing with his hair," Speed said with a smirk. "It's back."
"I'm sure you'll have fun with it," Draco teased.
"Grandma Draco, can I have the butter?" one of the grandkids asked.
Draco looked down at her. "How many times have I told you not to call me that?"
"Many, so can I please have the butter now? Before my muffin's too cold and it won't spread?" She beamed at him.
Alex floated it down, shaking his head. "Draco, the more you protest the more she'll do it," he reminded him. Horatio and Mac came in together. "Are we missing anyone?"
"We'll have to talk to Armwrench later," Ron said, sipping his tea. He wasn't particularly fond of being eleven again. Bill either by his looks. Harry either but Abby was happy enough about it at the moment so he wouldn't be complaining. He looked down at his boss and teacher. "Any idea how it caught the rest of us?"
"It went through the Bane marking," Greg said, looking tired. "I asked Alex's mother. By the way, there's no new Voldemort coming up that she knows of. Not for at least another ten years."
"Then why do this to us?" Alex demanded.
"Not a clue," Greg admitted. "It didn't start with their kind, they simply managed the problem and gave Harry's daughter the vision when someone else foresaw it."
"No clue who sent it yet," Mac told him. "Can we get the floo records?"
"I told Dad yesterday, I'm sure he's looking into it," Ron told him. He looked at Alex again. "Well, you got further along this time."
Alex glared at him. "Not cute, and remember I'm still a champion level fencer. I was the first time, Ron."
"Awww. Draco, isn't him being grumpy your problem?"
"We're too young to have sex yet, Weasley. What do you suggest I do?" he asked archly, buttering his own muffin. "Hire him a pedophile?"
"Eww," Speed said firmly. "There's real kids in here, guys." They all dropped that subject. "Now what, people?" They all shrugged and dug in. "Okay, two points occurred to me. None of us are adults and some of us have to do adult type stuff, like banking stuff." They all groaned. "Any ideas?"
Greg nodded while he sipped some juice. "There's adults around. We can write letters authorizing them because we're out of the country at the moment on a case or something." They all nodded at that. "I'm wondering how in the hell I'm supposed to teach kids my age like this."
"Oh, that's the second point," Speed assured him. "Philip, since you're our age too. School?" he asked with a grin.
Philip stared at him until the flashbacks to his own school started. "All of us at once would bring down Hogwarts," he assured him, his Irish accent coming out nicely at the moment. "It nearly did in our years. It nearly did when Alex had ta go back that once. It will fall in this time."
"No way in hell the Sorting Hat would deal with me anyway," Alex said dryly. "It refused the last time."
"We could go into our last house of record," Greg told him.
"That would separate Draco and I," Alex pointed out.
"Not if you both went into Hufflepuff," Philip said with a grin.
"Yes but then we'd have to retrain that house too," Draco said grimly. "It was bad enough I had to do that for a full year our last year due to the war." He ate a bite of muffin and handed his husband the teapot when he drained his cup, getting a smile. He looked around. "Weasley, get your father here. We might be able to get a dispensation or something."
"We could go back and play quidditch," Harry offered.
Alex looked at him then smirked. "We could set up a supposed school here and do it against all four of Hogwarts' teams too, Harry." Harry gaped. He shrugged. "It's an idea to get around that if we can't get dispensations."
"Have more tea, dear. That'd be a horrible idea." Draco looked around. "Though I doubt many of us won't end up in the library later."
Ron looked down. "Dad said he'd be here about ten, give us all time to wake up, look over our new bodies, that stuff." He went back to eating. "Anyone who's not here that might've been caught if it went over the marking?"
"Mother," Draco said. "I called her, she's not deaged."
"A few spouses," Tipsy told them. "It's strange, we have a grandchild our age at the moment. We were going to throw a huge party at the platform for their going away."
"Hmm, so we can snog in private," Fred Weasley said grimly. "Guess that's out."
"Probably for at least a year, love," Tipsy sighed, nodding a bit. "Blair, anything on your end?" He shook his head. "You sure?"
"Yup. With Jim gone all I was doing was teaching anyway." He shrugged and drank some of his juice. "Has anyone noticed they made us a school breakfast?" Ron nodded and so did Harry. "Guess the house elves are joking too." He took another drink and dug into his eggs again.
"This is going to suck," Alex said grimly. "Now I've go to decide what I'm doing *this* life. Do I want to keep cursebreaking or not?"
Don looked at him. "Well, I can let you have that map if you want," he offered with a grin.
"Thanks, Don. Love you too. We'll go together." Don nodded and beamed. "If we can. Anyone call Gringotts?"
"I did," Bill said. "Gruinth took one look at me, burst out laughing, and said at least it wasn't you. Before he hung up I told him it was you too. I think that's why he hung up."
"Ah," Alex said, nodding slightly. "Sounds like I get to go to Gringotts later. Mass shopping trip, people?" They all nodded, none of their clothes fit.
"This means I can slide back into cute jeans," Dawn said happily.
Ron looked at her. "I'm still jealous," he said dryly. "I will still beat anyone who touches your bum, Dawn Weasley."
"Yes, dear," she sighed. Harry and Abby both snickered. "Come on, stick up for me," she pleaded.
"I can probably get back into cute goth gear too," Abby told her.
"Oohh, I haven't told Buffy," Dawn said, going to floo Wesley, Luna, and Ethan's house to find her vampire sister. She had been hanging there this summer to help Ethan with a problem. She waved at Luna when she answered the floo. Her best friend didn't even blink. She was cool that way. "Hola."
Luna finally shook herself. "Oh, shit," she said, staring at her. "You're...." Dawn nodded once. "Ginny!" Ginny came to the floo. "Look what happened."
"I can see that," Ginny said, looking eternally young herself. She was a valkyrie, she was always going to look like she was eighteen. "Still have all your memories?"
"Yup, sure do. But it got almost all the Banes since it didn't get Luna."
"Thank Merlin," Luna muttered. "I'd hate to be that age again. I was awkward." She looked behind her. "Buffy, it's Dawn." She got out of the way.
Buffy's head showed up in the fire. "Dawn," she said after a moment. "How in God's name?"
"There was an artifact rolled through the floo and it went off with the original spell. Somehow it managed to run through the Bane markings a few hours later. Got most of us."
Buffy sighed then nodded. "So, school again?"
"Hell no," she said firmly. "Not if I can help it, sister dear. You?"
"I don't think Hogwarts would take me." She smiled. "Now what?"
"We're figuring that out today but we get to go shopping."
"I'll take you later if you want," she offered with a smile.
"Okay. Abby too?"
"Sure, we can take Abby and Harry too." She waved and turned off the floo, going to Luna's basement so she could swear at the Powers That Be... Getting Their Asses Kicked Soon If She Had Her Way. This deaging thing was worse than her being the undead yo-yo girl she had been back in Sunnydale.
Later that afternoon, Philip stomped in from the school board's meeting, looking unhappy. "They want you to come back," he announced. "They want me to go back through too. I pointed out that I still have all my memories, including of some blackmail I've had stored for a while. They agreed we can set up a pseudo-academy here at the castle." Alex and Draco both gave him odd looks for that. "Or that we could study on our own as long as the ministry doesn't care."
Ron waved the paper in his hands. "Not an issue. Dad already gave us permission." He put it down in front of where Philip flopped down. "He also said we would not be considered underage wizards and witches." Everyone beamed at that. "He said we'd probably have to do something about the artifacts around here but we wouldn't be able to officially work until we were of legal age again. For those in other countries he's pressing them to do the same thing, citing malicious intent on having us deaged." He looked at Philip again. "You're still upset, what else?"
"We have three very special foreign students," Philip said, looking at Alex. "They're muggle born and very highly technical in nature."
"Why can't they go to Canada?" Alex asked.
"Because the Canadians wanted to know what project their fathers were working on and we already knew. Because you got given that book."
Draco sat up straight. "That Daniel person bred?"
"Twice, both of his grandchildren are coming and the child of another of them from the same project. The board said they were not happy at Hogwarts. They'd done the tour with them and they were horrified that we used quills in classes. That there's no computers, those things. Only one kid appreciated the books being in book format."
Alex just nodded. "So you're begging me to make some new apprentices?"
"The sad thing is, two are natural cursebreakers," he admitted. "The other's not going to leave her twin's side."
"Yay us," Harry said dryly. "Why can't Gringotts deal with them?"
"Because they'll never survive and we'll be teaching them what they need to know to go into the field directly onto their parents' project, right?" Alex suggested. Philip nodded. "This would get them past the need to go to a military academy and all that stuff?"
"They're all science sorts, Alex. Well, two're humanities sorts but they're all science sorts. Can we, somehow, work that out? We'll be reminding each other of stuff anyway since we have to take the NEWTs over. By the school board's decree," Philip said when Ron opened his mouth. "By the normal time as well. Seven years and most of us can do it in four, then we'd be considered old enough to work or whatever."
Xander nodded. "I can think about it later." Philip smiled and nodded. "Any other favors the mother-in-law wanted?"
"More grandkids. I told her to talk to your aunts." Ron snickered at that, nodding a bit. "She said she'd have to do that later on." He stood up. "With that happy news, I need more clothes. Who else still needs to go shopping?"
"Buffy's taking Dawn, Abby, and I later," Harry offered with a small smile. "You can come with us."
"That'll do. I still have to hit the bank." Alex pointed at the wall toward the study. "We have a bank access here?"
"No, we have a goblin here," Alex said bluntly. "He came to nag."
Philip nodded, going to get a withdrawal slip from him and make sure he still had access to all his money. His paychecks were directly deposited and he'd have to have something to live off of while he was in the school. Then he went to wait on the ladies. They'd take the longest to get ready to go shopping. Fitting panties and such probably.
Alex looked out as someone came out of the floo port, then down at the man standing in the courtyard. "You pull me out of this castle on a stretcher and already dead, brother. Go the fuck away."
"Alex, be reasonable. You can't hold the castle," he said. Xander pointed something at him. "You're going to shoot me, very mature," he said grimly. Then he shrieked as the thin wires hit him and electricity flowed down them. He landed on the ground and Alex jumped off the balcony, landing there staring at him. He tried to speak but Alex only looked down and sneered.
Alex finally let go of the trigger. "This is my house, Justinius. I may be ten yet again but I am still the lead heir in this family, no matter what the demons you serve want. Now, get your ass of my lawn and leave. You were banished for a reason." He hit the button to release the spikes and retract the wires. "Before I have to get a bigger weapon and end the problems you're having for good."
"You...." Alex pulled his wand. "Alex, you're ten," he stuttered.
"Scapulous," he cast coldly, making his brother roll away from the cutting hex. "What did I say about your demon-summoning ass? You're dirtying the natural power. Go. Now." Justinius fled. "And tell them they still don't want to fuck with me," he shouted after him. He calmed himself. "Sorry you had to hear that," he told Philip and the three girls walking his way. "My brother is greedy and summons demons. Should you see him again, scream really loudly." He put his wand and the taser up, looking at them. "Welcome to Dumass Castle, girls."
"A bit moody as a teenager were you?" Philip asked with a smile.
"Not at all. Justinius has been trying to kill me since the day I was born. He's not succeeding this time either. He decided I was weak thanks to this spell. Pity." He looked at the girls. "It's not usually like that," he assured the hesitant looking one. "He only shows up once a decade or when things go wrong. Did Philip tell you anything?"
"That there was a recent explosion that created a deaging problem," the one that wasn't a twin said, staring at him. "How old are you really?"
"Well, I was sixty-five when I was deaged this time, and I was deaged to five before then from the age of sixty-two." They gaped. He grinned. "The first time was a curse. This time it was malicious in nature. When I find them, you three can have a night off while we stomp on them. Okay?" They all nodded and he grinned. "I'm not the scary one, that's really Danny."
Philip laughed. "He'll try to spank you for saying that."
"He's the one wandering around muttering about what he wants to do to the person who sent the device," Alex pointed out dryly. "Come inside, girls." He led them into his study. "This castle is my family's ancestral home. There's another one that most of the aunts live at called Dumass Glen. The rest of the library is over there." They all nodded at that. "While you're here, I'm going to be teaching you things you'll have to know to pass your tests, subjects that will be of interest to you, and things you'll need once you're in the field. I'm what's known as a cursebreaker."
"Like Bill Weasley in the books?" one of the twins said softly.
"I trained Bill. He got deaged too," Alex admitted with a small grin. "Bill's so good because I trained him. I also trained Ron and Harry and Dawn, Ron's wife, and my husband Draco." They gaped. "Longer story and you'll learn it all here."
"Why don't the laptops we brought work at Hogwarts?" one of the twins asked.
"The soul energy in the paintings create a counter ripple and cut out any electricity. That's why mechanical things, like watches and wind-up alarm clocks, work but nothing else. There is a way to shield them but it's a pain in the ass, most people can't do it unless they've studied higher theoretical power flow problems, and you'd still have to use quills for assignments. Even I did when I had to spend a year there to guard the school." They all nodded at that so he smiled. "Here, you can use computers. There's limited electricity but most rooms have it. It's solar powered." They all nodded. "I'm still working on how to turn it from magical energy. We'll see someday soon I'm sure since I now have the time and energy to work on that stuff." He grinned at Philip then back at the three girls. "While you're here, we have some people who were doing forensics in their last lives. One of them is the potions teacher you would've had at Hogwarts, but there's others. They're going to be teaching you the sciencey stuff. I'll be teaching you Arithmancy." That got a confused look. "Magical math. I'll also be teaching you field techniques, languages, and what to do when you come across strange things. Draco and the others will fill in here and there. Anyone who's here will probably be willing to help you if you're stuck. Some live here, some were visiting, some showed up when the device's reach went through a bond we all share and got them later that night. All right?" They nodded. "Any questions?"
"Rooms?" one asked. "I know the school had dorms."
"We have a lot of guest rooms, you three can share some," he told them bluntly. "We have house elves but you are going to be responsible for the clutter in your own room." They all nodded. "I know of the project all your relatives work on, ladies. I gave Daniel something a long time ago that gave him some ideas. If you have specific research you think could help them, either ask for my help to find what you're looking for or learn how to use the card catalog. I'll have Dawn work with you guys to set up mirrors back home so you can talk with your father and grandfather."
The non-twin raised her hand slowly. "That might be kind of hard, sir. My father's in another galaxy at the moment."
Xander grinned. "You don't know Dawn yet, dear." He beamed. "Now, school uniforms?" They all shook their heads. "We have clothes?" They all nodded. "Good. Dawn might pull you guys around to shop now and then. She was always the fashionable sort. Also, call me Alex or Xander. I answer to both. My actual name is Alex, but I got deaged and had to go by Xander there for about sixteen years. All right?" They all nodded. "Philip, have fun with the newbies tonight."
"I will. You too." He left them alone after a smile in reassurance.
Alex winked. "Now that the stuffy one's gone, you're going to have a lot of fun. I'm used to training apprentices and I trained Ron and Harry both from the ground up."
"How accurate are the books?" one of the twins asked.
"Until the fifth year. Dumbledore called a class reunion and most of us showed up. When we found out what he was making my grandson do, we stepped in. That's why I spent Draco's senior year guarding Hufflepuff with him." They all gaped. He grinned. "Harry hates those books before you mention them to him. All right?" They all nodded. "Good. Then let's show you around, introduce you to your ad-hoc professors, those things. With a bit of luck and all, we can have you out of seven years of education by the time you're sixteen." They all gaped. "What can I say, I'm good." He stood up and walked them out. "What are your names anyway?"
"I'm MJ and this is TM," the twins said, pointing at each other. He nodded at that.
"I'm Petunia," the other one said. "Dad said the other scientists had a naming contest and he lost."
"Petunia what? Unless you want to be called Pet?" he teased.
She smirked and shook her head. "Not really."
"Good, because we'd have a Spike flashback," Don said from the library's door. "What's your middle name?"
"We have an Abby, she's pretty cool. You mind that?" She shook her head. "Cool. The other two?"
"The one with the sandy brown, longer hair is MJ and the one with the shorter, dark blonde hair is TM," Alex told him.
"Ladies, I'm Don Flack. I'm technically married to Danny and madly in love with Stella and Mac. You'll get used ta us. I'm former NYPD and a cursebreaker as well. Alex trained me when he found me late." He grinned and let them into the library, watching them gasp. "Alex has been collecting books for a very long time. This is the primary library." It was a very impressive sight. Thirty stories tall inside a ten story castle tower, filled with books, and there were tables and reading nooks all over for them to enjoy the books in.
Xander pointed at the multi-drawer box on legs against one wall. "That's the card catalog. You find what you want, put it onto the blue pad, and it'll fly down to you. When you're done, you put it on the cart and it reshelves itself in about an hour." He walked them on. "This is the secondary library," he said once they were through the small hallway lined with shelves of scrolls. "Draco had this one put on while I was away one weekend." He grinned. "Honey?" Draco and Harry both looked up. "Harry, I don't call you honey," he said dryly. "The one beside Mr. Potter is my husband, Draco Malfoy-Dumass."
"Charmed," Abby said, waving and smiling. "Are all these on history matters, Alex?"
"No! We have a wide selection of topics. Everything from artifacts, languages, jewelry, history, sciences, politics, manners, just about everything," he said with a smile. "Come on." He led them on, taking them to the other library. "This is the cursebreaker's library. This is primarily spells, curses, artifacts. The charms section is still in the primary library but this one has all the stuff we'd use in the field." He smiled and led them out the side door. "There's two ways into the valley or out of the valley. Well, three if you want to climb over the magic-nullifying rocks that surround us. There's the floo port you three came through or there's a small area that's set aside for apparations." He pointed. "That's what the black rock area is for." He looked at them. "As you get better, if you're interested, we'll teach you another way that'll be easier." They all nodded so he led them back inside. "Trembly!" he bellowed as they walked up the stairs. "This is the ballroom, massive dining area, play area when it's raining for the family's kids," he told them. He opened the hidden door. "This is the way up to the main living areas." He led them up the stairs, finding the house elf sitting on the top of them waiting on him. "This is Trembly."
"You're a house elf," Abby said, bending down to look at him. "Interesting."
"I is Trembly. Yous need things, you call Trembly," Trembly told them. They all nodded. "Master Alex, sir, where is Trembly putting girl students?"
"I was thinking the blue suite if Harry doesn't want it any more. He never did decide if he was moving or not."
"Trembly will ask." He disappeared then came back shaking his head. "No, Master Alex sir. Harry Potter say Harry and Abby Potter not moving from blue suite. Green one?"
"No, there's still that fertility curse in there," he reminded him. He walked them on, taking them to the upper rooms. "You're going to get pretty quiet up here," Alex told them, opening a few doors. He found one he liked and let them inside. "Here we go. Trembly, clean this area for them? Make sure the bathroom works too please?" Trembly nodded and got some of the house elves up to clean for them. "There's four rooms so if parents or grandfathers come over you can have them up here with you guys. That way we don't bug you during your off hours and you don't have to associate if you're feeling like sulky girls and hiding." They all gave him odd looks. "I helped raise Dawn, ladies. I've seen plenty of sulky girl behavior. Didn't Philip bring your things?"
"They'll be delivered later," TM said. "Are you sure?"
"I'm sure. You've got a good view here. It's safe up here. It's quiet up here so you can study if you want to do it up here instead of in the library. You won't be bothered when some of us pounce our mates or things." They all nodded and smiled a bit. "Good. Trembly, when you're done, we'll be in the kitchen."
"Yes Master Alex sir," he said, nodding quickly then going back to dusting.
He nodded and led them down the back stairs. "This is the other way up there. It leads directly to the kitchen. The house elves will go into gleeful fits if you ask them for snacks now and then. Sweet or not. We usually have a pretty standard dinner time that we have in here. Breakfast seems to lag from dawn to just about ten in the morning." He had a thought and looked out the doorway. "Has anyone heard from Methos?" he asked. They all shook their heads. "Okay." He opened the door further. "Girls, this is Stella Bonasera and Mac Taylor, the dark haired pouty one is Tim Speedle, call him Speed. The one making him pout is Tony, he's a long-lost son of the line. Behind him is probably Ron since all I see is red hair and Ron was a short little guy at this age the last time. Which means Dawn should be here too. Dawnie?"
She came out from behind Tony, giving him a look. "Find some way for them to be able to talk to their relatives please? Some sort of communication device." She nodded, leading the girls off. "Their stuff is being sent. Remember you can't shop me poor this life either but make sure they've got practical gear. If we have to, we'll hit Diagon tonight." He looked t the others. "That was TM, MJ, and Abby. She's the non-twin." They all grinned at that. "Mac, they're above your rooms but they can't hear anything up there. Unless you have the window open and make Danny scream again." He walked off, going back to his study. "Classes start tomorrow at ten, ladies," he called. "See you at dinner. Dawn, help them explore if you want." He closed his study door and got back to his journal. He had some serious thoughts to work out and he needed the quiet time. Teaching them wasn't going to take that much energy really.
Dawn finished setting the spells on the two mirrors, smiling at them. "Okay. Until you learn the spells and can do them flawlessly I'll stay nearby so you can chat, all right?" They all nodded. "Girls, take yours over to the other wall so you can sit there on the loveseat. Abby, go ahead and pull a chair over since yours is going to take more energy."
Abby found a chair and pulled it over, settling in while Dawn made the twin's mirror work. Then she came back and activated this one, making her beam and her father shriek. "Hi, Dad." She smiled and waved. "I'm at Dumass Castle."
"Is that the name of the school?" he asked.
Dawn leaned in. "Hogwarts is very technologically behind. Alex Dumass is a cursebreaker and can teach her everything she needs to be taught, including how to survive in the field. Among all of us we have all the subjects covered." She smiled. "By the way, I'm Dawn Weasley." He gaped. "Alex is like my big brother and he taught me how to be a cursebreaker too. Bill Weasley too. He's my big brother-in-law." She smiled at Abby then at him. "This way she'll have a firmer grounding in science than potions, sir."
"I see." He looked at his daughter. "Where are you?"
"Scotland. Tell Uncle Carson I'm in his people's land," she said happily.
"I can do that." He looked his daughter over. "No uniforms?"
Dawn snorted. "Alex isn't like that. Practical clothing yes, uniforms no." She went over to the twin's mirror to help them since someone was complaining. "Oh, shut up!" she finally shouted. They quit. "Dude, we already knew. Daniel knows Alex. He and some big, dark guy with a gold tattoo came over once to look at some of the stuff Alex does. That's why he's mentoring and teaching the twins. Now, shoo. Get their granddad. Gods, how stupid are you?" she said when he didn't move. She pulled her wand and shot a hex over the mirror, making him scream in pain. "Now, duffus!"
He ran off and another man appeared, looking confused. "Uncle Jack!" TM squealed. "Hi."
"School?" he asked.
Dawn shook her head. "Dumass Castle. Hogwarts doesn't have electricity or what you'd consider regular science classes."
"I remember Alex Dumass."
"He got deaged again," she said dryly, grinning at him. "This is how I set it up so the girls could call their grandfather. He can move whatever mirror I put it on over there if he wants. That way no shrieking little girl can whine like the one I sent off just now."
Jack smirked. "I like you already."
"Too bad I'm still married," she quipped back. "Ron would be very upset with me."
Jack laughed. "Not that much, kiddo. So, ladies, are we doing all right?"
"The library here is *massive*, Uncle Jack," MJ told him happily. "There's three of them! They can teach us everything we need to know and we might even be done early. Plus they can teach us field stuff."
Dawn nodded. "They're all going to be getting the basic cursebreaking lessons. Which would include what you do in an attack, what you do in the field, handling weapons, those things." She smiled at the man she barely recognized. "Doctor Daniel."
"Dawn?" he asked. "What happened? You get younger each time I see you."
"Some stupid person sent an ancient demonic device through the floo and it went off. We're all around your grandkids' ages but we have all our memories." She waved. "They're here with us. We can teach them what they need to know with more style, and less time."
"That's fine. I knew Hogwarts wasn't going to be a great fit since they couldn't use computers and things. Can they there?" She nodded. "Can you guys get regular mail?"
She considered it then nodded. "Through the manor house probably."
"Then we'll start doing that as well." He smiled. "Phones?"
"Do work. I've got mine and I made sure it works up here." She beamed at him. "It's a holdover from when half of us were cops. Now, I don't want you to worry. The girls are getting the field lessons I got with the boys. They're going to get a well-rounded education in not only our stuff but your stuff too. Remember, a bunch of us were into forensics and things so they'll get divination, potions, and chemistry." That got a smile and a nod. "I'll be teaching them how to use this mirror on this end pretty soon so I won't have to hang around while you guys talk. Today was just to let you know they got here, their stuff is coming, and it's all good so far." She walked back to the other mirror, finding Abby pouting so she gave her a hug. "It's all right."
"We have divinations?" she asked. "I heard you. So did Dad. He's throwing a bit of a hissy."
"I can see that. He does it nearly as well as my sister does." She grinned. "Yes, traditionally you're taught it as an elective unless you have the gift. If none of them have the gift we'll probably just touch on it and move on. After all, Runes and Arithmancy is much easier at times, especially when you've got the sort of background she already has."
"Arithmancy?" her father demanded.
"Magical math. Starts after algebra and goes theoretical. Alex would probably teach that himself since he's so good at getting theoretical things going."
Alex walked in and looked at the worried father. "She'll be fine. She'll get a more full education than she would have gotten at Hogwarts. Anytime any of the relatives, real or claimed, are close enough to drop by you can. We're in Scotland. As long as you're near the landmass we can come get you. We'll let her call you about every week, as often as she wants."
"How are you doing the traditional sciences?" he demanded, arms crossed over his chest. "I was fully against this idea."
"Witches who don't get trained in how to use it, at least enough to relieve the innate buildup of magic end up getting a lot sicker and dying sooner, either of something like cancer or of suicide," Alex said more quietly. "As for science, there's eight, nine, something like that, people who used to do forensics running around here. I think they can pretty well cover any of the science fields plus the ones she'll have to show proficiency in, like Potions. Which is really chemistry with strange ingredients," he said with a grin. "Before you say it, I've trained a lot of cursebreakers over the years. Family and not family. They'll be protected like they're my little sisters."
"You're their age," he complained.
"This time last week I was sixty-eight," he said bluntly. The father gaped. He nodded. "And this is the second time I've had to go through this, so quit stressing. I remember everything from both prior lives. I just seem to attract people who want me to be young and pretty. My husband doesn't mind in the least." The father nodded at that so he grinned. "Whenever you're local, relatively local, call and we'll pick you up for a long visit. That's not an issue. I have plenty of guest rooms and they can have breaks. The same as they can have holiday breaks if we can arrange it. Oh, she'll probably be done by the time she's sixteen and I can make sure it's fully accredited so she can go to the college of her choice afterward if she doesn't want to hop in and join you up there." He stared him down. "I met Daniel and Teal'c a few decades back. I'm one of the premiere cursebreakers on this realm, especially in things that go toward Thinial."
"Thinial?" he asked. Xander found a book nearby and showed it to him. "That's Asgardian!"
"Dawn's best friend is a Valkyrie," he said with a grin. "She'll be fine."
"Abigail, are you certain?" he asked.
She nodded. "I need to learn, Dad. It might come in useful up there. Besides, look at the library behind me, Dad, and it's one of *three*. I can research anything I want while I'm here. Please don't keep throwing a fit? Ask Uncle John?"
"Fine. I'll calm down but I'll expect weekly calls since we have figured this communications method out, daughter." She smiled and nodded. "What's her first class?"
"Charms," Alex said with a grin. "That first day she'll get charms, beginning Arithmancy, and then some history of our kind lessons. At the higher levels I'll start putting back in muggle history as well. Like I said, she should be done by the time she's sixteen. We can do xenobiology for creatures as well as creatures. She can do chemistry and potions at the same time. Charms does use physics in some instances and I know some of the guys here can teach physics if they ask nicely enough. She'll have a very well- rounded education. You're more than welcome to call or come over whenever you can. Understood?" That got a grim looking nod. "Thank you. Now, Abby, go ahead and finish up. Trembly's got the room cleaned up and your things should be here soon." He patted her on the head and went back to his study. Horatio walked in and shut the door. "Are you guys staying?"
"I think we are," he admitted, smiling at him. "If that's all right? Us and the quad both want to take up residence, so of course Tony would be as well."
"That's fine but you get to teach physics."
"I can do that." He gave him a hug. "It'll be fine, Alex."
"Why do this to me again?" he asked, looking at him. "Why me? Why not some one else? Or get one of us when we're out in the open? Why send it here?"
"I don't know. We'll figure that out over time." He gave him a pat on the back. "Relax. You have years as well. Tony, Speed, and Danny are already figuring out if this is a permanent change or if we're going to suddenly die when we reach our old lifespan." Alex nodded, sighing a bit. "We'll still be young and pretty by then, Alex. It's a fantastic chance."
"That I've already had," he complained. "I feel like I'm living a movie. I don't want to be a groundhog."
"I know. Now this time maybe you'll play professional quidditch for a few years." He smiled. "We might be." He gave him another shoulder squeeze. "Trembly said the girls' things are in. It'll be fine. They'll learn to enjoy the trio of terror's unique brand of mental irritation soon enough." Alex smiled a bit at that thought. "Good man. Now, come on. There's cookies being made."
"Sure. I could use a cookie." He closed his journal and they headed into the kitchen to get some cookies. "I need to get herbology samples too," he said through a bite.
"Send Blair. That's one of his strongest areas." Alex nodded, taking another bite of cookie. "Let Speed, Danny, and I teach the higher sciences. Let Danny and Draco teach potions. You teach charms with the other cursebreakers. It'll be fine. They'll get out of here in no time. You only took four years to fully train Don and he kept slacking off."
"Good point." He finished his first cookie, looking around. "Maybe I should take them back to the manor instead of doing this here."
"You'd have everyone and their cousin popping in," Mac said from behind them. He grinned at Alex. "My first thought was to be really angry, Alex. Especially for you because this happened again."
"Mine too. I'm wondering why me."
"At least we know it wasn't because someone needed you to face down the next villain," Mac offered. "Now, about the girls, how can I help?"
"What's your best areas? Muggle and not?" Alex asked.
"I can teach them military things or help them with it. I can help them study people for interrogations and things." Alex nodded. "Thanks." He smiled and went inside to talk to the girls, see where he could help them. Danny, Tony, and Speed would turn them into capable little thugs with brains. He'd help soften that he hoped. He found Stella and Dawn helping them put their things up. "Please don't drag me shopping," he begged, making Stella laugh. "The last time you did we nearly got taken hostage, Stella."
"I won't, Mac." She smiled at him. "Coming to help?"
"I came to talk to them, see if I could help with their education at all." He grinned at them. "In my last life I was a Marine and then at CSI with the NYPD. I ran the lab Stella, Danny, and I worked out of. Don worked with us." They all nodded at that. "Here within the next few months I'm going to start PT again so if you girls want to join me you're more than welcome to. Or if you want my opinion on science stuff, I'm good at that. I mentored Danny when he joined the lab and a lot of others."
"I'm sure we'll find you something to help us with," MJ said with a small smile. "After all, I study people and you did the same thing?"
"I did a lot of studying people, usually to find a weakness, but that's what interrogation was for." That got a nod and another smile. "So we'll work on it together. Stella, if they need stuff you might want to talk to Alex tonight so he can plan the shopping trip soon. The normal students left today."
"I can do that. They'll definitely need brooms since neither relative bought any," she said happily. She looked at the rest of the clothes. "Plus we can expand that stuff so you have enough for at least two weeks."
"Plus some cute stuff," Dawn agreed. "There is an art to being cute, yet practical and I mastered it long ago. Alex made sure of it." She beamed at them. "Dinner should be soon, let's hurry up, guys. The house elves cook *really* well." They nodded and finished unpacking then followed them down the stairs. "I went to Hogwarts for four years. Feel really lucky this castle isn't as big of a maze. You can get lost at Hogwarts. Here some doorways are hidden but the stairs don't change direction or anything." She walked them into the kitchen. "Alex, Abby doesn't have a wand. None of them have brooms. They need more clothes too. Can you do the wallet cough?"
"I can do the wallet cough," he sighed, handing his over. "Go tonight to get those if you can." Dawn squealed. "No shoe shopping," he ordered as she drug the girls with her. Stella and a few others followed because they'd need to pick up materials to teach them with. It wasn't like he was going to be teaching things exactly as they did in Hogwarts. He looked at Don. "We did good with you, right?"
"You did great with me," he reminded him with a smile. "They're clearly not the cursebreakers we are. No one said anything about baby dragons, kidnaping trolls, or anything." Alex grinned at that. "We'll have to see where they fall and how they can use that sort of stuff with the military stuff. Mac can help with that a lot." Mac nodded. "How was she expecting to do anything without a wand?"
"I don't think her father knew to get her one," Alex admitted. "He's a bit far away from everything." He sipped is tea, smiling at his house elves. "They'll be back in a while. Set a second dinner for them." They nodded and served the rest who were still there. "Anyone want to fly later?" he asked finally to lighten the silence.
"Sure," Horatio said happily. "I need to make sure I still have balance." Alex grinned and Don smirked. "You guys can work together too." He dug in, eating faster now. He had to get his broom out of the closet. He hadn't flown in over a month because his back had been hurting recently. It was nice that the deaging had made the bullet that had lodged in there ten years earlier fly out. Fortunately the mediwitch saw it and healed it for him.
The girls came back from their shopping expedition and paused at the floo entrance. "How are they doing that?" TM asked in awe.
Dawn grinned. "That's why we got you brooms, girls. That's wizarding PE." She walked them on, giving Abby a small nudge to get her to move. "Come on. You'll learn to do that. We have some of the best quidditch players in the world in this strange, huge ass family." They all grinned at her. "It'll be fine, girls. I promise." She winked and led them back to the castle. "Trembly, is there any food?"
"Master Alex sir made house elfs make a second wave of dinner for girls," one of the other house elves called from the library. "Go eat before goes cold, girls."
"Thanks, Giggly!" Dawn yelled, rushing that way. They put their things up then hurried down the back stairs to eat and chat. Dawn was pretty cool and it wasn't anything they had any experience in. They'd be learning a lot from her hopefully.
"Uncle John would love flying on a broom. He loves to fly," Abby told the others. "Do they work with normal people?"
"Muggles? Well, no not really but I have the feeling Alex can make it work somehow. Alex does a lot of theoretical stuff that no one else seems to be able to do. Slipping dimensions, slipping time, all sorts of stuff." Dawn ate a bite of dinner. "Then again, Ray Junior accidentally slipped time too once. He can't do it now and he went back to meet a different version of the trio of terror in their realm while doing it," she offered, waving her fork around a bit. "That's probably in the library somewhere too." Tony came in. "Not flying?"
"Came in to get a drink. Have fun getting brooms?"
"I got them baseline, good brooms that can be good enough if they have the quidditch spark," Dawn said proudly. "And some other clothes so they could dig in the garden and things." She ate another bite. "Are we playing a pickup game?"
"Not yet. Horatio realized he balanced differently when he nearly fell. Probably next weekend or so." He grinned and patted Abby on the head. "You can go over all the theoretical stuff you want once you're past the first two years work in most things and third year in charms. Got it?" She nodded, smiling at him. "Good. So next year probably but you can start doing research now if you want." He grinned and walked out. "We did, often." He walked back outside with his bottle of soda. "We really should scare the crap out of our old school by showing up," he offered with a grin for Danny.
Danny shivered. "Oh, that's a bad idea. The new headmistress was one of our classmates, Tony."
"All the more fun," Tony quipped.
"Sure, we'll do that sometime soon," Speed agreed happily. "Totally make them think we're there to reenroll or something. Watch them cry in a few cases."
Danny sighed. "We'll go pick up a book we need for research or somethin'," he announced. They all beamed and nodded at each other. "Friday?"
"Friday," they agreed, shaking hands and going back to the flying stuff. Their team had to be good enough to beat the All Bane team, it was a matter of pride. They'd only lost two matches during the whole time they had been playing that way. One of them because Speed's surrogate was in labor. The other Alex had managed to be cursed during it by a student watching who didn't like him being gay. Otherwise, they always won.
"Ya know, I was looking at one of those realmal mirror thingies and I saw a world where Xander was married to George Weasley and had a killer quidditch team in the Gryff house."
Everyone in the field, on brooms and not, stared at him. "No way in hell!" Draco shouted. "I don't care how good of a team they are. It's bad enough I'm an in-law to that Weasley, much less a whole team of them."
"Most of 'em were half yours, Draco," Danny said with a bright, happy grin. "Malfoy- Weasleys with Ginny."
Draco shuddered and Fred had to catch him. "Quit picking on Draco," George complained. "He's delicate and fragile. Especially since he won't get shagged for at least the next year."
"We have to destroy that realm," Draco told the twin holding onto him. "Before they somehow manage to spread over here."
Alex cleared his throat. "Would that be Iggy, Simone, and them?" he asked. Danny beamed and nodded. "You're right, they're great on a broom. Draco, you remember Iggy, right?"
Draco landed and went to find the scotch. He had a headache now. He did not want those thoughts to ever come back. That's why he had blocked them out.
"Boys not old enough to drink," one of the house elves complained.
Draco stared at him. "Trembly, they were just talking about a realm where I had kids with Ginerva Weasley," he said grimly. "And how good their quidditch team was. I'm going to drink myself to sleep." He took the bottle and walked off, heading up to their room to lay down and drink. It was better that way. Much easier when he passed out. He kicked off his shoes, opened the bottle, and took his first drink as he laid down. It was better this way.
Alex looked at the others. "Don't you guys remember Iggy?"
"We didn't know you then," Horatio told him. "It might be better that way."
"It couldn't be worse than we think," Mac told him.
Horatio looked down at him. "Yes it can."
"Damn it, he's too young to shag those bad thoughts out of his head again," one of the twins muttered. "Alex, when did you hit puberty?"
"Almost fifteen," he called. Then he cackled. "Last life, fourteen."
"Aw, damn, three years," the other twin groaned. "We'll have to put up with the bad thoughts for three years." He gave the other banes a look and they all knocked Alex out, Don shifting to catch him before he could fall. "Thank you. Let's see if Draco's amenable to cuddling them out at the very least."
"Cuddling isn't going to help this one," Danny said dryly. "Doesn't when Tony and Speed get 'em."
"Danny, do we *really* have to mention all the Evil Overlord books?" Don asked as he flew Alex inside and up to his room. One of the paintings gave him an odd look as he flew past. "Bad thoughts and it'll be a few years before he hits puberty." The painting cried and ran off to her other one in the manor house to spread those bad ideas.
Danny grabbed his broom and floated up. "Okay, let's practice, people. Some of us don't wanna fall off our brooms this life." They all grinned and got back to it. Don could join them later. After all, quidditch was good for them.
The aunts sent over a pile of suggestions later that night. It was how they had managed Alex the first time he had been this age. It had helped a little bit at the very least.
Abby smiled at her father when she had Dawn turn on the mirror the next time. "Hi, Dad."
"Abigail," he said happily. "How are your studies?"
"Well, this week we've learned a few things. I've learned a lot of wand control, a few charms that'll help. Things like lighting fires." Her father grimaced. "It's the beginning lessons, Dad. Then we move up to harder things."
"Of course you do. That's the way you study any subject. Are you learning bad things as well?"
"Draco told us if we were at school we'd be learning the usual prank hexes and how to counter them because there's inter-house competition and some minor hatred. Fortunately we're avoiding all that by being here. Oh, arithmancy is pretty cool. We started out with algebra and learned a few formulas we didn't have in regular algebra. It seems that part of the math of arithmancy is still magically based. So we have to deal with power issues and belief issues. Because if we can't believe we can do it, we can't. Like flying is. Oooho, that's our PE, flying. Like in the books." She looked around. "Harry?" He popped out of the secondary library. "Can my dad meet you?"
"Sure." He walked over and smiled and waved. "Hi, Harry Potter." Her father sat down hard. He grinned. "The books were right up to the fifth year, and then my grandfather Alex stepped in."
"You're how old?"
"Deaged," he reminded him. "I was in my mid sixties just last week. It's a bit odd being eleven again." He walked off shaking his head. "You three have flying this afternoon and then herbology. Don't be too long. You're still trying to roll instead of turning."
"Yes, Harry." She grinned at her father. "Plus I have Ron Weasley helping me with the basics of field stuff. He's a cursebreaker too, like his big brother Bill is. Alex trained them both."
Her father blinked. "I'm not sure if I'm happy or not at the moment."
"Oh, be happy for once, Dad!" she sighed, shaking her head. "I'm having a lot of fun. Even if some of the plants in Herbology do try to eat me. Nothing worse than what we have in the botany lab really." She beamed and shifted some. "What're we doing about the holidays? I figure we should start planning now. That way we can figure out if we're coming back, if I'm coming up for a week and a half and then coming back here, or if you're going to come down for a while. Or if I'm staying," she finished at his small sigh of complaint. "I'm staying?"
"I don't know how we'd work it, Abigail."
"Easy. I'd inhabit a small closet on the ship, spend some time at home, come back here the same way," she said firmly. "Unless you don't want me?" she asked when he sighed again.
"No, I do want you. I have wanted you since about ten minutes after someone told me the insane little Asgard bastard made you for me so there were future geniuses, because obviously we were falling down on that area according to Loki."
"Ranting time?" she teased.
"You have no idea and I kept you up for *days*," he said smugly. "I'll see what I can do about the holidays. What about this summer?"
"Alex said it's up to you because he knows what a pain in the butt getting me home would be. He's going to be here. He's presently defending the castle from his demon-summoning brother that he tasered as we walked in on." Her father opened his mouth but she held up a hand. "We think he's the one who did the deaging thingy, Dad. He's mean. Dawn kicked him in the nuts and everything. Sicced a house elf on him too." She grinned. "We should see if you guys could have a house elf since they said they were made by the Elders when TM asked."
She nodded, getting up to get a history book, turning to the right section so he could read it from the mirror. "Isn't that cool? TM said that her grandfather mentioned that house elves could feel his buddy Teal'c." She sat down again, the book in her lap. "There's tons of ancient, old, and outdated knowledge around here. Alex has been collecting for ages from tombs all over the world."
He blinked a few times. "I might be coming down for the holidays after all then. I'd like to get a better look at where this arithmancy is going."
"Yes, dad. I'd send you some if I could email you. If I get to come up I'll bring some of the advanced books too. Alex said I could. The book return spell won't work that far away and he'll give me dispensation if I need it."
He smirked at that. "Yes, book nerds do tend to horde their collections like dragons are said to."
"No, I've seen a young dragon. They do horde and they do smoke. Dawn said they used to dive down her shirt because stomachs sound like mother dragons." Her father's mouth opened and she beamed. "You'd like Beau, Dad, she's the same sort of morning grumpy you are. She and Keelian are presently running away from Hogwarts to shack up in Alex's storage caverns. Keelian was apparently adopted by Ron or something."
"Other way around," Harry called. "Flying time, Abby. Call him later."
"Can I, Dad?"
He smiled. "Later tonight, pumpkin. Dinner here is in four hours, call anytime after that." She nodded and hung up. He went to talk to his best friend about this strange education of his daughter's. He found him in the mess hall getting some coffee. "She's met dragons and Harry Potter now." John Sheppard choked on his coffee so he nodded. "Exactly." He walked off after dropping that bombshell, going back to his lab to complain to himself. All the other scientists had backed away when the mirror came to life and had fled for an extra-long break it seemed.
John walked in, looking very confused. "Your daughter. Abby. Met Harry Potter?"
"Yes, introduced us and all that." He waved a hand around. "And now she said she's met a runaway dragon. It apparently escaped the school with another one and they're shacking up in the storage caverns at the castle she's at. Apparently one of them was adopted by one of the family there or something."
John shook his head. "Well, she's a bit strange."
"They're doing magical math. She said there's formulas as early as algebra that quantify belief and power flows. She did want to know about the holidays so we could make some plans."
"You could go. You haven't taken a vacation since we got here, Rodney."
"Yes, but that's a very long trip for only a few days with her."
"So come back late!" He shrugged. "From the sounds of this Alex guy he's not going to keep you from your little girl."
"Point. He did invite me down whenever I was on the same planet." He considered it then looked at him. "She's taking flying lessons and then herbology this afternoon. Harry had to remind her of her flying class."
"Again, witches, herbs, makes sense."
"She said some are about as deadly as we have here, Colonel."
"Oh." He nodded. "That can happen I guess. Some strange plants in the Amazon valley and things. Go down, tell me how it goes."
"I'm not sure I won't be bringing her back if I do that."
"I'm sure it'll be fine," he said, patting him on the shoulder. "She's happy, right?"
"She has her mother's taste in locations for fun," he said dryly, staring at him.
John just smirked. "At least she's having fun. She hardly ever did here." He walked off to think about this. It was a bit strange. He knew they had one of their people on the mission. It was fairly well stated that Britain had sent someone they called an auror. Now, he had only read a few of the Harry Potter books but.... He found him in the mess hall begging for dinner. "No fish and chips tonight?" he asked. The auror smirked at him. "You do know Doctor McKay's daughter is in Scotland?"
"It's a good school. Canada would've been better. They let in technology."
"She's learning with someone named Alex Dumass at Dumass Castle?"
"She's a cursebreaker?" he demanded, turning to stare at him, hands going to his hips. The mess worker cleared her throat and handed him his tray. "Thanks, love. Appreciate it. Have rounds soon." He sat down, the colonel sitting across from him. "She is?"
"She went to Hogwarts because someone in the ministry there knew something about the project. No unnecessary questions or lies," he said quietly.
He nodded. "All because someone sent Dumass something in Thinial that brought Doctor Jackson running. I remember. I was just out of my training. Did you ever meet Tonks?"
"Once. Why?" He mostly remembered her very bright hair that always seemed to change and how she spanked him the moment she met him then grinned and said he had a nice butt, but he was too young for her.
"She's the one who trained me," he said with an evil grin. "She was the first one who came."
"I'm sure it scared many people." He leaned a bit closer. "I want to know what you know on this Dumass guy and about this deaging stuff." He spluttered again. "Apparently last week. I heard her say something about mean brothers who might've done it and Alex tasering him?"
"Best thing to do except cut off his head," he admitted. "Alex's brother Justinius is the last of that generation alive. He's an evil bastard. The whole family can be a bit dark now and then but they threw him out at eleven for summoning demons to eat his little brother and a unicorn."
"Yeah, the Dumass clan has a known history of providing them safe shelter and raising whole herds. Dumass himself drinks unicorn cream in his tea from what I've heard around." John gaped. He grinned. "He's a bit strange now and then. Very tough, very strong. The boy could whip my bum when he was his present age the first time and what he's learned over time has only made it worse. How old is he now?"
"Abby's age apparently." That got a groan and a head shake. "So this has happened before?"
"Let me get notes and orders from my superiors, sir. They'll have a lot more of the information that'll make both Da's pipe down and calm down about it. They're in a good spot. Alex knows his shit. Hell, he figured out how some thieves were stealing from the vaults around Europe by sliding time and dimensions for a bit. Nearly got imprisoned for it because his handlers got scared of him. Nearly got a few of his students back then too. Of which one was his grandson, Harry." He grinned. "Can I have enough time for that?"
"Please. Also, Doctor McKay was thinking about going down for one of the holidays for a visit. How?"
"I'll give him an address to go to. He can walk in there and they'll call them to pick him up."
"That'll work. Get me that information ASAP. Thank you." He stood up and walked off, going to tell Rodney what he knew so far. He found him babbling in frustration at Radek and sighed, pulling him off to talk to him in private. "We have an auror in the mission," he said quietly. Rodney gaped at that. "Alex found something in Thinial and brought in Daniel Jackson." That got a moan. "We've had aurors since then. Do you remember that one scary woman, Tonks?" He shuddered but nodded. "She's one of their aurors. He'll be sending home for information on the family, what's going on out there, all that. He'll also give you an address to go to if you want to go down there and they can pick you up from there. Can you wait a week or so?"
"I can. Abby isn't hiding things from me yet."
"Good." He smiled. "Besides, if it's not that strange, maybe I'll go and see what flying really looks like. The movie made it look cool." He walked off happier. He hadn't been this happy since that strange cave his team had walked into had slowed their aging down to one year per actual decade.
Rodney McKay growled but went back to work. At least someone would be looking out for his only offspring down there! Then he'd get her back and detox her from all this magic nonsense and get her back into science as she should be.
TM and MJ gave each other a look then looked over at Abby. "We need to go out and have some fun," MJ told her.
Abby looked over. "If we leave the castle's grounds we could get into trouble."
"So we'll stay and start to explore around here. I'm sure there's all sorts of hidden treasure rooms around the grounds."
"Maybe but will we get into trouble? Alex seems very nice and I don't want to disappoint him."
"You won't," TM promised. "I'm sure he did the same thing."
Abby put down her pen and stood up. "Come on, where are we going?" She grabbed her wand and personal can of pepper spray her father had given her a long time ago. "Do I need a jacket?" They shook their heads and headed off, sneaking out toward the ring of mountains around the valley. They knew there were caves. They had seen plenty of them.
Draco looked outside and sighed. "Someone keep an ear on the girls," he called to the others. "They're exploring and bored."
Don snickered. "You know some of those lessons are dry at first."
"Yes but they still have to go through them, don't they?" Draco shot back. He walked off shaking his head. A few of the caves had traps that only Alex could get them out of.
Alex walked into the cavern the next morning, looking at the girls in the tiny cage. "Morning," he said cheerfully, smirking a bit. "I see you do have the basics of why people become cursebreakers."
"Ingenuity?" TM asked patiently.
"Curiosity and nosiness." He flicked his wand at the cage, making it let them go. He looked at the girls. "Since you wanted to explore we can do the long nagged for inventory of all the things out here." He grinned. "Don't worry, there'll still be stuff left to do when you three have graduated college, but it's gotta be done. Justinius has to be after something out here."
"There's not that much in here," MJ said. "Or do you have others?"
He smirked at her. "Cursebreakers always horde something. Some like gold. I like books. Plus I didn't trust half of this with the goblins or going back into the world. Not all of it's harmful but half the stuff in here could've eaten or possessed you. This stuff comes when you can sense and tell what sort of spells are on something, girls. Not even Ron started out here." They nodded. "Now, if you're bored, I can let you three over to the manor house and you can help with the farm and kitchen stuff over there, or the unicorns." They gaped so he grinned and took them over there, making his aunts all gasp in horror. "You never showed up," he told them. "By the way, I kicked Justy's ass again. He wanted the castle." He led them out back, pointing. "Look, unicorns."
MJ squealed and went pelting down there, stopping a bit away to stare. "Can we take pictures, Alex?"
"Yup." He handed her the special wizarding camera. "There you go. Only share with people who know, MJ." He smiled at TM. "You can pet them." He clucked his tongue and a young one came trotting up. Even when he couldn't touch them they all liked him. "Hello, dear." He squatted down and the girls sat down to pet the baby with him, making him a happy, spoiled foal until his mother came looking for him. She nudged MJ and got another squeal then petted herself, making her a tolerant mother unicorn. Alex grinned at Abby. "Now, if you find one of these where your dad is, you know what to do."
"Is it true about the myths?" she asked quietly. He nodded. She bit her lip. "Really?"
"Really. By the way, when you get to that point, there's girls around to ask or you can come to me. Okay?" She nodded, relaxing at that. "For now, enjoy being eleven, Abby. Like the song says, older years come on quicker than you think sometimes." She went back to petting the unicorn. "You three give love. I'll be with the aunts." He walked back into the kitchen. "So, what did Justy want?"
"Control of everything," one of his aunts told him. "You think he did this?"
"I'm thinking he might've been behind it, yes. He showed up three days later and didn't look all that surprised that I'm eleven on my next birthday." He grinned. "Fortunately we have dispensation so we don't have to go to Hogwarts again."
"Thank Merlin," that aunt said, looking up and saying a prayer to his wisdom. She looked at him again. "What's with the girls?"
"The twins' grandfather is Daniel Jackson, the guy who came over about that book in Thinial?" They all nodded at that. "The other is Abby, her father's on the same project. We knew, wouldn't ask questions like Canada did. But they're techno babies and Hogwarts doesn't even have electricity." They all winced. "Since two of the three are natural cursebreakers I've agreed to teach them everything. It can only help them if they go back." That got a few smiles. "Dawn's taken them shopping. Probably given them all lectures about the local society being a bit uptight. Last night they were bored so they snuck off. Got caught in one of the traps in the caverns. They'll get to help with the inventory. Oh, if any of you hear from Justy, remind him I've still got the taser, I've learned deadlier spells since the last time he saw me, and yes, I am that mean." He grinned sweetly. "Plus the Ministry said we're functionally able adults in smaller bodies. He can't get me that way either because I don't need a guardian." He strolled back out, looking at them. "Now, in relation to your creatures lessons, where do they fall?" he asked, sitting down again.
"Equine, nature based, native to this plane, rare everywhere but here evidently," Abby said.
"Gentle, with restrictions, and intelligent," MJ added.
TM pouted. "Magical abilities?"
Alex nodded. "Magical abilities too. The horn can do some damage and if it stabs you, you won't be healing that wound. Even with all this deaging I still carry scars from where one of the stallions bit me because I was protecting a new foal that wasn't born his." They stared at him. "They're intelligent but they still live in the herd structure. The current herd stallion has all the new kids or else he'll try to kill them. I protected one from him." He pointed. "That's the current herd stallion and his second in command. I protected the second-in-command." He smiled at them. "They're also not eternal. They do live an awfully long time but they're not eternal."
"How old?" TM asked.
"The herd stallion's about eighty last I knew. Most horses live to be about twenty. A bit less if they're in the wild." They nodded and went back to their petting. "Anytime you three get bored, you can come help the aunts groom them. You can come do some of the farm stuff. It's good training if you have to survive sometimes. They also garden so if you're stuck in herbology and we can't help, ask them." That got some smiles. "We ready?" They nodded. "Okay. Sorry, guys, have to take them back to the castle." The foal nudged Abby, getting a cuddle. He bleated at her and she smiled, petting his nose. "Not near the horn. You have to be pure of even mean impulses to touch the horn," he said quietly. She nodded, avoiding that area. "Go get the aunts to help, guys." They trotted that way and he helped the girls up, walking them inside. "Where's the hair gathering cloth?" One of the aunts handed it over. "We collect the shed hairs," he told them, letting them wipe their hands off. The cloth would collect and bundle the hairs. "Ron's sister Ginny used to help us with them all the time." He walked them back outside, doing the camp moving spell. They all squealed at that. He smirked a bit as he walked off. "That's a senior level study."
"Wow," Abby said, looking at the twins. "That could be very helpful." They nodded. "So apparently we have to study a lot."
They ran back to their room to get back to their homework. The twins would call their grandfather later so he wouldn't worry too much.
A few months later Abby woke up with a scream, sweating. She panted, gulping air, looking around. She got up and grabbed her bathrobe and slippers, heading down to the library, activating the mirror. Dawn had told them how to do it a few weeks back once they got to that level of spells. "Dad." He woke up, the mirror was carried around with him, he had promised he moved it each night he went back to his rooms. "Daddy!" she said more loudly. He sat up, glaring at her. "I know it's well before the butt crack of dawn there, but I had one of those dreams. Like with the Genii the last time, Dad. I need you to get off Atlantis."
"Why?" he asked, sounding very tired. "What sort of dream?"
"The type where I saw you dying, Dad. Please!" she begged.
"I'm not going to die, dear."
"You are! I know you are!"
Dawn walked in, giving her a hug. She ran the checking spell over her. "This wasn't a normal nightmare. Her blood sugar's tanked," she said quietly. "I think you should probably listen to this one." She looked down at Abby. "Have you had precognitive dreams before?"
She nodded, swallowing too. "Once. I saw one of the peoples who want to kill us invade. I was right too. They came a few days later." She looked at her father. "Please, Dad? Pretty please?"
"I need you too!" she said loudly, standing up. "If you get shot and killed I have to take your place, Dad! I'm not ready for that yet!"
"You've wanted to see where she's learning and some of her books," Dawn reminded him calmly. "It'd be a good time and it'd help her. Tell him everything that you saw happening, Abby. It can only help."
She swallowed and nodded, looking at her father, feeling miserable. "The blue light from one of the machines brought a problem. It brought a native with poisons. You were shot with a dart because he killed all the people who took him from his God. He was a priest and you accidentally transported him. You and the others all died before they could get him sedated and sent home. It was the green machine with the red knobs and the big, blue dial in center. You thought it was some sort of scanning device from one of the ships."
He nodded once. "I know what you're talking about. It was found earlier."
"Well don't touch it!"
"I won't touch it," he promised. "I'll make notes on what you think it could be. How often have you had these?"
"This is the second one." She slumped, sitting down again. "I can't lose you yet, Dad."
"I know, Abigail. We'll work it out and I'll be down there soon." She nodded, letting Dawn close the connection. He got up and put on clothes, heading to the lab. He put a large 'do not touch' sign on it and made note underneath about what they thought it could do. He'd have to carefully test around that to see if the function she thought it had was right without activating it fully. Then he went to talk to John. He clearly woke him up since he came to his door in boxers and dogtags, and nothing else. "They're teaching her to listen to her odd dreams."
"Why?" he asked, sounding hoarse from snoring.
"She just called up begging me to come for a visit because otherwise one of the new machines that got found would get me killed."
John let him into his room, looking at him. "She was panicking about the Genii the day they invaded last time."
"She said she dreamed it then too." He grimaced. "I need to check that machine, see if she was right about the function it served. She was frantic and that Dawn girl did come to hold her for me."
"Then we'll go down for a vacation," John told him. Rodney gave him an odd look. "There's no way I'm letting you go into an odd situation like that without backup, McKay. You might get taken by a dragon or something."
"Well, I am a precious resource," he said dryly. "Fine, you can come as well."
"Thanks. Now hit your bunk. It's late."
"I know." He walked off, thinking hard. He almost went back to the lab but he knew he'd do something stupid with as tired as he was. Then he'd have something else to fix around this place. He swore Atlantis broke itself just to make him fix something everyday.
Dawn looked at Alex over breakfast. "Abby had a prophetic dream." He grunted. She gave him a look. "Not awake yet?"
"I can't wake up without sex anymore," he muttered. He looked at her. "She call whoever?" She nodded. "She okay?"
"Her blood sugar tanked so I gave her some of your treats, then we talked for awhile before I put her back in bed."
"I'll let them have a few extra hours this afternoon. Draco's running potions this morning." She nodded at that, smiling a bit. "Anything else happen?"
"She convinced her father to come down for a visit."
"I'll make sure we have guest rooms ready. He's a bit paranoid and he'll probably bring someone to help him in case he wants to snatch her home." She nodded at that. "Have you had problems with the house elves?"
"Yup, they decided I'm a child so therefore I can't do what I'd normally do."
"Damn I miss Me. She was a good head of house elf." He sipped, looking at his current one, motioning her closer. She shook her head so he grabbed an ear and pulled her closer. "Just because we are physically this age does not mean we are not fully our old selves mentally. I have all my memories. I will not tolerate such problems as we've all had with you thinking we're stupid little kids. The only little kids in the castle are the three new students. Am I clear?"
"No, I'm still Alexander. I still run this house and you will listen to me or you're being sent off." She shook her head. "Fine." He took off his shirt and handed it to her, making her wail. "Am I clear now?" She screamed and wailed until Dawn got one of the aunts over to take her off. He glared at the aunt. "They decided we're boys and girls, we don't have sense."
"I'll see if any of the others can be a good house elf caretaker, Alex. Do have more tea, dear."
"She tried to keep me from my broom!"
She sighed. "We'll figure it out, dear." She walked the house elf through the floo with the thought that maybe they could help them instead.
Alex looked around at the silent house elves. "The others who have that thought should probably head to the manor house too." They mostly left. He was left with a few loyal house elves. He looked at Dawn, who grimaced. "Take Mac, Horatio, and Tony, go get a few more," he said quietly. "You'll have to unlock the household account vault. She locked the door so I couldn't pay bills. I got frustrated and left it."
She nodded, getting up to get them up. All three were outside. "Guys, Alex just sent most of the house elves back to the manor house for their stunts." Tony whimpered, shaking his head slowly. She nodded. "We've got three right now. We need a few more. He said to go find some."
"Sure," Mac agreed. "Too bad the others ones in the family are gone or we'd be able to use them and only pick up a few."
Horatio and Tony both gave him bad looks. "Mac, the house elf shelter is a very pitiful place. I nearly came home with one last time. Gibbs nearly came home with one last time."
Mac grinned. "That's fine. I was a bit of an angst hound at this age the last time. How do the real kids put it, emo?" That got a sigh from Tony, and him going to help Dawn open the door to the vault. Then they went together. The castle usually had about ten elves. Mac smiled at the human at the house elf shelter. "We're here for Alex Dumass and the castle."
"We had a small revolt," Dawn agreed. "They decided our deaged selves were normal children." The keeper hissed. She nodded. "Exactly. We have no caretaker, head house elf sort. We have *three* left and they're all pretty ancient elves."
"Caretaker or inside elves?" she asked.
"Yes," Dawn said with a small grin. "And one that can do the horses. She fled too."
"Okay." She led them off, watching as the two boys nearly melted at the few pitiful looks they were getting. "It's been a good year to get them adopted. We're not as full as we usually are."
Dawn smiled. "That's fine. Guys, I'm Dawn Weasley. I live at Castle Dumass. We need house elves that won't see us as children just because someone deaged us. We're still full adults only in shrunken bodies." They all gaped. "We need inside and outside house elves. You won't be helping do much with the artifacts. Now and then you'll get to move some of them around to help one of the cursebreakers. We also have three students at the moment, all nice girls. We lost eight this morning to the thought we were still children. We'd like ones that cooked very well for the inside ones. There's a lot of large appetites and since we're all teenagers, the boys will have to go through the bottomless pit stage soon." The six in the room came over to talk to them more about the duties. She summoned one of the remaining house elves, letting them babble at him. "Any head of house elves?"
"Those are usually promoted."
She nodded. "Our three can't plan things. Our last good one got sick about ten years ago. We all miss Me. The one that got clothes this morning was about the only choice but a bad one."
She nodded. "I can see how that happens. He gave them clothes?"
"They locked the vault so he couldn't pay bills because he's just a boy. Locked his broom, locked him out of the library," she said, earning a groan. "Yeah, we had enough of that yesterday. He gave one clothes, and the rest fled when he made himself clear."
"What about among the family?"
"I don't think there is one. The aunts have one for the manor house. I don't think any of the others are qualified."
"Let me make a call." She went to do that. She knew of an older family that just gambled away an estate. House elves weren't usually part of that arrangement. Within a few calls she had the house elves there for interviewing.
Dawn looked at the solemn looking one. "Head of house elf?" He nodded once. "We live at the Castle Dumass." He smiled at that, looking a bit evil really. "Someone threw something through the floo that deaged us all. The old house elves couldn't get past our ages. Our head of house elf got clothes this morning because she wouldn't let Alex pay bills or things."
The house elf nodded. "Masters is masters or mistresses no matter what the age."
"Where did you serve?" Horatio asked.
"Hmm." She nodded. "I've heard of them. You'd be over the castle and only the castle." That got a nod. "We have students and friends in all the time. There's a lot of us. All teenagers again."
"Masters are masters or mistresses no matter what their age," he said again. She smiled and patted him, nodding that she'd take him. Two more of his staff came with him and they left with five of the other ones there. One decided she didn't want to live somewhere that chilly so Dawn suggested she look down in South America. The helper human set her down to call down there to see if they had any openings. Dawn paid the fees, filled out the few forms, and then took them home. "Alex." He came out of his study. "This is the former head of house elf from the Family DeGuire."
"I heard he gambled his house away. You mind cursebreakers?" The house elf shook his head. "Good. Let's go over the family's schedule. The rest of you get acquainted with the castle and the grounds." They nodded and did that. He smiled. "I have one house elf assigned to the students. They eat with us but that way they have someone to help them if they need it." That got a nod and Alex pulled out the usual house schedule, letting him see it. "The library and any other work areas must always be cleaned. Anything with shields up you're not to go into. Anything that's an artifact, if it's not sealed down, ask before you touch it the first time." That got a nod. "That was drawn up by my original one, Me. I miss her. She was a good house elf to us. This last one was a compromise between me and my aunts." He called over there. "Dawn went to the house elf shelter."
"That's fine. Did she find a good manager?"
"The Family DeGuire just gambled theirs away." He pointed with a smile. "He's their former one."
"That's excellent. We don't have one here and yours can back ours up splendidly. Plus it means we won't have to go there ourselves this year. Do you have enough?"
"We should." He grinned. "Justy?"
"Tried to get the Wizengomet to say you needed a guardian and custodian. The family's attorneys ripped him a new one and brought in witnesses saying you still had your full mental faculties. They told Justy to go back to the Netherlands." She beamed and he smirked back. "You know, he'll probably die in a few years."
He nodded. "The next time he comes here." She nodded at that. "Thanks, Aunt Flo." He hung up. "She's the head aunt at the manor for the household stuff."
The house elf nodded. "Tombstone will do that."
"Tombstone?" he asked with a small smile.
"Was a nanny and guard elf. Charge named Tombstone. Master can change."
"No, if you like it, it can stay," Alex said with a small smile. "Come on, let's show you around." He walked him around, giving him the same tour he had the girls, only pointing out who lived in what room. Then the kitchen. The house elf looked around and nodded. "We've done a bit of subtle updating without destroying the old kitchen." He looked down at him. "Classes start at ten with the girls. Lunch comes around one or two. Dinner at seven most nights. You might have to run two shifts."
"Tombstone can deal with that and bottomless pit boys." He made shooing motions. "Go." Alex left, leaving him to marshal his troops. He talked with the old ones, letting them show him where everything was for them to use, including clothes to borrow when they needed to change. He was a generous master and the house clearly needed to run better. He sent the three old ones to handle the library duties. They were nearly ancient and couldn't do much more than that. He found the recipe books and smiled at them. Simple, good food it appeared. They got to work on lunch, having a good sized spread by the time they trooped in from classes. Not much went to waste with the boys being that age and leftovers were for later on anyway.
Abby stayed behind to look at them. "Can we have something with chocolate for dinner?" she asked quietly. "All three of us girls miss having some chocolate around to nibble on now and then." The house elves smiled and nodded, shooing her off to classes. They could do that. Tombstone sent one elf out with a long shopping list but that's what they were for.
Alex appeared in front of the Wizengomet a few days later. "You yelped my way?" he asked.
"Mr. Dumass, how are you feeling?"
"Were we a bit of a sulky boy?" one teased.
Alex looked at him. "Not really. Or an overly emotional one. A bit angsty now and then the second time around but who could blame me really." He looked at them then at his brother, who was also there. "Let me guess, he still thinks I need a keeper?" They all nodded. "Hmm." He looked at his brother. "Did it look like I had lost any of my skills?"
"You fired most of your staff."
"I know I did. One of them decided I was just a boy so I couldn't do bills or fly." A few of them shuddered at his perfectly reasonable tone of voice. They knew Alex's temper, they knew it was high. A cursebreaker in a high temper inside a building often left things destroyed down to the bedrock or water table. Then they huffed off like it had affronted them. "I gave her clothes and sent her back to the manor house. The others fled when they heard why. I'm still me, Justy. The same as I was last time."
"Last time you married a boy," he sneered.
"I'm still married to Draco, Justy. Even if we're both too young to have sex yet." He stepped closer. "I'm sure you know that it's not going to be a good time for a while until I can again. Not like I forgot those memories or urges either."
Justinius swallowed. "I still say you're a little boy. You need a keeper."
"Really? Yet I kicked your ass when you tried to claim the castle. You're not even an heir in the family, Justinius Mandrake. You have no claim on anything in the family."
"I was claiming it for Mel."
"She can't stand the castle and the castle won't let her reside there. The powers underneath it drive her insane. She's been committed before. She's committed now if I heard right." Justinius growled. "I'm sorry but I don't consider Mel to be a fit heir either. After all, not like she does anything else with the family. It's clear why she went to live with you."
"What's wrong, jealous?"
"Hell no. I had everything the way I wanted it and needed it before you had someone toss that through the floo." His brother's glare said he didn't do it. "Really? Then who did if you didn't?"
"I haven't found out yet."
"Tell me when you do so I can torture them."
"What would you know of that subject?"
Alex smirked. "You forget, Justy. I grew up with you. I know what torture is. You taught me very well and then Sunnydale taught me even more." Justinus pulled a wand and Alex thumped him physically then pulled his own wand, pointing it at him. "The taser wasn't enough of a reason to stop this petty attempt at power grabbing? Pity." He opened his mouth.
"Do not cast a curse," one of the court's members ordered.
Alex looked at them. "Why not? It's a threat to my family. This isn't his first try. His first try he showed up at the castle. This is his fourth or fifth try. I'm tired of him trying."
"He's your older brother," another one said.
"Who tried to have me killed multiple times," he said patiently. "Including by attempting to sacrifice me to a higher demon when he was eleven." They all gaped. "No, it wasn't Mel. It was me and the newborn unicorn I was bottle raising. He had stabbed the mother and child with the sacrificial dagger. They saved the mother and the baby but the mother rejected the foal and I had him to hand-raise him. Justinius killed him and nearly me that night. That's why my parents kicked him out. You can ask my mother if you want."
"You brought her painting?" the second member of the court asked.
"No, she's still in Vengeance." He looked up. "Mom?" She appeared. "Hi, Mom."
"Alex, love." She kissed him on the head.
"You summon demons too?" Justinius sneered.
Alex kicked him in the head, making him pass out. "Only this one. After all, I used to hunt demons, dear brother of mine," he said dryly. "He tried to take the castle again."
"He's not an heir. He has no right to anything in the family. Neither does my daughter Melanorma." She looked at the court, morphing back into her human look. "During a fight between myself and my husband the Vengeance Higher offered me a job. I'm over Women Hurt By Men." That got a few nods. She grinned. "Alex, we still have no idea who stole it."
"Then we'll go look, Mom. Tell me where it was. Not like I can't bring Mac and Don with me."
"Good point. That would give us an idea of who we're going to punish."
"Me first," he said dryly, staring at her. "Then the rest of the Banes, and then you guys."
"Yes, dear." She kissed him on the head again. "I do miss having you being so adorable."
"Mother!" he complained. A few of the judges laughed at that. "She did it to me when I was sixty too," he said dryly. He looked at her. Then at them. "They need to know that I still have full adult memories and such, Mom."
"He does. Otherwise he'd have used a minor child's hex. As is, he was going to separate his atoms this time. You did learn some very mean things while you were a cursebreaker, dear."
"I know but yay. I learned a lot of good things too." He looked at them. "Even if he could hold the castle against me he still can't get into the storage areas. He'd never get the artifacts to use or horde. The castle has *always* been my house. Since I was eleven and I moved up there most of the time. That's how I avoided the first strain of the plague that took most of the family." They nodded. "As for my memories," he said, looking at one female member of the board. "December 13th, 1964." She blushed and coughed, nodding. He looked at the others. "Unfortunately I can't pull up memories like that of any of you. I don't remember most of them by date anymore. Draco made me forget," he said with a cheeky grin. They all snickered at that. "Now, are there any other challenges to what the Minister for Magic let us do in our own defense?"
"Are you working?"
"He said we had to be official adults to officially work. As a cursebreaker, if I find a tomb I want to look at, I'll bloody well go look at it," he said dryly. "Me and my apprentices. The students we have right now can learn from the others."
That got a few nods and they conferred. "We believe you are still the adult Alexander Dumass, only in a shrunken body," one announced. "With full mental skills of an adult. You have no need of an adult to be put in charge of you."
"Now, with all due respect, please do not bring demons into the Ministry again," another finished.
"Sorry," Alex said with a small shrug. "Not like Justinius doesn't have hundreds stuffed in his cloak." He walked out with his mother, looking at her. "So, mum. Where's this tomb and catacomb?"
She whispered in his ear, then patted down his hair. "Be a good boy and remember to be cautious, dear. You're pure again," she said quietly, heading off.
"Like I need reminded of that," he complained. "I was playing with the baby unicorns again." He went to the bank to look up that area, see who had done anything near it. A few of the goblins gave him horrified looks. "I've got to go to where the artifact was so we can see if there's a counter or anything." He looked at his handler. "Gruinth."
"Alex." He looked him over. "You can't go like that."
"I'm going to look at the catacomb where the artifact was. That and the map Don got for me," he said with a cheeky grin. "Then maybe I'll play quidditch this life." He found the books he needed and sat down in the guest chair to look it over. "I see Hal and Arens were there once."
"Arens found the catacomb but couldn't get it open. Hal nearly died getting there. You're still too young to work."
"Oh, this isn't work, it's personal," Alex assured him dryly. "Like he cleanout of Sunnydale was." He turned the page, going to the other mention. "Hmm. Someone was there. Bill's apprentice." He showed him. "What did he bring back?"
"I'll check. Wait in here." He went to do that, coming back with the list of what he had reported. He handed it over. "Nothing harmful."
Alex looked it over, then nodded slowly. "That's the artifact," he said, pointing at an entry. His mother appeared behind him to look. "Bill's apprentice."
"Oh, dear." She disappeared. They'd have to work fast if they wanted the boy alive. Alex was going to kill him.
Alex looked up. "I'll still kill him, mum. That's what time turners are for." He looked at the goblin again. "Any idea why it was sent through to us?"
"I'm sure one of you will find out. Tell us when you do. Until then, no working."
Alex grinned a cheeky, evil grin. "Does that mean I can't do what Draco wants and do an inventory?"
"No, that we want, Alex. You horde more than your fair share." He smirked at him. "Now go. The accounts are all settled and as they were. You're set to regrow up again."
"I had to get new house elves this morning because the old ones didn't want to listen. We kept three and got nine." He stood up. "Thanks, Gruinth." He headed home through the floo, waving at the others when he came out the other side. He turned and activated the floo to call him. "Hi, Petry." He yanked him through and walked him up to the house. The nature of the magic around the house meant that only his mother could get in here unless she called them. She wasn't going to be calling an army to get this one free. "Bill, he's the one who retrieved the little ball." Bill looked over and glared.
"We needed more greatness! The next generation wasn't going to be! We have no one who can find anything but mundane tombs!" he wailed, seeing Bill's face. He knew Bill was going to beat him to death. Alex too.
"Oh, I get one or two good hits too," Ron assured him, taking custody of him. The cursebreakers got him first and then the rest of the family.
The three girls looked at each other then shrugged and went back to flying practice for now. They needed to settle with this guy and they all knew what revenge was. The guy deserved it. They'd be mad too if someone had taken them down to eleven from a much older, adult age.
Rodney McKay and John Sheppard stepped out of the transport rings, looking around the gate room. "You'd think that some day they'd paint a big 'welcome to earth' sign or something," John joked.
"Don't tempt them," Rodney complained. Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neill both walked in, the younger being a clone because the original General had died a few years back. "The daughter was having prophetic dreams," he said quietly. "She ordered me to get away from Atlantis before I died."
Daniel nodded. "That's fine. I've got a portkey for you both in my office, guys." He smiled and shook John's hand. "On vacation?"
"Yeah, I wasn't sure if he'd need backup or not. We nearly brought Teyla but she and the auror we have up there don't get along that well. Her people can sense them."
"Which is why she's always been wary of Abigail probably," Rodney admitted. "Can we?"
"Sure. Want some coffee first? You're more likely to find tea over there."
"Please," John agreed, following them out. "So, how's things been?"
"Good. A few new allies. No new invasions. You guys?"
"Decent enough," Rodney admitted. "Why do you look older than we do?"
"Time is relative to the sun you're going around," Daniel reminded him. "Plus that little cave thing you guys ran over that one trip."
"Oh. True. Our year is longer." He shook his head and they made a stop for lunch then went to the office. He knew it was very early in Scotland. "Have you heard from the twins today?"
"Yesterday. They're doing fine with their studies."
"They said we should go over and watch the next pick-up game," Jack said, smirking some. "Apparently they all like quidditch." He handed over coffee and sat down. "I've met Alex a few times when he came to handle artifacts that were dangerous. He's a nice guy. A bit goofy, but a nice guy."
"Who's now eleven," John reminded him. "He's having 'my baby's within dating range' thoughts."
"Ah. Well, Alex is happily married and bound to his consort veela mate Draco. Even if they're too young I doubt that's going to change anytime soon." That got a small smile from John. "But it doesn't make you feel better, does it?"
"No. Frankly I'm quite worried about their curriculum. Magical math is sounding a bit like a wrong-thinking math to me."
"You can see later on," Daniel said, activating the mirror. He smiled at the sleepy, reading person on the other side. "Don?" Don's head popped up. "Abby's parents are here with us."
"Send them to the manor with the portkey and then we'll pick 'em up in a few hours. Alex and the girls aren't up yet. Classes don't start until ten." He turned off the mirror and went back to his reading.
"Ten?" Rodney asked.
"They've got a pretty loose class schedule," Daniel told them. "Not that they haven't gotten through the first six months of lessons in everything but Potions already but they're doing fine."
"Why not Potions?"
"Draco's been having some problems in the lab. A few of the group have been sick with childhood diseases and things. One of them had a good case of chicken pox last week. He's been taking care of that instead." That got a single nod. "They're not behind in there. They're on target with the others. There's a few others there who can teach basic Potions but Draco's a master in his own right so he can teach the higher ones."
"I see." Rodney grimaced. "I'd rather head over now."
"Sure." He found the portkey and handed it over. "Get up, otherwise the chairs will go with you and I'll have to fill out requisition forms." They stood in a clear spot, bags in hand, touching the portkey. Jack set it off with a flip of the key on it and they left. Daniel looked at Jack. "Think they'll like Alex?"
"I think McKay is going to be driven nuts by Alex and his ways. Sheppard might fit in well though." He shrugged. "How did his daughter become a witch?"
"I'm thinking it was something Loki did." He shrugged. "How did my grandkids?"
"That artifact they touched turned it on," he reminded him.
"Oh yeah. You know, I should probably email Blair soon. I'm sure he was messed up in that." Jack smirked, walking off shaking his head. Sandburg had to be there. The same as if Daniel had been there, he knew he would've been ten years old again too. It was how they were.
Alex looked up as the two men appeared in the kitchen with a house elf. "Hi. Tea?" He held up the pot. "Tea?" More tea was made and brought over, including cups. "Sit. Girls not up yet."
"Too early for you?" John teased, sitting down and taking some tea.
Alex grunted and nodded. "Yup."
"You look familiar," Rodney said, staring at him.
Alex looked at him. "The last time this happened to me I had to regrow up in Sunnydale. I helped take down the Initiative."
"Ah, that's where I saw your dossier. From that group of idiots." He sat down. "The girls aren't up yet?"
"Trembly?" he called. "Girls up yet?"
"Showering, Master Alex sir," he reported cheerfully. "Trembly will tell girls fathers are here." He went to do that.
Alex smiled, sipping his tea. "Dig in. It's breakfast here. Lunch isn't until one." Don bounced in and put a book in front of him, letting him look where he pointed. "That would be a cool spot to find," he agreed, grinning at him. "Has anyone else?"
"It's on the mythical list." He beamed at the new guys. "Hey." He looked at Alex. "So can we?"
"If we can find a more concrete mention."
"Thanks." He went to do that.
"I'd like to look at this arithmancy stuff," Rodney said firmly.
Alex looked at him then shrugged. "Okay. The library's up the hall, to the right. The girls can show you later." The three girls all ran in and John got hugs. He was generally well liked by everyone. Abby squeezed her father tight enough to make him have trouble breathing. "Easy on him, girls. They can stay for a while." He finished his tea and breakfast, getting up. "Classes start in an hour. You have what this morning?"
"Draco said double potions then flying," Abby told him, smiling at her father. "It's like chemistry only with biological ingredients." She gave him another hug. "I missed you. This is the first time I've been away from home." She sat down and dug in. "Thank you."
"Missus is welcome," Tombstone assured her, adding more food to the table. "Master Draco sir is not up yet, Master Alex sir."
"I'll get him up," he promised, leaving the girls to talk to their relatives.
"We get an hour for lunch so we can show you around then," Abby promised, taking her father's hand to hold. "I have missed you. No one's that grumpy around here. Not even Professor Methos when he showed up." That got a snicker from TM. "He wasn't."
"No, no one's as grumpy as your dad," she agreed. She smiled at John. Then pointed at the house elves. "They were made by the Elders."
"Wow." He looked at the nearest one. "Has anyone talked to you guys about what you remember?"
"What one house elf knows all know eventually," he assured him. "There is time."
"Can we get one of you to Atlantis?" Abby asked.
Tombstone looked at her. "Under water?"
"No, we've raised it," Rodney said. "It's in the other location."
Tombstone shrugged. "Would have to pick carefully. Dogmen's ring scares most house elfs. Dogmen were bad and evil when they came to snatch our masters. That's why we created by Elders. So they know when Dogmen come." He went back to his duties. The two adults were gaping.
MJ giggled at that. "Also, we've found some mentions in the library, Uncle Rodney. There's a whole section of Knowledge of the Ancients."
"We don't know," Abby admitted. "We can't get into it until we've passed our second year classes. Some of it's highly theoretical and some of it's actually now forbidden for the normal person to have. Fortunately Alex isn't quite the normal person. He told us when he finds books or scrolls in tombs he has them copied in their original language and then a copy made that's translated into English." That got a gape. "We have *three* huge libraries here and the one at the manor if we need to go there. Plus we can use the school's but it's not got much in the way of stuff we did with you guys."
John nodded. "We'll have to look at that. After we hang out with you three for awhile." They all beamed and ate breakfast, then drug them to their classes. Their bags disappeared but that was fine. Rodney got coffee whenever he wanted. Sugar too. They apparently knew about coffee drinkers with caffeine habits. Potions was boring to him but Rodney was going over why things happened with Draco in great detail. Down to the chemical reactions and why this one worked on muggles and that one didn't. Abby proved it because one of her first ones was a healing potion that would work on muggles too. She stabbed both their fingers to show him, making him get a bit loud but he was like that, even after it healed. Then they went outside to fly. John watched, gaping at how good they were. "I want to try that."
Danny looked over at him and grinned. "You know, Alex might've made brooms that'll work on normal people. Not real sure. Alex?" He came down and looked at them. "Brooms that'll work with the Colonel since he's a pilot?"
"Second closet." He summoned it and growled when it wouldn't come. He broke the lock spells the house elves used and summoned one then his usual broom instead of the borrowed one, handing that one back. He dropped the first one next to John. "Say up."
He held out a hand. "Up." It flew into it, earning a smile. "Now what?"
"Mount, grip with your knees." He did that. "Now, hover. Push off gently." He did that and smirked. "Now, you *turn* you do not *shift*. Or else you roll. Think motorcycle, not joystick." He floated up and John followed, getting into it pretty quickly. Even though he did roll a few times. The girls laughed at it and he tossed him the quaffle. "There you go. Let's play a bit of a chasing game, girls." They chased John and John passed off to one, letting them chase her for a bit. It was a good skill building exercise.
"Great, now he'll be wanting to bring one home," Rodney muttered, walking off to sit in some shade. He didn't need a sunburn; even with the weak sun up here it was possible. His daughter did look good however. Very poised. Very careful. "Must get that from her mother. I think I'd rather have my feet firmly on some ground than over a tiny broomstick," he told himself. A few others raced up there and one of them stole the quaffle with a laugh. MJ scowled and chased after him and the game got faster and harder. The new ones were clearly the former adults and had experience. He winced when his daughter wobbled but she corrected and managed to steal it back. He smiled. "We are a sneaky family."
Harry sat next to him. "Don't worry. There's enough of them out there that could catch her even if she does fall. She hasn't yet though. I did by then and I'm an excellent flier." He looked at him. "Hi, Harry Potter."
"We've met. Doctor Rodney McKay."
"She told us. She brags about you." He preened at that. Harry figured that he was a lot like an earlier Draco at times so he went back to watching, shaking his head. "The light brunette is Tony DiNozzo. He's Alex's son. They found out when Tony was thirty- something. The dark-haired one is Speed. They and Danny," he said, pointing at him, "have been friends since their first bout of school. They used to be CSI types."
"I know Tony was a Fed from NCIS when we met him. Danny and Speed were both CSIs with their labs. One in New York and one in Miami." He smiled and pointed. "That's Horatio Caine. He's Speed's lover. Eric's around here somewhere too. The one with Horatio is Stella, she's from the same lab Danny was in and one of his."
"Are all wizards this promiscuous?" he demanded.
Harry laughed. "No. Alex was until he married Draco. I have my Abby. We'll be celebrating our thirty-third wedding anniversary this year." He gave him a gentle smile. "It's only those three really. You'll find the British wizards are very Victorian, even to this day. Still wear a lot of the clothes too. The American ones can be a bit less uptight, even if they were trained over here. Danny, Speed, and Tony trained in New York. Horatio too. Mac trained in Chicago. Stella and Don Flack got missed so Alex trained them with the rest of the group." Everyone landed, laughing and happy. "There she is. Go get her, take her to lunch then on a tour." He nodded, getting up and dusting off so he could do that. Harry shook his head. Mac sat down next to him. "He's a lot like a younger Draco. Back when he was all Malfoy. Only no pureblood rants."
"I'll remember that." He clapped him on the back. "When's the pick-up game?"
"Tomorrow afternoon." He smirked at him. "We might win this time."
"Doubt it," Alex called with a wicked smirk. He looked at his students. "We're having a pick-up game tomorrow afternoon." They all beamed at that. "Okay, lunch, do whatever this afternoon. Greg will be back tonight so you can show him whatever homework he assigned." They ran inside, taking the adults with them. He walked over to where Tony and Speed were chatting. "Harry thinks they might win tomorrow."
They both burst out in evil cackles. "I'm sure they'd like that," Speed said evilly, smirking at Tony. "We should go over plots and plans."
"We should, soulmate o'mine." He walked him inside talking about strategy during a game. Speed was still a bit wobbly on his broom but everyone else on their team was back up to par. Speed needed to finish healing his ear infection then he'd be perfect again.
Abby looked at her uncle and father. "Ignore them. They get into evil quidditch talks now and then." She took their arms, going to get them lunch to go so she could walk around with them. Including showing them the entrance to one of the caves. "We snuck in there when we were bored once. The anti-theft charms got us. We spent all night in a cage hanging above a few pinching statues." She smiled at her uncle. "Alex is very cool. Dawn's very hip. We're learning a lot more than the other kids are." She led them back to the libraries last, coming in through the cursebreaker's one. "This is the work library for the cursebreakers. Things they'd need in the field, things they'd need to look up, that stuff." She led them on. "This is the secondary library." Her father stared and gaped. She grinned at him. "You use the card catalog, Dad. You put the card on the blue pad and it comes down. When you're done it gets shelved from the carts." She led him into the primary library. "This is the original library. Between the second and third floor is the restricted area. We probably won't be able to get into that at all." She led him over to the card catalog, showing him the drawers. "See, Ancient's Knowledge."
"I wanted to this arithmancy as well," he said, looking distracted as he opened the drawer. She went to get her beginning book for him. He frowned when he found where she was, then looked at her. "That's not correct."
"Alex said it's not the same as muggle math because we have to deal with multi-faceted math. Like multiple planes of thought in the same formula."
Alex walked in and grabbed a book he had used, handing it over. "We use arithmancy for spell creation. That's where it's ultimately heading. I'm sure you've probably seen that one since it came from Oxford's College of Magic." He walked off again, sipping his tea.
He flipped it to the beginning, glaring at it. "This is multi-dimension hopping!"
Abby beamed and nodded. "Yup, it is." He glared at her. "I'm not going to learn that unless I want to but Tony told us that Xander solved a bank heist with everyone here's help because they were slipping time and realms to rob Gringotts." She got him another book. "See, that's the old book. It explains how you add in the other facets, Dad." She got him another book and got it down for him. "Also, here, what MJ and I were looking at. TM is looking at the language stuff. She said they have a language they call Thinial that's an offshoot of Asgard. That's how Alex and Uncle Danny met."
Rodney brought the books over to the table to look them over. Like most textbooks, the old one didn't dumb things down for the students. It went into reasons behind why you were doing things. He could see where they were coming from and why...almost. It was still odd to his muggle mathematical mind. But he could understand it and why those particular formulas were put in. He kept working his way through that book, finding the complexities satisfying for a beginning level. Using that he went back to the advanced book, going into that formula. What he came up with was basically what they had found in one of the Ancient's machines. He looked up. "I need to talk to him."
"He's probably in his study cuddling with his Draco snuggly," TM said from across the table with a small grin. "Even though they're deaged they still say they're married. Even if they can't do anything yet."
"Yes, yes. All good. Which way?"
"Two doors toward the kitchen, same side of the hall," she said. She smiled. "We have Runes after lunch today and then free time. You guys can take Abby and do whatever you want to do."
"Thank you." He got up and headed that way, walking in without knocking. Xander looked over from whispering in Draco's ear, or at least he hoped it was Draco. "This formula," he said, tapping it once it was in front of him. "We have machines that do that. What do your people know about the Ancients who built the stargate?"
"We know about the guys in the dog armor who came down to take us hostage," he said bluntly, grinning a bit. "Some got captured but they managed to free themselves. We know that the house elves were started by someone older than our kind to tell them when the dog armor people came. We know that there's a whole planet of our people somewhere in space but they're isolated so they don't have to deal with another invasion. Tonks said she talked to them. They were fairly nice. My ancestor has a good tomb there, but nothing too flashy. When asked they said they didn't want to come back. They had their own society and it was good for them. They have said they'd talk about it if any of us wanted to join them for safety reasons because she explained how we've hidden ourselves for so long." That got a single nod and the guy was still staring at him. "Earlier than that?" He gave Draco a nudge, getting a sigh of displeasure. "I'll cuddle after Runes. I gave the girls the afternoon off." He walked him back into the library, pulling down a few books. "This is stuff I've found that mentions pre-Atlantean times." He pointed at a section. "That's Atlantean times. Ours, I'm not sure if it's the same as yours. Professor Armwrench wasn't sure either."
Alex grinned. "Over cursebreakers. We're all pledged to Loki when we take our vows." Rodney gave him a horrified look. "Natural cursebreakers all find trouble. We channel that to go on digs like your anthropologists do, Doctor McKay. I've spent decades getting to tombs before your people do so they're safe for you. That protects both our peoples." He pulled down another book. "This one no one could translate. Even the more math oriented people. I'm good at arithmancy and magical math, the higher levels," he said at the confused look. "My focus is on making new spells with it. I can do theoretical things but that's not my area. I've taken it to a few of ours but they couldn't figure it out either. It deals with issues they're not comfortable with. In case you hadn't noticed, a lot of the wizarding world is run by the last of the Victorians at the moment." He pulled down another book. "Here, this is a language book I found about six years ago. I did copy it and send it to Doctor Jackson because I thought it might be some of his. He sent me chocolate, roses, and said he was going to Iran to dig; he'd call if he ran into more magical things." He shrugged and handed it over. "The restricted section has other ones but they're single topic. So let us know what, specifically, you want to see if we have and I'll see if I have it. I have a bigger library than anywhere else in the wizarding world because of what I used to do."
"She said you copied every book you ran into."
Alex nodded with a smug look. "I love library jobs. There's a whole section of scrolls that were stolen from the Alexandria Library by someone and were found in his tomb." He pointed. "Danny spent six months here copying information down. Those are later than that and I've shared whatever I thought he might be able to use since then."
"Thank you. Um... rules?"
"No getting the books dirty. You can eat, drink, whatever, but the books stay here and no getting stuff on them."
That got a smirk. "Fairly normal rules then. Paper?"
"Use a computer. The secondary library and the cursebreaker library both have electric running to them and the cursebreaker library has an actual dataport so I can do my email. It's from when Harry was courting Abby." He shrugged and walked off. "Start there, then come see me if you want more."
"Thank you." He went to the third library since it was quieter, then ran to get his laptop from his bag. He had to get help up to the living quarters but Blair only grinned and let him up there. He had heard of him of course, who hadn't, but it was nice he hadn't said anything. They could have a lot of information his project needed.
His daughter came in an hour later. "Should I go study, Dad?" she asked quietly.
He looked at her. "Give me an hour and we'll go out to dinner?" She beamed and nodded. "Good. Come get me. Be annoying if you have to. This came from Atlantis when it was down here."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Remember, you can read all night, Dad. I have classes tomorrow morning and then the pick-up game tomorrow afternoon."
"Flying is your PE?" he asked.
She beamed and nodded. "Plus stress relief. Think I could bring my broom back home when I come for a visit? No one would say anything, just think it was another Ancient's device."
"I'll ask for you." He kissed her on the cheek. "Give me an hour. Go get pretty." She nodded, going to do that. He went back to his research until John came in an hour later. "It's from Atlantis itself. Alex found it in a tomb."
"Anything we can use?"
"Quite a lot. It's a botanist's journal." He looked at him. "I need to scan this in."
"I'll do it. Go have dinner with your daughter. The books will still be here tomorrow. She'll never be this happy to see you again."
"Good point." He went to change and let someone send them to London. They had a portkey for when they came back and it would be fine.
John looked at the book, then at the computer. "Of course he forgot the scanner." He went to ask Alex. "He wanted to scan a few of the books for our use, do we have one I can borrow?"
Alex pointed at the bag on the couch across from his desk. "That's from Abby. She used to be the techno geek at NCIS, DC." He grinned at him. "They're gone?"
"She's been a bit homesick but she's done good so far."
"We'll try to get her home for the summer vacation."
"Not like I keep a hard schedule, Colonel." He went back to his reading. "Close the door or else the grandkids will pounce me."
"Sure." He went back to hook up the portable scanner and get to work for him. He had no idea how many books they were going to be scanning to send to themselves.
Rodney walked back onto the base in Colorado two weeks later and flopped down in Daniel's guest chair. "I bring home nearly eighty books Alex has found that might be of help to both of us. Would you like a copy of the Ancient's journals he found?" Danny spluttered. "He found a few in a few tombs and he thinks he might have a few more places to look. He's not sure but he said he's not allowed to technically work at the moment. So he can only go cursebreaking for fun and personal profit." He opened his briefcase. "I had to buy an extra removable hard drive but I'll let you copy off them."
"What did we find?"
"Some botanist's journals. A few language texts I'm not sure if you have or not. Some of the higher arithmancy and magical math concepts are what I've been working with, only with the extra magical dimensions. I can strip the formulas of those components and use them. Or possibly not since Alex had one of those singing, glowing balls in his case and it was working when Draco touched it. We think all veelas might be ATA carriers." That got a small moan. "But do copy. I'm not going to be greedy this time." Daniel pulled over his own laptop to hook the hard drives to and copy off them. "There's at least another six thousand books there that we might have to look at to see if they hold something."
"Alex has millions of books," Daniel told him dryly. "I've found mentions of artifacts. I've found mythology. Did you meet Professor Armwrench?"
"I'm sure you will some day soon." He looked up. "Professor!" He appeared, looking displeased. "This is Doctor McKay. His daughter is studying with my grandchildren."
"You can ...do whatever to get in here?" McKay asked.
He looked at him then leaned down. "I'm Loki, boy. I can do whatever I damn well please." Then he smirked. "Did my other self give you the child?" He shuddered and nodded. "Well, he was always a bit odd. Thankfully he made her one of mine." He straightened up. "She'll be learning things that'll help her in her field duties. Alex is very well trained and Mac Taylor is former military. They can get her ready to take part in the project when she comes back."
"I'd like her to go to college."
"You can teach her whatever she needs to know and by the time Alex is done with her she'll be doing Doctorate level work," he said with a small shrug. "She can test out of most of it. We have our arrangements. We'll send her to Oxford to make sure she can come on as a fully accredited member. That way you can protect her." He looked at the copying information then shrugged. "I'm surprised he hasn't wanted to go searching in the underwater areas down here. Bill thought about it once but he didn't want to dive that far down." He looked at McKay again, getting gaped at. "Someone should. It's only rotting down there and giving me a dreadful headache. Not to mention that it keeps waking them up." He disappeared again.
Daniel handed over a new mug of coffee. "Here, you might need that." He went back to copying. "All cursebreakers are pledged to Loki. Then again, Alex took me to a tomb once that had a sleeping God in it and told me I was not allowed back there." He gave him a look. "Cursebreakers get into trouble. The higher they are and the better they are, the more trouble they get into."
"So, Alex is the highest of the high?" Daniel smirked and nodded. "You?"
"Jack and I would've made a fantastic cursebreaking team if we had magic."
"Don't even joke about that!" Jack yelled from up the hall. He came in. "Come back with more books?"
"Including some of their math formulas that are partially what I'm working on," he agreed. "I'm letting him copy off that information. He comes here routinely?"
"No, he likes Jack," Daniel said with a grin. "It's the whole 'his other self made him' thing. He feels like an uncle to him."
"Aww, damn it, he was here?" Daniel nodded. "At least he didn't hit on me this time." He walked off shaking his head. "Sam, McKay brought back information. Danny's copying it." She went to look it over, taking copies for herself. Then she went to hide from Doctor McKay. She didn't like him that much. He used to stare at her and hit on her.
Daniel looked at him. "I'll go over this. If there's anyplace that's a dig or something like that, I'll go personally."
"Are you sure you're able at your age?" he asked.
Danny gave him a smirk. "I'm fine, McKay. Whatever I find that's for you guys I'll send over."
"That'll work for us," Sheppard said from the doorway. "Would it be unethical to kidnap a house elf?"
"They said if we could find one that'd go through the gate we could have one," Danny told him.
"We found one, we have to get permission," Sheppard told him.
"Landry's in the office probably."
"Thanks." He went to hand over his new report to the program's general, getting his salute waved off. "Sir. We need permission to import something that the Ancients made."
"A house elf."
Landry moaned, shaking his head. "I've heard." He looked over the report. "Do we have one that'll go? We had one who said he would before and he freaked out."
"We're not gating, sir. We're flying."
"Good point. Would he?" John nodded. "You're sure?"
"He said so. Also, what about that planet with the other wizards?"
"They're decent sorts. They don't want to deal with us but we have a mutual aid pact. Why?"
"I was thinking that we could ask someone like Mr. Dumass to send them books and things if they wanted to compare what they had versus what the ones down here had for technology."
"I can have our auror ask them," he agreed. "Is the mirror thingy that Doctor Jackson has working for you?"
"Doctor McKay carries it back and forth to his room so he never misses a call," he agreed happily. "If he's off-world, Radek does it for him."
"That's fine then. Did he find anything?"
"He found a lot of books and possibly some other things. You'd have to ask him to babble at you, sir. Even his daughter asked him to slow down his explanation, she couldn't think that fast." The general laughed. "He's in with Doctor Jackson."
"I'll go down there. Gather the house elf."
"Thank you, sir." He went to get him from the hotel, bringing him back to meet Rodney. The administrators on Atlantis would freak, but oh well! It was useful and good for them in all meanings of the word. Since he could also sneak in some new treats and that broom Alex had given him, it was going to be good for him. He loved to fly.
Alex looked at the girls a few weeks later, seeing the disappointed looks. "It's not my fault and it's not your fault either," he reminded them. "Your grandfather is going to a dig site for the holidays. Hers is back in another galaxy, insert bad Star Wars joke here." Abby grinned a bit at that. "You know if he works much harder he might find the Force and then be freaked that it's magic." He sat down. "It's not your faults, ladies. All you can do is pounce them when you see them next time. I'm sure it'll be relatively soon." He saw Speed, Danny, and Tony walk past the door. "What are you three doing?" he called.
"Going to New York's school for a book," Speed said with an innocent grin. He was the best at them of the three of them. "We put it off for a bit."
"Just don't make it fall in or anything. Horatio went to scare his nephew earlier." He waved a hand and got back to his students. "Yeah, it sucks. It has sucked. Even if you were with them on base it'd still suck." They all nodded, sighing a bit. "Now, let's get this festival of suckage over with so you can learn faster and then get back to the bases where you belong."
"We need specific college degrees," Abby complained.
Alex smirked. "Did you think we didn't have magical colleges?" She gaped. "Including one at Oxford, Cambridge, and Yale, dear. I'm going to be getting you through a very high level and you can go from there." She beamed at that. "The same as the twins can take their stuff, go through them and get a normal degree, probably within a year or so of graduating from my academy. Okay?" They all nodded. "That gets you back there by the time you're eighteen if you work your asses off and take your NEWTs a year early." They all nodded and went to get their homework. "I know you have transfiguration but the teacher just walked out the door," he called after them. "Get your field stuff. We'll go do sensing lessons in the snow." They went to get their cloaks and gloves for that. He got them all cocoa and took them outside to teach them how to sense the earth around them. If magic worked, this would be invaluable wherever they went. Abby could probably even pull it off without magic being very strong wherever she went. He sat down across from them after creating a warming circle above the snow. "Okay. What we're doing is sensing the power of the earth around us."
Ron leaned out of the cursebreaker's library. "Like I had you doing on the rock samples," he called, then he pulled back inside and shut the door. The castle didn't have central heat and the libraries got cold.
"Sure," Alex agreed. "We'll start with that. I teach this lesson up here because the power is pure. It's very pure and very natural." He sipped his cocoa. "Let's drop into that semi- trance state. Later on I'll teach you how to do it on the run." They nodded and put themselves in the proper frame of mind. He could feel when each one of them got it. "Abby, the higher ones you're hitting are air currents," he said quietly. She nodded and he could feel her blocking it out.
MJ pointed behind her. "What's that way, about ten degrees behind my right ear and back about ten thousand feet?"
He looked, calculating it. "Oh, the family tomb and a few of the really nastiest things." He sipped his cocoa again. "Ignore any relatives you might be sensing, girls." They nodded and did that. His Aunt Allisandra floated over, giving him a curious look. "I'm training three new cursebreakers."
"Dear, aren't you...older?" she asked gently.
"I was and then someone deaged me the first time and then this time we think it was Justinus and the cursebreaker who stole the artifact that did it. Mother was not amused."
She sighed and shook her head. "It's proof that you're one of the best ever, dear."
"I know. Hell, look at the catacombs."
"I'd rather not."
He shrugged. "Sorry. Draco nags too," he said with a sweet grin.
She floated off shaking her head. "Try to get rid of some of the things that might taint the valley, Alex. You should know better by now. That one vase is annoying even us."
"Yes, Auntie." He looked at the curious girls. "My great aunt Allisandra. My grandmother's sister. She was one of the first cursebreakers and she trained me when I was a little kid running around here playing with things I shouldn't." He grinned. "Get back to it. This is the first step in sensing artifacts as well, ladies." They nodded and dropped back into that frame of mind. "Now, like MJ and Abby are doing, TM, you should be able to feel different types of magic."
"I can. It feels like a woven thing. All the colors and textures and things. It's not a picture, fairly abstract, but it's got color blocks almost."
"That's because I always tried to sort out the catacombs into types of dangerous." They gaped. He grinned. "I've kept the world from ending many a time. Think you can handle that when you're holding it in your hands?" They all nodded so he took them out to one of the lesser catacombs, letting them hold some actual artifacts. "What's on those?"
MJ wiped her hand, grimacing. "It feels like smut."
He looked then nodded. "It's a fertility spell." She put it down carefully. "You felt that waiting to pounce feeling?" They all nodded. "Well, that's because it's an unactivated curse. If I had activated it you'd be feeling it move up from where your hand touched." That got a nod and she picked it back up to go over it again. He looked around and sighed. If his aunt had ordered, he had to do something about the catacombs. He looked at them. "Don't touch anything else until I get back." He went to find Don. "Aunt Allisandra wanted some of the worst things out of the valley."
"Thank you, Aunt Allisandra! I knew there was *one* smart person in this family!" Draco shouted from another room.
Alex looked that way then sent a pinching hex at his husband, earning a laugh from Don. "So maybe we should clean out the catacombs?"
"I guess. Do we know what everything is?"
"Not even close," Alex admitted grimly. "There's stuff still out there from her, Don. Not to mention my exploits. Your cavern, Ron's cavern with Harry... Their cavern together with Abby for that one tomb." He shrugged. "I guess we'd have to hold another auction too."
"Ooh, pretty clothes?" Abby asked, looking over Harry's shoulder from where they were reading together.
"Yes, very pretty dress robes and yes you can help Dawn and the girls," he said, nodding. Don went to get Harry and Ron so they could start on things out there. Little Abby knew what things her friends and family would need to look at if they ran into something. He'd put that aside for them. It went well with the other lessons they were doing. Because Alex taught shielding first and then hexes. And after that he taught dueling. The girls were going to be kick-ass witches when they were done with them.
Alex saw the goblin come out of the floo port and waved at him to come that way. He caught a pony ride and came trotting over. "What's up?"
"Their grandfather activated a magical tomb," he said, handing over the request. "They need support. You're still not officially working but you are the only expert."
Alex nodded. "Yup, sure am. That's fine. Oh, we're having an auction in a few months. Aunt Allisandra said so. Probably right before they go home for the summer."
That got a displeased grunt. "If we must." He took the pony back to the floo and went back to the bank.
Alex looked at the notes then shrugged. "It's not a bad area." All three girls gave him begging looks. "There's no way you're ready for a field situation. This time next year maybe." They all pouted. "This fall, Don, Ron, Harry, and I are going to start taking you to cleared ones so you can figure out what went on. For right now, you're staying here. I'll bring him back for a few days if I can." They all nodded and got back to work under Don and Ron's careful watch. Alex went to pack, finding Draco putting up laundry. "Good thing you did that. Danny Jackson just activated the magical bounds around a tomb." He stole a kiss, grabbed his old pack and clothes, then went to get the rest of his supplies. He walked out, sending himself there. It was a fairly clear field. It was in Ireland. "Interesting." He shrugged and headed to where the tomb was, tapping on the walls. "Cursebreaker Dumass," he said into the stone, whispering it so the magical wards could test him. He walked down there, looking at the trapped men. "Hi, Danny. Stay."
"Can't move, Alex," he muttered. "How did you know?"
"This one is fairly well watched, Jackson. It's one of the places Merlin hid stuff." He moved over to remove the charms around them, freeing everyone but one guy. "I can't free him. He's a danger to us," he told Jackson. He wiped his mind and banished him to the nearest village. "Sorry but we know of his family. They'd like to kill us all."
"He thinks Merlin was an alien," Danny offered.
"Doesn't matter. There's clear cut rules about him. The same as when *you* run into magical problems they call me now." He grinned. "The girls are all pouting because they can't go with you." He looked around. "What're you looking for?"
"Have you guys removed any weapons or books from here?"
Alex gave him an odd look. "Probably. We have a set of higher cursebreakers who only deal with the really dangerous things. This was a storage area so they're the ones who put the wards up to protect it. As for things we removed? If it was machine-like, it's in the bank. If it's books it's in the library somewhere. Although my fellow cursebreakers are stupid. Clear the chamber please?" he announced. They left and he walked Danny over to a wall, tapping a spot. "That is not magical. That is a keypad."
Danny looked then tapped in the codes he knew. "Probably needs the ATA gene," he muttered. "Jack!" He came trotting back down. "Keypad."
Jack grumbled but came over to try the codes he knew. A small beam came out and scanned him so he put in his ID number from the military. That got it open and he looked inside. "Empty?"
"Cloaked," Alex told him, walking in to undo the cloaking spells. He felt the magic wrap around him. "I'm Cursebreaker Dumass, I work with them. I know about what Merlin really was," he whispered, casting the counter. It nearly blew him back. He groaned, holding his stomach. "I hate those." He snapped out two spells quickly then ducked and did a third from the dirt floor. The shields around the machine shattered. "Don't," he ordered when Danny tried to come in. He moved closer. "There's still one up."
"It's usually technological and will go down for Jack." He let Jack go in while he watched, nearly biting his bottom lip in worry. That hadn't looked good earlier.
Alex laid a hand on the shields then sighed, laying his other hand and wand on it. He muttered into it, wincing as it burned into his hands. It got blood and it tested him then went down. He bowed to it. "Grandfather would not be happy this was still here. He hated that his contemporary and friend did these things." He backed up. "This is Jack, the one in the door is Danny. They fight the dog armor things with snakes in them." The machine went to standby. He looked at Jack. "It uses both."
"You need medical attention."
"No I don't. I'll heal." He took a healing potion from his pack and looked at it, then shrugged and looked at the console. He flipped it on and looked at the words running across it. "Hmm. In Creation as the house elves called it."
"Thinial?" Danny asked, coming in to look. "Can we back it up?"
"I'm assuming that's why there's arrow keys," he said, doing that for him. They both read it and then grinned at each other. "Carrot gun," they said in unison.
"Huh?" Jack asked, looking very confused.
"Remember the book that we decoded with him?" Danny asked.
"In it were some strange symbols. They were food based but with weapon connotations." Jack shrugged. "It's never done, Jack. Just trust me there. It's a long lecture if you don't want to hear it."
"I'd rather not."
"See, this is organic based," Alex told him. "It's got an organic power source, magic. Noticeably magic that's earth based, like we use." Jack nodded faster at that. "What it does is it changes the molecular composition of something to make it explode."
"So it turns carrots into bombs?" Jack asked. Danny nodded. "Using magic and machinery together?" Danny nodded again and smiled. "Can we use it?"
"Maybe. If not, it's better it's not here." He looked at Alex. "We should talk to your people."
"Probably. If there's more like this I'd want them out of Britain before someone stupid finds them. Someone stupid once found one of Merlin's power storage wands. Destroyed a good bit of the island he was on."
"Is it underwater?"
"Yeah," Alex said, nodding a bit. "About ten miles off the coast. Freezing cold water too." Jack grimaced. "There's underwater archeology teams that do just that stuff, Jack. I can barely scuba dive." He looked at Danny, then around. "If we need a conference, I've got most of what we need at the castle. Coming?"
"After we get this sent off."
"Gladly." He did the camp moving spell. "Your office?"
"Bit crowded." He logged into his laptop, which had a satellite feed. "Here, put it here, Alex." Alex looked then concentrated on putting that image into the camp moving spell, sending it off. "That's handy."
"Very. I can move a whole lot of crap that way, or a dragon." He grinned. "The girls were trying to convince Keelian he wanted to give up an unholy vase he was napping on earlier. Didn't work but they tried for about three hours while spoiling him by petting him." He grinned and walked off, hitting the proper areas to bring one of the Specialist cursebreakers who were assigned to these things. He pointed. "There's technology in there too." He shook his head. Alex took him down to show him. "That is a keypad. That is technology. How many others have them since Merlin played with machines he shouldn't?"
"How would you know and who are you?"
"Alexander Dumass. Before you ask, Bill's apprentice was an idiot and did the deaging thing. He thought there wouldn't be any higher level cursebreakers if he didn't." He groaned. "This one answered to me because my ancestor and Merlin were tea drinking and fuck buddies." Everyone gaped at him. "He said it, not me. It's in his journal." He looked at him again. "We're going to need to have the records of all the Merlin sites. Especially those with those sort of things." That got a nod and a grimace, plus a pointed look at them. "They've been dealing with Ancient technology recently. The older guy is Danny Jackson. I'm teaching his granddaughters, who're cursebreakers." That got a whimper. "The bank knows. They know about Danny too. Go tell Gruinth or someone that this is going on. Tell them we're having a conference at the castle. We need it tonight." That got a nod and he apparated off. Alex looked around, finding a few more areas. "More keypads." Jack shrugged and tapped his ID into them, opening them. Empty rooms mostly but they could see if the bank had gotten them open somehow.
"Was as horny as I was the first go-round," Alex said dryly. "That's why Draco misses not being able to sit. Come on, let's hit the castle." He brought them up, watching the wary military people. "We know what happened to the other things."
"Stand down," Jack told them. "Don't terrorize the natives. They're probably relatives of some of us. He thinks he knows where the other things went so we're going to talk to him. We'll be back tomorrow."
"The rest of us should know too," one of the lesser archeologists complained. "And who is that one?"
"That one is the one that let us into the keypad," Danny said. "I've worked with Alex before. This is his area. Just shut up for now. We'll tell you what we can tomorrow. Some of this is even more classified than the program we work on." He stared her down until she stomped off. "Thank you!" He and Jack got into the circle Alex was creating and they disappeared.
"No bloody way," she said, staring at the empty spot. "He's an ancient?"
"Or something. He had a wand," one of the military guys said. He shrugged. "We'll have to see. Do we bunk here?" he asked the second-in-command.
"No, let's head back to base. Set a watch here." They nodded and headed back to where they had taken over an inn in town. It was close enough to change out shifts.
Alex appeared in the castle's yard. "We're back!" he shouted. "Cursebreaker conference in the study!" He led them that way, smiling when the girls all squealed and pounced their Danny. He waved. "You three too! You're our only crossover specialists." They drug everyone inside to get warm. "Don, did you put up the shields again?" He nodded. "Thank you." He collapsed behind his desk. Then he pointed. "Behind you, the really old blue journal." Danny found it and Alex nodded. "My line's founder." He got comfortable. "Tombstone, can we please have some cocoa and stuff? We're expecting goblins and possibly other cursebreakers." The house elves brought in snacks and drinks for them. "Thank you, Tombstone." He grinned and patted him on the head. "I like you even if you do terrorize the older house elves. Remember, we're a laid back people here." That got a nod. "Also, near the summer hols we'll be holding an artifact auction, probably at the other house. Get with the aunts and their house elves to plan it please." He nodded and left them alone. Alex looked at the goblin stomping in. "Merlin was half-alien."
"There's no way the wizarding world will permit that viewpoint," the goblin said firmly. Daniel handed over the journal. He looked at it and grimaced. "Fine, whatever. Your new students are attending?"
"They're the crossover people," Danny agreed. "They're all witches but they were raised with the project as the next generation. This way they learn how to handle both the Ancient's technology and the magic stuff so they can make that stuff work and make more allies for us."
The goblin scowled. "We have been finding bits and pieces of technology for years."
"We go through a Choppa'ai ring," Daniel told him. "We're making a lot of allies and fighting a lot of Gou'ald."
The goblin looked impressed. "It was known someone was."
"I'm Daniel Jackson. This is Jack O'Neill. He's one of our military leaders and I'm on his team when we travel."
That got a nod from the goblin. "Welcome to Scotland."
"Not a problem. We were in Ireland earlier."
"I heard." He looked at Alex. "You're very young."
"Bite me," Alex said in goblin. The goblin scowled. He smirked. "I am still the head of the Clan Dumass. You know that. Who else can teach those three what they need to know since they're all natural cursebreakers? They're so used to computers they'd never fit in at Hogwarts so the mother-in-law asked for a favor for a very good reason."
"Good point. We had heard." He sat down. "We need to hide this. The wizarding societies of modern times would be horrified if they knew the founding races who became wizards and witches dealt with alien technology. The aurors going with you are bad enough. They're all warned what they're not allowed to share before and after their assignments."
Alex yawned then grabbed some cocoa, nodding Abby to hand the rest out. "Then can we hide it by giving it to them? They're dealing with it anyway."
"We've never been able to get anything to work."
"I have one artifact and Draco can," Alex countered. "Abby's father said something about a specific gene sequence." He shrugged again, sipping his cocoa. "Could be worse. Could react to all of us."
"No, that's all right," the goblin said dryly. Gruinth came in with a few large tomes. "The notes he needed?"
"Indeed." He put them on the desk. "Why?"
"Because Merlin played with techno-toys from the Ancients," Alex told him simply. "Which is Danny's job too." He pointed at him. "And why I'm training the girls to crossover between our two worlds." He took another sip. "By the way, auction right before they go off for the summer hols."
"That's fine, Alex." He took his own drink and sat down to look at the books. "This is what we have found of technological things on various digs. Most of those have drawings as well." He handed them over. "This is the records of where we have knowledge of where Merlin stored things and what was found in them." He handed over another book. "And this is other digs that Alex wanted to know about." He handed that to him. "Someone would have to go look at those other tombs to see if there were other technological things we had missed." He looked at Alex. "You've protected us for a very long time, Dumass. You know the people aren't ready for this yet."
"I know. That's why I've been keeping the information that my ancestor and Merlin used to do the naughty things regularly for stress relief out of the open too. Or what Merlin really was. By the way, anyone doing the underwater thing on the old Atlantis site? I got asked to ask since some of it showed up recently as well."
"No, not yet," he admitted. "Do you want to?"
"I barely know how to scuba dive," he pointed out. "Besides, with that other stuff, I'm going to be relying on Abby to know what's magic and what's not magic up there by the time she goes home for the hols." He looked at her. "That's why I've been pushing the identification stuff."
"I agree," she told him. "If we can find things that are magical it could help." She leaned over Danny's arm, pointing. "Isn't that a ZPM? Dad would freak if they could get it to work."
Danny smiled. "He would." He looked through the rest of the book, knowing what some of them were. He looked at the goblins. "Can we negotiate for these things?"
The goblins nodded. "The Bank's Council has said it was a good idea. The wizarding world may never be ready for that sort of knowledge. The knowledge that leaked out about some of us being taken in the ancient battles and them possibly being alive on another world or realm freaked out many. It was good most of them didn't want to come home."
"We'll have to make sure that the family Kovrant doesn't come on any of the digs," Alex reminded Jack. He nodded that he'd take care of it. The goblins gave him an odd look. "I obliviated him and banished him back to the village when I spotted him." They both smiled at that. "As you've both pointed out, I have protected this world for a very long time. I'll do it through this life too, no matter how long it lasts." He finished his cocoa and put his cup down, taking a filled cracker to nibble on. "Eat, guys. It's only polite." They dug in and nibbled while they came to an agreement about the machines. At the end Alex gave them an impish grin. "Can Abby deliver the stuff to her father? It'll be a good way to get her home for the summer hols."
"That is a good idea," Jack agreed with a smile, hugging both twins. "You two are coming back to the base." They smiled. "How soon before we can send someone to the other sites?"
"We need this to be silent," Gruinth told them.
"Which means it's have to be us," Don said from his seat next to Ron, who was nodding that he agreed. The goblins both nodded. "That's fine. We're only doing the inventory anyway." He shrugged. "At our current rate we can get there. Is there a rush to find that stuff?" Daniel shook his head. "Then we'll get it in a few months, during the summer or something." That got more nods. "That's fine then. Alex?"
"We can all take some, Don. It'll be a good break from the rest of the insanity and a good rest after the auction. Though I did promise to take Draco and Dawn on a shopping spree." That got a smirk from Ron. "Hey, I could make you pay for hers."
"There's not enough money in all the banks to satisfy Dawn's shoe and cute jeans fetish," he reminded him. "No one else came to Hogwarts their first day wearing two-thousand- dollar shoes." Everyone gaped at him. "Draco took her to Gucci for shoes."
Don shuddered. "Stella won a shopping spree there once. Danny about flipped when he saw what she had bought and how much taxes she'd have to pay for it."
The girls giggled. "Can we do the auction, Alex?"
"Sure, girls. We'll get you dressed up, go do the nibbling in public thing that night." He looked at Daniel. "If you want to you can come too."
"I might," he said with a small smile. "Now, I'm here for dinner. Show me around?" The girls drug him off to chat and walk around with him. Jack could handle anything else.
"You think one summer will be enough?" Jack asked.
"No but I think by the time the girls are ready to start on fieldwork you'll be through all this stuff and then they can start with some of the sites we know are Ancient sites but no one's touched. They can go with those of us who want to go and handle it. That way they get a good feel for what they'll be doing in the field."
Jack smirked. "How long before they graduate?"
"I'm thinking sixteen from here, one year to finish up any pesky college requirements at the most through the Oxford College of Magic, and then back to you guys by eighteen? That way they wouldn't have to do paperwork for being underage geniuses. Some of us have military experience. All the cursebreakers have extensive field training. That'll help in small team meet and greet situations and in run for your life times."
Jack nodded. "Then if they needed a boot camp we could run it then."
"Mac Taylor's one of us and he was a marine."
"Decent. Works for me," Jack decided, standing up, smiling at the goblins. "We have people in the town near that tomb. We'll pick them up tomorrow, bring only Danny, myself, and one other researcher with us, but we'll knock her out or something on the way in, so we can look at the storage area?"
"It's in Russia."
"We have trade agreements with them and they're part of our program too when it went international." That got a smirk and a nod from Gruinth. "You've heard?"
"I've kept very close tabs on what the aurors are doing over there with you lot. Alex tends to get messed up in things. I had no idea sending him after those unholy artifacts would come to this." He gave his minion a fond look. "One of the best ever and he proves it with every bit of trouble he gets into."
"Hey, Ron got adopted by the dragon in the marketplace in Rio," he said dryly. "Don got one mailed to him. Harry had the only literate troll fan ever."
"Yes, that's why they're your apprentices," he said dryly, gathering up the books again. "We'll see you tomorrow at the storage area, gentlemen. Alex can get you there." Alex nodded. "He's put things there before." Alex nodded again, eating another little bit of puff pastry with stuff inside. "Very well then. Have a good meeting with him and remember the book lending policy." The goblins left.
"Awww, thanks, Alex," Don said happily. "I was getting bored."
"Some of them you might not be able to get into," Alex told him. "The one today reacted to my lineage." He held up his hands. "I took one," he said when Ron opened his mouth.
"Take another one before we have to see Draco turn into a bloody screaming drama queen again, Alex," Ron complained. "Had enough of that when your aunts made the baby with both your seeds."
"He only does that for the important things." He dug out another potion and took it as well. He checked the damage, all gone. He grinned at Jack. "Wish you were one of us?"
"Anything to keep me out of the infirmary."
Alex grinned. "I got the Third Order of Merlin because I didn't destroy a hospital once."
"We hate infirmaries and hospitals so much that they send us to Hogwarts' infirmary when we're hurt," Don added with a grin. "The nurse there can beat all of us into submission when we fuss." Jack walked off laughing. "Now what, boss?"
"Inventory. Dinner later, getting them there tomorrow. Then we'll have to move on from there." They nodded and all of them went back to work on the inventory. It had been decades since the last one. It was clearly overdue when Alex found his former wedding ring out there. He thought it had been melted off his hand during a battle. Ron snatched it before he could put it on and removed the curses from it then handed it back, walking off shaking his head. "Thanks, Ron." He got back to work. Some of them were actually labeled. He loved his anal retentive nature from his first life. Made things a bit easier now.
Abby looked at her father a few weeks later. "Dad, am I boring you?" she asked.
"No, dear, of course you're not." He glanced over. "What would make you say that?"
"Gee, dad, the tinkering you're doing while your only daughter calls from a galaxy far away from where you're building shit that probably doesn't want to be built anyway was a small clue."
"You know my job is important," he sighed, looking at her for a full minute. "You've known that forever. The same as you know that my job doesn't come before you, even when I do have to fix things in the middle of the night." He went back to tinkering. "My job is important. If not, all of us could die when we sink back into the ocean again."
"Dad, what if I brought home a new ZPM?" she asked.
He stiffened and fully faced her for the first time. "You've found one?"
"I'm not sure but I think someone found something that might look like one. It was in some of the notes I was looking over. Also there was the idea of rechargeable batteries. Can't you recharge the ZPM?"
"We don't know what charges them in the first place. If we could, I definitely would."
"The notes said they used an organic power source instead of a chemical or nuclear one, right?" He nodded slowly. "What makes that sort of an energy field that it could suck it up?"
"Do you think you could?" he asked, understanding what she was saying.
She shrugged. "I don't know if I'd be that strong or not or even if that's the source of what it runs on, Dad. You tell me."
He considered it. "We'll have to test that theory and see if you can tell when you come up."
"We're having an auction of the stuff in the catacombs before then. Uncle Danny's going to be here." He opened his mouth. "It'll be right before I come up for the summer."
"You're coming home for the summer?"
"Yes, father, I am. Unless...you don't want me?" she asked more hesitantly.
"Of course I want you!" He frowned at her. "What a stupid idea." He sighed and shook his head. "When are you coming up?"
"Late May, early June. I'll be expected back by the end of September."
He nodded. "That's a long enough holiday to test some hypothesis and have at least one good movie night."
She rolled her eyes. "Dad, I'd like to do more than spend time with you in the lab," she said impatiently. "I'm not an artifact to test. I'm your daughter."
"I knew that."
"Then act like you'd be happy to have me home? Maybe just a bit?" she suggested.
"I knew I shouldn't have sent you off to school down there. You're getting all sorts of funny ideas! You were clingy when I was down there; clearly something's going on! They've been making innuendos, haven't they? Or touching you?"
"Dad, shut up!" she shouted. He gave her a horrified look. "No, nothing's going on. That was the first time I'd been away from home since I got delivered. So quit! Now! You're wasting time. This call takes energy. Now, if I need to I can probably stay since you're not that thrilled with me coming home."
"I am so," he defended. He glared at her. "You're still getting all sorts of strange notions down there."
"Dad, nothing's happening to me. Most of the people here still consider themselves married to the people they were before. I'd just really like a father now and then. You know, one who pays attention to me? Congratulates me because I aced an arithmancy test? Those things?"
"I'm very proud of you. I have been since they gave you to me."
Big Abby leaned into view. "This is normal, teenage girl stuff," she told him, patting Abby on the back. "It happens to us all during puberty. She needs your approval, affection, and for you to pay attention to her because she's smart enough to know that she's getting ready to change her whole life around some year soon and start dating and those things."
Little Abby looked up at her. "My father isn't going to understand that."
"I'm sure he had his own. Most boys had an angry phase to their teenage rebellion."
"Yes and I do regret most of it," Rodney said, scowling at his daughter. "Is that what this is?"
"That and you're tinkering instead of spending twenty minutes talking to me, yeah." She nodded. "That always annoyed the crap out of me."
"Language!" he snapped, frowning. "That is another bad habit you've picked up."
"Dad, I can say it properly in ten different languages," she said dryly. "Want me to switch?"
"No, I do not. Your manners are lacking again."
"I'm not a robot, dad."
"I know that. I'm the one who potty trained you. This must come from your mother. Now I see why they wouldn't tell me who it was."
"And yet again the clue bus has passed you by, Dad." He scowled again, arms being crossed over his chest. "Duh, I look almost like Mom. At least my body shape appears to be moving that way. And hello, clue bus getting ready to run you over, they did it because they can actually stand to be around you."
"No one hangs out with me," he defended. "How would they know?"
"Someone does hang out with you, Dad. You're too clueless to realize it. It's been years, quit pissing around and give me a real mother for a change?" He gaped at her. She sighed, looking at her buddy. "Is it just me?"
"Some people don't see those interpersonal relationships very well, Abby," she said gently. "You can give gentle nudges and things. Sometimes that helps."
"She's trying to set me up! I do not need to date!" he yelled.
"Dad, you do need to date. You need to date, you need to get on with the icky sex stuff sometime in the near future so you're happier, and then maybe we can talk to the people who made me and I can have a sibling so I can care about a creature other than you." He went red in the face and she sighed. "So off track. Even if the clue bus is going to run you over and you'll be flatter than my pancakes. Do you want pictures from the auction since I'll be dressed up?"
"Yes," he said. "No more matchmaking! You're not even old enough to date."
She stood up to get closer. "Dad, I've seen you drool at him. I've seen him drool at you. As Ron said, commence with the squeaky, squealy noises that mean you're happy." He went pale and sat down again, giving her a horrified look. "Thank you! Finally the clue bus has hit you and you have a clue. Should I turn letters like Vanna to give you more of a clue?"
Alex strolled in. "Thou art loud, Abigail." He gave her a hug. Then he looked at her father. "Congrats, it's a teenage girl instead of just a girl. Expect angst, random anger at what she sees as your stupidity and failures, and then moping because you proved her wrong for the next four years. She will grow out of it but by then she'll be dating and you'll have to hear that trauma instead."
Rodney let out a small whimper. "She's not ready for that yet!"
"Of course not! And when she is, she'll talk to someone here or me. Then she'll come talk to you probably. Not like all of us here can't tell her about the various birth control potions and all that stuff."
"We use a shot," Rodney said weakly. "It stops cycles."
"Witches' powers are linked with their hormone cycles," Abby recited, giving him a look. Little Abby grimaced at that. "Yup, that's why we start you guys so young, so you can find some control before the hormone swings start." She patted her on the back. "It'll be fine. You'll grow out of them."
"Even I did," Alex agreed. "Both times so far and I'm sure I will this time too." He looked at the father again. "She's going to the auction in formal dress robes. Did you want pictures?"
"Yes, I do," he said weakly. "Daughter?" She looked at him. "We'll be talking when you come up. I knew sending you off to school was a bad idea. They all but bullied me into sending you away and I can only dream what sort of inappropriate things you're learning."
"You'd rather have me dead of cancer or suicide when my powers backed up?" she countered.
"There's no proof...." Abby and Alex both nodded. "There is? In *real* science?"
"One of the American schools was purposely missing people. Some of the ones that were found were watched over. There's three good studies that state it and two more from before that time. We've known about it for a long time. See, power backing us is going to change the cells. Plus power backing up can change brain chemistry as well." Rodney shuddered. "That's why we need to train them. Besides, she's going to be the one crossing over between the two worlds. We know a good portion of what they did in *your* project at least was organic, magical, or both." Rodney shook his head. Alex beamed and nodded. "Yes it was. Danny knows. He's working on some stuff we've found in tombs over the years. You'll be seeing it soon. Now, did you want normal pictures or wizarding pictures or did you want Danny and Jack to take video when they came over for the auction?"
"Normal photos please. Or 3-D ones if you can." His daughter nodded. "We'll still be talking."
"After you finally get a clue and go jump him, we might," she said, waving and turning it off. She looked at them. "I'm sorry."
"You're a teenage girl," Alex reminded her gently, patting her on the arm. "It'll get better. Though, the swearing? Don't let the aunts catch you. Or the rude stuff. They're the scary creatures in the family and I still have flashbacks to when they tried to teach me manners." He looked at the mirror. "You know, he's probably trying to make it work on that end."
"Maybe he'll get Uncle John, figuring that magic has something to do with the ATA gene." She shrugged and hugged them both. "Night."
"Night," they said, smiling at her as she walked off. He looked at Abby. "Think she'll win?"
"Maybe. She's a very focused young lady." She beamed at him. "I'm going to make Harry give me a backrub."
"Make him take you on a picnic or something tomorrow," he countered, walking off so he could pounce his mate for a cuddle. Someday soon Draco would be his again and then the world would tremble at his feet. He almost let out an evil chuckle, but it'd be redundant in his case.
On Atlantis, Rodney McKay was throwing an absolute fit in his lab. Throwing things, screaming and ranting, pacing back and forth fit. A few of the people in the halls at that hour gave the doorway worried looks. One sent for the project administrator. One sent for Sheppard.
"Hey!" John yelled as he walked in. "What's wrong?"
"My daughter has turned into some rude, hormonal, little brat thanks to being sent off to school down there. I let you all bully me into it but I don't think she'll be going back."
John looked at him then shook his head. "She's a teenager. They're all like that now and then."
"Not my daughter! This has to come from her mother's genes. Clearly inferior."
"Really? Am I?" John asked. Rodney stopped and gaped. He gave him a look. "See, this is why we didn't tell you. Now, shut up, sit down, and realize your daughter is a teenager. She's going to have those moods. She's going to have days when she pushes her boundaries. Thankfully she's not up here when she can run away or something and get hurt." He stared him down. "What did she say?" he said when his friend was calmer.
"She's trying to matchmake me with someone she thinks is suitable. She swore at me!" That got a nod. "She told me I didn't love her more than my work and that I wasn't paying attention to her and that she wasn't sure she'd ever be coming back."
"Uh-huh. She's a teenager now," Elizabeth Weir said as she came in. "How are you talking with her anyway?" He pointed at the mirror. "Can you make it work?"
"No, it runs on that totally illogical magic stuff."
"Magic is a different sort of power with it's own flows and methods," John reminded him. "It's logical, natural, and we've run into it before. They have laws that govern it and Laws that govern the physics of it. Your daughter will be you the next generation. That's what she's training for," John said when he opened his mouth to argue with him. "Now, stay calm. Who was she trying to fix you up with?"
"You apparently. She said someone who could stand to hang about with me and whoever her mother was. You are?" John nodded. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I didn't want to hear this fit before and you kept going on about inferior mother's genes making her do odd, childish things," he said bluntly. "Which is what normal kids are supposed to do so I didn't mind." Rodney growled at that. "Thank you for settling down quickly. Besides, I am even if I wasn't. I walked the floors with her just as often as you did, Rod. Now, anything else she shared?"
"She thinks she found notes about a ZPM. She think she might know how to recharge it too. She's looking into it."
"That's good. Would it hurt her?" Elizabeth asked. Rodney shrugged. "Then we'll have to see."
"She told me I couldn't test hypothesis with her anymore. She used to enjoy working with me in the lab."
"Yes but you started to look at her like she was a project," John reminded him. McKay pouted. Not that he'd admit it but he was pouting. "Remember, she's the next brilliant genius of Atlantis. The city loves her. It always has. She'll finish your work and we'll save the day with her when she's old enough. Until then, treat her like she's your daughter not your assistant."
"I should paddle her for that outburst."
"No, you shouldn't. She's a teenager. Talking to her would help more; it did with me," Elizabeth said. He gave her a horrified look. "I was a teenage girl once. Most of the time I huffed for a while and then calmed down and apologized. Your daughter is every bit as reasonable as you are, only nicer to others. She'll grow out of this stage. Now, any other issues?" He shook his head. "Are you sure?" He nodded. "That's good. Then clean up the mess and do something to finish letting the stress out before you keel over and die. If you do we'll have to put her in before she's ready." She walked off.
"You are looking like you're going to have a stroke," John told him.
"She swore at me and told me I didn't love her more than the work I'm doing," he said more quietly. "If it wasn't them it has to be me."
"Sometimes you get wrapped up in stuff, but she knows you love her," John reminded him. "You made sure she knew that you loved her more than your work, Atlantis, and all this stuff." He moved closer. "It was a momentary thing. Next time she calls, quit working. Fairly obvious." He patted him on the shoulder. "Want help cleaning up?"
"No, I can do it. You might activate something or break it." He got to work cleaning up, letting his friend stay for now. "You really think she'll outgrow it?"
"Your sister did. Elizabeth did. Most girls do grow out of it."
"Fine." He saw the other scientists leaning around to peek in the doorway. "Bad talk with my daughter." They nodded, coming inside.
"How many times do you think she can recharge the ZPM before she's drained?" one asked. "Don't want to kill her after all."
Rodney picked up a gun but John took it from him before he could use it. "Shut up and pack," he ordered. "She's not a guinea pig!"
"Get him out of this lab or I will kill him," Rodney vowed, being held back by John and Radek. "Now!" The man ran. "I want him off Atlantis permanently. I do mean permanently!"
"Sure," John agreed. "I agree. That's a bad thought. We don't want it to spread." He glared at the others, who all shook their heads. He walked off to tell Elizabeth what had happened and she wrote the orders terminating his contract. He went to deliver them with a few of the Marines. They could make sure he packed and didn't forget his hairbrush.
Abby smiled at Tony when he tapped on her borrowed door. "I'm nearly ready. Doing my shoes."
"Looks like you still need to do your hair," he said, smiling at the mess it was.
"Dawn's doing it with Bigger Abby and the aunts, plus the house elf they use for girl stuff." She walked down with him, on his arm as was proper for a young lady. "Am I cute?"
"I think you're adorable." He smiled and handed her to the waiting women at the bottom. "There you go. Hair time." She got whisked off and he went to find Daniel. "She's putting on the finishing touches."
"That's good." He smiled, then pointed. "Look. A baby unicorn."
"There's a whole herd of them now," Alex said from his seat across the room. "The girls come play with them once a week to help with the brushing and gathering chores." He turned the page on his book. "Can I escape yet?"
"No," Daniel reminded him. "How much stuff is left?"
"About two-thirds of it. We gave the really horrible stuff to the bank to hold and contain. This is the lighter stuff that won't cause problems if it gets loose. Well, that was earlier, this is the party afterward." He grimaced. "I escaped from the last one."
Draco strolled in looking magnificent. "It's nearly time and you have unicorn fur on you," he complained, hauling him up to brush him off and take the book from him. "The girls?"
"Doing the hair stuff with Abby," Tony told him.
"She just finished getting ready."
He sighed, going to check on them. The aunts had them all well in hand and they were nearly ready. "It's due to start in another thirty minutes," he announced. "Which means people will be here in ten." They nodded and put on the finishing touches: jewelry, hairclips, all that stuff. He looked at MJ, who had a bad problem and sighed, pulling his wand to swish it into place. "There. Come along, ladies." He went out to take the book from Alex again and make him go stand in the receiving line with him. All the cursebreakers were there. The rest got to mix and mingle but they were hosting the event. They had to deal with this stuff. The first guest arrived and they greeted her, letting her inside. The magical orchestra of fairies playing flutes and harps struck up when she walked into the ballroom. The house elves made sure all the trays were in place. The others congregated and greeted her but until more people came in she came to eat for now. Which was normal too.
Don cornered his Danny, who was looking fairly bored. "Hey." He got a smile for it. "Wanted to ask you a question and it's gonna sound sentimental and stuff, but we all know that came with the woof and the tail," he finished with an easy grin even though he knew he was babbling. Danny gave him a gentle shoulder nudge to calm him down. "What would you think about redoing our vows? Without the kidnaping, the forced bonding, all that stuff this time?"
"I didn't mind last time," he said quietly, staring at him. "Didn't like the kidnaping and having to save your life but I didn't mind the good parts."
Don grinned and relaxed at that. "I know you weren't gonna put me in the bond with you and the other two. I know it was to save my life, but with this new life I feel like we should do it again, only without the kidnaping and stuff."
"I was looking at it to offer it to you and the other two," he reminded him patiently.
"Yeah but I also know you weren't gonna because it could've killed all three of you to do it." He stared at him for a minute. "I know it was to save my life, Danny, and I love you for it. Even though it's strange to have a husband and then the two naughty lovers on the side," he offered with a grin. "Would you help me talk to the anti-mush patrol?"
Danny considered it, then kissed him. "I'd be honored." Don beamed at him, a blinding, happy grin. "If we worked, you'd be taken here and now," he groaned. Don laughed and gave him a hug, walking him over to where Stella and Mac were being bored to death by some old matron. "Hey."
"Nah, more people that got hit when that stupid apprentice cursebreaker decided the field was gonna be lost without Alex in ten years." She gave him a horrified look. He shrugged. "Not my fault. I was chatting with friends and family. It got about fifty of us total."
"They finally sent him to Azkabahn too," Stella told him. "Took them three months to decide if it was a punishable offense or just in bad taste."
"Yeah, that was after we were done with 'im," Don agreed. The matron gave him a longer look. "Hi, Don Flack, Alex's trainee as well. Full blown cursebreaker, level six cleared." She giggled at that. "I don't do much, I was a cop before, but it's a natural thing and boy does it cause problems when you're not trained." She nodded. "Can I steal my boy and girl here from you for a bit?"
"Of course, Mr. Flack. Though you are adorable." She pinched him on the cheek.
"Yeah but I'm married," he said with a grin. "Even with this I'm still married." She nodded and left them alone. He grinned. "Guys, what do you say we do the bonding ceremony again only this time I don't get kidnaped and nearly killed?"
Mac stared at him then at Stella. Then back at Danny then finally back at Don again. He shrugged. "Is it needed?"
"I feel we should since we've got this whole new life ahead of us. Near as anyone can figure it did the same thing Alex's first curse did. That means at least another hundred years together, Mac I'd like to redo our vows. Been nearly forty years anyway."
Stella smiled. "As long as we can do it around the castle somewhere."
"That nice spot out back where we learned herbology?" Don teased. She nodded that'd be fine. "Mac?" He gave him the puppy eyes look. "I know it's sentimental and we all know I suddenly got mushy when I got the woof and the wag but please?"
Mac smiled then kissed him gently. "Fine, we'll redo them sometime soon." Don beamed at him. "I'm almost surprised we didn't have to pull you away from the buffet."
"I didn't eat much until my bottomless pit stage," Don said with a small shrug. "Wait until two years from now." He grinned at Danny. "You still okay with it?" He nodded. "Good. Then we should probably go save the students from the nagging reporter crank."
Danny strolled over there, smiling at Abby and putting his arm around her shoulder. "Dear."
"Danny." She smiled at him. "This nice reporter wanted to know how I was liking learning with the family." She smiled at her. "I think it's great. Alex is a great tutor and the rest of the family steps in when he doesn't know a subject. We've had a lot of fun this year and learned a lot. Professor Sanders from Hogwarts did our year-end tests and he said we're nearly at the middle of our second year's worth of studies but we never felt pushed. Plus Alex is working on our cursebreaker tendencies so we know those things at the same time." She sipped her champagne. "It's been a great experience and I'm looking forward to next year. He said he'd take us to some closed digs to let us know what digs were like in the field."
The reporter smiled and nodded. "It's good you're happy with your education. Why not go to Hogwarts, dear?"
"Because the twins and I grew up surrounded by computers. We never used a pen, much less a quill. It'd be a huge culture shock for us to go back to a quill and be deprived of the laptops we grew up with. Plus, with the parents who raised us, we're a bit ahead. The twins already speak and read four languages and are reading another three. I read five myself and speak two other than English." She gaped. "All of us basically got raised in a lab. Their grandfather raised them and they were raised in a linguistics program. I was raised in a real lab because my dad's a physicist. We might've went to Canada but they wanted to know what my father was doing. Since they wanted us to go together and two of us are natural cursebreakers, it was thought best to let Alex handle us." She smiled. "I'm told at the end of our studies with him he's going to take us to his friends at some of the colleges to have us tested and put in for higher degrees as well. That way we can go back to helping our families."
"That's very good of him. Thank you, dear. Do have a good summer holiday."
She beamed. "I plan on it." She smiled at Danny. "Think I could sneak my broom home?"
"Only if no one who doesn't know sees you."
"Shrink it, bring it back anyway," Don offered. "Just hide it really well when you wanna fly. We did for ages." She nodded, walking off with them. Her little interview had given the twins time to sneak off.
"Good job," Danny said quietly. She beamed at him. "Now, let's find Alex and see if we can have some fun. Your grandfather is busy talking ancient stuff with someone from the college."
"Let's not make it fun like how you, Tony, and Speed nearly caused the shutdown of the New York academy by showing up," Stella told him dryly. "I heard they finally revived the headmistress and she's no longer babbling about you three."
Danny grinned. "She was a classmate in our house. She remembered us fondly." Tony choked and Speed snickered. "Stella said she heard the old bat quit babbling finally."
"Good, only took two months since they woke her up." Speed said happily. He grinned at Tony. "Think we should visit?"
"No, I think that'd be overdoing it. Let her wonder for the next six years." He sipped his champagne. "Lovely event, Alex," he teased when he walked closer.
"Good then I'm not the only bored one," he said quietly, glancing around. "Can't we think up an emergency?" Abby handed off her glass and then 'fainted'. "That'll do." He picked her up with some of the others' help. "Auntie, she passed out from the heat in here," he told one. They apparated off together. The cursebreakers had practiced this move and the others apparated around them. They made it back to the castle and he put her down then they ran back to the house to get out of the stiff clothes and then go find some real fun. Alex had found a good teen club and had taken everyone out last weekend.
Horatio looked at the remaining members of the family. "We should probably go stop them. Get the twins." Mac nodded and he went to make their apologies and leave through the floo. The others followed and they got there in time to change and go with them.
A few days later the guard at the gate at Cheyenne Mountain looked at the three girls. "We're in lockdown, ladies. No one in or out."
MJ sighed. "Well, we're not allowed to stay out here. Our custodial parents are down there."
"Wish I could lift it. What's in the crates anyway?"
"Stuff I have to bring back to the *other* project with me," Abby said with an evil smirk. "Daddy will be horrified but oh well." She pushed her hair back over her shoulders and concentrated, making a scrying portal like Dawn has showed them. "Hi, Uncle Jack."
"Girls." He grinned and the guard gave it a horrified look. "Let 'em in with the crates. Have someone carry them please. They're for a special project down here."
That got a nod and the guard did that once the portal was closed, escorting them all the way down. "How did you do that?" he asked once they were in the elevator.
"Oops," MJ said, grimacing. "You're not supposed to know about that."
"I can ignore that like I do the other stuff, ladies." He used the hand truck to move the crates after them once they got to the proper floor. "Where did you want these?" he asked Doctor Jackson. He pointed at a corner. "Anything else, sir?"
"There's six more coming but they'll come where these are with Alex," Abby assured him. "Thank you." She smiled and he grinned back, heading off. She hugged Danny. "Hi! Any MRE's? Alex only had a small crate and I've already been through those."
"I still think it's weird you and your father think MREs are good food," Danny said, nodding at his pack. She dug in and got one for a snack. He hugged his grandchildren. "I've missed you two." He grinned. "You've grown."
"You should've been at the event's after party for longer, Grandfather. You could've snuck out with us."
He smiled. "We had a small invasion problem so I had to leave early." He shrugged and they nodded, understanding it. "Did we take pictures? Jack!"
"I saw! Give me another ten! Abby created a mirror thingy!"
"Really?" Daniel asked.
"They weren't going to let us on base," she pouted, then she grinned. "What're we doing this summer?"
"Helping me around here to see how far you've gone in your studies." He sat down and let the girls babble at him about their studies. It was good to have them home.
Abby sat down on the top of one of the crates, petting the non-working ZPM she had found in Gringotts. "My precious," she said, cracking up a few of the guys. She grinned at Elizabeth when she came in. "Hi. Dad still has to claim me and what I brought him." That got a smile from a few of the guys.
"I'll make sure he knows he has things here," Elizabeth said, taking the manifest to look over. She stared at the girl, who held up the non-working model. "Is it charged?"
"We'll see if we can figure that out this summer." She squealed and hugged her favorite uncle when he came in. "Hi." She beamed at him then leaned closer. "I brought my broom, Alex said you snatched that one, find us somewhere to fly?" she whispered.
John laughed and nodded. "I can do that." He gave her a squeeze. "Coming?"
"No, dad has to come claim me since I brought stuff back with me."
"Hopefully it's not germs," he teased.
"No, not germs. He'd freak out and do that flailing, slapping dance to get them off him again. Though, did you know what fun dancing can be?"
"I do," he agreed happily, pinching her on the ear. "Did you get in trouble?"
"With sixteen miniaturized adults as chaperones for the three of us?"
"Then I'm happy. Get hit on?" She blushed but nodded. "Kick his butt like I taught you?"
"Horatio told him I was only twelve and he had to wait a few years to hit on me again. He said he'd look forward to it."
He laughed, shaking his head. "That's my girl." He gave her another squeeze. "No matchmaking while you're up here. He's not ready for that yet."
"It's been nearly a decade."
"He's slow in some things. It's where his brain got focused in the science stuff. The other things pass him by all the time."
"Point." She shrugged and looked around then at him. "Someone call him so I don't have to sit here all night?"
"McKay, you have presents from the Daedalus," he called over the comm system. He hung up and went back to hugging her.
Rodney wandered in reading a few minutes later. "What got sent up?"
He put his book aside and hugged her. "I expected you next trip, not this one."
"Alex and his snuggly are having a fight so we got released early. Draco's manifesting as a veela and he's not a happy camper since he can't have sex yet." She grinned, holding up the device in her lap. Her father gaped. "It's not charged at all."
"We can figure out how to charge it; I've needed one for parts and research testing," he said, smirking at her. "Now, get off those dusty crates and let's get you unpacked."
"Dad, the dusty crates are stuff they found in Gringotts." She handed over the letter from Danny. "From Uncles Danny and Jack." He read it then gaped at her. She smirked and got off the crates, waving a hand. "All ours. I go back in late august, early september." They both nodded and got a cart to pull the boxes back to the lab. "You may not forget yourself in the lab while I'm here, Dad, or else I'm going to go on missions to hone my sensing skills."
"What sensing skills?"
"It's a cursebreaker talent," she said happily. "I can sense the earth and feel what's around me in the power flows."
John blinked. "That's got to come in handy."
"Yeah, Alex said it helps during rockfalls too." She grinned at him. "So I need practice to stay in shape and then I'll be good." She hugged her father. "I also brought back a lot of arithmancy books so I can work ahead this summer. That way you can do your stuff and I can do my stuff and you won't have to put up with me all the time."
He stopped the cart and stared at her. "You are my daughter. It's not like you're a prize pig I won in a raffle." She beamed at that. "Now, let's get these into the lab and see what you brought me. Then we'll unpack, have some dinner, chat tonight, and then we'll figure where you're helping me tomorrow. Shall we?"
"We shall." She smiled and took her uncle's arm, walking off with him. "We walked into a base lockdown at Cheyenne but MJ got us in with all the stuff. Danny even had MREs waiting on me."
"I'm happy he did. You'd starve on that base," Rodney complained.
"No I won't, Dad. Oh, I need to stop in botany for a minute today. I looked something up and it's a harmless way to see how things react around here. That way I don't have to worry about the innate power around here bouncing back at me." He stared at her. She ducked into botany, smiling at them. "I'm back!" They all hugged her and chatted for a few minutes then left them alone. She walked over to a poor little plant and pulled her wand out of her sleeve, casting the small spell to make it grow a bit. She felt the magic that answered her and beamed. It was clean and she wouldn't have many problems here. She stepped back and waved a hand at it for her father's benefit, watching him gape. It had grown about double of what it had been. "I can't do it often but it's a good way to test the local power flows without going into a trance and doing it." She walked them off, taking them to her father's lab so they could unload the crates. He nearly stroked some of them but that was her dad. He was just like that - odd and fussy. Wait until he saw her duel. Then they'd know there were better things to fuss over than her.