Protégé of Doom

Ravena Malfoy-Weasley walked into Diagon Alley holding her father's hand, nearly bouncing out of her shoes. It was her turn now. Her first year, and she would get to bug the crap out of her brother and sisters again. She grinned up at her father, who shook his head like he was reading her mind. "What?" she asked.

"Behave, young lady, or I'm not going to give you any treats to take with you."

"Yes, father," she said, but she was too happy to be stopped. She looked at her list, wondering where they should start. Since it was her first time, she was getting to do her shopping by herself this year; the other kids would be coming later in the day so she got some time alone with her father. "Clothes first?"

"Bank first," he said patiently. "Then wand, then clothes and books, then everything else." She nodded, she liked the ride down to the vaults and the goblins were kind of cute in a big-eared monsterish way. She started to bounce again and a hand was settled onto her head. "Hi," she said, grinning up at her Uncle Xander. "Are you shopping with us?"

"I'm looking for something," Xander told her, smiling at Draco. "We're doing the bookstore before Iggy can get to it."

"A wise idea," Draco agreed with a slight smirk. Xander's son Iggy had over three hundred books in his collection. "What are you looking for?"

"A special treat. A book on how he can make one of those never-ending books for his potions."

"Oh." Draco stopped and looked at him. "I thought he was putting them into a notebook."

Xander nodded. "He is. Six of them. That's why we're looking for the book on how to make the infinitely expanding book. Then we're looking for one about shrinking books."

Draco laughed. "I'm sure he'd like that. It'd be easier to carry around his collection."

"And he could clean his room," Ravena added. Her father laughed and gave her an affectionate pat. "Uncle Xander, would you like to go to the bank and shopping with us?" She looked at her father. "I wouldn't mind. You're going to be spending a lot of time waiting around."

"Okay," Xander said with a shrug. "I need to hit the bank anyway. Doing so now means that I *have* to limit Iggy's spending problems."

"That bad?" Draco asked as they started to walk again.

"He's shot up three sizes in the last two months." Draco winced. "Yeah, so we're hoping to buy him *really* big clothes and that he'll grow into them."

"And a few hair ribbons," Ravena suggested. She liked Iggy's hair. Even though it was white, it was just long enough to pull back into a short ponytail at the back of his neck, his usual way of wearing it. "Did Professor Snape really cut his hair on him?"

Xander nodded. "Yup. Said he was too young to have long hair. He cut it so close he nearly turned him bald." He grinned at Draco, who had given Iggy the spell to make his hair grow faster. "I think this year should be interesting."

"As long as it's calm," Draco told him. "I don't think I could take another year like Simone's first."

"She's calmed down a lot," Xander reminded him.

"Yes, and we're all thankful for that." Draco held open the door of the bank. "Come, let's take a ride downstairs." He watched as Xander patted down his pockets. "Forgot your key?"

"I thought I had it." Xander came up with a key, but not his vault key. "Hold on, let me run back and get it." He disappeared and came back a minute later, still frowning. "George thought I had it too." He patted himself down again, checking all his pockets, with a little help from his niece. She found it in his watch pocket, holding it up with a triumphant smile. "Thank you, Ravena."

"You're welcome." She grabbed her father's hand again, making sure she had her letter safely stuffed in her pocket now. She took Xander's hand too, walking between her two favorite men. Uncle Xander doted on her so much more than he did her sisters. "Daddy, can I have a broom?"

"You know the rules. Only if you make your house team," he said patiently.

Xander gave her hand a squeeze. "Slytherin does need a seeker. Theirs just graduated." She grinned at him. "Hope to go there."

"She'll go wherever the hat decides," Draco said patiently, though he did secretly hope at least one of his children landed in his house. He stopped in front of one of the goblins. "I need into my vault," he said, handing over his key. "As does he." Xander handed over his key.

The goblin looked at the keys and checked his book. "Very well." He looked at both of them, then handed back the keys, watching as they switched them back. "You may go." He waved over a goblin and watched as they were led away. He hated this time of the year, so much trouble for such miserable little creatures. He went back to his books, making sure everything was in order, especially the totals. Very interesting, the dark-haired man's vault had been broken into last week, but nothing had been taken. He wondered if he knew that.


Xander looked at his vault, frowning. "Why is there a body in here?" he asked the cart goblin.

"It was broken into," the goblin grunted. He looked at the body, then shrugged. "Want us to move him or would you like to keep him?"

"I think he should probably be removed," Xander said, looking sickened. Not only was the body partially burned, but it was nasty looking. "I don't want my kids to see this."

"Very well." The goblin walked in and frisked the body, putting everything into a special bag, then drug the body out and tossed it over the edge of the tracks. "There." He climbed back in, watching as Xander gathered a bagful of coins.

"Will that be enough?" Draco asked.

"We don't like to keep too much money around, it makes me want to spend it," Xander admitted, walking out of the vault. The door slammed behind him. "If we have to visit the bank every time we want to buy something it makes sure that we don't buy everything in sight." He climbed back into the cart. "If anything in his pockets was ours, how do we get it back?"

"We'll be putting everything back tonight. Everything is marked while it's in the vaults," the goblin told him, taking off for the next vault.

Ravena curled up against Xander's side, giving him a smile. "Can I have a kitty?"

"Wouldn't you rather have an owl?" Xander asked her. She shook her head. "Why not?"

"Because the school has owls and I'll get to see father all the time. Mummy might want more owls, but I'll use the school ones for her. I like kitties, they're nice. And they're protective in case I have a run-in with Agatha."

"Agatha's been behaving," Xander told her, looking serious. "She hasn't hurt anyone in over a year."

"Which is applaudable," Draco agreed, "but I'd like to warn her off nevertheless." He smiled at his daughter before getting out to get into his own vault. He came back with a large bag, buying for four children was expensive. He climbed back in and gave Xander a smile. "Have fun visiting again later."

Xander smirked. "Iggy has everything he needs except his textbooks and his clothes. Most of this is for clothes." He stuffed the bag into his pocket, the one with the key just in case. "We have six rolls of parchment lying around, plus a box of pens and enough ink to dye Iggy six different colors. We've got everything he needs for the rest of the year except his clothes."

"I'm sure he'll find something he desperately needs," Draco assured him.

"I'm more worried about getting Maeve and William dressed tomorrow. Maeve is now refusing to wear clothes and William is outgrowing everything again."

"He can have some of my old stuff," Ravena offered.

Xander smiled at her. "Thank you, Ravena. I'll try and put them on Maeve. William needs more pants and you never really wore those."

"Oh. Okay." She was too happy to be bothered by that. "Is Little Ron shopping today?"

"Tomorrow. Harry's got practice today."

Draco nodded, he had practice tomorrow. His new team was the direct rivals of Potter's and they were working everyone hard for an upcoming match. The team members with children had been allowed time off today to help their children shop. He patted Ravena on the head. "Where to next? Wands I said?" She nodded, grinning up at him.

"What sort of wand do you want?" Xander asked.

"A pretty oak one with a unicorn core," she told him. He shook his head. "You don't think so?"

"Nope. No one in your family uses a unicorn hair," Xander told her. "It doesn't react really well with you guys."

"I'm sure she'll have a very pretty wand," Draco said, glaring at Xander. "Don't pick on her."

"I'm not. Every kid goes in wanting a specific kind of wand," Xander told him. "Didn't you?"

Draco nodded. "Yes, but still. She'll find one that suits her and she'll have to accept it, the same as I did." Ravena opened her mouth. "I know, dear, but it's tradition."

"I want an oak one," she told him.

Xander patted her on the back. "You might get oak, but probably not a unicorn hair."

"Oh, okay," she sighed, let down a little bit. "I bet it'll be pretty."

"I bet it will too," Xander agreed, giving her a smile. "Are you excited?"

"Uh-huh. And I get to ride the train in a few days too." She grinned up at him. "Do you think I can hog the seats with my sisters and brother? Or should I try to sit with Iggy and Little Ron?"

"Iggy doesn't ride the train," Xander told her. "Little Ron was hogging one of the seats last year so you're going to have to tickle him for it." He tickled her gently. She squealed and wiggled. "What are you going to do if you have to fight Little Ron for the snitch, Ravena?"

"I'm going to be mean and steal it from him," she said firmly, grinning her meanest smile. "It'll teach him not to pick on me and turn my hair green again." Draco smothered a chuckle and the goblin looked at them. "I will. I can beat Little Ron. He taught me too good."

"Yes, he did," Draco agreed, patting her on the head. "I wouldn't want to play opposite you, daughter."

"Thank you, father," Ravena said proudly. "Can I pounce Little Ron and give him a big, wet, sloppy kiss? It'll make him blush and stutter."

"Sure," Xander told her. "I'm sure he'll be thrilled with you if you do it." They climbed out and he patted his pocket, making sure it jingled. "Come on, let's go." He took Ravena's hand and helped lead her to Ollivander's. "Here we are, the first thing any real witch and wizard needs."

"Where's yours, Uncle Xander?" she asked.

"In my pocket," Xander said, pulling his fifteen-inch ash wand to show her. "See?"

"I still think that's too large a wand for any of us," Draco said, shaking his head. "You Americans and your big wands."

Ollivander smothered a laugh. "It suits him." He smiled at the young girl. "You're my first new student today," he told her.

She beamed at her. "I'd like an oak one. Uncle Xander told me that I probably couldn't have a unicorn hair, but I think oak is very pretty."

"It is a very pretty wood," Ollivander agreed. He pulled down a few boxes and set them before her. "Let's try these, shall we?" He handed her the first one but she grimaced and handed it back. "Didn't like that one? Well, then let's try this one, shall we?" He pulled out a rosewood wand and handed it over. She shook it and nothing happened. "Not that one. Let's see. You like the look of oak...." He walked back into the stacks, going to look for the perfect wand for her.

"What about redwood?" Xander called. "It's very pretty, Ravena." Ollivander shot him a glare. "What? I'm being helpful," he said with a naughty grin.

The wandmaker frowned and pulled down a box, plus another three. He brought them back out to show them off. "Let's try this rosewood one, I think the wood suits you very well." She took it and looked it over, then flicked it at the window, which shattered and started a small gust of wind. "A little too strong. Try this one." The next one didn't do anything and the last one shot explosive fireworks that set his ladder on fire. Xander thoughtfully put it out. "Yes, you'll need a very special wand," he told her with a smile. "How about cherry wood?" She shrugged. "It would go very nicely with your hair, and the one I'm thinking of is very special." He walked back and pulled down one of the dustiest boxes in the very back of his store. When he brought it out, she squealed and grabbed it, swishing it around. Blue sparks in all the shades blue could be shot out of the end, following the wand tip around. "Yes, that's the right one." He smiled at Draco. "Cherry with ebony and silver highlights, and a gryphon core." Xander beamed at Draco. "You knew?"

"I suspected. That's Simone's little sister."

"Ah." Ollivander nodded. "I should have suspected." He smiled at her. "Do you like it?"

"I think it's beautiful," she told him. "Is it very expensive?"

"Very, but I'm sure your father can afford it." He smiled at him. "Fifteen galleons, three knuts."

"Ouch," Xander hissed. "Even my cane wasn't that much." Ollivander smirked at him. "Speaking of, I tried to fix my wand when it cracked and it feels funny."

Ollivander rolled his eyes. "Crafters," he sighed. He accepted the wand while Draco counted out the coins. "A small crack, with the grain. How is your cane?"

"Fine," Xander said, leaning on Draco as his cane was examined. His knees were already aching today. "Did it get hurt in the fight? I only hit two people with it."

"It looks fine," Ollivander told him, handing it back. He watched as Xander leaned on it. "You do use it for it's intended purpose?"

"Oh, yeah," Xander told him. "I still need it to walk. Why?"

"Because that's too light a wood for that," Ollivander sighed, sounding irritated.

"You've seen me walk with it," Xander told him. "I thought you noticed these things." He looked down at it. "It hasn't creaked yet."

"No, it won't. You won't get any warning, it will simply fracture one day. Much as your first wand did." Xander sighed and nodded. "Do you have a spare cane? I can strengthen yours in about three hours."

"You took my other one," Xander told him.

"I can support you while we have a snack," Draco told him. Ravena nodded. "We don't mind."

"I mind," Xander told him. "You guys are supposed to be shopping together so you can do the other kids this afternoon."

"And again, they need less stuff," Draco told him, starting to frown. "You can lean on me, or my daughter, you know that."

Ravena tugged on his robe. "It makes him feel helpless, father, don't force it." He looked down at her. "You don't like people helping you around when you ache either."

Xander groaned and rubbed his hand over his face. "It's okay, Ravena, maybe I will go have a snack. You guys can help me down there, okay?" She nodded, smiling at him again. "You need them both?" he asked Ollivander. "I feel naked without a wand."

"I can protect you, Uncle Xander," Ravena told him, sounding very firm. "None of those nasty bigot creatures will come anywhere near you."

"Very true," Draco said, reaching over to smack him on the back of the head. "Hand over the cane and the wand, Xander, and we'll go sit for a while, then go do subtle shopping, somewhere you can sit for a while longer." Xander nodded subtly. "Thank you. Now hand them over." Xander handed over both of his wands and took Draco's arm. "Good. Ice cream, Ravena?"

"Pay for my wand first, father," she reminded him patiently. He put down the coins for her wand and nodded at Ollivander. "Thank you, Mr. Ollivander. We'll be back in three hours!" She walked out, taking one of Xander's hands to hold, waving her wand the whole way. "Does your knee really hurt, Uncle Xander?" He nodded. "How can a fake knee hurt?"

"Easily, honey, the muscles and tissues around it hurt," he said, giving her a faint smile. He was going to *ache* by this afternoon. Draco nudged him and he looked at him. "Thank you. But you get to explain to George why I'm curled up against your side if they put us in the paper."

Draco laughed, a loud sound of amusement. "I'm sure he'll understand. After all, he's allowed me to curl up behind you when he's been gone."

"Good point." Xander sat at the table with a sigh of relief. "Ow." The waitress came over. "I need something nice and calming that takes a long time to eat," he told her. She gave him a smile. "Ollivander has my wand."

"Oh, I'm sorry," she told him, giving him a grin. "A sundae or do you want something bigger?"

"I want a sundae," Ravena told her. "Snozzleberry with raspberry sauce please." The waitress wrote it down and looked at Xander again. "He wants that mega-sundae that you guys make for birthdays. He can eat a whole one."

"I'm not so sure about that," Xander told her. "I actually got up for breakfast this morning. Share one with me, Draco?"

"If you'd like," he agreed. "Vanilla? With chocolate sauce? Also, coffee for us, water for my daughter."

"Okay," the waitress said, hurrying in to put in their orders.

"Did she sound British to you?" Ravena asked.

"Nope," Xander told her, patting her on the head. "She's Canadian. I asked her last year." He winced and rubbed his real knee. "I need to get more exercise."

"You have a whole gym setup," Draco reminded him. "You can use the equipment as well."

"I do," Xander told him. "Every other night. It's not helping keep my knee strong enough." He glanced around, watching the few families go around getting supplies. "I should call George."

"Probably, but I'm sure he'll get over needing you for a few hours," Draco told him.

"I was supposed to work in the lab today." He straightened up when he saw a familiar head of hair. "There's Percy."

"Oh!" Ravena said, turning around on her chair to look at the small crowd. "Where?"

Draco tapped her on the shoulder. "Sit properly on the chair," he ordered gently. She sighed and turned back around. "I'm sure Percy will find us." Sure enough, Percy smiled at them once he saw them and walked Melvin over. "Out already?"

"I took the day off and Tananda got us up early. She wanted to go play with Mellie at mum's." He sat down, patting Melvin on the head as he pulled a chair over. The soon-to-be fourth year sat down and smiled at everyone. "Taking Ravena out by herself?"

"It's a family habit," Draco told him. "It gives her some time alone with me."

"Yes, he's got practice all the time," Ravena sighed. "How am I getting on the train, father?"

"I'm sure we'll figure out how to get you onto the train," he soothed. "I can always take off a few hours for that."

"She could come stay with us," Percy offered. He looked at Xander, then around. "What happened to your cane?"

"Ollivander's strengthening it," Xander said glumly. "And fixing my wand."

"I'm sure they'll be fine," Percy said, giving him a pat on the arm. When the waitress brought their snacks, he looked at Melvin. "Would you like a *small* sundae?" Melvin nodded. "We'll take small sundaes. He'll take blueberry with snozzleberry topping and I'll take strawberry with strawberry." She nodded and wrote it down, hurrying away. "Where's Ignatius?"

"Waiting to go this afternoon with his partners in crime," Xander said dryly. "I'm here to go to the book store without him."

Percy laughed. "He was delightful to have as a helper this summer, Xander. I'm sure he'll not buy the whole store this time." Their sundaes were put in front of them. "We'll be on a separate check," he told the waitress. She nodded and made out a second check, putting them both onto the table. "Thank you."

"I can afford to feed you both," Draco pointed out, picking up a spoon to dig into the massive sundae taking up the center of the table. "Xander, eat."

"Prophet photographer," he mumbled as he picked up a spoon as well.

"Let them look," Percy told him. "They can only print trash, I'm sure no one would believe them."

Ron walked up to them and pulled over a chair, snagging a spoon off a passing waitress to dig in too. "George and Fred wanted to know what was keeping you."


"Ah." Ron nodded. "You might want to call them. George left his necklace on the dresser this morning." He took a bite and smiled at Ravena. "Did you get your wand?" She showed it to him. "Wow, that's a fancy one."

"Fifteen galleons," Draco told him grimly. "Each one gets more expensive. Lucien's will probably cost us a round twenty." He ate another bite of ice cream.

"Father, if it's too much, we can take it back," Ravena offered.

"No, sweetling, it's not too much," he assured her gently. "It was a general complaint."

"Mine cost ten," Xander offered. "Iggy's was thirteen if I remember right."

"Mine was only six," Melvin told Ravena, "but mine's not as fancy either. Can I see it again?" She showed it to him, holding it very carefully. "Wow, that's really decorated. I wonder why."

"Because she's special and deserved something pretty," Xander told him. Someone tapped him on the shoulder. "Yes, Fred?" he asked as he turned around. Fred smiled at him. "You're wearing that aftershave again."

"Why are we lounging?"

"Ollivander has my cane and wand to fix," Xander sighed, taking another bite. "Three hours."

"Oh." Fred pulled a chair over and stole a spoon to dig into the massive sundae as well. "I guess it's understandable. What was wrong with your cane?"

"He said it was too weak," Draco told them, looking at the brothers. "Did you want me to buy you one as well?"

"No thanks," Ron said with a grin. "I'm enjoying yours."

"So I noticed," Draco said dryly. Someone grabbed him for a hug. "Get off." He turned around and found George standing there. "Who's minding the store?"

"Harry." He pulled over a chair next to his mate. "What happened to your cane? Do you need a new one?"

"Ollivander yelled at me because it's too weak for what I use it for."

George frowned. "Really? I would have thought it'd be perfect. It was a cane to begin with."

"Yes, but he thought it was to make me look cute, not for real. Apparently I'm too hefty to lean on it so he's making it stronger." He took another bite. "And he didn't like me trying to fix my own wand either."

"Most of the gryphon-born like you probably do the same thing," Fred said quietly, glancing around. No one was moving away from them, it was a good sign that they weren't going to be attacked this time. "That's a very pretty wand, Ravena. May I have a look?" She showed it to him. "My. You'll have to get some polish for it."

"Me too," Xander agreed. "My wood's drying out."

"Speaking of Wood, did you know he's taking two months off?" Ron asked. Everyone shook their heads. "Since Draco can't teach flying this year, he's agreed to take on the class."

"I'm sure he'll do fine," Draco told him. It still sucked that his coach had told him that he couldn't have the time off to teach flying this year. He'd been doing it now for two years. Potter's coach wasn't that strict with him. Ron looked at him. "My coach is starting to ride us because our stats aren't that great," he explained.

"I'm sure you'll have fun flying against Harry in a few weeks," Ron assured him.

"Oh, no," Draco told him, shaking his head. "My coach made it quite clear that he wanted me to take a more active role in finding the snitch. Even though flying around won't make it appear any faster, and I manage to catch it most of the time."

"What's your ratio against Harry?" Fred asked.

"Half of the time. Usually it's a neck and neck race. It's more about who's willing to nearly fall off these days." He ate another bite of sundae and paused, spoon in his mouth. Then he removed it. "Another child just blew out Ollivander's front window." Everyone looked and he ate another bite. Someone made a shocked noise. "What?" he asked, looking over. His team's keeper was standing there. "Yes, Bretton, this is my family. Ravena, you remember him?" She nodded and waved. "Xander, Ron, Fred, Percy, George, and Melvin, this is the keeper for my team." He ate another bite and looked at him.

"Coach will not like the fact that you're sitting with them."

"Honey, may I please borrow your wand?" Xander asked. She handed it over with a smile and he flicked it at the annoyance, sending a small spark of power at the idiot's ass. "Family, stupid. It means that we're related. I'm his brother-in-law, as is every adult at this table. Go away before I get pissed."

"Dear," George said, taking the wand and handing it back to the little girl. "Don't pick on the stupid human. He can't help it." He glared at the man. "Go away. Now!"

Bretton sniffed and walked away.

"Sorry," Xander told Draco. "You can tell your coach to bite me if you want."

Draco laughed. "No, I think I'll pull out my own version of the princes act. I was a Prince of my house after all." Ron nodded. He smiled at him. "How is Potter?"

"Bugging out. Little Ron decided to go for a fly this morning about dawn and didn't leave a note." He ate another bite. "He came in while Harry was calling around to find him."

"That must have been one hell of a fight," Fred noted, eating some of Melvin's sundae for him.

"Hey! You can buy your own," Melvin protested.

"Yes, he can," Percy agreed. "Still, sharing is a grace that I appreciate you having, as long as the walking stomach doesn't eat it all. Then I'll beat him up for you."

"In your dreams," Fred snorted.

"I still have that gag," Percy said with a smirk.

"I'd like to see you put it on me again," Fred argued.

"It wouldn't be that hard," Xander butted in. Fred gave him a hurt look. "You know I stick up for Percy. He's not up to fighting with you guys so he picked me as a champion." He grinned. "So I get to play with both sides if I want."

George snickered. "Yes, you do, dear." He patted his husband on the arm. "I'm sure you'd get us back quite well."

"Yup, I'll have Spike move into the basement."

"You have a basement?" Percy asked.

"With a hazardous material locker," Fred told him. "We only found it a few months ago." He looked at his brother-in-law. "No vampires in my basement, Xander. I don't want to be eaten."

"Spike wouldn't eat you," Xander told him. "He knows I'd hurt him if he even thought about nibbling on the family. We had this talk a few months back in a pub when he was grousing about people being able to find him." He looked at Draco. "Mentioned you by description as proof."

Draco smiled, licking the whipped cream off his lip. "Really?" Xander nodded. "Then maybe he shouldn't brag about who and what he is at every pub in town. It only took me ten minutes to find out who he was, what he was, and where those two lived." He licked off his spoon, pausing when he saw Ron shudder. "You don't like him?"

"No, I like him fine. A cold breeze." He shifted closer to Ravena so he could share body warmth. "I think it's going to storm soon."

"Then we should probably hurry up and move on," Draco agreed. He looked up, clouds were moving in. "Hurry up and finish, we're heading to Madam Malkin's."

"Me too," Ron sighed. "I need more shirts. All mine seem to have disappeared."

"Again?" George asked. Ron nodded. "That's the second time in three months, Ron."

"I know," Ron agreed. He scraped the bottom of the middle of the sundae. "Hurry up so I don't have to finish eating it."

"What do you think you're doing?" an older man shouted.

Draco looked up. "Oh, look, my coach," he said dryly. He waved a hand around. "Having a snack with my family while we wait on one of them to have something fixed at Ollivander's. This is my daughter Ravena." The coach didn't look at her, he continued to glare at Draco.

"Bow, arsehole," Ron suggested. "Everyone worships his kids or suffers. Even the other side of the family." Ravena giggled at him. "We do." He gave her a short hug. "Are you excited?" She nodded. "Good. I'm sure you and Little Ron will get along when you become a Gryff."

"But if I become a Gryff I can't play seeker," Ravena reminded him, starting to pout. "I'll have to become a Slytherin, like daddy was."

Ron smiled at her. "I'm sure you'll be wherever you're best suited, sweetness."

"And if Agatha gives you crap, you tell us," Xander added. She nodded. "Ron, did you want to go over the Prefect stuff tonight?"

"Sure, not much else to do," Ron sighed, tossing down some money. More money appeared on the table.

"I can get it," Draco reminded them.

"Yay, shut up," Xander told him. He really didn't like leaning on anyone, not financially and not physically. Draco looked at him. "What? We can pay for part of it. Or leave a really nice tip."

Draco rolled his eyes and grabbed the checks, pulling out some money to pay part of it. "There. Percy?" Percy put down a few coins as well. "I was only going to ask if you wanted me to get yours."

"Not necessary," he said happily, smiling at his son. "Did you want to go with Ravena to the clothiers?"

"I'd rather go to books first," Melvin told him. "We'll be done before she is and meet her back there."

Ravena snorted. "I'm not that picky."

"I am," Draco told her, standing up. "One last bite and drink your water." Everyone took one last bite and the massive sundae disappeared. Ravena clapped. "Thank you. Come along." He took her hand, watching as Xander stood up. "Are you leaning on me or your husband?"

"I've got to get back to work," George sighed, patting himself down. Xander gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I don't get more?"

"Okay." Xander gave him a deeply passionate kiss, which made him go weak in the knees. "Better?" he asked with a grin. "Ron, coming?"

"Not yet," Ron muttered as he followed along. He grabbed Xander and forced him to lean on him. "Stubborn arse," he told him. Xander nodded. "Relax, I won't go too fast."

Draco smiled at his coach. "I'll be back tomorrow, on time as always. Come, Ravena, we have to buy you quite a lot today." She waved at the coach and walked off with her father. He reached up and tapped Xander on the back of the head. "Can you rest against him?"

"I'm fine," Xander told him, trying to move away from Ron, but Ron smacked him on the ass. "Hey! George's, not yours!"

"Sorry, meant to get your back," Ron told him, continuing on whether or not Xander liked it. "How much longer before he can go get his cane?"

"He can rest against me," Draco pointed out.

"I can stand," Xander pointed out, but they weren't listening to him. "Guys, feeling really old and feeble here and it's pissing me off," he told them finally.

"Sorry," Ron said, but he was grinning. "As you've said, it's the milage."

Draco nodded. "This is what you get for fighting all those years when George told you to calm down." He opened the door for the clothier's, letting them walk in first.

"Professor Harris!" Madam Malkin said, pushing over a chair. "Sit, right now. You look like you're going to fall over. Where is your cane?"

"Ollivander's," he said glumly. "For another two hours." She clucked her tongue and gave him a conciliatory pat. "I'll be okay once I get it back and beat these two up for making me feel old and weak."

"You're not weak, Uncle Xander," Ravena assured him, giving him a hug. "Sometimes even you need help though. It's not bad to ask for it when you need it."

Draco gave him a 'my daughter is brilliant, don't you agree' look. "Yes, it's fine to ask for help when you need it," he agreed with her. "Uncle Xander hates to admit that he needs it though. He's like that because his parents were mean and nasty to him, and they made him act like an adult much too young." He steered his daughter away.

Xander glared at his 'son'. "I ended up acting like an adult way too early because I had to help with the slaying duties," he reminded him.

"Hence, you needing help physically sometimes," Ron pointed out like that solved everything. "If you hadn't had to start fighting so early, you wouldn't have a fake knee now and you wouldn't need the cane." He turned away. "Madam Malkin, all my shirts have disappeared again," he said, turning on his most pitiful look.

"Professor Weasley," she sighed, patting him on the cheek. "I don't know what you do with them. Fortunately, I planned ahead for all of you and there's a small stack of shirts in your size in the back. Let me get them so they can be fitted." She hurried away to help him.

The bell rang as the door opened and everyone looked. "Hey, Tara, Severus," Xander said, waving.

"Xander, where's your cane?" Tara asked.

"Ollivander," Draco told her, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "You look lovely today, my dear. Come see Ravena's wand." He led them over so they could admire the artwork themselves.

"A very powerful wand," Severus Snape agreed. He patted the girl on the head. "Where did you want to go?"

"I'd like to be a Slytherin," she said happily. "That way I can play quidditch." She smiled. "I'll be good for you, sir, if you'd talk to the hat for me."

"I'm sure it will put you where you belong," Tara told her, giving her a short hug.

"Where's Zach?" Ron asked.

"Zachariah is being watched by Madam Pomfrey. She demanded the privilege," Snape told him. He looked him over. "What happened to you this time?"

"All my shirts disappeared for the second time," Ron told him. Tara snickered. "Really. There one day and not the next. I even asked the ghosts and none of them have seen my shirt thief." He shrugged and allowed the seamstress to pull him over so they could fit them. "Hopefully these are going to stay around."

"I'll look for a new lock charm," Xander told him. The doorbell rang and Xander looked over, hopping up in anticipation. After grabbing the rack next to him, and being steadied by Snape, he accepted his wand. "Thank you. It's good." He flicked it at Ron, making him jump. "Not even a blockage. You are so great," he said happily. "My cane?" he asked as he looked around.

"Unfortunately, I found a crack in it going across the grain," Ollivander told him, backing away at the disappointed look. "I can have it fixed by the day after tomorrow, Professor Harris."

"Xander, you have a temporary cane," Tara pointed out. He shook his head. "No?"

"Nope. It broke."

"Oh." She shrugged. "Well, we can manage." She gave Ollivander a smile. "Can I stop by and have you look at mine?" she asked him. "I don't want to be a bother."

"Is it feeling stiff again?" Snape asked, starting to frown. She had mentioned that it was stiff-feeling, like it didn't fit her anymore, while carrying Maeve but he had thought it had been solved.

"Yup." She gave him a small smile. "It's okay enough for what I do, but it's not comfy."

"I can look at it whenever you have time," Ollivander told her. "The next few days will be rather busy, but I can make time to see if the fitting is off." She smiled at him and it made him happier. "Professor Harris, I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Xander sighed. "I'll put on a magic brace or something."

Ron snorted. "Bet me. Last time you used one of those you spent two days in bed with a swollen leg." He looked at Tara. "Where would we find him a temporary one?"

"Down the alley," Draco told him. "There's a nice walking stick shop down that way." He looked at Xander, who was opening his mouth. "Try it," he warned. "You can be without a tongue again."

"Ah, the long-standing argument," Tara said. "That'll be fine, we can handle helping him around," she told Ollivander. He nodded and left them alone. She smacked Xander on the arm. "Be nice and let us help or I'm going to pout and make Sev hurt you."

Snape looked over Xander. "All I'd have to do was kick him in the ankle, he'd fall and hurt himself," Severus noted.

"One, I have my wand back," Xander reminded him. "That means I can blow you through any wall and laugh while doing it. Two, if you try to hurt me, I'm siccing my son on you."

Severus smiled. "He wouldn't hurt me. I have his potion notebooks in my office." Xander winced. "Do I win this time?"

"No, I'm having a cramp. Trust me, Iggy can teleport into your office by now and get his own books, and I'm going to give him a way to make a never-ending book." Snape opened his mouth. "For his personal reference book of potions."

"I'm sure he'll enjoy it, but I'll refuse to teach him anything else."

"What makes you think he won't do it anyway?" Xander asked with a smirk. "Or that Fred and George can't help him? They do about seventy potions a week for the shop."

"Boys," Tara said, rolling her eyes. "Xander, sit and behave. We're helping you around until you can get a temporary cane. Sev, be nice or I'm going to spend all night in the bathtub tonight." He quickly shut up and moved closer to her. "Thank you." She smiled at Madam Malkin. "We both need a new formal robe for the Christmas ball and more daily wear ones."

"Of course, Professor Maclay, right this way. You've slimmed down impressively since you gave birth." Severus followed along behind them to help her pick out things. Even though, she wouldn't listen to him about not wearing flowered robes and dresses.

Xander shook his head. "It's fine, I can go find a pharmacy and find one," Xander told Draco as he walked closer.

"Excuse us," Draco said, pulling Xander up by his collar. He tossed his money bag over to Ron. "Make sure she's properly attired for all seasons and gets whatever she wants, within reason." He drug Xander out into the alley and between buildings. "Do stop it now, thank you." Xander opened his mouth and Draco zapped him, sealing his lips shut. "As you're the one that I'm looking at for hints on how to be a good relative, do consider your options. Do you want to continue to be a whiny plonker or would you like to reconsider your position on being helped around for a bit?" he asked with a cold smile.

Xander pointed at his lips but his 'son' shook his head, so he pushed him into the wall and his lips were unsealed. "I can handle it," he said quietly.

"I'm sure you can, but this is making me feel useful so quit, now." He got free and dusted himself off. "I know you're not helpless, as does everyone around you, but even *you* need help sometimes. Now, you will accept the help or I'll do something even more drastic and mean, which will delight my daughter to no end when I spread pictures of you as what I'm going to turn you into around the school. Your choice of course." He crossed his arms. "Are you going to be reasonable or should I plan on putting you over my knee like a naughty child?"

"I'm not a child," Xander ground out.

Draco gave him a light shove. "We know that, Xander. We've known that you're an adult since we first met you. It was rather obvious since you were three years older than us." Xander opened his mouth but he held up a hand. "Stop. We also know how much you hate to be helpless in front of anybody, even those who are supposed to be close to you. I even know why you do it, or don't you remember my back going out last year?" Xander nodded and crossed his arms. "Even though you don't like feeling helpless, it's not a weakness to admit that you need some help sometimes, it's the mark of a true adult. It's a shame that you don't trust us like that, but we're going to be forceful if we have to. Now, you can either accept this or I can do something horrible to you."

"I don't need it," Xander told him.

"Fine, suit yourself." Draco hit him with a blast of power and bent to pick up the dark cat sitting in Xander's former place. The cat hissed at him. "Keep it up and I'll have you fixed," he said with a smile. He walked back inside, sitting down to pet the upset animal gently, being careful of his bad back legs.

"Cute kitty," Tara said with a smirk. "He argue with you again?" Draco nodded. "I'm sure he'll feel better after napping in the sun." She held up a robe and he shuddered. "You don't like it?"

"I'm having flashbacks to that bloody idiot in our second year," Draco told her. Ron snickered. "Lockhart wore the same coat."

"But I'll look good in gold," Tara told him.

"Yes, love, but it's a bad memory for us," Ron told her, giving her a kiss on the cheek as he stepped off the stool. "How do I look?" he asked, holding up his arms.

"The shoulders are too tight," Draco told him. "Tara, please, pick something else. I doubt your man would like to be reminded of Lockhart either."

Snape walked out of the dressing room and looked at the robe she was holding. "Absolutely not," he told her. "Get something presentable, not pretentious." He frowned at her until she sighed and went to find something else.

Madam Malkin smiled as she came over to pet the cat. "Thank you," she whispered. "I had to fit Lockhart the other day." She winked. "Is this Ravena's new familiar?"

"Am I getting a kitty?" Ravena asked.

"No, dear, this is your Uncle. He got fussy." Madam Malkin stepped back. "Don't worry, I'll change him back later." He shifted, removing the claws from his thigh. "Do behave, I already had to have Anastasia's cat fixed." Ron winced and hunched in on himself. "Yes, the threat goes for you as well, Ron." He smiled. "I doubt he's going to argue for the rest of the day."

Ravena jogged over and bent down to kiss the cat on the head. "You make a cute kitty, Uncle Xander. If Daddy can't change you back, I'm sure Uncle George would still take care of you. He loves you that much." She went back to finish getting her school robes fitted. "Father, may I wear pants?"

"You'll have to have at least two skirts," Draco called. She sighed but nodded. "Thank you." He looked at Tara as she walked back. "We're having a ball again this year?"

"A Christmas ball." She held up her choice, a light blue robe with gold flowers embroidered on it. Draco didn't look happy but he didn't say anything. "Thank you." She went to try it on, and the seamstress gushed over her. "Are you teaching again this year?" she asked Draco.

"Yes, not even the bloody ...." He trailed off when he saw the hard look Madam Malkin was giving him. "Sorry, but my coach has been a bit of a stress recently," he said in a more gentle manner.

"He yelled at him for having a sundae with me," Ravena agreed.

"And us," Ron reminded her. He looked at the lapcat. "Napping?" Draco nodded. "Good job, Draco."

"Thank you." He continued to stroke down the soft back. "One of these days he'll realize that we don't do these things to hurt him, merely to help him, and he'll finally accept that we do like him that much." The cat shifted and his tail went up as he got comfortable. "Yes, you nap, Xander. It'll be fine in a few hours. I'll turn you back and put you into your nest." The cat purred as he moved his attention to the under-chin area. Ron grinned at him.

"Daddy, do you think the ghost is really gone?"

"Hopefully," he agreed. He'd hate to see his father's ghost inhabiting his daughters. He had no doubt that Simone would start to have behavior problems again. Xander hissed. "Calm down. It's gone and we don't have to fight any more," he soothed. "He won't be coming back." Xander settled back down, still unhappy but liking this petting thing a lot.

Ron and Draco shared a smile. Yes, they would eventually get Xander to accept help, one way or another.


George came out of the back once he heard the laughter. "What's going on?" he asked casually. The store was nearly empty, except for Draco...and a cat? "What's that?" he asked.

"Your mate," Draco said, holding it out.

"You turned my husband into a cat?" George asked. Draco nodded. "Why did you turn my husband into a cat?"

"Because he was being fussy and his cane won't be ready for another day and a half," Draco told him, still holding out the cat. "Your twin wouldn't let me put him in the nest and change him back."

"I can't believe you did that to him," George said, starting to get miffed. "He was behaving normally."

"He was being a plonker again," Draco told him. "He even refused to let us help him find a temporary cane." George opened his mouth. "You can match him," he warned.

"You bloody well turned my mate into a cat!" George shouted. "I should hurt you for harming him."

"I didn't harm him!" Draco shouted back. "I petted him, I carried him around, I even made sure he stayed out of trouble when a *nice* little girl tried to adopt him after he wandered off."

"But you turned him into a cat!" George shouted again.

"I think you broke him," Fred told him. "Can you change him back?" Draco nodded. "Maybe you should do that, before George finishes losing his mind."

"He bloody well had better turn him back," George agreed firmly. "Before I turn him in for this stunt."

"It wasn't the first time," Draco told him, putting the cat down and flicking his wand at it. Xander grew up out of the cat. "There, one husband, still stubborn and complaining," he said when Xander opened his mouth.

"Luv, are you all right?" George asked, patting over Xander's body. "Did he do mean things to you?"

"He made me eat liver," Xander said pitifully. "And he petted me, George."

George glared at Draco. "Don't do that again. I married a man, not a kitten." He led Xander back to the living quarters, going to put him into their nest.

"I guess he'll keep Xander occupied for the rest of the day," Draco said with a smirk. He waved and left to go retrieve the other children, bouncing Xander's bag of money in his hand. "Come along," he said once he appeared in his living room. "We're going clothes shopping." Iggy frowned at him. "You too. You'd make a very strange looking cat."

"Cat?" Iggy asked, standing up to join the other four kids. Little Ron had decided to go with them this time for clothes so his father wouldn't have to spend all day fighting the crowds or the admirers. Of course, his father had pouted at him, but he accepted the reasoning. "You turned my father into a cat?"

Draco nodded, looking very smug. "It stopped the arguments fairly quickly. Come along, we're off to get clothes and textbooks only." He gave Ignatius a look and the boy grinned. "Nothing more. Your fathers can take you tomorrow for that other stuff you think you'll need."

"I need shoes," Iggy told him. "I'm already almost out of these."

"We can do that as well," Draco agreed, following them through the floo, back to Diagon. He steered the children down to Madam Malkin's, only stopping at the shoe store on the way, but it was crowded so they decided to come back later. As soon as he walked in, he saw the happy look the seamstress gave him. "They all need new uniforms," he said, taking his usual seat. "Iggy, how may sizes have you went up?"

"Four since I was last fitted, three of them since school ended," he told Madam Malkin. "My fathers really don't want to have to buy me more clothes for a while."

"You should be about done with the growth spurts then," Madam Malkin told him, giving him a smile. "Most boys your age go through one or two sizes at the most."

"My dad told me he went through five sizes in one year, then he stayed that height for the next three and had one last one," Iggy told her, stepping up to be measured. "Let's stay with the fall stuff, just in case I grow more," he told the woman measuring him.

Madam Malkin walked up to him and fingered the lone black strand in his hair. "This is permanent?" He nodded, looking grim. "At least you can carry off the look."

He nodded, starting to look happier again. "Yeah, now all I have to do is get Professor Snape to leave my hair alone." She laughed and moved on to get him some shirts. He tried the first one on and it hung off him. "Good. I can grow into this over the rest of the year," he said happily.

"Are you sure?" she asked him. He nodded. "All right. Pants the same size?"

"How about two sizes too large," Draco suggested. "Give Denver an extra size and Simone the same?" She nodded. "Give Anastasia the correct size, she hasn't grown in almost a year."

"That means I'll have a growth spurt in the middle of a class," Anastasia told him, but she smiled at him. "You can always buy us more."

"Nice try, but I'm not taking you out of school to buy you more clothes. At least not until the holiday break."

"Okay, I'll try not to grow until then." Anastasia turned around at the prodding of the person fitting her. "Father, can I bring some jewelry this year?"


"Why not?" Iggy asked. "No one's going to steal it."

"Yes, but she doesn't have anything suitable to wear with her uniform."

"Yes, but we're having that ball this Christmas," Iggy reminded him. "Oh, yeah, I need one of those," he sighed, spotting the formal robes being pointed to.

"Not if you're going to grow out of it," Draco told him. The boy smiled at him. "Have you thought about who you're going to ask?"

"Do the words fat chance mean anything to you?" Simone told him. Her father laughed. "Short of kidnapping and mental reprogramming I doubt any of us are going to get dates."

"Speak for yourself," Anastasia told her with a smile.

"Fourth years and up," Denver told her.

"Unless you're a date," she said smugly, looking at the skirt being brought out. "No, I wear the long ones with the slit up my right side," she instructed. The fitter went to get her the style she liked. "The ones with the zipper, not the elastic," she called after her. A new one was brought for her approval and she nodded. "Yes, those, and I'm a Gryff if it matters." She turned back around, missing the irritated look the woman gave her.

Simone didn't. "She is our house's princess," she said haughtily. "She has to look the part to fight against Agatha Potter."

Denver looked at the woman. "Please don't piss my sisters off, I'll have to go live with Iggy for the next week until they calm down." He deftly moved away from Simone before she could pinch him. "See?"

The woman went to get the appropriate skirts for the young princess, sharing a rolled eye with the other fitter.

Little Ron looked around, then smiled at his Uncle. "I don't have to do the stupid formal, right?"

"Not unless someone asks you," Draco told him. "You're a bit too young for that yet."

"Thank Tara's Goddess," he sighed. Iggy snorted, trying to hold in a snicker. "My father agreed I could thank her Goddess since we didn't have a family deity of our own. She seems very nice after all."

"My father started that," Iggy told him.

Little Ron smirked. "Yay. I'm going to take Auntie Tara's class when I can."

"You've got to get past my dad next year first," Iggy reminded him. He looked at the other cousins. "Are you two going to take my dad's class this year?"

Simone waved a hand. "I'm taking Tara's. It sounds interesting enough and fairly easy. Andrea and I are going together."

"My dad warned me about Divinations," Little Ron said as he got the open spot on the stools. "He said he hated it." He took off his jacket and shirt, letting the fitter put him into a dress shirt.

"Dear, where did those bruises come from?" Madam Malkin asked. All the kids pointed at Simone. "She's abusing you?"

"No, he's our house seeker and I hit bludgers at him all summer," Simone told her. That got an understanding nod. "It beat knocking down trees this summer." The fitter helping her looked at her like she was deranged. "Hi. Simone Malfoy-Weasley."

"Oh, yes, we've heard how good you are," the fitter said, giving her a smile. Obviously she had heard other things as well. "Did you four train all summer?"

"As often as we could drag Iggy away from a cauldron, a book, or Uncle Percy," Denver agreed. Iggy stuck his tongue out at him. "Hey, you were busy a lot."

"I needed the experience," Iggy protested. "What are you going to do next summer when I'm in Amsterdam?"

"Kill you," Simone told him, sounding serious. Iggy stuck his tongue out at her. "How long is this summer program you're starting next year?"

"Six weeks. I'll have a few weeks on each side, but I think dad wanted me to start making official trips to meet some of the other colonies." He turned and noticed the hurt look. "I won't be gone *all* summer. Seven weeks of it."

"It's only nine weeks long," Denver reminded him. "Why do you have to go to Braun in the summers?"

"Because it'll mean automatic acceptance when I graduate. Besides, I can learn a lot over there. Professor Snape went there when he graduated. Raena's just graduated from over there."

"It's a seven-year program," Simone whined. "You'll never come home."

"I will so. It's not like I'm going to stop teleporting. Hell, I could probably commute," Iggy reminded her. He smiled. "Not only that, that's assuming that I don't get done early. It's not like I won't do everything ahead of time like I'm doing now."

"How are you doing it now?" Draco asked.

"Presently, I'm doing all the assignments for the year in the first month and a half and then continuing on with my special training. I'm presently working my way through the sixth year book; I'm about six potions from the end."

"I thought you'd be farther ahead," Simone told him.

"I would have already been done except for our second year." She glared at him. "Sorry."

"It's okay, it's not your fault. It's that witch's fault," she reminded him. She still wanted to have a *discussion* with Ryan's mother for hurting her family that way for so long.

"It wasn't supposed to drain through or into my father," Iggy soothed. "He was just the most convenient target. The chaos energy found a comfy home in him." He patted her on the shoulder. "It'll be okay. I'll be through the seventh year book this year and then I'll move onto another set of textbooks and working my way through to make sure I didn't leave anything undone." He turned again, putting on the robe. "This is too tight," he told the fitter. She got him another one, handing that one over to Denver's fitter. "Thank you." He moved in his robe. "This is still a little too tight."

"We'll get you the next higher size," the fitter sighed, getting up to get it for him. She came back with it and handed it over. "You look like you're playing dress-up."

"Yeah, but maybe this'll last me until Christmas," Iggy told her. "I can always roll stuff up. Trying to wear stuff that's too small is hell." Madam Malkin cleared her throat. "Heck," he corrected, giving her a smile. "Sorry."

"That's all right, we've had a lot of language problems already today," she said, glancing at Draco.

"I stopped myself before I said all I *wanted* to," he told her, getting up to check over their clothes. "Anastasia, what is that?" he asked, pointing at her waistcoat. "It looks like a male's."

"It's a vest and I look cute, father, leave me alone," she told him. She tugged on it, settling it more firmly over her tiny waist. "Look better now?"

"If you have to tug on it, it doesn't fit right," he reminded her, moving on to Simone. "Dear, those pants are a bit loose," he said gently.

"Yay, I don't want tight pants, daddy. I can't fly in tight pants." He nodded, understanding that. "Can I start working out this year?"

"Soon enough," he assured her. "We'll talk to the other teachers once term starts." He moved down to Denver, looking him over. "Not bad." He moved onto Iggy. "You do look like you're wearing your father's clothes," he agreed.

"Uncle Draco, I've grown so much it's not funny," Iggy pointed out. "These are only three sizes bigger than I'm supposed to wear and I've already grown that much this summer. This really is the only way. You know how much my parents hate buying clothes."

"Won't they be hazardous in the potion's lab?" Anastasia asked as her vest was fitted properly. "How's that, father?"

He looked her over. "Much better, Princess." He looked at Iggy again. "Why don't we get you some in each size going up to this one? That way you can grow into them?"

"Because I can feel myself growing?" Iggy told him. He stepped down. "Maybe I should wait and do this right before we leave for school."

"You don't take the train," Denver reminded him. "You could do it the day we leave."

"Point," Iggy agreed, looking happier. He tugged at his underwear. "This growth stuff is getting annoying."

"We'll deal with it," Draco assured him with a smile. "One size lower, that way he doesn't have trouble while brewing potions."

"That's easy enough to fix. I've been changing into t-shirts to brew," Iggy told him. "That means I'll need to find some t-shirts again, but I can wear dad's."

"We have some of those," Madam Malkin said, looking him over. "Are you *sure* you want those to be that loose?"

"I'm sure," he agreed. "Underwear?" he begged.

"Right over there," she said, pointing at the rack holding them. "All the latest styles, even those nice thongs some boys like." She breezed over to deal with another family, this time with two kids.

Draco came over to help him. "Get ones that are only a size too large," he advised quietly. "Too large is usually as annoying as too small." Iggy nodded and checked sizes, pulling down some for himself. "Get the ones you like," he sighed.

Iggy shrugged. "Underwear doesn't matter to me. I went without most of the summer."

"I'm sure you learned that wonderful habit from your father, but you can't do that at school. There is a dress code." He checked the size and looked at the boy. "I doubt it."

"What? That's the size bigger than the one I'm wearing right now, which would be the right size."

"I wear that size, Ignatius." He looked him over and pulled out a small stack. "Go try one of those on." The boy went into the changing rooms and came out a few minutes later shaking his head. "Really?"

"Really. Couldn't get them up over my thighs." He put them back and grabbed a pair three sizes larger, going to try those on. He came out with a frown and got the next size larger, and this time sighed as he came out. "This sucks," he announced. "I hate growing. Maybe I'll dig out that spell to make me five-years-old again." He grabbed more in that size and added them to his growing pile of clothing. "Shoes after this please?"

"If you'd like," Draco agreed, watching as the clothes were bundled up. He handed over the money for them all and took the children down the street to do shoes next, ignoring his daughter's pitiful whining about workout clothes. They could do that some other time, when they weren't dragging three boys and her anti-physical-activity sister with her. The shoe shop clerks looked at them and nearly frowned. "They need school shoes and the two older boys are in growth spurts."

"Two shoe sizes this summer," Iggy said as he sat down to be measured. "So can I get mine big?" The clerk nodded, hurrying to get him some shoes. He put them on the boy and watched as Iggy walked around.

"You look like you're wearing slippers," Draco noted. "Too large, Ignatius."

"Bet me. I'm not sliding that much." He stopped to flex his foot. "I like these. Two more pairs in this size please." He sat down, being the easy one. Simone needed flats and Ana would want heels. Denver and Little Ron would just want something that fit. He sat down to wait, having paid for his shoes. "Textbooks next?" he asked.

"Yes," Draco agreed. "And only textbooks, Ignatius."

"Yes, Uncle Draco," Iggy sighed. He adored the bookstore. "I have stuff on order back in Hogsmeade anyway." His uncle looked at him. "I had to order them."

"One of these days, you're going to find that you've run out of room. Then what are you going to do?"

"Put them in Simone's trunk," Iggy told him. "Just like I do now."

Simone chuckled. "Not before we leave. You can move stuff over from your other rooms since you have two others nearby. I'll need the space in my trunk before we come up." She walked around in her new shoes and winced. "They're too tight across the toes." She sat down and looked at them. "I like the square toe look."

"They're not ladylike," the salesclerk told her.

"Yay. I'm in it for comfort, the fashionable one is my sister and I *really* wish all of you would get us straight." The man flinched and went to get her what she wanted.

"Calm down, Simone," Draco cautioned. "He's been bombarded by children all day long."

"Yay! All I want is comfort, why can't people give me that. I don't want to be bound up or put into something fashionable, and especially not something girly." The salesclerk turned around and went back, bringing back some boys' shoes. "That's more like it," she agreed as she got up to move around. "I don't know why you think us girls don't walk as often as the boys, we do, and usually more so since our bathrooms are in out of the way places." She nodded. "I need two more pairs of these please." She sat down and let him take them off, but stopped him before he moved off. "If you had looked at the shoes I was wearing when I came in, I wouldn't have yelled at you. It was obvious that I don't like girly things by what I was already wearing." He got free and walked off.

Draco smothered a laugh. Hopefully the dolt would listen to the sensible advice.


George helped his son pack his trunk. "Why do these look so big?" he asked.

"So you don't have to shop for me again until break," Iggy told him.

"Oh." George nodded. "Sensible I guess. What about in the lab?" A large bundle of t-shirts was held up. "Wonderful," he said happily. "Underwear and shoes?" Both were held up. "Did you have any problems?"

"I'll need a new quidditch uniform," Iggy told him, turning to sit on the bed as they packed stuff. "My present one is straining at the seams and the pants are too short."

"Tell your captain as soon as the feast is over with, he'll make sure you get a new one." He finished putting in the shirts and turned to fold up the pants, already cuffed. "Those look smart." He put them into the trunk as well, then shut it, having to force it closed. "Just this and the one of books?"

"I already moved most of my books up to my room in the tower," Iggy admitted. "That's what I spent all morning doing." He stretched. "Am I due up there yet?"

George checked the clock on the bedside table. "Not yet. Another hour. Did you want a nap?"

"No, just wondering if I should change." He stood up and showed off his jeans and tanktop. "I don't think I should go to the entering feast in this."

"No, probably not," George agreed with a smile. He pulled his son into his arms for a hug. "Have I told you that I'm proud of you yet?" Iggy shook his head. "Well, I am. You amaze me some days but I'm very proud of you."

"Can you make Simone quit pouting about me going to Braun next summer?"

"You could go for the shorter term," George offered. "It's only five weeks."

"Maybe," Iggy sighed. "But daddy wanted me to start traveling to the other colonies too, just to meet them and learn the political structures."

"I agree, but we might be able to put it off for another year," he said with a smile. "And who knows, you might not want to go to Braun this summer. They might not be doing lessons that you'll want or need."

"Maybe. They said they're doing a healing class and a transfiguration potions class."

"Then maybe you should go," George agreed. "We'll discuss this closer to break, when you have to have your application in."

"That's due in a month," Iggy reminded him. "That and the fees."

"How much are the fees?"

"Don't ask, Uncle Fred nearly had a heart attack." Iggy grimaced. "There's financial aid though."

"Son, we can afford to send you to school," George assured him. He grinned. "We might not be able to send William and Maeve, but you can go." Iggy laughed, which was his intent. "Get ready and we'll go up now so you can meet everyone at the door like you did last year." He gave his son a gentle spank and watched him take his clothes into the bathroom to go change, while he went to grill his twin about those fees. He found Fred mid-grope with his girlfriend Elizabeth. "Fees?" he asked.

"Sixty galleons a term," Fred told him, watching the wince. "He'll be going two terms if he takes both classes he wanted." George clutched the counter. "Or he could do a practical application term, which is eighty, but it lasts for four weeks."

"Can he?"

"He'd have to get special permission," Fred told him. "So probably not this year."

"Still, a hundred-twenty galleons for six weeks worth of school? That's outrageous."

Fred nodded. "That was my first thought, then someone reminded me that you pay for the reputation as well. Plus you'll have to add in housing and food costs."

"Or we could apprentice him out," George suggested.

"Your mate would kill you," Elizabeth noted. "Apprenticeships are not only out of favor, but they can be quite bad for some people if you're not careful." She pulled away from her boyfriend's arms. "There's all sorts of horror stories about Master's mistreating their apprentices."

"Or he could stay home for another year and finish learning what Severus can teach him," Fred added.

"He mentioned financial aid," George offered.

"He's not eligible," Fred told him. "He's not in the regular program and they don't have it for summer terms."

"So I can't go?" Iggy asked as he joined them.

"Come here," Elizabeth said, helping him get presentable. "Why did you get them so big?"

"Because he's in the middle of a growth spurt," George told her. "We're hoping those last until break."

She laughed. "Really?" Iggy nodded. "Oh. Well, then I hope so too." She smiled at him and finished rolling up a sleeve, tacking it in place with a small stitch from the end of her wand. "How's that?"

"Better," he admitted. "Thank you, Elizabeth."

"You're welcome, honey." She gave him a hug. "Get your trunk and I'll walk you up to the apparation barrier if you want."

"I'm going up for the feast," George told her. He stopped his son from moving. "I don't want to deprive you of going, Iggy, we were just talking about the cost of it."

"There are a few other academies that offer early admittance programs for kids in school," he told him. "None of them are close and Braun is supposed to be the best. They won't take anyone who went to the one in Finland or the one in Egypt."

"You're not going to Egypt," Fred said firmly. "They don't like us and tend to hurt us greatly when they find us." He handed over a small bag of goodies. "Be sparing with them, those are your fathers' new models."

"I get to test them?"

"Sure, it'll be great," Fred said with a smile. He waited until Iggy walked outside. "We'll manage, George."

"Hopefully," George agreed, following his son and Elizabeth out the door. "Come on, let's go stuff you back into your dorm for another year."


Simone looked up as the door to the compartment she had chosen was opened. "Hello, Melvin," she said with a smile, making room for him. Denver would be back in a while and Melvin was running late. "Where're Little Ron and Ravena?"

"Little Ron and Agatha are getting on at that new second stop," Melvin said as he flopped down onto the seat, putting his carry bag under his seat. "Ravena's presently getting many hugs from my dad." The little girl hurried in and sat down. "Where's Ana?"

"Primping in the loo." She closed her book and looked at her younger sister. "You're going to behave, right?"

Ravena smiled at her. "I think I can only do better than you did in your first year," she said with a smug look.

Anastasia walked in and closed the door. "The Slytherin idiots are at it again in the next car." She sat down next to Melvin. "Denver?"


"Okay, that leaves Little Ron and Iggy."

"Iggy doesn't take the train, last year was a fluke, and Little Ron's getting on at that new second stop," Melvin told her, patting her on the thigh. "Are you happy to be going back?"

"Very," she said. "Where's Andrea?"

"On her way up," Simone told her. "Pumpkin was officially retired this year so Storm's coming and he's balking at the wall." The door opened and admitted the last two members of their group, Denver helping Andrea inside and away from the kids running down the halls. "Already?" she asked.

"Two of the Slytherin idiots' brothers are on the train for the first time," Denver said as he squeezed in. "Ryan's hunting them at the moment so they're on the run." He glanced around. "Little Ron?"

"They put on a second and third stop," Melvin told him. "They're getting on at the second one. There's supposed to be about sixty of us getting on up near the border."

"Actually, they're old stops that got reestablished," Andrea told him. "I read Hogwarts, A History."

"I did that in my first year," Simone told her. "Aunt Hermione gave it to me before she went bad." Melvin groaned. "What?"

"I heard Dad talking about her last night. She's broken through some of her programming," he said quietly. Denver and Anastasia both gasped. "Agatha doesn't know. They only told Harry."

"Shit," Simone said, summing up their feelings on the subject.

"Should we be watching out for her to show up?" Ravena asked. She didn't really remember Aunt Hermione, only that she was a bad girl and had hurt Little Ron and Agatha.

"Hopefully they'll be putting back on the conditioning," Melvin told her, giving her a reassuring smile. "It'll be okay. You can protect Little Ron."

She sniffed. "But I can't be in the house with them and play," she pointed out. "I play seeker and Little Ron will never give me airtime." She wiggled a little. "I'm going to take Daddy's spot in his house."

"I'm sure you will," Denver agreed, giving her a gentle pat for her delusions. The sorting hat would never put another Malfoy in Slytherin now that his father had broken whatever evil charm had come their way. His youngest sister just smirked at him. "Did you bring a broom?"

"Daddy said he left one in his closet in case I get on the team," she told him. "Do you still have the old Nimbus 2001?" He nodded. "Cool, I'll use it as a backup broom if you don't want it."

"Sure," Denver said, getting comfortable. "Next year, we steal one of the larger compartments."

Melvin laughed and switched places with him so he could sit next to Andrea. He really did like her quite a lot, and would call her his girlfriend if she wouldn't paste him for it. He patted Storm gently, getting small barks of pleasure from the extra-large dog.

"My trainer was surprised at how natural Storm was," Andrea told him. "He's never seen a great dane or a mastiff in service before and said it was amazing." Storm barked at her and she tossed down a treat. "Yes, you're a good boy, Storm. A very good boy." The dog munched on his dog treat and laid back down, content to sleep on his mistress' feet for now. He'd need to get up and wander later.

"Who're the teachers on this year?" Simone asked, patting herself down. "Daddy took my allowance last night and packed it on me."

"Mine too," Denver agreed.

"Uncle Ron, Uncle Severus, and Auntie Tara," Ravena told him. "I saw them loading themselves. "And Zach's with them."

"Hey," Andrea said, brightening up. She loved watching little Zach. He was so adorable and sweet. Not at all like his father. "Should we go visiting?"

"Later," the other kids said, mostly together.

"To get our allowances back," Denver added. "Uncle Ron probably has something for us."

"Hopefully," Melvin told them. "If not, dad packed me lunch."

"No, thanks," Simone told him, wincing. Percy was not the most culinary of people.

"We stopped at a deli on the way in," Melvin said with a smile. "He agreed, he sucks at cooking."

"Oh?" Andrea asked, taking a long sniff. "Chicken salad?"

"And bread." He nudged his carrybag with his foot. "I've got more than enough to spread around."

"Maybe later," Simone told him, picking back up her book. "How long before we get Little Ron?"

"Three more hours," Melvin told her.

"Wonderful." She flipped the book open and got involved in it again.

Denver leaned back and looked out the window, letting his youngest sister curl into his side. "It'll be okay, Ravena, we'll still talk to you and protect you, no matter which house you're put in." She giggled. "I won't even pick on you when we play your team."

"Bet me," Simone mumbled. "All's fair in love and quidditch, brother dear." She turned the page. "If she can't duck, then she'll get pasted too. We don't take it easy on Melvin."

"I wish you would," Melvin complained. Simone grinned at him. "I know you won't, but dad did say I could beat you this year if you cracked another of my ribs." Simone shrugged and went back to her book.


Further up the train, two of the three teachers were lounging about in their special compartment. Well, they were actually playing with their son, but mostly lounging.

Ron came in and slammed the door shut. "Your house is going nuts again," he said grimly as he sat down. "Dueling in the halls."

"How many detentions did you hand out?"

"Sixteen so far, all to upperclassmen." Ron smiled at the baby, wiggling his fingers. "Good morning, Zach, did you decide to wake up and join us?"

"Zachariah has been awake now since we boarded," Snape said, looking him over. "Not exactly professional garb," he noted.

"No, but I fit in at the train station while I was herding kids," Ron reminded him. "You didn't." He checked his watch. "Another hour before the next stop?"

"Why did they decide to reimplement them?" Tara asked.

"Because some families were having trouble getting into London," Snape told her. "I'm sure the Potters will be boarding at the next one." Ron nodded. "Any other families?"

"Supposedly two others. The third stop is the big one since it's hours from now," Ron reminded him, getting comfortable. Zach scooted around, then got up and crawled over to play with his shoelaces. "Hello, you. Don't put them into knots please. That's all I ask."

"Don't let him chew on them," Tara told him. Ron nodded, reaching down to pat the baby on the head. "Maybe we should have left him back at the school with the others."

"Xander's got his hands full and none of the others are his age," Snape reminded her. "Besides, I shudder to think what he'll be teaching those children today."

"I thought last year was sweet," Tara said, giving him a mischievous grin. "They sang to the whole school last year."

"Yes, quite loudly," Snape agreed. "It was quite a show," he said when he saw the other parent's look.

"Dumbledore seemed to like it," Ron agreed with a grin, knowingly irritating the older man. Tara giggled and grabbed her son to stop him from chewing on Ron's pantslegs. "He's not any trouble, Tara, I just went through that stage myself."

"Yes, I remember Raymond Vincent crawling around gnawing on people," Snape told him. He had a few teething marks of his own now from that boy.

"At least they did it while they were cute, not like Iggy."

Tara snorted, turning her head as the door opened and a kid walked in. "Yes?" she asked, still trying not to laugh.

"Sir, can you please come talk to your nephew? He's snogging in the loo and I *really* need it."

"Use ours," Tara told him as Ron stood up. Ron waved and walked out, heading back to find out who was doing what now. "Three loos are too few with this many kids," she agreed.

Snape nodded, it had always bothered him how few loos there had always been. It was like some sort of test in cooperation. There wasn't even one for each house.

Ron walked back to the compartment where most of the Gryffs were, tapping on the bathroom. Anastasia walked out, pushing a couple in front of her. He opened his mouth, but then shook his head. "They wouldn't leave and I needed to use it," she said with a shrug. She smacked the boy across the back of his head. "If they can't be considerate, or lock doors, then they'll have to learn how to not stare." She ran her hands down the front of skirt.

"Dear, your skirt's caught in your pantyhose," Ron told her, patting her on the head. "Children, no snogging in the loos. We'll be having a discussion tonight about appropriate behavior." The sixth years nodded, going back to their compartment. "Pull the shades," he called after them.

"Yes, don't hog the necessary stuff," Ana agreed. She finished fixing herself. "How's that, Uncle Ron?"

"Better," he said, watching her walk away. He was going to have fun reporting this incident to her father. He felt the train slow down and headed for a door. Apparently they were running early. He waved at Harry as they stopped, getting out of Agatha's way. "Head left, most of the Slytherins are in the second car." He stepped down and took the sleeping body from Harry's arms, letting him sling the cases up. "Couldn't get him up?"

"Not a bit," Harry said with a smile, looking around. "I packed him a lunch, it's in his carry bag." He patted it. "Beat Agatha if she misbehaves, Ron." He stepped back and waved, then disappeared.

Ron kicked the bags, until one of the house elves stepped up to grab them. "I need the carry bag," he told Dobby with a smile.

"Is that Harry Potter's son, sir?" Dobby asked, craning up to see him. "He's still tiny."

"Yes, he is, but he's heavy," Ron grunted, shifting the kid. He carried him back to the family compartment and kicked the door until it was opened. He handed over the boy, watching as Dobby put the carry bag under the seat. Little Ron ended up across Denver, Simone, and Ravena's laps. "He didn't want to wake up."

"Probably spent all night listening to his father's nightmares," Melvin suggested. "I know I did."

"You can nap on me," Andrea assured him, patting his hand gently.

Little Ron gave out a tremendous snore and shifted, burying his head against Ravena's stomach. "You guys behave," Ron told them, leaving them alone. He tugged on the cord after checking on the platform and they were off again. He broke, leaning against a wall to laugh his ass off. His namesake was so very much like Harry sometimes. He went back to his seat, only stopping to check on some compartments that had their curtains closed. "Little Ron and Aggie are on," he announced as he sat down. "Little Ron's fast asleep, I had to carry him down to let him nap on the Malfoys."

Snape shook his head. "How he can sleep through being dressed and moved I don't understand." He had been called to look in on the boy when he had fallen asleep during a class the last year. Lupin had thought the boy had been drugged, but he had only been asleep.

"This time I think Melvin was right. Harry probably had nightmares all night and kept him up," Ron said with a shrug. Harry still had some of the most graphic nightmares of any of them, but he refused to take sleeping potions anymore. His children were both well used to the screaming and fighting he did every night by now. "He's crashed across all three of the Malfoys' laps."

Tara smiled. "I bet he's cute too. I wonder if Ravena is blushing yet." Both men looked at her. "She likes him."

"Wonderful, a Potter/Malfoy marriage," Snape said. "I'm sure the boy's father will be thrilled."

"Think about Draco's reaction," Ron said with a grin, almost wanting to see that explosion on some level. "How long before the next stop?"

"Four hours," Tara told him. "I checked." She put Zach into his carrier and handed him a bottle. She wasn't going to breastfeed on the train just in case the students decided to burst in. Like they did a few minutes later, all whining about Agatha beating on the idiots she found dueling in the corridors.

Snape stood up and glared down at them. "She is most correct, there should be no dueling, though I will talk to her as it's not her job. Go back to your seats." They left quickly, not wanting to irritate the head of their house. He'd let Agatha get them if they annoyed him. Snape walked back to where he could hear yelling, stopping the argument by opening the door. "Thank you for stopping them, Agatha, but that is not your job," he pointed out, effectively telling both sides they had been correct and making the Prefect arguing with Agatha and Ryan smirk. "Why has Professor Weasley broken up some as well?" he asked her. She lost her smirk and went to snap at the stupid boys before she got into trouble. "Did you remember everything?" he asked the girl.

"Yes, sir," she said, giving him a smile. They had come to an understanding by the end of her first year and she appreciated the fact that he trusted her to have limits on her behavior. "I wasn't going to harm her."

"Still, let her have her illusions of power," Ryan soothed, running a hand down her thigh. "We'll show her up soon enough, my Princess." She beamed at him and blushed slightly.

Snape looked at the boy. He had grown up quite a lot, and was nearing his full adult height, probably in another year or so. These Americans grew up so fast. "Do remember what appropriate behavior is," he told them, then left them alone. He stopped in to listen to the lecture for his students. "Thank you," he told the Prefect. She bowed and left, leaving him to remind them of what a proper Slytherin did on the train.


Iggy looked up as the door opened, smiling at the kids coming in. "Welcome back," he called, waving at them. He pounced his cousins and walked them into the Great Hall, letting Melvin go to his table for the feast while they all congregated together. They didn't even try to save a seat for Ravena, she had been too adamant for too long. Iggy noticed that Little Ron was looking uncomfortable. "What's wrong?"

"He woke with his face in Ravena's crotch," Denver told him as he sat down. "All moved in?" Iggy nodded. "Good. Did our beds follow us this year?"

"Nope. New beds. New mattresses too. Nice and firm." Iggy looked around. "That many kids graduated last year?" he asked, noticing all the empty spots at the tables.

Simone put down her book and nodded. "It seemed like half of Slytherin graduated." She looked around, then shrugged. "The train was packed, even more than last year." She looked down at their Prefects and Head Boy and Girl. She detested the new Head Boy, he was a lech, but the Head Girl was nice and would allow her to beat the smarmy shit up if he tried to grope her again. Most of the Prefects were all right, though there was a partying buddy of the Head Boy among them. Hopefully he wouldn't be made Head Boy next year. The doors opened and Hagrid walked in, smiling around, even though he didn't look too well. "I wonder what's wrong with him," she said quietly.

"He's been sick all summer," Iggy told her. A few of the nearby students looked at him. "We thought it was another outbreak of the flu, but he's just been tired a lot. He's fine." He frowned when he saw the open seats at the table, even after everyone had sat down. "Who's teaching Magical Creatures?" he asked, pointing at the seat Hagrid used to sit in.

Simone looked up, then frowned at Hagrid, who gave her a nod. She pointed at the seat and he shook his head. "No one yet, but it looks like we'll have a new one soon," she said grimly. She watched as the new students were led in by Professor Sprout and her father. "Why is daddy doing that?"

"Because there's so many of them and he probably had to break up a few fights," Iggy told her. He looked at the group of students, the largest in nearly fifty years according to his father. "Wow. Ravena stands out."

Ravena was presently shivering and gripping her father's cloak around her shoulders. She glared at one boy, who gave her a smug look. So she pulled her wand and flicked it at him, making him start to retch. "Bastard," she told him. "Never touch me again, and never try to push my butt into the lake either."

"Ravena," Draco snapped.

"Yes, sir," she said, giving him a pitiful look. She eased the boy's stomach problems and gave him a hopeful smile. "Is that better, Professor Malfoy?"

He nodded. "Much." He glared at the boy, telling him his life was going to be hell soon enough.

Albus stood up and coughed, bringing the attention back to him. "Thankfully, she was saved before she drowned, Professor Malfoy. Have no fear that we will watch out for her as we have all the others of yours." Draco nodded and a number of students craned to get a good look at her. "Welcome to another year. Before we begin, I do have some standard announcements. The forbidden forest is just that, forbidden. Our future caretaker is starting this year and I would like for you to give him the same courtesy that you give Mr. Filch." He smiled at them, sharing the joke with them. No one liked Filch, but he was good at his job. "Mr. Filch has revised his list of forbidden objects, it is now three thousand items long. Needless to say, if you want to check and make sure that something you have is on it, it's sitting in his office. He has asked me to announce that he's campaigning to get Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes shut down." George and Xander both broke out into snickers. "So please respect the hallways and don't set off anything in them this year." A low groan came from the Gryffindor table and he smiled at them. "I'm sure it will be interesting to watch the on-going battle." He smiled at the new students. "We welcome all the new students, of which there are a lot of you this year. I hope you will find your place here quickly and settle in." He sat down to some applause.

Madam Sprout stepped up and put the sorting hat onto a stool, starting the traditional ceremony. When it was time for Ravena, she plopped herself down onto the stool and accepted the hat onto her head. "Hello."

"Ah, another of your line," the hat said with a grand amount of tolerance. "How many more are there?"

"Just one," she told it, earning a few giggles from the waiting students. "You'll see my younger brother in another nine years."

"Good." The hat hummed in her head. "My, what an interesting child you are. Just as strong as both of your sisters put together, but quite a lot like your mother. Yes, indeed, quite a lot like her."

"Yes, but if you put me over there then I won't be able to play quid," she told him. "I'd really like to."

"Yes, we must take that into account," the hat said with great humor. "You're sure? That will put you in opposition with that nasty little creature Agatha Potter."

"I'm sure. I can handle her."

"Then the only choice for you is Slytherin!" the hat shouted.

"YES!" Draco called out. He clapped loudly and Ron helped by whistling, which made Ravena happy. "Finally," he said, nearly crying. One of his children had followed his footsteps.

Ron patted him on the back. "Congrats, mate."

Xander beamed at him. "Good job," he congratulated.

"We'll even cheer for her, unless she's playing the family," George agreed. Draco beamed at them. Down the table he could see Severus shaking his head, but that was all right for now.

Ravena took her seat and nodded at Ryan. "Good evening," she said, shaking his hand. "Ravena Malfoy-Weasley." She smiled down the table at the Captain. "When are tryouts?"

"Next week." He looked her over. "What do you play?"

"Seeker. Little Ron trained me." He looked impressed. She smiled at him. "He actually trained me a little too well. I'm his equal on the field."

"We'll see," the captain told her, looking her over again. "You all right?"

She sneered as the boy who had pushed her in was sorted into Hufflepuff. "Perfect," she said, nodding at her cousin Melvin, who would be creaming that boy for her later. She smiled at Ryan, then at Agatha. "Get in my way, cousin dear, and I'll show you exactly why I was put into this house." Agatha sneered. "Trust me, not only did I learn from *both* sisters, I'm much more competent at the Princess ranks and above. I'm not a Princess, I'm the Goddess of the family. Do try not to get in my way." Ryan laughed and she smiled at him. "You're not particularly a fond topic of discussion in our family because of your mother, but I realize you have some lessons to teach me. Do try not to get in my way either. I can make Anastasia seem pleasant when she's having female problems." Ryan nodded. "Good. I look forward to helping you." And with that, she made her claim as a Princess of the house. Agatha continued to glare at her. "Keep it up and I'll fix that bump on your nose for you," Ravena said when she got tired of it. Agatha pulled back. "Thank you." She settled in and waited for the feast to begin. Her father beamed down at her and she knew she had done just what he had wanted. She would be taking over his spot in the hierarchy, without all that nasty sleeping around of course.


Draco walked out onto his team's pitch and stopped when he saw the people surrounding him. "Yes?" he asked. He put his broom aside.

"You were eating with the Weasleys," the keeper sneered. "Slumming?"

Draco laughed. "One of them did bear four of my children, so I do have to associate sometimes. Besides, Xander Harris-Weasley is more than a match for all of you put together." He looked behind him as Xander walked out with Harry Potter. "Weren't we going to practice today?"

"What are they doing here?" the coach asked.

"Scouting," Harry said with a smile. He loved pissing this idiot off, his coach had told him *all* about this guy. "My coach sent me to look over your alternate keeper for a possible trade." He handed over the letter. "Xander's here to tell me about what my son did this time." He took a seat and smiled again.

The coach groaned. He couldn't prevent it, it was against Union rules. "Fine, you stay there." He glared at Draco. "You, go change. We're trading you to their team."

"We're not taking any seekers," Harry pointed out. "Puddlemere and Chuddly are though." Draco looked interested. "You might try them." He smiled as the alternate keeper joined the group. "Hello, I'm here to look you over as a possible trade for our alternate. Ollie is going to be out this season to finish healing his shoulder."

"Oh, really?" he asked, looking Xander over. "What does he play?"

"Bodyguard," Xander told him.

"Oh." The keeper nodded. "Perfectly understandable with who you are and all." He smiled at his coach. "Am I being traded?"

"Yes," the coach ground out. He hated that kid almost as much as he hated Malfoy. "Both of you, leave. You too, Potter," he spat.

"Agreeable with us. Do you want to come talk to my coach or file as an independent agent?" he asked the keeper as he stood up.

"I think I'll file first," the keeper said, looking at Draco.

"Me as well I believe," Draco agreed. The coach started to turn red. "I don't need you. I had other offers, you were chosen due to house loyalty." He grabbed his broom and walked off, the keeper in front of him. The kid was weaker and couldn't fight worth a damn. "Why do this now?"

"Because your daughter's on suspension," Xander told him, patting him on the back. Draco looked at him. "Simone."

"Oh." He rolled his eyes. "Why?"

"She and Black got into it," Harry told him. "She was showing off and he snapped at her so she snapped back. Then he decided to use her as a practice subject and she made him change forms to get away from her. Dumbledore thought it best if she be taken out of that class for the next few days," he finished with a smile. "She's not officially disciplined but she's having a long study hall in the tower during that class."

"Wonderful," Draco sighed. "At least she didn't get officially reprimanded this time." He smiled at the keeper as the Union rep met them at the gates. "We're tired of this." Forms were handed over, already partially filled out. "Thank you. How long before we can take offers?"

"If you want, I've got six sitting on my desk right now, including a trade situation," the rep told them. "Mr. Potter, were you here to look him over?" Harry nodded so he smiled. "Good job." He glanced at Xander, then back. "A problem with your child?"

"Playing bodyguard," Xander told him. "Harry got his house broken into last night." Harry groaned and punched him on the arm.

"Excuse me?" Draco asked, stopping his signing to look at him. "Someone broke into your house?"

"And stole a few pictures of the kids," Harry agreed.

"Hermione?" Draco asked, going back to his filling out the forms. As soon as it was done, the gate was opened so he could escape the repressive environment.

"The agents who answered thought so," Harry said, sounding depressed. Xander nudged him. "I don't want her to be hurt."

"She won't be. They'll strengthen the memory charms this time," Xander assured him, clapping him on the back. "Draco, I'm leaving him in your hands so I can go back to school. I can feel Ron thinking hard about me going to stop Iggy from beating up on Sirius." He waved and disappeared, teleporting back.

Draco shrugged. "Want a beer?"

"Sure," Harry agreed, taking the new keeper back with him so he could hype his team for the possible acquisition.


Xander appeared outside the school and looked around, then pulled his wand and stopped the brawl. "Stop it," he snapped. The participants broke apart, showing Ron and Sirius at the center. "What's the meaning of this?"

"He decided to pick on the kids," Ron said as he brushed himself off. "I got pulled in while trying to stop it." He glared at Sirius. "Maybe you need a break, Black. Don't make me give it to you."

Xander put a hand on both their shoulders and squeezed. "This is not appropriate. What kids were you picking on and why do I have the feeling that you're not normal?" he asked, looking at Sirius.

"Because he's not," Remus said from behind him. He smiled when Xander glanced at him, then winced because his best friend had just tried to hit the young professor and ended up face down in the mud with a foot in his back. "Nice shot, Xander."

"I try," Xander said, flexing his fist. "Is this really abnormal, or is this lack of getting laid?" Remus and Ron both snickered. "Well, he does turn surly during those brief times."

"This is abnormal," Dumbledore said as he walked out. "Xander, your son is in the infirmary." He stopped him from stomping on Sirius' head. "He's fine, just a split lip. Your training shows very well in him," he said gently. "That's why Ron stepped in." He looked around at the crowd. "Go back to class now, thank you." They all dispersed, going back to the outdoor classes. "I'll want Sirius in my office and you as well, Ronald." Ron nodded. "Xander, infirmary please. I thought I heard something snap."

"My knee popped," he admitted with a glare at the downed man. "Fix him before I take offense on behalf of my son." He walked away, going to check on their kids. Iggy only had a split lip, but he was pacing and furious. "They think he's got something wrong."

"I can fix it," Iggy told him coldly. "I'm sure a nice poison would work wonders on his attitude problem. A nice, slow acting, long-term poisoning." His father smiled and gave him a hug. "Daddy! I'm being mad here!"

"I now and it's a very pretty sight," Xander told him with a grin. "Albus said you showed a lot of my teaching. When did I teach you how to fight, beyond teaching you how to defend yourself?"

Iggy smiled at him. "So I watched you train Simone," he said with a shrug. "Yay me."

Xander laughed. "Point. Now, let's go back to class."

"I can't, I have him."

"You can go to the library instead." He led his son from the infirmary.


Ravena looked around her class, then raised her hand. Everyone else was filling out forms and she was done. "May I read until you're ready to go on, sir?" she asked Remus. He nodded and took her paper, smiling down at her. "Thank you." She pulled out her textbook for her next class and started in on the first chapter so she'd have some idea of what was going on. She was tapped on the shoulder so looked up, everyone else was done now too. At least Defense was looking interesting. She listened as the teacher told them what they were going to be doing, frowning at the description of changing things. She raised her hand. "Professor, isn't that against the laws of nature?" she asked.

A few students laughed but he nodded. "It is, that's part of what you'll be learning in here, when to transfigure and when not to." He smiled at her. "That's a very good point. When might you not want to transfigure something?" Ravena raised her hand again. "You know of a good time?"

"When it's your father fighting with your uncle and he turns him into a cat," she said with a smile.

Lupin laughed, he had heard of that incident. "Very true. Your father probably shouldn't have changed your uncle because he wasn't wanting it. Five points, Ravena." She beamed. "Does anyone else know of a similar situation?"

One of the Ravenclaws raised his hand. "Her father turned her uncle into a cat on purpose?"

"Father did it to make him stop arguing with him," Ravena told him. He nodded and his eyes bugged a little. "Don't worry, he said he'd only do it to anyone who touched me inappropriately."

Remus nodded, trying hard to hold in the laughter. "I'm sure any future boyfriends that you or your sisters have will have to pass quite a lot of tests to see you." He looked around. "How about animals? Do you think they like being changed?" Everyone nodded. "Well, you're wrong. It hurts to change from one form to another. Even animagus have a lot of pain the first few times, until their bodies get used to it."

"Do you know any, sir?" one boy asked.

Remus nodded. "Professor Black is one, unfortunately he's a bit ill at the moment." And raving like a lunatic about being Draco's father, but then again that was a common sign of possession. "You can ask him to show you when he comes back in a few days." The boy nodded. "I went to school with a number of people who turned out to be animagus. Most of my friends were, as well as a few people that I thought were friends but really weren't." He crossed his arms. "Back to the discussion. Do you think it's ethical to transform creatures or other people?" Ravena raised her hand. "You wanted to answer that?"

She nodded, standing up. "I think it's important to learn how, in case it becomes necessary. I think that it should only be done under necessary circumstances, but I can see a loophole because we're presently learning and have to do it at least once to know what we're doing in the first place. Otherwise we'll be stuck when it becomes necessary."

"Good reasoning," he agreed. Another student raised a hand. "You had a differing opinion?"

The other girl stood up. "I know that it's important that we learn these skills, but I'm opposed to hurting the animals for the purpose of learning. Why put them through this misery when we can learn theory and do it in other ways?"

"Because theory is great, but it doesn't always allow you to understand what you're doing," Ravena told her. The girl looked at her. "Take flying. You've probably learned the theories behind it?" The girl nodded. "But can you know what flying is like without doing it personally? Can you learn enough from the theory and the stories of others to tell you what it's like?"

The girl thought about it. "In some ways, but the reality will never be the same as flying. That's not what we're talking about though. We're talking about changing the fundamental nature of something for learning purposes."

"Ah, but it is the same," Ravena said, smiling at her, moving in for the kill. "How can you know what it's like to make a muscle shift, or to make cells expand and change, without knowing what it feels like. A lot of this looks to be done by feeling the changes going on and you won't know what the proper changes feel like unless you've done it. Again, not something you can get from a theory or a story of someone's who's done it because it feels different to each of us."

"I guess you have a point," the other girl admitted, "but I don't want to harm animals for sport."

"And you won't," Lupin agreed. "All the animals we use in here are given potions to make sure that they don't feel the pain of the changes. After each class, they're checked and returned to their normal forms. We do everything we can to make sure that the animals aren't hurt." The girl nodded and sat down. "Very good reasoning both of you. Five points for each of you." Ravena sat down. "You've both obviously at least read some of your textbooks. For those of you who haven't, we'll be doing our first changing next class. Just simple things for now on inanimate objects, but the first few times I don't want you to be afraid of the skill. It is a skill and a very helpful one." The gong rang. "Dismissed. Read the first chapter if you haven't." The students filed out and he made a note to talk to Draco about how smart his youngest daughter was. He hadn't heard an argument like that since Simone had started Transfiguration. Very strong and very brilliant.


Ron wandered through the halls, tugging at the ill-fitting shirt. Dumbledore stopped him and gave his shirt a meaningful look. "They disappeared again, sir. Every one of my shirts are gone." He looked down at himself then back up. "It's the best I can do on short notice. I'm sorry."

Dumbledore frowned. "How many times has this happened, Professor Weasley?"

"This makes the third, sir. All sixteen of my shirts are gone. I've asked around and no one can find them." He leaned against the wall. "I don't know what to do about this. I've tried everything."

"I'll be on the lookout for people in your tower," he said with a smile. "Consider this a warning and go to class. You can go buy more this afternoon."

"Yes, sir." Ron pushed off from the wall and headed down to his classroom. "Sorry I'm late," he announced. "Small problem in my room." He smiled at the group. Sixth years, all right. "Who remembers the last two months of last year?" Six students raised their hands. "Excellent, then you won't mind refreshing our memories?" He patted the lectern, then got out of the way. "Each of you, pick a creature and come discuss it." They all moaned but had known this was coming. A short fight broke out. "Whichever of you gets up here first gets first choice," Ron reminded them. "The rest of you, get your old notes or take new ones. The last two months of last year lead directly into this year's first four." He sat down, watching as the first sixth year came up to take over the teaching position.

"The one I remember most was a werewolf."

"That was fourth year," Ron pointed out. She glared at him. "Sorry."

"As I was saying, there was another were-creature in the fifth year and I usually relate the two." She gave him a smug look. "Werehamsters and other were-creatures that don't depend on moon phases to change, they're more like animagus."

"Very good, and how do you tell those?" Ron asked, crossing his feet. She shifted some. "Come on, you have to know more than their names." She hurried back to her seat and got her old notes, bringing them back up. "Smart idea," he said with a smile. "Go on once you've found them."

She nodded, skimming her notes until she found them. "Here we are. They're the equivalent of animagus but they've got some lycanthrope features mixed in, making them a borderline creature. We don't necessarily have to study them but you added them in just in case, Professor Weasley, because you've run into a few who were bad." He nodded. "Most of them change dramatically with the moon phase, even though they're normal animagus every other time of the year. The moon phase brings out the more animalistic nature in them and brings them closer to the animal than the human, which is why they're considered dangerous. There's a debate going on of where they come from, whether they're animagus who have lost control or if it's something that's happened to them." She smiled. "How was that?"

"Very good. Five points." She went back to her seat. "Next?" he called. A boy trudged up. "What's your creature?"

"Blood creatures?" he suggested. Ron nodded for him to move on. "While we covered vampires a little, in general, we covered other blood-feeding creatures. Including some mythical ones like a giant leech that lives in Devonshire."

"It's real, I've seen it," one kid called.

"Bully for you," Ron called back. "You can go next if you want." The kid slumped down in his seat. "Thank you." He waved at the student. "Go on."

"It's real?" Ron nodded. "Eww."

"Definitely, but the bigger one isn't as nasty as the smaller ones. The smaller ones attack in swarms, the bigger one attacks alone. How do you handle it?"

"Salt water will make it let go, as will fire," the boy told him. "A general fireball spell will make it back off and hopefully run away." He cleared his throat. "For some reason, there's also a version that only likes virgins and will only attack them. Plus, there was the smaller blood-feeding creatures and the nightmares as you called them, sir."

"Which are other topics. Good. Five points. Go sit down and relax."

"May I go to the bathroom instead?" he begged.

"Sure. You've got ten minutes." The boy hurried away. Ron understood, he had nearly pissed himself the first time he had stood up in front of a class as well. "Next?"


Tara smiled at her beginner's class. "Are there any questions before we get started?" One girl raised her hand. "Yes?"

"Why did we have to take Professor Harris' class before this one?"

Tara smiled at her. "Because the two are intimately entwined," she said, sitting on the desk to rock her son's carrier gently. "The type of magic I do is more geared to defeat the things that he taught you. We thought it best to give you a taste of the differences before you got here."

"So, because they were different, but overlap in a few places, it was a building block?" the girl asked.

Tara nodded. "Believe it or not, you've learned some lessons that will help you in here. Including the discipline he taught you and the different ways to look at the world. You won't be using your wand in here." The kids gasped. "That's part of why you took his class first, just in case something happens. A few years back, while outside for a spell, we accidentally summoned a demon to us. Fortunately it was a plant demon, but the people who remembered their lessons were able to react fastest and deal with the situation, driving it off. Professor Harris taught you a lot of stuff that you didn't realize. Now we're going to build on it." She pointed at the board. "Up there are the sixteen most common versions of the craft known to present humanity. The ones with checks I will teach you the most about because I'm most familiar with them. I practice the first one personally." The students took down the notes she was giving them, looking up at her when they were finished. "The next group, the one with stars, are ones that I'm familiar with, but not that familiar with. I can give you the major things about it, but I can't help you if you decide to go in that way. Bastest may have been a great Goddess, but I can't worship cats. I do nature magic and that's my thing." The students nodded and wrote some more. "The last two," she went on, "I know nothing more than theory about. They're chaos based. If any of you are thinking about going in those directions, I know someone who practices the last one and can arrange to have a tea with him some afternoon as a field trip. He's not allowed in the school, or anywhere near it, so we can't have him as a guest speaker." She smiled. "Any questions so far?"

"Are we doing any spells?" the girl from earlier asked.

"Nearer to the break. For right now, you're going to get history and theories. For Solstice, we'll do a ritual of Druidic origins. This was their lands and it's appropriate." The girl nodded. "Until then, expect to take a lot of notes and learn a lot about various cultures." Storm barked. "Shush, you, or no playing with Zach later." Storm settled back down, whimpering at the owl at the window. "Oh." Tara smiled. "Good boy, thank you." She went to get the message, smiling at it. "Excuse me for a moment, I'm going to need to pass this one on. Andrea, please watch Zach." She walked out and closed the door, looking up. "Xander?" she whispered. He always kept an ear out for her calling his name. He walked down the hall and took the message with a smile. "Spike needs you."

"I don't have anything to do today," he said with a shrug. "Having fun?" He kissed her on the cheek. "I'll be back later." He walked off, his cane loud in the quiet halls. He walked up to the headmaster, where he was watching Hagrid's class. "I just got a note."

"I heard," he said patiently. "Do come back before supper."

Xander showed him the note. "It's a phoenix problem." Dumbledore frowned. "Yes, one of them picked Spike," he said with a grin. "Amazing, huh?" He disappeared, landing on Ethan's front step. He tapped on the door, looking around. There were three phoenixes on the lawn, giving him a clue. As soon as the door opened, they rushed in and started to coo at the female who had chosen Spike. "Mating," he sighed. "What fun." He grinned at Spike. "You're up early today."

"She bit me," Spike said glumly, starting to close the door, but another one forced its way in. Flying past them, it hissed. "Cheeky bit," Spike muttered, closing the door. "Thanks for this."

"Not a big," Xander told him, following him into the sitting room. They found Spike's bird, Baby, on her back being poked at by this fourth one. "Huh, guess she picked her mate." He tapped the three growling ones on the head. "If you go to Hogwarts, there's sixteen unmated ones up there," he told them, showing them pictures of the school and the birds he remembered. Two of the three took off and Xander looked at the last one. "Oh, you're one of ours," he said, shaking his head. "Try Finland," he suggested, showing him the magazine he had seen recently. "Ask nicely and tell them that you're from our nestings." The bird cooed at him and nudged him gently, then took off out the open window. "Anything else?" Xander asked.

"How on earth?" Ethan asked from the doorway.

"Phoenixes," he said, sitting down, "can read minds. We often give Murphy and the others mental messages, or verbal and visual messages if you like, to carry. They can remember a verbal message, basically recording it in their heads, to deliver to the next person. As long as you're the least bit sensitive to any form of magic they can deliver it to you."

"Oh." He looked impressed. "When were you going to share this with us?"

"When Baby was ready. Murphy didn't do it until I had him for three years. I think they have to grow into it because Simone can't train them to do that." He pointed at the copulating birds. "They're supposed to be flying. Spike, pull the junior rapist off her and let her get free." Spike glared at him but did so, getting bitten a few times in the process and scratched down the cheek. Baby took off with a squeal of outrage and the male was released to follow her. "That's more normal," Xander told them with a grin. "Did you need help with the nest?"

"What sort of nest will they need?" Ethan asked hesitantly.

"Either a regular bird style nest, like Woodstock on the Peanuts, or they'll want a full house sort of nest. Basically, a large box, some hay, and you can't move it."

"Ever?" Spike asked.

"Ever," Xander agreed. "She'll kill you if you move her nest." He stood up. "Since she used to try and breastfeed off some of the student, I'd say she's more than ready for motherhood. She'll build her own nest, but you'll have to help her keep it up. Make sure it doesn't catch fire since it's got to be warm and the like." He shrugged. "I can give you the titles of the books we used during the last nesting."

"I don't think we're ready for a nesting," Ethan told him. Xander laughed. "What?"

"You don't get to decide that. Baby does." Spike groaned. "Problems with her already?"

"I just heard my door open," Spike said, going to stop them from doing it on his bed.

"Can we move the nest if she builds it somewhere, perhaps somewhere safer?"

"Let me check," Xander sighed, putting down his version of one of Iggy's thumbtacks and went to talk to his mate. "Hey," he said as he appeared in the lab. "Baby's about to nest."

"What?" Fred asked, looking at him. "Which one was Baby?"

"The one who went with Spike."

"Oh." Fred frowned. "One of the phoenixes went to a vampire?" Xander nodded. "Why?"

"Because this was the one who got you in the balls that morning," Xander said with a grin.

"Oh, the biter," Fred said, nodding. "I think they'd be a perfect match now that I realize which one it was. What's the problem with her? Nesting?"

"In a chaos sorcerer's house," Xander agreed.

Fred shrugged. "We can put them up here if you want."

"That means probably putting up with Spike since she's his bird."

"We do have the basement," George said from the doorway. He left the door open, just in case someone came in. "Just watching over her until she finished having them?"

"I can't imagine her leaving until the chicks can defend themselves," Xander told him. "I'd ask Albus, but I also can't image him letting Spike wander around the school every few days."

Iggy appeared and held up a finger. "Sorry, messenger and all that." He grinned. "Uncle Albus said absolutely not and if Spike was going to stay, you're going to have to tell everyone." He grinned. "And for doing this, I get to go to the bookstore and check on my order." He jogged out the door, heading down to the bookstore.

Fred snickered and shook his head. "Give us a day, we'll send him an owl if we can get some townspeople behind us." He patted Xander on the back. "Steal a kiss and get back to work." He went back to mixing his ingredients.

George stole a short kiss. "Behave and no getting drunk with your vampire."

Xander grinned. "Me? Drunk?" He disappeared, going back to where his thumbtack was. He landed on top of Ethan. "Gee, picked it up?" he asked as he was helped up.

"I was examining it. Very handy device. Keyed to your energy signature?"

Xander dusted himself off. "Yup. Iggy figured it out. It's how he gets to some common spots, like the main gryphon library at the Braun institute." Ethan looked impressed. "Yup, he's allowed there. As a matter of fact, he might be going there. He's very good."

"Good on him," Spike said as he came in, holding his bird out at arm's length. "She's done."

"Where's the male?"

"She kicked his butt out," Spike said with a shrug. He set his bird on the couch, until Ethan smacked him. "Sorry." He put her on the table instead, patting her gently. "What are we going to do?"

"Well, for right now, we're going to have to ask around for space for the nest," Xander told him. "I asked my adoring brother-in-law and he said he'd ask around Hogsmeade." Ethan grimaced. "Sorry, but we really don't trust you with a new nest, Ethan. Some of your buddies are rather big arseholes."

"Very true," Ethan agreed with a smile. It was cute, Xander was starting to turn more Brit each year. "I don't mind, Xander. Would Spike be going with her?"

"Probably part of the time," Xander agreed. "They can get a little clingy for their chosen humans when they're nesting. Would that be all right with you?"

"Dear Lords yes," Ethan told him, starting to nod. "I'd have the house to myself again." Spike growled at him. "No more beer breath at two in the morning and no more annoying episodes of cold showers because *someone* stole all the hot water."

"I got cold," Spike told him. "If you'd turn the heat on, it wouldn't happen."

"Guys," Xander said, smiling at them. "It'd be on and off for about a year."

"Even better," Ethan agreed. "Can you take them now? I'll have him packed and ready in ten minutes."

"We've got to wait on word from the locals in Hogsmeade," Xander told him. "My husband will send an owl tomorrow if he can take her in." He smiled at them. "Anything else?" Baby cheeped at him. "I know, you'll want some hay to start building, sweetie. Good hay, Ethan, not low grade horse hay for stable floors." He waved and disappeared, taking his thumbtack with him.

"Just think, a whole town of people who haven't ever been threatened by you," Ethan said happily.

"You'd think you wanted me gone," Spike sneered.

"I do," Ethan told him. "Do take the hint, thank you." Spike laughed. "I have no idea why you've stayed this long."

"Because I got told to," Spike told him.

Ethan grimaced. "Bloody Powers." He went to help Spike pack, and make sure all of his possession stayed. Xander wouldn't let some helpless innocent stay with him, and especially not ten or so of them.


Iggy looked at the cashier. "Really?" he asked excitedly. "How many of my books are in?"

"Just six of them," she said, pulling up the small stack. "Sex magic?"

"It's got a few really nice anti-conception potions," Iggy told her, putting it in the middle of the stack. She smiled at him. "Hey, I'm thirteen," he told her with a shrug. "How much for these?"

"These are the inexpensive ones," she told him. "Fourteen galleons, six sickles." He disappeared and came back with his every-few-month book allowance from his father's pockets. He paid her and watched as she bundled them up for him. "We might have one of the others in the back, we just got a shipment. Want me to go look?" He nodded, starting to bounce. "Okay, you stay right there." She knew his parents would freak if he got *more* books, but he was so cute. They depended on the boy. Business was going to suck once he finished school. She came back with a thick, heavy, dusty book. "This one came too, Iggy."

He squealed in joy and grabbed it to hold. "My book," he said happily. He pulled his wand and summoned his bag of coins from his locker. He had been saving up for this one for *months* now. Someone tapped him on the shoulder and he showed his father. "It came," he said happily.

"Which one is that?" George asked, flipping it open. He frowned and shook his head. "You're an odd duck, son. Did you need more money?"

"I don't think so, but hang around for a few," Iggy said, turning back to the clerk. "How much?"

"Sixty-eight." George winced but Iggy emptied the bag, letting her count them out. When he came up a coin short, his father flipped one in.

"Thanks, daddy."

"You're welcome, son." He smiled at her. "Do you have those two books we ordered for him?" She giggled and dug them out from under the counter, handing them over. "How much?"

"One more galleon. We gave you guys his standard discount." George tossed her another one. "Did he need another bag?"

"Please?" Iggy asked with his cutest smile. Everything was bundled up for him and he went up to look at these other two. "What're those?"

"This," George said, holding it up. "Is the book your father's been looking for as a Christmas present last year." He smiled. "It's to help you make one of those never-ending books out of your personal potion's notebook." Iggy squealed and hugged him. "Oof, son," he said, backing away. He handed over the other one, this one basically a pamphlet. "That's so you can learn how to shrink down your books."

Iggy smiled at him. "Really?" George nodded. "That means I can keep my whole collection with me, right?" George nodded again. "That's so wickedly cool, daddy. Thank you." He gave him another hug then grabbed all his bags, taking them back to the school. His goofing off period was over with, it was almost time for Potions. He landed outside the dungeon and smiled at his mentor as he came out to see what the noise was. "Some of my books came in," he said, showing off the big, heavy, dusty one.

"Where are your textbooks?" Snape asked.

"With Simone and Denver. I had to run and be a messenger for the Headmaster." He grinned. "My daddies are so cool," he said, holding up the two they had gotten him.

"My," Snape said, nodding. "Useful texts, both of them. We'll be discussing your book choices in a while." He tucked the book sticking up back into the bag. "Don't spread that one around, Ignatius, it could get quite uncomfortable for some people." He went back in to oversee the first years stumbling through their first potion.

Iggy sat down, flipping through his new advanced potion's text from the middle ages. He found a spell he hadn't known existed and stopped to read it, ignoring the class change gong until he was nearly run over. Then he got up and went in to sit in his usual spot, continuing to read over it.

Snape walked behind him. "It doesn't work," he noted when he saw what he was reading.

"They've got the potassium out of balance with the wolfsbane," Iggy said absently. His head was turned up. "What?"

"Do you think you're ready to start working on things of your own?"

"Not until after I'm done with the seventh year textbook, but I'm looking forward to it. Ana's potion isn't near strong enough." Snape gave him a small smile. "And hey, if I can figure it out, that'll only make my chances better of getting in on full scholarship, right?" Snape nodded and let him go. "Did I get it right?" He pushed over the book.

"That's also going to be too watery," Snape told him. "Good suggestions though. You may not start to experiment on your own until *I* say so, Ignatius."

"Yes, sir." He accepted his books from Simone as she sat beside him. "Look what I got." He showed off the two smaller books, making her shake her head. "But it'd be a lot easier," he pointed out. "Plus, I can carry my *whole* collection around with me."

"I'm sure I'd like the trunk space back," Denver said as he sat at the table behind them. He looked at the book. "That's scarily dusty. Ancient knowledge again?"

"Middle Ages," Iggy told him. "Hidden in the Vatican. Said to hold a few alchemy lessons too." Snape looked at him. "It's a related field, the same as mythology is," he reminded him.

"Yes, but I am not teaching you so you can turn into an alchemist."

"Hey, even I need a hobby," Iggy told him. Snape rolled his eyes and walked away, going to settle in for the first part of the class. Everyone else ran in and took their usual spots. "Where's McKindron?" Iggy asked. "I know she was here."

"She got stepped on in Magical Creatures so she's in the infirmary," Denver told him, reaching up to swat him. "Where were you?"

"The phoenix that went to Spike is nesting and the Headmaster needed me to pass on some messages. In return, I got to check on my book orders." He patted the bags.

Snape looked at him. "One of the phoenixes went to a vampire?" Iggy nodded. "Why?"

"It was Baby," Simone told him. "She who bit everyone on the ass."

"Five points for swearing," Snape said automatically. She rolled her eyes. "And ten more for that, young lady." He looked at Ignatius. "A vampire with a phoenix?" Iggy nodded. "How soon before she nests?"

"Dad's looking for space to put the nest so Ethan can't get the chicks," Iggy told him. Snape snorted. "They're thinking the basement of the shop, but one of the messages I had stated that Daddy had to tell everyone in town what Uncle Spike is."

"What is he?" one of the Slytherins asked.

"A vampire," Ryan supplied, looking at him. "One of the most hated Masters. William the Bloody."

Iggy nodded. "Yup, and your mother snuggled up to him a few times, didn't she?" Ryan glared and he smirked. "Just like my father did when they were fighting together and got trapped in a cave." Snape coughed, breaking up the impending fight.

"Is it true that your dad and his mum used to go out?" one of the Slytherin girls asked Iggy. He nodded. "When? Your dad's gay!"

"Back in high school, before he met Daddy George. Daddy George made him forget women forever." He snapped his fingers. "That's right, they got caught smooching because of Spike, didn't they?"

Ryan stood up and shoved Iggy off his stool. "Take it back, buttmonkey. My mother has much better taste."

Tara walked in and swatted him hard. "Stop it. Iggy, books." He handed them over. "Your father said I had to look over one of them for you." He shrugged. "You're not going to complain?"

"Hey, I'll get 'em back or I'll buy a new copy," he said. "The one he wanted you to look at wasn't that expensive." She frowned at him. "Would you like to set the record straight?"

Tara glared at Ryan, making him shift backwards. "Yes, your mother and his father were cheating on their respective significant other with each other and got caught at it because Spike captured them to make your mother do a love spell so he could get Druscilla back." She smiled. "Your mother got good taste when she dated me. Anything else you wanted to know, you might want to ask her. Iggy, quit picking on him."

"Yes, Professor Maclay," Iggy said, looking like he was sorry. She smiled at both boys and left with almost all of Iggy's books, except his new, big, dusty one. Anything that looked like that couldn't have dirty pictures in it.

"Sit," Snape told them. "I've had enough of this activity." They both sat and looked attentive. "Thank you. In the future, ask your parents if you want to know about their dating history." He glared at Iggy, he expected better of him. Iggy gave him a pitiful look. "Keep it up and clean pots tonight," he warned.

Iggy snorted. "Since when don't I do that anyway?" Snape glared at him. "Sorry, sir. Were we going to start on the toadstool potion today or the laxatives?"

"Toadstool. The first six potions in this year's textbook are to be ignored. If I catch you making any of them, I will have you suspended to your tower. Do you understand, Ignatius?" Iggy nodded. "Simone?" She gave him a sweet smile. "Answer or lose more points."

"I understand, sir, I would never dream of spiking anyone's morning tea with laxative. It's juvenile. There are much better ways of getting even with people if you have half a brain and the skill to research." He groaned. "Oh, sir, if I bring you something to try and talk me out of making, would you tell me where I can find one of the ingredients? I asked in Diagon and they said they don't stock it any more."

"No," he snapped. "You will behave or I will punish you most severely." She nodded, still giving him that same sweet and innocent smile. "Get out." She grabbed her books and left. "Ignatius, I'll expect you to stop her."

"Me?" Iggy asked. "Do I look like I'm that brave?" The other kids laughed. "I don't stop Simone from doing anything. Talk to her father, sir. He's closer to Superman than I am." From behind him, someone laughed. "And don't ask Denver either. She won't listen to him either." He opened his textbook and pulled over his cauldron, reading the provenance of the potion in question.

Snape glared at his head then shook his own and went back to preparing the rest of the class. Perhaps he would talk to the girl's father, it might work.


Draco looked up as his classroom door was knocked on. "Come," he called. He used his wand to unlock it when the doorknob rattled. He put down the weight he was lifting and sat up, looking at the scared-looking professor. "Problems, Wood?"

"Just wondering what this room was. Harry told me about it." He looked around. "May...Are the teachers allowed to use it?"

"Yes," Draco said patiently. "Though, with your shoulder, you'd best be careful. None of us down here have the training to help you build it back up." He wiped his face off. "How was your first day?"

"Rotten," Wood said with a smile. "Almost as bad as my first taking the class."

Draco stood up. "I remember. I did it last year and had to save someone from running into the ground. Did you get the suggestions I left?" The other teacher nodded, looking more comfortable. "Watch out for the Hufflepuffs this year. There's a few students in there who are simpletons and will give you trouble."

"I had them just now," Oliver admitted. "That's why I'm down here." Draco waved at the weight bench. "Are these muggle?" he asked, moving farther in. "How do you work these?"

Xander wandered in, frowning at Draco. "Put on a shirt before you get another stalker," he scoffed. "Oliver, take off half of those and start over." He headed into the office. "Iggy got a book on sex magic."

Draco walked in, giving him a quizzical look. "Sex *magic*?"

"It's more from Tara's side of the magic spectrum," Xander said with a smile. "Raises power, conception rites, things like that."

"Oh." Draco smiled. "Think he'd mind if I borrowed it?"

"Tara confiscated it on him. George called her." Draco chuckled. "Go help Oliver, please?" He put his feet up. "I just got back from running around."

"Of course." He went out to help the poor boy. He got to feel so superior while teaching.

Xander grinned to himself. "Oh, we're getting Spike around here," he called after him. Someone dropped a weight. "His phoenix is nesting."

"Bloody hell," Draco called.

"Language," someone said from the hallway as they walked past, sounding suspiciously like Tara.

Draco ran after her. "Can I look at that book you confiscated?"

"No," she said with a smile. "Albus has it." She patted him on the cheek. "Go be a good boy, Draco, no more naughty thoughts where the students can see them." She giggled and walked away.

Draco looked down at his spandex shorts and decided maybe he needed to change. He went to do that before anyone else could laugh at him.


Draco looked up just before someone bowled into him, giving his youngest daughter a hug as she landed in his lap. "How was your first day?" he asked as he hid the book he had gotten off the Headmaster. "Were you good?"

"I earned ten points in Transfiguration for two well-thought-out answers," she said proudly. He smiled at her. "Plus, I got to have Iggy help me with my potion. He didn't even make fun of us when he taught us how to measure. It's not much different from what Grandma has us do when we make cookies." She settled into his lap. "Simone got kicked out of potions because she was planning on doing naughty things."

"I heard and I had a talk with her," Draco said patiently. "How is your house doing?"

"Very good. Agatha is leaving me alone." Someone tapped on the door. "Come in," she called. Her dorm room opened and Ryan walked in. "My father came to check on me."

"I heard," Ryan said, giving Draco a smile. "I like your daughter. She's got balls. She's also under a death threat by a certain Potter." He came in and closed the door. "Ravena, Agatha's very upset with you."

She smiled at him. "Yay. She can't do much to me." She blinked at him. "Does that mean that you're picking sides?"

"Dear, he's made a promise to Agatha," Draco reminded her. "He has to stick up for her no matter what." He poked her gently. "Please don't hurt Agatha, Ravena. Her father appreciates her living." Ryan coughed then smiled. "Still, it doesn't look good."

"I know, but she's annoying," Ravena complained. "And if she bothers me, I'm going to get her."

Draco gave her a hug. "I love you and I'll support you when you're grounded to the tower." She smiled up at him. "Ryan, I appreciate the position you're in and I do understand how hard this is for you."

"I really don't mind, I think I can split my attention between them."

Draco chuckled. "Not a chance." He sat up and put his daughter onto her bed. "A word of advice. You don't mess with women when you have one at hand. It's dumb and people often ask if you're suicidal."

Agatha slammed the door open. "He's fine," she snapped.

"I was warning him to pick a side," Draco told her. "Being nice to both of you will have people asking him if he's suicidal."

"Listen to the *whole* conversation if you're going to eavesdrop," Ravena told her. Her father nudged her. "What? It's a good piece of advice. Simone taught me that."

"Very true," Draco agreed, giving her a smile. He stood up and grabbed his book, smiling at Agatha. "I will expect you to comport yourself like a Princess, Agatha. I know Ravena can, but your attitude is starting to slip." She glared at him. "And if you try anything against Ravena, I will not stop my other children from retaliating." She nodded, but continued to glare. "Remember, she is a Goddess in her own eyes, and will act as such. If you wish to become a queen instead of a simple princess then you had better learn to control yourself, young lady." Agatha pulled herself back together and nodded. "Thank you. Ryan, I meant to tell you last year; you've done wonders helping Agatha find her place in the house. Very good for someone isn't native to these levels. You almost seem like one of us." He smiled at his daughter. "Come to the tower after dinner," he instructed. Then he left the house, only stopping to talk to one girl, who looked horrible. She broke down and cried so he helped her calm down and told her to go to Xander. He went to hide the book before dinner, it wasn't exactly something he could read over the meal.


Xander looked over as his son walked in and sat down. "Finding them helpful?"

"Yup, that tie idea is the one I'm liking the most," Iggy said, curling into his father's side. "Daddy, do you think I should have taken Tara's classes instead of your second one?"

"I think you could do it but if it's not what you want, I think you should take what you want. How was Runes?"

"Funny. Uncle Bill sent me his old set and they spelled out dirty words all class without help." Xander laughed. "The teacher was impressed and remembered him fondly." He looked up. "The reason I'm asking is because there's a lot of potions in that stuff."

"I know. You could ask Tara, but I don't think that you're going to do her sort of magic." He gave him a squeeze. "No more bringing the sex magic book around with you."

"Yes, daddy." Iggy settled into the comfy spot, watching the tv with him. "Why are those people in a car chase?"

"They stole the other person's kid." He pointed at the guy driving the second car. "That one's kid."

"Oh. So it's a muggle revenge chase. Got it." He tipped his head as the channel changed. "Who did that?"

"I don't know, but it's irritating," Xander said, changing it off the adult station. "I didn't need to see bouncing breasts."

From upstairs, someone yelled.

"Uncle Ron?" Iggy yelled back. "Are you all right?"

"They did it again!" Ron shouted, stomping down the stairs.

"What about the ones in my closet?" Xander asked. "I put one of the bags in there for you just in case."

"Maybe," Ron said, going up to check on those. "No, they're here." He came back down, clutching his last few shirts against his chest. "I want to hurt whomever's doing this."

"I know," Xander soothed, giving him a sympathy pat. "We'll look for a better lock spell in a few days."

"I'd let you borrow mine, but I think they're too small for your chest," Iggy offered. Ron gave him a smile. "I saw Aunt Ginny earlier."

"She has her own clothes," Ron dismissed. "And she never really stole my shirts, that was more Charlie's shirts." He shifted, looking over as the channel changed. "Xander, are you sitting on the remote again?" It was held up. "Then who did that?"

"Not a clue," Xander said, turning the channel back. "That's two. One more and I'm hunting someone down." The channel changed itself again and he sent a rash of power at whomever was doing it. Then he smiled and changed the channel back again. "It won't continue," he said with a smirk.

Draco walked in and stopped to look at them. "What?"

"Enjoying my book?" Iggy asked.

"Quite a lot. The theory behind it is rather interesting."

"Be honest, Uncle Draco, you're looking at the naughty pictures," Iggy said with a grin.

"That too," Draco agreed with a smile. He noticed what Ron was holding. "Loving your new shirts?" He sat down in Xander's chair.

"The rest disappeared."

"Again?" Draco asked. Ron nodded. "Well. Maybe we should investigate this before all of your clothes disappear."

"Please. I don't want to have to go to class starkers one day," Ron said with a small smile.

Dumbledore walked in and looked at Xander. "What did you do?"

"I zapped the stupid git who was changing my channel to the het porn station," Xander told him. He smiled. "Why? Are they itchy and nasty feeling?"

"Indeed," Dumbledore said, starting to smile. "They were changing your channel from the Ravenclaw house?"

"Apparently," Xander told him. "I followed the energy flow back and got 'em." He handed over the remote. "Hit the 'last' button to see what they wanted to watch."

The Headmaster flipped the channel and watched as the two young professors tipped their heads to watch what was going on. He changed it back with a smile. "At least you had good reason and we now know who the gryphon-born running around is."

"Wonderful," Xander said dryly. "Does that mean I get to scare him tomorrow?" Dumbledore grinned. "Good. I'm looking forward to it." He patted Iggy. "He got some of his books today."

"I heard. Draco, do keep that book out of the general population. Ignatius, please don't read it. We don't need the thought going through the phoenixes and I'm sure Simone will take it from you." Iggy laughed. "By the way, what is she wanting to do?"

"I don't know, she didn't tell me, sir," Iggy admitted. "If you ask her, then she'd probably tell you so you could help her find that last component."

"I'm sure she would," he agreed. "Do try to keep the mischief down."

"I always *try* to be good," Iggy reminded him. "Daddy, you forgot to sign my permission slip this year."

"It carries over," Dumbledore told him. He looked at Ron, who was still clutching his bag. "Again?"

"Again," Ron agreed. "These are the last I have, Headmaster. I'm trying to be presentable."

"I know. Continue to try and figure out who's doing this." He nodded at them. "I'll expect you to talk to the boy during his free period, which would be the second one."

Xander nodded. "I can do that. Is he going to scoff, get pissed, or throw fits?"

"Throw fits, at least until his parents get here tomorrow night and get angry."

"Deal. Can I get them?" The channel changed again and Xander zapped the kid again, and it changed back. "I think I've solved that little problem."

"Was he the one doing the broom thing?" Iggy asked. The Headmaster nodded. "Okay then. Do I get to help teach him control?"

"No. You're about to start losing control yourself," Xander told him, giving him a pinch. "The first time you lose control, you have to tell me, Iggy. It's important."

"Yes, daddy. I'll tell you the first time I start to create a lust bomb. Though there's no one around here that interests me that way. I have my ideal woman and she's in France now." He started to smile, looking dreamy. "I can imagine her in some new lingerie, like the stuff in the runway shows. High heels. Hair pulled back partially, with just a few strands falling around her face. Ooh, and she's eating Hershey Kisses, licking them ever so slowly."

Draco burst out laughing. "It seems that the lust bomb gift does run in the family."

Iggy frowned at him. "I can dream. She's a beautiful woman."

"Son, a hint. Lingerie is uncomfortable for women to wear, like simple things instead. Like them wearing one of your shirts. That used to be one of my favorites when I liked girls."

Iggy shivered. "I could like that," he agreed. Then he got up and went upstairs.

Draco burst out in giggles. "Oh, my. I never dreamed about things like that at his age."

"Mine were always naked," Ron agreed.

"My son has taste," Xander pointed out.

"Along with a definite taste for older women," Dumbledore said, still blushing a little bit. "Try to keep him calm, Xander. We don't want him to blow out walls or anything." He walked away, going to take a cold shower.

Xander looked at the boys. "Think we should go up and interrupt him before he blows something out?"

Draco shook his head. "He's been doing it for a year now. He's got control." He burst out laughing again. "At least he has a good imagination."

"Except for places," Xander told him. "That's why he uses the thumbtacks." He stretched and grabbed his calf, rubbing the cramping muscles. "I've got to quit doing that."

"You need a good massage," Ron told him. "Buffy used to give great ones."

Xander nudged him. "You'll find someone else."

"Some year," Ron agreed. He looked down at the bag, opening it to look down inside. "They're gone!"

"Wow, very unfun for you," Xander told him, standing up. "I'm going to go soak in the tub. Even if I do have to kick my son out of it and make him clean it." He wandered up the stairs, going slowly thanks to his sore calf.

"I think we need to get him someone to look at his knee," Draco said quietly. "He's having more trouble with it."

Ron nodded. "I'll suggest it to George tomorrow when he comes up. Any new team offers yet?"

"Actually, I've had two offers in the last week. Chuddley and Puddlemere are both looking for seekers. Both are excellent teams and both coaches are better than my last one."

"Good," Ron said with a smile. "I can't wait to go to a game again." He laid down on the couch. "How can I find those shirts?"

"Short of a tracking charm," Draco said with a shrug.

"I tried that, nothing came back."

"Then I don't have a clue," Draco told him. He grabbed the remote and turned it back to the porn station. He and Ron both settled in to watch it.


Xander looked up as someone coughed. "Hey, Oliver, what's wrong?" He shifted and pushed a chair over. "How's the shoulder?"

"Too sore to move," Oliver admitted, holding up a bandage. "Can I get you to help me wrap it? Madam Pomfrey said you do it better than she does."

"Sure, but let's use something better," he said with a smile, pulling two straps out of his bottom desk drawer. "These are what I use when I have to bind up my shoulder." Oliver looked at him. "My first year teaching I broke my collarbone and ribs. Shift this way." The young man turned and he stretched one of the straps around his chest, adjusting his shirt up into his armpit before hitching it down. "How's that? Too tight?"

"A little bit," Oliver admitted, moving his arm until it got comfortable. The second strap was put over it, making a sling. "Wow. You do know."

"I've fought since I was fifteen," Xander told him. "I broke my arm three times in the same spot, and about sixty places on my body over the years, and now I have to deal with a fake knee and the pain around it."

"Fake?" Oliver asked, turning back around. "Thanks for that."

"Welcome. It had to be replaced when I got burned a few years back." He pulled up his pants leg to show off the scars around his knee. "Somehow I shattered it when I fell off the stairs. They thought I had only shattered my kneecap, but when they got in there they found I had actually separated one of the joints from one of the bones in my calf."

"Why does it hurt?"

"Because the muscles and nerves around it didn't adjust very well. I didn't do the physical therapy the way they wanted, I did my own version so I could get back into shape again. So now I have to deal with intermittent pain in that knee and some pain from the healed parts lower in my legs." He put down his pants leg.

" did you get burned? If you don't mind my asking."

Xander smiled. "Not at all. It was brash stupidity on my part that saved Ron's kids from some people who wanted to hurt them. I stood on the front steps of the school and called earth lightening, which somehow called down real lightening to fry me royally. From what little I remember, the burns are from the earth lightening as it flowed through me." Oliver's mouth fell open. "Yup, that was me. Those are my footprints out on the front steps."

"Wow. No wonder you taught Harry and Ron." He grimaced. "Sorry, that probably sounded bad...."

Xander held up a hand. "I did teach them, and Draco, all about fighting. I spent most of their seventh year molding them into the sort of fighter I was when I was their age. Now I know that they're safe so it's all good to me. Even if my husband does occasionally yell at me for sparring with Ron," he added with a grin.

Oliver smiled. "He's good, I've seen him working out with the heavy bag." He shifted his shoulder. "How long should I wear this?"

"At least three hours after it starts to piss you off. I do it that way so that your shoulder has time to settle into the correct place while it heals." He looked at the doorway, then back at the younger-seeming man. "How does your league feel about muggle doctors? I can give you the name of mine. He's a really nice guy."

"How would I explain my injury?"

"See, muggles have this game called soccer," Xander told him and Oliver nodded. "You've seen?" Oliver nodded again. "You're a goalkeeper, it translates. All you have to say is that it's a sport injury, he'll understand. He's a marathon runner. He has a replaced knee too."

"Wow." Oliver nodded. "I'll check with the rules, I'm not sure if I can do that. They're really strict. Little Ron's glasses wouldn't be allowed in the professional league because they're not wizard standard issue."

"Yeah, but this is your life," Xander told him. "Pain isn't supposed to be part of it."

"I know," Oliver sighed as he stood up. "I'll ask around and see. If I can, would you ....." He grimaced. "I hate to sound needy but I have no idea where anything is in muggle London for the most part."

"Sure. I have an appointment in another three weeks courtesy of my husband getting pushy. You can come with me if you want and ask some questions."

"Pushy, your husband?" Oliver said with a smile. "I guess not everything's changed with them."

Xander snorted, but he was smiling. "Ron told him and George got this determined look on his face. Usually he only gets it in the lab or in the bedroom."

"I'm sure he does," Oliver agreed, leaving to go back to his class area. He had to get ready for the people who couldn't fly.

Xander wrote out the next test question his kids would have next week. He liked the kid, he was as focused on his sport as Xander was on his fighting. It was different for him, but he understood the kid's desire to get back. He had felt it himself.


Iggy looked around the dungeon, then pulled his hair back again. Severus hated it when he did this, but it was more comfortable for him.

"If you'd cut that mess, it wouldn't be necessary for you to adopt a muggle fashion statement," Severus said from his office.

"I like my hair like this," Iggy reminded him. He went back to writing out the next potion he would be doing. He always did this, wrote down every one he did so he could make notes on the problems he had with the potion. Then it would be added into his new never-ending book. He finished the last word and pulled down his cauldron, frowning at it. "You're getting thin," he complained, but shrugged it off. He would get himself a new one next week with his allowance. He pulled off his shirt, showing off his well-muscled physique.

"Why do you persist in wearing such overly-large clothes?" Snape asked harshly.

"Because they're not as big as they were when school started," Iggy said, looking over at him. "I'm in the middle of a growth spurt, sir, and it's annoying more than just you." He poured some water into his cauldron and put it over the fire to warm. "With any luck, I'll stop growing soon and can get clothes in the correct size. Then you can yell at me for wearing loose pants again." He opened his box of herbs and pulled out the marked drawers of things he would need. "Dirt, I need to go to Diagon again," he sighed. A small handful of herbs was handed over. "Thank you. I'll replace them soon."

"Don't worry about it. Our budget holds room to teach you as well." He watched as the boy chopped expertly. "What is your cousin planning?"

"I snuck a look at the potion, it looked like an antidote for nausea." He shrugged. "I'm not sure what it's supposed to do."

"The side effects would be an illness."

"Hopefully it's an annoying one," Iggy said as he switched to his next ingredient, and checked his pot. "The prat in Hufflepuff tried to get Ravena again and Simone wants to castrate him. Preferably with something dull and rusty, and without anesthesia." He tossed some salt into the water and the herbs he had just finished, then stirred it slowly. "What is this soup supposed to cure? All I could find was that it was a cure."

"It's for stomach problems," Snape told him. "Indigestion and the like." He tapped one of the small boxes. "You forgot that."

"It said it goes in next, without stems, not chopped." He pulled the contents of that drawer out and quickly tugged off the stems, then tossed it and the other herbs into the pot. "There's that. Now all I need is chicken broth." He used his wand to summon the can he had his father buy him earlier and the can opener. He opened it and poured it in, then stirred some more. "There, now it needs to simmer for two hours." He smiled. "Good enough?"

"Very efficiently done." Snape stood up and turned the boy to look at the logo on his shirt, then shook his head. "Kiss the cook indeed," he sighed as he walked away.

"It's my father's," Iggy called after him.

"I can see Xander wearing that."

"George's. It's one of his lab shirts."

Snape shook his head. Those Weasleys were just plain strange.

Iggy pulled out his sex magic book and sat down to read it while the soup simmered, flipping to the next section. "Hey, rituals," he said in appreciation. It was taken from him and tossed into the fire. "Hey! It's got a nice anti-fertility charm in there." He summoned it out and put out the small flames on the edges. "Meany. My book." It was taken from hin and tossed into the center of the fire, and this time his wand was taken away too. "Aunty Tara!" he whined.

"You don't need that," she called over his shoulder, putting the wand on the desk. "You can find those anti-fertility charms some other way."

Iggy grimaced at her. "No, I can't. My fathers won't let me have those books since they caught me with my copy of the Joy of Sex."

Snape choked on his water. "Excuse me, what was the name of that book?"

"The Joy of Sex," Iggy said with a smile. "It's a realistic look at all the forms that sex can take, including safety precautions and definitions. Plus a few really interesting drawings."

"How did you get that?"

"I bought it," Iggy told him. "Unlike the one that you confiscated." Snape glared at him. "Hey, I'm old enough. My equipment works and it's important that I know what to do with it before I misuse it and make the 'rents a set of grandparents."

Tara snickered. "Nice try," she told him. "And I doubt, at your age, that your *equipment* works."

Iggy gave her a dry look. "Would you like to see my bed?" he asked patiently. "I can prove it."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm sure you can, but it doesn't mean it works with girls, Iggy."

He laughed. "Why would I want any of the girls around here? My woman is in France right now waiting on me to get older."

"She's thirty," Snape reminded him. "You're still a little boy."

Iggy smirked. "Not such a little boy. I'm built like my father Xander." Tara blushed. "Sorry," he said with a grin. "That's why I'm reading those books, so I know what I'm doing with it." Snape glared at him. "What?"

"You're too young to be thinking of such things."

"Bet me. I think about them nearly every night and have since the year Dad got burned." He stirred his soup. "Puberty comes to all of us at different times. Mine just came early." He looked over at them. "Just think, Ana's hit puberty now, so have Simone and Denver. Uncle Draco's about to do something to help us get used to these new bodies of ours."

"Hopefully it's not a whorehouse," Tara muttered as she walked back into the office. "Sev, where's Zach?"

"Maeve stole him a few minutes ago," Iggy called. She came out. "They're in the garden with Hagrid and the dogs."

She smiled. "Thank you, Iggy. Have fun with your soup." She walked out.

Snape walked back over to him. "You're still too young to need such information, young man. Wait at least another year."

Iggy looked up at him. "It's not like I can stop this. Do you remember what happened when I tried that the last time?"

Snape smiled. "Yes, quite fondly as a matter of fact. You went back to an annoying child again." He lifted the spoon and looked at the consistency. "Maybe a little less than two hours."

"Good, then I have time to look up an engraving potion. We got our brooms mixed up during the last practice." He pulled down the book that should have it and opened it on the table, finding it in the index quickly. He pulled over his 'to do' notebook and wrote out the potion. "Do you think I could make this in my house?"

"It is corrosive," Snape reminded him. "It would be better to do it in a controlled environment."

"I can watch it," Iggy pointed out. "Maybe Saturday."

"You're due in town on Saturday," Snape reminded him, walking away. "Don't forget to stir that."

Iggy reached over and stirred the soup Madam Pomfrey had asked them to make. Maybe he should pounce Simone later and ask her to show him the potion. He could probably find the ingredient for her.


Oliver looked at his coach across the table. "Got a question," he said.

"I figured as much, hence the offer for tea," the man told him in a thick Indian accent, waving at the table. "What's wrong? Not enjoying teaching?"

"With the exception of a few kids, I do," Oliver admitted. "But I have a more important question." The man nodded, one hand coming up to slick back his black hair. "I want to have a muggle doctor look at my shoulder."

The defense coach shook his head. "It's not against the rules, but any treatment might be. Who is this doctor?" Oliver handed over a card. "I've never heard of him."

"He takes care of one of the other professor's fake knees."

"Like a prosthetic?" he asked as he made a copy of the card. Oliver looked unsure. "Like he has a fake leg?"

"No, this one is internal. He said that he broke off part of the joint in his left knee so they replaced it." He put his elbows on the table and leaned closer. "I know it's probably against the rules, but my shoulder's not getting any better and I have the feeling that this guy's going to find something seriously wrong, like the original fracture never healed."

"A fake joint probably wouldn't be allowed," the coach told him. "I can go with you when you go back by yourself." Oliver nodded and smiled. "I know it's hard, kid, but it's not that bad."

"Today's the first day I haven't had it strapped down in two weeks," Oliver told him. "It *aches*, Lonnie, and I'm starting to get scared that it's not going to get any better, no matter what I do."

"Then we'll talk to this doctor. How are you going to explain this away?"

Oliver grinned. "Soccer injury. Xander came up with it."

"This guy takes care of *him*?" the coach asked and Oliver nodded. "Huh. I've heard of him, most everyone has. Potter talks about him a lot. Says he still has pain from it."

"Xander said he screwed with their orders to get back into fighting shape faster."

"Ah, the usual problems. Is he going?"

"I'm going to his appointment to ask the guy some questions. If he wants to do some tests, can he do that?"

"X-rays are more than acceptable to us. You had a few when you fell if you remember." Oliver nodded and leaned back, picking up a cookie to nibble on. "If he only gives you exercises then it'll be fine. But definitely see him. Does he deal with sports injuries?"

"He's a runner."

"Oh." The coach looked impressed. "So he does know."

"And he's got a fake knee himself so he knows personally," Oliver added. "Will you come with me? I don't want to be tossed out of the league for making my pain go away."

"Sure. Give me a few days warning and I'll be there with you." He sipped at his tea. "How is Potter?"

"Hasn't he been at practice?" Lonnie shook his head. "I'll ask around tonight. Xander or his family should know. Ron and he still talk."

"Harry or Xander?" Lonnie asked.

"Harry. Ron lives in the same house as Xander." He smiled. "Dumbledore gave them a former house because they've got kids. Harry's son is looking aces by the way." He picked up his iced tea, something Harry had gotten him hooked on. "Lives for the snitch."

"Good. We'll be watching out for him. Think he'll want to play?"

Oliver nodded, smiling. "I think he'd go nuts. Harry somehow taught him that the snitch was the most beautiful thing in the world and gave him the desire to own it." The coach laughed. "You think I'm kidding, but come to the next game. The boy gets this look on his face when he catches it. Makes you sniffle with joy."

"I'll pop around to a game. He a Gryff like his dad?"

"Oh, yeah. Word is, he showed up a few months before the end of the year before he started and tried out. Hung out with his cousins for a few days."

"How is the Weasley girl?"

"Simone? Mouthy and cheeky, but she's got the better traits of both her Uncles." He chuckled. "That girl can beat anyone senseless with a bludger. It's like she can calculate which direction it's going and make it go wherever she wants. Even hits her own team if they get slow."

Lonnie broke out in gales of laughter. "Good. Sounds like she loves it too. Any other good choices among them?"

"I'd say Iggy and Denver, as a team, but Iggy's bound to Braun and Denver's the Malfoy heir."

"Really?" He looked interested as he leaned closer. "Together?"

"Together they've got these signals that no one can interpret. They're fast, they're deadly accurate, and I'd hate to play against them," Oliver admitted with a smile. "Then again, Iggy's got a life planned for himself and I'm not sure what Denver's about. Simone likes her beasties and Iggy's a whiz at potions. Denver's the family heir and it shows." He smirked. "Wait until you see them, Lonnie. You'll understand. Simone manages to fight the good fight, even when she's so pissed that she'll kill someone. Spent two summers ago knocking down dead trees with a bludger. Iggy and Denver have it down to an art. Add in their cousin, Little Ron Potter, and you've got yourself a near dream team. Only problem they've got is they're about to lose a beater, a chaser, and their keeper again."

"I heard about the problem the year they started. How did the family take it?"

"Nearly killed the stupid blokes. Just what you'd expect from that family."

Lonnie nodded. "I expected them to not live at all. I'm impressed someone stopped them."

"That would be Dumbledore. Xander considers him like a father and it shows," Oliver said with a smile. "He manages to keep that boy out of a lot of trouble."

"He's the same age you are."

"Yeah?" Oliver asked. "He seems so young."

"It's all that energy," Lonnie told him. "Even Harry talks about him bounding down the hallways to go interfere with some poor student's life, whether or not they need the help." He smiled. "Quite a man and a father from what I'm told."

"Oh, he is. Those kids are kickers. Almost makes me want one of my own."

Lonnie shook his head. "If you had a child, it'd be named Quaffle."

"That's not a bad name," Oliver agreed. "Now all I need is a willing woman and I can insure that my legacy lives on."

His coach shook his head, but he was laughing. That boy.


Xander looked up as the basement door slammed open and Spike walked up. "Going okay?"

"She's needy and cheerful," Spike growled. "Can't take this anymore."

"Hey, you can go wander around town."

"They won't let me into the pub."

"Ah." Xander nodded. "I think Madam Rosemerta would like you if she met you," he said with a shrug. "She's a nice lady."

"Who can kick your ass," Fred put in from behind the counter. "Go talk to her, Xander."

"Fine," Xander sighed, putting down his book. He was banished from the lab so George could work on something without his help and was really bored. Ron had taken over the tower for the night, and the kids, so he was without anything to do. "Come on, Spike." He led the way out of the shop and down the street, nodding at the shopkeepers closing up for the night. He introduced Spike to them and reminded him not to bother them. When they finally got to the pub, Draco was leaning against the door. "Ron get you too?"

"Oh, yes. He's frantic that the children help him with something for your birthday."

Xander looked confused. "My birthday?"

"It is in another month, correct?" Draco asked. Xander nodded. "Then why does that surprise you?"

"Because I didn't ask for anything for it. We never celebrate my birthday." He shook his head to clear it. "I'll get him for it later." He walked inside and smiled at the innkeeper. "Would you at least meet him? I promise he only gets drunk and annoying." She grimaced but came outside with him. "Spike, this is Madam Rosemerta. She can, as Fred told you, kick my ass, your ass, and Draco's ass without breaking a sweat."

Spike smiled at her. "Have much trouble from the twit?"

She laughed. "From him?" She patted Xander on the head. "Not a bit, usually. Sometimes from his children, but not usually from him."

"That was Denver's doing," Xander defended. His son wouldn't have come up with the idea to do a striptease on the table by himself. "He dared Iggy and you know how Iggy is."

She laughed. "Too true, mate." She looked Spike over. "I think I can take him." He vamped out and growled at her, lunging, but she knocked him onto the ground. "Sure, he can come in. We'll give him a table in a corner so he doesn't bother the normal folk." She opened the door. "Go ahead in." She watched as he walked in and took a spot in a far corner. She looked at the two wizards. "You coming too?"

"Yes," Draco said, pulling Xander inside. "Don't yell at Ron, he's trying to be nice and forget his shirt problem." He sat them both down and ordered a round. "Where's the hunny?"

"In the lab and I couldn't help him yet," Xander admitted. He smiled and handed the waitress something from his pocket. "Try that on the next annoying drunk," he said with a wink. She laughed and walked away, and sure enough there was an annoying drunk fairly quickly. She activated it and the drunk person stood up on the table, starting to sing and dance. "You can steer him," Xander called. "The blue button zaps him until he changes the song."

"Great White?" Draco asked, turning to look at the annoyance. "Eighties music?"

Spike snorted. "He likes the noise," he noted. "Used to play it all the time. That and that wailing, ear-bleeding music."

"I *like* that," Xander complained. "It's my sad music." He took a sip of his beer then clapped as the waitress deep-sixed the drunk. "You can have that one, we'll ask you questions as a tester."

"When will that be available?" Madam Rosemerta called from the bar.

"Next month if you can talk Fred into it," Xander called back. "Oh, and George has that new candy you wanted ready to go too."

She laughed. "Good," she said with a mean smirk. "I can't wait to put it into use." She pulled a large basket from the kitchen and brought it over. "You make some of the nicest things for us," she said, pinching him on the cheek. "Breadsticks are on the house, boys." Then she went back to her duties.

"You're still making the annoyance line?" Draco asked, pulling off a breadstick. He munched on it. "Are you still making the punitive ones?"

Xander nodded, grinning his most evil. "Oh, yeah," he said happily. "And they sell very well."

"And they say I purr," Spike said before taking a drink from his pint. "Hey, this is good. What is it?"

"Butterbeer," Xander told him. "Wizarding standard of the pub." He pulled off a breadstick for himself. "I've got this great idea for a nibbler. You set it on someone and it feels like something's biting them. I'm planning on making them in different sizes. Big bites, little bites, all sorts of annoyances packaged in a little dot that most wizards won't notice being put onto their robes. Color coded of course," he added when Draco opened his mouth.

Draco smiled at him. "Good. I can think of a few people I'd like to try that on." He watched as Xander grabbed his leg and rubbed it. "Again?"

"Yup. My doctor's appointment is tomorrow and I'm bringing Oliver with me to introduce him to my orthopedist." He straightened up. "Madam Rosemerta, can I have a small thing of cheese?" he called. It was sent his way with a swish of her wand. "Thanks." He dipped his breadstick gently and nibbled on it. "Spike, you can dig in too. They're good and chewy."

Spike picked up one. "No funny things in it?"

"Wizards eat normal food," Draco told him. "We don't all eat and sleep potions like Xander's oldest."

"He's that good?" Spike asked, taking a bite. He hummed. "These are good. Little bit of a bite."

"She puts hot peppers in the batter," Xander said with a reach for another. The door opened and he waved his mate over. "Hey, George."

"That's Fred," Draco told him, smirking at him when Fred nodded. "Still can't tell them apart?"

"Crawl in with the wrong one often?" Spike added.

"Not if he wants to keep his body in one piece," Fred said as he pulled over a chair. "It only happens when Xander's really tired or busy thinking up naughty things." He smiled at the waitress who gave him a hug. "I take it you have the zapper?" She nodded and walked away smiling. "I guess it's a good way to test," he noted, then he punched Xander on the arm. "No more free samples."

"It's good for business," Xander told him. "Free advertising plus we get to test it out on someone. And it's funny." Another drunk was lifted and started to dance on his table, singing something about being too sexy for his shirt. Considering he was four-foot-three and had a paunch the size of his head, it was really laughable. "I put it on the 'depends on the person' setting," he added with a smirk. The man took off his shirt and the waitress zapped him, sending him squealing from the inn.

Fred laughed and shook his head. "Only you, Xander."

"I like that song," Draco said, frowning at his adoptive 'father'. "Now you've ruined it for me."

Xander reached over and patted him on the hand. "Trust me, plenty of inappropriate people sing that every day. That's not the worst I've seen."

"I know," Draco told him, turning him back into the cat. "That's what ruins it for me."

Spike picked up the cat and looked at it. "You're an ugly sucker," he said with a grin. The cat hissed at him and he had to duck away from the claws. "Temper, temper," he taunted. "Don't want a bath, do we?"

Fred took the cat and glanced around. "Change him back, George was on his way over." He put it back into the seat and Xander came back. "Thank you. Don't want that fight."

"Trying for animagus now?" the waitress asked.

Draco looked up at her. "It stops a lot of arguments." She laughed and gave them another basket of breadsticks. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." She walked away, smiling and waving at George as he walked in.

George walked over and hugged his mate. "You've got furry ears," he said, then glared at Draco. They were fixed. "Do quit that, son. You don't want to see how he'd retaliate." He pushed his husband up and sat under him, holding him gently. "Am I going with you to your appointment?"

"I was taking Oliver with me to introduce him to my doc." He pulled his wand and zapped Draco, turning him the most horrible shade of green he could find. "Never do it again, son, I do retaliate."

Draco looked at himself and waved his wand, but the color stayed and he felt something shrinking. "Funny," he sighed. "Change me back." Xander shook his head. "I was nice and changed you back."

"It has to wear off," Fred told him, taking his beer for himself. "Alcohol can make it permanent." He smirked before taking a drink. "Xander, why are you taking Oliver with you to the doctors?"

"Because his shoulder's still giving him trouble. I had to strap it down for him a few times." Xander picked up a breadstick and nibbled on it, smiling at Draco. "Never turn me into a furry creature again and I'll tell you how to get rid of it," he said in a sweet voice.

"Fine," Draco sighed. "This doesn't go with my outfit at all." Xander leaned over and told him, then sat back and licked the cheese off his tie. "Thank you." Draco turned himself back to normal. "Much better. Now I don't look hideous."

"Yes you do," George told him. "You look like him," he pointed at Spike.

"I'd consider it a compliment," Spike said with a smirk.

A young woman walked up to their table. "Are you really a vampire?" she demanded. Spike nodded, sipping his butterbeer. "Prove it." He vamped out and growled, and she screamed, running back to her friends.

"Spike," Xander sighed.

"She asked," Spike reminded him. He smiled at the innkeeper, who shook her head and went back into the kitchen. He pulled off another breadstick. "Did the chit go out to hunt?"

"Yup," George told him. He wrapped his arms around his mate's stomach. "Did you eat dinner?"

"No, Ron kicked me out before we could eat dinner," Xander told him, starting to pout. "I need a snack."

"If you two start making out, *I'm* changing you," Fred warned. "You'll be small, furry, and need matching cages, which I'll set on different floors."

George stuck his tongue out, then into his mate's mouth, making him moan.

"Eww," Draco said. "Some of us still like girls and don't want to watch you two."

Xander pulled back. "You tried it at least once," he taunted.

Draco shrugged. "Doesn't mean I want to watch it now."

The waitress walked up to them. "Boys, Madam Rosemerta offered you a room but said she won't be paying you for a floorshow."

"That's okay, we've got two bedrooms," George told her with a smile. "I missed him."

Xander pinched him on the tit. "You kicked me out of the lab. You could have gotten some earlier." A chair was pushed closer and he shifted himself into it. "Tell her we'll be good." The waitress walked away and Xander grinned at his mate. "Wanna tease you anyway."

"Teasing is good," George agreed.

"Like you said, you do have two bedrooms," Draco reminded them, saluting them with his beer. "Don't make a spectacle, boys."

"You're younger, you can't call them boys," Fred pointed out.

"Yeah, or I'm getting you *books* for your birthday," Xander said with an evil grin. "Muggle books."

"I've read many muggle books," Draco said calmly. "Including some of Ginny's."

Fred choked on his latest sip. "You've read Ginny's books? Those horrible books with the half-naked women on the front being held up by the too-pretty men?"

"Yes, those," Draco told him. "It was the only thing at hand for weeks on end. It was either that or try and get her pregnant again."

"Which would hurt her and we'd have to hurt you," Xander said. One of his hands slipped into his husband's lap. To everyone else it looked like they were holding hands. To his husband, it felt like he was running a finger over him. Which he was. Just a delicate brushing against his husband's zipper. "Do you really want more?"

"Not really," Draco sighed. "I like the ones I have now but I'm not ready for another one. Lucien is very loving and he's wonderful company when I need it." He glanced around. "Does anyone know what my daughter is planning? Snape mentioned something about her and a potion."

Xander shrugged. "Not a clue. You might ask the Head Girl, she might know." He switched to stroking downward, still gentle and barely touching him. "Simone and the Head Boy are about to get into it."

"Why was he made a Head Boy?" Fred asked. "He reminds me of that idiot who tried to get her in her first year."

"Us too, but he was voted in by the Prefects," Xander said with a shrug. "Ron and I both thought about overruling them, but decided to let it ride for now." His husband coughed. "You're not getting sick," he ordered. "I can't take a cold this year."

"I'm not getting sick," George assured him, giving him a smile as he shifted to lean back some. His chair was pushed further under the table so he was out of the way of the next table. "Just a general clearing out of the dust."

"Good." Xander gave him a little pinch, then switched to circling the head with his fingertip. "I'd hate to have another few months of the signs."

"I thought it was cute that you taught by signs," Fred told him. "You even managed to put in your usual stories."

"Signs?" Spike asked. He looked at Xander, then rolled his eyes. "Stop it."

"Stop what?" Xander asked.

"I can smell you, Harris."

"Yay. I took a bath this morning and I'm supposed to smell like lust, my husband's sitting next to me." He smiled. "Isn't that a good enough reason to smell like lust? My man is a fine specimen of manliness. Even the bimbos at the reunion thought so because they *all* tried to cop a feel." He pinched it again, then put his whole hand over it, rubbing it with his palm.

"Wonderful. Someone switch seats with me," Spike said. Draco switched and leaned back against the wall. "Watch out that you don't get sprayed."

"I don't spray," George told him. "I'm a good boy who's been housetrained for a very long time. Just ask my mother."

Xander looked up and removed his hand. "Molly's here?"

Fred snickered. "No, mum's not here," he said, patting Xander on the back. "How's Ron's shirt problem?"

"Still on-going," Draco told him. "He went up today to change after classes and couldn't find a one."

George put the hand now sitting on his thigh back where it had been. Instead of rubbing, Xander went down to stroke the inside of his thigh, which drove him nuts. He shifted, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable. "What were you working on earlier? Those little dots?"

"Biters," Xander said with a grin. "You put them on someone and it seems like something's nibbling on them." He clicked his teeth shut, making George shiver. "Cold, dear?"

"No, just thinking about that one."

"Another fine product in the annoyance line," Fred said proudly. He clapped Xander on the back. "You're good for business, Xander. I'm glad George married you."

Xander blew him a kiss. "Thanks, Fred. Want to try one out? I have one on me somewhere." He started to move his hand but George grabbed it and put it back where it belonged so he had to do it one-handed. "Here it is." He handed the small black dot over. "It goes on the clothes. That's a light strength, feels like fleas."

"Draco, want to test it?" Fred asked.

"No thank you," he said dryly. "I've never had fleas and it's not something I want to experience." He finished off his beer and waved for another round. "Are we paying our own tabs?"

"I'll get it," Fred told him, reaching into his pocket for his money pouch. He looked at the dot, then stood up. "Anyone want to try something out for us? It's an annoyance product." Someone, a nice young man, sneered and stood up. "Thank you, sir." He put the dot on the man's robe, watching him. First, one hand slapped at a bitten spot, then a small itch. "Does it work? Do you feel like you're being bitten?" The man nodded so Fred took it off him. "Thank you."

"Thanks," Xander called. "It should fully wear off in about an hour." The guy sat down, talking to his friends. "If I didn't make it too strong," he muttered. Draco snorted. "What? Sometimes I make things too strong and it annoys people for days."

George covered his moan with a cough. "Maybe I am getting sick. Dear? Bed?"

"No, I want to finish my beer," Xander said, looking at him. "Are you sure you want to go to bed?" He gave him a gentle squeeze.

"Yes," George said patiently.

"Too bad." He removed his hand. "I was hoping you'd come up tonight and spend some time in the nest with me."

"The nest sounds good," George told him. He shifted to adjust himself. "Ready yet?" Xander shook his head, taking another drink. "Drink faster, dear."

"Xander, my brother obviously wants to jump you badly, maybe you should humor him," Fred said patiently. "Before he hurts poor Draco by jumping him."

"He'd better not," Draco said, looking at him. "Is something wrong?"

"No," George said, standing up and dragging Xander outside. "We'll be right back," he called. Xander smiled and waved.

"Nice action," Fred said, saluting Draco with his newest beer. "I was wondering how long he could stand that."

Draco checked his watch. "Not even twenty minutes. I'm not impressed."

"Xander was in fine form though." From outside, someone yelled. "In the alley?" Fred asked, standing up. The door opened and someone wandered in, bleeding from a wound to the chest.

"I'm going," Draco said, pulling his wand before heading outside. He found a small dagger fight, and froze all of them. "Stupid gits." Some more people came running, including Madam Pomfrey and Professor Snape. "There's a bleeder inside. I froze them." Madam Pomfrey ran for the inn and Snape stayed to deal with these two. "Are they hurt as well?" he asked, fingering the tip of his wand. It was a little thin, he could almost see something inside.

"Not yet," Snape said, unfreezing them and knocking them both out. He glanced around and noticed that the joke shop's window was lit. "They're still working?"

"George just dragged Xander back that way," he said with a slight smirk. "He was being teased."

"Ah." Snape nodded. He had broken Tara of that habit early on in their relationship. "Did you see anything else?"

"Just these two going at it. The one who walked inside holding a cut sent me out here to look." He looked over as another professor appeared. "Wood."

"Another fight?" Wood asked. "That's the second in two days." He looked around. "Do you know where Xander is?"

"Shagging," Draco told him.

Oliver blushed. "Never mind. I'll talk to him in a while."

"He'll be back shortly. His husband all-but dragged him away," Draco told him. He nodded. "Fred and I are in there with Spike. You're welcome to join us." Oliver smiled and walked inside, going to sit with them. Draco looked at the auror, who was walking up the street. "Do you need me? I froze them first."

"No," he said with a smile. He smiled at Professor Snape. "Did you want to make a statement?"

"Madam Pomfrey has a victim inside." He walked into the inn, making sure he wasn't needed. Then he went to the bar to order some dinner for Tara. She was wanting some vegetable salad dish.

Draco walked back in and took his former seat. "All set. Just some stupid boys fighting over someone probably." He picked up his new beer and took a sip. "How are you feeling, Wood?"

"My shoulder's still sore. I'm tired of some of the children. I'm sure it's normal." He smiled at Fred. "How is your twin?"

"Probably nearly comatose at the moment," Fred said dryly. "Xander likes to leave him like that."

Xander walked back in whistling. "Hey, Oliver," he said happily, sitting down. "Are you ready to go tomorrow?"

"When are we going?"

"Well, the appointment's at ten so I figured we'd floo over to the Leaky Cauldron around the beginning of third?" Oliver nodded. "I'll even spring for a cab."

"It must have been good," Fred said, looking at the door. "You left him?"

"In your bed," Xander said with an apologetic smile. "We didn't quite make it to our room. Sorry." Fred reached over and smacked him on the head. "Hey! Easy on the hair. We tried, but someone was looking in the front window and we couldn't do it on the counter by the register again."

Fred shook his head. "George is cleaning that shop, *and* my room, tomorrow." He finished his beer. "I should probably get back so he doesn't die alone. Ollie, want to come with me?"

Oliver nodded and stood up, but stopped. "How's Harry been? Our coach asked about him during our tea today."

"He hasn't been to practice?" Fred asked.

"Potter doesn't go to practice?" Draco asked.

"He goes, usually," Oliver told him. "Lonnie was talking like he hasn't seen him for days. Thought you'd know." He followed Fred out of the door.

Draco looked at Xander. "Didn't you say his house was broken into the other day?" Xander nodded. "You don't think?"

"I don't know," Xander said, glancing around. "I'd like to think it was something innocent." He sipped at the beer in front of him. "We could call over there and check."

"We could go over there and check," Draco argued. "Potter draws bad trouble when it comes for him."

"It could also be a cold," Xander reminded him. "We could call Mellie and see if she's okay. Maybe let Little Ron do it."

"Maybe," Draco agreed. He looked at Spike. "Do you have an opinion?"

"Is this *the* Potter?" Xander nodded. "How did you get involved with him?" he asked Xander.

"Um, I kinda taught him how to beat up on people," Xander admitted lightly. Then he grinned. "I taught him too." He ruffled Draco's hair. "And Ron. You met Ron again, right?"

"Yeah, I know Ron," Spike agreed.

Xander's eyes narrowed. "You've been watching him," he accused. Spike shrugged. "Why?"

"The bints," Spike ground out, then he gulped his beer. "Better get back to the flighty one." He pushed back and walked away.

"Why would he be watching Ron's kids?" Draco asked.

"He used to be with Buffy, he thought he loved her," Xander said quietly, staring at Spike's back until it disappeared, then he looked at his 'son'. "Have you noticed that Gwen is a little Buffy?"

Draco shook his head. "I never really knew her, we only met a few times. Is she?"

"She is. Gwen is a little Buffy and Minnie is a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's like she was split in two and put into the kids."

"Then where does Vinnie come from?"

"Ron," Xander said dryly. "He's a lot like Ron. If he only had red hair, he'd be the perfect Weasley." He finished the beer. "Let's go find Little Ron and ask him to call his sister." He stood up and Draco followed him. They went back up to the house, with a quick stop for Xander in the Gryffindor house. They brought the boy back to the house and let him call home, but there wasn't any answer. Xander and Draco shared a look. Then Xander looked at the boy. "Why don't you go bug Iggy until he does something that doesn't involve a herb or a cauldron? We're going to go check on your dad." Little Ron nodded and walked away. Xander grabbed Draco's hand and teleported him to Harry's front step.

Draco knocked and stepped back as the door opened. "We had a report that you've been missing practices and your son was worried."

Harry shrugged. "I don't know why. I have a cold," he said in a perfectly clear voice.

Xander stared him down and Harry looked away. "Is she bothering you?" he asked quietly. Harry shook his head, but he wouldn't look at him. "Do you want to step out of the house and repeat that?"

Harry stepped out and closed the door. "She's regained some of her memories," he admitted quietly.

"That means she's a fugitive," Draco reminded him. "That could land *both* of you in jail." Harry nodded, but he looked like he wasn't going to budge. "One day, Potter. Then we'll *have* to report it or risk joining you both there."

"Don't," Harry begged. "She's changed."

Xander moved aside Harry's shirt collar, showing off the bruise. "So we can tell. What about your children?"

"Mellie's at Percy's. She sent her there." He glanced back at the house. "I have it covered, Xander."

"I'm sure you do. But do you have her under control?" He let the shirt go. "Harry, she's still dangerous, especially if she only has some of her memories."

Harry nodded, looking up at him. "I know. I pointed that out to her and she told me to explain it to her. So I did." He glanced back at the house again. "She's better, Xander."

"Then let her prove it in front of a board," Draco told him. "I can get her a decent lawyer and she can appeal her sentence." He crossed his arms when Harry shrugged. "You can offer it to her. If you don't, I'm going to tell Molly and Arthur. They'll help you too." Harry swallowed and glanced back again. "I'll help you, Potter, because Ginny considers you family, and your name has some power in those halls. If she's truly changed, they'll know it."

Xander rubbed his face. "There are people down there who can probably tell if she's actually changed." He looked at the house and the curtain fell. "Harry, this is dangerous. You know this is dangerous."

"Xander, I have it," he said coldly.

"Yay," Xander said, in the same tone. "Harry, you're not only breaking laws yourself, you're endangering your children's lives." Harry opened his mouth and he grabbed him, shaking him. "Do you really want Molly and Arthur to have to raise your children?" he demanded.

"No," Harry said quietly, pulling himself away. "I don't want it to happen. I'll call someone tomorrow. We...we'll appeal it tomorrow. Just give me tonight."

"So help you God," Xander hissed, tipping Harry's face up. "You had better live until tomorrow. Do you understand, Harry?" Harry nodded and gave him a weak smile. "And you had better be at the house tomorrow when I get back from my doctor's appointment. You had better be in good health, and you had better be normal. If she comes with you, then I'll have Ron bring over your son to talk to you. We will be watching though." Harry nodded. "Do you have a clear picture of this?"

"Potter, are you sure?" Draco asked.

"I'm sure," Harry agreed. "I can deal with this until tomorrow. We're just talking."

"Good. I'm going to go to Arthur right now and have him send someone over at dawn," Xander told him. Harry nodded, understanding it. "We'll see you about two tomorrow. Oliver is going with me."

"Is that how you found out?" Harry asked.

Draco nodded. "Wood said something about you not making practices so we had your son call." He smirked. "Next time, answer the floo." He looked at Xander. "I'm apparating. You make me nauseous." He left.

Xander looked over Harry. "I know it's hard," he said quietly. "I know how bad it can be to lose someone so important to you and never have it talked about. The same as I know that you wanted just one more minute with her before she lost you again and you went back to that place where no one talked about it. Make the most of it and be safe." Harry nodded and went back inside, and Xander went to do what he had said he was going to do. He landed in front of the couch and sat down, putting up his feet. He looked over at Arthur. "No Draco?"

"He flooed back." He looked over at his son-in-law. "Is he okay?"

Xander shook his head. "Nope. He let her hurt him. She's blaming him for what happened from the way Harry was looking. Is Mellie really with Percy?" Arthur nodded. "I gave him until dawn."

"I've already called and told someone to go there as soon as they get up." He put aside his paper. "How are you?"

"I'd be better if my knee didn't ache all the time and my feet would quit swelling," Xander said with a smile. "George was asleep when I left him. Do you know if Harry's made plans for the kids?"

Arthur cleared his throat. "He has. He's giving them to Ron."

"Good." Xander stood up. "I hope we don't have to deal with that tomorrow. He's supposed to be over after I get back from my appointment tomorrow. Somewhere around two if you wanted to come over and gush at the kids." He waved and disappeared. He landed in the office and looked at the man behind the desk. "You called?"

"How is Harry?"

"Bruised and he looks beaten." He sat down. "He'll get through it. Draco pointed out that she could appeal her sentence. He said he's going to try."

"Literally bruised?"

"Choking marks on his neck. Slight limp in his left leg. Walking funny." He crossed his feet. "You do remember that I'm going to the doctor's tomorrow?"

"No, I hadn't," Albus said with a smile. "All day?"

"Leaving around third, coming back around one. Harry'll be here at two, but if we all lunge at him then we'll break him." He stood up. "He wanted one more minute," he said quietly. "There are times when I would have given my life for the same chance. At least he got his daughter out of the way." He left, going to hold his children and see Ron. Apparently Ron already heard because he looked miserable. "Don't lunge at him, Ron. Let him settle in before you beat him for it."

"How did she break it?"

Xander shrugged. "Who knows. I'm not an expert on memory charms, I'm just good at them." He sat down beside his younger brother, giving him a hug. Ron pushed him away. "Okay." He patted him on the hand. "Relax. He made his choice and he'll have to live with it. We'll do what we can to support him. I doubt he's going to go to prison for it."

"No, he's him, they won't punish him." Ron stood up. "I'm going to bed. Have fun tomorrow." He left.

Xander settled in. He was sleeping alone tonight and knew he was going to have nightmares so he wasn't going to hurry off to bed.


Oliver looked at the equipment around the office, nearly bouncing in nervousness. "Are you sure?" he asked. "I mean, you could have George with you."

"He's been here before and the doctor routinely yells at him for not keeping me calm," Xander told him, putting down his magazine. "He won't yell at you."

The door opened and the doctor walked in. He looked at Oliver, then at Xander. "New spouse?" he joked.

"No, this is Oliver Wood. He's got a rotator cup injury and I thought I'd introduce you two so you don't spend as long yelling at me." He moved the paper blanket off his legs and saw Oliver look away. "They looked worse when they first happened. The original hospital didn't even wrap them so we got to watch them while they were open." Oliver shuddered. "Sorry," he said with a smile. "Had to share."

"They look bad enough now," Oliver said, coming over to sit in a chair. "He said you understand sports injuries."

"I do," the doctor agreed. "I run in marathons, I try to do about three every year." He lifted Xander's knee and watched him wince. "I think it's time for more x-rays, my boy." He smiled. "Lots of pain or little bits of pain now and then?"

"Lots of pain, I've actually taken things for it," Xander admitted. "Lots of cramps when I'm not doing anything other than sitting. Some swelling in both feet. Some itching in the scars, but that's mostly normal. Oh, and I spent a day without my cane while it was being fixed. I thought I was going to die from the pain, even with the best painkillers I could get my hands on."

The doctor nodded. "Then we'll do an x-ray and look them over. You may have that nice slipping muscle again." He looked at Oliver. "Which shoulder?" Oliver pointed at it. "Take off your shirt, young man. What sport?"

"Soccer. I play goalie," Oliver told him as he took off his shirt. "I dislocated it and they found a fracture the first time. I spent a year working on fixing it, then a year playing again, but now it hurts like his knee does him."

"Hmm." The doctor moved it slowly, pushing on various parts and prodding the surrounding muscles. "I think we should probably do another x-ray for you too. Where was the fracture?"

"In the ball, on the bottom."

"Really? Usually that only happens from heights." He looked at the boy, then at Xander. "What do you do again?"

"I teach mythology to kids," Xander told him. "It's a small, private school up near the border. Oliver just joined our staff for a year of healing." Oliver nodded.

"Gentlemen, the truth please?" he asked quietly.

"Only if I can erase your memory," Xander told him. He grinned at the skeptical look. "I promise, we're not spies or anything. We do what we say. He's a goalkeeper and I'm a teacher, and occasionally I get into a brawl."

"Hmm." He crossed his arms over his chest. "I know there's more to this story." Xander nodded. "Why can't you tell me?"

"Because what I do is work for a very old secret society," Xander told him. "I do teach their children mythology, and demonology, and fighting, but that's about all we can spread around."

"I teach sports," Oliver admitted.

The doctor looked at them. "I thought organizations like that were outlawed," he sighed.

"At least we're not harmful, bigots, or otherwise a danger. We're mostly a kooky group of people with shared interests and strange tastes in clothing."

"If you say so. Xander, what have you been doing most?"

"Walking. I try very hard not to, but I do have to go to class."

"I fly on occasion," Oliver told him.

"Very high up?" the doctor asked patiently. Oliver nodded. "Did you fall?" Oliver nodded again. "Was that while playing a sport, young man?" Oliver nodded a third time. "Would this have anything to do with what my neighbor was yelling about? Quidditch?" Oliver blanched. "Ah-ha!" He smiled. "You're wizards." Xander nodded. "I figured it was something like that. Wood.... Have I heard your name?"

"Maybe. I did play professionally and I'd like to go back. I'm waiting on word on what you can do that won't get me kicked out. Can I bring my coach if you take me on as a patient?"

"Of course, young man. I'd expect that." He smiled at them. "All right. All I know is what I've overheard through our mutual hedge. Demonology?" he asked Xander.

Xander nodded. "I teach about vampires and stuff." He moved his shirt out of the way to show off a scar. "You wondered where that came from. It was a bite and tear."

The doctor shook his head. "I think I don't want to know."

"It's usually more pleasant that way," Xander agreed. "Do I have to have more x-rays? The tech downstairs hates me. She keeps giving me evil looks."

"That's because you came in with your husband. She's not fond of your type."

"Can I zap her this time?"

"No," the doctor told him, shaking his head, but he was nearly smiling. "I know you're not supposed to tell, but only walking?" Xander nodded. "No running?"

"Stair machine. Treadmill if I'm feeling really pissed. Some weights infrequently. You really think it's a muscle thing instead of the prosthetic?"

"I'm hoping it is, otherwise we might have to replace it. Mr. Wood, may we take x-rays of you?"

"I've had them before and my coach said it was all right," Oliver agreed. "Is this going to take all day?"

"No, just a few hours. We have a special x-ray department downstairs. Xander, painkiller?"

"Herbal, potion, my son makes it."

"Oh. Is he any good?" Xander nodded. "Good. Keep taking them, all the time if you please," he said with a smirk. Xander sighed and rolled his eyes. "Thank you. Let me write orders for x-rays for you both and then I'll see you after you come back up." Xander's stomach grumbled. "Do something about that before you come back up." He smiled. "I think we can find out a lot with the x-rays, or at least weed out some of the more common problems." He clapped his hands. "Head down there." Xander pulled on his pants and stood up. "I'll see you in an hour, boys." They left and he leaned against the wall. He knew he had heard Xander's name somewhere before!


Xander walked out of the floo, new brace on his knee, and happier than he had been earlier. "They gave me drugs," he announced to Harry and Dumbledore. "They were mean, got me with a needle in the ass and everything." He sat down on the couch and fell asleep within seconds.

"It'll wear off soon," Oliver said as he walked out of the fireplace. "It's a small sedative. They had to stick this scope thing in his knee to look at it. It's formed inappropriate scar tissue." He touched his sling. "My shoulder's a mess," he said lightly.

"I'm sorry, Oliver," Harry told him.

"It's not your fault. You didn't knock me off my broom." He sat down in Xander's chair. "His doctor lives next to one of us. He's heard of quidditch, asked me directly." Dumbledore winced. "Yeah, that was my reaction too," he said happily. "But he said I might be able to fix it, if I won't get kicked out of the league for it. I'll need a new ball joint. Mine's nearly cracked in half."

"Damn," Harry breathed. "What about him?"

"They're trying to figure that out. He has to go back in two weeks for a decision and is to bring George and Iggy, with an ingredient list for the pain potion he takes, just in case they want to do surgery that day."

"I'll make sure they can go," Dumbledore told him. "Did he memory charm him?"

"Made it so he can't talk about it," Oliver agreed. "Then we went and reported it." He put up his feet. "Harry, you look like hell, mate."

"I feel like it." He leaned back. "Hermione's contesting her sentence."

Oliver sat up. "She's out from under it?" Harry nodded. "How?"

"Her library somehow ended up getting a bequeathal from a chaos person. Supposedly they were only supposed to get his normal books, but they got his chaos books too. She had to catalog them and no one realized. So she broke into the house and was waiting for me a week ago," he sighed.

"No wonder. Is she in jail?"

"A mental ward for observation," Dumbledore told him. He looked at Harry. "Did you want to tell your children?"

"Mellie knows and went crying when we sent her to Percy. He's keeping her for a few more days." He looked over at Xander. "I really don't want to tell them."

"He's good at breaking hard news," Dumbledore agreed. Harry looked at him, looking shocked. "I thought you meant he should tell them."

"No, I love Xander, but he breaks news hard."

"He's not too bad at it," Draco said as he walked in. He looked down at Xander and held his nose shut until he woke up. "You're snoring and it's annoying."

"I see some things never change," Harry said dryly. Draco smiled. "It's a sedative."

"They had to stick this little scope/camera thing into his knee and found scar tissue in the wrong places. It was wild. I never knew what a joint looked like."

Draco grimaced. "Eww." He moved Xander, making him fall off the couch, and took his spot. "How is she?"

"Contesting it," Harry told him. "Can you get Agatha so I can tell her? Or do you want to beat up on Xander for me?"

"He was trying to protect you, Harry, as he does his whole family." Dumbledore stood up. "Are you sure?" Harry nodded. "In here?"

"That would be fine. I don't want to pollute Gryffindor with Agatha. I doubt they'd appreciate it." He glanced at Xander again. "I know he was trying to help, but I was handling it."

Draco moved his shirt aside. "I'm sure you were," he agreed. Harry moved away from him. "Xander once interfered between myself and Ginny because we had been playing with handcuffs and I had bruises. She yelled at him when he asked." He smiled. "I was miffed, but I understood that he was trying to protect us. He's adopted me and you're like his brother. What else did you expect?"

Harry sighed. "I know. I even understand, but it's annoying."

"Think about what might have happened if he hadn't found out," Dumbledore told him. Harry shuddered and curled up on the couch. "He does what he thinks is best to protect his family. Feel thankful that you're counted among them. Otherwise he won't protect you when Professor Weasley jumps you." He glanced around. "Draco, if you wouldn't mind, would you find his shirts for him? It's getting so bad I'm going to have to officially reprimand him if it continues. Someone remarked on it today in the paper." He left them alone.

Harry looked at Draco. "Ron's missing shirts?"

"Every one of them," Draco agreed with a slight smile. "He's bought thirty of them and they've all disappeared within days. He borrowed one of Xander's shirts this morning and it's too tight on him."

"Why?" Oliver asked.

"That's what he'd like to know." Draco nudged Xander with his foot. "Does he have to go back?"

"Two weeks," Oliver told him.

"And you?"

"I'm going back in a month with my coach so we can figure out what I can and can't do before I'm tossed out." He shifted and adjusted his sling. "They think my fracture will never heal and I'll have to replace the ball part of my joint. We'll need to do even more x-rays to figure out how bad it really is. I've apparently rebroken it recently."

"Ouch," Draco sighed. "What about him?"

"Just the bad scar tissue."

"Wonderful," Draco sighed. "I'm sure his husband will be thrilled with that news." He stood up. "Do you want the brat now?"

"Please." He glanced around. "Is there somewhere we can talk in private?" Draco opened the fireplace door and let him in, then went to get the children. He found Agatha in Potions and nodded her out, and Little Ron in Transfiguration. Lupin came out to talk to him. "Potter needs to talk to them," he whispered. "She came back." Lupin sighed and let Little Ron out, giving him an encouraging pat on the shoulder as he passed. "Come on, children, your father needs to speak to you." He led them back to the house. "Remember," he said, stopping Agatha. "I am here if you want to talk, but Xander is better at it." She frowned but nodded. "He's in Slytherin's library." He let them go and stayed out to go lean over the mezzanine and watch the world go on.

Harry smiled as his children walked in, closing the door behind them. "I need to talk to you and I need you to listen to me," he told them. He pointed at the pair of couches in the middle of the room.

"Who's sick?" Little Ron asked. "It's not you or Grandma, right? Or Uncle Percy or Grandpa?"

"No, it's not someone who's sick, technically," Harry said as he sat across from them. He licked his dry lips. "This is really hard for me to say," he admitted, not looking at them. He looked at Agatha. "Your mother broke her conditioning." Her mouth fell open and Ron jumped up. "Sit," he said gently. Little Ron shook his head. "Sit, and hear the rest." Ron sat, but on the edge of his seat. "She came back because she remembered you. She was home for the last week."

"Mellie?" Ron breathed.

"Is at Percy's. She's fine, Ron." He gave him a smile. "Your mother wouldn't hurt her. She missed her. While she was gone, she got cats and named them after you guys because she remembered you on some level."

"She hurt me, father, I refuse to be near her." Little Ron stood up and walked away, then turned and looked at him. "Is she better? Really better?"

"The doctors are trying to figure that out now. She's in a mental hospital right now so they can talk to her. She wants to talk to you, but I'm not going to allow it until I'm sure she's better. And I am sure she's getting better."

"Then why are you bruised?" Ron asked.

Harry touched his throat. "When she started to remember, she thought I had hurt her."

Agatha stood up. "No." She shook her head. "This isn't happening." She ran her hands through her hair, sending the bobby pins flying. "No, she can't be back."

"She is, Agatha, and she's getting better," Harry told her.

She laughed, a cold, empty sound. "I'm sure she is. Would that be before she tries to offer me up again for power?"

Little Ron came over and tried to give her a hug but she shoved him away. "Agatha," Harry snapped.

She looked at him. "You know better. You don't touch me." She walked away, slamming her first into the button to open the door. Then she stormed out, going to find someone to torture and get this pain and rage out. She ran into Ryan outside the house and slugged him as hard as she could, sending him crashing to the floor. He wiped off the blood from his lip and looked up at her so she screamed and landed on him, pummeling him as hard as she could until she burst out in tears. He held her gently, trying not to moan in pain. "She came back," she told him. "Why did she come back?"

Little Ron looked at his father. "If she comes back, I'm not coming home. Ever. I don't want to see her."

"Ron, she's sorry. She said so."

"She tried to have me eaten because she conveniently forgot she had a son," he said coldly. "Fuck her. Fuck her and her little power issues and her books and even her fucking cat!" he yelled. His father grabbed him to hug him but he struggled. "No! Let me go!" He ran out, going to find his real family. He walked into the dungeon before he had realized it and stopped to look around. "Is Iggy down here?" he asked. "There's some family news and I need him."

"He has herbology this period," Snape told him, walking him out into the hall and shutting the door. "Family news?"

"My fucking mother came back," Ron spat. The teacher looked shocked. "Agatha was beating up on Ryan, you might want to find her before she kills him." He walked away, going to find his cousins. It was Simone who saw him first and came running. "I want Iggy," he told her, giving her a hug.

"What happened?" Iggy said as he walked closer. He tipped up Ron's face. "What happened, Little Ron?"

"She came back."

Iggy crushed him to his chest. "We'll deal. She won't touch you. I promise. You can come stay with us if you have to. Or at the Burrow. They'd love to have us all summer long, you know that." He looked at Simone, then nodded back toward class. "Tell her I'm dealing with a family issue and we'll be over by the lake. I don't care if I get detention or not." He walked his cousin away, going to soothe him. "She won't touch you," he promised quietly. "Tonight I'm making you a shield potion. It'll keep her from poisoning you or working anything on you that you don't want. The only thing it won't stop is healing potions. It was made by a healer for abused spouses," he said as he sat them down beside the lake. He let his cousin curl up against him. "It'll be okay, Little Ron, I promise. If we have to, we'll go beat her ass ourselves." The boy nodded, relaxing against him. "Who told you?"

"Daddy. He had bruises, Iggy."

Iggy smoothed over the unruly hair. "We'll deal with it, I won't let her get you." He looked over as someone sat beside them. "Hey, dad. How did you know?"

"We knew last night. Oliver mentioned that Harry was missing practices so Draco and your other father went to check on him." He touched Ron on the chin, tipping it up. "Your father isn't doing this to hurt you, Ron. The fact that she went bad has hurt him a lot, and this is hurting him more. He's torn right now." Ron nodded and looked at the lake again. "He doesn't want to see you hurt. He called me."

Ron shifted over, hugging his uncle. "I don't want to see her. She tried to have me eaten."

"I remember. I even remember Xander going to help your father and your Uncle Ron pack her up and move her out." The little boy looked up at him. "You don't have to see her unless you want to. No one's going to force you."

"If anyone does, you tell us and we'll hide you," Iggy agreed. He looked at his father. "Can he stay with us if necessary?"

"Sure. We have room. You two can share a room and everything," George agreed with a smile for his son. He was definitely Xander's son, always ready to jump in and help those who needed it. He felt the wetness but ignored it. The boy wanted to be held and he'd do that until he was ready to admit he was crying. "Agatha?"

"Beating up on her keeper," Ron said, sitting up and wiping his face off. "They were in the hallway outside the house when I ran past." He smiled at Iggy. "Can we fly tonight?"

"Ravenclaw has practice, but we can go out before and after. I'll even get us a picnic basket so we don't have to go back inside," Iggy assured him. Ron nodded. "Do you want to go to class?"

"I probably should, but I don't think I can."

Simone plopped down behind Iggy. "We decided that we can skip class if you can. This is too important to miss." She looked at them, then at Little Ron. "What happened to your mother?"

"She regained her memories and came back," George told her. "Mellie's at Percy's. I called before I came up and she's scared for Harry too."

Denver wandered up and sat down on Iggy's other side. "Can we kick her ass?" George smiled but shook his head. "Damn. Is she really back?"

"They're trying to figure that out right now," George told him. "She's in the hospital and may be there for quite a while." He looked down at the youngest. "You don't have to see her, even if she asks for you. Anyone who forces you has to go through all of us." Little Ron nodded and relaxed back into his arms. "No Melvin?"

"We sent word with our classmates to tell him something was going on," Simone told him. "I'm sure we'll see him next class." She smiled. "Want to go fly? I know it makes you feel better."

"We were going to go for a short fly around the school after classes got out," Iggy told her.

"Why wait?" Simone asked, standing up and dusting her pants off. "Come on, we can get into the broom shed and use the school brooms. Uncle Oliver always leaves it unlocked." She tugged Little Ron up and walked him toward the broom lockers, arm around his shoulders. "Is your father all right?"

"He's got bruises." Little Ron looked up at her. "Aggie was really upset too."

"She would be," Iggy said from behind them. "She was offered as a treat for your mum to gain power. She betrayed her even more than she did you."

"Is that what happened to her?"

"Probably," Denver said with a shrug. He looked at his sister, who was glaring at the shed in the distance. "Can we protect him?"

"I have a shield potion," Iggy offered. "Created for abused spouses."

"We can guard him with a few guardian spells," Simone put in. "There's one in Aunt Tara's magic that's really powerful and I bet we wouldn't have to talk very hard to get her to do it." She opened the door on the broom shed and pulled out four of them. "Okay, around the school, over the forest, or out toward the fields?"

"Fields," Iggy voted. "It'll give us more room and we won't be in anyone's way." He sent a quick thought to the Headmaster, knowing he could hear them, and got a sound of agreement back in return. "We're clear. Dumbledore will cover for us." He grabbed one of the brooms and lifted off. "Come on." He waved at his father, giving him a smile.

"I'm proud of you," George said as soon as the kids were gone. He closed the locker and headed up to check on Harry, Oliver, and his husband.


Agatha looked up as her door opened, frowning at the man standing there. "I don't want to talk to you," she told Snape. "I'd like to fume in private if you don't mind."

"I do mind," Snape said, closing the door and locking it. "You fuming usually leads to someone else getting hurt." He sat on the end of her bed. "Are you all right?" She nodded. "You'll be pleased to know that Mr. Rosenberg didn't press charges against you."

"He was a convenient target," she sighed.

"I know. So does he." She looked at him, showing some shock. "He understands more than you know. For every bit you've told him, he's figured out a bit more. Are you all right?"

"Is he?"

"He'll live, as I'm sure you will. That was not the question."

"You're not exactly comforting," Agatha told him. He laughed. "I'm glad I amuse you."

"I've never had to deal with this sort of situation before. I send all crying children to others, like Xander." She nodded. "You can seek whomever you want to talk to, but do seek someone out before you explode again." He stood up. "Even myself if you would like."

"No, I think I'll let it fester for a bit longer," she told him. He nodded. "Then I'll go outside and beat up a tree or something." She smiled. "Or go pick a fight with Simone. She doesn't get into too much trouble for them."

"They're flying with your brother."

"Figures," she snorted. She stood up. "I'm fine. Do I need to return to classes?"

"No, you've been excused for the day. Do go visit the infirmary and apologize to Mr. Rosenberg, but otherwise suit yourself."

"Yes, sir." He nodded and left. She sat back down and continued to fume. She didn't have anyone to talk to. Someone else knocked on her door. "Oh, go away!" she yelled.

Ravena opened the door. "Why?" she asked with a smirk. "Father sent me." She closed the door. "He thought you'd like someone to yell at." She walked closer. "I hear you got news that sucked badly. Want to talk about it?"

"What would you know about my mother?" she sneered.

"Gee, only that my own isn't the queen of nice sometimes." She sat on the bed next to her. "We had to talk to mum and dad last year about their tastes in sexual partners. Mum was sleeping with some very nasty creatures that are better left to Uncle Ron and his wand." She plucked at the comforter. "I heard about what your mother did." Agatha shook her head. "Father figured out a lot more than you might think. He never told me any specifics, but I can guess. She let something hurt you," she said quietly and her cousin looked up at her. "Not just once probably, but something did hurt you." Agatha shook her head. "No?"

"She offered but it didn't like me. You don't know me, Ravena."

"No, I don't," she agreed, standing up. "But I can listen and keep secrets. After all, I keep Ana's all the time." She smiled. "If you need me, I'll be around. You might want to check on Ryan. They called his mother and she's on a rip at the moment." Agatha groaned and flopped backwards. "It could be worse. She knew your mother. She's the one who turned her over to the aurors from what I understand. She's even went bad herself so she can probably see it from both sides. I'm sure you're going to be seeing her soon too." She left, leaving the door closed but unlocked.

"Bloody marvelous," Agatha said as she stood up. "Why do they care?"

"Because we do," Willow said, slamming the door. "Are you all right?"

She looked at her. "He was there and I lost it," she admitted. "He was a convenient target and didn't fight back."

"He knew you needed to get it out." Agatha opened her mouth. "I heard, and it does suck big boulders." She smiled at the girl. "Let's go for a walk. I promise not to beat you up, but I can explain what's going on. Believe it or not, I've been where she was, sorta. Wanting your old life back is very seductive, almost as nice as that beautiful chaos magic she adored so much." She held out a hand and the girl took it. "Did you know that she beat your father? I saw him and he looked bad. George was marching him up to be looked over."

"Should I expect him too?" she asked dryly.

"Probably one of the Weasleys. Xander likes to meddle a little too much for his own good. But then again, from what I heard, he's the one who helped turn in your mother this time so your father could get away from her." She walked the girl outside and around the edge of the school. "What did she do? Offer or give you?"

"She offered. They didn't want me. Said I was too uncontrollable."

"Hey, a compliment from a demon," Willow said with a smile. "Always a nice thing. Which one?"

"Lower hierarchy."

"Ah. Then feel very lucky. If your mother could call on the higher powers, like I and Ethan can, then you'd have been trained by it. You wouldn't be here, snogging my son routinely." Agatha blushed. "I figured out as much during the summer." She stopped the girl and looked down at her. "I don't understand why he did it, but I'll accept his decision on this matter for now. If you ever hurt him again though, we're going to get into it and I will win." Agatha looked her over. "I may look like a mousy little creature, but my form of magic is more powerful. I can drain the very earth and sky to beat your ass, little girl, and don't you forget it." She smiled. "That's why Tara's such a powerful witch, because she can do the same thing and doesn't."

Agatha swallowed. She hadn't realized there was power like that to be had. "Is it hard?"

"Not really, but you have to have the skill for it. A lot of you guys don't. You have to have willpower beyond the normal witch and wizard, and you have to be willing to give yourself to the power. It's scary, but it's wonderful." She started them walking again. "Tara's version of the craft also has more protective spells than any I've ever seen. My own is more an offensive form. When I found out there were more types than the mongrel form I was using, I picked a fighting form because it suited my life. Tara can heal the earth, I can destroy it." Agatha nodded. "This won't help you right now, but you might be able to do that. It'll take some strength on your part to resist the siren call of the power, or else you'll become your mother. If you can do it, then you'll be a very powerful witch, which is why my son likes you. He sees a match for himself in you, no matter how badly you hurt him."

Agatha sighed. "I'm sure we're well suited. He understands me."

"Which is why he's in the infirmary," Willow noted dryly.

She nodded. "I know. I'll apologize later. I should have picked a target other than him."

"A wall used to be my favorite," Willow admitted. "Shoving power into it and making it dissolve is an amazing way to wear out the frustration and anger. I usually end up passed out," she said with a smile, "but it keeps me from hurting people like my daughter. Or you."

Agatha nodded. "I'll keep that in mind." She looked up. "Do you see my mother in me?"

"Quite a lot. But not totally. You're different. You don't have the drive for knowledge that your mother had. You also don't have the drive to fight like she did. She was with your father because he needed her and she wanted to be needed. She followed him because she thought she could help him even further, no matter how often he tried to get her to leave." Agatha nodded, understanding that. "Ryan feels that way about you sometimes."

"I'll remember that when he graduates."

Willow laughed. "He's threatened to take an apartment in town until you graduate. I asked him about that this summer." She gave the girl a small squeeze. "I can send you some of my first books so you can start learning. You won't be able to do spells for a while because it takes training, but you can start learning."

"Do I have to go through Xander's class for it?"

"Nope. Possibly some mentoring by Tara, but Xander doesn't really understand this sort of magic. He understands Ethan's a lot more because gryphons filter chaos. He can feel it in his body as it's being worked. He can't feel it when we work one."

Agatha thought about it. "I wouldn't mind, but I'm not sure I want to do it."

"That's why owls go both ways, little girl."


Xander woke up and frowned. His husband and his twin were standing above him or he was seeing double. "Honey?"

"Just me," George agreed, helping him up. "Have a nice nap?"

Xander shook his head, clearing it. "Not really. I had funny dreams. Willow was soothing Agatha and Little Ron was swearing."

"No, that was real, you were funneling through the flood again," George told him, curling up against him. "Partial reconstruction?"

"Yup. One side needs to be replaced. We'll know for sure in two weeks when I have to go back. He wanted you to come that time. He liked Oliver a lot."

"Good. Does he know about us?"

"His neighbor is one of us and he's apparently loud." Xander snuggled into his husband's body. "I'm tired."

"I know." He patted him gently. "Do you want to have this fixed?" Xander nodded. "Why? To fight again?"

"Just to be able to walk would be nice," Xander offered. He looked up. "George, I told you I wouldn't fight unless I had to and I've kept my word, haven't I?" His mate nodded and smiled. "I'm not going to go back on it, but if I have to, I'll be a little more helpful. I asked, I'll still limp and need the cane, only I won't hurt as much."

"Then I'll accept it and take the day off to hold your hand, dear," George told him, giving him a kiss on the forehead. "I don't want to make you unhappy, but I don't want to have to worry about you not coming home."

"I always come home," Xander reminded him. "Even when I pass out in the headmaster's office and nearly die, I always come home."

"Yes, but someday you won't."

Xander kissed him. "I'm not going to die like that. Spike would bring me back if I fell in a fight. He said so."

George laughed. "If he does, then you're on your own, love. There's no way I'm snogging a corpse."

Xander smiled. "I could always sneak in and turn you," he offered.

"You'd have to if you ever wanted to be laid again," George agreed. "Of course, then you'd have to start turning the family. Otherwise, Ron'll stake you."

"Ron won't stake me," Xander told him. "He's got a problem staking people he knows. Buffy told me so."

"I'm sure we can keep him from staking you and Draco," George agreed. Xander grinned. "You would turn him?"

"First so I'd have a good lieutenant," Xander told him. "My consort, my lieutenant, and eventually my kids, once they finished growing up. Maybe Ron too, he'd make a decent vampire."

"No bloody way," Ron said as he walked in. He glared at them. "Where are the kids?"

"The Headmaster has them," Xander told him. "Harry's in the infirmary. Draco's outside somewhere. The older kids are flying. And you would make a good vampire."


"We were talking about him having his knee fixed again. He said that if he died in battle, Spike would turn him, that he promised. So once we're changed over, you're coming too."

Ron shook his head. "Not a chance," he said with a grin. "I'd have to stake myself. I wouldn't look good in the least." He puffed up and popped a button. "Sorry 'bout that. I'll fix it later."

"What was your no bloody way?" Xander asked.

"Blood in the hallway?"

"Hermione came back," Xander told him, then he had to lunge up and catch him before he could move. "Sit, let me tell you everything before you go get Harry." Ron sat down on the table and looked at him. "She broke her programming, you knew that." Ron nodded. "Well, what we didn't tell you was that she was at his house last night when we went to check on him. We gave him until this morning to talk to her and then she was picked up. She's appealing her sentence and is in a mental ward, hopefully not the one I was in when someone *brilliant* decided I had tried to commit suicide by burning myself. They're looking her over to see if she has changed, so Harry told the older two. Little Ron burst out swearing and Agatha beat up Ryan from what I know. They're fine, everyone's rallying around them." Ron nodded.

"Harry's badly injured," George told him. Ron bounded back to his feet. "Not fatally, but serious. Some bad bruises in horrible places and the like. Madam Pomfrey tied him to the bed so he couldn't leave."

"Can we see him?"

"We're encouraged to see him," Xander told him. "He needs his friends right now more than anything. You're his primary friend so you get first dibs."

"You can even go eat dinner with him in the infirmary if you like," George offered. He smiled. "I remember how much you used to like to do that."

Ron shook his head. "Let me change and I'll head up there." He headed up to his room. "They struck again! My t's are gone now too. And my boxers!" he said in outrage, stomping back down. "I want whomever's doing this and I want them to pay." He headed to the infirmary. "Hey, Harry," he said with a smile.

"Came right from class?"

"I tried to change, but all my clothes seem to be missing," Ron said with a frown as he pulled over a stool. "How're you?"

"I ache," Harry admitted. "I don't even remember how I got some of these injuries." He looked down at his body. "I suppose you heard?" Ron nodded. "What do you think?"

"I think you need to walk very slowly down this path." He grinned. "Besides, she's still scary if you're in here. Did you hear? Your son swore."

"I knew he had your mouth," Harry said, trying to joke.

Ron laughed. "Too true, mate, too true." He patted Harry on the hand. "Want to talk? Maybe figure it out? I'm good for that, especially if you can help me find my missing shirts." He grimaced. "And all the other stuff."

"Have you asked your mum? See if any of it appeared there? The strangest things appear at the Burrow, just look at Xander and Draco."

Ron snickered. "I'll not tell him you said that. I'm not sure it'd go with their discussion about vampires and being turned."

"Who's being turned?" Harry shifted until he was sitting up.

"Lay back down," Madam Pomfrey yelled from her office.

Harry shook his head but he laid back down. "Who's being turned?"

"Apparently Spike said he'd turn Xander if they were fighting together and he started to die. So of course, Xander promised to come eat George so he could have his consort, and then Draco so he could have a trusted lieutenant. Then me so I couldn't stake them." He smiled. "I think it's a compliment."

"I'd say," Harry agreed. "He considers you a threat if he turns bad." He looked over as the curtain around his bed opened. "Hey, Ron," he said with a smile for his son. "Come to talk?"

"To make a statement." He took a deep breath. "If she's coming back, I'm going to live with one of the other cousins. I don't want to be eaten again." He shook his head when his father opened his mouth. "No, daddy. She tried to have me eaten because she couldn't hurt me or turn me over. I can't forget it, the scar is still there and very large, and I won't put myself into danger. I know I can move in with any of the cousins, even Uncle Draco if I have to, and I will. I don't want to hurt you, and I don't want to make you choose. I'll come see you anytime you want, as long as she's not there, but I'm not putting myself in danger. I like my life, and I like having my life, so I'm going to continue with it." He slumped. "I'm sorry if you're disappointed with me."

"I'm not," Harry assured him, opening his arms. His son crawled up and gave him a hug. "Nothing's sure yet, Ron, and I still love you. You don't have to go anywhere near her if you don't want to. As long as you'll still see me." His son nodded and gave him a squeeze. "Where would you like to go? I'll talk with whomever you want."

"Uncle George said I could share Iggy's room and I know Grandma and Grandpa said I could come stay with them whenever I want. Plus, Denver said I could come have the room across the hall from him."

"You can always stay with us," Ron offered his namesake. "The kids like you. You can even babysit for chocolate frog money." Little Ron smiled at him. "Don't worry, if she comes anywhere near you and you get scared, you tell me and I'll beat the... woman up for you." His nephew smiled and gave him a short hug, then left them alone.

Harry looked at him. "Really?"

"Really. She scares me, Harry. If you're in here, then she's not changed much. I'll protect all of your kids, and you." He grinned. "You can even move in if you want."

"I've been thinking about moving closer to civilization," Harry admitted. "Want to help me move?"

"Definitely. Have you found somewhere?"

"Not yet. I've had offers for my house now. Even Oliver offered."

"I'm sure he'd enjoy the room to roam on his broom," Ron agreed. "He could hold practice out there without being seen by anyone, including other wizards." He leaned closer, getting into his friend's face. "I meant it, Harry."

"I know you did, Ron. Thanks." He gave him another smile. "What's up with Xander's knee?"

"More fixing I guess. The way they were talking, it sounds like he's up for more surgery."

"Wonderful. I'm sure he'll love that."

"Probably not, but the rest of us might since he won't be able to move around a lot." He grinned. "Free babysitting."

Harry laughed. And it felt good.


Ron walked into the Headmaster's office, looking pitiful. "I'm sorry," he said, looking down at himself. "These are the last clothes I have and I don't know what's going on anymore, sir."

"Sit, Ron," Albus said gently. He looked at the jeans and t-shirt, and what was obviously one of Draco's robes since it was green. "Have you made any progress on finding whomever did this?" Ron shook his head. "Not a bit?"

"I've tried bloodhound spells, I've tried every tracking spell I could find. I even tried putting tracers on my last batch of shirts. Nothing, sir."

"You can call me Albus," Dumbledore reminded him. "You know I have to put another reprimand in your file?" Ron nodded. "I'm not doing it to be mean, Ronald, but we do have to put forward an image. It's in reaction to some complaints so I have to act this time."

"I bought more last night and they disappeared while I was sitting there," Ron told him, starting to sound helpless. "I don't know how. They've disappeared from a bag while I was holding it. They've disappeared from my closet when I was sitting in the room. I really don't know how."

"I understand. It will be fine, Ron." He smiled at him. "Wearing inappropriate clothing isn't the problem that it seems to be. It's not a review year so you won't have too much trouble."

"Yeah, but according to my contract, one more and I'm fired," Ron pointed out.

Albus laughed. "I assure you, there are many teachers who have more than three reprimands for the same offense in their folders. Wearing inappropriate clothes is not the tragedy it seems. Though I do want you to find out who's doing this, I can accept you not having real clothes to wear."

"These are Xander's," Ron admitted. "No one's touching his stuff, or George's or Iggy's."

"Perhaps you'll find something useful in this book," he said, handing it over. "It's got a more powerful search spell. Supposedly you can find a needle in a haystack with it," Dumbledore told him. Ron nodded. "Go to class and ignore Severus if he says something." Ron nodded and left. "That poor boy," Dumbledore sighed.

Ron walked down the halls, frowning at anyone who started to say anything to him. "Ron!" Tara yelled, jogging to catch up to him. "Practical exercises?"

"No clothes," Ron ground out. "I had to borrow Xander's." He glanced around. "Does your form of magic have anything to help me find them?"

"Not a bit," she told him. She gave him a smile. "At least you don't look like Iggy in them."

"Yeah, it's a good thing he's about my size," Ron said, starting to nod. The bell rang. "I've got to go torture my classes. I'll see you tonight?" She smiled and nodded so he left her there. He walked into his classroom and his students shut up and turned around. "It's not a good day," he announced. "Pop quiz." The kids groaned but pulled out clean pieces of paper.


Xander looked around at his gathered family. "Any particular reason we're all here tonight?"

"Nope," Tara said, giving him a smile. "How's the knee?"

"Buggered," he said succinctly. George choked on his spit. "Sorry, dear."

"Have you noticed that you're turning more Brit every year?" Ron asked him.

Xander frowned. "I'm losing my sunny California speech?" Ron nodded. "Huh. Oh well. Not like I'm going back there." He smiled at his mate. "Unless you wanted to go to the Disney on that coast or Universal Studios again."

"No thanks," George told him. "I like Florida better. More to do closer together." He looked at Tara. "Can you take Maeve when we go in to fix his knee over break?" She nodded. "Thank you. He'll be trapped in bed for two weeks and I don't want to give him any incentive to get up and chase something around."

"I can lay on the couch," Xander told him.

"Yes, but if she's here, then you'll end up chasing her around again," George said patiently. He had caught Xander chasing her this morning to try and get her to into clothes. "Ron, are you staying during break?"

"For the most part. We'll be with mum and dad for a few days," Ron told him, smiling at his son. "We can bring William with us if you want."

Draco walked in and flopped down into a free spot. "Your sister's insane," he noted.

"Why?" George asked. Draco looked frazzled. His hair and clothes were mussed and rumpled. "Bad day?"

"She's found a spell that ...." He shook his head. "Don't ask. Really. You'd only go beat her for it."

Ron looked around Tara at him. "Does this spell grope you from afar?" Draco glared and nodded. "I heard her talking about it," he said with a grin. "She was planning on getting you from across the park during lunch."

"From across the park, the office two or three times, across the table. The woman is driving me nuts. She was never been like this before."

"It's okay, son, her hormones will slow down eventually," George assured him. "The same as yours did."

"Mine haven't, but she kept getting me at very odd times. She got me while I was in the loo!"

Tara snorted. "I'm sure she meant to tease you," she soothed. "Take it as a compliment, she's hot for you after all these years."

"Hot my arse! She got me in the loo! This isn't normal for her. I've seen her horny before and this really isn't normal." He looked at Ron. "When you cleared Black, did my father go somewhere else?"

"Into a jar," Ron told him. "We handed over to Dumbledore for disposal and removal." He shifted uncomfortably. "I don't think it'd be him in there. Why would your father want to shag you?"

"To embarrass him," Tara corrected. "She picked times when it would be embarrassing." She patted Draco on the thigh. "It's okay, we can protect you from the big, bad Ginny." He settled against her side and she gave him a hug. Which was when her mate came in. "Ginny pounced him at bad times," she explained at Severus' hard look.

"He can curl up against someone other than you," Snape told his former student.

"Come over here," Xander told him, patting the couch next to him. "You can have my side if you want." Draco came over, but gave Snape a hurt look. Xander looked up at him. "If she was going to cheat, it wouldn't be with Draco. He's one of those manly guys that she hates."

"Dear," George said gently. "You just insulted him."

"No, Severus knows he's not one of those big macho sort of guys, whereas Draco is more about that sort of thing. Which is one of the things that Tara hates most about men."

Tara nodded. "I always thought it came with having a penis, but apparently it's inbred into some men. Sev has a great understanding of other things, which is why I like him."

"Oh." George nodded. "I had wondered about that." Snape was still frowning. "Feel lucky, Fred could have stolen her instead."

Snape glared at him. "I doubt your brother would interest her that much."

"Actually, I really like Fred," Tara pointed out to them both, "but we could only be friends. He can't understand why women sometimes don't want a penis, they want cuddles." She pulled her mate down beside her and gave him a bright smile. "I'm glad you've moved beyond that."

Snape groaned. "Tara."

"It comes with age and experience," Xander told him with a grin. "That's the only thing I learned from Anya." Snape raised an eyebrow. "Like I said, all she ever really understood about being human was sex and money. Even I got tired sometimes."

Tara giggled like a teenager. "I remember. You used to beg to cuddle her. I don't think she ever understood why you wanted to cuddle." Xander nodded, still smiling. "I never understood why she was like that, but I bet George appreciates the stamina she made you build."

"She wanted it so much that you gave up?" Ron asked. Xander nodded. "Wow."

Draco looked up at him. "I've never reached that point, but I'll take your word for it." He sat up and shifted away. "What are we going to do about Ginny?"

"Well, maybe Ron should go ask Mum if any of his clothes showed up there," George suggested. Ron frowned. "If she's acting odd, then it might be her. And she can summon clothes with a few of the gryphon spells she's learned. I've seen her summon food from her house before."

"It's a form of the teleportation spell," Xander agreed.

Ron stood up. "I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask." He used the floo and headed home. "Mum?" he called as he walked out of the floo. She came out of the back room. "Have any of my shirts shown up here?"

"Are you still missing them?" she asked, giving him a hug. He nodded. "Oh." She frowned. "I've seen some shirts in Ginny's but I thought they'd be Draco's."

"Can I look?" She nodded and led him back to where she was folding some of her own clothes. "That bloody bitch," Ron shouted, grabbing six of his shirts. "Mine!" His mother looked at him. "She's been stealing all of my clothes, mum."

"I'm sure she'll give them back if you ask," his mother said patiently.

"Why? She lied when I asked her if she had any of them." He hugged his shirts to his chest. "Anything else of mine?" The pile of Ginny's laundry was waved to so he went through it, finding more of his clothes, and something of Draco's. "I'm going home. Can you yell at her and get the rest of my stuff so I don't hit her?"

"Fine, Ron," she agreed. "I'll talk with Ginny."

"Thanks, mum." He kissed her on the cheek. "When did you want us over break?"

"Whenever you want to come. You can even ride the train if you'd like. We can come pick you and the triplets up." He grinned and left. "Really. She's always stolen the boys' clothing."


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