Xander strode into the Daily Prophet, waving at the receptionist. "No, don't get up. I think I can find the idiot I'm looking for." He kicked in the door that said 'editor' and walked in. "I think we need to have a talk," he said, using his cane to slam the door in the receptionist's face. He put the picture down on the desk and pointed to it. "My husband. My acknowledged son. Get them straight," he said with his coldest glare. "They're not together. There's nothing between them. There's never going to be anything between them. Get it straight before I have to get pissed about you spreading more trash about my family." He picked up the picture. "Thank you for your future cooperation. I'd hate to have to get really upset." He walked out, waving at the receptionist and the security guard she was hiding behind. Then he went home. "Dear, I'm back," he called as he teleported into the shop.
"I thought there was something about a Lucy in there," Fred said from behind the counter. He pointed at the bags. "Someone dropped those off for you. We've already confiscated the crossbow." Xander pouted. "Don't do that." The pout got deeper and more sad. "Fine, it's under my bed. We were hiding it from the people who think that you might be turned." He looked over the present outfit. "Someone let you out by yourself in that outfit?"
"Yup, and no one said anything," Xander said, picking up his bags and taking them back to his room, with only a brief stop to pick up his new toy. He found Katie and Harry on his bed. "Toy," he said happily, holding it up.
"I saw." Harry looked at Xander, then back at his face. "You're still...human, right?"
Xander nodded patiently. "And I'm standing here in the sun, Harry, remember the lessons before I have Spike pounce you." He put up his clothes.
Katie slid out of the bed, coming over to look over his shoulder. She grabbed something and held it up. "Underwear?"
"Treat for the hubby," Xander said, taking it back, but he was smiling. "Okay, I'm done for the day and I don't have anything to do for the next hour. Did you want your backrub?"
"Yes, please," Katie said with a grin of her own. "Should I lay here?"
"Wherever you want, sweetheart. You deserve it for winning by so much." He straddled her back and grinned at Harry. "Did you want one as well?"
"No, I'm guarding her virtue. Alicia is busy."
"She'll be up later. I popped in and stunned her with my natural beauty," Xander assured him, bending down to start on her shoulders. "I owe you an hour, right?"
"Yeah," Katie purred.
"Hands off my woman," Fred said as he walked in.
"Bugger off. He's working on my back."
"He's rubbing against your arse."
"I'm still clothed," Xander pointed out with a smirk. "If you gave backrubs like I do, she might let you give her one." He worked on a knot and she moaned, bucking under him. "See?"
"I can make her make that noise," Fred said smugly.
Xander climbed off. "Then get to it, Fred. Otherwise, I'm going to butt in and finish her off for you, then hand over her limp and sated body."
"Bet me. If anyone's going to make her a puddle, it's me." Fred worked on the stiff shoulders and Xander leaned down to help, but he slapped at him. "Go away. I can do this."
"You need to do it harder and knead it like dough," Xander advised, sitting on the end of the bed. Fred did as he said and the woman under him sighed in pleasure. "Now go in circles."
"Xander, I have it," Fred said tightly.
"Fine. Harry, come help me pounce on George. I'll get Fred's back later."
"Not necessary," Fred called after them.
Katie looked back at him. "You're giving up a Xander backrub for me?" He nodded. "It's not really worth it, Fred. I'm not jealous. He wouldn't hit on you, George would kill him. The same as he won't hit on me because George would kill him."
"I don't want to share."
Katie rolled underneath him and pulled him down for a hug. "What's really bothering you? You tried to share us with George often enough." Fred shook his head. "What, Fred? Tell me so I don't worry."
"I nearly took Xander from George. It was close, but he worked harder and won him."
"Would you have been happy?" Fred shrugged. "Would you have put up with him this long?"
"Probably not," Fred agreed, starting to feel better. "It doesn't make you feel strange?"
"No! Does it make you feel strange that all of us get off every time he works on our backs?" Fred nodded. "Why?"
"Because that should be my fun, not his.
"You're jealous because he could be fun to sleep with, even though he'd never be a long term thing?" Katie suggested. Fred nodded. "Well, gee, Fred, but I never wanted that. If I had wanted that, I might have went after it. But I don't. I never have. Transient fun is great, but not very satisfying. Why would I want something like that?"
"I guess. But I still have to worry."
"Fred, if I wanted to take up with Xander, what makes you think I couldn't have come up his first year of teaching and seen him?" He opened his mouth then smiled. "Do you see now, idiot? I want you, I'll only want you."
"Fine. Then I can let him rub your back."
"Thank you. Now go get leather boy and have him come play with me." Fred gave her a kiss on the cheek then did as he was bid. Xander stuck his head in the room. "Yes, you, leather boy. Get in here and give me my reward."
"Yes, dear. I always obey scary and powerful women who can tame a man with only a kiss."
"Had one have you?" she asked, rolling onto her stomach again.
"Or two," he agreed. "Want to hear a story while I work?"
Xander straddled her back again and started to work on her shoulders. "When I was younger, much younger and dumber, I dated this woman named Cordelia."
George opened the paper the next morning and had it taken from his hand by Ron. "Why did you do that?" he asked.
Ron turned it around so he could see the front page. "Xander threatened them?"
"Not really. Only an implied threat of suing them again." George read the article and smiled. "Good, they learned their lesson. No more false captioning or supposition." He took the paper back and continued to search for the fun league listings. "We're tied for first," he said happily.
"Wonderful. Didn't you read that?" George nodded. "They said Xander threatened them."
"They said that they had a very strong complaint by the husband of one of the people in the picture and that they had promised him not to lie about his family anymore because they were scared of what he would do to them this time, though he never mentioned a purposeful threat. That they were going to complain to the Minister of Magic, but they didn't think it would do any good since dad was shielding him from the law. They suggested that Xander should be locked up like certain groups had planned to do. And there's an editorial by someone in here stating that those people didn't intend to lock any of the gryphon-born up, but planned on killing any adults, sterilizing any young children, and keeping them locked up. That Xander had every right to complain about that picture since it was false, and they reminded the readers that Xander had to sue them before because of their lies. Oh, hey, it's by you." He looked up and Ron shook his head. "It's got your initials." He handed over the paper.
"It wasn't me. And there's lots of R.W.'s in the world." He handed it back. "I'll make sure everyone knows it wasn't me." The door slammed open and he flinched. "Morning, Draco." The man in question grunted as he sat down and stole the paper. "I didn't write the editorial."
"Ramona Wyath did," he grunted, reaching across George's plate for the tea. George slapped his hand and he glared at him. "What?"
"Ask! Your mother taught you manners. Unlike Xander, you can't get away with that." He handed over the tea.
"Fuck off," Draco told him, pouring himself some tea. "I only got to sleep three hours ago and I have to deal with the most clueless of all students today."
"All the more reason to learn patience and tolerance, and let me take Morgana today," Ron told him. "I've got mostly Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, and that one group of Slytherins and Gryffs."
"Fine," Draco agreed, waving a hand. "I'll repossess her at lunch."
"You don't have class for another two hours," George pointed out gently. "You could go back to sleep."
"There was a cold spot, it woke me up." He pointed at the plate of muffins and they were passed as well. He grunted his thanks. "I don't know which one it was, but it was annoying."
"Go sleep in the nest," Ron snorted. "Nothing gets into it." Draco looked at him, looking faintly confused. "Seriously. Go sleep in the nest."
"Good idea." Draco took his tea up with him, climbing in with William and Maeve. "Let me sleep or be grounded," he warned when Maeve tickled him. She curled up against his chest and snuggled in, getting comfortable like she would with his son. "Thank you, Maeve."
She smiled at her brother, who got up and curled up behind Draco. It was his favorite spot, he liked to be behind people.
Xander walked into Albus' office and shrugged at the people standing there. "All I told them was to get it right from now on and to quit making up stories before they pissed me off. No threats."
Arabelle McKinley smiled at him. "I know. We have a listening device down there to tell us when they find things before we do." She handed him a letter. "From the Yanks. I don't know what it was about, but they sent it to Percy without knowing who he was."
Xander sat down and opened the letter, then burst out laughing. "I don't believe this. It's an official complaint because their agents were stopped from kidnaping me by my son!" He handed it over, continuing to laugh. "I was taken from them by MI-5, not even wizarding agents. Iggy took me from muggles."
She patted him on the shoulder. "I'm sure Percy and I will get a lot of laughs out of this one. Arthur said he'd be talking with the American in his equivalent position soon about all the problems they'd been having. I'm sure he'll get a great laugh out of it too." She smiled at him. "It wasn't Ron who complained, right?" Xander shook his head. "I hadn't thought so, but I wanted to make sure I had the right bet in." She smiled at Dumbledore. "How are you getting on?"
"Fine, Arabelle. Thank you for asking. Did you need Xander for more?"
"No, that's about it. I did want to remind him that walking around in the outfit he wore yesterday might be dangerous, but otherwise we're fine with my adoring future in-law."
Xander giggled. "Can I tie him up for you and bring him somewhere?"
"No, dear, I can do that all by myself. I'll even enjoy it." She watched as Xander left. "Did you see his outfit yesterday?" she asked with a smile. Dumbledore groaned. "He was adorable. Looked like a little vampire master." She waved and left, taking the letter back to Arthur and Percy. They hadn't wanted to upset Xander, he might go hurt someone. Percy took the letter and Arthur took it from him when he burst out laughing. "That was his reaction," she told her intended.
Arthur shook his head. "It's bad enough that stupid article was in the paper today, and that my other son responded."
"It wasn't Ron," Percy told him. "Ramona Wyath did it." He took the letter back. "What do we do in response? They did try and kidnap him, did kidnap a lot of the rest of the family, and nearly killed some of us."
"I'll be talking with the American Czar of Magic next week. I'll certainly bring this up."
"Oh, let us come, Father. I want to have a word with him about kidnaping me, my son, and the rest of us." His eyes were cold. "Please."
"I'll consider it," Arthur said with a smile. "I don't want to harm them, Percy."
"Father, I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing," Percy said innocently.
"On that note, I'm going to take my just desserts and scamper off for the weekend." She stunned Percy and lifted him with her wand. "I'll see you Monday, sir." She took him off, going to possess him the weekend.
Arthur was lying on the floor, laughing so hard he couldn't catch his breath. That was so cute. Percy deserved a woman like that.
Xander looked up as his name was called, smiling at the man walking up the aisle. "Yes, Ron?"
"I think your son needs to talk to you," he said, handing William over.
"What did he do?"
"Not that one, the older one. William was helping me in class today." William grinned at him. "We had a scary fear monster and he helped scare the students with an evil Tara-looking person." Tara looked over at him. "From his home realm." He took his seat. "Iggy is waiting in your advanced classroom."
"Okay." Xander grabbed one last bite of his lunch then walked out, William clinging to his back like a baby chimp. He tapped on the door and walked in, smiling as his son launched himself at him. "What's wrong?" He closed the door and let William down. "Did someone say something again?"
"No," Iggy said, shaking his head. "Raena and I went to Diagon to get stuff for Potions and we were attacked." He started to fidget again and his father tipped his face up. "I forgot all my training and tried to beat the shit out of him. Raena's fine."
"I'm sure if she wasn't I would have been called to the hospital. Are you in trouble?"
"Yeah, kind of." Iggy shrugged. "There was one of the Ministry agents in the group attacking us. Grandpa had to spring us from their grip, and he was swearing hard. Apparently it was an undercover assignment and they screwed it royally." He shifted away, starting to pace. Then he picked up his brother for a hug. "I'm sorry, Daddy. I let you down."
"You survived and protected your mate, that's the important thing." Iggy looked at him. "Trust me, you didn't let me down. Those animals let me down, and they're going to pay for it, one way or another. If you fought back, then I'm not disappointed. Even if you bitchslapped them repeatedly instead of using your wand."
"I didn't even think about pulling it."
Xander grinned. "I have that problem too. Does your other father know?" Iggy shook his head. "Then let me tell him. You sit and cuddle the soothing one." Iggy nodded, collapsing onto a weight bench to cuddle his little brother. Xander leaned against the wall and sought the open mind that was his mate's. "George," he whispered. He felt his mate respond. "Iggy got attacked. He's fine, but shaken." He felt the rage explode. "Your father had to help them. Come up as soon as you're free." He broke off because someone was trying to get George's attention in the shop. He smiled at his son. "We'll be seeing him soon. Want to come to class with me today?"
"I have Black's class," Iggy said quietly.
"Then stay down here if it makes you feel better."
Iggy looked at him. "You think they'll try something more?"
"I seriously don't know," Xander told him. "I have no idea. If they do, I want you to run as hard as you can for your hidden room and lock your asses in there. Raena can be with you if she can get there before then, but I don't want you to open that door for anybody. Got it?"
Iggy relaxed. "Yes, daddy." He accepted the strong hug. "She's getting a small bruise looked at." He looked up. "You're not disappointed?"
"No, son, I'm not disappointed. You survived. Don't tell Draco. Let me do that. He'll go off on someone if he finds out from someone else." Iggy nodded. "Why don't you go play in the Potion's lab?" he suggested gently. "It's nearer to safety and Raena may be joining you there."
"All right. Can I take William?"
"If he wants to go with you and will behave for Severus." William nodded, squeezing Iggy's neck harder. "Then he may go." Iggy gave him a short squeeze, then left to go to his calm place. Xander waited until he was alone to punch the wall, letting his rage flow out into the stones and back into the ground. "I'll kill the people who did this," he promised. "They do not harm my son." He felt the small tremor start and worked to control himself. The shaking stopped and he let out a deep sigh. "I have a class to teach, I'm going to do that now," he told himself, walking out and heading up to his other classroom. Severus met him outside the door. "I know I'm late, I'm sorry. Iggy got attacked." Severus' face hardened. "He and Raena both got attacked while they were in Diagon. Then they were arrested for fighting back," he said bitterly. "Arthur had to rescue them."
"At least they're fine," Severus reminded him. "You taught him well."
"He beat them with his fists. Didn't even think about his wand."
Severus laughed. "Of course. You do the same thing, even after using it for so long." He gave him a reassuring touch to the shoulder. "Let me tell Mr. Malfoy. He'll be rather upset."
"That's putting it mildly," Xander said dryly. "I'd better teach my class." He got a nod and slid inside. "It's not a great day and your tests didn't help any," he announced. The kids all groaned, but came up from under their desks. He opened his locking desk drawer and pulled out the packet marked with their class. "Someone pass these out," he said, tossing it onto the desk and relocking the drawer. There were other tests in there and the kids shouldn't have them. He sat on the front of the desk, putting his cane in its usual place. "I'll take questions as soon as everyone has theirs and has had a chance to groan in mental agony. I should add this to the final after all."
"If you do, can we have a page of notes?" one girl asked. "Professor Maclay said that some of her teachers in college allowed that."
"We'll see," Xander told her, but he was smiling slightly. "Or I could make it an essay test." The kids groaned again.
Arthur walked into the school and stopped when he felt someone staring at him. "Ignatius?"
"No, me, grandfather," Ravena said, walking out of the shadows. "Raena's slightly toasted and Father's put her into his bed for a bit. Her husband's sitting watch over her." She looked him over. "Are they in trouble?"
He smiled at her. "Not at all. I had to point out that they were defending themselves, numerous times, but they're not in trouble for it." He glanced around. "Where is everyone else?"
"Waiting in the tower. I'm the sane and reasonable one right now. Your son is ready to pummel them, even if he has to get arrested to get close to them."
"George," Arthur sighed.
"Uncle Charlie," she snorted. "Uncle Bill's not far behind."
"Charlie?" She nodded. "Well. That is odd. Usually he's more calm about such things. Let me check in and then I'll be up. All right?"
"Yes, sir." She gave him a perfunctory hug then left him to talk to the headmaster alone. She walked in the tower. "He and the Headmaster are talking," she announced. She smiled at the Simone/Charlie/Bill tangle of bodies. "He was surprised that it was you who was so upset this time."
"He's just a boy," Charlie pointed out coolly. "Eight people jumping them isn't right."
"One of them being with the Ministry isn't any better," Bill agreed. "Was Percy with him?"
"Percy was kidnaped for the weekend by Arabelle," Ron told them. Everyone looked at him. "I found out when she called to ask me to take Tananda from her playgroup to mum's."
"Oh," Bill said, nodding. "She kidnaped him?"
"She froze him and carried him off," Arthur said as he walked in with the ghost. "How are the children?"
"Better than the people who did this are going to be," Xander said sweetly. "Would you please have me arrested now?"
"Even if I did, Xander, they wouldn't put you in the same cellblock." Arthur sat down facing everyone, a chair had been placed out for him to do this. "I had to argue long and hard because someone thought it was more important that they were stopped and the undercover agent was found out. I ended up stunning everyone and pointing out very loudly that those creatures had nearly killed two of the brightest stars in the wizarding world today. That they were not only prodigies, but healing potions prodigies and this was probably enough to make them want to kill normal wizards and witches," he finished bitterly.
"Are they going to be in future trouble?" Xander asked.
Arthur shook his head. "I think I made the point that they were attacking children, and that the children had the right to defend themselves. If someone says anything else, they're being fired and I'll personally help the couple with their representation in any formal charges. And yes, George, before you say anything, someone did suggest just that because they ruined the operation. That was quickly quashed by someone arresting them and them protesting that they were doing their job. When Percy comes in on Monday, he's going to have a field day stripping those people of their flesh."
"I want to help," Xander told him.
Fred reached over and patted Xander's thigh. "Calm down. We don't need another quake."
"He created a quake?" Bill asked, looking at Xander. "Didn't you give that up before you got married to my brother?"
"I was bleeding my rage off into the ground through a wall and it happened," Xander told him. "If someone comes after my son, they're going to die, Arthur. I don't give a damn who it is. Even if it's family. Make sure they know that."
"Xander, I know you're upset," Dumbledore said placidly, "but you can't kill them. Let the law have it's say first, and then make them miserable for whatever portion of life they have left."
"Yes, Albus," Xander sighed, slumping down some. Then he hopped up. "I'm going for a walk to calm down before I start to hit the walls." He walked out, heading out onto the mezzanine.
George shook his head. "He will harm someone. This one will be even worse than what happened to the borns who hurt the family," he said quietly. "His whole body is screaming at him to get revenge, father. You'd better work fast or I'm going to have to find a way to cover up a mass killing."
"I understand, George. I'm not that calm myself at the moment. I would love nothing more at the moment than to grab one of Simone's bats and walk into their cells with a guard to hold them while I hit them."
The fireplace shot up and Percy walked out of it. "Xander?"
George touched his mate's mind. "He ran into Oliver on the mezzanine. He's headed out to grab his favorite weapons and walk into the dark forest to take care of that creature who tried to eat the puppies."
Percy nodded. "Tell him it's solved," he said coldly. His family looked at him in shock. "Not only have the errant dolts been fired, they've also been arrested for intentionally trying to harm minor children, and for helping plan an assault on the general community at large. The group was two of mine, one of Arabelle's, and one Species Squad person." He pulled a folder out of his pocket and enlarged it, tossing it down onto the table. "This dates back to the reign of the person who took over when Fidders was ill. All carefully planned out. They were running a test case to see if they could get Iggy and Raena indicted for protecting themselves. They did manage to file charges and the judge signed an order, but it was put on hold when we protested it. Arabelle stunned them all and made them listen to her. The judge was mortified and placed all of the people involved, including their lawyer, in jail for thirty days for trying to misuse the judicial system." Fred picked up the folder and almost immediately turned it over to George. "I need to get in touch with the colony. We didn't know they had a second facility." George hurried to the bathroom, leaving the folder in his seat.
Draco came down the stairs, pausing to look at Percy. "Is it fixed?" he asked coolly.
"Very," Percy agreed. "Even in a manner that you would approve of." He smiled. "They have a second facility. I need their healers."
"I'll go," Iggy called.
"No way in hell," Fred yelled back. "You're not going near those people again. If the healers need you, they'll call you, Ignatius."
Draco nodded Percy back to the fireplace. "I can get them for you, but I'm going."
"Fine. I could probably use the help. I wasn't about to interrupt anything but we have a strike force going in soon."
"Excellent," Draco agreed, calling the colony. "Elder, I need to talk to the three of you and the top healers. There was another facility like Xander found the broken ones in." Bill the gryphon hissed, as did the human one. "We're going in soon, we'll need healers and help."
"Done," Bill agreed, his eyes glinting with iciness. "How was this one found?"
"They messed up," Draco told him. "I'll make a full report in the morning, or after the raid."
"Indeed, you will," Bill agreed. He nodded at Percy. "Your doing?"
"People in a secret society among my people and in other departments," Percy admitted. "Not my doing, but this will be something I undo with as much force as possible."
"Thank you. We look forward to hearing your report also." Percy nodded. "Do we send them there?"
"No, I'll put one of Iggy's pushpins where we're heading and they can teleport to it. If that would be all right?"
"That would be fine," Bill agreed. "Happy hunting. May they suffer." He cut the connection.
Draco looked at Percy. "You're sure? This will be messy."
"These are my people, I owe it to them to be there when their lives or careers are ended." Percy smiled at the rest of the family. "Keep Xander here. Keep Ignatius and Raena here. Father, I'll have a report for you tomorrow." He took Draco with him, flooing together. They landed in a small restaurant, with an assault team doing the final planning. "The healers are on their way, along with a few other fighters. Work with them," Percy ordered. He looked at the plans. "Where am I?"
"Here, Minister Weasley. We can't risk you."
Percy snorted. "They attacked my family this morning, Flint. Where am I?"
"Here," the leader said in resignation, pointing at the building plans. "It's the offices. Once we break you in, it will be your job, with Minister McKinely, to grab all the information in sight and remove it. Computers and all since this is a muggle facility."
"We have at least three healers coming," Draco told him, looking at the younger brother of the former captain of his quidditch team. "Plus a number of other gryphon-borns who will love to help destroy them. Where do you want us?"
"Mr. Malfoy," he said with a smile. "I didn't expect you. Do you still fight?"
"Every few weeks in training. A sparring session every now and then. I haven't had to actually fight since last year. I consider it a nice change."
"Then I'll let you and any borns you personally can vouch for in a battle situation take the point. This is their people and I'd rather be behind the wave of destruction instead of trying to get away from it."
"Done," Draco agreed. He pulled out a small journal and handed it over. "Choose?"
The man looked at the spells written down, starting to look impressed. He handed it back, open to a page. "We want the structure intact, but if you can take out the inner non-load bearing walls I'd dearly kiss your feet. No matter what my brother would say."
"I had a chat with him recently." The man looked clueless. "Your nephew is starting next year."
"Oh. Thank you for looking out for him." He watched as Percy set down a small thumbtack then stepped away from it quickly. "Is that like the one found at the pitch?"
"Created by the same wizard," Draco agreed. "The boy who got attacked today." One person appeared and frowned, but then put down a marker of his own. "Couldn't find us?"
"Iggy has three other ones in London. We weren't sure which one," he said, nodding at the crew. "Hesiod, brother of Homer, new head of the borns," he said, shaking the leader's hand. "Where do you want us, how much damage can we do, and how long is the sedative given to Xander going to last?"
Draco checked the thought streams, then laughed. "Snape's getting him toasted right now to make sure he can't come help. The man is a genius, Xander's letting it all out in a long rant at the moment." Hesiod looked impressed. "Brandy snifters with a slosh of grain alcohol added for good measure. He knows, but he's too drunk to care."
"That's a potion worthy of an assassin," one of the assault team mumbled. Draco shot him a glare. "What? It could kill you in the right levels."
"Severus Snape is a master of making poisons, not of administering them. He is a great man and I will not let you malign him in my presence." The man nodded and backed behind the man beside him. "Are we ready?"
"Yes, sir. Which one of you takes point?"
"I lead the born in battle and in life," Hesiod told him. "It's my duty. Draco, I want you on my left, leading that side. Byrant?" A woman stepped forward. "My right. Lead that side." She nodded and picked out her chosen people, letting Draco do the same. "The rest of you follow me or take rear. We go now." The assault leader rolled up his map and followed along, motioning his people to get the middle, with Percy and Arabelle brining up the safer rear positions. Hesiod blew in the door, startling the guards and letting in the group. They fell quickly and quietly as curses were thrown. There were held back as Hesiod and Draco cast the spell to start dissolving the walls.
Percy and Arabelle took two of the gryphon-borns to protect them as they raided the office. "Dear Goddess, there's another office, a headquarters," Percy breathed, handing over the letter he had found. One of the agents helped him into a seat and started giving him worried looks. "I'm fine," he said tiredly. "I had no idea this was that bad. I need Malfoy. He might know something and not even realize it." The walls around them disappeared and the assault team moved on. "I need Malfoy," he called.
"I'll send him back, sir," one of the agents agreed, hurrying on.
Draco came back in, his face set. Pale, but set. "What's happened now? We just found a child of not more than a few months."
"They have a headquarters," Arabelle said, handing over the letter.
Draco sat on the desk, reading it a few times. "I know that name. Let me call my sources." He walked out, going to use the portable floo device he had taken off Xander. He came back ten minutes later with a smile. "Harry Wilson. Third cousin to Neville Longbottom, who works in the Courts. Neville knows where he would be and might even have more information for us."
"I'll have him brought to the restaurant," Arabelle said, hurrying out.
"Make sure he knows he's not in trouble," Percy called after her. "He's a nice boy."
Draco looked down at him. "Are you feeling alright?"
"I'm fine, Draco. I want these people before I go to sleep tonight." He stood up. "Gather everything in the cabinets, the desk, and the former room. I want them in my secondary office before I get in tomorrow morning."
The agent hurried off, going to pass on the orders.
Percy stood up and surveyed the former rooms. Arabelle would kill someone over this. The person whose name was on the desk had been one of hers. He walked out, going to supervise the loading of the poor victims. Fifteen this time, including the infant that Draco was holding. He patted him on the back. "She'll be fine. She's young, she'll recover," he said quietly.
Draco looked at him. "Did you find any files on their families?"
"I saw a drawer marked 'family'. The files are going to my secondary office. We'll find any family she might have and make sure that they're safe if they're still alive." Draco nodded, handing the little girl over to the paramedic. A muggle paramedic. "Who are you?" Percy asked. He snapped his fingers and a few agents came running, taking over that ambulance as well. They were herded off quickly, before any of the residents could get nosy. Then Arabelle's people stepped in and started the memory charms on any curious people. They had been watching to see who had peeked out windows.
Draco walked into the school and headed down to the dungeons immediately. It was dawn, and he was messy and tired, but he needed one of those drinks himself. He found a warm snifter of brandy next to the fireplace and sniffed it with appreciation before downing it.
"Was it bad?" Xander asked from the doorway.
Draco looked over at him. "They had a fifteen-month-old," he said simply. "She'll be fine."
Xander walked in and gave him a hug. "You saved them," he said gently. "You did good and got to beat up on the bad guys."
"You still smell like a drunk," Draco noted as he relaxed. Xander gave him a squeeze. "She'll be fine," he agreed.
"They can cure most of them. I've already checked on the first batch. They're not like the first group we found a few years ago. They're not that harmed."
"They had a child and were doing something to train her," Draco said, grabbing the bottle of brandy. "Is this laced?"
"Yup." Xander yawned. "Drink another one and then come sit with me. We'll keep each other from killing someone over this." Draco nodded and poured a lot into his snifter, taking Xander back up to their rooms. He settled them into the nest, watching as Draco drank himself into a dreamless sleep. He didn't like drinking, but sometimes it wasn't so horrible.
Arthur walked into Percy's secondary office and stopped. "What's all this?" he asked the room in general.
Percy stood up from behind a pile of boxes. "From the so-called headquarters and the secondary site we found last night. There's two more being taken down today and their files are being brought here as soon as it's done." He pointed at a lid. "Each site has a different colored dot on the box."
"Good job, Percy." Arthur looked down inside. "Medical records?"
"Yes. We're looking for parentage and family files. We're not sure if they did what those bastards Xander helped take down a few years ago or not. There was an infant, father," he said quietly.
"I heard, son, I heard." He gave him a hug. "We'll figure it out and stop all this nonsense. Before they can rise from the ashes again." He let his son go. "Did you want some help?"
"I'm having a doctor brought in, plus two of our social services people, and many of my best researchers. I'm keeping Ignatius out of it though. He's too close."
"Good job. I want a progress report each morning and evening. Tell me about any raids before they happen and let me know what's going to happen. I don't need more than that, Percy."
"Yes, father." Percy watched as his father left, then went back to his lunch in the middle of the files from the open box. Arabelle smiled at him. "Did he get you earlier?"
"No, and I'm not sure he would. I send him daily progress reports, each morning. You're the secretive one." She pinched a crumb off his lip and ate it for him. "Finish up so we can break open the next box." He stuffed his mouth and helped reload the box so they could start on another one. This one was full of patient files. Maybe this one had information that they needed in it.
Percy tipped his hat at the man he was there to pick up. The poor American, he looked so disgruntled. He had gotten searched as soon as he got off the plane, so of course Customs had given him the *full* search, body and bags. Then the goblins had given him a hassle over the exchange rate for the day. He hadn't gotten all that he had expected. Now, Percy was to take him to his hotel. Pity it wasn't a great one. "Where to, sir?" he asked as he slid in to drive.
"Whatever hotel they've set me in," the American said with a negligent wave of his hand.
"Yes, sir. I'm to inform you that our usual one is filled with a convention. We set you in the next closest hotel, even though it is a bit below the Amsterdam." He started the car and took off, zipping through traffic. He still hadn't gotten the hang of going the speed limit. The American Czar of Magic was looking rather scared. Oh, well. He pulled up in front of the hotel and got out, letting the man out. "If you'll look to your left, sir, there's the Ministry at the end of the next block. Minister Weasley's office is upstairs in the secondary building. Just go up to the reception desk and tell them who you are. They'll call over and make sure he's in." He led the man to the check-in area of the less than reputable hotel. "Minister Ackers," he said, waving at him.
"Very well," the old hag said, smiling at him. "How long is he staying?"
"Three days," the American said, trying hard not to touch anything that she did. He signed the book and let Percy lead him to his room. This strange dark haired man was trying hard to minimize the problems he was having so far. He hadn't remembered the British being so unorganized, but he guessed it was having a new Minister. At least his room was clean. He dismissed the driver and settled in to get comfortable and take a short nap. He'd be meeting with Minister Weasley for dinner that night, along with some of his top people. How odd, they had departments.
Percy walked into his office and took off the illusion. "I feel better now that I'm back in my own skin again," he told his girlfriend.
"Were you mean?" she teased.
He sat down next to her and kissed her on the cheek. "He got searched, then Customs got him. Unfortunately, the exchange rate is down today as well," he said with a smirk worthy of a certain adopted blond family member. "Then I helped him check into his hotel. Wear something fabulous tonight so I have something to watch other than his pasty, reddened face."
"Of course. My red robes you think?"
"I think I'll pounce you if you wear those. Wear something less inflammatory, Arabelle." The door opened. "He's down the street, father."
"I heard," Arthur said dryly. "Didn't I tell you not to cause him too much trouble, Percy?"
"Why, father, I did no such thing. I only changed his hotel reservations for him." He smiled innocently. "Where are we eating dinner? I was advising my girlfriend and colleague what to wear."
"I was thinking the new place, Minstrels." Percy nodded. "You did remember that they're spraying most of that hotel for imps?"
Percy gasped. "Really? I hadn't heard that. We might have to move him somewhere more proper then."
"You're being naughty, Percy, behave," Arthur said with a tolerant smile. "Arabelle, not the red one. It would distract Percy and the American Minister. Wear that nice blue one you wore last week." She smiled. "I think you and Percy would match very well in that outfit and you do look cute together."
"Yes, Arthur. Thank you for your help, sir."
"You're welcome, dear. Percy, no more mischief."
"Of course not, father. I'll behave as ordered to." Arthur gave him a knowing look. "I promise." His father smiled and left them alone. "That doesn't mean I don't have some help," he whispered in her ear.
She giggled and swatted him, but gave him a kiss anyway. She enjoyed this naughty side.
Xander opened the car door for the Minister, smiling at him. "You look familiar," the man said thoughtfully.
"Really?" Xander asked. "I get that a lot. Something about a brilliant professor or some such." The man got back out and looked him over. "Do you know what you did to my family?" Xander asked casually, leaning on the door. "You had my family kidnaped. You had some of my family harmed. One of your people nearly killed my husband and my son had to hurt people. My son is a healer by the way." The man blanched and Xander stepped closer. "I suggest you leave me and my family the hell alone unless we come begging for help," he said calmly and quietly. "You see, my son is actually a potion's prodigy, with an emphasis in healing potions." The man swallowed. "Studying under Severus Snape." The man went pale. "Learn from your people's mistakes. I will destroy the next group who comes for me. I won't be caught off-guard again. They had to drug me last time, this time will be fatal for anyone who attacks us." He stepped back and smiled. "With that said, my boss said I was to bring you to the restaurant after having this little talk with you." He waved at the car. "Get in, you'll be late."
The Minister stepped into the car and started to sweat. "Are you...stable?"
"I've been stable since I got control of my gifts," Xander said as he started the car. "Gryphon- borns aren't like that unless you attack our family. If you look, you'll find that most of those reports come from people who were attacking us." He pulled out carefully, heading for the new restaurant out in the suburbs. "How are you liking that hotel, sir?"
"I'm starting to wonder if more of your family is in charge," the man sniffed.
"My father-in-law is in the Ministry, but he promised to leave you alone when I said I wanted to deal with you myself. Unfortunately, I had classes today or we would have had that discussion earlier." He pulled up and parked, getting out to let the man out. "Here we are." He smiled and led the man inside, handing over his jacket. "Weasley?" he told the receptionist.
"Yes, Professor, right this way please," the pretty woman said with a smile. She led them back to the private room and let them inside. "I'll send in a waiter in a few moments for drinks and appetizers." She left them there.
"Here we are," Xander said happily, walking in and hugging Percy.
"That's your father-in-law?"
"No, he is," Xander said, pointing at Arthur. He sat down next to Arabelle. "I'm glad I talked you into that dress," he said happily.
"As am I," Percy agreed. "Do sit, Minister. I'm Percy Weasley, over the Archives and the Unmentionables." He shook his hand.
"You picked me up. Your voice is the same."
Percy smiled. "It was supposed to be a soothing assignment. I'm sorry you've had such a bad trip so far."
"It's not your fault. That stupid dog smelled my cats." He sat down after shaking everyone else's hand and hearing what they did. "If I may ask, why is Professor Harris here?"
"Because otherwise I'd have to sit at home and work on battle plans," Xander told him. "I'm also the temporary head born for my colony and my ambassador wanted to know about this meeting." He grinned. "Besides, I dress up this group." Most of the Ministers laughed, all but the head of Law Enforcement, who glared at him. Xander smiled at him and he rolled his eyes. "Keep it up, I train most of your new people," Xander reminded him.
Arthur cleared his throat and business was on.
Xander looked over as his classroom door opened and William wandered in. "Having a bad day?"
"Daddy, can I play with the puppies?" William asked as he slipped into his father's lap.
Xander put down his pen and cuddled his son. "What did Hagrid say?"
"After classes. Right now he had to teach about creatures and whatnot." William's face scrunched up. "What's a whatnot?"
"It means 'and other things'. Hagrid's teaching about a few creatures and a few animals that aren't quite creatures because they're smarter."
"Oh. Okay." William snuggled back against his chest. "Can I play with them tonight?"
"We'll go down and play with them together. How about that?"
"Okay." William looked up at him. "Uncle Draco said that the nasty lady came by earlier and I had to tell you about Snuggly Tits."
"I see." Xander gave him a squeeze. "Why don't you tell me directly the next time you see her. That way I can talk to her about the upcoming problem."
"Okay, daddy." William smiled. "Do you think it's fixed? I don't feel connected to other places anymore."
"Good." Xander kissed him on the head. "Help me write this final?" His son nodded and helped by trying to read the small words. "Where's Maeve?"
"Clinging to Ravena. Lucien is with her today. She said so," he said seriously.
"Ah. Want to go find them?"
"Yes!" William slid down and started to lead the way. Xander put the partial test into his desk drawer and locked it, following his son. He went back because he felt something, and smirked when he saw the test floating out the open window. He hit it with his wand, setting a nasty surprise for whomever had stolen it. Then he hurried to catch up to his son. Ravena was in Potions and Severus gladly handed over both of the younger children. They had been trying to fix his hair for him. Xander brought them all out to Care of Magical Creatures, going to help Hagrid with the lessons. "An empty corral?" he asked.
"There's a unicorn in there," one girl told him, giving him a funny look.
"Gryphons and unicorns can't see each other. It stopped a war," Hagrid told her. "It's an ancient problem." He smiled at William. "Can you see it?" All the kids shook their heads. At least Lucien did until the horn poked him.
"Hey!" He glared at the creature which had attacked him. "Grumpy shit! I'll have my sister kill you." The unicorn snorted and nudged him again with the horn, then licked him. "Eww! Lickies!" He ran back into the school, crying for his father.
Xander shrugged. "What's up with it?"
"It thinks he smells like grapes and she likes 'em," Hagrid told him, waving at the kids. "If you're good, you can play with the puppies." They scrambled to where the puppies were napping, waking them up to play with them. The puppies barked and led the kids away from the class. They were well trained.
Xander leaned on the fence, until the creature got him too. "What? I didn't eat grapes."
Hagrid laughed. "That's hers and she's not happy with you bein' on it."
"Territorial imperative, I can understand that. I'm going to help the kids wear out the dogs." He smiled and went to help the kids. Lucien came back out with his father, already whining. "Lucien, come help." Lucien squealed and ran over to jump into the tumbling.
Draco looked at the enclosure. "What unicorn?"
Hagrid laughed. "She's right there," he said, pointing. The unicorn came over and nudged him, then winked and trotted off. "It's the old war."
"I see. Wonderful. Try to keep her off Lucien. He's upset about being poked." He waved at his son. "I'll talk with him tonight."
Hagrid nodded. "Thank ya."
"Not a problem." Draco walked down to gather up his son, who wouldn't let go of the puppy or Maeve, who was also holding onto the puppy, for anything. "Come along or you can't play with Zach tonight."
Zach came running out, screaming in joy as he saw the other kids. He pounced on Lucien, dragging him into the fray. "Thank you," he called, waving at Hagrid with a smile. "Ooooh, unicorn," he said, pointing. "Pretty."
"I'm sure it is," Xander agreed, patting him on the head. "Play quietly." The kids moved the dogs further down the lawn and continued to play loudly, but they wouldn't disturb the class down there.
"Very nicely done," Draco told him, smirking. "I've got a test to finish writing. Have fun."
"Someone took mine from my desk," Xander said innocently.
Draco shook his head, smiling and chuckling. "I'm sure we'll capture them soon enough." He walked into the school as the bell rang, going to teach his next class. Kids rushed past him, including the one whining because he itched, his skin was off-colored, and he wasn't feeling very well. He grabbed the fourth year and carted him off to the Headmaster's office, a quick stop on his way to class. "He took Xander's test." Then he smirked at the boy, who had made a protesting sound, and walked away.
Dumbledore looked at the boy. "Did you take that test?"
The boy considered his options and decided Professor Harris was more scary than the ghost, and he would be mad if he didn't admit to it, as proven by some cheaters a few years back. "Yes, sir. Did he do this to me?"
"Quite possibly," he agreed. "What should I do with you?"
"I think I've been punished enough."
Dumbledore laughed. "I'm sure you think you have. What I and Professor Harris think is a different matter."
"Yes, sir. Do I have to call my mother?"
"I think it might be best if we talk about this together," he agreed, nodding. "You may use my floo if you want."
"Yes, sir." The boy trudged over and called his father's work.
"What happened to you?"
"I stole a test," he admitted. "It was charmed."
"I'll be right there, young man. We are not amused." The connection cut off and the boy slumped down as he called his mother. She might protect him.
Ron walked into the tower with a few bags and set them down. "Kids!" The triplets came running. "Take these up to your room and unpack them. I'll put them up." They carried everything upstairs and started to babble in joy.
"Clothes?" Xander asked. Ron nodded. "No toys?"
"Xander, I'm not touching that vault. Get over it."
Xander snorted. "Then I guess it's up to me to spoil them, huh?" he said with a naughty grin. "Kids, I left a few bags for you in my workroom. Don't touch the stuff on the table."
"No, Xander. They don't need them."
"Ron, shut up," Xander told him. "I can spoil my nieces and nephew all I want. I do it for Harry's kids, for Draco's kids, what makes you think I wouldn't do it for yours?" He heard the sound of breaking glass and went to check on the kids. They had knocked off an empty test tube. Not the exploding stuff. "Yep, those bags," he told them, helping them take the bags out. "Take them to your playroom. And remember, the big things are for Morgana." They dragged the bags up to their playroom and spread the toys out to see what was in the bags. He floated a few things after them, making them even happier. Then he called his mate.
George walked into the tower, bringing a few bags. "Puzzles," he said at the scowl. "Good for their minds to make them brilliant." He grinned. "We warned you." He went up to present them to the kids as well. Ron stormed up, but when he saw the joy he grumbled something and turned away. "We're doing it because it makes us as happy as it does them," George said gently. Ron glared at him. "I'm sorry, but it's necessary. They didn't have any age appropriate toys, or even any ones that were above their ages so they had something to try and figure out, which would make them even smarter." He smiled. "Besides, it makes everyone but you happy to spoil the triplets. Triplets are very special and rare creatures." Ron came in and sat down, letting the kids show him all the new toys. "They love them."
"I was going to buy them more toys this weekend," Ron told him.
"And you still can! Xander and I didn't buy half the stuff we found interesting. Let the kids go with you. They'll be tired of most of this by the weekend."
"Is it birfday?" Minnie asked, looking serious.
"No, sweetness, we wanted to spoil you so we got you toys," George told her. "Your birthday is in three more months."
"Shit," Ron muttered. "I forgot." He looked at George. "You seem to have all of this down pat. How?"
"Practice. Watching you do this same thing to our kids." He grinned. "Besides, we've got a new mission that you can help us with." Ron cheered up. "Bill's been spotted around town with the same woman for the last two weeks."
"It must be a record," Ron snorted.
"He's never seen around town with anybody," George pointed out, starting to smirk. "Now, for two straight weeks, restaurants, the theater, even the park."
"Then it might really be serious if he's spending money," Xander said from the doorway. "Can I help?"
"You can't tease him or he'll drop her to get rid of us," Ron warned.
"I can do that." Xander came in and sat down, helping Minnie with her puzzle. "That is so great," he told her, patting her on the head. "You do very well with puzzles."
"Thank you, Unclie," she said happily. "Can I come punch and kick the mean old bag again?"
"If you'd like," he agreed gently, looking at Ron, who nodded. He looked at the other adults, then back down at the kids. "Guys, have you seen the woman William calls Snuggly Tits?"
Minnie raised her hand. "I have! I have! She was cooing at Vinnie last night!" she said happily.
"Who?" Ron asked.
"Anya," George said with great distaste. "What did she want?"
"I don't know, but William said he didn't feel connected to other places anymore." He shifted around, sitting next to his brother-in-law. "Can we give Bill advice about girls?"
"You haven't had one in how many years?" Ron teased.
"Still, it's the same with a man," George told him. "Of course we can give him advice, dear. Would you like to grab him and bring him here?"
"No, he's coming over tomorrow night for poker."
"We'll pounce him then," Ron agreed. He let Gwen into his lap. "What's that?"
"Puzzles in the story," she said with her most reverent tone of voice. "Read it?"
"Sure." Ron opened the book and smiled down at her. "This one is about trains."
"Can we ride the train this year?" Vinnie asked happily, starting to bounce.
"We'll see. Only if you're good," Xander told him. The kids all made happy noises and piled onto available laps so they could see the book as well. A book that was also a puzzle was a great thing to them.
Xander smiled at Ron. "Not so bad?"
"I'm still going to get you for it," Ron told him. Draco walked in with a bag. "Don't tell me you did it too."
"Did what?" Draco sat down and opened the bag. "Lucien demanded that I get him a new outfit, something to make him cute for Zach and William." He pulled the outfit out and held it up. "What do you think?"
"I think he'll look stunning," Xander told him. "Have you warned Severus yet?"
"Yes, I have. He's not feeling well at the moment," Draco said with a small smirk. "He took some of the headache potion Raena was making and headed for his room." He put the small dress robe and outfit back into the bag, then looked around. "My, someone got very lucky today," he said, smiling at the children.
Gwen held up her book. "Puzzles and a story," she told him, still sounding reverent.
"So I see. That's very pretty, Gwen." He waited until Ron had went back to reading. "Don't do it to my children. The nest was quite enough."
"We love the nest," Vinnie told him. "Nests are special."
"You have a nest?" Minnie asked him.
Draco nodded. "Your father and Uncles gifted my older ones with a nest. It's in the playroom at my house."
"Can we visit it?" Gwen asked innocently. "We won't hog it away from Lucien and Maeve."
"And Zach," George added.
"Yes, he'll be spending some time at my house as well," Draco agreed. "Severus and Tara are going to a retreat she knows of." Xander started to giggle, eventually rolling around on the floor. "Something you wanted to share?"
Xander shook his head. "We need to send a chick with them to record his first few hours," he panted finally.
"Why?" Draco said suspiciously.
Xander waved a hand. "I can't tell you. I promised." He wiped his face off as he sat up. "We have to see, we just have to see."
"Fine," Draco said patiently. "Can I tell him you laughed?"
"No," Xander said, shaking his head. "You can't tell him anything. Tara wanted it to be a surprise. He agreed to go if she went to the conference and never asked another thing about it."
"Unusually dumb for him," George agreed. Draco hit him on the arm. "Ow! Grumpy. No cuddles for you, Draco."
"Knock, knock," someone called from downstairs.
Xander looked at Ron. "Didn't we block her out of the tower?"
"I thought so," Ron agreed, handing Gwen to Draco. "Finish the story please." He stood up and walked down the stairs.
Albus heard the mirth and winced. He knew about the resort in question and knew he should tell Severus, but the man had already promised. He didn't even ask, even though he had heard some of her stories about other retreats. That poor man. He felt the disturbance and winced. "Oh, no," he told himself, starting to get up. But he found he couldn't. "Release me," he called out.
Godric Gryffindor floated into being beside him. "Relax, we're handling it. Ravenclaw wanted to check her out, and so did Salazar. Some of Xander's memories were wrapped up around her."
Dumbledore nodded. "They were. She can't be here though. She'll upset the fragile balance we have."
"It will be fine, Albus. I promise. Just relax and we'll deal with it if she acts up. Trust your newest permanent residents. Any news on the club?"
"Arthur sent over official permission last week. We're waiting to spring the news on Xander; I want him to be calm and rational before I let him know of his future in the school."
Godric nodded. "That's reasonable I guess. Do you think he'll be upset?"
"I'm not sure he's decided to stay," Albus said sadly. "He's not made up with Tara at all."
Severus slammed the door open and glared at him. "We have to put in place a plan to save my son from the Malfoy wantonness." He noticed the other ghost and glared at it. "Go away."
Godric laughed. "It's not just him you know, it's also the young Harris-Weasley boy."
"Yes, I'm aware of their threesome," Severus said dryly. "Leave if you wouldn't mind."
"Going," Godric said, smiling at him. "I'm sure it will be fine." He faded out and headed to watch the other fireworks.
"Severus, they're not old enough to realize what they're doing. They're simply good friends."
"I caught young Mr. Malfoy groping my son," he said coolly. "I had to send him away."
"They're still children, Severus. At least they're not related, like Lucien and Maeve. I was afraid of how we were going to handle stopping those two from getting together."
"No, just my son, a miniature Xander, and a little Draco."
Albus shuddered, he hadn't thought of it that way. What an odd combination. He couldn't see the adults together and all three sons were very much like their fathers.
"I see you figured out my problem," Snape said dryly, sitting down. "How can we stop this?"
"Talk to the other fathers," Albus suggested. "I'm sure they'll share your issues on some level. They're both in the tower right now." He coughed. "If it helps any, I can't see your son being with them permanently. If they're at all like their fathers, they'd drive your son insane with their demands." Snape looked upset. "They are rather high maintenance in the bedroom and Zach will probably be like you."
"I'm very ardent," Snape said stiffly.
"Yes, but you're calm about it. Think about how many times you've walked in on either Xander or Draco going at their selected mates."
Snape snorted. "Not that many times." He stood up. "I shall take your advice and talk to them about this. It must be stopped. I won't have my beautiful son corrupted by the wantonness that is those two or Maeve."
"You wouldn't feel odd about Maeve?"
"She's not technically related," Snape admitted. "I might feel some qualms, but nothing too serious that can't be gotten over." He walked away, heading to talk to the fathers. He tapped on the door of the tower and walked up the few stairs to the main room, then stopped. "Rosenberg," he said with some distaste. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to see my son. Ron went to get him. We've got a bit of an announcement," she said happily.
"It couldn't have waited for a few weeks?"
"Oh, no, it'd be too great of a shock."
"You can't be pregnant," he said.
She laughed. "No, we're having a surrogate carry for us," she told him. He went pale. "What?"
"Yes! Wesley wanted a son!" She glared at him. "Go away! You're breaking my happy mood."
"I need to talk to Mr. Malfoy and Xander."
"Xander's napping in his nest and Draco's determined that he's not here," Willow told him with a smirk. "So they're probably together if that picture meant anything. What a cute threesome they would be."
Snape shuddered. "What a revolting thought."
"I agree," someone called from upstairs, sounding suspiciously like Simone.
"I'll talk to them. Have a nice visit." He hurried up to get away from her. He really didn't like her, but at least she wouldn't be evil this time. He tapped on Xander's bedroom door and heard the grunt, walking in to find Simone working on Xander's back. "Learning the bodily arts?"
"Massages are a great thing to know," Simone said with a shrug. "It's a wonderful thing after a game, or after an encounter with a dragon, or even just because. Uncle Xander gives amazing ones."
"I know. He worked on a back cramp I had." Severus closed the door. "Where is Draco?"
"Bathroom. He'll be back in a few minutes," Xander said into his arms. "Why?"
"Because my son has decided that he wants both of your sons."
"Iggy and William?" Xander asked, lifting his head enough to look at the older man.
"William and Lucien," Snape corrected.
"Oh." Xander shrugged. "I'm sure he's not gay, Severus. He doesn't ever talk about boy parts like Lucien does."
"You were into girls until you found your soulmate," Simone pointed out. "William might not be gay at all."
"Good point," Xander agreed. "Remind me to give you ten points tomorrow." He saw the eye roll and grinned. "I have to get in mine somehow. I want my house to win this year. Simone has been wonderful all year so they could win."
"Ravenclaw is ahead at the moment, by twenty-five points."
"I think I can fix that tomorrow," Xander said with a smirk.
"Slytherin is still the next one down."
"I can fix that as well," Xander agreed. "One of your kids stole my test today."
"Oh, shit," Simone said, giggling. "Is he the funny colored one?" Xander nodded. "Then we might win the house cup after all!" Draco came in. "How many points do you think the Headmaster took off that one kid?"
"From what I heard, fifty," Draco said, closing the door. "She's pregnant?"
"She's got a surrogate mommy," Simone told him, giving him a wink. "Sort of like how you carried Lucien for you and mum."
"She also thinks that we're part of a threesome," Xander told him, putting his head back down.
"How did you hear that?" Snape asked carefully.
Xander shrugged. "It doesn't matter."
"Daddy, may I practice my massage on you?" Simone asked, breaking up the glaring tension Snape and Xander had going.
"After my next game," Draco agreed, smiling at her. He looked at Snape. "I agree, your son isn't gay. He may play the field a bit, but I doubt he'd harbor more than a very close friendship with either of the other boys." He looked over at the small cough. "You had something to add?"
"Andrea is taking Divination, you know that, correct?" Simone asked. All three men nodded. "And that she's definitely got the sight, just like grandmother?"
"Molly?" Severus asked, looking confused. "I don't remember her taking the class."
"She didn't, she learned it at home," Simone told him. "She came in already trained and got past the class because of it. Well, they've both seen a small thing, and it's a one time thing," she said more forcefully. "There's a ritual to close...something or defeat the something. A sexual ritual. They're going to have to take the virgin, which would be one of them, and initiate and corrupt him slightly so he can use the powers around him without getting warped. All Andrea saw was the three of them, and Maeve with a candle. She mentioned it to Grandmother, who read her cards, and winced. Like I said, a one time thing," she said, raising a hand to ward off the evil looks she was getting. "Ask her."
"I'll ask Ms. Reams," Draco said, looking at his mentor.
"I'll write Molly immediately."
"She'll be up tomorrow and you can corner them both," Xander said tiredly. "Simone, you were doing so nice, would you please finish, dear?"
"Let me," Draco told him, moving closer. "I haven't practiced this art recently. You can tell me the family gossip."
"Uncle Bill's been seen with the same girl for two weeks about London," Simone told him.
"Wonderful news. He might have someone then," Draco agreed. Snape groaned. "What?"
"Footsteps, light ones."
"Let me, daddy," Simone stage-whispered, moving to work on her uncle's lower back for him. He groaned in pleasure. "Am I working it hard enough, Uncle?"
"Just fine, dear. Thank you."
Willow opened the door and peeked her head in. "Do any of you have any idea what's keeping Ron?"
"No, but I will find him for you," Snape told her, escaping the room. On the way down, he thought about what he had been told, and decided that he might want another child, just in case, to carry on the family name of course. He would find his apprentices later to get the information off him on how to cancel that infertility spell. He found Ron waiting outside the Slytherin door. "Come in," he said quietly, walking inside. "Rosenberg, your mother is waiting," he called.
"He's locked in Agatha's closet and she's forgotten the spell she used," one of the third years told him with a smile. "Is he in trouble?"
"We're not sure yet. His mother's having another child with her new husband," Ron told her. "No gossiping until he knows."
She nodded. "Is she going to go evil and take over the world?"
"Not if I have a say over it," Agatha muttered as she came down the stairs with a very sorry looking Ryan. "Here, your slut." She handed him over. "Tried to crawl into my bed and beg me to help him get off since he no longer can without my touch," she said with a smirk. The other kids in the common room ran for cover. "Now, why would he think I like him that much?"
Ron took the direct approach, shoving Ryan back into her body and letting the boy kiss her.
"I'm sorry, Aggie, I was being an ass and I didn't mean to hurt you."
"Is this over when she beat you?" Ron asked.
"No, he did it again yesterday, looked at another girl's breasts." Agatha patted him on the crotch. "If you're very good, I'll let you crawl later and beg after hours." She turned and went back up the stairs.
Ron shook his head. "If you had only been smarter, Ryan, this wouldn't be happening. You might have been able to screw about with her permission you know."
"I know," he sighed, following them back to the house. "Mother?" he called as he walked in.
Willow smiled at him from Xander's seat. "It's about time. Did she have you tied up?"
"In her closet," Ron said, heading up to play with his kids. He found them napping among their new toys and went for a camera. This was just too cute not to have permanently.
Xander looked up as the meeting started, putting down his book. "Is this just next year and the leaving train?" he asked. "William has an earache."
"Not quite," Albus said with a smile. "You were told about the new club?" Xander nodded, grimacing. "You agree that it's necessary?" Xander nodded again but he didn't look any happier. "Are you willing to head it for now?"
"Albus, you know..."
Lupin raised his hand. "Before he sticks his foot in his mouth, may the rest of us understand any future discussion by enlightening us?"
Snape leaned forward. "The four founders have found a serious flaw in the sorting hat. To put it mildly, times are different and so is the population from which the school draws. In such circumstances, there is a procedure in place to start a new house. It must start as a club, finding a stable and substantial membership for twenty years. It must show that it will continue to be relevant, necessary, and useful for it to be added."
"Hermione once said something about there being three other attempts to add houses," Ron noted. Everyone looked at him. "She was always going on about something in Hogwarts, A History," he defended. "She read the bloody book for light reading."
"It's true, there were other attempts, but their necessity was called into question and another ten years of watching was added. All of them failed that test in the end."
"So we're trying again?" Black asked, and Xander nodded. "Then why are you heading it, Harris?"
"Because his family is the one who set off the alarm bells," Lupin pointed out. "The hat couldn't decide where to put them for the longest time because they were torn between the desire and the heritage."
"Potter's head was the first that it had that fight with," Albus told them. "He nearly got put into Slytherin, but he said he begged." Severus groaned and Draco snorted. "So we will begin the club." He passed down a roll of parchment. "These are the names of the children that the hat had bad problems with, and the ones it made a choice on that it thinks it might have been wrong about. There's also a section on next year's first years so you can talk to the hat afterwards and see if I was correct." Xander nodded. "The only question remains if you're willing to head it."
Tara looked at him. "I am sorry, Xander."
"If he leaves, is this going to leave the Theory job open?" Oliver asked.
"Why would it?" Snape asked.
"Because Ron would want to take over his, Malfoy would get Defense, and that would leave Theory open. That's the way they do it when Xander's missing."
"Oh." Snape shook his head. "It would be hard to get together a hiring committee this summer. Xander is an integral member and he'll be gone. I'll be gone all summer. My wife will be with me."
"I'll be gone all summer," Ron agreed. "Just to mum's to help her with stuff, but still gone. Lupin?"
"Sirius and I were going to pop around on Harry then head to the Continent for a few weeks. I'm doing one of the rail lines and looking along the way."
"I was going to go to Egypt," Sirius admitted.
Xander started to feel bad. He couldn't interrupt their summers because he was being petty. "Fine, I'll stay for another year," he agreed. Tara smiled at him and he looked at the Headmaster, ignoring her. He wasn't ready to deal with her yet. He winced and leaned down, rubbing his good knee. It had just popped when he shifted and it hadn't felt good. "Do I ask them or are they automatically enrolled?"
"I would ask them," Ron suggested. "Oh, the drum set? It's going to the shop with you. Mum doesn't have a place for it." He smiled. "Mum also said she'd help me get you back for it."
Xander gave him a sweet smile. "I told you to spoil them so I didn't have to. Next time, I'm getting Gwen and Minnie ankle bells and Vinnie a tambourine."
"That's mean," Lupin said, but he was smiling. "Did you have to do that with Harry's kids?"
"Not after the first set of bongos. Albus?"
"Ask them. It's not automatic since they can't be sorted that way at the moment. I'll want a list of traits and/or reasons for the children to be put into the group, a reason to have them sorted that way if possible you understand, and something about the house. Name, animal associated, the like. There's a small book kept on all of this and I'll send it down to you so you can see what was done in the past." Xander nodded, looking calm, even though he was probably panicking. "You won't be getting all the gryphon-borns automatically. They'll be going into the normal sorting first and then you'll get a list from the hat."
"Fine," Xander agreed. "Does that mean you want me to lead in the first years next time? So we don't have to work out some system of notification?"
"Either that or Madam Sprout may continue. Talk with her about that, Xander." She smiled and shrugged. "I'll leave that between you."
"He can scare them, like McGonagall did to us," Draco noted. "Or I can continue to help, whichever way you want. How many new ones next year?"
"There will be sixty-eight new students next year and fifty-eight leaving. Everything has been brought around for them and is handy once all the students leave." He looked down at his list. "Onto the next point. Train duty?"
"Vinnie wants to go so I guess we can," Ron told him. "We'll move everything out the night before, or come back that weekend to get all the toys."
"Just take the favorite ones," Draco suggested. "Are you going to be at Molly's all summer?" Ron nodded. "Is she ill?"
"No, just tired of being alone. Dad will be around a lot, some days, but not always. Percy is letting Tananda stay all summer as well so the kids will be a good distraction for her. Yours?"
"I think that depends on Molly getting along with Simone. I won't keep them away if they want to go, but Ginny hasn't asked for visitation at any specific time." He looked at Xander, who shrugged. "Any summer plans yet?"
"Nothing yet. George and Fred want to go to the Ministry conference and set up a booth for souvenirs. Iggy and Raena have three official visits this summer and they're bringing Hesiod with them as an official guard. Other than that, I don't have a clue. I won't be spending all summer in a bed, correct?"
"No, not unless you need it," Draco assured him with a smile.
"Bed?" Lupin asked.
"He kidnaped him all last summer and locked him in his bed for most of it," Ron told him with a slight smirk. Until Xander saw it. "Please don't tell me that present in your closet is for me."
"No, it's for Draco. I forgot to give it to him." Xander smiled. "I found one for you though. The blue would look great with your hair. He looked at Snape. "Emily, Zach, and Adrian?"
"Adrian is going to visit Ryan this summer for some reason, then going to do an internship with your brother-in-law Percy. Zach and Emily were going to come with us." Tara shook her head. "No?"
"It's an adults-only retreat," Tara told him. "We'll let Molly watch them if she wants, or you guys if you'd like."
"Emily might be able to go, but I'm thinking she's going to be uncomfortable because of the problem she had at Salem," Xander pointed out.
"Both of them can stay with my family for the summer. We have no plans that I'm aware of."
"Thank you, Draco," Snape agreed. "I'll ask Emily her opinion on the matter. Her mother might want her home for the holiday." He looked at the Headmaster. "Is there other business?"
"Ron can't do the train by himself, Severus," Albus said patiently.
"I can go," Xander offered.
"We're leaving the week after the students go," Snape informed everyone.
"I can go," Draco pointed out. "Take the children home from there."
"We can get one of the older kids to sit," Xander agreed. "Just me, Ron, and Draco this year? No females?"
"You have Raena for those things," Poppy pointed out. "What about Prefects?"
"As usual, the fifth years weren't nominated in three of the houses," Albus told her. "Only Hufflepuff will have a fifth year Prefect, but she's quite strong willed so it suits her. As for the other houses, has anyone been nominated?"
"Simone," Ron told him. "Plus Candace and that new transfer, Celebrity. I don't like her for it though."
"I can agree to Simone and Candace," Xander agreed. "Boys?"
"Denver was offered tentatively. As was Iggy, but he and Raena both quickly turned it down," Ron told him. Xander nodded, he had known that. "We only have one boy's spot open and Denver wasn't that enthusiastic about it."
"But he'd probably like to have his own room in his seventh year," Draco pointed out. "I wouldn't mind my son being called. What about Anastasia next year?"
"They've said that if a fifth year spot was acceptable that they wanted her. No matter how bad it looked to everyone else. She runs the house anyway."
"That would mean I'd have to allow Agatha to have a spot," Snape pointed out. "Giving one of them such a privilege would create a conflict that would start them fighting again."
"I don't think the fifth years need one," Albus agreed. "Besides that Hufflepuff girl, it's not really necessary for fifth years. They do all remember OWL's are next week?" Everyone nodded. "Good. From the other houses?"
"Adrian wanted to be nominated but I'm not sure if anyone did or not," Severus said, looking at the head of Ravenclaw.
She nodded. "His was the only name put forward. We only have two open spots and the top girl in the house is easily chosen for that, or her runner-up if she turns it down." She looked at the head of Hufflepuff. "Yours?"
"If we accept the fifth year, then we'll have to pick a boy from the same year," she said lightly. "Otherwise, we're losing three next year. The current Head Boy was one of mine, and two Prefects are graduating. I have no idea and no one stepped forward to nominate other than that fifth year."
"Pick the top one," Xander suggested. "The top scores, the one who the other kids look up to."
"That would be Melvin and it would mean he'd have to sit around the house more often than he does yours," she said, smiling at him.
"Percy would be over the moon," Ron told her. "He still occasionally wears his Head Boy pin."
"He is tops in scores. Can I get back to you with a final list after OWL results are out, Albus?"
"Definitely. I'd like a definite list from all of you at that time." Everyone over a house nodded. "Severus? Do you have candidates?"
"A few," he admitted. "The boys are easier as there's two natural leaders in my house at the moment. The girls are a bit harder as they're in packs."
"How many packs?" Tara asked.
"Three I believe, plus the outcast ones."
"Then pick a leader from each pack," Tara suggested. "Plus Emily."
"It's too bad Ravena isn't old enough," Ron pointed out. "She's already running part of the house."
"I know," Severus said dryly. "When her time comes she will be a Prefect and will try for Head Girl no doubt. I have no problems with her in that job." He lifted his chin. "What about Andrea Reams?"
"I think she could do the job," Ron agreed. "She does good with the younger kids. The problem is, there's only sixteen kids in their year, and that makes two for each sex. The seventh years will only have three total because of our dropout."
"Pick another one," Draco told him. "Surely you have a backup candidate."
"I do, but he said he would rather slit his wrists than take on any additional responsibility. The only other one I can see is a bit of a tyrant when he gets power."
"Speaking of, we need to get the team together to pick a new leader," Xander reminded him.
"They're coming over tonight for that," Ron assured him, smiling. "I think that might go to Iggy, he wouldn't mind it that much." Everyone nodded. "That also means we'll need a keeper, and a chaser because theirs is undergoing back surgery this summer for her slipped disk and the backups don't want to play full time."
"We'll see what comes in and then decide on all that," Xander told him. He looked around the rest of the room. "Anything else?"
"I left medicine with Fred," Madam Pomfrey told him. "His ear should be fine." He smiled at her. "What else was there?"
"Head Boy and Girl," Draco moaned. "None of the current Prefects float my boat as they say."
"I think the top girl in Gryffindor shows some promise, if we can get her to calm down," Xander pointed out. "Plus there's one boy in Slytherin who might be able to do the job well enough."
"He's a tyrant in the making," Ron told him. "What about the Ravenclaw second girl and Paul Raven from our house?"
"Paul would kill you in your sleep," Snape said derisively. "He doesn't want it and you had to talk him into taking the Prefect position last year. Mr. Scarborough isn't pleasant to the younger children, but he could do the job."
Xander shook his head. "Nope, sorry. He tried to intimidate Simone the other day. She didn't hit him because she was running late for class. If the Head Boy has to be able to lead the school, I won't want him to have problems getting cooperation. I'm thinking Ravenclaw second female in command and the third boy from Hufflepuff."
"I can see that," Ron agreed.
Draco considered them. "They would be suitable. It wouldn't interfere in any relationships. They're both smart and caring people."
"They can work well together," Xander added. "They've worked together on something this year. Neither wants the power so they won't run away with it."
"I can see that," Albus agreed, writing their names down. "I believe that there's a Slytherin female who might work as well."
"She'll sleep her way to power," Draco pointed out dryly. "She's looking for a good political marriage. This might help her standing some, but I doubt she'd really want it for any other reason."
"A lax couple in that position might be problematic," Xander agreed. "Remember two years ago? That couple didn't do anything to or with any of the students. The Prefects all got pissed at them."
"She might go well with the Hufflepuff male though," Ron pointed out. "They've worked together as well and she was eyeing him for her intended. He brushed her off so it would make her sit up and face reality a bit."
"It could also set a bad precedent," Tara pointed out. "She could try for him again and then hit him with charges if she doesn't get her way. It'd be bad for his relationship."
"Then we'll make her head over the house," Snape told her, patting her on the hand. "I can agree with those two, the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Head boy for our house itself will have to be Mr. Scarborough."
"Or Jedias," Draco said gently. Snape looked at him. "He doesn't like to lead, but he can do it in crisis. Scott Scarborough won't be able to handle a crisis and I'm not looking forward to seeing Agatha next year. He doesn't do well with her anyway and she'll be a fifth year."
"Good point. You think Jedias Jedders will be better?"
"I think he'll be calmer and make sure that the standards are upheld. He's a bit uptight about a great many things, but I think he'll do well. He's already a Prefect and tends to let Scott run over him unless it's personal or important."
"I see. I'll have to consider that one carefully before I name one of the two."
"Or you could not name either of them and go for Kellers," Ron told him. "He's got the skills and the want without the desire to push. He sees it as a way to get more sex."
"Yes, there is him also," Snape agreed. "I'll talk with all three of them tonight. For female?"
"Cerida," Xander told him.
"She'll only be a sixth year," Draco said with a shrug.
"Yeah, but she's the one who's doing it now. She's the one who helped Emily, the one who helped Shey find minions, even the one who steps between Aggie and Ravena. She deserves it."
"I'm naming her Prefect," Snape told him, making a note to himself. "We'll need a strong female leadership."
"Your third girl in command, how is she?" Sirius asked. "She's doing good in all her classes."
"She'd probably be a good compromise," Tara told him.
"The other Prefects might not follow her," Snape told him. "She's not the leader of the group."
"Like that matters," Draco pointed out. "I was made Prefect because I was who I was, not because of my leadership skills. By those standards, she's more than capable and the other children do like her more than the other two females."
"Then you lost it by being brainwashed," Ron reminded him. Draco nodded, looking calm and serene.
"He got better," Xander reminded him. "Tara, you're shifting, what's wrong?"
"I think there's something else that should be brought to the attention of the teachers," she admitted. She sat up straighter. "I did a 'seeing love' spell with my group and Shey Ravettena was bored so she asked to sit in on it. She's got skills and her family sometimes goes that way so I thought it was reasonable." She looked at Xander. "She got upset because she didn't see Iggy's face. She's got a crush on him."
"Can we discourage this before Raena has to toast or fry her?" Xander asked Draco.
Draco considered it, then shrugged. "It would be her mother more than the girl. If she decides to give her daughter her heart's desire, then it could become rather messy. If not, then it might not be so bad. She could listen to reason. If not, then we'll have to fight against her. I do know something that she doesn't think anyone realizes, but I'm not sure it's enough to blackmail her if she becomes difficult." He glanced at Ron, then back at Xander. "I'll talk with her mother tonight. She's the more reasonable one of the two."
"I know Ethan knows her father," Xander offered.
"No, this would have to come from her mother. Her father would be upset to say the least if his daughter tried to pick her own mate." Draco patted him on the thigh. "Let me handle it, Xander. I'll do my best."
"Thank you." Xander gave him a short hug. "I'd hate to have to run because I did my best to bring them down."
"They're royal cousins," Snape pointed out.
"Like I said, my best. " Xander smiled at him. "Let me know what I need to do to help. Or just let Iggy help if necessary."
"That might be easier," Draco agreed tolerantly. "Any other problems?" Everyone shook their heads. "I am continuing next year, Headmaster?"
"Unless you wanted to give your position to that other individual," Albus said with a smile. "I think you're the best man for the job."
"So you just have to worry about a woman stepping forward," Xander teased with a grin.
"I'm sure I could...convince her to let me keep the job and have her help me," Draco said with a look at him. "Come along. Let George deal with William. I need a drink."
"I can't. George has tonight in the lab," Xander said, catching up to him. "I'd go if I could, but William needs me." They walked into the tower together and William gave them pitiful looks. "Has the medicine worked yet?"
"Not yet," Fred told him, handing over his nephew. "Gwen's got the same ea ache now. I'm thinking it might have been something that crawled inside. Raena was playing with hers too."
"We had something like that happen in our sixth years," Draco agreed. Fred looked at him. "I was here for part of it."
"Good point. Sorry, I forgot." Fred looked over as sniffling started upstairs. "That would be Maeve, who's fighting with Lucien over boy parts." He smiled. "I don't think you're going to be doing more than cuddling tonight, either of you."
"We'll get a drink tomorrow night," Xander told Draco. "Though I will have to talk to the kids tonight about the OWLs."
"I remember those, usually with a grimace," Fred said lightly. He stood up. "I'll go get the other little people. You guys get cuddly."
Draco sat down and looked at William. "May we leave you guys for an hour tonight? There's someone I need to see in town."
"If you have to, go," Xander told him.
Lucien came running down the stairs and launched himself at his father's lap. "Father, make her stop it," he whined. "I like boy parts."
"I support you in your liking of boy parts, son, but you have to consider how she feels."
"You're cousins so you couldn't get together anyway," Xander told him. Maeve started to cry. "Come here, Maeve," he called gently, soothing her sobs. "Come cuddle with us." She climbed up into his lap. "We love you, even Lucien does, but he can't be your mate. Cousins can't marry, they make funny looking babies."
She looked up at him. "Lucien not be mine?"
He shook his head. "Your friend, nothing more. You guys can even still cuddle if you want, but don't plan on marrying him. I'm sorry, sweetie, but I'm sure you'll find someone who Lucien likes to be with."
"Yes, daddy," she said, laying her head against his chest. "William, you like Lucien?"
"I like him lots, but I like Zach more," William assured him. Lucien burst out in loud wails. "I like you too," he complained. He got down and climbed into Draco's lap to cuddle him. "I still like you, but I like Zach as a mate," he told his friend. "We be friends?"
"Of course you can be friends," Draco agreed. "The same as Lucien and Maeve are still friends."
"What does Zach think about this?" Xander asked.
"He likes us both," William told him, looking sad.
"I think you'll work it out some day soon," Xander told them all. They nodded and settled in against Draco's chest, Maeve eventually joining them.
"I do need to have that drink," Draco said quietly.
"Guys, come cuddle me," Xander said, sliding onto the floor. The kids piled around him, snuggling in when he drew pillows to them. It was almost as good as the nest, if a little bit harder on the back.
"I'll be back," Draco told him. "Behave, Lucien."
"Treat?" he asked.
"I'll get you one tomorrow. I have to talk to someone." He disappeared through the floo.
Xander pulled Lucien closer. "It's okay, he'll be back in a few minutes. Snuggle for now, 'kay?" Lucien smiled at him. "You're a good boy, Lucien."
"Thank you." He snuggled between Maeve and William, liking this very much indeed.
Xander smiled at the kids, enjoying this part of the fatherhood stuff. It beat diapers any day.
Ron looked at the kids, then around the room. "I know there are more fifth years," he called. A few more came down the stairs from the dorms. "We've got the schedule for OWLs," he announced. Most of the kids shuddered but one looked clueless. "OWLs, those nasty tests everyone takes their fifth years. It will be the basis for your future employment?" he suggested to the kid.
"Shit, we have more tests?" the boy asked. Ron nodded. "Why wasn't I told?"
"We were told at the beginning of the year, and most of us knew long before now," Simone told him.
"Half of the teachers have been giving us hints about what might be on it," Denver added.
"What did you think they were talking about?" Melvin asked.
"The normal finals," the boy said slowly. Everyone shook their heads. "Are they hard?"
Ron snorted. "Not if you've studied and you're good at anything. Don't worry, if you're set to pass your finals, you might get good enough grades." He reached over and patted the kid on the head. "Study now, really, Seren." He looked at everyone else. "As you know, there are no makeups in any test section. The last time we let a makeup was around 1786 from what I'm told, so don't even think about getting sick that day. Like I said, this is important. It is the basis for your NEWTs as well, which most employers look at." The boy started to look panicked again. "You take those at the end of your seventh year, Seren. You have time to bring your grades up, but your mother needs to know that you didn't realize about the tests. Write home tonight, okay?" The boy nodded, looking a little happier. It might save him from a wonderfully loud row about his grades. "Anyway," Ron said, looking at everyone else. "Tests start Monday. For you guys, tests start with Hagrid, then Sprout. This is the schedule," he said, pulling it out and handing it over. "Hold on, that looks funny." He cast the counter to the obscurity charm, bringing it back to rights. "I'll get another copy posted." Everyone nodded. "If you need help studying, ask. As Denver pointed out, plenty of us will give hints. Mine is that Xander's is the biggest pain you'll have outside of Potions." They looked at Iggy. "And he has to do his own."
"What happens if I'm brewing an emergency potion?" Raena asked.
"Let the person die," Ron told her without a hint of a smile. "Because you can't make it up."
"Yes, Ron." She looked at everyone else. "If we have to, we can organize a notes party." Everyone looked clueless. "It's where you sit down with everyone else's notes and get what they got and you didn't," she explained. "Simone and I do this every few weeks. Iggy and I do this all the time."
"But I can read your mind if I snooze in class," Iggy reminded her, smiling slightly.
"It's good that you put up with his behavior problems," Simone told her friend. Raena snickered. "Any news of next year's Prefects, Uncle Ron?"
"You'll have to wait for the letters like everyone else," Ron told her. "Even Percy had to wait to get his."
"Yes, sir," she sighed, slumping down in her seat. "Raena, can I bring Adrian to the notes party? He's got very precise and clear notes in everything but Herbology."
"If you want. We let in Melvin and he's not from the house." Raena smiled at her. "Did Charlie talk to you?"
"About his friend's son? Yeah," she said, smiling. "Then he said that they only thought he might like me. They're not sure he's not being forced into dealing with animals instead of actually liking them like I do. But we'll see. He's bringing him up this summer for a few days for a college interview."
"Zoology," Iggy told him.
"Oh. Okay. And that would be?"
"The study of animals. Especially larger ones if I remember right," Raena told him.
"Technically all animals, but still studying them. He might want to work in a more clinical setting than I do."
"All right then," Ron said, smiling at them. "Do any of you have any other questions?"
"Is this really important?" Seren asked.
"Yes, Seren, it is," Ron said seriously. "Isn't your father a wizard?" The boy nodded. "Ask him. I'll even let you come over and use the floo if you have to."
"Thank you, sir. Is there anything else?" Ron shook his head. "Then can I do that now? Before my mother finds out and has me killed."
"Sure. Come on." He waved at the family before taking the boy back with him. "He didn't know about the OWLs," Ron told Xander as he walked in.
"I'm sorry, kid, but you can't get out of them that easily." Ron looked at him and Xander smirked. "I tried that with a standardized test too."
Seren gave him a pitiful look. "Will you still support me?"
"Sure. Use the floo."
The boy knelt beside the fire and tossed some powder into it, calling out to his father's business. It was still early, for him, to be home. His father's head appeared and frowned. "Father, what are OWLs? I just found out I'm taking them next week."
"Seren," his father sighed. "How could you forget about that? We tried all summer to have you study."
"Maybe it was stress related memory loss," Ron told the father dryly. "He's still taking them next week but he doesn't want you to kill him because he forgot."
"I'm sure we won't *kill* him," the father said, looking at his son. "We will be talking, son, just as soon as you get off the train."
"Yes, father. Please don't Crucio me?"
"We'll see. That might depend on how badly you do." The boy nodded, looking his most pitiful. "Go study, you might pass it yet." The boy nodded and hurried off. "He forgot?"
"It might be stress induced. The mind is a beautiful thing," Ron told him. "I conveniently forgot about many things in my life."
The father laughed. "That's a very good point. Thank you for the warning, Professor Weasley." The connection was cut.
Xander looked up as the fire whooshed up and someone walked out of it. "And you are?" he asked. "You just broke into a parent-teacher conference."
"I'm here to talk to you about your son and my daughter," she said, sitting down. She smiled at the other children. "Why don't you go play?"
"Because we're not happy and you're a grumpy bitch?" William suggested.
Xander tapped him on the head. "Don't say things like that out loud." He looked up again. "My son is married if you're Mrs. Ravettena. If you try something against my son, I'm going to get upset and harm someone."
"Xander," Ron chided, but he was smiling behind her back. "Sorry, it's been a long few days for him." He sat down near the huddle of kids. "Want to come cuddle the triplets?"
"No," William told him. "Protecting family."
"I'm sure you are, but your father and I need to talk about your older brother's future," the woman told him. "Nor am I that unique version of evil known as Ravettena." She smiled. "I'm here on behalf of my daughter, who happens to have a slight crush on him."
"Raena?" Xander called, feeling her nearby. She trotted up the stairs. "She wants to talk you to about Iggy's future."
"Mine," Raena snarled, making the woman stand up. "He's mine. I let him capture and mark me. I've trained him for me, and he's mine. By gryphon standards, we are married. By Ministry standards, we are married. If *anyone* tries to get between us, they will be destroyed. Do you get the point now?" she asked, flashing her ring. "My little potion's master. No matter who your daughter is or might become." She looked down at Xander. "I was coming to tell you that we're taking over the Advanced classroom so we can work together without interruption. Would that be fine?"
"There might be kids in that class who'll be coming in," Xander told her.
"Yay. We can drive them off." Xander gave her a look. "Fine, we'll let them have it. Basement?"
"If you want," he agreed. "If the Headmaster says you can."
"Wouldn't that be cold?" the woman asked.
"We can create a fire," she told her. "We did it during the heat incident. And if not, then we'll use the new libraries. They're not too full."
Ron snorted. "I couldn't make it between a few of the shelves."
"Fine, we'll find someone calm and quiet."
"You can use my other classroom," Xander offered. "Or you can probably hog a lab if you wanted."
"That's got more promise," she agreed, thinking about it. "Then we'll be in that auxiliary potions lab that no one uses. Thank you, father-in-law." She gave the woman a distasteful look before leaving. She passed by Iggy in the hallway. "No, dear, don't kill her," she said loudly.
He got free and stormed into the house. "How dare you disrespect my wife, my soulmate! She is in my head, my heart, and my everything. I will kill over her. Do you get the point?" he asked hotly.
"Iggy, calm down. She can't harm your mate," Ron said calmly, walking over to hold the boy. "Xander?"
"Draco!" Xander yelled, getting up to contain him as well. "It's all right, son, she won't touch Raena or you. I promise, there's no reason for you to get this enraged. You can't lose control over something so trivial. This isn't a serious threat."
"Well. If he's that unstable, I don't want him near my daughter." Iggy struggled to get at her and she stood up. "How very plain."
Raena walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. "For a born, family is everything. We protect our families, even if we have to harm others to do it. I am his family. I'm his wife. I'm also the one person who can touch his mind every minute of every day. We're bound so deeply that I bleed when he cuts himself. Can your daughter say that?"
She sniffed. "It's too bad. He might have made a decent match for my daughter." She looked around, noticing who was coming out of the fire. "Mr. Malfoy," she said with a purr.
"Get out, Byanth. You're not wanted here, nor are your matchmaking schemes. None of our children are dumb enough to mate with your daughter. She's not stable and she's not much better than a squib. Get out." He walked over and stunned Iggy. "Raena, take him up to either the nest or his room."
"His room here doesn't have a bed anymore. We're using it as a storage area for my stuff." She carried him up to the nest, sliding in beside him. She felt a little body join her and looked over at William. "You gave up Lucien and Maeve for us?"
"Protect you," he said simply, cuddling against her back. "We like you."
"Thank you, Willie, I like you too," she said with a smile. He was still such a little Xander sometimes. It was so cute. Iggy groaned and she kissed him. "Draco drove her off," she whispered. "My mate, no skanky woman will touch you." He shifted, wrapping her in his arms, holding onto her as he fell back to sleep.
Downstairs, Xander was being held back now that his son was out of the way. "Get out!" he snarled. "My son is perfect, he's wonderful, and you're in deep shit, lady."
"Leave, now," Draco ordered. She sniffed and left. "Xander, calm down. There's nothing wrong with your older son. She was wrong, he's not a freak, or damaged. He's a wonderful boy who's very content with his life at the moment. Let her go, she can't do anything to hurt your family. Even if she goes to the Prophet and tells them that you threatened her, it won't hurt you."
"Even if she files charges, it's not going to touch you," Ron agreed. Xander slumped a little bit and nodded. "It'll be fine. She's gone and won't touch any of the family. I'll help protect them and I'm calling father."
"Oh, let me," Draco told him, going over to call Arthur. "Do you know who just showed up and decided my nephew was a good match for her daughter?" Arthur shook his head. "Byanth. She wanted Ignatius."
"Stupid cow," Arthur muttered. "Is she living?"
"As of this moment," he agreed. "She called Iggy names so Xander's a bit upset. Raena had to carry Iggy upstairs before he went off on her as well."
"I'll pass on word that she's trying again. All she wants is a grandchild. I don't ...." He shook his head. "That's an uncharitable thought. Thank you for the warning, Draco. Are we expecting charges through Law Enforcement or the Prophet?"
"Either, I don't think she'd go for both. Watch out for her though. She doesn't like your family at all. I have no idea how she got into Ravenclaw. The woman's conniving is worthy of most Slytherins."
"I'll be careful. You keep them calm. I'll see you in a few weeks." He smiled. "Say hello to Ginny for me." He nodded and turned off the floo.
Oliver walked in, smiling at everyone. "George is rather distracted but he wanted to know what was wrong. He sent me so the girls could giggle over something together."
"Someone came up searching for Ignatius to give her a normal grandchild," Draco told him. "Byanth."
Oliver snorted. "Stupid cow. Why she doesn't have her daughter inseminated by someone I don't know."
"Neither do we," Draco said. He looked at Ron, who waved him away. "I'll be back later." He disappeared through the floo, but came back for his money pouch and left again.
Oliver sat on the couch. "Xander, sit and cuddle the kids before they pounce me." Xander sat down on the floor and gathered the kids to him. "What about this weekend's game?"
"I've got it planned, I was going to bring the kids down tonight so we could practice." He looked up. "I'm sorry you had to see that," he said quietly.
"It's not a problem, I've seen you in a rage before over someone bothering George. It gives me happy thoughts to see how much you care for your family. George is a good friend and I'm very happy that you love him that much."
"If he didn't, we'd have killed him by now," Ron pointed out. He flopped down and sighed. "Well. How many more of those do you think we'll get?"
"I want to get rid of that money," Xander told him. "You're taking more of it."
"It won't help," Oliver noted. "She routinely does this to every group of fifth years she considers acceptable. Iggy's blood is strong enough to counteract the instability of her inbreeding problems. She'll try Denver and most of the other kids who're strong enough."
"Snape will shit," Ron told him, smiling at the thought of his fit. "I want to see that."
"Tara will bitchslap her," Xander told him. "She'll throw the prettier fit." He smiled. "Go warn them?"
"Sure." Ron stood up and whistled, bringing his kids down. "Get your sweaters, we'll eat with everyone else tonight." Minnie squealed and went to get their sweaters for them. She loved eating in the Great Hall, she couldn't wait until she was sorted. Ron walked them out into the hallway. "Come on, we have to pop in on Iggy's place first." The kids took off for the dungeons, knowing that Iggy loved being down there, even if it did smell funny. They ran into Severus outside the door. "Hold it," Ron called. The kids came back and waited. "Severus, there's been a small glitch and Xander wanted you warned."
"In his happy and relaxed day," Ron said with a faint smile. "Someone named Byanth just popped around and tried to demand that Iggy mate with her daughter. Draco had to send her away and Xander's presently calming down. We had to knock Iggy out, he's in the nest with Raena, who got very pissed on her own."
"I see." He locked the door and looked down at the kid tugging on his pants leg. "Yes?"
"Would you read us a story tonight?" Gwen asked with a smile. "I think you're scary, but you read very well and your voice is very calming and nice."
He smiled slightly. "We'll see. Only if you behave at dinner." She nodded, looking happier, so he turned his attention back to Ron. "She went away?"
Ron nodded. "But the great Draco monster thought that she might try for Adrian."
"Ah!" He nodded, smirking. "If she tries, I'm handing her to Tara. He is her son after all, and it should be her who harms the delusional woman." He started to walk and the kids followed behind him, watching his robes move and shift as he walked. They did it whenever they could, so he now expected it.
"Minnie," Ron called without looking. She ran back to the group, smiling cutely. "Thank you. You don't need to know what those noises are."
"That would be your nephew and Ms. Reams," Snape said coolly. "Mr. Malfoy showed them one of Ignatius Spenser's special rooms."
Ron snorted. "He promised and Percy would skin him if Melvin *ever* broke a promise. They're not doing more than petting."
"Really. Melvin has Percy's sense of honor." Ron walked up the stairs, accepting the chick flying down onto his shoulder. "Are you lost, little one?" She made a purring noise in his ear. "Thank you, are you a furry thing now?"
The chick nipped him on the ear, then looked down at Minnie and cooed.
"I think she wants to play with your children," Snape said, looking at her.
"She can eat with them," Ron decided. "If Minnie's chosen, it'll be horrible for the other two. A phoenix would help her live longer."
"Indeed, it would." Snape looked at the younger man. "You seem to be at ease with her future."
"I can't change it," Ron said bitterly. "I don't like it, and I'm hoping like hell that she doesn't get called into service, but I have to accept it. I might destroy the Watchers if she's called," he admitted, "but Xander's been doing a good job of training her without upsetting her. Or me."
Snape nodded. "It's sensible, but I couldn't see myself dealing with that situation."
"It's hard," Ron agreed. "There are some days when I want to pull up some of the dark magic and change her DNA to spare her. There are even some days when I'd almost welcome a new villain to threaten our lives because it means that the other kids would have about the same chance." He sighed. "I'm hoping so hard, and I can't quit imagining what'll happen when she's in school. Whether she gets a boyfriend or not. Whether or not she gets to finish her education. Whether or not she has a family of her own."
Snape nodded. "I'd worry about similar issues, feeling like it was all worthless on occasion." Ron looked at him. "I've got to worry since my wife was one of them. How do we know that one of her future children won't be called? I asked Rosenberg a few years back and she said that the chosen few come more frequently among the people who know about the paranormal. At a rate of nearly two-to-one." Ron hissed. "Your Buffy was not the first to have a child, but most of them have been male and not up for any special treatment. There have been two girls though and they were backups, never called. Their families were destroyed by creatures. I do have to worry."
"I'd worry too," Ron agreed. "Are you having more?"
"I'd like to." He opened the door of the Great Hall and the kids ran past to their table. "Slow down." Minnie smiled at him and slowed down some. "Thank you." He walked Ron up to their table and sat down in his usual spot. "If you want to talk, I might be able to understand."
"Thank you. Xander's been great through all this stuff, but he's close to it and knows what's at stake. He wants to be supportive, but he knows how necessary it is."
"He has fought in that position before. Perhaps he sees her as being able to become the Slayer he needed to help him. One who finds her friends and keeps them, one who listens to those with more information or knowledge."
"Maybe," Ron agreed. "I'm happy that he's taking her training seriously, but slowly. She's learning stuff that she doesn't even realize. Plus ethics. He's been good about teaching her how not to kill."
"Which might come in very handy," Sprout agreed from down the table. "We are talking about Minnie?" Minnie waved at her. "Hello, dear. I haven't seen you in a few weeks." She gave all the kids a hug and a peck on the cheek. "Is her training coming along?"
"Fairly well. Xander's taught her how to beat up on the bad heavy bag in his advanced classroom. Plus, he's teaching her how to box."
"I hit good," Minnie agreed with great pleasure. "But not sister or brother."
"I appreciate that," Ron told her with a smile. "Thank you for not beating up on your brother and sister, or any of the cousins. That's a very good girl, Minnie." She beamed and tucked into the dinner which appeared on her plate. "This is how it usually goes."
"At least he's being gentle in her instruction," Madam Sprout pointed out. "He's trying to make it seem normal for her. The same as he hopefully will for Morgana. Speaking of, where is the little dear?"
"Napping. One of his house elves was watching over her in the tower. Draco, Ginny, and Bill are having a business meeting tonight," Ron told her. "She is a darling, and already strong." He smiled at his older kids. Minnie was shoving fries in her mouth by the handful. "Maybe I'll find you guys a mother sometime in the near future. You could use more girlish influences all the time."
"Make sure that whatever woman knows before you get too serious," Madam Sprout advised. "The knowledge of her future could be too much to bear." Ron nodded.
"You could also look among the younger Watchers," Snape noted.
"You made a joke, is that the second one?" Ron said in appreciation. Snape smirked at him. "Wesley tried to suggest his younger sister but she's nearly twenty years older than I am. I'd like someone near my own age."
"There's always a mail-order witch," Madam Sprout said practically. "Most of them simply want out of their own countries and could easily help you raise the children."
"I would have thought you'd be horrified by such things," Snape noted.
"I tend to see that as a matter of practicality. They want to escape that bad and have found a way out of their former lives. Many women have to find ways out of situations not of their own making, even in the past. It's no worse than an arranged marriage to my mind."
Snape thought about it. "That is practical. Besides, a few of them might already be mothers."
"I've heard the cost was a bit much, but if it works for you," Madam Sprout said, patting Ron on the hand. "We'll support you to the rest of the staff."
"Thanks," Ron told her. "I'll have to consider that. There weren't many girls in my year or around that I found interesting." Tara came in and took her seat. "Good evening."
"Good evening," Tara greeted. "What's the discussion topic tonight?"
"Byanth came up to try and take Iggy away from Raena. Plus I'm thinking about starting to date again," Ron told her. "The kids could use a permanent female influence."
"Good for you, Ron," Tara agreed. "I think it's a good sign that you're moving on. I'm sure Xander will be thrilled for you."
"Harry is too," Ron agreed with a smile.
"Byanth?" Sprout asked.
"She with the daughter who's insane from inbreeding," Snape told her. "She's still looking for a strong line to give her a suitable and healthy grandchild."
"She tried for Ignatius and we think she'll try for other families," Ron told her.
"Ah, I remember her. She tried for Mr. Potter once and his uncle nearly gave him to her from what I remember."
Ron snorted. "Considering the man kept him in a closet for most of his early life, I'm not surprised." He calmed himself. "Harry's gotten a notice of death of his uncle and aunt. There was a break-in. It came from the Law Enforcement department. They thought it might have been a silent supporter of Voldemort."
Snape nodded. "I heard. I was questioned about it." He picked up his fork as their food appeared. "Is everyone else eating in their rooms?"
"They'll be up later," Madam Sprout told him. "Most everyone is working on their final tests."
"Xander's got a few more questions to write, but he's being talked back into calmness by Oliver," Ron told them. Tara looked at him. "The woman came in and all but demanded that Iggy marry her daughter."
"Oh." She smiled coldly. "Tell me what she looks like?"
"She's the one who I sneered at for watching Adrian's back the last time we were in Diagon," Snape told her. "I think you should handle it if she comes for him, as he's your son mostly."
"That will be fine," Tara agreed with a smile for him. "Let's find a happier topic to discuss."
"I had a student who conveniently forgot about OWLs," Ron told them. The teachers broke out in laughter. "He called his father to beg for mercy."
Snape shook his head. "I'm sure his parents might forgive him some year. Hopefully he'll cram now."
"He is. Raena and Simone are running a note session for the fifth years."
Simone stormed in and slammed the door. "I hate men," she announced. Even Ryan Rosenberg was smart enough to duck and move away from her as she walked past him. She walked right up to Snape. "Did you know what your chosen idiot is doing?"
"Being comforted?" Ron suggested.
"Making a new revenge toy," she told him. "He nearly blew his hand off." Snape hissed and stood up. "Raena's gotten him to the infirmary. He'll be fine. He was doing it to wear out some aggression and nearly killed himself. Be proud of the genius." She walked back to her seat and sat down, starting to pout. Adrian walked over and said something, making her smile. Everyone in the room relaxed.
"I should probably check on him," Snape noted. "Tell the elves to leave my plate alone. I'll be right back." Ron nodded so he left, heading up as fast as he could. Ignatius did many stupid things when he was that upset. He walked into the infirmary, frowning at his assistants. "What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about sending it to her through the floo and watching as her house blew up," Iggy told him, still scowling. "I'm sure she'd get the point."
"He's fine, Severus," Madam Pomfrey told him. "Just a tad bit angry."
"Yes, but he does stupid things when he's angry." He looked at Raena, who growled. "I see. Perhaps you should have your hour tonight?"
"I could take just having a cuddle," Iggy told him.
"I'll have your room prepared tonight after curfew. Come to me at ten." They nodded and he breezed back out, knowing he was doing the right thing. The ghost waiting on him in the hallway nodding confirmed it. "Byanth."
"I heard. Xander's still a bit pissed as well. She tried to report him for threatening her. The officer came and asked what it had been about and Xander told him in no uncertain terms. He went back and told her that she shouldn't have tried to break up a gryphon-born's family, they were protective and possessive, plus they got cruel and mean about such incidences. He warned her to lock her floo down for the next few days because she had insulted the family greatly."
Snape nodded. "I would have destroyed her. I'm letting Tara handle her if she comes for Adrian."
Dumbledore laughed. "That's a fit I want to see. It won't be pretty, but it will be good." He walked Severus back to the Great Hall. "He's fine, Simone," he assured her as he floated past.
"Thank you for telling me," Snape agreed. "Don't expect them to be in the tower tonight." She nodded, smirking at him. "What?"
"You look like you're pissed, sir. Has she come for Adrian? Or can I still get her for it?"
"I'm sure your father has something in mind to stop her," he told her.
"Yeah, but I'm old enough to get in on the fun now," Simone pouted. Her brother nodded beside her.
"If you ask, he might let you help," Adrian reminded her. "He appreciates your devious mind and cruel moments."
"True," Simone agreed. She smiled at him. "Thank you."
Snape continued up to his seat and found a warm, full plate waiting on him. "His wrist was partially severed, but it's been healed. He'll be fine."
"He probably got the exploding charm out of balance with the rest of it," Ron noted, digging into his dessert. "Is he still pissed?"
"Very. I'm giving them their hour tonight so they can calm down."
"I'm sure he'll come out happier," Tara said with a smile. "I know you can always calm me down." He patted her on the hand. "Gwen said you promised to read to them tonight?"
"If they behaved," Snape agreed. "She said my voice was scary, but nice. I thought I might read to all of the children at once, before their bedtime."
"That's very nice of you," Ron told him. "They go to bed in about an hour if you have the time."
"I'll come up with Zachariah." Tara smiled at him. "I was going to talk to you tonight about some things that have been noted to me."
"Fine. Is this about the happy threesome that seems to be developing?" She nodded. "I can accept it. It's not like they won't break up some day, when they find significant others."
"Two of them will be the other's boyfriend," Ron told her.
"Really?" she asked, looking down at him, and the look in her eyes wasn't happy. "Do we know which ones?"
"Ask Andrea or Molly," Ron told her. "They saw some of it."
"I think I'll do that tonight," Tara said, smiling at him, but she still didn't look happy. She looked at her husband. "Does that suit you?"
"Yes. Both boys are fairly upsetting as individuals, but together they do seem to be well-suited. As long as it ends up being three of them and not two of them."
"What about Maeve?" the Headmaster asked.
"She'll get her own harem," Tara told him. "She's related to one of them, another of them by adoption, and Zach by circumstances of birth. I'd be wary of her seeing William or Zach." She noticed her husband staring at her. "I would. They're related."
"If you say so. Technically, she's not related to Zachariah or William. It would be no more incestuous than a boy dating their foster-sister."
"Sorry, maybe this is the prude in me, but I don't like that sort of relationship. I think it's wrong."
"Americans can be very stringent about who their children date," Ron noted. "Xander had a bit of that when he first came over but I think George cured him of that along with his taste for women."
"Possibly," Tara agreed. "Where I'm from, things are a lot more clear-cut and strict. There may be a stereotype of cousins dating, but it's never happened as far as I know. Just nasty rumors."
"Then I'm sure the children will bend to your wishes on the subject," Snape told her. "For now, we'll watch them. Technically, none of the three boys are related, they're more related to Maeve than to each other."
"Good point, I can accept them getting together. Though the idea of a little Xander and a little you, or a little Draco and a little you, or even a little Draco and a little Xander being together is fairly odd to me."
"It is to us too," Ron assured her with a naughty grin. "Do you think if it ends up Lucien and William that they'll be randy little suckers who can't keep it out in public?"
"Ron!" she shouted, swatting at him. "That's a sick mental image. That's a horny Xander image. Eww!"
"I'm sure they'll learn decorous behavior from some of us," Snape said diplomatically, though he was trying hard not to laugh. He could see them doing that. Xander's hyperactivity and sex drive matched with the Malfoy wantonness would create many opportunities for public fornication and embarrassment of his own son. What a future those three would have. Plus the other children of their own ages. Morgana would herself be quite strong in those skills most likely due to who her parents were. Possibly some sort of odd cross between Ron Weasley and Simone Malfoy- Weasley? Who had just licked his stepson's neck.
"Simone, do that again and lose that organ," Tara warned. "That is not appropriate behavior. Especially not in public."
"He's wearing something that tastes good," Simone whined.
"I got splashed with the lust potion in Potion's today, mother. I've bathed but it hasn't died yet." Everyone looked at Snape.
"It will have to wear off, he left it too long before he tried to wash it off. It has a two foot working radius. Adrian, go back to your own table until it's fully worn off. I warned you about that earlier. Ten points for manipulating others."
"Yes, sir." He went back to his own seat and everyone gave him a wide berth.
"To or against?" Ron asked him. Snape frowned at him. "All you said was ten points, not whether you were adding or subtracting, Professor Snape. You gave one of your own ten points for a similar event recently."
"I took points off her. What makes you think I gave them to her?"
"She said so. She was bragging as she came into my class the other day."
"No, I took them from her for it. A true Slytherin, or anybody really, should not have to do more than ask for carnal relations - though I realize some people probably have to beg sometimes. Otherwise they'd be forcing it and that's not appropriate behavior."
Ron smiled. "Thank you for clarifying that. Would you like to beat the girl or can I have Anastasia do it?"
"I'll talk to her myself," Snape assured him, starting to smile cruelly. "Bragging is not a Slytherin trait. Neither is gossiping." Ron laughed. "You're amused?"
"Do you know how many times I've heard Draco and Ryan get into bragging contests?"
"Yes," he agreed, smirking. "I've heard a few of them and chastised them both for it. I'm sure they'll both finish growing up some day." He picked up a piece of pie and slid it onto his plate. "I believe the children are done."
Ron looked back at where they were petting the chick quietly. "They really want you to read to them. They're behaving." He stood up and the chick was released. "Come on, guys, let's get cleaned up and get ready for your special story tonight." They took off for the doors. "Wait for me," he called patiently. He didn't remember Iggy running this much, or William and Maeve. He caught up to them and they took off again, nearly running over poor Hagrid. "Sorry. Severus is reading to them tonight." He gave the man a pat on the arm. "When are you coming up?"
"Tomorrow fine with you?"
"It'd better be, or I'm going to sic the kids on you," Ron assured him. "They miss you." He smiled and hurried on after his little terrors. He found them in the entryway talking to Peeves about the bowling ball in his hands. "Leave him alone, guys. He's got pranks to pull." He shooed them up the stairs and gave the poltergeist a wave before walking on.
Peeves glared at him. "You're no fun!" he shouted.
"Yes, I am, just for the living," Ron called back. "Remember, the kids are growing up on the twin's shop."
"Gotta stop them," Peeves whined, heading to talk to the Headmaster. He should be more sympathetic now that he was a ghost. "The Weasleys have to go," he complained. "They're ruining my fun!"
"The other children are still very scared and upset by you," Albus pointed out. "Go prank the tables if you want to make sure of it."
Peeves got a devilish look on his face and went to scare some of the Slytherins. They were harder to get, but their screams were more fun. He popped out of one girl's top and she screamed and jumped up, sobbing in fear.
"Get it off!" she yelled, trying to bat at him.
"See?" Dumbledore asked as the poltergeist let her go and floated back to them.
"I guess they can stay, but I don't want them bringing more stuff up here."
"You could work with them," Tara suggested. Peeves face lit up, literally, and he floated off, going to check on what they could do for him.
"That was mean," Snape told the Headmaster as the fourth year was led away by one of the female Prefects.
"He needed to see he hadn't lost his touch. The triplets are amused by him."
Snape shook his head. "I don't want to be here if they grow up like their uncles."
"I'm sure each of the children will use those skills to their best advantages," Albus told him. "Minnie could use some of the exploding things in her future work."
"That's a good idea," Tara agreed. "Both as a diversion and as a method of fighting. I'm sure Xander can turn everything in the shop to their advantage." She looked up at the howl from the Hufflepuff table. "What happened?" she asked, standing up.
"He ate this blue piece of candy which he stole off Raena earlier," one girl told him, trying to settle the boy down. He jumped her and started to kiss her. "Help?"
"Get off her," Snape demanded. The boy looked up and shook his head. "Now!" The boy jumped up and ran from the room crying. "What was that?" he asked the Gryffindor table.
"I don't think she had any of the lust candy Uncle George found," Denver told him. "The shop doesn't sell anything blue except for the cold jellies. Do you want me to ask Raena?" Snape nodded patiently and he looked up, then shrugged. "Melvin?"
"Raena's mind is a bit of a wreck at the moment. She's fawning over Iggy. He's asking her," Melvin told him, smiling. Then he broke out in giggles. "Raena did have a piece of lust candy on her, but it was a taffy, part of the long string and not packaged as a bite."
"He ate something light blue and hard," the girl told him, glaring at him. "Does she still have it?"
"She fed it to the gryphon chick who came up to play with them earlier," Melvin told her. "He had found a mate and wanted her opinion. Blue and hard? Light blue?" She nodded. "Hmm. Sounds like he was making the...."
Ravena stood up and held up her potion's book. "Sir, page 130 of the fourth year book, which he is, has a potion that can be hardened into a candy. Could that have been it?" she asked.
Snape walked down and took the book from her, reading it. Then he nodded. "It probably was. I hate that potion." He handed it back. "Ten points to you for your help. Give whomever back their book." He strode out, going to fix the boy before he raped anyone. Pixie lust potion, what a horrible thing to put in a textbook for hormonal teenagers.
Denver snickered as he looked in someone's book. "He made us rip that one out and copy the spell on the back of the page."
One of the fourth years looked at him. "He did us too." She looked at the Slytherin table and the owner of the book, who smirked. "You're in deep," she called. "We were supposed to have ripped that out."
"Did you see him taking any points off me?"
"Do you see Raena having to make the antidote and not getting her cuddles tonight?" Denver asked him with a smirk of his own. The boy groaned. She would take points off him for not having cuddles. It put her into a bad mood.
"Enough," Tara told them. "I know it's a close contest, but behave." They ducked their heads and went back to eating, talking among themselves.
Melvin burst out laughing. "Oh, sweet Merlin!" he shouted, falling backwards onto the floor. "Iggy looked at him, he made it too strong. The antidote won't work!" The Great Hall burst out laughing.
Dumbledore looked at Tara. "Find him a convenient locked room so he can work it out of his system please," he ordered gently. She nodded, smirking. "Do not laugh at the misfortune of students, it has a nasty habit of coming back on you," he reminded her, then floated off to see if he could help. Wait until Xander heard that one.
George looked up as the lab door was opened and his mate walked in, putting down everything before he was picked up and carried off. "I was coming."
"You're late." Xander put him down and went back for his broom. When he came out, he was smiling. "Our son is fine," he told Fred.
Fred nodded. "That's what I'd expect," he said slowly, clearly confused.
Xander looked at the other twin. "Our son is fine."
"Why wouldn't he be?" George asked. Xander started to look really confused. "It's me, dear. What happened?"
"He tried to make something exploding to punish the cunt who tried to break up his marriage so he could give her a working grandchild."
"You still can't tell them apart, even with the bond?" Katie asked as she stepped closer.
"It's an odd thing, but sometimes it echoes off Fred's mind," Xander told her. "I'm guessing it's the twins bond." He smiled at her. "Have I told you yet that I think you're very pretty?" She nodded. "Good. Treat my brother-in-law right or I'm hunting you down, stripping you, painting you funny colors with muggle paints, and then presenting you as a present." He walked away. "Okay, up in the air, people." He looked at Alicia. "The same goes for you of course."
"Are you going to threaten me too?" Angelina asked, smiling faintly.
He looked at her. "Why would I? You haven't made your move yet and George said I couldn't adopt Oliver because he's older than I am. So I guess he's something like a brother and I'll threaten you once you get off your butt and convince him to take you out somewhere." Oliver spluttered. "Keep it up," he warned him. "I have strange and unusual powers. I can show you how much you want her." He smiled and lifted off. "Come on, we'll be late and the other teams will whine if we don't hurry up." The few left on the ground lifted off. "Mellie?" She floated over from behind him. "Didn't want to lose you, dear. Okay, let's run a small, short scrimmage. Mellie, I want you to play with the ladies, weave around them like you're a bludger. Guys, don't hit her for real, but she needs ducking practice according to Simone." They nodded and took off, and the keeper yawned. "Oliver, deal with him." Oliver flew off with a smirk, going to 'help' the team's keeper shape up. Xander watched his team/family fly, satisfied by the smoothness they showed. A good working team was hard to create, but these had it down pat because Oliver had done part of the hard work for him. He smiled as Angelina moved next to him. "Tired?"
"Question. Are you going to force me to kiss him?"
"No." She looked disappointed. "But I'm going to lock you in a closet together and everything else is up to you, dear. He won't make the first move." She nodded and flew off, and he mentally checked the contents of his dresser to make sure he had something he could use.
Draco looked up as Snape walked in, giving up his seat in the middle of the children. "You can use mine." He sat down to listen. "How is Ignatius?"
"Well enough. Frustrated with one of the Hufflepuff fourth years. He made Pixie potion and created a candy. We're doing a search of the house tonight to make sure no more exists." Severus settled himself, looking down at the children. "Where is Gwen? She wanted me to be here."
"She in baffroom," Minnie told him. She wiggled closer. "She be right out."
"Thank you. We'll wait for her."
Ron led Gwen down the stairs. "Sorry, she's having stomach problems," he said, settling down with her in his lap.
"Flu?" Snape asked.
"No, just gas for the moment. I've given her something already." Ron smiled at him. "Iggy?"
"Fine. His wrist is fully healed and he's about to beat a fourth year around the head for his stupidity." Ron looked interested. "He made pixie potion and turned it into a candy using the additional recipe. Then he ate a triple-strength piece at dinner because he made it too strong." Ron snickered. "The boy is presently locked in a room in the infirmary so he can't hurt himself. He's allergic and has hives all over his body. Raena thought it was fitting because he can't scratch without hurting himself farther, or setting off the candy."
"Ooh, that's mean," Draco said with a cold smile. "I should go visit him."
"No, let me," Ron told him. "I bet I know who it was. Smothers?" Snape nodded. "Wonderful," Ron purred. "Brilliant boy. Just smart enough to overcompensate and ruin his girlfriend for his touch."
"He jumped her in the Great Hall, she was led away crying. Almost as much as the girl who Peeves popped out of her top." Draco burst out in giggles, shaking his head. "It was rather amusing." He accepted the book from Lucien with a smile. "Thank you." He showed it to them and opened it to the first page. "Thomas the tank engine...."
Xander finished working on Angelina's back and glanced around. They were alone. He leaned down, using a technique he had learned long ago to hypnotize someone who was in a relaxed state. "I want you to go into the closet," he whispered in her ear, continuing to work on the pressure points. "You will go in in a daze and stay there, willingly, until the door is reopened, then you will wake up. You will stay there until the door opens again, and then if you want to you may stay further." She barely nodded and he got up. "Go now, Angelina." She wandered into the closet and closed the door after her. "Who's next?" he called. George popped his head in. "Not you," he said with a wink. Oliver was shoved in and the door shut. "Come on, take off your shirt and lay down."
"What happened to Angelina?"
"She went to the bathroom." Xander started to work on the man's back. "How's the shoulder?"
"Wonderful. Not a bit of pain when I was catching earlier. Thank you for helping me practice."
"I thought you might need it. Did your coach think you could play next year?" Oliver nodded, moaning in pleasure. "Wonderful news, Oliver." He continued to turn the man into a pliant and willing puddle. When he was done, he shifted off the bed. "Will you get something off my top closet shelf for me? I really want the fuzzy blanket tonight since George is staying down here and he hides it from me."
"Sure. Not a problem," Oliver said, standing up and putting back on his shirt. He walked over and opened the closet door, waking Angelina, and barely got to open his mouth before he was pushed in and the door shut. "Xander!" he yelled. "This isn't funny!"
"It is kind of funny," she told him, lighting her wand. She smiled at him. "He's trying to be helpful, Oliver. He knows I'm too shy to make the first move and so are you."
"But..." He shook his head. "You don't like me like that."
"Says who? Just because I tease you doesn't mean I don't like you, silly." She mover closer and kissed him on the cheek. "I wasn't kidding, I would like to see you socially. My daughter adores you and I think you're neat and charming."
"What about your ex?"
"The dirtbag can suffer," she said with a shrug. "I'm doing what makes me happy." She smiled at him again. "Surely you didn't believe I only wanted to be seen with you to make him jealous." Oliver nodded, looking upset. "I only said that because you looked like you were going to take off running, Oliver. You even looked like you'd be willing to go through the window if the door was blocked. I didn't want to push you, but Xander decided you needed the help." She sat him down on a box. "Tell me what's confusing you about me and I'll try to straighten it out."
"You really want to see me? Not my position, not what I can do for you, or how much I can protect you?"
She laughed. "Oliver, you live in the middle of nowhere. I like that in a house. I also happen to like your sense of humor, your uprightness, and the fact that you've never insulted me over my clothes."
"I put up with some loud outfits from Xander," Oliver pointed out.
She tipped his chin up. "Silly, I only want you. Not the job, not the house, not even the fact that you're a man. If you couldn't function, I'd still be happy to be with you."
He choked. "I can so function!"
"Think about what I just said, not the 'what if' included in it," she said patiently. He frowned. "Did I say that you couldn't?" He shook his head. "Then why the protest? An offer perhaps?"
He shook his head. "I'm not like that."
"I know, and that thrills me to no end," she said, sitting down on his lap. "Why would I want someone who rushes and doesn't let me catch my breath." She pinched him on the chin when he nodded. "Besides, you could use a personal cheerleader, can't you?"
"I need a mate, not a cheerleader," he told her, giving her a pat on the back.
"Oliver, we're both screwed up from the normal. Can we try? I'll help you get comfortable and you can help me recover my sense of balance?"
"I noticed you were leaning to the right a lot tonight," he teased. She swatted him on the chest. "Easy, I'm still fragile."
"I know." She kissed him on the cheek again. "Yes?"
"Yes, dear, I'll consent to date you until you decide I'm ignoring you."
She shook her head. "Your career comes first, I know that. You have to train and I can even help you with that." He looked thoughtful. "Besides, you're the first man that my daughter has found that she likes. She seems to be comfortable with the twins, Xander, and Harry, but she actually likes you. It's a miracle of highest proportions and I should follow such omens."
He smiled and brushed some of her hair back behind her ear. "I think she's a neat little kid and I don't really like kids."
"See, a perfect match. She adores you and you like her." She smiled. "Is that all right?"
"It's fine with me, Angelina." He gave her a short kiss and the door locked. "Hey!" he shouted.
The door opened and Fred was standing there. "Why are you in my closet?"
"Xander said it was his," Angelina said with a frown. Fred shook his head. "Huh." She stood up and pulled Oliver with her. "Can you point us to his actual room? We'd like to inhabit his closet."
"It's the next room on this side. George is in there waiting on his reward." He watched as the couple walked past him, then shook his head quickly. Xander. It had to have been Xander's idea.
Draco looked up as his lap was invaded by a present wielding child. "Hello, Lucien. What's that?"
Lucien pointed at Xander. "He gave it to us. I saw, it's pretty, father." He wiggled as his father unwrapped the present. Then he squealed. It was prettier on the whole than just the corner he had seen. "Put it on!" he demanded, getting up to his father could stand.
Draco put on the green robe and was nearly blinded by the glow from the silver trim, then he had to watch as the robe changed colors. "What is this thing?"
"It's pretty," Lucien told him, nodding. "MAEVE! COME SEE!" he shouted. She came running down the stairs with the triplets, William, and Zach. "Uncle Xander buyed it for him."
"Bought," Draco corrected absently. He looked in the mirror and winced. "This is ..."
"Pretty," Anastasia said as she and Ravena came in. "Uncle Xander said he had gotten you a present from all of us. I think I like that one."
Ravena looked at her. "Does it change colors or is that me?"
"It's like a muggle mood ring," Iggy said as he came down the stairs. "Uncle Charlie told me." He smiled. "I think that's a wonderful robe, Uncle Draco. It suits you when it's that color."
"It's a wonderful Father's Day gift; we'll have to pay him back for that," Ravena agreed, nodding at her sister.
"Yes, we should," Draco said, frowning at the older children. "I'm sure it's very expensive and I shouldn't wear it around the house."
"No, you have to wear it," Lucien said, pouting up at him. "It's Father's Day this weekend and we're giving it to you as a present, father. Please? Wear it to dinner?" He blinked his big light blue eyes and watched as his father melted. "Uncle Xander got a few new ones as well."
"Really?" Draco asked. "Xander, please come down here and tell my children how they can pay you back."
Xander walked down in one of his new Hawaiian print robes, smirking. "You look good in that color. Come on, guys, it's time for dinner." He let Ravena grab her father and herded the rest of the kids. They made it to the Great Hall, and the waiting camera in Raena's hand, before Draco could say anything else.
"Presents from the children?" Snape asked, wincing at the robes.
"No, I bought this one myself. I like it," Xander said as he took his usual seat. Draco sat on his left. "Is it scratchy?"
"No." Draco touched the trim and it got brighter. He leaned closer so the children wouldn't hear. "I'll get you for this," he vowed.
Xander patted him on the back. "I'm sure you'll try, son." He smiled as Tara and the Headmaster came in the back door. "Look what his kids got him," he said with a smile. "With a little help from me. They loved it so much I let them use it as a Father's Day present."
"I saw," Dumbledore said, smiling at Xander. "How very nice. You do look good in that color." The robe started to turn black. "Now, Draco, don't turn it into your usual color. You could use more color in your wardrobe."
"It started out in his house colors," Xander added for good measure.
Draco shook his head, tipping it down, and it brushed against some of the trim, making it light up even more. "Is this touch reactive?"
"Skin reactive," Xander told him. "Now you glow like the stunning man we know you to be." Draco gave him a sideways look. "What?" he asked innocently. "I saw it and thought of you. Plus, your kids love it."
"They'll get over it," he whispered.
Maeve bounced over, hugging Draco's side. "Can you wear that on the train when we go back, Uncle?"
He patted her on the head. "Not this time, dear. It will have to be cleaned and won't be clean in time. I'll wear it again this summer."
"But I want to see you in it. It's our present," she said, starting to sniffle. She was so pitiful it was deadly. He nodded, making her smile. "Thank you, Uncle." She skipped back to her seat, hugging Lucien. "He'll wear it whole lots," she assured him.
Draco gave a subvocal groan, then looked at Xander. "How am I going to pay you back for such a wonderful present?" he asked.
Xander cackled. "I'm sure it'll be fine without any paying back. A child's amusement is enough payment for me, and they do love it so."
Tara snorted. "Xander, behave."
"I am." He smoothed down his robe. "Look, I finally got one."
"So I noticed," she told him, nodding. "How many did you get?"
"Just the two. That's all they had in good colors for me." Albus looked at him. "Of course, only for my off-times. It isn't really appropriate over my teaching clothes."
"Thank you," Albus said, smiling at him.
"Not a problem." Xander dug into the food that appeared on his plate, all his favorite things. "Eat, children."
"We are," Minnie called back.
Draco ate his dinner, trying to figure out how best to pay Xander back for his wonderful present, and for involving the children so he'd have to wear it every once in a while. His oldest two came in and stopped to look at him, Denver shaking his head. He pointed at Xander and Denver glared at his Uncle, but Xander smirked and waved.
"Brother!" Lucien said happily, scurrying away from the grabbing hands. "Uncle got it for us to give for Father's Day," he said excitedly. "Come see!" He drug Denver up to the dias, which brought Simone. "It changes and glows pretty!"
"So I see," Simone said, smirking at her father. "What colors does it go to?"
"There might be a card in the pocket about that," Xander told her. Draco patted himself down and found the card, then snorted and handed it over.
Simone looked at him, then at the card, and handed it to her brother. "I like it, Father, you should wear it more often." She went to sit down, smiling at Melvin. "What?" she asked innocently.
"I get my father ties," Melvin told her. "A muggle mood ring in a robe?"
"With a skin reactive border," Denver added as he sat down. "It's odd, that was halfway between annoyance and contentment."
"Yes, it was," Simone agreed. She looked at her younger sisters, then at Lucien, who was looking confused. "Come sit and eat with us?"
"Maeve," he said, pointing, then hurried back to her side. He didn't want her to think he was ignoring her. "Why are you annoyed, Father?"
"The colors haven't adjusted fully to his moods yet," Xander told him. "Give it a few days and it'll be set to his moods. Right now, it's reacting to his body heat."
"Oh. So he likes it?"
"Yes, son, I adore it," Draco answered once he saw the hopeful look. "It was very thoughtful of your uncle to pick out your present for you." His youngest son beamed and dug into his food with a happy shiver. Draco looked at Xander. "What did your children get you for a present?"
"Fred took them shopping," Xander told him. "I have to wait and see." Ron jogged in the back door. "Being chased?" he asked as the triplets came in as well.
"Yup. We just sent the camera to mum to have it developed." He sat down and dished himself up dinner. "You do look good in that color," Ron said with a smirk.
"Where did you find such an amusing robe?" Sirius asked.
"Madam Malkin's," Xander told him. "Along with mine."
"I see." He glanced at Xander. "I'd have thought that you'd be shopping in your own area by now."
"I am, but only for my leather stuff. The robe shop down there uses a lot of very heavy fabrics. If I was living in Norway or someplace like that I might, but I can't wear velvet all the time. Have you seen my cloak?" Draco nodded. "Did you get Simone one?"
"I owled them and ordered one," he admitted. "It's coming soon." He looked at his daughters, who smiled up at him. "I should fix your wardrobe again," he muttered.
"Every time you do that, I end up looking like Severus and he doesn't like that, it freaks him out," Xander reminded him. Snape raised an eyebrow, his fork paused on the way to his mouth. "He's threatening to buy me clothes again."
"At least they would be tasteful," Severus noted, finishing that bite of food. "Xander, could you shift down, please. You're in the direct light and you're glowing."
"Sure." He shifted, making Ron shift as well. "Better?"
"Much." Snape looked at Draco. "He'll hide those from you."
"I know," Draco sighed. "Still, I think it's only fitting since he helped my children shop for this wonderful robe."
Ron leaned around Xander. "Charlie helped him pick it out," he said helpfully. "Oh, he loved the jacket Bill got him," he told Xander. "Said it fit perfectly and it was just what he wanted. Many pockets and all."
"I thought he might love it," Xander said smugly. "I am good at the present giving."
"Yes, I still have those self-warming socks you gave me," Snape agreed. "Light up bulbs and all."
Xander looked at him. "I told you I was going to make you laugh some day."
"It certainly did that," Tara said diplomatically. "Xander, please don't shop for my birthday. We're not celebrating it this year since I'll be gone."
"Okay. I'll only give you a card." He smiled at her. "Have you made any final plans?"
"Yes, they've been final for a while. We'll be there over the first half of the summer holidays." She patted her husband's hand. "It will be fun and relaxing for me."
"Hopefully for the both of us, but I can bring enough books to entertain myself if necessary," Snape assured her. "I've stolen Ignatius' book on how to make his case."
"Wonderful," Xander agreed. "Did he tell you about our shopping area's bookstore? Five stories tall. One whole story is nothing but academic texts." Snape looked interested. "You're going to have to ask him. There's so many books the owners weren't surprised when Iggy pulled up an advanced alchemy and potion's book."
"Two books hopefully?"
"No, just one. A diary turned textbook." Xander smiled at him. "Ask him to show it to you, it's really fascinating. That's how he figured out how to make the size different or predetermine shape."
"That is wonderful," Dumbledore agreed. "Nicholas Flammel never created for beauty, just for function."
"They've put a new stone into her ring," Draco told him. "It's very pretty and cute. Fits it perfectly, and they only had to grind down one side a bit. Totally flawless."
"That's even better news," Dumbledore agreed, smiling at the happy couple. "He is fine?"
"He's fine and that woman has decided to leave us alone," Xander assured him.
"Even better. OWLs start on Monday." Everyone nodded. "Good. I think I'll get back to the lists for next year." He floated off, going back to his office.
Xander looked down at the table at Severus. "What did Zach get you for Father's Day?"
"Nothing. He's too young to understand the meaning of the holiday." He felt a tug and looked down. "Yes, Minnie?"
"He get you card, but I not supposed to tell," she whispered, then took the phoenix chick off the back of his chair for him. "You come eat with us," she demanded. The chick made a pitiful noise. "Gwen will give you treats."
The bird settled into the highchair and let itself be pampered. It liked the Gwen human enough for that, even if her favorite human wasn't looking at her. She 'cheep'ed and Vinnie looked up so she gave him a hopeful and desirous look. He grinned. "Of course you're mine, but I can't give up my dinner or Grandma said no more cookies," he told her. She relaxed and sent calming mental thoughts at him.
"No fair," Gwen shouted, crossing her arms and starting to pout. "I want a bird too!" She started to sniffle.
Xander looked back at her. "If you throw a fit, I won't introduce you to any of the chicks," he warned. She gave him a pitiful look. "Then ask her if she only likes your brother or all of you. If not, ask her *politely* to introduce you to the other chicks."
"Can you do that?" Gwen asked hopefully, looking pathetic. The bird nuzzled her and got free of the highchair, going to talk to the other ones.
"I want one too," Maeve called after it. "Please?" she added as an afterthought. Manners were always a good thing when you wanted something.
Xander smiled at her. "We'll see. You have to behave more. Phoenixes take a lot of attention, Maeve." She nodded. "And you have to clean up dirty nests."
"Then can I have a dog?" she asked.
"We'll see." He smiled. "Beg your other father for a dog. Let him decide, okay?" She nodded, looking happier.
Ron smirked at him. "Have fun at the pound."
"Only if George agrees," Xander pointed out. Someone tapped him on the back and he looked up. "Hey, Hagrid, what's up?"
"If you go back there, can I come this time?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. "But you have to brace yourself. Otherwise we'll have to keep you from bringing home the whole pound."
"I'll do my best," he said with a smile. "When did you want to go?" He took his seat.
"I was thinking Saturday if she talks George into it."
"Fine, we'll go then," Hagrid agreed. He smiled at Maeve. "Did you want a big 'ne or a little 'ne?"
"Little so it cuddles," Maeve said happily. "I need something which will cuddle me since Lucien is cuddling William."
"We'll see what they have and then decide," Xander told her. She smiled and went back to her dinner.
"You can't come home with the whole pound either," Ron said with a grin. "No more than two dogs, Xander."
"Or one if it's large," Snape pointed out from his seat. "We don't need another herd of dogs."
"Dogs run in packs," Xander told him, grinning at him. "If I do, can you make a flea potion?"
"Definitely. I'll have one waiting on you."
Hagrid laughed. "The ones we got were adorable and perfectly healthy."
"We were really lucky," Xander told him. "But we'll have to see what they have. They might not have any dogs this time."
"Wouldn't there be more than one in London?" Draco asked, smirking at him. "I'm sure you can find something suitable for your darling daughter."
"Can I have a big and a little one?" Maeve asked her favorite uncle. He smiled and nodded. "Will you help me talk to daddy?"
"Of course I will, princess," he assured her with his best smirk. "He'll have to give in to both of us."
"Okay. You wear the new robe and I can be the cute one," she said happily, standing up. "I'm done."
Xander looked back at her. "That's good, I'm not. Sit and chat."
"Okay." She sat in Lucien's lap and snuggled in. "I'm comfy and good."
"Let him eat too, sweetheart," Tara chided gently. She watched as Maeve loaded up his fork for him and fed it to him. "Awww, how cute."
Xander looked back and shook his head. "Let him eat on his own. You sit in your seat and talk to Vinnie."
She slid back into her seat and smiled at her cousin. "What house do you want?"
"I want the Slytherins," he said with a cold grin.
"Excuse me?" Ron asked, looking back, but the kids had already snuck off under the table. "Get back in that seat, Raymond Vincent." The kids looked at him and waved, then went to torture some of the kids. "At least they're not naked and wiggling," Ron said with a smile.
"Point," Xander said happily, digging into his dinner. Any moment now, the screams would start and he'd have to deal with it. One of the Slytherin females screamed, her voice going up. "Get off her!" he yelled. Vinnie came out from under the table. "I don't know what you just did, but you're in trouble because of the noise she made, nephew."
"She smells good," Vinnie told him with a smile.
"I put on powder, you freak," the girl told him. "Get away from me!"
"Enough," Draco said coldly. She opened her mouth and pointed. "Yes? You wanted to say something?"
She shook her head and crossed her legs. "I won't make the same mistake, sir," she said coldly.
"She smells like fwowers," Vinnie told him. Then he smiled at her. "I like you," he said with a smile go great his nose wrinkled.
"I think I'll take my dinner to go tonight," she said, sliding out of her seat and hurrying off.
"Come back! You smell like a bouquet," he said, starting to follow her.
"Son," Ron said, trying hard not to laugh. "Ravena, stop him please."
"She's the stupid one who put on the powdered pixie lust potion," Ravena noted. Snape looked at her. "Yes, her, sir. You forgot to check for that version?" She captured both children and handed them back to their parents. "Here you go. The future oversexed one and the good little girl." A Ravenclaw squealed. "Or not," she said with a smirk at her father. "I'm going back to my dinner now." She walked past the girl. "Cold?"
"Breeze!" she complained.
"Maeve," Xander warned. She smiled and stopped the breeze. "Thank you, dear. Sorry about that. It's her gift." He kissed her on the head. "Why don't you find your Uncle Albus and have him call up your other daddy so you can talk to him about the dog?" She nodded and wiggled down, running for the door. "Only go to his office, Maeve." He looked up at Glinda. "Would you please follow her?" Glinda took off, following the little girl. Xander looked down at Vinnie. "You know better."
"She smell good," he protested.
"If she did as Ravena said, then he didn't have much choice," Tara pointed out.
"It's not supposed to affect him, he doesn't have the requisite receptors in his body." He wiped off his mouth. "You did know better." Vinnie pouted at him, giving him the most pitiful look. "I survived Murphy doing that, I can outlast you as well."
"Vinnie, behave or no treats tonight from the twins."
"I be good," Vinnie assured him, nodding.
"You had better be," Draco warned him. "Or else you'll have to spend tomorrow with me cleaning out my storage building."
"Yes, sir," Vinnie said pitifully.
Ron looked over at him. "Gee, thanks," he said dryly. "I don't think I could come up with a worse punishment."
"You're welcome," Draco said with a small smirk. "I thought it was necessary since you don't have anything horrible planned soon."
"True," Ron agreed, smiling. "Thanks."
"You're welcome, as always."
Xander handed over the baby and got up. "I've got to plan how to dump more of that money." He walked away, talking to himself on the way up to his room. He found Fred waiting on him. "Problems?"
"Oliver's mad at you," Fred told him with a grimace. "He thinks you're pushing."
"I want him to be happy, and her to be happy. If I pushed, tell him I'm sorry and I'll leave them alone." He flopped down onto the bed, displacing his brother-in-law. "Maeve wants a dog."
"Wonderful for you, more responsibility," Fred said dryly.
"I told her she had to beg George." He got comfortable on his side. "I promise, Fred, I'll leave them alone if they want. The same as I'll leave you and Katie alone if you want."
Fred noticed he was upset and shook his head. "Those of us who know you thought it was cute. Hypnotizing and all that."
"Hypnotism can't make you do anything that you wouldn't normally do, or that you don't want to do," Xander told him. "I thought it would make him feel better."
"I don't think either of them know that," Fred said thoughtfully. He smiled. "I'll warn George about the dog. Would you be going to the pound?"
"Yup. They need love and she'll have a hard time choosing, but we're bringing Hagrid as well to make sure it's healthy."
"I'm sure the school will enjoy all the denizens of the pound coming to live with them." He patted Xander's foot and saw the wince. "Swelling?"
"Some minor pain. Nothing too bad."
"Uh-huh. You're having cramps again?" He stared at Xander until he nodded. "Why?"
"Do you know what happens when people suddenly inherit money?" Fred shook his head. "I do. My aunt got a small inheritance from my grandmother. The money from the sale of her house as it happened, which wasn't a tremendous amount. It ruined her and her family. I don't want it to happen to ours."
"Then you might want to see who gave it to you. The suit was already on-going, but getting them to go out of business was a push and shove operation from what the papers reported. The settlement was all from the judge though. He thought you might need it."
"Do you know how much we got?" Xander asked tiredly.
"It will only affect you if you let it," Fred reminded him.
"It's already affecting me, Fred. I want to go out and go wild, and I know I shouldn't. I don't want or need it."
"You took the one from the Prophet," Fred said, sliding down to lay beside him.
"That was necessary. They had to pay so they wouldn't do it again. I hid a lot of that immediately and had some of it sent back for Denver. George may or may not know about that fact, but I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that the world owes them anything or spoiled brats like can happen."
"English brats aren't like American ones," Draco said from the doorway. He walked in and settled behind Xander. "Are my children spoiled?"
"No, but it's the first generation, and a lot of the second generation, that goes bad," Xander said quietly. "I don't want to watch my family go to hell because someone thought we needed money." He didn't see Draco wince, but Fred did. "I want my kids to understand that the world doesn't owe them anything and that they're going to have to work to make themselves happy."
"You can still dot that even if you have a few vaults." Xander looked back at him. "What?"
"Draco, you don't have to work. If something's pissing you off, all you have to do is make a phone call and it's handled. I want my kids to have to live with roommates and learn to deal with people without having them made miserable. I want them to see the world as a great big place that they're going to have to not only work and live in, but as something that's exciting and wondrous because they can't travel everywhere on a whim. I want them to have to look things up in a book if they want to know what Thailand is like *before* they go, not decide to go check it out without any information. I want them to be normal, happy kids who don't draw attention from reporters and people who want them for what happened to me."
"I can understand that. I think I've done an excellent job of instilling those things into my children."
"It's not the later generations, it's the first ones that ruin things," Fred agreed. "Think about how many newly rich kids you've seen go bad. I can see his point, but I don't think he has to worry. We've all had a hand with the kids. They're not going to be spoiled brats who're going to end up miserable and broken. I promise they won't."
Someone tapped on the door and Katie stuck her head in. "Can I join in on the cuddles?"
"Sure," Fred said, smiling at her and holding up an arm. "You can have my back if you want." She crawled in behind him and cuddled up. "Has Oliver quit yelling yet?"
"Yes. George reminded him that Xander likes to meddle to make people happy. Oliver was asked if he was happier and he had to admit that he was, so he's not as mad. He wanted to do it himself."
"Hypnotism can't make you do something you don't want do," Draco told her. She looked stunned. "You didn't know?"
"No. I hadn't known that. Angelina might have." Xander nodded. "She participated?"
"She didn't fight the suggestions any. I guess she wanted it enough to smooth over any mental wrinkles because I didn't have to work very hard. I think her mind wanted it but she was trying to keep herself from some pain."
The door opened and Oliver lounged in the doorway. "It can't make her do anything against her will?"
"Not that she doesn't want to do, or wouldn't normally do," Xander told him, giving a little shrug. "I couldn't make her go for you if she wouldn't have already wanted it."
"Then I'm not mad at you," Oliver told him. Xander grinned. "What's the problem now?"
"He's worried about what the money will do to the kids," Fred told him. "First and second generation rich people tend to go bad, stupid, and painfully horrible to other humans."
Oliver looked at Draco. "Your father was first generation rich?"
"Funny," Draco said, but he was smiling. "It happens in the later years if you're unlucky and can't raise a child right. Which Xander has proven he can, so I don't know why he's worrying. Maeve isn't spoiled yet, no matter how hard he's tried to date. Neither are William or Ignatius. As a matter of fact, Ignatius might have started using Alchemy because he wanted to be able to fund his own education. He's now financially secure, no matter what happens, and he's relaxed a lot since the stone came out right."
"They have a working philosopher's stone?" Oliver asked. Xander nodded. "Wow."
"Two," Xander told him. "Raena's ring has another one. It might be too small to do much with, but I'm guessing an emergency piece of gold could be made with it." Draco nodded. "Really?"
"They only need the bigger stone to make it more quickly or to make their healing potion." He coughed. "Xander, I do need to discuss something with you about that." Xander nodded slowly. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, it's fine. They might as well be family and they won't rat out Iggy, I know they won't."
"The healing potion may, *may*, take one day of life from the end of your life for each use. There's a mention of it in one book but not in any of the others."
"Is the mention in an older book?"
"One of the three oldest he's found." Xander rolled over to face him. "They're running an experiment now with some mice in the dungeons. Two test runs and there's no discernable difference, but they're running a more extensive one this summer at Molly's." Xander opened his mouth and Draco put a finger over it. "George knows. We've only gotten one dosing from it. We're fine. Iggy didn't know until afterwards though."
"I see." Xander looked around. "I, um, don't know what to say about that." He blinked a few times. "Just one day?"
"As far as the only warning he's seen said, yes. He's asked Shey to ask her father if he knows anything since he's one of the highest chaos people in this hemisphere. He said he doesn't know of any and neither does Raena's mother."
"Then it could be a baseless worry," Fred put in. Katie gave him a squeeze. "You don't think so?"
"I think it is, but Xander's a worrier. He won't stop worrying until the evidence is in front of him."
"One day's not so much," Xander said quietly. "I can accept that. No more though. Not until he knows." He looked at the others. "No one can know that he's got a stone or he'll be hunted by people who want him to use it for their benefit."
"Not a problem," Oliver assured him. "I think it's amazing. Then again, some kids think he's the reincarnation of Ignatius Spenser anyway, only with less wantonness."
"Not if you see him and Raena together," Fred said dryly. "He's set fire to a puddle of water in his bathtub because he couldn't touch her anymore. He's a lot like his father." He pinched Xander, making him squeak.
"Well, this is cute," George said as he walked in. "Out of my bed and get off my mate! My husband and only I get to shag him. There will be no orgies in our bed."
"We were talking about why he's so upset about the money," Fred told him, sitting up.
George glared at his husband. "I heard. It's dumb, but I heard. It's not happening. If any of the children or future grandchildren go bad, I'm going to turn them over to mum or Simone to handle. Let her beat some sense into them." He grinned. "Does that ease your worries?"
"Yeah, a bit," Xander agreed, holding up an arm. "Come cuddle with us?" He looked at Oliver. "I'd invite you, but you'd have to cuddle Draco."
"That's all right, I never wanted to get that close to him," Oliver said with a faint smile. "So, got any charity work planned? I ask because a few of us guys in the pros have a charity we spot for. I could give you the whole spiel or just tell you it benefits kids. Which do you want?"
"I can handle knowing that much. Are they hurting the kids?" Oliver shook his head. "Then I'm good with it."
"Is that the brooms for tots program?" Fred asked. Oliver shook his head.
"The support for the junior leagues?" Katie suggested. Oliver shook his head again.
"An orphanage for dead player's children?" Draco suggested lightly. He knew what it was, and Oliver glared at him. "I gave last month, calm down." He looked at Xander. "It is a nice thing. Very appropriate for you to support. It helps children with disabilities play quidditch in their own league."
"I can support that," George agreed. "How much?"
"A few every now and then would be the best. Giving too much at once will make us all drool and come looking for you," Oliver assured him. "That's how you do it. Either anonymously, or in small doses so no one's expecting to see you again next year. But we're using old brooms that are in bad condition at the moment."
"We volunteered out time to refurbish them," Katie pointed out.
"Some of them are so old they're not going to work, even if you could enchant them again. We've got a Nimbus 2003 in there somewhere."
She winced. "Ow! Do the companies give you a discount?" He nodded. "Then by all means, hit the shop up next month, or better yet after the kids go to school." He grinned. "It builds their confidence, Oliver, I've always thought it was a wonderful program."
"Then I guess we can give you some," Xander told Oliver. "How much did you need?"
"We're halfway to the goal of three hundred thousand galleons to fully refurbish or buy new brooms," he told him. "A simple donation of a hundred or so would make a lot of difference at this point."
"I think we can do that," George agreed. "Aren't you holding an auction?"
"A bachelor auction," Oliver said with distaste. "For a dinner and a night out on the town."
Draco smirked at him. "Have fun."
"Oh, you're on the list," Oliver assured him. He pulled something out of his pocket and flipped through them, tossing a card at him with a smile. "Formal robes if you please and have a date planned. Harry's on here as well."
"He'll kill you," Katie told him.
Oliver shrugged. "He volunteered then conveniently forgot. He'll be allowed to withdraw." Draco opened his mouth. "Not you. You'd bring us better publicity. Especially if you'd agree to let someone take up with Simone for the night," he added. "The future players and all that?"
Draco growled. "Not a chance."
"All right then. How about Denver? He's a player as they say."
"He might like it," Fred told his adopted nephew. "It'd give him a chance to go out on the town legitimately."
"Good point," Draco sighed. "I'll ask him tomorrow."
"You could try asking Simone," George pointed out. "She might go for it."
"She's a girl!" Draco said coolly.
"Who can take care of herself, thank you," Xander pointed out in the same tone of voice. "She'd be more willing to do it than Denver would. And it's not like she's going to go screwing him. You taught her discretion and subtly. Trust in her to know that."
"Women of our social class..."
"Have nothing in common with your eldest daughter, Draco," Xander pointed out. "She'll never be the society woman that Anastasia or even Ravena are. Let her have her fun. You're starting to sound like Molly."
Draco glared at him. "I want to protect my daughter."
"We'll send along a chaperone," Oliver told him. "The two of them could double if you demanded it."
Draco glared at him and he backed up. "I don't like that idea."
"Ronnie Potter's already going and Ravena offered," Oliver told him. "It's a charity thing and your kind do take a lot of stock in that stuff."
"Whatever," Draco grumbled. "They'll have to agree and *I'll* be choosing their chaperones."
"That's fine," Oliver agreed. "Harry said about the same thing when his son told him he had volunteered himself. You might want to remind those two that they can't bid on each other," he said quickly, then he left them alone.
"Ravena would outbid everyone else," George agreed.
"As would Ron if his father gave him the money," Xander pointed out. "Or if we did."
"They'd need a third person to bid for the first one up," Draco told him. "Then they could bid to bring the other with them. That's how these things work." He rolled onto his back and pulled a pillow over his head. "I hate these sort of events. I always end up with some unsuitable person who bores me or scares me."
Xander shifted over, putting his head on Draco's chest. "It'll be fine. Maybe you can convince an acquaintance to bid on them both and reimburse him for Ravena or something."
"And you say you don't have a handle on being rich," Fred snorted.
Xander looked at him. "I always plan grand, for an unlimited budget, then scale back to what my budget allows. It keeps me practical because I have to discard things and ideas."
"That would work; I'd have to find someone suitable, but I could deal with that," Draco said through the pillow. He pulled it off his head. "I knew you were brilliant enough to be around my children." He slid off the bed and went to talk to his children. Perhaps he could even get Spike to guard the older two. Ron wouldn't let anything happen to his daughter, and all the supporters of Voldemort knew better than to come after his children.
Xander looked up as a paper landed in front of him. "What's this?"
"Your son's test scores," Ron told him, sitting on the edge of the desk. "They had an emergency this morning and he had to help. He barely got his potion pulled off the fire before he ran off. As you can see, his worst subjects are currently blank." He smiled. "Albus is willing to allow for unusual circumstances if you'd like Iggy to make a petition."
Xander looked at the form, then winced. "I'm going to hurt him. He knew better than to get involved. Two of these are on the wrong day."
"I know, but that's the preprinted form. Raena's is on the back." Xander looked at the other side and sighed. She had nearly perfect marks. "Simone did very decently so far. Snape said she's got marks to rival her father's. Everyone else in the family also has high marks. All but Iggy."
"I'll talk with him when I see him soon," Xander sighed. Ron shook his head. "He's not coming?"
"He's up in the infirmary still. The heart condition from the train up in August went off again. Stress from finals. He went to get her mother then came back in a better mood than last time, but he's brewing her medicine for her."
"Severus can't do this why?"
"Because your son got fatalistic and decided that since he's missing one already he should probably miss the rest because he wouldn't be able to concentrate."
"I'll have a talk with him. Is he needed up there?" Ron nodded. "Madam Pomfrey needs him more than Severus or Raena? She's only taking one elective."
"He'll be finished with that potion in about twenty minutes or so. Then he said he'd hurry down and come take your test, then hurry back to check on her. Poppy's out today."
"Shit," Xander swore hotly. "Where?"
"Her own appointment. She told Iggy how to treat her and then let him go for it. She trusts him, and he's done fine so far. Severus has checked on him a few times. He might make the petition instead of you."
"If he wants to, let him. It'll look like favoritism if I do it. I'll let him take his essay test up there though."
"Thanks, Xander. I knew you'd understand." Ron accepted a copy of the test and frowned. "This isn't the fifth year test, Xander." Xander nodded. "Since when did your ex fit in with the fifth years?"
"Since I changed it around a little bit. Doesn't it say fifth year on it?" Ron checked and nodded. "Then that's his. He's to have no books open and no notes. Tell him I'll be listening to make sure he doesn't cheat."
"You're tough on him."
"Like I said, I don't want to be accused of favoritism by anyone. He doesn't get special privileges but I will allow for emergencies." Ron nodded and took the test and score sheet with him. Xander put his head down on the desk and sighed. His son was in such trouble. The last makeup had been given three-hundred-eight-seven years ago and that was only because the kid had nearly died the day before taking them. This was not going to go over well with anyone and he was going to look like he was playing favorites.
"Quit worrying now, thank you," Draco said forcefully from the doorway. He held a crumpled ball of paper in his hand. Xander looked at him. "What's wrong now?"
"Iggy's been in the infirmary all day with a kid," Xander told him.
"I heard, he's not the only one. There've been six children who passed out so far, three of them fifth years and the rest sevenths." He came in and sat in the same spot Ron had. "Makeups are being given this year. The Headmaster has already said so. He's also awarded your son a great many points for taking care of the situation before anyone else could be called. Short of one of them dying, I believe your house has won this year."
"Yay us," Xander said dryly. "That sort of competition is bad for the students. They should learn how to get along."
"Why? This way is much more fun."
"Yeah, but no one makes friends in the other houses unless they're forced to. It's not healthy."
"It's the way it has been for centuries, Xander. Deal with it and move on, as you often have been heard saying." The paper in his hand crunched.
"A note that I found distasteful. I was heading to burn it in a most spectacular manner." He smiled. "Relax, it's nearly over with. Another week and finals are done with, then a week of grading and whatnot. After that, you can steal the children and your mate, and go somewhere wonderful where no one knows you." The paper crunched again and Xander held out a hand. "I can burn it."
"I can turn it into fireworks," Xander offered.
Draco shook his head. "I've got it. It's a threat from a parent if I flunk their child." He stood up. "Make George take you somewhere this summer. You barely got out last year." He walked away, heading to burn the threat. Perhaps it wasn't wise, Xander would find out that he was behind the lawsuit eventually, but not today, not when he was so stressed. He walked into the dungeon and tossed the paper into the fireplace. "Xander wants you to make the request for your apprentice," he said quietly. "Albus already knows."
"I've talked to him about it. It's arranged. He'll be taking them Saturday." He looked at the younger man. "A problem?"
"A future one that if dealt with now would cause more pain," Draco assured him. "Give it a few years, after he calms down."
Snape shook his head. "He'll find out before then. We've already had to remove a great many papers from the school because of his reaction. We are getting tired of coddling him."
"Wait until the end of the semester. That way I'll have all summer to make him forgive me," Draco said miserably. He went back up to his classroom to start grading. The sooner he got done the better.
Snape shook his head. "I'd hate to be there when Xander finds out. It will hurt both of them too much to be born." He picked up a test and his favorite red pen, and immediately marked through a whole essay. "What a load of crock," he snorted. "That has nothing to do with that potion."
Xander opened the letter that had just arrived and sat down hard. He frowned and looked around, but he knew the person he needed to scream at wasn't there. He was down at the train station. He grabbed his bag and closed it, then teleported down there. He grabbed Draco and pulled him back into the shadows. "You were behind that?" he hissed.
"I won't discuss this with you right now, Xander. Tonight."
Draco swallowed. He had never been on the other side of the impressive anger and rage which was flowing off the older man. "I won't fight with you in front of the students, it's not correct. We can either fight on the train if we can find an open compartment, or we can fight later."
"I don't think I'm going to last that long."
"Take him back to your place," Tara called. "We can watch for ten minutes. You've got half an hour until the train leaves."
Draco took Xander back to his place and sat down, looking up at him. "You said I could have them shut down, so I did."
"You're responsible for all that fucking money that just got dumped in my lap!" Xander shouted. "You knew how much it bothered me and you never told me, even after I made it plain the other night."
"No fighting!" Lucien yelled.
Xander took a calming breath. "Go back up to the nursery, Lucien, I'll come say hi in a few minutes." The little boy smiled at him and gave his legs a hug before disappearing. "Close the doors." Draco did so, locking them as well. "You knew and you never admitted it was you. Did you think I wouldn't find out?"
"I thought I could tell you this summer, once you were over part of this."
"Over it?" Xander snorted in derision. "Over what? The woman who told George that she was going to steal me because I was better suited for her? The people who come up now and ask me for things? If I was still a muggle, I might be seeing cousins I've never met before. You knew, Draco, and you knew it'd upset me."
"I didn't know until the other night," Draco told him.
"Save it. You knew before now because you knew I had some of the money transferred back to Denver after that fiasco with the Prophet. Do you remember the next few months after that?" Draco frowned, but he did nod. "Then you knew." He stormed out, going to talk to Lucien and tell him good bye. He probably wouldn't be seeing him this summer because he was going to be somewhere far away calming down.
Draco hurried after him. "Xander, don't do this. Let me explain. I wasn't behind the settlement. I suggested that there should be a *token* settlement made."
"You raised health care costs for everyone in the country! Other hospitals will use this as an excuse!" Xander turned and looked at him. "A token? Four vaults is a token?"
"That was the judge," Draco pointed out coolly. "I didn't want them to do that to you because I did know it would make you uncomfortable. I remember you being uncomfortable when you were faced with the settlement with the paper years ago. Besides, their insurance company paid it, not the hospital. It was already broke."
"You're still hurting other people for the pleasure of revenge!" Xander told him, turning to go up the stairs. "I'll talk to you again when I'm not pissed."
"That could be years," Draco noted dryly. "I know you."
"Then you should have realized how much this would upset me and come to me first. Like while we were in Italy." He turned and his left foot slid off the stair, making him fall. His adopted son hurried up to catch him so he landed on him, making them both wince in pain as various joints popped and cracked. "Ow." Xander tried to move but the shooting pain through his back made him stop. "Are you all right?"
Draco looked up at him. "Did you hurt me enough to quit yelling at me?"
"Maybe. Can you move?"
"No." Draco flopped back down, moving very slowly and carefully to untangle them. "I think we need some help," he admitted when he couldn't move his arm. "Can you move?"
"Not any more than I have. Lucien? Would you come here please?" he called. Lucien ran to the top of the stairs. "Lucien, we fell, could you please call someone and tell them that?"
"Yes, father," he said, hurrying down past them to the library. He tossed powder in just like everyone else did. "Uncle Percy!" he said happily. He liked his stories about stupid bad guys. Percy's head floated up, but he didn't look so good. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Lucien. Is there a reason for this call? I'm a bit busy."
"Daddy and Uncle fall," he said, looking pitiful. "They still on stairs. We supposed to be on train today."
"I'll call the school and send someone right over. You stay there, all right?" Lucien nodded, smiling because he was being helpful. "Were they arguing?" Lucien nodded, starting to not look so happy. "I'm sure they'll figure it out after a few days in adjoining beds," Percy assured him, smiling at him. "Stay right there." He disappeared, calling his brother. "Fred? Where's George? Xander and Draco both fell on his stairs and from the look of Lucien they're not making it on the train today."
"I'll tell him to go fill in," Fred assured him. "Do I need to go over?"
"You might need to, but I can easily get Bill to do so. He's here anyway."
"All right. Have fun." Fred cut the connection and went to find George, who was packing a bag. "You heard?"
"I felt. Xander dislocated his back or something. I called Charlie, who knows about such things and was still handily around. I'm going to take his spot on the train."
"The supply case won't work unless you're on a steady point," Fred noted as he saw it be grabbed.
"There'll be phoenixes on the train."
"Yeah, but they don't like to be messengers. It's only Glinda and her three chicks, and only them because they're trying to see if they like the triplets."
"Then I'll deal with everything once I'm on there," George assured him. "Can you handle it?"
"Of course. Have fun terrorizing the children." He watched as George left, shaking his head. That man! How could Xander have been so dumb?
George walked up to Tara and dropped his bag. "They fell down the main staircase at the mansion. I'm here to fill in."
Snape looked over at him. "You're not a teacher."
"No, but I'm a father and it's not that much different than herding the whole family on a trip," George said dryly. "I patrol, break up snogging and shagging session, keep Aggie from going off on someone, and make sure everyone gets off at the right spots. Correct?" Tara nodded, smiling at him. "And since it was *both* of them who fell, you're already short unless you want to go."
"No, go ahead, we've had other parents on there," Tara told him. "I'm sure no one will mind." She glanced around. "Are they hurt badly?"
"Enough that they're not even trying to move. There was a lot of popping and pain." George walked onto the train and put his bag in the teacher's compartment, then went out to check on the students, helping a few of them get their things into their compartments. He locked in his family personally, then had to let in Ravena to Ron's compartment. They were playing with the snitches. Why they now had three he wasn't sure, but he was sure they knew what they were doing. He found Oliver and waved him over. "Are you riding back to London?"
"Yeah, I need to. Hadn't planned on it today, but Albus said I should probably get my broom looked at since I was complaining about it wobbling." He looked around. "Where are the other family members?"
"I'm not sure about Ron but Xander and Draco fell down his stairs." Oliver winced. "Their backs mostly. I'm filling in." He saw the conductor wave and climbed on, helping Oliver on. Ron was waiting o them. "Hello, dear," he said in imitation of their mother.
"I heard," Ron told him. "Are they all right?"
"As far as I can tell. Xander shut me out as soon as he felt himself falling. He doesn't want me to die if he snaps his neck doing stupid stuff."
"Stupid stuff?" Oliver asked.
"Someone sent Xander a letter telling him who was behind the lawsuit," George said grimly. "They were arguing."
"Who'd want them apart that badly?" Ron asked. He glanced at the kids but they were napping soundly in a great big pile, Morgana on the bottom. "They had to know it would hurt Xander."
"Or they wanted to make sure he knew because they didn't want him to be hurt later," Oliver sighed.
George looked at him. "You know who sent it?"
"I know, and I'm going to talk to her tonight." Oliver shook his head at the muttered words he could hear. "Not them. Angelina sent it. I saw her reading the back issues recently. I don't think she sees how much the prat changed."
"He has, but he's going to be pissed at her for this," Ron told him quietly. "Draco doesn't take well to having his world disordered without his consent. This will be like treason to him because it could cost him the one stable thing in his life."
"Xander," George finished. Ron nodded. "You two have been talking a lot. Fancy him?"
"Not that way. It's nice to have a friend who understands me," Ron told him. "You had Xander all along. Harry's lost so much that he's starting to retreat again. Draco started to look at me for the human I am, not the family and not for what I can do for him. He even tries to understand my sudden throwing things fits."
George suddenly winced and grabbed his head. "What happened?" Oliver asked, leaning closer.
"Maeve tried to lift them and Xander's back is fully out. He blacked out." He slowed his breathing, calming himself by reminding his body that it wasn't their pain, it was the other's pain. Slowly, he relaxed again. "Damn that hurt."
"I didn't know you could do that," Ron told him, starting to frown.
"I can't seem to let Xander's mind go now and then. This is one of those times. We're still linked." He sighed in relief. "Charlie just fully knocked them both out and is moving them." He looked over as the door opened and his oldest son walked in. "You heard?"
"Heard what?" Iggy asked, grabbing George's bag. "Uncle Fred was thinking that you stole his favorite pen and would I please send it back." George took it out of his pocket and handed it over. "Thanks. He got a great idea and wants to work on it since the shop's dull right now." He looked at the chicks, who gave him sleepy and content looks. "Would one of you please take this to Fred? You can track the train and the triplets in a few minutes." Glinda stood up and stretched, then carefully took the pen in her beak and took off. "Thank you," Iggy called after her, then glared at his father. "Why were they fighting?"
"Draco was behind the lawsuit."
"Shit," Iggy swore hotly. "What was he thinking! He knew daddy would get pissed at him for it!"
"Draco didn't make them give us that much, son, that was the judge. He suggested a token payment instead. He was going to tell Xander this summer but someone butted in and told him before he could."
"So they fell down the stairs?"
"They continued to argue when your father went up to say goodbye to Lucien and he fell then. Draco probably tried to help him and got caught."
"Is daddy really mad?" Iggy asked. George nodded. "Is he feeling betrayed? I like having an older brother I can go to for girl advice." Ron snickered. "What? I can't come to you or the other males in the family. Buffy was simple compared at Raena at her best. None of the rest of you have steady women at this moment, so I can't go to them either." Ron smirked at him. "Keep it up, I'll bless you with a woman who does the same for you as Raena does for me."
"Not that I'd mind, but it's not right to do that to someone," Ron told him, still smirking. "I'm sure they'll work it out."
"This is my father we're talking about," Iggy reminded him. "He can hold a grudge for years if you remember."
"We can always lock them in a closet," George assured him. Oliver looked at him. "Just because he did it first doesn't mean I wasn't planning how to do it," he told his old friend. "I was planning something more spectacular than my husband did."
"Thankfully, daddy got there first," Iggy told him. "You might have blown them up."
"No, son, I think that's your job." George grabbed his hand to look at the injured wrist. Then he looked up at the worried brown eyes. "If you *ever* do something so stupid again, I'm going to beat you senseless and then give you to your other father, and then to your grandmother, do you understand?" Iggy nodded, looking scared. "There are more appropriate ways of dealing with your anger. Creating something to blow up should be left to the professionals, not you. Never again." Iggy pulled his hand back. "You're damn lucky you didn't lose it, son; if you had I might have had to break down and kill someone."
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry I worried you, daddy." He gave him a hug. "Raena tried to stop me, but I didn't listen."
"I know, that's why you're still living." Iggy nodded, smiling at him and George shook his head. "Not going to work. You're grounded. You may not have any cuddles for the next week. As soon as the train ends, you're grounded."
"Yes, sir," Iggy said, standing up so he could tell his wife the bad news. "Are Denver and them getting off with us?"
"No, Harry said they could get off with his lot," Ron told him. "Tell them for us, okay?" Iggy nodded and headed back to tell the others. "That was harsh, George."
"He nearly blew his hand off!" George said angrily.
"Yeah, but this'll make us miserable," Oliver assured him.
"Iggy can come do the medical stuff at your next game, Oliver. We're playing anyway." He leaned back. "Should we go harass the kids yet?"
"Probably. Most of them should be done by now," Ron told him, standing up. "Oliver, can you watch the kids? Most of the students aren't scared enough of you to stop shagging."
"Sure. They're napping, I'll be fine." He watched as they left, then turned to look at the kids, making sure they didn't mutate into something else. He saw one set of open eyes. "Go back to sleep, they'll be right back."
Gwen slid out of the pile and wandered over, climbing into his lap to give him a hug. "You hug nice. You need kids," she told him, closing her eyes so she could nap on him now.
Oliver kept his panic to himself. Kids didn't like him and he didn't understand them. He sat very still until her parent came back, making Ron laugh when he walked in. "She decided I should be her pillow I guess," he said, starting to relax. Gwen grabbed part of his shirt to suck her thumb with and he winced, she had caught a chest hair. "Take her? Please?" Ron gently released her hand and took his daughter back, holding her himself. "Thank you."
"Kids are little beasts, but they're fun little beasts," George told him. He looked down at the triplets. "We'll never have to change another diaper again."
"As Xander pointed out, there will be grandchildren soon," Ron reminded him. Oliver looked at him, looking faintly disgusted. "Melvin and Andrea aren't going to wait much after graduation. We're not sure what Simone or Denver will be doing, but Ravena and Ron might not wait all that long either. Anastasia has relented and agreed to an arranged marriage. Iggy and Raena aren't fertile for another nine years, but I'm sure he's not going to wait past that. He might have it broken first." George shook his head. "No?"
"No. He knows better."
"Is...is that a problem with his sort?" Oliver asked hesitantly.
George burst out laughing. "You should see the look on your face," he said. Oliver rolled his eyes. "No, they did an anti-fertility spell. A ten year one. Gryphon-borns are just as fertile as the rest of us."
"If not more so. Have you noticed how many kids were born this year in the colony?" Ron asked.
George smiled. "I know. And I think I know the reason as well. They're affected by Iggy and Raena, who put off some incredible vibes. It's like they infect the air with their need to touch each other."
"Hopefully it doesn't infect the student body," Oliver said dryly, looking at George. "You don't want more?"
"I might not mind, but we'd have to get Xander to carry it." Oliver sucked in a breath. "You don't think he would for me?"
"I think he might and he'd probably be cute, but I got the most horrible mental image," Oliver admitted.
"It can't be worse than a whiny Draco," Ron told him. "Every once in a while, this perpetual pout would start and *nothing* cured it. Not even Xander cuddles."
"A backrub usually did it enough," George told him with a smirk. "My man has magic fingers."
"Then why don't you get backrubs like everyone else on the team?" Ron asked.
"Because Xander works my shoulders too hard and I end up aching later, which means he wants to fix it because he feels guilty, so I end up even more sore. Besides, I get blowjobs if we win, and incredible sex if we win by a lot. What more could I need?"
"A soundproofing spell," Oliver told him. "I'll find you one for your birthday so the rest of us don't have to hear you two going at it."
Ron burst out laughing. "That would be great, Oliver. Then I could sleep too! I won't have to answer 'what was that noise' questions anymore."
"We've only woken you up three times since we moved in together," George told him.
"Yeah, but you guys woke up Gryffindor once, and they asked me what you were doing to him," Ron said, still chuckling, now at the embarrassed look.
Oliver patted George on the knee. "I'm sure you had fun."
George nodded. "Most likely. We used to keep Snape up all the time as well."
"That I would have wanted to see," Oliver said with a smirk. "Though I hear he gets a bit loud now and then himself."
"Oh, yeah," Ron agreed, nodding. "He and Tara make almost as much noise as those two do." He waved a hand at his older brother. "You'd be surprised how well sound carries in that school. They once scared a whole potion's class by having sex in Xander's main classroom. Not to mention nearly bringing the Headmaster running at the yelling they were doing."
"It was good," George said with a bright blush. Oliver smirked at him and he blushed brighter. "It was."
"I'm sure it was. Were you two being kinky?"
"Quite, but it was good," George said again. He coughed. "We should probably talk to Simone about her kinkier nature. Before Tara and Severus find out that she likes to tie down Adrian. I treated his wrist wounds this time."
"Hell, Severus has Raena tie down your son all the time. I'm sure he knows what a set of handcuffs do," Ron told him.
Oliver blushed. "Ron!"
"He does," George agreed. "We nearly tied Tara down so she couldn't go to the reunion with us. He and Xander sat around for two hours discussing their various handcuffs and restraints they had lying around. It was embarrassing, but enlightening. Apparently we have a few sets I've never seen."
"They're probably in with the weapons," Ron told him. "Check tonight. Then you can chain him to bed so he has to rest."
"They're still at the mansion and Xander...." He blinked and looked up, then smiled and shook his head. "He's staying in the same bed he did last year probably."
"Or next to Draco so they quit fighting," Ron suggested.
"Which would still be a bed he inhabited part of last summer," George said dryly.
"Now, don't get jealous. What can Malfoy give your man that you can't?" Oliver told him.
"A lot more attention," Ron said dryly. "This was the fight last summer that you got to miss while you were in the hospital."
"I saw part of it," Oliver told him, frowning at him. "She's biting her lip, it's dripping blood." Ron quickly made her let go of her lip. "George, you can't be jealous of them. Even if Xander wanted him he wouldn't cheat."
"I know that, but I want to be able to give him that much attention and I can't. He really needs it sometimes."
"That's why you put a lock spell on the lab doorway," Ron pointed out dryly. George glared at him and he shrunk down a bit in his chair. "It was! Besides, you can afford to take him somewhere spectacular this summer. Send yourselves to somewhere without the kids and where you can make out all day long. Take a cruise or something."
Gwen tugged on his lip. "Shh." He smiled down at her. "We watch Maeve?"
"Sure, we can watch Maeve and William if Draco won't." He gave her a squeeze and set her onto the floor. "Go nap with the others. You know Grandmum won't let you sleep with Vinnie or Minnie." He grimaced. "I'm regretting giving them rhyming names now. She was right."
"Then call him by his first name," Oliver suggested. Ron looked at him. "Isn't his first name Raymond?"
"Yeah, but he hates Ray."
"So call him Raymond," George pointed out. "He answers to it. I'm sure you can explain that you want him to use his first name from now on."
"Either that or say them in a different order so it's not so apparent," Oliver suggested.
Ron nodded. "I try so very hard sometimes. He hates his first name. Buffy was trying to teach him how to make up a nickname for himself. She came up with Adorable Red but Xander nearly blew her out of the tower again so she gave up."
"I'd do it for him if he started calling himself that," George noted. "That's almost as bad as Lucien and his waking problem."
"Waking problem?" Oliver asked, not sure if he wanted to know.
"Lucien used to go over to Slytherin all the time and wake his favorite people up," George explained.
"When Emily Snape came, her first morning as a matter of fact, he went for her," Ron told him, starting to grin. "He woke her up and asked if she wanted to cuddle a fine thing like him."
Oliver snorted, then started to laugh. "That's something I'd expect from his father."
"Draco's smoother than that," Ron assured him. George gave him an appraising look. "What? I've seen him trying to pick up women. The ones who don't fall over their tongues at him anyway. He's very smooth. I go for shy and cute and he goes for suave and mature. It works for us."
"I've got to see that sometime," Oliver said, shaking his head. "A Malfoy, having to pick up women."
"He doesn't *have* to, he enjoys the challenge," George told him, grinning. The door opened and he waved the girl inside. "What's up, Ravena?"
"Uncle George, is it wrong to steal kisses?" she asked as she closed the door.
"I think that depends on who's doing it and whether or not you want it," George offered. He let her slide into his lap for a hug. "Who assaulted your mouth? I know it was Ron or you wouldn't have come all the way up here."
"No, it was one of the older Slytherins. Aggie beat him up for her brother, but still, it's bothersome." She looked at her uncle. "Do I have the right to hit him?"
"If he does it again, definitely," Ron agreed. "I don't know what it is about you girls and your stalkers, but I'd like it to stop and so would your father."
"Good," she said firmly, smiling at him. "Can I go hit him now?"
"Only if you're subtle, no one will complain, and we don't have to get involved," Ron told him. "Did Iggy tell you that you're getting off with Ronnie anyway?" She nodded, grinning at him, and what an evil smirk it was.
"Remember, Ronnie's father will be home with you," Oliver pointed out.
She smiled at him. "And?" she asked with the same smirk. He shivered. "Sorry, did I scare you?" She slid off George's lap. "I'm going to make Ronnie calm down before we play with his snitches today. Did you see the town's? We're polishing it before the game tomorrow. I'll send it to you, Uncle Oliver." She waved and left.
"Stalkers?" Oliver asked.
"Do you remember Ravena's cat?" George asked quietly, staring down the corridor. Oliver nodded. "Anastasia had a stalker as well. Simone nearly got molested. The girls draw trouble like you wouldn't believe."
"And Denver's going for his father's record," Ron said smugly. "I caught him last night and handed him over to Snape instead of his father."
"Ooh, that must have been a hell of a lecture," Oliver said, wincing. Snape was furious about not having sex in the school, even if you were married. "How is the super couple doing it next year?"
"They have a secret room," George told him. "Somewhere down in the basement past where we hid from the heat."
"Do you think mum'll have to stop them this summer?" Ron asked.
George looked at him. "I don't foresee them staying around at mum's all summer this year," he told him. "They've got the healer's convention coming up, plus multiple trips to both Braun, and to the Royal Academy, plus their official traveling schedule. I can't foresee them not getting some in after his birthday, but she can't really complain. They're married and that's the rules she set."
"She thinks they're too young," Ron reminded him.
"Yay. They're married, there's not much she can do about it. Especially not if Xander and I stick up for them."
"Besides, they could rent a flat in town or something if they really wanted to," Oliver pointed out. "How would she know any different?"
"Good point," Ron agreed. "Someone might want to suggest that to him. She was a bit stressed over him getting in jumping time, as she put it."
"She said Ginny couldn't because she wasn't married, but that's why she let us," George reminded him. "That's why you and Buffy couldn't do anything in the house."
"Yeah, but you were adults, and graduated," Ron said with a faint smile. "Mum's still like that."
"I know," George sighed. "I'll suggest that they get something nearer to the school anyway for overnights."
"Xander said that they had an emergency house. Where's that?" Oliver asked.
"Near there," Ron told him. "I've been there once to help him look at the work being done. Harry's seen it more often than I have. The borns have been using it for training purposes. So has Xander. That's why there's a stairway that presently goes nowhere."
"Nowhere?" George asked.
"I think something's supposed to go up at the top, but nothing's there yet. He said it'd be ready in six months. Totally safe and foolproof."
"Wonderful. I want to see this place. Can you please tell my adoring mate that since he doesn't talk to me about such things?"
"He doesn't want to worry you probably," Oliver pointed out. The train started to slow. "Either the tracks are out or we're at that first stop."
Ron looked out the window. "First stop." He stood up. "Oliver, did you want to help break up the couples or watch the kids?" He grabbed the overhead bar as the train lurched to a stop.
"I'll do the kids. Couples are a bit tense around me for some reason."
"They know you'd make them quit," George told him. "None of them think you got any yourself while you were in school."
"Bet me," Oliver snorted. He watched as they left, then got up to look at the map next to the door. He heard a yawn and turned to find the son standing up. "Hello, Raymond. Your father will be back soon."
Ray smiled at him and yawned again. "Not call me that, Uncle Ollie." He curled up in one of the warm seats. "I'm the Adorable Redhead."
"I'm sure you are," he said with a pat to that red hair. "Get out of my seat?"
"Okay." He waited until the adult had sat down then climbed back on top of him. "You're nice for a non-daddy person."
Oliver smiled. "Thank you. Do you usually get up one at a time?"
"Minnie's awake, but she's resting. She's like that sometimes."
"You're just saving it to aggravate your grandmother, aren't you?" The little boy gave him an innocent look. Someone down the corridor screamed and he put the boy down, going to investigate. He found the yearly drunken idiot and pushed him into the bathroom, locking him in there. "We'll let his mother deal with him," he told Agatha with a smile. "Where are his clothes?"
"In his compartment, hanging out the window. His girlfriend's having female problems." Oliver blushed and she laughed. "You think it doesn't happen to us? Think about how much Iggy had to do because of Anastasia's problems. His first semi-original potion was because of hers. Thankfully, I'm very even, I'm like this all the time." She looked at the bathroom then back at him. "There's a few open compartments if you want to move him."
"I'll let Ron do it, or George."
"Uncle George is on? He's not a teacher."
"Your other uncles fell down Malfoy's stairs so they're in bed with their backs out. He's filling in. By the way, all of the Malfoys are getting off with you. Make sure of it." She nodded and went back to his compartment. He counted children and came up one short, then waved at the conductor and stuck his head out. "Ron, Ray's missing."
"Listen for the screaming," he sighed with disgust. "Were his clothes lying somewhere?"
Oliver ducked back in and then shook his head. He went back out. "Yeah, on top of his sister's body."
"He'll probably say she was cold," George snorted. He tapped one of the house elves, making it jump. "Just a note. The Malfoys are all getting off with the Potters. Can you please get their things off then?" The elf nodded and hurried away to pass on the orders. "Come on, let's find naked boy." He checked the platform. "Break the kiss or get left behind," he yelled. The girl pulled back into her compartment and shut the door. He checked again then got back on as the train powered up to move. He sat in there to watch the kids while Oliver went to help Ron look. He had done this once already. Oliver needed the experience.
Ron tapped on the family's compartment, opening the door to find his precious son dancing around in the center of the seats, much to the amusement of the other family members. "Did someone capture it on film?" Anastasia held up her camera. "Thank you." He grabbed his son and tucked him under his robe. "You're getting off at the next stop, so about four hours and a bit. Melvin, you're staying on." He waved and took his son away. When he saw Oliver had followed him, he handed him off. "Where did you stash the older version?"
"The Slytherin loo. What are you going to do to him?"
"Lock him in somewhere easier to control." Ron let Oliver take his son past him and then cracked his knuckles and pulled his wand. He tapped on the door before opening it and the boy gave him a look as he threw up. "That's why you don't drink," he said, forcing him to stand up and taking him to an empty compartment. He locked and sealed the door with his wand, making sure no one was getting in there.
"Did you want his clothes?" Ryan asked, holding them out.
"No, fold them up and hand them to one of the Prefects. Let them deal with that issue and hand him over." He smirked and walked away, happy with his idea. The bathroom was already in use so he didn't bother with a cleaning spell. The kid could do it if they wanted to. He walked in and shut their door, counting heads. "Minnie?" he called.
"Baffroom!" she called back. "Bad poopies, daddy."
"Damn, just what we need," Ron said mock-cheerfully. "Excuse me while I deal with that. Someone might want to find Simone, she wasn't with everyone else. Neither was Denver." He went in to help his daughter clean up.
George looked at Oliver. "Which one did you want?"
"I'm staying here," Oliver said with a smile. "I don't deal with other people's families if I can help it. This is your family, have fun."
"Good point," George said as he stood up. "I'll be right back. Hopefully at least one of them used a contraceptive charm. They're half ours and therefore fertile." He walked back, going to check on them. "Back in the compartments," he said as he walked through the Slytherin section. The doors were closed and locked. "Thank you." He continued back to the last compartment on the train, counting heads in the various areas. He found a few with the curtains drawn and tapped briefly before opening them. That's how he found Denver with two seventh year girls. "Your father will be proud," he said dryly, making them jump and squeal. He walked in and shut the door, but was careful not to touch anything. "Get dressed. You have four hours before you get off."
"I'd have less than that if you'd leave us alone for the next hour," Denver said with a smirk. "So would they." The girl on his left, and slightly above him, swatted at his hair. "I have every intention of making it great for you, dear." He smiled at her. "Go away, Uncle George, you're not an instructor."
"No, but I'm your uncle and I can tan your hide."
Denver looked at him. "Then I'll have my father plague you with misfortune. Go away!"
"Fine, I'm sending Ron then." He walked out and marked the door, sealing it shut. Then he went to find his beloved niece. At least she was just groping and kissing. He cleared his throat as he opened the door. "Leaving the curtains open was a bit dumb, niece." She waved a hand at him and went back to what she had been doing. Oh, he wished he could pull some of Xander's authority at the moment. But wait, he could do better. He pulled his wand and zapped them both, sending cold water showering down on them. "I said stop it. It's not appropriate to be doing that on the train."
Simone glared at him. "I wasn't doing anything to him yet. Get over it! You're not a teacher and you have no authority here."
"Dear, I help head your house and I can still beat you senseless because you're smaller and younger. Now get off his lap and go back to the family compartment." She huffed but did as he ordered. "Adrian, a word of advice, she's an exhibitionist. She left the curtains open on purpose. Train her better." He walked out, closing the door behind him. As he walked past the one with Denver, he sent a small ice shower at them, making them scream. He met with Ron halfway back. "I marked the second generation slut's door. He's between two women this time. And I sent Simone back to her compartment because she can't close curtains."
Ron patted him on the back as he walked past him. "I usually make the impotent with a twenty- four hour spell. Snape gave me that advice my first time doing this." He continued back and opened Denver's door, making them shriek. "Ah-ha! Now I know where the slut vibes were coming from. I thought you said two," he called back.
"There were only two when I was in there," George said with a shrug. "Unless one was hiding under something."
"Most likely," Ron said, shooting them. Denver deflated and whined at him. "Tough shit. You can wait until you're at home and make dates to meet at the Leaky Cauldron like everyone else, nephew. Back to your compartments."
"This is ours," the girls told him.
"Fine. Denver, put back on your clothes and head back to the family one." He huffed in disgust but did so. "Feel thankful it wasn't your father who caught you or your other uncle." He marched him back to the family compartment and shoved him inside, but shot Simone with the same spell, which deflated her libido very nicely. "Calm down. You've got all summer." He closed that door and headed back, getting six more couples on the way. By the time he got back to the professor's compartment, he was tired. "I hate this duty. Next year, remind me to protest." He put up the footrest and leaned back. "Wake me before we make the next stop."
"Daddy, help," Minnie called from the bathroom.
"Get that for me, George. I'm tired."
"Sure. It's not the first time I helped with little problems." He went to help his beloved niece.
Oliver shook his head. "How do you do that?"
"Temporary deflatement spell. Snape gave it to me before my first duty. I'll teach you in a few, let me nap for now."
"Thanks. It might come in handy later. I'll do the next turn."
"Watch out for the great Malfoy sluts. They're active and happy about it. Denver had three girls with him."
Oliver whistled. "I thought his father was bad."
Ron opened an eye and looked at him. "Draco did six girls in one night, all of them their first times. They wanted to go together," he said dryly. "That was his sixth year with a few of the fifth years. There's a reason he got that plaque." He closed his eye and drifted off into the land of nap.
Oliver shook his head, marveling at the stamina. He wouldn't even try, he liked to take all night and do things properly. It couldn't have been much fun.
Draco woke up and winced when he tried to move. "Fine, I won't do that," he told himself.
"That's right, you won't," Bill said cheerfully from his seat at the foot of the bed. "It took us too long to put you into bed for you to mess up."
"You and who?"
"Charlie was about so he helped Percy and I." Bill leaned forward. "Your doctor left you a long note and we put the angry one in with you."
"He'll be mad."
"Let him, he'll get over it sooner. Fred knows so George might." He smirked. "Even I thought it was a bit much, Draco."
"I didn't set the amount. They raised it every time he protested. I'm sure he can give some of it back if he protests strongly enough or whatever." He waved a hand weakly. "How badly off am I?"
"Your son is presently at mum's with Maeve and William. Neither of you are to move for the next two weeks. We even rented you a few nurses to take care of you." Draco grunted in displeasure. "It's not like your doctor said you could get up and go to the bathroom." He stood up. "At least I got you the pretty ones. Charlie wanted to get the tough ones who'd make you follow orders and not baby you." He winked. "I'm off to Harry's. He's getting the older kids. You think that they're getting some on the train?"
"Probably," Draco agreed. "Simone and Adrian might be together. Who knows what Denver's doing at this moment. He seems to be ...open to the possibilities. His tutors were most generous with their praise of him and his desire to learn."
"I can't even imagine what I'd have done if someone had offered me that chance," Bill said wistfully. "Want me to get you someone here? Ginny's downstairs and I'm sure she could pick someone for you."
"Send her away and I'll let you know," Draco said with a faint smirk. A warm breeze blew into his ear and he shivered. "If you do that again, more people will say we're together."
"He's still knocked out. We had to use the stronger medicine on him. His back's worse than Simone's was after that game her first year."
"Wonderful. I'm sure your younger bother will love that."
"George will adapt or they'll have sex with you next to them. They've done it before to Charlie and Tara." He saw the sad look. "You still haven't fixed it yet?"
"We're avoiding her. I'm sure we'll talk before school starts again, but I'm not ready to hear her apologize for getting pissy at this moment. Tell everyone I'm not accepting visitors." Bill nodded and left them alone. Draco carefully shifted until he was on his side, then nudged Xander. "I know you're awake. You're thinking too hard not to be."
Xander opened an eye. "I'm still pissed at you."
"I nearly killed myself catching you."
"The reason for the fight was your fault."
"Yay me. Someone made them pay you enough to get your body fixed for good. I'm a wonderful humanitarian. Consider it a present for each time you've been hurt in a fight and no one noticed." He shifted back onto his back. "You'd better straighten up. I don't allow dissension in my bed."
"I can go home tonight, I'm sure," Xander said coolly, struggling to move. "Ow." He paused and closed his eyes, but eventually made it onto his back, then onto his other side. "I'm going back to sleep until I'm well enough to leave."
"Considering how bad your back is, that's going to be a while," Charlie said from the doorway. "Ginny left in a huff."
"Yay," Xander said dryly. "Can't I teleport?"
"Not with the amount of medicine in your system." He walked in and sat beside Xander. "What's really bothering you? The fact that you have money? That you didn't earn it? That the children will start to beg for stuff if they knew?" Xander nodded. "Don't you think you deserved it for not bringing down the hospital? They didn't give you pain medicine, they didn't treat you right, and they attacked your mate."
"I tried," Xander admitted. "The pain threw me off." He lifted his head. "I don't want it."
"Then talk to the judge and ask him to remove the money from you," Draco said harshly. "But if you do, I'm not talking to you again."
"You're being a bit melodramatic; it's the pain, guys, really." Charlie saw the anger and shook his head. "Boys, you have to work this out. Xander, if you ask to have it taken away, the judge will expect you to pay back everything that you've already spent and to sign something saying that you lied about your experience." His face fell. "Do you have enough to cover it?"
"Not with the last donation we made," Xander admitted quietly. "I hate you, Draco."
"Yay me. Another bloody fan. Get him out of here."
"We can't. There's only one nurse for each shift and the doctor wanted you together." Charlie smiled at the look Draco gave him. "Glare all you want, you're not worse than a dragon."
"I am," Xander told him, raising a hand. "When can I be moved home?"
"A few days. Until then, you'd better learn how to get along and work through this. Even dad said he's tired of it, you two." He stood up. "Can I get you anything? The nurse is overseeing your lunch."
"Do we have catheters?" Xander asked. Charlie looked clueless. "They give you those when you're too bad off to move. It's a long tube with a little balloon that's stuck up you so you can pee."
"Not that I know of. Want me to check?" Charlie asked. Xander looked unsure. "You have to go?" Xander nodded. "Let me check for you." He lifted the edge of the blanket and blinked, then dropped it. "Yes, you do. When did you get a mark like that?"
Xander lifted the blanket and looked down at himself. "It's a bite mark. Don't ask. It was before George." He dropped the blankets and hissed. "Ow."
"Your back is worse off and we had to talk them out of putting you in traction in the hospital, Xander. So you'd better behave or I'll bring mum over to fuss. Got me?" Xander nodded slowly. "Thank you. Why isn't that bag thingy working?"
"Because it's in the wrong spot and needs shifted," Xander told him, reaching down to adjust himself so he wasn't bent and the balloon wasn't in the way. He felt his bladder drain and sighed in relief.
"The bed's getting wet," Draco noted dryly.
"Fuck off. The tube's working, I can hear it hitting the bag."
Charlie checked again. "Well, you're both right. Xander, you're bleeding, love." He dropped the blanket and went to call the doctor. Who came running in a few minutes later and gently pushed Xander onto his back. "He can't sleep that way," he noted.
"I'm aware of that, Mr. Weasley. I was told that earlier. Thank you." He glared at Xander. "What did you do?"
"I fixed it so I wasn't bent and I could pee," Xander told him. "Would you try not to pull on that? Before I hit you?"
"Sorry, sir. What's that mark?"
"A former bite. Don't ask."
"Fine." He carefully checked Xander, then nodded. "A small rupture, I can easily fix that right now." He used his wand to fix the small tear then settled Xander back onto his side. "How does that feel?"
"Fine, I guess." Xander looked at the person he was facing. "Do I have to stay here?"
"Yes. I think it's best you both be monitored and who better than one of your best friends, who's also in the same spot. Sleep as much as possible and remember the bags. I'll have the nurse strip the bed for you." He checked Draco over and smiled. "Perfect as always, Mr. Malfoy." He left, going to make notes on their charts. He left orders with the nurse and the family member camped on the couch.
Adrian Maclay strolled back to Simone's compartment and tapped gently on the window. She opened the curtain and walked out, closing the door behind him. "Can we finish that? I doubt I'm going to be seeing you most of the summer."
"Bet me," she told him with a small smile. "I'm going to visit Aggie this summer, and so is Ryan. Aren't you going with him?" He nodded, starting to smile as well. "Come on, let's find a quiet spot to talk and plan." She led him down the passageway, finding a different empty compartment. As soon as the door closed, she was kissed, her mouth possessed by her boyfriend. "Desperate?"
"Very. I figured out how to fix the spell your uncle put on us." He cast the counter for her and then she fell into his arms. This was the way it was supposed to be. When someone knocked on the door, they put up a shield, just like her father had shown her how to do. Very handy thing that gryphon magic.
Back in the family compartment, Melvin and Andrea were together, cuddling and holding hands while she whispered in his ear, which was making him blush. "Andrea," he said, shocked. "Don't say such things. I won't be able to leave you at the station at all."
She kissed him on the cheek. "I want you to have something to think about when you talk to your father tonight."
"I'm definitely not looking forward to that," he admitted. She whispered something longer in his ear and he groaned. "But I'll keep that in mind when I talk to him about my plans." He pulled her into his lap and kissed her hard. "I want to be good," he told her.
"I know you do. Trust me, your father will see sense. It's not like we're going to mess up and leave each other soon."
"No, not at all," he promised. "If I have to marry you this summer, I will. Just so everyone would leave us alone!" he yelled as the door was tapped on. His Uncle Ron opened the door. "I can kiss her," he said at the opening mouth. "It's not like I broke my promise yet."
"I trust you," Ron told him. Melvin looked hurt. "I really do, Melvin." He closed the door and came in to sit. "I trust that you know who and what you want, and that you're more than smart enough to be careful. I can't release you from your promise though, it's against school policy."
"I know," he sighed.
"Isn't there a loophole?" Andrea asked.
"Not even his cousin and his wife can get one," Ron told her. "They can't petition to have a communal room until their seventh year, and then they'd have to show proof that they're married by Ministry standards. You two can't do that."
"Maybe next summer?" she asked him. He grinned and nodded.
"Your mother would kill you," Ron pointed out.
She sighed. "I know, but I want him. I know how Raena feels, trust me."
"Oh, I do," Ron said with the slightest of smirks. "Been there, done that. And that was after I started having sex. Remember, it's nearly impossible to give up once you know what you're missing." He stood up. "With that wise advice, I'm going to find Simone and stun her, then Ana and stun her as well." He looked around. "Denver left his sweater so he's probably surrounded by women again."
"Was he really in between three of them?" Andrea asked.
Ron nodded. "Oh, yeah. George caught him with two of them, but the third was hiding. At least he's being careful. Remember that, Melvin." He left them alone, letting them lock the door behind him.
"Wow." Andrea leaned closer, snuggling against his chest. "He's really smart."
"He remembers being our age with some fondness," Melvin told her, stroking her back. "I'm talking to my father as soon as I get home," he announced.
"Good. I'll talk to my mother tonight as well. Want to come for dinner?"
He smiled. "I'd love to. Will your mum mind?"
"Nope. She said I could invite you so she could either grill you or embarrass you. She's not sure which yet since she's only talked with you for a few moments."
"Wonderful news. I should probably tell my father." He thought at his father and found an unfamiliar mind in it's usual place. So he questioned it and found that he did know her, but he didn't know this about her. "Hmm. Looks like father will be in a good mood tonight. I like her. She suits him well."
"Hmm-hmm. She said it was fine that I'm heading with you for dinner because she's got to jump my father over something." He felt the smile. "I like her, she's nice and decent. She understands my father very well, and adores my sister."
"So do I."
"Which is one of the things I adore about you," he told her, stealing another kiss. "How long do you think we have?"
"Maybe five more minutes if we're lucky." She shifted closer and started to stay dirty things to him, making him happier. She loved to tease him, he reacted so strongly and in a full-body manner.
Draco looked at Xander. "Did you want to continue this fight?" Xander nodded. "Then I'm sorry. I'm sorry I inconvenienced you by taking care of you. If you want, I'll never talk to you again once you're out of this bed." He carefully turned himself over to face away from him.
Xander shifted closer, putting an arm over his 'son's body. "I know what you were trying to do, but you should have taken my feelings into consideration, Draco. You know I hate money. I hate it with nearly every fiber in my being that's not focused on not being helpless or against hospitals." The younger man gave a dry, mirthless chuckle. "I don't want to fight, but you didn't take my feelings into consideration. It's not just an inconvenience, it's a bloody fucking pain."
"Fucking and bloody mean approximately the same thing," Draco said stiffly.
"Wonderful for the British. Do you know how much things like this bug the newly rich? People ask us for stuff. People want things."
"They do that with my social class as well."
"Yes, but they don't come all at once for you. You get a set of very nice charity proposals. I'm getting people who want me to help them set up their shops. Students who want to do things after they graduate but their parents can't afford to do anything for them. Younger kids who desperately want something so they ask someone to ask me. People I don't know trying to break George and I up so they can try their hand and win some of my money. All sorts of annoyances and I hate it. This is in addition to the problems that the kids will have."
"They'll only have problems if you shower them with money and things. If you treat them like normal, then it's the same to them. For that matter, you don't have to use it. If you set yourself up as not being the nicest guy, then no one would come to you." Draco turned himself over, careful not to touch the bag after that first contact with it. He didn't have one so he must be better off. "If you start saying no, no one will say anything. Make it nice if you must, something like you're saving it for the family's future needs, but start to tell people no. I don't give to every charity that comes to me. Neither should you."
"I'm letting George deal with that. Or Fred since he handles money so well. That way I don't have to deal with them."
"But you feel cut off," Draco said, staring into his eyes. Xander nodded, starting to bite his lip. "Then don't be. Have someone set you out a small allowance every month so you can treat yourself or your mate, or you can save it. It can be the same as your paycheck if you wanted. Get someone to officially oversee the money, for a small fee of course, and then forget about it."
"Don't they make decisions without you?"
"Not if you put your foot down and you find someone who wants to deal with you. I'd give you a referral to mine, but he's a thieving bastard and I'm about to fire him. That was my project for the summer." He smiled sadly. "Please don't be mad at me."
"I'm mad at your actions, not at you," Xander told him, giving him a squeeze. Draco relaxed. "I don't send my kids away unless they do something really horrible, like try to kill me." He felt the movement under the sheet and stiffened up. "Is that you?"
"I'm trying to move closer. You need a hug."
"I could use one," Xander agreed, moving things around so he could get a hug. He hadn't wanted to hurt Draco, but it was obvious he had. He seemed to be doing a lot of that recently.
"Quit thinking about her. She brought it on herself."
"I would have quit if it hadn't inconvenienced everyone," Xander admitted.
"I know. That's why we said that, because we knew you'd stay." He smiled against the warm shoulder. "Bite mark?"
"Cordy when she had me. It's like one of those bruises under your thumbnail. It never goes away. It gets darker when I'm in pain for some reason, but it's been there for sixteen years." He saw a thin scar and ran his finger over it. "Knife?"
"Father. Trying to teach me how to treat others who were beneath me. I was nice to a mudblood once."
"Only once?" Xander asked with a smile.
"Only once," Draco agreed. "I got the point." He saw an unfamiliar scar and touched it. It was wide and flat. "This looks like one of your burn scars."
"Excised flesh. A spear tore it out."
"I never said I was pretty, that was George."
"Has he ever looked at some of these?"
"He touches them every now and then, but he never asks. The one on my back freaked him out." Draco slowly lifted himself until he could see the long, wide scar. "That was from my first summer with the gryphons. Where I got poisoned."
"I heard about that." Draco flopped back down with a grunt of relief. "How bad was it?"
"You could see two of my ribs and the corner of my heart. The gryphons nearly went off on that village and made it no more."
"I would have too. That must have been painful."
"No, the bruise on my wiener was painful. That one stung, but it turned into one of those dull, throbbing aches when they let me wake up. Unless I moved wrong, then it was a sharp, tearing pain. Helena was in training back then. She was sick every time she looked at it."
"I bet. I probably would have too." He touched one on Xander's shoulder, one like his. "What's this from?"
"My father caught me one night after I was playing truth or dare with the neighbor's daughter. He didn't mean to get me there, he meant to slit my throat I think. He slipped and fell, passed out." He grimaced. "Do you think my dad and your dad are in hell together? They'd be the perfect punishment for each other."
Draco chuckled, then winced. "That would be a good punishment. Forcing my father to associate with muggles and do things their way forever, and your father would have to realize that my father was stronger, prettier, and gayer, and still more of a man."
"Possibly. Your father was gay?"
"I think he preferred to top everybody, but I saw him top Crabbe's father once. It was more of a dominance thing. It happens." He shrugged.
"You were the alpha male, huh?" Draco nodded. "Never tried it the other way?"
"Once or twice, I didn't really enjoy it all that much. Sort of boring for most of the act. I guess it's my dominant nature coming out," he said with a small smile. "Do you think Denver's going for my plaque?"
"I caught him in a storeroom the other night with a girl. I know Ron caught him a few times. Fred caught him once because he was in his bed." He smirked. "Fred's about to kill George and I for that stunt."
"He could always pay you back for that."
"With his luck, it'd be one of my horny days and I wouldn't care, I'd jump his twin next to him."
"So that's where Simone gets her exhibitionist streak from," Draco said with a true smirk. "I had wondered. I prefer darker environments personally."
Someone tapped on the door. "Can I come in?" Ginny called.
"We're comparing scars," Xander called. He looked at Draco, who grimaced, then smoothed his face into a mask of disinterest. "Come."
She walked in and blushed. "Are you naked?"
"Both of us. The doctor said he didn't want us in clothes and there's nothing that will go over a pee bag." Her blush got brighter. "Sorry, felt I had to share."
She shook her head. "Whatever. Can I talk to Draco, alone?"
"We're not allowed out of bed and Xander's not allowed to be moved," Draco told her. "He should be in traction."
"Excuse me," Percy said from the doorway. "Ginny, this is Ministry business. Please give us a few." She nodded and walked out, closing the door behind her. He smiled. "You're welcome," he said, pulling a chair over. "There's a bit of news from the train."
"A wreck?" Xander asked calmly, but he was frowning.
"No, an orgy. Your son broadcast and Denver went willingly."
Both fathers groaned. "Sons," they said with disgust.
"Was anybody hurt?" Xander asked.
Percy shook his head. "Not a bit. It only affected a few people and everyone said that they were thinking about it anyway. We're arranging for Ignatius and his wife to get some gentle tutoring in the art of control though. We thought it necessary since he seems to have inherited his father's lack of patience."
"It's been months," Xander told him.
"Since you jumped George on top of me?" Draco teased.
"No, since they were married and realized they couldn't touch each other," Xander said, swatting weakly at him. "Ow." He put his arm back down. "I hurt, Percy."
"I know, Xander. With any luck, you'll be home in four or five days. They can't fix this any faster than they're going. Unless you want to try your son's medicine." Xander shook his head. "No one's found another mention."
"It doesn't mean it's not true," Xander pointed out. "I don't want to miss any more days from George's side."
"I understand that, that's what nearly killed me after Kandy died," he said gently, climbing onto the bed to hug his favorite friend. "I really do understand that, but you'll be spending all summer in bed without him if you don't agree to it. Charlie asked, you can't have sex until you can do ten jumping jacks without pain."
"I can't do ten without pain in my knee now," Xander complained.
"I think he meant in your back this time," Draco pointed out. Xander glared at him. "Sorry. But the doctor did say that you needed a hospital. If you want, you can stay here all summer again."
"George would kill you," Percy pointed out. "He doesn't want to have sex here. He said it makes him sick." He looked down at Xander again. "Your choice of course. One dose, and possibly another day." He gave him a squeeze. "Think about it, Xander. Nothing guarantees that you'll have that last day with George anyway. He could go first you know, and leave you without him."
Xander teared up. "I hate you."
"I know, but it had to be said. I'm sorry. I don't want you miss out like I did," Percy said gently, holding him until he got himself back under control. "Trust me, I'll do everything to keep you two together. George already said he wasn't sticking around without you." Draco glared at him. "This would be a repeat of what I went through, I nearly didn't make it through that first week. The only reason I stayed was because I had an infant in the house and a son who couldn't handle it alone. That's why I never told the rest of you what happened. I figured it'd be one of those moot points when you had to bury me as well." Xander flipped over and grabbed him to hold, wincing the whole time. "Go easier on yourself. If you hurt yourself more, there's no option but the hospital." He patted his friend gently. "Xander, take the medicine so you don't waste a whole summer. Raena's made you a special batch, stronger this time. It should cure all of your back within a few days. Then you can strangle George this way." Xander nodded. "Will you?"
"I don't want to be without him."
"I know. Let me call her." Xander didn't let go. "I'm better now because everyone helped me see that I had a reason to stay around other than the children. I promise, I won't disappear today if you let me get your medicine."
"Let the house elves get it," Draco moaned as he landed on his back. "Ow."
"There's a dose for you as well. She changed the recipe a bit and thinks it might have taken away the problem in the other one. This one's a diluted form of the elixir of life instead of the healing potion made directly from the stone itself."
"So I won't lose a day?"
"Her tests weren't conclusive, but they're not sure. It could be the fault with the elixir. Or even with the method itself. No one's sure. Let me up and I'll get you the medicine personally." Xander slowly let him go and he stood up. "I'll be right back, then I'm leaving Bill in charge until after I get off work." He got stereo nods so left them alone.
"Was he lying?"
"Yup. They know it'll take a day off, and this new one might take more. Raena's not sure of anything."
"It's still worth it. To have that time now, when we can appreciate it." Draco nudged Xander. "That wasn't like you."
"I'll go first, I know I will. Molly said so," Xander told him quietly. "She redid my cards last year."
"By how long?"
'That's not much time."
"In a fight, Draco. The thing over William isn't settled yet."
"But...we're working on that."
"It might not ever be settled."
"We need to go back to the seer in London, talk to her some more."
"Oh, I don't know about all that," Percy said as he walked in with a small silver tray. He closed and locked the door. "The thing with William is being worked on by everybody, even your ex, Xander. Relax about it. It won't happen. She's even thought about destroying that realm so it can't happen."
"Then William can't go back," Draco told him.
"Why would he?" Percy asked. "There's nothing for him there. He can't fix that world, and he'll be needed here to help Morgana." He sat beside Xander and smiled at him. "I had one of our top seers look for you. It will be fixed. You will go first, when you're closer to two hundred than not, and George will be right behind you. Something about dying during sex."
"Percy, I can tell lies," Xander told him.
Percy continued to smile. "That's what she saw. I haven't heard anything different so far. I may not believe the having sex part at that age, but I know you're not dying anytime soon. Neither is George. Even mum got that when she tried again two days ago. Your ex is doing something odd and we're sure it's going to impact."
"Still, a month?" Xander asked. Percy's face fell. "Forgot I could do that?"
"Actually yes, I did, but I'm not lying, Xander. If the thing with William gets fixed, it won't be anytime soon and you won't be going first. There won't be much lag, but it won't be too terrible. Now drink this and behave." He handed over the bottles, watching as they drank them. They both drifted off into easy sleeps as their bodies healed. "Anyanka, you'd better be right about this," he sighed, standing up and taking the bottles with him.
"I always am," she said from the doorway. She was leaning against the door, blocking him from going out. "Did they drink it all?" He showed her the bottles. "Good. They're good at following orders, finally." He frowned. "It wasn't poison, it was the strongest healing potion ever made. A demonic one if you must know, made for the sentient draconic races. They died out early on and left the weaker ones about."
"Dragons are demons?"
"No, not the ones that your brother deals with. Ones like Fyarl demons and the like are their offspring. Shooters of slime and gasses mostly. They're close enough in makeup that it would work on Xander and Draco, but it will shorten their lives by one week exactly. Which will help Xander because he's going to have nothing but pain for his last three months, as you know. Some demons would love to see it, but the rest of us know he'd come after us in some odd suicidal mission if we ever pointed it out to him." She smiled. "Now, for my part of the bargain. I need it to happen within sixteen days or I'll lose my chance."
"Have you talked to Sirius?"
She snorted. "He can't. Not with the spell I laid on him."
"Then come with me. I know someone who wouldn't object too much, though you might." He led her back to the Ministry, then down the hall to Law Enforcement's office. "Hello. I need your Under-Minister," he said. The officer looked at Anya. "She needs to see him about a problem client." The officer nodded slowly, but went to get her boss. "If you breathe a word of this, I will get in trouble," he warned her as they walked back to the office. He let her in first then turned and locked the door.
Both ministers were sitting there. "What's the meaning of this, Weasley?" the Under-Minister said dryly, looking over Anya. "I know what she is."
"As do I. She's the one who's saving us being invaded by another realm in a few years over my brother-in-law's adopted son."
"William. He's the Xander clone from there, created as a sacrifice."
"I heard something about that," the Minister said. "What's been going on?"
"They want him back. The original Xander there sacrificed himself to stop a hell goddess," Anya told him. "This second one is meant to take all the demons off that plane."
"Wouldn't that be a good thing?" the Under-Minister asked.
"Only if they wanted to destroy it," Anya told him. "Their realm is held together by magic, the same as this one is, and it'd destroy that as well. The Willow and Tara there refuse to acknowledge that, and they're evil now so it doesn't much matter to them."
"Killing a guardian is like killing a unicorn?" Percy asked her. She nodded. "Well, I never knew that." He looked at the men again. "She can fix this. She's being allowed the very rare chance to have a child and say where it's going to go in the hierarchy. If she mates with a wizard, she'll have a Braxis demon, a strong one, and that one can shut off that realm so it can't destroy ours."
"To do that, I need a wizard," Anya pointed out. "That's the price of my help. I want someone not very ugly, fairly strong and as pure of bloodline as possible so the child will be strong enough to hold his or her position. Besides, it'll have a better chance of carrying on after it's ready to become an adult."
"You came to us because we have the most pure-blood wizards anywhere and they're not exactly discriminating at this moment?" the Under-Minister asked with a touch of humor.
She gave him a look and decided to be her usual blunt self. "It's been seventeen years since I've had orgasms. I could care less if you put me in the middle of a cellblock and open the doors," she told him. "By the time I'm ready, the weaker ones would have been pushed aside after they were done. But I only have sixteen days and the sooner the better. Tonight would be the perfect timing, but I understand if you have to move more slowly because of paperwork."
"Now you know why we came to you instead of sneaking her in," Percy told them.
The minister looked at him. "I do understand, but to fraternize with demons?" His underling coughed. "You know this demon?"
"She's his brother-in-law's ex-girlfriend, sir. She's a vengeance demon, the patron saint of scorned women if it matters." The older man looked impressed. "She's also the one who got Black for his flagrant problems."
"Yes, I was," she said with a smirk. "Now I'm over training as well. I hardly ever get to take a personal call. This will put me out of the game for seventy years and I won't have another chance again most likely. So, what do you say? Do we have a deal? I save your world and way of life, and I get laid."
"This seems too easy," the Minister said. "What's the catch?"
"Well, if I find someone I like in there, I can petition for them to be made one of us. Their former abilities would be nullified and they would have to take on the new abilities. No danger to you." She examined her nail. "I chipped a nail," she said with the beginnings of a pout. Then Percy nudged her. "What?"
"Concentrate. You have thirteen months to do manicures every day if you wish."
She smiled at him. "I'd take you, but you've got two scary bitches for girlfriends." The men laughed. "You think I'm kidding? One's dead and can reach me, the other's strong enough to defeat me and trap me. I'm not touching him." She looked at the other men and sighed. "Not strong enough. I really need someone like Draco's father to do this. That would have been the perfect match. He was strong, had low moral values, and would have done it to have a powerful heir that he could have called on for odd magical objects from other realms. Plus he would have made one hell of a demon in his own right."
"Unfortunately, he's dead," the Under-Minister told her.
"Pfft. He's a ghost. Not quite the same thing. Technically there's a way around it, but we'd have to use one of his bloodline and I don't think his son would agree to it, or let his own son be used that way. That would probably get me hunted down by Xander and possibly even killed for disrespecting his family."
"Let me call one of our Wardens and we'll see what we can set up," the Minister told her. "We have a special cellblock full of the people that you'd want. We'll see if any of them agree."
She looked him in the eye. "Who said he had to agree?"
He smiled. "I like that idea, but I still have to talk to the Warden. Why don't you go back to your office and we'll come get you in an hour?" She nodded and disappeared. "Weasley, that was simply odd. Do you usually deal with her type?"
"No, but in this case I thought it warranted. I'd hate to have to kill the links here. Tara is usually such a sweet woman." He left them alone to discuss it, sure the matter was in good hands, or that Anyanka would come for him if it wasn't.
The two ministers looked at each other and shuddered. Percy had always seemed so nice.
Percy walked into his secondary office and winced at the flash, then he was stunned. When he could see again, and was awake, he found himself tied to a bed and a familiar woman sitting on his stomach. "What on earth are you doing?"
"You were done with that special case and I'm tired of waiting," she said with a smile. "I thought we could spend the night together."
He looked around and noticed they were in his bedroom. Then he looked up at her again. "Here?"
"Here. She said it was fine." He opened his mouth and she leaned down to kiss him. "Be quiet and let me explain, Percy. The demon ho was right, Kandy is watching you. She popped in on me last week while you were napping on my lap." He looked so sad and she smiled at him. "She told me that she wanted to thump you hard because you've been making her miserable and guilty." He opened his mouth and she kissed him again. "Someone else saw her as well, your father as a matter of fact, so don't even argue about it. Yet, you can argue later if it makes you feel better."
"This is still an inappropriate position for us to be in, Arabelle."
"Shut up, Percy. I tied you up and you're not complaining because of anything really pertinent at the moment. If I was naked, it'd be inappropriate, but I'm wearing a shirt."
"I noticed. You look nice in my shirt. May I ask where you found that one? I've been looking for it now for a week."
"In your hamper, where it was supposed to be. Your daughter said she found it behind the couch."
"Ah. And where is she?"
"Believe it or not, she was most anxious to go see Mellie Potter since she was coming back today. Something about best friends and not seeing her since the holidays." She smiled. "Before you ask, Ms. Ream's mother has invited Melvin over for dinner so we have until after dinner to hash this out."
"All right. Were we having problems?"
"Only the one where I start whining because you're moving so slowly," she told him. He frowned at her. "I know why, but even you've been getting impatient with yourself and it's rather cute to watch, so I thought I'd do some work on my own."
"Well, I can't argue with that premise at the point. Where would my former wife come into this matter?"
"She said you were making her feel guilty for dying because you were a miserable prick and she wanted to thump you a good one upside your flat head." He smiled so she had remembered it correctly. "She gave me her blessings to jump you. Said it was only fair with your first week together."
He chuckled. "She did say she'd get me back for that one day." He looked up at his wrists. "Where did you find these?"
"Your brother Fred was nice enough to dig around in the massive chest that Xander and George keep such things in. He found these among the stuff at the bottom, along with a few daggers for some reason. Something about a sacrificial set or the like. I didn't know they were into that, but then again I'd not put anything past your brother George."
"It was probably Xander's. He collects the odd weapons in the family."
"Oh, Fred told me. He said to do this as well." She slipped an older ball gag over his head and clipped it on when he opened his mouth to protest. She smiled. "I don't personally like it but he said you would." Percy groaned. "No?" He shook his head. "Then I'll take it off before I jump you." She leaned down, resting her elbows on his chest so she could get next to his face. "Percy, this is ridiculous. There's no reason for us to pussyfoot around the fact that we like each other. Yes, I like you. Yay me. You adore me," she said with a slightly naughty grin. "Again, yay me as your brother-in-law is fond of saying. I don't see why we can't move forward instead of dancing around each other. Hell, even dancing would be nice." He grunted and nodded his head so she removed the gag. "Better?"
"Thank you, my jaw is now sore."
"I'm sure you'll be getting some exercise for it soon enough."
He smiled. "That could be arranged, but I think you missed something. I'm not the impetuous teen any longer. I require more than a desire and a wanton urge to move closer to someone now."
"I know that. I thought we had that."
"We do, but I'd still like to move slowly. I'm not going to rush into anything this time."
"You mean I don't sweep you off your feet?"
"No, you do," he admitted with a smile. "I'm not going to get pushy until we're more committed than not though. I can't handle losing another person."
"I'm not leaving."
"You too are mortal."
"Yes, and so are you," she said pinching him on the chest, making him moan. "Gee, they said that restraints made you more sensitive, but I never realized how much more sensitive it could make you." He looked up at her, looking a little shocked. "No, I don't usually do this, but I've been watching you. You like women who make the first move because it overcomes your shyness. Kandy made the first move and dazzled you so much that you threw all your noble intentions of waiting out the window and did something so outrageous that it scandalized everyone but you and Xander. She swept you away and then you felt happier because you didn't have to work at impressing her. She was already impressed. Well, I am too." She gave him another kiss. "I'm ready with my broom and everything if you'd let me."
"I don't think I could do what I did with her, Arabelle."
"I'm not asking you to take me on your mum's kitchen table, Percy. I'm asking for a commitment and sex."
"I'd like to take them in that order. Otherwise it could set the wrong impression for my son."
"Oh, him." She giggled. "Those two are so cute. Melvin's already asked her to marry him. He's even stuck to his promise of no sex until they're out of school because you instilled that in him."
"You do make him happy," Percy told her. "There's so much we still need to talk about, Arabelle."
"I know. Let me make it easier. I've the same version of magic as you are. I want children, preferably more than one so they're not spoiled brats. Your family likes me. We agree on most things, even if you don't like some of my outfits because you think they make me look too old. We share the same likes for foods, dislikes for drinking, and amusement for the rest of your family. How's that?"
"Nearly perfect. Now if you would untie me?" She shook her head. "No?"
"No, I think I like having you helpless, lying below me." She sat up and scooted back, making his eyes go wide. "I told you I was wearing your shirt."
"I thought you were also wearing underthings," he said, sounding scandalized.
"I hate wearing underwear. Bloody uncomfortable things that always go up you at the wrong moment." She smiled as she slid onto him. "How's that feel?"
"Heavenly," he admitted. He moved to try and hold her but the straps weren't that long. "Please untie me?"
"Next time," she said with a smile. "I want to make you feel like you've been a round with a succubus, Percy. Wouldn't you like that?" He smiled and shook his head. "No?"
"No, I happen to like the cuddling and holding parts best. Besides, I can't do what I do best when I'm flat on my back."
"Then let me ease some of the tension and you can get your turn in a minute," she said with a grin. "Deal?"
"I think I can hold out that long."
"We'll see." She squeezed and watched as his eyes nearly came out of his head. "Not good?" she teased, shifting gently since it had been a while for him. He groaned. "I can do whatever you want, Percy, all you have to do is ask."
"Go steady?" he asked.
She frowned. "I thought you said you weren't a teen anymore."
He laughed and finally got one of the bracelets undone, grabbing her to pull her down closer. "You share the same magic as I do?"
"How do you think I got you here?" she asked. "Pure magic is so much nicer for things like teleporting. Much easier with an unconscious person than apparating is." He smiled back. "Let me, Percy? Please? I've always wanted to do it this way, just once. Then you can do whatever wicked things she alluded to with your tongue." He blushed. "No?"
"I wouldn't mind trying, but I don't want to compare you."
"Then don't. I'm not the wispy little fey creature Kandy was. I'm not a whole lot like her. She wouldn't have let you take on your second job because it changed you. When you were with her, or even after she died, you would have been horrified if Anyanka had come to you with her problem. You're not the same man."
"I realize that now. You think she wouldn't like me?"
"I think she'd like you, but she'd be so very worried because you have become darker over the years since she died. She said she was worried about you anyway. Thought you were sending yourself to hell in a picnic basket." He kissed her, shutting her up. "Was that a yes?"
"Yes, dear one, I'll let you do what you want, but afterwards, you're mine."
"For as long as you want me to be, Percy. I'll let you pick out my ring this weekend if you want."
"My mother's still wearing hers and my grandmother hates me because of my job. Besides, everyone else in my family are these little tiny people with stick figure fingers. I could never wear anything of theirs. Their necklaces are even too small." He kissed her again. "Was that a yes?"
"I'll think about it. But I will go steady with you."
"You hated not being able to do that with her, didn't you?" she teased.
"Absolutely. It was nice having sex with her constantly through her last year, but I missed the whole dating thing. I'd like to do more of that if you wouldn't mind."
"As long as you don't make me give up the sex part," she said with a wink. "Let me go." He let her go and she rehitched his wrist. "Thank you, Percy."
"You're welcome, Arabelle. I do adore you, you know."
"I know. Otherwise I wouldn't have done this. You have the strongest streak of denial, it's almost as strong as Xander's will to cause my department trouble." He laughed, shaking her as well. "I like that. Do that more," she said, reaching down to tickle him.
"No! Arabelle, no!" he ordered, but it was too late. She was tickling him and he couldn't do a thing about it. She climbed back on him and rode the waves, making him happy enough until he could retaliate.
Charlie looked across the table at Bill. "Do you ever feel like some sort of old maid?" he asked.
"Every few days," Charlie admitted with a smile. "Even my boss has a woman now. He's one of the disgusting ones, coos and everything." He put down a card. Bill picked it up and emptied his hand. "Damn."
Bill smirked. "I got in a lot of practice." He looked toward the living rom, then at his older brother. "What about her?"
"I'm at the point where I'm ready to make sure it's really her. She seems different but I'm wondering if it's going to last this time," he said quietly, dealing out a new hand. "What about you? Any prospects at all?"
"I had one, but she decided I was too tough for her. Whatever that meant. I think she knew Percy and expected me to be like him."
"I'm not sure why Percy's like he is some days."
"Did you hear? Fred dug through Xander's toy trunk for Arabelle. Gave her cuffs and the gag Percy once gave him for Christmas."
"I wanted to see Perce's face when Xander handed that to him."
"I can do that," Bill offered. "It's not much different than a viewing portal. Draco excels at it and I made him teach me."
"Handcuffs and rubber hose?" Charlie asked, smiling at his brother.
"No, a little begging and some flattery. Draco only goes for handcuffs for the big things. Like his book on creating spaces like the colony caves."
"Hmm. Sub-realmal bubble universes. Very interesting. Can he?" Bill nodded. "Well. Wonders may never cease. Maybe he'll trap Xander and George in one for the summer."
"I've been meaning to ask, aren't you supposed to be at work?"
"I'm on leave. My boss has a new boss and he's a greedy fucker. I hate him."
"Leave without pay?" Charlie nodded. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not. Otherwise I'd be in prison for murder. He wanted to experiment on a dead egg instead of burying it. Said so in front of the mother. She nearly killed him and he blamed it on me. Personally I agreed with the mother dragon."
"Me too," Bill agreed. "Who's watching out for your few while you're gone?"
"Bo. Big Red can take care of herself. If anyone tries anything on her, she'll stomp 'em flat."
"I take it you didn't see the paper today?"
"About the accident? Yeah, I saw. I knew one of them and sent an owl of condolences to his wife." Charlie looked up. "I sent one to Bo asking if I should come back. I'm waiting on a response."
"At least you have new clothes to stun the dragons and coworkers with," Bill said with a grin. "Did he really make you try on leather?"
"No, he really made me try on and bought me leather," Charlie told him. "Did you see what he came out wearing?" He set down his matches for the current game of Gin Rummy. Then he set down his discard. Bill picked it up and put down his matches, taking out most of his hand. "You cheater."
"You dealt," Bill pointed out. He looked at the hallway. "Ginny's back up."
"Ginny, want to play some cards?" Charlie called.
She walked in and sat down. "How hard is this one to learn?"
"Not at all," Bill assured her. "I played it with trolls."
"Good, then I should be able to win." She looked at the stairs. "I wonder how they are."
"Sleeping," Charlie told her. "Percy had some funny healing potion with him. They're out for the next hour at least." He let her see his cards, silently teaching her how to match and make the sets. She joined in on the next hand, adding a little bit of spice to the game. "What are you planning on doing?"
"I'm planning on quitting and working at a spell design agency," Ginny told him. Both brothers looked at her. "What? I have a friend who's quitting and I like her job. It's a lot more structured and I think that getting away from Draco for a bit might make him happier."
"He'll never take you back, you betrayed him," Bill pointed out.
"I know, but it's worth a shot. He makes me happy," she said with a one-sided shrug. "If he asked, I'd do anything for him."
"Don't let him make you his whore. He can get that anywhere," Charlie advised. A bird pecked on the window so he got up to answer it. "Hey, Glinda. What's up this time?" He accepted the message and smiled. "Harry caught Ron and Ravena kissing in his room, had to separate them. He wants to know when they can come home."
"We could handle Ravena," Bill agreed.
"They could come to my house," Ginny suggested.
"Your house is still a wreck from the construction."
She cleared her throat. "I bought a new one. It's nicer, bigger, and farther away from my neighbors, who still want to know if I'll have sex with them. Denver even has his own room and won't have to share with Lucien."
"He's at mum's," Charlie told her. "Let me ask Draco."
"Draco, can the kids go with Ginny?" Bill yelled. He felt a tendril of irritation and smiled, then repeated the question for him mentally. He got a whispered threat from Xander, but ignored it and concentrated on the faint other message. "He said you can, but only for two days. Then he's going to check on them. Also, you have to decide on Denver now, Ginny."
"I fought for him to be my son, it wasn't fair that I excluded him when things started to get tough," she said, hanging her head. "Tell him I'm sorry and I'll see him in a few days." She got up and headed for the floo fireplace, going to Harry's.
"Will wonders never cease?" Charlie said in amazement. "I think she's finally herself again."
"Hopefully she won't forget it," Bill agreed, dealing the next hand. "They're feeling a bit better. Draco can move slowly and Xander's to the point where Draco had been."
"Wonderful news. I'm sure George will appreciate it."
"Speaking of, shouldn't we have seen him by now?"
"He's probably at dinner with Oliver and the girls. They do it a lot these days."
"I guess it's good that George likes the woman his twin is dating."
"Really. Katie and Fred are together. Oliver and Angelina. Harry and Alicia are working on something as well, slowly, but it's going. She made him help her go shopping the other day. Then she nearly beat one woman who came up to chat Harry up."
Charlie laughed. "I'm sure she's a fierce protector of what's hers."
"I'm worried that she's a bit strong willed for him at the moment. Harry's still so damn fragile sometimes."
"So's Percy and look at his girl."
"Yes, but they share the job." Charlie frowned. "She's over the newly divided Mysteries department."
"Oh. Hadn't known that. And Percy's still an archivist?"
"And the head over the Unmentionables," Bill said with a smirk. "They sent him over to straighten out their budget and the like, and he seems to fit in well over there."
"Then I'm wondering where that healing potion came from."
"He'd never hurt Xander."
"Good point, but still, Bill." He grimaced. "I hate when I do that."
"So does Ron with two of the twins. We've got to find a nickname for little Vinnie."
"Why won't he answer to Ray?"
"He hates it. Refuses to listen to anyone who calls him Ray. Unless it's has father and it's followed by his middle name. Then he listens damn straight."
"Good for Ron. His kids won't turn into little Weasleys of destruction." Charlie grinned. "Think we should spoil them now?"
"Nah, I think the twins have got it." Bill looked around then leaned closer. "Mum's on a rip to get us settled down again. I heard she invited someone nice and decent over."
"Then they'd never like me," Charlie said innocently. Bill snorted and slapped him. "What? That's more your sort than mine. Personally, if Simone weren't a niece, she'd be the sort I'd go for."
"Yes, but she is," Bill pointed out. "Not any like her around you?"
"The two women down there are together, mate, nothing I can do will change that. Cute and all that, but still not liking boys."
"That happens to the best of us. Trust me, I've been there as well. Sucks horribly, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does. I need a woman."
"Or a man?"
"Those were flings, I'd rather have a woman to settle down with. Have a few kids and things like that."
"There is that spell," Bill said. Charlie gave him a look. "Hey, it's an option."
"Not one I want to think of. I can't imagine what it feels like to be pregnant. We're not exactly built for it. Can't be comfortable at all." George walked out of the living room and up the stairs. "They're together," he called. His younger brother waved and continued up. "Well. Wonder what happened today."
"Probably the kids being horrid on the train. You know how they can be."
"My last year had one kid taking off on his broom down the corridors," Charlie said with fondness. "Stupid git cracked it on a door and nearly killed himself. Can't say as I didn't applaud. He was a nasty bugger."
Bill laughed. "My last year had an orgy. All of us together and switching rooms. Seventy couples that day." He shook his head. "We had planned it for after the leaving feast but we got caught."
"What were they going to do? Take off points? Not let you go?" Charlie asked.
Bill nodded. "McGonagall threatened to keep us there for an extra year if we didn't go back to our rooms immediately. I actually worried when I saw the owls coming the next year. I got a nice letter saying that the school had decided that I was better suited not coming back, ever. Apparently I might have corrupted some of the students."
Charlie laughed. "We had a few of those in my year as well."
"Yeah, you," Bill snorted. "You had more sex than anyone in recent history, other than Draco."
"Point," Charlie said with a large grin. "Goes to show you that we should have tried to settle down then."
"Nah, that never have worked for you. Even that one girl, she would have left. She wanted to be a model or a fashion designer. She couldn't do that from Romania."
"Yeah, but it'd have been nice to try."
"Good point. Hell, I had a steady girlfriend and she dumped me three weeks before graduation because she wanted to work in Paris and I didn't." He leaned closer. "I've got to ask, Charlie. Have you seen the Ravettena heir?" Charlie looked at him like he was insane. "She's got your nose."
"She's not mine. I never slept with her mother, not since school anyway. That's too far back for Shey to be mine."
"Yeah, but she's got to be. She looks just like you, Charlie."
"I know," he sighed. "Ron wrote the same damn thing. I want to know how he found out?"
"Mum told him," Fred said as he joined them. "We've got a small problem." The older two looked at him. "Angelina was the one who wrote Xander about the settlement."
"Shit. That's going to go over like a lead balloon."
"Which is the problem. Not only will it tear my team apart, it'll cause George some pain too. Can you help breach this slowly? She was trying to be nice by letting him know, she didn't want him to hear some day from someone mean."
"In other words, she wanted to show what a bastard Draco can be?" Bill asked. Fred nodded. "He's changed a lot."
"I know, but she hasn't spent much time with him. She's sorry she did it, now that she knows how much it hurt Xander, but she can't take it back. I'm more worried about him at the moment."
"He'll get over it. He and Draco worked it out."
"Yes, but she's not his daughter the way Draco is his son," Charlie pointed out. "Xander will go off on her. No matter what the reason."
"We'll help calm him down if we're here," Bill assured his younger brother. "What set did you give Arabelle?"
"Part of a sacrificial set. I thought it fitting," Fred said with a smirk. Someone upstairs screamed. "Either George just slid into Xander and hurt his back or he told him." Both older brothers looked at him. "He had a letter from her. She really didn't know how much it would hurt him."
"I know," Charlie sighed, dealing another hand of cards. "Xander doesn't let a lot of people close enough to hurt him, so how would she?" He picked up his hand and frowned, but the others were satisfied. "I still say you're cheating," he told Bill.
"You're dealing, dolt. Stack the cards if you don't like your hands." Bill grinned at him and put down most of his cards. Fred laid down a few sets. "You go first since you've got such a crummy hand, brother."
"Thanks." Charlie drew and sighed, tossing it back down.
"We could switch to poker," Fred suggested, drawing his own card and tossing it back down.
Bill picked up the discard and put down the rest of his hand. "Sure. Got any matchsticks?"
"No, but I have some of those muggle pennies," Fred offered, reaching into the bag in his pocket. That's what he and George played for as they had no worth to them anyway. He pulled out a jar and put it onto the table. "Xander's penny jar. He hates the things. We were bringing them so those two could play cards in bed."
"Wonderful," Charlie said, counting himself out some, then for the others so they started with the same amount. He had a chance to win at poker. The guys at work and he sat around all the time. There wasn't much to do when the dragons were behaving and not in heat.
To part 9: