Tony looked up as their director walked down the stairs, nodding politely at her when she stared at him. "Morning, Director." He got back to work on his last case. Thankfully it hadn't gone all night. He finished and started a spell checker.
"DiNozzo, are you done for now?" she asked.
"I'm spell checking a report," he said, looking at her. "I'll be free in about a half hour, once I hand it in and get it approved." She nodded, leaving him alone. "Should I report up there?"
"Please." She continued on her way to check over her people's shoulders.
Tony shrugged at McGee' and Ziva's odd looks. "No clue." He finished up and checked it, sending it to where Gibbs was at home with a sprained ankle. The doctor had forbidden him to come in today and had told Ducky to make sure of it. So he was on the couch for today being annoyed. He got it back a few minutes later, making the few corrections he demanded, then sent it back. That got back an all right. So Tony locked his computer and went up to her office. He pointed for the secretary, who shrugged. "She busy?"
"Not at the moment. What happened to Gibbs?"
"He sprained his ankle in the dark last night while we were on our scene. The doctor called Ducky to make sure he took today off it."
She smiled. "I guess someone can out stubborn him."
"Abby too," he said, making her laugh. He knocked on the door then walked in. "You wanted to speak to me, Director?"
"I wanted to know more about this dosing you took, DiNozzo."
"It was maliciously done by someone that I used to sit on a council with. He claimed it would make us more stable to be mated to someone. He's in prison."
"Not in DC?"
"Not in the US. He was a foreign national and he went to serve his sentence in Britain. Where he's from."
"Oh, I see." She looked at him. That was a bit different. Citizenship rules did say that they could be sent back to serve their sentences in their home countries. "Are you cured from it?"
"There's a few, limited, side effects. One of them is presently on the way to being worn out. We think it'll take a month or so to fully weed itself out of my body. That one was told to a friend who also sits on the council and he came to tell us. You saw him that day."
"The one who threatened me?" Tony nodded. "That really should have landed him in jail."
Tony snickered. "Ma'am, Xander's from Sunnydale." She looked clueless so he pulled up a site Xander had said to go to if this sort of situation ever came up. He logged onto it and clicked on a link, turning the monitor back around. "He fought with things like that since he was sixteen. A human woman is nothing to him, ma'am."
"No. Limited segment of the population but not costumes."
"This is like Abby plays with?"
"No. Though he has dealt with that sort of issue before." He went to another site and opened it for her, showing her the footage that had been recorded the last time a major demon went into Chicago to rampage. "That happened about ten months ago. Xander deals with those issues. A human is nothing to him."
"Only if you're attacking him, his family or friends, or an innocent. Otherwise, he's a nice, sweet, goofy guy with a bad sense of humor and a large hawaiian shirt collection."
"My questioning you was seen as an attack?"
"Probably. More likely where you got into his face was, ma'am. There were privacy issues going on at that time."
"I saw the complaints."
"Then next time don't try to spy and don't put cameras in the bathroom. You did violate a lot of privacy regs. You nearly made a lot of agents quit. If you wanted to gut NCIS and then rebuild it with the agents who only kiss your ass and don't get any work done, you nearly accomplished it."
"I realize I was being a bit stringent. I've loosened up some."
"I've seen that."
"What does your council sit over?"
"A small group of people. It's hereditary."
"A commune sort of place?"
"More like a small town than a commune. We're responsible for writing new laws, making improvements. Unfortunately they're stuck far in the past and we've been having to update things. They had nice rules like you could kill anyone wearing polka dots. The person who wrote that one did it as a favor to a political friend," he said at her giggle. "Who was being tried for it. He also wrote laws saying you couldn't wear dark underwear, striped underwear, polka dots anywhere except on hats. He had written in laws making it legal to own torture devices if your family had owned them for years. A lot of very bad laws. We shrank the law book by about five-sixths."
"Now it's a matter of maintenance?"
"Now we're moving onto a health department, civil service exams for officials, CPS rules, and then we're tackling the poor education standards for our second year. We should not have any more marathon sessions but we'll have some more frequent meetings while we set the education things up."
She nodded. "Then it sounds like you have a good handle on what you're doing at least."
"We do and Xander's a major pushing factor on the Council. If anyone finds that out they might try to take him out. He's the head of a fairly influential family and his cousin, who is his only heir at the moment, would be decent but a bit more power hungry." That got a nod. "So we're worried about him but he's the one who has come up with some very good ideas and got us looking at education stuff."
"Then I suppose I can excuse his conduct that once."
"Next time, Director, don't get into his face. Xander's spent a lot of time in combat. He's still adjusting back to not being in combat nightly and he still goes out to hunt now and then. If you attack him, even verbally, he'll react and it'll be bad."
She nodded. "I'll remember that. Your next meeting is?"
He checked the calendar on his phone. "The eighteenth of this month. We have that weekend off call and Gibbs knows. He's went with me a few times while we were dealing with the legal issues because there had been a problematic case of a serial killer. With five of us being CSI or an agent, he helped with that issue."
"Five of you are .... You and four CSI?" He nodded. "Interesting."
"Very." He smiled. "They're all very good officers, ma'am. We've done a lot of good for them and we're working to make it a lot better for them."
"I hope you can continue. Who is that person who follows you around?"
He frowned. "Redhead?" She nodded. "Oh, that's a friend who's watching over me for the Council. There's been a few threats."
"The changes made some other powerful people upset?"
"Yeah, a lot. She's here to make sure they don't attack us. She comes when we call most of the time."
"That's good to know. Does she follow you or Gibbs?"
"I'm almost always with him. It makes it easier for her."
"That's fine then. Thank you for that information, DiNozzo."
"Welcome, Director." He left, going back to his desk, shrugging at the curious look McGee gave him. "She wanted to know about the council I sit on."
"How is it going?"
"Pretty decent. We're down to the last few steps to establish a health department. Next is CPS rules and civil service exams. We had some really stupid people in charge. Like making rules that you couldn't wear striped underwear stupid rules."
"Did he make them because he looked bad in them?"
"He claimed everyone did and it helped decency," he said dryly, giving him a look, making him crack up. "Yeah. That's why we took on the laws first. Education is the next major topic. They're a bit behind."
"Have fun with that. Need help?"
"The top school there does not allow you to use any pen but quill pens," he said quietly. "The school has some unheated rooms. It's going to be a lot of meetings."
"I'm sorry. Are yo going to upgrade them to computers?"
"Normal pens then later on computers."
"That's more reasonable. Not a large jump to make people nervous," Ziva agreed. "Where is it?"
Tony looked at her. "It's a closed community, Ziva. Don't worry about it." She nodded at that and got back to work. He found one from Gibbs wanted to know what she had wanted. He downloaded the recording his phone had made, earning a few comments back. "We'll have to see, Boss. He said he's waiting on reports," he noted.
"Proofreading now," McGee told him.
"I'm translating mine back and proofreading," Ziva said with a sigh at the end.
Xander looked in the broom store then walked in. "Hi." The man behind the counter smiled. "First broom."
"You didn't learn in school?"
"I came out late." That got a knowing look. "I'm being taught how to fly over the holidays."
"So you need safe?"
"Indoors and out please. I have a huge library at home."
The man smiled and led him to a case. "What's your budget like?"
"Let's see what works then I'll hit the bank."
That got a nod and the man pulled down one. "This one's fairly sturdy. For traveling more than games or chasing things. For your weight and size it's fairly well balanced." He let Xander hold it and test how it balanced on his hand. "You'll be sitting up on this end," he said when he had to shift where the center of gravity was for the broom to stay balanced.
"Is it good if the guy who said he'd teach me wants to play with quaffles?"
"That's not good for that. This one's better but more expensive," he said, handing that one over. Xander looked it over, balancing it. Still a bit off what he'd expect. "Again, you'll be sitting up here."
"But if I'm sitting up there, then my weight will tip it and with the center of gravity back that far won't that mean that the bristles will come up to compensate my weight sinking it?" The man gave him a look. "I deal with a lot of swords and sword work."
"Ah." He got down one. "This one's got a center of balance further back to deal with it. Cleansweeps are used in some schools."
Xander hefted it. "Kinda light."
"They are that." He got him an older model. "This one's used, last year's model and a tester for us." Xander nodded he liked that one better. "I can give you that one for forty."
"Let me hit the bank." That got a nod and the man put it back for him. Xander walked up to the bank, smiling at the goblin that rushed out to meet him. "I need to take some out for personal expenses." They walked back to his office.
"Yours has had someone dipping into it?"
"I let Professor Snape charge to it because he was making a potion for me."
That got a nod from the goblin. "That's how it's usually done. He presented us with the letter and we arranged it for him. How much were you needing?"
"About forty for a broom. It's my first one."
He smiled. "Let me check your key." Xander held up one. "You can use the head of family's money, Mr. Harris."
"I thought that was for family things."
"No, two of those are under your *direct* control for whatever you need. One's purpose was listed as 'to maintain the image of the head of the family'." He pointed at a key. "That one."
"You don't think they'd mind?"
"Only if Mr. Malfoy was being petty."
"He takes those moods now and then."
"You could use your allowance."
"I didn't get it this month."
He checked. "The owl couldn't find you."
"I'm at the ancestral home. I'm finishing the fixing up stuff."
"That's good of you. The place was a wreck."
"It had a lot of dead bodies when we got there and an open hellmouth portal that we had to shut." The goblin gave him a funny look. "Willow did it for me."
"Good of her." He went to get his allowance bag for the last two months, handing it over. "There you go. Would you like us to put that into your personal vault?"
"Please," Xander agreed. "I come here first anyway." That got a nod. "That reminds me, I need to have some shifted to pounds. Holiday shopping and not everyone can get something magical."
"True." He walked him to that desk. "This desk does that switch for you."
"Thank you. You're very helpful to us."
"Your money makes us good profits, sir." He left, going to note the talk and send an owl to Mr. Malfoy to suggest he talk to Xander about what 'good uses' for the vault would be since he didn't think he should use it. He made sure to include that so the boy wouldn't jump to conclusions.
Xander went back to buy his new broom and then do some light holiday shopping. He came home and found Draco waiting on him. "Did I screw up?"
"No. The goblins said you needed a guideline on what you were to use the money put aside for heads of family to use." Xander nodded. "A new broom?"
"The guy suggested it." He let him take it while he put the rest of the stuff down. It disappeared. "Put those in my office, they're presents," he called.
"Tailor wrap pretty," one of them called back.
"I can do it. I'm not done yet with their presents." That got a giggle and the house elves went back to playing in the kitchen. "I think they're bored."
"Probably. You never do any entertaining." He walked him into the study. "This isn't a *bad* broom but fairly on the slow and average side."
"But for just learning and not playing pro sports, it's probably good, right?"
"For that it's excellent. Hogwarts uses an older model of the same one." He put it in the corner then looked at him. "You use the head of family funds for yourself. The family funds are for family events, like an annual holiday party?" he suggested. Xander gave him an odd look back. "Fine, I'll throw Mother's usual one then. You will have to attend."
"Yes, Draco. I'll try not to embarrass you. Is she coming in for the holidays?"
"With her mother and aunt. I'm still worried that she'll hate Mother's roses."
"Explain it to her, she probably won't mind. She might even take over caring for them."
"Perhaps," he agreed. "You use the money set aside for head of the family for your personal comfort and to maintain your image. That means you shop on it, you buy food on it, you woo your mate on it. You use the family money to pay bribes, hold events for the family, all that stuff."
"But there's not that much there."
"There had been." Xander dug out the last bank balance statement and let him see it. He coughed then smiled. "Xander, those aren't in hundreds. Those are in thousands," he said, pointing at a bit of very small type. Xander blinked. "Also, the funds for *your* apartment building should be put into your personal vault, not the family's." He made a note of that. He'd straighten that out with the goblins himself. He made marks on the paper. "These ones you use to look magnificent and upstanding, woo your mate, or make yourself comfortable. These ones you use for family things, like updating the home. You shouldn't have taken that out of the head of family accounts. I'll get that straightened out for you."
Xander gave him a hug. "You're the bestest secretary and helper I've ever seen even if you do want me to shop all the time."
Draco pushed him away but gave him a fondly tolerant look. "Someone has to. At least you're wearing decent clothes today and a robe. I'm impressed. Thank you. Besides, doing it now means I have a better chance of following you since you don't want to change either of them into a girl."
"They might mind."
"Then change yourself."
"I don't want to end up like my parents, Draco."
He looked at him. "There's no way you could. You would never let yourself fall into that same drunken state of hell they were in." He looked over it again. "Let me pop over and deal with this." He gave him a look. "You'll excuse me from Herbology and Potions?"
"If you need me to. Thank you, Draco."
"Better to have it fixed than to make you muddle up the system so I'll have to fix it when it's my turn." He flood to the bank, going to fix it with him. Honestly, that man needed to get used to being wealthy. A good shopping spree for the holidays might cure that, but he'd have to prompt him and go with him to make sure he didn't buy someone ugly clothes on purpose.
A few days later Dean came out of the floo, looking at the house elf who came to see who it was. "Xander here?"
"Flying, Dean sir." He nodded, heading that way. She giggled, watching him stare at Xander flying around. "Him not get too high yet. Then he say he go fix barn."
Xander jumped, looking at him. "Hey, Dean," he said, grinning at him. "I figured out how to float."
"Good job." He came out. "What barn?"
"There's an old stable off to the side of the house. I thought it'd be good to fix up for the Impala when it was here. Since I live pretty close to a city." He tugged on his arm. "Climb up behind me." He floated a bit lower, letting him climb on. He flew them that way, letting him see the barn and the wagon track leading to it. "We haven't had horses here in nearly forever. I had to bury two bodies and I come out some nights to watch the ghostly horses play." He concentrated as he lowered them. "Feet down." Dean put down his feet, Xander put his down when they were able. Then he got off. "Good broom. Thank you." He leaned it against the side of the barn, letting him lead Dean inside. "I moved a carriage because it was in horrible shape and falling apart. I sent a picture to Draco and he said it wasn't a special one. For the wedding he'd have to use the one all the way in the back but there's a back door for it and they have horses. Would this be a nice enough spot for your baby?"
"This is a great spot, Xander," he said, grinning at him. Xander was such a fussy guy sometimes. He loved that about him. He appreciated the same things he did. "A bit small maybe. She's longer than she looks."
"Help me move this one up then." They pushed and moved the smaller carriage up closer to the one in front of it. "Do we need more?"
"No, we're good." He looked. That should fit his baby very well. They went to look at the special wedding carriage. It was nice but it needed cleaned. "You'll need to fix the upholstery."
"I've been looking for someone to see what needed to be done beyond the wheel that has a crack and washing it." Someone came in. "Draco. Why are you out of school?"
"We had a sudden need to have the afternoon off after Longbottom's potion destroyed the dungeon and part of our common room. Snape said I could so I wouldn't be in the way." He came over to look. "It needs cleaned."
"It's got a cracked wheel and has holes in the upholstery."
"There's spells on it," Draco told him. "If they're broken, it's bad luck. It always looks new on the wedding day. Besides, only I ride in it to the wedding. She'll use another one. Then we'll use a different one for the ride off to our honeymoon." He looked around. "Where's the green one?"
"I moved it out back. It was nearly in pieces. When I ran my hand over an edge a whole side fell off. You might ask her what colors are good omens in her culture, see if one of the others might work better."
"It's not tradition so I suppose I could." He shrugged. "We'll see." He went to look at it. It was in very bad shape. He came back to look at the family one. "The reason it has holes and cracks are from nervous Malfoy heirs. We pick at the holes. The wheel crack was from a fight to win the right to marry the girl instead of the heir." Dean grinned at him. "It is tradition. It'll look splendid that day."
"As long as you're sure," Xander told him.
"It is tradition."
"Okay. I'll let you guide me there." He looked at the empty spot. "I'm letting Dean park his baby in here when he's over."
"That's what it's for." He smiled at the ghostly horse, nodding politely at it. "Good evening." It faded out. "If you open the stall it lets them out to play too," he said more gently. He did that with the other stalls and the ghost horses went to play in the field once the barn's door was open. He looked at Dean. "They don't need banished."
"They look pretty harmless. I'm guessing they'd protect the house."
"Some of them have for many centuries," Draco assured him, getting a nod back. He walked them out, leading them to another building out back so he could look. "Our storage area." He led them down the stairs, using his wand to light the lamps overhead. There were trunks, crates, and wooden boxes stacked all around the large underground area. "Point me at dishes," he said. His wand led him to the dishes that had been packed, letting him look at them. "Father said he put the wedding dishes back out here." His wand pointed at another box so he went to look, smiling at what he saw. "Can you get a house elf?"
"Tailor!" Xander called. He appeared. "Help Draco shift those back to Malfoy Manor please? They're for his wedding next summer." He nodded, coming to do what Draco said. On the way back he brought some of Draco's elves to help him. "What else is all this stuff?"
"Old things that the family left here and there. School supplies, old clothes," he said, waving in a direction toward those. "Probably some papers that got cleared out of the office now and then. The rest of the dishes and the extras for all the family homes. Each one has its own pattern," he said at Xander's confused look.
"Because someone before Altera said so," he said patiently.
"Oh. Supporting a new plate maker?"
"Possibly. Her reason was never written down." He found the one for Malfoy manner, handing it to one of the elves. "If you break these, I'm giving you a sweater. And you'd better not break the others either, they're important and traditional." The elf nodded frantically, disappearing. "He's been clumsy recently," he said at Dean's dirty look. "We can't break those. The wedding set is charmed in case of poisons and has a blessing for happiness woven around the gold bands on them."
"Does the house elf need glasses?"
"That's a possibility. I'm having the house elf healer in over the holidays too. Just so nothing gets in the way of the wedding." He looked. "This pattern goes to the apartment by Hogsmeade, Xander." He came to look. "This one goes to the villa in France and this one is in the Mediterranean somewhere. Mother enjoyed it but sun and I don't get along that well." He pointed at another one. "That one is in South America somewhere. My father bought it for some reason." He looked at the others. "Hmm."
"That one was at the apartment in town," Xander told him, tapping one.
"Then this one must be a minor place and that one too. There's only four place settings."
"Mistresses?" Dean asked dryly.
"That might be," Draco agreed. "I need to make sure that Father hasn't left any loose ends that way or that I don't own her house. That's tacky and she should have it for having to put up with Lucius in bed. He must've been a bore." He looked at one other box, frowning. "That's for the head of family's and other important funerals." He looked at Xander. "It's bad luck to bring them out except for that."
"One setting's in the kitchen. I think I had coffee in the mug," Xander said. Draco went to check and bring them back out. "It was probably leftover."
"No, the house elves have been out here and brought a sample of each set. I've straightened them out." They came to get the set for this house and left again. He carefully repacked that one and the house elves repacked the others for him. "There, that's better. No more bad omens or luck."
"Draco, remember, death and I are friends," Xander told him. "We've had a few long talks."
"Why?" Dean asked.
"Because it's been a few times in Sunnydale. Buffy nearly died of the flu and ended up killing a demon that was killing kids in the hospital. Angel went psycho stalker when he lost his soul. I had to keep him out of her hospital room during that. Not to mention bringing her back from drowning. Willow bringing her back from Glory. Death follows Buffy around because he likes her short skirts. Since we were helping we got used to her stalker buddy."
Dean gave him a hug because he had noticed Xander got reassurance faster if there was physical contact involved. "You don't have to do that anymore, Xander."
"Giles made me an honorary research watcher."
"It's all right. You won't have a girl to control."
"Thankfully." He gave him a squeeze. "Thanks, Dean."
"Not a problem. We'll teach you our ways so you can hunt with us now and then. Where is Dad by the way?"
"Probably headed for Miami and the demon fighting arena I saved one of Draco's cousins from."
"I heard," Draco said dryly. "Father would've had her committed for psychiatric help if she embarrassed the family that way."
"I admitted her to the special unit and told her she couldn't do that until she was of legal age. To not spread it around because I would take action if they embarrassed the family, and if she called for a rescue I would but not if she only wanted it so she could move to another one."
"Lucius would've put her mother in for help for bringing that to the courts."
"Of course. Your father was an asshole, Draco."
"True," he admitted, grinning some. "I'm better at least."
"A lot better." Dean even nodded to show he agreed. "We need anything else out here? It's a bit creepy and feels like some crypts I've been in."
"As long as you don't plan on decorating that way," Dean told him, giving him a small spank.
"It couldn't be worse than my grandfather's tastes. My mother had to remove a lot of dark red leather furniture when she moved in." They left the storage area and Draco locked it again, letting them head in through the kitchen. He looked at Xander. "Did you hear anything about your bastard relatives?"
"Their life insurance policy had a clause that said they don't have to pay out for an act of god."
"That wasn't an act of God, that was an act of Spike," Dean assured him. "You said you were going to take it to the family lawyer."
Draco went to find the letter and take it with him, waving before he flooed back to the school. "Xander has Dean over for some private time and I had to straighten out some things, plus find the wedding dishes." He went to owl the family's attorney that letter and a note, telling him to ask the aurors for a statement on what really happened. Then he went to dinner. Sometimes Xander did drain his nerves dry. He sat down and nodded at his table mates. "Good evening. Is it fixed yet?"
"Somewhat. Snape found the play room and a few other things he didn't like so they had to stop to confiscate it," Pansy said. "Bread?" she asked, handing over the basket.
"Thank you. Did he confiscate the liquor stash?" She nodded. "Pity."
"We'll call home to get more," she reminded him. "Will your head of house send any?"
"He had drunken parents. He doesn't really drink due to that. I'll send one of the house elves to get some." She nodded at that, smiling a bit. "Anything else get found that we didn't know about?"
"There was a wedding chamber for forced marriages here in the school. It was resealed. There's also a storage area that got found. Stuff that we've left behind and things."
"A few pieces of lingerie. A few pieces of jewelry. Nothing spectacular or noteworthy."
"That's fine then. I had to go change some dishes and tell his house elves they didn't need to have dishes from each of the houses and the funeral set in the house. Looked over the barn and the storage area at the ancestral home. Xander's done a good job restoring it. Only a few things need fixed." She smiled at that.
"Are you holding the wedding there or Malfoy Manor?"
"Malfoy Manor. We have that ballroom we only use for the holiday parties and the gardens if she'd prefer. The ancestral home is built like an ancient fortress and has a lot more wood, which doesn't look good against either of us. The gardens are starting to be healed but it may not be enough by the time next summer comes around. That reminds me, I have to have the house elf healer in to look over mine, just in case." He ate a bite of dinner, then got some more meat, eating heartily.
Pansy looked at him. "Are you playing heir for your head of family?" He nodded. "How is he doing managing things?"
"Fairly well. He lets the goblins do all the investing decisions for him. In the last six months we've had ten percent returns. That's very nice. He manages all the minor incidences fairly easily. The only problem I have with the man is that he likes to wear ugly muggle clothes and it looks bad on us. I take him shopping now and then but he never really fully wears wizarding clothes. I was proud, he went out today in a fully wizarding outfit but for his trainers, and carried his wand and staff."
"He doesn't carry his wand?"
He looked at her. "He's more likely to carry weapons and explosives. He used to hunt demons, Pansy." She went pale. "The same as the only magic he knew before getting here was that wandless stuff. Fairly powerful. Rosenburg scares the crap out of me. She's more powerful than the family staffs really. Anyone who can stick a soul in a vampire has to be quite strong."
She shook her head quickly. "Excuse me? She did what?"
"Stuck a soul back in the vampire it had gotten free of. According to Xander he went 'psycho stalker git' and she had to return it to its rightful place."
"She stuck a *soul* back in a *vampire*?" she clarified. He smirked and nodded. He so did love to make her look so horrified for little reasons. "Why?"
"She's like that and so was Sunnydale from what I'm told. Took her three tries to close the hellmouth portal they found open in the basement of the ancestral home but it had been open for over six centuries. Longer than the one in Sunnydale had been active and she's shut it a number of times."
She blinked, staring at him. "Is your head of family normal?"
"He hunted vampires from the time he was sixteen until he came over here at twenty-one, Pansy. What do you think?"
She shuddered. "Is he dangerous?"
"Only if you attack one of us, his friends, or he finds you attacking an innocent. Look at how he snuck up on the Dark Lord that first time." She shrank down some. "Exactly. And he doesn't use our methods yet but I have been very busy tutoring him. It's going well. He's in the second year of charms and transfiguration work. Not bad for six months with a wand."
"No, not bad," she said weakly. "Is he going to marry soon?"
"There's the most likely probability of some sort of alliance with the Winchester clan. They're working on delicate matters together and they're friends. We'll have to see how that goes." He noticed Professor Snape staring at him. "It could still, Professor."
"It may," he agreed. He had seen that the boy cared for them. "Would that be best for the family?"
"Better than his usual taste in women considering his last long term girlfriend was a vengeance demon that had been returned to a human state. That was really not acceptable even in my family. Consorting yes, perhaps granting sexual favors, but not intending to marry her like he had."
Pansy gave him a gentle poke on the arm. "He was dating what?"
"Anyanka over Scorned Women. She had been turned into a human for a bit. Fairly scandalous but he was thinking about marrying her before he got summoned over here and she broke up with him. Then she died in that last battle over there."
"Oh." She nodded. "He's good to the family otherwise?" Draco smiled and nodded. "Your new bride knows this?"
"When we met her father asked Xander what he did. He had heard of him and what he used to do. He's retired now but Dean offered to teach him their methods of demon hunting so he could go with them now and then."
"Charming of him. Dean?"
"Sam Winchester's older brother."
"Oh, him. He was a bit cute when he was here on the inspection tours."
"He's grieving for a lost fiancee and there's a demon hunting their family, Pansy. He's never going to take up with someone who can't fight for themselves."
"So he and Xander then?"
"It's possible. We're waiting to see how things work out. Then we'll have to demand heirs from them via surrogate or transfiguration spells. Either would be acceptable."
"I suppose they would be." She considered it then nodded slowly. "Think he could tell my mother how you found yours?"
"My mother started off looking in the Who's Who guide since he wanted us to go farther afield for unmixed blood. He followed up with what she was doing."
"I'll let Mother know that. Maybe she'll find me a handsome man with intelligence." She dug in again, deciding that his head of family was turning Draco strange. He had some high expectations and Xander was clearly trying to turn Draco into an average wizard instead of the stunning jewel he would've been for the dark. Pity but perhaps his future wife would lead him back to his proper side.
Xander smiled as Horatio appeared for the next meeting. "Did it help?"
"A lot. They've begun to talk and hover very worriedly over Speed and I like we're fragile."
"They were saying that they had to compensate where you two were getting strange."
"It's not necessary."
"I didn't tell them to."
"I told them that. They walked off snorting and talking about what to turn Stetler into this time." Tony snickered. "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine. Gibbs is at home working on his boat. The director has evened out and I warned her about going after Xander if he shows up again. She decided I was right. She thinks this is for some small, closed community near DC somewhere."
Horatio nodded, looking at Patricia's seat and the man sitting next to it. "Hello. Petitioning?"
"I'm one of the ones she votes for. I came to vote for myself today."
"That's fine," Tony agreed. "Is she going to be late?"
"A bit. Her husband is making her scream at him at the moment." He nodded as Stella came in, standing up some. She waved him back down. He would ignore her clothes. How could a proper woman wear pants? "She's talked about most of you." He looked at Xander. "Are you Sam or Xander?"
"I'm Xander. Sam sits to my left and Harry on my right." John appeared in a burst of sparkles. "Morning, ET."
"I got to do more than phone home this time," he shot back with a grin. He sat down. "Harry?"
"Detention," Xander said, handing down the letter. "McGonagall got him for getting Ron back when Ron complained he was being a prat because he was getting some attention again. Ron went on a jealous snit streak and Harry finally turned and punched him in the nose. I pointed out this was a council weekend. She said he could turn over proxy but he would be serving this one and then they'd both straighten Ron out together."
Horatio read the sealed letter. "We might be doing more than that. She's making Ron his proxy for the day and Harry did agree." He put it aside. "He'll be down shortly I'm sure. Stella, Mac and Danny?" She handed over the sealed note. "Court?"
"Yup. Guy who killed three kids is trying to get out of it. Mac's on first so he may make it before we're done. He's not sure."
"All right then. Tony, you're voting for Danny. Stella, you have Mac's until he gets here. John, welcome home again. How is your project going?"
"Reasonably well but I was asked to find some food to bring home."
"Seeds or food?" Xander asked.
"Seeds would be great but food is better. We're down on fruit and those things."
"I have an apple orchard behind the house. I wouldn't mind if you took some cuttings or whatever. Plus the school seems to live on potatoes and pumpkins."
John smiled. "That could help. I'll stop to get some."
"The herbologist up the street might be able to help," Horatio told him. "I know I've seen her planting some good looking saplings and some early pumpkin vines so they'll be bigger and produce more when you plant them. I asked." John smiled and nodded at that. "If not, my family's home has an orchard as well. I'm sure you could come get some of the fruit that ended up staying on the ground to get seeds."
"I'll have to get Rodney over here to help me find the best way to do that. Thanks, guys."
"Welcome. Don't want to have to join you to save us all," Xander quipped with a grin.
John smirked back. "Smartass. We can do just fine, thank you."
"If you're sure."
"Rodney is our senior scientist. You'd have to deal with him all the time."
"I'm sure he's decent when he's not screaming at me about you being missing."
"Maybe." He shrugged. Ron was walked in by the Minister for Magic. Patricia was following him, giving her helper an odd look. "Good morning, everyone."
"Morning," the Minister for Magic said as he sat down. Patricia sat next to him. "We're missing people? I was told why Ron was sitting in."
"Danny and Mac have court today. Mac may be joining us. If not, Stella is voting for him and Danny's is being held by Tony today," Horatio told him. "Mr. Weasley, do you know how Harry would vote for things?" He nodded, staying silent. "All right, if you need help, ask John or Xander. They're around you." He looked around. "Patricia, anyone else coming in from your proxies?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"All right then I call this meeting to order. Looking at the agenda, we have the usual two: legal issues and the next meeting. Do we have anything else for today beyond the final health department votes and setup?"
The minister coughed. "Not to be rude, Horatio, but when do we vote for your position?"
"We thought it'd be done yearly," Horatio said.
That got a nod. "That's reasonable. Just wondering in case I had to have a proxy voter. That would be the third meeting after you all got called?" He nodded. "Then I'll make sure I'm here for that one personally."
"Do we need to hit on any of the education stuff today, Patricia?"
"Not today, but I have heard a rumor that the other schools would ask that a fourth school be opened for the students at the facility here in town who could be turned over to a normal education and for the ones we're missing. Since none of the other schools are capable of handling children who might have difficulty doing stairs and things. Plus it would give us a good place to grade against if we started out using the higher standards."
Horatio marked that down. "We have next meeting set for education specifically. Let's address that then?" She nodded and smiled. "Though I believe that might be the easiest ideas. The other schools can't handle them?"
"Or the extra students. The dorms may stretch but only so much."
"Then that might be the most workable plan," Horatio agreed. "Do we know who suggested it?"
"It was suggested after Xander had to spank his family member in front of the Wizengomet. I believe Dumbledore was a suggester of it and a few others agreed with him."
"That might be a good thing, a bit of higher competition," Xander said. Twirpy came in and handed over coffee and tea. "Thank you, Twirpy." He nodded and left. "It's good we have it today. Are we going to have to ask the healer to speak in small words again?"
"No, we're doing the setup of departments and duties," Patricia assured him. He nodded at that. "You don't pay attention to those things?"
"I'm a hands-on learner, Patricia. Lectures do *nothing* for me."
She nodded. "My brother was that way. Give him something mechanical and he's wonderful. Put him in a lecture class and he fails." She sipped her tea. "A bit strong today." She looked at Horatio. Then at Stella. "We were going to start talking about the CPS idea?"
"We were whenever you got ready to discuss it."
"I've managed to get some more research in and I can say that it may be needed but I'm still not in total favor of the idea. Especially not with how the muggles deal with those things."
"Which is one thing we can decide," Stella agreed. Xander sipped his tea then choked. "Xander? You okay?" He shook his head, going to puke in the trash can.
Patricia came over to help. "It's green, what did you eat?"
Ron sniffed the cup. "We need the healer." Horatio went to get her while he froze Xander. "We've had six cases of this at school. One of them was Harry last week and one was Draco." The healer rushed in and came to look at him. "I froze him because that's what Madam Pomfrey did when his cousin started to vomit it up." He handed over the cup for her to sniff. She led him off. "Harry said this was a fairly calm, quiet meeting."
"They are until someone poisons someone," Stella assured him. "Let me get an auror." She went to get one, dragging him back by his ear because he had argued with her. "Here you go, Horatio."
He looked at him. "Someone put a poison in Mr. Harris' tea."
"Here?" he demanded, rubbing the feeling back into his ear. Horatio nodded. "How did it get here?"
"Twirpy brought it," the Minister said. "Twirpy!" He appeared, looking at him. "Who gave you the tea for Mr. Harris?"
"Twirpy was not given tea for Mister Xander sir. Twirpy was given tea for Mr. Sam sir."
"That's why I have coffee I suppose," Ron said.
"Twirpy always puts cups out of range for left-handed people," the Minister agreed. "Where is Winchester?"
"He said he'd be about ten minutes late. He had to finish stitches on his brother's arm where he ran into a tree on Xander's broom," Horatio said. "He flooed. Twirpy, who gave you the special cup of tea for Sam?"
"Twirpy was told to mix sweetening for Mr. Sam sir into Mr. Sam sir's tea."
"Did they tell you to dose anyone else?" Horatio asked. He shook his head quickly. "You're sure?"
"Mine's strong but it doesn't taste funny," Patricia said. "Did any get into my cup?" The house elf shook his head. "Thank you, Twirpy. Who gave you the sweetening?"
"Other house elf."
"A Ministry house elf?" the auror asked. He nodded. "Which one?"
"Where does that one serve?"
"Thank you, Twirpy. Get the vial of sweetening and meet me in my office soon, please. I'll be there once I get the other house elf. I will get to the end of this matter, Horatio. No need to come help this time." He left.
Horatio looked after him. Then he looked at Stella. "You can since he doesn't think he needs mine."
"Oh, I so will."
Sam strolled in and looked. "Xander's off today?"
"Xander just got poisoned," Stella said.
"Hmm. He'll be killing someone then." The Minister gave him a horrified look. "Do you think he can't?" He sat down. "I'll check on him soon," he said at the odd looks. "Dean will be anyway." He texted him and got back a 'going'. "He's at the hospital?" Horatio nodded. "Dean can hold him down since Xander hates hospitals. He'll be escaping as soon as he can."
"Sure. I do," Ron agreed.
Sam grinned. "You don't look like Harry."
"Harry has detention and he said if I thought this was so glamorous I can come fill in for him today."
Sam laughed. "We're mostly a decent punishment." Dean sent back a text message. "He'll be fine and he said to let me vote his vote," he said, tossing the phone to Horatio, who recorded it and sent it back. "Okay, have we started yet?"
"Looking at what else has to hit the agenda," John said. "Why are we looking at the CPS laws?"
"There aren't any," Stella said.
"Ah. That's probably a bad thing then. Anything else we had for today, Patricia?"
"I'm good with those." They nodded. "Just the beginning talks for the CPS stuff, Horatio. We're not ready to vote yet."
"Of course. We often talk about things for a few meetings before we vote," he assured her. "All right, let's set the next meeting now. Stella, do you have your schedules?"
"We are open the twenty-first of december."
"That's Solstice and a holiday over here," Patricia said. "I'm hosting an event that night."
"We have the fifteenth open as well, Mac wasn't sure if you guys celebrated Solstice or Christmas."
"Most of the parties are on Solstice and Christmas is family only," Patricia told her. "The fifteenth would work for me. When are students coming back, Ron?"
"Then the fifteenth should work. Tony?" Horatio asked. He shrugged. "You're not on, on?"
"No clue. She hasn't made December schedules and all I have to do is tell Gibbs I need to be here. I can get a few hours."
"Whatever is fine with me, Horatio. Ron, what about exams? I know we had some right before the holiday."
"We'll have some that week but Harry can stay up late studying. We do anyway. He said the four hours doesn't really make a lot of difference. Made his OWLs better he thought."
"Then we'll schedule next time for the fifteenth." Horatio wrote that down. "Onto the next point. Any new legal news or issues we have to hear?"
"That one petition about the law not needing to apply to men," the Minister said. "They're in the hall waiting and glaring at each other."
"Anything before we hear that argument? We can take a tea break after that to check on Xander before we get into the heavier stuff."
"One, again from Species," the Minister said, handing it over. "They didn't think the clarification went far enough. They cited examples that would've been missed."
Horatio read it over. "It looks like all of those would've been covered under the health issue part." He passed it to John, who read it and passed it to Ron, who frowned. But he read it and passed it to Sam. "Did they say why? All of those caused a health issue."
"No, just that it wouldn't have been caught. That was the whole argument."
Patricia got it and read it then grimaced. "That's disgusting." Everyone nodded. "But clearly covered since they all included a health issue. That was put in there, right, Horatio?" He pulled out his copy to hand over to her. She compared it. "I would say they'd all be covered."
The Minister nodded, taking that back to make a note on it. "I'll let them know." He looked at him. "Want me to get them?"
"Please." Mac came in. "Or you can. We're hearing arguments on not needing the decency statue to apply to both genders. They're in the hall, Mac."
"Sure. Where's Xander?"
"Poisoned," John said. "At the hospital with Sam's brother."
"Is he all right?"
"Dean said he was fine and whining."
"I do too," Mac agreed. He opened the door. "The people here for arguing about gender issues?" They came in and he sat down. "Thank you, Stella."
"Solid. The defense didn't even try to trip me up. Asked me my qualifications. Once they got to Marine they shut up." She smiled at that. "So even if Danny flubs somehow it's good."
"It's good to hear the good guys won another one," Horatio said. "All right, I'm told that you two wanted to argue the legality and necessity of the decency statute being applied to both genders?" They nodded. "Which is which side?"
"We're both on the side against, sir. The judges said you wrote it, you could handle it. They had an emergency call to hear a case."
"Then I'll start by asking for a reasonable, calm argument why it should not apply," Horatio said.
"We don't feel men do those sort of things, sir. It's fairly rare."
Stella pulled something out. "I asked the aurors. There's been one-hundred-eighteen decency complaints in Diagon in the last year." She handed it to Horatio. "Ten of those have been men but the majority were under the old clothing laws Fudge had put out to make himself look better."
"Ten?" the second one said.
"That includes the guy who was flashing the kids a few months back," she assured him. "There's been nine of those since we changed the rules. Five of them have been the male cases."
Horatio looked at the summaries for why then nodded. "I would think that a robe that blew up when you're not wearing anything would be a problem. Was it an accident?"
"Not from what they said. He walked over the same grate three times and never bothered to push it back down," Stella reported.
The men coughed. "May I?" Horatio looked at them. "Well. Mostly exposing themselves."
"Which is one of the most common ways to do that," Stella agreed. "The women they got for really tight pants or tops, which I don't like but I do understand the local standards are still fairly old." They looked at her outfit. "Yes, I work in the muggle world and this is considered modest and decorous of us."
One of them frowned. "Our women will never wear clothes like that!"
"The world moves on and things are changing," Stella told him simply. "There are plenty of women who already wear this sort of outfit."
"I've never seen any!" the second complained.
"Then you weren't here when the new students went shopping?" she asked. He blushed. "Let me guess, you were staring at the kids?" He went pale. "Are we perhaps wanted for something like looking at kids?" He shook his head quickly. "Are you sure?" He nodded. "Good. I'd hate to arrest you too. That is my job."
"Stella, you could wear a skirt at least," Patricia chided.
"All my skirts end at my knees or higher, Patricia."
"Higher?" she squeaked. She nodded, pulling out a picture to show her. "Oh, dear. Is that considered professional?"
"I was out on a date. I can't chase bad guys in skirts so I don't usually wear them at work." She took it back and held it up. "That is fashionable in the modern world. The wizarding world is slowly being caught up to it, because they have to be. There's no way to totally insulate a society from another one when they occupy the same country. Now, why do you think men don't do those sort of things on purpose?"
"No upstanding man would," the first said firmly. He looked away from that picture. She put it up. "There have always been loose women, but men are not like that."
"What a crock of shit," Tony said dryly. "There's been more men who play around on their wives than there have been loose women, who're usually more poor and had to do it to make ends meet. I'm sorry, if the law applies, it applies to everyone and so far your argument has been mostly whining. Do you have any *real* evidence that men don't do those sort of things?"
"Well, I never...." one huffed.
Tony shrugged. "Then at least you won't be arrested under the decency law then, huh?" They stomped out.
"Have a nice day, gentlemen," Mac called. "Was their court argument that whiny?" he asked the Minster. Who nodded. "No wonder the judges turned it down." Horatio handed over the statistics. "Good work, Stella."
"Thank you, Mac." Horatio handed them to recorder to be put with the notes. "Do we want to check on Xander or go right to the health department stuff?"
Sam texted his brother. "Dean said they'll let him go rest at home in a few minutes. He's still whining. He said Xander said hospitals are evil." That got a few laughs from John, Ron, and Mac. The new text message came in. "Dean's taking him home now and they'll be on the couch in the library since Xander said he's not too sick for that and he doesn't need to be in bed." That got a nod. He looked at the cup of tea for him. "Do we think it's safe?"
"Twirpy said the sweetening only went into yours, Sam," Horatio told him. "He must have mixed them up."
Sam smirked at him. "Really?"
"The aurors will tell us why. We can check on the way out."
"Then can we call ten minutes to get something from the commissary?" Horatio nodded and they went to do that then came back. Sam was sipping his soda. "Okay, now that we're all back. What's next? Health department?" Patricia nodded. "More healer testimony?"
"She's here to tell us how she thinks it should be since she's the one doing all the research."
"Okay. Anyone have anything before we get to that?" Sam asked. Ron went to get her when Horatio gave him a look. She walked in. "Welcome."
"Good morning, everyone. Thankfully the whiny one will be fine." She pulled out her notes. "We were going to start where today?"
"Structure so we can gauge how much it's going to cost," Patricia told her. She nodded, enlarging her notes so they could start on that.
Ron walked into McGonagall's classroom. "Stupify me?" he demanded in a whine.
"Why?" she asked with a small smile. "Bored?"
"They're setting up a health department for shots and stuff. We went over how many people could cover how many shots per day and how often they had to be given and how to do them to the older kids and then how many mediwitches it'd take to do girl stuff and check for diseases." He sat down, holding his head. "Merlin, if Harry deals with that he's a stronger soul than I am. Even my mum would've been worn out by her babbling figures."
Harry laughed as he walked in. "What did we decide?"
"Xander's a whiny asshole when the poison got him instead of that Sam bloke. The health department got passed and passed onto the budget department to find them money and a place to work from in Diagon. Have to ask Draco about that." He handed over the note. "The two whiny ponces who think men don't flash girls in Diagon got laughed out when they started to complain that only loose women did those things. Next meeting's in there." His head hit the desk again and he fell asleep a minute later.
Harry opened the letter, reading all the facts. "Is Malfoy in detention today?"
"Not this weekend." She looked at it. "You may go, Harry. You're done."
He nodded, heading down there. She could deal with a sleeping, snoring Ron. She had in class before. He found the Slytherin door and looked at the snake, switching to Parseltongue. "I need Draco Malfoy please. It's family news."
Pansy Parkinson opened the door. "What do you want, Potter?"
"I need to see Draco. It's family news."
"What sort of family news?"
"His head of family was slightly poisoned earlier."
"I'm not sure he's here. He might be on the pitch. Stay there." She closed the door and went inside to look for him. "Draco, your head of family was just poisoned," she said in greeting.
"Someone will be dying then," he said, getting up. "How do you know?"
"Potter's outside with a letter."
He went down there, walking out into the hall and closing the door. "He was poisoned?"
"He got Sam's tea by mistake." He handed over the letter. Draco gave him an odd look. "McGonagall said since Ron was jealous of the perks I get for Council stuff, he could go in my place today."
"Bet that stopped that fit. I used to hate it when my father pulled me with him. Boring shite. Really." He read the letter, nodding. "So he's fine?"
"Ron said Sam said he was whiny."
"Xander's not the sort to sit idle in a hospital. He hates having nothing to do. He's at home at least so it wasn't serious."
"Ron's in McGonagall's classroom. You can ask him if you need more." He took the note back. "Did you read the bottom section?" Draco snatched it back and read, then nodded. "Doing so would be good publicity for the family and I'm sure you can get a tax break or something for it."
"I'll consider that. I do own a few shops down there."
"They'd need almost no windows. Like healers would."
"Then I definitely have something. I have an odd little townhouse squashed between buildings that I might be willing to part with. I don't like the place. No one lives there." That got a nod. "Talk to the Minister for Magic?"
"Probably. He's got to have passed it onto the budget office by now if we passed it."
"Then I'll floo him later. Any other good news you want to share?"
Harry leaned closer. "If the next meeting's the fifteenth..."
"Exams after that but I can make Xander pick me up at King's Cross and take us both holiday shopping."
Harry smirked. "You were mumbling the other day about making him do a shopping spree to break his desire to never spend money."
"That is a decent enough plan. Thank you, Potter."
"Welcome." He walked off, going to his tower. He was free, Ron had been disgusted and bored all day for him, it was a good day to nap.
Draco went to call the Minister for Magic's office. "This is Draco Malfoy," he told the secretary. "It was mentioned to Potter that someone thought I might have a building the new Health Department would like to use?" She passed him back. "Sir."
"Draco, my boy. I haven't seen you in months. How's school?"
"Fairly decent. I heard I have a building you might want to buy for the Health people?"
"I was thinking the former Blue Moon Emporium building."
"Potter said they'd need privacy like a healer. What about the townhouse between there and the Pottery Barn place?"
He blinked. "You own that?" Draco nodded. "Interesting. Why?"
"My father had his mistress there but kicked her out when she turned him in for trying to kill her. It's been empty for years. It's a three level townhouse. I don't favor it. It's in a good spot."
"We'll have four departments but one might be able to share a floor since it'll be mostly paperwork. I'll have the healer we put in charge come look with you over the holidays?"
"Of course. I'll even give the Ministry easy payment plans."
He laughed. "That's good of you, Draco. How is your head of family?"
"I've just heard from Potter, though Weasley, that he was ill. He's fine?"
"As far as we know. Sam got some sort of messages on his whatever that was in his pocket." Draco held up his cellphone. "Yes, that thing. What is it?"
"It's a telephone but it's a cordless one that works nearly anywhere you might be. It's called a cellphone."
"Very handy things unless you're in the middle of nowhere."
"Even better. He got messages on it somehow from his brother saying that Xander's at home, on his library couch, whining that he's not actually sick, just nasty feeling."
"I'll call him next to check on him. Did we find out why?"
"Someone heard about the bonding potion but not the lust potion."
"Ah. Thank you, sir. Let me know when you want to look at it." He hung up and tossed in some more. "Xander Harris." His head popped up and one hand came up to hold his forehead. "Will you live?"
"I'd better. You'd be bored in meetings talking about CPS stuff."
Draco smirked. "So I take it you're whiny because you're bored?"
"I was reading. I was being good and reading. I was only whining in the hospital. Hospitals are evil and for really sick people. I was only puking."
"You were poisoned."
"So? Been there before with some demons." He shrugged. "I'll live."
"Good. We're going shopping for presents when I get back to King's Cross on the twentieth. Pick me up." He hung up and went back up to his bed to rest. Sometimes Xander was the most annoying wizard in the world, right behind Potter.
Dean pulled Xander back down onto the couch and away from the fire. "You still need to rest to be well enough to take him shopping."
"I'm scared of that trip."
"I would be too. Get us something pretty nice and we'll be fine."
"I've already got yours. They're stored and safely locked up since Sam doesn't know the unlocking charm yet."
Dean grinned. "Did I get good stuff?"
"Yup." He leaned against his shoulder. "Save me from a shopping Draco?"
"Sure. Maybe he can even help me replace your broom for you."
"Okay. And get your own to run into the trees."
"And get my own to run into the trees," he agreed. "You've been poisoned by a demon?"
Dean poked him. "Not very informative."
"A lot of demons have poisoned claws. I've been hit with them five or six, maybe seven times. We had stuff on hand and I took it so all I had to do was heal the cuts."
"Dad said that your legend among the slayers is nearly mythical. He had to burst some of it. Like how you couldn't have snuck onto a military base for a weapon." Xander nodded. "You did?"
"Yeah, I did. We even double dated during it. Me and Cordy, Willow and Oz. I had passwords from the possession."
Dean groaned. "Did you really take on a Replessor demon by yourself?"
"She saw that?" he asked sheepishly.
"No, Spike left a journal with Angel to give to her if he died. It mentioned it."
Dean pulled out his cellphone, calling his father. "Hey, Dad, Dean. You were wrong to tell the slayers he didn't do those two things. He did." He hung up and grinned. "He's swearing at Horatio."
Dean gave him a squeeze. "Horatio can pop my dad on the head like Gibbs." His phone rang. "Yeah, Dad?" He listened to him complain. "He did. He said he had passwords and codes from his possession. No, he said he did take on that demon by himself but he didn't think Spike saw."
"I didn't think anyone saw. It was in my basement," Xander complained.
"He said it was in his basement so he's not sure how anyone saw. On the couch in the library because he got poisoned earlier when someone went after Sammy for that bonding potion. Sammy told him the whole truth and he burst out crying for him and begged him to not touch me. That they needed him too much to have him in jail for doing both of us." He smirked as his father said he'd beg him not to do that too. "Aw, come on, Dad."
Xander took the phone. "Draco told me how heirs get done, John, but I'd have to transfigure one of them into a girl." He hung up on his spluttering and put his head back down. "My head hurts. He was loud."
"He can be that way sometimes," Dean agreed. He looked over as Sam strolled in with dinner trays. "You took the time to cook?"
"No, I grabbed it from the house elves." He set it in front of the couch and sat down, pulling Xander over. "I'm sorry he poisoned you instead of me, Xander."
"He's been poisoned before by demon claws," Dean said, grabbing his plate.
Sam looked at him. "Are you sure you're not a Winchester, Xander?"
"If I am, we're in real trouble."
"Good point. Dad would really scream then," Sam agreed.
"I got to tell Dad that he was wrong to tell the slayers Xander hadn't done those things."
"How did he take it?"
"He gave Xander a headache with the loud ranting."
"Ah." He handed Xander his mug of soup and got his own plate, watching him sip it slowly. "It won't happen again. They won't tell the press and it won't happen again."
"There's a group?" Dean asked.
"Yeah. A decency group. They decided it's not our fault."
"How very white, upperclass of them," Dean said dryly.
"Most were, and female," Sam said. He ate another bite, watching as Xander's fingers stole a piece of roll off his plate. "Feeling better?"
"I guess." He nibbled it and drank his soup. "The healer said only liquid for the next day and a half."
"That's to help flush your system," Sam told him. "Like you did before when you were poisoned."
"I took a vial of stuff and a bandage. I was all better."
Dean shook his head, but he stuffed it instead of saying something. Maybe Xander *was* a Winchester. It'd explain how those things happened to him.
John appeared, looking around. "This wasn't where I expected to be."
Xander called Horatio. "Why do we have John?" He nodded. "Sure, in about when? We can do that." He hung up. "Feds were coming up the hall."
"Better if I miss that," John said. He looked at him. "You don't look too sick."
"That's what I said. Last time I had a vial of stuff, some bandages, and I was good. The healer said I had to lounge around and drink for the next day and a half. Can I go play outside later? Please, Daddy?"
John smirked. "Nice try, kid, but you don't quite sound like Sammy."
"Sam," Sam countered. "I'm not five."
John looked at him. "I changed your diapers; I can call you whatever I want."
Xander looked at him. "Draco said I could turn him into a girl so you could change your grandkids's diapers if you want."
"Turn Dean, he's prettier and he'd make a better girl," Sam said. He waved his fork and took a bite.
"I am so going to kill you later," Dean assured him. "Then there won't be a problem, huh?"
"Then you'd have to explain shit to me and sit on the boring meetings," Xander told him.
Dean considered it. "Well....."
John laughed. "He has a point, son. You or me after this if it's not your aunts."
"We're going over CPS stuff next," Sam told him.
"Are they overstepping themselves here too?"
"They don't have one," Xander told him.
"Then who takes the kids like you and who watches over the orphans?"
"No one. There's no official standards set and no guardians."
John shook his head. "That's bad."
"We were talking about it. Patricia doesn't like the idea but she sees a small need. Very small according to her because other family members would step in. Horatio set up an appointment for her to talk to someone who recently killed his. The person she was voting for showed up, well one of them, and gave her a few funny looks throughout it. Gave some to Stella too. Patricia tried to make her wear Victorian clothes. Stella had to break her bubble because all her skirts are knee length or shorter. She was horrified. So were the two dweebs from what I hear?"
"Putting it mildly," Sam said. "Two dweebs came up today to protest that the indecency law doesn't need to apply to men because no real man does that, only loose women wear too few clothes or flash kids." John snorted. "Might as well sit down, Dad." He sat down. "Tony basically ran them out heckling them for their views on loose women. Stella supplied facts. Even Mac said something about them."
"Could've been long winded and worse I guess," Dean offered.
"No, someone told them that we're mostly action oriented people so any long arguments we'd fall asleep during and disagree with them when they woke us up." A woman came out of the floo. "Who're you?"
"Hi, Madam Pomfrey. Guys, this is the school nurse at Hogwarts. One of the relatives?"
"Checking on you for fussing one so they'll leave me alone to see the other patients I have." She came over to run her wand over him, nodding. "You're healing very well."
"Does that mean I can go play?"
She gave him a look. "You never rest, do you?"
"No. Hospitals are evil and only for the really sick, contagious, people with lots and lots of broken things, or who need surgery."
"Fine, gentle playing, young man. Keep your heartrate down. No sex either tonight." She ran her wand over him again. "You do heal extraordinarily well."
"From a possession, the merman stuff, or otherwise? Can you tell?"
She blinked. "Excuse me?"
"Can you tell if it's because of a possession I've had, the mermaid taint I got exposed to and mostly cleared from my system, or is it from something else, like the hellmouth taint?"
She stared at him. "You've been possessed?"
"Twice. Came in handy too."
She gaped. "How on earth? Was no one watching over you?"
"Giles was Buffy's Watcher. Why should he have been watching over us? That would've meant he couldn't watch Buffy as well. Even if he did try to control Willow's descent into magic."
She slumped, shaking her head. "Someone must yell at that man."
"He's in Cleveland," John said with a smile. "At the New Watchers Council."
She pursed her lips. "I'll keep that in mind. Have you contacted your family healer?"
"Haven't picked one yet. The ER said to sit down, try to nap, and drink a lot. Can I eat solid foods?"
"If you can keep them down. When was the last exposure to a poison?"
Xander considered. "Three, four weeks ago maybe? Some demon with claws jumped me in the woods behind the house. I killed it, took the antivenom we used just in case, and finished my hike to catch the bus into the city."
She stared at him. "I would like to see that anti-venom."
"Dean, can you get into my patrol backpack in the closet in my study?" He nodded, going to do that for him. "It's a blue, screw top vial." He grinned at her. "If it'll help. Willow found it and Tara makes it for us."
"I see." Dean handed it over, letting her examine it. "This may work better. Did you take any today?"
"They gave me stuff in the ER."
"That's fine then, dear. Try to rest for a bit longer. You can go play tomorrow. You can eat soft things but if you start to vomit, go back to soup and the like." She patted him on the head. "I'd probably hate having you in my infirmary as much as I do having Harry Potter." She left, going back to the school.
Xander grinned at his buddies. "Wanna go play with the ghost horses?"
"Sure," Dean agreed. "Metta, can you please bring Xander some soft stuff? He was cleared to eat food." She brought in a plate for him and took the empty ones, then came back and handed one to John before disappearing again. "Might wanna eat, Dad. She'll fuss if not."
He dug in. "The ones in Cleveland throw fits if we don't eat." He ate a second bite and kept going until his plate was clean. He looked over; Xander was inhaling his. He shook his head, going back to his dinner. It was very good. Afterward Xander called Horatio, who said to keep him for a while longer, so they went to play in the moonlight and snow with the ghost horses. Xander got into the paddock and a young foal came over to play tag and chase with him. He saw the goofy looks on his boys' faces and sighed mentally. Looks like he'd have to deal with the situation after all. Xander was it and the horse was kicking up snow at him but he got it and ran off again. At least until one of the bigger ghosts got in his way. Xander ducked under his stomach and rolled to his other side. Good reflexes John decided.
"Hi, herd stallion sort. Can't I play with the baby horse?" He snorted and walked off. "If I knew what you guys ate, I'd leave some treats but I doubt you like carrots." The foal charged and he evaded, going back to his game of chase.
Draco strolled over. "Didn't she say to make him rest?" he said dryly.
"For him this is rest," Sam said with a smile. "He's fine, Draco."
"Good. Is he trying to physically capture one?"
"They're playing tag," Dean said, grinning at him. "One person gets to be it and chase the others until he catches one and then they're it and chase the other kids," he said at the confused look.
"I used to play it with the house elves," he admitted. He leaned on the fence, watching him. Xander panted but waved and grinned at him, ducking a mare who came to play. Now they were both chasing and playing with him. Draco heard a growl and looked around. He pulled his wand. "Stupify," he cast at the growling blot of shadow. Nothing.
Sam looked. "Dad, silver? I can't wear one to Council and Dean probably left his inside." John shot it and it died. "You kill those with silver to the brain, Draco." The younger boy turned green. "Sorry." He looked at Xander. "How are we doing the dead demons?" he asked when Xander came over to see.
"I usually burn them unless instructed not to."
"Incendio," Draco cast, lighting it on fire.
"Thanks, Draco. Wanna come play tag?"
"I'll get messy and sweaty."
"So?" He pulled him into the enclosure and ran. "You're it."
Draco sighed but chased after him. And the horses that were apparently still playing with them. If his future wife saw this he'd be in trouble. She would expect him to be mostly mature. Not playing tag with ghosts and his head of family. He nearly shrieked when Xander pounced him into the snow and grinned down at him. "What was that for?"
"You're too serious for your own good. Women like a good sense of humor." He got up and hauled him up. "Quit thinking and play. It's one of the last chances you'll have until you're a father." Draco groaned but tried to wrestle with him. Xander did a nice hip toss and it was good there was a lot of snow. "Play, Draco. It's good for you." Draco groaned as he got up but went back to their game.
Draco came out of Snape's floo sweaty, sticky, and damp from the snow. "Don't ask."
He looked him over. "Brawling?"
"My head of house wanted me to play tag with the ghost horses with him." He headed down to change and get warm again. He held up a hand when Pansy opened her mouth. "I went to check on Xander."
"Was he under attack?"
"Playing." He went to shower and strip off his wet things. Snow had even gotten into his underwear when one of the foals had pushed him into a snow pile. He leaned his forehead against a wall, letting the warm water warm him up again.
One of the guys leaned in. "Draco, Snape said to come back presentable next time. That you know drying charms." Draco flipped him off American style. "What's that mean?" He did it British style. "Oh. Want me to pass that on?"
"I did do the drying charm."
"I'll let him know." He went to pass on that message. "He said he did do the drying charm, sir. He's under warm water right now."
"He took a chill?" Pansy asked. Blaise nodded with a grin. "Why? He said they were playing."
"Outside. His socks are coated in snow," Blaise told her, making her giggle.
"Shouldn't he have been resting if he was poisoned?" another female asked.
"Probably but he's very strong," Pansy said. "Draco said he used to hunt demons. Maybe he's got an immunity." Draco came down the stairs in his pajamas. "Are you better now?"
Draco glared at her. Then at Snape. "Permission to go get a pain tonic, sir?"
"Why?" he asked smugly.
"Because my head of family was playing with the ghost horses on the estate and demanded I play with him. Must be a side effect of the poisoning he took earlier. I'm a bit stiff and there's none in the quidditch kit."
"Very well. Go to my office. I have some." Draco grabbed his robe and did that. Snape shook his head all the way down there. "What was he doing with the ghost horses?"
"A game called tag. One person's it, the others are chased by whoever's it?"
"He was playing that with the ghosts?"
"Yes." He took the pain tonic and winced as it worked. He was handed another one. "Thank you, Professor." He took the pepper up potion and went back to his bed. He was exhausted! Xander had more energy than a pack of first years on sugar! Poor Sam and Dean were going to die from it! He barely got the curtains pulled before he fell asleep. Goyle came up at Pansy's urging, tucking him under a blanket then he went back downstairs, shaking his head.
"Fully. Only snored at me."
"I've never heard of a poison that gave someone too much energy." She went to look it up. Sounded like a fit punishment to some sorts to her.
to part 15