Draco looked at the swirling couples, smiling at the happiness his children were showing. His former henchman, Crabbe, walked up to him. "Enjoying the evening?"
"Very," he agreed, smiling. "My daughter looks nice out there."
"She does," Draco agreed. "Very poised and tasteful."
"Thank you for helping her through everything." Crabbe looked around. "Where are yours?"
Draco pointed at the son. "The blonde is my son Denver. The redhead who just squealed and punched someone is my daughter Simone. Don't worry, they're used to her by now," he said as the worried look. "The belle of the ball is my daughter Anastasia." He pointed out where she was holding court against one of the walls. He pointed at another child. "That one is Agatha Potter, the bane of my daughter's existence."
Crabbe laughed. "At least they're finally leaving."
"True. That leaves my daughter Ravenna and the younger ones to go." He smiled as his daughter Simone walked over to him. "You look adorable today," he assured her. "Crabbe, this is my daughter Simone."
"I've seen you play," he said with a bow. "Very nice."
"Thank you." She smiled at him. "Daddy, dance with me since Adrian is being a prick?"
"Of course, my dear." He led her out and started to move with her. "Are you happy?"
"Very," she agreed. "No screwups this year?"
"Not a single one," he assured her. "We have confirmation that all the scores were accepted. The scores from last year were accepted for those who didn't want to retake their NEWTs. Everything should be fine for the leave taking tomorrow. What are you going to do during your short vacation?"
"I'm going to swim and nap and sleep in because I deserve it," she said with a pretty smirk. "Plus I think I'll work on getting my butt laid again and then maybe I'll even take pity on Denver and take him with me." Her father chuckled. "You're not disappointed that I want to work with phoenixes and not go to a preserve so I can play professionally?"
"Not at all, I expected it," Draco assured her, giving her a little squeeze. "I could never be disappointed with you children. You are mine and therefore wonderful." She relaxed against him. "What are you wearing tomorrow?"
"I think I'll put on a proper uniform for one last time," she told him. "Or as close as I get," she said with an impish grin. "Were you surprised at my award?"
"No, dear, I think you deserved it. You have been changed by your time here and I know all the teachers are happy to see you grown up."
"As opposed to my first year?" she asked dryly.
"Exactly," he agreed with a smile. The song ended and he stepped away. "Go find a wonderful dancer for the next turn, daughter."
"Yes, daddy." She walked over to let her boyfriend apologize and dance with him again.
Draco walked back to his waiting spot, smiling at the other fathers standing around. "Xander, where is your son?"
"Changing a diaper," Xander admitted. "Melvin?"
"Watching his daughter eat," Percy said, pointing discreetly at them. "Your brood?"
"Ana's holding court. Denver was just here," he said, frowning. "I think he might have slipped out. Simone is letting Adrian make up for trying to cop a feel at the wrong time."
"Good. Oh, there's Agatha," Xander said, pointing her out. "She looks happy."
"She'll be disappearing tonight," Percy told him. They nodded. He looked at Draco. "We need to have a talk. Shey Ravettena is about to have some problems and her best bet would be your son."
"They're first cousins," Draco pointed out gently.
"I know. As does she. She and Emily are about to be put into the same spot, though for different reasons."
"I heard about her mother saying she was going back to marry immediately," Xander put in. "How is she taking it?"
"She's decided she's rather be disowned," Draco told him. "He's forty years older than her." Both fathers looked disgusted. "She came home after the holidays and demanded the right to stay with her uncle. Her mother's trying to get her declared mentally incompetent so she has to come back. I'm not sure what Severus has planned about this. I meant to ask him earlier." He glanced around. "He's not here?"
"He and Symphana are out in the hallway. She got a bit fussy," Percy told him. He looked at Anastasia's admirers. "Any hope for her marriage?"
"We've got three good prospects. She loathes one of them. I loathe the one she likes. The last one isn't a decent compromise. I don't like him and neither does she. I'm searching further afield."
"American?" Xander asked.
"Yes, American. Or Canadian. There's a few nice ones over there." He accepted the cup of punch Ron brought him. "Thank you. How is Sarajane?"
"Resting," he said with a sappy grin. "The doctors still can't tell if she's pregnant or not."
"We can only hope," Percy assured him, smiling at him. "What are you doing this summer?"
"Relaxing at home," Ron told him. "Playing with the kids. Helping Xander with Minnie."
"The twins want to see them in a few weeks," Xander reminded him. Ron nodded. He smiled as his son walked back in dressed in a new outfit and so was his son. "Someone got messy." He stole his grandson to dance around with him. "How are you, Spenser?" The baby grinned and patted his face. "Are you a happy baby tonight?" He looked over and noticed his son had taken the opportunity to dance with his wife. "Look, Spenser, mommy and daddy." He turned the baby so he could see them. Spenser let out a loud screech and reached for them. "You can have them back soon enough," he soothed. He squealed and bounced until his uncle Draco came and took him from his grandfather, then he cooed and nuzzled the soft robe. "Meanie," Xander said with a grin, poking his grandson on the stomach.
"If you were wearing velvet, he'd love you too," Draco said with a smirk. He accepted Xander as his partner and they danced off together, once Xander had stolen Marion from Andrea. Together the babies cooed and 'talked' to each other.
"People will talk," Xander said with a grin.
"Most of them think that Myan is a persona I take on sometimes." Xander grinned as his mate came over with Myan on his arm. "Are you two repossessing us?"
"Yes, we are, before someone decides that we're actually a foursome." George took Xander away and they exchanged babies before dancing off. "Are you happy?"
"Very," Xander said with a grin. His grandson patted him on the face so he nibbled on the little fingers. Spenser squealed in outrage and pulled them away to suck on them himself. His fingers! Xander smiled at him and pointed at a snitch as it fired up. "I think Ronnie snuck something in."
George smiled as it flew away, being chased by a few children. "They're so cute."
"Plus it gets them out of here," Xander agreed. He kissed his grandson on the head and surrendered him when the parents came back for him. "He was good."
"He was noisy," Raena teased, kissing him on the head. He held up his fingers. "Did the granddaddy nibble on them again?" she asked as she took him to hold. She and her mate walked off to get some punch and fruit.
George spanked his mate, making him jump. "Now, naughty, what should I do with you?"
"You should come back with me tonight, screw me into the mattress, and then leave me limp and begging right before breakfast so Fred doesn't miss you?"
George considered it. "Yeah, that sounds like a plan. Wanna start now?"
"We can't. We're about the only adults left in here. Snape's gone, Tara's back in bed. There's too few of us for the occasion. After all, we don't want the kids to do the same sort of naughty stuff I want you to do with me."
George nodded. "That's a good point. Speaking of snogging, here comes Denver... and Shey?"
"They were talking."
"Are we sure?"
"Yup. Shey's about to face the horrors of an arranged marriage to someone horrible. Speaking of, can we help Emily Snape with hers?"
"If you can find her a mate," George offered. "Or she could hide at our place if she needs to."
"Cool." Xander gave a subtle rub. "How much longer does this dance last?"
"Shit, it's only nine."
George laughed and spun his husband off, watching as one of their prize Gryffindors caught him and danced off with him. Simone walked up to him and he offered her his hand. She smiled and let him lead. "You look beautiful tonight, Simone. Very tasteful and it makes you glow."
"Thank you, Uncle George." She looked him over. "Did Uncle Xander dress you for his pleasure?" He laughed, nodding. "I think you're wonderful together." She leaned closer. "What's wrong with Aggie? She looks a little too happy to be alive."
"She's leaving tonight in the middle of the night to take on her job. Or at least she'll be leaving tonight to go to her advisor's. What's wrong with Shey? She looks a little less upset."
"I don't know," she said thoughtfully. "I should probably nudge Ravena to talk to her."
"They ran out after one of the snitches a while ago."
"Well, crap." Simone bowed when the dance ended. "I'm going to talk to her and Emily. See if I can be of any help." She strolled away, shaking her head at one young man who looked hopeful. "Next dance," she told him. He smiled and settled down to wait. "Shey, sweetie, the family is worried about you. Are you all right?"
Shey looked up at her. "I feel better. Denver had an idea to help me and Emily." She smiled at her friend. "Do you think your father would mind him and Emily?"
"Not at all," Simone said. She noticed her father was against the wall and gave him a signal to join them. "Father, they're working on the horrible problem of older-than-dirt mates."
"I've been trying to figure out how to help you myself," he told the girls. "What have you figured out?"
"Denver offered to shield me," Emily told him, looking hopeful.
"Would you be willing to go through with it?" he asked.
She considered it. "If I had to, I could stand him. Even though he might have to bring in a lover or three to help, I'd learn to settle."
"You shouldn't have to settle, Emily." He gave her a one-armed hug. "If it came down to that, then yes, I would accept you being together. You said he offered?" She nodded. "Then I trust my son to know his mind in this matter. You'll have to get your uncle's permission of course." She smiled and walked away. "Shey, love, do you have any idea what you want to do?"
"Turn lesbian?" she offered.
Draco laughed. "I can understand that. With the problems I've went through with Anastasia's marriage I know how bad it can be." He gave her a hug as well. "Why don't you floo your parents tonight and ask for permission to ...." Xander handed her his portable floo device as he walked past. "Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome. Shey, tell her that you've found a reason not to get married. That's all you have to tell her until she descends on the house." She nodded and walked away to get some privacy. "Draco, we've got to work a little faster. Do you know *anybody*? Even for a small, short-term alliance?"
"I do, but that's not how it's done. Marriage contracts are hardly ever broken."
"Unless unsuitabilities are found," Xander pointed out. "In this case, I don't know what her mother's thinking. Aggie?" Agatha drifted over, looking so happy she wanted to float. "Aggie, I know you've got plans starting tonight. Can you help us with the problem Shey's having?"
"Of course." She smiled at her uncles. "If he's touched her, then he's a pedophile." Draco perked up. "If he hasn't, then he's basically a run of the mill pervert. Plus, there may be a doubt about her fertility. From what I've heard of him, that might be the problem to end it." She smiled at Anastasia. "You look nice tonight."
"As do you," Anastasia said. "Are you going on the train tomorrow?"
"No, I'll be leaving tonight," Agatha told her. "I'll try to pop around for the major family events if I can." She wandered off again, letting Ryan talk her into a dance. His growing up was very nice. "You seem mature tonight," she offered.
"Thank you. I miss you, Aggie."
"You lost your chance," she pointed out.
He bowed his head. "I was stupid, Aggie. Both when I cheated on you and when I asked to have our union severed. I am so sorry, Aggie. I understand now."
She tipped his chin up so she could look him in the eyes. "Why should I give you a chance, Ryan? You fucked up so majorly I shouldn't do more than kiss you and walk away."
He gave her a squeeze as he walked her outside. "Because we'll be doing the same job," he said quietly. "Because we are great together. Because I understand you better than anyone else ever could. Because we're the same, Aggie. Please, I miss you." He pulled her into his arms for a hug. "All I want in life is you right now. I was *so* stupid before."
"I know." She pulled back. "I miss you as well, Ryan. Bad habits and all." He gave her a hopeful smile. "We'll see. That's as far as I'm willing to go right now."
"We have to have it set before we take on our powers in a month," he pointed out. "I can give you everything you've ever wanted, Agatha. Anything is yours if I can do it. But we only have a little time to decide on such matters."
"What do you want?" she asked.
"I want to have a family. I want to have that happiness that Iggy and Raena, or even Melvin and Andrea, have. I want the joy of looking at my mother and telling her it's not going to go to her and that we'll raise the child by ourselves." He kissed her on the forehead. "I want a lot of things, Agatha, and I'm not sure how to tell you."
"Then think it at me, you goof," she reminded him. He rested his forehead against hers, letting her see inside his mind. She teared up. "You want me?"
He nodded. "I want you. All of you, even the bad parts." He gave her another squeeze. "We can do this if you want."
"Maybe," she agreed, sniffling. He handed her a hankie and watched as she pulled herself back together. "Let me think about it tonight. Are you leaving with me?"
"Yeah, the Ravettenas are making a special trip for both of us. Can we help Shey?"
"Not right now. I have a plan for that. Uncle Draco knows and approves." She led him back inside and let him dance with her again.
Professor Snape smiled at the couple finally figuring it out as he made his way to where his niece was waiting on him. He had just called her mother and she was throwing a fit. "I've talked with her. She's threatened again to have you declared incompetent and drug back."
"Let her try," Denver told him, putting an arm around her shoulders. "It won't be a love match, but I am more than powerful enough, and well enough off, to have garnered her attention. Does her mother know it's me?"
Professor Snape shook his head. "No, I didn't tell her. I told her a powerful pureblood family's first son. She decided she's on her way over as soon as she can get a flight."
"If she'd use a portkey, we'd be in real trouble," Emily pointed out. Her uncle nodded. "You don't mind?"
"I don't mind, but I will be watching certain people's behavior," he said, looking right at Denver. "You may have gotten a plaque of your own, but I will not allow such activities around my niece, young man."
"I do know what discretion is," Denver pointed out. "You didn't know half of what I did and neither did the person who put up the plaque." He smiled. "I have ways around that, and who knows, Emily might even join me in some of them so she can find happiness as well."
Draco walked up to them. "If you go through with this, then we'll set you up in one of the family houses," he said quietly. "Emily, if you do go through with this, we will protect you as much as we possibly can."
"Thank you, Professor Malfoy."
He smiled at her. "If you're going to become my daughter-in-law, you may call me by my first name."
"Yes, Draco." He smiled at her. "You're not against it?"
"I can see my son's reasons. I'd want more of a loving match for him of course, but you two are suitable on other levels. Will you allow him to play professionally?"
"I'd adore it," she agreed with a smile. "It means I'd get to go to all the games." She squeezed Denver's hand. "How bad is this going to get?"
"If worst comes to worst, you might have to get pregnant very quickly," Draco warned. "It depends on what your mother ...." He stopped as the doors blew in. "Is that her?"
"It is," Emily agreed. "Mother." She smiled. "Come, meet my chosen mate." She stormed over. "This is Denver Malfoy."
"A Death Eater," she said with great disgust.
"I never took the mark and I fought against him," Draco said, sneering at her. "My son is nothing like my own father, woman." He looked her over then looked at his mentor. "You're related to this?"
Snape hid his smile. "Yes, I am. She's become too American over the years since she was widowed." He smiled at Denver. "Make yourself known now, young man."
"She's mine, Mrs. Snape. If you try and take her from me, I'm going to hunt you down and harm you. Emily is thrilling in many ways and supports me in everything I do." He led her away, going to dance with her. They made a striking couple. The dark and the light merging together. They flowed together naturally and gracefully.
"I think it's a wonderful match," Professor Dumbledore said as he floated up to them. "Tonight?"
"If necessary," Draco agreed. "This is Emily's mother."
"Albus Dumbledore," he said with a smile, watching as she backed up. "Severus, do you have any objections?"
"I have none. Denver will soothe her quirks and she'll keep him balanced and reasonable."
"Then we do have people here who are able to do such ceremonies." Draco's mouth fell open. "Percy Weasley is still here I believe."
"If it has to happen."
"You do not have my permission," Mrs. Snape said hotly.
"She's eighteen, she doesn't need it," Professor Snape pointed out.
"I will kick her out of the family."
"I'm a Malfoy, woman, I have more than enough money to buy all of your family's assets and make them do embarrassing things to get free of my ire." He looked around and pointed at Percy, motioning him over. Then the children. "Now?" he suggested.
Denver looked at her, noticing how scared she looked. "Now," he agreed. Emily bit her lip but she nodded. "That way nothing can get between us. She's no longer in danger."
"Is that what this is about?" her mother sneered. "Your intended is a perfectly nice and decent wizard from a long family."
"I can trace mine back six hundred generations," Draco told her. "Plus, my son's about the same age as she is, unlike the one you chose." He looked at his son and future daughter-in-law. "It is up to you, Emily. I know this is a lot of pressure, but you have to decide now."
"I want this," she decided, taking a deep breath. "He can't be all bad with all the training he's had." She jumped when someone tapped her on the shoulder, looking at the man behind her. "Minister Weasley, you are licensed to do marriages?" He nodded, smiling at her. "Will you please marry Denver and I? I've made my choice and I'm sticking by it."
"Of course." He smiled at her. "I knew that sending away for that certification wasn't just a quirky thing to do, no matter what my wife thinks." He led them up to the front of the hall. "Quiet!" he shouted. Everyone stopped and looked at him. "There is an added feature to tonight's celebration, a wedding and reception. Who will stand up for Emily Snape?"
"I will," Iggy called, stepping forward with his wife and son. "We all will."
"Wonderful. Who will stand up for Denver Malfoy-Weasley?" Her mother gasped.
"I will, as will the rest of the family," Simone offered, stepping forward. "Welcome to the family, Emily. Don't worry, you'll be treated the same." Emily laughed, but she sounded nervous. "Raena, I think she could use some calming." Raena stepped forward and pulled Emily away a little bit to talk to her. Emily nodded and stepped back. "Are we ready?" They nodded. "Then let's do this."
"Such a romantic sentiment," Professor Snape said with some amusement. Simone smiled at him. "I'm thankful you're not marrying her."
"She's not exactly my type," Simone reminded him. "I like my lovers to be mor submissive to me than she could ever be." She stepped up behind her brother and straightened out his robes. "There you go. Face Uncle Percy."
Denver took Emily's hand and smiled bravely at her. "We're ready." They both went to their knees.
"Then we'll do this," Percy said with a smile for them. "Do you desire to be joined with this witch?"
"Do you desire to be joined with this wizard?"
"I do." She swallowed, giving him a begging look.
"I have to ask, does anyone beside her mother have a reason why they can't marry?"
"She's in a marriage contract!" her mother snapped.
"Not one of my making or one that I desire, mother. I would have had it broken anyway." She faced forward again. "One more call?"
"This is your last chance. Anyone who wishes to challenge Denver for Emily's love? Anyone who wants to keep the poor girl out of the family?" Her mother opened her mouth. "Then we will move on. Rings?"
"Crap," Simone said, patting herself down. She held up a finger. "Give me a sec, I have something suitable in my jewelry box at home." She disappeared and came back a moment later. "It was grandmother's," she told Emily. "Just an every-day ring but he can fix that later."
"Thank you, Simone," Draco said, smiling at her.
"It doesn't fit me anyway," Simone reminded him, giving him an innocent look. "Put it on her finger, dolt." She gave her brother a light shove.
Denver slid the ring onto Emily's finger and smiled at her. "I do mark you as mine."
She kissed him on the cheek. "I do mark you as mine."
"Then I pronounce you married by all standards of our world. Kiss briefly so everyone else can go back to their graduation ball."
Denver kissed her, making her moan. "I will be good to you," he whispered, leading her away to dance with her.
"Just take it easy on me," she whispered. "I've never been with anyone before."
"Oh, I know," he agreed with a slight smirk. "It makes me warm to think about that." He led them off as the music started, dancing with her. "Now that you're an official Malfoy, you'll have to start to enjoy shopping you know. Because I don't so you'll have to do it for me." She laughed. "How many heirs did you want?"
"One would be nice," she offered. "I'm not sure I can go through more than that."
"Then I'll work on that and have myself rendered infertile afterwards. Reversibly of course, in case you change your mind." She laughed and put her head on his shoulder. "We'll have one of those friendship marriages if nothing else," he whispered. "I'll protect you."
"Thank you, Denver." He gave her a squeeze. "Did you want to consummate this tonight?"
"Only if your mother gets pushy. Otherwise, I can wait for a few days until you're ready."
"You're welcome." He spun her out, making her laugh, and brought her back, letting her lean against his body. "So, how do you feel about long runs under the moonlight? I might have to ride your back, but I think it'd go all right."
She laughed. "I think we could manage that."
Iggy walked up to them. "Daddy said you're sleeping in the tower tonight. Are you finished packing?" They both nodded. "Then head directly to the tower so she can't try anything." He smiled at them. "It'll be a good and strong match, if nothing else you'll be friends." He winked and walked away. "Oh, Raena, my sweet, I want a kiss," he called.
"You horny git," she said, but she gave it to him.
"Isn't that how we ended up with Spenser?" Simone called as she let a boy sweep her away.
"I'm back under an infertility spell," Raena called back. "No more kids for at least three years."
"Three years is good," Iggy agreed. "Five kids, each about three years apart would be wonderful." She bopped him on the arm. "Ow, meanie. If you keep abusing me that way, I won't nibble you tonight like you wanted."
"In that case," she said, leading him out of the ball and back to their room. They missed the laughter, but it wasn't that important. "We still have to pack," she reminded him.
Iggy waved his wand and packed *everything* in the room quickly. "There. Done. Nibbling?"
"Nibbling is good," she agreed, putting their son down into the cradle once she found the box it had been put into. "Teleporting home tomorrow?"
"Teleporting all the stuff and then we'll take one last symbolic train ride with the family." He pushed her robe off her shoulders with a wicked grin. "Come on, precious, I want sugar!" He pounced and she didn't fight him over it. Not in the least.
Xander smiled as the last couple walked out of the ball. He looked over at Draco and Emily, who were talking together, then at Simone and Ana, who were going to walk her up to the tower as an honor guard. He pitied Emily's mother if she tried anything. He walked over. "It's time to go, guys. I want sex and you're keeping me from my husband." Draco gave him a look. "George promised to leave me limp before he snuck back to the shop. So let's get back to the tower and let the caretaker use all the nifty cleaning spells." He took Draco's arm as they walked back. "Does this make you happy?" he asked quietly.
"She's a fine woman and she's the sort I'd have liked Denver to marry anyway," Draco pointed out. "I thought George went back to the shop."
"He'll be back as soon as I call him." He watched as Simone opened the door, frowning when he heard the noise. "That sounds like a groan." He and Draco went ahead, finding someone collapsed on their couch. "I think that's Charlie." He looked around. "Do a sweep. Girls, get her up to the room and lock them in. Shield it, Simone, just like I taught you." They hurried Emily past and locked her and Denver in. Xander checked Charlie, nodding at Snape to come closer. "He's hurt, but not too bad. Charlie?" Charlie looked up at him. "What happened?"
"Two blokes, big, mean, stupid ones."
"Ah! Wonderful," Draco sighed. "Can you move?" Charlie shook his head. "Then let me float you up to my room to be checked over. Xander, turn off the floo."
"George," he said pitifully.
"He'll be up anyway," Snape pointed out. "He can walk." The floo was turned off and the door locked against anyone who wasn't family. He followed Draco up to check on the oldest brother, making sure it wasn't something fatal. A hard kick to the balls, nothing worse as it turned out. He used Xander's portable floo to call Percy, who agreed to come pick up Charlie and went down to wait on him. He found Xander unconscious on the floor and frowned, but went to check him. He heard the cloak move before he saw the baseball bat so he managed to duck.
"Inpedimentia!" Draco said, stopping that one. "Refractus Rouge!" The room filled with a red light, showing where shadows were, and where people were hiding. The other two were stunned as well, knocked out to wait for someone to come get them. "Finite Incantatum." The lights faded and he walked down to check on Xander. "Stunned, not that badly injured." He turned on the floo. "Percy?"
Percy stepped out, with a few of his people. "Is Xander fine?"
"Bat to the head," Draco told him, kicking a bat. "Is this about Emily?"
"Possibly, or one of Xander's many enemies." George came out of the floo and fell down beside his mate, touching him gently. "Get Madam Pomfrey," he gently ordered.
"The doors are locked against non-family," Draco told him, going to fix one of them. As soon as she was inside, he locked it again. "How is he?"
"A small concussion, nothing serious."
"I guess we're not having sex tonight," George said dryly. He followed his husband up to the infirmary, waiting until he woke up. "What happened after I left?" he asked.
"Emily Snape disobeyed her mother to marry your nephew Denver," Poppy said, looking around. "She's doing it for the protection from her mother and the forty years older wizard she was mated with." George groaned. "They're well suited. They are friends and she understands about his... hobbies."
George rolled his eyes. "No wonder. Another enemy." He looked over as Snape walked in. "How are the kids?"
"Safe and sound in my rooms. All of them are napping around Tara." He checked Xander over. "He'll be fine." He heard the groan and turned around. "I thought you were taking him with you."
"The floo's been disconnected, so has the main one," Percy told him as he helped his older brother up onto a bed. "Madam Pomfrey, some ice if you have some."
"Should I try to wake Xander up?" George asked.
"No, let Ron and Draco deal with it," Percy told him. "He's too injured to fight, he'll only end up hurting himself." He covered his brother up, placing the ice under the sheets for his modesty. "I left them and my two associates back in the house. Will you be fine up here by yourself?"
"If it's something do to with Emily, then we'd be fine anyway," George pointed out. Percy gave him a look. "We'll be fine. I have my wand and Madam Pomfrey is still here."
"Good. Then I'll see you in a bit." Percy hurried away, going back to the house to see if he could get anything out of their prisoners. He got back there in time to duck a curse thrown by Ron at the reawakened prisoners. "Stun them or freeze them," he called, getting one of them. That one fell onto his side and something grunted. "Was that Draco?"
"No, that was me," Simone said, moving out from behind the couch. "I was on the stairs when the fourth guy walked out of the portal. He's got Daddy."
"Really?" Percy asked. Simone nodded. "Then we'll deal, Princess. Ron, Xander's up in the infirmary. Guard the house." His little brother nodded. "I'll be back." He teleported back to the office, grabbing some of his wife's favorite people who were working late. "Someone has Malfoy," he explained as they gathered. "A portal opened in the school and took him." They all got their 'grim' look, meaning someone was going to die. "The floo has been disconnected so I'm teleporting you all."
"My people," Arabelle complained as she walked in, tying back her hair. "I'll guard the tower if I have to," she said at the look from her mate. "I'm fine to go on this raid."
"Wonderful, but you've had a migraine all day, Arabelle. No arguments. Time's wasting." They each took a few people back with them, landing in the house. Simone was crying and that worried most of them. "Anything?"
"They sent back the family seal," Ron said, holding it in his hand. "Get them before I do, Percy."
"I'm going right now, Ron. Simone, where was the portal exactly?"
She let go of her uncle and walked over, standing in the spot. "They came out here. Daddy was in front of the stairs because he led the way down. The new guy rushed out, grabbed Daddy, tried to grab one of his friends, and dropped him because he was too heavy and daddy was struggling. They left and the portal closed." She sniffed. "Hurt them or let me do it," she said coldly. "No one hurts my family."
"Simone, this is important," Arabelle said, grabbing her by the shoulders to move her out of the way. "The kids are somewhere. Do you know where?" She nodded. "Then go guard them. Is Denver safe?" She nodded again. "Shielded and all that?"
Simone nodded, yawning. "I locked them in myself. I put a two centimeter shield on their room, with extra thickness over the window and door." She pulled herself together. "You want me to guard the kids?" Arabelle nodded. "Then I'm headed down there now. Are you staying with Uncle Ron?"
"I am, sweetheart, go ahead and go." Arabelle gave her a light shove and the girl jogged off. "Boys, I want these assholes and I want them in pain when I see them. Got it?" They nodded and Percy recast the portal spell, letting it follow to its last anchor. It waved a bit so he added in Draco's signature to it, weaving it off the ring. The portal steadied and the strike team moved through.
Arabelle smiled as screams were heard. "It'll stay open," she told him. "Yell if you need more help." She watched as her husband walked through it, then Ron as well. "Huh." She sat down in Xander's chair, which gave her line-of-sight to both entrances, the fireplace, and the stairs, and settled in to wait. She heard more screams, familiar ones, and called out to her remaining strike team members to come to her side. They came in a rush of a portal and she pointed. "Percy's in there trying to get back Draco Malfoy, a kidnaping victim. Half of you have already went through and there's still screaming." They hurried through and soon the screaming changed to fear instead of pain. She smiled and checked her nails. Her boys played nicely with people like that, they'd leave some for her. Ron came back dragging Draco and she got up to help put the poor man onto the couch. "What happened?"
"They were going to use him as a power sacrifice," Ron said as he fell to the floor on his butt. "There's about fifty of them, Percy's got a frozen arm from a curse. Your people are kicking their asses very well, but a few managed to teleport out before Percy got up the barrier." He glanced around when he saw the anger. "Go for it. I can watch the tower." She nodded and strolled casually over to the portal, pulling out her wand before she stepped across.
"Arabelle, get back to guard our exit!" Percy's shouted. He was shoved through a moment later. "That woman!" he said in exasperation.
"It's nice that you appreciate her that way," Ron told him. "Want me to uncurse you?"
"If you wouldn't mind," Percy agreed dryly. He got his arm free then checked on Draco. "Is he living?"
"He's passed out. He'll be fine. I already sent a mental yell for Iggy and Raena." Ron forced himself to stand up and grab the ice trays from the freezer. "Ice, Percy?"
"Please, just a few piece if you wouldn't mind." He took Xander's usual chair and accepted the ice with a smile and a nod. "What about you? I saw you go down twice."
"One of them I was ducking. The other knocked me down and got a kick in. Is he moving again?"
"No, I think you broke his leg quite well," Percy assured him. He called out for his own people, bringing them running as well. "Go help Arabelle. She's had migraines all day and she's being stubborn." They hurried through and Arabelle's voice floated through. He smiled at the frustration she put out. "Serves her right. She can't have all the fun." He put the ice pack onto his shoulder, sighing in relief. Iggy came racing in. "It was a kidnaping. Check him."
"Where's daddy?" Iggy asked as he knelt beside the couch.
"He's in the infirmary with a small concussion according to Madam Pomfrey. He got put down during the initial assault." Iggy looked over at him. "They took Draco as a power sacrifice. They had him chained and were draining him into some sort of stone."
"Fuck them then," Iggy said coldly. He stood up and looked around. "Where are the kids?"
"Your mentor's wife has them."
"Even better. He needs a lot of rest, some restorative fluids, and some careful watching. Get him up to the infirmary now, Madam Pomfrey's more than good enough for that." He pulled both wands as he headed for the portal.
"Ignatius, you are a healer, you have to take care of your patients," Ron reminded him.
"Taking care of my patient would include getting him free of the binding they did, Uncle Ron." Ron blanched. "It's okay, you were more concerned about getting him free. Let me do that." He walked through and shouted "NO! Not the sink!"
Percy groaned. "Xander will have my hide if he's hurt."
"Xander will have both of our asses, Percy, not just yours." Ron stood up and headed back to the portal, watching as Iggy dismantled the draining spell. Draco gasped. "I think he's done it. Oohh! Behind him!" he called. Arabelle looked and hit that person, missing the one near her. Fortunately, someone was watching out for her and the person who nearly got her fell to the ground screaming in agony. Percy got up and drug Ron away from the portal. "I should go back and make sure Iggy comes back."
"I'm sure our people have it, Ron. Sit with Draco. He'll recognize you more than he will me." Percy sat down again, relaxing until Iggy was shoved back through the portal and it was closed. "Are they done?"
"They're done for," Iggy agreed, putting away one of his wands. "Up to the infirmary you go, Uncles. All of you." He floated Draco up and out the door, making the other two follow them. He stomped into the infirmary and handed over his patient. "He was being bled off. He'll be fine, I severed the anchor." Snape looked at him. "Bloody stupid of them at that," he noted. "Visible anchor stone, a grave, and a bunch of people using Tara's version of magic when they didn't have a clue!" He forced Percy onto a bed and checked him over, then Ron, then went to check on his father. "I'm going to find Simone."
"She's down with the children," Percy told him. "We're all fine, Ignatius."
"Yeah, but Uncle Draco should be awake by now. His kids should be here." He glanced at the still form on the bed. "Or at least know. Anyone know where Myan is?"
"At the shop," George told him, smiling at him. "I called down already. She's walking up." Iggy nodded. "Go check on your own child and then the rest of them, son. You've done what you can." Iggy hurried out, going to do that. "Anyone want to bet he'll have a screaming fit on the roof tonight?"
Snape snorted and shook his head. "This may take more than yelling to get out. He may have to fuss it out of his system." He looked over Draco himself and smiled. "I think he's asleep." He pinched him on the nose, making the boy flail. "Wake up. Now."
Draco opened his eyes and slowly shook his head before closing them again. "No."
Snape shook his head. "It must be a family trait," he muttered as he moved to make himself more useful. Iggy stormed back in. "Another problem?"
"Lucien is missing," Iggy announced. "Not in Slytherin, not curled up with Maeve or William."
"The world must be ending," Percy muttered. That boy would never have given up his favorite position between Maeve and William. He forced himself to sit up. "Let me call my wife, see if she's seen him there."
"I didn't and I was looking for more victims," Iggy told him, starting to scowl. It was his classic 'I'm going to fuck someone up' look and it wasn't well used by him, but people were scared of it. Even Snape got out of his way. "Draco," he said, shoving him. Draco opened his eyes and shook his head again. "Your infant son is missing. Where might he be?" he asked.
"And where would that be?" Percy asked.
"I don't know, that's what he said." Draco forced himself to sit up and swing off the bed. But Ron pushed him back down. "I have telltales on all the children," he muttered, sitting up again. Ron stopped him and they shared a look. "If I could give it to you, I would," he admitted. "I feel like shit." He climbed off the bed with a little bit of help and stumbled over to his younger brother. "Just Lucien? He said someone's with him."
"Unless he stole Marion or Spenser, he's alone. I checked the rest of them." He thought at his wife, who gave him a mental swat. But she checked the baby. "It's not Spenser."
"It's not Marion either or we'd have seen Melvin by now," Percy pointed out. "Can you track him?" Draco shrugged. "Would you like some restorative potion first?"
Snape grabbed the bottle and handed it over, watching as the younger man drank it with a shudder. "You flavored it again, didn't you?" he asked his apprentice.
Iggy shook his head. "Not a bit. What did it taste like?"
"Sickly lemons," Draco groaned.
"Oh, hey, elixir of life potion. Within twenty minutes, you'll be fine." He walked his big brother down the halls to the front door. They'd need a big enough place to teleport from. "Fairy tower?"
Draco nodded, a little stronger now. "I don't know what he meant, I haven't heard him since then."
"All right. Do you have a location?"
Draco squinted off into the distance and nodded, grabbing everyone's hands. "It's going to be rather bumpy," he warned before taking off. They landed in front of a stone tower. Draco looked up. "Things like this only happen in books," he reminded himself.
"We live at a house with a lake monster and use magic," Iggy pointed out. "Besides, we've run into one fairy before. This one can't be as bad as them." He kicked in the door, catching it before it could bounce back. "Bitch, I want my nephew!" he yelled as he stormed up the stairs.
Snape looked at Percy. "He's impressive."
"It's a family thing," Draco told him, heading up after his little brother. He caught the top door before it could hit him and stormed in, knocking the person trying to fight Iggy down. "Where is my son!" he growled.
Iggy changed, biting the asshole until she screamed. "I'll give him back!" she sobbed. "Get it off!"
Snape pulled the wolf off and shook it once. "Change back, Ignatius. You can't use your wand that way." Iggy changed back, he was now hanging in his mentor's hand. "Thank you." He let him go, watching as he grabbed both wands. "Where is the boy?"
"She's pregnant," Iggy pointed out.
"By Lucien?" Percy asked.
"No, just regularly pregnant I think. Why did you have my nephew?" he growled.
"Because he'll make sure my daughter lives!" she screamed, backing away from him. "The auguries said so!" She ran into a wall and stood up. "Please, don't kill me."
"I'm waiting on that decision until I see my son," Draco told her, starting to growl again. She flung open a door, showing another staircase. "I'm going up. Iggy, guard her." He stormed up the stairs, blowing in that door as well. "Lucien," he said, hugging him as tightly as he could. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. The baby sent for me." He smiled and pointed at the thing in the corner. "It was telling me how to play chess."
"We'll let Uncle Ron teach you how to do that," Draco said as he gathered his son up. He walked them back down the stairs and stared at the woman. "No one touches my family and gets away with it."
"She's having a Buffy," Iggy told him.
"Excuse me?" Percy asked.
Iggy nodded. "Isn't that right? Blonde, about five foot four?" The woman nodded. "She told you to find Lucien?"
"His father, but I couldn't find him and I figured he'd come for his son!" She started to sob. "Please, don't kill me! Or my baby!"
Draco groaned. "Percy, I'm leaving this up to you. Ignatius, come. Snape, follow." He stormed out, going home with the other men. He walked his son into the infirmary and Ron immediately grabbed him for his own hug. "The baby of the psychotic woman is your ex," he said.
Ron flinched. "Buffy?" Draco nodded. "Fuck me." He handed Lucien over to Madam Pomfrey. "Why did she take Lucien?"
"Because she was supposed to go to Draco," Iggy told him. "She couldn't find him so took the son instead." He yawned. "Need me for anything, Madam Pomfrey?"
"No, Ignatius, go back to bed. I've got everything here that I'll need." He nodded and headed down to his room with a wave for everybody. They could figure this stuff out without him and he wanted a nap. He flopped down onto the bed and let his wife's snoring soothe his mind into a similar state so he could tell her about it in their dreams.
Upstairs, Ron was throwing an impressive fit. Draco ended it with one simple phrase: "You never do anything the easy way, do you, Weasel?"
Ron glared at him. "I'm sorry, I'm a tad bit busy having a mental breakdown to care about you being pissed at the moment. I can't say that my wife will be very happy about this predicament, nor can I say that I'm too happy at the moment now that I've finally found happiness!" he shouted.
"Do that again and I'm removing your voice box," Charlie warned. "We're Weasleys, Ron, we survive even the strange problems. We'll deal with your ex coming back." He flipped onto his side. "How far along was she?"
"Probably about six months from how big she was," Draco offered. "I'm not thrilled with this either, Ron. For some reason, *I'm* supposed to watch over your ex?"
"Maybe they want Xander to watch over her," Poppy offered. "Using a chain because they knew Draco would get him involved?"
"The Powers do think like that," George offered quietly from his mate's side. "Okay, is she still living?"
"You'd have to ask Percy that question," Draco told him. "You can't be thinking about offering her a spot in the family."
George shook his head. "No, but I think we'd better figure out what's going on *before* Xander gets mushy about it."
"Good point," Ron and Draco agreed together. They glared at each other.
"Oh, kiss already," Charlie said in disgust. "Most of the wizarding world think that you're together anyway!"
"I'd never put up with him, he hates to cuddle," Ron told him, starting to pout. "If they think that, then what's Sarajane?"
"A fascination you have on the side probably," George put in. "There for a while I was wondering if both of you were sleeping with my mate."
"Again, I couldn't put up with your mate," Ron told him, but he was smiling. "I'd never survive a month with Xander. I'm tough, but really George."
"It does take special stamina to put up with him," George agreed with a smile. "Draco, does Myan know that you curl up with him when we're not here?"
"I told her after she caught us one morning. She seemed to accept it. Or at least she's never said anything further about it," he offered. "Is it still bothering you?"
"No, watching you rub against him the other morning in your sleep was odd, but I accept that he'd kick you out of bed for it if he was awake." He stood up and put Xander's hand back on his chest, waking him slightly. "You rest, dear, I'm going to see why Ron's back is bleeding." Xander mumbled something which made him smile. "Once you're better I'll leave you limp and lying about." He walked over to pull Ron''s collar away from his neck. "When did you get that?"
"I don't know," Ron said, reaching back to feel it. "It's just a scratch, George. Don't go 'mum' on us."
"Someone needs to protect you from yourself," Charlie pointed out. "The whole group of you should be locked in a house together until you drive this funniness out of each other."
"I don't think that'd work on Xander," George said with a frown at his mate's body. "He's always been like this. If he didn't have the splitting headache, he'd probably have pushed to find Lucien."
"Like I said, all of you need locked in a house together until all this funniness is out of you," Charlie repeated, smiling at his younger brother. "Wait until I tell mother."
"Tell her and I'm staying with you," Ron snorted. "There's no way I'm going to get fussed over for this."
Draco grabbed Ron by the arm and turned him around, taking the robe off him. "Let me see, you're still bleeding. Asshole."
"He saved you, the least you could do is give your hero a kiss," Charlie teased.
"The last one I gave him made him a bit too happy for my tastes," Draco told him. "Hence me taking him to have that urge worn out."
"Which I appreciated too," Ron quipped. "It's fine, it's just a little scratch."
Madam Pomfrey came over and pulled Ron's shirt off him as well, forcing him onto the foot of Draco's bed. "You hold him there while I get something to close that," she said, bustling off.
"It's that bad?" Ron asked, trying to see his own back. George forced his head around. "How bad is it?"
"It looks like a branch got you and then got dragged down," George tod him, running his finger beside it. Ron hissed. "Starting to feel it now?"
"Definitely." Ron looked at Draco and grabbed his wrists to check them over. "He's got rope burns."
"The least they could have done was use silk cords," Draco said in disgust, looking at his injuries. "Am I fine otherwise?"
"Strip and I'll let you know," Madam Pomfrey said, coming out with a small needle and some thread. "Just some surface stitches, Professor Weasley. You've already exceeded your monthly allowance for healing potions."
"I told you to call me Ron so I don't feel like a naughty student," Ron muttered. She smiled and patted the top of his head. "Gee, thanks. I hated visiting you when I was attending."
"Then maybe you'll learn to duck faster," she told him, putting in the few surface stitches to hold the wound closed. "There we are, let me bandage it please." She quickly put a bandage on it. "Professor Malfoy, strip down to your pants if you wouldn't mind."
"He had elixir of life potion, shouldn't he be fine?"
"That would only hold him steady and heal major things," she assured him. "I asked Ignatius that myself and he said the minor injuries may still stay if there are worse ones in the body. Strip!" she ordered. Draco quickly got down to his pants. "Thank you." She checked him over, salving a few shallow wounds and then his wrists. "You two have a choice, you can sleep in here with Xander or you can sleep next to each other so neither of you dies tonight. Take your pick now."
Ron spluttered. "I can't sleep with him! He won't cuddle!"
"Deal with it," Madam Pomfrey told him, staring him down. He shrunk in on himself. "Good. Go back to the tower or take one of the few empty guest rooms for the night. Do not make me tie you two together." They grumbled but left together. "Severus, did you need anything else?"
"No. I'll expect a list of what you need replaced tomorrow," he said as he breezed out.
"Can you make Xander's bed bigger so I don't have to sleep in a chair?" George asked.
"As long as I don't see *any* of his muscles being stretched so far open in the morning." He blushed. "I don't normally care what you two do in the privacy of your bedroom, but I won't have you molesting him tonight, George Weasley." She expanded the bed and helped him settle himself in next to his mate before putting up the railings. "There, no sex until *I* say so."
"Yes, mother," George said faintly. She smiled and tucked him in tighter. "Hey!" She went to check on Charlie so he undid the bottom of the bed and untucked them some so Xander could wrap himself up in the blanket again. She frowned at him but went back to her office to make notes on the unusual events of the night. "Charlie, you gonna live?"
"I'm fine. Might not have children, but I'll be fine."
"The testes reproduce their entire stock every few days," Madam Pomfrey called. "I'm sure it won't stop you from giving your mother more grandchildren. She'd say it's about time I believe."
"Don't let Xander hear you say that," George called. "He'll make sure it'll happen sooner instead of later." She laughed. He looked at Charlie. "He keeps wanting to fix you up with this dragon specialist in the news. She writes books and the like." Charlie snorted. "Her pictures are quite pretty."
"Did she ever work with them?" Charlie asked. George nodded. "You're sure?"
"Unless her bio is a lie. She said she worked on the Aztec preserve for nearly ten years."
"The only woman who worked down there was a homely little thing," Charlie told him.
"Maybe she got some surgery and fixed all that," George pointed out. "Xander is bound and determined to set you up soon. You might want to run, brother dear."
"Oh, I plan on it. Just as soon as I can move without grunting in pain." Charlie settled himself in for the night. "Wonder what Percy and Arabelle are up to?"
"Not particularly. They're either having wonderful sex or they're torturing someone. Neither of which I want to see." He heard the telltale in their tower activate and heard the scream. "Hmm. Either that was Emily and she's broken in now or that was one of the younger girls who really wanted Denver for herself." Charlie lifted his head. "Xander put telltales on the house. One of them opens up whenever someone screams. That wasn't pain though, so I'm sure someone's feeling better." The next scream was louder and more chanting. "Yup, Denver's done breaking her in." He sighed. "Hopefully those two will get along."
"Denver and Emily Snape?" Charlie asked.
"He helped her defeat the evil marriage contract with a wizard three times her age."
"That was Emily's feeling on the subject," George said with a grin. "I wish I knew how to turn those blasted things off. I don't want to hear her screaming in joy any longer."
"Is this one of those moments when you think back and say 'I thought Kandy was a screamer'?" Charlie asked, smile evident in his voice.
"Definitely. Or Elizabeth for that matter. What is the boy doing to her? Not even Xander makes that sort of noise and he's the noisiest bugger on the planet."
"I didn't need to know that much about your sex life," Charlie called.
"Sleep or I'm rendering you all impotent for a week," Madam Pomfrey warned.
"Only if you can make Denver stop," George called, sounding miserable. "Xander set up telltales and she's *chanting* Denver's name!"
Madam Pomfrey sighed and handed George a slim vial. "Drink." He swallowed it. "Thank you." She watched as he fell asleep. "You as well, Mr. Weasley. Before I cure your problems by transfiguring you into a girl."
"Yes, ma'am," he said in his most respectful voice. She was one scary woman! It must have been dealing with Iggy, she had been nicer when he was a student. He closed his eyes obediently and drifted off into sleep.
Xander opened his eyes and squinted at the person standing beside his bed. "You'd better be Bill or else I'm spanking my husband for losing weight."
Bill snorted. "No, it's me, Xander." He patted him gently. "How's the head? Dad wanted to know."
"I hurt," Xander admitted. "When can I go nap in the nest?"
"When I say so, young man," Poppy snapped from her office.
"That would be?" he called.
"When I say so!"
"Yes, Poppy." He shifted and ran into the railings. "Wasn't George here last night?"
"They had to do the annual rush before the kids left," Bill said as he climbed up to sit beside his brother-in-law. "Percy showed up at the house this morning looking worn out. Dad wanted me to find Ron or Draco but I can't seem to find them."
Madam Pomfrey walked out of her office. "I told them they had to watch out for each other last night. Either they're in the tower or they're supposed to be in a guest room."
"Together?" Bill asked, looking a little surprised.
"It is the best way to make sure the other's not hurt. Draco is a very light sleeper."
"Yeah, I remember," Xander said, trying to sit up. He groaned and grabbed his head, sliding back down. "Never mind. I don't need to sit up at all." The head of his bed was lifted for him. "Thank you, Poppy. I'll get out of your hair as soon as I can so you can leave too."
"I don't have any plans yet," she assured him, giving him a smile. "You're staying there until I say differently."
"Yes, ma'am." He looked at the other bed. "Wasn't Charlie in here?"
"He's back at the house as well. He's staying on the couch until he feels better. He even called his boss and told him what happened. You get to explain that to him since Charlie didn't know what was going on or why."
"Basically," Bill agreed with a smile. "I'd better go. I've been volunteered to guard the train on the way back. Iggy and Raena have already moved everything and are on the train with the other parents. Simone was being forceful in getting kids out of the school when I popped up." He stood up. "You behave, Xander, or I'll tell your husband that you can't have sex for a month." His brother-in-law whimpered. "Then you'd best behave for the nice nurse." He walked out, jogging down the hall. He saw the ghost and stopped to look at it. "Baron, do you know where my baby brother or Draco are?"
"They're in the staff bathroom," he said with a sniff of disgust. "Feel asleep in the bathes. You should have a discussion with them about appropriate behavior."
"I plan on it, Baron. Thank you. Which way?" It was pointed out for him and he hurried that way. He found the bathroom by the sound of the running water and pounded on the frame. The kittens splashing in the puddle arched up and hissed. "Sorry, but I need to wake them up before they drown. I promise not to do it again if you'll let me in," he said with a smile.
"Gumdrop," Simone said as she walked past him, smirking as the portrait opened. "The Prefect's bathroom was broken for a week. You've got a half-hour to get them onto the train if they're coming with us." She jogged to help one girl with her trunk. "Damn, did you pack rocks?" she demanded as she righted the trunk and helped the girl down the stairs.
Bill walked in the bathroom and shut the door behind him, looking at the picture those two made. They had each taken an end of the tub and were napping on the embedded seats. "Boys!" he said loudly. Draco rolled his head to look at him. "You've got half an hour to make the train and dad wants you both at home if possible."
Draco splashed Ron, making him wake up. "We're running late. Hurry up."
Ron fumbled for his wand and mumbled something, bringing clothes to them. "There." He put his head back down. "I've got another ten minutes."
"Ron!" Bill shouted, walking over to pull him out of the tub. "You can nap on the blasted train! Get up!"
"Fuck off! I'm sore and I hurt."
"Iggy will have something for that," Draco said, sounding hopeful. "Hand me a towel please." One was handed to him and he got out, ignoring the stunned look his body got. "Why did you pull those clothes?"
"They came, didn't they?" Ron demanded. Bill grabbed him and heaved him again. "Get off!"
"Get up!" Bill shouted. Ron opened both eyes and looked at him, giving him one of his glares of death. "Now. You've now got about fifteen minutes to make it onto the train." Ron blatantly looked at Draco.
"We can't teleport onto a moving point."
"Shit." Ron climbed out and hit the release for the tub, watching as it went down. Then he dried off quickly and climbed into his jeans and t-shirt. As soon as his shoes were on, they headed out. "It's already quiet."
"There's a carriage waiting on you," Snape said as he met them in the hallway. "I'll be right behind you. I'm doing the last check of the houses." He hurried off, letting them get on their way.
Draco climbed in first so he got that side to rest against. "It won't leave without us. Snape will have to release it."
Ron rested his head against the other side and closed his eyes. "Wake me when we get there."
"Fine," Bill agreed. He watched as they fell back asleep, shaking his head. He hadn't been able to do that since he had been in school.
"It's a trick of being a parent," Iggy said as he opened the doors at the other end. Bill smiled. "Sorry, I heard, had to answer. Guys, train!" He helped them down, giving them a quick once over. "I've left two vials of pain potion with a sedative in there for you. Go for it." They climbed on and found their seats, the nice ones that reclined, and their potions already there. "Uncle Bill, do you want to sit with the teachers or with the family?"
"Family. Which car is Melvin in?"
"We've taken the back half of the last car." Iggy led him back, nodding at Tara. "We're only missing your mate."
"Good." She glanced around. "Xander?"
"Infirmary until Poppy releases him. Draco and Ron are sedated and napping. Bill is filling in for an extra guard," he reported. His mentor climbed out of a carriage with a bag. "Severus is here and he's got a brewing bag." He let his uncle into their section and went to talk to his mentor as the train started. "I gave them something for the pain and a sedative."
"I was going to make them Killingers Potion."
"Why?" Iggy asked. "Ron's allergic. Draco's not going to react to it." He pulled the cord before the train could get out of the station, and his other hand went to his wand. "Out! You're not him!"
"Iggy," Lupin said gently. "It's him."
"It's not him. He knows Ron's allergic to it." The fake Snape stood up and Iggy saw a slightly familiar bracelet, using his wand to snatch it. "Get him." The teachers jumped the Watcher, bringing him to the ground. Iggy searched out his mentor, who was yelling at a slow Hufflepuff. "Severus is still at the school, in Hufflepuff."
"Shit!" Tara said as she walked in. "What is he doing here?"
"You'll die," he hissed, pulling a weapon. Black kicked it from his hand. "I can still blow you up."
"I can do a security bubble," Lupin offered.
"Together," Iggy agreed, putting one of his shields around the security bubble. The man was trapped and was quickly unconscious from lack of air. Then he was tossed off the train and a request was sent for more official people who have to do paperwork to come deal with him. Percy grumbled, but he showed up as well. Iggy stuck his head out the window. "He had a weapon, it's still on here. He said he's got explosives. We made him pass out from lack of air." The weapon was tossed over his head. "Thank you, that could have went off," he said dryly, looking back at the teacher. "Did you put the safety on?"
"Safety?" Black asked.
"Uncle Percy, the safety's not on," Iggy called. He looked down at the man on the ground. "Suffocate!" he cast, starting a choking spell. "That wand-looking thing in his pocket is probably the detonator," he noted for the stunned people.
Percy climbed on and looked around. "Where's Bill?"
"Back with Melvin," Tara told him from her seat. She was trying to keep calm. "Iggy, who has the kids?"
"Simone and Denver. They shielded their compartment so nothing can get in and the boys can't get out to go flash everyone."
Percy smiled. "Thank you, Ignatius. Why don't you go back there with them? You shouldn't have to do things like this."
"Good point." He walked back there, taking down and replacing the shield in front of their cars. "Uncle Percy's handling it," he announced. He grabbed the overhead railing as the train lurched. "We're leaving without Snape and the late students?"
"It's probably for our own safety," Simone pointed out. She was feeding Symphana a bottle. "Bill headed up to sit in the Ravenclaw cars instead. He said it'd be safe enough back here and he wanted to be free in case it wasn't."
"Good enough," Iggy decided, sitting down next to his wife, who was reading. He stole a kiss, making her smile, but not give up her book. "Where is my son?" he asked, making his little boy peek his head out from under his blanket and chuckle. "There he is!" He tickled him, making him giggle and wiggle around.
"He's trying to sleep," Raena reminded him. "Let him so Marion will."
"She's not even in here, is she?" Iggy asked his son. He picked him up to give him a cuddle. "Are you going with daddy tomorrow?" He blew a raspberry on his son's stomach, bracing himself when the train lurched to a stop. "Any comments?" he asked Simone.
"We're at least a mile outside of Hogsmeade," she said, looking out the window. "Oh, it's Professor Snape," she said, pointing. "And two Hufflepuffs and a Slytherin little person." As soon as they were on, the train fired up again and slowly shifted into motion . "I guess we're on our way. Put him down. They can nap together." She put down the child she was holding so Iggy's son could cuddle up next to her. "I wonder if we're watching them the whole ride."
"I don't know. Did you know that the seats pull out into beds in this car?" Melvin said from the doorway. He grinned. "Andrea's taking a nap because her head's hurting again. Nasty hangover from the snuck-in champagne last night." Iggy patted himself down. "It's fine, she just needs some sleep. Want me to bring in Marion, Mary, and the triplets?"
"Sure," Simone offered. She looked at her silent brother and his wife, smiling because they were asleep next to each other. "I wonder if it was good."
"They had to sedate Daddy because of the telltales," Iggy told her. "I talked to Poppy this morning for one last check of everybody." He looked over as he felt the shield spell come down, his wand already in his hand. "Hi, Uncle Percy. Put it back up so the boys can't escape." The shield went back up and the boys' plans were quickly thwarted when they were caught in the hallways. "Back to your compartment," he ordered with a smile. They huffed but went back to be naked together. "Are we safe?"
"You're very safe," Percy admitted, smiling at him. "I thought Bill was back here."
"He's in with the Ravenclaws," Simone told him. "He decided he'd rather be somewhere less safe for a bit." She grinned and pointed down at the kids. "Are the other ones behaving?"
Percy looked into the compartment across the way, smiling at the girls. "Mary, Minnie, and Gwen are all coloring or reading." He checked on the boys then came back shaking his head. "William, Zach, Vinnie, and Lucien are still naked. Where's Maeve?"
"She's back at the Burrow because she had a raging case of the sniffles," Raena told him, looking up. He nodded, still smiling. "That's a pretty bracelet, Percy, wherever did you get it?"
Melvin snatched it off him and then punched the person who *dared* come near their family. "Where is Maeve?"
"Hiding with the boys," Raena told him. He went to check and burst out laughing. "What?" They all went to check on them, smiling at Maeve, who had pounced the boys mid-fight and was sitting on their naked bodies sucking her thumb. "Sweetie, are you okay?" she asked her little sister-in-law.
Maeve smiled. "I won!" she said proudly. "Naked is funny, but not very useful. Girls are less owwy."
"Eww," Iggy and Melvin said, shuddering.
"Boys, are you all right?" Simone asked, still smiling.
"She pulled on our boy parts and made them hurt!" Zach whined.
"That's what you get for letting them hang out," Raena told him. She looked at the groaning body. "Who wants this one?"
"I do!" Simone decided, picking him up to drag his big, heavy butt away. She felt a thicker shield go up behind her and shrugged it off, heading down to throw this guy at the teacher's feet. "Isn't Uncle Percy still here?" she asked as she walked in. She dropped the guy into the open spaces between the seats.
"He's back with Bill," Tara told her, looking down at the body. "Who's that?"
"He looked a lot like Uncle Percy and could put up a shield," she said with a shrug. "Oh, Zach is in a tiny bit of pain," she said with a grin. Tara glared at her. "The boys were fighting naked and Maeve decided she'd had enough so she pulled on their cocks and knocked them down. I think we may have finally solved the nudity problem those guys are having." She strolled away, her skirt twitching as she walked. Someone's hand came out and pinched her. She jumped and looked but the nearest compartments only had women. "I like you guys, but all you had to do was ask," she told them, finishing her stroll back to the back. The shield wouldn't come down for her or Iggy so she went to find her Uncles for a bit. It had to have been Percy. He smiled at her. "Saving me from my chosen form of birth control?" she asked dryly.
"Yes, dear. Sit, if that skirt won't ride up."
"I was doing fine a while ago," she said as she sat down, smoothing down her skirt. "The boys just got into it and Maeve stopped it," she offered. Bill looked at her. "She pulled on their dicks and made them fall down. We found her sitting on their backs and they were not happy about it."
Bill and Percy both burst out in giggles. Maeve was *so* Xander's daughter some days!
Iggy walked into his advisor's office with his son in his arms and a new paper to add to the file. "Here you are. A few more hours done. Did you get something from Potter's team's doctor?"
"I did." She looked at the sleeping baby. "Who is that?"
"This is Spenser Adair Harris-Weasley. He was born on Solstice." He turned his son around so he could be admired. "He is already feared by a great many vampires and creatures because his favorite uncle warned them off *ever* touching my baby boy." He smiled at her. "Grandma, can I bring him to classes for real? I know I was told I could, but I thought I'd check."
"You may, but you'll have to keep him quiet and entertained," she warned. Iggy shrugged. "Is he usually quiet?"
"No, he's usually a holy terror, but the mere sight of a book or a piece of chalk calms him down." He grinned. "He is my son after all."
"Good point." She wiggled her fingers at the opening eyes. "Hello, Spenser." He flapped both arms for a few minutes then stuck one finger into his mouth and looked up at his father.
"Yes, this is Grandma. You may call her that. If you turn out to be like me, we'll have her talk to you about sending you to school here as well." He shifted the baby. "How am I doing now?"
"I got the preliminary copy of your Mastery papers looked over," she announced, handing him a thicker folder. "Very meticulous, just as I expected. Thank you for letting your wife write it for you."
"I found a way to have the copying spell do that," he admitted. "I wrote it myself."
"Oh, really?" she asked, looking interested. Spenser blew spit bubbles at her. "That interests you as well?" She looked at him. "A solstice baby?"
"A solstice baby," he agreed. "The prophecy may well be him. After all, his cousin is Morgana Malfoy."
"Good point." She smiled. "Can you handle that?"
He shut the door with his wand. "One of my cousins is a future slayer. One of my cousins will be a guardian of my school and my flock. Besides, my father will have a hand in training *all* the kids, even Uncle Percy's three youngest. He's already started with the 'strangers are bad' talks."
"Good for him," she said firmly. "What happened on the train?"
"The Watchers. They were trying for Morgana and Minnie. They lost of course. It's a good thing my father was in the infirmary or they'd all be dead by now. Wesley, their head, ordered them to leave Minnie alone but they refuse to listen."
"I guess that's one way to weed out the idiots." She patted the folder. "I made the necessary corrections on the papers, mostly grammatical and a note to include more chemical information. Why did you decide to go forward with your first potion instead of one of the more impressive ones? People will remember this about you."
"Because I want to fall back to a consulting position. I don't want to be notable. I want a quiet life with my kids and my wife somewhere near Hogsmeade so we'll be there for the family and my former Lord and Master's family if they need us."
She considered it. "I can see how that would be reasonable to you. You've already had enough attention. You'll get plenty because of who your family is as well." He nodded and Spenser spit at her again. "Stop that," she said in a teasing voice.
"Here, that means he wants you to hold him. He does it to Daddy all the time." He handed his son over, watching as Shey's maternal grandmother held him. "See, you're happy now."
"Yes, he is." She smiled. "How was your last year?"
"Boring for the most part, but I really liked it," he said with a grin. "I got to sleep in some days. I even got to goof off!"
She laughed. "I understand, Ignatius. I wish I had known, I would have put a stop to it myself." She looked over the form he handed in. "This means you only have about sixty hours." He nodded, relaxing back into the chair. "Want him back?"
"He's happy where he is. You can put him down to crawl around if you want. He likes to snuggle up to books and ankles." He shifted so his son could see one of them. As soon as Spenser got down, he headed for a small bookcase and pulled one down to pat gently. "Good boy. Come to me when you get bored." He turned back to his advisor, who was shaking her head. "He learned early on not to gum the books."
"I can see why. How big is your collection now?"
"Let's see. I had six hundred and eighty-seven before I started copying interesting tomes from the libraries here on campus. I've went through seventy reams of parchment." She looked impressed. "About nine hundred I think. Some of them were small. That's not counting my textbooks and all that from school."
"I'm impressed. How many more were you going to copy?"
"I'm presently working my way through the main library. I already did the potions one, the forbidden one, the dark arts one, though most of those books were given to my cousins who want to deal with that stuff, and the health one."
"You gave some of them away?"
"After checking to make sure that they weren't on the hidden, forbidden, or secluded list. Oh, I had to turn one over. I nearly released a demon that was stuck in one. The librarian gave me a look like she would have had me flayed if I had let it out in her orderly space." Grandma laughed. "Irma Pince can't even get that pissed of a look."
"I'm sure she would have killed you if the demon trapped in the book had destroyed the library." She looked down, Spenser had pulled down a leather book and was busy rubbing his hands over it. "I think he's going to have a great feel for textures."
"With what his family does, we could probably use a weaver in the family," Iggy pointed out dryly. She laughed, drawing the attention of the baby. "Son." His son crawled over and stuck himself to his father's leg, hugging it. "Thank you." He reached down to pet through the soft hair. "Yeah, you are definitely my son." He looked back up. "Now what do I have to do?"
"You'll have to register for your remaining classes, arrange for your last few hours with your advisor over there." She handed him back the papers, with another few. "Then I think you're done. If you're lucky, there will be classes opening in a few days that you can get into." He shook his head. "Just one? That'll leave five classes, which are all offered in the fall, and then you're done."
"I can do that," he admitted. "Okay, son, let's go bother Dr. Amadalin." He picked up his boy and the forms, waving his son's hand for him. "Thank you." She patted the top of his Mastery stuff and he gathered that up as well, putting it between his and his son's body. "Hold that for me, dear." He grinned and walked out.
She looked at the books and waved them back into place. "A book on demonology and one on art. What interesting choices," she said with a smile.
Iggy walked two buildings over to his other advisor's office and waved at the secretary. "He in?"
"He's expecting you, Ignatius," she said without looking up. She heard a coo and started, staring at him. "Who are you?"
"This is Spenser, my son." He let her touch his hand. "You probably won't see him until he's at least sixteen, hopefully." She laughed. "Can I go right in?"
"Sure. Want to leave him? I can watch him for a few minutes. The doctor has a few models in there on the floor."
"Nah, I've got him." He tapped on the door and walked in, relieving himself of some of the papers before sitting down. "Spenser, this is the other advisor. Say hello." Spenser spit at him as well. "No, he can't hold you, he's eating."
Dr. Amadalin waved his crueller. "Good morning, Spenser. How are you today?"
"He's being good. He just patted some of Grandma's books." He nodded at the forms, then had to remove his son from his Mastery papers before he drooled on them and smudged the comments. "Those are for you. She's already seen them and was happy for me."
The doctor finished his doughnut and picked up the forms, nodding as he read them. "Good work, Ignatius. What did you want to do now? You do have those six classes left."
"Grandma mentioned one of them was available this summer, which would mean I'd only have five this fall."
"They are," he agreed. Iggy raised an eyebrow. "One of the specialty classes is offered as well, but you'd have to have permission to get into it."
Iggy thought at his wife, who shrugged and asked about time. "How long? We wanted to have some of the summer off."
"Both are offered in the middle session. Eight week stints." He smiled. "That would give you two weeks now, two weeks at the end, and then this fall."
Iggy told that to his wife, who mentally shrugged again, telling him it was up to him. He shrugged as well. "As long as I get some of the summer off. That'd ease my burden this fall."
"Good point." He pulled a form out of a set of shelves and set about filling it out. "I'll have to call over to the other professor and ask him of course. Can you wait? He's in class."
"Sure. The only thing I was going to do today was jump my wife again," he said happily. Spenser giggled. "Thank you, son, it's nice to know you enjoy that activity as much as I do." The doctor chuckled and handed it over for him to sign. "That's all?"
"Let me call on him and then you'll have to go to the Registrar. You've been there?"
"Then I'll walk you over on my way to supervise the surgical candidates." He looked at the forms again, then looked up. "Why were you doing a reconstruction surgery?"
"It was the night of the union meeting and some little girl built a catapult that didn't quite send her over her house."
"Oh." He laughed again. "I'm sure you were a great help."
"I got to put in tying bars for her chin. Seven of them. The front was a pretty rosette pattern of breaks."
"Side of her house?"
"Side of her house," Iggy agreed with a smile. Spenser started to whine. "You, quit, or I'm going to have to get mommy here to take you." A bottle appeared in the air just beside his hand and he managed to catch it before he fell. "Ooh, look what mommy got you," he said, sticking it into the opening mouth.
"He's not eating solids?"
"Every six hours. It's time for a more filling substance. He'll sleep after this." He grinned. "Is this going to be an all day task at the Registrar, the way it was the last time?"
"Probably," he agreed, standing up. "You wait here, I'll be right back." He carefully walked around the models and headed down the hall.
Iggy slid to the floor, letting his son and his Mastery paper sit in the chair together while he fixed a few bones that looked out of place. As soon as he had them rearranged, the human body settled into a more human shape, instead of bulging alarmingly at odd places, and he smiled at his advisor. "You got the arm and leg bones mixed up."
"They didn't mark it," he said in disgust. "I deal with guts, not bones." He waved his colleague in. "This is Ignatius Harris-Weasley, one of our Potion's Prodigy Program people who's also part of our program. He wanted to grill you about your experiences and expectations, Iggy."
"Sure. Let me move my son." Both inhabitants of the seat were moved and Iggy moved to lean against a bookcase. "What can I tell you?"
"You've done obstetrical work before?"
"For a very long time," Iggy told him. "I have a sensitivity toward the unborn and pregnant women. It started when I was two and my cousin was being carried." The doctor looked at him. "Truth, I swear." He raised a hand. "I've delivered some, I've helped in c-sections, I've even done a lot of rounds through the nursery and the NICU. Oh, Dr. Amadalin. How is the Murphy child?"
"Very well," he said with a smile. "That was quick thinking, getting her into the oxygen bubble immediately."
"She needed it, her lungs were collapsed from her mother's accident. I worry about her, she'll be so sick as a kid."
"She'll be fine, Ignatius. Your worry speaks well of your gifts."
"You don't want to be a doctor?" the second doctor asked.
"Not really. I do it defacto for the family. I specialize in healing potions so I had to take a lot of the classes anyway, and I kept getting mistaken for a healer so I went ahead and went all the way anyway. I'm specializing in Ob/Gyn stuff because, like I said, I have a sensitivity in that area. That and sports."
"How did you do your sports hours already, young man?"
"I have two 'uncles'," he did the finger quotes, "who play professional quidditch. Well, technically I have another, but I used the two who were on the same team to get their doctor to agree to let me help him during games and practices. He's another one who confused me as a healing potion's person and a healer. He was pretty impressed, I didn't baby those guys at all. And when they whined, they got it back."
"You're still playing?"
"I'm joining the third tier fun league on the family team. We switch off since we didn't want to play against each other. It's going pretty well, my last three games I creamed the opposition."
"Good for you, young man," the second doctor said, smiling at him. "Is that your son?"
"Yup. This is Spenser." Spenser sucked on his bottle, but was watching him. "No, he's not named after Doctor Spenser. My primary wand is the mirror to Ignatius Spenser's. I'm a lot like him apparently."
"I can tell." The second doctor looked over Iggy's history. "How did you do so many hours?"
"I spent a lot of time working in the infirmary at school," Iggy told him. "Plus, when I got here, they let me do my healing potion's hours at St. Mungo's. At the time I was using a time turner to do those hours. I'm now no longer allowed to touch one."
"Thankfully I'm fully off the medicine and my blood pressure is staying fairly low," Iggy agreed. "I don't want to be famous, or even notable. I'd like to fall back to a consulting and re- engineering position for potions. Having my MD will only make things a lot easier at times. Plus, it'll let me onto a few pitches for some really interesting games," he finished with a grin.
The second doctor laughed. "We don't see many like you around here. Usually I can't stand people who decide to add on to their own degrees for no reason, but I can see you're serious about it. How many hours do you have left?"
"Sixty total. I cut back last year at Hogwarts so I could goof off more, plus my hours at the colony were cut back because I fell so ill." His advisor shook his head.
"You take care of gryphons?" the second doctor asked.
"I'm one of their potion prodigies. I was their main one until I fell ill and quit. We eventually worked it out so I'm a backup healer for them and will make only necessary potions for the most part."
"Really?" The second doctor looked at the first one. "You knew this?"
"Ignatius has always been very up front with that information. He has full control of his gifts. As a matter of fact, we have reports that the gryphons were worried about him because he refused to do anything that might make him lose control for the longest time, thinking about his actions until he had a strategy planned out that he knew he could do."
"You associate with them?"
Iggy stared the second doctor down. "I am a gryphon-born, sir. I don't hide it. I'm never going to hide it. For that matter, my father happens to be one of the main defenders of the local colony. They're the ones who helped push me to where I am today, along with my potion's mentor Severus Snape. I'm a nice guy, if you can get past the fact of my heritage. Trust me, there's more of us than you know and you never realized it. The few of us who come out are only about ten percent of the actual people who have gryphon heritage." He smiled. "I'm not a scary guy. Besides, you'll have to see me some day because we are nothing if not stubborn."
The doctor considered it. "I'll only have you in the class once. The other speciality class you can't test out of is taught by another member of the department. She is very against your kind, whereas I am only going on what I know."
"Most of what you know comes from reports made by people who attacked us."
"I can understand that. She's going to be much tougher. If you switched to pediatrics, it might be easier on you. I think one of their teachers may be like you."
"I'm as human as you are and I can get past whomever this other doctor is. She can't deny me the right to take her class, or I'll file a complaint." Both doctors looked stunned. "I know my rights. I've had to push for stuff my entire life because I'm a prodigy. I started brewing potions when I was eight. By fourteen, I was already beyond what Braun wanted me capable of doing for them to take me. That's why they sent me here."
"Is Grandma over you?" the second doctor asked. Iggy nodded. "Then I would suggest you keep that information to yourself and learn to bite your tongue when that other teacher makes remarks. That's the only way you'll make it through her class, young man."
"I can tell her once grades are in," Iggy said calmly. "But I won't allow prejudice around me. Not in any form. I stop racial jokes as well as born jokes."
The second doctor smiled. "Then you might get along fairly well." He stood up and shook Iggy's hand. "I'll be happy to allow you in this summer. There will be an extra ten hours of following me around because of the class. I do work at St. Mungo's, but you'll be with people who don't have the experience you do. It's rare for children in this program to even have been children of healers, or have seen many of them in their lives. Please don't spoil it for them."
"As long as you know one thing," Iggy told him. "I don't handle crises very well. That's why I stuck with potions." The second doctor smiled. "That's also a factor in my decision to become a consultant. I tend to get snippy and pissy with people in the middle of emergencies. If one of those little kids who don't have a clue gets too much into doing it wrong, I might just snap at them. I won't mean to, and I'll apologize later, but it has been known to happen. There's a *big* note in my file about that from my very first ER shift ever."
Both doctors laughed. "I can understand that, not everyone can handle stress, young man," the second doctor told him. "I'll see you in class in two weeks." He signed the form and walked away.
"Very nice," his advisor told him. "I think you won him over." He smiled. "I will agree with him about that other doctor. You'll have troubles with her and will need some time to scream on occasion."
"That's fine. I can do that. I've had a few experiences like that and I can stand it for eight weeks and however many hours she'll demand."
"She'll demand about ten, to make sure that you're familiar with the equipment before you do your internship." He laughed. "She'll love you anyway, if only because you'll be able to correct her when she hooks up the IV drip upside down again. She does it every year from what I've heard."
"Nurses do that usually," Iggy pointed out, standing up. His son whined. "Registrar?"
"Sure. Let's do that. Don't forget your folder."
"Oops." Iggy put that back in it's former place between him and his son and took the new forms, following his advisor out of the room. With a quick wave at the secretary, who was very nice. They found a small line at the Registrar's office and the doctor made a motion at one of the workers. A new window was opened up. "He's in two programs, doing Mastery hours in one and two of ours in another."
"Name?" the witch asked.
She looked at him. "You exist?"
"And am annoying sometimes," he agreed with a smile. He handed over his forms. "Here you go."
She looked them over, then looked at his file. "You're not supposed to be able to take those classes yet."
"I'm allowing it," Dr. Amadalin pointed out. "He's already done the hours."
"All right. I'll pass them on to the Registrar in case she has a problem."
Iggy wrote his floo address down. "Have her call me if she needs to talk to me. We've have a few discussions before, once after a fit." He grinned again. "Anything else I have to do?"
"Iggy?" a woman in the back called. "Back here, I'll do you personally."
"Yes, Registrar Anderson." He and his advisor walked back and handed over the forms to her. "Here you are."
"Thank you, Iggy. Sit." She looked at the baby. "You're cute."
"He's a Spenser. A sleepy one at that," Iggy told her. She smiled. "Just two classes and Mastery hours if you wouldn't mind."
"Let's see." She opened up the lists and looked at the forms. "Both of them have a seat open for you." She added his name to the roll. "All right. Since your advisor signed off on it and I got some prewarning this time, I can do that." She looked at his form. "Your tuition is already paid I see. I'm not..." She looked up. "It says here you have a hold on your records."
"For?" his advisor asked.
"The higher-ups want to check in with him," she said with a grimace. "I'll put you in anyway, unless they have a problem with it. Go right up to the President of Academic's office and talk to him. I see you've already handed out your floo address." She smiled. "He probably wants to know how you've done it all."
"It's a long story," Iggy sighed. He stood up. "Thank you, Registrar Anderson."
"I'm the only one, Iggy, you don't have to call me by both." She shook their hands. "Happy meeting. Did you bring a diaper bag?" One fell onto her desk with a thump. "That is a very handy trick to have."
"His mother's resting right now and wanted some time without us." He picked up the diaper bag and thoughtfully put the folder into it. "Academic's?" She nodded. "Where is that?"
"Three floors up and all the way at the other end of the endless hall."
"Crap." Iggy shifted his son. "This would have to happen today." He waved. "Thank you, the both of you. Happy lunches and classes."
They watched him leave. "Why?" Dr. Amadalin asked.
"Because the new guy's a dirtbag."
"Oh. Wonderful. Should he worry about his unique status?"
"The President wants to shut down the special program over there. If he can find a reason, he will." She shrugged. "It doesn't make us money."
"No, it gives us our best people though." The doctor stood up. "Thank you. If he has a problem, let me know as well please." She nodded and he smiled. "You are so much nicer than the rumors state."
She laughed. "I put those out so I only have to do this in special cases. Usually for that program." He laughed as he walked away. "You think I'm kidding?" she muttered as she finished Iggy's paperwork. She had to use the special ink to override the hold, but it stayed on the forms.
Iggy walked into the office and sat down with a sigh of relief. The secretary looked over then smiled. "I'm Iggy Harris-Weasley. I got told he put a hold on my records. Is the hall really never-ending or does it just seem that way?"
"It's a curse put on by a former student," the secretary told him. "Want me to hold him while you talk with the President? He doesn't really like children."
"No, it's fine. I brought a napping pad. I'll put him beside my chair." Iggy stood up. "Fathers are part of the world as well, the same as mothers are." She laughed. "My wife is napping right now."
"Aww. That's very sensitive of you."
"I'm that kind of guy," Iggy told her. "Can I go in?"
"He's on a call. I'll buzz him in a second." She went back to her typing. "Which program are you in?"
"Special Prodigies and Healer." She hissed. "He doesn't like us?"
"He *loathes* you guys," she warned him quietly.
"Yet, we're the people who do a lot of the great things in life," Iggy pointed out. "I'm six classes, sixty practical hours, and one Mastery paper from getting both my degrees." She looked impressed. "And I just graduated." A buzzing noise went off. "Is he free now?"
"Let me check." She stood up and walked into the office, coming back out long enough to wave him in. "Ignatius, this is President Sebastian Reclunde. Ignatius Harris-Weasley, sir." She left them alone.
"You brought him around to show him to the offices?" the President asked in a hissing voice.
"No, my wife is napping and I like to hold my son. I consider it a necessity of being a good father, the same way mine was." He sat down. "If I may ask, sir, is your throat sore? I have something on me that might help."
"I've seen your folder, boy. I don't need anything from you." He looked the young man over. "Why were you held back a year?"
"My entire class was held back a year due to some stupid power playing at the Ministry. Fortunately, the person who did it jumped out a window." He smiled. "I decided to spend the year in a calm and leisurely fashion instead of my usual manner." He shifted his son to the other shoulder, letting him drool on that one instead. The bottle was tucked into the bag. "What did you want to know, sir?"
"Have you ever lost a patient?"
"Sixteen of them so far."
"Why? Gross incompetence or just negligence."
Iggy glared at him, making the man flinch. "Neither. One was a poisoning victim who waited too long to come forward. A few were patients in horrible accidents who couldn't be helped farther, and one of them was an infant who was born with an extreme birth defect. I can have your secretary call over for my official file if you want."
"You're a little snot, you know that, kid?"
"Yay." Iggy smiled at him. "Your opinion matters very little to me, *sir*. As far as I'm concerned, I have all the fans I'll ever need."
"Then you are in it for the glory!" he said triumphantly.
"No, I'm not. I'm talking about my family. The other doctors I've worked with. People that I've helped. I don't need glory, or money, or even fame. I can have any of that and I've made a conscious decision to toss it aside in favor of a nice life with my wife and my son, plus any future children that may come along." The President sat up and started to look pissed again. "Let me put it to you this way, *sir*. I'm also an alchemist. It does work. Why would I need fame?" The man started to look scared. "I've also managed, with my wife's help since she's also part of my program, to make the healing elixir off the elixir of life. If I had wanted to, I could have done my Mastery on that instead of the one I chose, my first potion. Why do I need the adoration, or even the liking of me, from someone outside of my family? I have everything I could ever want already. All I need to do is finish my degrees and I can fall back into a spot where only those who need to know know who I am."
"You're a brat, Mr. Harris-Weasley."
"Technically, I'm too old to be a brat." He smiled sweetly. "I've been warned about you already, President Reclunde. You don't like prodigies because you're scared of what *really* intelligent people can do to the world. Yes, some of us have went bad. More of us haven't. The majority of us die due to our work because people like you desire it for themselves and they couldn't do it. The fact that I'm a prodigy married to a prodigy means that you not only fear me, but you fear my son. You don't have to, but I doubt that I'm easing any fears at this moment. Not that I mean to. I could care less what you think about me."
"I can have you tossed out."
"I've been here now for four years. You'd have to find a reason."
"You got held back," he sneered.
"Read my lips. My *entire* class got held back. If you do it on that basis, then you'll have to toss out one person in the Barrister program and another person starting in the Healer program. Not to mention about half of your hidden Technology program, because from what I've heard a lot of them got kicked out of school before they could finish." The man flinched. "So please take the hold off my records and I'll be done by the holidays," he said with a winning smile.
"I can keep you from finishing everything. My office does have to look over and accept all Masteries."
"That's a formality and I can still file suit and complaints against you." The man looked shocked. "You should probably be told that prodigies often have to push to get what we need because normal people think that we're trying to get too far ahead or that we don't need those things. I've had to push to get permission to use books, to use a library, even to do my hours how I wanted. By doing so, I majorly screwed up part of my life, but I'm nearly done with the hard stuff." He leaned forward. "I may not want to get news of my program out, but I am in two of them," he reminded him. "If I have to take you to court over it, I will. If I don't get stonewalled here, then you've made my summer. Which will it be?"
Raena appeared and took their son. "Dear, calm down. Drink this." She handed over a small mug. "You forgot your tea this morning and you're a grumpy ass."
"How did you do that!" he demanded. "My office is shielded!"
"Is it?" she asked with a sneer. "I'm his wife, Raena Tallias, formerly of the Braun Institute." He swallowed hard. "You're really not up to the caliber of the arrogant assholes we have over there, President Reclunde. Let's face it, I went to a school where you had to fight to get a room because they liked to ignore the fact that they have dorms to piss you off and weed out the weaker students. My husband may be a bit pissed at the moment, but I do read minds." He stood up, backing away from her. "Now then, would you mind terribly leaving us alone? We don't like to associate with your kind anyway. Too many prodigies have put up with people like you and then develop a superiority complex. They see you as inferior."
"I hadn't wanted to," Iggy offered. "But the more people like you I run into, the worse it gets." He shrugged and stood up, handing over the diaper bag. "Now if you'll excuse us, we have a very nice afternoon planned. Will my records be unsealed or not? If you'd let me know, we could get on with this dance."
"You're not so smart. I have the power here."
"Stupid, if you're looking at my file, read who my training master was. I lived under a perpetual power play." Iggy smiled sweetly again. "You'd be surprised what I've learned at the knees of my family and teachers about power plays."
"Iggy, don't use Grandfather," she whispered.
He smiled at her and sent a note to Draco, making him miss a ball in practice. He got back an affirmative and a snarl of it being necessary. "I wasn't, Raena, I was going to point out how I leaned power games at the same time as Denver Malfoy and Simone Malfoy-Weasley. At my favorite uncle's knee." The President made a whimpering noise. "He taught me I didn't have to put up with this sort of thing and how to fight back. He may have hid his innate abilities from the world because of his father's friends, but he told me to*never* give in to petty little games like this one. I may have decided not to fight over that extra year, but I really needed the vacation anyway."
President Reclunde swallowed. "Vacation?"
"I only did two hundred hours of work over the whole year," Iggy told him. "Vacation." Then he grinned. "Are we done yet? I'm hungry and I want to jump my wife."
"Go," he ground out. "You won't save your program."
"Oh, but I'm not the only one," Iggy reminded him. "Trust me, next time I'm bringing support." He let his wife go first, making sure they had everything. He had to go back for the folder that had fallen out of the diaper bag, but it was easily retrieved from the President's hands. "Sorry, that's a preliminary copy with corrections." He strolled out, smiling at the secretary. "Take a long lunch," he said quietly. "I don't play power games and it pissed him off." She giggled. "Really, a *long* lunch." He walked out, following his wife. "I want to know how to break this curse," he pointed out after ten minutes of walking.
"Your father might know. He is a building person." She took his hand and they teleported back to the Potion's building. "Grandma, you won't like what we did," she called as she walked that way.
"Reclunde?" Grandma said from the secretary's desk.
"Oh, yeah," Iggy agreed dryly. She looked at him. "He put a hold on my records. So I shoved it back in his face."
"He hadn't had his morning tea yet," Raena said in a gentler tone of voice. "He threatened him with Draco."
Grandma burst out in giggles. "I want to see that confrontation. Reclunde used to run with his father." She smiled at them. "All set?"
"Unless he tries something further. He had a hold on my records. Otherwise, I'm set up for my two classes and nearly done. We're going to go watch Draco practice, and vent a little bit, then we're going to go to lunch." He waved and took them both to the pitch, quickly pulling out his pass. "Go away," he told the coach. "We're calming down. I'm the reason Draco missed the ball." He sat his wife down and sat next to her, putting an arm around her.
"Are you sure you won't play, kid?"
Iggy looked up at him. "That'd make me famous," he whined. "I don't want that."
The coach laughed. "At least that's a smart reason to make the decision. Most people search for the fame and then regret it."
"I've already had enough fame," Iggy told him.
The coach caught sight of Raena's ring. "Holy shit, that's a philosopher's stone!" He grabbed her hand to look at it. Then he looked at Iggy, who smiled and wiggled his fingers. He dropped her hand. "Never mind, kid, you don't need us to make your life complicated."
"Very true," he agreed with a grin. "Hi, Draco." He smiled at the coach again. "I'll stick to beating up the players in the new third tier league. It's more fun, they get so *flustered* when they miss."
The coach snickered. "I know. I've seen a few of them throw awesome fits as well." He got out of Draco's way, the moody bastard would have pushed him otherwise. "Don't blame the kid for you missing. You can work around any distraction, or so you've said."
"I just had a run-in with a friend of his father's," Iggy told him. "He's trying to kick me out of school for being a genius."
"Oh." The coach shuddered. "Then I'll ignore anything in the papers about him going missing or being found in little bitty pieces." He walked away, leaving them alone for a few minutes. Draco would get back to practice in his own good time.
Draco sat on the back of a seat. "Feel better now?"
"Reclunde and I may yet get into it again, but I do," Iggy admitted with a smile. Draco smiled back. "Your son and daughter's name about made the man crap himself."
Raena snorted. "He was more scared of their father, of course," she put in. "He was an ass. I was listening in and he kept threatening Iggy with being expelled because he doesn't like the geniuses. He's scared of them."
Draco shook his head. "For a good reason. Look how many of you have gone bad."
"Look how many of us have died because someone wanted to use us to do something and we refused," Iggy pointed out. "You never hear about the ones who stay good. Only ten percent of us go bad. For that matter, there's none that I'd say would go bad in the program at the moment. There's only ten of us in there."
"Your school is known for training the good guys," Draco pointed out. "If one of you goes bad, it's usually because someone threatened their family or a similar occurrence." He ruffled Iggy's hair. "I know we don't have to worry about you, but please don't start a super-brain complex."
"Oh, all those little people are safe," Iggy said with a naughty grin. "Why let the normals think anything else?"
Draco laughed. "I'm not that bright, Iggy."
"You are. You never show it unless it's for a good reason, but I know how intelligent you are, Uncle Draco." He gave him a hug, getting pushed away. "I won't tell anyone, it'll stay between us. Sort of like how smart Daddy really is will stay a family secret."
Raena laughed. "I don't think the world is ready for Xander to come out as an evil genius."
"No, probably not," Iggy agreed, beaming at her. He noticed the keeper flying nearby. "Problems?" he asked him.
"I know you're a healer, you got anything for shoulder pains?"
"Yeah, but I'd have to talk to the team doctor to see if I could give it to you," Iggy told him. The guy flew off. "Sorry, can't do that without the attending's permission." He looked at his uncle again, who had a very catty smile. "It's dangerous," he said with a shrug. "He might lie about what he's taking." The team doctor slammed the gate open. "Hi." He smiled and waved. "We'll give you Draco back in a moment." He looked at his uncle again. "When will you be done? I'll treat to lunch."
"Probably not for another three hours. I'll come to the apartment tonight for dinner."
"You know where it is?"
Draco smirked at him. "Of course I do." He strolled away, remounting his broom and flying off.
The doctor looked at Iggy. "Did you give him anything?"
"I was trained ethically. I am to ask the attending when I have the chance to make sure I'm not over-medicating, giving an allergen, or giving something counter-indicated," he said with a grin. "Besides, I figure you've probably got whatever he needs and if you're not giving it to him, there's probably a really good reason for it."
The doctor laughed. "That's very true, kid. Do you need any more hours in sports medicine?"
"Nope, sorry. I've got sixty general hours left."
"You could do them as Family Practice and do them here," the doctor offered.
"I could, but I start two classes in two weeks, both OB." The doctor shook his head. "Sorry, I have more of an affinity for the unborn. They don't complain." The doctor laughed some more. "We're heading home now that we told him what that was about. If you need me for a game, just yell and I'll come. That's never a problem."
"Thank you, kid. You're really neat."
"You're the first person who's said that today," Iggy told him, taking his wife's hand to walk her back to the floo point. "Laters."
"Bye." The doctor looked at the coach. "Do you think he'll have more problems?"
"Let's put it this way," the coach said, moving closer. "He got Malfoy to laugh and smile. Plus, he gave the guy a hug." The doctor looked impressed. "What do you think?"
"I think he's one of the few people outside of Malfoy's own children that he'd kill over."
"You'd be right as well," Draco called down as he zipped past. He tossed the ball at his coach's head. "This is boring. Aren't we doing more today?"
"We'll scrimmage in a bit. Do it anyway." He smirked. "When did the kid make that ring?"
"A few years ago." He gave his coach a cold little smile. "My beloved nephew is very brilliant and definitely under my protection. Do not spread word around about it."
"Hey, my mother dreamed of making one of her own, that's how I recognized it, and my father used to dread the day she got it right because of what it would mean for the family. I'm not saying anything. His kid's too cute for that sort of problem."
"Yes, Spenser is, isn't he?" He smiled and zipped off again, going to catch more balls. It was a waste of his time, but he had to play nice and look like he was trying.
Iggy accepted the letter from the owl, handing over a roll for it to peck at. "Raena, aren't you taking classes this fall?"
"One." She came out and looked over his shoulder. "Oh, that's so nice." She kissed his cheek. "I wonder who got to him."
"Arabelle from the looks of it," Iggy said with a smile. That poor man, President Reclunde, had been removed from his office by the authorities for questioning regarding an attack a few nights earlier. He tossed it aside, reading the second page. "Our schedules are set. We're in."
"Good. Have you decided who you're going to ask to do your residency with?"
"I thought about asking Doctor Spenser, he's a nice guy, but he works atrocious hours. I was thinking someone like Pecundy or that large group. They're searching people." He grabbed her and pulled her down into his lap. "I might not have a spot until May. Would that be okay with you?"
"That would be fine with me," she agreed, giving him a kiss. "You could stay home with Spenser while I went to class." She stood up and removed the baby's head from the filling sink. "You don't need to eat the bubbles." She handed him over to his father.
"Were you trying to swim," he cooed. "You can't swim in the sink, the bubbles are bad for you." Spenser seemed to pout at him. "We'll ask your Uncle Draco tonight if he'll let us come hog his pool this weekend, or we'll go to the hiding spot and let you play with the baby lake monster." His son seemed to brighten up. "Hey, he smiled."
"We are not turning the baby into the newest generation of Simone," Raena said with a fond smile. "I want him to have normal pets."
"Fine, spoil my fun," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "Don't worry, Spenser, I'm sure one day a phoenix will like you too." He looked at his wife. "Where is yours?"
"With Simone. Hilda decided she's found her one true love and is presently nesting under her aunt's watchful gaze."
"But aren't you glad? We won't have to have panic attacks about the fireplace getting out of control or anything like that." Someone knocked on the door and he sent a flash of magic at it to open it. "Come on in, future residents."
Melvin came in with Marion in her carrier. "We're napping," he said with a fond smile. He waved at Spenser. "Would you like to wander around the library with Marion, Spenser?" He cooed and bounced in his father's arms. "Well, come on then, we'll put you two together."
"Make sure the workroom door is closed," Raena reminded him. "We don't want Marion in the gryphon fertility medicine yet."
Melvin looked at her. "I don't think I ever want her into it, Raena." She laughed. "Who's kidding? On a human, that stuff's got to be a monster." He made sure the workroom door was locked before putting them down, even going so far as to shelve a few of the books and put up a plant. Then he left them there. The fireplace wasn't active, the floo was closed, and the room had furniture they could run into if they got too active with their crawling. He went back to join them at the table. "When are you guys thinking about moving?"
"After my residency. It should be about a year, so by next summer," Iggy said, sipping his tea. He watched as an owl flew at the window. "Raena, are you expecting mail?"
"No." She looked where he was and frowned. "I don't recognize the owl either. All the school ones are brown or silvers for administration." She got up to open the window, letting the owl in. "It's got a letter," she pointed out as she followed it to the table.
Iggy took the letter off and unrolled it, then hissed. "Melvin, where was Andrea?"
"At home, why? Dad left us alone in the apartment while he and Arabelle went for a long shag at a hotel this weekend." He took the letter and slumped. Then he took a deep breath. "What do we do?"
"First, Raena, I want you to get into the vault. Get the lesser quality stone." She nodded. Melvin looked at him. "It's a chance, but it'll break." Melvin nodded. "You, call your father or stepmother."
"I can't interrupt them!"
"You can! Your wife has been taken because they thought she was my wife! Personally, I don't know that much about handling a kidnaping, Melvin. I slept through mine and the one before that we sat at a table and thought. I want someone experienced. Now, call your father or I will."
"He's shut himself off," Melvin moaned. "I can't get him."
Iggy tried to reach either of Melvin's parents, but came up with his grandfather for some reason. He told him what was going on, but Arthur was out in the field and cut off. But he did have a suggestion. "Okay, give me a sec. Raena, bank, now." She disappeared. He went over to the fireplace and started it. "Adrian Maclay, Ministry." His friend's head popped up. "Adrian, is Percy or Arabelle's second in command there?"
"Yes, they both are. They're eating." He looked away, then grimaced as he looked back. "They want to know if it's important."
"Their boss' daughter-in-law was kidnaped because someone thought she was my wife and had a philosopher's stone. Important enough?"
Adrian's head turned around again. "You dipshits! Andrea Weasley was just kidnaped. It's Iggy." His head was quickly exchanged for two mens'.
"What's going on?" the one of the left asked.
Iggy took the letter and let them read it. "Where do you want to meet? My wife's getting one of our stones."
"You have more than one?" the guy on the right asked.
"They said all of them."
"If you didn't know, they might not," Iggy pointed out. "Now, we're at a hidden location and an owl found us. Where do you want to meet!"
"Here. Bring Melvin and Marion here, kid. Bring the owl too if you still have it. We'll do all the lab work."
Melvin stood up and walked over. "They said not to go near the Ministry."
"Then we'll go to the shop." Melvin opened his mouth. "Katie's and Alicia's. They've got an upstairs apartment." Melvin nodded quickly, going to get the kids. "Meet us there, ten minutes." He closed the floo and headed to grab his necessities kit. As he gathered things, he called to his cousin. "Shit, she's got a game," he muttered. He tried Denver, who was free and would meet them there with everyone he could get. He looked at their invisibility cloaks and grabbed them just in case, stuffing them into his scene bag. Then he took his own son and led the way out of the apartment and to Diagon. They stormed into the store and turned the sign over. "Aunt Katie, we've got an emergency, we're taking over the shop. Expect official people," he said as he headed for the stairs.
"Hold up," Katie called, chasing after them. "Emergency?"
"Andrea was kidnaped," Melvin said, sounding emotionless. He was numb and only moving because Iggy told him what to do. "They thought she was Raena."
"I'm sorry, Melvin. Here's the key." She dug it out of her pocket and handed it over. "Alicia's up there somewhere so you might want to pound first." She watched as they climbed up the stairs, then went to help get the rest of the family. Xander stormed in with Ron and George right behind him, heading up after the kids. "Fred?"
"Getting our employees," George said shortly. He did give her a smile as he moved past her.
Iggy had handed Melvin his son and was sitting down to try and get past Percy's shields. He found him, but they had double-layered their shields around each other. Yes, they were going at it like bunnies. That mental phrasing made him frown and he sent a burst of power at the shields, but it was deflected. He felt his father come in so he tapped into his mind and used it to break through the damn things. //Your daughter-in-law has been kidnaped. We're at the Quidditch shop. Get here now!// he mentally yelled, then he left them alone, releasing his father as well. "Daddy?"
"Headache," Xander moaned. George patted him on the back. "Son, remind me not to let you do that again." He looked around, noticing Melvin. "Melvin, we're working on it. Where's the letter?" The boy pointed at the table in front of him. "Where's Alicia?"
"In the bathroom," Iggy told him. "Getting dressed. We surprised her a bit." He stood up and grabbed his bag. "Simone has a game and she's trying to get free. I think it's against her father, so we might be fucked there as well. This is what I brought with me if we need it and Raena is getting one of the stones out of the vault."
Three men charged up the stairs and snatched the letter from Xander's hands. "How many people have touched it?" Xander, Iggy, and Melvin raised their hands. "Anyone else?"
"I don't remember if my wife did or not," Iggy admitted. "We were at home when it came."
"Fine. Owl?" Melvin pointed at where it was sitting, bound in a body binding curse. "Good job, Melvin." He patted him on the back and turned the letter over to the third man. "Any idea where Percy is?"
"Shagging, I just got through to him," Iggy told him. "If they're not here in a about five minutes, I'm hitting them with a long-distance curse." His son started to fuss so he took him from his cousin. "Melvin, we'll get her back. You've got to believe that."
Melvin looked up at him. "Why can't you be normal?" he asked quietly. He didn't notice anyone flinching.
"Honey, if being normal would have solved this, I'd gladly trade it in," Iggy told him, turning to look at the technician. "We only rate this much help?"
"It's vacation time. Everyone else is gone," Arabelle's second said honestly. He turned, his hand going to his wand when he heard footsteps. "Who're you?"
"My wife," Iggy said, taking the package from her hands. "Why did you get two out?"
"They said all of them, Iggy. That's all that's on record."
"They're recorded?" Percy's second asked.
"Law Enforcement keeps a record of all philosopher's stones," Raena said as Iggy looked them over. "We have to fill out paperwork anytime we even open the vault they're kept in. As a matter of fact, I'll expect one to be coming soon since I blatantly shoved one of them out of my way." She hugged Melvin but he shoved her away. "Okay. Why don't you lay on the couch and hug Marion then? Or go find Grandmother, she should be here by now." Melvin glared at her. "It's not our fault, Melvin. We're not the only ones who have one. If you don't believe me, ask your father when he gets here."
Draco stormed in. "Who has her? Do we know yet?" His daughter was right behind him, and Denver and Emily right behind them. "Do we have anything?"
"Just a ransom demand," Iggy admitted. "Melvin had just shown up too, so they probably had his house under surveillance." The seconds nodded. "They wanted all of our stones."
"What about her ring?" Melvin asked.
"If it helps get her back, then it's theirs," Raena told him. "Just hug your daughter and we'll deal with it." He hugged Marion closer. "They thought she was me. They did say to bring the ring with us since I didn't have it on."
"Shit," Xander swore, going over to reread the note. "Where does it say that?" The technician unrolled it a bit more so he could see the note at the bottom. "Okay, then who knows?"
"My coach recognized her ring," Draco admitted, "but his mother was a hobby alchemist and he knows what that can do. He said she never made one and he knows I'd kill him if he said anything."
"Law Enforcement," Iggy pointed out. "Or someone who had access to that filing cabinet." He looked at the two seconds in command. "By the way, it's pretty much out in the open. The janitors could have gotten into it."
"It's locked, kid."
"I opened it once," Simone told him. "Just fiddling around with it." She looked at Iggy. "Didn't you start out with the rumor of it didn't work, and then the too-small to do anything story?" Iggy nodded. "So maybe they don't know, but they think?"
"No, they knew and they knew we had more than one." Iggy looked at Emily, who was concentrating. "What?"
"It was around the school. Someone else knew why Raena's ring shattered. They knew what the new stone was as well probably."
"Yeah, but we've always said it was too small to do anything."
"But a decent search of any library with an alchemical text would counter that rumor," Melvin pointed out coolly.
"Melvin, I know it hurts, but don't snap at us," George told him, walking over to him. "It's not their fault. I don't know why they thought your wife was Raena, but now we've got to deal. I'm sure she's fine."
Melvin looked up. "How do you know? I don't even know and she's my wife!" He started to cry and George held him tight. When Alicia came out, she walked over to help him.
"What do you need from us?" she asked Xander.
"They said not to go to the Ministry," Percy's second noted. "They knew who Melvin was."
"Or they know that I'm a Weasley," Iggy pointed out. The second in command nodded, accepting that story. "Speaking of which, Grandfather was in the field but he said he's hurrying back as soon as he can."
Katie came up the stairs. "Someone who saw the mass migration into the store wanted to know if someone was in labor," she said with her driest tone of voice. "Then an owl flew in and left this." She handed it over, owl and all. "What can I do to help?"
"For right now, we're waiting. Iggy, what did you bring?"
"My bag's over there," Iggy said, pointing at it. "I put my cloaks, my favorite daggers, my disassembling crossbow, and my medical kit in there. So is my backup wand and three of the bottles from the last stone. The pure one." Melvin looked at him. "Yeah, we got one perfect. I've got three bottles of elixir of life in there just in case we need it. You're not losing her, Melvin, I'll be damned. If she's still alive, she's staying that way." Melvin teared up again. "You let it out, man. Let us handle it. Your dad will let you beat someone for a few minutes." He looked over as Arabelle jogged up the stairs. "You're late. I was about to send another thought at you."
"Percy's back dealing with the huffy assholes in Law Enforcement who think this is their job. Letters?" They were handed over. "Where is Minute Man park? Isn't that in Boston?"
"It's also the name of the park outside the Minute Man Time Shop," George told her. "I had my watch fixed by them a few years back when they first opened and notice the plaque. The guy was from Cambridge, Mass."
"Why is a guy from Massachusetts here?" Xander asked.
"I don't know, you can ask him some other time," Arabelle said. "We obviously have more than one person because the handwritings don't match. Melvin, give me your day today?"
Melvin looked at her. "I was at home until I went to see Iggy. I was there for maybe ten minutes when the owl came in. I was home all morning!"
"I know, it'll be okay." She smiled at him. "We'll get her back, Melvin. I promise. No matter what, she's not dying."
"You don't know that!" Melvin shouted, standing up. His daughter started to cry so he held her as tightly as he could. "She could already be dead."
"Melvin, were you in contact with her mind?" George asked. Melvin shook his head. "Can you contact her mind?"
"Every once in a while we touch, but nothing else. I can't hear her, Uncle George." George wrapped in him in his arms again to hold him. "I can't hear her."
Iggy concentrated on her, but frowned and shook his head, looking at Simone. She looked up and thought at her, then shrugged. "I can't tell. She could be unconscious or blocked possibly. It's not the black hole feeling of not being there."
"That could also mean stasis," Draco pointed out, sitting down. "May I?" He was handed the letters after the second had been wrapped. "Interesting." He looked at the owls. "They're public owls. The paper is paper that you would find in a courier station. But the language is higher than that." Xander looked at him. "Someone knows what the stones can do. He might not know that there is more than one."
"He knows, he said to bring all of them."
"Yes, but they only have two on public record," Draco pointed out. "Plus her ring."
"A generality means that they might not have specific information," Iggy agreed, thinking about it. He glanced at Melvin, then at his father, who took the husband back into the bedroom to help him calm his daughter down. "Where's Spenser?"
"I have him," Alicia said, holding him up.
Iggy relaxed. "Thank you." He turned to look at the technicians again. "If he did, it might mean that he knew we had a folder, but not the particular sizes." He looked at the stones in front of him. "There's a way to disable them without it being noticeable for a few hours. But it will show up soon. Should I or not?"
"No," Draco said, shaking his head. "If the person knows enough to know that her ring is useful then they know how to tell if the stone is pure. Possibly a hobby alchemist? A frustrated one?"
"Or someone who's desperate," Katie suggested. Everyone looked at her. "Like when George got kidnaped maybe? Needing the money? This would be an easy way to make whatever you needed. A little bit of library research would tell you how to use them."
"Not necessarily," Arabelle told her. "Alchemy books in libraries are usually in special collections rooms."
"Which are still open to the public," Iggy pointed out. "Besides, I've found a few at Aunt Hermione's library." Ron looked at him from his position watching out the window. "I wanted to see what was done to her so I went over for a day of browsing their collections. They have it under Mediaeval Manuscripts and there were two different books that I have in my collection. In an open room, but they weren't allowed out."
"So you could copy them?" Arabelle asked. Iggy nodded. "Shit. I want to go over that place with a fine toothed comb. First chaos manuals and now those." She looked toward the door. "Percy's here and he's not pleased."
"Melvin, your dad's here," Ron called. He gave Percy a hopeful look. He got a head shake. "Nothing?"
"Nothing yet," Percy told him. "Instructions?"
"A drop spot, what to bring. Who to do it. They'll send an owl when they want us to come." She handed over both letters from Draco's hands.
"I'm wondering why they want Raena to go," Iggy said.
"She's not the most competent fighter in the family," Ron reminded him. "Sending you, me, or your dad, or any of Draco's family, would get their asses kicked. They have a chance of getting away from her."
"Plus they might think I'm the knowledge behind the skill," Raena pointed out gently. Iggy looked at her. "I'll be fine, Iggy."
"You'd better be." He walked over and gave her a kiss. "Otherwise I'm going to go on a rampage like the world has never seen before." She smiled at him.
"If anything happens to her, you'll be knocked out before you feel it," Draco told him.
"With any luck," Xander agreed.
Raena looked up like she had an epiphany. "Reclunde."
"Who?" George asked.
"President Reclunde, over Academic Affairs at the Royal Academy of Magic," Draco told him. "What about him, Raena?"
"We had to report when we got the stone to work. Only the first one, but he did see my ring when we went to threaten him."
"Yes, but he knows you if you went to see him," Simone pointed out.
"He only saw me that once and Andrea and I do sort of look alike from behind. We've got the same build and the same hair."
"Who else has access to your records?" Percy asked.
"Both my advisors, Dcotor Amadalin and Grandma." Percy looked at him. "I don't know her name, the first time I met her she told me to call her that."
"Who is she?" Ron asked.
Iggy looked over at him. "Shey Ravettena's maternal grandmother, but she loves those of us in the program like her own kids."
"That means that some secretaries might have access as well," Percy said, looking at his wife. "I can't go in there without a warrant. You?"
"I can," Arabelle admitted. "It's in the parts of the charter that we kept when the department got split." She stood up. "I'll go myself. Percy, you stay and try to comfort your son. Guys, I want to know *immediately* when the time comes if I'm not here." She walked away.
"George took Melvin and Marion into the bedroom to calm down," Xander said.
"Let me have Spenser," Percy requested. "We'll put the children together." Iggy shook his head. "He'll only get in the way."
"Melvin doesn't want to see him right now," Iggy told him. "He asked me why I couldn't be normal. He wouldn't look at me either. He can stay out here, Raena and I can watch him, Uncle Percy." His son was handed to him. "Thank you." He walked over to look out the window. "Is it always this sucky to wait?"
"Yup," Ron told him, putting an arm around his shoulders. He blinked a few times, then moved them both right before the glass broke. "I think someone wants them both." Percy tried to stun the gunman, but nothing was working. "New gameplan?" he asked Xander.
"New gameplan," Xander agreed, glancing around.
"They can stay at my house," Draco offered. "I do have security systems."
"No, that's too predictable," Percy said, looking at Xander. "So is the house." Xander shook his head. "Then what are you thinking?"
"My little cabin in the woods, or a hotel. Easily defendable if necessary."
"Or the school," Raena pointed out. "We know nearly nothing can get in there."
"The problem with that is that everyone's left," Iggy pointed out, leaning against the wall. He shifted to the side, just in case he was being predictable. "I don't like people wanting me to die. I didn't like it the last time and I don't like it now." He sat down, holding his son tightly to his chest. "This shit sucks, dad."
"I know, son." Xander shook his head. "I don't know where else to send him, unless we send him to the Watchers."
"Fat bloody chance," George called from the bedroom.
Melvin stormed out. "Why did they try to shoot Iggy?"
"Because we're the only ones right now who are known to be able to make the stones," Iggy told him. "If they kill us then the knowledge dies with us." He looked at his wife. "I don't care what you do, you're wearing body armor."
"It's bulky and heavy," she pointed out. "I can go in with extra shields."
"Unless we do something really extraordinary," Xander said with a smile. "Iggy, you're going to see Charlie and he's going into the woods. No one can get you down there without him knowing about it first." He looked at Simone, who was bouncing. "Your coach?"
"Got it pointed out to him that my cousin's life was in danger and I'd be back as soon as I could." She took off her robes. "I can call him again if I have to, he said he'd call up an old beater if necessary." She smiled. "He wasn't very pleased, but at least he didn't yell like Daddy's coach."
"We don't have a backup seeker," Draco pointed out. "That means we've lost the game unless they've worked out a way to postpone it."
"I'll call," Simone said, patting Xander down for his portable floo cellphone. She walked out to the hallway to call, coming back a moment later. "That decided the ref, they're going to allow for a postponement, there's too many bets riding on this one." She handed it back. "Did you know you had a message on there?"
"No." Xander opened it to activate the new facemail feature, watching the message. "Huh. Wesley had to kill a lot of the Watchers recently by sending them against something." He put it into his pocket. "He let the traditionalists go in first." Ron smiled at that. "They've got about twenty people out of two hundred left at the main headquarters."
Draco shrugged. "Pity. What were they fighting this time?"
"The hellmouth up by them. It opened again. They lost two potentials and the current slayer." He shrugged. "It happens. We all know that." Melvin gave him a horrified look. "That's what fighting the dark side means, Melvin, being willing to give your life up so that it doesn't win." Melvin shuddered and leaned against his father's side. "Sorry to have upset you." He looked at his own son. "Go, now."
Iggy stood up and grabbed his bag. "Do you want the invisibility cloaks?"
"I do," Draco said, taking one of them. He smiled. "Behave. Give Charlie hell of course, but do behave and don't get eaten."
"Diaper bag," Raena said, going to get him one or two. She came back with a larger than average bag, but he shrunk it down into the other one since it couldn't be shrunk. She stole her baby to kiss and hold for a while, then let him go. "Be safe," she called. "Bring him back, Spenser." Iggy chuckled and blew a kiss, giving her a mental caress with a promise to come back alive and well with their son the same way. Raena looked around. "I agree with my husband, I want something to keep me from dying."
"I'll go," Melvin told her.
"Melvin, they want me, they'll only take me," Raena told him. "Being practical at this point in time is making sure I don't think about what problems are going to happen if this doesn't go well. Including to your wife." Melvin opened his mouth.
"Melvin, another hard truth. These people aren't dumb, and they're not nice," Ron told him. "They could hurt Andrea if she doesn't go." Melvin slumped. "But I agree, I want her warded, shielded or whatever so we don't have to bury her."
Percy nodded. "I think we can handle that." He looked at Arabelle's second in command. "Do you think she's fit into Arabelle's battle suit?" The second in command shrugged. "Then go get it and let's find out," he said calmly.
"Yes, sir!" he said sharply and hurried off. He didn't make it out the door before he was shot.
"I think we're stuck in here," Katie sighed. "Alicia?" Her best friend looked at her. "Call Fred, tell him to stay at the shop."
"On it," Alicia agreed, taking Xander's held out phone. "Fred?" His head popped up. "That's a nice feature," she said with a smile. "Stay there. Someone just shot someone coming out of our shop."
"All right." He looked worried. "Where's Katie?" She was shown to him. "And Keivgn?"
"He's napping in the bedroom with Marion," Katie lied. She looked at Xander, who was out of sight but frowning as well. She looked back at him. "Where's your mom?"
"Probably baking something," he said with a forced smile. Their code for *big* trouble. "Did you want her to stay as well? I can call her."
"Yeah, you do that," Katie agreed. Alicia cut the connection. "Someone's at the joke shop as well."
Xander looked at Ron. "Weapon?" Ron pulled out his pistol and handed it over. "Thank you." He disappeared, teleporting back to a safe spot in the shop, the basement. Since no one really knew it was there and it was soundproofed, he could sneak up the stairs. He shot the one person standing down there then snuck up and looked through the spyhole he had put in. He counted and searched magically, frowning. He pulled his wand and cast a general sleep charm. Fred and the baby fell asleep on the counter. No one else did, but they were now paranoid and not coming his way. He saw the one who had been beside the door move and eased the doorknob open while continuing to look out the hole, then sprung out. He shot the first two, stunning another one. The one that had been back in the lab was stunned as well, and the last ones who came running from the family section were shot with the last few bullets. He slumped and waited, just in case. Someone was moving back in the back hallway. He eased that way, peeking around the corner. It was a kid. "Go out the door," he told her, pointing at it. She shook her head. "Why not?"
Xander used his 'blasting' spell to open it and let her out. He also let in the Law Enforcement person, the one who decided he was the threat. "Sorry, I had to take care of the people holding my brother-in-law and his son hostage," he pointed out, pointing at them. They went that way and then started to swear. "Guys, I'm going to go back to the hostage crisis headquarters. Let me get Fred and the baby." He walked into the main room and used his wand to close the blinds. "Don't open the front door or the blinds. We get too many kids in here and I don't think they need to see this." He set the screens on the window to flash 'out to lunch' before leaving with Fred and Keivgn. "Here we are, sleep spelled. Bad guys nothing, me eight. Two or three stunned, the rest shot." Melvin choked and started to heave, so his Aunt led him back to the bathroom. "All dressed in the same clothes, Percy. Tan, practical, many pockets on the pantslegs and sleeves."
"Military?" Ron asked.
Xander nodded. "Looked like it."
Percy frowned. "I'll check on them. Is the floo on?"
"No, locked down. The front windows are flashing 'out to lunch' so no kids try to get inside and the blinds are drawn just in case they malfunction."
"I'll head back with you," George offered from the bedroom. Percy nodded and took him back to the shop with him.
Xander looked at Ron, then at Raena. Then at Draco and Simone. "Simone, I want you to help Charlie and Iggy. You know your way around out there and can do what Charlie can't, kill if necessary." She nodded, straightening up. "Draco, I want you and Ron to help Raena into this suit and test it. If there's a flaw for muggle weaponry, I want to know about it. Those guys had assault rifles." They nodded and got together with her to deal with that issue. "Emily, I want you to sit down because you look like you're going to pass out. You can call your uncle in a moment. I did remember the charger this time." She sat down and Denver sat with her. "Denver, you're guarding the kids with Emily. Got it?" He nodded. "Good. Now all we need is that last bit of information." He sat down to wait. This was the hard part for him. He hated waiting.
Charlie looked up as Simone jogged up to him, back in her normal attire. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm helping. Uncle Fred and his son are fine." Charlie and Iggy both looked at her. "Military looking guys with assault rifles in the shop. Your dad got them, Iggy."
"Okay, then we're heading out into the woods," Charlie decided.
"And I'm coming," Simone reminded him. She grabbed the tent kit and put the strap around her body. "Where? Or at least in which direction?"
Charlie looked at her. "Are you sure? This isn't going to be a picnic."
Simone looked at him. "Uncle Xander sent me because, if it comes down to it, I can kill someone to protect Iggy and Spenser." Charlie nodded. "Protecting my family is the *only* thing that I'm here for this time. Bait, Glinda, Hermione, let's go. Into the air." The three phoenixes took into the air.
"One of them named herself after her?" Charlie asked.
"She's young, but she's a fighter. She coos at the picture ever now and then so Daddy decided to name her that and it stuck. Iggy, do you have everything?"
"But food," Charlie told her. "Let me go to the office."
Simone stopped him and handed him the tent kit. "*I'll* go to the office, you get the food since none of us know where it's stored." She hurried away, going to the office as planned. She glanced inside first and frowned at the man in there. She sent a quick message back to Iggy before strolling in casually. "Hey, Bo. Thought I'd come check on Bait. That okay with you?"
"Sure thing, sweetie," he said, glancing at the man. Simone gave him her most winning smile, slipping a dagger down her sleeve and into her hand. "Do you know where she is?"
"Oh, yeah, Glinda and she just flew off to chat in the trees. I think I'll chat with someone before...." She stopped talking when she heard a buzz, using the opportunity of the guy being distracted by his earpiece to stab him in the side. "Fucking idiot. You take on this family and you die," she sneered. "Tell your little boss that for me." She kicked him over the cut, making him moan. "Now, asshole."
The man mumbled something quietly. Then a crunch was heard.
"Coward! Can't take a little torture?" She relaxed slightly. "Cyanide capsule in his mouth. He's already dead. You'll probably want someone to come pick him up. We're going to go play in the park now. Tell them I stole them because I am." She waved and headed out to catch up to Charlie, who had already snuck off. She found him trying to get his phoenix out of a tree so they could go. "Let's go, people. They were just in the office. He ate cyanide instead of facing me." The phoenixes took off, heading deeper into the woods. "Find somewhere defensible, hard to get to, and shelterish," she told Charlie.
"Red's cave is too easy to get to. It's on flat ground. I'm thinking an eyrie or something."
"Simone, he can't climb with a child."
"I can rig up a backpack holder," Iggy told him. "But I still can't climb mountains." He looked at his cousin. Then at his Uncle. "Somewhere defensible at least?"
Simone pointed at a large hill. "Anything either up there or on the other side of there? I remember you telling me there was a part of the river that way."
"There is," he said, thinking as he walked. "Head left, we'll hit a path going that way. There's a few caves, but I think they're all full." Someone squeaked above him, making him jump. "Bait!" She squeaked something else and showed him something. "Where's that?" He smiled when she showed him. "On the other side, across the river, is a hidden burrow. Would that do?"
"It'd do really well," Simone agreed. "Can we get across the river?"
"It's at a low point. No rain in weeks." He pointed at the path. "There. Take the second branch to the right." He glanced back. "What about the others?"
"Bo is telling them that I stole you," Simone told him. She watched as Iggy walked. "I want our brooms right about now. This walking stuff is taking too long and it's nearly night. Do you know this path that well?" she asked her uncle.
Charlie looked at her. "I might have walked it once or twice in the twenty-odd years I've been here," he admitted.
"Oh, good." She took Spenser so Iggy could dig out his pacifier, sticking her finger into his mouth.
"Eww, I don't know where that's been," Iggy protested, taking his son back once he had the pacifier and the bag was reclosed and back onto his back. "Give me him. There, much better than your Aunt Simone's fingers."
Charlie nudged Simone. "Were you doing something that he doesn't know about earlier?"
"Some pre-game sex, but I took a bath," she admitted. "Though I didn't get to play, they postponed it. Wanna come up? I'm playing against dad's team."
"I'll try," Charlie agreed, smiling at her. "Head for the right side, Iggy." Iggy took that path, heading further into the darker part of the woods. "Don't be spooked if something tries to jump out at you. We've got a resident poltergeist and it likes to try and do that to us."
Iggy nodded. "Thank you, Uncle Charlie."
"You're welcome." He patted the boy on the back.
"She'll be fine, Iggy. Uncle Percy is looking over her, as well as my dad and Uncle Ron." Iggy nodded, staring straight ahead. Charlie looked at her, a questioning look on his face. "They wanted Raena to deliver the ransom."
"Shit," Charlie sighed. "Iggy, give me Spenser, just in case you have to hurry off and help Andrea. I don't like this."
"Neither do I. Daddy just had to shoot a bunch of people who were holding Uncle Fred hostage." Iggy cuddled his son. "I'll give him to you when I'm feeling better."
"Iggy, if someone hurts Raena, they're so very mine. I'll give you a few blows before I rip them into little pieces," Simone promised. She heard a twig break and stopped. "Where was that?"
Charlie looked around, then pointed behind them. "Back there."
"Can we go faster?" Iggy suggested.
"Sure we can," Charlie agreed, whistling sharply. A 'whump' 'whump' came their way. "Dragon express. She's a friendly sort. Don't let her smoke Spenser." A teal dragon came into view, long, low, and with six legs. "Hey, girl. Can we get you to give us a ride?" She sniffed at them, then the baby. "I know, you don't get to see many of those, do you?" He took Spenser, letting her sniff him deeper. The baby batted her on the nose, making her move back and give it a look like she wasn't sure if it was going to eat her or not. "It's okay, it won't hurt you. It's a baby human, just recently hatched." She sniffed it again then moved closer, letting Simone pet her nose as well. "So, can we?" She snuffled his shirt, rooting around in his pocket. "Yeah, you can have the candy bar." He handed Spenser back. "Sit in one of the depressions, but not the second one, her back's been sore there recently."
"You're a beautiful dragon, my dear," Simone said with a smile. "I've never seen one like you before. Chinese?"
Charlie nodded, motioning for her to go on. He handed her the candy bar and climbed on quickly. "To the river and across if you don't mind." The dragon 'whumped' off, heading for the river about twice as fast as they could have run it.
"Uncle Charlie, if I haven't mentioned it, you have a really neat job," Iggy told him. He let Spenser see the passing scenery, smiling at all the gouts of flame that weren't anywhere near them. They came to a fast-moving river and paused while the dragon sniffed at it. "Is it deep, Uncle Charlie?"
"It shouldn't be." He watched as the dragon slid into the water, starting to stroke across. "Hold Spenser up higher, Iggy, just in case." Iggy did so, wincing as the water started to rise around them. It was up to his chest before it started to go back down again, then they hit a much deeper spot and it was up to his neck for a bit. Spenser flailed in the water, he liked water, but it soon receded and they were across. They got off and Charlie checked the baby over, smiling when it gave him a spit-filled kiss. "Here we are. Thanks, girl." She nuzzled him again and headed back into the river, splashing around and playing. "She's a beaut." He headed up a small trail, going directly to a large bush. Behind the bush was a hole and they slid down it. "Here we are. Tent?"
"Soaking but the inside should be dry," Simone told him, handing it over. She took Iggy's bag and the bag of food, setting out everything. "Iggy, thumbtack?"
"Spenser. If I have to leave, I'm not taking him." He looked at his cousin.
"Oh, no, I'm not going to become his mommy if something happens to the both of you."
Iggy smiled. "Too late. You're already on the paperwork. You and Denver." He put his son down on his bag so he could help. "Poles or ropes, Uncle Charlie?"
"Poles." He handed them over.. "They go in an arch shape and they're a pain to lay."
"Dad has one of these." Iggy put the poles up and slowly slid the tent around them, ending up with the dome tent big enough for four Hagrid-sized people. "Good. Sleep? Sit? Guard? Or talk?"
"Talk," Simone told him. "Put Spenser inside." The baby went into the tent and Iggy came back out. "Dry clothes perhaps?"
"I didn't think we'd need any," Iggy pointed out. He rummaged around in his bag, coming up with his extra invisibility cloak and a single, stained, shirt. "You can have it if you want it," he offered, handing it over. "Tara's Goddess knows you've seen me naked enough times." He pulled off his shirt and sat on his cloak to wring it out. "Can we do a fire or should we not?"
"Fire might be nice, but the wind'll blow smoke back inside," Charlie told him. "How often did your father take you camping?"
"Only when he dragged me kicking and screaming into the woods," Iggy told him seriously. "Plus the annual fourth year hike in his class out into the Forbidden Forest."
"At least it's better than nothing," Simone offered. "Think about having to do this with Ana."
Charlie shuddered but he laughed. "Or your mother."
"Or my other father. He swore the last time dad took him camping was going to be the last or daddy would end up castrated."
"George doesn't like to camp?" Charlie asked, sounding surprised.
"No, Uncle George hates to camp," Simone told him. "The 'every fiber in his being' sort of hates it." Iggy nodded, smiling with her. "Every time they go camping, it rains heavily. He ends up with the sniffles and Uncle Xander ends up doing all the work and getting whined at."
"Uncle Fred bribed daddy to never take dad camping again," Iggy put in.
Charlie snorted. "That seems like them. What'd he get out of it?"
"A new set of manacles and a free pass at sex in the lab," Iggy told him. Charlie's mouth fell open. "They're like that. I don't even ask anymore. After my first bout of making sure that one of them wasn't hurting the other I let it go."
Charlie clamped his mouth shut. "I never thought they'd be kinky that way."
"They've woken up Gryffindor tower," Simone told him. "From their bedroom."
Charlie spluttered. "How?"
"Again, another question we don't ask," Iggy told him. "The last time was after their first championship game, when they blew out a window. All I know is it took three potions to get them straightened out and when daddy did it to dad, dad went around for *months* begging daddy to tell him what he had done."
"Those two do kinkier stuff than I ever will," Simone agreed.
"Little miss I'm-so-kinky-I-left-the-windows-and-curtains-open-when-I-had-sex-on-the-train-last- summer-even-through-the-stop-with-Uncle-Harry-standing-there?" Iggy teased.
"I never said I couldn't see a time for handcuffs, but not *every* time," Simone retorted.
"Every time?" Charlie asked. He felt like he wasn't really there anymore, like most of him had left and left just enough of his brain to be confused by those two.
"Dad said they have to do that because daddy is so hyper," Iggy said smugly.
Charlie looked confused. "I thought you didn't want to know."
"I asked the only time when I was eight. I asked if daddy was being so naughty that he needed to be arrested, like in the movies."
Charlie shook his head. "That's one conversation I'm glad I missed out on."
"You were downstairs," Simone told him.
"It was during the holidays when everyone was there," Iggy agreed.
"Still, I'm glad I didn't have to take part in it." He looked over but Iggy wasn't there. He looked at Simone, who was looking grim. "What happened?"
Simone looked at him, ready to cry. "Andrea's in stasis, Raena got hit. They're both being rushed to the hospital."
He pulled her closer, letting the girl rest against his side. "Iggy is amazing," he reminded her. "If anyone can fix it, he can." She nodded, letting go. "Shh, little one, it's all right," he crooned, rocking her gently. The phoenixes looked down, making quizzical noises. "Someone she likes is hurt. It'll be okay. Iggy went."
Glinda hissed and flapped her wings.
"No, we've got to stay here. There's still bad people coming after Spenser," Simone said quickly, looking up. "We have to stay here." Glinda settled down and gave her human a worried look, making inquisitive noises. "I know you want to help, love, but you can't." She held up a hand and her bird came down to perch on her lap, allowing herself to be hugged as well. "It'll be okay. Uncle Charlie's right, Iggy went and he'll fix everything."
Iggy flashed into the hospital and ran for the room where his wife was, startling all the people who had ever worked with him. Not only was he shirtless, he was panicked. One of the nurses had the forethought to call up to get one of his usual overseers to come help him. The doctors were in with both women. Iggy walked into Raena's room and pushed the nurse out of the way, checking her over himself. "You'll be fine," he whispered, kissing her on the forehead.
"Behave or get out," she snapped. Iggy glared at her, making her back up. "This is why family isn't allowed in here, Iggy. You know that. Be a doctor or be her husband."
"I'm both," he snarled. "Can you pull the bullet out?" The doctor nodded. "Now? I have my wand on me somewhere." He patted himself down but one was handed to him from behind. "Thank you, father. Now?" he suggested. "It's not in there that deeply. I can get the more shallow one and not make you fix it in surgery." The doctor reached into the wound and searched, making her grunt in pain. "I know, but it's one less thing to worry about later," he promised, smoothing her hair back off her forehead. "I promise, pain killers are coming soon, Raena. Let me close this wound so they can take you upstairs. It'll mean less time under that nasty anesthesia you hate." She nodded and grabbed his free hand to hold as the bullet came out. He slowly and carefully healed that hole, then went to work on the other ones, only giving up when a spot started to bleed because he had made it too thin. "That's all I can do," he admitted. He backed away and the orderlies moved the bed. "I'll be waiting on you, sweetheart, let me check Andrea." She nodded, blowing him a mental kiss. He walked over to the next cubicle, pushing past his family. He checked her over carefully, noticing the internal bleeding she was going to do, the bruising around her throat, the fractured collarbone. He looked at Melvin. "The person who is the expert in stasis is in Switzerland at a conference," he said quietly. "He'll be back in three days. She can stay this way for that long, but not much longer."
Melvin glared at him. "Why weren't you there?" he demanded.
"Because I was hiding with my son, Melvin. Someone tried to kill us as well." Melvin continued to glare at him. "Choose, Melvin! Now!"
"Leave her," Melvin decided, still glaring. "She'll be fine?"
"She'll stay just like this and we'll have more than enough time to assemble the best people to work on her injuries." Melvin nodded, biting his lip. "Have you called her parents?"
"I know my duty, Iggy."
"Fine!" Iggy snapped. "Then do it!" Melvin flinched. He took a deep breath. "She's going to have to go to surgery as soon as we bring her out. Do you want me to tell her parents or not?"
"Not," Xander said. He took back his wand. "Where's Spens?"
"With Simone and Uncle Charlie. Home in on the baby if you want to go check on them. I didn't have any thumbtacks with me."
"I can't do that," Xander pointed out. "I haven't marked the baby yet because of the shields Arabelle and Percy put on him."
Draco disappeared and came back with the baby, holding him tightly. Xander looked at him. "I homed in on Simone." He got pushed out of the way, but managed to keep from falling because of Bill's steadying arm.
"What's going on?" Andrea's mother demanded.
"She's in stasis," Iggy told them. "She'll stay like this until the best specialist in this hemisphere gets back in three days."
"Is she suddenly Sleeping Beauty?" her father demanded.
Iggy nodded. "Basically. Her injuries are at the same point as they were when she was frozen. She's not getting any worse or any better. Almost no one here is qualified to bring her out of this."
"There are others though?" her mother demanded. Iggy nodded. "Then why aren't they here instead of you! You're still in training and you expect me to believe you about my daughter! For that matter, where are the other doctors?"
Iggy snapped, having had enough stress to overload all of his systems. "It's the summertime. Most of the doctors that could have taken off for one of two conferences. One's in Switzerland. The other's in the Bahamas. Frankly, I'm one of the best people around here to be able to do this because I have potions that can help stabilize her once she's brought around. As for the other doctors who can do this, yes, there are, and I'm sure the nurses have already summoned them and they'll be here as soon as possible. One's been doing it now for ten years, and the other for five. The top guy has been doing it now for close to a hundred years and he'll be back in three days. Which do you want to treat your daughter?"
The mother gaped at him. "How dare you! You don't know a *thing* about being on this side of the equation, young man!"
"Excuse me!" he shouted. "My wife was just taken up to surgery with gunshot wounds because she was trying to get your daughter back!" She gasped. "For that matter, not only have I been on this side in family matters, but I was nearly killed by the same people, as were my Uncle Charlie and my Uncle Fred, all because someone got your daughter and my wife mixed up and they wanted something that my wife and I can do. Don't even *think* about lecturing me about guilt, or about being nicer to families. I am being nice." He stormed off.
"Iggy," Xander said, rushing after him. He stopped his son and hugged him. "You're doing your best, I know that."
"I'm so angry," Iggy whispered.
"Go wait on Raena to get out of surgery," he encouraged. "I'll hold off Melvin." Iggy shook his head. "Now, son."
Iggy looked at him. "I want the person who hurt her. I want to see them fucking dead and bloodied under my feet. And I want it now."
"There weren't any survivors at the drop," Xander told him, looking into his eyes. "Percy won't let you near them for now. Wait, and it will come to you. Until then, go wait on your wife to come out of surgery. Do you have any elixir of life on you?" Iggy nodded, summoning his bag from the camp. He came up with a bottle. "Then give it to the doctors working on her. Do you have an extra?"
"It won't work when you're in stasis. Your heart has to be beating for it to work." He handed over the other two vials. "Make sure the nurse knows it and that they're to save it for her. I don't have a working stone I can get to. The other is hidden and it takes Raena's DNA to open the lock." He heard a small sob and looked over. "I'm giving you my last two vials, Melvin. Make sure she gets them as soon as she wakes up and her heart is beating fully. I'm going up to surgery." He handed off his bag and headed that way, slumped in on himself. He tapped on the door, bringing a nurse out to it. "Elixir of life. Her heart has to be beating for two minutes for it to work and it'll keep her for six to ten hours. I want her to have it now."
"Yes, Ignatius. Go sit and wait. Now." She disappeared.
Iggy went to grab a stool from the nurse's station and watch through the door's window. This room didn't have an observation place like the other one and he wasn't about to leave her side. A nurse came up and tapped him on the shoulder. "Go away. That's my wife."
"Your advisor is calling for you on the overhead."
"Fuck him, he can come find me," Iggy said quietly, not looking at her. "You can give that verbatim if you want." She left him alone. Soon a large, warm hand patted him on the back. "That's Raena."
"I heard. I also heard you screaming at your cousin's wife's family. That was a big mistake and you know it, Iggy. You're not supposed to take on authority if the patient is a family member."
Iggy looked at him. "No one else was there. The resident looking over Raena could have healed that smaller wound before I got there and he hadn't. He was rechecking her blood pressure himself instead of having the nurse do it. I'm sorry I lost it, but you know how I am under stress." He looked back into the operating theater. "This is why I don't want to practice medicine full time, Doctor Amadalin. Right about now, I want to hide somewhere very far away that resembles a fortress."
"I know, Iggy. You're going to have a complaint made about you. The mother is doing it now."
"Yay," he said dryly. "That'll make two since I started doing rounds. That's better than most interns have within six months."
The doctor chuckled. "That's true, and this is definitely an extenuating circumstance." He clapped him again. "Where's your son?"
"My uncle had him. They're all down with Melvin right now." His breath hitched as the heart monitor's beep faltered. "No." He was kept from going in there. "I have to go."
"You can't go." He watched as a large man came down the hall. "One of your other mentors."
"I gave them the vial, why haven't they given it to her yet? It can be given intravenously." He was kept from moving again. "They have to give it to her!" He looked over. "Go make them give it to her, Severus!"
"I'll tell them. They called me to check the potion," he said with a small smile. "Go back to the waiting room."
"I'm not letting her out of my sight. The people who did this showed up at Charlie's preserve to get him. Simone got that one." He moved out of the way but sat down again. "I'm fine to wait by myself."
"It's not right that you have to. Why aren't your fathers up here?"
Iggy looked toward the ER. "Daddy and Uncle Percy are getting into it, so dad is trying to mediate." He sent him a message to let it go and looked back into the operating theater, where his first mentor was just out of sterilization range talking to the doctor. He crossed his fingers, but the vial was put into her IV and Severus walked back out. "Didn't they believe me?"
"No. They thought you were a hysterical husband." He patted Iggy on the cheek. "Calm yourself. You did what you could and these people are experienced enough to take over until you're needed again."
"That would be wonderful, but I have more hours operating than he does," Iggy told him. He looked over as his Uncle Percy headed his way. "Go away." He looked back in the operating room again, watching them work on his wife. One shiny thing was taken out of her. A familiar set of arms went around him. "You were supposed to protect her. Why didn't you?" Percy withdrew and Iggy glanced at him. "Wasn't something supposed to protect her from this?"
"We tried, there was a weak spot in the armor and they found it, which made the rest of it weaker. We did our best, Ignatius."
"Yay," he said bitterly, turning back to look at his wife. The doctor had pulled his wand to close the wound. "Someone might want to stop him, she had cellular bleeding from the first one." Doctor Amadalin hurried in to bark orders at him. "I hate residents. I'll get hell for this." He heard the heart monitor give a shrill wail and looked up. "She's still living!" he yelled. The nurse held up a pad and he relaxed. "Thank you."
Severus looked at Percy. "What happened?" he asked, pulling him away. "Even I was warned not to come out of my house and hide my children."
"The idiot was some sort of dictator in the making. He had a mixed muggle/wizard army behind him. He wanted the stones to ensure his continued power and he wanted to be the only one who had one. He's lording over some zealots so he needed all the properties." Severus looked unimpressed. "He got Raena and Andrea mixed up, he only saw them from behind. Somehow he found a leak inside the Law Enforcement division and found out Iggy had more than one stone, plus Raena's ring. So he kidnaped Andrea thinking she was Raena and got a nasty surprise. His top mage put Andrea under stasis after beating her severely and put out a ransom demand that had Raena dropping it off. We did our best to guard her, using some of the latest technology and shield spells, but they weren't enough against his bullets. Raena got shot twice, but she managed to get off a few curses and got the dictator in a way that allowed us to kill him. Both stones were shattered and their vaults can't be gotten into without her genetic key. Not even Spenser can get into it. It's set to explode if they try and blast the last stone."
Draco walked up holding Spenser. "Any news on her?"
"They're closing her up now," Snape told him. "Hello Spenser." Spenser looked at him and sniffled. "I know." He took the baby. "How is your daughter-in-law?"
"The top specialist in the area is at a conference. The other two who can pull someone out of stasis refused to even try without him being around, or a trauma team ready for an emergency surgery. Iggy, they'll want a report of what you found."
Draco walked over and blocked the view, making his nephew look at him. "I'll watch while you do that."
"I'm not leaving until she's in recovery. Andrea has some time before anything is necessary."
"Maybe, but her parents will feel better if it's filled out already. As you've noted, you do have special skills most doctors don't because of how you were trained. Your practical skills are needed here."
"Again, yay!" Iggy said hotly. "My wife is in surgery! I'll do it when she's out." He pushed his uncle aside. "I'll do it while she's in recovery or they can take dictation!"
"Fine," Percy agreed, backing away. He nodded at the boy and Severus nodded back, he would watch him. This was not usual behavior for the usually calm Ignatius. Not that Percy blamed him, if it had been either of his wives the doctors would have had to sedate him as well. It wouldn't have been the first time. He went back down to the emergency room, going to have a word with the nurse down there. She gave him a sympathetic look, calling upstairs. One of the nurses up there would help him fill out the forms if necessary. He went back to talk to his daughter-in-law's family. "Raena may be fine. They're nearly done. Iggy had to push to get her vial into her." He looked at his son. "He'll be filling out the forms on what he saw once she's in recovery." Melvin opened his mouth. "As he pointed out, nothing's hurting her right now. They'll be moving her to a room soon and you can hold vigil in there if you want. They're trying to get hold of the specialist, but he's in the middle of a conference of over a thousand doctors at a resort in Switzerland. They're not even sure he's there today instead of out in the woods because he likes to slip away to wander in the woods and gather herbs." Melvin nodded, going back to his wife's side. "They know for sure he's due back in three days time. She can wait that long without harm," he told her mother. "The nurses said they'll bring in a cot to be put beside her in case you wanted to stay over."
"Melvin will want it."
"Melvin will be next to her in the bed," Percy pointed out. "My son is like that." He gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder. "The person who did this died in the attack on Raena. The remains of his people are even now being rounded up."
"Why would they do this to that girl?" Andrea's father asked.
"Iggy and Raena have a working philosopher's stone," Percy told him. "Those two vials are from the ones that got shattered earlier. It's elixir of life."
"That means it'll hold her steady for about eight hours each vial," Melvin put in. "Enough time to fix all her injuries and start her healing before she comes off it." His father smiled at him. "How is Raena?"
"Not good. Iggy healed one of the wounds on her chest and it started cellular bleeding. The extra vial he had went into her and it was needed." Melvin looked down. "Once this is over, you two will be talking."
"No, we won't," Melvin told him. "I can't forgive this, father. He nearly got my wife killed."
"No, what he can do nearly got both your wives killed, the same as what you can do may someday nearly get him killed," Fred put in. Melvin glared at him.
"It's the truth," Bill offered. "I've seen it happen before. A curse breaker getting kidnaped to do a dirty job that is so wrong it's not funny happens about every year. Religious artifacts for opposing sides. Trophies of war. The only one of us who is safe is Charlie."
"Simone had to stab one of them earlier," Percy told him. "They were there looking for him. The idiot took cyanide instead of facing her." Everyone shuddered.
"These people were fanatics," Xander put in. "Their type isn't usual or common, and most of them aren't this smart. This is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence." Melvin looked at him. "Yes, Melvin, I do know. The dark does have people like this too."
"Why would you care? You kill people and things for a living."
"Melvin!" Percy said sharply. "Apologize."
"Father, he kills people. Or things. Or even former people."
"Yes, Melvin, to protect this family, I do," Xander admitted. "That doesn't mean I like it and it doesn't mean I'll stop protecting you, even though your anger is currently out of control. I'll talk to you again when you've calmed back down." He walked away, going to check on his own son, who probably would want him more right now anyway. He found Iggy still looking in the door and gave him a hug. "I'm sorry, son."
"I know you tried, but I don't want to hear it, daddy. I'm still pissed at the world and I'm going to snap as well." He looked back and saw the resignation. "I know it wasn't you, it's the world in general. I even snapped at Draco earlier." He shrugged. "I'll be fine in a while and come for cuddles then. We'll both need them by then. Right now, I have to be here and watch out for her. The same as you would Daddy George."
"I understand, son. I'll be in the real waiting room when she's out. Come see me?" Iggy nodded and gave him a short hug, making him feel better. He walked away, finding Draco and Spenser in there. "He yelled at you?"
"He's upset. You've been the same way," Draco said calmly. "I can forgive that."
"So can I, but it still hurts."
Draco pulled him closer. "Where is George?"
"Answering questions. One of the Law Enforcement people set off a charcoal bomb all over the floor and blamed us for having them. So he's throwing a merry fit with Dad."
"At least it'll be fine," Draco soothed. "I'll be the tough one this time." Xander nodded, relaxing against him as the rest of the family came up to wait for hopefully happier news.
Iggy straightened his robe as he walked into the resort, nodding at the receptionist. "Which way to the refrigeration lecture?"
"The desk is over there," she said, pointing and smiling.
"Thank you." He walked that way, smiling and handing over his pass. " I need to talk to someone, I'm not attending. My wife is in the hospital and I need to talk to her doctor," he said quietly.
"Of course, Healer Harris-Weasley. Which one?"
"I don't know where he is. We've been searching for him all morning."
"When and where is the refrigeration lecture?"
"It's back in the back, but it's not for another..." She checked the pamphlet. "Oh, it ended half an hour ago."
"Thank you." He headed that way, checking his watch. He stopped it and drank a drop of the time potion he had kept for emergencies. He spun backwards and had to grab a wall as the pains started again. Someone gave him a worried look and he waved it off. "I'm fine," he said, tucking the vial back into his pocket. He headed into the back of the lecture halls, checking signs. He finally found the one he was looking for and slipped inside, looking up at the presenter. He was nearly done so he sat down to wait. When Dr. Fitzsimmons came down to shake hands, he stood up and intersected him. "I need to talk to you," he whispered.
"Ignatius, I know you're not in this time," he said with a smile and a soft Irish accent.
"My cousin's wife was attacked and put into stasis after being lightly tortured."
The doctor led him out into the hallway, letting him rest against a wall. "Light torture?"
"Internal bleeding, broken collarbone, some strangulation marks. Some assorted cuts and bruises on her face and back. She's in a hard stasis and Charlie and Rick won't touch the case. Can you please come back? Her husband's frantic."
Iggy laughed bitterly. "They mistook her for Raena and wanted our stones. They got shattered and I can't get to the other one without Raena, and she's in the Intensive Care Unit." His watch beeped. "I'm back in normal time," he said as he reset his watch. "Please? Just an hour to free her and let the trauma team go for it?"
"Of course. Are you able to teleport us?"
"I can, but you have to promise not to tell anyone I did this. They think I went to the bathroom."
"It's fairly obvious what you did, you're sweating and you look like you're in pain."
Iggy shook his head, smiling sadly. "I can say it's bleedover from her. That's the beauty of being linked mentally." He took the doctor's hands. "You don't need anything?"
"I'll floo back later, when I can rest a bit afterwards. Let's go." Iggy teleported them to his mark in the back hallway of the ER and they separated. Iggy went back to his wife's side and Dr. Fitzsimmons went to find out where this woman was being stored. He walked into the room with the chart already open. "I'm Doctor Fitzsimmons."
"They finally found you," Melvin said in relief.
The doctor looked at him. "No, your cousin did." He saw the blatant counting of heads and smiled. "Ignatius, skinny, young, has bad handwriting?" he asked. Melvin frowned. "He came and got me." He put on a set of glasses and waved Melvin off the bed. "You're going to have to clear the room so we can do this. The trauma team will need to descend on her at once and rush her to surgery." He looked at the notes. Not in Iggy's handwriting, but with his signature. They were thorough, just as he expected, and very correct. He pushed a button on the bed, bringing the nurse, who smiled at him. "Get the trauma team ready and assembled. She's got internal hemorrhaging. Have a surgical suite open and waiting on us to rush down there and everyone already scrubbed in. I'll want Patrick and Sonya in here, send the rest down there." She nodded and left him alone.
Melvin slid off the bed and pulled the two vials out of his pocket. "Iggy said these had to be given after her heart was beating fully and would take about two minutes," he said.
"I know. I've used some of his potions before." Melvin looked up at him so he gave him a kindly, grandfatherly smile. "A drop of that will stabilize a patient long enough to start working on them, Mr. Weasley. I've had a number of patients that needed that sort of help. Where is Ignatius? I'd expect him to be here by now."
"He yelled at us," the mother of the patient sniffed.
He looked back at her. "Of course he did. He told me his own wife was injured. He was probably in pain from the bleedover through their bond, plus in a blind panic. Especially when she started to bleed again. Healers and doctors are still human, no matter what else we call ourselves." She nodded and let her husband walk her out. "Give her a kiss, Melvin, it's going to be a long surgery. I'm leaving it in my top people's hands." Melvin gave her a kiss and whispered in her ear, then let his father take him out. He looked at the last one in there. "Is Ignatius all right?"
"I don't know," Arthur admitted. "I haven't seen him since he snapped and started to yell in the Emergency Room."
Doctor Fitzsimmons sighed. "You need to check on your other grandson, Arthur. He's in some pain as well and it looks like the whole family is here instead of with the more critically injured patient. There's a reason if she's in ICU." Arthur nodded and left, going to do that. He waited until his two protégé walked in then bent over the young woman, unraveling the time spell around her. He got out of their way as the machines started to go off, handing over the bottles of elixir. Then he went to check in downstairs and remind them that he wasn't around, except for the most necessary of emergencies. The nurses looked surprised that he was there, so obviously it had been all Ignatius' fault. He smiled. "Let me see the complaint." They handed it over and started to talk at once. He held up a hand. "I know, I've talked to him. You forget, he's soulbound with his wife. He was in as much pain as she was." Another form was pushed over to him. "Amadalin was here? I thought he left last night."
"Tomorrow," the duty nurse told him. "He went up to try and talk to the boy. I know they had it coming, but he did it in front of his whole family."
Doctor Fitzsimmons gave her a dirty look. "That boy and stress have never been fond acquaintances. This is no different than any family squabble we've had in here, only he's an intern. How is he doing? I haven't seen him since he dropped me off."
"He went to get you?" the lower nurse asked. He nodded. "But he's been beside his wife most of the time. He even pulled a stool over and watched through the theater window, Doctor."
"I'm sure he did. Raena and his son are his life. By the way, don't expect any more elixir of life potion. Someone said something about his stones being shattered during whatever happened." They started to talk again, telling him what had happened. He frowned. At least it had been an emergency. When they were done, he signed his name on the complaint and marked the 'no action taken' box. "File this with the other one. Who has the most this month?"
"The one Doctor Amadalin turned in," the duty nurse said with a smile. Then she frowned. "According to that, he was a right snot in the theater and nearly killed poor Ignatius' wife."
"I'm sure. I think I'll have a talk with the boy's advisor." He made that note on the form and handed it over as well. "I'm leaving again. Unless it's another case where one of the other two *refuse* to handle it, I'll be back in another three days." He went over to the floo and sent himself back to the conference.
The duty nurse looked at the other nurses. "Don't we have patients to check?" They hurried off and she called up to have the ICU nurses tell Iggy the good news that he wasn't in trouble.
Iggy looked over as the door opened. "Is she better?"
"She's out from under it at least," Arthur admitted. "You went to get him?"
"He's the only one I'd trust to deal with that case and Melvin wasn't going to get any less stressed by the waiting. We're lucky he came back." The nurse came in and he waved at her. "She's fine. I just checked her vitals and noted them. She's still stable. You'll hear me yell at the slightest change."
"Iggy, you look bad," the nurse said, coming over to test his forehead with her wrist. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." He smiled at her. "If there's anyone waiting, they can come in if you're being nice and letting them."
"I'll send in your mentor, your Uncle, and your father." She kissed him on the cheek. "You rest. You look like you could use a good nap." She left them alone.
The Minister of Magic part of him reared his head, making Arthur take a critical look at the boy as a wizard, not as his grandson. "Did you take it out of Percy's office?" Arthur asked.
Iggy held up a bottle then put it back into his pocket. "There're ways around time turners. I thought it was necessary before Melvin went postal." He pulled back up his book. "Tell me how's she's doing, grandfather."
"Iggy, don't be that way."
Iggy looked at him. "Why not? You are." He shrugged and looked behind his grandfather as the door opened. "Hey, Uncle Draco and Spenser. Can I have a kiss?" His son looked sleepy and allowed himself to be held tightly and cuddled, for now. Then he complained and went back to his uncle's less gropey chest. "Has he been good?"
"He's been wonderful," Draco told him, pulling over a chair. "You could rest, I'll watch."
"I'm not tired. It's just the pain and the pressure of all this stress." He looked up but his grandfather had slipped out. So he slipped his uncle the potion. "Hold this for me. I don't need it to disappear." He went back to his book. "She's stable. No change at all."
Severus walked in and looked at the boy. "If they have to put you in side-by-side beds, I doubt it'd do her much good," he reminded his favorite stubborn creature.
"If I hadn't went, we'd have been the focus of another verbal attack and I would still be in this condition."
"I doubt you're going to get him out of that chair. He's glued his butt to it," Draco put in. He looked Iggy over again. "Literally from what I can tell."
"Yeah, the nurses have this funny idea about visiting hours," Iggy said dryly, looking at them. "Who took her down?"
"He said someone named Sonya and someone named Patrick," Draco told him. "What happened to Xander, Severus?"
"He's still asleep in the waiting area. George just came back in." He looked at Ignatius. "Will you be all right while I check on my family?"
"I'll be fine, even if you decide to go downstairs or have dinner," Iggy said, smiling at him. "I'm not moving. There's sixteen more hours before I can do any more cellular level healing."
"They said six during my last bout of it," Draco argued.
"Only if they were risking your life or they were someone like Doctor Fitzsimmons, who has a special spell to see into the cellular level as he's working. If you're neither of those, then you wait eighteen hours once cellular bleeding starts or you risk your patient's life. I'm not willing to risk hers, Draco, not even to have her up and walking around at this very moment."
"Do you have any more vials in the vault?" Draco asked. Iggy shook his head. "What about the healing potion?"
"I used the last of my stock. I was planning on making more tomorrow," he said miserably. "Now I can't do either." He touched his wife's hand. "I need her to get into the vault with the last stone." He uncle touched him on the arm. "Yours isn't pure enough to make the healing potion, Draco. Elixir of life, yeah, that one, no. I wish it was. Or even that we had her ring." He slumped down a little bit, as much as the sticking spell allowed. "How did they get shattered?"
"Bullets," Draco said simply. "I'm not sure about her ring." Iggy looked hopeful. "I'll ask Percy later."
He considered it. "It's not big enough to make anything but elixir of life, but even that would help her." The machines hiccuped an extra bleep. "That's starting to worry me," he admitted. A nurse came back in. "She keeps getting this extra...." It happened again. "That."
She checked the machine, then looked at him. "Let her go." He did and the heartbeat slowed down. "Never mind." He took her hand again. "Iggy, are you all right? You really do look like crap."
"It's just the pressure and the pain," he sighed. "I'm fine." A doctor walked in. "She's got an extra bleep every now and then."
"She has for as long as I've known her. Have you told her parents yet?"
"Um, no, because I don't really feel like being castrated today." He gave him a patently fake smile. "They'll start in on me too. Why didn't I go instead? Why didn't I take her or let her hide with the baby? Why haven't I done more? Why haven't I spot aged her? You know, those little things."
The doctor nodded. "I know. I've had a few of those screamed at me as well." He looked at Draco. "Mr. Malfoy. None of your own in here?"
"No, just my nephew's wife and his cousin's wife, who is down in surgery."
The nurse's face brightened. "They called. They've gotten the internal bleeding stopped. They think they're going to have a half-vial left, do you want it for her?" Iggy nodded, giving her a real smile. "Okay. If they end up with the extra, I'll have it brought up." She left him alone.
"Iggy, you look like shit, my man."
"Yay. I'm not moving."
"I didn't figure you'd would. Do you need something for the pain? Doctor Fitzsimmons reminded us that you were soul bound and probably feeling a lot of hers." Iggy nodded. "Want something for it?"
"As long as it doesn't have a sedative. I want to be awake, no matter what."
"That's fine. I'll put it down." He smiled. "How is your blood pressure? I ask because I'm nosy."
Iggy snatched his uncle's wand and checked himself, frowning at what he found. "It's a little high, but not dangerous." He handed the wand back. "That thing is like moving through molasses for me."
"That's why it's my wand," Draco pointed out. "Where's yours?"
"Back at the camp, with my soaking wet shirt and your daughter."
"Should we increase security precautions?" the doctor asked.
Draco looked at him. "If you have to, you'll need to evacuate. These people will start killing anyone in their way."
"With what they did to Andrea, there's no telling where they'd come in," Iggy told him. "Upping it won't help me any. I can get my wand in a while, when Simone wakes up."
The doctor nodded and made a note. "Okay, that's a half-dose of pain medicine, a quarter- strength done of your usual heart medicine, and something for your blood pressure, right?" He looked up. "How long were you out of time?"
"An hour. The potion is fairly imprecise, I couldn't get any less."
"Good enough. I'll have the nurse get it from the pharmacy for you. You will lie down if we bring in a bigger chair?"
"Good man. Doctor Fitzsimmons said you're not in trouble, he read the complaint and reminded them down there that you're soulbound, you were probably panicking and in pain already, plus the fact that you and stress have never gotten along. What did Amadalin get Regis for?"
"Trying to use wand healing when she had cellular bleeding." The current doctor shuddered. "I caught him doing it," Iggy told him. "I knew I should have walked in and started to help."
"They would have drug you out and knocked you out, you know that, Iggy," the other doctor reminded him. "Fitzsimmons said he'd see you in three days, once you calm down, and that he said something to the family." He finished making notes and rang for the nurse, handing her the orders. "Now, what about this extra beep? It used to only be every fiftieth beat or so."
"I never noticed it," Iggy told him.
"We always thought it was because of your heart condition," the doctor admitted. "With your own being on the brink of going into overload and stopping, we figured you had missed it." He noticed the casual slap to the back of Iggy's head and smiled. "At least he loves you."
"I was fine until the day you sent me back to help Percy," Iggy pointed out to his big brother. "I had handled it."
"Nearly into an early grave," Draco reminded him. "You may not be getting this potion back."
"I have more in the dungeons and Severus doesn't know this, but there's another palette floating around."
Draco looked at him. "I will tell Salazar on you," he warned.
"I thought you were a Gryff, Iggy."
"Salazar has a soft spot for potion nerds," Iggy told him with a faint smile. "Is she okay?"
"Sounds fine." That beep happened again. "Yeah, I think that's her normal one. I'll have someone in Cardio come check on her just in case." He made a note on the chart and smiled. "Try to rest once you're not in pain. You'll probably need it. Your family looks like they're about to have a civil war over this, man." He left them alone.
The machine beeped again and then slowed down by three beats per minute. "Kirt!" Iggy called. He came rushing back and Iggy pointed at the machine. "As soon as you walked out."
"That's not cool," he noted, listening to her heart again. "I'm getting Cardio up here right now, Iggy. You stay calm so you don't die and bring her with you." Iggy nodded and he went to make the call.
Iggy looked at Draco. "If something happens to us, the paperwork to let Simone have custody is in the black bookcase beside my desk, in the fake book titled 'Hurricanes'. It's got a lock keyed to your wand and one keyed to my old wand. Everything we have, including a listing of all accounts and our wills, are in there." Draco grimaced but he nodded. "He's right. If she dies, there's a very good chance I'll go with her or shortly after her. Soulbindings are like that, Draco. Feel really lucky you don't have one." He shifted closer. "Raena, would you mind calming down?" he pleaded. "I'm not moving and I'm fine." Her hand squeezing his relaxed. "Thank you." He sat back. Another doctor came in, this one female. "She's got an extra blip and she just dropped three beats per minute as Kirt walked away. She was shot...." She held up a hand. "Sorry."
"It's okay, Kirt filled me in and what he didn't tell me the nurses did, Ignatius." She looked over the chart, then at him. "I see you've been doing vital checks."
"I'd be doing them anyway," he said with a shrug. One of the nurses brought in a small tray with paper cups. "Eww. That one?" She nodded, looking at him until he drank all of them. "Thank you, Hilda."
"You're welcome, Iggy. Relax. We'll bring you in a reclining chair from OB." She looked at the doctor. "Do you need my help?"
"I might. Who did the wand healing?"
Iggy looked at her. "I did the first one, the one that started cellular bleeding. It went to heal the smaller wound because that bullet was easily removed. Regis tried to do it again in surgery. Amadalin caught him."
"Wonderful," she said in a cold tone. "How much bleeding did you cause?"
"Less than a cc," he admitted. "I closed it fully though." He pointed at the new scar. "There." She looked it over then shook her head. "She's had cellular bleeding before." It bleeped wrong again. "That's what's worrying me. That and the slow down."
She looked at the chart again. "If we can change her pain medicine, I can probably eliminate that."
"But she's allergic to the other stuff," Iggy reminded her. "It's that or no pain medicine."
"The heart stabilizer is counter-indicated, Ignatius."
"I know," he said miserably. "I don't have anything made that I trust either." He brightened up. "Barstock?"
"Possibly," the cardiologist agreed, considering the patient. "It would do both, and it's meant for people who need a lot of wand healing. Let me call a conference and we'll see what we can do." Iggy nodded, looking happier. The bleep went off again. "That is disturbing," she agreed. She nodded at Draco. "Let him watch. You rest, Iggy, you look like shit."
"He had to do a small temporal shift," the nurse told her.
"I got Fitzsimmons," Iggy admitted. "It was necessary," he said when they both looked at him.
"She could have lived."
"I realized while I was writing it down that some of the damage had been caused post-stasis spell. There wasn't any time to stop the tissue from dying."
"I'm sure her husband will appreciate it," Draco told him. Iggy shrugged. "You'll have to make up sometime. Your father will demand it."
Iggy looked at him. "Melvin looked at me and asked me why I couldn't be normal, Draco. I'm not sure I can get over this, even if he can." He looked at the door as it opened. "Come on in, I'm not presently screaming or ranting." Simone walked in with Charlie, his stuff in her hands. "Thanks, Simone. Are they gone?"
"Another one showed up but the local Ministry there arrested him on sight," she told him, giving him a hug. "How is she?"
"Doing oddly," he told her. "Andrea's in surgery. Everyone else is down there."
"Your father's asleep in the secondary waiting room," the nurse told him, then she left.
Charlie looked at the woman on the bed. "What happened to her?"
"Something highly illegal," Draco told him. "An assault rifle." Charlie looked clueless. "It blew a hole in her armor, then did a second and possibly a third one."
"No, there wasn't a third wound," Iggy told him. "I would have seen." He squeezed her hand again. "I'm still here. You relax. Simone's here."
"Keep doing that, Ignatius. It can only help." The cardiologist smiled at Charlie. "Which brother are you?"
"Charlie," he said, shaking her hand. "Any other family tragedies?"
"George passed out when he came back, but I think it was lack of air. His face was a bit too red to be normal."
"He screamed at someone," Simone told her. "How is Uncle Percy doing?"
"He's fine. We have a nurse watching over the family in case something is needed or happens due to the various health problems his family has." She nodded at Ignatius. "Are you in trouble?"
"Congratulations. You had better never scream like that on my shift, young man."
"I haven't screamed at anybody in nearly four years," he countered.
"Still." She shot him a look before leaving.
"Who did you scream at?" Charlie asked as he grabbed a folding chair and brought it over.
"Andrea's parents. They yelled at me and I lost it," Iggy admitted quietly, staring at his wife. Someone went running past the door, making him look up. Another person went running past the door. "Sounds like another family got into a fight," he quipped, going back to his staring.
Simone gave him a hug. "They're mostly rounded up. Everything will be fine. Why don't you go make her some of that special healing potion?"
"Because our stones shattered," Iggy said miserably. "The only other one we have is locked with her genetic key. I can't get into it." He let out a bitter sounding snort. "There may never be any more elixir of life or the healing potion from it again. I don't think I could create a new stone."
"Time will heal this wound as well," Draco reminded him gently. "If I could get you a stone, could you at least make elixir of life?" Iggy nodded, then he groaned and rubbed his chest. "Or could you teach me?" he asked, starting to worry.
Iggy leaned over and whispered in his ear. "That's how."
"Thank you, Ignatius. I'll be back as soon as I've spent some time in my own lab." He stood up and let his daughter have his seat. "Watch over him." He nodded at Charlie. "Everyone else is down by surgery if you wanted to go that way. I was going to pick up my daughter-in-law." He felt Iggy stare at him and smiled at him. "She should know where your mentor is."
"Good point." Iggy watched as they left then looked at Simone. "I ache," he admitted.
"Do you need more medicine?" she answered.
"No, I needed less. They made it too strong." He looked over as he felt magic coming toward them. "Get up and clear a space. I think they're bringing the good chair." He watched as she got up and answered the door for him, he wasn't letting go of his wife unless it was necessary. The reclining chair was set up just far enough out of the way and he gratefully laid down. "Thanks, guys."
Simone watched as her favorite cousin fell asleep, then she looked at the nurses. "He said he was still in pain, something about the medicine being too strong."
"We got one of the ones with the monitor in it," the nurse said with a smile as she let the orderly out. "Are you staying?"
"Yeah, I probably should. Spenser's still here and he'll need someone to watch for him." The nurse nodded and left. Simone picked up the baby and cuddled him close, ignoring the sleepy protest noises. "We'll wait right here for *both* your parents to get better." When her coach came in a little over an hour later, she smiled and waved the baby's hand. "They'll live."
"I heard." He looked at the monitors, frowning. "Aren't those bad numbers?"
"Very. His aren't much better though." She shrugged. "I've got to stay, coach, I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Simone. I understand." He smiled at the baby. "Which kid is that?"
"This is Spenser, he's Iggy and Raena's son." She waved his hand for him, waking him up. "Yeah, you sit up and greet the guy who you might get lucky enough to play for some day," she encouraged. The coach laughed. "Hey, I will have this kid on a broom by the age of five if his daddy doesn't," she pointed out. She smiled at him. "Are we in trouble?"
"No, the League people said this was a good enough reason to postpone the game. People trying to attack the wizard community at large is usually considered a bad thing." He glanced around. "Where's everyone else?"
"Iggy yelled at some of the family so they're down with the other injured member." He snorted. "It was when she was brought in. He lost it big time and told most of them off. So they're presently ignoring him and her. I'm hoping someone comes up within the next few hours, but I'm not counting on it. Petty arguments have held for over a month before." Spenser nibbled on her ear so she retrieved a bottle and let him have it.
"You're good with him. Tell me if it happens to you. Got it?"
Simone shook her head and rolled her eyes. "I'm not planning on having any. I don't want to have children."
"Yes, but it still may happen. Women's bodies are funny that way from what I've heard." He smiled. "Tell him I hope his wife gets better. Where's your father?"
"Back at the house, hoping to make something that'll help them." She looked over as the nurse walked in with a small bottle, a third full. "They had some left?"
"They had a little left," she admitted. "Andrea is out of surgery and she'll be fine. It'll be a longish recovery." She pulled the contents and injected it into Raena's IV. The numbers strengthened, making her smile. "Did you need some help with him? We adore Spenser around here."
"No, he'll fuss if he gets too far away from his parents. He's a perceptive little guy." Her coach waved. "Go find Iggy's dad, he can get a message to mine," she offered. He nodded and left them alone. "How is she really?"
"Not that good," the nurse said, looking at the various machines. "I'd like her to be more stable. There's talk about sending her down to the muggle hospital since they know more about this sort of injury. The few muggle doctors we have who cross-over here aren't here and most of them don't do this sort of thing. The single surgeon we have is expected in tonight. He's a lot like Snape if you see him." She smiled. "Push the button or wander out if you need anything, Simone." She walked away.
Simone looked down at Spenser. "Spend a lot of time charming the pretty nurses, cousin? Whatever will your mother say?" He batted her on the cheek and sucked harder on his bottle. "I know, it's hard being a cute little guy like you. They naturally flock to your side, even when you want to be left alone."
Molly looked up as the doctor came out to talk with them. "Is she done?"
"She's done," he said, sitting across from her. "All the injuries were healed. Your other grandson was right, some of the damage was caused after she was put under stasis. That's one of the harder things to fix, that's why it took so long." He looked over at Melvin. "Your wife will be fine, Mr. Weasley. It'll be a slow recovery since too many of the healing potions can cause intestinal bleeding if we're not careful with them, but she'll be out of here in no time." Melvin relaxed. "Did you know she had been pregnant?" Melvin shook his head. "She was. The stasis spell caused her to miscarry, another reason the surgery went on so long." He stood up. "Has anyone heard anything about Raena? The nurses hadn't."
Molly frowned. "No. We were more concerned about Andrea. She seemed to be the worse hurt."
The doctor shook his head, giving them a grim look. "Raena was shot."
"With a muggle gun?" Charlie asked. The doctor nodded. "Damn. Where is she?"
"ICU. Still. That's why I was wondering. I figured Iggy was either by her side or trying to mix something to help her."
"He's still up there," Xander told him. "He's also asleep and Simone said that she's not in the greatest of shape. Iggy healed the first bullet wound and the second one had to be taken out in surgery."
"I'll pop up around there then. We'll be moving her to recovery right now. Give us an hour or so to have her back in her room. Andrea won't be needing the Intensive Care Unit at all." Melvin slumped a little. "If you need anything, have the nurses page me." He walked away, mentally shaking his head at that family. He nearly called his boss, but he knew Fitzsimmons was going to be trolling around in the woods by now, so it was up to them. He tapped one of his coworkers. "Raena's still in the ICU."
"What?" she asked, looking astonished. "Where is her husband?"
"Crap, this has got to be bad." She led the way upstairs, stopping only to have a word with the nurses and pick up the chart. "One full vial of elixir and the remainder we had. She's still in critical condition and Iggy's stones were shattered," she told Patrick. She pushed open the door and smiled at the happy baby noises. "You must be Simone," she said, smiling at Spenser. "Hello, little beast from hell. Are you trying to wake up your mother?"
"With the amount of noise he's making I'd say it's entirely possible," Simone agreed, smiling at them. "You're not Snape-like so I don't think you're the muggle surgeon the nurses said were coming."
"No, we're Fitzsimmons' current cache of experts," Patrick told her with a smile. "We came to check on her since our group's taking over her care." Simone waved a hand. "How is Iggy?"
"Still sleeping. It's been nearly an hour, but they gave him some medicines. Daddy was thinking something about someone named Kurt?"
"Kirt McCrandess. Great GP." Sonya smiled at her and went to check over the person on the bed. "Check him. If they're bound, his condition can be influencing hers."
Patrick bent over Iggy's still body, checking him over. He looked at the readings. "He's in worse shape than she is."
"He's been feeding her his strength," Simone told him. "It's a favorite trick of theirs in the lab when one of them is too tired to go on." Spenser squealed in outrage as his toy wouldn't come back to his hands. "Fine, get down and play," she told him, putting him down in the corner with his toys. "Stay there. No wandering." He gummed his teddy bear's ear and smiled at her. "Good boy, Spens." She looked back at the doctors. "Do you need someone who can dream walk? Iggy taught me last year."
"No, I think we can do this without that," Sonya said, separating their hands. A heart monitor went off in the hallway and Raena's did as well. "Never mind." She put them back together, watching as they steadied. The nurses rushed in. "Don't separate them. Their heartrates fall alarmingly." The nurses left, all but one who stayed to help them. "What do you think?" she asked the nurse.
"I think I want Dr. Fitzsimmons back already and Croitan in," she admitted. "Gunshot wounds are far beyond what you normally deal with."
Patrick smiled at her. "You'd be surprised. This isn't much different than having a knife get broken in someone's body."
"It goes faster and there's a residue of gunpowder on it," Simone put in. "Assault rifles go fast enough that they shoot at least three bullets a minute from what I was told during our weapons' training by Uncle Xander. They go fast enough to pierce metal." Both doctors frowned. "Plus they're covered in the propelling powder that's used to launch them out of the gun."
"And any additional contaminants it picked up on the trip," Sonya said thoughtfully. She looked at her cohort. "Can we do a cleansing with her in this shape?"
"I think we should try," Patrick agreed. He looked at the nurse. "How long has it been since she had that cellular bleeding?"
"Maybe five hours since they were brought in," she admitted. "Maybe six if we're being generous. I wouldn't want to try it."
"No, but I know someone who can," Iggy said sleepily.
"Shh," Simone told him. "Your boss isn't here."
"Brilliant," Sonya agreed.
"The baby?" Simone asked.
"Doctor Spenser, the OB. He's got the same spell our boss, Dr. Fitzsimmons, has to see into the cellular level. Can you call him?"
"Definitely," the nurse said, hurrying away. Doctor Spenser's name went across the overhead announcement system.
Patrick smiled at her. "This could well get pretty gross, young lady."
Simone smiled at him. "Yay."
"Fine. Move back a bit if you wouldn't mind. And stop the baby from coming to help." He watched as the chair was moved farther away and Spenser was picked up to be played with. "Thank you."
Sonya looked at her. "Didn't you have a game today?"
"Against my father's team. Because of all this, we got a postponement. I think we're playing in two weeks." Denver walked in. "Hey."
"How is she? Melvin wanted to know."
"Melvin can get his own ass up here and ask," Simone pointed out dryly. "It'd give everyone else a chance to fuss over his wife."
Iggy's name floated over the overhead system, calling him to NICU.
"What the hell?" Simone asked in an amused voice.
"They probably read the on-call sheet and think he's supposed to be around here," Patrick said, going out to answer that for him. He picked up a phone and dialed down to the NICU. "His wife's in the ICU, he's not on call today," he announced as soon as someone picked up. He listened and snorted. "Then get Horace. He's around, I saw him earlier. Iggy's not on call until further notice. Yeah, Fitzsimmons will say so when he gets back. Because his wife is in critical condition! Yay. I'll have Spenser call you about it in a few. Find Horace." He hung up and looked at the nurses. "Tell *everyone* that Iggy's up here and not on call until further notice," he ordered, turning at the small cough. "Which one are you?"
"Bill. How is she?"
"Not good. Where's the rest of you?"
"Fawning over Andrea."
"Raena's hurt worse. You might want to let them know. That and Iggy's hurt even worse than she is because he went back in time to get the doctor before Andrea died." Bill nodded. The heart monitor went off, but it was quickly shut off. "Which one was that?"
"Iggy's," she said, starting to frown. "I really don't like his numbers."
"Even if he were dying, you won't separate them," Patrick reminded her, going back into the room. "Another of your uncles just showed up." He looked over as the door opened and Bill came in, followed by another doctor. "Good. Spenser, his adoring cousin told us that these bullet things have nasty stuff on them. Do'ya think you can clean the wound?"
"I can check and see if it needs it," the OB said with a smile for Simone and the baby. "Hello, namesake." The baby squealed, sounding outraged. "Sorry." He nodded at Bill. "We're not restricting access as far as I know."
"They're down with Andrea."
"Shit." Spenser shook his head. "They need to get their asses up here. Before your nephew dies. I saw his monitor and it's not looking good."
"Iggy said the medicine he was given was too strong," Simone offered.
"That wouldn't do this," Sonya told her, giving her a short smile. She helped uncover the wound, letting the OB take her place. He hissed. "That bad?"
"Horrible. Who did this?"
"Bloody idiot! I'm going to have a talk with Amadalin about these new guys. Every last one of them are idiots and morons." He pressed on the edges of the wound then pulled out a set of glasses and put them on. "Yup, it's dirty." He stood up and took them off. "Simone, who has authorization to treat if Iggy's unconscious?"
"I do," she said, startling her uncle. She looked up at him. "I'm listed as their heir and future mother of their children if something happens." She looked at the doctors again. "Will it be hard and will it help?"
"We'll be looking at the wound. It was closed wrong, it's dirty, and the doctor who did it is going to get my foot up his ass for not cleaning it out," Spenser told her.
"Then I'm all for it. What about Iggy? Whenever they're not in contact, both their hearts make the machines go off."
"If we wake him up, it might help," Bill put in. The doctors nodded. "Then the family will stand behind it. We'll hold Iggy for a bit."
"Stay up here. There's no reason to wake him up fully," Patrick pointed out. He nudged Iggy, making him mumble something about pie. "Iggy, we're going to take Raena to clean out her wounds. That okay with you?" The doctor-in-training nodded and mumbled something else. "Sure thing. You rest and we'll bring her right back, guy. Spenser's with us."
"Baby?" Iggy mumbled more intelligently.
"No, I've still got him," Simone told him.
"'Kay. Thanks. Night." He snored.
Sonya smiled at Patrick. "You like doing that to him, you big git." She buzzed the nurse. "We're taking her back down. If Croitan comes in, send him down." The nurse nodded and went to get orderlies. He and Sonya worked on freeing her of the monitors. "Simone, you keep Iggy up here. We don't need another occurrence of him walking into the surgery suite to help."
"He sat outside the one earlier," Bill told him. "Pulled a stool over and hovered by the door."
"Still, I know he's the one who turned Regis in. For that matter, so does Regis," Sonya told them. "Watch out for him, all right? He's in a bad mood. This is his fifth complaint this month alone and it's only the tenth." She put the last monitor on the bed as the orderlies came in, letting them move her. "Down to surgery."
"Four is open," the nurse called as they walked out. "We'll watch out for Iggy." The doctors waved, heading down with their patient. She clicked her tongue and called down to one of her friends in the ER, telling her what was going on. Iggy's name was taken off rotation for the next week and the news continued to spread. When the nurse in charge of Andrea's care heard, she hissed. "Should I tell his family? They're still with this patient." She got an assent so went in to talk to them while she checked on her patient. "Good morning," she said quietly. The adults looked over at her. "Iggy's wife was just taken back to surgery to finish cleaning out the wound. The doctor messed up a bit." She noticed that the dark haired member wasn't there any longer. "Where did his father go?"
"To wait downstairs," Charlie told her. "How bad is she off now?"
"Apparently the earlier doctor didn't realize that bullets carry residue of the propelling powder."
"Gunpowder," Ron corrected.
She brightened up. "Do you know how to make it?"
"No, I have one myself. Do they need a bullet to look over?" She shrugged..
"I'll get it," Denver told him, giving him a pat on the arm before he disappeared. He came back a minute later, handing over one of his Uncle Ron's traditional bullets. "It's those things."
"Thank you, young man." She smiled at them. "Iggy is being stabilized right now and is under light sedation." The strawberry blond male started to cough. "You didn't know he went back to get Fitzsimmons?" They all shook their heads. "He did. That's how he got here so quickly. Iggy's fine though, I'm sure of it. They've given him more medicine and all that good stuff." She checked on Andrea. "Very nice, young lady. You should be just fine in a few days." She pinched her cheek. "You rest. If you want us to send everyone away, just yell and we'll drive them off to bother Raena." She walked out.
Andrea looked around. "Why are you all in here if she's worse?" she croaked.
Melvin stroked her hand. "Iggy screamed at us in the ER. We're giving him a chance to calm down."
She blew him a kiss. "Go up there and apologize before he never speaks to you again," she ordered. "He must have felt everything she's went through. Plus he risked his life for me. Now."
Melvin nodded. "I'll check on him once you're asleep." His wife glared at him. "She said he's asleep, going up to talk to him while he's out will only get me mumbled at and Iggy won't remember it anyway."
"Simone was up there," Charlie put in. He looked at his father, who looked fairly upset. "You knew."
Arthur sighed and rubbed his bald head. "I did. I had Draco take the temporal potion away from him. He was fine earlier when I checked on them."
Molly glared at him. "How could you let him sit up there by himself! I thought she was in better shape! They called him to go check on a patient and everything!"
"I think that must have been a mistake, mum," Percy put in. "I'll go with you." He looked at his son. "You and Ignatius will be forced to make up," he warned. "I will uphold Xander's wishes on this." He led his mother away, helping her up to the ICU. He found Simone guarding the baby and sleeping man. "How is he?"
"Bad." She looked at her grandmother, who teared up. "Don't even," she warned a bit coldly. "Nothing kept you from coming to check." She picked up the baby. "We're going for a stroll. Try to let him sleep." She left them alone.
Percy looked at the tired young man. "He does look done in."
"He's so strong usually," Molly noted, going over to touch his hair. "Percy, I want to spread the family out. Have some of them sit up here. I'm going to go back and make the poor boy something to eat."
"Nothing too solid, mum. He's like me when I was up here." She nodded and bustled off. He sat down in Simone's spot. The family would be coming up soon enough. Simone came back. "She went to make him something to eat."
"That's probably a good thing. The last time Iggy treated me to lunch in the caf I about died because it was so nasty." She handed over Spenser. "I'm off to the loo. Should we expect anyone else?"
"Xander's down hovering by surgery with George. The others may be shifting up here soon," he said with a faint smile. "How are you holding up?"
"I want to kill someone, Uncle Percy. Can I have one of them?"
"No, dear. Killing is too good for them and too easy for you to start to like." She nodded and left him there. He called his own wife, making her frown at the people she was chewing out. She'd be up soon as well. They could take both children for the night if his own mother didn't offer.
Raena was brought back in and the few family members there hissed at how pale she was. "Is she all right?" Bill asked.
"She's fine," Sonya told him. "There was some minor bleeding. Easily solved." She reattached everything herself. "Croitan is coming up in about an hour. I've left extensive notes for him. He's a bit short with the family usually so don't piss him off." She looked over at Iggy's still body. "Is he all right? Go ahead and reconnect their hands." Both monitors slowed and she shook her head. "I don't like that."
"It's a good number still," Percy pointed out. She smiled at him. "I've been in that sort of bed myself over a similar condition."
The nurse peeked her head in. "Croitan just stormed in. He's in with his other patient and he'll be right down." She looked at the family. "He won't like you being in here."
"He can get blown," Simone told him, cuddling the again-sleeping baby. "I move when you guys drug me and drag my ass away in chains." Percy patted her on the back. "Any news from my father?"
"Not yet," Percy told her. "Arabelle went over to check on him. Severus Snape is with him, as is Emily, but there's no news yet." A very tall, dark haired man walked in and looked at them. "We're her family."
"I can tell. Out."
"Fuck you," Simone snorted. "I'm their medical power of attorney and we're a tight knit family. Be thankful the rest of us aren't in here." She stared him down and he sneered at her. "Keep it up. I'm known for kicking the ass of threats. Don't become one."
He laughed. "At least you care about them." He looked down at the chart. "Who did the original surgery?"
"Regis," Sonya told him. "Patrick, Spenser, and I just got done cleaning the wound again."
"Very well. Let me see." He moved her out of the way. "Why didn't her husband use his wand?"
"He started cellular bleeding in the ER," Simone told him. "Or so he said earlier. There had been two wounds."
The doctor looked at her. "Are you becoming one of us?"
"No, I'm a beater and family enforcer."
"And Guardian Bitch of the kids that age," Bill put in with a faint smile. "The rest of us have learned not to fight against her."
The doctor looked Simone over. "Indeed," he said dryly. "How is the baby?"
"Spenser's fine." The doctor frowned at her. "Iggy's not exactly capable of looking after him and I am their next in command for their family matters."
"Wonderful." He checked Raena over, then frowned and separated their hands. Both heart monitors went off. The hands were reconnected for him. "You'll have to break some of that."
"I can dream walk into his mind and suggest strongly that he back off her some. He's probably holding her tightly right about now."
"Go ahead," Percy said, stealing the baby to hold, but Bill took him from him. "I thought you hated children."
"I don't hate children, I simply don't want any of my own," Bill corrected.
"You and me both," Simone agreed, closing her eyes. She concentrated as Iggy had shown her, smiling when she saw the couple cuddling together on a couch. She walked over and tapped them both. "You've got to disengage a little bit. You're bringing her heartbeat down, Iggy." He glared at her. "Hey, wake up if you don't believe me. She needs back in her own body and you need to wake up anyway. That Croitan guy is here and he doesn't think I'm scary in the least."
Iggy gently kissed his wife. "You wait here. I'll wake up." He stood up. "Simone, she can't go back yet, there's a big dark spot in her head."
"Then I suggest you walk her back home and help her deal with it," Simone pointed out. "She's got to go back sometime."
"Yeah, but if she goes back now, the darkness will swallow her and she'll be comatose."
"She's nearly at that state right now," Simone pointed out gently. She gave them both a hug. "He'll be right back, after he explains it to them." She gave her cousin a hard shove, sending him back into his own mind instead of this in-between spot, and she went back to hers. Iggy was already awake and arguing with the doctors about her medicine. Croitan was listening, as was Sonya, but the doctor who had come in afterwards wasn't, he was the one arguing.
"How would you know?"
"Because we're bound, you stupid prat!" Iggy shouted. He let his wife's hand go as he stood up and punched the man. "You're making her sicker. Take away the repressor!"
"Iggy," Croitan warned. Iggy glared at him. "I will write an order to remove it. Her care has officially been moved to mine and Fitzsimmons' care. It will be fine."
Sonya gave him a look. "We've got Tempari on tonight."
"I'll talk with her myself," Croitan assured her. "Sit! Now!" Iggy sat but didn't lay back down. "Check him over as well. He looks like he's about dead himself."
"At least he's not a touch healer," Bill pointed out. The doctors looked at him. "The only one I know said that one of the most effective ways of helping a patient is to take the injury into yourself."
Sonya pushed Iggy back and checked him over. "Which heart medicine did they give you?"
"The white one," Iggy admitted. "Stronger than I needed. The pharmacy is filled with dunderheads today as well."
"So I can tell." She finished her exam and frowned at Croitan. "We need double ICU rooms."
"I'm not leaving her side," Iggy told her. "I don't care who's sitting in here instead, I'm not moving."
"Fine. Then *I'm* going to straighten out your medicine," Croitan told him. "Who ordered yours?"
"Kirt ordered a heart tonic, I don't think he specified which one," Iggy admitted. He watched as his wife's chart was flipped through, frowning at the laughter. "What?"
"Kirt said to knock you out if you threw another fit as well." He handed over the chart for the boy to read. "I will straighten this out. Nurse?" She looked at him. "When Doctor Tempari comes in, I want to see her as soon as she's changed. She is to see no patient before she sees me. Is that understood?"
"I'll have a note put on her locker," the nurse agreed, smiling at him. "Will she be all right?"
"She may need a while longer to recover," Sonya told her. "As of this moment, she'll be fine if we can get this fixed."
Simone coughed. "Is this medicine the big, dark spot Iggy said was the problem?"
"Yeah," Iggy said, smiling at her. "Thanks, Simone."
"Hey, you needed to wake up. Spenser is not satisfied with me anymore and your father went to bug mine."
"Joy." Iggy swung his feet around but his co-doctor pushed him back down. "I'm fine."
"You're staying there until I say otherwise, Ignatius Harris-Weasley. Otherwise I'm calling back Fitzsimmons myself *and* Amadalin to correct you."
"Fitzsimmons would be surprised that I'm not on her bed," Iggy reminded her, but he was relaxing again. "Does this one have monitors?" Everyone nodded. "Then I'll stay here, but I need to go to the head."
"Go ahead," Croitan told him, watching as he left. "Simone, dark spot?"
"Iggy described it as a big, dark spot that would swallow her if she went back into her own head. That's why they were cuddled in some in-between place." She pointed at the outstretched hand. "Somewhere near there."
"All right. Then we're doing a medicine review tonight." Croitan looked at Sonya. "Where is your Overlord?"
"Conference and the woods," she said miserably. "Iggy's so sick because he got him back to help his cousin. He did a small temporal jump of an hour or so."
"Bloody marvelous," Croitan growled. "Can no one stop him?"
"Some of the damage his cousin's wife had was done after she was put into stasis. It couldn't be stopped fast enough," she told him. "It would have killed her to wait the three days."
"Fine. Can you get him back?"
"Fitzsimmons? Maybe. I've left a long message on his facemail about this whole thing and I expect to leave another in as soon as we're done." She shrugged. "I can't make him come back. This is as close to a vacation as he gets."
"Fortunately, he checks his messages," Croitan agreed. He looked down at Raena. "I'm wondering if this was a partial stroke as well. We don't have the machines to check over here."
"Do you need to move her to a muggle hospital?" Simone asked. "It was suggested earlier since you weren't supposed to be in until tonight."
"We might have to," he agreed. "The problem is that it might harm her more to move her."
"Iggy will want her healthy and back with him. He'll want to do the best he can for her and won't care how it's accomplished."
"What about his potions, aren't there any to help?" the muggle doctor asked.
"Not a thing. We've used the last of our store of that incredible healing potion and he said his stones are broken so he can't make more."
"There's one last one, but it's locked with her genetic key," Percy told them. "He can't get into it without her."
"Plus, he was saying that he might never be able to work with one again," Simone offered. "This happened because someone wanted to have his stones and be the only one who had access to them."
"Why didn't the elixir of life work on her?" Bill asked. "It healed some my stuff."
"She's immune," Sonya said sadly. "At least to the healing elements. Iggy told us last year. It'll hold her steady, but not heal anything."
"Would giving her more help?" Simone asked.
"It'd keep her stable. Nothing further. That would give her a chance to heal on her own."
"But you'll need the healing elixir he makes to help her fully," Percy offered. They nodded. He stood up. "Let me check with someone." He walked out, stopping to give the boy getting a drink a hug. "It will be fine."
"Poppy didn't have any," Iggy told him quietly.
"Are you sure? You gave her six vials a few months back."
"I called Severus. He couldn't find them."
"Then perhaps I can find Poppy and ask her myself," Percy said, handing back the baby. "Here, you watch him. The rest of the family is rotating around." He gave him a pat on the shoulder and left for his office. He walked in and looked around. "I want Poppy Pomfrey found now!" he ordered. "She's got something my nephew needs." His people scurried off to find the nurse for him. He went to talk to his wife, finding her and their younger children in her office. "Do you know if anyone else might have been a hiding spot for Ignatius?"
"I checked with Gringotts, they said all the potions down in the hidden vault were elixir of life. Not even they can get into the vault with the stone." She gave him a grim look. "How is she?"
"Badly off. Mum about tore Father a new one over not telling her Raena was the worst off." He kissed the twins' heads, making them smile at him. "Hello, girls." They waved and went back to their scribbling with crayons. "Something's got to give soon," he told her.
"Daddy, hug me," their older daughter Elizabeth ordered like the princess she was.
"Of course I will," he said, picking her up to hold. She snuggled into his arms. "Our nephew is sick as well. They seriously considered separating them to put him into his own bed."
"It'd never happen," Arabelle said with a fond smile for her husband. "How stubborn is Melvin being?"
"He's determined that Iggy going for the doctor who helped his wife was only right since he's twisted it around in his head that Ignatius had something to do with her being so bad off." Arabelle snorted. "I know, but he's a young man whose wife was severely injured. Let him calm down. We can lock them in a room soon enough." He winced when he heard the screaming Simone was doing. "Oh, well, it looks like Melvin walked in and said the wrong thing. Simone just got him." Liz giggled against his shoulder. "Think it's funny?"
"Yes, daddy." She wiggled until he set her down. "Can I go play with Maeve and Lucien?"
"I'm not sure who has them at this moment," Percy admitted.
"The rest of the kids are at Malfoy Mansion with Denver," Arabelle told him. "Everyone but Spenser."
"Melvin let Marion be taken?"
"Molly didn't give him much choice," she said with a smile. Even she winced as the next part of the diatribe floated across the flood to them. "I think I've had enough of that." She disappeared, heading for the hospital. She landed behind Melvin and put a hand over his mouth. "Shut up, son."
"I'm perfectly normal for what I am," Iggy sneered. "I'm not the one using odd and unusual powers for my heritage, Melvin. Go away. I don't want to see you." Melvin got free and stormed off. "Hi, Aunt Arabelle. How has your day been?" he asked.
She gave him a hug. "He's being an ass and I'm going to stop it," she promised, kissing him on the cheek. She left, following her stepson. "Melvin!" she snapped. He flinched but turned to look at her. "What do you think you just did!"
"He's a freak! They did this because of what he did!"
"He's just the most well known. Other alchemists have stones," she assured him. He glared at her. "It wasn't his fault, Melvin. It wasn't yours either. The only person who is at fault is the man who wanted something he couldn't have and decided to kill for it. Now either you apologize to your cousin this instant or I'm going to make you fucking sorry." She growled the last and he stepped away from her. "Do you understand?"
"Yes, Arabelle." He looked down the hall. "The door's closed."
"Of course it is!" Percy said as he appeared with the three children. "You just hurt him in a manner that he thought only the bigoted creatures in Diagon could. You have managed to nearly destroy the most important relationship in your life outside of your marriage. You had best fix it before both of your parents feel the need to step in."
"Too late," Xander said as he walked up to them. He slapped Melvin, sending him to the floor. "My son nearly died for your wife today, Melvin. I'd expect better from you. I know you didn't get this from your parents so it must have been something you picked up at school. Thankfully, I can still watch over the rest of them and try to eradicate this issue before it becomes rampant and injurious to more than you." He stormed off, going to hug his son.
"He's right," Percy agreed when his son looked at him. "Ignatius did nearly die to help your wife survive this incident."
"This tragedy!" Melvin shouted, standing up. "It's his fault anyway! She's the one who's going around flaunting it by wearing that ring!"
"Less than one percent of the population can identify what sort of stone that is," Arabelle said calmly. "It's no different than a ruby to most people. For that matter, the person who ordered your wife snatched never saw her ring." Melvin glared at her. "He didn't. I asked before he committed suicide earlier. He heard about it through a leak in Law Enforcement. He didn't even know what one looked like. He thought they were having him on because he thought the stones were rubies as well." He slumped. "The only person in that whole group who knew anything more than a myth was one wizard, and he only knew the procedure to make gold. The only thing that would have stopped this from happening to this family would be if he had picked on someone else."
"That freak of nature could have chosen a different hobby," Melvin sneered.
"Yes, he could have, and you'd be dead by now," Percy reminded him. Melvin's mouth hung open. "You were given some of his healing potion after one of your games, it kept your appendix from rupturing. That's why you were brought in to have it fixed when you didn't have any pains. Besides you," Percy said, staring him down, "over six hundred people owe their lives to Ignatius and his potions, that one in particular. Are you willing to see them dead as well? No one else would have bothered to offer the hospital a meager supply so they could hand out drops of the potions. Either of them. It's considered dumb to do so because it means that you'd have to make more for yourself. Why would anyone bother with helping the general public when everyone else was beneath what they could do? Most of them wouldn't have even listened to the rumors of a healing potion from it. Be thankful, your wife received the majority of the last of his stash. There may be no more, no matter who gets sick, because of this incident. You, me, your daughter, his son, no one may ever have access to it." Melvin swallowed. "All because you're being a prejudice little snot. I agree with Xander, I don't know where you got this attitude from, son, it certainly didn't come from this family. You will either stop it now, or you will leave this family as I don't want you to infect your sisters with it." He walked away, heading down to check on Raena before going to sit with Andrea again. He found his father and mother sitting in there now. "How is she?"
"Steady," Arthur told him. "They had to take Iggy off so he could have some peace and quiet. Simone and Xander will bring him back in a few minutes, once he's calm again." He looked out at the hallway. "Where is your son?"
"Regretting the fact that he ever opened his mouth today," Percy admitted. He leaned on the door frame. "He asked Ignatius earlier why he couldn't be normal."
"I heard," Molly said with a grimace. "Where does he get this stuff from? You raised him better than that."
"His mind made him say the most hurtful thing he could. That was it." He smiled. "I'm taking the children to Draco's then I'll be down with my daughter-in-law." Iggy reappeared. "He'll calm down and apologize, Iggy."
Iggy looked at him. "I don't care. I don't want to see him. I love you dearly, Uncle Percy, but as far as I'm concerned, you don't have a son yet." He sat down after kissing his wife on the forehead. "You rest, love, we'll be fine." He suddenly smiled and laid down. "We're going to nap and talk. Go away." He closed his eyes and joined her to get a hug from her as well.
Molly sniffed. "I doubt we're leaving. There will be family in this room at all times until we're sure she's going to be fine." Her husband patted her on the thigh. "Arthur, fix this," she pleaded.
"I'll do my best, Molly, you know that. This tears me up as much as it does you." He smiled at his son. "Go be with the children, Percy. They need you more at the moment."
Percy nodded and went to gather his children from Arabelle, taking them to sit and wait with the rest of the infants, then went to sit with his daughter-in-law.
Iggy walked up to his teacher and tapped her on the shoulder. "I can't come to class today, and possibly not for the next week," he said when she looked at him.
"Why not?" She looked him over. "You're definitely not dressed to do rounds, Mr. Harris- Weasley."
"My wife's still in the ICU." She hissed. "I can't leave her. I'm sorry."
"Keep up with your studies. I'm sure we'll be seeing you as I familiarize the other students with the machinery." She handed him a syllabus. "On there are your reading assignments and the practicals you have to accomplish. I'll owl you with paper assignments if I don't see you when I do rounds."
"Thank you, ma'am." He smiled and walked away, going to take a shower and grab his books. He found someone standing in his apartment. "Hi, Uncle Draco."
"I can't get it to work, Ignatius."
"I know. Almost no one can if you're not wanting it more than life," he said with a short shrug. "I'm for a shower. I left Denver with her." He headed into the bathroom. He stripped and turned on the water, then stepped in. His uncle followed him. "How badly are you doing?"
"Fairly. I can't get it to stop separating."
"That's what the flower was for," Iggy told him. "A small contaminant will block that process." He worked on his hair. "How is Spenser?"
"Your father stole him last night. He said he'll be at the shop until you're ready to come get him. How bad is it now?"
"Just the remains of the small stroke. She can't take any of the healing potions for it because of her pain medicine. But she can't not take the pain medicine because of the damage. I don't have a potion that I'd trust to use on her that I can think of."
"What about muggle drugs?"
"There is one of those," Iggy admitted. "They've given her a dose and it didn't help any." He rinsed his hair and grabbed the soap to work on his body. "I've got to find my book on Technologies. Can you find it for me?"
"Of course." Draco walked out, hunting down the elusive textbook. He found it beside the bed and put it on top of the papers Ignatius had brought in. He added his own present, a muggle laptop charmed to work. He could borrow it for a few weeks, at least until Raena was out of the hospital. Iggy came out with a towel around his waist, going to find clothes. "Have you gotten news about being taken off rotation?"
"Yeah, I have another two weeks free, but after that I'll have to file leave papers and that would necessitate me not being in classes at all. Which means I should drop my summer plans." He came out dressed in a comfy set of clothes and stopped to look at the present. "What's that?"
"Mine. I'm trying it out. You may borrow it for now to do your homework on. That way the teachers can read it," he said with a firm clap to his nephew's back. "Go sit with her. I'm sure she already misses you." He watched as Iggy piled everything into his old school bag and left, smiling at his back. He sent himself home, going to see if that trick with the flower helped.
Iggy walked down the hallway, nodding and waving at the nurse. "Anything happen while I was gone?" he asked.
"Doctor Fitzsimmons is waiting on you," the duty nurse said helpfully. "He was swearing a few moments ago. Very unusual for him."
"Wonderful," Iggy sighed, heading into his wife's room. "Were you swearing about me, sir?" he asked as he took his usual spot.
"No, the stupidity of one of my residents," he said with a smile, waving the essay he was reading. "I'm proofing one of his papers and it's the worst thing I've ever seen. He obviously was writing about something he had only glanced at." He nodded at the laptop. "Where did you get that?"
"My Uncle Draco is letting me borrow it," Iggy admitted. "He was worried about my teachers being able to read my handwriting."
Doctor Fitzsimmons laughed. "I'm sure he was." He waved a hand. "I have no idea how best to help her anymore, Ignatius. Do you?" The boy shook his head. "What do you want to do?"
"Will the healing potions work?"
"Not as much as they would have last week," Fitzsimmons admitted, stroking his short white beard. "If we took some of her flesh and let you have it, a small sample mind you, would that be enough to open the genetic key?"
"It has to be a living, breathing organism, sir. We'd have to have a mimic that would work that way and I'm not sure I'm up to making one."
"Would polyjuice help?"
"That might," Iggy admitted. "I'm not sure I can look at the stone though."
"Fully understandable, but you do have others in your immediate proximity who could make it for you this time." Iggy hung his head. "Check with Gringott's, boy, there's another few around here who could use a drop or two. The twins down the hall could use a lot more than that."
"Yes, sir." Iggy considered it, then pulled out his floophone. He called the bank. "Hi." The goblin on the other side transferred him to the goblin working on helping him get into that vault. "One of the doctors here brought up a point. Could we use polyjuice, or a piece of flesh and a mimic?"
"Polyjuice no," the goblin said, shaking his head and making his ears flap. "We're charmed against it. Anyone using polyjuice would be stopped at the door or expelled off the vault ledges. A mimic might," he admitted grudgingly. "How would that work?"
"We take a small piece of flesh and use it to set up a facsimile of her. That would have her genetic key, be breathing and have a heartbeat, and would be able to move freely."
"That would satisfy all the conditions," the goblin admitted. He frowned. "Let me get back to you with that. Our technical people are out." He cut the connection.
Iggy arranged his materials around himself, getting comfortable to wait. It was nearly six hours later when the goblin got back with him. "Hello?"
"It can be done," he announced. "Our technical support people want to watch though, they're worried."
"I'm worried, I don't want to breach your security," Iggy pointed out with a faint smile. "But she needs it so much."
"I know, boy. Bring it tomorrow at ten." He signed off again.
Iggy pushed the nurse's call button, bringing her running. "Tell Fitzsimmons that we can use a mimic and some flesh. We're trying tomorrow at ten." She nodded and rushed off so Iggy called the rest of the family, starting with Draco and his fathers. They were both at the shop, he could tell because all the floos were forwarded to the shop. "Hi." His father smiled at him from his other father's phone. "We're going to need a mimic potion big enough to create a human. The goblins and Doctor Fitzsimmons came up with using a mimic to get into it." He looked at his big brother. "Draco, I'll need you to do the potion."
"Are you sure? It's not like I've managed the other one."
"I'll watch you but I don't think I can touch it, possibly not ever again. She's not the only one who needs it though so we're going to have to make a larger than average batch for them."
"That would be fine. When are we doing this, son?" Xander asked.
"Ten tomorrow. Technical support at the bank will be watching us. We found a loophole." Draco looked stunned. "Mimics are pretty rare."
"Good point. We've only sold little innocuous ones, but we do have that first working batch," George admitted. "Let me get it together and go back to the original formula. We'll make enough tonight. You sit tight." He signed off.
Iggy smiled and closed the phone, they would spread it around. He looked over as the nurse came in. "She hasn't changed. Her diastolic pressure has went down one point. Her temperature is stable. Her stomach's rumbling again if you wanted to bring in some of that liquid soup stuff."
"Thank you, Iggy," she said with a smile. "Doctor Fitzsimmons said he'd be up in about three hours, he's just heading into surgery with another case of stupid child syndrome." She left them alone.
Iggy flipped open his book, skimming through the chapters he had already read so he could do the first few assignments. If he could get ahead here as well, he'd have more free time to hold his wife.
George nodded as the last cart pulled up to the vault ledge, getting out of the way of the doctor with the small glass jar. "I'm worried that this'll mimic the skin and not the body."
"I can work on that," Xander assured him. "A shot of power will energize it and make it take on the fuller appearance." He looked at the goblins, who nodded. "Let's do this. Iggy? Do you want to do this?"
Iggy took the small piece of flesh from the jar and put it into the drum of mimic fluid, watching as it turned to flesh. "I think it needs a good zap." His fathers both hit it, energizing it. Out of the pile of skin grew Raena's likeness. "Honey, we need into the vault," Iggy told her. "To heal the rest of you." She climbed out and stumbled forward, putting her hand on the correct spot with a little help from the goblins. Then it dissolved. The vault swung open and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Iggy walked in and looked at the small stone lying there, picking it up to hand off. "Here." He saw a small letter addressed to him and picked it up to read it, frowning. "What? I thought this one was pure." He sighed and took it back to look at it. "It's got a crack!" He weighed it in his hand. "It might crack just right." He dropped the letter and walked out, holding it up. "She found a crack. The cold air cracked it when she brought it down."
"Will it not work?" George asked.
"I've never worked with a cracked stone but there are numerous warnings not to for the elixir of life."
"Then we won't risk it," Xander decided. He looked at it. "Will it break a big enough chunk off?"
"I don't know. It'll be close," Iggy admitted. "It has to weigh at least six grams to work."
"How long will it take to make another?" Draco asked.
"A month." Iggy gave him a hopeless look. He handed it to his uncle. "I don't know what to do."
Draco looked it over. "If we had a jeweler, he might be able to split it easier." He looked around. "Anyone have one they like?" No one said anything. "Then I'm going to take this to the Emerald Field's people and have them look at it. Maybe they can do it, or if not they might know someone who can." He stepped over the puddle of mimic. "Give us a few days, Ignatius." Iggy nodded.
George and Xander both hugged their son tightly, letting him lean on them. "We'll figure it out, son. Don't worry."
"And no going out of time to create a new one," Xander warned quietly.
"Yes, daddy." Iggy looked at them, then at the mess. "We should clean this up."
George waved his wand and the gloop flowed back into the drum, then it sealed itself. "Not a problem," he said with a smile.
"May we have that?" the Technical Support goblin asked.
"Go for it," George agreed. "It'll keep me from having to carry it home."
"How about the recipe?"
"Locked up," he said firmly. "We make one version that can't do that."
"Fine." The goblins all left, leaving the cart goblin to reclose the vault.
Iggy walked back inside and looked at the cavernous space. "Why did she get such a big one?" he muttered. He saw the edge of something and walked over to where it was glinting, picking up the silvery surface, finding an invisibility cloak as it lifted. "Dads?" He tugged until something came out from under it. "She was hording gold? Why?" He looked at the piles, then shook his head. "I'm not sure I want to know." He found a smaller stone in the middle of the stash and weighed it. "Not heavy enough." He dropped it.
"Does anyone else wonder why this looks like an escape plan in the making?" Xander asked. George nodded. "You can talk to her when she wakes up, son." He sent a blast of baby powder around the room, finding a hidden trunk as well. "Can you open that?"
"I don't know." Iggy knelt in front of it, feeling along it. He found the practical band and undid it, making the trunk become visible. He picked the lock with his wand, looking down inside. "What's this stuff?" he said as he looked through it. "Old clothes? Ancient clothes," he decided, holding up a moth-eaten cloak. "I'm having a 'huh' moment, daddy."
"I know you are, son, so am I," Xander admitted, looking at George, who shrugged. "Put it back and we'll head up to ours so we can buy you that new shirt you need." Iggy put the cloak back and closed the trunk, standing up so he could brush himself off. He headed out with his fathers, letting the vault door close.
Draco walked into the jewelry store. "I need to speak with one of your cutters," he told the woman behind the counter. "I have a precious ruby that needs to be trimmed down." She showed him into the back room, pointing at a chair. "Thank you." He sat and waited, smiling at the man who came to meet him. "Do you cut stones?"
"I'm over them," he corrected. "Ruby?"
Draco pulled it out of his pocket. "Or something like it. It's been cracked. We need one piece of it to be at least six grams."
He held it up to the light. "If you're lucky, we might be able to get a six gram piece," he said flatly. He looked at Draco. "This isn't a ruby."
"No, but it may be the cure for a few people presently in the hospital."
"Come to my office, I'll get my most senior person in there with us." He led the way up, stroking the stone. He waved at a bent-over man, who hobbled in after them. "Mr. Malfoy needs a six gram piece out of this," he said, handing it over.
The cutter looked at the stone, then at him. "With this crack?"
"It can't contain the fracture or the stone won't produce the healing elixir that is desperately needed." Draco sat, watching as it was examined. "The owner said it had been fine until it was cracked by the cold air down in the Gringotts vaults."
"Then it's probably very fragile," the cutter agreed, pulling over a lamp and a magnifying glass to examine it. "This could take weeks to plot."
"We have hours."
"Oh. That sort of job." The cutter looked at him. "Who needs the elixir of life that badly?"
"There's a healing potion that can also be made from it. It's not well known, but the owner uses it for that purpose. It has to be six grams to make the potion and it has to be so pure it can create gold. That's the purest stone known."
"Hmm." The cutter looked it over again. "If we could baby along that angle of the fracture, the left side would slide off, but it might leave a few flakes. That would be large enough, by almost a half-gram, but it's a delicate cut and it could destroy the stone if we get it wrong."
"If we can't get it, his wife may die, along with three other people in the Intensive Care Unit who need this potion to survive."
"I'll do my best," the cutter told him, going to grab his tools. He came back and set the stone into a vise. "Soft," he said, frowning. He changed tools and tapped on the fracture, smiling. "It can't contain any fractures?"
"There are many warnings about not using a cracked stone," Draco admitted.
"Fine. I think I can do this. Give me a few moments to think." He suddenly cackled and picked up a chisel, using a hammer to tap it into the fracture. The stone split. He weighed the bigger piece. "Six grams, four ounces," he announced, handing it over. "Just barely big enough."
Draco looked at the cut side, pointing at a small flake. "Would that matter?"
"Not unless it falls off," the cutter told him. He handed over the second piece as well. "Tell that young man that it's nearly pure, but an absolutely pure one would probably be too soft to do much with," he said as he left.
Draco handed over a small bag of gold. "How ever much it costs," he said as he walked away. He teleported home from the hallway. "We have it," he yelled. Severus came running. "Just over, barely." The halves were taken from him and carried down to the lab. "Do you have his notes?"
"I do. They're very specific," Severus told him. "We'll need a decontamination seal around the room."
"Fine." Draco set up the seals, making sure nothing could get past the sterile boundary to the inner ones. Then he cleaned them of all germs and went to work.
Iggy gave the person walking in a sleepy look and wave.
"Just getting up?" Draco teased with a bright smile. "Get someone in here so we can try this." That got his nephew moving, all the way to the nurse's desk to call his mentor and everyone in. He came jogging back. As soon as all the doctors were in here, he handed over the large bottle. "How much did you need to give her?"
Iggy sniffed it and smiled. "Severus helped?"
"Of course. He wants her to wake up as well. He called you a moody and dark bastard earlier," Draco told him.
"Just give it to her," one of the doctors complained.
Iggy accepted a clean cup to pour some out into, then handed the bottle off. "Water?" It was handed to him so he could dilute it, then he poured it down his wife's throat. She coughed, but her eyes opened. He felt her mind leave his, traveling back to her own, and he relaxed. "It's working." He got pushed aside so the other doctors could check her over. He mixed some more for the other people who needed it with the nurse's help and let her go give it to them. The bottle was taken and sealed with wax so it could be stored in a safe in the ER.
"Iggy?" Raena croaked, lifting a hand. "Move!" They moved and Iggy walked back, giving her a hug. "I'm fine. You tell good stories."
"I'm so happy," he whispered, starting to tear up again.
"I'm okay, I promise." She looked at Draco. "Why wouldn't yours work?"
"It's not pure enough. My new one should," he said with a smile. "We stole your notes."
"I don't care," Iggy said happily, hugging him across Raena's body as well. "She'll be okay."
"I know she will. Let me tell everybody." He got free and left them to talk medical matters while he went to the Burrow. He walked in the back door, stopping the conversation in the living room. As soon as he walked in, everyone looked at him. "She was awake, complaining that he was fussing, and got a long hug." He got clapped on the back by everyone who hurried off to check on the poor girl. Molly only stopped long enough to grab her something to eat. Hospital food was horrible. He smiled at Melvin. "You're not going?"
"Ignatius made himself very clear," Melvin said stiffly.
Draco grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him up. "I've had enough of this shit," he said coldly, making the boy whimper. No one in the family had seen him like this, this was scary! He drug the boy back to his house and locked him into a room, then went to get Ignatius, who had been forced out by the sheer number of the family. He grabbed him more gently and kidnaped him as well, taking him to that same room. He pushed him inside and locked the door. "You're staying!"
Iggy looked at his cousin. "Let me guess, you snarked?"
Melvin glared at him. "You brought this on yourself. The same way your father always does those people who attack him."
Iggy pounced his cousin and beat the shit out of him. "I feel better now," he declared when he was done. He got off him and left the room, unlocking it in case Melvin wanted to crawl out. He went back to the hospital, taking a moment in the bathroom to clean himself up so no one would yell at him for it, then he went back to talk with his wife. She gave him a look and he shrugged. "He asked for it," he told her as he sat down. "I left him living." Percy glared at him. "Draco put us in a room on his third floor. I left your son living, Uncle Percy. Feel damn lucky." He turned back to his wife, giving her a gentle smile. "Would you like to tell me why you had that stuff stored?"
"It's for my grandmother," she told him, lying the whole way.
"We'll talk about that later, dear."
"Yes, Iggy." She kissed him, making him melt against her side. "We'll fight later about me hoarding money." He nodded, snuggling in.
Simone walked in and clapped. "Congrats. I haven't seen you do that since the last time we fought." Percy hurried off to check on his son. "He's in my room," she called after him. "With about five ice packs and a pile of cloths to hold down the bloody nose." She clapped him on the back. "Good job." The rest of the family laughed.
Percy marched Melvin up to Iggy's side on the campus. "Say it," he demanded, shaking him.
"I'm sorry I made you beat me, Ignatius. I let my feelings cloud my judgement and you showed me I was wrong."
Iggy wiped his mouth and looked at his cousin. "That's nice. Are you going to change your mind suddenly, Melvin, or are we going to have to put up with freak comments from you every time we see you?"
Percy shook his son again. "No. Everyone has made me see what I did was wrong. Thank you for saving my wife."
"That's what I do," Iggy said calmly. "Family or not."
"Would you have made that jump for non-family?" Percy asked.
"Then it was important," Melvin decided. "Thank you, Iggy."
"Welcome. I'll forgive you some year." Melvin nodded and walked away looking dejected. "He didn't mean it, Percy, he still thinks I'm a freak of nature. I have enough stress without that. We're still cousins, I'll still help him if he needs it, but I doubt we're having any more pajama parties." He picked up his burger and ate a bite. "Want to join me for lunch? I could use the company. The other residents are afraid of me now."
"What happened?" Percy asked as he sat down.
Iggy gave a bitter chuckle. "Rumors about who is in my family surfaced recently. You, Arabelle, my fathers, grandfather. They're afraid I'll have someone come to their door in the middle of the night and harm them."
"You're not evil," Percy said with a smile. "I doubt I'd do it for you anyway. My own son maybe, but not unless it was necessary."
"I know, they'll calm down some year." He finished his burger, chewing quickly. "I have rounds tonight, but I was going to go out and celebrate. My last hour is tonight."
"Congratulations, Ignatius. I'm proud of you, nephew." He kissed him on the forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow, we'll take you to lunch." He stood up and walked away. His nephew was smiling again.
A familiar hand landed on Iggy's back and someone else sat beside him. "Where were you going to celebrate tonight?" Doctor Spenser asked.
"I don't know yet. I was thinking a wonderful dinner or something with the family members who are free." He shrugged and smiled. "You really want to know where I'm doing my residency, don't you?"
"Actually, I had assumed that you were going to come work with me. I was a tad bit upset when you didn't even ask."
"You weren't looking for one."
"That's because I had the spot saved for you, dolt." He smiled at him. "It's still open if you want."
"You'd have to promise me decent hours," Iggy pointed out. "The Kenderson group promised me straight office hours."
Spenser snorted. "They don't do anything. Besides, I doubt you'll be joining in on their clinics with how sensitive you are." Iggy frowned and shook his head. "You didn't know they're the ones who do abortions?"
"No, I was trying to avoid that fate. You're right, I couldn't."
"So come work with me. I only do medically necessary ones, you know that."
"But I still have an infant son."
"Yes, but I can give you half of my hours so I can take some time off as well," he offered with a smile. Iggy winced. "You okay?"
"Wife. She yelled and cheered. I guess I'll say yes then," Iggy said, shaking his hand. "I'll tell Kenderson tonight. I hadn't officially agreed yet."
"Wonderful news. How many more hours do you have?"
"Three more tonight," Iggy admitted with a smile. "Then I'm done with *all* my hours." He nibbled on a pickle spear. "Even this fall doesn't have mandatory hours. I talked with all my teachers and they said I already knew my stuff so I'm good on those as well."
"Excellent news. Are you still coming in?"
"I thought I'd leave a message saying I could be called in if it was something that they needed my potion, my wand, or just something only I seem to be able to do with the duty nurses. Raena wouldn't mind that."
"Wonderful. I'll see you tonight." He stood up and hurried off.
"When would I start?"
"Two weeks after the spring term starts," Spenser called back, grinning madly.
Iggy told his wife that and she cheered. They'd get a real vacation for the holidays. One of the other students looked at him and he winked. "My residency just came together." They turned back around. Iggy pulled his phone and called the man he had been in talks with, smiling at him. "Doctor Spenser just asked me personally to take half his load," he told him. "Sorry."
"That's all right. We can always get a few others to fill in for you," the guy grumbled, cutting the connection.
Iggy put his phone back and sent a message to Denver, he could spread it around without him.
To epilogues 11-14: