Year Six: The Head Of It All.
Alex looked up as someone opened his compartment on the train ride to Hogwarts for his sixth year, giving the boy standing there an amused look. "Mr. Finnigan."
"Mr. Birmingham," he said with a smirk. "Did you read the paper over the last week?"
"No. It's been mysteriously vanishing from the house for the past week and a half. I figured I would talk to the root cause of that tonight after dinner. Why? What's being said about me or Harry this time?"
Seamus closed the door and handed over the papers. "Dean and I talked, Alexander. We figured if you hadn't blown up the paper by now you probably didn't know."
Alex looked at the first one, then waved at him to open the carriage door. "DRACO MALFOY, GET YOUR BLOND ASS IN HERE NOW!!" he yelled, then licked his lips and nodded that the door could be shut again. He went back to reading the news, mentally working on which order he wanted to kill people in.
Up the train, Ron stuck his head out of his and Harry's compartment. "I thought he snored loudly," he complained. He saw a first year and smiled. "What's your name?"
Ron smiled at the sweet sounding little hellion, or future Hufflepuff, one of the two - no one else ever sounded so sweet. "Miss Engleworth, can you please go up two cars and find a kid about as big as I am? One wearing a green and silver tie?" She smiled and nodded, happy to be trusted with such an important task. "Tell whichever one you find that Alex is looking for Draco. He just yelled for him. Okay?" She nodded and skipped off. Ron pulled his head back in and shut the door, locking it. "I guess someone just showed Alex the papers."
"The ones that say he's behind Neville turning bad, Harry. Don't you still take the Prophet?"
"No. Remus does." He shifted some. "Should I yell, hide, or go kill someone?"
"No, he's going to be destroying them," Ron assured him. "Mum figured he either doesn't know about it or he's letting Malfoy handle it. Since he just yelled that way...." He shook his head. "Pity those reporters."
"Mm, me too," Harry agreed. Someone tapped on the door so he got up to answer it, smiling at the sweet-looking young girl. "Yes?"
"I found one of the boys about your height, sir, as requested. He said Draco isn't summoned like some house elf."
Harry handed her his spare chocolate frog. "Thank you, Miss Engleworth. That was very good of you." She beamed and went back to her compartment. Harry waved at Ron and walked down there, strolling really. A few people saw him and decided to run and hide, so apparently this was going to be another year of the Scary Harry Potter rumors. He walked into the Slytherin part of the train and looked at Zabini. "Alexander just screamed Malfoy's name," he noted dryly. Zabini sneered. "We think Alexander just saw the paper for the first time."
"Oh, bloody hell," Draco muttered. "We've been hiding it from him," he noted as he came out of his compartment. "Where is he?"
"Next to last, left side," Harry told him. "Who did she talk to?"
"One of the seventh years," Zabini admitted. "She's a cute little Hufflepuff in the making."
Harry smirked. "Remember, Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger both started out that way, as did Neville Longbottom." He went pale. "Now, what was said? Since I know you've got some contacts."
"What's it worth?" he sneered.
"Hmm, how about me not telling Mrs. Weasley Ginny used Sirius' house as a rendevous with you most of the summer? Since she's only got to fill in the name on the marriage contract and she's promised a fertility spell being done during the wedding itself. With a forced ritual breaking-in during it." He smiled sweetly. "Or how about I don't tell Alex you guys conspired not to tell him?"
Zabini shuddered. "Don't tell Mrs. Weasley."
"Done, mate. What's going on?"
"Alice Longbottom woke up," he said quietly, glancing around. "She couldn't believe that her son had done that. She swore up and down that it's something to do with that prophecy that included you three. Going on family reputations....."
"She knew my parents and knew James was a prankster but not that bad but Alex's Grams bites him on the bum from beyond the grave."
"Yeah," Zabini agreed. "It's *said* that the Headmaster is somehow involved."
"Then Dumbledore and I are going to be having another of those infamous chats where he needs a new office, huh?" he asked with a grin. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, Neville's going to be released next month. The headmaster wants him back in the school."
"That'll be more than interesting as well. He and Granger can team up since she's back as a fifth year. Thanks, Zabini. I never saw you." He walked off whistling, going to lean in Alex's compartment. "Draco, how much more do you know?"
"Everything I know Zabini probably told you." He looked at Alex. "We were going to tell you tonight."
"I'd rather have known a week ago," he said firmly, staring his boyfriend down. Draco swallowed and nodded. "Harry, anything else to add?"
"Did he tell you the Headmaster's somehow involved and is trying to get Neville back when he's released next month?"
"Who told you that?" Draco asked.
"Zabini." He looked at Alex. "I suggested he can team up with Granger since she's a fifth year."
Alex considered quickly, then looked at his mate. "When we get in, I'm going to call my lawyer. I'm suing the hell out of everyone for this, for a start."
Draco shuddered, he knew that tone of voice. It was the only thing his Grandmother had ever taught him. "Need Mum's help?" he offered.
"Oh, no. I shouldn't," he promised with a small grin. "I'm going to enjoy the destruction and sit back while cackling pleasingly as the Prophet burns."
"I'll make popcorn," Harry promised. "Need me? I'm gonna go hide with Ron."
"Go," Draco told him, frowning at his back. "You're going to let him help and not my mum?"
"No. This time I'm going to enjoy burning them down myself. Narcissa and Harry can both have ringside seats for it." He patted the seat next to him. "Want a cuddle?"
"Sure." He locked the compartment and sat down next to him, letting him cuddle. Maybe he could calm him down so the destruction was minimized or his mother was allowed to help. She really did love destroying things.
Alex walked into the Great Hall for the feast, nodding at his father.
"Mr. Birmingham, why were you tardy?" the headmaster called.
"Because I had to file a suit against the Prophet and all the idiots who decided I somehow had something to do with Neville Longbottom going dark," he announced. "I'm going to own the Prophet by the time I get down with them and their supposed sources." He looked alarmed. "And anyone who helped with that shite!" He sat down, smiling at the first years. "Don't worry, it's all good," he promised calmly. "The Daily Prophet prints anything as long as they sell newspapers. They haven't printed the real and full truth on anything since Harry gave that interview and scared them half to death." They nodded and dug back in. He smiled at Harry. "They think you're going to protect them. I offered them a chance to interview me and retract their prior trash. They refused. There's now a ten billion galleon lawsuit against them, the Ministry, and unnamed conspirators and sources."
"Is there that much money in the world?" Ron asked. "I can't even imagine that high."
Alex smirked. "There is, it's in the bank in Diagon. I pointed out in it that the unreasonably high amount was because they had now tarnished my family's good name, what was left of it, and in doing so had caused irreparable harm that no money could make up for. Since I'm the one restarting the family's good name....." Then he smirked a bit. "I also named a former Minister For Magic that's had his paranoid little hand in this whole thing."
"I'm glad it wasn't me," Ginny said blandly, looking at him. "So, what'll you do with the Daily Prophet once you own it?"
"Make them either print the truth or burn to the ground. Those will be their choices," he said firmly. She giggled at that. He glanced around, then at her. "Where's your mentoring case?"
"In her room. She had a headache."
"Hmm. Still in the dungeons?"
"No she's back in the tower," she sighed. She looked at Nary Goyle, Greg's former stepmother and now girlfriend of Vincent Crabbe. "Don't take any shit off her and I want to know immediately if she tries to insult you or starts doing suspicious stuff. You're a good watcher, Nary."
"Of course," she agreed, smiling at her. "You think she'll try something?"
"Within days," Ginny assured her. "She always has." Nary nodded at that and went back to eating. She looked at Alex again. "You okay?"
"No. But I'll be happier in a few days when it goes to trial."
"Already?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, when you call the Ministry out in public they either put you off as long as possible or, if they know they're wrong, they want it done with as soon as possible to minimize the scandal and keep your barrister from finding out the still-hidden stuff. So I'm predicting by next Tuesday since the amount I'm suing them for would bankrupt them and destroy all the reputations and the trust in that building." He ate a piece of chicken. "Oh," he said, looking up at the head table. "I've got to tell McGonagall a few particulars tonight."
"Like what?" Harry asked.
"I'm calling the Sorting Hat as a witness about why it wasn't me."
"You can do that?" Ron asked.
"They've called paintings before, legally. The Sorting Hat is just as sentient and it's not likely to be suddenly misplaced." He cut up another bite and ate it. "I have no idea what I want to do after I graduate. Do I really want to work?"
"No," Harry told him. "You want a hobby that you occasionally get paid for. Working for real means that you do it all the time, every day, for the rest of your life."
"Yeah, that sounds bad," Alex admitted. "How about you, Ron?"
"Mate, some of us *have* to work or we'll starve and be homeless," he reminded him patiently. "Unless you're suddenly going to give my family a large endowment?" Alex shook his head. "I didn't think so." He grinned at him. "Bready is doing fantastic. She and mum were making preserves yesterday. She did the garden this summer and we had so much stuff I'm surprised some didn't get sent your way." Alex grinned at that.
"Sirius bought her for your parents, Ron."
"I know, but I'm sharing the good news. She's taken to wearing one of Bill's old shirts. He's due in next week."
"Cool. Is he coming up for a visit?"
"Mum said she'd try really hard to keep him away," he offered with a grin.
"You can use our common room," Alex assured him. "I'll be in there working on my newest project. Oh, we're adding a second layer of security starting tonight. The artifact I'm undoing is under goblin custody tonight and then tomorrow it'll be in our rooms in a locked case. The headmaster and McGonagall already agreed. We're going to have a password and a locking spell. I'll teach you both the release tonight. It'll also keep certain wenches from our rooms."
Harry nodded. "As long as you don't change it without warning," he agreed. "What are you working on?"
Alex glanced around, then leaned closer. "I'm working on something called Merlin's Chest." He sat back down, watching their stunned looks. "It's got a special locking spell on it and none of the curse breakers can do it. We think it's another form of magic, Draco thinks Chaos. We're unraveling it after studying it. We've made two attempts and managed to fray the protection around it. We think about four more good sessions will have it open and bobbing in front of us."
"What's in it?" Ron asked.
"His grooming kit," Alex said with a grin. "Plus one of his diaries it was thought. It's his old traveling kit bag." Ron nodded, digging back in. Since it wasn't dangerous it didn't matter to him. "If we get this, then we get the rest of the set to work on." Harry choked at that, giving him a long look. "We'd have to go there to work on his component case, Harry. The goblins would never let that out of the bank."
"Point," he admitted, wiping his mouth. "Do you think you can?"
"I do. Draco and I did very well together fraying it. It only took us a day so we're thinking we can do the rest over the holiday."
"If you do, I want my picture taken with you, just once," Ron begged. "It'll look good to others."
"You can take notes or something," he offered with a grin. "We bored Greg and Vinnie all summer." Harry nodded at that, he had been too. "See."
"Sure, mate. Thanks," Ron said with a grin. "Would that make me an assistant?" Alex nodded.
"Please, don't include him," Draco called.
"Just to take notes. An assistant, Draco."
"Fine," he complained. He shook his head and looked up at his head of house. "Save me," he mouthed. Snape shook his head. "Bastard," he muttered. Snape smirked and nodded. Draco looked at him and then blatantly put his wand on the table. Snape got up and left. Draco went up to the head table. "So, who was that since it wasn't Professor Snape, and can Alex hunt him down? He needed something to do tonight other than teach Potter and all them the new locking charm on our suite."
"That was Harry's girlfriend," McGonagall said dryly. "Professor Snape is still in London for tonight with the case."
"The goblins have it."
"There was an attempt to keep it from being removed," she said honestly.
"Because of the paper?" he asked. She nodded. "He's suing them and everyone involved. Down to unnamed sources and others who've had a hand in this theory of idiocy. He named the figure of a billion or more galleons since they're trashing what little of the family's name he's managed to clear." He smirked a bit at her, she had been good to them. "We need to go over our notes with you lot as well."
"That'd be fine. You can come down and touch the old bag too," he offered with a cheeky grin before walking off, leaving her snickering at the pun. Alex was his wife and she did like to hug him...
Alex looked up as the door opened, waving a hand at the redhead standing there with the teacher behind him. "Ron's in the loo. Come in, sit down."
"Who're you?" he asked as he walked in. "I'm Charley. Bill's behind me somewhere."
"I'm Alexander Birmingham," he said, shaking his hand. "Sorry, I'm working on our special project and I just found the section I think we need. Ron, one of your brothers is here!"
"In a minute! I'm removing that fluff stuff Harry covered me in!"
Alex shrugged and grinned at the teacher, who looked amused. "I don't know how Harry did it," he admitted. "Not a clue. I think he was learning house elf magic." Professor Flitwick nodded. "You might want to yell at him before I turn him into one for doing it to me?" he suggested dryly, smirking at his favorite teacher.
"I've already had a talk with Mr. Potter," he assured him. He came in and left the door open. "What did you find?" Alex handed him the book. "We tried that."
"Yeah, but if we warp the chaos spell that way, it'll undo the bands around the stupid thing. Then we can get the latch open and it'll be done." Flitwick looked at him. "I'm actually very good at designing stuff like that. Draco does amazing at designing hexes and curses and I'm good at warping rites, rituals, and spells. Plus the odd charm now and then. Did that one I gave you work?"
"It did. It managed to clean all the old stuffing out of the pillows without harming the fabric, and then refilled it with new. What would you use that on?"
Alex shrugged. "I don't know. I got the idea after sex."
Flitwick smirked a bit. "I've often had odd thoughts myself after that institution." He patted him on the arm as he handed the book back. "Good boy, Alexander."
"Thanks, Professor. Want to stay while I make an attempt? Since my note taker is going to be busy?"
"You won't need to think about it?"
Alex grinned. "You know very well I don't think about things before I do them. Didn't you hear McGonagall screaming that at me after breakfast?"
Charley grinned at him. "You sound like one of us."
"The families haven't intermixed in about three generations," Alex assured him with a wicked smirk. "Ron! Your brother just suggested I dump Draco and have you instead."
Ron came out of the bathroom. "I like girls, Alexander, not poofters like you," he said fondly, smirking back. "Charley?" Charley grinned and nodded. "I thought Bill was coming up. Or was Mum's memory going?"
"No, I'm a surprise. McGonagall's got Bill and is walking him up."
"Ah." Ron flopped down, looking at the professor and his suitemate. "Go play."
"Fine. Make me go crack that," Alex sighed, getting up and heading to the case. He opened it and Flitwick came over to help him move the silver tray it was sitting on back to a corner of the suite usually reserved for sweets. "Can I get a workroom?" he asked as they moved it. "Twirly was really mad that I took the sweets table to work on and Harry's littering the coffee table too much for her to leave food there."
"We'll see. If you can do this, perhaps." He watched as Alex lit out the candles on the temporary altar, noticing his precision while working. "If you manage this, you'll have to celebrate."
"Sirius promised me dancing boys and liquor," he said with an impish grin at the people coming in. "Give me ten. Don't interrupt." He closed his eyes.
Bill stared. "I know that thing," he said in awe. "I helped dig it up."
"He's breaking the charms so it can be opened," Ron said proudly. "He got bored so they had to make him study other stuff too." He got up and hugged him. "Welcome back to civilization."
"Thanks," he said, grinning at him. "Why are you down here?"
"You want the long or the short?" Ron teased as he sat down, letting Bill have Alex's chair.
"Not the blue one. That's mine," Alex ordered. "Ron says it holds gay boy cooties." Bill snickered but got up and switched to beside Charley. "Thanks, mate." He got back to his silent chanting, then suddenly smiled and flicked open the closure, waving a hand. "Tada," he said simply, grinning and walking back to his seat. "Dobby!" he called. He appeared, looking astonished. "Hey, Dobby, can you tell the Headmaster to call Gringotts about the bag? Have the overseer come *right now*? As in it's an emergency?" He grinned. "Then can you bring me some milk and some toast? My stomach's upset." Dobby nodded his head and disappeared. The toast and milk appeared about five minutes before anyone else. Alex pointed at where Flitwick was looking at the bag. "Done," he announced, stunning them all. "It's open." He nibbled on a corner of his toast, watching as the goblin ran over, dragging Bill up and over to see it with him.
Ron stared a minute. "What should I put in the notes?"
"Bergman theory of compassion and compulsion warps the chaos spell to open the bands and it dissolved. He made it so only he and his girl could open it." He ate another bite of toast, grinning at the stunned headmaster. "When am I due in court?"
"Tomorrow at ten," McGonagall reminded him, leaning down to kiss him on the cheek. "I'm very proud of you, Alexander," she said with a smile. "Should I tell your father?"
Alex shook his head with a smirk. Dobby came back with another goblin so he pointed at the bunch of people over there. It nodded and headed over to look, then stared at him. He grinned at his vault manager. "I just opened it."
"Congratulations," he praised. "Well done. The Wizengomet has asked for a summary of certain finances. We were wondering why."
"Because I'm suing their asses. I'm tired of them," Alex said firmly, staring him down. "Or don't you read the Prophet either?" He shook his head. "They've accused me of being the reason Longbottom turned dark."
The goblin arched an eyebrow up. "Really?" Alex nodded and ate another bite of toast then drank some more milk. "How much should I expect in your account?"
"I'm suing for ten billion galleons. So somewhere near that hopefully," he offered with a grin.
"We'd have to move your vaults again," he noted. "Anything over six thousand and we'd have to move it. That would mean you'd have to start paying vault rental fees."
"Mate, if I get a million or more, I'm going to roll around it in for a bit," he promised with a grin. The goblin quirked a small smirk and nodded once at that. "Grenthor, I need to know when I can come for the rest of it."
"Come back early from the holidays," he offered. "We'll be doing the inventory and evaluation on this until then." He held up a crystal. "Can you tell what's in this?"
Bill felt it. "It feels like that nasty chaos stuff." He handed it delicately to Alex, who was holding out a hand. Then he gasped as he tossed it back to the goblin. "That's got to be fragile."
"It's a quartz crystal, relax," he ordered. "Yeah, it was chaos, something dragon feeling." The goblin nodded, making note on the bag it put it into. He grinned at Bill. "Relax. That was his shaving kit." Bill nodded and went back to looking. He grinned at Charley. "Sorry to have interrupted the reunion. I can go jump my boyfriend if you want."
"You're gay?" Charley asked.
"As any Auntie's hat at Easter," he offered with a wicked smirk. Charley giggled at that.
"Please don't get started on aunts and hats," Ron pleaded. "Patrice has an aunt who *always* wears this hat with a cow on it." Alex snickered, finishing his milk. "Go play and brag, Alex. Be a good Gryff. Keep the Slytherins out."
"Sure." He got up and handed the headmaster his plate and empty glass with a grin at him. "I'll be at dinner, I promise." He headed out and downstairs. Draco and Snape were brewing something together so he stuck his head into the classroom. "Honey, why would a wizard keep a crystal with dragon feeling chaos magic in his shaving kit?" he asked.
Snape dropped his spoon, turning to stare at him. "You got it open!"
"Just a few minutes ago. By the way, there's two spare Weasleys in the suite, honey. Plus two goblins." He grinned and waved. "I'm off to play in the sun. Wanna come?"
Draco walked over and kissed him. "I'll reward you later," he said with a smirk.
"Good, the trial starts tomorrow. Take notes for me, 'kay?" he offered. He headed off, going out to the courtyard. He found Harry talking with Granger and ignored her. "Harry, two of Ron's brothers just showed up if you wanted to chat with them. Where are Greg and Vinnie so I can give them some space?"
"Good afternoon, Alexander," Hermione said firmly.
He ignored her. "By the way, I opened it so there's also some goblins and I'll be gone for a few days starting tomorrow for that trial," he reminded him, heading that way.
Harry grinned at Hermione. "I'm off to see which brothers showed up. Want to come?"
"I doubt I'm allowed."
"That's fine then, I'll make sure they stop up to say hi and see Ginny too," he promised, heading back to the suite at a happy run. No one panicked because he was grinning. He ran into Charley, giving him a hug. "You're leaving already?"
"No, they're removing it and needed some room," he offered with a grin, patting him on the back. "At least you've grown some."
"A bit," Harry offered, grinning at Ron. "She just tried to talk to Alexander. He ignored her."
"Good! I'm not sure I don't want to slap her senseless," Ron assured him. "Even after all this time. How stupid was she, Harry?"
"I'm checking to make sure she's back to normal, Ron."
"I doubt it's possible. She should be resorted."
"Draco said she's not allowed near the Slytherins."
"For all I care, she can go join Vicktor at Drumstang," he said firmly. "I'm going to have Alex make it so she can't walk into the rooms. I'm sorry, Harry, but I don't want to think about her trying again."
"Who?" Charley asked. "What's going on?" Charley asked. "You never told me why you're down here, Ron."
"Percy," Harry told him.
"Percy? Our brother Percy?" Charley asked. Ron nodded. "What did *he* do? I think I need the longer explanation."
"Had us kicked out of the house," Ron told him. "For saving Harry's life from Neville." Charley blinked, looking really confused. "Once we can get back inside, I'll tell you all about it, Charley. After this court case I doubt it'll flare back up again."
"It had better not," Harry promised. He saw McGonagall coming out of the room smiling. "Professor, I heard a nasty rumor that Neville's coming back when he's released. Is he?" She nodded, pursing her lips. "To the house?" She nodded once. "Should I plan on moving back?"
"No, I think it'll be fine," she assured him, smiling and patting him on the cheek. "You can go back in now. They flooed and everything reached the bank. Where's Alex?"
"He was outside telling Greg and Vinnie to give Ron and I some space," he offered with a grin. "Then again, Granger tried to talk to him and he ignored her."
"Oh, shit," she muttered, heading out at a dead run. She found Madam Sprout restraining the girl and Alex being held by Greg. "What's happened now?" she demanded, panting a bit. She looked at Alex, then at Granger, then back at Alex. "Gregory?"
"Granger came up and touched him on the shoulder. He told her, literally, to bugger off. She gave him a hurt look and started to chastise him about how she was trying to help him. He called Madam Sprout and told her if she wasn't an evil woman could she please remove the one that was. She tried, Hermione hexed her. Lovegood unhexed her and she grabbed Granger to drag her off, and now they're both frozen thanks to a rebounding charm Granger cast. Alex has shields up and I can't let him go. We're rather stuck." She moved forward and bounced into his shields. "He's stunned, professor."
"I'll get Mr. Malfoy," she promised, heading back inside. Then she got wise. "Winky, I need Professor Snape and Mr. Malfoy immediately," she ordered when a house elf appeared at her summons. She nodded and hurried off. Those two came strolling up. "Alex has up a shield. Granger tried him." There was not much that got either of them to run, but that simple sentence was more than enough. Draco hurried to his mate. Snape hurried to try to get poor Professor Sprout free. She called Flitwick down from his happy dancing and floating around in his classroom. "Alex knows how to create firm shields." He came down and ran out as fast as he could.
She got out there in time to see Alex let his shield go and turn to hug Greg and Draco holding him from behind. She relaxed and they went to help Professor Sprout, who was finally uncursed and let free. She burst out crying and came over to hug Alex too. That told her all she needed to know. "Gentlemen, please take her to the headmaster's office," she ordered calmly. "Frozen is fine. We can undo her up there." They nodded, carrying her inside. She was resisting all magic done on her. She walked over and smiled at Alex. "It's all right," she soothed. "I'm going to be screaming all night at that girl." He looked up at her and she nodded. "I promise. Draco, take him back to bed. Greg, Ron's two brothers are in."
"That's fine. They can have our common room. Come on, Alex." Draco helped him get the poor boy inside.
Madam Sprout wiped off her cheeks. "At least he didn't attack her," she offered.
"No, I didn't think he would," she admitted, giving her a brief hug. "It's all right. Do you want to get some yelling in as well?" She shook her head. "Then you should probably have Poppy check you over, just in case, dear." She nodded, heading that way, still sniffling a bit. McGonagall looked around, feeling magic around there. "I can feel you," she called. Neville came out of hiding. "How did you do that?"
"A light shield. I learned it off Hermione." He walked forward. "I'm the reason she's frozen. It's wandless magic." He looked at her. "Is Alex pissed?" She nodded. "It wasn't me."
"I doubt you're going to be able to tell him that in person," she admitted dryly. "Up to the office, Mr. Longbottom. Special accommodations will be made available." He nodded, following her inside. They met the headmaster. "He said he froze her."
"I'm sorry, sir, but she was going to cast another hex even though that one rebounded and froze Madam Sprout. I didn't want her to kill anyone and she was at the second 'c' in crucio." He nodded, looking grave. "They released me early for the trial and I was told to report here. An auror made me a portkey."
"As you should have been," he agreed. "Upstairs, Mr. Longbottom. We'll be talking tonight." He nodded, heading through the door Professor McGonagall had opened. Dumbledore looked up. "I'm retiring," he told the painting up there, one of Merlin. Who nodded. "Thank you." He walked up his own stairs, looking at the assembled people, including the reporter. "Why are you here?"
"I heard Mr. Birmingham and Mr. Malfoy managed to unblock Merlin's Traveling Chest."
"They did," he agreed. "They're in no state to offer a statement. Call back later so Mr. Potter or Mr. Weasley can. Mr. Weasley has been their assistant and taking their notes." She nodded, leaving through the floo. He sat behind his desk, looking at everyone. "Mr. Longbottom, please uncurse her." He nodded and waved a hand, making her go limp, then burst out crying. "Where is Professor Sprout?"
"I sent her to the infirmary," McGonagall offered quietly. "I thought she'd need it."
"That's very wise of you," he agreed. "Thank you." He looked at the two male professors. "Professor Snape, please do the preliminary interview for Mr. Longbottom's file." He nodded once and walked the boy off. "Professor Flitwick, did you want to stay?"
"No, that's fine. How is Alexander?"
"Fine. Alex is being taken care of by Draco and Mr Goyle," McGonagall told him. "Draco is putting him to bed."
"That's fine. I'll pop in on them later," he promised, nodding at his colleagues. Then he left, going to write an entry into his journal.
Alex came back two days later, wearing the Sorting Hat and giggling. He smiled at the teachers meeting him, taking it off and presenting it to McGonagall. "He said it's not often he gets out of the school, and some of the Ministry officials were quite rude, as he knew they'd be when they were younger." He presented her with a letter. "I'm going to figure out if one can actually bathe in gold." He walked off, going to present his honey with the official ruling, that had just been a copy of the announcement for the paper. He grinned as he walked into his room, everyone staring at him. "Longbottom, why are you in here?"
"I'm sorry, Alexander. I never said that."
"So you said yesterday. That's fine. I don't blame you. I blame the people responsible. Namely Fudge." He handed Draco the ruling, sitting down in his usual chair and pulling Draco onto his lap. Draco smiled and kissed him, making him grin back. "Not only was the Daily Prophet to run a front page, headline only, retraction, they were to run a special announcement from the judges. They are also to pay me three year's profit for ruining what remained of the good name of the family and what I had been trying to rebuild. The Ministry is now forfeiting a hefty sum as well," he said with a fond smirk for Harry. "You were included in that since Fudge started going off that he was going to pit us against each other. Then he was going to kill the winner and be the new hero of the wizarding world. He admitted, under truth serum, that he had planned the compulsion scheme and all that. He's going to be kissed by a dementor within a few weeks. My lawyer asked him if he was behind Sirius not getting a trial, at Sirius' request, and he admitted he was." Harry's mouth fell open. "I allowed the judge to give his forfeited estate to Sirius and his family. I think he gave it to Remus. His testimony lasted ten hours yesterday. He admitted to duping and pressuring the headmaster or else he'd have Hogwarts closed and all that good stuff."
"He couldn't do that," Ron complained.
"Yes he could," Draco argued. "Fudge was a death eater. Three-quarters of the school's board are death eaters. He could and would have, Ron." He grinned at his mate again. "I'm so proud of you."
"That's good because we've got to switch vaults again, and now I'm going to have to start paying vault rental fees. Can you actually swim in galleons?"
"Probably not, they're not very fluid. They're too hot when they're melted," he said thoughtfully. "We can ask mum. She wanted you to call so she could pout because you didn't let her attend and sit with you."
"I told her why not," he said firmly. "She's got to listen sometimes," he complained. Draco snickered and shook his head. "Yes, she does. We're not working on the other stuff. Bill got it open once he found out how we had." He stole a kiss and grinned. "Longbottom, do you like watching me kiss my betrothed?"
"Well, you are pretty together," he offered dryly. "Can you help me study Charms?"
"I'm not tutoring this year," Alex said, looking at him. "Not anyone."
"Alex..." Harry started.
"I don't have time, Harry. My special projects are taking all my time right now." Draco gave him another kiss. "Fine, ours."
"I have free time."
"I don't seem to. Even my last Transfiguration paper was on that stuff."
"So was mine, but we can figure that out later. It's possible, Longbottom, but we'll need to see." He nodded and left them alone. He looked at Potter once they were alone. "A new charity case?" he asked sarcastically.
"He's trying to return to the side of good, Draco," Ron reminded him.
"Trying." Greg shrugged. "He seems kinda normal but unless I hear it from an expert, I'm not going to trust it."
"Ask Dad, Greg," Alex ordered. He nodded. "He'd know." Ron and Harry accepted that. He looked at Draco again. "You know that remaining cursed jewelry stuff?" He grimaced and nodded. "Should we work on that next?"
"We can," he admitted. "We'd have to have it remade into something nicer. I don't think I could stomach seeing anyone wear most of those. They're hideous."
"No one ever said evil had good fashion sense," he said blandly, grinning at his mate. "You sure? It'll mean we'll have cursed artifacts in here all the time."
"What were you thinking about doing?" Draco asked.
"That one leather jewelry box."
Draco considered it then nodded. "Fine. We can do most of it over the holidays while in Gringotts." Alex grinned and nodded. "When is it coming?"
"As soon as I call and they announce it to Dumbledore. Probably with our vault manager tonight."
"Fine," he agreed again, stealing another kiss. "You deserve a reward."
"I do, don't I?" he asked with a grin. "I have slain the evil in the land and made it safe once again for unwitting Hufflepuffs and baby Slytherins." Draco snorted and stole a real kiss, making him moan and grab him. "Bed," he ordered.
"Yes, please," Harry said tolerantly. "I don't need to have a practical demonstration of gay sex."
"Why, think you'd enjoy it?" Draco sneered.
"Well, not really. I seem to like funny haired aurors," he replied smugly, leaning back and getting comfortable again while they went to Draco's bedroom.
"At least they use a silencing charm," Ron teased. Harry blushed and slunk down some. Then he got up and ran out to head to the Great Hall for dinner. Ron snickered and put up his things before heading down. "We're going to dinner," Ron yelled. Greg and Vinnie joined him, leaving the couple to get loud for a bit. He ran into his girlfriend in the hall, crying. "What's wrong?" he asked, pulling her into a hug. "What's happened? Did someone pick on you?"
"No! My dad hates yours," she sobbed against his chest. "He's trying to stop us from being together."
"Bugger," Ron muttered, earning a pinch. He grinned down at her, wiping her cheeks off. "Don't you worry. My mum and your mum are scary women and scary women rule the world. Just like you will some day." She smiled a bit at that. "You tell your mum and my mum tonight. You can come use our floo if Draco and Alexander aren't making too much noise." She blushed and nodded. "Good girl, Patrice. Why doesn't he like my dad?"
"He hates Harry because he's thinks Fudge was a great man."
Ron blinked, holding back the comment he wanted to make by biting his tongue.
She kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for not insulting my father, Ron." He nodded, kissing her. She licked her lips. "You bit too hard," she teased with a grin. "I can really come down and call them both? I like your mum, she's a neat woman."
"Yeah, you can," he agreed, walking her inside, arm around her shoulders. He saw her older sister's heated look but shrugged and helped her into her seat, then went back to his own while the sisters talked. From the looks of things, Hannah had gotten the letter first so he looked at Ginny. "Patrice is coming down to call both our mothers tonight."
"Giving bad news?" she asked hopefully.
"No, her da liked Fudge."
Ginny raised an eyebrow. "Then I take it the daughters have more sense?" He nodded, hissing as he drank some juice. "Bit your tongue?"
"I didn't want to insult her father, Ginny. She'd hit me."
"Don't you mean hate you?" Dean asked.
"No, she'd hit me, mate," Ron assured him dryly. "I've got a girl like my mum." All the guys laughed at that. "Since we'll be calling mum anyway, you wanna come down and chat?" he asked his sister. She shook her head. "You sure?"
"I just sent her a letter, Ron."
"Fine." He smiled at his girl when she looked over. She grinned and ducked her head, getting back to eating. He pulled over some soft food so he wouldn't have to use his poor tongue too often. Harry pulled his wand and cast a healing charm, making Ron grin at him. "Thanks."
"She'll probably expect more kissing later," he noted. He looked at Ginny. "Alexander's back."
"I heard the rumors. How did it go?"
"He about owns the Prophet," Ron told her. She giggled. "It's coming out tomorrow." She nodded, smiling at him. "We'll have to read the announcement."
"We should save him a copy if he doesn't get up in time," she offered.
"I doubt he's going to make it to class tomorrow," Ron agreed dryly, eating a bite of dinner while Harry coughed. "You okay, Harry?" he asked with a grin.
"I don't think he'd make it to the infirmary for those sort of injuries, Ron."
"He might not have a choice," Ron reminded him. "I take Draco as a kinky guy who likes straps and cuffs and stuff." Harry choked again and Ginny had to clap him on the back until he calmed down. "You okay there, Harry?"
"I'm going to smother you in your sleep, Weasley," he warned hoarsely. "Don't do that to me!"
"Sorry, Harry," he offered with a grin. "You don't think he's like that?"
Harry moaned and refilled his plate and his glass of juice, then got up and to sit in the hall and eat. That way he didn't have to think about those thoughts.
"What did you do, Mr. Weasley?" Professor McGonagall asked as she came down.
"Suggested Alex might not be able to walk tomorrow. Do you think Draco's a kinky sort who likes straps and the like? I know I've caught handcuffs," he offered.
She blushed and shook her head. "I don't think about such matters," she noted, going to join Harry in the hall and check on him. He would help banish that image before she extrapolated and started to wonder about Severus and it being part of the family.
Alex wandered into the infirmary the next morning and laid down on a bed, hissing a bit. The nurse walked over to look at him. "No more sex?" he whispered. "Please?"
"Are you all right?" she asked patiently. He shook his head. "Why not?"
"I've got a sore bum," he said pitifully, barely raising his head. "Draco's an animal!" He wished he could take a picture of her face. Ron had suggested this. "Can I please nap? I need a nap and a soak."
She ran her wand over him and blushed bright red when she got the results. "Mr. Birmingham!" she said, looking shocked. He gave her a sheepish grin. "What did you do?"
"I don't know what it's called, but it was awfully fun until I woke up," he admitted. "I only got an hour of sleep, ma'am."
"Go back to your room and soak in the bathtub. At least you're not torn or anything like that." She swatted him as he walked out, noticing how he was walking. You couldn't fake that sort of walk. That poor boy! She'd have to get onto Sirius to remind Draco to be more gentle with his lover! She went to her office and slammed the door, flooing him immediately.
Draco looked up as the owl floated down at dinner that night, looking at it. "Hello, Flirt." He took the letter. "Thank you." She hooted and flew off. He opened it and read it, then burst out laughing. He'd have to make Alex pay for that later.
Vinnie looked, then blushed. "What did you do to him?" he asked.
Draco smirked. "A lot. How's Nary?" Vincent blushed. "Good." He got up and walked over to his mate, ignoring the other Gryffindors. He handed him the letter. "She complained about what I did to you. So I suppose that means I should....."
"The proper word is apologize," Ron told him. "I know it's a foreign concept, but it's where you say 'I'm sorry' and mean it," he offered with a smug look. "Did your mum throw a fit about the kinky sex?"
"No, Pomfrey called Black and he reminded me how to treat those sort of things so Alex wouldn't traumatize the nurse again. Apparently she was still blushing while she ranted at him." He gave his boyfriend a knowing look. "He complained that he only ever talks to us about sex stuff."
"She ran the check spell, I didn't have to describe anything," Alex defended.
"Yes, but you probably enjoyed showing off your ...wounds," he said with a smirk.
Alex just smirked at him. "I'll apologize when I bring you in tomorrow," he promised. Draco smirked and went back to his seat.
Draco moaned as he wandered into the infirmary, falling face first onto a bed. The nurse came over and tried to help him onto his back but he hissed and swatted at her. She did the check spell and grimaced, covering him up before going to complain once again. This time Sirius came over to look at him. He snickered a bit and leaned down, whispering in Draco's ear. His answer was a groan and a small nod. Sirius looked at the nurse. "The best thing for him is for his mate to pamper him while he lounges in a bath. I'll talk with him myself once you get him."
She glared at him. "How much longer will this go on?"
"If they're lucky, their whole life," he said happily. "Where is the little Casanova now?"
"In Potions," she said grimly. "I can't keep treating these sort of things."
He smirked a bit. "You'd think you'd never seen anyone having good sex before," he teased.
"Not with those sort of..of...of complications!" she complained hotly. "That's not normal!"
"Poppy, I've had the same thing many mornings," he said patiently. "Sure, they're very energetic. They're probably going much harder and longer than most of the kids since they're not worried about being caught by a teacher." She blushed at that. "Poppy, how did you think two men had sex?" he teased. She blushed and stomped off. "I'll talk with them later, just let him sleep and then send him for a soak later. That's what he really needs. That and better timing." He patted Draco on the back, waking him up. "Are you okay with what happened last night?" Draco looked at him and nodded. "Any complaints?"
"Even I need sleep and I'm a sex god," he whined.
Sirius smiled. "I'm sure you are. Take a nap then go soak. I'll talk with Alexander about timing."
He glanced around then leaned closer. "He got me for *hours* because of how I got him so good the night before last." Sirius grinned at that. "I'm missing Herbology and Creatures," he said with a small grin, putting his head back down. "Tell him no more hickies."
"I will," Sirius promised, looking at the nurse as she came back. "When should you be releasing him to soak so his mate can be properly punished for having sex all night with him?" Draco smirked a bit at that so he blocked it by tucking him in. He turned to look at her. "When?"
"Third," she said, looking at the young man's back. "He should only rest and soak?"
"Oh, yeah. Alex and Draco are very careful not to tear each other. They're very careful, just young men and energetic. If the school allowed more spouses to stay together you'd see more of this between couples. Especially the male-on-male couples." She blushed again.
"Give her the talk you gave us," Draco said, flipping onto his side facing away from them. "That way she doesn't have to call you every time a new gay couple comes out."
"I think I have enough information, young man."
Draco looked back at her, then snorted. "If you did, you wouldn't have blushed at the sight of my open ass on the diagnostic spell." He waved a hand. "Go learn something to help students before you get someone clueless who does get torn, woman. Let me sleep."
"I can send you to class like that, young man."
"You can try," he snorted. "I can always sleep through them too." He snuggled in and closed his eyes, letting himself drift off again. He'd have to figure out how Alex had created the train-like vibrations last night.
Sirius smiled at her. "I wouldn't mind. That way some idiot kid doesn't try it and you have to wonder how. Come on, we could use a good snort. It's the only way I know how to do this." She blushed and nodded, walking him into her office.
Professor McGonagall looked up as her classroom door opened, giving the man lounging in the doorway a dirty look. "Did you need something, Mr. Black?"
"Yes, Professor, unfortunately I do. I need Mr. Birmingham for Madam Pomfrey. She wanted him to come make up for his mistakes last night by taking care of his mate." She pursed her lips, obviously trying not to laugh. "Unfortunately his ...actions last night got a bit...over the top and Madam Pomfrey has asked for his attention to this matter so she never has to see it again."
"And what did he do?"
"Do you *really* want me to share details?" he asked with a small smirk. She shook her head. "So I need Mr. Birmingham upstairs and then I'm off, back to my playboy lifestyle." He grinned at Alex. "At Draco's suggestion, I did inform her what was normal and what wasn't. That way she never has to worry about such things again." Alex nodded, packing up his things. "Thank you for your prompt attention, young man." A few of the Slytherins chuckled at that. He looked at them, then at her. "I also noted what was normal when you had access to your spouse."
"That is something we don't usually deal with outside of vacations," she agreed. She gave him a long look. "Go, Mr. Birmingham. I'll be expecting a foot of parchment on your misdeeds last night." He nodded and followed Sirius out. He had been bored out of his mind anyway. She could just barely hear the laughter from the hall and knew it was a plot to get out of class. Well, he had won this one but she doubted it could ever happen again. She'd have to talk to Poppy later, make sure she was okay.
Professor Snape looked up as something made him shiver, some sort of dark magic that was calling out to him. His arm and the mark on it started to tingle, making him grab it. It didn't hurt, it wasn't the same dark source as what had caused his mark, but he still ached. He glanced around the class, noticing Potter was looking queasy and Longbottom was holding his head, rubbing his forehead. "Work quietly," he ordered, heading to see why the dark wards weren't screaming at them. He made it up to the main hall when the feeling stopped. He paused, looking around, then he hurried back to his classroom. He found Potter and Longbottom holding someone on the floor at wandpoint. "Back!" he ordered. He moved closer, looking at the person on the floor. The hood was removed and he sneered at the person. "Mr. Potter. Where is my son?"
"Behind you," Longbottom told him, nodding at Alex. "We have him."
"Good. I got another one trying to break into the muggle studies classroom," he said smugly, looking at his father. He looked down. "Hmm. I know him." He looked at his father. "The male upstairs is begging for mercy to the Headmaster." He glanced around. "There's another around here. Potter, with me," he ordered, heading off. He heard footsteps and turned, finding Longbottom. "Not you."
"I know where every dark artifact in this school is," he noted calmly.
"Um-huh, all but the ones I'm working on," he noted. "And you're not allowed in our suite without escorts, Longbottom."
"Harry sent me." He moved closer. "We're wasting time."
Alex stared him down. "Did it feel good?" he asked. Neville swallowed and shook his head. "Liar. I know very well it did, Longbottom. Until you quit pretending, I'm not going to trust you." He turned and walked off, heading to his suite. He noticed someone working on the doorway and sighed, pointing his wand at them. "Ennervate!" The woman shrieked and jumped, starting to cry. "Pity," he noted dryly, moving closer. "Looking for something?"
"You aren't worthy to own even her underthings!" she screamed, glaring at him. "How dare you!"
He punched her, knocking her down. He rubbed his knuckles. "Since it's my family heritage and those things were passed down to me from the last good members of the family I dare a lot." She started to sit up so he hit her again, then got down to beat her for real.
"Whoa!" Neville yelled, trying to separate them. "Don't, Alexander!"
Ron jogged up and grabbed Alex, pulling him off and away. "Quit!" he ordered, pushing him against the wall. "Let the others have a few hits too," he said, scowling at him. "Calm down!" He let him go and hauled the woman up to her feet, looking her over. "I should let him rip you apart," he assured her. "We don't wanna hear it when he has to get cuddled for the nightmares though." He drug her off, crying and wailing about the pain she was in. The teachers in the nearby classrooms came out but he waved them off. "Another person trying to break in. This is the third." He hauled her down the stairs and up to the office, dumping her on the floor. He stepped over her. "Alexander beat her sorry." He looked at the other two in the corners. "Any others?"
The headmaster looked at him. "Why were they here?"
"We're not sure. I know she was trying to get into our suite." He shrugged. "We've got some jewelry those two are working on but they're locked up so tightly not even Alex can sense it." He nodded back at them. "Where were they?"
"One was in Potions and one in Muggle Studies," he said patiently.
"Huh. So, going after Professor Snape or something he's got. Muggle studies because they're like that and she hated Alex for having the family stuff." He nodded once. "Pitiful morons. Well, I'm off to Herbology again unless you needed me, sir?" He shook his head so Ron grinned. "Thanks, sir. We're going over slippery stuff plants." He headed down the stairs, grinning at the teachers converging on the office. "Alexander found an extra one trying to get into our suite," he told McGonagall. He noticed his teacher coming in. "Are we released to the Great Hall or our houses?"
"Go back to the suite, Mr. Weasley. Such a thoughtful boy," she praised, patting him on the cheek.
Ron grinned. "Thanks." He went back upstairs, finding Alex looking over the pieces. "They okay?"
"Yeah, I'm doing something to keep myself from going up there to kill the brats again," he noted impatiently. "Come hold this, Ron."
"Will it taint me? 'Cause if it does, Mum might really mind," he offered, but he did come to help hold the stuff he was working on. Draco stormed in and he shrugged. "Sorry you missed all the action."
"Who was it?"
"Greg's uncle, Miss Breckinridge, and Mr. Poles," Alex said blandly. "Greg's uncle went for dad or something in there. Mr. Poles went for the muggle studies classroom. Tabitha came for this stuff and said I'm not worthy to even touch her nasty underthings."
Draco snorted and gave him a hug. "You're more worthy than any of them," he noted patiently, nodding Weasley out of the way so he could help him work. Potter came in with the other two Slytherins. "Greg, I'm sorry."
"Dad?" he asked, looking worried.
"Your uncle that gave you the teddy bear," Alex sighed, looking at him. "He went after my dad or something in there."
"Fuck," he growled, turning and storming out. He headed up to the headmaster's office, finding his uncle groaning in there. He pulled him up, staring into his eyes, then he hit him. He beat him a few more times then sneered at him. "How does it feel, Uncle? As good as serving the former Dark Lord? How did it feel to be beaten by a little boy!" he sneered. His uncle whimpered. "You can tell everyone else in the family that if they continue on this path, the family's going to change starting with me. Especially since your daughter is leaving her spouse for being such a bastard. Even if I have to help her kill 'im for hitting her the next time. I'd rather have no family than have ones who did this!" He kicked him in the side, making him curl up around the aching spot on his hip. "What were you going for?" he demanded coldly. "Alex's father or a potion?"
"He has elixir of life," he moaned. "We need it. We needed it and some victims to give their bodies up." He looked up at him. "You won't win, nephew. You're on the wrong side."
Greg leaned down, tipping his face up. "I'm not following him. I can get my kicks helping Alex beat you all. Why do I need to torture others to get that when I can help him beat all you and laugh." He stood up again, kicking him again. "Confess and they might not have you kissed." He glared at the person who dared to lay a hand on his arm, making Madam Sprout give him a pout. "I'm sorry, my uncle and I needed to have a talk." He looked over as a few aurors came in. "Have him." He walked out, going to call his father. His father looked scared when he saw him. "I just beat Uncle Bert bloody. It felt really good. How stupid are your former friends!" he demanded. "They attacked the school!"
Alex came over, hugging him. "It's all right, Greg. Everyone has to make their own decisions. Your uncle made his. You have the right to yell because he made one that you can't appreciate, but you can't make anyone make this decision." He looked at Greg's father. "You might tell someone that Miss Breckinridge was quite impolite before I beat her." He shivered. "I hope you're not involved. I've usually liked you, Mr. Goyle. You were good to me when I was a child." He clapped Greg on the back and went back to work. "Greg, do you think this would look good as a single pendant and earrings?" he asked, holding up the necklace he had just finished.
"That's cursed! You're allergic!" Mr. Goyle said hotly. "How...?"
"Easy, we're cleaning them, dad," Greg told him. "They're ugly and annoying him, so therefore he's studying how to clean such things." He stared at him. "I'm sure he's looking at other ...areas to clean dark magic from."
"You can do that, but we'll have to destroy the spirit totally," Alex warned. "If we can destroy Voldemort's soul, we can remove the marks," he said quietly. "I'm looking for sources," he assured his friend. "Not only for my dad and yours." Greg nodded, relaxing and turning off the floo. "If you want to help, Greg, I need six books out of the restricted section and two of them out of the vault of dark stuff." Draco looked at him. "Seriously."
"Give me the titles, I'll see what I can do," Snape said from the doorway. Alex went into his room, pulling the list out of his bookbag. Then he handed it over and got back to work. He only had one thing left and then the box. He smiled when he got done, scooping everything up and handing it to Vinnie. "What's that?"
"Ugly jewelry." He and Draco got to work on the box, getting a bit frustrated when it didn't work. He looked around the edges, finding the hidden stone. He cleaned it and tossed it to Vinnie, then finished the box, sighing in pleasure. "There. Done." He grinned at his father, handing Vinnie the box. "Stuff it all back in there."
"What was that?" Snape asked, taking the box from him to look at the contents. "Already?"
"I'm bored," Draco said sarcastically. "What did you expect us to do?"
Snape looked at him, then at his son. "How long have you been working at it?"
"A few days. You didn't hear the swearing when it was brought because it twitched the dark arts wards?" He slowly shook his head. "Seriously."
"I see." He looked in the box. "That's not all that was in there." He looked at Draco, who went to get the rest of the jewelry and pour it back in there. "It's completely done?"
Alex nodded. "Yup."
Snape gave him a sudden hug then let him go just as suddenly and walked out.
"I'm thinking that's an 'excellently done, son'," Ron offered. Someone tapped on the portrait. "Enter!" Draco gave him an unamused look. "It's not like you'd lower yourself to opening a door." He looked over at the people coming in and snorted. "More? How did you get past the others?"
"Who cares?" Alex asked, picking up his wand and pointing it at them. "Out, or else." They moved closer. "Fine, have it your way. Distortum mucosa!" They screamed as their mucus membranes grew and distorted. It was hard to cast a hex when your nose was swelling and making your eyes water. He followed it up with a tried and true. "Manus oral permanente!"
They screamed as their hands were forced to stuff their mouths, most of them their wand hands. He choked as some of them gagged and some even threw up.
"Eww," Harry said as he walked in. "Professor, we found some more!" he yelled. He walked over one bent over and trying to expel his hand. "That's gross, go into the hall! Morblicorpus!" He floated them out, then shut the portrait. "Eww! Dobby!" He showed up. "Can you please clean that up and freshen up the room?" He nodded quickly and did that for them while Harry sat down.
"I haven't seen that one since I was seven," Draco said, smiling at his friends, who nodded. "I remember when you pranked the teacher with that. We got most of the week off."
"Yeah," Alex said proudly. "I was very happy with myself. Even if Grams did scream all week while making me read the books on marriage contracts." He sat down, smiling at the clean carpet they had. "Thank you, Dobby."
"Dobby is always happy to help Harry Potter."
"Well, you do it very well," Alex assured him. "If the headmaster doesn't know about these ones, you can even tell him that Harry put them in the hall for him."
"Others outside," he said pitifully. "Dobby can't interrupt."
Harry walked into Draco's room, opening the windows and looking down. "I don't have a good shot from here," he complained, closing it and heading out with Alex and Draco, Ron following casually behind them. They found a room with a good view and made the window disappear, then they leaned out it and hexed the stupid bastards until they were screaming in misery. Then they replaced the windows and went back to their suite so Twirkly could give them cookies and take the clean jewelry back to Gringotts.
Professor McGonagall walked in, looking a bit amused. "Was that you?" she asked, taking a cookie from the plate Ron held out. "Thank you, Mr. Weasley."
"It was mostly Alex and Harry. The window wasn't big enough for all of us," Ron assured her with a small smirk. "He got the ones in the hall too."
"Yes, those were the ones I was wondering about," she assured him. She smiled at Alex. "Naughty."
"So?" He nibbled a bite of quiche and grinned. "I'm a good boy part of the time."
"Only when we force you to be," she chided. He snickered and nodded, making everyone else laugh. "Try a bit more often, Alex. That was incredibly mean. Them swallowing their wands means we can't break them."
"Then cast a banishing charm on the wands. They'll come out somehow," he promised.
She kissed him on the temple. "That's a really mean thought but I'll see what your father thinks. Did you have anything to do?"
"No, we finished it," he said smugly.
"Good! Now, I believe you had a foot of parchment for me today?"
"Oh, yeah." He pointed his wand at his room. "Accio McGonagall's smut." A roll of parchment flew out and she caught it. "All yours, Professor."
"Thank you, Alexander." She left, chuckling a bit.
"Why are you writing her smut?" Greg asked. "Should I pout?"
"She wanted a foot of parchment on what I did to make Draco need the infirmary," he said with a small shrug. "I had to write really small to fit it all in." He ate another bite of dinner.
"You gave her details?" Draco asked, looking horrified.
"It's not like she's getting any, sweetheart. She's got to need a kickstart now and then. I figure she gets it from us students who're particularly naughty." He smiled at his father as he came in. "Hi, dad, have some food."
He picked up a plate and sat down to eat as well. It was polite and it seemed to be the easiest way to talk to his son. He was always open and happy when he was eating. "Why you're not rotund with the way you eat I have no idea."
"We get plenty of activity exercising my bitch there," Draco nodded, pointing his cookie at Alex. Snape choked and glared at him. "Sorry, sir."
"As you should be." He looked at his son. "Why was McGonagall cackling?"
"She had me write a foot of parchment on why Draco was in the infirmary and why I had to go take care of him. I had to write really small to get all the details in there. Either that or the suggestion to do a banishing charm to get the swallowed wands."
Snape looked at his son for a moment. "There are days when I worry about your mental state, son," he admitted finally. "Perhaps if you ate less sweets and more vegetables it would straighten it out."
"No, then I'd be a miserable Alex and a pouting Alex and then Draco would never make it to class for trying to keep me happy and take the place of the sugar and chocolate."
"It would be bad if I was to be held back a year for all the sex I'm getting," Draco agreed. "Mum would probably shit a hippogryff." Greg and Vinnie both snickered and nodded at that.
Ron looked at Draco. "My mum said if I got held back it had better be for a reason that will make my dad stop her from killing me. Ginny and I decided to think up reasonable excuses this summer while we were both grounded for having sex. Tell her you're working on a way to give her grandkids and testing the spell, maybe she'll just squeal and hug you."
Harry looked at Ron, then pulled his wand. "Somulus." He took Ron's cake and handed the plate of cookies down to Vinnie through Snape. "He needs a nap," he noted. "I'll float him into bed soon."
"I'm sure certain folks would appreciate that explanation more than others," Snape said, blinking a few times. Maybe it wasn't the Slytherins being warped by this odd exercise in friendship.... "Alex, you're not allowed to carry on the family name."
"But dad, Narcissa will want someone to spoil and dress up sometime."
"Son, the thought of a grandchild is making me have a migraine. I believe I'll go torture the intruders for a bit to clear my head." He got up, taking a cookie with him. He could talk to his son later, when he was sane again.
Draco smirked at Alex. "That's one excuse that I could probably get past mum."
"Mmm-huh. Especially if you promised a granddaughter."
"Guys, you're making us sick," Greg complained.
"Harry, knock me out?" Vinnie requested. "All I can see is a pregnant Alex waddling around complaining how Draco knocked him up instead of going to charms."
"Somulous," Draco cast, shuddering a bit. His whiny poof of a boyfriend would get worse should that happen, but the idea still had merit.
Dumbledore looked at the boys sitting across from him, mentally shaking his head. "Boys," he said sadly. "It was not necessary for any of you to do that."
"Yeah it was. No one else in Muggle Studies did more than cry," Alex told him. "I wasn't about to let someone kill everyone."
"I doubt he would have," Dumbledore reminded him.
"No, he was going to. He said he was and that he'd be killing everyone but the teacher and a few good 'specimens' to help them with a sacrifice." Alex shifted some, stretching out and crossing his feet. "I wasn't about to not protect them considering the teacher was frozen and crying. I gave her a chance to react first but she just started to sniffle. I thought it better to not expose the children to the act of horrifying torture and death at that moment in time. I would have left it to her if she had acted."
"Fine, that I can understand. As I can them stopping the one who came into the Potions classroom after Professor Snape went to investigate the disturbance," he offered, nodding at Harry and Neville. "I can even understand the one getting into your suite. You should have called about the later ones. You should have let us handle the ones on the doorstep."
"We called Dobby and he said you were busy, I figured there had to be more," Alex said with a small shrug. "Besides, I was tired of that. These people should know by now that they're not stepping into my house. They know better than to attack my house. They should know about that here as well."
"Yes, well, Twirly did call and say someone tried to break in," he admitted, handing over the note. "That's why I called you up. Professor Snape went to check on them for you." Alex raised an eyebrow. "He said so, Alexander."
"Ah." He glanced at the note and handed it to Vinnie. "Here. Your family this time."
Vincent looked at it, then snorted. "Mum'll see him skinned." He put it into his pocket. "If your elves didn't."
"It's possible. Grams did teach them to defend the house by killing the bad wizards," he admitted, looking at the headmaster again. "By the way, that jewelry box is clean and gone back." He sighed and nodded. "Did they come for that specifically?"
"No. They had a tip that it was here," he told him. "They wanted the small philosopher's stone in it."
"That's got to be the single gem in the top lining that you threw at your father when we got it cleaned," Draco said thoughtfully. He shrugged. "It might still be with him."
"Uncle Bert said he was after some elixir of life," Greg offered.
"So they're going to try to raise him again," Harry said bitterly. "We need to know how to stop them this year, Headmaster."
"As far as I know, that was about the remaining death eater force," Draco offered. "Most of the rest of the supporters were wives, who didn't do hardly anything, and silent supporters like Fudge."
"Should we hear of a new reason for you to get involved, we'll be telling you all," the headmaster assured them. "Until then...." The boys all nodded. "I am proud that you managed to save us, boys, but I'm still most upset that you did what you did. Especially since you put the window in upside down."
"Ooops." Alex snorted. "It's not like any of us know how windows are put in."
"Point," he agreed. "Perhaps you should learn?" he suggested, staring him down.
"That would go against the ban of me learning anything about construction that Halfrek imposed," he noted calmly. The headmaster shuddered. "Sorry, Headmaster, but I'm not killing off everyone so I can learn how to replace windows the right way. Not while I'm able to pay for a contractor." He stood up. "Was there anything else? My father said I needed to eat more normal food. He thought my unique hyperactivity was due to an influx of cookies today."
"Go," he sighed, shaking his head as all the boys left. He'd never get through to them with Alex there. Perhaps individually.... Ron just smirked a bit and shook his head. He stared the young man down.
"Stopping Alex when he's got a mind to do something is like stopping the tide," he said quietly. "Or like stopping Ginny from buying out Honeydukes." He headed after Harry, going to chat about the current quidditch team.
Dumbledore put his head down, moaning a bit. Those boys were going to drive him insane.
"One more year after this one," one of the paintings reminded him. "Then they all graduate."
Dumbledore looked at her. "Are we sure?"
"They're sixth years," she reminded him.
He smiled. "Thank you. I needed that." He got up and headed to dinner himself. He needed to eat so he had the energy to deal with those students. And McGonagall's giggling while she read a student essay.
Alex looked up as Flitwick sat in the seat next to him, handing over the drawing he was working on. "Need help?"
"You were muttering, Alex," he said with a fond smile.
"That's okay." He looked at the drawing, then at his favorite student. "Well, I'm sure it's very realistic, but please try to keep to more...mundane matters in my class? I doubt the people sitting behind you want to see such things."
"No, let him go on," Millicent Bulstrode offered. "I'm enjoying the hell out of it, sir." He gave her a dirty look and she grinned. "Why do you think we sit back here? It's the only way we get to see naked boys."
Flitwick sighed and looked at his student. "No more doing figure drawings in here."
"The art teacher said I was to do them," he pouted, making the teacher sigh. "I'm doing it for her class."
"Fine. From this point on, no more. I'll talk with her about adjusting your schedule of studies a bit so we don't have to see it." He patted him on the hand. "We're doing fire charms. Did you want to demonstrate?"
Alex pulled his wand. "Corpus ignito arch." A fire sprung up from the small piece of wood in the middle of the floor, arching up to form a pretty arching structure that one could walk through. He smiled at the teacher. Then he concentrated and made the shapes shift and dance a bit, making the roof dip and wave then settle looking like it was twisted around itself.
"Impressive," Draco called, casting a water charm to put it out. "Show off."
"Draco, did you tell him to not include your birthmark on any of the stuff he does of you?" Millie asked. Draco went bright red and shook his head, getting up muttering something about water. She chuckled and patted Alex on the back. "Because I owed you one."
Flitwick looked at her. "Try to behave. Five points from Slytherin for the fairly dirty minded comment." He looked at the student next to him. "That is your fault."
"So's McGonagall giggling like she's had 'shroom tea," he admitted. "She wanted a foot of parchment on why I had to take care of Draco in the infirmary that day." He blushed a bit so Alex grinned. "I did just what she wanted."
Flitwick patted him on the hand. "Go to the art classroom, Alex. Draw in there. I think you've been wonderful today for the demonstration. Ten points to Gyrffindor for that." He nodded, getting up and heading there. Flitwick looked at the classroom. Then at the clock he had hidden from most student's view. "All right. Everyone read up on this section and we'll be doing a practical demonstration next time. Write down a form you wish to try with the charm, designing it out means you can picture it more clearly." He stood up. "Dismissed a few minutes early since there is a break after this." No one bothered to tell him they already had that assignment done. Who'd tell the teacher he didn't give them homework? Flitwick walked into his office and laid down on his settee for a quick nap. Some days he wondered about his poor students.
Draco stomped up to where Alex was sitting and drawing, giving him a shove. "You were drawing what?" he demanded.
"You in bed the other night," he admitted absently. "And I never include your birthmark."
Draco glared at him. "Where is it?" Alex didn't answer so he swatted him, making him mess up. That got a glare but his mate fixed it. "Where is it?"
"Hanging up to encourage the others."
"WHAT!" he shrieked. He hauled him up, taking his quill and tossing it. "Show me," he growled.
"Sure. It's not really that naughty." He led him up to the room they had art class in, pointing at the painting a female was standing in front of. "Having fun?"
"I'm wondering at this bit of shading here," she offered, pointing at a bit under Draco's elbow. She smiled at him. "Mismatch of shadows?"
"No, odd lighting in his room," he offered. "The only scone he had lit was above and behind him but slightly off center."
She nodded, turning back. "That explains why he's shadowed on both sides and that way on his face too. Nice work, Mr. Birmingham." She smiled at him. "How did you get your subject to agree to let you draw him in that state?"
"I snuck in."
"Ah. I tried that but my roommates got rather pissed. Think I could use yours?"
"No," Draco snorted. "Try bribing, that usually works."
"Ooh, I hadn't thought about that," she said happily. "Thank you, Mr. Malfoy." She smiled and glanced at the picture, then at him. "You got his nose perfectly, Alexander. I have a lot of trouble with those. Really good job. You deserve the grade and the extra points." She gathered her bag and walked out.
Draco looked at him. "Extra points?"
"Yeah, I earned an extra twenty points for the really good job." He smiled proudly. "The teacher thinks I do beautifully capturing beautiful things."
Draco nodded. "You usually do." He moved forward, looking at himself. He was on a bed, sheet half falling off his hips, sprawled on his back with one arm over his head, his head turned to the right, and smiling just a hint of smirk. He could just make out the disturbance from the sheet tenting. It had obviously been a very good dream. He looked at some of the other works around the room, finding his boyfriend's things easily enough. The bell rang and he looked back. "What do we have?"
"They're good," he told him, coming back to his side. "At least it wasn't me fully nude."
"No, that's hanging in my room," he said with a grin. "Come on, we should get to class." He walked out, smiling a bit at the teacher coming up. "He hadn't gotten to see that drawing yet."
"Ah. It is a very nice one. Did you pose him with a particular thought?"
"No, I snuck in to watch my future husband sleep and dream about me and ended up sketching it," he admitted. She twittered at that, making Draco blush. "Sorry, dear."
"You need to sleep more often," he muttered, pulling Alex off. "We're going to be very late."
"The stairs just abandoned us to go to Divinations so yes, you will be," the teacher agreed dryly. "Could you pose for him? I'd stay in my office but Alex needs more standing figure work done. It's a matter of perspective." She saw the heavier blush. "I don't mean to embarrass you. I just thought it'd be good for him to draw such a familiar form."
"What do I have to do?"
"Stand still," he told him. "Or sit still." He led him back into the classroom, getting him a chair and putting it where he wanted it. "Lounge there." He sat at his usual table, watching as Draco shifted to look at him. "You'll have to hold that exact position for a bit."
"I'm comfortable enough." He watched as Alex flipped to a clean piece of parchment on his pad and got to work. He had never watched Alex work on things before. Every now and then the chocolate brown eyes would come up and meet his, sending shivers up his spine. He could feel the dissection in that look but also the love and the desire. It was turning him on in ways he hadn't realized he could be.
"Cross your legs, Draco. That shouldn't shift you too much," Alex ordered. Draco crossed his feet at the ankle and he nodded, getting back to work. "No, don't move," he ordered. Draco shifted back. Alex finally smiled and looked up. "It's rough, no facial details or anything but I can put them in later."
Draco got up and came over to look at it, then at his mate. He could see the startings of another drawing that would gain his mate praise and kissed him. "All you have to do is ask, Alex, but no more naked stuff of me," he ordered. "Someone might try to steal me."
"Only if they want hexed," Alex said with a small smirk. Draco nodded that he agreed with that.
"Do just his face," the teacher called from her office. "You need work on that."
"Sure." He put Draco down beside him and shifted him around a bit, then got to work on his face.
Draco waited until he started on a new one. "You have a naked portrait of me in your room? I've never seen it."
Alex kissed him. "Shh, Draco." He went back to drawing, glancing at him now and then. "It's safely stored so no one can find it."
"Hmm." He pursed his lips and got another kiss and a grin for it. Then that expression was drawn. The bell finally rang and they got up, but the staircase was still gone. "How are we getting to potions?"
"Floo?" he offered. "House elf?" One appeared so he wrote out a quick note. "To Potions please." It nodded and disappeared. "That way Dad knows." He looked around, then over the edge of the platform. "Well, how about a floating charm? Slowly drifting down?"
"Those work on *things* not on people, Alex," Draco reminded him.
"I'd float you and you'd get me from the bottom. That way I'd land on you when you dropped me like you did that vase this summer." Alex pulled his wand. "That way you'd at least get to Potions." He saw a shadow moving closer. "I think that's Professor Snape." He waved and pointed at the lack of stairs. "It's at Divination."
"Get down here."
"We've been trying to figure out how. I offered to float him but he has this nasty tendency to drop fragile and delicate items."
"Are you *never* going to let me forget that?" Draco complained.
"Some year," he promised with a small grin. "When you repair it." Draco rolled his eyes and nodded. "Thanks, babe. Want floated down?" Draco nodded so Alex flicked his wand. "Wingardium Leviosa." He floated Draco down, wincing at the angle to land him on the main floor beside the teacher. He smiled when Draco only bumped. "That's a hard angle."
"I noticed," Snape said, looking up at him. He pulled his own wand but Draco stopped him, shaking his head. "Mr. Malfoy, are you *touching* me?" he asked sarcastically.
"Yes, sir, it's my second most favorite thing to do. There's a statue in the way at this angle. He'll crash into it and bash his head in." He looked at him. "Since you complain whenever I misplace your son I doubted you wanted him in the infirmary or brain damaged."
"No, I wouldn't care for that," he admitted. He moved around a bit, watching his son sit on the ledge. "Don't do that. You might fall."
"Well, it's not like I can fly," he complained. "How am I getting to class? Or even lunch?"
"Mr. Malfoy, head to class," Snape ordered. "Let me see if anyone can move the staircase back." He looked up. "Just wait, Alexander."
"Sure." He watched them go, shaking his head with a sigh. His teacher came out, smiling a bit. "The stairs are still gone and they're trying to figure out how to levitate me down or something."
"If the stairs start to come back, you'll have to move. There's a spell to stick whatever's on the landing in place." Alex stood up, pulling his bag back. "You really have a naked picture of him in your room?"
"Yeah, hidden. It was a trial attempt at oil paintings. He's got a bit too much neck and there's a small flaw on the right pec, but otherwise it's a beautiful fifteen-year-old naked Draco. Smirking, sneering, and all that." She stared him down so he blushed. "Yeah I did the charms," he admitted quietly. "Now and then I want to talk to Draco about stuff and he gives good advice. I've got a head-only shot done too. Every now and then the full body of him goes and puts a hat on the other's head. He hates the sombrero he found in a portrait in Ron's room." She giggled, turning to hide it against a wall. He noticed his father coming back and looked down. "I'm still here."
"The Headmaster is gone with Filch to look at a problem in the forest," he said grimly. "I could try to float you down but that statue on the floor under yours blocks part of the trajectory."
"I noticed. That's why it was such a bad angle for me." He shrugged. "So not only did we miss Herbology by being stuck, I've got to find my own way down?" He nodded. "Cool. Isn't there a back passage up here too?"
"There's a small one but you've got to go through one of the outer storage rooms, plus around the walls of the Hufflepuff house," the art teacher offered. "Then you'd be coming down behind the Slytherin's top floors and out near the old classrooms past Professor Snape's office. It took me about four hours the day I tried. Or you could ask a house elf."
"Nope. Grams did a hex on me so none of them can remove me from anywhere. It's still in effect," he admitted, looking down at his father and shrugging. "Up to you, dad."
"Go the long way. I'll make sure you get some lunch."
"That's fine. Can I have something to drink on my trek since I doubt there'll be a handy fountain."
"Actually there is in the crawlspace of Hufflepuff's walls," she admitted. "It shocked me but you'll have to climb over it." Alex gave her an odd look. "Don't ask me, Alexander, I didn't build this maze." His father floated up a cup and he smiled and waved. "Oh, Professor Snape," she called before he could stomp off. "I wanted you to come up and look at some of your son's works with me tonight. I'm trying to pick what to show in the student show and he's being bashful. Would you mind?"
"As long as I don't get trapped as well," he said grimly. "As soon as you can, Alexander."
"It's not my fault," he complained as his father walked off. He sighed and went to fill up his cup from one of the house elves. They were at least nice enough to give him a bottle of butterbeer as well. He walked off drinking his water, shaking his head at the strangeness of this trek. The storage room was probably the only dusty spot in the whole castle. He had to weave between old tables and a few really creepy things that he wasn't sure weren't skeletons. He made a mental note to tell his father to check them, just in case they were students who had gotten lost or locked in while snogging. Because no one else would ever think about coming up here. He found the opening to the walls where the teacher had pointed out and moved around two footstools and a table, nearly tripping over some wood in the process. He picked it up and pulled his wand. "Ignius," he cast, making a torch. His cup was emptied and put in his robe pocket so nothing could drip from it. Then his wand in one hand, torch in the other he headed into the walls. It was a slim staircase and it was going to make him nauseous he decided. It was going in circles downward, turning every few feet.
Then he came to a warmer section, which was nice and he could hear some limited voices beyond the walls. So apparently he was directly behind Hufflepuff now. The stairs were still narrow but not as much as they had been. He noticed a window and gave it an odd look, but the magic apparently made it so you could look outside from inside the house without catching sight of the stairs. He moved on, finding the fountain, as promised and decided to take a break there. He carefully set his torch down and sat on a the few pillows scattered around the small fountain, admiring it greatly. It was beautifully done. It had one of the fairytale elves spouting water. He was naked and trying to cover himself with one hand, the other being held up like he was telling someone to 'stop'. He fingered his wand, considering it. He cast the check charm and groaned. "Okay, Mr. Naked Elf guy. I'll show McGonagall how to get up here so she can change you back. All right?" The water seemed to sigh in pleasure. "I'm sure if someone knew, you'd have been released long ago." He looked around, noticing three doorways off the area and one not-fully-closed doorway in the side of the fountain itself.
He moved to check them. One led to another storage area, he wasn't sure where it went to. It felt odd, like it wasn't in Hogwarts any more. Another led to another storage area inside Hogwarts, one of the house elves Harry knew overlooked him as it dusted by the opening. Apparently it was like the window and could be seen through one way. He moved to the third, having to walk along the edge of the fountain. That got a moan from the water. "Sorry, ma'am." He looked in that doorway, it was probably the way down. He looked at the crack in the base of the statue, smirking a bit. It opened the backside of the elf, making him snicker a bit. "Were you caught buggering someone?" he teased, heading over to look. The water chilled when he touched the opening. "Relax, I'm just making sure this isn't the way down. I don't really want to walk into your ass, mate." He peeked and heard voices, so he looked up. "Let me check." He grabbed his torch and walked down, finding a small cavern. His torch went out and he muttered a bit but kept walking. He found a small pit and a brazier, plus a stash of herbs lying around and a journal. He glanced around before moving closer, picking up the journal to snoop. What he saw made him mentally moan. He carefully put it back in the same spot it had been in then hurried back up through the elf's ass, picking up his bag and nodding as he closed it like it had been.
"Thank you for your indulgence I'll tell the Transfiguration mistress you're up here." He headed down the doorway that looked most promising, opening the butterbeer so he could drink while he thought. He found a few more areas to investigate, including a room full of humming crystals and another room with more statues. He checked a few magically and they were all alive under there. "Someone had a bad temper," he complained as he walked, heading down to the cold, damp, clammy area he could feel coming up. That was definitely around the Slytherin territory. Probably against the old moat too. He hurried past a small leak, shaking his head. He finally found the way into the Slytherin common room and pulled a chair over with his wand to block the door open. "Twip!" he called. The Slytherin house elf appeared and grabbed the chair so he grabbed it by the ear. "I need this to stay open for now."
"No, 'tis bad! Twip will not!" he shouted. That brought Professor Snape, who didn't look amused. "He wants Twip to do bad things!"
"There's a leak and a number of changed humans into statues up there," he noted.
"Leave it open," Snape ordered. The house elf shook his head. "I, as head of this house, order you to leave that doorway open!" he said firmly. The house elf shook his head, his ears flapping with how hard he was doing it.
"I can sit here for a few more," Alex offered. "We need McGonagall and there's a leak from the moat." The house elf tried to move him but he wasn't being moved by them. "Did I beat her old time?"
Snape checked the clock on the wall, then nodded. "Three hours and a bit. I'll have lunch brought to you here. Twip, go do that." It shook it's head. "Headmaster!" he yelled. Dumbledore walked in a few minutes later, looking a bit stunned. "Alexander got caught up in the art classroom."
"Ah, so you found that old passage," he noted, smiling a bit. "How was the fountain?"
"Still changed from someone, as were a whole roomful of statues. Also, there's a leak from the moat." He shrugged. "We really need a way to call the stairs when we're stuck."
"Most of the landings have one," the headmaster noted. "The one near the art classroom is one of the few that doesn't." He looked up at the staircase, noticing the water on it. "I'd say the leak needed fixed."
"As do the former students," Alex reminded him patiently. "I promised to tell McGonagall and I'm sure we can find a way in there." He nodded, going to find Filch and her. His father got another house elf to bring him a few sandwiches, which earned him a hug. "Thanks, Dad." He took a bite and looked at him. "Can I come talk to you later?"
"You know my office is always open to you, son," he said quietly. "Is there a problem in your relationship or work?"
"No, an ethical situation just bit me on the ass." He ate another bite, watching his father be confused. "We're about to be interrupted, tonight?"
"Would be fine. Come down near curfew or whenever you get back. I'll excuse you."
"Yes, sir." His father let the others in and pointed at the chair he was sitting in. "Hey," he said, nodding, eating another bite. "Two problems. There's a leak and a lot of changed students as statues." McGonagall gave him an odd look. "Including a fountain that groaned and an elf looking guy trying to not spout water."
"Oh, dear! We wondered where they had went," she complained, hurrying up the stairs. "Come, Alex."
"Yes, mistress," he called, heading after her, leaving his bag there. "Twip, that goes to my suite and is put on my bed or else," he called as he hiked after her. "If you or anyone get into it, I'm going to have to get very angry and bring Twirly back to beat the house elves here." The house elf 'meeped' and did as ordered. The teacher gave him an amused look. "She nearly did last year."
"I remember." She walked over the small hole in the wall, then turned to make sure Filch was already there. She looked at it, then at him. "Will you need my help for that, Argus?"
"No," he said bitterly. "Not the first one. Go beat the students. Remember, I've got my handcuffs in the office. Shackles even," he said, staring Alex down.
"I'm sure I've got better sex toys than that," he said with a small smirk. "Mine are very soft and well conditioned leather with stretchy cords so I can't get hurt when I tie my toy down." Filch gave him a horrified look. "Or were we talking about the shorter pair? Which are also leather....." His mouth was covered.
"No more traumatizing the staff today," she ordered gently. "He doesn't keep his for that reason, Alex. Now, quit being naughty and show me these nice students." He nodded, walking off, taking her hand to walk her up the stairs.
Filch shuddered. "He ain't right," he told the stairs. "Dark bastard's worse'n Riddle."
"I heard that," Alex called back. "And no I'm not. I'm better but less dark! I also don't screw snakes or feed off them!"
"Alex!" she shouted.
"Sorry, ma'am." He continued to walk, noticing he was walking past where he had marked. He made her go past it by ten steps, the traditional key spot, and then turned and walked back down, opening the area. He waved a hand with a smile. "There's this one."
She looked inside and sighed. "Oh, dear. Albus, I'll need some help," she called out. "There's got to be twenty of them!" She walked into the room, lighting the torches on the wall. She noticed a few students she knew and shook her head sadly. "This is very bad," she complained.
The headmaster walked up the stairs and past Alex, then came back down, walking in there. "Ah, this is where they are. Let's open the outer door so we can get them out of here without having to float them down the stairs and possibly break someone," he offered, pointing his wand at a hidden doorway and opening it, making the student in the bathroom squeal in fear and pull his pants up, hurrying out. "Sorry," he called genially. She swatted him. He shrugged. "I had no idea where it came out. Dobby!" A house elf appeared, looking around, looking very confused. "Take the statues and put them into an empty classroom so we can unfreeze them please. The NEWT transfiguration and charms classes will be working on these poor sods." He nodded and gathered some more elves to help him tote the students.
"Do be careful, Dobby, they're still sentient," she ordered calmly. He nodded and more carefully lifted the statue he was helping carry. He didn't bang this one on the doorframe on the way past the toilet. She came out and Alex led her up to where the fountain was, letting her see it. She noticed the opening and looked at him. "That leads to where?"
"An empty cavern area," he said with a small shrug. "Not *the* Chamber, but probably nearby. Empty. Just an old firepit."
"That's fine." She closed the door and then walked around the fountain to get to work on it. It was skillfully done and nearly a masterpiece but the poor students didn't need this. She smiled at the students as they returned to human form, hugging the young lady. "We thought you had run off to get married," she chided gently. "Come, we'll lead you out and up to the infirmary." Alex pointed at the other storeroom and she looked, then looked at him. "Can you break that without breaking the charm on the stairs?"
"Probably," he admitted. He looked at the former elf, now a normal student in a Slytherin tie, and his girl in a Hufflepuff tie. No wonder they had hidden their trysts. The current ones would throw fits if it happened to one of them. "Sorry about earlier and your arse and all," he offered.
"You're not the first," he said grimly. Alex grinned and winked so he blushed and grabbed his girl to hold.
Alex pointed his wand at the spell and slowly unraveled the magic, leaving an opening in it. "We'll have to crawl," he offered. "Ladies first?" McGonagall nodded and hiked up her robes, climbing through the hole he had created. She came out the other side and the boys helped the girl up, then he helped the guy up, then he climbed up and through, coming out the other side. He held the guy back a bit as they headed to the infirmary. "Is there another opening?" he asked quietly. He nodded. "Where?"
"The Cavern of Delights," he offered quietly.
"The humming room?" He nodded. "Where?"
"Behind the blue crystals. It's a tap pattern like to Diagon." Alex nodded so he hurried to catch up, letting the odd boy follow behind him, wondering why he cared. They had looked at that old cavern and it was just dirty and gross down there.
Alex waved at the teacher and pointed back down the halls. "I'm going to find dad." She nodded and he hurried off. It was dark outside and he was starved! Plus he wanted to have that talk before they closed that area again. He walked into his father's office without knocking, looking at Remus Lupin. "If you two get together, I'm not calling you mum," he joked.
Remus smiled and shook his head. "I wouldn't expect you to," he promised. "We're barely friends again, Alex." Alex nodded. "Did you need him?"
"Yeah, I kinda did find something in there that the head of slytherin needs to kinda know about." He nodded and got up, giving him a pat on the back as he left them alone. Alex closed the door and sealed it with silencing charms and impervious charms. He looked at his father. "If I caught someone doing dark magic for a better than usual reason, is it bad?"
"You don't ask the easy questions," he said calmly. "Who? And why didn't you go to the usual person, Professor Lupin?"
"Because if I told him what was going on, he'd be disappointed in himself," he said honestly. "He'd also instantly realize who it was. You have a good chance of figuring it out but not that much." He sat down, looking at his father. "While I was trekking around the outside of the castle, one of the places I found was that fountain. There was an opening in the ass of the male of the statue," he said calmly. "I investigated to see if that was the way out, logical really. Down there was a cavern. I noticed it wasn't as dusty as it should have been so I took a quick look. I found a brazier, some herbs, and a journal."
"A brazier like something to burn the herbs on, not a female's foundation garment?" he asked, just to make sure.
"I would've said a bra if it was one of those," he noted dryly. "A little gold or brass brazier. In the journal, which I only flipped through, was a deep seated desire to bring someone back to life. Not a bad thing, I wish the same about mom, the same way you probably do." Snape nodded lightly at that, but he was having a very bad feeling about this. "Well, this guy wasn't as good as others. It was part therapy and part research journal. And it wasn't like it was a theoretical point of view."
"Fine," he agreed. "So you think someone's going to try a resurrection?"
"I do," he admitted. "But I think they're doing it out of grief, not out of the desire to raise something evil. I'm not really sure if I should *help* him, because I think he'll fail and create more chaos and pain, or if I should turn him in."
"Were it you, I would think that would be a desperate plea for help," he said quietly, leaning back a bit. "Who?"
"I'm not telling you yet," he admitted. "Unless he knows another way into that cavern, he's been paused at least. There is another way in however."
Snape nodded once. "What did you hope me to do?"
"To give me some sort of advice. Should I turn them in or not? Or should I talk to someone closer to this kid?"
"Is it a slytherin?"
"No, but out of all the teachers here, you know that sort of grief better than anyone, save Remus Lupin, and he's closer to the source. It could hurt him a lot more."
Snape sighed. "Potter," he said bitterly. Alex nodded once, pursing his lips a bit to press them together. "Which one?"
"Either, both, his father if he has to choose from what I got at my quick glance."
Snape considered it. "You're correct that it would cause more pain," he said finally. "But it must be dealt with. I know they're trying."
"Very hard, but you can't replace a parent."
"Which is why you came to me?" He tried to keep the hopeful tone out of his voice but at his son's grin and nod he knew he had failed. "I would talk to Remus or Sirius, but not both."
"Which would you think could handle it better?"
Snape considered it. "Black. Lupin will blame himself. That's the sort of man he is." He handed over the small tin of floo powder he kept on hand for emergencies. "Go now. Talk to him and make him see it's not a desperate need, nothing for him to run up here about, but something he should start to subtly ease up on."
"In other words, get Auntie Narcissa there?" he asked, looking confused. "Can he do that?"
"No." He shook his head. "Perhaps you should have gone to Minerva," he complained.
"No, you've helped. Should *I* maybe talk to him?"
"It could help, but he may feel betrayed." He shrugged a bit. "Should I leave?"
"No. I can do that later. I have an idea." He stood up and hugged his father briefly. "Thanks." He walked out, going to the Great Hall since it was nearly dinner time. He found Ron and Harry joking in there. He pulled Harry up. "I want you to check something I found. There's a lot of crap up there."
"I can't get into Slytherin," Harry complained as Alex drug him off. He led him to the main floo and through it, pushing him into the fire and ordering where it was going. Then he stepped through and led Harry down to his new workarea in his house. He closed the door and silenced it, then looked at the house elves. "Out! We're having a private talk. No food needed yet. Maybe later." They left, heading back to the kitchen. Alex called two chairs over and flopped down, pointing. "Sit."
"Why?" he asked quietly.
"Because I got stuck up in the art classroom and had to come down a staircase past Hufflepuff." Harry sat down, looking stunned. "Of course, I found the door you left open and made sure it wasn't the doorway out." He leaned forward, tipping Harry's face up again. "Listen, I understand."
"How could you! You've got a father who gives a damn. Draco's got his mother. Ron's got two of them. Even Greg and Vinnie have people who give that much of a damn!"
"And while Sirius and Remus are great, they're not perfect," Alex agreed gently. "Do you think I didn't wish every day of my life to bring my mother back? That was the only real research I ever did voluntarily, Harry." Harry slumped further down so he let him go. "My grandmother screamed that it was dark magic so evil she wouldn't touch it, but that she was proud of me," he said quietly. "It was one of three times she ever told me that. One was when I blew her up after I got the letter because I got revenge. One was the day that the calming potion made me psycho and I killed someone with the AK." Harry looked at him. "The other was the day she caught me trying to raise my mother," he offered quietly. "I wanted it so bad, Harry. I wanted it enough to feel the magic coming at my command. Wandless, powerful, ancient magic from Egypt." Harry shivered a bit. "I was about halfway there and I had to reabsorb the energy, no matter that I nearly killed myself with it. She made me see it wasn't right and it would be better to kill myself than do that."
"Who did you tell?"
"My father. I didn't start out telling him it was you but he did figure it out. I wasn't sure if I should confront you or if I should talk to someone like Sirius." Harry glared at him. "I wasn't going to go to Remus, Harry. I figured he'd be more likely to blame himself for failing you. Remus is a nice guy and I didn't want him to blame himself for you feeling a totally natural urge. That's why we're here instead of that nice little cottage Sirius is lounging in." Harry nodded, leaning forward to hold his head. "Harry, talk to me," he begged. "I understand! I've been there!" Harry looked at him. "Damn it, if I wasn't sure it was such a bad thing, I'd probably help!" He leaned forward, making the kid stare him in the eyes. "Listen. I'm all for helping you call them back for a chat. I'm all for calling a spirit back to talk to them. I have *no* issue with that. And if they want to come back like that, I'll gladly help you pull off that spell. My stuff's in my old hiding spot inside my bed. The full ritual, all of it." Harry swallowed. "All I'm asking is that you talk to him first. Call the spirits to help you, Harry. We can do that during the hols. That way we won't be bothered." Harry nodded slowly. "But until then, you've got to drop the other one."
"I wasn't ready to start yet. I still needed two more herbs," he said quietly.
"Cool," Alex promised. "I'll help you do a seance. Here, there, anywhere you want. I won't tell Draco or Ron or anyone, but I think you should at least approach Sirius about talking to him *that* way. That way he's not going to manage to suddenly 'find us' while we're doing it." Harry looked confused. "The easiest and best place to do it would be where they died. All spirits retain a link to that area," he said gently. "I know he's been out there a lot to talk to the walls, as he called it." Harry nodded, hanging his head again. "He might understand and he might help us."
Harry looked up at him and all the pain was showing now. "I can't ask that of him. He said it was wrong to even do a seance. Can you help me, Alex?" he pleaded.
"Sure. I already told you you've got my help. I'll gladly do the seance any night you choose."
"Traditional and sure," he agreed. "We'll just have to keep my grandmother out." He shrugged. "It'll be fine." Harry relaxed and nodded. "Do you want me to deal with Sirius?"
"No." He shook his head and leaned back again. "I need to have that talk myself."
Alex smirked a bit. "That's a good idea. Want me to hold him down?"
"No. I'm going to... um, maybe have dinner with him or something."
Alex pulled something out from behind his ear, handing it over. "I've got a small hidden spot," he admitted. "That goes in the right bedpost. If you decide to do it, bring it to me. If not, bring me back the key. If he tries to get into it, it'll burn his hands off because that's got an intent clause."
"I'll remember that," Harry said dryly, smirking a bit. "He wouldn't do that."
"Yeah he would. With the way he reacted when he saw me reading a book on necromatic magic, yeah, he will," he assured him. Someone tapped on the door. "No!"
"Let me in!" Remus called.
"Fuck," Alex muttered, looking at Harry, who shrugged and tucked the pin-like key into his shirt collar. Alex undid the door. "Sorry, we had to have a talk."
"Albus was wondering why you took off that way."
"Stress," Harry told him.
Remus stared at him for a moment, then at Alex. Then he slammed the door. "You both know you can come to me for anything," he said calmly, leaning on the door. "I can see the essence of pain running around. Tell me. I'm not going to be upset or anything."
"I want to do a seance to talk to my parents," Harry said quietly.
Remus stiffened. Then he forced himself to relax. He sighed and nodded. "I know and understand. I don't want you think I don't understand. I do, I'd like to have them back as much as you do, Harry." Harry sighed and nodded. "That's why I'll help you with that and make sure your ritual is not going to hurt them or you." Alex looked back at him. "Did you know anything about these before?"
"Yeah. Grams stopped me halfway through a ritual to bring my mother back."
Remus looked at him, then suddenly hugged him. "I understand. I'm so glad that you found Severus." He hugged Harry too. "Don't tell Sirius. He'll blame himself."
"We figured you would," Alex told him.
Remus let out a bitter laugh. "Guys, I've been losing people since I was your age," he reminded them. "No one really wants a werewolf as a friend. James, Lily, and Sirius were about the only ones I had." He leaned against the worktable, looking at them. "I lost people when I was a kid, when I was older, and then when I wasn't too much older than you two I lost James and Lily, then Sirius in a week," he said quietly. "I'd have given *anything* to have them back. If I thought I had it in me, I'd have done the ritual that next day and brought them back." Harry got up and hugged him. "You're trying that?" he whispered. Harry nodded. He looked at Alex. "How did you know?"
"I had to take the back way down from the art classroom. There was a fountain and the ass-portal in it. I was making sure it wasn't the way out when I saw a small brazier, some herbs, and a journal. I looked and found a familiar spot."
Remus nodded. "How were you doing yours?"
"I was going Celtic or Norse, but I realized I couldn't because I didn't have the power."
"I was about halfway through when Grams stopped me and congratulated me."
Remus nodded, patting him on the shoulder. "When are we doing the seance?"
"Halloween," Harry offered. "At the old house."
Remus nodded. "That's fine. I'll have Narcissa get Sirius drunk that night." He smiled at the boys. "You're both missing dinner. That's not like either of you."
"Twirly feed!" she yelled from outside. "Open stupid door! Bad elves not be feeding boys!"
Alex got up and opened the door for her. "How many times did the doctor tell you to quit lugging around half the kitchen?" he demanded, staring her down. She shrugged and put the food down on the table, then poked him and left.
Remus shook his head. "She's so spoiled."
"Yeah, but so is Alex," Harry admitted, handing a plate to Alex. "Are you sure?" Alex nodded. "Which book is it?"
"My journal and about four scrolls are up there. You'll need the scroll that says seance."
Harry nodded, going up to get it. Then he came back to nibble while he read it.
Alex and Remus shared a look. "Who did you go to for advice?"
"Dad. That's why I kicked you out earlier."
"I thought so. You looked guilty when you saw me in there."
"I thought you'd take it worse."
"Sometimes, but sometimes Sirius is the more fragile one. He and James were almost brothers." Harry gave him another hug. "Thanks, kiddo." Someone knocked on the door. "Hmm, another interfering relative. What?"
Twirly opened the door and stuck her head in. "Misses Narcissa is here looking for her son."
"He's not here," Alex told her.
"Misses Narcissa is saying Master Draco is sneaky and around here since he left the school. She is being thinking he is sneaking around here."
"Well if he is, you can hand him over and I'll spank him later. If not, he probably snuck off for treats and snacks."
"Twirly is being telling her," she complained, heading back upstairs. She came back a minute later with a bottle of wine. "Twirly is thinking this being a drinking moment with the way you three boys is looking." She disappeared, closing the door behind her.
Remus opened the bottle of wine and emptied his water glass, pouring it in, then handing it off to the two boys. "You're old enough. With all you two have done, you're more than old enough."
"People, Albus is steaming!" Sirius yelled.
Alex pulled his wand and pointed it at the fire. "Ignus." He used his wand to float over some floo powder and drop it in, then cleared his throat. "Albus Dumbledore." His head spun into the grate. "We're doing therapy. And since we missed dinner, we're eating while talking about grief and loss." Dumbledore sighed and nodded. "Plus, we're both legal adults. We can sneak off. It's not like I made it to any classes after charms."
"Why not?" he asked.
"Because I got stuck up in art class when the stairs moved. That's why I had to use that back passage and found that leak before it engulfed the Slytherin dorm."
Dumbledore nodded. "Fine. Is Mr. Malfoy with you?"
"No. I'm supposing he snuck out for some snacks or chocolate."
"Thank you. I'll try to catch him sneaking back in. You three should return by curfew." He looked at Alex. "What else did you find? I was wondering why you went to your father and blocked the office off."
"I found a small matter that led me to remember my wanting to talk to my mother."
"I'm sorry. I had no idea it was like that." Alex shrugged a bit. "I'll leave you to your counseling, Remus. Try to get them back by curfew." His head disappeared.
"It's nice, he finally agrees we have some sense," Harry offered.
"Now and then," Alex agreed, saluting him with his glass. "Drink up, we're back to house elves at the school tomorrow morning."
They both gave him an odd look but drank up and ate.
Alex looked up from his reading as Draco came in and shut the door. "Dumbledore sent half of everyone looking for you."
"I went to talk to my father's grave and tell him that I was much happier and he had failed." He laid down beside him. "Where did you go?"
"To talk to someone who needed some counseling."
"No. He's still lying to himself about casting that curse. He's even refusing to even admit he felt a bit of pleasure."
Draco nodded. "I remember that lie but it made me want it more." He snuggled in, looking at the book. "What's that? Seances?"
Alex gave him a quick kiss. "You can't ask and I can't tell you."
"No and you still can't ask and I'm not going to tell you." He stared him down. "You can't help either." Draco rolled his eyes and nodded. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. You could trust me."
"It's not my thing to tell, Draco. We're not going to be talking to my mum."
"I'd like to sometime," he offered gently. "Snape called her sweet and nice."
"From what I understand she's where I get my goofy and fun side." He shrugged and put a piece of string in his spot then tucked it under his pillow. Then he stretched out next to his mate, letting him curl up next to him. "Did you need comfort?"
"No, but I thought you could. You didn't even help turn all those people back." He put his head on Alex's chest. "Did you want to talk?"
"No, I got this out when I was nine," he admitted. He let his mate snuggle. "What else was going on? I thought maybe you went out to get a snack."
"No. Not really." He stroked down the relaxed back, smiling at him. "I don't see a naked me hanging up anywhere."
"That's because I'm cold so he put me behind the nasty, itchy wool stuff," his voice called. Alex groaned. "Swat him and get him to paint me some clothes?"
Draco looked down at his mate. "You put me in the closet?"
Alex looked at him. "I didn't want just anyone to see you naked."
"Or just my head since you messed up my hair and it's curling around my ears," another version of Draco's voice, a younger one, called out. "Don't let me put that stupid hat on me again, please!"
"I won't. Baby me!"
Draco got up and opened up the closet, looking at the portrait hanging on the door, then at his mate. "How old was I?"
"Fourteen. I've done one each year, around the holidays." He sat up. "The other was last year."
Draco moved the cloaks and robes out of the way, looking at the portrait of himself. He noticed something was wrong but he wasn't sure what. "I looked like that?"
"You were in the middle of that growth spurt that seemed to give you a giraffe's neck," Alex sighed, holding his head. "I made it a bit too long and I messed up an angle on your right pec."
"He did it okay in the drawing but it got messed up with the painting." The naked Draco shifted to show off his body more. "The spells aren't that bad, but a bit on the thin side."
"I said I'd charge you when I did the one this year," Alex reminded him patiently. "That way I don't have to do it three times this year."
"Sure. Just paint some clothes on me, huh?"
Alex grinned at him. "This year's will be. I'll do a real portrait now that he knows." The naked Draco gave him a look, as did his mate. "You like flashing others and that's why I've been keeping you in there."
"I wouldn't mind being near the fire," he offered.
Draco pulled his portrait out, walking it out there. Ron and Vinnie were playing chess but he just hung his portrait near the fire and walked back into the room, hanging his head out in the open as well. "Since I know," he said smugly. He curled up next to his mate, getting comfortable to look at his head.
Ron tapped on the door and leaned in. "Mates, you guys are determined to turn the rest of us gay, aren't you?" he asked sarcastically.
"No, just showing off my skills. That was last year," Alex said proudly. "There'll probably be a naked Draco in the student art show too." Draco and Ron both stared at him. "Some of my best work has been drawing you," he promised. "I try harder on yours." He blew a kiss and Draco pounced him, play fighting with him until he screamed and tried to get away.
Ron shook his head and closed the door. "More than I needed to know."
Vinnie looked at him, blushing hard. "What was he thinking?"
"That was last year and there's a Draco head in there too. He warned us not to go to the art show unless we wanted to see a naked Draco from this year." Vinnie moaned, getting up and heading to his room.
Ron headed to his room, saluting the naked, smirking Draco who was warming his bum on the fire next to him.
Harry came out of his room the next morning and ran into Greg's back, walking around him with a pat. "You're in the way," he noted. He looked where the other boy was when he heard the whimper, blinking a few times. He took off his glasses and cleaned them on his boxers, then put them back on. "It didn't change, damn," he muttered. The Draco smirked at him and turned to flash his butt at them, looking over his shoulder. "Why is that out here?"
"I got cold," Draco told him. "I'm very good to myself."
"You are," Harry agreed. "Why are you naked?"
"Because Alex is just like that," he said with a wink.
Greg groaned and headed back to his room, hiding in his bed.
Harry just sighed and went to take his shower. When he came out the Draco was back to warming his front side at the fire. He got dressed and walked out doing his tie, but gave it up on the way down there. He walked into the Great Hall and walked up to the head table, looking at the teachers who lorded over their lunatic friend. He looked at the teachers, and sighed. Then he looked at the art teacher. "Is Alexander allowed to make living paintings?" She choked and shook her head. "He has at least one in our rooms. There's a naked Draco hanging next to our fireplace. Um, Professor Snape, Goyle went back to bed and I haven't seen Crabbe yet." He looked at the art teacher. "Can't you bring him somewhere warmer? He claims he's cold since he's naked."
"Naked?" McGonagall asked. Harry nodded. "How naked?"
"He's uncircumcised," he assured her quietly.
She blushed. "I'll have him put it somewhere more appropriate," she assured him.
"Thank you. I don't mind seeing all sorts of things. I've even seen them having sex before. I just can't stand staring at a naked Draco night and day for the next year and three- quarters. He can have any quiet corner of the room, just not next to the fireplace? Please?"
"I'll have him move it somewhere better," Snape assured him.
"Thank you." He headed down to eat, looking at his roommates. "Can't we ship Alexander back up there to bother you guys?"
"No," Seamus said happily. "No one snores now. We like that."
Dean snorted, shaking his head. "Sorry, mate, we'd have to complain."
"Damn. We have a naked Draco portrait hanging next to the fireplace. It seems to have appeared last night to get warm. Apparently he was cold."
Seamus spluttered, staring at him in horror. "He does naked people!"
"Well, that is how you have sex," Ginny said as she sat down. "What naked people?"
"They have a naked Draco painting," Dean said. "Beside the fire."
Ginny looked at him and grinned. "I can find one sure way to make sure it's stopped. Walk it up there to hand to the art teacher during class change so *everyone* can see it."
Harry blushed. "That would require me touching it," he noted. "His painting's just as big a perv as he is." Ginny cackled at that. "Really. He was showing off."
Ginny cackled, leaning on Seamus' shoulder to laugh into it. "I can see that!"
"And Alex is very good. The only thing I noticed was that it was done during his big neck period last year," Harry sighed, shaking his head. "Totally naked, but without a birthmark he's got."
One of the Ravenclaws looked over. "Can we come visit the painting?" she called.
"Fine." She smiled at him. "Not even a peek?"
"Alex said he's got stuff going in the student art show. Maybe there'll be one of those since he likes drawing Draco." She tittered and talked to the person next to her.
"I'll go see the show for that," Ginny agreed. "It might get the most people yet."
"True," Dean agreed. "I've got to finish my submission piece." Seamus grinned at him. "No, not yours. I need to redo it. I messed up on your hair." He shrugged. "Sorry, but I couldn't capture that level of messy bed hair."
"Ehh, you'll get it right by next year," he said philosophically. He pushed Ginny off his shoulder. "Don't do that." He wiped the slobber off and dug back into his breakfast.
"Mr. Birmingham," McGonagall called as he walked in. "Come here please?" He grinned and walked in there. "Why are some of your roommates missing this morning?"
"They're probably tossing off due to Draco's new portrait from last year," he said with a small grin. "He's the one who put it out there. I had it in my closet so he could stay warm and out of sight."
She looked down at him. "I see. Perhaps that one should go up to the art classroom?" He shrugged. "Or your house?"
"Then Twirly would stand and stare."
"She'll get over it some day, she'll have to," Snape assured him.
"I could give it to Auntie Narcissa."
"You could," he agreed, pressing his lips together. "I think she would appreciate that gift, son." Alex beamed and bounced a bit. "We'll call her during the class day today." Alex hugged him and went to his usual spot to eat. He looked at Draco when he strolled in. "Boy!" Draco smirked at him but didn't come any closer. "Now, Mr. Malfoy." He crossed his arms, staring him down. "That ...portrait may go into the student art show, but otherwise it will go to your mother's house."
"I'll call her personally," he promised. "He said this year's will be a real portrait."
Snape shook his head. "At least you're keeping him unbored. Eat."
The Art teacher looked down at him. "You don't think he'd mind?"
"No, and I believe many students would come to see him being so naked."
"I've got better naked Draco pictures to put in there," Alex called.
"Since when?" Draco called.
"Since about four this morning." He shot his mate a grin. "I'll show you later, sweetie." He stuffed his mouth at the shocked and horrified looks he was getting.
Narcissa walked into the suite behind her friend, smiling at the plate of cookies on the table. He pointed and got out of the way, so she turned and stared. "He does good work," she said, pleased with that. "I remember that growth spurt. I thought for sure he'd have a long neck like my mother." She walked closer, touching the painting. "No birthmark?" she pouted.
"He told him he couldn't include it," Snape said dryly. "It's distressed Mr. Goyle to the point where he won't leave his bed until someone removes it. We've all decided that the art teacher wanted to look at it for inclusion into the student show, but otherwise it was going home with you."
"Just somewhere warm, mum, please? I'm a bit chilly and Alex *refuses* to paint me clothes," he said with a pout. "He's being mean and doesn't even laugh when I put a hat on the other me."
"Other you?" she asked.
"Um-huh. In his room," he said, looking even more pitiful. "Just my head though. He said I could have a real portrait this year so I get to molest myself," he said with a wicked smirk.
She stroked over his cheek. "Where's this other you?"
"That was fourth year me and he's on the back of one of the curtains Alex never opens."
She walked into Alex's bedroom, finding the picture easily. She squealed and patted it. "Oh, I adore this one!" She brought it out and gathered the one from next to the fireplace. "Is the art classroom in the same spot?" He nodded, following her out. She shifted the paintings, letting the students they were passing catch glimpses of the naked Draco. The art teacher had a lot of Alex's drawings out already so she could look them over, which endeared her to the poor young woman. She took another one home to have mounted properly and the two portraits since she had three very good naked and semi-naked Draco paintings already. She dropped the portkey and walked in the front door, past her sister and niece, who stared for a moment before following. "Oh, Sirius!" she said happily. She handed him the paintings. "Find somewhere to put my baby. The full one needs somewhere a bit warm." She went to call her favorite painting appraiser, holding up the portrait. He choked. "My son-in-law did it," she said proudly. "Isn't Alex so good! It needs mounted immediately." She hung up and went to pick out a place of honor for it in the dining room. "Here you think for the drawing?" she asked them all.
Sirius looked at the painting and blushed. "I didn't need to know that much about Draco, Narci." He walked off, going to hang the other two up for her. He turned and found both Tonks women staring at them, then walked around them. They could be perverts, he needed something to take his mind off that image before he started to drool like the dog he was. The painter showed up with a frame and mat, settling in at the table to do that for her. He blinked at that drawing and let out a small moan. She smiled at him. "Did you need more help, Narcissa?"
"No, dear. Thank you. Where are they?"
"Follow the drool trail," he noted, heading home. "James would have understood why I'm running," he muttered as he walked. "Lily would have perved too but James would have shared a butterbeer with me." He walked into his house and up to his room, going to find his stash of porn to find a better picture to relieve his tension with than his nephew.
Pansy looked over at Alex in Charms, shifting closer to where he was sitting. "Alex, can you make me a private painting of Draco?" she asked quietly.
"I don't take commissions. I draw because I like to draw."
"But I can pay you for it."
He looked back at her. "I don't do it for money. I do it because I like to draw. I'm not taking commissions and if you want to see a naked Draco, go to the student art show. I'm told there'll be a few of them." He went back to his current drawing when Flitwick looked his way. "She started it," he defended.
"You have how many in the student art show?"
"Three kinda naked Draco pictures and two others," he said proudly. Draco smirked at him. "His mum took the naked Draco portrait and his head home."
"Thank you!" Greg called. "Really, Alex, I love you, man. I'll let you cuddle me the next time you get cold again. Thank you!"
"Blame Harry. He narked. It made McGonagall blush for nearly an hour when she saw it." Flitwick gave him an odd look. "It was Draco last year."
"Ah." He shook his head. "Go away, Mr. Birmingham." He got pouted at. "Now! Before I have to see that image mentally. Now, please."
"Yes, sir," he sighed, getting up to go find a good spot to draw from. It was raining outside so one of the walkways got a summoned chair and he settled in to draw the woods. Which was why he saw the man coming out of it stumbling and falling over. "Shit!" He jumped up and ran out, only taking his wand. He skidded past the Creatures class and hurried on, finding him behind Hagrid's cabin. Hagrid came after him, stopping before he tripped over them. "Hagrid, get the nurse," he ordered. "He's out, but stable." Hagrid nodded and ran off. Alex got the man onto his back after checking him over, looking at his face. He looked familiar. He did the check spell again, grimacing at the results. "Damn. Someone get Lupin!" he yelled. "He's been attacked!" One of the kids ran off. He looked at the rest. "Inside to the entry!" The rest ran off, leaving the animals there. A few howled in anger and fear but a shot of light past them made them all get back into their cages or burrow to safety. The nurse ran out. "Broken ribs and one arm, plus he's been bitten and attacked, scratched and slobbered on it looks like," he called as she came closer. "He's out." She nodded, settling down next to him to check him over herself. He helped her get him onto the stretcher and got out of the way so she could handle it. "I told someone to get Lupin for you."
"Thank you, Alexander." She hurried off, glancing at the animals. "Hagrid, I think you've got some escapees."
"Some burrowed. I shot some light past them to keep them in there," Alex said as he walked past him, brushing off his pants and hands. "They're fine."
"That's right nice'a ya, thanks," he said, watching him go. Alex grinned back then broke into a jog. Hagid went to gather up his animals, finding the few burrowed but that was fine. They'd come out to eat. Well, one might come out to eat a student, but they'd all come out to eat.
Alex walked up behind the person looking in his bag. "My art folder's upstairs under my bed," he noted. The caretaker jumped. "Sorry, I saw someone collapse and ran to help." He cleaned up his stuff and gave him a gentle grin. "You might want to tell the headmaster to head to the infirmary. Someone just came out of the forest after being attacked."
"Did it did you?" he sneered.
Alex looked at him. "Don't think your position is keeping me from beating you physically, Mr. Filch. It's not." He backed up and Alex put his bag over his shoulder. "Did I create too much of a mess for you?" He walked off, heading to change. He was filthy and he knew it. He had mud all over him, he might even need a new shower. He walked past Flitwick's class, earning the teacher coming out to stare at him. "Someone came out of the forest and collapsed. I ran out to help. I'm showering."
"Fine. Did you tell the headmaster?"
"No. I told Filch to tell the headmaster since he was being a nosy bastard and looking through my bag to steal my candy." He walked into his suite and headed to bathe and change clothes. He came out to find someone looking at his artwork, snatching it back. "That is by permission only. You have no right to go through my things." He stared the old man down. "I give very few that permission." The headmaster nodded. "You can tell Filch I said going through my bag was probably not a good idea either. It tends to put me in a bad mood." He walked around him, going to put on clothes. "Who was the guy?"
"I'm not sure yet. He's still unconscious," he admitted. "What happened?"
"I was drawing the forest and saw him come out." He zipped up his pants once they were on, turning to look at him. "I ran out when I noticed Hagrid hadn't noticed. I sent Hagrid for the nurse, I sent another student for Lupin and told the rest to head inside. Then I came back and found the snoopy old man in my things." He pulled out a shirt and put it on, buttoning it up. He shrugged once it was done. "What did you want me to do? Stand and scream like a first year girl?"
"No, I expected you to handle it as you did. I didn't expect you to physically threaten our caretaker."
"Yeah, well, snoopy old man was taking a great deal of pleasure from looking at my homework and it wouldn't be fair to hex him." Dumbledore snorted, shaking his head. "That comes under 'that puts me into a bad mood' and he's known for years. He asked me if I had done it." He found a tie and slid it on, doing it up but leaving it loose. "Am I suspended? I could use a day to fit my uniforms again."
"I should suspend you to your suite, but you'd probably enjoy it." He stepped closer. "I should also ground you to the library."
"Madam Pince would be very upset when I snored in there. I'm told I do it quite loudly."
Dumbledore considered it. "I'm going to suspend you to the suite for the next two days, and your art supplies will go to your father. Your elves may not visit and you may not leave. You may only do homework."
"I would, but I'm usually drawing on the same parchment I do my homework on. It's all the same to me."
"Really? Most artists have dedicated materials."
"Yes, but as I told Miss Parkinson, I do art for my own pleasure, not for commission or for real." He grinned at him. "I'll gladly take the punishment. What do I care?" He shrugged. "Can I at least ask Dobby for snacks?"
"Fine." He walked out, taking the folder of artwork with him. He handed it to Professor Snape when he got down there. "Your son is suspended for two days," he said quietly. "He threatened Mr. Filch."
"Going through his things."
"Hmm. One would think Mr. Filch knew that Alexander is about the only artist around here and that any time you see certain materials it's got to be his bag. Therefore he wouldn't need to search for an ID."
"He claims he was cleaning it up."
"And I believe that," Snape said dryly. "He's suspended?" Dumbledore nodded. "Very well. I'm sure he's taking a nap by now."
"He's to do his homework."
Snape looked at him. "I think he's already done, Headmaster. It's not like he's taking many classes where he's *learning* anything." The headmaster raised an eyebrow. "He's dropped his second elective for his off-topic studying that we all agreed on him pursuing. That takes over every class but herbology and creatures. He's no longer in Potions because he's abysmal in here. Why was he overlooking something out in a hallway?"
"He got expelled from Charms again."
Snape rolled his eyes. "I'm sure he had a good reason."
"Fltiwick said Miss Parkinson was asking him to make her some commissioned artwork and Alex refused. She was about to throw a fit. He said it preserved the peace."
Snape looked around, then rang a bell, bringing a house elf. "Get Mr. Malfoy here immediately. You can transport him if you must." It disappeared and came back with Draco, who was holding his wand like he had been about to hex someone. "Did you know Miss Parkinson was asking him to do commissioned artwork of you? He got expelled from charms for refusing."
"That's more than enough," Draco ordered, holding up a hand. "You've now made sure I won't sleep well for months on end and I'll need weeks of special attention to cure that mental image. I may never eat again," he said with great distaste. "Thank you very much, Professor Snape. I do adore you and some day I'm giving you grandchildren who'll come bother you incessantly." He walked out shuddering, going back to Transfiguration. He walked in and slammed the door, then shuddered and turned to Pansy, turning her into the creature he had been trying to change his frog into earlier. "You may not have any artwork of me, especially not any of Alex's *special* artwork!" he said coldly, sitting down and glaring at the teacher. "He refused to take a commission. That's why he's not here."
"He's suspended to our suite," Harry said as he walked in. "He threatened Filch when he found him going through his school bag after he ran out to save the poor bloke who came out of the forest." He looked at the creature in Pansy's seat. "Wrong fur color, Malfoy. The wings are out of proportion too." He shrugged and sat down. "Nice try. Nearly as good as Alex did." Draco glared at him so he grinned. "Not that I can do better than your boy can."
McGonagall cleared her throat to break up the petty argument. "Change her back," she said calmly. "Now."
"I haven't quite mastered that yet," Draco admitted dryly. "Sorry, Professor. Perhaps Mr. Potter would like to try?" The bird-winged cat tried to fly away but it wasn't going anywhere. Draco had made its tail quite heavy, though he had put it into proportion.
"Sorry, Professor, Alexander didn't tutor me in that part."
She pulled her wand and tried to undo it but it was still sticking. "Apparently you haven't mastered the change yet either. We'll have to undo it with a potion instead of a reversal," she said, staring him down. He slumped a bit but didn't look displeased. "Miss Bulstrode, please take her up to the infirmary. I'm sure I can trust you to make sure she arrives safely?"
"Oh, yes, Professor. I'm not stupid enough to ask Alexander openly for naked pictures of his boyfriend." She picked up the tweeting bird and carried it up to the infirmary, handing it to the nurse, who was giving it a horrified look. "Mr. Malfoy found out that Miss Parkinson, that little bird, had asked his boyfriend to make her some naked pictures of him. He refused and Mr. Malfoy hasn't quite managed the art of transforming people into animals yet."
She sighed and put the bird down into a cage, going to call someone to have a talk with those boys yet again.
Sirius knocked and was let into the suite. "Why is it I get called about you two about every month?"
"We're not sure since we're not your kids," Ron assured him with a grin. "Which one this time?"
"Mr. Malfoy, since his mother is off gushing at some social event in Paris for the weekend." He sat down and sighed. "What happened?"
"Oh, a few things," Alex said bitterly. "I'm suspended so did you bring cookies?"
"I did," he agreed, pulling them out of his pocket and resizing them. "I was checking on your elves for you when Twirly was told that she couldn't come up for the next week."
"He said two days," Alex said forcefully.
"Yes, but the headmaster told her a week. She went a bit off on him and then went to complain to the Ministry that he was mean and cruel to her poor boys. I'm sure your mother will find it amusing that she included you, Draco." He smirked at Harry. "You as well." He looked around again. "So.... What happened this time?"
"I got asked to leave charms because Pansy was pressuring me for naked Draco pictures. I went upstairs to draw the forest for a bit, saw someone coming out after having been attacked, ran to help him. Came back, found Filch in my things and told him off, threatening him if he did it again. Got into it with the other snoopy old fart in this castle when I found him going through my art folder. Got suspended in here for *two* days, and Draco changed Pansy into a something so she's presently stuck."
"Which means I've got detention tonight and tomorrow to help brew the restoring potion. Plus our beds seem to have shrunk," Draco offered, looking at his relative.
"The headmaster wanted you reminded that you could back out of your temporary contract for embarrassment as well," Sirius offered with a small, evil smirk.
"Why would I be embarrassed?" Draco asked tolerantly.
"Because of all the naked pictures of you running around."
Draco let out a sarcastic sounding snort. "I have nothing against that. People stare at me anyway. I've always been admired for being cute or handsome and charming. Half the children in this school want me more than they do Harry. Why would some art embarrass me when I'm so used to being stared at? As long as Alex keeps doing such a good job of drawing me, then we're fine with it. The first time he fucks me up majorly and enlivens it, we'll have problems, but until then I like being his favorite subject. He's just jealous I suppose," he finished with a small sigh of regret.
"You are so full of it," Ron taunted, shaking his head. "There's no way half the girls want you more than Harry. Or want Harry for that matter."
"Bet me," Vinnie offered, looking up from his reading. "Draco used to have us beat the girls out of our room so he could take a nap."
Greg nodded. "We removed Lavender at least five times the year we got moved up here."
Ron stared at him, mouth slightly open. "Why?" he asked finally.
"Money, power, I'm good in bed, I'm fairly handsome, though when I was that age I was more cute."
"Bragging rights," Harry reminded him. "Which is why most of the girls come after my bum," he noted impatiently. He looked at his godfather. "What's he doing now?"
"I'm not really sure, Harry. It does seem a bit off with all the other stuff." Someone knocked so he got up to get it, letting in the art teacher since she was carrying some rolls of parchment. "Good afternoon."
"To you as well, Mr. Black," she said, smiling at him. Then she smiled at Alex. "I had to rout the old goat to keep you in the show but he did say nothing too indecent could be shown. Therefore McGonagall wanted you to come show her that night." She handed them to him with a wink. "I think she's a bit pissed at the old goat as well." She blew a kiss at Draco. "The most risque thing in there is now that one where you were sleeping that he showed you."
"Pansy will be destroyed," Harry said with a cold smirk. "She wanted to see naked Draco."
"Well, since McGonagall wanted him to show off to her that night, she might be able to come in and see some," she said with a smirk of her own. She handed a list. "Here, that's what I think you should show her, or anything along those lines. They're quite good. Are you sure you won't pursue art as a career?"
"I'd like to keep it a hobby but I never minded if others liked it," he offered with a shy grin. "Which ones are going in?"
"That sleeping one, the one of him slouching the other day, and one of him flying."
"You should see the one he did of Harry flying," Ron offered. "He did it last year but it was fantastic."
"I haven't been privileged enough to see most of his artwork. He got picky about what he showed me."
Draco pulled his wand. "Accio Alex's artworks." A few more scrolls and his folder flew out, along with a new one. He handed them to her. "We haven't look at them since he did that flying picture of Potter either." Harry was red now and hiding his face in his arms. "As long as there's no more in there that could be deemed 'odd' I'll let you admire my portraits all you want."
"Thank you, Mr. Malfoy." She sat down to look through them, making Sirius blush at some of them. A few more pieces were taken out and set aside, including one of the larger scrolls. The rest got handed off to the boys, then she kissed Alex on the cheek and headed out with the new ones. No one told her how to run her class or her showings and she was the master of what her students drew. She smiled and nodded at Ginny as she walked past her, heading back to hang those up properly as well and to find the perfect spot for them in the hallway she'd be using later that week.
Ginny tapped on the door and was let in by a blushing Sirius Black. "Should I bring bad news later?"
"No, it's the time for it," Ron called, waving her in. "Guys, Ginny." Draco shrugged and critically looked at the picture of him outside, then at his mate, holding it up.
"Break just after school started. There should be a date."
Draco nodded and looked, smiling a bit before putting it back. "What did you want, Weasley?"
"We've just had a visit in the house. I'm guessing Slytherin had the same. McGonagall said the headmaster called a special teacher's meeting and suggested, very firmly, that you six be moved back to the houses. Seamus pointed out that moving you back would make the little kids scared and we voted to keep you down here."
"I do believe he's trying to break us up, Draco," Alex said, rubbing his forehead. "I'm having stress keeping myself from yelling. Did you want to?"
"No, I'm afraid this'll have to wait for my mother's delicate touch," he offered with a sly grin. His mother could flay someone with her tongue and make them whimper in mercy within moments. He'd have to floo her later. He looked at Weasley. "What about my house since you look like you still have news?"
"It was noted by McGonagall that Snape said your house said that they enjoyed having you safely up here. That way they could plan against you, though Professor Snape said you knew what they were planning and plotting anyway. He thought it wiser to leave you up here, forgotten and out of the way of harm and chaos." The two heads of their houses smirked at each other and she cleared her throat. "McGonagall also wanted to talk to you, Alex, about some practice NEWTs that're being tried out by the Ministry. I have a nasty suspicion you're taking them by what she said."
He got up, then looked down at himself. "I'm suspended. Oh, well." He walked out, heading to his head's office, tapping before walking in. "You gave Miss Weasley permission to release me to come here for a moment?"
"Why are you suspended?" she asked dryly.
"For threatening one snoopy old fart for going through my bag in the hallway and reminding the other one doing things like looking at my art without permission upset me and made me have a bad day. By the way, I'm suspended for *two* days and he told Twirly a week. She's at the Ministry from what Sirius said."
She giggled and nodded. "She did indeed file a complaint and they're up there right now." She smirked a bit. "Dumbledore hates you."
"I noticed our beds had surprisingly shrunk back to a child's size, so we barely fit. Did he want us to sleep and shag on the couch instead?"
"I think he wanted to stop the shagging."
He snickered and shook his head. "I doubt that would happen. We can always find other spots to shag in. It's not like he can stop us." She nodded at that. "Also, he tried to tell Draco to break the contract through Sirius."
"Oh, dear," she sighed, looking at him. "I had worried about such a thing. Is he all right?"
"Fine. Draco was very amused."
"I meant Sirius."
"He's fine, they laughed." He smirked a bit with her. "What's this about practice NEWTs?"
"Yes, they're revamping the NEWTs and they needed test subjects to take it. With your proficiency, you were nominated." Alex crossed his arms, staring her down. "By the same person. However, all the classes that you pass them in with an Average or better, you don't have to take. That person may be hoping to let you graduate this year."
"So I've got to brush up seriously in herbology, creatures, and what?"
"He can't make me take a Potions NEWT, I'm not in there!" he said hotly.
"That was argued on your behalf," she noted patiently. "Especially by your father. He called it a way to discredit his teaching." She licked her lips and looked at him. "They're also not being given at the normal time, Alex," she said quietly. "They're being given in three weeks." He let out a string of swears that made her flinch and grab the arms of her chair. He finally stopped and hit the wall, then turned to look at her, his face an impressive mask of coldness. "I'm not sure what he's doing or why," she said quietly and calmly. "All I know is that you're taking them in all the subjects, even the ones you've never taken here."
"I haven't picked up an Arithmancy book since I was ten!" he complained. She nodded. "Are they still here?"
"No. It was arranged by floo during the teacher's meeting. He also tried to suggest separating you boys if your houses wouldn't take you back."
"Dean and Seamus said they were enjoying not hearing Ron and I snore."
"So I heard," she assured him with a faint smile. "Do you think you can at least pass a few of them?"
"I can probably pass all of them but we'd have to do the bloody spell again!" he complained, stomping off. He walked into the suite and slammed the door, then looked at everyone, including the blushing Ginny. "I'm taking my NEWTs in three weeks in *all* subjects."
"You haven't taken all the subjects here, mate," Ron offered. "Why so soon?"
Sirius swallowed. "Okay. What's going on?"
"The Ministry was updating the NEWTs and they needed practice subjects. I'm to be excused from any class where I get at least an average. But I have to take things I've never taken, like Runes. Yeah, Grams made me study those when she punished me, but I haven't picked up a Runes book since I was seven and an Arithmancy book since I was ten!" Sirius nodded quickly. "I'm having a bit of a temper."
"I can see that," Draco agreed calmly. "Would a hug help?"
"No. It wouldn't. I might end up hurting you by accident." He ran his hands through his hair. "The *only* way I can see to get me ready for them in three weeks is to put me back under the Imperious and make me study the books again."
"Fat chance," Harry told him. "You can break it."
"Yes, but I'll know I won't want to." He flopped down and stared at his mate. "Even if we aren't taken back, he's pushing to have the two of us separated."
"Wonderful. My mother's coming tonight," he assured him. "Maybe she can do something to give you more time."
"They arranged it by floo during the teacher's meeting. Dad and McGonagall and probably others protested already. I'm also taking a Potions NEWT."
"You can't. You're not in there, that's against the rules," Ron told him. Alex shrugged. "If you're excused from anything you pass, does that mean you'll end up back in anything you fail that you haven't taken?" Alex nodded. "You sure?"
"Not yet." He looked around. "Dobby!" He appeared. "Get my father the hell up here now, and relay that message exactly."
The house elf cowered but went to do that. He also brought back some milk, milk always seemed to calm him down. He went to the Potions classroom, clearing his throat. "Professor Snape, Dobby was ordered to get his father up here now," he said timidly.
"I take it heard about his testing?"
"Dobby not know, but he was frightful. Alexander is being radiating energy. Him is not a happy student."
Snape looked at him. "Radiating how?"
"Like all paintings vacant, Professor sir." He bowed his head. "Dobby not want to stick around. Alexander would never hurt Dobby but Dobby still scared."
"It's probably a wise thing," he sighed, standing up. "Thank you, Dobby. Did you bring him something to eat? He's suspended to his suite tonight." Dobby nodded and went to do that, making sure it was something the boys liked. He headed up to talk to his son, hearing the ranting going on again. His son seemed to have quite the impressive handle on swearing. Flitwick was staring at their portrait in horror. "He heard about the testing," he noted as he walked around him.
"I tried to make them see reason, but they wouldn't, Severus," he said quietly. "They refused to see sense this time. He was just shouting about having to undergo the same torture he had when he was a child to get through this and how the headmaster wants to separate him from any support. Is he right?"
Snape swallowed. "He did want to separate him from Mr. Malfoy. He's also trying to make me take more control over him when we've already established a comfortable relationship." Flitwick sighed and nodded. "As it stands presently, he's probably ready to kill someone. Dobby said he's radiating. You might want to work on shielding techniques again."
"I can hear you!" Alex yelled.
"Good, then settle down," he ordered, looking at the older, smaller teacher. "Do you want him to pass yours?" He nodded. "Then I'll make sure he does yours and mine." He walked inside, looking at his son. "You're scaring house elves and paintings, son. Think rationally for the moment."
"Usually he blows shit up when he gets like this," Draco reminded him, nibbling on a roll. "Unfortunately he's suspended."
"That was probably the only fair thing that happened today," Snape admitted. His son scowled at him. "You should not threaten the staff."
"He shouldn't have been snooping in my shit."
"While true, you should still not threaten the staff. You have more brains and subtlety than that, Alexander." His son glared at him. "You do. There are other ways to make your displeasure known. Use them." Alex continued to glare but nodded. "Thank you." He sat down, looking at him. "Can a refresher help you with the subjects you already know?"
"I don't remember enough Arthimancy to realize what Draco was doing during some special work we were doing."
"What happens if he takes them like he is?" Ron asked. "If he flunks Potions, would he have to go back into it? Even though he didn't pass his OWLs?"
Snape nodded. "That is what Dumbledore arranged." He looked at his son. "There are things that can enhance your recall of past events. That could help you with everything you've known. It's not unheard of for students to use such potions before their testing. The testers know of its use." Alex quirked an eyebrow up. "It would allow you to remember how to do the problems and such."
"Can I brew that? So you don't get accused of helping him cheat?" Draco asked.
Snape nodded. "It's actually one of the ones covered by the NEWTs." He looked at him. "You're taking them all as well. Though I will accept you back in Potions, even if you do pass."
"Will these count as my official scores?" Alex asked.
"They said anything you felt you did well enough in, you wouldn't have to retake them next year," Snape offered. "They also said that anything you passed with an Average or above you can be allowed out of. They're thinking about that for other students who are advanced as well." Alex sighed and nodded, slumping some more. "Your back will hurt if you keep sitting like that."
"It's going to hurt anyway since my bed won't comfortably fit a house elf."
"Can you not fix that?"
"Not without tapping into the magic of the school. It's charmed like the rest of the school's property. That fundamental of a change would have to come with the authority to do so."
"That's fine. We'll fix it."
"It's all our beds," Harry told him. "I sat on mine while I changed my shirt and it gave me barely enough room to sit."
"I'll take that up with Professor McGonagall," he promised, looking at Draco. "How are you standing it?"
"I called mum," he assured him with a sweet, nasty smile. "She's coming in tonight. I got yelled at but I pointed out I wasn't suspended and he hadn't taken away floo calling privileges since Alex couldn't call *his* mum."
"There are days I wish he could," Snape said quietly. "Elani would have ripped him apart that first year. She is where Alex gets his protective streak." His son looked a bit happier at that. "I'll give Mr. Malfoy the potion. I'll get you notes and the book for seventh year herbology, creatures, and Divination."
"It is one of those things you must take, son."
"That one you should pass, that way you're not forced to go back," Ron reminded him. "She hated you, claimed your evil was blocking her inner eye and that you're the reason Harry was going to die so much."
"Oh, I remember her being another evil bitch in the world," he said flatly. "Are we sure Dumbledore's not a female? After all, he's acting like an evil bitch, just like Grams."
"No, as far as I know he's not," Snape admitted. Though that would explain so much he'd seen over the years.
Draco looked at his mate. "Evil is an equal opportunity employer, dear. Maybe he has something like dear Professor Snape has against Potter. Your grams was probably about his age."
"He started teaching her second year," Alex said grimly. "Minerva asked him." Snape looked at him. "She thought it might be the same thing too."
"You call her by her first name?"
"Well, she did offer me that right," he offered blandly.
"Fine. That's between you and her."
"Was that for all the help she's given you, the coddling she does of you, or the drinking you two did that night?" Harry asked, grinning at him.
"Mr. Potter," Snape started.
"She offered it while she was drunk but the next day she said I might as well," Alex shot back.
"You went drinking with McGonagall?"
"Yeah. She's funny when she's had a few. Haven't you went out with her?" He shook his head quickly. "Pity. You should. She's a nice lady. She's one of the very few evil half of the universe that I trust not to fuck me over."
"One of these days, son, you will appreciate the difference between a woman and an evil woman."
"One's open about it and one cackles in private over her devious plans to destroy the world?"
Snape stood up, leaving it there. "I'll hand you that potion tonight, while we're working on the one to return Miss Parkinson to human form. For now, eat dinner and relax. Detention starts at eight, as usual." He left, leaving the giggling Sirius behind him to deal with his son's odd mental problems. At least he was just as warped so he understood his son where he himself did not.
Draco smiled at the headmaster as he came into the potions classroom, stirring the potion. "As ordered, I'm working to turn her back into the disgusting bitch she is."
"Ten points from Slytherin for such vulgar language," Snape ordered. "You could have found other words, Mr. Malfoy."
"Well, she does look like a female dog, sir," he offered. Snape gave him his 'I'm not amused' look. "Sorry." He looked at the headmaster again. "Did you need something? I'm competent to do this by myself for a moment."
"Add the moth wings," Severus ordered. Draco turned and went back to that. "What did you need, Headmaster? More punishment being handed out?"
"No. I was wondering why none of the suite's residents who were supposed to be at dinner were."
"We were having dinner with Alex in a show of solidarity. After all, it's not like his punishment was *fair* or anything." He shot a quick glare at him. "By the way, my mother will be putting in a protest about my bed shrinking so much that not even a house elf could get comfortable on it. It's not like I can get proper rest sleeping on something the size of my pillow."
"That was done to stop the carnal...."
"He's my marriage partner," Draco overrode coldly, turning to glare at him. "I have every right to fuck him night and day, per our marriage contract. Temporary or not, it is still binding and if I want to uphold it, I'll keep the happiness levels of my spouse up. After all, I'm the one keeping him happy and calm so you don't have to deal with him being mean, evil, or vulgar while he tries to find relief from his restless energy another way. He *could* go back to pranking others. I'm sure we'd enjoy all the women in this school being tormented for the rest of his tenure here. Wouldn't you, Professor Snape?"
"Not particularly. I believe he might leave some of them alone. He seems to enjoy the occasional company of Miss Weasley and Miss Bulstrode."
"Not really," Draco told him. "Now and then, when he needs advice on gifts and things. Otherwise, never unless they come to bother him." He nodded once at that. So Draco glared at the headmaster again. "I could easily give up my weekly sex, but our contract does state it must be done at least monthly. I'm not about to break it and lose him. Remember, we temper each other." Dumbledore nodded and left. He glared at the doorway. "You will get what's coming to you," he vowed. "Are you sure he's not a girl? I think Alex is right, he's got to be one of the evil wenches of the universe. He's even taken to PMS moments when he's been doing like he was today."
"I'm fairly sure he's male, Mr. Malfoy, but I don't care to check. You're forgetting to stir." Draco went back to the potion, making little corrections in what he had done to it. He glanced at a nearby vial of bubotuber puss and considered it. It would make her keep the wings and the tail at least, if not the fur. "Do not consider it, Mr. Malfoy. Find another way for that devious plot you're hatching."
"Damn," he muttered, going back to his stirring.
Snape put down his wand and shook his head. Draco needed much better shields. He was much too easy to read.
Alex smiled as a few students came in to look at the works he was exhibiting in McGonagall's classroom. "She's off getting some cider," he told them. "Go ahead and look." They all gravitated toward the naughtier pictures while Draco moved over to kiss him. "Did you like the one I got of you flying?"
"I did," he admitted, smirking a bit at him. "I'll reward you for this later," he hissed, making his mate shiver and nod. "Whatever shall I do with such a naughty mind?" he teased, stealing another kiss.
"Let me show you the room Sirius showed me and have me every which way you can?" he offered quietly, grinning a bit. He winked at him as the teacher came back in. "They wanted to see naked Harry and Draco."
Draco walked over there, blinking a few times. "Did you get Potter to pose for you?"
"Yup. I bribed him." Draco looked at him. "A night in a real bed."
"Did his break?" McGonagall asked. "I've noticed he's been a bit dour recently."
"No, all our beds are too small for the house elves to fit into," Draco told her. "Including the others'."
"That's inhuman," Granger said from the doorway. "Why would you do that to Harry?"
"Because the headmaster did it to all of us, Granger," he replied, sounding a bit more snippy now. "Go away."
"I wanted to see the other artwork."
"Not while I'm in here," Alex assured her. She huffed and walked off so he looked at the teacher. "Please."
"I have no problem with that," she assured him quietly. "We're going to be running a quick lesson in how to charm paintings to life," she called. Most of the students fled. She smiled at the boys. "Now, let's work on this, Alex. You really were too weak when you were doing the naked Mr. Malfoy portrait."
Alex raised his wand and animated a picture of Draco scrubbing his back, watching the simple motions, getting caught in the soaping and resoaping of the firm shoulders. Draco walked over and kissed him to get him free. "Nicely done," he praised. He animated one of him sleeping, watching it shift and curl up on his side like normal.
McGonagall smiled at him. "You as well. Very nicely done." The headmaster walked in with Miss Granger. "I'm working on the animating paintings lessons. Alexander has a horrible time putting enough energy into them."
"He's done one?"
"He's done two and I'm waiting on the paint to dry on the third one," Alex assured him. Draco looked at him. "It's hidden up there."
"Fine," he agreed with a small smirk. "I can wait, for a few hours." Alex grinned and nodded, knowing he hated waiting for presents.
Dumbledore looked around. "Why are you working on these?"
"Because it's easier to learn and work on a painting or drawing you've bled some emotion into as you worked on it," she said firmly. "The art teacher agreed, these were some of the best to work on. I'm working him up to charming his third living portrait so it's much more lifelike and less whiny."
"I can't say as I like being cold that much either. It makes things shrink, especially when you're naked," Draco reminded her.
She looked at him. "Mind *out* of the gutter please, Mr. Malfoy." She looked at Miss Granger, then back at the headmaster. "I do wish you hadn't brought her, headmaster. She has upset Alex again and it's harder for him to concentrate when he's fearing for his life."
"I'm sure Miss Granger would never hurt him."
"Then why did she attack him already once this year?" she asked simply. "If you remember right, we ended up with a teacher in the infirmary afterward and Alexander being so drained from the shield he put up he could barely eat."
"I was trying to help him," she said coolly.
"Helping someone when they don't want or need it is called interfering or harming," Alex shot back, his voice like ice. "I think if you looked them up, you'll find your picture next to their dictionary entries." She glared at him, crossing her arms. "I cannot and will not work with her in here. I'm sorry, Professor."
"I understand. This is an emotional trigger for you. Albus, get her out of here."
"What is he doing in here? He's supposed to be suspended."
"My suspension ran out a day and a half ago," Alex replied, giving him his most nasty sneer. "You said two days and it's been four."
"I said a week."
"No, you erroneously told my house elf a week. You told me two days and I can prove it with the paintings on my walls. After all, *you're* the one who put them in there to spy on what Draco and I did consensually and as part of our marriage."
"You're not old enough....."
"I am a legalized adult, Dumbledore. Draco is also beyond his majority. Before that I had his mother's permission to curl up and sleep next to him."
"That is beside the fact that we have both overcome the technical age of majority," Draco reminded him snottily. "For many things. Including our board positions."
"You can't until you've graduated."
"And yet, you're making us take our NEWTs in three weeks," he noted dryly. "I'm sure both our seats will be open to us then." Dumbledore gave him a horrified look. "That's right, Molly Weasley serves in my seat. My grandmother may not have cared and may have hired Mr. Flint to sit for her, but I chose someone with a more genteel air. I trust Molly Weasley to only plot and plan evil things in the most dire of circumstances, when her family's in danger. The same as I do Professor McGonagall." She smiled at him for that. "But then again, we'll see what next year brings. I may actually have a very light schedule of Potions, Creatures, and Herbology. I could almost floo in two days a week for that since I don't care about further NEWTs. After all, it's not like I'm going to be *working*," he sneered. He wanted to tell the old fart that his plan had already been conquered, that he had lost, and that he was going to pay but it wasn't time for that yet. Every instinct he had ever inherited from his father and Draco's silent looks were telling him not to show too much of their hand, so he left it there. "By the way, what *other* reason did you come in, Headmaster? To complain about the complaints my house elf filed against you?"
"I don't see depriving you of your elf's services to be a major complaint," he noted.
"Yes, well, you don't do it to others and you did distress the poor dear horribly," he noted nastily, staring him down. He glanced at Draco, who lifted an eyebrow. "You know," he said, turning back to the headmaster. "I've been wondering why you stuck up for my grandmother. Was it because she was blackmailing you and the evidence could still come out? Perhaps you're a bit more like her and female and evil yourself? Or would it have something to do with the canceled, attempted contract between you two? Which I did find in the family's file while I was going over it with my barrister. Draco, did you know he filed to have my grandmother? That her father turned him down? It seems her mother agreed but he didn't and it couldn't go through without his consent. He's the one who pushed the contract with McNair's cousin."
"Really? I hadn't known. When did you find that?"
"Last holiday, when Gringotts was going through their files to find unclaimed vaults." He smirked a bit. "I wonder why he refused you, Dumbledore. What did you do to set him off?"
"Nothing. That was her doing, not mine. I had only respect for her."
"Hmm. Respect for the top Death Eater in Britain. The one who was higher than Lucius. The one who was higher than Snape. The one who was higher than Fudge and all the rest combined. Interesting. If you had such *respect* for her, why didn't you have *her* spy?" Dumbledore's eyes narrowed and he smirked. "Ah, the bane of true love. Not wanting to change the one you're with because you think they're perfect that way. Pity some of the rest of us had to suffer for you not trying to make her see the light."
"Are you challenging me, Mr. Birmingham?"
"If you wish a duel, you only had to ask," he noted, pulling his wand. "I have nothing against honorable combat against my enemies." Dumbledore took a step back, forcing himself to look calm. "Ah, that's why he refused you then," he said smartly. "Her father was a champion dueler. He was a world champion twice if I remember right. That's why he survived Great-Grams that long. I'm supposing he wanted the same for his daughter's spouse, knowing she was just like her mother, and passed you by for someone who might have helped her. Pity Markum didn't realize she could also brew the occasional poison. She said it helped her with her work by making people scream and beg when she wasn't really in the mood to play physically."
Granger ran from the room. "Good. Now that the not-so-innocent is out of the way, I will let you know this," he said, moving closer. "You will leave me and mine alone, Dumbledore. I could care less about your past with her. Or why you supported her torturing me and others. I could care less that you encouraged her to go to Voldemort, which her diary said you did," he hissed, looking perfectly calm and reasonable again. "I will make sure you don't touch the rest of us however. You've had your shot at carrying on her work using me. You've failed four years running before you could do more than start and it just took longer the fifth, my first year. You won't get me to take classes that I hate after my NEWTs either. Nor will I do more than ease up my schedule for next year, leaving me plenty of time to jump my spouse and draw him. It is up to you, however, to call the truce against me and mine. I could care less about you. But if you continue, Draco and I can take up our seats on the Board of Governors within days of when we graduate. Consider the future of the wizarding world, Dumbledore. Do you really want this battle in the school?"
"You're very much like her. As was your mother," he shot back.
"Really? Because everyone says my mother was rather nice. Especially my father. Since I trust his judgement of others....." He smirked a bit. "Maybe you should have listened to him about me as well. I wouldn't be like this today if you and she hadn't forced me to be. So I suppose I should thank you for it. I'll be taking all but a few NEWTs in two weeks time and have a fairly open schedule next year. I might even tutor again." He backed away. "Now then, you need to decide what's more important to you? A long lost love who was on the wrong side of the battles for the wizarding world, one who raped, tortured, and killed for fun, or this school, which you hold sacred and holy to the rest of us. Remember, what goes for defense teachers, goes for you as well. Some day soon, our generation will be in charge. I may be teaching Charms then. Draco may be teaching Potions. Or he may be Minister for Magic Malfoy."
Draco snickered a bit at that. "Hey, I could be a good society wife," he teased with a kind, loving grin. He looked at Dumbledore again. "You're not taking him from me, Dumbledore. We're as strong as we ever were and nothing's tearing us apart. If something should try, we react together. The same as the Ministry included Draco in the NEWT test." He stepped back. "It is your choice. I would be most happy to be left alone and leave others alone. You're the one forcing me to react." Dumbledore walked out of the room, trying to appear not to flee. He sneered at the empty doorway until Draco hugged him, letting him turn to get some comfort. "I hate having to out those things," he said quietly.
"I understand," Draco agreed, soothing him. Someone stuck their head in. "Come in, Weasley," he sighed.
"I needed to see you both. We just got an emergency owl from mum. Someone handed her a baby and said that you two were only allowed to be uncles to it." She handed over the letter, glancing around, staring at the picture of Draco bathing. Draco covered her eyes and she blushed. "It's very lifelike," she praised, looking at the frowning Alex. "The way she described the blonde lady who dropped baby Summer off, Ron thought it might be that Halfrek demon."
"It could be," Alex admitted quietly. "Professor?"
"Go, I'll tell your father so he can clear it. Take Harry with you, dear."
"He's already headed with Ron. Mum said I'm to gather them and go with them," she offered.
"Go," she agreed, smiling as the trio left. She finally sat down, allowing herself to relax. She didn't know who'd win that fight if it had come to a duel. Alex was young, but he was powerful and skilled. Probably as much as Dumbledore was. That drew a parallel in her mind and she had to shake it off. Alex would not be the next Dumbledore. She would keep him from that fate.
Alex came out of the floo and dusted himself off, walking over to look at the baby being held. "Well, you're a tiny little thing," he praised, picking her up from Arthur's arms to hold her. "Hello, sweetness. How are you today?" The baby cooed at him and he grinned. "I love you too, Summer." He looked over as Draco came out, letting him see. "She's got Halfrek's mark, I can feel it on her back."
Draco ran his wand over her, nodding slowly. "She is. She's also very powerful."
"We had her tested after she showed up," Molly said as she joined them. "She broke the machine, the same as you two and Harry did."
Alex beamed at her. "That's fine, Molly. What's her name again?"
"Summer. Summer Aurelia." She rang her hands. "We weren't sure why she would give us her, especially with as powerful as she is."
"Relax. Halfrek is over Lost Childhoods," Draco told her simply. Molly sighed and nodded.
"What did she say, Molly?"
"She said that the child's guardians were almost all dead, that we had to protect the child. She was to grow up normally, just being a normal witch and to not be forced to realize how powerful she really is. That it would come if and when the time was right, which wasn't for another millennia minus a month of her birth. She said she was born too late for the power to be used for the side of evil, that her birth heralded another millennia of peace on earth." She gave them a desperate look. "Then she said that if we couldn't raise the child ourselves, it could only go to you two, but it'd be better if you were uncles. Narcissa and your father, Alexander, had touched too much of the dark and it would taint her before she could decide that for herself. You two knew the dangers and the dance so very well, she said, and that you could help Summer make her decision."
"It sounds like her last guardians weren't her parents," Draco noted, checking her over again. "She's got to have shields. She's leaking more magic than Potter and Alex combined."
"I think we can do that," Ron promised. "Just our sort?"
"No, I can feel other power, chaos and wandless, ancient power in her," Alex admitted, glancing at him. He handed her off and pulled Molly aside. "Molly, she's powerful. Halfrek warned you that she *could* turn dark if not raised right. If she's raised like you raised Bill and Ron, she'll be perfectly normal, happy, and powerful. We'll help tutor her when she's old enough even." She relaxed and smiled at that, nodding a bit. "If she's raised by someone who knows the dark intimately, they'll lead her to be a bit more confused, making the decision harder. Then she'll become like Draco and I. I can't find any evil in her, just power. That alone is worrisome but not totally. Have you had her checked?"
She nodded. "The baby doctor at St. Mungoes said she was perfectly healthy. I explained her as a cousin's child and she couldn't take care of her, that she was ill."
"With what you said Halfrek told you, it's possible her guardians were protecting her and were due to die soon, so that's not much of a lie," he admitted. "Did they tell you where she came from?"
"Italy, or around there. She was being watched by some monks. She did say they defended her and that's why peace would come." Alex smiled and nodded. "You're sure?"
"I'm very sure. Just treat her like you would any other witch in the family, Molly. That's why you got her, to make up for how the twins warped Ginny." She swatted him but only frowned a bit. "She just needs a good family to love and protect her, treating her like normal."
"Of course," she agreed. "I don't know what to do to register her though. I've never had a baby dropped off like that."
"That's fine. We have friends in the ministry and Harry hasn't seen Tonks in a bit. He can call and ask her if she knows who to call." She nodded, going to tell Harry that. Harry went to make the call, coming back a few minutes later looking a bit pissed. "She find a temporary toy?"
"She said she's trying to make sure it's real between us."
"Ehh, women always have to comparison shop," Draco assured him. "Mum does it all the time." He looked at the baby. "You're very tiny and very fragile so I don't think I'll try to hold you just yet." He wrinkled his nose at the growing smell. "Eww. Bready!" She appeared. "Change her!"
"Bready not know about things that small," she wailed. "Bready only know about crawling babies."
Alex coughed. "Okay, so call Twirly. She knows about babies and you have my permission to have her help you learn about babies, Bready. She'll also go shopping for whatever the baby might need right now, like nappies." Molly and Arthur both stared at him. "She wanted babies to take care of. Yours could use the teaching. That solves both problems."
"I think I know what to do with an infant."
"Yes, but there's times when you're going to be exhausted and he's got to be at work. Let the elves help so I don't get nagged and forced into having one. Twirly all but stated she was going to make sure Draco got me pregnant some day soon so she had a baby to take care of."
"Mum agreed with her," Draco offered. Molly and Arthur both shuddered. "Someone call Twirly."
Bready popped over there, yanking on Twirly's arm, making her drop her spoon and her soup. "Bready just got baby! Bready not know anything about littler than crawling babies! Master Alexander say to get Twirky because Twirly know about babies! Come now! Baby stinky and not crawly!"
Twirly smiled and nodded, following her back. She searched the house for baby things, then yanked on her master's arm, getting an amused look. "Twirly is needing to shop for baby."
"Then Twirly can take the household money from the desk and use it," he agreed. She nodded and went to get it, then she and Bready went baby shopping. They came back and arranged everything, even taking the baby to change and bathe her. They brought her back down when they heard someone coming in, smiling and holding up the baby for Molly to take. Then Twirly pulled Bready into the kitchen to teach her how to make bottles and how to clean diapers and spit-up.
Draco looked at Tonks, who was giving the baby a happy cooing noise and a tease to the belly. "Her name is Summer and we're uncles."
"That's fine then. I can be an auntie?" she asked Molly, who smiled and nodded. "Good! Then let's get to the paperwork. What story have you used already?"
"A distant cousin who was ill and couldn't take care of her."
"Hmm. Good enough. Birth certificate or anything?"
"Halfrek?" Alex and Draco called. A package appeared at Alex's feet so he handed them over with a grin. "Here, I think that should be most everything you could need."
Tonks sat down to look, smiling at the nice forgeries. She knew a magical artifact when she sensed one and that baby was one she had been taught about by Bill Weasley. Boy, was he gonna be shocked soon. She felt something touch her head and the knowledge faded. It left her knowing that the baby was real and whole and nice. As long as Molly and Arthur did their usual bang-up job of raising her. She got to work filling in the paperwork, having the new parents sign it. Then she went to distribute it to the various offices. By the time she came back, little Summer was napping. Harry and Ron were on either end of the couch napping and looking very happy. Draco and Alex were curled in front of the fireplace. Molly and Arthur were looking at the boys, shaking their heads. "What did he do this year?"
"Turned their beds too small to sleep on," Molly sighed, looking at her. "All of their beds are no bigger than their pillows."
"Hopefully that's fixed soon, before they get reported for torturing them this year." She looked at Molly. "Did they tell you that Draco and his boy there are gonna be taking NEWTs in just under two weeks?" She looked alarmed and shook her head. "New trial ones. Dumbledore arranged it since Alex knew so much."
Arthur groaned, holding his head. "Why him?"
"Alex said he found an attempted contract between his Grams and Dumbledore, but her father refused it," Ron said, looking at his parents. "This is much nicer than our couch, which means Greg and Vinnie can catch a real nap tonight."
"Of course, dear," Molly agreed, leaning down to kiss him on the forehead. "You rest. We'll send you back after breakfast." She went to call the school to make sure he knew what was going on. "Albus!" she said happily, smiling at him. "Halfrek just handed us an infant and we needed the boys to come arrange things with us. We'll send them back after breakfast since they're all crashed somewhere comfortable." He opened his mouth. "I heard what you did," she warned sweetly. "They'll be back after dropping off a few announcements for us, Albus."
"Fine. Thank you for telling me. Minerva mentioned a new baby and that you had summoned them. Is she all right?"
"Just fine. A distant cousin was rather ill and couldn't take care of poor little Summer anymore. She interceded with Halfrek to bring her since she couldn't. Poor little Summer was leaking magic so strongly that we needed them to shield and sooth her, plus we needed one of Alex's elves to teach Bready what to do with babies."
He nodded. "That's fine, Molly. How is she?"
"Just perfect," she said happily. She carefully picked the baby up to show him. "See? This is Summer Weasley. Alex thinks she'll be a light brunette with stunning brownish gold eyes."
"She is adorable," he offered. "I look forward to seeing her enrolled." She smiled at that. "Keep her safe, Molly." He hung up and went back to his headache tonic. He had some thinking to do. If that boy had been right, he was the reason the boy was so strong. He was the reason Harry had won their fourth year, and was the reason behind Harry living. He took another drink. His plans might have to change.
A pale glow started behind him and he never saw the woman who took all that information from his mind, leaving behind the genial, happy personality he had always pretended to have. Then she faded back out, leaving him alone. "No one hurts my Xander," she whispered as she left.
Draco walked up to his father-in-law's desk after a potion's class, laying out his assignment, his quiz, and another, folded piece of paper. "We thought it appropriate to give you this now," he said quietly. "He saw you smiling at Summer and he adores her as well. She might be the only female he'll ever stand." He strolled out.
Snape's hand came over, taking the folded piece of paper to glance at. The look on his face as he read made every remaining student flee for their lives. "Mr. Malfoy!" he bellowed. No response so he summoned a house elf, glaring at it. "Bring me my son, Mr. Malfoy, and Professor McGonagall." It nodded and headed off. He went back to reading the carefully printed rite and spell, glaring at McGonagall as she came in. "They'll need a female's egg to change over. Are you participating?" he asked, handing over the notes.
She read it and sat down, staring in shock and horror at the rite. "Alexander!" He stuck his head in, looking sheepish. "What is the meaning of this?"
"That depends on what that is," he said cautiously. He inched inside. "What is it?"
"A fertility rite to give you a child."
"Really?" He glanced at it and grinned. "Draco said he was designing one for us so his mum had someone to spoil rotten and coo over." He gave her his best shy boy grin, watching as she melted a bit. "It's not really that hard looking. I know Dad didn't plan on having grandkids but Narcissa wants a granddaughter to dress up and shop with so bad!" he offered.
Draco strolled in and smirked at his mentor. "Mother did say she wanted grandchildren from us. She said she'd accept us adopting since Alex wants to be a foster parent, but that she demanded we have at least one of our own if at all possible in any realm of magic. It's not really that hard. We'll have to have a female donor, but they'll only have to give it up for about an hour."
Snape spluttered, looking at them. "No! No children! No grandchildren! Ever!"
"Calm down, daddy. You know I want to be a foster parent," Alex said, pouting a bit. "I want to save some kids who have it nearly as bad as I did."
Snape calmed down and stared at his son. "I will not have you being pregnant. I refuse to see my son's stomach bulging with a child! It had better not have already been done!" he shouted.
Alex flinched. "No not yet. I hadn't even seen what he devised until today." He gave his mate puppy eyes. "I love you."
"I love you too, Alex. Some day we'll have a little you to love and so you can be a good daddy, much better than mine was." He stroked his back, staring at the teachers. "We only gave that to you so you could make sure the potions were balanced properly. We are both very powerful wizards and it's not unheard of to use a donor and a surrogate, this takes away the need for a surrogate."
McGonagall looked at them. "It could also seriously damage his health!"
"I'd never let anything harm him, that's why I wanted the potions checked," Draco said smartly, smirking at her. "Does it look balanced in your area? We were going to present it to Flitwick later for his appraisal."
Snape got up to get himself a drink, handing one to Minerva. "Son, you may not do this. I refuse to see you pregnant. You may hire a surrogate. You may knock some mistress up. You can even adopt all you want, but if I ever see your stomach stretched around a baby I may die of a heart attack." He slung back the drink and poured another one. "Out!"
Draco smirked at him. "What about if he bribes me into carrying it?"
"I'm telling your mother. Out!" They walked out, kissing and cuddled together. He shuddered and whimpered. "My mind just went to places it shouldn't."
"All I could see would be how spoiled Mr. Malfoy would be if he did manage it." She took her shot and poured herself another one. "I'm canceling classes. You?"
"Bloody hell yes," he muttered, taking a fourth drink. He was determined to drink until he passed out so he could forget this morning ever happened. "Take it with you." She nodded, taking her drink back up to her office. She had enough liquor in there from confiscated sources that she could drink herself to death. But first she was nice enough to call Flitwick and hand him the spell. "From Mr. Malfoy's hand."
He looked at it, then closed his eyes and shuddered, coming over to steal one of the bottles from her. "Canceling classes?" he asked before tossing in some floo powder.
"Oh, yes. He presented it to Severus." She knocked back another shot. "Tell Poppy since I'll be drunk shortly."
He nodded and hung up on her once he was back in his office, flooing the infirmary. He handed over the spell. "It looks fairly right on our end but Mr. Malfoy just created that. We're drinking, stock up on something for headaches, please?" he offered with a slightly manic grin before disappearing to drink straight from the bottle once he made it to his settee.
Poppy looked at the spell, studying it. She even did the magical calculations for it and it came up correct. She called the Ministry's office of Charms, Hexes, and Spells. "Here, this was just given to Severus Snape by Mr. Draco Malfoy. Apparently he and his husband are thinking about children. Some of us are canceling classes for the day." She hung up and called her night person, having her come in early to take over for her. She'd like the overtime, probably. When she got there, she mentioned the spell, then went to lay down in her rooms and get royally drunk. She needed to erase that image from her mind.
Dumbledore looked around the students at lunch, clearing his throat. "Since four of the teachers have decided today is a holiday, I cannot but help to agree with them. Classes are dismissed for the rest of the day. Mr. Malfoy, the Ministry would like you to call them about your new spell."
"I thought it was rather brilliant," Alex called, grinning at his mate. "I think we could use it year after next? Or is that too soon, love?"
Draco smirked a bit. "Whenever you're ready. After all, you and Twirly will be doing the majority of care for it."
Dumbledore suddenly realized *why* five of his staff members were critically drunk. He decided to join them after lunch. "Do remember to call them after lunch, Mr. Malfoy. Have a nice day, children. Madam Sprout, I have some urgent paperwork to do," he offered, going back to his office. He had a house elf raid Minerva's stash of confiscated liquor for a bottle of his own. Dobby was most helpful. He didn't even realize the Ministry representative had shown up. He didn't remember seeing Percy Weasley at all. Nor did he remember Alex making him run to get drunk in town and then call his mother crying that night for forgiveness.
To part 2: