Note: So many people had good suggestions (read 'pleading') that I decided to write a sequel. So yes, some of those ideas are used in here. I don't remember who gave me what though, so if you recognize your idea, crow with delight or something. Vo.

Baby's First Year And Daddy's First Nightmare.

Ron looked up at the screeching noise, frowning when he saw the official owl. "What the fuck?" he muttered, reaching up so the thing would land on his arm instead of the baby's head, which was resting on the arm of the chair. "Thanks." He unrolled the slim parchment and frowned more. "Mum?" he called. She came out of the kitchen wiping her hands. "I'm being summoned for some odd reason," he said, passing over the note. The owl continued to stare at him. "I can't bloody well ignore it, now can I?" he said in disgust. The owl took off, going back to its job. "What can this be about?" His mother looked at the first grandchild and he groaned. "Not again."

She patted her son on the head and took her grandchild. "They're probably being nosy, Ron, relax and get dressed in good clothes. It shouldn't take too long and you might even be able to find out if they're going to give you what they do the other girls and boys who got caught."

"Mum, if I have to bow to them in some form, I don't want it," he said as he stood up with a groan. "It's not worth it to me." He looked at her. "Unless we need it," he admitted at her look.

"No, we're fine," she said quietly. "Get dressed and I'll floo over with you." Ron nodded, heading into the house. "What trouble your father gets into," she told her granddaughter. "I'm sure you'll be much more calm, Tasha." She walked her granddaughter inside to show her how to make soup. It was an important skill and you could never start too early.


Ron looked up at the board, frowning at them. "I'm still trying to recover from giving birth, what do you want?" he asked, disliking the staring contest. He could tell this was going to be something that was going to piss him off and he really didn't want to lose his temper this time. Everyone had pointed out how bad it was getting and he *wanted* to control it, but he wasn't sure how. Especially not in times like this one. A little voice in the back of his head reminded him that he knew someone who could teach him that skill, and he accepted emergency prayers. He sent out a heartfelt prayer for control as he crossed his arms. "Well?" he asked when nothing was said.

"Where is your..." The man checked the papers in front of him. "Daughter?"

"Safe," Ron told him. Someone walked in and he raised an eyebrow at his brother. "More paperwork?" he asked snidely.

Percy cleared his throat. "No, Ron, this is more important. It may seem odd, but it is most important that we know some things."

"She's mine, her father is irrelevant," Ron said coldly.

"It's not if she's Potter's," the woman next to Percy pointed out gently. She smiled at him. "We only want to help, Mr. Weasley. Please let us."

"She's an infant, she can't do much in the fight," he pointed out in his most dry tone of voice. "I will definitely tell you she's not Harry's. He's fighting for visitation rights with the Grangers over his." A few people made notes of that. "Now, what is this really about? It's well known that I didn't have Harry's kid." He shifted his weight and heard someone moving behind him. A familiar hand was placed on his back so he glanced casually around the room, noticing the man standing in the shadows. //Thank you,// he mentally whispered. //What do I do now?//

"For now, you relax and let them tell you what they really want to know," Ares said, but Ron was sure only he heard it since no one else reacted to the sight of the God of War. "Relax, release some of your defenses. It's not an attack."

//Bloody well is,// Ron countered.

"Then tell them *something*. No one said they have to know the truth, but they do think they have a reason." He stepped closer. "Thank you for not killing them all, Ron. It was the right thing to call me in this case."

//Yeah, well, my temper is legendary and I keep getting reminded it's a bad thing.// He looked at the board again. //If we could end this and Tasha stays safe, I'd do damn near anything, Ares. You know how I am. I'd even be willing to die to see Voldemort die so my daughter's safe.//

Ares leaned closer. "Never offer blindly, Ron, it usually ends up bad because people will take advantage of you," he whispered. "Don't worry, she'll be safe."

//If you need a champion, I'll be it,// Ron offered mentally. //Please help us.//

"I will. But I'll think about that offer." He winked. "Pay attention. This is the important part."

Ron tuned back into the lecture in time to hear the prophecy. "Excuse me? Was my daughter the only redhead born this year?" he asked. They looked shocked. "For that matter, if we've got to wait eleven years until she's in school you might as well lay down and die," he said bitterly. "My daughter is not cannon fodder, nor is she this savior you think she is."

"Ron, it's a prophecy," Percy said gently.

"Get blown," Ron countered bitterly. "My daughter is not some savior. She's a five weeks old and she's barely holding her head up for two minutes. There's nothing she can do against You-Know-Who and I'll be *damned* if you're going to sacrifice my daughter!" His hand itched, it wanted his wand so badly, but the hand on his back started to rub soothing circles. "My daughter is mine. She's not anything special."

"We're checking all the redheads born," the man in the center of the board told him. "We know it's a prophecy of the future. We don't expect this war to go on that long this time, but if he comes back she might be important."

Ron snorted. "Do you honestly think any child of mine won't learn how to fight? After all the fighting I've done?" They shook their heads. "Then leave it to me. If it's her, then she'll be well trained by the time she's old enough to do anything. Until that point, I could care less if *everyone* in this room jumped in the lake or died. Do not come near my daughter." He turned.

"Ron," Percy said quickly. "They only want to know two things and to look at her. I'll have her the whole time," he assured him, giving him a hopeful smile. "I can swear that they won't harm her. If they try, you can kill all of us." The board members looked at him and Percy glared back. "Do you think he can't? With as long as he's already fought?" He looked at his baby brother again. "Please? Just a small check and then she's done."

Ron closed his eyes, squeezing them shut.

"Let them," Ares agreed. "Percy's not lying, he loves his niece," he advised.

Ron nodded. "Fine. Mum's got her somewhere near Dad's office." Percy hurried out. "Anything else you want to try and get out of me?"

"The father's name might be helpful," the man suggested. Ron glared at him. "If it's a delicate subject, we can put on there that you were raped, but no such note was made by your brother."

"That's because I wasn't," Ron said quietly. "Drop it."

"The records do need to be filled in, young man," the woman told him. "Otherwise there might be a horrible problem with her future children. Just think if she decides to marry another child by the same father."

Ron glared at her. "Go jump in the lake," he said hotly. "She's *mine*!"

"There's no lake here, young man," the head of the board said quietly.

Ron pointed to the left. "Go three miles that way, there's a river, it'll do just as well," he retorted. He stiffened as his daughter was brought in. Percy let him look at her before she was taken to the board's table.

"Relax," Ares warned, trying to calm the vibrating man down. "They won't hurt her. They need her too much."

The woman looked at her. "She is adorable, Mr. Weasley. We would hate to have to remove her from your care and send her to a more...appropriate family if you don't cooperate."

Ares appeared and took Ron's wand from his hand. "Why would you have to? Has he done something wrong?" he asked. They looked at him. "Didn't see me come in?" he asked snidely.

"Professor Arion," Percy said with a smile, looking a bit thankful. He handed over the baby. "Here, I believe you should hold her until Ron calms down again." He looked at his brother. "Tell them the truth," he said quietly, staring him down.

Ron walked around him, walking right up to the board's table. "Do you really want to know?" he asked snidely. They nodded. "My daughter is a product of blackmail. There's a very good chance with how much potion I got exposed to that there's more than one father, all because you couldn't teach your children to respect others and to not try and play power games." He laughed at the shocked looks. "Didn't happen when you were there?" he asked bitterly. "That is *my* daughter," he hissed. "No one else's. She has no other parent. She needs nothing from you. If you *try* to come near my daughter I will eliminate you. My daughter is the only thing that I care enough about to turn to the dark side, and I will succeed where that snaked-faced whiny asshole hasn't. Do you understand?" he asked in his coldest voice. They nodded. "Good. Now we're going to leave. I'm going to enjoy my afternoon while I make arrangements to watch my daughter when I go back to school this fall. Then we're going to take a nap. I had better not see *any* Ministry people near her. Go. Bug. Potter." He turned around and stomped off, taking his daughter from his favorite teacher's hands. "Sorry," he whispered before leaving him there.

Ares looked at them, shaking his head. "I would have hurt you." He removed his illusion, making two of the three members swoon. "You fucked up. Ron is the one who will live through this battle. He's the one I look out for. My champion is a bit pissed at you, I'd take that advice." He looked at the shocked Percy. "You as well," he noted.

"I adore my niece, Lord Ares," Percy assured him. "I'd never do anything to harm her. Ron knows that the only child that will ever come before her in my affections is one that I have. I'll protect her with everything I have."

"Good. Though I don't think it's necessary. I think Ron has that well in hand," he said with a smirk. He put his illusion back on. "Sorry, have to jet. Got a staff meeting to attend at the school." He disappeared, heading to the staff meeting. He landed in a chair and put his feet up, smirking at the stunned faces. "You mean I can't teach this year?" he asked.

"No, we'd love for you to come back," Dumbledore said with a smile. "We never expected you to attend meetings."

"I figure it's part of the job of being on the staff." He smirked at him. "Have you heard about this new prophecy?"

"Unfortunately," Dumbledore agreed. "Mr. Weasley?"

"Threatened to turn to the dark and destroy them all for coming near his daughter." He saw the disgusted looks and laughed. "You think he can't?" All but Snape shook their heads. "Then you have no idea what that boy is capable of. Not only has he proven he can fight, and that he has the desire to protect Tasha to his own death, but he is skilled enough to do it. With the extra boost the potion gave him, I'm surprised if he doesn't come back and be more powerful. Though I am back to take a special interest in the poor boy. I think he needs it."

Snape coughed. "What about that potion?"

"He got fed a whole ball. Strife ate three if that helps any." Snape grimaced. "It had ambrosia solution in it, Severus. Be thankful he's not one of *my* staff right now." The Potion's master looked stunned. "Yeah, so let's back off Ron and leave him alone for a bit. He's still got some swinging hormones and now he's paranoid." He looked at Dumbledore. "Has anyone figured out the downside to this potion?" Everyone shook their heads. "The fact that your arch enemy has now been handed a way to make his own offspring?" He laughed at the disgusted looks. "True, he's not what I'd want in my bed, but who said it'd have to be voluntary? Or even not among his top people? He could be having six or seven and you'd never find them all."

"The solution was destroyed and the book with the potion locked in Gringotts," Dumbledore said calmly, though inwardly he was flinching and shuddering. "Everyone has tested negative for more taint."

Ares held up a finger. "But Ron."

"But Ron," Snape agreed. "I doubt he'd be able to be captured."

"No, but who else knows that?" Ares asked. "No one was particularly careful with that information, including me." He shifted, crossing his feet on the table. "We're going to have to protect him and the baby."

"Then it's her?" Hagrid asked. Ares nodded. "Is that why you're here? To join the fight?"

"Yeah. Ron asked and offered me something I couldn't refuse." He grinned. "Besides, this is one of the worst sort of wars. The kind that could destroy the whole world and therefore my power base." He stood up. "Anything new that I need to be made aware of?" Dumbledore shook his head. "Same classroom?"

"If you'd like," Dumbledore told him. "I noticed you hadn't taken down your decorations."

"I thought I'd wait and see if you came to me for help first," he said smugly. "Pray for me if you need me. I'm going to check on the other side, see if they've got a single brain cell that they're sharing or if they've got three." He disappeared.

Snape relaxed. "What are we going to do?" he asked quietly.

"First, we'll make sure his office is clean, then we'll get a copy of this prophecy," Dumbledore told him. "Then we'll find a foolproof version of birth control for Mr. Weasley." He looked at the Potions Master. "That is your job."

"I'll look around, but nothing may work."

Dumbledore patted him on the hand. "Imagine him going through it again, Severus." The other man shuddered so he smiled. "Exactly. Find something quickly." Severus Snape stood up and walked away as fast as he could and still seem decorous. "The rest of us will work on the security for the school. It seems we may need it. Pay special attention to the nursery." He stood up and walked off, going to have a bit of a drink now. He needed it.


The school year was nearly there when the next bad thing happened. It was nearly enough to make Ron look up and scream 'why me'. The person he'd be screaming at was the cause of the problem this time so it probably wouldn't do more than irritate both of them. Though Ares deserved it for this. He glared at the paper that had just been put in front of him by his father. "We can't be sure it's her," he pointed out.

"Ron, there is only one child who can be sweet enough to be irritating that way," Arthur said as he sat down. "If it was anyone else, I'd have went to them. We checked and it's Tasha. She's going to somehow drive the Dark Lord insane enough for him to be beaten once and for all." He shrugged at the dirty look. "We don't know how. This is all that came through." He gave his son a faint smile. "It does say she'll be fine."

"I don't care! I don't want her near that sick monster!" Ron shouted, standing up. His chair tipped over behind him but he was beyond caring. "I'm taking my daughter and running away to find somewhere to hide her. Before someone like Percy gets a bright idea and decides it should be done today." He stomped off, going to rescue his daughter from his mother's influence and take her away. He stomped out of the house and headed down the road. The local village was small, but comforting. Halfway there, he looked up. "I'd give you anything want, but her!" he shouted. "Touch my daughter and die!"

Strife appeared. "Oh, really?" he asked dryly.

Ron glared at him. "I'm sure Hermione can find something in the library." He shifted his daughter. Strife held out his arms and Ron snorted. "Not a chance."

"I'm not gonna hurt her, just wanna cuddle. My own's not born yet." He patted his very round stomach. "Please?" Ron grumbled something under his breath but handed her over. "Thanks." Strife grinned at him. "I can promise ya it won't happen for at least three years." He held up a finger at the opening mouth. "She won't be hurt. Someone'll try but she'll irritate them so much that they'll end up giving up. Now then, we've got ta get you protected." He winked. "Go find the asshole. Unc said so." He disappeared, taking the baby with him.

"Get back here!" he growled, but Strife didn't come back. He ran for the house, pushing past the twins as he ran for the floo. For some reason, he sent himself to Diagon. There were more assholes there.


Draco Malfoy looked up as sparkling started beside his seat, then around to see who else had noticed. Apparently the pregnant man in leather was being seen by everyone because he was drawing a lot of attention. "Yes? May I help you?" he asked, recognizing him. "You got hit as well?"

"Very muchly," Strife said as he sat down. "Have you heard?"

"About Ron's daughter being the end of the Dark Lord's supposed sanity?" Draco asked. Strife nodded. "I had heard something about that actually. Is it going to happen now?"

"No, now we're protecting everyone." Strife looked up and groaned. "That's even worse." He shook his head and looked at the young man. "Listen, if I make you responsible for protecting them, what'll ya want for a reward?"


"Yeah, in payment like," Strife told him. Draco gave him a 'we are not amused' look. "Seriously. Think about it. Your kid's involved as well." Draco glared at him. "They will come for him, kid."

Ares appeared, brushing his sweaty hair out of his face. "Draco, I'm charging you with protecting both Potter and Weasley," he said firmly. Draco opened his mouth. "Keep it up and I won't introduce you to my sister for real." Draco clamped his mouth shut. "Will you behave?"

"For how long? I don't think I could put up with them for very long."

"We'll see. There's a move to take all three of your kids so they can be *useful*," Strife said with venom dripping from his voice. Draco looked at him and the ice that usually only Harry and Ron saw was in his eyes. "You wanna help yours, you gotta help the others. And then we'll reward you." He clapped him on the back and let his uncle help him stand. "Deal?"

"Deal," Draco agreed coldly. "What and where?"

"Your home for now," Ares told him. He took Tasha and stuck her to Draco's son, literally. "There." He held out a hand and another little girl appeared. "Here's Missy as well." He stuck her to the other two, this time on Adonis' other side. "There, now take them home and stay there until it's time to go back to school. I'll see you there."

"With any luck, I'll be on the train," Strife said with a pat for his stomach and a small moan. "I hate this part of this." He disappeared.

"How am I supposed to do things like dress them?" Draco asked dryly.

Ares shrugged, but he was smiling. "Improvise." He disappeared, going back to the Burrow. He tapped Molly on the shoulder, waiting until she looked at him to give her the message. "Repeat after me. The baby is safe. The baby is with the annoyance, but you have to stay there to protect her. You, your buddy, and him have to work it out for now." She repeated it, looking confused. "Good, now go tell Harry." He disappeared.

Molly gasped and went to call her husband first.


Hermione looked at her parents. "Who did you ask?" she asked. "There's not that many good wizards who can do such things, it's a dark art, mother! Besides, I don't want my child locked away from her skills. She's a witch, get over it. Please, before I drive you insane."

"Dear, it's not right," her mother pointed out. "This way will give her some protection."

Hermione snorted. "Mother, the wizarding world is at war! There's nothing that can protect her except decent parents." Her mother looked shocked. "Sorry I didn't tell you, but I knew how you'd react." She looked over as the fireplace discharged Molly Weasley. "Hi, Mrs. Weasley."

"Dear, there's been a bit of a complication," she said in her best motherly fashion. She looked at the other mother. "She asked a Death Eater, dear. A known one." Hermione gasped. "The baby's presently in protective custody. We need you to disappear and pretend that she's still with you for a bit." She helped the young woman sit down. "It really couldn't be helped this time, Hermione. The baby had to be protected. Harry will have her the whole time. Ron and Tasha will be there with the poor dear." The other grandmother opened her mouth and Molly looked at her. "This is the only way to draw attention away from your family," she told her. "Otherwise, your daughter and granddaughter may lose both of you."

Hermione stood up. "Mother, rent a flat somewhere and don't tell anyone," she ordered quietly. "I'm taking the 'baby' and leaving for a bit on a long trip. I'll need someone to get my school things," she told Mrs. Weasley, who nodded. "Then I'll catch up with Ron on the train." She headed for her room and the stuffed doll she had learned to change diapers on. Within moments she had everything packed and the 'baby' settled into a carrier. She walked out, handing off her trunk. "Please take this?" she asked.

"Of course, dear. I'll have Ron make sure it gets on the train," she said with a smile. She pulled the hat down over the doll's head. "There, best to hide the orange yarn. Have a nice trip and send an owl or two, Hermione. We'll be waiting on word to know that you're safe."

Hermione smiled at her. "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley." She kissed her mother's cheek. "I'm going to that little place that we loved last time. Can you call them?" Her mother nodded mutely. "Then do so and find a safer place to stay, mother. I'll be in touch as soon as it's safe." She hurried off, heading for the Underground. It was upcountry, but it was safe enough there. The seaside house was in her maternal grandmother's name and no one knew they owned it.

Molly smiled at Mrs. Granger. "We are sorry that it had to come to this, dear," she said, patting her on the hand. "We though Missy would be safe with you." She stood up. "Do pack now. It will be safer in the long run. They come in the middle of the night."

"Why didn't she tell us?" Mrs. Granger asked quietly.

Molly looked at her. "Think about giving that news to your own mother, and then telling her how you've been fighting since you started school. She was trying to protect you."

"Is this as bad as all that?" she asked.

Molly nodded. "In the muggle history books is a man named Hitler. Our own war is against someone much like him. He only likes purebloods." Mrs. Granger shuddered. "Your daughter was right. Do you need help finding somewhere for the night?"

"No, I have someone we can visit suddenly," Mrs. Granger said, standing up. "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, for explaining this to me."

Molly patted her on the arm. "Go to any owlry and pick up a howler, it'll make you feel better, dear." She went back through the floo, going to try and find Harry. She ended up apparating to those horrible Dursley's house and tapping on their front door. Mrs. Dursley opened it and she smiled. "Is Harry in? It's very important, about his daughter you know."

"He has a child?" Mrs. Dursley asked in shock. "Boy!"

Harry came out of the kitchen. "Hi, Mrs. Weasley," he said, giving her a hug. "Is it time for me to leave?"

"No, dear, well, technically." She frowned and sat him down, looking at him. "We've just had to move Missy, Harry. She's in greater danger than you thought." Harry scowled and Molly sighed. "The Grangers wanted to lock her magic away so they consulted with a wizard."

"That would be dark magic," Harry pointed out. Molly nodded. "Supporter?"

"High level Death Eater. Goyle." Harry shuddered. "So your wonderful professor came to help her. His exact message was 'The baby is safe. The baby is with the annoyance, but you have to stay there to protect her. You, your buddy, and him have to work it out for now.'" She gave him a smile. "I don't know what's going on, dear, but they got Tasha as well. Ron went running somewhere."

Harry stood up. "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley. Is the annoyance blond?" She shrugged. "Strife?" he called.

A little winged boy appeared. "He in bath," he said, smiling at him. "Whatcha doin'?"

Harry smiled down at him. "Bliss, did Ares put Missy with Draco?" Bliss nodded. "Thank you, you're a good boy." He gave him a hug then handed him off to Molly. "She needs to be happier. Her granddaughter is the same place my daughter is and she was looking forward to cuddling her tonight."

"I cuddle very well," Bliss assured her, giving her a hug.

"Yes, you do," Molly agreed, cuddling him. She watched as Harry left. "Whenever you're ready, I'll bring you to the Burrow and you can call him from there."

"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley."

"He has a child?" Mrs. Dursley asked again, still shocked.

Molly helped her sit down. "It was necessary," she assured her. "He and his daughter, along with my Ron and his little girl, will stop Voldemort." Mrs. Dursley shuddered. "I know, it's a horrible name, but you have to say it or it gives him strength." She gave her a small pat on the shoulder. "We'll be taking Harry for the rest of the summer. Who knows, maybe you'll get to see the little darling next summer." She smiled at the even more shocked look. "She's a beautiful little girl."

Harry jogged down the stairs, his trunk dragging behind him. He handed over a picture. "That's her, right after she was born." He smiled. "I'll see you next year. The house will still be protected while I'm gone. Feed Dudley a rat for me so I don't have to come back and do so," he said with a smile. He let her apparate them away.

"Potter!" she yelled, coming out of her shock. "No one touches my Duddykins." She looked down at the picture. The child was pretty. Looked a lot like her sister. She crumpled it up and decided not to tell her husband. He would go through the roof and his screaming would alert the neighbors.


Harry and Ron landed in Malfoy's back yard and stormed toward the house. They found the babies first, they were laying on a bed in the solarium, still bound together. "What the bloody hell?" Harry asked, trying to separate them.

"Ares did it," Draco said from his seat behind the door. It had been wiser to let them at the children before him. Both men looked at him. "I don't want you here, but I will protect you so they don't latch onto my son instead." Ron's mouth opened. "Do give it up now, it's not like you want to be here either," he said with a sneer.

"I was going to ask why there's a picture of your mother with my daughter," Ron asked, pointing at the one on the mantel.

Draco looked at it, then shrugged. "She was here earlier. I don't know why. I've locked her out of the house." He stood up. "Let me show you to the nursery." He rang a small bell and a house elf ran in. "Watch the children." He walked away, leading the other two up to their rooms, and the nursery. Their trunks were dropped in their rooms and the nursery examined like they thought something was going to jump out and bite the children. He was terribly amused. "Think there's live snakes?" Ron gave him a look. "It's not like I'd harm my own son," he said bitterly. "You can be sure the house is safe."

"Good. Will we get caught here for practicing defense?" Ron asked, turning to face his host. Draco looked stunned. "You feel about your son like I do my Tasha. I'll trust you that far."

Draco nodded. "Thank you. There's a shielded basement downstairs that I use for practice during the summers." He smirked. "Besides, those of us keeping our children are no longer considered underaged wizards and witches. I'd have thought you heard about that since your parents spearheaded the initiative."

"I did, but there's still some things that we'd be looked at for," Ron pointed out. He nudged Harry. "Why don't you cuddle Missy while I check out this basement and put on more shields."

"I layered six or seven protections myself," Draco pointed out as he followed Ron from the room. "It will take an army to get through here."

"Which is something that one side who wants the kids has," Ron pointed out. "The other has aurors, who are trained to get around such things." He walked to the front door and tested it, then smiled, laying a confusion spell on it.

"I hadn't thought of that," Draco said, slightly impressed.

Ron looked at him. "It pays to have nosy brothers and a sister who likes your things," he said smugly. He looked around, no owls. "Well, that's a nice change."

"They did it so we could change diapers," Draco pointed out, leaning against the wall. "What else did you want to add?"

"I was thinking a tripping hex," Ron said thoughtfully. "We can take it off for ourselves."

"But they'll have a counter as well," Draco pointed out.

"Yeah, but they're not thinking at our age level," Ron pointed out with a grin. "They'll think we'll be thinking at the fully schooled and more than thirty-years-old level. Which we're not." He grinned meanly. "Thanks to our little spats, we're both the best at annoyance spells. They won't be expecting those."

Draco looked really impressed. "I knew annoying you and Potter would come in handy some day," he said as he strolled away. "The other doors are this way."

"Coming." Ron followed, putting more confusion and other spells around. By the time they got done mining the house, any real adult would be in deep trouble.


Draco looked over as his bedroom door opened. "What's wrong?" he asked, using his wand to light a candle. Harry was holding the three fussy kids. "Come in." He groaned as he sat up. "Where's Weasley?"

"Dead to the world. If Tasha isn't right next to him, he won't hear her," Harry told him, walking over to put the threesome onto the bed. "There, your father," he said. The little boy sniffled and wailed some more.

Draco picked up the bundle. "Do stop that. There's no call for such noise," he said quietly. His son settled down but Missy Potter started to sniffle. "This is annoying," he announced. "This has to be Granger's influence."

Harry snorted and sat beside him to help hold the kids. "Did you hear what her parents did?" Draco shook his head, looking down at his son. "They went to Goyle's father to have the baby's magic locked away from her," he said quietly.

Draco looked at him, pity and shock in his eyes. "You let them live?"

"I got hustled out of my aunt and uncle's house before I could do anything," Harry admitted. He looked up. "I was going to yell at Hermione and see if she had anything to do with it."

Ron stumbled in, rubbing his eyes. "Sleepy or needing something?" he asked as he smooshed in between the other two, taking the kids to lay on his stomach. "Quit that or else I'm going to feed you nasty porridge tomorrow." The kids settled down to sleep on top of him. He grinned. "I'm good."

"Ron, did Hermione have anything to do with what Missy was going to go through?" Harry asked.

Ron shrugged carefully so the babies wouldn't move. "Not a clue, Harry. I'd doubt it. I think that was more her parents' idea than hers. She likes being a witch."

"She might have thought it safer," Harry offered.

Draco shook his head. "At this age, there's no difference between a muggle and a witch, Potter. He looked at his son. "Are you both staying in here? If so, I need to send for more pillows." His son belched. "Just because you're laying on him doesn't mean you have to act like him," he chided gently, stroking over the soft fur on the baby's head.

"That's not me," Ron said with a grin. "That's Fred and Hermione."

"She belches?" Draco asked, amusement in his voice.

"Yeah," Harry said, nodding. "Not that she admits to it, or pooting, but she does a lot of it."

"Never get trapped somewhere with her after a fish dinner," Ron said wisely.

"Or garlic bread nights," Harry put in. Ron nodded.

"Well, this will definitely be educational," Draco said, smiling now. "How do we want to do this?"

"They're napping on him, I say we let him hold them and we curl around him," Harry offered. He let Draco grab the extra blankets and pillows for them, but he was too busy watching the miracle that was his daughter. "Hey, Missy," he whispered. "Go to sleep." His baby yawned and looked at him. "Yes, hello. I'm still your father, no matter what Hermione's parents told you."

"She'll imprint on you soon enough," Ron said through a yawn. "Percy kidnaped Tasha for a day and she loves him now. Shouldn't take that long since you're a more decent sort." Harry snickered. "I still want to know how she'll make the Dark Lord lose his mind."

"By being her charming Weasley self?" Harry suggested. Ron shoved him. "Be careful."

"I am. This is how Tasha sleeps most of the time." He yawned again. "Malfoy, have you heard anything about that prophecy? I'd like to see a copy of it."

"You flatter me, but I only know it exists," Draco said from where he was laying. He reached over and smoothed a hand down his son's back. "You may not say his name in this house, Potter. There's a way for him to hear and get here. My father set it up and it works very well." Harry nodded. He yawned, they were contagious. "I know you're not afraid of saying his name, but not on the grounds. I don't want to turn around one day and have him standing behind me." He closed his eyes. "Sleep. He'll be getting up early. Likes to watch the sunrise."

"Tasha'll love that. She hates the light," Ron noted.

"I don't know what Missy likes," Harry said quietly, looking at his daughter.

"We'll find out soon," Ron assured him, giving him a faint smile.

"She'll probably be demanding," Draco noted. "A pushy little quim, just like her father."

"He's not pushy," Ron defended. "Harry's never been pushy unless he has to be."

"It's okay, Ron," Harry said, shifting closer. "Let him think what he wants. We'll be gone soon enough."

Ron shifted, stroking over Harry's back. "Only a bit until school."

"Yay," Draco said dryly. "All those lovely people who have parents who are taking care of their children while we struggle to do both."

"The twins said there's about nine of us who're bringing ours back," Ron told him, blinking hard. One of the babies started to suck on his shirt and he removed it from the tiny mouth before they could choke. "Don't suck on me, use your finger. They'll be coming back to watch them during the day and some nights."

"Hopefully we'll have less homework this year," Harry suggested. "I could stand using her throwing up on a few of my papers. Might make them better."

"I can't see Snape letting you go for that," Ron said with a grin. "He'll take off points and give you a bad grade."

"If he does it to me, he's in trouble," Draco mumbled, half asleep. "My mother will skin him this time."

Ron opened an eye and looked at Harry. "Relax, she's staying, Harry. You have grounds to remove her." Harry nodded and put his head on Ron's shoulder so he could get a better look at his daughter. "You guys sleep so we can." He closed his eyes again, his arms around all three of them. He hoped the nightmare didn't come back again.


The next morning Draco looked at Harry as he walked down the stairs in his oversized normal clothes. "Is that some sort of disguise? Because if it is, you need to hide the scar." He went back to reading the paper.

"It's not my choice," Harry said firmly. He sat down at the table and watched Ron hold up all the bottles with an arm. "Want a hand?"

"Nope, you get to do dinner," Ron said with a grin. "Missy likes sunlight, but not sunrise."

"If they'd unlock them, I could fix them up their own nursery," Draco pointed out, sipping his juice. "Eat, Potter, it's going to be a long day otherwise."

"I was thinking about reading our new defense book," Harry said as he grabbed some toast. Ron looked at him. "I wanted to know who's teaching it this year."

"Ares," Ron and Draco said together, then they glared at each other.

"He's coming back to help Ron control his hormones," Draco said snidely. "To make sure the little bottom boy behaves himself until they're sure he won't do it again."

Ron handed Harry the kids then pounced Draco, beating the snot out of him. When he was satisfied, he stood up and brushed his hair back off his face. Then he took the kids back. "Sorry, loves, didn't want you to have to see that yet." He walked outside with them, going to sit in the sun until he had control again.

Harry looked down at Draco. "Want me to ring for an ice pack or a towel?" he asked, handing down the napkins on the table.

"I'm fine," Draco said coldly, pulling himself back into his chair. "Where did he go?"

"Outside. He likes to sit in the sun when he's upset with himself." Harry sipped the juice in front of him. "You knew he was touchy about that, Malfoy. If you hadn't egged him on, he wouldn't have done that." Draco glared at him. "If we're going to be stuck here, we're all going to have to make some compromises."

"Does that include you getting into normal clothes?" he sneered.

"They're hand-me-downs," Harry sighed. "I don't get to choose my own wardrobe, my aunt and uncle think this is sufficient to clothe me and I have to put up with it. It's easier not to fight."

Ron walked back in. "What's your cousin up to now? Two, three hundred?" he asked as he sat down. He shifted his napkin over too so Draco could stop his bleeding nose.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you," Harry said with a smile. "He's boxing now! Won a regional championship or something." He waved a hand. "Still has to have backup to pick on little kids though."

"Wonderful," Ron said dryly. "A bully with skills." Draco muttered something. "What?" He looked at their host. "Did you say something?"

"I said most bullies have skills."

"Yes, but they're not able to use them without the fear quotient," Ron pointed out. "His cousin and my family have had a few run-ins over the years." He smiled at Harry. "He still scared of your wand?"

"Every time he sees it, he blanches," Harry said happily. "The minute I'm old enough, I'm doing something mean to him."

"Wouldn't that put you on his level?" Draco asked, clearly not understanding.

Harry looked at him, losing his smile. "No, in this case it's retribution for what he's done to me. You have no idea what you've just stumbled into so please stay out of it." He looked at Ron again. "Aunt Petunia was so shocked when she heard about Missy she forgot to throw a fit at your mum."

"Wonderful for mum," Ron agreed happily.

Draco slapped his hands on the table. "Then tell me," he demanded.

Ron looked at him, giving him his most bland look. "Harry's aunt and uncle are the worst sort of muggles. Not only would they have loved to do what Hermione's parents wanted to do to Missy, they would have enjoyed how much pain it caused him by laughing at him anyway."

"Ron," Harry warned.

"No, Harry, he deserves to understand. You're still having nightmares about them and their cupboard, it's going to be found out. I'm sure he won't be saying anything though. Will he, Malfoy?" He looked at their host again, seeing the confusion. "Ask me later when Harry's taking a nap with the kids. I'll tell you enough so you leave him alone."

"I don't want him to know, I don't need it spread around the school," Harry said warmly.

Draco glared at him. "I'm considering this forced cohabitation to be some sort of delusion once it's over with. Nothing that happens here will get out. The same as I know who the baby's fathers are and I'm not saying anything about that. I may be evil and cruel, but not even I can do some things like the muggles can."

"Oh, I don't know, if you were built like Crabbe and Harry's cousin, you might," Ron told him.

Draco looked at him. "I have brains, Weasel. That's a difference. Even if I were built like them I'd still have brains. At this moment, we're dependent on each other. I'd better get to know you both enough so I can depend on you to be there when necessary. If you're going to have something that you freak about, I need to know that as well. Do we have an understanding?"

"I don't like tight spaces," Harry admitted.

"I hate spiders," Ron told him.

"I knew both of those," Draco pointed out, relaxing some. "Now, should we worry about these relatives showing up, Potter?"

"They're happy to be rid of me for the next year," Harry said, keeping calm.

"If one of them shows up, look for it to be a trick, an apocalypse, or a trap," Ron said, shooting Harry a fond look. "It wouldn't be too hard to make Polyjuice to become Dudley. All you'd have to do is point and grunt."

"And whine," Harry added, smiling again. "He does that a lot." He leaned closer. "I was thinking about begging and pleading to have someone do that spell on him. Just to hear him whine about how swollen his feet are and how round his stomach is."

"It'd get to their press and come back on us," Draco said, shooting him a cold little smile. "Always use subtle torture, Potter. Something that debilitates but that won't impact another person's future and that no one else can find."

"Give him aching joints so he can't make a fist but make it normal to the doctors?" Ron suggested.

"That's a good place to start. Or, if he's a bully like Crabbe, let some of his activities get found out about. Crabbe and Goyle both have a fondness for sneaking into Ravenclaw, and when found out had to do some very nasty punishment," he said with a colder smile. "Then their parents were called."

"Is he the one who hurt that one girl?" Ron asked, frowning. Draco nodded. "Why?"

"Because he wanted to," Draco said with a slight shrug. "He's like that in case you hadn't noticed."

"Oh, we have," Harry agreed. He looked at Ron. "What's this about the Ministry and your girl?" he asked, handing over the paper.

Ron looked at the report and grimaced. "I need to call dad and have him stop that now, before I kill them all," he noted, handing it over. "They swear she's going to drive Fang-face bonkers. Said they were checking all the redheads born this year thanks to that vision. Pushed me to tell them who the father is, so I told them about the blackmail part and her possibly having more than one father." He shifted uncomfortably. "Ares was there. He helped me not kill them all."

"I don't think you have it in you to kill others," Draco noted, buttering some toast for himself.

"If it's about my daughter, I'll find something so dark it'll make your dad's boss shudder in revulsion," Ron reminded him. Draco looked at him and nodded. "They were warned. They'll listen or else." He put his wand on the table. "Harry, hold that for me." He stood up and walked out again.

"He'll be fine," Harry said at the confused look. "He's trying to control his temper.

"Why?" Draco snorted. "Have him let it out in a useful way." He stood up and went out to bother Ron again. "Go chop some wood or something. You laying there won't help." Ron looked up at him. "Really, it won't. Ares proved that to you a number of times."

"Where's the wood?" Ron asked quietly.

"Other side of the house. There's a large pile and an axe already there. Have fun." He walked back inside and took the children, taking them to the greenhouse to work with him. "Hopefully you'll have your grandfather's temper," he told Tasha. "He's much more calm and even in that area."

Harry walked out to talk to Ron while he did whatever. It would make him feel better.


Harry looked down at the kids, not sure what he was watching for but he felt he should watch them. He missed the sparkling going on in front of him, but it wasn't a Death Eater so he could relax. Draco did have protections on his house and they would hold against a casual assault. He looked up at the cough and smiled. "Good afternoon, Lady Discord," he said quietly. "Come to check up on us?"

She squatted down to look at the girls. "Ares can be an ass when his orders aren't immediately followed." She unstuck them. "There, that should make everything easier." She smiled at him. "How are you doing?"

"Not great," he admitted honestly. "I'm fighting with Ron-sized anger at Hermione's parents. I'm worried about Missy's future. I'm even worried that I'll have to help Ron's daughter get over his loss."

She patted him on the head. "He won't die, kid. We know he won't. The rest of you aren't so certain, but we know he won't." Harry nodded, slumping a little. "Make sure that the baby goes to a *good* family. If her mother gets hold of the baby again, it could very well end up just as dead as the family the Death Eaters got last night." Harry looked up at her again. "It's handled, kid, we're working on it with the people fighting the battles. For now, I want you to relax and concentrate on her and learning your shit. Next year is your time." Harry nodded, straightening up. "Good boy. Malfoy?"

"Baths." Harry stood up, letting her take Tasha to carry inside. "Draco? Visitor," he called. "The babies are unstuck."

Ron came racing down the stairs and snatched his daughter to hold, breathing in her scent. "You're a good girl, Tasha. Daddy's proud of how you managed to hold it inside while you were stuck." He sat down in a corner and held her as tightly as he could. The amused laugh made him look up. "Hi. Which one are you? Lord Ares said you were his sister but I'm not sure which one."

"She's Discord, Lady Eris," Draco said as he walked down the stairs, a towel wrapped around his waist. He took his son to look over. "Do you feel better now that you're not surrounded by girls?" Adonis patted him and settled in to cuddle. "Good boy." He bowed to his patron saint. "What can I do to serve you, Lady Eris? Some food, some drink, me?" he asked with a teasing smile.

"Kid, you're still underaged," she said, but she was smiling. "I like you. I'll have to remember that for later on." She walked over to where Ron was, kicking his foot. "Stand up and let me see her. I'm going to ward her since she's my son's and Aphrodite's." Ron looked stunned. "What?"

"She's going to be both of theirs?" Ron asked, holding up his precious one. He watched as she was carefully warded and handed back. "Thank you. Should I do something to help?"

"Learn your shit, pray a lot, and try to keep your temper in check. That's their best weapon against you, kid." She looked over Draco's body. "You're *how* old?"

"I'll be legal in six more months," he offered with a shy grin. She growled and grabbed him, kissing him hard.

"Thank you, Eris," he purred. "I can only hope to live up to your inspiration and expectations."

"You will make one hell of a toy," she told him, giving him a little shove so he backed off. "Behave or I'll have to start training you now." He smirked and sat down to cuddle his son, who hadn't complained at all. She looked at Harry. "You okay there, kid?"

"I'm trying hard not to get mad at her mother," Harry admitted. "She wasn't going to let me see my daughter." He grinned. "Can I keep her now?"

"What about the Dursleys?" Ron asked.

"I have money, I'll be a legal adult soon enough," Harry pointed out. "I can find a flat somewhere if I have to."

"Hopefully," Draco put in. Harry glared at him. "There's a housing shortage," he defended.

"Then if I have to, I can use my ill-gotten fame," he pointed out. "Or go muggle."

"That would be a shame, but I'm sure there'll be housing available to all of you. It's not like the Ministry wants to see any of your kids on the street." She smirked down at Ron again. "You're seriously willing to give up everything you've ever stood for to destroy them?"

He nodded slowly. "Over my daughter, yeah. She's the only thing that is important enough for me to go dark and stay there." Draco gasped. "I warned the Ministers who wanted to take her." He looked at Eris again. "If it were the rest of my family, I'd have no problem doing a suicide run because I know Harry'd take care of Tasha for me. If they touch my daughter, they're dying horrible deaths and I'll be standing there to spit on the corpses." Tasha sniffled so he kissed her on the head. "Calm down. Daddy didn't mean to scare you."

Eris gave him a warm smile. "You're good with her, stay that way. All of you." She waved as she disappeared.

Draco looked at Ron. "You're going to destroy the Ministry?"

"Over my daughter, hell yeah," Ron said warmly. "They're not taking her and they're not using her. If it happens, it does. If it doesn't and they try to force it to happen, they're history." He stood up. "What would you like to do, Tasha? Have some nummies? Go splash in some water? Take a nap?" Tasha patted at him. "Splashing it is," he said with a goofy grin on his face as he went up to his room and the bathroom in there.

"I'll have cribs moved in so the kids can stay with you," Draco told him. He stood up. "That's a wonderful idea. Let's wash those nasty girls off you, son. You're much too young to have girls glued to your side. You'll have to wait just like I did." He headed up to his room.

Harry checked his laughter to make sure it wasn't heard, but his daughter wasn't leaving his arms for anything for a bit.


When the day before school started dawned, all three men were safely in their own beds, and all three of the children were awake. So was the person wandering the halls. Ron woke first, it was the door next to his that was opened. His eyes popped open and he grabbed his wand, frowning at the walls. Someone was over there making a lot of noise. It was still early, even if it was their host, he was justified in beating the snot out of him. He slowly got out of bed, ignoring the creaking noises, and slid over to the door. He peeked out the keyhole, seeing robes. "Shit," he muttered. He summoned the other two kids, bringing them through the bathroom, and hid them in the closet. Missy woke up, but putting Tasha's finger in her mouth shut her up quickly. He carefully slid the door closed and turned, finding the doorknob turning. He leaned against the wall, out of direct sight, but ready for anything. The first person through that door was getting it for waking him up. He cast a pain hex, making the man scream. "Get out!" he yelled, running over to kick him. Then he headed into the hallway, taking on the others. He was grabbed from behind, but he fought with the strong arms around his chest, kicking backwards until whoever gave up with a grunt of pain and he could hex them as well. He ran for Draco's room, needing the help. Harry couldn't fight worth a damn when he was waking up.

Draco's door opened and he stepped out, dodging past Ron's flying body to throw a few hexes of his own. "Get out of my house!" he screamed, moving forward, Ron behind him, to fight whomever was breaking and entering. "I won't have you endangering my son's life like this!" He noticed a ball of light heading his way and ducked, conveniently forgetting to tell Ron to duck as well, but he figured Weasley could see it if he could. He cast another hex, making the man fall and scream in pain. "Out!" he roared, getting up to rush forward. He was caught but struggled bravely in the strong arms holding him. "Weasley!"

Ron cast another hex, getting that one to let go because of the whole body bind. "Take that!" he sneered. Someone started to clap behind him and he turned, wand already pointed at ..."Ares?"

"Nice work," he said with a smile. "Cancel them before Strife gets pissed. He's just a day post birth."

"Sorry," Draco said, ending all the curses. "We thought you were breaking in."

"Shows me you're not mine," Strife groaned. He looked at Ron. "Damn you kick like a mule."

"I'm stubborn like one too," he quipped with a grin. "Sorry."

"S'all right, I'll get feeling back sometime soon," Strife admitted, sitting up and rubbing his legs. "I guess you guys can skip right to the advanced fight training then." He looked at his uncle, then at the boys. "Where're the kids?"

"In my closet," Ron said. Draco hurried that way so Ron helped the God up. "I really am sorry, all I heard was someone tearing up the next room."

"I had to put the puppy somewhere," Ares pointed out, looking at his nails. He smiled when he saw the three kids. "Good morning. Are you going to overreact too?" Adonis wailed pitifully. "I see." He took the girls so Draco could comfort his own son, but Ron stole his daughter immediately. "Don't do that, I nearly dropped the other one."

Harry opened his door, rubbing his eyes. "Who's yelling?"

"Go back to bed, Potter," Draco said with an eye roll. "The crisis is over with."

Harry took his daughter and looked down at her. "Did you wander? You're not supposed to be able to do that yet." He yawned as he walked back into his bedroom and slammed the door.

Draco looked at Ares. "Was this some sort of test?"

"No, just a social call," Strife said with a grin. He summoned his son back, holding him out. "See, my baby boy."

"You're adorable," Ron told him, kissing him on the forehead. "You are going to be the envy of every single mortal. You're probably going to be cuter than Apollo is supposed to be."

"Don't say that, he's in a foul mood and he'll curse you so that you can't be healed," Ares noted. He looked down at his great-nephew, seeing the wetness dripping down him. "He did it again."

"Into every life, a little piss must fall," Strife said philosophically. He used his powers to clean and change both of them. "There, how's that?" A wet, squishy noise came from his son and he groaned. "That too, huh?" He waved. "Be right back. This is gonna stink up the whole house."

"Take him to the Ministry, to Fudge's office," Ron suggested with a grin.

"Ooooh, I like that!" Strife said happily, going to change that diaper there.

"Ambrosia does that to the people who eat it," Ares said dryly.

"I noticed that after I got dosed," Ron said in the same tone of voice.

Harry's door opened and he walked out, mouth already open. "Strife wanted to show off his new son," Ares told him. Harry nodded. "Need something to wake up?"

"Shower," Harry told him. He looked at his daughter, who was cooing at Ares. "Want to hold her? She seems to like you." He let his precious one be taken and went to take a shower. He came back a second later. "What crisis?"

"We thought they were breaking in, no big, Harry. Go shower." Ron waited until he heard the water come on to laugh. "He's like that most mornings. Missy's going to have a lot of fun with him."

"That I may have to remember," Draco told his son. "Yes, we will. That makes him such an easy target in the mornings."

"At least you guys got the point of the message and I won't have to *force* you to work together this year." Ron and Draco both glared at him. "Okay, maybe I will," he said with some humor. "It'll be necessary. The people who are coming for Tasha will want to kill Adonis. If they get one kid, the chances are good they'll get both." He looked at Draco. "Your father escaped."

"How?" Ron asked.

"He suddenly got ill again and they had to hold off his execution," Draco said bitterly. "I was looking forward to it, but *noooo*, they can't do that because he's sick!" He kicked the wall. "I'm going to have to kill him myself, aren't I?"

Ares shrugged. "Only if he comes for your son. As of this moment, the battles have slowed down. The remaining Death Eaters aren't that organized, but they're zealots. A few will want the school. A few will want one or both of you or Potter. As of this moment, you three will have to be a team. That was why I stuck the kids together."

"Harry and I work together already," Ron pointed out through a yawn. "If we have to, we can add Malfoy somehow."

Harry came out of his bedroom, still looking confused. "What's going on?"

"There's a planned attack on the school and we'll have to work together," Ron told him.

Harry shrugged. "Okay. Do we include Hermione?"

"Me as well," Draco told him.

Harry looked at him. "I figured that much out by myself, thank you." He took his daughter back. "Where did Strife go?"

"To change the baby's diaper in Fudge's office," Ron said with a grin. "Hey, Ares, can Fudge get the ambrosia out of it?"

"Only if he ate the contents of the diaper," Ares said, looking a little confused himself. "Why?"

"Because I'd love to see his face and hear him work out whether or not to do that," Ron told him with an evil grin. "Telling him and watching to see what he did."

Draco looked stunned. "That is so cruel. Not even my father would do that to someone," he said in obvious admiration. Ron grinned at him. "I'll have to remember that." He looked at Harry. Then at Ares. "Now what do we do?"

"For now, we're going to need you guys to pick up some specific things in Diagon. There's money waiting on you at the Leaky Cauldron in all your names, along with a list of things you'll be needing. Let Ron's mother watch the kids while you gather everything then come back here and pack. Get on the train like normal tomorrow and don't let anyone know. Got it?" The boys all nodded. "Good. Get dressed, eat, and go shopping." He disappeared.

Ron stood up, holding his little girl by the stomach. "Let me call mum, I'll meet you guys at the table." He headed downstairs, going to call home.

Harry looked at Draco, then at Adonis. "You're much darker than you were when you were born."

"I noticed," Draco moaned. "I'm going to hear no end of the shit once we get to school." He walked into his bedroom. "Ten minutes."

"Fine." Harry went back in to finish dressing his beloved daughter. She was so much his. She didn't care what she was wearing as long as she was surrounded by people who loved her.


Molly looked up as the head appeared in her fireplace. "Ron?" she asked happily. "What's wrong?"

"We're fine, but we need a sitter for a few hours, mum. Professor Arion suggested you." She laughed. "For all three of the kids. Can you?"

"Of course. I'll be right over. Is there something important going on?"

Ron nodded. "I'll tell you once you get here." His head disappeared.

Arthur Weasley coughed. "There is something going on, Molly, and no one's sure what. Do be careful."

"It's not like the boy's father is anywhere near his home."

"No, we have people watching the house and he's not been near there at all," Arthur agreed. "But I still don't trust that Professor Arion chap. Percy said he showed up at the meeting to look at Ron's daughter."

"Tasha is loved by him too," she said with a shrug. "He said he finds her delightful." She stood up and gathered a few things, including some juice. "I'm going to head over there. Maybe you should talk to your son, Arthur. If things are still that desperate, we might need him to fight."

"Molly, you know the prophecy the same as I do."

She pursed her lips. "And I know our son, Arthur. He's going to balk at anyone getting near his daughter. If he thinks someone's going to push the prophecy, then he's going to hurt people. His daughter will come before this battle."

Arthur gave her the saddest look. "It can't, Molly, and we both know that."

She frowned. "He's dead, Arthur, how is he coming back?" She walked off, going to help her son out. As soon as she stepped out on the other side, a baby gave a mighty wail, but it wasn't one she had heard before. "Well. That's a lot of noise for so little of a set of lungs," she chided, picking that one up. "Who're you, lovey? Yes, you can rest on my shoulder," she cooed, letting the baby snuggle in.

Someone coughed. "Don't let Strife hear you say that, he'll think you're volunteering to babysit whenever he has something to do," the deep male voice said from the corner. Molly looked back at him. "Sit, Molly, let's chat. You seem to have found the essential flaw." She sat, still cuddling the child to her chest. "Yes, there is a new Dark Lord. Lucius is going to be it." She hissed, frowning. "Yes, your niece will drive him insane, but not for a few years yet." He leaned closer. "She's going to do it as a three or four-year-old, Molly, not as an infant, and Ron realizes that as well. It's too bad others don't." He gave her a steady look and she nodded. He relaxed. "The real problem becomes that certain people will misinterpret the vision to mean it has to happen now. That if they take the baby and hand it over that it'll solve all their problems. In which case, the baby dies and Lucius is never stopped by insanity. That way leads to your youngest son going so dark that he'll kill Lucius himself, and take most of the Ministry with him over his daughter." She laughed and nodded. "He can. His anger is one of the greatest I've ever seen and you're the only other reason he'll lose it. He'll kill over the rest of your family, he'll kill horribly over you and Tasha."

"Do we need to keep her this year?"

"No, I don't think it's for the best. There will be someone in the Ministry who will come after her and end up destroying you in the process. Hence option number one." He grinned. "As of this moment, I'm trying to convince the people at the school to leave Ron's daughter alone."

"Surely Dumbledore can see sense."

"Sometimes, but he wants the fighting to end as well. He's a tired old man, Molly, and nothing can save her at the moment but a bout of common sense." She nodded, looking at the little Godling. "You'll hear things this year that will alarm you. Relax about them, Ron is in my service. He'll be fighting for the right side, but sometimes he'll have to fight the right side before something even worse happens."

"What about Arthur?"

"I can't talk to him, Molly. He's not a worshiper. He doesn't believe. Hell, even your son Bill doesn't believe that much." She nodded. "Remember this. It's not just Tasha who's in trouble. Missy is also in trouble. There are plenty of people who will try to harm Missy to get the old Dark Lord back, especially in these early days. There's a number who will harm Adonis because of who his father is."

"One of yours?" she asked, sounding hopeful.

"Eris'," he said with a smirk. She laughed. "They're a lot alike. That catty, snarky mean streak." She nodded. "For right now, the three have to be linked. Later, they can break apart. Hell, we might even have to link their fathers." He shrugged. "It might become necessary."

"Just as long as I don't have to hear that my son is sleeping with Mr. Malfoy," she said, giving him a knowing look. He chuckled again. "I do know how my beloved granddaughter came to be, Ares. I'm not naive. I even understand about the blackmail, Ron's not the first in the family that it happened to. I nearly got caught myself and I'm betting his lusty nature came from me."

Ares nodded. "Yeah, he did get caught with his pants down and a few guys around." Molly smiled, she had known it. "So that's how they blackmailed him, threatening to beat him and spread him out for the whole school to share."

"Ron is not the first slut in the family," she said wisely. "I simply don't want to hear about it if he bends over for Malfoy."

"I don't think it'll be necessary, but I'll try," Ares agreed. "Do you think he'll mind?"

"My son?" Molly asked with a snort. "I think he's about to get desperate for interaction of that nature if he's anything like me."

"I'll keep that in mind." He winked. "He's a good boy, Molly, but things will get hard for a bit."

"As long as he doesn't flunk out or die, I'll be happy with nearly any outcome. Especially if I don't have to come to a wedding at this house for one of my family."

Ares roared with laughter. "I can see both of their faces if that had to happen," he said through the laughs.

"Yeah, yuck it up," Discord said as she appeared. "I doubt my toy'd like that very much." She looked at Molly. "Your son is like you, and so is his daughter. Teach her the right way to go about it." Molly nodded, smiling and holding out the baby. "Nah, I've gotten to hold her all I want. Strife's napping. The others are in the solarium and my toy's mother is here again. How did she get past the protections?"

Molly blushed. "Narci and I used to pray together," she said as she stood up. "She took the path I didn't want." She bowed to both of them. "Yell at me if I may ever be of service. Within reason of course," she finished with a small smirk.

Discord laughed, letting her pass. "I like her. She's a lot like Ron."

"I know, and it's a good thing," Ares agreed, disappearing to check on the boys.

Molly walked into the solarium, smiling at the other grandmother. "Hecate helped you get in?" she asked.

"It is my house and I laid the protections so I could pass," Narcissa said, looking at her. "Who is that?"

"Strife's son. Newly born from the look of him." She let the other woman see her.

"Beautiful boy," Narcissa agreed. She looked at Molly. "I don't support Lucius, but I don't want to live in exile."

"If you hurt Adonis, your son will kill you."

"I know." She smirked at her. "We're working out a loving arrangement now that will allow me to live here during the school year." She looked down at her grandson. "I do wonder how he got so much color in his skin."

Molly looked down. "Lee Jordan." Narcissa gasped. Molly smiled. "It's the only possible answer." She sat down, cuddling the baby God gently. "You sleep, precious one."

Strife appeared and held out his arms. "He's had enough goo for the day," he said dryly. Molly immediately handed him over. "Thanks and all."

"He's a beautiful baby, Lord Strife. I wish him every skill and luck in the world," Molly assured him. "He's almost as beautiful to me as my own children and granddaughter is."

Strife beamed. "I like you."

She smiled back. "I'm glad. Please don't wreck my house."

He giggled. "I won't, but you wanna watch him now and then? Ares said you're good."

"I have seven children of my own, Ron is the sixth," she told him. "The twins were right above him."

"Cool," he said, nodding. "I'll pop around now and then. He'll need a strong mother ta tell him 'no' every now and then." He looked at Narcissa. "You're looking toasty if your boy finds you."

"I'll still be here when he gets back," she said calmly. "My son and I need to work a few things out." She smiled at Molly. "You always did get on better with their sort."

"That's because she never wanted more than a quick tumble in the hay," Strife said knowingly. He winked at Molly. "You behave, lover," he purred, then disappeared.

Narcissa raised one perfectly groomed eyebrow. "Him, Molly?"

"Not that I remember," Molly said with a smug grin.

"Yes, there would be those days that you managed to fuck your brains out."

"And I enjoyed every minute of them," Molly agreed. She stood up to get her granddaughter, holding her close. "Good morning, Tasha. How have you enjoyed this house?" The baby gurgled and sucked on her thumb. "That wonderful?" She sat down with her, getting comfortable for a long stay. "You don't hold yours?"

"Not without my son being here. He would kill me for that. I did enjoy holding yours yesterday, and even took a picture of it." She pointed at it.

"Hmm. I'll have to take that to show the girls." She grinned. "Are you coming back to the old ways, Narci? If so, we meet tomorrow night for dinner."

"I'll be there," Narcissa agreed. The door slammed open and her son strolled in. "Draco," she said with a fond smile.

"Mother." He looked at Molly. "You two used to play together?"

"We used to be in a coven to Hecate together," Molly corrected gently.

Draco looked at his mother. "Really?" She nodded. "Then what was father?"

"A very bad mistake," she sighed. "I'm not supporting him, Draco. You know I won't support him when he becomes the next Dark Lord." Her son hissed. "It will be him that Tasha will annoy to no end."

Molly cleared her throat. "Ares did mention that you and Ron were going to have to work fairly closely this year, Draco, and I ask that I not hear how close you get." He looked stunned. "My son has my nature and I know very well what he got caught doing. The same as I was before him." She gave him a sad smile. "I simply don't want to hear about you two getting that close. If it happens, I don't want details."

"Agreed," he said, looking confused. "I doubt it'll be an issue."

"Who better to understand the stresses of a new parent than one themselves," Narcissa put in gently. "You're both lonely and will be forced together. I will agree with Molly on that idea, I don't want to know particulars."

"Plus, I don't want to have to come here for a wedding," Molly offered. "Keep him as some naughty secret. It's better in the long run."

"Mother!" Ron said from the doorway, sounding shocked. "How could you think....!"

She laughed. "Ron, we should compare who caught us some day," she said quietly, smiling at him. "You got that part of your nature from me, son."

"Did Dad know?" he asked as he walked inside.

"No, dear, he thought I was a virgin when we married. I did the spell and everything." She smiled at him. "He only knows what he wants to know, Ron, the same as I do. In this case, I don't want to know about your sex life with him or Professor Arion. I've been there before and I don't want to inadvertently compare."

Ron's eyes opened very wide. "Okay, mum. Whatever you say," he said, backing slowly away from her. "Can I have Tasha back now?"

"If you want, but I'm enjoying teaching her womanly things. Ginny is very much her father's little girl."

"If you say so. Though I think she might like girls."

"That's not permanent," Molly said wisely, smirking at him. "She'll find a nice boy and make him a wonderful wife. Then she'll drive him insane once her sensual side is brought to the fore. Your father still has to beg for mercy."

"Mother, I didn't need to know that," Ron said gently. "Thank you for the warning."

"Of course, dear. Find a nice boy like Bill or Charlie to settle down with. Their personalities and yours would work very well together."

Draco shook his head, looking at Ron. "Is she always like that?"

"No," Ron admitted. "I've never seen this before." He looked at Draco. "This is scary."

Narcissa smiled at him. "It's true. Molly has always had very good taste in men. At one point in time she nearly took Lucius." She looked at her own son. "You could have been brothers."

"Mother, I will banish you from Britain if you utter that sentence again," Draco warned.

"Yes, dear." She kissed him on the cheek. "May I hold him?"

"Go ahead, as long as I'm here." He sat down by the door, watching the odd older women. "Think they're serious?" he hissed.

Ron nodded. "I'm afraid they are. If so, I don't want to touch anyone for fear of having to think about her and their parents." Draco nudged him so he looked at him. "What?"

"I doubt she slept with Potter's father or mother, they were supposedly an item back in their fifth year," he said with a smirk.

"Yeah, but Harry won't play. He likes fleshy and round things. People like my sister."

"Hell, if you sister gets the tits I think she will, then a lot of boys will like her."

"She's got better taste than you," Ron assured him.

Draco laughed. "Good. I don't like *good* girls." He smirked at Ron. "Wanna give them a free show?"

"No! My mother would kill me, and if she left anything, my father would finish it!"

"Only if he caught you in the act," Molly called. Ron groaned and hid his face against the wall.


The three fathers walked through the train station, one baby in a backpack, one baby in a stomach snuggler, and the most inexperienced father trying to juggle holding his daughter and push his trolley. One of the women from his house took Missy and Harry gave her a grateful look. "Thank you," he said with a bright smile. "She's a handful this morning."

"Not a problem," Ginny agreed. She walked through after Harry, handing her back as soon as Harry's hands were free, but stealing her niece instead. "Who's the little sweetheart," she cooed. "Aren't you adorable! Did your daddy dress you funny this morning?" Ron glared at her. "You dressed her in blue lace, Ron!"

"She's cute like that," he said with a shrug. "Besides, I *like* blue." He took his daughter back. "Get your own."

"Mum would shit bricks," Ginny said dryly. She pointed at the twin boys coming through the steam. "Here they are." She glanced around. "Where did Malfoy go?"

"To his own compartment," Fred told her, patting both girls on the head. "How are we this morning?"

"Fussy," Harry said with a grin.

"We've got a small nursery set up near the front if you needed us to watch them," Fred offered. "There's only the three of you though. Everyone else managed to make arrangements." He looked at Ron. "Adonis seemed awfully dark," he noted.

Someone cleared their throat. "I did it so the father wouldn't be embarrassed," Draco told him. "Your friend said he didn't want to know, so I made sure of it." He smirked at Ron. "Snape's on the train."

"Wonderful," Harry said happily. "He can tell me what I'm doing wrong with the formula then."

Draco rolled his eyes. "She's just particular, Potter. Nothing more than a spoiled brat moment." Harry glared at him but Ares had said to act normally. "He said he wants to see you two on the trip up."

"We'll be in our usual compartment," Ron told him. "Have him send one of the younger, tolerable ones back when he's ready for us." He glanced around. "Where's Hermione?"

"At the school already," George told him, patting him on the back. "She nearly got attacked yesterday so she ran for help. The Order put her up."

"Good," Harry said firmly. "She's still mine." He followed Ron back to their usual compartment, finding Ginny sitting in it. "Stealing?"

"I thought I'd pretty up the place, like Hermione usually does." She wiggled her fingers at the babies. "How are you, loves?"

"Mostly just cranky," Ron told her, settling himself in for the ride. "Both of them decided they didn't want to eat this morning, then the floo made them sick, and the cab ride over was even worse. I'm surprised Missy isn't still screaming."

"She's napping," Harry said quietly, putting her onto the seat as the train started to power up. "Hopefully she'll stay that way most of the trip." The compartment door opened and the twins walked in. "Now?"

"Now and he wants to see them both. He's been put in charge of watching over them for some reason," George agreed, sitting down beside his sister. "Don't have one of those, let Tasha be the only granddaughter."

She laughed and nudged him. "You'll have one some day," she taunted. "Mum'll curse you if you don't."

"Maybe, but we can wait," Fred said cheerfully. "Now, guys." Both boys stood up and walked out, taking the now-screaming daughters with them. "That was odd."

"Very, but I'm sure they'll handle it," George put in. "Ron seems to be an incredible father. I'm surprised that Percy's been allowed near her, but otherwise it's looking to be a positive thing for him."

"At the very least he'll learn to control his temper," Ginny agreed, getting comfortable. "Only those three?"

"Yeah, only those three. A few of the mothers decided to put off their next year for a bit," Fred agreed, ruffling her hair. "If you get stuffed up, we're killing the father."

George nodded. "Definitely. It will be horrible."

"I'll have to remember that," she said, but she was smiling.


Snape looked up as the screaming came closer, frowning. "I thought you'd have learned to handle that by now," he said calmly. Harry looked panicked. "Hand her here." He took Missy and looked down at her. "Stop that." She stared at him in shock.

"You're amazing," Harry breathed.

Snape looked at him. "I have siblings." He looked at Ron. "What's wrong with her?"

"Ear ache I think," he admitted. "The floo made her sick." He shifted her so he could sit down. "Why are you watching over us?"

"Because I was instructed to." He looked at Potter. "I know you're not used to this, but it will be all right to leave her with you?"

"I'm trying my best," Harry said glumly. "She doesn't like to eat from me and she only likes me when I give her stomach rubs." He sat beside Ron, slumped over. "I don't know what I'm doing wrong and not even Mrs. Weasley could figure it out."

"Has she eaten?"

"She eats from Ron," Harry told him, looking more and more depressed. "I can't get her to take a bottle from me."

"I'm using a different formula, maybe that's it," Ron suggested. Snape shrugged. "Mum makes it from an available formula."

"Your mother was always competent at household potions," Snape agreed. "I will get a sample to make sure it is safe." Ron pulled a bottle out of his back pocket and handed it over. So he sniffed and tasted a bit of it. "This seems fine. The chamomile in it is a bit odd."

"Mum said it was poisonous in larger doses but she only uses a touch to keep the babies calm."

Snape nodded. "That would be the most desirable use." He stuck the bottle in the baby's mouth and she spit it out. "You're not agreeable at all, are you?" he accused.

Ron handed off Tasha to Harry. "Let me see her. She's been having gas." He took the baby and laid her on her stomach across his lap, patting up and down her back. Missy let out a loud belch. "'Scuse you," he told her. "Let's see if you've got more." He picked her up and rubbed her stomach so gas came out both ends. "I'd say your tummy didn't like that other formula at all, my dear." He patted her back some more, burping her the usual way and she let out one last belch, this time followed by stuff. "Give me a cloth, Harry." He handed over one and Ron wiped her mouth, then handed her back to Snape. "Try the bottle now, she's got room for it."

"I'd say," he said with some amusement. He stuck the bottle in her mouth and she sucked hard, making happy sighs. "You are a lot like your mother," he said quietly. Harry and Ron both laughed. He looked at them. "I will be watching over all three children. Their health, their well-being, and your sanity are all now my concern. Not that I want this duty, but it was handed to me."

"I know why," Ron told him. Snape gave him a steady look. "They're trying to get Tasha, and the same people who want her will kill Draco's son and probably Missy."

"Very good. Did you actually threaten the Ministers?"

"Hell yeah," he said with a snort. "If they touch my girl, they're goners and I'll have a lot of fun laughing at their broken and mutilated bodies," he finished firmly.

"I see." Snape handed back the baby, watching as Ron took his own daughter back. "You are good with her."

"We get on," Ron agreed with a grin. "Anything else special going on, sir?"

"There may be a problem with your rooms. As you're the only three with children, it is being discussed. The other students might mind being woken many times during the night by piercing screams."

"Where's the nursery?" Harry asked.

"It's down in the twin's old room. They aren't being allowed to move."

"Could we get a suite near them? A room for Ron and I and one for the girls?"

"We'd never wake up," Ron pointed out.

"The only available room would be a four-room suite with a sitting area."

Harry groaned. "We'd have to share it with *him*, wouldn't we?" he asked bitterly. Snape nodded.

Ron shrugged. "Is it more secure?"


"What? It'd solve all the problems and we've proven we're not going to kill each other. It's not like he wants his father to take my daughter and I think his son's cute enough to look after at the same time."

"Still!" Harry said. "Staying with him is one thing, we knew it was going to end."

"It'll still end, Harry, we graduate at the end of next year if the world's still standing."

"I don't want to room with him."

"Fine, but that's the only way to keep your temper from being known about," Ron noted.

Harry glared at him. "You promised."

"What happened?" Snape asked.

"Mum said it was normal reaction to not getting any sleep," Ron told him.

"Standing next to the crib screaming 'shut up'?"

"Not quite. Stop it," Ron said with a grin. "I haven't had that yet, every time I started to lose it mum would swoop down and steal Tasha until I calmed down."

"We can cover for each other," Harry pointed out. "We don't need Malfoy."

Ron looked at him. "He's in the same boat, Harry. His mum might have come around, but his father's the next Dark Lord. The one who wants my daughter dead. Who do you think is looking out for Malfoy?"

"We are trying," Snape told him.

"Yay you," Ron snorted. "Do you even know where he is?" Snape shook his head. "Are we sure he's not animagus and isn't already in the school?"

"That we are sure of," Snape admitted, shifting some. "There are no animagus in the school outside of Professor McGonagall. The wards tell us when one enters."

Ron looked at him. "Do they cover that basement entrance into the forest?" Snape looked shocked. "My brothers know every exit out of that school, professor, they've shown us a number of them."

"Really?" He considered both boys. "That would explain some things that have shown up in your house."

"Yeah, but they've graduated," Ron said smugly.

"You have not."

Ron looked at him. "Prove it," he said with a grin.

"That you haven't graduated?"

"That I brought any of that stuff into Gryffindor, or even the school," Ron offered.

Snape laughed. "Do you think I need it?"

"To kick me out, hell yeah," Ron told him, straightening up. He grinned again. "With that said, you don't have to see me this year."

"Good point," Snape agreed. "I think we'll get along better without common interaction." He looked at both girls. "I will expect to see them once a week to check on them. You are to come to me if you have any problems for any reason." Both boys nodded. "Dismissed." Harry stood up first and left, letting Ron gather up Tasha's blanket. "Weasley, do behave," he said quietly. "Your temper will be the determining factor to your daughter surviving to see her own graduation."

Ron gave him a steady look. "I know. I also know that there are times when it's justified. I'm working on it with Professor Arion."

"Then you know not to call him by his real name in the school?"

Ron grinned. "I figured if he wanted everyone to know he'd have introduced himself," Ron said smartly. He stood up. "Anything else?"

"Let me see her ear." He looked in the pinkened ear. "I'll give you something to rinse it out later."

"Blue squeezy ball?"

"That would work," Snape agreed. "Your mother has prepared you well."

"I figured that one out myself. Like my mum, I'm an almost natural parent." He walked back to his compartment, sitting down but handing the twins his daughter. "I've got to sweep her ears tonight for floo grit."

"I'll help if you want," Harry agreed. He looked down at his own daughter. "Can I really do this, Ron?"

"I think you'll be smashing at it," Fred assured him. "With a little help at first of course."

Ron looked at the twins, then at his sister. "I wonder if they realize that they're going to start walking by the time we're out for the summer?" Both twins shuddered. "And they'll be toddlers next year."

"We may run and hide with Charlie if it's as bad as you were, Ron," George told him. "The second time mum pulled the teapot off your head she swore she was going to drop you off somewhere."

Ginny looked at the twins, stealing her niece. "How many times did he do that?"

"Seven or eight until that one broke and mum made sure the next one only had room for an arm," Fred noted. He grinned at Ron. "You'd better hope your daughter isn't the hellion you were."

"Oh, but why?" Ron said with a nasty grin. "I'm looking forward to seeing you run after her."

"Yeah, but you'll have to do it too," Harry pointed out.

Ron shook his head. "She'll behave for me." The twins laughed. "She will. I'll train her to misbehave for you two."

"I'm not sure that's possible," Ginny told him, "but I'm willing to help." She grinned. "So, what's on for tonight?"

"The usual. A bottle. A nap. Another few diapers." The door opened and Ron looked over. "Hey, Neville. Come in." The other boy walked in and Ron let him hold his precious one. "As long as I can see her," he told him.

Neville nodded, burying his face in the little girl's red hair. He missed his own daughter.


Ron looked up as he entered the Common Room. Everyone was staring at him and his daughter. "What?" he asked.

"Ron, we don't want to offend you, or get beaten up," Seamus said gently, "but we can't take a screaming kid at two in the morning. Some of us had enough of that at home."

Harry walked in and frowned. "What?" he asked.

Ron looked at him. "They're objecting to middle of the night feedings," he explained.

"Missy's pretty good about going for dawn ones," Harry offered.

"Still," Neville agreed, giving them his best 'sorry' look. "We won't get anything done with them screaming, and most of us heard one of them screaming all down the train earlier."

"That would have been Missy," Ron agreed with a smirk. "She's been a bit fussy recently."

"I wonder why," Hermione said dryly. "May I?"

"That depends on whether or not you're going to call someone to harm her again," Harry said angrily.

"That was my mother and you know it," Hermione countered. "I had no intention of locking her away from her natural abilities. I didn't want to see her hurt and I did argue with my mother about that, Harry." She took her daughter from his arms, so Missy opened her mouth and wailed as loudly as she could. She didn't like being woken up! "I see Ron's already infected you with his morning personality," she said dryly.

"She's just gotten comfortable with me," Harry said, taking her back. Missy quieted with a few remaining pitiful sniffles and rested her head against her father's chest. "There, there, love, it's all right. She's not going to hurt you if I have any say in the matter." He sat down on a couch, looking at everyone else. "Do you want us to ask to have a different room or what?" he asked finally.

"We don't want to kick you out of the tower," Neville said quickly, "just out of the room, guys. We're sorry, but we've got to sleep sometime."

"We understand, Neville. Those of you who gave your kids up for adoption or who have parents who're raising them haven't been exposed to normal baby behavior," Ron agreed. "If someone could go get McGonagall, we'll figure it out tonight so no one has to wake up with us."

"She's on her way up," one of the new seventh year females told him. "Can we still come play with the kids?"

"All the time," Ron agreed. "I trust you guys not to hurt her."

"Ron," Harry sighed.

Ron looked down at him. "I can't say the same for everyone, Harry. You *know* there's people who'll hurt her because of that bloody prophecy and I don't want to have to kill someone this year over it. Next year, maybe, but not this year."

"What prophecy?" Hermione asked, sitting next to Harry. She looked at her daughter, who was back asleep. "She never did that for me."

"I've got comfortable shoulders. Tasha does the same thing," Harry admitted. "Ron, you still think it's a formula thing?"

"She eats for me," he said with a shrug. "We'll try it tomorrow." The portrait door opened and McGonagall and the Headmaster walked in. "Have they told you this stuff yet?"

"Yes, they have, and I have to agree that it would be disruptive to be woken every night," she agreed gently. "There's only a few rooms open, and only one that would fit you both."

Ron slumped. "That suite?" she nodded. "Can we at least lock it off so we don't have to bump into each other?"

"That would be acceptable," the Headmaster agreed, smiling at both parents. "How are we doing?"

"Fussy," Harry told him. "She's not liking the formula."

"She didn't like the one mum gave her either," Hermione told him. "We had to force feed her a few times, Harry."

"She eats the one mum prepares," Ron butted in. "I've got an extra bit of mix and I'll write mum in the morning to get her to make double from now on if you'll start paying her for it." Harry nodded quickly. "That should fix that." He looked at the two adults. "What about the common room?"

"You'll be allowed in the tower, Mr. Weasley," McGonagall said firmly. "We're not kicking you out of the house, simply the dorms." She smiled at him. "Come along, I'll show you to your new rooms. They're down by my classroom so I know you won't be late any longer." She led them away, going slowly enough that everyone had time to pat the children before they left. She smiled as they caught up. "It really is for the best."

"I know," Ron agreed. "Though my grades may slip."

McGonagall leaned closer. "Read her your homework, young man, it will be just as useful as a story at that age. She won't know the difference." Ron grinned. "Good boy." They continued down the hallway, stopping in front of a painting of a vase of roses and a puppy. "Here we are. Knee nibblers." The portrait swung open. "This goes directly to your side," she informed them as she walked inside. To the right was a heavy door. "That goes to the common area both you and Mr. Malfoy will be sharing. I believe he'll be asking to transfer tomorrow if his house doesn't kill his son tonight. I believe he's having a bad night since his favorite toys aren't with him at the moment." She smiled serenely. "As you can see, you've got a small nursery," she said, pointing at the half-room with the bassinets in there. Off to the other side was another room with two beds. "Through the white door is a direct link to the Prefect's bathroom." Both boys nodded and she looked at Harry. "I'll expect you not to abuse the privilege."

"She hates bathing," Harry told her, then shrugged at her astonished look. "She doesn't like water."

"Tasha loves it but I think I can keep her out of it most of the time so the others can use it," Ron assured her. He walked into the nursery and set her in the bed with her teddy bear. "There you are, how's that? Just as nice as Grandmum's."

Tasha yawned and looked up at the ceiling, which started to move. She reached up and cooed. Apparently it was good for her.

Harry walked in and looked up. "That's rather sickening to watch," he offered, laying his own daughter down. She sniffled and snorted, but the ceiling caught her attention as well. "I guess it works."

"Probably hypnotizes them somehow," Ron told him. He walked back into the small entryway. "Are the rest of our things already down, ma'am?"

She nodded. "The house elves knew this was going to happen and they've already put your trunks in the bedroom section. Do you want to lock the common room door?"

"Please," Harry agreed. "I'd rather only have visitors if we agree, not just to walk in."

"That's understandable." McGonagall looked at Ron. "I have heard of the prophecy, and while I don't understand, you shouldn't have to worry about anyone around here." Ron snorted and crossed his arms. "Really, we would never harm the child that may well be our salvation."

"Yeah, but who'll force it to happen before she's ready?" Ron asked. "My own father was all for her doing it now, Professor, I'm not trusting anyone with her out of my sight, save Professor Arion, because he *knows*." She nodded slowly. He smiled. "You're more than welcome to come cuddle her all you want though."

She laughed. "I'll have a chair brought up for this space." She looked at the children. "Or two, in case they both wake at the same time. Try to get some sleep, boys." She walked out, leaving them alone.

"Ron, she's not going to harm her," Harry pointed out. Ron simply looked at him. "I don't think she'd be one to try and force it on her."

"No, but I had to make my position known now, Harry. I'm not going to risk it. I know she won't hurt Tasha, but I won't let *anyone* near her without my say-so and me standing nearby."

"You're being paranoid."

"Which means she'll be safe." Ron ended the conversation by walking into their bedroom to start unpacking. He found a small cloth bag and opened it, smiling. "Dobby left you stuff for Missy. Did you want the bed by the window?"

"Please," Harry agreed, walking in to look at the bag. "Those are so cute. Baby socks." He carefully tucked the into Missy's drawer of stuff, then unpacked his. "Ron, you're not going to make me guard her, right?"

"No, I know you're not going to hurt her, you've been in her spot," Ron pointed out, laying down on his bed. Harry looked at him, sitting on the edge of his bed. "You know what it's like to have great things expected of a little kid, Harry, and I trust you not to do anything to her that you would have hated being done to you." Harry smiled and nodded. "I'm going to sleep, she'll be getting up soon."

"Sure, Ron, I'll keep the lights low." Harry went back to his unpacking, making sure everything was somewhere he'd expect it to be when he was half-asleep. Even the diapers, which went on top of the dresser, had nothing in front of them. Missy liked to get him up all the time.

"Hello?" an unfamiliar male voice called.

"Coming," Harry called back, walking out to look at the big blond with wings. "Yes, Lord Cupid?" he asked quietly.

"Hey, we wanted to check on the little girls, can we?" Cupid asked, pointing at the baby on his back.

"Sure. They're watching the ceiling spin," Harry agreed. He watched as the God of Love walked into the nursery and took off the backpack so his son could look at the girls. "Does he like them?"

"He thinks other babies are fascinating," Cupid admitted with a grin. "This is a really neat ceiling. I'll have to show Strife so we can put one in. It's like a big mobile all by itself." He looked down at the sniffling. "What's wrong, son?" His son lunged, landing next to Missy, which made her start, but she apparently liked him because she closed her eyes and pulled up a thumb to suck on. "I know, it's all new," he whispered. "You're safe and loved, Missy. Just relax, it'll be normal soon. Your daddy loves you, even though he's still anxious." He stroked over her stomach, making her grunt. "Hmm, gas. Do you want burped?" He picked her up and burped her, making her fart. "Did that feel better?" he asked.

Harry grinned. "She seems to need a lot of that." He shrugged when Cupid looked at him. "We've got to do that all the time for some reason."

"It's probably her old formula." Cupid handed her over. "You can also do that over your lap. Try it now and I'll help. Bliss used to have some bodacious gas. Blew himself up once because Strife taught him how to light them." Harry giggled and sat down, resting the baby across his lap to pat her gently up and down the back. Missy belched up some spit-up and he wiped it off with his t-shirt, but she seemed happier. "Good job, Harry," Cupid congratulated. He took her back and put her back in the crib. His son curled up next to her, sucking on her ear. "Don't get too attached, son, she's still a mortal." His son glared at him. "Oh, no, you're not pulling a Strife and attaching yourself to a mortal family. I will not allow you to bother them all the time." He picked his son up, making him cry. "Stop it or I'm giving you to Grandmother."

Strife appeared and stole his son. " What's wrong, pookie? Is he being mean again?" He rubbed noses with his son, making him coo. "Did you want to stay with the pretty girls?" His son cooed again. "How about we see them tomorrow? During class?" His son settled against his shoulder. "Don't threaten him with your mother, Cupe, that's mean." He waved at Harry. "How's Ron?"

"Sleeping," Harry told him with a grin. "I don't mind if he curls up next to her sometimes. Ron's the paranoid one."

Strife nodded. "I can see that. Plenty of people think she'll fix the newest Dark Lord this year instead of as a toddler. There's even a few who're willin' ta throw her at Lucius so it'll happen sooner." He shrugged. "I'd be paranoid too." He disappeared.

Cupid shook his head. "I don't know what'll cure him except time, Harry. Talk to Pop, but I think he and Strife are going to stick up for the paranoia this time." He waved and disappeared, leaving behind some flower petals.

Harry got up to check on the girls then went to get ready for bed. It wouldn't be too long before Tasha woke them both up.


Ron walked into breakfast, his hair sticking up, his daughter under one arm, his bookbag over his other shoulder and a bottle in one hand. He sat down, sticking the bottle into a bowl of water beside his plate. Tasha made snuffling noises. "Let it warm or you'll have a belly ache," he warned. He picked up his juice, which someone filled for him. "Thanks." He waved her hand. "Say good morning, Tasha." She blew a spit bubble. "Good girl." He sipped his juice and slowly allowed himself to wake up. "Schedules out yet?" he asked.

Hermione handed him his. "Here you are, Ron. You have Defense first."

"Goodie," he said through a yawn. "Wonderful. She can nap in there." He tested the bottle and stuck it in her mouth. "There, you eat so I can." He settled her better in his lap and picked up the eggs to dish himself out some. A loud scream made him jump, but one arm went around his daughter to keep her still. "Stop it," he called. "You'll set Tasha off."

Malfoy looked over at him. "At least she got some sleep. Adonis got pissed because his favorite toys weren't unpacked." He yawned and looked around the tables. "Where's the other screaming infant?" he called.

"Still sleeping. Missy's liking this new bassinet." He grinned. "You might want to catch him."

Draco looked at his son, then put him upright, wiping his face for him. "Don't do that, you're not ready to eat sausage gravy yet." His son wailed so he sighed and put some on his finger, letting his son suck on it. "There, better?" His son sucked contentedly. "Thank you."

Pansy looked at the baby with disgust. "I had no idea they were that nasty and whiny," she said meanly.

Draco slapped her. "My son is perfect, as opposed to your attitude. Do not talk about my son again or find yourself hexed."

"Enough," Snape said from his seat. "Mr. Malfoy, gravy is not an appropriate breakfast for your son." He watched as the finger was removed and replaced with a bottle but it was spit out and the baby sent out the most pitiful sounding wail. "Try it again." The bottle was replaced. It was spit out again and the crying got louder. Draco brought him the baby and the bottle, handing them both over with a smile. "I am not the father."

"No, you're the interested party who thinks he can make him eat when he only wants to play," Draco retorted, going back to his seat.

Ron snickered. "I think he's wanting a pacifier, sir," he called. Tasha spit out her bottle. "Sorry, love, I'll pay more attention to you than to the other baby." She accepted it back and started to suck, watching the blurry things across the table from her move. "Good girl, Tasha."

Harry stumbled in, mostly dressed correctly, except for his pajama shirt being on under his robe, and flopped down, letting Missy play with the food on his plate. He mumbled something that could have been 'morning' and put his head down on his arm.

Ron looked down at his daughter, who was starting to fall asleep again, then took Missy from Harry's hands. He protested. "I've got her. You wake up," Ron told him, settling Missy on his lap as well. She received the half-empty bottle and sucked greedily at it. "There you are, lovey, you eat your nummy food and we'll go to Defense in a bit." She waved and thrashed. "Calm down. Don't knock Tasha off or she'll beat you up when you're both older." He settled them on his lap then looked at his plate. Someone handed him a piece of toast, and he bit down into it, nibbling as he chewed. "Fanks," he said through it.

"He should be taking care of his own," Snape called, smirking at Ron when he looked at him.

Ron spit out the crust. "He's asleep again. Tasha was a bit fussy last night, Professor. We're fine. Harry, wake up," he said, kicking him. "Before you lose points for napping."

Harry mumbled something and switched sides, patting his lap. His head came up and he looked around in a panic. He saw his daughter and sighed, putting his head back down. "Thanks, Ron."

"Eat something," Hermione snapped. "You'll need it before lunch."

"It's not like we're breastfeeding," Ron pointed out. She shuddered.

"That might cure her gas problems," Neville offered. "My Grandmother had my aunt, who was nursing, feed my daughter as well. She seemed to like it a lot more than the bottle."

"She would. Nursing is how it's supposed to be done," Hermione started on a lecture.

"Enough," McGonagall said as she walked up to them. "May I take one up to the table?"

Ron looked at her. "Which one did you want?"

"Either's fine, just so you can eat. We'll get cradles in here for the table by tonight," she told him with a smile.

"That'd be wonderful!" he agreed happily. He handed over Missy. "Here, she's still needing more time with the teat." She nodded and went back to her seat. Tasha was asleep against his arm but he could eat this way. He nudged Harry again, making him wake up this time. "Cute jammies, Harry," he said with a grin.

"Your daughter needs to learn to sleep longer," Harry said quietly. "Before I never sleep again."

"You've got a free period today, take a nap," Hermione told him.

Harry looked at the parchment, then shrugged. "I think I have an arranged class in there."

"Probably, but Ron has the same one," she pointed out. "Plus, you have another one later this week."

"Wonderful," Harry said, starting to yawn.

"Harry, you've only got twenty minutes to eat, change your shirt, and get to class," George said as he walked in. He looked at his niece. "The nursery is in our old rooms. Give."

"Bet me," Ron snorted.

"Now," McGonagall called. Ron grumbled something but handed her over. "Thank you."

Fred came in with a carriage and the kids were all put into it. "They'll be in the nursery, you can come down during your free times," he announced as he walked them away.

Ron opened his mouth. "You may not have them in class, Mr. Weasley," McGonagall informed him. "It will be disruptive to the other students and the teachers."

He mentally battled it out but the little voice that seemed to appear a lot recently noted that she was right, but he could still bring her to see Arion today. "After Defense, Professor Arion wanted me to bring her today," he told her. George handed her back and left He grinned at his daughter. "Would you like to see the big guy? The one who held you right after you were born?" She blinked up at him. "Yeah, him." She yawned and snuggled in. "Good girl." He finished eating and stood up, remembering his schedule at the last moment before leaving. He walked down to Defense, meeting his teacher down there. "You wanted to gawk at her some more?" he asked.

"That too. I wanted to make sure she was all right," Ares admitted, looking at the little darling. "Hello, little one. Did you want to sit with the grandson today?" She opened her eyes to look at him, blinking a few times. "Yes, it's me." She let out a loud wail. "Don't do that." He took her, holding her up so he was looking into her eyes. "Stop that." She stopped fussing and looked at him, pulling a thumb up to suck. "Thank you." He put her down into a carrier on the desk, letting her face the little boy. "I'm babysitting," he said to the woman walking in. "This way he has someone to look at." He looked at Ron. "Your free period today is with me, for better fighting lessons." Ron beamed. "They're private lessons and I'll expect you not to waste my time, Ron." Ron nodded eagerly. "Good boy. Go sit. I've got her." Ron went to pick his seat. "Did you need something, Minnie?"

"I wanted to know why she was so calm for you," she said quietly, glancing at the door. "She's never calm for anybody."

"She likes him," Ron put in. McGonagall frowned at him. "Sorry, ma'am, but he did hold her just after she was born. She remembers him."

"She first threw up on me," the Defense Professor agreed, smiling at her. "Don't worry, I'm watching out to make sure no one forces her to her destiny too soon, Minerva. She's more than safe with me. As are Missy and Adonis. Relax, I've got it," he said, making it a compulsion. She nodded and patted both babies on the head before leaving them alone. "You are a paranoid father," Ares pointed out, sitting on his table. "She's not going to partake in the forcing."

"No, but some of the other teachers might," Ron pointed out gently. "I'm not having her hurt. If I have to run somewhere and hide with her until she's old enough to defend herself, or to start school, then I will."

Ares chuckled. "I know you will, Ron, that's why we trust you to raise her yourself." Ron beamed. "Let's get down to business. I will expect you to work in your private lessons. You need the help fighting." Ron nodded, agreeing easily. "You're not going to defend yourself?"

"You clearly let me win all last year, sir, I know I'm not up to full standards." He leaned on his elbows. "The same as I know that most of your other students have started a lot younger than I have with lessons. I'm all for learning though, and I could use the outlet before I start to scream at her in the middle of the night because she won't let me sleep."

"Very well reasoned," Ares admitted. "Though you're right, you do have a *lot* of work to do to make it up to my standards. First, we're going to start you boxing. I think it will be the most beneficial in today's society. Then we'll work on hexes and the like."

"She'll hopefully be very quiet in the library," Ron agreed.

"Good boy, Ron." Another student walked in. "Sit, you've got ten minutes."

She walked up to the babies on the table and cooed. "You are so adorable!"

"Don't stick your finger in her mouth," Ron warned. She looked at him, trying to give him a pathetic look and failing. "I don't know where it's been, I only allow recently cleaned things in there. Besides, I don't need her to start to crave brekkie yet, she's not ready for solids."

She shrugged. "Fine, Ron." She looked at the little boy. "You're adorable too. What's your name?"

"Inspirion," Ares told her. "He's the son of my messengers. They're sleeping in today so I thought he and Tasha would keep each other occupied." He glanced at them. "Good, they're both going to nap."

Ron beamed. "I love it when she naps."

"I'm sure you'll love it more when she starts to sleep through the night," Ares pointed out. Ron looked stunned. "Yes, she will do that soon, Ron."

"Good. I'd like that," Ron agreed, nodding. Harry wandered in. "Tasha's keeping Inspirion calm."

"Brilliant." He sat beside Ron, then looked at the two babies. "Is that the one we saw last night?"

"Yes," Ares noted.

"We saw him last night?" Ron asked.

"He came to play with Missy. Calmed her down."

"Oh." Ron shrugged. "Good for him. I'm all for Missy starting to sleep through the night too." He saw Fred go running past. "We're in here," he yelled, making everyone jump.

Fred jogged in. "Missy's refusing to stop crying, Harry. She's also refusing to finish the bottle."

"She's got bad gas, you might try burping her," Ron told him. He looked at Arion, who nodded. "I'll come help." He and Harry walked out, trailing behind Fred, following the pitiful crying that had all the students gathered in the hallways. "She's got an upset tummy," he said as he pushed through the crowd. "She does this a lot." He walked in and picked up Missy, burping her. She let out a belch and the kids outside the door sighed in relief. "Gee, you're already popular, Missy." He patted her back some more, letting her get more out. "She's got her mother's stomach problems," he told the twins. "You'll want to try this first, then check her diaper." He got one last dainty burp out of her and handed the baby back. "There we are."

Harry snatched her to hold, making her finish calming down. "There we go. You've got a good stomach again and now you can sleep." He heard a familiar noise. "Or get changed, either one," he agreed, handing her over with a grin. "You'll want to change that now, before she gets a good head of steam going and decides to do the other too." He tugged on Ron's arm. "Let's get back to class. Did you remember to bring anything down for Tasha?"

"It's all in my bag since I was expecting to have her all day," Ron pointed out. "We'll pop around after class to hand her back." He walked out, heading back to class. "All fixed," he announced. "A few good belches and she's fine."

Arion laughed. "Most babies have some version of that problem," he agreed. "Sit, boys." Ron sat and looked at him. Harry wandered in and headed for his seat. "Good, now that you're all here, let me say that this year may be more like last year, if we need it to." He saw the glances over at Ron. "It cured more than his problems, children." He raised an eyebrow. "Who remembered to buy the new book?" Everyone but one raised their hands. "You didn't?"

"It's on back-order, professor."

"Then I'll expect you to borrow one." He glanced at the children. "Let's start with a review of last year and then we'll move on tomorrow to the first three creatures in chapter one. As this is a smaller class, we'll be taking more time with each creature. I'll expect you to read more carefully. This is where you get specialist knowledge, children, and I'll expect you to study this year. No more vague facts." He looked at Harry and Ron. "I want in-depth and I want specifics. Study personality and physical characteristics, means of attack and defense, and anything odd that might help you identify. I will not be as lenient as I was last year as you're now supposed to be adults." The children all nodded. He smirked. "Good. Now then, who remembers what vampires do?"

Ron raised his hand. "I can give it, sir."

"I know you can, but give someone else the chance, Ron. You'll get your chance today." Ron nodded, watching the other students. "Surely someone remembers this chapter besides Mr. Weasley?" No one said anything. "Very well. Ron, come down and we'll start."

"Yes, sir." Ron took off his robe, tossing it across his bag before walking down there. He took up a boxing stance. "Vampires are undead creatures. Turned before they're killed, then brought across." He took a swing. "Their hunting methods in recent times are sexual in nature, allowing them to lure in an easier brand of prey. Over all, the vampires today aren't as scary as the former ones." Ares swung and him and he ducked, but went the offered route, hitting him on the chest instead. Ares grunted and he grinned. "Sorry, sir, didn't mean to hurt you." He swung at him again. "The sexually charged and predatory nature is what distinguishes vampires of today from mythological and past vampire scourges. Today, they trap their victims in a web of wanton sex, before they just terrified them until they couldn't move." Ares swung at him and Ron ducked underneath it with a small growl, going after him with a malicious grin on his face. He could fight this guy and not get into trouble for it! "Today's future vampires are chosen for their looks, their skills with seduction, and not for their fear quotient, because let's face it a vampire is scary once it goes to game face but a beautiful one is even worse."

"Enough," Ares said, backing off. "Good job." He grinned at him. "You're going to pay for that later," he whispered. "Go sit down, Mr. Weasley. Ten points to you for that *enthusiastic* lecture." He shook his head to move his hair off his face, now he remembered why he had cut it so long ago. "Next?" The rest of the class shook their heads. "Come on, Ron actually tagged me, you can too," he encouraged. He rubbed the spot on his chest for show, it really didn't hurt that bad. "Come on, I'll still be gentle. We all know Ron knows how to fight very well but I'm not going to expect that from the rest of you." He looked at Harry, who shook his head and looked down at his book. "Babies," he snorted.

"Sir, let us write it out," one girl encouraged, glancing over at Ron. "Or let him finish the review. I learned a lot from his part on vampires," she said quickly, nodding to show she was being sincere.

He laughed. "Ron, apologize for scaring the other students. Now."

"Sorry," Ron sighed. "I was up four different times last night with Tasha and another two with Missy."

Harry looked at him. "She got up?"

Ares groaned and shook his head. "Now!" One of the girls stood up and walked down, taking off her robes. "And which area would you like to discuss, my dear?"

"Um, ghosts?" she pleaded.

"Sure, why not. That was only two years ago." She blushed and glanced away. "Come on, I know you can do better than that." She tried to backhand him, making him move backwards. "Excellent, sneak tactics," he said in appreciation. "Now the lecture part."

"Yes, sir," she said with a cold smirk. "I'm going to go over the poltergeists and assorted dead floating things that can follow one around, like the few that follow our beloved professor around."

"You can see her?" She nodded, smirking at him. "Don't let her possess you, it'll only end tragically; trust me, I was there when she died."

She laughed and kicked at him, then back-flipped away.

"Ah, shit," he said, forming a small ball of energy and knocking her out. "If anyone else is possessed, speak now so I can clean you out." A boy in the back whimpered and grabbed his head. "Good, wonderful. Dismissed! Ron, take Inspirion with you."

Ron grabbed both kids, letting Harry take the carriers and carried them down to the nursery. Both twins looked over as the door opened. "We had some possessed people in defense," he said as he walked in. "This is Inspirion, he's the baby of Professor Arion's messengers. Treat him very carefully or his daddy, the dark haired one in leather who thinks you guys are neat, will kill you," he said with a grin as he handed them both over. "You be a little beast for them, Tasha, and daddy will see you in an hour," he cooed, running a finger down his daughter's nose. "If she's so much as fussy, I'll hurt you both," Ron reminded them, walking out.

Harry looked at them, seeing the shock, and shrugged. "I don't know. He *growled* as he attacked Professor Arion. Swung hard and everything!" He hurried to catch up to his best friend, watching him for more odd behavior.


Ron walked in during his special class and grinned. "Am I really in trouble?"

"Nah," Ares said, grabbing him and putting him into a headlock. "Don't do it again, kid, I'm not known for being forgiving."

"You said we could try to hit you," Ron pointed out, then he stomped on the guy's foot, getting free. He backed up and took off his robe and bag. "I'm ready when you are."

"I did, but I didn't mean you should try to hit me." He patted Ron on the shoulder. "Sit, let's set some rules and figure out what you need to know." Ron hopped up to sit on a desk. Ares looked at him. "Are you *supposed* to sit that way, young man?"

"No, but you're not gonna tell on me," Ron said with a grin. Ares gave him a look. "Because Inspirion is presently trying to gum Missy to death."

"Aw, shit!" Ares said, walking out. "Stay!" he called as he walked down the halls.

Strife appeared. "Hi, Ron," he said, grinning at him.

Ron grinned back. "Hi, Strife. Aren't you liking the twins watching him?"

"Nah, I like that fine," Strife said, waving a hand. "I wanted to see ya so I sent the squirt a jolt of nibbling." He strolled closer and grabbed Ron by the front of his shirt. "You'd better behave," he hissed, looking him in the eyes. Ron shuddered. "Good boy." He let him go. "I know what you're thinkin'. Cupes shared."

Ron shrugged. "I bet I'm not the only one."

"Good point." Strife giggled. "I still want ya to be good. To him, about him, all of it. Got me?"

Ron nodded. "Of course. You know I'm not like that." He pouted at him. "Did you think I was gonna be mean?"

"Nah," he said, smacking him on the chest. "I know you're not, but I had ta get it in anyway. This is my job after all. Mine and Ma's."

"I'm sure I'll be woken by her in the middle of the night," Ron pointed out dryly.

Strife nodded. "Definitely!" he agreed happily. "So you behave and don't get into too much trouble with Unc or I'm gonna have ta get the twins to do more nasty stuff to you."

Ron reached over and pulled Strife closer. "If they *ever* try and get me again, I'm going to fight back," he said quietly, but with the sound of death in his voice. "I won't be their victim anymore. Never again, Strife. And not Harry either." Strife nodded, grinning at him. "Good boy." He grinned and kissed the God on the nose. "Now go tease and torment some repressed person. There's enough of those around here to keep you busy for centuries."

"Yeah, there is," Strife agreed, disappearing with a cackle.

Up the hall, a tenor female voice screamed.

"Gee, I wonder what he did to McGonagall," Ron mused while he waited. He shifted his things so he could lay on his bag, deciding this was probably going to take a while and he could use the nap.

Ares came back with Tasha and Inspirion, shaking his head when he saw the sleeping form on the desk. "Boys," he said in disgust. "No stamina." Tasha threw up on him. "Ewww." He cleaned her up and put her in a cradle, going to wake her father. "Ron!" Ron reached out and patted him on the arm. "Now, Weasley."

Ron flipped over, managing not to fall off the desk, but clutching his robe to hold.

Ares groaned, he could wait ten minutes and try again. Another scream started and he glared toward the front of the school. "Leave her alone, Strife," he muttered. "She'll trap you and then what will you do?"

Strife reappeared. "I only made the wind blow off her stuff," he pleaded. "Just one more gust?"


"Please?" he wheedled.


"Please, Unc, I'll be *good* for the rest of the day," Strife pleaded, adding begging eyes. "Please? I'll even tell ya who Cupe said was hot for you."

Ares looked at him. "Everyone is, Strife, I already knew that."

"Not that Hermione chick."

Ares glared at him. "Not that I expected her to be, so it's not a loss. Now behave or be punished."

"Fine," Strife said, kicking his toe on the ground. "Just one more? Then I'll head home?"

"Fine," Ares said, going to his office. "Just so you quit whining!"

Strife giggled and flicked a finger toward the Transfiguration classroom, then stole his son and left very quickly. Long before the broom came through the window and kept going out the other one, taking her remaining clothes with it.

That scream, the one from the students, woke Ron. "Get in here," Ares called.

"Yes, sir," Ron said through a yawn, taking his daughter into the office. "What was that noise?"

"Strife." He put his feet up on the desk. "This will consist of two parts. Physical training and hexes. I'll set you out a list of ones I want you to find." A large red leather book landed on his desk with a dusty 'thump'. "Or not," he said, picking it up to look through. "Thanks." He handed it over. "Study that. Learn it by heart. Do not try it on the other kids. Especially not the blond." Ron nodded, tucking it into his bag. "Good boy." He grinned. "The other part will be your training. I know you know the basics of boxing, but what about other fighting styles?"

"Not really. I've learned most everything from my brothers."

"Street fighting isn't that much different," Ares pointed out. "We can move you on from there. You need some target work so I'm going to import a heavy bag for a while. You'll work on that. Then we'll work on physical fighting with weapons."

"And a wand?"

"Some weapons are better suited," Ares agreed, smiling at the happy baby. "Did you want to learn how to fight too?"

"No, but one of us should probably teach her," Ron pointed out.

"We will, once she's walking." Ron relaxed. "For right now, head to the library or your rooms and look over that book. I want you ready to practice at least two of them by the next class. Practice on pillows or something."

"Yes, sir," Ron said, standing up. "Thank you, Professor, for taking a personal interest in me."

Ares looked him over. "You're too young at this moment for me to do what you want, but I'll gladly evaluate you for when you're older," he said with a smirk. Ron grinned. "Go have fun, study, and come back ready to work next class. Try to nap and all that."

"Yes, sir." Ron hurried back to his rooms to catch a short nap. The gong should wake him.

Ares groaned and stretched. "That boy broadcasts," he moaned. "But he does have a good imagination. Maybe I'll put him on the list for when I'm tired of my current toy." He cackled and headed home to check on his temple. He hadn't seen the inside of it for a few weeks and his lover was supposed to be waiting on him.


Ron woke up to someone shoving him. "Wha...?" he moaned, flipping over.

"You missed dinner," Malfoy said, glaring down at him.

Ron looked at him. "How did you get in?"

"You never locked the room we have in common."

"Oh. Have to fix that." Draco looked hurt. "You don't actually like me," Ron pointed out, waking up enough to pull himself into a sitting position. "Why did they send you?"

"Potter was worried and flittering about, but he was dragged to the common room by the mudblood."

"Don't call her that," Ron said, glaring at him. "Thank you for waking me."

"You're welcome." Draco sat down on the end of his bed. "Professor Arion suggested we train together."


"I don't hit that well and he suggested we fight each other."

"Just like old times?" Ron asked with a smirk. Draco hit him on the arm. "You do hit like a girl," Ron agreed, not rubbing his arm. "Fine, I can help you learn how to hit harder. Do you want to lock the common room door?"

"We can if you want," Draco agreed. "There will be times when I'll have company and don't want you to walk in."

"Same here," Harry said as he walked in. "How did you get over here?"

"The sitting room's door wasn't locked," Draco told him. Harry rolled his eyes. "Sorry, but I thought we should work this out in private first."

"Why are you banished down here?" Ron asked, yawning and pulling his knees up to rest against his chest.

"Because the other Slytherins packed my things today during dinner and told Snape I was moving or they were sending it back with my son's corpse," Draco told him.

Ron reached over and patted him on the arm. "We can hurt them together. It can be a bonding exercise."

Harry snorted. "I'm sure they'll love that. Can the other Gryffs who're missing theirs come play with Tasha, they wanted to know."

"Sure, as long as she doesn't leave my sight," Ron agreed. Harry rolled his eyes but nodded.

"I feel the same way," Malfoy agreed quietly. "One of the girls came after my son with a ruler this morning." Ron and Harry both hissed. "Didn't you hear about her having to be carried upstairs to the infirmary?" he asked as he stood up. "I'll leave you alone. I'm sorry if he keeps you up tonight."

"Tasha did it last night," Ron said with a shrug. "I got up for Missy as well."

"You're a good father, Ron," Harry said as he landed on his bed. "Night, Malfoy."

"Good night." He looked at Ron. "Tomorrow?"

"Sure," Ron said with a grin. "Always happy to beat up on you and the like." Draco walked away shaking his head. "Leave her, she's making 'I'm sleepy' noises," he said when he saw Draco looking into the nursery.

"She's sucking on a pillow," Draco told him. Ron nearly pushed him through the wall as he ran in to check on his little girl. "Night." He walked through their shared sitting room and made sure the door was locked before going to his deluxe nursery. A little money had gotten everything moved from home easily. He picked up his sleeping son and sat down in the rocking chair, holding him gently as he watched him sleep. "You have great things ahead of you, son. Let's hope you get to do all of them."

Harry walked into the nursery and found Ron fussing over his daughter. "Is she fine?"

"She's fine," Ron agreed, grinning at him. "She's playful now."

"She needs to sleep just like we do," Harry said patiently. Missy sniffled and he patted her on the stomach. "You sleep as well. Daddy has to sleep tonight. He fell asleep in Herbology today." She went back to sleep. He sighed. "Bed, Ron. No sleeping in the chair, you'll get a sore neck." He went back to his bed, going to tuck himself in. He had barely gotten the covers arranged over him how he liked them when his daughter sent up a loud cry of frustration. "What's wrong?" he called. Ron was still over there.

"She's hungry."

"Bloody hell," Harry sighed, getting up to take care of her.

Ron looked at him. "You wanted to be the daddy," he pointed out gently.

"I know," Harry said angrily.

Ron smirked. "It gets easier soon. They'll start sleeping through the night in a few months."

"We should hold a party," Harry said, picking up his daughter to hold her. "Are you going to actually eat for me this time?"

"She just belched. I'd say it'll be fine," Ron assured him. "Go sit." He went back to watching his daughter sleep.


Snape looked up as his door was knocked on. "Come," he called, knowing who it should be. Ron walked in with both girls in his arms. "Potter?"

"Napping in Herbology again," Ron told him as he sat down behind the first desk. "I figured I'd bring them both now, save you some frustration later."

Severus Snape looked the young man over. "Have you slept recently?"

"Yeah, on the floor beside her bed. She's been fussy and mum told me not to bring her into bed with me."

"Yes, she might suffocate," Snape agreed, taking Missy to look at first. "You are pink and healthy. How is the gas problem?"

"Worse. That's the first time she's stopped crying today. Could she have that colic thing?" Snape nodded. "What can we do for it?"

"Survive," Snape said succinctly. He handed her back and took Tasha, who yawned at him. "You look well-rested," he congratulated. "Any problems?"

"She's been wanting sweets." Snape looked at him. "Mum told me to add a pinch of sugar to the mix in the mornings and I added too much last time so she's been fussing with each bottle until I added some."

"Do not add any more," Snape ordered, handing her back. "Straight formula from now on." He crossed his arms, looking down at the boy. "How many nights have the twins watched them?"

"Not at all," Ron said, looking offended. "She's my daughter, not theirs."

"Their purpose is to watch them," Snape pointed out, holding in his temper.

"They do! When I'm at class, when I have to pull some time in the library, times like that. She's mine, I should take more care of her."

"What about Missy? Is she being watched by them more often?"

Ron snorted. "Well, yeah, but that's because Harry's been ready to lose his temper due to his lack of sleep."

Snape looked incredulous. "And you're not?"

"Not with her," Ron said, starting to sound really offended. "Mum warned me that there'd be days like this but they'll be worth it by the time she's toddling around. I get it out in other ways instead of yelling at her."

"Admirable," Snape said with something that sounded like admiration in his voice. "How is your other training going?"

"Better than Malfoy's. He's still a weak hitter."

"His kind were never meant to hit, they were meant to hire people to hit people for them," Snape pointed out.

"Yeah, but you can't live your life in a glass bubble like that, it'll drive you nuts." He nuzzled his daughter's hair. "When will they start sleeping through the night, sir?"

Professor Snape sat down again, looking at the girls. "They're how old?"

Ron thought. "About ten weeks?"

"Then they should be mostly sleeping through now."

"They're still waking up for feedings."

"Are they, or are you waking them up?" Snape asked, trying to sound gentle. "Are you letting them lie there and fuss for a few moments?"

"Most of the time," Ron defended. "They still get up."

"Perhaps they're a bit slow?" Snape suggested.

Ron nearly threw something, and would have if his hands hadn't been full. "They're not slow!" he said angrily.

"Then they're fussy creatures who will need to be taught that skill," Snape said simply. "You must encourage them to sleep through the night."

"Trust me, we've been trying. Well, I've been trying," Ron admitted. "Harry hardly ever wakes up these days." Snape looked down at him again. "He's been too tired to wake up so I've been doing it. One of them wakes up the other and then I'm feeding both of them."

"Give them smaller bottles at night, half-doses at the most. Set a familiar routine so they know what to expect, and they'll learn."

"I hope so. I know I wake up all the time," Ron sighed, kissing Missy since she was starting to wiggle again. "Calm down, sweetheart, you'll go see the twins and daddy soon enough."

"Has her mother stepped forward any?"

"Harry's been blocking her from getting near Missy," Ron admitted, slumping a little.

"Let either Mr. Malfoy or your brothers take them both for the night and sleep. I'll make sure food is sent to your room," Snape said quietly. "Before you fall and hurt them."

Ron nodded. "I think I can do that. Where are the twins? They weren't in their room."

"I think they went to take the young Master Malfoy out of class again. He's nearly as paranoid as you are."

"Better to be paranoid than grieving," Ron told him as he walked out. He ran into the twins at their door. "I'm under orders to give them to you for the night and to go sleep."

"We put Harry to bed," Fred said quietly, taking Tasha to hold. She started to do her pre-cry sniffling. "Stop it or no playing with my hair, young lady," he chastised.

"And no baby massages either," George put in. He looked at Ron and took Missy. "Go to bed, Ron, even mum couldn't stay up like you have." Ron nodded. "We'll take good care of her and come wake you immediately if there's anything wrong." Ron nodded again, trudging toward his room.

"Why won't they sleep through the night?" Fred asked as he led the way inside. He put Missy down, watching as she flapped and flopped around, trying to turn over. "I know you'll do it sometime soon, sweetheart, keep practicing." He helped put down Tasha and Adonis, who was in a backpack device. "There we are, play."

"I think Ron's a bit of a hoverer. Mum said it might happen," George offered.

Fred shook his head, frowning down at Tasha. "No, she's not sleeping as long as the others during naps either."

"Ron never wanted to sleep through the night," George reminded him, pulling over a beanbag chair so he could sit and watch them. "Harry looked rough."

"He did," Fred agreed, going to make them a small snack. "It's a wonder he hasn't yelled at her yet."

Someone tapped on the door and walked in, showing themselves to be the Headmaster. "How are the little darlings?"

"Fussy," George and Fred said in unison.

"I see. Perhaps a story?" He held up a book and Tasha cooed and gurgled at him. "Yes, I'm sure you'd love a story." He sat down near the children then looked up at the twins. "Your mother used to think that your little brother would never sleep through the night," he shared. "She used to write long letters complaining about you two helping him stay awake all hours and how he was a restless baby."

"We'll write mum a discrete letter," George decided.

Fred nodded. "She's always happy to give advice."

Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, she is, isn't she." He opened the book and scooted the babies around. "This is a story about Merlin. See, the pretty pictures move," he told them, showing them the moving pictures in the story book.

The twins shared a look and nodded. This was a job for Grandmother.


Arthur Weasley looked up as his minuscule office was invaded by someone. "Yes? May I help you?" he asked. She was one of the other Department Heads so it always paid to be nice.

The woman looked at him. "I was wondering how your granddaughter is, Arthur," she said with a genuine smile. "Is Molly taking good care of her?"

"No, she's with Ron at Hogwarts. The last I heard she was doing fine. Slow to sleep through the night but right on track with everything else, just like her father was," he said proudly.

"Do you have a recent picture?"

He smiled. "Ron won't take any. He said we'll get some at Yule."

She nodded, losing her smile. "Then it's only fair that I warn you, Arthur." She put a charm on the door so no one could hear or walk in on them. "There's been talk going around of making sure the prophecy happens this year," she said quietly, leaning closer. "How it has to happen soon or else it will be too late to save a lot of people."

"Malfoy doesn't have full support behind him yet and Death Eater attacks have nearly fallen off," Arthur pointed out. "She's only ten weeks old, she can't do much!"

"Still, I thought it best I warn you," she told him again. "There are those who will try to force the hand of fate until it happens their way. They're impatient. They're going to try and take her. Your son is right to be so paranoid."

Arthur slumped. "I had hoped he'd see sense," he admitted. "If it happens, he'll have to let her go."

She snorted. "He might have to do more than that. He might have to bury her. I don't see how a young child, even one of yours, will fight the dark and drive Malfoy insane."

Arthur looked up at her. "I know you're not you now. You have four children and have constantly said that they drive you insane with their demands," he accused. "Who are you?"

Athena revealed herself. "I am the Goddess Athena, Arthur Weasley." He snorted and glared at her. "Disbelieve me if you wish, but do so at the peril of your own granddaughter."

"Ron will protect her."

"Even from you?" Athena asked. Arthur opened his mouth. "There are those who will push you to hand her over yourself."

"That isn't how it went!" Arthur said hotly.

She smirked coldly. "Exactly." She stood up, her glow nearly blinding him. "Remember, Arthur, that only you and Ron can decide what will happen." She disappeared and the charm fell away.

Arthur slumped in his chair. This was bad, it was very bad. He needed to talk to Dumbledore. He grabbed his things and walked out, heading for the public floo. He needed to go home and he needed to talk to Dumbledore right now. He waved absently at his boss as he walked past him, not seeing the interested look his back got. He sent himself home and came out in the kitchen, looking around. "Molly?" She came in from the backyard. "Ron was right," he said miserably.

"I know. Who convinced you?"

Arthur sat down, pulling her over to hold him. "She said her name was Athena. If you can believe that."

She ran her fingers through his sparse hair. "There are miraculous things in this world, Arthur, and she was who she said she was." He gave her a shocked look. "I prayed to Hecate for many years before we were together and still do to this day. I've been answered in the past, Arthur. Ron has been answered as well, mostly to help control his temper," she said with a small grin. "She was who she said she was. Now, what did she say?"

"There are people who are going to force the prophecy to happen, possibly soon," he said quietly, glancing around. "It really was her?"

Molly nodded. "It really was her. It's rare she would appear to a non-believer, but she has been known to help." She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "We'll have to tell Ron."

"Not Dumbledore?"

"I think he wants the prophecy to come true more than anyone these days," she told him. "He's tired of fighting, Arthur, and if this ends it once and for all, he's for it. He's practical."


She put a finger over his lips. "I said practical, not a parent." She gave him a smile. "Trust Ron to have a plan in place in case something happens."

"What if we were to do something? Something to protect her?"

"Like what, Arthur? Take her to the islands and hide her?"

"No, but we could .... could make her sick or something? Something so she couldn't go?"

Molly pulled back and glared at him. "You had better drop that thought right now, Arthur Weasley, or you're not the man I married."

"I don't want to see her hurt and ...she said that she might *die*, Molly. I won't put our son through that."

"This isn't something we can do anything about," she said firmly. "Besides teaching Ron how to protect the both of them and to help him when people try to force the issue, we're stuck waiting."

"There's got to be something!" he said desperately.

Molly hugged him again. "If there were, I'd be working on it already, Arthur. Trust me, I like this no more than you do. As a matter of fact, every mothering bone in my body is screaming at me to take the poor girl and hide her, but we can't. If we try, then Lucius could come sooner, before she's strong enough."

"They're talking about her being a toddler, Molly, how can she defeat him?"

She kissed him on the forehead again. "Harry defeated the first one when he was a year old. She'll do whatever she's going to do if the situation happens." She pulled back. "Now, no more funny thoughts. We're due up to see them this weekend and I won't have you making Ron even more jumpy. He's got enough worries as is." Arthur nodded, looking away. "Good. Now, why don't you go back to work?"

"Because I'll start looking at them and wondering which one of them plans on taking her before she's a year old," Arthur said firmly. His wife smiled at him. "It was bad enough wondering who was on our side and who wasn't, this is worse."

"Of course, but it will also allow you to gauge who has the best chances of showing up on the school's doorstep and trying to take her as well."

He shook his head. "I'm taking the rest of the day off." He stood up. "Let me change and I'll help you straighten up." He walked up to their bedroom, running over the various things that might help to see if his wife might have missed something.


Up on Olympus, Strife woke up partway from his nap and looked around. "Who was that?" he asked with a frown. "I haven't felt that signature in a few decades."

"Go back to sleep," Cupid mumbled from beside him. "Inspi will be up soon."

"I'm sure," Strife agreed, snuggling back in. "I hope that wasn't a real idea of his."


"If I knew, I'd stop 'im," Strife said sleepily. "Remind me to check on it later, 'kay?"

"Sure." Cupid rolled to hold his mate tightly. "Sleep, babe."

"Yup." Strife rubbed his nose on Cupid's chest, then slowly drifted off again, dreaming of little dancing balls of delight. He still craved the stupid things.


Two days after his talk with Professor Snape, Ron woke up. He wasn't sure why. There wasn't a tortured noise from anywhere in the room. Nothing out of the ordinary. He grabbed his wand and slowly climbed out of bed so he wouldn't make any noise, creeping toward the nursery. Still no noise and it was worrying him a lot. He lit the tip of his wand once he was sure no one else was in there, sneaking in to look down at the girls. Then he looked at the clock on the wall beside the door. Then back at the girls and another glance at the clock. Weren't they supposed to have been up by now? He checked, they were both breathing and seemed to be fine. No obvious signs of being poisoned or potioned. He frowned and stared down at his daughter, who was sucking her thumb.

"Whas wrong?" Harry mumbled as he walked in. Ron grabbed him and covered his mouth, pointing. Harry nodded in a 'so' gesture.

"They're sleeping." Harry nodded again. "It's four."

"I think they're supposed to do that, Ron," Harry whined. "Go back to bed!" He trudged back to his own, climbing in and forcefully pulling the drapes around to block out any light.

Ron stayed there silently watching the two girls sleep. At least until he started to nod off and rattled Missy's bassinet. That made her cranky.


"Sorry. I'll get her back to sleep." He gently stroked her stomach, murmuring quiet words to her until she drifted off again. He turned around and found his daughter staring at him. "Hello. Are you wanting up or are you just watching the ceiling again?" he asked with a grin. She cooed and reached a hand for him, gripping his finger tightly. "Good morning, precious one. Are you awake?" She yawned and pulled his finger down to suck on, going back to sleep. "Praise Merlin," he whispered as he got free, going back to bed. He even got a whole hour of sleep before hungry screams of outrage woke him again. He moaned as he got out of bed. "Knew it was too good to be true." He fixed them half bottles and handed them over, watching as they slurped at the formula. "Have to tell mum we need more, yes I will," he assured them. "Just think, a few more months and you can eat mush."


"They were hungry," Ron called back. Harry stomped in and grabbed him, pulling him back to their bedroom. "Harry!"

"Sleep, Ron, it's what normal humans do. They're fine. They're fed. They're happy. Let them be!" he snapped, climbing back into his bed.

"I just gave them bottles when they woke up," Ron defended. "Missy'll get gas if you don't burp her."

"She can belch on her own," Harry said angrily. "Go to sleep!"

"Fine," Ron said calmly, climbing into bed. He waited until Harry was snoring again then went to grab the empty bottles, hopefully without waking them. Missy wasn't fussy so he left her alone until she started to scream about her stomach hurting. He crawled back into bed, getting comfortable. He heard a belch and smiled. "Good girl," he whispered. He let himself drift off until their alarm clock went off. He was the only one who got up, which meant he had to reset it for Harry, but that was usual these days. He showered quickly and came back to get the girls ready, smiling at their sleeping state. He even grabbed the padded floating carrier one of his aunts had passed along. It would let them sleep while he shifted them about. He got them settled and headed for breakfast, smiling as he walked in. "They slept most of the night," he said happily as he sat down. The table applauded. "Shh, they're still sleeping," he said still happy. That got some quieter applause before breakfast appeared on the table.

Professor Snape walked down and looked at them. "The advice worked?"

"I don't know," Ron admitted. "All I know is that they didn't get up at four, they waited until five-thirty, Professor. I'm just really thankful I got some sleep."

"Good. I'll see them at the usual time next week." He went back to his seat. Malfoy wasn't in yet.

Ron dug into the food near his plate, eating a hearty breakfast. He wasn't so tired and pretty soon he could sleep all night too. When the twins came in, they cheered over that news as well. The girls had driven them insane the night they had watched them.


Arthur looked at the canister of formula his wife had prepared, frowning at the little voice in the back of his head telling him that a sickly baby wouldn't be taken and used, and killed. He fought with himself, but the little voice won. He didn't want to lose her, only make her a little bit ill so no one would come near her. He added a bit more chamomile, knowing his wife had already put some in. She had said it wasn't good in too large of doses and he didn't know exactly what it could do. He wrapped the package up and sent it on with the family owl. Ron needed it. Then he went to work, going to break down and talk to someone who would understand. He didn't want to, but it was for the best if she got a tiny bit ill.


Ron looked up the next morning, accepting the large package. "Formula's here," he said, handing it down to Harry, who was feeding a weak bottle to his daughter. They had run out of mix this morning.

Draco walked over. "May I borrow a bit, my own shipment is late," he asked politely. People were staring at him, but Ron wouldn't make his son starve.

"Just enough for a few bottles," Ron agreed, watching as he measured it out into a few empty pouches. "Do those work?"

"A lot better. No gas." He hurried back to his table to mix one, his son was still fussing because he hadn't gotten his morning bottle.

"Ron?" Harry asked, pushing back the canister.

"She's not ready to eat yet," Ron said with a shrug. "She'll eat later." He looked at the bottle. "That's an odd shade. Must be the color of the bottle carrying over."

"I guess," Harry said, shrugging. He hadn't paid that much attention to that matter before. He stuck the bottle into his daughter's mouth, watching as she spit it back out. "Please eat," he begged. "Please? You have to eat." She spit it out and started to scream as loudly as she could, waving her arms and everything. "Please?" he asked, trying it again. He looked at the head table, shrugging at the concerned looks. "She's refusing again."

"Try burping her yet?" Ron suggested.

"I forgot," Harry admitted, picking her up to burp. She let out a small belch and settled down, sucking gently at the bottle. She didn't seem that interested, but she knew it made him happy. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Ron said with a grin. Harry shook his head. "Not me?"

"No, her. She's being picky again."

"She'll get over it," Ron assured him. He finished stuffing himself and stood up, taking his daughter to clean her up. She was making that face again and he was sure it was going to be a good one.


Snape looked up as Malfoy rushed in. "What's wrong?" he asked, looking at the baby he was holding. It looked a bit paler than it should. "How long has it been like this?"

"I don't know," Malfoy told him, running his hands over his son's body. "The twins just came to get me. They said he was throwing up earlier."

"Go up to the infirmary. I'll meet you up there," he said, suspecting something. He watched as the boy and the baby left in a hurry, then looked at his class. "Continue without speaking." He walked out, going to find the other two children. Missy was in the nursery, crying pitifully no matter what George was doing. "Let me see their last bottles."

"Ron got formula this morning," George said, handing it over. "Don wouldn't finish one."

Snape sniffed and tasted a bit. "There's a great deal of chamomile in here," he said with a frown.

"Ron's in Transfiguration," Fred said as he walked in with Harry. "Take her up to the infirmary."

"Is she all right?" Harry asked, taking his daughter back. She quieted some but continued to scream.

"I'm sure she will be," Snape told him, turning the boy around. "Go to the infirmary." He looked at the twins. "Has Tasha eaten anything?"

"Not at all," George said, starting to frown. "You don't think mum botched the formula, do you?"

"No, I don't," he said simply, going to find the other father and child for a comparison. He opened McGonagall's door and pointed at Ron. She nodded. "Weasley, bring the baby." He walked out, the baby in his arms. "Let me see." She was handed over but she was fine. "Join the others in the infirmary."

"What's wrong with them?"

Snape made sure the door was closed. "There was too much chamomile in the formula."

"But mum's an expert at mixing that!" Ron defended.

"I know."

Ron's face tightened. "You think someone's after her, don't you?" he accused in a quieter tone of voice. Snape nodded. "My father sent the formula." He ducked back into the classroom to grab his and Harry's things, taking them up to the infirmary. "The formula was bad," he said as he walked through the door. "Snape's searching out the rest of it to make sure we don't get hit again." The nurse gave him a knowing look. "She hasn't eaten any of it."

"How was it bad!" Malfoy demanded. Ron looked at him and he paled, stepping away. "Who!"

"I don't know," Ron lied. "I'm sure someone's going to find out soon though." He handed Harry his things and moved to help with the kids. "The most important thing is that this is treated," he said quietly. Draco glared at him. "It wasn't mum. She's been mixing this one since Charlie was a baby."

"I figured it wasn't her," Draco said, crossing his arms. He looked at his son, then at Ron again, grabbing him by the hair to drag him out into the hallway. "Give," he hissed.

Ron stepped closer. "My Dad sent the last batch," he hissed back. "I think he was trying to make her sick, not kill her." Draco shook his head and turned to kick a wall. "He's probably trying to spare me some pain."

"How would you know?" Harry asked from the doorway.

Ron's face scrunched up. "I don't know, it sounds right," Ron said with a shrug.

Professor Arion jogged up to them. "What happened?"

"Someone added too much chamomile to the formula," Ron told him. Their teacher's face hardened and they could hear his teeth grind together. "They'll be fine. They'll need a lot of water and some careful watching." He looked at Draco. "Why was your formula late?"

"I called, they said they had forgotten," Draco said bitterly. "I also called my mother and had her tell them off for it. It seems father is trying to tell everyone that I'm not the rightful heir now. That I'm some sort of bastard and I won't have access to the family funds for long."

"That can be stopped," Ares assured him, smiling coldly. "I think I can fix that. Ron, what do you need right now?"

"As long as Madam Pomfrey doesn't want to send them on, we should be fine," Harry told him. "She said it was a mild dosing." He looked back inside. "They look so helpless."

"That's because they are," Draco pointed out snidely. Harry glared at him.

"Enough," Ron said tiredly. He ran a hand over his face to wipe off the sweat. "Fighting each other won't help this situation. Let's concentrate on getting them better, then we can argue and snipe at each other." Draco looked at him in shock. "I'm *tired*, Draco, and if my father did this then I've got bigger problems than this immediate crisis." He pushed past Harry, going inside to help the nurse with the kids.

Ares groaned, but gamely followed him. "I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt them." Ron looked at him. "I'll go get your mother myself if you want." He nodded. "Fine, you wait here."

"I'm not going anywhere." Ron walked over to help the nurse change Missy, but she swatted him. "I do this more than her father does, let me," he told her firmly. She backed off and watched as he changed diapers like a pro. "I need something to do."

She nodded. "That's fine. You can clean this room if you want. We've had a number of accidents today." Ron nodded so she handed him the broom. "Get the corners as well." She walked away, going to talk to Draco. His son seemed to be worse.


Ares landed in the Burrow, startling Molly. "How much chamomile did you put in?"

"Less than normal, they didn't need it to keep calm," she said, frowning. "Why?"

"The babies are sick." He held out a hand. "Come on." She stood up and took his hand, letting him transport her to the infirmary, where she nearly cried. Two of them looked so sick. "Oh, no." She looked over them, shaking her head. "I will harm him."

"Who?" Ron asked, leaning on the broom. She looked at him. "Who, mum," he demanded.

"He didn't mean to I'm sure."

Strife appeared. "I just talked ta him, he's presently bawling in the office. He meant ta make Tasha a bit sick so everyone would leave her alone."

"I'll kill him," Draco said simply.

Ron looked at him. "Your son'll be fine," he said bitterly. He dropped the broom and walked away, taking his daughter with him. He didn't see the worried looks behind him. He was calm and quiet in a crisis, this wasn't a good sign. He walked down to Hagrid's cabin, giving him a nod as he slipped past him. "We need to think."

"Want me to watch her?" Hagrid asked, smiling at him.

"Yeah, I think so. I can trust you," he said bitterly. Hagrid looked confused. "Dad doctored the formula so she'd get a bit sick. Missy and Adonis are both ill." Hagrid hugged him hard. "Thanks. Can you watch her?"

"Sure. You know I like the little bit."

"Thanks, Hagrid." He handed over his bag. "She's got stuff in there. Don't feed her any of the formula." He left, going to do something painful to something else. Halfway to the forest, one of the younger Slytherins decided to heckle him. He punched him and continued to walk. He checked the tree in front of him for anything that might be a friend of Hagrid's then started to destroy it at the top.

By the time Harry found him, he had worked through a tree and a half. "Madam Pomfrey agreed, they'll be fine," he said as he walked up to where Ron was trying hard to control his temper.

"Go away, Harry."


Ron looked at him, eyes still wild with the rage. "Walk away. I'll see you later, when I calm down." Harry backed away. "NOW!" Harry turned and ran. "Thank you. Not in so much danger." He continued on that half-tree, working it down into sawdust with his new hexes.

Harry ran into the school, heading directly for the person who could stop Ron. He slowed himself before he ran past the Defense classroom and ran inside, pulling the Professor back into the office. "Ron's out in the forest destroying trees. He wasn't in his head."

"He's fine, I checked on him recently."

"Then why were his eyes glowing?" Harry demanded. The professor frowned. "I'm serious! Glowing! He's turning trees into mulch with spells he doesn't know."

"I'll check on him. You go back to the infirmary and let me deal with Ron." Harry nodded, starting to relax. "Go." Harry walked away, more calm now. Ares shook his head and checked on Ron, finding a numbing rage had built. "I've had enough of that," he decided, heading back out. He looked at the students as he grabbed his sword/wand of power. "Sit quietly and go to your next class if I'm not back by then," he ordered, walking out to deal with the anger issues. He found Ron starting on this next tree without searching it. Ares blocked his next hex, sending it into the ground. "Stop it, Ron." Ron turned on him, panting hard. "Feels good, doesn't it?" he said casually as he moved closer. "That rage that smooths over all the problems. You can get lost in it."

"Go away," Ron warned.

"Try it, kid, I can take you." Ron rushed at him and Ares caught him, holding him tightly against his chest. "Calm down," he said in his gentlest tone of voice. "Losing yourself is not the answer. Making your father answer questions is." Ron shook his head. "I know, he's your father. You're feeling betrayed. He did what he thought was for the best. He was wrong. Even parents are human and therefore fallible." Ron struggled but he wouldn't let him go, leaning them both against one of the remaining trees. "Let it go, Ron. It's not helping anything and it'll only cause problems in the long run. This is what those people who want to take her away for her own good are watching for." Ron took a deep breath, but he quit struggling. "Fight your way back. We're alone and no one can see anything," he soothed. He hadn't had to do this in a long time, but a beserking rage was not what was needed. He was impressed though, he hadn't thought the boy had it in him. Ron started to shake and he held him tighter, looking away while the anger bled off in the only way it could, with tears. "He thought he was being merciful, kid. He wasn't trying to hurt her."

Ron shook his head. "It's not good enough."

"No, it's not, but that's family sometimes. He didn't want you to have to suffer through losing your daughter." He soothed the young man further, waiting until he had fully relaxed against his chest. "You ready to rejoin humanity?" Ron shook his head. "Then go hold your daughter until you finish calming down."

Ron pulled back. "I can't. I'll lose it again," he admitted, turning to lean against the tree, ending up sitting instead. "What happens if I do this on her?"

"You didn't get lost this time, there's a good chance you won't for a minor annoyance," Ares pointed out. He looked down at his warrior, sure he was needed now. "We can work on this, Ron. You don't have to fear for anyone else. You showed good instincts getting away from people this time. By the time this year's done, you'll be able to control it fully, I swear." Ron looked up, looking like a lost little kid. "Come on. The only thing that will finish reanchoring you is your daughter. Where is she?"

"With Hagrid."

Ares considered it. "Good. Go wait there and hold her in a corner in his hut. Let your mother and the twins deal with your father." Ron shook his head. "If you look at him in this state, you might lose it again."

"Mum shouldn't have to yell at him and the twins shouldn't know."

"I think most everyone already knows," Ares said, putting an arm around Ron's shoulders as soon as he stood up. "Come on. We'll get Tasha and you can sit in my office if it makes you feel safer. No touching the sharp stuff though. That's the other common outlet and I don't want you to start down that path at all." He led him back to Hagrid's, smiling as the big man brought the baby out. "Was she good?" he asked.

"Very. We had some water and she slept on my chest for the last little bit," he said, looking at Ron as he clutched his daughter. "Is everything all right, Ron?" Ron shook his head. "Wanna talk?"

"Later," he said quietly. He looked at him. "Thank you." He walked away, going to sit in the office. He found a familiar figure waiting on him. "You didn't know?"

"It came across while I was asleep," Strife admitted. "Otherwise I would have stopped it." He touched the dark hair on the baby's head. "It's getting darker."

"I'll help her dye it when she's older," Ron said, sitting down in the desk chair. He cuddled his daughter closer. "What do I do now?"

"Now, you calm down," Strife said simply. He waved a hand, locking down all the weapons. "Just sit there until Unc wants his chair back. I'll check on the others." Ron nodded, not looking at him. "Hey, she's fine."

Ron looked at him. "The other two were hurt because of her," he said simply. "Her and my father."

"He knows he was wrong," Strife assured him. "He broke down cryin' when he confessed, right before the kids were taken upstairs. He's bein' yelled at by everyone." He disappeared, muting his usual flash. The last thing Ron needed was to jump.


Arthur looked over as his son walked in. "I'm sorry, Ron."

Ron put his daughter down on his bed, making sure nothing could get near her face and endanger her breathing. Then he turned to look at him. "I'm not sure that's good enough."

Arthur slumped. "I didn't want to but I thought that people would leave her alone for a long time if she was a bit ill. I didn't mean to hurt her or the others seriously."

Ron crossed his arms. "Dad, I'm not sure I can forgive you, intent and actual things happening were different." His father nodded but wouldn't look at him until Ron forced him to. "You screwed up so badly that I went out and started to destroy things, father. I'm not sure I want you around her ever again."

"Ron, I was trying to protect her," Arthur reminded him. "I didn't mean to hurt her."

"And you didn't. You hurt the other two." Ron sat down in the other chair. "I'm still pissed."

"I know."

"I'm not coming home for the holidays."

"Yes, you are," Arthur said firmly, looking over at his son. "Your anger with me is justified, taking away your mother's joy at her first Yule isn't. I won't allow that."

"Gee, and here I thought this was more about me not being able to trust you," Ron said bitterly. Arthur slumped again. "You did something so horrible in my mind that I'm not sure why I'm talking to you if it wasn't for mum." He took a deep breath. "I thought I could trust my family but I'm not surprised since you and Percy have been hot on this prophecy thing all along."

"I was trying to keep those people who want to force her to go this year from touching her, son."

"Yay!" Ron calmed himself again. "Adonis is still sick. If Malfoy forgives you, I'll come home for Yule. If not, it may take an order from a higher authority to make me go." He shifted. "If we do show up I can guarantee that she's not moving out of my sight."

"I understand, Ron. I hope you can forgive me some day," Arthur said as he stood up.

"Me too." Ron watched as he left, feeling like the bottom had fallen out of his world. "Why?" he asked. A small shimmering happened beside him and he looked down at the little boy who had appeared. "Hey, Bliss. Why don't you hug the others? I'm still a bit pissed at the world."

Bliss crawled up into his lap. "The dark one said to come hug you. The other is saying nasty things and Grandpa said I didn't need to talk like that." He hugged this person as hard as he could, spreading some calmness since he couldn't make him happy. "She's fine?"

"Tasha's fine," Ron agreed, rubbing down his back. "I'm sorry I'm not a good cuddle today."

"You need held, that's the 'portant thing," Bliss told him, snuggling in for a long wait. His Great-Auntie was working on the blond, he'd be fine without his influence. He frowned when he felt Ron staying stiff and called on someone who always had the right answer, bringing her to him. "He needs hugs," he told Hestia. "His daddy was bad."

"I saw." She stroked through Ron's hair, making him look at her. "He was trying to help. He felt helpless and panicked."

"He hurt the other kids and would have hurt mine."

"I didn't say he was without blame," she pointed out with a smile. "You're correct to be angry, but you'll have to forgive him. Because of this he will be the best protector of your daughter." Ron shook his head. "He will, I know he will."

"I'm her best protector."

Bliss tapped him on the chest. "Grandpa best protector," he said firmly.

"That's very true," Ron agreed, hugging him. "Thank you, my lady."

"You're welcome, Ron. I am Hestia." He bowed. "You're normally such a good boy, Ron. I am pleased with how you've handled this so far. This too shall pass."

"They won't trust me."

"They won't trust *him*," she corrected.

"Harry saw me lose it."

"I saw." She smiled at him. "You will survive this and forge better and stronger bonds with your family. The ones who don't know will eventually." Ron slumped a little. "I know you don't want the others to know, but do they not deserve the right?"

"They'll hate him," Ron said quietly. "I don't want that. I understand why he did it, but I don't like it."

"Of course you don't. No sane parent would." She gave him another motherly smile. "Relax and think, Ron. Let Bliss soothe you into a nap and we'll watch over her for you." He looked at her. "I know you have no reason to trust me, but Discord is coming."

"Draco needs her," Ron pointed out.

"She wants to yell and scream at someone." He groaned. "Not at you. She'll bring the baby to the infirmary and watch over them all with her twin." She stroked through his hair again. "Rest, young man. I demand it." Ron found himself nodding off before he could protest. "Very nice work, Bliss. You did a very good job. Would you like a cookie?" she asked as she pulled one out of her pocket. "Here you are, ambrosia ginger snaps." He grinned as he nibbled, not giving up the lap. "You watch over him." She disappeared, going to see if she could help with the children.

Discord popped in and picked up Tasha, startling her. "Shh." The baby whimpered in fear. "Oh, don't do that! I'm Ares' sister, don't give me that look." She took the baby with her, handing her over to Ares. "She doesn't like me."

"You scared her," Ares pointed out, gently cradling her in his arms. "Shh, Tasha. I have you." She settled down. "Her father?"

"Hestia made him nap," Discord reported. "Bliss is sitting on his lap."

"Excellent." Ares looked at the other napping fathers. "We've got to do something about this."

"Apollo is on his way down, bro, relax." She walked over to look down at Draco, who was curled around his son's tiny body. "We're looking out for him, you can let him go." Draco held him tighter. "I see."

"It's an instinctive reaction," Madam Pomfrey told her. Discord glared at her. "Think what you would have done if it had been your son, my lady."

Discord flipped some of her hair back. "I would have killed them."

"Then held the infant Strife like there was no tomorrow," Ares butted in. "Play with him later, Eris."

"Fine." She disappeared.

Ares looked at the baby in his arms. "We'll fix this, your father won't suffer this fate. He needs to trust them."


Ron was sleeping when Harry came back to the room: head tipped backwards, arms limp at his sides, legs spread out. He was even breathing quietly, which was what made Harry jump over to check on him. "Ron!" Harry said loudly, shaking him so he would wake up. Of course, he wasn't going to be waking up from this encouraged nap for a while, so he kept doing it, getting louder and louder until the connecting door opened and Malfoy walked over. "Why isn't he waking up?"

"Because he's so tired he needs the nap," Draco noted. He checked the boy. "He's living. Put him into his bed before he gets a worse headache."

Harry nodded, pulling Ron up and carrying him in to his bed, then dropping him onto it. He walked back toward the nursery, going to check on Tasha, but she wasn't in there. "Was she with us?"

"I have her, she needed changed," Draco called from the common room.

Harry walked that way, looking around the room he hadn't seen yet. It was comfortably shabby, like Gryffindor's common room, but it was done in softer, non-house color fabrics. He sat in a chair and looked around. "This is nice."

"I have a locking door as well," Draco admitted. Someone pounded on the portrait, making Harry groan. "I'll get it."

"That was ours, they're probably from our house," Harry noted, standing up to answer it. He waved his friends inside. "Quiet, Ron's asleep." He led the way into the common room, grinning at the glares Malfoy received. "We're waiting on news from the infirmary," he said to ease their distrust. "Can I have Tasha?"

"No." He cuddled her close, letting her rest against his shoulder. "She doesn't like to nap on you, you know that."

"She hasn't gummed me in days," Harry reminded him.

"Still, you can have her later." He saw the shocked looks and shrugged. "She's very comforting. Why else would Weasley's temper have calmed so much."

"Good point," Neville agreed, nodding quickly. "We came to see if there was any news about your children."

"They'll be fine," Harry assured him with a smile. "The formula was a bit off and they needed a lot of water and a small restorative."

"You wouldn't think Ron's mother would have botched that," Hermione put in, staring him down.

Harry shrugged. "I guess it happens to the best of them. Fortunately, they caught it and everything will be fine."

"Tasha didn't get any?" Neville asked, craning his neck to see her. "Can...can I hold her for a moment?"

Draco sighed but handed her over. "Your grandmother can visit, Longbottom."

"She is, just not for another few weeks," Neville admitted as he sat down to hold the baby as tightly as he could. He missed his own baby so much. Someone patted him on the shoulder. "She's really happy with the baby, said it'll make sure the family continues."

"I don't think you have to worry about that, you're a wonderful guy," Harry reminded Neville. "Some day, you'll find someone you adore and marry them, then give her more kids to dote on, Neville."

"If you say so." Neville handed her back to Draco, then moved quickly. "Thank you." He grinned at Harry. "Has this made Ron paranoid?"

"More than anything," Harry agreed. "He had to be put to sleep for a bit so he'd calm down." Hermione looked in the other room. "I just checked on him, he's fine." The door opened and the twins walked in with their stroller. "They're free?"

"For a few hours. They're to spend the night, but Madam Pomfrey decided that the best healing would be to have you two hold them for a while," George offered, parking the stroller. "Give me Tasha."

"I'll hold her," Neville said quickly. Harry grinned at him and he blushed. "I miss holding Austin."

"Here," Draco said, handing her over. "You are not to leave our presence or Weasley has threatened to hunt whomever has her down." Neville sat down and curled up, taking quietly to the baby girl.

"Let her sleep, it's her usual naptime," Fred advised, handing over Adonis to Draco. "He's just been changed, just had another bottle of water. You're to give him another in an hour and report anything stranger than what happened a bit ago," he ordered.

"Fine. Anything else?"

"No. We'll come get them in three hours if you haven't taken them back upstairs." The twins left, leaving the stroller there.

Draco stood up. "I think we'll retreat for now." He walked into his rooms and shut the door, locking it with a loud click.

"We share this area," Harry explained. "We usually keep the doors locked and stay on our own side." Tasha made grumbly noises. "There's good formula in the bag by the feeding chairs," he told him. "Madam Pomfrey watched as Ron's mum made this batch." He nodded and went to fix a bottle, Hermione trailing him so she could look in on Ron. "He's fine," Harry called. He rolled his eyes, getting some laughter. "What's going on back in the tower?"

"Ginny's terrorizing everyone," Seamus said as he sat down. "She's decided she's now a Goddess and that we're going to listen to her."

"I would, she's got some brilliant ideas," Hermione pointed out as she came back. "He's sleeping very heavily."

"I found him asleep in the chair," Harry admitted. "He'll be fine. Arion helped knock him out." He shifted his daughter, making her wake up and make angry noises at him. "Oh, hush," he said with a grin. "Behave or I'll have to introduce you to the Dursleys." She calmed down and the other kids laughed.

"Did you aunt really not throw a fit this year?" Hermione asked, sitting on his other side. "May I?" Harry looked at her. "I'd like to hold her if I may."

"Fine." Harry carefully handed her over, watching as she held the baby awkwardly. "You don't have to support her head so much. She's holding it up part of the time." She nodded, settling the baby in her lap. Missy stared at her mother, probably trying to figure out who this was. "She's fine, Missy. Let her hold you." The baby pulled a fist up to suck on, making squishy noises with it. He looked at Hermione, who looked really sad. "She's fine and very reasonable now that she's sleeping all the time," he said gently. "You can come down and play with her."

"I might," Hermione agreed, watching her daughter. "Does she use a pacifier?"

"Only at night. She keeps losing her thumb and it frustrates her." He grinned at her shaking head. "Babies are complicated that way, Hermione. That's what makes them so great." He grinned more at her snort. "Really." He suddenly shivered. "I wonder what that was," he muttered.

"Pain?" Neville asked.

"No, just a sudden shiver down my back."

"Odd." Hermione handed her daughter back. "Here, she's making that dirtying the diaper face."

Harry looked at her, then shook his head. "That's usually more concentrating than this one is. I think she's thinking about something." He settled her against his chest, her favorite spot. "Neville, less tension, mate," he said gently. Neville loosened his death grip on the baby's middle. "She's wiggly, but she won't lunge most of the time."

"Thanks, Harry." He shifted so the baby could rest in his lap. "Your hair's getting dark, my lady. What will your father say?"

"That hopefully the dye will stick," Harry told him, nodding when everyone looked at him. "She does look an awful lot like him, but not totally." He heard some movement in the other room. "Ron, we're in here," he called.

"Fine." The sound of curtains drawing came through the doorway. "Make sure she rests." Snoring started again a few minutes later.

"That's one strong sleep spell," Seamus said in admiration. "I might need one of those." He smiled as Missy waved her hands at him. "Hello to you too, young lady. May I?" Harry handed her over, watching as he carefully settled her in his lap. "How are you today, my dear? Feeling better?" She cooed and made 'ba ba' noises at him. "Think I'm a sheep?"

"No, Ron's taught her what a bath was," Harry said with another eye roll. "She's since learned to not only love them, but love them more than me."

"It probably reminds her of when she was squishing around in her mum," Neville suggested. Tasha let out an awesome squeal. "What did I do?"

"She adores her bath time," Harry told him. "She knows we were discussing it. Later, Tasha, when you daddy wakes up. Then you can go splash around all you want."

"He lets them in the Prefect's bathroom?" Hermione asked. Harry nodded. "Why haven't we seen them?"

"He locks the door. He usually goes in with them so they're safe. He's very careful with them," he said at her disbelieving look. "Takes his own then brings in each one to have some time of their own. Missy won't even let me sponge her off, she prefers him. I don't know what we're going to do over the holidays when he's gone home."

"Maybe you can go home with him," Hermione said gently, giving him an encouraging smile. "Mrs. Weasley's still upstairs if you wanted to ask her."

"I don't want to impose," Harry pointed out. "If she wants me there, she'll invite us up." He looked at his daughter, who had tipped her head to the side to stare at this new person better. "I don't think she knows what to make of you."

Draco unlocked the door and came back out, his son on his back. He stopped to look at Missy. "He's not that horrible to look at, quit staring. You know how your father is about you and learning manners." She laughed and reached for him. He let her grab his finger for a moment. "There you are, your special touch of the day." He looked over at Harry. "We're going to sit by the lake and throw rocks in again. If my mother should appear, send her that way if you wouldn't mind." He left, heading down to the lakeside.

"That was odd," Seamus pointed out.

Harry shrugged. "He thinks my daughter is adorable. I can only agree." The others laughed and Tasha squealed, waking her father again.

Ron wandered in, yawning and stretching. "What's with the noise, sprout?" He picked her up to look in her eyes. "You can have a bath later, let Neville cuddle you. He's missing his daughter." He handed her back and flopped down. "Was that Malfoy going out our door?"

"He's headed for the lake and thought his mother might come up," Hermione informed him. "How are you, Ron?"

"Good enough. This sleeping thing is marvelous." The others laughed. "You think Harry falling asleep in class is funny, but he's been sleeping through most of the feedings. Those two have managed to coordinate their up-times."

"I get up when I hear her," Harry defended.

"I know, but you sleep like a brick."

Harry beamed. "Yeah, but I got to do all the nasty stuff last weekend while you napped."

"Good point. I guess we're even." He looked over at Missy, who started her 'ba ba' chant again. "It'll be a while. The big kids are over there, I just checked." She settled down for a few more minutes.

"You're good with them," Hermione said quietly.

Ron looked at her. "Mum thinks it's a family gift, to be natural parents. Then again, she said Tasha's better than any of us ever were." He grinned as his daughter squealed at something Neville told her. "I don't let her out of my sight, so any walks or anything will have to be a group activity."

"I was promising to come play with them in the nursery during my next free class," Neville told him. "Would that be okay?"

"Sure," Ron and Harry agreed.

"The twins are about ready to run away screaming anyway," Ron pointed out. "They didn't expect it to be this hard."

"Wait until they start walking," Neville said with a naughty grin.

"Oh, I'm looking forward to it," Ron agreed with a cruel smirk of his own. He looked around. "Were we having a party?"

"Just checking on the rumors that had them deathly ill," Seamus told him. "They're really fine?"

"They're wonderful. If you want, I'll bring Missy with me and come back to the house," Harry offered. "She could use some fresh air anyway."

"Sure," Neville agreed. He stood up and carefully handed Tasha to her father. "You too?"

"I think we're going to nap together," Ron told him. "We'll be up to tease the other kids this weekend."

"Okay." Neville stole Missy to hold, leading the way back to the house.

Hermione stayed behind. "You know you can trust us, Ron."

Ron looked at her. "Of course I can," he obviously lied. "It's a personal preference." She shook her head and followed the others. He sniffed his daughter's hair. "Did the big goober in black leather hold you?" he asked.

"Hey!" Strife called but he didn't appear.

"Not you."

Laughter came down but they were left alone to nap on the couch.


Draco looked up as his mother joined him where he sat. "Is it fixed?"

"It is." She delicately sat on a rock and held out her arms. Her grandson was passed over. "Your father's stories have been countered with the truth. There are many who will not help him because he's a wanted fugitive."

"And those that will?"

"Aren't the sort you'll want to associate with anyway," she pointed out gently. She looked at her grandson. "You look better."

"He's going to spend the night up there just in case, but they said he was fine. Whatever that strange healer who was wearing gold robes did worked very well."

"I'm glad." She looked at him. "His father was trying to save his son some pain."

"I appreciate that position, but not where it intersects with my son's life," he said coolly. "I like Tasha myself, I think she'll grow up decently normal in the very least. She's an adorable infant who has a strong like for me. I don't want to see her harmed either, but I would never do anything to harm the others."

"He probably didn't know the others ate the same formula."

"Possibly. He did come up and apologize. I understood, but it doesn't make me any less desirous of his dead body to be resting in front of me."

"I understand, son, I feel much the same way." She reached over to touch his arm. "It's fixed. All those things that you always yelled you would fix when you had a child are now yours."

"I know," he sighed, leaning forward. "Where do I start? Traveling is out until he's older."

"You can start by making him want to explore. For right now, read everything you can to him to awaken his questioning nature." She moved her hand up, cupping his cheek. "I saw your patron. She was impressed with how well you've done so far."

"So am I," he admitted with a grin for her. "You really won't support father?"

"I don't support him in anything except his capture and eventual death," she pointed out. "Do you know that they're not really looking for him? They're waiting on this prophecy to strike."

"Which is dumb, because it means that it gives him more time to gain power and influence," Draco pointed out. She shrugged. "Stupid idiots." He looked out over the lake again. "Do you think I'll continue to do well?"

"I think you'll do marvelous," she assured him, giving him a smile when he looked at her. "You are a nurturing soul, that's why your father could never fully bend you. Your temper needs worked on, as do your bullying traits, but even those have found a new outlet, my son." She handed back her grandson and kissed her son on the ear. "You go back inside and be safe. I want him to be around so long that he outlives me." She stood up and walked off.

"So do I," he murmured, looking down at his son. He sat back up, letting him rest against his chest again. "Want to go inside? There's a breeze starting." Adonis made a face and kicked his feet. "All right then, five more minutes." He wrapped his robe around the both of them, keeping his son warm. Until his blood was chilled with familiar sounding laughter from behind him. He stood up, cradling his son against his shoulder. "What do you want?" he sneered.

"I wanted to see my grandson. Is that so wrong?" Lucius asked as he moved closer. "Is he feeble?"

"He's an infant, you nit." He looked him over. "I see your grooming's gone already." He stepped away from the hand reaching for them. "Don't try it, I will hex you." He started to send a desperate prayer to his patron, but a blinding pain in his head stopped him.

Lucius sneered down at him. "It won't work. I can keep them away."

"Go away before I call someone to capture you," Draco ordered. His son moved and he held him tighter. He didn't need him to appear to be too athletic or Lucius might strike, or the baby would throw him off balance. "We want nothing to do with you, Lucius. You are not a proper Malfoy."

"Really? And yet my father would say the same about you. As would ever male back thirty generations."

Draco glared at him. "Then it's good I'm in charge, isn't it?" He stepped around his father, heading toward the school. "Leave, bastard, before I send aurors." He turned but his father was already gone. "Shit." He hurried up to the school, wondering how the man had gotten the money for an invisibility cloak. He ran into Professor Snape outside his house. "My father was just here," he panted.

Snape took his arm and led him up to the Headmaster's office, the safest place for him. "He was nearly attacked," he announced as they walked in.

Dumbledore looked at him. "I felt Lucius enter the grounds. He's left." He looked at Draco. "Do not go outside without company, young man."

"He disappeared," Draco said hotly.

"I know," Dumbledore agreed. "Go back to your rooms and safety. We'll search the paths for him." He watched the boy and baby go. "He's got a cloak."

"Then we won't find him," Snape pointed out.

"There are muggle dogs who can track people. There's one on the way," Dumbledore told him. "With a handler who can train Hagrid in how to use him." Snape relaxed. "Where are the others?"

"I saw Potter heading back to Gryffindor. I haven't seen Weasley."

Dumbledore looked at the portraits around his office. "Is Ron and his daughter in their rooms?" One of the heads nodded. "Thank you." He relaxed. "Ares?" He walked in the door a few heartbeats later. "Lucius Malfoy was just here."

"I still think it's a large bout of stupidity to not search for him now," Ares pointed out.

"As do I, but they're not listening." Dumbledore spread his hands in a classic 'what can I do about it' move. "He was just here at the school."

"Why didn't Draco call for Eris?" he asked, frowning at the stairway.

"He looked like he was in pain. His eyes were bloodshot," Snape told him, crossing his arms. "Are the fathers able to handle themselves?"

"Ron is, Harry isn't. Draco does better when he's got his wand in his hand and his son isn't near him. I'll pick up their training tonight." Both professors nodded. "I'll also add my sort of wards to the grounds so I know when he shows up." He left them there, going down to check on the boys. He walked into the room and found Draco pacing, stopping him with a hand on his arm. "Are you all right?" Draco shook his head. "Sit and calm yourself. We've got to talk about your future training. If he was this bold, we've overestimated how smart he is." Draco relaxed at that. "Is your father usually so brash and does he usually do such stupid pranks?"

Draco shrugged. "Brash, yes. Stupid, I'm not sure. I think that was a fear move. He didn't try to touch either of us really. He threatened us, told me I wasn't one of the family. But he reached out and never connected." He frowned, holding his son so tightly that he complained. "Oh, stop that," he chided.

Ron opened his eyes and looked over. "If you'd quit squeezing him, he'd not fuss." He moved Tasha so he could sit up, putting her onto the couch next to him. "What happened?"

"My father just showed up," Draco said bitterly.

"Why didn't you call for Eris?" Ares asked.

"He did...something and my head started to hurt," Draco admitted, slumping. "Said he knew what was going on around here."

"Then we'll have to counter it," Ron said firmly, looking at his boss. "What do I do?"

"For right now, I need Draco and Harry to get up to your standards of fighting. I'll get the twins to help." Ares frowned, starting to pace as he thought. "If he was this dumb, or trying to raise this much fear, then he's probably got a plan. He's probably one of those who'll want to 'prove' his prowess." Draco groaned so he looked at him. "What?"

"He used to rant about how Voldemort couldn't hold his own against Potter. Thought it proved his weakness."

Ares looked unimpressed. "Was he stupid enough to say it to his face?" Draco nodded.

"When?" Ron asked.

"Right before the end of the so-called final battle," Draco said with a sneer. "Looked over at him and told him. It distracted him for that blow Potter sent at him."

"Wonderful, he's got timing," Ron said in derision. He looked at Ares, who was frowning at him. "Sorry, but I know what a git his father is. He tried to hurt my sister."

"Save that punishment for later, Ron, concentrate on the one needed at this moment. Or better yet, let Ginny get her own. She's a strong girl who can hurt him in many ways." He shuddered. "I don't like this. I think he's got a plan. Strife?" Strife appeared, looking interested, even though he was covered in bubbles. "Lucius just showed up to scare his son and to make fun of him."

Strife snapped his fingers and his usual working clothes appeared. "I'm on it. Finding out his plans or making him pay?"

"Find out his plans, we'll make him pay later. Unless you can conveniently get him arrested without endangering more lives." Strife shrugged and disappeared. "Okay, now we train." He looked at the boys. Ron looked ready, Draco looked depressed. "Snap out of it," he ordered. "Now is when the work has to start if you want to keep him safe."

Draco looked at him. "With my lack of skills in fighting without my wand, isn't it wiser that I hire people who can do that for me and concentrate on what I'm good at?"

"Bodyguards can't be with you all the time. Even if they're always in the room, they're never closer than you are to your own son," Ron told him, standing up. "Let me get the twins to take the kids." He walked back to his room and pulled the cord that led to the bell in their room. Fred came running in a moment later. "We've got to train harder. Watch the kids, okay?"

"Fine," Fred agreed. He frowned. "Are you *sure*, Ron?"

Ron looked at him. "I am. The slimy git just showed up." He walked into the other room, taking Adonis from Draco's arms. "Here." He handed him over. "Watch over them like I would or I'm telling mum."

"She's in our rooms anyway," Fred told him, giving Ares a smile. "She said hi. Where's Harry?"


"That's fine, we'll get Missy and send him down," Fred said, wheeling the stroller out to go pick up the missing one.

Ron looked at Ares. "In here?"

"No, I've got a space to train you." He led the way to his office and through a door that hadn't been there before. They came out in a large gym with a padded floor. "Let's start off with the basics. Boxing." Draco nodded and paired off with Ron, doing his best. He know knew he had a reason to fight. Before his father had been a 'suppose it will happen', now it was certain the idiot was coming for his son. He paused. "Now I know how Potter's parents felt," he said bitterly, taking a wild swing at Ron.

"Boxing is about control and focus," Ares snapped. "Use them."

Draco nodded and got back into the right mindset, watching Ron for his moves.


It had been a long two weeks of paranoid training, but it had been worth it Harry decided as he sat down to eat dinner one Saturday night. He was getting a lot better thanks to Ron beating up on him repeatedly. He was even waking up in the mornings now for some odd reason. He wasn't quite sure why, but he was all for getting to eat breakfast while awake. No more mistakes with combining the wrong foods. The mashed potatoes and sausage sandwich hadn't sat all that well. He looked at his daughter, who was napping, and grinned. This sleeping thing was marvelous, Ron had been right about that. He dug into the food when it appeared, happily eating without being interrupted. And when she did wake up, the pacifier was more than enough comfort for her so he could finish at least most of it. Ron plopped down next to him. "You don't look happy."

"The twins are taking off for the weekend."

"Crap," Harry sighed. "No training this weekend?" he asked hopefully. The kids didn't want to watch them, they screamed if they were in the room while they trained.

Ron flinched as another baby started to wail across the room. "Sounds like someone's got an earache again," he mused. He held up a small spoon of potatoes for his daughter. "Try some of this, precious."

"It's too early, Ron."

"Mum said the same thing, but she liked licking off my fingers the other night after my snack," he said with a shrug. The spoon was taken from his fingers by the teacher who had snuck up behind them. "Yes, Professor?" he asked, looking up at the imposing man.

"She is too young for anything that solid. Try mush, not starchy potatoes." He handed the spoon back and went back to his seat. "Malfoy!" he snapped.

"Earache," he said with some disgust.

"Again?" McGonagall asked, looking down at him. "What have his ears been getting into, young man?"

"There's probably some fluid in them again," Snape said as he sat down. "I'll look her over later." Missy squealed and threw her pacifier angrily. "Potter," he warned.

"Sir, I don't have a bottle on me," he called back, using his finger, which had some gravy dipped on it. She spit it out with a lot of trying to get it off her tongue. "It's good, you'll like it some day," he encouraged.

"At least mine was food," Ron pointed out, but he was grinning. "Missy, behave," he said gently. "Or no splashing about later." She wiggled and kicked, moving the chair. Harry caught her. "Nice catch."

"Thank you." He set his daughter back in her place. "Maybe if you're good, I'll even get to help you take a bath tonight." She burst out in tears. "Fine, Ron can do it," he sighed, shaking his head. "I don't understand you," he complained.

"She's got a point, I'm better in the water," Ron reminded him. "Been swimming since I was their age."

"Yeah, I guess." Harry looked at his daughter. "Behave or no baths with Ron for a week." She sniffled then let out a loud wail.

"Can't you keep it down!" Malfoy yelled across the room.

Ron stuck his finger in Missy's mouth, making her stop. "Better?" he asked dryly.

"Thank you." He looked over at his son. "You, drink. I'm going to eat, and then we can both go back to bed." The bottle made a very nice weapon as it flew toward one of the other Slytherins. "Bloody hell, son," he whined.

"Bring him over," Ron sighed. "You did hear the twins were leaving for the weekend?"

"No, I hadn't," Draco said, picking up the cradle to carry it over. "Here, you obviously can keep them quiet, work some magic on him." He stomped back to his seat and dug into his food.

Ron looked at Adonis, who was playing with his ear. "We'll get that fixed in a bit, little man. Calm down for right now and everything will be fine. If your daddy agrees, I'll even bring you into the baths tonight so he can finally get some sleep." Adonis sniffled so Ron rubbed his stomach. "Where is his bottle?"

"Coming," Draco said, glaring at the person who had been hit with it. They stood up and walked it over.

Ron carefully washed off the nipple with his napkin and handed it over. "You drink, Don, and we'll have fun once your ear's better, all right?" The baby boy drank noisily and the surrounding people sighed in relief.

"You trust him?" Pansy sneered.

Draco looked at her. "Unlike you, he's proven he's not going to harm my son."

"He's a Gryff."

"Which means, as a *hero*, that I can trust him not to hurt him. Even Longbottom's more trustworthy in this case than you are," he sneered. She launched herself at him, claws out and ready to gouge his face up. He backhanded her, sending her to the floor. "Did you need another lesson in why you don't attack me?" he asked plainly. "I had thought you learned that lesson in our first year, Parkinson." She burst out in tears and ran from the Great Hall. "Cow." Draco went back to his food. Everyone was staring at him. "What?" he demanded.

"You trust me more than them?" Neville asked, smiling hopefully.

"You'll only trip and fall to hurt him, not intentionally try to smother him. Yours is an accident so therefore better," he said in his best 'teaching' voice. "You may not hold my son, Longbottom."

"That's fine. Thank you, Draco." He looked at the kids. "Can I hold Missy, Harry?"

"Sure, go for it. She seems to enjoy her Uncle Neville," he said with a grin. Missy was pulled over and Harry watched as she squeaked in delight, babbling at him at a high rate of speed. "I don't know what she said, but you obviously do it for her," Harry quipped.

Neville laughed. "I like her, she's neat. Very calm."

"Until Harry tries to give her a bath," Ron agreed, grinning at him. Adonis grunted in irritation. "Sorry, did I quit paying attention to you?" he asked him, smiling at him. The boy settled down so Ron looked over at his daughter, who was now sucking his finger while asleep. "Awww, you're so cute," he told her, covering her up and substituting her finger for his.

Snape cleared his throat. "Since you seem to have all of the children, I'll be seeing you with Adonis after dinner," he commanded.

"Yes, sir," Ron agreed. "Then we'll have a bath and everyone will go to sleep!" he said happily. Adonis waved a hand. "Yes, you as well. Even if we have to drag your bed over for the night so your father can sleep, you will sleep tonight."

Draco lifted his head. "He kept you up?"

"No, I heard you around dawn."

"Oh." Draco went back to his dessert. "If you wanted him for the night, I'd agree to open the common area door."

"That's fine," Ron agreed. Harry hit him on the arm. "Ow!" He looked at him. "A cranky Malfoy means that we'll have to hear about it more often," he pointed out. "Besides, he's not much trouble."

"You're taking care of him," Harry said, looking at him.

Ron looked back. "Why not, I take care of Missy most nights," he said quietly. Harry turned away. "That's fine. I'll camp in the common area with the kids," Ron called over.

"Bless you."

"I'll have a sleeping potion made up," Snape said, looking like he was smirking at Ron. "Would you like help carrying them?"

"Hey, Neville, help me get them down there?" Ron asked. Neville smiled and nodded. "Cool. Sir, if you wanted to take Adonis, I'll follow you right now."

"That would be fine." Snape came down to get the little boy, making him fuss a bit, but he liked him enough to stay calm. "Come along," he ordered. The boys followed, and the kids were arranged on the tables for his examination. "I see we do have more fluid in the ear."

"Should I plan on putting cotton in his ears tonight?" Ron asked.

"Try not to dunk his head. Use a cup instead, but the cotton is a good idea," Snape agreed. He looked at Missy. "She needs to eat more often."

"We feed her every chance we get," Neville defended. "Harry's doing a wonderful job," he said when Snape looked at him.

"Indeed?" he asked. Neville nodded quickly, pale as a sheet. "Then perhaps her picky nature is permanent."

"Most likely," Ron agreed with a grin. "She wouldn't eat for mum either."

Snape snorted. "Then I fear for her continued existence."

"She ate for Malfoy the other day," Ron offered. Neville looked at him. "We were in the nursery when she woke up. She let him hand her a bottle and didn't throw it away like she does half the time with Harry."

"Interesting." Snape looked at Tasha. "I see her diaper rash is back." Ron looked over so he pointed it out. "Continue to use the creme every change."

"I do, but the twins don't always," Ron said, grimacing. "I'll make sure her bum's clean tonight."

"Good." He backed away from the tables. "They look fine otherwise. Tell Malfoy about the cotton and dunking. Tell Potter to hold the bottle in her mouth if he has to." He crossed his arms. "Do you want help back to your rooms."

Ron used his wand to summon the stroller. "Nope, I think this is easier. Thank you though." He helped Neville load the kids inside and pushed them back to their room. "Come on, Neville. You can help me move beds around for the night."

"Thank you, Professor," Neville said as he ran after Ron. He realized later that night that the scary man hadn't made fun of him this time. It was a wonderful feeling. It kept him awake most of the night.


Draco wandered in and blew a kiss at his son. "Please sleep," he begged.

Ron looked over from his reading. "He did have water in his ears. You're not to dunk his head and to put cotton in them when you wash his hair."

"I can do that," Draco admitted. He looked over at the sleeping Missy. "Any other problems?"

"Her fussy nature is amusing Professor Snape. Tasha has the beginnings of diaper rash thanks to the twins." He shrugged. "Normal baby things."

"Some of us have never seen a baby before," Draco reminded him.

"I was only a year when Ginny was born," Ron agreed. "She wasn't that much smaller than I was."

"Then how do you do it?"

Ron shrugged. "It's not hard. Some people are meant to be parents and some aren't." He looked at his nemesis. "You're doing fine. He's not neglected, he's healthy, and he's mostly happy."

"Thank you. Faint praise is nearly as good as a real compliment." Draco looked down at his son. "Will you let me sleep tonight?" he asked.

"Close your door. I can pound loud enough to wake you if something goes wrong, or I'll simply bash the thing in."

"Thank you." Draco went back to his room and closed the door firmly, but didn't lock it.

Ron settled back in after a quick glance at the kids. He really needed to get this homework done. When Harry came in and slammed the door, it made him jump, but didn't wake the kids. "Problems?" he called.

Harry walked out and handed him a letter, then walked away again, going to hit his bed a few times.

Ron read the short letter and snorted. "Really?" He looked back toward his room. "You gonna take her with you?"

"That would give him a hostage," Harry snorted, coming out again. "I don't want to go. I think Dudley should rot for what he's done."

"What did he do?"

"They didn't say," Harry said with a shrug. "That's all I got. They want me to go defend the bully from his latest victim and I can't lie that well."

"As you've pointed out, you have money, you can leave their house," Ron reminded him, handing it back. "When are you leaving?"

"Monday," Harry said bitterly. "Will the twins be back?"

"We think so. There is the chance that they've run away to hide with Bill or Charlie, but they'd send them back eventually." Ron grinned. "Have fun, Harry."

"Wonderful fun," he said dryly. "Lying my ass off so I don't get attacked." He went back into the bedroom. "I'll need to find real clothes."

"Wear your uniform minus the robes," Ron called back. "They'll expect you to be in school." He looked back. "Take pictures as well so you can rub it in their faces." Harry choked so Ron giggled. "Hey, Missy, want to stay with me this weekend?" he asked her. She shifted in her sleep, moving toward his voice. "You're such a good girl." Tasha sniffled and he looked over at her. "Want Missy to come cuddle you for a bit, love?" She settled down again, going back to sleep. "Good kids." Adonis was awake, but staring at the normal ceiling. Ron stood up and walked over, waving a hand in front of his eyes. "Huh." He did it again, the baby should be able to track his finger. "Harry, come watch them," he called, picking up the baby. He did the test again and Harry saw it.

"That's not normal," Harry said with a frown.

"I know, you stay here, I'm going to check with Snape." He walked down to the dungeons, it was detention and the man was down there. He knocked before walking in. "Sir, may I see you for a moment?" Ron asked quietly. Snape nodded, walking him back to his office. "I think he's blind."

The baby was taken and Snape repeated the 'follow the finger' test. "Take him to the infirmary." He looked around. "Where is his father?"

"Sleeping. I'll get him once you're sure." He coughed. "The formula?"

"It's not a side-effect of chamomile poisoning in an infant," he said firmly. "Take him upstairs, then get Mr. Malfoy while we look him over."

Ron headed up to the infirmary, walking in during a fight. "Stop it before you run into me and make me drop Draco's son," he snapped. The seventh year Slytherins backed off. "Madam Pomfrey, Professor Snape wanted you to look at him," he told her. "I'm going to get Draco right now if you'll take him."


Ron glanced at them, then at her. "He seems to have a tracking problem." She repeated it and he moved his eyes around, and she evidently caught the clue. "I'm going to get his father if you'll look at him, Professor Snape said he's on his way up." He handed him over. "Thank you." He hurried out, passing the professor in the halls. He walked into their room and through the common area, pounding on Draco's door before walking in. He noticed the nicer decorations, but he wasn't concerned or jealous. He had enough. He shoved the body on the bed. "Draco, wake up, there's a problem."

"Can't you handle it?" he mumbled.

Ron looked down at him, forcing the other teen's face around. "I just noticed Adonis doesn't track to a finger, Draco. He's blind." That got him sitting up. "I took him to Snape, he sent him up to Madam Pomfrey. I didn't say anything in front of the Slytherins up there."

"Thank you," Draco said as he slid out of his bed. He pulled on some work out clothes and walked out, Ron following. "You're sure?"

"He didn't track my finger or Professor Snape's finger. Madam Pomfrey is checking him over now." Draco nodded, walking into the infirmary. All the Slytherins were silent and staring at him. "What?" Ron demanded.

"Is the baby all right?"

"It's a small problem, easily fixed," Draco assured them. "Leave." Those who could ran, the others went back to their beds. Ron pointed at the closed curtains and he headed that way, walking into the room. "Is he?"

Madam Pomfrey looked at him. "Not totally. Close the drapes." He did so and moved closer in the near dark. She had her wand lit. "If you look, the baby's eyes aren't adjusting very fast."

"Would a specialist help?" Draco asked. "Be able to tell me why or do something more?"

"Probably," she agreed. "It had nothing to do with the formula incident." He nodded, looking outwardly calm. "I can have an appointment made for you if you want."

"Please. The best you can find. Money's not an object." He waited until she was gone to look at his Head. "What can I do about this?" he asked quietly.

"Listen to the specialist, see what he tells you. It may be correctable," Snape encouraged. "Until then, I wouldn't risk doing anything because it might make it worse. It could end up being in only one eye, Mr. Malfoy. Now is not the time to panic."

"It is too," Draco said quietly. "I have to have a healthy and functioning heir or my father can come back."

"He is, for all purposes, fine. There's nothing physically wrong with him beside this. There have been blind wizards and witches in the past, usually they found a method of compensation." He shrugged. "I will go with you."

"Please. Could you call my mother?"

"I'll have Mr. Weasley do so. Do you want his mother as well?" Draco gave him a helpless look and he nearly hugged the boy - even though that would be out of character for him to do so. "Calm yourself. This could be nothing or it could be something very serious, something having to do with his brain. If that is so, then there are other options available. In your family's history there have been non-heirs born." Draco opened his mouth. "It is rare and only in this circumstance, where a child has a birth defect found after being declared an heir."

"It's where you're too pure of the blood," Ron said as he walked in. "Your mom was called by Madam Pomfrey, she's waiting out there with the kids, chatting to those in your house." Draco nodded. "I'll bring her in." He looked at Draco. "You can get around this. Mum had a cousin who was blind and she did everything normally except fly." He walked out, and looked at the regal woman standing there. "He's calm and wanting you," he told her.

"Thank you, Mr. Weasley," she said, brushing past him. She walked into the darkened area and looked down at her grandchild. "Is something wrong?"

"He may be blind, mother," Draco said quietly. She gasped and he looked at her. "Does it run in the family?"

"On my side, it's an effect of the inbreeding we unfortunately did a few generations back." She moved closer, using her wand to check the baby herself. "He isn't following at all. What is the next step, Severus?"

"We're getting him in to see a specialist," Draco said firmly. "I'm sure we can afford any treatment."

She gave him a perfunctory hug. "We can, and there is a tradition of having non-heirs. No one says anything and they're never mentioned in any of the paperwork because they're given a slight inheritance to disappear. You'll simply have to have another one, son."

Draco looked at her. "Mother, I happen to love my son," he said coldly. "If he can function normally, then we may not need to jump to conclusions yet."

"We'll wait and see what the specialist says," she agreed. "You had to see one because your foot turned out." She looked over as the curtain opened and Ron walked in. "Why are you in here?"

"Sharing a bit of news." Ron looked at Draco. "Harry's going to be in town all next week and I've just heard the twins won't be back next week. So if you need it, I'm going to be on babysitting duty." Draco nodded. "Good. If you need me, I'll be back in the common area. Madam Pomfrey's screaming at someone to get you in this weekend." He walked away, heading back to their rooms. He found most of the Gryffindors they were still friends with playing with the kids. "Hey," he said as he sat down. "Were they sleeping?"

"No, Tasha woke up Missy, as usual," Harry told him. He looked over. "Is he all right?"

"Fine," Ron lied. "A minor problem." Harry nodded, relaxing. "Harry, Professor Snape said you've got to get her to eat more."

"I try," Harry defended.

"Try broomsticks and the like with the spoon," Seamus suggested. "My mum used to do that often enough with me when I decided not to eat."

"It's harder with a bottle," Harry told him. "If you want to try, go ahead."

"Bottles are in the cupboard," Ron said, pointing at them. "Warmer's next to them." Harry got up to fix one, bringing it over. "Thanks."

Professor Arion walked in, looking sexy and confident. "Where's Malfoy?"

"Infirmary," Harry told him. The Professor looked at him. "The baby was doing funny stuff so Ron took him up."

"His mother's up there as well," Ron told him. "Madam Pomfrey called her." Harry looked at him, mouth partially open. "He's *fine*," he said firmly.

"Fine, he's fine," Harry agreed. The other Gryffs looked between them but he shook his head. "Can we help you with anything, professor?"

"No, I wanted to talk to him about what he was trying to do the other night," he said grimly. "Do you think he could use some more company?"

"He might," Ron agreed. "Maybe his more favorite person though, he's probably not in a great mood. I had been watching Adonis because Draco needed a nap."

"Hmm. I'll have her call up there then," Ares agreed, looking down at him. He read the reality from Ron's mind and mentally groaned. That poor kid. He sent out a call to his sister, sending her to Draco's side, he'd need her to hold him more than anything. "Okay, then. Is it my turn to play with the kiddies?"

"I was going to take them for a bath soon," Ron told him, grinning. "If you wanted to put on some trunks and join me, I wouldn't mind."

"You take them into the bath, not into a shallow tub?" Neville asked. Ron nodded. "But they're so tiny!"

"I take them in one at a time, Neville, they're fine and they're learning to enjoy the water."

"Most babies that age enjoy the water, it reminds them of the time before they were born. Let me change and I'll meet you in the Prefect's bathroom." He strolled away, aware that at least one set of eyes was staring at his ass. Hey, it was magnificent, he deserved the attention! He went to change the mortal way, it would give Ron enough time to chase off everyone with the diaper Missy was laying. People always wanted to play with the kids, until the messy stuff happened. Except Neville. He felt Eris pop in and sent her a warm greeting. She gave him a mental shove. He shrugged and found his favorite pair of spandex shorts, using them instead of swimming trunks. Usually he swam naked. Not that Ron would mind.... He checked on Ron's progress. He was in the bath, using it on himself, so he had time to stroll around. He met McGonagall in the hall and smirked at her when she looked shocked at his attire. "I'm going to help give the kids a bath," he told her.

She snorted. "I'm sure you'll have fun. Is he still using the Prefect's bathroom?" He nodded. "Wonderful. Hopefully they won't have an accident."

"I'm sure he's very careful or Mr. Malfoy wouldn't let him watch his beloved son." Her eyes narrowed. "Are you jealous, Professor?" he teased.

"I'm more afraid, this has clearly corrupted Mr. Weasley greatly if he willingly associates with Mr. Malfoy."

Ares shook his head. "More like unwilling allies. They have the same underlying goal. To get out of here with healthy and happy children. War creates strange bedfellows," he quipped before walking away. He heard a few pairs of heels stop down the hallway from him and turned around to look at the fifth year girls. "Yes?" he asked them. "Are you having problems?"

One girl blushed. "Sir, is there a reason why you're dressed so ...scandalously?" she asked, sounding like she was out of breath.

"I've been invited to give the girls a bath," he said smugly.

"Really?" another girl in the group asked. "Any girls in particular? By last name perhaps?" she asked hopefully.

He threw his head back and laughed. "Sorry, just the infant ones. It's assumed that you're old enough to bathe yourself, Ms. Abersome." He winked and finished his walk, aware that the girls were following his tight buns down the halls. He tapped on the portrait over the bathroom door. "It's me."

"Just a moment," Ron called. "I'm not done yet." A girl who heard sighed and rolled her eyes.

"I'm helping give the little girls a bath," he told her. She looked him over and unconsciously licked her lips. "Continue on your trek to the library," he ordered. She nodded and hurried off, heading for the nearest girls' bathroom first.

Ron opened the portrait and looked at him. "Trying to incite another orgy?" he asked as he let him inside.

"No, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't help some of the tension," Ares said with a grin. "Want to do one then the other or both at once?"

"Since you're here we can do both at once," Ron told him, walking over to pick up Missy. He climbed in with her, he always did her first because his own daughter got a bit more of his time. She squealed and splashed the other man getting in. "He's that nice guy, pumpkin. He's letting Tasha play so you can have more time tonight." She splashed again, then kicked like she wanted to swim. "Okay, we'll sit and you can play." He sat on one of the marble seats built into the side of the tub, putting her onto his lap. "There, splash Tasha."

Ares laughed as Tasha splashed back. "They seem to like this activity."

"It's their favorite so far," Ron agreed, grinning at him. "You really walked through the halls like that?"

"What's wrong with it?" Ares asked, looking down at himself. "I'm covered."

"And shown in every inch," Ron snorted. "Was that the point?"

"No, but it was rather fun watching McGonagall try not to look," he said smugly, shifting Tasha so she was more firmly seated on his lap. "Quit wiggling or I'm going to make you float on the water."

"She hates that, she can't play that way," Ron defended.

"Exactly. Strife did the same thing, only he liked to pee in the water." Ron giggled, clutching Missy tightly. "Watch her. She nearly tried to swim."

"I know, she wants to swim so much." He shifted to a higher seat so he was more out of the water. "There, that's safer. There's an anti-drowning charm on the pool," he told him.

"For kids your age, I doubt they took into account little children."

"No, it's a general one. I checked with the house elves before I brought Tasha in that first time. It'll cover for them as well." He shifted, letting Missy sit on his other leg. "We need to get them floating seats so they can sit up." He watched his daughter yawn. "Someone's tired," he said quietly, nodding at her. Ares nodded, carefully putting her onto a towel on the floor. He came over and took Missy, putting her down as well. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." He sat across from Ron again. "How are you doing?"

"I've still got that *lovely* itch to be taken," he noted. "It's not getting any easier. I've also managed to get a callus on the wrong spot on my thumb, it's rubbing against my quill." Ares nodded. "Otherwise, I'm pretty good. Not quite content, but I guess I won't be that until after all this is done with and I'm out of school."

"Good. That's what I wanted to hear. You're a good kid, Ron." Ron grimaced. "You're still young."

"I'm not that young, Ares. I'm as old as the warriors you used to send into battle."

"And you're looking pretty good in that area," Ares agreed quickly. "You're still too young." He looked over at Ron, making sure he got the point. Ron sighed and slumped down. "Ask me in a few years, kid. I am technically with someone and he's a jealous sort."

"I'm still here," Ron reminded him. "Bored out of my mind."

Ares laughed. "I'm sure you are. You could try to pick up a boyfriend."

"None of the guys around here have what I want in one of those. They're nice, but they're not what I want."

"I guess that would be bad," Ares agreed. "So, are you going to take my mark? I know you offered that as well."

"Sure, why not," Ron said with a grin. "You keep my temper in check." Ares splashed him. "You do."

"I know, but that's not the right reason to offer, kid. Did you read up on the stuff I sent with Strife?" Ron nodded. "And?"

"And I think you're expecting a bit much of me, but I could probably do most of it."

"You grow into it," Ares admitted. "You start out with the simple stuff and move up. The only real problem you'll have is that I will be in control of your life. That means that I'll have total say over everything." Ron shrugged. "Including who you sleep with."


"What? You think I don't have good taste?"

"No, I think you'd probably bean me for my nature," Ron admitted.

The God of War shrugged. "Ehh. I remember your mother, she was always interesting to watch at the very least. You're right that I won't let you play around that way now, not with your taint still being so strong. It could be dangerous for you."

"I know, and I'm always careful these days."

"I know."

"I do try, but I *need* it," Ron complained.

"If you do, then the only people you will touch are myself and anyone I agree to you blowing off steam with."

"Which would be?"

"Draco and Harry. It would bring you three closer," Ares said honestly. "You're already protective over one of them and the other is the one you'll have to worry about." A door in the next room slammed. "Think it over."

"That means I'd not get any," Ron said warmly. "One doesn't swing, and I can't take the other's mannerisms."

Ares looked over at him. "Don't get pissed, Ron, it's for your own good."

"I don't want them."

"Tough. Those are the rules."

"Are you going to desert us if I say I can't stand that part of them?" Ron asked honestly.

Ares shook his head. "No, kid, I won't. You're honest with yourself, that's what's more important to me at this moment. Besides, you need me, and this is looking like a battle that will take someone higher to watch over and control."

"Why can't you kill him outright?" Ron asked.

"Because Lucius is an important figure. His ways touch a number of people and their lives will go wrong if I took him out of the weave too early. Besides, the Fates are scary bitches and they said they'd kill me after the last one," he said with a touch of humor.

"Oh." Ron looked down at himself. "I want, Ares," he said, looking over at him, "but that last commitment isn't in me yet. I can't go without. I'll die that way."

"You won't really."

"I will because I'm going to slit my throat if I don't get laid soon," Ron said seriously. "This itchy, needy feeling is driving me nuts."

Ares laughed. "I've had that once or twice. There are ways around that."

"Not anymore. I tried them, they're not working all that well."


"Have a few, not working, and Harry caught me the last time. That one seems to have disappeared," Ron said with a wry look at him. "You know he won't."

"You could go for the other. He could use the comfort. He likes to be on top."

"I doubt I'd live through it, we'd have to kill each other afterwards," Ron said dryly. "We hate each other, Ares. The only reason we're working together is because you're demanding it. I like Adonis, and I can see the sense in protecting him, but his father and I won't ever get on."

"You're both very strong willed," Ares pointed out in a gentler tone of voice.

"Yay. We hate each other. Have since our first day at school. He hates my family and I'd rather find a way to assassinate his father."

"There are those who could do that," Ares admitted, thinking about it. Would it really be so bad to have him taken out now?

"What would it cost to do that?" Ron asked, looking entirely serious.

"It depends on who you get. If we get one of the best ones, one of my personal favorites, he'll do it for shits and giggles. He's bored." He grinned. "Jett would probably love this one. His brother has forced him to grow a small conscience. He'd do it just to stop the dictator and to keep you in line."

"But what would he want in return?" Ron asked.

"I have no clue. Though it is an idea," Ares said thoughtfully. "Strife?" he called. Strife appeared and looked interested. "What would Jett want to kill Draco's father?"

"Um, probably some hot sex. He's kinda been bored." He grinned at Ron. "Got that itch still?" Ron groaned and nodded so Strife kissed him. "You be a good boy and I'll see what I can do about importin' someone or somethin' to help." He wiggled his fingers and disappeared again.

"Cheeky shit," Ares said fondly. "Jett, appear," he said, pointing his finger at the clear area. A lean, dark haired man in leather appeared in a small flash of white light, picking his nails. "We want to talk to you about what your reward would be to stop certain Dark Lords in the making."

"I'd really like to save my daughter from him," Ron agreed.

Jett looked over at him. "Oh, you're *him*," he said with a touch of fondness. This kid could be the next him from the way Cupid and Strife were talking, or at least give him a run for Chosen Warrior status and perks.

"Yes, it's him. He got enough ambrosia to nearly become one of us. Now, what would you want?"

"I don't know," Jett said with a shrug. "Never heard of the guy. You know I stay out of the magic crap." He glanced around. "Though this is rather fetching." He looked at the boy again, smirking at the look in his eyes. "Appreciate it all you want, kiddo, but I like my men to be my age." He winked. "Got any intel?"

"Professor Snape would," Ron told him.

Ares nodded. "More than most and he probably wouldn't be too squeamish about your job either. Good suggestion, Ron, that's two today." He looked at Jett. "Think you can find him?" Jett shrugged. "He's in the dungeon, running a potion's detention."

"Look for the greasy guy in all black," Ron added. "Down this hall, down the stairs, down three more halls, taking left turns at the end, and then there's a portrait over the door, a dark and gloomy night landscape this year." Jett nodded slowly. "If you want, I can lead you down there," he said, shifting toward the edge.

"I wouldn't dream of taking Ares' fun away from him," Jett said with a smirk. "I'll be back, we'll discuss this one, Ares." He strolled out, casually heading down the stairs. He noticed all the kids and nearly shuddered. "He's in a school," he told himself. "I should have guessed with the detention remark." He saw one girl giving him a lusty look and motioned her closer. "One, I'm gay, two I only top, and three I'm a bad mother fucker. Where's Snape?" he asked.

"This way," she said quickly, leading him down the halls. "You're sure you won't try the other side?" she asked when she stopped in front of a portrait, a night landscape.

He pinched her on the tit. "Been there, done that, got bored with it after a few thousand years." He winked. "But I'll keep you in mind, precious," he purred. She shivered and her knees seemed to melt. "Go back to the good girls and boys, girl. Before you get a nasty reputation." She hurried off and Jett knocked on the door. A large man with greasy hair answered. "Oh, hey, Ron described you perfectly," he said as he walked inside. "The big guy in leather sent me to talk about a rising...."

Snape put a hand over his mouth. "Not in front of the students," he snapped, leading him back to the office and slamming the door. "Ares sent you to me?" Jett nodded, perching himself on the desk. "Why?" He sat himself down.

"Because I'm an assassin, ducks. I'm the best there ever was, that's why I was made immortal." He smirked at the shocked look. "That redhead that Ares is trying to beat off, and not succeeding too well, suggested it."

"Weasley," he sighed, rubbing his eyes. "He would. His daughter's directly in the crossfire this time." He looked the man over. "Who are you, if I may know?"

"I'm Jett, Grecian King of Assassins. Roman King of Assassins. Hell, the Church's for about fifty years as well," he said with a look over the firm body. "I think I know what I want to do this job," he purred.

"I think not," Snape said firmly.

"Not even to see him gone?"

"He could kill you before you got within three hundred yards of him."

"That's what long range weapons are for." He leaned down, making the other man start to sweat and breathe a little harder. "Would he expect someone like me?" he asked in a cold whisper. Snape shook his head. "Then wouldn't I be more efficient than one of you trying it?"

Snape thought about it. "It would certainly humiliate him," he said quietly. He cleared his throat at the look sent across him again. "I am not part of the deal."

"Pity," Jett said with a smile. "I could do tons for you. You look like you need laid." He stood up. "Where can I get info on this shitbag?"

"If you could read my memories, we used to be best friends. I can show you everything he's ever done, up to three years ago."

"Hmm. Interesting. I can't, but I think I can intercede and get someone to send it over." He looked up. "Yo, dirty bastard." Strife appeared, already giggling. "Whatcha gonna give me if I get this idiot?"

"I'm all for rewards," Strife said, considering him. "Free run at the muses for a weekend?" Jett snorted. "Okay, then whaddya want? Me, Cupe, and some ice cream?"

"Tempting," Jett said, considering it. He shook his head. "We did that last century. I need a new treat." He winked at the teacher.

Aphrodite appeared in her usual garb of pink nearly nothing and squealed, hugging Jett tightly. "I knew you'd find your mate someday," she said happily. She smiled at Severus and for some reason he felt the urge to run. "I think you two would understand each other very well."

"I like women," Snape said, trying to sound firm. His eyes were trapped on the bustline this new woman had. "Who are you?"

"That's 'Dite," Strife said, rolling his eyes behind her back. "Goddess of Love and maker of nearly as much mischief as me."

"Absolutely not," Snape said firmly, standing up. "I am not for sale, nor am I a reward."

"Pity," Jett repeated. "Hey, Pink One, can I have someone else until I can woo him?"

"Sure," she said with a hand wave. "What sort do you want? Male, female, young, old, studly or not?"

"Male, studly, and submissive," he said with a smile. She giggled and hugged him before disappearing. "Cool, I'll accept this job. Strife, can you give me his memories of this new dirtbag?"

"Sure," Strife said, mimicking Aphrodite. He touched both their foreheads and transferred over the pertinent details.

"The blond one," Snape told him. "The other is dead."

"Lucius doesn't seem to think so," Strife told him. He shrugged and transferred the rest. "There ya go. Need anything else?" Jett shook his head. "Then I'm off to try and find Ron someone to fuck him."

"The redhead's a bottom?" Jett asked.

"Yeah, all the time, but Unc's bein' strange to him and pissin' him off majorly. Ron's about to blow a gasket because he's got the itch." Jett nodded, remembering that feeling. "So I've got to help fix that one. I'm sure if we sic 'Dite on him that it'll end up bad." He disappeared.

"Walk me to the door so I don't get accosted by any more kiddies?" Jett suggested.

"If I must."

"Hey, I could ask the little girl who brought me down here, she asked for some of my time," he said casually.

Snape glared at him. "Leave the students alone. They're much too young for someone like you in their lives. They'd never learn anything with you around." He opened the door, walking out. "I will return in five minutes," he announced. "Be done by then."

Jett strolled after him, back to picking the nasty crap from under his nails. He hadn't even tortured the guy so why was there blood under them? He looked up as they entered the entryway.

Snape opened the door. "Thank you for coming, have fun ...hunting or whatever it is that you do."

Jett blew a kiss. "Expect a card, sweetums. 'Dite's sure and she'll make sure it gets to you." He walked out into the night, disappearing in the dark.

Snape slammed the door. "Damn them," he muttered. "Interrupting my nice, calm life with that trash."

McGonagall cleared her throat. "Who was that?"

"Someone Professor Arion suggested help take care of the problem we'll have with Lucius," Snape sneered.

"Is he good?" McGonagall asked.

"Probably. He brags well enough at least."

She looked at him. "Did he proposition you?" she asked with a laugh. He stormed off. "Severus!" she called after him. "I'm sorry."

Severus Snape was still muttering when he walked into his classroom. He found all the children looking at him. "Leave!" he snapped. They ran out as fast as they could. He picked up a paperweight and threw it at the door, closing it. Then he started to rant again, this time about *women* and *messing in his life* and even *sexual fiends*. Fortunately, Dumbledore heard him swearing and decided not to knock and ask who the visitor had been. He went to the Prefect's bathroom and knocked there instead.

"Come," Ron called.

The Headmaster walked in, smiling at the children sleeping on the floor. "Who was our visitor?" he asked.

"Jett, King of Assassins in his day," Ares told him. "He's looking into Lucius for us. Why?"

"Because Professor Snape seems to be a bit distraught over his visit."

"I'm sure he'll get over it," Ares said with a smirk. "Aphrodite decided that those two were cute together."

"Ah!" Dumbledore said, catching up to the present time. "Thank you. I believe I'll bring him some brandy then." He nodded at Ron. "Are you hogging the facilities?"

"No one's knocked and I'm still in the time we budgeted for the kids and us," Ron pointed out.

"Very well. Remember to get out if anyone needs the facilities." Dumbledore left them alone.

Ares looked at Ron. "I thought you were a Prefect."

"I am," Ron agreed, looking confused. "We need our own bathroom." Ares nodded, then he smiled and disappeared. "Grumpy," he muttered, leaning over to check on the kids. "Hello, Missy, are you awake again?" She yawned and rolled over, snuggling into Tasha's warm body. "Okay, you do that," he agreed with a smile, sinking down to enjoy the bath. He had always liked water.

Strife appeared, shaking his head. "You're such a goober," he said with some fondness.

"Thanks. Why am I a piece of muggle candy?" Ron asked.

"Because you are," Cupid agreed as he appeared. "My mom said that you've got someone, but not for a few years."

"I could care less about love at the moment, I want that itchy, crawling, grabbing feeling to go away," he said seriously. "Just a bloke for a few hours would be nice."

"We can do that," Strife agreed, leaning down to kiss him. Ron of course went along with it, happily enjoying himself.

"Hey!" Cupid said, pulling him off. "No hogging the mortal. It may be a temporary thing, but I always get some too."

"Yeah, you can have some too," Strife said, sitting on the edge of the tub. He watched as Cupid latched onto Ron's mouth, and the battle of tongues that followed. It was rather good, Ron had technique for someone so untrained. When they had to break so Ron could breathe, he got him back, making him woozy and more than willing to get out of the tub.

Cupid thoughtfully created a mattress on the floor for them, away from the kids, and laid down, watching as his mate went to work on their toy. "Hmm. Some experience, slutty, willing. Get him down here, Strife. Now."

Strife pushed Ron back onto the mattress, stripping himself for their pleasure. Ron grinned and grabbed him first, taking over this encounter, for now. Strife moaned against his lips, shifting so they could rub together. He heard Cupid sigh, but the fingers preparing him were nice. They were even nicer when they went to prepare Ron's body for their later pleasure. The young guy nearly melted under him. "Babe, I think we found a dedicated bottom," he said with a grin.

"From everything I've felt from him, we have," Cupid agreed with a grin of his own. "Hey, Ron, don't leave your head yet. Who do you want first?"

Ron solved that problem by shifting around so Strife could take him first while he gifted the God of Love with one of his best blowjobs. Both Gods moaned and he was very happy being pounded into. He felt Strife stiffen and squeezed his muscles as tightly as he could, earning a groan as well.

Cupid decided it was his turn so he shoved at Strife, sending him onto the floor and taking his place. "You're good," he said when he felt what was going on inside the thin body. He shifted to the right, making Ron howl. Strife quickly cleaned himself off and hushed Ron the natural way, with his cock. Ron moaned and groaned, but he was enjoying it all. He came and went a little limp but Cupid compensated until he could hold himself up again.

Strife looked at Cupid. "I wanna try this again," he said happily. "There ain't nothin' like this kid these days."

"There's a few," Cupid pointed out. "Just not willing to put up with us." He bent over the hard back. "Would you like that, Ron? To do this again?" Ron pulled off them both and kissed Cupid, getting onto his knees. He pushed the God of Love onto his back and climbed on. "Well," he said with a grin. "I like it when my lovers take the initiative. Do more, sweetie."

Strife got behind Ron, rubbing his stomach and lower from behind. Ron bounced faster and harder. "Keep it up, we like that," he purred in the boy's ear. Ron came again and fell across Cupid's chest with a growl of his own. Strife giggled. "I like him. Can't I get him instead of Unc?"

"No, Strife, you wouldn't be able to handle him," Cupid said patiently. "Besides, you have his older brothers. You don't need him. I need him," he finished with a catty smile.

Ares reappeared. "Mine," he said firmly, glaring down at them. "Feel better?" Ron smiled up at him, a goofy and sated grin that stretched his cheeks until they hurt. "And here I thought you wanted to devote yourself to me," he said, sitting on the edge of the tub. "Now I find you going against my orders."

"I told you I wasn't going to take your mark," Ron pointed out in a near-purring voice. "You wouldn't touch me, you were trying to force me to give it up completely, and I'm sorry, I can't do that anymore. I like this, Ares. This is the real me. If you want me that badly, you'd know that." He stood up and faced down the God of War. "I'm many things, a pushover isn't one of them."

Ares smiled at him. "Good. Do you still want to be my Chosen?"

"That depends on you and that stupid rule," Ron snorted. "I'm not giving up sex for anybody. I'd go insane and might have to go to your nephew instead if I did." He crossed his arms. "I love ya, big guy, but not that much."

Ares tipped his head back and laughed. "I like that, that was a good comeback. Most people are afraid to stand up to me."

Ron leaned closer. "I'm not afraid of much, Ares. Not of you, not of being thumped by you. If you had wanted me dead, you had plenty of reason last year. You've had reason and opportunity this year. I think this is more your decision than mine." He backed up a few steps and sat down against Strife's stomach. "I like sex, it's one of the few enjoyable things left in my life these days. Are you going to demand that I try to sleep with someone who doesn't like blokes or someone who'll end up killing me or are you going to be reasonable." He bent down and licked across Strife's slim stomach, moving lower. "All up to you," he said between licks. He hummed and swallowed the hard cock in one gulp, putting on the performance of his life.

Cupid laughed when Strife's eyes closed and he moaned. "He's every bit as much one of mine as he is yours, pop, get over it already. He and Draco won't mesh well. Maybe a once-in-a-while thing, but not for good. Harry's not into guys. He's not only peeved at Ron because he is, but also because he can't understand why someone would enjoy it." A warm hand moved around to stroke him as well and he relaxed. "If you'd loosen up, he could be yours. If you don't blow this, then you might even have a new champion."

"Blow, that's an excellent idea," Ron said, climbing back on top of Strife's body and shifting so he could get at Cupid too. "Move back by a few inches," he demanded. "I want more."

Cupid did as he was ordered to and let Ron latch on. "Damn, he's good," Strife said, teasing the willing body. "He really is very good at this, Unc," Strife informed him. "I'm liking this almost as much as I do your son." He shared a kiss with Cupid, then Cupid yelped and pushed up against Ron's throat, making him moan and suck harder. "Good?"

"Very. He just did that tongue thing you like doing to me," Cupid admitted. He let himself get into it. "Yeah, Ron, like that," he encouraged, thrusting up gently.

Ron continued to slowly ride his savior while sucking the other one. They really had saved his sanity and he would worship them in any manner they chose. He even swallowed when it was time, enjoying it immensely.

Strife got off after watching that, holding Ron down so he was in as deep as he could get.

Ares clapped. "Good show. Come here, Ron."

Ron shifted until he was facing his personal God. "No." He leaned down so the limpness would get trapped in him. "I'm where I want to be."

"I can give you that if you'd come here," Ares pointed out.

"Not if you're going to go back to only Harry or Draco," Ron argued. "I'm not touching them."

"Come here," Ares ordered, sounding harsher this time.

Strife moved Ron off him. "You'd best answer that one, kiddo. He's serious when he yells like that."

Ron crawled over and nuzzled his way up his personal God's lap, licking across the head of his cock. "Either take a more personal interest in my life or let me find someone who will," he said simply before swallowing it. Ares hissed and wound his fingers in the red hair, holding him in place.

"He's got incredible suction, don't he?" Strife asked lazily, curled up again against Cupid's stomach. "He's good for not having any formal training."

Ares considered his worshiper. "There's a reason I want you with the blond, Ron."

Ron pulled off and looked up at him. "Yay. He and I won't ever be together, Ares. We hate each other. The only reason we're civil is because of the children. He hates me and what I and my family stand for more than anything but his own father. I'm convenient. I'm easy. I'm never going to be more than stress relief for him." Someone knocked. "Give me another half-hour," he called. "I'm cleaning the tub, one of the kids made a mess." Footsteps walked away. Ron looked at Ares again. "This is all because of you. Either you give me better options, ones which I can *live* with, or let me go totally."

"You're willing to alienate me during this?" Ares asked.

Ron gave him a steady look. "Lucius will underestimate us because we're young. He's also going to underestimate how smart his son really is and what sort of information Harry and I can get from the library because he never wanted to study that hard. Even if Hermione doesn't help us, we'll still have a lot of stuff that we can get into." Ron tipped his head. "For that matter, you haven't stopped people from coming after my child. I've stopped someone from coming after my child. Snape has stopped someone from doing it again by breaking through the desperation my father was showing. Yeah, you helped and you called in Lord Apollo, but that isn't going to stop Lucius from doing it again," he said angrily. He stood up. "Where were you when my father was planning all that shit?"

Ares pulled Ron down to sit on his lap. "I'm sorry, Ron. If I had known I would have stopped him."

"You're a *God*, Ares. Aren't you supposed to be omnipotent or something?"

"Only when I'm watching for things. There's too many people in the world for me to keep track of all of them."

"Then how about the important ones?" Ron asked bitterly.

"Ah, I see." Ares smiled at him. "You are important, Ron."

Ron stood up. "Apparently I'm not," he countered, crossing his arms. "Yeah, you're the God of War. You look great, you can fight really well, and you've already let me down."

"Kids today have so little faith," Strife told Cupid.

"Shut up," Ares told them, but he wasn't angry. He could see the point. "You're right, I wasn't watching where I was supposed to. If I had, then your friends wouldn't have had sick children from the formula. For that matter, if I had been watching closer, then I would have seen Lucius being on the grounds." Ron's mouth opened. "He disappeared."

"He was *here*?" Ron asked angrily. He saw Cupid make a gesture and looked at him.

"Silencing spell," Cupid explained. "So you can scream and rant. Though I agree, pop hasn't really kept up his end of the bargain." He looked at his father. "If this were Joxer, would you be doing this?"

"No," Ares admitted. "Joxer needed more help." He looked at Ron. "You're pretty well ready for the fight."

Ron shrugged. "Yay. If you want me to be yours, then maybe we need to discuss things a bit better, Ares." He picked up his kids and walked out, heading back to his room. He found Draco sitting on his bed. "What?"

"What was that about?"

"Why didn't you tell me your father had been here?"

"I told you he had shown up."

"I thought he had flooed over or appeared in the office, not that he was within touching distance of the kids."

"Only mine."

"Bet me! If he can make it onto the grounds without us knowing, then we're all in danger, Malfoy."

Draco looked at him. "Why are you being pissed at me? I've already had a shitty day, thank you very much." He stood up. "I wanted to know what we were doing next."

"Next," Ares said as he joined them, "you're going to train harder. Ron's going to work out all this sexual frustration. Harry's going to have to learn to lie to authorities. Then we'll finish working on this problem. Lucius is now facing another threat."

Draco looked at Ron. "Being a *slut* again?" he asked sarcastically. Ron glared at him and he backed off. "You are."

"No, Malfoy, I happen to like sex, there's a difference. Unlike you, I happen to be discrete when I get to choose my own lovers."

"Enough!" Ares told them. "Do you two ever quit?"

Draco ignored him. "I am discrete. The people I sleep with run their mouths, not me."

"You have an heir, you are expendable," Ron taunted. Draco balled up his fists. "Yay, gonna try and hit me again?" Draco stormed off.

"Get back here," Strife snapped from the doorway. Draco walked back into the room, his air of coldness chilling the room. "Thank you. Ron, apologize."


"Now!" Strife ordered harshly. "You didn't have to go there. He's got enough shit on him at the moment."

"He won't be losing his child if his father gets past him!" Ron shouted.

"Neither will you," Ares said tiredly.

"Like you're stopping him," Ron snorted.

"Enough," Cupid said. "Ron, you have a few very good points. You still shouldn't have told Draco he could die now." Ron pulled on a pair of sweats and took both girls with him out of the room. "He'll apologize."

"Why would I want one?" Draco asked. "We don't like each other." Ares looked at him. "I've never liked Ron. Yes, he's convenient. Yes, he's decent enough to my son and I can trust him not to hurt him. We're not friends. We're civil, be thankful. This is as close as we've gotten to tolerance for each other since we knew the other existed." He left them there to talk among themselves.

Ares looked at Cupid. "What was that?"

"Disappointment," Strife told him. "You said you'd protect Ron's daughter, and you haven't in his eyes." Ares opened his mouth.

"This is about Ron's perceptions," Cupid agreed. "He's decided that you've let him down. This is a crisis of faith, pop. I'd find him before he does something stupid. Ron doesn't think when he's upset."

"Fine. I'll find him. You clean up in there." He stormed out, going to look for the annoyance that was his life right now. He found him in the nursery. "Ron?"

"Are you here to say you're sorry for falling down on the job?" Ron asked bitterly.

"No, but I am here to explain things to you."

Ron looked at him. "I know people with faith, theirs is absolute. According to them, their God is always there for them and helps them deal with things, makes sure that they're always protected."

"I'm not that God," Ares pointed out, sitting next to him. "I'm doing what I can, Ron." Ron moved away from him. "Do you think I've failed." Ron nodded, looking at him. "I am a God, but I'm not the only one."

"No, you're the one who's supposed to be protecting three innocent children," Ron pointed out.

"And their parents since they came to me."

"If you'd just protect them, I'm sure the three of us would be more than happy with you," Ron pointed out dryly.

Ares laid a hand on his shoulder. "I'll do better, but even I can't be in every place at once."

Ron looked at him. "Did I ask you to?"


"Did anyone ask you to?"

Ares smiled. "No, not yet."

"And I doubt we will. Like I said, we want the kids protected. If that means protecting the school then I'm all for that, it'll save wear and tear on me and Harry, but if not then we've managed to date." He looked at his daughter. "Ares, if you can't do what you promised, then tell us we're being unreasonable." He looked back but the God was gone. "Fine," he sighed. "Then I'll do it myself. I'll start figuring out how to move them anonymously tonight." He watched the two girls cuddle on the furry rug, smiling at their unconcern for the problems he was having. Innocence, he missed that feeling. He laid down beside them to cuddle in.


Ares appeared next to his rampaging sister and caught her before she could destroy something else. "What are you doing!" he demanded.

"You upset my worshiper," she said snidely.

Ares opened his mouth, then shook his head. "Ron and Draco got into it."

"You still egged them on," she said angrily. "He's got enough to deal with without this shit!"

"I'm trying to fix it and you called me away at a critical moment," he yelled back.

"Then go back, dumbass."

Ares growled and went back to the nursery, but he found Professor Snape covering the girls. "Are they all right?"

"Fine." He looked at him. "What happened? Weasley is clearly upset, he was crying in his sleep. I heard him from the hall."

"He thinks I let him down."

"Did you?" Snape asked.

Ares shook his head. "I don't think so."

"Isn't it his interpretation that's important in this case?"

"I don't need this."

"Fine, then leave," Snape offered. "I'm sure he's expecting it. He has handled other threats. I'm sure he'll handle this one if he has to, even if he does end up sending his daughter to one of his older brothers to watch until she's of school age." Ares opened his mouth and Snape shook his head. "I'm not the one you need to talk to."

"That wouldn't work," Ares told him.

"You're missing the point, Ares. That's Weasley's problem as well." He walked away, leaving him with the sleeping people. Snape went to have a drink. This had not been a good day. First being hit upon by that man and now Weasley and his crisis of faith. Maybe he would have two drinks, one for each problem.

Ares sat down next to Ron, getting into his mind to see what was going on in there. He found that humans weren't as simple as they were in Joxer's time. A small promise was expected to be carried out fully these days. He had said he would protect Tasha and Adonis, and now was the time for him to step up and do that. He pulled back and looked at the infants, making plans. Yeah, he could do that.


Ron looked over as an owl landed next to the carrier. "I doubt she's getting a letter," he told it. "You've got the wrong human." It hooted and hopped closer, letting him take the message from its leg. "Thank you." It flew off and he opened it. "Meet me in the training room before Defense," he read to himself. "Yeah, right," he snorted. He looked at the main table but the God of War wasn't up there. No one had said anything, he wasn't known to be a morning person so this wasn't a strange absence. He picked up the carriers, taking them down to the Defense classroom. "Giving up and leaving?" he asked when he saw Ares with a bag in front of him.

"Pulling some stuff out of storage," Ares told him. "Sit, Ron." He closed and locked the door so no one could see into or enter the classroom. "I got the point, so let's rearrange the deal." Ron crossed his arms and got comfortable enough to listen. "I will protect them. I heard your plans last night and they've got massive holes in them. Portkeys can be traced. As can people. I can get around that." Ron nodded slowly. "I can also teach you the spells so you can protect your own daughter, and teach them to Draco because he is better at the spells than you are, the same as you're better at the physical than he is." Ron nodded again, but his eyes looked a little happier. "I'm also willing to compromise on some of my rules." He pulled a chair over and looked at the boy. "I got the point, things are different today and I was expecting you to react like the people in Jett's day. They were scared and grateful when I did anything. I thought I could get away with the minimal approach and it isn't going to work this time."

"How do you know this?" Ron asked quietly.

"Jett found Lucius and what he thought might be the remains of Voldemort. He's still dead, but Lucius is trying some sort of raising the dead ritual soon. He's gathering things right now to work on that." Ron groaned and leaned forward, resting his head against the carrier in front of him, Missy's. "Jett's working on blocking him, Ron, so don't worry about that. He's even agreed to take on them both, if it's possible, for no fee. He's decided that people that evil shouldn't be around. The last time he did this was the last World War." Ron looked up, looking a little shocked. "He hates bigots. They always judge him," he admitted with a shrug. "That's being taken care of. At the least, he'll watch them and give us information." Ron slumped. "For now, we're going to talk about our relationship." Ron opened his mouth. "I know, you're still pissed."

"And then some," Ron agreed with a touch of humor.

"I can understand that," Ares admitted. "I went over everything last night and Eris made me see that I was treating you like some farm boy given to me to train. You're not. You're probably the best brawler in this school." Ron smiled. "That doesn't mean you're ready to take on a battle."

"I've been in a battle," Ron reminded him. "I didn't lose my focus or my temper."

"Which amazes me to no end," Ares said dryly. "You were worried about your family and friends, that's what kept you focused, the need to eliminate the threat." Ron nodded. "Well, this time it's not going to be that cohesive. This time it'll be a smaller group and small group combat is much different than two armies meeting. Small groups can do things like infiltrate and decimate from within. They can take the time to find weaknesses and exploit them. Your temper is yours."

"I try to keep it in check," Ron admitted. "I know it's getting worse."

"With good reason," Ares agreed easily. "You now have more to protect and guard. Now it's not the world, an abstract, it's your child, a concrete example of what you'll lose. Even above your family and friends." Ron nodded. "That's where I excel. My former job was mostly about small group combat. With the exception of the armies that's all that were around, and even they numbered about a hundred or so people." Ron relaxed. "That doesn't mean that there won't be rules. I will not tolerate what I saw last night. Not the neediness that got you to that point and not the show you put on for my benefit."

"The neediness hasn't been being cured. There's no one here who'll date me, they know I'm still fertile," Ron pointed out.

"Yes, it's a good thing I blocked that last night," Ares pointed out dryly, staring down his warrior.

Ron shrugged. "I had it. I took a temporary potion that day. I had planned on propositioning someone later that night if I could sneak away."

"As you said, no one here will help you with that need," Ares pointed out.

"Ares, you're underestimating me," Ron pointed out. "Again." He leaned back again. "There are always others who are needy and wanting. It's a matter of appealing to those urges and getting past their assumptions and worries."

"I know, but is that how you want to live your life?"

"No, I'd rather have a steady guy but that's not happening. Probably not ever since this incident happened. Who'd want to risk having a family like I came from?"

"Good point. Which is why I'm going to give you another option. I know somewhere you can get that need out. You may go once a week."

"That's it?" Ron asked in disgust.

"It's not a steady relationship, Ron, I can't let you have it more often. As is, there's going to be some hard feelings because I'm allowing you, a mortal, to go there."

Ron snorted. "You've said often enough I nearly got enough ambrosia to be one of you."

"Good point, but you're not, that's what's going to cause the problems."

"You're not going to suddenly go back to the ridiculous demands that I try for the straight bloke or the wanker?"

"No," Ares said with a smile, "but you may be called upon to cure Draco's problem for him."

"I'm not the mother of the universe, Ares, he can find a girl or do it to himself."

"Yeah, but next time the father or mother will have to have an impeccable bloodline."

"Which I have, but I'm not suitable. I don't hold their values. You'd have to go through someone like Pansy and then kill her."

"Which is an option," Ares admitted. "If it becomes necessary, you may still be the last option."

"That would mean we'd have to touch each other," Ron said with a great deal of 'ick' in his voice. "I don't think that'd go over too well."

"You'd be surprised. He does desire you."

"We'd kill each other," Ron said firmly.

"If you say so. I think you might have a spark or two."

"Not to be offensive, but you're not known for being a Love God, Ares."

Ares laughed. "True. If Cupid told you, would that be good enough?"

"Yeah, but I doubt he could find more than idle curiosity in him. I have some too, but not enough to get in bed with him."

"You may learn to appreciate him more once you start training harder," Ares warned.

"If that happens, then I'll let him call the shots. I'm not against it, he's supposed to be good and all, but he's not really my type." He shrugged. "Anything else?"

"I'm still taken and you'll have to respect that."

"That's fine, if I can get it taken care of in other ways," Ron agreed. "Anything else?"

"No, that's about it." He looked at the young man. "I'll give you a few hours to think about it."

"I don't need it, but if you break your word, I'm going to do my best to be free of you and we'll do it on our own."

"Deal," Ares agreed, leaning forward to touch his hand to Ron's left upper-chest area. The boy hissed as the brand was put onto him, but he didn't cry out. "Thank you, Ron."

"Hey, I can appreciate your effectiveness."

Ares shook his head, but he was smiling. "This is permanent."

"I know. If you can stop this, then I shouldn't have to worry about much," Ron said smartly.

Ares chuckled. "We'll see. As far as I know, it's only this group." He waved his hand, undoing the door. "Did you eat breakfast?"

"Yeah, I had an egg and some ham."

Ares rolled his eyes and created a small plate of food. "Eat. You'll need it for our private training session." He stood up and went back to his desk. "I pulled out my former champion's books. I've only had one that had anything to do with Hecate, but I think they should help you and Draco the most."

"What about Harry?" Ron asked between bites of apple.

"He's got his own problems to worry about. I'm sure he'll be fine with backing you two up. This time it isn't his fight and I'm sure he's thankful." Draco strode in. "Are you supposed to be in here?"

"I got your message," Draco said, sneering at Ron. "In pain?"

"I can hit you," Ron reminded him.

"Quit picking on each other or I'm going to kick both your asses," Ares snarled. Ron looked at him and took another bite of the apple. "Remember, my tolerance only goes so far and it is not that far."

"Fine," Ron agreed. He looked at Draco. "How is Adonis?"

"Due at the doctor's tomorrow. Thank you for catching that," Draco said politely.

"I can force you two together," Ares warned.

"I'm not threatening him," Ron snorted. The plate of food disappeared, as did the rest of the apple. "Thanks for that. I hate cleaning up after myself."

Ares growled and walked back to the walkway between their desks. "This shit will stop," he ordered. "I will not have you two fighting. It will not help in the upcoming battles and it will not help when one of you needs the other to take care of the children."

"I adore Adonis, Professor. He's a sweet little boy, takes after his other father," Ron pointed out. Draco snarled at him. "Yay," he said bitterly. "You don't like me."

"I usually can tolerate you," Draco pointed out. "Until your fit last night."

"Do not bring that up again," Ares ordered. "Ron has enough problems without that one." Draco looked smug. "As do you, Malfoy. Remember, you might have to have another one and there's not that many people who will fit the high standards set for an official heir. If it was unplanned it might have been different, but not anymore."

Draco pursed his lips together. "Fine, but he wouldn't either."

"For bloodline, he would," Ares pointed out. "Attitude is cured by you raising your own heir."

"Like hell," Ron snorted. "My kids are mine, present and future." He looked at him. "Have fun with Pansy," he sneered. Draco launched himself at him and tried to beat him but Ron pushed him off and stood up, looking down at him. "Don't try that again. It's rather dumb. You know I can beat you in a physical fight."

"Then we'll duel," Draco sneered, standing up. "I won't take that from anyone, especially you, Weasel."

"ENOUGH!" Ares shouted. The students gathered outside the room looked inside. "Out!" They pulled back and closed the door. "Good." He pushed his hair back off his neck. "We're going to settle this now. You need each other. Draco, you need Ron because he has a practical view of fighting. He's been in a number of them. He's very good at defense and he's the one who'll be guarding the children if it comes down to a magical fight. Ron, you need him because he's better at the magical defense. If it comes to a standing battle, I want him in front of you and you with the kids. Not only because you can take care of them and keep them hidden, but also because he is much better at learning new spells. You will be learning them as well, but I've noticed it takes Draco less time to learn them. Got me here?" The boys nodded. "Thank you!" He walked back to his desk. "Draco, I have books for you both to study. I want you to help Ron and Ron to help you with your hitting. You're still punching like a girl and I'm tired of it. Got it?" They nodded again, sitting down. "Excellent. Now apologize before I have certain winged individuals deal with you to make you make up."

Ron looked at Draco. "Sorry."

"Me also," Draco admitted. "Though you did make me think. I sent off a note this morning about who would get custody of my son if something were to happen to me."

"Good," Ares praised. "That's thinking. Ron, do you have one of those?"

"I'd like to see them get through my mother," Ron pointed out dryly. Ares nodded, that was fair. "But I did specify that Mum gets the baby if something happens. She had me sign forms before I was six months along."

"Good. I like it when your mother thinks too. What else do you have planned?"

"If it comes to a standing fight, I'm sending my daughter to Charlie. He's in the middle of nowhere and can most easily hide a kid. Bill works with all manner of beings and people, it'd be harder to hide for him."

"A good thought. I'll find a way to transport them tonight." Both boys nodded. "Draco, do you have an emergency person?"

"I thought to leave him with Professor Snape. He's already agreed," Draco told him.

"Good." Missy started to cry. "Quiet her and I'll let the others in." He walked over and opened the door. "We're done with our conference, enter."

Ron picked Missy up and cuddled her close. "I know you miss your daddy, he'll be back in a week," he soothed, patting her back. "Shush, Missy, we want to tell him you were a happy baby all week."

"Where is Potter?" Draco asked, turning to look at him.

"His family summoned him home to help his cousin Dudley," Ron said bitterly. "Dudley's nature got him in trouble and they wanted him to stick up for the bloody great whale of a bully."

"What did he do?" Ares asked.

"I don't know," Ron lied. Ares looked at him. "I don't. All I know is it had to do with a court case."

"Wonderful," Ares said dryly as he flipped open the textbook. "All right, who's up first?" he called. Everyone looked at Ron. "He's busy and someone else had better step forward." Draco stood up and took off his robe, making everyone stare at him in shock. "Fine, I don't often see you. Come on down, even though it's not your class."

Draco walked down and took up a boxing stance in front of him.


Harry looked at the lawyer in front of him. "I'd prefer if you gave me 'yes' and 'no' questions, sir," he stated.

"Why?" the lawyer asked, looking a little surprised.

"Because that way nothing I say can be twisted or rearranged and used against me. This way there's a clear meaning and we can get this done faster so I can go back to school."

"Fine," the lawyer said, shrugging at the judge, who nodded. "We can try that for now. There may be a need for explanations later though, you understand."

Harry nodded. "I do understand. Thank you."

"You're welcome. You're a very polite young man."

"I try," Harry said with a small smile.

"Good. Let's start with the obvious. How old are you?"


"Very good. And you're in school, Mr. Potter?" Harry nodded. "You'll have to answer out loud, boy."

"Yes, sir, I am in a very special school."

"Is it a school for problem children?"

"No," Harry answered honestly. The lawyer looked at him. "I go to a very special school for people like me, it has nothing to do with punishment or a criminal past." He straightened up.

"Very well, what is the name of your school?"

"I cannot say for security reasons," Harry informed him. Both lawyers stared at him. The judge looked down at him as well. "I'm sorry, but I was instructed I was not allowed to say more than that because there have been incidents where students have been threatened."

"Is this a normal school?" the lawyer asked.

Harry considered it. "Mostly. It's more a school for special people than anything."

"Where would it be?" the judge asked.

"In the North, sir. We're in the middle of nowhere so we have less problems."

"I see. How long does it take you to get there?"

"About five to six hours by train."

"All right then. What is this your uncle was muttering about, a platform nine and three-quarters?"

"It's the code so we know each other before we get on the train," Harry told him. "It's how we figure out where we're going, sir."

"So, is this school very security conscious?" the judge asked. Harry nodded. "Why?"

"Sir, I can't say in front of everyone. I could tell you and the lawyers, but I can't endanger my fellow students."

"I understand. We'll discuss that in a moment. Continue."

"Thank you." The lawyer looked at Harry. "Your aunt said you have a child?"

Harry nodded, grinning. "I do. A daughter named Missy."

"Do you have pictures of her?"

Harry dug in his pocket, coming up with his wallet so he could get out the pictures he carried. "This is her right after her birth, and this was with her mother a few weeks post-birth, just before school ended for the year. This one was taken just a few weeks ago," Harry said, handing over the stunned pictures. When Arthur had met him earlier at the Leaky, he had stunned all the pictures so they didn't move.

"She is very pretty," the lawyer said, handing it back. "Do you do any of the care for her?"

"I have custody of her," Harry told him. The lawyer again looked shocked. "Her mother originally wanted her mother to raise her but Missy's grandmother did some questionable things in my mind so we moved her back to my custody."

"I see." The lawyer looked at the pictures again then went to take his paper out of his briefcase. "On an unrelated note, have you read the Times?" he asked. Harry shook his head. "Maybe you should."

The other lawyer stood up. "This is highly unusual."

"The child's mother is wanted for questioning, Your Honor. I figure if he hasn't seen it and she goes to school with him, she probably hasn't either."

"Very well, I'll allow it. Read fast, Mr. Potter."

Harry looked up. "I know she hasn't seen this, but she also hasn't been in town. She's been at school the whole year, I share classes with her."

"I see. You'll pass on the message?"

"Yes, sir." He folded the paper up and put it into his jacket pocket. "I'll hand the Headmaster and Head of our House the paper as soon as I get back."

"Thank you, son. I'm sure they'd like to tell her." He started to pace. "All right, let's start with some simple questions since you prefer them. Has Dudley ever bullied you?"

Harry looked at his Uncle and Aunt, who were mouthing 'say no'. He looked at Dudley, aware of what the charges were. Then he looked at the lawyer. "Yes, sir, he has, on many occasions."

Dudley's father jumped up. "You'll never be allowed in our house again," he spat. "You liar!"

"Shut up," the judge warned. He nodded at the lawyer.

"Has he bullied you more than twice a year?"

"More like as often as possible," Harry admitted sourly. "I'm smaller, you see."

The lawyer looked at Dudley. "There probably aren't as many children as large as he is," he noted. He looked at Harry again. "Does he usually do this alone?"

"Not if he can help it. He has once or twice, but he prefers his pack of helpers."

"I see." The lawyer stopped to consider it. "I want to go back to the issue of your schooling." Harry wet his lips. "Why can't you tell us about this place, Mr. Potter?"

"Because we're of an alternate lifestyle and there are those who would hurt us."

"How did your daughter come to be?" the judge asked.

"Someone snuck into the school and spread around a gel containing a drug. It caused massive hallucinations and orgasmic behavior," Harry told him. "Her mother jumped me, sir."

"Were you raped?"

"No, I was just as drugged."

"Your school handled this incident how?" the judge asked.

Harry looked up at him. "We found the people responsible and dealt with them ourselves. It is our way, sir."

"My chambers," the judge decided, heading that way. He locked the door once Harry and both lawyers were in there. "It's just us, young man, tell us the truth please."

"I'm of an alternate faith," Harry told him. "We're pagans, have been since the beginning of time. There are locals who would hurt us, and who have hurt us in the past," he admitted. "That's why I'm not allowed to say anything. That's also why you won't find my school registered on any list in the Kingdom."

"Is this school able to give you an equivalency?" Dudley's lawyer asked.

"I could have passed those before I got admitted," Harry told him. "They're not exactly on the level of geniuses." He crossed his arms behind his back. "As for the incident with my daughter and her conception, about two-thirds of the school was affected one way or another. Any of us who were old enough to have hit puberty already. The others who had children have either adopted them out, talked their parents into taking them until they finish school, left until their children were older, or are raising them in the school. Like myself and my best friend. We share a room and a nursery."

"Was he your best friend before this?" Dudley's lawyer asked, looking him over.

"Yes, he was. His family has all but adopted me." He gave a slight shrug. "I adore his family. His mother was there to give us advice through it all."

"Has she had children?" the judge asked. "More than your friend?"

Harry nodded. "Seven total. Six boys and a girl. My friend's older brothers were told to stay and provide a nursery during the class day since one of them let in the plonker who drugged us. They're on vacation right now for some reason," he said with a frown. "Ron's watching them both."

"I see," the judge said. "The authorities weren't notified?"

"We handle it in-house, sir, it's our way. The authorities wouldn't deal with it and might even say we deserved it because we're not Church of England."

"Good point," the school's lawyer agreed.

The judge nodded. "I can understand the need. How did you come to their attention?"

"My parents both went there, though my Aunt, my mother's sister, won't admit it. She wasn't admitted." He lifted his chin. "I'm an orphan and they had no choice but to take me in when I was dropped on their doorstep."

"You have no other relatives?" Dudley's lawyer asked.

"Ron's family takes me in now and again. My parents left me a little money," Harry admitted. "It's been kept away from Dudley's parents. They're not getting anywhere near my daughter because I don't want her to go through what I did because of who and what my parents were."

"Very well," the judge decided. "We don't need to ask him any other questions about his education." Both lawyers nodded. "Go back and wait on me." He waited until they were alone. "What are you, Harry?" he asked quietly. "Between us."

"I'm a wizard, a future champion of my world," Harry said honestly.

"Then you take on the Druid ways?"

"Some. They're no longer purely Druid thanks to the ravages of time. I'm not sure where we fit into the ideals of the others, but I know what I am and what my daughter is."

"Very well. Go back to the courtroom." He shook his head once the boy was gone. No wonder they had their own institutions. He opened the door and found a woman standing there, frowning at her. "I am busy, miss, you'll have to come back."

"Obliviate," she whispered, pointing a thick stick at him. He blinked as the world seemed to change, then shook it off and headed back to his courtroom. He nodded at them to continue.

"Harry, may I call you by your given name?"

"If you want," Harry agreed.

"Thank you. Harry, have you ever been seriously hurt by Dudley?"

"Usually I'm able to get away. I've gotten more than my fair share of bad bruises and black eyes. I've had a few bloody noses and one or two fat lips as well. Probably not as bad as being beaten by someone much older." He frowned. "He has no self-control."

The lawyer looked at Dudley again. "So I can see." He looked at the other lawyer. "Your turn."

Dudley's lawyer stood up. "Your tale goes directly against that of his parents, who say you terrorize them."

Harry laughed. "Me? How would I do that? I'm over two hundred pounds lighter than anyone but my aunt and they have fists like Yule turkeys." He shifted then shook his head. "I no more terrorize them than Uncle Vernon's sister is a decent and kind woman."

"You take that back!" Vernon shouted.

"Sit down!" the judge ordered. "Explain please, Mr. Potter."

"Uncle Vernon's sister once said that if I had been dropped on her doorstep she would have sent me off to the orphanage, then went off on a line about putting the weaker and meaner children down. They've told all sorts of lies about me. I'm not mean, nor am I damaged. I'm a nice, average boy who happens to live with a bully. They kept me locked in a small closet most of my young life and it's a wonder that Protective Services never found out. For that matter, it's a wonder I'm not mean with the way they treated me."

"You were locked in a closet?" Dudley's lawyer asked.

Harry nodded. "Yes, sir, I was. A small cupboard under the stairs. As of the summer before I started school, I had been moved to a small room that used to house Dudley's broken toys."

"I see." The looked at Dudley, then at Harry again. "How are you in school? About average?"

"In most things," Harry agreed. "With one abysmal grade thrown in to taunt me now and then."

The lawyer laughed. "I'm sure you try?"

"It's more a personal bias. The teacher knew my father, who used to play pranks and the like on him. He was their favorite target."

"Ah." The lawyer nodded. "Understandable really. Have you ever gotten into a fight?"

"Yes, I have. Not many, but now and then one is known to break out."

"Anything serious?"

Harry considered this one. "A few," he admitted finally, not wanting to get into the whole Voldemort thing in half-hidden code. "There was one that got me sent to the infirmary for a few days of observation and rest."

"Who started those?"

"The last one I got into, my mouth lashed out at the people in another house. We're continually fighting against each other. It's nearly tradition. I said something I shouldn't have and got into a fight because of it."

"When was that?"

"Last year."

"Really? No fights this year?"

"I don't have time for much. Having a daughter and taking care of her most of the time means that I don't have time to associate with the other students very much."

"Can you show me how to put on a diaper?" the lawyer asked, pulling a doll out of his bag and handing it over.

Harry looked at the unfamiliar diaper. "Where are the pins?" he asked with a frown.

"You don't use disposable?"

Harry looked at him. "They're bad for the environment and we have laundry facilities at the school. We use cloth ones. If you have one, I can show you," he said pleasantly.

"No, I don't. How about you prove you can feed an infant, Harry."

Harry shrugged and picked up the child like he would Missy. "Usually I feed her in her carrier, that way I can have a hand free to read. She usually hears most of my lessons." He cradled the doll gently in his arm and stuck the bottle the lawyer gave him in its mouth. "There, how's that?" he asked with an impudent grin.

"Are you comfortable?"

"Not really. One of the other main reasons I use the carrier is so my arms don't fall asleep." He put the doll carefully back down and looked at the lawyer again. "The night feedings are usually done by Ron, he wakes up easier than I do," he admitted.

"So you only care of your daughter during the afternoon and early evening?"

"No, I go to the nursery to participate in her feedings when I don't sneak her to class with me," Harry told him. "I also get up nights if I hear them first. Ron's daughter tends to wake up Missy most of the time and Ron doesn't seem to mind."

"I see. Do you have servants at your school?"

"A few," Harry agreed.

"Do they do everything?"

"They cook, clean our dorms and classes, and do the laundry. We do most everything else. Why?"

"Because I was wondering if you expected people to do everything for you, young man," the lawyer said with a grimace of distaste.

"Why would I? I've never had anything *given* to me. I used to be woken up to cook Dudley's breakfast. I'm the one who cuts the grass at their house. I'm the one who does at least half the cleaning. I'm supposed to be their bloody servant and they spread lies about me," he said bitterly.

"Then this is revenge," the lawyer said, nodding. He turned to go back to his seat.

"Not at all," Harry told him. "I could care less about Dudley and his peculiar habits, as long as they don't hurt me." The lawyer opened his mouth. "It's not like they taught me to care; they actually tried to make sure I wouldn't mind their business the way they minded others'. I feel sorry for all Dudley's victims, me included, but there wasn't anything I could do to stop him."

"You couldn't?" the lawyer asked. "Are you sure about that?"

"When? When his parents told me off for ruining his fun when he whined about me not letting him have his fun? When they blatantly told me it was my role in life to be his servant and punching bag? When he went out with his so-called posse to beat up on the other kids while I was doing chores? I could no more stop him than I could a lorry by standing in front of it. It'd hurt about as much too. They failed in their duties as parents, I'm only his cousin."

Dudley's lawyer nodded. "If you say so."

Harry nodded. "I have the scars to prove it if you want to see them."

"No, that's not necessary." He walked back to his table. "I have no more use of him."

"I want to reserve the right to call him back," the first lawyer, the one for the school, noted.

"Fine. Mr. Potter, you are to stay in town until this matter is resolved. I will send a note to your school on your behalf. Do let someone know about that article."

"Yes, sir, I'll call them once I get back to the hotel." He walked down and through the audience area, heading for the door. He walked out and found Mr. Weasley standing there. "Am I in trouble?"

"No, Harry, you handled that very well," the woman who had obliviated the judge assured him, giving him a smile. "Very nice work explaining the school without compromising us." She patted him on the back.

Harry handed over the paper. "This needs to get to Hermione."

"I'll send it on tonight," Arthur promised. "Come on, I'll take you back to the inn." He walked the boy away, chatting about Missy.


Ron looked over as the common area door opened, raising an eyebrow. "How was the doctor's?" he asked.

Draco sat next to him in the open chair. "He's fully blind in one eye and has partial sight in the other. They said it was a curse but it's gone on too long."

"I'm sorry," Ron said sincerely. Draco looked at him. "I don't like to see kids hurt by people like your father."

Draco relaxed. "Thank you. What did Potter's cousin do?"

"Raped a girl who wanted to become a nun," Ron said with a shudder. "Nasty git. Big as a carriage and twice as ugly."

"I see." Draco stood up. "Thank you for trusting me that much."

Ron looked at him. "Who said I trust you? The news is probably already around the school."

Draco nodded. "It was." He smiled slowly. "Are we back to our truce?"

Ron nodded. "I guess we have to. Ares was really adamant about that."

"Fine. Can you watch Adonis until dinner so I can rest?"

"Go for it," Ron agreed. The little boy was floated over and put beside Ron in the free chair. "Good afternoon, Adonis. Were you good at the doctor's?" The baby yawned and looked at him. "Hi, yes, it's me again. If you behave, I'll let you nap with Missy in her cradle." He smiled. "Good boy." He went back to feeding his own daughter.


In Romania, Charlie looked up as he felt a portkey closing in on his location. He smiled when he saw it was his mother. "Mum," he said, hurrying over to get a hug. "Why the visit?"

She handed him a large bag of goodies. "I came for the twits," she told him. "They ran away."

He laughed. "They've been helpful. Even tried to tell me how to cure a cough." He leaned closer. "Not that I believed them until they pulled out the copy of your recipe, but they've been trying to make up for running away."

"Yes, well, they've got a way to go before they atone for that incident," she said blandly. "Where are they?"

"Napping in my room. Be nice to them, mum, the kids are driving them nuts."

"Then they should have thought of that before they did that spell. If they had researched it, they would have found out what it did. I did when I went looking." She walked into the cabin and went to rudely wake them up. "You're not supposed to be here."

"Mum, Ron has it," Fred told her. She glared at him, making him flinch.

"The Headmaster said we could leave for a week," George reminded her. She glared at him and he sunk down under the covers.

"You are to both be back at the school within two days," she said firmly. "If you had done your research, you wouldn't be worn out. You also would have caught the diaper rash you were causing, the fact that Adonis doesn't see very well, and the fact that Ron is doing your jobs for you. Two days," she said, walking out to chat with her other child.

Charlie gave her a hug. "I'm so glad none of this happened to me."

She nodded. "So am I, dear. Ron is a bit tougher than you are." She smiled and sat down, using her wand to scrub the place clean. Boys couldn't clean anything and it offended her motherly sensibilities to see the mess they had left lying around.


Ron looked over as the common area door opened and Draco walked over. "Have a good nap?" he asked, glancing at the clock.

"Yes, I did. Thank you for watching him for me." He picked up his son and looked at him. "Did you behave?" Adonis started to cry, wiggling to be put down.

"You woke him up from his napping," Ron explained at the worried look. "He was sucking on Missy's thumb for her. Soothed them both."

"Wonderful. How do I wash out his mouth?" Draco asked.

"You don't. Missy's not dirty."

"She's Potter's," Draco pointed out. "I don't want my son to start to like them."

Ron glared at him. "It could be much worse, it could have been Tasha."

"At least she's a pureblood," Draco pointed out, walking his son back to their room. "Come along, son, let's get you bathed and settled in for a long reading. We've got Potions homework." Adonis let out a long wail of suffering, he hated Potions.

Ron snickered, soothing Missy back to sleep. "Don't worry, you'll see him tomorrow in the nursery. The twins are coming back and they adore you." She rolled over and sucked her thumb herself this time, spreading out as much as she could so the bed thief couldn't have any of it. "Yeah, you rest." Ron stood up to stretch, wincing as the sore muscles moved. "Ow." He glanced at the clock. "Everyone should be in bed," he muttered, heading for the bathroom. He tapped on the door and no one yelled. He tried it but it was locked. "Well," he said in disgust. He walked over to the common room door. "I'm going to the bathroom for a soak, listen for the girls," he said, heading out through the main door. He could always unlock it from the other side and get back into his rooms that way. It was supposed to be locked from his side. He ran into McGonagall in the halls, and tried his best to look innocent. "I'm heading for a bath."

"It's not your time," she said primly. "The other Prefects are having their time."

He looked at her. "If you're going to force us to share a bathroom with the Prefects, then they're going to have to deal with us having odd hours," he pointed out. "Kids get sick on themselves in the middle of the night, or do things that require being cleaned up. If you keep us out of there, then they've got to lay in their own crap all night." She looked shocked. "Would you mind unlocking the door?"

"I would," she told him.

"That's fine, then you get to deal with the rash they'll get," Ron said, turning around. "Thank you for *informing* us of that change, ma'am." He stomped off, going to seethe in private. He heard her walking after him but he wasn't going to deal with her. He walked into the common area. "Malfoy, our Head of House just fucked us over on the bathroom, may I use yours?"

"Mine goes back to the Prefect's bathroom in Slytherin," Draco told him, looking at him. Then he looked at the doorway. "Fucked you over how?"

"She's had us locked out of the bathroom."

"I see." He grimaced. "I can probably get a large basin of water, but it'll get cold long before we'll need it," he said thoughtfully. He shrugged. "I'll ask Snape tomorrow to provide us with a working bathroom, even if we have to share one."

McGonagall walked in and stared down at them. "You have no need of your own."

Ron looked at her. "Then you go change the diapers and tell me how I'm supposed to clean up the mess," he told her. He suddenly straightened up. "The twins have one to themselves."

"Ideal really," Draco agreed with a small smirk down at his son. "Would you like to visit the nursery tonight so we can have a bathroom?"

"You're locked out too?" Ron asked.

"I figured it wasn't just your side," Draco admitted. "I haven't been in there." He stood up and grabbed the stroller. "Come on, I could use the table down there to stretch out on." He helped Ron load Missy into the cart, but Tasha just peed herself. "There you go, Professor McGonagall. Change away," he said snidely.

She sniffed. "It's not that hard."

"Go for it," Ron said, waving a hand.

She walked over and lifted the little girl onto the changing table, taking off her diaper. She hissed and pulled back, her face screwed up in disgust. "What is that?"

Ron looked over. "Awww, were you messy," he cooed, coming over to clean her off. He got to the point where he'd need a cloth. "Some warm water and a cloth if you wouldn't mind," he told her. "Otherwise it'll cause a rash again."

"What about those *muggle* clothes?" Draco asked, leaning against the arm of a chair.

"They're disposable, but they get expensive when you have to buy them in bulk," Ron admitted. He used a second clean diaper to clean her up as best he could. "We'll stick her in the bath as soon as we get down there," he decided, doing back up the diaper. He walked past her, heading to put his daughter in the stroller and push it down to the nursery with Draco's help. They walked in and found the twins in bed. "Our bathroom is locked against us," he announced. "We're commandeering yours."

George waved a hand. "Go for it," Fred agreed sleepily.

"Thank you," Draco agreed, helping take the children in to sit in the tub.

Fred looked at George. "Was that both of them?"

George nodded. "They're back to working together again." He closed his eyes. "Don't flood it, Ron," he yelled.

"Fine." Ron looked over at Draco as he finished undressing the tots, then went back to the preparation of the water. He smiled at the happy shrieks the girls let out. "Yes, it's a bath," he told them. "With both of us, we can even let you all in at once, maybe."

"Adonis can wait," Draco told him. "He just had one before I took a nap." He climbed in to help get the girls clean, smiling at the shrieking Missy was doing. "You're very vocal. I'm sure some boy's going to love that about you, Missy."

"They're going to love her because she's lovable," Ron countered. Tasha splashed him. "Thank you. Play in the water so I can clean you."

She continued to slap the water, emitting happy baby noises. "Da-dadadadada," she said, staring at Missy and Draco.

Ron looked down at her, then tipped her head up so she looked at him. "Repeat that?" he asked, grinning at her.

"Dadadadadadadada," she babbled, reaching for him.

"You precious one," he cooed, hugging her tightly. "Wasn't that speech?"

"It was," Draco agreed, smiling at him. "Congrats. First one to get on all fours and bounce and now first one to speak."

"Ni!" Missy countered.

"Ni?" Draco asked.

"I think that's her bear," Ron said, frowning at her. "She's been babbling at it since Harry put it in there." He shrugged and finished getting Tasha cleaned up. He put her on the side of the tub to dry off, fully expecting her to mess up the towel, she usually did. And did she ever! He had to bring her back in and clean her off again, then put her into a diaper. "There, all done. Now you can sleep."

The door opened and McGonagall walked in with the Headmaster. "You should not be out of your rooms."

Ron tossed the dirty towel at her feet. "When babies do things like that, they can't exactly clean themselves up," he countered, looking at the Headmaster. "Any word on how Harry's doing?"

"Very well so far. He's on hold until this is done. May he have your notes for your shared classes?"

"Of course," Ron agreed.

"Why aren't you using the showers or the sink?" the Headmaster asked.

"Because they don't have water running to them," Ron told him. "I'm not bathing my daughter in a toilet, nor am I cleaning her ass with water from one. I know what I put in there and I don't want any residue from it on her."

"Good point," Draco agreed. He looked at the Headmaster. "Was mine locked against us as well?"

"Not that I'm aware. I'd have to ask Professor Snape." Dumbledore looked at Ron. "Do calm yourself, Mr. Weasley."

Ron stood up and dried himself off. "Sir, I don't care if she doesn't like us, but I'm not letting my daughter sit in shit all night. If you want us off campus, tell us and we'll arrange something. If not, then would you please tell her that we *need* to have a *working* bathroom?" Tasha proved his point by dirtying herself in the most foul-smelling way possible. "Again?" he asked.

"I think that's nearly the record," Draco said dryly. "Wasn't it once every two hours before?"

"Usually," Ron sighed, picking up his daughter to clean her up again. The diaper joined the towel at McGonagall's feet. "Here we go, don't do it again," he warned. "We'll have to stick with cloths tonight and I know you hate those." She peed in the water, making Draco laugh. "Sure, yuck it up. We'll have to rerun it for Adonis."

"I probably would have done that anyway," Draco reminded him. "Only the best for my son." He looked down at Tasha. "Behave, young lady, or Professor Snape will make you eat more of that mush you hate." She started to babble at him as fast as she could, scowling at him. Apparently she was telling him off. Ron laughed. "Just you wait," Draco told her, tweaking her ear. "Next month comes vegetables."

"Ewww," Ron muttered. "Nasty strained carrots." He got her cleaned off again and held her up. "Got anything else you wanted to expel before I put you back into a diaper?" She kicked and flailed. "We'll get to play in the water tomorrow, dear," he said with a touch of fondness. "Grandmother is coming up this weekend and I'm sure she'll give you a long bath so you can splash about." Tasha settled down at that enticement and let herself be put back into the stroller.

"We'll work on getting you a bathroom of your own," Dumbledore told him. He walked out with McGonagall following him. "It really is a practical necessity."

"They could use a basin of water and keep it warm," she offered as she followed them. "The other Prefects are annoyed and complaining, Albus."

He looked at her. "As I said, we'll be getting them one of their own," he said gently. "We really can't have the children exposed to the older children and their tomfooleries, now can we?"

She shook her head. "Fine. Where will we have to move them to?"

"There are two or three open bathrooms in the school," Albus pointed out. "Either we'll move them down there, or we'll ask the castle nicely to move the bathroom to them." He opened the gargoyle to his office. "Good night, Minerva. Sleep well." He left her in the hallway.

She 'humphed' as she walked away.


Severus Snape walked up to the Gryffindor table the next morning at breakfast. "The bathroom situation has been solved. You are to return to your room before lunch, we should have everything diverted by then," he said quietly.

Ron looked up. "Thank you, Professor. You've been a great help. Oh, the rash creme is empty. Would you please make us some more?" Snape nodded. "Thank you. Any new news on Harry?"

"They think the trial will be over in another three days. The judge seems to have a distaste for stalling," he said, looking down his nose at the boy and the children. "Are they asleep?"

"No, just happy," Ron told him with a grin of his own. "Tasha said 'da' last night. Missy's saying 'ni', whatever that means."

"Excellent, right on target," he agreed, walking over to talk to Draco. He looked at Adonis, who was sucking on a piece of toast. "He should have soft foods."

"By the time he spits that piece to death, it will be," Draco pointed out, looking up at him. "Bathrooms?"

"Are being fixed as we speak. You are to return to your rooms before lunch to see the new arrangement. You will be forced to share one with them."

"I can manage. The girls spend most of the time in there, not their fathers."

"Fine." Snape looked at the infant again. "Has he tried to crawl or speak?"

"The babbling Missy's doing, and he's trying to pull himself up on the furniture," Draco said proudly. "The specialist thought he'd be walking within another month and a bit."

"Excellent," Snape agreed, going up to his seat. "Will we have to move them?"

Dumbledore smiled and shook his head. "Not in the least. The room has shifted to make way for the bathroom, but they shouldn't mind too much. Professor Arion helped with the shifting." Snape looked at him. "He was most relieved that the boys were getting their own bathroom. He said he nearly punished one sixth year Prefect for complaining about the amount of times the babies bathed."

"The Slytherins were also amazed by how many baths Adonis took," Snape agreed. "Hopefully this will solve all the other problems."

"All but the twins. Did they make it awake this morning?"

"I believe they're in a meeting with their patron saint," Dumbledore said dryly, sipping his morning drink. He heard some choking and looked over. "Ron, is she all right?"

"Just fine. She's choking on her own spit. She forgets to swallow sometimes, sir." He wiped off Missy's mouth. "There you are, *swallow* next time," he gently chided. She gurgled and kicked at him. "Yes, dear, I still love you, baby spit and all," he agreed, kissing her on the forehead. "Hey, Neville, want to help me cart Missy around today since the twins are too busy to take care of them?"

"Sure," he said happily, beaming at Ron. "She can sit with me and help me take notes."

"Fine with me," Ron agreed. "What's going on in Transfiguration today?"

"We start the animal to animal transformations again," one of the girls told him.

"Thank you." Ron grinned at her. "Tasha spoke last night. Said 'da-da' all night." They clapped. "We're very pleased with the darling one, even Missy." Missy blew spit bubbles. "Yes, I know you're jealous. If you try a bit, I bet you can say your first word when your da walks in."


During the next week, Ron kept both girls within sight. The twins were acting funny and he didn't want to have to be paranoid. Then came the special Transfiguration/Charms double class. They had been doing party favors in Charms, but this class was multi-colored, everlasting bubbles that you transfigured into shapes. It was meant to be an easy class so they could have a long weekend without homework. Tasha was playing on the floor so Ron had some room to work. She had her stuffed teddy, a present from her grandmother and Uncle Bill, and was playing quietly. Missy was helping Neville, who was trying to amuse her. Ron glanced down at Tasha, smiling when he saw her gnawing on an ear. "Good girl, Tasha." He went back to trying to change the color. So far he only got a nauseating shade of pink. He could change the shape, but not the color.

Tasha looked up at her daddy, she was bored. The bubbles floating around were pretty, but they were so far away. She reached out but the nearest one floated off again. She scrunched up her face, looking every bit like a determined Ginny, and got onto her hands and knees. She had been here before, but this time she wanted to go after those bubbles. They would be hers! She would capture and conquer the pretty things, even if she did have to leave her father's side! She slowly moved her hands forward, bracing herself. Then one knee slid forward, then the next. She flopped down and snorted in disgust, having tripped over her fuzzy friend. She put the ear back in her mouth and tried it again, this time moving farther away. She glanced back at her father, but he was growling at the naughty bubbles. They had to die for that! Her daddy was perfect and shouldn't have to growl! Fang growled, daddy cooed. It was the fundamental rule of her life, it's what made the world make sense. She moved after the naughty, mean bubbles, grunting through the ear at them. She made it all the way to the front of the room before anyone noticed her, then it was the her-sized person in the long, warm things that spotted her. She pounced on a bubble, falling onto her friend, but it was okay. She had the naughty bubble now. It would be hers. It changed color in her hands and she squeaked, letting it go. But another soon floated closer and she grabbed that one, giggling because this one had a tickly texture to it. It was bubbling against her chin.

Ron looked up at the giggles, looking down near his feet. He checked under the desk, then over at Neville, who was quieting Missy with the tip of his wand in her mouth. "Neville, where's Tasha?" he called.

"She wanted a few bubbles for herself, Mr. Weasley," Professor Flitwick noted, pointing down. "I believe your daughter has mastered the art of self-propulsion."

Ron stood up and looked down at the floor. "How did you get down there?" he called, walking down to pick her up. "Thank you, sir."

"You're welcome, Mr. Weasley. She's delightful when she's happy."

Ron beamed. "She just wanted to stop the bubbles from frustrating me. That's her angry face." He brought her back to his seat and set her in his lap, making pink bubbles for her. She cooed and grabbed as many as she could, smooshing them against her chest so they would go pop. She had felt one pop and it had felt neat. She got one to blow up and giggled, clapping happily. The rest of the students looked at her. "She broke one," Ron explained. They nodded and went back to their own attempts. Ron looked at Neville, who was saying something to Missy. "Neville, bring her over here, mate. I've got a bottle and a jar of applesauce." Neville came over for the jar but would not relinquish custody of her. Ron grinned down at his daughter. "I think your friend Missy has an admirer," he told her. She giggled and captured another pink bubble. This one broke with a perfumed scent, a familiar one. "No wonder!" he said with a smile for the ceiling. "Pink?" The next one came out the color he wanted and he smiled. "I'll make you more pink ones later, love."

As soon as that class was over, Ron took her to the Defense classroom. It wasn't his time, but Ares deserved to see how brilliant his daughter was. He walked in and set her down, creating a few bubbles before the professor could do more than open his mouth. Missy squealed in outrage that they were getting away from her and crawled after them, going much faster now that she had the hang of it and she wasn't dragging a bear that was nearly as big as she was. Ares laughed. "Very good work, Tasha. Congratulations," he praised, picking her up when she got close to his legs. He gave her a nuzzle, making her squeal because his beard was scratchy. "Very good work. Now go with your father and see Professor Snape. Your hands are a bit red."

Ron looked at them. "They're not raw, it should be fine," he said with a grin. "Thought I'd share. Come on, Tasha, let's go to Herbology." He took her back and walked out, heading for his next class.

Ares shook his head. "Parents," he muttered. He popped the rest of the bubbles, all but a stubborn pink one that kept bumping into his ear. "'Dite," he hissed. It popped and wafted perfumed smoke around him. "Ewww, now I smell," he said in disgust, going to change his clothes and take a bath.


Professor Snape looked up as the Great Hall's doors opened, admitting Ron and his daughter. "You're late," he noted.

"Sorry, sir, I was running a bit behind in Herbology, had to make up the part I missed." He set Tasha down and watched her this time. "Stay near me," he warned. "No farther than the window." He pointed and she looked that way, gooing at it before crawling over to look outside. She wobbled but stayed upright by gripping the bar in front of the window as tightly as she could. Ron grinned at the amused professors. "Learned it in class today," he said proudly.

"I heard." Snape looked down at the little girl. "We'll have to be more careful of her now."

"I know," Ron agreed, dishing himself out some food. "Tasha, want some nummies? The elves left you some spinach." She fell onto her butt and crawled back to her father's side, letting him pick her up and feed her while he ate. "Good girl," he praised after her third bite.

Draco looked over. "She's crawling now?"

"Yup, chased the bubbles in the dual class," Ron said proudly. "Dragged the bear with her and all."

"Good. Hopefully Adonis will be doing that soon."

"I can't wait until they walk," Dumbledore said happily. Everyone who had ever watched a toddler looked at him like he was insane, including Professor Snape. "A walking infant is so much nicer than a crawling one," he explained. "You can't step on them."

"Good point," Ron agreed, looking at his fellow Gryffs and nodding. "Right?" They all nodded too, knowing it was a threat to harm them if they did it to Tasha or Missy.


Harry walked into their room and stopped to look at the open area that hadn't been there before. "Ron?" he called. Ron came out of a door that hadn't been there before either. "What's going on?"

"McGonagall locked us out of the Prefect's bathroom because she thought the girls only needed one bath a day," he explained, leaning against the wall. "We now have our own. As you can see, we have our bedrooms, the combined nursery, and the new bathroom, but we had to give up the individual sitting areas to get it," he finished, waving a hand around. "Neville has Missy. Still."

"Thanks." Harry wandered around, checking out their bathroom. The tub was big enough for four guys their size to sit around and watch the kids together. The toilets were in a separate room and there was a sink in there as well. The nursery had all three cribs and the two kids were slowing sucking themselves to sleep on some juice. Their bedroom was the same as it had been, though a little more messy. He looked at Ron. "Okay. We really have to share now?"

"We really have to share now," Ron agreed. He grinned. "Mum's coming up in an hour."

"She brought me," Harry admitted.

"How did it go?"

Harry sat down with a sigh of relief. "He got probation and kicked out of school. He's going to have to go to an alternate one now. I'm banished from the Dursley's for good because I told the truth." Ron grimaced. "I missed sloppy kisses."

"Like I said, Neville has her," Ron said with a shrug. "Go for it. She's wanted you too. She's nearly ready to speak. Oh, Tasha's not only speaking but she mastered crawling yesterday."

"Wonderful," Harry said with a grin. "Hopefully Missy will be joining her soon." He stood up and headed to the tower, going to repossess his daughter.

Neville looked up as the door opened and Harry walked in. "Just one more hour?" he pleaded.

"Come down to the room and you can watch her nap," Harry agreed, picking up his daughter.

She looked at him. "Ma-ma?" she asked.

Harry smiled but he looked at Neville. "Hermione's only sat with her once and I was right there," Neville said quickly. "I think she thinks you're mom."

Missy looked at Neville. "Da-da," she said happily.

"Well, that's wonderful," Harry said dryly. "Come on, dad, let's go tell Ron the great news. How long has she been doing that?"

"Just now," Neville said as he followed them with the diaper bag and carrier. "She's been good as goblin gold," he said with a wave for the baby. "Not a bit of trouble outside waking up Seamus every few hours." He laughed at the look Harry gave him. "She wanted to play, nothing serious." They walked in and found Ron asleep on the couch. "Can I really watch her nap?"

"Go for it," Harry agreed, handing her off. He pinched Ron's nose closed, making him wake up. "You're not visiting with your mother?"

"She'll be down after she chews the twins a new one again," he said sleepily. "Test in Charms tomorrow," he reminded his best friend. "I'm going to nap, you watch them." He rolled onto his side and fell back asleep.

Draco stormed in but stopped to look at Ron. "Don't you still have a bed?" he scoffed. Ron flipped him the two-fingered salute. "Whatever. Potter. Back already?"

"Dudley got probation and kicked out of school," Harry agreed. He nodded at the nursery. "Neville's in there."

"At least he won't try to take him." He walked into his room and slammed the door.

"Hey!" Neville yelled angrily from the doorway of the nursery. "You woke them up!"

Harry looked at him, stunned. "You yelled at Malfoy?"

"Yes! He woke the babies," Neville reminded him, going back in to try and help them nap again.

"Will wonders never cease," Harry muttered as he sat down.

"Ma-Ma!" Missy screamed.

"Coming, dear," he sighed, getting up to give her another hug. Between him and Neville, they got the babies back to sleep fairly quickly, before dinner.


Molly walked into the room and smiled at the sleeping men laying around on the couches. She walked into the nursery and found Missy gnawing on one of the bars. "Don't do that," she chided. "Behave, young lady." She smoothed the dark hair down and smiled at her own granddaughter. "How are you, Tasha?" She got a yawn and some babble in response. "Oh, good, you've learned to talk," she said with fondness. "Let's see how your father likes it." She blew her a kiss and looked down at Adonis. "Hello, young man. Are you behaving with the girls?" Adonis spit at her but she laughed. "I know, you're very much like your father."

Draco walked in and looked at her. "He is, but that doesn't mean he should be rude. I have learned that lesson," he said quietly. He tucked his son back in and turned to look at her. "I need to talk to you."

"Of course. Your mother's told me, Draco." He slumped and she patted him on the arm. "I know it's hard, but you can get around this."

"Will he be delayed? He hasn't given any indication that he's wanting to crawl about."

"He may miss crawling all together. Bill did that, started to walk out of the blue one night during dinner," she said with a smile for him. "Being nearly blind won't matter. It will matter when he runs into things, but otherwise it should be fine." He relaxed. "I've got the names of a few books, they're muggle but they should translate well enough," she said, passing over the list. "Usually wizarding parents try to act like their children are normal and their children end up getting hurt before they realize it. Look into those." She gave him a hug. "You be good to my Ron and I'll make you cookies this year for Yule," she told him, going out to wake her son.

Draco looked at the list. "Now I know why Ron's so active," he muttered, taking his son to read to him. He seemed to like Herbology.


The start of the holidays came and Ron looked over at Harry, who looked miserable. "She said she wouldn't mind."

"I didn't get invited and I don't want to intrude," Harry said firmly, clutching his daughter against his chest. She wasn't liking this separation from Neville and Ron, or the other two kids possibly, he wasn't sure.

"That's just silly, Harry," Ginny pointed out. "Mum said you're always welcome at the house."

"This is Tasha's first holiday season and it's special, a family time," he pointed out. "I don't want to intrude."

"Ginny, call mum while I knock Harry out and steal Missy," Ron ordered. She laughed but went to call in the big guns.

Ron looked at his friend and opened his mouth, but the door opened first. "Hi, mum, tell him he's being silly."

"If Harry doesn't want to come to our house for the holidays, then he doesn't have to," Molly said patiently.

"I don't want to intrude. The baby's first Yule is special," Harry defended.

She looked at him. "Are you saying that Missy's isn't?" He shook his head. "Or that you were kidding when you said you liked having us as a family?" He shook his head again. "Then pack the both of you a bag and strap her into her carrier, Potter. The train will be leaving soon!" Harry moved and she rolled her eyes. "Boys," she sighed, taking her granddaughter. "Come along, princess, I'll teach you how evil boys are. All but your father and Charlie and Bill," she amended at Ron's look.

Ron snorted. "I'm evil when I want to be, just not to her," he pointed out, hefting his bags. "I'm done."

"Diaper bag?" Ginny asked. Ron patted it. "Bottles and stuff?"

"We've got more of those at home. Bring enough for the trip," Molly told him.

"I've got it all," Ron defended. "I've been doing this for classes, guys. Really."

Molly looked at the three bags. Then at her son. "Did you pack yourself anything?"

"Yes, mum," he said patiently.

"Most parents over-pack their first trip with the new baby," Ginny reminded him.

"We'll leave that to Harry, I've been packing the diaper bags and stuff for class. I am now a champion packer of the diaper bag."

"Until she messes something up too badly," Molly reminded him. Tasha was just getting over a small bout of diarrhea.

Ron sat down and looked at her. This might take a while. "I've got a large plastic bag in one of the bags if that happens, along with the disposable diapers so we don't have to worry about messy things on the train." Harry came out with the playpen and two bags of nursery stuff. "Harry, we won't need that much," he pointed out.

Harry looked at him. "You want the kids to sleep on the floor?"

"Mum has our old crib, they can share."

"They're too big to share the cribs they've got," Harry pointed out as he went to pack himself a small bag. He could do wash. He came out and found Snape waiting on them, he was checking the children before they left, as a matter of propriety. "There, done," he announced.

Snape looked at the pile of things. "Diapers and bottles?" Harry pointed at a bag. "Disposable or cloth?"

"Disposable, the last of the box," Harry told him. "Malfoy already packed, right?" Ron nodded. "Good, then I'm not depriving him of anything." He looked at the bags again. "Ooh, cereal mix," he said, hurrying to get the box and shove it into his bag. "There, I think that's everything."

"Missy?" Ron asked.

Harry rushed back into the nursery and secured his daughter into the stomach carrier. He came back out smiling. "There, now I have everything."

"Good." Snape waved in a house elf, pointing at the gear. "That needs to go into the special children's compartment," he ordered. It and the elf disappeared. "Come along. Your mother will see you at the other end," he ordered, getting out of the way of the family members. He and Molly shared a look. She laughed though and he shook his head. "Your son is at least competent when it comes to his daughter," he told her.

"Good. Just like I was." She patted him on the cheek. "You have a good holiday, Professor. I think you probably need the break more than McGonagall does." She walked off, letting Ron take his daughter back. "I'll pick you up tonight," she called. She stood on the steps and waved, then laughed once they were gone. "Those boys," she said when Hagrid looked at her. "They're so funny sometimes." She shook her head, going over to give him a hug and a small present from her pocket. "Here you go, Hagrid. Thank you for helping my Ron and Harry too." She kissed him on the cheek when he bent down, then went to floo home. She did need to pull out the crib.


Harry and Ron walked out of barrier together, followed by their faithful helper Neville. Harry nearly groaned when he saw his uncle. "I don't want to do this," he whispered.

"Mum's outside," Ron reminded him. He looked at Neville, who only had a small bag packed. "Can you get Harry's stuff? That's his uncle," he whispered. Neville nodded and took the cart, pushing it outside. "Harry, want me?"

"No, you go," Harry told him, watching as he left, then going over to where his uncle was standing. "Uncle Vernon," he said in his best 'normal' voice. "Were you expecting me to come to your house for the holidays?"

He sneered at him. "You ruined my son's life, Potter, now I'm going to ruin yours." He waved a hand and a man walked over. "This is him."

Harry looked at him, then at his badge. "Yes?"

"Are you Harry Potter?"

"I am."

"We have word that your daughter was adopted by another couple?"

"They ended up deciding not to adopt her," Harry told him. He didn't like this at all. He started to think about his professor, the one who could hear thoughts and prayers.

"Was that before or after their shop was bombed?" Harry's Uncle sneered.

"Before. Over two months before, about three weeks before school started," Harry told him. "I can let you talk to the adult who handled the matter for me," Harry offered. The man nodded and Harry led him outside. "Mrs. Weasley?" he called, nodding at the man. "Uncle Vernon called Protective Services on me."

She frowned at the man, making him take a step back. "Why? He's been a very good father to date. Hasn't needed much help or hand-holding."

"Papers were filed that the child was going to be adopted by another couple, it was reported to us as a case of kidnaping, ma'am," the official told her. She hissed. "Are you aware of the other parent's identity?"

"The people who were adopting her were her mother's parents," Harry said, leaning against the car. He looked at his Uncle. "There are still people who want to hurt her because of me," he told him. "We think that's why they were threatened this summer." He looked at the official again, who was looking a little stunned. "Her mother and I attend the same school, one for gifted people of an alternative religion. We think that someone who doesn't like us personally attacked them. Her mother's already talked to the police about that," he assured him when he pulled his phone. He looked around. "Didn't Hermione come back?"

"She did, but she was first off the train," Ron told him from the window. "Have the adoptive parents filed a report that she was stolen?" he asked, parroting the words that flew into his mind. The official shook his head. "Then do you have to do this now? We're back for the holidays."

"Yes, well, we couldn't find your school listed in the registry," the official sniffed. "Where is it located?"

"To the north," Ron and Harry told him.

Molly looked at them. "It's a private school, they don't have to register it," she informed him. "A private, religious institution does not have to go onto the Education Department's registry if they don't accept funds, which this one doesn't. That's why I allow my son to be sent there." She looked at Ginny and smiled. "Dear, take Missy and sit in the car with her. There's a bit of a chill in the air." Ginny took the little girl from Harry's carrier and slid into the backseat with her, letting her nap on her chest. "Now then," she said firmly, starting to glare again. "This is crap and you know it. This *man* is jealous because Harry here told the truth at his son's rape trial. If his son wasn't such a great bully, there wouldn't have been a problem. For that matter, where were you when poor Harry was locked in a small cupboard for days on end!" she said, starting to get outraged. "You don't seem to care when there's really a problem, no matter how many times it's reported to you, but you decided to harass him today because of what he is. We will not stand for this, do you hear me!"

"Your kind are all freaks," Vernon told her.

"Enough!" Harry shouted, standing up again. "I won't have this. Molly, it's fine. My aunt and uncle prevented my treatment from being reported because they told everyone lies about how bad of a child I was. You and the important people in my life know I'm not like that." He looked at the official. "Do you have cause to take my daughter at this moment?" The official shook his head. "Then perhaps you should do some research before you decide to accost us again. We'll be leaving for school on January sixth, at ten in the morning. I'll try to be here by nine-thirty if you have any more questions or you can try to track us down. We're going on holiday, my daughter's first. You can go to the mother's parents and ask them if you want, though you might get some bitterness from her mother since Hermione is feeling left out at the moment, but we haven't done anything wrong." He glared at his uncle. "I'm very glad I don't have to go back to your house ever again. There's no telling what you'd try to teach my daughter." He got into the car beside Ginny.

Molly looked at both men. "As he said, we'll be back January sixth, if you have something to say, you can say it then."

"I can take the child now on suspicion."

"You could, but can you protect her from the people who have issued death threats against her?" Molly asked snidely. The man shook his head and stepped back. "Then I suggest you find out your facts first, sir. I do not take well to being threatened, I tend to fight back with everything in me." She looked at Vernon. "Shame on you, calling yourself a parent. A son who's a rapist and torturing the other in your care because he's not like you. You've not only failed as a parent, but as a human being." She got into the car and the driver started toward the Burrow. "Don't you worry, Harry, I'll talk to the Headmaster once we get home," she soothed.

Harry nodded. "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley. I nearly lost my temper and did something stupid."

"Hermione will stick up for you," Ron reminded him. "She's said often enough that she was right in not wanting to raise her." Harry looked at him. "We let her watch Missy for an hour and she came out of the experience with hair flying about and her clothes out of order."

"Looked like she had been snogged within an inch of her life, only shocked," Ginny put in.

"Ginny!" her mother said sharply.

"It's true, she did, I saw her later but I hadn't known why she looked like that," Harry agreed. He took his daughter back and strapped her into the carrier, smiling at her sleepy protests. "Don't get used to this, Missy, we don't drive." Ron laughed. "We don't."

"We might be able to fix that," Ron pointed out. "It'd be handy now and then to have a car I bet. Trips to the store and the like. You can store a lot more in a boot than you can in a pack on a broom."

Molly looked at him, then at the driver. She smiled at his confused look. "It's the easiest way to carry a large bag, with a pole," she explained. She looked at her son again. "Isn't it?"

"It is," Ron agreed. He looked at the girls, who were both sleeping. "Good, then maybe we'll have time to do more than set you down before you terrorize the house."

Ginny laughed. "It's funny, mum, Tasha keeps getting loose and heading for Professor Snape. She came in during our class last time, then sat there and cooed up at him, smiling happily the whole time."

Molly shook her head. "I'm be watching for them," she promised. "Is Missy crawling yet, Harry?"

"She's still at that bouncing stage," Harry told her, staring out a window. "How do I stop them, Mrs. Weasley?"

"First, we tell the proper people about this. Send a note to the Grangers and the like." He looked at her and his body seemed to relax. "Then we tell everyone in the family." She looked out the back window. "They are following us," she said, glaring back there.

Ron glanced back then sunk down in his seat. "Is that going to be a problem?"

"Not at all," Molly assured him. She faced front again, pointing out the turn to their house. As soon as everyone was inside, she called her husband, the Headmaster, then the Grangers. Hermione and her mother both got very angry, but said they would call and tell the officials the truth, that they wanted Harry to keep his daughter. When Arthur came home, he came in with some good news. "The car out front is gone," he announced. "Perhaps they've gotten the point." He patted Ron on the shoulder. "May I?"

Ron looked up, then handed over his granddaughter, watching him as he sat down with her.

Charlie coughed. "Ron, why are you paranoid? Beyond the obvious?"

"You know we'd never hurt her," Bill agreed from his seat in front of the fire.

Arthur sighed. "I made a bad decision earlier this year," he admitted.

"You don't have to," Ron said quietly.

Arthur looked at him. "I do, just so they understand." He looked at his older sons. "I thought that making Tasha a bit ill would make people leave her alone. It rebounded and hit Missy and Adonis."

"Who's Adonis?" Bill asked.

"Malfoy's son," Harry put in. Missy bumped his leg with her head. "Yes, love, we know you like to pick on Adonis, but leave him be. He's not for you."

"He's a nice young boy," Arthur defended.

"Yeah, but his father's still his father," Ron pointed out. "They're not getting together, no matter how much Adonis likes her."

"Yeah," Harry agreed. "That'd just be odd. We'd kill each other before the wedding."

Arthur laughed. "Fine, if you're sure." He looked down at his granddaughter, who was staring up at him like he was someone new. "I am sorry, Ron. You know I didn't mean to hurt them."

"I know. That's why you're being allowed to hold her."

"Ron," Charlie groaned. "I'm sure he wouldn't have hurt them very much."

"They got chamomile poisoning," Harry told him.

"Oh." Charlie shifted in his seat. "Sorry, Harry."

"It's not a problem, I can understand why. It's probably something I would have thought as well." He looked at Ron. "I know he won't hurt her again, Ron, and so do you."

Ron looked at him. "That's why he's allowed to hold her now," he repeated.

Bill rolled his eyes. "Ron, how many times has Tasha been in Gryffindor without you?"

"Never," Ron told him. Bill and Charlie both stared at him, mouths open. "I'm not sure who's coming for her. Or who's going to have the bright idea to try and force that prophecy. Desperate people can do dumb things and I'm not having it affect my daughter. She goes *nowhere* without me, mum, or Professor Arion."

"Or me?" Bill asked.

Ron grinned at him. "Or you two," he agreed. "I think you two could probably protect her very well."

"Gee, thanks," Harry said, hitting Ron on the arm. "Grumpy butthole."

"Harry," Arthur warned. "We don't want to teach your daughter those sort of words."

Harry blushed. "Sorry, Arthur, but your son's paranoid."

"He has every right to be," Arthur pointed out. "There's been a call among some of the minor aurors to force the prophecy to happen by the end of this school year. There are a number of people who want her to handle this situation before they have to do anything. There's even been some people who wonder why we're looking for the rest of the Death Eaters if they're going to be taken out by Tasha."

"She's an infant," Charlie pointed out.

Ron nodded. "I know, so do they. For some reason, they think a eight-month-old baby is able to beat a Dark Lord in the making."

"The prophecy said she was going to be a toddler," Harry put in. "They're hoping it's done sooner."

"How is a *toddler* going to do this?" Bill asked.

"By driving him insane," Harry told him with a shrug of his own. "I don't know. Between he and Malfoy, I'm the relaxed and normal one."

"Yeah, Missy makes it over to Gryffindor all the time," Ron agreed. "Besides, the guys get to come down and play with them, as long as I'm there."

Charlie looked at his baby brother. "Then I'll watch out for her," he agreed.

"Actually, if something starts to happen, you might get to babysit," Ron admitted. "We're planning on sending her to you."

Charlie smiled. "That would be best. Bill works around people."

"That's what I was thinking," Ron agreed. "That okay with you?"

"Sure. I'll even learn how to change diapers and feed the little dragon." Tasha squealed in outrage at that name. "Sorry, dear."

Ron laughed. "She thinks she's a unicorn. Always head-butting something. Ran into the door yesterday repeatedly because it wouldn't open for her and let her head into the school."

Arthur laughed. "I'm sure she's quiet adventurous."

"She is," Harry agreed, giving him a dry look. "She likes to wander all the way down to the dungeons and interrupt classes down there."

Bill shook his head. "I'm sure Professor Snape appreciates that."

"Not really," Ron told him, shaking his head. "She likes to play with the hem of his cloak and keeps tripping him up."

Everyone got a laugh out of that.


Tasha looked at her best friend, then made grumbly tummy noises. Missy looked back and seemed to agree. They needed the grandma. Tasha got to her knees and started to move, but Missy made frustrated noises. Tasha watched as she got up onto her hands and knees, carefully moving. She sent her friend encouragement and they moved out slowly, going to pounce the grandma. They had seen her all over the house so they'd have to explore a bit, which suited Tasha fully. As a matter of fact, the pretty voice in her head told her that the grandma was up the long, steep floor. She paused to look at them, then looked at Missy, who moved forward. Her friend pushed herself up onto the first step and looked triumphant, so Tasha tried it. Missy moved up another one. Then another, leaving Tasha behind. She got to the top first and cooed at the new thing, carpet. It was pretty and soft, almost as nice as her bear, Ni. Tasha finished climbing and they headed to where they could hear a female voice.

A door in the hallway opened and someone big stepped out, nearly on top of Missy. "What's this then?" Charlie asked with a smile. "Mum, I think you're being hunted by a horde of pissed creatures."

Molly came out of the bathroom and looked down where he was. "How did you get up here?" she asked.

Missy crawled forward and grabbed her by the leg, pulling herself close to it. "Ga-ga," she said firmly. Then pulled her thumb up to suck it.

"I believe she's not only learned to crawl, but how to climb," Charlie said, picking up Tasha. "Are you hungry, sprout?" She giggled when he tickled her, patting him on the nose. "Thanks. Mum, want some help feeding them?"

"Of course. Let me finish getting dressed." She got free and went to put up the towels she had pulled out then get redressed. Her shower could wait. She grabbed Missy on her way out, she had been trying to follow Charlie. "I think we'll have to find the baby gate soon," she told him as she set Missy into a highchair. "Your father will be so proud," she cooed. She used her wand to warm the baby food in the fridge, bringing it and a spoon over. "Here we are. Spinach?" she asked, holding up a spoon.

Charlie got a second spoon and lifted some out for the other one. "Will you eat for me, Missy?" She carefully watched him as she opened her mouth and then smiled, spitting half of it back out. "Hey, you're getting some, I'm in awe with what you did to your father last night," he told her, scraping that off and feeding it to her again. "There you go." She swallowed that and opened her mouth again. "Ah, you like this eating stuff after all," he said. "I've got your secret, ducks." He fed her some more.

"Don't put so much on the spoon, it gives her more to spit out and to clean up," Molly ordered. Tasha squealed and slapped her hands on the table. "I know, I'm going as fast as I can," she told her, feeding her some more. "This girl and her vegetables."

"At least she's healthy," Charlie pointed out as he fed Missy some more. She was politely waiting between bites. "How much will they eat?"

"I'd be surprised if they eat the whole bowl full," Molly told him. She scooped up more and fed Tasha. "Switch spoons with me," she said, handing that one over. Tasha gave another squeal of outrage. "I'm getting you the bigger one," she told her. "Hush." She shoveled more into the waiting mouth, making Tasha burble through it. "Thank you," she said, shaking her head. "You're an odd one, Tasha, but we love you anyway."

Charlie laughed. "Can't be much worse than Ginny and her thing with pickles."

"True. At least they're not sucking on pickles all the time," Molly agreed. Tasha opened her mouth and she filled it before her granddaughter could scream at her again.

By the time they were done, both girls were a little more green than they should be, but the bowl was scraped clean. The girls were cleaned off then let go to find a napping spot. They headed for the stairs again so Molly put them into the living room and shut the door, watching as they decided to nap on the rug. Molly shook her head. "No wonder Ron's gone odd," she told herself. "Charlie, can you watch them until one of the boys wakes up?"

"Sure, mum. Love to." He grabbed a book and walked in there to sit with them. He smiled at their angelic appearance. They were so cute. They might even convince him that he wanted a few of his own.

Molly finally got into the shower and sighed in relief. Ron would be up soon, she could go back to making cookies and things.


Draco looked at his son, who was frowning at the chair in front of him. "Do you want to sit in it?" he asked his son.

His son glared at him, then grabbed the chair to pull himself up on. He wobbled, but stayed there. Then he looked at his father, giving him a smug look.

"Good boy, Adonis," his grandmother told him. "Would you like to come here to sit with me? I'll read to you."

Adonis looked in the direction of the voice, then tried to shift that way. He walked around the chair while holding on. When he came to the other side and the chair ran out, he made disappointed noises, looking in the direction of the noise again.

"Come along, grandson," Narcissa Malfoy called gently. "Come to grandmother." The boy let go of the chair and stood on his own. "Draco," she breathed, pointing.

He looked at his son. "Very good work," he praised. "Come here," he said, holding out his hands. "I'll read to you as well." The boy looked at him and could see the large blob that meant daddy to him. "Come on, you can do it."

Adonis took one careful, shaky step forward and fell, but he forced himself to stand back up again. He didn't like that crawling stuff, he got dirty. This way was much better. He took another few steps, earning applause. Well! He liked that! He did it some more after he fell and stood back up. He made it all the way to daddy and got cuddled. He'd have to do this more often! Skinny, flower-scented arms picked him up to hold him. Grandmother. He snuggled into her shoulder and made happy noises. She gave the best treats, even cookies. He liked the cookies, they were messy and fun. She handed him one and he happily gummed it with his two teeth, grinning at his father.

"I see you've found your favorite treat," Draco said, standing up to take him back. "Come, let's sit and read to you," he told him, moving them to the couch so they could read to the boy together.


Strife appeared, his hair messier than usual and his son screaming at the top of his godly lungs. "Mommy," he whined.

Molly took the baby from him, trying to quiet him down. "What happened?"

"He won't stop."

"Colic," she told him. "It happens to the best children, Lord Strife."

"Please, save what little is left of my sanity?" he begged.

"Of course. The girls are in the other room, we'll let them play. Missy can soothe nearly anyone." She stood up and walked the fussy baby into the other room, putting him down with the girls. Missy and Tasha looked at this new baby. They knew him, somewhat, because the big guy watched him too sometimes. Tasha pounced him on the stomach, making him grunt and scream again. She blew spit at him, and Missy came over to help. Together they patted the other baby until he quit. Then Tasha climbed over him and he laughed. "See, I told you they were miraculous," she told the God.

Strife hugged her. "Thank you. I'll be back after a long nap." He disappeared, heading right to his bed.

Molly laughed as she sat down to look at the little boy. "Well, how are you feeling now?" she asked. He farted. "Yes, the gas can be a problem. We'll find a way to fix that for you, dear." She gave him a pat and stood up, going back to her cooking. She found Ron with his head in the refrigerator. "Strife just left his son, he's got colic."

"Sic the girls on him yet?" Ron asked, opening the milk to pour himself some. She held out a measuring cup and he poured until she waved him off.

"They've already pounced him and Tasha has crawled over him. He'll be fine."

"Cool. I'm going to watch them for a bit. Harry and Charlie are comparing crazy snitch stories." He took his glass of milk into the living room and sat on the floor, reaching over to pat the boy on the head. "Good afternoon, Lord Brat. How are you?" The baby giggled and crawled to him, giving him a hug. "Ah, a lot like your older brother then, very cuddly." He gulped his milk so he could cuddle the little boy. "There we are," he said as he settled him in his lap. "Cuddle away." Strife's son, nicknamed Brat, settled in for a long cuddle. This one understood babies.


The time came for presents and everyone watched as the two girls were set onto the floor in front of the shiny boxes. Cameras were ready, parents were anxious, and the kids looked really confused. Missy was the first to reach out, touching a softly wrapped package. She looked up at her father.

"Go ahead," Harry agreed, smiling at her. "That one's for Tasha, but I don't think she'd mind."

"Get her one of her own," Charlie said, hunting for one of the ones bought for Missy. He handed it to her and gave Tasha her own present. Then he got out of the way so everyone could take pictures.

The girls, blinded by the flashes, looked at each other. Missy babbled something and patted the other present. She liked that one. Tasha reached forward and ripped a piece of flapping paper, acting surprised when it came off in her hand. Another round of flashes. She noticed the thing in her friend's lap and took that since Missy had taken hers. It ripped nicely too. It even tasted good when she gummed on the paper. The 'awww' nearly blew her off her butt. She frowned at her father, who shrugged.

"Finish tearing it open, that's what it's there for, princess."

Missy managed to get the old sheet open and squealed as loudly as she ever had. Inside was a bear! She glared at the adults as she pushed it aside. "Ni!"

"It's not to take Ni's place, sweetheart," Harry assured her. "That one's Tasha's, for her crib." He carefully moved it out of the way and handed his daughter another of hers.

Tasha got tired of the piece she had slobbered on and ripped more. None of the pieces were big enough so she kept ripping, ending up with a toy in her hands. She shook it and it rattled. Her eyes widened and she did it again. It made more noise. Her father groaned, but she liked this! She continued to shake it, grunting when she got a bit too anxious for the noise and nearly tipped herself over.

"Try this one," Molly suggested, handing her another present.

This one got opened faster, both girls got into this one. Missy liked the rattling thing. Inside was a mirror and a set of plastic keys. More toys!

Tasha made a grab for another present, liking this stuff greatly. Bill handed her one, one of his but he'd let her open it.

"Bill!" Molly said, frowning at him. "That one's yours."

"I know, but she enjoys it so much," he said with a grin. His mother shook her head and Tasha continued to rip the pretty-sounding paper. She was soon sitting in a depression of the paper. That got many more pictures taken. By the end of the presents, she and Missy had opened them all. They started to pout and a few more presents appeared. Tasha grabbed the smallest one, it was glowing! That paper tasted great, like fruit! She chewed on it as she pounded on the box. It finally gave way and inside was a set of adult keys.

"Someone knows children," Arthur noted with a laugh. "Thank you," he called out.

Eris appeared, then shrugged. "Strife's favorite toys were always Hades' keys," she admitted. "They make a racket, but they're easy to replace." She winked at Tasha. "Are you being good?" The keys were shaken at her. "Yes, you share those with the others, all right?" Missy squeaked as one of the presents opened itself, and looked at her. "That wasn't me," she said, disappearing again.

Ron carefully moved closer, looking at the little creature. "What are you?" he asked it, picking it up to look at. "A mouse?" He held it up. "Someone sent the girls a mouse?"

Ares appeared and snatched the mouse from his hands. "Go wash in hot water with a lot of this stuff," he said, handing over some anti-bacterial soap. "Then soak them in alcohol for a few days." He looked at Molly. "We didn't send this one," he told her, taking it and the box it had been in away.

"Well," Molly said, looking at the boys. Bill and George took the rest of the presents to open and look at for the girls. "Preprogramed portkey?" she asked.

Arthur nodded. "It'd be the only way," he agreed, giving her hand a pat. "They're fine."

"Only because he caught it," she said, glancing toward the bathroom, where she could hear Ron telling himself something. "I'd better check on him."

"I think he can wash his hands, mum," Charlie pointed out. He held up the present Bill had just unwrapped. "It's supposed to go to Missy."

"It's pretty," Molly said, hanging it off her finger. The necklace tightened, strangling her finger. "Oh, no." She glanced at Harry, who appeared to be calm. "Eris?" Molly called gently. The Goddess came back so Molly showed her. "This was sent for Missy."

"Wrappings?" Eris asked. Charlie handed them over. It was a small struggle to get the necklace off Molly's finger, but it was eventually slid off and returned to normal size. "We'll handle it, kids. Relax, it's the holidays." She smiled and left them alone.

Molly looked at the wreck of her living room. "Let's get this cleaned up so the girls can play with their new toys," she ordered. The girls fought having their shiny toys taken, but being handed other toys seemed to soothe them long enough to clean everything up. Harry sat there watching the girls for anything that might be out of the ordinary, but they seemed fine.


Ron looked over at dinner, grimacing at the gloves on his hands. "Can you please pass me the bowl of mushy fruit for the darlings?"

"Of course," Arthur said, handing it down. He smiled as Tasha gulped the food as fast as her father was feeding her. "Molly, what about Missy's?"

"It's here," she said, passing it to Harry. "Try that. I fixed it so it'll have a different texture." Harry nodded, picking up the baby spoon to feed his precious one. She ate. He looked at Molly. "I added a touch of gelatin to it. She seems to prefer her food to be more custard-like."

"You're amazing," Harry said in awe, shoveling the food into his daughter's mouth. "We never even thought of this trick." She finished up that bowl and he looked around, taking the one George handed him. "Not a prank?"

"I wouldn't do that to a baby," he said patiently.

"Thanks." Harry started on the raspberry puree, making his daughter coo with happiness. She ate most of that as well, and what she didn't Tasha did. Harry looked over at Molly. "Can you tell the house elves how to do that?" he pleaded. "She refuses to eat most of the time and even Snape's getting on my case about it."

"Of course," Molly agreed, smiling at him. "Now you have to eat, Harry."

"Yes, Mrs. Weasley." He dug into his food, happy now that his daughter was eating. He looked up at Arthur, swallowing quickly. "Any news on what my Uncle tried?"

"Not yet. I've talked with the Grangers and they said they talked to the worker. I guess we'll have to wait for the morning of you going back." Harry nodded and dug into his food.

"Slow down and chew," Fred suggested.

"It really does work better that way, Harry."

"We're used to snatching bites now and then," Ron reminded him, eating a little slower, but not much. Tasha reached for something and Ron handed her the empty spoon, getting it back against his head. "Ow!" He looked at her. "You've just eaten double what you usually do. You can't be hungry."

"You had days like that," Molly said gently. "You ate us out of house and home on more than one occasion."

Ron looked at her. "Really?" Molly nodded. "Darn." He accepted the bowl of food, but she wanted to take the spoon and feed herself. "Oh, no, no playing. Eat." He took the spoon back but she stuck her hands into the cereal and licked it off her fingers. "Ewww."

Arthur laughed. "I haven't seen that trick since the twins did it to each other," he said fondly, smiling at them. "You're going back."

"Dumbledore said we didn't have to," Fred defended.

Ron looked at him. "Really? I wish he had told us that." Harry nodded. "When did he say that?"

"When we refused to get out of bed," George told him.

"You're at fault," Molly reminded them coolly.

"We'll discuss this with them some other time," Arthur said quietly.

"Yeah, let's have a nice holiday before we beat the shit outta them," Charlie said, looking at the twins. "If it had been done to me, you'd be dead."

"Language," Molly warned. Though she felt the same way so she couldn't be too hard on the boy.

"Ron tried," George told him.

"Three times," Fred agreed, looking over at Ron. "If we had known, we wouldn't have done it, Ron. I promise."

"I know, because mum would have killed you if you had known," Ron agreed. "That doesn't mean that your punishment is over with though. You were sentenced to help all of us."

"And we'd love to, but we need to move on with our own lives," George pointed out. Ron looked at him and he gulped. "I'm sure you'll be able to find a job, Ron."

"Yeah, or you could come help us if we do what we want to do," Fred offered. "We'd still be watching her part of the time."

"This can wait until after dinner," Arthur told them. The twins nodded. "You as well, Ron." Ron nodded, going back to helping his daughter eat. "She is rather messy."

"That's the way it is with babies," Molly reminded him.

Missy looked at the stuffing her father had put in front of her, then at her father. He nodded so she grabbed a fistful to lick and nibble on, making grossed-out faces. Then the second bite made her think it wasn't so bad. It was that first, bitter thing that had been bad. She looked at the shallow bowl, putting her face down in it to eat from it.

Molly laughed and went to get her camera, taking a picture of both girls, then again when they looked up. "I think that's going to go in the scrapbook."

Ron laughed. "She's snorting it, Harry."

"At least she's eating," Harry told him, smiling at him. "I like this eating thing almost as much as I liked the sleeping thing when it happened."

"Wait until they start walking," Arthur said, smiling at his wife. Who simply laughed and shook her head.


Arthur walked into the Burrow with a paper clutched tightly in his hand. "Harry?" he called. Harry came down the stairs. "We need to talk," he said, leading him into the kitchen. No one but Molly was in there. "This was yesterday's paper, Harry," he said, handing it over.

Harry read the headline 'Number Four Privet Drive Explosion Under Investigation' and sat down. He checked the picture carefully, but there wasn't a touch of green in it. He checked but there wasn't a cloaking spell on the picture either. He read the article and snorted, but looked up at Arthur. "What happened?"

"They think your cousin was playing with launchable rockets in his room and set the roof on fire," Arthur said gently.

"No Dark Mark?"

"No, Harry, no Dark Mark."

"Then it could be Lucius?" Molly asked, turning to look at them.

Arthur shrugged. "We can't tell. He has stopped his people from using it. The person who gave me the paper said they couldn't find a trace of magic." Harry slumped. "You're wanted for questioning you notice?" Harry nodded. "I'll take you in with me tomorrow." He patted the boy on the hand. "It's not so bad, Harry. They were probably asleep by the hour it happened." He stood up. "Of course, you'll have to ask Bill nicely to watch Missy while you're gone. He seems rather taken with her."

"That's because Ron won't let him steal Tasha for too long," Harry said dryly. The parents laughed. "We still can't figure out how to kill the fungus on his hands?"

"Not at all," Molly sighed. "I've sent an owl to the school, hopefully they'll forward it to Professor Snape or Madam Pomfrey." She went back to her dishes. "Remember to wear something respectable, it usually goes over better with the authorities," she told him.

"I will. I'll pick out what I'm going to wear now so I can make sure it's clean and ironed," he said, heading up to his room. He closed the door of the room, waking Ron. "Dudley blew up their house," he told his best friend.

Ron snickered. "Good on him. They live?" Harry shook his head. "Bummer then I guess. You've got to go do muggle things?"

"Yeah, I've got to answer questions about not being there." He sat down on the cot. "Can you kick my bag over since it's under your bed again?" Ron tossed it to him. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. If you need dress clothes, you can borrow some of mine."

"I brought a uniform," Harry told him, pulling it out. "Two days before school starts and this happens," he sighed. "What next?"

"Hopefully we go back to the school and someone figures out how to fix this fungus," Ron said, holding up the cleanly gloved hands. "I'm tired of these."

"You do look odd in your jeans and formal gloves," Harry agreed, grinning at him. "He blew up the house!"

Ron snorted, starting to laugh. "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy," he agreed.


Harry looked around as he was led into an office. "Sir?" he asked the older man. "You sent word out that you wanted to speak to me?"

"Ah, Mister Potter," the detective said, looking at him. "Sit, please." He nodded at the officer who had led Harry back to shut the door. "Where have you been?"

"On holiday from school, sir, in Ottery-St.-Catchpole." The detective made a note. "I leave for school again tomorrow." That was also written down. "Can you tell what happened yet?"

"I was hoping you could tell us."

"I've been banished from the house. Not that I had much desire to get back into it, but I guess it was horrible what happened," he said with a frown. "I wasn't anywhere near London, not since the day we came in."

"I see." The detective clenched his hands on the desk. "Harry, what did your Uncle and Aunt do to you?"

"Which time?" he asked.

"I see." He looked the boy over. "School uniform?" Harry nodded. "That doesn't look like St. Brutus' uniform."

"That's because I've never been there," Harry said, getting comfortable. "My uncle told everyone that because he didn't like my ...eccentricities very much. I actually go to a small, private, religious school in the north."

"I see." The detective looked over as a large woman thundered toward his door. "Your aunt."

"I was Aunt Petunia's nephew," he told her. "Uncle Vernon was married to her. She's no relative of mine." He stood up as his 'aunt' walked in. "I'm sorry to hear about your brother, ma'am," he said respectfully.

"You did it!" she screeched.

"How would I have? I haven't been in town in nearly three weeks!" he told her. "I've been on holiday from school."

"Yes, and what *friends* of yours have been in town?" she sneered, looking down at him. "You hooligans need to be beaten more often."

"I've never been to St. Brutus' Academy," Harry said icily. "You can call and check if you want. Your brother lied to you about a lot of stuff." He sat down again, looking at the detective. "We don't get on. She said I should have been drowned at birth once or twice."

"People like you should have," she sniffed. "Your parents weren't anything and neither are you."

He stood up again, choosing his words carefully. "Not only were my parents well off, so well off that they didn't have to work, they didn't die in a car accident. They were murdered when I was a year old because of what they were. You're *damn* lucky you ever saw me, Aunt Marge," he spat. "There were hundreds of families that I should have went to, they thought your brother would have been safer, and look at what he did. He raised me with a bullying rapist. If you want to spread filth about anybody, at least get your facts straight. Dudley should have been in St. Brutus'. Or, didn't they send him there when he went on probation?" Her face turned red. Harry glared at her. "This is why you'll never get near myself or my daughter. Or anyone that I care about. I am sorry the family died, I don't like to see anyone die, but I didn't do this, cause this to happen, or be anywhere near that incident. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pack my daughter up so we can get back to our school." He lifted his chin and looked at the detective. "May I go?"

"When do you leave tomorrow?"

"The train leaves at ten. I've promised the cranky arsehole Uncle Vernon called in Protective Services that I'd be there at nine-thirty if he had any more questions."

"Following bad examples?" his aunt sneered.

"Unlike me, my daughter will never live in a cabinet under the stairs," he sneered back. He looked her over. "You know, since I started school, I've met some of the nicest people. I've also met some of the most evil bastards in existence, and no-longer existing. Your 'beloved' nephew fit on that scale." She shrieked. He continued in that same calm, quiet voice. "I'm not sure how your family line would have went on. Dudley wasn't exactly the most paternal and caring of creatures. I would have hated to have seen his future children. I guess it's a good thing that Fate bit him, huh?" he asked, looking at the Detective. "With your leave?"

"Go ahead and go. Be at the inquest in four days."

"I have to go back to school," Harry pointed out. "It's hours outside of town."

"You can come back." The detective watched him walk out. "You might want to be nicer to him. He is the last of that line, the same as you are on your side."

"That boy is filth and is spreading it to a child," she sneered. "He should be stopped before he breeds more. That school of his should have him fixed."

"I called St. Brutus to try and track him down. He wasn't lying, he's never been a student there," he told her smugly. "Your brother lied to you, ma'am. Perhaps he lied about that boy as well."

"No, he was right about him. Violent, evil, and mean. My nephew Dudley was his victim."

"Maybe you should read the trial's transcripts."

"That girl led him on," she said firmly.

"Why? Because she was going to be a nun? Because she was Catholic?" The large woman glared at him. "He was found guilty. He was put on probation. He was found to have been breaking the rules and there was a warrant in the system to take him to jail since he couldn't follow the rules set by the probationary officer." He leaned back. "Why do you think Potter did it?"

"You saw him! He's not sorry, he's not concerned. He's a sicko. They might have been his first victims, but I doubt it. You should find this school he goes to, I'm sure you'd find many such victims of his."

"I'm sure I might, but boys get into fights."

The door opened and a young blond man entered with a boy strapped to his chest. "Hello." He looked at the woman with some distaste. He turned his attention back to the official, who was like the others he had business with, only muggle. "I was asked to handle the matters with Harry Potter."

"Are you from his *school*?" the aunt asked.

Draco looked at her. "Actually, I am. I'm also his greatest enemy, but even I know he wasn't there." He looked at the detective. "You know the truth, why are you even bothering with this?" He handed over a folder. "An independent investigation of the burnt house. Traces of gunpowder and electronics. His nephew blew them up with a homemade bomb." He patted his son on the head. "I may not like Potter, loathe him actually, but I can't let him get blamed for this. It would upset some very important people, who watch out for the boy. Those same people sent me."

"I see." The Detective looked at the report, then nodded. "Thank you. Was he in town over the holidays?"

"A few hours out of town. The family he's staying with live there. Did you need anything else?"

"Fairy," the aunt snorted.

Draco looked at her as the meaning of the insult was supplied to him by a man with very shiny wings. "Not only do I not have wings, I am not gay, thank you. I have no preference beyond a personality type and intelligence." He looked her over. "Thankfully you're not one of us or I'd have to see your children at school as well." He looked at the detective again. "Did you need anything else?"

"Who watches out for the boy?"

"People who pray to Ares and Athena," Draco said before walking out.

The detective repeated the names. "The Greek Gods? He's one of them?" He looked at the woman. "They wouldn't use a bomb, ma'am. They're not the type, it's beyond their scope of war." He shrugged. "He'll be questioned at the inquest, the same as you will be if necessary." She stormed out. He snorted, waving a hand to clear the perfume she had left behind. "I didn't know there was an active colony of them around here." He made note of where the folder had come from and then carried it down to Forensics to see if they concurred.


Harry walked into the Ministry and registered his wand, then went down to see Arthur in his office. He knocked gently before walking in. "There's an inquest in four days," he said miserably. "Uncle Vernon's sister was there."

"I'm sorry, Harry. I know you hated her," Arthur said, smiling at him. "I got a message from Molly that everything was going to be all right." Harry relaxed. "Now all we have to deal with is the people who want to take Missy from you."

"And Ron's fungus," Harry reminded him.

"That as well," Arthur agreed. "Are you packed?"

"Missy's not. She goes through so much I haven't had a chance to finish washing it all." He sighed. "Can I floo back to the Burrow?"

"Go ahead," Arthur agreed, smiling at the boy's back. He looked over as a shimmering started. "Lady Athena," he said quietly. "Thank you for your help."

"They'll have to see what that boy is like," she said, smiling coldly at him. "Fungus?"

"Someone sent Tasha a mouse and it was covered in a fungus. It's grown on Ron's hands so much that he has to wear gloves and change them every few hours." She nodded. "Is that something you've seen?" he asked hopefully. "Something you might know the antidote for and be willing to give the formula for?"

"You don't want me to heal him directly?"

"If you want, but I wasn't going to be that hopeful," Arthur said honestly. "That would be expecting too much of you, my lady."

She smiled again. "You are an odd human, Weasley. You don't demand." She disappeared.

He slumped down. He had tried. He would have to tell Molly when he got home.


Harry walked into the train station, with Hermione behind him and Ron behind her. They found the Protective Services person waiting on them. "More harassment?" he asked, trying to sound pleasant.

The man looked down at his nose at them, then at Hermione, who smiled nicely. Then he looked at Ron, who was sticking a pacifier in Tasha's mouth. "She shouldn't use those, they hurt teeth."

"She only has three teeth," Ron told him. "Not much to hurt yet."

He sniffed in disdain. "I'm here to inform you that the charges were dropped. With the mother's parents saying they gave you back custody for her own safety, I can't do anything to you. But I will be watching you, Mr. Potter."

"Many people watch Harry," Ron pointed out, moving his trolley to the wall. "Come on, we'll be late," he called.

"I have to stay for a few more," Harry reminded him. "I told the detective on the case of my so-called family's house exploding that the train didn't leave until ten." He sat down, looking at Hermione. "Why don't you take her onto the train for now?" he suggested. "Ron can help if you need it. Right Ron?"

"Sure," Ron agreed, "and I think I see Neville."

Hermione followed him with her own trunk and the baby. "We'll see you on the train, Harry."

Harry looked at the officer. "Was there anything else?" he asked.

"No, Mr. Potter. I will be watching you."

"Have fun then. I plan on staying within my own kind now." The officer huffed off and by the time the train was due to leave no one else had bothered him. He ran through the barrier, catching the train right before it left. He met up with Ron, Neville, and Hermione in the children's car. "No Malfoy?"

"He's having to floo over tonight," Ron told him. "Snape said Adonis is sick this morning."

"That's fine then," Harry agreed, settling himself in. "Neville, don't squeeze her. We've barely found a way to make her eat. You'll squeeze it all off her."

"Sorry, Harry," Neville said, letting up on some of the pressure. "You got her to eat?"

"My mum found out that she likes custard-textured food. She added some gelatin to the veggies and fruits to make it smoother. Said she'd talk to the elves at the school."

Ron looked down at Tasha, who was crawling toward the door. "No," he called, getting up to get her. He put her on the couch beside him, facing out the window. "Wave at the muggles, precious." She bounced and talked to the things speeding past.

"She seems content," Hermione pointed out gently.

"Why shouldn't she be? She's a happy baby," Harry told her. "They learned how to climb up stairs this holiday," he told them. "Found Mrs. Weasley and Bill upstairs each day."

Ron nodded. "Tasha also found out how to get in a sliding door, she kept waking Charlie up where he was napping on the couch." He patted her butt. "I asked Snape about the fungus, but he seemed distracted."

"Is that what's wrong with your hands?" Neville asked. Ron nodded. "Wow." He handed Missy to Hermione and shifted so he was looking at the other guys. "My daughter is so cute, she learned how to crawl this holiday. Ate some wrapping paper and tried to eat the family owl." He beamed. "Want to see pictures?"

"Sure," Harry agreed. "We'll swap for a bit." He pulled out his own from the holidays and Ron pulled out the package. "She gave you all of them?"

"Seconds," Ron told him. He handed the stack to Neville and took his few. "Awww, she's cute," he told the other boy, handing them off to Harry. Who looked and handed them to Hermione, who tried to keep them from Missy's mouth. "Hey, none of that. Neville needs those. That's his baby, Missy." She started to sniffle.

"I love you, niece," Neville said, kissing her as he took back the pictures. "Thank you for kissing them." She burbled at him, making him happy. Harry coughed. "Sorry, I like to think of myself as a nice uncle sort of guy to her."

"Sounds about right," Harry agreed. "You spend as much time with her as I seem to." He shrugged. "If you want, you can be Uncle Neville."

"Thanks," Neville said, hugging them both.

The door opened and someone cleared their throats. "Having fun?" Snape asked as he closed the door. Tasha let out a squeal and patted the window for his benefit. "Being amused?"

"She loves to watch things move," Ron reminded him. "Can you look at the fungus now? I'm due for a glove change soon."

"That is what I came down for," Snape agreed, sitting across from him. He watched as one glove was removed, and Tasha was moved to Neville's lap so she couldn't touch it. He frowned when he saw the ugly fungus growing, putting on his own set of gloves to touch it. "I know how to cure those. It will necessitate a soak every few hours and a few more days of the gloves."

"Right about now, I wouldn't care if you cut off my hands as long as you regrew them without the stuff," Ron pointed out, letting Harry get him a new set of gloves from the package in his pocket. "These were easier to deal with than the cloth ones," he said as he put on the surgical gloves. "A few quid for a large bag of them."

"An excellent idea," Snape agreed, sitting back and putting his own gloves into a bag in his pocket. He looked at Neville. "May I?" Tasha was handed over and he looked her over. "Very healthy." He handed her back to Neville, then took Missy from Hermione. "Ah, some weight gain," he said with some tolerance. "How did you fix her peculiar nature?"

"My mum added gelatin to the purees," Ron told him. "Just a touch, to make it more like a custard."

"I'll see that her food is prepared that way from now on. She's gained nearly a kilo I think."

"I stood her on the scale, she's gained two pounds," Harry told him with a grin. He dug through Ron's pictures, coming up with the dinner ones. "See?" he said, handing it over. He took his daughter back. "Yes, you're getting hefty. We'll have to make sure you don't become like Dudley."

"I doubt she's in danger of that," Snape said dryly.

Neville looked at Harry. "She's not fat and pudgy babies are fine, Harry."

Ron dug out Harry's wallet, showing the picture of the Dursleys that they had forced on him. "That's Dudley," he said, pointing at the white whale of a human.

Neville grimaced. "Didn't anyone ever teach him to say 'no'?"

Harry laughed. "No, not ever. But now he's gone." He took the picture back.

"Why do you keep that?" Hermione demanded.

"I don't know," Harry admitted. "Aunt Petunia forced it on me before I left that first time, to remind me of how cute Dudley was apparently."

"Yes, but now they're dead, Harry," Hermione said patiently.

"It's a habit," Ron informed her. "He'll fix it some other time." He started to scratch his hand.

"Don't do that," Snape ordered. "May I?" Harry handed over the picture and he made a disgusted face. "What is that he's standing next to? A pile of whale blubber?"

Harry looked. "That was Uncle Vernon."

"I see." He handed it back. "I'm sorry."

"Me too," Harry said. "Mostly sorry it didn't happen before Dudley raped someone." He put the picture back into his pocket. "So I don't want her gaining too much weight."

"She eats fruits and veggies, she's not eating fattening stuff," Ron pointed out. "It's good weight and you can teach her how to diet."

"Hopefully, I don't want to look over one day and see my daughter following in Dudley's footsteps."

"She won't. We'll stop her," Neville said firmly. Harry grinned at him. "Can I take her back to the tower tonight?"

"No," Harry told him. "Seamus said you can't do that anymore."

"I'll sleep in the common room," Neville begged. "There's got to be other kids who'll be missing their own kids."

"Then I'll come up with you and we'll see," Harry said firmly. "Ron, can we bring Tasha?" Ron looked at him, mouth opening. "I'll be there."

"Fine," Ron said finally. "As long as you're *right* there, Harry."

"Fine," Harry said quickly. "She won't get out of my sight." He looked at Professor Snape. "Was my uncle's house blowing up Lucius, sir?"

"No that I've heard," Snape told him. "What would make you think that?"

"The timing was suspicious. Tasha got the fungus rat and Missy received a strangling necklace for Yule," Ron told him.

"I see." He nodded. "I'll check into it, but I haven't heard of an attack yet." He stood up. "I'll expect to see you in my classroom as soon as you get back, Mr. Weasley."

"Yes, sir," Ron said, watching him leave. "His mind's not running like normal. Not one insult."

"It was rather nice," Neville told him. "Ron, may I?" Tasha was handed to him and he cuddled her as well, making her pat him on the face. "Thank you, sweetheart. You're very nice to your uncle."

Ron relaxed, settling in for a short nap. "Wake me when we're closer to the school." He closed his eyes.

Hermione shook her head, rolling her eyes. "Tasha was up late last night," Harry explained.

"We could take them back to the other parts of the train," Hermione offered.

"Ron would kill you," Neville reminded her. "You don't remove Tasha from his sight." She waved a hand. "Really, you don't. He gets really upset with anyone who does that, Hermione."

"He'll be fine with both of us there."

"No," Harry said firmly. "He doesn't want her away from him, not until that silly prophecy is done with. He's not sure who's going to try and force it on her."

"Fine," Hermione told him, waiting until both men were asleep. Then she stood up with Missy. "I'm going back to the Gryffindor section. Come along, Neville."

"Hermione, he'll beat us up," Neville reminded her. "We can't!"

She frowned at him. "He knows *we* won't hurt the children or let them be hurt. Come along. They'll only wake them up." She walked away, heading back to the back.

Neville looked at the sleeping men but stayed there. "I'm not going to get beaten up by Ron because of her," he told Tasha. "It's not right." She bounced on his lap, trying to get back to the window. He nearly woke up Ron or Harry to tell them and ask if they wanted him to follow her, but they did need their sleep. Ron would get cranky. He looked down at Tasha, but she wasn't any help either. He looked at the two men. "Harry?" he whispered. Ron grunted. "Harry?" he tried again. Ron opened an eye. "Hermione took Missy back to the Gryff section. Do you want me to follow her with Tasha?" Ron waved a hand. "Thank you for trusting me." He grabbed the diaper bags and hurried after Hermione. He found her surrounded by the other kids in their year. "Ron said I could bring Tasha back," he said at the shocked looks. He glanced behind him but no one was standing there so why were they still staring at him.

"Ron knows you guys wouldn't do anything to her," Hermione said firmly. She took Tasha and put her onto the floor as well. "Close the door, Neville. Why did you bring bags?"

"They're diaper bags," he explained as he shut the door and locked it. Then he sat down on the floor. "Tasha," he called. She looked at him. "Have you seen these guys before?"

She reached out and pinched Justin on the nose, making him laugh.

"We've seen her a few times," Seamus reminded him. He pulled out a set of keys and jingled them. Both girls focused on them, trying to grab them. They also got frustrated very quickly and started to scream because of the mean guy. He had to hand over his house keys but he would make sure he got them back. They got to play with the girls for nearly an hour before Harry came back to get them. Seamus stole his keys back, earning outraged crying. "Sorry, but I need those. You have your own," he reminded them, picking up the plastic keys Neville had unpacked for them.

Harry shook his head. "You two are so spoiled. What are you going to do when it's just you and me, Missy?" he asked, picking her up. He accepted the repacked diaper bags from Neville. "Hand me Tasha as well."

"Not a chance," Justin told him. "You could fall and then Ron would kill us." He carried Tasha back, setting her carefully on the carpet. "There you are, go bug your da," he told her, getting out of Harry's way so he could set Missy down. "Thank you for letting us play with the kids." He left them alone.

"Were they good?" Ron mumbled.

"Very. They stole Justin's house keys."

"Hmm." Ron slid to the floor, getting a hug as he went back to his nap.

Harry looked at the girls. "Did you guys wake him and not me last night?" he asked them. They played with their toys, he hadn't really expected an answer though.


Ron looked around the Great Hall as he walked in. His hands smelled nasty, but they had stopped itching. He sat down at the table and put his daughter into her carrier. "There you are. Food time." She wiggled in expectation.

Dumbledore stood up. "I have a small announcement to make. The Weasley twins did not return from the holidays." There were a few shocked gasps. "They negotiated another punishment, one that didn't require them to get up at all hours." He smiled at the fathers. "So you are now on your own. Of course the rest of us may take them sometimes, just to give you a break." He sat back down and the food appeared.

Ron picked up his daughter's food, feeding it to her. "This doesn't have the gelatin in it," he noted.

Harry looked around and motioned an elf closer. "Missy likes it when the food has a touch of gelatin in it, makes it smoother and easier for her to eat. Would you please put some into this and from now on?" he asked nicely. The elf nodded, eyes wide. Harry smiled. "Thank you. Tell Dobby I said hi." The elf squeaked and disappeared, heading down to the kitchen. It came back with a bowl of gelatin. "Thank you. Just add a touch of this stuff to the regular food from now on?" The elf nodded again, letting him have the bowl before leaving again.

"Mum was supposed to call up and talk to them," Ron sighed. "I'll owl her to see if she forgot." He fed more of the mashed peas to his daughter, making her happy. "You and your veggies. I don't know what we're going to do with you once you're older. Probably have to grow a garden."

Dumbledore looked at them. "Gelatin, Harry?"

"Mrs. Weasley figured out that she likes foods that are more custard-like, Headmaster. She added a bit of gelatin to each dish and Missy scarfs it heartily. She gained a little over a kilo over the holiday."

"I see." Dumbledore said something to the elf and it nodded, leaving again to pass on the orders. "I've instructed them to do so from now on. How is she doing?"

"Very well, sir. She figured out how to crawl over the holidays, and immediately figured out how to climb stairs as well. Taught Tasha that trick." That got some laughter. "Really, they used to hunt down their favorite people. I'm sure we'll figure out how to keep them out of trouble soon enough."

"See that you do," Snape warned. "I do not need to interrupt my class because someone likes to play with my cloak."

Ron looked at him. "I tried to stop her, she still got free, sir."

"Try harder," he ordered.

"Yes, Professor Snape," Ron said, smiling at his daughter. "See, even he says you're not supposed to crawl around the school, Tasha. Don't do that anymore or no treats." He shoved more peas into her mouth, laughing when she tried to spit them out. "Don't do that!" He scraped her mouth clean then fed it to her again. She spit them back out. "Fine, you're done." He put down the bowl and cleaned her up so he could eat. He was starving. He didn't have long before she figured out she was still hungry. He got all but two bites of his second helping done when she started to fuss. "Let me get this down and I'll feed you," he told her, shoveling it into his mouth as fast as he could. Harry helpfully dished him out some pudding so he could feed it to her. "Fanks," he said through the food. He picked up her spoon and started on the bread pudding, making her eyes go wide. "That's what daddy's trying to eat, but I'll share if you want."

"That has brandy in it," Dumbledore quickly informed them.

"Okay," Ron agreed, switching to the banana pudding. She liked that a lot and he enjoyed the bread pudding just as much.


Harry looked over at the inquest panel, slumping in his seat. He hadn't been able to find a babysitter today so Missy was with him. She was quiet at least. The detective noticed him and he shrugged. "No sitter," he said when the detective came closer.

"I'll hold her if you get called up."

"No offense, but I don't know you," Harry pointed out.

"You're that cautious?"

Harry nodded. "Wouldn't you be if you were me? There are people who want to kill me and my daughter. I don't trust hardly anybody outside my school." He looked up as the session was called to order, sitting up straighter. He noticed a man in a suit taking notes and pointed. "Who's he?"

"Your uncle's insurance provider. He wanted to know the official cause of death. If it's homicide, they might not have to pay out," the Detective said as he sat next to him. "What's his name?"

"Her name's Missy. She prefers green," he said with a small shrug and a grin. He looked up as his name was called and stood up, carrying his daughter to the front.

"She didn't need to come with you," one of the judges pointed out.

"Sorry, but I couldn't find a sitter today," Harry explained.

"Surely your aunt...."

"Would hurt her and I won't have that," Harry said coldly. They flinched away from the ice in his voice. "She's being quiet at the moment, it should be fine." He swore his oath to tell the truth and sat down in the indicated chair, having a small flashback to earlier in the year.

The inquisitor looked at him. "Where were you when your uncle and aunt's house exploded?"

"On holiday from my school. I was in Ottery-St.-Catchpole."

"I see." The inquisitor looked at the child. "Would you like to sit her on the floor perhaps?"

"She's crawling and I don't want to have to hurt someone for trying to touch her."

"Fine. How did you hear about the incident in question?"

"Someone I was staying with got told at work. He brought it to my attention."

"Who were you staying with?"

"My best friend's family, the Weasleys."

"I see." The man rocked back and forth on his feet. "How old is she?"

"Almost nine months."

"How was she conceived?"

"Someone drugged part of my school with a hallucinogen. Her mother jumped me." He shifted, crossing his legs so his daughter could sit in his lap. "Why?"

"I ask the questions, young man."

"Then please ask relevant ones," Harry told him seriously. "You're taking me away from my lessons and she's due to be fed soon."

"Fine. I'll hurry up. Were you in London within the week before their house exploded."

"When did their house explode?" Harry asked. "I got the news a few days after it happened."

"On the 27th."

"I was in town on the 21st, sir. I came in and Mrs. Weasley picked us up at the train station."

"Where you were accosted by your uncle and a Protective Services worker?"

"Yes, he had decided to turn me in for revenge." The man opened his mouth. "Because I had told the truth at my cousin's rape trial."

"I see." The inquisitor looked at the little girl. "Do you consider yourself raped?"

Harry shook his head. "Not at all. I'm still very good friends with her mother."

"Then what about your cousin's trial? Who attacked him?"

Harry laughed. "Attacked *him*?" he snorted. The inquisitor and the judges all frowned at him. "He attacked a young woman! He wasn't attacked by anybody! He could have sat on someone and killed them!"

"I see." The inquisitor looked at the forms in front of him. "I see, yes, sorry about that." He looked at the judge. "Whomever typed it put the phrase backwards," he told them. The three judges nodded. "Mr. Potter, are you sorry they're gone?"

"Am I sorry the people who treated me like a slave, a dirty secret, and who didn't do anything to nourish me into a fine young man are dead? I'm sorry to see anyone die, but I can't say as I feel more because I was related to two of them. We weren't close, they didn't like me and I really wasn't fond of them either."

"Very well. Thank you. Please stay in the courtroom if possible."

"We've got a package of sauce for her to eat," he agreed, picking his daughter up to take her back to the seat.

"Young man, one last thing," the inquisitor asked. "What would you do if they left you money?"

"Give it to Uncle Vernon's sister or put it in the bank for my daughter. I don't need it." He walked back to his seat and opened the small package of applesauce, letting her slurp it down. He noticed the insurance man was quickly writing something before the next person was called. He could care less.


Draco walked into school, three days late, and tired. He went immediately up to the Headmaster's office to turn in the excuse from the baby's specialist. They had done some damage repair over the holidays but he had spiked a fever. His son was taken from his hands as soon as he sat down. "Thank you, Headmaster."

"You're welcome," Dumbledore said as he sat down with the child. "How is he?"

"Doing better. They've managed to cure the sight issues seventy-five percent in one eye, but they say they can't do anything about his left one." He slumped down. "We're back to normal."

"I'm pleased." He smiled at the young man. "Have you heard that the twins refused to come back?" Draco nodded. "Good. Harry's off today in London for that inquest. Ron's in class if you wanted to join him and Professor Arion wanted to see you sometime today."

"With all due respect, I want a nap and so does he."

"That's fine, try to make it to your afternoon classes, Mr. Malfoy." He handed back the boy. "Thank you for telling me."

"I know you won't bruit it around because we have blackmail material on each other," Draco reminded him, standing up. "Good day, headmaster." He went down to his room and laid down. He didn't feel well at all; he might be coming down with a cold. Well, he'd have to work out something then. He heard the door slam. "Quiet," he yelled. Adonis looked at him. "Not you, the noisy asshole in the other room."

Harry stuck his head in. "Back already?" Draco nodded. "How is he?"

"Better. They were able to cure some of it but not all of it. I'm going to nap."

"All right. Missy and I are in the nursery if you wanted to send him over." Draco shook his head. "Have a nice nap then. I'll wake you up for lunch." He closed the door and went to put his daughter down for a short nap. There was an hour before lunch, he could relax and veg.


Ron looked up from taking notes from his book to find McGonagall watching him. He didn't like this. She looked like hell, had since the night they'd gotten back. Something was going on. He glanced down at his daughter, who was napping in her carrier. Then he went back to his notes. He had to get good grades so he could get a job after he graduated. He'd have to support Tasha and himself after next year. He heard a hiccup and smiled at his daughter, handing her back her juice. "Drink that," he whispered. "It'll make those go away." She sucked on the nipple he put in her mouth. "Good girl." He straightened up and found McGonagall standing beside him. "She has the hiccups, has all day," he told her.

"Do try to keep the noise down," she said primly. She looked at his notes. "You're behind."

"I know. I'll finish it tonight." He went back to taking notes, watching her out of the corner of his eyes. She had went back to her desk and was staring at a piece of parchment. No, he didn't like this at all. She looked so sad when she read that parchment. He decided he would bring it up with Ares during their practice today. If he had come back. He had left late last night, after stopping in to tell him that he'd be back sometime today, there was a battle he needed to fix. He mentally shrugged. Maybe Strife would be there, he'd understand. Wasn't he the God of Paranoids as well? He turned the page, continuing on with his notes. He missed the look she gave him, the sad look that showed she knew what she was doing.


Ron walked into the Defense classroom and found it empty. "Professor Arion?" he called. The chalkboard lit up with a message. 'Still here, be back tonight. Be careful.' He sighed and sat on the nearest desk. "Strife?" he called. "Are you busy?"

Cupid appeared. "He's still fragged from last night, dude, what's wrong?" he asked with a grin.

"Has anyone said why McGonagall's giving me 'you poor sod' looks?"

"You're being paranoid," Cupid pointed out.

"Yeah, but I've also been right so far," Ron reminded him.

"Good point." Cupid looked toward her classroom. "She's recently lost a friend, Ron, that's all that is." Ron relaxed. "Calm down, that's not until she's three."

"Yeah, but people seem to want it to happen faster," Ron reminded him. "Dad's come home with notes from people he works with who want this prophecy to happen this year."

"Which sucks, but they can't do that, it'll invalidate it," Cupid reminded him.

"Maybe, but who decides what a toddler is," Ron reminded him.

"Yeah, good point. Oh, well, it's not her." He shrugged. "Need anything else?"

"Nah, if your dad's busy then I'll go back to our rooms and let her take a short nap. I could use one."

"Go for it," Cupid encouraged. "That's what Strife's doing," he agreed, disappearing again.

Ron slid off the table and took his daughter back to their room. He missed the flash of light behind him, but the warm arms that went around him weren't that unusual. "Hey, Aphrodite," he said, looking over his shoulder at her. "Hecate," he said in shock.

She laughed. "I love doing that to you boys." She took the little girl to look over. "Yes, she might be able to drive him insane." She looked at him. "Sit, Ron, there was a part that those mortals didn't get." He sat next to her, watching as she cradled his daughter. "I won't hurt her."

"No, I know you won't," Ron agreed. "I watch everyone though. My own father proved I had to."

"Good point," she said with a gentle smile. "The part that they didn't get was a warning about forcing this prophecy, to let it happen if it was going to. If not, there would be long-term repercussions for many beings." He nodded. "I have told your Headmaster that but he hasn't gotten the word around enough yet."

"What happens if they do?" Ron asked. She looked at him. "Okay, then two questions. Do I kill them and does she live?"

Hecate smiled at him. "Yes to the second one. The first depends on you." She handed Tasha back. "She will live on, most likely."

"Most likely?" he asked, feeling his stomach knot up.

"Lucius is not very stable and he is unpredictable. Ares thinks that there is less than a five percent chance that he tries to kill her outright, before you can get to her." Ron nodded, his shoulders slumping. She materialized a small bracelet and a coin. "Put this on her. It is my mark and shall protect her as much as I am allowed, young man." Ron put the bracelet on her ankle, it would be less noticeable down there. "The coin will lead you to her," she instructed. He took it to look over. "It will be warm if she is separated from those who care about her and you can follow the signature to where she is being stored." She put a hand on his forehead. "Get the blond to teach you to apparate. It can only help in this instance. Any punishment from it can be mitigated." She stood up. "That is all I can share."

"I thank you," he said, giving her a hug. "My daughter is my life."

She patted him on the head. "You make amazing children, Ronald. Remember that." She winked and left him alone with his daughter.

Ron looked at his daughter as he put the coin into his pocket. Then he decided to go bug Draco. He made up a bottle and took it and his daughter down to the dungeon, tapping gently on the door. "I need to see Malfoy," he whispered to the teacher. "I don't think he has a bottle."

"The boy has been fussy," Snape admitted, letting Malfoy into the hall. "Make it short." He closed the door again.

Ron handed over the bottle. "Hecate just told me the rest of the prophecy."

"And?" Draco asked, sticking the bottle in his son's mouth. It was off schedule, but he seemed to appreciate it.

"She said our teacher thinks there's less than a five percent chance that he'll try to kill her immediately. I've got a way to track her."

"Good," Draco agreed, nodding. "Why did you ask for me?"

"She told me to get you to teach me how to apparate."

"Ah." Draco nodded. "Tonight." He walked back inside, going back to his potion. He noticed Snape pulling something out of his ear and raised an eyebrow. Snape shook his head. "Sir, would you come look at this? I don't know what I've done wrong but it's the wrong color."

Snape walked back, looking down in the cauldron. "It would have helped if you had added the seaweed, Mr. Malfoy." He looked at him and shook his head again. "Such inattention to detail will make you fail."

"Yes, sir, thank you, sir," Draco told him. He caught his eye and Snape rolled his. He was the last one out of the room. "Do I not have your permission?"

"Do not let his head know," Snape warned. "Though we do know the rest of it."

Draco nodded. "Thank you, sir." He and his son left, going to Transfiguration. He had someone to watch. He saw the looks McGonagall gave him but he wasn't doing anything in particular. He had mastered this charm last night so he was lazily practicing it for his son's amusement. He wasn't doing anything that would get her attention. Yet she kept looking at him and she looked very sad. He caught the clue and mentally groaned. It was her. He would have to warn Weasley tonight. His son squeaked as someone else's spell went wrong and nearly tipped on him. "Dunderhead," he said, smacking the other Slytherin upside his thick head. "Do not endanger my son!"

"Sorry, Draco," the other boy said quietly, looking away.

Draco noticed the other Slytherins were pretending not to watch. So it was about his son as well. Weasley had been right after all. He mentally listed the offensive spells he had learned. This was going to be a fight if nothing else. He would not lose his son, and he didn't want to lose Tasha either. She was amusing at least, much better than her father. He just wished Ares was back, they could probably use his or Eris' help. He prayed to her, getting a wave of reassurance in return. She would be watching out for them, even if Ares was busy.


Ron walked in from dinner, and this time the flash got him. He had to blink hard to clear his eyes. He kept hold of his daughter, one arm around her middle, as he rubbed his eyes.

"Move further into the room," Draco said impatiently as he tried to walk in. He frowned at the rubbing. "What happened?"

"Bright flash." Ron felt his way to the couch, trying to get his eyes to stop watering. "Is she fine?"

"She's fine, sucking on her thumb," Draco told him. He put his son down and took Tasha. "Here, little one, let him have both hands free." He looked at Ron, making sure he couldn't see, then disappeared.

Ron finally got his eyes cleared and looked around. "Malfoy?" he called, noticing the doll on the couch. He stood up and dug out the coin, feeling it. It was warm. He could feel a pull on it. He ran for the door, his wand already drawn. He ran into Draco in the hallway, stopping to look at Adonis, then at the father. "She took her. I thought it was you," he said quickly.

"That's fine. Potter?" Harry took Adonis and Draco led Ron back to their rooms, going to grab some things. Then they apparated together. Ron had figured it out before dinner, but he wasn't any good at it yet. They followed the coin, landing back to back in a bright room filled with his father, a cradle, and his son? "That wasn't Potter?" he asked his father.

"No, it hasn't been him for a few days now," Lucius said smugly. "You'd think that his best friend would figure that out."

Ron stepped around to face the idiot. "I would have if I had seen him more than a few minutes at dinner." He crossed his arms. "Give me back my daughter."

"Ah, yes, the girl who will beat me," Lucius said with a laugh. "What will she do? Annoy me to death? Cry until my ears bleed and I stab myself to death?" He raised his wand.

"No!" Ron shouted, casting his first curse. The changing spell hit Lucius' shield but it managed to make it through a little bit because he grunted in pain. He cast another one. "Malfoy, children," he ordered.

"No, you get the children, this is my fight," Draco told him calmly. He stepped forward. "You brought us to a shielded location, Lucius, did you think that I wouldn't do what you've always done? Crucio." Lucius screamed in pain as the spell hit him. "Weasley, children," he ordered again.

Ron gathered up both children, nearly crying at the blood on his daughter's head. "They're hurt."

Draco glanced at him. "Then go to your mother, dumbass." Ron nodded, taking himself and the children away. "I think it's time we finished this, before he gets back. After all, this is more my fight than his." The door opened and someone walked in clapping. Draco looked at the other version of his father, then back at the writhing man on the floor, then back at his real father. "Cute," he sneered. "Not worthy of you, but cute." He ended the curse. "Get out of my house, Lucius. You don't belong here anymore."

"Ah, but I do," he said happily. "Your son is not fit."

"On the contrary, the doctor said he was healthy enough to fit the standards your father set. Apparently he had to lower the bar because of you." He gave him a smug look. "Did you have fun?"

"Quite a lot. Now I have you all to myself," he said, pulling his wand. "Shall we duel?"

"No, we won't," Draco told him. "I'm going to wait for Weasley to get back."


Ron appeared in the Burrow, nearly sobbing. "Mum!" he screamed. His mother came running. "Lucius had them," he told her, handing them over. "Fix them, I've got to go back."

She caught his arm. "You can't, Ron, it wasn't your fight."

He pulled himself together. "It is my fight, mother, the same as it would have been yours if someone had taken me." He pulled away from her. "I'll be back. Leave a note if you have to take her to St. Mungo's. She's not to go back to the school. McGonagall and I have to have a discussion about payback before we go back." He concentrated, but couldn't move. He glared around. "Discord," he said coldly. "Let me go. Your own guy needs me."

She appeared. "He can handle himself."

"Against a Death Eater?" Ron said snidely. She glared at him. "Do you really want to see him die? Or to have to go through this again when Lucius comes after my daughter *again*?" She waved a hand, unsealing his feet. "Thank you." He sent himself back, landing in the next room. He found a few friends of Lucius and started on them. He could feel the shields and those spells Ares had made him work on were going to come in useful. By the time he got done, he could hear the pained whimpers in the next room. He threw open the door and stood there, looking at the scene. He lost it. It was one last enemy, the worst of them all, and he was saying how he was going to go after the kids again, just as soon as he had killed his own son. "I doubt it," Ron said as he walked in, wand glowing already. "You bastard," he sneered, unaware that he was sinking back into that spot where his temper controlled him. Lucius cut his son loose and turned to face him. "Did you think I wouldn't stop you?" he asked in a conversational tone. "That I wouldn't protect the children under my care? Even your grandchild." He didn't move to help Malfoy, he was focused on his opponent. "If you want to fight, try me." He cast the same spell that had helped him destroy trees last fall, but couldn't block the pain spell coming at him. It only helped him sink farther into the rage.

On a battlefield in Columbia, Ares lifted his head. "Ron?" he asked with a grimace. "What caused that one?" He looked around, this one was mostly done. "Discord," he snapped. She appeared, looking bored, but her eyes said she was scared. He grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up to look in her eyes. "What did you do?" he hissed.

"I sent Ron back into that state so he would protect Draco," she gasped. "He'll be fine."

Ares sent her crashing into the nearest building thirty feet away. "You stupid bitch! He won't come out!" he shouted, heading to stop Ron before things got too bad. He found the fight, and the people trying to stop the fight, and even Draco trying to stop them. He froze everyone but Lucius and Ron. "No, you can't break it up," he told the puny mortals, appearing in all his glory.

"Ares," Draco gasped. "He's not human!"

"I know. Sit, kid." He walked over, touching the back of Ron's head to give him an idea. Ron cast that spell and Lucius was sent through the brick wall behind him and out onto the pile of firewood, breaking his back. "Good. Ron?" Ron growled at him. "Don't do that. Where's your daughter?"

"I made him go back to the Burrow," Draco said miserably. "McGonagall took her, Ares."

Ares unfroze the officials. "Repeat that," he ordered.

"McGonagall lost her sisters, he had one of them still. He said she could have her sister and any remaining family back if she gave him Ron's daughter." He looked at the Minister of Magic. "If you weren't such a stupid bastard, this wouldn't have happened," he said bitterly.

"Young man," he started.

"Shut up," Ares warned. He froze the guy's mouth. "If you had searched for Lucius instead of believing a prophecy that said a three-year-old was going to kill him, then none of this would have happened. I'll make sure *everyone* knows, Fudge." He unfroze him. "Ron!" he snapped. Ron jumped toward him so Ares froze him. "Fuck me," he sighed. "Draco, can you make it back to the Burrow?" Draco nodded. "Then go. I'll get Ron calmed down and bring him along. Guard them both."

"Yes, sir." Draco walked unsteadily to the floo and sent himself to the Weasley's home.

Ares looked at Ron, sending calming waves over to his minion. "Calm down," he said quietly. "You can't continue to do this."

"Arrest them both," Fudge ordered. No one moved and he looked at them. "Now!"

"I'm not going against the God of War," one purple haired woman told him in disgust. "He's calming Weasley down and he made a lot of sense," she told him. "If you had ordered us to search for Malfoy, none of this would have happened."

"You're fired," Fudge told her.

"I can do other things and will gladly do so," she told him, turning and walking away. "That's the only person who will get Weasley out of that rage," she told everyone else. "He's lost in the anger." All but one of them followed her out of the house to pick up Lucius' damaged body. The one remaining one wasn't going to move, but he would watch with bated breath. He had never seen anyone being pulled out of these states. Usually you locked them up and held them until they came down normally.

"You, arrest them," Fudge ordered.

"I don't take stupid orders, sir," the auror pointed out. "Nor are you my boss." He looked at Ares. "Are you going to bleed him?"

"I might have to," Ares said thoughtfully. He touched the blood on Ron's arm. "What's this?" He looked him over. He wasn't bleeding anywhere near there. "Shit, she was bleeding. You, find out how his daughter is. She's either with his mother or at the hospital." The auror nodded, leaving. "Fudge, make yourself useful and blow yourself up."

"Oh, let me," Strife said as he appeared, bouncing a journal in his hand. "Guess what I stopped off to get, Unc?"

"Blackmail material?" Ares suggested as he moved closer to Ron's ear. "Calm down. You can't get near Tasha until you're out of this, Ron, just like last fall." Ron whimpered. "I know, but she's got to be fine. Malfoy's finding her and your mother has her." Ron shook his head. "I'm sure of it." Ron whispered something. "Then we'll try our best to save her, Ron." He let him land on the ground then helped him up. "Come on, finish calming down," he said, pulling him into his arms to absorb the anger and fear. Once the young man was shivering he looked at Strife. "I want Apollo or 'Sclep with the kids if they're seriously hurt. I want that delivered to someone in an official capacity to charge him. I'll take Ron."

"What about McGonagall?" Ron asked, looking up at him, his eyes haunted.

"I'll deal with her myself. She was trying to save her own family some pain," Ares said grimly. "We'll figure that out together. We may have to let her go, but I will make sure her dreams are haunted at the very least," he said gently, for him. "Now, let's go. Did you learn how to apparate?" Ron nodded. "Then find your daughter."

Ron pulled the coin out of his pocket and felt it, it was cold. He started to cry. "It's cold."

"Then someone who loves her has her," Ares told him, finding Molly. He had marked her long ago. "Come on. Strife, now." Strife disappeared at the same time they did. Ron ran to his mother's arms, crying against her. "How is she?"

"Lucius cut into her scalp," Molly said gently. "She's living, Ron, and probably not badly hurt. We'll know more in a few hours. Go sit down." Ron shook his head. "They won't let us in there."

"I'm her father, they'll let me in or they'll die," Ron said, forcing his way through the door. "That's my daughter, I'm staying," he told the doctor, whose eyes were wide. He got a nod so he sat down next to his daughter's side, holding her hand. "It's daddy, Tasha, everything will be fine." He heard her take a breath and allowed himself to relax more. "Malfoy?" he asked the doctor.

"He's fine. A bit banged up but otherwise fine," he told him, continuing to try and heal the wounds. "She's a very strong girl." Ron growled at him. "Fine, you sit there and hold her hand. Many fathers can't stand the sight of blood."

"I've seen more than my fair share of it," Ron told him. The doctor looked at him. "I'm Ron Weasley." The doctor swallowed. "Lucius Malfoy had her."

"I'll run a spell check as soon as I've got the wounds closed," he agreed. The door opened and someone in uniform walked in. "Get out!" he ordered coldly. "You will not interrupt my treatment of this patient."

"I'm here for her father," the man told him. "He seems to have killed a few people."

"I was rescuing my daughter from the people who had kidnaped her," Ron said with his most icy voice. "Get out before I do the same to you." The man took a step back. "I mean it," he said with a harsh snort. "Professor Arion had to bring me back from my former rage. You're rekindling it." The man walked back to the door. "Good, you stand there," he sneered. "We'll see who's left standing after I make sure my little girl's fine." He looked at the doctor again. "Will she be fine?"

"As far as I can tell. She'll have some scars, but most of them are in her hairline. The one on her forehead will heal to a thin, white line." He glanced at the officer, then at Ron. "Do you often lose your temper that way?"

"This was my second time and the same person brought me out," Ron told him. "The Defense teacher at Hogwarts." He shifted, putting a kiss on his daughter's cheek. "She's chilled."

"That's a side-effect of the medicine we used to knock her out. She's fine. That's what the woman behind you is watching, Mr. Weasley."

He glanced back at her and she nodded very quickly. He nodded back. "Thank you." He stroked her hand with his thumb. "It'll be okay, baby. If you have to, you can live with mum for a few weeks while I work this out," he promised. He looked over as the door opened behind the officer and he was pulled out by a large hand. "Hi, Hagrid," he called.

A scarred man walked in, his cane loud in the quiet room. "Not him, but thank you," he said with a smile. "I'm keeping Strife from coming in to punish this guy."

"He's doing his job, hopefully," Ron told him. "Thank you, Hephaestus. I'm honored that you're helping me and mine."

"Eehh, you're a nice kid. You give Ares something to do. Which means he's not bugging me or my wife," he said with a smile. "Besides, I liked your mom the last time we met." He winked and walked back out to stop Eris from going off on anyone. "Stop it, he's fine."

"He's not fine! Lucius did something to harm what little bit of sight they had been able to regain," she said angrily.

Hephaestus turned her around to show her the person helping Draco and Adonis' doctor. "'Sclep is here, Eris. He's helping. Ares is helping. Go help him."

She growled but went to help fight the imbeciles who wanted to charge Ron. She appeared in a bright flash of light, stunning the room. "You will listen to me," she hissed, lifting them all with a wave of her hand so they were dangling ten feet above the floor. "Ron Weasley did what he had to so his daughter was protected from the monster you let run free."

"The prophecy," one woman gasped.

"How is a three-year-old supposed to beat a full-grown man!" she shouted. She shook them. "That doesn't make any sense, you were blinded by your desire not to get involved. Well, now you are," she said, hitting them into the ceiling.

"Discord," Ares said quietly as he appeared. "Let them down. None of them are afraid of heights." She let them drop to the floor, but he kept them from dying. Not from breaking, but from dying. "My twin sister has a point," Ares told them, his arms already crossed. "Because of your negligence, the world was nearly ended yet again. So therefore, your families will stand on the front line from now on," he said, waving a hand at them. They shrieked as the powerful energy hit them. "The next Death Eater, the next Dark Lord, the next evil bastard, will be taken care of by your children, or grandchildren, or even on down the line if necessary. There will be no more children like Potter and Weasley, ones who have to fight to save those that they love. Your children will be doing it for them," he pronounced.

"Let's see how you like it," Eris sneered. Ares smacked her across the back of the head. "Ow!"

"You sent Ron into a rage, Discord, knowing what he would do. He would have protected Malfoy anyway, I've spent a long time making sure of it. You nearly caused this to end up horribly. Go back to the temple and wait on me." She blanched but he raised an eyebrow. "That was an order." She disappeared in a gout of flame, screaming the whole way. Ares looked at the Ministry, the ones who had screwed up so badly. "This is now a divine matter. Do not concern yourselves with it, but never forget." He disappeared, heading back to the school. He had to do this now, before Ron got the bright idea to come back and finish off the fight. He found McGonagall in the staffroom. "I know what you did and why you did it," he told her, stunning the others in there. "You're damn lucky Ron is what he is or they would have all died." She started to cry. "As is, you're going to face Justice. Ron will demand it. I don't know what he'll do to you, or ask to have done to you. I do know that it won't be until after he calms down. Feel thankful for that small mercy." He looked at the others. "You'll need to find a new Defense teacher next year," he told Snape.

"The children?" he asked.

"They're working on them. Lucius only had her for about ten minutes. One of his minions had Adonis for less time. They're at the hospital. Where is Potter?"

"We found him knocked out in Gryffindor and Missy locked in a closet with Longbottom," Snape told him. "What can I do?"

"Pray like hell to 'Sclep so he has the energy to help them," Ares told him, leaving them there. He came back a moment later. "How did they apparate out?"

"The shields keep anyone from apparating in," Snape told him. "Not out. It wasn't thought to be needed."

"Thank you." Ares disappeared, going back to help Ron. He found him hugging his daughter. "How is she?"

"She was under the Cruciatus for at least five minutes, but she'll be fine," the doctor told him. "Mister Malfoy's son is in much the same shape. The..." he cleared his throat, "family healer managed to help them both quite a lot. Thank you for getting them here." Ares nodded. "We'll have to move both children upstairs but we've been unable to."

"Would you let them out of your sight if it was your child?" Ares asked.

The doctor shook his head. "Not at all. I might not even risk the trip to the hospital in my fear that someone else would try something." He waved an orderly over. "Take the bags up with the fathers to the nursery. They're allowed to stay as long as they want." The orderly nodded, taking the bag of medicine with him, leading Ron up to the nursery. Another one got Draco and his son. The doctor looked at Ares. "I know you're supposed to be a myth. What made you come out for this?"

"I was asked to," Ares told him. "Strife's followers caused the children to be born and Ron has a temper," he said with a faint smile. "Someone prayed to help him fix it, I did that. Then I found out what might happen so I stayed." He shrugged. "I was asked."

"Then I'll set up a small shrine tonight to the healer I saw. I assume he was one of you?" Ares nodded, smirking. "Thank him for me if he doesn't hear me. He saved the Weasley child's life. He found a small blood clot before it could cause a stroke." He walked out, going to find the necessary things.

Ares walked out and found Molly still standing there. "You didn't follow?"

"I wanted to thank you, Lord Ares. You protected my family and taught Ron how to protect his daughter in extreme circumstances." She went up on tip-toe to kiss him on the cheek. "Thank you." She walked upstairs, heading for the nursery.

Ares smiled. He kinda liked being the good guy now and then. And he still got into some hellish fights. He went to have a *discussion* with his sister.


Strife appeared in the nursery with his own son cuddled against his shoulder. "It's done," he announced. Draco and Ron looked at him. "Fudge is in for it. His diary was very illuminating to some." He grinned. "He's just been arrested. McGonagall admitted what she did and asked for Olympian justice. Ares stood in your stead and punished her to a lifetime of nightmares." Ron slumped. "Hey now," he said, sitting next to him to give him a nudge. "She thought it wouldn't be so hard on you because you could have more," he said gently. "She's not physically harmed, Harry begged for her life. Very eloquently I might add."

"Someone must have written his speech for him," Draco said snidely.

Ron glared at him. "Shut up." He looked at Strife again. "She's safe?"

"Every bit safe," Strife agreed. "The newspaper fried Fudge and the Ministry. They're calling for some massive changes and a lot of people are taking a long look at your Headmaster." He grinned at Ron. "So, when can we come play?"

"As soon as she's able to play," Ron said, smiling faintly. "Thank you, Strife. You and Ares both."

"Yeah, well, sometimes being the good guy means you get into the better fights," he said with a wink. "Think your mom's ready to watch my kid again?"

"Probably," Ron agreed. "You'd have to ask her." He gave the God a hug. "Thank you, Strife," he whispered. "Tell me if you ever need me." Strife nodded, tearing up before disappearing.

"I can't believe they let her off so lightly," Draco said bitterly, leaning against the wall.

Ron looked at him. "Permanent nightmares means that she'll have to relive what she did over and over again. She won't get any rest, and she won't get off easily. She's suffering, just differently." He leaned his forehead on the crib's side. "Why don't you wake up and babble at me?" he told his daughter. Her hand reached out and he touched it with his finger, all he could get through the bars. "Come on, I know you're tired but I'd like to see your pretty blue eyes." Tasha shifted and rolled onto her side, cuddling his finger. "Thank you, sweetheart." He flinched as the door opened, but it was the twins. "Hey," he said weakly.

"Ron, mum said you had to go eat, then take a bath and a nap," George ordered.

Fred picked his brother up. "We're here to sit with the kids so you can go as well, Malfoy."

"Bloody unlikely," Draco snorted. "I don't know that you're the twins."

"They're the twins, they smell like them," Ron told him. He looked at them and George grinned, then he shook his head. "I can't leave her. Not even if mum was sitting here."

"They'll be released tomorrow, he can do it then," Draco agreed. "I'm not leaving my son's side either."

Ares appeared and looked at both teens. "I'll sit here, you go bathe and eat, then catch a short nap." Both of them left and Ares took Draco's seat. "You might as well sit," he told the twins. They sat down next to Tasha's crib. Ares looked in at Adonis. "How are you feeling?" he asked him. The boy's eyes opened and he flipped onto his stomach to look at him. "Hello. Are you feeling better?" Adonis babbled at him, waving his arms. "Good boy. Tasha, he's gone for a bit, you can wake up as well." Her eyes snapped open and she cooed at her uncles. "Good girl."

"They were faking?" Fred asked.

"They wanted their fathers to rest as well. Ron taught her that trick," Ares told him.

George laughed. "We saw it over the holidays. He'd lay down with the girls and pretend to be asleep so they'd nap," he said happily.

"Exactly," Ares agreed. "Babies learn by imitation. That's why Brat's going to be a hellion and a slut some day." He got comfortable, nodding at the nurse as she walked in. "Since when did you guys start using needles?" he asked her when she walked over to them. George and Fred stood up, walking her out by her arms to make sure she was supposed to be near their niece. Ares laughed. Yes, they had learned their lessons very well. Strife would be even more pleased with them soon enough. He put his feet on the empty chair and got comfortable. He created a book and held it up. "Want a story, guys?" The kids clapped and settled in to listen to him read. They liked his voice, it was the subsonic growl he had.


Ron walked into the school and stopped to look around. He saw the Headmaster and Snape coming down the halls and shifted his daughter higher on his shoulder. "Draco's somewhere behind me," he told them.

"That's fine, Ron," Dumbledore said, smiling at him. "May I?"

"As long as I can see you," Ron agreed.

"Surely you can't be on that still," Snape told him.

"Someone at the hospital wished us luck when she was three," Draco said as he walked in, followed by an elf carrying his bags. "Should we unpack?"

"If you wouldn't mind, we'll let you start classes again tomorrow," Dumbledore told him, smiling at him. Tasha tried to poke him in the eye. "Thank you, but I need that." He handed her back to Ron. "Any instructions from the hospital?"

"Two or three, but they said they sent them to Madam Pomfrey," Ron said, starting to frown.

"She has them," Snape agreed. "She's been busy with Potter and his daughter's amazing weight gain."

"She ate something of the twin's?" Draco asked.

"No, she's gained five pounds in the last two weeks," Dumbledore sighed. "He's worried and she can't seem to calm him down." He shrugged. "It happens." He waved a hand at the hallway. "Shall we? We can easily talk in your own rooms, that way the children can wander." They followed the boys down, finding the rooms empty. Both kids were sat down and Tasha immediately took off to look out the window. "She's very fond of the view."

"The trees move in the breeze," Ron pointed out as he got comfortable. "Am I still in Transfiguration?"

"Ah, the hard question first," Dumbledore said as he sat across from him. "Do you want to be? We can switch you over to Life Sciences. This term is doing childcare. Your daughter could be a big help to the other students." Ron shrugged. "Do you think you could forgive Professor McGonagall?"

"I know why she did it, but it doesn't mean I like what she did," Ron told him, looking serious.

"Life Sciences would have to be easier," Draco pointed out as he joined them. His son was wandering around touching everything.

Ron hit him on the arm. "You never said he was walking!"

"He learned right before we took him in to have his eyes fixed," Draco informed him. "Decided a story was a good enough reason to walk." He gave his son a smug look. "Go pat Tasha for a bit, son." He walked over to help her watch the trees. "It's much more convenient."

"Tasha should start walking within a month," Snape assured Ron. "She's been a bit early for everything else so far." He glanced at the children. "Do not bite her," he ordered.

"Adonis," Draco sighed. His son walked back and hugged his knees. "Thank you. Do not chew on the Weasley." He considered it. "Or the Potter."

Cupid appeared, grinning at them. "You'd think he'd be a bit more thankful."

Ron threw a pillow at him. "He's been plenty grateful. I'm still mad at you."

"I'm sorry I didn't know, Ron, babe; but I'm a Love God, not the God of Pain and Suffering. I didn't think she was going to do it so soon, I thought we had time to get Ares back here." Ron grumbled something. "Come again?"

"I guess I can forgive you a little bit," he admitted louder this time.

"Thank you. And hey, we're on for tonight, right?"

Ron grinned. "Only if I get to be on top. You're freaky sometimes."

"Cool with me. Strife's gonna be tied down. He was a naughty fella." He winked and left.

Dumbledore cleared his throat. "You're leaving again tonight?"

"No, we'll be here," Ron told him. "I'm not leaving my daughter anywhere. Harry'll be up in Gryff tonight, I already told him about it and he's fairly disgusted with me."

Snape burst out laughing. "I can see his narrow little mind being offended by the thought of sexual contact."

"Hey, his first time was when Hermione jumped him," Ron said with a shrug, curling up more on the couch. "Besides, Cupid takes very good care of me. Not like Ares' suggestion."

"Who was that?" Draco asked.

Ron looked at him. "You and Harry." Draco spluttered. "That's about how I felt too," he agreed, nodding and grinning. "One's so disgusted by sex he stole my toy and sent it with the house elves one day, and then there's you."

"At least I like to top," Draco informed him stiffly.

Ron patted him on the shoulder. "That's wonderful, but we'd kill each other."

"Good point," Draco agreed. "Though I haven't gotten any recently. I'll have to go trolling I believe." He shifted so his hard-on wasn't noticeable. "Maybe that room up by the Tower."

"It's been shut down," Snape told him. "As have the two in the basement and the one near my classroom." He stood up. "If you don't need me?"

"No, thank you, Professor." Ron grimaced. "I feel really strange liking you, Professor Snape."

"It feels just as oddly on this side," Snape admitted before leaving them alone.

"You are being careful, correct?" Dumbledore asked.

"Of course," Ron snorted. "I have my daughter, I don't need any more." He looked at Draco. Then at the Headmaster. "Wouldn't we have to take Life Sciences together?" The older man nodded. "I guess I can do that."

"As can I," Draco agreed.

"Fine, I'll have it arranged for you. I believe Mr. Longbottom is in there as well." He stood up. "Please, do not get in the same way. We probably couldn't stand another year of either of you being pregnant." He left them alone.

Ron looked at Draco. "Think we should just to irritate him?"

"Then we'd have to take care of another one," Draco pointed out. "I've had enough of diapers and even if I miraculously have another one, I'll have to arrange to have only one heir." He heaved himself up. "Think I could join in tonight? I could use a good shag."

Ron shrugged. "Ask Strife and Cupid. I'm their toy," Ron said proudly.

"I think I will, or see if my personal Goddess is free yet." He wandered toward his room. "Behave, Adonis, or no pudding tonight." He closed his door.

Ron stretched out on the couch, getting comfortable while he watched the kids play. He eventually fell asleep, that's how the kids got out. One of the house elves opened the door and they rushed him. Tasha decided this crawling thing had to go, she couldn't keep up with the other baby. So she squealed at him to stop and to help her. She had stood but not walked before. He silently encouraged her and she took a few careful steps, holding onto the walls. Within a few minutes, they were walking down the halls, their bare feet slapping on the stone floors. Tasha led the way to her favorite room in the whole school, squeaking when she saw who was in there. It was the dark guy! She ran in and hugged him.

Jett looked down in alarm. "What are you doing?" he asked. The baby looked up at him. "I'm not the big guy, really." The little boy came in and grabbed his other side to hug. "Help?" he asked, looking alarmed.

Snape laughed. "That's what you get for such filthy propositions," he said meanly. "Do watch out, she's teething."

Jett looked down at her. "Don't bite the leather, sweetie, your father would kill me if you get a taste for it." He carefully pried them off him and put them on the desk, facing the professor. "So, can I send you another card?"

"I don't think I need another photograph of your nude body. I do not desire men." He smirked. "The last one was thankfully stolen by a few of the older Slytherin females from my desk."

"We'll see," Jett said before disappearing.

Snape shook his head. "He'll have to give up some day." He patted both children on the head. "Aren't you supposed to be upstairs?"

Ron stalked in and grabbed them both, grunting at the teacher as he carried them back to their room. They went into the crib this time, then he went to nap on his bed. "Hopefully the stairs are still charmed," he told his pillow as he landed on it. "Otherwise we'll find them in Divination some day."

"That would be kinda neat," Strife said as he appeared on the bed behind Ron. "You want him in with us?"

"Up to you," Ron mumbled. "He's not a bottom."

"Hey, I bottom, you bottom, Cupie bottoms rarely. We could probably use another dedicated top. Besides, everyone bottoms if Cupid begs," he whispered. Ron patted the hand on his hip. "Fine, you nap. I'll go bug him."

"Have fun. He hasn't had any since he got preggers."

Strife cackled and disappeared, heading to the other room. He startled the boy mid-stroke. "Hey," he said with a leer. "Want help?"

Draco spread himself out. "If you'd like to add a helping mouth, I might not mind," he agreed.

"Cool," Strife said, landing on the bed. "Of course, we expect to have some reciprocation." Draco looked at him. "It's not fair any other way," he said with a grin. "I give, you give, we all get happy tonight with the winged-guy."

"You're offering?"

"Sure, why not? The more the merrier, sometimes," Strife agreed with a grin. "But remember, we *all* like it when our attentions are returned."

"Deal," Draco agreed, being too horny to do otherwise. His lover twisted around in the bed, and he tried to give as good as he got, not that he was that used to giving. But he did try. He did his best and apparently it was good enough this time. He wiped his mouth off once the God next to him was finished, looking down at the intense look. "Not good?" he asked, sounding a little hurt.

"Nah, you need some practice, that's all. It's like that when you're new to the art." He winked and giggled, turning himself around to cuddle. Draco would probably abhor that. He was right, he got pushed away. "Aw, come on," he whined.

"I don't cuddle," Draco said firmly. "That way got me in trouble before. I don't need to be caught again."

"I'm sure no one would say anything. After all, Ron gets away with it."

Draco gave him a hard look. "I'm not that needy."

"Fine," Strife sighed, letting him go. "You still want in tonight?"

"Why not?" Draco asked, loosening up some. "I could definitely use the edge taken off. When?"

"Say two hours after dinner? That way the kids are all nappin' and we shouldn't be interrupted for maybe three hours?"

"That would be fine," Draco agreed, giving him a smile. "Did you want more before then?"

"Nah, I'm about to get pounced as is by the love-muffin. He thinks I've been naughty," he said with a wink and a grin before disappearing.

Draco spread himself out on the bed, getting comfortable. He should nap now. Didn't want to fall asleep later. He closed his eyes and of course his son yelled for him. "Go to sleep," he yelled back. His son quit fussing, but Tasha started to call for her father.

"Sleep, please!" Ron yelled. "Daddy needs a nap or he'll be cranky later."

Draco snickered and got up, throwing on a robe to check on them. If they were both screaming it was probably something important. "Ah," he said, carefully snatching the snake. "I see someone left us a wonderful present." He walked into Ron's room and tossed it onto his bed. Ron jumped and pulled his wand, using their new ice spell to freeze and kill it. "It was in the nursery."

"Fuck," Ron sighed, grabbing his pillow and heading that way. "I'll nap in there. You take the couch," he muttered as he walked past him. He turned and looked him over. "Strife?"

Draco smirked and nodded.

"We'll both play with them tonight then," he said with a shrug, heading to camp out in the nursery. He would wake up if something slithered around him.

Harry ran in and stopped when he saw the snake and Draco in his room. "Pansy was just bragging about it, suggested snidely that I'd have something other than my daughter to talk to," he panted.

"Weasley froze it, I doubt it's able to talk anymore," he said, walking away. He could get her back tomorrow, *after* his creative juices were flowing. He brought a pillow and blanket out so he could sleep on the bigger couch. Anything to keep his son safe.


Elsewhere, Ares was going to have to talk to his mother. He was sure Ron was being careful, but accidents happened and his research said they might have a bigger problem if she didn't step in somehow and fix it. He knocked on his mother's study door, walking in at the irritated sounding grunt. "Busy?" he asked.

"Unfortunately there was a massive power outage on the West Coast of the United States about eight months ago," she agreed, putting down her pen once she saw her son's face. "What's happened now?"

"I've finished my research and I'm pretty sure the upcoming problem is more your area than mine," he said, sitting down and getting comfortable. She crossed her hands on the desk, waiting patiently for him to get on with it. "You do know that Mischief's Brew has ambrosia in it?" She grimaced but nodded. "It's actually an ambrosia/nectar solution." Her grimace got bigger. "All the kids who got hit with it got the residue, but...." He trailed off, not sure how to broach this subject.

"But what? Someone got more?" she asked.

He nodded. "A lot more. Fortunately the twins didn't mix the solution very well or we'd have a new God up here, a Fertility one." She opened her mouth and he held up a finger. "He got a whole ball of the stuff, about six ounces, fed to him. It had about three drops of ambrosia solution in it. It's mostly stored itself in his muscles. But, if he gets knocked up again, then it could start to leach out. Hence this being more a problem for you than for me."

She slumped. "How close?"

"Two or three more drops. Casual contact at best," Ares said grimly. "And he's the plaything Cupid and Strife have picked up."

"Damn!" she shouted, picking up a small statue and throwing it across the room. "Is it possible that he's already come across and we haven't noticed?"

"I think we would have noticed Demeter yelling about a male messing up her fertility schedules," he said with a touch of humor. She glared at him and he straightened back up. "Sorry, Hera."

"No, I think you may be right. What can we do?"

"Either you're going to have to find something to make him permanently infertile, because the solution has made him permanently fertile as of last night, or we're going to have to find a way to leach the remaining drops out of him."

"Can't we make him celibate?"

"His mother's name is Molly," he said dryly. Hera opened her mouth. "Yes, her. He's got his nature from her. Two months without any nearly drove him insane."

"Then he'd be one of Aphrodite's," she said, thinking it over. "What about a lover who was infertile?"

"With that much solution, I'm not sure it'd matter," Ares said with a slight shrug. "Like I said, this is more your area than mine. He'll be the plaything in a few hours if you wanted to peek in on him. Or even now. I'm going to have to tell him and his mother if you can't figure something out and I don't really want that."

"I'll check on him later," Hera agreed, nodding. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention." She paused and tipped her head. "Was it his sister that nearly ate some of your ambrosia?"

He grinned. "Yes, and she'd make a splendid Goddess, but I think she'd drive you and Athena batty." He stood up. "Thank you, mother."

"You're welcome, Ares. We don't want to have to deal with this situation in a bad way." He nodded and disappeared, going back to the mortal plane. "Well," she sighed in frustration. "This day just keeps getting better and better. Now all I need is a child to pop up and be my newest step-child," she said bitterly as she went back to the charts. She picked up her quill and paused. "Wouldn't that make him equal to a demi-God?" she muttered, then shook her head and went back to her paperwork.


Ares popped into the Burrow, shaking his head when Molly opened her mouth. "I've managed to finish most of the research into Ron's future problems. I've also spoken to my mother about it," he announced, sitting down. His feet hurt.

"Would you like some tea? Bad news generally goes better with it," Molly offered gently.

He grimaced. "You'll spit it out when I tell you. Hold off until you've quit shaking." She nodded and clenched her hands. "Ron is permanently fertile. No matter what, unless my mother can find a solution. That's why I'm not pulling him away from Strife and Cupid, they'll make sure that function is blocked." Molly nodded once. "Also, he's going to have a small problem called Godhood if he ever gets pregnant again. Possibly," he said, holding up a finger when she opened her mouth. "The ball of solution he ate had three drops of ambrosia solution in it. That's in addition to the residue he got exposed to. It's being stored in his body. It will come out, but we're not sure if there's more hiding, or if there's a way for it to finish turning him," he finished. She slumped. He smiled. "If so, he's going to be under Demeter probably and I'm sure you'll miss your twins greatly."

She laughed bitterly. "I'm nearly there myself," she admitted. "How could they have been so careless? I taught them to research all their pranks beforehand." She looked at the God. "What can I do?"

"This is more a warning. The rest of this year is going to be a bit stressful," Ares offered. "I'm not sure if he's going to pick up a mortal lover or not, if so I'm going to have to discourage it." She nodded. "I need you to start reminding him to be careful as well, Molly. The boy knows, but he doesn't intimately understand if you get my meaning."

"He knows but it's not real to him yet," she sighed. He smiled. "It probably won't be until he becomes pregnant again." She straightened up. "Can your mother take this curse off him?"

"I've talked to her, she's going to examine him tonight, after he's done with the bobsy twins." He winked and stood up. "Do you want me to tell Ron and the twins?"

"Let Ron tell the twins and I'll let you tell him yourself, he'll take it better from you," Molly told him, getting up to make herself some tea. "Ares?" He looked at her. "What's wrong with Ginny?"

"Another one who got a taste of ambrosia," he said with a small smirk. "I accidentally left one of my dishes of it on the table over last year's holidays and she tried some. Spit it back out, but she did taste some. Thought it tasted medicinal. She'll be fine. She's finding herself right about now," he assured her, then he left to talk to Ron.

Molly picked up a cup and threw it at the wall. "Stupid bloody irresponsible sons!" she shouted, then calmed herself. She went to call the two older ones, they were most involved with Ron on this matter. The twins could be threatened by Ron later.


Ares walked into the boys' dorm and smiled at the napping man on the couch. "Where's Ron?" he asked. Draco's arm pointed toward the nursery. "Why?"

"Snake," Draco mumbled. "Train later, Ares."

"Fine. I'll come get you after Strife's done with you both." He strode into the nursery, finding Ron sleeping on the floor and both kids staring down at him with the cutest looks on their faces. He called Molly's camera to him and took pictures of both of them and then the larger picture before they noticed he was there. "Ron," he said, sending the camera back. "We've got to talk."

"Later," Ron muttered.

"Now!" Ares said sharply, waking Ron all the way up. He got sleepy defiance, but he was used to that. "Come on, we've got to have a serious talk. Your test results are back." He pulled the boy up and looked him over. "What snake?"

"Pansy released it in here, the kids saw it first," he said, then he yawned. "Come on, we'll go for a walk. Should I take them?"

"Let Malfoy watch them for a few." He steered Ron outside, only being stopped by McGonagall. "We've got to have a discussion."

"It's fairly late," she sniffed. "Plus it's raining."

"I have the results of some of his tests," Ares told her, moving Ron past her. "Relax," he whispered. "Malfoy will take good care of her while you're gone." He patted him on the back as they moved out to the front stoop of the school. "Like I said, I've done most of the research."

"And?" Ron asked, bouncing nervously.

"And we were right, it's permanent," Ares told him, putting a hand on his shoulder. "I've talked to someone over this stuff to look in on you later tonight, after you're done." The boy nodded. "Hopefully we'll get this solved. Until that time, you're *extremely* fertile. Got it?" Ron nodded again, looking depressed. "Strife and Cupid always block that off from you so don't worry about them." He glanced around. "There's another thing, Ron, and I think you deserve the right to know." He pulled the boy closer. "You got nearly enough ambrosia to make you a member of my staff. We're sure of it now. It's hiding in your body because of the shock. There's three spare drops somewhere in your body and it will come out if you *ever* get pregnant again. It would have to for facilitation purposes. If it does, then you're going to become *my* family." Ron's shoulders slumped, then firmed up again. "Good boy. Go back inside and think about it."

"What about sterilizing me?" Ron asked quietly, glancing around the rain soaked area.

"That would only work if you were the one giving, Ron, not taking. Remember, each time the spell would have to create a new womb and opening." Ron shuddered. "Yeah, so remember that. Stay with Cupid and Strife for now. No mortals until we've got this fixed." Ron nodded, brightening up some. "Plus, when I told your mother, she said you could tell the twins how badly they messed up."

"Oh, can I?" Ron asked with an unholy glee in his eyes. Ares smirked and took the boy with him to the twin's new shop. "Oh, boys," he called as he walked toward the back area. The twins popped out of the storage area, looking a tad bit shocked to see him. "I just received some test results back." He slapped them both. "If you hadn't fed me so much, I'd be back to normal by now. As is, I'm unhealthy and it can happen again," he said with sarcastic happiness. "That means you'd get to babysit another niece or nephew. Possibly a lot of them." He held up a finger. "That's not the best part. If I have another one, ever, I could end up like your patron saint because you guys fed me too much ambrosia solution." Both twins went pale. "You'd better start praying to give someone some strength to fix this," he hissed. "Before it happens again."

"You could use protection," Fred reminded him.

"That's not foolproof and it might go through it," Ares said as he joined them. "We think it did on another kid, one who only got the residue used on them." He smiled at them. "He's serious. If it happens again, he'll have to leave your family for ours, and there are plenty of people in my family who won't want him there." They swallowed, looking scared. "Your mother wanted you informed. Though I don't think she wants to see you for a few days." He patted Ron on the shoulder. "Come on, it's nearly dinner time and you'll need your strength to scratch that itch tonight with Cupid. At least we know you won't get hit with him." He took Ron back to the school, landing them back in the nursery. Something went crunch under his boot so he looked down and grimaced. "Just the one snake, Ron?"

"Shit. Malfoy!" he snapped. Draco rushed to the door. He handed both kids over. "Take them into whichever room isn't filled with snakes. I'm going for your Head of House. He should know how to take care of them," he said bitterly as he stomped on as many of them as he could as he walked out. One tried to bite him but Ares blasted that one. "Thanks," he said with a faint smile, heading down to the dungeons. He knocked on the office door and the door opened. "Our nursery is presently filled with snakes," he announced. "I froze one earlier, stomped on a few this time, and I'd like permission to take my rage out on Pansy this time, sir," he said politely.

Snape pushed past him, going to fix this. "I will deal with her," he snapped. "Follow."

Ron followed him back to their room, and found most of the snakes were at least dead, if not charred. He pointed at where more were coming out of a hole in the wall. "That wasn't there earlier. Not even when I was napping in here after the first one."

"I'll deal with it," Snape assured him. "Check on your child." He waited until Ron had gone to look at the other teacher. "Parkinson?"

"Probably. I felt her do the earlier one, but I felt them kill it too." Ares glanced around then back at the deadly professor. "We were right, it's permanent. He nearly became *family*."

Snape shuddered. "There is a truly dreadful thought," he noted. "Weasley as a God."

"I don't know, his sister nearly ate some of my ambrosia. The consensus is that she'd make a great one." He disappeared, stunning more of the snakes coming out of the hole.

Snape found the spell and canceled it then worked on killing all the snakes in the room. He would not have Malfoy's son endangered that way. He smiled coldly. Perhaps he should let Weasley have the girl after all. It would serve as a good lesson to the other Slytherins not to bother either father. He could always gather up the pieces afterwards and have some fun playing with her. He found one last one and killed it, then checked the beds, freezing more of them.


Ron wandered into the Great Hall and handed Neville his daughter, then casually strolled over to Slytherin's table. He grabbed Pansy by the hair and dragged her out, smiling nicely at anyone who looked at him because of her screaming. "She let snakes loose in the nursery," he said in a scarily calm voice. They got out of his way, including two professors. Unfortunately, Dumbledore came to her rescue so he only got in a few good hits. She would learn her lesson though, Snape had assured him of that when he had checked the children for bite marks. He saw someone down the hall and turned to look at him. "Lord Jett," he said with a small bow. "Come to help me get her for putting snakes near my precious daughter?"

"Nah, I'm here for the big goober in black," he said with a satisfied smirk. "I approve of his plans and wanted to know if he wanted help."

Ron nodded back inside. "He's in there. Want me to get him for you?"

"Sure, thanks," Jett said, watching as Ron walked back inside.

Ron walked up to the head table. "Sir, you have a visitor in the hall," Ron told the professor in question. Snape raised an eyebrow. "He said to tell you he approves of your plan and wanted to know if you needed help."

Snape stood up and stormed out, going to discourage this man again. Ron went back to his seat and repossessed his daughter, smiling at the Gryffindors looking at him. "We found over fifty snakes in the nursery," he told them. "Sixteen of them poisonous and instantly deadly to people Professor Arion's size." They shuddered and started to eat, sneaking glances down at him. "She's fine, we're all fine now," he soothed them. "She'll be punished for it." He looked down at his daughter. "Fortunately you only got a little bit squeezed around an ankle or she would have died in a horrible manner," he cooed. She batted at his cheek and blew spit kisses at him. "I love you too, Tasha. Now let's eat, shall we? You need to go to sleep tonight so Daddy can have a visitor." Harry glared at him. "Yes?" he asked.

"Ron, how...." he said, trailing off. He shuddered. "Never mind."

"I'll share with you some other time," he said, slapping his best friend on the back. "Some of us are like that, Harry." Harry blushed and ducked his head. "Fine. Did you want to take Tasha up to Gryffindor tonight? Malfoy's got a babysitter in Snape."

"I will," Neville said quickly. "May I?"

"Sure," Ron agreed. "She's not to leave your sight and you're to be within grabbing distance all night. She learned how to walk earlier." The listening students clapped. He grinned. "Of course, the first place she and Malfoy Junior went was to the dungeons." That got some laughter and he put his daughter into her seat. "Want to stay with Neville tonight, Tasha?" She squealed and babbled happily. "I guess that's a yes. If you have *any* problems, I want to know, no matter what I'm doing," Ron ordered. Neville nodded quickly. "Good man. You can get her after dinner." He loaded his plate and filled a spoon for her, holding it up. "Time for nummies," he said happily. She grabbed the spoon and flung the contents, but tried to feed her nose the stuff clinging to the plastic. "Let's try that again, dear," he said patiently. "I still feed you, you can feed yourself next month." He took the spoon back and tried again but she stopped him, trying to take it. "Stubborn tonight, aren't we. Don't want to eat?"

"Let her try," one of the older women at the table told him. "She'll have to do it sometime, better now than later. At least you can clean her up."

"Too true. Fine." He snapped on the tray for the seat and put her bowl of cereal onto it. "There, try it. Remember, it goes in your mouth, not up your nose." He stuffed his mouth, watching her look at the bowl with a look of wonder. "Use the spoon." She grabbed some in her fist and pulled it up to suck off her hand. "Or that. At least that's going into your mouth. Mostly."

Seamus looked down at them. "Are we doing anything special for their first birthday? If so, we want in on the party. We'll even try to help you clean up after them," he offered.

"Haven't thought about that yet," Ron admitted, looking at Harry. "Did you have any plans?"

"Just some cake and presents," Harry said with a shrug. "She's too young to really appreciate a birthday party." He looked down at Seamus. "We'll figure that out tonight while I'm hiding from Ron." That got a grin. "Hey, Neville, that means you'll have to help me give baths."

"Okay," he agreed, smiling happily. "I like giving the squirmy ones baths. They do very well for me I think."

"Let's hope so, they hate it when it's me and not Ron," Harry told him. He grinned. "I'm sure we'll manage. I'll even bring up the new playpen I bought over the holidays. Give them somewhere to nap."

"I was going to throw down some pillows."

"Missy likes to try and sleep under them. We don't want to risk her suffocating."

"Okay. If you want," Neville agreed.

The doors opened and Ron stared intently at the people walking through them. Pansy was looking like she had just passed out, or was going to soon, and had been crying. Snape nodded subtly at him as he walked past their table to get back to his seat. Draco looked at Pansy and she burst out crying. "Good," he sneered. "You deserve triple whatever they've devised for you," he said coldly. "To hurt my son is to incur my wrath on top of Weasley's for his daughter." She moved her seat down the table but the other kids wouldn't make room for her. "Take it to go," he suggested. She took her plate and left the Great Hall. He patted his son on the leg. "Don't worry, she won't try it again," he soothed. His son was a bit fussy at the moment because his daddy was upset. Adonis had shown great empathy before with him. "Tonight you'll get to spend some time with your Godfather," he soothed. "You like him. He might even read to you." Adonis settled down under the gentle tone of voice and accepted another spoonful of food. "Thank you, son, that's very good. Much nicer than trying to feed yourself the way your nursery-mate is." He babbled something and waved his arms. "Good boy." He fed him another bite before eating one himself.

Dumbledore walked in and smiled at everyone. "The situation has been handled. We know who was helping her conjure the snakes," he soothed in the same voice Draco had been using. He walked over to look at Tasha, frowning. "You're a mess," he said in greeting.

Ron looked at him. "She wanted to feed herself. She's getting more in with her fingers, but she's eating." Ron glanced at Missy, who was asleep in her seat. "Not hungry?"

"She ate an hour ago," Harry said with a shrug. "It's apparently nap time."

"She's saving up to drive us insane later," a male voice said further down the table. Someone nudged the speaker, making him grunt in pain. "Sorry," he said in a louder voice.

"That's okay. We'll try to keep the noise down," Harry offered. He smiled at the boy, one of the few in the tower who didn't have a child. "She's been very good recently."

Neville glared at him. "Complain and get beaten," he threatened. The rest of the table, and the students at the next one over who had heard him, stared at him. "Children are precious, even when they misbehave."

"That's right, they are, especially when you have to give yours up," Hermione agreed, looking at Harry. "I'll help tonight," she offered quietly.

"Sure," Harry agreed with a grin. "You can even change diapers."

"Tasha had fun letting everyone in Life Sciences learn how to do that last class," Neville reminded him with a grin. "I never knew a baby could wet so much."

"You didn't wait long enough," Ron told him with a grimace. "She was playing you, Neville. Next time, wait two minutes then change her. You'll either get a face-full or she'll have finished. She's like that." He patted his daughter on the foot. "Eat," he told her. "Or else I get the spoon." She tossed the spoon at him. "Gave up already?"

"I think she's tired," Dumbledore said gently. "May I?"

"Sure," Ron said, handing over the spoon. "Go for it, sir. I know I can trust you not to take her out of the Great Hall."

"Of course not. I think she'll liven up the head table tonight." He took the child and her seat up to sit beside his plate, feeding her himself. He had missed out on this before. It was frustrating, yet soothing when she kept spitting half of each bite out.

Snape looked down at him, afraid of the look on his boss' face. Was he planning on starting a family now? At his age? He shuddered internally. That was almost as bad of a thought as that *man* coming near him. He finished his dinner and stood up, heading down to his classroom. Ms. Parkinson would be joining him within an hour and he had to get ready for her. Such a serious crime deserved physical punishment. He was sure her parents would agree when they were told that night by the girl herself.

Jett wandered in and silently helped him set up the straps the girl would be hanging onto as she was paddled. He winked at his future lover when he saw him watching him. "I do know about this equipment. I've used it a time or two in my profession."

"Why would you be proud of that?" Snape asked.

Jett leaned closer. "I'm a *very* good one. I even restrict myself to important jobs that take out merciless assholes. People like your former captor." Snape pushed him away. "You'll relent," he said with calm assurance. "No one stays cold to me for long when I try."

Snape gave that shudder/shiver motion again and walked over to sit behind his desk. "You should give up. I'm known for my self-control."

"We'll see," Jett told him, winking as he sat on a table. "So, you do potions? Anything good?"

"I do many good, and many bad, things," Snape told him. This was surely another ploy to get him into bed, but he could be pleasant enough for now. Dumbledore had said to let him be here; that he would scare the girl into future obedience.


Cupid looked into the nursery, then at Ron, who was grinning. "You let her out of your sight?" he asked in amazement.

"Neville has her. I trust him and Harry." He shrugged. "Malfoy got a sitter too."

"I noticed." He walked closer to his playmate, smiling at him. "I take it you want to be *loud*?" he teased. Ron nodded. "Then I'm all for that. Plus, no getting interrupted this time due to diapers."

Strife appeared with Draco against his side. "Which is a wonderful thing. A little one screaming at the wrong moment breaks the mood," he said with a smirk of his own. "Fortunately, Unk and Joxer like to watch ours." He leered at Cupid. "This one's not used to giving, but he's good enough at it," he said, pushing Draco next to Cupid. "I guess we'll have to teach him how."

"I can do that too," Cupid agreed, leering at his real lover. "One wanting it loud and the other needing it. Whatever shall we do?"

Ron launched himself at Cupid, kissing him hard. "That, for a start," he said when he pulled back. Then he winked and grabbed Strife, bending him over the back of the couch until they fell onto it. "We're the only ones here," he taunted.

"Goodie," Strife said, making them both naked. "That means you're gonna scream, Ron."

"Cool." He licked along the pale throat, stopping to bite him hard. Strife moaned and held his head there, letting him kiss it better. Then he moved lower. "I like you, you let me play."

"I let you play," Cupid reminded him, walking Draco over so they could get in on it. He winked at Strife and nodded at Draco.

"Nah, I'll have him. You get him good and ready," he said, pushing Ron's head lower. "You know better than ta tease me, brat."

Ron looked up. "Don't call me by your son's name," he whined.

Strife laughed. "Fine, slut." Ron pinched him. "No?"

"No!" Ron got off him and attached himself to Cupid's nipple to play with it. "He needs punished, Cupid," he pleaded as he licked and nipped.

Cupid hissed at a hard bite. "I agree. Go ahead and torture him, Ron." He pushed Ron back at his lover and took control of Malfoy, who was standing there stunned. "Ron's very much one of mine. Pops got him first," he said with a shrug. "Otherwise he'd be one of my priests and quickly moving up the hierarchy." He gave the young man a gentle kiss, drawing him into it. Malfoy let go and let him control it all, he could feel it and taste it in his thoughts. "You naughty one, you're needy," he teased. Draco swallowed and nodded. "Good, I like my lovers to be needy the first time. We'll take care of that soon enough." He went back to the kissing and teasing. The guy needed teasing. He was too uptight for words.

Ron paused his torture of Strife's bellybutton to look back at them. "They're cute," he told his current partner. Then he bent back down. "Have you been naughty today?" he asked, running a finger over the hard length."

"Was that rhetorical?" Strife asked with a grin.

"Well, no, but I reward naughtiness," Ron said with a grin of his own.

"Well, then I've been the worst. I even got the twins earlier."

"That I'm going to give you an extra reward for," Ron said as he kissed him again. He climbed on top of the God and slid his prepared body down him.

"No fair starting that," Cupid moaned, holding Draco's head to his chest. This one liked to play, unlike Ron for the first few minutes.

"He got the twins, it's his reward," Ron told him, starting to bounce. At the first moan, he got off and strolled back to suck Cupid with Draco.

"You shit!" Strife said, grinning at the impudent young man. "Cupid, give him back!"

"After he's done, he's good at this," Cupid reminded him.

"Yeah, and I want some too," Strife said, stalking over to take one of them. Draco willingly went to his knees for him. "Huh. Thought it'd take longer. Cool beans." He ran his fingers through the soft hair, encouraging him to do his best. "I'm going to love this," he told his mate.

"This is a trial," Cupid reminded him. He nodded at Ron and Strife did the infertility charm. "Thanks." He lifted Ron off him and bent him over the couch, taking what he wanted from him. Ron was almost praying for it.

In the nursery Strife saw a small flash go off and groaned, slamming the door in Bliss' face. "Your son's bein' nosy again."

"You told him what sex was," Cupid reminded him. "Of course he's being nosy."

"Send him to my mother," Ron moaned, lifting up onto his toes. "More?"

"Sure, always more for you," Cupid reminded him, giving him as much as he could. Ron groaned and he had the catch the boy before he went over the back of the sofa. He flicked a hand toward the nursery, sending Bliss somewhere else. This was going to be so fun! Strife pushed Draco off him and led him over to help Ron along. Their bunny needed to be milked so they could go longer later. Ron shrieked as he got off, making both Gods smile at him.

"Feel better?" Draco asked.

"Yeah," Ron agreed with a soft, complacent smile. "It's all good." He fell to his knees and cleaned off his lover's cock then went at him again. Cupid had more stamina than anyone alive, but even he loved a good blow.


Elsewhere in London, Percy looked up as a young boy landed on his lap. He smiled at him. "Lord Bliss. How are you?" he asked, giving him a hug. He had learned, Bliss had told him what was going on and how to greet him properly.

The twins looked at the baby, then at Percy. "You knew?" George asked.

"Since last Yule," Percy smirked. "Bliss told me all I needed to know." He let the boy go, watching as he went over to the twins. "What's Ron doing?"

"Playing with Daddy and Daddy Stwife," Bliss told him, smiling at him as he settled in-between the twins. "They're noisy."

Both twins blushed and looked at each other. "I wonder," George said.

"Ron did say that our niece had more than one father," Fred agreed.

"I wonder what a child of both Love and Mischief would be like," George offered.

"Me," Bliss said firmly, grinning up at them.

"I thought your mother was the Goddess Psyche," Fred told him, starting to frown.

"Is, but Daddy Stwife raised me," Bliss said proudly.

"At least he wouldn't have to worry about the baby being a squib," Fred noted with a small grin.

"Daddy did some hokey-poky on him, he no have baby this time," Bliss informed them. "'Sides, already have brother," he said with a sigh of contentment.

"Yes, we've met him," George said with a small shimmy of terror. They had thought Tasha had been bad! "Ron will kill us if he gets stuffed up again."

"And I'll help catch you," Percy agreed with a smirk of his own.

"At least he won't have to worry about what to do to support the baby," Fred offered. "I'm sure there's perks if he changes over."

"The Granma person won't let him," Bliss said sadly, giving them the big eyed begging look. "She wants him fixed, prayed to Great-Granma to fix him."

"I'm sure it'll be worked out for the best of everyone," Percy soothed, patting his lap. "Would you like another hug?"

"Okay!" Bliss said happily, flying over to land on him and hug him some more. This one was so much happier since he had started to interfere in his life. He snuggled in for a long hug. If he couldn't go peek in and see what Daddy Strife was talking about then he could at least be comfortable until his daddy remembered he had a bedtime.

Discord appeared ten minutes later and held out her arms. "Nice try," she said, glaring at the baby. "You know better than to be down on the mortal plane without someone watching you. Your father's going to shit pink elephants."

"Please watch your language in front of him," Percy said firmly, covering Bliss' ears. "He's still very young to hear such vulgarity."

Discord let out a braying laugh. "Who do you think you are?"

"He obviously is very young," Percy told her. "Besides, he seems to like being here. I doubt either father would want such language around him."

Bliss patted his hand. "That's Granma-type person," he whispered. Percy went pale. "It's okay. You like me and you're happy now," he said proudly. "See, me no trouble," he pouted.


"No! No bedtime! Daddy not say so," he said, sticking his tongue out at her.

Percy tapped him on the shoulder. "Do not stick your tongue out at people, it's inappropriate. Make logical arguments, Lord Bliss."

Discord stared at him, then at the twins. "Is he for real?"

"Just really uptight," George sighed, standing up. "Lady Discord, this is our brother Percy. If you blast him to Tartarus our mother might come whining to you." She snickered. "Percy, this is Strife's mother, Discord, the Lady Eris," he introduced.

Percy smiled at her. "Good to meet you, my Lady. Thank you for letting me watch young Bliss this long. He's been very good."

"Wonderful. Not going to apologize?"

Percy cocked an eyebrow up. "For what?" he asked gently. "He is still an infant." He handed him over after one last squeeze. "There you go. You may come back this weekend if your fathers agree, I was going to take a picnic if you'd like to attend."

Bliss grinned at him. "Okay," he said happily, clinging to his grandma. "He's nice," he told her.

"So I can tell," she said, looking Percy over. She shook her head. "What is the mortal realm coming to when you feel you can chastize *me*?" She took her grandson home to put him to bed.

Fred looked at Percy. "You're lucky to be living."

"She shouldn't use such language in front of a young child. I would chastize you or Bill the same way," he said firmly, lifting his chin. "Speaking of bedtimes, isn't it past yours?"

"You're not that much older than we are," George pointed out dryly.

"Yes, but I have a job that pays me," he pointed out smugly. The twins groaned and left to go back to the shop. Percy stood up and went to get ready for bed. He found the Goddess waiting on him. "I am sorry if I offended you, but I intend to be a strict upholder of decency for my own niece and any other children around me."

She laughed and patted him on the head like he was a child. "You'll learn. Kids use them."

"Not if they don't hear them," he said smartly.

She shook her head. "You are so naive, Percy Weasley. Be very careful who you insult in the future. I'll let it slide, this time, because you had Bliss' interests at heart. Next time, I might be in a worse mood." She disappeared in a gout of flame.

"That's fine," he whispered, staring at the scorch mark. "As might I," he told the spot on his carpet. He continued his trek to the bathroom and his nightly routine.


Discord appeared near her son, frowning at the pile of bodies on the floor between the couches. "You wouldn't believe what the redhead's brother just tried to get me to stop doing," she said with a snort.

"We're busy, ma," Strife said coolly. "Don't interrupt."

She glared at him and noticed who was attached to his stomach. "Hey, my toy!"

"You weren't using him," Cupid pointed out.

She grabbed Draco, pulling him up into her arms and he latched onto her neck, sucking it gently, laving the rest of it with his tongue. "Got an oral problem?"

"I found it soothed women more than the appearance of a dick at the beginning of things," he whispered as he moved lower.

Her eyes widened. He had been serious! "He's still mine. You can't play with him without my permission."

"Then take him, I can have them all to myself," Ron told her, grinning maniacally. "I'll send them home limp and begging if possible." Cupid snickered and Strife snorted, pushing his head back down into his lap. "Yes, sir."

She smirked at her son. "What will Ares say when he finds out?"

"Who says he doesn't know?" Cupid asked. "Ron's his chosen warrior. Any prayers would go through Ares' mind before it hit ours and he's done more than enough so far tonight. Take Malfoy if you want, but he has classes tomorrow."

"Fine." She took her playmate with her, going back to her bedroom. If he wanted to suck on things, she had something for him to latch onto. She spread herself and pointed. "There."

"Yes, m'lady," he said, landing between her thighs, mouth already open for her clit.

Strife looked at Cupid. "I think this one is getting cocky again," he said, patting Ron's head.

"I think it's the need. It overwhelms him." He grinned as Ron glanced at him. "Yes, you," he said, pinching him on the side. "You're not our exclusive toy."

Ron pulled off. "I know," he admitted. "But a guy can think he's the only one you're thinking of at that moment."

"Oh, you definitely are that," Strife agreed, stroking over Ron's shoulder blade. "But we're still not exclusive."

"I know," Ron agreed, nodding. "I have no expectations of it ever being that way. You guys are being nice by letting me wear this need out and I'm really thankful for that."

"Hey, it's all good for us too," Strife reminded him, giving him a smile. "Besides, a little bit of desire to prove yourself means that you want it more. We like that in a lover. So go back to what you were doing and we'll be fine for now."

"Sure," Ron said happily, diving back in.

Cupid looked at Strife. "He is good."

"Unk'd still kick our asses if we kept him."

"He's not using him," Cupid pointed out.

"Mine!" Ares voice floated through the room.

"Then maybe you should come back and help us with this," Strife suggested. "Or else I'm tying him to our bed and not letting him up except for childcare this summer." Ron swallowed extra hard, making him groan and start to thrust up into his mouth. "I think he liked that idea," he told his mate.

"It would be interesting," Cupid agreed, smiling at his mate. "We'll see, the both of you." Strife came and the warm mouth came over to torment him now. "You're good," he sighed, letting the pleasure flow.

Ares appeared. "Ron," he said, pointing beside him. "Here, now."

Ron pulled off and looked at him. "No!" He went back to what he was doing, making the younger Gods laugh.

Ares growled. "You are still mine to control, Ron."

Ron pulled off and crawled over to him. "You said you were going to give up that part," he reminded his God, nuzzling him. "If you wanted to have some attention, I can do that."

Ares groaned. "I'm still taken," he pointed out. But he was liking this. "Go back to Cupid, I'll take you up later, when I'm free." He disappeared, going to move Ron up his list of potential lovers. The boy was at least talented and had a low threshold for neediness.

Ron went back to Cupid, making him sigh in pleasure. He really could get used to this.


Ron walked into breakfast the next morning limp and sated, but smiling. He flopped down in his seat and smiled at Neville. "Any problems?" he asked in a woozy, 'everything's all right in the world' voice.

Neville smiled at him. "Not a single problem. She fussed every now and then for the toys we left down there, but ended up cuddling next to Missy all night. She only got up once last night and then went back to sleep after an hour of snuggling and a few stories."

Ron grinned. "Brilliant. Thank you, Neville." He took his daughter back. "Daddy's very proud of you for being so good last night," he told her in his best serious tone, or at least the best one he could pull off at that moment. "You continue that trend today and everything will make Daddy happy." She cooed and patted at him. "Thank you, sweetling. How about some brekkie?"

"We just fed her a whole bowl of cereal and some mashed cherries," Neville told him. "Let me have her back so you can eat, Ron. You look done in. Do you feel better this morning?"

"Definitely," he said with a sly smile. Neville blushed, but he laughed, understanding that feeling very well. He handed his precious one back and dug into the food piled onto his plate by a helpful Hermione. "Thanks," he said between bites.

"Defense this morning," she reminded him.

"I know. I'm gonna sit there and watch everyone else go for it." She gave him a look. "I'm tired, didn't get much sleep last night after all."

"Why?" Hermione asked. Ron looked at her and she suddenly blushed, looking away. "Never mind. Are you being careful, Ron?"

"Yup. As careful as I can be." He shoveled more food in then grabbed his stuff and his daughter, taking it all down to the classroom. "Morning," he said as he walked in.

Ares looked at him. "Not chipper?" he asked. He glared at the boy's back.

"I could still be needy and whiny," Ron reminded him without turning to look at him. He sat down and released his daughter, who knew she couldn't get out of this room so she sat beside his feet and played with his shoes. "Good girl, Tasha."

Ares shook his head. "I don't know what to do with you some days," he said in irritation.

Ron grinned. "You gotta love me just because I'm complicated," he said smartly.

"If you say so. Don't let her chew on your shoelaces, it looks like there's mud on them." He walked back to look at Ron. "Are you going to participate today?"

"Not a chance," Ron told him, still smiling. "I don't need my ass kicked today, thank you."

Ares laughed. "I wasn't planning on it. I understand the need, kid, even if I don't want to encourage it." Someone else walked in. "Come in, we were talking kids." The student sat at his seat and looked at Ron. "Yes, he's in a *good* mood. Don't ruin it." He walked back to his desk and turned, finding he had a shadow who hugged knees. "Ron, you'll have to hold her while the others give the lesson," he reminded him.

"Sure thing, Professor. Tasha?" She squealed angrily and spit at him, hugging the big guy harder. "Now!" he said, pointing at his side. "Right now," he said again when she didn't come. She climbed up the stairs and sat beside him, softly making fussy noises. "It's not so bad. You can have cuddles." She fought him picking her up. "Hey, now, none of that."

"She'd rather be exploring, it's normal," Ares assured him. "Sit up there, Tasha. You may not come down here." She stuck her thumb in her mouth and glared at him. "Fine, be pissed. I don't care, you still can't get in the way, you'll get hurt."

"That's right, the big kids are going to get beaten up today and you can't help the teacher." She spit at the other student in the room. "She'll nap soon," he assured the other student.

"Hopefully." He smiled at Tasha. "I think you're brilliant and one day you'll be able to kick your da's bum all over town, young lady. But until then let's keep you sweet and nice, like your auntie."

"Ginny, sweet?" Ares snorted. "What alternate reality did you see that in?"

"Only when she wants something," Ron corrected. He looked at the other boy. "She's been hot on you for a while now, hasn't she?" he asked thoughtfully.

"But I'm staying respectful, Ron, I'd never disrespect her," he said quickly. "I promise I won't ever disrespect her. She's a wonderful young woman with a great sense of humor and I enjoy talking with her."

"That had better be all you're doing with her," Ron said, staring him down. He nodded, swallowing hard. Tasha cooed and slapped her hands on her thighs. "That's right, we want the auntie Ginny to be special to someone, so special that they won't even think about hurting her."

The other student nodded and smiled at Tasha. "I would never disrespect your aunt, Tasha. She's a wonderful young woman and I hope you grow up a lot like her."

"Don't wish that on her," Ron sighed. "You obviously haven't seen Ginny's dark side yet. We don't want the baby to have that side. The nice and girly stuff, not the tough side."

The other guy gave Ron a helpless look. "I like tough women," he admitted.

"Then you and Ginny have my blessing until she comes crying about you," Ron assured him.

The other boy grinned. "Thanks, Ron, can I tell her that?"

"Sure, go for it, just duck when she starts to fume," he said wisely.

Ares laughed. "Where is everyone else?"

"Playing," Ron said succinctly. The teacher went to the door and made sure none of them were in the hallway, then shrugged and closed the door. "Is everyone getting into trouble?" he said hopefully.

"Unless they have a good excuse," Ares agreed smugly.


Ron looked around the Great Hall that night and started to laugh. All the tables were missing half the sixth and seventh years. They were on a hike with Hagrid for punishment. Ares had been serious, he had turned everyone in for skipping his classes today. He smiled at his daughter and fed her a small french fry. "Gnaw on that," he told her, eating more of his own dinner. He saw Snape's look in his direction and looked at his daughter. "Is it time to go see the big guy again?" he asked her.

"Probably," Neville agreed. "Where's Harry?"

"He's one who skipped. Missy's over by the window." Neville looked over there so he whistled, bringing Missy back. "There, see, all fine," he soothed. "Would you like to see Professor Snape later?" he asked her. She started to cry. "No, he won't hurt you," he promised, picking her up to cuddle her. "Why don't you eat some dinner, Missy, then we'll have a wonderful story and see him before bedtime tonight."

Draco yelled and threw the student on his right's cup at one of his tablemates. "Do not say such disgusting things in my presence again," he ordered coldly. "Things like that should not be bruited around."

"Fine," the victim of the cup attack agreed, glaring at him. "You've changed. You're being a good guy," he sneered.

Ron looked at the boy, then gently handed Missy to her mother and nodded at Neville to take Tasha from in front of him, just in case. Neville looked confused but Hermione was shifting away from him on the bench. "Hey, Malfoy, if you're gonna hit him, let me get in one or two good swings. He taunted Missy and Tasha earlier," he called.

"No, I think I can handle this one," Malfoy sneered at him, eyes narrowed. "Pick on your own housemates."

"Why, they haven't picked on my daughter?"

"Enough," Dumbledore called. "There will be no fighting."

Ron looked at the student, staring him down. He shuddered and looked away. "Thought so," he muttered. He took his daughter back and stood up. "We're going to go get a story, meet me with Missy in about an hour, 'kay?" He strolled out, glaring at Malfoy as well.

Draco sneered more at the student. "Next time you taunt his daughter, I'm letting him have you," he warned. "I think I'd like to see that fight." He went back to his meal.

The students looked at each other, then glanced at Malfoy, shifting away from him. He really had changed. He went from being a prick to being a cold and truly evil bastard some days, and others a decent enough guy if he liked you. A few girls made mental vows to *never* get pregnant if that's what having a child did to you. A few more boys decided that their fathers were right, you didn't have to take care of the kids if you were male. That way led to strangeness and odd behavior.


Ron walked into the dungeons, smiling at the professor. "Sorry about earlier."

"When did he taunt your daughter?" Snape asked, looking around the empty room.

"Oh, we've had a few run-ins with him over the years," Ron told him, staring at him.

"I thought so."

"It wasn't him, but he was there," Ron said quietly. "One of these days I will get them all."

"When you do, try to camouflage it better," Jett warned from the back room. "That was way obvious, kid." He walked out and Tasha squealed happily. "Don't start that, I'm not him."

Ron looked at his daughter, then at the assassin. "She knows that." Jett looked stunned. "Considering who her fathers might be, there's a good chance you may have a potential student in her some day." He felt shields go up around the room and looked at the professor. "Something wrong?"

"I will know who," Snape told him. He straightened up when Ron opened his mouth to protest. "One or two of the *possible* fathers have a genetic disease as I found out earlier today."

"Inbreeding concerns or lack of useful brains?" Jett asked.

"Both," Snape told him, "but one also has a growth problem that he takes medicine for and one has a disorder that generates random surges of pain over his body. The rest have inherited stupidity from their fathers." Ron's lips turned white while he thought about it, he was pressing them together to keep from getting points taken off for swearing. Finally he stepped closer and whispered the names in the teacher's ear. Snape relaxed. "Then most of them have been punished and I will test for the one disease that might be inherited. Do you know which one?" Ron shook his head. "If I may ask?"


"I see." Snape nodded. "Very well. Consider this being taken care of. Though a few of those names weren't in my house, I will check their heritage. Do you know where Ms. Potter is?"

"Neville had her. He was supposed to bring her to my room and then we'd come down together." He flinched as the door opened but Jett clamped a hand on his shoulder to force him to relax again. "Thanks," he whispered.

"Instinctive reactions can be controlled," he noted. He nodded Draco in. "I see you had some fun." The boy's knuckles were swollen and scraped, he had obviously just hit something repeatedly.

"The idiots at dinner decided I was weak," he said miserably, closing the door. "Where's Potter?"

"On that hike with Hagrid. Neville has Missy."

Snape rang a bell on his desk, summoning a house elf. "Find Mr. Longbottom and Potter's daughter," he ordered. "They will come here." She nodded and disappeared. "There, that should give us some time." He looked from Ron to Draco and back. "What was said at dinner?"

"That they were going to be finding one of the first years later and *initiating* them. I believe they now know what a horrible idea that is," Draco said firmly.

"Thank you." He looked at Ron. "Was yours the desire to hurt him for other reasons?"

"He did say Tasha looked like Hagrid," Ron said with a shrug. "Totally untrue, and they knew it."

Draco looked at him. "I never considered him."

"One of the people you did consider wasn't there," Ron told him. "Just a peripheral. Thank you for that by the way."

"They deserved it for having bad enough taste to break house barriers if for no other reason." The door opened and he leaned against the desk. "Got lost, Longbottom?"

"No, I had to steal her from Hermione again," Neville admitted, giving the professor a sheepish look. "She was trying to force Missy to eat and she's still refusing, sir."

"Babies do that sometimes I guess," Ron told him. He felt a little weak and hopped up to sit on the table, watching Tasha as she wandered around. "Do not touch that," he said suddenly. She pulled her hand away from the Mandrake root waiting for tomorrow's class. "Come here," he ordered. She walked over and hugged Jett's leg, smiling up at him. "If he'll allow it, that's fine," Ron sighed.

"You don't look good," Neville said hesitantly.

"A touch of the flu," Ron said firmly. Draco looked at him. "Really, it is." He nodded at Missy. "Set her down, let's see if she's wobbling too."

"She was earlier," Neville told him, setting Missy onto the floor. She ran for the door and he had to chase after her, closing it so none of the children could escape. "Stay in here, Missy. Your daddy will want a good report of your behavior."

Ron watched Neville, smiling at what he knew and the other boy didn't. Harry had named him guardian of Missy if something happened to him. He hadn't told anyone but he had seen the paperwork when he had put Harry's laundry up earlier. "I'm sure she'll be fine for you, Neville." That churning feeling started and he hopped up, heading for the nearest bathroom before he got sick.

"If he's knocked up again, I'm going to hide," Jett said firmly. Snape glared at him. "What? That kid's scary! If the Big Guy had to come here to help that temper of his, there's probably a very good reason. I'm leaving."

"Perhaps I should insure it," Snape muttered, bending down to snatch Missy and look her over. "You seem fine. Why won't you eat?" She stared at him, smiling happily. "I see you've got some of your father's personality. Simple minded and content to have affection."

"Leave him be," Draco said quietly. "There's many things we didn't realize that I got informed of this summer." He touched a scar on his lip with the tip of his tongue then pulled it back when he realized what he was doing. Snape stared at him. "I'll tell you later."

"Fine." He handed her back to Neville. "Has she eaten at all?"

"Yeah, she eats once or twice a day for me and I think once for Harry."

"This new issue may be an over-abundance of people feeding her. Get together with Mr. Potter and figure out who's been feeding her." Neville nodded. "She only needs to eat four times a day and have a bottle another two to three." Neville nodded again. "Good. Tasha?" Jett pried her off his leg and handed her over. "I see you're getting very strong." Ron wandered back in, face pink in spots, but white most everywhere else. "Are you all right?"

"No, I feel nasty," Ron told him, sitting on a table again. "I'm going to bed after this. Malfoy, can you take nursery duty tonight for me?"

"If I must," Draco sighed. His son squealed and he looked down at him. "What? I won't force you to sit with them." He started to cry. "Do stop that," he sighed. "Fine, you may sit with the girls for a bit." He soothed his son, holding him gently. Snape looked at him and he shrugged. "He seems to have found a partner in trouble for now."

"What would a Potter and a Malfoy child look like?" Ron snickered.

Draco looked at him. "I won't even touch that suggestion."

"I mean him and her," Ron pointed out, nodding at the babies.

"It will not happen," Draco said firmly. His face had that 'going to beat you if you say another word' look to it.

"Fine," Ron soothed. "Sorry, bad joke."

"Obviously." Draco handed over his son once Tasha was back on the floor.

"Is she fine?"

"She seems fine." Snape looked at Adonis, staring him in the eyes. The little boy blinked at him and then slowly pulled a thumb up to suck, curling his legs up as well. "I think you'll do fine." He handed him off. "Next week is a immunization point. You will bring them to the infirmary Wednesday night."

Ron raised a hand. "I know what's coming next and I don't think my daughter needs that one, sir. I've heard it can be harmful."

"That's the muggle version, this isn't," he said firmly. "It will not hurt her."

"Good, because I'd hate to have to hurt someone if it did," Ron pointed out.

"The worst that may happen is a small rash and a light fever. You'll be in more pain from it than she will, Weasley. Now go to bed." He used his wand to open the door, watching as they left. Jett leaned on his shoulder and he shoved him off.

"They're very interesting fathers," Jett said quietly, still behind Severus' back. "What's up with the Potter boy?"

"He's famous," Snape told him. "He's also not totally ready for this. He enjoys handing the child off."

"Then get the boy a wife," Jett suggested. The other man turned to look at him. "Really. Besides, isn't there some sort of prophecy about him not having more?" The professor nodded. "Then get the guy a wife and it'll be solved."

"He's too young."

"So? I was nearly married off at fourteen. He's old enough and it would provide him the stability and attention he's craving."

"He'll fight it."

"Yay." Jett snorted. "He's too young to know his own mind."

Snape considered it. "I'll approach Albus about it tomorrow. Perhaps he knows someone suitable." He sneered. "Hopefully it won't be one of my students."

"I can't see that, but a nice one in the house with the purple could work," Jett offered.

"Yes, that would, and they wouldn't really care about his heritage." He nodded. "Or even a husband might be suitable."

"Won't happen. That boy's as straight as the redhead is gay." He winked. "Then again, some of them, like the blond, just like to be pleasured." He walked back into the back room, going back to his report for Strife and Ares. Severus had been ordered to help him figure out a few things that were still going on. Nobody was taking any chances of that little spitfire having to fight in the future. Or the Chosen Warrior having to go off and kill a lot of people because his daughter was going to have to fight someone. He stiffened as footsteps came down the hall. "Visitors," he said quietly, going back to the paperwork.

Snape walked out and looked at the student standing in the doorway. "You needed something?" he sneered.

"Sir, I had a question," the girl said as she walked in. She was shaking hard but trying to ignore it and pretend this was a normal conversation. "Who do we go to for information on what to do with our hormones and the like? You were suggested as someone who would know because of what happened last year," she said matter-of-factly.

"Are you having problems with yours?"

"No, sir, one of my dormmates is having a problem with hers," she said firmly. "Frankly, our Prefects aren't smart enough to know anything about human beings and the only other option is to ask Hagrid."

"I see." He looked her over. "Is she wanting to become sexually active?"

"Sir, I'm pretty sure she already is, with a few people." She stepped closer. "She doesn't seem happy about it and with the rumors about what happened to Weasley last year, I don't want to take any chances."

He nodded. "Give me her name and I'll pass it along to McGonagall or watch her myself."

"Thank you, sir," she said, giving him a small smile. She leaned closer and whispered the girl's name. "I'm sure it's nothing, but I don't want to take that chance." She ran from the room with a sigh of relief.

"That was odd," Jett called.

Snape walked back to the back room and leaned against the counter. "I believe we've found who the next victim of the blackmail schemes is." Jett looked at him. "She has been acting odd since October. There have been a few boys who have been acting odd as well." He looked at the man next to him. "I'll have to do a more thorough patrol tonight, will you be able to finish that yourself?"

"It's close enough to being ready, I'll help you prowl around," Jett told him. Snape raised an eyebrow. "You don't think sneaky, not like teenagers do. Fortunately, it's my training to think that way. Have you ever checked that room down the hall with the bend to the north? The one with the door which seems to have the silver handle?"

"It's locked."

"It wasn't earlier. Neither was that room with the audience area and the stage."

"Where was that?"

"There's a half-floor off the right tower. It's in a different part of the basement I guess," he admitted. "I'd have to see plans to know where it was." He put down the quill pen. "All I know is that there's a few snakes in the upper levels where I entered and that there's a balcony section, an audience section, and a stage, and none of them are dusty."

"Show me," Snape ordered. Jett nodded and led the way to that half-floor, off the South tower. They found six doors in this section, three locked with keys, two unlocked, and one locked with a passworded spell.

Jett picked the locks on one of the regularly locked doors and let the other man proceed him. "This is where I found the snakes," he said quietly, pointing off to his left. Snape's wand lit with muted light. "Over there. Go to your right and follow the beams with the notches to find the opening." They walked that way, finding the small grate that looked down on the stage.

"Well," Snape said dryly. "It does look like someone's found a very special room." He backed away. "You stay here, I'll be back in a few moments. We'll have this area shut down as well," he said before walking away, his wand lighting the gloom. He walked back into the main portion of the school, dusting himself off as he went to the Headmaster's office. He found Weasley in there being asked some gentle questions. "I think I may have found where they're doing their activities," he announced, nodding at Ron. "Would you happen to know anything about a hidden level to the South tower?" Ron went white. "I thought so. We'll need to go soon, Headmaster."

"Very well." He stood up. "Ron, are you *certain*?"

"I'll take a test if you want!" Ron said angrily, "but I know I'm not. It's the bloody flu!"

"Fine, then go back to bed and rest. We'll have you looked over tomorrow in the infirmary," Dumbledore said gently. "Try to drink some tea or some juice, Ron." He followed Severus out, looking surprised at the doorway they had to go through. "When did that get uncovered?"

"Apparently recently. Was this an active area when you were in attendance?"

"No, this predates much of the rest of the school. This is where they used to...deflower the virgins," he noted, grimacing at the very thought. "The powerful ones of course, not the less gifted."

"Of course." Snape let them in through the door, leading the way back to the grate. He found Jett with a slim dagger in his hands, looking pensive. "Are there students?" he hissed. Jett nodded. "Anyone who needs help?"

"Two of them."

"Do not kill them," Dumbledore said firmly. "Which door leads in there?"

"The one with the password. They've relocked it," Jett informed him. "I watched them last night but they were only taunting the one girl." He got out of their way. "We have to stop that now, before she starts crying again."

"Fine," Dumbledore agreed. "I think I can get through that door."

"If not, I probably can," Jett informed him stiffly. "I put up with many things, but I don't put up with rape." He led the way back to the entrance, pointing at the door for the Headmaster's benefit. "That one."

Dumbledore pulled his wand and raised it but a quiet voice behind him unlocked it before he could cast an unlocking charm. He looked at Ron, a thoughtful look on his face. "They don't change it?"

"Haven't in three years," Ron told him simply. He looked at Snape. "You'll want to have her checked for snake bites. One in there is poisonous. Ask Madam Pomfrey." He nodded at the door. "There's a ten minute limit. The key on the other side is a ring the lead boy's wearing on his left hand, first finger." He turned and walked away, going back to curl up bed.

Snape opened the door and led the way inside, stopping all conversation by freezing them. The three victims were removed by Jett, who took them directly up to the infirmary, the whole while calling for Strife to go punish them.

Dumbledore looked at the students, recognizing a trait here and there in some of them. "We will be moving this to a hearing chamber," he said firmly. "Now." The boys walked out under his control, heading to somewhere that their parents could be called. The spectators were herded by Snape to a separate room to be questioned. Unfortunately he didn't get to do anything that Jett suggested during the questioning. It was a pleasant thought, but not one he could indulge in, no matter how much his blood was singing for their torture and pain. It was early in the morning when the last student had been taken back to their room, their guilt already established and the punishment meted out. He saw the look on Jett's face and realized it was the same as his. He understood. The dark had taken him and he had chosen a partial high road, but hadn't come out of it. He understood everything that Severus had been through and everything that had ever driven him. He felt something inside him shift and decided that they might be able to share a brandy or three. Maybe he would shed light on how to climb higher out of the dark. He headed for the door, trusting the assassin to follow him. Which he did, as he had all along.


Ron looked over as a group of students walked into the infirmary chatting and laughing. "Don't have classes?" he asked bitterly.

"What's wrong?" one of the Ravenclaw females asked, frowning at him. "You look miserable."

"I have the flu."

"Are you sure?" one of the boys asked.

"Yes!" Ron said, nearly shouting.

"Fine," they said, backing away from him. "If you say you have the flu, you have the flu. You'd know after all," the girl agreed. She looked over as the nurse walked out. "We were told to come see you about these stupid scratches, something about an anti-inflammatory creme?" she asked quickly.

"I have it in the cabinet, let me get the tub," Madam Pomfrey sighed, heading for it. "Mr. Weasley, how is your stomach?"

"Tell them I have the flu and I'm not going through that again!" he demanded.

Madam Pomfrey looked at him, then smiled. "Of course you're not. We wouldn't put up with you being pregnant again, Mr. Weasley." She looked at the students. "To stop any upcoming rumors, he does have a touch of the stomach flu. Nothing more serious than that." The students all sighed in relief, slumping against each other. She laughed as she pulled down the tub and a paddle to apply it with, handing it to them. "Liberally on each scratch and hand that to the teacher when you're done," she instructed. They ran from the room, going to spread around what that had heard. She looked at Ron again. "I'm sure it won't be that bad," she soothed, walking over to tuck him back in.

"It will," he countered. "The rumors will have me preggers with triplets by the end of the day." He gave her a pitiful look. "I don't want to go through that again."

"I know. I'm sure you're being very careful." Ron nodded. "Good boy." She handed him a glass of water. "I'm going back to my office if you need anything further. Your sister and Mr. Longbottom are taking care of your daughter until she's better."

"Can't I see her?"

"No!" she said sharply. "Any disease like this can be fatal to an infant, you will not go near her."

"I've been around her straight since she was born," Ron pointed out. "If she's going to get it, she's already got the germs."

"Still, I don't want to risk it. You can see her once you feel better. It should only be a few more days." She walked away, going to make notes in his chart. She even wrote another note about belligerent patients, just in case someone later had to take care of him.

Ron glared at the office doorway as he sipped his water. He'd just have to be better then, wouldn't he?


The next day found Ron wobbly, weak, and still nauseous, but back in classes and with his daughter in her backpack. He figured if he passed out, he'd fall forwards. He saw the funny looks and glared at the humans who *dared* bother him when he was feeling nasty. "I just had the flu," he warned. They nodded and backed off. That lasted all the way to his summons down to the Potion's lab for Tasha to play with Adonis to keep him quiet. "I'm fine," he announced as he walked in.

"I'm sure you are, that's why you look like you just vomited, you're sweating dramatically, and you're paler than usual. Give her to me, Mr. Weasley," he said at the defiant look.

"She's been with me the whole time but yesterday," he pointed out, but he was taking off the backpack.

"I realize she'll be getting ill soon so it behooves me to get a medicine working before then. Wouldn't you agree?" Ron nodded weakly, leaning against the door, clutching his daughter. "I won't harm her," he said calmly. "You can collect her after this double class is over with." Ron slowly handed her over. "Thank you. Go rest somewhere horizontal before you get ill again." Ron nodded, stomping out. Snape shook his head. That boy! Pomfrey had warned him, but she couldn't stop him this time. Tasha tried to stick her finger up his nose and he removed the hand without the slap he felt the action deserved. "You do not do that to anyone, including yourself." She glared at him and wiggled until he put her down to play with Adonis.

Draco looked up. "Flu?"

"That is what the tests said," he admitted.

"Then I'll definitely be taking nursery duty tonight. My son doesn't need to be sick." He handed over a picture. "For your collection," he said with a smirk as he left to get a drink.

Snape looked at the picture then carefully slid it into his desk drawer. Being the Godfather did come with some responsibilities. Being a keeper of baby pictures was one of them. He still had a few of Draco's somewhere in his trunk. He remembered to shield the door against the children leaving when he saw the crafty Tasha sneaking toward it. "No," he said firmly. "You stay in here. You seem desperate enough to get down here when you're not so now you can stay."

She glared at him again and went to hug the 'tree' she had seen, the big metal pole that held up the large cauldron in the back of the room. She liked trees, even funny metal ones, they were comforting.

Snape shook his head and went to retrieve her. This is why he didn't want any of his own. Until they got to the age of reason, they were simply horrible creatures who would not listen. As proven by the finger that got shoved up his nose again, and then the baby tried to lick it. He did swat her hand that time, earning outraged screaming. "I told you not to do that," he reminded her.


After the fourth day of the flu, when everyone realized Tasha hadn't gotten sick and neither had anyone else who was around Ron constantly, the looks got more speculative. There was even a rumor of a betting pool on who the father of this supposed child was. It was the end of the sixth day of the flu when Ron decided he had enough. He looked down at Neville. "You do know that the flu isn't that contagious with medicine, correct?" he asked dryly. He had heard Neville speculating with Harry earlier.

"There isn't a medicine for the flu," Hermione told him.

"There is so, Madam Pomfrey gave me some when she found out I had it."

"Then why are you still getting sick?" Neville asked.

Ron grimaced. "All this stress. The looks, the comments, the crap I've taken from the rest of the school," he said at the opening mouth. Neville blushed. "So if you wouldn't mind, my stomach only gets more upset when you suggest something that I know isn't true," he said in a louder tone of voice, loud enough to carry all the way down his table. "You can ask the nurse if you want, her tests, six of them, have come out negative." He picked up his daughter and took her back to their room, making her cry. She was still hungry. "I'll feed you some cereal. Mum sent the good raspberry stuff you liked last month." He got her situated on the couch then went to make her some food. When he came back, he sat on the floor in front of her, spoon already full. "Try some of this, princess," he encouraged, sliding it into her mouth. She spit it out. "Come on!" he sighed. "I know you're hungry. You can see the other babies in a bit, when they come back for the night. Just eat, please?" She spit out the next bite and he groaned, laying back on the carpet and counting mentally until he lost count of the numbers. He looked over at his daughter, who had curled up on her side and was watching him. "Why do you do this to me? When I need you to be calm, you're not. When I want to show you off, you nap. Why is it that only Bill and Mum can make you do what they want you to do?"

Tasha gurgled indignantly. Big people couldn't make her do anything! She made a grab for the bowl, but he shifted it. She let out a loud squeal. "No!" she shouted.

"Fine, we'll try this again," Ron sighed, sitting back up. He held up a spoonful but she turned her head. "You eat this way or no way," he warned. She turned her head again so Ron dumped the spoon into the bowl and grabbed her with a growl, heading down to the Defense classroom. He walked in and handed off his daughter then headed into the training area to beat up on the punching bag. He could scream all he wanted to in there and no one would hear. No one would accuse him of not taking care of his daughter. No one could say anything to him.


Malfoy walked into the room first, glancing around. He noticed the tipped over bowl and frowned, going to put his son in the nursery. He came out and used his wand to clean up the mess, putting the bowl onto the table. Then he looked around again. Potter walked in. "Where's Weasley?"

"He's not here? I thought he stomped back here after going off on us," Harry said, grimacing. "What is wrong with him? Have you heard him saying anything to Tasha?"

Draco shook his head, looking thoughtful. "I believe he's trying to hold in the desire to beat someone for thinking he was pregnant, but I can't be certain." Harry slumped. "You as well?"

Harry smiled. "You think he is too?"

"No," Draco said honestly, sitting down. "I know he's not. If he were, the anger would be directed at the person he slipped up with, not the general populace. Last time, that started nearer to his fourth month."

"You guys do ...that stuff all the time," Harry reminded him, sitting down and putting Missy down to wander. "He might be."

"He's not and I only joined them this last time." Harry looked disgusted. "Do get over that childish impulse," he snapped. "It's no different than what you'd do, only in a different spot." He looked at Missy. "I'm sure he's not. Not with whom he's been with and not with the anger he's been showing. This is most likely stress." Missy walked over to him and gave him an adoring look so he petted her on the head. "Make your father read his lessons to you," he ordered gently. She walked back to her father, babbling and swinging her arms. She fell on her butt halfway across the space but gamely stood up and continued.

Harry picked her up and pulled over his school bag. "Herbology tonight?" he asked her. "We haven't fallen asleep in there in a while but the book is fairly boring during this section." She curled up, delighted to be told a story.


Ares looked at the training room door, then down at the baby asleep on his chest. "I guess we'll go see what the dogs have done to the temple this time," he told her, transporting them both to his temple. He found Cupid standing there, looking agitated. "What's wrong?"

"Strife's about ready to go beat up on Ron, he's been swearing for the last hour."

"I'm sure he'll be fine. The other students are talking about him again and he's bothered by it." He looked down at the open green eyes. "If you ask, you might get to play with Inspi," he offered.

Tasha looked at the big fluffy guy and babbled at him, holding out her arms. Cupid took her to hug. "I know, but he's asleep, Tasha. You can play with him tomorrow for a bit. We'll let Pop take him to class so you can play for a few hours." She snuggled down on his shoulder, one hand reaching for the folded-back wings to play with the feathers. Cupid moved his wings and she let out a sleepy sound of protest, but quickly calmed down when Ares rubbed her back. She yawned against Cupid's neck, making him grin.

Ares looked at Cupid. "I'll keep her for tonight, let Ron calm down. I'll check on him tomorrow before classes." Cupid nodded, handing the little girl back. "Come on, you, let's go see the bedroom. You can sleep in Inspi's extra cradle." He walked her that way, gently striding along. He found Strife waiting on him in the bedroom. "He'll be fine."

"He's not swearing at me, he's giving me one hell of a rush," Strife admitted. "He wants to do something so big the whole school has to shut up 'bout this flu stuff," he offered with a grin.

"We promised not to plague the students," Ares reminded him. "Give him a day to calm down."

"Sure, but I'm gonna take notes. Some of this stuff is great." He winked and looked at the baby. "Hey, Tasha-bear. How are you?" She blinked her heavy eyes at him a few times. "Sleepy, huh? Well, you nap and we'll talk tomorrow." He stood up. "Want me to listen for him since I'm gonna be bouncin' around?"

"Go for it," Ares offered. It'd keep Strife out of his hair, and bedroom. He laid down, watching the baby fall asleep. It was comforting to have her around, and would probably stay that way until she started to fuss.


In the morning, Ares was woken by a launched soft thing hitting his arm. "Don't do that," he groaned, opening an eye to find Tasha had a lot of stuffed animals and she was flinging them at him. "Why are you trying to hit me?" he asked. She grinned and threw another one. "You are so like your father," he sighed, picking her up to hold her. He still had an hour before his alarm would go off. She poked her finger in his ear, which earned a gentle swat, then in his nose, which earned another one. Then it tried to force its way into his mouth, which he let. It was less gross and all babies loved teeth. His were decent enough. He did object when she tried to put her whole head into his mouth, but again that was a baby thing. He drifted between waking and sleeping and she ended up settling in to play with his hair, knotting it in interesting ways, before he finally admitted defeat and woke all the way up. She looked at him and made chewing motions. "Hungry?" She smiled and patted him. "Then we'll try to find something for you, or we'll go back to the school and feed you there. It's only dawn there," he noted dryly, levering himself up. He went to take his morning shower, taking her with him by the simple expedient of sticking her to his chest so they both got clean. She seemed to like the waterfall in his shower a lot, she wiggled and squirmed, making happy baby noises. He'd have to talk to her father about taking showers with her. She even liked to dunk her face. Came up spluttering, but did it again a few minutes later on purpose.

By the time he got back to the school, it was past dawn and her stomach was growling like one of the Dogs of War. He took her into the Great Hall and sat down with her, nodding over the house elf that appeared. "She needs something to eat," he ordered. "I need food as well." It nodded and hurried off, coming back with a large tray and two bowls of food for her. "Thank you." It disappeared again, going to tell the others what she had seen. Ares lifted the baby spoon. "Want this?" She lunged forward, her mouth open. "Good, then we'll both eat and we'll both be happy." He checked his training room, but Ron was still mumbling something, though it was a bit more disjointed now. He obviously needed sleep. He'd hand off Tasha after Ron's class of Defense.


Ares looked over at the training room door during Ron's class. They were taking a test, which admittedly Ron was supposed to be taking too. He sent a mental check on him and grimaced. The boy was napping, again, but he was dreaming loudly about beating up on Potter for being such a cranky stick-in-the-mud. He shrugged it off and went back to watching the students. Someone screamed outside and he jumped up, heading for the disturbance. He found one boy leering at an older girl, his wand pointed at her, and her hands trying to keep her clothes on her. Ares took the simple solution, slapping the boy across the back of the head to break his concentration and punish him. "You don't do that to young women, they don't like it and you'll never get a date." He grabbed the boy and the girl, dragging them both up to the Headmaster's office to hand them over. "He was trying to strip her and she screamed," he announced.

Dumbledore looked at them. "Really?" The boy shook his head. "Then why were you screaming?"

"She was disrobing and I was trying to stop her," the boy protested.

"Then why were you leering?" Ares asked.

The boy looked at him. "Because I'm fifteen and my mind works in odd ways," he pointed out. "The rest of me didn't like it!"

"I'll handle this," Dumbledore assured him. "Where is Mr. Weasley? I haven't seen Tasha trying to wander down the halls in a few hours."

"In the training room asleep," Ares said, then he went back to his test. He found Strife sitting on the desk and the students giving off terrified vibes. "What did you do?" he sighed.

"Just warned 'em not ta cheat," Strife said with a big grin.

"Or else what?" Ares asked patiently.

"I said I'd let them see each other's insides so they could figure out what a pregnant person looked like," Strife said with a bigger grin. "I also said I'd randomly assign some people to be the pregnant one so there were enough to go around."

Ares shook his head. "Go home," he ordered. Strife shook his head. "Why not?"

"Because the Ron-guy's having bad nightmares and I wanted ta be near in case," he offered.

"Again?" one of the few Gryffindors in the class asked.

Ares looked at him. "He's still running a fever from the flu."

"How long does the flu last?" one girl asked. "Mine never lasted that long."

"Yeah, but your body isn't recoverin' from havin' a baby either," Strife pointed out. "I'm sick most of the year afterwards whenever I have one." He hopped off the desk. "Who has Tasha?"

"She's down with Snape. Can you watch her?"

"Sure," Strife agreed, nodding. "I'll hide down here from Grandma too." He winked and disappeared, strolling down the halls.

"Does he always dress that way?" the girl asked, looking disgusted. "He looks like a freak."

"He is," Ares said with a smirk. "To know Strife is to love him and hate him." He nodded at the eggtimer. "I see you're all supposed to be done in about ten minutes?" The students bent over their papers, scribbling quickly. Ares sent a thought toward Ron to remind him he'd have to make it up and it and was surprised at the 'loving the tests' thought he got back. He decided to let him sleep it off. Fevers always came down, right?


Ares frowned at the Gryffindor table at dinner that night, not seeing Ron, but seeing Tasha with her 'uncle' Neville. He stood up and walked out, heading to his classroom. He'd had enough of this. He opened the door to the training room and winced at the smell in there. "Fine, you're really sick," he agreed, going in to pick Ron up and carry him up to the infirmary. A few students done with dinner and on their way to detention saw him but he ignored them. He walked into the stark white room and dropped Ron onto the nearest bed. "He's got a fever, he's been ranting all day," he announced to the nurse.

She sighed and checked Ron over, then grimaced and went to make him some medicine. "I don't know what was wrong with him this time. He used to be such a nice boy," she complained. "Never gave me any problems before last year."

Ares looked down at the diminutive nurse. "You wouldn't let him have his daughter, of course he went back to classes and pretended to be fine." She looked stunned. "You thought she was safe?" he asked with a laugh. "With what happened earlier this year?"

"What happened earlier this year?" Madam Pomfrey asked as she shook a vial. "Tip his head up if you wouldn't mind, Professor Arion." She poured the medicine down his throat, making the boy choke. "That should help his fever." She grabbed him by the arm and stared at him "What happened earlier this year?"

"You hadn't heard that someone tried to force that stupid prophecy?" he asked quietly. She shook her head. "I'm surprised. It was only in the papers, in the staff gossip, and bruited around by the students." He gently got free of her arm. "I'll have Tasha with me."

"No!" Ron shouted, reaching. "Mine."

"Quit," Ares ordered, sending it through the bond he had with his chosen warrior as well. Ron settled down. "Tasha will be with me, Ron. You know I can protect her." He walked over and opened one of Ron's eyes. "It's me. I'll have her." Ron nodded. "Good, now you sleep. You have to get better or I'll have to give her to your mother in three days." Ron nodded again. "Good man. Sleep." He walked out, going to take the child from Neville. Not that the boy didn't protest, and started to ball up a fist, but he knew he wasn't going to win. He looked over at Potter. "Ron's flu has gotten worse," he announced. "His fever's extremely high and he's to stay in the infirmary. We'd expect his friends to visit and to try to keep the boy quiet and calm." He walked out with the baby, taking her back to his home. His mother met him in the entry. "What?" he asked.

"Who is that?" she asked, looking at the child.

"My chosen warrior's daughter. He's got the flu." He grimaced. "High fever, hallucinations, the works."

"I see. Why is she with you?"

Ares glared at her. "Because it's either me or her grandmother and since you sent her grandmother to do something for you with another mother, I doubt she's got the time. Now get out." Hera glared back but left his temple. "Good." He strode back to his room and set her into the cradle, but she wasn't having any of that. She screamed, throwing anything within reach. "Stop it. I'm not in the mood for this," he told her, glaring at her. She cried harder. He got a bright idea. "Bliss, I need your newest project," he called out. Bliss and Percy appeared. "Good, you deal with her," he said, handing her to Percy. She did like him, he wasn't angry with anyone. "Wonderful."

"What is wrong with my brother?" Percy asked.

"He's got the flu," Ares told him.

"I see. I'll take her back to my flat then, shall I?"

"I told him I'd watch him. You're the nanny."

"As you wish," Percy said, staring him down. "I had thought you liked the young girl."

"I might, but the screaming is annoying and I have to grade tests," Ares said firmly. "Keep her entertained, the both of you." He walked to his office, going to grade papers.

Bliss created a toy and held it up. "Would you like this?" he asked with a grin. "I had one like it and I liked it."

Percy looked at the blob of clay-looking cloth. "What is that?"

"It's an imagination piece. It becomes whatever she's thinking about." He grinned. "She's complicated so I figured it'd be nicer," he explained.

"Thank you," Percy said with a smile. "That's very nice of you, Lord Bliss. Shall we sit on the bed and play with her?"

"Grandpa not like us on the bed. We sit in floor or in living room." Percy nodded so he led the way to the living room, making Tasha squeal at the sight of all the weapons. "She likes it in here, likes the shiny stuff."

"So I can see," Percy said, carefully checking the floor before putting her down. "Would you please make it so she can't touch the weapons?" Bliss nodded and guarded them all. "Thank you, Lord Bliss." He sat down to play with his niece. He didn't often get to play with her.

When Tasha got hungry a few hours later, Bliss was quick to get her one of his brother's bottles. She happily attacked it, slurping the milk as fast as she could.

Cupid appeared, a panicked look on his face. "No!" he said, snatching it. "Not that one," he told his older son. "That's Inspi's special one." He created one of regular milk for the little girl. "There you go, Tasha, that one's all yours," he cooed with a smile. "You be a good girl for Bliss and your uncle and we'll let Strife come tell you a story later." He disappeared, going back to his mate's side. "I found where the bottle went," he told Strife, holding it up.

"It's not an ambrosia one," Strife said, relieved. "It's not an ambrosia one and we won't be blasted back to the ether." He hugged Cupid. "It'll be fine."

"I'm sure it will be," Ares said as he appeared. "Why did you flash in?"

"Bliss pulled one of Inspi's bottles," Cupid said, holding it up. "It's not an ambrosia-laced one."

"It's not?" Ares asked, looking it over.

"It has no ambrosia in it," Strife agreed, nodding quickly when Ares looked at him. "He had some earlier."

"Good. Then I won't have to report you," Ares said, looking at them. "I want her grandmother to be back."

"She's helping some other witch in labor," Strife reminded him. "Or else I'd have already taken Tasha to her house."

"Check on her again," Ares ordered. "That one was too close." He disappeared, going back to his tests.

Cupid let Strife go, but he got the better job, playing with the snookums.


Molly Weasley walked into the infirmary and the nurse gave her an 'I feel sorry for you' look. "How is my son?"

"The flu is still raging through him," Madam Pomfrey admitted as she joined her beside Ron's bed. "His fever's been kept down, but he's still so ill. I don't know why."

"My first year after each child was spent getting every disease going around," Molly said wryly. "It happens to the best of us." She patted her son's chest gently. "Oh, Ron," she sighed.

"Mum?" he mumbled, reaching a hand out as he squinted up at her. "Lights."

She darkened the area. "I know, it's nasty. I had that same one last year," she soothed, kissing him on the cheek. "You rest, dear. That nice professor of yours handed Tasha to me."

"No," Ron said, trying to shake his head. "Mine."

"You may have her back when you're better, not a moment sooner," Madam Pomfrey ordered.

"Mine," Ron growled, turning his head to glare at her. "Give, now!"

Madam Pomfrey snorted. "You'll have to do better than that, young man. I've been menaced by bigger bullies than you are." She looked at Molly. "He's been like this since that nice Professor Arion brought him in. If you could calm him down, we'd be thankful," she added before going back to her office to give them some privacy.

Molly smiled at her son. "Such manners," she chided. "I taught you better than that, Ron." She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Do not worry, Tasha is safely napping on my bed and she's enjoying the cooking lessons." He smiled, a watery sort of look. "You have to get better."

"Love to," Ron agreed. "How?"

"Just rest. It eventually goes away. I had it for two weeks. You'll probably have it about as long," she soothed, gently stroking his arm. "Bill sent a card. Tasha was happy because the part for her talked to her. I left your half sealed." He nodded slightly, his chin staying tipped down. "Charlie sent her a stuffed dragon that roars. It scared her at first but now she won't let it go," she added with a smile. "She points it at your father and sets it off, making him laugh all the time. She's a very bright girl and I'm most proud of how you've handled this situation, Ron." He smiled again, half asleep. "Just a few more days and then you can have her back. Then she can take her dragon and scare people." He laughed and flipped onto his side, hugging her. "You rest, Ron. I'll be here for an hour or so." He nodded, falling asleep against her. "Such a good boy."

Madam Pomfrey peeked out. "Is he napping?" she stage-whispered. Molly nodded. "Good, I've had to sedate him."

"It takes a mother's touch," Molly said with a smile.


Ron woke up and blinked at the dark room. Something was wrong, he was sure something was wrong. He sat up, ignoring the wobbling feelings he was having, and swung his feet around. He landed on the floor and winced as the chill of the marble siphoned through his feet and up his legs, but that wasn't important right now. He snuck out of the infirmary and down toward his room. The portrait opened but nothing was off in the nursery. Missy and Adonis both woke up when he entered but recognized him so went back to sleep. He frowned, checking the rest of the rooms, ghosting around in the silent part of the night. When he figured out nothing was off here, he decided it had to be off with his daughter so he snuck back out and headed for his home, flooing from the teacher's lounge. None of them were up so he wasn't caught. Not even Filch was awake at this time of night. He came out on the other end and grabbed the wall to hold himself upright until the bout of dizziness went away, then headed up to where his daughter would be sleeping. He smiled at the picture of her curled protectively around the stuffed red dragon, giggling as it roared. He picked her up and nuzzled her when she protested, quieting her instantly. "Daddy's here," he whispered. "Come back with Daddy, Tasha." He took her back to the school, sneaking into the infirmary with her. He had a moment of shock when he set off her dragon, but that was fine. No one stirred. He made it back to his bed and curled up around her back, holding her like she was holding her dragon.

She settled in to nap, happy and content. She had her daddy and her dragon. Much better than Missy's Ni bear.


Dumbledore looked over as the fireplace in his rooms lit with a whoosh, an emergency, forced-through call. "What's wrong, Molly?"

"Is Tasha there?" she asked hoarsely.

Dumbledore shrugged. "I've just gotten out of bed myself, let me check. Did someone break in?"

"Twice," she whispered. "I don't know what I'll do if she's been taken, Albus."

"Calm yourself," he said gently. "Let me check in the boys' room and the infirmary." She nodded and the flame died. He got dressed as fast as he ever had, heading directly for the infirmary. Ron wouldn't have gone back to his room, he had promised to stay in the infirmary until he was better this time. He found the little girl awake and smiled. She made her dragon roar and giggled insanely. "How did you get here?" he asked, touching her cheek. "Divine intervention or did your father steal you?" She laughed again and patted the hand on her belly. Ron grunted. "Ron, did you retrieve her yourself?" He mumbled something about missing her and nodded, squeezing her tighter. "That's fine. Did you see anyone else while you were in there?"

Ron opened his eyes and looked at him. "No. Why?"

"Your parents' house was broken into twice last night. Once by you apparently and once by someone else."

"I thought something felt off, that's why I went to check on her," he admitted with a faint scowl. "Are mum and dad all right?"

"Your mother called. I'll ask her when I call her back. You stay here and watch her." He strode out, going up to his office. As soon as her head appeared in the fireplace he smiled. "Tasha and her new friend are safely curled up next to Ron. He said he felt something was wrong and went to check on her." She slumped, nodding. "Are you all right? He wanted to know."

"I'm fine. The only reason we knew anyone was here was because Tasha was missing and because the Floo Network people told us so," she admitted. She looked behind her and frowned. "I will not!"

"You won't what?" Albus asked.

She looked at him again. "Arthur wants you to keep Ron and the baby for the summer. I won't let her stay there, Albus, we'll protect the house."

"I'll talk with the others working to protect the poor girl and we'll see what we can do to help," he offered. She smiled. "You worry about the house, let me worry about her safety here, dear. Be safe and pat Arthur on the head for me." He signed off, sitting back to consider it. "Ares?" he called. Cupid appeared. "Is he busy?"

"You could say that," Cupid agreed dryly. "He and his present lover are having a bit of a fight. What's wrong?"

"Someone broke into Molly's house last night after Ron stole Tasha from them."

"Strife?" Cupid called. His lover appeared and bit him on the neck. "Ow! Cannibal! Be serious!"

"Molly's house was broken into twice last night," Dumbledore informed him. "Once by Ron to steal his daughter back because he felt something was wrong and once afterwards."

"Huh," Strife said, starting to frown himself. "That was dumb!" He looked at Cupid. "Unc?"

"Fighting," Cupid sighed.

"Shit." He looked at the Headmaster. "Where are they now?"

"In the infirmary. Molly and Arthur are fine, they weren't aware of anything until they saw Tasha was gone and called the Floo Network people." He leaned back. "What would you have us do to protect her?"

"Molly? I think we should probably go shield her house," Strife said thoughtfully.

"I think he meant Tasha," Cupid offered.

"Oh, her? Huh." Strife looked around the school. "She'll be fine for the day. Send her to the blond one. Let Ron go back to his own bed for the night shift." Dumbledore nodded. "We'll have a few months to figure this out." He disappeared, going to break into the fight. Ares was manifesting a fireball as he appeared. "Don't hit me," he said quickly, ducking when it was instinctively launched at him. "Someone broke into the Burrow last nice, twice," he told Ares once he was sure he was still whole and free of fire.

"What?" Ares asked.

"Someone broke into the Burrow twice," Strife repeated. "Ron to take Tasha and someone else."


"Who is this Tasha and Ron?" Ares' lover asked, glaring at the big bad God of War. "Is that who you've been fucking?"

"Tasha's not even a year yet," Strife said with a snort. "Ron's her father and Ares' chosen one. Get over yourself. Lovers come and go once the hole is stretched too far." He looked at his uncle again. "The Headmaster's askin' for orders."

"Tell him to have Draco take both children for the day, send Ron back to his room or we'll have to put up a bed in the training room. Make sure Missy's fine as well. Is Jett still lurking around Hogsmeade?" Strife nodded quickly. "Have him lurk more prominently. He seems to like Tasha enough to help protect her. Have him clue in everybody that needs to know." Strife nodded and disappeared. "Do you feel better now that you know what I've been doing?" he asked snidely.

"You're *teaching* kids!" his lover said hotly. "I know you're making a list of possible people to replace me."

"Get over yourself," Ares said before disappearing. He landed in his classroom and shook his head, not bothering to change more than his hair. "Sorry, I had an important meeting," he told the first years eagerly waiting on him. "Who read last night?" A bunch of female hands went into the air. He realized then that he was wearing his skin-tight leather battling outfit and mentally groaned. They were going to try and pinch him again today.


Draco answered the summons to the Headmaster's office, frowning at the worried look. "Did something happen?"

"Someone broke into the Burrow last night only minutes after Ron stole Tasha from the house," Dumbledore said honestly. "You're to take her and/or watch them both today."

"Fine," Draco said. "Which would you prefer?"

"Try to attend classes like normal. I'd rather see who looks confused when they see Tasha with you. Can you handle them both?"

"If not, I'll commandeer Longbottom. I trust him enough to know he won't be hurting her." Dumbledore nodded. "Anything else?"

"Just try to appear normal."

"This is one of the times you wish the twins were still here?" Draco suggested in his most dry voice.

"Definitely. Or even Percy because they would protect not only Tasha, but all the children." He clapped his hands. "Thank you."

"Not a problem." He walked out, going up to the infirmary. Ron was snoring loudly so he coughed, waking him. "I'm to take Tasha with me today," he said quietly. "Orders."

"Fine," Ron agreed, giving her a kiss and a hug. "Take the dragon with you."

Tasha squealed and hugged her uncle. He was neat! He gave treats to Adonis and she could steal some. She hugged her dragon to set it off, making him jump, which of course made her laugh.

"Of course you'll want that with you," he said with a smirk. "Come, let's go back to Potions. I'm sure Professor Snape will enjoy your dragon as much as you do." He waved her hand. "You'll be released tonight to take night duty."

"Any news?" Ron asked through a yawn.

"Not yet. I'll protect her."

"I know you will," Ron agreed as firmly as he could. Draco looked at him and Ron smirked. "Sparring next week," he pointed out.

Draco shuddered. He still couldn't fight well enough physically to beat Weasley. Magically though he could kick his ass. "Both types," he reminded him, strolling out. He walked her down to the Potion's classroom, pausing in front of the desk. "Orders," he said quietly.

"Fine," Snape agreed. "I heard." He looked at Tasha, then at her toy. "Make sure none of the fabric makes it into your potion."

Draco nodded and took her back to his seat, summoning the baby's backpack for her to sit in. It would keep her contained.

Snape went back to his paperwork, grading the essays ruthlessly. He was about to chuckle over a particularly stupid remark when a loud 'roar' filled the silent room, making him jump. Then he heard a child laughing. He stood up and walked back there, glaring at the child. "Was that you?" he demanded to Tasha. She set off the dragon again so he snatched it. She started to cry. "You will not make that amount of noise in this classroom."

"It's not like she understands," Draco pointed out with an attempt to hide his smirk. Tasha continued to wail pathetically. It was truly pitiful. "Give it back, sir, or else you're going to have to listen to her scream all class."

Snape glared at her, making her cry harder. "Stop it," he hissed. She got louder, flailing in the seat, starting to rock it. Draco managed to catch her before she tipped over and he handed him back the toy. "Keep it from her or she loses it," he warned, stomping back to his desk.

Draco soothed Tasha, stroking her back for her. "Shh, he gave it back to me. You may have it back in a few minutes, once you're calmer," he tried. She took a deep breath and wailed some more.

"Oh, give it to her!" one of the other Slytherins demanded. "There's nothing worse than that noise she's making right now!"

Draco handed her back the toy and she stopped, slowly calming herself down to sniffles. "Don't set it off," he warned. "Professor Snape will be mean if you do." She hugged it tightly, making it roar again. "I know you like it."

"Out!" Snape roared.

Draco cleaned up his space and gathered both children, taking them from the room. He kissed Tasha on the cheek. "Thank you, love. That was most decent of you. I didn't want to do that today anyway." He took her out to the front steps, watching as she and his son sat down to play on the sidewalk. It was nice for a March day. Every time she set off the dragon, Adonis giggled and reached for it, but she kept firm hold of it. "No," he told his son. "You don't steal Missy's teddy and you don't steal her dragon. You can have one of your own." His son stood up and padded over to give him a hug. "Yes, I'll buy you more toys this weekend. We'll take the grandmother with us, all right?" he said, giving him a hug back. "You have been a good boy, Adonis." He beamed and went back to play with Tasha's shoelaces. Draco groaned. A whole day of this. How did people with twins deal with this stuff?


Ron looked up from his own bed, waking up again as he heard a toy go 'squeak'. "Harry?" he called.

"Me," Draco called back. "Mrs. Norris was in here again, she drug the little squeaking bear out of the toy box." He walked in and held up Tasha. "She got us thrown out of potions today," he announced.

"Oh, that's so good!" Ron cooed, taking her to hug. The dragon roared between them. He laughed and she giggled. "Do you like your Uncle Charlie's gift, sweetie?"

"I'll have to get his address from you later so I can get Adonis one," Draco said lightly. "He keeps trying to steal hers." He cleared his throat. "She also got us thrown out of Charms because she startled Flitwick so badly he set himself on fire, we did the Ignius charm today. Herbology was a chore because the plants kept trying to get the dragon and she screams each time it gets away from her. Magical Creatures was wonderful as usual. Hagrid laughed along with her and she startled the animals we were supposed to be studying." Ron beamed at his daughter's abilities. "The only thing she didn't get us thrown out of was lunch, and that was a near thing because one of the other Slytherins threatened her and I had to hit him."

Ron laughed. "I knew you were special, love," he praised. "You're such a good girl. Would you like to nap with daddy?" She snuggled into his chest, one arm around her favorite toy. "Thank you, Draco."

"Not a problem. Snape suggested we take tonight's meal in here." He glanced around the room. "Where is Potter?"

"Back in Gryff. He spends most of his free time over there." Ron shrugged. "We're the closest to family he has."

"Fine. I'll have the house elves send up enough for us and the children." He left, going to check on his son then change. He had practice tonight. Adonis started to squeal when he saw the outfit his father was putting on. He loved to fly! He started to bounce in his crib when his father walked over to look at him. "You may not come to practice," Draco said firmly. "We'll fly this weekend." Adonis started to give his best pitiful look and sniffle. "You may not!" he said more firmly this time. "Practice is hard and sweaty work, not something I can do with you on my back." His son started to cry in earnest.

"Take him for a fly now and then drop him back here," Ron called. "That'll solve that."

Draco lifted his son up to hold him, walking back into the other bedroom. "How do you know?"

"Because giving in is the only way to stop those pitiful looks," Ron said wryly.

"I noticed Tasha already has begging and whining down to an art form," Draco agreed. "Earlier today Snape tried to take her friend there." He nodded at the dragon. "That's why we were expelled for the day."

"That meany!" Ron said angrily. "Who does he think he is?"

Draco smirked. "The person who got scared when it went off." He waved Adonis' hand. "We'll go for a *short* fly then bring him back." He walked out, leaving Weasley with his daughter. He was sure one of the Gryffs would be down soon enough. After a short fly and returning his son to the nursery, he went to practice. His team's captain gave him a hard look but he shrugged it off. "He likes to fly. I'm encouraging it," he said, though he didn't have to explain himself to that prat.


Neville looked over at Harry, frowning at him. "Can I have your brain for a few minutes?" he asked.

"Sure." He sat next to the other boy, looking at the letter he held out. "Why won't she let you raise her?"

"Because she thinks I don't know how."

"Then have her come up and we'll show her how much attention you give to the girls," Harry soothed. A bright idea started in the back of his head. "Hey, Neville, what are you doing this summer?"

"Just going home I guess, why?"

"Because I don't have anywhere to go so I'm going to have to find a house," Harry said, thinking out loud. "You and your daughter need a space so you can be a father. If we could talk your Gran into it, we could do what Ron and I are doing now and be there for each other," he finished with a smile.

"That'd be wonderful!" Neville said happily. "Just us?"

"Probably. I think Tasha's due to be spoiled by her uncles this summer." Harry shrugged. "Besides, we do well enough with the two of us. Plus, I won't care if you bring home a girl and you won't care if I bring home one."

"Brilliant," Neville agreed. "I'll write her back and tell her to come up and see, we'll talk her into it that day. Plus, she can bring my Austin." He wrote out a letter and hurried to send it off that night.

Harry smiled. That was a workable relationship. Now all he had to do was find a house. With his inheritance it shouldn't be hard. He looked down at his sleeping daughter. "Where would you like to live? London? A suburb? Closer to the Grandmother Weasley?" Missy stirred, switching sides her head was resting on. "Okay, we'll go with that. Maybe his grandmother could help us there as well." He smiled and relaxed, watching the rest of the students in the common room. He missed this.


Charlie walked into the school a few weeks after Ron finally got better, his hair slicked down and looking like he was trying to impress someone. He reported to the Headmaster's office, remembering the way easily from all the times he had visited it before, tapping on the door to be let up. Dumbledore walked out of the bottom door and gave him a hug, startling him a bit. "I came to check up on my niece and to talk to Ron," he admitted sheepishly.

"We all miss Tasha when we don't see her for long periods," the Headmaster agreed. "I'll let you wait in their rooms and I'll have him found. I believe he's chasing Tasha around the greenhouses." He smiled and walked the young man down there, chatting about the weather in Romania and how he was doing, eventually letting him into the boys' rooms. Then he hurried to Herbology before it let out. "Ron," he called as soon as he saw him. Tasha squeezed her dragon to make it roar and grinned at him, accepting him picking her up as soon as he came within range. "Your brother Charlie's here," he said with a smile. "Looked a bit confused."

"Wonderful! Where'd you stash him?"

"Your rooms. You have the rest of the day free, as long as you can make up the test in Charms." Ron snorted and shook his head. "Check with him first please."

"Sure thing." He took his daughter and her pet back inside to grab his bag, waving at the teacher before leaving for Charms. He walked into the school and his daughter started to fuss. "Shh, we'll go outside again later," he soothed, but she wasn't going to be mollified. He ducked his head into the Charms classroom, which was fortunately empty. "Tasha's got a visitor from the family, can I make up my test?" he called out.

"Fine. A fussy baby is not what the other students need," Flitwick said with a wave and a smile. "Tell Charlie I said hello."

"Thanks, sir." He strolled down to his room, opening the portrait.

Tasha heard the laughing voice and shut up. She knew that one! He was nice! He had given her the best friend!! She wiggled until she got down and ran over to him, hugging his legs as hard as she could and set off the dragon for a long, loud roar. It had to start and stop again before she let it go.

Charlie laughed. "I see you do love my present," he teased, picking her up to hold her. "How are you, love?" he asked, kissing her on the cheek and forehead. "Are you a happy baby?"

"She is now," Ron agreed, flopping down onto a couch. "Thank you for your impeccable timing, you're letting me have an extra day for a charms test," he admitted with a grin for his older brother. "What brings you up here?"

"Just to see her and to ask about a letter I got from Malfoy," he said with a small frown. "Polite and such. Wanted to know where I'd gotten her dragon."

"Adonis has loved it since the day she scared Snape with it," Ron told him with a naughty grin. "Are you loving your Uncle, sweetling?"

"The cuddlesome one is very sweet," Charlie agreed. He sat her in his lap, smiling when she held up her dragon. "I see you've taken good care of him. When you're old enough, I'll have your father come show you real ones." She squealed as she set off her friend again. "I take it she loves that idea?"

"I think it's more the cuddling thing," Ron offered. His daughter got more cuddles. "Everything all right at home and work?"

"Just fine. Had a bit of a talk with my boss, who suggested I was angry with the world and a week at home would do me good. Of course during that discussion I got the letter," Charlie admitted sheepishly. "I popped up here before going home. Mum's going to get me later."

"I'm sure she realizes where you are by now," Ron told him. "Though she might be a bit paranoid since the whole breaking-in thing." Charlie opened his mouth. "Oops, no one told you?" he asked hesitantly.

"No, so you'd better."

"While I was down with the flu I thought something was wrong with her so I went to steal her back. We found out the next morning that someone else had been in there, *before* me to look at her but hadn't touched anything." Charlie opened his mouth. "Through the floo."

"I'll look around tonight, see what I can do to ward the house and put up shields," he said firmly. He squeezed Tasha and her friend, making it give a little roar. "Are you going home this summer?"

"As far as I know. More practice with the special defense spells and the like is on the menu too. I doubt Mum would like it very much if I went to live with Harry."

"Where is he going to live? Mum never said he was coming over."

"He's been thinking about buying a house." Ron shrugged. "I don't know. He's been a bit wrapped up in his own plans and Neville's been helping him. I get Malfoy," he said with a small snort.

"What is up with him? Not only was he polite to one of us, he seemed .... I don't know, odd somehow in the letter."

"Adonis is taking all his energy so he doesn't have time to be nasty. We share nursery duty," Ron admitted, pointing at the nursery.

"They put you together!"

"Well, originally we had a communal sitting area and that was it, but the extra space had to go so we had our own bathroom. McGonagall decided we didn't have to have access to a bathroom all the time so she locked us out. That was before the twins bugged out."

"I see." Charlie looked around the comfortable space. "Do you...cohabitate?"

Ron grinned. "Not usually. The kids do, we stick to our own rooms unless we have visitors." The portrait opened and Malfoy walked in, Adonis held out at arm's length. "Whew!" he said, waving a hand. "What did he get into?"

"A skunk. I turned my back and he was petting it," Malfoy said in disgust. "We're going to bathe." He looked at Charlie. "Did you get my letter?"

"I did, and the person who makes them is one of the guys I work with. She's great at it, makes unicorns, gryphons, and dragons. I brought a flier for you," he said, smiling at him. "Ron did the same thing once. Try tomato juice to take the stench out. Worked on him."

"Thank you. Anything to get rid of this smell. Son, we'll have to talk to you about appropriate animals to pet," he said as he walked into the bathroom and kicked the door shut.

Ron used his wand to start the fan in the corner, airing out the room. He shuddered. "I'm glad Tasha only wanted to nibble on the mandrakes this year. Seems fixated on them."

Charlie laughed and cuddled his niece closer. "I'm sure she thought they were pretty."

Ron looked over and noticed she was asleep. "You've definitely got to have some of your own. You're good. She hasn't napped yet today."

"She knows we all love her," Charlie pointed out gently, settling her easier in his arms. "Want me to put her down?"

"If you want to hold her, go right ahead," Ron agreed. "I trust you." Charlie opened his mouth. "Talk to mother before you say another word," Ron told him, holding up a hand. "Someone did try to force the prophecy."

"She told me, even told me why. If you want to go take that test, I'll watch her for a bit."

"Nah, I really do need more study time," Ron admitted. "She didn't like reading that so we're ahead in Life Sciences and Herbology but behind in Charms." He settled in for a long talk. Adonis wailing in the next room got a bit of a laugh, the poor little guy didn't like the tomato juice apparently.


Neville's Grandmother came out of the floo and the bundle in her arms was snatched from her. "Neville," she said sharply.

He smiled. "I missed her." He showed her to Harry and Missy, who cooed and patted her on the head. "Thank you, Missy, for the blessing of my daughter." He grinned at Harry. "Gran, this is Harry, he's one of my dormmates and the guy I help out whenever I get the chance to steal his daughter."

"Pleased to meet you," Harry said, shaking her hand. "Professor Dumbledore is in a staff meeting but he said he'd be done within an hour. Would you like to come up to the house with us?"

"You raise the children in the house?" she asked.

"Not usually. Technically, Ron and I have a room downstairs with a nursery that we share with the other bloke who brought his son back. Missy and I hang out in the house all the time so Neville and her mum can see her though."

"That would be fine." She watched as Neville handled his daughter with care and finesse. "You do that well enough," she conceded.

"Well enough?" Harry asked with a small laugh. "He's bloody well brilliant. Gets Missy to sleep when she's being a beast. He's one of three people Ron trusts his Tasha with. If it weren't for him, we'd never get any free time." She smiled at him so he led the way up to the house. They walked in and the younger students all ran over to look at the new baby. "Back off, you lot. That's Neville's daughter, Austin wasn't it?" Neville nodded, grinning at everyone. "Let us sit, then you can play with the babies." He plopped himself down onto a couch, letting her find her own seat. Missy and Austin went onto the floor and Neville got down to play with them. Harry smiled at the shocked look. "He's brilliant at it," he repeated. "Even Malfoy trusts him somewhat to watch his son."

"Well." She watched her grandson and great-granddaughter play, smiling at the ease they showed. "I think he may have found something he's good at," she decided.

"He's wonderful with children," Hermione agreed as she walked over. "I'm trying to convince him to go for his teaching certificate. He'd do wonderful with the younger students." She smiled at her daughter. "Hello, Missy." She spit at her. "Still mad at me for the carrots?"

Harry laughed. "She's having her Neville time, not even I'm that important at the moment," he assured her, patting her on the thigh. "She's Missy's mum," he explained at the look the older woman gave them.

"Are you helping raise her too?"

"No, Harry wanted her," Hermione said calmly. "I'm too young and he seems to enjoy it most of the time."

"Much more now that she's sleeping all the time, we've gotten her eating thing straightened out, and she's found out that she doesn't like to explore," Harry agreed, nodding.


"Ron's daughter, Tasha, likes to try and sneak out of classes to explore the other rooms. So far she's found she likes the Potion's classroom and a few of the back halls. Led us on a merry chase last week for almost two hours trying to find her when a house elf let her out."

"I see." She grimaced. "The father?"

"Was in bed with the flu," Hermione told her. "He was watching her, but asleep at the time, thinking she was as well."

"Ah." She nodded. "Neville didn't do much of that. Neither does his daughter." She smiled at her grandson. "At least he's a good father."

"He's an excellent uncle as well," Harry told her. "He's the one I'm giving custody of Missy to if something happens to me." Hermione and Neville both stared at him, mouths open. "What?" he asked. "It's not like I have family."

"Good point," Hermione agreed stiffly. "Over me?"

"I'm sure he'd make sure you got whatever time you wanted with her," Harry soothed, giving her a grin. "You've said often enough that you don't want her full-time. Besides, with the thing with Tasha, we figured you'd be beside us again."

"Yes, I probably will be," she agreed, smiling fakely for him. "I think I'll work on the test schedule. Do I need to make one for you and Ron?"

"If you want. You can even come down and pounce us you know."

"I will." She left, going up to her room to cry.

Harry looked at Neville. "Did I hurt her?"

"A bit, but she'll rationalize it away. You're doing what she wants," Neville pointed out. Missy bopped him on the nose. "Hey!" He tickled her. "Am I not paying enough attention to you two?" He hugged them both then tickled them until they squealed and some of the other students started to complain.

"Bugger off," Harry said, glaring at them. "They're happy and not screaming. He's great with them."

Dean looked over. "We've got a test tomorrow, guys, can't you take them down to your room?"

"Fine," Neville sighed. "Send us where all the toys are." He picked up both children. "Come on, Gran, I'll show you Missy and Tasha's nursery." She followed them down to the other room, smiling in appreciation of what had been done with the space. "Technically they share it with Malfoy, but he's gotten to understand that he has to be civil," he told her.

"Really?" She sniffed. "What is that smell?"

"Skunk," Harry said with a bright grin. "Adonis, Malfoy's son, decided to pet one earlier. They're probably still in the bathroom," he said with a nod toward it. "Tasha," he said in surprise when he saw her in her crib with her dragon. "Where is your father?"

"Ba-ba," she said sleepily. She set off her dragon and giggled. "Ch-chchch."

"I guess we heard right and Charlie's in for a bit too," Harry said with a grin. "Are you just getting up or going down?" She yawned and curled up with her best friend. "That's fine, we'll let you sleep, sweetheart." He shut the door behind them and sat down again.

"Your leg still sore from practice?" Neville asked.

"I have feeling back in it again," Harry told him with a smile for the older woman. "Last practice a bludger nearly broke my thigh. That was six days ago and I'm still bruised."

"That's a dangerous game. I'm glad Neville never took it up."

"Me too," Neville agreed with a grin for Harry. "I can't imagine me not falling off repeatedly every game." He let the kids go and they both wandered over to the window. "Ah, the view," he said happily, sitting on the couch. "Gran, Harry and I have a plan and we wanted to know what you thought." She nodded. "Harry's former relatives weren't nice to him so he didn't have a place to go, even before they got burned down and killed. They've left him a bit of money and he's looking to buy a house. He wants me and Austin to move in with him and share childcare duties." She opened her mouth. "I am good with them, I spend as much time as I can with them. It'd give you some free time and of course you'd be able to visit whenever you wanted. We aren't sure where yet, but we'd definitely be hooked up to the floo if at all possible."

"You're very young for that," she said in her gentlest remonstrative voice.

"I'm also an orphan," Harry pointed out.

She nodded. "I know you are, Harry." She looked at him. "Are you interested in my grandson?"

"No, ma'am, I firmly like women. This would be two guys with kids sharing a house. Nothing more than that."

"Harry's usually a bit green when he thinks about guys," Neville agreed, nodding and smiling at his friend. "Or has Ron gotten you over that yet?"

"No, Ron's still making me nauseous with his very loud dreams some nights," Harry admitted. Missy wandered back and hugged Neville, giving him a brilliant smile. "See, she does love him."

Ron and Charlie came out of the bathroom. "Adonis no longer smells," he said happily. He smiled at the new baby. "Hello, Austin. How are you today?" The baby babbled at him and waved a hand. "Good for you, mate. Neville, if you wanted you could have some time with Tasha this weekend. I've got to make up the Charms test since Charlie came in."

"Cool," Neville agreed. "Did you hear? Harry's going to find a house and asked me and Austin to move in with him."

"Wonderful news," Charlie said, clapping them both on the back. "I think you'd do great together if what Ron's said was true." He smiled at the older woman. "Hello. Charlie Weasley." He shook her hand. "Harry, want to have dinner later? We're eating in here."

"Nah, not unless Neville's grandmother wants time alone with him."

"We'll talk with you after we've thought about your offer," she told him.

"That's fine," Harry agreed, smiling at Charlie. "I guess Missy and I are yours."

"Cool. We're going into the dorm room. Malfoy is giving his son a regular bath after he cleans the tub." He followed Ron into the bedroom, closing the door to give everyone some privacy.

"You really watch his daughter?" Neville's Grandmother asked.

Neville nodded. "It's only me, Harry, and Draco who are allowed to take Tasha out of his sight," he said proudly. "Malfoy doesn't even mind when I watch his son." He saw Adonis peeking around the door. "Hi, 'Don. Want to come meet my grandmother?" The little boy ran out and hugged the strange woman's legs, giving her an adoring look.

Draco walked out with a sigh and grabbed his son. "He equates grandmothers with stories," he explained in a polite voice. "Potter, don't use the tub for a bit. The cleaning spray needs to sit." He carried his son back into the bathroom. "We'll get you a story once you're back in clothes again, son," he said as he closed the door.

She laughed. "I see this room is truly full of children."

"We've had to learn to get along," Harry told her. "The kids play together and we all help each other out a bit. As a matter of fact, I have nursery duty tonight." He looked at the nursery, then shrugged. "If she was in trouble, her dragon would start to roar continuously according to the note."

"I will definitely think about your offer, Harry," she said gently, giving him a smile. "Where were you hoping to buy?"

"I have no idea," Harry told her honestly. "We were hoping you'd have an idea and you'd help us some. Ron's mum has given me a few ideas but there's not much open around the areas she liked."

"We'll talk tonight after dinner." She smiled as her great-granddaughter walked over and gave his father an adoring look. "She is very happy to see you, Neville."

"She remembers me," Neville said in a teary voice, hugging his daughter hard. "You are so wonderful," he told her. "I'm going to smother you in attention."

"She'll be so spoiled it'll take your Gran and Mrs. Weasley to straighten her out," Harry agreed with a grin.

"I'm sure she's got the practice," Neville agreed, smiling back. "I hear she got the twins to finally admit they had done wrong."

"Is that who did this?" Neville's grandmother asked.

"The spell didn't mention anything like what happened. It was supposed to be a prank," Harry told her. "All it said was it would make 'memorable memories'."

"It certainly did," she agreed, nodding. "Have they been punished?"

"Numerous times," Neville said with a grin. "They had to watch the kids the first half of the year. They're doing other stuff now as their punishment, that's why I get so much time with the kids. I routinely steal them and force their fathers to give me equal time."

She laughed. "I'm sure you're quite forceful about being with them," she agreed, looking at Harry.

"He does. Steals them every chance he gets. Took Tasha off her father this morning to take her to class with him instead of her going to Ron's private Defense lesson. Did it even before Ron finished waking up." He gave her a wink. "He even pouts when we don't give him equal time."

She snorted. "He seems to know what he's doing."

"Tops in Life Sciences this semester," Neville said proudly. "We're doing baby care and cooking."

"His stuff is edible," Malfoy said as he walked out of the bathroom. "Beats mine most days." He waved Adonis' hand. "We're going to get dressed and nap."

"Tasha's in there," Harry told him.

"That's fine." He managed to keep hold of his son when he tried to wiggle down. "Oh, no you don't. You will wear clothes. There will be no more streaking down the halls, young man. That is not appropriate behavior for a Malfoy." He carried him into the nursery and put him back into clothes, whether or not he wanted them. Adonis did get free and came out to hug Neville's grandmother again. Draco sighed and handed her a book. "If you wouldn't mind? Or if you do, I'll take him myself."

"I wouldn't mind in the least," she said, watching him head to his room. "Adonis was it?" she asked the boy. He grinned. "Come up then and I'll read to you. It is a grandmother's job after all." She helped him up and opened the book. "Ah, a wizarding book. A fine one for you to read."

"The muggles have more variety in theirs, but the collection is about half and half," Neville told her. "It teaches even that one a tolerance for all things muggle."

"Good." She turned the page. "The Cat in the Hat...."


Ron walked into his regular defense class and sat down, smiling at the teacher.

"Good, you're here this time," Ares said happily. "You're first."

"Yes, sir." Ron took off his robe and walked down to the open space in the room. "Sorry, sir, but my older brother was in."

"I heard." Ares shot him a look, and a thought through their bond. //I want you to move back in with Malfoy this summer,// he sent. "Give the lesson."

"Um, diggers," Ron said, frowning at him. "No." He took a swing at him. "Diggers are little creatures who tunnel. There's actually two or three different animals put under this name, but they're all burrowers. Stealers of things. They're drawn to the dark arts equipment and like to stash it all in one deep cavern, where they lay on top of the stuff and absorb the energy. Some people put other animals into this category, ferrets, squirrels, and raccoons most notably." He took another swing and tried to answer his master back the same way the disgusting thought had came to him. //She's not going back there. We're not in danger.//

//Your parents were broken into again yesterday by the floo records. You're going.//

Ron growled and lunged, catching his teacher off-guard, knocking him down to beat him. "It's not happening, you're not putting her anywhere." He got in a few good blows before Ares managed to get away and dragged him into the training room. "We don't need to go there. I'll help protect the house myself!" he shouted. "I don't care if we have to backpack across Europe, we're not staying with him!"

"Ron, it's safer for the both of you," Ares said, letting him come at him again. He dodged and blocked, letting Ron wear out the anger. "You need to help Malfoy anyway. I want you both to be fully trained by the end of next year. The only way to do that is to have you both together."

"Not a chance in any sort of hell," Ron snarled, kicking at his teacher's feet, another unexpected move that he hardly ever got right in practice. "I'm not moving in with him." He got his teacher in the ribs a few times then was thrown across the room. "Ow," he moaned.

"You're disobeying me again?" Ares asked him. "Consider this question carefully."

"Why are you torturing me this way?" Ron demanded, standing back up but staying on the wall. "You know we don't like to be around each other. Being polite when we have to over the kids is one thing, having to forcibly associate is another! We'll end up killing each other!"

"You've done all right so far!" Ares said snidely.

"We don't talk!" Ron snorted. "We only talk when we have to. He doesn't like me and I bet he'll hate this plan as well." He crossed his arms. "I'd rather go live on the streets of London."

"That can be arranged," Ares reminded him, eyes narrowing. "You will do as ordered or there will be consequences, Ron."

"Yay! If you wanted me and my daughter dead that much, then leave!" Ron shouted. "I refuse to walk into a situation with my daughter knowing someone's going to die. I prefer my battles to be fought where she isn't involved, thank you very much."

Ares shook his head. "Stay," he said, sticking him to the wall. He walked out and locked the door. "Ron's just had a bit of bad news broken to him," he said to soothe the concerned looks. "He's ranting in there right now."

"Is everything all right?" one of the Gryff females asked.

Ares nodded. "Mostly. He didn't like the direction his summer was going to take." He smiled. "Thinks it's a bit too much for his daughter." That calmed the group down. "Now, who wants to take up where that one left off?" One of the bigger girls came down to finish the lecture.


Malfoy walked into the Defense classroom and back to the training room, stopping when he heard the swearing. "What happened now?" he asked as he shut the door. His son was safely with Snape at the moment. Just in case.

"I want you two to shack up again this summer," Ares ordered.

Draco snorted. "I bloody well don't think so," he said defiantly. "I've had more than enough of him already. I don't want him hovering around my house all summer with nothing to do."

Ares looked up. "Why me?" he asked. "What did I do to deserve this?"

Strife appeared. "Ya pissed off Hera," he said succinctly. He looked at Ron, then at Draco. "We could stick the kids together again."

"If you do, Tasha's never going to get potty trained," Ron said angrily. "She's showing signs that she's wanting to learn and I was going to work on that this summer. She'll never get around to it when she's stuck to his son!"

"Besides, you might make them like each other," Draco said with a touch of disgust in his voice. "I won't have that." He looked at the man still stuck to the wall. "Where is Potter going to be?"

"He's buying a house with Neville and they're staying together until they're married to someone," Strife told him. He looked at Ares. "They've got a point. If you force them, they'll fight it." Ares glared at him. "Hey, you wanted me to be more practical," he defended.

"Not at this moment!" Ares said sharply. "Discord!" She appeared. "Order your toy to move in with Ron this summer."

"I doubt it," she snorted. "I don't need him dying. I've barely gotten him broken in!" Ares looked at her with some disgust. "Yay, get over it. They'll be protected enough this summer at their own homes. Lucius is out of the picture. Most of his idiots are out of the picture. The Ministry idiots checking on Arthur and Molly are about to be stopped in a lethal manner. They'll be fine. Give it up. They're not a couple." She rolled her eyes and disappeared.

"You do suck at the matchmaking stuff," Ron agreed dryly.

"Stuff it," Ares warned. "Or find yourself baring another heir for him."

"I'm sure he'd enjoy the time spent with me," Draco said dryly, "but I couldn't allow that to happen. Any additional heirs I have I'll have to kick out of the family and act like I don't know. I don't want to go through that." He stiffened up, raising his chin. "If you force us, I will harm him. I don't want him at my house."

"You like him," Strife pointed out.

"I find him an interesting sex partner," Draco corrected. "Feelings come nowhere in that equation. The same as it doesn't for him."

"Good point," Ron called.

"Stuff it," Strife warned him. He grinned. "Or else you won't get none for *weeks*." Ron groaned and managed to sit down by taking off his shirt. "Good boy." He looked at Draco again. "Even for a few weeks?"


"Not even to protect your son?"

"From who?" Draco asked.

"Good point," Strife agreed, looking at Ares. "They've beaten most of the bad guys."

"There's always others wanting the power. There's a few remaining Death Eaters who are more than willing to sacrifice either or both children to gain power. The same as they would Potter's or Longbottom's."

"They're not moving in with me, even if you force and compel me to take in Weasley," Draco said coldly. "I will not have them in my house again."

Ares looked at him. "What makes you think you can defy me, boy?"

"I am Draco Malfoy, I am not a pawn, nor am I going to be bossed around. I may have taken up with you for my benefit. I may have even needed the training you provided, but I will not allow anyone to control my destiny that way. Unless the Fates themselves come down and tell me I have to sleep with him to have the next champion or whatever, I'm not doing it." Three women appeared and Draco opened his mouth.

"Relax," Clotho said with a wave of her hand. "Ares, don't force them together. The child would be spectacular and a credit to you, Strife, and Jett, but the world would tremble at its feet. The child would do things that not even Caesar could do."

"Which sounds good to me," Ares pointed out.

"Not good enough," Lachesis told him. "The child would destroy some of the things it wouldn't understand. We cannot allow that child to come to pass at this time."

"At this time?" Draco squeaked.

"I'm not having one for him, I won't hand over my child to anyone!" Ron said firmly from his wall.

Atropos looked at him. "You'll have more," she told him, "but you're right, you won't give up control to anyone. Your children will be born out of either love or desperation."

"Desperation?" Ron asked timidly.

"To save your family, would you agree to have one?"

"To save my family, I'd be willing to kill a lot of people," Ron told her. "How would having a child change that?"

"Your future is still murky. If a few certain events come to pass, you will end up in a relationship to stabilize someone who could destroy the world." She looked at Draco.

"If those events happen, you will be the one keeping the world intact," Clotho finished for him. "We don't want that to happen."

"Me either," Draco and Ron agreed in unison, then glared at each other.

"Then the simplest solution is for Mr. Malfoy to dedicate himself to Eris," Lachesis told him, nodding at his sudden smile. "She will have to find you a mortal spouse, but she has decent enough taste for other people." She smiled at Strife, who blushed.

Atropos smiled at Ares. "Your dynasty will continue," she assured him. "Ron will bear you a champion worthy of your name and full support. It will not be for years and it will not be his next one." Ares slumped. "It will also not be from these two lines getting together," she assured the boys. "Strife would be better with him for that, Malfoy's have some genetic instabilities."

Ron sighed in relief. "Thank you," he said, smiling at them.

Clotho smiled back. "Not so fast."

"If you continue to be so hotheaded," Lachesis warned.

"That future will come to pass," Atropos finished.

"So learn to control it," Clotho finished firmly, still smiling. "Try yoga, we find it relaxing."

Lachesis laughed. "And informative. Now we understand what those Indian Gods were going on about three hundred years ago." Her sisters nodded and she looked at Ron. "You have a long and full life, young man. Do not squander it by pissing off the God of War, and do not waste it by wondering who you'll be with. There will always be someone waiting, just not always for the right reasons."

"Yes, watch out for blonds bearing gifts," Atropos agreed dryly. "Or Gods of War bearing gifts, that one will usually get you involved in a war."

Clotho laughed and pointed at Ron. "His daughter," she huffed.

"Ah, yes, Tasha," Atropos said dryly. She looked at Ron. "There will be another attempt to get the child to fight the dark this summer. Try not to lose it this time, Ares will probably still be pissed at you." She smiled sweetly at Ares. "You, on the other hand, have a very short line if you don't straighten up. Ron is your champion, treat him like it!"

"Do not make the Xena mistake," Lachesis added.

"Or else he'll turn out like her," Clotho finished. They disappeared.

"Wow," Strife said, looking at Draco. "That was weird."

"It was," Draco agreed thoughtfully. He looked at Ron. "Learn to control your temper, I refuse to be married to you." He turned and walked out, heading down to gather his son.

Ares groaned but Strife patted him on the back. "It could be worse," he soothed, but he was grinning maniacally. "Ask Cupe who's next on his list and set them together. He's your chosen, treat him like Iolaus." He disappeared with a wink for Ron.

"Can I be unstuck now?" Ron asked.

Ares waved a hand and Ron was able to get up and pull his shirt off the wall. "Fine, you won't stay with him. I will not have you disobeying orders. You swore to obey me."

"Yeah, and you told me you'd be reasonable in your orders," Ron pointed out. He put his shirt over his shoulder. "Anything else you want to suggest for this summer?"

"No," Ares ground out. "Go back to your rooms."

"It's dinner time, I thought I'd go eat."

"Fine, then go eat," Ares said, disappearing back to his office. He found his mother waiting on him. "You too?" he said coldly.

She slapped him across the face. "Next time listen. As of this moment, there are only two things you have to do. You have to finish getting that dark one and Jett together. You have to make sure your champion is trained. Anything else will not be tolerated." She flashed out.

"Piss me off, Hera, and I'll give them both ambrosia!" he yelled.

She reappeared. "It couldn't be any worse than saddling the Pantheon with Jace and Joxer," she said coolly.

"I didn't do that, that was Psyche," he reminded her.

"Which is why she's no longer among us," Hera pointed out. "If you make an unauthorized God or Goddess, you will join her in exile."

He smirked cruelly at her. "Haven't you noticed that Tasha is all but a Goddess now, mother?"

She huffed. "I have, and I also know what nearly happened to her. You have been warned, God of War. Do not go against my orders."

Zeus appeared with a yawn. "Why are you two fighting again?"

"Tasha and Ron," she told him.

"I've looked at the little girl and blocked her off from the Godhood she should have," Zeus noted. He looked at Ares. "I've also blocked Ron from his. If you want him to be immortal, you take him as your consort. If not...." He shrugged. "He'll die some day and Tasha may well take his place. She does have her father's temper." He smiled at his wife. "Do not threaten him again, Hera. I won't have the fighting we used to do going on again. Those are the rules and you know it." He looked at Ares again. "By the way, try to get the boy pregnant this summer. The daughter looks amazing if she's born near the equinox this winter." He disappeared.

"Well," they huffed in unison, then glared at each other.

"Do not even think about it. You won't foist another child off onto Aphrodite," she told him stiffly.

"Why would I have to? Ron's said that he's raising all his," Ares said dryly.

"Any child from that match would be Godly," she said thoughtfully. "Zeus just said you could make one I suppose." She pulled herself up to her full height. "I would suggest you think carefully about that proposition."

"I'm not even going there. I'm with someone, Hera."

"Good." She disappeared.

Ares slumped and shook his head with a groan. "Why me?" he whispered.

"Because you're a bad, bad, grumpy man," Bliss said as he appeared, frowning at his grandfather. "You leave Ron 'lone. I like him." He stomped his foot. "He be happy!"

"Fine, have him," Ares agreed, waving a hand. "You or your grandmother." He disappeared, heading for home to think about what he had learned.

Bliss threw his head back and cackled. "You'll see, you be happy too," he said in a scary Strife imitation. He faded to go stalk Ron, watching him to see when the best time to act would be.


Ron walked into the Great Hall for dinner, shirt still off. A lot of heads turned his way so he sighed and put it back on. "Sorry, I just got done working out," he admitted as he pulled it over his head.

"What's that mark, Ron?" Hermione asked.

Ron looked at his shoulder. He shrugged. "It looked different yesterday." He sat down in his usual spot, glancing around. "Where are the kids?"

"Malfoy," she said simply.

"Cool." He pulled food over. "Harry, we've got it worked out. We're not going to have to make a run for the stone monstrosity this year."

"Good," Harry said, eyes wide. "Why would we have to?"

"Because that's what Arion was trying to suggest earlier today." Harry shuddered. "So you're a go for your plans and I'm going to go home this summer. I'm sure you'll be up for a visit?"

"Sure," Harry agreed. "Or you could give your mother a break and visit us. Neville's grandmother thinks she's found a decent house." He grinned. "Neville is so happy."

"Good. He deserves it," Ron agreed.

Dumbledore cleared his throat as he walked over to them. "What happened earlier?" he asked.

Ron looked at him. "Arion suggested something impossible for the summer's defense."

"I see." He looked down at Ron, then nodded at the window, pulling him over there. "What?"

"He wanted us to move back in with the blond prat."

"Ah." Dumbledore nodded. "I see. Will you be?"

"No," Ron said firmly. "Why?"

"Just wondering where to send your letters this summer." He wandered back to the head table, sitting back down. "The matter was resolved," he told the other teachers.

Arion appeared and walked up to his seat. "Yes, it has been," he agreed. "Do you want me next year?"

"Only if you want to be here," Dumbledore told him.

Ares shrugged. "I don't know. They still have things to learn, but it doesn't necessitate me being here full time."

"Then decide and let me know soon so I can send out invitations to apply," Dumbledore told him. He smiled down at Hagrid, who looked like he was trying hard not to say something. "Go ahead."

"Ron is like any mother protectin' her cub," he pointed out. "He's fierce in his defense."

"I know, but I'd like him to be able to reason while he's defending her," Ares told him. "If he doesn't he'll lose her some day."

"Yeah, Ron's temper's fierce," Hagrid agreed, smiling at him. "Do you think he'll be fine this summer?"

"He should be. I've checked with various authorities and they say there might be an attempt to get her, but it should be turned away easily enough."

"Good," Hagrid said firmly. "Then whaddya need to still teach him?"

"Patience and control," Ares sighed, looking down at Ron. He felt something like a needle touch his arm but shrugged it off. There weren't any needles around here and he doubted anyone would dare to touch him with one even if there were. Just a funny feeling. He smiled as Ron started to laugh, then caught himself, ducking his head to look at his plate and start eating.

Snape smiled knowingly at the little figure he could see behind the God of War. It was payback time!


Bliss continued to stalk his grandfather, waiting until just the right moment to hit him with the really powerful arrow. He had primed the old guy last night at dinner, all he needed was to get them in a position and be staring at each other. His chance came the next defense class, when Ares asked Ron if he wanted to get up and try the last lesson again, this time without the fit. Bliss cackled and readied his small crossbow, waiting until they were facing each other and had started to hit at each other. His shot was perfect. Ares had just swung back his hair to get it out of his face and Ron was lunging forward. Ares scowled, but it cleared up after a few moments.

Cupid appeared and grabbed his son. "Sorry, Pops, though we all approve," he said with a grin before disappearing. Just for his son's safety of course. He'd be viewing this scene from a distance.

Ron backed off, frowning at him. "You all right?"

"Fine, just a little woozy," Ares admitted, shaking his head. He looked at his opponent. Then he smiled. "Enough with the lessons. Think you can take me?"

Ron looked unsure, but he shrugged. "If you want. We might scare the other students though."

Ares waved a hand. "They'll live." He smirked at his champion. "Come on, I'll even give you first attack since you're mortal."

Ron shrugged again. "If you want," he repeated. He stepped forward, then squinted, considering his options. He reached out and slapped at the God of War, ducking the instinctive blow. Really, the guy had trained him, he knew most of his counters. Ron managed to get him a few times, and then got behind him, kicking him in the ass. Well, just a little push actually, that made his teacher stumble forward and then grin at him. Ron grinned back. This was going to be fun. "You really want me to try and beat your ass?"

"Go for it," Ares purred. "I'd like to see how far you've gotten." Ron nodded and waited for the attack, then ducked under the punch, hitting him on the chest. He heard a rib crack but didn't worry about it; the guy was a God, he could heal himself.

The students in the front few rows stood up and ran back to the back wall, pushing themselves against it as they watched the deadly dance continue. Whispers started through the crowd.

"Who knew Weasley could fight that way?"

"What's going on? It looks like Weasley's trying to impress him."

"It looks like a mating dance."

"Whoa, that's impressive."

"Shit, they're going to kill each other and then us."

"Someone get the Headmaster before they really hurt each other. Ron's not pulling his punches and neither is Professor Arion."

"Ow, that had to have hurt. Tasha's not going to be getting cuddles tonight."

"Shit, they're coming this way!"

One girl snuck out of the room, running for the Headmaster's office. She panted as she opened the door. "Weasley, Arion," she gasped. "Fighting! Really fighting!"

"I'll come. You rest, dear." He hurried down the stairs and up the hall, going to break up this ill-advised move. He walked in and had to get out of Ron's way as the God of War backed him against the wall. "Kick him in the knee," he suggested dryly, hoping to break it up.

"Good idea, thanks," Ron wheezed, doing so. Ares backed off and he took a deep breath before starting his own offensive. "Headmaster's here," he panted.

"Yay," Ares panted back. He finally got a good choke-hold on Ron's neck but a knee to the groin made him reconsider having the boy face him. He lunged in for another sort of attack, kissing him firmly. Ron went limp.

"Oh, my," Dumbledore said, staring at them. "Does anyone else feel ill effects from this spell?" he asked. Everyone shook their heads. "Then you're all dismissed. Someone take Tasha to Neville so she quits clapping and laughing. Please remember her friend so she doesn't scream." The students gathered their things and scurried out of the room, heading to spread the word of this funny spell. "Enough!" he yelled. Ares broke the kiss and gave him a bland look. "You may not attack the students, Lord Ares, and you know it."

"He was proving himself worthy of my continued attention," Ares told him smugly.

Ron kneed him in the stomach, getting free. He walked up to get his books. "If you want my attention, then you're going to have to break out into more gentlemanly behavior," he said firmly. "I like being courted, not just screwed. Anymore." He walked out, going to find his daughter.

Ares took a deep breath and laughed shakily. "Was he serious?"

"I think the better question is are you?" Dumbledore asked, walking inside and closing the door. "What did you think you were doing?"

"I thought I was sparring and then this *urge* hit me to make him prove himself worthy."

"I see. Did he?"

Ares nodded. "Yeah, he did things I hadn't thought he knew about." He smiled. "I like that in a warrior."

"I'm glad, but if you persist in this attention to a *student* then we'll have to remove you from your teaching duties."

"Student, yeah he is," Ares murmured, shaking his head, droplets of sweat flinging off him. "He's still too young for me."

"I realize that you're having a hard time processing, Lord Ares, but please focus on the important things," Dumbledore told him. Ares glared at him. "Not only is Ron too young, by your own words, but you also just kissed him in front of the entire class. Which means the entire school will know about it by now. Please be sure you want this before I have to soothe Ron's friends into not trying to kill you."

Ares waved a hand. "They wouldn't dare." He pulled his hair back into a low ponytail and cleaned himself, changing to some less-sweaty clothes. "I'm going to talk to his mother."

"I doubt that would be wise," Dumbledore said with a smile. "She'll want her son to have accepted your attentions first."

"He's already begged," Ares reminded him.

"Good point," he said with a frown. "Fine, go upset Molly with this news." Ares disappeared. "I certainly don't want to tell her," he muttered as he went to talk to Severus. After seeing his happiness last night, he knew the other man knew something about this. The potion's master simply laughed when he was told, shutting the door in his face. Well!


Molly Weasley looked up as her kitchen was invaded by a heaving God of War. "What's happened?" she asked quietly.

"Sorry, just heard a joke from Strife," he said with a smile. "I came for different reasons. I want to make you my mom-in-law." Molly fainted. "Huh." He looked down at her, nudging her gently with a toe. "Come on, don't be that way," he complained. "I can be nice."

Strife popped in and grabbed Ares by the arm, pulling him closer to the window, checking him out. "Bliss," he groaned.

"What?" Ares asked, starting to sound angry.

"Bliss got ya," Strife told him.

"I see." He stroked his beard. "Oh, well. At least Ron's happier now. And he did hold his own."

"And he's still just legal by your standards," Strife pointed out.

"Good point." Ares shrugged. "I'd better tell his mother."

Strife looked over at where Molly lay on the floor. "Let me, you go stalk the kid." Ares smiled and flashed out. "True love arrow," he giggled, clutching his middle. When he finally calmed down, he poured a glass of water and walked over to dump it on her face. "Hi," he said with a grin.

"Tell me that was a nightmare," she requested in an oddly dead sounding voice.

"Nope, Bliss got 'im," Strife said with a grin as he sat down. "Go make some tea and I'll explain it *all*." He helped her up and watched as she made herself some tea, smirking at her stiff back. Boy, was she going to go off on Snape for this one! Oh, that would help 'Dite and she'd owe him a favor he realized, smirking at the mortal woman.


Severus Snape flinched as his door slammed open and that annoying man walked into his classroom yet again. "What do you want?" he asked, going back to his usual glaring. Jett grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and dragged him into the back room, slamming the door and locking it. "What do you think you're doing!" he shouted.

"Giving you a head's up. Ares knows," he said with a smirk. "Nice thought though, I think he'll mellow the kid really nicely." Snape opened his mouth but it was shut for him, with another set of lips. "All because of me?" Jett asked when he was finished. "I'm honored, I'll have to make sure you're rewarded for this." He winked and strolled out again.

Snape leaned against the counter, silently telling himself he didn't have to run, not really. There wasn't going to be a bad thing happening. No one else would know.

"Severus Snape, I want to talk with you!" Molly Weasley shouted as she stormed into the classroom.

He decided he could face many things, that particular enraged mother was not one of them. He went out through the hidden door, heading for his special hidden place. She wouldn't find him in there. Halfway there, he was blinded by an intense light and found himself upstairs in the office. "You called?" he asked.

The Headmaster smiled and pointed behind him.

Jett was once again cleaning his nails. "Either come with me or I'm letting her have you." He looked up and grinned, making the other men shiver. "I guess she's on a rip of some sort by the way you were running hard. So, what's it gonna be?"

"An eternity with you or certain death?" Snape said snidely. "Whichever shall I choose?" He glared at Jett. "I do not like men!"

"Uh-huh." The bottom door slammed open and he held out a hand. "Last chance. She will kill you for corrupting her son. Her supposedly innocent youngest son." Snape swallowed as the footsteps came closer. "You've only got a second and I *promise* I'll behave for a century or so. And hey, we can be *buddies*," he said with that annoying grin.

The door flew off its hinges and he grabbed the hand, allowing himself to be removed from the danger. Voldemort had nothing on an angry Weasley, especially that one.

Dumbledore held up the tea pot. "Would you like a cup?" he asked smugly.

She smirked back. "I take it that was the person Strife wanted him with?"

"Indeed." She walked in and sat across from him. "What do you want to do about Ron?"

"I will make it clear that he is not to engage in a long-term relationship until after he is out of school," she told him. "I won't have him married before then and I doubt that...teacher will treat him well enough for my standards. If he wants my son, he'll have to court him."

"That's fine, Ron demanded the same thing," he said with a smile. He poured her a cup of tea and they sat there sipping it while looking out at the students running around on the lawn. "They did look rather cute together."

"Good. Now if only Ginny could find someone," she sighed.

"I believe there's a young man Ron has given his permission to date her," Dumbledore told her. "Whether or not either of them have told your daughter is the question."

She laughed. "I'm sure they'll figure it out without us." She straightened in the chair as footsteps came up the stairs.

"Yes?" Dumbledore asked.

"Sir, Professor Snape never came back," the young woman said with a smile for Mrs. Weasley. "Who's going to teach our class?"

"I believe you're having a study hall today. Put a note on the board for me." She nodded and ran down much faster than she had come up. "I believe today's going to be an odd, but fun, day," he noted with a smile.

Molly laughed. "Better than the day Arthur announced I was marrying him in front of the Great Hall, which was news to me?"

"Yes, you did look so stunned at that news. Did he really believe you were that innocent?"

"Yes," she agreed with a smirk. "He still does." They chuckled and decided to chat about the upcoming trials for the baby.


Ron looked over at the kids he was watching. They were being sad, and he didn't know why. It was the end of school and things were being packed, but they weren't going to have to leave for a few days yet and even then, they shouldn't know about those things. "Guys, want a bath?" he asked. The girls perked up and Adonis gave him a pout. "Yes, High Lord Pout," he teased, tickling him, "I'll find your father. We'll call in all the daddies, how about that?" He walked over to Draco's door, waking him up. He and Harry had both crashed after their last test earlier. "The kids want to splash around in the tub," he said at the grunt.

"Fine," Draco called. "Give me a minute."

"I thought we'd do it all together since they're all pouting."

"I'll find my trunks. Go wake Potter. I'll be dressed by then."

"Okay." Ron walked over to his room and rudely shoved Harry, who glared at him. "The kids want to splash around in the tub with their fathers. You in?"

"Fine," Harry sighed, climbing out of bed. "Let me find my swimming trunks and I'll join you." He yawned. "Anything to drink?"

"I'll ring for a house elf. I held off on dinner until you were both awake." Ron went into the bathroom, where the kids were pushing the knobs on the tub. Water and bubbles were running, but the plug wasn't in because they didn't understand that part yet. He bent down and put in the plug, then skinned down to his boxers, climbing into the water to adjust it. It was a bit warm, but that was easily fixed since it was only around his ankles. He chose his seat and sat down, pulling the kids in with him to splash in the growing water. Missy decided to be a good girl and sit on a bench, waiting for her daddy. She only really liked the water when she was being held. Adonis and Tasha were splashing each other, getting covered in bubbles. Ron turned off the bubble spigot, smiling at the kids as the water continued to climb. He sat Adonis on a seat, then picked up Tasha, waiting on the fathers. "Guys, water's ready!" he called. A house elf appeared, earing baby clapping. "They're awake now," he told Dobby. "Can we have dinner?"

"Harry Potter awake?" Dobby asked excitedly. Missy squealed, she liked hearing her daddy's name. "We bring food." He disappeared, coming back a few minutes later with two other elves and trays of food and drink.

Draco walked in and Dobby flinched. "Another spectacular meal," he said as he climbed in. He looked at Ron. "No suit?"

"It's on the bottom of my trunk," Ron admitted. "I didn't want to unpack it." He nodded at where Adonis was watching the water climb over his bellybutton. "Harry!"

Harry walked in and smiled at Dobby. "Thank you," he said, patting him on the head. He turned off the water as he walked past the spigot, sitting down and picking up his daughter, who squealed in delight because some of the bubbles were floating her way. She reached over to grab them, not minding in the least when her face got wet as she moved too far. "Hey now," Harry complained, wiping it off for her. He moved the bubbles closer, making his daughter happy.

"I didn't think we wanted a tub full of bubbles, they turned that on high and the water on barely," Ron explained. He looked at Dobby, who was staring at the baby. "What's wrong?"

"She okay?"

"She's fine," Harry agreed, letting Missy lean against the side of the tub. Dobby ran a finger over her forehead and she kissed him, with her mouth open of course - all babies did it that way. "See, she loves you."

"Oooh," Dobby said, pulling off his tea cozy to cry on. "Harry Potter's baby loves Dobby." He hugged her hard. "We works for you. No salary," he said firmly. "Like a real house elf."

"That's fine," Harry said calmly. Dobby nodded and left, but came back with a larger pitcher of juice to add to the trays and three bottles for the babies. "Thank you, Dobby."

"Yous welcome," he said, disappearing again.

Ron snagged a plate of food. "He is a great elf," he noted as he fed himself with his fingers. Tasha tried to help by grabbing the edge of the plate but he kept it from her.

"You could have eaten without us," Draco noted as he accepted a plate of his own. Adonis continued to sit on his lap and play with the bubbles.

"Then I would have had to fed the kids by myself," Ron said between bites. He finished the plate and put it on the tray again, turning to grab some food for Tasha, who was looking at Missy like she might be food. "Hungry?" She opened her mouth and he stuck the spoon in it. She laughed and clapped happily, accepting more.

"You're quite the parent, Ron," Harry said as he fed his daughter first. "Did you make her wait?"

"Nah, she had some cereal when I got back. It's calming to feed her." He shoveled more into her mouth, making his daughter happy. "I think we'll have to make sure you grow up to not be a pig, little one. You eat like Fred some days." She frowned but opened her mouth again. She didn't like the Fred uncle, he didn't give treats.

When all the kids were fed and were napping on their respective fathers' chests, the guys decided to relax as well. "Tests are done," Harry said with a happy sigh.

"A whole nine weeks without having to see a quill unless I want to," Draco agreed with contentment coloring his voice.

"Yeah, and next year, we have less classes," Ron finished happily. Draco looked at him. "There's no seventh year Life Sciences."

"Yes!" Draco said happily. His son mumbled against him and he patted him on the back. "What about the others?"

"I'm sure we'll still have them," Harry said wisely, frowning a bit. "Ron, what's this about you and the Defense teacher?"

"Ares was hit by Bliss and a love arrow. He's trying to be nice and courting me. I got a plastic skull full of cheddar popcorn yesterday," Ron admitted with a grin. Draco laughed and shook his head. "What? I think it's rather sweet. A very well-thought-out gift."

"A skull?"

"Yeah, the top comes off. It's in the living room if you wanted to look."

"No thanks," Harry said quickly. He looked at his best friend. "Only you would consider a skull to be a romantic gift."

"I liked the popcorn," Ron defended. "Besides, it's plastic. If it had been a real one I might have complained."

"I'm sure you would have," Draco said smugly. "Has anyone seen Snape since he was taken away?"

"Dumbledore has, he said he'd be back for the Leaving Feast and then he was going to be back to normal next year," Harry told him. "Are you worried about him?"

"No, an assassin, one good enough to have been given immortality, takes my Godfather, why would I be worried?" Draco said dryly.

"Fine, but I'm sure he's all right," Harry told him.

Ron looked at him. "He's fine. Jett's courting him in his own way."

"Would that entail knives?" Harry asked, looking over at Ron. Ron swatted him. "Hey! She's asleep."

Draco got out of the tub and took the children to the nursery, settling them into bed. Tasha sought her friend and there was peace when she found it. He went back to the tub, bringing over the dessert tray. "They're asleep." He climbed in with his dish of pudding, licking the spoon before putting it into the chocolate mixture. "So, Weasley, are you planning on doing what Zeus suggested?" he asked, grinning at him.

"Not a chance," Ron said firmly.

"What did he suggest?" Harry asked, grabbing his own dessert, then handing a dish to Ron.

"He wanted me to get preggers this summer, schedule it around the holidays. Said it'd be a kick-ass warrior for Ares."

"I'm sure it would," Harry said diplomatically, "but your mother would kill you."

"I know, that's why it's not happening." He looked at Draco. "See, I can control my temper."

"Yes, and it's a welcome sight," Draco agreed smugly. Harry opened his mouth then shook his head and ate a bite of pudding instead. "The Fates said that either he controlled his temper or we'd end up married," Draco explained in his most patient voice. Harry choked and Ron pounded him on the back.

Harry looked at Ron. "I'll help you learn control," he wheezed. Then he coughed some more.

"Thanks, Harry."

"Welcome." Harry reached for a glass of juice, sipping it slowly to finish clearing his airway. He looked at Draco, who looked rather smug. "You want that to happen?"

"No, I'm hoping he learns to control it," Draco informed him. "I can't see the three of us having to shack up for more than a few weeks."

"The three of us?" Ron asked.

"That way you'd have someone to rescue you," Draco informed him with a wink.

Ron blushed. "What makes you think you wouldn't need rescuing yourself, Malfoy?"

"Hmm, good point." Draco ate some more of his dessert. "I'm sure we'd come to some sort of understanding if it had to happen," he decided finally.

"No offense, but I'd have to stop it," Harry told Draco. "Just to save Ron and Tasha."

"I'd never hurt Tasha," Draco pointed out in an icier tone of voice.

"From having to live at your house," Harry told him, sounding more firm now. "Who knows what she'd find lying around."

"I cleaned up after my father and I keep all my toys in special storage areas. No one will ever get in there without my permission."

"Good, but still!" Harry pointed out. "Your father may have left some things that you didn't know about."

"I've been all over the house. I knew where his torture chamber was and it's sealed now. Turned it into an adult playroom," he said smugly. Harry shuddered and looked away. "You're still not over that yet?" he asked in derision.

"Leave him alone. Some people can't stand the thought of two blokes," Ron said calmly. "He'll either get over it or he'll learn that we can't share anything about most of our married lives when we're older." Harry looked at him. "Really. If I can't tell you about mine, I can't help you with yours when your girl gets picky." He scraped his bowl and licked off the spoon.

The outer door opened and Ginny strolled in. "Geez, it's like when you were stuffed up," she complained, turning around.

"We're all dressed," Ron sighed.

"I still don't want to see that much of you."

"Then don't look. What did you want?" Harry asked.

"Mum sent me a letter and it's got a part for you, Harry," she said, handing it over her shoulder.

Harry opened it and smiled as he read. "Your mother found a wonderful house and Neville's grandmother agreed it was a great place. She's put in a good word with the owner for us." He handed it to Ron to read. "She's happy for us."

"I'm glad to hear that," Ron said as he read. He laughed and showed Harry the last line, who started to laugh as well. "Ginny, have you finished it yet?"

"Not yet." She turned around and skimmed the rest of the letter, frowning when she came to the last line. "I'm not like you, I have no intention of *ever* having children," she said as she flounced out.

"I take it your mother told her to be careful?" Draco asked.

"His mother suggested she go to him to have a talk about sex," Harry said with a grin. "Said he should know enough to make sure she was careful."

Draco snorted, shaking his head. "I'm not sure Weasley knows the meaning of the word careful."

"I do so!" Ron countered. "I'm very careful now."

"Now," Draco agreed. "If you weren't still under threat of pregnancy, I have no doubt we'd be seeing you in one or more of the 'circles of friends' downstairs."

Ron gave him a smug look. "How do you know I haven't been?"

"I haven't seen you," Draco told him.

"Ah! Must be in a different room then. Or it's when I arrange for someone else to take nursery duty."

"Drop the subject or I'm going to be sick," Harry announced.

"Fine," Ron sighed. "You're going to have to get over that."

"Not yet I won't."

"It's who he had his first time with," Draco noted lightly. "She'd probably put me off it too."

"She was good enough," Harry defended. "It was her first too!"

"That would explain it," Ron agreed, nodding with Draco. Harry scowled at him. "First times are easily ruined," he told him. "Mine nearly turned me off sex all together."

"Mine was a bit better, but not much," Draco admitted. "I had not a clue what the poor girl was talking about, until she showed me, then I think I nearly killed her," he said, looking at the ceiling thoughtfully. "I wonder if she ever recovered?"

Ron chuckled. "Probably. I've never heard of anyone actually dying from sex."

"My great-grandfather did," Draco told him seriously. He shrugged at Harry's open-mouthed shocked look. "It was his own fault. He was ninety and took up with an eighteen-year-old courtesan from Saudi Arabia. She smothered him between her breasts then laughed." He grinned. "Since then it's been a family command to only have lovers with small breasts so it can't happen again."

Harry shook his head to clear that image from it. He really didn't want to know those sort of things. He looked at Ron, mouth opening to change the subject.

"Mine just went too fast. He was in a hurry and I wanted to take it slower and experience," Ron told him.

Harry shook again. "Never mind. I'll find a nice woman and settle down with her, then I'll enjoy whatever she can already do."

"That's half the fun of long-term relationships," Ron snorted. "Finding the new things that make them squeal like they did during the first month." Draco nodded to show his agreement, he had picked up his juice and was mid-swallow.

"How would you know?" Harry asked.

"Because it's not that different than having a few people that you rotate through," Ron said firmly. "You still want to give them an idea what you like and have to keep it interesting."

"Until you were caught?" Draco asked, putting down the empty glass. "Pitcher?"

Harry handed it over. "You had a *few* before that?"

Ron considered it. "Have you heard about the 'circles' downstairs, Harry?" Harry swallowed and nodded, they weren't a very well-kept secret, all the upperclassmen knew about them. "I was part of one of them before I was caught. Not a large one, only about twenty of us overall."

"Me too," Draco told him.

"I don't remember feeling you in the dark."

"I did a touch-enabled visualization. It wouldn't do for me to be caught in there by my house," Draco explained with a one-sided shrug as he poured himself some more juice. As he put the pitcher back, he turned on the spigot to add more water. They could raise the level now that the kiddies were down. They settled in for a long soak, liking the restful feelings that came across them. "Did you hear someone's started a new circle?"

"I hadn't," Ron admitted. "Good?"

"Not very many in it."

"That'll change next year," Ron said wisely, floating a little. "I think that's enough water." The faucet was turned off and he closed his eyes, humming in appreciation. "I wonder what Jett's idea of courting is," he mused.

"Probably knives and a dead body to show his skill," Harry answered dryly.

Draco turned his head to look at him. "Probably not. I think he's got a hidden nice side somewhere. Probably not hearts and flowers, but definitely some hot and sweaty sex by now." Ron nodded, that seemed reasonable to him. "Of course, he could have also tied him to the wall and shown him what he was missing," Draco said with a faint smirk as he looked at the ceiling again.

"Ewww," Harry said, shuddering.

"That's not that bad," Ron pointed out. "Nothing like some of the kinky stuff people can get into."

"Very true," Draco agreed, still smiling.

"How would you know?"

"Because I've seen it before," Draco said smugly. He grinned at Ron. "You wouldn't know it, but some of those Death Eater parties are very odd. Being forced to a few of them when my father was still in power was educational."

"When was that?" Harry asked dryly.

"A few years back. I wasn't allowed to participate, but he stuck me in this little room and forced me to watch what went on through a hidden viewing spot. He was trying to harden me into someone who would enjoy such pursuits." He went back to his relaxation. "Yes, some of those women were very wild."

Harry started to choke on his spit. "Women?" he asked.

"Some. Some men."

"Just like an orgy?" Ron asked.

"Not really. More like couples and trios mostly, switching between. No uncontrolled frenzy or pile in the middle of the room." Draco ran a hand through his hair then rested it on his stomach. "I'll have to see about having parties like that some day."

Ron groaned. "Promise me if we're forced together that you won't force me to go."

"Not a bit," Draco agreed with a grin. "You'll get your corner of the house and I'll have the rest."


Harry stared at Ron like he was insane. "You want that?"

"The Fates said it was possible, better to cover those bases now," Ron said firmly. "I don't want it, but if it's going to happen, I'm going to get my perks."

"The position of trophy spouse comes with a salary and a high shopping account," Draco informed them. "It also comes with one's own suite of rooms, attached to where the children are of course, and six other rooms in the house that you'll have free run of. The study is off-limits as it'll be mine. The library is a free room for everyone. You'd have your own drawing rooms and a study of your own once you figured out what you wanted to do with it." He looked at Potter. "The contract is filled in with all but someone's name, has been through sixteen centuries of family members," he said somewhat proudly.

"The allowance hasn't gone up?" Ron asked.

"Fifty galleons a week plus your shopping budget," Draco told him.

"Shit, my father barely makes that a month," Ron sighed.

"Exactly. It'll be up to me to raise the rates for Adonis' spouse when he finally finds one, or one is found for him." He smirked. "There are some advantages to being old money. Tradition can be a wonderful thing."

"But what if you find a....someone who doesn't fit the ideal."

"That's what lovers are for, Potter," Draco sighed. "You'd think you knew that by now. Your father did come from a similar, yet poorer, background to mine."

"Oh." He looked at Ron. "You're an old-bloodline family, have you ever heard of that?"

Ron nodded. "Yeah, a bit. Arranged marriages aren't that common in our part of the old lines, but they've been known to happen now and again when kids couldn't find someone the family thought suitable. I think someone talked to Dad about Ginny actually. Their son is hopelessly in lust with a muggle-born and they didn't like it. I'm pretty sure Dad shot them down quickly." Harry looked a little more shocked. "It happens sometimes. It's easier to give in to the pressure and go with it in some cases. Like I said, it's not common in our part of the lineage."

"Wow." Harry grimaced. "Now I'm almost glad I don't have to go through something like that."

"Actually," Draco said smugly, "I overheard Snape and Dumbledore talking about that very thing. Snape was suggesting that you might need help finding a spouse since there's so much involved in being with you." He smirked at Harry, who was blushing. "I think the suggestion was to start to introduce you to young women who could do something for you. Possibly even be willing to try and bear another heir."

"Huh," Ron said, sinking down until the water came up to his neck. "Hermi?"

"No, an older, established family so he wouldn't have so many problems with the rest of us," Draco said, smiling at him. "I think your sister was mentioned, but I only caught a part of her first name so it could have been someone else." He shrugged and went back to his contemplation of the ceiling.

"I won't do it," Harry said firmly.

"Of course you won't," Ron agreed, nodding for his friend's benefit. Even if he did have doubts. "So, who are we thinking Hermi's going to end up with?"

"Neville," Harry and Draco said together.

Ron snorted. "That'd be a fiery match."

"But he'd like it I think. He's been watching her," Harry told him. "If you'd come up to the tower every now and then you'd have seen it."

"If I came up to the tower every now and then I'd never get my homework done, Harry, the same as you haven't been."

"Good point," Harry groaned. He laid his head on the edge of the tub. "This is really nice. I'll miss this after next year's done."

"I have a six-seater at home," Draco purred.

"We've got those nice, deep cast iron ones," Ron said with a shrug. "I don't anticipate needing to have a bath like this."

"Another good reason to lose your temper in the future," Draco taunted.

"I could always build my own house," Ron noted. Draco looked over at him. "Some day. I can wait, it's not a necessity in my life."

"If you did it like the tents we had at the World Cup, it'd probably save you money," Harry offered.

"You can't do that on houses, it's forbidden by the fire codes," Ron told him. Harry opened his mouth. "There were too many instances where cheap houses went up with an improperly laid fire and they couldn't find the people in the mansion that the cheap wood was hiding. So no bending space inside a house in Britain. If I wanted to move to the islands, we could do that," he said thoughtfully.

"Take up carpentry, then you could do it all yourself," Harry pointed out. "Plus it's supposed to pay well."

"Mother would kill me," Ron told him firmly. "She wants me to have a desk job, something safe and with a steady schedule. Not something where I'm too tired to take care of Tasha."

"The problem being that those tend to be lower paying," Draco pointed out. "Which is the trap your own father fell into. He probably could have made good money 'fixing' muggle artifacts so they worked for the wizarding community if he had wanted to."

"That would have been unethical."

"Not necessarily. There are plenty of things that aren't covered by the rules. Household appliances and the like. Even those new muggle things, complices or whatever, aren't covered," he said with a wave of his hand.

"Computers," Harry corrected, looking at Ron again. "You could do something like that."

"I'd never hear the end of it," Ron reminded him. "From both parents. I'd have to move out of Britain anyway to do most of it."

"Not necessarily," Draco said again. "Discounting working for the underground and dark wizards, there's a thriving business for those who can charm practical appliances for us. Tea kettles and things of that nature. Plus, it's not against the rules. Your own father could tell you what's not forbidden so you could make sure you're not in the wrong."

"Maybe," Ron admitted, considering it. "It'd be steady work as well."

"Plus, there's a lot of us who are forced to use muggle items that we're not sure about," Draco offered. He wasn't sure why, but his Goddess had said so. "You could set up a place where we could go to use those services when we needed them."

"Like what?" Harry asked.

"A number of wizards have bank accounts at muggle banks out of the country so they can't be found," Draco explained. "Getting to them would require either one of those computer thingies or a telephone. I saw my father check on his once." He smirked. "He had to be talked through every step and hated it the whole way. Then there's the other problems, like what to do when Tom dies and the Leaky has to go to someone else. We might have to set up a new sort of shop in it's place. Somewhere we could go through still, but not noticeable."

"There's all sort of options there," Ron agreed. He smiled at Draco. "Tell her I said thank you."

"I already have."

"Huh?" Harry asked again.

"The Lady Eris had me tell him those things. She also suggested Ron look into a travel agency sort of place. Somewhere to book rooms for traveling wizards, provide portkeys, things like that. It would also help those of you who wanted to leave our world for a bit and get settled in the muggle world." He shrugged. "That's all she said." He got comfortable again.

"Not everyone makes their own portkeys?" Harry asked.

"You have to have a destination in mind, like apparating," Draco explained patiently. "You have to be able to visualize the spot you're sending it to with absolute clarity. That's how it lands in the correct spot."

"Oh." Harry looked at Ron, then back at Draco. "Is that hard?"

"No. Not for some. Some don't have the concentration and others wouldn't want to be bothered by it."

"Then that might be a good idea for you to do," Harry agreed, nodding at Ron. "Plus, for the first few years, if you had to, you could set it up out of a garage or something."

"Yeah, maybe," Ron agreed, sinking lower in the tub. "I've scheduled time to talk to a few teachers about what I could do to secure our future eating habits. Flitwick suggested that I was all right in charms, but not great. So I could do something as long as I didn't have to make my own charms up, just use a select group of them. I know I don't really want to work with magical creatures, that could get dangerous and I don't want to do that to Tasha or mum." He sank down a bit more. "How's the auror thing going to go, Harry?"

"McGonagall is still determined to see me in it."

"Good," Ron agreed.

Draco looked at him. "You could ask Snape. Even though he's not your head of House, he'd still know. He doesn't get many students asking him so it might even be different."

"I might," Ron admitted.

"You could go to McGonagall."

"I asked her if she wanted me to and she turned white," Ron told them. "Said it'd make me uncomfortable and suggested I go to Flitwick." He shrugged. "I did and his suggestions were workable, but nothing exciting."

"Exciting is dangerous," Draco snorted. "Boring is stable but less likely to make your child an orphan."

"Good point," Ron agreed, seeming a little happier at the practical advice. "You could tell her she's welcome to join us and talk to me directly."

"That was from me."

"Oh. Thanks then." Draco shrugged and closed his eyes. Ron settled in to float a little himself. This was rather nice. He did secretly wish they had one of these at home, but he could enjoy it while it lasted. Maybe one day....

Harry settled in with a bit of suspicious mumbling, but this was a good way to relax after the end of tests. Now if only he.... He shook his head. That thought would finish with the idea of Dumbledore trying to find him a wife, which he wasn't going to go along with. He could find his own, thank you very much. He frowned, he wasn't ready to settled down that much yet, even if it would help out with the kids and work times problems they were going to run into. He'd have to see how expensive this house was before making that decision. They'd need some money to live on after he got out of school. He started to nod off, but a low, visceral moan caught his attention. "Not again," he complained. He shoved Ron, making him fall off his seat. "Quit that!"

"Sorry," Ron said once he had his face clear of water again. "I fell asleep."

"We all do that sometimes," Draco said with a small smirk and his eyes closed. "Good was it?"

"Strife in one of his moods," Ron said with a grin.

"Remember, if you're going to go to the dark and deadly one, I doubt he's going to share," Harry pointed out dryly.

"I know," Ron agreed, smiling. "But I think he could probably keep me satisfied long enough. I'm going to miss the guys."

"I'm sure Ares will let you play sometimes," Draco said. "I heard from Eris that he gets to play sometimes. He'll probably bring you along as a party favor or something."

Ares appeared, glaring at Draco. "I don't share," he growled.

Draco opened his eyes and smirked. "Really?"

"Really." Ares looked at Ron. "As for you, no more thoughts like that, young man, or you'll be *punished*."

Ron grinned. "You let them start it. It's not like I have a lot of others to take the place of those memories."

"Oh, you will," Ares assured him, reaching over to dunk Ron under the water. "Behave, or else." He looked at the stunned Harry. "Yes?" he asked patiently. "You had a comment?"

"No," Harry squeaked.

"Thank you." He glared at Ron again, but Ron was still grinning. "I'll get you for that," he warned, then he disappeared.

Ron concentrated very hard on a few ...visions he had dreamed earlier in the week, sending them straight at his patron. Ares' howl nearly shook the room. "Then give me something else to think about," he called.

Ares reappeared. "You want to play those sort of games?" he asked with a small smile. "I am the fount of all things nasty and vile that way, young man. I've seen more than you ever will."

"Ah, but you have no idea what's going to get to me," Ron pointed out smugly.

"If you two want to play, we'll get out of the tub," Harry offered quickly.

"I'm not moving, I'm comfortable," Draco announced. "Let them play if they want. Ron could use a good shag again I'm sure. It's only been four days."

"Four days?" Ares asked, looking down at his chosen warrior. "Where was I?"

"Strife said it'd be okay," Ron said with a shrug. "Said you agreed."

"I'll discuss that with him later," he said firmly, stripping himself with a thought to his briefs and climbing into the water with them. Ron got comfortable on his seat and let Ares tower over him. "Do you feel better?"

"Not yet," Ron smirked.

Harry slid out and ran for his room, anxious to be somewhere else.

"He's going to have to get over that," Draco said in an amused tone. He closed his eyes and relaxed again. "Have fun. I probably won't interrupt."

Ares glared at him. "Keep it up. I can have Eris banned from the mortal realm for a few years."

"If you do, then I'll gladly have to find another to take her place until she comes back," Draco sighed. "It would be a pale comparison, but I'm sure I could find someone. Possibly a male." He shrugged. "Challenge me and let's see what I come up with."

Ares stared at him in shock. "You'd throw her over that way?"

"I'd never dream of throwing her over, it'd be a strictly sexual relationship. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if she were forced to be without my stunning company for years on end. After all, a miserable me would fulfill the Fates' prophecy and then I'd take your mate as well," he pointed out dryly. He smiled. "I'm sure we'd all like to avoid that."

"Yes, we would," Ron agreed, smiling at Ares. "How are you liking this 'hit with the arrow' thing, Ares?"

"Not in the least. I've never had trouble getting someone into bed before."

"And you're not now, but I'd still like some courting behavior. The popcorn was nice," he admitted with a grin. "I had most of it last night while I studied."

"You're welcome." Ares held out a hand and a large gold box appeared. "Chocolates?" He could see the drool starting so he opened the lid. "Toffees and fruits." A piece was picked up and nibbled on, and the boy's eyes rolled back into his head. "I see you do like," he said smugly.

"Very much," Ron agreed, giving him a kiss. He took the box and put it off to the side, pulling Ares up to sit beside him, in Harry's spot. He leaned against him and a toned arm went around his shoulders. He snuck another chocolate and groaned.

"Fine, give me one of those, so I don't have to listen to those noises," Draco demanded, holding out a hand. Ron handed one over and Draco moaned as well. "Shit. I wonder if my patron knows where those are? I'd even let her help me eat them," he mused, settling in again. "No screaming if you please, it'll wake the children."

Ares laughed. "You're such a bastard, Malfoy." Draco grinned at him. "Fine, I won't do anything to him now." He got another kiss and the area where the arrow had hit him tingled. "I've got to go thump Cupid for letting Bliss in those arrows. He's been hiding from me."

"Don't do that," Ron pleaded, giving him a begging look worthy of Draco's son. "He was only trying to help."

"He still knows better than to do that to me. Even on the Fates' orders." He created a small bottle and handed it over. "Use that the next time you think of me," he said, then he left.

Ron opened the bottle and sniffed. "Hmm. Oil that smells like him."

"It probably links back to him somehow," Draco offered. "Give me another of those chocolates, Weasley."


"Share, you blasted slut."

"Not a chance," Ron said, getting out long enough to hide them from the hedonist in the next room. He grinned at Harry. "He left, you can come back now."

"Not going to jump Malfoy?"

"If I was, we'd both get it from our patrons." Ron padded back into the bathroom and slid back into the water. "Ahhh," he sighed as it went up to his neck again. "I will miss this when school's over with."

"You'd have to pay me to let you use mine," Draco told him, eyes firmly closed.

Harry walked in and looked at the two smiling men. "This isn't much different than the time we did this and you were both preggers," he noted as he climbed back in.

"Yes it is," Draco argued. "I'm not falling asleep and cuddling you this time. You'll have to beg to get next to my fine and agreeable body."

"Agreeable?" Ron snorted. "You?"

"My body, not my attitude toward the both of you," Draco reminded him. "That is probably something that you'll never get across." He smiled again. "But I can see how this'll be fine for now."

One of the kids sniffled and Harry sighed. "I think it's probably my turn." A loud roar went off.

"Tell Tasha I said to go back to sleep," Ron said sleepily. "Like father like daughter."

"You'd better hope not or you'll be a grandfather in sixteen years," Harry snorted as he went to deal with the kids. One diaper change and a small hug then he was back. Both other men were asleep. He grinned as he called in his newest just-for-fun reading book, settling in to read for a bit.


Ginny walked into her brother's room and frowned at the pitiful sniffling. She went into the nursery first, giving each child a hug and a bottle from the stash in the cool cupboard. "What happened? Did they abandon you?" she cooed. The kids let her change their diapers then allowed themselves to be set on a couch, for now. She heard a small splash and went to the bathroom, frowning at the men lying curled together on one of the larger benches. Her brother's head was nearly underwater, Harry's was pushing it down. Draco was on the bottom, being cuddled like he was their blankie. She used her wand to summon her camera, the one her mother had gotten for her, and used it on them repeatedly as they started to wake up.

"Ginny," Harry grumbled, turning his head. "Go'way."

"I would but since I just rescued your children from the torturous existence of dirty diapers and starvation I believe I deserve a reward." The three men nearly ran her over as they went to check on their offspring. "Draco, shorts," she called with a laugh. He looked down and adjusted his trunks to cover himself, sending a short glare at her. "It's good to know that you're so comforting."

"Give me the camera," Ron threatened, stalking toward her.

"Not a chance," she laughed, running before he could get her. She ran right up the owlry, trusting Ron to have enough sense to want to put on clothes before stalking her around the school. By the time Harry found her, Hedwig was long gone, headed for her mother's tender mercies and the developers. She laughed and patted him on the shoulder. "Needed your broom?" she teased, skipping away. Ron pounced her and tickled her until she wet herself, then let her go, running back to the house before she could retaliate. Damn! Now she had to walk back to the tower like that! She pouted as she walked, but she would get the last laugh.


Ron walked off the train and his mother hugged him, handing him a picture as she took her granddaughter. "Ginny," he said, glaring at the laughing girl. "Just think, Harry's going to be up for a marriage later this year," he taunted. She went pale. He knew just where to hit her. "Jett, Snape, and Strife are picking her."

"We'll see about that," Harry said from behind him. He took the picture and glared at Ginny himself. "It's not like anything happened."

"But you three were so cute," Molly said, smiling at him. "Are you really up for an arranged marriage?" Harry grunted in annoyance but shrugged. "I'm sorry, dear, I'm sure I can talk Albus into at least letting you have some choice in the matter."

"I don't want it at all!" Harry whined. "I've got a plan for my life and I happen to like it at the moment."

"What did Neville say when you told him?" Ginny asked, moving closer to him.

"That he was really sorry for me too," Harry admitted. "I had to point out that he wasn't leaving the house for anything like this and he's happier again. Thinks he'll be in the way. Well, there's an attic room she can convert if we're forced to take on mates," he said firmly, tipping his chin up. "She can stay up there."

"Unless they find one who likes Missy and Neville," Ron offered. Harry nodded, smiling again.

"I'm sure we'll get it all straightened out. Harry, are you coming home with us, dear?"

"Just for a few days if you wouldn't mind. The furniture isn't in the new house yet," he said, giving her a hopeful look. "Then you can come over and nag them if you want, Mrs. Weasley."

"That'd be fine, dear. Come along, let's head to the cars." She followed them, shaking her head. That poor boy, he seemed so lost. He hadn't figured out yet that life didn't let you make concrete plans without throwing in a twist? She got them settled into the cars and headed off, smiling back at Harry and Ron, Ginny was in the other car. "There's a letter for you at the house, Harry. That nice detective sent it. I laid it out on the table for you."

"Thanks, Mrs. Weasley," Harry said with a smile. "Hopefully it's nothing bad."

"I doubt it could be. The inquest decided that Dudley had blown up that house," Ron reminded him. "What are they going to say? They take it back because your aunt was fussy?"

"With the way my day's been, let's hope it's good news," Harry said more firmly, staring at Ron.

"Good point," Ron said, nudging him. "Missy's sleeping, it's all uphill from here." Ron looked at his mother. "First the girls refused to be put down, fussed all night. Then when we took a nap on the train the girls decided to find Adonis or Neville, running down the hallways. One of the Prefects from Slytherin found them and started to make fun of them. Draco had to intervene and brought them back for us," he sighed. "Then Ginny was pulled back to watch over us because we were clearly incompetent at the moment to take care of the girls."

"I'm sure it was normal baby behavior," Molly soothed, smiling at them. "They know they're going to be without Adonis and Neville for a few months, they're sad. That's all that is." She turned around. "An owl came earlier as well, Harry," she said, just remembering it. "It's from the bank."

"With my luck it's an overdraw notice," he said dryly, slumping down in his seat. "Can anything else go wrong?"

"Yes," Ron and Molly said together.

"There's still those others who want to try and get Tasha," Ron pointed out.

"Plus your *romance* with that teacher," Molly said, looking back at her son, who had the grace to blush. "I don't mind him, Ron, but you're much too young for something like that."

"Mum!" He smirked. "At least it's not Malfoy. You said you could stand anything but that."

"Very true," she agreed, "but I didn't mean the big man in black leather, Ron. We'll have to set up boundaries for when you're at home this summer."

"Yes, mum," Ron agreed, slumping down himself. He saw the cabdriver's speculative look in the mirror and glared at him. "Don't even think about saying anything," he warned.

"Wasn't going to," the cabbie said cheerfully. He pulled off the main road to go to the town.

Harry looked out the window. "Aren't we going the wrong way?" he asked Molly.

"We have to stop in town for a moment, boys," Molly told them. "Then we'll nip on home."

Ron looked at his mother, starting to frown. "Ares?" he called. Ares appeared on the seat beside him, one arm across his back. "Did we forget anything back at the station?" he asked, sending the information on a prayer to his God.

Ares looked at Molly. "You know, it's funny, but I was just talking to your mother, who was wondering why you hadn't come off the train yet," he said, shooting both them with a small jolt of power. "Pull off the road and have the other cab pull abreast," he ordered. He let Ron snuggle into his side in thanks.

"Polyjuice," Harry groaned, holding his head. The other cab pulled up and Ginny got out, using her wand to remove their things then walking over to them. Then the other cab took off. He opened the door and helped her get everything settled.

"Guess we're getting a free ride this time, huh?" Ron asked the cabbie. He grinned at him, running a hand down Ares' thigh. "This is my big guy in leather."

The cabbie shuddered. "We're sorry, but we had to. They'll have to be stopped."

"Lucius was kissed last month," Harry reminded him.

"There's others."

"There will always be others," Ares told him firmly. "That's now someone else's job. Drive to the Burrow and let them off, then disappear." The cabbie nodded and started driving again. "So, Ron, what do I get for this wonderful rescue?" he teased.

"What did you want?" Ron asked, grinning back at him. "I am a frightfully good guy you know."

"So I've heard," Ares purred. Harry turned his head and made retching noises. "Keep it up, Potter. I'll make sure you marry Ginny."

"Not that I'd mind terribly, he's a very nice boy, but why would that be punishment?" Ginny asked.

"Because once you taste it, you're going to be much more like Ron and your mother, Virginia. It'll drive him positively insane." She smiled and licked her lips. "Ooh-ho, really?" Ares asked. She nodded.

"What?" Ron asked, a little slower on the uptake.

"I've kissed a boy already and I didn't find much wrong with it, but I'm sure Harry wouldn't like to hear about that. It must have been his frightful upbringing by those Dursleys."

"Well, they did like to have the lights off and all that," Harry admitted. "Never made a noise either."

"Done for procreation," Ares said, shaking his head. "What a waste of a night." He laughed. "Or a special nightie." Ron and Ginny both giggled and Harry blushed bright red. "Ah, home again," he said, pointing at the driveway. "There." The cabbie pulled in and Ares sent everything inside.

Ginny got out and made sure of it, finding her makeup case and Ron's 'special' box still in the back. She tipped the driver. "Never come near my niece again, her father's a real head case when it comes to his little girl." The driver nodded then sped away. She strolled into the house, watching as Ron and Ares settled Tasha on the living room carpet. "Ron, your toy box fell out," she said as she handed it to him. Tasha reached for it too.

"Not yet, you'll get your own some day," Ron chastised, looking inside. "Harry! They never gave it back," he said in disgust.

"It's presently a monument on their dining table," Ares informed them. "They think it's some sort of relic or a holy object at this point." Ron choked and Harry groaned. "They've decided to clean it off but since Harry gave it to them and Harry fixed Dobby's odd thoughts," he said with a grin at Harry, "they've decided that the nine inch flesh-like dildo will forever heal house elves of inappropriate thoughts."

"We've got to tell Hermione," Ron gasped, starting to laugh. "I want to see her face."

"Me too," Ginny said, shaking her head. "I'm going upstairs. Yell when Mum gets here."

"Check for the letters," Ron suggested, smiling at his God. "What did you want for the rescue?"

"How about...." Harry heard as he walked away, closing the door behind him so he wouldn't have to see or hear anything that might go on. Fortunately, the kids were sleepy and wouldn't witness it either. He found two letters on the dining room table. The first, from Gringotts, told him that the final paperwork on the house hadn't come through yet so he could not move in yet. He opened the second one and frowned at the nice letter and check. "Why did Marge give it to me?" he muttered, reading the letter closer. "Oh, she died. Stroke. Wonderful." He let it fall onto the tabletop in disgust. "Ewww. Now I have to take care of her dogs." He stood up and grabbed some floo powder, calling the department on the letter from Gringott's. "I thought we had this all straightened out," he complained.

"You're a minor," the goblin pointed out.

"I'm also an orphan with a daughter of my own," Harry said firmly. "I have no family in existence and nowhere to live if you don't approve this." The goblin looked at him so he lifted his bangs, showing off his scar. The goblin pulled over some paper and a quill, writing out a note and sending it over. "Thank you." He looked at the formal deed and smiled. "That was very nice of you. Do I owe anything else on it?"

"Not as far as we can tell. A formal accounting will be done in two days," the goblin said then the connection cut out.

Harry sighed in relief and relaxed on the floor. He could still hear laughter from the living room. Molly Weasley apparated in and he waved. "Hi. I hope it's okay if we stay for a few days."

"Of course it is," she said firmly, frowning at him. "Why wouldn't it be?"

"Just checking," Harry said with a smile. "Want a few dogs?" She looked confused. "Did you see my Aunt Marge during the inquest?" She thought then nodded, pulling out a chair to sit in. "Well, she died of a stroke when the final papers stating Dudley had caused it were delivered. I received her entire estate, including dogs." He grimaced. "Mean little biters need retrained."

"I'm sure you'll be able to find someone," she told him, giving him a smile. "Where are the others?"

"Ron's in the living room with Ares, rewarding him for the timely rescue and Ginny's upstairs."

"Ah." She nodded. "Harry, what are you going to do about this threatened action?"

"The marriage thing?" She nodded. "I'm ignoring it. I have no intention of marrying anyone I don't know well enough and haven't dated. That's just silly and so very wrong."

Molly patted him on the head as she stood up. "It's not so bad. Albus thinks he's found someone who might be to your liking."

"Mrs. Weasley, I'd almost rather wed Ginny, and I know she's over her crush on me," he told her. "I'm too young to be married."

"Well, you are a father," she pointed out. "Someone else being there would help both you and Neville."

"That's another thing, what do I do with Marge's house?" he pointed out.

"You could live in it," Ron advised as he strolled in. "Mum, do you remember me complaining about *certain* people," he said, glaring at Harry, "who stole one of my special toys?" Molly laughed and nodded, hugging her son. "It's now a monument in the kitchens. Supposed to fix wrong-thinking house elves because Dobby wants to work for Harry like a normal elf."

She burst out laughing. "Oh, dear, I wish I could see Minerva's or Severus' face when they see it for the first time."

"Or Dumbledore's," Harry said with a smirk. "Serves them right for cooking up this scheme to get me married off." He stood up. "The house is officially mine. I just heard back from them." Molly hugged him. "Thanks. The furniture is due in a few days. Do you want to come boss around the workers?"

"Why not," she agreed. "Ron, would you be willing to babysit Austin and Missy that day?"

"Not a problem," he agreed with a smile for his best friend. "What about Hermione and Neville?"

"I'm sure he'll move her in someday soon," Harry said firmly. "I don't want a wife." He looked at Ron. "You don't look rumpled."

"That's because I can redress myself fairly quickly," Ron pointed out smugly.

"Ron!" his mother said, giving him a swat to the side of the head. "What were you doing?"

"Rewarding him for his rescue?" Ron suggested with a grin for his mother. "The same way you would have done at my age, mum."

"Good point," she sighed, shaking her head. "We will be setting out rules, young man. There will be no more fooling around inside my house. The man's an adult, has houses all over, he can very well take you with him." Ron laughed. "Think that's funny?"

"No, Tasha interrupted by waking up. He said next time he's having me kidnaped from the dinner table and would beg for your forgiveness later."

"That's fine," she said firmly. "Nothing more here." She patted Harry on the cheek. "Are you hungry?"

"Not yet. We had stuff on the train," Harry said with a grin. "We can wait until Mr. Weasley comes home tonight."

"All right then. Go settle into Ron's room and make sure the girls are still sleeping. I'm going to fix myself a snack. I must have worried off breakfast," she said as she started eggs frying on the stove and put toast into the toaster with her wand.

Ron walked back to the front door and frowned. "Ginny!" he yelled. She came skipping down the stairs. "Put on shoes, someone figured out how to open a door," he called, racing outside. Fortunately, the kids were easy to find, they couldn't run that fast and didn't have shoes on. They were playing in some tall grass with a toad and some rocks they had managed to capture. "You two are in trouble," he said as he picked them up. Molly came running. "Here, take Missy. Where's Harry?"

"He ran out the back," she said, kissing Missy on the head. "Put down the frog, dear," she said as she carried her back inside. Ginny locked the door after them then went to find Harry. Molly took them into the kitchen and put them into their high chairs, taking her snack off the stove before it burned worse, then sat down to calm down again. "We'll have to watch that."

"How did they get it open?" Ron asked.

"I don't know," Molly told him. "This is about the beginning age for witches to start showing abilities. Boys usually do it about a year later," she told him, staring at the toad on her table. "Take that nasty thing out back," she told her son, sipping her newly made tea.

Ron enticed his daughter to let go of the toad. Then he walked to the back door and threw it without looking. Harry and Ginny both complained. He grinned at them. "Sorry, but your daughter seems to think that toads are fun, Harry."

"I'm sure I can cure that problem soon enough," he said, walking inside to hug his daughter. "What did you think you were doing?"

"I think she thought she was playing," Ginny told him. "Will your new place have frogs?"

"Not a one," Harry told her, smiling at her. "Besides, that was a toad."

"Whatever," she sighed, rolling her eyes and grabbing a glass to get herself some water. "Mum, did you need me to do anything today?"

"No, dear, go swimming if you're done unpacking."

"Okay." She winked at the girls, who had started their bath chants. "Nope, this is for big kids. No babies allowed in the pond."

"Too true," Ron agreed, staring at his daughter. "Your bath time is later tonight, my dear. Not now. The pond doesn't have an anti-drowning charm on it."

Molly looked thoughtful. "I'll have to reapply the one upstairs," she told him. He grinned. "Have you given any thought to what you're going to do after you graduate?"

"The Lady Eris suggested I set up a travel agency," Ron said with a grin. "Do portkeys and stuff for people."

"That would be helpful. Booking them rooms in advance," Molly agreed.

"Why? We do that ourselves," Ginny pointed out.

"Not everyone does," Molly told her. "We'll figure it out, Ron. I have a report on your strengths from Professor Snape. He handed me the packet as soon as he got off the train." She patted his hand. "Why don't you put them down in your room?"

"Because I don't know where the gates are," he told her.

"I put an anti-baby charm on the stairs. There's a barrier that prevents them coming down them on their own."

"Okay," Ron agreed, picking up his daughter. "Come on, Tasha, let's go nap." She flailed a bit and chanted 'no' at him but she went upstairs anyway. He closed the door on both girls, listening while they played, until they fell asleep on their own. He high-fived Harry and left them there.


Molly walked up the stairs after dinner, smiling at the quiet they had had. Both girls had slept through the meal and it was time to get them up. She knocked on Ron's door and opened it, but no children. She frowned and glanced around, heading for the bathroom. They liked to play in the tub, it was a reasonable assumption. No girls. Not in the other bedrooms or even Ginny's. She checked hers last, it had a slightly open door that she hadn't noticed when she walked up the stairs. As soon as she pushed open the door, she gasped. "Ron! Harry!" she yelled, bringing both fathers running. She pointed at the precious children, starting to laugh.

They had gotten into her makeup and had smeared it all over themselves in some baby marking ritual. They were chewing on her good pearls. They had pulled most of the covers off the bed. The pillows had been laid on by the lipstick marks on them.

Ron and Harry stood there, staring at the destruction two toddlers could do. "Bloody hell!" Ron said, glaring at his daughter. "You're in for it when you're old enough. Your grandmother's gonna tell everyone at every single family event what you did today." He walked in and looked at the mess. "Mum, are you missing anything?"

She looked around the room, nodding. "It appears I'm missing the earrings your father got me for our anniversary." She tried to summon them, but they weren't coming. Her eyes widened as she looked at the girls.

"I'm sure they'll come out the other end," Ron said firmly, glaring at his daughter, who held up the pearls with a smile. "Guess you're getting a long bath tonight," he told her. Both girls cheered.

Harry sneezed. "Did they get the perfume too or just dump it?" he asked.

Ron picked up Missy and sniffed, grimacing as he handed her over. "Yours, mate. Upended it I'd say." He sniffed his own daughter, who only smelled like baby and makeup. "Mum, we'll help you clean up in a few," he said, taking his daughter into the bathroom. Harry right behind him.

Ginny looked in at the mess, then clapped her mother on the back. "It's payback for the suggestion that I have a few," she said with a wink. "Divine retribution." She walked over to look in the bathroom, smiling at the rears wiggling as they worked to try and scrub the worst of the mess off before getting them into a bath. She giggled as she headed down to tell her father, he'd get a kick out of this one.

Molly groaned and leaned against the doorframe. "Why did I have children again?" she asked the ceiling.

Cupid appeared and gave her a hug. "Because you wanted to be entertained," he said with a grin. "Just think, they're not Gods, they can't affect other lives and they can't travel to other countries," he reminded her.

"Yes, a happy thought," she said with a smile for him. "Was she?" Cupid grinned and disappeared. "Damn those twins," she grumbled. "All their fault in the first place." She walked in to try and straighten out the mess the children had made. She and Arthur would have to sleep in Bill and Charlie's room until the perfume stench died off.

The End.