Iggy walked onto the pitch the next morning and looked around. "Uncle Oliver?" he called, setting his case down. Oliver flew down. "Do I set up in my usual place?"
"If you wouldn't mind, Ignatius." He smiled as the boy set his case down and unshrunk his broom, flying up. "Already missing it?"
"No, I missed breakfast," Iggy said as he pulled a few doughnuts out of his pocket and started to nibble. "Grandmum was on a rip this morning over Denver. Then she saw me and my wife's morning kiss and went off on us as well. Threatened to move us to separate rooms."
"You're married," Oliver pointed out.
"She's going on about the age thing. So my wife oh so helpfully looked at her and suggested that maybe Molly should sit down and consider things. After all, it wasn't like we were going to give her great-grandchildren yet." He smiled. "It was that last word that made her start to scream at the top of her voice. My wife is presently off shopping for naughty stuff to tease me with. Like she didn't have enough," he sighed.
"Just a few more months, Iggy. You can wait that long." Iggy looked at him like he was insane. "No?"
"No! I'm tired of waiting. Grandmum heard that though and started on me for not listening to reason and being a smug little bastard after I did it. Even Grandfather left fairly quickly this morning." He glanced around. "How are you going to do this without Xander?"
"He's probably carefully relayed his instructions already and the team is down at the shop. Either that or someone will float him up and plant his butt in a chair."
"Most likely," Iggy agreed, smiling at the people walking up to the pitch. "I think it's time for warmups."
"Probably. I was just checking everything. Are you ready to handle everything?"
"All I need is the portkey to the hospital in case," Iggy said, then he shook his head. "What am I saying, I have a thumbtack there now. It's a great thing."
"Yes, it could be. Simone's with them." They flew down. "Filling in?" he asked the young girl.
"Warming up. I'm the backup today," she told him with a slight shrug. "Adrian will be here."
"Ah," Iggy said with a smile. "Cool. You can wait with me if you want."
"We follow pro rules, she has to wait on the platform," George told him, giving him a look. "Why was mum screaming when we showed up?"
"Denver and his amazing tongue trick, then Raena and I, then the fact that we're not thinking clearly because Raena suggested we could be giving her great-grandchildren. She's having one of those rant at the kids days again."
"I figured as much," Fred told him, giving him a nudge. "Don't add to the family yet. At least wait until a year out of school."
"Wait for ten to have the second one," George suggested. "We need the family name to live on about that time."
"We plan on it. My children won't be only children if I have my way about it," Iggy told him.
"What does your wife have to say about being a baby factory?" Simone asked. Everyone glared at her. "What? She would be."
"She adores kids, but I get to do a lot of the diaper changing. She said she'd have as many as I wanted, as long as I changed the majority of the diapers." Iggy smirked. "You?"
"I'm not sure I want kids at all, thank you. I don't like children."
"They're not as mean as dragons?" Fred suggested with a smile. She swatted at him with her broom. "Easy. If you break it, Ron won't have it replaced."
"This is my backup, the one daddy bought me," she said with a smirk. "My other one's still in the shop."
Katie coughed. "We're working on getting the handle back together, but it's a slow process, Simone."
"I know. Still, we've got daddy's backups if we get stuck. I can get a broom."
"True." Iggy pointed at the open field. "Go warm up." He looked at George. "How is daddy?"
"Pissed." Angelina slumped. "He'll get over it, dear. Give him some time." He gave her a pat. "Watch out for us today, son. I'm sure it's going to be messy. This is another mostly Slytherin team, from the time when they were meaner." He mounted his broom and took off, going to warm up before the game.
"I think I'll get the portkey just in case," Iggy said, flying toward the school. He landed outside the door and leaned his broom against the wall, wrapping some ivy around it before he went inside. He waved at the Headmaster as he passed him by. "I'm going to get the portkey, just in case. It's going to be one of those messy games." He hurried up to the infirmary, grabbing the small portkey, then down to the potion's dungeon for a few bottles of healing potions for cuts and bruises.
"What are you doing here?" Snape asked, working on something at his desk.
"I'm the medical person for today's fun league match. Some of the cranky older Slytherins versus the family team." Snape looked up at him. "Hence the potion gathering, just in case."
"That might be a good idea. Take one of your special bottles in case as well. You might not need it, but I've seen them play before and it wasn't pretty. They sent half of their last match to the hospital with severe injuries."
"Wonderful. I'll have a busy morning then get to go cuddle with the wife for a few hours at Uncle Draco's after I check on my father's back." He smiled and finished his hunting and gathering, taking them out to his kit. He sat down to sort through everything, sniffing at the one he had picked up that wasn't labeled. He sent it back with Simone's phoenix because it definitely wasn't a healing potion of any sort. Then he sat down to watch and wait. When the second team showed up, he straightened up. They were giving off seriously evil vibes and he didn't like it. They were also carrying the balls. "Didn't Harry's son bring back the snitch yet?" he called.
"This is the secondary set," the keeper said with a sneer. "Did he steal it?"
"To have it fixed last night. You're supposed to use the town set," Oliver told him as he flew down. He noticed the looks. "I don't give a damn. Put it away or don't play. This is a fun league, not the pros. You can't bring your own balls."
They put their balls on their platform, and took over the field to warm up.
George sat down beside his son. "Do you have everything you might need?"
"Short of some elixir of life, yeah. I've only got one dose of that," Iggy said, watching them. "I'd have someone check their balls. They're probably doctored." George nodded. "Try not to get hurt too badly. Uncle Draco won't want to take care of you both." He gave him a smile and ducked a bludger heading his way. "Do it again, asshole, I'm the medical person for the game and I can let you suffer," he called in warning.
"You're just a kid," the lone female sneered.
"I'm also Severus' apprentice. Now get over yourselves before I have to pull out my own version of asshole and use it against you." She backed away and caught the bludger thrown by Fred. "The game starts in half an hour, I'd be finished soon."
Oliver looked down at him. "You're not that mean," he said.
"Bet me," George told him. "He's found a way to make no healing potion work on somebody." Oliver winced. He looked at the woman, who sniffed and floated away. "Bitch."
"Sickening bitch. Hopefully she doesn't breed," Iggy said. She looked back at him and he raised an eyebrow. "What? I've already got my wife, thank you. She's ten times stronger than you and more beautiful." She turned her nose up and flew over to talk to her captain. "Bite me," he muttered. He noticed the captain looking at him and gave him a steady look back. The man shuddered and turned away. "Fucking make my life difficult, I bite back," Iggy muttered, making sure he had everything and mentally calling his wife to gather a few more things for him. This was going to be one of *those* games.
Xander tried to sit up, but it wasn't working. "I have to go to the game," he said through clenched teeth. "They need me."
"I'll go," Draco told him, rolling out of bed with a wince. "You stay and rest. I can teach them how to be nearly as mean and evil as you can."
Xander waved a hand and he leaned down so Xander whispered something, making him smirk. "Make sure Simone knows. She's our backup today."
"I will." He grabbed some clothes and went to take a quick shower. It's not like he was sweaty, but his hair needed the help this morning. He apparated over as soon as he was dressed, smiling at the family sitting around. "I was sent by your beleaguered captain. He wants Simone to play." He sat down with a sigh of appreciation. "Oh, much better."
"Which one of us did he want to work with her?" Fred asked.
"Whichever, but he said you'd probably end up switching off." He looked at his daughter. "Xander said that these ones are known for being mean and evil, sweetheart. Do your worst to them." She smirked and he nearly shuddered. Dear Merlin, she was so much worse than he was sometimes. It was impressive.
"I'll go first," George decided. "Xander will baby me if I get too badly hurt." He looked at the women. "Someone call Ron just in case."
"Done," Draco said, waving a hand. "As well as Charlie just in case, and Ronnie and Ravena." Mellie looked at him. "They nearly killed a seeker last time and they do have backups as well, dear. Your father doesn't want you to play if you get the least little bit hurt."
"Yes, Uncle Draco." She settled herself to watch them. "Where's their seeker?"
"Late apparently," Fred said, watching them. He pointed a small green blur. "That's probably her."
"They have two females?" Draco asked. Fred nodded. "What's their seeker's name?"
"Swisten or something. Why?"
"Shit." Draco looked at Mellie. "No, you're not playing. She killed someone in her school years," he said when she looked upset.
"Then which one's playing?" Oliver asked.
"Charlie's on his way over and so are the fabulous twosome."
"I can play if I have to," Iggy offered. "I've done double duty before."
"Not this time," Oliver told him. He looked at Simone, who was hunched down. "Need something for that?"
"I'm trying to catch a look at their seeker." She straightened up and nodded. "It's her, she still looks like the picture in Quidditch Yearbook. She's got this evil look." She looked at her father. "Do I get to hurt her?"
"Simone, you were warned."
"They sent half of their last match to the hospital," George reminded him.
Oliver sighed. "Fine. I guess we'll have to play as cleanly as we can. Got me, Simone?" She nodded. "Thank you." He looked at Iggy. "It's not any easier for me, kid." Charlie and the two other seekers appeared, already dressed. "Hello there. Where's Ron?"
"Coming. He had to finish shoveling food into Vinnie since he refused to eat," Charlie told him with a grin. "Officiating?"
"Yeah, since I'm a pro I can't play." He smiled and flew off as soon as Ron appeared. The townspeople started to wander up. "To your platforms," he called. Both teams hiked to their platforms. The other team's captain flew over to him. "What?"
"Who are their extras?"
"Mostly their family. That's their backup team. They didn't want to play against each other so they fill in every now and then. Just in case you do something like you did last game." He looked the captain over. "Don't play like last time. I'm not as nice as Madam Rosemerta and I do follow the rules. Don't piss me off."
The captain snorted. "Or what? You'll throw things at me with your injured shoulder?"
"What injury? I'm fully healed and back to playing, and I won't, he will." He pointed at Draco. "You're playing against his children today as well. Their mother's a Weasley."
"Shit." The captain flew off, going to talk to his team. He had caught sight of the two star seekers of Hogwarts right before landing in front of his team. "They've called in all their backups. Including the seekers for Gryffindor and Slytherin," he announced.
The seeker snorted. "They're children."
"Who live for the snitch," the keeper told her, looking back at her. "Ravena Malfoy-Weasley wanted to play last year with a broken skull. She and her toy will do anything for the snitch." She looked at her captain. "Her sister?"
"Is out there, and I saw her brother pop in while I was talking to the ref. He's a by the book person so make it appear clean," he said with a smirk. He noticed the crowd on the other side. "Good, it'll last a long time today." He looked back at his team. "Hurt whomever you want, just remember what Malfoy will do if anyone hurts his beloved offspring."
"I'm sure they'll live," the keeper sneered. "He's gone soft."
"He took down the anti-borns group by himself," the keeper told her. "He has promised to hurt any of us who come near his precious children." She sneered. "Can we hurt them?"
"I'd be more worried about them hurting us. Simone Malfoy-Weasley is the only one who can *aim* a bludger," one of the beaters told everyone. "I've seen her play. She enjoys the pain as much as we do. Watch out for her especially. Ron and Ravena, whichever's playing, are good. Their only goal is the snitch. They consider it some sort of personal goddess. If Denver's playing, he's fast. He's worked as long with those women as he has the one who's playing medical person today. He's good, and he's accurate," he noted, looking at the keeper. "The three chasers are in practice, but they're not as good as any of the Weasley second generation. The kids want it more. They are the real threat. If they start out with Charlie Weasley, you might want to keep him around. He's not played in years."
"You watched all the games this year?"
"Of course I did," the man said, looking over at him. "It's part of the job description after all." He smiled, showing his perfect politician smile. "I am the secondary head of the league. It's my job to scout future players. I'd like to propose that we play a scrimmage against the Gryffindor team anyway, just to see if they're up to it."
"Next year," the keeper told him, nodding. "One of the pro teams would likely go for it. They've got an amazing team, if they get back a good keeper and a second beater."
"Ignatius' wife is actually one, but she doesn't want to hurt people enough for Simone to play with her," he said, pointing at the boy on the sidelines. "Don't fuck with the boy, he meant what he said. He will hurt us on purpose if we fuck with him. Play cleanly, but meanly." He looked around. "Any questions?" No one said anything. "Then relax. The pitch is half-full. We'll be starting soon." Iggy stared up at him. "Oh, you're like that, are you?" he purred, staring back. Iggy smirked at him and tipped his head, then went back to his book. "Be careful. Iggy knows that we're going to play mean. He's fully stocked."
The captain looked impressed. "Can he do that thought stream thing?"
"He's a born, it's natural to him. He knows we're going to play fair, but cruel."
"That sounds good. Cruel is wonderful," the seeker agreed.
Oliver blew his whistle and they mounted, ready to take off. They flew out first, letting the other team pick their team. Simone, one of the twins. Two women and Denver. A Weasley keeper, and Ravena. Well. What a team. The crowd went nuts for them so they knew something was going on.
Iggy was biting his lip. Ravena still had a somewhat weak skull. He wasn't sure he would have put her out there.
"She volunteered," a familiar voice said from behind him.
Iggy looked back. "Hey, Melvin. Slide down here, I could use the help." He and Andrea slid down next to him. "She volunteered?"
"She volunteered to go first. She can wear out the other seeker and Simone is more aware of where she is than where Ronnie is. Simone's playing like Ana on the rag today."
"Oooh," Iggy winced. "I'm very glad I stocked up on the potions then." He looked at Andrea. "Decided to run away from your parents?"
"They're having lunch with his father," she said, squeezing Melvin's hand. "I told my mum that I was very serious about him and she wanted to talk to Percy."
"Well. Wonderful news. We'll expect great things from your children." Melvin nudged him. "What?" he asked with a giggle. "You two will have hellacious children which will drive Grandmum nuts. They can torment everyone until Denver and Simone have some."
Melvin laughed. "She's still ranting about you guys. We popped over there to see if anyone else wanted to come." He looked up as the whistle blew, starting the game. "Shit!" he said, ducking the bludger.
"Fucking hit me and die a bloody death on the field," Iggy called out. "I will let you suffer." The bludger zoomed off as soon as it was released by the people behind him. "Thanks, Grandfather."
"You're welcome, Ignatius." Arthur smiled at them. "I suppose this is the family section?"
"Yup, looks like it." Iggy watched as Simone knocked the bludger into the other team's keeper, knocking her out. "Gotta go check on her. Be right back." He grabbed his wand and wandered out slowly, checking for stray balls. He saw the snitch and smiled, getting out of the way. Ravenna didn't come so he looked up at her and she smirked. "Get 'em, girl," he agreed, bending down to check the keeper. Out cold. "She's out. Get an alternate or remove her?" he called.
"Let her wake up in their platform," Oliver called, chasing after the quaffle.
Iggy shrugged and lifted her off the pitch, floating her up to her team's platform. She'd wake up eventually. No serious damage done, this time. He went back to his seat, watching as the other team tried to knock his father off his broom. "Stupid of them," he muttered, sitting down again without looking. He moved off the squeaking thing. "Sorry, Andrea." He took his former seat and watched as his father hit the other fucker with a bludger, then he cheered him on. "Get him, dad!" One of the chasers was knocked out and he went to look her over, but her replacement was already on the field. "We'll put you on the platform until the world quits spinning, Alicia. Come along." He floated her up as well, with her broom. Then he went to check on the downed seeker. Theirs as it happened. He smiled at her, broken arm in three places. "I have some pain medicine to give you. Hobble over to my station then I'll let you go to the hospital."
"I can play."
"Your arm is broken and I'm not allowed to heal it on the field," he told her. "If I fix the breaks, you can't play."
"And? Give me the pain potion, I can play."
"Fine." Iggy summoned over a small bottle of pain potion and gave it to her. "Drink half now, it's the strongest one I have." She did as he said and tucked the rest into her pocket. "Go play if you must. I'm not responsible for you getting killed." He let her go and hurried back to his seat, the chasers had just dove down toward the ground to get away from the bludger war Simone had started. Then he had to go back out to check on his father. "Small concussion. You're off for the day, daddy." He took his broom and sent him back to the platform. He walked back to his seat and handed it to Melvin. "Daddy's got a concussion." He made notes on his official form, which would be handed over to the league people after the game. That way his butt was covered if someone got hurt worse. Fred came out and was almost immediately bombarded, but he sent it back. He had been studying the other team and sent it at their newly returned keeper. She fell off her broom instead of diving out of the way. Well, hot damn. Another head injury. He brought his case with him, going to look her over very carefully. Broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a head injury. He sent her to the hospital and another portkey appeared in his box. They knew what game was being played it seemed. He went back to the seat, watching the action. The game wasn't even close. A time out was called by the other team. Iggy stood up but they waved that they didn't need attention, just him. So he walked over there with his wand in his hand anyway. "What?"
"What happened to her?"
"Two inch skull depression, broken collarbone, three broken ribs and two more cracked from what I saw. She's at the hospital."
The captain groaned and waved over Oliver. "We'll need to summon the other Slytherin team's players for replacements."
"They're another team and can't play for yours," Oliver told him. "Unless you've sent official notice that you've merged teams. Why Flint would do that I'm not sure. His team's tied for first."
"Not his, the other Slytherin team. Can we have ten minutes?" the second head of the League asked.
"Have it. We'll call a medical time out." Oliver flew off to make the announcement.
Iggy walked off. "Your seeker needs replaced too," he called as he walked away. He went to check on his family while they attacked her. George was looking fine. The girls had a few bruises. Fred had a sore wrist, but he fixed that with Simone's extra wrist guards. Hers fit him better than his old ones did. "Anyone else?"
"I seem to be hurting badly," Katie told him.
He looked her over again then smiled. "Well." He smiled at Fred. "Good work, Uncle Fred." He smirked at her. "You may cast a shield spell and nothing more by the rules, but if you tell Oliver, he'll kill you."
"Why?" Oliver asked from behind him. Katie blushed. "Then you're not playing."
"She's not that far along," Iggy told him. "Just enough to be annoying." He punched Fred on the arm. "I wouldn't tell grandmum today, but your dad's out in the stands behind Melvin and Andrea. Can I nark?"
"If you must," Fred sighed. "Just to dad." He looked at Katie. "I agree, you shouldn't play."
"Fred, there's every chance it's too late already. I did take a bludger to the stomach."
Iggy put a hand on her stomach and concentrated, then smiled and shook his head. "No, they're fine." He stepped back. "A shield spell is appropriate, is it not?"
"It is. She can have up to a full girdle by the rules," Oliver said, frowning at Katie.
"I'll get out the next time I'm hit," she told him.
"Iggy, knock her out," George told him. "Sorry, love, but we can't take that chance with you or his kids. You understand of course." His smile was the last thing she saw before the end of the time out. "We'll use her as a backup." He stood up. "Are we down a chaser?"
"No," Melvin said as he joined them. "You're not." Denver smiled at him. "I need a uniform."
"Let me," Fred said, changing the color of his outfit to match theirs. "Not official, but it worked for Charlie." Charlie nodded. "Ravena, are you all right, love? Even I saw the snitch."
"I was waiting for the pain to get worse," she told him in this innocent sounding little purr voice, but with the most wicked smile. Ron coughed and she smiled at him, kissing him on the cheek. "She was teasing them, and they didn't see her at all. I'll get the goddess when it's time."
"See that you do," Charlie told her. "Ploys like that cost games."
"Ploys like that sent their seeker to the hospital," Iggy told him. "Along with their keeper." He looked over at the other team's platform. "Their replacements are up. Get ready." He climbed down, going back to his seat. He hugged Andrea. "He'll be fine. Denver and I trained Melvin to be our third originally. We were all supposed to be in the same house."
"Do you know how much simpler that would have been?" she noted. "No sneaking back into either house. Just a room." Arthur coughed. "What?" she asked innocently. "I accepted his proposal. We're getting married once we're finished with school."
"I'm sure you are, but please behave, Andrea. Percy would get very upset if his son got you pregnant sooner." Iggy smirked at him. "Already?"
"Not her." Iggy leaned up and whispered in his grandfather's ear, making him smile. "Needless to say, she's now the backup. That's why Melvin's playing."
"Wonderful news," Arthur Weasley said, beaming at everyone.
"Who?" Andrea asked, turning on her sight spell so she could watch her man play.
"Well." She smiled at Iggy. "Wonderful news. Twins?"
"I think so." He took her hand as Melvin nearly got hit, giving it a squeeze. "Remember, he's played against Aggie."
"Speaking of, maybe we should get her here," Arthur said thoughtfully. "We might need her."
"If we do, she'll come," Iggy assured him. Oliver looked at him and pointed at the other team's seeker. He shrugged and shook his head. Oliver blew the whistle and the seeker glared at him. "Oops, got to go conference." He walked out, going to talk to her. "Well, look what's been healed," he said happily. "Off the field, my dear. I warned you that the rules said you couldn't be healed and still play today."
"Those are the rules," the captain said grimly. "Our replacement is on the way."
"Then they can take off as soon as they get here," Oliver assured him. "Leave, now, or the team forfeits." The head looked at him and he glared back. "I do follow *all* the rules."
"Including the one that says you can't referee because your girlfriend is playing?" he suggested slyly.
"We can always get Madam Hooch to come in," Iggy suggested to break up the glaring. "She's in town, I saw her earlier with Madam Rosemerta."
"Call her," Oliver agreed. "She's independent."
"Fine," the second head agreed. "We'll use the time to get our seeker here."
Iggy lifted his wand and motioned for silence. "The request has been made for a second referee to join the game. Would someone get Madam Hooch from in town? I saw her earlier." Madam Rosemerta lit up and hurried back to her tavern. "The game will progress in ten more minutes. Both teams to their pitches." He looked at both captains then at Oliver. "Fair enough?"
"More than," Oliver agreed with a smile. He looked at the head. "Any more objections?"
"None. A double ref game is one of the legal solutions." He flew back to his pitch, screaming at the seeker the whole way.
Oliver looked at the kid. "Good job. I'll see you up there. I want you to check on Katie again. She did take a hit and wobbled."
"She's fine, as far as I could tell. I'll even give her the number of Uncle Draco's doctor if she wants. I like him, he's nice and a decent man." He went up to the platform, ignoring the snogging going on at the back. "Okay, we're getting a second ref," he announced. "Everyone take ten." They all sat, everyone getting a good grope of Katie's stomach. Iggy wrote out a name and floo address for her. "This was the one who took care of Tara and Draco. He's nice, understanding, and knows this family very well," he said with a smile. "I like him a lot. He even protected Draco against a lot of people. He's done some of my training recently so I know he's really patient too."
"Thank you, Iggy. I have one, but I'll keep him in mind. Does he deal with the strange and unusual often?"
"No, he deals with problem pregnancies mostly. Twins, triplets, medical problems. Weird conceptions just came under that last heading. That's why he got Tara and Draco."
"I talked with him a few times," Fred agreed. "He's a very nice man. He didn't even mind Xander getting him out of bed at three in the morning over some odd cravings Tara was having."
"Then he's used to fussy people," Alicia said with a smile. The curtains opened and Harry slid in. "Come sit, dear. Fred has wonderful news."
"Those damn fertile genes again?" Harry asked with a smile. He hugged both his kids. "Did you guys want Aggie? Arthur said you might. She's down in the stands."
"We might need her," Iggy said thoughtfully. "They're bringing in some heavier players." He looked over there and his eyes went wide when he saw the seeker. "I know he's a pro."
Oliver shook his head. "He retired this year, he's eligible." He noticed a woman standing in the middle of the pitch and smiled. "I'll see you guys down there." He took off like a shot, landing beside her to give her a hug. "Welcome back."
Madam Hooch smiled at him. "Oliver," she said fondly. "You needed my help?"
"We have an official playing and so is my girlfriend," he told her. He glanced around. "This really is a dirtier Slytherin/Gryffindor game, Madam Hooch. Will you ref with me or instead of me?"
"I'd love to, dear boy. Who's the medical person? I don't see Poppy?"
"George Weasley's son Ignatius is doing it. Poppy's off at her sister's since she's expecting her son to be born any day now."
"I've kept up on the news. Is he good?"
"And forceful when necessary," Oliver assured her. He handed over his whistle. "It's the second time out. And trust me, I'd play if I could."
"There's no way you can?"
"Not at all. Not unless I quit and then get rehired soon." He winked at her. "I'll be in the family's and former teammate's platform if you need me for anything. Be careful. I want to have lunch with you after this." He flew off.
Madam Hooch put on the whistle and smiled. She looked at the Slytherin side and they nodded. Then at the Gryffindor side and they nodded. She blew her whistle to end the time out and released the quaffle again. Then she mounted her broom and took off after the fastly charging teams. She winced as first one chaser, then a second one fell, but they both got back up and started to fly again. This was a brutal game.
Oliver flinched when he saw Melvin fall. His father didn't need such shocks. He looked over as the curtains opened again, admitting his coach. "This is insane," he told him.
"Quit, son, I'll accept you back in the fall. We'll even save you a spot."
Oliver smirked. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure. Potter would kill me if I didn't. He said so."
"Well all right then," George said, taking off his robes. "I won't get back in there today, but you can have mine."
Oliver put on the robes. A little too loose, but good enough. "Thanks, mate." He summoned his good broom from his room and quickly wrote out an 'I quit' note, going to hand it to the league official since they were once again in time out. "My coach said so," he said with a smirk. "The same as your seeker is." He flew over and nudged Ron. "Go, let one of the kids rest."
Ron looked at him like he was insane. "You're sure? They'll try to hurt you again."
"Ron, your mouth's still bleeding, go help the kids. They need it. Melvin's looking seriously bruised and battered."
"I'll be their backup," he agreed, going to talk to them. He noticed Iggy up on his broom. "Aren't you the medical person?"
"Madam Hooch said I couldn't do that," he said with a shrug. "She said only *fully* accredited people could do that. So I'm doing both again as a backup." He looked at Denver, then at Melvin. "Can you play?" They nodded. "Then we play." He looked at the remaining older woman. "Sit out for a bit. You'll replace Melvin when he's tired in a few. Ron, you or Alicia can replace Denver if he falls. Oliver?"
"I quit, for now," he said with a smirk. "Fred?"
"I've got it," Fred agreed, looking at his niece, who nodded and smirked. "Ravena?"
She flew closer, rebraiding her hair. "I'm good. I don't need replaced." She looked at Iggy, who frowned. "My head's fine."
"Let Ronnie play for a bit," Iggy suggested.
"I can do this, I still have to prove myself."
"Fine, but the first time you fall, I'm kicking your ass back to the platform. Got it?" Iggy told her. She nodded. The whistle blew and they turned to face the other team, ready for them.
George watched from the shadows of the platform with Katie, wincing at every hit they took. Melvin did drop first, and Alicia went out for him. Denver came in for a drink and Ron flew out, but he was sent back quickly because he had fallen. Denver went back out, ready for them. George looked back at Draco, who looked worried. "They won't try to kill him."
"Yes, they will. They see me as a traitor to the house. Denver and Simone are both fair game." He touched George's head. "How is it?"
"Painful. I have a throbbing headache." He went to Iggy's case and searched until he came out with a headache potion, sniffing it to make sure. These were always grape. So he put that one back and found the other one. He sniffed it then drank it. "I'm good if either of them need to come out."
Draco made a motion at Fred and he nodded so he and George traded places after the next goal. He went back out so Simone could get a few minutes rest, then George came back. Draco was biting his lip by now. Denver and Iggy looked horrible out there, but they were kicking ass. Oliver was doing a wonderful job, and hadn't been knocked off his broom yet. Shit, even his younger daughter was amazing. She had just fainted out the older, more experienced, professional seeker. This was a game for the record books. And it was still going after four hours. The crowd had started to drift away, but they would come back after dinner if it was still going on. He saw the snitch, but it disappeared again before either of the two seekers saw it.
"They're fine, Draco," Katie said gently, patting him on the back. "Kids are resilient." She watched as Alicia stepped back in.
"Yeah, but it's not yours out there," he noted, glancing at her. That was when Denver fell. Simone shrieked and nearly killed the person who dared hurt her brother. "Angelina, your turn." She nodded and flew out while Iggy helped his cousin back to the platform and checked him over. "How bad is he?"
"Back pains, broken wrist," Iggy told him. "More pain than real injury." Iggy smiled at him. "Give him one of the green bottles." He looked at his father. "Not a chance," he told him. "You're not a chaser." He flew back out, relieving Ron from his position. The sucker who dared hurt his family was taken out in a surprise move right above him, which knocked him out of the way due to his air trail. That man went down hard and laid there groaning for a few moments. He caught Madam Hooch's eye as he zipped past her. "In a few," he called. "Let me score first."
She nearly laughed. This was definitely the dirtiest game ever played on this pitch. The other team put on another 'former' professional player and the injured one was taken off by a new medical person. Iggy was off the hook, but he did call out that his kit was on his platform. The nurse smiled at him and went to grab it. Then he yelled something about the lemon potion marked 'headache' being a red stone potion? She nodded, looking like she understood. Apparently he worked with her. He was knocked silly, but shook it off and grabbed the quaffle, out of someone's hands when they tossed it. Just far enough away that it wasn't a foul. Then he scored again. Her own protégé had blocked a shot and tossed it back to the Malfoy heir. How he was able to play she wasn't sure, but he didn't have any specks in his aura of recent healing energies on him so it was legal. He was so much like his father that she was briefly surprised that he wasn't a seeker. But she noticed the team's seeker and saw that she was definitely the sister of that one. Well, and a Potter was taking her place so she could get a break and get a bruise treated. What an odd occurrence. But then again, they were joined across the Weasley family. That one, he loved it, you could see it in his eyes, like the Malfoy he had just replaced. She felt like she was in a real game, there were so many professional players out there, including the children. The adult chaser changed off after a hard knock and this one came out with a shield. She nodded at her, remembering her fondly. The shield was appropriately applied so she couldn't say anything. Though what she was doing out there in that condition she was mystified by. Didn't they have more chasers?
Melvin stumbled into his house and immediately hit the couch with a hard thump. "I'm back," he called weakly. "Can I have some juice and an ice pack, father?"
Percy came out of the kitchen and stopped to look at him. "What the hell happened to you?"
"We won by fifty points," Melvin said with a smile, showing off his bleeding gums. "We played a pro team." He looked down at himself. "I look a lot better than Denver and Iggy, father." He grabbed the juice and drank it, in-between hisses as the orange acid washed over the cuts inside his mouth. "Raena's making us stuff." He accepted the ice pack and put it on his chest. "Ow." He lay back at the gentle urging and let his father check him over. "Father, I want to marry her," he said quietly.
"Then I'll trust you to be careful and considerate of her," Percy told him. "As long as she's agreed and there is a commitment, I won't say anything and will let you out of that promise." He smiled at his son. "What does she want?"
"She wants me to come over tonight and do what you did with mum," Melvin said with a grin. His father blushed. "I think it's great that you loved her that much." He lifted his head and kissed his father on the cheek. "What about Arabelle? We like her you know."
"I know. We're officially dating, son." He sat down beside him, moving some hair away from a black eye. "You need a trim."
"I slicked it back for the game with Uncle Draco's help." He blinked a few times. "I ache, dad."
"I suppose you would. Give me a moment to run you a bath and I'll slide you into one." He stood up. "Did anyone report on it?"
"Grandfather was there. So were both twins, Uncle Draco, and Uncle Harry. Ravena is the bomb as they say. She not only caught the snitch, she did this amazing thing where it flew right at her. The professional seeker she was playing against was amazed. Tried to say she used magic, but she pointed out that it liked her more because she was nicer." Percy laughed. "Madam Hooch thought it was funny too. Ravena can't use external, non-wand magic, even Dumbledore said she couldn't, so it was a legal catch. Oh, Aunt Angelina's at the hospital. They switched to a weighted quaffle at one point and hit her in the chest. She's got a deflated lung and all that good stuff. Iggy knew it was off and tossed it to Oliver, who raised a big, huge stink. That disqualified two more of their supposedly-former professional players and got us two bigger bruisers. They didn't like me at all." He smiled. "They liked Iggy and Denver even less though."
"I want to hear all about this one. Let me get you in the bath and you can finish telling me about the game." He went to start the bath, and call his father. It sounded like he needed to have a talk with someone about endangering his son's life.
"I volunteered," Melvin called out. "And I still ache, dad."
"I'm starting your bath now," Percy said, smiling and shaking his head. "My son is a loon," he told himself. By the time he got back out there, Melvin was asleep. If his cousins looked worse than him, they were probably in the hospital. At least some of it was dirt, though the great bruise on his chest worried him. He'd have him looked over tomorrow by someone other than Ignatius.
Xander looked up as George was led in and put in beside him. He looked out the window, then back at Draco, who was shaking his head. "A long game?"
"A long, *dirty* game," Draco corrected. "With a lot of people who conveniently quit for few weeks from their pro teams." He crossed his arms, but he was smiling. "And your team kicked their asses back to their own pitch crying in misery." He opened the door so Iggy could walk in, and lay down as well. "He's a bit banged up."
"I'd say!" Xander said, lifting his son's face to look at the mass of bruises. "Did you take a bludger to the face?"
"Twice," Iggy lisped. Then he grinned. He was now missing a tooth. "I'll replace it later," he said, getting free so he could lay back down again. "I ache, daddy."
"I'm sure you do." Xander looked at Draco. "Tell me you got it on film or something."
"Arthur did with something from the Technology Department. He said you could watch it later. He also said he was proud. They beat up the professional players and made them damn sorry, Xander." He sat on the end of the bed. "Angelina's in the hospital. A weighted quaffle collapsed her lung."
"And broke every rib on that side," Iggy added. "I teleported her myself. She'll be fine. The doctor that followed me back looked surprised. Apparently he's never seen a real Gryffindor versus Slytherin match before." He barely lifted his head again. "I need a bath and a lot of cuddles. I'm heading for one of the bathrooms." He got up with some help and a lot of moaning, but trudged that way.
"They were amazing," George agreed.
"You let our son play?"
"He has a concussion. Iggy sent him out early. We used most of the family in this one, Xander. Even Charlie got a few minutes in while the three younger seekers got a snack. Ravena caught the snitch. The secondary director of the British League was playing for part of the game, until he realized he was outclassed, then he sat there and watched. He said he wants to recruit those kids. They held their own against the dirtiest of the dirty in the pro leagues. They made those people very sorry to have ever taken on the team. He said he'd be willing to support a new team to get them to play together. Even Oliver got out there. He quit temporarily as well," he said with a smirk.
Xander looked flabbergasted. "I want to see this tape," he said finally.
"We'll get our copy tonight. Arthur assured me of it." He patted Xander's foot. "Enjoy George. He's a bit loopy still. I'd better check and make sure Denver made it to the bathroom. He came home with a groupie." He smirked as he went to break in on his son's activity. Too bad she was only bathing him. "Try to behave. You know the rules."
"Yes, father. No loud or kinky sex in the house where I might broadcast," Denver told him. The girl giggled. "Did Adrian show up yet?"
"I'm going to check on Simone now. You relax. You deserve it. I've seen pro games that weren't that long or that bad." He went to check on Ravena first. Her boyfriend was massaging her arms. They smiled at him and he knew they weren't going to do anything, so he went to check on Simone. She wasn't in her room and there was a note on her bed. "Adrian couldn't come over so I went out for some pampering. Took my allowance from the safe?" he read. He grimaced. He'd have to talk to her about that when she got back from the whorehouse. At least she had showered first. He chuckled and went to check on Xander again, but found the door locked and there were groans coming from inside, so he guessed George was getting his reward. The rest of the team would probably get theirs tomorrow. He went down to wait on Arthur and have a snack. It was dinner time after all. The house elves had laid a tray on his desk so he tucked in.
Xander slowly trudged into Angelina's room, frowning at everyone crowded around. "I've seen the tape," he told them. Katie winced. "You, sit." He frowned until she sat. "Thank you." He looked around and everyone walked out, after a short pat to some part of their chaser. Katie looked at him. "No, you can stay. It'll give you a reprieve from the family touching you." He grinned at her, then gave Angelina a grim look. "I want to know why you tried to destroy one of the most important relationships in my life, dear." He sat on the end of the bed, letting his back relax again.
"I thought you deserved the right to know who had forced that on you. I know you weren't happy getting it." She sniffed. "I didn't think it'd destroy anything, Xander, I really didn't. I thought I was helping. That way you could have the fight now and not in ten years when you'd be even more hurt."
He patted her on the leg. "I understand that much. I'm still pissed, but I do understand that much." He gave her a faint smile. "I'm only a little pissed and I'll get over it. Draco and I worked it out while we were stuck in bed together." Both women looked stunned. "I fell down his stairs and landed on him while fighting with him."
"We heard," Katie told him. "We thought you'd have been in different beds though."
Xander shook his head. "The doctor wanted me monitored and Draco is one of those people I can't hide pain from very well. We're fine." He looked at Angelina again. "I won't stay pissed at you forever and you'll still get your backrub as soon as you get out." She nodded, giving him a happier look. "As for you, Ms. Bell, I happen to know everything about giving pregnant people backrubs."
"They think I'm going to miscarry," she said quietly.
"I also know how to strengthen little things like that." He tipped her face up. "I helped Tara so she couldn't miscarry our daughter. If you want, I'll help. If not," he shrugged and grinned. "I'll help anyway."
"They said I'm halfway there so I'm not sure it'd be any use at the moment," she told him.
He pinched the end of her nose. "Then you'll have another one and gift the family with an actual keeper since we can't adopt Oliver." She laughed. "See, I'm good." He gave her a hug, then winced. "Ow." She helped him sit back up. "You might as well call them back in. We only have one game left and it's next weekend. Unless they decide that their injuries are too bad and ask for a postponement, which I'll take." He looked at them. "Of course, neither of you can play." Katie opened her mouth. "You'll either be in pain or bleeding, Katie, do you want to play that way?"
"Why would she be doing either?" Fred asked as he walked in.
Katie sighed. "The doctor said I'm halfway to miscarrying from that bludger hit I took." His face fell. "They gave me stuff to hold it off, but they're not sure if it'll work or not." He hugged her. "I was going to tell you tonight, after we got rid of the family."
"So I don't want her playing this next game, Fred. I want her resting. I'll do whatever I can to help her with it, and so will Iggy, but we're not taking any chances with her."
"Which means we'll need Iggy and Melvin," Fred said, letting her go slowly. "I'm sorry, Katie."
She frowned up at him. "For what? You were a good hundred meters away from me. Simone was closer and even she was out of range without a wand." She pulled him down for another hug. "It's not the first time. It's all right."
"Not the first time?" he asked. She went pink. "You never told me?"
"I tried, but I couldn't get the words to come out of my mouth."
"I wondered why you used to look at him and open your mouth, then walk away," George said from the doorway. "Not happy news?"
"Possibly not. We're not sure yet," Katie told him. "No one will know anything for another two days, and then I have to come back."
"I'm coming with you," Fred told her.
"Of course you are. Do you think I want to go through this alone?" He shook his head.
"Fred, you would have went anyway," Xander assured him. "She was going to tell you after we all got off her." Fred looked at him. "You know how pregnant tummies draw this family. I bet even Percy's gotten in a pat or two already."
"He has," Katie agreed. "His son's down the hall. Percy demanded he be checked over again because of the bruise on his chest so they admitted him for observation. His girlfriend's been over twice so far today."
Xander laughed, then his mouth clamped shut. "I'll get him for that."
George cast the counter. "Lock jaw, very nicely done," he said, stealing a kiss. Xander's jaw shut again and he sighed. "You probably should go see Percy soon, dear." Xander nodded and frowned, sending a bad thought at his buddy. The curse was lifted and he opened his mouth to make sure it worked. "Hmm, I like this way better," George said before attacking him.
"Hey, some of us can't laugh," Angelina complained. She nudged Xander with a toe, bringing him out of it. "Relax, you can jump him later."
"I can't have sex until my back is fully healed."
"Same with my head," George agreed. "Otherwise there are standing orders that we're to be tied to the bed and not allowed to touch."
"Which son said that?" Fred asked.
"The younger one. Mum got him again this morning. They woke up late and she caught them with his arm around her waist."
"They sleep like that all the time," Fred pointed out.
"Mum's been on a rip for the last few weeks," George reminded him. "No one's sure why, but she is."
"She's probably pissed at me," Xander sighed. "The vault I set up for the kids or something."
"Maybe," Ron agreed as he walked back in with Oliver, Percy, and Alicia. "Harry's down with Melvin, he'll be right up." He hugged Xander. "When do I get my backrub?"
"I think that you guys deserve an hour for that game, and I'll get you all over the next few days."
"Get off my man," George told his younger brother. "Before I fix you up with someone."
"Blind dates are traumatic, dear, don't do that to poor Ron or his kids."
"We have taste," George said coolly.
"Yeah, but you won't use it for him. Let Draco set him up on a blind date. He'll at least take the kids into account."
"I'm fine without dating for the moment," Ron put in. Percy smirked at him. "Just because you're getting some now doesn't mean the rest of us have to join in automatically."
"Ron!" Xander said, pinching him. "Leave Percy alone about Arabelle. She's a wonderful woman and I like them together. That's why I suggested she go after him." Percy stared at him in shock, his mouth flopping open. Everyone laughed. "What?" he asked innocently. "I pointed you out to her and said you were a very nice guy. She seems to agree with me." He grinned. "You're not mad, right?"
"No, not in the least. In this instance, your meddling nature worked out quite well. She's agreed to date me full time."
"Work permitting?" Fred teased.
"We work together and have adjoining offices," Percy told him with a small smirk and a blush. "I'm sure that won't be a problem."
"Oooh, snogging in the office. What will father say?" George teased.
"What he said when he saw us this morning, that he thinks we're cute together," Percy told him. George and Fred both giggled. "Xander, Melvin wanted to see you. He said he deserved one of your backrubs as well."
"Yes he does," Xander agreed happily. "Everyone who played deserves one. Even Charlie and Ron."
"Hey! I played more than Charlie did. I deserve at least a half-hour."
"Okay. I was willing to go up to a full hour, but if you only want a half-hour," Xander said with a smile. Harry walked in. "Look, everyone's here!"
Harry smiled at him. "Yup, I'm here, and no one stopped me in the halls. It was nice." Alicia smiled at him. "Is it my turn to spoil people with dinner tonight?"
"Sure," Fred agreed. "You even have a table to fit all of us."
"Draco's out of town so he won't be there, but I can bring the kids," Xander offered. Harry nodded, smiling at him. "You guys still haven't told me what you want if we win the championship." He stood up with a little bit of help. "I'm going to visit Melvin. Be right back." He walked out with help from Percy. "Why is he in here?"
"I got worried. He was wheezing a bit last night and he has a head-sized bruise in the middle of his chest."
"You're a great parent, Percy. I'd have rushed Iggy over the moment I saw it." He gave him a squeeze around the waist. "You're not mad?"
Percy stopped him and looked at him. "Xander, I could never be mad at you for this bit of meddling. Arabelle and I are well suited to each other and I adore her greatly. Even Kandy seems to adore her since she seems to pop in on her now and then. I caught them talking this morning. She's very happy that I've finally found someone to move on with." He smiled at his friend. "As for Tara and Severus, he's not mad at you and she's very sorry. Albus has a letter for you which probably has a lot of begging in it." He gave him a hug. "I'm sorry they had to guilt- trip you to stay, but you're needed at the school. I'm sure you'll work that out as well." He let him go. "Come, Melvin demanded he have equal time with you. Did you see the tape?"
"I did. I also want to know who a few of those players were."
"That's quidditch, Xander. It happens at all levels." He let him into Melvin's room, smiling at his son. "Here you are. Your favorite uncle."
Melvin gave him a hug. "When do I get my backrub?"
"As soon as you get out of here, that way you can get used to not laying on your butt." Melvin laughed. "How are you?"
"I ache. I feel like I took a weighted quaffle to the chest."
Xander smiled. "I saw the tape. You were just as amazing as Iggy was."
"Thanks, Uncle Xander. That was sweet of you to say." Melvin looked at his father then back at his uncle. "Do you think I'm good enough to move up?"
"I think you might be able to play in the fun leagues," Xander said truthfully. "The pros seem to like a lot more desire to play, kids like Oliver and Ronnie, who think it's everything in life. You have other special things though," he said with a tweak to the boy's ear. Melvin moved his head. "I think, and this is my favorite personal opinion, that you're a wonderful player, Melvin, but I don't think you want it enough to play pro. Coach possibly, though most of them are former players. Play in the fun leagues definitely because there's a lot of other players like you, who play for fun. But I don't think you're willing to practice everyday for hours a day, and get hurt like this every few months."
"Please, not that," Percy agreed. He smiled at his son. "I have an alternate suggestion but he's not willing to listen to me."
"I don't want to travel and break into tombs," Melvin said petulantly.
"Then what about not traveling and just breaking curses?" Xander suggested. "Sort of like what Bill's doing now? Mostly steady hours, decent enough pay depending on how you get hired. You have an automatic in with a very good trainer, and you could do it from your house in London."
"I might like that," Melvin admitted. "What about my herbs?"
"I think you might be able to combine the two. Bill was talking about being gouged by the herbologist in Diagon when she was helping him with something. It might not be your life, but ask him how often he uses herbs in his work."
"Plus, Andrea could do that with you," Percy agreed. "Using her sight spell could be the difference between doing a curse-breaking quickly or taking days or weeks."
"Good point," Melvin agreed, starting to look happier. "Do you think he'd mind if I asked him?"
"Bill? Probably not. I wouldn't talk to him today, he's a bit stressed because Draco took off for the weekend and left him with a client, but then again," he said thoughtfully. He pulled out his floo device and saw Percy's smirk. "It's hard for me to get near a fire sometimes. Bill Weasley." Bill's face popped up on the screen. "Bill, Melvin wants to talk to you about following in your esteemed footsteps. Both him and Andrea possibly." Bill's face lit up. "That good?"
"No, I could use Andrea's help," he said quickly. "Where is he and where is she?"
"She'll be in soon," Melvin called. "She went home for lunch." He took the floo device. "She can't always see everything."
"I need her to see if there's a lock mechanism on this stupid collar," Bill told him. "Think she can?"
"I don't know, you'd have to ask her," Melvin said, looking at the collar. "Is that a restraint or a control collar?"
"It's a mind control collar. How did you know?"
"The pattern of gems. It looks like it's meant to control someone like me. The pattern of the red stones is the traditional pattern used for people like me." Bill looked stunned. "You didn't know?"
"He and Charlie probably wouldn't," Percy said thoughtfully. "You may tell him."
"I can use pure magic, Uncle Bill. Thought streams and everything."
Bill looked at him in awe. "You're bloody amazing. I'll be there in an hour." He signed off.
Xander took back the cellphone-like device and put it back into his pocket. "Gee, I'm doing good today." Melvin laughed. "You rest and get better," he said, kissing him on the forehead. "If you're really good, I might even have you help Iggy with his newest project." He gave Percy a hug. "I'd better go repossess the hubby before he gets caught up in something other than my sexy body." He winked at the laughter and walked slowly back to Angelina's room. He found Fred sitting outside it. "More problems?"
"No, waiting on you. George started to get dizzy so Harry brought him to his house and everyone followed." He stood up and took Xander's arm. "A whole hour?"
"A whole hour of being under my talented fingers and getting off," he assured him. A nurse glared at him and he hissed at her, making her back away. "I hate that bitch, she was there."
Fred kept a firm hand on Xander's arm. "I'm sure everything will be fine. I really do need that backrub, Xander. Come on." Xander nodded, taking Fred to Harry's. He looked at Oliver, who came over to take control of Xander and his emotional outburst. "I'll be right back, going to get the Malfoy part of the family." Harry waved. Fred went to his father's office first. "Did you know the nurse who tortured Xander after he was burned is working again?" Arthur looked up at him. "We just ran into her at St. Mungos. She glared at him."
"I'm sure they checked her background," Arthur said. "Can you keep Xander away from her?"
"She's working on Melvin and Angelina's floor I guess. That's where we saw her."
"Then I'll send a discrete inquiry to the director. Thank you for warning me." He made a note of it. "How is Katie?"
"She told me she might be miscarrying," Fred said dejectedly, sitting down. "We won't know for two days."
"At least she's not very far along and she'll recover quickly, Fred. It could be much worse, she could have been nearly ready to give birth."
Fred shook his head. "I won't allow her on a broom if she's that far along." He groaned and smacked his own forehead. "I sound like some caveman."
"Yes, you do, but many future fathers sound that same way. I did about your mother. Percy did about Kandy. He refused to let her take a cab if I remember right. All those stories about women giving birth in a cab upset him a lot."
"I had forgotten about that," Fred said with the start of a smile. "We're over at Harry's and I'm supposedly getting the kids from mum. Come over later?"
"Or I might jump your mother and take her out to dinner instead," Arthur said with a smile. "Have fun, Fred."
"You as well. Make mum quit yelling at everyone if you can."
"I think I can do that," Arthur agreed. Fred shook his head as he left, making his father laugh. "Did you think we stopped that, son? Just because we're old doesn't mean we gave that up or that we're dead."
Fred popped into the Burrow and kissed his mother on the cheek. "Hi, mum. I'm stealing the kids for a cookout at Harry's." He saw the hurt look and the look at dinner. "What's that?"
"A birthday cake," she told him.
"Mum, no one's birthday is this week," Fred said, frowning at her. She nodded. He shook his head. "No, no one's is. I have my calendar marked with everyone's and I checked it the other day. Ron's is next up, but it's not for weeks."
She walked over to her calendar and sighed, taking off the page. "I think I had the wrong month."
"Mum, that's last year's," he told her, going to get his and copy it for her. He found one of their free calendars under the counter and magically copied all the information onto it, then went back to the Burrow. "Here, one of ours with all the birthdays already on it," he told her, hanging it in the old one's spot.
"That only shows today."
"Touch your wand to the blue button and wait for the noise." She did so and it farted at her, but changed to a monthly view. "The red one goes to a yearly, and the orange to a three year view. It's self-updating and everything, mum." She smiled and patted him on the cheek. "Mum, are you all right?"
"Just a bit tired, dear. Nothing too strenuous." She looked at her cake. "Maybe you should take that with you."
"I think we should get you to the doctor's, mum. Come with me?" She shook her head. "Mother, you're coming with me or I'm going to get Xander here to help, bad back and all. I'll even call dad, but you've got to come with me." He heard footsteps. "Kids?" The kids walked into the kitchen, most of them anyway. "Go to Harry's, we're having a cookout to celebrate that game. I'm taking mum somewhere and we'll be back later." Simone nodded. "Including whichever one's missing."
"Raena's outside with Iggy. I'll get them," Denver told him. He looked at his grandmother. "What's wrong?"
"I think she's been fairy dusted but I'm not sure," Fred told him. "Not a word to anyone." They all nodded and watched as he took off with her.
Simone looked at the kids. "All right, everyone to Harry's. I'll go tell Grandfather. No one says anything to anyone else." They nodded and trooped off, the younger ones going with Anastasia and Ravena. She flooed to her grandfather's office. "I'm going in," she told the secretary.
"You can't," she said, hurrying to stop her. Simone looked at her and she backed down. "He's in a meeting."
"I only need to stick my head in." She smiled. "Grandmother was fairy dusted according to Uncle Fred." The secretary nodded, looking sympathetic. She opened the door and stuck her head in. "Grandfather?" Arthur smiled at her. "Uncle Fred just kidnaped Grandmother to see about some fairy dust he thinks he found on her. You might want to go with her. She was baking a birthday cake." She saw the look at his calendar. "Exactly." She closed the door and walked away, waving. "The rest of us are at Harry's if we're needed." The secretary made a note of that to be passed along to Percy's secretary. She was nice and did a very good job.
Arthur walked out. "I'll be back in a few moments, tell anyone else that," he said as he breezed past. That would explain all of those mood swings and the confusion. If so, they'd have to have the house fumigated. He headed for the hospital and the receptionist looked scared, glancing behind him. "My wife?"
"Room three, Minister Weasley, sir. I was hoping it wasn't more of your family hurt." Arthur smiled at her. "They're waiting on you. Your son has already left." He walked that way slowly, exuding confidence and calmness. He was such a great man. Very effective as well. One of the better ministers of magic ever in her opinion.
Fred reappeared at Harry's house and found all the adults looking at him. "She tested positive for fairy dust."
"Well, dirt," George said, but he was smiling. "Not a real emergency." Xander nodded, looking smug. "You knew?"
"I suspected. I know Ron did too because he had a home testing kit."
"It came out negative," Ron told him.
"We'll have to get some professionals in there to tent and clean the house," Bill suggested. He smiled. "Think it's only in the garden?"
"I don't know a thing about fairy dustings so maybe," Fred admitted. "Does anyone know of a reputable company?"
"I do," Bill told him. "Gringotts uses them every now and then. Let me call." He went to the floo and made the call, arranging to meet someone out there for a look around the house this afternoon.
Fred looked at George. "I gave her one of our calendars."
"That's fine. I thought she already had one or I would have done it sooner," George noted. He stood up and winced, holding his head. "I think it's time for...." Iggy walked in with a large tray of bottles. He handed him one, Ron one, Xander two, and then left to dose everyone else. "That's efficient."
"Much better service than at the hospital," Harry joked. "Where did Malfoy go?"
"Out of town for the weekend," Xander said with a shrug. "Something about a spa and needing a rest."
"In other words, he's went to find a new house of ill repute to visit since his daughter seems to like his favorite one?" Bill suggested.
Fred nodded. "Most likely. Did Simone really buy her own membership in one?"
Xander nodded. "For her birthday and Christmas present. She uses it about once a week if Adrian isn't around."
"She and Adrian Maclay took up?" Harry asked.
Xander nodded. "It's a practical arrangement. She has someone to talk to and to pamper her in that special way. He gets sex. She gets sex. He gets someone to spout off to because he wants to take over Percy's job. Tara's not happy with it, she thinks Adrian's using Simone."
"I hate to tell her this, but it's probably the other way around," Bill noted. He looked outside. "Charlie's back." He stood up. "All right, who wants to go?"
"I will," George offered.
"You'll be in bed," Bill told him, frowning at him. "Remember, you can't have sex until you're better." George opened his mouth. "Remember how long Charlie's concussion lasted?" George whimpered and looked at his husband.
"I don't care if I do give you a headache, I'm having sex as soon as my back quits hurting," Xander assured him. "No kinky stuff though. Just you under me," he finished with a grin.
"I think I can lay there and take it without too much pain," George agreed, giving him a kiss.
"I'll go over," Fred offered. "I'll even help pay for the treatment for the house." The other sons nodded. "Good. Then let's eat."
Harry pointed out back. "We put the meat on when you left. As long as the walking stomachs haven't inhaled it all, there should be some left." He looked around. "What should I be doing about my son's groping problem? I caught them again a few minutes ago."
"Talk with him about it," Ron suggested. "Tell him everything you know and then send him to Draco or to Xander for the extra-long and involved sex talk. That way he won't be dumb about it."
Ravena screamed from somewhere upstairs, making everyone jump.
"Of course, it might be too late now," Bill said dryly. "That didn't sound like pain or horror."
"Damn, and I thought you were vocal," Xander said, nudging Fred. His brother-in-law went bright red.
"He never woke up Gryffindor," Ron said smugly. "He only got complaints from the neighbors. You two are louder."
Harry looked at Ron. "You can't be serious." Ron nodded. "They woke up the house?"
"Four in the morning, screaming from kinky sex, and I got to answer 'what was that noise' questions for the next two days," Ron said smugly. "The Headmaster was not amused with them. It kept him up as well."
"We haven't done that particular thing again," Xander said, blushing a little.
"In the house," George finished. Xander smiled at him. "Oh, no, not tonight. That will definitely give me a headache and get us tied to the bed without being able to touch each other."
Harry shook his head. How did every discussion with those two turn back to sex or sports? Or sexual sports? "I think I'll go check on the kids, make sure they're all right." He hurried up to his son's room, finding them laying together on the bed, fully clothed. "Why did you scream, Ravena?"
"He was popping my elbow back into place," she told him, pointing at it. "Iggy was in here."
"He was," Ronnie agreed, nodding. "You know I'm not having sex in the house, father." Ravena looked at him. "We need to find a special place of our own once we're old enough."
"Yes, we should," she agreed. "Both at school and out of it."
"Funny," Harry said dryly. "That's not going to happen." He shut the door. "Ravena, I know you like him, and I appreciate that you understand him, but I'm not comfortable with the idea of you two getting that physical while you're still in school."
"Father, she's mine. I'm not letting her go. Even if I have to become one of the psychotic stalkers that seem to find her fascinating, I'm not letting her go."
"He's worried about becoming a grandfather," Ravena told him, giving him a pat on the stomach. "Trust me, Uncle Harry, it's not going to happen. I like Ron a lot, enough to be that special for him, but neither of us is ready for that yet. When we are, we'll act very adult and come tell you. Like Melvin did for Percy."
Harry relaxed. "I can accept that. I don't care if you date, but no more groping."
"Nothing more than gentle kisses," his son agreed. His father smiled at him. "Is lunch ready?"
"Not yet, son. Soon though. Then we'll have to go see your grandmother. She got dusted with fairy dust."
"No wonder she's been screaming about sex," Ronnie said thoughtfully. "Aren't they perpetual virgins?"
"Perpetual egg-headed virgins," Ravena corrected. "The ultimate in dim bulbs and twittering virgins on top of it." She slid off the bed, carefully cradling her elbow. "Is Uncle Xander back yet? He wraps arms well."
"He's downstairs, talking about sex." Harry smiled as his son kissed his girlfriend. "Gentle kisses, no eating her face."
"That comes later," Ronnie said smugly, winking at Ravena. She shook her head. "No?"
"Not yet, dear. I'm not ready for that yet." She let him walk her downstairs and Harry sighed in relief. Those two were so much harder to deal with than Agatha and Ryan were. Hopefully Mellie found a normal boy to like. He went down to supervise lunch, finding Xander and George lying on a lounger in the sun together, stripped down to some very revealing swimwear. He blushed and looked away from them, finding Fred watching them. "What?"
"They went for a quick dip in the pond but found the fairy nest," Fred told him quietly, leading him away. "We had to knock them out because both of them got bitten. George was a might hysterical because Xander was trying to check on him. It should wear off before they can wake up."
"Let me get a blanket for them," Harry said, hurrying into the house.
"Why? They're wearing more than usual," Alicia said as she walked up to Fred with a plate. "Barbeque?"
"Draco introduced it last summer and the kids like it," Fred told her. He tasted it and smiled. "This one's sweeter and less smoky, I like that." He watched as Harry covered the twosome then went to get his own dinner. "Are you happy?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "I like him, I really do, but he's very quiet. I guess I like to be more active. I think he and Angelina would get on great if Oliver doesn't get off his ass."
"You still like Oliver?"
"Well," she said, frowning. "That I'm not sure of either. That wasn't me so much as it was Katie. For right now, let's put me as unsettled all right?"
"You can always come talk to me, dear." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders when she blushed. "Come on, let's talk inside the house." He led her inside, not noticing Harry frowning.
Katie touched Harry's back. "Leave it alone. She's ranting at him about a few things." She smiled at him. "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine. Nothing's really been odd recently. The last game went fine. The next game's looking to be a loser if I don't catch the snitch fast. There's talk of letting Draco play in my place for that one since it's a more physical team."
"With his back?"
"It should be healed by then. The next game's not for two weeks. The coaches were really impressed with a lot of things." He watched Simone move away from her brother and head for Oliver. "You don't think she has a crush on him do you?"
"No," Katie said with a smile. "He might understand her passions, but probably not her. She's more than smart enough to realize that." She gave him a squeeze. "I want to talk to you so give me some of that and sit with me, cutie." He sliced her off a few ribs and walked her over to a small table in the shade. "Harry, are you happy with Alicia?"
He grimaced. "I don't know." He chose his words carefully so he wouldn't upset his girlfriend's best friend and one of his only ones. "She's so much ....more than I am. More active, more outgoing. I don't like to be that friendly anymore. It's unsettling for me."
"That's what I thought." She patted him on the arm. "I've been noticing something else as well. Angelina's not really happy with Oliver. She expects him to be the same guy we played with for years. But she would suit you."
He shook his head. "She wouldn't like it out here. It's quiet and she likes the noise of the city."
"No, she likes noise. Her former husband had her somewhere like the Burrow. Where noise was nearby, but you felt like you were deaf because you couldn't hear it. Out here, it's a natural sort of noise. The fountain. The kids, the animals." He nodded, starting to relax. "If they don't work out, maybe you should try for Angelina. She might like you that way. She didn't get that close to you so she'll have to start off figuring what you're like." Loud laughter came from the house and she smiled. "Sounds like Fred and Alicia are getting on again."
"You're not jealous?"
"No. Not in the least." She smiled. "See, there's many things you don't know about us since we've been apart. You've grown up, we've grown up. We've moved closer, you've moved out away from people." He chuckled. "Think about it. Alicia won't be mad." She kissed him on the cheek. "Now all we need to do is find Oliver someone fabulous."
"The only female player I know is a seeker," Harry told her.
She snorted. "No, that wouldn't do for him. He'd never understand the mind of a seeker, that artistic undertone that each of you have for the pretty ball." She winked and stood up. "Let me know, all right?" He nodded and she went to check on Fred and Alicia. "What are you doing to my girlfriend?" she asked in her most teasing voice.
"Hugging her for all she's worth because of you two," he told her, pulling her closer to hug her too. "You two are great."
"I'm not dumping you, Fred." He looked down at her. "I'm not. I'm not like that."
"Neither of us really are," Alicia told him. "It's more of a convenience thing, like back in school."
"Well." Fred smiled at them. "If one of you wasn't taken, I might ask to see a bit, but I can understand that."
"If one of us wasn't being pained by her relationship, we might even agree."
"Harry agreed with you," Katie told her.
Katie nodded. "Right after wondering if Simone had a crush on Oliver."
Fred snorted. Then he shook his head. "Eww. Bad thoughts. That's almost as bad as her and Charlie."
"Her and Charlie?" Alicia asked.
"He's her perfect man, and for a good reason," Fred told her. "She's hoping he finds her someone like him and passes him on to her. I think Charlie may need the same help some days."
"There's one in the press all the time. Used to work with dragons. Now she works with other flying creatures," Alicia told him. "I have her book at home."
"Ooooh, yeah, I like that idea," Fred said, getting his devious expression. "I think I can talk Hagrid into inviting someone like that up to guest lecture." The girls laughed. "Tell me more about her." They leaned closer, helping him plan things for his older brother.
Simone looked at Oliver, who was alone with her, and smiled. "So, not liking the Angelina babe anymore?" she asked, going back to sucking on her lollipop.
"I do, but I don't think she sees me." He put down his napkin. "Why aren't you eating?"
"I already ate and I'm going for my daily swim soon." She grinned. "Don't worry, Uncle Oliver, there is a woman out there for you somewhere. Ask Grandmum when she's back to normal, she can probably tell something."
He smiled at her. "I'm not really worried about it."
"Of course you are. Everyone has to worry about that issue sometime." She stood up. "You behave. No more wild ideas about my uncle Xander." She winked and left him alone to figure out if she was teasing or not.
He finally decided on teasing and put his head down. "That girl is just too much to bear some days," he told himself.
"We often feel that way about Simone," George said as he sat on one side of Oliver. Fred sat on the other. "What did she say?"
"That she's off for her daily swim."
"And?" Fred asked.
"That there was someone out there for me. Even if I wasn't really worried about it."
Fred patted him on the back. "There is. I'm not sure who she is, but there is one."
"Very true," George agreed. "It's now my life's work to see all my friends married in the same sort of fashion as I am."
"With a squeak for vows?" Fred asked.
"No, happily, idiot."
"Oh, that." Fred nodded. "I just had a turn in my relationship as well."
"Are you guys moving one step to the left?" George asked.
"No, I'm keeping Katie, she just told me this deep, dark secret." He smirked. "Which I won't tell."
"If it's about them, most of us already knew that," Oliver said, lifting his head off the table. "I think Angelina and Harry are better suited though. Even though her daughter adores me."
"She might, but she loves Harry more because he's got other kids to play with and house elves for her to learn how to make cookies from." George smiled. "A direct quote when I asked her by the way."
"Then I'll happily let her go and see if they make it," Oliver agreed, smiling at them. "No magic wand movements to turn a woman for me?"
"That seems to be Xander's department," George admitted. "He set Percy and Kandy up, somewhat. He set Arabelle on Percy as well as we just found out. Fred, didn't he introduce you to Elizabeth?"
"Yup." Fred nodded slowly. "He did take me there and introduce me as his most loving brother- in-law." He grimaced. "That man of yours is horrible, George. He needs to be stopped before he sets Denver and Simone up."
"That one I'd like to see," Oliver told them. "If it matters and you have a chance to mention it, Simone's passion for flying is great to me. Maybe not the creature side, but that same desire I'd love to have in my life."
"I'll tell him, see what he says," George told him, patting him on the back. "Relax, I'm sure we'll run into her some day soon. If not, maybe Tara will." He winked. "She knows lots of women."
"Most of them like other women," Fred pointed out. Oliver frowned as he turned to look at him. "So did Tara until she got so lonely she couldn't stand it anymore. Then she said she took off the no-penis part and it came down to Snape and Lupin."
"Then why do all the girls go to her for relationship advice?"
"Because otherwise they'd have to go to Xander or me?" George suggested. "In case you hadn't noticed, most of the teachers at the school aren't exactly in a long term relationship."
"Even when it was McGonagall she used to tell some of the girls to give up because they'd never have a real relationship until they finished growing up," Fred added.
"I gave one boy that advice recently. His girlfriend was mad at him because he was spending more time with his familiar than her."
Oliver shook his head with a wry expression on his face. "And people wonder why the community is getting smaller."
"It's because there aren't that many people like mum around," Fred noted dryly. "Most wizarding families consider four kids to be enough."
"And I'm proudly one of them," George agreed. "I can't see how mum did it when we were three, Ginny was a newborn, Ron was one."
"Hmm, that means Percy would have been five, Bill and Charlie in school most of the year," Oliver pointed out. "She only had a few of you as tots at a time."
"Well she always did say that Percy and the rest of us came as a surprise," Fred pointed out. George laughed. Oliver looked at him. "What?"
"You mean you were an accident?" Oliver teased.
"Of the best sort. They forgot the contraceptive charm." George smiled. "Do you know, Ginny was right." Fred looked clueless, or possibly stunned. "Back when she was preggers with Simone, she taunted me by saying we probably heard her conception. Thinking back, wouldn't that have been the week that those storms knocked out the power?"
Fred laughed. "I was too busy clinging to you and Percy to worry about what mum and dad were doing, as long as they were there. But you're probably right."
Oliver shook his head. "This is why I'm an only child. So my mother never has to hear this conversation." Both twins laughed and patted him on the back. "What am I going to do about the banquet and auction next month?"
"We'll bid on you," Fred told him. "We'll make it a stunning double date and go out for some fun."
"Can we?" Oliver asked him. Fred nodded so he smiled. "Fine, but don't be turning into your brother. I'm not easy."
"I never thought you were. You seem like the jewelry sort to me," Fred said, trying hard not to smile.
Oliver swatted at him. "Go pick on the kids. They need it. Denver's probably miserable because he hasn't seen a woman in days."
"He had a boy over yesterday," George told him. Oliver looked stunned. "Yeah, he's like that. He likes women a bit more, but not that much. When Xander asked him what was going on in his head, he admitted that if he could find a woman with a nice chest and put a dick on her, he'd be really happy."
"With all her included parts still there?" Fred asked. George nodded. "Well, he won't be finding it here." He noticed Denver giving Agatha looks. "You might want to break that up, before he gets his ass kicked."
George started to stand up, but Denver was already strolling over to his target so he sat down with a groan to see how she handled it.
"So, Aggie," Denver said, smiling at her. "No Ryan?"
"For most of the summer thankfully. Why? I'm not putting out for you." She sipped her drink.
"Ah, come on, it'll be fun and I'm sure I can show you things he doesn't know."
"What! All men just grunt and thrust. It's not fun for some of us."
Denver leaned closer, breathing in her ear. "Then he's not doing it right. I promise to make it all better and set a higher standard for him to have to come up to." She gave him a light shove. "Really, if he's not touching and licking, then he's boring. Why stay with boring?"
"Because I saw you naked when I were six?" Agatha pointed out. He laughed and shook his head. "Then how about because my father's about to Crucio you." She pointed at where Harry was watching them. Then she pinched him on the throat. "We'll see. I have been meaning to ask what the big deal was about, but I think I'd like something a little less...personal." She smirked and strolled off to talk to her father.
"Denver," George called, bringing him over. "Don't hit on the poor girl, she'll only ever have Ryan and he's not knowledgeable. Why torment her with visions of what she's missing?" he pointed out quietly.
Denver sighed and sat down. "I'm needy," he complained.
"I know, nephew, but it gets no better as you get older. You have to learn how to handle those dry periods."
"It's been almost five years for some of us," Oliver pointed out.
Denver stared at him, mouth open. "HOW?" he demanded. "Is this some sort of curse? Did Uncle Xander's ex get you too, Uncle Oliver? If she did, tell me and I'll help research the cure. That's horrible."
George and Fred shook their heads, trying not to laugh. "Even if you're married, there are dry times," George assured him. "Learn how to deal with them yourself, nephew."
"I did that earlier and it didn't help any. I need a warm body wrapped around me to help me get there, you know."
"Then save up your allowance and do what your sister did," Fred suggested. His face lit up and Denver teleported home to bug his sister for her pass and his allowance. Fred looked at George. "I think Draco may have created a monster."
"Well, Xander did say that Draco was his son, so apparently that throbbing need that keeps George happy was passed down, undiluted and possibly added to, through Draco to Denver," Oliver said with a smirk.
"I'll tell him you said that," George assured him.
"Where is Xander?"
"Swimming with Simone. He misses having a pool."
"You guys are buying a house, have one put in."
"Why? We have a pond, he likes those better," George said with a small smile.
"You guys are buying a house like the Burrow?"
"From what little I've been told, apparently," George agreed. "Only more horizontal than vertical. Xander always did think that the top level was going to fall off if we got too loud up there."
"I'm sure your ghoul wouldn't appreciate that," Oliver said, smiling at Harry as he walked over. "You did a great job on the house, Harry."
"Thanks." Harry sat across from them. "Where's Xander?"
"Swimming with Simone."
"Oh." Harry grimaced and looked around, then back at them. "Did Denver just hit on my daughter?"
George nodded. "He's not had any in nearly a day."
"He was advised not to make Ryan look too bad to her," Fred added.
Oliver snorted. "That boy's just horny. Maybe his father should think about getting him fixed before he comes home with a kid like him, out of the blue."
"Or six or seven," Harry agreed with a smile. "Thank you for warning him off. I know she's not happy with Ryan, but they're bound together."
"Which sucks for her unless someone shows her the glory of vibrators," George agreed. Harry looked shocked. "What?"
"You use those sort of things?" Harry asked.
"I still spend three nights a week with my loving twin and he's just not doing it for me," George quipped. Fred spluttered, coughing on his latest drink of water. "Sorry, dear, hate to break it to you this way." He blew a kiss.
"Let me move," Oliver said, moving over next to Harry. "I don't want caught in the middle of that."
"And all this time you assured me that you were calling my name when you were with Xander," Fred said with a pout. "I'm hurt."
"I still love you, but I think you'd better stick to women, Fred. You just don't understand the male body."
Fred broke, he started to laugh. "I understand mine well enough, thank you, and I happen to adore women. What kept me from dressing you up in your sleep when I was Denver's age I don't know."
"Um, the girls?" George suggested.
Fred thought about it, then nodded. "Yeah, probably. That and the fact that mum would have killed me. She nearly did when I got caught out of the tower that night groping Katie."
"Hmm, I remember that. I got that lecture as well," George said with fondness. "She wouldn't believe that we weren't playing with her."
"Do I even want to ask why your mother didn't bring that up in one of her many rants at Iggy?" Harry asked.
George smiled at him. "I told her that I was perfectly happy masturbating for at least another few months and she passed out," he said proudly. Harry blushed and shook his head, looking down at the table. "It stopped that argument fairly quickly. Not even father would touch that one."
"Tell me about it," Fred agreed. "Did you know he's the one who gave Percy that anti-lust spell?"
"I figured that it either came from when Charlie was in school, or Percy got totally fed up with us and went to McGonagall about it," George pointed out.
"No, he checked with her before he did it."
"So that's why she smirked at us our entire fifth year."
Harry raised a hand. "Stop, please," he begged. "I don't need to know that much. I remember that smirk and I don't want to think about why she had it."
"It wasn't any worse than Iggy running up to hide under her skirts because he thought she was a tree," Fred pointed out. Oliver looked at him. "Never heard that one?"
Oliver shook his head. "Not that I recall."
"Adrian and Ryan had ganged up on Iggy once again," George noted, his best imitation of his father in place. "Poor thing, couldn't get away from them."
Fred poked him. "Five-year-old Iggy ran up behind McGonagall and decided that she must be part tree because she was always wearing green." Oliver drew in a breath and held it. "He quickly found out that he wasn't when he saw the legs. She jumped around trying to get him out from under there, beating at her skirt. It only made him scream worse because he thought they was attacking him. Then he looked up and saw boxer shorts. So of course he asked after he got done screaming in fear."
"McGonagall told him they were more comfortable and she'd let him wear panties some day so he could find out for himself, then shooed the other boys off so he could escape and she could drink herself senseless," George finished.
Harry looked at him. "How many teachers had to get drunk when Iggy was little?"
"Snape did once or twice," George said thoughtfully.
"Flitwick a few times as well, that whole conversation about him *not* being a house elf made his weekend go very badly," George added. "Plus I know Snape did more than twice. He and Iggy butted heads about every year. Especially that year he interrupted the silence potion by giggling. Ryan's fault of course." He grinned. "Let's see. Sprout only had one incident of it I think, and that was mostly Adrian with Iggy helping. Albus had a number of times, but I'm not sure if that was the rest of the school or us."
"Plus, let's not forget Trelawny and her amazing 'what sort of creature are you' rant that time," Fred added for good measure. "I don't think she every *really* got over the boys coming up and painting her crystal ball pretty colors so it would shine pretty things on the walls for her enjoyment. Or Ryan and his amazing peeing in the tea leaves thing that he blamed on Iggy."
"Yeah, but I only count that as one incident since she didn't stop drinking for a week." George smiled. "Not half as many as Ryan caused. Adrian was mostly good, he was just in most of the better pranks."
"It used to depend on whether or not Tara and Willow were fighting," Fred said thoughtfully.
"They got the kids to fight. That's also the cause for the whole 'I'm jumping off the Astronomy tower to prove I'm better' incident. It's a good thing Snape caught Ryan before he tried."
"It might have saved some trouble if he hadn't," Fred said happily.
"We can't change that one, Fred."
"I know, but still."
Oliver burst out laughing. "They jumped off where?"
Harry looked at George. "Are kids like Ignatius the reason why none of the other teaches are married or have children?"
"Probably," the twins said together.
The twins looked at Oliver again. "The Astronomy tower. They scrambled out one of those small windows and out onto the ledge. Ryan wanted to prove he was the more manly eight-year- old," Fred told Oliver. "Tara and Willow were fighting so they were fighting as well. He wanted to prove he was better than Adrian and Iggy got brought into it."
"My son had a flash of his father screaming at him and tried to back out but Ryan wouldn't let him. So he did the next best thing, he screamed as loud as he could that Ryan was trying to kill them by pushing them off. Fortunately, Snape was out gathering herbs in the greenhouses because it was a Hogsmeade weekend and no one else was around. Even Tara wailed on Ryan that time if I remember right."
"You had to sedate Xander when he got back," Fred reminded him.
"Yes, dear little Ryan Rosenberg nearly died that day. Snape got to beat him first, long before Willow made it back from town. Albus and Hagrid had to pull him off the boy. I think he nearly did an unforgivable curse on him actually."
"Willow was stopped at the 'r' in Crucio," Fred said helpfully.
George nodded. "Yes she was. Albus had to knock her out." He looked smug. "Iggy started to sob as soon as he was rescued, about how it wasn't entirely his fault. Snape yelled at him for a very long time before we got up there. First for being stupid enough to follow such a dare, and then for not being able to get past him. Iggy stopped that one by pointing out Ryan was in front of the window and he had tried to stop it. Snape gave him his first hug that day I think."
"I think so too," Fred agreed. He smiled as Xander came back. "Hey, did Snape give your son a hug before he rescued him from that ledge?"
Xander walked over and joined them, shaking his head. "I don't think so. I think Severus was starting to respect his mind before then because he was always down in the dungeons, mostly because Ryan wouldn't dare go down there. He was terrified of Severus." He worked to get more water out of his hair with the towel over his shoulders. "I think it scared Severus as much as it did the other parents. How long did it take for Ryan to be able to sit down?"
"He got a pain potion that night from Albus and a lecture that made him cry and apologize. But I think at least a week with wincing."
"If he had been mine, he might have died," Harry said darkly, looking over at Agatha. "Can I tell her that one?"
"Sure. Go for it. We love telling embarrassing Ryan stories," Xander said with a grin. "She might even remember part of the aftermath. Iggy was grounded to the store for the next month."
"It's a good thing it wasn't Simone, she might have pushed him if he had chickened out," Oliver told them.
Xander shook his head. "She's too smart to ever go up there. He bragged about it once, later that year, and she gave him a disgusted look. Told him he was an idiot whose mother apparently needed to have more children so she had a smart heir."
"Did she ever meet Adrian?"
"I think she might have met them both once, without knowing who they were. Iggy was sick that summer and she spent some time helping us watch over him."
"That's right, that was the year Ravena was born," Fred agreed. "We saw a lot of that branch of the family that summer." He leaned closer. "Has anyone noticed Shey Ravettena looks a lot like Charlie?" he asked quietly.
"Oh, yeah," Xander agreed. "I wasn't going to ask though. I didn't think Charlie had a fascination with the dark."
"He did, but we were still toddlers," George told him. "They dated briefly in high school."
"That would have been a pregnancy for the record books," Harry pointed out. "It could be wishful thinking."
"No, she has his hair. At that age, Charlie's was the same flame red," Fred said thoughtfully. "Maybe one of those conferences? Shey's mother is active in the conservation efforts."
"Maybe," George agreed with a shrug. "I'm thinking that if he doesn't know I'm not going to ask. If he does, then he's probably got good reason for leaving her there."
"I agree," Xander put in. "I'm not willing to bring it up with him. I like Charlie, but I wouldn't do that for any of you but Percy. Possibly Ron."
"If Ron starts dating again, should we look for an apocalypse?" Harry asked. Xander gave him a look. "Sorry, but he keeps saying he's going to then backs off."
"You went through the same thing with moving," Oliver gently reminded him. "He'll start when the kids are older, that way they can't get any more cute."
"Because nothing is scarier or cuter than an eight-year-old Weasley," George said dryly.
"Unless it's an eight-year-old Weasley with a nine year old Malfoy-Weasley," Xander reminded him. "Remember all the trouble Iggy and Simone used to get into? Then your father would let them go because they always looked so pitiful afterwards."
"I do, that's why I'm letting you discipline the grandchildren, dear," George told him.
"And another generation of Weasley destruction comes into being," Oliver said.
"Not yet," Xander told him. "Give us a year after they graduate. I'll put down five sickles that Melvin and Andrea will have one on the way or will be trying."
"Iggy and Raena might have their charm broken by then," George pointed out. "I caught Iggy saying something about promising Salazar a Beltane baby."
"Hmm. Possibly," Xander agreed, smiling at him. "Which one of the Malfoys do you think will slip up first?"
"Considering Draco's had to take Denver to the doctor's once already to have him checked over? I'd say him. Simone's much more conscious about her fun," Oliver told them. Everyone looked at him. "What? I do watch the kids as well."
"Good point, and I agree with him," Xander and George said in unison.
Harry shook his head. "At least he won't be part of the newest prank team." He stood up. "I'd better kill the fire before we get burnt meat. Does anyone want anything else?"
"Go up and hide in your room, Harry, we won't mind and we'll make sure everything is cleaned up," Fred told him. Harry looked at him. "It was obvious you were getting antsy."
"Maybe." Harry killed the fire and went inside, going up to his room. He didn't want to be rude, but he had reached his tolerance for people for the day. He locked himself in until everyone was gone.
Angelina looked up as her ward's door opened and admitted her boyfriend. "Hi, Oliver," she said quietly. She had one other woman in the room with her and didn't want to wake her up. "How was the luncheon?"
"Good. Harry left early so he wouldn't have to deal with all of us." He sat beside her, touching her hand. "Are you happy?"
She grimaced. "Which one of them told you?"
"Fred and George."
"Oh." She wet her lips. "I am, but you're ....flashy, and happy, and all those sort of things."
He smiled. "Thank you." He leaned over and kissed her gently. "Harry and Alicia broke up as well. She thinks you'd do good with him, help him out of his shell and the like."
"Really?" She shifted uncomfortably. "Why did she say that?"
"Because your daughter likes him more than me. Because you both like to live quietly and hide a lot," he admitted with a smile. "They think you should go see him once you're out."
"You're not mad?"
"No. Not in the least. You know I love you, and I always will, but I'm not the one for you. You wouldn't like to go to all the games and cheer me on like the other girls do for their guys. I get that and it makes me happy to see you happy."
She smiled and relaxed. "Thank you, Oliver."
"You're welcome, dear." He shifted closer. "So, will you?" She nodded. "Good. He's expecting to come pick you up. Your daughter's presently playing with his house elves." She rolled her eyes. "It's cute."
"I'm sure it is, but she'll get spoiled."
"Not really. She'll learn how to deal with them long before she starts school. That way she'll be able to get extra dinners out of them." She chuckled and grabbed her chest. "Easy."
"You made me laugh," she said, but she was smiling. "Harry's really putting me up?"
"Yup. You and little Alicia." He stood up. "I'm going to let everyone else in, okay?" She nodded and let him push some of her hair back. "Be right back. Everyone's downstairs checking on Molly Weasley."
"What happened now?"
"They had a fairy nest out by their pond and they've been getting her."
"No wonder she's been yelling at Simone and Denver," she said dryly.
"I think she does that anyway." He grinned and went to get everyone. He came back with the twins and Xander, all of them smiling. "See, everyone. The girls went back to their shop since one of their helpers just quit." When Harry came in, he got the seat next to the bed, even though he looked uncomfortable. "We'd give it to Xander, but he's being a fussy git," Oliver assured him.
"Fine, I'll take it then," Harry agreed. He smiled at Angelina. "I snuck you in some of the leftover's from lunch. I'm sorry if they're a little overdone." He pulled a pouch out of his pocket and handed it to her. George and Fred dug around for the veggies he had made them bring for her, and soon she had a full tray in front of her. That, of course, was when the nurse came in.
"What is that?" the nurse asked.
"Barbeque ribs," Xander said, giving her a neutral look. Sure, he hated her with every fiber of his being, but his mate was there so he couldn't beat her for the pain she put him through.
"That's not regulation food," she said primly.
"Gee, and just think, the doctor *made* you give her drugs too. Aren't you so disappointed," Xander said dryly. She looked at him and started. "Yeah, it's me. This is a close personal friend. Go away." She hurried out, coming back with security guards. "Hey, guys."
"Professor Harris-Weasley," one of the guards said, smiling at him. "Not in a bed yourself this time?" He nodded at everyone.
"No, this beauty is part of my fun league team and they got her bad on Saturday." He glanced at the nurse, then at the guard he had played checkers with while he had been in last time. "Let me guess, she told you I was psychotic and dangerous?"
The guards nodded. "Yes, sir. Said you were a runaway from a mental institution."
Xander pulled up his left pantsleg, making the guards look away. "She made sure I got these by mistreating me. Make her go away, before you have a body to clean up." He let his pantsleg down and gave them a reassuring grin. "She refused me pain medicine, told everyone I had set myself on fire, and then tried to scrub off the medicine that my friends provided for me with a wire brush."
The guards looked at her. "What did you do to get those?" the other guard asked.
"I got this from calling lightening to save my nieces," Xander told him.
"Oh, shit, that was you?" the second guard asked. Everyone nodded and he glared at the nurse. "You hurt him because he saved the school from an attack? You evil fucking bitch! I'm telling the shift supervisor." She huffed off. "I'm very sorry, Professor. I'll personally make sure she doesn't come near your friend again. My baby brother was there when you did that. He always said nice things about you, even being a Ravenclaw." He nodded at them then left with his cohort.
"Thank you for staying calm, Professor," the first guard said with a smile of his own. "We'll have a talk with her." They closed the door behind them.
"You really called lightening?" the other woman asked.
Xander looked at her. "I really called Earth lightening and the regular stuff decided to mate with it in me," he told her. "I ached for months; I had to go to a muggle hospital to be treated." She shuddered. "We'll try to be more quiet," he assured her, giving her the same reassuring smile before looking at his family. Everyone was staring at him. "I was nice."
"You were," George agreed, giving him a squeeze. "I'm very proud of you."
Oliver snorted. "I'm impressed that he held back."
Everyone nodded. It was good that Xander had shown discretion and hadn't destroyed the woman. They were all very proud of him.
Severus followed his wife through the wooden gate and stopped to appreciate the view. It was calm here. Healing in feeling, and very quiet. Fortunately, he had brought books so she could meditate and 'reconnect' in peace. Whatever that meant. He followed her to the office, carrying their small bag. She hadn't packed nearly anything and he had followed her lead, though he had a shrunken bag in his pocket.
Tara smiled at the host, shaking hands with him. "Tara and Severus Maclay?"
"Really?" Severus asked dryly.
"There is a tradition of matrilineal naming in this community," the host told them. He smiled at them. "I see someone will be taking part in our clothing optional program." Snape dropped the bag. "She didn't tell you?"
"He would have refused to come." She smiled sweetly at him. "You can wear pants and a shirt, but no robes, no vests, nothing else." She looked at their host again. "During that heat we had last fall, he was wearing that outfit and liking it. He needs to relax. I need to relax." She signed them in and paid for their stay. "Are we in a bungalow?"
"Indeed you are," he said, handing over keys. "Give me a moment to put on shorts so your mate is not so upset," he said gently, heading into the back.
Severus looked at his wife and opened his mouth, but she kissed him until he forgot what he was going to say. "You can wear a t-shirt and pants," she reminded him gently. "This is the place to relax and heal. You can't do that under fifty pounds of cloth." She grinned. "I'm going to join in on the nudist meditation group. You can join us if you want, but you won't be allowed to wear more than boxer shorts. And yes, you can yell at me once we're in the room." She followed their host out to their bungalow and she squealed in delight. "I love this place." She gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you for providing this sanctuary." He smiled and left them alone. She started to strip and he grabbed her.
"You are not walking around naked in front of other people," he hissed.
She smiled and patted him on the chest. "Severus, they're going to be nude too. They don't care. This isn't about something dirty, this is about being free and happy, maybe even healing." She touched the tattoo on his arm, making him flinch. "There's another reason I brought you here. There's a healer here, she's worked on other magical marks before. She's removed some of them." He nodded, looking more accepting. She pulled a bag out of her pocket and enlarged it, handing it over. "This is all you're allowed to wear until we leave. You can wear a full outfit or less, and I would prefer less, every day. You will not have a robe, a vest, or anything starched." She summoned his bags and smiled at him. "I'll put this in the safe in case you need anything in there." She left while he was still stunned and got undressed while she was in the other room. She came back out with a smile and nothing else. "I'm going to find a good tree to sit under and commune with the earth. Are you coming?" He shook his head, struck dumb by her attitude. "Then come find me when you quit ranting about me." She walked out, dodging his grabbing hands.
He sat on the bed and stared at the door. How could she have done this to him? She knew he wasn't going to comfortable here. But perhaps that was the point. To bring him more into her world. He took off his robe. There was no way he was going naked, nudity was abhorrent to him and an evil he would like to see eradicated from some people's lives. Especially hers when they weren't alone. He did as he was ordered to, knowing it would set him apart from everyone else, but he could get down to a t-shirt and pants. He was still covered enough and with the carrot of having his tattoo removed, he was willing to be hit with the stick a few times. He summoned a book and laid down to relax. He did need the vacation.
Iggy looked up as something chimed out in the hallway, sitting up slowly. Raena was asleep beside him and his wand was next to hers on the dresser. He slid off the bed slowly, moving over to get both his wands, then threw open the door, startling the creature in the hallway. "What the fuck are you doing scaring me like that, Anyanka!"
She looked him over and licked his lips. "You are adorable."
"I'll banish you to the nether regions of hell that even the demons fear," Raena said sleepily. "My husband, demon."
"This is my dad's ex," Iggy said, looking her over. "You're pregnant. Why? Or better yet, how?"
"It's to stabilize the interrealm problems. My boy."
Iggy put a hand on her stomach and shook his head. "Your girl and boy. The girl's demonic, the boy's not." He looked at her, then withdrew from her. "Why else are you here?"
"I wanted to see your father or Uncle, are they about?"
"They're at the hospital checking on a friend," Raena said, forcing herself to sit up. "Come back later."
Simone walked out to meet them. "Sorry, I had to get dressed." She looked the demon over, then shook her head. "I couldn't pull off that look. I'd miss my robes." She looked the demon in the eyes. "Is there something I or the male heir can help you with?"
"No, I needed to share the news. It's about the thing with William."
Simone nodded. "Then tell me and I'll pass on the message, or you can find my father at the World Cup team's pitch for practice. Home in on Morgana if you need a better link." Anyanka smiled at her. "Never come back here. We don't want to appear to be consorting with the wrong sort, now do we?" she asked with a smile.
Ayanka snorted. "Honey, your family was the wrong sort until your father. No one would be surprised."
"Yes, they would. My sisters' reputations would be ruined by you being here. Now leave, before they're unable to make a good marriage." The demon faded out. "Iggy, pants are necessary if you step out into the hallway. Even I have to put on clothes." She walked away, not looking at his underwear. She stopped and turned back to him. Then she gave him a smirk. "You missed it. Denver hit on Aggie. She turned him down." Then she chuckled and left him alone.
"He must have been really desperate," Iggy said as he walked back into his bedroom and shut the door. "Dear, am I falling out of these?"
She grabbed him and pulled him back down beside her. "Just a bit, but I'm liking you peeking out." She gave him a kiss, making him forget everything else. His wands were tossed out of the way before he rolled her onto her back to continue what they had been doing before her nap.
"I love you."
"I know, dear, and in two more weeks you can officially show me how much." He grinned before attacking her neck. "Easy. If you mark me, someone will complain. Namely the more fanatical adults."
"She was dusted with fairy dust," Iggy said, moving down to kiss between her breasts. She pushed his head down so he continued to play with a small hot spot she had there. "Severus is at a nudist colony. Think we'll have to make a nerve tonic?"
"That's not a mental image I wanted," she noted, smiling. "But a nerve tonic would be nice. If only to get that image out of my head."
He lifted his head and smiled at her. "Tara's fucking him every which way possible." She groaned and swatted at him, pushing his head back down.
"Don't talk about that subject while you're trying to talk me into sex. I don't want to think about our mentor and sex any more than I want to think about anyone in your family and sex." He chuckled against her skin, making her wiggle.
"Grandmother's here," Denver called in warning.
"Damn," Raena sighed, pulling a pillow over her face. "Dear, find my clothes on your way to the bathroom please."
"Sure." He slid off her and tossed her clothes at her while he went to take care of things.
She slid the clothes over her lingerie and sat up, ignoring the her own desire. Women could get away with that for a while, but she was going to hurt him when they finally got together again. She took Iggy's hand as he came out of the bathroom in his jeans and walked him down the stairs. "Grandmother," she said with a smile. "More problems?"
"No, dear, I wanted to apologize," she said, smiling at them. "What a pretty camisole," she noted.
"Yes, and she's wearing it for me," Iggy told her, sitting down so he could pull his wife into his lap. "We understand about fairy dust, Grandmother. It's not a problem." He gave Raena a squeeze, making her purr. "What's the other news at the Burrow?"
"Nothing much," she said, settling herself in her chair. "No adults?"
"They're at the hospital visiting Angelina and Draco's at practice," Raena told her. "Draco should be back soon, he left hours ago."
"He might be shopping," Iggy suggested. "He does do that on occasion."
Molly smiled. "He takes the most care with his wardrobe. It's nice to see him well-dressed."
"You're hoping he's going to get back with Ginny?" Simone asked as she walked in.
"She is your mother, young lady. You will address her as such."
"Yay." Simone flopped down beside Iggy and pulled out Raena's top to look down it. "Where'd you get that and did they have something similar in leather?"
"No leather, and the usual bra shop," Iggy told her with a grin. "But I have a catalog you'd die to look through," he teased. "All it will cost you is polishing my broom for me this summer and helping me shift books."
She fought with herself and gave in with a whimper. "If it's that good, it's a deal," she sighed. Iggy summoned a small book and handed it over. "Oh," she moaned, curling up to look through the kink catalog. "I want this," she said, showing it to him.
"Your birthday's not for a month and a half," Molly reminded her with a smile. "May I see?" Simone showed her the book and her eyes went wide. "Surely you don't want something like that."
"Of course I do. I *like* leather," she purred. "Iggy, get me that?"
"I'll get you something magnificent that will make Adrian drool on his shoes," he promised. She smiled at him. "Books and polishing?"
"Sweetheart, for this, I'd bear your kids right about now," she murmured, going back to her book. When her brother came in she pointed at one of the toys she had found. "Toy," she said with a goofy grin.
"So I see." He looked at the toys then shook his head. "I need something better." He took the catalog and looked though it, then showed what he found to his sister and cousins. "I want that one if it matters."
Molly got up and walked over to see, then she blushed. "Denver!"
"What?" He smiled at her. "I like things like that. It's a good substitute for when I can't find one of my women."
"Or men," Raena suggested with a smirk.
"Or men," he agreed. "I like my warm, soft things."
Molly went back to her seat but kept the catalog. "I think you have more important things to worry about, like your grades."
"I got good grades," Denver told her. "We're waiting on OWL results." Molly pulled a few envelopes out of her purse and tossed them onto the table. "Why did they send them there?"
"They sent them to Ron, dear." She smiled as they dove for their results. "Ignatius, what happened during your Transfiguration test?"
"I passed out. I was tired and weak, so I lost control and passed out instead of losing control," he admitted. "I did turn the pile of fabric into a chair for a second, but it lost it's focus. It's not my best subject." He smiled at his results. "Nearly perfect."
"Perfect," Simone bragged.
"Off by two," Denver admitted.
Raena looked at her envelope then smiled. "Perfect and exempt from taking my NEWTs since I don't need them." Simone shrieked in outrage.
"She doesn't," Iggy agreed. "There's no reason for her to take them again. For that matter, there's no reason for me to stress over mine. We really could have gotten out of the rest of our schooling by tests."
"Then why didn't you?" Denver asked.
"Because we've got the most freedom we'll ever have at this point," Raena told him. "Iggy still needs to work on some gryphon potions, but we do make our own schedules and we have all the time and space we want. We'll even have a space all to ourselves next year since we needed space to work in."
"But you don't want to be a Prefect," Simone pointed out.
"No, we don't," Iggy assured her. "Why would we? We'd have to give up a lot of our free and practice time to deal with problems and we don't want the attention anyway.
"So your space is secure," Raena assured her, giving her a pat on the leg. She summoned a catalog and handed it over. "Because you did so well."
Simone drooled as she opened the Ann Summers catalog, laughing at a few of the things.
"Don't encourage that," Molly chided gently. "She needs to concentrate on things other than her personal pleasure."
Simone looked up. "I always make sure my lovers have fun too," she noted. Then she went back to her browsing, bending down corners of pages that she wanted things on. Denver nudged her and she marked that page for him.
Molly shook her head. "There were other letters, but Arthur locked them in his study until dinner tomorrow night."
Simone and Denver both looked up. "Official letters from the school?" they asked in unison. Molly nodded, smiling at them. "Yes!" They high-fived.
Molly smiled at their antics. She really did love those children. "Where are the others?"
"Ravena's at Uncle Harry's. Anastasia is at a picnic with a few of the other Gryffs," Simone said absently. "Lucien and Maeve should be with you."
"Xander stole them back earlier, they're in the store as far as I know."
"Morgana went with Father to his practice. His coach wanted to meet her," Denver told her, leaning on his sister's shoulder so he could see the things too. He whimpered and pointed at something so she marked it for him. "Thanks, sis."
"You're welcome," she said, turning the page. "Iggy, why are we moving books around?"
"Because we're moving Raena's things around," Iggy told her. Molly looked interested. "We're renting a storage space for it," he said, giving her a subtle squeeze to his wife's butt.
"That's a good thing I guess," Molly said, starting to frown. "Why not use our outbuilding?"
"Because it's got a leak," Iggy reminded her.
"True. I forgot about that." She smiled at them. "Won't that be expensive?"
"Not really," Raena told him. "It's less than our yearly allowance. The gryphons agreed we could have a small raise because of it."
"The caves were crowded the last time I was down there," Simone agreed.
Molly nodded, it made sense to her. They were taking care of her grandchildren very well from what she could tell. She settled in to watch them look at the smut catalog to get raunchy ideas. Children were so different these days. Her sons had went out and experimented; these ones did more than Charlie ever had but they still needed catalogs. He never had. Maybe he should talk with those two about how to get by with real people and without fancy lingerie and sex toys.
Tara led her mate into the healer's tent, smiling at her. "He's the one I talked to you about," she said, sitting him down next to her. He was wearing a simple t-shirt and pants, and it made her happy.
The healer looked at the tattoo, then looked at him. "Momentary stupidity?"
He nodded. "I was lost and they took me in. Eventually I woke up and realized how dumb I was."
She nodded. "I've seen similar." She smiled at him. "I've also got a problem. I can't remove it." He opened his mouth. "But I know someone who can. It will take a small ritual to cancel out the magic inherent in the marking." He nodded slowly. She handed over a card. "Go here and tell him that I sent you to take care of that mark, that you've changed. He's not one of us, but he knows. He also knows a Druid tattoo artist who can help you remove it or cover it."
"I have the choice?" he asked quietly.
"It would take a Normal procedure using some advanced technology, but it can be bled off once it's made inactive." He relaxed. "The one I'm sending you to, he helped remove a mark of Eyghon a few years back."
"Rupert or Ethan?" Tara asked.
"Ethan, his came back," she said with a smirk. "He's here again this year as a matter of fact. Hiding from his lover from what he growled at me when I greeted him. Apparently his Spike is very jump-happy at the moment."
"I thought he always was," Snape told her.
She shrugged. "They'd been apart for a while. When Spike came home, Ethan found himself tied to the bed and treated to his lover's full attention for over a week. He was a tad bit sore when he came."
"If I see him, I'll smile sweetly and ask how Spike is," Tara said with a smirk of her own. Her mate looked at her. "I keep telling you I'm not this nice little girl you think I am, you're going to have to realize that one day soon, Sev." She stood up. "I'll let him go to London tomorrow. Thank you." The healer nodded. "If we can help you, call on us."
"I could use a fourth couple for the power raising ceremony tonight," she offered.
Tara blushed. "I don't think I can do that. Being naked is one thing, having sex with a group around is another." Her husband spluttered. "See?" She grinned. "But he does potions and I'm still doing my thing. Call on us for anything else." She led her mate out of the tent, taking him back to their bungalow.
"Put on some clothes," he hissed when he noticed another woman looking at her.
She turned and pressed herself against him, kissing him as hard and as deeply as she could. "Shut up, Severus. She's admiring my aura. Not my body." She let him go and walked in front of him, wiggling a bit extra for him.
He growled and picked her up, taking her back to their bed. He would show her who was allowed to look at her body and who wasn't.
Percy walked up to a nondescript door and tapped gently. The door opened and the young woman on the other side opened her mouth. "You thought we wouldn't be aware of this?" he asked with a smile as he walked in. She closed and locked the door. "This is nice," he said with great appreciation. It was light, it was airy, it was even spacious. He walked into what was becoming the study and tapped Iggy on the shoulder. "You need to provide one person in the family with a set of keys, just in case. That way we can pack it up if necessary," he said gently.
Iggy handed back a set of keys. "For Melvin." He looked back and smiled. "What took you so long?"
"I was a bit busy with more official matters," Percy told him, leading him over to a chair and making him sit. "Do your fathers know?"
Raena walked in with a glass of water for him. "They do. Xander helped us look for this place. We own the building."
"I know, that's what got our attention." He smiled at her. "We do watch you two, you know." Iggy nodded, letting his wife slide into his lap. "I also know why you needed this sanctuary, I even understand the need. I would love to have my own private place." He sipped his water. "Lemon pain potion?"
"Lemon heart healing potion. You haven't been taking your medicine," Iggy told him. He grinned. "Is this where you recognize us as adults?"
Percy put his empty glass down. "It is. I don't want you to tell the other children, but I do understand the need. I'm proud of you for keeping it so quiet." He shifted so he was facing them. "I'll trust you to act like adults, and I trust you not to tell my mother because she'd get a bit upset with you." They nodded. "Have you told Bill yet?"
"I told him we have a place of our own near here, but not where exactly," Iggy admitted. His wife looked at him. "I was going to offer him that empty apartment. He needs to get away from everyone." She nodded, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Other than that, the building is empty. That's why father agreed to get this one. It's got nice apartments, it's sound, and it was empty."
"Why was it empty?" Percy asked.
"The old landlord kicked everyone out before he started the procedure to sell it," Iggy told him.
"I noticed on the paperwork that Xander had it listed as a home for pagans and people discriminated against due to alternative religions. Then it was crossed out."
"The person doing the paperwork for us thought it might be going too far," Raena told him. "Do you like it?"
"I adore it. My first apartment was nowhere near as nice." He reached over and patted her on the knee. "Remember that you're still in school." They nodded. "And that you can't always run back here, children."
Iggy snorted. "We've got our own private room in the school, Uncle Percy. We're guarding one of the alternative exits."
He smiled. "I know." He stood up. "Give me the tour?"
"Sure." Raena got up and took his arm, walking him around the nice penthouse.
Iggy relaxed and smiled. This was a good thing. Percy would keep it quiet. Grandmother wouldn't ever find out, even if their grandfather did. He got up and went back to shelving his and his wife's book collection. She had some very interesting tomes that he wanted to read soon.
Bill looked up as Percy walked in, smiling at him. He nudged Melvin. "I think those are for you."
Percy pulled another set of keys out of his pocket. "Those are Iggy's backup set," he told him. "Watch them with your life and make sure no one knows that they have need of them." Melvin nodded and tucked them into his pocket. "The others are for you if you want them," Percy told his older brother, handing them over with a smile. "Your beloved nephew agreed."
Bill looked at the keys. "These are apartment keys." He looked up. "I have an apartment."
"One with three bedrooms and a lot of light at a quarter of the rent you pay now?" Percy asked.
"No," Bill agreed. "Where?" His ear was whispered into and he smiled. "Well, the nephew has good taste."
"Do I get to know that as well?" Melvin asked. His father whispered it in his ear as well, making him smile. "That area is filled with us. Good cover." Bill looked at him. "What? They're going to have to think like that. With their hobbies, they need to think that way."
"Good point," Bill said, putting his feet up on his desk. "Enough room for a worktable or two?"
"Enough room for a workroom," Percy told him. "If you call for one of them, they'll let you see it. It will be just you and them. We're counting on you to be the voice of reason if they get out of hand."
"Why is your office involved in this?" Bill asked with a sly look at his younger brother. Percy got his 'busted' look and he laughed. "They're that special?"
"Anyone who makes a philosopher's stone is an interest to us, Bill. As they've now got three including her ring, we're keeping an eye on them. We're also aware of threats against them." He pulled a chair over and sat down. "You have no idea the amount of people who would be interested in getting them to work for them. Or those who want to force them to work for them." Bill nodded, losing his smile. "We're looking out for them because we have to, and because they're family. The same reason we watch out for Melvin, because people will want to force him to do things he's not comfortable with." Bill nodded firmly. "So therefore we're adding you to our spy network." He grinned. "I'm sure you won't mind moving to a larger apartment where you'll have privacy most of the year and free reign over your pets. The only thing you'll have to do is watch out for our beloved nephew when he's around."
"I can do that," Bill agreed. He ruffled Melvin's hair, making him groan in protest. "Why does he need their keys?"
"I've got the spare set in case something happens," Melvin told him. "In case one of them gets kidnaped or something like that so I can clear it out."
"Percy, you do realize that you've managed to corrupt your son to the spookier side?"
Percy nodded. "It's a hazard of the job. He knows enough to be careful."
"I knew enough to be careful when you got your last promotion. It wasn't like people didn't follow us around to try and snatch us before," Melvin said with some disgust. Both adults looked at him, making him laugh nervously. "You didn't know that?"
"No, I hadn't," Percy said, frowning at him. "When was that, son?"
"The shopping trip right after you got promoted," Melvin admitted with a small sigh. "There were two creeps following us but they left off when Xander appeared with Iggy." His father raised an eyebrow. "Xander scared them off."
"I know he has in the past," Percy agreed. Melvin's mouth fell open. "Last year in fact."
"Why do they want you? You were only an archivist," Bill pointed out.
"Father lords over all the arcane knowledge that the Ministry holds," Melvin told him. "Everything that's in the hidden the files is open to him. There are whole vaults full of dark magic knowledge. Not to mention the artifacts that his section holds, and now the newer section's things as well."
Bill looked at Percy. "I thought you ran a library!"
"I do," Percy agreed. "The archives also contained all the knowledge that the Ministry had ever gathered. Including all the dark magic we've ever stolen from the Death Eaters and Voldemort's personal libraries and the light magic that we've been hiding for years. On top of the artifacts lying about the Ministry, which are technically under me as well. With my second job, the danger is upped a bit, but I already had the dangerous things under my control. That's why we've got such stringent standards for people who work in the archives." He stood up. "I'm off to lunch. Coming?"
Bill grabbed his jacket as he stood up. "Sure. I could eat. Melvin?"
"I'm sixteen, I'm constantly eating," Melvin pointed out as he followed them out of the office. "When does this hunger end?"
"It changes to the one you love," Bill told him, putting an arm around his shoulder. "Perce, tell me more about this place?"
"Iggy or Raena will show you around whenever you're ready. They even suggested it be you because you're supposedly cool." He smiled at his older brother. "You can't tell anyone that they're there."
"Of course not. They need the space to shag in private. Is mum over that rant yet?"
"Yes, she's moved on to Charlie and his lack of love life."
"Ouch," Bill said, shaking his head. He caught the door before it hit him. "Thank you," he told his sister.
"Where are you going?"
"Lunch," Percy told her. "Would you like to attend?"
"If it wouldn't be too much trouble. You might be able to help Bill with a problem that just got dropped in his lap." She handed over the file in her hand. "Draco sent it through me."
"I thought you were taking up your new job this week," Melvin told her.
"I did, but he was in a rush and sent it to me by accident. It's not even my area." She followed them outside and out to Diagon. "Where is this special shopping area that Xander found?"
"In another part of London," Bill told her with a smile. "Did you see Charlie's new jacket?"
"That's why I asked. He looked good in it."
"You have to be brought across by one of them or you have to have shared fluid with them recently," Percy told her. She shuddered. He stopped and stepped closer. "You are aware that your ex is one of them?" he asked quietly. She nodded, looking pissed. "Then why did you shudder?"
"I imagined Xander having to do it," she said with another shudder.
"No, Draco could do that for you," Bill pointed out.
Melvin cleared his throat. "Please don't think about that again. I got a flash of it and I agree, it's nasty." She stared at him. "Have you forgotten that I could do that?"
"No," she told him, giving him a cheek pinch. "I hadn't forgotten. I simply didn't think I was broadcasting."
Melvin nodded. "You think very loudly," he assured her. Then he grabbed his father's arm and made him walk with him. "Father, can you please give me more advice about Andrea?"
"Of course, Melvin. What did you need to know this time?"
"I want to thrill her with a special gift when school starts but I'm not sure what to get her. She is rather special and I want it to make her so giddy she dances. She says she doesn't, but I know she will if I can find the right thing."
Bill moved up beside him and whispered in his ear. "Bill!" Percy said with disgust. Bill smirked at him.
"I would, but we did promise, Uncle Bill. Besides, she wants me to take that on our wedding night," he said quietly, blushing cutely.
Bill patted him on the back. "Good boy. Don't rush into things. Give her something that will make her dance for other reasons."
He grinned. "I got a remote control thing from Simone when I asked her advice. I'm helping her into it before we leave the station and I'm going to tease her the whole time." Someone cleared their throat. "Andrea!" he said happily, giving her a hug. "You didn't tell me you'd be here."
"My parents wanted me to show them the bookstore." She pointed at the two adults behind her.
Melvin laughed nervously. "I was kidding. I would never do anything sexual with her until we're married," he assured them.
"Dear, we have trust with our daughter. She's told us as much as she's comfortable with," her mother assured him, giving him a smile. "No devices until after you're married."
"Yes, ma'am. Can you help me pick out a present for her then?" he asked with his cutest and most pitiful look. "I want to make her so happy she dances on the train."
She gave him a hug. "I'm sure you'll find something sweet for her. Remember your promise though, young man." He nodded. "Percy," she said, shaking his hand. "Are you shopping?"
"No, a business lunch," Percy told her, waving a hand at the other two adults. "Mr and Mrs Reams, these are my brother Bill and my sister Ginny. She's Simone and Anastasia's mother."
"Ah! I met Anastasia earlier today," she said, shaking their hands, then her husband did so. "Such a polite young woman."
Ginny nodded. "She wants to take a societal position when she's older and take on the worries of her father's position." She smiled at Melvin. "I didn't know you were that serious."
"She accepted his proposal last year," Mr. Reams said proudly. "Melvin is a very nice boy and we adore them together."
Andrea giggled nervously. "I think we should probably let them get on with their plans." Her mouth was taken by her boyfriend and she forgot all about those nasty adults before he was done. "Melvin," she moaned. "More?"
"Later. We don't need pictures in the paper," Ginny reminded them, gently removing Melvin from her personal space. "Say goodbye for a few more days, Melvin."
"Bye, Andrea. Lunch next week?"
"Definitely," she agreed with a smile. She took her father's arm and let him walk her off. "I'll see you soon," she called back.
Melvin had the goofiest grin on his face as they continued to his uncle's ex-girlfriend's restaurant. The waitress smiled at him. "We ran into his girlfriend," Bill told her. She tittered and left the menus with them.
Percy looked at his sister. "You're fully back to yourself?" She nodded. "Then I'm happy for you."
"Are you going to try for Draco?" Bill asked. "I know I asked before, but this time would be after lunch with him the other day."
"He reacts to me," she admitted, "but I'm not sure he wants me any longer. I do miss him. Looking at him is painful and gut wrenching because I know it's my fault and I can't get that back." The brothers nodded. "Do you think I have a chance?"
"Only he'll be able to tell you that," Percy said wisely. "Give it time though. Don't rush him. You betrayed him and he doesn't come back lightly from that. He was mad enough to act against you."
"Make your desires clear but make sure that he knows you want to take it slowly and with baby steps," Bill agreed. "Expect some anger as well. He was so pissed at you that he was ready to have you killed at one point because you were hurting his children and they are his world."
"I know, and I should have known better. I realized, but it was like I was stuck in my head watching myself talk and screaming at myself for everything I said. I don't know what any of that was about really. I'm better now though and I'd like some recognition of that."
"I'm sure he will," Percy agreed.
"He had lunch alone with you, that was a sign that he knows," Bill pointed out. She looked so sad. "He'll loosen up sometime and tell you if you have a chance. Wait for it, Ginny." She nodded, ordering a small mixed drink with her lunch when the waitress came back. "How about that sampler plate Xander usually gets."
"Those things are expensive," Melvin told him. Percy nodded. "Can I have the hungry teen plate?" he ordered.
Bill checked his menu and smiled. "I like that. Give me one as well, only with ham instead of turkey."
"Yes, sir," the waitress told him, looking at Percy. "For you?" she asked with a smile.
"My girlfriend appearing would be nice," he said, looking at his menu. "For food, I think I'll have the caesar salad and some tea." He handed over his menu with a smile. "I remembered you," he said at the shocked look. "Your voice is very distinctive."
"I'm trying to change that now. I'm being graded," she whined.
"Take acting classes," Melvin suggested. "Is Arabelle coming?"
"I'll tell her you're here," she agreed, taking Ginny's food order and walking away to report to her boss in the back room.
Arabelle walked out and slid in next to Melvin, giving him a hug. "Get her something soft and tactile, but nothing clothing. Maybe something like a fabric book? There's a display up the street."
"Those are pillow books," Percy hissed, giving her a shocked look.
"And? It's not like they don't know what to do," she said with a blown kiss. "You wanted to have lunch, dear?"
Percy rolled his eyes. "I doubt he needs such suggestions. His mind and his cousins give him enough of them."
"There are some which aren't about sex. There's one on massage, including raised images of how to give them and hit all the rights spots. It's sixty sickles and it's about three hundred pages," she told him.
"They didn't do the exchange rate?" Bill asked.
She shook her head. "The publisher is Thai. The owner of the bookstore said he was lucky that they got it that far already with the conversion problems they've been having."
Melvin looked at his father. "May I please have my allowance and run down there to look at it?" he begged.
"Yes," Percy sighed, digging into his pocket, but Bill handed it over. "I have it."
"So pay me back," Bill snorted. "I think young lovers are cute." Melvin slid past him and ran out of the restaurant to go get that book. "That was a good suggestion."
"Practical," Ginny agreed.
Arabelle smiled and pulled out her copy of the book. "I was going to use it to bone up on my technique."
Percy blushed. "Woman, stop it," he hissed, but he was smiling. The rest of the family laughed and his girlfriend kissed him, making him blush brighter.
George tapped Xander on the shoulder, making him grunt. "Aren't you done with that one yet?" he asked.
"Few more minutes," Xander said distractedly. "The wires were all corroded." He snipped off another piece of wire and went back to rewiring the doll. When he was done, he put in the magic-run batteries and turned it on, making it sit up in his hands and coo at him. "There, all done," he said proudly, handing it off. George smiled and took it out to the front of the shop, handing it to the little girl and her mother. Xander cleaned up after himself and relaxed in his special chair. When his mate came back in and locked the door behind him, he smirked. "Surely you're not going to suggest we snuggle in the lab, dear. What would Fred say?"
"He'd say that it's better than in the living room," George pointed out. He walked up to grab a kiss and held his husband's face in his hands. "I want to see our house, Xander. Isn't it done yet?"
"We got it done last week, I was waiting for the paint fumes to die out," he admitted with a grin. "I was going to kidnap you guys this weekend and show you around."
"Really?" George pulled a stool over and sat across from him. "Where is this magical house?"
"I'll show you this weekend. Pack a small bag and a set of trunks for both of us." Xander blew a kiss. "I can't spoil my surprise and the muggles won't be gone until then." His husband opened his mouth. "The pond out back is thought to have a smaller version of Nessie."
"We're living by the school?" George asked. Xander shook his head. "Then where is this mythical place?"
"Further inland and closer to your old home. That's all you're getting until this weekend, even if you tickle me into submission." He shifted in his chair doing nearly happy wiggles. This surprise was one of his best yet and he was excited to show his husband exactly what was going to come out of it.
George looked this husband and appreciated the thoughtfulness that had went into this surprise, but he really wanted to know. It been over six months now and he was stressed about what the surprise was going to be. If only he knew something he could wait until this weekend. Maybe. His mate simply smiled and let him stew. Oh, the torture of having someone who knew your mind so well.
Fred pounded on the door. "Get out here! The customers are backing up and I need your help! Whatever you spread around was happening today is apparently happening so get ready and come help me." His footsteps pounded back into the store giving them a few last-seconds together before work called.
Xander grinned as he stood up. "We'd better get going before Fred hunts us down and hurts us."
"I guess," agreed George. Together they walked out to help with the rush, putting up the new products. They were theirs after all, a new joint product from them.
Xander looked at all of his family. Most of them looked excited. A few of them even looked happy. Now was time for his surprise. He nodded at his nephew Denver, who whistled to gain everyone's attention. "Is everyone ready? If so, take hold of the portkey and we'll be off."
The family gathered around the parchment. As soon as everyone was attached Xander activated the portkey and they were off. They landed outside a modest two-story house. The few bushes spread around the outside made it look like every other house in the country. From the outside you couldn't tell that there was anything special. Xander tossed his husband a set of keys with the biggest smile on his face.
George hurried forward, happily unlocking the door so everyone could walk inside and see. He had never really had his own place. The shop had been his and Fred's, this was his and only his family's. He looked in each of the downstairs rooms, noticing the living room, a nice-sized dining room that would fit the whole family, and the kitchen that they had wanted to put in the shop. He also found the new work area and the room for their son's own workroom. Upstairs, there were a series of doors too close together to go to normal bedrooms. He opened the first one and found a small sitting room with two doors off of it. "Xander? Dear? Could you please come here and explain this to me?"
Xander hurried up the stairs and grabbed his husband for a hug. "I had the new creator for the colonies training with me here. Isn't this great? Now everyone can have their own bathroom and we don't have to keep running into each other in the halls, unless we want to." He smiled beautifully.
George shook his head in wonder. "You're one strange little guy, Xander. But I love you anyway." They shared a kiss. "Who gets which room?"
"I think we should let everyone decide that for themselves. Guys! Come pick rooms!"
The rest of the family ran up the stairs, going to pick their own rooms. Except Percy, his was marked for him. Once everyone was settled Xander suggested that they all go out the pond in the back. Everyone changed into their swimsuits and met Xander by the pond. Well, it could actually be called a loch he guessed.
"Wow, this is cool!" Denver said. He walked to the edge of the rocks, looking down into the dark water. "Do we have a sea creature in here?"
Xander chuckled and smiled at his nephew. "It's possible. The muggles seem to think so. It took me weeks to get them to go away." He snorted. "As a matter-of-fact we'll have to post signs saying that this is now private property. It's the only way we can get them to leave us alone. If you see one, tell Charlie."
Charlie laughed. "I only deal with dragon's." He looked out on the water as a small ripple started. "What is that?"
Xander clapped him on the back. "It's the baby probably."
Charlie looked at him like he was insane. "Baby?"
Xander nodded. "Yup, baby." He sat down on the edge of a loch, wiggling his toes in the water. "There are underwater caves all around the area. I've seen the baby twice, she's actually pretty cute, but I wasn't sure if they'd show up this year or not for us. Oh, and 'Nessie' is a boy, he hates being called that." He grinned at his brother-in-law. "She's not harmful, but if you pee in the water, her mother told her that she could nibble on your toes. She said so."
George gaped at his husband. "She what?" Xander beamed at him before slipping into the water. "No, uh-huh, get out of there and tell us the rest!" he demanded.
Charlie took off his shirt and slipped into the water as well. "Is she dragon-like?"
"More like snake-like," Xander told him with a grin, "but she's nice and only a little slimy. She likes to wrap herself around my waist and shimmy sometimes." They swam out to where the ripples were, and he patted the water with his hand. "Come on up, baby." A three-foot snout peeked up, followed by the rest of the baby's head. "This is my brother-in-law Charlie, he plays with dragons."
"Am I like a dragon?" a sweet voice asked.
Charlie gaped for a moment, then he grinned. "I think you're just as fierce as one when you want to be, sweetheart, but most of mine fly. I've never seen one like you before. Can I look?" She giggled so he dived under the water, coming back up to give her a hug. "You're a big'ne."
"I like you. You're a neat human, not like those other ones with the noisy machines and all that stuff." She nudged Xander's chest. "Play?"
"Let me introduce you to everyone else first, and then we'll play. All right?" She nodded, dragging both of them with her back to the edge of the loch. "Guys, this is one of the residents of the loch. Her daddy is the one they call 'Nessie' and her mommy is nesting right now." The baby giggled as Simone kissed her on the nose. "That one's name is Simone, she likes creatures as well. She's got a phoenix."
"My daddy knows a few of those," the baby said happily. She looked behind her as more, bigger, ripples started. "Daddy! Come see the new humans! It's the nice one!" His nose, five times larger, poked up and his eyes swivelled to the humans on the shore. "These humans bought the house."
He swam over, tucking his daughter under his chin. He looked at Xander, then at Charlie. "I heard a dragon being mentioned?"
Charlie grinned at him. "I help protect wild dragons. I work on a preserve. Simone here," he said, pointing at her, "works with phoenixes and might be following in my footsteps someday."
"But I think your daughter's pretty neat," Simone said, sitting in front of him. "May I touch your nose?" He nodded so she stroked it gently. "You're softer than I would have expected."
Xander beamed at her. "Just think, Hagrid thinks he's a myth too."
Simone giggled. "He'll shit when I tell him I got to meet a baby Loch Ness monster. He loves creatures. Has all sorts of them at his home at the school." The father eyed her so she called down her phoenix, who had been napping on the roof. Glinda landed beside her and tipped her head to look at the daddy serpent. "Glinda, these two live here with the little one's mommy. Will you help us protect them?" Glinda cheeped and leaned over, nuzzling the baby gently.
The father laughed. "You're still very young, aren't you?" he said with a bit of amusement.
"She's about a year older than I am," Simone agreed. "Uncle Xander, how old is Fawkes?"
"If I remember right, Albus said he was chosen when he was twenty something and she was still pretty young, only about fifty. Murphy's probably about two hundred as well." He patted the daddy's side. "This is our family and we're not going to let anyone come harm you."
"Can you stop the ones with the loud noise machines?" the baby asked.
Charlie nodded. "I can. We can send them off with an ass-whooping if we need to. They're not allowed here anymore. If they come, we want to know about it. Got me?" She nodded, looking very serious. "Xander, can you or Simone leave a chick here?"
"Sure. I was going to move the permanent nest up here anyway," Xander told him. "It's safer and no one's going to bother the house. We laid way too many shields over it for that to happen." He dunked himself again, then came back up. "Better. Honey? Come closer. They're not going to bite."
"I knew you were strange, Xander, but really," Fred sighed in disbelief. He shoved George. "Go on. It's your house."
"It's our safe house," Xander told everyone. The rest of the family looked surprised. "What? You think I don't plan for these sort of things?"
Percy laughed and slid into the water. "Hello. Percy Weasley." He patted them both. "The stunned two are my twin brothers, Fred and George. Xander's married to George. Bill is behind him." He pointed at Bill. "The older redheaded female is my mother. Our father will be up tonight, after work of course." The baby waved a flipper and the father nodded. "The blond male is Draco Malfoy."
"I've heard your name," the father said, lifting himself up to get closer to him, squinting a little bit as well. "You're a hunter?"
"Not of your kind," he said calmly. He reached out and touched the soft nose. "My daughter was right, you are soft," he said in amazement. He slid into the water, so his children followed suit. "Most of the young here are mine. Simone, Denver, Ravena, Anastasia, and Lucien." He pointed them out, the last two being on the rocks still. "Morgana is my youngest but she's with the house elves at the moment."
"Is she a baby too?" the baby asked.
Denver nodded, still looking shocked. "She is. Just a few months old. I'm sure you'll be seeing her soon enough. Tananda," he pointed at her, "is the usual babysitter for the little kids. She's Percy's daughter and the boy beside her is Melvin, her older brother. The woman clutching his arm is Andrea, his future wife."
The father chuckled. "There's no need to be afraid of us. We don't eat humans."
Molly relaxed. "Good!" she said firmly. "As long as you don't nibble on me." She sat on the rocks next to his head and looked at the baby. "My, you're very large. Are you over a hundred?"
The baby giggled. "Yup. I just turned two hundred last year," she said proudly.
"That probably equals about an eight-year-old in our years," Charlie said thoughtfully.
"Five," her father corrected. "A few of the noisy humans have had children with them and we watched them at night. They were very upset when we wouldn't come up for them."
"And they keep calling you a girl," the baby serpent laughed.
"That's very true, daughter."
"There's pass-throughs from Loch Ness?" Bill asked, shaking his head. "I never would have thought of that."
"Actually, the pass-throughs go all over the world. My wife likes this one cold lake in someplace called Vermont. Lake Champlain or something like that. They call her Champy or some such rot." He looked at Lucien, who had his thumb in his mouth. "I'm not scary, I don't eat little boys."
"Do you eat little girls?" Lucien asked, moving slowly closer. "I like Maeve, not want her eaten."
"No, dear, I don't eat little girls either. My own daughter would be very upset with me if I did."
The older creature laughed. "It's all right. You can swim out here. We might come up and play but we won't bother you." He looked at Xander. "Whatever you had that was building the shallow section did a very nice job of keeping it over there. Thank you."
"You're welcome." Xander gave him a hug. "This way the kids won't drown." He pointed at the right side of the like from where he was treading water. "Over there is a small beach, with sand, and a shallow area. I stole a few house elves to help me." Draco grimaced, he hadn't realized what Xander had needed them for. "They're fine. They liked it. They got to make pretty sand sculptures to make sure it was good sand and everything," he said with a grin. "That's the side for the little kids to play on. This side is only for the advanced swimmers. There's sharp rocks and an undertow in the center of the loch." Everyone nodded. "And remember, no peeing in the water, or she'll nibble on toes."
The baby laughed. "That's right! It scares off the fish." She dove down and headed back to the center of the lake, waving a flipper before diving down to tell her mother about the neat humans.
The father cleared his throat. "We'll try not to bother you."
"We don't mind," Charlie assured him. "I find you fascinating and wouldn't mind sitting down to talk with you some more sometime. No one believes you exist."
The father winked. "Of course not. I'm usually some big rock or something blurry." He dove down, going to find his daughter and make sure she went home. He shook his head at her insistence that the human thought she was as fierce as a dragon. He was too nice for that.
Xander looked at the still stunned family. "You thought I'd pick somewhere normal?" he asked, then he dove away.
"Xander!" George yelled, diving in to chase him. "You could have warned me about this! I stood there like a statue," he complained as he swam. He finally caught his mate and kissed him hard.
"One thing's for sure, they won't be having sex in the water," Ron noted, grinning when his mother stared at him. "What?" he asked innocently. Simone giggled. "See, she agrees with me."
Molly shook her head. "Pervert," she said fondly. "Let's go to this new beach section, children. We'll sun ourselves over there and let the adults have some fun of their own." Ravena and Anastasia helped herd the kids over there, they didn't want to swim around sea creatures until they were sure it was safe. Their father would tell them when it was.
Draco swam out and tapped Xander on the shoulder. "You could have told me at least."
Xander grinned at him, resting his head on his mate's shoulder. "I didn't even tell Percy. I wanted it to be a surprise. Besides, they hardly ever come up."
"That's fine. We'll be staying here on and off every single summer from now on so the kids can play with them," George noted. "What noisy humans?"
"The humans who are trying to prove they exist use sonar, sound waves bouncing off the bottom of the loch to create a 3-D map of the bottom, and it hurts their ears. We're honor bound to drive all the nasty muggles away. If they're nice muggles, we can let them come, but no machines and no boats. We'll be putting out a floating platform though."
"Good enough for me," George agreed. Draco looked at him. "I can agree with protecting them. They're mythical creatures that not even Hagrid think exists."
"So can I. Floating platform?"
"Yup. Wooden floating platform for resting on. Or in case you get too tired doing laps so you have somewhere to collapse on. Either one." Xander got free and swam for the beach, going to get his babies and bring them out into the water to play with them.
"We should get Harry here," Ron was saying.
Molly shook her head. "I don't want to bring back bad memories," she pointed out.
"Why?" Xander asked.
"Harry can talk to snakes."
"Oh." Xander shrugged. "Okay I guess. He can come up since he's family, but they speak human."
"I noticed," Ron said dryly, "but this way they could converse in their own language."
"Their natural one is probably about as old as the dragon ones," Charlie noted as he beached himself. Lucien came over to hand him the sun screen. "Thank you, nephew." He even got some help putting it on from the little kids. William liked to play with the oily stuff. "Guys, go oil Percy or someone," he said when they started on a second coat. Bill was the next closest target so he was pounced and oiled as well. Then they moved on to Percy when he came out of the water.
Molly laughed. "You're very good at that."
George beached himself. "Guys, I could use some on my back," he called. The kids hurried over, grabbing a new bottle to work on him. "Thank you. Get Draco as well. He burns much worse than I do." Draco was summoned up to the beach by Molly's wand and the kids were allowed to oil him down as well. "Are we inviting Oliver and the ladies?"
"Can we have a nice, normal, family holiday before then?" Xander asked. George nodded. "Then let them come up next week," he said happily.
Arthur apparated in and looked around, smiling at the peaceful area. "This is nice, Xander. Very nice." He looked at the house. "Is it big enough for all of us?"
"I was helping the new colony creator learn his trade," Xander assured him. "There's enough room for everyone in the family, including girlfriends, children, and guys like Oliver and Harry." He pointed out at the loch. "Isn't this great?" he asked with a grin.
"Big snake," Lucien said, nodding, pointing at out at the center. "And a baby big one too, Grandfather."
"A big snake?" he asked, sitting down and taking off his robes. "May I have some of that?" The bottle was handed to him and he was allowed to slather himself in sun screen. "A big snake, Xander?"
"We have Nessie, who's the daddy, and a baby, plus the mommy's who's nesting," George told him. Arthur gave him a look. "Really. Ask Charlie or mum!"
Charlie nodded. "It's true. We spoke with them. I even got to pet them both, dad. They're real."
"They're myths made up by muggles to explain some ghostly formation in the mists of Loch Ness," Arthur said patiently.
"Father, I saw them too," Percy called. Arthur looked at him and he nodded before getting out and walking over. "Ow!" He pulled a sharp blade of grass out of his foot. "We'll have to watch that stuff around tender feet." He sat down. "I touched them myself. The father and the little one." He smiled and pointed as the baby came back up. "That's the little one."
Arthur looked out and his mouth fell open. "Oh, my," was all he could get out before he passed out.
"Huh, I've never seen him do that," Charlie said thoughtfully. "Did he do that when he found out George was preggers, mum?"
"No, Charlie, I've never seen him do that either," she said, reaching over to loosen his tie. "Arthur dear, wake up. You're bothering the children, dear." He came around but the baby sea creature was gone. He pointed and she nodded, smiling. "It's true. They're real. Nessie is a boy."
He shook his head and smiled at his favorite son-in-law. "You couldn't have a simple ghoul?"
"Why be ordinary?" Xander suggested with a grin. Then he put down his daughter and headed back out to play in the deeper water. At least until the baby pulled him down to play with him. Then he called his scuba gear out and put it on so he could play underwater.
"My husband is insane," George said with a goofy smile. Percy looked at him, a classic 'duh' look. "What?"
"You didn't already know this?"
"No! Well, yes, but I just now realized how strong it was. Son?" William perked up his head. "Not you, the older one." Draco looked over at him. "The one between you two. IGGY!" Iggy lifted his nose out of his book and looked at him. "Try to find us something on them. I want to know if we need to stock the lake with fish or something."
"Yes, father," floated across the water. But he didn't move. He was comfortable! There was plenty of time to do that later.
"Do you share the lake?"Arthur asked.
"Not as far as my husband has said," George noted, looking out there. "I wonder how much air he has."
"He probably has them filled," Charlie told him. "I'd keep at least two spares around all the time, especially with the family here."
"He can't teach you how to do that," George told him.
"No, but I can," Bill assured him. He flopped down onto the sand. "I missed this stuff," he said fondly. "Gets in everything, but I missed it." Charlie nudged him. "I did some underwater retrievals so I had to know what I was doing. I kept up my certification just in case, including my teaching one." He smiled as Simone dove from a small rock ledge. "She does that very well."
"That's her uncle's influence," Draco told him. He got comfortable. "We need to bring more sand and spread it on the beach. It's not thick enough."
"We don't want to flood the lake with sand," Charlie retorted. "This is a good thickness."
"It's a little thin and I'm sure we can make sure the sand doesn't migrate into the water with a small wall spell or something," Arthur broke in. The mini-battle was ended. "This is a beautiful place." He saw Xander come up gasping for air. "Are you all right, son?" he called.
Xander waved. "Fine. One of my tanks got punctured." He swam up to the beach. "It was leaking and she knocked it off. Her father put it into a tunnel because it needed more air." He flopped down onto the sand. "We need more sand here but we couldn't figure out how to do it without making it fall into the water."
"A small barrier spell," George told him, giving his wet stomach a pat. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, just fine. The baby's fine too. She's a little scared, but her mother's calming her down. It got punctured on a rock that shifted as I was swimming under it." He shifted, putting his head in his husband's lap. "Arthur, do you really like it?"
"I adore it, Xander. It's peaceful here."
"Good. Then can you help me put up the anti-muggle charms so the supposed scientists and gawkers leave us alone?"
"I'll find out what we need to do," Arthur assured him. He smiled as the baby came back up and swam closer. "Hullo," he said in his friendliest tone of voice. "Are we adopting you too?"
She giggled. "No thank you. I like my parents. They're neat." She nosed at the kids. "Can they come play?"
"None of them are old enough to swim that well yet," Draco told her. "But the older ones might. Simone?" She popped her head up. "She wants to play with someone and you're an excellent swimmer. Would you play with her?"
"Sure," she said with a fond smile. "I'd love to play wiggle tag." She swam out into the deeper water, the baby swimming happily after her. "Tails?"
"Okay!" the baby said happily, trying to get Simone's 'tail' to make her it.
"We'll need a full-time caretaker," Draco said thoughtfully. "Someone who can be here year round and not bother anyone."
Xander pointed off to the other side of the loch. "There's a nice wizarding family who lives about a mile and a half that way. They come over and use the lake sometimes as well, but I don't think the family living in it comes up for them. I've introduced myself and they didn't seem very impressed." He grinned. "But one of the younger borns is trying to find a place of his own and I thought we could probably give him the room in the basement if it was okay with you, George."
"There's another bedroom?"
"No, there's a whole apartment down there," Xander corrected. "I had it set up for either one of the young couples, or for a caretaker."
"I'll help you interview if you want," Percy offered.
Xander smiled at him. "Thanks, I could use all the help I could get. Want to help me pick out a spot for sword practice later?"
"If you'd like," Percy agreed with a smile.
Draco stood up with a groan and dusted himself off. "I'm hungry." Everyone stared at him. "What?" he asked patiently.
"You haven't uttered that phrase since the day before Morgana was born, dear," Molly pointed out.
He shook his head. "I'm not pregnant again, I simply didn't get breakfast. Do we have a pit or should we find food?"
"I had food put up last weekend," Xander told him. "The nearest wizarding market is about sixty miles northwest of here, there's a whole village called Hogsmeade if I remember right." He grinned. "Go for it if you want to cook for all of us." His stomach rumbled to show its support.
Draco shook his head. "I'll pop home and get an elf." He headed to do so before Molly could protest that she didn't need the help.
George looked back at his mother when she remained silent. "Not going to protest, mum?"
"Why would I?" she asked with a smile. "This is a vacation for us as well, George." He laughed and her husband kissed her on the cheek. "I will look over their shoulder a bit, but I think they should be able to handle it well enough." She sniffed at the pine-laden air. "This is a beautiful retreat, Xander. Thank you."
"Welcome, mum." He closed his eyes and curled up on his side, starting a short nap on his husband's belly. "Wake me for food," he mumbled.
George patted him on the back. "I will, dear. I won't let you starve. You'll need your strength tonight."
Bill laughed. "At least he anchored each room separately."
"I noticed a silencing spell on mine," Charlie agreed.
Percy blushed. "Mine had my name on it. It's next to theirs and already had things in it."
"I suppose he expects to see Arabelle soon then, Percy," Arthur said with a fond smile. "I don't know if I can spare you both right now."
"That's what weekends are for," Charlie pointed out, nudging Percy gently since he was blushing so hard. "Does she thrill you?"
Percy's blush got darker. "She does."
"Then I'd not waste time," Molly told him. "Go get her. It's Friday."
"She's at her mother's for a family thing," he said, starting to pout. "She said I couldn't come because she didn't want me to be torn apart by her family over our jobs."
No one noticed that Raena had left and come back with a visitor, or that she was now snogging her husband into submission. No one noticed anything until Percy was lifted up by someone's wand and dropped back into the water, before that someone dived in to 'save' him.
"Arabelle!" Percy said, sounding shocked, but happy. "When did you get here?"
"Just now. Your niece is a wonderful woman who understands about needing your man every now and then." He brushed her hands off him. "Not going to let me play?" she asked sadly.
"There's a child in the water," he said, pointing at the creature playing with his niece. "I don't want to give her a show."
"Oh, how cute!" she cooed, and the baby stopped dead, looking at her. "You are so adorable! Are you one of the Loch Ness babies?" The baby swam closer and planted a large kiss on her nose. "Thank you, dearie. You are so cute!" She tweaked the baby's ear. "Leave it to Xander to find one like you and you being friendly."
Percy cleared his throat. "Nessie is her father, Arabelle."
"I know." She smiled and kissed the baby on the nose. "My former boss had a whole file on your family. How is your brother?"
"He's okay. He's cranky and he took off for India or somewhere, but he's living," the baby said, nuzzling Percy again. "I like her. She smells like you." Then she dove backwards and took off after Simone again.
Percy looked at his mate. "You knew they were real?"
"My boss had a long talk with her mother at one point, when her older brother was just a smidge older than she is now. It was his college project. Very hush-hush of course. Not even Hagrid knows they're real. I should probably warn him before the kids all show up." She smiled and kissed Percy. "She might peek, but only to understand why humans do it this way instead of laying eggs. She won't mind." She stole a kiss. "Besides, what makes you think we won't wake up and see her nose in the window some night?" He spluttered. "They are amphibians you know."
"Can I borrow that folder?" Charlie called.
She waved a hand. "Only if you can guarantee it doesn't get out and that you'll help me pounce my man if he runs away."
"Sure. I'll borrow some chains and help you hunt him down," Charlie agreed. Everyone on the beach laughed, including the kids. "Want help now?"
"No, I think I can get him up to the house by myself." She swam backwards, letting him see her in her silver bikini. It suited her generous figure quite well. He looked stunned then swam after her, protesting her 'naked' state all the way into the house to make sure she got dressed.
"Can I bring up someone so we can do that?" Denver asked hopefully.
"No, Denver," George said, shaking his head. "You can try your hand at the nearby wizarding family if you want, but I don't know who they could be."
"They've got a grandchild from what Xander let slip," Arthur said thoughtfully. "Not quite in school, but if I remember right he said something about her just graduating last year."
"Are you all right?" Molly called.
"Fish! Up my shorts!" she called, trying to get it out. Her new friend thoughtfully had it for a snack so it wouldn't bother her again. "Thank you." She gave it a hug. "I'll be back later, after we eat. All right?" The baby nodded and dove back down to go home, and she swam for the beach, collapsing. "She's fast," she noted, her eyes heavy. "We need some sort of platform out there to float on."
"Xander said he was building one," George told her.
"Good. We can sun ourselves on it. I'll have a wonderful tan when I go to rub it in Aggie's face in a few weeks."
Iggy jogged over. "I just heard from the Headmaster. We're wanted back at school."
"Unless it's falling in," George started.
"No, there are seventeen kids who flunked their OWLs and their parents are throwing fits in his office about giving them summer school so they don't get held back."
"We're on vacation," George said simply and firmly. "Besides, they might not need Xander." Iggy nodded. "How many were his?"
"Two were his."
George snorted. "Bloody fucking yea! He's not going back. He needs his rest." He pointed at the sleeping body. "You can tell Albus I said that too."
"Fine. I'll see what he wants. Raena's had to get Severus and Tara." He rolled his eyes. "This is not going to be a fun summer in the least. One was a Prefect candidate for Hufflepuff. Their only one outside of Melvin." He disappeared, heading back to the school. He landed in the crowded office and winced at the shouting. "SHUT UP!" They all turned to look at him, looking distressed. "Shit, I was sixty miles away and I heard you yelling. Headmaster, my father regrets to inform you that Professor Harris is napping for a very good reason at our new house and is staying in his custody until you can convince him to give his mate up. Which might mean September."
Albus sighed. "I'll have you take part of the school back there with you tonight, Ignatius. Please put on some clothes."
"With all due respect, sir, I'm as dressed as I'm getting. After this, I'm going to go swim in our loch and play with the baby sea serpent in it." Dumbledore smiled. "You knew?"
"I did know, your father had to tell someone so Severus and I both know all about the new place. Is it nice?"
"Very," Iggy agreed with a grin.
One of the parents cleared her throat. "While the pleasant conversation is nice, what are you going to do about this?"
"Tutors?" Iggy suggested. "McGonagall might have some openings free." A few of the parents looked thoughtful. "If not, Severus and his wife are taking a badly needed vacation. My father's taking a destressor as well, before he ends up as ill as my Uncle Percy and his bad heart. Lupin and Black are on the continent traveling, and I don't know where Madam Sprout or Hagrid are."
"He's in France, she's at the flower show in London," Albus noted for his sake. "And Professor Black is already in Egypt. He decided to forgo Paris this time and let Professor Lupin wander by himself. He said something about a friend named Oz."
"I remember him," Iggy said with a smile. "A friend of my father's and Aunt Tara's." He looked at the parents. "How badly did they flunk? Did they flunk all of them?" Three parents nodded. He looked at Albus. "We can't get them up to speed if they're that far behind, sir. Not even I could catch up that much in six weeks. And please remember, I have a conference coming up in another week and a half, plus my official visits this summer. I can't teach potions all summer long and neither can my wife."
"You don't look like Snape," one mother said dryly.
"I'm one of his apprentices," Iggy told her with a smile. "If he's missing, it falls to me or to my wife Raena to fill in for him, and we're going to be gone four weeks of this summer." Albus nodded. "Severus isn't due back for another two weeks himself."
"I know, Ignatius, I know," Albus said gently. "If we have to, I'm sure we can work something out." He looked at the forms, pointing at two families. "Both of your children only managed to fail Transfigurations. Minerva might be the best solution for your two." He handed them back their score sheets. "That way we don't have to bring back one of the other professors for a few weeks. I have no idea how to get in touch with either of them to be frank and it might take them weeks to get back here anyway."
Iggy sat down and put his feet up on another empty chair. Everyone was standing anyway. He thought at his father, who sighed and finished waking up. "Dad said he doesn't want to come back, but he will if forced to and only for two weeks." Albus wrote that down. "He said to find Lupin, he's closer, and hold off those lessons until he can get back. Say the first of August or something like that." Another note was made and he checked in with his wife. "Tara and Severus are off the resort for a few hours, in London, but it's important so she's not going to break in on them. If I *have* to, we can work together for a week, at least until you know one way or the other about Severus." Another note made. "As for Sprout and Hagrid, daddy Xander said they told him that they'd be back within a few weeks anyway so you might as well just notify them that they need to be back in a few weeks so they don't miss out on having some sort of vacation."
Xander appeared in his spandex swimtrunks. He saw the appraising looks he was getting and shrugged. "I put on clothes. Feel lucky and privileged." He took the score sheets and counted up which classes needed to be run. "If we can run an herbology seminar, a potion's seminar, and a transfiguration seminar, we should be able to give them all enough to pass, correct?" he asked. Albus nodded, smiling at him. "Then let's focus on that. If they want more than passing, let their kids find a tutor among their other classmates, or the higher years. Some of the seventh years that just graduated don't have jobs yet, put an ad out in the Prophet." He handed them back and looked around. "Iggy?"
"If I have to, for a week," he noted. "Then I have the conference and all that. Don't they need DADA as well?"
"Oh, yeah, but Ron's not moving away from the triplets so that leaves Harry teaching this summer if necessary." He looked at Albus, who shrugged. "Ron's enjoying the freedom from people for a bit. I can ask, but I'm going to expect yelling."
"He's a professor," one mother sniffed. "It's his fault my son didn't pass."
Xander stared her down. "I think it has more to do with the fact that your son doesn't take notes, talks in class, and is more concerned about finding a girlfriend than his studies. You might want to ask to see his notes for the year."
"He said he threw them out."
Iggy snorted. "Yeah, right after OWLs, knowing that this will be covered on the NEWTs as well? I don't think so. Your son hasn't taken a note in years. I've had classes with him and been asked for my notes by him. Teach him how to study, then complain, Mrs. DeWinters." He looked at the Headmaster again. "I don't like this. This is our free time and we'd be doing it without pay. Not even Severus will enjoy a summer of torturing them."
"I know, Ignatius, I know," Dumbledore soothed. He smiled at the boy. "I won't make you stay in the tower, my boy. You can pop home every night if you want to the new house." Iggy relaxed some. "We'll even let you and your wife room together if you want."
"Fat chance of getting them separated this summer," Xander snorted. Albus smiled at him. "Only two kids didn't pass my class and it's an elective. Why do you need to ruin my summer as well?"
"Because I was hoping you could combine your class and Defense so it'd go faster," Albus admitted. "That way you could be done in a month with both of them."
"I don't do magical defense, Albus, I do demons and scaly things."
"I know, but as pointed out, Harry could come help you."
"He's got games every two weeks all summer long against teams which want to see him dead. Even if Draco played in every other game, it's still not going to help much."
"I know, Xander, but it's the best we can do if Professor Weasley won't come back. He is not obligated to do so, as your son pointed out. We can't force him to cancel his plans with his triplets to come teach children who couldn't get it right the first time." The parents all glared at him. "Could you tell Ron what's going on? And Mr. Malfoy as well please?" he asked with a smile. "Ignatius, go ahead and go back as well. I'll call you back in a bit, once you've gotten some kisses in." They disappeared. "They were correct. There is nothing that requires them to give up what little free time they have to teach children who failed. There is nothing in the handbook that guarantees it either. If any of them come back, you had better be very thankful."
"I heard that one was about to test out," one father said, looking at the chairs. He sat down on the one Iggy had put his feet on.
"He could if he wanted to," Albus agreed. "As could his wife. In fact, Ignatius could use the work in transfiguration himself. His abilities aren't geared toward that art and he only got a minimal score in there."
"How many OWLs did he receive?" one mother asked.
"Five OWLs off perfect."
"Will he be one of the Gryff Prefects?" one girl asked.
Albus shook his head. "He didn't want it. Simone and Denver will be the new ones, with Ms. Reams acting as a backup and de-facto one." She looked happier at that. "Perhaps if you had put as much effort into your studies as you did your leisure reading, we wouldn't be having this discussion." She blushed and ducked her head, nodding. "I will expect better of you next year, even if you don't get to move ahead." All the students nodded. "As it stands, if we cannot get a majority of teachers here, I cannot let them pass. I'm sorry, but I won't let the other students have the impression that they can slack off and still get by. It isn't fair to them."
"My daughter only needs two classes," one father noted. A few other parents nodded. "For those of us who only need a few, it might be easier."
"If I broke it up that way, your daughter would definitely have the chance to move on, if she passed everything this summer and if we can get teachers back here. If only one or neither of those occur, she will be held back. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to bend the rules any farther than that." Everyone nodded and sat down to wait for more information. Albus got crafty and rang the house elves to make a meal for everyone, that way he could make some calls in peace. He could hear Ron's screaming fit through the flood and it was rather amusing at the moment.
Raena left the office without her clothes, only blushing a little bit as she headed back to the bungalow. She had felt them come back so she knew they were there. She'd have to remember this place, it was nice here and even Iggy could be convinced not to work for a few weeks. She tapped on the door to Tara and Severus' bungalow and waited until the door was opened by her mentor. "Sorry to interrupt, sir, but the Headmaster sent me."
"Oh, you are cute," Tara said with a grin, steering the girl inside. "Bad news?"
"They didn't let you wear clothes?" Severus asked as he closed the door.
"I volunteered since I didn't want to break the mood of the free space," she told him. "I'm not ashamed of my body, sir." She looked at Tara. "Seventeen students flunked." They both groaned. "You're more than welcome to stay, Tara, but they need Severus within a week."
"A week?" Severus asked, making sure he was seated somewhere that he didn't have to see her nude flesh. "Give the girl a robe, Tara."
"I didn't bring one," she told him. "Conference?"
"Iggy's birthday is next week, the conference starts the week after that, and our official visits start in August," she sighed. "There's no way we can fill in all summer for him."
"I'm not sure your husband should be dealing with the fifth years anyway," Snape noted. "His temper will certainly be short."
"No, his father's was short. Professor Weasley's was shorter. Though amusing when he lost it," she said with a grin. "Two hours of swearing, we were all impressed and Simone learned some new stuff."
Severus laughed. "I'm sure she did," he agreed dryly. "How many need to have a potion's refresher?"
"Thirteen." She handed over the graphic list of what each student needed. "Albus has already told them that if none of you come back, they're screwed."
"Please don't use such language when you're standing naked in front of me," he said as he read down the list. "All of them should be held back."
"That was Professor Harris-Weasley's suggestion as well," she said, taking it back. "Since yours is mandatory and so many of them need it, you might be the deciding factor."
Tara looked at him. "If you have a week, we might be able to work something out between their leavings," she suggested. "We're only here for the next month."
"The conference is for a week and then we've got two and a half weeks off before we have to travel to Iran."
"Iran?" Tara asked.
She nodded. "That's where the female Iggy helped lay eggs is from. He wanted to check on her nesting. Then we have three official visits after that."
"Which will leave you about a week at the end of the summer to get ready for school again," Severus finished. She nodded. "What did your mate think?"
"Fuck 'em and let 'em suffer were his exact words," she said with a smile.
He laughed. "I feel much the same at the moment. Tell Albus...." He looked at the list again, three of his house were on here. "I won't be coming back for a month. Unless he can hold off until then, there's no reason for him to continue planning."
"Five weeks would be better than nothing," Tara agreed. She took the list to look over and hissed. "How did all these kids flunk?"
"Easily. Three of them can't take notes or don't take notes. A few of them got a boy or girl up their nose and couldn't pull away enough to study. One of them is taking drugs as far as we know. We think she's smoking weed but we can't prove it. Personally, I agree with my husband. Let 'em suffer."
Tara handed it back. "We'll be back in a month. No sooner."
"Yes, ma'am," she said, turning to Severus, who nodded. "I'll tell him. Thank you for your indulgence and time." She grinned at him. "I must say, Professor Snape, you do look much more relaxed in normal people clothes." She left them alone, going to pick up her clothes and put them on so she could give the bad news.
"You do," Tara agreed. "You're keeping that shirt. You look very hot in it, Sev."
"You're trying to distract me from the fact that those men were watching you again," he said with fond tolerance. "It won't work. I will set our vacations from now on." She smiled and walked over, sliding into his lap. "Such distractions do not work on me, Tara. No more nudity."
"We're going on a nude cruise next summer," she said before kissing him.
"I detest boats."
"I can always take my buddy with me," she suggested with a small smirk. "I'm sure Remus would love to go."
"He'd kill you and you know it." He slapped her on the butt. "Behave, my wife, before I have to correct you."
"Oooh, really?" she asked with a wicked grin. "You'll have to catch me and tonight is a healing ceremony." She cast a small freezing spell and hurried off before he got free, making him hunt her down. She enjoyed it when he had to hunt her.
Albus looked up as Ron walked into his office. "Yes, Ronald?"
"I'm not doing it." He sat down and put his feet up, showing the soles of them and how they were cracked. "I'm taking care of these for the next week, and then I'm going to relax and enjoy being a father. Let the stupid children flunk and stay back. You would have done it to me, don't change it now." He put his feet back down.
"How did you do that?"
"Hot rocks. That's what happened after George treated them with the cold jelly." He grinned. "I don't care who they are or if Death Eaters are coming to hunt us down. Let them flunk, sir."
"Even your nephew?"
"Your namesake all but flunked potions again this year." Ron snorted. "He will have to pass with better marks."
"I saw his grades. Satisfactory is still passing, no matter what his father thinks."
"Yes, well, Harry is a bit upset with his son at the moment because of that. He wanted him here if we're doing summer school."
"While that's wonderful for Harry and Ronnie, it's not happening. Snape can't run two classes. Ronnie won't be able to do fifth year stuff for another two years. If then." He groaned as he stood up. "I'll talk with Harry about having Ronnie tutored by someone. He's family, it shouldn't be too hard."
"If you're sure. Severus said he's returning in a month."
"I'd ask him before adding on a second class, sir. He still wants his summer too I bet." Albus laughed. "As for the kids who need Defense, have fun finding a sub. I decline unless it means I can't come back this fall."
"I can't force you to take on the extra duties," Dumbledore pointed out. "Nor can I make your job dependent on it. I can't help but note it in your file," he said sadly, "but I can't do more than that."
Ron grinned at him. "Nice try, sir. My mum does better though." The Headmaster laughed. "I don't think they need it."
"No!" Raena shouted, appearing, holding Andrea in her arms. "She's just had a bad vision. We need Iggy and I can't get him." Ron nodded and used the floo, then came back to help. A ghost really wasn't much help in this situation. "Honey, tell them," she whispered.
"Ronnie and Snape," Andrea gasped. "Fighting, then having to fight together." She grabbed Ron's arm. "You can't let him take summer school. He'll end up hitting Professor Snape." Iggy appeared and she started to cry. "Don't let it happen."
"It's all right, I won't," he promised, kneeling beside her to give her a stabilizing potion. "Drink this and then tell us, love." She drank it down in one gulp. "Now, tell us, Andrea. What happened?"
"There's going to be a meeting of the kids." Draco ran in and she went pale. "You were there. The meeting of the children of the snake."
Draco picked her up and put her gently into a chair. "I know about the meeting and I was going to taunt them. What happened, Andrea? Was it an attack?"
She sniffled. "It started when Ronnie hit Professor Snape, then he tried to hurt him. He got suspended from playing for a year and he was at your house." A few tears started. "Then the house was attacked because some of the children didn't like what you had said. They burned it," she gasped. "They're both in there. Along with Morgana and someone fighting them. And that person was trying to help."
"Then I'd say summer school was off for the time being," Albus said gently. She nodded and relaxed in the calming arms. "Will you write it down for me, Andrea, please?"
"Yes, sir." She looked at Draco. "Don't taunt them about being weaker now. They won't like it. Even if it is true. Make them find out for themselves. Go if you must, but only tell them that you're the patron of the house now. Please, Uncle Draco."
"I will, Andrea." He brushed some of her hair back. "Ignatius, take her back to Melvin's side." He nodded and took off. "Raena, inform her mother." She disappeared. "That was rather weak," he noted.
"It wasn't a lie though," Xander said as he appeared. "Iggy can tell the same as I can. She was more distraught about what happened afterwards. Ravena broke out her version of badass and went after the kids of the snake." He tapped his left forearm. "All sixty of them at a meeting. Dead horribly."
Draco swallowed. "She didn't say anything."
"She wouldn't, Draco. She was trying to stop it from happening." He looked at his boss. "Can I write the 'tough shit' letters?"
"Yes, Xander, you may help me address letters if you like," Albus said tolerantly. "Please use gentler language if you can." Xander nodded. "That's what was bothering her?"
"She probably saw into that alternate dimension," Xander told him. He shrugged. "With her sight spell on, it's possible. She only gets visions when it's on and she always sees turning events, things that will create a point to spin off an alternate reality from. Can I go bug Severus?"
"He's at a nudist resort," Albus reminded him. Draco spluttered. "Tara's idea of course," he soothed.
"He's unbuttoned his shirt? He's never seen without full clothing."
"T-shirt and pants," Raena said as she reappeared. "Her mother said it was fine. She's to come back Tuesday." Xander nodded. "What are you thinking?"
"That she'll be fine. We really do need to unwarp the sight spell somewhat. It's getting tragic every time she uses it." Everyone nodded. "I'll have the son do research at the healer's conference." Raena raised an eyebrow. "He's due to present the case then anyway. He can ask for suggestions." She shifted, crossing her arms. "Don't forget to pack his favorite things, dear. I'm sure he'll appreciate you in that light pink outfit." She rolled her eyes. "Headmaster?"
"I think I'll check around, but I agree. Draco, don't insult them, simply state that the children are under your protection. I think you'll be getting one of those soon enough. As a matter of fact, you might want to keep closer tabs on Mr. Flint. His wife was seeming a bit unstable recently according to the papers." Draco nodded. "Xander, go relax. I want you healthy and able to pull a full year this time." Xander opened his mouth and he smiled at him. "I know the reasons are always extreme, but I don't want to have to officially schedule you a break near April every year."
"I pulled a full year every year but the last five I think," he defended.
"I know, dear boy, and I don't blame you. Try to manage the problems in advance this year. Have Mr. Malfoy check for any upcoming apocalypses and the like before school starts. That way we can schedule them into the school year and don't have to do any shuffling."
"Yes, Albus," Xander said tolerantly. "I'll check with Willow and Wesley tonight."
"Thank you, Xander. Also try to make peace with Professor Maclay. No matter how much you still want to hit her, don't. Severus is tired of this fight and wants it to stop. He's about to do something drastic to force the issue." Xander nodded, calming himself. "Thank you. Raena, dear, that is a splendid outfit, but perhaps you should put on something similar to a shirt?" She blushed and covered up her bikini top. "Thank you, dear. A ghost I may be, but I have always had an eye for flesh. I'd rather not be tempted to try and steal you from your mate." She giggled and disappeared. "Now, both of you two leave as well so I can check and see if anyone else has had these prophecies." They left, Xander to the Watcher's Council and Draco back to the new house. "One less worry. Maybe I'll send a rock to Remus instead. A nice trip to a preserve might be nice," he noted, calling on Madam Harracka in London. "Dear, did you see anything about Professor Snape and Ron Potter being killed?"
She burst out crying.
"Oh, well, I guess we don't hold summer school after all."
Severus looked up as an owl tapped on the hotel room window, going over to open it quickly before anyone outside might notice it. He read the message and smiled, writing back a short reply. It was only a weekend in London, but it was a necessary weekend. Last night had been the deactivation of his tattoo, and a great weight had lifted off him. The nice priest had been rather nosy, asking all sorts of questions about his future and his past, but he understood that the man had to make sure he wasn't pretending to be different. This morning, he was going to talk to two specialists to see what could be done to remove the proof of his stupidity. He put on the muggle jacket his friend had sent for him and smiled. Xander must have had Draco help him buy it, it fit him very well. He picked up the strange card key and slipped it into his pocket along with the muggle money and the address card he had been given last night. Then he left to meet with these muggles. Or semi-muggles. One of them was a modern day Druid from what he had been told. He had left his wand upstairs because it wouldn't be good to bring it with him, but a muggle cab was easily hailed outside the hotel. He handed over the card and the requested fare, not sure why, but he wasn't going to argue about it. Then he sat back to relax as much as he could. This could be the turning point in his life. He gave the cabdriver a meager tip and slid out when they stopped in front of an ancient building. It looked like a club of some sort. He walked up to the door and was let inside without a word. A young woman was waiting on him. "Are you waiting on me?" he asked quietly, respecting the silence of the marble halls.
"I am, Severus. I'm the tattoo artist you're meeting with today. My wife is on her way but she had an emergency nose replacement. Some child tried to blow theirs off," she said as she led them to a small room. "Sit, please. Let me examine your arm." He shrugged out of his jacket and sat, letting her sit next t him and look at the brand. "Hmm. I turned down someone else with one of these recently." She looked into his eyes. "He wasn't wanting more than a camouflage. I can see you're different though." She let it go. "How is Tara?"
"My wife is fine."
She laughed. "She married a *man*?" she said between guffaws. "Why?"
"She said she was lonely and decided that putting up with a penis was worth being with me," he told her.
"Ah. I heard from Willow that she had taken up with a surprising person, but you are definitely more of a surprise than I had bargained for." She patted him on the knee. "Relax. We *adore* Tara. Such a naughty little minx when she wants to be, yet so very innocent seeming. How are your children?"
"Very well," he said with a smile. "Adrian is off visiting friends for most of the summer. Zachariah is off with a friend of ours' mother-in-law so he has children to play with."
"Maeve? How is she?"
"She's with Zachariah. Her biological parents are the son-in-law and son of the person keeping our youngest."
She gave his body a long look, then shook her head. "A blocking spell for fertility. Her idea?"
"Part of the bonding set we used. My apprentice mixed them for us."
"But you'd rather take the blocking part off," she said with a smile. He nodded, starting to look uncomfortable. "Don't worry, she'll want some more soon too. The Goddess gave her the desires of a breeder." She stood up as the outer door opened. "Molli," she said when her wife came in, giving her a hug and a kiss. "Believe it or not, this is Tara's *husband*."
She looked him over, then nodded. "I can see her markings on you, Severus. I'm rather surprised about the whole 'man' thing, but she knows her own mind well enough. You're Zach's father?" He nodded. "Wonderful." She smiled. "Her letters always sound sappy whenever she writes about you." She waved at the seats. "Sit, please. I just spent the last ten hours on my feet replacing the nose on a ten year old gunshot victim." He sat down and let her see his arm. "Hmm. Yes. Well, I can use laser technology to bleed it off, but that could take years. I can cut it off, which will leave a scar. Or I can let my wonderful woman cover it for you. Which would you prefer?"
"I'd rather have it removed," he said honestly. "I don't need the reminders of my past. I still have very graphic nightmares about what I've done."
"That more than anything says that you're worthy of my handiwork," Molli told him with a smile. "Our helper chose well." She stood up. "Come upstairs to my office. I'll want to take a small scan to see how deep the ink goes and draw some blood to make sure you're healthy before I cut it off you." He nodded at his other host, giving her a smile, as he followed the other woman up the stairs. "Have you dealt with our version of medicine before, Severus?"
"I helped a coworker who had to partake of the London Burn Center a few years back," he admitted. "We still occasionally get calls to help his doctor's most desperate patients."
She stopped to look at him. "You help out at the London Burn Center?"
"I occasionally mix a potion for a burn patient," he corrected. "Only in the most desperate of circumstances as my own arts aren't allowed into your world."
"I see." She patted him on the chest. "You're just a big softy," she said with a grin. He shook his head. "You are, I know you are. That's why Tara chose you." She opened a door and let him into her office. "Second door in the left hallway if you wouldn't mind. It shouldn't hurt much." He followed her direction and sat on the exam table, waiting for her to do whatever. She rolled a small machine in and set it up. "This will react with the lead in the dye. Can you tell me if it was a branding or a tattoo?"
"He used his wand," he said quietly. She stopped moving and looked at him. He smirked. "That's how we do things in my world."
"You guys have wands?" He nodded. "That is so cool!" She smiled. "Got yours on you?" He shook his head. "I didn't think so. Maybe next time." She took a quick x-ray of his arm in two positions then went to start the films developing. Then she came back and grabbed a rubber strap and a needle, bringing them over to join with the test tubes next to the exam table. "This is the part that may hurt," she told him, quickly strapping his arm. "Deep breath if you've never done this before."
"I've done it on myself before," he assured her, looking away. He really didn't like needles. But he didn't flinch or wince. The needle was withdrawn and he relaxed again.
"I'm impressed. Not even a squeak." She bundled everything up and her wife took the vials to the lab for analysis. "Okay. Let me prod and push. If it hurts, I'm sorry." She touched the tattoo gently, making 'hmm' noises. She did hurt him once, but he didn't move. "You're a tough guy," she said finally, letting his arm go. "I'm pretty sure I can cut it all out, but it may be a big scar. It might possibly even need a second surgery to fill in the hole. Or I can put you into the hospital and do a skin graft from your thigh, either way."
"I have a healing potion ready. Whichever way works best for you," he said calmly.
She crossed her arms, leaning against the door. "Tell me about it," she ordered. "You're the second one, but the first I've worked on."
"This is the mark of Voldemort," he said, touching it gently. "It was how he marked his followers. I wasn't smart enough to stay away when I was young. I eventually came to my senses and got free."
She nodded. "I figured as much. How come we never heard of it going on?"
"Because we live in a closed society," he told her. He looked down at his arm. "Many of us would like to get rid of them, but most of us want to get rid of them so they can't be asked if they have one. I'd rather forget and move on."
She came over and tipped his chin up. "You regret what you did, that's the difference between you and them. Even if they regret, they're not willing to own up to what they did and admit that they did wrong. You've admitted and been punished for a long time considering you only had a year's stupidity."
"Tara told you?"
"No, sweetie, I'm a telepath, that's how I know you're a softy." She grinned and punched him on the shoulder. "Did she bring you to her favorite resort?" He groaned and blushed, making her laugh. "I see she did. How are you enjoying the freedom?"
"I wear clothes."
She looked him over again. "It's not like you have anything to be ashamed of, Severus Snape. Enjoy the freedom. Let her take you to a ceremony and relax about it. No one cares what you look like." He raised an eyebrow. "Okay, some people there are pervs and they'll look for that reason alone, but those of us who are there for the right reason could care less that you've got a nine inch tool and that you know what to do with it." She winked at his returning blush. "Tara said you did." He groaned and shook his head. "Sorry, but you're so cute." She pinched him on the tip of his nose. "Wait here. Did you bring a book? All I have are journals and fashion mags."
"I think I could handle those. Any of drugs?"
"Oh, yeah, I forgot she said you made medicines and stuff." She walked out and came back with a magazine of each type. "As close as I can get, sorry." She wiggled her fingers. "I'm off to check my email. I'll be back once I know something." She left him in there with the door open so he could yell if something scared him.
Severus quickly gave up on the fashion magazine. Some of those fashions were terrible and scary. As were some of the makeup jobs and the hair styles. What man would want his woman to come home looking like that?
Xander looked up as someone walked up to him. "Hey," he said, waving lazily. "Who're you?"
"I'm one of the people that you had removed," she said, giving him a smile. "When can we come back?"
"You can't. Your sonar is bothering the fish," he said, sitting up. She looked hurt. "I'm sorry, but I thought I made myself clear. I don't want you guys to come back. You guys can go bother Loch Ness all you want, but the sonar is really hurting the ecosystem. We've had some of the rocks falling in recently. I had one pierce my air tank my first time down. I don't want you guys destroying the natural beauty of this place for some pseudo-scientific research."
"Pseudo-scientific!" she said angrily. "I'll have you know that what I'm doing is important. If Nessie or a creature in this loch exists, then it's important that we preserve them!"
"By sending ear-piercing noise at them?" Charlie asked as he joined them. She glared at him. "I'm in the conservation business myself. I work on a preserve in the Balkans. It's small, but a very important job to me. I'm the one who advises Xander on such matters. And he's right, your machines are destroying the rocks that would be their habitat."
"How else can we tell?"
"Are you sure there's no other mapping technologies you can use?" Xander asked. "Micro robots with cameras or something?" She shook her head. "Cost?"
She nodded. "We have to fight to get what little we do get. These creatures need protected."
"Yes, but they've lived all this time away from humans. Having you pounce on them while trying to protect them would throw their ecosystem into the same amount of shock as a fishing barge being brought in to try and fish them out." Xander stood up. "Not only are you ruining the loch for the rest of us, you're nearly killing them." She looked confused. "How would these creatures hear? Sonic sounds like whales perhaps?"
She snorted. "Whales aren't hurt by sonar."
"Gee, yet the United States Navy was stopped from using sonar on them because it was proved that they're hurting them," Xander said calmly. "You could be killing the very creatures that you're trying to protect and I don't want that on my land. Now please respect our property and leave."
"Fine. We'll see. We do have permission from the county."
"Yay. This is *my* property. They can't tell me to let you on here. As long as it was unsold, it was theirs. Now it's mine. And I plan on being able to scuba dive in the water without the rock formations falling down and piercing me next time. It was damn close last time."
"If you come back, he can have you arrested," Charlie pointed out. "He's trying to be nice. He loves his land and wants to keep everything on it safe, even from other people."
"You're here," she whined.
"I'm his brother-in-law and he's showing us where everything is. Like I said, I know how to treat the land." He winced as Maeve and Lucien came screaming down the path from the house.
"Hey!" Xander yelled. They stopped to look at him. "Quietly. This is a peaceful place and you'll scare off the animals in the woods." They nodded and finished their racing to the water at a lower volume. "I don't want to be mean, miss, but I really don't want you guys back here. I'm sorry, but I'm going to protect anything down there from even you." She opened her mouth and pointed, making him turn and wave at the baby. "Hi. Try and keep the kids as close to the beach as possible," he called. The baby waved a flipper. He looked back at her and Charlie, who had his wand out. "Go ahead." He walked over to watch his kids, sending a short message to Percy about Charlie having to obliviate her. He hoped Charlie knew what he was doing. Maeve let him help her build a sand castle from the new bags of sand, and even let him help her spread it out to make it 'pretty'.
Charlie strolled over. "I walked her to the gate and handed her over to the Unmentionable's person who just showed up. Percy?"
"Yup." Xander raked some more of the sand and grinned up at him. "Where's Lucien?"
"Sitting behind me. He's hiding," Charlie said with a wink for the baby sea serpent.
Lucien jumped out, roaring as loudly as he could as he ran down to the water. The baby sea monster spooked, rearing up, but he laughed and hugged hr. "Scared you," he said happily.
"Yes, you did. I thought I was ferrous, but you're much more scary than I am." One of the adults poked her head up. "Hi, mommy!" she called. "Are you coming up to meet the new humans?"
The mother floated closer and looked at them. "My, you are different," she said. "No noise?"
"No, and I think it's cruel so I'm going to do my best to stop it," Xander told her. He reached out and let her sniff him. "There's a lot of us, but we're all very reverent of creatures. Charlie here works with dragons."
Charlie waved. "Hi."
"He said I was a fierce as a dragon," the baby said proudly.
"I'm sure you can be when you want to be," Charlie agreed.
The mother laughed. "You have children?"
"Not yet, but I have brothers, a sister, and lots of nieces and nephews." The mother nodded and grabbed her baby. "Lucien's sorry he scared her."
"It's lunch time," she said around the neck. "Then a nap. She'll be back about sunset if you're out here."
"Can the big one, Simone, come back?" the baby pleaded as she was carried off.
"We'll try our best," Xander promised. He handed Charlie a bag. "Since the retaining spell is up, we can add to the beach so we can make sand castles," he said happily.
Charlie settled in to help him build up the beach. Xander apparently really liked beaches so this was making him happy and even more relaxed. And not a toy or George in sight, how amusing. And slightly amazing. It wasn't just sex and chocolate that made Xander happy and giddy.
Iggy walked into the school, dragging his feet and his bag behind him. He dropped the bag before heading up to the Headmaster's office. "I got called a cocky kid," he announced as he plopped his butt down. He handed over the letter. "I was also called stunning and cute. One of the senior healers at St. Vincents pinched my bum. Raena nearly took off her specially trained hands."
Albus opened the letter and read it, bursting out in laughter. "I see you also got a commendation for a very good presentation and a hearty backslap for knowing your area very well." He handed over the letter.
Iggy read it and smiled. "That's much better than what I got after my presentation. Half of the questions I got were about the incident that necessitated the spell, the other half were suggestions on how to fix it for her. One specialist wanted to see her, I passed on his invitation to her. I only got called a cocky little kid twice, which was refreshing. At the poisoner's convention I got called that about every hour and I get it at least once a week on rounds. Only one person really got on my case for being so arrogant as to do that spell. He jumped my case so hard it stopped my presentation so I had to refind my place after I defended myself. He decided at the end that it was probably the most expedient solution and said he'd be watching me for more so-called expedient solutions. So I told him about the one I had to pull off at the poisoner's convention. He looked stunned and quickly sat his fat, frumpy, pimpled ass back down. It took me a few minutes to find my place while I outlined, again, the reasons behind the spell. There were some very good solutions in there though." He pulled a rolled-up notebook out of his pocket and tossed it out. "My notes, pre-translated into normal wizard handwriting," he added with a wry smile.
Albus cast a translation spell and read over them. "It sounds like you had a very interesting first conference. Were you invited back for the next one?" Iggy nodded through his yawn. "Where is your wife, young man?"
"Shopping for naughty stuff," he said with a grin. He stood up and took back the notebook. "I'm going to crash at the shop if anyone wants something. I'm too tired to make it any farther and grandmother's still not happy with us being together now." He saluted and trudged back down the stairs, picking up his bag as he passed by it. Then he teleported to the front of the shop and waved at the helper. "Tired, napping, only Raena," he said as he walked past her. He handed her his notebook. "Father or wife please." He slammed the door to the living section and went to collapse in the nest.
She looked at the first page and frowned. "Code?" she muttered. She headed back to the lab, tapping delicately. Fred had said he was working on something fragile.
"Your nephew is back," she called. The door opened and she handed over the notebook. "He said to give that to you or his wife. He's napping somewhere in the back. Poor kid looked really worn out. Said he wanted to nap and only let his wife disturb him. He slammed the door."
"That's usually an indication that he's exhausted," Fred said with a smile, opening the notebook to read through it. "Oh, he did good," he said, reading the personal notes.
"How can you read that?"
"His writing hasn't gotten better and probably won't," Fred told her with a smile. He waved at the kid who just came back to watch the fish. "It's almost cleaning time so enjoy them for now," he told her. He handed back the notebook. "I'm sure you'll be seeing his wife soon. Put that behind the counter if you wouldn't mind." She nodded.
"Mister Fred, where's your brother?" the little girl asked. "His husband fixed my cousin's dolly and I wanted to know if he could fix mine as well. It wasn't dunked like hers, but it's not working."
"I don't know, sweetheart. I think George is off napping at the new house after working in the garden. If you write out a note, I'll give it to him."
"Thank you, Mister Fred. Can you also tell his husband that it wasn't his fault the dolly burned? Her mommy said that the batteries started to leak and that her brother did it, not the new wires?" She accepted a piece of parchment and a pencil, writing out a note for George. She handed it over with a smile. "Thank you, Miss June," she said, waving before she walked out.
"That girl is so nice," their helper said with a smile. "Unlike some of the boys who come in here."
"Yes, but boys make up most of our sales. Girls don't usually play pranks. They go for the revenge toys." Someone in the back screamed. "Iggy?"
"Lucien!" The little boy was shoved out of the back area and the door was slammed again, this time kicked. "Please talk to him about not peeking!"
Fred waved Lucien over. "How did you get here?"
"Floo," he said proudly.
"Where is your father?"
"Home, napping. I was bored, I want Maeve," he said, starting to sniffle.
"I'll help you find Maeve, but first you're going to have to talk to your father." He carried the boy to the floo and sent them to Draco's house, walking him up to the master bedroom. "Draco?" he called, knocking on the door.
"Your son just peeked at his cousin!"
The door opened, showing a very naked person. Lucien giggled and pointed. "I guess that's better than the screaming that Ignatius did," he said dryly. He looked at his son, then at his brother-in-law. "What did he do?"
"Iggy said he peeked. He flooed over to find Maeve."
"She's at the Burrow and you're grounded," Draco told his son. "Go play."
Lucien wiggled down, but stared up at his father. "Will I be big like that some day?"
"With any luck," Draco agreed, watching as his son trotted off. "The conference?"
"Went well. Iggy came home tired. He's napping at the store." He winked. "Have fun." He trotted back, going to hog the lab before George could get in there.
"He's already in there," June called after him.
"Shit." Fred looked at her. "Xander?" he asked hopefully. She shook her head. "Dirt. I guess I'm reading Iggy's notes." He sat down and picked up the notebook, struggling through the language. Healers used such big words. He saw the little cartoons, smiling at the one of a healer being strangled. "I guess not everyone liked him." Raena came out of the floo and strolled past him. "He's napping."
"I'm sure he'll wake up for me," she said with a smile. She kissed him on the cheek and took the notebook from him. "Thank you. You behave, no making naughty things."
"Lucien peeked at him," June told her.
She giggled. "I figure it had to happen sometime. It's better than the screaming that Iggy apparently did." She went into the back and found her husband, crawling in behind him to hold him. "Sleep, precious, I'll molest you when you get up." He hummed in his sleep and got the goofiest grin on his face. "I'll show you what I was given later on."
He rolled over and nuzzled her neck. "Cuddles now, sex later, and bragging after that," he said against her skin.
"Yes, dear. I'll let you do it in that order." He threw a leg over hers and fell back into the deeper sleep, encouraging her to join him.
Iggy looked up as his name was called, waving his cousin over. "Are you begging for help now, Ronnie?" he asked as the boy sat next to him. The younger boy slumped in on himself. "Your father practically ordered me to help you get a better grade, even if I had to help you cheat."
"I don't want that sort of help. I hate potions! I suck at them and I hate them with everything in me!" He scowled at where his father was talking with the other adults. "Can you watch me make something so I can rub his nose in it?"
"If you want. Though he'll probably expect you to do the same in class if you do so," Raena offered as she sat down with them. "You got a satisfactory, I don't know why he's complaining. Snape flunked half of your year before being talked into scaling the grades."
"Yeah, and he only scaled the flunking grades so he wouldn't be run over by hypocritical parents who couldn't pass it themselves," Iggy pointed out. Ronnie looked a little bit happier. "Should I tell your father that?"
Iggy nodded. "Sure. Wait here, let me talk to the fussy one." He stood up, dusting the sand off his shorts as he walked over. "Uncle Harry, come talk with me," he said as he pulled him away from everyone else. He stopped his uncle and looked at him. When had he gotten so tall? He was a few inches taller than his uncle now. "Did you know that Snape scaled some of the grades this year?" Harry pursed his lips and shook his head. "Ronnie's wasn't one of them. Half of his class failed, outright flunked, and they had to be raised so he wouldn't get parents like you beating the shit out of him." Harry opened his mouth. "Ronnie's not great in potions, but he passed. Feel lucky he passed. Trust me, he could have done *much* worse. He might even get better because next year's potions are easier than this year's were. He might not. Let him have his area of expertise the same way you let me have mine. He's great in Transfiguration, Herbology, and in Magical Creatures."
Harry looked at his son. "He looks miserable."
"Gee, wonder why?" Iggy suggested. Harry glared at him. "You're trying to make him live up to me, or to Simone, and it's not fair. He's not us. He's got his areas where he's great. Potions isn't one of them, the same way it's not for Denver, Melvin, or even Ravena. Let him be himself. As long as he's not flunking, it doesn't really matter."
"His grades will matter some day."
"Not for another four years, counting this next one. He's going to be a fourth year this year. Give the poor kid a break and encourage him in his good areas. Besides, we both know Ronnie's no more meant for the Ministry than I am and they're the *only* people who care about grades." He walked away, heading back to get a hug from his cousin Denver. "It appears that I'm running a potion's refresher before we leave on our official visits, I'll expect to see some of you," he looked at Denver and Melvin, "in my room tonight. Next year's are a bitch and you'll die if you don't have a head start." He walked back to his mate and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Ronnie, you as well. Just in case I can do something to help you."
"Did you talk to him?" Ronnie asked hopefully.
"More like bitched him out," Oliver said from behind him. "Calm down, Iggy, I'm not pissed. Neither is anyone but Harry." He sat down with them. "How bad was it?"
"I got a satisfactory," Ronnie admitted.
Oliver snorted. "There's only been six Gryffs in history that have gotten Excellents and only eight more who have gotten Above Averages out of him. You did as well as the rest of us, including your father."
Harry cleared his throat. "I'd like my son to have more options than I did."
"Dad, I'm not doing anything that will require a potion. I can make my own sleeping draughts, I can make my own pain killers, I can do all the practical stuff. Leave me alone!" He got up and walked away.
"Ron," Harry said, trying to catch up to him. He managed it in the woods. "Calm down. I'm sorry I yelled, but I do want better for you than what I had coming out of school."
"Then send me somewhere else and change my name, okay?" Harry looked stunned. "Yeah, that name. The same one as psycho sister. Mellie needs the same help by the way. There's no way I'm going to turn into Iggy. Yes, I may attend college, I may find an area that I like, but I can almost surely guarantee you that it won't have a *thing* to do with a single potion. If I need something that badly, I'll call Iggy and Raena, or even Ravena because she's better at it. The same as I'll be calling Simone for any serious problems with any animals I might ever have. I do great in the classes I'm interested in and the rest can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. By the way, what was your average score in potions, father?" he asked bitterly. Harry swallowed. "Let me guess, Uncle Oliver was right?"
"He was," Harry agreed, "but I still want you to have an option in case you get hurt."
"You know what? In that case, I'll go to Auntie Kate and ask her very politely for a job, or for her suggestions if she isn't hiring. She went through nearly the same thing because she wasn't picked up as a pro. I think she'd understand."
"Ron." Harry grabbed him and pulled him closer. "I'm sorry I'm so hard on you. I just want what's best."
"Then how about you start paying attention to the real me, dad, not this mythical son you think you have. I did great in three subjects and I haven't heard a word about them." He got free and continued on his walk, eventually meeting up with Simone in the woods. She was trying to get a small animal unstuck from a branch. "Want help?"
"Please." He climbed up the tree and unstuck the back legs, not getting bitten at all. "There you go, little raccoon. Go be free and happy." He watched as it scampered away then he leaned against the tree. "Do you get pressure because of who you are?"
She shook her head. "Not presently. Everyone ignored my father's grades but him. He's content to let me be myself since I'm not like any woman he's ever known. He does the same for Denver." She climbed up next to him. "Your dad still on your case over your potion's grade?"
"Yeah, and Iggy told me something interesting. I didn't have one of the scaled ones. Half of my year flunked and I didn't."
"That's wonderful news," she said, giving him a hug. "If it matters I'm proud of you."
"Thanks, Simone." He curled up against her side. "Can I come live with you guys?"
"I think your father would notice if you weren't flying around anymore. My dad probably wouldn't care, but yours would probably shit funny colored bricks."
"Oooh, language, miss Prefect."
"Yup, and I speak a few of them now," she said proudly. "Iggy's teaching my gryphon."
"Wow." He smiled up at her. "Ravena too?"
"I don't know if she's asked or not," Simone said thoughtfully. "I guess we should ask her since he's running the lessons. Come on, let's head back toward the food before we're hunted down by the panicking adults." She jumped down and helped him down, knowing he couldn't climb back down as well. "How is Uncle Oliver taking all this?"
"He's on my side. Told me I'm doing about as good as my father ever did." He curled up against her side. "I hope Ravena gets a chest like yours."
She laughed and pushed him away. "We've both got our maternal grandmother's tits. Small, high, and pointy. Hers will be a bit bigger though." They walked back toward the house, ignoring the other person in the woods. As soon as Ravena saw them she walked over and hugged Ron, whispering in his ear. "Good, you make him feel better." She headed for the permanent snack table and made herself a sandwich. "I just unstuck a raccoon from a tree with Ronnie's help," she announced.
"Did you get bitten?" her father asked, grabbing her hands to check them. "You got scratched!"
"That was from the branch," she said through the food in her mouth. He pulled it out and handed it to her. "Sorry. That was from a twig, not a claw. It was paralyzed in fear. He did good, got up there and efficiently fixed it without stopping for petting." She took another bite and looked around. "Is Uncle Harry still sulking in the woods?"
"Yes. What did Iggy say to him?"
"The gist of it was lay off the boy," George said from behind him. He made his own sandwich. "Did you hear how many flunked this year?"
"I hadn't," Draco told him. "That bad?"
"Half of Ronnie's class. He was one of the few who didn't flunk and have to get his grade adjusted. If Snape had adjusted all of them, he might have had an Above Average."
"Wonderful news," Draco said proudly. "How did he do otherwise?"
"Three Excellents, and the rest were Above Averages," Simone told him. "I've already given him a copy of my notes for his OWLs next year."
"He's only a fourth year," George pointed out.
"I started a year early and look at my score," she pointed out with a grin. "I'm going to work out with the heavy bag and Minnie."
"Ron's in there with her now," George told her, smiling as she walked away. "Do you think Harry's trying not to be pissed?"
"Definitely. I'll go talk to him."
"You should probably let one of the family do it. He'll try to pound you for it." George walked over to where his brother Percy was standing and had a quiet word with him.
Percy nodded and excused himself, going to find the errant father. "Harry?"
"Let me guess, they sent you because they didn't think I'd hit you?" Harry asked from his spot up a tree.
"Well, yes, but also as an experienced parent myself," he agreed. "Want to come down and walk with me? I might be able to listen and help you figure all this out."
"I want him to have a better future than I had coming out of school. Is that so terrible?"
"No, it's every parent's fondest wish. Hogwarts doesn't really prepare one for any career unless you've been tracked into advanced classes after your OWLs. I often thought that there should be minimum level classes and those for the rest of us. Come down, my neck is starting to hurt." Harry climbed down and walked with him. "Is that all this is?"
"I don't know. All the other kids are doing spectacular things and my son's a lot like I am. He can play with the snitch. Gee, a future worthy of accolade."
"It is you know. If there weren't people like you to balance out those like me, then the world would be a much more drab place." Harry snorted. "Really. Think about the wizarding world without Quidditch. Would it be as exciting? Would the young want to stay or would they leave in droves to the more exciting muggle world with it's ever changing technology and fashions?"
"I get that," Harry agreed. "I don't like it. It makes it sound like I'm doing something important."
Percy stopped them. "You are, Harry. You're providing entertainment for millions of people. You give the average person something to daydream about so they can escape their everyday lives and boring existences. More than once I've wanted your job because you don't have a single piece of paperwork to fill out unless you want to, and even then most of it can be done for you by someone you hire. I can't do that. No matter how much I want, I have people looking at me for orders and instruction, I have a dreadful amount of forms to fill out each week, and I have a boring life. I like my life, but you usually like yours." He smiled. "Now, what's really wrong? You're an excellent and caring parent whose son is an upcoming star in our world. You have a job most people would kill for and a house that soothes you like no other. What could possibly be wrong."
"Ronnie just said he wanted to change his name."
"It would be easier if he did," Percy agreed. Harry gave him a hurt look. "Think about it, Potter. How many people look at him and compare him to you? I know that at least one person in my department is wondering if Xander's going to force him into the advanced class just in case there's ever an apocalypse so he can handle it if you're not there." Harry groaned. "He's got to live up to everything you've ever done, plus his mother and his older sister. So either he's looked at to make sure he's not going to hurt people or he's looked at to see if a Death Eater is following him. It's probably not fun for him most of the time. The only release he has is being better than you with the snitch and having created his perfect woman already."
"You just feel inadequate sometimes?" Percy asked with a small smile. "Don't we all. Melvin is serious about Andrea. He's been engaged for the last year and I never knew this. Her mother's working on wedding plans and I'm totally lost in it. Draco has looked at his oldest two many times with the wonder of 'was I like that' and 'oh, shit', I've seen him. He and Xander may seem like super parents, but I've had both of them ask me for advice and went to both of them for advice myself. Even with George and everyone else helping him Xander sometimes has to look at his son and ask what happened to make him like that."
"Xander did wonderful in school."
"No, he didn't," Percy said gently. "Xander did so badly at one point in time that he nearly didn't graduate. The slaying business and his personal training got in the way of everything he could have been. He nearly got fired and driven off because his grades were so very bad." Harry shook his head. "Ask him if you don't believe me, or ask Albus. Or even ask Sirius because he picked on Xander once too often and nearly got killed for it. He'll tell you the same thing." He patted Harry on the back of the head. "None of us are perfect and none of us have all those pesky answers that we'd desperately need. We do the best we can."
"Some of us simply do it with more style and more panache," Draco said as he joined them. "Your daughter's sobbing."
"Mellie?" Harry asked, looking upset.
"The other one. She suddenly burst out crying and ran into the house. Molly went after her, but I doubt she'll understand anything."
"Thank you." Harry walked away, thinking about what he had been told as he walked into the house. "Aggie?"
"Up here, Harry," Molly called.
Harry followed her voice, walking into the bathroom to join Angelina, Molly, and his daughter. "This scarily looks like someone's messed up her anti-fertility charm," he joked. His daughter glared at him. "Sorry, I was having a Ron moment, trying to make a joke to ease the tension."
Aggie looked at him, chin held high. "I felt a snap. Something's happened in my personal web of connections and I don't know what, but I know it's bad."
Xander tapped on the door. "It is bad. The Watcher's got attacked. I'm sorry, Aggie. Wesley just came running, sobbing about Ryan. He's been taken out of his body and they don't know by what. It was a psychic attack. If you want, you can come help me." She nodded. "All right. Change clothes and dry off. I'll meet you downstairs in twenty minutes." She hurried past them all. "Don't joke about her being pregnant, Harry. If she is, we'd have to lock her up like we did Willow because the chaos around her is too strong and she'd hurt someone again." He walked away, going to put on real clothes and pack a gear bag.
"I remember helping block Rosenberg's powers," Molly agreed. "We'd have to do it for Agatha as well." She patted Harry on the arm. "That's why she takes Ignatius' anti-menstrual potion though. So it doesn't happen."
"She told me to lock her up if she even thought she was," Angelina agreed, smiling and kissing Harry on the cheek. "Come on, let's go liven back up the party until Ron comes back. Nice joke though. It probably did look like that to a man." She led him away, taking him out so they could worry outside.
Xander walked up to the main building at the nudist resort and rang the bell. A shriveled man looked out and then a different one came out. "I need to get a message to a guest," he said calmly. "I need Severus now. A member of his house has dome something stupid and I need a fourth person to help."
"That's fine. Would you care to wait or find him yourself?"
"I can wait," Xander said with a grin. "I only go nude in front of my mate. He appreciates it because people pinch me in leather or when I'm without underwear." The caretaker laughed and went to find the happy couple. He found the male, as usual, with a book in his lap and asleep next to his wife. "Tara," he called gently. "There's a man here to see your mate. Something about his house and a kid in trouble."
"Severus," Tara called. He snapped awake. "It's either Draco or Xander."
"From the expression on his face it had to do with the power snap we all felt the last night."
"Which means it was probably Ryan," Tara agreed.
"Of course it was," Severus said as he stood up and pulled back on his shirt. "Which gate?"
"The main one," the caretaker told him, smiling at him. "I'm happy that you're more at ease here." He walked away, leading them back to the main gate. "Here you are, one worried man."
"What did Rosenberg do?" Snape asked as he walked out to meet Xander and Ethan. "Rayne," he said with a nod.
"Snape." He smiled at him. "He's managed to call The Dream Keeper to him and got stuck."
Snape burst out laughing. "He did what?"
"He did," Xander agreed dryly. "The stupid idiot called down a major demon of the top hierarchy and asked him to release him from Aggie. So he did, from his body which contained the bond they share. He's stuck," Xander said with a tight smile. "Will you please help...." He stopped and looked at Snape's arm, picking it up to look at it. "I have something to make the scar disappear," he said, looking up at him. "Congrats, man. You of all of them deserve to be free."
Snape took his arm back. "Thank you. I'll talk to you about that scar remover later." He took Xander's hand and let him take them away. They walked through the Watcher's Council to the room that Ryan had been stored in. "Oh, it's him," he said dryly.
"Yes, and I can't wait until this is done," Xander said, not looking anywhere near Giles. "Ethan, you said you know something, spill it now please. I have a husband and a vacation to get back to, as does Severus."
Ethan smiled at him. "I'm sure that's much more important than this one."
"It is to me," Xander agreed. "He's a nasty little shit who used to pick on my son."
"Xander!" Willow snapped from behind them.
Xander looked back at her. "Like I'm not going to tell the truth, Willow. He's an ass and he did this to himself. For that matter, it was so bad it made Agatha cry." Willow shuddered at the cold tone of his voice. "Can we get on with this? This form of magic isn't mine."
"Fine," Ethan agreed. "Giles, standard calling formation for the necessary equipment if you're helping. If not, we'll still need a fourth."
"He's my son, it may help," Giles said quietly, not looking at Xander. "I'm sorry you got called into this, Xander."
"This is my job, Giles. He simply has bad timing. Tomorrow's my anniversary and I'd like to be home in time to celebrate it." Ethan and Severus both smiled at him but started their own preparations. "Willow, unless you're able to transform into a male, out. This one only responds to males." She walked out and slammed the door, but Wesley came in a few moments later. "We only need four," Xander noted.
"I'm here as a guardian so it doesn't get out," Wesley told him.
Xander turned to look at him. "Really? And can you kill any of us if we're possessed?" Wesley shuddered. "Go find an anti-possession spell, in case. We'll probably need it."
"Where is your charm?" Severus asked him.
"Gone. I haven't seen it since last summer." Xander put down a candlestick. "Here, Ethan?"
Ethan looked up. "A bit further back by a few inches and out if you wouldn't mind." Xander moved it and he nodded. "Perfect, thank you. Change places with Wesley. He's less vulnerable."
"No, I am. I have less wishes he could draw from," Xander pointed out. "I have everything I want, barring my son be fully safe from the people who brought him into being."
"You and the gryphons had a falling out?" Giles asked. He noticed that Severus was now holding the boy back. "I'm sorry, I thought you meant your older one."
"No, he's fine. Accepted into the Royal Academy for a prodigy program. My next youngest son, William, is in perpetual danger until we either kill off a realm or we kill off the anchors here, the opposites to those who brought him into being." Giles mouth fell open. "The me there died to sacrifice myself to stop a baddie. That wasn't good enough so the Willow and Tara there cloned a mini-me and was going to sacrifice him. Fortunately, he escaped. We're trying very hard at the moment to kill off the realm instead."
Giles moaned. "Xander, you can't do that! How many thousands of people will die!"
"Giles, they're trying to kill off all the demons with William's sacrifice," Ethan told him. "Not to stop anything per se. If they get him, they're all going to die anyway. By blocking them off, they have a better chance of surviving." He looked at Severus and Wesley. "I'm sorry in advance if we end up killing either of your wives." Then he smiled.
Severus sighed. "I would have to defend her."
"I know. I'll be gentle if we have to deal with you," Ethan assured him.
"Question, if we could block them off from magic at the time when we block off the realms, even for a few days, would it help?" Wesley asked.
Xander shrugged. "Ask Anyanka. She's heading it. Or Percy, he's dealing with it so I don't have to at the moment."
"I'll work through the implications tonight," Ethan told Wesley. He got a nod in return so went back to his preparations. "Did he only ask for one thing?"
"From his journal, he only asked to be free of Agatha," Wesley told him, handing over the book. "He's been taught to be meticulous in case he has an accident." The other men laughed. "He writes down every thing he does, especially since Agatha got him the last time."
"Speaking of, did you send her off?" Xander asked.
"My God, I do believe that was a British phrase from you," Wesley said, smiling at Xander.
"It's his and George's fault," Xander said, pointing at Severus.
"I never sat you down and gave you the language lessons I wanted to," Severus assured him.
"No, you just sicced Draco on me whenever I get too American for you to understand."
"He does that himself," Severus said with a smirk. "That would be three of us, not two, Harris."
Xander stuck his tongue out at him. "So, how was the nudist resort?" The other men, sans Ethan, all choked.
"Very relaxing," Severus told him, clapping him on the back. "You should go. They'll accept your kind there as well."
"Definitely," Snape agreed. "The caretaker is like you."
"Wonderful. Before you go back to the school, come up and see the new house. It's really nice and so's the sea serpent."
"Nessie's real?" Wesley asked, his whole face lighting up.
"Yes, and he hates being called a girly name," Xander said dryly. "As does his daughter. Who happens to really like Simone."
"I wonder why that could be," Severus said dryly, finishing his placement. "Where am I?"
"The candle you just put down if you wouldn't mind. I'm assuming Tara's taught you something in the past few years?" Snape nodded. "Good. Take Xander's hand to stabilize him. He and I will be doing the calling. Rupert, take mine and use it to stabilize me and concentrate on your bonds if you wouldn't mind. I'm helping with a wedding tonight and I need to get back there."
Giles looked startled but did as he was told. Wesley leaned against the door, staying out of the way, but watching in case anything should happen to anyone. He didn't want to have to kill them, but there were a few Watchers that he could get to do it if it had to be done. The boy on the table gasped and arched up before they got through and a tired voice called out. "I'm bored now. Get me someone better."
Severus wisely pushed Xander out of the circle and motioned Wesley forward. "Then let us make sure his mind is in there?"
"Aggie can do that," Xander pointed out, stepping back to the door. "She can dream walk."
"If he wants to get away from her, that would be cruel," Giles pointed out.
"Not really. She could break up with him and free him of his obligation," Wesley reminded him. "They were bound because Agatha needs a steadying influence."
Xander opened the door a bit. "We need Aggie." She slid in and the door was slammed shut. "He wants free of you, dear. Give in or fight for him," he told her, letting her lean against him. Her mental shield would enhance his protection against being possessed again.
Agatha walked into Ryan's mind and tapped him on the shoulder. "You're going the wrong way," she noted. He blanched. "So, you want to cut this?" He nodded, starting to sweat. She smiled. "I can see why. You have many more exciting things to be doing and I have a brighter future than you do." She manifested a pair of scissors and a slim silver string. "I'll release you, Ryan, but you can't come back."
"Please, Agatha. I don't love you. We're not suited to be together after all. I'll still help you of course. Rule beside you if you want and all that. I'll even be there for you when you need a calming influence."
She laughed. "Dear, I can get that from many other places. Don't worry, I'll remember you as my first." She snipped the bond and he fell to his knees, groaning in pain. "Sorry, did it hurt?"
"Just the feeling coming back," he gasped. He stood up, looking much stronger. "Are you sure you don't want to hurt me?"
"Why?" She stepped closer and gave him a gentle kiss. "I can get so much more without you, Ryan. Someone who wants to be with me because of more than my powerful nature." She stepped back. "The bright light is your eyes. I'd go that way personally." Then she disappeared, coming back to find a demon breathing down at Xander, who was a bit unconscious. "Eww, your breath smells worse than Sirius Black's when he's in dog form. Get off me!" The demon backed off and looked at her. "Yes, I'm her," she said snidely. "Little Agatha Potter. Scion of evil and all-around chaos witch. Back the fuck off before I deal with you like I did him at one time." The demon sniffed at her and licked his lips.
"Agatha, sunlight," Giles groaned. "The Dream Keeper."
"Oh, so you're it?" She snorted. "I'm not impressed." She pulled her wand and kept it when he tried to bat it from her hand. "Solarius!" she shouted, creating a bright light above him. He shrieked and backed away from her. "I can make it follow you," she warned. "Back the fuck off, demon! You're not wanted here." It made a move for Ryan and she made a lunge for Ethan's side, taking his blessed dagger from his waist. She threw it just like her Uncle Xander had shown her all those years ago, a direct heart shot. The demon screamed louder and started to smoke, then eventually puddled up and disappeared. "Eww," she said, then she slapped Ryan, who did look one hundred percent better. Most of the remaining scars were gone. The lethargy and tiredness was gone from his body. Even his hair was shiny again. "Huh. I nearly destroyed him," she said, then she shrugged and went to open the door. "You might want to decontaminate that corner," she said, pointing at the puddle. "He hated the blessed blade."
One of the females in the hallway moved in carefully, grabbing the dagger and pulling it free of the muck. She handed it off and looked around at the men, most of whom were groaning in pain. "Who are you?" she asked Agatha.
"I'm his ex," she said, pointing at Ryan. "Agatha Potter. Sacrifice to chaos at age six and again at age eight."
"No wonder, she did it twice," Ethan groaned as he stood up. He took his dagger back with a horrified and disgusted look. "That's rather nasty." He smiled at her. "Looking for someone older, love?"
"Ethan, you're older than my father. You're probably old enough to be my grandfather. I could only suck knowledge from you," she said with an impish grin. "What's wrong with Uncle Xander? Uncle Fred will kill me if something's happened to him again."
"Not George?" Snape asked, straightening himself out as well.
"He's probably stuck in there with him. Uncle George has been having a hard time letting go recently."
"Ah, I see," Ethan said with a smile. "In that case, it's probably George that has him now. Try to wake him up."
She walked over and poked Xander on a bruised spot, making him wince and groan. "No mental sex in front of us," she complained. "Some of us have to find a new toy."
Melvin strolled in and socked Xander hard on the arm. "Quit that! You're broadcasting again!" Xander finished coming out of his trance but went back down. He and Aggie shook their head. "Shit! It's coming back and it's got a weapon!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. The Watchers all started and looked at him, but Xander woke up. "Sorry, it's about the only way. Uncle George knocked his ass out at the first hint of possession to take over his mind and block its access." He waved a hand at the demon. "Sometimes that's the only way to wake him up." He gave Xander a pat on the chest. "Are you up now?" Xander nodded, frowning. "Good. Take Severus back to the retreat and then Draco wants a backrub. He has to go to practice and Uncle Harry's still pouting."
"Why?" Agatha asked.
Melvin looked at her. "Because he and Ron got into it and Ron asked to have his name changed so he didn't have to live up to either of your reputations."
She sniffed. "I'm not that bad."
"Aggie, you nearly killed Ryan last fall and you had fun doing it. You are that bad. As for your father, there are people wondering if Ron's going to die from a Death Eater attack. Or if he's going to turn into your mother. He and your sister both need their names changed to get away from you two."
"Then let him change it to Weasley," Agatha suggested with a smirk. "There's enough of them already and he could say he's Bill or Charlie's long lost son." She shrugged. "I wouldn't care. They and I don't get along and we probably never will." She glanced at the boy on the bed again and held in her emotions. "I'm off to talk to the new Aunts. Maybe they'll help me find a boy." She walked away.
"Come along, Uncle Xander," Melvin said patiently. "Get Professor Snape back to his wife."
Xander nodded and took Severus' hand, teleporting him back to the resort. Then he frowned and went back for Ethan, freeing him from all the people with guns pointed at him. "Here you go," he said, blowing a kiss. "My head hurts. I'm going to take a nap."
"I'll listen in case you need help," Ethan assured him with a smile. Xander nodded and left with a minute flash. "That was an interesting afternoon," he told Severus.
"Indeed it was." Tara walked up with a bucket of water, which Ethan dropped his dagger into. "Thank you, Tara," Severus told her with a smile. "It was defeated and Xander wasn't possessed this time."
"Wonderful," she said with a smile. "Did they break up?" Both men nodded. "Even nicer. Now we'll have a change in the power structure in the house this fall." She led her husband away, leaving Ethan with the bucket of blessed water and his knife.
Ethan sat down to clean the poor thing of the slime, and thought about it. He hadn't even hit Rupert when he had the chance. He'd have to go back and do that some day soon.
Molly rang the doorbell for the large bronze and wood door in front of her. A human maid answered it and gave her a quizzical look. "I need to talk to Mister Ravettena about Agatha Potter," she said quietly. She was let inside and looked around while the maid went to check with her boss. He came out himself. "There's been some things that she let slip that I know you don't know. Plus, I went through the books we kept of her mother's. I have something for you."
"This way, dear lady," he said with a not at all smarmy smile. In fact, he looked sincere as he led her into a small drawing room with a beautiful blonde woman sitting behind a piano. "This is..."
"Molly Weasley." The woman at the piano smile at her. "I'm Professor Weasley's mother," she filled in when he looked clueless. "Xander's mother-in-law as well."
"Ah! Him I know." He sat down and watched as she opened her purse, setting out what had to be diaries. "These were her mother's?"
"Yes. When my daughter and everyone went to save Hermione, we removed all her books from the house and moved them to my house for safe keeping until we could figure out what to do with them. Her personal effects were stored in the attic." The blonde woman came over and sat beside her husband. "After Agatha and Ryan's...problem the other day, I thought I should go through them to see if there was anything to help those who were helping that poor girl."
"You adopted her father," the blonde woman said in a soft and husky voice.
Molly nodded. "Harry and my Ron, Professor Weasley, are best friends. Have been since that first time on the train. I couldn't do any less than to practically adopt him. He's a wonderful young man."
"I've met him," she agreed. "He seemed very...hurt."
"All that with his past is still haunting him. Voldemort, all of it." The couple both nodded and she took a deep breath. "Ryan called on a demon called the Dream Keeper to help him unbond from Agatha."
"We felt the disturbance," he agreed. "Are they broken up?"
Molly nodded. "I'm afraid so. Afterwards, she had a few choice words that Xander repeated to me. Her mother offered her twice."
"No wonder she's so powerful," the woman agreed with a smile. "Do we know to whom or when?"
"Those were Hermione's dairies, they start back in her sixth year. If that information is anywhere, it's in there. I flipped through a later one and she did write about her transformation and trying to do the same to Mellie, but Mellie resisted and couldn't be taken for some reason."
"She's very powerful in her own right," the man told her. "A force for good definitely, but fairly powerful."
"I realized that," Molly agreed gently. "She's always doing something." She smiled. "I've always liked Agatha. She was a calm child, one who knew what she wanted. I'm afraid that this breakup might very well unbalance her and cause the rest of us problems. Hence my coming here to you." She stood up. "Please help the girl stay on track. I doubt any of us want to see her locked away in a special prison for people like her, because even the dementors won't touch her."
Mr. Ravettena stood up and gave her a hug. "We're looking after her as our apprentice, Mrs. Weasley. Rest assured that we will give her what she needs when the time is right. We can even send in or suggest to all the suitable males that they try for her. Being the center of attention will only make her more eager to find a suitable and calming mate."
"I'll have a talk with her myself," Mrs. Ravettena told her. "Teach her how to attract and hold a mate's interest until he's ready to fall on his knees before her."
"Thank you. None of my children have that gift," Molly admitted with a smile. "We prefer the gentler and more persuasive version of courting." She nodded her head at them and hurried away, feeling much better now. They would stabilize Agatha and she wouldn't hurt Ron or Mellie ever again.
Mr. Ravettena looked at his wife. "Wasn't she also the boy you dated in school's mother?"
She nodded, standing up slowly. "She is. A very nice woman. More than anything, her family is her life."
"I like women like that. It...amuses me that they're so bound by their choices. She never would have come to us before."
"No, she wouldn't have," his wife agreed. "But I sensed more worry about the other children than for Agatha. She's probably gotten upset and tried to work it out on her brother again."
"Possibly." He took her hand. "Come, let's see who is suitable up there. Maybe we won't have to send in anybody."
"Or we might have to so she'll do more than become a Braxis. She would make beautiful and necessary children before she's turned."
"I'll discuss that with her in our next letter," he assured her. He kissed the back of the hand he held. "She said the putz's name."
"I heard. Very brave of her. Hopefully this group of children won't cause us any problems."
"Then we simply give Mr. Malfoy information and let him handle it. They would be threatening his family." He smiled. "Yes, I think that's the best way. He's even willing to work with us in this sort of circumstance. Very wise of him."
"It's too bad he doesn't want anything more than he has," she said contemplatively. "We could use someone like him in our ranks. Smart, sensitive. With a daughter who's needing a marriage partner."
"I hadn't thought of that," he said with a smile, stopping to look at her. "He does need one for that second daughter, doesn't he?"
"Anastasia will be a fifth year this year," she noted. "Plus, he is still unattached himself. He needs someone useful and sensitive to be with him."
"That would put him in our debt and we could use a man like him," he agreed. "Not as a pawn, but definitely as an ally. He has all the right connections himself and is fairly good at manipulating them to benefit his family."
"What about that Xander person?"
"Pfft. I understand his type. The man is fairly common in most things. His family is the most important thing to him. As long as we're not harming Draco any, he shouldn't object. Though any spouse we put forward will need to get past him probably as well. Did you know he acknowledges Draco as his son in front of his colony?" She shook his head. "Most amazing. Even knowing his family's past, he still protects him." He smiled and started them walking again. "If we could find Mr. Malfoy a decent enough wife, I wouldn't be opposed to you setting them up, my dear. I'm sure he'll growl a bit, but he should be pleased." She chuckled. "You don't think so?"
"I think he'll expect her to make the first move, not us. I might have to introduce them, but nothing further would be appropriate for him." She opened the door to their library and let him walk in first, pushing down the urge she had to stab him in the back. Not for any reason, she just wanted to stab him once or twice.
Angelina came out of the house rubbing her back. "Xander?" she called. He lifted his head from his husband's lap. "Can you please fix this for me? I ache."
"Hmm, sounds like someone needs to talk to certain men about their exercise regime," George noted dryly. He let Xander go, letting him go give the poor girl a backrub.
Xander had her lie down on a bench and stretch out for him. "Tell me if I hurt you," he said quietly, starting to work the kinks out of her lower back. Then he paused. "George, do we have a game today?" he called.
"Shit!" Katie yelled, hopping up. "Uniforms?"
"Call Fred!" Xander yelled, heading for the house. He found the box, and it was in the *back* of the closet. He came out and shook his head. "Not even with a wand. It's under everything and in the very back of the massive closet." They groaned. "Hell, we're wearing clothes, let's go."
"See, there was a point to those outfits he bought us," Katie said with a nudge to George. They mass apparated to Hogsmeade, stunning Oliver. "Sorry, they're buried."
"We forgot," Xander called, watching as George ran to get their brooms. Oliver floated down. "We forgot," he said with an impish grin. "Are we really late?"
"You had another three minutes before you had to forfeit," Oliver assured him. He started to fly away, but turned back around. "Uniforms?"
"Buried in the back of the closet under sixty boxes," Xander told him. Fred groaned. "We're very obviously not the other team, Oliver. It'll be fine, the girls agreed."
"Whatever," Oliver said, flying over to the announcer and the other team's captain. "They're finally here. They were on vacation," he noted.
"So I can see," the announcer said with a smile. "Those women still look wonderful I see." Oliver whipped his head around and Lee Jordan, who was filling in as a favor to the usual announcer, laughed. "Oliver, go take your spot. I'll announce them. The usual lineup?"
"So far." He flew away, heading down to land beside the ball case.
"Thank you all for waiting, the blue team has been found," Lee said. George turned to look at him and he waved. "Yes, it's me. How could I miss this game!" The crowd cheered. "We're here to fight out the final championship game of the season! The blue team, sans robes and looking very delightful if I may say so, against the green team." The crowd continued to clap and cheer. "Both teams take to the air. The blue team is apparently playing skins today." A few of the men laughed and the men on the other team stared. "Yes, it's them, Captain Flint, and they do have tits!" He looked around, no one had yelled at him. It was an odd feeling. Flint fell off and he laughed. "Couldn't take it anymore?" he called. Then he cleared his throat when Oliver glared at him. "Captain Flint apparently was stunned by the bathing beauties of the blue team and their....unique uniforms for this game. The coach is leaning against the pitch, watching. The backups are ready, and the balls are released!"
Katie buzzed past the newly airborne other team, waving merrily as she stole the quaffle from them. Then she scored because Angelina was distracting the poor woman in front of the goals. This was kind of fun. Even if Fred and George weren't being all business. "If I have to come up there and help you, you're being replaced with Simone," she yelled as she flew past George. Fred was wearing his uniform so it was easy to tell them apart. She flew past Oliver, ducking under him, and heard the growl, which startled her. She nearly dropped the ball! She shot him a glare as she regained her composure.
"Beat their asses into the ground!" Xander yelled. "I know you're better than they are! Don't make me call the kids in!"
"And the non-playing coach threatens to unleash their superior numbers on the other team," Lee announced. The crowd started to hoot and stomp. "Maybe he should call .... Ow, that had to hurt!" he called, wincing when Fred hit the ground. He saw a body running out. "Fortunately, one of the prodigy potion healers from Hogwarts is in attendance today. She's already moving poor little Fred Weasley off the field and into the shade. Perhaps it was the glowing skin of his girlfriend that made him miss the bludger?" A scream went up and then a ever-growing chant. "And here comes Gryffindor's own champion beater to help out her family. As always, the *young* miss Malfoy-Weasley is escorted by a protective bodyguard, her father in this case, though she apparently decided to join the team in their unorthodox uniforms."
"I put on clothes, feel lucky!" Simone yelled as she joined the game. A cheer went up from the student section for her tight sports bra and spandex shorts. "Give me a bat!" Fred's was tossed up to her and she rushed in, saving the poor women hogging the quaffle. "Ladies," she said as she zipped past them. The keeper for the other team fell off her broom, making her blow a kiss. "Tough shit, I like men," she called. A new cheer went up as she bent down to get a bludger, giving them a good view of her nice, tight butt. She was proud of her body and loved to show it off. "Ladies, show it and make them whimper," she suggested, pausing to wipe some sweat off. "I need a headband." She flew down to the announcer's seat and smiled as she stole his scarf. "I'll give it back," she said with a pert and cute smile, then she flew off, steering with her knees so she could tie back her hair. She used her bat and ducked away.
"And the mighty women of the Weasley clan show what they're made of. Future women and present girlfriends alike are a reason to cheer."
"JORDAN!" McGonagall yelled from her seat.
"I missed that," he sniffed. She smiled at him. He ducked a bludger hit by the other team. "Hitting the announcer is an automatic forfeit," he taunted.
"Pay attention to the game, not to the heaving breasts," Flint snarled. He went after the quaffle, but those women weren't giving it up. They scored again and he zoomed over to catch it and send it back to the other set of goal posts. He heard his name called and smirked at the booing. He wasn't in this for popularity. He managed to score, barely, and moved off. Unfortunately, a little creature in pink knocked him off course and nearly made him fall. "Fucking hell!" he swore, pointing at her. One of the bludgers was hit Mellie's way, but Simone intervened and knocked the other seeker off his broom.
"All's fair and all that," she sneered.
Flint shivered. She was definitely a Malfoy. Gryff or not, she was all her daddy's daughter. And she proved it by nearly killing his team for daring to touch her cousin Mellie. The snitch was caught an hour later and they had never gotten to recover from the shock. He started screaming as soon as the whistle blew. "They're not in uniform, they can't play! I want a bloody rematch!"
"Bite me," Oliver told him. "You lost." He growled as he saw the ladies chatting on their pitch. "Skin...er, blue team wins!" he called. The crowd cheered and he went after his woman, catching her and carrying her off. "I want to see a shirt on you," he told her.
"Oliver, you're growing a sloping forehead," Alicia told him gently. He growled and set them down behind the twin's shop, taking off his shirt for her. "Gee, caveman. I never expected this sort of reaction from you." She did put on the shirt. "Happier now?" He nodded. "Then can we talk about what I want for a win?"
"Whatever it is, I'm doing it."
She looked at him, slowly smiling. "I was going to ask for Xander to be at my beck and call for an entire day, preferably in one of his drool-worthy outfits. If you want to substitute yourself, I won't complain." She pulled his head closer, kissing him. "Feeling more human now?"
"Barely." He carried her inside and kicked the door shut, locking it just in case.
"My room!" Fred yelled. "Use George's!" The couple came out and went next door, not quite getting past the kissing couple to lock the door. "Serves them right. Katie, my dear, would you like a shirt?" he offered with a small smile.
"I don't know, I'm rather sweaty. I don't want to make you do more laundry, Fred."
He pulled off his shirt and hustled her to the bathroom. "Then we'll fix that problem and get you decently dressed. How about that?" he suggested as he turned on the water.
Lee knocked on the door and walked in. "Guys?" he called. He heard assorted groans and grinned. "I'll be out front waiting," he called.
"Ten minutes," someone yelled.
"That's fine, take your time. I'll even buy dinner." He smiled as Ron walked past him. "Great game, Ron."
"Thanks," he said with a grin. "I thought I had done very well. They only got six off me." He smiled as Harry stomped past. "Harry? Where's Angelina?"
"Letting Xander finish fixing her back," Harry grunted, heading for the bathroom. "Oh," he sighed, walking back out. "I'm going to be in the store waiting. I didn't want to know that much about Fred."
"You're sure it was Fred?" Lee teased.
"It had better be, Katie was in there with him," Harry said as he slid past him. "I'm not hiding bodies in my back yard. Ron, beer?"
"Sure." Ron winked at Lee and followed his best friend. "What did you do to Angelina's back?" he asked. "I've never seen a woman come out walking that badly. Not even Xander and George." He stopped when he heard the scream. "That's what woke Gryffindor that day," he said with a smile and a nod. "Xander's going to be *sore* and *begging* tonight."
A window in the living area of the shop broke. "Wow," Harry said, shaking his head. "I only did what Hermione taught me."
"That's probably the problem," Ron told him, smiling greatly. "I have a book you can borrow at home if you want. Or Xander's always a great for information on sex and stuff, or even toys if you're family. Arabelle and Percy still haven't given back the sacrificial set she borrowed." They started walking again.
"He was moving slowly," Ron agreed. "She got tired of it."
"I didn't need to know that much about Percy's sex life, thank you anyway, Ron," Harry said, but he was smiling. They walked into the Three Broomsticks and grabbed a large table. The barmaid gave them a look. "The rest of the family and team is shagging," Harry told her. "They're on their way over."
"Good," she said, smiling at Ron. "Thank you for sticking up for me."
"You're welcome. You did better on that other team." He leaned over. "They broke a window."
She giggled. "It's good to know that Xander will need the rest of his vacation. Beers?"
"If you wouldn't mind," Ron agreed, waving as Madam Rosemerta walked in. "They'll be in soon."
"I saw the broken window. Wasn't that George's room?"
"Yup." Harry laughed. "They made the rest of them shake."
"Of course they did, that's what makes them so cute." She winked at Ron. "We've got your trophy in the back. Let me engrave it. I'll present it during the dinner rush."
"Everyone should be done by then," Ron agreed happily. She laughed and left them alone to have a drink in peace. He patted himself down and Harry shook his head. "What?"
"Left it back in your room?"
"Probably back at the house." Ron looked toward the door, smiling at his nephew as he walked in. "Iggy!" A few of the other kids cheered.
"I feel like I'm in a muggle bar in Boston," he said dryly as he handed his uncle his money pouch. "Uncle Draco's on his way in. He had to stop and give daddy a pain potion, a muscle relaxer, and something to make his body go back into it's original form," he said as he sat down. "I wasn't even going to barge in there. I don't need to know that much about what they do. He was smirking so I figured he already knew what had went on and had done it at least once." He accepted his butterbeer with a smile for the waitress. "Did Uncle Oliver really grab Aunt Alicia and steal her?" he asked before taking a sip.
"He growled at her a few times too," Ron confided with an even bigger grin. "Hey, it's Snape," he said as the door opened. Iggy waved them over and the table got a little bigger. "Came for the game?"
"Yes. We were sent here because everyone at the house had left except the children," Severus said as he sat down. "No other teammates? They should be celebrating."
"I had to send daddy a pain killer, a muscle relaxer, and something to return stretched places to their normal state," Iggy told him. "They're celebrating already."
Severus nodded. "As they usually do." He ordered dinner for himself and his wife. "How soon should we expect them?"
"Soon," Tara assured him. "This was probably a quickie and Xander will be done soon enough." She smiled at the barmaid as her salad was put in front of her. "Thank you." The door opened and Draco drug in Xander and George, Fred and Katie behind him. Oliver was drug in by Alicia and Angelina both, and she noticed Harry looked jealous. "I'm sure it was nothing."
"Gee, and they're even dressed!" Madam Rosemerta called. The teammates got claps on the back and their hands shook as they made their way back to the table.
"Draco made me put on clothes," Xander called pitifully. He hissed as he sat down. "Ow."
"You broke a window," Harry told him.
"I heard," Xander told him. "I'll be cleaning it up later I'm sure." He gave everyone a smile. "Where's the other team?"
"Getting drunk at the pitch," Harry assured him. He looked around. "Where did Lee go?"
"He got dragged off by a reporter to give a statement. He'll be joining us in a few," George said smugly. "Ladies, what were your requests for my mate?"
"Oliver said I can't have him at my beck and call for a weekend," Alicia told him.
Katie nodded. "Fred said the same thing," she agreed. Fred nudged her. "Angelina?"
"No one's said anything to me about it." Harry gave her a look. "But I don't think he can do what I need most, which is to build stuff and chop wood."
"Actually, I can," Xander told her. "I was a carpenter before I joined this world."
"I think I can handle that stuff," Harry told her.
"And jealousy rears it's ugly head," Tara said with a grin. "What about your usual one, backrubs?"
"Oh, we'll be getting those," Katie assured her. She smiled at her former professor. "Sir, you're looking very relaxed. Did you have a good summer?"
"Very," he agreed. "That was a well played game. Congratulations."
"Thank you," George said with a grin. "I thought it was really funny when Flint fell off his broom." Oliver smirked. "That and someone's caveman act." Oliver growled again.
"And only me unjoined of all of us," Ron said grimly.
Draco looked at him. "What am I then?"
"You've got women," Ron pointed out.
Draco frowned at him. "I'm still not joined with any one of them."
"Children," Xander butted in.
"I need a date," Ron told him. "He's dated more recently than I have. I'm tired of being alone." He smiled at the woman looking their way. She smiled and went back to her own discussion. "See!"
"Ron, I'll gladly take you with me the next time I go for some fun," Draco reminded him.
"It's not the same. I miss cuddling," Ron complained.
Severus looked at him. "You could always order one from overseas."
"Mum said she'd kill me," Ron told him with a faint grin.
"It's wise of you to be afraid of your mother. She can be rather scary on occasion," Severus agreed.
Xander looked around and smiled at one woman, whom he had invited for the game, though he hadn't remembered when the date was. "Ron, go talk to her," he said, pointing at her. Ron looked at him and he gave him his most sweet and innocent smile. "Really. I know her. She's very nice and has a daughter of her own. Maybe you guys can swap kid stories."
"Maybe," Ron agreed, getting up and heading to the bar. He needed a new butterbeer anyway. "Hi."
She held out her hand. "Sarajane Marbell."
"Ron Weasley." He shook her hand. "Did Xander invite you over?"
She nodded. "He thought we might hit it off a bit, or at least give you someone to whine about your triplets doing things like that," she said, pointing at a kid who was trying to take apart a chair under someone. "Mary!" The girl smiled at her and trotted over. "This is Ron Weasley. He has triplets."
"I've seen you about my brother's store," he said, shaking her hand. "How old are you?"
"Five," she said happily. "My mummy said I'm as much of a terror as your brothers ever were," she said proudly, and a bit loudly. The nearby patrons laughed and she waved at them. "Hi!"
"Yes, you do match those two very well," she agreed. She smiled at Ron. "I was in the twin's year, Hufflepuff."
"Oh. I sort of remember you. Weren't you a blonde in school?" She nodded, fingering the dark hair. "I like this look better."
She laughed. "It's from a box, but I like it as well." She leaned closer. "Want to step outside so I can bind my daughter before she undresses you for me?"
He looked down and noticed the girl was playing with his belt buckle. "Sure," he agreed, letting her lead the way. He heard some light laughter from his family, but that was all right with him. He liked this woman for some reason and she wasn't scared of his family. If he remember right, she could even fly. She had been on her house team. "You played keeper, right?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yup, I did. You remember me now?"
"You were a force of destruction in your own right," he said with a grin. "Any time you walked past, things tipped over, went missing, or exploded." She laughed. "I find that really charming."
She kissed him on the cheek. "I'm not as bad as I used to be. I got some control after finding out what I was."
"A born?" Ron asked. She nodded, still smiling. "Wonderful. I live with the biggest born accident on the face of the earth, Xander." She giggled. "I ...." Her daughter knocked into him, pushing him into her personal space and she took advantage of it by kissing him. "Sorry," he said, blushing.
"Why? I'm not." She put an arm through his. "Come along, Mary, let's go sit with his family. You can bug the twins for new treats." She led the way back inside, pulling a chair over to sit next to him. Her daughter, of course, sat between the twins and smiled at both of them. "Behave. If you blow anything up, we'll have to pay for it."
"Yes, mummy," Mary said happily. "Where are your kids?" she asked Ron.
"Their grandparents have them for the night," Ron told her, pulling out a picture of them to show her. "That's my three."
"Wow. I know her," she said, pointing at Gwen. "She's almost as destructive as I am, mummy."
"I didn't think anything was as destructive as Gwen was," Draco noted, sipping his butterbeer. "She's the only girl I know who can destroy a room just by sitting in the center of it with her doll."
"No, I've done better," Sarajane told her. "I blew up the potion's dungeon by walking into it once," she said proudly. Snape nodded. "I am sorry about all that, sir."
"Had I known what you were, I would have sent away for help so I could sleep at night," he assured her. She laughed.
"Was she really that bad?" Tara asked.
Draco and every other former student at the table nodded. "Yes," Draco told her. "I had a detention with her once. She managed to make all the tables collapse by sitting at one of them." He saluted her with his mug. "If you join this family, I'm increasing my insurance policy."
"Draco!" Ron shouted. "Take that back!"
"Why? I'd do that too," George told him. "She was worse than the two of us together, Ron." He looked at Draco. "Leaving us something?"
"Of course. You get to administer my estate and make sure my children don't kill each other over everything. I know why the last six generations only had one child, you can't exactly divvy up the wealth easily among six of them."
Xander gave him a smile. "Does that mean I get custody of Simone?"
"Yes, Xander, you can adopt all of them," Draco agreed. "Please make sure Ana has a wonderful mate and that Ravena doesn't kill Potter for no reason." Harry glared at him. "I meant you, not your son." He finished his drink. "With that said, I should warn you that I have a meeting to go to tonight so I'll be leaving in a bit."
"There was a vision about it," Iggy told him between bites. "Something about not taunting them?"
"I was there, Ignatius."
"Good point. Sorry." He shoveled more food into his mouth.
"Son, you're inhaling it. Try chewing as an alternative method of gaining nutrition," George encouraged.
"Sorry, but the wife has been after me all week. I need the food, daddy. I *really* need the food." He scraped his plate and got up to get himself something more. He was still hungry. By the time he got back, Simone was in his seat. "Move. You can sit in your father's lap. I need to eat."
"She hasn't jumped you in hours," Simone snorted, but she got her own seat and the table expanded again to fit her in. "You're eating like a pregnant person," she told him.
Iggy looked at her then flipped her off. "Some of us have done more than laying around in the sun. Not only have I fixed my library, again, I've also been brewing all day and been jumped six different times. By the way, you're falling behind with the polishing." He smirked at her grunt of annoyance. "You did promise. I can tell everyone where those new things have come from."
Draco looked at him. "Molly and I both have seen the catalog." His daughter blushed. "Not that one?" he asked with a faint smile. She got up and went to order her own dinner. "Where did those come from, Ignatius?"
"I'll only tell if she doesn't finish cleaning up my broom for me," Iggy said with a smirk of his own. "Or if she narks on me again."
Xander patted him on the back. "Son, it's genetic. You can't help being irresistible to your mate."
"Yes, I suppose it is," George agreed, looking at his husband. He pounced him, kissing him hard. "Don't give him advice on sex, dear. I don't want to know if he decides to do what we did earlier."
Xander moaned and leaned closer. "Can we do more then?"
"In a while. Let us grab our trophy first," George agreed, giving him a quick peck on the lips.
"George, are you sucking face or are you trying to keep him calm?" Madam Rosemerta called.
"Both," he called back.
"Father, I don't have any more pain potion made up. Be gentle with him tonight," Iggy pleaded. "I won't have any more made up for four more hours."
"I'll keep that in mind," George said with a wink. "Did you steal our book?"
"Um, no. Raena did," Iggy admitted. "And then I had to hide it from her. She wanted to do strange things to me, daddy."
"Handcuffs, son, they're a wonderful thing," George told him. Snape looked at him. "Don't use them personally? I find it keeps Xander from interrupting my fun."
"I'm surprised you don't have to use the Imperious curse on him sometimes."
"That would be bad and I'm a *good* boy, Severus," George assured him.
"You blew out a window, needed three potions to recuperate, and are claiming innocence?" Severus asked. George nodded so he laughed at him. "I'm sure you think you are."
"I think he's innocent," Xander said with his best innocent look on his face and his eyes twinkling. "I haven't finished debauching him yet." He smiled at his mate. "It's your turn next."
George visibly swallowed. "Sure," he said finally. Xander gave him a kiss and whispered in his ear, making him blush. "If you want," he agreed weakly.
Ron looked at his new friend. "You might want to consider running before they do something on the table," he said dryly.
"That would be Percy," Fred reminded him.
Snape choked on his drink of water. "What?"
"With Kandy," Xander agreed. "I'll tell you about it sometime this school year when we're both bored."
"I'm sure it's a fascinating story," Severus agreed. He looked confused.
"Yes, *that* Percy," Ron agreed, grinning at him.
"Fred, if you *ever* try that with me, I'll beat you and go shack up with your twin," Katie warned him.
"I'd never ask you to, Katie," he said with a smile. "After all, I wouldn't want to touch Percy's spot. I'm sure we can find our own embarrassing spot."
"Laps are already taken," Draco noted.
Ron nodded. "So is the couch at the Burrow."
"The cabinet under the stairs," George added. Fred looked at him. "Charlie and the first girl he brought home."
"Oh. I hadn't heard about that," Fred said, shaking his head.
"Mum warned me to not go in there because there was breakable stuff," George told him. "That and dad's office, the bathroom, and the attic. Bill scared the ghoul once," he told him.
Someone cleared their throat from behind them. "Actually, I believe that was Charlie as well," Arthur told them. They smiled at him. "Sarajane Marbell," he said with a fond smile. "I've been meaning to introduce you to my sons." He sat down and waved over the waitress. "I'll take whatever's on the stove and a butterbeer please." She nodded and hurried off. "Who's paying for dinner?"
"Oops," Xander said, patting himself down. He disappeared and came back ten minutes later to laughter. "Sorry." He dropped his money pouch in the center of the table. "I forgot it."
"That's all right, we only told dirty stories about you," Ron assured him.
Xander shrugged. "It can't be worse than some of you have seen."
"Very true," Draco agreed.
George blushed. "Sorry about that. I lost control."
"It was interesting," Draco told him, reaching over to pat him on the hand. "I never knew that Xander made those sort of noises. The door usually blocks them."
"I'll be putting a force field over the window tonight," Xander said with a blush of his own. He looked up as the clapping started around them. "Oooh, trophy!" he said happily, pointing at it.
Madam Rosemerta came out with their trophy, holding it high. "The winners!" she said, waving a hand at the family table. The crowd clapped. "We couldn't fit everyone's name on there so only the main six people got on it." Simone pouted. "Dear, you're the sixth, don't worry about it." She patted the girl on the back and put the trophy on the table. She smiled at Xander. "Your name isn't on there, dear. We have a special award for you." She handed over a smaller trophy. "For coaching these lunatics to winning." The crowd clapped as he hugged her. "Now you all behave and I'll forgive you half of your bill." That got a laugh and she went to get their cake, putting that next to the trophy. "Someone cut it."
"I think it should be you guys. You guys were the ones who scored all the points," Xander told them, waving a hand at the knife. The team stood up and cut the cake together. The first piece got used as food bombs, but what else would you expect from this family?
To Epilogues 1-3: