A Snippet From Story 7: The Morocco Colony Visit.
Iggy walked through the formal portal to the Main Gryphon Council, frowning when he didn't see his other father. Not that the two of them would be talking to each other, but it would be nice for him to be here at the moment, especially since he promised. He shoved his way through the crowd, his wife directly behind him and his father George behind her guarding their back. "Move!" he demanded. The born in front of him looked and snorted. "Do you want to die?" Iggy asked him. "I am very much like my father, only *I* can poison you and make you suffer for *years* before you die." The born moved, still sneering down at him.
"Ah, our potion's masters in training," the oldest female said with delight. "Only one father?"
"My other father's presently hostage of the adopted son," Iggy told her.
"He was captured? Is he all right?"
George cleared his throat. "They're trying to force him to take on more of the elder roles for our clan."
The oldest male looked down at him. "Is he in good condition?"
"He's presently trapped in a bed getting pampered," George told him.
"Ah. Yes, we had heard something about that." He gave George a gentle smile. "We got a visit by one of your new ghosts, a matter of protocol since he had so many of our books."
"They're mine now," Iggy said with an evil chuckle. His wife nudged him. "Sorry, dear." He pulled her forward. "You requested to meet my mate, this is she. Raena, these are the nice people who agreed I could save you."
She pinched him hard. "Behave, Iggy. You need a nap." The gryphons and borns around them laughed. "What? We've been up all night." She glared at them and they backed off. She bowed to the council. "We do live to serve the community."
"How pleasant to finally meet you," the second female said, bending down to get closer to her, squinting slightly. "You are very pretty. I can see why our young Ignatius likes you so."
Iggy moved forward and looked at her eyes, then dropped to his knees and pulled out his book case, opening it so he could get into his ingredients. He found what he was looking for and quickly made it, squeezing some juice onto a piece of gauze. "Hold this over her eyes," he told his wife. "She's got something in the left one and the right one appears to have a cataract." The gryphoness held still while the extracting potion removed the small shard of glass from the damaged eye. "How is that?" he asked, looking in them again, using his wand as a light source. "I can look for things to take care of cataracts, but I'm not sure there is anything."
She nudged his stomach. "What you have done is already wonderful. I'm old, I can live with partial sight. Thank you, young ones." She leaned back and looked at the other elders, then at the crowd. "What did you expect from our potion's masters, who specialize in healing?" she asked. The gathered courtiers and diplomats talked among themselves.
Raena stepped forward. "If it would be all right with you, Ignatius and I, and our family, would like to stay for three days officially, and another four unofficially to meet with some of the diplomats. That way we can plan where we're visiting and in what order."
"Only three days?" the top female asked, looking down at her.
Iggy finished putting everything back up and stood up. "We figured that we'd have to spend the same amount of time at each colony or major clan. Three days is long enough for most meetings, but not too long in case it gets uncomfortable or the colonies are paranoid about us, but it can be expanded if we find places where we are treated like the spoiled children we are," he said with a grin. George groaned. "What?" he asked innocently.
The top male laughed. "Yes, that would be appropriate protocol," he agreed. "Three days is a good length for an official visit. Not too long that they feel put upon, but more than long enough to learn something about you and recognize your innate natures. Very well thought out, you both." Iggy beamed at him. "Are we expecting more?"
"Only if my other father and my adopted brother show up," Iggy said with a shrug. "They were supposed to meet us here and they're late."
"The children probably pouted their way to extra cuddles," Raena said with a smile.
"You have siblings?" the lead female asked.
"Yes," Iggy agreed. "The adopted brother is nearly my fathers' age and has his own family, plus I have two younger ones. A young boy that sent himself away from some very bad people across some realms and a younger sister. We would have brought them, but you would have been groomed bald."
All five of the gryphons laughed, nodding. It was the universal favorite of the young to groom them. They were soft and the children appreciated them.
Draco strode in, Xander behind him. "Sorry we're late," he said, nodding at the announcer. "This is Ignatius' other father and I'm his adopted brother."
"You're very late," the announcer said, looking them over. "Finished with your kidnaping?"
"No," Draco said honestly, but he was smiling. "My son fell earlier and we had to take him to get x-rays." He shrugged at the hiss. "He's sixteen, he should know better than to be doing anything before he takes his dizziness potion in the mornings. This time he was out on his balcony and for whatever reason climbed onto the railing."
"Ah, I thought you meant the youngest one."
"No, he's clinging to his daughter," he said, nodding back at Xander. "As usual."
The announcer smiled. "Raena shared stories of the family with those who wanted to know earlier. Come, the elders wanted to make sure you were fine."
"Thank you," Xander told him, following him through the constant crowd. A small purring noise made him look up. "Hi, Reynaldo," he said, scratching him gently. "How are you enjoying your ambassadorial position?"
"A lot," he said with a grin. "See, I was right."
"You're still going to become dinner if you mention it again," Xander noted dryly.
"Fine, Xander." He stepped forward with them and cleared his throat to get attention on them. "The missing family members have arrived."
"So I see," the eldest male said, looking down at Xander. "You do look more relaxed than the last time I saw you."
"He makes me nap, it's disturbing," Xander said, but he was grinning. "This is my acknowledged son, Draco Malfoy. If it would please you, he's with us this time to talk to another student of theory. "
"If it's fine with them, we don't care," the female said, smiling down at him. "How is your flock?"
"As far as I know they're fine. He won't let me see them," Xander said, giving Draco a hard shove. He got one in return. So he smacked Draco upside the back of his head. "Sorry, he's having a grumpy day. His elder son fell off his balcony somewhat on purpose."
"He's sixteen," Iggy said from behind them. "What did Denver do?"
"He said he climbed out onto his balcony railing to check on a noise on the roof, and fell," Draco told him. "He only broke his leg, it's already fixed and he's fine."
"Good, now I have more teasing material," Iggy said with a smile. "Finally free?" Draco shook his head. "Why not?"
"Because he won't give in and let Ron and I handle the protection duties for the flock," Draco told him.
"Ah, the standard problem," the oldest male gryphon said dryly. The second one nodded and the females laughed. "It's often that way when you're forced to start slowing down and become a being of reason instead of a being of action. Many males go through that as their young grow up."
"I still have very young children," Xander told him. "My youngest is three."
"Still, it's time to deal with the practicality of making sure everything continues smoothly. You have us to fight for you," Iggy agreed with a smile. "He does looked better," Iggy told Draco. "Thank you." He gave his father a hug. "As long as you're okay and happy, I won't argue with the older brother over you. He can hog you for a while."
The youngest of the three males came down and nudged Draco, then looked up at the other elders. "He's egg-heavy."
"Technically, I'm pregnant, we come out without the hard shell," Draco said with a smile. The elder nudged him and smiled back. "She's to be the next guardian of our school and the colony we attribute our success to."
The elder nudged him again. "A very strong child." He walked back to his nest and climbed in, settling himself. "Have our potion masters looked you over?"
"Many times," Iggy told him. He laid a hand on Draco's stomach, creating a small picture of the child inside him. The gryphons moved closer. "This is the first child I've been able to watch this way though. I was too inexperienced before."
"Small portal," Xander noted. "You're still not very experienced." The picture disappeared. He gave his son a one-armed hug. "I'm still very impressed with you, son."
"Thanks, daddy. Come on, I'll lead you back to the rooms so you and the other father can not talk to each other."
"A split nest?" Reynaldo said sadly.
"No, just a fight," Xander told him. "His joke shop got more important than me."
"He will come back then," Reynaldo said firmly. "He has before."
"I know, it's the waiting that sucks so badly," Xander pointed out.
The second female coughed. "Joke shop?" she asked.
The family members present looked at her. "My father George and his twin run a joke shop in Hogsmeade, Scotland," Iggy said, snapping his fingers to bring the catalog George had made sure he packed to his hand. He smiled and presented it. "We'll make special arrangements to get anything here and get Uncle Fred down so you can negotiate a good discount."
"Not your father?" the elder female asked, leaning closer to see it. "It's very small."
Draco pulled his wand and enlarged the book. "George doesn't like to haggle with family. He won't even argue with me." He bowed to them. "Fred's usually the one who handles the finances anyway." He spotted the gryphon he wanted to talk to finally and bowed to them. "If I may be excused?"
"Of course. Thank you."
Draco nodded and walked away, straight for his target. "Hello. Draco Malfoy." The gryphon looked down at him. "I wanted to ask your opinion on my intended curriculum for the new theory position at Hogwarts."
Draco nodded. "One of the last contestants. The reason I'm asking is because I switched a few people around from your suggested order due to the similarities I see between some theorists. Would you talk with me for a few minutes?"
"Of course. It's not often that we get many who like theory down here."
Draco grinned evilly. "I'm slowly pushing Ginny Weasley out of her position. Her family agrees." The gryphon laughed loudly. "It's a hobby of mine."
"I can tell how much it moves you. Come, we will talk in my rooms. There are seats there." He led Draco away. "How have you changed it?"
"Since I'm going to have to start with introductory classes, I moved Harmarson after Keelers and Horowitz first."
"Ah, then you're going by methods of achieving their theories instead of grouping by theory standpoints," he noted as they walked.
"That and what they studied. I've decided to go through the general class in the manner of taking an area, such as the family, and giving an overview of the major theorists in that area and what they thought. For an introductory class, an overview should be enough. For a more in-depth class, I would be giving more attention to a certain area, or areas, over the course of the year so as to get more in-depth with the students. I thought to start with general overviews of society, moving into the family, and then ending with magic itself during the last term of the year since it's such a large category."
"For an introductory class, it is reasonable," the gryphon, who many thought was the top theorist of the age - human or magical creature - agreed. "I like how you're moving down to a more abstract the longer you go on."
"I thought that a shock at the outset would make the students tune me out," Draco agreed.
"Do you teach now?"
"I help Xander with a physical battling and dueling class, doing most of his former job training the physical and the dueling. I fill in every now and then when Xander's off due to an injury, or one of his brother-in-laws who teaches is off with his triplets."
"Then you have limited experience, but you know the type of students around you. An innovative approach. Did you bring your proposed curriculum?"
Draco pulled an envelope out of his pocket and enlarged it.
"Not necessary, young man, but I thank you." He read it over, nodding, until he got to the end. He looked up. "This is rather heavy for an introductory class."
"Some students will only have it this one year. It's open from third years and up as an elective, but will slowly be moved into a mandatory. As it's taken up, I'll ease off and turn the magical portions into their own class, spreading out the rest."
"Then it is very reasonable," the gryphon agreed. Some snacks were brought and they settled in to argue their own standpoints in theory, taking each other's measure.
Fred walked through the portal and smiled at the gryphon standing there. "I was invited to come up?" he said. The gryphon looked at him and snorted, then walked away, tail in the air. "Can't see why most people consider you lot arrogant at all," he muttered. Someone laughed and he found Xander beside the portal. "He doesn't like humans?"
"He doesn't like anyone, except his own son."
"He's the gryphon equivalent of Lucius Malfoy, I see." Fred let Xander lead him, carrying the heavy sample case he had brought with him. He thumped it onto the floor in the quiet chamber, making the gryphons look down at him. "Sorry, the handle broke," he said, holding it up. He smiled. "You saw something you liked in the catalog George brought?"
"Yes, there were many interesting things," the lead male said, leaning closer. "Xander, you may go. Do fix your relationship."
"I'm trying," Xander sighed. "This is George's problem, not mine." He walked away, closing the chamber doors behind himself.
Fred smiled at them. "It really is my brother's problem, not Xander's. George got lost in the lab a few too many times and Xander got tired of it again." He popped open his case and tried to catch the ball that escaped. "Sorry about that." He froze it with a well-placed shot from his wand.
"Let it go," the male said, watching as it continued to bounce around the room. "What fun."
The females came down and looked in the case. "Can you make them bigger?"
"Of course. There's a few things that we'll have to have some help reengineering the potions for, but I'm sure we can make anything to suit you. We pride ourselves on our stellar service to the families that come to us."
The lead female snuffled him. "You smell like a dragon."
"Charlie came back for a few day's. He works with them."
"Your husband?" she asked.
Fred chuckled, smiling brightly. "No, one of my older brothers. He had to check on something with our local Ministry about his check from substitute teaching." He lifted out something else and enlarged it. "For you. I know the ones near us like this in hot times. Put a bit of the gel anywhere you think some cooling would go well." He watched as they spread some gel on. "After that..." He was interrupted by squeals. "Too cold? I can warm it up a bit."
"No, it's wonderful, just shocking," the third male said, his eyes wide and his beak hanging open. "What else do you have in that wonderful case?"
"I have samples of our most popular items, and a few things that I thought you might like," Fred said with a naughty grin. "Try this. Pull it apart." One of the light snappers was pulled apart and the sparkles amused them. "Was there anything in particular that you liked which I can show you?"
"I like that ball," the second female said, trying to catch it.
The oldest male smiled at him. "How very interesting. Are you sure you're not one of us?"
"According to the records I'm not. Though we do let Xander help us every now and again. He does our annoyance and retribution lines."
"I'm sure he's wonderful at it too," the second female said, distracted still by the ball.
"If you whistle, it comes closer," he offered. "Or I could freeze it again."
"No, that's fine," she told him, shooting him a smile before starting to hunt it again.
"Let's go through the catalog first," the elder female suggested.
"I want this," the second female told them.
"I can give you that and the gel as a gift for giving us business," Fred told her. They got together and looked over the enlarged catalog. Before Fred left to Iggy's room for the night, his sample case was nearly empty and he had already written a message back to Ron at the shop to send their order and some very special treats on.
Iggy came out of the portal and headed back to his room, follow his father George because he was carrying his wife. He looked up at the cleared throat. "In the morning, I'm wiped," he told the ambassador. He flopped down beside Raena, not taking off anything other than his shoes. He was snoring within moments. Raena murmured something and he gave her a squeeze in his sleep, waiting to move until she settled herself against him.
George smiled up at the top female of the colony. "They did good, very good," he said quietly. He yawned. "Can I crash as well?"
"Of course," she said gently, leading him to Xander's little hole in the wall. He liked the tiny corner room for some reason and no one could talk him into taking a larger family suite for all of them. She left him to get settled in and went to talk to her mate, who had escorted them back. "It went well?"
"It went excellently. Ignatius and Raena started out by curing the ambassador from Rome's eye problem." He nuzzled her neck and she swatted him. "I'm sorry. I miss you. May we talk?"
"Later. Formalities first, then we'll discuss your need for loose women." She led him back to the audience chamber, finding Fred standing there. "Did you have a good visit?" she asked, giving him a small flap on the back with her wing.
"And I carry a letter," he said, handing over the parchment. "Orders for where Iggy is to go visiting next summer." He smiled at her. "They kicked ass, Mylian. Iggy and Raena made quite an impact and even the assholes tolerate them. He was warned about his first trip, they're supposed to be a bit paranoid and won't answer any summons from what we were told." He yawned. "Sorry. I'm going to head back to the shop, unless you need me?"
"No, go ahead. We'll get the rest from everyone else. Where is Xander?"
"Back in his gilded cage at Draco's," Fred said dryly. "George got lost in a new idea while we were there."
"You gave them a catalog and not us?" Bill asked, sounding like he was pouting.
Fred looked at him. "You're close enough to come up and browse, you big bugger. You fit inside the store."
Bill laughed. "That is true. Would you please send us a catalog so we don't have to drag *all* the children with us?"
"Of course. We're handing them out and enlarging them for you," Fred told him, pulling one out of his pocket and handing it over. "Anything on the blue pages are going to become fairly rare soon." He waved and walked outside, disappearing back to the shop to fall into his own bed. He found Minnie on his bed and gave her a cuddle. "We kicked ass, Minnie. We'll have to celebrate tomorrow." She giggled and gave him her best cuddle.